Posts Tagged ‘job search’

Tips for the Less ‘Out There’ Job Seekers and Career Networkers

Posted on: April 23rd, 2018 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Jobseeking

executive job seekerWhile more outgoing people often thrive in face-to-face, ‘I’m here’ professional interactions, some of us prefer a subtler approach to making contact. The thought of attending a business networking event with teems of fellow attendees can be pretty overwhelming to those that aren’t so outgoing. And then there’s the daunting prospect of initiating phone and/or ‘coffee contact’ with someone we know or know of. It’s no doubt highly beneficial in today’s employment environment to network, network, network, but it doesn’t always have to involve picking up the phone or fronting up and introducing yourself with a hello handshake, followed by continual ‘remember me’ conversations.

“Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.” (Jay Baer, Internet Pioneer & Best-Selling Author)

Use social media to advance, not dis-advance your career

Think we all know by now there are some negative aspects of social media that can tarnish your job prospects. For example, most prospective bosses are going to feel less inclined to draw up your employment contract if they’ve just spotted you on Facebook downing cocktails at the last Christmas work do, or if they’ve just read your latest rant about how someone at work has brought out your angry side. If you’re one of those individuals that more confidently engages via digital channels, just be sure to promote and represent yourself wisely. Always keep in mind that many organisations now trawl through your social media profile to better understand ‘what makes you tick’.

Focus on LinkedIn – the world-leading networking platform

As the more professional social media sibling, LinkedIn has delivered an abundance of career opportunities that were previously unavailable to many of us – particularly those of us that are less ‘out there’. Not only can we privately conduct comprehensive research on potential employers and networkers – as well as look up old workmates – but we can also initiate contact in a less intrusive, more considered manner. The numerous digital engagement tools on LinkedIn allow us to carefully deliberate our communications, including encouraging us to offer input and advice to others in our industry/network, to showcase our strengths and offerings without over-selling ourselves. Take a look at our article LinkedIn Proactivity to Reap Rewards for more insight.

Monitor your business relationships – don’t overdo it

Most recruiters agree that it’s not going to do your career any favour if you’re conveying desperation via persistent contact and transparent self-promotions. In addition to using LinkedIn and other social media to subtly highlight your skills, expertise and professional interests, online tools and databases can help you keep track of your networking plans and history. CRM systems will not only store all your critical contact details, but also enable you to monitor the ‘current state of play’ of each professional relationship (e.g. last time you met and/or last time you did work together).

Professional networking has been around for a long time, and has time and again proven to be a key component of someone landing their dream role. So if you’re someone who doesn’t want to have to really put yourself out there to procure such career connections, take the time developing an online presence and digital interaction routine instead. We’re not all extroverts when it comes to personally leveraging others to boost our job prospects, but we’re all capable and worthy of developing a digital profile that reminds others of the professional benefits we have on offer.

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Assets of the Mature-Aged Job Seeker

Posted on: October 17th, 2017 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Career Development

looking for a jobFor those of us who’ve been in the workforce for quite some time now, there are many changes in the employment sector that we’ve been privy to. This includes the evolution of career documentation into job targeted resumes and accompanying brand collateral such as LinkedIn. It also includes ever-changing technologies fuelled by a more dynamic and globally competitive marketplace where it’s more essential than ever to stand out.

While it can seem like a challenge, the tailoring of your career documentation is an opportunity to strategically provide the most relevant information, while avoiding other data that may detract and/or distract. The old-style resume format that listed your entire employment and academic history (with dates) is a thing of the past. And without wanting to go on too much about potential age bias, here are several pointers to consider when revamping your old resume:

  • Don’t overdo the way-back dates – for example, most prospective employers won’t be that interested in knowing that you graduated from high school in 1989, particularly if you’ve had extensively more appropriate employment experience since then.
  • Remove out-dated technical skills – try and ensure the IT and other technical capabilities you list in your resume are contemporary to today’s workplace; for example, Word Perfect word-processing software is well past its used-by date.
  • Forget including a personal objective – most employers of today want to know what you can specifically bring to the table for them, how your employment will be advantageous, rather than what you’re individually seeking from the company to aid your career progression.

