Category Archives: Career Search

10 ways to improve your job search in 2018

The mantra I deliver to my workshop attendees at the beginning of January is, “This is the year you’ll land your job!” And I believe this. That’s if they don’t lose sight of the prize and stay on course. But even as I’m saying it, I know it won’t be an easy journey.

Young job seekers

On the bright side, employers are opening their purses in January and beyond. While December is typically slow, it is a month when your networking will pay off now, because you’re a known commodity.

If you didn’t reach out to employers in December, all is not lost. Let’s look at ways to improve your job search in 2018.

1Know thyself. It’s important to possess self-awareness if you want to conduct your job search effectively in 2018. This means thinking about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. What does this spell? SWOT. That’s right, do a SWOT analysis on yourself.

I have my attendees do a partial SWOT analysis in some of my workshops. I tell them to do a complete one on their own. You should write down 10 or more strengths, five weaknesses, three opportunities, and three threats. This will give you a better sense of what you can capitalize on and areas you need to overcome.

2. Take time to think about what you really want to do. All too often job seekers will settle for the next job that comes along. Sometimes it works out, other times it doesn’t. This stage in your life is a great time to reflect on what will make you happy.

If it’s a career change, think about how your transferable skills can make a transition easier, despite not having all the job-related skills. One woman I worked with had previously worked for Hewlett Packard in marketing. She joined our career center as a grant writer. Eventually she became the director of our Workforce Investment Board.

3. Conduct some labor market research (LMR). Whether you know it or not, you’ve been researching the labor market. For example, you were gathering labor market information (LMI) while working and considering a move to a different company or occupation.

Now, you need to gather LMI on job availability, determining which skills are in high demand, and what salaries employers are offering.  One site that gives you a broad sense of your value in the labor market is Salary.com.

But the best way to gather LMI is by speaking with people in the know, who might include other job seekers or people who will grant you networking meetings, better known as informational interviews.

4. Create a list of companies for which you’d like to work. This is difficult for many people. The sharp job seekers understand the value of keeping a going list of 10 to 15 companies they research. This is also part of your LMR. Your research can tell you which companies are in growth or decline.

You also should identify important players in the companies, hiring managers, directors, VP, CEOs, etc. LinkedIn is ideal for identifying key players in your target companies. Networking is even better, providing you have the right connections.

5. Write your résumé and LinkedIn profile. Now it’s time to write your résumé. When others jump immediately to their résumé and LinkedIn profile, they’re flying blindly. They haven’t self-reflected, thought about what they want to do, and conducted their LMR.

Now you’re ready to address the needs of employers for whom you want to work. You know which accomplishments to highlight. You realize that a one-fits-all résumé won’t do it; it certainly won’t pass the applicant tracking system (ATS).

Your LinkedIn profile will be constructed to cover as many of the skills and experiences employers require. It’s generic, unlike your tailored resumes. However, it must show your value, just as your résumé does. Your LinkedIn profile is more of a online networking document that also shows your personality.

6. Networking is still your best method of looking for work. For those of you who have made connections in the fall at your desired companies, your networking efforts will pay dividends when employers ask for referrals to fill their positions.

Approach connections who work for your target companies or people who know people who work for your target companies. Many job seekers have great success using LinkedIn to make connections at desired companies.

I strongly encourage my clients to attend professional association events, where they can network with people who are currently working. Those who are working might know of opportunities for you, or at the very least provide you with some sage advice. To find an association, Google your industry/occupation and your location. Here’s one I found for marketing.

7. Get used to using LinkedIn’s mobile app. More than 50% of LinkedIn members are using the mobile app. This provides you with the convenience of using LinkedIn for research, communicating with recruiters, or searching for jobs.

The app is limited, but there’s still enough functionality to make it worth investing time into it. I believe the LinkedIn mobile app is where the company is dedicating its resources. Read this post on using LinkedIn’s mobile app.

8. It’s never too late to volunteer. Look, I’m not trying to sell you out. It’s a proven fact that volunteering is an effective way to land a job. Consider these four reasons:

  1. You improve your skills or gain new ones. For example, you’re a webmaster and volunteer to revamp an organization’s website to learn ColdFusion.
  2. It is a great way to network. If you volunteer in the proper organization, you can make connections with vendors, partners, customers, and others in your industry.
  3. You’ll feel more productive. It’s far better than sitting at your computer for six hours a day applying online. As I tell my clients, get out of your house!
  4. It’s a great way to pad your resume. Volunteerism is work, so why not include it in your Experience section.

