10 Most Important Things to Remember When Updating Your Resume

Resumes are notoriously painful to write or update. Often the previous version isn’t even accessible or it sounds trite and hollow, if you can find an old file at all. These tips are designed to be helpful for people who have an old resume they’d like to work from, but they’re also applicable for people who are starting to write their resume from scratch. 

1. Objective Statement? Nope.  

Forget the objective – if you have career goals, that’s great. But it’s also your responsibility to make them a reality. Talk about your goals during the interview. Instead of an objective, give the reader a quick, straightforward summary of what they’ll find in the resume. Most people are going to read hundreds of resumes, so summarizing succinctly will be doing them a favor. 

2. Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities 

For each job, don’t list what you were supposed to do, list what you actually did. Make sure to update results and achievements based on what the job you’re applying for will entail. e.g., if the job description says you’ll need to improve productivity, mention how you improved productivity at your last job and briefly state how you did it. 

3. Abbreviations are Okay 

As long as they make sense, you can use abbreviations. In the past, this was a no-no, but brevity is valued more highly today than ever before. (Twitter?) 

4. Keep Hobbies and Activities Relevant 

Play guitar in a band? That’s nice, but unless your job will require you to play the guitar, don’t mention it. Again, anyone reading your resume is looking for applicable skills, experience, and accomplishments. And they’re probably hurrying through many applications. 

5. Formality is Less… Formal 

While it’s still important to be respectful, don’t assume that you have to be stuffy in your cover letter and on your resume. Personality is also interesting, depending on the company you’re applying to. Learn a bit about company culture before applying, some companies don’t like things to be too formal. 

6. They Know You’ll Send References if They Ask 

Don’t end with ‘References available upon request’. No reason to state the obvious. 

7. Know Your Audience 

Once again, do your research. Even before you sit down to update your resume, sit down and research the company and re-read the job announcement. Find out everything you can about the position and update your resume with that information fresh in your mind. That way you’ll only include relevant things. 

8. Use a Professional Email Address 

That doesn’t mean you should use your work email address if you’re currently employed. But you shouldn’t have your johnlovescats37@sillyemail.com, either. Try to create an email address that uses just your name. If johnsmith@email.com isn’t available, try john.smith@email.com or j.t.smith@email.com

9. Leave Out High School (If You Went to College) 

Put the highest level of education you completed first and end with your Bachelor’s degree, unless you’ve only completed high school. 

10. Proofread, Proofread, Ask a Friend to Proofread 

There is nothing worse than sending a resume with a typo. You’ve poured over this document time and again, fixing every word so that it’s succinct but meaningful. Don’t leave ‘there’ where you meant ‘the’. Proofread once first thing after breakfast and read it all out loud. Make sure there aren’t any mistakes. 

These days, very few people read through the whole resume, unless it catches their eye. Simple, to the point, and concise resume summaries are appreciated and give the reader a reason to read on. Consider how the reader must feel reading hundreds of these things and try to make it at least quick and easy to get through. And finally, because everyone can see through a puffed up resume, be honest.

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The Pros and Cons of an Employee Referral Program

We’re often told that the best job market is the hidden job market of personal referrals. There’s always someone who knows someone who is applying for the same job as you, so they’ll probably get preferential treatment. Candidates are often wary of using agencies and sending out resumes all over the place, because they assume that they’re not close enough to the hiring department to be considered. But networking has been shown to provide additional benefits to employers and staffing agencies. Employees that are hired through existing relationships are more likely to be loyal to the company and to stay in the job. 

As a result employee referral programs have gained popularity. Some are well structured and offer benefits or bonuses to employees who bring in talent. Others are as simple as asking employees to consider if they have friends who might be good for an open job. There’s a nice balance to be reached for a structured employee referral program, but it’s important to understand the risks involved. 

