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Archive for May, 2010

Listing Hobbies & Interests on Your Resume – Should You Or Shouldn’t You?

I frequently come across resumes that include a section for “hobbies and interests” or something similar. Many people think it’s necessary to include something like this, however I can assure you that it’s probably best to avoid doing so. There is a limited amount of space for content on your resume and just a small amount of time for the reader to look over your information. That being said, you should use it strictly to highlight your professional qualifications and achievements, not your personal hobbies and interests.

Hiring managers are looking to see how you can specifically help them and their companies, not whether you enjoy skiing or bike riding. This sort of information is often times seen as “fluff” – in other words, irrelevant information that is used solely to take up space on a resume to make it seem longer. If you’re concerned about your resume looking too short, there are lots of ways to increase the content without having to lists your hobbies and interests. Think about substituting them for something more work-related, like a section for your professional qualifications or computer-related skills. Or maybe try adding some achievements onto your professional experience section.

While I feel I make a strong point against listing these on your resume, people are always going to be adamant about using them. So, if you absolutely must include your hobbies and interests, try to at least make them pertain to the job you are applying for. Do any of your hobbies involve using your leadership skills, for example? Do they show a pattern of long-term commitment? The most important thing to remember is to keep the content on your resume professionally relevant.

© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com/

Laura is the Marketing Coordinator for RedStarResume, a business that provides resume and cover letter writing services for students, graduates and young professionals.

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10 Tips to staying positive while looking for a job

May 26, 2010 1 comment

Don’t let the media and the news put you down. No matter how bad they say it is companies are always looking to hire the best available staff. If you have the right skills and passion, there will be a job waiting for right around the corner. You just need to remain upbeat and positive. Below is a list of things you need to do in order to help you through the job search process…

Keep a routine: Don’t get into the bad habits of waking up late, sleeping in the afternoons or procrastinating around the house. Get up at your normal time, eat properly and get some exercise (walking is free)!

Volunteering at a church, hospital, homeless shelter or non-profit organization will open your eyes to people who are less off than you and give you a sense of contribution. There is no greater reward than helping people who are less fortunate than us.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in your industry: Don’t let yourself fall behind just because you’re not working. The best approach is to learn more about your particular industry. This way you will be ahead of your competition when it comes time to interview.

Explore potential new careers: It’s never too late to try to learn a foreign language or a new piece of computer software. I remember working with a senior archaeologist of 10 years experience who came to me wanting a change in his life direction. After 6 months of learning Spanish and then travelling through Spain for another 6 months, the senior archaeologist is now a junior English/Spanish translator!

Positive Thinking: Do not focus on the negatives – you need to be able to bounce back. Concentrate on the skills and knowledge you have. Sitting around saying “what if” all the time is only going to further depress you.

Support Group: You may feel as though you’re the only person in your situation without a job, but guess what – you’re not. Reach out to people for support. There are many groups that provide excellent assistance in the areas of resume writing, interviewing, and job hunting. Aside from the secular groups, there are also many faith groups ready to offer you a supporting hand. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help. Let people help you change your life.

Avoid negative people! Negative thinking is of no value to you. You need to be around positive people and people who can have a positive impact on your life.

Network: maintain contacts and stay in touch with people. Make sure you network with positive people!! Again, avoid negativity. Negative thinking does nothing to help your situation.

Last but not least – manage your expectations. Not every job you apply for will be a success. Don’t be put off by this. Instead, concentrate on the positives and look at what you achieve each day. For example, you could have applied to 3 great jobs, connected with 2 people who are great resources or maybe you found a course or book that will help to improve your skills.

Don’t give up! Jobs don’t find you, you find them!

© RedStarResume Publications

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To view all “Tips from the Pros” Check out our website www.redstarresume.com

What is the first thing you look for when applying for a new job?

RedStarResume top 50 most recognizable logos, symbols and trademarks

      

Intern, Travel, Volunteer – What are the best ways for students to spend their summers?

Internship:
Internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their chosen fields, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or earn school credit. Although you may feel that graduation is still a long way off, if you can gain experience in your chosen area, you will help to reduce the challenge of interviewing post-graduation without any real work experience. Remember there are at least 3 summers as a college student. If you can make use of at least one of them it will put you in a good position when your time comes to graduate.