9. Don’t take an interview lightly. This means any interview. I can’t tell you how many people tell me they weren’t prepared for the telephone interview. They assumed it would be just a a screening. Guess what, the telephone interview is such an important part of the hiring process–saves time and money–that they be the deciding factor. The face-to-face might be a formality.

There are seven phases of the interview you need to consider. Nailing everyone of these phases is important. Begin reading part one of this series to help you get mentally prepared for the process.


10. Be good to yourself. You’ve heard of work/life balance. I believe there’s also job-search/life balance. In other words, don’t burn out during your job search. In a recent job club meeting, I asked the members what they did during the Christmas holiday. Many of them talked about making connections with valuable recruiters.

But the ones who also impressed me were the ones who said they took some time off to decompress, sprinkled in with some job seeking activities. You must remember that your unemployment is temporary, and during this time there are other important aspects of your life.


Photo: Flickr, Ken Shoufer

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There is no excuse for not selling yourself. 2 areas in which you must succeed

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from my clients, “I can’t sell myself. I just can’t brag.” I understand their consternation, yet I can’t feign sympathy. This would be a disservice to them. What they need is positive reinforcement.

Job Interview

There are two undeniable truths. First, if you don’t sell yourself, no one will. It’s like waiting for Prince Charming to arrive or waiting for a job to jump in your lap, both of which aren’t going to happen.

Second, no one is asking you to brag, not even the employer. He’s asking you to promote your accomplishments and relate your skills to the job at hand. No one likes a braggart.

So how do you sell yourself? Selling yourself is going to involve developing a campaign that requires you to use your verbal and written communication skills.

Written skills

Your résumé. Most believe, understandingly so, that your résumé will be the first contact you’ll have with an employer. Let’s assume this is true, at least 85% of the time (some job seekers network their way to a job with applying for it using the traditional method).

A compelling résumé must include, among other components a branding headline; non-fluff, professional profile; and a robust employment history consisting mostly of accomplishment statements and duties of interest to the employer.

LinkedIn and cover letter. So far you’re not bragging, are you? Also included in your written campaign are your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Like your résumé, they must promote (not brag about) your accomplishments.

The cover letter is tailored to each specific job (as should your résumé) and entices the employer to read your résumé. It points out your experience, skills and accomplishments pertinent to the position at hand. No bragging yet.

Increasingly more employers are enabling the Hidden Job Market by cruising the Internet searching for kick-ass LinkedIn profiles that meet their lofty expectations, so don’t disappoint. In my opinion; If you’re not going to put the required effort into you LinkedIn profile, don’t bother having one.

Verbal communications

Your elevator pitch. This is an area where job seekers have the most difficulty promoting themselves. For example, as they recite their written elevator pitches in my workshops, I don’t hear the enthusiasm in their delivery. Unbeknownst to them, when they talk about their accomplishments with pride, other attendees admire their confidence. This is not bragging.

Networking. Confidence carries over to you networking efforts. Delivering your pitch in a natural way is how people want to know about your accomplishments and outstanding skills. Remember, at a networking event or even when you’re out and about, people who ask about your job transition want to hear about what you do, have accomplished, and want to do in the future.

Also remember that listening to fellow networkers is just as important as talking about yourself. Too many people talk at networkers at an event. Or they feign listening, all the while waiting for their opportunity to talk.

Telephone interviews. On the telephone during an interview or leaving a message, promote yourself by explaining why you are the right person for the job. Again, demonstrating confidence, not arrogance, is essential. Confidence is one important skills employers look for in a candidate.

The interview. Finally there’s the interview. I can’t tell you how many people fall back into “we” statements when describing successful projects or programs. Interviewers want to hear about your role in the process, not your teammates. You’re the one they’re considering hiring.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your accomplishments with pride. This shows confidence. Without saying you’re the best project manager to assume that position, talk about the time when you assessed a major problem one of your clients had, then how you orchestrated a team of 12 consultants to resolve the problem two weeks before the deadline.

Read the series on Nailing the interview process.

while not coming across as bragging. No one likes a braggart. People appreciate others who are proud of their accomplishments.

