Category: resume writing

One Question You Should Ask Before Writing Your Résumé

Dear Amy,

I hate my new job. I worked at my old company for 12 years but was let go in a major restructuring. I found a new job, and I’ve been here for four months, but I hate it, and I’m going to quit.

My question is: Should I include this job on my résumé?

— Wondering

Should I include a short job on my résumé?

This is a common question — but there is no simple answer. As with many job search-related issues, the answer is: it depends.

The first thing to consider when deciding whether to include a short-term position on your résumé is whether it was planned as a short-term position, or if it simply ended up that way.

If the job was a contract (or a contract-to-hire role that did not get picked up), the usual answer is: Yes, include the job on your résumé. Make sure to describe it as such: “Hired for temporary, three-month role during family leave of key staffer” or “Contract-to-hire position ended prematurely due to termination of company relationship with client.”

Hiring managers are often sympathetic to short-term engagements when the circumstances are explained.

If the position was not meant to be short-term, it may be wise to find a way to make it seem like it was not as short. You could include it on the résumé but list your experience by year, instead of month/year to month/year.

For example, list the experience as Bumblebee Incorporated (2019) vs. Bumblebee Incorporated (March 2019 – August 2019).

Also consider whether you can “group” the role with other positions. For example, if you had several short-term roles — even if they were not technically temporary jobs — think about whether you can combine them into a single description.

For example, if you had a sales role with company ABC for eight months but left for a better opportunity with company XYZ — but only worked there for a year — consider listing the positions jointly as “Sales Representative, ABC/XYZ” with the inclusive dates. This only works, however, if the titles and work responsibilities are very similar.

If the job was not intended to be short-term — but ended up that way because you were fired, or you quit because you did not like the job/company/people, consider leaving it off. But even in this situation, there are exceptions.

For example, did you learn any new skills in this role, or use any skills that are not described elsewhere on your résumé? If so, you may want to include the position so that you can highlight those skills.

Both hard skills and soft skills matter…make sure to mention any new skills learned that are sought after by your job target companies

Did you work for a name-brand company (for example, a well-known startup or Fortune 500 company) or did you work with a name-brand client in the scope of your work in that role? You may want to include the position on the résumé to increase the search engine optimization (SEO) of the résumé for applicant tracking systems — or simply to impress a hiring manager.

Will having this position on your résumé help position you for a career change? Even if your time in the position was not long, if having that experience on there helps you bridge the transition from one career to the next, consider including it.

Finally, is this role your only work experience relevant to your job target? For example, if you are a recent graduate but were “first in and first out” at your first job, consider including it if you were on the job more than 90 days. (Often the most recent person hired is the first person let go, and most hiring managers recognize this.) Having some experience — even short-term experience — is better than having no experience.

And remember, if you were laid off because of the economy, loss of a key company customer, or another reason unrelated to your performance, include that in the résumé (and possibly also the cover letter).

If, on the other hand, the role does not fit in the narrative of where you’ve been in your career — and, more importantly, where you’re going — consider omitting it. Sometimes you take a job because you think it will open doors or lead you to a new path, and it does not end up that way. If including the job on the résumé will raise more questions than it will answer, consider not mentioning it on the résumé. Especially if omitting it would not cause a significant time gap on the résumé.

For example, Ted left the military after a career in naval intelligence and took a job at a startup software company, working in their security department. After being on the job for a few weeks, he decided that the laid-back company culture was not suited to his personality and he left the role. Instead, he went to work for a defense contractor, and has been there for two years and has now decided to look for a new job. Ted may choose to omit the position at the startup from his résumé.

Remember, your résumé is not an obituary that lists every job you have ever held. Instead, it’s a marketing document whose content should support the job target you’re seeking.

Consequently, you may choose to only include the most recent 10-15 years of work experience on your resume. Not only can this help reduce the likelihood of age discrimination, but in a world where things change at a rapid pace, your older experience may no longer be relevant. You likely have newer skills, experience, and projects that better reflect where you are going, not where you have been.

