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A lot of people have resume questions. Either they have an older resume or this is their first time creating one. That means it can be quite a challenge for inexperienced resume writers or someone who has not had to alter their resume in years. But, with a sore economy and high unemployment, a strong resume or CV has never been more important.

Many job sites will ask for a CV or a resume when you submit your application, yet people still do not know the actual differences between the two. So, in order to alleviate some of these concerns, we’ve put together the comprehensive guide to what makes a CV and what constitutes a resume.

What is the difference between a Resume and a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

The main differences are the length, the content and your purpose. Resumes are a one to two page summary of your experience, education and accumulated skills. Your story. Typically, you want to be concise and as focused as possible when writing your resume. Most people will only spend a minute or two on reviewing your qualifications, so being concise is extremely important.

On the other hand, a Curriculum Vitae, more commonly known as a CV, is longer (usually starting at about two pages), and much more detailed. They include a complete summary of your education and academic background, teaching and research experience, past publications, presentations, honors and awards, group affiliations and other pertinent details.

When should you use a CV?

When in the United States, a CV is most often used when applying for academic and educational careers, scientific studies, research positions that require grants or other awards. The same is true for a CV, you will need different versions of it in order to appeal to the right audience. Your CV detailing academic findings on fossils will need to be altered in order to get a grant to study extinct plant species.

What should a CV contain?

When writing your CV, you need to include the basics such as your name, contact information, educational history, skills and other relevant experience. Also include research and teaching experience, published works, and grants or fellowships you have received. Any professional groups or different licenses, awards along with relevant information about the position should be included. One option is to create a list of your background information so that you can organize it easily. Include dates on all of the publication information you provide.

How do you write a CV?

Before you start writing a CV, get some help from a professional CV writer. They are different than traditional resumes, so it would help if you had someone to guide you along the process. The first impression is the most important, and that’s what your CV will be, so get help so that you create a broad ranged CV capable of showcasing your skills and experience. Good luck out there.

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Hate to keep harping on your Social Media presence, but it’s one of the most important things to look at during your job search. Many job applicants think that Social Media is all fun and games, and while it certainly has those aspects, it’s also a great tool to showcase yourself. However, putting forth the wrong image could cost you dearly.

Do you think HR Managers are not Googling your name, Facebook stalking you or reviewing your LinkedIn profile? If you answered “no”, you’re absolutely wrong. Think of the first thing you do when you meet someone new…you take a look at their online profile. Nothing wrong with that, the information is there for anyone to see. So, why would that stop HR Managers from checking up on prospective employees?

It doesn’t. HR Managers look at everything and if you have one embarrassing, drunken photo on your Facebook wall, they will see it and judge you accordingly. No one said it was fair, but that public photo is fair game.

So, how do you compete in the Social Media space? What can you do to pump up your online presence without destroying your good social standing? Find out below:

1. Allow access to only certain people:

Facebook allows you to block access to people who are not your friends and even filter out your posts, links and other media. LinkedIn only gives access to people who request it. Keeping your account setting private means you are insulated and safe from prying eyes of HR Managers.

2. Update your profile pictures in order to keep a professional appearance:

When you’re looking for a job, one of the first things people see when they Google you are your Social Media photos. What are you doing in yours? Are you wolfing down a piece of cake with chocolate covering your face or are you dressed in a nice suit, showing your finest business attire? You think people don’t look at this, but you’re absolutely wrong. They place a huge amount of consideration into how you present yourself. Present the wrong image and you’re finished.

3. Update your work history:

Make it known on Social Media sites that you are actively looking for employment. You would be surprised with the amount of people who will come forward with job tips, advice or just general care. Updating your work history also opens up avenues for future employment because HR Managers can see your list of skills, accomplishments and awards. HR Managers are looking over your LinkedIn profile, so take pride in it.

4. Add more friends:

This is especially true for LinkedIn. See a job you want, look up someone who works for the company and see if you have a secondary connection with them. If so, ask your friend to introduce you to his/her colleague and begin talking about the open position.

Pumping up your Social Media presence is all about making yourself available and putting your best foot forward. It’s not hard, you just have to craft the right image. The better you present yourself and your skills in Social Media venues, the better off you will be.

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Does your resume have an objective?

