Archive for November, 2009

What Shelf Is Your Resume On?

November 30, 2009 3 comments

This is a recent guest post from career expert Megan Koehler.

So, I was doing some grocery shopping the other day and I got to thinking about marketing, packaging and branding and how similar the requirements are whether you are trying to sell a box of cereal of if you are trying to sell yourself. For those of you who are new to the idea of personal branding or those of you that still aren’t convinced of the value I’m hoping this will help paint a better picture for you.

A product’s success is due in large part to the image it projects, the audience it targets and how it is promoted. If you take those things away all you have left is a product. It might be the newest and greatest product out there but if no one knows about it then it will be bypassed by a product that is almost as good and almost as great.

If you think of a grocery store shelf the most eye-catching, brand names products are at eye level, right in your face where you notice them. These products are the brand name products. The ones with fancy packages, catchy jingles and clever commercials. The bottom shelves are reserved for the generic (translation – under-marketed) products. How sad they are with their nondescript packaging and lack of flashy commercials to let the consumer know how good they are. While these no name brands may be as high quality, tasty and good for you they project no image, have no appeal and are basically boring. Unless you really look for them you’re not going to notice them. So there they’ll sit on the bottom shelf.

The same is true for an unbranded resume. Product promotion is key and you my friend are the product. You may find it hard to promote yourself, you might feel like it’s bragging, arrogant or over the top. Well, guess what? That is what’s selling these days and unless you want your resume to be banished to the bottom shelf I suggest you start working on the image, packaging and promotion for YOU!

When you go shopping, whether it is for food, clothing, appliances etc. you can choose between a generic product or a brand name product. What factors influence your decision? Quality? Reputation? Features? Well, surprise, surprise, these are the same things a hiring manager will look at to determine who to hire. Is the candidate high-quality? Do they have a stellar reputation? What features or expertise can they offer? You need top start thinking of yourself as a product and marketing yourself as such. If you can’t do that yourself then hire a professional who knows what hiring managers are looking for and how to market to those requirements.

Look at your image, or packaging. The first thing a recruiter will see is your resume. It must be exceptional. You know the saying don’t judge a book by it cover, right? Well, I’m sorry to say that your resume will be judged on how it looks. Hiring managers won’t take the time to get past the crazy font, horrible formatting and boring content to find out if you are the perfect candidate for a position. That is why it essential that your resume has a professional appearance, a powerful brand and an eye-catching format.

Once you have the perfect resume you need to focus on your marketing. Sending a resume and sitting back to wait for the phone to ring will get you no where. You need to take control by stepping up your personal marketing campaign. If you’re not already you need to get online and sign up for some professional sites like LinkedIn, Naymz and Google profile. These are FREE promotional tools so take advantage. If you’re not tech literate get help. It’s an online world and you will be at a disadvantage if you don’t utilize these opportunities.

Personal branding is where it’s at these days so make sure your online image reflects your strong, unique and authentic personal brand. Having a personal brand will set you apart from other candidates by highlighting your value proposition and will appeal to hiring managers and recruiters alike. If you are having a hard time discovering your personal brand ask some trusted family, friends and associates to help you out. How would they describe you? What do you stand for? What are your passions? Sometimes having an objective view from someone else will help you put your personal brand into words.

For a free resume analysis send your resume to

For a free LinkedIn profile analysis submit your request to

If you think of yourself as a product and work on your package, brand and promotion and you will stay one step ahead of your competition.

Megan Koehler is a resume writing expert and personal branding strategist at Great Resumes Fast. She enjoys working with clients to help them identify and develop their personal brand. For a free LinkedIn profile assessment email or call toll-free 877-875-7706 to learn how you can benefit from developing your personal brand.

Categories: Resumes

A Big LinkedIn No-No…

November 19, 2009 64 comments

This is going to be a rather short post, a rant of sorts about something I’ve noticed on LinkedIn that is slightly disturbing and what I would consider almost unethical.

