Cons of Working with a Recruiter

Cons of Working with a Recruiter

We have previously discussed the good that can come from a positive relationship with a recruiter; however, there are bound to be both positives and negatives in any recruiting situation.

Recruiters may be trying to fill positions that do not exist.

If you are familiar at all with companies that assist employers in hiring, you have probably come across this situation. You apply for a job that sounds like a great fit, jump through all the hoops only to deduce that there was in fact no actual position. Most likely, the company was beefing up their prospective employee pool but not actually hiring yet. This can be a frustrating waste of time, especially if you are currently working and taking time off to meet with recruiters. Keep your head in the game and ask important, informational questions early in the process. If there isn’t enough information available about a position and the timeline involved, chances are the position doesn’t exist today (although it theoretically could be coming available in the future).

You may be applying for positions that aren’t a good fit because you don’t have all of the information.

When dealing with zealous recruiters, you may come across one or two that are so driven to get someone hired that your needs and desires get pushed to a back burner. In these cases, you may be put into some uncomfortable situations and be found interviewing for positions that would never work for you. Should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, be honest and tell the hiring personnel that you may not be well suited for the position they are interviewing for. If it feels appropriate you can ask if there might be a position open in a different department that you would be qualified to apply for.

You may be undersold.

At times it can benefit the recruiter to get you into a position at the lowest rate possible, maybe without much of a raise from your current position. While recruiters are working with both you and the prospective employer and hope to please you both, they are ultimately best serving the interests of the employer. They might try to undersell you in an effort to fill a position quickly.

To protect yourself, you will want to talk to many different recruiters and do your own compensation research to identify what you are truly worth. You may want to keep your past salary information private to gain as much information from them as possible. Remember, there are no rules where this is concerned; it is your right to keep your personal information private. You need to keep your own needs front and center. If you don’t feel like you are being valued appropriately, walk away.

Remember recruiters find people for jobs, not the other way around.

While most recruiters will try to do right by their candidates, it is important to remember who they are really working for. Be aware of the possibility that they might make promises they can’t keep—perhaps because they do not have as much insider information as the hiring executive does. Also, never sign a document stating that they are the only recruiter that you will work with. Above all, don’t pay them anything. A good recruiter, working in your best interest while simultaneously serving the needs of their direct customers (companies seeking rare talent), won’t be taking additional payments from you for current or future obligations. Be alert, and keep ultimate control of your future in your own hands.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Resume Formatting: Do’s and Don’t’s that Help You Stand Out

Resume Formatting: Do’s and Don’t’s that Help You Stand Out

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Two resumes are in front of you; both are possible candidates for the open position. The first is littered with text, margin to margin, full of inconsistent fonts and format, and very little useful information stands out. The second resume is presented with consistent font and format, short bullets with precise information, and plenty of white space. Which resume would you rather tackle first?

The appearance of your resume is not as important as its content, certainly, but your presentation can affect your future hiring executive’s impression of your candidacy. In the example above, the two resumes contain two qualified candidates, but the difference is clear. A cluttered resume displays a cluttered style — clunky and disorganized — which is the last thing any employer wants in their ranks.

Resume content is always more important than its format; however, you do need to pay attention to how that content is presented. Make sure you’re following the Dos and Don’ts for good presentation of your professional resume.

Template Don’t

Don’t use downloadable templates. On the one hand, the more generic your resume appears, the fewer seconds a hiring manager will spend glancing at it before putting it aside and forgetting about it. On the other, many templates are not built to present well across individual machines, so you never will be entirely certain that your beautiful layout will appear equally attractive on someone else’s computer, and especially not on a mobile device.

Format Don’t

Bright paper or flashy clip art will catch the hiring manager’s eye, but not in a good way.

These kinds of tricks appear unprofessional. Resumes that bring success use a combination of a clean layout with strong content without resorting to flash.

Typeface Don’t

While font choice is important, distracting choices can derail your message. Hiring managers should focus on content — your skills, abilities, and experiences. Don’t decrease readability by using more than two fonts in your resume. Using two complementary fonts, say one for headings and one for the body, highlights important pieces of the document while maintaining the integrity of the information.

