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Archive for October, 2009

Is it Time to Get LinkedIn? By Megan Koehler

Is it Time to Get LinkedIn?

Social Networking for professional advancement is the latest and greatest trend in the online world of job hunting and in my opinion is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. It would be to your advantage to educate yourself on the ins and outs of social networking, personal branding and online marketing. It’s far-reaching, it’s effective and best of all it’s FREE!

There are numerous online avenues for social networking but you may be under the misconception that they are strictly for social purposes. If that is the case then you are missing out on an indispensible tool that is vital in today’s job market. Whether you choose to focus on one networking device or combine several to create a powerful online presence you will be at a professional advantage.

The best site (in my opinion) for professional networking is LinkedIn. I like to think of Linked as the professional, grown-up version of Facebook. Instead of posting what you did Saturday night or family pictures from your last vacation you post your professional background, experiences and projects you’re working on. Another difference is that instead making ‘friends’ you make connections with other professionals to enhance your network. The more connections you have the larger your network and the more you get your name and qualifications out there to potential hiring manager and recruiters.
Just as you turn to the Internet to search for a job, more and more hiring managers and recruiters are turning to the Internet to find qualified talent to fill open positions. Creating a profile on a professional networking site can get you onto their radar and increase your career prospects. Any online professional networking and marketing you develop is a 24/7 advertisement of YOU! You never know when or who will view your information.

If you want to take your professional social networking to the next level consider developing and promoting your personal brand. Personal Branding Strategist, Dan Schawbel, describes personal branding as, “the process by which individuals and entrepreneurs differentiate themselves and stand out from a crowd by identifying and articulating their unique value proposition . . .” Can you market yourself without developing a personal brand? Sure, but why wouldn’t you want to? Products are more effective if there is a brand to associate it to, and in this case the product is you! It just makes sense to promote you in the most advantageous way possible.

Implementing networking into your professional strategy and combining it with the development of a personal brand will help you achieve your professional goals and will take your career and job search further. If you need more information on social networking, LinkedIn Profile Development or personal branding call Great Resumes Fast toll free at 877-875-7706 to talk to a personal branding strategist or visit us online.

Megan Koehler is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, and author. Megan enjoys collaborating with forward-thinking professionals and executives, identifying their personal brand and value proposition and leveraging their unique talent, passion, and vision to position them as a leader in their industry. Her passion is helping professionals and executives uncover what makes them stand out in the crowd. For a free resume analysis submit your resume via e-mail to info@greatresumesfast.com or call toll free 1.877.875.7706 for a free phone consultation.

Categories: Resumes

Your Unique Promise of Value – Is it on Your Resume?

October 26, 2009 8 comments

Your Unique Promise of Value – Is it on Your Resume?

business professional 2A truly captivating resume does three things: engages the reader, communicates your value, and lands you the interview. How do you incorporate that information into your professional or executive level resume? Keep reading to find out how your unique promise of value will make you stand out from the crowd and position you as a leader.

It’s shocking to me that the majority of job hunters are still using an objective. First, let me say … STOP THAT! Next, let me tell you why: An objective is all about what you want. Truthfully, hiring managers couldn’t care less. Your objective statement means absolutely NOTHING to them. It does not make you stand out, it does not position you as a leader, and frankly, instead of getting you somewhere, firmly plants you three steps back. However, a personal branding statement, followed by a career summary that is strategically formulated around your unique promise of value, is the golden ticket. If that was Greek to you—and you have no idea what I’m talking about—hold on, it’s about to get better.

Your unique promise of value is comprised of several points: your strengths, goals, values, passion, and talent. Consider those five points. Are words immediately beginning to formulate in your head that would describe you? Ask yourself: What are my strengths, goals, and values? Then ask yourself: What am I passionate about? In what ways am I talented? How you position yourself can depend on your peers and competitors, but ultimately, the goal is to position yourself as a leader and expert so that YOU catapult to the top. Now, in order to uncover your personal brand you really have to know yourself. If you don’t, well then, you’re in trouble. A good place to start is by addressing each of the five points listed above. I recommend taking a sheet of paper and writing down each of the five categories. Then, under each category, list what you know about yourself along with some words/points that describe you. After you have completed the sheet, review the information. After this, you should have a great starting point toward discovering your promise of value. No two people will be the same—and that is what makes your value and brand unique.

