4 LinkedIn Mistakes – Have You Made One?

February 10, 2010 1 comment

Aside from the basic rules of engagement LinkedIn has established, here are a few other courtesies to remember while making the most of your LinkedIn experience.  Follow these points and you’ll be sure to get the most out of LinkedIn—and you’ll avoid aggravating other users in the process.  Here are four mistakes to avoid while using LinkedIn:

 BLINDLY REQUESTING CONNECTIONS WITH NO MUTUAL BENEFIT

On Facebook you can request new friendships with anybody at all.  It’s a social network of friends, and if you want to be friends you simply make a request.  With LinkedIn you’re making a ‘connection’ that will hopefully create a mutually beneficial networking opportunity later on down the line.  Be strategic when deciding with whom you will connect, and explain to the person why you want to connect; what’s in it for them—and what’s it in for you?  Don’t request to connect with just anyone at all; understandably, people will want to know why you are requesting the opportunity to connect.  So provide a brief sentence or two explaining what you think a mutual connection can bring to both parties.

NOT BEING TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHY YOU WANT TO CONNECT

If it’s being brought up, it’s because people have done it.  Others have complained about it.  It’s hard sometimes to establish a connection with someone when LinkedIn only allows you certain ways to request connections.  That being said, you should still be truthful in why you want to connect.  If the purpose of networking is to create mutual connections that may help either party in the future, do you really want to start that connection with mistrust or deceit?  The most frequent use of this is presenting yourself as a ‘friend’ of someone or ‘colleague at XYZ organization’ when you really are not.   It’s not going to get you the connection, and in the end you’re going to be perceived as being dishonest—and who wants to connect or potentially help someone who isn’t honest?

PROFILE CONTENT IS NOT A REPRODUCTION OF YOUR RESUME

This mistake is so well ingrained in users that you’re now probably experiencing some disbelief.  Don’t just copy and paste your resume into your LinkedIn profile.  Here’s why: When you network with someone in person do you give them a word-for-word rundown from your resume of what you’ve done?  No, you personalize the conversation and speak in the first person.  It is a more casual conversation—not as formal as your resume.  Your profile should be keyword-rich so that recruiters can find you if they’re performing a search, but it should also be authentic and sincere, as though you’re talking to the person about what you’ve accomplished.

KEYWORDS ARE NOT JUST FOR RESUMES

Recruiters and hiring managers are performing searches on LinkedIn for qualified candidates, and you want to be found.  Why else would you be there?  Seriously, make sure your LinkedIn profile is peppered with industry-specific keywords relevant to the target position you want.  It should be called LISO (LinkedIn Search Optimization)—like SEO—but for LinkedIn.  Keywords = Being Discovered = Interview = New Job.  Get keywords now.

To recap: Be sure you are honest, strategic, and explanatory in your LinkedIn connection requests; your profile isn’t just a copy of your resume; and that your profile is keyword-rich so people can find you!  These four key tips will make the most of your LinkedIn experience and keep you ahead of the game.

For a free resume analysis e-mail your resume to: info@greatresumesfast.com or for a free LinkedIn profile evaluation submit your resume to: megan@greatresumesfast.com. You can view resume samples at Great Resumes Fast.

Categories: Resumes

3 Reasons Why Your Resume Is Missing A Competitive Advantage

If you find you’re sending out resume after resume and your phone still isn’t ringing, it’s missing a competitive advantage.  What your resume needs is to clearly show the hiring manager who you are, why you’re the best at what you do, and how you’re going to meet the company’s needs.  You have to pique the hiring manager’s interest enough to get the call.  Here are a few reasons why your resume isn’t quite making the cut:

NO FOCUS, CLEAR DIRECTION, OR JOB TARGET

When a hiring manager views the first one-third of your resume, he or she has no idea what you do.  If they have to read down to the end of the first page to figure out what you do or where to put you, they won’t invest the time.  Spell it out up front through a personal branding statement and powerful career summary.

IT USES DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES VS. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CONTRIBUTIONS

Don’t just tell the hiring manager what you did while you were there.  They can look up a job description any day.  Show them through accomplishments and contributions that are quantifiable.  Use clear statements that paint a picture of exactly what you accomplished and how you accomplished it.  Professionals call it C.A.R. statements, which stands for Challenge—Action—Results.  Clarify the challenge you faced, the actions you took to address that challenge, and the results you achieved through the actions you took.

