golden rules of resume writingEvaluations of resume writing can be very subjective, influenced by personal taste and feelings. Potential employers may have an opinion on your font style, design, or whether or not you should use a summary or personal statement, to name just a few. But even though your resume is subject to this type of evaluation, it is important to not dismiss objective, measurable facts from your resume.

 

There are some key resume writing tips that hiring managers can agree on:

 

The Golden Rules of Resume Writing

 

• Spell check, read and re-read. Have a friend check your resume. Misspellings and grammatical errors show a lack of attention to detail. This may seem obvious, but it happens frequently! These mistakes can often be fatal to your job search prospects and automatically send your resume to the “no” pile.


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Published on February 28th, 2017

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secret job searchIt’s incredibly important to maintain discretion during your job search. Unless there has been a mutually agreeable conversation between yourself and your manager regarding your wishes to move on, it’s in your best interest to keep your intentions secret until you’re at the point of providing references. Many employers see departing employees to have lost loyalty and no longer have their company’s best interests in mind. Employers often consider currently employed candidates to be more valuable than those who are unemployed for unknown reasons. But how do you go about a secret job search when you have an existing full-time job?


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Published on February 16th, 2017

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average peopleAverage. Mediocre. Ordinary. Do you describe yourself with any of these terms, or has anyone else? Never have you heard someone utter “overachiever” in relation to you?

 

There is still a valuable place for you in the work world even if you weren’t class president, didn’t lead a committee to record fundraising, haven’t worked in management at a global corporation, or weren’t a star athlete or had the lead role in a play.


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Published on January 17th, 2017

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managing your online reputationDoes it really matter what you tweet, photos you are tagged in on Facebook, or comments you make online? Career-wise, yes! Employers are checking out your “digital footprint” or online presence, many before making a hiring decision.

 

Employers are judging you based on your digital footprint. Recruiters will look at your online presence and this can impact their hiring decisions. The recent Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016 found that recruiters find LinkedIn the most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process, followed by Facebook and Twitter.

 

Looking specifically at agriculture, employers report high usage of social media to support their recruitment efforts; 72% of U.S. agribusinesses said they currently use social networks in recruiting, with another 14% indicating they plan to begin using them (2016-2017 U.S. AgCareers.com Agribusiness HR Review).


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Published on October 27th, 2016

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part-time workNavigating the do’s and don’ts of resume writing can be a daunting task. Deciding which job experiences to highlight, let alone which specific achievements to mention in each role, can make your resume seem like a puzzle. Being strategic in these decisions can make the difference between being overlooked for your dream job, or getting the call back to continue the conversation. It’s common knowledge that you shouldn’t include EVERY previous job experience on your resume, especially if it isn’t recent or relevant; but that doesn’t mean that part-time work shouldn’t be included. There are several instances where your part-time work can work to your advantage, including when it is relevant, shows personal interests, and proves you have required skills.

 

Serving/Bar Tending: Often this type of job overlaps with school or other work placements – highlight your time management skills while juggling multiple responsibilities. Also carefully consider what parts of this job to highlight; till management or the responsibility of closing up paints a more favorable picture than recording tips or developing a specialty drink.


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Published on October 25th, 2016

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resume refreshWouldn’t it be great to create a resume that would work for eternity? In your dreams! To be effective resumes need to be regularly refreshed, updated, and tailored. The initial crafting of a resume is such an art and can be quite daunting. That is likely why the task of a resume refresh can seem intimidating as well! Focus on these simple eight resume refresh tips to alleviate some of the angst.

 

1. Contact Information – This may seem simple, but can easily be overlooked. Consider new phone numbers, addresses and such, but also social media platforms that you’d like to share. Remember only share those social media platforms where you maintain a professional persona.

 

2. Objective Statement/Talent Profile – One of the most subjective parts of a resume! If you’ve included either of these or something similar, this is a great place to tailor your resume to the role you are applying for. If the resume is to be used for more generic purposes, such as at a career fair or in an online resume database, this is still an excellent place to distinguish your interests if you have multiple areas of interest. For example, you might have an objective statement that is focused on marketing, but then another resume with an objective statement geared toward public relations.


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Published on September 20th, 2016

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maintaining student-life balanceIn the working world, we often talk about work-life balance. For the life of a college student, there are similar challenges. Let’s call it student-life balance. According to most research the average full-time college student will take 16 hours of class each semester. Let’s break that down into the week of the college student and allow for some other student life activities:

 

16 hours of class/week

• Study time – 15 hours (according to research, successful students spend each week)

• Meal time – 10 hours (many students skip breakfast, so let’s not include that meal)

• Free time – 7 hours (socializing with friends, intramural sports, exercise, games, etc.)

• Part-time job – 10 hours (studies show a growing number of students like to earn play money)

 

*I’m sure there are a few basic requirement time slot buckets for the student, but, we will stick with the above for now. And, I will say that the “PT job” is an attractive investment of time in the eyes of an employer.


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Published on September 12th, 2016

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cover letterGuest Blogger: Vera Reed

 

Is the cover letter dead? Yes and No. The misconception might be cover letters are usually merely glanced over, that does not mean you should not include one completely. When done right, a cover letter can create a story for your job history that a resume can supplement. Think of the cover letter as a way to curate your accomplishments in your field and your resume is further explanation of your work history. The challenge is not deciding to write a cover letter, but how to write a cover letter to make it stand out and be relevant.

 

Employers and human resources recruiters are looking for candidates in a much different way than they used to. The days of job listing in newspapers and even on online forums is diminishing and instead companies are looking for potential employees within their own communities. According to Forbes, recruiters are looking at communities in their field such as social media to find potential new hires. Companies are looking for people that are already familiar with their work and are playing an active role in the conversation about the field. Thus cover letters that talk about your interest in the field might be irrelevant in today’s job hunt. Today’s cover letter is all about storytelling and keeping your reader interested.

 

Here are some tips and tricks to help your cover letter shine:


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Published on July 12th, 2016

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When someone asks if I have a jobYou’re at a family gathering this summer and your uncle sits down next to you and asks if you have a job yet.

 

If you’ve been in the job search for a time (it might not have even been that long!), you’re bound to get questions like this. There’s a bad stigma that comes with being unemployed and with that, unfortunately, come several inconsiderate questions. But don’t let them get you down. Here are some smart, shut-down responses to rude questions during your job search.

 

“Any luck in the job hunt?”

 

This is the typical small talk you’re likely to hear from anyone who knows you’re out of work. Instead of asking them to lay off or bringing yourself down by answering, “No,” try, “Yes, I’ve been hard at work writing my resumes and applying to several exciting openings, so I’m confident I’ll get an interview soon.”

 

“I saw this position in the paper/online. You should apply.”

 

If this position may not be your cup of tea, politely let them know. This is a question that may come off as rude to you if you’re sensitive about being unemployed, but they’re really just trying to help and it’s coming from a good place. Tell them what you’re really looking for to help them help you. If nothing else, smile and say, “That sounds great, I’ll have to look into that.”


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Published on June 20th, 2016

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Which soft skills do you need to work on“Soft Skills!” This is a phrase that I have heard many times in recent years. It often comes up in meetings where employers are discussing skills needed in their employees; those skills beyond the technical aspects of the job. Better descriptive phrases might include: “communication skills, “people skills”, or “life skills.” Wikipedia describes soft skills as: “term often associated with a person’s “EQ” (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), which is the cluster of personality traits that characterize one’s relationships with other people. These skills can include social graces, communication abilities, language skills, personal habits, cognitive or emotional empathy, and leadership traits. Soft skills contrast with hard skills, which are generally easily quantifiable and measurable (such as software knowledge or basic plumbing skills).”

 

During some recent meetings I attended in Washington, DC “soft skills” was the main topic. The growing concern by employers that high school and college graduates are lacking some “soft skills” is resulting some organized effort to address this issue (for more information regarding these efforts, check out this document). Some obstacles that have been mentioned as eroding the “soft skills” in young adults today include: smart phone use (texting as opposed to talking), crowded high school schedules (allowing little to no time for a PT job), and too much time on Internet or gaming. Without belaboring why “soft skills” are lacking, let’s shift focus to how young adults can differentiate themselves relative to their peers. Below are 3 ways develop soft skills during their high school and college years:


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Published on May 17th, 2016

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