Tag Archives: first impression

Forward My Resume Please

Networking for Mutual Benefit is a key part of the job search.

Introducing yourself to others who may be able to introduce you to good job opportunities can only happen if you network well. This activity is important to get your resume in front of the right person. Especially since over 80% of all jobs are not published. Your friends, family and growing network contacts are the path to these jobs.

Here are some tips for doing this:

1. Make sure the person you are talking with learns enough about you.
You do not want someone to talk about you unless they know enough to be able to introduce you to the right people. They do not need to know your life history, but they do need to know the key points about your skills, experiences, passion and career goals.

2. Ask them to review your resume so that they know what it says.
You may have told them one thing, but your resume may say it differently, or include something that you did not tell them. Talking with you about your resume content can help make sure they are better informed to share your resume with the right people (not organizations, but people).

3. Have your networking contact only share your resume where it is relevant and with people they know.
There is no value to the job seeker to use networking as another means of getting your resume scattered around town. This is what Monster, Careerbuilder, Ladders, LinkedIn and the other Job Boards are for. Having your resume delivered directly to someone who can benefit by seeing it is far more important and successful to both the job seeker and recruiter/hiring manager. Also, anyone knowing the true value of networking for Mutual Benefit will not flood their contacts with random and irrelevant resumes. This is rude and can tarnish a good relationship.

4. Ask that your networking contact to tell you where they plan to send your resume before they do so.
This is important for the job seeker for a few reasons. You may not want your resume shared at a business where you do not want to work, especially if you are still working and the business is a sister or partner company. Additionally, you want to be able to follow up afterwards and talk directly with the person your resume was forwarded to.

5. Thank your networking contact anytime they share your resume.
A good honest thank you followed by an offer to help them in any way goes a long way to nurture the relationship you have with a new contact as well as a long time friend.

You need to use Networking for Mutual Benefit to get your resume in front of the right people. Do this right and you it works.

This article is from Teddy Burriss’s blog @ http://www.ncwiseman.com/

Teddy Burriss

Networking Strategist at Burriss Consulting, Inc.

http://tlburriss.com/

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There’s Sales in Everything

For several years prior to becoming employed in Work Force Development, I worked in sales. I hated it. However, I learned one great lesson during that time. Sales is in everything. Especially the job search process. Whether you are networking your heart out or in the actual interview, your productivity will be directly related to how well you sell yourself. The definition of a sale is the transfer of enthusiasm. When interviewing for a job, it’s your responsibility to display the enthusiasm you have towards the job and transfer that enthusiasm to the hiring manager. One of the best ways to do this comes from a type of sales known as “Needs Based Selling.” The companies you apply to have needs that must be met. You have skills and talents that meet these needs. However, unless you know how to sell your skills and talents the company will never know. Here are a couple of tips on how to do this…

 

  1. Make a cheat sheet about your skills and talents. Write on a post it note at least two examples of your strongest assets that you want to make sure they know about you and stick it to the inside of your portfolio. Often times we find ourselves leaving an interview thinking “man I wanted to tell them about the time I…” Having a cheat sheet will help.
  2. Study the job description thoroughly. Prior to the interview you want to make sure you know as much as possible about the job so you can match your skills with the ones they need.
  3. Make sure you ask questions. The more you find out about the position, the more you can line up your experience with their needs. Here’s a good question to ask…“What would you consider to be the biggest challenges facing this position in the next year?”

John Westbrook

Youth Development Specialist

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Subject to Change

In a recent discussion about e-mail subject lines I was asked by a colleague if she should always put the client’s name in it. “I want the recipient to know it’s about my client,” she said. “No,” I snapped a bit too tartly, “you want the recipient to open the e-mail.” After all, the message isn’t going to matter if the e-mail isn’t opened in the first place.

E-mail subject lines are the subject of great interest. Google “subject lines,” in fact, and in .22 seconds 981,000 results appear (including one from the Romance Writing Book Club message board – for them, however, even subject lines are all about love, decolletage, long walks along the beach, and square-jawed studmuffins on white horses). Like love and romance, though, subject lines are worth struggling over because the potential payoff is so big.

Here’s some advice for the subject linelorn among you, in no particular order:

  •     Write it after you’ve composed the body of your message – Even if you know what you’re going to write about, after you’ve completed the text the tone or viewpoint may be different than what you’d planned. Waiting to write the subject line allows you to be more specific and nuanced.
  •     Summarize the thrust of the message. Example: Cocktails resched to Friday 7 p.m.
  •     Focus on what’s in it for the reader: Example: Here’s the data on Iowa you wanted
  •     Keep it short. A study conducted last year by e-mail monitoring company Return Path showed that subject lines with 49 or fewer characters had click-through 75 percent higher than for those with 50 or more.
  •     Be specific – Not “Newsletter #4” but “Newsletter #4: Tips for spring cleaning”
  •     Avoid words that “sell” like “free,” “buy,” and “call now” – they’re like flares to spam filters.
  •     Have someone else write it – You’ll be surprised at how effective this can be.
  •     Avoid dates in case it gets cut off – March 26 could appear as March 2 depending on the recipient’s setup.
  •     Avoid: “Hi” and “FYI”
  •     Don’t let your subject line be your message – It’s confusing to recipients because they think something’s missing (it’s like when someone says something is attached and there’s nothing there, you’re, like, huh?)
  •     Change the subject line if the topic of the e-mail itself has changed, though include the original subject line in brackets if you can. Example: “Here’s your mtg info [Re: We won the account!]

