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Posted June 13, 2016 by

Top 9 excuses for not attending a job interview

 

Oh no! Something has gone horribly wrong and now you can’t attend the job interview! What can you possibly say to the company to make them give you another chance? Well, whatever you are going to say, may I suggest that you say it as early as possible? Call in a timely fashion. This will show them you respect them and their time. This is vital if you want to make certain that you’ll get another chance. (more…)

Posted May 23, 2016 by

5 tips to manage a stress-free online job search

Women laptop photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

Today, most job searches are conducted online. Although some parts of the country will still focus on more personable job searches, the majority of young Americans will be searching for their first entry-level jobs on computers. Online job searches are both convenient and troublesome. Recent graduates no longer have to go to an employment agency’s office or endlessly drop in on various professionals in order to gain employment in a company; rather they can conduct all of their employment research from the comfort of their own homes. On the other hand, potential entry-level employees can be difficult to distinguish from one another because their résumés tend to look similar. On paper, new grads can appear to be one and the same, but in person their different skills, interests, and personalities can shine through. For many employers, the right personality is just as valuable as qualifications on paper. So how can recent grads manage their online job search without becoming entirely overwhelmed?

1) Focus the job search

New grads who have obtained broad degrees such as in business or communications will be able to apply to a diverse range of jobs. However, applying to several different jobs in several different subfields can become stressful very quickly. Job seekers are encouraged to focus their searches on a particular job title (and similar positions) during their online searches. They should start with a subfield they feel passionate about because their excitement for the position (or lack thereof) will shine through and give them a better chance of achieving interviews.

2) Supplement with in-person contacts and connections

Although online job searches are convenient, they are not always successful if conducted without the help of in-person contacts. Former professors and alumni connections are an essential part of a first time job search, and they can provide introductions and tips that can be extremely valuable. An online resume can easily go from the middle of the pile to the top with an introduction or recommendation coming from someone already within the company.

3) Pick a time of day to call it quits

At some point, job seekers have to call it quits, at least for that day. In many cases, recent grads are searching for a job late in the evening after coming home from their part-time college jobs. Job seekers don’t do a great job of proofreading or checking for important details late at night and often send out applications they later wish they could have taken a second look at. The late hours of the evening also come with varying degrees of mental fatigue that result from a full day’s work. Even if job seekers are a few minutes away from finishing an important application, they’re encouraged to proofread the next morning with fresh eyes.

4) Go the extra mile

Because most current applicants don’t reach out in person or on the phone, those who do will get more attention. If there is a number for an HR Manager or department head, applicants should give them a call and introduce themselves or ask any pertinent questions regarding the position. Instead of following up with just an email, follow up with a personable phone call. Applicants who are giving an interview are encouraged to send a handwritten thank-you note that will make them stand out from the crowd.

5) Put a little piece of your personality in each cover letter

Because the hiring manager only learns about applicants from a couple pieces of paper, it’s important their personalities shine through. Most applicants write one cover letter and gear it towards each position. However, an applicant’s skills and passion tend to become apparent when each cover letter is written from scratch. Additionally, it’s important that job seekers write their cover letters at a time of day when they have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. It’s also a great idea to ask another person to proofread a cover letter and make sure that it’s personable, professional, and easy to read.

For more help with your online job search, make you way to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Robyn Scott, guest writer

Robyn Scott, guest writer

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 May 16, 2016 by

Improving your writing and getting career prospects

Woman writing photo by StockUnlimited.com

Photo by StockUnlimited.com

You may be able to walk the talk, but can you write it?

It’s no big secret that writing skills factor in greatly when it comes to getting and keeping a job, especially in such a competitive market. In a study conducted by Grammarly, out of 100 native English speakers’ LinkedIn profiles, those with fewer grammatical errors had more promotions and held higher positions in their respective companies.

With this in mind, it’s no wonder writing is a crucial communication tool for those in the workforce. In order to be fully able to convey your ideas, you need to articulate them clearly to other people. Writing often serves as the medium we relate ideas with, whether sending and responding to an email or updating our resumes for future employers.

Despite this overwhelming piece of evidence, not everyone pays attention to improving their writing. Do you want to remain stagnant in your job, or do you want to grow and get career prospects? Here are a few tips on how to become a better writer in the workforce:

1. Be a wide reader

You are what you read. There are numerous benefits linked to reading, and among the most notable would be improved writing skills.

