Posts tagged #Skills

Your Resume: Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

I am often asked to review clients’ resumes and provide feedback. While I try to accommodate these requests, I do first disclaim that I'm not an expert in resume writing and suggest that anyone seeking those services should hire a professional resume writer. However, what I can do is provide you with some general tips to improve yours right now:

  1. Look at job postings online and design your bullet points based on the requirements. If you're seeking a particular job or industry, it’s important to read as many postings online as you can and use the content to your benefit. The purpose here is to gain clarity on employers' needs by identifying the main points of the job descriptions. Then make sure the bullets on your resume answers those needs but make sure you use your own words (no one likes a plagiarizer) and always be truthful. It’s more than ok to be creative and show how your skills (both hard skills and soft skills) can contribute to an organization, however, it’s another to flat out lie.
  2. Use your resume as a self-promotion tool. If you don't promote yourself, no one will. This is where many people miss the mark. This doesn't mean be cocky or arrogant, but I’ve seen it time and time again, highly successful people diminish how valuable they are and how much they are capable of. And by the way, myself included. I recently had a conversation with a headhunter (not for a job… I met him at a friend’s house). He asked me about my professional background, looking for my resume, it seemed. After going through the play-by-play he commented on how impressed he was by how much I’ve done in my career. But if you asked me to sum up what I had told him I might have taken a different route, diminishing my extensive experience. Get the point?
  3. Your resume is for self-promotion, but ultimately it's just a formality. It will not land you any job. Only you will, in person. While you must have a top-notch resume, its purpose is to tell only part of the story. With the job market still tight at best, it's more important than ever for job seekers to take a creative approach to landing their next gig. Finding a job through a blind online submission is possible but it is almost as likely these days as winning the daily numbers lottery. In today's market I cannot stress enough how important it is to get in front of the interviewer either through networking, cold-calling, knocking on doors or through a LinkedIn introduction.

 

Posted on May 23, 2013 .

No Job? Got College Debt?

It's easy for college grads to get caught up in the massive nation-wide problem of no jobs and high student loan debt. Deemed a national crisis, this situation has left many feeling hopeless and even paralyzed because finding a solid job that will pay enough to live while repaying exorbitant debt can feel like climbing a steep mountain. The best you can do at this point is to avoid surfing websites that repeatedly cover this topic and start doing what you can to chip away toward eventual freedom. Constantly listening to or reading how bad things are will only make you feel worse. So, here are three things you can start doing right now that will empower you and even build skills that could be useful to you in your career.

  1. Be scrappy and focus on what you can control over rather than what you can’t. This might mean working more than one odd job or spending your free time networking and meeting with people who might lead you to a career opportunity. If you think you don’t have a viable network, begin with alumni from your college, older siblings' or your parents’ friends. You will be surprised by how quickly you can build a network, which will become one of your greatest assets.
  2. Come to terms with what you are willing to give to get what you want. Chances are you're currently living at home with your parents and are not in a financial position to move out. Rather than complaining, think of this time as a means to an end and use it to work as hard as you can at any job, even if flipping burgers or washing dishes. Save as much as you can while still paying off your loan. Time flies when you’re having fun so find joy in this process. Remember, the good news is that you are taking control of your life and from this experience you will walk away with gratification that you’ve paid off your loan, with money in the bank so you can live on your own, and with skills (even if only soft skills) that you can take with you to your next job.
  3. Do whatever it takes! Take an internship or unpaid job opportunity along side working the odd job or jobs you have now. An internship is a great way to get a foot in the door, even if unpaid. Yes, I know, you’ve spent the last four years working hard in school and you feel that you should be paid for your time. And you should. But It’s important to get experience, so rather than get caught up in the vicious cycle of needing experience to get a job but needing a job to get experience, offering your time for free will allow you an opportunity to show how valuable you are to the organization. Even if that company doesn’t hire you, you will have experience on your resume for other opportunities.
Posted on May 16, 2013 .

On The Recent College Talk: To Go or Not To Go?

All the recent talk about college, and the cost-benefit of attending, is leaving many confused about whether or not going to college is really worth it. To sum it up:

A college degree today is like a high school diploma of yesterday. It's not necessarily going to prepare students for the real world but it's a resume 'must-have' to avoid being ruled out before you even get a foot in the door of the interview process. As a New York Stock Exchange veteran, I have worked with many successful people who never went to college. Some made it through their careers without boundaries and others hit ceilings once their jobs were replaced by technology.

College is an important piece of the puzzle but it's a mistake to think that a solid college education will guarantee success in life. High school graduates should not miss out on the experience, but parents should avoid making the mistake of financially overextending because they believe a more expensive college will better prepare their kids and ensure future success. That is one of the greatest myths of our education system.

Rather than focusing on brand-name colleges, it would be beneficial to look for programs that require, or at least encourage, students to gain college credit for apprenticeships or internships that work along side traditional classroom courses. This will not only result in a more well rounded graduate, but it will allow the student to gain practical skills that the classroom cannot provide. And finally, real world experience gives a student the opportunity to get a head start on creating his or her network and on building a track record through performance and contribution to the organization.

Posted on May 5, 2013 .