How to Write a Better Resume and Get More Interviews #3

Back with number 3 in my series of 10 posts about frequent questions I get about resumes. Be sure to check out the other posts in this series:

Resume FAQ #1
Resume FAQ #2

Now on to your burning questions! Remember, if you have a resume question that isn't listed here, leave a comment below or email me at theoilyintrovert@gmail.com and I will try and include it in a future post!

Is it appropriate to use color in a resume?

In general, its best to keep color to a minimum, especially in a non-artistic field. 
That said, there are definitely a few places you can use a **little** bit of color in your resume.
You can use a nice, subtle color for the headings of your main sections (Experience, Education, etc) as well as your name at the top of your resume. Don't use more than one or 2 colors max, and don't use loud colors like bright green or pink. A nice navy or burgundy title section, however, can break up an otherwise monotonous-looking page, and add a little emphasis to the section breaks. Keep the main body of your resume black, though.

How can I solve the work experience "chicken and egg" problem on my resume when I don't have any internships?

Its a myth that you absolutely need internships in order to get a job in your chosen field after school. Look for entry level positions at smaller companies to get your initial experience in, and then set your sights on bigger companies. A company is not interested in what you've done in the past. I know this sounds crazy, but bear with me.

A company needs to know how *they* will benefit if they hire you. So many resumes are simply a laundry list of tasks they have done, with no real results or achievements that would interest a company. Its important to show what you can do for them in a compelling way, and the easiest way to do that is to use their own job description to show you have what they want, even if you have no internships or direct experience yet. You need to show them how the skills you've gained in school transfer to the job you are applying for, and what results you have gotten.

By results, I mean concrete things that happened as a result of you having a certain skill. For example, if the job description says a candidate needs Powerpoint skills, you can say something like, "created 30 slide PowerPoint presentation for class final that received a 98% grade" or something similar. If there are any relevant results you've achieved from previous part time jobs, this is a great tactic to use as well.

What skills are relevant to include in resumes?

The answer depends on the job you are applying for. You should be customizing your resume for each job you apply to, using a company's own keywords from their job description.

A company needs to know how *they* will benefit if they hire you. So many resumes are simply a laundry list of tasks they have done, with no real results or achievements that would interest a company. Its important to show what you can do for them in a compelling way, and the easiest way to do that is to use their own job description to show you have what they want.
You want to make sure you are pulling key words directly from the job description when listing your skills and experience, as it will help get you through the automated software filters most companies use now.

Use action words, like "created", "spearheaded", and "managed" to show off various skills. Avoid cliche words like "synergy" and "leverage" so you stand out from the crowd. 

What takes the place of limited education on a resume?

Skills and experience will always take the place of limited education. Professional certifications are also a big help.

It may take you a little longer to get where you want to go, but it will happen. You need to show an employer that you have the skills and knowledge to be a success in the position. Show that skills from your previous unrelated positions transfer over to the job you are applying for. You should already be customizing your resume for each job you apply for, so you will just need to think about what from your previous experience shows that you can do the job you are applying to.

You can also address your lack of education in your cover letter. This is the perfect place to address a lack of education, and instead mention any professional group meetings you attend, self-paced courses you've been through, or related projects you've done to show that you are committed to increasing your knowledge and expertise. Show them how you would be a valuable employee.

I am a recent college graduate. Would it look better on my resume to have a paid internship in a field I am interested in or a job in a different one?

It will always be better for an employer to see that you have relevant experience in your field. Think about it from their perspective: if you are hiring a programmer, would you rather hire someone who had a programming internship, has experience with programming as well as been immersed in a programming environment, or someone who found a job as a salesperson and made cold calls? 

It is always more advisable to get an internship over an unrelated job. The additional benefit of an internship is that you are exposed to people in your field, and you will be able to network with colleagues - this can often times lead to a job. There is a good chance the company you are interning with will end up hiring you as well if you do a good job. 

Bottom line - employers are more interested in relevant experience than a random job.


Looking for more resume guidance to help you land more interviews? Download my free Killer Resume Workbook (and get access to my entire free resource library!) by entering your email below!



More really good resume advice! This will make getting a job interview so much easier! Pin now!

How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Hand Soap

The last bottle of hand soap I bought for my bathroom left my hands dry, cracked, and actually peeling at one point this past winter. I thought, "there has to be a better way!" So I did a little experimenting, and came up with a great DIY hand soap recipe that isn't drying and leaves hands squeaky clean!