In order to be great, you need to take inspiration from those who already are. Train your brain to tune into good writing practices by reading extensively. Others’ writing styles can certainly influence your own if you read them enough. Take time to sit back with a book, a well-written blog entry, or even browse through the news at least once a day. Aside from being able to unwind after or before the stressful day ahead, you’ll also be able to acquire new knowledge.

This tip is especially helpful if you’re in the creative industry, where creative and powerful writing is the main tool of the trade, but it can also be beneficial for simple business writing. Noting some common trends in your favorite writers like style, grammar, and tone go a long way in helping to develop your own voice. You also learn new things in the process, which you can incorporate in the other areas of your life.

2. Read your work backwards

It sounds silly at first, but it’s effective in weeding out any grammatical errors you’ve missed in your last work email. Give it a shot, and it could save you from an embarrassing typo.

Our minds are programmed to autocorrect any minor errors they encounter. Remember those online tests that ask you to spot the “the” in a sentence? You may have been one of the majority who filtered out the extra “the”, in which case this second tip can come in handy to avoid any similar grammatical slip-ups.

Start from the last word of your composition up to the first word you’ve written. Since you’re no longer operating in the context of the content, your focus stays on the form of the text. If you’re already aware of what errors you’re on the lookout for, you’ll be able to spot any repetitive words, misplaced punctuation, and faulty spacing. Note this only works on a structural level, and not if you’re looking for something else like content relevance and fact-checking.

3. Turn spell check on

This doesn’t necessarily improve your skill, but it’s an easy fix if you’re in a hurry to compose an error-free report you’ll be delivering to your bosses the next day. Ruby Hardman, an editor from ResumesPlanet shared: “We can’t always be on top of our writing game, and having technology on our side helps in taking some of the load off our shoulders.”

Turn spell check on so you can automatically spot mistakes without having to painstakingly go through your work word per word. Don’t take this to mean you can let your guard down. In fact, this should give you time to focus on other aspects of your writing. If you’re writing up a resume, take the time to organize the details of it. If you’re writing a speech for a presentation, use it to focus on your tone and fine-tuning your content to the audience you’re presenting to.

Just remember that spell check isn’t perfect, either. There will be some errors it will miss and some idioms it may misinterpret. In that case, always have a dictionary ready to counter-check the results. Sometimes you’ll still have to do the heavy lifting in refining your work, but it will all pay off with a thriving career, and improved communication between yourself and other people.

Get on it write away!

Writing is an often overlooked skill that plays a huge, though subtle, role in leveraging your career. In his article on Harvard Business Review, iFixit’s Kyle Wiens openly declared he wasn’t too keen on hiring people with poor grammar, precisely because they don’t make good employees. According to Wiens, these job seekers lack the critical thinking and orientation to detail that efficient workers and leaders possess.

In order to project the right image to your employer, make sure to be on top of your writing game immediately. Read the right things to absorb some of their influence, proofread your work extensively, and if you’re in a rush, spell check is always a safe option. Just make sure to scan and countercheck for any missed marks.

So what are you waiting for? Become a better writer, and increase your chances of moving up in your industry today.

For more tips to improve your job search and build a career, head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Paige Donahue, guest writer

Paige Donahue, guest writer

Paige Donahue is an editor and blogger from Pennsylvania. She is a traveler and a collector of some sort – coins, comic books, and stories. You can connect with her via Twitter.

Posted May 13, 2016 by

Basing your job search on company growth

Four college graduates in graduation gowns standing close to each other and making selfie courtesy of Shutterstock.com

g-stockstudio/Shutterstock.com

College students preparing to enter the workforce must consider jobs based on information that extends beyond the description of available positions, including company growth. By considering the characteristics of prospective employers, job seekers can make decisions that can improve their chances of having long, successful careers.

For many college graduates, getting involved with a growing enterprise represents an opportunity to share the benefits of company growth. Employers that currently experience growth and expect it to continue in the future often promote employees from within to fill vacant positions. The move controls recruiting and hiring costs, and gives employees opportunities for professional growth.

Company growth ranks as one of the most important factors in the job search. Although the stability of mature companies that have stopped growing might seem attractive, they could limit career development for new college graduates. Younger companies might bring a degree of uncertainty and increased responsibilities to the table, but they also bring an opportunity for new employees to quickly grow in their profession.

