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Resume Writers with Industry experience

If you have been applying for jobs, and not getting interviews, the problem may be your resume. The 3 Second Resume service has many Resume Writers with experience, ready to help you. You set the budget! You can read what the Resume Writers' clients say about them, as well as message them with your questions about your resume, and job search.

A resume is designed to get you an interview for a job. If your resume is not getting you interviews, then consider hiring a professional resume writer. To do a resume, you'll need your results and achievements, as well as your work experience. At the 3 Second Resume service, you set the budget, then select a Resume Writer that you like.

Questions and Answers from all the Resume Writers

If a Jobseeker is applying for jobs they are "perfect" for, and they are not getting interviews, what is your # 1 suggestion?

My # 1 suggestion for a Jobseeker who is not getting interviews, after applying to jobs they seem perfect for, is to make sure they use a resume that is customized for every single opportunity, and showcases "What I Can Do For You", in that particular role.

The resume you send in, should make it easy for the reader to figure you out, AND it should contain phrases and keywords from the position description, as well as very specific industry jargon for that role. Focus and numeric results are always a good strategy.

If you send in the same resume for each opportunity, containing everything you have ever done, the reader can easily get confused, and be unsure of where you fit in.

What is a good strategy for following up, after I send in my resume and application?

Many Jobseekers think that following up to the company about your application is a mistake. What's the worst that could happen? They will say "don't call us we'll call you".

What about good things that might happen?  The Hiring Manager might get on the telephone because they are in an urgent need, and setup a face to interveiw, or the HR person will remember you from a telephone call, and know that you were interested and took initiative. If you consider that hundreds of unsuitable resumes are sent in for every opportunity, you should be selective and follow up with a telephone call to your top opportunities, to make sure the resume was received. 

Be ready to share "What I Can Do For You" , have some success stories ready, and even practice answering "Tell Me About Yourself" Your follow up call can easily turn into your first telephone intereview! 

Give it 4-5 days and make a call. Just ask if they received your application, say you are really excited about the opportunity, and ask what the next steps are, if they are interested in you.

What is a good way to handle a time gap on my resume, if I have been looking for work for a long time?

The 3 Second Resume style includes numeric results, no soft language, as well as customization for every opportunity.

The top half of the first page should get someone excited about you. They shouldn't have to work hard to figure you out. You need to communicate... "What I Can Do For You"

If you have done all that in your resume, then your attitude should be... that I've done it before and I can do it again, regardless of a gap, or even some bouncing around in different jobs. If you have been looking around for a long time, when you get to the work experience section, make sure to be direct and honest about what you have been doing in addition to a job search, and keep it very short unless it applies to the role you are applying for.

It's your responsibility to draw out and communicate your acheivements and experience, which are relevant and compelling to the reader for that position, and communicate it in your resume. It's not about "everything I have ever done". Focus on "What I Can Do For You"

Here's a simple way to check how your job search is going.

First make sure you have a good resume. It's critical to help you win an interview.

As you continue your job search you need to track how many telephone interviews you get, for the number of resumes sent out. For example, if you send out 20 resumes and you get 2 telephone interviews, that's 10% or 1 in 10. Simple. but why is this needed? Many Jobseekers are not selective. They send out hundreds of resumes in online applications and get almost no response. This activity level, with no results, is hard to sustain and doesn't do anything good for the Jobseeker's confidence. Not to mention a lack of job prospects.
By tracking the ratio of telephone interviews to submissions, you can make adjustments to your job search efforts.

Here are some issues that may explain why the telephone isn't ringing.

  1. Maybe I haven't done enough research on the company/position, and I don't really understand what they are looking for.
  2. Maybe my resume is not customized enough to the positions I'm applying for.
  3. Maybe I haven't included enough results and achievements that communicate "What I Can Do For You"
  4. Maybe I'm not being selective in which positions I apply for. I just apply to everything I see with a standard "everything I have ever done" resume.
  5. Maybe I'm applying for positions where I lack critical experience or skills. I'm hoping someone will recognize my potential and give me a chance.

If you are on a job search, try keeping track of your results, & good luck!

Before you start a job search, work on your mindset especially if you are upset

In our Resume and Career Guide available for free download here, we talk about an opened mind and heightened awareness that comes with a job loss. Some have called this "post-traumatic growth". Before starting a job search  >>>  get in the right frame of mind.

