Author Archives: Diana Ouzts

Your Resume on Steroids: The Power of Accomplishment – Part 1

Bicep ClipartYou’ve been submitting your resume for months, and nothing is happening. You’re a hard worker, and you go the extra mile to make sure things get done right, but nobody wants to hire you. What gives?

It happens far too often. People who are great employees and would be an asset to any company get passed over in favor of less qualified candidates, and employers miss out on a chance to hire some very talented people who have the potential to make solid contributions and improve their bottom line.

I can tell you with a pretty high degree of confidence that it’s not you, it’s your resume. Chances are, if you’ve been actively applying for jobs that you’re obviously qualified for and your resume isn’t generating any interview appointments, it’s because your resume doesn’t contain the “right” information. It’s not giving the hiring team the information they need to make a decision to interview you.

It’s really a no-brainer.
Many of the resumes I see from incoming clients have job entries that look something like this:

EXAMPLE A: Task-Driven Resume

  • Widget Maker; Widgets, Inc.: 2009 – 2015
  • Made widgets, gadgets, and thingamajigs.
  • Fixed broken widget-making machines.
  • Created daily widget production reports.
  • Provided on-the-job training for new widget makers.
  • Received “Widget Maker of the Year” award for quality control project.

It’s a great summary of what a widget maker does. The problem is, the person who got the interview had a resume that looked like this:

EXAMPLE B: Accomplishment-Driven Resume

  • Widget Maker; Widgets, Inc.: 2009 – 2015
  • Produced 500 widgets, gadgets, and thingamajigs daily, maintaining a reject rate of less than 0.5%.
  • Reduced down time by 75% by monitoring equipment and making timely adjustments and repairs.
  • Enhanced daily reporting and reduced errors with development of Excel spreadsheet report format.
  • Supported over 100 new employees with quality training focused on accuracy, efficiency and productivity.

Earned “Widget Maker of the Year” Award after spearheading team quality control initiative which reduced reject rate by 50% with increased production output.

Now really, if you were on the hiring team, which one would you be calling in for an interview? It really is a no-brainer.

Tell me something I don’t already know!
The hiring team knows what a widget-maker does; they wrote the job description. A task-driven resume filled with a list of job duties doesn’t offer much in the way of new information. Choosing candidates from a pile of task-driven resumes is tedious at best, and at worst can cause the company to hire a person who is not a good fit. Since nobody stands out, it’s impossible to determine who to call in for interviews with any degree of accuracy. The accomplishment-driven resume stops them in their tracks. Now they’re paying attention!

What many job seekers don’t realize is that hiring teams aren’t just looking for people who can do the job; they’re looking for the best return on their investment of payroll dollars. They’re looking for employees who will go above-and-beyond, and contribute to the company’s success with teamwork, creative problem-solving, dedication to high-quality work, and support of company goals. Think about it. If you owned a business, isn’t that what you’d be looking for in your employees?

It’s a numbers game, and you’re in control.
About 80% of the resumes submitted for any given job lack the kind of detailed information about performance illustrated by the accomplishment-driven example. What does that mean for you? It means that if you submit a thoughtfully-developed accomplishment-driven resume, you’ll automatically place yourself in the top 20% of all candidates, as long as you meet the basic requirements for the job. You’re far more likely to get called in for interviews. You will eliminate 80% of the competition up front, simply by giving the hiring team the kind of information they’re looking for.

Example B is your competition; they’re the most likely reason why you’re not getting interviews. There will always be a few accomplishment-driven resumes in the pile of applicants, and in order to win an interview appointment, you’ve got to compete with them.

Stay tuned, there’s more to come!
In next month’s post, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty and take a closer look at the kind of performance-based content that you can use to create a compelling resume that wins interview appointments for well-matched positions.

Ellen HallAbout Ellen Hall  Ellen Hall is a nationally certified resume writer, blogger, and owner of Rapid Results Resumes based in Tucson, Arizona. She partners with clients nationwide to develop highly effective custom resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and other career marketing documentation according to current best practices and strategic career marketing principles. Ellen has helped many clients to shorten their employment searches, gain interviews for the jobs they want, and command higher salaries.

Be Reachable! Best Practices for Resume Contact Information…by Ellen Hall, Rapid Results Resumes

helpA while back, a client came to me after spending a full year in an unsuccessful job search. She had received absolutely no responses to her job applications. None. She was a great candidate! Her resume needed help, but it wasn’t THAT bad.  Why wasn’t she getting anywhere?

