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Your resume is the most important document in your career and the essential tool to help you get your foot in the door for an interview. If you are not getting calls for interviews, then you should review your resume to see if you are missing essential items that are causing it to be less effective. In short, the resume has to clearly answer the question, “Why should I hire you?” Your answer comes in 2 parts: your SUMMARY where you state “Here is what I can do for you” and your EXPERIENCE section where you prove it by highlighting your accomplishments.
1. Does Your Opening Tell An Employer What You Have To Offer?
Your opening summary is the ONLY part of the resume that everyone will read. They will scan it and place you in a YES, NO, or MAYBE pile. As a result, you need to capture their attention up front – quickly. It’s easy to state what you are looking for, but what an employer really wants to know is what you have to offer to them. A good tip is to simply identify the 3-4 things that they are looking for and state that you can deliver them.
Manufacuring Prouction Manager with a consistent track record of exceeding productivity, safety and quality goals. Sales Professional – Ranked in the top 5% for sales performance for over 10 years.
2. Describe Your Background
You just stated that you can deliver what they want. Now, describe your level of experience doing that. There is a big difference between the project manager who has three years of experience and managed five projects versus the one who has over 10 years of experience and has managed dozens of projects. So indicate your credentials and be sure to drop company names if they are well known, especially if they might not see the company name on the first page.
- Over 15 years at global leaders Accenture and KPMG leveraging proven methodologies and leading multi-million dollar projects for blue chip clients.
- Over 10 years overseeing logistics and distribution including optimizing the efficiency of a 50,000 square foot warehouse with +10,000 SKUs.
3. Highlight Your Relevant Accomplishments
You have told them what you can do, so now prove it in the EXPERIENCE section. This is where you highlight your achievement against goals. Make sure these are in bullets so they are easy to see in the 10-second glance of your resume.
- Increased on-time delivery rate from 77% to 98%.
- Increased productivity 22% against 10% goal while reducing safety incidents over 95%.
That’s it! Tell them you can deliver what they want, state your level of experience doing it, and infuse the resume with proof statements. How can anyone resist such a resume?
cross posted from careeralism.com
We have all been inundated with articles, books and blog-posts about ways in which we can improve our leadership style, wield our influence and build up our credibility. We have all been trained, or have read that it takes years to build a reputation and one simple, sometimes seemingly insignificant (at least to us) act to ruin it. We are all guilty of losing our focus occasionally and we may act insensitively now and then.
So, let’s talk about some ways that we trip ourselves up…
1. Disrespecting people’s time
There is an old adage, “time is money.” Time is also some of the necessary capital for building relationships, personal as well as business. In our fast-paced society, most people feel over-burdened by the things they feel they must get done and not having enough time.
Starting and ending meetings late, showing up late for appointments, lunches and dinners may be tolerated initially. But, eventually it leads people to question your sincerity, ability to organize (and lead), accomplish important tasks, manage your time, lead effectively, and eventually your integrity about all that you do. Abusing someone’s time says blatantly, “I don’t respect or value you.”
2. Inauthentic listening
A second clear signal that you do not value the people around you is not really paying attention when they are speaking to you. It is one thing to take notes about the discussion or topic, but a completely different issue when fiddling with your smart phone, failing to make eye-contact, and finally giving inappropriate answers to questions you have only half-heard. If you wish to add insult to injury, you can ask that they repeat everything they have just said, now that they have your attention.
Here are some posts that will help you communicate better:
3. Failing to act
When your teammates are putting together a project, wander off to do something more important and certainly less labor-intensive. It won’t be long before you are known as the guy (or girl) who “doesn’t do chairs.”
Only good leaders spend time in the trenches, helping with the less-glamorous jobs alongside the people they hope to lead.
4. Micromanaging everyone except yourself
Be sure to tell others exactly how to do the jobs you’ve assigned them, nit-pick their mistakes and check on them frequently to keep them accountable. However, when your work is being evaluated, and found to be less than the best you are capable of producing, blow it off as nit-picking, and assure your critics that is “good enough for government work.”
