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The Career & Job Search Roundup is a weekly summary of top advice, resources, and content focusing on career transition, job searching, and personal brand development – expertly curated by the BRS team.

Is it Time to Make a Career Change? (Forbes)

If you’re feeling consistently stagnant, dissatisfied, or as though there’s no longer room for advancement or growth, it may be time to consider a career transition. High-potential leadership coach Jill Hauwiller discusses how her clients know it’s time to move on, and how to evaluate whether the time is right to make your own move. Read More

Networking is A Lot Like Dating – How to Be Good at Both (HuffPost)

Brooklyn Resume Studio’s own David Wiacek teams up with dating coach Lenina Mortimer to talk about how to navigate awkward conversations, push yourself out of your comfort zone, and master the art of small talk – so you can get the most out of your next networking event (or date)! Read More

Four Phrases that Stifle Your Efforts to Transition Back into the Workforce (Apres)

Understanding your value and having a clear strategy for achieving your goals is key to reentering the workforce, and doing so on terms that work for you. But the way in which you speak about your objectives also matters, and can hold you back. Avoiding these nagging thoughts and phrases will help you move through the career transition process, and find an opportunity that aligns with your professional and personal goals. Read More

10 Resume Mistakes That Can Age a Jobseeker (Business Insider)

Agism is a challenge that even the most highly qualified professionals face as they advance in their career and job search. Condensing your experience may not always be the answer – but there are a few tweaks you can make to your resume and profile to give it an updated look and feel, and ensure that you’re positioning yourself competitively in today’s job market. Read More

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to marketing yourself and getting success out of a long-distance job search. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post Career & Job Search Roundup (8/16/17) appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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The Career & Job Search Roundup is a weekly summary of top advice, resources, and content focusing on career transition, job searching, and personal brand development – expertly curated by the BRS team.

Navigating Midlife Career Transition (What’s Next)

Changing careers in your 40s and 50s can be a daunting prospect, and agism in the job market poses even greater challenges for mature job seekers. Career experts weigh in on how to plan for a transition, resisting the urge for a “quick fix”, and when to call in “the pros”. Read More

How to Brand Yourself – Without Bragging (Forbes)

Candidates often make the mistake in their resume, the interview process, and in their job search is general of being too modest and not “bragging” about their accomplishments enough. The primary rule of personal branding is to be able to tell your story in a way that describes your unique value, but doesn’t sound unnatural or over-bloated. Career expert Liz Ryan provides some tips on how to brag modestly and create a strong brand. Read More

How to Turn Your Fashion Internship into a Career (NYLON)

Arrive early. Master the art of the follow up. Use your time wisely. Reflect on what you did well, what you could do better, and how you can improve. Fashion industry pros share their top tips for acing your internship and turning it into a job offer. Read More

26 Careers That Offer the Most Job Security (Business Insider)

Decent salaries, low unemployment rates, and longevity – these careers were ranked the best jobs for 2017 – and those expected to see the most robust growth in coming years – by U.S. News. Read More

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to marketing yourself and getting success out of a long-distance job search. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post Career & Job Search Roundup (8/9/17) appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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A solid resume is the foundation of a successful job search, but your ability to ace the interview is the real determinant in whether or not you receive the offer. Interviewing is challenging for so many of us because it’s a context in which we’re not used to talking about ourselves and our strengths. Some of my clients go so far as to say that they feel boastful, or as if they’re bragging, and the fear of making a negative impression squelches their confidence and causes them to hold back on key information.

As I always say, “the interview is not the time to be modest.”

Whether it’s a lack of confidence, a lack of practice, or you’ve been out of the job search game for some time, there are a few easy tips you can employ to make sure your interview performance is top notch.

Practice Your Pitch – Focus on Clarity & Getting Your Point Across

Jeff Reynar, Facebook’s head of engineering in New York, recently told Business Insider he looks for candidates who show up prepared to speak about both their successful projects and their challenges. And that comes through in the confidence with which candidates deliver their answers.

Practicing your pitch not only prepares you to speak confidently, but knowing how you want to frame your answers will help you speak more slowly, clearly, and ensure you’re not flustered in trying to get your point across.

