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How do you know if an interview went well or not?

While you can never be sure how it went until you hear their final decision, there are a few signs that indicate the interview went pretty well. So I’m going to reveal the top 7 ways you can know if an interview went well while you wait to hear feedback.

Important note: If you don’t see these signs, it’s not necessarily a sign the interview went poorly, it just means you need to wait to find out. The bottom line is you’re never 100% sure until you hear the news.

7 Signs Your Job Interview Went Well: 1. They Ask How Soon You’d Be Available to Start

This is a very strong sign that the interview went well, especially if they ask toward the end of the interview.

In fact, any questions about your availability and timing needs are a very positive sign. For example, they might also ask, “how long of a notice period would you need to give your current employer?” (If you’re interviewing when you have a job).

Questions like this in your interview show that the employer is thinking about offering you the job, and thinking about what happens next and when you could start.

2. They Say They Want to Speak With You Again

This is the most obvious way to know your interview went very well. Sometimes, the interviewer will actually say, “we want you to come back in to meet with a few more people”… or, “are you available next week at all? I’d like to have you come back and meet with our CEO.”

Or if it’s a first phone call, they might say, “We’d like to have you come in and meet with our team face-to-face?” That’s an obvious way to know a phone interview went well.

Now, if they do tell you something like this and then you don’t hear anything for a few days, I’d follow up to get a response. Sometimes HR people (or whoever is handling the scheduling) just forgets or moves very slowly, and a polite follow-up can’t hurt.

3. They Say You Seem Like a Good Fit (This is Mostly a Way to Know if a Phone Interview Went Well)

You usually won’t hear feedback like this during an interview in the later stages, but sometimes an HR person or recruiter on a phone interview will tell you that it sounds like a great fit and they’re excited about your qualifications.

They might say they’re forwarding your details to the hiring manager or recommending that the next person in the process speak with you.

This doesn’t guarantee that it’ll happen, but it’s a sign your phone interview went well and you did everything you could to impress them.

Now, it’s just up to what the hiring manager thinks. (The recruiter will bring some notes to the hiring manager usually and tell them how the conversation went, and what they recommend).

In face-to-face interviews with hiring managers, you’re less likely to hear something like this. Employers keep their opinions a bit more hidden and it’s more difficult to know if the interview went well.

But there are still some ways to know, so let’s keep going with the list…

4. The Interviewer Smiled a Lot and Seemed Excited

This isn’t always a sign the interview went well. They might just be somebody who smiles a ton, and they might just be having a great day when they walk into the interview room.

However, it’s still a good indication that you’re doing pretty well in the interview if the hiring manager seems happy and in a good mood.

If they’re laughing, joking, or talking about personal topics like your hobbies and interests outside of work, those are great signs too.

But don’t worry if none of this happened. Some interviewers are just very work-focused and won’t do this, even if they like you a lot.

You really cannot judge based on one signal by itself, so don’t freak out if you had an interview and they kept it 100% serious.

5. Your Interview Went Longer Than Expected

One way to know if the interview went well is if it went longer than scheduled.

If the interviewer loses track of time and/or just chooses to keep talking to you for longer than planned, it means they like your interview answers and are enjoying the conversation.

So, those are all good things. There really isn’t a scenario where having the interview go longer than planned is bad. It’s a great sign and a pretty reliable way of knowing that you did well.

6. They Ask if You Have Other Job Offers or Other Opportunities

Now, this isn’t the best way to know if your phone interview went well, especially if they asked very early.

Some recruiters and hiring managers ask this to everybody, just to get a sense of your overall job search, and to know if you have job offers coming in (so they can move quickly, or not waste their time if they decide they cannot move fast enough, etc.)

However, if you get questions about your job search, what other companies you’re interviewing with, etc… and it’s not just one of the first few phone interview questions they asked you, it’s definitely a good way to know that your interview went well.

They’re trying to figure out how fast they need to make you a job offer to get you on-board.

And they’re measuring the competition. They are trying to figure out who else you’re considering, and how to persuade you to come work for them.

So it’s a good reason to get excited if you hear questions like this after a few rounds of interviews. You might hear this question in the interview, or in a follow-up call with a recruiter or HR person.

7. They Ask What Salary You’re Looking For

Just like #6 above, this isn’t a very meaningful hint that the interview went well if it happens in a first phone call, or very early in an interview.

But if they ask what salary about your salary expectations toward the end of a face-to-face interview, then it’s a good sign.

By the way – if you want help answering this question, it’s one of the questions I go into more detail on in this list of top interview questions and answers. (It’s question #6 on that list).

However, There’s Only One Truly Reliable Way to Know if Your Interview Went Well

… And that’s when the employer calls you or emails you to tell you.

So what you should be doing after you get home from an interview is:

  1. Deciding if you are interested in the position so can respond appropriately when they give feedback
  2. Tracking the dates of your past interviews so you know when to follow-up if you’ve heard no response
  3. Applying for more jobs! Never count on one single opportunity to work out, and keep applying for positions until you’ve accepted a job offer…

You could do everything right in the interview and still not get the job. There’s a lot of luck involved in job searching. So counting on one single job offer is dangerous and could set you back weeks if it turns out you get rejected after the interview.

So even though it’s tempting to wait and hope for good news, keep applying for positions and setting up interviews.

If you follow these steps, you’ll find a new job faster while feeling much less anxious in your job search.

The post How Do You Know if an Interview Went Well? (Top 7 Signs) appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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One of the fundamentals of actor training is scene entrances and exits. Good actors know their entrances and exits are what will be remembered, and that holds true in your career as well.

So in this article, we’ll look at how to write a great letter of resignation (and how to hand it in to your boss).

Even if you’re excited to leave an employer, you should make sure your final exit enhances the scene, and leaves everyone happy with your performance. You never know when you’ll run into some of these same people later in your career.

Let’s get started…

Writing the Letter of Resignation: Preparing Your Lines

First things first. The best practice in giving notice to your employer is first to inform your manager privately and in-person, then deliver the letter of resignation shortly afterward.

But before speaking with your manager it is good to have command of your lines. Your resignation letter can be the script you use for this conversation.

Here’s how to write a letter of resignation:
  1. Start with a formal header containing your post-departure contact information
  2. Next, include a formal greeting with your manager’s name, using the form of address you normally use with your manager (e.g., Dear Terry:)
  3. The first paragraph should get straight to the point. State politely in a declarative sentence your intention to resign. Include the position you are resigning from, and most importantly, your last date. Mentioning your reason for leaving is optional, and is most commonly included when relocating, returning to school, or for a reason that is neutral or doesn’t represent a competitive threat to the company.
  4. Offer a genuine thank you for the opportunity, and include a brief reflection on what was particularly meaningful, enjoyable, or valuable to you. If you are feeling grateful only about leaving, remember that few employment situations are all bad. Chances are you picked up some skills that will serve you well later in your career. Show some class about it.
  5. Offer to assist in the transition, but don’t set yourself up to over-promise and under-deliver. The most important things are to show your employer your willingness to (1) wrap up any outstanding business, and (2) play your part in helping both your manager and replacement succeed in the space you are vacating.
  6. Keep things positive, professional, concise . . . and end upbeat. That’s the equivalent of keeping up the pacing in acting. Offer the employer sincere wishes for success. Choose your exiting words such that you leave the scene with the sense that you are a company alumnus, open to future communication and networking opportunities
  7. Check out some letter of resignation samples (via a Google search) if you are struggling with getting started or finding the right words, or if experiencing an unusual situation.
The Conversation With Your Manager: Handing in Your Letter of Resignation

The thought of discussing your resignation with your manager can cause a lot of anxiety. But if you’ve played your role well up to now, your manager will be genuinely sad to see you go, but will greatly appreciate being the first to hear about it.

