Standing out in a Competitive Industry

Standing out in a Competitive Industry

When you’re applying for a job, standing out from the crowd is always a challenge. But, this tough task can suddenly seem insurmountable when you’re applying for an extremely competitive position. Have a read below for 5 actions that are helpful to you standing out in a competitive industry.

However, spending all of your time obsessing over the intense competition will only serve to make you feel more anxious and self-conscious—qualities that definitely won’t help you approach your job hunt and interviews with confidence. So, let go of that intimidation and instead focus on doing what you need to do to separate yourself from the pack.

But, how can you draw positive attention to yourself, when there are hundreds of other people applying to that exact same job? Here are five tips that are sure to help you stand out from that pile of other applicants.

1. Get Personal

Feeling like you’re submitting your materials into cyberspace is always frustrating—especially when you put so much time and effort into them. And, when you know that tons of other people are following that exact same process, it’s easy to feel like you’re in a long line just waiting to draw your number.

This is when making a personal connection can make a huge difference. What exactly does this mean? Start by seeing if you know anyone who currently works for that employer. Whether it’s an old friend or an acquaintance on LinkedIn, having someone who can hand-deliver your resume or put in a good word for you can really help to put your name at the top of the interview list.

If you can’t track down someone who can refer or recommend you, you should still make an effort to be as personal as possible in your application materials. Skip that generic “To Whom It May Concern” line (those letters typically find their way directly to the wastebasket!), and instead do some digging to see if you can find the name of the person you’d be working directly for—or even the hiring manager.

Knowing that you put in the legwork and research necessary to personally address your documents immediately portrays you as a dedicated and resourceful applicant. And, that reputation is sure to put you back at the top of the pile!

2. Improve Your Documents

A resume that’s riddled with typos and grammatical errors. A cover letter that contains the wrong company name. Yes, they’re all sure to make the hiring manager remember you—but not necessarily in a positive light.

It seems basic, but going through your resume and cover letter with a fine-tooth comb is absolutely necessary. Not only is this a best practice when applying for any sort of job, it’s also a surefire way to help you differentiate yourself from the crowd—you wouldn’t believe how much of your competition is immediately discounted, simply because their documents are sloppy.

Aside from just scanning for basic errors, now’s also a great time to polish your materials and make sure that they’re memorable and impactful. Ensure that you include quantifiable achievements in your resume that don’t only tell how great you are at what you do, but show it as well. Start your cover letter off with an engaging and captivating story, rather than that standard, “I’m writing in regards to…” line.

No, you don’t want to send a singing telegram or print your resume on hot pink paper. However, these more subtle tweaks and additions can really help you to be remembered—in a way that’s not eccentric and over-the-top.

3. Go Above and Beyond

I won’t deny that your resume and cover letter are extremely important documents for job search success. But, does that mean they’re absolutely the only things you need in order to land your dream job? Absolutely not.

You should never hesitate to go the extra mile, show some initiative, and share some other materials that a potential employer might care about. Go ahead and send them a link to your portfolio or personal blog. Anything that helps them to get a better sense of who you are as a candidate will benefit you!

You can even take things one step further by completing a sample specifically for that employer. Applying for a social media management position? Pull together a brief example of a social media strategy that you think could work for them. Want to be a data analyst? Share that amazing Excel spreadsheet you built—complicated macros and all. Showing that extra effort demonstrates how interested you are in the position. And, if they actually like the sample work you create? Well, then you’ve already got one foot in the door!

4. Polish Your Social Media Presence

Your work examples and official career documents will only take you so far. After all, employers pretty much expect that you’ll put your best foot forward when it comes to those materials. So, what will they do next? More than likely, hiring managers will look you up on social media.

Believe me, you don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who stars in that video for “Phi Sigma Rho’s Longest Keg Stand” or the applicant who writes scathing reviews of every single ex-boss on Facebook.

So, before even submitting your stuff, ensure you’ve taken the time to clean up your social media profiles. Bonus points for actually taking the time to polish and update your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it!

5. Follow Up

You know all of that intense competition we talked about? Well, it not only overwhelms you—it’s also pretty overwhelming to the hiring manager as well. Suddenly, they have an inbox full of submissions, and it’s up to them to weed out the junk in order to find those diamonds in the rough.

So, don’t be surprised if you don’t hear back immediately about that job you’re so excited about. In fact, you likely won’t receive a super timely response. This is why following up is so important.

