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Like a Sore Thumb

stick out like a sore thumbThere are many ways a person might stand out from the crowd. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Depending on the way you choose to stand out, though, sometimes it’s not. When you’re a candidate competing for a job, your experience and qualifications are the things that should differentiate you from your competition. Not gimmicks.

Far too often, I’ve read well-intentioned pieces of advice about creative and unique ways to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs, and today I’d like to tell you why you shouldn’t follow any of them. Read More

Cover your Bases

cover your base - baseball baseI can be a broken record when it comes to cover letters, but if I am, it’s only because I want you to know where they fit into the hiring process – particularly at the screening stage. I will probably only read your cover letter if I’ve read your resume and already decided that I’m probably going to interview you.

It’s an important principle, because most people write a cover letter with the mindset that it’s going to convince me to read their resume. It’s not. Your cover letter will do one of two things: reaffirm my decision to interview you, or change my mind and decide not to. This changes how you write them, and I’m writing this to help yours do more of the former than the latter. Read More

Smooth Operator

speedbumps to avoid when working with a recruiter

As a candidate working with a recruiter, it’s to your benefit to help them be as efficient as possible. There are aspects of this that you can’t control. The suitability of your experience and qualifications for the job I’m hiring for, for example. It’s either a good fit, or it’s not. There’s one thing you can control, though. That factor is: friction. Read More

On Target

dartboard targetIn any target sport, hitting your mark is a matter of disciplined preparation, careful aim, and a perfect release. Targeting job applications is no different. If you take the time, each application you send will have a greater chance of hitting the bullseye and landing you an interview. Read More

The First Cut is the Deepest

knife cutting orange for screening candidates

The resume is, clearly, one of the most important parts of any job search. When deciding whether you’re a good enough fit to spend time interviewing, recruiters base that decision on that document above all else. Words on a page can get you in the door, or they can close it forever. But does your resume get you screened in, or screened out? Read More

When Finding a Job, is the Job

looking through binoculars finding a job when you're unemployedThere’s no sugar-coating this: looking for a job when you’re unemployed can be one of the most frustrating, discouraging, and disheartening experiences you’ll ever go through in your life. At the precise moment that you need to project confidence and competence, those things are possibly quite far from what you’re feeling. If you’re reading this while in this situation, I’m truly sorry. I know it’s difficult beyond words. You’re not alone in feeling how you feel. What I want to share with you here isn’t a cure, but my hope is that it may be a treatment. Read More

High Profile

arrows pointing up for high profile

On most resumes, between the contact information at the top and the first ‘meat’ section, there’s a space that job seekers generally fill with one of two things: an ‘Objective’, or a ‘Professional Profile’. A profile statement is almost always the better choice. You should almost never* fill that chunk of prime resume real estate with your objective. I realize this is a strong statement. I stand by it, and I’ll tell you why. Read More

Tailored to Fit

man straightening tie for a good fit

How can you tell if a job is a good fit for you? Inevitably, some choices we make about taking certain jobs are guided more by necessity than preference; sometimes we just need to bring a period of unemployment to an end. Sometimes this works out well for us, and we discover that a job or company ‘grows on us’ over time. But sometimes it’s the opposite. There are things that just don’t feel right, and we start to look elsewhere again. This can lead to a career history marked by short hops at a string of jobs, which can be difficult to address and defend in an interview. Read More

First Aid Kit for the Newly Unemployed

hand of a sinking person looking for help because they're unemployed

Becoming suddenly unemployed – no matter how it happens – is traumatic. We’re thrust from a comfortable routine into the unknown. Financial uncertainty compounds the stress. And we don’t always realize, until we’re in this situation, just how much of our self-identity is wrapped up in the job we hold. If you’re in this situation right now, I am very truly sorry. You’re grieving a loss, and there will be some tough days yet to come.

The best possible way to overcome (or at least lessen) what you’re feeling now is to start doing things that will shorten the time to full recovery: the first day of your next job. And that’s what I’d like to share with you here: a four-step ‘first aid’ plan that will get you back on your feet sooner.

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The Ten Commandments of Resumes

resume commandmentsYour resume is the single most important document you will use when you’re looking for a job. Far more than your cover letter (which – despite the name – almost every recruiter reads last, if at all), it is your resume that will determine whether you’ll be invited to interview. Given its importance, I’ll be spending more time here talking in detail about various parts of your resume. But as an introduction, I’m here today to share ’10 Commandments’ of resume writing. The things you must and must not do, if you want me to consider taking the time to interview you.

DO: Make it easy to contact you.

Name, phone number, and email. If you want to include your mailing address you can, but if a recruiter is going to be replying to you by email that’s not necessary anymore. Pro tip: if your email address and outgoing voicemail messages don’t sound professional, fix that.

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