In the past week I have had several people I do not know try to connect with me on LinkedIn and on the invitation they put an untrue connection. Meaning, they said we worked together at ABC company and I never worked there or we’re affiliated through XYZ organization and I’ve never even heard of the organization. People, it is NOT OK to lie about how you know someone just to gain a connection on LinkedIn. First, it is going to put a terrible taste in my mouth for that person (if you’re lying already then what assumption is that going to lead me to?) Secondly, I am going to promptly delete your request. Be honest about why you want to connect, don’t just arbitrarily try to connect with anyone. Strategically connect and network with those that will help you in your pursuits (whatever those may be). Job search or otherwise – as a former hiring manager I would certainly not even consider a candidate that came to me lying from the start.

I know that there are misunderstandings. Perhaps, you think this person is someone else – common mistakes, but that is why you should always add a note to your request to connect. Explain WHY you want to connect with the person so they have a better idea of who you are and how it is beneficial for them to connect with you.

Which leads me to my next point. It is my opinion that a connection should NOT be all about what YOU can get from the person you are requesting to connect to. It should also be about what you can give or provide the person you are connecting to. Contrary to popular belief this social networking shouldn’t be all about ME, ME, ME! It should be mutually beneficial – what can you bring to the table for the other person? Approach and request connections based on this and you will be much more successful.

Here is another article on LinkedIn Invitation Etiquette.

For a free resume analysis send your resume via email to

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.

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.

Categories: Resumes

Who’s Hiring from the Fortune 500 – Vol V

November 17, 2009 1 comment

Article courtesty of CareerAlley.

Start-and-stop-buttons“A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.” – Yogi Berra

We continue on with the Fortune 500 companies list on today’s post. The companies range from supermarkets to Energy and Retail. The common theme is that these companies are hiring and there are jobs out there. Where I could search across the company I’ve listed the number of job opportunities. Across today’s companies, there were over 459 job opportunities when I checked across the sites.

  • Kroger – Kroger, ranked at # 22 on the list, is a retailer with over 2,400 supermarkets and department stores in the United States. Their career site has a wide range of search opportunities – Hourly Store, Manufacturing, Accounting Services and Distribution Center. You can also review company background and register from this page. Clicking on Opportunities provides an advanced search function. A simple search returned 272 job opportunities across the United States.
  • Marathon Oil – #23 on the list, Marathon is known for integrated energy. Their careers page is fairly simple, with a brief overview at the top of the page and links on the left for Apply, High School, Benefits and Locations. The Apply for a Career link leads to a page with several choices: Oil Companies, Transportation, University / Entry Level and Speedway. There were 61 job opportunities across all categories when I checked the site.
  • Costco Wholesale – Not everyone has heard of this specialty retailer, ranked 24 on this year’s list. Their careers page has quite a bit of information running down the left hand side of the page. Some examples are: About Costco, Locations, Employment Opportunities and much more. The center of the page has a company overview, and then goes on to describe each of the major job functions with some embedded links. This makes it somewhat difficult to read, but if you are patient you will find the category and links that apply to you. While it is not easy to see all of the jobs that are available, I counted 45 job opportunities when I checked the site.
  • Home Depot – Ranked at #25, Home Depot is know as the Do It Yourself store. While they have struggled a bit this year, they have an established business model. Their careers page is clean and crisp. There are links at the top left hand side of the page for 5 different functional areas of employment, plus one for new store openings (where they will obviously need help). Below this on the left hand side is a search function, followed by a number of additional links to related information. The center of the page has click boxes for Store Managers, Customer Service and Supply Chain. Also, at the bottom of the page they have a link for their 2009 career fair calendar. Unfortunately, you must register on the site and check each job type individually.
  • AmerisourceBergen – A drug distributor and ranked 26 on the list, AmerisourceBergen’s career page is fairly simple. The left hand side of the page has links for Benefits, History, Culture and more. The center of the page has a brief overview, followed by a link for career opportunities. Clicking on this brings up their job search engine where you can filter on a number of criteria. There were 81 job opportunities when I checked the site.

Good luck in your search.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Categories: Resumes

What Is Your Online Image Saying About You?

When done correctly, building your professional brand and image online can be an asset but if done incorrectly it can damage your reputation, undermine your expertise and ultimately prevent you from achieving your professional goals. It’s a good idea to review your online profiles, update them with your most recent experience and accomplishments and check for potentially damaging information.