5. Ignoring promises and agreements
If you must make a promise or a commitment to the people around you, don’t make plans to follow through on them. People will shortly figure out that you are unreliable and will begin to treat you accordingly. How do you do this? See #6.
6. Making excuses
Always have your favorite excuses at the ready. Need a few to add to your arsenal?
- I forgot
- I thought it was another time, place, _____________.
- I didn’t know you wanted it done by today.
- It’s almost finished, but I didn’t bring it with me
- Old-school classic: The dog ate it.
- I have it all in my head and I can just scribble it down for you if you really need it now.
7. Failing to support people
When your colleagues are trying to explain or present a program or idea that you have championed privately together, and it appears that things are not going well, distance yourself. Let them sweat and hang all alone. You are okay with this because you followed step # 5.
Don’t step up to defend the “good” idea. Act as though you have no idea why they are wandering down that particular rabbit trail. It will only take doing this 1 or 2 times before your colleagues see you for what you are… a fraud.
8. Making sure the spotlight, focus and high-beams are always on you
Turn any conversation into a discussion about your personal achievement and your “awesomeness.” Be sure to explain what you have done is so much more important, and why everyone should care. For the most mileage, be sure you start with a humble beginning to your story.
9. Casting blame
When a project that you care about doesn’t fly, be certain to explain to everyone and anyone who will listen why it isn’t really your fault. If you are speaking to higher-ups, blame your “subordinates” for not pulling their weight. If you are speaking with team members or subordinates, explain why the organization, “the system”, “the man” is holding you back and keeping good ideas out of the pipeline. Above all else, be sure to raise yourself and your involvement to the highest level and standards in your explanation (#8).
10. Overplaying your relationship card
Only contact your friends when you need something — a favor, money, a recommendation, etc. Here’s how:
- Start with your inauthentic listening skills (#2), asking about people in their lives that you can scarcely remember and projects they have been working on, in which you have no interest
- Move on to something about getting together more often; it’s been too long, yada, yada, yada…
- Then, Bang! Ask for what you came for. Present the real goal of the contact and conversation.
- But I should caution you that this will probably only work once or twice.
11. Abandoning projects
First of all, only champion projects that involve the labor and talents of other people. If somehow things get shifted around, and you find yourself having to do most of the heavy lifting yourself, let go. Explain why it’s all falling apart (#9), that you have given it a lot of thought (perhaps throw in sleepless nights), and have decided not to pursue this anymore. Don’t get hung up on the fact that other people have already put in hard work.
12. Not accepting criticism
Never allow other people to criticize or correct you. If you must listen, use your inauthentic listening skills (#2) and simply ignore what they say. If you must speak, see #6, #9 and #11.
Failing any of those techniques, make a joke of it, which would actually be #13, but we only get 12. Don’t let what anybody thinks about you, your work or your work ethic change how you work or how you feel about yourself.
I could use the old adage here, “never let them see you sweat,” but you don’t sweat, because you don’t care.
We have discussed some of the most selfish and self-centered ways to crush your credibility with other people. These are all habits which we can easily fall into. If you want to be respected, remain credible and valued, you should avoid them at all costs. If don’t avoid them, clean up the mess and do damage control as soon as possible.
We all know people who do these things all the time. What methods do you use to keep your ego in check?
cross posted form 12most.com
A topsy-turvy world like the one in which we live offers us tremendous opportunities. But to tap them, we must remove the barriers within ourselves.
The crucial barriers are the ways we compartmentalize our experiences — keeping them uniquely bound to one kind of job or career. Avoid such compartmentalization. Break open those compartments and mix all of your experiences, knowledge, and skills into the precise blend that makes a new you.
Not long ago, I had a respected executive recruiter tell me I needed to “climb in a box” — drastically narrow what kind of work I was seeking to do in a new career move in order to get potential employers to fit me into one of the boxes they needed to fill. In effect, he was telling me that my various experiences, skills, and career narratives were mutually exclusive. I think that he was giving me dangerously wrong advice. Isn’t real innovation supposed to blow through thresholds to create something of new value?