Getting organized also includes preparing to let your network know you are looking. Don't worry about what others think of you. True friends, including former bosses, will try and help. Talking with someone supportive and successful, will get you into the right positive mindset.

As you get started, develop the confidence to be selective and only apply for opportunities that you are clearly suited for based on your experience and skills. Fewer applications means you can do better research about the organization, as well as have the time to do a personal follow up. A friendly chat with someone, asking if they received your resume, can lift your spirits!

Cover letters are great - but they are different from resumes.

You've worked hard on your resume and now you are wondering... what about a cover letter? I had a candidate once tell me they spent 4 days writing a cover letter! Wow - It really should only take a few minutes.

The resume is your marketing tool to get you an interview. A cover letter is a support document to the resume - it should be written with just a few points and a mission to get the reader excited to look at your resume asap. What are the things you need on a cover?

1. If applicable, the name and appropriate salutation to the reader
2. Specific and accurate mention of the position
3. A few points, maximum 3-4 sentences (found on your resume) about why you are so excited, and believe you are a great fit
4. An upbeat signoff and thank you

That's it - You should position yourself with the mindset that after reading your cover letter, you will be considered a top choice for the opportunity. If not, rethink the cover letter.

In total a 1/2 page is the maximum length needed. 

Hard driving Entreprenurial bosses are looking for something in you.

Let's say you are being considered for a job, and being interviewed by an A-type driven entrepreneurial boss. Is there anything you can do differently to make the interview go better?  

A "Driver" is looking for people who are committed, and share her vision. She wants to know that you are listening as she maps out the company plans or the goals of the job. So you need to take notes as soon as you sense an "information dump". In the mind of the Interviewer, as they share their information,  you are already hired. They don't want to think they will have to repeat everything again or that you aren't totally on-board. So take notes! but how?

At the moment you perceive an "information dump" open your notebook up, lift your pen, and THEN ask "do you mind if I take notes?" The answer will almost always be yes, and the A-type driven entrepreneurial boss will be happy.

Sometimes you need to think about what you've done at work, but... everyone has results.

The 3 Second Resume style has 2 unbreakable rules. One is supplying numeric results, and two is not using soft language. They are connected. Which of these two statements tells you more?

A. Frank is a software development manager; a team player, who thinks outside the box.


B. At XYZ company, Frank managed a software development team of 5 (writer, 2 programmers, support, admin) in an online e-commerce project lasting 6 months, with a budget of 700K.

Always think of your numeric results in terms of "What I Can Do For You", as well as the specific position you are applying for. This means customizing your resume is a requirement.

Lost your Job? Be aware of both stress, and the opportunity for growth & change.

Here are 2 excerpts from the Resume and Career Guide 2016 3rd edition. You can download it from the 3 Second Resume website.

"The world is random, unfair and unpredictable.

Knowing and accepting this randomness makes losing a job less about you personally, and more about other people, the organization where you worked, and other circumstances
Many companies are “head count” organizations. Regardless of your efforts, you may have lost your job because of a headcount change. Don't take it as a personal setback that's your fault. The conventional wisdom is when one door closes, another one opens.

Before we explore the possibility that another opportunity is waiting for you.. take advantage of the gift you have received. You have been given a gift to make some changes and grow. Don't lose that gift."


"The shock and trauma of the job loss comes with stress. It feels like a smack in the head to be fired and told to go away. Those feelings are not just in your head, but affect your entire body! STRESS!

When we are pushed out of our comfort zone with a job loss, we get heightened awareness; emanating from significant instantaneous biological/hormonal changes from the job loss experience and your involuntary response. “Fight or Flight” is a physiological response which is out of your immediate control, is buried in human DNA.

Along with heightened awareness, recognize that you have the power to make choices"

The # Interview Question

If you are a Jobseeker, or anticipating upcoming interviews, there are a lot of things you can do to prepare for both face to face, as well as telephone interviews.

Today's topic is how to deal with... "Tell Me About Yourself"

Simply put, its a 3 part strategy.

You need to start by sharing about YOU some basic personal information to become likable and demonstrate you will fit in. An example would be... "I was born and raised in Chicago, I'm married with 2 kids" That's it.

Next you need to talk about what your PASSION is from a work perspective that coincides exactly with what the job requires. For example for a sales position, "During my career I've enjoyed the process of learning about customer's needs, and then working to recommend and deliver solutions that meet those requirements, to satisfy the customer and develop the relationship further. (additional examples).

