How to Prepare Your Resume For a Job Search

Your resume is a key aspect of your job search- here’s how taking the time to prepare it can pay off. 

When you begin a job search, chances are one of the first things you do is pull up your resume and “dust it off”, and for good reason. A resume is one of the most important pieces of your job application– it gives employers an overview of who you are, what you’ve accomplished in your career, and what you can bring to the table in your new position. 

It’s vital that you take the time to ensure that your resume is the best possible reflection of your professional self– not just to land the job, but to potentially increase your offer. Research shows that a well-written resume can boost your earning potential by nearly 7%! 

Read on to learn the best ways to make your resume shine. 

Why putting time into your resume is important 

Did you know that the average hiring manager only looks at a resume for 6-7 seconds? That’s not much– so you need to do everything you can to make your resume strong and stand out from the crowd. A strong resume will do several things, including: 

  1. Show your relevant skills and experience  

Your resume should show your best professional self and highlight your skills and achievements. It will also allow hiring managers to get an idea of what kind of worker you are and what your career has looked like thus far. 

  1. Grab the hiring manager’s attention

While it may be unwise to decorate your resume in neon pink and green, it’s still important to make the hiring manager look twice. This means putting important information, like your contact information, objective or personal statement, or most recent job experience right at the top. 

  1. Describe what you can contribute 

It’s important to keep in mind that the hiring manager is looking to fill a need, so make sure your resume provides a clear answer to why you are the perfect candidate to fill their particular need. 

  1. Provide a picture of who you are

Culture is a key part of any company, and a smart hiring manager will look at who a potential employee is and how they might fit into the company culture at large. Your resume is a great opportunity for you to show who you are professionally and even personally, if you choose to include a hobbies and interests section.

What not to include in your resume 

Because a resume is such a key part of any job application, hiring managers are often quick to discard any that don’t meet the bar. According to Forbes, some of the top reasons resumes are rejected include:

  • Too much irrelevant information (i.e. work experiences over 10 years old, job skills in another field)
  • Missing keyword phrases 
  • Lack of continuity with other application materials like a cover letter or portfolio 
  • Not focusing on what you can bring to the table 
  • Typos and poor editing/grammar
  • Too much fluff or cliché terms 
  • Unprofessional email address 
  • Not following delivery instructions 
  • Unnecessary pictures, charts, or graphics 
  • Too long (remember, rule of thumb is one page in most cases)
  • Bad or inconsistent formatting 

How to create a resume as a Business Leader

Creating a resume as a business leader presents its own set of challenges. Gone are the days where you were methodically listing out your duties as an intern or entry-level employee– now, your responsibilities probably span a much larger scale and may be harder to describe in a few sentences. Here are five tips and tricks for writing a resume as a business leader: 

  1. Be specific 

Since you’re likely further along in your career as a leader, chances are you’ve developed a unique management style or specific skills. Here’s your chance to demonstrate that! Make it clear what kind of leader you are and support it with tangible examples from your past work experiences. 

  1. Utilize keyword phrases 

This is another place to be specific. Hone in on what ‘need’ the job you’re applying for is looking to fill, and tailor your resume to fit that need. As a business leader, you know your field well– use that knowledge to specify and present yourself as the best possible candidate. 

  1. Quantify where you can  

Did you increase revenue by 5% last quarter? Train 20+ new employees? Open three new locations? Highlight these numbers– they make it easy for hiring managers to see how effective you are as a business leader and allow them to quickly understand what you’ve accomplished. 

  1. Choose your action words carefully 

It’s a well-known resume tip to utilize action words (i.e. Executed, Coordinated, Implemented), but as a manager, you should be cognizant of how the action words you choose reflect your management style. Using words like ‘executed’ vs. ‘coordinated’ can paint a very different picture in the hiring manager’s head.

  1. Brainstorm work experiences 

Before editing your resume, sit down and brainstorm a list of all your work experience. This can be quantifiable achievements, like revenue increases, or interpersonal ones, like guiding an employee through a difficult task. Then select the ones that you feel best show your management style and fit the job description to include in your resume. 

Resume Templates for Business Leaders 

A template can be a valuable tool for creating a resume as a business leader. Templates provide structure, inspiration and examples to help you create a successful resume. Here are a few of the best online resume templates and examples for business leaders: 

  1. VelvetJobs 
  2. MintResume
  3. ResumeCompanion
  4. Canva 

Resume Writing Tips and Tricks 

When creating your resume, whether you’re new to the workforce or a seasoned business leader, there are several things you can do to help make it as strong as it can be. Here are our top BLANK tips for writing a resume. 

  1. Stick to the point 

One of the biggest rules of resume writing is to keep it to no more than one page in length unless you have a very good reason for it to be longer– such as an extensive career or significant amount of applicable work experience. 

Carefully consider all of your work experience and how it relates to the job you’re applying for, and eliminate any experience that is more than a decade old or is irrelevant to the job posting. 

Including every single one of your past work experiences can make your resume cluttered and too long, which can draw attention away from your relevant experience. 

  1. Highlight key skills and experience 

While it may be burdensome, it’s a good idea to tailor your resume to each job you apply for rather than using the same resume over and over again. Targeting your resume can give your resume a boost through utilizing more job-specific keywords and highlighting your most applicable experiences. 

