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Finding a job in tough economic times
Job search
Time for a new job
What can you do to be competitive when looking for a new job? Writing a quick resume late at night and applying for random jobs is NOT going to get you the job you are looking for. Is there an educational or university course being offered which could help you now or in the long term? What skills do you have to shine above and beyond other candidates. Make a portfolio of your accomplishments you have achieved in your academic or professional life. In the current economic climate employers want to know what YOU have to offer them. You need to sell yourself! And sell your success. Below are some further ideas and suggestions to find yourself a new job Learn new skills It's never too late to try to learn a foreign language, or a new piece of computer software. (Best example was a senior archaeologist of 10 years who came to me wanting to change life direction. After 6 months learning Spanish then travelling through Spain for another 6 months, The senior archaeologist is now a junior English/Spanish translator) Research: Find out where the demand is. While many industries are having trouble in this recession and laying off employees other areas are increasing employment Sell yourself : Take time writing your resume, and tailor your resume specifically to each job you are applying. Do not send out the same resume to every job advert you see. Remember if you're sending out generic resumes then you will get the same generic responses Use your social network . Don't be embarrassed about looking for work. Tell your friends and family. You never know who may be looking at hiring staff with your set of skills Use free networking sites to advertise yourself and your skills. Promote yourself via sites like LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/ Use a recruitment agency that specialises in your particular area. Get to know the recruitment consultant, and follow them up weekly. The more you appear visible, the more they will remember you Share with friends: Brainstorm ideas and share experiences with friends that are also looking for jobs. Exchange advice, strategies, and plans Act straight away: When you get a lead or hear about a job opening apply immediately. There is no need to wait. Prepare your resume and send it immediately. The longer you wait the more likely another candidate will apply ahead of you Don't let a lack of experience discourage you from applying for jobs: When tailoring your resume towards the job you are applying for, concentrate on the skills and abilities you have to match that certain job Most importantly: Don't give up - Never stop looking. While you're searching for your new job is there something else in the meantime you could be doing. Do you have skills to freelance? Maybe you can sell goods online. Keeping yourself occupied helps you to stay positive and upbeat rather than moping around the house feeling sorry for yourself
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172
Do I really need to use a professional resume writer?
Resume writing
Make my resume stand out
People look at me strangely when they ask, "Do I really need to use a professional resume writer?" "Come on," they say, "I can easily just write my own resume - what are you going to do that I cannot just do myself?" Of course it's true that anybody can write their own resume. The same is true that anyone can attempt to build a house or change the plumbing or paint some artwork, however in each of these examples you'd prefer to call on an expert because of their specific skills, knowledge and experience in their particular trades. The same can be said of a professional resume writer. How long should a resume be? Should I include a qualifications profile or a career summary? How many duties and responsibilities should I include for my current role? Do I include the same amount of information for all my previous roles and how far back should my resume go? How about questions relating to "soft skills" - should you include information like "volunteered for the Red Cross"? Is this relevant on your resume? How about the fact that you were the football captain at school - is this relevant? Have a look at your resume and see if you have words such as "hard working", "dedicated", "team player", or "loyal" - do these type of words enhance or actually detract from your resume? If you are using these types of words do you think your competitors are as well? And what about achievements - do you have any on your resume? Is a hiring manager going to take one look at your resume and be impressed with your past experiences, skills and success? Have you mentioned initiatives you introduced to the business or awards you have won? This is what a professional resume writer can do for you. They can open doors to get that interview. Remember - resume writing is not about reinventing the wheel, it is about ensuring that you adequately highlight everything that is required to make sure that your resume is selected and you are given the chance to present yourself in the interview. Once you make it to the interview you have the opportunity to prove to the hiring manager how good you really are. Without a professional resume you may never get this chance.
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When you hear the saying "a picture tells a thousand words", this means that a picture can tell a story just as easily as a large amount of text. The same is true about your professional CV. Your CV can tell the reader a lot about the type of person you are and the type of worker you will be. During one of my earliest roles as a recruiting agent, I was asked to find a shortlist of 5 candidates to fulfill a HR position. The position was an entry level role for a very well known and respected investment bank and although the client had instructed several requirements that they wanted in the right candidate (e.g. Bachelor Degree), the most important aspect was to find a candidate that would be the "right fit" for this company. We began our search for the candidate by placing a job advert in one of the online job portals. Within 3 hours we had over 150 CVs sitting in our inbox. By the end of the day we had another 400 CVs (at that stage we decided to take the job advert of the Internet). With our client urgently calling us wanting to know how soon they would receive CVs of potential candidates, we had the task of trying to sort through the huge amount of CVs and find the top 5 candidates. How to stand out from the competition First impressions count! It is estimated that a hiring manager or recruitment agent will spend no more than 15 -30 seconds reading through your CV before either deciding to continue reading or pressing delete. Unfortunately there is not one secret that will guarantee your CV will stand out from the competition, but there are many factors that will get your CV deleted. In my experience the first thing I look for in a CV is professionalism. Spelling Mistakes and bad grammar It is an unforgiveable sin to have any spelling errors on your CV . Spelling mistakes and bad grammar send out a negative signal that that the candidate is careless, does not take pride in his or her work and lacks the professionalism that the client demands. Without even reading through more of the CV I would delete this CV. Layout and Presentation It is an undisputed fact that if a hiring manager has two CVs sitting on the table, they are instinctively going to be drawn to the CV that is professionally presented and easy to read. No matter what the CVs say, the first impression is already made. If both candidates share similar skills and experiences, just take a guess at which CV the hiring manager is going to choose. When you sit down to write your CV, remember one thing. Your CV is your representation. This 2-3 page document is all you have to prove to the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job. Present a professional picture and make sure that you stand out above your competition.
