The Daily Recruiter

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Category: Resume & Interview Tips (Page 1 of 26)

Five ‘Fibs’ Told by Job Applicants on Resumes and Applications

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“by Lester S. Rosen, http://www.net-temps.com”

Every job applicant has the right to put their best foot forward and to accentuate the positive. However, when such efforts cross the line into fabrication and fantasy, employers need to be concerned. Based upon many years of performing background checks, here are five common “fibs” told by job applicants during the hiring process:

1.Employment Inflation: Applicants give themselves a promotion in position by claiming an inflated job title or responsibility. An applicant may enhance a previous job from an assistant position to a management job, even though they never supervised anyone.

2.Covering up Employment Gaps: Unexplained employment gaps are critical for employers. Without knowing where someone has been, it makes it harder to perform criminal checks and opens the possibility that an applicant may in fact have been in custody for a criminal offense. Stretching out job dates to cover up gaps in employment is a big problem.

3.No Degree: There is a growing problem with applicants claiming degrees they do not have. This can stretch from claiming a degree for a school the applicant never attended, to turning some units into a BA or a BA into an advanced degree. Beware of applicants who claim the school made a mistake and then provides an authentic-looking degree. There are websites that will give anyone with a credit card a “genuine” imitation degree. When in doubt, send a copy of the supposed degree to the school for verification.

4.Degrees from Fake School: Anyone with an e-mail address receives almost daily the opportunity to obtain a degree instantly- it only takes a credit card. Beware of diploma mills and phony schools. Some of the diploma mills are so sophisticated that they have even invented fake accreditation agencies. However, diploma mills should not be confused with legitimate distance learning schools that provide an education opportunity.

5.Denying Criminal Records: It is critical to ask all applicants on both an application form and in an interview if they have a criminal record. Although a criminal offense may not automatically cause an employer to reject an applicant without some showing of business necessity, an employer who unwittingly hires someone with an unsuitable criminal record creates unnecessary risks for themselves, their workforce and the public, and creates the possibility of workplace violence or some other criminal act against co-workers, clients or the public.

The bottom line: Every employer has a duty to take reasonable precautions to hire individuals who are qualified and fit for the job. An employer who fails to exercise due diligence opens up the possibility of workplace violence, fraud, theft and lawsuits for negligent hiring.

 

25 Resume Mistakes You Need to Fix Right Now

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“by Jacquelyn Smith, http://www.businessinsider.com”

Hiring managers receive dozens — sometimes hundreds — of résumés for any given opening.

They dont have the time or resources to review each one closely, so they spend approximately six seconds on their initial “fit/no fit” decision

You may be perfect for the job, but if your résumé has just one typo, if it’s formatted poorly, or you use the wrong font, it could easily end up in the “no” pile.

1. An objective.

If you applied, it’s already obvious you want the job.
 

The exception: If you’re in a unique situation, such as changing industries completely, it may be useful to include a brief summary. 

2. Irrelevant work experiences.

Yes, you might have been the “king of making milkshakes” at the restaurant you worked for in high school. But unless you are planning on redeeming that title, it is time to get rid of all that clutter.

As Alyssa Gelbard, career expert and founder of career-consulting firm Résumé Strategists, points out, however, past work experience that might not appear to be directly relevant to the job at hand might show another dimension, depth, ability, or skill that actually is relevant or applicable.

Only include this experience if it really showcases additional skills that can translate to the position you’re applying for.

3. Personal stuff.

Don’t include your marital status, religious preference, or social security number.

This might have been the standard in the past, but all of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask from you; so there’s no need to include it.

Nobody cares.

If it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s, a waste of space and a waste of the company’s time

5. Your age.

If you don’t want to be discriminated against for a position because of your age, it’s time to remove your graduation date, says Catherine Jewell, author of “New Résumé, New Career.” 

Another surprising way your resume could give away your age: double spaces after a period. 

6. Too much text.

When you use a .5 inch margin and eight-point font in an effort to get everything to fit on one page, this is an “epic fail,” says J.T. O’Donnell, a career and workplace expert, founder of career-advice site Careerealism.com, and author of “Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career.” 

She recommends lots of white space and no more than a .8 margin.

7. Time off.

If you took time off to travel or raise a family, Gelbard doesn’t recommend including that information on your résumé. “In some countries, it is acceptable to include this information, especially travel, but it is not appropriate to include that in the body of a résumé in the US.”

8. References.

If your employers want to speak to your references, they’ll ask you. Also, it’s better if you have a chance to tell your references ahead of time that a future employer might be calling.

If you write “references upon request” at the bottom of your résumé, you’re merely wasting a valuable line, career coach Eli Amdur says.

9. Personal pronouns.

Your résumé shouldn’t include the words “I,” “me,” “she,” or “my,” says Tina Nicolai, executive career coach and founder of Resume Writers’ Ink

“Don’t write your résumé in the third or first person. It’s understood that everything on your resume is about you and your experiences.”

10. Present tense for a past job.

Never describe past work experience using the present tense. Only your current job should be written in the present tense, Gelbard says.

