resume errors

Z is for Zero: How to Ensure Zero Errors on Your Resume

resume errors

You find your dream job online and you’re chomping at the bits to apply. You grab your computer and find your latest copy of your resume. It’s just sitting there waiting to be sent. But is it ready to be seen by a prospective employer?

If you haven’t reviewed your resume in a while, it shouldn’t be sent out anywhere. Here are five steps to ensure your resume has zero errors.

Accurate resume information

The first thing that you need to do is ensure all of your information is accurate. From your contact information to your job experience, your resume must include the most recent information.

Take a look at your contact information and check if your email address and phone number are still accurate. If you need to add a new position to your job experience, now is the time to do that. And if the duties of your current job have changed since the last time you updated your resume, you’ll want to update your responsibilities. Besides, you must tailor your experiences to the job you are applying for to illustrate that you’re a great fit for the job!

Check your grammar

You need to proofread your resume to verify that you’ve used proper spelling and grammar throughout. Grammar can be tricky, and you can’t always rely on spell check.

Once your resume is up to date, run it through Grammarly. Grammarly tends to be more accurate than Word’s spellcheck, and it finds more grammatical errors and misspellings than Word. Plus, it’s absolutely free!

You also must double check that you are using proper tense. If it’s an old job, use past tense. If it’s your current job, all of your responsibilities listed should be in present tense. Using incorrect or inconsistent verb tenses is distracting and gives the impression that you didn’t take the time to review your resume.

Read your resume out loud

Print out your resume and read it out loud. This will help ensure that it reads smoothly. It may sound fine when reading it to yourself on your screen, but when you print it out and read it out loud, you’ll catch awkward phrases or the wrong use of words better.

If it’s difficult for you to read out loud, then it will be difficult for HR or a hiring manager to read it too.

Have someone else read it over

You should always have someone else read over your resume before you submit it. It’s wise to have a fresh pair of eyes take a few minutes to read it over. They will likely find errors or mistakes that you may not have caught yourself. Plus, they may have some advice to help jazz it up a little bit!

Consistent formatting

Good formatting is often overlooked. The first thing a prospective employer will do before reading your resume is give it a quick glance. They will quickly notice any glaring formatting issues. Look over your margins and make sure everything is consistent and even.

work experience

X is Experience: How to Effectively Add Experience to Your Resume

work experience

If you haven’t been on the job market in a couple of years and you’re thinking of moving on and looking for a new position, you probably need to update your resume. That’s totally normal; most workers don’t regularly update their resume unless they often find themselves searching for new job opportunities.

With the unemployment rate being at a new 17-year low of 3.8%, it’s a candidate-driven market. You’d be silly not to see what other opportunities are out there! But before you start applying for new positions, you must update your resume with your most recent experiences.

But wait: How do you pack all of your new experiences in your resume? What should include and what can be left off your resume? Here are a few tips to effectively add experience to your resume.

Quantify your results

Which of the following statements is more impactful?

  • Significantly increased followers on corporate LinkedIn profile
  • Increased followers on corporate LinkedIn page by 200 percent, from 10,000 to 30,000 followers

I think everyone will agree that the second statement is more effective. Both examples are trying to convey the same that the candidate increased the fan base of the corporate LinkedIn page. However, the second statement illustrates how well growth was achieved.

Whenever possible, quantify your results and successes. This can be done with percentages, dollars, or numbers. Using measurable accomplishments is much more impactful to a hiring manager, so don’t be afraid to include them!

Consolidate your education

Now that you’re a few years into your career, it’s time to cut back some of your education experience. You haven’t been in school in years, and quite frankly, you no longer need to list your GPA or the courses you’ve taken.

All you really need is your college, the degree you earned, and when you attended school. This will save you valuable space on your resume, which will provide more space to elaborate on your most recent (and relevant) working experience.

Focus on the most recent or relevant

It can be tough to figure out what experiences to include on your resume. When you revise your resume, you’ll likely need to weed out some things out. You want to include the most recent and relevant experiences that will illustrate that you’re qualified for the position you are applying to.

For example, if you are applying for a Project Engineering Manager, you’ll want to highlight all of your work experience that includes project management and engineering. This means you can safely leave off that job as a pizza delivery driver you held during the summer before your senior year. It’s perfectly okay to cut out jobs or internships that will not directly add value to the job you are applying for.

Moreover, you must highlight your job duties and qualifications from each position that is relevant to the position you are applying to. This is especially true if you have a position that may not seem particularly relevant on paper. Your resume is your opportunity to elaborate on some of your duties that would directly correlate with your new prospective position!

work-life balance

W is for Work-Life Balance: How to Maintain A Life Away From the Office

work-life balance

It’s difficult to manage the responsibilities that come with being an adult. Especially if you have a family. Devoting time to your job is important, but so is your friends, hobbies, social life, and most importantly, yourself.

Attempting to balance all of these things can be stressful and may even affect your job performance. Here are a few tips to successfully manage your work-life balance.

Make time for yourself

It is essential to set some “me time” aside for yourself. Whether it’s just an hour or an entire evening, having some time to yourself is crucial to reducing your stress level.

Try blocking out some time for yourself every evening, say 8-9 PM where you do something you enjoy. Go to the gym for a quick workout, go for a walk with your dog, read one of your favorite books, or simply just watch your favorite guilty pleasure show on Netflix.

Establishing Scheduling downtime for yourself will help take your mind off your work and spend a few moments of time doing something you enjoy.

Be productive on your lunch break

Instead of scrolling through Instagram for an hour, try accomplishing a couple tasks during your lunch break. Have some errands to run? Need to head over to the post office or go grocery shopping? Finish some of these errands during your lunch hour!

You’ll be surprised at how much you can get done during your lunch break. Personally, I go home every day for lunch and do a few things around the house. If I can unload the dishwasher or fold a load of laundry, that’s one less chore I have to worry about after a long day at work.

I understand not everyone has this luxury. You may only have a half-hour lunch break or maybe you live too far from work. However, if you can accomplish even one errand or task during your break, you will have more free time after work to relax and unwind.

Unplug from work

This is essential for a healthy work-life balance. No matter if you’re an executive or a worker bee, it is important to mentally and physically separate yourself from work. This has been increasingly difficult with today’s technology.

However, unplugging from work is a great way to improve your work-life balance. There is no need to respond to non-critical. I understand the pressure you sometimes feel to pick up the phone and respond that these types of emails.

But do these emails really warrant an instant response? Probably not. If this is the case, it is perfectly acceptable to ignore your email and spend your evening with your family or doing something to relax after a busy day.

By instantly responding to every single email you receive, your co-workers will come to expect a quick response from you, even on your vacation. Do yourself a favor and put off those messages that are not urgent.

Use your vacation time

Many workers in our country are “too busy” or “can’t afford” to take time off. Many organizations also make it difficult for employees to use their vacation time that they have worked hard to earn.

In fact, a survey from Glassdoor revealed that only 23% of employees actually use all of their eligible vacation time. And what’s even more shocking is only about 54 percent of Americans use half of their earned time off.

Employees receive vacation and sick time for a reason: to take a step back from work to refresh yourself and relax from the daily stresses your job generates. By using your time off, you will come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to get some work done!

new job

U is for Unemployment: How to Make the Most of Your Unemployment

unemployment

Raise your hand if you have ever gone through a period of unemployment. I was unemployed for a few months back in 2016, and let me tell you, it wasn’t fun.

With how easy it is to apply for jobs and check out new job postings, it leaves you with a lot of spare time. It’s easy to sit and mope around the house feeling down about your situation. However, instead of sitting on your couch in your pajamas all day, you can use your unemployment as an opportunity to better yourself, and ultimately, your career. Here’s how to make the most of your unemployment.

Freelancing

Worried about paying the bills while unemployed? Make that resume gap disappear by freelancing or accepting some temporary projects. It’s a fantastic way to make some extra money to get you by while you search for the next step in your career.

Online platforms like fiverr and LinkedIn ProFinder have made freelancing so much more convenient (and fun!). These platforms make it easy for people to find freelancers who are in need of a unique skill set. Freelancing offers flexibility, a chance to take on tasks that improve your skills, and mood boost to help lift your spirits during your unemployment.

Volunteering

Spending time volunteering is a great way to spend your free time when you are unemployed. It allows you to do something productive while distracting yourself from your unfortunate circumstance. Volunteering also looks great on your resume and helps give you a sense of purpose.

Trust me, you’d be surprised at how getting out of the house and doing something nice for others will improve your mood!

Self-education courses

Now that you have much more free time, you have no excuse not to learn a new skill or two. Make a cup of coffee, jump on your computer, and find a free course online. Use this time to learn a new skill that will help you land your next job!

Have you always wanted to learn how to code? How about becoming a wiz at Photoshop or blogging? This is your chance to learn something new and increase your skillset.

Treat your job search like a full-time job

This is the most important piece of advice I have to offer during your unemployment. Treat your job search like a full-time job. Don’t just sleep in until noon and watch Netflix all afternoon. Maintain a regular schedule and routine, just like you would if you were employed.

There is nothing wrong with using your new-found downtime to relax and catch up on our favorite TV shows. However, your main priority is finding a new job and sticking to a routine will help you maintain your motivation and boost your mood. Maintaining structure in your everyday schedule will keep your productivity levels up, and ultimately, help you land that dream job that much quicker!

termination

T is for Termination: Why Were You Fired Job Interview Question

termination

The only thing worse than being fired from a job is being asked about it in a job interview. How do you answer such a sensitive, awkward, and frankly, an embarrassing question? What’s the best way to respond to this question without scaring off the hiring manager?

Being asked about your termination is one of the most difficult interview questions to answer. Here’s the best way to answer this difficult question.

Keep it short and sweet

The best way to answer this question is to get right to the point. There is no need for a lengthy and detailed explanation. The best strategy is to state the reason you were terminated and move on.

Directly answer the question and keep the conversation moving forward. Here is an example of how to quickly answer this awkward question without rambling on:

“The job wasn’t working out, so my boss and I agreed that it was time for me to move on to a position that would be a better fit for both of us. So here I am, ready to work.”

Be honest (without sharing too many details)

The absolute worst thing you can do if you find yourself in this position is to lie. If you were fired from a previous employer, the hiring manager or HR will likely call your past employer and try to get more information.

Answering dishonestly during the interview can result in your application being declined, a job offer being withdrawn, or worse, being fired should the deception be discovered later.

On the other hand, avoid sharing too much information about your termination. You don’t need to share every detail about why you were let go. Additionally, you also don’t need to mention that you were fired unless you are asked on your application or during your job interview.

Never bad mouth your ex-boss or company

Don’t play the name-game. Pointing fingers at a previous employer or boss will ruin your credibility, and quite frankly, it’s unprofessional. Don’t blame your termination completely on your former employer without accepting any personal responsibility.

Do yourself a favor: If asked about your termination, at least comment how the job role or organization wasn’t a great fit. Owning up to your termination will build trust and respect with your prospective employer!

Keep in mind that many people have been fired at some point in their careers, and they’ve moved past it. If you find yourself in this situation, prepare your answer in advance, follow these tips, and practice your response!

Know your worth

S is for Salary: How to Find Your Worth

find your worth

Have you ever wondered whether you are being fairly paid? At some point in our careers, we have all wondered this phenomenon. However, most of us don’t know how to check whether this is true or not.

If you believe you are underpaid and want to do some research before negotiating a raise with your boss, here are some resources to help you find your worth.

Know Your Worth

You need to do a little research to get an idea of what you’re worth. Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool is a great place to start. This tool is a personalized calculator that provides a custom salary estimate based on the following details:

  • Your job title
  • The type of company you work for
  • Your location
  • And your years of experience

The best part of this Glassdoor tool is that it will reveal your market value and how it has trended over time. It will also help you know how your value compares with similar workers in the same industry.

