The Career Club

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Archive for the ‘Paper Presentation’ Category

Put THIS in Your Resume

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Previously Posted 12 May 2009
Updated 15 December 2009

Lately, I’ve been receiving an astounding number of resumes a day to critique and edit. I take resumes seriously because it is the most important way to present yourself on paper; followed by applications and cover letters. However, some resumes that I’ve received have been so horrifying that I decided to dedicate a blog on what to put in your resume. If I don’t have it in here, you don’t put it in your resume. PERIOD.

So whether your putting together a functional or chronological resume, there are a few items that will be there regardless as well as those specific for either type of resume. For both types of resumes, you’ll be placing the following:

  1. Header – The header should only have your full name, address, phone number and email address. Oh and for all those that use other names, you must list that as well. For example, if your name is Edward Smith but everyone calls you “Bob”, then you’d write Edward “Bob” Smith. Simple.
  2. Qualifications or Skill Set – Mainly this is 3-5 bullets of what skills you have that make you a top choice for the position. On a functional resume, you’re listing “qualifications” including years of experience, specialized training in that line of work and special knowledge or expertise in that line of work. On a chronological resume, you’re listing “skill set” with skill traits such as being bilingual or receiving an award relevant to the line of work.
  3. Education – This area should only have the degree, school name, location and the year your expected to graduate if you haven’t already. Also, if applicable, note your minor or course work, no more then 3 bullets. If you completed any project of importance (and was through a semester or a good period of time), that should go in your work experience. Please don’t write out a summary of your masters’ thesis here!

Now the main and most important part of a resume is your experience versus your major skill sets. How you want to showcase what best represents you determines which resume format you use between a functional resume and a chronological resume.

In functional resumes, you will place under the header the job title or position in which you are applying for. Then, pick three major functions related to that job and below it list of at least three bullets of the appropriate tasks in which you did in your previous jobs. Then you simply list in the end your job title, company name, city and state location then the time period in which you worked there. This resume format is perfect for students or those with minimal job experience as it highlights your major skill sets rather then your long work history.

Functional Resume Template

For chronological resumes, you will list each position with the job title, company name, location and the time period in which you worked there. Under each job title, you’ll list at least three bullets of the tasks in which you did your previous jobs. This resume format is recommended for those who have a long history of working in a specialized area or want to show case their work history.

However, if you do have a long work history, you can list the most relevant history and note that should they require a complete work history, it is available upon request. From my personal experience, I’ve actually have shown this long history only twice but noting it’s availability is important. Make sure you keep an updated list of your work history so that you can also update your master application as well. Remember that your work history includes volunteer work and any major projects or contract work you completed. This is especially important for students who have done more volunteer work then paying jobs because any type of experience is relevant and should be listed.

Chronological Resume Template

Please remember that if you aren’t presented well on paper, the employer will not call you in for an interview. I recommend having your resume proof read and critiqued by at least two trusted individuals for constructive feedback.


Written by Ms. Hala

15 December 2009 at 2:27 am

Job Hunting Errors

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Since the economic downfall, I’ve been critiquing almost triple the resumes and conducting one on one counseling than the year before. I’ve also been scheduling several trainings on more campuses then ever before. It still completely boggles my mind the lack of education many of our students receive when it comes to the basics of looking for a job.

In this tight job market, employers are being very selective then before. Candidates need to be well aware of any habits or mistakes that could be the reasons they are not being hired. Years ago I came across an article by Costello, Erdian & Company thats to the point on the top job hunting errors. Here are the top 10 job hunting errors:

1. Poor Resume: The resume is used as a quick screening device by  most employeers. If it doesn’t strike them as outstanding, your chances of an interview may be nil. The resume should describe education and experience in a concise, well-written format. More importantly, it should emphasize accomplishments, over duties and responsibilities.

Create a quality resume using one of the following templates:
Functional Resume Template
Chronological Resume Template

2. Failure to Network: Friends, acquaintances and people you know should be sought out and their information be used in developing job leads.

3. Limiting Job Sources: Classified ads, employment agencies and other sources are often overlooked. Use all possible methods to learn of appropriate jobs.

4. Unplanned Approach: Pre-printed cover letters, quick and unimaginative phone calls and short non responsive resumes save time for the candidate but turn off employers who feel they will take short cuts in carrying out job responsibilities.

Write a simple but personized cover letter using the following template:
Simple Cover Letter Template

5. Too Short Work Week: For the unemployed, the job search should be a 40 hour per week proposition. You don’t get a job by only using part of your free time.

6. Inadequate Interview Preparation: Each situation is a separate challenge and requries unique preparation. Responses must be timely, flexible and address the specific needs of the employer.