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149
How to make a career change
Career management
Manage your career
It is NEVER too late for a career change! Sure, you might not have direct experience in a certain industry or job, but you need to prove to any hiring manager that your existing skills are, in fact, transferable skills. If you're debating about making a career change, don't be afraid. Even if a career switch later in life seems like a completely radical change with many possible consequences attached to it, you should still go for it if it's something you really want to do. My best advice is to set up a plan before making the dive. A large-scale transition will not happen overnight, and this is why it's important to ensure you have a "plan of attack." Also, make sure your career change is realistic. Although I encourage everyone to follow their dreams, you also need to stay realistic. If your dream is to become a pilot, but you've worked in banking for the last 15 years, the chances of you becoming a pilot are a lot harder (but not impossible)! Also remember to be flexible. You are making a career change that could involve a lower salary or relocation. These are some of the sacrifices you could be asked to make in the short term. When you begin applying for new roles, you need to ensure your resume is targeted toward this new job. Obviously you are not going to have direct experience, so it's important to highlight not only your current skills and achievements, but also (and most importantly), that you are able to adapt your skills for this new job. In making the career change, your skills are by far your best selling point. Many skills that you use on a day to day basis (such as leading, managing, liaising and communicating, for example) are all transferable skills that you can use to prove to a hiring manager that you are right for a particular job. 5 point plan to making a career change 1) Make sure of your reasons for wanting a career change. One bad day at work or hating your boss do not suggest you want to change careers 2) Brainstorming - sit down and brainstorm ideas of the type of industry/job you really want to do 3) Planning - Set out a plan to follow. Make it realistic. Remember your career change won't happen overnight. Realistically, it can take about 6-12 months. Don't quit your job on day 1. Included in planning is financial planning. How much is this career change going to cost you? How much do you plan to get paid? You need to know these answers! 4) Networking - Talk to friends, speak to recruitment agents and sign up to online networking sites 5) Executing your plan. Speak to an expert in regards to interviewing, resume writing and cover letter writing. Apply directly, and begin to follow the steps of your plan.
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Mastering the job search process
Job search
Time for a new job
In the last decade, job seeking has changed and competition for every role is more competitive than ever. The prosperous decade of the 1990s, when jobs were plentiful and money (not to mention credit) was seemingly free flowing, failed to give way to an equally prosperous 2000s. Individuals seeking employment in this market are finding it difficult to do so, mostly because jobs have disappeared, having been shipped overseas or completely phased out. (Does anyone remember the door to door salesmen selling encyclopaedia sets!) Job seekers are finding that they must be more strategic then ever in their search for employment. Preparing the job search strategy In order to succeed you need to have an understanding of what it takes to stand out in this tough job market. Those that fail to adequately prepare a job seeking strategy will likely find themselves without a job for the foreseeable future. Job seekers must learn to utilize their personal and social networks, professionalize their resume and develop great interview skills. Each of the aforementioned will greatly improve an individual's chances of landing a job. Networking Networking is a strategy that many job seekers don't focus on enough but in today's society should be the number one strategy at the top of the list. The fact is, many workers can trace their current employment to someone who was kind enough to give them a job lead, a foot in the door or point them in the right direction. Today, networking has become easier then the ever, thanks, in a large part to the growth of online networking websites. Social networking websites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are great places to meet people who share similar interests or who work in the same industry. However, even with the power and reach of social networking websites, a person may want to start their job search using the contacts they've developed in their own, personal network. Speak to your family and friends and make them aware that you are job hunting. Don't be scared to reach out to people who are in a position to help. Professional Resume Writing Having a strong resume is a vital part of the job search process. With unemployment on the rise, the competition for jobs is as fierce as ever. Human resource professionals routinely receive hundreds (sometimes thousands!) of resumes for each and every job opening. In order to even be considered for a job, an individual's resume must stand out from the pile. If it fails to impress in the first few seconds, the chances of being called in for interview is greatly reduced. Without a professionally written resume that highlights an individual's skills, experience and achievements the chances of actually getting the job becomes an impossibility and only leads to further despair and stress. If you are not having the success you desire from your existing resume consider having your resume professionally written or edited. The cost of a resume writing specialist is far less than the cost of not having a job. Interview Skills Having great interview skills is extremely important and gives you the opportunity to shine in person. Actually receiving an interview request is often the hardest part of the job search, therefore make sure you are well prepared for the job interview. Research the company and practice answering potential interview questions. The more information you have on the company the more prepared you will be to answer any tough questions that come your way. The best way to becoming a master interviewee is practice! Staying Positive In today's tough job market, job seekers should be prepared for a lengthy job search. However, being strategic about your job search can help you remain confident and upbeat during this period. Positivity is important so make sure you surround yourself with positive people. The last thing you need is negativity in your life.
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This month's top rated article
How to handle the telephone interview (and reach the face-to-face interview stage)

