First Day at Work

Who wouldn’t be excited for their first day at work?  However, don’t be SO excited that you forget some of the basics:

* shower

* trim your nails and remove any chipped nailpolish

* dress appropraitely

* bring a note pad and pen

* bring your passport and a check book- for direct deposit and identification purposes

* bring any other notes you may have made while interviewing for the job

Personally, I couldn’t be more excited to wear “grown up” clothes again.  At the beginning of this whole ordeal I was glad that I hadn’t just thrown out a lot of my casual clothes, because quite honestly, how often do you wear a basic t-shirt and jeans while working in the corporate world?  Now I’m extremely glad that I can buy corporate clothes again.  I long for my pencil skirts, long work pants, blouses and high heels that don’t need to be appropriate for an 8 hour day on my feet but rather need to look good for getting me from my car to the office and to walk from one cube to the next.

Gone are the days when I prepared for 8 hours of manual labor in a stock room opening anywhere between 20-60 boxes and organizing clothes racks.  As much as I loved those days, I’m quite ready and quite happy about this change!

What did you do today?

Advertisements

The long hard road…to employment

16 months

457 job applications

93 rejections

Roughly 15 face to face interviews

9 basic cover letters that were reworked numerous times

18 reworked versions of a resume

Two placement agencies

Five volunteer events

One part-time job

Several gray hairs

And that is what it took to FINALLY find employment!!! I could not be happier!  Thank you all for reading and encouraging me to keep writing. HOWEVER, I will not be leaving you for long.  I still plan to share advice, at times it will be written for those who may be employed, however the writing may be puled back to three times a week while I adjust to my new environment.  But for now, I am taking a week off to enjoy my vacation!

What did you do today?

Looking for New Connections?

No, this is not in regards to love connections but rather networking connections!  This post will be short and sweet but I hope helpful.  As I was browsing the new issue of the Improper Bostonian I noticed some great people mentioned in the Proper Bostonians section.  Why not pick up a local free magazine or paper and see who is who. I bet you would be surprised who you could connect with…virtually.  Perhaps an executive assistant who could help get your name to the HR person in a company?

All you have to do, once you find out the name of someone of interest, is to reach out to them and mention that you saw them mentioned in the magazine.  Follow this up with expressing your interest int he company and ask if there is any way you could get the e-mail of the HR manager.   In order to get any e-mail at all however, you will need to do some sleuthing and find out what the e-mail addresses are like in said company.

Happy networking.

What did you do today?

Showing Off Career Progression

Alesia Benedict, from GetInterviews.com, writes in her newest post titled, Four Ways Your Resume Should Show Off a Career Progression, “Whether you’ve worked for the same employer your entire career or lost count of the number of resignation letters you’ve signed, demonstrating how you evolved as a professional is key to a winning resume presentation.  Prospective employers find career progression very important.”

I’ve written before that I am a big believer in not judging those who may have worked in a number of different companies rather than just stuck with one place.  You never know what the situations have been, so to think the person who jumps from job to job may not be stable is silly. In order for you as a potential employee to stand out you should follow the following steps in order to show your career progression:

1. Emphasize Titles. If you’ve spent considerable time at one company but held multiple titles, do not make the mistake of lumping everything under one heading for that company. Unfortunately, by mixing and matching duties of different titles in one master description, the progression gets muddled.

Be sure to let those promotions work for you! After all, you worked hard to get them, so they certainly deserve to draw attention. Instead of organizing your experience by company, do so by title.

2. Focus on New Responsibilities. Even if you leave a company for another in what would be considered a lateral move, you can demonstrate the progression in your career by showing how you increased task ownership in the subsequent capacity.

Rather than repeating duties used to describe your previous role, be sure your resume description for each progressive role clearly shows new tasks taken on when you advanced.

3. Recount Accomplishments. No matter what your title was, reach back into your memory and pull out at least three of your most valuable achievements for each role. It’s great to have old performance evaluations handy, but even if you don’t, a little brainstorming can help jog even the worst memory. Consider the following:

  • In what successful projects did you play a key role?
  • What were the main objectives you set out to achieve?
  • Are there metrics you can cite to show measurable accomplishments?
  • Did you form any strategic relationships that proved valuable to the organization?
  • What awards did you win?
  • Were you selected to serve on any special committees or to head any teams?
  • How did you contribute to supporting the goals of the department or organization as a whole?

4. Highlight Newly Acquired Skills. The next step in your career journey will build upon the skills and knowledge you possess today. With this in mind, think about how each past position expanded upon your abilities. What new skills did you use? What new knowledge did you apply? If you completed any specialized training, be sure to include it as well.

Your resume isn’t doing its job if it doesn’t tell an employer the story of your professional journey, so be sure to optimize your presentation to make your career progression shine.

What did you do today?

Moving Into the “Yes” Pile

With hundreds of applicants to any given job you always wonder what puts you over the edge and move into the “yes” pile. Is it the skills?  The education?  The references?  The experience?  What is it?

