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Feb 20

HAVE YOU TOLD EVERYONE YOU’RE OUT OF WORK?

Posted in Career Article, Tips & Tricks at 1:56 pm

The first thing we’re told when we lose a job is to tell everyone we know. This includes colleagues from the past jobs, friends, neighbors, relatives, hair stylists, convenience store owners, LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends; everybody. We tell the people we know because they can potentially help us find a job. We also tell them because they can be a support system. 

But some wouldn’t consider telling the people who should be some of the first to know, their children. Too often people tell me they wouldn’t consider telling their kids because they don’t want to let them down, don’t want to seem weak in their kids’ mind. Hogwash, I say. Your children need to know about your situation if you want them to understand the meaning of life.

 Dr. Julie Olson, Ph.D. in clinical psychology, at the Santa Margarita Solutions Center, asserts, “Whether you lost your job, had a pay cut or lost hours at work, as much as this could upset you and create anxiety about your financial situation, the main job you have as a parent is to give your children a sense of security and teach them how to cope with whatever comes their way.”

 This especially includes telling your kids about losing your job.

 I lost my job in marketing about nine years ago. It was devastating, but I felt it was important to share the news with my three kids. They had to know for a number of reasons.

  1. There would be changes around the house. There wouldn’t be any more shopping sprees. My eldest daughter’s steady flow of GAP and Abercrombie and Fitch clothing would be cut completely. The quality and quantity of food was going to change; but we would still eat.
  2. Daddy wouldn’t be going to work every morning. Instead I would be conducting a job search, which meant I would need time to be out of the house to visit the career center or local library, hit the pavement to knock on companies’ doors, and network.
  3. It also meant I would be acting a little different. I might be moody or distracted, but I would still love them very much. I would need them to understand that it would be a sad and frustrating time and they shouldn’t feel they were at fault. If I seemed distanced while with them, it was because I was thinking about finding work.
  4. This would be a fact of life. People sometimes lose their jobs more than once. It’s not a pleasant thing, but it’s temporary and will eventually pass. I couldn’t be Superman. I would need support from them and other people. In a way, this would be a great lesson for them about persevering in times of trouble.
  5. Most importantly, I wouldn’t lie about our situation. My oldest was smart enough to know that two, three, four…months of vacation was unrealistic. That coming home reeking of alcohol on a week day night was not normal behavior.

 All came to pass after 10 months of unemployment; a day came when I found a job, and I was delighted to tell my three kids the good news. The funny thing about that day was when my son told me he didn’t want me to go back to work. Who, he wondered out loud, would take him to playgroup, or play Lego with him? At the time he asked me, I was more concerned about getting back in a working groove. Now, I miss the time I had with my children who understood at that bleak time more about life than they did when I was still working.

 If you haven’t told your kids about losing your job, do it soon. As Dr. Julie Olson writes,  ”…teach them how to cope with whatever comes their way.”

Feb 20

Common Resume Blunders

Posted in Career Article, Resume Tips, Tips & Tricks at 1:54 pm

Make sure your resume is in top-notch shape by avoiding the top 10 resume blunders:

1. Too Focused on Job Duties

Your resume should not be a boring list of job duties and responsibilities. Go beyond showing what was required and demonstrate how you made a difference at each company, providing specific examples. When developing your achievements, ask yourself:

  • How did you perform the job better than others?
  • What were the problems or challenges faced? How did you overcome them? What were the results? How did the company benefit from your performance?
  • Did you receive any awards, special recognitions or promotions as a result?

2. Flowery or General Objective Statement

Many candidates lose their readers in the beginning. Statements such as “a challenging position enabling me to contribute to organizational goals while offering an opportunity for growth and advancement” are overused, too general and waste valuable space. If you’re on a career track, replace the objective with a tagline stating what you do or your expertise.

3. Too Short or Too Long

Many people try to squeeze their experiences onto one page, because they’ve heard resumes shouldn’t be longer. By doing this, job seekers may delete impressive achievements. Other candidates ramble on about irrelevant or redundant experiences. There is no rule about appropriate resume length. When writing your resume, ask yourself, “Will this statement help me land an interview?” Every word should sell you, so include only the information that elicits a “yes.”

4. Using Personal Pronouns and Articles

A resume is a form of business communication, so it should be concise and written in a telegraphic style. There should be no mentions of “I” or “me,” and only minimal use of articles. For example:

I developed a new product that added $2 million in sales and increased the market segment’s gross margin by 12%.

Should be changed to:

Developed new product that added $2 million in sales and increased market segment’s gross margin by 12%.

5. Listing Irrelevant Information

Many people include their interests, but they should include only those relating to the job. For example, if a candidate is applying for a position as a ski instructor, he should list cross-country skiing as a hobby.

Personal information, such as date of birth, marital status, height and weight, normally should not be on the resume unless you’re an entertainment professional or job seeker outside the US.

6. Using a Functional Resume When You Have a Good Career History

It irks hiring managers not to see the career progression and impact you made at each position. Unless you have an emergency situation, such as virtually no work history or excessive job-hopping, avoid the functional format.

The modified chronological format, or combination resume, is often the most effective. Here’s the basic layout:

  • Header (name, address, email address, phone number).
  • Lead with a strong profile section detailing the scope of your experience and areas of proficiency.
  • Reverse chronological employment history emphasizing achievements over the past 10 to 15 years.
  • Education (new grads may put this at the top).

7. Not Including a Summary Section That Makes an Initial Hard Sell

This is one of the job seeker’s greatest tools. Candidates who have done their homework will know the skills and competencies important to the position. The summary should demonstrate the skill level and experiences directly related to the position being sought.

To create a high-impact summary statement, peruse job openings to determine what’s important to employers. Next, write a list of your matching skills, experience and education. Incorporate these points into your summary.

8. Not Including Keywords

With so many companies using technology to store resumes, the only hope a job seeker has of being found is to sprinkle relevant keywords throughout the resume. Determine keywords by reading job descriptions that interest you, and include the words you see repeatedly in your resume.

9. Referring to Your References

Employers know you have professional references. Use this statement only to signal the end of a long resume or to round out the design.

10. Typos

One typo can land your resume in the garbage. Proofread and show your resume to several friends to have them proofread it as well. This document is a reflection of you and should be perfect.