Color Do

Use a strategic splash of color to emphasize particular information or graphical elements.

Spelling and Grammar Do

Spelling and grammar are small things you need to be conscious of through your resume. Spell check is not always reliable as it won’t catch every grammar mistake if of the words are spelled correctly. “To,” “too,” and “two” are often confused and can easily be missed in such a check.

White Space Do

White space on your resume is essential for the reader. Use reasonable margins as well as space strategically between sections of information. This gives the reader, a hiring manager or otherwise, a break and points of focus without using more obvious styles. While the information on your resume is important, you don’t want it to look like a page from a novel or high school essay.

Consistency Do

Being consistent with your format throughout your entire resume will allow your reader to follow patterns. This makes your resume an easy read rather than a search and find. If you use bold titles for your current workplace, you should do the same for all other experience listed. Special note: Limit your use of bold, italic, and underlined text—if you try to make everything stand out, nothing will.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Pros of Working with a Recruiter

You were sure that finding that desired position or making a career change wouldn’t be that difficult. You had a solid plan and many different leads and ideas. So what happens when all those have run their course and you haven’t found or been offered what you were searching for. Is it time to call in reinforcements? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working with a corporate or executive recruiter.

Pros of Working with a Recruiter  

Working with a career or job recruiter to find that position you have been searching for can provide significant advantages over simply submitting your resume or application on job search boards. Recruiters have unique expertise and can help you:

Find job leads that may not be released to the public

Often positions that pay more and have sought-after benefits are not simply posted on the internet. Companies that are hiring for these types of positions don’t want a deluge of resumes. Often, if you have a reputable recruiter, they are in the know, as they can be part of the company’s inner circle.

Introductions and relationships

There is something to be said about being introduced by a recruiter. Being presented makes you stand out from the crowd. This encourages the employers looking to hire, to take notice. It also puts a comfortable buffer between you and the employer. They keep an open line of communication about the position and can even help with negotiations on your behalf concerning salary, benefits and so on. It is also part of the job of the recruiter to match you to the position. Recruiters have a reputation to protect and will want to be sure that they are making contacts in positions that could be a win for both you and the employer. This saves you time, frustration, and extra leg work.

Discretion

When a recruiter works with you, that relationship relies on confidentiality and discretion. This enables you to maximize your job search and protect your current position while you still are working at your current position.

Preparation

The recruiter’s commission depends on the success of the candidates they are proposing to their corporate clients. They want to know all the details of your skills and experience in addition to having a complete understanding of what you are searching for, so they can present only their best talent to client companies. They also should be able guide you through the entire process from first contact to final interview. Although recruiters are paid by their company clients, when you are successful so are they. So consider them to be your advocate and let them help you land the position you are searching for.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your Resume Is Your Worst Enemy:6 Ways to Defeat it

Your Resume Is Your Worst Enemy:6 Ways to Defeat it

Compiling an amazing resume is often described as the ultimate job search challenge. Truly, creating the resume that will secure an interview may well be the most difficult part of your job search. It doesn’t take much to land your shining finished product firmly in the “no” pile. There are turn-offs, red flags and simple mistakes that will send your resume straight into the garbage can. However, being aware of these common mistakes and avoiding them is half the battle. Let’s take a look…

Problem #1: Your resume is too lengthy, but you’re unsure of what to delete.

Deciding what makes the final cut on your resume can be a real challenge. Experts advise not to go further back than 10-15 years in your work history. Another way to determine this would be to not include more than your previous 5 jobs, whichever option is shorter. Descriptions of duties at each position can also take up a lot of room and is generally unnecessary. Using short sentences or bullet points can be great ways to simplify details. While there doesn’t seem to be a perfect length for a resume, one page seems to be the current trend with two-pages being acceptable if needed.

Beware of using what is termed as “filler.” This is an old trend that has gone by the wayside. At one time there seemed to be a misconception that having important words or different types of positions listed on your resume would increase your chances of landing an interview. This will not prove true if this extra information causes your resume to be so wordy and long that it is tossed in the trash bin. “More” is not “better” in when dealing with your resume. You do not want to appear to be someone who “dabbles” in everything; you want to show expertise or experience in a couple of areas instead.

Problem #2: You lack education and experience.

This can be a common problem as we search for positions that challenge us to better ourselves. When you find that job that mentions experience or education that you lack, you should still give it a shot. What do you have to lose by applying? Job listings tend to contain a wish list of sorts for the perfect candidate. Odds are, there isn’t going to be anyone that meets each requirement. Be honest in listing the education and experience that you do possess, don’t ever be dishonest. Even if your degree is in a completely different field, it still demonstrates your knowledge base and shows that you are a graduate. Fill in the blanks by expressing the interest and enthusiasm you have for the position along with a healthy desire to learn on the job. You may be surprised with the results.

Problem #3: Not only did you not stay long at your last job, you have a history of frequently changing jobs.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering if a job should be listed, here is a common guideline. If you were at a job for less than two months, leave it off your resume. If the time spent in that position was over two months than in most cases you will want to include it on your resume. Such a short time frame spent in any position is bound to raise questions from a perspective employer, so be prepared to answer truthfully. It may be that the position wasn’t what you had hoped for or maybe there were economic problems that surfaced, whatever the case, be ready to discuss it.

A similar issue that you may face comes from hopping from job to job. While this may feel like a mark against you, that is not always the case in the eye of the hiring manager. Perhaps you advanced in status due to some of your job changes? Having the initiative to continue to search until you find what you are looking for and where you will happily stay may show the company in which you are applying for that you are in a real search for a long term career. As mentioned above, be prepared to discuss these job changes and the goal of each. Remember, no trash talking, that never leaves a positive impression. Avoid it at all costs.

Problem #4: You have sizeable gaps in your work history.

If you have time off between jobs that are long enough to draw questions it is a good idea to address these in your cover letter. Take comfort in the fact that with the economic slowdowns that have hit over the past decade gaps in employment history are much more common than they once were. State in your cover letter whether the time off was due to staying home to raise children or a tough job market, but do address it. If the length of your job search has reached a point that you must get something on your resume, then take up some volunteer or freelancing work and include that. As with anything on your resume, be prepared to have an open and honest discussion about it.

Problem #5: You are using outdated resume terms.

You want your resume to get noticed, but not for the wrong reasons. Below is a list of some of the terms you should now avoid even though they were popular in the past.

  • References available by request (Of course they are, but either include them, or don’t mention them).
  • Detail-oriented (aren’t we all? At least to some extent).
  • Hardworking (actions speak louder than words; no one really believes this statement until they see it for themselves).
  • Objective (very outdated, replaced with a job or career summary).
  • Responsible for…. (Using this format will cause your resume to become to wordy).
  • Problem solver (is this really unique to you? I don’t think so…).
  • Team player (again, action and time will tell).

Problem #6: You include too much personal information and decoration.

Even though talking about hobbies, religion and marital status discloses a lot about yourself, you don’t want to include these details on your resume. You also don’t want to be the one resume that uses a bright pink cursive font. While you will get noticed, it will not bring the results that you are hoping for.

A professional resume is crucial in today’s competitive job market. The details can make or break you. Be sure that your resume shows a clear direction along with career goals that you are hoping to achieve without including information that would be deemed too personal.

Remember, every mistake you may have on your resume is completely fixable, don’t lost heart. Don’t make more of it than it is by taking yourself too seriously. Your resume isn’t a legally binding document. Your past employer isn’t going to proof read it for you. Your resume is a summary of your work history, education and experience, that’s all. It’s your journey, your path and experiences and your future. Take the time to prepare a resume that makes you feel confident or hire a professional resume writer to do so, but take pride in yourself and your accomplishments, whatever they may be.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Think About it: What if Interviews are Like Dating and the Job Offer is like Marriage. . What’s the Difference between the Two?

Think About it:  What if Interviews are Like Dating and the Job Offer is like Marriage. .

What’s the Difference between the Two?

