Career & Coffee

Resume Writing, Job Search, Industry News and Erin’s weekly musings on all things career.

How to handle a Lack of Education on your Resume May 23, 2009

Filed under: Assessments & Education,Resume Writing — erinkennedy @ 1:29 am

I get lots of clients that are concerned about their lack of degree on their resumes. It is very common and is one area that is a sensitive spot. When beginning the process of resume writing, what to put under ‘Education’ can be daunting.

The good news is there are ways to camoflage minimal or lack of education.

If you started college but never finished, you can list the name of the school, years you attended and major. If you want to focus on some relevant coursework taken while there, list the classes. Adding any professional development courses or training always looks great on a resume and fills in the space that lack of degree left behind.

In the unusual case of no education or training at all, omit the section completely and concentrate on making sure your accomplishments stand out.

Whatever you do, don’t fabricate a degree. We’ve all seen the news and watched top execs be publicly stoned and dethroned after being “found out” that their big degrees were big lies.

Something important to consider: not every employer is looking for education… or will exclude a candidate because of lack of it. Remember: BILL GATES DROPPED OUT OF SCHOOL.

The majority of the time, employers are more interested on your contributions or accomplishments. If your work history is impressive, then you don’t have to worry about education because your accomplishments speak for themselves. You will have to portray yourself as successful WITHOUT the degree. Not all self-written resumes do the trick. That is where a resume writing service comes in. At the risk of sounding pitchy, a certified resume writer knows how to bring out your best qualities and focus on what the employer wants to see– with or without the education.

Remember how hard you’ve worked to get to where you are today. THAT is what you will sell on your resume… what you did for one company, you can do for theirs. THAT is the bottom line.

 

Tips for Scoring at a Job Fair May 21, 2009

Many of you know that I was at the Detroit “Good Morning America / Women for Hire” job fair the other day. There were about 25 résumé evaluators and approximately 5000 job seekers. They literally were lined up outside the doors at 3:30am. Talk about motivated people. Wow. What a busy, productive and fulfilling day.

It was televised (GMA and local ABC news crew) and there were camera people everywhere. Sort made us feel like movie stars except the cameras really weren’t on us, and we didn’t get paid. But still.

All of us

(This is a group photo of the other resume writers/critiquers who donated their time at the job fair. From L to R:

Deb James, ME (in black), Dee Duff, Karen D’Anna, Kris Plantrich and Lisa Chapman. A smart, generous and fabulous group of women. We had a great time!)


I was really impressed by the amount of professionalism, ambition and previous success that most of the folks had. There were just a few people that could have used a few pointers. So here they are:

1-      DRESS AS IF YOU ARE AT AN INTERVIEW. Appropriate dress is really a MUST at a job fair. I know you already know this, but I thought I’d mention it again. You know the saying, “First Impressions are a Must”, well they really are.  I saw some people that looked gorgeous and really ‘wow’ed’ me. THAT is how you have to look. Not saying you have to go spend a fortune on new clothes. You can put together a new outfit from what you have. Wash your hair, do your nails, trim your nose/ear hair, you know… the usual. And if you have dread-locks, tuck them into your suit.

2-      HAVE A RÉSUMÉ PREPARED. (and if at all possible, have it professionally done). Yes, I saw many, many résumés and only about 5% of them were impressive. Remember, lead with your accomplishments, not your job description duties. The Microsoft Word résumé template was used in about 80% of the cases (yuck) I saw at the job fair. Remember, that is a template that doesn’t allow much give, so you may be cutting some significant info out because it won’t fit into the “template”. DON’T USE IT.

3-      BRING A SMALL BAG, TOTE OR BRIEFCASE. You will be bombarded with giveaways (pens, company trinkets, business cards, candy, brochures, etc.). It will be easier to carry everything and your résumé portfolio.

4-      GET A BUSINESS CARD FROM EVERYONE YOU SPOKE WITH. You might want to follow up with something you talked about. Even better, after you’ve talked with them, write down some key things you spoke about on the back of the card so you will have it to reference when you call, or if they call you!

5-      KNOW THE COMPANIES. Find out what companies will be there and get to know a little about them. Nothing impresses companies more then when you display the knowledge you have about them. Show off a little bit. Impress them!