If you haven’t heard anything (whether that’s a “yes”, “thanks, but no thanks”, or a “we’ve received your submission” email) in about a week or two, feel free to reach out personally and check in on a timeline for a hiring decision. Make an attempt to use the most personalized email address you can find. But, if you can’t hunt one of those down, a general “info” or “careers” address will suffice as well.

Craft a friendly message just asking for an update on the hiring process for that specific position, reiterate your excitement about the opportunity, and thank them for their time. Still radio silence? You’re free to follow up once more. But, after that, it’s time to let it go. We all know there’s a fine line between being persistent and being a pest.

Standing out from the crowd when the job competition is stiff can undoubtedly be tough. But, it’s not impossible! It just involves some thought and creativity. Put these tips to use, and you’re sure to find your way to the top of that resume pile.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at PWU is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

3 Tips for Starting a New Job

3 Tips for Starting a New Job

The job search time has been invested.  The efforts are now paid-in-full. Your first day on the job is scheduled. Sweet victory! Now it’s time to focus on exceeding expectations after you join the company. Here are 3 Tips for starting a new job.

1. Make relationships your number one priority.

The first month in a job is an important time to meet new colleagues, both inside and outside of your team. It’s important to continue cultivating those relationships in the months that follow. 

Do this in ways that feel natural to you. If you’re a fan of formal feedback, schedule in periodic feedback chats with your manager and colleagues. If you’d prefer a more casual approach, put in the effort to organize coffee or drinks with coworkers.

Importantly, be sure these efforts are not just focused on your manager or people above you. While it is important to be on the radar of higher-ups, it’s equally critical that others get fair attention. This includes those you work with and who work under you.

Spending all your effort on people above you can be perceived as sucking up—which means you’ll not only not build relationships with other colleagues, but potentially that they’ll distrust your motives. 

2. Write down your goals, and get feedback on them

Your manager might have a very defined set of goals for you, particularly if you’re in a role like sales which typically has very measurable and predetermined targets. If this isn’t the case, however, it’s important to give yourself some goals to work towards. 

Think about it like this: If you haven’t set yourself a target, how will you be able to measure whether you’ve done a good job after six months?

Putting tangible deliverables on paper—even if they change—is a good way to both stay on track as well as to create evidence for your manager and colleagues that you can deliver. This is no doubt helpful for formal reviews but can be equally as useful as a reflection tool to make sure you’re prioritizing the right things. 

You might write your goals in collaboration with your manager and/or colleagues. If you come up with them on your own, however, be sure to seek feedback from (at least) your manager, as you’re still new to the role and want to be sure you’re focusing on the right things. 

Lastly, remember that goals aren’t useful if you simply write them down and forget about them. Schedule yourself reminders to review your progress, either alone or with others, which can give you a chance to re-adjust if things aren’t going as planned. 

3. Keep an open mind and ask questions

While starting a new job can be daunting. There’s a lot to learn, being new to the company also gives you a fresh perspective—and one that can be invaluable to the rest of the team. Since you’re coming in without preconceptions or biases, you may well identify areas for improvement that others have overlooked. 

It’s therefore important that you ask questions when you don’t understand why things are a certain way. Rather than accepting them at face value. Just because a process, standing meeting or team structure exists in a certain way, that doesn’t mean that it’s a big picture ideal.

As a new hire, you’re in a unique place to be able to identify inefficiencies and broken processes. 

That said, approach areas for improvement with curiosity. There’s no room for judgment since there may well be a reason that something is done a certain way. It’s better to appear curious and learn something new than to assume you know the right answer. And potentially be proven wrong.

We hope these 3 Tips for starting a new job help. This can be a very playful time to relax, be yourself and get to know your new work environment.

If you wanted to take it a step further, check our previous entry on Setting Career Goals. We’ve put together 7 helpful tips here: https://powerwriterscanada.ca/7-success-tips-to-setting-career-goals/

Career Breaks and The Comeback

Take a career break and coming back

Career breaks occur for all sorts of reasons.  Some may choose to take a step back in favor of dedicated family time.  Others come by a career break following redundancy in the company.  Perhaps you’ve decided to enjoy different experiences, such as traveling or to rediscover your interests. Whatever the reasoning, here are 6 tips on navigating career breaks and the comeback.

Whatever motives got you there, the time may come when you decide to jump back onto the career ladder.

Getting a job can be daunting enough, but it can be even more unnerving once you’ve taken a break from work. You may feel anxious about starting a new job or you may worry that your skills are a little rusty because a lot has changed since you’ve been away from the workplace.

If you feel you’re in this situation, below are six effective tips to help increase your chances of getting hired following a career break.

