The Job Blog
Advancements in technology have brought many new and wonderful tools and opportunities to job seekers. The Internet alone has opened up many new possibilities, such as the ability to actively search and apply for a job in real time without leaving the comfort of your home. A prime example of this is the online job application form.
There are many advantages to applying for a job online. It’s convenient, easy, fast and it gives you the ability to apply for multiple jobs with multiple companies during one sit-down session at your computer. You can draft and upload multiple versions of a cover letter and upload multiple copies of your resume in electronic format, saving time, paper, ink and stamps.
Unfortunately, as with everything else on the Internet in this day and age, filling out a job application form online also has its risks.
First, every job application requires the input of some personal information. Name, address, zip code and telephone number are only the start. An outline of your employment history, educational background, and exactly where you attended school are also expected.
However, there is one other item many employers require right off the top on an online application form, and one that presents the greatest risk to your security: your social security number.
Although such a request is almost expected of employers these days, it isn’t necessary or appropriate to ask for it during an initial contact or job application. Contrary to popular belief, providing your social security number on a job application it isn’t required by federal law, and is only really needed by an employer for tax reporting and withholding purposes after you are hired.
The fact is, unless you are applying for a type of job that requires an employer to run a security background or credit check, the submission of your social security number so early in the application process is not really needed. On the contrary, placing a request for your social security number on an initial application form, especially an online form, only puts your at safety and security at an unnecessary risk.
Unfortunately, many employers design their online application forms so that the submission of your social security number isn’t an option, it’s a requirement, and the company or organization may not allow you to complete the application or submit the form until your social security number is entered in the allotted field.
In addition, there are many online scammers and fraudulent web sites soliciting non-existent job opportunities to prey on unsuspecting job applicants with phony application forms. These forms have one purpose, to collect the data and use it for nefarious activities, including identity theft. A typical job application includes name, address and social security number, all the information they need to steal your identity, drain your bank account or access other personal assets in your name.
This creates a dilemma for many job seekers concerned about their personal data. Do you provide the social security number and hope your information remains secure or do you decline the offer to apply online and possibly pass up a potential career making opportunity?
When in doubt, don’t do it. If you do it, check the company and the site to be sure it’s worth the risk. It’s a tough decision, and the risks are very real, but it’s the chance you take and ultimately, it’s your choice.
Your resume is more than just a reflection of your abilities, skills and qualifications. Essentially, it is a written representation of you. This is why, when creating your resume, attention to detail is so important.
Typographical, grammatical and other errors can destroy a resume, and seriously jeopardize your chances of landing the job you seek. Even one single spelling error or misplaced apostrophe can become a red flag that compels the person reading your resume to quickly toss it and move on to the next.
Whether you write your own resume or hire a professional to do it for you doesn’t matter when it comes to goofs. Errors occur, and mistakes happen, even to professionals. The important thing is to catch and correct them before you print a hundred copies and send them out. After that, it’s too late. The damage is done.
Here is my list of the most common types of written errors and how to find and correct them.
Spelling errors top the list as the most common type. Ironically they are also the easiest to avoid. Almost everyone uses a computer to create a resume these days, and almost every word processor available includes some type of spell checker, either as a built-in feature or as an add-on. It is extremely easy to use and some are even automated, if they are turned on.
Unfortunately, this powerful tool is often notoriously underused or ignored altogether, defeating its all-important purpose, to catch and correct spelling errors in your document.
Of course, the accuracy of the spell checker is largely dependent on its database of known words and their correct spelling, all in the correct context of your document.
For instance, words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings, such as there and their can be used incorrectly but still be spelled correctly, thus passing the scrutiny of a basic spell check program but still in error. However, a limitation of the spell checker is certainly no reason to avoid using one, it is just something to remember when you use it.
Punctuation errors are second on my list. Proper placement of commas, periods, colons and other punctuation marks can completely change the rhythm and feel of a resume, and if not handled properly, they can really mess it up. For example, one of my pet peeves is the improper use of the apostrophe. While it is important to add an apostrophe before the letter s to signify a possessive, it is often incorrectly used in the same place to signify a plural. Such an error can be glaring on a resume.
The safe way to find and correct a punctuation error like this is to notate the location of each mark, define its intended use, and research the proper use of it to be sure you are using it correctly. There are many tools available online that can help you accomplish this. Look up several and use them.
Grammatical errors are a little more complicated. Many folks naturally tend to write the way they talk. While this may be just fine for an informal e-mail or letter to a friend, it doesn’t usually translate well to a resume.
For instance, the words that and which are commonly used incorrectly in day-to-day speech without issue, but can present a problem on paper. The terms loose and lose are also commonly misused in written form, and this error is another of my personal pet peeves.
As with the spell checker, a grammar checker is also often available for some word processors. Sometimes they are both built into the same tool. Unfortunately, while sometimes effective, these grammatical tools aren’t perfect, and they can over or under compensate for nuances in sentence grammar. When in doubt, research the proper structure of a sentence or term online from multiple sources, and give drafts of your resume to others to proofread.
Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can hurt your resume and your chances of landing a job. Before you print one and send it out, review it carefully, inspect every paragraph, sentence, word and mark and be certain everything is exactly the way it should be, in every way intended. It needs to be accurate, it needs to be professional. It needs to be perfect.
The task of writing a resume is a necessary one, but it can be stressful. Depending on your language, composition and spelling abilities, writing any type of document may or may not be your natural forte. It may seem like a chore, or an intimidating task, or a scary prospect that is better left to a professional resume writer. A lot of folks don’t like to write resumes, which is why an entire cottage industry was created to provide such a service.
The question is, should you write your own resume, or hire someone else to do it for you?
There are two schools of thought on this which merit thoughtful discussion. On the one hand, hiring a professional to write your resume for you may provide you with a professional document that gives potential employers a more favorable first impression of you as a professional. If it is perfectly formatted and perfectly printed with perfect punctuation and no spelling errors, your resume may be more likely to impress those who read it.
It may also relieve a lot of the stress involved in preparing for your job search. Simply put, hiring a professional to write your resume for you is easier than writing it yourself. Of course, it costs more, but it’s easier.
On the other hand, there are many advantages to writing your own resume, but I will mention three.
First, your qualifications and experience are written in the first person, not by a stranger, and you can promote yourself and your abilities in the order that you think is most important or relevant to the job you are seeking. After all, who knows you better than you?
Second, writing and printing your own resume can allow you to customize it for each individual job you apply for, expanding opportunities during your job search and possibly increasing the chance that you will land a specific job in a field in which you previously did not expect to search.
Also, it doesn’t cost as much to do it yourself. If you are currently out of work or have been out of the job market for awhile, you may be on a tight budget, so hiring a professional may be a financial burden. A good resume writing service isn’t cheap, and a cheap one may not be any good. However, there are a lot of resources available to help you write your own quality resume, and many of them are free. At the end of the day, if you do it yourself, you may save more than just money.
There is also an issue of ethics. If you present a polished resume to a potential employer that you did not create yourself, and the decision to hire you is based at least in part, on the writing skills presented in the resume, would that be considered a form of false or misleading advertising? If that writing sample was important criteria, for landing the job, it could become a serious problem down the road. At the very least, it could lead to disappointment when your employer realizes that your writing skills don’t match what was presented in your resume.
Should you write your own resume or should you hire someone else to write it for you? Perhaps the best way is to utilize elements of both. Learn the basics of resume composition, then draft it yourself, in your own words. Once you have the general document ready, put it aside for a day or so, then read it again. Change it as needed and when it seems complete, take it to a professional, not to write or re-write the resume, but to evaluate and proofread it. Don’t let them re-work it for you, but allow them to notate any recommended changes. Listen to their advice and suggestions, then finalize your resume based on their input and what makes sense to you.
Before you begin your job search, you need to create a resume. If you are an avid writer or you have a degree in communications, this may be just another task to check off in the process of your search. However, if composition or language arts were not your strongest subjects in school, the very idea of preparing or writing your first resume may seem a bit daunting to you. Okay, daunting may not be the word for it. Perhaps intimidating, loathing or even frightening could be your term. If so, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re in good company. I was once a part of that group. It was the very first time I was tasked to write my own resume.
I can’t say I was frightened by the prospect, but I was rather concerned. My employment history at that time was limited to two companies, and I had been at each one for a number of years. Although I did go through the interview process, neither company required me to submit a resume at the time, which was fine for me, since I didn’t have one. However, this was a disadvantage. After a dozen years with the second company, we were downsized, and I suddenly found myself searching for a new job with no prospects, no paper resume and no idea how to proceed.
Fortunately, as part of the layoff, my former employer provided each of us with a generous severance package. Part of that package included a week with an outplacement service. This is a company that provides counseling to employees who have been laid off and assists them with finding a new job. The outplacement company conducted what it called a Career Transition Workshop, which included a complete course in writing a professional resume. It was exactly what I needed.
I learned how to organize my thoughts, define my objective, how to summarize my qualifications, list my education and experience, what language to use, and how to lay it all out in a clean, concise, format that was easy to read and could be scanned quickly. I learned a lot in that course, and once I understood the overall process of writing a resume, it really wasn’t difficult to write one of my own. In fact, I found it rather creative, and in some ways, it was almost fun.
My first resume soon generated a lot of phone calls for interviews, and within a short time, I had a new job working with a new company in the same industry as before.
Once I discovered that I could write an effective resume, something else happened. I took the skills I learned for writing my own resume and began to create and proofread resumes for others on the side. I even made a little money with it. I could have pursued it further, but it was not my long term career goal, so I let it go. But that’s another story.
When it comes right down to it, the all important process of writing or updating your first resume depends on how you approach it. You may find it boring, awkward or even intimidating. But it needn’t be any of those. It’s really about your mindset. Remember, your resume is a marketing tool. Think of it as a challenge, a creative challenge, one that can not only help you improve your communication skills, it may even take your career in a whole new direction.
Your resume is more than just a list of your job qualifications and experience. It’s a marketing tool, and a very important one. It introduces you to potential employers, advertises your abilities and skills, and summarizes who you are.
Some may give your ad a quick glance, and some may never read it at all, but the few who do take the time to skim through it, or even give it a thorough read, will be judging you solely by that one document. In other words, it will be a potential employer’s first impression of you, and if what they read isn’t what they are searching for, it may be the only impression of you they will ever have.
This is why your resume must be as accurate and professional as possible, in every way possible. It will not only compete for attention with every other resume in the stack, it will be compared with and judged against them all.
A resume that is clean, organized and free of errors advertises an applicant who is orderly, organized and strives to deliver high quality on the job. It conveys professionalism. A poorly formatted resume with inaccuracies and errors advertises quite the opposite. It portrays a lack of professionalism, and is not likely to receive serious consideration.
How important is this attention to detail? It’s critical. Even one single typo can make a difference.
However, it isn’t just a matter of formatting, spelling, crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s, so to speak. The content of your resume is just as important.
What you do and do not include in your resume is a critical. If it isn’t relevant to the job you are applying for, it shouldn’t be there. Conversely, the items that are most important or relevant to the position should not only be included, they should also be stated early in the document and in order of relevance. What ever you put into your resume, be truthful. Don’t falsify or overstate your abilities, experience and qualifications. Don’t be too wordy, either, Keep it short, concise and directly to the point. This is an ad, not a novel. Save the details for your interview.
The presentation of your resume is also very important. The type of paper it is printed on, color of ink and even your choice of font can make all the difference between having your resume noticed, or completely ignored.
Remember, someone will be reading your resume, someone who may very well decide which candidates will be included in the next step of the hiring process, that of the all important interview, and whether or not you will be among them. Your resume is the first, and in most situations, the only impression that someone reading it will have of you. Make it a good one. Make it the best one that you can.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it many times. “I’m the Jobcaster, and this is The Jobcast Podcast.” On September 17, 2017 at 2 PM ET, I’ll say it again for the 100th time, as The Jobcast Podcast reaches its 100th episode!
