how to decide which job is for you

Glassdoor recently came out with their list of the 25 Best Jobs in America for 2015. Their criteria for the Glassdoor Job Score is based on three factors — earning potential (average annual base salary), career opportunities rating, and number of job openings. It’s a pretty nice list, from the sales engineer at #25 to the #1 physician’s assistant. It covers a lot of career fields and your own “best job” just may be on the list.

Then again, it might not.

Filter Job Options Wisely

Picking a career based solely on how much money you will make is not a good idea because there are a lot of other factors involved. The career opportunities and probability of employment (number of job openings) are two more factors, and for a list that covers everybody in America, Glassdoor does a good job. But narrowing down the options to the best strategies for your particular career path means you need to filter out what won’t work for you.

One place to start would be in taking a good look at your current resume to see what you are qualified to do. If you don’t want to do what you are qualified for, you have a great place to start deciding what needs to change. Look at why you don’t want to do what you are qualified for, what you may be interested in, and research how to explore that potential.

Other filters to use are location, current debt load, and family obligations. Every factor you can think of should come into your planning. Your dream job might be a nightmare if you don’t consider all the factors in your own life first.

Get Sound Advice

Choosing a career mentor who is willing to help you figure out your options is one of the best things you can do with your career plans. This is a long-term networking strategy that should be mutually beneficial. Getting a lot of advice from many sources will give a big perspective, but getting advice from someone who knows you is going to help you avoid some stumbling blocks in the path of your career.



Recently, I was honored to be among industry experts discussing current trends in resumes and cover letters on a Mashable Biz Chat. Tracy Edouard, Marketing and Communication at Mashable, gives us the highlights of Mashable’s #BizChats Twitter chat on how to transform your resume and cover letter for the better and you can see different professional perspectives on these questions:

  1. Is it important to have both a cover letter and resume when submitting job applications? Why or why not?
  2. How can someone truly make their resume stand out from the competition?
  3. What features are important to showcase on someone’s resume? (GPA, school, skills, etc.)
  4. What are employers and recruiters looking for in resumes and cover letters?
  5. What are the biggest cover-letter mistakes professionals are making?
  6. How important is design when it comes to creating a resume and cover letter?
  7. What are the top resources available for resume and cover letter support?
  8. What final tips do you have about creating great resumes and cover letters?

These are all good questions. And the input from the various professionals involved is valuable without a doubt. But do you know what the most striking thing about this Twitter chat is?

There Isn’t An Excuse For An Ineffective Resume & Cover Letter

We have the ability to pull experts from all over the place for a chance to pick their brains. Every expert tweeting is linked to a site with a wealth of information, and there is no reason a job seeker with access to an expert can’t get expert advice. Much of that advice is free, too!

The overwhelming consensus is that you can have an effective resume and cover letter by putting the right effort into it. Sometimes that effort involves doing the research on current trends and revamping it yourself, sometimes it takes a resume critique from a professional to help you see what needs to be done, and sometimes your best investment is in a professional resume service.

The help you need to have a powerful resume and cover letter is out there and you can find it easily, along with a wealth of career advice from experts in your field.

one fast way to evaluate your resume

If your resume is not getting the results you’d expect based on your skills and experience, maybe it needs to be evaluated. All the information could be perfect; perfectly bland. Here’s a fast way to evaluate your resume, and it’s based on the way it will be evaluated when it reaches that VIP looking for someone to fill a position:

Pick up your resume and scan it for 30 seconds, then cover it and write down what you remember. 

Actually, thirty seconds might be longer than most HR people look at it, but they have developed serious speed reading skills. What do you remember about your resume? What stands out?

Now consider that your resume is something you are familiar with — and it was probably hard to remember what you said about yourself. Imagine what it’s like to read through hundreds of resumes in an attempt to find the best candidates to call in for interviews! These people don’t know you, and they do know what they need in the position.

Be Memorable and Consistent

The keywords that need to be there are the words used in the job ad, because that’s what they are looking for. But you are offering a unique spin on that because of your individuality. Build on that uniqueness by presenting yourself with synonyms of those keywords where it’s appropriate and keep a consistency throughout your resume by answering the question in their mind:

Why should I hire you?

Another way to say the same thing is, “who are you and what do you bring to this position?” If the answer to the question in their mind isn’t obvious, then you need to work on your resume until it can answer that question with fast and clear.


when is imperfection preferable?

There are some areas of life where perfection is not what you want. Friendships don’t need perfection to be good, right? In fact, the people who pretend to be perfect rarely have a lot of friends because perfectionists keep others at arm’s length so the world doesn’t find out they aren’t perfect, after all.

