Tag Archives: career tip

Resume Essentials, Part Two

First thing first, according to the top career management associations, “the resume is dead” rumor is significantly overstated as the resume continues to serve as an essential job-search tool and is expected to remain the foundation for additional career marketing communications.

competitive modeNow that we have that out of the way, bickering in the background needs to settle down… at least for the next five years or so.

Last session we reviewed five essential resume strategies designed to place you, your staff, and/or your students in the advantage. For those who misplaced last session, you are welcome to refer to the original post at https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/resume-essentials-part-one.

To gain your career advantage, let’s get right into business:

  • Resume trends. Over the past decade, resume length has been shrinking at an alarming rate. Rarely should a graduating student warrant more than one page while senior executives remain the exception. The key remains in placement; keep the most impactful (and relevant) information within the top third of the document as reader attention span is also shrinking.
  • Email host. Keeping up with the times includes keeping up with social perceptions. Oddly enough, your choice of email hosts may be sending a message. For example, using an AOL account is currently being perceived as an antiquated vehicle. The most popular email host at the current time happens to be “Gmail.”
  • Focus, focus, and focus. Gaining the advantage requires an active role. Sitting back and sending hundreds of cover letter/resumes instantly at the punch of a button is NOT putting the applicant on top of the heap. To enhance positive responses, tailor the cover letter and resume to the specific job opening. In other words, for each submission, make sure keywords and text placement reflects the job posting, company mission, and your contributions. With the increase use of ATS platforms, matching keywords has never been more important.
  • Proof in the pudding. Nothing shows the reader that you are the right candidate for the job like actually proving it. Simply stating overused terms did not work in the past and will not work in the future. Situation, Task, Action, and Result (STAR) stories tailored to your accomplishments can be a powerful took within your career documents as well as during interviews. In other words, show how you led a group project, a team, or an office by giving actual numbers, what your action was, and then what happened. Is the process still in place? Did your recommendation increase revenue or decrease labor expense?
  • Keep it consistent. Ensure that all documents as well as online profiles and website information highlight the same message. Your LinkedIn profile must match your document branding statements (though not word for word—be creative and consistent).

No doubt the resume remains the career wheel hub with other career collateral serving as spokes around it. By recognizing and applying best-practice approaches, the advantage will go to you as well as your students.

We’ll continue offering professional insight and review career marketing strategies so continue checking for the next submission. With this in mind, if you have career questions and would like a team of professionally certified writers and coaches input, don’t hesitate to ask.

For those interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters. Visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Career Breakout: Mobile Madness

Several weeks ago I received the following from Julia Nicole:

I have to be honest with you, I’m on my phone more often than I am on my own computer. I’m just more comfortable with it. The other day I tried to submit a resume with my cellphone and just as I was ready to hit send, a friend of mine said it was a bad idea. I don’t understand why that would be a bad idea. Can you shed some light on the subject?”

Julia, you might be surprised to hear the answer to this question. If this were a couple of years ago, your friend might be absolutely right; however, everything in the modern world revolves around technology–especially mobile technology.

Career Tip: Methods of data transfer have evolved to include cell phone technology.

I remember just several years ago that technological limitations did not even allow cell phones to do anything but move voices… nowadays, cell phones are a lot more like computers. In many ways, come cell phones are more robust and applicable than computers so your question may even be a non-issue to most people.

Take, for instance, smartphones like iPhones and Androids. Most of them contain built-in email programs that allow you to send documents just like you would on your home computer. In fact, employers wouldn’t even be able to tell the difference between documents sent from a home computer versus documents sent via an IPhone.

Warning: I don’t recommend creating a resume on your cellphone.

Even though smart phones have apps that work as word processors, the official Microsoft Word is not available at the moment. Therefore, you cannot guarantee your resume will be created in a .doc format that is viewable by all employers.

For best results, create your resume on a computer and then send it by phone if you must.

Sending documents on a cellphone not equipped to do so is NOT in your best interest. In this regard, Julia’s friend was absolutely correct. To simplify things, here’s the fact: Smartphones are the only cell phones qualified to send proper email and documents over the Internet.