• Travelling:
Travel and experience the world! Broaden your mind and experience different cultures and traditions. From the beaches of Australia to the jungles of Brazil, the memories you gain while travelling are priceless and you just never know who you’re going to meet along the way. Go see the world while you can – you have the rest of your life to work!

• Volunteering:
Volunteer your time for free. This could include working for free for a company related to your field of interest or sacrificing your time to help others (there’s no better feeling than helping those less fortunate than ourselves). In the long-term, volunteering looks great on your resume, and it could open doors for future opportunity. Remember to network. This is by far the most important advice to give a student.

• Combine travelling and working:
Find a job or internship in a foreign country. Perhaps learn a new language. You never know the opportunities that can present themselves.

Spend time with your family and friends

Get some exercise, stay healthy and active!

Whatever you decide, just make sure you have fun and enjoy yourself.

© RedStarResume Publications

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To view all “Tips from the Pros” Check out our website www.redstarresume.com

Ever have one of those days?

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Before you ask for a raise…

Before you ask for a raise, the most important thing you need to remember is that you need a reason for asking for one. An employer is not just going to hand out extra money to you because they like you – you need to give them a compelling reason to do so.
 
Basically, you need to give them something that exemplifies your hard work and that shows you are a positive asset to the company. Think of a few ways for doing so – below are just a few examples:
 
Arriving on time on a consistent basis:
No employer likes workers who show up late – ever. If you consistently come to work early or on time, your boss will definitely take notice of this and will appreciate your punctuality. You’ve already given yourself a head start.
 
Taking on an extra work load:
Volunteering to do more than what is expected of you helps to build your reputation within the company. You will be recognized as a leader, as someone willing to help out and as someone who can be counted on. You may also gain some valuable experience within other departments, and extra knowledge never hurts. Employers love this type of employee, and will be more likely to go the extra mile to keep them on board.
 
Keeping track of your performance:
There is nothing better than being able to show concrete examples of how you have benefited the company. Have sales dramatically increased since you came on board? Do you consistently meet or exceed your targets?
 
Of course, some people argue that taking on an extra work load or working overtime is a negative because you allow the company to take advantage of you. Well, like it or not, this is how the world works. If you want to stay in the same position year after year, do the minimum, but if you want to move up, putting in that extra effort will be required of you. Raises are not free handouts for everyone – they are reserved for the ones who put in the extra effort.  
© RedStarResume Publications

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To view all “Tips from the Pros” Check out our website www.redstarresume.com

Top 5 Cover Letter Mistakes

If you’re going to take the extra time to write a cover letter that you include along with your resume, you might as well write it properly! We talked to a few recruiters and found out that they frequently find mistakes so annoying that cause them to immediately discard some applications all together. Here’s a sample of some of the mistakes they mentioned:

Letter addressed to the wrong person or company: It doesn’t annoy hiring managers that you’re probably applying for other jobs, but it does annoy them when you don’t take the time to check that your cover letter is addressed properly. Sending it to the wrong person or company will get your application deleted immediately.

Spelling and/or grammar mistakes: You’re probably tired of being told to check and re-check your work, but it is extremely important! When spelling or grammar errors show up on your cover letter, the person reading it is going to think that you either don’t know how to write properly or that you didn’t bother to check it over. Either way, it’s bad news for you.

It’s too long: Cover letters should be short and to the point. They should provide some basic information about how you are specifically qualified for the job in question. That’s pretty much it. Anything longer than a few paragraphs starts to look more like an essay, and it’s an immediate turn-off.

No contact details: It happens quite frequently – people forget to include their name, let alone a way to contact them. While your details may be on your resume, no one wants to take extra time to fish for information that should have been provided for them right away.

No cover letter: This is the worst mistake of all. You’re competing against dozens of other applicants who have instantly shown that they took more time to apply than you.

At the end of the day, you just want to give yourself the best chance possible to be called for an interview. Think about what a potential employer wants to know most about you, and try to convert this into a cover letter.

© RedStarResume Publications

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To view all “Tips from the Pros” Check out our website www.redstarresume.com