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Where Do I Go From Here?

guest-blogging-1The summer after I completed a year-long national service program, I attended a leadership and career development workshop at my alma mater. The goal of the workshop was to evaluate our experiences thus far and the skills we had learned in order to figure out the next step in our careers. One of the most valuable exercises we did that week was a prioritization activity used to evaluate the tasks we performed in the past, the things we liked doing the most, and to figure out which things we’d like to do more of in our next job. It’s one of the most useful activities

I’ve found for providing insight into what you’re currently looking for in a position. The activity goes like this:
1. Write down a list of action, –ing words that you’ve done in your previous positions or that relate to the work you do in a job. List as many words as possible. Words such as planning, organizing, creating, researching, calling, directing, counseling and so on.

2. Evaluate your list of words and choose the top ten activities that you enjoy doing the most in a job, and want to continue doing more of in your next position.

3. Next, you’ll compare each of the activities individually with the other nine, choosing the activity that you’d like to do most in a job. Keep track of how many times you choose each activity.

4. Once you’ve gone through comparing each of your ten activities with one another, count up the number of times you chose each one.

5. Order your list of activities according to the amount of times you chose them.

Your new ordered list of ten activities should show the priority of activities you want to do in future positions. This can help you to tailor your job search for positions that will allow you to do the things that matter most to you in your job and give you a better idea of where you want to end up in your career.

1. _________________________

2. _________________________

3. _________________________

4. _________________________

5. _________________________

6. _________________________

Amanda Ryan is a Program Development Associate & Senior Resume Writer at RedStarResume. Amanda is a highly skilled resume writing expert and career expert who also specialises in creating, writing and developing career content, working alongside student and graduate job seekers and developing career content for newsletters, partners and career websites.

Need the help of a professional resume writer with expert resume writing skills? Contact the team at RedStarResume!

How To Avoid Being Red-Flagged As A Job Hopper

job hoppingHave you switched careers several times in the past ten years, worked several short-term positions, or been retrenched and forced to find new work? If you’ve held several different positions in the past 5-10 years, you may be sending a message to employers that you’re a job hopper, not staying in positions for very long. Hiring managers confess that if a candidate looks like a job hopper, they will automatically discard their resume, assuming that they’re either not reliable, get bored easily in positions or have been terminated by past employers. Whether employers’ perceptions are accurate or not, you don’t want to be labeled a job hopper and lose a good opportunity.

Whatever your reasons are for frequently changing positions (and there are a lot of totally legitimate reasons nowadays to choose, or circumstantially need to change jobs), you don’t want to be automatically discarded for positions you apply for. Try these helpful tips to avoid being labeled a ‘Job Hopper’ and eliminated from consideration.

Categorize your work experience differently

If you have several short-term, consulting or temporary work assignments, you may want to consider categorizing them under one heading such as “Consultant” and list the various projects you worked on and accomplishments under that, so it appears more as a whole set instead of separate assignments. You can also include two separate headings for your work experience if you’ve transitioned between industries a lot. Put “Relevant Work Experience” with the positions you’ve held that are directly related to the position you’re applying to, and “Other,” or “Additional Work Experience” below that to account for large gaps of time.

Leave out irrelevant jobs

Your resume is essentially a marketing tool to demonstrate your qualifications for a particular position or industry. If you have short-term, contract or part-time experiences that you don’t feel are relevant to the position you’re applying for, it is entirely okay to leave it out. You will, however, need to include it if a company asks for your full work experience.

De-emphasize dates of employment

If your dates of employment are choppy, you can try downplaying the dates in different ways. You can try leaving out the months of employment and only including the years, so it’s not as obvious. You can also include the dates in parenthesis after your job title, or below your achievements.

Focus on resume achievements and qualifications

Employers are mainly concerned with your success in past positions. If you can demonstrate you made significant contributions to your previous employers, even if they were short-term positions, employers will be more likely to overlook it. You can even emphasize accomplishments and skills you’ve acquired through your diverse roles, such as being a fast learner, adapting to new work environments and industry trends, and yielding high results.

Use your cover letter to briefly explain your work history, putting a positive spin on it and expressing your interest in a long-term position

If you feel like your resume screams Job Hopper, you may want to add a brief explanation for why you’ve changed jobs so frequently in your cover letter, or highlight the unique skills and perspective you’ve gained through your diverse experiences. Make sure to stay positive about your past circumstances though and try not to sound like you’re making excuses for every position you’ve left. It’s important to also express your interest in a long-term position with the company to help put employers’ fears at ease.

