Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fight Your Way Into A Job Interview With These 5 Resume Writing Tips

You are your own product! You are a commodity on shelves of a store, and it’s up to you to get yourself picked. Who’s the shopper? The shopper is any number of companies out there looking for some special person to help make them money! Will you be that person?

The interview determines this.

An interview is akin to a shopper who picks up an apple and tests it for freshness. They feel it, smell it, touch it and try to imagine what it will taste like. A company does the same with you during the interview.

How many red apples do shoppers pick up to test that already have dark brown bruises and strange looking appearances? Not too many.

Our resume is the skin on our delicious inner core. It’s a prelude of coming attractions. It’s a sales pitch, a marketing tool that yells at the employer, “I’m different! I’ll make you tonnes of money! I’ll keep your customers coming back for more!!!” If your resume is not saying this….bye bye.

These 5 resume writing tips will help you develop a powerful tool to market yourself into a job interview. For those who are not practicing these tips, you’re going to be at a huge disadvantage.


Do you include an objective?

Yes or no. Yes if it is well written and focused specifically on a job you know that you want. No if it is generic and unfocused.

Yes, if it gives a quick snapshot of your career and abilities. No, if it talks babble about a bunch of stuff that means little, using words that mean little.

Yes, if it is written in a way that will provide the company with insight into what you will do for the company. No, if it requires the company to determine what you can do.

Bottomline: If you write an objective, then say what job you want, what you will provide, and say it in a way that is exciting and enticing. (Enticing enough for the reader to want to read more).

For example, DO write: Industrial sales position where I can utilize my 5+ years of proven persuasion and interpersonal skills.

DO NOT write: Seeking a position where I can increase my ability to persuade and relate to people.

ALSO remember that your objective should be like the thesis of an essay. Everything that follows in your resume should support what you stated in your objective. …otherwise, cut the objective, and take your chances.


Talk about your accomplishments! When describing the work environment you worked in, focus on the things you did that made the place better. How did you improve the pizza company you worked for? How did you increase value at the volunteering opportunity you were involved in? How have you changed the world? It can be small, but it should be something.

Knowing this is important to remember, because when we work, we should always be thinking of how we can help the situation we are in. Doing so for the reason of a) it makes the place better, but also b) it makes good resume story material. Accomplishments sell! Remember this.

How to write them? Easy: Increased overall company sales by 3%. Created strategic marketing plans that resulted in improved brand image. Interviewed customers for feedback on our pizza sauce.


Delete the Inessentials.
Resumes should never be generic. They should be aimed and written specifically for each and every company we are applying to. This means work for us. Hard work! But, it also means a powerful and effective resume. One that supports our position that we have something that can help the company we are applying to. So, think this in all your writing!

Eliminate anything that does not pertain to the company and position that you are applying to.

Eliminate those things that do not contribute to supporting the statement you made in your objective.

Keep your resume well trimmed of fat that gets in the way of your selling your unique skills, abilities, and attitudes to the company you’re applying to. Cut, cut, cut!

Question: Is your work as a cook at McDonalds important for the sales position you are applying to? Yes…if you write it in a way that can improve the image of you as a good candidate. If no, then cut it. (At least as much as the description. If there is room, you can state that you worked there, but without any description of the work).


Write them down. Have them attached with your resume. But! Have them attached and on a separate paper. Do it!

Never say, “Available Upon Request”.

Instead, include contact information and job & title information. And, this is very important, remember to contact your references that they know to expect a call from your potential employers. VITAL for you and for them. You want to make sure you know what they will say, and that they know what coming. A surprise call might result in a poor recommendation.


Tell Mini Stories!
Always be telling stories. Think action. I am…is not a story. I did….is a story. Think action. One sentence is enough to tell a story. Sold 16 million dollars worth of farm equipment is a powerful story.

While considering accomplishments, consider the impact of the story. Verbs are essential storytelling tools. Use them and win!

Competition for the sale of any commodity is fierce these days! Competition for a job is vicious. The interview is the key to getting that job. A resume is a key to getting that interview. Practice the five tips listed above and you’ll be sure to see yourself slipping into interview after interview. What you do there is another matter. We’ll cover that next time.

All for now. Happy writing!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How To Stop Shyness From Killing Your Networking Opportunties

So you’re at a networking event.

There’s fifty or so people in a room, each milling around and smoozing with one another. All except for you. What’s wrong? Why are you sitting in the corner with a beer warming in your hand while others are trotting about saying this, talking that, laughing and building relationships?

The reason: you are shy!

Shy people have a really difficult time with networking.


But, shyness no longer has to hold you back from building new friendships, contacts, and potential work relationships. Why? Because you can practice these 5 tips to help you network despite that opportunity suppressing shyness that haunts you at every turn.

First, try refocusing your concept of the situation. Most people view networking as a chance to swindle someone into getting what they want. If you think job fair, you can imagine many people standing around trying to butter up people to give them a job. Or, if you think a party among the famous, you can imagine people of less fame trying to win the favour of some big name, that the big name will spread the news of the lesser.

Instead of this slant, try thinking of yourself as a gift giver. Be a service person. Think in terms of resource. What is it you can give to people at the event? Think of yourself as a Twitter Tweet. The beauty of Twitter is information sharing. You’ve got information that can help solve others problems. Learn to give. Doing such gets you out of you. Getting out of you takes your mental focus off of you and onto others. Such action can cure most of the shyness that wreaks havoc on millions. Focus on others!

Second, remember to go at it in tiny steps. There’s no reason to be a super networker right away. Make small goals. Perhaps your goal can be to meet one new person. Or, to have one friend at the even introduce you to one person. From that, you have to ask a few interesting “open ended, meaningful” questions of the person before leaving the event. …but don’t forget to listen.

Listening well is a KEY to successful networking.

Once you ask those questions, reward yourself somehow.
Yes, four shots of tequila may be the wrong way to reward yourself.

Third, never say “sorry”. Stop excusing yourself for being one way or another in anyone’s presence. Doing such sends really negative messages. Just be. There is nothing wrong with you. That feeling that you’re imposing on others is just an illusion. Some people believe networking is a burden to those they talk with. Some feel that they have no right to ask for help, or offer help. But, the truth is….you do!

So stop saying “sorry” in whatever way you happen to say it.

Fourth, Smile. This one is a Dale Carnegie special! …and it’s just good common sense. Grumpy faces keep everyone away. …except maybe mosquitos.

Fifth, work at being yourself. This is related to tip three. Again, you are alright. There’s nothing wrong with you.

Most people think that you have to be super cool to be good at networking. The truth is, however, that you simply need to be yourself. Some people will like you just as you are.

And, when you are yourself, you can ask direct questions, ask directly for help, and basically be honest. You’ll find that direct asking and forthright communication will generally always get you more than you need.

Before reading these, you were probably expecting a magic pill that would take away your shyness. Maybe now you're upset that you already knew this advice.

Well, unfortunately, no pill exists. The only way out of shyness is through it. You must learn to endure and act through, to do despite the pain. These tips will help you on your way.

Happy Networking!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Increase Your Marketability Now by Improving In These Key Skills

Recruiters and HR people talk a lot these days about the importance of soft skills in today and tomorrows marketplace. Many people easily qualify as far as hard skills--technical ability--go. Many more, however, are handing in "F" grade work when it comes to soft-skills.

Sadly, many universities fail to teach soft skills. If we look around, it is rather easy to see that this lack shows.

To be highly marketable in today and tomorrow’s market place, you need to assess yourself in terms of your soft skill ability. If you find you lack in some areas, it would be a good to get to work improving yourself immediately.

So to start, how are your relationship building skills? Your interpersonal skills? On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being awesome, what score would you give yourself? More importantly, what score would others give you?

How articulate are you? How well can you express yourself; make your ideas known? How well can you get your point across in both writing and reading? Again, would others agree?

How about your listening skills? Tom Peters calls these THE MOST REQUIRED SKILLS in business. He’s a pretty smart guy. Can you see room for improvement in this area?

How about your presentation skills? What are you doing to improve in this area? Do you belong to any communication clubs? If not, why not?

How are you as a leader? A manager?

What about your problem-solving abilities? Are you an idea person, or a "sit around until someone else figures it out" kind of person?

What’s your personality like? Is negativity your defining characteristic? Or is it optimism? …again, what would others who know you say? BE HONEST!

Speaking of honesty….how’s your honesty?
How about integrity? Do you do what you say you will do? Or do you delay? Cheat? Cut corners?

How well do you self-manage? Do you require someone to tell you what to do, or are you apt at governing yourself, creating goals for yourself, creating projects for yourself, and completing these things on your own, without direction from others?

How about blogging? Are you blogging on a regular basis? Are you studying a subject area, making yourself an expert, and giving that information away to others for free regardless of whether people are reading it or not? You should be, according to many career experts.

(Blogging is also a great way to improve your writing skills).

Right now you’re probably saying to yourself, “This is too much! How can I change myself this much? Forget it!!!”

Well, don’t forget it!

Instead, realize that you've got a natural resistance to change. It’s normal. Everyone hates to change. We love our comfortable lifestyles, even if they produce negative results sometimes.

But so what!

We must keep working on developing ourselves in these areas. The change does not need to happen overnight, but it does need to happen. The longer we wait, the worse it gets. Slow steps in a positive direction is enough. But start now.

Each of these skills, if we improve them, will add value to the companies we either work for now, or hope to work for in the future. As mentioned, companies want hard skills, but they are right dying for people with the kinds of soft skills being described here.

So get to it.

By the way, how is your creativitys?

How well do you multi-task?

Deal with Change?

Find creative solutions to problems?

How open are you to doing a broader role than you’re used to?

Finally, how are your networking skills? Are you one who goes to an event with the cold sweat of desperation and neediness streaming down your face? Or are you one who goes to make new friends, to build new relationships; one who goes into an event with the intent of seeing what you can add to the world, not just what you can get from it?

I hope the latter.

Learning to improve yourself in these soft-skill areas will help you pull away from the crowd of competitors. Find some great ways to get these skills.

Immediately, I can think of one great place to do all that has been listed here.

Toastmasters! Join today!

More Good News For The Not-So Good Looking


Just after writing my earlier post of the same title, I came upon this.

I'm a professor. I'm average looking. I have a great chance for staying in my job. According to this article in the Vancouver Sun, Sexy professors will suffer! ...from here on out, I'm ordering up a whole tub load of nerdy glasses and funny sweaters.

Good News For The Not-So Good Looking

According to an article published by the AFP, good looking women are at a disadvantage.


The article discussed research published in the Journal of Social Psychology. The research concludes that good looking women are at a disadvantage for those jobs considered masculine. In jobs such as truck driver, construction supervisor, prison guard, director of security, and hardware salesperson beautiful women are almost unanimously disregarded based solely on their looks.

This is such awesome news! At last there is something a beautiful woman can’t get easily. …of course, how many beautiful women do you know who are dying to get a job as a welder, a tow truck driver, or a tug boat captain? If your daughter told you she wanted to be hardware salesperson, you’d probably raise your eye brows, run out and buy her three or four more Barbies, right?

Well, I’d recommend you do that, because the research proves that beautiful girls are still getting more jobs than those considered not so beautiful when it comes to “feminine jobs”. (Of course, I wonder exactly what they mean by feminine?)

The sad news, however, is that for men….looks matter no matter what the job. Good looking dudes are almost always favored.

This makes me wonder why more guys aren’t going for plastic surgery.

Women have a large amount of jobs waiting for them if they’d just let themselves go. Instead they kill themselves with plastic surgery to struggle for a job that a zillion other natural beauties are hunting for. It’s a waste of money.

Instead, keep your looks, and just change your attitude. Become a prison guard today. The last I heard it was one of the top 10 job prospects in America.

As for the guys, here’s the number of a local plastic surgeon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

What Is A Hot Commodity?

Today I’m going to officially define what it means to be a HOT Commodity.

A hot commodity is:

Someone who realizes that the job search is their responsibility. It is someone who knows that no one can do for them what they themselves must do for themselves.

A hot commodity takes all the action necessary to get the job they want. No one will give their dream to them, they have to go out and make it happen. Action is the key.

A hot commodity is someone who knows that attitude is everything. Positive attitude, enthusiastic attitude, and can-do attitudes are awesome attitudes to have, and that these are often the main selling point for getting a job, and for being promoted once you’ve got the job.

A hot commodity knows that they themselves are a product. They realize that a company is not a job provider, but is a kind of consumer. A company is like a person buying a product to use to make their own life better. We are the product, and we are what will make the companies life better. Knowing this, we need to be aware of how we can make a companies life better. So, we need to know ourselves, and create ourselves to be what a company needs.

A hot commodity knows we need to sell ourselves! Sell Sell Sell!!! We will not be given a job, we must prove ourselves for a job. We must win a job! A hot commodity knows the power of focus. They know that purpose sells. They know that knowing what we want, and why we want it are powerful ways to sell ourselves in an interview.

A hot commodity knows that a resume and cover letter are marketing tools. They need to be designed to persuade a company to try us out in an interview. A hot commodity knows that these need to be written with powerful verbs, they need to be targeted to sell the gifts we bring to the company. They need to highlight how you the job hunter can help the company.

Targeted resumes, each uniquely designed to fit perfectly with each company we are applying to. In general, they’ve taken time to study what makes a great resume.
They also know what is expected on different kinds of resume. For example, an international companies requirements compared to a domestic company’s requirements.

A hot commodity uses powerful words in their resume. They follow the art of advertising copywriting, and create a wonderful masterpiece.
They also know the difference between a CV and a Resume. And they have one of each in case either is needed.

A hot commodity knows the power of a network. They take action to develop and improve their networks. They take action to make new networks. They are always providing a service to their network. They are trying to establish themselves as a resource person.

A hot commidty knows that a network is usually the key to fantastic jobs! Word of mouth is the best marketing tool in the world!
A hot commodity uses the time they have wisely. They realize that finding a job is a fully time job.

A hot commodity uses the hunting time to get busy doing things that can increase their value and marketability. IF they have yet to find work, they are busy exercising—so they can look great. They are busy taking classes to learn how to better speak English, or do certain things on a computer. They are volunteering. They are getting experience. They are busy doing things that can help build the stories of accomplishment and success they need to persuade an employer of their value.

A hot commodity works on improving their story telling abilities. They recognize the importance of the ability to tell a story that has meaning, and sells their abilities well. They also know the importance of telling a “why I am here” story during the self introduction.

A hot commodity is generally working on developing their communication skills. Persuasive skills. Interpersonal skills.
A hot commodity does not give up. They realize that failure is a big part of learning and growing.

A hot commodity realizes that sometimes not getting the job we want means we will find the job we need. As well, sometimes a hot commodity realizes that sometimes not getting the job we want means we must try harder.

And, a hot commodity knows that though it is difficult to try harder, they are willing to do it. Because it’s what they want. And the effort is worth it!
A hot commodity knows how to relax.

If they are currently unable to find work, they don’t beat themselves up. Instead, they learn to enjoy the time.

A hot commodity has studied and researched both the companies they are interested in working for, the industry, and the profession they are looking to work in.
They have a solid understanding of the culture differences between an international company and a domestic one. They determine which place best suits their goals, interests, and personality.

A hot commodity knows how to conduct themselves in an interview. They also have a good idea of what not to do. They’ve studied both sides. They have practiced and practiced and practiced. And….they are also ready for strange questions, and for unexpected questions. They’ve taken time to get good at answering questions on the spot, impromptu, off the cuff.

A hot commodity is someone who realizes the importance of self-esteem and confidence. They do what they need to do to improve theirs.

A hot commodity knows how to listen. And they know how to say thank you.

So, thanks for reading.
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