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Posted March 31, 2017 by

Resume rules: Avoid common mistakes and stand out [video]

 

College Recruiter spoke with Joanne Meehl, President and primary Job Coach & Career Consultant at Joanne Meehl Career Services.  Joanne is part of College Recruiter’s Panel of Experts, which is made up of professionals around the country with top notch advice for recruiters and HR professionals, or for entry level job seekers. Here, Joanne shares her insight into resume rules that help college students and grads avoid mistakes and stand out to the applicant tracking systems. (more…)

Posted April 29, 2016 by

20 ways to rock your resume

Resume with pen on table closeup courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Casper1774 Studio/Shutterstock.com

Another week without attention paid to your resume. You are applying for jobs that match your education and skills; you have a nicely formatted document; and you have outlined your work experience very well with bolded headings and bullet points like you were told to do. You’re qualified but just can’t manage to get that call for an interview. Could there be that many people more qualified than you? Maybe not. There may be some flaws in your resume you have not realized.

Here are 20 tips that can improve your resume.

Make sure you are emphasizing results, not responsibilities

It’s a common error; job seekers are trying very hard to list all of their responsibilities for each position. Their thinking, of course, is the more responsibilities, the more qualified they will be. What is more important to employers is the results, what job seekers have actually accomplished.

Take a look at the responsibilities you have listed for each position. Can you list any quantifiable results? Did your re-organization save the department $50,000 a year? Sometimes, you may think results will be hard to provide. For example, perhaps you took over a department that had no baseline data to work with to show improvement. And maybe the improvement was qualitative rather than quantitative. Take employee morale, for instance. You know you improved it when you took over that department. But how was the improvement measured? Maybe there was much lower turnover or maybe the rate of absenteeism dropped significantly. These are important figures to have. Never leave a position without gathering figures that support your results.

A lot of space was spent on this item. Why? Because it is the one thing employers say is usually missing from a resume.

Target skills/background for each position

This is the primary reason why you need to tweak each resume for every job opening. If you have background in training, administration, HR, and sales/sales management, and are applying for jobs that focus on one of those, then focus your resume in that direction. Spend far more space on that focus area than on others. Generic resumes don’t really work anymore.

Re-visit keywords for each position

Change out your keywords based upon two things: the job description and the company’s website. Sometimes, reading through the company’s home page and the “about us” page will give you more keywords to include. And keywords that relate to the position should be placed as close to the top of the resume as possible and included in your cover letter.

Include a summary section

A statement of your career goals at the beginning of your resume is not advisable. Companies don’t care about your goals; they care about what you “bring to the table.” Switch that out for a short summary of your skills and experience that relate to the position, with four to five sentences only.

Use standard software

Microsoft Word or a PDF version of your resume should be the only programs used to submit resumes. Scanning will probably not recognize any other programs, and you will never know your resume was unreadable.

Business woman unhappy with resumes of applicants and throwing them on the table courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Milles Studio/Shutterstock.com

Aim for one page

Edit, edit, edit. Take out anything superfluous, reduce sentences to phrases, and remove some of your contact information. Employers don’t need your address and don’t include references unless specifically asked to do so. If you are able to edit the resume to one page, that is ideal. But NEVER go beyond two pages unless you are preparing a CV.

Do not lie

Not about anything. Of course, you want to try to avoid resume mistakes, and of course you want to present yourself in the best light. Exaggerating or giving yourself a job title you did not actually have are big risks. These things can be discovered when references and/or social media are reviewed. Focus on your skills and qualifications completely but honestly.

Use action verbs

They are so much stronger. If you don’t know the difference, here is an example:

1. Responsible for implementing budget reduction by 10% without loss of productivity

2. Reduced budget by 10% without loss of productivity

The second phrase is strong and active. (P.S.: Never use “I”)

Visual appeal is a must

You’ve seen enough resume templates to understand what visual appeal is. The best font now is probably Arial, 12-14 point. The reason for this is there’s good, natural spacing between lines that are not complete and enough white space between bulleted points. Your final resume should have sub-headings in bold (e.g., each position), and a larger font to separate sections of the document. The goal is to make it scannable, not just by a computer program (applicant tracking systems), but by humans, too. No one wants to search for your information.

Be clear about job titles

So long as you are not exaggerating, use a job title that will make clear what you did at a previous organization. Sometimes, organizations have internal titles that mean nothing on the outside. So, if you were a “Level II Tech Support,” change that out to “Systems Analyst,” if that was what your position really entailed.

Be really brief

Do not use full sentences unless you are crafting a CV (These are prose documents). Brief phrases only, please. Remember – scannable.

