2014 Federal Tax Deductions for Resume Writing and Job Search Expenses

2014 Federal Tax Deductions for Resume Writing and Job Search Expenses

Although I’m not an accountant, I wanted to let you all know that there are good resources on the IRS web site that speak to the deductions you can take for your job search expenses. According to http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Job-Hunting-Expenses, the following job search expenses count as deductions, if you are searching for a job in your current line of work:

  • Resume costs
  • Travel expenses
  • Placement agency fees.

Of course, check with your accountant or tax preparer to determine whether your specific job search expenses are deductible on your Schedule A on your 2014 Federal tax, as some job search expenses are not deductible.

 

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Checklist to Proofread Your Resume

Checklist to Proofread Your Resume

If we all look deep inside ourselves, I think we will all agree . . . that we do not spell well / make grammatical errors / occasionally post something stupid in social media / wish we could retract that email. It happens. I know. However, in our busy lives, often we just want to get that message out there. If you are a job seeker, you need your message out there more than ever–just do not hit “send” before you check and recheck your resume and cover letter or email, or you will suffer the red-faced embarrassment of regret and self-recrimination.

Here is a checklist you can use to make sure that every element of your resume and cover letter / email is pixel-perfect:

Check your resume header for inaccuracies:

Don't hit "send" on that resume until you're 100% sure it's perfect.

Don’t hit “send” on that resume until you’re 100% sure it’s perfect.

1. Your first name
2. Your last name
3. Your phone number
4. Your address, city, state, and ZIP code
5. Your headline (does it match your specific job target?)
6. Your branding (does it reflect the needs of your audience?)

Check your resume overall for:

7. Indents and alignments
8. Font sizes and typefaces
9. Widows and orphans
10. Document format (.doc? .docx? .rtf? .pdf?)
11. Misspellings
12. Extra spaces where they do not belong (that is ONE space after a period!)

Check your cover letter email for:

13. Correct spelling of addressee name
14. Correct email of addressee
15. Right company name
16. Proper job title
17. Correct date
18. Proper document(s) attached

Once you have checked every element of your resume and cover letter, check them again with my super-secret weapon that helps you find your hidden errors, even when you have read your resume 18 times (once for each of the above tips) or more:

* Read the document backwards.
* Start with the last sentence.
* Read it aloud.
* Check for errors.
* Move on to the prior sentence.
* Repeat.

Best Editorial Tip of the Day:

If there is any doubt about the veracity or level of appropriateness of your email DO NOT SEND IT. You will regret it, particularly if what you intend to be funny becomes insulting or inappropriate to your audience.

What is your favorite tip for editing your work? How do you monitor your urge to hit “send” before the document is 100% ready to go? Five Strengths welcome your comments.

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng / blary54

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

How Long Should Your Resume Be?

Job seekers with long careers tend to have had . . . long careers. When they are ready to write their resumes, they want to include the best and the greatest experience. Instead, they choose to start with their very first job, making their resume span multiple decades. The result is a long, directionless document. Read on for tips to choose the optimal length for your resume.

Resume Length for Individual Contributors

The right length of your resume is based on your unique job search needs.

The right length of your resume is based on your unique job search needs.

Overall the length of your resume should be based on the depth of your own experience. If you are an individual contributor, promoting in depth the last 10 years or so of your professional experience is sufficient. You can show growth and progression in your career in that amount of time. A good rule of thumb for page length stipulates that two pages should be sufficient. In rare cases, such as one in which your last 10 years of work was with the same organization, one page will support your entire career history.

Resume Length for Managers

As you grew from the level of an individual contributor to a leadership position, the flavor of your professional contribution changed. If you are seeking another management-level position, you might want to balance the 10-year rule of thumb with the titles you’ve recently held. To brand yourself effectively according to your most recent titles, you might choose to focus in depth only on the last 8 years–or perhaps the last 15. Generally speaking, you should avoid highlighting lower-level positions that don’t support your future goals, except to the extent that they provided you the platform and the technical experience to launch your management career.

Resume Length for Executives

If you are an executive, you might want to balance the 10-year rule of thumb with the types of titles you have had as well. If you’re a president now, and over the last 15 years, your titles were vice president, vice president, senior director, and director, you might choose to focus on your president and vice president roles in depth, relegating your earlier and lower-level experience to a smaller proportion of the available resume real estate. Generally, the optimal length of your resume should be two to three full pages. If you don’t have enough data to adequately complete three pages, try to stick with two.