“Make sure you can talk really concisely about what you’ve done in the past, what particular accomplishments you had by doing it, why you chose to work on those things, and come with great stories that illustrate how you might be a great fit [for the company’s mission],” Reynar says.

Treat the Interview Like a Two-Way Conversation

One of the most important aspects of a great interview performance is whether you can treat it like a two-way conversation, versus strictly being reactive and responding to questions.

Turn the tables on the interviewer. Pose questions that will ultimately provide you with deeper insight into the company’s values, culture, and challenges. Ask the interviewer to speak about their own career path and experience with the organization, if they’ve hired candidates from the same college or university that you attended, or what makes someone successful in the company or environment. 

And with that in mind…

Ask the Right Questions to Gauge Culture Fit

Candidates often make the mistake of approaching the interview as a one-sided conversation in which the employer is evaluating their potential and fit. Really, the interview is just as much an opportunity for you to assess whether the organization’s mission and culture align with your own goals and interests. I have yet to meet a candidate who was willing to take higher pay or flexible hours in places of a good working environment.

How do you gauge culture fit during the interview? Ask thoughtful, intelligent questions to gauge how the company views its employees, what those relationships look like, how individuals are treated in a team setting, and what the leadership style looks like. Browse social media ahead of time to see what kind of content the company puts out – are there photos or highlights of previous company gatherings? Do they speak positively of high performers, or publicly introduce new hires to the organization?

First impressions are everything in the job search process, and that holds true in the interview more than any other context. Take the time to practice responding to typical and atypical interview questions to gauge your confidence, know what you’re looking for in a company culture and how to communicate why that’s important to you. Come prepared to ask intelligent, probing questions that show your interest and alignment with the company’s values.

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post 3 Quick Tips to Improve Your Interview Performance appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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Q:  

Should I use bullet points or paragraphs when listing out job descriptions on the resume?

A:

Whether you utilize bullet points, (short) paragraphs, or a combination of the two when formatting your resume comes down to two things: 1) how much information is being communicated within the description, and 2) what method will enable the reader to easily scan through the document?

You have roughly 7 seconds to establish a message and communicate your qualifications in a way that leaves a lasting and positive impression with hiring managers.  This means that your content needs to be easy to scan and read through fairly quickly, because you risk losing their attention in mounds upon mounds of verbiage.

The thing to be aware of is that, in this “bullets versus paragraphs debate”, there’s potential to go wrong in either scenario. If your information is ineffectively displayed in a lengthy list of bullet points, an overly-wordy paragraph, or any other format that doesn’t lend itself well to scanning through, your message will be lost and your audience will miss pertinent information that qualifies you for the role.

If you can condense the description into a 3-4 line paragraph, then do so.  When using a bulleted list, try to keep it between 4-8 bullet points, with each point ideally taking up no more than 1-2 lines.

My preference is actually to combine the two, when possible.  Start off the description with a brief 1-2 line high-level summary of the role, followed by supporting bullet points around your specific responsibilities, contributions, and accomplishments.  You may even decide to separate out your accomplishments into their own section beneath your responsibilities, and label it something like “Key Accomplishments” or “Select Highlights”.

Each resume is different and its content unique, and as such, your strategy will depend upon what type of layout you need to effectively get your message across without losing your audience’s attention.

You can have beautifully, expert written content that sings your praises and speaks perfectly to the job description, but if it isn’t easy to digest, it’s not going to be any more effective than a poorly written resume.  This also includes the overall visual design and strategic usage of formatting elements.

Photo Credit: Mark Granitz

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post Best Resume Format: Bullets or Paragraphs? appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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How to Choose Powerful, Descriptive Keywords for Your Resume

The point of the resume is to make a solid first impression, and doing so requires strong, compelling language that effectively markets your experience and skill sets at the appropriate level. No hiring manager wants to read a resume that’s full of nondescript adjectives, or one that lacks powerful verbs. For example:

“Dedicated and results-oriented professional with 10 years experience supporting marketing and advertising departments.”

“Dedicated” and “results-oriented” are phrases that most people would use to describe themselves, and hold no weight from a hiring perspective. Chance are, you can name 15 people just like that who are also dedicated to what they do in some capacity, and enjoy seeing the positive results of their hard work.  Who doesn’t?