Perfect grammar and spelling

Don’t rely only on grammar and spell-check programs. They will not recognize incorrect numbers or words that are wrong but are still words. And, in some instances misspellings will not be caught either. If you are really good in this area, read your resume backwards, and you will catch misspellings; read it forward line-by-line. If you are not highly skilled, get someone who is.

Avoid gimmicks

Having your resume hand-delivered by FedEx or courier is not appreciated, and, in fact, is a bit of a turnoff. Just don’t do it. Submit your resume according to the instructions on the job posting.

Graphics should fit the company culture

It is more acceptable today to use some color and graphics than in the past, but these resumes are best suited for younger, more progressive organizations. Tailor color and graphics based upon the culture of the company. If you are not sure, check the website. As a general rule, banks, financial, and educational/scientific institutions are conservative; tech and marketing companies are more progressive. For creative positions, graphics are certainly suitable.

Never state salary

Never include past salaries in your work experience. And absolutely never include your salary or benefit requirements for a new position. Epic fail if you do.

Don’t address negatives

If you were fired or laid off, never state this in your resume. That is the stuff for discussion during an interview. And don’t lie about it either; be as honest as possible, and never “trash” a former boss or company.

Add links

Long before submitting resumes, it will be important to have a professional online presence. Include the link to your LinkedIn profile and, if warranted, a website with a portfolio of your work and/or accomplishments. If you have been a guest blogger on relevant sites, provide links to those posts too.

Update consistently

It is often advised when you start a new position, you begin updating your resume. This is because you want to be sure to remember all of your accomplishments if and when you decide to make another career move, or if, for any reason, your employment is terminated (companies do close). Keep your resume updated all the time.

No tag lines

Lines such as “References available upon request,” are not necessary and just take up space. Leave them out. If you are asked for references or links to things during an interview, you can provide them at that time.

Do not abbreviate

The only abbreviation you can use is “U.S.” Otherwise, spell everything out. Even abbreviations for schools attended may not be known by employers. The rule for acronyms is the same; spell them out.

This article provides a good checklist for job seekers, whether they are crafting their first resumes ever or if they are veterans with several previous resumes under their belts. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a difference.

Need assistance with your resume for your job search? Get a free resume critique on College Recruiter. Also, come to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood, guest writer

Kerry Creaswood is a young and ambitious writer from Savannah, Georgia. She is fond of various forms of art and thinks everything we can imagine is real. To find more about Kerry, check her Twitter.

Posted April 25, 2016 by

10 best websites for resume building

Resume with pen and a computer courtesy of Shutterstock.com

maga/Shutterstock.com

The resume writing process is perhaps the most important part of your job search. Regardless of experience level, current position, or amazing random talents, you won’t be considered for jobs unless you first create attention grabbing resumes. The following websites are fantastic places to build killer resumes that will get you noticed!

1. CV Maker

CV Maker lets job seekers create custom resumes online for free. The website features a wide variety of templates to choose from, as well as a super, simple interface for collecting information on experience and skills. The site is approved by The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and Mashable.

2. Kick Resume

Endorsed by Forbes, Business Insider, and Yahoo!, Kick Resume allows job seekers to create beautiful resumes and cover letters. All of the templates are created by designers, and the styles are colorful and attractive. The site is free with unlimited downloads.

3. Online CV Generator

Online CV Generator lets job seekers design their own custom resumes with an easy, step-by-step, fill in the blank questionnaire. The website claims they can create resumes in less than five minutes, but in reality it will likely take closer to 10-15 minutes, unless job seekers are recent grads with no experience to add into the algorithm.

4. Papers Gear

With Papers Gear, job seekers can either order custom resumes written by professional writers, or they can hire them to edit or proofread their resumes before submitting them to potential employers. The writers can also help job seekers format their resumes.

5. Visual CV

Visual CV is a resume creation website that lets job seekers sign in via LinkedIn. The site can import all of their data from LinkedIn, so they don’t have to go through the sometimes tedious process of adding all of their job histories. The site has a wide collection of templates to choose from. Unlike other sites, the templates are divided by profession. So, engineers will have different template recommendations than consultants.

6. Ask Petersen Resume Writing Service

When applying for jobs, job seekers might learn they need multiple versions of their resumes. Instead of spending valuable time rewriting resumes over and over, they could hire an essay writing service to do that for them. Ask Petersen offers up reviews of the top custom writing sites so job seekers can find the best option for their resumes.

7. Visualize.me

Visualize.me is very different from other resume creation websites because it allows job seekers to create infographic resumes. Instead of a boring list of accomplishments, they can create a mind map for their past.

