So once upon a time, I wrote a blog post about managing "blank spaces" on your resume due to childcare or illness and I want to say now that I did not have a clue about the illness blank space. I got the parenthood one as I had taken time off to care for my children when they were super young but I had never dealt with an illness. Almost a year after I wrote this post https://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/transitioning-back-to-the-workforce I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Watch the video below to learn what I want to do to help others who have been through hell and back with cancer get "work ready" again. Thanks so much!
The best way to find a job, of course, is by networking and through LinkedIn but these two amazing paths are not all it takes – you still will be asked for a resume. And even if you are on point with LinkedIn and networking if your resume is not on point, it will be hard for you to move forward to the interviewing/job stage unless you are brought in based on the LinkedIn profile alone (which does sometimes happen) – even still, during the interview, people like to hold and read your resume. So all of these tactics do not matter if your resume is -how do I say this nicely- a mess.
Your resume has to reflect your skills and talents and give your networking partners something to share and use to promote you. Here are my quick must haves on a resume:
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In my college readiness book (for sale here on my site or via Amazon) I draft out a how-to guide to write a resume for the high school/college student who maybe has never written this type of document before. I had been thinking about creating something a little more professional and focused to help entry-level professionals or people who are returning to the workforce after taking time off to care for children or family needs. I wanted to create something with a smaller price point that could be usable and useful to many.
To accommodate the huge number of site visitors I get to this site and also to allow for a different price point, I have come up with a unique do-it-yourself kit for building the perfect resume. This is based off of tons of research and thousands and thousands of resumes that I have created, edited and more over the last 15+ years. Find out more here - Resume Do It Yourself Kit Product.
I boiled down all of my best steps and made a generalized how-to guide for the more entry level and/or new resume builders but it is also something that a professional with less than 5-8 years can use. It highlights all of the best practices and the process is straightforward with the steps in place and a limited feedback loop. I need to spend the bulk of my time on the clients who hire me to build their full resumes and brands but I do want to monitor how people use my do-it-yourself product so that I can be sure it is the powerful tool I envision it to be for others.
My quick tips on how to make a resume rock (for free) include the following:
What do you think about my quick advice on resume development? Would you want to try my do-it-yourself resume kit for $50 (Resume Do It Yourself Kit Product) or would you prefer the full Resume Package with one on one help and creation by me, the expert for $199 (Professional Resume)? Are my price points on point? Happy Hunting!
Remember, I have two books available for sale on Amazon and my Website - please check them out at Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
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While shopping for everyone’s must have items for the holidays, do not give up on your job shopping for your new next step. Also, when you have a few days "off" from work (maybe), spend some time catching up with my #profadvice on managing your career and more.
If you are shopping for a new job, try not to get disappointed with the lack of communication as you will probably not hear back from anyone because the holidays are so busy for everyone. Do not get discouraged; understand that most every office goes to half-staff either planned or on accident because everyone is more focused on planning their events and fun stuff for the holiday season. That being said, do not give up on your search because it is possible that your resume will be seen right after the holidays. Early spring is a great time to find a new job because once the holidays are over and the New Year has officially begun, people are thinking about achieving the rest of their performance goals by the year-end for their particular companies.
Ways to be ready to be on the top of everyone’s minds for the new jobs opening up is to consider following these quick tips for holiday job shopping:
If all of my content and lessons have spoken to you, please check out my seminars being offered at Wagner College to help you prepare to take your next step: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-workshop/
Have a great holiday and spend some down time catching up with my content, lessons learned and videos to help you prepare for finding your next step in your career. Happy Hunting!
When you think about it, time flies so quickly. As we get closer to Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays, before we know it, it will be New Year’s and closing out 2015 and saying hello to 2016. For most of us, we want all good things in the new year and that can include finding a new next step for our careers.
As the year comes to an end (faster every year, I think), what can we do to prepare for our next steps?
