10 Job Search Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making

Why Aren't they calling?

Why Aren’t they calling?

As a job seeker, you may believe you are doing all the right things. You have a resume, you’ve posted it on all of the job boards, you’ve let your friends and family know that you are looking for work so why isn’t anyone calling?

It can be frustrating when this happens week after week, and for some, month after month. Well I want to show you what you may be doing wrong from a recruiter’s perspective and then help you fix it.

  1. Typo filled resume: Believe it or not, I’ve had some folks with great experience turned down by employers because there are spelling errors in the resume. Spell check is your friend, but especially in the case of submitting your resume to employers. If you have 1 or 20 misspelled words, for certain companies that is enough reason to pass you by. Employers view it like this, if you couldn’t be bothered to correct your spelling errors (when it’s so easy to do nowadays), then what type of employee will you really be? They would rather not find out.
  1. Hard to read resume: This is another one that will lead to the recruiter hitting the reject button on your resume. Make sure your fonts are all the same, the size of font doesn’t require a magnifying glass, and that things are properly spaced, punctuated and bullet pointed. For great resume samples click this link here.
  1. Graphics on your resume: In today’s world, the first time anyone will see your resume will usually be on-line. Graphics sometimes translate into crazy characters that do horrible things to the alignment of your resume. When recruiters see rows of crazy characters they don’t try to find the actual words, they just hit ‘reject’ and move on to an easier to read resume.
  1. Silly email addresses: I don’t care if this is your first job at Target or your 50th job at a fortune 500, please get a free email address that is professional in nature. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen addresses like “Big694u@whatevermail.com”. Some recruiters may call you, but most won’t.
  1. Resume does not match the job description: Your resume should come really close to the description of the job. For example, if the opportunity is for an administrative assistant and your resume highlights your sales ability you probably won’t get a call back. Recruiters and hiring managers are going to go with the most obvious match to the role. Make sure your resume is clear.
  1. Music on voice mails: Remove it. Music is wonderful, but no one wants to have to sit through rap,rock,or even Beethoven when all they want to do is leave you a message. Chances are they will hang up, and move on to the next candidate.
  1. Unprofessional voice mails: True story: I called a candidate once who I’m guessing was in the middle of a some type of crisis because her voice mail said “Thank you for the call. I am making several changes in my life at the moment. If I do not call you back, YOU are one of those changes.” Needless to say it was a hilarious voice mail, but one that made her seem pessimistic and unprofessional. If she was willing to risk putting her personal business on a voice mail for strangers (during a job search) what type of energy would she bring to the office?
  1. Low Energy: Being professional does not mean being “cold”, nor do you have to sound like you work for a mortuary (unless, of course, that is the job). When you answer the phone, you should sound upbeat and enthusiastic without sounding spastic or manic. The oldest trick in the book is to answer your phone with a smile on your face. A smile can actually be heard through the phone, and it makes the person that called want to continue the conversation.
  1. Missing or Incorrect Information: It’s surprising how many resumes out there will have phone numbers that are no longer in service, or email addresses that bounce back. Sometimes people will send resumes with no contact information whatsoever. Make sure that your resume gives us a way to contact you.
  1. Short Job History: If you’ve had 7 jobs in the last year, that can look really bad to employers. In today’s market we understand that many folks are contracting, and that some of those contracts may have shorter tenures. In order to combat that you will want to list (next to company name) that this job was a contract role. This immediately identifies you as someone who is trying to work and places the work history in a better light.

These are some of the things that I have seen as a recruiter, and I hope that they help you to take another look at your resume as well as overall presentation when job hunting.

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The Top 7 Ways to Annoy Your Coworkers

Don't be this woman.

Don't be this woman.

Don’t be the coworker everyone hates

We all have those coworkers that, when we see them coming down the hall, we do what we can to avoid them. You know the ones, they pop up at our desk and linger when they see that we are busy, they love to gossip or they just plain make us uncomfortable. Luckily, everyone at work loves you. Right? Well, before you skip this article or email it to that coworker that you find annoying, read through this list just to make sure that you are not guilty of any of these offenses.

