As a Career Coach, I guide people through professional transitions to help them build more satisfying lives. Most of my conversations with prospective clients start with a request for a new resume. They call me because they are frustrated, their job search is stalled and they can’t win interviews. We discuss their goals, what they have tried so far and I explain how a few key changes can improve their results. Many times the problem is not simply a weak resume – they may also lack a focused goal or are using outdated job search strategies (for example, not active on LinkedIn).
The resume development process itself is the foundation for a successful job search.
I have covered this topic before, but am frequently asked about
functional resumes by jobseekers, so I figured I’d address them again
here. I strongly adviseagainst using a functional resume.Period.
Most recruiters and hiring managers do not like functional resumes. They are more difficult to read, and immediately raise a red flag. The reader asks him/herself “What is the candidate trying to hide by grouping together their competencies and not showing me what they did where? A gap in employment, excessive job jumping or lack of experience?” Regardless of your reason for using a functional resume, you are doing yourself a disservice. The last thing you want to do is cause any negative feelings — and confusion is a negative feeling. You want the reader of your resume to feel nothing but positive feelings. The goal of your resume is to pique the interest of the reader and entice them to invite you in for an interview, right? So, don’t annoy them. Make it easy for them to see the value you would add to their team.
If you are using a functional resume because you were advised to do so — find a better source of employment advice. Ask someone who has been trained in effective resume writing within the last few years, because the resume world has drastically changed. If you are trying to overcome an employment barrier, the hiring manager will see it anyhow, so it is better not to attempt to hide it. You should address anything that an employer may see as negative in your cover letter. Explain it simply and let the employer know why it will not be a problem. They just might appreciate your honesty and directness.
I won’t even write a functional resume. If a client comes to me requesting a functional resume because they want to change careers or get back to something they enjoyed doing in the past, I show them how we can effectively sell them with the traditional reverse chronological resume. Still not convinced? Give me a call and I’d be glad to discuss it. 860-658-6480.
Like this article? Please share
it with others who may find it useful.
A Certified Career Transition
Coach specializing in overcoming employment barriers, Trish McGrath has been
helping people across industries advance their careers since 2009. Whether you
are looking for a complete career change, competing for your next promotion or
trying to identify your best fit career, Trish will make sure that you are
prepared for success. An experienced resume expert, job search coach and
LinkedIn trainer, she guides her clients through the job search process to make
it less overwhelming with quicker results. Contact Trish at (860) 658-6480
or firstname.lastname@example.org to
see how she can help you build a more satisfying career.
Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. If your job search is not winning job offers, then it is time to change your approach.
Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash
A year-end job search review helps jobseekers to reflect upon their strategies, evaluate their progress and determine which actions they should continue and which they should change.
Step #1: Clarify Your Goal
Do you have a crystal clear picture of what you offer an organization and a defined list of target companies? If you cannot articulate your career goal, how can you possibly achieve it? The crucial first step is to determine who you would like to work for and how you can help them achieve their organizational objectives. What do you offer that other candidates do not? Continue reading →
If your resume is not winning you frequent interviews, then it is not doing its job. Here are some quick fixes to turn that around.
I recently met a woman at one of my local LinkedIn workshops who was frustrated in her job search. She had applied to many, many jobs, but had not landed any interviews.
I quickly reviewed her resume and could tell in an instant why it was not impressing employers. I suggested a few improvements that she could quickly implement and share these with you here. (Her revised resume worked! She landed an interview the next week and is now working at a job she enjoys.)
1. Address the employer’s needs
Change the focus of your resume to address the employer’s needs not yours. How can you help them achieve their goals? Position yourself as the solution to their problem and highlight your differentiators.
2. Target a specific role
These days, companies are looking for specialists, not generalists. Focus your resume on a specific role, so the reader can quickly see where you’d fit within their organization. They won’t guess – if unsure, they will move on to the next resume and you just missed out on the opportunity.