Nepotism and Preferential Treatment 

Other employees may be threatened by an employee referral program. Current employees who are hoping to be moved up into a better position may feel that a new employee who was hired as a result of another employee’s referral maybe offered the position and they are being unfairly overlooked. And there’s a better chance that protected groups will be underrepresented if employee referrals are relied on too much. 

Cliques and Idea Stagnation 

In addition, when people who know one another outside the workplace find themselves working together, their likely to form groups or alliances that can make other employees feel like they’re on the outside. The ‘ganging-up’ of groups within the company can lead to a poor kind of decision making. Individuals who think differently from the rest of the group will not be given as much weight when they offer new ideas. And new ideas and fresh thinking will not be as common within the company. 

Disillusionment 

Companies that are over-reliant on an employee referral program can also find that their employees feel they’re being offered something that’s unattainable. Great benefits or bonuses that never materialize will cause employees to be discontent due to the poor structure of the employee referral program. 

Pros Still Outweigh Cons 

Even though these are serious considerations, there are still many benefits of an employee referral program, as long as it’s realistic and well thought out. Passive candidates who don’t cost the company a lot in fees are a boon, and they’re more likely to stick it out and feel welcomed onto the team. Plus if you’re giving bonuses to current employees for their referrals, employee morale will improve with successful hires.

The balance of finding great candidates through current employees is possible to strike, especially when you’re aware of the potential risks involved. As long as your employee referral program is clear and benefits both the company and the individual employees, you can find ways to hire the right people.

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Risks and Rewards of Owning a Staffing Company

Staffing agencies provide necessary services to companies that want to hire the best talent but don’t want to maintain their own hiring department. There are plenty of reasons why staffing companies continue to be an important resource for businesses, but running your own staffing company comes with its own challenges. Besides the challenges of running a business, there are certain risks that are specific to providing staffing services. The good news is that if you’re aware of those risks you can prepare for them, allowing you to reap the many rewards of being in this lucrative and exciting field.

Risks

Ready-to-Work Professionals

Being relied upon means always being ready to provide clients with great hiring options. But that also means you’ve got to have skilled professionals in the wings. There’s a bit of a chicken-and-egg challenge at all times, because when you have great candidates, you are working to get them placed quickly. How many talented candidates can you manage and how many companies can you safely provide for?

Competitive Rates

Keeping up with the competition and offering both your clients and employees the kind of agreement that works will be a big challenge. You have to watch your bottom line to ensure your business is making a profit. But you also have to make sure the percentages you earn from the work of your employees and the fee from clients are competitive enough to keep them from going elsewhere.

Employee Screening

When you’re in the business of finding great employees, you’ve got to be able to trust that you’re placing good people. When placements don’t work out, it can be extremely harmful to your business. Using any kind of Database to help you like a Staffing Software may have its challenges but it is a must in order to screen the employees in advance and be ready when time comes.

Licenses, Insurance, Practices

To top it off, there are the usual concerns. You’ll need to be licensed to operate a staffing agency, with proper registration and insurance. Employee liability insurance is also very important and watching for workplace hazards is critical. Plus, you’re in the business of employment, so you need to provide proper training for your employees.

Rewards

Always in Demand

If you can build a clientele, you’ll always be in demand. Creating great relationships with your clients will result in their returning every time they’re looking for someone new.

Flexibility

Working for yourself in a staffing company gives you the flexibility to earn a lot of money if you work hard enough.

Building Relationships

You have the opportunity to work with people to build their companies and careers. For people who enjoy building and maintaining relationships, staffing is a great business to be in.

Staffing is a great business to be in because it’s always changing, you work with new people all the time, and the rewards for hard work are great. The more you put into a staffing company, the more you’ll get out. But like all small business owners, you’ll find that the first few years will test you and your determination to get things working right. The time and energy needed to build a staffing company will result in great rewards.

