**I am a member of the Career Collective, a group of resume writers and career coaches.  Each month, all members discuss a certain topic.  This month, we are talking about “scary” career or resume mistakes. Please follow our tweets on Twitter #careercollective.  You can also view the other member’s interesting posts at the end of the article.

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Executive or senior level positions are a different animal when compared to others. More than a simple experience, those applying for senior or executive positions have to be better, faster and more creative than the competition. Even the smallest of errors can quickly become roadblocks to future success. Understanding how to avoid scary resume mistakes is critical for those that hope to land a plum position.

Luckily, the scariest of these mistakes are also the easiest to avoid…if you simply know what you are looking for.

  1. Grammar: Sounds simple, but grammar and spelling errors can be the worst resume mistake. Poorly written resumes do not advertise the applicant as a qualified individual; instead, they advertise you as lazy, unobservant and possibly illiterate. This mistake is the easiest of all to avoid. Do not rely on spell check alone; instead ask a qualified friend or professional to review the resume for you as well.
  2. Poorly written objectives/career summaries: The career summary portion of a resume is often easy to overlook. Job seekers erroneously assume that those reading the resumes often ignore the section. Instead, the summary is your first and best chance to not only state your objective, but to add a sense of whom you are. Avoiding a poorly written career summary starts with putting in the appropriate amount of time writing it. Remain clear and focused on what you want to do, what you excel at, and what you can do for the reader. It is also a good idea to personalize summaries for specific jobs or positions.
  3. Hiding crucial information: Functional resumes sometimes seem like they are hiding information about the job seeker’s accomplishments and skill sets by ignoring the standard chronological format. If functional is still your choice, consider creating a hybrid functional/chronological resume that will please all types of readers.
  4. Being too general: Creating a generalized resume to use for every new opportunity is a mistake. Today, a general resume isn’t enough. Instead, develop a well written, grammatically correct base resume and personalize it for each new position. Carefully tweaking skills, highlighting different accomplishments and other critical areas more maximum impact is the best way to optimize your exposure to specific potential employers.
  5. Honest and Accuracy: “Everyone embellishes their resumes a little bit – right?”  While that may be true for some people, inaccurate statements or outright wrong information is a mistake and not smart to do. Today’s employers are choosing from a pool of potential employees that is bigger than ever. Be sure that the information contained in your resume is accurate. Be honest and forthright in your answers. Honesty does matter. Don’t be one of the fools who use embellishment to make their resume stand out—and then get caught later.

Creating resumes that make an impact doesn’t have to be difficult. Spending adequate time, making use of a proofreader, being honest and carefully choosing your format and the information you present is the best way to avoid scary resume or career mistakes.

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Read below for more resume and career advice from the Career Collective!

 

Where Are the Wild Things, Anyway?, @WorkWithIllness

Is Your Job Search Making You Feel Like a Smashed Pumpkin?, @DebraWheatman

Hiding in Plain Sight, @WalterAkana,

Don’t make these frightful resume mistakes, @LaurieBerenson

How Not to Be a Spooky Job Seeker, @heathermundell

A Tombstone Resume:Eulogizing Your Experience, @GayleHoward

The Top Ten Scary Things Job Seekers Do, @barbarasafani

Oh, Job Search Isn’t Like Trick or Treating?, @careersherpa

A Most Unfortunate Resume Mistake No One Will Tell You, @chandlee

Oh no. Not the phone!, @DawnBugni

Halloween Caution: Job Seeker Horror, @resumeservice

Boo! Are you scaring away opportunities or the competition? @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

Your Career Brand: A Scary Trick or an Appealing Treat?, @KCCareerCoach

How to avoid mistakes on your resume, @Keppie_Careers

Sc-sc-scary Resume Mistakes, @erinkennedycprw

A Flawed Resume is a Scary Prospect, @KatCareerGal

Job Search Angst: Like Clouds Mounting Before a Storm, @ValueIntoWords

Does Your Career Costume Fit You?, @expatcoachmegan

Whether you are a recent high school graduate looking for a career path or simply considering a career change, determining which of the many fields to enter is overwhelming. The sheer number of factors makes it incredibly difficult to determine which fields are the best to choose. From earning potential to longevity, picking the correct field is critical for future success. Many advisors are pointing to the technical field as the best field for future growth. Why technical jobs are the wave of the future is simple:  the jobs offer the greatest opportunity for job growth and income potential.

