Sales Hiring and Employment Advice

Category Archives: Resume

How Broad Work Experience Can Be An Asset On Your Resume
March 10, 2014
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by Barbara Kiviat

Don’t let employers have room to assume that you just aren’t all that talented or committed.

In today’s economy, workers often switch jobs frequently, and even re-invent entire careers. But if your resume includes jobs in a number of industries or professions, does that signal to potential employers that you’re good at many things—or good at none? A jack of all trades or a dilettante? Employers often say they want flexible workers who can assume many roles, but research has long shown the danger of being what social scientists call a “category spanner.” It can be tough to make sense of a person who jumps around a lot.

A new article in the American Sociological Review sheds light on the issue, and suggests that while some variation in work experience helps job candidates, too much diversity on a resumé makes a person less likely to be hired. Ming D. Leung, an assistant professor in the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, studied jobs posted to the online marketplace Elance.com. The site brings together firms and freelancers, in professional job categories from website programming to translation services to business plan writing. Since each freelancer’s entire Elance work history is recorded on the site and visible to potential employers, it was easy for Leung to study how much a worker benefited from, or was penalized by, broad experience.

Leung found that the freelances who won the most jobs (after taking past performance into account) were those who moved between related job categories, such as litigation and contracts or press releases and copywriting. These workers, whom Leung labeled “incremental generalists” captured more work than “erratic generalists”—freelancers with work history in a range of unrelated categories. Perhaps more surprisingly, incremental generalists also captured more work than “specialists”—workers who never ventured away from their core job category. For example, freelancers who moved between the categories of package design and logos increased their ability to get hired by 7.6 percent over those workers who stayed in just one of the categories.

Leung also found that the benefit of being an incremental generalist was greatest when the job at hand was a complex one, or when freelancers had a short work history. In other words, employers were particularly attuned to a potential employee’s breadth of experience when the job was going to require complicated thinking, or when the employers didn’t have as much evidence about what sort of worker they were looking at.

Of course, in most hiring situations you get a lot more leeway in deciding how to present yourself to employers. It’s easy—and even recommended—to recast your past work experience as related to the particular job you’re applying for. Still, this study offers a valuable lesson: don’t edit all of the diversity out of your resumé. Yes, a resumé that shows jumping around among jobs and professional roles might serve as a red flag to potential employers, but a work history that is entirely within one narrow domain might not be the best, either.

Career coaches tend to emphasize the importance of telling a story with your resumé, which is one way to have the best of both worlds. Let employers know up front that jobs in different categories are about deliberately expanding your skill set into related areas. Don’t let employers have room to assume that you just aren’t all that talented or committed. Broad experience can be an asset—if you make it work for you.

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Barbara Kiviat is a Journalist and PhD student at Harvard University who writes for Glassdoor.

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Are You Stressed About Finding A Job?
February 20, 2014
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by  Heather R. Huhman

Dealing with uncertainty during a job search is a feeling many experience.

We’ve all been there. Waiting to hear back from a recruiter or sitting by the phone waiting for the results of an interview can be some of the most nerve-wracking moments of your job search, In fact, 92 percent of adults fear something about the job interview process. Whether it’s landing the interview or knowing exactly what to say during it, many job seekers feel uneasy when it comes to finding a job.

What many job seekers don’t want to accept is the fact that we need to take some risks throughout our careers. These risks can be taking a job you wouldn’t have expected or even starting a freelance career. Whatever has you feeling uneasy during your job search, here are some thoughts to consider to help you feel more calm and less stressed about your job search:

When you stress about tomorrow, you’re taking away from today’s opportunities.

It’s normal to feel stressed about waiting for callbacks or emails from recruiters. However, you cannot allow this stress to consume your life. Sometimes, when we’re so worried about what will happen tomorrow, next week, or in the next five years, we forget about the events that are happening today. Don’t allow yourself to become consumed by the stress of your job search. To help you stay focused on the present, spend time networking, take a class, and attend workshops. If you can keep yourself busy when looking for jobs, new opportunities could enter into your life.

During your job search, you need to allow yourself to open up.

Today, you could receive an unexpected phone call about a job opening across the country — and they’re hiring immediately. If something like this happens, you have to able to take a step back and consider your situation. You never know when new opportunity will come to your life and even change your career path for the best. You have to be willing to consider your options and see where they take you.

You can’t plan for everything.

The further you are in your career, the more you’ll realize that you can’t always plan ahead. While it’s nice to have an exact plan for the next five years, you need to allow some room for change and opportunity. The key to coping with uncertainty is accepting the fact that there will always be uncertainty. No one, not even you, can predict where your career will take you in the next five years. While it’s good to have some goals created for your future, you also need to allow some wiggle room for those goals to change.

Remember, you do have control of your career.