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4 Steps to Improved Recruiting Productivity

High productivity is a critical goal for recruiters. The more placements made, the better the revenue levels – it’s a simple equation. But productivity can be stifled by a number of factors which recruiters tend to believe they have no control over. The truth is that you can take steps to get control, and improve productivity by being purposeful and aware of the typical stumbling blocks of recruitment professionals. Here are four steps to take if you’re hoping to improve recruiting productivity as an individual recruiter or as a manager at a recruitment company. 

1. The Subtle Art of Prioritization

 First and foremost, learn to prioritize. This deserves a whole blog post of it’s own, but it is critical to productivity. Deadlines pile up, emails pile up, inboxes overflow – always figure out the one task that needs to be done first and finish it, then move on to the next critical task. There’s nothing like a list of to-dos to make you feel overwhelmed. But if you write it all down, then rank everything in the order of which should be done first, you’ll start checking things off and feel great about it in no time. 

2. Workflow Refined 

Does the way you interact with potential clients and candidates have a flow? There are always a set of tasks which need to be done for each client or candidate. They happen in a particular order. Make sure you’ve got a workflow that works well for each situation. When a new candidate pops up on your radar, how do you approach them, what materials do they need, how do you decide which positions to tell them about? Once they’re interested, how do you make an interview happen? Once you’ve got a workflow, a set of steps that has to be completed for each recruitment, you can easily go through those steps rapidly and know you’re not forgetting anything important. 

3. Pay Attention to Timing 

People are always looking for jobs, right? And companies are always hiring! Actually, there are shifts that happen somewhat predictably, and it pays to be prepared. Nobody hires in December, they wait until January. Don’t wait until January – instead, make sure you’re prepared for the January rush and you can be ahead of the pack. 

4. Use Technology as Intended 

If you don’t already have an applicant tracking system or some kind of database, you’re working in the dark ages. Yes, it maybe a bit pricey to implement new software, but one of the rewards is improved productivity. The right system can help improve workflow and prioritization, too. Just make sure you understand what the system is designed to do and use it the way it’s designed to be used. 

Sometimes, productivity can be improved with a few little adjustments. Maybe you haven’t stopped to breathe and re-asses the way you work in a while. Take the time to do so, you’ll be glad you did and the results will pay off in the long run.

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Evolving Role of Human Resources in the Digital Age

In every role played by human resources professionals, there is an element of communication. It’s critical that job openings are described accurately and each interview has to be conducted in a way that the key information is communicated and extracted from the interviewee. Even HR responsibilities like workplace manuals and coaching involve a lot of communication, whether that means in-person meetings, written manuals, or regularly checking in with a new hire.

As technology has changed, communication has changed, too. And being able to use the most comfortable communication tools of the up-and-coming workforce is critical to being an effective HR professional.

Learning the Ropes

Whether you’ve been in HR for decades or just starting your new HR role, it’s critical that you understand how important electronic communication is to today’s employee. Most employees will now expect the vast majority of communication to come via email. They may even expect to hear from you via social media or text messages rather than phone calls. As Generation X becomes more prominent in the workplace, so will online employee evaluation instead of paper versions. There are a wide range of digital tools such as Recruiting Software out there that human resources professionals can use in order to manage all such communications efficiently.

Instead of seeing the digital transitions as challenges, realize that there are good reasons for the shift from paper to digital. Electronic communication is just more efficient than paper communication. Online evaluations can demonstrate the data to you quickly and the way you need it in ways that paper evaluations cannot compare to specially if you are evaluating large volume of applicants. Learning how to use HR technological solutions will help you to improve efficiency as well as improve communications between the HR office and the rest of the staff.

Hiring in the Digital Age

And then there’s the hiring side of an HR department. Hiring an employee using paper forms may take days sometimes weeks even.  While having employment forms on paper can be comforting, you once again sacrifice efficiency if you require that a paper copy be sent to your office. In today’s digital age an online From Management tool such as Onboarding System can offer HR ‘best practice’ in employee form management, they will enhance legibility of information, making it less susceptible to misinterpretation and reduce the time to process new hires.