Hope and 4 other attributes necessary for a successful job search

Job-search advice is available to job seekers from pundits, friends, family, and other well-wishers; but the most important factor to success in the job search is the internal fortitude that keeps job seekers going.

hope

Without this inner strength, advice about résumés, interviews, networking, LinkedIn, etc., doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

To achieve success, one must understand the importance of never giving up, to not admit to defeat.

Hope

I’ve often preached the need for hope in the job search. When clients tell me of the multiple interviews they’ve attended and how they’re making it to the last round but lose out to another candidate, I don’t see that as failures. Rather I look upon those setbacks as opportunities that will eventually come to fruition.

You’re almost there I will tell them. Don’t give up hope. Now it’s time to practice your interview skills, I add.

Hope is one of four attributes job seekers must maintain throughout the job search; the other three are optimism, persistence, and enthusiasm. In combination, one will prevail in whatever challenges present themselves.

optimismOptimism

Those who are optimistic encourage optimism in others around them. It shows on their countenance and is noticeable to everyone involved in their job search. This includes people with whom they network.

One of my favorite clients was out of work for almost a year, until a week came when she had three job possibilities leading to one offer. She remained optimistic in her job search, sometimes lapsing into self-doubt, but saw the potential of success.

Persistence

biking 2

 

This personality trait is something great athletes have. Like a baseball player who is in a slump batting .200 in May, a job seeker goes six months, nine months, or a year without landing a job, but never gives up. He bounces back from rounds of interviews with no job offers, finally landing a job before his unemployment ends. Similarly, the baseball player gets out of his slump to bat .300 in October.

This was the case for one of my customers who was out of work for more than a year. Although he had interviews almost every week, he came up short. His persistence coupled with a positive attitude was apparent in the e-mails he sent to update me on his progress. He is now gainfully employed as a director of human resources and offers help to my customers.

To learn more about persistence, read: 6 reasons why you must be persistent in your job search. 

Enthusiasm

enthusiasm

Job seekers who are enthusiastic walk into a room and light it up. I can tell a job seeker will shortly find work by the way she embraces the job search, rather than surrender to defeat. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophesy. I will conquer this challenge, they say, and so they do.

One of my clients who has a physical disability is enthusiastic and confident in her ability to return to management in her prior industry. I recently met with her to critique her résumé. Prior to the critique she had attended an interview. After the critique she was scheduled for a phone interview. The last I heard, she was granted a second interview for both positions.

Emotional Intelligence

happy-jobseekerBetter known as EQ, this is the ability to understand one’s feelings, as well as the feelings of others; and to act accordingly. For example, if a fellow job seeker is bringing down the group during a Buddy Group meeting, a person with EQ will bring that person aside after the meeting and tactfully explain that negativity is not helping the groups mission.

Some of the traits job seekers with strong EQ demonstrate are:

  1. They understand the job search is stressful. 
  2. They let go of their anger. 
  3. They’re empathetic and are willing to help others. 
  4. They also ask for help.
  5. They know their strengths and weaknesses. 
  6. They don’t blame others.

To read more about EQ, read 12 ways to show emotional intelligence in your job search.


Having hope is one of the four aforementioned traits, optimism, persistence, and enthusiasm. Together, these positive traits contribute to psychological capital, which guides us through the challenges in life. Psychological capital isn’t something that can be purchased, but it is something that can be developed through a positive attitude. Many times we’ve been told to be positive. Never has a greater truth been told.

5 steps to connect with LinkedIn members

But first the proper ways to connect.

LinkedIn Flag

Let’s start with a quiz:

How do you connect with people on LinkedIn? Do you:

  1. indiscriminately click the button that says “Send now”;
  2. take the time to add a note;
  3. ask for an introduction to your desired contact, or;
  4. first send an email to your desired contact before sending an invite?

For many years I’ve been advising people to always add a note when connecting because…it’s the right thing to do. However, after talking with a valued connection, Bobbie Foedisch, I learned a great deal about connecting etiquette. More on that later.

Currently employed, or not, you should build up your network with connections who are like-minded and can be of mutual assistance. Let’s look at three ways to connect with others on LinkedIn.

Connecting directly

For example, if you’re going for the direct connection, your invite message might read like this:

Hello Susan.

When I saw your profile on LinkedIn, I thought it would be great to connect. You and I have a great deal in common, namely that we are in the business of helping people find employment. It would be great to connect.