Relationships are stable because we give each other room to fail and correct our mistakes. We don’t need to be perfect in order to be loved or liked. We do need to be able to admit when we are wrong and be willing to fix it.

Some Things Must Be Perfect

As endearing as a mistake can be in a friend, there are times you don’t get a do-over.

Resumes are a perfect example of this, because there isn’t a relationship established yet. Spelling errors aren’t going to get you much more than a ribbing from your grammar-Nazi friend, but that same error will get your resume cast aside by the HR person assigned to fill the position. The HR person is going on a quick first impression based on your resume, but your friend is looking at your mistakes in context of your friendship.

Make Sure Your Resume Meets Professional Standards

If your resume isn’t resulting in job interviews, ask that grammar-Nazi friend to help by giving you a resume critique. People who have professional standards for writing got there by making lots of mistakes and correcting them, over and over again. The problem isn’t that your resume is imperfect. It’s that you haven’t dealt with the imperfections yet.

Resumes need to meet professional standards that cover more than spelling. Polishing your resume so it shines with perfection is a perfect way to prove you are worth considering for a position. Once you are at your new job, you can share some imperfections with your new friends.


look at your resume with new eyes

One of the best ways to fix your resume is to look at it like the recruiter or HR person will be looking at it. Do you think they read every word of every one of the multitude of resumes that cross their desk? I doubt it.

Most of the time a resume submitted online will be filtered through an applicant tracking system (ATS) that will break down the formatting and assign relevancy to the content so it can be searched using keywords that match what they are looking for. Once the resumes are filtered for relevancy and they have the applicants who are most likely to fit their specifications, it’s the human’s turn.

Here’s What Happens When Your Resume Is Read

Imagine you are that weary reader of resumes, picking up one more and hoping this is the last. What do you look for? You look for the answer to your questions:

  • Who is this person?
  • Will they be able to do the job?
  • Will they fit in the company dynamic?

How long will it take you to skim the pages and find the answers to your questions? Not long — professionals skim pretty quickly. Most estimates of time spent looking at submitted resumes are measured in single digit seconds. That means your resume needs to be easy to read. If you look like a good fit, they will call you in for an interview and find out more about you.

There are many ways to write a resume (here are some samples) and they all are easy to skim quickly. They are written for both the computer (ATS) and the human who will be reading the information. Look at your resume with new eyes, thinking about how it will be read when you submit it to that next job. Make those changes necessary and hopefully you will be called in for an interview soon!


the top reason professional resume distribution works

Is anybody in your family interested in your family history? My mom is our family historian. She has our family tree going back to the 1600’s! It’s pretty amazing what she’s found out and who she has met along the way. One thing most genealogists will tell you is that researching a family tree is a lot like networking. Many families will have one person in the generation who is willing to keep all the photos and letters and information, and finding that person is like finding a treasure trove. Instead of laboriously working on finding one branch, suddenly you discover that they’ve got the connections to a whole bunch of branches and they know the people who are the keepers of the photos and letters and information for all of them.

If you are interested in finding the connections in your ancestry, you need to find the people who are already doing the research. They have already made connections you have no access to until you contact them. For example, if you never meet Great Aunt Irma, then you won’t get to see all the letters your grandma sent to her dad with the pictures of your dad as a baby.


Companies use recruiters to fill executive positions and many other types of openings. A professional resume distribution service has carefully maintained connections with many professional recruiters so that a resume goes to the right recruiters for that job seeker. The connections have already been made: These are professionals who rely on networking for their career and carefully maintain the connections between them. Instead of Great Aunt Irma keeping your dad’s baby pictures, they’ve got first knowledge of job openings, and you won’t find out about it unless you connect to the right one.

This networking is the reason professional resume distribution works so much better than a blind email blast to every company in the phone book or a hopeful query out of nowhere. If your resume is presented by a reputable distribution service, that reputation enhances your resume by association. Recruiters get untold numbers of resumes all the time. It makes sense to filter them for efficiency. The fact you recognized quality and respected professional standards weights your submission with authority.


what's keeping your resume from being seen?

Have you ever noticed a dirty windshield before it reached the opaque stage? If you are like most of us, nope. You keep adjusting to the slowly deteriorating view until suddenly you realize it needs to be cleaned. And wow, what a difference once you wash it! There are a lot of areas in life where the same process happens. We are blind to the small changes until something triggers our realization that an accumulation has occurred.