Here are the top 7 ways to be sure to annoy your coworkers:

  1. Be a drama queen – seriously, this is the most annoying trait a co-worker can have. If you burst into tears at every meeting, every criticism, or because you broke up with your boyfriend this week, your co-workers will avoid you. The office is no place for your dramatic antics. This includes slamming doors, yelling, throwing tantrums etc. If you have emotional problems like these, and you have benefits, please, seek the help of a psychologist and leave the drama at the Dr.’s office.
  1. Gossip about your Boss – Listen, there will be times when our bosses annoy us. It happens. It is ALWAYS bad form to gossip to your co-workers about your boss. Doing this will cancel any chances of establishing trust between yourself and your co-workers. Also, offices are small, so you can believe that it will make its way back to your boss.
  1. You gossip, all the time – “Did you see Jim and Tammy go to lunch together? Isn’t Tim married?” People believe if you talk about others, you will talk about them. Your reputation will spread as a gossip and you will notice that people will avoid you like the plague. Work is not the place to discuss other people’s personal business. It is bad form, and only your reputation will be tarnished in the process.
  1. Have loud personal phone calls in your cubicle – No one cares about your wart removal process, your husband’s annoying habits or your inside jokes with your girlfriend that only the two of you find funny. In a cubicle things can get loud – don’t contribute to the noise with an hour-long, personal phone call that everyone around you can hear. If you have a cell phone, use it. Go outside and make your call. Some people come to work, to actually work and your personal call is distracting, not to mention annoying.
  1. Have a live concert in your cubicle – You may love Taylor Swift’s newest song of heartbreak, but no one else wants to hear it blaring from speakers at your desk while they are trying to focus on getting that spreadsheet out in time for the afternoon meeting. If you must listen to some tunes while you work, bring some headphones. Your co-workers will thank you.
  1. Always talk about politics or religion – Again, this falls into the realm of personal business. It can make people uncomfortable if they feel that you are trying to convert them, or shove your beliefs down their throats. Politics and religion are topics that can easily become heated and taken personally – work is not the place for those discussions. Unless, of course you actually work in a political or religious capacity.
  1. Tell racist or otherwise offensive jokes – Your friends may find them funny, but there is a time and place for everything. Work is not the time or place for this type of humor. If you must tell a joke, let it be something light that everyone can find funny. Otherwise, save it for your friends and not your coworkers.

If you are always committing the offenses above and you notice that your “friend” pool at work seems to grow smaller and smaller, or people cut their conversations short with you, you may want to try to knock off these habits pronto! If you are not guilty of any of the above, feel free to pass this article along to someone who is, anonymously of course.

Monday Fun: Springtime, Work #OOTD (outfit of the day)

Monday-Spring,Outfit of the day

Spring time is here! Happiness and Cheer! Ok, I have my seasonal songs mixed up, lol! For all the Charlie Brown fans, you’ll get the reference. I’m just excited that  dreary days are behind us and there is a bit more sun on this side of town. Just in time for Spring, I received the following email from a subscriber:

Q:  Hi Working Diva, I’d like to put some color into my work wardrobe,any ideas?

A:  Sure! The Working Diva has put together two options sure to put some “spring” back in your step at work!

When spicing up your work wardrobe with color you have a few options. One option, letting color be the centerpiece and accessorize around that as shown in our first example. Another option, use color as the accent that pulls your outfit together. We have given examples of both below.

Example 1:

Fun, Work OOTD For Spring

In this first example of  a bright, springtime work outfit, we’ve gone with a peplum dress, with a color-blocked crossover bag, classic pumps and great accessories.

Nothing says springtime quite like the color yellow and this first collection is not for the timid! It offers a BOLD color in a professional silhouette, and it tells the world that you are ready to take that next meeting!

*please note that the items listed are simply for inspiration – the earrings shown are for example, but they are rather pricey, so you can find a similar pair at Macy’s here.    You can also find a similar black pump here for less.

Example 2:

For our second option (below),  yellow is still our focus color for this spring outfit. However,  in this example, it is more of an accent color in the form of a blazer. We like the idea of a yellow blazer with either white slacks or jeans, but feel free to be creative.

We’ve also included another take on this outfit as worn by  Eva Longoria. In her version, she paired her yellow blazer with a white tank. She then accessorizes with brown shoes and bag, which can give this a more casual look and is still office appropriate. This look is classic and can be dressed up or down depending on the blouse and accessories.

