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

Building Your Senior Management Team

Senior-level team building

In the startup stage of every enterprise, it’s a matter of survival to create the most cost-effective operating system.  Naturally, this requires owners to do as much as possible on their own. But with growth comes a massive shortage of time which means eventually, building your senior management team will need mandatory.

Especially if your plan is to take the business to the next level.

Building the best team demands matching people’s strengths to specific jobs.  So while your best buddy from grade school may feel like the right choice, you’ll still need to cross-reference strengths and skills to job requirements prior to signing an offer letter.

When assembling a senior team, you’ll want to take the time and consider all the critical areas of your business. At the rudimentary level, we’ve assembled a thorough recap of senior-level roles. 

A Breakdown of the Roles.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Basically, and without much exaggeration, the CEO is the boss of everyone and everything (but reports to the Board of Directors). Realistically, you’ll either be the CEO or hire someone more suited to the depth of the role. Which is not entirely uncommon. 

Owners are oftentimes ‘too close to the center’ when it comes to determining the company’s executive strategy. Therefore, hiring your own boss is fundamentally in the company’s best interest. 

Your CEO will have the ability to rise above the daily details and decide where the industry and business are headed. An exceptional CEO must be a remarkable strategic thinker.  They must be able to decide the company’s best route for navigating the future market conditions. 

That being said, the CEO’s ultimate skill is in hiring and firing. It is essential to assemble the right management team as support for your CEO. As a result, your chosen CEO will need to be able to identify and hire the best, fire the ones who don’t work out, and run the show all the same.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

A COO handles a company’s complex operational details. Think about UPS moving three billion packages in the two weeks before Christmas: The company’s COO ensures the business can deliver day after day. Their team creates the systems to track the measurements and take action when the company isn’t delivering as expected.

When ensuring smooth operations become a big part of your business, it’s time to hire someone who revels in measurements, operations, and details.

President

To be honest, the role of a president is a little less specific than other executive team members. Presidents can oversee staff functions–human resources, finance, and strategy–while the COO oversees daily operations. In some organizations, the title of president is a synonym for COO, especially in smaller companies. Sometimes, the president fills gaps left by the COO and CEO. Other times, the title goes to someone you want at the strategy table but who doesn’t have an obvious C-level title.

Additionally, not every enterprise needs a president as many find this title fully covered by the efforts of a CEO and COO.  All things to consider when looking at your own enterprise.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Plain and simple, your CFO handles the money. They create budgets and financing strategies. They figure out if it’s better for your business to lease or buy. Then they build the control systems that monitor your company’s financial health. Money is your business’s blood, and in entrepreneurship, cash flow is everything.

If you don’t know the difference between cash flow and profit–go find yourself a CFO.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many current business battles are battles of marketing. Especially when corporate strategy hinges on marketing strategy. As a result, companies have been bringing in a marketing expert at the C-level rather than as a traditional vice president role. 

The CMO owns the marketing strategy–and that often includes implementation of the sales strategy. Your CMO will learn your industry inside out and help you position your product/service, differentiate it from your competitors’, enlist distributors, and make sure customers learn to crave your product.

If your business’s success depends mainly on marketing, you need a CMO. That could be you–but only if you have time to keep up with competitors, oversee the marketing plan, and still do the rest of your job–and do it well.

Otherwise, you need to look for the person with the right kind of buzz for the job, ready to keep up on what’s hot and what’s not.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

This role is only really significant if your business or industry is impacted by technology. Specifically, if your company’s chosen programming language affects the overall company strategy. In this case, you may need a CTO.

Is your enterprise tech-based? If so, delve into your professional network and find yourself a strategic thinker rooted in the tech industry. If you are not tech-based, you can sit this hiring process out and keep the focus on the above mentioned senior-level roles.

Building Your Senior Management Team

Ultimately, trust your instincts when interviewing and hiring. You have successfully grown your business to the level of needing an executive team, which is a major win all in itself.

As always with leadership; hire smart, fire fast, keep working that strategy to get the work done.

If you need inspiration for job postings at the Executive and Senior-Level, we’ve got some great site resources available in our Career Help section.

Will Resumes Be Necessary in 2020?

will resumes be necessary in 2020

There has been a lot of talk about resumes becoming less important in the future. We understand things change rapidly in the world of hiring practices, but could this be true? Will resumes be necessary in 2020?

It has been said that resumes really only account for about 10% of the hiring process and that social media accounts are replacing resumes. While it’s true, hiring managers are using social media platforms to investigate and vet potential employees, the idea that the resume is going away is not actually supported by career experts.

Social Media vs. Resume

Undoubtedly, recruiters are turning to platforms like LinkedIn, when they connect with potential candidates, what do you think is the first thing they ask for? That’s right, a resume!