Your manager will also value the opportunity to share some personal time with you before you leave.

If you’ve prepared your lines, the conversation will likely flow quite smoothly. Occasions to improvise will present themselves naturally.

Rather than being awkward, it will more likely reinforce that you and your employer have been good for one another.

Tips for handing in your letter of resignation:

Schedule your announcement to your manager as its own separate meeting, with no other agenda. Don’t append it to a standing or regularly scheduled meeting.

Try to schedule a morning meeting, or at a time when your manager arrives at the office. Doing so alleviates anxiety that can build throughout the morning or during lunchtime. It also minimizes the risk of the manager leaving the day early, especially on Fridays, when a lot of people give notice.

Cover the important parts of your script before going off-script. Take some time to express genuine appreciation for working with everyone and the opportunities that were afforded you. Show gratitude, bring up a few highlights, and reflect on where it’s been a win-win. Offer to help out with the transition. Be straightforward about your post-departure plans if asked, but avoid going into detail.

Confirm your final date, and how you want your departure announced. If you are in a leadership role, be open to negotiating a final date. While two weeks is standard, there are situations where it’s both appropriate and wise to give longer notice

Deliver your letter of resignation as soon as possible after the meeting, and include any needed changes. In most cases, a resignation is not official until the letter is received by HR.

Your Finale Isn’t Necessarily Final…

Your letter of resignation remains in your personnel file permanently. It may be referred to in the future, in giving references or even if you are rehired. Therefore, it is important that it be highly professional and positive, just like your resume and cover letter.

Handle your letter of resignation like any other piece of your job search, and look at it as one final opportunity to show that you are a class actor, and a class act.

About this guest author:

Since 2005, LiveCareer has been developing tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free resume examples and resume templates, writing guides, and easy-to-use resume builder.

The post How to Write a Letter of Resignation appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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If you’re looking for advice on asking for feedback after a job rejection, you’re in the right place.

I’m going to walk you through exactly how to ask employers for feedback, so you can improve and get hired faster. What we’ll cover:

  • When to ask for feedback after getting rejected
  • Should you ask via phone or email?
  • What to say when you ask
  • Mistakes to avoid when asking
When and How to Ask for Feedback After a Job Rejection Let’s Start With When to Ask…

I’d recommend asking the employer for feedback soon after they tell you they decided not to hire you.

If you receive a rejection email, I’d respond within 24 hours (wait at least a few hours though; you don’t want to sound desperate or panicked).

If they call you and tell you the bad news over the phone, ask for feedback right on that phone call. And we’ll talk about exactly how to do that in a second.

One last scenario: If they call you, and you aren’t able to answer so they left a voicemail, I’d call them back to ask for feedback on the phone. If you’d prefer to write an email, you can, but I think calling is better.

Call during business hours, and if you don’t reach them, hang up without leaving a voicemail. That way you can try back one more time to try to get them live on the phone. If not, you can leave a voicemail.

Now let’s talk about what to actually say when you ask them for feedback (and some things you should avoid doing)…

How to Ask for Feedback After a Job Rejection (by Phone or Email)
  1. Thank them for following up to tell you about their decision
  2. Explain that you’re always trying to improve yourself in your job search and career
  3. Ask if there was a piece of experience that they felt was lacking, or something you could do to present yourself better as a candidate in future interviews
  4. If you’re sending an email, end the email by thanking them again for their time and telling them you’d appreciate any feedback they can share
  5. If you’re on the phone, pause after asking and wait for them to respond. If they provide feedback, listen closely to what they say and make note (so you can improve in the future)
  6. If they don’t share anything after this, it’s very unlikely you’re going to get feedback. I’d recommend moving on

Now that you know how to ask for feedback after being rejected by an employer, here are a couple of things you definitely do not want to do…

What NOT to Do When You Respond to a Job Rejection

If they’ve rejected you after an interview because your interview went badly, they aren’t going to change their minds now.

So asking for feedback should be all about improving yourself, finding out what you could do differently in future interviews, or what skills and experiences you could look to add to your resume moving forward.

This is not an argument, or a chance to persuade them one last time. It’s not going to work, and it’s going to make you look desperate.

So here are the top 4 things you should avoid doing when responding to a job rejection…

1. Don’t sound bitter or upset at the start of the call (or email)

How you start the call or email will make a big difference in the response you get. So make sure not to sound upset or bitter that they didn’t choose you.

Try to sound calm and professional. You should already be focusing on other opportunities and applying for other jobs. This call or email is all about gathering info to help you get hired by those other employers. So you really need to sound like that.

2. Don’t try to change their mind

They’ve made their decision. One reason why it takes so long to hear back after an interview is because they are careful in their decision. If they tell you that they decided to move in a different direction, they’ve made up their mind.

So this call or email should not be about trying to change their mind. You’re gathering feedback and trying to get them to share information that will help you get *other* job offers.

Arguing with them will not help you do that.

So you don’t want to start the call by trying to persuade them to reconsider. That’s going to completely kill your chances of getting any useful feedback.

3. Don’t act desperate or beg

No matter what happens, don’t start sounding desperate and don’t beg. It’s going to make them want to hire you even less (if a future position opens up, etc.)

Leave things on good terms so they remember you as a great candidate that they can think of in the future for other positions.

By doing this, you can also network with them in the future. Even if they don’t ever directly hire you, maybe they end up connecting you with somebody who does hire you in a few years.

4. Don’t “push back” on the feedback they give you

Part of asking for feedback or criticism is accepting it and listening to it (how else will you improve?)

So if they share any feedback at all, thank them for it. Don’t argue or make a counter-argument.

Many employers will not provide any feedback after rejecting you.

Even if you follow the steps here, you won’t get feedback from every employer.

Why? Company policies and advice from their lawyers often prevents HR and hiring managers from sharing much feedback.

So as frustrating as this can be, realize that they do not have to share anything.

And if they do share feedback, it really is a favor they’re doing, and a sign they’re a great company in terms of how they treat candidates.

This might be difficult to hear if you’re struggling to find a job, but getting angry at an employer that does take the time to give you feedback won’t help.

Leave the Door Open

I mentioned above that you shouldn’t be arguing or trying to persuade them to reconsider you for the job (because it won’t work).