However, you should not leave a job off your résumé that you held for any significant length of time (say, more than six months) just because you were fired (even for performance) because you do not want to talk about it. Instead, be prepared to address the reason for your departure (including taking responsibility for shortcomings in your performance) and being able to describe how you took corrective action to ensure the situation does not happen again.

For example, if you are sales professional who was let go because you missed two consecutive quarters of sales quotas, you might include the role on your résumé (especially if you were selling a desirable product or working with high-profile clients) but be ready to explain that you didn’t have the depth of product knowledge that you should have had in order to be successful in that position. This is a particularly effective strategy if you have been successful in previous sales roles, but just not in this one.

One important thing to note: If you are asked to complete a job application that requires you to list all positions you’ve held (read the application directions carefully!), you should include each and every role — no matter how short — particularly if you’re required to sign the application (and, therefore, attest to the truthfulness of the information included).

But on the résumé, you can decide which positions to include and exclude, and even how they are arranged.

Determining what to include — and what to exclude — on your résumé to maximize your chances of getting an interview is one of the important functions a professional résumé writer can assist you with. Having the guidance and experience of a professional to help you navigate your job search can save you time and money, landing you that dream job faster, and potentially even at a higher salary than you were expecting. Keep the easy to follow chart below handy when re-writing your résumé for that new job, so you can make the best decision about including all of your past job roles.

Need our help writing your résumé or LinkedIn profile just call/text us at 201-667-2994 or tell us about your job search needs at this link https://JobSearchSuperhero.com/contact-form

Does a Cover Letter Still Matter? (Template Included)

When I was applying for jobs in the 1980 and 1990s, having an appropriate introductory cover letter was not only expected, but also practically mandatory to submit along with my resume. The cover letter was the golden key to open the door to at least getting an interview with HR. It set the tone for what is to come. Hiring managers were all about the cover letter back then.

Fast forward to the days of the digital job search market. Should you include a cover letter with a résumé? That all depends.

To cover letter or not?

Why write a cover letter?

Nowadays, résumé writers write a cover letter that is fit to a specific job and its qualifications. Known as a “personalized cover letter,” this introduction tells recruiters that you are uniquely qualified for the advertised position. You have the qualities they are looking for.

The Cover Letter Structure

When perusing a job ad, you must have a connection that compels you to want to apply. The key here is to do your homework. Research as much as you can about that company so you can show how your philosophy aligns with theirs. There is a saying that “people understand the intellect but connect emotionally. The heart will always rule over the head.” Therefore, the cover letter must capture the reader’s emotional attention. How do you do this?

Make this job personal. We had a client who came from another country and wanted to change careers. As a plant manager, she decided she had a passion for real estate. We researched the company she wanted to work for, wrote her story, aligning it with the CEO’s story and goals, and addressing each of the job requirements. She got the job in about two weeks! See the cover letter sample template below and some headings that you can use in your cover letter.

1.    Problems I Fix

2.    Areas I Excel In

3.    What I am Passionate About

4.    How I Contribute to Team Goals

5.    My Proudest Moments

You get the idea.

(Image credit hloom.com)

See the sample template below to help to write your own compelling, personalized cover letter.

=============================

JANE DOE

Hollywood, CA 10000 | 555-555-5555 | jdoe123@email.com

November 11, 2015

General Hospital

12345 Hollywood Road

Hollywood, CA 10000

Career Opportunity: E.R. Information Receptionist (Hollywood) ─ Department 56789 ─ Req. #ER56789

Dear Hiring Manager:

WHY GENERAL HOSPITAL?

When I read your “Life at General Hospital” mission statement on your website, I quickly connected to your core values, including “collaborative…a place that values diversity…devoted to compassionate and comprehensive care for patients.” Your open position for an ER information receptionist aligns perfectly with my goal of working in a supporting role in a hospital environment.