Bob

Note: you only have 300 characters to work with.

Using a reference to connect

If you’re going to connect directly, you’re more likely to gain success by using a reference. This would be a shared connection—someone who is connected with you and the LinkedIn member with whom you’d like to connect.

Doing a search for a 2nd degree who resides in the Greater Boston Area and works for Philips produces the result below. Below the two people you notice the faces of the shared connections. Click on (number) of shared connections to see who is connected directly with your desired LinkedIn member.

People Search, 2nd, location, company

Once you have chosen a person who could be a reference for you, email the person asking if you could use her name in an invite. Your message might be:

Hi Dave.

You and I are both connected with Sharon Beane. She and I work for the Career Center of Lowell as workshop facilitators. We have the utmost respect for each other. When asked if I could mention her in an invite to you, she enthusiastically agreed. I see we do similar work, that of helping others. I would like to join your network in hopes of being of mutual assistance.

Sincerely, Bob.

Asking for an introduction

Bobbie suggests that one should use an introduction when they want someone to join their network. This requires asking a trusted connection to send a message to the person with whom you’d like to connect.

Note: email is Bobbie’s preferred means of asking for an introduction because it is more commonly used than LinkedIn Messaging. Great point.

Here is a sample introduction sent via email.

Hi Karen.

I see that you’re connected with the director of HR, Mark L Brown at (town).

I’m trying to fill a director of DPW position and would like to get some advice from Mark. I read on LinkedIn that they’re trying to fill an accountant position. I like the way he wrote the job description, pointing out their diverse environment.

Thank you in advance for introducing me to Mark. If there’s anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.

Andy Smith, Human Resources Generalist, 978.935.5555

PS. It was great seeing our girls duke it out in last weekend’s soccer match. I hope the two teams meet in the playoffs.

Now let’s look at the five steps to finding people with whom to connect.

1. Search by people. Just click the magnifying glass in the Search field and then click People. In my case, I came up with a little less than 7,500,000 first, second, and third degree connections.

Filter People by Kathy

2. Next, select 2nd in Connections for an obvious reason; you cannot connect with your first degrees, as you are already connected. This brings me to more than 124,000

3. Now select the type of person you’re seeking in Keywords. I typed “Career” in the Keywords area in the Title field because I wanted LinkedIn to do a pretty general search for people in the career development/advisor/counselor/coach occupations. This brings my number of connections to slightly more than 7,000.

4. You probably don’t want to look for career related people worldwide. Perhaps you’re focusing on people closer to home. I am, so I got to Locations and select Greater Boston Area. I’m at 825 second degree connections now. Note: sometimes you have to type in the location.

5. Here’s where you want to narrow your search to people who are mutually connected as first degrees with one of your valued connections. In the image above, you see the first person at the top of my list shares 17 degree connections with me. I will click on one of the circular photos below Kathy to see who I can mention as a reference in a cold invite.

2nd degree connection

5. The person I’ve chosen is one who can help facilitate an introduction to the person above. The reason I know this is because she and I have had numerous conversations, and we respect each other’s expertise. In other words, I trust her.


 

You might think how my friend, Bobbie Foedisch, goes about connecting with people on LinkedIn as time consuming, but she has been successful using LinkedIn for social selling, and she teaches job seekers how to use LinkedIn. She has the right idea about making long-term connections on LinkedIn.

I, on the other hand, am less exact; I connect with like-minded people without reaching out to them beforehand. Whether you connect directly with a LinkedIn user or ask for an introduction, using “Connections of” can effectively facilitate the connection.

If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, visit this compilation of LinkedIn posts.

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4 ways for HR to hire a diverse workplace

As a human resources leader for a municipality, are you directed to hire people of diversity? Have you given it much thought? Further, how would you use LinkedIn to accomplish this? In this post, I’ll address the challenges human resources might face using LinkedIn to achieve the goal of creating a diverse workplace, and suggestions to make this possible.

Diversity2

But first it’s worth looking at the definition of “diversity” from the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary:

Definition: the condition of having or being composed of differing elements variety; especially the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization. Mirriam-Webster Dictionary 

Just who make up groups of diversity and why is it important to create a workplace of diversity? People of color, different religious belief, disability, gender affiliation, younger and older worker, nationality, ethnicity, and more. A diverse workplace is important for a number of reasons, most namely employment opportunities, unique ideas, and community.

