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Archive for July, 2009

Why Your E-mail Address Could Be Keeping You From Your Dream Job

As a hiring manager I have seen it all and by all I mean some pretty ‘creative’ e-mail addresses on resumes. For my friends out there that are clueless let me give you a hint; anything personal is not professional.

Let me be specific – I once had a woman apply for a job and her e-mail address ON HER RESUME was Sexkitten69@ whatever her domain was, let me just tell you this is NOT a good email address and promptly landed her in the ‘No’ pile. Anyone that cannot distinguish between what a professional e-mail address is and what an unprofessional e-mail address is a red flag in any hiring manager’s book.

Let me tell you what else qualifies as an unprofessional e-mail address – anything that relates to your personal life. Including hobbies, extracurricular activities, your love for illegal substances (yes I have seen it), sex, political references, relationship status, and anything else that isn’t career related.

So what is a professional e-mail address? Your name, your name and numbers (preferably none that have sexual or negative inuendos), salesguru@email.com if your in sales is acceptable. Joeknowsitall@email.com not so good.

In this current economic downturn and the increasingly difficult job market I cannot preach it enough hiring decisions are made based on EXCLUSION not INCLUSION. Human Resources professionals, Recruiters, Decision makers are looking for a reason NOT to hire you. So don’t start out on the wrong foot with an unprofessional e-mail address and end up in the ‘No” pile from the start.

Here are a few other recommendations to increase your chances of success:
– Create an e-mail account strictly for job search purposes only.
– Use a combination of name or name and number
– Use this e-mail when sending your resumes out to employers, when posting your resume on job boards, and for including on your resume and cover letter.
– By all means use this e-mail address when you post your resume on craigslist, we are paying attention to the email address we’re responding to.
– Fun, funky, and crazy e-mail addresses are for personal use not for a serious job search.

Keep these tips in mind and you won’t have to worry about ending up in a hiring manager’s ‘No’ pile because your resume doesn’t make the grade. For other job search tips and hints visit http://www.greatresumesfast.wordpress.com.

Jessica Holbrook is a former Executive Hiring Manager for Fortune 500 companies and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates powerful, customized, and targeted resumes that are guaranteed to get her clients interviews. For a free resume analysis visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or for a free phone consultation call 1.877.875.7706.

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Posting Your Resume on Craigslist

Recently I was scanning through the resumes listed on craigslist and noticed something very surprising. Most of the listings weren’t resumes at all. They were job seekers begging and pleading for a job. Once I pulled myself up off the floor from falling out of my chair in disbelief I said something has to be done! So here is a brief list of rules to remember when posting your resume (or anything for that matter) to the resumes category on craigslist.

1. Just because you can write a novel about yourself doesn’t mean you should. Do NOT give the reader your entire life history. It seriously is not pertinent to the job you are trying to obtain. Unless you’re trying to be a Pastor in which your whole life story may be relevant but most likely not.

2. NEVER post your age on your craigslist ad. This is a HUGE HUGE HUGE mistake. First, you are setting yourself up for age discrimination (whether you are old, young, or in between). And secondly, it is very unprofessional. You don’t walk in to an interview and say Hi, I’m 32 when you introduce yourself, and you certainly don’t put your age on your resume. And if you are STOP.

3. Do not beg, plead, sob, or sound desperate in your listing. Yes we all know these are desperate times and desperate times call for desperate measures but this does not mean begging for a job. Remember when you were young and dating and desperation was such a turn off… in fact it made you run from the other person as fast as you humanly could? It’s the same thing in the job search game. Desperation is appealing to no one and will make the employer run in the opposite direction.

4. It is a resume category for a reason. POST YOUR RESUME. Not a narrative paragraph statement about what type of job you need, want, or your life story. Take you resume turn it into a plain text version and post that. Nothing else just your resume. Anything else doesn’t belong in the resume category.

5. Protect your personal information. This is craigslist people… anyone in the world can get on it and see your name, address, and phone number. DO NOT POST THIS INFORMATION!!! Leave only your name and e-mail address where they can reach you and the best bet is not to leave your best e-mail address or the one you use every day. Create an e-mail address for your job search only and give all job search related sites and postings this e-mail address. Which brings me to my next point.

6. Do not use some crazy e-mail address on your craigslist ad, job applications, or resume for that matter. I don’t want to see that you are a skatefreek09, dogluver00, or cheaptrix@email.com. That will kill a job search on impact. Go to one of the million free email sites and create something professional like: John.Smith@gmail.com, jsmith09@yahoo.com, or JS2009@hotmail.com. Use a combination of name or name and number for the most professional impact.