I’M PREPARED FOR THE POSITION

My 6 years serving as a police department desk clerk with the New York City Police Department has given me the skills, experience, and knowledge necessary to add value and excellence to your E.R. team. I believe that quality care at any hospital is a team effort and that everyone the patient or their family encounters needs to have the same passion and goal of delivering a quality care experience.

What Your
Needs Are
What I Bring to the
Table
Interpersonal
skills to
effectively
communicate &
collaborate.  
Experience handling a
busy information desk in one of the busiest
precincts in Manhattan.  
Treats
co-workers,
patients,
and families with dignity &
respect.
Promotes an
environment
sensitive to
cultural
diversity.
As an NYC Information Desk Clerk,
these are core values that I adhere to,
and strongly believe in. I communicated
with the public and maintained a calm
and professional demeanor with highly
diverse communities.  
Ability to
set
priorities,
solve
problems,
use
proper
judgment
in difficult
situations
and be
flexible.  
I can re-prioritize on a
dime, using my
judgment in high
pressure situations to
solve and address
problems.

I am excited at the possibility of becoming a part of your team. Please call (111)-870-8758 for an interview.

Respectfully,

Jane Doe

Jane Doe

Encl: Resume

========================

When writing your cover letter simply follow the list of job requirements that you have copied and pasted from the job advertisement. I suggest that you address at least 6 to 8 points in the right column filling in your career story and skills. If you are uncertain if your cover letter made it through the ATS to a human, then you can even send it by snail mail along with a handwritten stickie (brief explanation or thank you for taking the time to read note).

The answer is to treat each situation separately and creatively for each client’s situation. We analyze each company’s size and culture, check to see if you are connected to anyone that could introduce you. Alternatively, perhaps they know a decision-maker that can pass along pass along your résumé. We believe that the cover letter can still work to set a candidate apart if used correctly in the right situation. If uploading to a website to apply, a good clue if the company believes in cover letters is how easy they make it for you to add one. Job seekers are coming up with many creative ways to stand out and called for the interview. For example, I read about an individual that uses “out of the box” tactics. He delivered a box of doughnuts to the hiring manager in person that contained his cover letter and resume. This may not be your cup of tea; however, this illustrates just one way each job seeker is unique in their own way of getting noticed.

Keep the cover letter in your career toolbox and pull it out when needed and appropriate. We hope this has helped you write your cover letter. If you would like us to research a company and write one for you, we customize cover letters for $89-99. Please send us a message at 201-667-2994 or https://JobSearchSuperhero.com/contact-form

Click Image to Upload Current Résumé or Cover Letter for a FREE CRITIQUE

Top 10 Resume Writers Fake List – Don’t Rank Me Bro!

By Mill Montejo

Fake top 10 resume writers lists by some “Guy”

BUYER BEWARE! I have become aware after direct assault to my own local traffic that over the last year and a half, hundreds of my fellow resume writers have been trolled by an Internet Marketer.

The “Guy” who will not be named because you don’t really search for his name and why give him extra Google traction. After all, you don’t search for his name. You search for a product and service that he claims to be the #1 at providing from here to Calcutta.

This Guy is not an expert in this service. He is simply a 26-year-old Internet marketer who sells job search services to executives for thousands of dollars. Lately, some of those genuine clients have started to leave him some real reviews like the two from Dawn S. and Sarah T. Pay close attention to not only the first but even a second response that he felt he had to leave to counter their statements.

This Guy has never been my client, or a business associate in any way. Where does he even get off reviewing his direct competitors without knowing their work directly, interviewing that specific writer’s clients, or even being an expert in the career services field? Until late 2018 to early 2019, I had never even heard of the dude. That is until the organization that I volunteered for during the first five years of my business and its members became the target of this character and the clandestine persona/s he portrays online.