3. Make sure your resume is age-neutral
Employers are concerned that as a seasoned worker, your skills may not be as sharp as they used to be or you are too set in your ways. Show them that is not true. Don’t include any work history prior to 2000 and play up your tech skills. And please, lose the AOL email address! That screams “Dinosaur!”.Continue reading →
What? They want you to be on time, prepared and respectful? That seems like an awful lot to expect in a professional business meeting – which a job interview surely is. Interviewers have clear expectations of job applicants that impact their decision on whom to hire. By the time you’ve landed the interview, the employer is pretty sure you have the skills to do the job. Now, they want to find out if you are the type of person they’d like to have on their team.
To provide the best possible help to my career coaching clients, I speak regularly with recruiters and hiring managers to stay on top of what they are looking for in a candidate and what they like to see on a resume. We also discuss what bothers them and a few common themes stand out. I’m sharing them here to help you avoid these interview mistakes that can cost you that great job.
What Really Annoys Interviewers?
Here are the biggest pet peeves that I hear from hiring managers:
The most common frustrations I hear from jobseekers are related to applying for jobs online. The application process itself is time-consuming, can be confusing and most of the time you don’t hear back after you’ve submitted your application materials. First of all, if you have applied to hundreds of jobs – STOP! Either you are applying for the wrong type of jobs or your resume is not selling you as well as it could. It might not even be making it through the Applicant Tracking Systems. Read on to see how you can turn things around.
Why Is My Online Job Search Failing?
Here’s the problem with applying to jobs online: your application is only one of hundreds, if not thousands, submitted for each opening. With employers’ increased reliance on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to screen for the most qualified candidates, your application may not even be reviewed by a person if it does not include the right keywords or proper formatting. For more information about getting through these online filters, see my previous blog “Are Applicant Tracking Systems Rigged Against Jobseekers?”.
Welcome to the third installment of my blog series on virtual job interviews. In my last blog, I shared tips on mastering Skype interviews. If you missed it, you can catch uphere.
Employers are continually looking to make the hiring process more efficient. To this end, they have started using recorded job interviews as a quick way to screen candidates. In a recorded interview, also known as a one-way video interview, the company sends you pre-scripted interview questions that you answer on video and submit by a specific date. When you record your answers to the questions, you cannot see the interviewer, but they will scrutinize you when viewing and listening to your answers.
Welcome to the second installment of my blog series on virtual job interviews, with some quick tips to help you prepare for a video conference interview. If you missed last month’s post on telephone interviews, you can catch up here. Next month, I’ll address the recorded video interview.
In the good old days, hiring managers relied on in-person interviews to screen and hire job candidates. As if that was not intimidating enough! Today, many companies are incorporating online video conferencing interviews using Skype, Zoom or Facetime into the hiring process. Virtual interviews are popular with employers because they quickly narrow the candidate pool, which saves the company time and money. But, they can add an entirely new layer of anxiety-provoking stress for job seekers.
Whether you are new to live video interviews or didn’t do well enough in your last one to proceed to the next round of interviews, you need to learn how to present your best self on camera. Here’s how you can prepare for, and ace, your next video interaction with a potential employer.
Cameras hate me! Do I really have to do a video interview?
Yes. If you want to land that great new job, you must be prepared for live video job interviews. If you avoid them, you may be limiting your employment options. Because more and more employers are relying on video interviews to evaluate candidates’ soft skills, it is to your advantage to become comfortable with this type of interview. Continue reading →
If your resume is winning you frequent interviews, then it is doing its job. If you are going to lots of first interviews but are not making it into the next round, then you may need to work on your interviewing skills. You are not alone. Selling yourself to a potential employer is not easy. However, as with anything, the more you know, the more successful you will be.There are several types of interviews, each with their own set of challenges: face-to-face meetings, in-box assessments and virtual interviews conducted via telephone, Skype and video. The interview is one of the most important parts of a job search, yet many people fail to prepare out of fear. To help reduce jobseeker anxiety, I have created a series of blog posts on the different types of virtual interviews. In this first installment, I share tips on how to master the telephone interview. Continue reading →
It’s a fact – if your resume does not make it through an employer’s Applicant Tracking System, it’s like you never even applied for the job.
Too often, Applicant Tracking Systems make life difficult for jobseekers. But once you know how they work, you can use them to your advantage and they will no longer be a barrier to your job search. Not sure what this is all about? They can be confusing and continually evolve, which is why I research, take frequent training and test out the systems myself.
In 2018, the difference between advancing your executive career and spinning your wheels is leveraging the strength of technology to promote your professional brand.
You’ve embraced technology in nearly every other aspect of your daily life, why not your job search? As a group, executives have been resistant to the digital job search, but most are now finding that it cannot be ignored. Case in point: my client Ambrose, who was looking to make the jump from Sr. VP into the C-Suite. For nearly five years, he had been passed over for internal promotions and could not make any headway at his target company. After working with me for only three weeks, he was asked by his Board of Directors to consider a newly created leadership role and received a meeting invitation from the CEO he’d been pursuing at his company’s biggest competitor. We clarified his goal, mapped out a strategy to enhance his professional image and made it happen using a combination of LinkedIn and online industry resources.
Everybody and everything is online these days, including career management. From recruiters locating and screening candidates online to job seekers expanding their professional network using social media, finding your next opportunity is firmly entrenched in today’s technology. You know that exposure and reputation management are crucial to career advancement. Let me explain how you can use technology to expand your reach beyond your immediate sphere of influence through strategic planning and intentional, consistent effort. Continue reading →
A new year brings new possibilities. As we turn over the calendar, we tend to look forward to the New Year as a chance to reset ourselves and we resolve to make improvements, both personally and professionally. If your New Year’s resolution is to be a happier person in 2018, a new job could be just the answer. Considering how much time we spend at work, enjoying your job can significantly impact your overall happiness. You deserve job satisfaction ― and it is achievable.
So you’ve made your New Year’s resolution to change jobs or maybe even reinvent yourself in a new career, but how do you make this happen? What do you do first? Where do you begin? How do you get from hopes and wishes to reality? It’s common to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a job search. I have learned that the key to a successful job transition is in the planning. Continue reading →
‘Tis the season to celebrate with friends and family. ‘Tis also the season for year-end performance reviews, which is the perfect time for you to position yourself for success.
Performance reviews can be stressful, especially coming as they do during the holiday season. You naturally hope that your manager notices all of your hard work and recognizes the value you offer your organization. But does management really know how valuable you are? As part of the review process, many companies ask their employees to provide a self-assessment to their manager. This is your best opportunity to remind your manager of your contributions and highlight the impact of your efforts. It is also a great first step to developing a strong resume.
Not sure how to show your value to an organization? You are not alone. To make it easier for my clients, I recommend that they start with the following questions: Continue reading →
Whether you are transitioning to a new career or looking to achieve your next professional milestone, a successful job search is all about selling yourself to prospective employers. Never thought you’d be in sales? When competing for a job, you are marketing yourself as both the product and the salesperson, and your most effective tool is your resume.
In my experience as a Career Coach, I’ve found that many people don’t know how to sell themselves when looking for a job. Writing about yourself is difficult, no doubt about it. That is why so many people hire professional resume help.
Let’s talk about your career. I don’t mean your current job that’s so unrewarding that it feels like a prison sentence, or the one that you’ve been told is being eliminated in a few months. No, I mean the career you dream about, the one that you really want, that you know you were meant to have. Let’s talk about THAT career.
Changing careers can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve already devoted a long time to your present career path. I know how it feels – I left a high burn-out job and successfully reinvented myself several years ago. I had heard (and told myself) all of the reasons why career change is impossible and bound to fail. “Competition for good jobs is fierce,” and “I’m too old to change careers now.”
No one really likes writing cover letters – not even me, and I write clients’ career marketing documents every day. Personally, I find creating resumes, executive bios and LinkedIn profiles much more fun. But – cover letters are an important part of your job search that you cannot overlook.
Typically, your cover letter is the first writing sample reviewed by a potential employer, so make sure yours will help, not hurt, your chances of winning an interview. Continue reading →
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.