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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

The Most Common Resume Mistake

elevator interiorI’ve done the math, and I figure I’ve read and reviewed well over 50,000 resumes throughout my career. Some were excellent, many were very good, and some were … well, they were awful. Most, though, were just okay. Mediocre. Lukewarm. And when I think about the resumes that I’ve seen that were just ‘meh’ in that way, there’s a common thread: the most common mistake that people make when writing their resume. I’d like to share it with you here, so that you can make sure you’re not making it as well. 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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History Lesson

typewriter typing work experience

‘Career History’, ‘Work Experience’, or ‘Professional Experience’ … whatever you call it, the section that gives me an overview of your work experience is hands-down the most critical part of your resume. It’s where I’m going to spend the most time reading, and it’s likely going to be the single most important factor in determining whether you get a chance to interview or not. Below,  I’ll share what I’m looking for when I’m reading this section, so that you can look at yours through the same lens. A better ‘Experience’ section will translate to more interviews.

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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

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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