11. A less-than-professional email address.

If you still use an old email address, like BeerLover123@gmail.com or CuteChick4life@yahoo.com, it’s time to pick a new one.

It only takes a minute or two, and it’s free.

12. Any unnecessary, obvious words, like, “Phone.”

Amdur says there is no reason to put the word “phone” in front of the actual number.

“It’s pretty silly. They know it’s your phone number.” The same rule applies to email.

13. Your current business-contact info.

Amdur writes at Northjersey.com:

This is not only dangerous; it’s stupid. Do you really want employers calling you at work? How are you going to handle that? Oh, and by the way, your current employer can monitor your emails and phone calls. So if you’re not in the mood to get fired, or potentially charged with theft of services (really), then leave the business info off.

14. Your boss’ name.

Don’t include your boss’ name on your résumé unless you’re OK with your potential employer contacting him or her. Even then, Gelbard says the only reason your boss’ name should be on your résumé is if the person is someone noteworthy, and if it would be really impressive.

15. Company-specific jargon.

“Companies often have their own internal names for things like customized software, technologies, and processes that are only known within that organization and not by those who work outside of it,” Gelbard says. “Be sure to exclude terms on your résumé that are known only to one specific

16. Social-media URLs that are not related to the targeted position.

Links to your opinionated blogs, Pinterest page, or Instagram account have no business taking up prime résumé real estate. “Candidates who tend to think their personal social media sites are valuable are putting themselves at risk of landing in the ‘no’ pile,” Nicolai says.

“But you should list relevant URLs, such as your LinkedIn page or any others that are professional and directly related to the position you are trying to acquire,” she says.

17. Salary information.

“Some people include past hourly rates for jobs they held in college,” Nicolai says. This information is completely unnecessary and may send the wrong message.

Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo, says you also shouldn’t address your desired salary in a résumé. “This document is intended to showcase your professional experience and skills. Salary comes later in the interview process.”

18. Outdated fonts.

“Don’t use Times New Roman and serif fonts, as they’re outdated and old-fashioned,” Hoover says. ”Use a standard, sans-serif font like Arial.”

Also, be aware of the font size, she says. Your goal should be to make it look nice and sleek — but also easy to read.

19. Fancy fonts.

Curly-tailed fonts are also a turn off according to O’Donnell. “People try to make their résumé look classier with a fancy font, but studies show they are harder to read and the recruiter absorbs less about you.”

20. Annoying buzzwords.

CareerBuilder asked 2,201 US hiring managers: “What résumé terms are the biggest turnoffs?” They cited words and phrases such as, “best of breed,” “go-getter,” “think outside the box,” “synergy,” and “people pleaser.”

Terms employers do like to see on résumés include: “achieved,” “managed,” “resolved,” and “launched” — but only if they’re used in moderation. 

21. Reasons you left a company or position.

Candidates often think, “If I explain why I left the position on my résumé, maybe my chances will improve.”

“Wrong,” Nicolai says. “Listing why you left is irrelevant on your résumé. It’s not the time or place to bring up transitions from one company to the next.”

Use your interview to address this.

22. Your GPA.

 
Once you’re out of school, your grades aren’t so relevant.

If you’re a new college graduate and your GPA was a 3.8 or higher — it’s OK to leave it. But, if you’re more than three years out of school, or if your GPA was lower than a 3.8, ditch it.

23. A photo of yourself.

This may become the norm at some point in the future, but it’s just weird (and tacky and distracting) for now.

24. Opinions, not facts.

Don’t try to sell yourself by using all sorts of subjective words to describe yourself, O’Donnell says. “I’m an excellent communicator” or “highly organized and motivated” are opinions of yourself and not necessarily the truth. “Recruiters want facts only. They’ll decide if you are those things after they meet you,” she says.

25. Short-term employment.

Avoid including a job on your resume if you only held the position for a very short period of time, Gelbard says. You should especially avoid including jobs you were let go from or didn’t like.

Five “Fibs” Told by Job Applicants on Resumes and Applications

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“By Lester S. Rosen, http://www.net-temps.com”

Every job applicant has the right to put their best foot forward and to accentuate the positive. However, when such efforts cross the line into fabrication and fantasy, employers need to be concerned. Based upon many years of performing background checks, here are five common “fibs” told by job applicants during the hiring process:

1.Employment Inflation: Applicants give themselves a promotion in position by claiming an inflated job title or responsibility. An applicant may enhance a previous job from an assistant position to a management job, even though they never supervised anyone.

2.Covering up Employment Gaps: Unexplained employment gaps are critical for employers. Without knowing where someone has been, it makes it harder to perform criminal checks and opens the possibility that an applicant may in fact have been in custody for a criminal offense. Stretching out job dates to cover up gaps in employment is a big problem.

3.No Degree: There is a growing problem with applicants claiming degrees they do not have. This can stretch from claiming a degree for a school the applicant never attended, to turning some units into a BA or a BA into an advanced degree. Beware of applicants who claim the school made a mistake and then provides an authentic-looking degree. There are websites that will give anyone with a credit card a “genuine” imitation degree. When in doubt, send a copy of the supposed degree to the school for verification.

4.Degrees from Fake School: Anyone with an e-mail address receives almost daily the opportunity to obtain a degree instantly- it only takes a credit card. Beware of diploma mills and phony schools. Some of the diploma mills are so sophisticated that they have even invented fake accreditation agencies. However, diploma mills should not be confused with legitimate distance learning schools that provide an education opportunity.

5.Denying Criminal Records: It is critical to ask all applicants on both an application form and in an interview if they have a criminal record. Although a criminal offense may not automatically cause an employer to reject an applicant without some showing of business necessity, an employer who unwittingly hires someone with an unsuitable criminal record creates unnecessary risks for themselves, their workforce and the public, and creates the possibility of workplace violence or some other criminal act against co-workers, clients or the public.

The bottom line: Every employer has a duty to take reasonable precautions to hire individuals who are qualified and fit for the job. An employer who fails to exercise due diligence opens up the possibility of workplace violence, fraud, theft and lawsuits for negligent hiring.

-Lester S. Rosen

President of Employment Screening Resources

How to Develop an Employee Performance Plan

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“by, Beth Miller,http://management.about.com”

No manager likes dealing with difficult employees, but every manager will be faced with them throughout their careers. The behaviors of difficult employees often result in performance issues.

It is not always clear to a manager why an employee is struggling with performance issues. The employee could be allowing personal issues to spill into the workplace; perhaps onboarding and training were not effective.

There may be unforeseen roadblocks in the way of an employee’s performance, or perhaps the person is just a poor hire. Whatever the reason (or reasons) may be, it is critical to identify bad behavior and manage those individuals quickly so that they do not negatively impact employee morale.

Developing an Effective Employee Performance Plan

One of the most effective ways to manage difficult employees is using a 90-day performance improvement plan. These plans, when structured and executed properly, can help coach an employee through the steps needed to change their behavior. If employees are unable or unwilling to change, a 90-day performance improvement plan will give leaders the vehicle to transition those team members out and make room for more productive team players.

Here are the steps to follow when developing an effective plan:

  1. Don’t Ignore The Facts. Bad behavior is, unfortunately, subjective in many cases. Therefore, when dealing with difficult employees, it is essential to focus on the facts and not to ignore them when issues come to light.
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  1. Don’t Act On Rumors.  There are few places as rife with rumors as a corporate office. Managers aren’t the only ones who notice bad behavior, but the odds are that team members are all too happy to share their own stories of frustration when it comes to difficult employees. Never act on information received third-hand. Always verify facts in any given case, and disregard anything that has not been proven to be true.
  2. Develop An Objective Performance Plan. The key word in performance plan is “performance.”   In order to change bad behavior, managers should focus on the employee’s performance and their behaviors, rather than personality issues. How is bad behavior impacting the employee’s own effectiveness and the effectiveness of the team? Provide clear feedback surrounding the reasons why the behavior needs to change, and clearly outline the ways in which that behavior impacts others.
  3. Set Clear Consequences. An employee on a performance plan should be clear when it comes to setting consequences for failing to change behavior. Outline the consequences in writing, review them with the employee and allow plenty of time for questions. Have the employee sign a paper indicating an understanding of the performance plan and the consequences for not meeting its stated goals.
  4. Follow Up With Regularly. Performance plans are designed to give employees the time and the resources to step up their performance if, in fact, they want to improve. However, they cannot do it alone. Managers should check in weekly with the employee to review progress.
  5. Coach With Consistency. Dealing with difficult employees can be taxing. There may be days when it’s just too exhausting to have the same conversation with the same employee one more time. However, consistency is critical to changing behavior. Managers should not ignore a behavior on a Tuesday, then confront the employee with the same bad behavior on a Thursday. Consistency is critical when coaching an employee through a performance plan.

Avoiding The Time Trap

One of the biggest mistakes that managers make when dealing with difficult employees is spending too much time on them. Constantly dealing with difficult employees and poor performers sends the wrong message to those team members who perform well and have a strong sense of what it means to be a team player.

The beauty of a 90-day performance improvement plan is that it is clear and finite. The employee knows what he or she must do to improve, and at the end of the period they have either changed for the better or they will move on. In many cases, difficult employees will self-select out of the process. They may believe that the writing is on the wall once they are put on a performance improvement plan, and therefore seek out new opportunities. Even when those employees don’t move on, the manager can be confident that they tried their best to improve the situation, and the employee was truly not a good fit for the team.

It’s never easy to navigate the waters when a difficult employee is swimming around the team. Working with and coaching these employees is a skill that takes time to develop. However, when managers can identify problem employees, it is much easier to manage them (or remove them), allowing strong performers to move the team toward success.

Beth Armknecht Miller is a Certified Managerial Coach and CEO of Executive Velocity, a top talent and leadership development advisory firm. Her latest book, “Are You Talent Obsessed?: Unlocking the secrets to a workplace team of raving high-performers is available on Amazon.

When Are We Ever Going to Get That Kinder, Gentler Workplace?

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By

I have this recurring fantasy that corporations of the future will be kinder and gentler.

I know there’s danger in judging the world according to my personal experiences only, but nevertheless, experience tells me it’s not too nice out there.

I wish it were nicer. For example …

Earlier this week, TLNT published an article about screening applicants using social media. I’m not a huge fan of the practice, but so what? 

Opinionated people are a problem?

That said, this line really jumped out at me:

Hiring opinionated … employees runs the risk of offending others, tarnishing your brand, and poisoning the workplace environment.”

Being a loud mouth myself, my stomach did a flip-flop when I read that.

Seriously? Now having an opinion is a problem for some organizations?

News flash to employers: People who work for you have opinions. And we should be able to have opposing opinions, even strong opposing opinions, and still work peaceably and productively together. It’s called respecting others’ differences. It’s called tolerance. It’s called maturity.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s any of your business whether I believe men should only marry women, or whether I believe that such thinking is gender bias. Not everyone who believes differently than you is a liability.

From the knowledge economy to the human economy

So while I get the gist of the article, honestly, this is too damn much.

It’s as though humanity and the workplace are oil and water, when they should go together like peanut butter and jelly.

So imagine my delight when I ran across an article from the Harvard Business Review titled From the Knowledge Economy to the Human Economy.

The author, Dov Seidman, says we’re now seeing a shift from the knowledge economy, which values brain over brawn, to the human economy, which values humanity over traits that “can’t be programmed into software.” He writes,

In the human economy, the most valuable workers will be hired hearts … [they’ll] bring to their work essential traits … like creativity, passion, character, and collaborative spirit—their humanity, in other words.”

From your lips to God’s ears, Mr. Seidman.

Hold your horses, sister!

So you say, “Geez, Crystal, I think you’re missing the boat on this one. Nobody’s suggesting all opinions are bad. The author of the TLNT article was simply saying it’s a good idea to protect your business from people with the poor judgment to post their distasteful opinions on social media for everyone and their Grandma’s third cousin twice removed to see.”

Hmmm…

Yeah, well, all I know is for every thought I could ever have, there’s someone in the world ready to take offense at it.

Enough already. At some point we must learn to separate people from their ideas (even ideas with which we strongly disagree) and move on. There’s no evidence, for example, that someone who thinks abortion is murder can’t respectfully serve a manager who’s pro-choice, or vice versa.

Shoot, if I’d decided I couldn’t work with anyone whose world view differs from mine, I wouldn’t have a single day of gainful employment to my name.

No (fill-in-the-blank) need apply

And that’s the most disturbing thought of all — that I, as a mere worker, can’t afford the luxury of avoiding every manager in the universe with beliefs I dispute, but a manager should feel comfortable excluding from the workforce anyone who doesn’t quite see things the way he (or she) does.

I’m sorry, that’s wrong, and it’s flippin’ lazy too. Stop looking for shortcuts, dude.

Listen, I’m not naïve. The hiring process is subjective, and it always will be.

But come on. We’re taking things too far. Job seekers shouldn’t have to present on social media as neutral drones — devoid of any potentially “offensive” opinion — to be deemed job worthy.

How to Get Management Experience When You’re not a Manager

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by Dan McCarthy, courtesy of management.about.com

Help wanted: Manager. 5-10 years of experience required. Proven track record of effective management.

It’s hard to land a management position when you don’t have the title “manager” on your resume, or be able to provide specific examples of your management experience.

So what’s an aspiring manager to do without holding formal management positions? Plenty! If you are interested in becoming a manager, then here are 5 ways to get management experience without being a manager:

1. Lead a project. The skills required to be an effective project manager are very similar to the skills required to be an effective manager: planning, organizing, setting goals, managing budgets, leading people, and juggling multiple priorities. If you have never managed a project before, then start by volunteering for project teams. It doesn’t have to be a huge project – start small – perhaps volunteering to be a part of the office Thanksgiving food basket drive.  Hopefully, you’ll get to see what a good project manager does. Or, watch what an ineffective project manager does and do the opposite. Then, once you’ve established yourself as a dependable team member, step up and volunteer to lead a project.

Take a course in project management, read a good book on the topic, and interview successful project managers. You can even get certified as a project manager, but that may be overkill, unless you are planning to make a career out of project management.

2. Train, teach, coach, and mentor. A big part of being an effective manager is developing your team. In order to do that, a manager needs to know how to onboard and train new employees, coach experienced employees, and eventually mentor employees.

Of course, in order to be considered for an opportunity to train new employees, it’s a given that you’d need to be very good at your job, or whatever it is that you’re teaching. But beyond being good at something, it’s important to learn and practice the skills of training, coaching, and mentoring. The best way to learn is by doing! Volunteer to develop a training program; volunteer to mentor underprivileged kids or coach a sports team. Learn the art of coaching – learn to ask great questions.

3. Hone your interviewing skills. Many organizations use selection committees, hiring teams, or will involve others when interviewing job candidates. Again, volunteer for these opportunities. However, don’t just “wing it” when it’s your turn to interview a candidate. Develop a list of great interview questions, practice active listening and asking probing follow-up questions, and learn how to establish a rapport quickly. Being able to screen, interview, and select great employees is an essential management skill and can be learned and practiced! For more on how to interview, I’d highly recommend my colleague Alison Doyle’s About.com Job Search site – it’s the best there is.

4. Learn to manage conflict, have a “crucial conversation”, and give feedback. Yes, dealing with those sticky “people issues” is the most challenging part of a manager’s job. We all face challenging people issues – with our co-workers, family members, and friends. Life is “target rich” when it comes to opportunities to resolve conflict. Learn to do it in a positive, constructive way. See:

How to Manage Workplace Conflict

A Proactive Approach to Tough Feedback

How to Hold a Difficult Conversation

I’d recommend reading the book Crucial Conversations and look for opportunities to practice and get good at it.

Being able to provide specific examples of when you were able to handle a conflict, provide difficult feedback, or address a sensitive issue will demonstrate that you have the willingness and capability to handle the “people” aspect of a management position. And believe me, there are plenty of experienced managers that won’t or can’t deal with people issues, so it really will set you apart.

5. Create and manage a budget. As a manager, I would love it if one of my employees volunteered to create and manage a budget for me! While some managers enjoy the number crunching aspect of management, it’s my least favorite part. If you’re good at Excel, you can learn to create and manage a budget. A good place to start is with your home budget.

If you can’t convince your boss to let go of the budgeting responsibility, you can still do what you can do learn finance, budgeting, and accounting. Take a course, learn to do a cost-benefit analysis and ROI, and learn to speak like a bean-counter. See A Finance and Accounting Glossary for the Non-Financial Manager.

There are a lot of more skills you can learn to prepare you to be a manager, including presentation skills, communication skills, leading change, and strategic thinking. However, it’s important to be able to talk about what you have done, not what you could do. The suggestions listed above will give you that practical management experience needed to help land your first management position.

7 Ways to Negotiate Time Off Between Jobs

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By Carinn Jade, Daily Worth Contributor

Not So Fast

Jumping from one job to another can be a shock to the system. You’ll have new responsibilities to learn, new coworkers to meet, and a new office dynamic to navigate. Don’t underestimate the importance of this transition. Instead, consider how much time you can afford to take off between gigs and do what you can to maximize it.

Career experts suggest taking a minimum of one week. Even if you can’t afford to jet to a tropical island, your brain will need that time to neutralize the emotional charge (good or bad) from your previous place of business.

In addition to letting go of the old, you’ll want to be prepared for the new. Recent hires are under more scrutiny from their peers and bosses than company veterans. If you wrap up your old job on a Friday and start the new one on Monday, your first day at the office is going to feel like just another day in the grind. To put your best foot forward, the day you start should be one you greet with eager anticipation. That will be easier to do with some time off.

Now that you’re convinced of the benefits of taking time off between jobs (or if you’ve been reading so far saying “duh”), the question becomes how to get it. Here are seven strategies for negotiating some breathing room.

Make It Part of the Deal

When you are ready to accept the job, tack on a start date. As in: I’d love to accept this offer and begin working on X date. Pick one that’s as far out as you can swing, even if you don’t expect them to go for it. Putting a date that goes into the next month creates in their mind what negotiation experts call an anchoring effect. You will have locked in the starting point, and all subsequent suggestions will be based on that number. Even if they whittle down your initial request, you will have a cushion to guarantee you have meaningful time off.

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

If you need time off, make it clear.

Many people are afraid to appear lazy or apathetic about the new job, but you can avoid that misconception by framing things in a positive light. Explain that you work very hard and will need a week or two off to recharge. Remind them how excited you are to join the team. If you have demonstrated your enthusiasm and work ethic otherwise, you should have no reservations about asking for some extra time before you start.

In a competitive market, your new boss might try to wear you down and ask you to begin ASAP despite your request. Stick to your guns by taking a step back and realizing the power you hold. This company chose you out of all the candidates it interviewed. They want you to start sooner because they believe you will be a valuable member of the team. You’ve got this in the bag, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.

Make and Honor a Prior Commitment

Before you even get that job offer, start putting your own offers on the table. Email your BFFs and find out who might be available for a girls’ trip in the next month. Or compare schedules with your significant other and brainstorm the romantic getaway you’ve been putting off. Pencil in something real and inform your new employer as soon as you get the offer. Explain that you have plans, but that you will be ready to start immediately upon your return.

It’s a rare occasion that you can offer the ones you love the undivided attention that comes from being completely unburdened with work. They deserve it. You can make it happen.

Demonstrate the Mutual Benefits

Taking time off between jobs is technically a vacation where your new employer won’t have to foot the bill or worry about coverage while you are out of the office. Experience has taught you how difficult it is to escape once you’ve been integrated as a member of the team, and there are numerous studies that show how important a break is to keeping your mojo.

When they push you to start sooner than you feel comfortable with, remind them this break could be a win-win.

Make It Up on the Backend

Two weeks is the customary notice period before you say farewell to your current employer; however, it’s negotiable. Before you even get that new job offer, start organizing your files and making lists of tasks that will need to be handed off. If you have given real thought to how long it will take you to train your interim replacement, you can have a clear plan to pass the baton before your employer is even aware that you’re leaving. When you give notice, show them that you are prepared to stay late and put in the extra hours to get everything done in five to seven business days.

