Archive for March 2011

3,741 Things to NOT Do On a Resume

Resume Writing No-No’s:

(and you can relax now, there’s really only 7 listed here — whewww!)

 

  1. NO TYPPOS!!!! You KNEW that, I know!  (And yes, I know there aren’t supposed to be too, I mean two P’s in typos, to . . I mean too!)  . . . but you’d be surprised just how many resumes have mistakes – and more than won (err, one)! (ugh!)
    • Spell check first, then proofread, then read it backwards (this really helps you catch stuff!), then have someone else proofread it.  (Oh, and make the needed changes, too!)
    • Check NOT just for spelling misteaks mistakes, but also for incorrect word usage that spell check won’t catch – there/their/they’re, ‘from’ when you meant ‘form’, things like that.
  2. No colors or graphics (font or paper color).
    • Exception:  graphic design field
  3. No resumes over 2 pages long!  Period.
    • Weellll, the exception is a professor or executive with extensive experience.  Then your ‘resume’ becomes a more detailed ‘curriculum vitae’. (see my post on 1 vs. 2 pages here)
  4. No personal information such as hobbies or marital status, or photos!
    • The first two examples are really really old school & outdated and the last two could be legal issues.  Just keep it professional.
  5. No “first person” language.
    • Bad example: “ I made up the curriculum for my class.” No no!  And not: “I was in charge of personnel and ordering.”
    • Instead, the use action verbs and pertinent details.  The correct “resume lingo”  is: “Wrote curriculum for 5th Grade Honors Journalism class.” and “Managed personnel issues and ordered all company office supplies.”
  6. No fancy fonts or teeny tiny print size
    • Keep it simple and professional and large enough for strained eyes to read easily. Font size 10 is pushing it . . .  11 or 12 are better.  Always strive to make your resume as easy for the reader to read as possible, and that starts with font style and size.
  7. No listing references on a resume (or even adding “References Upon Request” – they know that, and will ask for them when they’re ready for ‘em.)  You’ll want to have a nicely typed up list of at least three professional references ready for them when they do put out that request!

Popular Interview Questions

 

NOTE: (many of these may be worded as “Tell me about a time that you . . .”—have an example story ready to tell!)

  1. Tell me about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to work here?
  3. Why did you leave your last job (or how did you like your last job)?
  4. What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?
  5. What would your former boss/co-workers say about you?
  6. How would you deal with a conflict between yourself and a co-worker?
  7. What are your salary requirements?
  8. What are your short-term/long-term goals?
  9. Can you explain any gaps in your employment history?
  10. Do you have any questions?

Need some tips on how to answer these, and other tougher questions?  Check out my very supportive Interview Skills Teleclasses chock full o’ strategy and structure on how to answer common questions — as well as lots & lots of practice and feedback –  or  – get the same thing, but in an individual, one-on-one Interview Coaching session.  Get a free Interview Tips audio file, too, just for you!

Who’s Interviewing Who?

“Luck, to me (means) hard work – and realizing what is opportunity and what isn’t.” -Lucille Ball

I encourage you to remember that you are interviewing THEM, too.  Do your homework.  Find out as much as you can about a company before interviewing with them. Do internet research, talk to your network and see if anyone knows anyone who works for that company, then see if you can talk to that person. Get copies of their annual reports and get a feel for the tone of the organization and their priorities.  Only interview with companies you think you would like to be a part of.  Not work FOR, but be a MEMBER OF their organization.

Remembering that you are an asset to any organization and remembering that each company is on try-out status with you, too, puts you in the empowering position of a decision maker and job-shopper.

It’s too easy to feel desperate and not confident enough to be choosy.  Job searching can be emotionally (and financially) draining, and these stressors begin to take their toll and make us feel like we ‘have to get something”, and we may be tempted to “settle” for something we are not sure about. Our floundering trust that ‘the right opportunity is out there for me” may cause us to make a bad decision.

Taking the stance of interviewing them, too, levels out the playing fields.  They’d be lucky to have you, if you feel it’s a good match, and you choose to accept their offer. 

This is not arrogant (not with the right balance of modesty and self assurance), it is simply knowing very clearly what you want and valuing yourself enough to believe that you can and will have it.

Ultimately, waiting for a job that you are excited about will make you happier for the longer term, and, you will feel proud for having the faith in yourself and ‘the powers that be’ that it was possible to achieve your desires.

 

FUNCTIONAL RESUMES EXPLAINED

Answers to Common Questions About Functional Resumes

After my 2/17 post “Chronological vs. Functional Resumes“, I’ve received a few questions – so this post is for you, dear readers, hope it helps!

How is it different from a chronological resume?

A chronological resume is what most people think of, listing their work history in reverse time order including job title, company name & location and dates, then listing the skills, experiences and accomplishments of each job directly under each job title.

A functional resume divides your skills, experiences and accomplishments into separately listed skill sets that not attached to each job listings; it shows what you can do and have done, but not where and when.

When should a functional resume be used?