However, there’s nothing wrong with ending your call or email by saying:

“I really appreciate your time in this process even though it didn’t end up working out. If a different role opens up that you think I might be a better fit for, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thanks again for the time spent discussing this opportunity with me.”

That’s how you can leave the door open in a professional way… without arguing… without sounding angry… and without sounding needy or desperate.

Remember to Stay Positive and Use the Feedback To Improve

If you follow the steps above, you’ll be more likely to get feedback after job rejections. You’ll never get feedback from 100% of companies you ask, no matter how you respond to a job rejection – some employers just do not share this info. But you’ll have a much higher rate of success.

Then you can use the feedback to improve your interview skills and boost your chances of getting a job offer in your next interview!

The post Asking for Feedback After a Job Rejection – Do’s and Don’ts appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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If you’re job searching and looking for how to explain job hopping in cover letters and interviews, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to show you everything you need to know about explaining your reasons for changing jobs, so you can get hired even if you’ve job-hopped in the past.

Plus, we’ll look at the pros and cons of job hopping, and the definition of job hopping according to most employers so you can know how often you can safely change jobs.

Let’s gets started!

Definition of Job Hopping

Different employers see it differently, so you won’t get one exact definition. Let’s look at how most employers define job hopping though…

In general, you’ll be labeled a “job hopper” if you have a pattern of staying in jobs for less than a year. So that’s part of the definition of job hopping.

You’re generally allowed one or two “free passes” in your career, though (depending on how long you’ve been working). Not every job is a good fit, so if you left one job in under a year, it’s usually okay and easy to explain.

(Info on how to explain this to employers is coming up!)

Also, if you’ve been working for a couple of years or more in your career, and you’ve never stayed with a company for more than two years, it can also make you seem like a job hopper – even if you always stay past the one-year milestone.

For example, if you’ve held three jobs since graduating, and have left after 15 months, 19 months, and 12 months, that’s going to bring up some job hopping concerns, even though you stayed a full year at each.

So to recap the definition of job hopping:

  • Leaving jobs after less than a year, especially if you’ve done it more than once.
  • Having multiple jobs in your work history, but only staying in each job for one year or slightly longer (and never making it past two years).

Now that you have an idea of the definition of job hopping and how employers decide if they should be concerned, here’s how to explain job hopping to them, in your cover letter and more…

How to Write a Cover Letter Explaining Job Hopping

Okay, so you’re applying for jobs and need to explain job hopping in your cover letter.

If you read the definition of job hopping above, you’ll know if your situation will cause concerns with employers. If so, you’ll want to be upfront and address these concerns in a cover letter.

Steps to explain job hopping in a cover letter:

  1. Find the job changes that you think will cause the most concern for employers
  2. Address those job changes directly in your cover letter and offer an explanation for why you made the decision you did
  3. Never complain or bad-mouth former employers or bosses
  4. Try to sound like you changed positions to gain something positive whenever possible
  5. Be upfront and use clear/direct language. If you resigned from a job because it wasn’t working out, say, “I chose to resign because ___.” Don’t say, “we parted ways,” or some other confusing term.
  6. Conclude by showing them that you know what you want in your next role, and that their job fits this. They won’t hire you if you don’t show them solid reasons for why you want their job

One of the hardest parts about explaining job hopping in a cover letter is how to bring it up to begin with.

I’d recommend saying something like this: “If you look at my resume, you’ll see a couple of quick transitions between companies…”

And then jump right into the explanations: “I left XYZ Company because ___. I then found a position with ABC Company…”

Keep this entire explanation brief. 2-3 short paragraphs or less.

Don’t fill your cover letter with a huge explanation of why you changed jobs. The goal is to just give a brief explanation of why you made the choices you did, to show them you’re being upfront and you’re willing to discuss further in an interview.

That’s how I’d recommend writing a cover letter to explain job hopping.

Good Reasons For Explaining Why You Left an Employer

Now you might be wondering, how do you know if your reason for leaving a job is good when explaining job hopping in a cover letter?

Here are some examples of good ways of explaining job hopping that should satisfy employers:

  • Your boss left and the work environment changed
  • Your role changed or shifted away from what they hired you to do
  • You hit a “ceiling” and couldn’t grow and advance as fast as you wanted
  • A better, more attractive opportunity came up and you had to pursue it (most employers will understand doing this at least once in your career)
  • You had a personal/life issue come up – like caring for a sick family member, needing major surgery or medical care, etc.
  • Staying home to raise a child
  • Leaving a job to pursue further education/training to advance your career in the long-term

Those are just a few examples of the many possible reasons you can give. If you want more ideas, here are 20 more reasons for explaining why you left a job.

How to Explain Job Hopping in Interviews

If you did a good job of explaining your reasons for job hopping in your cover letter, you’ll get invited to interview. But how about what to say in job interviews when you’re asked further questions?

First, review the cover letter you sent and get your story straight

You don’t want to say something different or get your stories crossed up in the interview! You need to be 100% consistent here.

And if you interview with multiple people, you need to give the same story. So make sure you know exactly what you sent them in the cover letter BEFORE walking into any interview, whether it’s a first phone interview or a face-to-face meeting.

Next, be upfront and take responsibility

Don’t seem like you’re uncomfortable or trying to hide something. That will just make them uncomfortable hiring you.

Your goal in the interview is to calmly explain the reasons you mentioned on your cover letter. Provide more detail and explain yourself until they are satisfied (if you’re not sure, you can always say, “did that answer your question, or should I go into more detail?”)

Finally, conclude by showing them why you’re excited about their position

Explain what you’re looking for right now in your job search, and how your research showed that this is a good fit for your skills and for what you want to do next in your career.

If you don’t seem sure of what you want, and if you don’t have a good answer for why you want this job, you will not get hired.

Pros and Cons of Job Hopping

Now that you know how employers define job hopping, and how to explain job hopping, let’s talk about pros and cons of job hopping. That way, you can make the best decisions for yourself in the future.

In the end, it’s all about balance.

As a recruiter, the lowest-paid people I’ve seen are the people who stayed at one company for 15-20 years. 

So that is *not* the solution.

At the same time, I’ve seen people really struggle to get jobs after going through three or four employers in only two or three years.

Once you’re labeled a serial job hopper, it’s very tough to get out of. So it’s about balance – changing jobs a few times but not too often.

Here are all the pros and cons of job hopping.

Pros: 

  • Higher potential salary. You usually receive a bigger pay increase when changing companies (versus receiving an annual raise with the same company).
  • You’ll experience multiple work environments. Part of figuring out what you really like is trying a few things! You can’t know what you prefer if you’ve worked your whole life in one company.
  • It’s better to job hop once or twice than stay in a terrible situation. Maybe you have an awful boss who is holding you back. Or maybe you were in a poisonous/toxic work environment. Getting out is MUCH better than sticking around and suffering in a bad environment.
  • More connections/networking opportunities. If you work in many companies, you’ll come in contact with more people throughout your career.