Nab a Quick Vacation Early

Sometimes you can’t avoid starting work on a Monday after you’ve wrapped up on Friday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get time to decompress before your start or end date.

Some employers’ biggest concern will be having you train the replacement — which means they have to find one first. In this case, take time off immediately after giving notice. You’ll come back recharged and ready to train your newly found replacement.

Alternatively, if your new job insists you begin immediately, request a week off after six weeks. That way you’ll have settled into your new role, and you can use this pre-negotiated vacation to process and reflect on the recent changes in your career. In the event you can’t afford any gap in benefit coverage and pay, this situation may even work out even better.

When in Doubt, Start Midweek

You know how good a short week feels? The beauty of realizing the fourth work day is actually Friday? That’s the feeling you want to capture for your first week on the job: not being completely overwhelmed. The first week can be stressful and emotional, so don’t prolong it. Instead, ask to begin on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

The HR manager at my last job changed the official work policy after I made this unusual request. At first he didn’t get it, but then he realized how it benefited him too. Instead of having to rush in on a Monday morning to train someone on top of the tasks he left on his desk on Friday, he could handle the new intake on a less chaotic day. Another win-win.

4 Simple Resume Tweaks That Will Rock Your Results

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By Mindy Thomas, All Business Experts Contributor

Everywhere you look these days there are articles, blogs, and online resources with tips and tricks to improve your resume. How in the world can you determine  what advice to trust – and, more important, what advice actually works?

Even for a resume writer like myself, it’s challenging to keep up. But, that’s what I love about working in this industry. We are always learning how to boost our clients’ success at landing a job interview. Attending seminars and conferences, in addition to, networking with recruiters are some of the ways professional resume writers hone their skills and keep relevant on the latest career-related techniques.

Following are a couple of ways to help you perfect your resume results:

  • Generally speaking, allow one page of resume for every ten years. I know it’s hard to fit it all in, but the resume is an overview of your career. Many job seekers continue to create a biography with every blessed detail of every position they ever held. This is definitely not a good game plan. More importantly, this overkill strategy of writing a “thesis” for a resume, instead of an overview of your background, simply does not work. In fact, it’s one of the major reasons why job hunters receive zilch responses to their resume.
  • If you want to really rock your results, pay close attention to the job posting and position requirements. I cannot emphasize this enough. Read that job posting line by line, word by word. It’s sort of like reading a recipe. Look closely at every word that’s on the posting and analyze the specific needs for the role. Just last night, my daughter (who is not a college grad) sent me a posting and said, “Mom, they say in the posting that they prefer a college grad but it’s not a requirement.”  See where I’m going? I think what is also an essential element is reading between the lines to determine what other skills might be advantageous. The absolute mission of your resume is to land you an interview, so make sure you don’t go overboard with an excessive number of pages or too much detail. Your resume is not a biography, so don’t overload your reader. Think and write succinctly.
  • Change the keywords in your resume. How do you figure out what keywords to incorporate into your resume? There’s a really great, and easy, way to accomplish this. Simply cut and paste your job description into a site called www.tagcrowd.com, which is a Web application developed by Daniel Steinbock at Stanford University.  The text is formulated into a tag cloud that’s a visual graphic of the keywords in your job description. It generates a set of words which will pop up, and bingo — you’ve got your new set of keywords based on that job description. Another method is to simply Google, “What are the keywords for  {fill in your job title}?”
  • Create multiple resumes when you are applying for both SIMILAR and DISSIMILAR positions. One of the most frequently asked questions of resume writers today is “Do I really need to use a different resume?” Oh yes, you do. Here’s why: Skill sets required for most positions are different. And, with that in mind, it makes sense that your keywords and competencies reflect what is stated in the different job postings. The smart job hunters understand this and will modify their resume to include attention-getting words and phrases. Including the right keywords is critical since ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) scanners are being used by almost every major company to sort through thousands of resumes that are uploaded into their systems every day.

Unfortunately, many job hunters will never … and I mean never … make it to the interview table because they refuse to modify their resume. No one said this would be easy. Even if you have the proper credentials, job experience, and education, it will be difficult to get to the table because the scanners will simply not recognize your resume. ATSs are in full force, so let’s not kid ourselves on this point.

Reviewing the company mission and reading the introduction to the job posting is critical. There is a ton of information within both of these areas that will help to finesse your resume copy so you match what the company is looking for. Again, look carefully at the opening paragraph to every job posting.

Finally, keeping a spreadsheet of your job applications is a great idea! Use this one on Google docs or build your own. List your dates of application, contact names, company names, and where you saw the job posting. Being organized and updating your spreadsheet will go a long way in your search. You will also be able to determine which resume is working for you more so than the rest. And, when that recruiter calls you and phone screens you, there will be no missteps on your part.

The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes, and How to Correct Them

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By Laszlo Bock, SVP, People Operations at Google- Article originally posted on LinkedIn

I’ve sent out hundreds of resumes over my career, applying for just about every kind of job. I’ve personally reviewed more than 20,000 resumes. And at Google we sometimes get more than 50,000 resumes in a single week.

I have seen A LOT of resumes.

Some are brilliant, most are just ok, many are disasters. The toughest part is that for 15 years, I’ve continued to see the same mistakes made again and again by candidates, any one of which can eliminate them from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these are good, even great, people. But in a fiercely competitive labor market, hiring managers don’t need to compromise on quality. All it takes is one small mistake and a manager will reject an otherwise interesting candidate.

I know this is well-worn ground on LinkedIn, but I’m starting here because — I promise you — more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I’d much rather see folks win jobs than get passed over.

In the interest of helping more candidates make it past that first resume screen, here are the five biggest mistakes I see on resumes.

Mistake 1: Typos. This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes have typos.

In fact, people who tweak their resumes the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error, because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune their resumes just one last time. And in doing so, a subject and verb suddenly don’t match up, or a period is left in the wrong place, or a set of dates gets knocked out of alignment. I see this in MBA resumes all the time. Typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientation, as a failure to care about quality. The fix?

Read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread closely for you.

Mistake 2: Length. A good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every ten years of work experience. Hard to fit it all in, right? But a three or four or ten page resume simply won’t get read closely. As Blaise Pascal wrote, “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I did not have the time.” A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you. Think about it this way: the *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. That’s it. It’s not to convince a hiring manager to say “yes” to you (that’s what the interview is for) or to tell your life’s story (that’s what a patient spouse is for). Your resume is a tool that gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much. So cut back your resume. It’s too long.

Mistake 3: Formatting. Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer or artist, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font. At least half-inch margins. White paper, black ink. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned, your name and contact information on every page. If you can, look at it in both Google Docs and Word, and then attach it to an email and open it as a preview. Formatting can get garbled when moving across platforms. Saving it as a PDF is a good way to go.

Mistake 4: Confidential information. I once received a resume from an applicant working at a top-three consulting firm. This firm had a strict confidentiality policy: client names were never to be shared. On the resume, the candidate wrote: “Consulted to a major software company in Redmond, Washington.” Rejected! There’s an inherent conflict between your employer’s needs (keep business secrets confidential) and your needs (show how awesome I am so I can get a better job). So candidates often find ways to honor the letter of their confidentiality agreements but not the spirit. It’s a mistake. While this candidate didn’t mention Microsoft specifically, any reviewer knew that’s what he meant. In a very rough audit, we found that at least 5-10% of resumes reveal confidential information. Which tells me, as an employer, that I should never hire those candidates … unless I want my own trade secrets emailed to my competitors.

The New York Times test is helpful here: if you wouldn’t want to see it on the home page of the NYT with your name attached (or if your boss wouldn’t!), don’t put it on your resume.

Mistake 5: Lies. This breaks my heart. Putting a lie on your resume is never, ever, ever, worth it. Everyone, up to and including CEOs, gets fired for this. (Google “CEO fired for lying on resume” and see.) People lie about their degrees (three credits shy of a college degree is not a degree), GPAs (I’ve seen hundreds of people “accidentally” round their GPAs up, but never have I seen one accidentally rounded down — never), and where they went to school (sorry, but employers don’t view a degree granted online for “life experience” as the same as UCLA or Seton Hall). People lie about how long they were at companies, how big their teams were, and their sales results, always goofing in their favor.

There are three big problems with lying: (1) You can easily get busted. The Internet, reference checks, and people who worked at your company in the past can all reveal your fraud. (2) Lies follow you forever. Fib on your resume and 15 years later get a big promotion and are discovered? Fired. And try explaining that in your next interview. (3) Our Moms taught us better. Seriously.

So this is how to mess up your resume. Don’t do it! Hiring managers are looking for the best people they can find, but the majority of us all but guarantee that we’ll get rejected.

The good news is that — precisely because most resumes have these kinds of mistakes — avoiding them makes you stand out.

In a future post, I’ll expand beyond what not to do, and cover the things you *should* be doing to make your resume stand out from the stack.

13 Red Flags In Your Resume – And How To Fix Them

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By Jorg Stegemann, Kennedy Executive Contributor

Did you ever wonder what we external and internal recruiters check when we decide within 5-10 seconds if your resume is of interest to us or not? Which are the red flags in YOUR resume – the reasons you will not make it to the interview?

Here are the 13 most flagrant warning signals we might spot in your CV – and the solution to fix them:

  1. Unexplained gaps: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@kennedyexec” suffix=”“]It is OK to have a gap in the resume – if the explanation is good[/inlinetweet]. PROBLEM: If we don’t understand its reason immediately, we will pass on. SOLUTION: This advice is unorthodox but if your last job ended four months ago, add a bullet point on top and call it “language course, move to another city, baby-break, taking care of a sick family member, business analysis to open a restaurant” or whatever. Yes, these are imperfect solutions but they are way better than… writing nothing. Alternative: meaningful executive education. See point 5 for more advice on this
  2. Inconsistency in professional choices: Every career will become flat at one point of time and when you change jobs at fifty, sideward steps are perfectly okay. When you are younger and applying in a fast-paced environment however, it should go upward and demonstrate dynamic evolution. THE PROBLEM: If you have had  the same job three times but in different companies, we might assume that you are not able to do more or lack ambition – and put your application aside (I know of course that the reality is that you can not always freely choose…). THE SOLUTION: Add information on job content if the title does not reflect an evolution. Or indicate that the company was bigger. You learn somethings new in every job. Make sure your resume reflects this
  3. Too many job changes: Careers where you retire in the very firm that hired you fifty years ago are over. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”“]Dynamic changes are part of a competitive profile[/inlinetweet] – but not too often. THE PROBLEM: If you worked for three companies within the last three years, we might assume that you will not stay here either and not call you. THE SOLUTION: If you had good reasons for changing, add them (“reason for leaving: company went bankrupt” or “job was made redundant”.  “New management” is also perfectly plausible)
  4. Not enough job changes: Did I say before that careers in one only company do not exist anymore? THE PROBLEM: The “life” of a job is 3-5 years. After that period, some kind of evolution should occur or we might consider you being inflexible or not ambitious. THE SOLUTION: Even if you have been in the same job for the last fifteen years, your job has evolved since, hasn’t it? Break down your current function into different parts, for instance “Since 04/2011: same job plus the responsibilities X, Y and Z”
  5. Lack of formal education/ having an outdated one: The term “lifelong learning” is overused – but 100% correct. Returning regularly to school is an essential part of a competitive profile at the beginning of the twenty-first century. THE PROBLEM: If your last education dates ten years ago or more, we could think that you are not interested in advancing your skills or that your theoretical skills fall short. THE SOLUTION: This is an easy one: Take meaningful executive education. Choose wisely, as you send a message with the kind of module you have chosen. If you have been working in finance for the last twenty years, do NOT take something on finance but rather on strategy or leadership. Don’t have money to take a residential week at Harvard Business School or Stanford University? Have a look at Coursera and enroll in “Smart Growth for Private Businesses” at Darden Business School. Or why not “Competitive Strategy” at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany – for free
  6. Fancy layout for non-fancy jobs: THE PROBLEM: You will shock no one with a plain layout and font but you might shock with strange colors or fonts in your resume. THE SOLUTION: No colors, make it plain and sober to be on the safe side
  7. Poor grammar or typos: No ecxuse with this one. THE PROBLEM: We might assume that if you cannot write your own resume without mistakes, you will not be able to put anything else on paper without errors either. THE SOLUTION: print out your resume, check it meticulously, run a spell-check and ask a friend or family member to proofread it one last time
  8. An unprofessional email address: THE PROBLEM: You can be 100% sure to make a bad impression with disco.fever@strangeprovider.peculiarending in a traditional white-collar context. THE SOLUTION: Call me narrow-minded but I cannot come up with any alternative to first name.lastname@trustworthyprovider.com. Also, do not change the orthography of your name: I know a “Francois” with an email address “Fancois” (his explanation: “Francois.lastname” was taken”). Eight in ten people will get it wrong when typing it or will simply think that you have escaped from the nuthouse…
  9. Vocabulary that lacks energy: THE PROBLEM: “Involved in”, “assisted ABC” or “exposure to” do not show that you were in the driving seat of your career. THE SOLUTION: use active, not passive words such as “implemented 123”, “driven the project XYZ” or “headed up 123” to show you were you in charge and made it happen
  10. Inability to get the message across: Again, you have got 5 seconds to make an impression on us… THE PROBLEM: … and if you don’t, we will file you. THE SOLUTION: use bullet points, talk about your achievements (“I created double-digit revenue growth for three consecutive years and built from scratch one of the top ten teams company-wide”). Be precise, clear and avoid jargon (a twenty-two year old intern could be the gate-keeper…). Your resume should be on two, maximum three pages. Make sure you put all essential information on top of page one, the part we see when we open your resume without scrolling down, for instance, by adding an executive summary such as “General Manager/ trilingual/ managed up to 100 million USD and 250 people/ service industry” on top. Because we might never scroll down if what we see does not click with us
  11. Bad structure: THE PROBLEM: We are used to reading many, many, resumes. And if yours is too different, we might not understand it – and pass on. THE SOLUTION: Use the following structure: contact data, executive summary, education, last job then downwards. Clearly indicate year and month of the respective job If the month is missing and you write for instance “2011: job A, 2012: job B”, we will automatically assume that you lost job A in January 2011 and found job B only in November 2012 – because if you had nothing to hide, you would have put the months
  12. Banalities: THE PROBLEM: we have read “accomplished leader”, “results-driven”, “excellent communication skills” etc. one thousand times before and won’t believe a word. THE SOLUTION: Don’t talk but show: Prove “accomplished” by demonstrating your seniority, “results-driven” through stating hard facts, “excellent communication skills” through plain and clear speech
  13. No contact data: THE PROBLEM: In twelve years in this industry, I have seen it all: resumes without email address, phone number or post address… THE SOLUTION: Check your resume once, and do it again


Conclusion:

There are many valid reasons to do things differently than outlined here. Whether you agree or not with the above, bear in mind that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@kennedyexec”]an average reader will spend no more than 5-10 seconds on your resume[/inlinetweet] before deciding whether to spend more time on it or not. You are a valid candidate, right? Help us to understand this fast – and ensure that we call you for an interview if you are the right fit!

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