A resume objective statement is, typically a line or two stating your intention to the reader (note: This DOES NOT mean to add “to obtain a position that is challenging and financially rewarding… etc. THAT is not what I mean). Many HR managers will overlook any resume that does not have a clearly defined career goal – so a resume objective statement–stating what you want to do and what you are good at doing– can be a great way to present your resume to prospective employers. Remember that an objective statement is not the same as summarizing your long-term career goals – it is where you state your goals for your next job–what you can do for them.

Don’t think that an objective statement is necessary for all resumes – they are usually used for specific situations rather than as a standard boilerplate resume requirement. If you’re an entry-level employee or someone looking to change their career path, then an objective statement or title bar should definitely be used. A title bar is similar in that it states the name of the position you want. If you do not have work history that clearly defines your career goals, you will need an objective in order to attract attention. If you are a job seeker with an extensive and relevant work history, a qualifications summary (with a nice branding statement) will be more appropriate.

In order to write an objective statement you need to answer three questions:

1. What type of work are you looking for?

2. What particular skills do you have?

3. How will you be able to help a company that hires you?

When you write your objective statement, you need to focus on how you can benefit your employer, instead of how the employer can benefit you.

For example, if you have experience you could say that you offer a “Dynamic leadership career as Customer Development Executive with a rich mix of special event marketing, team development and leadership, operations management, and sales.” You should avoid phrases that imply you have any particular preferences, like that you are “looking for a position with a team-oriented company” – again, you should focus more on what you can bring to the position rather than what you want from the job.

A good objective statement needs to be specific – it’s not enough just to say that you are looking for a challenging position (ick–don’t do this. I repeat… just DON’T). This says nothing about what your real career goals are. Instead, your statement should briefly list the important qualifications and how they relate to the position. If you’re looking for a specific position, you can reference the job in your objective statement. Make sure you take the time to customize your resume so that you can make a good impression with HR managers, this indicates that you are enthusiastic about the positions they are offering.

The purpose of including an objective statement in your resume helps you eliminate irrelevant information that will not help you get the job that you’re seeking. Anything on your resume that doesn’t support what you have written on your objective statement needs to be removed. Make sure to do your research about the company beforehand and tailor make your objective statement to that position.

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Being passed over for a job never feels good. You wonder why the company rejected you and you think that maybe you’re doing something, unknowingly, that is causing you to lose out on career opportunities. The good news, if you can look at the silver lining, is that you now have an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and correct them. You just need to figure out where your mistakes were made and how to avoid making them again.

Rejected at the Resume Stage:

Many times you can place the blame on your resume not meeting the keyword search criteria companies look for in submitted resumes. For example, when an HR manager is looking for a Social Media Expert, they will scan the resume for words such as “HTML Proficient” or “Extensive Social Media Experience” in order to see if the candidate’s expertise and career history matches what they’re looking for.  If your resume does not contain keywords that relate to the position you are applying for, your resume may be overlooked right from the get-go.

Correct this situation easily by updating your resume using keywords found in the job description. There are different software options that you can use to identify keywords, but you can also do this on your own, or if you are able to, hire a professional resume writer who is trained specifically to create a resume that is rich in keywords to highlight your best skills.

If you’ve been rejected due to having more experience than the position calls for, you can also make changes to your resume to avoid this issue in the future.

  • Delete past jobs that do not correspond to your current search.
  • Do not list positions that you have had more than 15 years ago.  This makes you seem more expensive and narrows your opportunities.
  • Add a personal brand statement to your resume that specifically states that how you are qualified for the position.

Rejected at the Interview Stage:

Think back through the interview. Were there any specific areas that the interviewer negatively focused on? Did they show concern for one area over another? How did you answer specific questions related to the position you were interviewing for?  A client once told me that an interviewer remarked that he had had a lot of jobs over a short period of time. My client didn’t know how to respond, and even though he thought the interview went well, he didn’t think that the interviewer could get past that part of the interview, as my client didn’t get an offer extended to him. If you think that you’ve slipped up during the interview, then email the interviewer and ask about how the interview went.  Meanwhile, take some time and research tips for being prepared for interviews and interview questions to ensure that you are ready the next time you get called for an interview.

Think honestly about the position. Were you truly qualified for that position or was the company a good match for you? Often times, interviewers can see through veiled attempts to just “land a job”. If this is the case, just accept that the position or company was not right for you and move on.  Always make sure that you are applying for jobs that are suitable to your skillset and personality.  You may not have all of the qualifications required for the position you are applying for, but if you can show that you have some of skills required for the position, you may still have a shot at getting the job.