Start with taking a good hard look at your online presence. Everything online is public and accessible by coworkers, bosses and potential employers. Just because you only make your profile available to ‘friends’ doesn’t stop them from copying, printing or sharing that information with others. Look at it from an outside perspective.

Once you put information out there on the web chances are you can kiss any hope of retracting it good-bye. Don’t post in anger, altered states or excitement. Yes, that’s right, excitement. If you get an amazing new job offer don’t immediately go blasting it on your profile only to have your boss see it. The offer could fall through and if your boss sees your post I don’t think they’ll be too happy about it and it may cost you your current job too.

Keep your online profiles, pages, blog etc. up to date and relevant. You increase your chances of being noticed by recruiters and hiring managers if you maintain the accuracy of the information you post. Don’t consider your professional networking and image complete once you set-up the accounts. You need to put forth some time and effort to maintain them which will pay off for you in the long run.

It’s also a good idea to Google yourself once in a while to see what others are saying about you. If you do come across damaging information you can contact the individual that posted the information and ask them to remove it. If that doesn’t work you can contact the website and ask them to remove it. There are also reputation repair companies that claim to reduce or eliminate negative information linked to you online.

These few simple steps will help you keep your online image relevant, accurate and professional. If you still need help consider hiring a professional to assist you.

Megan Koehler is a professional resume writer and personal branding expert at Great Resumes Fast. For a FREE LinkedIn profile analysis email or for a FREE resume analysis email your resume to

Categories: Resumes

Free Resume Analysis

If you have read our blog before you know we’re not skimpy on the details. We have a tendency to ‘tell it like it is’ when it comes to resume, cover letter, interview and social networking advice. So, if you haven’t taken us up on our offer for a free resume analysis then I encourage you to do so now. You have nothing to lose and some great information, tips, and advice to gain from former executive HR managers and expert resume writers. If you live and work in the US or Canada send your resume to for a FREE resume analysis.

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View expertly written resume samples to find out how your resume stacks up or read our latest article on personal branding.

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Is It Your Resume Or The Economy?

November 9, 2009 3 comments

Global handshakeMost job seekers are wondering this same question – Am I not receiving calls because of the economy or is it my resume? I’ve read the articles, blogs, business week stories, monitored the job boards and discussed the issue with recruiters. Everyone has a different opinion and so do I.

I took my daughter to the mall this weekend to buy her a new pair of shoes (hang in here with me for a few minutes and you’ll see where I’m going.) Unfortunately for my daughter, she has a wide foot. Which means only select stores carry her size shoe and it only comes in select styles. She’s still in children’s sized shoes so this even further complicates the issue. We normally go to this same store to buy her shoes every time she needs a pair and it’s the only one in my area that carries wide shoes for children. When I went to the store they were out of her size in every single style (over 30) except one. The clerk made the comment ‘we don’t get much stock here anymore, we’re always running out.’

I remembered reading and hearing that stores were reducing inventory and cutting back on shipments to try to save money. Here I was a paying customer and couldn’t get what I needed. I thought to myself, hmmmm… maybe there is something to this bad economy thing. I decided I’d have to go home and just purchase new shoes online. To my dismay – no luck there either. Online stores were out… all of them. I thought to myself – WOW, I can’t even buy my child shoes. It’s not that I didn’t have the money or wasn’t willing to pay. It’s that companies have gotten so cost conscious and are trying so hard to save a buck that now they don’t even have the products available when a consumer is ready to buy.

I really started thinking hard about the whole economy issue.. Maybe it was as bad as the media said? Then I walked into Toys R’ Us. Let me tell you folks there is NOT A BAD ECONOMY. This past weekend I took my daughter to Toys R’ Us and the place was so packed you could barely push a shopping cart through it! It was wall-to-wall people and mimicked black friday. Needless to say – I WAS SHOCKED.

I can’t get my daughter shoes but the local Toys R’ Us store is having no problems at all. You know what this tells me? If parents have the money to go out to the stores and spend money on toys for their children things aren’t really as bad as they seem.

So here’s my opinion whether you want it or not, or whether you agree with it or not. And let me preface by saying I am not an economist – I am writing this as a careers industry expert and every day consumer.

The economy is NOT as bad as they say it is. There are jobs out there – you just have to know where to look. If you’re not getting calls for interviews, it is not the economy, it is your resume. Before you get offended please allow me to explain.

Toys R’ Us is hiring. Just kidding. Well, actually they are hiring – so if you are really hard up for a job, now the cat is out of the bag. Secondly, because of this ‘oh no we’re in a recession’ issue, companies are cutting back trying to save a buck where they can and guess where part of that cost cutting comes from? That’s right, advertising on large, expensive job boards. I had one employer ask me if I knew a way they could fill the position without posting it so they didn’t have to wade through the massive amounts of applicants. Companies are cutting costs and finding ways around the influx of applications which explains why there aren’t as many jobs posted on job boards. It doesn’t necessarily mean there are fewer jobs, it just means employers are going about how they post them differently.

Yes, I do realize there have been cut backs, layoffs, and the unemployment rate is alarmingly close to double digits (so I do know that the economy has taken a hit) all I am saying is that it isn’t as bad as some fear-mongers would like you to think.

So what’s a job seeker to do? Discover the shortcuts!

Let me tell you a great little secret, ever heard of a website called LinkUp? This should be your new number one job search tool. I found out about them a little over a week or so ago and I cannot stop raving. This job search engine is unlike any other – think but even better. It searches actual company websites NOT job boards and posts all the open positions it finds. Think of how many jobs never make their way to job boards because they are filled by applicants who apply online at their company website – now think of how many opportunities you are missing out on!! Go to to amp up your job search right now.

Another way is to start networking like crazy. Read my article on LinkedIn invitation etiquette and then start making connections. More job seekers are being placed through recommendations, word of mouth, and networking then most other means.

If you’re not getting interviews then compare your resume to those written by expert resume writers. Review their samples. See how yours stacks up compared to the competition. If you are way off base then submit your resume for a free analysis.

If you have tweaked your resume a million times, had ten other people review it and you still feel like you’re running in to a brick wall then consider a professional resume writing service.

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. 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.

Categories: Resumes

LinkedIn Invitation Etiquette

November 5, 2009 39 comments

Lately I have noticed a flurry of LinkedIn invitation activity. What bothers me is not the amount of invitations being sent or received but how users are going about the invitation process. So I’ve put together this brief blurb on LinkedIn invitation etiquette.linkedin

I do not mind receiving invitations from people I have never met (even though LinkedIn says you should really only accept invites from people you know.) If I feel that a connection would be mutually beneficial, in most cases I will accept. However, what irks me is when I receive inmail from someone I have never met requesting that I send them an invitation. I know you only receive a certain number of invitations from LinkedIn and it is NOT OK to request that I use one of mine to connect with you if: I’ve never met you before, have no clue who you are, and you have already used all your invitations. This is just poor form and will promptly get your message deleted.

If we don’t know each other, do not send a blanket invitation request. If you just send the standard invitation I won’t know who you are or why you want to connect. When I want to connect with someone I do not personally know I find a common link and then tell them about it. For example, I have not met all the other great professional resume writers out there but I want to make connections and learn and grow. So if I find someone’s blog that I really enjoy reading I’ll request to connect and tell them. I’ll say I really loved your blog, it’s very informative and I would really like to connect. In almost all cases the other person has accepted my invitation.

I have also connected with tons of recruiters. I connect with them because we have a career path that runs along the same track. We’re both trying to help job seekers, we just help them in two different ways. It is always a good idea to connect with people in similar industries who you could potentially partner with later down the road.

Don’t waste invitations on people that could really have no value to your job search or career. (especially if you do not know them.) If you are in one part of the world and they are in the other, both in completely different industries, and the chances of either of you being beneficial to each other is slim to none – do not waste your invitation. Remember, you only get so many and when that one great connection comes along that you just HAVE to make – you want to make sure you have an invitation to send.

Scout out the right people and ensure you make connections ‘with a purpose’. Don’t just frivolously throw invitations away to connect on a whim.

Remember proper etiquette when sending invitations, let the ‘invited’ know WHY you want to connect and even what you can bring to the connection. The idea is that connections will be mutual beneficial and not just a one way street.

For more information on LinkedIn view our profile development page.

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.

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.

For a free resume analysis, e-mail your resume to

Categories: Resumes