6-      GET INTO A GOOD MOOD. I had a few folks come sit down with me who were shaking and I wasn’t even the hiring person! People can tell if you are nervous, distracted, moody, having a bad day, etc. That isn’t the best first impression to offer. Instead relax, smile, speak slowly and clearly (vs. rushing through what you want to say), and remember, the HR person knows you are nervous and understands. So try to relax and enjoy yourself. Fake it if you have to.

Job Fairs don’t have to be a bad/scary/nerve wracking thing. Remember, it’s just another avenue to try out in the midst of your job search. You get to meet new people, learn a few things about different companies, and have free coffee.

 

Brand New Website! May 19, 2009

Brand New Web Site                                           

I have been MIA lately… it’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog, I really have, it’s just that I’ve been doing something really exciting and had to wait until it was completed until I could blog again. It was worth the wait.

I launched a new website.

It’s been a long time coming.

For those of you who had to double check what you spelled when you realized the page you were on looked nothing like my old site, it really is the same company, Professional Résumé Services.

We’ve improved!!

I’ve had a vision in my head for a long time of what I wanted my new site to look like, but kept putting it off because it seemed like a lot of work, time, money, effort, work, time, time, time…

Then I met Carl Chapman.

Not only is Carl an SEO expert, designer and all around nice guy, but he also creates very cool websites. I took a look at a couple of sites he’s created and thought… SOLD! He has made this a very painless process and took over all of the work I thought I’d have to do (my old web host really didn’t do a thing for me except charge me a lot each month in fees—buh bye!). I like not having to think all of the time on what I could be doing to improve my site. We are all busy, so you can relate. I’ve never delegated a thing in my life. But hiring Carl has been wonderful. Ahhhhh.

So, now I have this new website that showcases what I offer, is fun to look at, and easy to maneuver through. Plus, I’ve been able to add things to the site I always wanted and it has allowed me to expand my product and services offerings.

Having said that, I hope you stop by my site and let me know what you think of it.


Here is the link:     http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com

Until next time…

 

Interview with a Recruiter May 15, 2009

Interview with a Recruiter

Recently, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with a smart, straight-talking recruiter, Peggy McKee.

Peggy McKee is the owner of PHC Consulting. Her firm specializes in matching medical and laboratory sales reps/candidates with companies, and does so with great success. Despite the economic downturn, Peggy’s company has flourished and she’s had to hire additional staff to meet the placement demands. With her strong understanding of the medical sales industry, interviewing and hiring, she’s helped develop teams of top sales talent for laboratory service companies.

Having my clients in mind, I asked Peggy several questions about her recruiting process, what is important to her regarding hiring the right candidates, her thoughts on résumés, and more. I’ve wanted to “officially” interview a recruiter for a while because of the number of questions I get from my clients about what recruiters look for.

Our conversation went something like this:

EK: “Peggy, where do you find your candidates? Do they come looking for you? Do you recruit them? How does it work?”

PM:     “40-50% of candidates come straight to my website (www.phcconsulting.com). The other half is split between referrals, direct soliciting and social networking. “

EK: “Are candidates are expected to pay you?”

PM: “Absolutely not. Candidates should never pay a recruiter. Companies pay the recruiter for the placement. That’s how it works.”

EK: “It seems like I remember way back when some candidates had to pay the recruiter a percentage or a fee for the placement. I’m glad to know it’s not like that anymore… at least not with all recruiters.”

EK: “So you use some of the professional and social network sites to find talent?”

PM: “Definitely. I use LinkedIn and Twitter to find candidates by typing in keywords, names, titles, searches, groups, etc.”

EK: “And you’ve had good luck going that route? I’ve heard LinkedIn is really a great platform to find top talent. I tell my clients about it all the time.”

PM: “Yes, I use it all the time and love it.”

EK: “OK, let’s talk résumés. Do you have any pet peeves? What are your likes and dislikes? What do you like to see or not see?”

PM: “Well, I want to see 3 things:  how can you make me money?… how can you save me money?.. and how can you save me time? This is what the client wants to know, so this is what I look for.  I don’t like to read long paragraphs. I prefer bullets. I like to see experiences and accomplishments. Love to see numbers, rankings, percentages, etc.”

EK: “Just bullets? Ugh. Boring. I tend to stay away from just bullets. It looks like a grocery list. Numbers are great. Especially in sales résumés… definitely a must.”

PM: “No, I like the bullets. Paragraphs are too long. And yes, numbers are great and show me what they are capable of doing. “

EK: “OK. What about cover letters?”

PM: “I don’t like them, but I have to add that if you are going to write one BE BOLD! Don’t worry about “expectations”. Write something interesting!

EK: “I agree. Nothing worse than a canned cover letter. Make it as authentically YOU as possible.”

EK: “Any last thoughts about the résumé or cover letter?”

PM: “Have your references ready. Bring them to the interview. Have a clear and focused objective on your résumé so we don’t have to guess.  Be ready to answer “tough” questions at the interview. Don’t shy away from them. Be honest.”

**************

Peggy was so fun and enlightening to talk to that I look forward to continuing this conversation and bringing you more insight.

In the meantime, if you want to get in touch with Peggy McKee and help her celebrate her 10th year in business, you can go to her website or visit at www.phcconsulting.com.

 

10 Profitable Jobs for 2-year Degrees May 14, 2009

Filed under: Assessments & Education,Career & Workplace,Job Search,Salary — erinkennedy @ 12:30 pm

(A warm thanks to Laura DeCarlo from Career Directors International (CDI) for this excellent information!)
* 10 Highly Profitable 2-Year Degree Jobs                    

According to the Payscale.com article, 10 Highly Profitable 2-Year Degree Jobs, by Michelle Goodman, the following careers can be most easily entered by clients seeking career change with only a 2-year degree:

1. Physical Therapist Assistant – average $46,111.

2. Web Designer – average $48,785.

3. Electrical or Electronic Engineering Technician – average $47,163.
4. Registered Nurse – average $55,276.

5. Computer Support Specialist – average $46,111.

6. Executive or Administrative Assistant – average $37,669.

7. Dental Hygienist – average $57,148.

8. Surveying or Mapping Technician – average $42,104.

9. Veterinary Technician – average $33,363.

10. Camera Operator – average $42,558.
Great list.
P.S. I am almost back to blogging full time. Just a few more surprises up my sleeve for you! 🙂
 

B.R.B. or Hang Tight! May 2, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 11:34 pm

Hi everyone! I haven’t abandoned this blog, but have been told not to post anything until I get the “OK”.

 

Somethin’s cookin’ here, but I can’t tell you what it is.

 

You’ll just have to wait and see.

 

I promise you’ll like it, though. I’ve been posting every day, just haven’t published them. Saving them for my big surprise.

 

So, wait for me. OK?

 

Promise?

 

See you soon!  🙂

 

This Llama needs a Job April 23, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 12:10 am

THIS LLAMA NEEDS A JOB


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Meet Sweetpea.

Sweetpea is 5 years old and was born to a life of luxury.

Day in, day out, Sweetpea grazes in the pasture, drinks fresh water from a constantly filled water supply, and eats as much sweet feed, rolled oats and cracked corn as her heart desires.

Sweetpea has a luxurious coat of fleece and fiber, the softest fur you can run your fingers through. She is groomed yearly and has regular checkups. She has produced 2 healthy offspring and is great with (human) children.

Sweetpea needs a job.

She is bored. She paces the fence line, trying to catch the eyes of passing cars by doing her best poses and tricks. She says the past 3 years have been devoted to the care, feeding, and weaning of her babies. She is now ready to work full-time, she wants to contribute… to talk with other “grown ups”.

Together we created her résumé and she was quick to point out her strong points:

1- Leadership. She is the oldest female in the herd and all the others follow her lead.

2- Sales and Marketing. With her quick poses, tricks, head tosses, and trots, people stop to admire her and immediately decide they have to have a llama, hence boosting sales of all llamas ready for purchase.

3- Team Development & Management. She quickly trains her newborns to adapt to the ways of the herd. The other members grudgingly follow her lead and are sometimes not happy about it, but she encourages group synergy by praising accomplishments (proper hay chewing techniques) and motivating them to work harder together (“alright, on three… toss the head to the left, then back to the right… now stretch it to the sky. Just like that. Great job!”).

Sweetpea adds that she is flexible when it comes to pay, but she would lean toward a position that offered fresh veggies daily (versus the old soggy ones in the back of the crisper drawer). Travel is a consideration, but relocation is out of the question.

She looks forward to working with you and says she can be reached by email or on her iPhone.

Thank You.