Cons:

  • Harder time finding new jobs. At some point of job hopping, it becomes “too much” and will scare employers away and make it so that you can’t find a job, at least not without a ton of effort.
  • Risk of becoming a jack-of-all-trades (and master of none). Trying 3 different roles in 3 years is okay, but you’re not building the same knowledge as someone in one single job usually. And this can hurt your growth and earnings if you continue doing this for too long.
  • Deeper, stronger connections. Working with the same boss or coworkers for a long time will build a stronger bond and make them more likely to help you (or hire you again) later. The quality of your relationships is often more important than quantity.

If you read this far, you now know how to explain job hopping to employers, plus the pros and cons of job hopping in the future. This will help you get hired faster and feel more confident making decisions down the road.

If you still have concerns or questions about any of this, you can leave a comment below.

The post How to Explain Job Hopping in Cover Letters, Interviews and More appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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If you’re looking for great resume work history examples that will get you callbacks and interviews, then you’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to walk you through exactly how to list your accomplishments on your resume employment history section to get interviews… and I’m going to share examples from professional resume writers and career experts.

Why You Need a GREAT Resume Work Experience Section

Here’s what I’ve discovered after working years as a recruiter…

If you have work experience (e.g. if you’re not entry-level or a recent graduate), your recent work experience is the absolute first place a hiring manager or recruiter looks to see if you’re a good fit for their job.

So you want to put it front-and-center, and make sure your bullet points and other employment history details are GREAT.

For 95% of job seekers, you should only put your name/contact info, and a brief resume summary section, before diving into your employment history on your resume.

Examples of How to Write a Resume Work Experience Section

I invited a couple of experts to share their resume work history examples. I’ll share two resume work experience examples from them, and then I’ll include a super/plain simple example that I’ve used in the past myself with a lot of success.

The first rule to follow when you write your own employment history section is…

Keep it Clean, Simple and Dead-Easy to Read

If you’re not a professional designer, your resume should not have fancy graphics, colors, or anything else.

Pick 1-2 colors maximum, 1-2 fonts, 1-2 heading sizes, and that’s it.

You’ll notice all three resume work history samples below keep colors to a minimum and focus on the content itself. That’s what you should do as well.

Resume Work Experience Example #1

You can use bold text like the example above to highlight key accomplishments on your resume. You can also use bullets, check marks and other simple graphics to make sure your best work is noticed.

This resume work history also has a separate section for “Select Accomplishments”. This is a unique way to put all of your best accomplishments from each role in one place that’s likely to get noticed and read by hiring managers.

Contributed by: Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES, Career Coach at CaffeinatedKyle.com

Resume Work History Example #2:

This is another work history sample showing a great balance between attractive styling, but not going overboard and making it too “busy” or distracting.

Only one color is being used: blue (research has shown the color blue is calming and is associated with credibility and dependability, so it’s definitely a good color to use!)

And the styling is simple enough to keep the reader’s attention on your accomplishments, but interesting enough to make them want to continue reading. This is the balance you should aim for.

Contributed by: Virginia Franco, Founder of Virginia Franco Resumes and Forbes contributor

Resume Work History Sample #3:

This is a very plain format, but if you’re in a field like accounting, finance, sales, data entry, customer service, etc., it could be a good choice.

They’re going to interview you and hire you for your skills and what you’ve done for past employers, not for a fancy resume design, right? So a simple format highlights exactly what they want!

If this is a little too plain for you, I’d recommend adding some blue like the two previous examples we looked at. That’s the first change I’d make to this if I were re-doing it today (this is a resume format I’ve used very successfully in the past, but 2-3 years ago).

By: Biron Clark, former recruiter and Founder of CareerSidekick.com

A Few Adjustments You Can Make to These Work History Samples:

Depending on your situation, how often you’ve changed jobs and how long you’ve been working, you may want to list months and years, or only years for your dates of employment.

Be strategic and decide what’s best for you. If you held a job for only a few months, it might be better just to list everything in terms of years, and not include months.

You can also leave a job off of your resume entirely. This is not a “work history” section of a job application where you’re required to list all previous jobs. It’s entirely up to you what goes on your resume).

Whatever you do, stay consistent with the same formatting for every job. That’s very important. Remember, you want this to be EASY to read for the hiring manager.

How Far Back Should Your Employment History Go?

My advice here is the same advice I give for how back to go with your story when they ask, “tell me about yourself” in an interview.

If you’ve been working for less than 8-10 years, I’d go back to the beginning of your professional work history, and try to tailor everything to be relevant for the jobs you’re pursuing now.

You might be thinking there’s NOTHING in common between your past, and the jobs you want now, but there’s usually an angle you can find!

When I was in college, I worked in customer service at Whole Foods Market. Not too glamorous, right?

But I became a supervisor, and you’d be amazed how many interviewers asked me about this job, even after 4-5 years had passed (and for office jobs that seemed totally unrelated to working in a supermarket).

So don’t assume something isn’t relevant. If you showed advancement/growth, leadership, or other impressive traits, employers will love it. It’s your job to make the bullet points impressive and show them how it’s relevant.

Now, on the other hand, if you’ve worked more than 10 years, and/or if you are a Manager/Director, etc., consider starting your resume work history at the point you became a manager.

If you’re 45 years old and have been a Manager for 15 years, most employers aren’t going to want to look back and see how you got started as an individual contributor 20+ years ago. They’ll want to see where you started as a Manager, and how you progressed since then. So start there – how you got into your current line of work.

Where Should You Put Your Work History Section on Your Resume?

Short answer: If you have any work experience at all, this section is the #1 most important thing on your resume – and the first place hiring managers and recruiters look. It should be on the top half of the first page.

Don’t put “Skills” before it. No hiring manager or recruiter wants to see a general list of your skills (with no idea how recently you’ve used each skill, or how) before they see your work experience.

Don’t put “Education” before it either, unless you are a Ph.D. Researcher or Doctor or some profession where your educational background is extremely important.

For everyone else (95%+ of people), just put your name and contact details centered at the top, then put a 1-paragraph career summary, and then go right into your work experience!

You can label the section whatever you want: Work History, Employment History, or Work Experience, etc.

But the point is your work history should be extremely easy to find, without the hiring manager having to search or scroll down.

Make Sure to List Specific Accomplishments Under Your Work Experience to Get More Interviews

With the examples above, it’s important to list accomplishments on your resume work history, not just duties/responsibilities.

There’s a big difference between saying, “I was responsible for handling 50 customer requests per day”, and saying, “I successfully responded to 50 customer requests per day, while keeping a 98% customer satisfaction rating”.

In the second one, you’re phrasing it as an accomplishment instead of simply talking about what you were responsible for or “supposed to do.” And you’re adding a great data point – 98% customer satisfaction.

Try to do this whenever possible when listing accomplishments on your own resume. Keep that in mind when you copy the examples above.

If you want more help with this, detailed examples and instructions are here.

One More Thing – Tailor Everything!

After using these resume work history examples to write and format your resume, don’t forget to tailor your accomplishments and bullet points to match the employer’s needs and priorities. This is one of the quickest ways to get noticed and get invited to interview!