8. Essays Capital

Essays Capital is a custom writing service for students and professionals. In addition to resumes, they also write essays and cover letters. Hire them to create a resume for you or to edit and format your existing resume.

9. Represent

Represent offers many of the same options as other resume creation websites, but it also automatically formats your resume for mobile devices as necessary. So, no matter where potential employers decide to open the file, they’ll be able to view it easily.

10. Resume Bucket

What makes Resume Bucket stand out from the other websites is once job seekers create their resumes, they can apply for jobs directly from the website.

The days of fending for yourself when creating a resume are over. Today, job seekers have a plethora of resources at their fingertips. These 10 websites are wonderful places to start when they write their resumes. Be sure to choose the one that is best for your particular skill set and career path. Good luck!

Do you need some resume help for your job search? Get a free resume critique at College Recruiter. Also, visit our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger, guest writer

Anna Olinger is a freelance content manager from Washington, DC. For more tips on content marketing, writing, and social media, follow Anna on Twitter and Linkedin.

Posted February 24, 2016 by

Senior year job search: A timeline

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

All of a sudden students are part way through their senior year of college, and employment (or unemployment) is just a few short months away. Students who wait to look for jobs until college is over will generally find they are unemployed or working at a part-time job they don’t like for the entire summer.

Of course, lucky students will have secured positions by the fall, but many will need to search for much longer than that. No two students will have the exact same experience. Employment opportunities vary depending on the field, time of year, and flexibility of the job seeker. Recent graduates who are willing to relocate or consider full-time internships, for example, may have more opportunities than people looking for full-time paid employment in their current city only. To avoid post grad unemployment, it’s good for students to start their job search while they are still in college.

1) First semester senior year

During the first semester of senior year, students are not likely to receive a full-time job offer. Although there are a few high demand fields, most students will be doing preliminary research at this point. Students are encouraged to begin networking with people in their chosen career fields if they haven’t already done so. They can also start investigating which companies hire new graduates and find out if recruiters will be on campus during the year. Additionally, the first semester is a good time to meet with professors or professionals within the field to get information about possible opportunities in the future. Although most companies are not going to give an official interview at this point, they may offer an informational interview. A familiar face is more likely to be hired later on.

2) Beginning of second semester senior year

Once students get to their second semester of their senior year, they can start legitimately looking for jobs. Many companies hiring new graduates will begin their recruitment process at this point knowing their employees can’t start until the beginning of summer. One of the most challenging issues for students at this point is finding a balance between school and the job search. It’s important students devote their full attention to study the week before midterms and finals but still manage to send out applications and meet with recruiters.

Woman filling out application during job search courtesy of Shutterstock.com

pixelheadphoto/Shutterstock.com

3) End of second semester senior year

By the end of the second semester, it’s important students are sending out completed job applications on a regular basis. There is not a magic number but one to two applications per week will serve as a good, minimum goal. In addition to applying for jobs the traditional way, students should be actively networking and refining their resumes. Also, it’s important to tailor each cover letter to a specific position. The human resources department can easily tell who made the effort to read the entire job description and who wrote a standard letter.

4) The summer after graduation

The majority of college seniors will not have secured full-time employment by their graduation date. However, this is when it’s important to stay motivated and get creative. In addition to continuing a full-time job search in a specific field, recent grads should look at viable part-time positions, paid internships, and transition jobs that can help them build their resumes. There are several companies that won’t hire somebody until they have a couple years of experience, so that dream job may be just around the corner. In order to beef up their resumes, recent grads can be creative and have two part-time jobs or look into the possibility of something near their field, if not directly in it.

Looking for more advice on the job search? Go to College Recruiter’s blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter.

Robyn Scott, a guest writer for College Recruiter, is a private tutor with TutorNerds LLC. She has a BA from the University of California, Irvine, and a MA from the University of Southampton, UK.

Posted January 18, 2016 by

4 tips for college students beginning the job search

College students graduating this May will be competing for entry level jobs. While these soon-to-be graduates may believe they’re the perfect candidates, they must learn how to find jobs. Ray Rogers, Director of Career & Professional Development at St. Edward’s University, shares four tips as college students begin their job searches. (more…)

Posted January 07, 2016 by

Finding your first full-time job after college

Ever felt torn about making plans? I have. Especially as a college student, I felt frozen when making decisions. Small decisions were simple. When selecting pizza toppings (my college boyfriend worked as a Domino’s delivery driver so we often pigged out on the stuff) or choosing whether to hang out in Memphis or St. Louis for the weekend, I could manage. But ask me to plot out the next five years of my life? No thanks.

