Thursday, July 6, 2017

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Resume

Does it really matter if you make some resume mistakes? Of course, it does. 

In fact, if you send a seriously flawed application document, you will most likely be immediately screened out. And submitting a CV that doesn’t match the position for which you are applying is even worse than grammatical errors and typos. It will leave you out of the competition for the job. 

I’ve already shared with you some of my top tips on resume writing hacks for moms and resume writing formats here at Job Searching Mom. Today, we are going to talk about the biggest resume mistakes and best ways to avoid them.

The Biggest Resume Killers

There is no doubt that typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings are the worst resume mistakes and biggest resume killers. Remember to spell check and reread your document by placing your finger on every word or reading backward from the very end of the CV. Also, don’t be shy to ask your friend or family member to proofread it for you one more time. It pays to be precautious as it’s difficult to spot your own errors. That’s why having somebody else to proofread your document for you will definitely help a lot. Another option is to read it aloud in order to catch any mistakes.

Not Adding the Necessary Keywords

The second biggest mistake when creating a resume is not including the right keywords that match the job description. You need to make sure your document has the same keywords that appear in the job posting. A resume without the keywords won’t get noticed by HR managers, so you might lose a chance to win a job interview.

Submitting an Outdated CV

Among the biggest resume mistakes to avoid, sending out an outdated application document will not only make you look obsolete but also will take way all the chances of landing the job. Make sure you update your curriculum vitae for every position you apply for. Apart from updating the work history and skills section, checking that you mention current computer skills will be a plus.

Giving Too Much Information

Why laying all your cards on the table when the game hasn’t started yet? There is no need in telling prospective employers every detail about each job. Keep your application document to one or two pages and try to concentrate on the highlights. To improve readability, you may use short paragraphs and bullet points. In addition, if you have an extensive work experience, it’s better to limit your document to the last 10 years so that the HR managers can see the last accomplishments and results of your work. Leave some of the details for the job interview, and you will see that the recruiters would like to phone you to ask for additional information.

Creating a Resume Objective That Doesn’t Match the Position

As you’ve noticed, we are not talking about some funny resume mistakes here, but about rather serious flaws and errors that might cost you a good job. One of such big errors is writing an objective that doesn’t correspond with the targets of the position you want to apply for. Some job hunters don’t use a resume objective anymore or use a profile instead. However, if you decide to include it in your application, be sure your resume objective underscores your interest in the industry and type of work for which you are applying.

So, these mistakes and errors are widespread among all the job hunters, both experienced professionals, and recent graduates. Try your best to proofread and double check your application documents before you submit them to make your job search successful.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What Type of Resume Format to Choose

We’ve already discussed resume writing hacks and tips for stay-at-home moms, and now it’s time to talk about different resume types and the benefits of every format. I know how hard and tedious it is to put your application document together. Your resume is the introduction to prospective work relationships with a potential recruiter, so you need to try your best to make a wonderful first impression and get noticed. 

If you do catch the eye of the recruiter and they like your CV, you will get the chance to make a second impression during the phone call or the job interview. Otherwise, your application will end up in the trash, and we definitely don’t want this to happen. The first and the most important step towards having a great and impressive CV is to select the right format out of different resume types: chronological, functional and combination.

Chronological Resume Format

Most job hunters are familiar with the chronological type of resume. Here, you need to put your work experience in reverse chronological order so that the most recent job comes first and can be easily noticed by the hiring managers. First, you place your personal and contact details on the very top of the page together with your address, email address, and phone number. Then, while listing all the jobs you’ve had going from the most recent one backward, make sure you state the time during which you occupied that position.

Then, give a brief description of each position. Follow your work experience section with a part about your education and mention degrees and certificates you have earned. So, when is this resume type beneficial and most suitable to use? I would recommend it to job hunters who are willing to show their career growth. However, it’s not the best option for people with unsteady work history or for stay-at-home moms with career gaps.

Functional Resume Format

Out of three different types of resume format, a functional resume is the best to use for candidates who are changing careers. Why? This resume format allows you to emphasize your transferable skills. You may not have the right experience for the job you are seeking, but you do have skills and abilities you’ve got through other experiences and projects, both paid and unpaid. Make a section for every ability and skill you want to highlight. Then, place related work experience underneath each section heading.

However, don’t overestimate yourself and don’t list all the possible functions and skills you think may be useful for the job search. Mention three or four functions maximum so that the hiring manager has enough time to notice your key strengths and look through each of them. For instance, you can make sections “Accounting,” “Management and Supervision,” and “Writing and Editing.” Under each section write a small description of your achievements and results that will best describe your skill. By changing the objective of the resume you will be able to target it to various recruiters. There is only one drawback of a functional resume type as it doesn’t mention your job history, which may be crucial to some recruiters.

