Why Hire Me To Write Your Resume?

Of all the people available to write your resume – why should you choose me?

To begin with, I taught high-school English for almost a decade –  and of course, I taught resume-writing to my students.  Now that’s a pretty good reason just on its own, but there’s more.  I followed teaching by a move to the corporate world, working first in project management, and then moving on to write computer user- and computer developer-related specifications.  My job at that point was to take very dry information and present it in a way that others could understand and use.  And, it turns out, I loved the work!  That is why I chose to be a professional writer.

So there is your second reason to hire me:  I like what I do!  I get a great deal of satisfaction from creating a quality resume.  Who cares what I like or don’t like?  Well, try this.  Think about the last time you met someone who really liked his or her job.  Perhaps it was the woman who works at the fresh fish counter at the grocery store who likes to suggest meal ideas and lets you know what is newest, freshest and the best bargain.  Perhaps it was the new marketing director who landed his dream job and it’s living up to his expectations.   Perhaps it was the friendly chef selling French pastries baked in her own kitchen.  These are real examples of people I know who love their jobs.  Not only do I believe that they are the best at their jobs, I have seen them work hard to please the customer.  Their enthusiasm and drive comes naturally from loving what they do.

Still need a reason?  Well, because my resumes have strong, focused format and content, my clients consistently get called for interviews.   In fact, I tell my clients to let me know if they don’t get interviews.  I haven’t had one who had to call yet.  That’s because I review the job sites thoroughly so I can include the appropriate key words for the hiring HR department; I interact with other resume professionals through LinkedIn for industry updates; I search the internet and implement the latest job search and career advice, ideas and strategies.  I filter out the noise and save only the most important and useful ideas.

Lastly, if the great content and an attention-getting format isn’t enough for you to consider my resume services, let’s try one more reason:  I have an independent third-party review the final resume to ensure that no errors, typos, spacing, or other issues have crept in during revisions.  Those small mistakes are enough for a resume to be tossed in the first pass-through.  With this extra review, you get added an additional assurance of quality.  So you have the best ammunition for your job search.

Everyone should have an up-to-date resume just in case an opportunity arises.  You never know when it could happen. Don’t you want to be ready?  Let me help you.  You’ll thank me later.

Don't forget the Resume Special available through Friday, June 21, 2013.  It's time.  Email me at Katie@thepinkanvil.com.

Update Your Resume This Weekend!

Today, I posted on Facebook a list of 15 companies around the country that are hiring right now.

I talk to people all the time who are unhappy or want more from their careers. I usually will ask if he or she has an updated resume. And if he or she doesn't, I say get one!  I also mention that if the resume has an Objective, get it off of there ASAP!  Nothing will date your resume more than having an objective.  I still see sites that show Objectives in resume examples; one medical field discussion group had a bunch of respondents insisting a resume must have an Objective.  (I imagined that those folks were also looking for a job. They knew this secret, and wanting to thin the herd, as it were, were "helping" to get those folks tossed first.)

Having a current resume means you can immediately produce it for any opportunity when that opportunity arises. Sure, you could spend the weekend rushing to get something ready, but it probably won't be your best work because you'll likely forget some items and then under pressure to send it, you may choose to forgo having someone else proofread it for typos.  Or that ends up being the weekend your water heater dies.  Or some other event that needs your attention….

The point is that you want to be ready with a current resume before you need to be ready.  I can help you get that updated resume so you are prepared when that next knock at the door occurs!  And, you won't have to spend the weekend rushing to get something completed.  As an extra check, I have a 3rd party review the final version so that you know you are getting the cleanest and clearest document possible.  Most importantly, this is easily done across the miles.  We can work via email and phone calls.  You can read more about my process and estimated time frames on my blog here.cup with pens highlighters scissors Image

This is the time to do it!  I will review your existing resume, discuss with you some concrete suggestions about how to strengthen it and then update it for your most recent roles.  Let's get started this weekend!

If you or someone you know is interested in a new or refurbished resume, contact me here or at my email Katie@thepinkanvil.com

Networking, An Opportunity Lost

open hand above computerNetworking – Not Just For Fun Anymore!

What is Networking?

The word conjures up a a variety of different images in my head:  TV networks; computer networks; fishing nets, hair net…Aqua Net…ok, that last one may be a stretch.  But none of these are the topic of the day.  Networking in this post refers to a key element of the job search.  Networking with former colleagues; networking with friends in all job areas; networking with businesses that you like and patronize.