Resumes Need To Be Cleaned Up Regularly

Here’s what happens to a resume after a while:

  • changes of address or phone number forgotten
  • promotions or training updates missed
  • customizing one part for a particular job application
  • skimming over stuff you already wrote because you know what you said
  • references who no longer are available

Each little thing is like another tiny spot on the windshield. Not hard to overlook, until you drive into the sunlight and realize you can’t see very well. Most of the time you can wash your windshield with the washer spray and wipers, but sometimes you need to get out and scrub. How does this apply to a resume?

A resume update certainly is something  you can consider doing yourself, if you are confident that your writing skills are up to the task. Don’t rush the job, save your work, and make sure you go over the changes after a break. Even professional resume writers will miss things, and that’s why proofreading is part of the process. Everybody makes mistakes, and the best of us will build in safeguards to catch those mistakes before submitting the final version.

If you are not sure what you are missing in your resume update, we offer a Resume Critique service that gives you a professional opinion and concrete suggestions for the price of a fancy dinner out on the town. That’s a good bargain! You will get the help you want on updating your resume, know that it is an impressive, professional showcase of your abilities, and get a good lesson in what to be aware of the next time you realize your resume needs to be cleaned up.



sometimes a critic is a good thing

Okay, criticism does usually have a bad rap, but when you look at the definition of “critic” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it reads like this —

:  one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique

:  one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances

Doesn’t that sound like a good thing? I think it does, particularly when you are talking about a resume or cover letter. A good resume and cover letter are truly works of art, the product of skill and technique. They put on a performance displaying your qualifications for a starring role: the job you are applying for. Wouldn’t you want to make sure your resume and cover letter passed the high standards of a professional critic? After all, another professional critic will be reading these documents and deciding whether or not you pass the test to get called in for an interview.

Why You Should Hire A Resume Critic

One of the best investments you can make is the Resume Critique because you are paying for a professional assessment of your resume (and cover letter, if you choose) by a certified resume writer. Certified resume writers earn that qualification by passing necessary tests and standards are high. A critic who is certified in their field counts as a professional in every sense of the term.

When a professional critic looks at your resume and cover letter in order to give you an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses along with a plan for improving those weak spots, that’s a good thing.



are you putting your resumes in the right places?

Have you ever gone past a series of modern windmills? I just did recently-they were amazing. At first, they don’t look real. Then as you get closer, they begin to loom in jaw-dropping proportions because they are huge. These gigantic pinwheels are carefully placed to catch the wind in the best spots available. A lot of study goes into how tall they need to be, where they should be located, and which direction they should face. This is because they are very expensive to manufacture and install so they need to be where they will catch the most wind and generate the most power. Why would anybody put this expensive piece of technology in a random spot because it is easier? No matter how well the windmill is constructed, it will not do what it’s designed to do if it’s not in the right place.

A well-crafted resume is the result of a similar type of investment. Just like the modern windmill, they are carefully designed and can be expensive to create. So why distribute that resume in a random pattern because it is easier? If your resume is not being put in the right place, it will not be able to do what it’s designed to do.

Professional Resume Services has the ability to put your resume in the place where it will be most effective through our Recruiter Resume Distributions. Since we maintain a database that is updated weekly, we know which recruiters are working in the various industries out there and we can specifically target your unique preferences and project parameters. We will only put your resume where it will act like one of those high-tech pinwheels and generate the most energy for your career goals.





is your resume speaking the right language?

Communication is all about getting across barriers to connect. How many times have you suddenly realized that you do not understand what someone means when they use a familiar word? Or have you experienced this: you want a solution to a particular problem and the salesman keeps insisting you need a solution to a problem you don’t have?

Employers encounter a variation of this when an applicant submits a resume. In her excellent article, “How To Speak The Language of Hiring“, Lydia Dishman says that hiring managers want to know the quality of experience and how a candidate will approach the job once hired. Resumes, on the other hand, tend to focus on actions and education. As a result, the resume is addressing the wrong question.

You can speak the right language and address the right question, by understanding the process and perspective of the employer. Your resume has to pass through a couple of filters before you get called in for the interview. Most employers will use an electronic filter first, an applicant tracking system. Then the filtered list of potential candidates will be read by the recruiter, who scans for more detail. Finally, those resumes passing these filters is put on the desk of the person who determines the best fit for the job and schedules interviews.

That’s three different perspectives with their own questions; your resume must pass all of them. Intimidated? You don’t have to be. Just remember to focus on the specific job opening is. Tell how you developed a skill like collaboration by being on a team that worked on the very thing they are looking for. The computer sees the thing, the person sees that you know how to collaborate.

Still confused? We offer resume creation in our A La Carte Services and a Resume Critique for those who just need to know if they are saying what the employers want to hear in language that communicates.



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