Combination Resume Format

This format of your application document can solve the problem of the previous type and tell the potential recruiters your employment history. It’s exactly what it’s called – a hybrid of a chronological and a functional type. Such resume type is perfect for job hunters who are changing careers and have enough work experience that might seem unrelated, or those who had just one place of employment but spent a huge amount of time there.

Here, after personal and contact information with your objective, you should put a section describing your skills and job functions. After that, follow our advice from the functional resume type but keep the description of each position shorter because we don’t want to write a novel here. Your second part will be “Work history” or “Employment experience” which will tell the hiring manager all they want to know about your previous career.

Choosing the right resume type for your job search objective will give you the opportunity to show the potential recruiters why you can be the perfect fit for their position.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Stay-At-Home Mom Resume: Extra Tips

You’ve been working as a stay-at-home parent for the last several years. You’ve acquired excellent multi-tasking skills, project management, and problem-solving skills. The only problem you have is that the majority of your talents have been refined through your most recent job as a stay-at-home mom. Being a stay-at-home parent myself, I fully understand that this is probably the most challenging job on Earth. 

From my own experience, I know how hard it can be to return to the 9-to-5 workforce after working from home for a few years. How can you market yourself if you have that big employment gap in your work history? How can you persuade prospective recruiters that in spite of that you are ready and excited to go back to work? Previously I've written a post about the best resume writing hacks for moms and here are some of the tips that worked for me on how to create a resume for mom returning to work.

Update Your Resume Template

The first and the most important step towards landing a job is updating your application documents. There is no need to panic or be scared about creating your new resume for stay-at-home mom returning to work. Just remember how professional you are at cooking dinner, cleaning the tub and helping with the homework at the same time. The secret to writing an impressive and persuasive resume for mom returning to work sample is to use a combination type of resume instead of a functional resume. 

This type of resume is a hybrid between a chronological document and the one that emphasizes your core skills. Therefore, it’s the most common resume type not only for stay-at-home parents but also for all kinds of job hunters. You may emphasize the things you are most proud of, then showcase them in the “Executive summary” section. Adding a “Core Proficiencies” section will help you highlight the things you are experienced to do – like cost controls, client relations, or project management. Only after that, you mention your career chronology, starting from the most recent positions and moving your way backward. By the way, here is my list of resume skills for stay at home mom.

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Functional Resume

On one hand, using a functional resume is one of the most widespread tricks of so many job hunters who try to divert the recruiter’s attention from their employment gaps because this type of application document highlights your skills instead of career chronology and dates. On the other hand, the vast majority of employers will instantly realize that you are attempting to conceal something.

Another important reason not to use this type of resume is because applicant tracking system doesn’t always see these documents. As a result, your CV can easily get lost before it’s been even read by a hiring manager, especially when you apply for jobs through online job boards or company websites.

List Part-Time Jobs and Volunteering

Did you know that you can actually include not only paid and full-time work in your application document? In fact, take advantage of this opportunity and add any part-time or volunteer activities that you’ve had during the time you were a stay-at-home parent. Don’t hesitate to list all of them in your career chronology and showcase all the important and useful stuff you have performed in those assignments. It’s your chance to get noticed and attract recruiters by listing what you have done and achieved.

Remind yourself that you’ve definitely become even more experienced through these years and there is nothing that can stop you on your way to the top of the career ladder.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Stay at Home Mom Resume Skills That Might Help You Get That Job

I know how hard it is to return on the career track after being a stay at home parent. Over five million women are stay-at-home moms in the USA. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of moms decide to get back to work every year. 

Being a stay-at-home mom myself I understand how challenging it may be to stay confident and get your application noticed in spite of your employment gap. Here are my tips and insights on how to list stay at home mom skills on a resume and make sure your application documents help you sell yourself.

Emphasize Related Activities

All you have to do is to persuade the recruiters that you have experience and skills to do the job they offer, that’s why the content of your resume should market you. When you write about your years out of the paid workforce, don’t forget to mention only those activities and achievements that back up the skills necessary and relevant to your future career goal.

Many career experts and advisers state that majority of women who are stay-at-home moms are not just doing homework and laundry. They take part in important volunteer efforts. This is the kind of experience you should include in your resume. You can emphasize volunteer involvement such as charity work, PTA, or fundraisers. It’s not that significant that this work wasn’t paid. Believe me, employers will treat volunteer work as valuable as any paid position you mention in your application. More than that, it’s a great opportunity to cover the employment gap in your documents.

Resume Skills for Stay at Home Mom

There are a lot of good skills for a stay at home mom to put on resume. For instance, you can include such important skills as active listening, judgment and decision making, monitoring, complex problem solving, and critical thinking. Active listening skills mean giving full attention to things other people are saying, not interrupting at certain times, and asking questions if necessary. Decision making includes considering pros and cons of potential actions to select the most appropriate one. Monitoring means assessing the performance of workers in order to make improvements or take action. Complex problem solving includes determining problems and reviewing necessary information to evaluate different options and find solutions. 

Demonstrate Professional Development

Also, make sure you show your commitment to the industry by including membership in different professional organizations or taking part in conferences. You need to demonstrate that you have kept your professional skills and abilities refreshed through online learning and/or courses. Moreover, if you have performed any freelance or consulting work, don’t hesitate to mention this experience if it’s related to your job target.

Choose the Best CV Format

According to different career coaches, it’s crucial to select the right resume format in order to help your application get noticed. Many career advisers suggest stay-at-home moms avoid using chronological resumes because it will only highlight the gap in your employment history or will make the resume look unprofessional. Instead, think about choosing a combination resume format. It’s the best alternative for parents who haven’t been at work for several years and have little additional experience such as volunteer work or freelance. Also, consider selecting a functional resume format. Although it’s not often preferred by employers and hiring managers, it allows you highlight your skills and abilities while concealing your work history.

Be honest and create an application that will market you as a person who has kept their skills and abilities up to date and is ready to return to the workforce.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Best Advice for Women Breaking into a Male-Dominated Industry

It can be a real challenge to be a woman in today’s competitive labor market – especially if you hope to start a career in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as science, finance, mathematics, or engineering. As a woman, you may face lots of challenges starting your career in one of those fields. So how can you minimize the difficulties and break through in the desired field? Today I want to talk about how to inspire women in a male-dominated industry. Here are some of my top tips.

Believe in Yourself

In my opinion, the most important is to make small steps towards your dream. You should believe in yourself and be ready to take the leap. For extra motivation you may have a look at all those women who have important positions in high finance, national politics or heavy manufacturing today. If they managed to do this, you will definitely be not the exception.

Well, being determined and believing in yourself should be your number one. Don’t be afraid to try something new or do things your way. Men tend to say that women are too emotional for the big jobs, but the truth is we have a great ability to emphasize which makes us effective and strong leaders who understand the details and see the big picture.

Meet the Challenges with Dignity

This is one of the top tips for women when working in a male-dominated industry. Let me explain to you why. You will face more challenges and difficulties in a field that’s always been controlled by men. That’s why it’s crucial to surround yourself with trustworthy and successful people. Even women CEO in a male industry need to connect with people who serve as inspiration and trust because these individuals will help them develop and boost the confidence and push to the next level. If you have at least two or three friends who back you with their support and believe in your strength, you should definitely appreciate it.

Avoid Stereotypes

Women in male-dominated industry can be treated differently. I know what it feels like when people judge from their own stereotypes about you and what you can do. Don’t take it personally. Again, believe in your strengths and just be always ready to show others what you are capable of. In other words, don’t let the stereotypes get on you.

Develop a Good Sense of Humor

Sometimes, men experience difficulties accepting women on the job because they suppose they will have to behave in a different way when we are around. A great step ahead in your relationships with male co-workers will be if you let them know that criticizing their girlfriend or dirty jokes don’t offend you. This will help men feel more relaxed and more comfortable in your presence. However, there is no way you should ever tolerate sexual harassment.

I hope you find these tips and advice helpful and will use them in your future career in a male-dominated field. Don’t be scared of issues women face in a male-dominated industry. Let’s break the stereotypes together and show the world that women can do everything. Good luck in your job search!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Top LinkedIn Profile Tips for Stay-at-Home Moms

You are probably reading this because you are a stay-at-home mom who wants to go back to work but doesn’t know how to reflect your current role in your resume or LinkedIn profile. And yes, this time we will be talking about how you should update your LinkedIn profile for stay at home mom. You are not the only person looking for ways to go back to work. I’ve been there and now I’d like to share my own experience as well as some career expert advice on how to get started.

ABC-Book for Moms Who Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn has come into our lives and changed the way people get hired. Nowadays, it replaces so much old recruiting work like reading trade publications, networking, or calling people. It has become one major online networking event. Many moms ask me, “Should I use LinkedIn if I am a stay at home mom?” You would be surprised to know that you can find more than 90,000 results for “stay-at-home mom” if you search on LinkedIn. This number should raise hopes in your breast because if so many moms managed to do this you are not the exception.

