Monthly Archives: February 2016

5 things not to include in your resume and why

Article by Belinda Fuller

5 Things Not to Include in Your Resume and WhyWhen it comes to Resumes – what NOT to include is almost as important as the information that’s in there. Your Resume needs to give the recruiter a great first impression but it will probably be one of many received. It’s therefore important to use the space and words wisely and ditch the unnecessary clutter.

It’s never been more important to get your Resume and job application 100% right the first time. Since it will most likely be one of many received, you need to give yourself the best chance at getting noticed. As Resume Writers, we often get asked why certain information hasn’t been included.

Here’s a list of five things we avoid and why:

1.  Career Objective: Don’t waste words stating what you want. Put yourself in the employers’ shoes. They need to understand immediately “What’s in it for me?” not what you’re searching for in life. Instead of your own personal career objective, we suggest including a career overview that provides a snapshot of who you are, your relevant qualifications, skills and experience – and the overall value you could bring to the role.

2.  Unnecessary Education: Unfinished degrees and high school details are mostly unnecessary. Putting a degree on hold could highlight commitment issues in the employer’s mind so we recommend excluding it altogether. Always include study currently underway – but state your ‘anticipated completion date’ so the employer knows how far along you are. It’s also not necessary to include high school information unless you’ve only recently left school. Once you have tertiary qualifications and/or some work history behind you, exclude high school details.

3.  Personal Information: It is not necessary to include age, height, weight, marital status, health, children, hobbies, religious, cultural or political associations so don’t waste space by doing so.

4.  A Photo: Unless you are a model or an actor, it’s not necessary. Since it is discriminatory to hire or not hire someone based on their looks, including a photo could be a distraction. Some recruiters even go so far as culling resumes with photos.

5.  Quirky Email Addresses: Having a 007 or Catwoman email address might sound fun but it just isn’t professional. Create an email address containing your first and last name/initials – or the best combination of these you can achieve.

You don’t usually get a second chance to present your Resume and it is arguably the most important part of your application process – without it you won’t get that all important interview and a chance to secure the role.

Are you interested in getting assistance from a Professional Resume Writer to prepare a winning Resume for your next job application? If so, please see our Resume & CV Writing Services and Job Search Coaching Services.

4 ways to use assertiveness to benefit your career

Article by Belinda Fuller

4 Ways to Use Assertiveness to Benefit Your CareerAssertiveness is an essential skill if you want to advance your career. It’s not about being aggressive or getting what you want at the expense of other people’s feelings – but rather a way of politely standing up for yourself, asking for what you want, saying no to unreasonable requests, and achieving ‘win-win’ outcomes.

Assertiveness in an individual can be defined as someone who is not afraid to say what they believe, or ask for what they want. It’s about acting with confidence, authority and assurance – even when you might not feel it. Assertiveness is usually about getting people to do what you want or agree with your thoughts – but without making them feel like they have been bullied into doing so. It isn’t about being pushy, demanding or aggressive. So how can it help your career?

1.  Learning to say no: there are often times at work when you really should say no. Unreasonable requests from colleagues and superiors can drive you crazy and prevent you from achieving the best with whatever it is you should be focusing on. Being assertive allows you to set limits for yourself without being seen as the bully. Learning to say ‘no’ to unreasonable requests whether your plate is full or it just isn’t a good fit for your focus or skillset is a very important talent for anyone at any level. Understand that you will never be able to please everyone, and be OK with that. Know your limits and what will cause you to feel taken advantage of. If you feel guilty saying no (which you shouldn’t), try suggesting a viable alternative as a way of relieving that feeling.

2.  Getting people to do what you want: let’s call this persuasion because being persuasive is another way to win in your career. This is about convincing people, in a nice way that they need to do something. It’s about being able to negotiate an outcome you want but again without being a bully. You can do this by demonstrating the ‘win-win’ – i.e. what’s in it for the other person if they do it. You should plan out what you’re going to say first, so your ideas come across clearly and confidently. Get to the point quickly and don’t include unnecessary information. Practicing what you’re going to say out loud can help because an idea that sounds great in your head may not sound as compelling when spoken out loud. A big part in successfully convincing other people to do something for you is listening – let the other person talk so you can acknowledge what they’re thinking and address any concerns they may have.

3.  Increasing your salary: if you’re waiting to get noticed for a pay rise, you might wait forever. Taking control of your salary and negotiating what you’re worth is an important part of your career progression but we understand that many people do lack confidence when it comes to money. One of the best ways to ask for a pay rise is to put your initial request in writing and then meet with your boss to discuss. By putting together a written proposal you’ll be forced to think hard about your achievements and the reasons why your request for a pay rise is valid. This thought process alone will provide you with more confidence to discuss it. But you must ask – it’s rare that anyone will just hand it to you.

4.  Getting a new job: assertiveness is a very important factor in determining how well you perform at an interview. It will help you to come across as a confident candidate who will be proactive and results-focused. You can demonstrate your assertiveness by maintaining direct eye contact (without staring); talking clearly and firmly with confidence, and maintaining a relaxed and open posture. Avoid devaluing your contributions by using negative or ambiguous language. Try not to use words like ‘only’, ‘just’ or ‘maybe’. Refer to pre-written notes or your Resume without reading from any documents and make sure to ask some well thought out questions to demonstrate your interest in the role and company while showing that you’ve done some research. Be confident in your responses without being smug.

Assertiveness is an essential asset for any successful employee. It’s worth taking some time to develop this skill to help you get ahead in your career, but remember it can take time. Use online resources, read books or enlist the help of an expert.

Would you like career coaching and guidance to help you advance your career? If so see, please see our Career Counselling Services.

How to avoid ruining your career using Facebook

Article by Belinda Fuller

How to Avoid Ruining Your Career Using Facebook

While Facebook may seem harmless if you don’t post anything untoward yourself, you should definitely be aware of the negatives. A recent study from three US-based universities suggests that your Facebook profile can be a predictor of job performance. In an experiment, three “raters” (one university professor and two students) evaluated the Facebook profiles of 56 students with jobs. After spending just 10 minutes viewing each profile, including photos, wall posts, comments, education and hobbies, the raters answered a series of personality-related questions, such as “Is this person dependable?” and “How emotionally stable is this person?” Six months later, the researchers matched the ratings against employee evaluations from each student and found a strong correlation between job performance and the Facebook scores for traits such as conscientiousness, agreeability and intellectual curiosity.

So what can you do to avoid a down fall? Some simple tips from experts of what not to do include:

  • Posting inappropriate photos – this goes without saying but these obviously can affect your image at work. Although this isn’t just about wild parties and drunken antics. Think about inappropriate or offensive attire too. Even just posting a seemingly innocent photo in a social situation may not be appropriate for the industry that you work in.
  • Complaining about your job or work – there’s the famous case last year of a worker who vented about her boss on Facebook and was publically fired by that same boss (via a responding Facebook comment) the very same day. While you might not get fired, negative posts about work can make you appear immature, untrustworthy and simply not committed to the role or the company. Sometimes after a bad day at work you just want to vent – but take a deep breath first and think about whether you’d say the same thing in person – if not, then resist the urge to post.
  • Divulging conflicting or confidential information – employers will often use Facebook and other forms of social media to ‘confirm’ claims made in your Resume. If they don’t match, watch out – you won’t be called in for an interview. Conflicting details ring alarm bells for most employers and where there are plenty of candidates to choose from – this is a reason to exclude you. Likewise, divulging confidential information about your company that perhaps hasn’t yet been released to the public domain could land you in hot water.
  • Doing one thing and saying another – again this goes without saying but you’d be surprised at the stories we’ve heard. Take for example, the employee that was supposed to be ‘working from home’ who posted a status update that she was away for a long weekend. Don’t forget that Facebook isn’t a private conversation with an individual or even a group of friends – it’s always open to public scrutiny.
  • Being controversial – this is a tricky one because obviously you want to be true to yourself, and your opinions and feelings, however posting strong opinions on controversial topics could be seen as negative in the eyes of your employer or colleagues. Facebook can be used to validate your professional persona and/or undermine your credibility so be careful what you say.

If you are a Facebook user, make sure you take some time to understand your security and privacy settings, but don’t use that as a security blanket because it’s not foolproof.

If you would like assistance auditing your online profile – perhaps developing a professional, keyword optimised LinkedIn profile that highlights your strengths and achievements and sets you apart from your competitors, please see our LinkedIn Profile Writing service or check out our Job Search Coaching Service