If you punch all your information into the tool and you find that you are significantly underpaid, this will be a great first step in your negotiation process.

Salary Wizard

Don’t worry about awkwardly asking your peers what they make to get an idea of what you’re worth. Similar to the Know Your Worth tool, Salary.com has a tool called Salary Wizard, which offers pay ranges with over 4,000 different job titles in just about every industry.

This tool establishes a range of what you could be worth, and ultimately, what you should ask for in your next salary negotiations!

Self-Assess Your Experience

You need to reflect on your professional experience and see how far you’ve come from your first day on the job to today. Make a list of the things you’ve accomplished and briefly explain how they’ve helped progress your career and how they’ve benefited the companies you’ve worked for.

If you’ve completed extra classes to help improve your skills at work, helped cut expenses for your department, or even just have spent years doing volunteer work that makes you a better person, these are all things to help you calculate your value.

Everyone has unique experiences and they should be factored into your evaluation of your worth. Sure, calculators and other tools (like the ones discussed above) can give you an idea of what you are worth; however, you’re the one who ultimately evaluates your personal worth.

At the end of the day, all these factors contribute to your worth!

rockstar resume

R is for Resume: How to Write a Rockstar Resume

rockstar resume

When was the last time you updated your resume? Do you even have a copy of your resume on hand? In this candidate-driven market, it’s important to have a recent copy of your resume available. You never know what opportunities might come up!

Here are five tips to write a rockstar resume that gets you a callback.

Contact information

This is often overlooked when writing your resume. Your contact information must be prominently placed on your resume. We always recommend placing it at the very top of the page. Your name should obviously be the first and largest part of your contact information. Directly after that, you should list your email address, phone number, and in some cases your address.

Remove the resume objective

Let’s face it: resume summaries and objectives are outdated. They are unnecessary and often redundant to your cover letter. As a candidate, your objective is (obviously) that you are looking for a new job opportunity. Since you should be explaining in your cover letter why you are interested in the position/industry/company that you are applying to, you don’t need to repeat yourself in your resume.

Your resume is about your work experience, accomplishments, and unique skill set, so get right to the point and start listing off your qualifications.

Edit it down

Go through your resume carefully and analyze what you’ve included. Now depending on what stage you are in your career, you do not need to list every single job you’ve ever had. If you are 20+ years in your career, you don’t have to list that part-time job you had in school on your resume.

Weed out unnecessary working experience or other qualifications that are not fitting for this position. If you are unsure whether you should include something, ask a mentor or friend for their input.

Formatting

Have you heard the expression “keep it simple, stupid?” You’ve probably seen elaborate resume templates online that are full of fancy fonts and formatting. However, unless you are applying for a creative or artsy field, it’s best to keep formatting simplistic.

Use bullet points and headings to break up your resume into sections. Make different sections of your work experience and education easy to find. The simpler the formatting of your resume is, the easier it is for Application Tracking Systems ATS) to analyze your resume. If they struggle to scan your resume, it will likely never reach the desk of the hiring manager.

Also, make sure you submit your resume as a PDF! Formatting for PDFs often gets screwed up on other computers like a Word document or other programs. Plus, PDFs are easier for ATS to read, giving you a better chance of landing an interview.

Keywords and phrases

This is extremely important. You must tailor your resume for every single job you are applying for. The more specific your resume is, the better the odds your resume gets passed the ATS.

Mirror the job description. Use the same language and keywords that are used in the job description. Yes, this means you must customize your resume for every application. But trust me, customizing your job application can be a pain in the neck, but if you want to make it through those pesky application tracking systems, it’s well worth your time!

interview questions

Q is for Questions: The Best Questions to Ask During an Interview

interview questions

Every job interview is a two-way street. You are accessing the potential employer just as much as they are assessing you as a candidate. After all, you both need to be convinced that you are a good fit.

The interview is ending and the hiring manager finally asks, “Do you have any more questions about the job or company?” This is your opportunity to make a lasting impression. Here are six interview questions to ask to really wow your prospective employer.

What are some of the challenges you expect in this position to face?

This is a great question to ask during an interview because it will give you a sense of the challenges you will likely face. It also grants you the opportunity to address these challenges and illustrate how you can (and will) overcome them. By addressing these challenges, it demonstrates that you are capable of tackling the most difficult aspects of this role, and thus, shows you’re a great fit!

What is your timeline for the next steps in the interview process?

Asking about the timeline of the interview process gives you a peace of mind. It also shows that you are serious about the role and looking towards the future. By understanding what the next steps are, you have a better idea of when you can follow up again. If the hiring manager says you can expect to hear from them by the end of the week (and you don’t hear from them by the), you can safely follow up with them on Monday.

What is the company culture like?

Asking this question will give you a high-level view of the employer’s philosophy as a company. Analyzing culture fit is becoming more and more important for both employers and candidates. You may be the most qualified candidate in the mix, but if you are not a great culture fit, then you will likely not be as successful within the organization.

What do you enjoy most about working here?

I really enjoy asking this question; it’s one of my go-to’s. This interview question is great because it gives you an idea of what other employees enjoy about the company. If they can easily talk about all of the great things the employer has to offer, then it is probably a great company to work for. But if the answers to this question from the interviewers seem ingenuine, then that may be a red flag to look into other opportunities.

Who will be my mentor in this position?

This is a question that doesn’t get asked often, but it is greatly impactful. By asking who your mentor will be, you are illustrating to the interviewers that you are coachable and willing to learn from others with strong backgrounds within the company. Showing that you are willing to learn makes the hiring manager’s decision that much easier.

Can you tell me about the dynamic of the team that I will be working with?

It’s important to understand the team dynamic before you accept the job offer. After all, these are the people you’ll be spending the majority of your day with. If you are not a great fit with the team, there may be other issues once you’re part of the team. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can meet some of the team members. Most hiring managers will have no problem introducing you to the team after your interview (if they are not already in the room with you).

job interview

P is for Preparation: How to Successfully Prepare for a Job Interview

job interview

You applied for your dream job. After a few days of anticipation, the hiring manager finally contacts you to schedule an interview! Congratulations! You’re literally jumping for joy when panic suddenly hits you. You haven’t interviewed in a while and now you’re more nervous than excited.

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. To ensure your interview goes well, follow these steps to successfully prepare for your interview.

Know who you’re meeting

It is essential to know who you’ll be interviewing with. Get a list of who you’ll be meeting with and try and learn more about them. Jump on LinkedIn and see if you have anything in common with your interviewers.

Did you graduate from the same school? Do you volunteer your time at the same charity? These are things that can help you build a connection with your interviewers and leave a lasting impression.

Knowing who you’re interviewing with will also allow you to create specific questions for each interviewer. Try to think of a question for each interviewer that will give you a better idea of the employer and the job itself. Ask questions that prove you’ve done your homework and you’re more than excited about the opportunity!

Memorizing the job description

It’s an essential part of interview preparation to know the job description like the back of your hand. As you review the job description, jot down some notes on what the company is looking for in a candidate.

Once you understand what the employer is looking for, you can use this information to prepare your answers to the stereotypical interview questions. The key is to tie your answers back to the job description. This preparation will help you successfully answer both job-specific and behavioral interview questions that are designed to see if you are a good fit for both the company and the position.

This will ultimately reinforce the idea that you’re a great fit for the job and you’re a good fit for the organization.

Dress for success

We’ve all heard of the saying “dress to impress.” Your interview is often your first impression with the hiring manager, so you need to dress for the occasion! What you decide to wear is a crucial part of your preparation for your interview.

You must choose an outfit that’s appropriate for the type of job you’re applying for. This doesn’t always mean a skirt and a blouse for women or a suit and tie for men. The key is to review your wardrobe ahead of time and dress one step up from everyday office attire.

If you don’t know what the attire of the office is like, jump on LinkedIn and try and find a picture of people in the office to get an idea. If all else fails, dress in business attire.

It’s essential to have your wardrobe picked out beforehand. Please don’t wait until the last minute to pick your outfit! This is your chance to shine! Make sure your shoes are appropriate for your outfit, your shirt is wrinkle free, and everything is clean.

Pro tip: have your outfit picked out and ironed the night before. That will take one thing off your plate and alleviate some of your stress!

What to bring to your job interview

What you bring with you to your interview is essential to setting a great first impression. You should always bring a folder with extra copies of your resume to hand out to interviewers that may not have been given the chance to glance at it.

It’s also helpful to bring a list of questions for the interviewers. This will help your interview go smoothly and you’ll avoid any awkwardly stumbling when asked: “do you have any questions for us?”

I would also suggest bringing a notepad and pen to jot down notes during your interview. Just be sure to ask their interviewers if it’s okay to do so. Write down any questions that pop up in your mind as the interviewers discuss the job and company. It’s also helpful to write down the interviewers’ names so you can follow up with a thank you note to each of them afterward!

Knowing what not to bring is just as important. Before you even enter the building, take the gum out your mouth. Leave anything that may distract you or the interviewers in your car. Turn your phone off so it doesn’t awkwardly go off during your interview. Trust us, we’ve seen it all (including a candidate interviewing with chewing tobacco in their mouth).

job offer

O is for Offer: How to Evaluate A Job Offer

job offer

When you finally receive that much-anticipated job offer that you’ve been waiting weeks for, it can be tempting to accept the offer right off the bat. However, when you receive a job offer, you must carefully evaluate the offer to ensure you’re not rushing into anything. After all, this is your career we’re talking about!

Here is everything you need to evaluate before accepting, negotiating, or even declining a job offer.

Money

Finances are arguably the most important factor to consider when contemplating a job offer. Obviously, there are other important aspects to evaluate with a job offer, but ultimately, you need to ensure the offer provides fair compensation.

Is the salary offered what you were expecting? If it’s a little less, is it enough to pay all your bills? If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t accept the offer right away. But if you really want the position, try and negotiate for a higher salary before you accept.

Need some negotiating tips? Check out our guide to negotiating a higher salary.

Benefits and Perks

Have you been briefed on the benefits? Reviewing the benefits and perks offered is essential when evaluating a job offer. Many people are willing to take a pay cut if the benefits offered are outstanding.

Ask for details about health insurance, life insurance, vacation/sick time/PTO, retirement plans, disability and any other benefit programs. Inquire about how much the benefits will cost out of your paycheck. If you still need more information, don’t hesitate to ask for the plan descriptions so you can compare the benefit packages.

And usually, when the benefits are good, it means the company does a good job of taking care of their employees!

Location of the job offer

Location doesn’t just refer to the city or state the job is located in, but also the proximity of the office to your home. If this job is a relocation for you, there are many things to consider before accepting a job offer, such as cost of living, recreational activities, distance from family, and so much more.

If this potential job is nearby, how’s the commute? Unless you don’t mind waiting in your car for hours, you may not want to accept a new job that has a crazy commute or terrible traffic.

Are you relocating to a new city? If so, you need to ask what the relocation package looks like. Some companies offer full or partial relocation packages to help you move to your new city. If the employer doesn’t offer any relocation benefits, you may want to think twice before pulling the trigger and accepting the offer.

Even if this is your dream job, you may be hesitant to accept the job offer if the location isn’t for you. You may love your job but ultimately resent your decision if you end up dreading where you live.

Travel and hours

Before you accept the job, ask about the hours you’ll be expected to work. Are you working 40 or 50 hours a week? Are you salary or hourly? Do you have the weekends off? Will you be on call 24/7? These are important questions to ask to get a better idea of what a normal ‘day at the office’ will look like.

If you are expected to work 20 hours a week overtime unpaid because you’re on salary, this may not be the opportunity for you. Work-life balance is really important and it’s essential that you double-check with the hiring manager that you will have a life away from the office!

When contemplating a job offer, everyone has a different set of personal circumstances. The same position may be a dream for one candidate and the worst nightmare for another candidate. Just ensure you take your time to thoroughly evaluate an offer before accepting (or rejecting) a job offer.