Traditional And Online Resumes: How To Customize Your Resume For Human and Computer Scanning

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Today, many companies require applicants to enter their resumes online. Doing so, allows the company to use their Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to keep track of respondents and to forward the resumes that fit the job specifications to human resources or the hiring manager. To get your resume ready for an online submission, you must first understand Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and how they work. Doing so, may get you the interview you want.

First, What is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?

An ATS is a software application a company uses to manage the recruitment process. The program sorts through resumes to determine those that are the best match to the job descriptions.

These systems scan your resume for key words as any hiring manager/recruiter would. They all look for the primary criteria listed in the posted job description or ad.

How an ATS Works:

Most companies use their ATS to manage applications for a specific job. Many ATS software programs are available for sale. All applicant tracking systems are slightly different and can be customized for a client. Applicant tracking systems “parse” the information in the resumes submitted and place the information in specific fields within each company’s ATS database/form. The system then analyzes the criteria (keywords) for the open position and assigns a score and a rank. If they meet the requirements, the ATS form shows up for the recruiter/hiring manager to review.

What does this mean for you?

What this means for job applicants is that their resume must be ATS friendly. This is absolutely critical to a successful job hunt. Qualified candidates that fail to make an ATS friendly resume will get rejected.

Here are five of the most common reasons resumes do not make it through an ATS:

1. The ATS can’t actually process your resume.
2. The ATS doesn’t recognize the headings you used.
3. Your resume needs targeted keywords.
4. Your resume should not have nonspecific keywords.
5. Your resume needs industry and company jargon and abbreviations.

Let’s look at each area:

The first step is to keep in mind what a recruiter/hiring manager actually sees.

When a recruiter clicks on the name of a candidate whom the applicant tracking system has ranked as a good match for a job, a recruiter sees the information the applicant tracking system pulled from the candidate’s resume into a data base.

This format can differ by company but can contain different database fields for information on a resume, such as candidate’s name, contact details, work experience, job titles, education, employer names and periods of employment. An ATS tries to identify the information on an applicant’s resume, but if a resume isn’t formatted according to the applicant tracking system, it won’t pull this information into the proper fields. Some of it might be missed altogether, such as skills profile or an executive summary.

The ATS can’t actually process your resume:

1. Check to see how the company wants the resume submitted. Will it take PDFs or Word documents? Both Word and PDF documents can cause problems with an ATS so it’s important to check. If no information is given, submit resumes in text format which has no known parsing problems with screening software.
2. Don’t use graphics, logos, or tables in your resume. When you embed graphics, images, tables and logos you can choke the ATS software and your resume may be rejected.

The ATS doesn’t recognize something on your resume:

1. Don’t place dates before work experience on your resume. Begin with the name of the employer, then your professional title and the date range. Don’t forget to include all titles you held at your company.
2. Include your address. Many programs will reject your resume without a postal address. Locations may even be included as keywords. Since most ATS algorithms do not read headers and footers, make sure your address is not within them.
3. Choose your font wisely. Use sans-serif fonts like Verdana or Tahoma instead of serif fonts like Times New Roman or Cambria.
4. Replace the career objective/summary with a bulleted qualifications summary. This way you can work more keywords into your resume.
5. Use bullets rather than paragraphs. Bulleted lists are much easier for readers and scanners to pull information out.

Your resume needs keywords/has nonspecific keywords.

1. Use the same keywords included in the job advertisement/description.
2. Use the company’s website for additional keywords. The WALL STREET JOURNAL has suggested that matching interests with a company can help. If a company is interested in nutrition and you have done work in that area, put that keyword in your resume.
3. Check with insiders. Ask what specific skills the company looks for.
4. Put job-related keywords throughout your resume not just in one list.
5. Avoid creative wording. ATS screen only for matching keywords.
6. Repeat important keywords at least twice in your resume.

Your resume needs industry and company jargon/abbreviations.

1. Use the lingo. Every profession has its own words. Use them.
2. Use acronyms and spelled out titles, organizations etc. Since you don’t know if the abbreviation or the full words will be scanned for, use both.

Some other tips:

1. Don’t worry about your resume. The ATS doesn’t care how long it is. The longer it is, the more keywords you can have.
2. Use a cloud service. Use services like Wordle and TagCrowd to help you determine the right keywords. They are simple to use. Just download your resume and the job description and the program will do the rest.

The Next Step:

If you’ve created an ATS resume and you land an interview, remember that you now need the traditional resume to give to the recruiter/interviewers.

To create your traditional resume, first decide on a format:

1) Chronological: The body of this type of resume includes a listing of your work history, beginning with your most recent job.

Use when:

The length of time on each job can be seen as a strength.
Your work experience is in line with your job objective.
Job titles or employers are impressive.
You want to highlight career advances.
THIS IS THE MOST COMMON RESUME FORMAT.

2) Functional: The body of this type of resume highlights your major skill areas.

Use when:

You want to change fields.
You have skills but not the work experience.
You have acquired skills through unpaid experience.

You have many different work experiences not directly related to the position you are seeking.
(Note: Functional Resumes are not as common as they once were. Many hiring managers believe using a functional resume means you are hiding something. If you choose this format, be careful to include all pertinent information and dates.)

3) Combination: The body of this type of resume uses parts of both functional and chronological resumes.
Use when:
You have acquired several skills while progressing on one or several jobs and you want to highlight specific ones.
4) Targeted: A targeted resume focuses on specific abilities and duties that directly relate to a specific job.

Use when:

You apply specifically for one position and must show your qualifications meet the job’s specified qualifications.
The Targeted resume is a must in today’s environment. With Applicant Tracking Systems in use, targeting your resume for each ad you answer is essential. With a targeted resume, you can use any resume format.

Resume Fonts

The typeface you choose for your resume is very important. Your resume needs to be as clear and concise as possible. It also must be read on many types of devices from desktops to mobile phones. Sans-serif typefaces like Arial are best for small screens and the easiest on all screens. Make sure your resume is easily readable. Research shows that hiring managers and recruiters scan resumes for 6-8 seconds.

Typing in “sans-serif fonts” on your computer will give you a complete list, but here are some of the most common:

Arial
Arial Narrow
Book Antiqua
Calibri
Cambria
Didot
Garamond
Trebuchet MS
Times New Roman
Verdana

Resume Basics

Remember, your resume is your marketing piece, not your autobiography. It is your chance to call attention to you and what you’ve done. You must be careful to be specific, concise and to the point. You want the hiring manager to want to learn more about you. It is not a list of your current and past job descriptions. It is a list of things you have done that will get you to the position you want.

It should tell enough about you so someone will want to meet you but not enough about you so that you can be eliminated from a search.
Everyone has a preferred resume format. Make sure you are comfortable with the one you use and that it clearly shows all the required information.

Some job facts:

You should be getting five or six interviews from every 100 targeted resumes you send out. (Targeted resumes are written with the job description/ad in mind.) If you are not, that might be because you sent out resumes to every ad you see, whether the job fits or not. Also, have someone review your resume to make sure it’s clear about what you are looking for and it doesn’t contain any typos.

For every eight first interviews, you should get a second interview. If not, ask yourself if you must polish your interviewing skills. Are you coming across as desperate or unsure?

Have you ever been a finalist for more than eight or nine positions and not landed a job? If so, review what happened. If the companies hired from within, there isn’t anything you could have done. If the company decided not to hire anyone, there isn’t anything you could have done. But to get this far this many times and not have closed the deal suggests something is wrong. For starters, review your references. Are you giving them enough information so they can be helpful? Consider adding new ones to the list. Sometimes, the references’ personalities also make a big difference; they might not respond well to the questions asked.

What Goes on Your Resume and What Doesn’t?

To start off, review what does and what does not go on a resume. It may sound basic, but many resumes don’t follow the rules. If you have been in the workforce and not looking for your first job, here’s what you resume should and should not include:
What to Put on Your Resume

1. Your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Identify your phone numbers if you are putting more than one (cell, business, message etc.) If you are looking for a job out of town where you have a residence or a place to stay, leave off your address or use the address at the location. Remember to check regularly the email and voice mail you list.
2. In your description, put the company/agency name with a short explanation of the nature of the organization. Hiring managers might not be familiar with your employer or you may be working in a specific product unit of a large conglomerate.
3. If you are working for an agency, list your clients or expertise within a specific industry.
4. Under education, list the school, degree and dates. You might not want to put your graduation dates fearing ageism will come into play. However, not having any dates makes your resume “suspicious” and can make you look even older than you are.
5. If you are fluent in language (s) or have knowledge of specific or technical computer programs, list them.
6. Current board/committee memberships or volunteer work show your interest in your field or in philanthropic areas. These should go on your resume.

What Not to Put on Your Resume

1. Don’t list any personal information such as birthdays, marital status etc. While this is common practice outside the U.S., it is not legal here.
2. Keep the names of your references on a separate sheet and provide them when asked. First, you don’t want to give out personal information or put it online. Second, always contact your references before they get a call to tell them who will be calling and the nature of the job.
3. Salary information does not belong on the resume. In some US states it is now illegal for an employer to ask your salary history.
4. Do not include activities that are not relevant. For example, long lists of past boards/committees or sports that do not pertain to your job search should not be included.
5. Do not include, “References available on request.” It is taken for granted an applicant has references.
Resume Objective/Summary

Among the most difficult parts of the resume seems to be the Objective or Summary. Here are some tips to help you decide which one to use and what to include:

Use an Objective if you are looking for a specific opportunity or an opportunity within a specific discipline.

Examples:

  • A senior-level communications position within a global consumer company.
  • Social and digital media specialist position within a healthcare agency.
  • Interested in furthering my career with an agency that focuses on international direct marketing.

Summary paragraphs are better for experienced, multi-disciplined professionals.

Examples:

  • Extensive management experience in integrated marketing, including work with a global consumer products company and a major services company.
  • Over 10 years of public relations experience with a special emphasis directing media relations, social media, crisis and issues management and financial communications.

Fifteen years of experience in communications. Specialties include investor relations, public policy issues and crisis communications.

When Writing Your Objective/Summary Statement, remember:

1. It’s okay to have one.
2. If you use an objective, it must be as specific as possible.
3. Since the objective of a resume is to find employment don’t say that in your statement.
4. Summary statements should be brief and to-the-point, ideally two to three sentences. Statements should contain the information you want the reader to see and include the discipline/keywords you want to highlight.
5. If you decide to use an Objective or Summary statement, it will set the tone for what you highlight in the Experience Section of your resume. Think it through and be comfortable with it. You are selling yourself to someone who doesn’t know you. What do you want to highlight? What will interest them enough to invite you in for a call?

When writing your resume:

1. Eliminate pronouns. Resumes should not contain I, he/she. They are written as if you are the subject.
2. Keep it short; a person is scanning this resume not an ATS.
3. Eliminate buzz words but use appropriate industry terms.
4. Sell yourself. Tailor your summary to the position.
5. Don’t include non sequitur or relevant information.
6. Do not list specifics.
7. Use bullets when possible to make it easier to scan.
8. Avoid jargon.
9. Don’t exaggerate.
10. Don’t include personal information.

Words Not To Use on Your Resume:

Eliminate unnecessary words and, words that don’t add anything (very, rather, quite), describe anything or showcase your writing ability. Buzz words no longer are acceptable in communication resumes. If you see any of the words below in your resume, delete them. Ask yourself why are they in your resume and can you support their use? Be clear and concise; use only meaningful words.

Extensive experience
Innovative
Motivated
Results-oriented
Dynamic
Team Player
Fast-paced
Problem solver
Entrepreneurial
Liaison
Business-savvy
Interface with
Aptitude for
Works well with
Good communications skills
Measureable results
Good work ethic
Bottom-line oriented
Specialized
Leadership
Passionate
Strategic
Experienced
Focused
Expert
Certified
Creative
Excellent

Words To Add To Your Resume:

Directed
Handled
Created
Initiated
Achieved
Spearheaded
Maximized
Innovated
Increased
Implemented
Generated
Exceeded
Quantified
Negotiated
Organized
Pioneered
Presented
Reviewed
Strengthened
Trained
Collaborated

Customizing Your Resume

You want to tailor your resume to get the interview. You can’t please everyone with one resume. Each hiring manager/recruiter looks for something different. It is important to customize your resume for each job. It might sound tedious and time-consuming but with a few tips you can do it.

When answering an ad or reviewing a job description:

1. Hunt for keywords. Watch for keywords like external relations, digital marketing and note how often they were mentioned. The more an ad or job description mentions a specific keyword, the more important it is and you should add it more than once.
2. Look for job skills. While keywords are usually the disciplines, the job skills will further define responsibilities such as managing, supervising, writing/editing.
3. Identify the most important keywords and see if you can add an accomplishment to them.

Last Step: Sending Your Resume

Knowing how to name your resume is extremely important. Personalize your file by adding your name – MarieRapertoResume

Job hunting now is a digital world. It doesn’t matter if you are answering an ad online or sending an email to human resources or a recruiter. Since sending your resume with a generic name can cause it to be overlooked or lost in the system, be professional and make sure you name it properly. You want hiring managers to know it’s your resume and to make it easier to track through their email system.

Remember to be consistent and use the same style for the resume name, cover letter or sample documents.

You may capitalize words, use spaces or dashes. Don’t use a version number. You don’t want to give the impression you keep changing your resume even though you must customize it. You can use your computer to keep track of different versions and adapt them as needed.




Resumes: 20 Powerful Words To Add

Adding powerful words to your resume is important.  Every word counts and you must make sure you are using the right ones.  Today with applicant tracking systems, Twitter resumes, word counts and hiring managers who are scanning resumes on electronic devices, your resume must be as concise as possible.   Your words must capture the readers attention immediately. Meaningless adjectives are definitely out and powerful verbs are in.Resumes: 20 Powerful Words To AddHere are 20 powerful verbs:

Directed

Handled

Initiated

Achieved

Spearheaded

Maximized

Innovated

Increased

Implemented

Generated

Exceeded

Quantified

Negotiated

Organized

Pioneered

Presented

Reviewed

Strengthened

Trained

Collaborated

It’s time to make your resume a more powerful tool!




Twitter Resumes: 4 Examples Showing Why You Should Have One

Twitter Resume TipsShould you have a Twitter resume or not?  Twitter resumes are one of the best ways to create short, targeted resumes. They highlight the main reason an employer should hire you, focusing in on your main selling point.  Everyone is reading less text these days and your resume, your cover letter and even your elevator speech might be too long.

A Twitter resume allows you to ‘come to the point,’ capture someone’s attention and then refer them to all your information on LinkedIn, About.me, etc.  Or if you are currently working, it allows someone to contact you in order to find you more about you.

What does a Twitter resume look like?  Here are some content examples for a Twitter resume:

1.  Copywriter for print/online.  Photo editor. Fashion/luxury market.  LinkedIn.com/in/

2.  Media junkie adept at public relations, branding and event planning.  About.me/

3.  Marketing/advertising strategist with strong project management skills.  Will relocate for right opportunity.

4. Recent grad.  Intern experience in marketing/communications in NYC.

Think of your Twitter resume as your TAG LINE.  To describe your professional life, what should follow your name?

 

 




Resume Rules: 2022

Resume Rules 2019

 

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

A new year brings new resume tweaks.  Covid has changed things.  Job hunting is more tech-oriented than ever.  Working from home, office or a hybrid model have made professionals more time conscious so keeping your resume on target is a must. No one has time to waste.

Here are the resume rules for 2022:

Use a Professional Summary or Objective:

Whichever you use, keep it brief. You want to communicate your achievement. Leave out all the arrogant adjective – trustworthy, master, expert etc.  In your summary, you want to speak about your accomplishments.  In your objective, you want to highlight the skills you have used to get you where you are.

Include your Linkedin profile:

You have the ability to include more information on your profile than on your resume so include a link to your Linkedin profile on your resume.  Remember to update your profile and make sure dates etc. agree with your resume.

Make Your Resume Easy to Read:

With a remote workforce, resumes are read on a variety of devices – desktops, tablets and phones.  Remember to leave a lot of white space and bullet points.  Keep paragraphs to 2-3 sentences.  Applicant Tracking Systems don’t always read boxes, graphs and borders so simple is best. Try opening your resumes on different devices to see how easy it is to read.  Keep your resume to two pages, if you can.  Remember, you can use addendum pages to list accomplishments, awards, media hits etc.

Use an up-to-date font such as Avenir, Garamond or Calibri.

Include Pandemic-Related Content:

Showing how you managed your job while working remotely could be a plus.  Explain how you handled your clients, managed your staff or worked on new business in this new pandemic world.  Your motivation and resourcefulness could be a plus.

Vaccinated?  No one is sure if this will be an issue yet.  It’s a personal choice to put it on your resume or not.  In some cases, it might be important if the position requires you to go to the office for meetings.

The Basic Resume Rules don’t Change:

Your resume must:
1. Have just the pertinent information.
2. Be customized for each job.
3. Be strategic in content.
4. Have the most relevant information at the top of every section.
5. Be concise, have white space and be easy to read/scan.
6. Be applicant tracking system (ATS) ready – no headers/footers, graphs, color etc.
7. Not have old, outdated material.
8. Include appropriate keywords.
9. Use bullet points to make it easier to read.
10. Be error free.

Resume Styles:

There are three basic resume styles: Chronological, Functional, and Combination.
A chronological resume is still the most used format and it includes a listing of your work history, beginning with your most recent job. This is a great format for your master resume.
A functional resume highlights your major skills areas.
A combination resume utilizes parts of both the functional and chronological resumes. It lists skills on tope followed by the work history.
Whatever format you use, remember to customize your resume to target the specific abilities and duties listed in the description.

What Goes On Your Resume?

1. Your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Identify your phone numbers if you are putting more than one (cell, business, home, message etc.)

If you are looking for a remote opportunity, put that under your personal information or in your objective/summary.

2. In your work history, put the company/agency name with a short explanation of the nature of the organization. Hiring managers might not be familiar with your employer or you might be working in a specific product unit.
3. If you are looking for work in a PR or Advertising agency, list your clients or account expertise.
4. Under education, list the school and degree.
5. If you are fluent in a language or have knowledge of specific or technical computer programs, list them.  Do not use general terms like computer literate and only list languages you are fluent in (read, write and speak.)
6. Current Board/Committee memberships can show your interest in a field or philanthropic area. List them.

What Does Not Go On Your Resume?

1. Don’t list any personal information such as birthdays, marital status etc. While common practice outside of the US, it is not legal here.
2. Keep the names of your references on a separate sheet and give them out when asked.
3. Salary information does not belong on the resume. If a job ad asks for salary history, it should go in your cover letter.
4. Don’t include any activities that are not relevant. You can always make a separate addendum page if you want them.
5. The phrase, “References available on request” is outdated and should not be used.

6. If you have been working for ten or more years, you can drop the bullet points from earlier jobs.  It’s the company name, title and dates of employment that are necessary.

When writing your Resume, remember to:

1. Eliminate pronouns. Resumes should not include I, he/she.
2. Tailor your summary to the position you are applying.
3. Don’t include non-sequitur information.
4. Use bullet points to make it easier to read.
5. Avoid jargon/buzzwords.
6. Do not include personal information.
7. If you feel your resume is too long, eliminate from the bottom. You don’t really need bullet points for your first jobs.
8. Include as many keywords as possible. Use the keywords from the advertisement or job description when possible.

Words Not to Include on Your Resume:

Unnecessary words that don’t add anything, describe anything or showcase your writing ability should be eliminated from your resume. You want to be clear and concise so eliminate words like:

Extensive experience
Innovative
Motivated
Results-oriented
Dynamic
Team player
Fast-paced
Problem solver
Entrepreneurial
Liaison
Business-savvy
Interface with
Aptitude for
Works well with
Good communication skills
Measurable results
Good work ethic
Bottom-line oriented

Words to Add to Your Resume:

Directed
Handled
Initiated
Achieved
Spearheaded
Maximized
Increased
Implemented
Generated
Exceeded
Quantified
Negotiated
Organized
Pioneered
Presented
Reviewed
Strengthened
Trained
Collaborated

Sending Your Resume:

It’s a digital world when it comes to job hunting so your resume will be sent electronically.
Transmitting your resume with a generic name can cause it to be overlooked or to get lost in the system. Be professional and name your resume file properly. You want hiring managers to know it’s your resume and make it easier to track through their email system.

1. Use either a PDF or Microsoft Word Format.
2. Personalize your file by adding your name – MarieRapertoResume.
3. Don’t use a version number. Just keep it simple.

Remember – Customization is King!




Five Leadership Lessons from 2021

Five Leadership Lessons from 2021Alex Teixeira, Owner, Mooney Mountain Guides, LLC 

I’m a guide whose purpose is to enhance the lives of people by introducing them to the wonders of rock and ice climbing, mountaineering and back country skiing in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. 

Some readers may think, “Look at this guy. I wish I was paid to climb and not have to fill out time sheets, attend countless Zoom meetings or make my direct reports happy.” 

Don’t get me wrong. I do love every aspect of my chosen profession and I do try to show others the magic of the mountains and the myriad ways in which they can channel the energy needed to top out on a summit or navigate a challenging downhill run to enhance their work-life balance. 

And while those overarching goals have remained constant, I’ve had to readjust my point-of-view to address the realities of guiding during the pandemic. 

Here are my five leadership learning lessons of the past year: 

1)  The Power of a Personal PurposeWhen folks ask me what I do for a living I say, “I’m a quality-of-life enhancer.” I then say, “That’s my personal purpose. What’s yours?”  

Many of you work for an organization that is purpose driven, but how many of you have a personal reason for being? 

So what does my personal purpose mean? On the surface it’s rather simple: Let’s go climbing, try hard and have fun. But if we look below the surface it can mean a lot more. To make the lives of people better.  

For example, through my work, my family can travel and see the world. My young daughter’s world view has no doubt been enhanced through these adventures. We have also created a scholarship fund that goes directly to Kismet Rock Foundation, which uses technical climbing to help vulnerable children because “….it requires the application of nearly all aspects of our being. Thus, it is unique in providing a depth of joy and a broad nourishment of one’s potential.” 

My personal purpose has helped guide me through the past 12 months and enabled me to readjust and meet the challenges of each new day in a way that is authentic to me and my business. It keeps me motivated.

2) The Power of Negative Thinking: When I was growing up, my father told me, “No matter how bad it is, it can always be worse.” I refer to this cliché as “the power of negative thinking.” It’s a tool I use when considering risk in the mountains. I ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen right here and right now?” By anticipating a specific hazard, I automatically protect myself (and the individuals I’m guiding) against other, smaller hazards that may come with traversing an exposed ridgeline, descending a glaciated slope, or deciding how to move forward with everyday business decisions. Scenario planning (or the power of negative thinking as I refer to it) will help you respond with certainty in an era of uncertainty. Purpose in the moment.

3) The Power of Empathy: My dad also told me, “No matter how good you are, there is always someone better.”  

There are two ways to respond to that aphorism. You can think, “Wow, maybe I should switch from climbing to becoming a motivational speaker. It’s safer and more lucrative.” Or you can look at it through a different lens. We are all mortal beings and, in that truth, lies another one: we are not perfect. 

Perfection or excellence is something to strive for, but it is not a realistic summit on which to plant the flag of success. 

I was losing steam and valuable time by being too hard on myself. It wasn’t working. So, in 2021, I made a conscious effort to give myself some slack. I freed up a considerable amount of bandwidth by allowing myself not to be perfect at everything, all the time. It allowed me to focus more on my purpose. Work became a lot more fun too.

4) The Power of Just Saying No: No can be an extremely difficult thing to say to a client who is ready and willing to pay for your services. It’s key to remember that you can’t satisfy everyone. You, and you alone, know what is right for your business. 

I discovered that annual growth targets were not the right metric for my business’s purpose. Instead, I decided NOT to grow, and rather to shrink and concentrate on quality rather than quantity. We are much more focused on purpose, rather than profit. Ask yourself this question: Am I sacrificing quality by always chasing the dollar? If you are, maybe it’s time to re-think that strategy before your employees and clients wake up to the reality that your purpose is not what you say it is and you loose authenticity.

5) The Power of People: I spent the past 365 days surrounding myself with smart, capable guides. They didn’t have to be the best climbers in the world. They didn’t have to boast the coolest social media presence. And I wasn’t looking for someone with the most prestigious credentials.

Look beyond the traditional metrics of what defines a good employee and find good people who share your purpose, not just good resumes. If you are fortunate enough to find one a true gem, be sure to support them in any and every way possible. 

I am SO proud of my team and what they have been able to accomplish in this last year. Sharing in their success has without question led to better business. 

I’m going to keep referring to my five leadership lessons to guide me in my decision-making in 2022. They may not be revolutionary ideas, but they’ve helped me re-imagine my value and how my business contributes to the greater good.


