How to Write a Resume. (Yes, another article on writing your resume!)

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Career Building, Resume

How to Write a Resume.

The number of words written on writing resumes is astounding. Just Google “resume” and the results go on forever. This article attempts to summarize some resume basics and put forth some ideas based on several decades of cumulative experience and countless thousands of resumes read.

Let’s start with the basics.

Why are you writing a resume? You are trying to sell yourself for an opportunity. You are the product you are marketing, so sell yourself! Why does a prospective employer need you? Explain your value proposition. Remember, your resume is typically your first opportunity to introduce and sell yourself; it is often also your last opportunity.

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Sabbatical: Career Builder or Career Damper?

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Career Building

Sabbatical: Career Builder or Career Damper?

There are many good reasons to take a sabbatical. These may be maternity (paternity leave), caring for a sick or elderly relative, personal enrichment or a business endeavor. Pursuing a degree or specialized training is not really a sabbatical. Whatever the reason for your sabbatical, a lot of your success in re-marketing yourself to prospective employers will depend on how you present the sabbatical.
 


“Are career breaks or sabbatical years really accepted? Does the industry welcome you back, acknowledging your strengths and prior experiences? Or is there a price to pay?” – Asha Naidu, Senior Software Consultant


If you are considering a sabbatical but want to come back to your present employer, this is definitely the easiest re-entry. Read more »

Staffing & Employment News – June 2010

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Employer, Recruiting, Staffing & Employment News

Staffing & Employment News

Most experts tell us that the recession starting in December 2007 ended in mid-2009 when real GDP and industrial production bottomed and then started growing again. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) business cycle committee, domestic production and employment are the primary conceptual measures of economic activity.

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Staffing & Employment News – May 2010

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Employer, Recruiting, Staffing & Employment News

   

Staffing & Employment News

From the Redfish Technology May Newsletter.

According to Bloomberg, the growth in corporate profits is an encouraging sign for a V-shaped recovery. The economy is expected to grow at 4% this year, which is up from the 3% prediction derived from a survey of economists earlier this year. This capital will be invested in equipment and hiring according to Joseph LaVorgna, chief U.S. economist in New York at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. Read more »

Changing Jobs or Careers. Is now the right time?

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Career Building, Human Resources / Capital, Recruiter / Recruiting

Changing Jobs or Careers. Is now the right time?  from the Redfish Find Your Dream Job Newsletter, April 2010

Recent surveys have shown a lot of dissatisfaction and uncertainty in the workplace, as well as staff cuts, many employees didn’t get a pay raise or bonus in 2009. Is it time to look for another job?

First of all, are companies hiring? Read more »

Welcome to Hook, Line & Sinker

Filed under: Best Practices, Candidate / Job Seeker, Career Building, Employer, Hiring Strategies, Human Resources / Capital, Recruiter / Recruiting

 

Welcome to Hook, Line & Sinker, Redfish’s Human Capital, Resources, and Career Discussion Forum.

The purpose of this blog is to share expert advice and industry insights into getting a job, growing your career, work-life balance, as well as employer Best Practices in Human Resources and Talent Management issues.

Interested in exciting and pertinent High Tech and Green Energy Industry news?

Check our Catch of the Day, our industry blog on exciting and pertinent companies, employment, legislation, innovation and happenings.

Thoughtful Interview Preparation – Getting Your Dream Job

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Career Building, Interview

Thoughtful Interview Preparation  – Originally published in the Find Your Dream Job Newsletter, Issue 2.

Getting Your Dream Job 

You’ve identified an opportunity that you are excited about and well-qualified for. You’ve polished and targeted your resume, and crafted your cover letter. Great news: You are invited for an interview! Now it is time to really gear up. Preparation is key – whether you haven’t interviewed in a decade or if you’ve had ten recent interviews.

 Whether you end up in a conversational style Q&A or are engaged in a competency based (behavioral) interview approach, spend time in advance thinking about answers to some potential questions in advance so that you are prepared to answer them naturally and informatively.

Know your Audience: Research the company and the people. Read about them online, ask your recruiter to share insights into the company culture and strengths, network with current and former employees, read the bios of the people you will be meeting with and upper management. Be prepared to identify what about this company attracted you to them, show that you are someone who will be dedicated and invested in this company.

Know the Industry: Who are the company’s competitors, who are their customers and suppliers? What are the key business missions, messaging, and the recent benchmarks? What are the recent trends, challenges and opportunities in the industry? Be prepared to show your knowledge of the industry players/issues and how your experience and skill set is pertinent to the company’s business.

Know the Position: Re-read the job description and be very clear on the duties. What examples can you offer of your experience in success at accomplishing these responsibilities? What are the most relevant highlights of your track record? Be prepared to elaborate on how your experience and skill set will contribute to the company’s success.

Know your Take Away: Why are you the right person for the job? Why should they hire you instead of other candidates?  How can you fit in and contribute immediately? Be prepared to communicate your take away message on why you are the right person for the job.

Here are some examples to help you in your interview preparation.

Ability and Career Initiative questions:

  • How would your boss describe you?
  • What is your reputation at work?
  • What professional accomplishments are you most proud of and why?
  • What is the most important thing you contribute to any organization?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?
  • Name three things you like and dislike about your current/last position.
  • Why do you want to leave/did you leave your last position?
  • Why is your current organization a better place for you having worked there?
  • Why would this position be a good move in your career development?
  • What have you done in your current/last position to improve your company’s bottom-line?

You want to paint a picture of yourself as a qualified, capable person, ready, willing and enthusiastic about contributing to the company’s mission. If you are looking for a new position because the last/current one was negative, or if you’ve been unemployed for a while, formulate your response carefully. Never share dirty laundry and don’t waste time on negatives. Focus on the proactive and the positive aspects of your interest in the opportunity you are interviewing for and what you can bring to the table. Show career pride and initiative.