Who is Dan Santow?

I’m a senior vice president at Edelman, the world’s largest privately held public relations firm.

 

 

 

 

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Writing naked (nakeder than Orwell)

Here are Orwell’s rules, edited:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. You don’t need cliches.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do. Avoid long words.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active. Write in the now.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. When in doubt, say it clearly.

6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous. Better to be interesting than to follow these rules.

The reason business writing is horrible is that people are afraid.

Afraid to say what they mean, because they might be criticized for it.

Afraid to be misunderstood, to be accused of saying what they didn’t mean, because they might be criticized for it.

Orwell was on the right track. Just say it. Say it clearly. Say it now. Say it without fear of being criticized and say it without being boring.

If the goal is no feedback, then say nothing. Don’t write the memo.

If the goal is to communicate, then say what you mean.

My best tip is this: buy a cheap digital recorder. Say what you want to say, as if the person you seek to persuade is standing there, listening. Then type that up. Simplify. Send.

Seth Godin has written 12 bestsellers that have been translated into 33 languages

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Liz Ryan: Don`t suck the juice out of your career

I dreamed about Albert Einstein the other night. I dreamed I was reading dear Albert`s resume, and it said …”Results-oriented scientist, researcher and author with a broad range ofexperience in cosmology, astrophysics and related areas. Extensive background in laboratory research, mathematical computation, writing and lecturing.”

In my nightmare, one of the most exciting people ever to grace our planet wasreduced to a boring, lifeless shell on paper. If it could happen to Albert Einstein, it could happen to you!

We pick up bad habits over time, but we can break them. Our moms got us to stop biting our nails (most of us, anyway). We can stop describing ourselves in soporific terms, and bring a little color and spark back into our resumes.

The weirdest thing about prevailing resume dogma is that it encourages us to tell the reader everything he or she needs to know about what we`ve done so far in our careers – everything except the punchline! A typical resume, for instance, will include a bullet like this one:

“Answered calls for salespeople, created sales reports, and resolved sales order discrepancies.”

This resume bullet and the 10 million resume bullets like it leave me feeling like a character on “Seinfeld” during the famous “Yada Yada” episode, where the most important details of every story are glossed over with an airy “Yada yada” in place of the deets.

We want the story! Why were those salespeople calling you? What did you tell them? What good did it do, when you shared that information? What bad thing would have happened if you hadn`t answered the phone? Who read those sales reports, and what did s/he do with the information?

You get the idea.

Keep the blood and guts in your resume. Tell us not only what you did in each job you held, but why. Tell us who cared, and tell us why that person cared enough to put you on Task A or Project X rather than something else entirely.  Tell us why your work mattered to your employer, and why it mattered to you.

Give us a reason to care, too.

Liz Ryan is the CEO of Ask Liz Ryan, a Boulder human-resources and career-development consulting firm. She can be reached at liz@asklizryan.com.

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The Power of Questions

At the end of almost any interview you will be asked if you have any questions. Not asking questions or asking the wrong questions can knock you out of the running for a job.

In preparation for any interview you should research the company. This research not only gives you a base from which to formulate questions, but also helps you to know if you and the company are a potential “good fit”.  Be sure to have four to five questions that you can ask. You’ll want to ask a minimum of three strong questions and the interviewer may answer some of your questions without being asked, so have extras at the ready.

Remember that you are trying to start a professional relationship, and companies, just like people, like it when someone is interested in them. So make your questions about the company and how you can be an asset to them, not about what the company can do for you. DON’T ask when you can expect a raise, how many days off you get a year, or if you are going to have to work any overtime. DO ask questions that show you know about the company and how you can be an asset to what they are trying to accomplish.

“The last time I was on your website, I noticed that you expanded your sales approach to include the online market. What led to this decision and how have you seen it impacting in-store sales?” This type of question shows that you’ve researched the company and are interested in how decisions are made and on the outcome of those decisions. “From what you’ve said about your expectations for this position, which of my strengths do you see as most valuable in accomplishing those goals?”  This interview question makes the employer verbalize what is most important to them – great for using in your follow-up thank you letter!

One word of caution, do your research thoroughly. A question based on partial knowledge can turn around and bite you- and no one likes to be bitten!

Reni Geiger

Director of Grants & Career Connections

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A Professional Email Address is Crucial

Every small detail enhances that first impression of you.  Something as small as an email address can speak volumes about your personality.  That is not the proper place for self-expression when seeking employment.  Electronic mail has become crucial for communication in the business world and often times the preferred method of contact by a prospective interviewer/employer.

That is why it is so important that you should create a functional, professional email address.  There are numerous free email services out there.  Create a new address strictly for job searching purposes.  Make sure your email address is just your name or a shortened variation of it – sanjolley@email.com; sjolley101@gmail.com, not a nickname like elvisfan22@hotmail.com or mikesgirl@yahoo.com.

There are two obvious reasons for doing this:

  1. It isn’t funny, and the potential employer won’t take you seriously.
  2. The potential employer will have an easier time remembering your email address.

Finding a job is serious business, so take it seriously.  You will then find that other people will take you seriously as well and perhaps offer you a job.

Sandy Jolley

Employment Specialist

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Don’t Do It!

Remember that the whole point of a resume is to get an interview.  Some people treat resumes as Curriculum Vitae, listing every job, duty and accomplishment since they entered the workforce.  You want a resume to impress employers and show them you are capable of performing the job duties.  With that said, remember NOT to include the following:

1.     Your birthdate, year of high school graduation or any other indicator of age.  The person reviewing the resume may think, “This person is too young to do this job”, or “This person is too old to do this job”.
2.    Personal information which may contain or suggest discriminatory information such as sexual preference or religion.  All information in a resume needs to be professional (unless it directly pertains to the open position), so don’t include hobbies, either.
3.    References.  Giving out personal information such as addresses and cell phone numbers to every prospective employer may indicate a lack of respect.  Type a separate page in the same font as your resume and give out only when requested.
4.    Irrelevant job experience.  If you have performed duties in the food service industry and in construction, have two separate resumes.  Use the header Relevant Work Experience and include jobs that show you have the experience.
5.    Social Security Number-the basis for identity theft.  This should be guarded information.
6.    Salary history or requests.  Again, employers may make assumptions based on your previous rate of pay.  If the position you have applied for pays much more than you have made in the past, the company may assume you will work for less.  After all, you have in the past.  If the position pays less, they may not offer the job in fear that you won’t accept or will be expecting a raise soon.
7.    Grammatical errors or typos.  This is your first impression.  If you don’t take the time to proofread and produce quality results, what does that say about your job performance? Will this person take the time at work to make sure that quality is priority?
8.    Bashing of previous employers.  Any negative comments will be a direct reflection on the type of person you are, not the previous employer.  This is the quickest way to NOT get a job.

A resume is merely a list of skills and experiences you have.  Once you have the interview, you can let your personality shine through as you sell yourself!

Carrie Cole

Career Connections Coordinator

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There Is No Such Thing As Being Overdressed For An Interview!

It is imperative that one dress appropriately for a job interview.   First impressions can last a lifetime so making the right one can make all the difference in how a future employer perceives your  attitude and work ethic.  If one takes the time to properly groom and dress, then it should be inferred that their time spent on the job will also be spent diligently.

What to wear for men:

-Suit (solid color – navy or dark gray)

-Long sleeve shirt (white or coordinated with the suit)

-Belt

-Tie without bold designs or loud colors

-Dark socks

-Conservative leather shoes

-Little or no jewelry

-Neat, professional hairstyle

-Limited aftershave

-Neatly trimmed nails

-Fresh Breath

-Portfolio or briefcase

What to wear for women:

-Suit (navy, black or dark grey) – The suit skirt should be long enough so you can sit down comfortably

-Coordinated blouse

-Conservative shoes

-Limited jewelry (no dangling earrings or arms full of bracelets) – No jewelry is better than cheap jewelry

-Professional hairstyle

-Neutral pantyhose

-Light make-up and perfume

-Neatly manicured clean nails

-Fresh Breath

-Portfolio or briefcase

Things to avoid During an Interview

(you would be amazed at how often interviewees arrive for an interview with the following items):

Revealing Clothing, Too Much Jewelry,  Flip Flops or Sneakers, Visible Underwear, baggy clothes, Poor Footwear, Hats, anything Denim, Stained Clothing, Excessive Jewelry (no nose, tongue, or eyebrow rings), Baggy Pants w/out a belt to hold in place at WAISTLINE, Midriff, Mesh, Halter, Tank Tops, or Spaghetti Straps, Remnants of a Late Night Out, Graphic T-Shirts and cover large or offensive tattoos.  Do not bring in portable electronics (ipods), turn your cell phone off, do not chew gum or suck on a mint, do not carry large bags or backpacks into the interview.

Dressing for success is crucial to landing a job.  Even if the job you are interviewing for requires a uniform or casual clothing, be sure to dress your best and follow the above guidelines.  There is no such thing as being overdressed for a job interview!

Fredrina Pinkney

Employment Retention Specialist

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