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The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

The Top Soft Skills You Need on Your Resume

There’s been a lot of buzz about soft skills over the last couple of years. Employers are starting to pay more attention to them as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find strong candidates in today’s market. Candidates with some of the hard skills hiring managers are looking for may not be available in this tight market. Thus, illustrating soft skills on your resume will help you stand out to employers.

Here are the top three soft skills and an example of how to demonstrate them in your resume.

Leadership

Even if the role you are applying for isn’t a leadership role, it’s essential to show examples of your leadership skills throughout your resume. Hiring managers want candidates that know how to take initiative, make tough decisions, and when necessary, navigate difficult situations. Showing off your leadership skills can also make you look attractive if this role has advancement where these skills will come in handy one day.

Example:

“Mentored my project management team on how to successfully adopt and utilize our new project scheduling software.”

Communication

Hiring managers are always looking through a resume to find candidates who possess great communication skills. And no, that doesn’t necessarily mean public speaking experience. Hiring managers want to ensure their next employee can clearly and effectively communicate with stakeholders, team members, and customers. Strong communication skills translate into excellent listening skills, attention to detail, and so many other desirable soft skills.

Example:

“Facilitated conversations between senior leadership and the quality control team to ensure everyone involved in our project was on the same page and aware of any potential quality issues.”

Adaptability

Adaptability is a soft skill that will be a HUGE asset to any team. Hiring managers want to find employees that are flexible and capable of successfully performing under changing environments. Just like in life, things happen in the workplace, and hiring managers want employees who can “roll with the punches.” This is especially true in fast-paced working environments when you have to think on your feet and adjust as challenges surface.

Example:

“Quickly learned how to proficiently use Adobe InDesign to help our marketing team develop brochures for our annual board meeting.”

How To List Contract Work On Your Resume

How To List Contract Work On Your Resume

More and more companies are hiring employees on a contract basis. And in today’s “gig economy,” this contract work is especially appealing to many job seekers as they allow for increased flexibility and potentially even higher wages. However, creating a resume full of contract work is a little different than it would be for someone who has strictly worked in a permanent capacity. Here are a few important things you’ll want to consider when crafting your contractor resume:

Distinguish contract from permanent roles

If you have a mix of contract and permanent positions in your work history, it’s important to distinguish between the two on your resume. Oftentimes, employers will spot short work stints and automatically assume there’s some element of “job hopping” going on. However, if you identify your roles as contact, it’s understood that it was a temporary position, and therefore, more short-term. Here’s a great example of how to do that:

Company Name – Chicago, IL

Electrical Engineer Project Manager; Contract (March – December 2017)

Company Name – Westmont, IL

Electrical Engineer; Permanent (November 2014 – March 2017)

Don’t limit yourself to one page

You may have read articles suggesting that you need to keep your resume under one page. This is NOT true (especially for contractors)! Because you often have many more, shorter-term roles, that space on your resume can add up quickly. Feel free to extend your document beyond one page, as it’s essential to show the diversity of roles and experiences in your background of contract work.

Focus your bullets on what’s most relevant

While you certainly have permission to extend your resume beyond one page, it’s still important to keep it concise. Chances are, you’ve worn many hats throughout your contract career. Many of your experiences are probably relevant to your future career, while others, not so much. Keep the bullet points throughout your resume focused on what’s most essential to your next role and remove anything erroneous.

Keep in mind, this may vary between job applications. What is relevant for one position may be completely unnecessary for another. This is why it’s essential to custom-tailor your resume to each position to which you submit an application. Review the job description, and align your past skills and experiences to match what’s required. While it may be a little extra work, it will go a long way in landing you your next position!

Before Applying for a Job

4 Things You Must Do Before Applying for a Job

Before Applying for a Job

In today’s candidate-driven market, there are probably dozens of job opportunities around every corner. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an aviation technician, the market is hot, and it’s tempting to see what’s out there. However, before you even think about submitting your job application, here are four things you must do before applying.

Read over the entire job posting

The first thing you will want to do is ensure you read over the whole job posting. This is essential for two reasons:

1)     To understand if this is an excellent fit for you and make sure you actually want the job

2)     So you can tailor your application materials to fit the job description

Hiring managers like to narrow down their pool of candidates by providing precise instructions and details in the job description. Are they asking for a cover letter? Do they want samples of your work? If you skim over the job posting, you may miss vital details that can filter you out of the candidate race.