Six Tips to The Comeback

1. Assess your situation

Many people make the mistake of jumping straight back into the first job they can find. Firstly, if you’re not sure about a job, the interviewer may sense your uncertainty and will be unlikely to take you further in the hiring process.

Secondly, if you secure a job that isn’t suitable for you, you could even find yourself job hopping frequently before you find the right one. It’s therefore important to take some time to assess your situation first and decide what you want to do. Open your mind and remember, what was right for you before your career break, may not be what the best fit is for you now.

2. Update your resume with your career break.

It’s common for a candidate to believe that a gap in their resume will ruin their career.

However, instead of seeing it as a handicap, see it as something positive that can differentiate you from other candidates. If you haven’t been working for a long period of time, don’t hide it. A break can provide lots of benefits that can make you just as, if not more hireable, even if it’s just been a chance for you to take a step back and re-evaluate your future career.

Add all the new skills you may have developed during your break, and explain how these can relate to the job you’re now applying for. 

For example:

Did you take a diploma course specializing in new technology?

Did you do volunteer work and develop your leadership skills, which will help you to lead a team more effectively? 

Or perhaps traveling the world helped to give you a much-needed confidence boost?

3. Network

When looking for your first job after a career break, don’t forget to use your existing connections. Spend some time reaching out to your previous colleagues, clients, friends, and family. Let them know that you’re seeking a new position.

They may have the perfect job for you or be able to point you in the right direction. This is also a good opportunity to prepare any potential references that could support your new job applications.

4. Be prepared for your interview

Before you attend your first interview, make sure you’re prepared to answer questions about your career break. You may be asked why you have a career gap and what you did with your time. Honesty is the first step. Make it clear what you did during your break and why you decided it was the right thing for you to do.

You could tailor your answers to demonstrate how your break will benefit the role you are now applying for. Think critically about some of the concerns an interviewer may have. They may wonder whether you’re ready to get back on the career ladder for example. In this case, explain why you have decided to re-join the workforce, whilst emphasizing your passion, drive, and focus.

5. Look for career returner programs

As well as using job boards to search for jobs, research the various career returner programs that may be available. Deloitte is just one example of an organization that runs this kind of scheme. Their return to work program lasts for 20 weeks and is aimed at men and women who have taken a career break. Whether the break has been for family or other reasons, the scheme provides tailored support and experience to help you readjust to being back at work.

JP Morgan is another business offering a similar scheme. Their global ReEntry Program provides networking and mentorship opportunities to senior executives who are looking to re-join corporate life after taking a career break.

6. Be confident

Whether you’ve been away from work for 12 months or 2 years, getting back into the hiring pool can be nerve-racking. However, the most important thing is that you remain confident in your abilities.

Without confidence, you can easily undervalue what you can offer an employer. Write down your skills and strengths on a piece of paper. Refer to this during your job search, to help give you a boost of energy.

If you’re uncertain, ask friends and family to share their feedback on where your strengths lie. They may offer some suggestions that you had not previously considered.

If you’re concerned that your skills are no longer up-to-date, take a refresher course. Make sure you do your research too. Look at the employer’s website and social media channels.

You should also look at their competitors, read the latest industry news and research industry trends. Knowing you have all the information you need, will help you to be much more confident, especially during interviews.

Everyone has their own career path

Taking a career break is more common than you may think, despite the stigma that is sometimes attached behind how potential candidates will fill that void. Everyone has different career ladders they climb at their own pace depending on what their goals are in life.

So if you’re feeling apprehensive about jumping back into the workforce after a career break, remember these tips to put you on the right path with renewed confidence.

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

6 Quality Interview Questions

6 quality interview questions

The key to getting a great job offer is portraying an authentic, positive and lasting impression. Whether you’re a seasoned employee or just getting started, these 6 quality interview questions can help the process.

With a professional resume, this is achieved in the first point of contact.  In addition to this, you’ve got to nail the job interview. Asking insightful questions during a job interview demonstrates professionalism, thoughtfulness, and commitment.

That being said, candidates can get lost when it comes to asking the right sort of questions. This blunder shows either a lack of preparation or the stress of the interview. Neither of which leaves a positive impression. 

Like much of life, the failsafe is to be present during the entire interview. Presence shows confidence. Additionally, the best interview questions are oftentimes the ones asked naturally from engagement in the conversation. 

6 Quality Interview Questions

1. What is the history of this position?

It’s valuable to ask about the history of the role. In this case, the answer is useful to know what environment you’re entering.   Furthermore, it shows forethought and attentive care for the position. 

