You Might Be Doing Your Resume All Wrong

It’s time to start applying for that job you’re interested in. A well-rounded resume is always a great start, but before you do, make sure to keep these don’ts in mind while creating it.

Poor format and grammar

Avoiding grammar and punctuation mistakes is a given. You often have to remember that even though spell check is there, it isn’t always dependable. You have to make sure you’re using the right “your” and “you’re” or “their” and “they’re”, because if an employer happens to catch your mistake, it shows that you don’t put effort into your resume, making you look like you don’t pay attention to your work.

Overdoing it

Yes, keywords are pretty important. The job you’re applying to wants to see that you have the certain skills they’re looking for. Now you really don’t need to be over the top in using fancy adjectives in front of every skill you have. For example, “Hardworking, responsible, detail-oriented, perspicacious, knowledgeable leader”. Limit yourself to one if any and just get to the point. Say what you’re good at and limit the puffery.

Being informal and unprofessional

Hopefully you already know not to use profanity or slang on your resume. It’s best to be formal and polite in your wording to emphasize your professional skills to an employer. There are times to try to show your creativity or witty side (such as your cover letter), but as for a resume, my advice would be to keep it simple. Also, when trying to be sociable and clever with your wording, it could be distracting to the employer when they’re trying to read through your resume. They really just want to know what skills and experience you possess.

Being dishonest

There might be times where you write up a resume and think “I wish I had more skills to put on my resume”. Don’t lie on your resume. It might seem like a good idea, but friends and co-workers will find out about the slander and will probably look down on you for lying. Also if you put down a skill you actually don’t obtain, your future job may rely on you to use that skill. Better to be safe than sorry, so be honest on your resume!

Sending the same resume to every job type

If you’re scouting for multiple jobs at the same time, try to avoid sending the same resume to each job you apply for. It can be a pain to create different resumes but it’s worth it. All jobs are different and it’s smart to use certain skills and experience that is best suited for each position while limiting your resume to one page. If you do this there’s a much higher chance that they’ll read it and you’ll hear back.

We are here to help with your resume and helping you find the perfect match! If you have any questions about your resume or need any help, check out our website or call us at 361-883-3535 today!

Tips To Making a Confident Resume and Cover Letter

 

Whenever you have the chance write a cover letter or resume, make sure you follow these tips on how to make confident cover letter and resume!

When writing your resume you should always tailor it depending on what job you’re applying for. It wouldn’t be the best decision on your part to send the same resume to every job you’re interested in. Same goes for your cover letter. Before you start either, make you sure you take the time to research the company and position you will be applying to. That way, when you begin describing how you will be able to apply your skills to the position and overall company, you’ll actually know what company you’re talking to and what they’ll expect.

When it comes to stating your skills and how the company will benefit from them, be sure to be confident and direct. When employers look through your cover letter and resume, it’s not for very long. You want to let the employers know what you will bring to the table and your abilities that you will apply to your daily work. Also it’s important to show some enthusiasm, saying that you’re excited for this opportunity, how you would love to be apart of the work environment. This shows that you have a passion for this certain line of work and that you are ready whenever they are. Speaking of passion, it’s also good to let out some inner devotion towards this career of choice. This let’s the hiring managers know that you mean business and you’ll be a hardworking candidate and you are going to enjoy what you’re applying for.

Proofreading is the most annoying, but the most crucial step of any professional writing, including resumes and cover letters. Grammar and punctuation errors are obviously a no-no, because if they see those mistakes, they will think you didn’t put much effort into your work. Not a good first impression to make. It’s also good to use the correct phrases. My advice would be to avoid saying things like, “I think…”, “I guess…”, “I believe…” and other passive statements. You need to show that you’re strong within your wording. Say, “I will…”! Don’t lower yourself, be positive and courageous! But also keep in mind to not over do it. Don’t over-flatter yourself or the company. It will make the hiring manager wonder if these skills are even true and no one really likes a suck-up. Be short, and be sufficient with what you say in your resume and cover letter.

Take these key skills and apply them to your cover letter and resume and you’ll come out with a very confident and strong resume! If you need more help with resumes and would like to submit your resume in to The Wilson Group, visit our website.

Mobile Apps for Job Search On-the-Go

 

From desktop to laptop to mobile – the way we access information and communicate is becoming more on-the-go by the minute. The same goes for job searching. Mobile technology allows us to learn about new opportunities faster than ever, which means we also have a need to respond faster than ever.

Here are three mobile apps that will help you keep on top of your job search and take advantage of opportunities while they’re still hot.

1. DropBox (free)
Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of being at home when you hear about a hot new job opening. DropBox is a free cloud app that allows you to pull documents – including your resume – into a folder that can be accessed on any mobile device. You can move your resume (and any other documents, photos or videos) into your DropBox folder from your home computer and voila – you can access it from your phone and attach it to an email when opportunity strikes.

There are other apps that will allow you to create a resume directly on your phone and save it as a PDF, if you’re so inclined. However, it seems like an unnecessary extra step if you can access your original Word formatted resume (which is friendlier for automated applicant tracking systems) just as easily. If you’re interested in checking it out, however, Pocket Resume ($2.99) is one of the more popular and well reviewed resume apps.

2. ScanBizCards (Lite version – free; full version – $6.99)
Despite all of our technological advances, if you attend a networking event, you’re bound to leave with a handful of old-fashioned business cards. You’ll have the best intentions of going home and entering them into your contacts right away. However, best intentions often turn into a stack of cards on your desk that inevitably get scattered and/or brushed away under piles of paper.

ScanBizCards allows you to scan cards directly into your phone and create a new contact. If that’s not enough, it also offers integration with LinkedIn, allowing you to send an invitation to connect; it will allow you to export your new contact to an Excel spreadsheet; and it backs up your scanned cards to the cloud so they can be accessed from any browser.

3. Monster.com Interviews (free)
Acing the interview is the toughest part of the job search. This app from Monster.com is an all-in-one kit that will help you organize, prep and follow up on your interview. Besides access to expert advice and coaching, the app also offers some nice extras like an integrated map feature with driving directions to your location; the ability to organize notes and create reminders; and the ability to record answers to tough questions with video, audio or text so you can review and perfect your responses.

Although these apps can help you tremendously in your job search, there is also something to be said for live, person-to-person advice. We have extensive experience helping candidates with resumes and interview skills, and if you contact us we’d be happy to help you with any job search questions. We may also have the perfect opportunity waiting for you – please check out our list of open positions.

Don’t Put Your Job Search on Hold for the Holidays

Conventional wisdom holds that November and December are terrible months to look for a new job. After all, everyone has either physically or mentally “checked out” for the holidays, right?

Not necessarily.

While you may see a reduction in the number of positions listed on job boards, a lot is still going on behind the scenes. In fact, if you play your cards right, the holiday season can be a great time to find your next opportunity.

Here are a few tips for your holiday job search:

• Take Advantage of Reduced Competition
Many job seekers buy into the myth that the end of the year is a good time to slack off. That means reduced competition for you and your resume. Also, because hiring managers are receiving fewer resumes, they may see it as a good time to catch up, giving your resume an even better chance of being seen.

• Network at Holiday Parties
Whether you love or dread the constant flurry of parties and celebrations during the holiday season, the fact is that they can be a great place to network. Of course, you’ll want to take a different, more laid-back approach – nobody wants the hard sell on your qualifications while they’re at the eggnog bowl. But it doesn’t hurt to gently mention you’re in the market and see if you get some nibbles.

• Enjoy the Nostalgia Factor
How many times have you reconnected with an old friend around the holidays? People get nostalgic this time of year, so you may have a chance to touch base with someone you haven’t thought of in a while who can help with your job search. Pay attention to the holiday cards you receive and messages on your social sites – it might pay to rekindle an old relationship.

• Ring in the New Budgets
Many departments receive new budgets in January. So, while they may not be looking to start new employees in November or December, they might be ramping up to have people in place for the new year.

We’ll still be in full swing helping job seekers throughout November and December. Be sure to keep an eye on our list of open positions and contact us if you’d like some help with your job search, no matter what time of year it is!

Is Your Resume a Fright?

 

Scary movies are popular fare around Halloween time. In that spirit, we’d like to offer you some super frightening stories about scary resumes.