But first, why on earth would you want to make your own soap when you can just run to the store and grab a bottle with antibacterial properties? Take a look at this:

the problem with hand soap

You can see that even the FDA, known for lax standards, recommends not even bothering with antibacterial soaps, because 1) They don't have any benefits over washing with regular soap and 2) they usually contain harmful ingredients such as Triclosan and Parabens. Not to mention they are dangerous to our natural environment-wastewater treatment facilities can't eliminate all of these chemicals, so they end up in our oceans and streams! The American Medical Association also recommends not to use Triclosan in the home, as it encourages antibacterial resistance.

DIY nontoxic hand soap

There is an easy (and super cheap!) way to avoid those issues altogether, with just a few ingredients mixed in a pretty bottle. Making your own hand soap is super easy, and honestly, I feel like my hands have never been cleaner! Just a small pump of this soap and you really can feel the clean difference in your hands.

DIY Hand Soap

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup castile soap (I use and recommend this kind)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 10-15 drops essential oil (I love Lemon in this!)
  • Glass soap pump jar (I like this one!)

Instructions

Mix all ingredients together and pour into soap container. I like to give it a small swirl with each use. One pump is definitely enough with this!


Looking for more ways to remove toxins from your home? Download my free 30 Days to a Natural Home ebook (and get access to my entire free resource library!) by entering your email below!



Super easy non-toxic hand soap recipe. Going to make this tonight!

How to Write a Better Resume and Land More Interviews: #2

Back for round 2 of the most common resume questions I am asked! Be sure to check out FAQ #1 and FAQ #3 as well for more answers and an intro to the series!

Remember I am currently creating a resume-writing course that will help you write your best resumes and get more interviews! If you have anything specific you’d like me to cover, email me or comment on this post and let me know what it is!

Looking for more resume guidance to help you land more interviews? Download my free Killer Resume Workbook (and get access to my entire free resource library!) by entering your email below!



Can you include internships under work experience in your resume?

Absolutely! That is what internships are for!

As long as you note that it is an internship and not a full position, there's absolutely no problem. In fact, I recommend young people get internships, because that's how you get experience and networking contacts in your industry.

Why am I not getting any interview calls yet despite applying for several jobs in a day and having a good resume?

If you are not getting calls for interviews, the problem lies in your resume, even if you think you might have a good one. If it was really as great as you might think, recruiters would be calling you.


* Are you customizing your resume for each job you apply to?
* Are you making sure to use key words from the job posting to get past Applicant Tracking Systems?
* Are you only including relevant items on each resume? (Recruiters only spend 6 seconds looking at your resume to determine if you are a yes or a no-is your best and most relevant info being drowned by fluff?)
* Are you using powerful action words and qualifying your results with numbers?
* Is your resume laid out neatly, in a well-organized manner?


Also, if you're saying you are applying to several jobs in a day, that tells me you are not pre-qualifying yourself and are just shooting out your resume blindly. This won't get you anywhere, as you've seen. It is much better to target jobs you are actually qualified for, write killer (customized) cover letters for each one, and apply only when its really a good fit.

I've created a small side consulting business. Should I include in my resume when looking for a new job?

Only if it is relevant to the position you are applying for. If it has nothing to do with the position, then leave it off. Recruiters on average only spend 6 seconds looking at a resume before deciding if its a yes or no. If you are crowding it with things that have nothing to do with the job, they will probably miss the important and relevant items.
It could be indirectly relevant as well. Let's say your consulting business is about technology, but you are applying for a business management role. The technology part of your consulting is not relevant, but the things you've learned and done with managing that consulting business are. In that case, I would list it and focus on the pieces that match up with the job posting.
The more you can match the description, the better your chances.

Should photos be included in a resume?

No. Recruiters don’t like it because it is distracting, and takes their attention away from your skills, which should be the focus. You don’t want anyone judging you based on your looks, which will happen if you put your picture on your resume. Besides, if you really are a top candidate, you can bet that the recruiter will be looking you up on LinkedIn and Facebook anyways, and they will see your picture there.

Will it hurt my resume to start looking for a new job within a year of being at a company?

As a general rule, everyone is “allowed” one quick job hop on their resume without it looking like a trend. There are always valid reasons for someone to leave a job within a year or two (moving, the company is doing very poorly, its just not the right fit, etc.) Doing this more than one time though can make a recruiter question your commitment and work ethic, so if this is your second time searching within a year (preferably 2), I’d stick it out unless something is seriously wrong with your current workplace.

Even more amazing resume advice that gets you interviews. Another one to pin now for later!

The Most Common Resume Mistakes (and How to Make Them Right)

Ever spend hours or days waiting for a phone call or email to invite you to interview for a job you applied to?

