• The Truth About Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

    There’s a lot of buzz in the job search world about applicant tracking systems and how to get past them. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find tons of advice about how to “beat” them by stuffing your resume with keywords.

    Here’s what those articles don’t tell you:

    There are hundreds of these systems on the market and they all work differently. Not all of them parse and sort resumes in the same way. There’s no method that will get you past all of them.

    The ATS is an inherently flawed system. Yes, it makes it faster for employers to sort through resumes, but that’s it. It does absolutely nothing to lead them to the best candidates. It simply leads them to the person who put the right words ...
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  • C.A.R.-Challenge, Action, Result

    C.A.R. Method

    Have you ever struggled to write the bullet points of your resume? Are you not sure what employers want to read?  The following method is one that I teach my clients to keep their resume information concise and focused on what matters to employers: RESULTS.

    C.A.R. stands for Challenge, Action, Result. This acronym is useful when you are trying to write concise but effective sentences in your resume that showcase your accomplishments. Briefly state what the situation or challenge was, what action you took to fix it and what the result was. And yes, you can explain all of that in one sentence! Also, it's actually best to start your sentence with the result first, then the challenge and action.

    Here's an example of the CAR method in ...
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  • Resume "White Lies"

    Is it ever okay to tell a half-truth on your resume? Sometimes. There have been times when I have advised clients to change the presentation of their jobs on their resume in order to help their chances of passing the initial screening. I believe in keeping your resume as honest as possible, though. As I’ve said before, you need to write your resume for a computer AND a human.

    Here’s two common “white lies” that are actually okay —under the right circumstances. I don’t recommend using either one of these methods though, unless you have a specific reason to.

    Leaving Jobs Off Of Your Resume-If you have employment that is more than 10-15 years old, go ahead and take it off unless it’s highly relevant to your targeted position. Most resumes don’t need ...
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  • Is A Functional Resume Right For Me?

    One of the biggest hurdles that job seekers face is to know how to cover up imperfections when writing their resume. Almost no one gets through their career without some kind of bump in the road, whether it be a gap in employment,  or switching to a new field. When this happens many people turn to what is called a “functional” resume. This type of resume breaks your experience down by job function, not by employer.

    For example, under your “Professional Experience” section, instead of listing your employers and job titles chronologically, you would list the basic job functions that you have experience in and then write bullet points below those. If you are a marketing professional, your job functions might be Business Development, Public Relations, Communications and Social Media, or something similar. At the very bottom of the resume, you would then list the actual ...
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  • 5 Things That Employers Are Looking At On Your Résumé

    Everyone has heard about the “six-second scan” that recruiters and managers do when they read résumés. So, what are they scanning for when they do that? And when they do read your résumé for a bit longer than that (and they will if you pass the six-second test), what are they reading for then? It’s absolutely true that some parts of your résumé carry more weight than others and are more likely to get viewed. Let’s look at those parts of your résumé so you can make sure that you are focusing your time and effort on the right things!

    The look and format-While the content of your résumé is always the most important, the formatting and visual appeal matters too. Most people can tell within seconds of looking at a résumé if ...
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  • 4 Soft Skills That Employers Are Screening For

    It’s important to realize that the résumé and the interview are measuring two completely different things. This is a conversation that I have frequently with clients. Generally speaking, your résumé is measuring your “hard skills” and the interview is measuring your “soft skills.” An exception to this would be if you are applying to a highly technical job, then you can expect an assessment or demonstration of your technical skills.

    Hard skills refer to things that are very specific and measurable such as knowing a foreign language or being able to write software programs. Hard skills are generally knowledge-based and often taught in school. Soft skills refer more to your personality and your emotional intelligence. Being able to communicate well, handle criticism and prioritize your time are all soft skills.

    While the résumé should mostly speak ...
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  • What Exactly Is A Job Search Strategy?

    I use the phrase “job search strategy” quite a bit with clients and I often wonder if I need to take a step back and explain what that actually means. It’s more than just fancy words that career coaches use to sell your services.

    There really is more than one approach to a job search and it matters very much which approach you choose. A strategy isn’t about the what, it’s about the how. Any time you craft a strategy to accomplish something, you are essentially asking yourself: How am I going to do this? What action steps will I take? What will be my message?

    Here’s a quick rundown of some of the components that make up your job search strategy:

    What type of jobs you look for: Are you looking ...
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  • Do Cover Letters Actually Get Read?

    So you’ve submitted your résumé, you’ve created a LinkedIn profile and you’ve sent the online application. I know what many of you are thinking: Do I really still need a cover letter? Does anyone read those anymore? Do I seriously need to have a résumé, LinkedIn profile, cover letter and fill out an online application just to apply for a job?!

    Look, no one said job hunting was easy, but I can take the mystery out of the cover letter issue for you. It’s nearly impossible to determine accurately if cover letters are getting read or not. Any statistics surrounding that are self-reported and we all know how that goes. It is generally estimated though that about 60% of cover letters don’t get read these days. While that doesn’t sound promising, that means that 40% of ...
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  • What’s The Big Fuss About Keywords?

    The big buzz these days when it comes to job search advice is keywords. It seems like every expert out there is shouting YOU MUST HAVE THE RIGHT KEYWORDS OR YOU’LL NEVER GET A JOB. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration but that’s what it seems like. The basic premise is that résumés are scanned through an applicant tracking system (ATS) and the applicants with the most keywords to match the job description will zoom to the top.

    I’ve worked for numerous companies, large and small, in my career. I’ve worked for large, global firms that have sophisticated systems and I’ve worked for startups with no ATS at all and just MS Excel spreadsheets. This has given me broad exposure to several different ATS programs and here’s what you need to know:

    They all ...
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  • Six Phrases to Never, Ever Put On Your Résumé

     There are certain words and phrases that have become very commonplace on résumés over the years.  Like most things in life though, change is a good thing. Ten or 15 years ago, saying that you had “demonstrated success” in a certain skill was completely normal and acceptable. Now, that phrase is so over-used and clichéd that it’s lost its meaning. On a résumé now, a phrase like that shows very little originality and effort.

    The good news is that modern résumés allow for a little bit more relaxed language and personalization. I’m going to give you permission to go ahead and throw away the following six phrases on your résumé and cover letter:

    Proven Track Record- This phrase absolutely makes my stomach churn because it’s possibly the most over-used résumé phrase. Not ...
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