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Jul 29

Answer This Job Interview Question: What About that Employment Gap?

Posted in Job Search Info at 11:21 am

By: Martin Yate

Most interviews start with a walk through your resume, this gets you used to talking, and the interviewer a chance to create a mental picture of your career history. If you abbreviate employment dates, it is quite acceptable to list annual dates rather than month and year, be sure to do so consistently.

When references get checked, the factors most frequently verified are dates of employment, starting and leaving salary, and educational attainment. Untruths in any of these areas are grounds for dismissal with cause, and that can dog your footsteps into the future.

Questions about employment continuity often come early in an interview to help the interviewer understand the chronology of your work history. You must be ready to walk through your resume without hesitation. This, “walk through the resume” exercise is usually a preamble to a more in-depth examination of your skills.
However, once in a while you run into an incompetent interviewer and, having whizzed through the resume, you discover to your horror that the interview is over before it really began, and you have had no opportunity to sell your skills.

Consequently, you want to make at least one comment about your experience and what you learned from each job that applies to this job. Addressing experience that applies to this new job, rather than just reciting what you did, is preferable because relevant experience from past jobs is an indicator of how you will perform in this one.

When You Are Asked About Reasons for Leaving

Your walk through the resume should give you the opportunity to cite relevant experience, and you’ll almost always be asked when you started and why you left.

Rehearse your answers for leaving every job. Your rule of thumb is: keep your answers short and sweet, and then shut up. The following LAMPS acronym identifies acceptable reasons for leaving a company:

L – Location: The commute was unreasonably long.

A – Advancement: You weren’t able to grow professionally in that position, either because there were others ahead of you or there was no opportunity for growth.

M – Money: You were underpaid for your skills and contribution.

P – Pride or prestige: You wanted to be with a better company.

S – Security: The Company was not stable.

For example:
“My last company was a family-owned affair. I had gone as far as I was able to go. It just seemed time for me to join a more prestigious company and accept greater challenges.”

Under no circumstances should you badmouth a manager — even if she was a direct descendant of Attila the Hun. Doing so will only raise a red flag in the interviewer’s mind: “Will he be complaining about me like this in a few months?”

This is a “checkbox” question: The interviewer wants to ask the question, check the box, and move on. Talking too much does nothing more than arouse suspicion that you are hiding something. You get into trouble with too much information.

Any answer longer than two sentences is too long. Remember to use a phrase from the LAMPS acronym above. Keep your answer short and simple, and don’t go into long explanations. If the interviewer wants more, she will ask.

When Asked About Employment Gaps

When asked about employment dates, don’t make any attempt to hide the gaps. Everyone has to deal with employment gaps so don’t get overly worked up about it, and don’t talk for too long in your answer — it is seen as “protesting too much,” and a signifier of hiding something.
You should have an acceptable reason for leaving every job you have held.

If you have been caught in mergers and layoffs, simply explain that. A gap of a few months is nothing to worry about. You explain the gap as time spent getting your resume and job hunt up to speed, painting the house and taking an unscheduled, but welcome sabbatical after X years on the job (smile).
With gaps approaching a year and longer, it is important that you were doing something, whether it was temp work, volunteer work, or occasional consulting gigs, along with time spent on your job hunt.

A response that I have heard work is one that any person who has suffered a layoff can relate to:
“I’ve never been without a job that long before. I had no idea it would be this long, It took me months to realize just how much everything to do with job hunting has changed and then another x months to educate myself and get up to speed. That kick-started my job search, and here I am, proof positive of my determination and persistence.”

Always finish your answer with a question that moves the interview back to the needs of the job, and your capabilities to contribute.
________________________________________
About the author…
Successful careers don’t happen by accident. Professional resume writing expert Martin Yate CPC is a New York Times best-seller and the author of 15 Knock Em Dead career management books. As Dun & Bradstreet says, “He’s about the best in the business.” Join Martin on Google+.

Dec 02

4 Tips To Keep Your Holiday Job Search Moving

Posted in Job Search Info at 1:15 pm

4 Tips To Keep Your Holiday Job Search Moving

It’s easy to get sidetracked from your job search during the holidays, but this is one of the biggest mistakes a job seeker can make. If you lose momentum now, it’s going to be tough to get it back at the beginning of next year. You should make every effort to keep up your regular pace and end the year strong.

Tips For Your Holiday Job Search

Here are four tips for keeping your holiday job search moving:

1. Keep A Schedule

One of the best ways to stay on track is to keep a schedule. Book appointments with yourself each day of the week and spend dedicated time doing online searches, reaching out to leads, making follow-up calls, etc.

2. Network

The holiday season also presents some unique job searching opportunities that may not be available the rest of the year. Some businesses slow down their hiring processes near the end of the year, but this is a great time to participate in networking events and holiday parties.

Although there might not be an opening for you right now, networking events and holiday parties provide great opportunities for increasing the number of people you know. Events held in December often draw larger crowds than normal because people have a less significant workload and are feeling festive.

If you work these events appropriately, you may find that some of these new connections will be happy to assist you by forwarding your resume to other people they know or keeping an eye out for openings that might be a good fit for your skills.

Many professional association holiday parties are free and open to the public, so you can save precious dollars by hobnobbing with the movers and shakers of your industry. Do some searches in early December and start booking your calendar for the remainder of the year.

3. Volunteer

There are also a ton of community service opportunities around the holidays.Many charitable organizations draw volunteers from all walks of life and various career fields. If you want to give back to your community in this way, make an effort to get to know your fellow volunteers. This is just one way to expand your network and help out your neighbors.

4. Keep Going

It’s OK to take a holiday break for a few days, but don’t lose sight of your job search goal of finding new employment. What better way to celebrate the new year than with a new job?

by Careerealism November 29th, 2013

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL THE STAFF AT THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY JOB CENTER!

Jan 17

4 Tips for Writing Resumes from Scratch

Posted in Job Search Info at 2:42 pm

January 17, 2013

Writing a resume from scratch is no easy task. Even if you are working off
of a resume template, you still need to formulate how to place your
experiences and accomplishments into words effectively. You also need to
narrow down which type of information from your experiences are relevant
and worthy of mentioning on a resume.

It may only take an employer a couple of seconds to review your resume
and determine if you are a qualified candidate worthy of follow-up, which
makes it even more important to fine tune your resume information so that
it gives an immediate punch to get you noticed.

To help ease the process of gathering the appropriate information for your
resume and formulating the content to help you stand out, here are some
steps and questions to take:

1. Create an outline of your career history from past to present.
Pull together the details of your employment history for the last five to 10 years. You’ll need the
name of the employer, position you held, dates of employment and a general overview of your role
at the company.

2. Determine what types of experiences and strengths the job you are seeking requires.
When you know what types of experiences and skills are desired for the job you are applying for,
you can customize your resume information so that it is more relevant and targeted to what
potential employers may be looking for. Not all of your past experiences need to go on a resume,
only what is relevant and information that will help demonstrate you qualify. Knowing this
information will also help you craft the starting point for your resume where you include a
“Summary of Qualifications” or similar title to that effect to inform an employer what you have to
offer.

3. Develop a brand statement or value proposition.
An effective resume informs an employer what you have to offer and demonstrates your potential
based on previous accomplishments and achievements. Quantify results to help demonstrate
what areas you are strong at and the level of skills you have. Do not rely on simply indicating
responsibilities you’ve held. That will not tell an employer how good you are at the job.

4. Evaluate what keywords you need to include.
A majority of employers today use scanning technology to help filter the most relevant resumes
that come in. In order for your resume to make it to the hands of the contact who will decide who
to invite for follow-up, you need to first get past its scanning technology that is tracking a set of
keywords. The more relevant keywords you have that are part of its top-tier search criteria, the
higher your chances your resume will be reviewed by a person. Keep the keywords in mind as you
write your resume to incorporate it where possible, but in the appropriate context. The job
advertisement is where you will find the most relevant keywords to include to your resume. Other
sources you may rely on to find keywords include job descriptions that may appear on job boards.

Don’t be surprised by how much time it takes to write a resume. If it were an easy task, there
wouldn’t be the need for professional resume writers. Take the time to create a quality
backgrounder for yourself because it is your main tool to getting your foot in the door with most
employers.

If you want to get a call back, you will need to make your resume relevant, targeted and punchy to
capture the attention of an employer within seconds. Also be sure to give it another review and
have another person review it before sending it off. One minor mistake in spelling or grammar can
cost you. Today’s employers are quick to dismiss a resume. They are overloaded with applications
and resumes so in reviewing resumes for qualifications, they are also looking for reasons to
dismiss it.

    http://www.gotthejob.com/blog/4- tips- for- writing- resumes- from- scratch.php
Jun 22

RESUMES – OBJECTIVES ARE DEAD!

Posted in Job Search Info at 11:04 am

The Resume Objective is Dead, So Why Are You Still Using It?
By Leslie Ayres
Published Jun 4, 2012

When I began as a recruiter, long, long ago, every resume began with an objective was followed by a flowery and slightly vague statement about what the jobseeker wanted, written in terms that were all about the candidate.

Back then, a typical resume objective would be something meaningless like: “Objective: A challenging position in a fast-paced company where I can use my current skills and learn new ones, with opportunity for promotion and growth.”

Bleh.

In retrospect, it’s easy to see why this approach died, because it’s all about the candidate, all about me, me, me, and never about what the company was looking for.

When the job market got more competitive, we started to catch on and realize that companies don’t hire you because of what you want.

In fact, companies really don’t even care that much about what you want, and they sure don’t want to worry about it when they’re screening resumes.

Companies hire you because you are what they want.

Today, even though some people still use this kind of meaningless resume objective, the powerful way to start your resume is with a positioning statement and summary that tells the company what you do, and what you can do for them, in terms that they can instantly understand.

Look at it from a recruiter or hiring manager’s perspective.

We have a position we need to fill, and we want to find someone who is experienced, and hopefully a specialist at that job. The closer you are to our idea of a perfect candidate, the more we want to talk to you.

So instead of saying what you want, show that you are what the company wants, and you need to say it right from the beginning.

Let’s say, for instance, that I’m looking for a confident marketing manager who has online experience to work for a company that sells consumer products. Included in the posting is that we’re looking for someone who understands the latest in social networking, and who has experience managing complicated projects.

Resumes begin to pour in, and the work of selecting which candidates make it to the interview phase begins.

Recruiters will give your resume only about 15 or 20 seconds of attention, so you need to grab them from the very first to get their attention, and that works best with a positioning statement.

What’s the difference between and objective and a positioning statement or summary?

Let’s take a look at a sample resume objective, and a sample positioning statement. Which one of these resumes do you think will go to the top of the stack?

Candidate A:

Seeking a challenging role as a marketing manager with a fast-growing company that will let me build on my experience in online marketing and expand my responsibilities into social network marketing and project management.

Candidate B:

Innovative Online Marketing Manager

Consumer Products, Social Network Marketing, Campaign Management, and Project Management Experience

Both of these resumes will make it through the computer system that is just looking for important keywords, but once I review them, Candidate B is going to the top of the stack, because they’ve told me what they are, and what they can do, and it’s a match with what I’m looking for.

Candidate A’s resume will be read, because the right words are there, but they probably won’t get the interview, because they have set a tone that they are looking for what’s in it for them, not what’s in it for the company.

Let’s look at another example for a position for an administrative assistant position working for the head of manufacturing for a company that makes consumer electronics products.

Candidate A:

Seeking an administrative or assistant position where my twenty years of office experience can be utilized.

Candidate B:

Flexible and Confident Administrative Assistant with Experience Supporting Senior Management in Top-Tier Manufacturing and Consumer Electronics Companies

Again, Candidate B has the edge, because they talk about who what they do and what they bring, rather than what they want.

Does this mean that the rest of the resume isn’t read? No.

The recruiter will spend a few seconds to scan down to see what kinds of skills you list, and to evaluate where you’ve worked, for how long, and what you did there, and you still have a chance.

But in both of these examples, Candidate B caught our attention by positioning themselves as exactly what we’re looking for by using a strong positioning statement or summary, so we’re already feeling good about them.

So instead of wasting precious top-billing space on your resume with an old-fashioned objective that talks about you, tell us what you do and follow it up with a summary that shows you know what you’re talking about.

Then you’ll get the interview, and you’re one step closer to getting the job.

More resume tips for a faster job search:

•How a Recruiter Looks at Your Resume
•Is It Ever OK to Lie on Your Resume?
•The Magical Secret of Resume Keywords
•Resume Do-Over: 7 Signs Your Resume Needs a Total Overhaul
•Your Resume: 15 Seconds of My Attention

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Source URL: http://work.lifegoesstrong.com/article/resume-objective-dead-so-why-are-you-still-using-it