While you don’t have to pen an exhilarating action novel, you do have to be able to to talk about your career, your experience, and your value in an interesting and impactful way that uniquely describes you.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of overusing resume staples such as created, developed, managed, handled, coordinated, etc., because they sound natural to our speech.  After multiple uses they start to lose their integrity, and candidates sometimes try to work around the scenario by defaulting to overly-wordy phrases that say the same thing in a more drawn out way: “Was primarily responsible for the development of…”.

Instead, take a look at the words and phrases you choose to describe your responsibilities and qualifications, and ask yourself if there might be a better choice that sounds more powerful/high level/interesting/etc.. Here are a few alternative word suggestions that will help you communicate simple ideas in a more impactful way:

Accelerated

Use instead of: created, developed, produced
Use to: Convey the idea that you created or developed something that had an immediate impact, and what that impact looked like.

Example: 
“Accelerated more efficient handling of customer inquiries by implementing a simple online feedback form.”

Streamlined

Use instead of: improved, organized, coordinated, made more efficient
Use to: Convey the same ideas as the words above, but that in doing so you created greater efficiency or a similar positive impact.

Example (as a verb):
“Streamlined the web design process by creating a universal style guide for corporate branding.”

Example (as an adjective):
“Created a streamlined process for updating the website by implementing a universal style guide outlining corporate branding guidelines.”

Leveraged

Use instead of: used, utilized, called upon
Use to: Show how you put specific knowledge or skill sets into use to achieve a desired result.

Example:
“Leveraged social media marketing skills to create a Facebook advertising campaign that increased monthly website traffic by 75%.”

Cultivated

Use instead of: built (relationships), developed
Use to: Communicate the idea of relationship building from a more strategic angle.

Example:
“Cultivated relationships with key retail partners to increase sales and marketshare.”

Exposure To

Use instead of: experience, focusing on, with knowledge of
Use to: Present supporting information around areas in which you have experience or knowledge and want to emphasize.

Example:
“5 years of project management experience with significant exposure to digital media and mobile platforms.”

A few other strong words & phrases that can add a little oomph to your content:

Delivered
Facilitated
Propagated
Generated
Administered
Materialized
Spearheaded
Advised
Fostered
Advanced
Impacted
Specializing in
Focused around
Recognized for

The quality of language and content can make or break your resume, profile or cover letter. Boring, repetitive language will fall short of effectively marketing your key points, while excessive, complex, or drawn out ideas and phrases will sound artificial and like you’re filling space.  The key is to remember that less is often more, and using colorful and descriptive words to communicate your ideas will create a more impactful message around your unique value as a candidate.

Image Credit: Wayan Vota of Flickr

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post Most Powerful Resume Keywords appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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Q: How long should I wait to follow up with a potential employer after a job interview? A:

Whether you just had a phone conversation or an in-person meeting, your immediate priority should be to follow up with a thank you letter to the interviewer(s) thanking them for their time, and also reaffirming your interest in and qualifications for the role. And then – you wait and see, eagerly monitoring your inbox and phone for a return response initiating next steps.

Often I get approached with the question of how soon is too soon to follow up on the interview.

Best case scenario:  You complete the interview and the hiring manager gives you somewhat of a definitive timeline of when you can expect to hear from them – “by next Monday” or “we’ll be done interviewing by the 15th” – allowing you a metric by which to gauge your follow up response.

In most cases, however, you’ll receive a more vague cliff-hanger of a response along the lines of, “It was great meeting you – we’ll be in touch shortly,” of “I’ll circle back after I discuss your resume with the team”.  This type of generalized response doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the running, just that you’ll have to work a little harder to gauge the timeline of the process.