Competency-based questions:

  • Tell me about a situation in which you had a miscommunication with a customer/colleague/boss and how you handled it.
  • Describe a time when you didn’t accomplish a professional goal and how you rectified the situation?
  • What was the biggest professional challenge you faced in your last position and how did you overcome it?
  • Can you describe an example of when you worked with a colleague or group to solve a problem?

You will definitely need to have real-life examples ready. Be prepared to explain how you resolved the situation favorably, what you learned, and how that experience could be applied to the work environment of your potential employer. You want to demonstrate your ability to work well with others, accomplish the mission, be accountable and proactive, and problem-solve.

Real-life Work Scenario:

You may have a real work problem laid before you, and be asked to describe how you would proceed. While this is a little harder to prepare for in advance, you should be thinking about the aspects of the role and draw from your past experience. This is similar to preparing for competency based questions.

New-Age questions:

  • If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
  • If you were a fruit, what kind of fruit would you be?

The interviewer is looking for a correct answer of an animal that is efficient, proactive, social, organized, and a fruit that mixes harmoniously in a fruit salad medley. Hopefully no one is ruled out because they say cat (sleeps a lot) or an avocado (doesn’t mix well in a fruit salad). Perhaps the true point is to see how you might react and if you have a sense of humor.

Gauging Interest and Engagedness:

  • What did you like on our website?  What attracted you to our organization?
  • What questions do you have for me/about the company/role?
  • How could our company do better?

There is no wrong answer to these questions except to not have an answer. This is your opportunity to find out more about the company/management culture, goals, strengths, etc. And importantly, this is your chance to show your serious intent and enthusiasm for the company. If you have no more questions, take this time to express that the conversation has touched on all the points you wanted to explore more and that you appreciate the manager’s candor and time; leave them with the impression of satisfaction as opposed to disinterest.

Formulate your responses using the STAR approach:

When formulating your response, maximize the opportunity to demonstrate your professional success. Situation. Task. Action. Results.

For example, if you are asked what you have done in your current position to improve your company’s bottom-line, “As the International Channel Manager (situation) of a company trying to gain market share in international markets (task), I spearheaded and drove an International Distributor meeting with focus sessions on marketing and sales strategies and tools, introduction to add-on products, as well as software localization and OEM technology and coordination (action). The result was 2 additional language versions of the software being produced, strengthened communications and renewed marketing and sales motivation with a 20% increase in International channel sales and a strengthened relationship with our channel partners (results).

On the humorous side, YouTube videos:

The Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRX0AQKFtwU

ABC’s The Middle Mike Heck on an interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_H-jNCaEvI

Do you have any funny interview questions or anecdotes? Please share them with us.

Market Yourself by Creating Your Image and Telling Your Story

Filed under: Candidate / Job Seeker, Career Building, Job Search, Social Media

Market Yourself by Creating Your Image and Telling Your Story

As you start circulating your resume around for companies to see, keep in mind almost 40 percent of employers now search social networks when screening applicants, writes Forbes. Another 34 percent said they passed on a candidate because of content they found on the social media sites. These stats say you need to create an image, and be in control of it. Otherwise, the image people find of you online may not be the one you want.

Decide What Image You Want to Portray

The three questions to understanding the image you want, according to the Daily Muse in Forbes, include:

  • How do you affect the people around you?
  • Who benefits from what you do?
  • What actions do you take to generate that benefit?

With a better understanding of these three areas of your image, or brand, you can construct a short statement that describes you, such as:

  • “The people I work with are motivated by my desire to create amazing logo graphics for my clients.”
  • “My peers respect my skills at resolving complicated logistics problems to keep my customers’ companies running smoothly.”
  • “My ability to clearly articulate clinical research results gets high marks from all of my supervisors.”

Getting Ready To Market Yourself

Now, you can take this vision of yourself and use it as a basis to develop your resume, create ideas for an online blog, or pen social media posts. Another step is to create a personal website, so you have a central place to which you can direct people who want to know more about you.

Your website need not be complex because the purpose is to inform people about who you are, not showcase your website design skills. To keep your website and information secure, consider hosting by Windows VPS at MyHosting.com or a similarly stable platform. You have plenty of things to keep you busy, and you don’t need to worry about your website getting hacked.

Take It on the Road — Online

Social media is another step. Get yourself on  LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google +. These sites give you the ability to present yourself to the general public, which lets you practice delivering your story.

Next, you can get more specific in targeting your message. If you are a graphic artist, create circles in Google + to draw in other graphic artists to converse with. Fan pages in Facebook will do the same thing. To connect with the professional population, LinkedIn is the place to be. There, you can even create groups that focus on a particular topic, such as graphic design for small business.

The Huffington Post says to make sure your resume matches the social profile you put in place online. Recruiters and HR personnel may research you online, and having your information in sync makes it easier for them to identify you and validate your information.

Take Your Message Offline

Find local special interest groups to join. Meetup.com lists various groups around you that might be useful. Industry-specific groups will get you in touch with people connected to your own interests. One way to get in front of such a group is to physically get close to the group. Offer to speak at a meeting. Talk about a particular technique you learned that people may find helpful.

Again, if you are heading into a career of graphic design, demonstrate some new software you used in school to create corporate logos. Show off some of your work, and talk about your inspiration for each one. Offering to teach is a way to build up a reputation, and gain support from people you work with.

Adding these offline networking activities to your online social media projects builds a network of diverse resources into which you can tap for references and job recommendations. In this age of the solo-entrepreneur, you may even meet someone with whom you could start a business.