Perhaps this opening was recently created to support company growth. In which case, ask a follow-up question about who owned the responsibilities up to this point, and how the duties will be transitioned.

If you are interviewing for a position left vacant by someone’s departure, get a sense of what happened.

  • Why did the predecessor leave the job?
  • Where they promoted or internally transferred?

If the predecessor was internally repositioned, ask about direct training potential.

2. How does this position support management and serve direct reports?

Certainly, the answers to this question will help you gain insight into the position and how it fits the framework of the company as a whole.

  • Who is your support?
  • Who will you supervise and guide?

Consequently, understanding this will offer a glimpse of what skills are critical for your success.

3. In the first 6 months, what accomplishments would you like from me?

This targetted question shows your commitment to adding value and delivering on expectations. It’s one thing to understand routine tasks and responsibilities, it’s yet another to fully understand expectations.

Altogether, an interview has a singular goal. To demonstrate your fit for the position.  Inquiring about expectations directly speaks to this goal.

4. Which part of the position has the steepest learning curve? What can I do in order to get up to speed quickly?

For some jobs, learning the technology or the internal company procedures is the most challenging aspect of coming on board. For others, it is about understanding the human network. Therefore, guidance on how to speed up the learning process can give you a significant advantage.

5. How is the feedback process structured?

Feedback is how humans improve. To excel in a new role, you’re going to need analysis as a way of marking the perimeter of success. 

Does this company limit its feedback cycle to the annual reviews? Does the hiring manager make it a priority to deliver just-in-time acknowledgment and suggestions for improvement?

As a result, asking these questions represents your intent to learn and grow with the role.

6. What opportunities will I have to learn and grow?

Does the company offer formal or informal mentoring and coaching? Does it invest in continued education or professional training?

Great companies want to hire people who are dedicated to personal and professional growth. Show your hiring manager that continued development is important to you.

Close the interview on a high note.

As a bonus, there are several questions one must never ask during an interview. 

Asking about money, raises and promotions are taboo and can show yourself as arrogant and self-serving. 

Stay away from company gossip. It matters not what your friends, friend says about the company politics or a piece of news read in a local paper, keep your head in the game of professionalism and acknowledge the interview as an opportunity. 

The goal is to end the interview in a powerful and impactful way. For this reason, maintaining professionalism, acting authentically and these 6 quality interview questions are all part of the equation of your success.

Where Do You See Yourself?

five year career plan

For many people, answering the interview question “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” can be overwhelming. If this is you in a nutshell, worry not. Hiring managers aren’t really that concerned with the specifics of your answer anyway. 

What they want to know is a glimpse into your ambition, goals, focus, and drive.

They want to know you’ve at least considered your future and what you’d like to accomplish. 

Even if you don’t know exactly where you see yourself in five years, there’s still a right way to answer this question during an interview.

Why ask this?

Asking “Where do you see yourself in five years?” is more about getting insight into your hopes and aspirations. Interviewers are seeking objectives to give an inside look into how you operate and structure your thoughts.

Naturally, a potential employer wants to understand your career goals to assess how their position fits into your grand plan. Companies want trustworthy, detail-oriented, and dedicated team members who are willing to take a leap — not a noncommittal employee who is only sticking around until a better opportunity arises elsewhere.

The question itself can be phrased in a multitude of ways. All of the below examples aim to uncover similar information for hiring managers to review: 

  • What are your long-term career goals?
  • Do you have an ideal job at this stage in your career?
  • What are you looking for?
  • How do you define success?
  • What is most important to you in your career?
  • Do you have goals planned for the next five years?
  • Where will you be in five years?

Tips: Before the Interview

Life gets tricky and, ultimately, no one person knows completely where they will be in five years.  Hiring managers are aware of this. Focus on what your dreams are, where you would like to take your career, and how you plan to do this.

Also, be sure to focus on how you plan to help the company. Show yourself as someone who will add value to the team and help advance the company. 

While developing your answer, keep in mind what the interviewer wants to know when they ask you this question: your work-related goals, ambitions, desired training, and so on. What type of positions do you see yourself occupying? What type of training? Are you interested in leadership positions, or would you like to keep your focus on the technical aspects of your work? Provide direct and relatable answers.

If the answer doesn’t come to you at first, think about how you have grown over the last five years.

Consider the natural flow of progression in your career thus far and what aspects sparked joy and curiosity in your daily efforts.  These aspects are a great benchmark for navigating the direction forward. 