Even if you created a text-only electronic resume, text messaging should never be used to send a resume… ever. Text messaging is still considered cheap and tacky, which is a surefire way to seem unprofessional to a potential employer.

At the end of the day and more often than not, it’s simpler to just use a computer. But if you insist, smartphone email is acceptable.

I hope this answers your question and if you did send your resume (and cover letter—always), let me know if you gained the hiring managers eye and was invited back for an interview.

If you would like our career experts to address specific questions or issues related to your career development and success, reach out by using the comment box.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow us @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: E-Resume Basics

“I’m new to the whole online job search thing. I’ve been told I need to make an ‘e resume’, separate from my own, to be used on the Internet. I have no idea what an e resume is, I only have my normal paper copy… help!”
-Krista Lovette

This week we’re answering a question that people ask very often. What is an e resume?

An e resume, short for electronic resume, is an online representation of your already existing paper resume. Unlike your paper resume, however, e resumes contain none of the eye-catching ‘fluff’.

E-Resume tip: Since many electronic platforms do not transfer many of the graphics properly, it is wise to play it safe and stick to the basics.

When going electronic, keep your document reader-friendly. In other words, keep away from fancy layouts, wingdings, and graphics.

I know you’re thinking: “Why go through all the trouble of eliminating everything that makes your eye-catching resume stand out? After all, the point of a resume is to display your unique value… right?”

Yes, all of that is true, but when you send a resume to an employer online, you want to make sure they receive it properly, that it looks and reads professional, and you highlight the many skills and contributions you offer in a way that will entice the reader to give you a call.

Different computers–heck, different programs–read information differently. Have you ever tried to copy and paste a document on your computer only to find your information becomes scrambled and out of place? If so, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

By utilizing just a few simple rules and keeping it simple, electronic resumes are your solution to avoiding any reader-friendly problems when an employer receives your resume. Keeping it simple also makes your documents compatible with practically every word processor in existence.

Electronic tip: Make sure and include key words and key phrases in your documents as your material will most likely go through an electronic tracking system… companies often eliminate resumes before looking at them if the electronic tracking system does not pick up industry-specific words.

Okay, so your documents may look plain and boring, but remember the point of an electronic resume isn’t to make yourself stand out, it’s to ensure an employer is able to read your resume when it’s absolutely necessary. That’s why we recommend you have at least two resumes: your standard paper resume and a stripped down electronic resume to go along with it.

As Krista mentioned, e resumes are great for online job search sites such as Monster, Careerbuilder, and Indeed, allowing you to upload and share your resume online with employers.

If you would like our career experts to address specific questions or issues related to your career development and success, reach out by using the comment box.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow us @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Where are the jobs?

Over the past few months more and more people throughout the Greater Orlando area have been writing in with one basic question: “Where are the jobs?” Though there are no job-warehouses impatiently waiting for your application, rest assured, companies ARE hiring.

Unfortunately for most, jobs are NOT growing on a tree where all you have to do is pluck the one you want as you passively stroll on by. Taking a passive approach does not do you or your career success a favor.

For the record, I consider an individual putting in less than four hours a day pursuing for a job to be taking a passive approach. How about a quick survey of sorts, raise your hand if the following refers to you: I spend less than two hours a day on my career campaign? If you raised your hand, congratulations as your complacency will allow you take advantage of unemployment longer than your aggressive counterpart… do you feel lucky!

As many career management studies indicate, most people undergoing a career transition spends an average of 3.5 hours daily looking for employment.

After looking at this morning’s job classified in the Orlando Sentinel, I came away quite under-whelmed as the amount of jobs were an embarrassment… so glad President Obama’s job stimulus program is working the same way most politicians work… not at all (oops, did I say that out loud?).

Despite political efforts to dampen the field, companies are hiring. For those living under a rock, companies skipped rope and have jumped away from the traditional method of newspapers to another medium. So, where are jobs to be found?

Did you know: The top career management associations in the United States suggest that only 20% to 30% of all job openings are listed traditionally; meaning that 70% to 80% of all jobs are not advertised!

The above statistic is bad news for the passive job seeker but GREAT news for the aggressive job seeker. The aggressive job seeker works at finding work six to eight hours daily and is finding payday (on average) four to six months quicker than the second-handers (any Ayn Rand fans out there?).

If job listings are not advertised, why did they leave and where are they?

Let’s tackle the first question first and understand why companies turned away from traditional advertising. Though the main reason is obvious, I’ll say it anyway: MONEY. The cost of print advertising has skyrocketed to the point of absurdity (even more than the price of gas—go figure).

In addition to the increased cost factor, demographics come into play. Newspapers cater to a limited area and to a limited audience. In order for companies to be competitive, they must attract and keep cutting-edge employees from across the globe. No longer is a village good enough (sorry Hillary, this is not child-rearing); companies on the move reach across village lines, state lines, and country lines to gain their competitive advantage.

With cost high and reach low, companies are taking advantage of low-cost methods to attract high quality candidates via two main avenues (both of which reside under the networking umbrella):

* Employee referrals: Companies enjoy this method of finding quality hires as it is cost effective while empowering current workers who now play an active role in the hiring process.
* Digital networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter has become the number one place for companies to secure help.

How does the shift from traditional advertising to a digital and employee referral system affect you? To be blunt, if you want to find your perfect job, networking is the key though you must maximize your efforts. Not to worry, we’ll review networking techniques as well as some of the do’s and don’ts in upcoming articles.

No doubt about it: In this day and age, an online presence is important. In fact, in some professions, not having an online presence is an immediate disqualifier.

Think about it the suspicion: If the hiring manager enters a name in a search engine and nothing comes up, he or she may wonder several things:

●  Why doesn’t their name show up?
●  Are they behind on the latest trends?
●  Do they not know how to use the Internet to its fullest?
●  What are they trying to hide?

Time to draw a line between professional networking and social networking. Professional networking is a place for business related discussions, not so
much social networking. Social networking, however, IS ALSO a place for business related discussions as well as personal.

Warning! Everything you do, post, or say on the Internet is fair game for employers.

Data triangulation is part of the hiring process… hiring managers are not just going to check the references on your reference document, they’ll do a Google search and more detail searches as part of your background check.

If you would like our career experts to address specific questions or issues related to your career development and success, reach out by using the comment box.

For those interested in cutting-edge career books to guide you along your journey, visit www.edu-cs.com or go to Amazon and search Danny at ECS for a listing of available material.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: The Character Clause

Over the past few months many readers expressed concerns regarding initial interviews. From what I have been hearing, many get an initial interview but that’s as far as it goes. No second interview. No job offers. In effect: Nothing but darkness.

For the record: Becoming post-initial interview invisible may be a result of the character clause.

Based upon piles of research, interviews, and conference workshops, a key element to succeed during an interview comes down to one word: Character.

According to Merriam Webster, Character is defined as “attributes or features that make up and distinguish the individual,” and “the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person.”

For the record: The intent of the initial interview is to determine company, cultural, and position fit.

Okay, so you’re asking, where does character come into play and isn’t it good enough that I can do the job? We’ll tackle the easy part of the question first: No, it’s not good enough that you can do the job. Doing the job is only one of many factors… so get over it.

Going directly to character, initial interviews evaluate your personality, thus the increase use of behavioral questions. Several topics beneath the character umbrella you should be aware of include:

* Trust: Can the company hold confidence in your ability to do the right thing?
* Dependability: Do you show up on time, everyday?
* Professionalism: How well will you represent the company, during and after hours?
* Courtesy: Are you friendly and respectful to all individuals you encounter, including the receptionist?
* Appearance: Hate to say it but the way you look affects outcomes. Do you look the part?

Violating the above, though often intangible, will cause harm to your initial interview. If you are being asked to come in for an initial interview but nothing more, the hurdle may be in the manner in which you represent character. With that in mind, let’s evaluate each of the above topics and resolve potential disconnections:

* Trust: The hiring agent wants you to detail a time where trust was tested. For example, did you ever work as a cashier? If so, how much money were you responsible for? If so, talk about that during the interview.
* Dependability: Do you have perfect attendance certificates or awards for being at work and on time? Employers want to know you will work every scheduled day. Perhaps a reference letter from a previous employer could address that issue… just saying.
* Professionalism: Work is no longer isolated to brick and mortar. With Facebook, Twitter, and a slew of other sites, companies don’t want insensitive or compromising images of their employees. While on this note, employers do filter social sites during the interview process. In other words, your Spring Break party photos may be damaging to your career.
* Courtesy: Nothing is more damaging than being rude to the receptionist or to a stranger in the elevator as you near the office. After all, the person riding the elevator with you just may be the owner. And yes, that does happen.
* Appearance: Most companies prefer the conservative look. If you have rings in the nose, mouth, tongue, or cheek, take them out immediately. The adage about how you are expressing individuality is so over-done, stop your whining and get over it.

There are many examples one can detail to showcase character. One of the most effective interview techniques is for you to develop short stories that highlight character. An easy way to arrange stories and prepare for the interview is to take advantage of the Performance, Action Result (PAR) method. The PAR method asks you to expand by following an easy format:

Problem (Briefly explain what was going on and how you were involved):

Action (Briefly explain what you did to resolve the problem):

Result (Briefly explain what happened and if possible use measurements):

For the record: Creating several PAR short stories will prove to be beneficial during interview sessions.

Hiring managers want you to be the right candidate. Giving them short stories, creating a discussion-like atmosphere, and believing in yourself may be the missing link between initial interview and the job offer.

If you would like additional information or insight about the interview and how to better prepare for your interview, send us your questions.

For those interested in obtaining cutting-edge career books and single topic guidebooks, visit our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS) and review our career resources library.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Resume Format: Your FIRST Step

We received this question from Mary Brooks, who, like many others, don’t know where or how to begin the challenge of developing an effective resume. Here’s what concerns Mary (bet she’s not the only one):

“When I Google resume formats, I see thousands to choose from. Do I simply follow a template or should I make a resume from scratch? Where do I begin and what do I look for?”

Here’s what I envision happened to Mary and thousands out there: You open Microsoft Word and stare blankly at the screen trying to figure out how to start. You start to type a few words and realize you have no idea what you’re doing. In a panic, you open your Internet browser and make the same mistake Mary and others make: you look at a template.

Think you should know: To professional resume writers, the term “template” is as obscene as any four-letter word!

We’ll begin tackling this question by getting to the root of the problem. Resume templates are bad because they tell you what a resume should look like, not how to make an eye-opening, attention-getting resume that will encourage the reader to want to learn more about the author.

Cold hard fact: Hiring manager and employers often have to sift through hundreds of resumes in a single day. What makes you think they’ll notice your resume if it looks like everybody else’s… unless, of course, you are just like everyone else and you do not offer anything unique that a company would find beneficial.

Many people justify lazy behavior by stating they only use templates as a guideline, and that they don’t intend to copy it word-for-word. Unfortunately for most, reality kicks in and we both know it’s much easier to keep the template and pretend to tweak a few lines… this approach is NOT effective and NOT in your best interest.

Take note, even if your intentions are good, following a template (or copying it) will get your resume ignored. In fact, hiring managers have seen all the popular templates out there. Yours simply may be ignored for that reason alone as it shows you don’t really care enough about the job to make it your own.

Throw in the fact: In less than 15 seconds, hiring managers review cover letters and resumes and determine if there is a fit… mostly based upon how quickly you present value.

What should people in Mary’s situation do? Here’s more than a clue: Create a resume from scratch.

The advantages of a hand-crafted resume far outweigh the amount of time it takes to make one. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few reasons why creating your resume from scratch will give you an advantage over the vast majority of job seekers:

  • Hand-crafted resumes are  one-of-a-kind.  If you take the time to make your own resume, the chances your document will look like anyone else’s is slim-to-none. This helps it stand out in a large stack of papers. In fact, it may even make a hiring manager read it longer than they usually do.
  • Hand-crafted resumes show creativity. Instead of staring blankly at the computer screen, you took initiative and figured out how make one on your own. Employers love to see this in any potential candidate because it shows that person has a drive to succeed and can think on their own without the need of a dot-by-dot map.
  • Hand-crafted resumes show effort. Even for the most seasoned career document writers, a unique, eye-catching resume takes a lot of time and effort. From the employer’s perspective, this shows a candidate is really interested in the job and not just applying to anything that sounds good.

There are, of course, more advantages than this, but it’s time to answer the other part of Mary’s question… where should you start? What should you look for?

There are many places to start, but keep in mind this is a learning process. You won’t pick up this skill in just one afternoon. Don’t get discouraged or consider giving up the fight as many of our professional writers take up to six months before they are allowed to tackle complicated clients. Additionally, for those with specific questions, you have a tool at your disposal… our partnership.

Warning: There’s a great deal of misguided information out there. As a result, I suggest consulting with a certified professional writer. Two career management associations sponsoring able writers are the Professional Resume Writers Association (PRWA) and the National Resume Writers Association (NRWA). Both associations have a listing of certified writers willing to help.

I also recommend researching and reading quality material which may guide you along the career success path. Again, be cautious at what and who you work with and make sure they are a recognized professional in the field.

If neither are an option, you can always order a professional career management book or focused career guide. Education Career Services does offer several resume and cover letter guide books as well as material covering varying aspects of career management. You can find them at http://www.edu-cs.com or at Google (search Danny at ECS).

For more career management tips and articles such as these, visit Education Career Services at http://www.edu-cs.com or follow us on twitter @Dannyatecs.

Written by Brandon Hayhurst, professional career management writer/editor

Digital Painting: Career or Play?

Artist’s Square member Candy Buckley, “Saja” recently responded to one our reader’s inquiry dealing with graphic design. Her insight is not only informative, it is inspiring. For those interested in viewing more of Saja’s work, visit http://artists-square.com/m/photos/browse/album/Photography/owner/Saja.

What is digital painting?

Saja: Digital painting is an emerging art form and is becoming more and more popular among new and seasoned artists alike. The paintings are created through a computer using tools such as a digitizing tablet, mouse or stylus, and software.

Like traditional painting, there are various painting tools: canvases, paint type options, textures, mixing palettes, a very large variety of color options, along with different types of brushes, knives and other frequently used painting instruments. Most programs also have a feature which allows the artist to create their own brush style, which is accomplished by using a combination of textures and brush shapes. This enables you to add a personal touch and flare that is found in real life painting.

To me, one of the most appealing things about digital painting programs/software is the way that it mimics a real life painting environment while allowing the artist to create in a mess-free and more cost efficient setting.

Do you consider this true art? If so, why?

Saja: I consider digital painting a “true” art form, and I personally use this medium quite often and with very good results, they are also quite fun to work with. The reason that I do consider this true art is because, in my opinion, anything that one creates with the intension of self-expression can be considered art.

Digital painting programs are simply another “tool.” Not only are these programs being used by individual artists who work and sell their art independently, but this medium thrives in production art, and is widely used in conceptual design for films, television, and in video game production.

Thanks Saja for defining this new form of art expression. From all accounts, digital painting is an up and coming career move that allows for an eclectic creative license.

Thank you Racquel for providing one of the most organic and passionate forums for creative minds to meet: Artists-Square.com; for those interested in learning more or would like to submit questions for one of our expert panels to respond to, we are ready. For those not part of Artist’s Square, join and share your thoughts on a global stage.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
EducationCareerServices.com
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS

Phone Interviews on the Rise

According to the most recent Career Thought Leaders Group, phone interviews are increasing in frequency and scrutiny. Accordingly, in addition to the initial phone screening, telephone interviews are being used more often to cut costs and save time during the hiring process.

Given its usage increase during the interview cycle, the consequence of improper phone etiquette can be damaging to your career. With this in mind, improving your phone interview odds can be gained by following these common-sense tips.

●  Dressing up for your phone interview. I know it sounds a bit odd but it is a well-known fact that individuals “looking the part” perform more effectively than those in their pajamas.
●  Researching the company, industry, and specific position. Besides doing a bit of company research on the Internet, a valuable job skills and responsibilities resource can be found at ONETOnline.org. Recognizing what’s out there in terms of products, competitors, and job opportunities will give the interviewer the perception that you know what you are talking about and that you are interested in the company and position.
●  Engaging in the phone interview in a quiet area with limited (how about none) distractions. Remember the interviewer can’t see you or your physical reactions. As a result, the interviewer is seeking clues to help them determine if you are the right fit. For example, are dogs barking near your feet? Is a mother-in-law asking what you want for lunch? Are kids yelling in the background? Is street-rap blaring in the background? Noises and distractions in the background do create an impression, rarely a positive one.
●  Being prepared for the “Tell me about yourself” question. When asked this question (or something like the “Why should I hire you” question) appreciate the question is designed for your benefit and is the ideal opportunity to sell yourself and the many contributions you bring. This is where company and job position research comes in handy as you develop a response based upon what the company needs, not a long-winded story about summer camp.
●  Keeping a professional and calm tone. This is not the time to speak rapidly, too softly, or too loudly. Make sure your responses are heard at a comfortable level and not overtaking. Remember the interviewer is listening for clues of confidence, not cockiness.
●  Asking a career coach, mentor, or family member to practice with you. When it comes to phone interview strategies, practice does make perfect. Don’t fight me on this, but when conducting a mock interview, dress and act the part.

No doubt companies are becoming more and more cost conscious and will expand the use of non-face-to-face interview methods. For the unprepared, this could be disastrous on many levels. But for those who have performed their due diligence, becoming one of the pack leaders can be obtained.

If you have questions or examples regarding phone interviews or any other career related issue, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com.

For those interested in obtaining cutting-edge career books and single topic guidebooks, visit our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS) and review the available library of available career resources.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: To Bump or NOT to Bump

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking part in a mock interview workshop. Students from a local college had the opportunity to engage in a real-life setting as they prepared to enter the workforce upon graduation in June. Not to worry, what I have to say will hit home, student or not.

Though there are many issues needing attention, for the sake of time, I am going to address two common interview pet-peeves: shoes and the fist bump.

The topic of shoes was not openly discussed or appeared to be on anyone’s mind. Actually this was rather obvious as most of the students seemed to misplace the importance of what goes on the foot. To be blunt, shoes do play an important role in your appearance and can be a factor in NOT getting a second interview invite.

For the ladies, shoes should be professional and conservative in nature. There are hiring executives who will not look favorably on five-inch heels sporting poorly painted nails. As one who has interviewed many over the years, one of the first things I notice happens to be what covers the feet.

Make sure the shoes match the outfit and if you are wearing open-ended shoes, complete the package with a nice pedicure. You definitely don’t want dirty toes to leave a dusty impression.

Career tip: If you don’t want the job, wear slides or tennis shoes.

For the fellas, you have no choice. Business shoesnothing else will do. Don’t even think about loafers, tennis shoes, or boots. Your business shoes must match the suit (yes, you will be wearing a suit). Wearing brown shoes with a dark blue suit will not do. Speaking from experience, those who bear dusty or non-polished shoes may be axed before three steps in the door.

At the end of several mock interviews, the topic of a hand shake or fist bump was brought up. I have one word for those considering a fist bump: Really?

At the conclusion of any formal meeting, the appropriate gesture remains a formal hand shake. The hand shake should be firm (not overly aggressive unless you are interviewing to be a wrestler and not too loose unless you are interviewing to work in a carnival as the person handing out creepy feelings).

Make sure the firm hand shake is not laced with sweat and lasts about two seconds. You definitely don’t want to make the other person uncomfortable with a sloppy five second shake that seems to last an hour.

Career tip: If you bump, you lose.

The mock interview session confirmed that many people simply do not know how to interview effectively. Unfortunately for those qualified, simple mistakes can ruin the chance of a job offer. Ultimately if you have questions and must make a choice, choose on the side of conservatism. Always be professional in what you do, what you say, and what you wear. Nothing could be simpler, yet few follow.

If you have questions and would like career-related insight, including how to ace the interview, ECS offers cutting-edge books and workbooks designed to give you a competitive edge. Throughout the pages, prepare yourself with hard hitting questions, truths, activities, samples, and proven strategies to improve your career station. For additional information, go to our storefront page on our website (www.edu-cs.com) or go to Amazon (simply search Danny at ECS).

For additional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email me directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
www.educationcareerservices.com
Got Twitter? Shadow me @dannyatecs

Career Breakout: Returning to the Job Market

“For the last 8 years I’ve been a stay-at-home mom. It’s been so long since I’ve been in the job market. How can I get a job? Help!”
-Jill DeLano

This week we received a question from Jill that is common in career management, chances are you (or someone you know) is in the same situation as Jill. Years ago you decided to start a family… but now that your kids are older, how can you get back in the swing of things?

There is a process to returning to the job market but realize a great deal of research, self-analysis, and preparation forms the core of a successful career reintegration.

You are not alone, don’t get frustrated, and never give up or lose a positive attitude. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, there are over 5 million stay-at-home parents present within our country. Many women–even men–elect to put their career on hold to start a family. The trick to reentering the job market when the time comes is no different than when you first entered it… you have to be able and ready to show employers your value. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since you’ve worked, as long as you can prove your qualifications.

Career Tip: Though the world has changed (dramatically), concentrate of the VALUE you offer a company.

Can’t get around the fact you will most likely be asked about your gap in employment history during an interview. Honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, but don’t get too chatty and spill potential employer concerns.

Taking the initiative and desensitizing possible hesitations typically works in your favor. When applying for a job, use the cover letter as a means to address the gap. Take a moment to imagine what an employer is thinking: Can I count on this potential new hire to come to work as scheduled or will at-home responsibilities and issues prevent this… for example, a youngster with a fever equates to a no-show. In order to convince the hiring manager, project confidence in your career decision to stay at home with your children but also ensure your dedication to the workplace.

With that being said, there are methods to lessen the severity of an employment gap. Many professionals opt to construct a chronological resume that lists employment history by order of date… this is not for you and, in general, not the most effective format for any job seeker. Instead, learn how to construct a skills-based resume that highlights your skills, experience, and accomplishments before you had children.

The best way to show all of the above is by detailing accomplishments within a PAR structure: Problem, Action, and Result. This is a basic framework for displaying your skills and experience in a way that highlights the value you bring. Take, for example, a basic responsibility for many employees: answering phones…

     Problem: Large volume of callers, all needing to be answered
     Action: Quickly and efficiently directed incoming calls to appropriate work centers and staff
     Result: Minimized caller wait time

Now, you have a complete sentence displaying what the employer wants to know…

“Quickly and efficiently directed large volumes of incoming callers to appropriate work centers and staff, minimizing caller wait time.”

But we may be getting ahead of ourselves. You still need to find the appropriate position to apply for. Time for some bad news… finding a job may be easier if you limit yourself to the same industry and location (if possible) of your last held job.

Career Tip: Tap into your pre-existing network.

If you happen to still be friends with or kept in contact with previous co-workers, these are excellent individuals to network with. Ask them for an informational interview, perhaps over lunch. Have them explain to you how your industry has changed over the years. You’ll be surprised how many things can change over a short time span. The objective here is to prove to an employer that you are still relevant in your given industry.

If you would like additional information or assistance in any career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section or email directly at dhuffman@edu-cs.com. Cutting edge single topic career workbooks and complete career lifecycle books are available at our website (www.edu-cs.com) or visit us at Amazon.com (search Danny at ECS).

Written By Brandon Hayhurst
Education Career Services