BrightSide Blog

BrightSide places 2nd in Jobacle’s Resume-Writing Challenge

Jobacle, an innovative career development portal led by Journalist/Writer/Podcaster/Blogger Andrew G. R., invited resume writers to compete in creating a resume for his job-search arsenal.

Although we didn’t take home the gold, instead placing second, a case could be made that BrightSide got the most positive and enthusiastic commentsfor from both the staff at Jobacle and the general public, including a podcast declaration from Andrew himself that he’ll definitely be using his new BrightSide resume if and when his search for work commences.

Check out all of the entrants in this one-of-a-kind contest to read about the diverse range of resume writers’ processes, qualifications, and perspectives. This is perfect cross-section of our industry, a rare insight indeed, into how we work and why we do what we do.

Stay on the BrightSide.

15 December 2008 | Resumes | Comments Off on BrightSide places 2nd in Jobacle’s Resume-Writing Challenge

“Is A Cover Letter Really Necessary?”

Truth be told, some hiring managers will never read your cover letter.

According to a 2008 focus group of 150 senior recruiters*:

  • only 23% said a cover letter was absolutely mandatory;
  • 63% said they could go either way; and
  • 14% gave an emphatic “nay” to this age-old document.

These findings are right in line with my conversations with hiring professionals.

I know screeners who delete the cover letter immediately, some who forward it on to others but never read it themselves, and others who print it out only to staple it behind the resume.

But you know what else they tell me? Continue reading this entry »

25 November 2008 | Career Transition, Cover Letters | Comments Off on “Is A Cover Letter Really Necessary?”

3 Ways A More Expensive Resume Writer Will Save You Money

Three job seekers (just in the past two days) have complained to me about their experiences with other resume writers:

“This resume doesn’t say anything about me.”
“They left out the most important part.”
“They just didn’t get me.”

The common thread? Each of these three people paid $150 or less for their resume. They went the inexpensive route, a seemingly smart maneuver when money’s tight. Continue reading this entry »

7 November 2008 | Networking, Resumes | Comments Off on 3 Ways A More Expensive Resume Writer Will Save You Money

Is An Online Job Search Enough?

Everyone would like to think they’ll find the ideal job from the comfort of their living room, or while they sip lattes at Starbucks and troll through listings on their laptop. However, research shows that Continue reading this entry »

6 November 2008 | Career Transition, Job Market | Comments Off on Is An Online Job Search Enough?

Career Fields That Remain Strong During a Depression

The number one request of job seekers during these challenging economic times is “Find me a job with some stability”. A tall order but famed careerist and radio personality, Marty Nemko, has some great ideas on depression-proof career fields. He covers everything from utilities to prostitution.

31 October 2008 | Career Transition, Job Market | 1 Comment

Human Resources Speaks Out About What They Want

In Sept. 2008, I had the privilege of attending an HR panel who took the time to share what they wanted to see (and did not want to see) on a job candidate’s resume. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading this entry »

28 October 2008 | Career Transition, Resumes, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Human Resources Speaks Out About What They Want

“How Do I Get Hired After Age 50?”

I’m getting tons of clients coming to me with this very question.

The key is recognizing and remembering that your work experience can play a *supportive* role as well as a leadership role with organizations. The two need not be mutually exclusive.

If you’re over 50, you’ve probably had the experience of being labeled as overqualified. And in response to this unwanted job-search slur Continue reading this entry »

15 September 2008 | Interviewing, Mature Workers, Resumes | Comments Off on “How Do I Get Hired After Age 50?”

“Should I Hide My Age By Leaving Off My Graduation Date?”

* Voted “Best Answer” in LinkedIn Discussion: Is a Graduation Date Necessary on a Resume?

  • I am too old
  • I’ve never managed anyone directly
  • I don’t have Microsoft Excel experience
  • I have a job gap from 2002-2004

You’ll never see these above items on a resume because the purpose of the resume Continue reading this entry »

25 August 2008 | Interviewing, LinkedIn's Best Answers, Mature Workers, Resumes | Comments Off on “Should I Hide My Age By Leaving Off My Graduation Date?”

“Should I Include My LinkedIn URL On My Resume?”

Assuming your LinkedIn profile is completely error free, always professional, and in line with your current job pursuits, then I suggest including it on the resume. It shows you’re a proactive job-seeker, you’re technically adept, that you know people, and (if you’ve taken the initiative to get some recommendations) that at least some people like you.

I can think of at least 3 things your LinkedIn website offers that a resume does not: Continue reading this entry »

19 August 2008 | Networking, Resumes | 2 Comments

The Most Common Question About Resumes

As an ex-recruiter, career counselor, and résumé-writer, I’m often asked the ever popular question: “Should my résumé be 1 or 2 pages?”. This concern is valid, especially since lengthy résumés can make an applicant appear arrogant, unfocused, anxious, old, or overqualified.

So how do you know when to stop writing? Continue reading this entry »

7 August 2008 | Career Transition, Resumes | Comments Off on The Most Common Question About Resumes

“Should I Lie On My Resume To Recharge My Job Search?”

[After sending out 1000+ resumes with not a single job offer, a job seeker concluded that he needed to lie on his resume. In his case, he felt he was overqualified and therefore needed to dumb down his resume to get some interviews. It’s my estimation that he’s looking in the wrong place Continue reading this entry »

5 August 2008 | Career Transition, Mature Workers, Resumes | Comments Off on “Should I Lie On My Resume To Recharge My Job Search?”

Safe Answers to the Salary Question

Your negotiating power stems from your ability to demonstrate how your contributions will increase revenue and productivity and/or decrease costs and stress for your employer. Therefore, the earlier you talk about salary (without having first addressed the employers’ concerns), the worse your negotiating position. Here are some winning answers Continue reading this entry »

1 August 2008 | Interviewing, Salary | Comments Off on Safe Answers to the Salary Question

How To Choose & Use Your References

Ultimately, the choice is yours as far as who should speak on your behalf. However, here are some guidelines to help you figure out who are the best people to approach when searching for references. Continue reading this entry »

31 July 2008 | Interviewing, Networking | Comments Off on How To Choose & Use Your References

“How Can I Make My Resume Represent ‘The Real Me’?”

[There’s a widespread frustration held by business executives that their resumes’ cannot adequately describe “the real me”. I’ve challenged this notion with the following comments and suggestions:] Continue reading this entry »

28 July 2008 | Interviewing, Resumes | Comments Off on “How Can I Make My Resume Represent ‘The Real Me’?”

“How Do I Get a Management Job If I’ve Only Held Positions As An Individual Contributor?”

[A software developer was looking to move further into management but had no idea how to build a resume to support this transition. My response includes a detailed explanation as to what I’ve done in the past with clients in this position.] Continue reading this entry »

24 July 2008 | Career Transition, Resumes | Comments Off on “How Do I Get a Management Job If I’ve Only Held Positions As An Individual Contributor?”

“Should I Answer Interview Questions In My Online Profile?”

Online profiles (posted on networking sites, your own job-search site, and social spaces) are an excellent complement to your resume. Just be sure to leave at least a few questions unanswered. Continue reading this entry »

21 July 2008 | Interviewing | 1 Comment

“How Do You Write The Perfect Resume?”

Looking for feedback on my work, I sent the exact same resume to 2 trusted recruiters and got the following 2 gut reactions:

– “Great format but the writing could be more salesy.”
– “Compelling content but the format is bland.”

The take home message: You can’t please everyone.

That said, you can still win interviews Continue reading this entry »

17 July 2008 | Resumes | 1 Comment

“How Do I Write A Resume If I Have No Experience?”

In my experience as a recruiter, career counselor, and professional resume writer, there’s no such thing as “no experience” — even for recent graduates and current students.

There’s plenty of other ways to fill space on a resume aside from listing paid work experience. Furthermore, if you’re applying for an entry-level job, it’s expected that you’ll have a slight if not non-existent job history. In fact, having less experience often works in the favor of entry-level candidates–since they’re viewed as open, ambitious, hungry, and above all else trainable employees.

Nevertheless, here are some ideas to fill an entry-level 1-page resume with more than just action verbs:

EDUCATION

Start with this section first, making sure the degree/certification you received is front and center. Then list relevant coursework, key projects/papers, commendations from teachers, research, on-campus memberships, event contributions, honors, awards, scholarships, sports (intramural, varsity, junior varsity), unit load (if impressive), and jobs used to help pay your way through school. And that’s just off the top of my head.

Even if all you did was sit in the classroom, you can list coursework, theses, and favorite classes/projects.

WORK EXPERIENCE

Admittedly this section may be quite lean but don’t forget to list internships, volunteer work, hourly jobs, and non-paid tasks such as childcare, elder care, contributions at a friend or family member’s business, or assistance to a teacher.

Even unrelated, unpaid work, at the very least will show you have a solid work ethic and are eager to learn new things and support others.

PERSONALITY TRAITS

Always include a list of soft skills such as Dependability, Good Listener, Punctual, Dedicated, Reliable, Meticulous, Organized….

These words will help inject your personality into the resume. Remember, when hiring people are trolling for an entry-level professional, they’re mostly interested in finding someone who is dependable, committed to helping the organization, and willing and able to learn new business processes and featured products.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

For recent grads these days, it’s almost a no-brainer to include computer skills but you should still make a list. The most commonly sought-after skills are Microsoft Office Suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook), PC and Mac Skills, and sometimes Adobe Creative Suite (Acrobat, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign). But don’t forget to include database knowledge, typing speed, and any industry-specific software skills.

If you’re actually pursuing a position in technology, this section may be one of your biggest. Go crazy; just use subcategories to break up extremely long list.

INTERESTS

This list should often go at the bottom of the resume, since it’s more about what you’re looking for than about what the employer needs. Nonetheless, list your geniunine interests related to your target job and target field.

In doing so, you’ll attract like-minded people. Also, should you land a job that aligns with your interests, it’s inevitable you’ll do well, impress people, and advance more quickly and deeper into areas you’re passionate about.

That should get you started. Again, there’s always something to say. And Congrats to you for embarking on a new career.

I love working with recent graduates and people in the midst of life transition. My background in Career Counseling really comes in handy, in this regard.

If you’re looking for some ideas,have a look at some easy-view resume samples here.

Or just give me a ring so I can help you realize just how much you have to offer.

Stay on the BrightSide.

15 July 2008 | LinkedIn's Best Answers, Resumes | Comments Off on “How Do I Write A Resume If I Have No Experience?”

“Why Should I Avoid Using A Functional Resume Format?”

[An aggrieved job seeker, sick of hearing that functional resumes are the scurge of an HR person’s day, asked why this type of format is unfavorable. My response is to follow Continue reading this entry »

11 July 2008 | Resumes | Comments Off on “Why Should I Avoid Using A Functional Resume Format?”

“What is an ASCII Résumé and Why Should I Have One?”

ASCII (pronounced ask-ee) stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange. It’s the language by which all computers use to talk to each other.

So what’s that mean? Continue reading this entry »

15 April 2008 | Resumes | 3 Comments