You read the job description and you just know that you have what it takes to be awesome in that role. You quickly grabbed your resume from the deep file its in on your hard drive, make sure your contact info is correct, and send it in. You just know the potential employer is going to call any day!

Except they don’t. The phone never rings, the email never comes. “What happened?” you think. “I know I was the perfect person for that position!”

What happened was that your resume lost you the chance for an interview. You might think you’ve done a killer job, but here are some of the most common ways people get their resumes wrong.

worst resume mistakes

Disorganized

Did you know that you have around 6 seconds for your resume to make an impact on a recruiter? This means that unless your resume is prioritized carefully with the most relevant information at the top, you risk being tossed in the “no” pile. Recruiters are busy people and for better or worse, scan through resumes very quickly. They might miss you if you have random information scattered all over. Be sure to list your most powerful and relevant points at the top so they get noticed.

Using the same resume

Going along the lines of the last point, a huge mistake a lot of people make is simply reusing the same resume for every job posting. This is wrong. You need to be editing your resume for each job you apply to. Look at the posting and see what things they are looking for specifically. Notice the words they choose. Use these words in your resume for this position! Not only will this help you get through the Applicant Tracking System, but when a real person looks at your resume, they will see that you have the skills needed to succeed. This one tip alone will increase your chances of being called for an interview dramatically.

Using a “creative” graphic resume

I know, these colorful, pretty resume templates are really nice to look at, and do make a great visual impact. However, if you remember that you only have 6 seconds to make an impact, you better bet on the recruiter taking those 6 seconds to look at how pretty all the graphics and colors are, and none of those seconds actually reading about you. Don’t let anything take away from your skills and what you can bring to the company!

Not qualifying your results

On your resume, are you listing things like, “Microsoft Excel skills” and “made sales calls”? Pro tip: these are doing absolutely nothing for you! If the job you’re applying to is a sales job, its a safe bet that every other person applying also makes sales calls. You need to say something like, “made 45 sales calls per day, resulting in $120,000 new business in Q3.” Do you see the night and day difference between the two phrases? You need to show the prospective employer just what it is you can do for them. Let them know what a rock star you are and they won’t be able to wait to talk to you!

(And just so we’re clear...I shouldn’t have to say this, but do not ever, under any circumstances, lie or embellish facts on your resume. I guarantee you will be found out at some point.)

Making grammar/spelling/punctuation errors

Everyone is human, I understand! But if there were ever a time to double and triple check your writing, its on your resume (and cover letter!) This is not the place to get lazy. The recruiter will wonder how many mistakes you will make on the job if you can’t even be bothered to make sure your resume is correct. I know many recruiters that will automatically disqualify a candidate that has a typo, especially if its for a position that is very popular.

ACTION STEPS

Pick one of the items above and make sure to tackle it this week. This will get you one step closer to getting your next amazing job!

Break free and thrive,

 

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Such great resume tips! Pinning this now to use later!

How to Write a Better Resume and Land More Interviews: #1

When I moved across the country a few years ago to follow my husband’s career, I did not have a job lined up when I left San Diego. But within 2 weeks of arriving, I had already started working at a great company, doing exactly what I wanted to do, and received a raise from what I was making to boot.

How did I do it?

I have spent many, many years researching and learning about getting hired, and putting that learning into place. I’ve gotten a raise with each new position I took, as well as a level up in title, so these tips work.

This is number one in a series I am starting on Resume FAQ. They are the most common questions I come across in the course of my days, and that I see over and over again.

I am currently working on a resume-building course that I hope to release in the next month or so, but until then, these FAQ should get you started!

How to write a resume

What can you do when the company that you are working for is completely in a wrong direction but you can't leave it as you need money?

You'll want to start looking for another job right away. While you currently have the luxury of time, if your current employer is really on the down trend, there might not be as much time as you think. You need to prepare now.

Treat job hunting as your second job. Set aside as much after work time as you can for it-this is important. Its much easier to get a job while you still have one than to get one when you are unemployed.

Don't spread around that your company is in trouble to potential employers. Its negative and they won't want to hear you bad-mouthing another company because that means you might do the same about them. If asked why you are leaving, say something like you have outgrown the position with no possibility for further growth at your company, or you are looking for more challenges, or something similar.

How do I conduct a job search as someone who has spent a lot of time in many silos but perhaps not mastered any?

This might be tricky, but it can certainly be done!

Think about what types of skills you have learned that transfer to a given job posting. Even if you don't have direct experience, there is likely something you have done that would cross over. Remember, a job posting is not a requirement list-they are things that are nice to have in a perfect world. Don't exclude yourself if there are a few things in a posting you don't know, or you don't quite match up to the requested level of experience desired. For example, if they want someone with 4 years of experience, and you have 3, that's definitely worth a shot.