During the interview

Answering “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When answering this question, be honest and be yourself. Sharing what you think the interviewer ‘wants to hear’ may seem like a good idea, but if it’s out of alignment with your truth, you can get in trouble down the road if you do get hired. Plus, it’s much easier to be yourself than to try to be someone you’re not.

Be specific and keep it work-related.

The interviewer doesn’t need to know that you plan on having two kids and a white picket fence in five years. Keep your answers to-the-point and about your work goals and visions.

An example response:

Let’s say you’re interviewing for an HR position at an organization and are asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” You might answer as follows:

“I’d like to expand my horizons by jumping in feet first and learning as much as I can, as quickly as I can, with the organization. From there, I’d seek out opportunities — at least one to two a year — to expand my knowledge through training and educational opportunities to support my job. I’d love to participate in at least one project geared toward leadership training if the opportunity arises. I also understand that the organization has a strong volunteer team, and I’d like to be an active participant in that team, as well. At some point, I’d also like to be considered for a supervisory or management level role.”

Keep it primarily work-related, show ambition, show that you’ve done your homework, and provide quantifiable goals. The key is to be confident, honest, clear, and succinct, and, of course, to answer the question.

What Not to Say.

Whatever you do, do not respond with, “I don’t know.”

To answer “I don’t know” shows that you haven’t given any thought to your future with the company or life in general. Again, one of the main reasons this question is asked is to find out if you have goals, ambition and a good work ethic and that you’ve considered how you might handle the position should you be hired.

So there you go. While the chances are good that you’ll be asked this question at some point during your career, the ball is in your hands to answer like a touchdown pass from inside the red zone. 

Need to get ready for job search success?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help.

We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

7 Success Tips to Setting Career Goals

7 steps to setting career goals

With the beginning of every new year and now a new decade, many are looking within and setting career goals for short and long-game success.  Have a read for 7 success tips to setting career goals at any time of year!

Setting goals is a significant component of the career planning process. To have a successful and satisfying career, it’s best to define your goals and devise a strategy to achieve them. Having a career action plan is like a roadmap that will guide you from choosing a satisfying occupation to progressing through an extended and successful career.

How Setting Goals Affects Your Career Success

Look at your career action plan as a 2-sided approach with both long and short-term goals. Without a doubt, the more specific you can be about each step will greatly increase your probability of achievement.

Especially if or when barriers get in the way.  Life moves quick and ultimately we never know what experience is just around the corner. Your plan can be your peace of mind in the event of sudden unexpected changes.

The Difference Between Short and Long Term Goals

Consider a short-term goal as obtainable in approximately six months.  Long-term goals look ahead to roughly three to five years to achieve. Naturally, the timelines are somewhat fluid. Sometimes you can crack a short-term goal in fewer than three months and other times a long-term one may reach fulfillment towards the end of a decade.

Just ask Bill and Melinda Gates how long it’s has taken to eradicate Polio in 3rd world regions or how many years they’ve been working on developing clean and safe nuclear power plants for global benefit.

To achieve each long-term goal, you must first accomplish a series of short-term goals.

For example, let’s say you aspire to become a doctor. That may be your ultimate long-term goal, but before you can tackle it, you must achieve a few others, such as complete college (four years), medical school (another four years), and a medical residency (three to eight years).

Along the road to reaching those long-term goals, there are several short-term goals to clear as well. Such as, excelling in entrance exams and applying to college, medical school, and eventually residencies. Since grades matter when it comes to achieving those goals, it is necessary to break your short-term goals down even further, like earning a high-grade point average and remembering to eat healthy along the way.

7 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Reaching Your Goals

Your hard work will play the most prominent role in your success, but if you don’t formulate your goals correctly, it will be much more challenging to accomplish them. Ideally, your short-term and long-term goals meet the following criteria:

#1: Have specific goals. You might say, “I want to be successful.” Well, who doesn’t? But can you define what success means? Success to one person may mean becoming CEO of a company while to another person it may mean getting home from work no later than 6 p.m.

#2: Your goals must be measurable. Have a timeframe for achieving your goals and a way to determine when you have reached them.

#3: Don’t be negative. Your goal should be something you want rather than something you want to avoid. It is much better to say, for instance, “I want to improve my skills over the next four years so that I qualify for a better job” than “I don’t want to be stuck in this job for another four years.”

#4: Be realistic. Your long-term goals must be compatible with your abilities and skills. Stating “I want to win a Grammy Award” if you can’t sing or play an instrument will set you up for failure.

#5: Your goal must be reachable within your time frame. Break a long-term goal down into smaller goals. It is better to take baby steps than one big giant leap.