Some of my quick ideas for those who are employed are, as follows:
For those who are unemployed, your 2015 close out should include:
You can do some or all of this on your own – you can also look into career services like my company to help you be prepared for your next step. My seminars in March about How to Take Your Next Step are a great gift for a friend or family member (or even for yourself) as we get out of the holiday season, be ready for taking your next step with help from the best.
This post is where I talk a little about what it is like to manage having clients as a small business.
I focus on the client’s needs by identifying them – many of my clients begin the process by “chatting” with me via my website so I can get a feel for who they are and what their next step should be. Other times, it can be a client that just hires me without any prior discussions and then I work at getting to know them and trying to identify their next step. Off the bat, I can take any resume and improve it without knowing what the next step is and that is like my first run through my first draft – cleaning up the formatting, creating a new look and feel (a more professional look and feel) to the document and transforming the words on the paper to actionable traits and skills of said person while highlighting some key accomplishments. A resume must represent who you are and what you can do while focusing not on jargon but on actionable traits that you have brought to your current or previous employer to make that employer better off while showing how those skills and traits are transferable to your potential new employer.
I also do a value add “career plan” for the client – after the first draft of the resume and the answers are received from my proprietary query email, I then know more about the person and I can work my “magic” on advice for how to use the new resume or the new LinkedIn profile to get to potential next steps, which I also identify or suggest. All of that and also collaborative editing and taking my consulting advice on what next steps can be to then tailor the base new resume and cover letter are all little ways I go above and beyond on what I deliver to my clients.
What do you think about my strategy? Does having a personalized career plan from me seem like a great part of my business model? Should I include that information on my product page? It has been a value add I provide and I do not think I do enough promotion for it – what do you think? After you watch the video information below, check out my product page for more information and Happy Hunting!
I shot this video today to walk through the Wagner College Office of Lifelong Learning Web site and give an insider's view as to why you should invest at least $99 into yourselves and your careers for my help to take your next step in your career.
These seminars will be information packed, allow for one on one time and also focus on helping you develop more than just your resume and cover letter but also your career path plan and more.
As I shared with my IG followers today, I got my hair done as I had some business meetings today and I feel that the straight hair is more professional and makes me feel more confident so in that vein, I created this promotional pitch video in the hopes you will join me in person in November at Wagner College! Thanks and Happy Hunting!
A cause that is near and dear to my heart is how to take blank spaces on a resume and turn them into something that is not so blank. This blog post is for my potential clients who have opted out of the workforce to care for children, sick family members or other personal issues and even for those who may have been unemployed for a long stretch of time. With this economy, it has been tough for many people to find their next step – particularly for those 50 and older. For everyone who has some blank spaces on their resume timeline, it is hard to manage a career and to jump back in running without some help.
As someone who opted out of Corporate America and the trips to Singapore and Ohio – (see vlog for more), I know what it is like to manage a resume with some blank spaces – and even when I was laid off from a dotcom in the early 2000’s, there was a break in employment. So, the idea is to fill up your resume as best as possible.
For the moms who are ready to transition back to the workforce (maybe your youngest is in K now and you are ready), the questions to ask yourself include:
The same rules apply for having taken time off to care for a family member or even your own issues. I would highlight the positive of whatever you accomplished while out of corporate America, if the blank space is from having to deal with your own issue. The Americans with Disabilities Act would protect you from being fired for having an illness or disability but it is a gray area during the job search process so I would not lie so much as focus on the positive, such as, the facts being you are cleared to go back to work and the issue led you to focus on XYZ to make you a better employee is the best way to handle explaining the dates missing from your resume.
If you have been unemployed for a long stretch, the idea is to have things to discuss in place of paid work experience – maybe volunteer work or consulting gigs you were able to secure – making the best out of a bad situation and even if you had to take a retail job, trying to apply the best part of those experiences onto the resume.
Because, at the end of the day, the best way to handle the blank spaces on your resume is to have the most awesome resume ever that makes an employer interview and discuss all of your accomplishments and not focus on the one to two or even 5 year break in work history. Having a perfect resume can help camouflage those missing dates by focusing on the skills sets and the retraining of said traits that can focus you to your next step.