The foregoing touches on some of my best strategies for identifying the right length for a job seeker’s resume. If you have questions on the subtleties of your own unique experiences, do not hesitate to reach out to me at Five Strengths.

 

 

Image courtesy of Stock.xchng / rodrigovco

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

5 People You Can Trust to Help Your Executive Career Change

5 People You Can Trust to Help Your Executive Career Change

As you consider your executive career transition, you’re going to find that there are lots of resources available to move it forward. How do you know whom you can trust throughout this process? How do you know who has your best interests at heart? Read on to learn how to identify those who can help you most effectively.

1. Friends and Family

You may consider asking your spouse, your friend, or even your parent for advice about your executive career transition. Generally, these individuals in your close circle of trust will have your best interests at heart, but they tend to be among the least objective about what will work for you. Certainly they will know you well and have a good sense of what your strengths and salient characteristics are, but their own self-interest or personal interest in your well-being might interfere with your ability to seek out and obtain a position that satisfies all of your professional requirements.

2. Your Coworkers or Executive Manager

Among those who might offer you a solid career advice are your professional peers or executive leader. However, do know that as much as they have your best interests in mind, they also have agendas. They might be competitive with you or they might ask you to take on more than your fair share. Certainly, as you work your way up through the executive tier in a company, you need to pay attention to the needs and wishes and wants of your colleagues and superiors, but they might not provide the best advice for you if they do not understand your specific aspirations, particularly if they fall outside of your current company.

3. A Mentor

You are certainly among the privileged if you can find and secure a mentor who can stand apart from you and provide you with rock-solid career advice. Finding a mentor can be challenging, but it can be extraordinarily rewarding as well if the mentor truly has a vested interest in your success. The best way to find a mentor, according to leading career experts, is to identify the best-in-class for your industry or role, but not somebody in whose company you wish to work. That in and of itself presents a particular challenge, as you will need to do some serious research to identify that person and then pitch your wish to be his or her protégé. Nevertheless, a good mentor who fulfills the role successfully is an incomparable asset to your career advancement, as he or she can give you an insider’s view to an industry or role while remaining completely objective.

4. A Recruiter

If you know a recruiter from having worked with him or her to fill roles in your organization, you might find this person is a tremendous asset to your own executive career transition. The recruiter might be seeking someone just like you, or that person might know somebody who is. To that end, the ability to create a powerful recruiter network can help you advance your own career transition. The pitfalls of working with the recruiter however, are several. First, you have to trust that the recruiter will keep your aspirations and drive to leave a particular company under wraps. Also, know that the value of this relationship flows according to the money. The recruiter doesn’t work for you if you are a job seeker. In fact, the recruiter works for the individual or company who is paying him or her, leaving candidates such as you in the category of “talent” rather than “particular person I want to help.” Thus, you can trust the recruiter to recommend you for positions for which you are eminently qualified and write for, but apart from that, do not expect much in the way of hands-on treatment from a recruiter who has perhaps dozens of roles to fill and hundreds of candidates to review daily.

5. An Executive Career Coach and Executive Resume Writer

A career coach is a professional dedicated to the career transition success of others. This career coach works directly for the executive and delivers world-class advice, coaching, and sometimes explicit consultation to individuals requiring a partner in the executive career transition process. Often, the career coach and resume writer has credentials from national or international career management organizations that validate his or her training in the field, and he or she also might have won some major global awards in the field. Executive career coaches and executive resume writers report on the exponential success their clients achieve with the type of support they offer, but you need to decide if, as an executive on the cusp of career transition, you are ready to put in the work required to make your own career announcement a successful one. You are welcome to contact me if you would like to know more about the type of work required to make an executive career transition into a successful endeavor. Primarily, it involves a willingness to reach out to new people, except a great deal of direction, and a drive to be the best in your position and your field. Are you ready to make that choice?

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

For Immediate Release: Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

For Immediate Release

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

Now Available on Kindle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 25, 2013). Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, Salt Lake City, UT, is proud to announce that Amy L. Adler, CEO, published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

Amy L. Adler, first-place winner of the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award for Best Executive Resume, announced today that she has published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters. This concise, inexpensive, and accessible e-book contains Adler’s top-secret techniques for determining your next job and writing the resume that gets you there. This new e-book promotes the best career transition strategies and the most powerful resume writing techniques available.

Six interactive worksheets give every reader the chance to implement Adler’s strategy right away. Job seekers who need to identify the right job titles, the right resume formats, and the right cover letters to win interviews need to read this book. Says Adler, “The economy is tough. If job seekers are unemployed, or underemployed, they need access to the right techniques that will give them the same chance to achieve the interviews they need. This e-book levels the playing field.”