(And if you skip this or don’t bother doing it, you’re probably going to lose out on the job to someone who did this – seriously! If you aren’t doing this, it’s a big reason why you haven’t found a job yet).

Here’s how to tailor your resume for a job before applying. (<< Fastest, easiest method)

The general idea is if their top 2-3 bullet points on the job description talk about a certain skill or piece of experience they want, you should do everything you can to reorganize your own accomplishments on your resume to highlight those same areas.

So do your research (the best place to start is the job description), and then re-order your bullet points to show off the exact experience they want, whenever you possibly can. Don’t make them go digging and searching for it or you run the risk they’ll move on to someone else’s resume instead.

Use These Resume Work History Samples to Get More Interviews

If you follow the advice above and use the employment history templates and samples to write your own resume work history section, you’re going to get noticed by more employers and get more interviews.

It’s worth taking the extra time to do a really great job on your resume, and particularly your work history. It’s the FIRST place many hiring managers look, and sometimes all they look at before deciding “yes” or “no” for whether they want to interview you.

The post Resume Work History Examples That Get Interviews appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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If you’re wondering what to put on your LinkedIn profile, you have come to the right place.

A reader from the blog emailed me last week and asked, “Biron, I’m trying to write my LinkedIn profile, and am not sure what to put on it. I’ve been told to just copy everything from my resume. Is that what you recommend?”

Short answer: No.

I realized a lot of people out there probably have this question though, or other questions about what to put on their LinkedIn to have a profile that stands out. So I’ll explain everything…

What to Put on Your LinkedIn Profile When Job Searching:

Here are some key pieces to put on your LinkedIn profile:

  • Your recent work experience, highlighting accomplishments and results, plus any promotions you’ve received
  • A 2-3 sentence profile summary
  • Recommendations from colleagues on LinkedIn
  • Individual skills (in the LinkedIn “Skills” section)
  • Case studies/attachments/PDFs to draw attention to your work and highlight your accomplishments further
  • A great headshot/photo
  • Education and certifications
  • Community involvement and volunteer work

I’ll cover everything below. Here are my best tips for writing a great LinkedIn profile…

Part 1: Work Experience and LinkedIn Profile Summary Keep the “Main” Sections Shorter Than Your Resume

When it comes to things like your work experience and bullets, your LinkedIn profile should be shorter than your resume. Assume people are reading it for a just a few seconds per job listing.

So pick your top 3-4 bullets from your resume per job, and put those. But cut the rest out.

Also consider including a one-sentence description of your work in each role too, just above the bullets. This is typically a bit longer on a resume, but if it’s already just one sentence on your resume, you can copy it over. If not, I’d shorten it a bit.

The only exception to this rule: The “summary” that appears below your name but above your work history on LinkedIn. I’d recommend that be 2-3 sentences on your resume, and around the same length on LinkedIn too.

So that’s something you CAN copy over. If you’re not sure how to write a resume summary that’ll stand out and impress employers, you can learn how here.

Why Does My LinkedIn Need to Be Brief/Concise?

It doesn’t. There’s no “golden rule” here. Some people will read more content if you put it. But here’s the thing… the goal of your LinkedIn (or resume) isn’t to get them to read every word. It’s to make them reply and invite you to interview, right?

They might still have some questions and want to know more after reading your LinkedIn, but they’ll see enough that they want to talk. And that’s the goal. They’ll find out the rest by asking you questions in the interview.

And keeping things brief will force you to focus on narrowing down your bullets and accomplishments to just the most impressive.

If I told you to include 10 bullets per job, you wouldn’t be as selective and wouldn’t write great bullet points. But if you limit it to 3-4 bullets per job like I’m suggesting, your LinkedIn profile will have nothing but awesome bullets.

Taking the time to “trim the fat” and put only your best highlights on LinkedIn is going to make you stand out while also making your profile more attractive to read/skim, which is what you want as a job seeker.

Show Progression/Advancement Whenever You Can

Employers LOVE it when you advance within a company, get promoted, etc.

So any time you can show that, do it.

Here’s a really simple example from the first recruiting job I ever had. I started as an Executive Recruiter and then got promoted to Senior Executive Recruiter. So I made sure to show this progression on my LinkedIn:

Note that your profile should definitely have more detail than this.

I edited this down because it’s very far in the past, I’m not job searching, everyone knows what the job title “Executive Recruiter” means, and I mostly want to show the advancement I made and the leadership I started doing here.

But in your 2-3 most recent jobs… make sure to put more detail about what your job actually involves.

Aim for around 4 bullet points like I mentioned earlier. The #1 thing hiring managers and recruiters want to see is what you’ve worked on and accomplished recently. 

One more note about showing advancement and progression: This doesn’t always need to be an official change in job title or salary. If you had a change in responsibilities (like starting to mentor/train new team members), you can still mention it on your LinkedIn and show how you progressed (even if your pay and/or job title stayed the same).

Focus Mostly on Your Recent Work

This is one of the key strategies I recommend for what to put on your LinkedIn profile…

Now, if you’re job searching with no experience, or right after college, this won’t matter for you because you don’t have a ton of jobs to list anyway – but if you have many years of work experience and many past jobs… spend more time (and space) on your LinkedIn profile on the 2-3 most recent jobs!

So for example, the most recent job could have 4 bullet points and a 2-sentence description above it.

The next job down would have 3-4 bullet points and a 1-sentence description.

And so forth…

By the time you get to the fourth or fifth job, it might just be a one-sentence description with 2 bullets, or just 2-3 bullets.

That’s not some rule that you have to follow 100%, but it’s the general pattern you should follow – use most of your time, and most of the space on your LinkedIn work history, for writing about your most recent work.

You Don’t Need to Put Every Past Job on Your LinkedIn Profile

Just like on your resume, considering removing a couple positions entirely if they’re far in your past and unrelated to the jobs you’re applying for now.

There’s no rule that says you need to list every previous job when writing your LinkedIn profile or resume.

Formatting Your LinkedIn Work History – Keep it Simple

You can also see how I used very simple formatting to grab attention in the screenshot above. I just typed “–” before the descriptions, and it stands out visually in the example above.

So you can consider doing something like this too but don’t overboard. No recruiter or hiring manager likes a profile flooded with symbols, emojis and other graphics making it hard to read or focus.

So find one or two small things to do that’ll stand out, but then keep it very simple and focus on writing awesome content that’ll make the reader want to set up a phone interview or talk to you.

Also, copy what looks good on other profiles. Borrow ideas. If you think the best writers out there don’t take ideas from others, you’re wrong. So you don’t need to start with a “blank page” for any of this. Look around at other people in your industry, take an idea here or there, make note of what looks good and what definitely does *not* look good.

Now, don’t go copy one person’s LinkedIn profile. Don’t plagiarize. But do take inspiration.

Part 2: Recommendations, Skills and Case Studies Add Some Sections Your Resume Doesn’t Have

This is another reason we can’t just copy word-for-word from your resume when writing your LinkedIn profile… because LinkedIn offers some sections/features that aren’t on a typical resume.

So you’d miss some of the best things you can put on your LinkedIn profile.

Here are some great sections to add:

  1. Recommendations – This is one of the most powerful ways to immediately signal to employers that you’re great at what you do. If you don’t have at least 3 recommendations on LinkedIn, here’s how to ask for them and get them.
  2. Skills – Make sure to fill out your “Skills” section with all 50 slots allowed. Why? These will help you appear in more searches that recruiters and employers run. So if you want to get hired, think about what skills you want people to see your name listed under, in a search. This is really the only way to “cram” your profile full of great keywords and search terms without looking spammy, so take advantage.
  3. Attachments/Case Studies – You can attach all kinds of documents to your profile in various places, including under specific jobs you’ve held. That’s another way to make your profile stand out. So think about if there’s anything you can create, re-purpose, and attach to grab attention.
Part 3: Your LinkedIn Profile Photo

Here’s a screenshot of a search I ran on LinkedIn (with names removed). Which profile would you be least likely to click? As a Recruiter… I’m probably not going to click the person with no profile image.

Not having a LinkedIn profile photo is a big mistake if you’re job searching. Employers and recruiters might suspect your account is fake, and even if not, they’ll wonder why you don’t have a photo when practically everyone else does. It just seems odd, and brings unnecessary concerns.

And choosing the wrong photo can also hurt you in your job search.

So choose a professional-looking headshot to put on your LinkedIn profile. It doesn’t need to be perfect. But pick something where you’re dressed pretty well and look like you’re confident, smiling, happy, etc.

LinkedIn offers these 5 tips for picking the right profile photo if you want more help with this.

Part 4: What Else to Put in Your LinkedIn Profile

After this, you can put things like education, certifications, and even community service/volunteer work. LinkedIn offers sections for all of these. You can also add different languages you speak to your LinkedIn profile.

However, just like on your resume, the first things you highlight should be your recent work experience, accomplishments, and proof of your skills (in this case, the best proof is LinkedIn recommendations, mentioned in the last section).

So focus on those things first when deciding what to put on your LinkedIn profile. If you follow these steps you’ll have a strong profile that catches the attention of hiring managers and recruiters in any job search.

The post What to Put on Your LinkedIn Profile (9 Tips for Job Seekers) appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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A new study that delves into retention and job-hopping behaviors was recently released, and the findings provide some interesting insights for jobseekers. The 2018 Job-Hopping Report, commissioned by LiveCareer, explores whether observations about rampant job-hopping are accurate; the report also delves into worker engagement in the workplace.

Employers fear that business will suffer as a result of increased job hopping, so the study set out to determine whether job hopping is a growing problem. To do so, LiveCareer conducted a big data analysis of thousands of resumes and job ads across 12 job titles to explore the current state of job hopping and job tenure.

The Study’s Key Takeaways – What You Should Know about Job Hopping:
  • Across professions, the average number of jobs held by workers from 2016 to 2018 is 1.3, while the average number of jobs held over five years is 2.3 per worker.
  • Job hopping is more common among younger workers and diminishes with age and career growth. While the study found that average amount of time spent per job is lower in younger generations, this could be less of an indicator of generational behavior. Rather, the research indicates that this may just be behavior common among younger workers across all four generations examined—Bay Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Zers.
  • Higher education may not be valuable for the careers of some workers and could, in some cases, even affect job-hopping behaviors. Jobseekers in blue-collar occupations list higher education at a much higher rate than employers mention those credentials in job ads. This indicates that higher education is less important to blue collar employers than it is to jobseekers.
  • Workers who are highly educated are less likely to stay at a job for a longer period. Those with only a high school diploma tend to job hop less often than those with higher education degrees. More specifically, high school-educated workers stay with their employers 33 percent longer than those with bachelor degrees (4.4 to 3.3 years).
Higher Education May be Holding You Back

This may sound counterintuitive, but the study’s findings lean towards the fact that job seekers should carefully consider whether to include higher education on their resumes, especially in non-professional fields. Since there is a large disparity between the value blue-collar employers place on higher education, it may not be necessary for jobseekers in these professions to list them on their resumes.

In fact, the study found that not mentioning these credentials at all might benefit job seekers. Since only 5 percent of blue collar employers are listing bachelor’s degrees as a qualification in job ads, versus 17.5 percent of blue collar job seekers who list these same credentials on their resumes, it’s clear that employers overall do not see a college degree as necessary for performing the job duties. In fact, the study theorizes that this disparity might indicate that these workers are underemployed, which might lead employers to worry that workers with higher education are more likely to job hop than their counterparts who don’t list degrees on their resumes.

Jobseekers Should Reassess the Value of Certificates and Licenses

Another interesting point about education and resumes: the importance placed on professional certificates and licenses varies wildly depending on your profession. Across the 12 occupations included in the study, employers in only five categories expressly mention licenses and certificates in job ads at a rate higher than jobseekers list them on their resumes.

These fields are accountants, caregivers, registered nurses, servers, and teachers. The importance placed on certificates and licenses by employers in these professions is likely because these professions require licensing or certification by law. In these instances, jobseekers should take care to list those certifications and licenses they hold on their resumes.

On the flip side, there were three fields in which employers never listed professional certificates and licenses as a requirement for employment. Jobseekers in these fields, however, were still listing them on their resumes.

Among job seekers looking for customer service representative roles, 17 percent of jobseekers listed certificates and licenses on their resume, while 13 percent of sales associates and 29 percent of software developers did the same. Software developers were perhaps the biggest surprise on this list since there is a wide range of professional certificate programs available for this type of worker.

The lesson for jobseekers here is that they should carefully research the value of professional certificates and licenses. For those in a profession where licensing and/or certification of some kind is a requirement, it is critical that jobseekers both obtain and list them on their resumes. However, jobseekers in other professions might want to weigh the value of these credentials against the cost of acquiring them, since they may not hold weight with employers.

Access additional findings, plus a free PDF download of the full report, via the 2018 Job-Hopping Report.

About this guest author:

Since 2005, LiveCareer has been developing tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free resume examples and resume templates, writing guides, and easy-to-use resume builder.

The post What You Need to Know About Job Hopping and Your Resume in 2018 appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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Interviewing when you already have a job is one of the best ways to advance your career.

There’s not as much pressure, and companies view it as a good sign that you’re currently employed, so they’re more eager to hire you.

Going on interviews while employed can still be stressful, though. In this article I’m going to share my best tips to help you successfully manage your job interviews and job search while you have a job.

Tips for Going on Interviews When You Have a Job: 1. Be selective

Job searching while employed is your chance to upgrade your career and salary in a big way. So be specific in what you want, and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to say, “no” to an interview request.

Or one of my favorite strategies you can try: Take as many phone interviews as you can, since it’s very easy to schedule them on lunch breaks, coffee breaks, etc., and then be very picky about who you go in for a face-to-face interview with.

So do tons of phone interviews, but only say, “yes” to the absolute best companies for an in-person meeting (based on what you learn in those phone interviews).