Digital communication will allow you to review many more candidates in a shorter amount of time, plus you’ll be able to compare them quickly and efficiently. This is the initial evaluation and you’re making it relevant by making it digital. During the next round, consider adding video to the process. Some HR companies are even promoting job opportunities with a video description and then asking for video interviews.

Being Available to Employees

Another role of the HR staff is to be a confidant or point of contact for employees. Complaints about workplace problems will come to you. If you make sure that you are communicating with employees in the ways that make them comfortable, you’ll be opening the right door to them. But remember that not everything is better in digital format. Sometimes it takes a friendly smile and an in person conversation to find out how things are really going.

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Tips for Finding a Desirable Job After College Graduation

Not long ago, there seemed to be endless possibilities and opportunities for a college graduate. Unfortunately, the market has changed over the last decade and college grads are entering a job market that is competitive and low salaries. So how can a college grad do the best for themselves after graduation?

Be Prepared

Before you graduate, you should do as much research into finding a job as possible. It’s likely that your college will have a guidance office or resources for finding jobs and you should take advantage of that while you can. This is where companies that are looking to hire new grads will be looking at your school.

Know the options by looking into jobs for new grads. Consider what kinds of jobs you’d be willing to take and try to find a sector that appeals to you so you’re enthusiastic about the potential jobs that are available.

Make Yourself Desirable

If you’re looking for a job, you’re like millions of other people. If you present yourself as an asset with a certain set of skills, you may be able to stand out a bit. Employers that are looking for new grads know what to expect from you, even if you don’t know it yourself. That means you should try to be as honest about your expectations and skills as possible. You won’t have experience on your side, so enthusiasm, dedication, and loyalty will be especially valuable.

Broaden Your Search

Don’t just search for your dream job. You’re just getting started, so you’re going to have to consider all your options that may lead to your dream job. Make sure you’re sending out a resume and personalized cover letter to as many potential jobs as possible, and take the time to learn about the companies you’re applying to.

Also be sure to tell everyone you know that you’re looking. A connection through a friend of a parent or classmate could be your best bet for a job that is both available and will pay a fair salary. The more people know you’re looking, the more opportunities could come your way.

Be Pro-Active

Don’t just apply for jobs that are posted, apply to companies that you want to work for. Even if you don’t see a relevant job post at a company, write to the HR department and let them know you are interested. If you send a friendly, well-researched, and enthusiastic letter with your polished resume, they may think of you when an opening appears.

Work with Recruiters and HR Professionals

Recruiters can give invaluable tips for how to best present yourself as a recent college grad. They’ll know what companies are looking to hire new grads and they can prepare you for what your options may be. Plus, it’s in their best interests to get you placed so they’ll do what they can to match you up with a good job for you. Be sure to be honest and thorough about what it is you are looking for so you can get the best match.

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Challenges of Today’s College Students

Going to college used to be the way to get ahead of the crowd. A college degree meant you’d dedicated yourself to being better prepared for the world and for a career. Those days are over. You may still be ahead of many people who don’t go to college, but the pool of college grads is only growing. College students face a lot of challenges.

College as a Second High School

Unfortunately, relying on a high school education is not possible in the US, due to underfunded schools, over-sized classes, and over-loaded educators. Many students arrive at college without knowing how to write a proper essay, which used to be a basic skill required for entry into college. That’s put pressure on colleges to start off by educating their students with a second set of high school basics. This has slowed down the advancement of students and devalued the average college degree.

Getting Through Academic Challenges

A lot of students find that they aren’t as good at the academic side of things as they’d hoped, especially in the subjects they thought they would want to study. If it turns out your desired major is just too challenging, dreams can become dashed very quickly. Students don’t know what to expect, and then they get disappointed in themselves. This has lead to a lot of kids doing poorly and dropping out, overworking themselves, and even harming themselves because they don’t see the bigger picture. There is always another way to get through college, but it can be hard to see that without the right guidance.