PRESENTATION IS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION

Truth be told, we all want to make a good first impression; and in a job search, it’s critical to do so.  You have five to seven seconds to make a great first impression, and your presentation is the FIRST thing the hiring manager will see.  So it needs to be reader-friendly, balanced, and information needs to be easy to find.  If a hiring manager has to go searching for the information he or she needs, chances are … they won’t.  Give them the critical information up front.

Take a moment to review your resume and make sure it addresses the three key points above.  This is not an all-inclusive list, but is a great start on your way to producing an effective and successful resume.  For more great resources and information, visit Great Resumes Fast.  You can also submit your resume for a free analysis by sending it via e-mail to info@greatresumesfast.com.

Categories: Resumes

4 Great Tips for Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile

February 8, 2010 1 comment

So now you’re on LinkedIn and you’re wondering what to do next. Or maybe you’ve been on LinkedIn for a while and you’re wondering, “Why isn’t this working?” Here are four great ideas to amp up your LinkedIn experience and make the most of your profile:

ADD A PICTURE
Networking is personal; you are making a personal connection with another human being. Part of that is being able to “see” who you are connecting with. With so many spammers, fake profiles, etc. on LinkedIn, why not show them who you are and make that personal networking connection.

GRAB YOUR OWN URL
Instead of having the standard URL that LinkedIn automatically assigns you, customize your URL to you! My URL is http://www.linkedin/com/in/jessicaholbrook. If someone searches for my name they find me—right at the top. Make sure you’re making the most of your profile and that you’re easy to locate.

BRAND YOUR HEADLINE
Give yourself a professional headline. It’s there for a reason, and you should utilize it. It maximizes search results and is one more way to make it easier for people to locate you. If you’re an IT director be sure that it’s in your headline. Create a personal branding statement that paints a very clear picture for others about what you do and who you are.

BRAND YOUR PROFILE
Create a keyword-rich summary that showcases your accomplishments, expertise, and value. Don’t just tell them what you can do—“show” them what you can do by highlighting past achievements. Employers want to know how you can fill their need and bring value to their organization; give them the information they need in the career summary. You can always expand on your responsibilities under each career you’ve listed, but front load the career summary with the important and persuasive information that will keep them reading.

Implement these four points to start making the most of your LinkedIn profile and networking. For more great ideas, visit our blog at Great Resumes Fast.

You can also request a free resume analysis by submitting your resume to us via e-mail at info@greatresumesfast.com.

How *Not* To Start Your Cover Letter

On a weekly basis any hiring manager probably receives between 50 to well probably hundreds of resumes and cover letters. The key is to catch their attention from the start and the best place to do that is in your cover letter. So I am going to tell you what the worst possible way is to start your cover letter and then give you some creative alternatives to use instead.

This is the most boring intro line because everyone uses it:

Please accept my resume for consideration of the (XYZ) position within your organization. stopsign4c

What a snoozer! Everyone uses that line, let’s see… being like everyone else isn’t going to get you very far in your job search now is it? No it’s not. So what you need to be is different but more than different unique and valuable. Let’s take a look at some more creative and attention grabbing opening lines:

Administrative:
If you are spending too much time on tedious office duties and administrative tasks then I have the solution for you. My experiences in office administration and client services have equipped me with a multitude of skills including office management, business operations and exemplary customer service. I am confident that my application of these and my many other skills would be an asset to your company.

Customer Service:
It’s twice as hard to attract a new customer as it is to maintain an existing one. Unfortunately, this fact is often overlooked by many businesses. Delivering high-quality, responsive service is vital in (industry ex. Banking) and that’s exactly what you’ll get when you hire me. As my resume indicates, I have worked in client services for more than (number) years so you won’t have to go to great expense training me.

Non-profit:
In today’s challenging economic climate, many people will respond to your advertisement. Few will be interviewed. One will be hired.

However …

Of the many to respond, few will be as qualified as I am, having in-depth experience in community and public outreach. No one else will bring my track record and the expertise I can offer – expertise that equips me to start delivering results for you immediately with maximum positive effect for your bottom line.

