Friday, August 30, 2013

CAREER SUCCESS: This Made the Difference in Landing Their Jobs

In the past week, I heard from two people about the same
new job a client of mine landed. First, I heard from the successful candidate himself: "...I  just wanted to say thank you again for your help last week before my final interview. It's amazing the amount of clarity I was able to get in our short conversation.  Oh... I did get the job!"  Then, I heard from his mentor letting me know that both he and another referral landed their jobs. Of course, this  really made my day as a career counselor. And,  I've since been thinking about what each person had in common. One important thing they had in common - both came to me for interview coaching and were very prepared for their interviews.

Being prepared for the interview is extremely important. With each of these clients, we talked about strategy. We looked at what each would be bringing to the role - the competitive advantages over other candidates. We also looked at barriers, or disadvantages, and how to overcome those on the interview. It wouldn't be by saying "my skills cross over" or "I can do this job."  It would be by sharing examples of success in a role. Each of the clients I coached prepared several examples targeted to the job requirements and were very prepared to share their stories in the interview, using the following PSR format:
  1. Talk about the Problem at hand and any barriers you had to overcome.
  2. Give the Solution to the above problem with enough detail for the interviewer to see you in action on her or his team.
  3. End with the Results you gained or what I refer to as the "exclamation point."
 You will want your answers to be no more than 1-2 minutes. The objective is to give specifics but not too many details. And, you don't want to mention the product name and/or organization names for the prior role too much. This is because you want the interviewer to picture you doing the same thing for their company. If you follow this advice, the interviewer is more likely to remember you and your story even after you leave the interview. See the importance of being very prepared with examples relevant to the new job at hand!  And, always interact as your professional, authentic self when giving these story examples to your interview team.

In wrapping up a month of Tuesday Tips about Resumes, here are two more. First of all,  it is extremely important to make sure your bullets are not too short or too long. If they are too succinct, you aren't telling your story to the reader. If they are too long and wordy, you will lose your reader. For those of you who are more wordy in your writing, have a goal to edit and reduce the content of your resume by at least 10%.
Secondly, a dear friend and colleague, Pat, advised me to read the content backwards as a final review. This causes you to read for correctness and not to be "unconsciously" filling in content. 

With all of the above advice on resume and interviewing success, I wish you much enjoyment over the long, Labor Day weekend and remind you to watch for Tuesday Tips next week!

Marianne   408-295-6656

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

TUESDAY TIPS: Make Yours a "Killer" Resume

This month is all about resumes. Your resume is your marketing collateral that gets you in front of the hiring manager. Research is telling us that networking and linkedin are still the 2 largest means (very high percentages by the way) that people are getting in the door. Once you're in, your resume will show what sets you apart and why they want to hire you and what skills and background you will contribute. Also, once you have a "killer" resume so to speak, you have already built the foundation for your interview prep.

So, to make it a killer resume you want to have your resume visually appealing so that the reader wants to read up on you in the content of the resume. Important to remember:
  1. Have a nice border but not too much white space. Too much white space looks like you didn't have enough to write about yourself.
  2. Put the dates on the right hand side of your resume so that you aren't wasting white space and so you lead with your resume advantage/s which are typically known companies where you've worked, progression of titles you've held, etc. (If you don't know how to think this through, it's time to confer with a career counselor.)
  3. Have just the right amount of spacing to set your sections apart and use nice headings and font sizes for your name and  titles for each section. I recommend the use of a font without a serif for your name and section headings and a serif font for the content (see the last two blogs).
  4. Always have contact information on the second page and it's nice to have page numbers in the header area, too.
  5. Keep it to two pages. Remember when writing your bullets and overall content "less is more for impact."

Have a good week and enjoy the process of writing or updating your resume.
Marianne   408-295-6656

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

TUESDAY TIPS: Begin With the End in Mind

There are many things that will make your resume a very marketable document in your job search or  career transition. Last week, the type of font to use was emphasized. Using a font with a serif (see last Tuesday's blog if you need more information on that) makes a difference for reader engagement. Book Antigua, Times and Times New Roman were mentioned. Another good font to consider using adding to your list is Georgia. This tip came from an author.

For today's tip, I'm going to make certain you all know how important it is to use your full name in the document title. As a former recruiter there is nothing worse than trying to quickly bring up someone's email and you can't because that person uses a fancy or unique email address that doesn't include the name. Take it from me, if you don't have a simple email with your name, create a gmail account just for that purpose. And, to further assist the hiring managers and recruiters, always include your contact information in each email. Make it very quick and easy for the person trying to find you, able to contact you.  

Continue to evolve your resume with the tips given each week. There will be more next Tuesday. Good luck and enjoy the process!  

Marianne   408-295-6656

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TUESDAY TIPS: Resume Tips that Will Get You Noticed!

Starting this month, you will be receiving Tuesday Tips to help with Career Transition and Job Search. On Fridays, you will read about Career Successes and receive additional information to guide you in the direction of your own career success. Your input, comments, and ideas along the way are all valued. Thanks in advance for your contributions.

For Tuesday Tips, August and September are going to be all about Resumes - what makes your resume stand out. I chose the topic of resume because the resume is foundational to everything you do in changing jobs. It's the foundation of your unique information that sets you apart.  And, once you have your resume "nailed" you are also that much more prepared for the interviews that you will land. The resume is your marketing material. It's your "resume real estate" of content that sets you apart from anyone else and tells the reader why they will want to contact you. 

So, the tips throughout the next two months will assist you in creating that excellent resume document. And, you may want to consider working with myself or another career coach if you don't know how to get started, how to figure out what sets you apart, or how to implement the tips you will be reading all about. Just keep this in mind as an option as you read the tips for resume writing.

Here's your first resume Tuesday Tip: Use a font style that has a serif. Research tells us that a serif creates an automatic response by the reader's eye to continue on with reading. According to Wikipedia a serif is a small line attached to the end of a stroke in a letter or symbol. You will notice that the title of this blog uses a font without a serif - straight letters with no curve.  The rest of the content of this blog has small lines, curves on the ends of the letters. One recommended serif font is Book Antigua. Of course, the standards,  Times New Roman and Times, also work very well.  Try your resume with and without a serif font and see what you think. Because the research continues to support the use of a serif font, that's what I continue to recommend to my clients.  And, clients have been very successful in getting their resumes "noticed" over the years. Let me know if you have questions. Watch for Friday's Career Corner for Success blog. All the best to you in your career journey this week!

Marianne   408-295-6656