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Strong Suits and Weak Links

chain links for strengths and weaknessesIf there are two questions I can almost guarantee you’ll be asked in every interview, it’s the ones asking you to describe your greatest strengths and weaknesses. If you’re actively interviewing, you shouldn’t even have to think about your answers; they should roll off the tongue as readily as your own name. That said, there are ways to answer these questions that are better than others. Read More

The 75% rule

75% rule measure upTo a certain extent, a job search is a numbers game. Statistically speaking, the more applications you send out, the more likely that one of them will materialize into a job. This assumes, of course, that the applications are well put-together, and that your experience is a reasonably good fit for the job you’re applying for. But when it comes to fit, how good is good enough? Here’s why you should use the 75% rule when applying for a job. Read More

Form and Function

blank resume templateI’ll say this right up front: I have a strong bias for chronological resumes, and I know I’m not alone. Most recruiters and hiring managers I know lean towards chronological resumes because they make it easier and faster to find the information we’re looking for quickly. Let’s talk about functional resumes, though, and the reasons you might – and might not – want to use one.

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Taking Stock

hand writing skills and strengths

Knowing the skills and strengths you bring to each of your jobs is more than just about having answers to the interview questions about them. That knowledge can also point you towards jobs that are a better fit for you, and also help you to write really excellent resumes and cover letters when you’re applying for them.

In a perfect world, every working person would be doing inventories of both skills and strengths on an ongoing basis. When embarking on an active job search, it’s essential.

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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

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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