Tuesday Tip: Remove irrelevant information from your resume

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It takes a Hiring Manager several seconds to scan your application and decide whether or not to consider inviting you for an interview. By cluttering your resume with information that is not relevant to the position you’re applying for, you are sabotaging your chances for landing that coveted job.

Here are some guidelines to help you improve your resume:

  • There is no need to mention your high school studies if you’re a university graduate.
  • Internships, college and summer jobs belong on your resume only if they are directly related to your target role, or if you have no other professional experience.
  • Objectives and “References available…” are outdated and take up valuable real estate that can be used for more important information.
  • Certifications, memberships and hobbies are to be mentioned cautiously. List only those that might contribute to your professional image.
  • Your headshot, marital status and religious views are most likely irrelevant. In fact, many companies will remove this information from your application so it does not affect their decision one way or the other.

Infographic: The Happy Secret to Better Work

Happiness at Work

On the Power of Personal Touch

Personal touch 1In this day and age, technology is an integral part of our lives. Being able to submit your job search application to dozens of companies online or reach a person on the other side of the globe in a matter of secondsis certainly very convenient. On the other hand, by shifting focus from “old-school” one-on-one interactions to electronic communication, jobseekers are robbing themselves of opportunities granted by tapping into the power of personal touch. So here are some tips on how to use that power to gain competitive advantage on the job market.

1. Drop off your resume in person

This approach might sound bold, but it’s in fact perfectly reasonable. By submitting your resume in person you demonstrate your initiative, your genuine interest in the position and your readiness to go the extra mile to achieve results – so kudos for you!

If you get a chance to talk to or at least introduce yourself to the HR – that’s perfect. However, even if they’re out or not receiving visitors, make friends with the receptionist (so they make sure that your resume reaches the right decision-maker) and don’t forget to smile and be nice to everyone else you meet (you don’t know who might end up your future interviewer, or even colleague or boss).

As a bonus, by deciding to visit in person you’ll get a feel for the general office vibe, which will help you decide if you’d be a good fit for this organization.

One thing to remember before you turn up at their door – do your research and be up-to-date on the company’s background to make a good first impression.

2. Use HR Manager’s name  

Such a simple thing to do, yet so often overlooked. Make sure you use the HR Manager’s name not only in letters, but also during the interview. Better yet, memorize as many names as possible during your first visit and greet people accordingly if you happen to meet again. This way you’ll easily create rapport and show how well you can build relationships with key stakeholders. And we all know how much employers value candidates’ soft skills.

3. Send a handwritten thank you note after the interview

People rarely receive snail mail these days (unless you count promotional messages and periodicals). So with hundreds of files landing on HR’s desk (and in their e-mail inbox) every day, a handwritten note from you will be bound to stand out. If you were interviewed by more than one person, make sure you thank each of them for their time and consideration. By doing this you will demonstrate your interest yet again and boost your chances of proceeding to the next stage of the selection process.

Have you used any of these strategies in your job search? Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in our comment section!

Tuesday Tip: Make sure that the contact information on your employment documents is complete, correct and appropriate

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Even if your credentials are a perfect match for the position, you won’t be invited to the interview unless the recruiter has some way of contacting you.

  • Forgetting to put your contact info on the resume sounds like a silly mistake, but it happens. Needless to say, it’s a fatal error.
  • Typos in your e-mail address and phone number will definitely hinder your chances of landing a job.
  • Use a professional e-mail address, preferably the one that contains your name. catlover85@mail.com or drama_queen2010@mail.com and the like are appropriate for personal communication with family and friends, but they don’t belong on a resume.
  • Think twice before including links to your social media profiles. Make sure that they will serve you well and contain no controversial or rude material. Portfolios, industry blogs and LinkedIn are acceptable, but only if they complement your professional image and are relevant to the position.

Using Google Alerts for Job Search Success

Google Alerts 1Google Alerts is a great tool that allows you to receive regular updates on selected topics of interest right into your inbox or RSS feed with none of the hassles of conducting a regular manual search. It can serve you well on all stages of job hunting, because with the help of this ingenious tool you can:

  • Zero in on target companies — Get notified of job opportunities the instant they appear on the Internet. Be up-to-date on the latest product launches and present a solution to a pertinent problem they’re facing to really stand out from the crowd of other job applicants.
  • Monitor your personal brand — Make sure your Internet activity supports your professional image and that no inappropriate content pops up when the prospective employer googles your name.
  • Stay on top of industry news — Be on your A-game for interviews and networking events.

The process of setting up an alert is very intuitive. Simply go to www.google.com/alerts and type in your search query, choose the type of results you wish to receive, frequency of updates and the way the messages are to be delivered — and presto, you’re all set. You should also consider using some of the following operators to narrow down your search results and save yourself time weeding through irrelevant information.

“ ” — Use the quotation marks to search for the exact phrase, rather than individual words.
Sample query: “Jack Welch”
Outcome: You will receive results only on people named Jack Welch. That means you won’t be notified every time the word “Jack” or “Welch” is mentioned on the Internet.

But wait, there’s more!

Tuesday Tip: Always target your resume and cover letter

TT - Target your resumeRecruiters receive hundreds (if not thousands) of applications for each advertised position. Being constantly bombarded with information, they simply don’t have the time to sift through all the irrelevant details until they finally figure out what a catch you are. The truth is harsh – if you don’t show the HR how well you fit the bill from the get go, your resume will end up in the trash. Spamming recruiters with generic documents is a sign of laziness and poor motivation.

To boost your chances of landing an interview (and make the Recruiter’s life much simpler), follow these four easy steps for targeting your resume and cover letter:

  1. Read the job description carefully
  2. Figure out what the employer needs
  3. Identify what you can do for their business, how you can meet (or even exceed) these needs
  4. Emphasize this information in your resume and cover letter

Yes, tailoring your job search documents to every single posting that catches your eye might be a tedious task, but it pays off handsomely.

Infographic: The 500 Year Evolution of the Resume

500 Years - Evolution of Resume