Rules for the Resume: Formatting

Making Your Resume Appealing to Potential Employers

Your resume is the first thing an employer sees of you; as such, your resume is invaluable. Making it appealing to your potential employer is pivotal in getting your foot in the door. Different formats and templates exist for resumes, but how do you choose what format to put it in?

It comes down to the type of work experiences you’ve had and the type of position/career you’re after. Follow these basic tips for your resume:

Consider a Chronological Format

Most companies prefer a chronological format, in which you list jobs and experiences from the most recent you have had, then going backward. This is a universally accepted format and works well for most career choices and employers. Not only will they see your current position, which will be most relevant to the position you are actually applying for, but they will also be able to track your career growth as they follow your job history.

Showcase Your Skills

There are a few times when another format works better than chronological. For example, if you are a recent graduate or career changer, the chronological format won’t work as well because you may not have a solid listing of experiences or employers to list. A more functional format for you is one which showcases your skills and abilities. Your professional skills are important to list in all types of resume formats, but when you don’t have a solid listing of work experience, your skills and abilities need to be displayed in an effective, eye-catching manner. You may also include your volunteer experiences in addition to detailed descriptions of each work-related ability you have to offer your future employer.

Present Your Projects

Another type of resume format is the project-based layout. This is particularly effective for people who have a specialized title. This format will serve to showcase the projects you have completed in the past while putting an emphasis on your ability to multi-task. Project managers and specialized consultants often prefer this layout as it details the most important aspects of their careers.

Design Tip

There is no shortage of resume designs and templates online and built into word-processing programs. Choose one that is professional and opt away from one that is too colorful or uses an odd font. Note: Some color can make your resume stand out, but choose wisely.

If you’re unsure of what format to go with, we recommend sticking with chronological. We also recommend speaking with a professional, such as your consultant at a staffing firm, who can point you in the right direction as well.

Wanted: Valuable Skills

It probably comes as no surprise that your list of skills is a pivotal part of your resume. Your skills are what defines your working ability and, as you may have guessed, your potential employer is looking for specific skills that show you are the right person for the job. Many jobs require a list of technical skills, but other skills are universally sought after by employers. And while your Skills section on your resume looks amazing on paper, you also need to back them up and demonstrate your abilities for each.

Communication

Communication skills are universal; all employers want an employee who can effectively speak and, in most cases, write. Listening is also a large part of communication. So how do you demonstrate your communication skills?

The first step is your resume. Your resume should be efficiently written and free of spelling and grammatical errors.

The next step is being prepared for your interview. Before your interview, practice your responses to the typical interview questions; this helps you quickly and effectively answer the questions in a precise manner. Look your interviewer in the eye, answer quickly, and know what questions you want to ask.

Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is a strong skill for anyone to have. Being able to handle different projects at one time helps the interviewer gauge your ability to work under deadlines and get things done.

To showcase your multi-tasking skill, make a mental list of times you were “under the gun” and got things done correctly. Put a large emphasis on difficult tasks you completed in previous jobs. Let your interviewer know how you prioritize tasks and can juggle multiple projects at one time.

Problem-solving

Problem-solving is another universally demanded skill. People with this skill are able to be in a difficult situation and come up with creative ways to overcome them. Problem-solving is an ideal skill for anyone who works in a customer service position, but it’s also imperative for other fields. Give examples of difficult situations you overcame and how you did so.

Conclusion

While these are only three examples of universally sought after skills, they are three of the most important. During your interview, ensure you are able to effectively communicate your skills and develop an action plan to show your interviewer why you’re the best candidate for the job.

Setting Goals: How to Set Goals in Your Personal and Professional Life

Goal-setting is something everyone does in some way or another. Whether it’s saving for a new car or vacation, or having a five- and/or ten-year professional plan, people have goals. In the workplace, setting goals for the entire team and individuals alike can promote a level of efficacy that surpasses expectations.

Setting goals in the workplace involves having a written down, clear-cut plan of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. This is particularly important in any sales environment. Goals can be in the form of quotas; for example, each employee needs to make X amount of dollars in sales each day or create X amount of new contacts in a week. Having these goals not only sets a standard that each employee needs to rise to, but also helps boost productivity by making it somewhat competitive, even if employees aren’t directly competing with each other.

What, Why, How and When

Before setting goals for the company and employees, it’s important to look at what needs done and why it needs done. The why is the most important. Next, it’s important to have an achievable method of reaching the goals, or the how. Finally, you need to set a standard for when the goal needs to be met. Look at previous sales or employee efficiency to create a deadline for reaching the goals. Again, it is important that the deadline be achievable, even if it is a bit difficult.

Positive Reinforcement

Let’s face it, all people work better when there is some type of reward at the end of the tunnel. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant reward, but positive reinforcement goes a long way toward achieving goals — even if it is a pat on the back and public recognition within the company for going above and beyond the call of duty to meet and/or surpass the goal. Additional rewards may include bonuses, small gifts (gift cards, lunch on the house, etc), or something along the lines of some extra paid time off.

Goal-setting is a great way to keep track of who is pulling the most weight and which employees are working hard to meet and surpass your expectations. It is also among the most effective ways to help boost your bottom line.

Using a Recruiter: Tips for Getting the Best Results

Many people have misconceptions about using a staffing firm or recruiter to aid them in their quest for the perfect career. Sometimes these misconceptions prevent people from taking advantage of a staffing firm or recruiter. Let’s get one thing clear: The firm and/or recruiter’s job is to find you a job and help companies fill positions. It’s a win-win for companies and you, the potential employee.

When you decide to put the misconceptions aside and work with a recruiter, there are a few things you should know before diving in. First, recruiters are professionals at reading people. They have to be; the success of their company lies in them finding the perfect match. That being said, a recruiter is going to analyze your attitude right off the bat. When you first meet your recruiter, be professional, courteous and make eye contact; in short: be yourself (but the best you can be). Be open, answer their questions and show them that you are the ideal candidate for a position they are trying to fill. Treat this as you would an interview with a company because IT IS.

When answering questions from the recruiter, be as specific as you can be. Let them know the tasks you handled at your previous job, even some of the more mundane ones. Play yourself up while still being honest; sell yourself. Opening up your work history and tasks you’ve managed plays an important role in the recruiter assessing your abilities. You may not think that a certain, everyday task you handled previously is important to the job you’re applying for, but it could very well be.

While the relationship with your recruiter should be maintained as a professional relationship, also realize that they are there to help you. Ask them any questions you have regarding the process, hiring companies, etc. Follow up with your recruiter on a regular basis to keep yourself fresh in his mind (not that he will forget you, but this also helps your recruiter keep your details in the forefront).

Working with a recruiter can be an excellent way to find your dream position. The recruiters know where the jobs are, and they are often privy to jobs that aren’t posted elsewhere. In today’s world, networking and making contacts can go much further than what’s listed on your resume, and the recruiter is a great contact to have on your side.

Do You Have What it Takes to Lead in the Professional World?

In every situation in life there are leaders and followers. While the leaders often take the grandest recognition, being a follower isn’t always a bad thing. Also, being a leader doesn’t always mean you’re the boss, manager or supervisor at your job. Natural born leaders have a few character traits, many of which you may have, as well. Many of these traits come naturally; however, you can also work to hone these character traits.

Lack of Ego

It may seem like common sense to assume natural leaders have large egos. This can’t be further from the truth, however. Natural leaders are able to suppress their own egos and make things work as a team. They are the best team players out there, and able to give recognition to other team members without trying to steal someone’s thunder. They are confident and able to offer ideas and support throughout projects. Some may confuse self-confidence with a large ego.

Communication

Natural leaders have an innate ability to communicate every detail, making sure everyone is on the same page. They will also use their communication skills to find out what others want and any issues going on with a project or work environment. Their communication skills also make them great listeners.

Standing Ground

Conflicts arise in everyday life, including at work. A conflict may arise with a fellow worker or with a client. Natural born leaders are able to tolerate conflict in a way that shows they won’t back down; however, they’re not often bullies during a conflict. Their ability to effectively communicate comes into effect during conflict. They won’t run from it, and they will go after what they want, but they will not snake or sneak to get it.

Transparency and Integrity

While there are stories of deceitful people making it big in the professional world, natural born leaders have unrivaled integrity. They are honest and transparent, allowing them to be fully trusted by coworkers, supervisors, clients and, well, everyone. Besides honesty, integrity also includes doing things the right way, giving credit where it’s due and owning up to mistakes.

Conclusion

Do you have these qualities? Are you looking to move up professionally and develop these skills to become a leader? While these traits are typically natural, there are a few you can work on to more fully develop your leadership skills. For example, many people avoid conflict, but you can stand your ground (even if it takes practice doing so). You can also work on your ability to communicate your feelings and desires in the workplace without overstepping your boundaries.