What do you think about my advice around handling the blank spaces of your resume? Is the Taylor Swift song stuck in your head like it is stuck in mine? If you are ready to find out more about re-positioning yourself back to the workforce, check out my upcoming seminars at Wagner College Office of Lifelong Learning or consider hiring me to make your resume the best it can be to focus your interviewers on your next step and not your blank spaces. Happy Hunting!
In November I am giving my all to my upcoming seminars on how to take the next step in your career. I will be standing in front of a group of new people (aka “students”) who I have never met before and giving my #profadvice and keeping everyone excited, energized and on their toes. It is going to be an intimate event with actual work happening during the session - I am including a picture of my initial planning "to do" list. As someone who pulls triple duty, I take time where I can find it to plan and manage my business. Sometimes, I use my iPhone notes section to begin to brainstorm about new ideas and events. This is an inside look on how this entrepreneur begins the planning process. Of course, I drafted this a few weeks ago and have much more behind it for the event, but this is just a teaser post after all.
The act of getting up in front of a group of "students" or seminar attendees is something I could not do if I did not have extensive experience with public speaking and with the ability to teach – when I first started teaching in 2003, I was terrified. This despite the fact that I was the go-to person to give presentations in undergrad and grad school and was the Speech and Debate team captain at St John’s University [blogger note: I was state and north east champion in 1998 for my Prose rendition of Sandra Cisneros Bien Pretty - check it out what a great short story and I was told by the judges that I really made them laugh and cry when I did it...] and I even gave the commencement address at my graduation in front of at least 1,000+ people. Despite that, it was not until I became an adjunct professor that I realized how to make content come alive – how to create content to teach and how to help my students find joy in learning. Yes, that sounds corny but finding joy in learning is how to grow, how to become a better person and just how to continually get better at life, career and more. If you stop learning, you are not living.
So for these upcoming seminars, I am bringing my A-game. I am starting off with resumes and cover letters (again, check out the image below for a teaser). This is the basic building block to finding your next step. Without as close to a perfect resume as possible for you that represents you and your strengths, skills and accomplishments, you cannot get to your next step. The seminar is from 7pm-9pm and when you leave you will be ready to take your next step with your resume and cover letter that reflect the best YOU and that can get you the next step in your industry you are interested in most. I am also doing bonus material in thank you notes - you can read my blog post about thank you notes to understand what I think about how they should be done - and then you can come to the seminar to have me show you and make it meaningful in person. You can also get a sense for what I will share if you have been reading my blog interview tips, resume advice categories - amplify those posts with real in person training and one on one time between me and you and you will see why the $99 price tag is a huge bargain!
For the next seminar, we will focus on using social media to build your brand. For some of us, this does not even make sense as a sentence but it is what is setting apart “meh” candidates from “WOW” candidates for hiring managers and hr folks. Using social media effectively and “smart-ly” can mean the difference between looking for your next step and having your next step find you. It really is that powerful. As a relative “newbie” to the world of social media to brand myself as an "expert", I still can teach you a lot about it and my knowledge is latest and greatest because I have been learning this right now - not ten years ago, not five years ago but right now. Using social media has unlocked so many opportunities for me that I do not think I would have had without using the tools I use to brand myself as #profisin and #profadvice to really convey my insights and advice to the masses. It is scary and not for the faint of heart but done right with my rules and advice can lead you to the career path for you.
For the third seminar, we will tackle interviewing skills and media training. If you have been following my blog, you know a little of what I think about interviewing and media skills but I have so much more to share in person with tips and techniques to make you stand out for any type of interview. Having media skills along with interviewing skills are a necessity today. Everyone needs to know how to be camera ready in addition to being able to discuss their strengths and abilities using the bragalogue – telling stories is how to achieve a positive interview experience.
Check out my VLOG (coming soon) for a teaser on what we will be covering in these seminars. Let me know in the comments or via chat what you would want to see addressed to make your resume and cover letter perfect. Happy Hunting!