Prioritize mentioning any skills, qualifications and experiences that fit the job you’re applying for in no more than 3-4 former positions. If you don’t have any relevant work history, get creative– think about how the work history you do have can be applied to the new position. You can also focus on your skills or other qualifications. 

  1. Optimize for ATS 

It’s no secret that many companies are using Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to collect and scan applicants’ resumes. This means that your resume’s first test will be passing through this technology, rather than a human hiring manager. 

To help get your resume through this first stage, you can use keywords from the job posting in your resume. Try copying and pasting the job description into a word cloud generator to see the most-used terms, or create a special “core competencies” section on your resume to highlight applicable terms. 

  1. Be specific and quantifiable 

Providing a laundry list of past job duties isn’t what a resume is for; it should serve as a paper highlight reel of your best accomplishments and experiences. Focus on including specific achievements, such as “increased revenue by 6%” as opposed to “experienced with budget management”. This shows the hiring manager exactly what you can do for them in the new position. 

Avoid listing out too many qualitative or abstract traits, like “good communicator” or “works well with others”– these phrases don’t tell the hiring manager anything about what you bring to the table. 

  1. Be a stickler for grammar 

It may seem like a small thing, but a single typo could end up being the difference between you and another candidate landing the job. Go through your resume carefully and look for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and continuity, like consistent spacing and formatting. You can also ask a friend or colleague to read it over to catch anything you might have missed. 

Writing a resume doesn’t have to be a dreaded task– use these tips and tricks to break down the process and make your resume work for you! Remember that.

5 Tips to Improve Your Job Search in 2023

The job market is still very tight. Companies are looking for specific, educated, qualified employees to fill their positions. Job seekers must be on their toes and ready for those positions. They have to get involved in the job-scout process and learn how to improve their chances of being hired. Technology plays a significant role in the job market and will continue to be a tremendous asset. Here are some tips that will improve your chances of getting hired.

1. Use Technology to Your Advantage

The internet offers numerous ways for job seekers to find employment opportunities. Most of them are free to use and will assist you in your search. When utilizing online resources like job boards or social media, sign up for newsletters or job alerts to help you in the know along your search. Customized alerts will send you the jobs you want to apply to directly to your inbox, so you can act quickly when the job of your dreams becomes open!

Mobile-friendly apps allow you to apply for jobs while on the go – meaning you don’t have to wait to get back home to grab your laptop. Using mobile apps will allow you to reach out to more people more efficiently. Mobile apps also allow you to send your resume directly to an employer’s inbox. You can also use social media for your job search needs. Look for job advertisements on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other popular platforms. Make direct connections with those that work at the organization of interest and check out the hiring manager’s profile and job experience. 

2. Gain Professional Connections

You will want to make sure that you know influential people in your field and industry. Build a professional network of people who can share information on their experience and knowledge with you. These professionals are known as connectors or go-to individuals for someone looking for a job. These are the very people that you need to meet and build a relationship with, even if it is just over the internet.

You can build relationships with professionals in different ways. Take the time to network with them appropriately. Contact them after you learn about a position through online job sites. Go about this process slowly and establish a professional relationship. Attend industry events and make connections with influential people. Look on LinkedIn and examine the professionals that you follow. Are their posts something you keep hitting the ‘like’ button on? Make a connection and send a message! Oftentimes, great people in your industry are truly thought leaders on ideals and methodologies that you agree with and want to implement in your own career. Connect with them, follow and watch their posts, and see who is also responding in the comments to help build your network of superstars in your field. The more people you know, the better your chances of finding a job that is a great fit for you!

3. Keep Your Resume Simple and Clean

About 75% of recruiters use a recruiting or applicant tracking system in the hiring process. 

When applying for jobs, having an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) friendly resume will ensure your resume has an opportunity to make it in front of the recruiter. The ATS will automatically scan your resume for keywords that the employer is looking for. Your resume should be easy to scan for both the ATS and the recruiter. When your resume is appropriately formatted, and your credentials match or exceed the job description, you will be seen as a top candidate. Include all applicable education and training. This consists of any certification you have obtained. Include the skills you have and what you can do for the company. You should also include clear, concise, and easy-to-read descriptions of your experience. 

4. Prepare for Video Interviews

In a post-COVID world, interviews are conducted in different ways, and employers will often hold first-round interviews through video chat. You can expect to be asked a series of questions, such as why you’re interested in the company/role and why you’re looking to leave your current position. You may be asked to submit and present a portfolio depending on the position and industry you’re applying to. 

Interviews require preparation, but with a bit of practice, you’ll be ready for any question they present. Practice talking on camera before your first actual interview. Running through a mock interview with friends or through online resources will give you a feel for the questions that may be asked and how to speak clearly. 

Before the interview, review your work history, portfolio, and any other relevant information. Additionally, ensure you have the proper equipment necessary for a video interview. This includes a strong wifi connection, an area free of distractions, and the appropriate software required to conduct the video chat.   