A functional resume is best used when:

  • Ÿ you want to highlight skills and experiences that are from jobs or experiences before your most recent 2 or 3 employers
  • Ÿyou want to highlight transferable skills from one industry into a new field
  • Ÿyou want to highlight skills and experiences that you have but would not be noticeable enough in a chronological format
  • Ÿyou have had many jobs with extremely similar skills and experiences that would be very repetitive in a chronological format (this will save space and make reading your resume more clear, easy, and appealing)
  • Ÿsomeone has a spotty work history or large gap in employment to combine short term jobs and briefly fill in gaps.

Doesn’t a functional resume give employers the impression thatI’m hiding something?

 

No.  Your work history is clearly listed the same as a chronological resume, but the difference is that your skills stand out and are listed first.  Your work history is listed very simple and straightforward in the section following your skills and experiences.  Functional resumes are becoming more popular and therefore more common in our dynamic working world where the average employee will change jobs and/or careers 4-5 times in her/his working life, and have many more jobs on average than in generations past.  It condenses information in these instances.

Reclaiming Our Youth

 

The Classified Ad reads “WANTED: Adults to participate in second chance at childhood experiment. Requirements: Willingness, compassion, commitment to betterment of self and society at large. Preferred:  Hindsight’s wisdom and a sense of enthusiasm. Contact: Any child in your immediate vicinity. Jaded killjoys need not apply.”

How many of us 1) knew what we wanted to ‘be when we grew up’, and 2) wish we could have figured it out sooner?   Or, 3) wish we could figure it out now? Here’s your chance – apply, preferably in person, to the advertisement listed above!

Youth that have and take the advantage of exploring work and their interests when they are young are a step ahead of their peers. Experimentation and real life experience helps them sort out and hone in on their true passions and aptitudes, better than any pen & paper (or computer generated) skills/interest inventory ever can.  This helps them chose college majors, training programs and first jobs that have a better chance of ‘sticking’, and being exciting and satisfying. Plus, they learn real skills, gain experience for a resume, and references for their future job goals.

But we adults – the gatekeepers, holders of the keys to these vital opportunities for youth – the very ones we once sought – have to be on board.

Matthew Fox reminds, and encourages us, in his book The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood in Our Time, “Adults could make their own lives richer by working with the young and seeing this commitment as a way of creating new work. It is time that adults saw their role in life as one of fashioning a gift for the young.”

Top candidates for the above position will have a strong desire to ‘grow up’ to become mentors, as well as keen skills in seeing potential, listening intently, asking the right questions and guiding young minds toward youth-chosen goals.

Don’t you wish you’d had someone standing beside you, quietly encouraging you, noticing your strengths and passions, and, with the benefit of their added years and experience, nudging you in the direction of a hands-on learning adventure?  Or, maybe you did, if you were lucky!  This is how you get a second chance at childhood – the catch is, of course, the second childhood is not yours, but another’s.  Your chance to do it better this time lies in your choice to mentor.

“A great many of the people who are doing serious work in the world are very overworked, and short of help.  If a person, young or not young, came to them and said, “I believe in the work you’re doing and want to help you do it in any and every way I can . . . I suspect that many of them would say, “Sure, come right ahead.” says John Holt, quoted in The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn.  Internships.  Apprenticeships.  Hanging around the shop, the office, tagging along on assignment.  Direct experience, whether in action with tasks or via osmosis by just ‘being around’, observing, inferring (how, after all, do we learn language?) is invaluable to the curious, questing youth in search of vocation and direction.  Real estate and investment mogul, educator and author Robert Kiyosaki repeatedly refers to the education he gained from his “rich dad”, a friend’s father who took it upon himself to begin training his son and Robert about the ins and outs of business and financial acumen when the boys were eight years old.

How can you begin?  Matthew Fox suggests, “The young want adventure, and they have a right to it – inner adventure, spiritual adventure, mind and heart and body adventure.  Adults ought to be at work providing such adventure, whether it be through theater or by challenging the young to climb mountains and roam the prairies, master mathematics or video production, or put out forest fires or repair car engines. . .  The young need and deserve to be challenged. . . and  . . to learn discipline; there is no substitute for it. . . Soaring . .  requires acknowledging limits, developing inner disciplines.”

We can encourage kids to begin now, where they are and with whatever they are interested in.  Grace Llewellyn says, “ . .  the question of good work is a question about your here and now, not just a speculation about your future.  In ten years, you may change your mind completely about everything, including what work you want.  If that happens, you can get the skills and knowledge you need thenYour task now is to use your time beautifully now.  Your life isn’t something that’s going to start happening when you’re twenty-one.  It’s happening today.”

This is actually true for seekers of all ages.  Start where you are. You’ll learn along the way.  Another place to start?  Your friends, family, neighbors, and their connections.  And of course, the internet.  Here’s a youth oriented program recommended in The Teenage Liberation Handbookhttp://www.interimprograms.com/

The advertisement above, by the way, is hiring any and all qualified candidates.  Are you one for the job?