Having a resume that truly markets all you have to offer and being fully prepared for a job interview will help you land the right career with the right company.  The job search process can be frustrating and tireless at times.  Keep a positive attitude and always find ways to evaluate your performance and keep on improving!

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Today’s job seekers are more critical about the hiring process than ever and many companies are starting to see this trend continue. It seems more people are going for the same jobs, which creates competition for critical positions where many people have similar or comparative skills. To make things even more difficult for those looking for work, jobs in  marketing, finance and telecommunications are being outsourced to other countries that offer cheaper labor.

In speaking with my clients the past few months, the following are some of the thoughts they share:

It can be a cut-throat hiring world out there and it pays to be diligent when you’re looking for a job. Talk to some of your friends in the job market, chances are you will hear horror stories of people not working for 1, 2 or even 3 years. Many people are depressed with the current job market and with actual unemployment numbers hanging around 11% it’s no surprise that people are starting to get more and more worried.

Yes, there is some job growth, but there are also lost wages as employers stagnate wages in favor of giving higher-ups more competitive salaries while giving lower workers the old heave-hoe. Sometimes it’s easier for companies to find a fresh college graduate or outsource jobs overseas than it is to pay a 55 year old American – with years of experience – to do the same job.

This is where we stand now. It seems people are depressed about the current situation, so what are some things that we can do to remove ourselves from the current predicament and start the financial journey upwards?

Many candidates feel the hiring process is indicative of the type of company they are applying for. Candidate’s are tired of “jumping through hoops” just to get a job that pays $12 an hour. But, the other side of that are companies that hire too quickly and end up with the wrong employee.

Up to 40% of candidate’s will withdraw from the hiring process if the perceived company impression does not fit with their worldview. Interesting? Yes, they may be hard up for employment but many would rather work menial jobs than take a path that would violate their sense of well being. This, however, can benefit candidates who will gladly snap up these jobs just to have something, and have the hope that their hard work will manifest itself into a full-time career with their new company.

Always be prepared and focused on finding a job. I’ve heard of companies posting jobs on internet forums that like-minded candidates would visit in hopes of fishing a good employee. The online world is not the only place to be prepared. Just talking to people opens a whole new world of possibilities that many jobseekers are not looking for. They may say they’re looking for work but are fine with the status-quo. Do not be one of them.

Get out and find something that works for you. Work hard for it and make sure to cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s”.

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No job is perfect, not the one you have and not the one you want, but you still want to put yourself in a better position career-wise, you are just petrified at the thought of being interviewed for a new position. Many people have trouble with the interview process, whether becoming frustrated with the line of questions, or not being able to answer questions the way they want to.  However, there are things you can do to ensure that your next interview experience begins and ends on a positive note.

Just because you may interview poorly doesn’t mean that you cannot change your actions and improve how you present yourself during an interview. If you are not chosen for the job, it doesn’t mean you’re not qualified, it may just mean that you need to improve you interviewing skills. If you are weak in certain areas, then try to improve those areas. If you put your mind to it, you can improve those areas and become a better interviewee.

There is a job out there for you. All you have to do is keep trying and keep believing in yourself. How do you go about nailing that job interview though? What are some tips to improve your interviewing abilities?

1. Remember that you’re trying to determine if the company is right for you as well. They are not the only ones with power here. Research aspects of the company prior to the interview and be prepared to ask questions in order to see if the position and company are a good fit.

2. Greet the interviewer with a warm smile and maintain eye contact. This is where some people run into problems. They come into the interview nervous and without a clear plan of action. After that initial handshake, make sure to keep eye contact (if all else fails look at the person’s forehead).  If you are being interviewed by more than one person, make sure you are making eye contact with each interviewer as you are answering questions. You need to remain confident and calm as you navigate your way through the interview.

3. Listen carefully and make mental notes of questions to ask. A lot of the time the interviewer will ask you if you have any questions about the position, company, etc., this is your time to ask the questions you’ve been thinking of. No questions are out of bounds as long as they are related to the job or the type of work needed. You’re trying to see if the company and position are right for you, so remember that and do not get frustrated.

4. Have brief and positive answers for questions. Interviewers will ask you why you left your last company, why you have gaps in your employment history, why you appear to have too many jobs and why you want to work for this company. Prepare a list of answers to these questions so that you will not be blindsided when they pop up, because they will pop up.