Untitled #2

In our version (above), we have decided to pair this blazer with a black and white blouse. We’ve also added black heels, and a black bag with a light belt for a more work-ready, polished outfit.You can see an example of something similar (below) as worn by  MayteDoll  below.If you need fashion inspiration, check out her fashion blog, she is amazing! Let her know that The Working Diva Sent you!

Crisp and clean as a Spring day! Polished and professional!

As you can see, it is easy to add some color to your wardrobe this spring and we hope this gives you some great wardrobe ideas of your own!

We also hope  that you have enjoyed these looks and be sure to use the vote buttons, leave  some comments and subscribe! By the way, if you’d like to see more Work outfit ideas, please @TheWorkingDiva on twitter. Talk to you soon!

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A Working Diva You Should Know: Judy Smith – The Real #OliviaPope


Spotlight on a Working Diva You Should Know

-The Working Diva

Final_Judy-Smith_Blue-Background_6312

Who She Is: Judy Smith

What She Does: PR Guru, Author, and the #1 Fixer in the World

Why is she a Working Diva You Should Know?

Simply put, this woman is awesome. Who hasn’t heard of Scandal, one of the top rated shows on television to date? Be honest, how many times have you and your co-workers rushed to the break room to talk about the latest episode? From the great fashions, to enthralling storyline, Olivia Pope (brilliantly portrayed by actress Kerry Washington) and her cast of gladiators is a hit with television viewers 18-49 years of age according to TV by the Numbers.

You may not be aware that there is a real Olivia Pope and she is what inspired the hit television series that everyone is talking about. Her name is Judy Smith and she runs the crisis management firm Smith & Co. based in, you guessed it, Washington D.C. According to her website, her firm specializes in “providing crisis management, strategic communications, public affairs and public relations counsel to clients facing a broad spectrum of issues and challenges.” She is, just like the t.v. show says, a fixer.

Judy Smith has been the brains behind the best PR moves in some of the most public scandals. Her clients have included everyone from Monica Lewinsky, to Michael Vick. Her Global experience includes assisting the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s leadership with its communication efforts as part of the War on Terrorism.

In 1991 she joined the White House as the Special Assistant and Deputy Press Secretary to President George H. W. Bush.  Her accomplishments are impressive and she is a shining example of what can be accomplished and the many avenues one career path can take you.

How did she do it?

Education and hard work. She attended Boston University where she graduated with her B.S. degree in Public Relations. Afterwards she enrolled in American University and graduated with her Law Degree. Judy was the first African-American woman to serve as executive editor of the American University Law Review.

So, how can you do it?

If you have the chance, go back to school and get a degree in Public Relations. Or you can try to use the current skills that you have (if relevant) and get your Public Relations Accreditation. Many university extensions offer them such as UCLA. You can also check out the Public Relations Society of America, they offer a PR credential that you can earn as well as providing resources and connections to PR firms that are hiring. If you are new in your college career, or are thinking of a career change, Public Relations could be the field for you.

 Remember, studying those that are considered excellent in their field can be inspiring for the rest of us. It can also show us that the steps they took to achieve success, are steps that we too can follow.

Now you can have career advice delivered directly to your Kindle, click here

What to do while you are unemployed

Unemployed

This particular blog post came about because of a question someone sent me in response to my last blog post. In my previous blog, making your resume stand out, I say that if you have periods of unemployment, you should list the dates of unemployment with an explanation for what you were doing during the time off.

One of my readers asked a very good question which was “What if the only thing I was doing was looking for work?”.

It is true that while you are unemployed, the majority of your time will be spent looking for a new job. However, there are other things that you can be doing as well that can contribute positively to your resume, especially if your unemployment stretch continues past 6 months or more. Here are some things that you could be doing while you are unemployed that you can list on your resume.

1.Go Back to School

Getting more training or a degree can always improve your job search.

The State government (which distributes unemployment insurance checks) has a program where they will extend your unemployment benefits if you decide to further your education, or go back to school to obtain a trade that will get you back into the work force.

In California, it is called the California Training Benefits program, and you can find more information about it here. Basically, if your current skill set does not allow you to effectively compete in the job market, you can go back to school (typically a local community college) to be retrained in a trade that will help lead you to full time employment. For example, if you were a data entry clerk, and you have been unemployed for some time, you can go back to school and become a certified Dental assistant and it will be paid for. You can go to school and still receive your UI benefits. For programs in your area, I’ve listed them by region below:

  • Texas Workforce Commission

If you decide to go back to school to obtain a degree, please make sure that you are going to a reputable school. We’ve all seen commercials advertising a quick degree that costs thousands of dollars or even online degrees. Please note that some employers will not even consider degrees from those institutions to be valid. If you do not yet have your undergraduate degree, instead of going to a FOR PROFIT school, enroll in your local community college. If you are unemployed or underemployed, there are grants (money that you do not have to pay back) that will allow you pay for your books and in most cases will cover the full cost of your tuition. If you are going to take the time to go back to school, go to a school that you know is accredited and has connections with your local university. A community college is a perfect and often inexpensive way to get started on the road to your education.

For more information on government grants available please check out Opportunity.gov or icanaffordcollege.com.Both of these websites help you to understand what programs our government has in place to help you pay for college.

Another word about for profit schools. Please beware of school scams! Here is an on-line article warning against for profit school scams. When in doubt, enroll at your local community college.

2. Volunteer

Volunteering is great for several reasons. The first, and most obvious,is that you can give back to the community. it is a positive and constructive way for you to keep your mind off of your own troubles when you are helping someone in need. In addition to that, you can also pick up new and valuable job skills as well as get on the job training for free. For Example, the Red Cross has volunteer opportunities such as:

  • Administration/Office -Use your computer, office and/or project management skills for help with special events, fundraisers and regular office support to critical Red Cross services.
  • Service to the Armed Forces – Providing various types of relief and aid to those in the service and their families.

Another benefit to volunteering is that you can network. You never know where a job opportunity may be available, and if you perform well as a volunteer, you may be able to be hired full time into the organization when opportunities become available. Also, your volunteer supervisor can be an excellent reference for future employers. In giving back, you really create a win-win for all involved.

For more volunteer opportunities, please check out: http://www.volunteermatch.org/.

3. Join Toastmasters

Even though Toastmasters is a widely known and recognized organization, I still run into candidates that have never participated or don’t see the benefits of joining. Toastmasters is a non-profit organization that helps its members to develop public speaking and leadership skills. The great thing about Toastmasters is that you can meet so many different types of professional contacts from Administrative Assistants,to HR Managers,to CEO’s of companies. With that type of direct access, you can see why Toastmasters is the best kept secret for those looking for work. It is inexpensive to join, about $36.00 every 6 months.

When looking for work, who you know is important. At Toastmasters, you can gain exposure to people who know about openings in their company before those openings are made public. In fact, they may even be the people making the hiring decisions. In addition, you will become a better public speaker, which is a valuable skill set for any job that you have.

You can find out more about Toastmasters in your area by clicking here.

4. Join a Professional Network, Ask for a mentor

Lastly, there are so many wonderful, professional networks out there that you can become part of. I’m going to list several for you. Within some of these organizations there are people available to mentor you if you are looking to make a career change. You can volunteer to help out, which could offset membership fees, and of course these organizations are great for networking. The trick to making this matter on your resume is to get heavily involved as much as your time would allow. This way you can list the organization on your resume, and hopefully the leadership role that you played while being involved.

Many of the groups listed below provide women with access to other professional resources, connections and career opportunities. I’ve actually called a local chapter and asked about mentorship, and some members are willing to mentor you for free.

Those are just a few organizations that you can become actively involved in. For more organizations in your area, try Googling “Professional Women’s Organizations”

Being unemployed does not mean limiting your time to online activity. Get out and start meeting people!

Together in Excellence,

The Working Diva

 

Make your mark: 5 ways to make your resume stand out

Review Resume

If you hate writing a new resume, don’t worry, you are not the only one! I’m a recruiter and I hate writing resumes, but it is something that is a part of the successful job search process. Today we will get deeper into the resume writing process. I can’t say that it will be painless, but if you’ve completed the previous steps before this one, you should have plenty to say about yourself on your resume. Here are more ways to make your resume stand out from the rest in the best way possible.

1. Make sure your resume is fluid

Your resume should be adjustable to match the job that you are applying for. Many times job seekers make the mistake of having only one version of their resume and submitting that to every job. If you have the exact experience that the job description outlines, you must adjust your resume to reflect that. This advice of course is given with the assumption that the skills that you list on your resume are accurate to the job that you are applying for. This leads me to…

Keywords are key to making your resume gain attention

2. Incorporate Key words from the job description into your resume

Resumes are typically searched online by recruiters. Recruiters determine if your resume is what the hiring manager is looking for in many ways. However one of the first thing they do is search by keywords. Those are words that when input into a resume portal like Monster, or CareerBuilder that will pull people with the skill set that the hiring manager is seeking. When you are creating your resume and applying to jobs, be sure incorporate the keywords that in the job description into your resume. Some examples of key words would be: six-sigma, black box testing, HTML, Executive Assistant, UX designer etc.Some other keywords you would like to place in your resume are as follows:

  • Types of degrees/certifications
  • Job titles
  • Technical vocabulary specific to your industry
  • Types of software that you use and are familiar with
  • A link to your online portfolio (if applicable)

3. Explain Periods of Unemployment

I’ve said this time and time again, if there are large gaps of unemployment, make sure that you explain them. Recruiters DO notice if the last job that you had was in 1989. If there is no current job, and you don’t explain why there is no current job, more than likely your resume ignored. It looks suspicious and in all honesty there are too many other complete resumes to try to get to the bottom of why this one has holes in it.

If you had a year or two off, list it as you would list any other job, and then explain what you were doing during that time period. You could say for example, 2001-2002 – Took time off to go back to school.

4. Apply to the right job

This should go without saying, but it never fails that when I open a particular job that I am working on to see who has applied, I’ll see someone who is not at all right for the job being listed. For example, once I was recruiting for a UX Director, and one applicant was a fry cook at a local deli. Now, there are several things that go through a recruiter’s mind when they see something like this, and none of them are positive. It almost seems as if the person did not take their job search seriously enough to apply for the job that fits THEIR skill set. Needless to say, this person did not receive a call back. And contrary to popular belief, we will not pass this resume around to other recruiters if the resume is that far off from the job being posted. If you are seeking a job for you do not currently have the skill set for, try to obtain those skills. Until then, make sure to apply for the job that  directly aligns with your background.

5. Make sure that your career objective/summary is similar to the job that you are applying for

There is debate about whether or not there should even be a career objective or summary on a resume. As a recruiter, I read them, and so I’ll say it doesn’t hurt. The common complaint is that they are usually so generic in nature that they don’t really tell the person looking at your resume much of anything. Therefore, I would suggest that you take a look at the job description, and create your career objective around what they are looking for, using the key words that they use.

See you on Day 6!

#NewYear, #New Job-How to write your resume

Think about that question

Hey there working divas! Today we’ll get into some of  the nuts and bolts of writing your resume. Please take a look

Think about that question

at Day #4, just to get the background and foundation for what we will be doing today.

To summarize our last visit, day #4 was about really understanding how your current skills can cross over into different jobs. You will need to know this because when you create a resume, you will have one master copy, but you will need to tweak and adjust your resume for different jobs.

If you need help deciding which jobs your skill set can cross over into, you may want to check out Bureau of Labor Statistic’s  Fastest Growing Occupations. If you happen to be looking for work because you are planning on changing careers, this site can help you decide which career would provide you with the most options.

Employment History:

List the company name, your job title, dates of employment, and then describe what you did. Next, list your accomplishments under each job title. This type of resume is called a chronological resume. it is the preferred format for most recruiters looking at your resume. You will list your most recent job first, and then the jobs that came before it. You’ll want to go back only 7-10 years if you have a steady work history.

I have attached a sample of how this part should look here: experience-sample

A word about Formatting

Some basics to remember:

  • Times New Roman is the standard for resume’s. It is professional to view, and database friendly.
  • The smallest you want to go (font size) is 10, largest 12. However, for certain headings (e.g. company name) you may make those one font larger than the rest.
  • Be sure all of your fonts are the same size unless they are headings or titles. Otherwise, all fonts must be uniform.
  • Spell-check, spell check, Spell Check :) If you are using Word or OpenOffice you will see the “red squiggle” underneath misspelled words. Make sure to correct the spelling. If there is nothing listed, use a dictionary. Misspellings in resumes is a SURE way to not get a call back.It’s a shame because I’ve seen people with great education, and work experience passed over due to a misspelling or two.

Education:

If you only have a high school diploma, list all of your experience first and your education last. Typically if you only have high school, leave that off. If you are going back to school, list the school, the years and “Degree in process” working on a degree is better than nothing at all.

There will be more on this later.

For now, let’s focus on this, and see you all on part 2 of day 5!