Research the company

After you find a job posting that you want to respond to, take a few minutes to research the company. This should be a pretty painless step in the application process. Knowing more about the company can be a huge advantage to you as a candidate. It will help you craft your resume and cover letter by understanding their business, mission and vision, and the company culture. It will also help you decide if the company is even the right fit for you and your career goals.

Tailor your resume

If you take the time to review the job posting carefully, you will be able to better craft your resume. Even in this tight market, you should always customize your resume for each job you apply to. Even if they are in the same industry or the same type of position, each employer is looking for something different. And guess what? It is usually spelled out in the job description. So, while you’re reviewing that job posting, highlight the most critical components of the description and be sure your resume fits those well.

Clean up your references

Many employer applications put you through the wringer. They collect your resume, cover letter, and a bunch of other details about your career. Moreover, many of which also ask for your references. Well, before you submit the contact details of your close professional colleagues, you should always give them a heads up. Ensure you still have their permission to use them as a reference and that their contact information is accurate. Let them know you are applying so they can be on the lookout for a call or email they otherwise may not be expecting. The last thing you want to do is have a prospective employer catch one of your references off guard!

job search

So, You Decided to Look for a New Job. Now What?

look for a new jobSo, you keep hearing how great the job market is. The unemployment rate has consistently been below 4 percent all year, and we are now on our 105th consecutive month of jobs gains. In other words, it is tempting to take advantage of this hot market and see what other opportunities are out there. But where do you even start? If you’ve decided to explore some new opportunities, here are a few tips for setting your job search up for success.

Update your resume

To kick off your job search, the first thing you will want to do is ensure your resume is up to date. From top to bottom, give your resume a careful review and note anything that needs to be updated. Double-check that your contact information at the top of your resume is correct and add any new achievements or employers. Keep in mind that you should be tailoring your resume to each job that you apply for.

To get the most bang for your buck, carefully review the job description and customize your resume to match it. Pull specific achievements and duties from your positions to illustrate that your background makes you qualified (and capable) of performing the job.

Ensure your LinkedIn is ready to roll

Once your resume is good to go, jump on your LinkedIn profile and give it a good scrub. Add a new, professional headshot if yours is out of date. The first thing a recruiter or HR professional will see is your profile picture, so confirm it’s a good representation of you. Like your resume, make sure you have all your work history and achievements up to date.

Once your profile is looking sharp, be sure to head to your settings and update the feature “Let recruiters know you’re open?” Essentially, this setting allows your profile to be shown in searches of recruiters as they search for prospective candidates on LinkedIn. By having this feature on, you are signaling that you’re open to hearing about new job opportunities, and thus, increase your odds of recruiters reaching out to you.

Gather up your reference list

Now that your resume and LinkedIn profile are good to go, it’s time to gather up that reference list. If you’re serious about pursuing a new position, it’s always good to have an updated reference list. To do so, ask permission from those you decided to trust with the future of your career. That exciting new job opportunity could very well be in the hands of a reference you listed. Therefore, ensure that your references are okay with you listing them as a trusted source for a recommendation. Verify that their contact details are correct and they are aware you are looking for a new opportunity.

However, never submit your references with your resume, especially if one of your references is a current co-worker. The last thing you want to do is let your employer know you’re on the move. Because guess what? If you don’t receive that job opportunity and your boss finds out you’re looking, you may be out of a job entirely.

Reach out to a recruiter

If you truly want to elevate your job search, why not partner up with a recruiter? Our recruiting teams here at Johnson Service Group are industry experts. We can help match your skillsets with a great job opportunity. Whether you’re a mechanical engineer or an I&E technician, we have hundreds of job openings available. If you are serious about finding the next step in your career, reach out to us today and let’s work together to find the position you’ve been looking for!

How to Include Numbers on Your Resumes

How to Include Numbers in Your Resume

How to Include Numbers on Your Resumes

Recruiters look at hundreds of resumes in a single day. So, how are you supposed to stand out in a crowd when employers are only giving your resume a 6-second glance? One of the best practices in crafting a stellar resume includes adding impressive numbers, metrics, and stats. Above all, the visual appeal of numbers catches the eye of recruiters. Notable metrics also provide quantifiable and tangible evidence of your accomplishments. Certainly, no matter which industry you’re in, you can always find some positive and measurable numbers that help to establish credibility and build your reputation.