LinkedIn is a great place to build your “brand” and strategically develop your profile to reflect your professional interests, experiences, and what you have to offer. Additionally, a great advantage to LinkedIn are the recommendations and multi-media options. All of these are great tools to entice recruiters, and once they are interested, that’s when a resume will always be necessary.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

More than 98% of Fortune 500 companies are utilizing the benefits of ATS these days. In the past decade, only the larger companies were using ATS. Now, it’s common practice for smaller companies to also be using ATS. This means that the chances of your resume being scanned for keywords and phrases are even greater. This allows the recruiters to filter out potential candidates and theoretically make sure their candidate is a good fit for the position.

The responsibility is really on you, the applicant, to be sure that keywords and phrases are in your resume. The success of your resume will be totally dependent upon ATS.

Resume Formatting for 2020

Knowing that ATS is so valuable and will only grow in importance in the future, how can you be sure you are ready for it? One of the most important things to consider is the fact that, while word processing details can make your resume fancier, ATS prefers very simple text-based documents.

Applicant Tracking Systems are very particular about formatting. There are many fonts they can’t “see”. They cannot “read” what’s in a text box, and pictures or graphics do not mean anything. However, bold, italics, underline, and shading is fine.

It’s one thing to hand out fancy resumes, but when it comes to applying online for jobs, simple, text-based, .doc resumes are going to increase your chances.

Beware Social Media Self-Expression

Now that we live in a world where it’s easy to google another person, recruiters too have adopted this ease in their candidate research. Knowing you will be researched, use it to your advantage!

Create social media accounts where you can develop your brand. Allow these accounts to reflect who you are, what you’re about, and what you have accomplished. As always, carefully consider if your accounts are reflecting the kind of information that you would want recruiters to find. While it’s fun to be impulsive and passionate about our social profiles, to maintain professionalism remember to consider future perspectives.

2020 Job Search

Not a lot is changing when it comes to the job search. While there is an increasing role for social media platforms, the resume is still essential. Another “old school” idea that still, and will probably ALWAYS be important is NETWORKING. In truth, someone who is referred to a hiring manager is more likely to get an interview and with the potential to be hired.

So, don’t be shy, network with your friends, in-laws, and other folks you know in your industry. Referrals always have an advantage compared to someone the hiring manager has no reference for.

If you have any questions about your resume or job search, reach out for a free resume review and consultation. Our team at PWC offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Coaching and Recruitment services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



The Resume Format Employers Prefer

employer preferred resume formats

Resumes come in many shapes and sizes. When written and presented properly, they are like a key, opening doors of opportunity all along their path. If a resume has a purpose, it is to make an employer interested enough to invite you in for an interview. That thought in mind, it got us thinking about what resume format employers prefer.

Structurally, there are two favored resume formats. Functional and Chronological. That being said, each has its own advantages depending on individual needs.

Below we share details on both these formats and how they affect your job search process.

Functional Resumes – Highlight Abilities

The goal of a functional resume is to showcase all the strengths and benefits of the individual’s work history. When looking at specific job postings, this style of resume will pull focus to skills and emphasize the depth of these abilities.

As an example, this format is particularly beneficial to people who

  • are beginning their career
  • have gaps in their work history
  • are reentering the workforce
  • have a history of frequent job changes
  • are looking to change career paths

As a rule, functional resumes work well in situations where acquired skills are very transferable. For example, if you have worked as a retail manager, chances are you were responsible for hiring, training, coaching, evaluating and handling employee relations issues.

Start with a summary.

All resumes should start with a strong summary. However, summaries are of extra value in functional formats since this is the beginning of the career success story. Since the aim is to slightly hide the specifics of work history while really shining a spotlight on strengths.

Along with your educational background, you’ll still need to summarize work history, but this is usually done at the bottom of your resume with graceful writing practices.

Chronological Resumes

The chronological resume is the most preferred by employers. It is straightforward and easy to scan. When executed properly, it clearly shows the progression of a career.

As it emphasizes work history, the chronological resume is most effective for candidates with solid experience in their field.  By showcasing your work history front and center, we can immediately show the employer that you have relatable experience.

As mentioned, this type of resume contains an objective and/or summary statement designed to open the conversation on your career story. It is vital to ensure that your dates are all accurate. Check the timeline once and then check it again. There is no room for work history errors.

Both resume formats draw natural attention to educational information along with any specific certifications and additional training.

It all comes down to how you package yourself.

Overall, employers seem to prefer chronological formatting. With this in mind, there’s no need to be discouraged if your story is better told in a functional style. In this case, use the format that shows your experience in the best light. The goal is to get the interview and increase your chance of landing the job you want.