Technical jobs encompass a wide variety of skill sets. Leading professionals utilize these skills and their expertise to deal with a large range of specialized business areas. These include not only computer programmers, but also engineers, financial analysts, scientists and more. Technical jobs utilize advanced knowledge of computer systems, languages and project management experience to perform tasks and skills aimed at keeping a company ahead of the technological curve.

The truth is: technology is rapidly expanding.

Each day new techniques, programs and processes are developed. Implementing these changes, taking advantage of new technology and understanding how various advances can impact a business is critical for ongoing success.

The great thing about technical jobs is the wide variety of positions available. Examples include the following:

  1. Sales Engineer: Identifies customer needs, improves business processes through engineering and adaptation of equipment, products and services
  2. PC Technician: Maintains computer environments by analyzing systems and needs, plans, implements and “rolls out” projects and installs the latest in hardware and software.
  3. Technical Support Specialist: Maximizes system abilities by implementing applications and recommending technologies to improve performance.
  4. Technical Writer: Employs both writing skills and an underlying understanding of technology by producing and editing product descriptions and instructions.
  5. Project Manager: Utilizes technology to smoothly integrate all aspect of project management. This may include scheduling software, tracing capabilities and other technological skills.

Today, almost every aspect of a business has a technological component. Accounting systems that integrate with procurement and online outlets, productions lines that rely on automation, human resources, sales, administration… in short, businesses need trained technology professionals in order to function.

At their most basic level, technical jobs are the wave of the future because technology is the future. Until such time, if ever, that technology evens out, businesses will need more trained professionals to implement the latest in advances. Anyone considering a career change should carefully consider technical options. Training and retraining is readily available and in the current job market, many of the jobs that are available are in the field of technology. Technical jobs may be the best way to ensure continued earning potential and job growth.

Consider retraining in a technical field today to improve your marketability and earning potential.

John Assaraf is a Success Coach who lives the law of attraction and teaches personal goal setting. His passion is in positive affirmations and visualizing the life you want. I hope you will use these ideas in your own life and see how your life will change… like mine did!

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Success at attaining any goal can be measured by how effectively you are able to move an idea from your conscious (imagination) to your subconscious (belief/action). That is why visualization is so important. When you visualize something in your conscious mind, your subconscious doesn’t know that it is only in your imagination. It watches the movie taking place in your thoughts and accepts that they are actually happening in that moment.

The subconscious mind is a captive audience for the movies we play in our head. A good story evokes powerful mental images. Combining a good story with powerful mental images and a strong emotional response is the essence of visualization. It has the power to reshape our perception of reality, and once that happens, reality conforms to that new perception.

Once you practice visualization in your life, you will see its power firsthand. Write down your goals. Visualization starts with an idea and a crystal clear picture of what you want. Be specific. Create a vision board. At its core, a vision board is a set of visual images that represent the story you are telling yourself about who are and what your life is like. It’s a way of getting clear on the life you want to create for yourself. To help you create a vision board, see my book, The Complete Vision Board Kit. It comes with a DVD, sample vision board and tools to help you create your vision board.

Act as if. State your goals in the present tense like you have already achieved them. One of the most important elements of creation is the ability to see yourself already in possession of the materialistic or physical state you are creating, prior to actual evidence of such. Take action. Don’t just visualize. For a plant to grow, it’s not enough to simply plant it and wait. You have your work to do too.

Practice repetition. Look at the images on your vision board every day. Repetitiveness of vision combined with your associated emotions will develop your power to visualize and achieve your goals.

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John Assaraf, aka The Street Kid, New York Times & Wall Street Journal Best-Selling Author, Lecturer and consummate Entrepreneur with a Passion for Brain Research and Quantum Physics.

http://www.TheStreetKid.com / http://www.johnassaraf.com/

More and more of my clients are telling me that their first interview is a phone interview. Today, it is common to participate in a phone interview as a first step. Phone interviews are designed to weed out candidates who are not a good fit for the company, in spite of their qualifications. Taking the time to understand the phone interview process and following a few common sense tips can help make your phone interview successful. Remember, that in order to land the all-important in person interview, your first hurdle is the phone interview.