Here are a couple general rules of thumb in regards to following up after the interview:
  • If a timeline is given, be sure to respect that timeline.  If the timeline approaches and you still haven’t heard back, give them a 1-2 day buffer to still reach out to you.  Plenty of hurdles come up, including administrative hold ups, or unexpected absences.
  • If no timeline or sense of next steps is given upon exiting the interview, allow at least 4-5 business days (a week) before following up, as it’s likely that they are interviewing additional candidates and haven’t yet made a decision.  Over-eagerness bordering on impatience will not do anything positive for your chances.
  • Normally, if a candidate is being strongly considered, or in the final steps before making an offer, it’s likely that the hiring manager will provide you with some expectation of next steps and when you can expect to hear from them.  However, it doesn’t always work that way.  If no timeline is given, but you’re left with a distinct impression that they want to move forward, or extend an offer, again, allow roughly 4-5 business days before following up.
  • Remember that HR manager and recruiters don’t always have answers, as they’re subject to the approval of upper level decision-makers. Particularly if you are aggressively approaching your job search, or actively interviewing, give yourself a timeline of when you will pull the figurative cord on the opportunity in the interest of not missing out on other potential interviews or offers. Positive feedback is never definite – anything can happen between the time you walk out the door and the offer letter.

In each case, the point of a follow up is twofold: it’s an opportunity for you to reaffirm your interest in the role and why you feel you’re a strong fit, and also to maintain presence on their radar as they’re moving through the hiring process.  Try this:

Hi Dana –

Thank you again for your time on Tuesday.  I want to reaffirm my enthusiasm in being considered for the role, and confidence in my ability to bring a lot of value to the team.  I look forward to next steps – is there any additional information I can provide on my end to help move the process forward?

Thank You,

Matt Smith

Ending the outreach on a question gives them an extra push to respond to you, versus a “simply checking in” letter.

The key here is to be slightly aggressive, but in a tactful way that respects the fact that the hiring manager, no matter how swiftly a response they may have promised you, is a busy person likely handling multiple job openings, and many factors outside of their control can arise and inadvertently slow down the process.

What Next?

You scored the interview, now seal the offer by putting your best digital foot forward with a polished LinkedIn presence and professional bio that sells you as well as you sell yourself. 

The post How Long Should I Wait to Follow Up After a Job Interview? appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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Q:

What is the most effective formula or strategy for writing a great cover letter?

A:

Writing a solid cover letter comes down to a few key points – who your audience is, what kind of information is important to them, and the best way of communicating that visually and verbally. On top of that, communicating a strong message that complements your resume and markets your most marketable experience, knowledge, and skill sets is really the core of what the letter should be about.

Before you start, do use the same formatting/style elements as your resume, including the header that has your name and contact info.  Creating uniformity in your presentation sets a professional tone.  In general, the cover letter should make the connection between the skill and experience-based qualifications in your resume, and your interest and relevance to the particular role, organization, and industry at hand.  This can be particularly import for career changers looking to illustrate why they’re making a change, and why that transition (that may or may not include hands-on experience) will be a smooth one.

1) Open with a mention of what position and organization you’re applying to:

It sounds unnecessary, but a hiring manager can be recruiting for 100s of different positions, particularly if they’re a third-party placement firm, so you need to be clear as possible.  This also makes it easy for them to forward your letter and resume along to the appropriate party who might be making the hiring and interviewing decisions.  If you’re unsure how to address your reader, go with a simple greeting such as “Dear Hiring Manager”, or even “Hello-“.  “To Whom it May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam” sound antiquated.

Dear Hiring Manager:

I’m reaching out to you with interest in the Graphic Designer role with Aspyre Solutions.  I have over 6 years of experience…

2) Your cover letter should supplement your resume, not recreate it exactly:  

Follow your opening with a 1 to 2-line brief high-level overview of your expertise or specialization, and what you bring to the table.

My background combines over 7 years of experience creating compelling integrated campaigns for clients in the retail and fashion space, with a strong knowledge of designing interfaces for mobile and tablet platforms. I’ve collaborated with a number of highly-respected creative agencies including Digitas, Publicis, and BBDO to create award-winning work that speaks to customers’ goals and expectations.

3) The next paragraph begins the main body of your cover letter:

How you approach it will differ depending upon your current employment situation and what you’re trying to convey.  In a typical case, you might start off by introducing your current role and organization with a brief overview of what you do there, and any pertinent details to supplement that, such as accomplishments or ways that you’ve really positively impacted the company. The goal isn’t to reiterate what’s on the resume, but to give a compelling lead in that suggests that what you’re currently doing is relevant to the role you’re applying for. You might do the same for previous roles, but again, be concise.