I’ve made two major career moves in the span of four years. I left journalism to work with a Big Pharma CEO as his counselor for strategic affairs and then transitioned to doing industry analysis and thought leadership. In those instances in particular and throughout my life the consistent surprise was how I could draw on different skills and experiences to reinvent myself and create the optimal mix much like musicians use sound mixing boards to create the best sound. (My first pursuit as a young man was to be a rock musician.)
A mixing board is a large, imposing console with hundreds of dials and sliding faders to control volume. They are arranged in columns that control each instrument. A band playing music, whether live or recorded, uses a mixing board to blend in the precise tone and volume of each instrument, including voices, to make a complete sound. When mixed well, the music sound is transformed into something bigger and better than the the sum of the individual instruments and voices.
To use this as a template for personal innovation, visualize each of your experiences and skills in life as an instrument controlled on a sound mixing board. What if this experience were “louder” and this skill were “quieter”? What kinds of old experiences from divergent things could be used in new ways to change the overall “sound” of you?
Here are two simple examples of past experiences I’ve “mixed” higher to innovate me. I worked at a wastewater treatment plant (the sewer plant, we called it) as a summer job way back. One day a pony-tailed veteran named Fred gave me some advice: “If they ask if you can drive the bulldozer, you drive the bulldozer.” I brought this experience much higher into my focus when going to Big Pharma to work for the CEO. Without it, I might never have even positioned myself for the role.
Another singular example is with performing skills. Previously my career roles meant that I was in maximum listening mode. Although I had them, stagecraft-performing skills were virtually muted for decades in my mix until recently. Mixing these higher has helped me to be comfortable taking a new tack in being on stage more, presenting analytical ideas and thought leadership.
The permutations of building a new innovative mix of you are nearly endless. In a real-time career, as in live music, a mix does not stay static. Different parts of different songs require changes in feeling, tone, and volume. Similarly, one should always be prepared to tweak the “volumes” of what makes you valuable to your audience at the time.
by Christopher Bowe
Cross posted from The Harvard Business Review
You applied for a new job, and you’ve been called in for an interview. During the interview process, there are three main questions that need to be answered to help the HR person determine if you’re the right fit for the job:
Can this person do the job?
Will he do the job?
Will he fit in with the company culture?
By asking what I call “the question behind the question,” hiring managers have a better chance to making the right hiring decision. As job seekers, your task is to answer them honestly and fully. Here are 10 top questions that the interviewer might ask, along with the hidden agenda behind each one. Tread carefully — the way you approach the answer might tell more than what you actually say.
1. As you reflect back at your last position, what was missing that you are looking for in your next role?
This question gets at the heart of why you’re leaving the current job or, in the case of a reduction in workforce, it helps the interviewer understand what was missing. If you answer with, “I didn’t have access to my boss, which made it difficult to get questions answered,” then the interviewer might follow up with, “Can you give me a specific example where you had to make a decision on your own because your boss was not available?” This follow-up question will help the interviewer determine your level of decision making and how much access to the manager you’ll need.
2. What qualities of your last boss did you admire, and what qualities did you dislike?
This is precarious territory because your answer needs to have a balance of positive and negative feedback. It will show if you are tactful in answering a tricky question and if your leadership style is congruent with the admired or disliked ones. If you name a trait the interviewer dislikes or that’s not in line with company culture, then you might not be a fit for the position.
3. How would you handle telling an employee his position is being eliminated after working for the company for 25 years, knowing they would be emotional?
This question is not unrealistic in today’s job market, since companies continue to downsize as a way of conducting business. Knowing that you might have to deal with this situation, the interviewer wants to know how you would tell the long-term employee the bad news. Would you tell the business reason why the company is downsizing, and would you thank the person in a genuine, heartfelt way for years of service?
4. How do you like to be rewarded for good performance?
As simple as this question is, it helps the interviewer get a sense of what motivates you — is it money, time off or more formal recognition? If you’re interviewing for a management role, the follow-up question could be: How do you reward the good performance of employees who work for you? Are you a “do as I say, not as I do” type of manager? The interviewer is looking for congruency in behaviors, because if you don’t practice what you preach, then it might not be a cultural fit.