And finally talk about how excited you are about the specific OPPORTUNITY at the specific company and then stop. The next follow up from the Interviewer will probably be about the job!

Easy steps to write a short Success Story

Have you heard about those job interviews with tricky questions such as... "how many pizzas are sold in New York every year?" Plus those impossible to answer behavioral interview questions!?

As if you weren't already nervous and under pressure about the interview, thinking about what to say makes it worse. Here is a way to organize what you want to say when answering a question such as "What did you do at your last job?" OR, "Can you tell me about some of your achievements?"

To do well, you need a bit of preparation and practice.

This applies for both telephone and face to face interviews, as well as using the results in your resume. This makes your "messaging" consistent.

There are a few easy steps

Discuss a problem at work and the risk or cost of doing nothing. For example; let's say you were a Retail Manager and there was a lot of theft. The problem is the losses from theft, and the risk of doing nothing is the possibility the store would close because of losses.

What did you do? Keep it short and on subject for specifically solving the problem.

What were the results? In this example, maybe you rearranged the floor displays so staff had a better view and the results were a 25% drop in thefts.

Be prepared to answer follow up questions about the success story

Easy!  Practice and you'll be ready to answer in an interview. Use the numeric results in your resume too!

Should I list all of my training, education and certifications or just some of them?

Is the position you are applying for at an organization that values lifelong learning? Do you have qualifications far in excess of what they need or want?

Your education, training and certifications are important, but not without work experience. Just ask a college graduate looking for their first experience. (New grads should list education as well as co-op, internships - any work experience)

If you think you have been having a problem of being "over-qualified" for positions you apply to, then provide a complete set of relevant and fresh education, technical, certifications, courses etc. that perfectly qualifies you for the position, and no more. By isting everything you can easily confuse or threaten the hiring manager, or disqualify yourself.

Adjust to the Organization and the position.

Don't list programming languages from the punchcard era, unless you are joining a company mostly filled with older programmers.

Don't list reams of academic credentials, if the organization is not looking for an academic background.

Don't overwhelm or list a ridiculous amount of certfications, courses etc. - just what shows you as fully qualified, and no more.

Don't list a broad range of credentials - stay focused in the industry.

Make sure to list some credentials in the past 10 years even continuing education, courses etc. to demonstrate you are current. Don't show a long gap since you have been learning. If you don't have anything, then an organization that values learning, best practices and being up to date, will likely reject you.

You've done something amazing... now how do you add it to you resume?

If you've got an outstanding "intangible", don't assume you should leave it off your resume or cover letter. You just need to find the right place.

Is it directly connected to the position you're applying for?

Here are a few examples of "intangibles" that some companies would love to know about, even if they aren't related to the position. Did you climb Mount Everest? Have you published a book or had a screenplay turned into a well-known movie? Have you demonstrated and been recognized for a 1 in 100,000 leadership or community achievement?

Mention these in your resume after the work experience section, as well as reference one in the cover letter if you use one. Expect the Interviewer to ask about it in your face to face or telephone interview! Be humble.

There are also "intangibles" that are closer to the workplace such as possessing an extraordinary business-social network, or being an accomplished industry public speaker. Treat these a bit differently. Mention them at the top of your resume along with other numeric results. Make sure they are out of the ordinary. You may be asked about them as well, even though they don't have the same wow factor.

Of course, winning a hot dog eating contest doesn't help you - so be selective!

How to deal with a time gap on your resume

The best way to deal with a time gap on your resume, to start with, is to have a powerful top section; a profile of your numeric results and achievements that are a match, to the requirements of the position, you are applying for. The resume reader should not have to work hard to figure you out. If you communicate "What I Can Do For You" in the top of the first page on your resume, the importance of a time gap is reduced. 

Very few people have perfect career progressions, so a short time gap of 6 months is common. If you have more senior-level experience, the time gap can be longer. Either way... always make sure your resume is accurate and transparent.

Were you looking for work and doing contracts or consulting, during this time gap?

Did you have a terrible (and short-term) work experience that you have intentionally left off your resume?

Did you take a severance package and take a long holiday?

The sum of all your relevant work will mitigate time gaps. It's important to be truthful, but try and get past the time gap as fast possible in interviews. Do not dwell on the time gap, or get into long explanations.

Demonstrate you are ready to get going!

You can't change your age, so make yourself a "low risk hire"

If you are out on the Job search, and you are an experienced Candidate, you may start to feel too old, or that you are being discriminated against because of your age, because you aren't getting called for interviews.

Think a bit differently for a moment.

Try and go direct. It is your choice to send in a resume. Instead, you can telephone a senior person in the organization, out of the HR department, to discuss opportunities. This will get you past potentially prejudiced against age HR screening. But, be prepared for rejection and being told to go through HR.

Resume fix : Make a "risk list". That's a list of all the risks that you pose to the Hiring Manager.

  1. you aren't up to date on technology, best practices, new methods
  2. you are experienced and will resent working at the position
  3. you are experienced and will always be looking for a better job
  4. you won't fit in "culturally" - meaning everyone is younger, a different color, a different religion etc. That's prejudice and racist. If an HR person is empowered to factor this in, then you don't weant to work there.

Only showcase results, acheivements and experience at the level they are hiring for. Don't wow them with big titles that will incresae your risks to them. Don't reference anything that is long gone out of the industry; no buggy whips, no ice trucks, no computer punchcard software. 

If you can show 3 or 4 positions with minimum tenures of 5 years, you will have a powerful work experience section. If you have had one job for 30 years, then break up each consecutive position title and time period, so you show career growth in chunks not one long stretch.

It's true that there is ageism - but do your part to fight it by communicating with a low risk resume, and getting an interview!


Your LinkedIn profile and your resume

LinkedIn is a confusing website for a Jobseeker. There is a lot going on. Most of it is not relevant to finding a job. Much of LinkedIn is similar to other social media sites such as facebook or twitter. Posts, articles, updates, endorsements, notifications.  An active Jobseeker needs to focus on 3 things to successfully use LinkedIn, and get past the distractions.

First off, JOB  POSTINGS: use it as one of your resources for job postings. 

Secondly, SEARCH RESULTS: You coming up in a search. Customize your Summary and Headline for a LinkedIn search. Recruiters looking to fill a position, will create an advanced search, and you need to come up in the results. Your Headline, Summary and Experience sections must include the keywords and phrases that will be used in the search. Take a minute to create your own search, and then view the user profiles that come up. Is your LinkedIn profile setup with the same words and phrases for your occupation?

Third, PROFILE REVIEW: You being checked out by a Recruiter or Hiring Manager. What do they see? They should see an edited and targeted version of your resume, that does not include everything you have ever done. Create focus in your LinkedIn profile. The Experience section must be an exact match to your resume, but the Headline and Summary sections are yours to create to get you the interview!

Also, double check the posts you have made, and make sure there is a professional tone to everything you do.

Can You Re-invent Yourself?

When it comes to career and jobs, re-inventing yourself is a must. But there are a few things to think about.

  1. Authenticity - staying true to yourself
  2. Your passion - what you love to do, or would love to do
  3. Your workplace value - What someone will pay you to do
  4. What you are actually good at
  5. Your reality - money vs. self-fulfillment

From the point of view of an employer only #3 matters, "What You Can Do For Me" , and how much you are worth. Employers also expect you to be good at the job they need done, and that you like what you are doing.

The path to re-inventing yourself into a new job starts with #4 and then #3. Showcasing what you are "good at", and then demonstrating workplace value. It may not be much of a stretch to go from past jobs to new opportunities, if you are able to deconstruct past jobs, and find connections to where you want to go.

Having a good functional style resume, and developing success stories at past jobs, helps the resume reader understand you, and your value better. They won't have to work hard to figure you out.They will be able to see the connection between past work and your future job.

Don't expect a chronological resume stuffed with meaningless soft language to help you re-invent yourself. Demonstrate your past workplace talents, as a foundation for where you want to go.

How to communicate... What I Can Do For You

Less is More. That's right.

If you want to have a clear message so that HR easily understands "What I Can Do For You" you need a combination of an effective resume, and some powerful tactics to set you apart.

Use a style of resume that showcases your relevant achievements, results and experience specifically for the job you are going after. Not everything you've done. If you insist on a resume that shares "everything I have ever done", or if you are not prepared to customize your resume for each application, then your chances of HR getting excited about you are lower. The vast majority of people are in love with their version of their full career story,  and it doesn't help get an interview.

Can someone figure you out in 3 to 6 seconds? The HR reader will check out your Headline. Your location. The achievements you showcase at the top. The reader will scan your last job, title and how long you worked there. That's it - all in 3 to 6 seconds.

There are also a few tactics to use to improve your chances of communicating "What I Can Do For You" One is before the resume, and one is after.