You are in your best clothes. You took extra time getting ready for this outing, paid attention to every detail. This is not an average day. You are sitting across from someone that you have either never met or know very little about. But you do know one thing; they hold your very future in their hands. You are sizing each other up, on every imaginable level. You are both on your best behavior, determined to make an impression. So, is this a date or a job interview? Do you see the similarities? Interesting perspective, let’s compare further.

First Impressions

As you have heard over and over, the value of a great first impression cannot be stressed enough. It matters! Going back to our idea about interviews being a lot like dating, we can see the similarities. We take extra time to get ready and select our clothing, we look our best, we come prepared with our A game. We should be using this strategy with interviews as well.

Check into Your “Date/Interviewer”

Just as we wouldn’t head into a date with absolutely no information about that person, we shouldn’t head into an interview without doing a decent amount of homework. We need to know about the position, the company and even the interviewer if possible. While there may be “blind” dates, there shouldn’t ever be a “blind” interview. Both are highly likely to fail.

Good Conversation

One of the best outcomes of a first date is being able to say that there was great conversation! You want this to be part of your interview as well. You want to be able to be yourself and communicate your thoughts just as you would hope to be able to do on a date. Just remember that the motivations of many interview questions aren’t as innocent as on a date. The interviewer is constantly playing a game of hide-and-seek. There is an additional question that hides behind nearly each initial question asked. You need to stay aware of what they are really trying to determine and then keep your cool. Not to say that questions on a date aren’t the same, but hopefully you are able to loosen up and relax a little bit more in that setting.

Saying Goodnight/Goodbye

Whether it is the end of a date or an interview, the way you say goodbye is very important. I will leave you to decide how to end a date properly and will discuss how to end an interview on the best terms possible, although, you may find they truly are similar. You want to leave with a positive impression. You want to interviewer to have felt your good energy and enthusiasm for the position as well as good information on your work history and skills. You want them to be thinking about you after the interview is over. They should be thinking about what you could bring to the table and that you could be what they have been looking for all along (still sounds a little like a date, right?).

Marriage/Job Offer

While this may seem like a bit of a stretch, it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about it. To hire you, means to bring you into the interviewer’s life and their business. This involves a lot of trust in you. They need to feel certain that what they have felt about and learned about you is the truth and will serve them well in the future. They are looking for commitment. No one wants somebody to come in full of hopes and dreams only to get bored or be under-qualified and have to leave without seeing things through. As a marriage takes two, so does a work relationship. You must be ready to jump in with both feet and say I do!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Your Resume

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Your Resume

 

Weeks have passed since you sailed through both a phone screening and a first interview, and yet, you haven’t heard another word. Obviously someone else has taken the position that you were hoping to score. So the question remains, why? What did they have that you didn’t? What made someone else stand out above you and the rest of the applicants? Was it their skills, personality, interview or even their resume? You can’t risk being deficient in any of the categories mentioned above. The problem lies in the fact that we don’t often hear back about why we were not chosen for a position. How do we improve with no information on what’s going wrong? We need to break the cycle we so easily find ourselves in and think like a competitor. Make no mistake, this is a competition.

Open with an Engaging Summary

In case you haven’t heard, placing an “Objective” at the top of your resume has become a thing of the past. The current trends are leaning toward a Summary. This is a friendly, more personable way to introduce yourself to prospective employers. This is a chance to let some of your personality show through in what can otherwise be a somewhat dry and detail-oriented fact sheet and job history. Think of the summary as a modern day, virtual handshake. Be professional but let your personality shine through. Do not include details such as hobbies and marital status; however, they don’t want to hear about those things at this point, stay professional but engaging. This will kick-off a current, interesting and competitive resume.

Don’t be Afraid to Show your Passion

We often hold ourselves back from truly expressing our feelings about how important something is to us. This isn’t a mistake that you will have a chance to rectify when made on a resume or at an initial job interview. Let your passion about an opportunity or your past experiences come through. A hiring agent needs to be able to accurately gauge your level of interest whether on paper or in person. You must be sure that you are honestly expressing your enthusiasm.  Hiring someone that they know is truly excited about a position will win over someone that just seems to be “a good fit,” every time. Provide solid explanations about why this company or position intrigues you. How does it fit into the puzzle of your future aspirations? What are you excited to show them?