General:
Integrity. Innovation. Initiative. If you had these qualities in mind for the position of (position title) then I suggest we meet to discuss the numerous qualifications I would bring to the organization. With my demonstrated track record of successfully directing pharmacy operations and introducing initiatives that directly impact the bottom line, I am confident that I would be an excellent fit for the position at (company name).

Of course these are only a few sample introductions and the remainder of your cover letter needs to be just as dyamic as the introduction, but nothing is more important then that initial first impression and you are sure to win them over when you choose something unique, creative, and captivating.

For a free resume analysis submit your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com or visit us online at http://www.greatresumesfast.com.

Categories: Resumes

3 Keys to a Purpose-Driven Resume

February 4, 2010 1 comment

We’ve all heard of the book, but what a great principle to apply to our resumes, cover letters, and job searches.  Instead of utilizing a generic or jack of all trades (and master of none) resume, we should be using (and with great success) a purpose-driven, focused, and customized resume.  In fact, if you have expertise in more than one area, then you should be broadcasting more than one resume.

After working recently with a client who had an extremely unfocused, all-over-the-place resume, I was prompted to sit down and write about how important a focused, customized, and branded resume really is.  This particular client had his resume nicely written, and to tell the truth, it wasn’t half bad.  It contained great wording, had an appealing format, and even included some great accomplishments.  The problem was that this resume had multiple personalities—ten different job titles and no clear direction.  It was no wonder the client hadn’t even received one call back.  Hiring managers were probably reviewing the resume and thinking, “I have no idea where to put this person or what he really wants to do.”

If you have experience and expertise in several different areas it certainly is not a negative, but blasting everything you have ever done all over your resume—where it looks like job titles and keywords just threw up all over it—is not going to get you an interview … or a call back for that matter.  Here are three points you should consider in order to clean up your resume, communicate your purpose, and customize it:

Focus.  

Pick one position, one role, one industry.  Then convey your achievements, contributions, experience, expertise, talent, passion, and vision for that one key role.  This does not mean you can only apply to that one position; this is where the technique of employing multiple resumes which are focused in different areas comes in to play.

 Don’t just develop a resume with any old content

Create your personal branding statement, and then tie in all of the other elements of your resume to support that statement.  If you are an amazing sales manager in the XYZ industry, then what makes you so great?  How do your talent, passion, and vision play into that?

Customization is crucial

Form an appropriate branding statement and relevant career summary to industry specific keywords and pertinent accomplishments.  They should all relate back to the exact position to which you are applying at that very moment.

Everything about your resume should address the key points of the job description and answer the question: “Are you a perfect fit for this job?”  If you can review the description and honestly answer, “I addressed all of their requirements—either through my branding statement, career summary, keywords, or accomplishments,” then you can be assured you’re the perfect fit for the position and you have a purpose-driven resume.

We’ve included an example of what we feel is a high-impact, professionally branded resume. If you like what you see visit us at Great Resumes Fast to find out how we can transform your job search and your career! For a free resume analysis send your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com.

Categories: Resumes

5 Resume Basics We Bet You’ve Overlooked!

February 3, 2010 1 comment

Five basic resume rules and the mistakes you make that break them. Thousands of job seekers make these mistakes. Are you making them too?

FORGETTING TO INCLUDE A COVER LETTER
Not attaching a cover letter to a resume is like shooting in the dark. Hiring managers receive hundreds of unsolicited resumes every week. Tell them specifically what opening you are applying to or the position you’re inquiring about. Do not assume they will figure it out from your resume.

USING AN OBJECTIVE
Point blank, objectives are bad form, self-serving, and will get you nowhere in this job market. Instead of telling the employer what you want, show them what you can do. When you buy something, the store doesn’t tell you what they want from you. You know what they want; they want your business and your money. Employers know what you want—you want a job. Instead, utilize a career summary that will ‘show’ (not just ‘tell’) the employer how you can meet their needs. And include a completely customized personal branding statement.

UTILIZING HEADERS VERSUS YOUR TARGET JOB TITLE AND PERSONAL BRAND
Titling sections with headers (career summary, qualifications summary) uses up valuable real estate on your resume—space you could be using to advertise your unique value, talent, passion, and vision. Instead, create a catchy personal branding statement that immediately tells the employer who you are and what you have to offer.