I always felt that I had great experience, and had even been told so, so what could I do to surpass everyone else and stand out of a…pile?

Here are some tips for you from Stephanie Daniel, VP at Keystone Associates:

Individualize: “There are countless resume books that offer fancy canned resume phrases, but a savvy recruiter will see right through them.”

Quantify: “It is great to write that you improved your company’s sales numbers, brought in new clients, or reduced excessive expenditures, but the hiring manager will ask you to “show me the money”. Make your resume stand out by quantifying your successes with hard numbers and statistics…”

Energize: “Avoid the temptation to use the same verb over again and again and remove ho-hum verbs like ‘provide’ and ‘coordinate.'”

Optimize: “Include keywords and tags at the bottom of your resume before you post it to the various online job sites and networks so it’s searchable. You’ll more likely be found by the human resources or hiring manger if your resume is tagged for words that describe your discipline, experience, and industry knowledge.”

Trim: “…remove all extraneous words until you get down to only the essential facts that will sell you.”

Overnight: “If it’s a job you really want, you should mail your resume overnight so the human resources or hiring manger has to sign for it.”

What did you do today?

P.S. Here is the link to, Six ways to push your resume into the “green pile.”

30-60-90

I found a great article about a job search checklist for recent grads.  The majority of the points were ones I’ve talked about (networking, LinkedIn, don’t focus on just job boards, etc.) however the last one really intrigued me and I had to share it with you.  Here goes, “if you are a top contender for an opportunity, think about submitting a 30-60-90 day plan. This plan should articulate what you hope to accomplish in your first 90 days on the job. This demonstrates a focus, a level of interest and a seriousness that may differentiate you from your competition.”

How clever is that?  I’ve mentioned before that it’s helpful to put together a presentation or bring some previously created material but I never thought about a 30-60-90 plan!  What do you think?

What did you do today?

P.S. Here is the full article titled, Job hunting checklist for recent college graduate[s].

Writing Targeted Cover Letters

How about some relevant tips for cover letter writing?  I recently wrote about including quotes from a job description right into my cover letter, as well as bulleting out my skills to make them stand out a little more.  I then got some comments from you readers about referring to something you may have learned about while researching the company, perhaps something the CEO said.  You could open with the quote and then say how that kind of leadership is exactly what you are looking for out of a company or that you share a similar vision.

So, on that note, while I was cruising through LinkedIn I noticed you can get cover letter advice prior to drafting up a cover letter.  I’m sure I noticed that link before and just chose not to click on it.  However, today I will share the information, as well as my own opinions in italics, with you as you may have chosen not to click on it either:

“Your cover letter is your best chance to sell why you specifically are the best candidate for this job.”

  • Write a strong opening. Don’t just say “I am applying for your listing which I found on LinkedIn”, but explain why you are applying: “The opportunity to join your company as a Marketing manager is an excellent match with my 7 years of experience marketing top-end consumer products with over $50 million in annual sales.”   –> This will show that you researched the company and really read the job description!
  • Include experience and strengths that relate directly to the job you are seeking. It is not necessary to include everything from your resume here.                                                                                                                                                                                                                       –> As I’ve said before, there is no need to talk about a job in a bakery, if it doesn’t relate.  It’s better to show the most relevant work in the last 5 years than irrelevant work over the last 10.
  • Research the person and company you are applying to. If you have any shared interests, backgrounds or connections, mention those to increase the interest of the hiring manager.                                                                          –> Again, this shows that you’ve actually done some research and feel that you would be a good fit for the position.
  • Be creative. Make sure your cover letter shows who you are; stand out from the crowd.                                                –> I’ve been including the link to my blog.
  • Proofread carefully. Spelling and grammatical errors can be a big problem. You may want to type your cover letter in a word-processing program and use the spellchecker. Then just copy and paste your letter into the provided field.                                                                                                                                                                                                    –> I couldn’t agree more.  Do you remember me telling you about my two friends?  One wrote regards incorrectly, when he mistakenly typed a “t” instead of a “g”,and another misspelled shift, by omitting the “f.”  These types of mistakes may not be picked up as they are actual words, so pay close attention!  Sometimes I feel like I could re read a document 10 times and find mistakes each time.

And finally, here is an example of a cover letter from LinkedIn:
Dear <name>,
(if the poster has made his/her name available use it, otherwise use “Hiring Manager”)

The opportunity to join your company as a Marketing manager is an excellent match with my 7 years of experience marketing top-end consumer products with over $50 million in annual sales.

Specifically, my applicable experience for this job and key strengths include:

<list your experiences>
(Don’t repeat your resume, but tie specific experiences to the requirements for the job)

The attached resume and my LinkedIn profile provide more detail about my other past experience and accomplishments. Endorsements from other professionals, former colleagues and bosses can also be seen in my LinkedIn profile.

I’m sure there are some people I’ve worked with in the past who are accessible through your LinkedIn network; I encourage you to use the reference search LinkedIn provides to get more information about my qualifications from some of those people.

Thank you for your time and attention; I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,
<insert your first and last name> “

Good luck and…what did you do today?

Having a Leg Up on the Employed!

  • “Eighty-two percent of out-of-work job seekers reported having a recent job interview, compared to only 51 percent of employed job seekers.
  • Fifty-two percent of unemployed job seekers reported having one interview in the past month, compared to 32 percent of employed job seekers.
  • Thirty percent of unemployed job seekers reported having two or more interviews in the past month, compared to 19 percent of employed job seekers.”

Who would have thought!  I am still convinced that it is easier to find a job while employed.  However…it makes sense, we are all a lot more available for interviews that are convenient not only for us but also for the interviewer.  Also, the unemployed have time to make the job search their full time “job,” whereas the employed can only dedicate so much time to networking, searching for and applying to jobs and…going on interviews.

There aren’t many opportunities to have a leg up over other employed candidates so follow these three easy steps to get ahead:

1. Stay in the Loop

2. Keep Confidence Up

3. Decide to Stay Positive

What did you do today?

P.S. Here is a link to, Really? New report says it’s easier to find a job while unemployed.

P.P.S. I apologize for all of the quoted blog posts but these articles just had to be shared! 🙂

Tweet to Succeed

“Twitter has played important roles in major events recently. The plane landing in the Hudson River was first documented via Twitter. The 2008 presidential candidates communicated with voters through the site. Last year’s Iranian protests gained publicity through worldwide Twitter updates. Who would’ve thought something so small would be so important?”

Got your attention yet?

Well, if I didn’t get your attention in a blog post with the same title, “Tweet to Succeed,” then I hope I can change your mind now and perhaps make your life a little easier.  We all know what Twitter is mostly used for, chatting with your friends in 140 characters or less, listening to your customers, cleaning up a PR mess, the list goes on.  But have you used Twitter to look for work? Well you should.

I have LinkedIn Jobs pop up on my Twitter feed, as well as Boston.com’s Job Doc and many others.  This way, before I even dive into a four hour session of sending out applications to the various opportunities out there I can quickly see if anything has popped up and begin my search that way.

The article I came across suggests you follow the following steps when beginning your Twitter assisted job search:

“1. Know what you want to accomplish and track your progress.
Take advantage of Twitter’s real-time user interaction by monitoring your @replies, direct messages (DMs) and Retweets.

2. Understand your limits.
Don’t just post – seek out information that is valuable to you. Use the favorites option to keep track of posts you want to revisit or think about.

3. Find and follow people.
Twitter can overwhelm you if you follow too many people. Information will fall off of the newsfeed quickly. Instead, be selective about who you follow and make sure they offer information that’s relevant to your goals.

4. Don’t retweet too much!
If all you can offer is a retweet of other people’s messages, then you probably don’t need to be on Twitter. Offer your own input on topics. Plus, the authors point out, if your feed is entirely made of @replies, people will feel as if they’re not welcome to your conversation.

5. Give of yourself.
“Join @jobangels and other philanthropic groups and give back when you can. Watch for opportunities to offer a tip, insight, job lead or helping hand,” the authors suggest.

So log on to Twitter, set up an account, follow us and get going!”

What did you do today?

P.S. Here is a link to the article from above, Find a job in 140 characters or less.

Resumes for Every Field!

Recently I came across a wonderful site called Blue Sky Resumes.  This site gives you a wealth of information.  No matter what field you are in you can get free advice!  You can even take a free resume writing course!

Once you pick the resume you would like to use as a template you can then click and find out the reasoning behind the template.  The biggest thing I took away from the Social Media Specialist resume is:

“We completely transformed [the] resume by going into a lot of detail about…social media and blogging experience and almost eliminating unrelated achievements from [the] most recent position.

Lots of those achievements were impressive but they were distracting readers from the skills that would be most important for someone managing social media.

This is a key point – keep your resume focused on what your target employers want to know and be ruthless about eliminating information that doesn’t serve that purpose.

This advice, I feel, is very relevant, especially for those who have a wide variety of experience.  As I’ve written before, I don’t think variety is a bad thing. If there is a commonality between the positions you’ve held then you must highlight that commonality.

I also agree that it may not be appropriate to list every single skill you’ve ever acquired.  Does a hiring manager for a marketing position really care if you worked at Abercrombie when you were 20?  Unless it’s a position that requires retail experience, I’d leave it off.

If anyone asks you why you may have left that particular experience off, simply state that you did not think that that particular job was relevant to the position you were applying for and that you wanted to make sure that your most relevant skills were highlighted.  However, you would be more than happy to talk about that experience.

Next, when looking at a resume for a Marketing Manager position I found the following advice very interesting:

When hiring a marketer, employers are not looking primarily for creativity – they’re looking for results. They want you to be creative of course, but only if what you create drives revenue or profit increases.

What are your key learning’s?

What did you do today?