Smart resume writing

resume
http://www.cv-templates.info/2009/03/professional-cv-latex/

An article I read on LinkedIn today, “Why Smart People Don’t Get Hired,” seemed to rattle many LI members and I concur with some of the comments. However, there were a few good takeaways with regard to the way we position ourselves in our own mind and how that comes across in a resume.

Job titles

A job seeker once asked me to create a winning title for a LinkedIn profile. My response was that the job seeker is the product being sold and therefore their name and actual occupation, whether Financial Intern or CFO, is the appropriate title. As Maurice Ewing, PhD, pointed out, flashy titles like “financial wizard” are unlikely to draw attention in search results by recruiters or applicant tracking systems.

Establish relevance

Although it may seem like a tactical move to exclude irrelevant work history and skills, some experiences not directly connected to the targeted position offer pertinent information. Illustrate how your experience demonstrates the knowledge, skills, disposition, ingenuity or drive essential to success in the proposed role. Experience may include school groups, clubs and volunteer activities.

Imperfect match

Even though a job description may read as though the responsibilities extend beyond your capability or experience, consider if it is a doable stretch. Read past the activity bullet points and compare the skill and knowledge prerequisites to your own. Good opportunities are not always obvious.

Focus on the employer’s need

Of all the advice in the article, my favorite is the recommendation to convey “accomplishments, talents and skills in succinct ways that speak directly to how they can help an employer.” Remember, from the hiring manager’s perspective, it is not about what you need but why they need you.

Show your value

Being humble has its place, but not while you are selling yourself. Sometimes the most qualified people miss opportunities because they don’t appreciate their own talent. This is your time to shine, so accentuate your accomplishments  on your resume and during interviews.

Please leave a comment to let me know what works for you and if you have other suggestions.

Will graduate school help my career?

Will graduate school help my career?

I have been asked if graduate school would boast career opportunities and have voiced my opinion to consider the requirements, competitive nature and value of the degree within the targeted field, in addition to your own personal drive for learning and financial constraints. For more insight, read “Is a Grad Degree worth it?” on Money.com. The article suggests that one reason not to go to graduate school is to procrastinate joining the workforce due to lack of direction. A graph is included that indicates the correlation between a graduate degree and earnings across industries. 

This question is also included in my FAQ page.

Interview jitters

fingers pointing to a man
Image courtesy of 89studio/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

During an interview some time ago, George Clooney told a story about his climb to fame. It stuck with me because it can easily be applied to any type of job interview or audition.

Clooney explained the disappointment of losing one audition after another; how he traveled long bus trips to auditions only to be rejected. One day he had an epiphany while riding the bus. He realized that the casting director had a job to do. If Clooney didn’t get the role, he would simply get back on the bus and return home; then do it again the next day. But the casting director was left with a problem – he or she still needed to find an actor for the part, mostly likely under a tight deadline. Thinking in those terms, Clooney relaxed and that was the day he landed a role. The rest, as they say, is history.

What is the moral of the story? Relax and you will get a job offer? Not necessarily. But it may help to remember that the interviewer’s mission is to fill the position with a qualified candidate. They have no reason to derive pleasure from rejecting a prospect who meets the need. So make their job easier by showing them you are their solution. Listen. Feel their pain. Detect the void they must fill. Then connect the dots between the position criteria and your qualifications.

Don’t give up. George Clooney didn’t.