As Senior Designer for the ABC group, I lead a group of 3 digital designers in the creation of integrated marketing campaigns across print, web, and mobile for high-end fashion clientele including Ralph Lauren, JCrew, and Louis Vuitton.  With 5 years of experience at the agency, my role is duel-focused on both hands-on design work and project leadership, serving as the primary point of contact between cross-functional agency teams, vendors, and clients. I recently served as the lead creative on a digital campaign for XYZ brand, which won multiple One Show awards and helped elevate the agency’s reputation as a key player in the fashion advertising space.

4) The next paragraph gives you a chance to really personalize and tailor the letter:

This is where you might discuss why you feel you’re a great fit for this particular role and organization.  This is important because it not only shows that you did your homework and research, but this is how you effectively customize a cover letter.  What aspects attract you to the role?  How do you see yourself really thriving in this type of culture?  What do you bring to the organization that’s particularly unique?  You might go into personal attributes here as well, perhaps soft skills like how your ability to be flexible and adapt quickly makes you a strong candidate for successfully navigating a career change, or your passion for your work has proved valuable in moving up through your organization.

 I’ve been following Aspyre Solutions’ work and am intrigued by the new direction the agency is taking in establishing itself as experts in the multicultural advertising space.  This appeals to me greatly, as I also bring experience within the Hispanic market sector from my last role as a Designer for DraftFBC, in addition to being a native Spanish speaker and having lived in Mexico for 3 years.  To gain more experience in that space while leveraging my existing knowledge of the market would be the ideal next move in my career.

5) Finally, close out with 1 to 2 lines inviting them to contact you for a meeting:

Be sure to thank them in advance for their consideration.

 I welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss the needs of the position and my qualifications in more depth.  Thank you in advance for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you regarding next steps.

 Respectfully,

Dana Leavy-Detrick

One thing to note is that your cover letter may address other areas outside of those mentioned, particularly if you’re changing careers, or perhaps making a transition from being self-employed for a long period of time back into the traditional 9 to 5.  Another potential area is discussing an employment gap, which I advise you to do so in a way that points back to your strengths.  Took time off to travel?  What skills or knowledge, or cultural immersion did you gain along the way?  It’s not the place to discuss maternity leave, illness, or other information that might be better left to a one-on-on conversation during an interview.  Remember, this is your first impression, so make it your best.

Need some additional inspiration for creating that perfect outreach letter? Try one of my customizable email marketing scripts to create an impactful message that grabs their attention. Try one of my templated email marketing scripts.

Photo Credit: Michael Sauers of Flickr

What Next?

A solid cover letter and resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post My Proven Formula for Writing a Great Cover Letter appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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Q:

I’m actively searching for a job in another state. How can I mention in my resume and cover letter that I’m open to relocation without getting overlooked?

A:

Hiring managers are heavily concerned about the logistics, costs, and time required to hire and transition an out-of-state candidate.  For that reason, they tend to favor local candidates who can potentially fill the role more quickly. This also creates a situation of less risk to the candidate, if the role does not work out. The exception may be a high-level or niche position that is difficult to fill, in which case hiring managers are more open to scouring other markets to find qualified talent. But for most people, that isn’t always the case. So how can you increase your chances of consideration?

Communicate that Relocating is a Priority

Position your relocation as a priority, and discuss it as if it’s already in progress. In other words, you plan to relocate regardless of whether you receive the job offer, and that can instill confidence. This doesn’t mean you have to be packed and on your way, but do communicate to the company that picking up and putting down roots in another city is not an issue for you – in terms of time, cost, and transition. Unless it’s stated, don’t ask if the role provides relocation assistance (compensation), as most do not.  If it’s clear that you are already planning on making the move, and it’s not dependent solely upon you getting the job, hiring managers will feel more confident in your ability to make a swift transition.

Get Specific on Your Timeline

When broaching the subject of relocation in your cover letter, provide a definitive timeline around your availability so that there are no uncertainties. You can try saying something along the lines of:

“I’m currently in the process of relocating to New York City, and can be available to interview with 1 week’s notice, and to start in the position within 3 weeks.”