First and foremost, as an older job applicant, use the customising of your resume and other career documentation to highlight to recruiters how your long-term career history – not to mention your more mature approach to life – is going to benefit the employer organisation.

“What the tech industry often forgets is that with age comes wisdom. Older workers are usually better at following direction, mentoring, and leading.”

(Vivek Wadhwa, US Technology Entrepreneur and Academic)

Some of the primary professional assets that mature-aged job seekers should factor in when writing up their applications are as follows:

  • Opportunities from lessons learnt – so much of what we learn about ourselves in relation to our preferred job role is ‘on the job’, and anyone who’s been in the workforce for an extensive amount of time is more likely to have an array of examples they can source and integrate.
  • Well-rounded people skills – while some of us are born with interpersonal skills, it’s again often within work situations including conflicts of interest and teamwork-driven exercises that we further evolve our ability to engage, persuade, resolve and constructively take on feedback.
  • Exposure to change – just about anyone who’s been working for a decade or two (or three) will have encountered upheavals, whether it’s company takeovers, large-scale technology upgrades, and/or significant market expansion; highlight how well you adapted across such situations.

These are only some of the areas that will better ‘sell’ your well-developed career trajectory. First and foremost, don’t take on board any of the ‘on the shelf’ hype when you have such an expansive skillset you can offer employers. In today’s marketplace, it’s all about putting your best – albeit tweaked – foot forward, so embrace the brand tailoring scenario and use it to your best advantage.

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Sarah Cronin Consulting collaborates with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to resumes and cover letters, we also design selection criteria, LinkedIn profiles and other career documentation, and provide LinkedIn coaching and interview skills training that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

4 Interview Mistakes That Could Cost You the Job – and How to Avoid Them

Posted on: August 17th, 2017 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Interviews

Interview skills trainingSo you’ve gotten over the first significant hurdle of making it to interview stage with your professionally written career documentation. Now it’s time to consider that next major hurdle which is being interviewed. It’s a scary prospect for most of us. But if you’re prepared, the job jitters are far less likely to disrupt your interview stamina. You’re also giving yourself a much better chance of winning that desired role – of standing out from your competitors.

“So many people out there have no idea what they want to do for a living, but they think that by going on job interviews they’ll magically figure it out. If you’re not sure, that message comes out loud and clear in the interview.” (Todd Bermont, World-Leading Careers Coach)

As part of your groundwork, here are five areas I’d suggest you consider to better ensure a positive interview experience:

1) Lack of research could convey lack of confidence/capability

Even if you already conducted research prior to applying, once you’ve gotten the call-up, spend more time investigating the company, the role, as well as your most relevant offerings. Not only will this communicate your willingness to show initiative and go above and beyond, but you’re also more likely to feel empowered and self-assured during the interview.

  • Company research may also influence what you wear to the interview – what’s most appropriate.

“Never wear a backward baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of umpire.” (Dan Zevin, Award-Winning Author)

2) Misguided transport and inappropriate talk could convey unprofessionalism

Well-before your scheduled interview, spend time working out the most efficient route and car parking options (if relevant), and try to arrive 10-15 minutes early. It’s not going to do you any job-winning favours if you turn up late and/or flustered. Another professional no-no is talking negatively about former employers, even if you did have a really bad time. Instead, think about how you could turn this into a positive experience if asked about it, such as how you tried to resolve the situation.

  • Also consider body language during the interview – sit up straight, look straight ahead, and smile.

3) Focusing on your career expectations could convey self-centredness

As you may have already learnt from your professionally written career documentation, it’s far more about showing the employer what you can do for them – not what they can do for you. Keep this perspective alive while preparing for and attending the interview.

  • Convince the employer that you’re the best candidate to meet their specific job needs.

4) A lack of questions and answers could convey a lack of discipline

As part of your research, deliberate on what sort of questions you may be asked, as well as what you may want to ask. For example, if you’re asked about your professional weaknesses – a common interview question – think of one that you overcame and how that would benefit your new employer.

  • Also draft up some potential questions to ask them, based on your company research.

It’s such a competitive employment market, so why wouldn’t you want to continually stamp your stand-out skillset and capabilities – from when you first apply through to when the role officially becomes yours. Well-prepared, interview-savvy applicants are far more likely to register with the recruiters as ideal candidates.

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Sarah Cronin Consulting helps job seekers to improve their skills in interviewing and presenting themselves as the ideal candidate for the position, assisting candidates to manage interview stress, negotiate salary packages, and ensure they are prepared for their job interview. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

Why ‘Unemployed’ Shouldn’t Be Your LinkedIn Branding

Posted on: July 13th, 2017 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Career Development, Jobseeking, LinkedIn Profiles

LinkedIn Profile DevelopmentRecent statistics validate LinkedIn’s reputation as a major recruitment channel on the global stage. Since going public in May 2011, its membership has skyrocketed to over 300 million, with two new users joining every second of every day. Yet despite clear indicators that we should all be on LinkedIn to boost our employment opportunities, there are still some online branding hazards worth sidestepping. In particular, if you’re joining LinkedIn for the primary purpose of finding work, it’s advisable that you steer clear of emphasising your ‘unemployed’ status.

“Don’t promote negativity online and expect people to treat you with positivity in person.” (Germany Kent, US journalist)

Some recruiters overlook LinkedIn’s unemployed

While few recruiters would openly admit this, it’s often been suggested that many professional head-hunters will only consider LinkedIn members currently in the workforce. This may seem a bit harsh, but factoring this potential online bias into your LinkedIn profile, including ways to work around it, is advisable. LinkedIn content strategies that could help downplay your out-of-work predicament include:

  • Listing voluntary work in your employment history (start thinking about volunteering opportunities if you haven’t already)
  • Listing any consulting type work in your employment history (again, start thinking about relevant opportunities if you haven’t already)
  • Listing entrepreneurial interests in your employment history (this could be a blogging routine and/or contributions you make to a NFP board)

Whatever you choose to list as ‘current’ employment status, ensure it highlights your desire to continue to contribute to society and/or the professional realm in some capacity, irrespective of whether it’s a paid and/or ongoing vocation. Although make sure it’s something you can verify as a legitimate professional contribution if questions are asked by a recruiter and/or other interested party.

LinkedIn also favours the employed

In line with the above – particularly having something ‘current’ in your LinkedIn profile’s employment history – LinkedIn algorithms have also been known to skip over or neglect the unemployed. This means LinkedIn’s search engines are less likely to offer you up as a potential candidate when others conduct an online investigation. Such search engine optimisation is therefore as essential as keyword optimisation to procure a LinkedIn profile that engages, sells and activates.

It’s commonly argued that those who treat LinkedIn more like a promotional tool – as well as a professional networker – are more likely to reel in and captivate recruiters and other online spectators. LinkedIn is no doubt a pivotal job-seeking channel at a global level. But it’s more about empowering and accentuating your career strengths, assets and expertise, and far less about announcing to the world you’re eagerly seeking work.

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Sarah Cronin Consulting has extensive experience in collaborating with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to LinkedIn profiles, resumes and cover letters, we also design executive biographies, selection criteria, and other career material that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

How Clean is Your Online Brand?

Posted on: March 27th, 2017 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Jobseeking

online brandI recently had a jobseeking client who was desperately struggling to find work – and she couldn’t understand why. She’d never really considered the powerful influence of social media on her personal branding. Social media is frequently reviewed by recruiters to get a real feel for job candidates, the digital dirt on what makes them tick and how they’re likely to fit into the workplace.