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

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Trade Jobs in Australia and NZ

April 22, 2012 1 comment

If you’re seeking a trade job within the Australian Job Market or the New Zealand Job Market, you will need to first prepare a resume that adequately highlights your skills, qualifications and experience. Most importantly, however, it needs to be targeted toward the Australian and New Zealand job markets, and it needs to be written in the most effective way possible. With the competition for jobs so intense for both domestic and international job seekers, slapping a few sentences together and writing “CV” at the top of a page is no longer good enough to get you hired.

No matter your profession – if you’re a building contractor, mechanic, plumber, electrician, boiler operator, welder, fabricator, technician or excavator to name just a few – you need to ensure that your professional resume ticks all the right boxes when you are seeking any type of employment.

Highlighting Qualifications and Certifications:

In my experience, tradesmen often focus on their skills and certifications. Make sure you highlight any relevant skills or qualifications on the top of your resume or at least on the first page. You want the reader to see that you are qualified from the start. Building on this, you can then list any certification that you may hold. Some jobs may require particular certifications, and if this is the case, make sure that you list these! If you lack a “required” certification, don’t apply as you will be wasting your time… the “certification” is required for a reason.

Highlighting Experience:

It goes without saying that it is always important to highlight your professional experience on your resume. Daily duties are definitely an integral part to this – make sure that you list the most relevant duties that were a part of your job, and pay particular attention to include any related duties that are mentioned in job advertisements that you respond to. Don’t forget to also make sure that you list any special achievements or recognitions that you have received. In a tight job market an employer will want to see how you will add value to their organisation.

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that you need to tailor each resume. If a job advertisement calls for certain skills or qualifications make sure you find somewhere to mention these on your resume. Not only will your resume stand out to the hiring manager or recruiter, but it will also make sure that your resume comes up in any keyword searches.

Top 5 Resume Writing Tips!

Responsibilities, achievements and duties need to be written clearly and backed up with supporting evidence.

Use British English ONLY in your Australian/NZ Resume – words such as “specialise” and “realise” need to be spelled with an “s” not a “z”

No picture is necessary on your Australian Resume

Do not include personal information such as marital status, date of birth, number of children, occupation of spouse, gender, religious affiliation, colour or race on your resume. It is true that in certain countries (South Africa, for example) personal information is included and is required, however it is not necessary or needed on your Australian or NZ Resume

Spend as much time as possible ensuring you address EXACTLY what the employer wants. For example, if the job advertisement lists certain duties for the job, make sure you incorporate these duties into your current resume. If the job requires excellent customer service skills, provide examples about how you have provided excellent customer service

Get the edge on other job seekers and save yourself enormous amounts of time and stress by ensuring your resume ticks all the right boxes.

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

Pimp My Resume

December 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Is your resume not getting you the job interviews you had hoped for? Are you applying for hundreds of jobs online but not receiving a single phone call? If you have the skills and experience to perform a certain job, but you can’t seem to get yourself an interview, it could be time to “pimp my resume!”

Just like the TV show aims at taking old, worn out and run down cars and turning them into new, modern “pimped” out cars, it could be time to give your old resume the boot and upgrade to a new and fancier model. We all want to be driving around in the newest and best looking car, and the same goes for your resume. However, the biggest difference between driving an old car and using your old resume is that the car will still get you from point A to point B, but an old resume will only end up in the deleted folder!

Find below 5 easy tips you can implement that will help you pimp your resume!

Strategic Key Words:

A great way to pimp your resume and ensure that it stands out and gets noticed by software programs is to use strategic keywords throughout your resume. Recruiters or hiring managers will often skim over resumes and look for keywords or they may use software programs to find keywords. These can be changed depending on the job you are applying for.

Remove all unnecessary information:

The best looking resume contains only relevant information that adds value to your job application. If your existing resume has the title “curriculum vitae” or “Professional CV”, remove this immediately. It goes without saying that if you are applying for a job, your application is obviously your curriculum vitae – there is no need to include this irrelevant information. Take a read through your resume and ensure that only value added information is included.

Achievements and Recognition:

An achievements and recognition area on your resume can really make your application stand out over the competition. Rather than boring the reader with all the daily duties you perform, inspire the reader with achievement statements that show off all the wonderful skills and achievements you have performed. Remember, the best way to present your achievements is to back them up with examples. Qualitative examples are even better!

Friendly Font:

When you sit down to read a book, do you ever stop to think about the font? Of course you don’t because typically all books are written with an easy to read font. Could you imagine reading through a novel that used hard to read fonts? You would put the book down before you completed the first chapter! The same goes for your professional resume. Use an easy to read, modern font (I like the font “Calibri”) and make it as easy as possible for the reader.