Lastly, don’t expect a real response from your craigslist posting. In my experience most employers aren’t using craigslist to seek out workers but using it to post jobs for free. With the recent economic downturn employers are moving away from costly subscriptions to places like Monster and Careerbuilder and moving towards something less expensive like the free job boards and craigslist. Your best bet is to send your resume to positions posted on craigslist. Be careful, craigslist doesn’t police these listings and some are scams! That is a whole other blog… maybe later or tomorrow.

For now, be smart about your listing and be creative in your job search. You can do it!

Categories: Uncategorized

Make Your Resume Your Own

Make your resume your own. In other words don’t use some sample you found from the internet. You would be hard pressed to find another person out there with the exact same education, skills, experience, and expertise that you have. So why use a sample resume from someone else to convey that?

Obviously the job market is very tough right now, and with more layoffs being announced every week and fewer and fewer jobs being available it makes sense to kick up your resume a notch. You need a competitive advantage now more then ever. This may be one of those times when you need to call in a professional. Here is why a professional resume writer can give you an advantage:

1. They are experts of their craft. Resume writing is not like any other form of writing out there. So unless you’ve been taught, certified, or worked in an industry where you review them every day you’re probably not an ‘expert’.

2. Professional resume writers can take an objective look at your resume, tell you where your weaknesses are and play up to your strenghts. They know how to make you look good.

3. They can help you speak to your target audience. Professional resume writers can make your resume speak to your target audience; HR Managers, Hiring Managers, Recruiters, and Key Decision Makers. It is a lot like sales and marketing but instead of marketing a product to a consumer they’re marketing a person to a company; you!

4. They can create powerful, customized, and captivating documents. Your resume needs to WOW the employer, be completely relevant to the job you are applying to, and make the reader really want to call you for an interview. A professional resume writer can create a dynamic resume for you that will do just that.

If you are copying samples from various internet websites you are doing yourself more harm than good. What you really need is a dynamic resume that conveys a singular message “I’m a perfect fit”. Let a professional resume writer help you create your ‘perfect fit’ resume today.

Categories: Uncategorized

Two common errors and Be Concise!

Nothing will get your resume thrown in the trash faster then a spelling, grammar or punctuation mistake. Make sure you have read through your resume and cover letter with a fine tooth comb. Below are two of the the most common resume mistakes I see.

Than vs. Then – Than is used for comparison, then is used for pretty much everthing else.

Two, To, and Too – Two is pretty easy most people do not mess this one up but the other two can be a little trickier. Just remember that ‘Too’ means in excess or also. I have too many shirts or I want to go shopping too. For everthing else use ‘to’.

Don’t forget to check your punctuation as well, you don’t want to miss a period at the end of a sentence.

Let’s also touch on being concise in your resume. Here is a great example of what I mean:

Long Version: I handled the operations of the store daily.

Concise Version: Daily Store Operations

Long Version: Responsible for the managing of customer accounts, interacting with clients and answering questions and processing the daily cash transactions.

Concise Version:Directed account management, client interaction, and cash handling.

In resume writing it is best that you are not too wordy and that you utilize keywords. In the sentences above keywords are account management, client interaction, and cash handling.

If I am doing a search on Monster or Careerbuilder and I need an account manager with cash handling experience that is what I’m typing in to the search bar: Account manager, Cash handling. Your resume would be the first to pop up and that is the goal right? Ultimately, we all want to be the most qualified for the position.

Categories: Uncategorized

5 Common Cover Letter Mistakes

Everyone wants to know how to write the best cover letter possible but the truth of the matter is what works for one person doesn’t necessarily for another. No two people fit the same cover letter. So if you’re trying to bum off someone else or use what a professional has written for another candidate you’re doing yourself more harm then good.

Take a moment and review the 5 most common cover letter mistakes.

1. Using what someone else has written for yourself. Cover letter sin number one is not only plagiarism but its just bad practice. It certainly won’t get you very far either because no two job seekers are alike. Your experience, expertise, and credentials are completely different than job seeker joe over there and your cover letter better be too if you want that job! Create something unique that reflects YOU not someone else.

2. General cover letters work best. Nope, wrong again. Customize your cover letter to the position you are applying to. This includes; incorporating the hiring manager’s name, contact info, and position title. It also includes writing in the title of the position, where you heard about it, and making the content of your cover letter EXTREMELY relevant to the position description.

3. Copying your resume into your cover letter. This is by far the most common mistake I’ve seen. Give me something juicy in the cover letter, something that entices me to read your resume but doesn’t just repeat what I’m going to read on your resume. I want – to want – to read your resume, make your cover letter make me want to read your resume.

4. Using BORING and OVERUSED openers. Blah! I’m so tired of “In response to your ad for XYZ position with XYZ Inc.” That is not original or creative. I want an employee that is creative, orginal, and dynamic. Show me that in your cover letter, captivate me in that first sentence. Remember job searches are based on exclusion not inclusion. Hiring managers are looking for a reason to toss your resume and you have to fight to be at the top. Instead try something bold like:

“Your Sales Management advertisement addresses my qualifications so ideally, one would think we’ve met. And we should – because I can offer you precisely the experience for which you have been searching.”

5. Matching doesn’t matter. Ooooh myth number 5. All I have to say is your cover letter better match your resume; in font, font size, format, layout, design, etc. While the content of your cover letter should be different than your resume your cover letter design should definitely match your resume design. This shows organization, attention-to-detail, and that extra effort that goes much further than you would believe.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all the ‘rules’ and ‘standards’ for resumes and cover letters don’t fret. There are professionals out there who know all the ins and outs and are more than happy to assist in the process. Great Resumes Fast provides professional resume reviews for FREE. Send your resume to info [at] greatresumesfast [dot] com to have your resume reviewed today.

Categories: Uncategorized

Federal Resumes for Beginners

Recently there has been a dramatic surge in the number of people requesting Federal Resume Writing and KSA document preparation. My own personal theory is that given the current state of the economy people are seeking a more stable form of employment and one that pretty much ensures no layoffs. In addition to bailout money going to increased employment it makes sense there is a sudden demand for federal government employment.

I have assembled a list of things you should know before beginning your journey into the land of Federal Government employment.

1. The resume and application are worlds different than civilian resumes and applications. In fact they are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what a regular resume would look like.

2. In a Federal Resume you can use I statements. In fact you are supposed to. Everything in a Federal resume should be first person. Everything in a corporate world resume should not be in first person, that would get your resume thrown in the trash can.

3. Federal resumes are SIGNIFICANTLY longer then their counterpart. A professional or Executive resume would be about two pages long. A federal resume can be up to 8 or 10 pages long.

4. Federal resumes MUST BE and I repeat this MUST BE addressed to a specific position. It has to include the position number, level, and tons of your personal information like social security number, etc. A professional resume would never include this information but should always be focused on a specific position.

5. Federal resumes should have a KSA document attached that outlines your experience in relation to the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities the application is asking you to explain. This document can be one page long or several pages. It depends how many KSA’s are required for that position.

If you create a Federal Resume and KSA document for a specific position it could quite possibly be up to 12 pages or more. I’m sure you can see a huge difference when a Professional resume should only be 2 pages max. The point is not that one is better than the other it is to help you see that they are very different and as a result you should not expect to use your regular resume to pass for your Federal one.

There are professionals out there that can help you navigate the waters of Federal resumes and applications. They are experts because they write them every day for countless clients. As a result, they know exactly what it needs to look like, what it needs to include, and how to best address those KSA’s. To increase your chances of success consider using a Federal Resume Writer or Professional Resume Writing Service that also creates Federal Resumes.

Great Resumes Fast provides Federal Resume Writing and KSA Document Preparation Services at affordable prices. Federal Resume and KSA packages start at $139.95. Visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com for more information or email your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com for a FREE resume review and analysis.

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Strong Action Verbs and Your Resume

Expert Resume Writing Tip #7

Strong action verbs. Love them? Hate them? Care less?

Every resume, I repeat myself EVERY resume should have strong action verbs strategically placed throughout the resume. Most importantly at the beginning of the majority of your bullet points. Please do yourself a favor and every hiring manager out there a favor; do not start your sentences with Responsible for…Worked with… or any other less that power-punching beginning. These really do nothing for your resume or experience except hurt it. I’m not exactly captivated by the words responsible for or worked with. They’re just so boring. I want something that jumps out at me and grabs my attention.

Here are a few examples of my favorite action words:

Directed
Spearheaded
Championed
Pioneered
Re-enginneered
Captivated
Exceeded
Structured

and truthfully the list could go on. Be creative in your action verb choice and choose strong words to begin every sentence. These words communicate action, results, accomplishments, contributions, which are all key components in creating a powerful and captivating resume.

A little dizzied by all the information? It may be time to hire a professional. Check out http://www.greatresumesfast.com.

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