During the last two-and-a-half years, listeners of this unique podcast have heard thousands of job listings offered by employers in a myriad of industries across the US and beyond, with occasional hints and tips on how to apply for and land those jobs. Whether you are new to the job hunt or have been searching for awhile, The podcast helps empower job seekers with the ability to search for employment opportunities anytime and anywhere, while at home, relaxing, working out or on the go.
If you’re a multi-tasker, The Jobcast Podcast is the perfect tool to enhance your productivity. You can keep up with the latest listings while performing other tasks to save time and increase productivity. Listen at your leisure and at your own pace, while at home, relaxing, working out or on the go. In this day and age of busy lifestyles, The Jobcast Podcast makes the job of job hunting more accessible, convenient and more flexible with your schedule than ever before.
You don’t even need to hunt for the latest episodes! Simply subscribe to The Jobcast Podcast and get the latest episodes delivered automatically through the iTunes, Stitcher Radio, or other available listening app or device of your choice. You can even subscribe via e-mail. It’s that easy!
Thanks for listening to The Jobcast Podcast. Keep listening, and you may just hear a new career!
You’ve probably heard the saying that job hunting is a full time job. Of course, it’s true, and most job seekers get into the job of job hunting expecting it to be one.
Your success in any type of job depends on an understanding of what the job is, what skills are required to perform the work, and utilizing those skills effectively to complete the job successfully. When it comes to the job of landing a job, these three keys to success are even more important.
I’m sure you are already well aware of the basic rules of a job search. To prepare for the hunt you need to set a specific goal, develop a plan, and focus your resources on following that plan to reach your goal. However, there is one step that is not usually listed as one of these preparatory steps. It comes between goal setting and planning. It’s a very important step, and it is crucial to the development and execution of your plan.
Before you jump into the job hunt, you need to first understand what type of job this is.
I’m not talking about understanding the type of job you are searching for. The general assumption is that you already know what career you are seeking. I’m referring to the job at hand, the job of finding and landing a job. What type of job is this?
It may seem like a silly question, but it isn’t. It’s a very serious one. The position of job seeker is an important one to understand, because there are skills you will need to have or learn to perform this job successfully. These skills are even more important to have today, as you will need to use them expertly in the midst of a tight job market and fierce competition. If you already have these skills, you will need to perfect them. If you lack these skills, you will need to develop them, practice them, and perfect them to the best of your ability. They are skills anyone can learn, but before you can do so, you need to know what they are.
What is this skill set that is so vital to your job search? What type of job is this position of Job Seeker? Is it advertising? Is it sales?
Simply put, it’s all about marketing. Yes, you do need to sell yourself to potential employers, and you do need to be able to “close the sale”, so to speak, but before you can do that, you need to be able to reach them. You need to get their attention. Your primary job is to market yourself.
You can’t just show up at the employment office and choose where you want to work. You can’t just walk into the corporate headquarters of a company off the street, go to the front desk with your resume or portfolio and hope they will hire you on the spot. Remember, this isn’t a seller’s market. You are competing with many others just like you, all of whom want that same job. There are a lot of aggressive and creative types out there, and the competition will be tough. You can’t just hand out your resume like dinner menus in a restaurant full of hungry patrons. It just doesn’t work that way. You need to be creative. You need to stand out. You need to get their attention. You need to market yourself.
Your job is all about marketing. Learn how to market yourself. It sounds complicated, but isn’t, really. To market anything effectively, you need to know something about the product. You are the product, and who knows your product better than you? When you think about it, you are the best and most qualified to market yourself. That fact alone will help you to quickly and easily create the skill set you need. Once you have those skills in place, you can then develop your marketing plan to reach that goal of landing a job.
