5 of the Biggest Resume Mistakes

The quickest way for your resume to get thrown out is to submit it with mistakes. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling that will cause your resume to immediately be rejected, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:

1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job, so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.

2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.

3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorable upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.

4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume. Big mistake. Most candidates won’t even make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.

5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 – 15 years of work experience. You don’t need to include everything you ever did.

If you have any stories about resume blunders, please share or comment below.

Building Rapport in Job Interviews

January 5, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

A new year brings new opportunities to make positive first impressions, whether it’s with new clients, networking connections, or with job interviewers. Especially in job interviews, hiring managers are looking for a certain skillset, but research is showing that building rapport is becoming increasingly as important. This could be described as communication that develops trust, chemistry, and establishes good relationships.

In a recent study led by Brian W. Swider, Georgia Institute of Technology, 163 mock interviewers were rated by competency after introductory small talk with an interviewer. The study showed that those who sparked a sense of trust with the interviewer received higher overall scores than those who did just as well on the interview, but did not build the same chemistry as the others (Wall Street Journal).
Although interviews can be nerve-wracking, it is important for candidates to show personality and try to build chemistry with the interviewer. Here are 3 tips to building rapport during an interview:

1. First and foremost, remember basic interview etiquette. Make sure that your appearance is appropriate for your interview and the job itself with how you dress and accessorize. Aside from dress, be aware of your body language and what you might be communicating with it. Make eye contact, smile, and avoid sitting with legs and arms crossed. Additionally, be polite and genuine when answering interview questions.

2. Find common ground with the interviewer. Making small talk is the key to building rapport, especially by finding shared experiences the two of you have in common. This can be done by actively listening to the interviewer, or simply paying attention to your surroundings. For example, you may walk into your interviewer’s office and notice that you are a fan of the same sports team, which immediately gives you a way to make a connection with him or her. Take note to analyze the situation first and be certain that the hiring manager is open to small talk to avoid coming off as too familiar and casual.

3. Show your personality. Interviews are chances to show off your personality that may not be obvious on your cover letter or resume. Being prepared to discuss your experience with real-life examples of work related other activities you are involved in. Remember to be yourself in your interview no matter how nervous you might be, and have a sense of humor. It is important to showcase the qualities that will give the interviewer a sense of how it might be to work with you.

Building rapport is a useful skillset to have not only for interviews, but also a variety of professions. What strategies have you used to build rapport during interviews?

Advantages & Disadvantages of Working Remotely

December 14, 2016

In 2015, it was estimated that almost 45% of US employees worked remotely, mostly from home.  By 2020, it is estimated that about 50% of the workforce will be working remotely. Cloud services, mobile platforms and videoconferencing have made remote work possible and very acceptable to both employees and employers.

Many industries are making it known that they are friendly to telecommuting including IT, HR/Recruiting, Education, Accounting, Health, Law, Marketing, Nonprofit, News/Media, Sports, and Travel. In addition, the site FlexJobs.com was created to help those seeking telecommuting opportunities connect with companies and jobs that offer remote work, flexible schedules, part-time hours and freelance assignments.

However, with everything, there are pros and cons. So before you make the change from working in an office to working at home or from another location, you might want to first consider these advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

Work from anywhere and anytime. No longer are you limited by a geographic location or a clock. Thanks to telecommuting, employees are now able to work from pretty much anywhere at any time of day. The traditional 9-5 working day no longer applies.

No daily commute. Most people don’t enjoy their daily trek into an office. Working remote allows you to avoid a lengthy commute by car, train, or bus which enables you to start your workday earlier and calmer.

Flexibility. You would be in charge of your own schedule and possibly more efficient. Working from home and the flexibility it offers, may also suit your family life.  You would have the freedom to run errands, take the kids to school, attend school or sports functions, etc. as long as you get the job done and meet any pre-established deadlines.

Less costly.  Working from a remote location or from home, means you save money on transportation costs, eating lunch out, and purchasing a business wardrobe. Unless you do video conferencing, you can wear informal clothes and no longer need to budget for that work wardrobe.

Better health.  Remote workers say they have more time to incorporate physical exercise into their day.  In addition, they are not exposed to sick co-workers. On the flip side, if you’re the sick person, staying home allows you to take care of yourself while still being productive.

Less interruptions.  Working remotely allows you to focus on the job at hand without the distractions of socializing and office chatter.  You have the ability to get into the zone and buckle down to complete your assignment.

Disadvantages

Need for high self-discipline. It takes a lot of dedication and self-control to work at home and not succumb to distractions. It’s easy to lose motivation and focus which are pitfalls to your success. Therefore, it’s important to be intentional about how you’re using your time. You need to structure your environment in such a way that keeps you engaged.

Lack of workplace social life. You can easily interact with co-workers and clients via technology but it’s not the same as face-to-face meetings, lunching together or just everyday banter. Remote workers often feel isolated.  To counteract isolation, try going into the office now and then or schedule lunch dates with bosses and colleagues.

Overlooked for promotions. There’s a danger of being overlooked for promotions or career development opportunities when working remotely. Those visible employees in the office who are aggressively campaigning for the position will probably have the edge. You can try and counter with regular visits to the office and open lines of communication. You need to express your interest in the upward mobility you want.

Total dependency on technology.  As a remote worker, you have to rely on email, smart phones, laptop, etc. to stay in contact with the office and clients. You are totally dependent on the right technology to be in business. It’s also up to you to keep up with technology that evolves so rapidly.