The major problem

As someone in human resources, you know that the best way to fill a position is through referrals. Many times there are no qualified people who can fill positions, so you need to advertise said position.

What you get are a ton of resumes you have to sift through or send directly to the directors of the departments in your municipalities. You’re being reactive. Wouldn’t be better to be proactive by reaching out to people you find on LinkedIn? Wouldn’t you like to present a social media presence that attracts quality candidates? I’ll answer both of these questions.

1. Performing a direct search, but narrow with focus

People Search2

The first thing you must realize is that no job seeker will type anywhere on their profile, “I’m a person of diversity.” Or, “I have a disability.” Or, “I’m a woman of color.” You’re going to have to do some sleuthing to find people of diversity.

You should narrow your search by applying certain criteria. If you’re looking for someone in Information Technology Services; using the Filter people by feature (to right) will make your search more manageable. Here are three ways to do it.

1. For example, I searched for IT and came up with more than 18 million people. Where as using Filter people by feature to specify: 2nd degree, Greater Boston Area, and Information technology and Services. This produced 19 results. Much more manageable.

2. In the Filter people by area, you can also select people who are/have been on boards or possess strong volunteer experience.

3. Yet another way to narrow the search is by typing in the Search field the title sought and “nonprofit” or “town” and “city” next to the title. A search for “IT manager, town, city” produces 12 results.

2. Rely on your network

Providing you have a strong network that consist not only of other HR professionals, but also people in other industries; you have an opportunity to uncover some great talent. Perhaps you’re in pursuit of a director of finance. You should develop connections with many of the larger companies in your local area.

It’s plausible that a finance manager in a fortune 100 company would be a cultural fit in your municipality’s Finance department. There are regulations and laws that candidates would need to learn, but someone who is talented and a quick learner, can get up to speed.

The challenge: Good ole networking will take awhile, but if you can build up a network of people who are a possible fit for the positions you need to fill immediately or down the road; you’ll be in better shape.

3. Every employee must have a strong profile

Neal Schaffer, the author of The Business of Influence and other books that address using social media for business and marketing, says everyone in an organization must have a strong profile, as each employee is the face to the organization.

Your executive team should also be the digital face for your organization. When your management engage socially, you build trust with the community. You also send a strong and encouraging message to your employees that it’s OK for them to be active on social media, which undoubtedly will bring about greater employee advocacy for your organization.

Essentially each person working for a town or city should have a statement on their profile that they are engaged in a workplace that encourages and is open to diversity. Job seekers who desire working for organizations that encourage diversity in the workplace will be encouraged to see individual profiles that support this message.

Another benefit of an individual profile that demonstrates a diversity-friendly workplace will strengthen their town’s or city’s LinkedIn company page search engine optimization (SEO). This is assuming that the municipality has a LinkedIn company page. Below is an example of an employee’s profile supporting the goal of supporting people of diversity:

One of the nice things about working for The Town of (name) is the diversity of its employees. I enjoy working alongside people who are divers in age, ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, and other diverse populations. In my role as municipal engineer, I…

4. Create a LinkedIn company page with a strong statement

The next step municipalities need to take is create a company page that delivers the message of supporting and hiring people of diversity. Below is a good start of a company page description:

(City Name) was first incorporated as a town in 1630, and later as a city in 1822. Although City Government played a major role in (city’s name) development, the real spirit lies in the diverse and vibrant neighborhoods of the City. Today, the City is governed by the Mayor and the City Council with the assistance of various departments, agencies and commissions.

The company descriptions claims to have “diverse and vibrant neighborhoods,” but we’d like to see stronger verbiage explicitly talking about how the city has a policy of hiring people of diversity.

Job descriptions on LinkedIn company pages need to deliver a strong message of support for a diverse workplace

If the city or town is hiring and posts its positions on LinkedIn’ company page, this would also be a great place to state their policy for hiring people of diversity. This should be stated at the beginning of the job descriptions. Below is a description for a Sr. Librarian position that fails to do this.

….library assistants working in the branch libraries whose duties involve the following: greeting and directing patrons, registration of borrowers, charging and discharging of books and other materials, maintaining the book and other materials collections, maintaining/troubleshooting equipment, typing/word processing and filing.