Phone interviews should be thought of as any other interview. This means preparing for a phone interview just as you would a ‘real’ interview. Researching the company to which you have applied, developing a list of thought provoking questions, being well rested and eating prior to the interview are all important steps–hint: don’t eat anything sugary before the interview or you might be likely to “crash” 20 minutes into your conversation–trust me on this one.  You may even want your coffee handy as it will give you the boost you need, and keep you feeling and sounding alert. The phone interview is a unique opportunity to sell yourself using just your words. Be sure to have prepared responses to typical interview questions and be prepared to put your best ‘voice’ forward.

Just like an in-person interview has etiquette rules that must be followed, so does a phone interview. Being mindful of the etiquette of phone interviews is critical for successfully completing the stage of the interview process.

  1. Interview at home: This is the best way to ensure you have a quiet environment for the interview. Participating in a phone interview while driving, while at a restaurant or another noisy environment is a sure way to appear distracted and disinterested. Stay at home for your interview and make sure the house is peaceful. Stay in one spot to avoid sounding like you are walking or breathless. If sitting, sit straight up.
  2. Make adequate plans: Be sure to plan for the interview. If you have children, arrange for a caregiver during the interview process. Allow for adequate time before scheduling other interviews or appointments. Interruptions are in poor form so be sure to plan adequately in order to avoid them. Tell friends and family you will be interviewing at that time and NOT to call or stop by.
  3. Your voice matters: Because phone interviews are solely auditory, your voice matters. Be sure to focus not only on being articulate and intelligent but also on showing enthusiasm and excitement. As always, take your time when answering, but avoid sounding bored or slow.
  4. Be relevant: Interviews conducted over the phone have one major downfall for the applicant: it is easy to become complacent or to get off topic. Be sure to focus your answers on relevant information and experience. Avoid veering off topic or becoming too personal. Professionalism and relevance are critical for success.
  5. Smile. How many times have you talked to someone who was smiling on the other end of the phone? You can literally feel the smile. Smiling projects self-confidence and a cheery disposition.

If you prepare for a phone interview just like any other interview, the process becomes simplified. Being aware of what the interviewer is looking for, and tailoring your responses and answers to these needs is equally important.

My brother-in-law just bought a car for my nephew off of Craigslist. I know NOTHING about Craigslist. The little I do know had negative connotations attached to it, so I decided to do some research to find out more.

While opinions differ, many believe that Craigslist can be a good place to look for jobs, as long as the job seeker takes the appropriate precautions.

Craigslist can be thought of as the biggest electronic classified site in the world. Designed to be easily searchable and typically free, it is the perfect place to advertise everything from lost pets to open positions. The simple search functions which allow users to browse local listings through clearly marked categories, makes finding a job or other service or item easy. Understanding how to make Craigslist work for a job seeker is another matter entirely.

First, realize that in most cases, potential employers can place ads for free. While there are some options that require a payment (ranging between $25.00 and $75.00), most options are free of charge. This means almost every company can advertise on Craigslist without breaking their budget. While this can be positive, it can also lead to potential scams. Understanding that not every post is legitimate and learning how to recognize a scam helps job seekers stays safe. The best way to protect yourself is to regularly review their posted information regarding scams and fraudulent advertisements and by using caution when posting a resume.

It is equally important to protect your identity. Never post full contact information. Instead, rely on a simple cell phone number or an email address. This way, job seekers can carefully evaluate open positions and offers without risking identity theft.

Next, users must understand how Craigslist works. It can be somewhat daunting to narrow down the massive database to jobs that are appealing, appropriate and located in the correct geographical area. Craigslist utilizes lists and drop down menu’s to help users drill down to the information they are looking for. By spending the time to review options and select appropriate choices, it is possible to find job postings that will work.

Craigslist can be an excellent resource for job seekers. It can be especially helpful for those looking for employment in smaller companies. Understanding not only how Craigslist works but also how to protect your identity and information is all that is needed in order to be successful with this service. Be smart about it, research and know the service before you use it.

A word of warning:  when using Craigslist, or any service, if the job sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Proceed with caution.

For those of you who have talked to me, you know that I unabashedly love LinkedIn. As social networking goes for professionals, it’s my favorite.  LinkedIn has a much cleaner interface than other sites such as MySpace, Plaxo or Facebook. Setting up a profile on LinkedIn can put your name at the top of the Google search rankings and can help you get connected and ‘be found’  in ways you might not have imagined.