Also, this is something you will want to address in your cover letter. Write a fresh one for each place you apply to, and explain your passion for their work, how the skills you have gathered would benefit them and are transferable, and your reasons for seeking employment in a different sector.

Does it help to include a keyword on a job description more than once on resume?

Honestly, it really depends on the Applicant Tracking System being used, and the importance placed on the keyword. The likelihood of it being a very important word increases the closer it is to the top of the job description.

I don't recommend throwing the keyword around in random places, but it sure doesn't hurt to put it (in context) more than once. I wouldn't do it any more than 2 or 3 times though, as there are other key words you want the ATS to recognize as well, and they will penalize you for using a keyword too many times.

Also, make sure when you put the keyword in your resume, you are using the exact way it appears in the job description. For instance, some ATS systems can not distinguish between "keyword" and "key word" even though it is the same thing to a human eye.

What are some good descriptive phrases for resumes?

The most important thing to keep in mind when thinking about good phrases for your resume is the original job description. You don't want to send the exact same resume to every job you apply to; you need to customize it for each one.

Pick out the top skills the company has listed in the job description (that you also have experience in) and focus on those. Provide results you achieved while doing that skill.

For example, if a job description calls for Powerpoint experience, instead of saying "Powerpoint skills", you would say something like, "Created 30 slide marketing deck that brought in 15 new clients", or something similar.

With that in mind, you'll want to use power words to describe your skills. Rutgers University has a great PDF sorted by skill that you can reference.

I am in high school and my resume is very unimpressive. How should go about improving it?

It depends on what you are trying to use your resume for. Are you trying to get an after school/weekend job? If that's the case, you need to focus on the job posting you are looking at.

What skills and tasks does it mention? For example, if it is a retail job, you are probably going to see things like " customer service skills". You would want to mention things such as "volunteered at homeless soup kitchen, serving soup to XX people a day". If you have little to no experience, showing similar things you've done will really help catch their eye.

Have a look through the job post and see what things you've done in the past might be related, even if they weren't jobs. Most places that hire high school students know your resume will be very light on job history, and will be impressed that you've taken the time to think through the type of employee they are asking for.

Could you get away with adding a college to your resume that you didn't actually attend?

Absolutely not. Your potential employer will likely do a background check and will find out that you lied. They will pull the offer and you will be in the same position you were before-without the job. It is NEVER ok to lie on a resume.


write an awesome resume

Looking for more resume guidance to help you land more interviews? Download my free Killer Resume Workbook (and get access to my entire free resource library!) by entering your email below! 



Really good tips for writing good resumes....pin now, read later!

How To Make Your Own Non Toxic Glass Cleaner

"I can't believe there is so much slobber all over the windows again!" I thought, as I sprayed and scrubbed one more time. I coughed as I inhaled some of the Windex I was using and thought "there has to be a better way."

DIY Non toxic window cleaner recipe

I've gone through my fair share of glass cleaner, thanks to my wonderful dogs, and I can't count the number of times I've had to hold my breath or step away when spraying it because I would cough and get a tingling feeling in my chest when breathing it in.

This makes sense, given the number of crazy toxic chemicals that are in various brands of glass cleaner. Ammonia (causes violent coughing, lung irritation, and even death if exposure is too long and higher), Isobutane (can cause frostbite if the liquid evaporates rapidly, as well as respiratory failure), and Ethanol/SD Alcohol 40 (causes irritation of eyes and respiratory tract) are just a few of the scary things we are exposed to when cleaning our windows with store-bought cleaners.

There is definitely a better way-make your own with non-toxic ingredients!

This DIY glass cleaner has no ingredients you can't pronounce, and won't irritate your eyes, throat, or lungs during use. I recommend using old newspapers to clean the windows...they'll leave that streak-free shine everyone wants!

DIY Non-toxic Glass Cleaner

diy window cleaner

Ingredients:

2 cups water
1/4 cup white vinegar
3-4 drops Lemon essential oil (Where to buy)
Glass spray bottle (Where to buy)

Instructions:

Pour into bottle and shake to blend. Spray liberally on windows and buff to shine with old newspapers (recommended) or a cloth.


Looking for more ways to remove toxins from your home? Download my free 30 Days to a Natural Home ebook (and get access to my entire free resource library!) by entering your email below!


I love this super simple DIY glass and window cleaner recipe! Still cleans without all the toxins! Totally making this today!