So I am following my own #profadvice and #unplugging while on vacation. However, I could not help but share my upcoming Seminars with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning called "How to Take the Next Step in Your Career" which are scheduled for evenings in November. All of the information is below and I will update this post with the link to the Wagner College page when it goes live in a few days. If you are interested in joining me at this seminar, please send me a chat message and/or a message below and I will make sure you get on the list to attend with us! Happy Hunting!
How to Take the Next Step in Your Career Workshops
Led by Lisa Vento Nielsen, MBA, PMP
Professor Nielsen is an executive, educator and an entrepreneur who has spent the last decade helping professionals like you identify and execute on their life plans with the appropriate tools for success. Her business, The Next Step, is a well-known local provider of all things career orientated and her blog and social media are looked to for help in finding the next step for many people. Also, she is currently providing a certificate course to our adult learners on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business.
She has designed this seminar program as a career planning boot camp to help anyone in any career who is interested in growing professionally or for those who might be in need of retooling and finding new employment. She also specializes in helping people who have been out of the workforce re-enter for such reasons as childcare or other unforeseen issues. Her background in financial services and publishing industries and the over 15000 resumes she has reviewed all lend credence to the fact that she is a powerhouse in building your brand and achieving your next step.
This is meant to be a 3-part seminar workshop providing you with the tools and techniques you need to stand out from the crowd and achieve your next step in your career. You can choose to take just one of the seminars but it would be best for your career if you can take all three.
Part 1: Resume/Cover Letter Intensive Workshop
Bring your resume and cover letter to work on improving it with a leader in resume editing and improvement. If you do not get enough call backs, you will improve your call backs after getting your resume improved and learning the tricks and tips on how to make your resume and cover letter stand out from the crowd.
Part 2: Using Social Media to Build Your Brand
Do you know how to use social media to represent yourself and stand out from the crowd? Using Twitter, LinkedIn and even a blog appropriately can put you head and shoulders ahead of anyone else –using them incorrectly can put you out of competition for any job. Learn what is the right and wrong way to use social media and how to network effectively OFFLINE as well as online.
Part 3: Interviewing Skills and Media Training
Are you prepared for any interview? What about being on video? Do you know how to use any medium to effectively communicate and get the job?
Tuition: $229 for all three workshops; $99 each for one or two workshops
Do you know the quickest way to improve your resume right now? Here are a few quick tips on what to do:
1) Make sure your language skills are front and center on the resume - do you speak fluently another language? Can you comprehend another language but not speak it? Include this information on your resume as clearly (and honestly) as possible. You just do not know when that will be the impetus to get you in the door for an interview. Of course, do NOT stretch the truth. If you say you know French, please know French. Because you might just be interviewed in French during your meetings...
2) Include any volunteer activities that you are involved in. Remember, some of my previous blog posts have talked about how this type of activity can make your stand out so if you have volunteered or created something pro-bono to help a charity or even a family friend, please make reference to it on your resume.
3) Make sure the resume length matches with your industry. If you are a college prof, your resume is called a CV and is super long (hopefully) full of lots of your published works, etc. If you are in finance, it should be no more than 2 pages. If you are a recent college grad, one page is the max.
4) Include quantifiable metrics as much as possible. How much you saved your company with something. Think back to your performance reviews (post on this coming soon) - what did you use to justify asking for a promotion, pay raise or just trying to maintain your current position? How can that be conveyed on your resume to attract the attention of a potential new boss?
5) Try to highlight the best parts of your resume in a summary section - sometimes these can be overdone or just not done right. Try to take the soundbites and/or your elevator pitch about what makes you the best candidate for the job or industry and put it front and center on the first part of your resume.
What do you think about my #proftips on resume improvements? Can you do any of these now to help your resume? If you need help or have questions, leave a comment or send me a chat... Happy Hunting!
All great points and applicable to everyone - not just executives.