The Guy’s Online Reviews of His Competitors

During 2018, and continuing into 2019, “the Guy” has attacked and tried to divert résumé writing work from legal and longtime U.S. and Canadian resume writing services and resume writers. This included:

• Likely buying paid links to generate traffic to his “conflict of interest” articles.

• Writing negative descriptions of resume writing services that are his competitors in multiple states in the country and rating his own as #1 in the same article.

• Engaging in making Libelous accusations regarding competitor companies.

• Engaging in sending threatening and nasty emails to his competitor, résumé writers.

• Contacting competitor writers through their contact forms on their website threatening them further when they reply to his fake top 10 list.

  • The Guy has been running a smear campaign against another writer who also happens to be an attorney that is fighting back suing him for deceptive marketing practices, libel, and defamation under Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the United States Copyright Act. Wendi Weiner is taking a stand for herself and for the résumé writing industry.

Actions to Protect the Public from Deceptive Reviews & False Claims

In March 2019, the Better Business Bureau asked this so-called expert to substantiate or remove his claims from his website and other locations. They then censured him when he did not comply with their request. To date he has:

• Removed some fake reviews from third-party sites.

• Added disclosures regarding conflicts of interest to 50 articles to his website that were missing before the BBB intervened.

Before the BBB’s censure action, two professional organizations removed the Guy from their membership in 2018:

  1. The Forbes-affiliated Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC).
  2. The Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW).

These sites may have also learned of his marketing practices and appear to have stopped him from posting:

  1. LinkedIn Pulse.
  2. Quora.
  3. Indeed.

Various organizations are beginning to become aware of his unprofessional and unethical behavior and have restricted his ability to post on their sites. The Guy now appears to be constrained to posting his attacks on competitors to his own website. Recently he posted a new press release to ramp up his SEO offering 100 free résumé critiques and the site took it down within hours. https://finance.yahoo.com/amphtml/news/disregard-release-profession-164500651.html

In April 2019, one writer that was reviewed, and harassed with emails and consecutive posts about her filed suit against him. In this web post Attorney and Nationally Certified Résumé Writer Wendi Weiner shares with us the federal court proceeding for deceptive or unfair conduct, and material misrepresentation.

The 10 Best Resume Writers Scam

Even though I wrote a cease and desist email to request that my company name and logo or website be removed from his bogus top 10 list, he removed me and simply swapped my business out for another never removing the article. The Guy’s website STILL currently contains “reviews” of the “10 best resume writers” as well as the top LinkedIn profile writers in which his company is named number one again.

These types of practices of listing a top search term like “job search” or “resume writer” in multiple cities relies on Google algorithm gaming techniques to steal traffic and business from other writers in those states. If you have a business in any of the below states you likely have lost business to this Guy’s unethical practices:

  • Allentown, Atlanta, Austin,
  • Boston, Bridgeport, Buffalo,
  • California, Calgary, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Colorado Springs, Columbus,
  • Dallas, Denver, Detroit,
  • Edmonton, El Paso,
  • Ft. Worth,
  • Grand Rapids,
  • Hartford, Houston,
  • Indianapolis,
  • Jacksonville,
  • Kansas City,
  • Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville,
  • Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Montreal,
  • Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, New Jersey
  • Orlando, Ottawa,
  • Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Providence,
  • Richmond,
  • Sacramento, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio,
    San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, Silicon Valley,
  • Tampa, Toronto, Tucson,
  • Vancouver, Ventura, Virginia Beach,
  • Washington, D.C., and Winnipeg.

This self-described expert career coach and #1 résumé writer in the world doesn’t appear to have hired any of the resume writers that he or his company reviews.

He continues to self-review his own company, and write articles that hurt the ranking of his global competitors. He now claims that he is the best résumé writing service in India and Australia.

There is no limit to what this Guy is the BEST at. Read all the negative stuff he has written to and about other professional writers in the links I have provided. He has even used foul language in the emails.