I'm not a huge fan of a cover letter unless it is very short and is written to get someone very excited about reading your resume. A cover letter should mention the job title, give 2-3 short reasons why you are perfect, and show your interest. 1/3 of a page maximum. Don't repeat your resume. Waste of time. That's it. Less is more.

After you send in the resume, pick up the telephone and call HR, and ask if they received your resume. If you are researching companies, and limiting your applications then you'll have time for follow up calls. There is no downside to calling. You never know what could happen. Maybe they remember how interested you are? or maybe they put you at the top of the pile? or maybe you get re-directed to the Hiring Manager and get an instant telephone interview?! If that happens, now is your chance to  communicate "What I Can Do For You"

Should I attend job fairs and networking events?

The No List:

1. Job hunting groups where everyone is looking for a job and seeking emotional support. Typically, someone is going to be selling something. High priced resume services, coaching, courses. Your time is better spent elsewhere.
2. Career or Job fairs. Only attend if there are suitable jobs that you can apply for. If its a mix of commission sales opportunities, and other exhibitors, then don't waste your time. Find out in advance - your time is valuable.

The Yes List:

1. Trade or Industry conferences, conventions and events of almost every type in your business segment - Meet new people and reacquaint with others. Don't hand out a resume.Just be tuned in to potential opportunities, and invitations for follow-up. Follow-Up!
2. Industry social events; have fun and don't be a pest. Describe What I Do vs. being between jobs. Let the people you talk to take the initiative to network and help you. Don't ask everyone if they know of any openings. Keep it light and breezy.

If you are not comfortable in social situations like an event, and you consider yourself shy or introverted, make your life easy by learning to create success stories.  Imagine a subject came up that you have experience in. Can you offer an opinion or share an insight? If someone asks about it, do you have a success story ready?

Should I follow up after applying for a job?

Not every professional in the HR field agrees with this. Some say "don't call us, we'll call you" . In other words don't call the company you just applied to. Why? Because they are busy and if they are interested in you, they'll be in touch. 

I say ignore this request and make a follow up call for 2 reasons.

Firstly, you don't really know if they received your submission. You are relying on electronic submissions, often sent through a 3rd party system.  If you mailed it, your confidence can be high that your submission was received, but without a confirmation, maybe they didn't get your resume?

Second reason. In today's job search environment, most applicants spend little time on company research as well as editing a resume for each application. They fire off lots of job submissions and then forget about it.  They aren't tracking companies, activity, or results related to their job search. they are also not picking up the phone and calling to see if their resume was received. 

HR people are not inundated with people who have sent in a resume and are following up. Sometimes they'll get a call from a Recruiter, or a call from someone who hasn't applied, and wants to ask questions about the job; but rarely from someone who sent in a resume.  

To make a follow up call  keep it  positive, and keep it simple.

Try this... "Hi It's ______  _______ I'm very interested in the position of _________ and I'm calling to make sure that my application was received. How can I check that?"  The bad news is in most cases you'll get a brush off but the odd time, especially at smaller companies, you may get transferred over to a Hiring Manager. You never know.

Even if nothing comes of it, at the very least you'll be practicing your communication skills.

Top 5 Tips when applying for a Job

(1) The Right Kind of Activity: Apply for Jobs you believe you can do right now.

Your job search activity is critical. When you submit an application, can you imagine yourself in a face to face interview talking about your experience and "What I Can Do For You?"  Could you share some success stories? Could you talk about the hiring company and the opportunity with ease? OR is that something you'll deal with later if they respond to your resume?

(2) Leverage Your Efforts: Look for similar opportunities while your mind is focused

If you are prepping a custom resume, and thinking about What I Can Do For You for a specific job, find companies that do the same thing, and apply for a job there. If you don't see a job posting, research the company and reach out to someone directly who can tell you about current opportunities.

(3) Follow Up: Have a before and after plan for each Job submission

Most Jobseekers will not call and follow up after a Job application submission, and sometimes not even after they've had an interview. Pick up the phone and call. Telephone is better than email. Leaving a voicemail warms up the person you are calling because they hear your voice. Another call a day later. Note: this is impossible to do if you apply for dozens of jobs a day (most of which you can't do anyways)

(4) Propose Alternate Paths: Suggest a short-term project that they need  

If you didn't get the job offer, but invested in research and prep, and you are talking to a decision-maker, be ready to propose a way for them to solve an immediate problem, and/or a painless way for them to check you out. Just the act of suggesting a short-term gig, shows you are smart and motivated. This is especially true for Jobseekers lacking work experience, and for those who are older and suffering from age discrimination. You have nothing to lose. In that conversation, have an "ask" Know exactly what you are asking for.  Sending in a one page proposal offers an opportunity for follow up conversations and networking.