LinkedIn is one of the best social networking sites to help you increase your online visibility. Because of its popularity among millions of people, the site has gained a significant presence in Google page rankings. Typically this means that when people search for your name specifically, they can find your LinkedIn profile as one of the first results. If you have a particularly common name, like mine, there are a couple of ways to help further boost your profile in Google searches.  Specifically, you should include your LinkedIn profile link in each signature you use from discussion boards to blogs to other social networking sites. You can also use your actual name in the URL you select for your profile. Or, you can differentiate yourself by what you do. My LinkedIn name is: erinkennedycprw. The “cprw” stands for Certified Professional Resume Writer and also sets me apart from the other 212 Erin Kennedy’s. Ideally, for SEO purposes, you really want to have just your name, but if it is already taken, like mine was, you have to figure out something else that will work for you.

Once you have built your profile and included your job history and experience, you can start networking. Chances are that you will find many of your colleagues, classmates, and former university instructors. You can even branch out to the people who are connected to those in your existing network. For example, if you live in Austin and your spouse’s job is requiring that you relocate to Denver, you might not have contacts there. In this case, you can tap into your network to see with whom they’re connected. Chances are that somewhere among your connections, you’ll find someone who lives and works in Denver to forward your resume.

The most important aspect of networking on LinkedIn is building that network well before you need it. Usually, the “pay it forward” concept works here – give out help before you need it yourself. Always make yourself available for LinkedIn recommendations as well as a good word toward HR when a contact wants to apply for a job at your company. By doing this, you highly increase your chances of getting your own recommendations when you need them.

There is another way to use LinkedIn to your advantage. If you know your interviewer’s name in advance, you can look up his or her profile to get an idea of what to talk about during the interview. If you find something that the two of you have in common, such as the same university or previous job, you can bring it up during the interviewHowever, this should be done carefully. Only you can determine whether the tone of the interview is somewhat light or very strict. While talking about the things you have in common can help set a lighter tone, this tactic should be approached with caution.

Learning the basics of how to use LinkedIn for networking will help you maximize your networking potential. When you make yourself more visible in Google, make connections with your contacts’ networks and use LinkedIn for research, you can find your way to the next big opportunity.


There are jobs, and then there are things you love to do—that you wish were jobs. But do you know how to get paid for doing what you love to do, not just a piddling boring job?

Believe it or not, being paid for something that you love to do is entirely possible. You simply have to find a way to do it, and, with some careful planning, you can do it.

First, decide what it is you love to do. Is it knitting, carpentry, or even computer work? Some people love to plan and cater events; others love to provide rides for people.

Once you have decided what it is that you want to do, start to look at it as something that you might like as a job—to build into a business. What supplies and/or tools will you need? Will you need a vehicle, or not? Start to look around at possible places to get your supplies at a cheaper rate than you might at the local stores. Discount stores exist, and even if they are not nearby, perhaps it would be worth the cost of shipping to have the supplies sent to you.

Your potential customer base is another issue to think about. Consider what it is that you are going to be doing, and decide how many people would pay you for it.

Event planners, for example, are absolutely needed in cities like New York City or Washington, DC. However, the need for an event planner may not exist in Gold Coast, Oregon. Be aware of the need for your skill.

Now that you do know how to get paid for doing what you love—or the basics of it—consider some finer points. Advertising yourself so that your business will do well can be an issue. Whether your advertising will cost a lot to begin with is up to you.

Should your business be something like a virtual assistant, take advantage of cheap online directories to advertise yourself. Go to freelancing sites to find jobs that you can bid on to start out as a virtual assistant, and build your resume’.

Classified ads in the newspaper will work—but only in your local area unless you use a major newspaper. Consider other options as well.  If you are going to want to do one-on-one work, such as driving for people, don’t forget to employ word-of-mouth as a resource.

Take advantage of using the people that you know for suggestions. Do they know someone that needs a driver, or an event planned, and would be willing to recommend you?

Build a website, pure and simple. Use it so that you can know more about how to build to get paid for doing what you love. If you are willing to come to someone’s home to fix their computer, tell about your skills and prices for your help on the website. Add a blog to it, to chronicle your experiences.

Being paid for something that you love isn’t too hard—you just have to plan it out well. Dig in with some determination as well, and success will be yours.

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