2. Ask questions upfront

A big part of looking for a job when you have a job is protecting your time and managing your time.

I mentioned above that you should be selective, and the only way to do that is to know about each opportunity BEFORE agreeing to interview.

So ask for a job description before an interview if you don’t already have it.

Ask great questions in each phone interview so you can make a better decision about whether to go in face-to-face if they invite you. You can get a huge list of great questions to ask here.

Then you’ll be able to accurately decide which roles make sense to pursue and spend time interviewing for, and which don’t.

As an added bonus, making sure you know about each job before interviewing is going to help you answer a lot of questions like, “why do you think you’d be a good fit for this job?”, “why do you want to work here?” and more.

If you want more questions you’re likely to hear, and sample answers so you can practice, it’s all in this article.

3. Get creative with scheduling

If a company proposes a time that you can’t do, tell them, and ask for what you need. Early in my career I had a company schedule my interviews from 7 AM – 8:30 AM, so I could get to work at 9:30 AM.

Getting to work slightly late is a lot better than having to take a full day off. When you’re interviewing while you have a job, you want to save sick days for when you absolutely need them, so ask for early or late interviews when you can.

They won’t always say, “yes”, and that’s okay. Have the conversation, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Just be reasonable and if they can’t do it, work with them to come up with something that will work.

4. Be ready to compromise

Getting time off from work to go on interviews isn’t easy. But neither is organizing a hiring manager’s time to interview you (plus anyone else you’re going to meet – because more and more companies are having you meet multiple people before they hire you).

So be reasonable, and be willing to compromise. If you make a scheduling request and they simply cannot do it, stay calm and try to understand their needs.

If you just think of it as a conversation where both sides are trying their best to make it work, you’ll be able to find a way to get it done.

5. Use your sick time wisely

You can use one or two sick days in most jobs before your boss starts getting suspicious that you’re job searching.

So try to save them for when you really need them (a full day interview, etc.)

You can also think about whether you can use one or two vacation days as needed.

I mentioned earlier that one strategy to save sick days is schedule early-morning or late-afternoon interviews so you don’t miss a full day of work. So that’s another way to save those “full” sick days for when you really need them.

Coming in one hour late (you can say it’s for a doctor’s appointment or anything else), is better than missing a full day.

6. Dress up (or don’t)

Let’s say they agree to interview you from 8 AM to 9 AM, so you can still make it into work later that morning.

Now, normally you’d want to wear a suit for most interviews. But if you wear business casual at your job, walking in with a suit at 10 AM is going to be a dead giveaway that you’re interviewing for another position. Not good, right?

So you have two options:

You could ask them, “I’m going to work immediately after. Is it alright if I dress in business casual?”

Most companies will understand and say it’s okay, and then the person you’re meeting with will know why you’re “dressed-down”.

Or, you could always just wear a suit and tie (or full women’s business attire if you’re a woman), and then remove the jacket, necktie (if you’re a man), etc., before going to work, so that you’re not too over-dressed at your job that day.

It’s up to you. The point is, don’t be afraid to ask for things and have a conversation to make interviewing more comfortable for you.

7. Remember your goal and stay focused on that

Looking for a job and going on interviews while employed is going to be a bit stressful, so be ready for that. On one hand, it’s less pressure when you have a job, but the scheduling part is more stressful.

So remind yourself why you’re doing this when you feel stressed, and think about what you stand to gain…

  • A higher salary
  • A job you’re more excited about
  • A better boss, better coworkers or both
  • More exciting projects and work
  • A better career path or brighter future for you

And remember you’re lucky to be interviewing when you have a job. A lot of people – and most of the readers of this blog – do not have a job when looking for a job. They have no income coming in and it’s very stressful/difficult mentally.

8. Don’t cut corners on interview preparation!

Chances are you’re only going to be able to go on a few face-to-face interviews before your boss figures out you’re job searching. So make the most of them.

One way is to be selective and say “no” to interviews that you’re not excited about. I mentioned that earlier.

But the other way is to make sure you walk in ultra-prepared and ready to “wow” the hiring manager and turn the interview into a job offer!

Here are a couple resources I recommend to make sure you’re 100% ready:

1. How to introduce yourself in an interview and answer, “tell me about yourself”… Article + video.

2. Complete interview preparation checklist

9. Make sure to follow up after your interviews

Think about how much time and energy it takes to get interviews… from writing your resume, talking to your network, applying for jobs online, sending endless scheduling emails, and finally taking time off from work to go to the interview.

So after the interview, doesn’t it make sense to stay organized so that you can follow-up, check for feedback, and thank interviewers for their time to boost your chances of getting get hired?

I recommend you track everything in a spreadsheet including:

  • How many interviews you’ve had with them
  • Date of last interview
  • Next steps in process
  • When they said they’d send feedback
  • Whether you’ve followed up already or not, and on what date

Then send thank you emails a day after the interview, and follow-up emails after 5-6 days if you heard no response.

10. Don’t tell coworkers

If you have friends at work, it may be tempting to tell them you’re interviewing, but don’t do it!

Gossip spreads fast in most work environments. They might think they’re just telling another friend harmlessly, but then that friend could tell a third person and before you know it – your boss finds out.

Then what if you don’t end up accepting a new position? It looks horrible.

So just play it safe, and tell your friends AFTER you find a new job. They’ll understand if you tell them you were waiting because you wanted to keep it professional and wait until things were final.

In fact, as another tip, I’d actually recommend handing your 2-week notice or resignation letter to your boss before telling friends too.

You do NOT ever want to risk your boss finding out you’re resigning, via gossip, before you formally hand in resignation. So after you’ve accepted a job offer, resign formally, then tell your coworkers and friends.

If you follow these tips you’ll have a lot less stress interviewing when you have a job, and you’ll be more successful in those interviews.

As a final note, if you do have interviews coming up and don’t want to leave anything to chance, I’ve created a new guide where you can copy my exact step-by-step method for getting job offers. You can get more details here.

The post Interviewing When You Have a Job – Tips from a Recruiter appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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If you’re looking for how to get your resume read by hiring managers and recruiters, then you’ve come to the right place.

When most people think of how technology has changed job searching, they think of applying online and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

While there is no doubt that technology has transformed the job application and screening process, from my viewpoint as a resume writer, the greatest impact is in how technology changed the way people read.

So in this article, I’m going to cover specific steps you can take to get your resume noticed in today’s job market, so you can get more interviews and find a better job.

How to Get Your Resume Noticed and Read RIP Print Reading

Many articles on job search and resume writing reference The Ladders’ 2014 study showing that gatekeepers spend 6 seconds on that initial skim read.

What this study didn’t consider, however, is that today most reading takes place on some sort of a screen – be it a desktop, laptop or mobile device.

Print reads usually tend to take place later in the interview process.

Why Your Resume Must Be Screen Worthy

Screen reading is tough on the eyes because we digest information quite differently online than in print, especially when we are in a rush. Documents written for online reads still look great in print – but the reverse is not always true.