Fact: “One in five employers uses social networks in their hiring process: CareerBuilder.com says one third of hiring managers rejected candidates based on what they found.” (ComputerWorld.com)

Once I’d done a Google search of my client’s online identity, in particular her Facebook account, it was pretty clear why she wasn’t getting anywhere with her job applications. I’d recommend to any client undergoing or about to commence a jobseeking journey that they give something like the Online ID Calculator a go, to better understand the brand image they’re conveying online. There are very few people left in the world today that aren’t ‘Google-able’.

What tools like this tell us is that we all should be continually pausing and considering what we’re about to post online. Whether it’s a Facebook message about how our day’s been, an Instagram photo of a great time had on the weekend, and/or a potentially polarising article we’re about to share across our online portfolio. Everyone experiences interesting and/or particularly challenging times in their lives, and just about everyone has an opinion on contentious issues, but it doesn’t mean it should be voiced or shared over the internet.

Adding to this, just about everything we post ‘up there’ (except probably your own website) cannot be fully removed once we’ve hit ‘enter’. If you put it out there, and it’s not password protected, ‘they’ including recruiters and potential employers can find it.

Some social media sites even have written policies confirming that your content officially becomes theirs once it’s been posted. For example, Facebook has an “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license” (http://tinyurl.com/3vsglm).

“Our social tools are not an improvement to modern society, they are a challenge to it.” (Clay Shirky, US author, consultant and professor)

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In addition to resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profile development and coaching, and job interview skills training, among other services, Sarah Cronin Consulting has access to the latest tools and research to help clients establish a positive online identity. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

Are Your Skills and Achievements Ready for 2017?

Posted on: January 25th, 2017 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Career Development

executive resume achievementsWhile a recent Hays report has identified job roles and sectors that are ‘hot’ in 2017, it has also emphasised the need to continue to boost and individualise your professional capabilities to stand out in today’s highly competitive marketplace. If you’re not continually expanding your skills horizons while keeping track of your specific job achievements, you could be doing yourself a career disservice.

According to Hays, the six roles that are most likely to be in demand this year are Financial Analysts, Payrollers, Site Managers, Data Analysts, DevOps Engineers and Sales Administrators. Those within renewable energy, disability case load management and HR business partnering are also going to be significantly focused on by recruiters. However, don’t despair if your own career history has no association with these areas.

It’s also been reported by Hays that prospective employees who can prove their ability to add value to an organisation are going to stand out in 2017.

“In compiling our list of skills in demand, one common trend was employers’ requests for candidates who can add extra value.” (Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director of Hays in Australia & New Zealand)

So if you haven’t been intuitively recording the personal contributions you’ve made to your employer organisations, or if you’ve been putting off an additional certification that’s only going to boost your credentials, it’s time to start taking action. There are very few roles out there today where you can continue to complete the same day-to-day tasks and responsibilities without diversifying or intensifying your scope and capabilities. It’s up to you to make yourself and your strengths and accomplishments stand out, so keep developing and keep track.

Another sector that’s really ‘burning’ this year is industrial robotics and service robotics, while the more people-focused frontline case managers and education-based childcare staff are also highlighted as ‘must have more’ in Australia’s professional marketplace. Here’s a link to the relevant Hays article if you’d like to find out more about skills in demand in 2017.

Having assisted many to achieve and even exceed their job seeking dreams, I’d strongly recommend you make this the year where you take that course, strive for that promotion and/or opt to be the technical subject matter expert to both broaden and deepen your professional offerings. Embrace self-instigated change and development to bolster and enrich your career opportunities, both within and outside of your current workplace.
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Sarah Cronin has extensive experience in collaborating with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to resumes and cover letters, we also develop LinkedIn profiles, selection criteria and other career documentation that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

How to Make a Smooth and Constructive Job Transition

Posted on: November 9th, 2016 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Career Development

career changeWhether you’re changing companies or moving into a new role with the same employer, including job promotions, ‘new kid on the block’ feelings are highly likely. Yet job transitions are an ideal opportunity to bolster and reinvent our personal brand – to re-assess and build on our professional strengths, skills and areas of expertise. Particularly when such changes are founded on steady, positive acceptance of the need to grow and evolve how we think and perform within our role.

Some tips to consider when starting out in a new role, to ensure a smooth and constructive initiation, are as follows:

Leave your baggage at the door:  The old adage that first impressions count is highly relevant when you’re in the initial stages of a job change. No matter how stressful or negative your experiences were in your former role, don’t bring these with you into your next role. Instead, convey proactivity, objectivity and a willingness to learn on the job as soon as you walk through that new door of opportunity.

Expect doubts and niggles:  No job is going to feel immediately ‘right’ the moment you step into it, so accept those newcomer ‘can I do this’ feelings and try to positively outride and override them. Furthermore, employers often talk up a role as much as the interviewee has talked up their capabilities, so don’t be too surprised if some elements of the role diverge from your initial expectations.

Set expectations and boundaries:  From your first day in your new role, start setting ground-rules on what your colleagues can expect from you, and what you’d prefer they don’t expect from you. Ask plenty of questions to fully understand the scope of your role. Accept and learn from your rookie mistakes – keep notes on your findings including the corresponding guidance from others.

Take your time getting to know others:  Make the effort to get to know your colleagues by name – retain as many names as you can from the outset. Avoid office gossip and politics from the get-go, and trust your own private judgement and instincts when working out how those around you tick. Also, promote yourself as a team player – listen, collaborate and learn from those around you, and consider taking on a mentor.

Avoid trying to reinvent the broken wheel:  It’s highly beneficial to spend time analysing what’s been attempted by your predecessors, to both learn from such efforts and to avoid wasting time trying something that has already proven to be ineffective. Also ensure any innovations and/or improvements you’re considering introducing to the organisation align with the overall business strategy and objectives. Set your own personal goals and monitor how you progress – self-acknowledge and list your accomplishments for future reference.

There’s no doubt that a job change can be both daunting and emotionally-draining, but if you’re accepting of the initial hiccups and have a strategy in place to help you ride out any doubts or issues, your assimilation into a new role is far likely to be less stressful. Embrace being the ‘new kid on the block’ and use this time to extend on your knowledge and expertise, to the benefit of both your own personal brand and the company you’re working for.

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Sarah Cronin Consulting has extensive experience in collaborating and consulting with clients throughout their job transitions. From devising job-winning career documentation, to providing interview training and job search coaching, professionalism and career enhancement are the primary objectives. Contact us if you’re considering changing jobs and would like to find out more.

How to Resign the Right Way – Keep It Professional and Forward-Thinking

Posted on: September 23rd, 2016 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Career Development

Executive Resume Writing

Recent statistics have estimated that the average person will change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their professional career. That’s a significant amount of career transitions, most of which are going to involve a prominent amount of influential (and potentially detrimental) accomplices and bystanders, from bosses and colleagues to business-critical customers.

How you shift from one job to the next can therefore have a long-term impact on how your career progresses. The term ‘six degrees of separation’ immediately springs to mind when considering the professional networks that surround most of us. Online channels like LinkedIn are now making those ties and bonds with our industry alumni even more influential.

With this in mind, it’s more important than ever to ensure you resign from your current employer with professionalism and respect – always looking forward to future job opportunities.

Identify why you’re leaving: Before making any resignation announcements, formulate in your mind why you’ve decided to hand in your notice. Could it be that you just want your employer to address your issues and you can’t see any other way of achieving this? In such situations, it’s even more essential that you’ve constructed valid reasons, and that you’re prepared for either scenario – the company may not want to meet your demands.

  • Alternatively, if you’re moving onto another employer, make sure you have the job offer in writing before taking that resignation step.

Discuss F2F followed by writing: Despite so many communications now being conducted online or via the phone, this is one situation where a face-to-face meeting is highly relevant. With your reasons already identified (as above), try and remove any negative emotions, and discuss your decision objectively and empathically. Most bosses will appreciate an upfront and well-considered resignation – they’ve probably been in the same position themselves.

  • Always follow up the initial resignation discussion with something in writing – confirm what’s been discussed as well as dates, etc. Know your contract terms.

Be open to a professional handover: Despite your contract terms, you may be asked to stay on for an additional amount of time to enable the company to hire and train up your replacement. This may even involve you spending your extra agreed-to time doing a job handover. It’s always better to leave an employer on positive terms, so be as flexible as you can and avoid any negative speak.

  • Upsetting or disappointing one employer could filter through to other potential employers – keep it friendly and professional.

Always keep networks top-of-mind: The professional webs that make up our career paths are smaller than ever before due to social media and other electronic communications. In most professions, we’re now encouraged to reconnect and maintain contact with former colleagues and customers (including other former industries), especially via LinkedIn. Thus, whenever you’re shifting jobs, it’s critical to stay focused on future networking opportunities. Who knows when that boss you had 10 years ago may pop up as a key link of introduction for your next preferred employer.

  • Use a forward-thinking approach when leaving your job – unanticipated career prospects may come from a former colleague.

It’s no doubt exhilarating and self-replenishing when changing jobs, particularly if you’ve been feeling dissatisfied in your former role and/or with your employer organisation. But always ensure your forward-moving career steps factor in job opportunities for the long term. Unexpected prospects could arise via the alumni you’ve maintained positive relationships with, including former bosses. ________________________________________________________________________________

Sarah Cronin has extensive experience in collaborating and consulting with clients throughout their job transitions. From providing career advancement coaching (interview skills, job search, LinkedIn), to devising job-winning documentation, professionalism and career enhancement are the primary objectives. Email or call us if you’re considering applying for a job and would like to find out more.

How to Tailor Your Job Application Cover Letter – In 3 Easy Steps

Posted on: August 24th, 2016 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in Jobseeking

Executive Cover LetterThe cover letter you send with your resume when applying for a job is all about generating interest, enthusiasm and action from your reader. But if you don’t tailor your cover letter specifically for each job that you apply for, it simply won’t attract the interest you desire from the hiring authority.

A third of the people you write a job application letter to will always read it. A third might read it if it captures their attention and “speaks to them” about what they’re looking for in a candidate, and the other third will never read it. The thing is, you never know which category your audience falls under, so it’s vital that your cover letter is unique each and every time; written to a specific person, with a distinctive message. However, your ultimate purpose will always be the same—to “ask” for an interview. Of course you can’t just send a note asking for an interview; there are several important boxes to tick.

Below I’ve set out a 3 step guide to tailoring your cover letter for each job application. Follow this method effectively, and (assuming you have a captivating resume and LinkedIn profile to compliment your cover letter) just watch your inbox light up with job offers.

Step 1: Gather up all of your career experience, projects, qualifications, skills, and achievements including challenges and quantifiable results where possible, which you should already have (hopefully!) in your resume.

Step 2: Refer to the job description and identify the specific needs of the company or recruiter. If their requirements, challenges or issues aren’t easily identifiable, do some research into the company, industry and other similar roles to obtain this information.

Step 3: Now you must position yourself as the solution to the specific needs you have identified. For example, if you know the finance organisation you’re applying to, for say a Senior Project Manager role, requires someone with extensive experience in an agile environment, be sure to tell them about your experience strategically digitising business in agile environments (or whatever the case may be), including the challenges you overcame during this time, and the results of your actions. This is just one example, but you get the idea. Do this for all of the requirements and challenges you have identified as critical to the employer/recruiter. Ideally, you should be able to fit this neatly into one page, although this isn’t necessarily a hard-and-fast rule.

If you’re changing career direction, you’ll need to dig a little deeper and also focus on the further development of your resume to ensure you’re addressing the key points of the job description effectively with your transferable skills and experience.

In their book Cover Letter Magic, Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark say “you have a commodity to sell—yourself—and you must approach your search campaign just as you would any other sales or marketing campaign… it’s that easy, yet that complex”.

So remember—a cover letter that isn’t specifically tailored to the job description is likely to be tossed in the “no” pile. Take the time to construct a meaningful, on target, hard-hitting letter that will grab the attention of the hiring authority. A cover letter that showcases you as the solution to the company’s challenges will win every time over a cover letter that simply presents your qualifications and experience.

Sarah Cronin Consulting collaborates with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to resumes and cover letters, we also design LinkedIn profiles, corporate biographies, selection criteria and other career documentation that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.

5 BIG Mistakes You’re Probably Making in Your Resume

Posted on: February 25th, 2016 by Sarah Cronin 1 Comment in resumes, Uncategorized

professional resume writing servicesA job seeker who’d been in the career game for many years recently contacted me, perplexed at why his application wasn’t even getting a sniff from recruiters. He’d been diligent at keeping his resume up-to-date, from consistently adding every job he’d had in the past 20 years to methodically listing all of his personal achievements. Although this was the first time he’d actually had to put his resume ‘out there’, as most previous job changes had been via referrals or long-term employment opportunities.

This job seeker, who soon became a client, was completely unaware of how much job application standards and expectations have changed, particularly in regards to resumes. Gone are the days when you could draft up one generic resume that could be sent to a range of potential employers across various industries. Below are five of the most common errors to avoid, if you want to ensure your resume gets you through to interview stage.

  1. Sending out a ‘one-size-fits-all’ resume: Recruiters and potential employers expect to see resumes that have been fully customised for their current vacancy. For example, there’s no benefit in telling an IT organisation about your strengths in hospitality. Your resume should immediately emphasise your IT capabilities, in line with what that organisation is seeking.
  2. Specifying your career objective: Recruiters and potential employers are far more interested in how your experience and skillset is going to benefit them, rather than knowing what your personal career objective is. By all means, highlight your enthusiasm to continue to professionally develop, but ensure it’s in a way that’s going to benefit that specific organisation.
  3. Listing soft skills & standard responsibilities: Let’s face it, anyone can say in their resume that they’re a ‘great communicator’ or a ‘hardworking employee’ – soft skills like these (and standard responsibilities – e.g. filing or answering phones) aren’t going to help your job application stand out. Instead, provide evidence of what you’ve personally achieved in previous roles and how this could be of identifiable benefit to the prospective employer.
  4. Including superfluous information: Unless you’re applying for a job within a fitness organisation, most employers don’t really want to know that you run most weekends. They’re also unlikely to want to know that you worked part-time in a milk bar 20+ years ago, prior to finishing uni. Keep your resume specific to the role you’re applying for – don’t over-indulge in irrelevant details or your most significant information could be overlooked.
  5. Ignoring the importance of keyword optimisation: Many recruiters use online applicant tracking systems (ATS) to sift through an abundance of applications, so neglecting to keyword optimise could mean your job application isn’t even seen by human eyes. As part of the job customising of your resume, do your research and always include industry relevant and/or specific job ad terms.

Investing in a professionally written, keyword optimised and job customised resume and cover letter paid off for the perplexed job seeker referred to above. By showing what he could personally offer prospective employers based on what he’d already achieved, his job application began to stand out and eventuated in a positive career move.

Sarah Cronin Consulting, professional resume writing services, collaborates with job seekers to ensure their next chosen career step is professionally presented and successfully obtained. In addition to resumes and cover letters, we also design LinkedIn profiles, corporate biographies, selection criteria and other career documentation that ensures your career prospers. Contact us if you’d like to discuss your needs further.