Nightmare on ? Street
You’d think the contact section of your resume would be easily to nail, but you’d be surprised how many people leave off important information. Some people are a bit leery of using their street address, but you should always give at least your city, state and zip code. A recruiter who is looking through an online job board or their own applicant tracking system may be searching by location, and if you don’t have one, your resume will be passed over.

It should also go without saying that you need to double check your phone number and email address. Which brings us to our next feature.

The Resume That Time Forgot 
Resume styles and preferences change as time goes by, and if your resume is stuck in the past, you risk giving the perception that your skills and attitude are outdated.

One of the biggest mistakes along these lines is leaving out your email address. After all, what kind of dinosaur doesn’t have an email in 2012? It’s the preferred form of contact for many people, and its just as important to include as your phone number.

Another pitfall for experienced workers is leaving every job you ever had on your resume. If you’re in a mid- to senior-level position, you can leave off your first fast-food job and high school GPA.

The Curse of the Dummy 
Spell checking and proofreading your resume should be a no brainer, but many resumes are full of avoidable mistakes. The person reading your resume won’t care that you were in a hurry, or whatever excuse you might have for your typos. The damage is done – you’ve given the impression that you’re either not very bright, or careless, or both.

If you aren’t confident in your spelling or grammar skills, enlist the help of a friend to help you double check your resume for errors. It’s time and effort that will pay off.

We have years of experience helping candidates perfect their resumes, so if you’re worried that yours might read like a horror story, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help. Also, don’t forget to take a look at our list of open positions.

What’s Up With That Interview Question?

There are some common job interview questions that always seem to stump candidates, no matter how well they’ve prepared beforehand.

The questions are not complicated. But candidates often fumble around or give inappropriate answers because they don’t understand the reasoning behind the questions – what the interviewer is REALLY getting at.

Here are a few common interview questions, with explanations of what the interviewer is actually trying to determine about you.

“Tell me about yourself.”
For the record, the correct answer is not, “Everything you need to know is on my resume.” Besides possibly coming off as a bit of a jerk, you’re not really telling the interviewer what he or she wants to know. They want to know that you can intelligently and succinctly sum up your professional accomplishments and goals without giving your whole life story, throwing in irrelevant information or going off on a tangent.

You should have a one-minute maximum answer – also known as your “elevator speech” – rehearsed and ready. If you don’t have an elevator speech prepared, here is an excellent article from Forbes to get you started.

“What are your weaknesses?”
This may be the most universally dreaded interview question, and the most challenging to answer. However, it’s a very common question, and you should be prepared.

Many people have been advised to try to spin a weakness into a strength. For example: “I’m a serious perfectionist,” or “I’m a workaholic – I’m just too dedicated to my job and I’m always in the office until 8 p.m.” Contrary to popular belief, this is not the right approach. First of all, interviewers can see right through your well rehearsed martyrdom. Everyone has weaknesses, and they want to know if you’re honest enough to own your shortcomings. It’s difficult to coach and develop employees who are afraid to admit they’re not perfect.

How do you answer the question? First, you should only discuss your weaknesses as they relate to a work environment. Your personal shortcomings relating to family and friends are irrelevant in this case. Second, be honest. Every human being has weaknesses – even the one interviewing you. Finally, be prepared to discuss the steps you are taking to overcome your weakness or make it work to your advantage. For example, people who are described as “too shy” are often great listeners.

Please check out this excellent resource if you’d like more help formulating your answer to the “greatest weakness” question.

“Why do you want to work here?”
One simple rule – this is NEVER the time to tell the interviewer what you hope to gain from the company. Answers like “I’ve heard you pay well,” or “I need benefits,” won’t go over well. This question is designed to determine two things: 1. How do you think your skills and background will benefit the company? and 2. Are you excited/enthusiastic about the company and the position?

This is a good chance to show the interviewer you’ve done some research on the company and tell them why you think you would be a good fit. For example, “After studying your website, I can see you do a lot of work with the Widget industry. I love Widgets and I have a lot of experience with them, so I saw this as a perfect chance to put that knowledge and passion to work for a progressive, stable company.”

If you are consistently having difficulty with these or other tough questions, The Wilson Group offers one-on-one interview coaching designed to improve your interviewing skills so you can land the job you want. Contact us today for more information.

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