By considering the 2 ways in which people read information differently in print versus online, it’s possible to facilitate a skim read of any document on any device – be it a 5-inch smartphone or a 20-inch monitor.

#1 We can’t easily skim large, dense blocks of test online. Dense text can be a 6-line paragraph or 6 one-line bullets all crammed together.  This challenge grows increasingly tougher as the screen sizes grow smaller.

#2 We don’t scan from left to right smoothly online. In fact, we tend to start left and then jump around depending on what captures our attention.

Writing for a Screen Read

White Space:  Replace 4+ line paragraphs with smaller paragraphs or bullets 2-3 lines in length. Be sure to insert at least half an inch of white space by entering the space key or playing with spacing to ensure there is a sizable break between every line and/or paragraph.

This white space makes it easier on the eye to skim and absorb pertinent material – especially on smaller mobile device reading.

Front Load: When crafting each achievement on your resume, make sure that the most powerful or impactful part of the statement appears at the beginning, or left side of the sentence, where the reader is likely to start if not finish.

In addition to front loading, keep the sentence lean by skipping adjectives and qualifiers and replacing them with data and figures that spell out your achievement within the content.

Here’s an example:

OLD BULLET: “Led highly-successful ERP implementation that replaced spreadsheets and saved client millions of dollars.”

NEW BULLET: “Saved client $20M by leading an ERP implementation that replaced company’s legacy system.

Two Must-Have Resume Components for Screens of All Sizes:

#1 Headline: Just like a headline from a magazine or newspaper article, a headline on your resume clues the reader into what your story is about, by telling them the types of roles for which you are well-suited.

#2 Summary: Skip the 20th-century era objective statement and the early 21st-century summary paragraph laced with adjectives to describe you. Because so many people describe themselves using the same adjectives, they have lost their value and have become diluted.

Replace the same old adjectives with details about your unique career story, and weave in language that aligns with what has been asked for in job descriptions.

New Times Call for New Measures

Because of rapidly-changing technology, resume reading has become more rushed than ever and takes place on screens rather than in print – at least in the early stages of the interview process.

As a result, if something is hard to read and someone is in a rush, it’s likely the reader will skip it altogether. So if you want to get your resume read and noticed, you need to account for this.

By formatting your resume so that it’s easy to read on screens of all sizes, you increase the chances it will get read carefully and get you an invitation to interview.

About this guest author:

In need of some career advice, a refreshed resume or rebranded LinkedIn? As the founder and chief writer at Virginia Franco Resumes, I offer customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker. I would be happy to chat!

The post How to Get Your Resume Read – The “Screen Test” appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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If there ever were an interview question that required a mix of diplomacy and vulnerability, it’s the dreaded, “Tell me about a time when you failed” question. You might also hear variations like, “Tell me about a mistake you made.”

After spending time learning how to build a resume and cover letter that shine a bright light on your accomplishments, being asked to unearth an unflattering story about your professional life can feel defeating.

Answering these questions is a delicate balance: You want to give them something of substance – a real failure that had real consequences. At the same time, you also want to look like a capable person who is good at their job. So, how do you balance those two seemingly-opposing objectives?

Answering Interview Questions about Mistakes and Failure Why Am I Being Asked About Failure?

Hiring managers aren’t trying to disqualify you when they ask interview questions about mistakes you made and failures you’ve been through.

Rather, what they are hoping to glean is whether you have insight into the consequences of your actions and whether you are someone who is capable of learning from failure.

Questions about past failures fall under the category of behavioral questions.

These interview questions operate on the premise that the best way to predict future behavior is to examine past behavior. Therefore, if you can cite an example of past failure and what you’ve learned from it, a recruiter will see you as a person who is capable of learning a lesson from a mistake.

The way you answer this question also says a lot about your level of personal responsibility. No one wants a coworker who is constantly passing the buck and blaming their blunders on others.

Being able to stand up, own your mistakes, and offer up a sincere mea culpa is a sign of confidence and integrity.

Also, the ability to reflect on the lessons you learned through failure is evidence of growth. After all, if you can’t point to a failure, you may be a person who isn’t willing to take risks. This is critical information in some industries, like tech, that are interested in hiring innovative people.

Good Failure Stories: How to Decide What to Share

Everybody fails at work. It’s just a fact of life. The trick to answering a question about a past failure is to choose an example that shows you are a human who errs, and also that you are a person who learns from their mistakes.

Like every other part of a job interview, the goal is to show that you are smart and insightful about how your actions impact the organization.

Don’t Humblebrag

A humblebrag is a statement that is designed to sound modest but that actually highlights something that you are proud of.

Answering a question about failure with a thinly-veiled self-congratulatory story won’t fly. You need to choose a real example of failure and then explain the lesson you learned from it. Below are two possible responses.

Humblebrag response:

“Last year I redesigned the company’s online store to improve the user experience. The project took six months of really hard work, but we still didn’t meet our goal of increasing sales by $100,000. Instead, we only improved sales by $75,000. It was a real disappointment but, then again, I can be really hard on myself.”

True failure:

“Last year, I was tapped to give a presentation to the company’s finance team to make a case for having funds added to my team’s budget to revamp the company’s online store. The presentation landed during our busiest time of year, and I was swamped. Because I was overwhelmed, I convinced myself that I knew the information inside and out and that I didn’t need to prepare for the presentation. In short, I blew it. We didn’t get the money we needed, and I disappointed my team. I know this happened was because I was overly confident and didn’t set my priorities well.”

Focus on the Lesson Rather Than the Mistake

To succeed in answering a question about a past failure, pick a story that ends with a compelling lesson. Ideally, you should briefly outline the mistake and then elaborate on the lesson learned and how you’ve applied it to other projects.

Be Concise

You should never babble during a job interview, but brevity is very important when you are describing a recent failure. Don’t tell a longwinded story.

As a rule of thumb in an interview, no response should be more than a minute or two long. Make this response, in particular, as short as humanly possible. Keep it simple by using this simple formula:

Your Ill-Advised Action + Poor Result = Lesson Learned.

Don’t Go Overboard

As important as it is to choose a real failure, you aren’t required to confess your most humiliating mistake in a job interview. Avoid telling stories that might be perceived as character flaws (“I am almost always late to meetings because I have terrible time management skills.”) or that might present a major headache for your employer (“As a result of the incident, I was investigated for sexual harassment.”)

Always use a real past failure example but do your best to make it benign. In other words, don’t give the employer a reason not to hire you with the example you choose. A company is not going to hire a person who might create a fiasco or present a legal problem for them down the road.

Remember failure isn’t fatal. Just focus on the lesson you learned from your mistake.

About this guest author:

Since 2005, LiveCareer has been developing tools that have helped over 10 million users build stronger resumes, write persuasive cover letters, and develop better interview skills. Land the job you want faster using our free resume examples and resume templates, writing guides, and easy-to-use resume builder.

The post Failure Isn’t Fatal: How to Answer Interview Questions About Mistakes You Made appeared first on Career Sidekick.

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