Posts Tagged ‘resumes’

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.

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.

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.

How to Write Job-Winning Resume Achievements

Posted on: January 22nd, 2015 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in resumes

Executive Resume Writing ServicesMost job recruiters would agree that insightful, personalised job achievements are the building blocks of any strong resume. Yet writing about yourself in a selling manner doesn’t always come easy. It can be difficult recalling all the valuable things you’ve brought to your previous role, and then comes the challenge of writing about them.

So together we’re going to unlock the secrets to a powerful resume filled with individualised achievements that draw recruiters in and convince them you’re worthy of an interview. Forget including everyday responsibilities in your resume, and instead focus on what value you personally brought to your employer.

Most of us struggle when it comes to bragging about ourselves, but that’s not what it’s really about in a resume. It’s about being honest with yourself about how your job accomplishments added value to the company, using quantitative results as often as you can. Below is an example of how to write an optimised, selling job achievement.

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Barry initially wrote that he had:

  • Engaged new digital signage suppliers which resulted in reduction of set-up costs and an increase in sales.

However, this was only part of the story. Barry had noted part of the action (engaged new digital signage) and part of the result (resulted in reduction of set-up costs and an increase in sales), but still needed to ask himself these three simple questions to complete the picture:

  1. What was the challenge or objective; why did I do what I did?
  2. What did I do and how did I do it?
  3. What was the result of what I did?

Based on these three questions he would have arrived at something like this:

  1. Challenge: Set-up costs were too high ($60,000 per year).
  2. Action: Sourced and engaged a cheaper supplier.
  3. Result: Immediate result was a reduction in set-up costs to $20,000, and subsequently the sales at some stores increased by 10-17% as a result of the improved marketing.

With this information, Barry could truly personalise his achievement and highlight to recruiters what he could offer his next employer:

  • Reduced annual digital signage set-up costs from $60,000 to $20,000 through researching and sourcing more cost-effective suppliers, with some stores seeing an immediate 10-17% increase in sales. Due to dramatic reduction in costs, digital signage is now mainstream across the organisation, with consequential ongoing sales increases Australia-wide.

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It’s all about assessing the challenges you faced in your role; then setting out the actions you took to overcome these challenges and the subsequent result (quantitative where possible).

Please view our resume samples for a visual idea of what we can do for you, or contact us to learn more.

Leverage Your Achievements to Reach the Top

Posted on: November 6th, 2014 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in resumes

Executive Resume Writer“Never mistake activity for achievement.” (John Wooden)

What’s it all about? Most who’ve been through a formal job seeking process would be familiar with the emphasis on achievements. Professional resume writers and recruiters continually advocate the importance of an accomplishment focused resume and LinkedIn profile. But what does it all really mean, and how do you go about identifying your achievements?

Why do achievements matter? Listing career achievements in your resume proves your personal worth and the value you can bring to the organisation. It shows what you’ve done in the past to help your employers, and what you can do again. Let’s face it, anyone can write that they’ve grown revenue or saved money or time, or built beneficial relationships. But how did they do this? What value are they offering their next employer through such achievements?

How do I recognise my achievements? You know you’ve accomplished some noteworthy milestones in you career, but it’s not always easy to define what they are or to explain them in words. So start by asking yourself this question: When I first started in the position, what did I encounter that needed improving or changing? For example, were there spiralling budget blowouts that needed to be addressed, was staff morale at an all-time low, or were there long-term issues surrounding poorly managed processes?

Any other achievements? Identifying and noting down these top-of-mind achievements is a good place to start. Now you’ve got the hang of it, consider any other challenges you faced and/or actions you took during the rest of your time in that position. What did you do to overcome these issues and what were the end results. For instance, did you implement a more efficient procedure, did you facilitate an increase in sales, or did you improve the general working environment?

Such achievements are the building blocks of a powerful, stand-out resume. If you don’t showcase what you’ve achieved, what you’ve done that proves your value to the next organisation, you’re unlikely to make it past stage one.

If you’re in the market for a new resume and/or LinkedIn profile, please see our professional resume writing services or professional resume writing packages, or contact us to learn more.

5 Common Resume Myths Exposed

Posted on: September 12th, 2014 by Sarah Cronin No Comments in resumes

Executive Resume WritingYour resume is the most important marketing tool you have available when applying for a job. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are or how well you present yourself, if your resume doesn’t grab the attention of the hiring manager, you’ll be put on the ‘no’ pile from the start. In today’s competitive job market it’s crucial to take the time to work on your resume and ensure you stand out in the crowd.

So how compelling is your resume? If you’ve followed ‘old school’ styles or you’re using the same approach you used years ago, you could be outdated! Here are 5 common misconceptions:

1. ‘I must include everything, even my first paper round!’

Some people feel that they have to list every single job they’ve ever had. If you want to stay away from that ‘no’ pile, please don’t! Managers and hiring authorities are super busy people and will only look for recent and relevant information. As a guide, if it’s too far back to remember pertinent facts and the value you offered your employer, leave it out. After all, a hiring manager isn’t going to care that you delivered newspapers as a teenager if you’re now applying to be a business development manager later in your career.

2. ‘My resume should be 2 or 3 pages long’.

As Mark Twain once said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”. It’s much easier to waffle on than be succinct. In terms of a resume, it needs to be long enough to hold the reader’s attention…and that’s all. Some resumes can get to the point in just 1 page, and some need to be longer than 3 pages to ensure all relevant and important information is contained for maximum impact.

3. ‘I must list skills such as excellent communication, interpersonal and organisational skills’.

So many people use these terms, they are now seriously cliché; the real value has been lost. The best way to market yourself is to prove your talent. Showcase your transferrable skills, unique experience and expertise through your past accomplishments. Shower the decision maker with relevant achievements that showcase your unbeatable value to the employer.

4. ‘With each job, I must list every responsibility I had’.

Wrong! There is absolutely no need for this repetitive waste of space. You should use your resume to educate the reader (the decision maker) about your talents. Talk about the ‘wins’ you achieved through challenges you faced, how you overcame them and the results of your actions. This offers far more value than a mere ‘job description’ of your previous position.

5. ‘I must list my references and their contact details’.

Don’t waste valuable ‘advertising’ space on listing your referees, only include them on your resume if the position description requests you to do so. If you do secure an interview, select appropriate references and take their details along with you to the interview on a separate document.

To wrap it up, decision makers will really only give your resume the quick once over, sometimes skimming through in as little as a few seconds. You want to capture the reader’s attention as quickly as possible to entice them to read more and, of course, invite you in for an interview! Your resume is your marketing tool, your sales proposition; communicate your skills, not your life story.

Please see our professional resume writing services or professional resume writing packages, or contact us to learn more.