Blurred lines. You would think that working remote would allow you to enjoy more of a work/life balance but actually it doesn’t.  When you don’t have a clear separation of workplace and home space, they can blend together. You might not be able to just switch-off from work and find yourself constantly checking your smart phone and emails.

There’s no doubt that remote work is on the rise. It’s easier than ever to stay connected in our era of email and smart phones and many employees believe it increases their quality of life.

Please let us know if you work remotely and if there are any other advantages or disadvantages than listed. You may comment below.

8 Etiquette Tips for a Lunch or Dinner Interview

November 1, 2016

By Nicole Dauria, Executive Recruiter

So you have been asked to a lunch or dinner interview….

One of the major reasons a future employer will ask you to a lunch or dinner interview is if the position you are interviewing for has a lot of client interaction, but whatever the reason, there are some good rules to follow:

  1. Being on time is the first order of importance. Make sure you have the address in your GPS, you have allotted enough time for traffic, and time to get lost and also find parking.
  2. Dress for success. If you’re not sure of the attire, it is always best to over dress than under dress as a rule of thumb.
  3. In the day of having your cell phone managing much of your life, this is the one opportunity you need to TURN IT OFF! There is nothing worse than trying to have a conversation with someone and they are constantly looking at their phone. First impressions are everything and you don’t want to ruin an interview by not making eye contact or being distracted because of your phone.
  4. One of the most important facts you need to keep in mind is what to say and not to say during an interview. NEVER say anything bad about anyone or anything. You never know the affiliations your interviewer may have. Most of all, never talk with a mouth full of food.
  5. In the event you have never taken an etiquette class, there is plenty of information on the Internet to help you through dining etiquette.  Just remember to not talk with a mouth full of food or eat with your hands. Just imagine your mother is sitting next to you!
  6. Greeting your interviewer with a firm handshake and make sure you make eye contact is a must. Thank them for having you when you meet and make sure to thank them for the meal afterwards. This is the best time to ask for that next step in the interview process too!
  7. Make sure you are polite and courteous to the wait staff as well as everyone that joins you for the meal. Keep your conversation cautious and not overly personal. The majority of the interview should be taking place before the meal is served so the conversation can flow and not be interrupted by chewing food.
  8. What to order and not order off the menu is important too. NEVER order alcohol even if everyone at the table is drinking. Try not to order an entre that will entail you eating with your fingers like ribs or chicken wings. It’s a good idea to only order a desert if the interviewer is doing so and asks you if you want something. Most importantly, don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu!

Good luck and bon appetite!

5 Ways to Ruin an Interview Without Being Late

October 18, 2016

By Jessica Ondo, Recruiter, Direct Consulting Associates

Talking too much

Interviews are two sided, an opportunity for the employer to asses potential candidates and for potential candidates to asses potential employers.  Quite often, the positive feedback we receive from candidates is due to their having just spent an hour or two sharing their life story.  Usually, the feedback from the employers on the same candidates results in a thumbs down.

The golden rule for an interview for all candidates is to find a way to speak no more than 40% of the time.  Be aware of your chattiness, your audience, and be prepared with intelligent talking points to prevent a rambling interview.

Attire

Dress one or two steps above your title.  If you are interviewing for a manager or director role, you might be required to dress business casual with an occasional tie.  For your interview, wear a tie and a jacket!  If you are interviewing for an entry level role fresh out of college, dress sharp!  While a suit and tie might be overdoing, it is always a good idea to be over dressed than under.  Underdressing yields an aura of overconfidence and often arrogance.

One to two times a month, we receive less than flattering feedback on candidate’s attire.  Be sure to dress up a step or two to ensure you dodge this bullet!

Not being prepared

Research the company! When asked, “So what do you know about ABC Company?” PLEASE……..don’t answer, “Well, I know a little bit, but can you tell me more about the organization?”  This is the quickest way to find oneself fighting an uphill battle.  On the other hand, answering the question with the following would show your vested interest in the opportunity, “I’ve had an opportunity to do quite a bit of research on your website, LinkedIn, and industry related newsletters.  I found it interesting how philanthropic your group is and your involvement in XYZ charities.  Furthermore, some of the changes and your top initiatives for the next year seem exciting.”  Enough said.

Finally, have questions prepared to ask about the company, the team, what makes people stay/leave and remember to keep all questions open ended.  This will allow the interviewee to gain the most insight about the opportunity.

Complaining about former employers

RED FLAGS!  No hiring manager wants to hear a sob story (right or wrong) about why you’ve been mistreated, lied to, and your career trajectory has been stunted.  Of course, things are certain to change, you’ve just had bad luck for the last 30 years right?  Not so much!  Talking negatively about previous bosses, employers, and colleagues will not give the hiring manager the feeling that you are willing to take on challenges, fight battles with colleagues, and overcome obstacles to better the organization.

It is okay to discuss reasons you are exploring opportunities but knocking your previous jobs is never a good idea.

Hygiene

Be on your “A” game!  Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression.  Regardless of your daily habits, be showered, don’t overdo the cologne/perfume, and be well groomed.  Who knows, you might walk in the door and interview with a bunch of folks looking like cavemen/women in which case your habits can change AFTER you get the job.  However, always err on the side of caution and recognize the person interviewing for the job will be viewed on a different level until they get hired and become productive.