How to Create Your Profile

The first thing you need to do is to create your profile unless you have one already. Think about the dream job you would like to land, write down 20 words that describe this position. Then, go on LinkedIn and search for people with the same keywords that already have your dream job. Have a good look at their profiles and get the idea of what you’d like to do with yours. 

Don’t forget that when you are creating your profile you should think like a hiring manager. Remember to add necessary keywords so that real recruiters will be able to find your profile the same way.

LinkedIn Profile is Not the Resume

Remember this every time you add some information or update your profile. Unlike your CV or resume (by the way, if you are looking for effective resume writing hacks for moms, I've written a post about this), you don’t have to enumerate everything here. Your profile is your own creation, so feel free to show your personality, avoid passive voice and be less formal. That’s why it’s significant first to look at other profiles through keywords. Stay at home mom on LinkedIn shouldn’t be a black sheep. So, make your profile professional and attractive rather than boring and stuffy.

Get into LinkedIn Groups

Here at JobSearchingMom I always recommend my readers to socialize and use networking as much as you can. If you want to get noticed and eventually to get found by recruiters, join various LinkedIn groups. I mean there are plenty of professional groups for different fields, so just find some groups about your desired field or job and get into them. Remember to get chatty, participate in the discussions, suggest postings, comment on blogs and answer questions. The more groups you joined the more chances you have for getting noticed. Many recruiters admit that they first go to such groups where they can find job seekers interested in the field.

Don’t be scared of changes. Get your LinkedIn profile up there and get noticed!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tips for Mom Cover Letter Writing

Returning to work is a significant event for any parent. And let us be honest: making this kind of decision isn't easy. Everything that follows, isn't much of a breezy task as well. Falling out of the job market happens quickly and easily. As people say, no man is indispensable - there will always be other competitors.

Instead, getting to work after the parental gap requires a lot of determination and dedication. Writing a new or updating your old resume and stay at home mom returning to work cover letter may seem extremely frightening at first. But it’s important to remember that there isn't much to be scared of. Obviously, you lost some of the business network connections and insiders knowledge, but it's ok.

A cover letter for stay at home mom is a perfect chance to explain the work gap and its importance for you (or for your skills). You wouldn't go deep into it in your resume, because these details are superfluous. A cover letter is a different kettle of fish. It is like a preview to the resume, so it's better to be good. The effect has to be impressive. The recruiting managers should dive into it and wait for the main course (resume itself) impatiently.  

By the way, if you are a job searching mom and searching for the ways to impress the HR managers, read my post about key stay-at-home mom skills for resume.

In this way, writing a cover letter after being a stay at home mom allows clarifying the potential benefits of the work gap. I mean every parent knows that maternal break is no vacation at all. One either gets necessary skills or leaves in the constant state of chaos and disorder. Doesn't anything jump into the mind? Time- and self-management, all these fussy terms, mothers master them intuitively. 

Get Back to the Industry

Any cover letter mom going back to work will only win from the insider tips. But the question that pops up is “How can you get these exact insider pieces of advice?” The answer lies in the good old-fashioned business networking. I totally get it - a newly-minted mother often fails to keep the old acquaintances alive.

Yet, it is another reason to arrange a meeting. You'll have a chance to chill out and win back a feeling of connectedness. Probably, significant changes, which one actually need to note, have happened in the industry. Besides, by dropping news about the job search, you bring into the motion an eternal mechanism. You say it to the one person - and news item goes viral. Then surprising things can happen. For example, the person, who is currently in the employee search and learns about a potential candidate, is you. You can even ask someone, with whom you're meeting, whether they have a vacancy in the company. Or whether this person could introduce you and give a few pointers to someone in the professional field.

Highlight Skills not Experience

It's great when a person had an impressive experience long before the parental leave. The point speaks for itself. However, the case is quite seldom. Most of the people have a little job experience in overall. In this instance, you need to choose a right approach. Highlighting the skills you've got and not a job activity is an answer. And don't lure yourself into a common misbelief.

A lot of people still believe that one can get relevant skills only through the job occupation. Well, that's not 100% true. Of course, these skills are important and beneficial but there's more to the process. Cover letter for stay at home mom returning to workforce can easily pull off a mention of the community, charity or any other organizational activity. As long as you disclose clearly the things, you've done and mastered, you're on the right path.

Have you ever written a cover letter by yourself? Were there any difficulties or there was no need in writing this?