Archive for the ‘Resume and Interviews’ Category

Book makes national papers: How to enjoy your job…even without it!

January 27, 2009

In the last week I have been laid off, and have found another fulltime position. I was also interviewed for MX, a commuter newspaper for Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia. They used tips from my book, “How to Enjoy Your Job” to help people looking for work, and I took my own advice! 

Here’s the article and the full page is below. 

MX article 27 Jan 09Here’s the full article. 

MX 27 Jan 09

Resume Tips: 7 Ways to Update your Resume

November 27, 2008

There used to be a “job for life” but now it is more common to change jobs and companies every 2-3 years, and to change careers several times in a working life. In a fast paced job market it is important to keep your resume up to date and ready to send out if opportunity arises. Here are 7 ways you can keep your resume up to date and stay on top of new technologies being used for recruitment.

1.    Keep a Master resume but make each application specific. Use your Master as a template each time but ruthlessly cut out irrelevant content for each application. Create a copy of the master and then cut out the sections that don’t apply or summarise large blocks into sections with relevant information. Highlight the skills and experience most applicable to the job near the beginning of the document. List any specific projects, skills, awards or experience you have gained that are relevant for the role.


2.    Use active language to describe your role e.g. Developed, Managed, Gained, Sold. These words force you to assess exactly what you did and make your achievement stand out. Make your experience positive even if you had a difficult time. You will find that you have learnt something useful from every job. Don’t avoid long absences if you had time off for having children, or to travel or study. Include this time with the benefits and skills it has given you that can help in this job.

3.    Use a professional layout as first impressions count.  Most applications are now done on email with an attachment or through online forms. Make sure your fonts and page layout are easy to read with enough white space to read easily on a computer. Don’t shrink your font size if you want to cram more information in. Either cut down on your content, or add extra pages. Save the final version into PDF format for online resumes so that formatting doesn’t change on download. There are plenty of freelancers online who can do this if you can’t. Check out and get it professionally done.


4.    Create an online professional resume at This is fast becoming the website to post your resume, get referred and find jobs at the group pages. You can load a full resume or attach a document, presentation or link to where you have posted your full page. Make sure you include a recent professional photo as this gives a good impression. As many employers search online now, Google yourself and make sure that all your online hits are professional ones. If you have a personal website, make sure it is also professional.


5.    Make the details count. Make sure your contact details are up to date and include an email address and mobile phone number. Check page numbers, margins and headings to ensure consistency. When emailing your resume, make sure you include your name in the filename e.g. JohnSmith_Resume.pdf so it doesn’t get lost on download.


6.    Update your references. In a technological world, it is easy to fake qualifications, so recommendations are still important. Take off old referees and include your most recent ones with updated contact information. You can also collect references in writing or by email, or ask people to post a recommendation on your LinkedIn page or website.

7. Get someone else to read your resume. It is a sales document and needs to get attention. Therefore you need to say what is special about you and ensure you are highlighting your most important skills and qualifications. Many people do not “blow their own trumpet” well, so have someone else tell you what to change and improve. 

Social Networking: 8 ways to use it to get a job

June 15, 2008

Unemployment rates might be rising in some countries but there is always work out there for people who will apply themselves, be flexible and offer good value for their pay. Social networking is becoming more dominant as a force for change on the internet, so here are some tips for how to use it to get a job or extra work.

1)    Build your online profile with the intention of using it for work. If you build a page at LinkedIn or other sites, make sure it is professional enough to be used as a resume. Once you have loaded your job history, become friends with former colleagues and get recommended for previous work. If you are straight out of college, have a profile anyway as it makes you look serious about getting work. If you have a blog or a separate website, make sure it is professional. Google yourself and see what comes up. You can direct potential employers to this information in your paper resume if necessary.


2)    Keep your professional social networking separate from your personal.

Profiles have public and private settings. Sites like Facebook may be for your friends and other sites might be your professional look, but both come up on search engines. Make sure you separate the two as professionalism still counts online.


3)    Get friendly with recruiters. Many recruitment firms now have profiles on social networking sites like LinkedIn. Find recruitment agencies in your area of expertise and become friends with them. You can say that you are looking for work, and the recruiters will often post on the site with jobs.


4)    Use job blogs and networks to improve your resume and skills. There is so much information online that you can use to improve your chances to get a job. Check out sites that help you improve your resume or interview skills, or those that recommend new job search sites.   


5)    Keep an eye on company blogs or press releases. Smaller, more tech savvy companies are using online press releases, blogs or their own social networks for recruitment. If people have joined their RSS feed, or signed up for their newsletter, that person is likely to have an interest in their services and may be looking for work. So become a joiner for those companies/groups you are interested in working for, and keep an eye out for work opportunities. If you become an active part of these communities, you could even ask the group if there are jobs available.


6)    Work remotely. With fuel prices rocketing, if you can work from home as a freelancer, you have the chance to work for anyone in the world. Elance is a site that connects people looking for work to be done, and those who can perform it. People submit projects, and then companies/individuals submit bids on the project. Payment is through the site by credit card, Paypal or their escrow service. Providers are rated and you can discuss projects on private message boards. If you have skills that can be used remotely, this is a great place to start. Although it is not a social networking site, you can use your other networking profiles to direct people to your elance provider profile which shows your availability.


7)    Use Second Life. In May, the first virtual job fair was held on Second Life with big companies like Microsoft and Sodexho recruiting and avatars attending for discussions with recruiters. You can also drop into one of the virtual company headquarters and drop off your resume in Second Life. Virtual interviews are followed up on the phone or in person, so it might be an option for the tech-savvy person who can use their avatar professionally.


8)    Use sites to find people to approach in the real world. If you want to approach a specific company, but don’t know how to stand out from the pack of resumes, make sure you direct yours to the right person. Use social networks and blogs to find out who the best person to approach is, and then send them your resume directly. Many companies have this information online, and you will be able to find out more personal information from social networks.



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Resume Tips 2: Content

May 26, 2008

Maintaining great content in your resume is critical to making a good impression.

·         Create a Master resume that contains everything you have done that may be relevant for future work. Update your Master resume after every significant piece of work you do. It is often hard to remember the details of what you have done in the previous year, so update it every few months, even if it is just one line with what you have done in that time.


·         When applying for a specific job, study the requirements and competencies they require. Then create a copy of the Master resume and tailor it to the actual job, cutting out unrelated activities. Think carefully about what you want to include, as it is important to make your resume succinct and as relevant as possible to the job.


·         Include a short cover letter with a summary of your skills as they relate to this specific job, responding to any requirements from the job advert. Even if there is an application form, you can always attach a letter. Online applications generally have an upload option, or a text box for extra information. Have your cover letter on a file and paste it into the online form, rather than making something up on the spot. Work on this letter as you only have one chance to make a good impression.


·         Include a website address if you have one, but only if it directly relates to the job and is of a professional nature. Be careful with your online presence as this will be increasingly used in recruitment. Google yourself and make sure anything is complimentary and appropriate. Update your Facebook, mySpace or LinkedIn profiles as appropriate.  



·         Consider whether you want to use a photo on your resume. This is a personal choice and it is not necessary.



·         Be careful about listing referees. I use “Referees available on request” on my resume as I do not want too many phone calls to the same people. I provide references if I am sure I want the job. In terms of getting references, always remember that you may need someone’s word in the future. When you are leaving a job, try to stay on good terms with people as you may need them later.

  • Another way to use references is to attach written references or positive feedback to your resume. This can be an effective way of standing out in the pile of applications. These references provide testimonials as to your character and skills. But be aware that the company will most likely call those people to verify they are true.


Resume Tips 1: Structure

May 24, 2008

This is the first in a series on creating a great resume.

You need an outstanding resume to get a job, but even if you want to work for yourself, it is good to look at what you have done in order to be confident of what you can achieve. Reflecting on what you have achieved, and phrasing it positively builds your self confidence and helps you with honest self appraisal so you know what to focus on next. So even if you don’t need a resume for your next job, consider how you could use the tips here to create a positive description of your achievements.

The aim of a resume is to sell yourself as someone who will add value to an employer. It is about highlighting your most important positive attributes and aligning them with the requirements of a particular position.


There are some accepted business formulas but no totally correct way to create a resume. Use the following tips to help you create or improve your resume for the specific job you are focussing on.

·         Have clear sections within your resume. Use headings and bullet points with clear and concise phrases stating your skills and experience.


·         Include your contact details on the header of the resume and make sure you have an appropriate email address. Use your name or a variation on your name, not a nickname or something unrecognisable as this looks unprofessional.


·         Take time over the content and the formatting of your resume. It should be easy to read and look professional. Remember to spell check the final result. Read it several times to check it is coherent.


·         A popular resume format is reverse chronology where you start with your most recent experience and work backwards. An alternative is to highlight your most relevant experience first and then list your other jobs behind in another section. Remember that there is no need to list every job you have had, particularly if it has no relevance or would detract from the image you are trying to portray.


·         Gaps in job history will be spotted, so be honest about it. When I took a year off for study and travel, I explained to a potential employer the benefits of having someone who was rested and ready to get back to work. This made the career gap look positive. 

·         The length of the resume seems to vary by country and by job type. Two pages may be enough for some, but others prefer a longer resume. It is more important that what you say is succinct and relevant, than long-winded and unnecessary.

 The next post will focus on Resume Content.