5. Be positive and upbeat throughout the interview. Keep your energy up. Interviewers can tell when your interest starts to wane, so keep up the positive energy flowing. Don’t fake it, but make it genuine. Tell them why you’re interested in the company, why you think you’re a good fit for their needs and how you believe that you can achieve great things there.

 

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A recruiter once gave me an excellent tip when she said to change my resume every time I applied for a  job. Why I asked? She told me that company recruiters will often use a keyword search to select the candidates that they feel matches the position. This keeps them from having to sort through the hundreds of resumes they receive. She said that if the resume does not have the keywords that they look for, then they typically go into the rejected pile.

Depending on the position you’re applying for, you should use words that will notify HR managers about your qualifications. For example, if you’re looking for a position as the Vice President of an accounting company you might want to include words such as:

  • Tax Accounting
  • Reconciliations
  • Profit and Loss Statements

It can be very difficult to find a job in today’s economic climate, and looking for high level or executive work requires a keen eye, and often, knowing someone whose already in the organization. After updating your resume, send it to your friends in the industry and see if they are able to direct it to the appropriate HR managers.

If you’re looking for a job as an administrative assistant you should use the following words when updating your resume:

  • Ability to type 80 wpm
  • Microsoft Office
  • Mac office
  • Reception
  • Phone support

No matter the type of work you’re looking for make sure you ask past colleagues or friends if they know of any open positions within their companies. It’s always an excellent decision to put your feelers out and see what kind of work is available. And always change up your resume to meet the requirements of the job. It may be a entry-level position, but as long as you can turn it into something down the road, it may be worth looking into.

Tips for Working with Keyword Search Software
Many companies will use a type of software that identifies keywords in resumes. But what can you do to beat these machines?

Revise your resume so it includes keywords included in the job description during your opening. Take for example, if the job description says, “Coordinate and develop websites and blogs,” your resume must include keywords such as “websites” and “blogs”. But only if you have the experience, of course…

Update your multipurpose resume with frequently used keywords so that you do not have to revise it every time you have another job interview. One idea is to revise it every six months in order to stay current. Newer keywords may be used in the future, so stay current with them.

Add the most important keywords to your cover letter. Don’t over do it though. You just want to have a few of the choice words that HR managers are looking for.

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In spite of the demonstrated value of networking as a primary job search technique, many people have a very hard time grasping the concept. They may recognize its value for other people, yet they do not think that they have the personal characteristics to put it all together. If you consider yourself one of the “nervous networkers”, you also probably think of yourself as a shy person, or at least around people that you do not know well, but you could find yourself under one or more incorrect myths surrounding networking.

Myth – Networking only works for outgoing brown-nosers.

Fact – People who are more inclined to strike up a conversation may feel more comfortable using networking than their more introverted counterparts, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are any better. Introverted people typically have very valuable gifts at their disposal – such as the capacity to listen well, ask thorough questions and succeed at follow-ups. Plus, networking becomes much easier the more you work at it. Like many emotional or mental challenges, it takes some time before you’re completely comfortable. Most of the energy is spent at the beginning – making the first couple of phone calls and setting up your initial meetings. But, as you gather momentum, it becomes much easier. Your networking may start off as a snowball, but once it gets rolling, it turns into an avalanche. Before contacting anyone, remind yourself that networking is an essential part of finding a job in today’s America.

Myth – Only desperate and under-qualified people have to network. People who are good at their jobs can get them the traditional way, through only job boards or job listing ads.

Fact – Everyone has to look for employment throughout their careers. When you start off you did not immediately have a job, you had to look around and ask friends if they knew of anything. Many people go through this process several times. Smart and savvy jobseekers know that many of the best positions are not actively advertised and that highly qualified applicants put a lot more of their energy into networking than browsing the want ads. Networking is a smart way to find a job.

Myth – It’s embarrassing to go around asking people for a job.

Fact – Everyone has done it. It may be embarrassing at the moment, but it won’t be when you get that first pay check. The purpose of networking is not to beg. It’s not even to ask for a job. You don’t start networking expecting a job just to fall in your lap. You go in to learn about the position, the people and the company in your area.

Myth – Networkers are imposing on the people they ask.