About the Author: Alex Teixeira is the owner of Mooney Mountain Guides LLC, a mountain guide service based in New Hampshire. When Alex is not at work putting ropes up and taking them down, he can typically be found playing outdoors. You can reach him here: www.mooneymountainguides.com




Professional Resume Writing: Pros and Cons

Resume Rules 2019

 

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Thinking about using a professional resume writing service? These services are very common and useful but they are not for everyone. Consider these points before you hire any service:

  1. Price.  These services can be expensive. Make sure you can afford to do this and check around for prices/services as they can vary greatly. Very low rates and rapid turnaround times should be a red flag.
  2. Writer. Who is going to write your resume and what are their qualifications? Do they have experience writing resumes in your field? Look at their samples. Do all the resumes look alike or are they individualized to fit client backgrounds?
  3. Time. To get the best resume will require time on your part. The resume writer may have questionnaires for you to fill out and/or want to interview you. A writer must know your complete work history and achievements and understand what you see as your next opportunity. After a first draft, you must provide feedback. A resume writing service is not a time saver.
  4. Agreement. Before you sign anything, check out the service as much as you can. Read the agreement and watch out for caveats. How many revisions will you receive, what is the time period, are their others costs involved?

Remember, a resume writing service will make your resume look more appealing and the writing/grammar may be better than what you could do. What they can’t do is write a resume that will get you a job for which you are not qualified.

Like everything in life, an educated consumer is the best customer.




Resume Impressions: 5 Points To Improve Yours

Your Resume: 10 Items To Remove ImmediatelyMarie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Your resume gives an impression of you. It’s a quick, first-glance impression that a hiring manager makes while scanning your resume. To make it to the next step, your resume must tell the employer that you can do the job they want to fill.  Take a look at your resume for the following:

  1.  Does your resume clearly and concisely list your skills as mentioned in the job ad? Sending in one resume-for-all-jobs will no longer work. You must customize your resume for each opportunity stressing the matches you have to their description.
  2. Is your opening statement (if you have one)in synch with the job description? If your statement reads that you are a seasoned communications professional in the consumer sector but the job description is for a public relations professional with 10 plus years in a B2B sector, you need to revise this.  You can make it more general or mention any relevant sector experience from the past. You want to highlight how you fit not how you don’t.
  3. Are you saying the same things over and over?  Some duplication can highlight strengths but it can also make the resume too crowded with unnecessary repeated information.
  4. Do you list your skills?  If so, make sure they match what the employer wants.  If you have additional skills, you can mention those in your last bullet point under your current employment.
  5. Not enough white space on your resume?  Resumes are scanned quickly and white space makes them easier to read.  In your work history, it’s not necessary to list bullet points for your earliest jobs.  The employer/title/dates is sufficient and removing the bullet points will give you more room.

Listing jobs online means employers are receiving hundreds of resumes.  Make yours standout by giving the reader all the information they are seeking.




Liar, Liar: 10 Reasons Not to Lie On Your Resume

 

10 Reasons Not to Lie On Your Resume

 

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Lies on resumes. You’ve seem them, you’ve heard about it being done and, maybe, you’ve done it.  One thing is for sure:  You will get caught.    Stretching the truth is a lie and it can come back to haunt you. So why do it?

First, you could get into serious trouble: Rescinding of the job offer, being fired or facing criminal charges. Lying about military service or being untruthful when seeking federal or state employment can be a crime.  You also seriously damage your reputation and jeopardize future employment opportunities.

According to a survey from TopResume, 97% of professionals said that discovering a lie on a resume would cause them to reconsider/dismiss a job candidate.  57% said they know someone who has embellished their resumes.  89% agreed that lying about academic degrees was a serous offense as was being untruthful about a criminal record (88%).

Remember, it’s easy for an employer to discover the truth.

  1.  Your degree can easily be confirmed by the school.
  2.  Most employers are using writing, language and other tests of skills.
  3.  Your dates don’t look right.  Listing your job history by just the year to cover up gaps is a big no-no.
  4.  Resume/cover letter differences.  You can have your resume written by the best but, if your cover letter is not equally as good, an employer will question your skills.
  5.  Not being able to elaborate on the items on your resume is a huge giveaway.
  6.  Unrealistic job titles.  Five year’s of experience and you are a VP is not realistic. Also job titles can be checked when a company does references.
  7.  When you are covering up something, your body tells the truth. When an interviewer questions something you haven’t done, your body will betray you.
  8.  References don’t always hold up.  You can ask a reference to embellish for you but a skilled interviewer will get the truth.
  9.  Your online presence can be very telling and Google is very helpful.  Your company went out of business last month, Google may have different information.  Went to XX University for four years?  Then why are you in a WW University alumni group.
  10.  Formal background checks will uncover any lies about your work history, criminal past, education, professional certifications etc.

The truth is out there!

 

 




How to Add Language Proficiency Levels to Your Resume

Laura Garbers, CraftResumes

Good levels of language proficiency are a real bonus for those looking to produce an impressive resume in search of a position in a number of different career sectors. A resume skills list is something that catches the eye of artificial intelligence (AI) that many companies use these days to create a shortlist of job applicants. The skills and achievements that you can point to in your resume are important elements in the process of getting beyond the initial stages in an application. That stage is filtering out applications that do not appear suitable for the position and reaching an idea of who should be considered for a shortlist.

Liar, Liar - 10 Reasons Not to Lie On Your ResumeThe list of languages that you might have will help you stand out and perhaps you even have a resume in Spanish that can be used in very specialist job applications? That will definitely demonstrate your language proficiency. The world has become smaller in the digital age and many companies buy and sell from other continents and need good language skills as well as products and services that will result in a successful business.

You need to be aware of what the company you wish to join requires beyond what a standard resume will tell them. That should not be a problem for anyone regularly writing for clients who want to impress enough to pass the initial filtering service, as already mentioned, regularly done by AI. 

If you want to know how to list languages on resume you can get more info here. Your levels of proficiency will be important if you are applying for a job where there may be the need to correspond in a foreign language. That is especially the case if you find yourself in live video conferencing or having to travel abroad without a translator to somewhere where English skills are not widely developed. Limited working proficiency may not be enough.

Language Proficiency Levels

Basic

Your resume such be objective and if you only have a very basic knowledge of a language, you should say so. There are occasions when that is quite sufficient because of the support that others with better proficiency levels can provide in the office. Where you are uncertain about how to describe your skills, read more here.

Working

If the role involves travel and regular communication with overseas clients, good working knowledge will usually be important. In most instances, the levels of fluency required are likely to be to non-technical conversational standard.

Fluent

Those whose language levels involve complete fluency are valuable people. Achieving fluency will usually mean extensive study, or it may be a secondary family language. The level of proficiency may not be the deciding factor in getting a job where language is just one element of what a company is looking for. However, you will certainly have ticked an important box in the application process that looks at skill levels.

Summary

A language skills resume must be objective but also laid out in a clear and concise way. If you are looking for help to create that, professional writers whose everyday jobs are based upon their command of English can be very useful. You are perfectly entitled to use such services because it is your own level of proficiency and your own skills that go into the resume that is finally prepared. It may need to be personalized to a specific application, depending upon how the vacancy has been advertised.  That should be a minor issue if it is well written in the first place.


About the Author: Laura Garbers specializes in careers’ advice and coaching at CraftResumes. She holds one-on-one sessions, interviews, and coaching sessions as well as writing extensively on the subject. The insight she provides gives her readership important information on any aspect of their careers.




To the Class of 2020, Now What? 

Hannah Lindsey, Wisconsin-Madison ‘20 

Today, I woke up to three alerts on my phone: “unemployment rate falls to 13 percent” from the Washington Post, a video of a 75 year-old protester being pushed to the ground by police from Twitter, and a Snapchat from my best friend. 

To myself and other members of the Class of 2020 college graduates, the country appears to be on fire, literally. So far, 2020 has given us a global pandemic, an essential rebirth of the Civil Rights Movement, and a troubling feeling of uncertainty in the job market for the foreseeable future. When will states and businesses fully reopen? When will the police stop shooting innocent black people for no reason? When will I be able to get a job and start my life as a real adult? 

These questions plague me everyday. I want life to go back to normal. I want black people to not be judged by their skin color and have every right that is guaranteed to them by the U.S. Constitution. I want my life as a 22 year-old to be as fun and exciting as the life of a 22 year-old should be. 

For the hundreds of thousands of college graduates, preparing to enter the real world, I am you and understand your anxieties and stressors. I too am trying to navigate how to find a job in one of the worst economic climates since the Great Depression. I want to offer you advice and inspiration, but how can I give you this advice? I have never had a real job, I do not have experience in the communications field, and I have only been hired for one “real” job in my life. However, I do know how to handle adversity, so I feel I have some wisdom to share with my fellow graduates. 

Being a former collegiate swimmer, I have had a uniquely challenging college experience. On top of being a double major in Political Science and Communications, I trained more than twenty hours a week in the pool. I have battled my way through workouts, heavy homework loads, and injury and somehow made it out alive. 

To my fellow Class of 2020 graduates, I offer two words to adopt and embody given the firestorm that surrounds our gradation and post graduate plans: resilience and persistence. I have found these two words to be my guiding lights when it seems like I am applying for job after job after job and either not hearing back or getting a rejection email. 

Resilience means being able to bounce back from things that do not go your way; I understand resilience as a measure of how tough and adaptable you are. You are not going to get callbacks for every job you apply for. You will be rejected from a “dream job” or “dream internship”. It happens. For every twenty jobs, ranging from internships to public relations associates positions, I maybe hear back from one of the employers. With each rejection or no response I receive, I reevaluate my resume, cover letter, or any supporting materials I submitted for the job. In addition to not letting any single rejection dampen my spirits, I take a step back from all of my materials and view everything with the perspective of a third party. 

I ask myself: does it look professional? Am I accurately displaying and conveying the professional skills I have? Are there any typos (please dear God let there not be any typos)? Viewing rejection as an opportunity to adjust and reset sets you up to be resilient given adversity. Whether it be the world of sports or the job market, the people who succeed are able to quickly bounce back after something doesn’t go their way. 

Persistence is another word and idea to embody when embarking on a job search, especially during the age of “corona”. We hear it all the time on the news: people being laid off, furloughed, and unemployment being higher than ever. 

How is the Class of 2020 supposed to find a job when no one is hiring? I suggest being persistent in contacting and making connections with potential employers. Whether a company is actively hiring or not, reaching out to people at the company every two or three weeks helps get you on the radar and in their sights. Repeatedly taking that first step, which means sending in resumes, cover letters, or emails explaining your interest in the company, will build a relationship between yourself and the company. 