Companies that consider out-of-state candidates primarily want to be assured that it’s going to be a smooth and fast transition, as it’s a likelihood that they need to get someone into the position and up to speed fairly quickly. If you understand and can speak to their concerns in your resume and cover letter, you have a valid shot at being considered.

Bonus tip: if possible, change the location on your LinkedIn profile to reflect the market to which you’ll be relocating.

Reflect the Local Market on Your Resume

On the resume, a physical address is ideal, even if you use a friend’s that you can justify as a temporary “residence”. But if that’s not possible, instead of listing out your full address, you can denote the cities you’re targeting in your contact information line. For instance:

JANE SMITH

Los Angeles | Chicago | (617) 312-7892 | jane.smith@gmail.com

or

JANE SMITH

California | New York | (617) 312-7892 | jane.smith@gmail.com

Your primary objective is to communicate the message that you’re serious about moving and can do so fairly seamlessly. Companies understand that hiring an out-of-state candidate is an investment on both ends, so it’s even more important that you really communicate your interest in the role and the organization, and why you feel you’re an excellent fit. Not every company will necessarily require an immediate transfer, and in some cases, particularly with very niche and high-level roles, they may be openly recruiting out of state candidates to widen their own talent pool, and perhaps even offer relocation assistance. It will depend upon the level and specialization of your role, and relocation compensation is typically stated within the job description. I don’t advise asking for it unsolicited.

Out-of-state job seekers will commonly face the challenge of competing against local, accessible candidates. Position yourself for the best results by doing your research, preparing your story, and communicating your ability to meet the immediate needs of the role.

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post Discussing Relocation in Your Resume & Cover Letter appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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I hear the same situation over and over again from candidates of all levels – “I haven’t updated my resume in years!”

It goes without saying that you should keep your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn presence up-to-date, even if you aren’t actively searching. Candidates often find themselves scurrying to update their materials the moment a great opportunity arises – such as a job opening, a board position, or a freelance project.

Thing is, resume writing is complicated, and shouldn’t be approached with a “get it done last minute” mindset if you truly want to put your best foot forward. When done right, the process requires time, thought, and effort to ensure you’re communicating an impactful and accurate message around your value and qualifications.

Not everyone needs an extensive overhaul, and perhaps all you need is a refresh to bring your latest version up to standard. Here are three easy updates you can make in minimal time to ensure your resume continues to stand above the competition:

Evaluate the Resume in Terms of Information Design

An excellent resume is a combination of impactful content and polished design. If you haven’t had to look for a job in some time, it’s likely you haven’t changed up the formatting or template of your resume, and the style you’re using may no longer be appropriate for your level.

Consider the design and information flow: is there too much emphasis on earlier jobs and not enough real estate dedicated to your most recent accomplishments? Does your resume look outdated? Ditch solid page borders and black and white for a subtle pop of color to achieve a more sophisticated and modern look. 

BONUS: A well-designed resume that’s sleek, attractive, and not over-the-top suggests that you’re a serious candidate who put solid time and effort into their professional presentation. Don’t overlook the importance of that when presenting yourself to hiring managers.

Utilize the Summary Statement

The summary statement (which many people make the mistake of omitting in their resume) is perhaps the most valuable real estate on the page. Outside of your job titles, it’s the first piece of information someone will read about you when scanning your resume, and it will set the tone for the rest of the document.

Use those 4 or 5 lines (or bullets) to brand yourself effectively for the type of job you’re targeting, by summarizing your core skills, experience, and training most relevant for the job. You should always brand yourself for the job you’re targeting, versus the role you’re currently in. Use the summary to highlight skills and potential that speak directly to the next level up.

BONUS: changing up the summary is an easy way to tailor your resume to each role without completely overhauling it.

Experiment With Type

If your resume has utilized the same font type and size for several years, consider giving it a refresh with a cleaner, more sophisticated font that’s optimized for screen reading. Strong choices include sans serifs such as Avenir, Helvetica Neue/Light, and Century Gothic, which include different weights so you can draw attention to different sections and elements of the resume without overdoing it. 

BONUS: Give the resume an updated look by regrouping the way you present basic elements like titles and company names. Experiment with formatting elements, justification, and line breaks. 

Failing to update your resume regularly is akin to leaving money on the table. Don’t lose out on a potential opportunity by not having your resume ready to pass along to a hiring manager, recruiter, or colleague. Chances are, a few minor changes can go a long way in bringing your resume and presence up-to-date and positioning you for success.

WHAT NEXT?

A solid resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post 3 Tips for a Quick Resume Refresh appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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Applicant tracking systems (ATS) and job boards alike utilize keyword-driven search functionalities to evaluate resumes and assess a candidate’s potential fit. While you can’t always control your job title, you can determine how you are depicted on paper, and to a degree how your resume will be received by such technology. Will you pass, or will you fail?

Creative companies may think they’re giving a nod to their unique working culture or “flat hierarchy” by providing employees with abstract titles – like “Chief Happiness Officer,” and in some cases no job title at all. The problem with this? While it sounds innovative on paper and interesting on LinkedIn, no recruiter is searching job boards for a “Chief Happiness Officer.”

Give yourself a new title.

Some companies may take issue with how you publicly represent your role at the organization, so it is always best to do some research. Chances are, the job title won’t list on any official documentation until well into the interview process, and as long as you’re not misrepresenting yourself, it’s likely this will only be an issue on official legal documents, such as a contract or background check form.

Let’s follow our “Chief Happiness Officer.” This person leads Startup XYZ’s human resources department and is responsible for creating a positive culture that enables the company to attract and retain top talent. As the “Chief” their role denotes that they are an executive, and probably not the person doing the day-to-day functions of an HR associate, such as payroll processing and benefits administration. Their responsibility is higher level and involves things like HR strategy, team leadership, and communication with other members of the executive team.

So comparable titles with a much higher search value (i.e., more common) might include:

  • Director of Human Resources
  • Director of Corporate Culture
  • Employee Relations Director
  • HR Strategist
  • HR Business Partner.

If you’re not sure which titles are most searchable, utilize LinkedIn’s search feature or a job engine like Indeed to conduct a query for yourself.

What if you can’t change your job title?

As stated above, some employers may take issue with modifying your job title, for legal or other reasons. If that’s the case, you need to make clear in other parts of the resume what your title entails. So if you’re stuck with “Chief Happiness Officer” on the resume, utilize the first line of that job description – the most likely line to be read – to describe in “lay terms” the basis of your position. For example:

“Serves as a strategic internal HR business partner to the agency’s executive team, with responsibility for developing and executing companywide programs focused on building culture, talent acquisition, and employee engagement.”

Despite the abstract title, it’s pretty clear what this person does, and they’ve utilized keywords absent from their job title to describe themselves in the job summary (HR, talent acquisition, strategic), so they’re increasing the chances their resume will make it through the filter.

You can take the same approach in the summary section, or by adding a title/headline to your resume, such as:

DANA LEAVY-DETRICK

Director of Human Resources

What if you don’t have a title at all?

For resume and LinkedIn purposes, you need to create one – and a good practice would be to keep it as close as possible to conventional job titles in your field. Not sure what those are? Look at companies that are comparable to yours, and search for individuals in similar roles to understand how they are being regarded in the industry. This is not the place to be creative – save that for your cover letter or bio. Your title should be easily searchable and include the most common terms that relate to your job function.

If you’re not getting hits on an otherwise good resume, your job title may be to blame. Employing a unique job title may be a good conversations starter in the interview, however, the main function of the resume is still to pre-qualify you and get a foot in the door for that initial discussion. If your job title omits the key phrases or words most relevant to your role, you may be getting passed over in searches that you would otherwise be qualified for.

Do a search for relevant titles at your level and within your field. Look at how your peers and competitors are describing themselves, and consider whether changing your description can potentially improve the performance of your resume in relevant search queries.

What Next?

A solid resume is the key to landing the job interview. Check out our suite of resume and branded content services.

Do you need help crafting an impactful digital brand presence? BRS offers professional design services to help you create fresh, creative, and professional websites, infographics, logos, and business cards to complement your resume and other job search marketing materials.

The post Are Your Job Titles Helping or Hurting Your Resume? appeared first on Brooklyn Resume Studio – NYC Resume Writer & Career Consultant.

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