Networking (verb):  To cultivate people who can be helpful to one professionally, especially in finding employment or moving to a higher position.

How can you network?

Social Media

Social media has made it a lot easier to network these days.  LinkedIn.com, for anyone that does not know, is the world’s largest professional network with 225 million members in over 200 countries and territories around the globe.   LinkedIn is THE great business network opportunity.  Current colleagues, former colleagues, friends – all can be great sources of information, support, help and guidance while you look for a new job.  Even if you aren’t looking at the moment, try to keep in touch with people so they are there when you need them!

Facebook

Facebook, while not a job search tool per se (at least not yet), lets you connect with friends, old and new, colleagues and family too.  These are all people who can help you as you are looking, or help when the time comes to look.  Don’t underestimate the power of people who want to help!

Personal Research and Growth

Another element of networking is the opportunity to help yourself!  Learn about a company for whom you think you want to work.  Sure you can (and should) research it online, but if you are able to connect and network with someone at the place you want to work, take it!!

How Was the Opportunity Lost?

I have a pal whose dream is to work at a large university in our city.  She has applied for several open positions from their website, and even had a couple interviews.  But they never seemed to go anywhere as she lamented that fact that nothing had come of them.

In an effort to help her, I spoke with an acquaintance who worked at that university.  Though he worked in their Human Resources department, he had no direct role in hiring.  But he did offer to ask a colleague to meet with my pal to discuss her skills and see what she could bring that would fit within university staffing.  I was impressed and thankful that he was willing to go that extra mile for someone he didn’t even know!  (I will remember that and will try to some day help him in return.  (Ahh…the power of networking!)

I was so excited to tell my job-seeking pal about this offer, because I assumed that she would be thrilled to meet with someone who not only could give her some solid feedback on her skills (always a plus!) but would be a *contact* for the future.  That interviewer would *remember* my pal, especially when he heard of opportunities (probably inside and outside the university).  Instead, my friend’s lackluster response, “I’ll think about it”, surprised and saddened me.  This is a woman who needs a job.  She hasn’t worked in over 7 months, has been applying for so many positions, often without even getting a call for an interview, and now has an opportunity to meet with someone who could help her on many levels.  When I last heard, my pal was still “thinking about it” (read:  Never responded to me about it again.)  She lost a wonderful opportunity to network.  (Even if she didn’t want to do that, a proper response would have been to politely decline the offer, not ignore the emails afterwards.)

And the moral of this story…?

Never turn your back on a chance to further your career.  Even if my pal had been employed but was just looking, heck, even if she wasn’t quite ready to start her job search yet, it was an opportunity not afforded all job candidates.  She could have really helped herself on several levels:  practice the interview situation; learn about and ask questions toward working in a place you really want to work – could she fit into their culture?  Do people working there seem happy?  She would have shared her own skills so that this person, who might know about job openings and could keep her in mind for future opportunities.

Which brings me to an associated moral of this story:  If you are sincere about looking for a job and/or if you really want to work somewhere specifically, then you need to take any and every chance you get to further your search, yourself and your career.  Anything else is just wasting time, both yours (and mine!).

You can find LinkedIn at:  http://www.linkedin.com/

You can find Facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/ThePinkAnvil.  From there, LIKE my business page and then get started connecting with people!

 

Your Cover Letter Counts!

If you’ve just learned of a job opening, chances are you’re not the only horse inhttp://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-pen-blank-envelope-image13226676 the race.  How can you distinguish yourself from the other candidates?  You can market yourself not only in the resume but in the cover letter.  (Remember, in today's market, you are marketing your personal brand.)

Cover letters can be every bit as important as your resume in your path towards a new position.  In your resume you’re restricted to a format that’s based on your job history and accomplishments.  A cover letter is a chance to make your case for consideration in another, more free-form structure.

A good cover letter tells the reader:

  • That you have read and understood the job description and know what it entails
  • That you have prior skills and experience that make you a good fit for the job
  • That you can produce a well-written, concise letter with relevant information

**Here's what goes into an effective cover letter**

Always include the basics

Just as with any business letter, use a standard letter format, block style or modified block style.

Return Address (unless you are using letterhead paper)

  • Just as in your resume, your contact information needs to be easy to find.  Make the following items the first thing your reader sees:
    • Your name
    • Your address
    • Your email address
    • Your phone number

Date

Inside Address (Name, Company, address)

Salutation

Attention Line (optional)

Main Body

Closing

Signature Block (allow 4 blank lines to sign your name, then type your name; sign it exactly as you typed it)

 

The Salutation

The salutation is the first personalized part of your cover letter template.  Try to locate the person who is sending out the job requirement.  If you can’t find it in on the web site, maybe you could phone the company and ask.  Don’t spend too long on this step,

  • "Dear Mr. Smith” (that is, use the recipient's name).  This is the best choice of all.
  • Dear Hiring Manager” is better, but still weaker than addressing someone by name
  • "Dear Sir/Madam” is really the last choice.  Do not write Sir or Madam unless you’re absolutely sure of the letter recipient's gender.
  • Do Not Use "To Whom It May Concern" or "To Who It May Concern" under any circumstances.

Tell them why you're writing

Always make it clear what job your applying for and how you learned about it.  In the first paragraph, or as a separate heading, identify the precise job to which you are applying.

For example:

“In response to your advert in the Sunday Dispatch for Network Engineer (post ID #12345)….”

..or…

RE:  Divisional Manager Director Posting #456789

Map your skills and experience to the the job requirements

What’s your personal fit for the role? Go through the ad and make mental or written notes on the aspects that you can really show your previous success.  Use these notes to personalize your fit with the job requirements.

Call attention to elements of your background that are relevant to this job posting. Indicate what you achieved in your jobs, not just that you held that position.

Indicate what you will do to follow up

Take the initiative to follow up.  End your letter with a call to action! For example:

“I will contact you in next two weeks to learn more about the job…”

Before you send out the cover letter –

Spell-check the cover letter just as stringently as you would spell-check your resume!  A typo on the cover letter may be the difference between the candidate pile and the floor.

What are your next steps?

Use this article as a checklist for your next cover letter.  In future articles we’ll post more about the job search.

If you need more specific advice for your personal job search, please contact us at The Pink Anvil.

How Current is Your Resume?

Updating my resume will be a hassle! 

                                   I don’t have the time to work on it. 

                                                                       I’m not good talking about myself. 

I know what you’re thinking – it’s been ages since you had to update your resume.  Or maybe you never really had a current version ever.  Or maybe you need help beefing up the language and format of your resume.  Those are all great reasons to bring in an expert  to help you write and update your resume.

My process is straightforward and focused.  I  listen carefully to you  as you talk about the job you want, what you have accomplished in your career, how you helped your employers save or make money and how you have helped improve their processes.  Your finished resume will take all this into account.  It will be clean, clear and much stronger than it has ever been before.

MY PROCESS

Here’s a quick overview of what it will take to get you a new resume:

  • I review your most recent resume if you have one.  Aside from allowing me to verify  the basic personal and work information  that any resume needs (address, employer names and locations, etc.), this  also gives me a feel for the  progression of your skills and your roles throughout your career.  That knowledge will help us describe your achievements as we move forward with the new resume.  At this point, it also helps to know if you are planning on seeking employment in the same field – or thinking of pivoting onto   a new careerpath entirely.

This part of the process takes about 1 day. 

  • We discuss my findings and suggestions while fleshing out  the skills and successes we want to emphasize.  This can be done in person, on the phone or by email.  We can use this time to discuss your current experiences too.  I have found that it is easier to brainstorm ideas (achievements and contributions during your career) when speaking in person or on the phone, rather than via email.  Often times, it is easy to overlook your own professional value, which is also a good reason to hire someone to write your resume.  You need to highlight the  key contributions you can make to a new employer.  That is what a hiring manager wants to see.

This conversation usually takes 30 – 60 minutes.

  • I write a first draft of your new resume.  The first version I write is meant to give you an overall sense of the content – of what it says about you.  At the end of this process, you will see the basic format of your new resume.  And, of course, all of these items can be modified to your liking.

This usually takes 1-3 days, depending on your and my schedules.

  • You review the content, giving me feedback on wording, details on metrics as needed, formatting and overall appearance.

This takes 1-2 days.  I find that it helps to keep focused on it, especially since we are almost done!

  • I write a final draft incorporating any changes we discussed, ensure the language is strong and descriptive.  I tighten up the format and spacing, headers and footers and send the final draft for your review.

This takes 1-2 days. 

  • You review your new resume one more time.  Let me know of any changes.  From there, I will have an independent 3rd party review the final draft one last time.  I then will send you a final up-to-date-resume.

This takes less than 1 day. 