Expanding product lines

Companies that signal growth through the expanded product lines give prospective employees reasons to believe they can grow with the enterprise. Nike, an established company, once experienced periods of growth as the company extended its brand from shoes to clothing, accessories, and electronics. College graduates who see a company expanding in a similar way can expect to gain valuable experience in business and brand development during an extensive career with the same employer. After gaining work experience with such a firm, employees can market their skills and experience to other companies that want to grow.

Growth through acquisition

Growing companies may choose to buy other firms as a pathway to growth. Professionals working for businesses expanding this way can find themselves at the top of the overarching corporate structure. Such a situation exposes employees to diverse business models and organizational structures, as they assimilate new firms into the company. Good performance in positions of high responsibility gives workers a path to higher pay and promotions.

Blue Coat, a growing player in the cloud security market, provided a good example of growth through acquisition when the firm bought Elastica, a startup provider of software that can detect the inappropriate use of cloud-based applications. The company adds innovative technology to the acquiring firm, as well as the responsibility to create synergy with the combined company. Qualified job candidates might consider working for such a company because the business could continue to fuel its growth by buying other companies.

Market expansion

Companies with existing products that seek to grow by entering new markets need well-educated job candidates to fill positions within the growing organization. Graduates who choose to join a firm with a demonstrated pattern of market expansion can expect to have a long-term pathway to career development, as they learn how to deal with markets regionally, nationally, and globally markets. As their employer grows, workers can expect to assume new responsibilities that increase their value to the firm and possible future employers. Although many companies such as Netflix have entered different countries to pursue growth, smaller companies might grow by expanding into different regions of the same country. For example, Express Employment Professionals began as a small staffing firm in Oklahoma and has since grown by expanding into hundreds of markets around the USA.

A study referenced by Forbes.com showed companies that promote employees from within outperform those that fill positions with external hires. College graduates willing to join a business during its early stages might at first accept a lower wage, but the increased chances of promotion within the firm can compensate for any initial loss.

If you’re looking for more job search tips, visit the College Recruiter blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Cameron Johnson, guest writer

Cameron Johnson, guest writer

Cameron Johnson is a BYU Alumni and business consultant. Since graduating from college in 2013, he has conducted case studies on both social media optimization and non-profit marketing. Cameron has also had the opportunity to speak at international marketing conferences and was recently recognized as one of the world’s top 100 advertising experts to follow on social media.

Posted May 12, 2016 by

10 soft skills employers expect of recent graduates

Background concept wordcloud illustration of soft skills glowing light courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Kheng Guan Toh/Shutterstock.com

Are you ready to find your dream job as soon as you graduate? Then, it’s high time to draw a detailed plan with soft skills required for the workplace. This will help you stand out from other candidates and be a perfect fit for the position of your choice.

To successfully accomplish the task, college graduates can analyze requirements for current vacancy announcements, make use of LinkedIn or Branded.me profiles of people with a great experience, and study analytical articles on the labor market to always stay updated.

It’s not a secret, though, that plenty of online sources post about top soft skills potential employers want in their candidates’ CVs or resumes. So, why not focus on them to make your preparation for obtaining a good entry-level job a bit easier? Here’s what is highly demanded by most of the recruiters:

1 – Lifelong learners

Recent grads can hardly boast of knowing everything about the work they will perform daily. It’s quite natural when something is learned along the way. Sometimes employers prefer young, enthusiastic graduates over highly experienced professionals, since the former tend to learn and absorb new information more eagerly and are ready to develop a learning habit. The latter instead are quite often more stubborn and unlikely to reach a compromise, which can hinder team effectiveness. Additionally, lifelong learners are supposed to know how to obtain and process information to solve the problems they haven’t faced before.

2 – Team players

Teamwork is not only about collective responsibility for every team player’s actions. It’s also about communicating your message to others and achieving that goal with the help of knowledge and each employee’s efforts. Effective team performance depends much on the correct management and delegation of tasks. In contrast to past expectations for team players, modern employers are looking for those who will be proactive and suggest creative solutions. Initiative is strongly encouraged.

3 – Effective time managers and schedulers

Chaos brings no positive effect. To show high productivity and performance, it’s crucial to hone time management and prioritization skills. These two skills rank high on most employers’ lists of soft skills. For that, managers and schedulers need to negotiate deadlines and schedule tasks appropriately. Should tasks be equally urgent, they’d better discuss which one to take first together with their reporters. When using electronic or paper planners, think of short breaks that need to be made between tasks, divide time-consuming tasks into several subtasks, and leave about 10 or 15% of time for coping with emergencies and contingencies. Set reminders well in advance, and review to-do lists daily.

4 – Good listeners and masters of convincing people

Being a good listener doesn’t mean you should keep silent while somebody else is expressing his or her thoughts, so that you can further move on to your statements. The point is to really listen and hear other team players and choose the best solutions working together. Another important thing is to know how to make everyone understand what you mean. In other words, you should learn to use simple and concise statements, speaking with confidence to all people in the company regardless of their seniority.

Problem solver words on business cards courtesy of Shutterstock.com

iQoncept/Shutterstock.com

5 – Problem solvers

At the top of most top list of soft skills is “problem solving skills.” The first step to successful problem solving is to clearly understand what the problem is and what caused it. The next step is to carefully consider interests of others and list all suitable solutions. The final step is to evaluate suggested options by listing their advantages and disadvantages, and then choose the one that has the most pluses. To be an efficient problem solver, you need to get rid of fear. By focusing more on tackling the problem, you will be able to do it with ease.

6 – Company fan

Being a company fan means to be knowledgeable about your employer’s industry. Understanding what key benefits the company gives to its customers or clients, how the process of decision-making is organized, what main competitors the company has, etc. are among the things job seekers should learn before a job interview.

7 – Data analyzer

If you work with people with analytical mindsets, you are a lucky person. This allows you to quickly gather, assess, and analyze new information, selecting only the things you will need at work. This soft skill is highly required for making future plans or prognoses, and creating recommendations for others to follow. This skill is also helpful when you need to analyze your successes or failures, which is very important for your progress.

8 – Tech-savvy person

This means not only knowing how to create, delete, or remove presentations or surf the Internet proficiently. Being tech-savvy means knowing what tools and programs are used by the specialist you want to become. For example, if you want to become a web designer, you will need to master such programs as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or Indesign.

9 – Critical thinker

If you have a chance to join a series of workshops on how to become a good critical thinker, jump at the chance! These practical lessons will teach you how to criticize somebody else wisely by finding a strong argument and how to accept criticism of your work. Being a critical thinker is essential for improving your communication skills and professional growth too. Critical thinking ranks high on the list of soft skills regardless of your job title or position.

10 – Curious mind

Being curious means to never be afraid of asking questions. Though, it doesn’t mean you should behave like a chattering box, annoying other employees with your never-ending questions. You should ask questions when you don’t know the answers so your work won’t be done slowly. You must use proper discernment to ask questions of the right person (your manager or mentors) at the right time (one on one and in quiet settings, and preferably not during the last five minutes of meetings).

A few final tips

Taking an active part in extra-curricular activities and voluntary projects can also help job seekers develop a set of useful skills for their future jobs. By establishing friendly relationships with people, you increase your chances of getting what you need. Who knows, maybe some of your peers or instructors will recommend you as a highly promising hire one day.

Need more help with your job search? Head over to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin, guest writer

Nancy Lin is a student of Rockhurst University and enthusiastic freelance writer who enthuses about rock music, writing, and classic English literature. Feel free to contact her at Twitter or Google+.

Posted May 09, 2016 by

6 common mistakes grads make when searching for entry-level jobs

First Job word; business man touching on red tab virtual screen courtesy of Shutterstock.com

PhuShutter/Shutterstock.com

Recently, research from the Australian government shows how the shift from college education to full-time employment is becoming more challenging. Job prospects for young Australians are decreasing and on the other hand, recent graduates are making key mistakes when searching for entry-level jobs. Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online educators, has gathered information from a variety of recruiters to help recent graduates understand their mistakes when applying for entry-level jobs. Avoid these most common mistakes to avoid when searching for entry-level jobs.

1. Negative attitude towards work

Australian government research confirmed young people do not have enough of a positive attitude towards work. Recruiters recommend job seekers be more motivated and demonstrate enthusiasm to potential employers.

According to the study, young people need to be more responsible and reliable concerning their behavior and approach to their jobs. Recruiters suggest working with a business for a while, coming in to shifts, being punctual, and showing respect to colleagues, and customers or clients.

2. Think learning is over after college

Recruiters ask young professionals to be more open to learning when they start their first entry-level jobs. We all need to continue learning during our professional lives to stay updated with industry changes. But when starting a new job, it is especially important to have the right attitude towards learning because everything is new; employees will need to gain knowledge of the working process in their new companies and the different procedures to complete work correctly and in a timely manner. Your first employer is giving you an excellent opportunity to learn and gain valuable experience, so absorb as much as you can.

3. Underestimate the importance of previous work experience

Even though job seekers are applying for their first full-time entry-level jobs, having some related work experience will give them a competitive advantage. This may be some volunteer work done while still in school or some unpaid jobs during the summer. Don’t underestimate this experience; include it on your resume and tell your interviewers about it.

Studies are essential, but having first-hand experience shows employers that you have some practical skills and a better understanding of work responsibilities and professional work life.

4. Failure to make a good first impression

Whoever says his opinion is not influenced by the first impression is lying. In an interview, job seekers only have a few seconds to convince interviewers that they are the right candidates, so along with their studies, work experience, and the right attitude, their presentations during interviews will play an important role in their success in landing their first full-time jobs.

According to the research, recent graduates often dress inappropriately for work and have untidy hair, so recruiters recommend paying special attention to appearance. Not every company’s dress code is the same, so make sure to verify details about the company culture before an interview in order to dress appropriately.

5. Poor job search and application skills

When looking for their first jobs, Australian young professionals are making very common mistakes, according to research. These skills improve with time and practice, but a couple pieces of advice recruiters give are: make sure each application (resume and cover letter) is tailored to the position for which you are applying, and always double check your application’s spelling and grammar. Recruiters see these types of mistakes as a lack of attention to detail and unacceptable in today’s marketplace.

Recruiters also suggest job seekers approach employers directly after providing their resumes and personally following up with them.

6. Unrealistic work expectations

When applying for their first entry-level jobs after college, recent graduates need to understand they cannot “start at the top.” They have to make an effort to work their way up through the business.

Another common mistake is to expect high compensation. This will also come with time as employees gain experience and assume more responsibilities. The nature of the work they do may not be exactly what they want initially, but as long as workers are learning and doing something they like, they are on the right path.

Need more tips for your job search? Check out our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Maria Onzain, guest writer

Maria Onzain, guest writer

Maria Onzain is a content marketing expert writing for Open Colleges about education, career, and productivity. She is passionate about all things digital, loves technology, social media, start-ups, travelling, and good food.

Posted May 06, 2016 by

Working for a startup after college

Startup business people working at modern office courtesy of Shutterstock.com

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Everyone is nervous heading into their last year of college (except for those going to grad school, that is). It’s time recent graduates prove to themselves, and probably to their parents, that all of this was worth it; they can get entry-level jobs, get out on their own, support themselves, and start on a career path. It is probably their family’s hope that grads will conduct their job search seriously, and look at companies/organizations that promise a bright future. They’ve attended their first job fair, passed out their resumes, spoken with corporate recruiters, and some seemed interested. But something doesn’t “feel” right in their gut. There’s no excitement about all of this.

As recent graduates reflect on why they lack excitement, their minds go to the concept of a “corporate” environment with everyone playing their roles, a pretty large bureaucracy, policies, set work hours; “a single cog in a very large machine you will be,” as Yoda would say. Then there’s the office politics grads studied about in those business courses. Somehow, it doesn’t seem right. They’re thinking about their future success, which doesn’t include what the “big boys” offer. Recent grads need to look elsewhere.

Graduates need to consider working for a startup. Now their parents and some of their friends might think they’re a bit nuts. There’s no job security, as 50% of all startups fail within five years, and then where will they be? Mom may be wringing her hands. However, this isn’t their parents’ world anymore, and there are large advantages to taking this path right now in their lives when they have no obligations other than to themselves.

Flexibility and continuous learning

Most start-ups do not have “pigeon-hole” jobs. They will demand everyone pitch in when and where it is needed. Graduates may have a “job title,” but that will not mean a great deal. They’ll have a skill others may not, but they will be required to learn everyone’s job and everyone will be required to learn some of their job. This environment means continuous learning.

What’s the other great thing? Grads will be forced out of their “comfort zone” into exciting challenges; things can change on a dime, and they will need to change with them. If graduates really enjoy risks and challenges, they’ll love it.

Discover new talents

With all of the emphasis on pitching in, group decision-making, and problem-solving, recent grads may find they have creative talents and current skills they never knew or nurtured. They will be far more well-rounded in what they know and what they can do.

Learn how to budget

Pay is generally not the best for those who join startups. In fact, no one joins a startup for the salary. Graduates will often have to continue living like poor students, but they know how to do it. They’ll stretch those dollars, shop at thrift stores, and eat Ramen noodles sometimes. So what? Grads will also learn how to budget and be frugal.

Business people cheering with arms raised courtesy of Shutterstock.com

pikselstock/Shutterstock.com

Work with passionate people

Enthusiasm is contagious, and that is one of the great things about startups. Everyone comes to work excited about the day and their projects. Everyone shares in each other’s successes (and pumps each other up when there are failures). Grads, too, will be excited about getting up every morning and getting to work; many people in the corporate world would love to have that feeling.

Learn entrepreneurship

Forecasters predict small businesses will be more a wave of the future than large corporations. Why? First, corporations continue to expand globally and set up headquarters in other countries. Second, people no longer trust large corporations like they used to. These giants have taken big tumbles in recent years and no longer provide job security to their employees. It is the small business that is trending now. Working for a startup gives employees valuable experience in becoming small business owners at some point, if they should choose to head in that direction.

Push through failure

Most startups have their failures. The good ones with resilient employees move forward, learning from the failure but never losing the enthusiasm for what they are doing. It’s good to experience failure when young; it is a wonderful teacher. If that startup goes “belly up,” think of all the lessons employees have learned in the meantime.

Potentially invest or be given a stake

A lot of startups value their original people, and founders will give those people a stake in the company. Many people became millionaires because they started out with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, or Mark Zuckerberg. Having a stake in a company at a young age is a great thing.

Love the Culture

Flexible hours are a big plus. Value is not based upon the number of hours worked. It is based on what employees produce. They may work several 18 hour-long days, only to sleep in late for several days after that and only put in four hours or so.

Dress is a big factor for many job seekers. If they love a jeans and flip-flop environment, taking their dogs to work, letting their hair grow, or sporting a tattoo, they will find the startup environment is where they want to be.

Choosing the right startup

Startups come in all different stages of development. Choosing one should be based on job seekers’ level of risk tolerance, their investigation of the founder(s), and their passions for the product(s) or services being developed. Nothing is carved in stone; if one idea doesn’t work out, there are many others to try.

Need career advice as a recent graduate? Go to our blog and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle, guest writer

Rick Riddle is passionate about the self-development process and wants to share his experience with more people via his articles. He believes self-sufficiency and discipline lead to great results. Follow him on Twitter.

Posted April 29, 2016 by

20 ways to rock your resume

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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

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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 28, 2016 by

Google before interviewing job candidates

Homepage of Google.com courtesy of Shutterstock.com

Grisha Bruev/Shutterstock.com

Before requesting job candidates for interviews these days, recruiters and hiring managers are doing their homework. Thanks to Google, employers can learn more about potential employees on social media and elsewhere and decide whether or not candidates fit their company culture. The practice of Googling candidates is becoming more common. Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software, Inc., says this practice is now normal and not just a trend.

 

“In the fourth quarter of 2014, we surveyed 350 corporate recruiters. These are recruiters at US-based, small and medium-sized businesses. We found 67% of these respondents do indeed Google search their applicants before making contact or a decision on whether or not to interview applicants. Our hunch was “Googling” applicants was more than just a trend; it’s become the new normal way to gather tidbits of social proof before engaging with job seekers. We found the pervasiveness of Googling job seekers so strong that we actually added a feature to our applicant tracking system to allow users to Google a candidate with one click. As such, Googling candidates during the early stages of the applicant lifecycle has become a feature!”

If you’re interested in more interviewing advice for employers or job seekers, go to our blog and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software

Joel Passen, Head of Marketing at Newton Software

For nearly a decade, Joel Passen spent his days in the belly of the beast as a corporate recruiting leader where he consistently drove change. Passionate about the intersection of technology and talent, Joel co-founded Newton Software, a technology company developing cloud-based recruiting solutions for small and medium-sized employers, where he serves as the Head of Marketing. In addition to his responsibilities at Newton Software, which was acquired by Paycor in 2015, Joel actively serves as an Advisory Board Member for two growing companies in the talent acquisition industry.

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.