Financial Troubles

Most college students have to work through their education and this can add pressure to an already overwhelming schedule of classes, studying, and the hopes of having a social life, too. Balancing all these things is overwhelming, but when financial pressures are added to the mix, the stress can be damaging. It’s not just paying for college that is challenging, but also being able to afford the books, housing, and expenses while taking classes. A lot of people are forced to stop their studies because they cannot make enough money at their part time job.

So Many Distractions

While it may be normal for kids to take notes on a computer and to own a cell phone, these things can mean huge distractions during classes. Instead of focusing completely on what’s going on in class, many students get away with playing games on their phones or computers, and even chatting with friends and surfing social media sites. Growing up with these options, kids are not as good at the focus and pace required to do well in lecture classes that can be huge and anonymous.

A Balanced Education

Even the most dedicated and focused students can be frustrated by general education courses. If you want to be a doctor, why take history? It turns out that college is a place you’re going to learn all kinds of things, not just the specific skills required to do a job. Having a balanced education is critical to becoming a contributing and interesting member of society, something that employers value highly.

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Top 5 Colleges and Universities for HR Majors

Not everyone can get into MIT or Stanford, but if you want to be a leader in human resources or human resources management, start with your education. Which university you attend doesn’t have to determine whether or not you do well in the field, but having a degree from one of the following five schools can certainly give you a leg up. Besides being renowned for their curricula and high standards, they’re also places where you’ll find that the alum connection is strong. You’ll stand out to others who have had the education that you have had, and that can be the perfect in to start out your career.

All five of these schools are ranked highly for some of the same reasons. First and foremost, they have chosen to focus on the human resources majors. The faculty in human resources at each of these schools represents some of the best in the country and the reputation of these schools is well known in the professional sphere. Any one of these could help you to be not just a human resources employee, but a leader in the field.

Kellogg School of Management, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

Northeastern is a great university all around. Kellogg is highly respected as a great place to get a degree in management or business. And they offer one of the most competitive human resource management courses of study in the country.

Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

Another very highly regarded business school, the Wharton School offers a broad range of business, management, and HR courses that can help you to understand what it means to be a part of the HR team, as well as a piece of the bigger puzzle at any company or organization.

Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

The mid-west has its own great business school at the University of Chicago. Exceedingly high standards in business and economics pair well with high standards for human resources management.

Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

For all things top level, Stanford is fairly obvious. Their Graduate School of Business is well known as a destination for high achievers. Their program in human resources management is stellar as well.

Sloan Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA

Sloan at MIT is not necessarily an obvious choice to anyone who recognizes MIT. Most people think of the school when they think of technology, but it’s also recognized for very high level academics in HR.

Of course, there are many other colleges and universities that offer majors in human resources and human resource management. If none of these is an option for you, consider other business schools that have the right program. This list is certainly the top of the top, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great start somewhere else. If your goal is to succeed in human resources, then don’t let anything get in your way.

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Secrets to Climbing the Corporate Ladder in HR

Being in the human resources department has many advantages. One of those is that you probably know the salaries of the majority of employees, as well as their typical raises and bonuses that are given at various levels. This means that, like the accounting department, the HR department is in a pretty good spot to negotiate the right kind of pay increases. But of course that doesn’t mean you can do a mediocre job. You’ve got to earn the position you’re aiming for and you have to put forward an image of success.

Work Hard to Get Ahead, Right?

Yes, you’ve got to be a consistent and hard worker to get promoted. Your boss and other leadership will not promote someone who doesn’t put in the hours and the effort. Your dedication to doing your job is going to show and improve your chances of being given raises and potentially being selected for promotion. However, it’s not the entire picture. If you only work hard, you could be left behind. Especially if you have competition and they are paying attention to the big picture.