LEAVING OUT INDUSTRY SPECIFIC KEYWORDS
Forget keywords and you’re neglecting all three of the audiences that will be reviewing your resume. Even worse, you’re excluding yourself from being found in candidate databases, job search engines, social networks, and more. First, your resume has to make it through the software scan, then the secretary or administrative assistant scan, then on to the hiring manager who actually knows what you’re doing and how you are supposed to do it. You NEED the right keywords. Here’s a hint: check the job description. They are in there; I guarantee it.

PROOFREAD, SLEEP, PROOFREAD, AND GO BACKWARDS
One small mistake and you’re out of the running. Proofread your documents carefully. Take a night to sleep on it, and then read it again. When you go back to read the resume the second time read it backwards one word at a time. Experts say this simple trick will catch any mistakes you would normally read right over.

Use this checklist to determine if your resume passes the “basics” test. If it does, you are well on your way to a professionally written resume. If it doesn’t, adjust what you can, and if you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall, check out our samples page for a few samples of professionally written resumes. Or send your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com for a free resume analysis.

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3 Tips for Focusing Your Executive Resume

February 2, 2010 1 comment

Most job seekers have worked in more than one industry or position in their lifetime.  It would be far-fetched to say you’ve been a CEO, COO, VP of Sales, director of HR … throughout your entire career.  Like most, you’ve progressed through the ranks, either internally through an organization or by moving in and out of different organizations as you climbed the ladder of career success.  Now here you are, an Executive level job seeker and you’re on the hunt for the next great opportunity.  Problem is, your resume is all over the place.  It’s a hodgepodge of this position, that experience, and oh yeah … might as well throw in a bunch of stuff about all the different industries you’ve worked in too.  If this sounds like you, then keep reading because we’re going to discuss three strategies to focus your resume and eliminate the multiple personalities issues currently holding it back.

I have an amazing resume, professionally written (by you of course) and absolutely no bites, call backs, or even any remote interest.

The issue is probably that keywords, job titles, industries, and varied accomplishments look like they threw up all over your resume with no rhyme or reason.  When a hiring manager reviews your resume he or she is most likely thinking, “I have no idea where to put this person, what he really wants to do, or if he’s even qualified for this position.”

If you have experience and expertise in several different areas it certainly is not a negative, but blasting everything you have ever done all over your resume—where it looks like job titles and keywords just threw up all over it—is not going to get you an interview … or a call back for that matter.  Here are three points you should consider in order to clean up your executive resume, communicate your purpose, and customize it:

 PICK IT AND STICK WITH IT.

Pick one position, one role, one industry.  Highlight everything you’ve achieved around this one opportunity and create a dynamic supporting document that addresses the crucial requirements of the position and emphasizes the unique value you create for the organization.

BE SPECIFIC ABOUT CONTENT AND BRANDING.

Develop a personal branding statement built around the executive position you are pursuing, as well as your expertise, talent, passion, and vision.  Then tie in every other aspect of your resume (keywords, accomplishments, executive profile) so that they support your executive brand and your job search goals.

SHOW THEM YOU’RE THE PERFECT FIT.

The content of your resume should act as supporting evidence for the fact that you are the perfect person for the position.  If it requires skills A, B, and C then show them how you’ve met or exceeded those requirements.  Use quantifiable accomplishments as much as possible.  Do not bog down the resume with accomplishments and contributions that are not directly related to the position, requirements of the position, or preferred requirements.  First address exactly what the person MUST HAVE to operate in the role—and do this in the first one-third of your resume.  Front load the resume with content, keywords, and a personal branding statement that shouts: “HEY!  I’M THE EXECUTIVE YOU’VE BEEN SEARCHING FOR!”

Everything about your resume should address the key points of the job description and answer the question: “Are you a perfect fit for this job?” with a resounding “YES!!!”  Be sure you take one last look at the position description and compare it to your resume to ensure you have addressed every crucial requirement within your resume.  Tailor your executive resume—every time—to the role you want and for the organizations you want to lead, and it will tremendously impact your job search.

For a free resume analysis send your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com. You can visit us online at http://www.greatresumesfast.com to view sample resumes and find information about professional resume writing services.

Categories: Resumes
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