Many job seekers see their job search as a one-way street when it comes to applying for positions and attending interviews. But a major part of your job search is knowing if you want the job or not. You may think the interviewer or employer has complete control of your career decisions, but they don’t. During your job search, you need to take control of your career in order to regain confidence as a job seeker. This will help you make better decisions and discover which path is the best for you.

Although having patience during your job search can seem daunting, sometimes you have to be willing to face uncertainty. When it comes to landing a job (and even taking some risks to land that job), you have to be willing to deal with the unknown. Throughout your career there will be times when you feel confident and times where you question every decision you make. But when it comes down to it, you just have to have faith that you will succeed in reaching your career goals.

How do you cope with uncertainty during your job search?

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Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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Five Ways to Tweak Your Job Search this Year
January 20, 2014
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by  Heather R. Huhman

During your job search, you’re going to receive a lot advice. Some of this advice is going to help you land jobs, while some of it might set you back.

Whether it’s advice you receive from your mother or even a tip you get from a recruiter, some of it won’t guarantee job search success. When searching for jobs, it’s important to know which tips work for you and how to use them to their best potential. Once you’re able to weed out the bad advice from the good, you’ll be on your way to more interviews and landing a job.

To help you decide which job search advice to ditch this year, here’s five job search tips to avoid:

1. Only focus on your resume and cover letter.

A common piece of advice you’ve probably heard over the last year is to focus on customizing your cover letter and resume to every position for which you apply. This is a very important piece of advice to follow (and you should always do this); however, there some other important pieces of the job search puzzle you’re missing.

During your job search, you must also focus on marketing yourself as a professional and the value of your personal brand. Your resume and cover letter definitely serve as tools for landing an interview, but what’s going to seal the deal is your credibility as a professional. In addition to crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, make sure you also have a stellar online presence. This means making sure your LinkedIn is current and you’re utilizing the best social media platforms for your career. This not only will help you build credibility as a job seeker, but also help you become discovered by employers who want to hire you.

2. Make sure your Facebook profile is unsearchable.

If you’re worried about employers finding you on Facebook, chances are you’ve probably gone out of your way to make it private. If you’ve changed the spelling of your name on Facebook and applied every privacy setting to make it impossible to discover you, this could send a red flag to employers.

As a job seeker, you need to be as transparent as possible on social media. Why? Because employers want to feel confident that you have nothing to hide from them. Do your best to be your true self online and you won’t have to worry about blocking employers from your Facebook.

3. Keep your personal and professional online presence separate.

You may have been told the safest way to utilize social media for your job search is to create separate accounts (such as two Twitter accounts). While this seems like sound advice, it could have a negative impact on your online presence. Employers want to see that you’re able to blend your personal and professional lives as one on social media. By blending the two, you’re able to show employers your experience as well as your personality online.

As mentioned earlier, it’s important to be transparent as a job seeker because you want employers to see your genuine personality. If you’re worried about employers finding dirt on you, make sure you are only posting appropriate content online. This will save you a headache from having to manage two separate social media personalities for yourself as a job seeker.

4. Apply to as many jobs as you can.

No matter how desperate you are to find a job, don’t apply to every job posting you think you are even remotely qualified for. People land jobs because they show employers they are qualified for the position through their experience, not because of a single qualification or skill.

If you want to land a job, you need to carefully research positions that would be a good fit for your skills and experience. Once you find some jobs you feel are the right fit, begin networking with those companies. When you’re ready to apply and you’ve made some connections, customize your cover letter and resume to each position. This will show employers you are serious about working for their company and will give employers a reason to want to interview you for the position.

5. Use as many buzzwords as possible in your resume.

You’ve probably been told to use as many buzzwords as possible such as “driven” and “innovative” to spruce up your resume and help you win over resume screeners. However, this is actually a job search tip you need to avoid. In 2013, LinkedIn revealed their top 10 list of resume buzzwords you should avoid using in your resume. Regardless of how “responsible” or “analytical” you may believe yourself to be, no employer is going to believe you unless you can support your qualification with an accomplishment story. When writing your resume, make sure you are using relevant keywords that are tailored to the position. This will help you stand out to employers and make your resume appear more credible.

If you can avoid some of these tips during your job search, you’ll be on your way to landing more interviews and jobs. Your job search is more than sending a resume or hiding your personal life from employers online. It’s about being persistent and thoughtful when applying for jobs and making the right connections. Hopefully you’ll be able to use some of these tips to tweak your job search this year and lead yourself in the direction of landing a job.

What are some bad job search tips you’ve received?

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Heather R. Huhman is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, experienced hiring manager, and founder & president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for job search and human resources technologies. She is also the instructor of Find Me A Job: How To Score A Job Before Your Friends, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships (2011) and #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), and writes career and recruiting advice for numerous outlets.

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