7.  Poor Interviewselling  Techniques: A “give and take” honest relationship must be established during the interview. Candidate should exchange information while listening attentively, selling themselves and demonstrating enthusiasm for the job and the company.

Learn more about interviews by clicking here and here.

8. Restricted Job Search: Restrictions on geographical locations, commuting time, parking facilities, size and type of employer, and other personal matters should be secondary to the overall merit of an opportunity. Financial and professional pressures may also change your outlook later and make the opportunity more feasible. Remember that you can always decline a job offer if it is judged to be unattractive or a better one develops.

9. Negative Attitude: Candidates who “have all the answers criticize their managers, second guess employers” are seldom invited for second interviews. Negative attitudes toward prior jobs are seen as predictors of future performances.

10. Poor Physical Appearance: While there is no need to look like a movie star, candidates who do not demonstrate self-respect by creating a positive image are usually judged to be unacceptable.

Costello, Erdian, & Company
a national outplacement counseling and human resources consulting firm
as posted on University of Wisconsin’s Career Center

Fear Not the Unemployment Rate

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According to Sify News today, the unemployment rate in the nation is currently at 9.7%, the highist in 26 years. That’s with the job cuts being at it’s lowest this year, with 216,000 labor jobs cut in August.

What do these numbers mean? First of all, the unemployment rate is higher because it’s including those who did not find jobs from the months before. It is also high because blue collar jobs such as construction (with 65,000 job cuts) and manufacturing (with 63,000 job cuts) are being cut at a faster rate then white collar jobs, with the exception of the financial institutions (with 28,000 job cuts).

However, this report should not scare anyone. For one, the Department of Labor is working to bring in more jobs and make the job cuts even lower next month according to Secretary Hilda Solis. Remember that the stimulus package is slowly starting to fund many infrastructure projects which will help the construction sector. I do believe the government needs to mandate the overseas job sourcing for cheap labor. However, that idea will have to wait for another blog.

What can you do when you hear something like this? What ever you do, DO NOT PANIC! You would be surprised how many jobs are available out there, especially in many metro areas such as San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, Houston and Miami. At least in San Francisco where I live, companies are going out of their way to not have any layoffs, but pay cuts so that their employees maintain their jobs. You will have to work harder then just posting your resume on an online job board. You’ll have to expand on your network, utilize the social media and even make a few cold calls. Organize your time as to what your tasks are in order to get back into the work force. Something as simple as looking up templates to perfect your resume can do you a lot of good in the near future.

Functional Resume Template

Chronological Resume Template

If you are self employeed as I am, you will have it tougher getting those contracts when businesses are on a strict budget. If you are willing to take on part-time job or even a second job along side your freelance work, I recommend you do so. I also recommend to all my job seekers to take refresher courses in their fields at their local community colleges. If you used to work in the construction or manufacturing sectors, I recommend going back for higher education in another feild or even a certification in a similar sector. It is never to late to pick up new skills that could even help you improve the skills you already have. The Department of Education is encouraging it if anything, they are helping fund it! I had much of my BSBA student loans bought out by the DoE at an extremely low interest rate!

In short, there is much hope in getting back into the workforce by doing your research, organizing your job search tasks, as well as going back to school. Until next time, fear not the unemployment rate reported, stay positive as you continue to work towards your goal.

Happy Labor Day!

Templates UPLOADED

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I’ve gone through most of my blogs and added the templates for resumes, master application and much more as well as posted them below. Post your comments/questions below and check back for my responses!

Functional Resume Template

Chronological Resume Template

Master Application

Sample Cover Letter for Students

Your Welcome! 🙂

Written by Ms. Hala

16 June 2009 at 2:56 am

What’s Your Objective?

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In every resume I’ve critiqued at least in the last month, I noticed one thing in common: everyone of them had a nice lengthy objective. I have a lengthy problem with that… here’s why.

What’s an objective? An objective is basically one’s intentions towards something, a goal to accomplish. With that understanding, it is very important that you do relay to your potential employer what your intentions and goals are in your career and in working with that company.

So why do I have a problem with it being in your resume? Well on your resume, you are listing your education, qualifications, work history and skills. An objective is written out in a good 3-5 sentence paragraph. That’s why it should not be on your resume! So where does it go?

On your cover letter!

Your cover letter is a personalized letter to the hiring personnel that introduces your resume. In your cover letter, you are to discuss what makes you best for the position in question, what your objectives are and how you can be reached after they review your resume. It’s simply an opening statement, a good 3-5 sentence paragraph about your objectives and qualifications. Then a closer with your contact information. Very simple, very basic.

Click here for a sample cover letter.