5. Ask for Referrals

No matter where you are in your career, you’ve likely made connections that will speak highly of you. Consider asking for referrals from your current employer or colleagues in the field. Look for people with similar job responsibilities to yours. You want to ask for recommendations from someone who understands what it is like to work at your place of employment. This type of referral will provide credibility to your application.

Finding a job that is the right fit takes hard work and dedication. The best way to get what you want is to stay positive and stay focused. Don’t let yourself get discouraged. Focus on doing your best and getting the help that you need. If you work hard, stay confident, and keep positive, you will eventually find and land the dream job that you have been looking for.

5 Ways to Attract More Applicants

As job postings continue to rise, finding qualified candidates to apply to your open rental housing positions can be a struggle. Check out some tips on attracting a larger pool of qualified candidates to your posting. 

Remember Your Job Posting is an Ad

When writing a job posting, you are trying to grab the attention of the ideal, qualified job seeker. As one of many employers in the rental housing industry, you want your company to stand out to attract the candidates you want. One tactic to draw them in is by giving these potential candidates insight into your company culture. Along with the company mission and benefits, try discussing the support you provide employees to help them achieve their career goals.

Be Clear

Many job seekers will not apply for a job where they don’t understand the job title or for a position they are unsure they are qualified for. Ensure the position and company description are clearly defined and relevant so candidates can successfully determine if they will be a good fit.

Search Engine Optimization is Essential

You want to write a job posting that job seekers can find during the job hunt. The best way to do this is by using keywords relevant to the position in your posting. Ensure you’re using industry terms for which job seekers will recognize and search. Do research before writing a job post and understand what other posts have included for similar advertising positions.

Also, ensure your job post title is not too unique; this will decrease the chances of people coming across it when searching on the site or in another search engine like Google.

Straightforward Application

Having a complicated application process often discourages individuals from applyingMake it as applicant-friendly as possible by ensuring the process will not be repetitive or time-consuming for candidates. Always try to have an easy-to-follow format by clearly outlining the qualifications, job description, preferred skills, etc., to attract more candidates. The job seeker should never question how they should start the application process.

Post Smartly

In 2020, mobile job applications surpassed the number of applications submitted from desktop computers. Smartphones have become increasingly integrated into our daily lives, so the number of people applying for jobs via mobile devices will only continue to rise. When posting your available position, make sure your job posting is accessible on mobile devices; this will allow you to reach the largest pool of candidates possible. Consider utilizing your company’s social media platforms to reach a larger audience and inform people about your new job opening.

Remember that job boards are an excellent tool for employers, especially ones looking to target professionals in a specific industry. Smaller, niche job boards allow companies to find more qualified candidates locally in their industry more quickly than traditional job boards open to a broader audience.

Tips for Writing a Job Description that Attracts More Qualified Candidates

Your job description is your first chance to connect with top talent, and we know that first impressions matter. With a little upfront effort, you can craft just the right job description to bring a wide range of highly talented candidates into your pipeline — and ensure you’re not turning off talent before they even apply.

When writing an effective job description, it is essential to find a balance between providing just enough detail so candidates understand the role and who your company is while keeping your description concise enough to keep the potential candidates’ attention.

Use these tips below to create a compelling job listing.

Job Title

Make your job titles clear and specific. Indeed found in their 2020 survey that 36% of job seekers that use job sites search for a job using the title of the job they’re generally looking for. For example, if your company is looking to hire a Call Center Agent and advertise a position for a “Sales & Marketing Specialist,” you’ll likely attract the wrong people and miss out on truly qualified candidates.

Having trouble filling those “rockstar” roles? Trade those flashy job titles for job titles that are easily searchable and accurately describe the role. Non-traditional job titles like “Rockstar Engineer” or “Unicorn Designer” might sound cool and seemingly set your company apart, but they’re ultimately unrealistic and potentially misleading. Not to mention, that’s probably not what your ideal candidate is searching for.

Responsibilities and Duties

Outline the core responsibilities

According to 62% of employers, the #1 challenge they faced when hiring was getting too many applications from unqualified candidates. Emphasizing the duties that may be unique to your organization will help bring in more qualified candidates. For example, if your company is looking to fill the “Administrative Assistant” role and the position requires social media/marketing experience, including this detail will ensure candidates understand the requirements and determine if they’re qualified for the role.

Highlight the day-to-day activities

Help potential candidates visualize a typical day at work. Break down the responsibilities into short, concise job duties. Rather than using a vague description (e.g., “You will be responsible for the Digital Marketing department, metric reporting, etc.”) describe specific responsibilities expected of this team member.

Responsibilities for Digital Marketing Manager

  • Develop strategies that drive customers to the website
  • Improve the design, UX, traffic, and content of the website
  • Use advanced metrics to measure the success of a marketing campaign

Specify how the position fits into the organization

It’s important to be clear about who the role reports to and how this person will function within your organization. If applicable, indicate if this role has any type of supervisory responsibility that is expected. By providing this information, candidates can see a bigger picture and understand how their potential new role can impact your company. 

Qualifications and Skills

Hard skills are teachable abilities or skill sets that are easy to quantify. Typically, these are learned in the classroom, through training materials or certifications, or directly on the job with years of experience. Your job description should have a section that lists necessary “hard skill” requirements. This can include education, previous job experience, certifications, and technical skills.