Finding a job isn’t easy these days, and If you’ve been out of one for awhile, getting back into the job market can be an even bigger challenge. In fact, the longer you’re out of the work force, the tougher it can be to get back in.
This is why it is important to act quickly if you find yourself searching for a new job. Ten years ago it was considered the norm to take a week or two off or perhaps even an extended break from one job before beginning the search for a new one. Not anymore. It’s no secret that employers tend to hire job seekers who are already employed instead of those who have been out of work for even a short period of time.
Whether it’s fair or not, there is a stigma associated with workers who are not currently in the work force that if they are out of work, they may not be entirely up to speed with the ever changing skills and technologies needed to perform the jobs for which they have applied. Time is crucial in today’s job market, and if you are not currently in the work force, it is not on your side.
However, there are some things you can do to try to minimize the down time and show potential employers that you are still marketable so you can land the job you are searching for.
First, begin your job search immediately. Do it before you leave your previous employment if possible, but if it’s not, start as soon as you walk out the door.
Maintain your list of contacts in your field and stay in communication with them if and when possible.
Build up a network of peers who are currently employed and ask them to help in your search. LinkedIn is an excellent social media tool for networking with others in your field. Use it to connect with those who are currently employed and let them know that you are seeking new opportunities.
Do everything you can to keep your job skills current. Subscribe to trade publications related to your field, read them, and keep up with all the news in your industry. Let your peers and potential employers know that you may be out of the work force, but you’re not out of the loop and you’ve still got what it takes to do the job.
Freelance whenever possible. A temporary job is still better than none at all for more than one reason. It signals that you are still active in the industry, it can help you keep up your skill set, and can also be a great way to get noticed or even in the door with another company, possibly even leading to a more permanent position of employment.
Whatever you do, don’t wait. The longer you sit on the bench, the greater the risk of not getting back to the field. The time to start your job search is now. The clock is ticking.
Job hunting in itself has always been a full time job. In the past it involved typing a formal resume, printing multiple copies at a local printer, spending hours scouring the daily job listings in the employment sections of newspapers, calling and mailing out resumes to potential employers, and “pounding the pavement”, so to speak, by dressing up and walking in the door for an impromptu introduction and, possibly, an on-the-spot interview.
Today, it’s become even more challenging. The job market is a lot tighter than it used to be. There aren’t as many jobs available and there is a lot more competition for the ones that are out there. A lot of people are out of work, and the longer they are out of the job market, the tougher it is for them to get back in. The world is changing rapidly, and for those who don’t maintain the ever changing skill sets needed to land a job, there is a very real threat they can be left behind.
But there is good news. You don’t have to be one of those people. While technology may help perpetuate this environment of potential obsolescence, It can also empower you with new tools and opportunities to stand out from all the competition, and perhaps even land the job of your dreams.
For instance, the proliferation of modern home computers allows almost anyone with a PC and a printer to create and print their own resume, as many copies as they need whenever they are needed. It isn’t necessary to stick to one resume, either. They can be changed or modified on the fly to customize personally for any specific job. There is no longer a need to scour the newspapers to find that one listing that is relevant to the type of job you are seeking. Now you can instantly look up job listings on the internet and filter them down to just the ones you are looking for, saving you hours of searching. You don’t even need to keep it local. You can search jobs listed across the country or even find one in another part of the world.
As for keeping up your job skills, You have now have opportunities available that did not exist twenty years ago. There are many online resources available to help you stay current in your field or find a new field to enter. Many colleges now offer continuing education classes online. Free trade publications are available that can be downloaded instantly to keep you on top of the latest topics and technologies in your industry of interest. Social networking sites such as LinkedIn can not only help you network with other professionals in your field, but can help you stay current with your peers.
Searching for a job in these uncertain times can be difficult, daunting and even depressing. I know, I’ve been there. But I found the job I was searching for, and if I can do it, you can too. Chances are, it won’t just drop in your lap. You need to go out and get it. Make the most of all of the resources available to you, they can help you provide the advantage you need to stand out from the rest of the crowd and land your next career.