So, in about a week, you can have a shiny new resume and start focusing on finding the job you want!

Here is what some of my clients have said about my work:

 

“I really like the version… – Perfect” – D.J, Sunbury, OH

“It's looking great, I'm so excited!” – J.G., Columbus, OH

“THIS LOOKS GREAT” –K.M., Atlanta, GA

“Awesome, your work and help has been great.”  –S.B., Toledo, OH

“IT LOOKS FANTASTIC!  Thank you so much!  I wouldn't change a thing! 
I will recommend you to everyone I know!”  –A.A., Columbus, OH

 

Resumes I have written usually result in my client being invited to at least one interview (though most have interviews with multiple hiring companies).  From there, it is up to you!

Let me help you.  Call me at 614-321-WORD or email me at Katie@ThePinkAnvil.com.

Happy Job Hunting!

            ~ Katie

PS- Though I prefer to keep to the process I have described above, I will accept rush jobs (with a turn-around measured in hours, not days) when necessary.  Please let me know as much in advance as possible.

 

5 Simple Ways To Improve Your Resume

Pink AnvilThere's never any agreement on the exact format of a resume, and indeed the right format may change depending on the employer, the experience you have and where exactly you are in your career.   (OK, well, everyone agrees that an Objective is outdated, so get rid of that now!)  Regardless, there are certain things that everyone agrees will disqualify you quickly.  Check out our 5 tips and make sure that you don't disqualify yourself from getting that job!

1.  Remember the Basics

  • The first thing on the resume should be your name. Make it stand out.
  • Include all your contact details and make sure they are in a prominent position.  That means your full address, a minimum of 1 contact phone number and a professional (or at least not childish) email address that is not from your current employer.
  • Repeat your name and contact details on every page of the resume.
  • Number the pages, keeping it no more than 2 pages (there are very few exceptions to this such as executive-level resumes, highly skilled individuals in certain fields.  If you aren't sure if you fit into one of these groups, you probably don't.)
  • Use a consistent font and layout.  (Sans serif has been proven in studies to be easier to read than serif fonts.  Sorry to all the Times New Roman and Garamond fans.)

2.  Check Your Spelling

Find all the spelling errors in your resume before anyone else does. If you don't care enough about spelling and typos, what chance does it have when someone else finds the error? 

A simple way to do it:  Get someone else to check your spelling. You are too close to the resume to be certain that everything is spelled correctly. You can give it to a friend to review.  Another way to review a document is to put it aside for a day or two, then come back to it with fresh eyes.  Lastly, try reading it backwards.  That is, start at the end, looking at each word individually – so technically not reading sentences but just whole words.  Any anomalies will stand out. 

3.  Tell the Truth

It seems like an obvious point, but don't put anything in your resume that is not true.   Apart from being a bad way to start a relationship with a new employer, most HR departments do background checks these days, and the truth will come out. 

4.  List your Achievements, Not Your Job Tasks

Yes, it's a good idea to give an account of what you've been doing over the past 10 or 15 years, but your prospective employer is not so much interested in the responsibilities you've fulfilled but rather in what you've done in those positions to help the bottom line. You were in a job for 10 years – but what projects did you complete, what profits did you make for the company, what did you do over and beyond the job description?  Think about how many employees or customers or users were affected by specific projects in which you were involved, how much money or time was saved, how did it change the department or company?  That is what a prospective employer wants to hear. 

Use specific numbers to quantify the positive impact you've had in your former jobs. Try to include phrases such as:

  • "…increased sales by 30% over six months"
  • "…completed project $50,000 under budget"
  • "…finished project 6 months early"

5.  Use The Right Keywords

Many companies these days are scanning resumes into databases and searching that database for matches using keywords. If you have a commercial driver's license but don't use the standard abbreviation CDL, any search for those three letters will exclude you from further consideration. You may want to use these words in context, or put them in a separate section with a heading such as "Key Skills", "Core Competencies" or the like.  If using acronyms, always always always include the full and complete phrase either in parentheses or in the context of the sentence.

BONUS:  Consider Professional Help

Your own resume may be the only one you'll ever work on.  If you're having a hard time putting together your resume, or if your resume is not getting the response you are hoping for, consider investing in the skills of a professional resume writer.  It'll be worth it.

At The Pink Anvil, we can advise, update, revise and/or review your resume.  Compare our prices to other services on the web and be surprised.  We can also write a cover letter and share interview tips.