Category: mock interviews

Don’t Hire a Résumé Writer Before Taking These Preparation Steps

For those of you who have been out of the job search for years or maybe even decades the barebones classified section of the Sunday newspaper may come as a surprise. Gone are the days when you could pick up a couple of the local Sunday papers and circle job opening ads that you could easily fax, or email your generic résumé to.

Today’s 21st Century digital job market can begin on your smartphone and an internet search, and winds a job candidate through tunnels and caverns of steps from the initial application process, through perhaps several interviews, until you get to the final decision stage. Since this process can be so daunting and a job in itself, many folks enlist the help of a résumé writer or career coach who can help them put their best foot forward. What some don’t understand is that career coaching and even résumé and LinkedIn profile writing MUST BE a collaborative process between the client and the writer. 

The writer cannot create a compelling career story without your input.

  • You will be throwing away the money you pay the writer if you pay and then disappear expecting them to write your career story without your detailed information.
  • You risk not providing enough material to the writer that helps them create a keyword optimized résumé that boasts about 1000 characters (with spaces) within a two-page résumé.
  • Yes, a two-page résumé by the mere fact that it is two pages allows for a more keyword infused document that applicant tracking systems like.
  • At The Talent Mill / #JobSearchSuperhero we believe that a résumé’s length should be determined by the client’s years of service, their industry, the number of relevant awards, courses, certifications. In other words, each project is different, and it is not a sin to use a two page or even a three-page résumé.

So, before you search for and hire a résumé writer, you should prepare by doing the following.

*Write down notes about your career story or answer a couple of the writer’s questionnaires to provide them with content, clarity, and clear/concise information for the writer to tell a compelling career story and highlight key points in your accomplishments.

We believe that everyone can come up with accomplishments if he or she thinks back on his or her life. Keep in mind these essential facts while writing:

  • What kind of job are you seeking? To target your resume so that an actual person will see it, you should provide at least two job advertisements to the writer.
  • The writer can then scan the document against the job ad to make sure that the targeted industry and job role keywords are in your new resume. The days when you could use a “basic resume” to submit to a potential employer are long gone. It would significantly improve your chances of your résumé being seen by a human if you edit each résumé before you upload it to a corporate or recruiter website to apply for an advertised position. Your résumé will be analyzed by algorithms using whatever search query the hiring manager or recruiter entered on their end. That is why keyword dense (2 page) résumés for a mid-career to upper management person increases their chances of hitting the right target keywords and selected to be shown to the recruiter in a search for candidates.
  • What are your job titles? If you have had many years of service/employment for the same company, you must have changed roles or moved up the corporate ladder. It would be best if you were prepared to provide the writer with the job title, dates held, accomplishments, and description of what the role is.
  • What are your accomplishments? To make your resume stand out, you must show your achievements and how you helped the company. Did you bring in more clients? Have you trained people? Did you earn any recognition? How is that company better off from the service you provided for them during your time with them?
  • What honors or awards have you received? During the course of your career make sure you can document and share all the honors and awards earned over the years of employment. If you have any copies of annual reviews or reference letters from management share them with the writer.
  • What kind of professional development did you receive? Were you sent on a corporate outing or given any education to improve your performance, on the job training, and then received certification for that workshop?

After the client has provided this information they should also adhere to this:

  • Have access to a computer or laptop so they can enter their edits and promptly return them to the writer. (All free public libraries offer the use of computers)
  • Client’s cannot expect to efficiently edit their résumé on their mobile phone when necessary which will be quite often. It would be best if they at least owned a tablet with a keyboard. Microsoft Word .doc and .docx files are sent to the client along with a basic ASCII text file. They can also usually be edited and opened/viewed on free software like OpenOffice.org or LibreOffice.org however the writer is not responsible for, nor can guarantee document compatibility between software. Therefore your document may look skewed or resized. For this reason, we at The Talent Mill also include an Adobe PDF file that maintains the format. We provide our clients clear instruction with their final files on which files to use for which type of application, interview, etc.

Communicate with your writer and reply to emails which can be several during the writing process of your documents.

  • Get all the questionnaire answers back to the writer quickly. If the writer does not have information, they can’t write your resume. Remember they don’t know you personally. They ethically cannot just copy and paste data or job descriptions from another online résumé. It is imperative that the client provide answers. The career writing project is a collaborative effort, so the client needs to make themselves available to work with the writer. This is generally handled through emails or a quick text or call.
  • Résumé writers try to finish projects promptly since they continue to see more and more clients in today’s tight and downsizing job market. Most writers are usually working on documents for anywhere from two to ten clients simultaneously. Most projects are typically completed within the 7-10 day average industry turnaround time, dependent on how quickly the client returns emails, questionnaires, or text message replies from the writer or writer team.

REMEMBER: Achieving an impressive new résumé and other career documents or online profiles is a TEAM EFFORT between the client and their writer! Neither should go it alone.

Best of luck in your job search! ~Mill and the writing team 

*Need us to do it all for you? Text us at 201-667-2994 or drop us a note at https://JobSearchSuperhero.com/contact-form 

How to Handle a Job Interview If You Were Fired

by The Job Search Superhero Coaching Team

 

Many job-seekers today are using the web and apps to search for jobs all the time. From the time during World War II when health benefits became tied to our jobs, in many situations’ employees have been overstaying their productive years of service to an employer just to maintain their health benefits. Work scenarios like this can become toxic and inefficient as the unhappy employee tries to keep a balance between working at their current job while trying to search for their next job. In this article that speaks to why employers pay health insurance in the first place, Daniel Akst explains several ways that our current economy is being hurt by this continued practice. Although the article is from 2003, its many points are still relevant today.

