Tag Archives: resume writing

Ramping Up Your Resume with Transferable Skills

Understanding your transferable skills is essential to an effective job search strategy and absolutely vital if you are seeking a new direction in your career. All jobs incorporate the use of some transferable skills and the most successful career chameleons recognise this and adapt their resumes to suit.

So what are transferable skills? Essentially they are the skills you offer that you’ve gained through your work, study and personal life that are directly transferable and relevant to the roles you are applying for.

These skills don’t have to have been built only in the workplace, in fact unlike job-related skills they may have been developed through volunteer activities, studies, past projects, even through your hobbies.
Regardless of where you have developed them, knowing what skills employers are looking for in the positions you are applying for and showcasing your skills in these areas is vital to marketing yourself effectively in the career’s marketplace.

When trying to showcase your transferable skills it’s important to understand two things – firstly what the transferable skills are the employer is looking for, and secondly what you have to offer.

To begin this process start by reviewing the position descriptions and advertisements for the positions you are applying for and make a list of the commonly outlined skills they are seeking. Next review your past positions and break them down into the tasks that you performed and the skills you needed to perform them. If these skills can be used in other positions and are relevant to the positions you are applying for, then these are your relevant transferable skills.

When you have done this for past positions, broaden your assessment to others areas of your life such as voluntary work, studies, community activities and even hobbies to further broaden your skills lists. When trying to brainstorm skills consider common transferable skills such as leadership, time management, planning and organising, adaptability, decision-making, team work, relationship development, communication and interpersonal skills, problem solving and critical thinking.

Once you’ve identified your transferable skills you are now able to use these to market yourself to potential employers in your resume, application letter and interview.

With most employers only skimming each resume for up to 15-20 seconds it’s important to realise that simply relying on employers to figure out your transferable skills from your job titles and accountabilities isn’t enough – you need to highlight these skills clearly to employers at the outset of your resume. Consider the front page of your resume as a marketing profile of you. It’s your opportunity to pitch yourself to the employer as skilled and relevant, and highlighting your key transferable skills is an important component of this.

You can do this through a number of ways.

1. Write a career objective that outlines the type of skills you offer and are looking to use.
2. Write an opening profile that describes your key skills.
3. Develop a bulleted list of keywords that describe your core transferable skills or develop a combination resume (chrono-functional resume) that incorporates a description of your key transferable skills and experience on the front page and focuses in the body of the resume more on the skills you offer than just the titles and dates of your past positions.

Finally if you are struggling to present yourself well, consider seeking the support of a professional resume writer. Click here for more information on resumes and Career Edge’s international award winning resume writing services.

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Avoiding becoming Resume Spam

Everyone hates spam but now for job seekers there is an even greater down side as candidates find their resumes ending up, not on the employer’s lap, but instead caught in the recruiter’s or employer’s spam box. 

In a 2008 survey done by Career Directors International regarding the percentage of résumés received that end up trapped in SPAM filters, 72 percent of recruiters said that less than 5 percent of résumés were caught; 22 percent said that 5-10 percent were caught; and 6 percent said that a whopping 11-25 percent were caught.

For jobseekers this can be devastating as dream jobs pass them by simply because of the inclusion of seemingly innocent words and/or symbols.  Words such as free, specialist (which contains the drug name cialis in the middle), trial, expand, winner and American University honour term ‘magna cum laude’ are all triggers that can cause your resume to spam blocked.

My three top tips to avoid having your resume renegaded to the email spam bin include

1. Avoid words that flag your resume as a risk to spam blocking technology or utilise a content checking technology such as the  free service “Lyris Content Checker” http://www.lyris. com/resources/contentchecker before sending it out. Alternatively contact a resume writer to check it for you.

2. If you send your resume as an attachment, word your subject line carefully. Alternatively cut and paste your resume in the body of the email.

3. Send a back up copy of your resume via the mail to ensure your resume is received and/or follow up via telephone. If you are concerned have the company white-list your email address.

Remember forewarned is forearmed, so take steps today to protect yourself.

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Job Search in the New Millenium – What to Expect and How to Survive It

 

If, as a job seeker, you haven’t been truly active in the job search market for a few years, you probably scarcely recognise it! The speed of change in the job market is accelerating by the minute and job search today is completely different to ten years ago. Paper resumes are now only a small part of the job seekers toolset and both recruiters and applicants have a world of new opportunities to connect in the marketplace.

 

CHANGES & TRENDS

 

Job blogging, video resumes, social networking, resume optimisation, web portfolios and behavioural interviewing are just a few of the changes to job search practices that have been introduced over the past ten years and are all strong indicators of why it’s so important to remain abreast of changing job search technologies and employment trends.

 

Riding on the back of these trends has also been the swelling of awareness for candidates to have strong personal marketing and to be able to specify, quantify, document and articulate their employment value.

 

In today’s fast-moving employment market it is commonplace for employers to see hundreds if not thousands of resumes pass over their desks or email, and only those that truly showcase the applicant’s unique value and relevance to the employer will gain a second glance. Employers want evidence of success and quantifiable outcomes included in resumes to ensure they are making the right choice. This evidenced-based selection approach has also extended to the interviewing process with behavioural interviewing becoming one of the most common interview tools.

 

 

TECHNOLOGY IMAPCTS

 

Technology has also brought new challenges in the presentation of resumes and other application materials. Resumes now need to be designed so that they are scanner-friendly and optimised so that they stand-out when reviewed by the database scanners used by many recruitment agencies and large employers in first round selections. Further issues such as spam filters, recruiters’ use of PDA’s to receive email and online applications have all seen resume formats adjusted to suit these domains. Given this complexity many job seekers are now accepting that investment in professional career marketing and advice is a must.

 

The most significant change to job search has definitely been the explosion of online networking. In the Career Directors International 2006-2007 Research Report “Career Industry Mega Trends” they stated that over 50% of recruiters surveyed said that they either currently use in some capacity or intended in the future to use Social Online Networking as a method of recruiting candidates. Forums like LinkedIn, Facebook and Myspace have seen traditional networking move online and have dramatically increased opportunities for job seekers to contact and link with job search targets but also pose significant risk if used inappropriately.  According to recent research in the US up to 35 percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and over 20 percent look people up on social networking sites. Job seekers, need to be aware that the transparency of information on the internet allows employers to view them from all angles, and should ensure that anything posted will not hurt future job search activities. Even if you have had limited involvement on the internet, this “self-googling” is also vital to ensure there isn’t anyone else with the same name as you on the internet that may pose a risk to your job search credibility. On the flipside of these negativities, smart jobseekers are now using the internet through job blogging to position themselves as an expert in their field, leading employers and recruiters to them, rather than the other way around.

 

JOB SEARCH IN THE FUTURE

 

With changing technology it’s hard to imagine exactly what the face of job-hunting will look like in ten years time. Many career coaches particularly in the United States are already embracing the advances of online communication such as video resumes and web portfolios to deliver more impact to application presentations.  Whilst in Australia uptake and acceptance of these newer methods of resume delivery is slow, as Australia commonly follows US trends, it would be wise for Jobseekers and employers alike to consider these forums as potential opportunities for recruitment.

 

THRIVING & SURVING IN THE NEW WORLD OF JOB SEARCH

 

Regardless of how the job search is conducted, one thing is for certain, social networking, technology and personal marketing will continue to remain the key axis of an effective job search strategy.  Regardless of the medium, the fundamentals of marketing yourself competitively remain paramount. Know the employer and understand what they want; identify, evidence and document your unique value in terms of these dimensions; and develop skills to articulate this in person both in social networking forums and formal interviews. Finally seek solid advice from career specialists to ensure you leverage the full advantages of latest job search technologies and also remain abreast of pitfalls of these new arenas.  Doing this will ensure you present well be it in an interview, video resume, or through social networking forums.

 

With the speed of change in the job market today it is also critical that candidates prepare themselves through a strategic approach to their job search activities. Invest in building effective marketing materials including a resume that is tailored to your job target and presented in a variety of contemporary file types (Word, ASCII, and PDF) so that you are ready for any application forum. Seek out advice and coaching in what form of resume should be used in each forum and familiarise yourself with the current styles of interviewing. In particular understand how to articulate your contributions made to past employers so you can evidence your skills and what you offer employers in the future. Finally make sure you continually stay abreast of, and are open to, newer styles of job search and networking. You will be better positioned for success if you look beyond traditional networking, and consider networking online, or social networking, as a part of your holistic job search campaign.”  

 

Today’s job market is an increasingly complex arena. Changing technology brings a world of new opportunities and risks to job seekers today.  Online technology allows greater opportunities for visibility by techno-savvy candidates wanting to get employers attention. On the other hand this visibility also means that it’s critical to ensure anything uploaded into this domain is well thought out and highly professional, otherwise your visibility may be your downfall.  However embrace technology, seek solid advice and ensure you are prepared and the world can be your oyster.

 

Good Luck

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Personal Branding – Graduates Join the Brand-Wagon

Many graduates think that personal branding isn’t for them. They assume just because they don’t have much career experience they have little to sell and so it won’t be worth it. In fact the opposite is true. 

 

Never is it so competitive to get a job than as a graduate entering the workplace and competing against thousands of other graduates in the same field. This is the time to differentiate yourself! To stand up and showcase what you bring of value to future employers and why they should invest in you over others with the same qualification.

 

But how do you do this?  Building a personal brand shouldn’t be taken lightly. To do this properly demands that you dedicate time to building insight into your target market (particularly employers in your sector) and then analysing, extracting and honing your key brand attributes that will be relevant to them. Your brand needs to be authentic and based on your true strengths and passions. Faking a brand that isn’t you will never work.

 

For graduates serious about personal branding you can employ the services of a personal branding strategist or read books on the topic such as Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kirsten Dixon. This will enable you to build a brand that will enhance your competitiveness and set the foundation for your career in years to come.

 

Once you have your personal brand, its time to communicate this to the world at large. For graduates your resume is a prime place to do this. Build a branded resume. If you can afford it, employ a professional resume writer who can ensure your opening profile in your resume highlights your brand and that your resume then backs this up with evidenced achievements of your accomplishments to-date. Include extracurricular activities, industry experience, internships, anything that reinforces your brand and differentiates you from your peers.

 

When you have a killer resume re-assess your image and make sure it’s sending the right signals and then start building your network. Effective networking is always the best tool for career marketing.  

 

Finally remember personal branding doesn’t stop when you get a job. Continue to build your professional brand in the workplace through a consistent professional reputation based on the value you bring to your employers and industry through your unique strengths.

 

To all graduates out there making the jump to the workforce – good luck!!

 

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You don’t need to be the best to be the best known!

In marketing they talk about the legendary fallacy of the statement –

 

“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door. (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

 

The reality is the world is filled with exceptional mouse traps but in marketing it’s well known that it’s not usually the best product that is the most successful but rather the best marketed product.

 

 

Take a look around – are designer labels really that much superior to other clothing items or are they just better marketed? The same can be said for personal marketing. How many people do you know that are highly talented in what they do but struggle to gain the necessary recognition and reward, whilst others with seemingly less talent effortlessly climb the corporate ladder.

 

As a Personal Branding Career Coach I am regularly contacted by frustrated professionals who know they do the job better and get better results than others in their workplace and yet they are continually overlooked by management. The reality is these quiet achievers are simply penalised because they lack the skills and confidence not to do the job but to brand and market themsleves effectively.

 

So what do you need to do to join the corporate success ranks? It’s simple! Just apply the same principles to yourself as marketing teams do to commercial products.

 

ü Have a clear understanding of your unique strengths. There are many tools available for this including the Reach 360 Personal Branding Assessment. Through these you can see how others see your strengths and talents and get a better feel for your authentic talents and skills.

ü Get to know your target audience.  Knowing your target audience will enable you to tap into their unmet needs. If you are in a workplace, identify who the decision makers are in that next promotion decision, what they need and what they are looking for in the future for the company and its staff.

ü Use this knowledge to deliver a consistent and strategic branding and promotion message.   Know your talents and sing them loudly and proudly. If you are not confident carving a strong personal brand yourself you can enlist the help of Personal Branding Consultants who can help you identify and mould an authentic personal brand. Deliver this consistently and you’ll notice your awareness and respect grow.

ü Keep in mind – how you are packaged is how you are perceived. Make sure your resume, online identity and communications with others all reinforce the image you want to promote. (Check out my article on Premium Products in Home Brand Packaging for more on this.)

 

Remember  You don’t need to be the best to be the best known!

 

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The Branded Resume Checklist – How does your resume rate?

First impressions are everything. Does yours resume represent you as the consummate professional you are? Before you send it off, take a few moments to put it through the professional’s “Resume Checklist”.  The extra few minutes spent here could make all the difference to your resume’s impact and your subsequent job search success. 

ð        Does your resume have impact from the outset? Will it grab the employer’s attention, telling him/her who you are; what you bring; and a snapshot of your career highlights and strengths?  Make sure it doesn’t waste valuable space with personal details. Condense your personal details to 1-2 lines and use the rest to sell you as a quality potential candidate.

ð        Is your resume effectively targeted to the type of job you are seeking?  Every resume should be written with a target type of job in mind. Is yours? Read through the job advertisements for the type of employment you are seeking. Does your resume immediately paint you as “just what the employer is looking for”? Have you highlighted all the relevant skills, experience and qualifications you have that the employer may be seeking?

ð        Does your resume start with a powerful header and profile? Your header should immediately tell the employer who you are. Experienced Sales Professional. Motivated Business Graduate. Qualified Training Auditor. It should be followed by a strong profile highlighting your unique experience, skills and benefits (or otherwise known as your unique selling proposition). Use this section to stand out from the others in the resume pack.  

ð        Is your employment background written in an achievement-orientation? Is it focused on the challenges of each role and your personal contributions? Have you replaced accountabilities with achievements? Don’t bore the reader with a list of accountabilities that they probably already know – give them details on what you have achieved and the value you brought to each role. Draw them in on a journey packed with innovation, results and dedication. Don’t forget to make sure you include the title of the position, name of employer, and dates of employment, and ensure any gaps in your employment record are addressed.

ð        Is your resume evidence based? Have you backed up your unique selling claims by highlighting in your employment your accomplishments including exactly what you did, how you did it and giving firm indications of the result. Eg slashed staffing costs 30% through restructured rosters that better matched staff ratios with peak period demands. Make sure it’s accurate and truthful. Be able to back up your claims.

ð        Is your writing style energetic and filled with action verbs to create impact? Try starting your achievements with actions words. For example increased, lifted, slashed, reduced, eliminated, grew. This will bring power to your resume and increase its effect on the reader.

ð        Does your resume include all licenses, qualifications, skills and credentials relevant to the job you seek?ð        Does it exclude all personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, etc. Make sure it avoids any negativities about past employers and never include reasons for leaving. Is your contact information up to date and accurate? Have you included your home phone, mobile number and email address.   

ð        Does the overall layout of your resume look pleasing to the eye? Is it clear, logical and free from jargon. Is the layout simple, well structured and professional? Avoid graphics, keep fonts simple (just 1-2 at the most) and keep plenty of white space. Is it error-free? Check for grammar, spelling errors and grammar consistency.  

ð        Is your resume scannable?  Ensure your layout can be scanned. No text boxes or graphics. True type fonts no less than 10 pt.

ð        Have you proof read your resume? Have you prepared a powerful cover letter to go with it? Are you using good quality paper? Have you developed a separate referees sheet and included on your resume “Referees Available on Request”.

 

If you have done all of the above – congratulations, you are now ready to start your job search. Good Luck!

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