However, soft skills are subjective skills that are much harder to quantify. Sometimes referred to as “people skills” or “interpersonal skills,” soft skills are related to an individual’s personality, people skills, and work ethic. Your job description may also include in the requirements that certain “soft skills” are a must! For example, team-player, decision-making, problem-solving, time management, or critical thinker.

If you’re receiving more job applicants than you can adequately review, your job description may mislead applicants about who you’re looking for. Consider creating a must-have list stating the minimum qualifications required for the role.

Listing a specific salary or salary range

Salary or pay transparency is the practice of sharing your company’s compensation figures with others. This comes in two forms, partial pay transparency, and full pay transparency.

The most common example of partial pay transparency is seeing a salary range listed within a job description. Full pay transparency is when a company decides to disclose exact compensation numbers for each employee at the organization. Typically, if companies opt for full pay transparency, they choose to keep this information visible internally.

Pay Transparency Laws

Since 2018, 10 states and cities have put pay transparency laws into place, the latest being Washington state, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Depending on where your company is located, it may be required by law that you must include a salary or salary range in the job description. The shift toward greater salary transparency has recently been a hot topic among advocates and legislators (and job seekers).

While equal pay laws have existed in nearly every state for many years, laws requiring pay transparency are relatively new. This increased demand for transparency is a continued push toward pay equity. On average, women only make 81% of what a man makes, and that gap is even wider for minority women. As a company looking to hire qualified talent, providing pay transparency will not only help with your recruiting process but will also help you retain your top talent as well.

Perks and Benefits

Now more than ever, job seekers are looking at the perks and benefits that are being offered by companies. Beyond standard benefits, what else are you offering to your employees? Highlighting your top benefits and perks will get potential candidates excited about your open role! Some unique perks worth exploring are unlimited PTO, gym memberships, a pet-friendly workplace, commuter benefits, and much more!

Whether hiring for one role or multiple roles within your organization, reevaluating your underperforming job description(s) can help your company overcome some of the most common hiring challenges. A well-written job description will help you attract the right candidates for your open position, ultimately saving you time and money! 

The Cost of Candidate Ghosting – And What You Can Do About It

A phenomenon known as candidate ghosting is on the rise in which prospective candidates and new hires simply stop responding and engaging with an employer. This practice is becoming more common, and your business likely has had its fair share of ghosting. You are not alone. Many firms report this problem from early candidate contact through new employees.

Ghosting can create a lot of problems for your business. A substantial amount of time and effort goes into the candidate recruitment process. When you spend time courting one candidate to have them disappear suddenly, you waste that time. This increases the length of the candidate hiring process and decreases productivity as the position remains unfilled. Fortunately, there are things you can do to improve your candidate recruitment and hiring processes and limit ghosting. Try these methods to reduce the likelihood of ghosting and attract the best candidates to your business.

Target Recruitment Efforts

One reason people ghost prospective employers involve an incompatibility with the position or a difference in expectations. To reduce the amount of candidate ghosting you endure, you need to focus your recruitment efforts on the candidates most likely to accept the position and stay engaged throughout. Post your ads on job boards with agencies that specialize in the field. Tailoring the process upfront means speaking to people who already know the jargon in the field and can understand the expectations. This also means that you need to be as clear as possible about the position and your company in your job ad. Discuss the kind of person who excels in the position, the company culture, and the specific tasks involved. Avoid vague comments so that candidates know better whether the position matches their skills and goals.

Streamline the Recruitment Process

When your talent recruitment process is too long or unclear, candidates are more likely to take another position. This is especially true when candidates field multiple job offers. You can avoid ghosting by shortening your hiring process and relaying the schedule to candidates. Putting multiple barriers in their way during the hiring process makes it more difficult for candidates to stay engaged. Limit the number of interviews you hold. Try not to have the same candidate more than a few times. During the interview, address key aspirations candidates have and how feasible those are within your company. When you start the interview process, have key deadlines in mind. Let the candidates know when they can hear back from you and the process for candidate selection. Most importantly, stick to the timeline as much as possible. If there is a delay in the process, let your candidates know right away. Consider software that allows candidates to track their position in the process online.

Personalize Candidate Communications

Although it is a good idea to automate initial receipts of job applications, depersonalizing the rest of the hiring process can lead to an increase in ghosting. When coordinating times for the interview, send a personal email instead of an autogenerated email. Appoint the same person to interact with particular candidates to build a relationship. This way, candidates feel responsible to someone and have a single contact if they want to end their candidature. Send personal communications after the interview that reinforce the next steps. If you sense a candidate is trying to ghost you, send them a quick email that contains an interesting article or anecdote from a conversation in the interview. Be aware that for younger candidates, non-verbal communication platforms, such as social media or text messaging, can be a more effective way to communicate.

Create an Early Onboarding Process

Once you select a candidate, you still face the danger of ghosting in the early employment stages. Reduce the chance of this occurring by integrating an early employee onboarding process within your talent recruitment procedures. Set a start date as soon as possible. Before the start date, including the new hires in company social events. Have them come into the office to meet their new team. Organize a coffee social or lunch so new hires can engage with their new team members and management. Require new hires to start their paperwork early. Create an online system to complete their human resources paperwork while they wait to start their job. Make new hires feel like they are a part of your company from the moment they accept your offer.

Instead of stemming from malice, candidate ghosting often comes from a lack of communication and relationship with the prospective employer. As candidates have lots of options in a thriving economy, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the number of offers. By implementing changes in your talent recruitment process, you can save time and money by decreasing the chances of ghosting. Use these methods to target top talent and recruit reliable candidates.

Tips to Make Your Resume Stand Out in a Competitive Job Market

Whether you’re a recent graduate crafting your first resume or you’ve been in the workforce for years, your resume is likely to be the first thing you reach for when applying to jobs. There are a few tips and tricks to follow that can help you “beat the bots,” tips to help make excellent first impressions, and ultimately help you move further along in the interview process!

But wait, what is an Applicant Tracking System? An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is software that companies and recruiting agencies use to store, sort, and ultimately select candidates for consideration. It is a searchable database that recruiters use to find the best-matched candidates for the role or roles that are currently available.

How likely is it that companies are using an ATS, and how do you know if they are? Research from Capterra found that 75% of recruiters use some type of recruiting or applicant tracking system in the hiring process. Data from Jobscan found that over 99% of Fortune 500 companies use an ATS program when hiring new employees. It makes sense that companies are using applicant tracking systems because they can save users a ton of time!

If you are curious if a company is using an ATS or not, the easiest way to tell is to visit the company’s careers/jobs page. Most pages or job postings will be branded somewhere with the vendor’s logo. If no branding is present, hover your mouse over the “Apply” button and look at the bottom corner of your browser window. If the company is using an applicant tracking system or other recruiting software, the domain will indicate the vendor.

To help make sure your resume is ATS-friendly, follow these tips below:


At its core, what any applicant tracking system is programmed to do when it “reads” a resume is the same as what a person would do: It’s scanning for key pieces of information to find out whether or not a candidate is a match for a job opening.

When a resume is submitted through an ATS, the application is stored as an entry in its database. Recruiters can then log into the ATS and search for those applicants whose resumes contain keywords related to the job opening, such as skills, qualifications, experience, or qualities that are most important for performing the job.

Pro tip: Review the job posting you’re applying to and utilize notable keywords and phrases that relate to your own experience.

Remember, you won’t be the only person who will be using these keywords to “beat the bots,” so make sure you work on your specific personal achievements to help connect with the recruiter who will eventually view your resume. Tailoring your resume to specific milestones and achievements is what is going to make you stand out from the crowd!


In addition to making sure that your resume has the right content for an applicant tracking system, you also need to make sure the ATS can make sense of the information and deliver it to the person on the other end in a readable form. Reports show that recruiters spend an average of five seconds reviewing your resume.

Among the three common resume formats you can choose from—chronological, combination, and functional—ATSs are programmed to prefer the first two. Additionally, recruiters tend to prefer chronological and combination formats as well.

Pro Tip: Making a resume that is ATS-friendly will help make your resume easier to read for recruiters.


The saying “less is more” couldn’t be more accurate when discussing formatting your ATS-friendly resume. For your resume to make it past the first round of reviews by the software, there are a few key elements that you’ll want to avoid.

To begin, you’ll want your document to be a text-only file, this will allow the ATS to easily scan your resume for relevant keywords that recruiters are looking for. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid using columns. ATSs are programmed to read left to right, some will read columns straight across rather than reading each column top to bottom.

Pro Tip: Avoid the use of graphs, tables, text boxes, dividers, images, hyperlinks, headers, and footers when creating an ATS-friendly resume.

To further your chances of making it past the applicant tracking system, utilize conventional section headings like “Education,” “Work Experience,” and “Technical Skills,”. An ATS is programmed to sort your information with common labels.

Finally, when formatting your resume, stick to universal system fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria. Decorative fonts or intricate fonts may have a negative effect on your resume, especially when it comes to readability by the ATS. Even if your resume makes it to the desk of the recruiter, it may get overlooked because it appears difficult to read.

Choosing the Right File Type

There are two widely accepted file types out there, Docx and pdf, but each file type has its pros and cons. Pdfs are known for keeping formatting intact, and if you’re sending your resume directly to the recruiter or hiring manager this is a great option. In many cases, applicant tracking systems can’t convert the file to extract the text from your resume. As a result, your resume file may be deemed “unusable” and then discarded.

If you’re submitting your resume through a company website, job board, or an online portal, you’ll want to make sure your resume is easily searchable by this software. In this case, you’ll want to save your document and upload a .docx file. According to Jon Shields, marketing manager for Jobscan, “DOCX files are much easier for applicant tracking software to parse into a digital applicant profile…There’s simply more that can go wrong when an ATS scans a PDF”.

Pro Tip: If the job posting has specific directions on how to submit your resume for consideration, be sure to follow those instructions.

On average, 75% of resumes do not make it past the ATS. When updating your resume, follow these tips to help you craft an ATS-friendly resume that can ultimately help secure your next interview and land you your dream job!

Bonus pro tip: Spend at least one to two hours hour each month looking at areas on your resume in need of improvement. For example, you may have received a promotion or completed a new certification or continuing education course. Be sure to add these accomplishments along the way.

4 Ways a Professional Association Can Help You Find a Job

If you are currently on the hunt for a job opportunity, are you aware of the benefits that come from joining a professional association? Do you know what kind of opportunities await you?

Professional associations are the perfect place for dedicated professionals to advance their careers and continue their education surrounded by like-minded individuals that share the same passion for their careers. These associations offer many benefits that will support your desire to become an influential presence in your field. 

Here are 4 ways a professional association can help you find a job:

  1. Networking & Leadership Opportunities
  2. Continuing Education Opportunities
  3. Access to Mentor Programs
  4. Niche Job Boards

Networking & Leadership Opportunities

One of the many perks association members receive are the exclusive networking and leadership opportunities. As a member, you gain access to virtual, in-person, and hybrid networking events that can help grow your network. Building a network can help you solve challenges in your industry, discover new best practices, and connect to job opportunities you may not have otherwise known about. 

Networking events are great places for sharing ideas and information with colleagues to learn about their perspectives and experiences. Virtual networking can make this a little more challenging, but many associations and members have seen great success using LinkedIn pages or other online community platforms to connect with colleagues. When you make a connection with peers in your field, you have the opportunity to advance your career. This happens once a connection is established and a professional relationship starts to build. The more effort you put into your professional relationships, the more you’ll get out of it. 

Becoming actively involved within your association not only opens up networking opportunities, but it can also help you develop valuable leadership skills. Many professional organizations are dedicated to leadership or even offer leadership educational opportunities. When you do become a member, you might also be eligible for tuition discounts or educational scholarships offered by the association as a high value benefit. 

Continuing Education Opportunities

Another reason to join a professional association is the access to continuing education opportunities like certifications and courses. Earning certifications is critical for continuing competency in your profession and not to mention, this is an essential step in advancing your industry.

In the era of virtual learning, associations give you access to online certifications, which makes achieving these certifications less complicated for working job seekers and students. Some associations even offer discounted rates for certifications and other educational courses!

What is also great about joining a professional association is the access to speciality journals, magazines, professional or peer-reviewed publications and newsletters with industry-related information. Having this kind of information at your fingertips will help you stay up-to-date and knowledgeable about all things industry-related, making you a well-informed candidate and future employee. 

Access to Mentor Programs 

Associations are the perfect place to find experts who can help you advance your knowledge and skill set to grow professionally. Each mentor’s range of expertise and years of experience can provide you with a plethora of resources to get you to the next level in your career. 

They can give you tips and advice on which certifications or courses to take, which programs to enroll in, companies to apply to that are looking for candidates like you and much more. Mentors have a wealth of knowledge that can guide you through your career path and help you when you hit a bump in the road. They have been through and seen it all, so learning from a mentor will be extremely rewarding and beneficial for your career development. 

Niche Job Boards

An association’s job board is more effective for job search than a massive job board because they only focus on posting jobs that are relevant to your industry, whereas massive job boards have hundreds of industries they serve. When you are searching for a job on an association’s job board, you confidently know you are exposed to high quality employers and career options. 

Additional benefits include the option to create a job seeker profile where you can upload your resume, cover letter, recommendation letters, display certifications and manage your applications all in one platform. This makes it much easier for employers to find you, assess your qualifications and quickly contact you to set up interviews. You, as the job seeker, can sign up for job alert email notifications that send relevant job opportunities directly to your inbox when an employer posts a job that meets your preferred criteria. 

When you join a professional association, you’ll be able to access jobs that are specific to your area of interest without the headache of searching through massive job boards to find those types of jobs. These associations will understand the market on an intricate level, giving you top employers and job opportunities on a regular basis.

7 Tips to Help You Land a Job at a Virtual Career Fair

Whether you’re a seasoned employee in your industry, a recent college graduate or somewhere in between, job searching at a virtual career fair is new territory for all. How are you supposed to make a great first impression, create meaningful connections with potential employers and stand out from other candidates when you can’t meet recruiters face to face? 

The key here is to take the same concepts you would use at an in-person career fair but modify them to fit in the virtual world of recruiting and job hunting. You can still create those personal connections with employers despite being separated by a computer – it will just take some getting used to!

Here are 7 tips to help you find a job during a virtual career fair. 

  1. Do Your Research 
  2. Update Your Resume
  3. Schedule Interviews with Employers
  4. Practice Your Elevator Pitch
  5. Create a List of Questions 
  6. Stay Organized
  7. Follow Up

Do Your Research 

Once you’ve decided to attend your association’s virtual career fair, research the employers that will also be attending and looking to hire qualified candidates like yourself. Visit their employer profile (if they have one with your association) and check out the jobs they have posted on the career center. From there, you can easily view the types of positions they are looking to fill and you can determine if any of them are of interest to you that you’d like to interview for. 

After you’ve made a list of the potential employers and jobs you want to pursue, browse their websites and LinkedIn pages to learn more about their company, what products or services they sell, company culture and more. A helpful way to find out more about their company culture is to read online reviews from current and previous employees. This will help you better understand the environment, management and co-workers you’ll be working with and determine if this is still a good fit for you. 

Update Your Resume

When was the last time you updated or refreshed your resume? If it’s been a while, be sure to take a look and update it with any information or work-related experiences that will make you stand out from other candidates. Recent graduates should consider any internship experiences they’ve had, class work or projects that are relevant to the position, or other jobs held where those skills would translate to desired positions in your industry. Also consider any online courses or certifications you’ve received that would make you a more marketable candidate. Things like software or program certifications will be very attractive to recruiters since they won’t have to spend as much time training you in the programs they use regularly. 

Another option is to create variations of your resume that are tailored to specific employers or job descriptions. For example, if you are applying to a few different jobs within the same industry, but have different job descriptions and desired skill or work experiences, you can develop different versions of your resume so you hit on all the major points that a specific company is looking for.

Schedule Interviews with Employers 

Now that you have your list of employers and an updated resume, start reaching out to employers to schedule interview times with them. Be sure to keep track of who accepts your requests and get them scheduled in your calendar so you don’t accidentally double book. This will help you plan out your days and give you enough time to prepare for each interview. 

Also, be on the lookout for employers reaching out to you for interviews. If you have a job seeker profile set up through your associations job board, make sure your updated resume is readily available and share your contact information. 

Practice Your Elevator Pitch

As cliché as it may sound, practicing your elevator pitch in front of the mirror or with a friend will help you nail that first impression. It’s important to capture the recruiter’s attention and efficiently convey your qualifications for the position. When you feel comfortable with what you want to say, the message will be concise and you’ll sound more professional. It also shows that you have invested time and energy into the interview, which many recruiters will notice and appreciate. 

Start your pitch by sharing the relevant work experience and highlight the skills you have that the recruiter is looking for in a candidate. Be sure to reference the job post to use keywords and phrases that pertain to your qualifications. This shows once again you’ve taken the time to research the position and prepare for the interview. If you are a recent graduate, your pitch will be slightly different. You’ll want to introduce yourself and follow with your major, year in school and area of interest, followed by any work-related experiences you’ve had that qualify you for the position. 

Once you feel comfortable and confident with your pitch, you’re ready for the real deal!

Create a List of Questions

As you interview with multiple employers, have a list of 2 to 3 questions to ask them, but be sure to tailor the questions to each employer and job description. This helps you better understand the role and the company so you can make an informed decision about your career path. This is where your research from earlier will come in handy, but also make sure the questions you ask could not be easily answered from their website. Well thought out questions go a long way with recruiters and shows you put in the time and effort to prepare. 

Some examples of insightful questions to ask are:

  1. What kind of challenges have previous employees faced in this role or what challenges do you believe a person in this role will face?
  2. Are there any growth opportunities within this position?
  3. What skills or characteristics do you believe it takes to be successful in this role?
  4. How will success in this role be measured? 

If you are a recent graduate, some questions you may also want to ask are:

  1. How has your degree prepared you for your current position?
  2. What do you like most about your role and working at (insert company name here)?
  3. How have your college experiences prepared you for your career?

Stay Organized 

As stated before, keep your calendar updated so you can keep track of your interview schedule  and attend other workshops during the career fair (if offered). This helps take the stress out of your week and easily see what you need to do next. 

Since your interviews will be conducted virtually, test any of the video conferencing tools you’ll be using the day before to make sure they are working correctly so you’re prepared for any mishaps that could take place. Familiarize yourself with the platform and any functions you’ll need to use like muting, screen sharing, and more. 

During your actual interviews, take notes of your conversations with the interviewers. Write down things you liked and disliked about the role or the company. When you refer back to your notes later, this will help determine which roles you want to pursue and the pros and cons that come with each position. 

Follow Up

Following up with employers after you’ve interviewed or talked with them is a crucial step in landing a job. A day or two after your interview, send the recruiter a follow up email thanking them for their time. Since they have probably interviewed many people in that short period of time, reintroduce yourself and use your notes to include personal anecdotes within the email so they can also easily recall your conversation. If you have examples of your work, be sure to link to them or include them as attachments.

Some examples of personalizing your email are including a topic you discussed that you both had interest in or a memory from, or anything you enjoyed about the conversation that was memorable. Let them know if you’d be interested in moving forward with any potential next steps in the interview process with something as simple as “I look forward to hearing back from you about any next steps.” This helps speed the process up so they know you are interested in the position.

4 Virtual Ways to Grow Your Network with a Professional Association

If you are a job seeker or work with a professional association, you understand the importance of building relationships and growing your network to advance your career and the industry you work in. Given the current situation, job seekers must adapt to these changes and find new ways to network with other professionals in their field. 

With some help from technology and professional associations, job seekers can seamlessly immerse themselves into a virtual networking world that fosters professional growth and advances the industry. 

Here are 4 ways you can virtually grow your network by joining a professional association:

  1. Attend Virtual Events
  2. Join an Online Community 
  3. Engage with Peers on Social Media 
  4. Utilize Association Job Boards 

Attend Virtual Events

It is important to build your network with meaningful connections to remain top of mind so when new positions become available, your peers think of you and refer you for the job. Experts say that between 70 – 85% of people found their current position because of networking, so it’s safe to say that building relationships with peers can play a huge role in your career progression. 

Joining a professional association relieves the burden of finding networking opportunities since they host these kinds of events regularly and you can trust they will connect you with influential people. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits that comes from networking within a professional association is the ability to connect with peers from all over the world with diverse backgrounds in education and experience which offers a great way to gain different perspectives and improve your knowledge. 

Here are some examples of virtual networking events professional associations might host:

  1. Annual association meetings
  2. Members-only happy hours
  3. Career Fairs 
  4. Networking mixers

Join an Online Community

Online communities are an authentic space where professionals can communicate with one another (and association staff members) to share ideas, offer advice and foster relationships with other passionate industry professionals. Interactions on the platform can be anything from asking “help desk” related questions for association login problems, to sharing industry information and more. 

Being active on an association’s online community will help build your network as you continue to engage with your peers and keep your name relevant within the community. Also, online communities are an easy way to find relevant virtual networking events that your peers are attending or events your association is hosting internally. 

Engage with Peers on Social Media 

Similar to an online community platform, social media networking on your associations page or other industry-related pages is an effective way to grow your network. 

For example, if your association has a LinkedIn page, consider sharing, commenting and tagging your peers in their posts to start conversations within your community. Since LinkedIn is a more professional social networking medium compared to others, it is a great space to interact with other serious professionals and add them to your network. Also, LinkedIn is all about adding connections, so that makes it an even better place to manage your connections and display them with pride. 

Social media has the power to connect you with professionals all around the world and connect with people outside of your association, as well. Being able to connect with peers outside of your immediate network circle (which includes your association and place of employment) gives you access to supplemental information and job opportunities, but also allows you to refer them to your association so they can share their wealth of knowledge with a greater audience of your peers. You can make these connections by following relevant hashtags or other industry pages, commenting on those posts or creating your own posts to start conversations and gradually build your network. 

Utilize Association Job Boards

Association job boards make the job hunting and employer networking process easier for all professionals since you have direct access to industry-related jobs, better ways to search for those jobs, and can find jobs that are specific to sub professions and specialities. You can also trust that your association is providing quality employers that will meet your specifications and help you advance in your career. On the job board, you can create a job seeker profile that gives employers easy access to your resume, references, certifications and qualifications as they search for potential candidates. A job seeker profile can greatly expand your network with recruiters since they can easily view your profile and reach out to schedule interviews. 

Access to an association’s job board will also be helpful when networking during their virtual career fair. Before the event, you can browse the employers that are attending, view their open positions on their employer page, and connect with recruiters online if their company and position fits your needs. Some virtual career fair platforms even provide the option to reach out to employers to schedule interviews ahead of time! Employers attending the career fair will have the option to view your job seeker profile and reach out to you for interviews as well, making it effortless to grow your network. 

5 Tips to Help You Succeed in Your First Week of Employment

To be successful in week one of your new position, it’s all about balance. You want to make a great first impression with your co-workers, but you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to get everything right. The goal of week one is to learn about your new workplace and feel out your role in that environment.

Here are 5 tips to help you get through your first week on the job. 

Introduce yourself

Your first week on the job can be nerve wracking and intimidating, but that’s a natural feeling. When you’re new to the company, you don’t necessarily want to bring attention to yourself, but in the first days of a new job, you want your enthusiasm to be noticed. During a meeting (when appropriate) or on your own time, give a quick and friendly introduction to the people you don’t know yet.

If meeting new people is particularly important to you, you can enlist the help of others. Mention to your manager that introducing yourself is a priority for you and ask for a list of people you should get to know. In meetings, you could ask the organizer to give you some time at the beginning or end to introduce yourself.

Ask Questions 

When you ask more questions to become more comfortable with your new work environment, you can perform, By asking your leaders and peers for new information, you’ll get up to speed quickly. In your first week, you want to find the right time to ask questions. Here are some guidelines for deciding what to ask:

  1. Think about what you want to know
  2. Prioritize the information you need
  3. Write down your questions so you don’t forget

Create Friendships 

Once you’ve made some introductions and have a sense of who you’ll be working with, ask a new colleague to lunch or coffee. It could be the person sitting next to you or another new employee who started at the same time. Developing a trusted relationship will make you feel more comfortable as you’re getting to know this new workplace. Making friends can also help improve your productivity!

During this first week, you may not find your best friend or develop a deep relationship with anyone, but seeking out someone you can relate to will provide some needed stability.

Learn Your Office Layout and Location 

Locate the restrooms, the coffee and water, the stairs and elevators, where you can eat lunch and take breaks, and seek out any other amenities this workplace offers. If you haven’t been given a tour, consider asking a colleague for one.

In this first week, you may also want to experiment with your commute to find the right times to leave home and test different routes or transportation methods. Identifying and establishing the routines early on will give you peace of mind.

Add Value Wherever You Can

In your first week, your main priority should be to soak up information and adjust to a new place of employment, but consider challenging yourself to add value – whether it’s big or small. Here are two ideas of where to start:

  1. Ask your manager what their biggest pain point is and spend some time thinking about how you can help. Don’t force it or overstep boundaries, but if there’s something you can do, do it!
  2. Think back to your interview – was there a specific need that came up? Communicate with your manager on how you would approach solving this problem or need.