5. Can you give me an example of when your relationship with your manager went off track and how you handled it?
The interviewer is listening for the reasons why the relationship went off track. Are you taking responsibility for your own actions first or placing blame on the manager? The interviewer wants to learn more about your communication style and how you approach conflict.
6. When a person says “I have integrity,” what does that mean to you?
The follow-up question is: “How have you demonstrated integrity in your work?” Integrity is broad, and most people think they have it, but can you really articulate what it looks and sounds like? The interviewer is looking for congruency of words and actions with this question.
7. Can you tell me about your experience working with the generation X or Y? What are the three qualities you admire about them?
There’s been much talk about the work habits of various generations. At a startup, you’ll likely be working with younger people, and employers want to know how you will integrate with this population. And young people will be working with baby boomers at bigger companies, like Dell and Apple. The interviewer will be looking for ways you’ve collaborated with workers of all ages and used each others’ talents to achieve a goal — do you have the energy, drive and attitude to work well with others?
8. Do you think age discrimination exists in the job market and if so, why?
Some job seekers use “age discrimination” or “I make too much money” as the reasons why they did not get the interview or the job. In reality, they have applied for a job for which they are overqualified. They have too many skills for this particular job and the employer can find someone who has the exact skill and salary that commensurate with the job. Don’t make that mistake.
9. Can you convince me you are the most qualified person for this role based on what we have discussed?
The interviewer wants to make sure you clearly understand what the problems are and what would be expected of you in the event of your hire. This is the opportunity for you to sell yourself effectively for the job.
10. As you look at your previous companies, can you describe in detail which company culture did you excel in the most and why?
The interviewer is looking for a culture fit, which is one of the essential criteria for job satisfaction. They want to hire someone who will do his best work for you, so do your research before you go in for the interview.
What other probing questions have you been asked at interview? Let us know in the comments.
Jayne Mattson is Senior Vice President at Keystone Associates, a leading career management and transition services consulting firm in Boston, Massachusetts. Mattson specializes in helping mid-to-senior level individuals in new career exploration, networking strategies and career decisions based on corporate culture fit.
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/
Networking Strategist at Burriss Consulting, Inc.
We are in the most unique labor market I have ever seen. While there is clearly an abundance of people on the market either unemployed or under-employed, jobs are taking longer to fill and hiring managers are frustrated they can’t find the “right person.” Investment dollars are scarce so these employers are holding out for the candidate who is a safe bet to make an immediate impact.
The issue is rooted deeply in the changing patterns of how work gets done globally. Skills and specific experiences have the upper hand. Work in the US has undergone a steady shift over the last 20 years. Work requiring sweat but little experience has, for the most part, shifted to other parts of the globe or been replaced with technology.
The new environment requires new (and old) approaches to recruiting and finding jobs. It is all about matching the skills to the job. My view is that employers are not focused enough on attracting and retaining these hard to find skills. There is a perception, I believe, that talent is abundant and therefore the candidate should be grateful that I called. The truth is far from it.
If you look at unemployment rates by education (which I am using as a proxy for skills) you will see my point. The unemployment rate for unskilled, relatively untrained or uneducated workers is well over 15% while the rate for degreed (skilled) professionals is an un-recession like 5%.
So what do you do?
If you are looking for a job…Get training, leverage the skills you have or go back to school to pursue skills you are interested in. This issue isn’t going anywhere, in fact it’s will become more acute.
If you are looking for skilled talent, you must start thinking of the skilled worker as scarce not abundant. You need to pay more, make sure the environment is right and show them both a career path and learning opportunities. Remember, skills rule the day.
Senior Vice President, Company-Owned Operations
TRC Staffing Services
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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?”
Youth Development Specialist
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. Inappropriate email addresses. We have warned you of this before! Remember, the more boring, the better.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Social Security Number-the basis for identity theft. This should be guarded information.
7. 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.
8. 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?
9. 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.
Career Connections Manager
Brian Krueger, President of CollegeGrad.com, presents “How To Overcome Interview Nervousness.” Does the thought of going on an interview make you nervous? Use these three quick tips to overcome your interview nervousness.