Need help?  Our team at Power Writers Canada offers Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Optimization and Recruiter Services.

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

Can a Resume Be Multiple Pages?

Resume length is always a hot topic in our office. Can a resume be multiple pages? The overall feeling is that if a resume is too long, then it’s at risk of a hiring manager/recruiter not reading the entire document. On the other hand, if the resume is too short, it can come across like a shortage of desired experience.

Without a doubt, there’s no magic resume length that works for everyone.  Every resume should be customized according to each individuals need.

One-Page Resumes

Depending on where you are on the career path, a well written one-page resume can absolutely make the perfect impact. However, with expansive education histories and applicants navigating a dynamic workforce, single-page resumes oftentimes create limitations.

Absolutely, the goal is to create a document that represents skills, accomplishments, and experience.  If the focus is primarily on the appropriate number of pages this can really inhibit one’s ability to effectively market themselves. 

There’s just no advantage to cramming everything on one page. Especially if the end product cluttered and difficult to read.

Situations where one-page resume can be ideal:

  • Fewer than 10 years’ experience
  • Career changes where past experience doesn’t transfer to new goals. 
  • Work history of one or two positions with the same employer

Two-page resumes

But how long should a resume be if you’ve been in the workforce for a while? This is a valid question for those with extensive work histories.

Obviously, with one-page, we’re working with a small space yet aiming to offer a high impact. With a heading at the top and resume sections below including qualifications summary, experience, education, and skills, there’s not a lot of room left over for in-depth accomplishments.

Two pages allow extra space to really showcase the history while targeting your desired job postings. 

Just remember, you do want page-two to see the light of day! If the resume length extends to two pages, be sure to include the most compelling information on the first page.

Three pages or longer

While three pages may seem like you’re entering novella territory, this resume length is oftentimes necessary for high-level professionals.

To keep it concise, write with the employer’s needs and wants in mind.

In addition to this, we recommend you take inventory of why you need a longer format. As well as that, we need to allow for several adjustments before going to multiple pages.

The aim is to build on quality versus quantity.

First to consider is letting go of early career experiences that don’t market to current goals. A resume should not be an obituary of one’s career. It should tell a detailed story highlighting the specifics of your job search.

The ideal resume length depends on you

Are you a student or new graduate with qualifications that don’t quite fit on one page? Try two pages. Are you a CEO with a penchant for getting to the point? Try a one-page resume. The rule is there is no rule.

Resume Goals: Craft an easy to read document that consists of relevant content with a clear and consistent theme. Aim to distinguish from the competition by portraying current and detailed information.  Target keyword optimization to meet ATS approvals.

If all of these factors can be positively addressed on one page, so be it. But if it takes two pages—or more—to address each factor, that’s fine too.

Finally, don’t sweat it. If all this overwhelms you, our team of professional resume writers has just what you need.  Reach out for a free resume review and consultation. We offer Resume updates, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profile Optimization, Coaching and Recruitment services. 

Connect with us here for a free 15-minute consultation. https://calendly.com/powerwritersusa-ca



How To Negotiate Salary and Benefits

When it comes to hiring negotiations employers rarely make their best offer first. Like all business practices, the negotiation process is strategic. Additionally, candidates who intentionally negotiate salary and benefits generally earn more than those who don’t.

Plus, a well-thought-out negotiation shows the strength of your character which, in turn, portrays the powerhouse employee you plan to be.

Prior to the interview, make time to do research. Know the industry salary standards and learn about the company’s current salary and benefits ranges. These understandings will be valuable when asked for your ideal salary.

During the interview, hold off on the money talk.

Honestly, discussing financials too early can be a major cooling point. The time to talk about money is when they’ve fallen in love with you. Once the employer has decided you’re right for the job, then all focus can move to the big money.

Inevitably, of course, you will be asked about salary expectations. It’s a common tendency for people to lowball their salary range. We get it.  Everyone wants to stay in the game when this question comes into play. It helps to specifically know in advance what you want from the position.

Know your worth and consider not just your short-range salary goals but also your long-term career momentum.

The Offer Is On The Table: 3 Tips for Next Steps

Don’t Commit Too Quickly: Employers often offer the job and salary simultaneously. Never say yes right away — even if you like the offer. Tell them you’ll give them an answer within a certain time frame. There is nothing wrong with coming back to try and get more.

Articulate Your Expectations: Consider whatever has a perceived value to you.  This could be time off, flexibility about where you work, autonomy or ownership over a specific area or the basics of job title. Tell the employer what you want from the job, in terms of salary, benefits, and opportunity.

Negotiate Extras: If the employer can’t offer you the salary you want, think about other valuable options that might not cost as much. Remember, education is a great benefit which not only costs employers less to offer but can make a big difference in your long-term marketability.

You also can add a few contingencies showing your confidence in your performance.

You could ask the employer to give you a salary review after six months rather than a year. You could open the discussion for a year-end bonus if you achieve certain goals. It shows that you believe in yourself and are committed to bringing significant value to the organization.

Now, the first step is to get yourself out there! Whether you’re needing a Resume update, Cover Letter, Recruitment Services or LinkedIn optimization, our team at Power Writers has what you need.

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

Why Resumes Must Be ATS Compatible

why resumes must be ats compatible

To have the best results on your job search, we took a look into why resumes must be ATS compatible. Applicant Tracking Systems, you’ve heard of them, probably even had a resume (or many) scanned by them.

While the task of job searching has changed dramatically over the years, fortune now favors the strategized resume and digital communication channels.

OLD WAYS: A company posts an ad and receives 100 applicants. 

HR then spends an entire day sorting through all these resumes to select a handful of potential interviewees.

NEW WAYS: A company posts an ad and receives 100 applicants. 

Files are auto-loaded into ATS software. Then scanned and sorted according to keywords, experience, and education. Depending on the company, resumes deemed fit for interview are then forwarded either directly to HR Departments or Corporate Recruiters.

All This Before The Document Is Ever Seen By Human Eyes.

The system itself operates in a hierarchy. High ranks are awarded to resumes that check the most automated boxes. This means that no matter how qualified you are if your resume is not ATS friendly, it is very likely you will never be invited to discuss your qualifications in an interview.

How to play the game.

First off, the overall use of Applicant Tracking Systems has increased dramatically in the last few years. According to Zipjobs, 95% of large companies use ATS for all hiring purposes. And if you’re applying within a mid-sized company, you’re looking at a 50/50 chance that your resume will make an ATS connection.

large and mid size companies use applicant tracking systems

Corporate Recruiters.

Recruiters use applicant tracking systems as a tool to stay organized and speed up their placements. In fact, once again referring to ZipJob, some stats show up to 75% of recruiters are using applicant tracking software. Of that percentage, 94% believe the software improves their hiring efficiencies.

All Credentials Must Be In a Machine-Readable Format.

A few resume focus points are listed below:

  • Keyword Usage
  • Basic Formats
  • File Type
  • Organized Sections
  • Professional Font
  • Spelling and Grammer
  • Correct File Name

If you’re looking for more specific ATS resume tips, check out our LinkedIn article on 8 Tips To Beat Applicant Tracking Systems.

Want the big picture?

Take a look at these stats! This graphic really shows what your resume is up against when you apply for a job.

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. Feel free to connect if you have any questions.

Follow the link for a free resume review and consultation. 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

Generational Patterns – Looking ahead at 2020

Whether you’re just beginning your career or considering a change in your professional workplace, 2020 looks to be a promising year for job seekers across the country.  According to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, projections are showing 20.5 million new jobs will be added in 2020 with an additional 5.5 million replacement jobs becoming available. Many of which resulting from baby boomer retirements.

Consistent Increase in Baby Boomer Retirements.

Did you know that in most recent population projections from the U.S Census Bureau, millennials are projected to overtake boomers in the workforce by 2021?  As one generation nestles into retirement, we’re seeing the balance tip towards new job opportunities for Americas 20-35-year-old professionals.

Is High Education the Only Way?

When our team reviewed job postings by title and education attainments, the stats reflected a relatively fair split across all matters of educational achievements.

  • 35 percent will require at least a Bachelors degree.
  • 30 percent will require some college or an Associate degree.
  • 35 percent not requiring education beyond high school.

In addition, the data also reflected that among the fasted growing occupations the highest-paid do require higher levels of education.  

Relating back to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics findings; among the 30 fastest growing and highest-paid occupations are Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists with a 41.2 percent projected increase in 2020 and Biomedical Engineers with a 61.7 percent projected increase in 2020. Both of these occupations require a Bachelor’s degree for almost all entry-level positions.

See the full list here https://www.bumc.bu.edu/gms/files/2012/02/Top-30-fastest.pdf 

Cause & Effect

Does this data link back to the high-volume retirements of boomer-aged professionals? Consider how the aging population requires a greater focus on health issues which drive demand for better medical devices, equipment, data analysts and sales forces. Seems to us like a societal representation of cause and effect in its truest form.

At any rate, there’s never been a better time to review your cover letter, resume and LinkedIn profile to consider what professionally written updates can be made to land you in front of a great opportunity in 2020.

Every career change is unique and our team at Power Writers Canada is here to help you along the way with Resume Writing Services, Cover Letter Writing, and LinkedIn Profile Updates.  Contact us now for a free consultation and resume evaluation!