Yes, this really happened:
She had her mailing address on her resume, but did not include a phone number or an email address. In this day and age of instant connectivity, snail mail doesn’t cut it.

One client had a digit missing in his phone number. Another had an email address that was, well, a bit “suggestive.” Yet another client listed her home phone number, with a cute but unprofessional voicemail greeting announced by her 9-year old.

That’s all pretty basic, and I’m sure you already know that you need to include accurate and appropriate contact information on your resume if you want them to call you in for an interview. Do you have room for improvement? Check out these best practices for your resume contact information:

Your Email Address
First impressions count. If your email address is IHateMyJob@email.com or SuperHotMama@email.com or SpaceAlienWierdo@email.com, you may want to consider using a different address for your job search. You’d be very surprised at what some people put on their resumes.

Best practices indicate using your full name, followed by a few random numbers if necessary to create a unique address. Don’t use numbers that resemble a date – Hiring teams may perceive that JohnSmith1942@email.com is well into his retirement years. Using “CamelCase,” capitalizing the first letters of names or words as in the examples above, makes your address easier to read, reducing the chance that it will be mistyped; email and web addresses are never case sensitive. A guy like Bill Ugman may not want to use bugman@email.com, unless he’s in the pest control business, but BillUgman@email.com works just fine.

Be sure to monitor your email account daily for important communications, including your SPAM folder, just in case.

Formatting
A readable presentation of your contact information goes without saying. Be aware that when you upload your resume online, the system that “reads” your resume may not be able to read ANYTHING contained in a header, footer, text box, stylized “word art”, or a graphic image. Don’t get fancy with these kinds of elements for your contact information, or for any information on your resume that you don’t want them to miss.

Your Name
Your name goes at the top, always. When your resume is scanned into an applicant tracking system, that system is going to assume that the first thing it sees is your name. Do you want your name to go on record as Sales Representative?

Use a version of your name that you’re known by professionally. For example, if your name is Jonathan Randall Jones, but you have a broad base of professional contacts who know you as “Randy Jones” and your LinkedIn profile says “Randy Jones”, then be “Randy Jones” on your resume as well.  If you’re in a very conservative profession, it’s often best to stick with your formal name across all media.

If you have a credential that is essential to your profession, include that designation with your name; i.e. Robert Smith, R.N., or Danielle Carnahan, CPA.

If you have a name that might be challenging to pronounce, include a nickname or a phonetically-spelled version to help your callers feel comfortable with that first phone call. Mike Scioscia, manager of the LA Angels, might want portray his name as Mike Scioscia (“SO-sha”).

Your Phone Number
Best practices indicate one phone number only, including the area code. Many choices make things unnecessarily complicated. Mobile numbers are often best, since people are generally more reachable when they keep their phone handy, but if your phone frequently drops calls, it may not be the best choice. Don’t use your work number unless you know it won’t cause a problem at work.

Be sure the phone number you provide is always answered in a professional manner, and has an appropriate voicemail greeting. Don’t let your 4-year-old take that call you’ve been waiting for from your top-choice employer!

Your Mailing Address
Sources are divided on whether or not to include your full mailing address on your resume. If you’re relocating to New York City and seeking work there, including your mailing address in Nowhere, Oklahoma may put you at a disadvantage. If you live in the Chicago suburbs and plan to commute to the city, you may want to list your address simply as Chicago Metro Area.

Privacy is sometimes an issue. I’ve heard many valid reasons for leaving the address off, and it’s typically acceptable. Many jobseekers eliminate the address, or simply include the city and state. On the other hand, if you’re seeking local work in your home town, the fact that you live close by can be a plus.

College students or deployed military personnel may want to consider including both temporary and permanent addresses, along with valid dates for each.

Your LinkedIn Profile Address
Social media is here to stay. If you’re not on LinkedIn, and you’re planning on moving up in your career, or you’re already in an upper-level position, you should strongly consider establishing a well-developed presence on LinkedIn.

Over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source candidates for open positions, many of which don’t appear on the job boards – the “hidden job market.” Hiring teams routinely look up top candidates on LinkedIn for many professions.

Since they’re going to be looking anyway, why not make it easy for them by including the URL for your (well-developed) LinkedIn profile on your resume as a live hyperlink. This is especially important if you have a common name. Don’t make it impossible for them to figure out which “Michael Smith” you are among the hundreds in your area.

The “alphabet soup” of a LinkedIn public profile address is a bit unsightly on your resume. LinkedIn makes it easy to customize your address to a simple URL containing your name, with a few random digits if needed to create a unique address.