The Significance of Numbers

Numbers help boost the chances of your resume getting noticed in a mile high stack of paper. Furthermore, impressive metrics have the ability to help a recruiter see your great qualities in a matter of seconds.

For instance, adding a bullet point, such as:

  • Contributed to sales revenue 

Pales in comparison to a bullet point containing numbers:  

  • Contributed $104k in sales revenue in a 6-month time period

Therefore, utilizing numbers illustrates impressive and tangible results that you simply cannot express with just words.  

Choose Numbers Wisely 

There’s no doubt that numbers are a powerful resume booster. However, you must find a balance. Include too few and there’s a chance you won’t be noticed within the candidate pool. On the other hand, if you use too many numbers, their effect may be lost.

But what numbers should you use? Statistics show the direct impact of your work and can portray what kind of results you can contribute to any future company. For the greatest impact, be sure to choose statistics that demonstrate how you directly impacted the company’s money, time, and people. 

4 Easy Steps to Adding Numbers in Your Resume

  1. Determine the key indicators of success in your industry:
    • Assess which accomplishments future employers will find most impressive. Most importantly, really sell yourself here! Pick out what professionals in your industry value and find worth in. For instance, what may be impressive in one industry, may not have an effect in another. 
  2. Use a baseline for references:
    • To show true growth or improvement, use baselines to convey your numerical worth to recruiters. For example, a bullet point stating “improved production efficiency from 30% to 35% over a one-year period” would effectively show the growth you individually contributed.  
  3. Decide the type of numbers to include:
    • You can show your contribution through various types of metrics. Including, but not limited to:
      • Ranges:
        • Edited 20-30 professional blogs per month
      • Rankings:  
        • Generated the first software that focuses on customer satisfaction 
      • Comparisons: 
        • Improved client retention tenfold from the previous quarter 
      • Percentages:
        • Increased company’s market share by 5% 
      • Exact Numbers: 
        • Implemented cost-saving plan that saved $21,087 in the first quarter 
  4. Enhance Your Impact Through Action and Detail Words:

Resume Building Never Stops 

In addition, remember at your current job to keep track of your numerical and non-numerical achievements so when you are ready to change your career path, your resume will be ready! Meanwhile, if you’re looking for more job search advice like how to rejuvenate your resume, head on over to the JSG Blog. And if you’re ready to take the next step in your career, contact a JSG recruiter today 

resume

How to Rejuvenate Your Resume

resume

Has it been a few years since you were last on the job market? Even if you have a great job, it can be tempting to see what else is out there in this candidate-driven labor market. If you haven’t had to think about your resume in a while, here are a few tips to breathe some life back into it.

Remove your resume objective

Most resumes don’t really say anything meaningful. “Experienced mechanical engineer looking for a new position to challenge…” Just stop right there. What is the ultimate goal of every resume? To help you get called in for an interview, and hopefully, receive a job offer. You don’t need to tell the hiring manager or HR that you’re looking for a new opportunity. Instead, get right into the meat of your resume, which is your work experience.

Bump your education towards the bottom

After your contact information, get right into your work history. Unless you are fresh out of school, you should move your education farther down your resume. I know you are proud of your alma mater, but recruiters, hiring managers, and HR want to see your work accomplishments and experiences.

And while you’re at it, you can remove your graduation date and GPA off your resume. Again, if you’re a recent graduate, then your GPA and graduation date are fine. However, if you’ve been out of school for a few years, employers do not really care about your grades. And by adding your graduation date, you may be doing yourself an injustice by letting a recruiter or your future employer know your age. Age discrimination is illegal when considering a candidate, but it’s better to play it safe and leave it off.

Add a skills section

Employers and recruiters commonly use application tracking systems (ATS). Essentially, ATS are automatic systems that recruiters and HR use to organize, track, and, automate the recruiting process. It also helps them search for resumes with certain criteria, experiences, and skill sets. In other words, if your resume doesn’t have the right keywords or skills on it, you may find yourself not receiving a call for an interview.

A quick solution to mitigate this is to add a skills section to your resume. After your work experience, add a skills section that neatly displays some key skills that you bring to the table. We recommend keeping it a list of eight to twelve skills. You don’t want to bog your resume down with every single software or skill that you know. Instead, read over the job description carefully and highlight the skills essential for this role. If you have these skills, this is where you want to list them. A skills section is also great for recruiters and HR who may be too busy to read your entire resume. Employers only spend an average of six seconds reading a resume, so the more skimmable you make it, the better.