Maybe you can relate. Let’s pretend it’s May 1, college graduation is the following weekend, and all your friends are making down payments on apartments. They’re gabbing about how they plan to spend their first “real” paychecks at their first “real” jobs, bragging about how they found their first full-time jobs, and your head is buried under a beanbag like an ostrich in the sand.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Duplass/Shutterstock.com

It’s easy to temporarily pretend the world of adulting doesn’t exist.

But it does, of course.

If you’re a senior in college, it’s not really your future career we’re talking about—it’s the now. I know, I know—go ahead and grab the nearest pillow and cover your head for a moment to muffle the ear-piercing panicky scream. Then breathe.

Your future career isn’t really your future career, and you’re already technically an adult. Career planning is an ongoing process, and you’ve already begun working on it whether you realize it or not.

You began the career planning process your first year of college or even earlier in life. During your first few years of college, probably before completing 60 credit hours, you selected a major field of study. You might have met with an academic advisor or career counselor regarding your choice of major/minor and discussed the job outlook (including expected salary range) for your field of study (if not, it’s never too late to do this or to research this information on your own).

If you were super proactive, you might have visited the career services or career development office and sought career counseling advice and services related to resume writing, interview skills, and other valuable information. Or you might have blown this off entirely and thought you’d get to it later. That’s okay—you have one semester left on campus—make the most of it!

Like many students, you probably obtained some form of work experience while in college, either during the academic year or during summer/winter breaks. Whether you worked part-time or full-time, volunteered, or worked as an intern (paid or unpaid), you learned real transferable job skills to list on your resume and discuss in upcoming interviews. Did you know you were investing in your future career while standing over a vat of grease, waiting to pull French fries for 50 hungry customers at lunch? You were. You obtained customer service skills, time management skills, multitasking skills, and team working skills, to name a few. Those 15 hours per week each semester weren’t wasted.

The key at this point in your career journey is to refuse to remain satisfied with where you’re at. You’ve worked your tail off in college. Now’s the time to apply what you’ve learned, both in the classroom and outside the classroom, and begin searching for your first full-time job, one related to your college major, rather than remaining underemployed or unemployed after graduation.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Kotin/Shutterstock.com

I can see you breathing a little more evenly now. See—you’ve already connected several crucial dots on the path to career success.

Follow our blog and let us help you maintain motivation this semester as you begin searching for your first full-time job.

 

Posted October 26, 2015 by

Job seeker webinar: 10 things to remove from your resume right away

There is not much time for job seekers to make a great impression with their resumes. Job seekers have around six seconds to impress recruiters with their resumes if they expect to become potential job candidates. Part 1 of this three-part webinar series, 10 things to remove from your resume right away, informs recent college graduates and career changers of 10 things to eliminate from their resumes to improve their job searches. This webinar also provides resume tips and advice when applying for jobs. (more…)

Posted October 24, 2015 by

7 job hunting tips for recent graduates

mini graduation cap on a job application form

Mini graduation cap on a job application form. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Have you recently graduated? Your first instinct was to have loads of fun, reconnect with your old friends, and visit a place you always wanted to see. That’s great; every graduate should get some time off to destress before diving into the real world. Sooner or later, you’ll have to get serious about job hunting. The sooner you put yourself out there, the more chances you’ll be able to grab.

The world is tough. You’ll face many challenges and you won’t find the perfect position as soon as you start applying for jobs. Your hopes for an interview might remain unanswered at first. Does that mean you should give up and wait for an opportunity to hit you? Of course not! It means you need to change your strategy. (more…)

Posted October 05, 2015 by

Treating LGBT candidates equally

Employers who discover that LGBT candidates are applying for jobs should not discriminate based on sexual orientation. LGBT candidates deserve to be judged based on their skills and qualifications. It’s employers’ responsibility to select the best person for a job.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter recently hosted a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29, at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco.

College Recruiter has been publishing the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. Dr. Linda Henman, The Decision Catalyst™ and author, shares an experience with one of her clients about making the right hiring decision. (more…)

Posted September 29, 2015 by

How to avoid discrimination of LGBT candidates

Employers must avoid discrimination in the hiring process. Any mistreatment can cost them the best talent. Employers can make LGBT candidates more comfortable applying for jobs by taking certain steps.

To help explore these issues, College Recruiter is hosting a College Recruiting Bootcamp on LGBT and other diversity hiring issues on Tuesday, September 29th at the Twilio headquarters in San Francisco. Join us.

Prior to that event, we’ll publish the opinions from a number of talent acquisition and recruiting leaders about why and how employers should diversify their workforces. Beth Zoller, Legal Editor for XpertHR, explains how to eliminate discrimination during the hiring process. (more…)