(5) You Need a Really Good Resume

We can help you with that !

So Good They Can't Ignore You

Competing with Yourself on a Job Search

When it comes to a job search, there are a lot of external factors we have no control over; the number of applicants, competing internal Candidates, and technology that screens out even good applicants.

What can we control when looking for work?

To get a first interview, which is usually the stepping stone to getting hired, a lot of groundwork needs to be done. We are in charge of everything that needs to be done on our end, to get the interview. So essentially, we're only competing with ourselves.  

For example, imagine you could only apply for one position a month. Would you be selective? Would you research the opportunity to make sure you are a perfect fit in every way? Would you customize your resume carefully to showcase the ex perience and results relevant to that job? Would you put together a follow up plan, and explore your network to see if they could help you?

Luckily, there are no restrictions on how many jobs we can apply for in a month! However, that doesn't mean cutting back on everything we need to do, on our end, to get the best possible chance of a first interview.
If you think of the world's greatest athletes it's good to know that their elite success came not just from having physical talents, but training & working a lot harder than everyone else. Competing with themselves to be better.

Another Job applicant may have equivalent experience to you, but may not work as hard as you to get the first interview.

Have you ever heard the phrase in coaching or personal development circles "get out of your own way"?  Another way of saying this, (maybe a bit harsher) is... "don't be your own worst enemy".

Fixing the #1 Problem with a Resume

What is the #1 problem? and what's the fix?

If you have applied for a job, and a human being, or a software program, is scanning your resume, are you hoping they will discover your best and most relevant work experience, for that job opportunity? Are you relying on them reading the entire resume, and focusing on an older work experience from 5 years ago?

You can't leave it to chance. Don't make that big mistake.

Start with describing yourself in a powerful "headline" of 15 - 20 words based on what they need in the role, and  "What I Can Do For You" (not your objective or passion). This starts the process of solving this big mistake. Now the reader is intrigued about you, and wants to continue checking you out.

Anyone with a choppy work history, or anyone where their most compelling work experience was not their last job, or anyone from another country lacking local experience, absolutely needs to use a functional style resume, such as the 3 Second Resume Style. A resume with numeric results, with text that is customized and targeted to the specific job opportunity; without meaningless soft language such as... "team player"!

This functional section that showcases, front and center, the great things you did in past jobs, not in chronological order. You did it before, and you can do it again.

Then, you list your chronological Work Experience, Education etc.

If you are looking for a job, first you need an interview. Treat your resume as the marketing document that gets them interested in interviewing you, NOT a listing of everything I have ever done.


7 Job Search Mistakes

Many of these Job Search mistakes are not commonly discussed in the HR and Career world. I'll add one more to the list, and add my comments in italics

  1. Returning calls days later rather than hours or minutes later. It's kind of obvious that you are competing with other applicants, so its best to jump on opportunity calls asap to qualify them. (asap means nights, weekends, lunch breaks)
  2. Losing self control in conversations and either talking too much or not answering questions. This is very common and easily fixed with practice and training for interviews. Interview tips here:
  3. Spending the majority of time at home applying for jobs online. Everyone needs mental health breaks, and circulating with Industry people at trade events, always brings connections and opportunities.
  4. Sending out mass emails asking for help. It's a turn-off to get an email filled with self-pity or begging. Engage your network 1:1 and let people offer to help you.
  5. Finding escapes from working at it, such as television or shopping or golf. Time and time again, after people are laid off with a package, they take a 6 month break. If you plan to keep working stay in the game and work a vacation or break into your search time. If you have bad habits that distract you every day, you will suffer.
  6. Attending group job networking events, job fairs, Execunet etc. Only attend industry events not general job or career events. Most people at job groups are looking; if they find a job you will never see them again. Not a good place to find a job.
  7. Wasting time and precious energy blaming a boss (or the economy or a spouse or others) for the current situation. You can get some good tips and inspiration in the Career Guide here:

 Not keeping track of your progress; To see if what you are doing is paying off, track your performance. Keep records on the number of applications sent out, compared to the number of telephone interviews. This ratio should be something like 2-3 telephone interviews for every 10 applications sent out.  