What if instead, the beginning of the job description were to read:

(Name of city) supports a diverse workplace and encourages people of different races, religions, ethnicity, age, and disability to apply for the following position?

This would make an immediate statement about the municipality’s policy of supporting diverse populations.


The final step is a link to the municipality’s website, which would repeat its policy of hiring people of diversity. This would send a strong message to people who are looking for a diverse workplace.

Photo: Flickr, mdennes

Job-seeker buddy groups: 6 pros, 2 cons

How do you react when you hear the word networkingDo you feel uncomfortable, roll your eyes, or even break out in a sweat? You’re not alone if the prospect of networking doesn’t make you jump for joy. Truth be known, most people don’t relish the idea of networking.

small-group-1024x576

Truth also be known, networking remains the most effective way to get referred for jobs that aren’t advertised. According to Jobvite.com, 40% of hires come from referrals, twice the number than the next option, the company’s website. So networking seems like a no-brainer.

I’m not here to say you shouldn’t network. I’m here to say try networking in a different way. Join a buddy group.

Pros of Buddy Groups

Smaller and more intimate

Buddy groups generally number six—some smaller, others larger. In a smaller group, members keep track of each other, making it easier for the members to keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities that fit each other. This is not always possible with large networking groups, which consist of 20 to 80 people.

Large groups can also be intimidating, which leads me to my next benefit of buddy groups.

Ideal for introverts

Speaking as an introvert, I’m more comfortable in smaller group settings than large groups. The size of buddy groups makes it easier to know each member and develop deeper relationships, which is ideal for introverts.

This is not to say introverts will back away from large networking groups. If they attend larger groups, their goal is to talk to fewer people to have deeper conversations. Extraverts, on the other hand, enjoy “working the room.”

Members are held accountable

Buddy groups that gather on a regular basis  are more likely to hold their members accountable for their job-search actions. If, for example, a member says during a meeting, that he will schedule four coffee meetings the following week, he will be questioned about scheduling those meetings the next time the group meets.

Keeping track of job seekers at large networking groups is extremely difficult. Often job seekers will come an go to large networking groups. You might see some members sporadically.

Meetings can be mobile

cafe

Unlike large networking groups which are held at the same place, at the same time;  buddy groups can be held at different locations. Because buddy groups are usually held where its members prefer, there are more options. Perhaps the location is decided  based on each members’ hometown, or the members’ choice of cafe, as examples.

On the other hand, buddy group member might prefer holding their meetings at the same location for consistency.  I know of one buddy group that meets at the same restaurant before their large networking event.

Joining one requires an invitation

Buddy groups can be formed to include members who share similar interests and occupations. Software engineers, project managers, hardware engineers might create a skills share group, consisting of six to 10 people, who gather to work on a project.

Or the members of a buddy group might prefer a variety of occupations. As one job seeker said, “We would all be applying to the same jobs, and I think that would make it more competitive, when it should be supportive.”

Gets you out of the house

As inconsequential this may sound, getting out your house where you’ve been sitting in front of your computer for six hours a day, until it starts humming at you; it’s important for your state of mind.

This will be part of your routine. You’ll look forward to meeting with your buddies at a specific time, maybe a particular place–although as stated earlier, the location might change.

Read 6 tips for getting out of your house during your job search.

Some Cons of Buddy Groups

Although great in concept, buddy groups can have their drawbacks. After all, they are intimate groups that meet on a consistent basis. With consistency comes conflict.

Might become stagnant

One of buddy groups’ strengths, their consistent meetings, can be a weakness. Undoubtedly there will be times when the meeting is not as productive as the members would like.

I run a “job club” at an urban career center, and I will be the first to say that sometimes the meetings fall flat. Structure is important. But for structure to be successful, the activities must be of interest to the members of the group.

Members might not be the right fit

Like working in a team, some members don’t fit. This can happen with buddy groups, as well. A member or two might not pull their weight, dominate the conversations, be too negative.

I asked a member of a buddy group what the group would do in a case where a member is hurting the group. She said deadpan, “Ask them to leave.” It’s easier said than done, but it might come to this.


There are far more benefits than disadvantages of a buddy group. One I haven’t mentioned is the moral support job seekers gain from their buddy groups. I don’t encourage buddy groups be a platform for people to bemoan their situation, but there must be times when they can let out their frustrations.