Having a great resume is so important and can make or break your chances period. If your resume does not stand out (for the right reasons) you will not get the interview. Making sure you follow industry norms is important - so no pictures unless you are looking to be the next spokesperson for Ford, or something. Formatting should be professional and each section of your resume should be easily readable and contain quantifiable results for what makes you the best candidate. Of course, each job posting is different but if your resume hits on the main points of your industry / strengths, you will get more responses to your resume.
Including verbs is important as is the overall editing and grammar check of your resume. If you want to position yourself into a new industry, do you know how to do that? Do you know how to showcase your talents without looking like a braggart and/or otherwise missing the balance between action packed resume and boring list of stuff?
Want help making your resume stand out no matter what your position in Corporate America? Interested in changing industries? Or starting over after a break from the workforce? Who better to help than someone who focuses on helping people take their #nextstep. Check out our product page today. Let me know in the comments section below what you think about these resume mistakes. Happy Hunting!
Chamleon Resumes - Resume Mistakes All Execs Should Avoid
BusinessInsider has an article by Sara McCord that talks about how to improve your resume in 30 minutes or less. I love each piece of the advice but I will point out that it is hard to be impartial while reviewing your own resume - case in point, a recent client with 15 years work experience had a 4 page resume. Yes, you read that right, 4 pages. I went through it and got it down to a succinct 2 pages with a focus on the high level summary and made it an overall more appealing document for hiring managers (oh, and for only $50). How many of you think a 4 page resume is too long? At times, it can be necessary - like for a CV in academia with lots of publications but this individual was in regular industry.
That being said, her advice about adding new content, restructuring, editing and making it shine are all great. A resume is a living document but of course we do not update it daily. So when you are now looking for your next step, you do need to brush off the resume and add to it, update it, etc. Remember, though, you want to keep it looking professional by following some guidelines re length of resume, where education goes, etc.
The first time I had my resume reviewed was when I was moving back from the dot-com in late 1999 - I had two short-term job experiences and a lot of education background information and when this resume guru who was actually in law reviewed my resume, I left his office feeling like I had been beat up. He decimated my resume. But, it was ultimately for the best because his edited version led to so much more interest, interviews and job offers. And that is what it is all about. So try to get your resume decimated by a third party whenever you can - why don't you check out my product pages on The Next Step and consider getting your resume reviewed and professionally edited by me for $50. It will be well worth it!
BusinessInsider How to Improve Your Resume in 30 Minutes or Less
Entrepreneur recently wrote an article on how to find a job in 6 single steps. The thing that jumped out at me is that for every open position, over 100 resumes are received. That means any time you apply to a job either online or through word of mouth or through an employment agency, you are at least one of 100 resumes received for that one position.
So of course your resume needs to stand out and not in a bad way like unprofessional formatting or incorrect grammar but in a good way that showcases your best qualities on a piece of paper. Your resume has to show, as much as possible, that you are a good fit for that job. This article talks about customizing your resume for each job. That is a great step to take but might be too time consuming for people who are trying to find their next step and want their resume in as many hands as possible. I would argue for having a resume that is customized to your strengths and your preferred industry - and if possible, can be tweaked minimally for each job posting. So having a great base resume really can go a long way to helping differentiate yourself from your peers or the other 99+ people who are also trying to get that job.
What do you think about having a great base resume and then tweaking it minimally for each job application as opposed to a more thorough individualized customization? Do you think having your resume professionally edited is necessary? Have you ever had your resume reviewed? Happy Hunting!
Entrepreneuer How to Find A Job in 6 Single Steps
I can probably find ten or more articles about this written by a hiring manager - your resume must be honest, of course - it must show your strengths and accomplishments while sticking to the truth. That big project you worked on, do not say you ran it unless you did run it!
But included in this write up is the piece of information crucial to all job seekers - shown below - the spelling and grammatical errors stand out like a sore thumb and will cause your resume to be ignored. Please make sure your resume is edited and reviewed before you submit it for the job of your dreams. Even a peer review is helpful having some of your friends review it or for a small fee, you can have it professionally edited by companies, such as mine.
Happy hunting :).
Lisa Vento Nielsen