These are just a couple of quick tips to jump-start your job search. If you need more help crafting the perfect resume, JSG has dozens of resources to help you land your next position. Good luck!

recruiter

Here’s Why You Want Resume Advice From A Recruiter

recruiter

Recruiters like myself with over 20 years’ of experience have seen thousands of resumes throughout our careers. I have seen the good, bad, and the downright ugly over my years. I have even blogged about how to write a great resume. But you might still find yourself needing some help. One of the best things you can do for your career is to make the most of your relationship with a recruiter. We want to invest in your success and help you land your dream job.

We’re your biggest advocate

Recruiters have one goal: to fill an open position with the right person. Whether they are working for an agency or in a corporate recruiting role, their job is to source great talent. If we think you’re the best person to fill our opening, we can be an asset in getting your resume to the top of the hiring manager’s pile.

When you partner with a recruiter, they may make suggestions on how to improve upon what you have already written. This might include fundamentals such as formatting, highlighting your skills and strengths, or even pointing out grammatical errors. A recruiter will help you fine-tune the details. Good recruiters will talk you through their process and what changes they are proposing. If you don’t agree or if you have questions, let them know! This is your resume and should be a reflection of you!

Resume formats are both an art and a science. There are parsing techniques, keywords, and current trends that are proven to be effective. And good recruiters keep up with changes in the market so you can focus on job hunting.

Proofread, proofread, proofread

Now, some of the biggest mistakes made by candidates are minor spelling and grammar issues. Talented recruiters who can format resumes in their sleep can easily spot these. Margins and formatting are other areas that can be tricky. Managers often glance over resumes while running to their next meeting, so it’s important to make your skills pop off the screen. This improves your ability to earn that important interview where you can shine with your skills.

Honest recruiters don’t want to misrepresent your skills, but they do want to help you put your best foot forward. Thus, listening to us can be a great benefit for you. If a recruiter offers you resume writing assistance, make sure you are clear about your skills and expectations! If they offer to completely re-write your resume, run.

Make sure to ask to see the resume before it goes out to ensure it is a good representation of you and what you can offer the company! Recruiters want to find and showcase the best talent which could be YOU!

turned down

Why Do I Keep Getting Turned Down?

turned down

In a perfect world, you come across an opportunity that you love, you apply, and you get hired! But more often than not, the job search is not this simple. Often, our search consists of applying to dozens of jobs online with the hopes of securing an interview. If your search results in being turned down, it can be quite a blow to your self-esteem and motivation.

If you find yourself passed on for the job opportunity you really wanted, don’t get down on yourself. Instead, control the things you can control; try to make small improvements in these areas to create a lasting impression and transition from candidate to employee.

Your Resume

You could be the perfect fit for a position; however, if your resume doesn’t communicate this, you probably won’t get the chance to demonstrate this. If you aren’t specifically tailoring your resume to fit each position you apply for, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Different companies and roles will stress different requirements and skills. Large companies sometimes utilize an ATS to filter through online resumes before they’re even viewed by a hiring manager. If you failed to include the information the software has been set to identify, you could be robbing yourself of an interview. Instead, analyze a job description and highlight the key skills or experiences desired in your resume. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short by leaving off key information!

The Interview

Even if you make it past the resume stage, you probably still have a few steps to go before officially being hired. The next step is an interview, often with the hiring manager or a panel of individuals who collectively make hiring decisions. Failing to answer a certain question or demonstrate that you’re a fit for their culture can result in being turned down. While companies won’t try to trick you, they want to create a setting that forces you to demonstrate the abilities you claim to have. Interviews can make even the most qualified of candidates feel nervous. Combat this with practice and research well ahead of your interview. Prepare answers to commonly asked questions like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “Why do you want to work here?”

Partner With A Recruiter

Make all the difference in your career by partnering with a recruiter to find your next position. Not only do we have a pulse on the market, but we also have direct connections to hiring managers. This allows us to skip any ATS systems or job application black holes and fast track your resume straight to the people making hiring decisions. Additionally, we hustle to receive constructive feedback at every stage of the hiring process. Ready to take the next step in your career? Contact us today!

resume myths

3 Resume Myths to Avoid

resume myths

When researching how to write a resume, there are literally millions of tips, pieces of advice, and best practices available. Don’t believe me? Google it! If you Google “how to write a resume,” there are 330,000,000 results. I’m sure a lot of those sources have great pointers and tips to craft the perfect resume.