 Modernise

Give your resume a new modern look. Do not use old and outdated resume templates that are floating around the internet. Although these templates may be free, they are a free for a reason! When you open up your resume ask yourself the question – “If I were a hiring manager, would I be impressed with this resume?” If the answer is no, then it’s time for a change and a makeover is needed.

© RedStarResume Publicationshttp://www.redstarresume.com

The #1 student and graduate Professional Resume Service

 

Why Job Seekers Require A Professionally Written Resume?

October 30, 2011 Leave a comment

In today’s society where job hunting has become tougher and tougher and being unemployed is so costly, there are many reasons why job candidates are increasingly turning to resume writing services to give them a greater opportunity to find success. With the growth of the Internet and access to experts in all professions, reaching out for expert assistance is easier than ever before.  Rather than trying to be their own experts, people are now more inclined to reach out to real experts to ensure that the job is done right the first time.

When your hot water tank stops working you call a professional plumber, even though you can probably fix it yourself. You can go online and research how to fix a hot water tank, and you can even pay a few dollars to get a step by step guideline to help fix the tank (I did this and the tank ended up costing twice as much to fix). However, as most people do not have the qualified skills to fix a hot water tank they call in a professional to do the job for them.

The same is true of a professional resume writer or CV writer. Just like a plumber is trained and qualified to fix your hot water tank, a resume writer has the experience and skills to write a resume that will enhance your job application.

What will a resume writer do for me?

The hardest aspect of resume writing is knowing what actually belongs in the resumes and what type of information will make them stand out. In my past experience as a job recruiter, at least 50% of the candidates for each job shared the same type of education and skills. So the question is – what can a candidate do to highlight their resume? This is what a good resume writer can do. They have the ability to understand what needs to go into the resume and how to best present the information. No matter how good your education, skills or experience, if you are unable to present this information to a hiring manager, you will have very little chance of getting the job.

What is the difference between a good resume and a bad resume?

The difference is HUGE. It is no longer good enough to sit down for 20 minutes, type your name at the top of the resume, write down your work history (including a few bullet points about your duties or responsibilities) and expect to be called for interviews. It just does not work that way anymore. Not only does your resume need to be 100% completely targeted toward the job you are applying for, but it also needs to be written for that particular job market. An accounting resume is different to a mining resume and they both need to be written accordingly. Most importantly, highlighting achievements is the number one rule of resume writing. An average resume will focus too much on the day to day duties and responsibilities. These duties are expected of the job candidate and while they are important (and do need to be in the resume), turning these duties into achievements is how to make your resume stand out. This is what an expert resume writer can do for you!

How Long Will a Hiring Manager Or Recruiter Spend Reading My CV?

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Recruiters and hiring managers have their own rules on how much time they will spend reading through a candidate’s professional CV. For a specialised role or more senior role, a HR Manager will receive much fewer CV applications and are more likely to read through entire CVs. How long will they spend on a role, though, that receives over hundreds of CV applications? Is it realistic to think that they are going to read through every single CV?

Time is always scarce and reports suggest that a hiring manager will generally spend no more than 20-30 seconds analysing a candidate’s CV.  If they cannot find the information they are looking for immediately, or your CV writing is not presented, structured and formatted correctly chances are that your CV will be deleted. This is the cut throat world of job seeking. Make a HR Manager guess and your CV is sure to end up in the recycle bin.

Times have changed and with competition for jobs so intense the responsibility of writing the perfect CV is more important than ever.

Why isn’t the hiring manager reading through my entire CV?

In an ideal world, a team of HR representatives would sit down and together go through every CV that they receive for a particular role. The HR team would analyse every person and read through every page of each CV with a fine-tooth comb. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Managers are under pressure to fine the right candidates in the shortest amounts of time. In many cases, a hiring manager or recruitment agent may be sourcing multiple jobs and therefore may be receiving hundreds, if not thousands, of CVs. A former colleague of mine was once recruiting for 15 different roles and received more than 3000 CV applications!

How can I make my CV stand out from the crowd?

With such limited time for your CV to stand out to the potential reader, you need to focus on highlighting your achievements and the value-added skills that you can bring to your next job. Often times, people remain fixated on listing all the daily duties they perform in a particular job. From a hiring manager’s point of view, being able to perform the job is expected – this does not make you stand out from the competition. The hiring manager wants to know that if they hire you for the job, you will not only successfully fill your duties, but you will also bring a whole range of skills to the business.

Five tips to making your CV shine

Use strategic keywords throughout your CV (if the business is using software programs to read through the CVs, make sure that your CV will be noticed)

Target your CV toward the job and industry you are applying for. One size does not fit all!

Turn your responsibilities into “achievement statements

Use examples to back up your statements

Quality over quantity

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

RedStarResume is #1 for CV Writing Services

Get A Brand New Resume Today!

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment