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Troubleshooting Your Job Search
OK. You've posted your resume online. You've sent out a dozen copies answering classified ads. You've told everyone in your network that you're looking for a job.
And nothing has happened.
Since 1996, I've written/edited resumes for nearly 3,000 clients and refunded less than 3% of them for lack of results. Based on this experience, here are four ways for you to troubleshoot -- and improve -- an unsuccessful job search.
1) Is your resume focused?
Your resume can't be all things to all people. Make sure yours has one main focus, such as sales or computer programming. Every word in your resume should contribute to that single focus you've chosen. If you try to go in too many directions, your resume won't appeal to anyone.
2) Is your resume error-free?
You've heard this 100 times, so let's make it 101 -- a single typo can ruin your resume. But that's only partially true. Because even more things can go wrong.
When proofreading your resume, you should also check for errors in spacing between words, inconsistent abbreviations, poor layout, tiny fonts and extreme length/wordiness.
Example: inconsistent spacing is a frequent gaffe. It doesn't matter if you use one space or two after periods, but be consistent throughout. Otherwise, your resume will look unprofessional.
3) Is your cover letter hard-hitting?
According to the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly, "Your cover letter can make or break whether your resume goes into the 'yes' pile or the 'no' pile. A really terrific cover letter can change the reader's mind."
Use your cover letter to show off your knowledge of the company and the industry. And be sure to convey your enthusiasm for the job -- enthusiasm sells.
But be concise! Nothing longer than 4-5 paragraphs or one page will work well.
4) Is your job search a full-time job?
In this job market, the quest for employment takes time and effort. Think of finding work as a job in itself, requiring nothing less than your total dedication.
So, ask yourself: "Am I really using all my available resources? Am I spending at least 4-8 hours and doing at least 10 things every day to find the right job?"
For example, make sure you use -- really use -- your college placement office. Most students and graduates never visit theirs, according to my experience.
Now go out and make your own luck!
Kevin Donlin is President of Guaranteed Resumes.
Since 1996, he and his team have provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients in all 50 states and 23 countries. Kevin has been interviewed by USA Today, CBS MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly, CBS Radio, and many others.
As a reader of this publication, you're eligible for a special offer. Get your Free Job Search Kit ($25.00 value) at the Guaranteed Resumes Web site - http://www.gresumes.com
Your Job Search Is A Marketing Campaign (Part 2)
Here's a continuation of my article from a few months back on how the successful job search is really just a personal marketing campaign.
Staying In Shape
Why Lawyers Should Eat Bananas by Simon Tupman is a book that caught my eye both because of its unusual title and because I coach lawyers who are growing their practices. The book cover says it gives "Inspirational Ideas for Lawyers Wanting More Out of Life"
Working On A Farm In Kent
Being a student, a person needs to look for summer jobs, to keep up with the expenses for school and fun activities. This task is not always easy, especially when you are studying at an American branch university and you have to pay tuition as well. So getting a summer job obviously rules out getting a job in your home Eastern European country as that would pay for only a couple of beers the most.
Your Interview Questions Are a Serious Matter
Of course interviews are mainly about you answering the questions they put to you, but at the end of your allotted interview time, the questions that really matter most are yours. You should hope to hear the interviewer ask you:
Interview Thank-You Letters
The number one etiquette tip for interviews is writing a thank-you letter. This is not a tool commonly used by job seekers right now. If you are looking for an advantage and a way to stick out above the other job applicants then follow up your interview by showing appreciation and courtesy.
The Top Ten Ways to Jump Start Your Career
1. Do What You Love.
Find A Job In A Fast Growing Field Using Labor Market Information For Your State
The question confronting most people who want to find a job is "what's a good paying job with growth potential?"
When Bad Interviews Happen to Good Candidates
Going through the motions of a bad interview is like peeling back the layers of an onion. Sally learned this lesson the hard way, hands-on during an interview that should have been a piece of cake. Sally applied for a position that fit her qualifications perfectly. When she received an invitation to interview, Sally believed she was a shoo-in for the job. Feeling confident, she approached the interview in a lax manner. She didn't prepare and prematurely celebrated an offer she was convinced would be extended.
Finding a Career in Harmony with Your Life Path
Which of the following would you chose? Doing your lifework as a permanent occupation or a regular activity performed in exchange for payment. The first is the definition of a career and the second that of a job. Both involve physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something, but in a career you are self directed and at choice. In a job you are generally following orders and passive.
The Background on Background Checks
In one of my past lives I held a Top Secret clearance as a Civil Service employee working for the Air Force. So I am familiar with background checks. But many job seekers are not. Here's a little background on background checks...
When the Teacher Becomes the Student
A relationship expert once said that during an argument, there's usually three sides to every story: his side, her side, and of course, the truth.
Job Hunting: Its Still The First Impression Stupid!
In the 1992 USA Presidential election, political strategist James Carville hung a sign in Bill Clinton's Little Rock campaign office that read, "It's still the economy, stupid." His intent? Simply to keep everybody focused on the most important issue of the day. History clearly demonstrates he was right and George Bush Sr. was soundly defeated.
3 Ways To Succeed On Your First Job (Or Any Job)
You've heard the real estate cliché: the three factors that determine a property's value are location, location, location.
Medical Billing Businesses Are Growing Fast And Providing A Needed Service For Doctors
You've seen the commercials and web sites about starting medical billing businesses in your home. You can't just start calling doctors and telling them you will take care of the billing for them. It is their income and they want to know you are a true business and that you have experience. So, before any thing else, look into classes to help you get those medical billing jobs.
Skills Make Labor More Valuable
As you know by now, if you have been a long time subscriber to our weekly E-zine, I'm a very big proponent of activity, labor and discipline. In fact I devoted one of the five major pieces to the life puzzle (in my book under the same name) to the subject of activity and labor. But now let me add another key word to the labor equation - skillful. Yes, skillful labor.
Online Resume Tips and Secrets
I manage a website for corporate flight attendants that features resumes prominently listed on the first page of the site. Unlike some careers, corporate flight attendants must promote themselves overtly in order to find work especially if they are contractors. Since adding this feature two years ago, I have learned that an online copy must be arranged differently than that of a hard copy primarily for security reasons. Let's review some of the 'best practices' you need to accomplish in order to successfully and safely promote yourself online.
The 6 Stages of Modern Career Development
Career experts say that people will change careers (not jobs) 5-7 times in a lifetime. This being true, career management is an important life skill to develop and cultivate. There are six stages of modern career development: Assessment, Investigation, Preparation, Commitment, Retention, and Transition. Learning the characteristics of each stage will empower you to navigate through each stage easily and with more confidence.
Hot Business Trends for 2006? And Beyond: Maybe One Will Turn Into a Creative Business Idea for You
I always look forward to the December issue of Entrepreneur magazine. That's the issue that features the publisher's annual pick of hot businesses, markets, and trends for smart entrepreneurs ? or those who aspire to be. Some of the high tech businesses cited like mobile gaming or online learning tend to require six and seven figure start up costs. This can seem daunting (although not impossible) for the person just venturing into self-employment. So I've decided to focus on the markets, trends, and businesses that speak to someone operating on a somewhat more limited budget. Let's start with hot markets: HOT MARKET: Middle-Aged Women Since I've recently entered my last year in my 40s, I thought it only appropriate to start with this group (although like most boomers, I still have a hard time thinking of myself as anything close to "middle aged"). Not surprisingly, products and services for women in their 40s and 50s that center around anti-aging and menopause are hot. The magazine cites such promising areas as counseling, exercise spas, yoga, smoking cessation programs? any product or service that helps women stay healthy and feel good about themselves ? both inside and out. The reference to smoking cessation got me thinking? Residential treatment facilities for other forms of substance abuse are common- place, but I've personally never seen a retreat, spa, or other residential-type place specifically aimed at people who need help quitting smoking, and who would benefit from doing so outside their home environment. I'm picturing morning walks, meditation, massage, support groups, good food, and of course, lots and lots of punching bags! HOT MARKET: Toddlers/Tweens/Teens According to market research firm Packaged Facts, last year 5 to 14 year olds spent $10 billion on food and beverages. Other favorite product areas for kids are sports, fashion, music, and technology. And apparently home décor and remodeling isn't just for adults anymore (who knew?). Stores like IKEA and Pottery Barn are starting to selling home furnishing products aimed at teens. With baby boomers having more discretionary income with which to spoil their grandchildren, babies and toddlers have also become hot markets. Online start-up ELittle Luxuries offers designer baby furniture and more than 600 other upscale baby items. (http://www.eLittleLuxuries.com) HOT MARKET: Overweight People After reading how much kids spend on food and beverages, it's no surprise that 15% of children and teens are overweight. But we adults have them beat. A whopping 64% of Americans are considered obese or overweight. Businesses that offer products and services to help people slim down and develop more healthy habits are the most obvious. But entrepreneurs willing to think outside the "solve the problem" box by looking for ways to make overweight people's lives easier verses trying to fix them, will also do well. HOT MARKET: Metrosexuals With the enormous appeal of stylish soccer super star David Beckham and shows like Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy where gay men help straight men with fashion, grooming, home décor, and social skills, a growing number of heterosexual men are allowing themselves to tap into their fashionable side. One enterprising guy who jumped into the metrosexual market early has seen phenomenal growth. With $20,000 and a dream, Tom Granese launched Regiments, an online store that sells high-end grooming products for men. Less than two years later, Tom opened his first storefront in Dallas with a projected $210,000 in first year in-store sales. HOT MARKET: Hispanics The Hispanic market is certainly nothing new ? in fact it's made Entrepreneur's list for many years now. The magazine cites opportunities in anything from food and entertainment, to financial services and Web services. Now let's look at two of Entrepreneur's picks for hot trends in 2004? HOT TREND: Outdoor Living Spaces Into gardening or design? According to Joanne Kostecky of the American Nursery & Landscape Association, and president of her own garden design company, the concept of outdoor living rooms that is so popular in the south and some urban areas is beginning to reach the rest of the country. The fact that more consumers are investing in courtyards and elaborate gardens means the gardening and outdoor design businesses are bound to grow! HOT TREND: Fast-Casual Food Health and taste conscious consumers on the go are turning to fast- casual restaurants and chains. In my own small town of Northampton, two of the more popular joints are benefiting from the fast-casual boom. One serves upscale burritos (my favorite is the Thai burritos) and the other is a hip soup, salad, and sandwich joint that opened in a greatly remodeled former Taco Bell restaurant. Idea: Back in my old softball days I always wished someone would cater to all those hungry players and fans by starting a high quality food wagon. Other Hot Trends? Boating and water sports, the hunger for low- carb foods (a trend being taken seriously by restaurants, grocery stores, and food manufacturers), oils and sauces, and multiculturalism which includes the gay and lesbian markets. Hot markets and hot trends lead to hot businesses. Here are some of Entrepreneur's picks? HOT BUSINESS: Children's Enrichment Programs With so many parents in the workforce, more kids than ever before are engaged in extracurricular and after school activities. If you like the idea of working with kids, you can opt to open a physical location like a gym, dance or art studio, or camp, take your program into the schools, or provide private lessons. If you think opening your own place is financially out of reach, think again. While $12,000 is no small sum of money, it's a lot less than a lot of people might expect they'd need to shell out to start their own dance studio. But that's how much former dance student turned instructor Archer Alstaettter dug up in cash and credit cards to found Dance Emotion in Irvine, California. That was five years ago. Today Archer's studio has 500 clients and expects 600-plus to be enrolled by spring. You go Archer! HOT BUSINESS: Home Improvement Remodeling, refurbishing, and redecorating are all the rage. There are some 30 cable shows on home improvement alone. And home improvement isn't all about décor. Worth noting are businesses that help home owners maximize the space they have as well as those making homes more accessible to an aging population. (To read about a unique, highly successful, and legitimate home business opportunity that matches home owners with reputable home repair contractors go to http://www.ChangingCourse.com/hrnsuccess.htm) HOT BUSINESS: Yoga & Pilates According to Entrepreneur, companies are bending over backwards to cater to the growing market of people practicing yoga. Clothes, mats, DVDs, music, and classes aimed at seniors, pregnant women and children as young as three are just a few products and services aimed at this growing market. And with a reported 47 million Americans taking Pilates, a work out that builds abdominal muscles, opportunities abound for gym owners and instructors alike. If you like the idea of teaching Pilates, studio owner Maria Leone recommends starting out by keeping overhead low. She suggests renting space for one-on-one sessions from a small gym or chiropractic office. Fees for a typical Pilates session range from $50 to $70 an hour. Meditate on that! HOT BUSINESS: Upscale Pet Services According to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association, Americans spent an estimated $31 billion on pets in 2003. A few of the luxury services cited include pet hotels complete with heated floors, limousine rides, day cruises, and personal shoppers. And apparently the spa trend has extended to the pet world with exfoliating treatments, aromatherapy, liposuction (I kid you not), and chiropractic services. HOT BUSINESS: Outsourcing Outsourcing is one of those good new-bad news things. If your job is being eliminated because it's cheaper for your company to outsource functions like HR, accounting, and network security, then outsourcing is a bad thing. Outsourcing is particularly hot in IT ? and when it comes to outsourcing jobs overseas, it's also controversial. The good news for freelancers is the federal government plans to open 850,000 jobs to outsourcing, with $85 billion in federal IT contracts to be awarded over the next three years Other Hot Businesses: Spas, organic foods, online matchmaking, senior care, wireless, tech security, and voiceover IP (VoIP). If you believe as I do that it's better to be the boss, than to have one, why not make 2004 the year you start putting your entrepreneurial plans into action? You don't have to quit your job or mortgage your home to get the ball rolling. You might resolve to do some research, start putting together a business plan, take a course on marketing, glass blowing, woodworking, web design, or whatever sparks your fancy, get certified to teach yoga, buy a book on how to launch a successful on-line business, start a Barbara Sher style Success Team? or just order a subscription to Entrepreneur. If you don't already subscribe to Entrepreneur you can do so at http://www.Entrepreneur.com. The site also features a ton of free resources for anyone who already is ? or dreams of ? working for themselves. For other free resources for people who want to start their own businesses visit http://www.ChangingCourse.com/newbiz.htm Okay, but what if you don't see a trend, market, or business here that speaks to you? Then find the one that does! I had a client who is crazy for horses and photography. It took me all of 30 seconds on Google.com to find a group called the Equine Photographers Network. In addition to their conference this February in Florida, the group offers a free public online discussion group with over 700 members who range from top-of-their-field working pros to amateur photographers to magazine editors and writers to horse owners, all interested in improving their equine photography skill and knowledge. Learn all about the Equine Photographers Network at http://www.EquinePhotographers.net. The way to find the "hottest" business idea for you is to get in touch with the passion that burns the brightest in your heart. Then make 2004 the year resolve to you take those first bold steps on behalf of your dream!
7 Tips for Writing Winning Resume Cover Letters
Writing a good resume cover letter is something you should seriously consider when preparing to send off your resume to potential employers.
Loving What You Do
Man is a social animal and survival is his major need. There are needs that he needs be fulfill. The needs can be physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. A common thread that connects all the above need is a means to sustain physically. He can barter his skills to sustain himself.
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