9 outdated résumé rules you can break

The way résumés are written today is different than it was 10 years ago. Résumé writers and job seekers are breaking some résumé rules, and…that’s okay. Because what it comes down to is not how a résumé looks; it’s the value it conveys. Let’s look at some outdated résumé rules.

Broken Rules

1. Cookie-cutter résumés are out

Some people believe that sending the same, tired résumé for all positions will suffice. It won’t. There are two distinct reasons why a generic résumé won’t cut it. First, it doesn’t address the requirements of all employers. Remember, every employer—even if they’re trying to fill a similar position—has specific needs. You need to address them on your résumé.

Second, the applicant tracking system, which effectively eliminates approximately 75% of résumés that are sent in for one position, will reject your résumé because of lack of keywords. Great for HR and recruiters, but a detriment to job seekers. Make sure you identify the required skills, experience, and education requirements listed in a job posting.

2. It’s okay to brag

If you want to call it that. There was a time, not too long ago, when touting your success was considered bragging. Now you need to separate yourself from other job candidates. It’s simply not okay to present a grocery list of duties; you need to show how well you performed those duties.

So, if you trained 12 employers on CRM software over the course of 9 months, precluding the need to hire a consultant. And if this saved the company $200,000, shout it out. It’s not wrong to tout your successes.

3. Font

Résumés used to be written in serif font, such as Times New Roman, but the trend now is sans serif, such as Arial and Calibri. Although it was believed that reading text on paper is easier if the content is written in Times New Roman, this belief has been thrown out the window. I must agree that reading a magazine that has sans serif font is a bit strange.

4. Bold words and phrases

How do you get words to standout, jump off the page, make an impact? You bold the text. Don’t bold all the text on you résumé, only a few words and phrases. I know it looks a little weird, but help the person reviewing your résumé to see what’s important. You get the idea.

5. No Address

Sorry, I’m not home. Résumé writers are suggesting to their clients that they preclude their home address. I am, too. The reason I advise my clients to leave their home address off their résumé is because 1) it’s not necessary 2) hiring authorities might rule you out of consideration because of location, and 3) it takes up space.

To the second point: I recall asking a recruiter friend of mine to take a quick glance at one of my client’s résumé. That’s exactly what he did; after looking at it for 2 seconds he told me the résumé was no good. Why? My client lived 50 miles from the company.

6. Headline

Go ahead and let loose; write a headline, like that on your LinkedIn profile, that briefly describes what you do and some of your areas of expertise. If you’re worried about space, it should only take two lines. I like to call this a Branding Headline in my Résumé Advanced and LinkedIn Profile workshops. Here’s one from one of my clients:

Director New Business Development
Account Management | Marketing | Sales Growth | Client Relations

The Headline is a fairly new idea, but the most professional résumés have them under their contact information.

7. Point of view

Some people recoil when they see a résumé that is written in first person point of view. I’m guessing that 20 years ago we were told no personal pronouns like I, me, we , they, etc. on your résumé. Why? Just because. A better answer to this is that your name is written at the top. It’s assumed that you’re writing about yourself; therefore, no need for writing, “I.”

I’m of a different opinion on this matter. I think it’s fine if you want to use personal pronouns in your Performance Profile or Value Proposition. But to use them throughout, that goes a little too far. Thank goodness for the LinkedIn profile, which encourages personal pronouns.

Please read: 4 reasons why personal pronouns are acceptable on your résumé

8. Page length

Your résumé should be one-page long, no exceptions. Bunk. Two pages are fine. Even three pages depending on your level and/or the accomplishments you must tout (within your 10-15-year work history).

The problem with limiting your page number is 1) you can’t describe your greatness, unless you only have five-years of experience, and 2) you limit the keyword density required to pass the applicant tracking systems (ATS).  One-page résumés are old school.

9. Your résumés can include clichés

It pains me to say this, but if you want your résumé to pass the ATS scan, you may have to include some words résumé writers consider to be taboo. My clients will tell you that clichés, or fluff, is one of my pet peeves; however, it all begins with the employers. They are the ones that write horrid job posts loaded with fluff.


These are 9 outdated résumé rules you can break. Actually I forgot to mention one I just broke in the previous sentence. Forget the rule that says you have to spell every number less than 10. No one said the résumé has to be grammatically correct—after all, we don’t begin each sentence with a subject. Do we?

Photo: Flickr, Jordi Calaveras