Why don’t you want to go on about your great achievements or expanded skills? You need to leave something for the interview. You list your skills and any relevant achievements and awards but your cover letter gets them to read your resume. Your resume, gets them to set up an interview with you.

So, what’s your objective?

Written by Ms. Hala

3 June 2009 at 5:22 am

Master Application

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Almost every job has an application to be filled out. You’ve been out filling out as many applications as you can during this difficult economic time. You simply can’t risk not answering a question incorrectly or missing an employer in your employment history. What do you do to make this process a little easier?

For many years, I’ve been training individuals on filling applications. A lot of information can be simply forgotten when you are sitting there filling out applications all with different (and many times confusing) questions. Especially when you have to fill out a paper one on the spot before an interview or in order to be considered. I recommend anyone and everyone to have a master application.

Click here for a printable Master Application

What’s a master application? Simply put, a master application is an application that helps you fill out all the other applications. It’s an application that includes the most asked questions on employment applications. The following are a few tips on filling out your application. Make sure to note these tips in your master application so that you don’t forget!

– Social Security Number: DO NOT write your Social Security Number on any paper application. Instead write, “available upon hire.” You never know how many people are handling your paper application to have such important information on there. If you’re filling out an online application, that’s fine as they are secured and are only handled by authorized personal.

– Conviction: If you have been convicted of a felony, BE HONEST about it! Check “yes” and where it asks you to explain write, “will discuss during interview.” Having a conviction doesn’t disqualify you from being hired*, having lied can. As a college student a few years ago when I was working part-time at a retail store, one of my co-workers was getting promoted to being head of sales. He was making the most commission out of his department and everyone was excited for him because he deserved that promotion. The next thing we know, he was terminated. When I finally saw him about a week later, he said it was because he lied on his application. He didn’t want to put he was convicted a few years ago for something so small and lose a promotion over it. It turns out, they learned of his conviction when they conducted their background check for his promotion. Later that week, I tried to talk to the manager on his behalf. The manager simply said that it wasn’t because of his conviction, it was because they just can’t trust him to be honest to customers if he wasn’t honest on his application.

– Employment History, Reason for Leaving: If you have been fired, please DO NOT put, “fired because boss was a stupid jerk!” Instead put something along the lines of, “involuntary termination” or “will discuss during interview.” You should before anything, check with your previous employer and try to figure out what they are telling other employers calling for work verification. During the interview of course, you will stay positive and honest. You will NOT get all defensive on why you were fired. It’s ok if you got fired, it’s what you learned from it that counts!

– Age: Applications should NOT be asking you of your age, just if you are over 16 or 18 and can legally work. Most cities and states have varying laws of how old you have to be as a minor to legally work. Many states allow 14 year old students to work no more then 15 hours a week while others require that you be 16 years of age to work no more then 20 hours a week. If you are in those age ranges, you need to contact your school counselor or dean on obtaining the necessary documentation to work. Companies that do hire minors have to include such a question in their application so that they are complying with the state and local law. Make sure you have approval from your school before applying to any job!

– Gender, Race, Etc.: Almost all applications now have it be optional if you want to answer these question to help the company make sure it is being fair and diverse in it’s workforce. I personally do not recommend anyone to fill any of these out so that not to give any chances of any discrimination what so ever.

Click here for the Action Plan for Ex-Offenders Blog

Written by Ms. Hala

22 April 2009 at 12:28 am

Interview Facts

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Interview Facts
CDG, Step 5: Interview Preparation

Here are 10 basic interview facts to remember…

1. The interview is meant to be a conversation between the candidate and the company in order to discover whether there is a fit with the company’s needs as well as a fit with the candidate’s needs.

2. The interviewer can often make the decision about the candidate in the first three to five minutes of the interview.

3. An interview is in some ways unfair. Who can figure one out in five minutes or even two hours? At best, interviews are an imperfect way of accepting or rejecting an impression of the candidate and/or the company environment.

4. Most people don’t talk enough during an interview (due to nervousness or lack of interpersonal skills). Candidates should initiate discussion and let the interviewer know of their interest in the position to be filled.

5. During an interview, a candidate’s interpersonal skills are tested. Interpersonal skills are as important as a candidate’s background, experience and education.

6. The best interviewees do it fast by setting the tone of the interview in the first few minutes, then spending the rest of the time enhancing what’s been said.

7. The interviewer is more likely to remember the interviewee’s negatives then positives.

8. Confidence is sitting up straight, head high and eye contact with the interviewer. Body language can speak volumes louder then words

9. A “thank you” note, card or even an email after the initial interview can make the chances of being hired even higher. Such simple acts can add to the impression left during the beginning of the initial interview.

10. One may get a job without a resume, but definitely not without an interview.

Written by Ms. Hala

15 March 2009 at 10:32 pm