Fact – If everyone was imposed on when they were asked for a job, no one would ever volunteer a position to their friends and colleagues. Many people that you will ask got their job through networking. They may have felt like they were imposing but they did what they had to do to find a job, just like you should.

Don’t count networking out as a viable job search technique. It may put you in the right spot at the right time.

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Instead of getting discouraged by the lack of response to your resume….get busy!

There are a myriad of tactics and tools you can use to improve your resume and not all are painful or require a lot of redo to your resume. The thing is – they can help you get a job and isn’t that what you want?

So how do you go about fixing your resume quickly?

  1. Delete your objective.  Many companies do not care what you want. It’s a sad truth but one that have to live with. Removing your objective gives more space for you to focus on skills that the employer craves.
  2. Add a straightforward statement that explains why you are uniquely qualified for the position.  Such as:Proven Marketing Leader with Far Reaching Corporate ExperienceMake sure that your statement is true and matches your job description. The last thing you want to do is make yourself out to be something that you’re not. HR Managers hate this, especially if you use a headline in your resume. But, if done correctly a statement helps recruiters immediately see that you are what they’re looking for in a candidate.
  3. Include a summary of skills (keyword bulleted list) -especially if you have skills related to the open position. But, also include things like certifications, features you have, language skills and any technical abilities that would set you apart from your peers. Do you understand Linux or can you program C++? Then add that on your resume. Any skills that you possess should be showcased because it gives you extra value to the employer. You may not need those skills but it’s good to have them on your resume.
  4. Look through job descriptions in order to identify keywords companies are looking for on your resume. This sounds trickier than it actually is but there’s a site called www.wordle.net. There you can copy and paste the job description and it will give you a simple, easy to read explanation about the keywords that your prospective employer is looking for. Keywords help your resume stand out and if a company sees that your resume has the needed keywords, you stand a better chance of landing the job. Adjust your resume according to the keywords and to match the description of the job.
  5. Replace weak words and statements with Power Words. Instead of saying “Contributed to the company newsletter,” write, “Managed the award winning Vista monthly publication, the flagship magazine of Made-Up Company, the world’s largest manufacturer of silicon diodes.” Both statements may be true but the second one carries a lot more weight and showcases your talents. Make sure your statements are said with power.

The job market is tough right now, so you have to take advantage of any opportunity. Do not let one slip by because your resume is not up to par. Next month check out more tips on how to improve your resume and get noticed!

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Do you ever feel like you’re just treading water? Do you get the feeling that the job you have is not the career you want? Working a job that is not a good fit for you can leave you frustrated, unfulfilled and unchallenged in your work. If this sounds like you, then it may be time to make a change. Changing jobs is not something that you should do on a whim; you should take into account many different factors that influence you and drive your decisions.

So what are the keys to finding the job that you want?

1. Find your true feelings about your career.

It’s important to think about what you really want out of your current job or career. Do you really want a career change or do you just dislike your job and need something else? Do you hate your job or do you hate the company? Sometimes, certain companies are not right for people and leave them feeling unhappy no matter if they are happy in that field or not. So think about if you want a change in career or just a new environment.

2. What are your talents and strengths?

You should build a career based around your strengths. Do you have natural talents or abilities that lend themselves to a certain career path? Can you communicate easily with others? Do you understand and possess the talent to work with numbers? How do you work in a given situation – how do you approach a difficult task or challenge? Think of your specific personal traits and see how they might push you in the right direction.

3. Showcase your relate-able skills.

When looking for a new job, you need to pinpoint any skills that would be beneficial in your new job. They may not be industry specific, but could be a myriad of accomplishments that you’ve had throughout your career. Did you manage a budget or manage people? These are two key components that many HR Managers look for. HR Managers also want people who are computer literate and know their way around an office environment. Just be sure to present your skills in a way that is attractive to HR Managers.

4. Know your role.

You need to know what the qualifications are for the position you want. Do they match your interest and skill level, if not then why would you consider taking it? Someone who’s interested in social media or website design would probably not be a great fit for an accounting firm. But, if you’re interested in numbers, then an accounting position might be right up your alley.

5. Networking works!

If you know nothing about the job you want, it will be very difficult to find an “in”. Instead, try to focus on networking with people in that field who can provide you with inside access to trends and information about that particular field. Just because you have a degree in Molecular Biology, it doesn’t mean you couldn’t find a job doing marketing studies. It’s all relative to what you want, so go for it.

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