So you've found an ad for your dream job and submitted a thorough and thoughtful application. What's next?

If your application makes it through the screening round, the process of securing the job is likely to involve a series of interviews, initially on the telephone, followed by a number of in-person, face-to-face meetings. Many people underestimate the importance of the initial telephone conversation: the recruiter's goal is to determine your suitability for the role, so if you don't make a great first impression, you're unlikely to proceed to the next round of interviews.

Most of the time, you'll receive a phone call from the advertiser (this could be a Recruitment Consultant or someone from the company's HR/Recruitment team). There's usually no warning of the call, so be prepared to shift into interview mode quickly. If you happen to miss the call, it is common courtesy to return the call promptly (which is also likely to help your application).

While the phone interview is relatively informal, this is still an interview. A few points to consider:

1. Be proactive. You could consider contacting the advertiser proactively - either from the details in the advertisement or through your own research into the company. This leaves no doubt about how keen you are about the role. Not all advertisers encourage this approach, particularly for roles which are likely to attract a large volume of applicants. Be prepared to be told to apply online and don't be overly pushy if this is the case.

2. Don't rush. You won't be judged for taking the time to consider the question and answer it properly. Stay calm, composed and think your answers through. If you've reached this stage, it means the recruiter genuinely wants to understand who you are and discover why you're suitable for the role. This means that even if you have a lot to say, the recruiter is unlikely to hang up on you and you don't need to worry that you're wasting their time.

3. Be direct in your answers. Being cagey or not giving the full answer doesn't help your cause. Remember that you are competing with other candidates and will likely to be asked the same questions as they are. Listen carefully for clues about whether your answer is on the right track. For example, if the recruiter needs more detail or is confused about your response, she may try to ask the same question in a different way.

4. Listen. As the saying goes: "You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice more than you speak."

The conclusion of the call will usually be close when the questions end, and either a description of the role or being asked if you have any questions comes up. Simply enquiring about the next stage or a couple of questions about the role itself (team size, how this position fits into the team, etc.) will also be a good way for the interviewer to determine how keen you are and serve to leave them with a good impression. Both of which are key in hopefully securing your first stage interview.

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Popular questions
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Should I have an objective statement on my resume? Are there other ways to make my resume stand out from the crowd?

Replacing the Objective Statement with a Qualifications Profile on your resume

Does your current resume begin with a generic objective statement telling the reader what type of jobs you are looking for? Let me guess that it reads something similar to this:

"I am seeking the opportunity to expand my skills, knowledge and experience in a challenging professional environment. I am honest, reliable, eager to learn and open to tackling a range of tasks. I am a strong and empathetic team player and always complete tasks to a high degree of quality and to deadlines"

If this is how your resume begins, it's time to make changes. In the competitive job environment where hiring managers may receive upwards of 500 applications for a single position, an objective statement is more likely going to lead to your resume being deleted. From a hiring manager's perspective, they are not interested in a non-specific, all-purpose statement that adds no value to the resume and provides them with no reason to want to hire you. You may have the best skills and be the perfect fit for the job however, you may never get this opportunity because your resume has already been deleted.

What is a Qualifications Profile?

A great way to introduce yourself on your resume is by creating a qualifications summary or career summary. Rather than telling the reader you are seeking an opportunity to expand your skills, rather promote what skills you actually can bring to this specific role. A targeted resume including a targeted profile will encourage the reader to continue reading the resume as opposed to pressing the delete button. For example, if you are applying for an IT job that requires programming skills, list you're programming skills within your introductory profile. That way, the reader will straight away be interested to read on as they know that you have skills that are required for this position.

How long should my Qualifications Profile be?

The last thing you want to do is turn your qualifications profile into an essay! Statistically, a hiring manager will only spend between 15 to 20 seconds when initially reading your resume. If they open your resume and see a half page profile they are more likely to be turned off as they won't be bothered to read all this information. A well written profile should be no longer than 2-4 sentences. It needs to be targeted and present value.

Final thought:

When you begin to write your new resume, don't forget the number one rule. Your resume is a marketing document. The more you can showcase your skills and achievements the greater chance you will have of being selected for the interview stage.

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