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters
Only $0.99 at
http://bit.ly/easyjobsearchstrategiesforresumesandcoverletters

Bloggers: Ask for a free review copy.

About Amy L. Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won first place in the TORI Awards 2012 for Best Executive Resume. Amy is one of the most experienced career transitions experts in the nation and frequently writes and speaks on career advancement, executive résumé writing and interview strategies. Having written hundreds of job search documents, several examples of her work have been published in Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 4th Ed. (David F. Noble, JIST Publishing, 2012).

 

# # #
For interviews and media appearances, contact Amy L. Adler
2180 East 4500 South, Suite 150 | Holladay, UT 84117 | +1 (801) 810-JOBS | www.fivestrengths.com

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Show Pride and Humility in Your Executive Resume

Show Pride and Humility in Your Executive Resume

I am constantly amazed at the level of success of the executive job seekers with whom I work on a daily basis. They run companies. They drive sales. They lead international teams. They are among the smartest I have met with respect to technology. They are rightfully proud of what they have done. Yet, down to a person, they are among the most humble people I have ever met. By infusing their executive resumes with this pride and humility, they prove they are true leaders in their industries without coming across as boastful and overblown.

Here are three statements I hear all the time from my executive resume clients. By elaborating on these into compelling accomplishment stories, you can demonstrate both your pride in your leadership and your knowledge that you are only as good as the amazing team you develop and lead into the fray:

  1. “It was my great team who really did it; we all worked together.” Executive leaders rarely deliver at the individual contributor level. They do understand, however,  that the team cannot succeed without their unifying leadership. Therefore, rather than going on about their individual tactical role, they rightfully focus on how they guided the team to larger goals.
  2. “I have an uncanny ability to hire the right people and place them throughout the company where they can do the most good.” By demonstrating your insight into which people are right for your organization, you achieve two goals. You show that you are wise to the larger industry, and you demonstrate that you can read people very well. Include details in your executive resume about your hiring strategy and the way you assess future team member.
  3. “I always hire people who are smarter than I am.”In truth, this is my favorite one. Nobody likes to work for a paranoid organization, and when an executive leader state outright that they are willing to hire team members who have particular expertise or savvy that they don’t, it demonstrates a healthy mix of fearlessness and pride.

In short, you should not afraid to recognize the fact that you are the team leader but not always the smartest guy in the room. It’s a big leap to embrace this mindset, especially when, in your early career, you were always hungry for the next win. Now, as a wiser, more tempered executive leader, if you’re smart, your executive resume will show that much of the credit also goes to a rock star team. In doing so, your ability to guide a group to a successful outcome shows you honor your company and each individual on the team. Effectively communicating your talents and value with humility and pride on your executive resume is bound to win the attention of like-minded hiring leaders in your target companies.

Struggling with ways to communicate or market your executive value? Contact Amy L. Adler at 801-810-5627.

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Amy L. Adler Nominated for Prestigious TORI Award, Salt Lake City, UT

Amy L. Adler Nominated for Prestigious TORI Award, Salt Lake City, UT

Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, Salt Lake City, UT, is proud to announce that Amy L. Adler, CEO, has been nominated for Career Directors International’s Toast of the Resume Industry Award (TORI) for Best Executive Resume.

Local writer, Amy L. Adler, CEO of Five Strengths, has been selected for nomination in the category of Best Executive Resume in the 2012 TORI Awards, also known as the Toast of the Resume Industry. This is the first such nomination for a Utah-based professional résumé writer in the history of the TORI Award program. It recognizes Adler’s excellence in executive resume writing, a critical component of Five Strengths’ comprehensive career transition program.TORI Award Nomination for Best Executive Resume logo

Five Strengths serves executives and professionals in career transition throughout Utah and across the United States by preparing them with customized career coaching, professional resume writing, and outplacement services in Utah’s changing employment marketplace. Says Adler, a Certified Advanced Resume Writer, upon receiving the TORI nomination, “Having successfully served hundreds of executives in career transition, I am delighted to be recognized for resume writing excellence. Executives and professionals need to be prepared better than their competition for the jobs of their choice. By hiring a firm recognized as one of the best, they can develop the professional portfolio they need to succeed in a competitive job market.”

About the TORI Awards

The TORI Awards recognize excellence in professional resume writing and are presented annually by Career Directors International (CDI). Each year, TORI nominations and selections raise the bar and set new standards for resume writers and career coaches worldwide. Professional resume writers submitted entries for the TORI Awards in June, and a panel of the industry’s top writers judged the submissions. Up to six entries have been nominated in each category. The winning resume and cover letters will be announced in October.

CDI’s President Laura DeCarlo, proudly states, “While winning a TORI Award represents the pinnacle of resume writing expertise within the industry, nomination for a TORI is one of the most prestigious honors a resume writer can achieve. Being recognized as ‘one of the best’ by your peers is an accolade that very few get to savor.” CDI is the industry’s premier professional association and maintains more than 500 members, providing continuing education, testing, and coaching for professional resume writers and career coaches.

About Amy L. Adler and Five Strengths

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. Five Strengths is the region’s premier career transition and job search company. Amy, who manages all aspects of the company on a daily basis, is one of the most experienced career transitions experts in the nation and frequently writes and speaks on jobs, career transitions, resume writing, interview skills, and online presence maintenance. A Certified Advanced Resume Writer, Amy has written hundreds of resumes for C-level executives and professionals around the world. She founded Five Strengths to provide a comprehensive approach to job search preparation and career transition. Five Strengths has coached hundreds of professionals, rising directors, and leading executives to achieve the interviews and job offers of their dreams. Five Strengths also offers a personalized approach to outplacement services for companies experiencing downsizing or other transitions.

# # #

Media Contact: Amy L. Adler

2180 East 4500 South, Suite 150 | Holladay, UT 84117 | +1 (801) 810-JOBS | www.fivestrengths.com

 

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

More answers to Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”.

“Responsible for” Is Not Good Resume Writing

The question of whether a job seeker is “responsible for” something is old news for resume writers. We know not to include that type of language. It’s boring. It doesn’t describe anything active or with an outcome. It sounds like a copy-and-paste from the person’s human resources job posting. I am not going to retread that information. If you want more about that, see this article on 7 Words You Can’t Say in a Resume. It’s always been one of my favorite—and most popular—posts. I’m not going to retread it here.

Resume SEO Means Fewer, More Powerful Language

Resume SEO—a new phrase that is hitting the forefront and capturing the attention of career coaches and professional resume writers alike. Job seekers, too, need to pay attention to resume SEO. One of the best ways you as a job seeker can do this is by making sure that your resume language has power per total words. That’s not an actual measure, of course, but it should give you something to think about as you review your own resume language.

Resume SEO for Applicant Tracking Systems

Preptel.com has cornered the market on this strategy. The service enables job seekers to upload their resume and compare it to job postings, word for word. This is what a good professional resume writer does with hand and brain, but the challenge remains the same. Job seeker resumes need to have the right language within the text, so that they are picked up by human resources applicant tracking systems (think: online applications) via the search algorithms that pull up potential candidates. In simpler terms, a marketing executive resume isn’t going to be selected for an electrical engineering position—the phrases that describe a marketing executive simply don’t apply to the technical aspects of electrical engineering. In more complex terms, a marketing executive resume needs to have specific phrases that will be picked up by the search engine algorithm as matches for what a job posting is looking for.

Resume SEO for Human Readers

On the other hand, some humans—Salt Lake City, Utah recruiters, hiring managers of small businesses, and others—do read resumes with their own eyes. The more focused the language is and the more relevant the wording is, the more likely that human will evaluate the resume more closely. Fluffy, nonspecific language won’t make the grade, but highly technical, relevant wording will impress these very human brains with very specific problems they need to solve with a new hire.

What Does Resume SEO Have to Do with “Responsible for”?

SEO in broad terms can be thought of as having the right language in the right place for the right reader. Resume SEO is the same, as I explained above. Job seekers who use “responsible for” in every bullet of their resumes are adding two times the number of total bullets more words than are necessary—which dilutes the value of the words that are in there that are relevant. Simply by removing the words that a) add no technical value (again see 7 Words You Can’t Say in a Resume) and b) are simply fluffy extras will dilute your resume’s total impact on a hiring manager, recruiter, or applicant tracking system.

 

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Including an Objective Statement: The Resume Killer

In an earlier post about resume mistakes, I mentioned that including an objective in your professional resume is a kiss of death. Hiring managers do not know you, do not care about you, and do not want to know you. So writing anything that starts with “I want” is going to kill your nascent relationship with the hiring manager, who does not care that you like people, communicate well, or want to increase your responsibilities.

Your job is to make hiring managers want to read your professional resume and learn something special about you. They want to know what makes you different and what makes you the right one for the job.

You can make that happen with by nixing the objective statement and overhauling your resume with a branding statement that blows your reader away. Remember, all hiring managers are hoping that the resume they are reading now is owned by their next great hire. All you have to do is convince them that you are the right one and make them want to pick up the phone and dial your cell.

Does this sound intimidating?

Write for Your Audience While Writing about You

The easiest solution to the problem of why an objective statement is the worst opener for a great resume begins with your sitting down with yourself and asking yourself what makes you great.

Your answers to that very general question must be very specific. They have to address your specific history and your specific abilities and skills. Some examples of these answers can include the following.

  • You drive $X revenue per year
  • You manage distributed teams for a global company
  • You have the reputation of being the go-to expert on some critical industry topic
  • You find revenue when the economy is down by increasing wallet share
  • You build operations departments for car dealerships in the deep south where the organizational silos divide every employee into either “parts” or “service.”

What You Have to Do Now

Of course, these are only examples. You can’t copy these for your own resume. Why not? Because these are made-up examples. They refer to nobody in particular, certainly not you. A famous person once said that the right answer is usually the most difficult, costly, and frustrating.

You have to pick up a pencil and pad and start to brainstorm about what makes you great. That is the only answer. But when you finally have that answer, and you are confident that the words represent you the way you want to portray your brand of excellence, you will start to notice something remarkable that might not have happened before.

Your phone will start to ring.

Your professional resume will start to get you those interviews you have been after, because you are starting to show the value that you offer to a hiring manager. You will show in your professional resume that you have done A, B, and C before, and you are likely to be able to achieve those types of results again.

Learn why your executive resume isn’t making the cut: Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.

Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Top 5 Resume Mistakes That Say “Don’t Hire Me”

Including an Objective Statement

Your professional resume is all about you, right? Therefore, your objective is all about you, too. However, you’re sending your professional resume to a hiring manager—you’re not reading it to yourself in the echo chamber. And guess who the hiring manager wants to think most about? Himself (or herself). Not you.

Here’s my answer: Including an Objective Statement: The Resume Killer.

Telling the Hiring Manager that You Were “Responsible”

When I see the word “responsible” on a resume, I often chuckle to myself that this has to be a copy-and-paste from an HR job description. Human Resources always wants employees to be “responsible” for some task or solution. However, we never know if the job applicant’s resume indicates that the job seeker was merely responsible for something. Did that professional actually do something? Or was that person simply “responsible” for it, never getting around to achieving it.

Here’s my answer: Your Professional Resume Shows Your Authority—and Builds Great Resume SEO

Putting Your Education before Your Experience

Sometimes, I see executive resumes, or even resumes of experienced professionals, that include decades-old college education in the first line or two of the resume. Clearly, these job seekers must not think much of their professional experience or executive leadership. Why else would they focus on what most hiring leaders would consider a given?

Here’s my answer: Education Goes Last on a Professional or Executive Resume

Including Your High School Diploma

When your Salt Lake City professional resume promotes your high school education, you’re wasting valuable space on your resume. If you have at least one job after high school, any college education at all, or some post-high school technical training, your hiring manager is assuming that you have attended high school. What if you didn’t graduate high school? I’ve written executive resumes in Salt Lake City for senior vice presidents who did not finish high school, or who have obtained their GEDs. Your chances of success aren’t limited by your lack of education—in some cases, going straight to work shows an incredible work ethic. Either way, we don’t need to know about your high school education.

Here’s my answer: Resume Strategies for Executives Who Never Went to College

Poor Resume Design that Makes Your Executive Resume Unreadable

Ever try to read the fine print on a 30-second TV commercial? It’s impossible, because the advertiser typically does not want you to read the fine print. So why would you send a resume in to a hiring manager in 8-point type? Other common blunders include using resume bullet points that are really paragraphs, and paragraphs that should be broken into three paragraphs.

Here’s my answer: Five Easy Steps to Executive Resume Readability

Bonus Mistake #6: Pink Ink and Red Paper

Once, as a child, I wrote my grandmother a letter. In childish handwriting, I scrawled red letters across pink paper. She immediately called me and told me never to use red ink on pink paper, because it was completely unreadable. The same holds true for your professional resume: Do not use red ink (or blue ink, or brown ink, or yellow ink), and do not use pink paper (or blue paper, or green paper). Stick to basic black ink and basic white, cream, or gray paper.

 

Amy L Adler markets senior executives with persuasive executive resume writing, compelling LinkedIn profile development, and masterful job search coaching, so they can identify and obtain the executive career of their dreams.