#6: Pair each goal with an action. For instance, if your goal is to become a writer, sign up for a writing class. 

#7: Be flexible. Don’t give up if you encounter barriers that threaten to impede your progress. Instead, modify your goals accordingly. As an example, say you need to continue working but this is keeping you from going to college full-time. Be flexible. Although it won’t be possible to finish your bachelor’s degree in four years, you can still enroll in school part-time and take a bit longer.

The point is, goals can become actuality with patience, perseverance and a solid plan. Need help?  Our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help. We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization, Recruiter Services, and Professional Career Coaching.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca Toggle panel: Yoast SEO

4 Career Benefits of the Holiday Season

holiday season career perks

The holidays are just around the corner and with them are a much-needed break. For many, especially if you’ve recently started a new job, it’s tempting to skip the holiday downtime for fear it will reflect badly on your productivity. Truly though, with a bit of planning and heart, these 4 holiday season career benefits

1. Taking breaks improves productivity

It’s easy to believe that working late and not taking time off means you will get more work done. However, recent research has found that when working long hours, employees lose creativity while also find it hard to maintain the same intensity level in their work. So, by working yourself too hard, it could actually be detrimental to the quality of your work.

A better strategy is to budget your time around daily, weekly, monthly tasks.

Especially if you’re seeking to maximize the career benefits of the holiday season.

To help manage the workload try assembling a plan.  Take early stock of all high-level tasks that must be finished before your break.  Write these into your schedule and tag them for importance.  This is your mandatory list.

Secondly, form a list of mid-level tasks.  These are the non-immediate-but-overall-important tasks that will greatly benefit current and upcoming workflows.

Lastly, write yourself a bonus list. I find this one the most fun to write.  These are the tasks that if you got to them, it would be considered stepping ahead of your goals. Be specific here to help guide the process.

What small elements would boost your current progress to the next level?

These 3 lists combined will not only gain you traction on the current momentum, but they’ll also greatly ease your mind when away from the office.

2. You’ll be healthier

If you don’t take the time off to relax and unwind, you are putting yourself at risk of becoming overly stressed. We all know stress has negative implications for your health with outcomes such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and depression.

It’s important to look after yourself, as well as your workload. 

With an increase in spending and pressure of family, it can be easy to lose focus on your self-care needs at this time of year. 

Now is a great time to use those massage gift certificates or max out the annual health benefits package.  Book the acupuncture, check-in with the chiropractor, make the time for a little pampering.

3. Quality time with loved ones

Chances are that if you’re working long hours, you don’t get to spend as much time with your loved ones as you’d like to.

By taking this annual leave from work, you set time aside to connect and appreciate, whether it be at home or on a trip together. Spending time with your friends and family may be just what you need to unwind and improve your mood after a stressful period at work.

4. Work-Life balance is important

If a good work-life balance is not met in your job, it’s likely that you will start to build negative feelings towards work or your employer. In order to be happy at work and maintain the drive to work to the best of your ability, it’s important for you to balance work and your personal life.

There is so much to do and see in the world, which just isn’t going to happen from the confines of your office. Take a break and experience new things, or you may regret it later.

If you’ve been meaning to take up a new hobby, this could be your chance to give it a go and you never know, it may even open doors to new opportunities in the future. Step away from the computer and go enjoy yourself over the holidays! 

As always, if needed, our team at PWC is here to help. We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization and Recruiter Services.

Book a free 15-min consult here https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



8 Tips to Beat Applicant Tracking Systems

8 tips to beat applicant tracking systems

From the first known resume in 1482 by Leonardo DaVinci through the 1500s in England into the 20th Century and current Digital Age. Resume formats have changed dramatically over the years. Modern-day resumes must now contain a very specific format in order to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

If you’re on the search for a new job and not getting the desired traction, your resume may not be ideal for ATS. In which case, have a read below for 8 tips to beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

#1 – Use ATS Resume Keywords Correctly.

The design of Applicant Tracking Software is to scan for keywords that relate to the job and industry. The proper usage of keywords is what sets your resume apart from others by gaining ATS high ranking. Like a high score in PacMan, ATS high ranking means your resume levels up.

Look at the job description of your ideal position. If you’re applying for a job within a specific industry, this is where you can identify the major keywords that relate to that industry or the position you seek. 

Include these keywords in a core competencies or skills section.

But be careful, one thing that’s just as bad as not having the correct keywords is over-using them. The ATS will reject an overstuffed resume as quickly as it would a resume with insufficient keywords.

#2 – Format Your Resume Correctly.

Stick to a traditional resume format at all times.

Text boxes, footers, headers, and graphics read as clutter during the scan which can result in your resume being rejected. Choose a basic format like reverse-chronological, functional or hybrid, to ensure the resume can be scanned by ATS and easy for a recruiter to read.

#3 – Send The Correct File Type

 Applicant tracking systems need to be able to scan and read your resume. The safest way to ensure that your resume will be read is to submit it in a Microsoft Word Doc file. 

Even though many of the systems are now advanced enough to read a PDF, you should still send a Doc file to be on the safe side. A Doc file is the preferred file type for both ATS and many recruiters.

You should also always check the job description to see if the employer wants a certain file type. Often times, employers will specify a certain file type, so it’s recommended to have both versions available.

#4 – Label Sections

If your layout is not done properly, the ATS may have trouble identifying where you worked, what you did, and how long you were there. We want to ensure the ATS can read the entire resume correctly. To do this, label your resume sections properly. Use subheadings such as work experience, education, and interests, etc.

Also, verify that the location, position, and length of employment information you provide is clear and consistent throughout your resume.

use a professional font

#5 – Use A Professional Font.

We can’t stress this enough, stick to a professional font. When your resume passes through ATS, the next step is recruiter review. And professional recruiters generally do not favor comic sans.

The best fonts to use for your resume are:

  • Arial
  • Calibri
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica

#6 – Make Spelling And Grammar Top-Level Priority.

Spelling errors can, and will, cause a resume to be automatically rejected. Additionally, the majority of recruiters will also dismiss a resume even if it contains only a single error.

Consider this, according to CareerBuilder, 58% of resumes contain spelling and grammatical errors. Read that again, over half of the resumes out there are a hot-mess in the actual wording department.  Join 40% of applicants that get spelling and grammar correct.

Pro-Tip: Grammerly is a wonderful tool!

#7 – Resume File Name

Yes, what you name the file matters. Even though it might get through ATS, recruiters will often ignore unprofessional resume names. Use your first and last name, or a combination of the two.

You should also add either the word “resume” or the position you seek.

Examples:

JohnS.Resume.doc

JohnSmith.Resume.doc

John.SalesManager.doc

This is also important because if a recruiter needs to go back and find you in the system, they can easily do so by searching your name in the database. This also holds true if someone is referring you. Your resume needs to be easily found should the recruiter want to pull up your file. 

#8 – Make Sure You Are Qualified For The Job.

To sum it all up, make sure you meet the qualifications of the job posting. Blindly sending out tons of resumes is a waste of your time.

It’s better to take your time and go through each job description to verify that you’re qualified. The ATS are designed to see if the candidate is a good match for the job and verify that he or she has the qualifications needed.

However, don’t be discouraged from applying for jobs where you meet most of the qualifications. If a position asks for 2 years of experience and you only have one, go for it anyway!

Patience and persistence are the names of the game now. It may take longer than you anticipated, or you could find the ideal fit quite quickly. Stay with it to step up to your next opportunity!

If all this overwhelms you…

Remember, you can always hire a professional. Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn Profile Optimization, our team at PWC has what you need.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca

Do I Need Multiple Versions Of My Resume?

multiple resume yes or no

It’s a common question.  Do I need multiple versions of my resume? 

This is an important issue to discuss because a lot of professionals tend to develop a background in at least three, or even more, thematic work areas as time and their careers progress. In this article, we show both sides of the equation and the reasoning behind them. 

Spoiler alert:  The short answer is no but let’s discuss all angles.

In modern business practices, job seekers develop a wide range of skills and experiences. It is competitive out there and staying ahead of the game requires diversification. For example, some job applicants have worked in human resources, communications, and event planning. 

“The quote I got from XYZ Resume Writers which says I need 3 different resumes and to focus on one specialization to keep the resume simple. Do I really need multiple versions of my resume?”

This perspective and business model is, more times than not, a reflection of the individual writer’s underdeveloped skill set.  It takes finesse to really shape the context of a work history into a professional format with high success rates.

So, can HR, Communications, and Event Planning all be covered in a single resume? 

We believe in a resounding YES. A professional resume writer with extensive years of experience can formulate diverse history into a keyword-rich resume that exceeds expectations.

It’s not what you’ve done in the past, but rather the direction you plan to go next.

There are always transferable skills that help ease the transition and bridge roles.

A written format that highlights all the skills acquired in these roles and draws a bigger picture directed towards the roles you are aiming for. 

