Category Archives: Resumes

RESUME GAPS IN THE NEW CAREER MARKETPLACE

Concerned about gaps in your resume? When was the last time you fret over the time between your favorite recording artist’s gap between albums? You were probably more excited about what had changed and listening to the new songs. Many musicians have had long spans of time between the release dates of consecutive studio albums. Here are just a few:

· Bob Seger: 10+ years between It’s a Mystery (1995) and Face the Promise (2006)
· The Rolling Stones: 11+ years between A Bigger Bang (2005) and Blue & Lonesome (2016)
· The Who: 13+ years between Endless Wire (2006) and Who (2019)
· The Band: 16+ years between Islands (1977) and Jericho (1993)
· Steve Miller Band: 17+ years between Wide River (1993) and Bingo! (2010)
· Pink Floyd: 20+ years between The Division Bell (1994) and The Endless River (2014)
· The Who: 24+ years between It’s Hard (1982) and Endless Wire (2006)
· The Yardbirds: 35+ years between Little Games (1967) and Birdland (2003)
· Bob Weir: 38+ years between Heaven Help the Fool (1978) and Blue Mountain (2016)

While gaps in professional resumes have usually been a red flag for all the wrong reasons, an experienced professional returning to work today after a gap means far less than it once did; especially during Covid when many workers have productively used this time (like recording artists) to hone and diversify their skills and explore new opportunities.

As much as you might worry about gaps in your resume, employers are much more focused on The Great Resignation and things like flex/hybrid work arrangements and retention. Resumes that would have once been rejected because of gaps have now become the norm. Because of the pandemic, employers are not surprised to see gaps during that period or consider them negatives. They are the new normal. And for older workers concerned about the triple whammy of Covid, job gaps, and ageism, with younger employees far more likely to quit their jobs, seasoned professionals are becoming all the rage. Loyalty and dependability are the new career currency.

Cover letters and interviews are ideal communication vehicles for explaining job gaps, so long as the explanations are direct, honest, and speak to how you used the time, such as documenting new skills you’ve learned, volunteer work you’ve engaged in, or how you used the time to raise a new family AND earned micro-certifications while being a new parent. Fuel your reasons by explaining how what you did reflects a strong desire to get back to work or pivot to a new field. Think of your transferable skills as your “best of.”

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Your Job Title Can Make Your Resume a Hit

Among the platinum-selling songs that Jimmy Webb has written are “Up, Up and Away”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, “Worst That Could Happen”, “All I Know”, and “MacArthur Park”. Inherent to his songwriting genius is that he always starts with the song title before writing a single lyric. For Webb, lyrics are constructed to tell a clear story based upon the title. So, too, résumés. Continue reading Your Job Title Can Make Your Resume a Hit

The Ring of Your Resume

The purpose of a résumé is to generate interest in scheduling the interview and, as such, is like the trailer to a movie: give the prospective employer enough to readily see your candidacy “fit” and motivate them to schedule you for an interview to learn more. That is where and when you can drill-down. A good trailer excites potential filmgoers just enough to make them want to go see the movie without giving away all the details. The same goes for a résumé. The running time of the movie trilogy The Ring was 11.2 hours. The trailer ran a mere 1:49. The film grossed $2.9 billion. Continue reading The Ring of Your Resume

Here’s Why You Should Update Your Resume Now

If the most recent version of your resume is on a floppy disc in that lower drawer of your desk that you only venture into when it’s the place of last resort for finding something you’ve lost, it’s definitely time to update it (as well as save it on the Cloud!).

If you’re like most professionals, you only update your resume when you choose to or have to begin a new job search. When you’re at one job for several years, you can become comfortable and forget what areas of professional growth were important to you as a job seeker. Updating your resume regularly can expose the gaps in your skills and experience and reinvigorate your desire for career self-improvement. There are compelling reasons to regularly review your resume to ensure it’s ready to use at a moment’s notice. Here’s why: Continue reading Here’s Why You Should Update Your Resume Now

THE KEY TO RESUME KEYWORDS

Keyword Density: “On-page SEO” is the practice of optimizing individual web pages in order to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic in search engines.  When used correctly, it can help attract search engines and boost a page’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). When ignored, it can keep a page from ranking or even result in a search penalty, removing it from SERPs altogether. Keyword density is an element of keyword optimization that refers to the number of times a target keyword is used on a webpage.  If you’re an aspiring marketer, learning how to calculate keyword density is fairly easy. You simply take the number of times the target keyword appears on a page and divide it by the total number of words on the page: Continue reading THE KEY TO RESUME KEYWORDS

11 Resume Tips for 2021

To get the interview for your next career move, your résumé has to communicate that you are the ideal candidate. Here are 11 résumé tips for selling yourself in 2021:

  1. Prerequisite: format the entire résumé to make it ATS-friendly and focus on keyword matching to the specific job posting. ATS “reads” resumes like human beings (right to left/top to bottom) so make sure your work history starts with your most recent or current position. Although there are three common resume formats (chronological, combination, and functional), ATS prefers the first two, as do recruiters. Telling your career story and progression lends itself to a chronological résumé and a non-chronological functional résumé  wreaks havoc with ATS which doesn’t know how to sort experience without a clear work history to draw from. The main job of ATS is to scan your résumé for relevant keywords by converting it to a text-only file. So, get rid of fancy formatting like tables, graphs, charts, photos, logos, headers, footers, images, full page columns and uncommon section headings.  Stick to a universal font like Arial, Tahoma, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, or Cambria and avoid fonts you need to download which the ATS may have trouble parsing. On the other hand, feel free to bold and underline your headers with a font size of 11 with the rest of the text at 10. Italics are also ATS-friendly as is underlining. I would avoid putting any text in colors; not that ATS can’t read it but it’s going to reduce everything to black anyway. Bullets are preferred over long-winded narrative so stick to the standard circle- or square-shaped ones. One-inch all-around on your margins is the best way to go and I like to set my line spacing options at 12 exactly.
  2. “Above the fold” refers to the upper half of the front page of a newspaper or tabloid where an important news story or photograph is located. Use this approach for your résumé because recruiters average only 6-11 seconds visually glancing to see if they want to read  on. When they do, don’t fall into the deadfall trap that your résumé has to be on one page. Your résumé needs to market you effectively and include enough about you to prove you’re qualified for the job without overwhelming the reader. Résumé length can vary based on factors like experience, field, and the job you’re applying for. Two to three pages is the standard length for résumés in 2021 to fit all keywords, experience, and skills. If you’re concerned that a longer résumé will slow down a hiring manager during their six-second résumé test, the “six-second” figure comes from a review after an ATS scan has determined your fit for the position. Recent studies suggest that recruiters are 2.3x more likely to prefer a résumé that’s more than one page and includes all of your relevant experience, achievements, education, certifications and professional development.
  3. Your headline should match the title of the position you’re applying to. Position titles are among the most commonly searched ATS keywords.
  4. Use the summary to succinctly highlight your professional skills and experience. Laser focus on the unique, transferable value you can bring to the specific role you’re applying for.
  5. Follow your summary with a core skills section so that readers can easily scan your relevant competencies. This is a key section of your résumé because SKILLS = KEYWORDS and enhance how you match with a job description.
  6. If you’re applying online, avoid graphic elements like charts, graphs, tables and shaded areas. It confuses ATS which “sees” them as photos and can’t “read” them. It’s best to send a résumé as a Word doc if you are applying through a public job board or company career page. If you’re sending it to someone you know via email, PDF is fine. Otherwise, use Word.
  7. Generally, it is reasonable to go back 10 – 15 years in your work history unless you’ve been with a company longer than that and you can demonstrate a progressive ladder of success.
  8. Avoid run-on paragraphs when describing your professional experience. Instead, use bullet points to tailor your transferable achievements to what the prospective employer is looking for. Avoid the “everything but the kitchen sink” approach. Stick to those achievements and competencies that are most relevant. Demonstrate the impact you’ve made and quantify (objectify) it wherever possible.
  9. Avoid outdated résumé information like your street address and References Upon Request.
  10. Spell check until it hurts and then spell check again.
  11. Include a cover letter with your résumé and send it to a specific person in your target company (eg, Vice President of Human Resources or Director of Talent Acquisition) to expand your candidate visibility.

About Garrison Leykam, PhD:

Certified Business Coach (Expert Level)
Certified Remote Work Professional
Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC)
Certified Professional, Résumé Writer (CPRW)
Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP)
Certified Life Coach (Expert Level)
PhD Marketing, MA Psychology
LinkedIn profile in Top 25 MA, PhD profiles in U.S.
Top 1% LinkedIn Industry Social Selling Index
Author, Audacious at Any Age and Design You

ARE YOU A T-SHAPE OR I-SHAPE JOB CANDIDATE?

T-shaped skills are referred to in job recruitment to describe the abilities of candidates. The vertical bar of the T refers to expert knowledge and experience in one particular area. The horizontal top of the T refers to an ability to collaborate with experts in other disciplines. Immensely empathetic T-shaped individuals can see through others’ eyes, walk in their shoes, listen actively, and create solutions that build on their ideas. They shine in diverse, collaborative teams and standout among recruiters and hiring managers compared to I-shaped job applicants. Continue reading ARE YOU A T-SHAPE OR I-SHAPE JOB CANDIDATE?