However, there are tons of resume myths out there that can actually hurt your chances of landing an interview. Here are three of the most common resume myths to avoid.

References

A lot of people believe that you need to include references on your resume. That’s simply not true. No hiring manager or human resources professional will contact your references until you get to the final stages of the hiring process. You don’t even need to put “references available upon request.” This is honestly just a waste of space on your precious resume. If checking resumes are part of the employer’s hiring process, they will request them when needed.

One-page long

So many people to this day still believe that your resume must be under one page. The only time this is true is if you’re fresh out of school and don’t have a lot of working experience. But if you’re well into your career, say 25 or 30 years, there is absolutely no way you can cram all your valuable experience onto one page!

Don’t do yourself an injustice by trying to cram 30 years of work, school, and life experience on a single page. If it’s important and relevant to the job you’re applying for, don’t delete it just to try to shove it all on one page.

Only include 10-15 years of work experience

I’ve heard of a lot of people who think you should only include 10 to 15 years of working experience. This is simply not true, either. If you are well into your career, why would you cut part of your experience out of your resume for no reason? Now, I am not saying every little piece of work history must be on your resume. But if you are a seasoned professional, you can probably take off summer jobs or internships you had in college.

A good rule of thumb is if the position is relevant or demonstrates value to the job you’re applying for, keep that work experience on your resume. If it is completely irrelevant to the job, you can probably safely remove it.

If you have anymore resume questions, check out all of our great resume resources!

spring clean your resume

It’s Time to Spring Clean Your Resume

spring clean your resume

Last week was the first day of Spring. The sun is finally shining, and we are finally seeing some better weather. This is the time of year when most Americans take some time to deep-clean the house, car, or yard to get ready for summer. However, have you ever thought about sprucing up that resume of yours?

If you don’t update your resume regularly, it can be difficult to try and remember all of the great things you accomplished three, six, or even 12 months ago. So while you’re in the cleaning spirit, here’s how to give your resume a good spring cleaning!

Remove that resume objective

Honestly, resume objectives are a waste of space and can distract hiring managers or HR from the rest of your resume. “I am a hard-working individual seeking a long-term career in the Healthcare industry with opportunities for career growth.”

This example, and like the majority of other resume objectives, says nothing about you as a professional. I am sure you are a hard worker looking for a new job. But so is everyone else. Instead of an objective, illustrate your passion and skills throughout your resume with concrete examples and figures.

Review your work history

You should take a close look at your work history every time you update your resume. There is a debate over how much work experience you should include. Some people think you should only limit your work experience to the past 10 or 15 years. However, if you’re well into your career, you may be doing yourself an injustice by cutting work history just to save space.

A good rule of thumb is if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, keep it on there. Now, you should go through each part of your career and tweak, add, or remove duties and achievements when necessary. But don’t just remove valuable work history because of an unwritten rule.

Eliminate some of your personal information

We’re almost a quarter of the way through 2019. In this day and age, we can leave out some of our personal information on our resumes. You no longer need to include your address on your resume. After all, you’re not mailing your resume in to submit for a job. All you truly need is your first and last name, your email address, and your phone number.

Besides, if you include your address on your resume, you may be filtering yourself out of consideration without even knowing it. If you apply for a position out of state or in a different city, you may not ever hear back if they assume you require relocation and the employer isn’t offering one.

Also never include your references on your resume. The last thing you want to do is include a reference without their knowledge. And if one of your references is from your current employer, the last thing you want is for the word to get out that you’re passively looking for a new job. Besides, an employer won’t even check them until further along in the hiring process.

Refresh your LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your online resume. Your resume has your work experience, accomplishments, certifications, and a little bio about you. More and more people are beginning to include their links to their LinkedIn profiles on their resume. And recruiters, human resources professionals, and the like use LinkedIn to find candidates for their open positions.

Use your profile as an opportunity to share a little bit more about you professionally, personally, and show a little bit of your personality. It can be difficult to get the full picture of a candidate on their resume. But your LinkedIn profile is your time to show off your personal brand as well as a more detailed account of your career.

Here are a few resources to help spruce up your LinkedIn profile and make it really stand out: