5 of the Biggest Resume Mistakes

The quickest way to eliminate yourself from a job process is by having mistakes on your resume. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling mistakes to avoid, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:

1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.

2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.

3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also, include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorably upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.

4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume, but this can prove to be a mistake. Most candidates won’t make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.

5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 - 15 years of work experience. You don't need to include everything you ever did.

 

5 of the Biggest Resume Mistakes

The quickest way for your resume to get thrown out is to submit it with mistakes. Beyond the obvious grammatical and spelling that will cause your resume to immediately be rejected, there are 5 other BIG mistakes to be aware of and stay away from:

1) Not including keywords that match the job. Your resume must show that you are qualified for the job, so include keywords on your resume to refer to the specific position. You have very little time to grab a hiring manager’s attention so don’t send a generic resume. You will be lost in the pile.

2) Focusing on the wrong thing. Candidates often explain their responsibilities but forget to include results. Set yourself apart from the pack by highlighting specific accomplishments. The more quantitative, the better. In fact, numbers and metrics speak louder than words.

3) Being too modest. Don’t forget to include any awards or recognition you’ve received such as “President’s Club Member” for being over quota by 25%. Also include any community service awards you received. Hiring managers look favorable upon people who not only work hard at the office but make a difference in the community as well.

4) Leaving unanswered red flags. Candidates usually wait until the first interview before addressing any gaps that may be on their resume. Big mistake. Most candidates won’t even make it to a first interview if the issues are not explained on their resume, cover letter or even LinkedIn profile. So if you moved around a lot in your career, it would be to your benefit to explain the reasons for your movement.

5) Writing too much. When writing your resume be as succinct and concise as possible. Keep your resume to 1 or 2 pages max. Bullet points and short paragraphs enhance readability. Limit your resume to the last 10 – 15 years of work experience. You don’t need to include everything you ever did.

If you have any stories about resume blunders, please share or comment below.

Healthcare Software Executives Need to Build Personal Brands

July 5, 2016

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By Mike Silverstein, Managing Partner of Healthcare IT & Life Sciences

Every business or organization has a brand. A brand is the way in which others identify the values of a company and how that company is perceived by its audience.  Branding is very strategic and calculated and the idea is to find unique ways to gain mindshare and positioning in the minds of customers and clients.  While it is commonplace for a business to put extensive amounts of time, money and energy into building its brand, personal branding is just as important for individual executives especially in an industry as dynamic as healthcare technology.

If you are a Healthcare IT Executive, your personal brand is everything you say and do on a day-to-day basis. This includes not just your actions but also your individual qualities and unique attributes including your passions, values, and goals.  If you think of the concept of your brand as a foundational element in your career, it can be a consistent motivator to build your network, meet new people, and create a presence both in person and online.  In other words, personal branding will position you in the marketplace as a logical choice for your next desired business partnership or career opportunity.

The question is how do you start building your brand or more importantly, start taking control and managing the brand you are already conveying to the market? Below are some thoughts on how to put some structure and methodology to your brand and how to manage the messaging you put out to your clients and industry colleagues:

Determine Your Target Market

What is your purpose for building your brand?  Whose attention do you want to catch?  It is important to have a clear view of who you want to target as your audience.  For example, you could be looking for a leadership position in a healthcare software company and will want to position yourself to appeal to potential employers, recruiters and investment firms within the industry.  This could differ completely from a professional who might be looking to sell a portfolio of solutions, find new clients and network with potential industry partners.  The key is first to define your audience and then figure out the best way to reach it.  Knowing which organizations you want to make an impression on will help you to determine what types of content you should be sharing, what events to attend, and key influencers you should connect with.

Building and Marketing Your Brand

Today there are many different channels to showcase your personal brand; particularly online.  Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, along with personal websites and blogs are all channels that can be used to promote your personal brand.  It is important to stay consistent across all platforms to make sure the same message is being received no matter how your audience is finding you.  Sharing relevant healthcare thought leadership content to start conversations and creatively managing your social media channels are ways to boost your personal branding efforts.

Aside from your online presence, other helpful ways to build your personal brand are what you do in person.  Depending on how you want to frame your brand, speaking opportunities, volunteer work, guest writing for industry publications, or presentations at workshops and conferences could be great for your brand.  Attending conferences and functions pertaining to the healthcare industry will not only give you more credibility, but also will help you to build and expand your network.

As you build your brand, remember these three rules for promoting yourself:

  1. Be consistent
    Make certain that messaging across all platforms carries your personal brand and voice in the same way, while not necessarily being the same content.
  1. Be creative
    Develop your profiles to have a look and feel that encompasses your personal brand.  In addition, think of unique ways to capture attention of any organization you are interested in.
  1. Be purposeful
    Always keep your end goal in mind while branding yourself as a talented Healthcare Industry Executive.  Everything you say or do contributes to your brand, so a helpful way to make sure you are being purposeful is to ‘Google’ your name to understand view how you are perceived by others.

Monitor and Maintain

The most important part about building your personal brand is making sure to effectively monitor and maintain it.  In business, marketers work around the clock to not only build the company’s brand, but also to get real-time feedback from the market in order to make adjustments and pivots as necessary. Similarly, your personal brand will benefit from the same diligence.  Continuously updating your online presence with relevant content, new industry connections and accomplishments in your field will help increase the level of engagement with your audience and position you appropriately for the next step in your career. Building industry relationships and staying in touch with those folks through relevant content is also paramount. Lastly, asking for others opinions about the messaging you are putting out there and always be receptive to feedback and new ideas will help you fine tune your presence and stay in front of the correct audience with the appropriate branding touches.

No matter what your goals are, you can effectively build your brand to help you achieve those goals.  What are you currently doing to showcase your personal brand?

For over 33 years, Direct Recruiters, Inc. has been recognized as the relationship-focused search firm that assists top-tier organizations with recruiting, acquiring, and retaining high-impact talent for mission-critical positions.

College Grads…Here’s How to Get the Best Jobs Part I

May 25, 2016

By Dave Bevington, Director of Automation, DRI

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There is a stigma today that young adults are all hopelessly entitled AJ Soprano type individuals. While this is most definitely not the case, like it or not, it’s a reality every young job candidate needs to be prepared to overcome.

Before you graduate. Protect your reputation. Be smart—think and plan before you act. For example, never drink and drive. If you are compelled to go out, take an Uber! Why risk a DUI—it not only costs hundreds in penalties and fees—it sticks in the public record and can cost you tens and hundreds of thousands in reduced income over the course of your career. Also, your social networking activities can sink you. Just assume your prospective employers are watching because they are.

Find a mentor. A trusted, impartial advisor is worth their weight in gold. Pursue a relationship with someone who is willing to share the secrets of their success as well as the benefits of learning from their mistakes. In general, beware of mentors to whom you who are emotionally attached—I’ve seen more than a few instances where a boyfriend, Dad, Uncle, or Grandpa gave bad advice to a candidate during offer negotiations and that can kill a deal.

Beef up your resume. Cite projects, extra-curricular activities, and don’t sell yourself short. Also, no one cares if your resume is more than a page long. Make it clear you know PowerPoint and Excel. Indicate how fast you type. Presentation skills are essential in most any career sooner or later and your resume is a tangible representation of your ability to communicate. It should be clear, informative and aesthetically pleasing. Every word should have a role in answering the question, “Why me?”

Pursue internships. An internship is a great way to build your resume and distinguish yourself from other candidates. And once you are known and liked on the “inside” it is easy to network within the company. Ask for more responsibility and exposure and chances are you will get it.

Build your references. It’s never too early to start building a strong list of references. Stay in touch with former colleagues, supervisors, coaches, professors—and don’t be shy about asking them for letters of recommendation. In most cases they will feel honored you asked. Besides, you have nothing to lose—if you don’t like what they’ve written, you don’t have to include it in your application.

Personality counts. I specialize in placing engineers.  In general it’s a group that does not have the best reputation for inter-personal skills. This can be a great opportunity for you to get ahead. Take a class on it. Read a self-help book. Practice, practice, practice. Being the exception, rather than the rule, can pay big dividends when it comes to getting a job and climbing the ladder.

Become well- rounded, well-traveled, and cultured. Go to museums, art galleries, and the theatre; learn a second language; visit a foreign country; learn to appreciate different kinds of music–jazz, classical, blues, and ethnic. Spend time with your grandparents, neighbors, and others with more life experience. Watch the History Channel, Discovery, Natural Geographic. Read, read, read! Why go through all this effort? Doing so will help you identify with older generations and enable you to better speak the universal language of humanity.

Target companies that are growing. Go to trade shows and ask around. Growing companies in stable markets are going to have the most advancement opportunity, stability, and most times they are the best paying Companies because they know they need to retain their top and even middling employees.

3 Helpful Tips to Beginning Your Job Search

April 20, 2016

By Christy Fox, Marketing Specialist

Are you looking for a new job opportunity?  Will you be graduating soon without a job lined up?  If you are, you may be experiencing a range of feelings- excitement, fear, or happiness to name a few.  Job searching may be a brand new experience for some, while others are constantly looking for that perfect career opportunity so job hunting is very familiar.  Regardless of who you are, it is important to know how to navigate your job search process effectively.

Below are three tips that I found helpful in preparation for landing a new job:

Networking is key.

You have heard it a thousand times; “It’s all about who you know.”  You may think that your connections are not relevant to the jobs you want, but your network is still one of the most valuable tools in your job search.  Even if you send 200 resumes out online in a month, you’re more likely to get an interview or conversation from the one resume that someone you know passed along for you.  The following contacts are just some who could be a vital piece in finding your next job opportunities:

  • College professors
  • Alumni from your college
  • Past employers
  • Previous coworkers
  • Contacts from networking events

Whether you are making short phone calls, writing e-mails, attending networking events, or connecting on social media such as LinkedIn, be sure to update your contacts on your job status.  If possible, let them know you’re looking for jobs.  Even if your network can’t directly help you land a job, their network may have opportunities that you can be connected to.  Always keep the lines of communication open and be candid about what you are looking for.

It’s easier to find a job when you already have a job.

Picking up a temporary position or even an internship can be beneficial in the process of finding a full-time gig.  Many employers show concern when seeing a gap of time on your resume since your last job.  While it’s commonly known that job searching can seem like a full-time job in itself, it is important to find a way to continue working.  For example, substitute teaching jobs are available for anyone with a Bachelor’s degree and are welcomed in many school districts, along with seasonal or temporary retail jobs, or get creative and start your own side business to fill in the time gap.  Added bonuses of working while searching are the opportunity to continue networking with different people in different fields and a way to make income while you continue to job search.  Additionally, it is likely that your future employer will be impressed that you stayed occupied and continued to build your resume even during a transition phase.

Be prepared and proactive.

Job opportunities and the chance to share your professional information can show up at any time.  For that reason, it is safest to keep these job searching and interview materials up-to-date and current:

  • Resume
  • LinkedIn and any other social media profiles
  • Reference Sheets
  • Cover letter template
  • Business cards

Keep in mind to be organized with your materials and keep them on hand (or at least saved on your phone) to be able to send anytime and anywhere.  Whether you are at a job fair, having coffee with an old friend, or even at a family function, there’s always a chance to make a connection to a job opportunity.

Not only do you need to make sure all your documents are up to date, but it is important to stay current on the market you are looking in.  Following relevant industry news, job opportunities available and companies you are interested in will help to prepare you and give you an edge in interviews.  It is also helpful to follow employers or job seeking social media sites that can be beneficial to you.  Make sure to have a clear vision of what type of positions you would like, or at the very least, what job functions you are interested in so you can relay that to your network.

Job searching can be a long and exhausting process.  Just remember that networking, staying busy, and being prepared will be extremely helpful over the course of your job search.

What other tips have you found helpful while job searching?

Top 5 Lies on Resumes by Guest Blogger John Yurkschatt, Recruitment Manager, DCA

Have you ever lied on your resume or embellished the truth when speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager? It happens fairly often and it puzzles me because background checks and references are quite easy to conduct. In addition, a simple Google search can quickly uncover false information.

Recently I caught a candidate in the midst of a lie just by asking the same question twice. The first time I spoke with him, he said he made $80,000 in 2013 and wanted to better himself by changing jobs. When I called back a week later and asked that same question again to make sure that the position I was about to present was in his “must have” range, he bumped his 2013 earnings up to six figures.  All of the sudden, he earned over $100,000 in 2013. I asked to see his W2 for verification purposes but he declined.  He also hung up on me which was for the best since any confidence and trust I placed in him was now gone.

What other things do candidates often embellish or just plain lie about? Here are 5 that my team and I encounter quite often:

Enhancing skill sets & accomplishments. If you didn’t do it, or didn’t achieve it, don’t list it.  However, there’s nothing wrong with enhancing your resume with quantifiable accomplishments and improving how you display them.

Unexplained gaps of employment. Rather than make up a fictional job to cover an employment gap, try acknowledging the gap in your cover letter. If you were taking time off to raise children or to take care of a sick parent, no employer will fault you especially if you can show that you’ve kept up with the industry.

Fabricated education, degrees and certifications.  This is very risky. This lie is one that could not only get you fired, but might also incite legal action on the part of your employer. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Omitting past employment.  Depending on the circumstances or why you left a previous job, you might be tempted to leave it off your application or resume. Carefully weigh your decision, because a background check or employment verification could reveal your omission, making it look as if you are hiding part of your work history.

Falsifying reasons for leaving prior employment. There’s a tactful way of explaining being fired or quitting abruptly, and it doesn’t have to involve lying. Just figure out the best way to explain it in as positive a light as possible. Not explaining the reason(s) can and will ruin your chances of getting hired.

Here’s where I need to reiterate that honesty is still the best policy. Lying on your resume or directly to a recruiter or hiring manager will come back to haunt you. Once you’ve told lies, they snowball.  If you land the job, you’ve got to keep up the charade of each lie for the rest of your career. Who can keep up with all of them?

Have you ever embellished your resume or know somebody who did and got caught? Share your resume stories with us below.