Personal Websites
If you have a well-developed career-oriented website, you may want to include this URL if it adds value to the information on your resume. If it’s a family site with cute photos of the kids, vacation chronologies, and raves about your favorite sports teams, leave it off.

Parting Shot
You’ve got a strong resume, and excellent credentials for the job you want. You’re the perfect candidate! Don’t destroy your chances by making a critical mistake that compromises the hiring team’s ability to reach you with their invitation to interview!

Ellen HallEllen Hall is a nationally certified resume writer, blogger, and owner of Rapid Results Resumes based in Tucson, Arizona. She partners with clients nationwide to develop highly effective custom resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters and other career marketing documentation according to current best practices and strategic career marketing principles. Ellen has helped many clients to shorten their employment searches, gain interviews for the jobs they want, and command higher salaries.

All I Want For Christmas Is You… And Some Luxury Items, Too

Two Kitties SleepingNot too long ago, on Facebook I reconnected with a former boyfriend after 35 years apart. It was the classic modern fairy tale—boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl on Facebook. While enduring a very long distance romance (he in Washington State and I in South Florida), all I really wanted for Christmas was him.

Finally, when we were together for our first Christmas, the reality of it was that I wanted a gift under the tree, too.

Guess what? There was a gift for me—a faux coyote fur blanket with the softest ultra suede lining. Would I have bought this blanket for myself? Nope. Do I love having it? Yes! It’s a little piece of luxury purchased for me by someone who cherished me.

I believe it is the human condition to desire those nurturing extras that touch us and make us feel special; and thankfully, I’m not alone. This holiday season, Tucson’s Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church partnered with Aveda Institute Tucson to provide free haircuts, manicures, and foot massages for anyone who was struggling. Everybody was invited and none were turned away. For a couple of hours, somebody cared.

Luxury doesn’t mean expensive. Luxury means something pleasurable outside of the routine of life. We all benefit from life’s little luxuries.

I still have that faux coyote fur blanket living on my couch, and guess who I think about every time I wrap up? We’ve been together for five Christmases, now, and every year there’s a little gift of luxury waiting for me underneath the Christmas tree. Some might say this makes me shallow, but I have to disagree. After all, it’s not the size of the gift, but the thought that counts.

Happy holidays!

Photo Credit Copyright: <a href=’http://www.123rf.com/profile_noppharat’> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

 

In the Words of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Thank You for Following!

34362569_sI just read a LinkedIn article that stated we are in the midst of a “narcissism epidemic” that is being fed by social media.  This was kind of a “duh” moment for me.  It seemed pretty obvious that narcissism feeds at the feet of any kind of media.

I get it.

We use social media platforms to inform, yes, but mostly to promote our brands, our businesses, ourselves.  That is, after all, the whole nature of this wiz-bang contraption called, “Social Media.” Even Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer, knew that. His nascent sleigh-guiding start-up would have never gotten off the ground (pun intended) had he not learned how to promote himself above all the regular reindeer games.

But in the words of that old and famous commercial, “Where’s the beef?”  What are we giving to add value to those who kindly read our stuff?  Worse, have we at The Temp Connection succumbed to the narcissistic values of self-promotion?

Reading that article made me feel all artificial and commercial, like I’d missed the spirit and the reason for connecting and following.

I did a little survey of my own, examining the global community located right in our own LinkedIn backyard.  Amazingly, I discovered that instead of a narcissistic community lurking within the folds of our company’s contacts, I found amazing and giving people from India, Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, and more, all willing to share and promote good will among our LinkedIn community.  I found LinkedIn Influencers, article writers, and groups all daily sharing their expertise—for free!

So, thank you Liz Ryan for teaching that “the future of work is human.”  Many felicitations to Greg McKeown for writing pearls of wisdom on how to be more with less.  To Lou Adler for his recruiting expertise; to Kumar in India, Alena in the UK, Mary in California, Pam in Arizona, and Sam in Florida. From OnlineBizSmarts, to Tauqeer in Pakistan, to Jorgen at Link Humans—many thanks for your global community kindness, and keep up the good work!

Happy holidays!

Job of the Future–Financial Engineer

20353118_sHave you ever thought about becoming a financial engineer? If you’re great working with math, have a savvy working knowledge of computer science, statistics, and economics, this could be the career field for you.

Financial engineers use all these things when creating tools and simulations in order to make predictions about the future behavior of a market, or to even create new financial products. It is predicted that the need for financial engineers will continue to grow as the market continues to focus on risk and credit.

The greatest advice for budding financial engineers?  Be nice.  Being nice, educated, and focused will put you at the top of the heap.