Highlight Results-Driven Accomplishments

When listing previous employment, do not provide endless explanations or lists of duties preformed or extreme details of what was required of you. While you want to be thorough, you don’t need to list every position that you have ever had. Instead think about unique methods and ideas that you contributed that had proven measureable results. Such as: increases in sales, customer numbers, social media presence, etc. Stay focused on relevance as well as stability. You want to highlight the results you can bring to the table. A bulleted, verb packed format can be a great way to present this information as it is a quick scan for your interviewer and an easy discussion starter.

Remember the All-Important Keywords

As you prepare your resume, remember that you are competing not only against other resumes, but against machines and talent-management software. This software will generally dispose of up to 50% of resumes and cover letters before they even grace the presence of a human being. Using the correct keywords becomes more important every day. You can create your own list of important keywords by previewing many different job listings in the field in which you are seeking employment. Search for similarities in skill sets, tasks, duties, and so on. Be sure to insert these important key-words naturally throughout your resume, be thorough but of course, don’t overdo it.

Be a Confident Competitor

There are many ways to make your resume stand out above the rest. Your resume is the single most important part of your job search. Read it aloud to ensure that it is competitive, concise, and attention getting. Also, don’t forget your cover letter.  If after revamping and applying all the techniques above you are still not getting the recognition that you feel you deserve, it may be time to call in a professional Resume Writer. Turning the process over to an outside source with well-trained methods can be just the boost you need to make it to the top of the list.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Creative Ways You Can Improve Your Resume

5 Creative Ways You Can Improve Your Resume

Compiling a unique, powerful and attention getting resume has always been difficult. However, in today’s tech-driven world, it is getting even more challenging. There are elements that are game changers, such as electronic resume scanners. It is more critical than ever to be at the top of your job-seeking game. This means, first and foremost, having an optimized resume that will get you that interview.

Do Not List an Objective

Rather than listing an objective, write a summary statement. You do not want to start off your resume by making demands as having an objective seems to do. You would do better to set a different tone from the beginning. A short synopsis that illustrates your work history, achievements and experience is a welcome addition to any resume. These statements may even be done in a bulleted format for quick skimming by a prospective employer. The objective section is now out, and the summary statement is the current trend.

Change the Design but be Consistent

We often seem to get into a rut with the style, color and design of our resumes. We may go in and update information, but we rarely change formatting, color or detail. To stay current with today’s job market, it is crucial to get ourselves out of this box and make our resume’s stand out. We are able to use graphs, charts, boxes, images and so on to enhance our resume. In adding these details, however, you want to be sure to stay true to your industry and not go too far over the top. You don’t want to use more than two different font types or sizes. It can just be too much. Think about the field you are applying in and make sure your resume is a good fit. However, this is a great chance for a creative and attention getting self-promotion of your skills.

Describe Your Future, not Only Your Past

A resume is not your life story. It must be kept short and concise. You are in fact trying to “sell yourself,” not give a narrative of your history. The goals you have for your future career should be what guides the information that makes the cut and appears on your resume. The past experience that highlights these goals should be maximized and highlighted. You want to be in control of which aspects of your experience are focused on. Emphasize the past employment that relates to the position you are applying for the most. This will keep the direction of your resume where you want it to be. Clarity is the goal.

Practice Skimming

Once you feel that your resume is close to ready to send out, put yourself in the recruiter’s seat. Set your resume on your desk and look at it from afar.

  • Does it look like more than you want to read? Than it probably is and you need to cut out some of the unnecessary words and fluff. Also, be sure to leave some white spaces between paragraphs for ease of readability.
  • Can you easily pick up on details and critical keywords that fit the position you are applying for? If not, make them more obvious, emphasize them.
  • Are you able to quickly scan through within about six seconds and get a good idea of the qualifications contained in your resume? Is there enough information at a glance to make you worthy of an interview?
  • Does your contact information stand out clearly? If you have listed more than one phone number or email address, simplify. Give them one or two most direct routes to contact you and then be available if they do call.

Spend some time on each of these questions to ensure your resume is ready to be distributed.

Format for Delivery

Have you ever felt unsure about the format you should send a resume in? Don’t be, the answer is PDF. By the time you are submitting a resume for consideration, you have spent countless hours making sure that every line is formatted correctly, every bullet point lined up. Don’t lose your hard work by submitting a resume in a Word document and having it arrive with these fine details lost. Sending a PDF insures that your resume will arrive exactly as you sent it.

Using the ideas and tools in this article should help you re-think your familiar approach to your resume. Step out of your comfort zone and dare to be more creative. The goal is to have your resume be informative yet pleasing to the eye by those who evaluate it. Take your time and do it right, you won’t regret it.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why NOT Changing Jobs Now Can Cost You Real Dollars in Lost Salary

Why NOT Changing Jobs Now Can Cost You Real Dollars in Lost Salary

First jobs rarely turn out to be a dream job. Often it is an obvious mismatch. The speed in which people change jobs or careers seems to depend on abilities and degree of education. Often, people with more training and education settle on a career more quickly. There have been times in America when people would hold onto their jobs at all costs, no matter how bad it was, such as during times of recession. We live in a different era now. Hanging onto the same job for too long may end up costing you more than you realize.

Do I have a future here?

If you can’t see yourself in your current position in a year or two from now, or if the path you’re on doesn’t lead to where you are planning to be in the future, it’s time evaluate whether you are in the right place. Does the job go hand in hand with your long-term career goals? If not, you must alter your path to align with your career aspirations; it may be time to make a big change.

A Poor Fit Means Lower Wages

Studies have shown that workers who don’t fit in well at their jobs often end up being less productive. Being less productive translates into lower wages over the course of time. This seems to be the case whether we are talking about being underqualified or overqualified. If you spend too much time in the wrong position you will also be worse off after you switch due to the fact that you haven’t been learning and growing in the skills needed to succeed on your prospective career path. Putting off finding a job that is a better match for your skills and qualifications is essential to your long-term earning potential. Well worth the stress and effort of a prolonged job search.

When to Make the Switch

The sweet spot for a job change seems to be after about three to five years on average. Often employees who voluntarily make a job switch see a 5-8% raise with a new employer. After several additional years the percentage of increase drops somewhat. This indicates that those employees who remain in a mismatched occupation over a fifteen year period could end up with a salary that is in the neighborhood of 30 percent less than someone with comparable skills but in a well match occupation.

When you are well aware of your value and how much you are worth and more importantly, your employer knows that you are willing to leave if you don’t get it, you become much stronger in your negotiation tactics, whether you ultimately decide to stay or move on.

The Job Switching Trend

We hear a lot of negative press about current employment and unemployment statistics. The truth is many people assume that in these times people change jobs often and that the market is insecure. While we all know that the days of working in the same position or even field over the course of your lifetime are nearly gone, it is a misconception that people change jobs and careers more than ever. This is where the advantage of making a change comes in. If you do your research and make decisions and plans over time, not being impulsive, you stand a great chance of making a switch that will better your financial situation. In doing so, you may also find yourself properly challenged, intrigued and valued.

It’s important to note that loyalty to your company isn’t the most profitable position any longer. Being willing to demand what you are worth and being willing to leave for other employment over it, makes you much more likely to ensure that you make a salary that you deserve.

Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

 

9 Questions You Need to Ask Your Executive Resume Writer

9 Questions You Need to Ask Your Executive Resume Writer

Hiring a professional to assist with your resume needs can be easier than writing a resume yourself, but you need to be informed. You shouldn’t hesitate to ask your executive resume writer questions about their prices, reviews, and all details of services. It is comparable to hiring someone to remodel your bathroom – you would ask numerous questions to ensure you will be satisfied with the service and result, such as price, method, and name(s) of the contractor(s) actually performing the labor. In this article, you’ll find nine of the most important questions you should take note of when searching for an executive resume writing service.

Are you certified?

Certification is an important piece in finding an executive resume writer. If you are going to pay for the service, you certainly want to hire someone who knows what they are doing. Committed resume professionals will be certified through a respected organization. The process to become certified is not always the same through each industry, however you can confirm the credentials with the agency after speaking with the writer.

What services do you offer, including prices? Do your services include job search strategy or interview preparation?

Resume writing companies have varying services. A serious firm will offer things outside of the resume and cover letter such as job search strategy, interview preparation, and career coaching. The price of each service should be readily available on the company website, but you should still be asking questions as to how much time will be invested for each service you wish to use. With the price and average amount of time known, you can easily calculate the hourly rate for each service and determine whether it reflects the rate of an accomplished, serious, and reputable company or an incompetent, low quality, run-of-the-mill operation. Reputable companies will charge more for their services, but remember that the price should be, on average, three times what an employee of the business should receive as income.

How many years of experience do you have?

Experience will vary from person to person. You need to decide what you want from your resume professional: a superb resume for a specific career field, a general resume you can send to anyone, or a resume for switching careers. Ask questions about their expertise. A devoted executive resume writer will assist you in finding the right professional for your project.

What is your writing experience?

Several resume professionals are also accomplished writers. Most will have that information in a profile for their company’s website, but don’t feel embarrassed to ask about the specifics of their other written work. Media like books, articles, and even professional blog posts, paid work or writing experiences, and bachelor or master degrees in English fields are all key examples of written accomplishments.

How long do you spend on a resume for someone in my career field?

If not clearly stated on the company website,  make sure you inquire about a time frame. Most professional resume businesses expect payment up front so, it is a good idea to have some kind of due date in mind. Dependent on the experience of the professional,  and on your own candidate level (entry-level, experienced, or executive), the resume writing process can take anywhere from six to twelve hours.

Who will handle my resume? How is that determined?

Not every firm will be what you expect.  Some have been outsourced to other countries where someone at the U.S. location will interview you, gather all the information they need to complete your resume, and send it to another person, possibly another country, to have the resume written and formatted.  It is important to talk about who will actually be carrying out your project from start to finish. What are their credentials,  experience, and fields of expertise?

Will all of the content be original?

Cost of service should be an indication of quality. Low-cost firms typically rely on software and pre-written templates to construct resumes. These templates have keywords and phrases that are common with specific professions. For example: for  engineering, they can paste your information into an existing template to create your resume. Good for them, and bad for you. This will make your resume blend in with dozens of other candidates. So, when inquiring about originality, know what you should be looking for.

Do you specialize in my career field? Is it necessary for my executive resume writer to be intimately familiar with my field?

Using a resume writer who specializes in your field nice, but not necessary. They will have a more in-depth understanding of which questions to ask you, what information to gather, and the specific language used in that industry. While it is nice to have, another expert writer is able to craft a great resume for professions they do not have much experience in.

What do other customers have to say about your services? Where can I view reviews?

When looking for reviews, be careful. Testimonials on public forums or company websites can be fabricated to increase sales. Reviews that are on social media, like LinkedIn profiles, can be more reliable because you can look at the profile of the person to verify their identity. LinkedIn can be useful in viewing the profile of the individual writer you have chosen to work with. What accomplishments have they included? What industry do they seem to work in most? Don’t be afraid to do research about the people working at the resume company as well as people who spent the time to review the service.

Your resume, especially if you are going to pay to have it written, should be the ultimate tool for your job search. Any reputable resume writer will recommend what is best for the client. Asking questions is the best way to ensure you will be getting the greatest quality of service and resulting products.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
 

8 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Interview

8 Surprisingly Effective Ways to Interview

Buckle up; it’s Time to get Real

We all know the textbook answers for how to interview successfully: be prepared, know about the company, practice what you will say to those questions that are always asked, dress for the job, and so on and so forth. Let’s take a minute and think outside the box. Let’s think about tactics that are a little different, that may give you an edge and leave a great impression. Let’s be ready for an amazing interview!

Before you Apply, Get Noticed

Obviously, getting a referral or a recommendation is the best ticket into any company that is hiring, hands down. However, most of us are not fortunate enough to be able to provide this. All is not lost! Remember that recruiters are scouring job sites looking endlessly for the perfect fill for an available position. With this information in mind, remember to market yourself as a high performer when managing your social media listings, such as LinkedIn. Create attention getting profiles that show actual examples of your work anywhere possible. Also, if you would like to receive endorsements, make sure to give them as well. Professional people often return the favor.

Know when to Push Send

Applying on Monday is the way to go. There are several studies out now that say as much. Send in your resume on a Monday and you are more likely to be called in for a job interview than on any other day.

Schedule your Interview Wisely

Word on the street is that scheduling your interview for a Tuesday, and even more specifically, around 10:30 a.m., will be well worth the strategic planning. This is due to the fact that we all deal with so many different responsibilities. The state the interviewer is in should be very important to you. You don’t want to slide into a Monday or Friday spot as people tend to be either recovering from the weekend or gearing up for it. Close to lunch time is also a no go. Your interviewer could be distracted, hungry, or carb-loaded and ready for a nap. They may even resent that they needed to hurry back to meet you. Play it safe and avoid mid-day, where ever possible. *Note: be mindful of how quickly they are planning to hire. You may have to jump into the first available spot if they are in a hurry!

Use all Available Tools, have you tried Google Alerts?

If you want to stay on top of the current news, information and even employment ads posted, a great tool in your arsenal is Google Alerts. If you set up an alert, you will receive an email anytime a new story, ad, etc. appears for a specific search term that you set up. This enables you to know about current events as they happen, without even searching for them.

Remember Your Interviewer’s Name

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I assure you it is easier to forget than you think. Being able to address an interviewer by name especially with a warm smile, nice handshake and comfortable eye contact can leave a positive impression that shouldn’t be underestimated. Try and use their name a time or two during the interview this will show how truly interested you are. It also is a great way to highlight how comfortable you are meeting and working with new people.

Develop and Practice Your Story

You want to enter an interviewing situation armed with your story. We are not just talking about the story that tells where you were born, grew up, went to school, and so on. Not just an answer to the forever asked question, “Tell me about yourself.” Create a story that tells more about how you evolved into the person that you are, both in your professional and personal life. It can be helpful to a prospective employer to know what drives you. How did you develop such tenacity? Right? We often don’t tell our own story well, or even in an interesting way. You want to talk about hopes, achievements, even areas you feel you have failed, things that are yours, only unique to you. This can honestly take some time and practice, but it will be well worth it. Bounce it off a critic several times, one who has your best interest at heart of course! Taking the time to do this will build your confidence and humanize you to the interviewer. Let them feel like they know you, it will be sure to have an impact in their decision making.

Become Familiar with Emotional Intelligence

If you have ever interviewed for a position that you didn’t receive, and who hasn’t? You know that it is not always the person that is the most qualified that gets the job. There are many other skills we possess that can outweigh even the smartest competition. One of the great and underrated tools for interviewing is called Emotional Intelligence. This is the ability to tune into another person’s emotional state and not only empathize but manage your own emotions to identify with theirs and then communicate with them properly. This skill can be learned. Look closely at the way you manage stress, not only your own but others. The way that you key in on moods and issues and adjust your behavior accordingly is really all we are talking about. You don’t want to seem bubbly or obnoxious to an interviewer that is obviously annoyed by such personalities. You may need to tune into the mood and adjust somewhat. We always want to be who we are of course, but taking the time to feel out the atmosphere around you and behave accordingly can be an important key in unlocking new opportunities.

Don’t Forget the Thank You Note…EVER

Within 24 hours of completion of an interview make sure to email out a Thank You note. Yes, email is perfectly acceptable in this day and age, but forgetting to do so is not. We are all so busy, every one of us in one way or another and I dare say, we all appreciate kind gestures. Show your appreciation for the time that they took out of their day to meet with you. Even if this job wasn’t a perfect fit for you, leaving a positive impression may open the door to future opportunities as they become available. They may think of you the next time they have an opening. It also opens a dialogue they can use freely. Don’t ever let good old fashioned manners fall by the wayside.

While some of these suggestions may seem to be familiar, they are a step above the norm. That extra step could make all the difference in your journey to the ideal career.

Photo credit: thetaxhaven via VisualHunt / CC BY
By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor