Tag Archives: job hunting

About your resume…so who are you really?

I often get asked the question, “How much effort should I put into my resume to make it more personal?”

It’s a really good question because there are personal traits about us that get missed in resumes. Too often resumes are written in such a boring and bland manner, focusing solely on high work achievements and strong occupational skills, forgetting to portray who you really are. So who are you really? Everyone has a different side to them and that is what makes us different. Sometimes the workplace culture puts you in an environment where it creates, an artificial you. We are playing a part, trying to fit-in, and modelling to suite the perfect organisational fit. However, does it come naturally to you and if I met you jogging on the beach, is that how you would present yourself…your true self?

There are three events that occur with your resume when applying for a job that may impact on your personal profile;

  1. Not all recruiters care about you personal achievements and some may not even read the last page of your resume where usually your personal achievements, hobbies and other interests are noted
  2. Whether a recruiter will spend time reviewing the personal achievements on your resume will depend on the volume of recruitment they are processing  and the type of job you have applied for
  3. Personal traits come into play further down the track when you are at the shortlist stage and when the hiring manager imposes his views and values around the candidate in trying to determine fit for the organisation.

My approach to resume writing is to note personal high achievements in your resume for a number of reason. They provide a snap shot of who you are outside of work, your values and what you stand for. It may provide an insight into the person that we often don’t see in a controlled workplace culture…who you really are.

Resume

So what are good examples of personal high achievements? They can be a number of things and there is no limit. The only rule to observe is that the personal achievement must be significant enough to get noticed and normally related to a milestone achieved in the community and outside of work.

  • Are you the president or secretary of a successful sporting organisation that competes at the highest level in its code
  • Have you published a book and have achieved status as an author
  • Do you compete at a high level representing your State or Country in sport or any other activity
  • Have you been involved in missionary or voluntary work to support the disadvantaged, whether at home or outside your country
  •  Have you raised money for charity that attracted media attention for your efforts
  • Have you received an honor or merit from Government and been recognized for a significant achievement to the community

There is much more I could add to this list as long as it follows the golden rule that the personal achievement must be significant enough to be noticed. So be creative and don’t be afraid to list your significant personal achievements on your resume. We are not just creatures of our work based environment and organisational cultures but also real people with our own unique personalities, belief systems and values. That’s what makes us who we are.

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‘Jobs go to those that are good at getting jobs’ – Job Myth of Fact?

Interview Outfit 1

Interview Outfit 1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what are the secrets to job success? Do jobs really go to those that are good at getting jobs?

Lets bust this job myth open and uncover some key ingredients that elite job hunters use in their skill set to propel them to the top of the pile.

How critical it is today for employers to ensure they can achieve a quality match during the recruitment process when screening possible candidates. Your projection and profile may be the only thing left standing when applicants of equal ability are key contenders for a job. Your ability to align with corporate values and mission statements is essential. Companies will want you to be an extension of their corporate profile and you will be measured on your ability to fit the mold.

If you can obtain information on the corporate values of the company you are attending an interview for and can translate that into your profile, then you have a definite edge.

Research the founder of the company and what type of person they are. See if you can obtain articles on the company and write-ups on the CEO. Is the company older, traditional and more conservative or is it a new, vibrant and an entrepreneurial business? Do your homework and get that edge on other candidates.

You will be asked questions at interviews that seek to project your personal, business and professional profiles. Employers are always interested in your profiles as part of trying to establish a key match. For example does your professional profile match the organizational profile and corporate culture? Here are questions you may encounter that focus on your profiles:

  1. How would you describe yourself?
  2. How would people you work with describe you?
  3. How would your superiors describe you?

During the interview process, try wherever practicable to reflect on your personal and professional profiles in your responses to interview questions.

Personal Profile

Professional Profile

 

Reliability

Drive

Honesty

Motivation

Pride

Communication skills

Dedication

Team-player

Analytical skills

Energy

Listening

Confidence

Integrity

Determination

During the interview, it is good practice to add to your personal and professional profile by reflecting on your business profile. Your business profile is an indication of your work ethics. Companies are always interested in the prospective candidate’s work ethics and will consider various behaviours such as getting to work on time and working late if required.

Interviewers will test your ability to get tasks done more efficiently and economically by thinking of improved ways of doing things. Companies also have rules and standards called procedures and they expect employees to follow these rules all the time whilst performing their daily activities. The bottom line is about money and companies are profit-making organisations, so your ability to contribute to business profit growth will be considered positively by employers.

Build your business profile into your answer to interview questions wherever possible. The following is a list of the key business profiles you should consider:

  1. Efficiency
  2. Economy
  3. Procedures
  4. Profit

So there you have it…what elite job hunters practice as their key ingredient for success…they have a self awareness of their projection and profile and how it translates into a compelling business profile. Its about seeking a quality fit with the organisation and its culture. This is how jobs go to those that are good at getting jobs.

Resume Resurrection…bringing it back to life?

If you have come to this page thinking you are about to discover a new age religion that was lost and found within the depths of the deep Amazon jungle…I’m sorry…you may have to move on to another category!

This post is truly about resumes and how you can dust the cobwebs of your existing template and bring it back to life…resurrect them as part of an ongoing career plan. That is, im assuming you can remember where you keep your resume? Is it In a forgotten file path on your PC or dusting away in the confines of a cabinet draw with other unrelated documents?

So why should you bother? Have you not got enough to think about already? Now the author wants you to develop a career plan amongst all other things. Let me bring this terrible tragedy of the resurrected resume to an end and encourage you to at least consider the benefits of keeping your you profile document up to date.

I have been resurrecting my resume for many years in a way that is less time-consuming than you think…I will explain how to go about it…The best time to resurrect your resume is when you are on leave from work and usually during the Christmas break. You are relaxed and not in constant demand from work and other activities. All of a sudden you have some time up your sleeve to ponder about your future. Yes…its New Year and everyone becomes retrospective about what they did and what they want to be doing better. Your brain is fertile ground for reviewing you resume with the future in mind because you are in the zone, and heaven forbid, you may even be creative and adventurous.

Resumes

Resumes (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Find your old resume document, wherever it is, print out a hardcopy, grab your favourite drink and just look at it for a while. It’s probably out of date, and does not have your current achievements listed. Be critical…is it a true reflection of your projection and profile? If you were a recruiter in your field would you give this person a job?

Spend no more that an hour and pencil in your changes. We all have to set objectives at work every year and then measure our performance against them during the performance review process. This is where you will find your new achievements for your resume.. You only need 2-3 significant objectives that can demonstrate how you contributed to solving Company problems each year. So you don’t even have to think about developing new achievements for your resume. They already exist during the course of your work and all you need to do is to paste them into your resume. So the job is done and it only took around an hour of your time.

So you are still sceptical about this and need more convincing. Let me offer some words of wisdom which is about as close as you will get to a new age religion from me today. Expect the unexpected in life, one day during your career, either yourself or your boss will decide that you need to part ways and move on. It may not happen today or next year, or maybe not for the next 5 years, but being prepared with you career plan will grow your confidence during this difficult time. Because you are in a state of preparedness rather than panic-stricken and anxious.

And how can we not be prepared for ambitious recruitment consultants that head hunt candidates for a living. Maybe you will be approached one day, and I can assure you that the first thing they will ask you for is an updated resume because they need to move quickly on your candidature. Again, it’s about your state of preparedness.

My boss has given me the flick…what next?

Career Day

In this post I highlighted the need to have open and flexible career re-assessment as part of your armory of attack when recovering from a job loss. The following represent the 5 key success factors for managing a job loss:

1. Successful job search skills knowledge
2. Strong financial management initiatives
3. Flexible and open career re-assessment
4. Mental toughness and a strong belief system
5. Managing your current job

Now onto key success factor 3…

Flexible and Open Career Re-assessment

My advice in this instance is get out of your comfort zone whatever you do! Too many people I have helped in their career transition have hindered their job search prospects by sticking to old beliefs and methods of approach. It has to do with familiarity and what people know best, a type of comfort zone holding you prisoner within an electric fence. Once you have lost your job your life will change from despair to opportunity.

I say this because it’s a perfect opportunity to try something new and different. That’s right, you have nothing to lose now and you can experiment and try new ideas and concepts. Stretch yourself and become excited with the thought that everything you have always dreamed of doing outside your steady and regular job has now arrived. It is time to try to test new ideas, experiment with new concepts or see where your hobbies will take you. I commenced writing this book to keep me busy when I lost my job.

Key success factor 3 is about open career re-assessment. To sit down and analyse your career options carefully rather than focusing on getting back to your regular day job or profession that you have been working for so many years. It is time for a break and a re-assessment of your career wants and needs. In this book I dedicate a chapter to career options. I recommended that you consider a variety of options such as:

  •  Starting your own business or franchise

  •  Developing a new concept, idea or invention

  •  Consider going back to school and undertaking further studies

  •  Develop your hobbies into a potential income source

  •  Try a new career in a totally different industry and/or profession

  •  Take a sabbatical and enjoy the beautiful pleasures of the world.

Whatever you decide to do, flexibility in thought and total career re-assessment will enable you to increase your options in life. When you are in career transition mode I can easily teach you job search skills and how to apply them, however, your view on life and how you exercise your career options is a thought process that only you can act upon. Life is all about increasing your options and then picking the best one for yourself. Don’t limit yourself when you lose your job, open yourself to all possibilities and explore your opportunities to their fullest.

Would you believe I was motivated to write this book when I was between jobs? I had always wanted to write a book about assisting others achieve better employment prospects but I always thought it too hard and time-consuming. The truth was that I had never written anything this substantial before and just the thought of commencing it made me feel uncomfortable. I had some spare time up my sleeve and I decided to give it a try, each day I wrote two or three pages and my intensity and confidence grew each time. I also enjoyed it immensely and thought about writing as a new career. I reassessed my career options and was willing to try to experience other things, so can you!

3 sure ways to ensure your resume packs a punch…

goal

It’s Sunday morning and your having coffee, just relaxing in the courtyard of your home The suns rays filtering through trees perfectly to create a feeling of warmth. It’s a great day to read the newspaper and catch up on some interesting articles. Your flickering through the pages and a headline captures your attention. A journalist you have never heard of seen before has written a punch line that captures your interest. He goes onto express a point of view by providing support information to demonstrate how they came to that conclusion. You read on…your inquisitive…and want to know more. Where is this story heading?

Does your resume have that striking punchline that engages the recruiter? Does it tell a story about you that engages the recruiter to find out more. Has it been able to profile you in a manner that projects you as a top candidate with a point of differentiation?

Here are 3 key points that will distinguish your resume from the rest and encourage the recruiter to explore further;

  1. Is your document solutions orientated and does it project you as someone who can find solutions to business problems?
  2. Is your document objectives orientated and can it demonstrate your achievements by referring to SMART objectives as evidence?
  3. Does it demonstrated the how in your ability to achieve success through the engagement of others.

Does your resume contain specific examples (what) where you have found solutions to business problems. Companies today want more that just your ability to perform a task but to participate in methodologies that drive root cause analysis and eliminate poor work practices. Removing non value added activity saves companies money and your resume should clearly state where you have done this.

Does your resume clearly show objectives you have set and achieved. They should be SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound).

The killer blow comes when you project the (how) you achieved your objectives. Teamwork, working in teams, cross functional teams, engagement, coaching and mentoring others to success. Because achievements are rarely achieved on your own accord but through a team work based culture. So your resume should demonstrate your ability to be part of a team and drive improvements by motivating and utilising the skills of others.

Have it look at your resume and ask yourself…does it pack a punch? Does it have point of difference about your ability to perform the role? Would you hire that person and does it get you motivated to pick up that phone and arrange an interview.

When you consider your resume is an entry point to the interview stage and must perform at an optimum level to get to the top of the pile…is it cutting the mustard? We all think we can draft our own resumes and some are better than others. However, a professionally written document will  focus on your projection and profile and pack a punch in the right areas. Its money well spent if your serious about you next move.

How to negotiate your salary upwards at least 10% during the job offer

If you are on the verge of securing another position in a different organisation then you are probably in a position to negotiate your package up by at least 10%. This is on the basis your new role is on a comparable basis or perhaps senior to the one you perform now. I say this because you must take advantage of two things:

  1.  Market value for your profession
  2.  Initial type of interest in you.

One key point to remember is that once you accept a new role and enter an organisation, your ability to secure higher wages is diminished. You will fall back on the organisation’s performance appraisal and salary review process. My advice is that the best time to secure a more substantial increase is at the negotiating table before you accept a new job.

You are in the best negotiating position at this time and it is unlikely a similar negotiating position will arise once you are employed.

Let’s look at market value initially. Every job has a band in terms of market rate and you could cut that band into four parts. Your knowledge, experience, industry, location and market labour economics. That is, supply and demand will determine your positioning on the higher and lower end of the band.

This is a bit of a handful, but you should be aware that jobs in the city would pay better than country regional positions for similar jobs. Also, that your position on the band may vary between industries as some industries pay better than others because of the market segment they are in an. So there are many factors you must weigh up to determine your position on the band.

English: Average salaries of faculty of Califo...

A quick and easy way to determine your market value is to get a hold of expensive salary surveys and reports. Employer associations, larger employment agencies and private organisations such as Hay Group prepare such salary surveys. The problem with this is that the majority of this information is not free, particularly, if you want it to be up-to-date and specific to your position.

These reports are updated regularly and show movements in market rates by classification based on a number of factors. This is the information the professionals have when determining your rate during the interview process. Another cheaper way for you to determine market rates is to look for job advertisements in your profession and establish your own market salary band. I find that sometimes this is even more accurate than the salary surveys and a true reflection of the market place. When investigating your market rate, talk to employment consultants who are privy to this information.

Develop an information base dependent upon location, experience, industry, benefits and salary to form your own market rate. In other words, educate yourself as you would when buying a car or a home to establish market rates. This is important when negotiating salaries because you do not want to sell yourself short.

A good resource to get up-to-date salary survey information is contained at the Hays Consulting Website, http://www.hays.com.au/salary/index.asp

Here you can search for industry average salary information for your profession. The service is called Salary Check and it contains a Salary and Recruitment Survey.

Another excellent website with Australian wages and salary information worth visiting is

http://www.wages.com.au/

The following table is a good example of a salary band for an Accounts Payable Clerk. Notice the band split into four quartiles with accompanying rates of pay for those quartiles. Try to establish which quartile you are located in and then try to move to the next quartile during salary negotiations. It is not unusual for a successful candidate to move up two quartile dependent on industry and other factors.

Your ultimate goal is to reach quartile 4 and then look at promotion to a more senior position such as Accounts Payable Manager.

Salary Band (Australian Dollars)

Quartile 1 Quartile 2 Quartile 3 Quartile 4
On Commencement  (1-12 months) Some experience
(1-3 years)
Experienced
(3-5 Years)
Achievable
Salary Target
$22,000-$24,000 $24,000-$25,500 $25,500-$27,000 $27,000-$29,000 

Resume Resurrection…bringing it back to life?

If you have come to this page thinking you are about to discover a new age religion that was lost and found within the depths of the deep Amazon jungle…I’m sorry…you may have to move on to another category!

This post is truly about resumes and how you can dust the cobwebs of your existing template and bring it back to life…resurrect them as part of an ongoing career plan. That is, im assuming you can remember where you keep your resume? Is it In a forgotten file path on your PC or dusting away in the confines of a cabinet draw with other unrelated documents?

So why should you bother? Have you not got enough to think about already? Now the author wants you to develop a career plan amongst all other things. Let me bring this terrible tragedy of the resurrected resume to an end and encourage you to at least consider the benefits of keeping your you profile document up to date.

I have been resurrecting my resume for many years in a way that is less time-consuming than you think…I will explain how to go about it…The best time to resurrect your resume is when you are on leave from work and usually during the Christmas break. You are relaxed and not in constant demand from work and other activities. All of a sudden you have some time up your sleeve to ponder about your future. Yes…its New Year and everyone becomes retrospective about what they did and what they want to be doing better. Your brain is fertile ground for reviewing you resume with the future in mind because you are in the zone, and heaven forbid, you may even be creative and adventurous.

Resumes

Resumes (Photo credit: jdlasica)

Find your old resume document, wherever it is, print out a hardcopy, grab your favourite drink and just look at it for a while. It’s probably out of date, and does not have your current achievements listed. Be critical…is it a true reflection of your projection and profile? If you were a recruiter in your field would you give this person a job?

Spend no more that an hour and pencil in your changes. We all have to set objectives at work every year and then measure our performance against them during the performance review process. This is where you will find your new achievements for your resume.. You only need 2-3 significant objectives that can demonstrate how you contributed to solving Company problems each year. So you don’t even have to think about developing new achievements for your resume. They already exist during the course of your work and all you need to do is to paste them into your resume. So the job is done and it only took around an hour of your time.

So you are still sceptical about this and need more convincing. Let me offer some words of wisdom which is about as close as you will get to a new age religion from me today. Expect the unexpected in life, one day during your career, either yourself or your boss will decide that you need to part ways and move on. It may not happen today or next year, or maybe not for the next 5 years, but being prepared with you career plan will grow your confidence during this difficult time. Because you are in a state of preparedness rather than panic-stricken and anxious.

And how can we not be prepared for ambitious recruitment consultants that head hunt candidates for a living. Maybe you will be approached one day, and I can assure you that the first thing they will ask you for is an updated resume because they need to move quickly on your candidature. Again, it’s about your state of preparedness.