Without the resume reading as cluttered and indigestible to the reader’s eye.

professional resume writer uses keywords for success

It’s about streamlining without losing focus on keywords. It’s about representing your assets with varying themes and keeping it tidy.

Plus, it is time-consuming to keep modifying a major chunk of your resume just to highlight focus. Why pay a writer to create a product which you then have to babysit and micro manage?

All this is assuming you are maintaining your current career path. 

Now, if you’re jumping entire industries or career fields then, yes, perhaps it may be necessary to have more than one resume in your toolkit.

For example, you started out as a roofer and then became a builder and later moved into sales of roofing products. As part of your role, you were very involved in a new software implementation and you’ve decided to go into IT. That sort of transition requires a finely-tuned eye to keep the right content, and minimize or eliminate the (less) valuable content…. relating directly to how the resume performs for you.

Additionally, If there’s too much going on it can be difficult for recruiters to judge whether you are actually good at the role they want you to perform. Again, a really strong resume writer will help direct the keywords and content to be heavy in the direction you want to go.

That being said, if you are looking to change career paths, Power Writers USA is here to help reshape your resume for success across your entire search. Feel free to connect with us for a free consultation and resume review.

Remember, the name of the game is algorithms and ATS filters, which is everybody’s challenge right now.  The past few years, formatting styles have changed and with that in mind, we’d love to take a look at what specifics points our team can do to improve the impact your resume makes across all your ideal job prospects.

There’s a New Kid in the Office

new job new hire

As mentioned in our blog post from last week, the projected hiring numbers are currently on the rise all across the Bay area and throughout Q4. Naturally, this got our office talking about the inevitable situation yet to come. There’s a new kid in the office.

Here you are in that well-planned morning office routine. The computer is on, next up is the daily cup of chamomile. Knowing the office kitchen is empty at this hour, you come around the corner all sleepy and BAM. There’s the new kid standing front and center looking, admittedly, slightly lost. 

 Quickly the mind transitions through a few options

  1. Panic and run back to your desk – nope
  2. Welcome the kid, introduce yourself and offer a tour – nope
  3. Pretend you’re invisible, and with no sudden movement, get your favorite mug under that hot water tap and return to your desk immediately – yep!

To be fair, not all personalities would take this approach.  Some people may actually resort to option 1.  Others are naturally inclined to take on Option 2.

Me, not so much.  I’m that introverted-writer-type who can spend an entire day interacting with my client calls and then happily writing, writing, writing and more writing.

Nonetheless, new hires are imminent.

We’ve all been here at some point and, let’s face it, being the new kid in class is always a little nerve-wracking, whether you’re 13 or 45.

All humor aside, obviously new hires should feel confident to ask colleagues anything necessary to their increased comfort around the office. That being said, part of the stress that comes with starting a new job is avoidable if we prepare ahead of time.

new kid in the office

Now let change the perspective. 

The new kid in the office is looking around the kitchen, lost as all-time and just wants to get that next caffeine fix. There’s a 200-page report parked on his desk demanding attention.

We’ve assembled a few tips on how to ease the office jitters before the first day. The goal is to be so ready that your focus can only be on the job.

Do your homework.

Do research on the organization or institution you’ll be joining — its structure, mission, and overall philosophy. You may be asked to provide feedback or even to come up with some questions and insights of your own during your first week. You’ll want to know as much as you can in order to feel prepared if you’re put on the spot.

Ask questions.

Be confident. You earned the position based on your skills and personality so don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Everyone was the new kid in the office at some point and we all know what it’s like to feel a little lost on the first day.

Take notes.

Your first few days at any new job are a real learning curve, and you’ll be taking in a lot of new information, from the mundane to the really important. Take notes so that can be referenced when a question comes up a few weeks or months down the line.  

Listen and absorb.

You’re stepping into a new role and the first few days and weeks are focused primarily on learning in order to be successful and thrive within the company. Make an effort to actively listen to everyone you come in contact — let them do most of the talking. Understand how the company works and where you will fit in.

Don’t criticize.

If part of your role is to improve things or change the status quo at your new employer, you may want to wait a few days before you start pointing out all the areas that need improvement. Ingratiate yourself with your coworkers first before letting loose with all of the problems you see in the company, or else they may end up feeling bombarded and hostile to any of your new ideas (no matter how beneficial they are to the company).

As always Power Writers USA is here to help guide you through the steps.

Resume Writing, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization and Recruiter Resume Distribution are all available from our team at PWU. Connect with us for a free consultation and resume review!