Be Present

Working hard is critical to success, and we all know it. But you can’t simply work hard and expect to get ahead. You also have to be a presence at your company. Your personality, your role as a member of a team, and your style will all leave an impression on those you want to impress. It pays to attend company events, dinners, and holiday parties. You should make an effort to make a good impression on others at the company, not just higher ups who you want to impress. Being likeable is important. You are one member of a team, and the team relies on you to play a very important role as a member of the HR staff.

Being the Leader You Want to Be

As in any position, you’ve got to promote the image of yourself that you want to be a reality. In other words, if you want to succeed, you have to act like a success. That doesn’t mean going around tooting your own horn, it means acting responsibly, with integrity, and gaining the trust that your higher ups need. If your company can rely on you to be a leader, they’ll put you in a leadership position.

Approachability and Availability

Finally, if you work in HR, you already know that being approachable is important. You are the buffer between employees who may have problems and concerns and the upper echelons who are responsible for making changes in case of problems. Your will only be successful in human resources if your co-workers trust you and feel they can rely on you. You’ve got to be available, too. While there may be a lot of employees who won’t have any say in whether or not you move up, your performance with them will play a role in the way you are viewed by company leadership.

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Top 25 Best Jobs in 2013

The economy is once again picking up, and companies are finally opening their doors to new hires. Find out which jobs paid well and showed the most promise in 2013.

1.     Dentist – We humans and our mouths full of teeth are so needy. So needy, in fact, that the demand for dentists will go up over 20% before the decade is over.

2.     Registered Nurse – What do you get when you mix the Affordable Care Act and an aging generation of Baby Boomers? A high demand for nurses.

3.     Pharmacist – We love our drugs. And knowledgeable folks with great people skills to dispense them.

4.     Computer Systems Analyst – Orchestrate and oversee the flow between employee, computer, and the spectrum of tasks connecting human and machine.

5.     Physician – Nurses may be superheroes, but they can’t handle all of those Baby Boomers alone.

6.     Database Administrator – Data is being used more and more these days. If you know your way around a database, you can probably find work.

7.     Software Developer – It’s as close as you’ll get to becoming a wizard in this day and age.

8.     Physical Therapist – An aging population combined with our increasingly stagnant and stressful lifestyles puts this job in high demand.

9.     Web Developer – Where creativity, organization, and computer science intersect.

10.  Dental Hygienist – Work fewer than 40 hours per week, collect a fat paycheck, and land a job with ease.

11. Occupational Therapist – Help folks navigate around their physical limitations.

12. Veterinarian – If healing Baby Boomers isn’t for you, perhaps you’ll find your calling with other species. Vets will enjoy a 30% boost in employment opportunities by 2020.

13. Computer Programmer – The robots won. The next logical step is for every company to fill their ranks with robot-whisperers to keep the machines happy. 

14. School Psychologist – Lend an ear and a helping hand to the littles and the not-so-littles.

15. Physical Therapist Assistant – With the growth in Physical Therapist employment, assistants will also enjoy a 45% upswing before the end of the decade.

16. Interpreter/Translator – The melting pot is a talkative one. Help boil it all down.

17. Mechanical Engineer – Innovative, creative, detail-oriented, hands-on types will enjoy a future in making cool stuff.

18.  Veterinary Technician – Assist veterinarians with the day-to-day operations while enjoying lots of promotion potential.

19. Epidemiologist – This hunter of microscopic game in the petri jungle helps track and prevent public health problems from air quality effects to infections and outbreaks.

20. IT Manager – Coordinate a team of IT professionals while enjoying a bank account overflowing with extra 1s and 0s.

21. Market Research Analyst – This modern fortune-teller uses hard data and tracks trends, looking for the next big market winner.

22. Diagnostic Medical Sonographer – Master the ins and outs of medical equipment and the patients to which they are attached.

23. Computer Systems Administrator – The nerve center of an office’s communications network will enjoy tremendous growth in the next few years.

24. Respiratory Therapist – Everyone must breathe.

25. Medical Secretary – With eternally changing insurance rules and billing practices, this occupation is Grade-A job security.

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