This originally appeared in a blog post a few years ago here:

You've almost got the job offer, now it's time to talk $

If we aren't working, is it true that we are in a position of weakness when talking with a hiring employer about compensation?  Yes, and more so if jobs are scarce.

So, the best time to look for work, is when we are still working. Our value is higher, and there is less pressure on us.

If you are at the salary negotiation stage, the company is clearly interested in hiring you, and probably has a compensation range, or a salary in mind.

You need a salary number too.

What's a good salary negotiation strategy?
Start with knowing comparable salary levels for the position.
Take your past salary, and determine if you were underpaid or overpaid, or at market levels for that role.
Factor in a 5% to 20% increase for growth.
Anchor your value at the top of the range. Ask for it!
Choose a specific number such as $64,500. rather than a loose range $60,000 - $65,000.
Don't personalize the negotiation. Have a list or one pager showcasing your functional value.
Negotiate the list of non-salary items such as vacation time and benefits.
Use email if at all possible to allow yourself the time to reflect before answering.  
Be prepared to think about it, or even walk away, especially if the negotiation is unprofessional.
Be patient and keep looking for opportunities, throughout the process - being in demand by more than one company increases your resolve, and raises your value.
One final thought regarding promises of future salary increases and reviews. Try and ask, in a positive way,  for those promises to be a part of formal part of the job offer, if it isn't already.  

Good Luck!

Dealing with the Fear and Anxiety of a Job Interview

The easiest way to make it through the nerve-wracking days before a big interview is to have a plan to Be Yourself.

In practical terms, here is a checklist that will help.

  1. Is your resume 100% accurate and truthful? If it is all true, then you don’t have to worry. Talking about your achievements and experience will come more naturally (practice helps too). Creating success stories is the easiest way to practice talking about yourself in the context of work.
  2. Are you a fit to the job? Do you feel you could do whatever is asked of you? If you got a job interview and you aren’t totally qualified, but you want the opportunity. Disclose your weakness at the start of the interview in a positive way before you are asked about any weaknesses or concerns.  Say something like “I can do 90% of this job and the other 10% I may need some guidance” You may be surprised that this honesty gets you the job!
  3. Are your references on board and aware you are on a job search? References like an ex-boss usually want to help you succeed. Talking to them on a regular basis will make you feel more confident about yourself and that they will say good things about you. As a bonus, your reference may have some job opportunities to tell you about.

There are lots of other suggestions such as meditation or relaxation techniques. My opinion is that if you aren’t regularly doing these things, just before an interview is not the best time to start until everything else is already prepared; from your 3 second resume (bring 2 clean copies)  to interview tips  and success stories

Sleeping and eating well. Dressing up. All good.

Here are some more tips on how to reduce the fear and anxiety of a job interview from Undercover Recruiter @undercoverRec and Casey Fleischmann @caseyjfleisch

I have some great references, should I list them on the resume?

You should list them only if you are a Teacher or a Lawyer. The best thing is to create a separate page of References and take it with you to the interview. Ask at the end of the interview: May I give you my list of references?  Or, you can wait until the interviewer asks for your references.

Should I add my picture to my resume?

Yes … if you are applying for a job in the entertainment field (e.g., actor, model).

No … to every other career vocation.

What's wrong with calling myself a "team player" or saying I "think outside the box"?

While it’s most likely true that you possess these qualities, they are not likely to grab a recruiter’s attention on a resume because there is no way for them to be able to verify this information. If you were to read that about 50 people a day, you too would start to wonder, “Do they really have that quality or do they just think it sounds good?” Instead of using abstract terms like “team player,” focus on concrete accomplishments. For example, “Delivered 5 Projects on time and under budget by building strong relationships across all relevant teams and stakeholders." You’ve shown that you are a team player by explaining how you delivered the results, but you are keeping the focus on an accomplishment that is tangible. This is a much more powerful way to convince the person reading your resume of your strengths. Rather than listing strengths on a  resume, think about your top accomplishments and draw a connection between these results and your personal qualities.

How important is listing personal information, such as my SSN or marital status, or my hobbies, on my resume?

As with many things relating to resumes, it all depends on the situation. For a typical U.S. resume, you never--NEVER!--want to include SSN or other personal information, such as marital status, age, number of children, or even a picture. This is because it's illegal for an employer to ask any of those things, and receiving documents that contain that information just makes them anxious about getting fined by the government if they ever get audited. Including that kind of personal information on a resume is a great way of having it end up in the trash.
Like everything else in life, though, there are exceptions:
Federal resumes require a SSN.
Some foreign countries, such as India, require personal information, including marital status and a picture.
For U.S. corporate resumes, if you are a Green Card holder or have a Work Visa, you should mention that at the end of the resume.
When it comes to hobbies, they really should only be included if they are pertinent to your job search or the duties of the job. For instance, no HR rep is going to be interested in whether or not you like to read, or hike, or cook. However, if you're job is pharmaceutical sales and you are an avid golfer, that could be important. Lots of sales deals are completed on the golf course. If you are looking for a job managing a non-profit organization and one of your volunteer involvements is Habitat for Humanity or the Red Cross, then it's a good idea to include it.
The main rule when it comes to resumes is: if it relates to your field of work, include it. If it doesn't, save the space for more important information.

What document format do you recommend using and why?

What document format do I recommend for resumes? That's an easy one. Microsoft Word. Preferably .doc, the older version, rather than the recent .docx. If a person's computer can't manage either of those, then Rich Text Format (.rtf) is a good 3rd choice. 
Nothing else should ever be used.
Why? It's simple. You want people to be able to open the document. 99% of HR offices use MS Word to open docs.  It's the standard business tool for HR offices. Those docs are then either saved as Word files or saved in a database, which can only read .doc, .docx, and .txt (ascii, or plain text) files. 
The databases CANNOT READ PDFs or MAC PAGES. Those files will be tossed out. Similarly, HR office computers can't open Pages files in Word, and if they don't have Macs they won't have Pages. So those files will still be thrown out. Most HR offices 'can' open PDFs, but they really don't like to open a 2nd software tool just to read your resume. You're starting off with a strike against you, and that's not good.
So, keep things simple and make everyone happy. Use MS Word on a PC, not a Mac. (Macs cause format glitches even in Word).

What's the most common problem you've seen with resumes?

The most common problem we see with resumes is they're too focused on past job duties, rather than the transferable skills required to tackle any future position.
Writing about job duties and accomplishments at companies is great, and necessary for all resumes. But what's more important is to extract and develop all of your relevant skills at the very top of your resume in a strong Profile section, created primarily of keywords, sought by both computer sorting systems and the eyes of recruiters.

I have a long list of jobs from early in my career; should I include them all?

The overall takeaway from a resume should be that your career trajectory include a Consistency of Excellence; i.e., that you indicate always doing great work, regardless of role/sector.

When it comes to earlier roles, typically, what is most recent is usually the most relevant. How does one rectify these two counterpoints? Here are some easy tips to remember:

  • Focus the majority of the resume's experience section on the last 10-12 (maybe 15) years. Highlight your accomplishments moreso than your responsibilities to ensure the excellence piece shines through.
  • For earlier work, either condense it down into a brief, 1-2 line snapshot of earlier work or if have have enough space and achievements, include an "Earlier Career & Selected Achievements" section that runs no longer than 6-9 lines.

How can I communicate my management soft skills?

You can effectively communicate your management soft skills on the resume in four separate spots: 
1) Your branding statement at the top of the document (there is a big difference between starting a resume by jumping straight into experience versus having a branding headline such as, "Senior Professional Focusing on Relationship Development, Marketing & Team Management")
2) Your Key Proficiencies should include specific key phrases that speak directly to team management excellence, cultivating leaders, mentoring others, etc. 
3) Your Profile (an Executive profile that hits upon your key areas directly related to your field as well as your management skills; you would emphasize a focus on team management and mentorship). 
4) Your experience. Make sure to note not just your achievements that are directly related to your field of choice but your successes related to effectively managing a team, the number of people who have been promoted under you, etc.

Should I put my personal career objective at the top of my resume?

Rather than positioning a career objective, I'd create an opening statement and call it a Summary of Qualifications:

Having this Summary serves two important purposes:
1. Given that career experts say that hiring managers and/or recruiters take an average of six seconds to review a resume, it allows the candidate to quickly present a "snapshot" of their skills, career objectives and experience.
2. The Summary also enables a candidate to map very specific keywords into a target requisition.  The better the keyword mapping and the more that you speak to that requisition, the better chance you have at identifying with that recruiter or hiring manager.
As a former F1000 hiring manager for 18+ years, if someone spoke directly to job requirements that I wrote, had posted and had immediate needs for, I would be much more inclined to bring that candidate in for an interview.