Expert Advice

Full-length articles, listicles, videos, and other resources to guide you in making great decisions in terms of your resume, interviews, job search, and overall career trajectory.

1 or 2 pages?

This concern is valid, especially since lengthy resumes can make an applicant appear arrogant, unfocused, anxious, old, or overqualified.

So how do you know when to stop writing? Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Resumes

After sending out 1000+ resumes with not a single job offer, a job seeker concluded that he needed to lie on his resume. In his case, he felt he was overqualified and therefore needed to dumb down his resume to get some interviews. It’s my estimation that he’s looking in the wrong place Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Mature Workers, Resumes

Your negotiating power stems from your ability to demonstrate how your contributions will increase revenue and productivity and/or decrease costs and stress for your employer. Therefore, the earlier you talk about salary (without having first addressed the employers’ concerns), the worse your negotiating position. Here are some winning answers Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing, Salary

Ultimately, the choice is yours as far as who should speak on your behalf. However, here are some guidelines to help you figure out who are the best people to approach when searching for references. Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing, Networking

[There’s a widespread frustration held by business executives that their resumes’ cannot adequately describe “the real me”. I’ve challenged this notion with the following comments and suggestions:] Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing, Resumes

A software developer was looking to move further into management but had no idea how to build a resume to support this transition. I told him about some of the things I’ve done in the past to help clients do just that…”] Continue reading this entry »

Career Transition, Resumes

Online profiles (posted on networking sites, your own job-search site, and social spaces) are an excellent complement to your resume. Just be sure to leave at least a few questions unanswered. Continue reading this entry »

Interviewing

Looking for feedback on my work, I sent the exact same resume to 2 trusted recruiters and got the following 2 gut reactions:

– “Great format but the writing could be more salesy.”
– “Compelling content but the format is bland.”

The take-home message: You can’t please everyone.

That said, you can still win interviews Continue reading this entry »

Resumes

In my experience as a recruiter, career counselor, and professional resume writer, there’s no such thing as “no experience” — even for recent graduates and current students.

There’s plenty of other ways to fill space on a resume aside from listing paid work experience. Furthermore, if you’re applying for an entry-level job, it’s expected that you’ll have a slight if not non-existent job history. In fact, having less experience often works in the favor of entry-level candidates–since they’re viewed as open, ambitious, hungry, and above all else trainable employees.

Nevertheless, here are some ideas to fill an entry-level 1-page resume with more than just action verbs:

EDUCATION

Start with this section first, making sure the degree/certification you received is front and center. Then list relevant coursework, key projects/papers, commendations from teachers, research, on-campus memberships, event contributions, honors, awards, scholarships, sports (intramural, varsity, junior varsity), unit load (if impressive), and jobs used to help pay your way through school. And that’s just off the top of my head.

Even if all you did was sit in the classroom, you can list coursework, theses, and favorite classes/projects.

WORK EXPERIENCE

Admittedly this section may be quite lean but don’t forget to list internships, volunteer work, hourly jobs, and non-paid tasks such as childcare, elder care, contributions at a friend or family member’s business, or assistance to a teacher.

Even unrelated, unpaid work, at the very least will show you have a solid work ethic and are eager to learn new things and support others.

PERSONALITY TRAITS

Always include a list of soft skills such as Dependability, Good Listener, Punctual, Dedicated, Reliable, Meticulous, Organized….

These words will help inject your personality into the resume. Remember, when hiring people are trolling for an entry-level professional, they’re most interested in finding someone who is dependable, committed to helping the organization, and willing and able to learn new business processes and featured products.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

For recent grads these days, it’s almost a no-brainer to include computer skills but you should still make a list. The most commonly sought-after skills are Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), PC and Mac Skills, and sometimes Adobe Creative Suite (Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). But don’t forget to include database knowledge, typing speed, and any industry-specific software skills.

If you’re actually pursuing a position in technology, this section may be one of your biggest. Go crazy; just use subcategories to break up extremely long lists.

INTERESTS

This list should often go at the bottom of the resume since it’s more about what you’re looking for than about what the employer needs. Nonetheless, list your genuine interests related to your target job and target field.

In doing so, you’ll attract like-minded people. Also, should you land a job that aligns with your interests, it’s inevitable you’ll do well, impress people, and advance more quickly and deeper into areas you’re passionate about.

That should get you started. Again, there’s always something to say. And Congrats to you for embarking on a new career.

I love working with recent graduates and people in the midst of life transition. My background in Career Counseling really comes in handy, in this regard.

If you’re looking for some ideas, have a look at some easy-view resume samples here.

Or just give me a ring so I can help you realize just how much you have to offer.

LinkedIn's Best Answers, Recent Graduates, Resumes

An aggrieved job seeker, sick of hearing that functional resumes are the scourge of an HR person’s day, asked why this type of format is unfavorable. My response is to follow Continue reading this entry »

Resumes

ASCII (pronounced ask-ee) stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It’s the language by which all computers use to talk to each other.

So what’s that mean? Continue reading this entry »

Resumes

Executive résumés should be distinguishable from lower-rung résumés, even at a glance. However the differences don’t stop at appearance. There’s much to consider when developing and positioning content for senior-level résumés. You may be surprised at how many “golden rules” of résumé writing I’m about to break. Continue reading this entry »

Mature Workers, Resumes

A lot of us hate our job or at least see it as a grind. Getting up in the morning is a chore, there’s not much we look forward to. We become dichotomous in our thinking: “Maybe I should quit.” In other words, it’s either this crappy job or nothing at all. And leaving is often too big of a hill to climb. There’s another way.

Make your job suck less.

1. Find people who don’t suck, and hang out with them. Ask them what they do and what they like about it. They don’t have to be in your discipline, in fact, it might be better if they’re not. Most important, make sure this new alliance doesn’t turn into a venting session (for either of you).

2. Start a pet project. What change do you wish to see at work? What would give you energy if it was there waiting for you every day? Maybe it’s about addressing the culture of the company, maybe it’s about changing a process, or rearranging furniture. Own something and chip away at it. Create something to look forward to.

3. Expand your perspective. Pull back and look at the whole organization, the workflow across the entire enterprise, no matter how big. Which parts light you up. Are you touching them? How can you make it so that you are?

4. Harness your negativity in a positive way. Determine what’s frustrating you, get to the heart of it. If it’s mostly about you, that’s good news. That means you can change it. If the problems lie with the company, think about an alternative way of doing things. If it really catches fire with you, turn it into a proposal and bring it to a supervisor. Share it in earnest but as a proposal, not a demand. You may be surprised by the reaction.

5. Give yourself something to get up to. Try not to have your first thought be about the job you hate. Have your first thought or activity of the day be something good. This will shift your perspective for the rest of the day, including your perspective at work.

Sometimes, it’s not about leaving. It’s about tweaking. Change is at hand.

Career Transition, Job Market

Change Your Story, Change Your Life - Book Cover Image

I’ve helped thousands of people change their lives. I want to help millions. So I wrote a book explaining everything I do with resumes.

In this book, I share the perspective of the hiring manager, helping job-seekers know what he/she may be thinking as they read over a resume. I tackle every work history challenge possible and reveal how to tell your own BrightSide story in your resume.

Read Chapter One

Resources