Until then, you need to make sure yours is doing its job! Through my work, I have realized that even the best resumes I see need a few improvements in order to be effective.

There is more to it, but here are three things that you need to include in your resume:

Summary

This might sound obvious, but I am still seeing resumes with objectives at the top. No ones cares what you want. You need to make sure a company knows what you can do for them, and a summary helps them understand that.

Accomplishments

One way you can highlight your career accomplishments is by listing a few as bullets under your summary. You will also want to read through your bullets under each position, and make sure that your accomplishments are illustrated. As an example, you may have listed that you created a database for one company. So what? Employers need to know what happened as a result of that database. What was the success? This is how you show a potential employer what you can do for them.

Keywords

It is essential that both your resume and LinkedIn profile are populated with the essential keywords for the position you’re seeking. An easy way to do this is to go through a job description for a position you are seeking and add in the important words that are mentioned. Examples include specific software programs, industry terms, types of trainings, etc. Having the right keywords makes it more likely that your resume or LinkedIn profile will come up in a recruiter’s search.

If you are having trouble with your resume or not getting any responses, I would recommend consulting with a resume writer, or having a few trusted people look it over. Hopefully these three tips will help improve your resume.

A lot of the clients I am meeting with are being asked to make a presentation as part of the job interview process. Others are coming up with presentations themselves because they realize how competitive the market is, and that standing out is essential. Remember: it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for the employer. (and you can’t keep it a secret and expect to get hired)

An article by Jennifer Alsever in FORTUNE illustrates this idea. It may seem like a lot of extra work or that you’re giving away your ideas, but at this point, it is a necessary part of the interview process.

I do this really embarrassing thing where I don’t post regularly to my blog. Figured I would blog about it. If you have a blog (or you’re thinking about starting one), you need to add new posts at least once a week in order to be effective!

Are you trying to keep your name in front of your online network, but you don’t want to start a blog? Take advantage of your social media profiles and do a status update, at least once a week! An easy way to do this is to share an article of interest, or let your network know what you’re up to in the professional world. One example is telling them about a recent seminar you attended, or any type of event. This is especially important for job seekers or someone trying to grow their business.

A lot of us are scared of bombarding our network with too many posts, but once a week is unobtrusive, yet helps keep you in front of important people. How often do you write new posts?

 

 

 

I recently did another presentation with Dave Wilson on social media and the workplace (this time we did a webinar so we didn’t really have to look pretty for anyone). 

Does your company have a social media policy? This really cuts down on gray areas and long conversations about appropriate social media use. Ideally, have this policy as a signed agreement for all employees, so they can’t claim they never saw it.  

Many companies still block social media sites so that employees are unable to access them in the workplace. Personally, I find this to be pointless since anyone who wants to will access these sites on their phones. It’s a better use of energy to create a policy so that employees can freely use social media sites, and understand appropriate use. If they end up making the mistake of doing something that goes against the social media agreement, then you can more easily take action because you have a policy in place. 

 

My last post was intended for job seekers, but this is something for all business/sales people to remember. Your (potential) customers need to know what is so great about working with you. What is your unique selling proposition, or USP?

Let people know why it’s a great idea to choose you!

I have been hearing more and more from my career coaching clients that employers are looking for an “exact fit” when they’re interviewing potential employees. Unfortunately, this occurs when there is a surplus of strong candidates going after very few open positions.

So…how do you get noticed?

One way it to make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are populated with the proper keywords. These would be words found on job descriptions of positions you’re applying for, and other buzzwords that are important in your position/industry. This may sound obvious, but once you really stop and think, you’ll probably find that you’re not using some of those essential words. Remember: many recruiters don’t read resumes anymore, they search for keywords!

Another way to stand out is to highlight your accomplishments both in your resume and when you’re speaking. You need to show the results of your actions, not just list off tasks that you’ve completed throughout your career. Let people know what is special about you, don’t assume that they’ll figure it out themselves!

If you haven’t already read these very honest (and in many cases funny) excerpts from HR professionals, take a look at the links below. The article is written by Michelle Crouch through Readers Digest. You will find some great advice and insight on the job interview process from actual HR people. Take a look, you will definitely learn something and probably laugh!

http://www.rd.com/money/what-hr-people-won%E2%80%99t-tell-you-about-your-resume/

http://www.rd.com/13-things/what-hr-people-wont-tell-you-about-the-job-interview/

http://www.rd.com/13-things/what-hr-people-wont-tell-you-about-salaries-and-raises/

http://www.rd.com/13-things/what-your-hr-person-won%E2%80%99t-tell-you-about-being-fired/


I mentioned the book The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon in my last post and want to share one aspect of the book that has been very applicable to my work and life.

At one point towards the beginning of the book, the main character gets the idea to ask his children “their success of the day. He explained that it could be something great that had happened to them that day or something they were proud of” (p. 54).

Since reading that, I have used this with clients and people in my life. As an example, I worked with someone who was feeling disconnected from their father. Instead of the typical, “how was your day,” my client asked, “what was the highlight of your day?” By asking that, the two of them were able to have a more substantial conversation than they had been having recently.

The best part of this exercise is that it immediately brings positive energy to the conversation and you can watch someone’s face light up as they speak. It also helps two people connect in a way they may not be used to, and can become a daily ritual.

If this sounds different from your nightly routine with your family and friends, I encourage you to give it a try!

As a follow-up to my last post, I want to address how to stay positive over time. It’s easy to get caught up in a new way of thinking, but then slowly ease back into your old habits as times get tough, and life gets in the way.

One thing I learned from Tal Ben-Shahar’s presentation is to get in the ritual of writing down what you’re grateful for. You might find that doing this every night feels like a bit much, but a few times a week could be just right. This is an exercise that I encourage my clients to do, especially job seekers. It helps you stay in a positive state of mind when life can feel very frustrating, or just maintain your positive outlook.

Another great tool for learning to focus on the positive is a short and fun read called The Energy Bus. A friend of mine learned about this book at a conference, and it reminded him of my work as a coach. I find that this book gives you the tools to change your mindset (in an entertaining way), and apply the principals to your work and personal life.

These are just a couple tools that I find to be very effective for changing your mindset. How do you maintain positive energy in the workplace?

From my Organizational Psychology education at MSPP and various presentations I have attended over the last year, I have learned about the importance of positive psychology. I am happy to see how prominent it is becoming in psychology, and its gradual move into the business world. It gives us the opportunity to let go of what isn’t working, and focus our energy on what is working. Some highlights include learning about Marcus Buckingham and his belief in focusing on strengths, learning and using Appreciative Inquiry, and attending an incredible presentation by Tal Ben-Shahar through HRLF. These are people and tools that are definitely worth learning about if you’re not already aware of them.

When I am career coaching, I help my clients identify their strengths and what they enjoy to do (ideally, they are one and the same!), and then help them find a career where they can use these the majority of the time. We all have to spend some time partaking in activities that are considered our “weaknesses”, but it’s important to spend most of our time using our strengths. This ensures that we are energized and engaged in the workplace, and don’t waste time working in areas where we may never excel.

Have you taken the time to identify your strengths? How often do you get to use them during the workday?