Tuesday, June 30, 2015

FIVE TIPS FOR THE MODERN JOB SEEKER IN A BUYER’S MARKET







It’s been a buyer’s employment market since 2008.  For every job posted there are sometimes hundreds of applicants. For that reason, modern job seekers as sellers, need to be increasingly savvy in their job searches.

Here are five MUST DO TIPS for the modern job seeker to increase chances of closing the deal:

1.       RESEARCH THE MARKET | FIND THE GROWH INDUSTRIES  

Before you start looking for a job, use the internet to learn about which industries are in growth mode and which are hiring.  Determine what types of jobs companies are posting and which qualifications they seek.  Then decide whether you need to obtain a certification or take a course or re-word your resume to fit the job needs. If you are looking for a job that gives preference to certifications, consider whether you should get certified. But, you might find you don’t want it enough.

For example, a financial analyst who had also been working as a project manager decided to look for a new job. He soon realized that if he wanted to find a job as a project manager in a large financial institution, he would need a PMP certification. He remained at his job and studied for the certification. Then, with the PMP certification on his resume, he pursued suitable positions with a new level of confidence. 

In another instance, a headhunter/recruitment professional looking for a change decided he could position himself in different roles. He could study for months to sit for a PHR/SPHR certification and position himself as a human resources/talent acquisition professional. Or, he could position himself as a “sales professional.” After thoroughly researching different positions and investigating the PHR/SPHR certification requirements, he decided that, although there appeared to be more opportunities in HR-related positions, he wasn’t interested enough in studying for the PHR/SPHR exam, and his talents were stronger in sales. That decision made it even more important for him to build and rely upon a robust referral network to make connections in sales.
2.       BUILD A REFERRAL NETWORK

 Once you have a direction, you must develop a brief, cogent elevator speech and practice it before you reach out to build your referral network.  If you speak with people before you have clarity, you may sound uncertain and lacking in confidence or direction. You only get one shot to make an impression. How do you build a job hunting network? Make a chart listing your friends, relatives, and people you’ve dealt with in business. Determine which ones you trust to keep your job search confidential, to give you honest advice, and to make appropriate introductions. If you are an experienced professional, that list should be between 50 and 250 people. Email or call them one-by-one and ask them for their help. Make notes about the date and content of the conversation and establish a time that you will follow up. Ask key individuals to review and comment on your resume. Ask them to introduce you to others. Follow up on every lead you are given and go on every informational or courtesy interview you are offered. You will find some people will help you more than others. Follow up with the people who sincerely reach out to you.


3.       REFINE YOUR RESUME

Study the qualifications listed in each job posting.  Does your resume show that your skills meet those requirements? If not, rework your resume to let the readers know right away that your skills are “on all fours” with the applicant they seek.  If you are an experienced professional, you likely will add a brief summary at the top with core competencies mirroring the job requirements just below the summary.  Present results, achievements, or impacts of your work to SHOW prospective employers how you will be able to solve their problems. And, to make it to the top of the pile, your resume must look clean, organized, and be error-free.  Ask people you respect to read and comment on your resume.
4.       NETWORK & JOBSEARCH ON LINKEDIN

Make your profile attractive to recruiters. Once you have completed your resume, align your LinkedIn profile with your resume.  But your profile should be less detailed and less formal than your resume. Companies and headhunters search for candidates on LinkedIn. Your photo should be sharp and professional-looking. Ensure you have the right keywords in the headline, job title, and summary. Change the title at the top near your name. The title does not need to be your current job title. Instead, it might be something more general like:  Pharmaceutical Sales Professional; Senior Accountant | CPA; Chief Marketing Officer; Electrical Engineer; or Project Management Professional.
The best way to find a job through networking is through social media. Then take the time to add connections. You need at least 250 connections to increase your chances to find either a job or a lead to a job. Connect with alumni to increase your connections. One of them may work in your industry or a company that interests you. Click on CONTACTS and scroll down to SCHOOLS. There you can find all LinkedIn members who went to your school.
Use LinkedIn to search for jobs. As a first step, click on the JOBS tab on the home page and search for jobs. You can follow companies on LinkedIn to follow company information and job postings. Next, join industry groups that seem to be a good match for your skills and career objectives. LinkedIn will send you regular emails suggestion jobs that might interest you. Read through those emails.

5.       PREPARE FOR YOUR INTERVIEWS | BE A PROBLEM-SOLVER

There is no substitute for preparation. At a minimum, you should know as much about the company as you can. Prepare questions to ask about the company and the interviewers. This will show you have done your homework. Know why you would add value. Determine the challenges of the company or the industry and practice talking about how you would be the answer to their problems. This may answer the “WHY SHOULD WE HIRE YOU?” And you also need to prepare the answer to “WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN OUR COMPANY?” (See our blog post, Five Simple Interview Tips.) Search the internet for information about behavioral interviews; find sample questions for the type of job you seek; and practice answering the questions.

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC | 410.602.2500
Professional Resume Writer - LinkedIn Profile Writer - Strategic Interview Coach
© Resume Boutique LLC 2015. All rights reserved. www.resumeboutique.com
 




 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Don't Let Perfection be the Enemy of a Good Resume


If you are a high achiever looking for a new job, this blog posting is for you. Have you written 80% of your resume but you are stuck on the last 20%? Are you paralyzed by your need to make your resume perfect? It's likely you are letting "the perfect be the enemy of the good."  This is an aphorism attributed to the writings of the French philosopher Voltaire, who recognized the dangers of perfectionism more than two centuries ago. 

Our need to achieve absolute perfection may lead to diminishing returns. If this rings true for you, give yourself permission to craft a solid resume that is really good but not perfect. Think but don't over-think every decision. 

Here are six basics we believe will help you get out of your own way and equip you to craft an impactful, winning resume:
  1. Align your resume with the requirements for each position. This may mean you will have to tweak your resume before you apply for each job. Industries may have different terminologies for the same functions. Your resume should speak to each industry. For example, you may need to use the words "talent development" for one industry and "professional development" for another. How will you know which term to use? Study job postings and articles on the internet.
  2. Place a title and a brief summary of your qualifications at  the top of your resume to grab the reader's attention. For example, the title might be TALENT DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE. Just below that would be a short paragraph of 2-4 sentences summarizing your experience.
  3. Core Competencies in Short Bullet Points May Add Value. Adding three rows of two or three competencies aligned with the requirements of each position often is a helpful way of providing reader-friendly keywords to the top section of your resume. This list should include hard skills and not soft ones like highly organized, good time management skills, or effective communicator. 
  4. Summarizing Key Business Impact or Accomplishments before listing employment history also may add value for the resumes of seasoned professionals. We recommend 3-4 accomplishments using metrics where possible. If you are a newer professional, it is more effective to list achievements in the employment section.
  5. Employment Experience should go next followed by education, certifications, technical skills, and other key information. If you have a long tenure at a job, you probably will need to break your descriptions into sections with bolded headings to help guide the reader. Those sections should include key competencies listed in each job posting.
  6. Present Your Skills in Terms of Achievements, Results, or Impact.  Where possible, craft as many achievements as possible using metrics. We use two different charts to help people think in terms of results. Our Key Word Resume Builder helps the job seeker to align his accomplishments with particular job requirements. Our Accomplishments Resume Builder uses the SAR technique (Situation, Action & Results) to help quantify achievements. People who have used either chart have found this preparation also helps them prepare for interviews.
In past blog posts, we have provided some examples of achievements. Here are a few: Resumes: What Hiring Managers Want in 2011;  Resume Keywords - The What, Why, and How; and The Top of Your Resume IS Important. But don't take our word for it. Take a minute to study this excellent article with good examples of achievements, How to Write a Resume That Stands Out, written by Amy Gallo on the Harvard Business Review Blog, December 19, 2014. This is one of many writings emphasizing what employers want so see. If you have accomplished great things elsewhere, you are likely to be viewed as the right person for the job.

If you find you are getting stuck, remember not to "let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Then review your resume with that in mind and let it go.
 
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP  |  Resume Boutique LLC  |  Blog
Professional Resumes  |  LinkedIn Profiles  |  Interview Coaching 
Look your best on paper. Show your best in person.™
 
© Resume Boutique LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Five Simple Interview Prep Tips

What is the most common question we hear from professionals and college-bound students before their interviews?  It is simply,  "Where do I start?"

Interview preparation may vary significantly depending upon the situation.  But here are a few simple places to start:

  1. Research Your Target. Learn as much as you can about the business or college where you will be interviewing. Start with online research. Read everything you can and then read more to gain a sense of the mission, vision, and culture.  If you know someone who could talk with you about the company or college, ask questions. 
  2. Develop A Banner Headline. On a note pad, write down one sentence about WHY YOU.  What is the value you can bring?  That theme should be your core.  If you get stuck on a question, go back to your core to center your thinking.
  3. Create Supporting Bullet Points. This is where your resume will help. Below your banner headline, create a list of your accomplishments, competencies, and strengths, particularly those that relate to the requirements of the job or college.
  4. Answer "WHY THEM?" When you are looking for a new job, there is always a reason why you are looking and why this next employer is attractive to you.  Focus more on understanding why that employer is of interest to you. Keep the reason for leaving as simple and positive as possible. For a college interview, be ready to discuss three things about the school that match your requirements. 
  5. Learn from Others.  The internet has a wealth of information from interviewees.  Be creative with your Google searches.  A few examples:
 
 
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© Resume Boutique LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Sound Advice for Cover Letters in this Competitive Job Market

In this competitive job market, a well-crafted cover letter explaining how your strengths could add value to a prospective employer's needs may set you apart from other applicants.  Digital, eCommerce, Media, Marketing and Social Enterprise CEO, , gave sound advice on cover letters in a recent LinkedIn posting. 

If you are looking for a job and struggling with your cover letter, as most people do, Ms. Glogovac's advice is worth following.  Click on the link below to read the article. 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140509213747-2471478-slacking-on-your-cover-letter-i-wouldn-t-hire-you?trk=tod-home-art-list-large_0


Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP  |  Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resume Writer - Strategic Interview Coach - LinkedIn Profile Writer
410.340.3511  |  info@resumeboutique.com

 

Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Simple "Thank You Email" Tips


In general, it is advisable to send a brief thank you note to your interviewer(s).   Before you leave the interview, make sure you have the names and email addresses of all your interviewers.  Unless there is some reason why you believe you should send a handwritten note, send a short email to each interviewer.  Make it about the interviewer, not about yourself.  The interviewer does not want to read another missive about how you are perfect for the job.  Personalize it to the company.

Below are five simple "thank you email" tips to keep in mind:
    1. Thank them for taking the time to meet you today.
    2. Mention something the interviewers mentioned about the company or the position that was interesting to you.  Perhaps that you enjoyed learning more about something specific or unique they discussed.
    3. Talk about why the company is of interest to you.
    4. Then simply reiterate your strong interest in the position and that you look forward to hearing from him/her soon.
    5. Sign the email like you would a formal letter, using "Sincerely" or something similar and hit four returns and then your name.  Below your name, place your email address and your phone number.
  
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP  |  Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resume Writer - Strategic Interview Coach - LinkedIn Profile Writer
Office: 410.602.2500   | Cell: 410.340.3511  |  info@resumeboutique.com
© Resume Boutique LLC 2014. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tips for LinkedIn Job Seekers



An increasing number of recruiters are using LinkedIn as either their primary recruitment tool or as a supplement to their recruiting efforts.  At a minimum, many recruiters will use LinkedIn as another way to check your credentials once you have applied for a position.

Below are three simple tips to maximize your LinkedIn profile:


  1. Include a professional-looking profile photograph.  A photograph has become expected for a proper LinkedIn profile.  LinkedIn profiles that contain photographs are significantly more likely to be viewed by prospective employers.  Dress for the position you seek.  When in doubt, dress up.  It should not necessarily be the same as your Facebook photo. 
  2. Use professional but less formal language on your LinkedIn than on your resume.  You can use the "I" word on your LinkedIn profile but not on your resume.  You can add multi-media like PDF attachments, PowerPoint presentations, videos, or website links to highlight your accomplishments on LinkedIn.  If you have the time, don't just copy and paste your resume into the LinkedIn format. Recruiters are looking for something beyond your resume.
  3. Highlight unique hobbies, activities or talents.  They just might be the tie-breaker that places you at the top of the list of applicants.
For more information and suggestions about how to enhance your LinkedIn profile, contact Randi Lewis at info@resumeboutique.com.

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP  |  Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resume Writer - Strategic Interview Coach - LinkedIn Profile Writer
 
Office: 410.602.2500   | Cell: 410.340.3511  |  info@resumeboutique.com
© Resume Boutique LLC 2013. All rights reserved.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Applying "Lean In" Lessons to Summer Legal Jobs

Last week, the Women's Network of the law firm where I work (Resume Boutique is our side business) discussed the book, "Lean In," and how the messages of Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg, might apply to women lawyers at all stages of their career. 
 
Today, one of our male Summer Associates (law students) forwarded this link to me, calling out his favorite tip, No. 6, Focus on the firm's needshttp://ms-jd.org/ten-tips-summer-associates-can-learn-lean.  It is an article entitled, Ten Tips Summer Associates Can Learn From Lean In, that appeared on "Ms. JD" and originally appeared in the June 24th issue of The Careerist (written by author Grover Cleveland and lawyer/Ms. JD president Katherine Larkin-Wong).
 
This is wise advice that applies on all fours to summer law students.  What's more all professionals might find wisdom in these ten tips.  Take a minute to click on the link above and think about how each tip could apply to your work life.


 

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP  |  Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resume Writer w Strategic Interview Coach w LinkedIn Profile Writer
 
Office: 410.602.2500   | Cell: 410.340.3511  |  info@resumeboutique.com
© Resume Boutique LLC 2013. All rights reserved.
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Four Things Job Seekers Should Know About LinkedIn


If you are looking for your first job or for your new job, once you have perfected your resume, your next step should be to build or update your LinkedIn profile and then use LinkedIn to help facilitate your job search. 

Here are four LinkedIn basics for you to consider
1.   LinkedIn is a Must.  If you are a college student or a professional and do not have a LinkedIn profile, then you do not exist in the business world.  Put your concern about privacy away and sign up for LinkedIn today. 
2.   Photo and Headline Are Key.  The Two Most Important Things About Your LinkedIn Profile are your Photo and the Professional Headline beside your photo and below your name.  You should add a head shot that looks professional.  You can be creative with your headline.  Use Keywords where possible. 
3.   Your Network - The Bigger, The Better.  Grow your network.  In short, the more people with whom you are connected on LinkedIn, the more likely it is that someone may be able to help you either by connecting you with someone in her company or providing as a reference.
4.   LinkedIn As a Recruitment Tool.  Employers are increasingly using LinkedIn to find candidates to fill job openings through basic searches that cost nothing to the LinkedIn Recruiter that costs thousands of dollars per year.  One thing we suggest is to be strategic about adding skills that are transferrable to the type of position you seek.  When describing your employment, it shouldn't be exactly like your resume, but try to use the Keywords that are required for the new position.
 

For more information and suggestions about how to enhance your LinkedIn profile, contact Randi Lewis at info@resumeboutique.com

 
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP  |  Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resume Writer - Strategic Interview Coach - LinkedIn Profile Writer
Office: 410.602.2500   | Cell: 410.340.3511  |  info@resumeboutique.com
 
© Resume Boutique LLC 2013. All rights reserved.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Footnotes are for Papers, Not for Resumes

Have you been told that you need to put everything down on a resume?  That you should explain any and all gaps in employment?  Should you explain why you changed jobs every year or three?

Resume Boutique clients often tell us they have been so advised.  Our view is simple:  there are very few absolutes when writing resumes.  But, you don't need to add everything on your resume.  Rather, you should consider including as much relevant and more recent information depending upon your audience. 

How do you explain gaps in employment?  Recently, I have seen two resumes using footnotes to explain employment gaps.  Our view:  Your resume is not a book.  Nor is it a research paper.  Therefore, it is advisable to avoid footnotes.   If something is important enough information to call out in a footnote then add it to either your resume or your cover letter.  Leave the footnotes for research papers, financial statements, or legal briefs.

Here are two examples of how to deal with leaving a company in the body of your resume (the spacing below would not be the same as the spacing in a resume):

Example 1:

NAME OF COMPANY, City, State
Director of Operations,  2005 - 2009
(Moved to San Francisco after company headquarters relocated to Dallas; declined offer to work in headquarters.)
Here you would add the content of your responsibilities and accomplishments.

Example 2:

NAME OF LAW FIRM, City, State
Counsel, Real Estate Department,  March 2005 - June 2012
This section would contain a few general sentences about your practice in general summary fashion.  At the end of this paragraph, you could add something like this:  Left firm and joined political campaign advance team after loss of major development work to restructurings.

~  ~  ~

Every situation is different.  But be positive about finding a professional way to tell your unique story.  For more information on how to handle departures, layoffs, and employment gaps, contact Randi Lewis at info@resumeboutique.com
 
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 | Cell: 410.340.3511 | info@resumeboutique.com
Look your best on paper. Show your best in person.™
 
© Resume Boutique LLC 2013. All rights reserved.
 



Saturday, March 02, 2013

Guest Blogger on BlueprintJD: Eight Tips for a Top Notch Legal Resume


The requirements for legal resumes are different than the requirements for other professional resumes, particularly resumes of law students and newer lawyers. 

I have written about legal resumes before and wanted to share the most recent guest blog article from BlueprintJD, where I share eight key tips for legal resumes - the last of a series of 4 guest blog posts. 

If you are going to retain a resume writer to help you with a legal resume, make sure that person has a lot of experience writing legal resumes. 

Your goal is to get your resume on the TOP of the YES pileHere is the link to the blog posting:

http://www.blueprintjd.org/recruiting/eight-tips-for-a-top-notch-legal-resume/

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 ~ Cell: 410.340.3511 ~ rlewis@resumeboutique.com

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Guest Blogger on BlueprintJD - FAQs About Thank You Notes

Do you ever wonder whether you should send a thank you note after an interview?  The answer depends, although it never hurts to send one.  But send it right away, talk about something the interviewer said, and keep it short.

Below is a link to FAQs and my answers regarding thank you notes in the legal setting, which I wrote as a guest blogger for BlueprintJD. 


http://www.blueprintjd.org/recruiting/faqs-about-thank-you-notes/

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 ~ Cell: 410.340.3511 ~ rlewis@resumeboutique.com

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Guest Blogger on BlueprintJD: Top Ten Tips for Legal Cover Letters




Below is a link to the the second of four posts I wrote as a guest blogger on BlueprintJD, a new website focused on building diversity in the law. 

This post gives 10 cover letter tips, the last nine of which are universally applicable to all job applicants.  



Tip Number 8 lists these Cover Letter Don'ts:
  1. Don’t repeat your work history from your resume.
  2. Don’t lie or embellish your credentials.
  3. Don’t present yourself negatively.
  4. Don’t write about how the employer can help you – talk about how you can add value.
  5. Don’t be too informal or include personal information.
 
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500   ~  Cell: 410.340.3511  ~  rlewis@resumeboutique.com
 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Guest Blogger on BlueprintJD: Appearance Matters – Dress for Interview Success

This is a link to the first of four posts I wrote on Blueprint JD's new blog focused on building diversity in the law.  This post was directed to lawyers and law students but is universally applicable to all job applicantshttp://www.blueprintjd.org/recruiting/appearance-matters-dress-for-interview-success/. 

During late August through October each year, second and third year law students learn to balance classes and studying with interviewing.  This post focuses on appearance and first impressions.  The lead sentence would seem obvious:
 
"First impressions make lasting impressions. The first thing an interviewer notices is your physical appearance, followed by a friendly greeting with eye contact and a STRONG handshake." 
 
But not everyone gets it.  Here is a recent example:  two young partners just completed a long day of on campus interviews at a top tier law school.  Both reported separately that one, thirty-minute interview stood out as the "worst interview I've ever experienced!"  The WHY had nothing to do with substance.  They weren't able to get beynd the student's appearance and presentation.  She wore a buttoned down shirt with the buttons open below that which was reasonably appropriate.  What's more, she used the word, "LIKE," after almost every word she spoke.  The student's resume was relatively strong but she did not get a call back. 
 
Remember that interviewers are thinking about how you would present to clients, colleagues, and others.  You have control over your appearance and presentation.  So, please, follow the basics outlined in the blog posting above so that the focus is on substance, where it should be!!

Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 | Cell: 410.340.3511 | rlewis@resumeboutique.com

www.resumeboutique.com | http://resumeboutique.blogspot.com/

Friday, June 29, 2012

Another Grammar Tip - When to Use "All of" vs. Just "All"

Here is a simple tip to help you remember when to use the words "all of" or just the word "all" while writing descriptions on your resume.

Use "all of" ONLY before pronouns like "us," "them," or "it."  BUT use just "all" if it precedes a noun.

Examples:

Conducted training with all of the new personnel in the region. D (incorrect)

Conducted training with all new personnel in the region. C (correct - personnel is a noun)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Prepare for Your Interview with a Certified Employment Interview Professional

Our tag line: Look your best on paper. Show your best in person.™

Randi Lewis, CEIP
How you present in your interview is as important, if not more important, than presenting a polished, impactful resume.  That is why the more you prepare, the better you are likely to interview. 

We can help you be your best in person.  Contact us today to learn more about how we can support you.


=============================
Randi S. Lewis, Esq., CEIP | Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 | Cell: 410.340.3511 | rlewis@resumeboutique.com
www.resumeboutique.com | http://resumeboutique.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The 10 Most Common and Uncommon Career Paths for New Law Graduates

Mary Russell, writes articles for http://www.mastersinlegalstudies.com/, a website dedicated to providing students with the information and tools needed in order to pursue their Masters in Legal Studies.  You might find her posting in November 2011 interesting.  http://www.mastersinlegalstudies.com/the-10-most-common-and-uncommon-career-paths-for-new-law-graduates.html.

Randi S. Lewis, Esq.
Resume Boutique LLC
Professional Resumes & Cover Letters | Strategic Interview Coaching
Office: 410.602.2500 | Cell: 410.340.3511 | rlewis@resumeboutique.com
www.resumeboutique.com | http://resumeboutique.blogspot.com/

Look your best on paper.  Show your best in person.™