Once you have developed your promise of value, use that to formulate your branding statement and career summary. Above all else, be sure that when the hiring manager reads the first third of your resume he or she has a great snapshot of who you are and what you bring to the table. By integrating your personal brand and value into your resume you are already ahead of more than half of the job seeker population—I’d call that one big head start!

Now that you know what your brand and value are, you should take this process to the next level and start building your online brand identity. Research is beginning to reveal that more and more recruiters and hiring managers are turning to social media to either find the ideal candidate or research the candidate they are considering. It would be extremely beneficial to your job search to create a branded, focused, and strategic LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, or Facebook page. Keep these forums professional, as you never know which potential employer may be searching for you.

In today’s job market you have to show the reader why you are different than the thousand other job hunters going after the same position. The first third of your resume is your three million-dollar billboard and best sales pitch. Show the employer why you are in the top tier of your industry—and that you are innovative, forward-focused, and high caliber.

Jessica Holbrook is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. She has written more than 100 articles that are featured on some of the best career advice Web sites today. In addition, her writing has been included in Launch pad, a career search strategy guide featuring exclusive information by the top career experts in the industry. Published quarterly, Launch pad is the respected guide used by career development centers and MBA programs throughout the country.

As CEO of Great Resumes Fast, Jessica enjoys collaborating with forward-thinking professionals and executives, identifying their personal brand and value proposition and leveraging their unique talent, passion, and vision to position them as a leader in their industry. Her passion is helping professionals and executives uncover what makes them stand out in the crowd.

Great Resumes Fast holds membership with the Association of Online Resume and Career Professionals, Career Directors International and the National Resume Writers Association.

For a free resume analysis, e-mail your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com. For a free telephone consultation, call toll free at 1.877.875.7706.

Categories: Resumes

Do you know who you are – on paper…?

October 23, 2009 4 comments

Do you know who you are… on paper?

Thanks to an amazing membership with Career Directors International I had the distinct pleasure of a booth at the most recent National Careers Job Fair. Three hours of job seekers pouring in through the doors and me and my assistant providing free resume analyses. I spoke to 100+ job seekers and found one common thread among them all. They had no idea who they were… on paper.

I must have repeated the phrase ‘what do you want to do?’ a hundred times. I know I asked all but two job seekers that question. I remember the two I didn’t ask because their resume’s stood out. They professionally branded themselves and it was very obvious exactly who they were and what they wanted.

paper-prototypingDo you know who you are on paper? When I look at the resume the first third of it is the most important to me. Why? Because It has all the information I need to know. What do you want to do, where do I put you? How good are you at your job? Do you know who you are?
I can gather all that from the first third of your resume. Scary isn’t it? I bet it makes you wonder what your resume is saying…doesn’t it?

Listen, if you look at your resume right now and you have an objective on there and it reads: To obtain a position with an organization that utilizes my experience and education. You have no idea who you are or what you want. At least that is what your resume is telling me.

Do you have a one line introductory/positioning/branding statement on your resume? Is it followed by keywords underneath? No… well, that’s probably why you’re not getting any interviews. People like me (HR managers, recruiters, hiring managers, and decision makers) have no idea where to put you, what you’re applying to, what you want to do, and what you are qualified to do.

Enter: Professional branding statement. Get one!

As an expert resume writer my job is two fold. First, to help you figure out what your unique professional brand and value proposition are and how that aligns with your talent, passion, and vision. Secondly, to gather all of the above stated information and strategically position you as a leader and make you stand out in the crowd of thousands of other job seekers vying for the same position.

If your resume lacks a professional brand, you don’t know what professional branding is or you just know your resume needs a pick me up send it to info@greatresumesfast.com for a free resume analysis or if you are ready to take the plunge, amp up your job search and start getting interviews visit Great Resumes Fast today to order our professional resume writing service.

Jessica Holbrook is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that win interviews. For a free resume analysis visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or for a free phone consultation call 1.877.875.7706.

Categories: Resumes

The Ladders Resume Writing Scam

October 23, 2009 4 comments

Over the past six months we have had an extremely large amount of Executive clients come to us and tell us that they had their resumes written by The Ladders but they were extremely unhappy with what they received. After some research we stumbled upon this article which I think if you read it, along with the comments at the bottom you will see what is really going on. I hope that you will all be forewarned and avoid a frightening outcome.

http://www.jibberjobber.com/blog/2009/05/28/the-ladders-scam/

Categories: Resumes

Why You Don’t Stand Out In The Crowd – Here’s A Tip, It’s Your Resume

October 20, 2009 1 comment

crayonUltimately your goal is to create a resume that will garner the right attention and eventually the right job. Problem is – your resume is getting you absolutely no hits, zero feedback, and not so much as one call from a prospective employer. Sound familiar? Keep reading to figure out why.

– Your career summary is boring. It sounds like every other job seeker out there and is a large blanket paragraph that could describe half of the known workforce. Solution: Customize your career summary so that no one else could possibly use it for themselves.

– You have no keywords. The ones you do have aren’t in the right place so while your resume may catch a software system, when an actual recruiter looks at it they pass it over because they can’t find the information they need. Solution: Utilize a core competencies/value added section in the top third of the resume.

– Your resume format is boring, unattractive, juvenile, and mediocre at best. Ouch that one hurt a little didn’t it? After reading thousands of resumes in the past 30 days, every single resume looks exactly the same. No wonder hiring managers only give each resume a five second scan and no wonder you’re getting nowhere. Solution: CHANGE IT UP! Don’t go crazy with your format but do modernize it.

– You’ve neglected to ‘stay with the times’ and chosen not to utilize a professional branding statement and value proposition within the top third of your resume. So instead of standing out you’re blending in. How is that working for you? Probably not very well if you’re reading this. Solution: Find your brand, make it work for you. Advertise your value and start garnering attention. I mean the right attention, not the lame scammers who contact everyone who posts their resume on monster.

– The reader couldn’t find your accomplishments if they tried. You have them so buried down deep in the resume – or you didn’t even bother to include them. Now no one knows what the heck you do or how good you are at it. Solution: Bring attention to the BIG. Sell the reader don’t just tell them.

– The language of the resume is so boring people read it to fall asleep. If you are using responsible for, duties included, or speaking in first or third person THIS MEANS YOU. Solution: Spice it up. Ever heard of a thesaurus? Use one. If you are using the same strong action verb in your resume more than twice, that equals BORING. Look up alternatives and use them.

Albeit this has been a comical view of what stinks about your resume take it seriously. I can guarantee you 90% of the people reading this article have at least three of the six points listed above on their resume. When you’re tired of playing with your resume and ready for an expert to help you craft a high-impact, best-in-class resume and cover letter that won’t bore the reader but instead entices them to call – and call immediately then contact us.

Jessica Holbrook is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, speaker and President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast. She creates high-impact, best-in-class, resumes and cover letters that win interviews. For a free resume analysis visit http://www.greatresumesfast.com or for a free phone consultation call 1.877.875.7706.

Professional Resume Writing

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Or call Great Resumes Fast today at 1.877.875.7706 for a complimentary phone consultation. You can also request a free resume analysis by sending your resume via e-mail to info@greatresumesfast.com.

Interview Basics – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You.

October 16, 2009 4 comments

It astonishes me how many job seekers in today’s day and age are held back because they lack the information and skills necessary to interview well. I have developed a simple list of basic interview skills every job seeker should posses before stepping foot in the door of an interview. You may be amazed by what you don’t know.Interview_1(1)

Prepare a resume that sells. Is your resume a timeline, historical document, or a sophisticated marketing and sales piece? Sell the employer on your best attributes and what you can bring to them. Quantify when possible!

 

This may sound like a no brainer but practice makes perfect. Actually practice answering interview questions. When I’m getting ready for a big job interview I think about all the questions I could possibly be asked during the interview and I already have my answers formulated in my mind. This way there are no long, uncomfortable pauses and I’m not scrambling to put something together on the spot.

 

Be prepared. Boy Scout motto or instrumental piece in landing a great career? Take a notepad to the interview with you. I usually jot down 3-5 accomplishments I am most proud of, my three biggest strengths, and my one weakness. Because you know they’re going to ask so you might as well be prepared. In addition to having your notes handy when they ask you those big questions you can also jot down notes during the interview. This is great because it makes the interviewer feel that you are really interested and are paying attention to what they are saying.

 

Be early. I recommend showing up 10-15 minutes early. Sure you will have to wait but what happens when the interviewer walks out to the waiting room and you’re not there yet? If you are going to be late because of an earth shattering emergency call ahead. But don’t be late! That pretty much assures the job is not yours. The common belief here is if you can’t make an interview on time you won’t make it to work on time. I would say that is a fair assessment.

 

Make sure you show up alone. When I was a recruiter for a staffing agency I don’t even want to go into how many people showed up for the interview and brought their family or kids along. This is a big no-no!

 

Bring extra copies of your resume. You never know when an extra person may sit in on the interview. I always bring one copy for everyone, a copy for myself and a few extras. Just in case there is someone extra.

 

I know you are nervous but do not fidget, play with your clothes, hair, jewelry, shoes, etc. It is just bad form.

 

When introduced make sure you smile, shake their hand firmly (but don’t break it) and wait to be seated until they sit down first. Common courtesy and professional etiquette – it’s the details that matter, believe me.

 

Answer their questions professionally and when applicable use an example from your previous experience. This confirms to your employer that you really do have experience in the area they are questioning you.

 

If they ask “Have you ever done…” something before and you have not; do not just say no. Say something like: “I have not actually had experience with that but I am confident that if someone showed me how I could do it.” Or “No, I have not done that before however, I am a fast learner and I am confident that I could learn quickly and provide the results you expect.” This communicates your willingness to learn new tasks, your ability to adapt easily and your confidence in your abilities. Being flexible and open is always a great quality!

 

When they ask if you have any questions do not say no! This is one of the biggest mistakes I see candidates make. If you say no it appears as though you have no interest. Even if they have answered all your questions surely there are some you can think to ask. I always have 2-3 questions jotted down on my notepad before I come in. They usually consist of ‘how the position/person is managed’, ‘what the management style is of the person who will be managing me’, and ‘what the next step will be in the hiring process’. The last question is always important; you want to know where it is going once you’re done interviewing.

 

It is not okay to ask the interviewer “How did I do?” That is BAD FORM! And puts the interviewer on the spot and they will most likely not tell the truth because if your interview was awful they’re not going to come out and say you did horrible you’re not getting the job. Plus, the majority of interviewers will discuss the interview with other team members before they come to a conclusion about your performance and the next step for you.

 

When you leave make sure you thank them for their time and let them know you look forward to hearing from them soon. This conveys your interest and is a professional way to exit.

 

Follow up with a thank you note. Yes, you MUST send a thank you note. Do you have any idea how many people don’t send thank you notes? Do you know how many people that do send thank you notes actually get the job?! Every interview I’ve been on that I’ve mailed a thank you note to I’ve received an offer (minus one). In addition, the majority of hiring managers I know will give someone a second look if they thought enough to send a thank you note. It lets the interviewer know you are still interested in the position, you are excited about it, and you are thoughtful, organized, and professional enough to send a thank you note.  Don’t question it – just do it and see what happens.

 

Do not call the interviewer every day asking about the status. This is so annoying and YES people really do this. Please do not be one of these people; it will get your name scratched off the list so quick you won’t even see it coming. Calling a week after you mail your thank you letter to check the status is acceptable, anything after that I think becomes a nuisance. Chances are if the job was yours within two weeks of your interview you would have heard something.

 

Last but not least do not put your eggs all in one basket. I knew someone that every time he had an interview he immediately stopped his job search. I never understood this; he stopped sending out resumes, stopped applying on line, and stopped mailing out letters. He put all his eggs in this one basket and sadly when it didn’t work out he had lost two weeks in his job search, had to start all over again and was more discouraged then ever.  Getting a ‘no’ is inevitable you are not going to ace every interview and be the perfect fit every time.

 

 If you stay consistent, focused, and look at finding a job like it is your full time job then eventually you will succeed and it will all be worth it. Keep these interview tips tucked away and refer back to them before each interview.

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, email your resume to info@greatresumesfast.com or for a free phone consultation call 1.877.875.7706.