Is your current job making you miserable?          Were you fired?

“There is no good reason for any of this, aside from historical accident. During World War II, federal wage controls prevented employers from wooing workers with higher pay, so companies started offering health insurance as a way around the law.” Of course, this form of compensation is still considered a form of payment as part of the hiring package today. When the war ended, the practice stuck and the rest, as they say, is history.

WWII tied US health benefits to employer

When employees try to conduct private job searches, they are caught in a precarious situation where they must try to look for their new job while still working for the current one that’s making them miserable. It is a fine line to walk.

Despite LinkedIn’s Open Candidate feature stating that they will try not to reveal your job search to your current employer, they explicitly say that there are no guarantees. If you find yourself in a situation where your employer finds out you’re looking to make a move and fires you, then that brings an added issue for your next interview. If you are at all concerned that the new company you are applying with will check all of your references then be upfront. At the very least most potential employers are sure to ask why you left your last job.

If you’re actively looking for work you should turn this feature on, however if you’re still employed be very careful.

If you find that the jobs you are interviewing are in line with your skills, but you aren’t going far in the interview process once they find out you were fired, you might be getting blacklisted. But don’t worry, there are ways to overcome this problem, and we can help. Besides helping our clients with mock interviews for their interview practice and preparation, we also help them to formulate their responses to the tough questions about why they were fired from their last job.

You’re fired now what?

As difficult as it seems, the best industry advice is that if you know they will verify your employment, then bring the topic of your being fired up yourself. Being upfront and honest about how you parted ways with your last employer has been shown to be the best approach for this difficult situation.

 

1) We know that it sounds better to use the terminology “I was let go because…” as opposed to “I was fired because…” so make sure to use the first and not the second statement.

2) Explain why you were let go. Do not go into extra details or information they did not ask for. Remember “less is more.”

3) Explain what you learned from that experience and how you will use your newfound knowledge to improve in your next job role.

For Example:

“Unfortunately, I was let go from my last job. I learned a lot from this experience and found out that I really thrive in job roles that engage in (fill in the blank from job ad). I am very excited about and interested in this job because (fill in the blank from job ad) is one of my strongest skills and that seems to be one of the most important duties of this job role.”

You will still likely encounter some people that don’t want to hire you because you were let go. It is out of your control that some companies can’t look past your imperfect work history and give you a chance. We personally believe that everyone deserves a second chance to prove themselves and there are many others out there that will too. The interviewer could be passing up on the most successful and dedicated employee, and it’s your job to convince them that your seemingly lousy experience actually helped you grow and learn a valuable lesson you can bring you to your next work assignment.

 

Practice practice practice in mock interviews!

Make sure to start developing your LinkedIn profile and working on getting recommendations from former co-workers at your previous employer if they are willing to do this. Or they can write you an email reference. Remember to start building connections on LinkedIn and in local community career groups as they can help tell you about open jobs and perhaps get you in there with a word to the hiring manager.

Build your network before you need it

You should always anticipate that the company or recruiter will likely reach out to your past employer to try to get their side of the story. Fortunately, most companies are afraid of lawsuits, so the usual safe reply they stick to is “we only confirm dates of employment and job title.” One of the services we provide to our clients is to call their past employers for professional references and then we report what they say back to our job-seeking candidate. This way they can know what their last employer is saying about their time working for them. Many companies have existing employees sign non-disclosure and separation agreements before they release any severance pay. Make sure to read the fine print that way you will know if either one of you are violating the terms of your separation agreement.

Do your own background check pre-interview or hire a professional agency like The Talent Mill to do it for you.

Remember that you are not the first to be let go from a job, or to leave on bad terms. Many have found great jobs after that. So, don’t let anxiety kill your job search and stick to your exit story. Do not embellish. Do not talk bad about your previous employer, and just explain how valuable the experience was and how you will switch it up and use it to do better work.

Think positive thoughts. Practice your interview. Believe that you too can be hired = You are hired!

 

 

As always, we wish you the best of luck in your job search! 🙂

 

P.S. Look for new job search resource documents and templates to be added to our site in the coming weeks as we work to add more helpful tools for your career toolkit.

 

 

 

 

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General Disclaimer

We at JobSearchSuperhero.com, including The Talent Mill and/or Mill Montejo, are not recruiters. We do not provide, intend to provide or claim to provide job matching services. We provide coaching services utilizing our industry experience and the knowledge gained through our membership with various résumé writing and career non-profit organizations. We develop tools and methods also used by other national career coaches in order to help our clients job search. We do not and will not place individuals into any new jobs, positions or industries. We do not claim or guarantee that by purchasing our services you will find a job. These results are strictly dependent on the individual and the actions each individual takes given tips, resources, training, and advice, as well as the individual job-seeker’s personal interview style.  You alone are responsible for your actions and your results in your professional career. Any statements, training, advice, reports or mock interviews provided within our services, seminars, webinars, videos, chats, phone calls, and/or meetings are strictly our professional opinion. By law we make no guarantees or claims that you will achieve any results, including without limitation financial or employment benefits, from any of the service or opinions offered by JobSearchSuperhero.com.