The Right Way to Find a Professional Resume Writer

The best way to find a professional résumé writer that engages in ethical practices, has some type of certification by a national organization, and participates continuous professional development is by going to the following pages:

  1. https://thenrwa.com/nationallycertifiedonlineprofileexperts for LinkedIn Profile Writers
  2. https://thenrwa.com/nationallycertifiedresumewriters for Nationally Certified Résumé Writers
  3. https://thenrwa.com/professionalresumewriters for Professional Résumé Writers

If you would like to see valid, verifiable reviews of my resume writing business, written by my clients, please click here or visit my LinkedIn recommendations. ~Mill Montejo

What You May Be Doing Wrong with Your Résumé and Why It’s Costing You the Interview

By Mill Montejo – The #JobSearchSuperhero

 

Why do job seekers insist on using one-page fancy/sexy resumes with photos that are hurting their chances of being selected for the interview? 

They’re sexy and short but the ATS doesn’t like them. Use them for the interview ONLY instead.

 

The answer here is that whoever is passing along this information must not be doing the research by speaking to the engineers of companies like Adobe, and the makers of ATS systems. If they did, they would realize that “No, lean/short résumés don’t really work with today’s ATS systems. Résumés have been getting longer and longer for more than ten years now. There are still recruiters who suggest one-page résumés, which is 1990s thinking. The nature of the workplace has changed dramatically since then. Young people can expect to change jobs 15 times or more during their careers, and even if they stay with the same company longer than 5 years, product-to-market times are so short that a résumé will contain lots of significant projects and title changes.”

-Pat Criscito – CPRW

Artificial Intelligence is the “first impression” that gets you the interview now.

 

 

Not only do short one page resumes not offer enough space to write all the keywords necessary to be scored higher by the ATS, but they don’t allow you to create enough white space for readability, and to include all the relevant information for consideration. “The most important thing is to get the résumé selected from the ATS system in the first place. Otherwise, it won’t be read at all. If that means the résumé has to be a bit longer, then so be it.” -Pat Criscito.

 

So the fancy one page resumes created in Adobe Photoshop, or PowerPoint with the candidates photograph on it are likely not being seen by a human because 1) they do not parse well when uploaded/submitted through a website, 2) if they are in PDF format there is a chance they will not be seen, and 3) the inclusion of the candidate’s photograph is actually frowned upon by most HR Dept’s because they want to avoid the appearance of practicing any “ageism” in their hiring practices.

 

A longer resume allows for additional keywords and white space for readability.

 

What is it about keywords and how can I make sure I’m using them correctly?

Our resident Job Search Superhero at The Talent Mill writes lots about keywords, keywords, keywords. The reason is that this is where the initial recruiting and hiring process is handled. With so many applicants applying to limited jobs companies employ the help of machine learning software first before a human even sees the resume. This makes it a priority for either you or your resume writer to always identify targeted keywords from the job advertisement you are pursuing, and work to insert them into appropriate sections of your career document.

Please DO NOT believe the misguided advice that résumés should only be one page in length. At the National Resume Writers Association, writers subscribe to the idea that a modern, professional resume should be “as long as it needs to be to present relevant, concise information that will properly position the candidate and distinguish them from the competition. If that can be accomplished in one page fine, but we should not get hung up on the length of the resume as long as it includes relevant and targeted information.”

-Norine D’Agliano – Résumé Writer & Trainer

You should also keep in mind that a longer resume can create more keyword density and is likely to be scored higher by the Applicant Tracking System. Optimizing your resume with targeted keywords from the job ad is an excellent strategy when you are trying to work less at your job search. A keyword-dense resume will help recruiters find and contact you instead of the other way around.

In this digital job market each resume must be targeted to the job advertisement keywords.

 

Why are “keywords” so crucial in today’s job search?

Even though you must first know what problems companies in your target industry are having that they need to solve in order to sell your skills to them, using the right keywords is the first ticket to the interview because they will be reviewed and selected by a software search string (whatever the recruiter or hiring managers enter). Keywords are job-specific terms, industry-specific language and abbreviation, jargon, acronyms, and even buzzwords.” Keywords in a resume should mirror the industry and employer language. See some examples of industry keywords below that should also be inserted into LinkedIn and your resume to help them match you to open jobs.

  • Degrees (e.g., “MBA,” “BA in Business Administration with a Minor in Marketing”)
  • Industry Certifications (e.g., “CCNA,” “CPA,” “CFA,” “MCP” “CPRW” “NCRW” “ACRW”)
  • Job Titles (e.g., “District Manager,” “Pharmaceutical Sales,” “Administrative Assistant,” “Operations Manager”)
  • Job Functions (e.g., “Office Management,” “Payroll,” “Grant Writing”)
  • Computer Applications (e.g., “MS Office Suite,” “Word,” “Excel” “PowerPoint” “Publisher” “Visual Basic” “VBScript”)
  • Industry-Specific Terms and Programs    (e.g., “Six Sigma Black Belt,” “HIPAA Compliant”)
  • Employer or School Names (Names of employers are used to recruit from the competition)
  • Hard Skills (e.g., “Web Development,” “Network Security,” “Accounting”)
  • Soft Skills (e.g., “Teambuilding,” “Problem-Solving”)

 

Keyword Stuffing

When stuffing your LinkedIn profile and resume with job-specific keywords you should always try to follow the writing methods that professional resume writers use to maximize keyword density. They include all possible formats of the keyword somewhere on your resume.

For example, here’s how a professional with an MBA listed this qualification on her resume:

UNIVERSITY NAME – City, ST

Master of Business Administration (MBA), 2004

Earned a master’s degree in business administration while working full-time.

In the example above both “MBA,” “Master of Business Administration,” and “master’s degree” were included, so that regardless of how a recruiter entered this keyword combination during a search, their resume would be “found” and register a “hit.”

 

One warning: DO NOT type in additional keywords in a white colored font to attempt to game the system by making the extra keywords invisible to the human eye. The ATS will still be able to read them in the underlying code. The reason I say this is because when the recruiter receives your resume it will be sent as an image with all of the keywords the recruiter selected (and you typed in white) highlighted in yellow. You will be BUSTED, and never to be trusted, and it is very likely that your resume will wind up in the trash.

 

 

How do I know if a small company is using an ATS to sort through resumes?

From our research as well as colleague Pat Criscito’s extensive research and ATS Engineer interviews we know that “100% of Fortune 1000 companies use ATS and 80% of small/medium businesses use them (100 to 15,000 employees).” We know for a fact that small companies create more jobs in the U.S. than larger companies. We should also keep in mind that many companies outsource their hiring tasks to recruiters and almost 100% of them use Applicant Tracking Software.

So the bottom line is that there may be many companies and individuals out here trying to sell you on using a one page-resume, or putting your photo into the resume, or promising you a great resume in one day for $49-99. These should be seen as red flags and possible scams. Our most recent client paid a company that said they were in California $250 for a resume and from the language and grammar used in the resume she said she realized they were probably somewhere overseas and that she had been scammed. She then had to pay us to write her a modern professional resume that she could be proud to use in her job search. She wound up spending about $600 by trying to save a few bucks and not doing her research online. When searching for writing professionals, one should not only search google but also search industry websites like The NRWA’s professional resume writer listings where many of the writers have been helping job seekers for decades. Remember that not everyone that hangs an internet shingle up is authentic, professional, and experienced. Do you want to trust your chances at getting called for the interview to just anyone?

Best of luck in your job search!  

 

About the author

Mill Montejo is a tech-savvy résumé & LinkedIn profile writer, an active member of The National Résumé Writers Association. She runs a small home-based business with a small team of writers in the Greater NYC area serving jobseekers in NY/NJ as well as from across the country via remote screen share & web chat. Changing careers? Need your career documents modernized or infused with industry keywords? Contact Mill at https://JobSearchSuperhero.com/contact-form