Another tactic that helps establish bonds between yourself and a company is to not explicitly ask for a position when you initially reach out to an employer. In my experience, seasoned professionals are always glad to offer advice to young professionals. Asking for advice over a job right away will help you get connected with more people in your career field, in addition to signaling your commitment and desire to grow as a professional in your perspective field. 

Having confidence in yourself, your abilities, and your portfolio is essential, especially in the age of “corona”. Using quarantine to really focus on one’s own resilience and persistence is one of my ultimate suggestions for my fellow Class of 2020 graduates. Yes, this time of nationwide shutdowns and life coming to a stand still is incredibly stressful and unprecedented. Like you, I am trying to navigate this job market and desperately trying to get hired by a public relations/communications firm. 

Ultimately, I ask of you, and of myself, to practice resilience and persistence in your job search. As cliché as that sounds, I assure you that focusing on these two skills will not only help you during the coronavirus pandemic but will also benefit you in the long run throughout your career. 


About the Author: Hannah Lindsey is a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she double majored in Political Science and Communication Arts. Hannah was also a student-athlete on the UW-Madison Women’s Swim Team for 4 years. She is currently pursuing and exploring career paths in collegiate coaching and public relations/communications. 




Five Things Every Business Owner Should Be Doing to Prepare for a Post-COVID-19 World

Melody Wolff

What am I going to do to recoup lost revenue? What should I be doing today in order to prepare for tomorrow? These are the questions currently keeping business owners up at night. 

While most areas of the United States and elsewhere are starting to think about re-opening, countries that were hit first by COVID-19 are slowly starting to reopen for business. A lot of businesses are sitting on the sidelines due to the pandemic, but there is plenty that can be done today to prepare for tomorrow. 

Those companies that can effectively manage resources during the shutdown will have a real advantage once the economy begins to reopen. Now is also the time to start thinking about how to use the media and data to put your organization in the most advantageous position once the pandemic ends. Here are five things every business owner should be doing now:

Use the media to tell your story

Creating awareness for your company, product or service through media coverage is one of the most effective forms of publicity. At the moment, people are glued to the media, grasping for the latest updates from the news or on Twitter. Now more than ever is the time to use the media to position yourself as THE expert in your industry. 

Press coverage can give you the third party credibility that sets you apart from your competitors, while also getting your name in front of potential clients. People want to do business with companies that have a high profile, and whose expertise has been endorsed by media they know and trust.

Position yourself as an expert

Positioning yourself as an expert on topics and trends that are most relevant for your clients, prospects and industry colleagues through commentary pieces is an important tactic for increasing credibility and awareness through a controlled medium. Not only does it show that you know what you’re talking about, it also brings you and your company to the attention of an entirely new subset of people.

Bring new life to your existing brand

COVID-19 is changing us all in one way or another, and your company and brand is no different. Update corporate messaging now, so when you are back in business you’re current, relevant and moving forward in an authentic way. Let’s face it: the environment, your business, your employees and your customers will not be the same after COVID-19. Customers will have different expectations for the brands they purchase from, and corporate clients will have made many adjustments themselves. Updating your corporate messaging now shows that you are attuned to the challenges they face, and may help improve customer loyalty.

Use data to inform business financial and operational decisions

Businesses can use real time data gathered from countries and states opening first to inform strategic, operational and financial decisions. As people venture back into public spaces, companies will be able to learn from the location data to help determine foot traffic patterns and buyer decisions. When used properly, this data will inevitably assist business owners as they determine how many resources to allocate to match expected customer demand. The end goal is to keep employees and customers happy, while also keeping a close eye on profitable growth.

Consider new pricing models 

Price is the most common objection sales professionals hear from prospects, but during an economic downturn, a “bad economy” is the principal reason clients cite when deciding not to buy our products or services. Consequently, it is important to price your offerings based on real data and market conditions – which is why we apply machine learning and yield management technologically traditionally used by industries like airlines and hotels to dynamically price our products based on demand.

There is plenty that can be done to give you control over how your business will fare once the world resumes business. Even if you follow only a few of the guidelines mentioned above, you will still be prepared for a post-COVID-19 world, whatever that may look like.


About the Author: Melody works with businesses to develop and manage strategic communication programs that use publicity as a catalyst for conversation. She helps companies achieve tangible results by telling their stories in a way that differentiates them from competitors and resonates with investors, current and potential clients, and the media.  Melody lives in Bergen County, NJ with her husband and two children under the age of three.

 




Beach Happy Magazine: A New Title Bringing The Voice Of Hope & Optimism During A Pandemic

The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With Mike Ragsdale, Founder Of 30A & Will Estell, Editor In Chief/ Director of Publishing, The 30A Company…

“We just launched this new endeavor, which again might seem like strange timing, but as Will said, this has been in the works for a very long time. We looked at it and we could have all walked away, but the reality is the world needs optimism. I’m not saying that in some philosophical, mumbo-jumbo kind of way, I’m saying just like fast-food found an anecdote by offering organic, free-range healthy alternatives, we’re going to be one of the first movers in providing a healthy information alternative to all of the toxic news and information that we consume every, single day.” … Mike Ragsdale 

“We’re thinking positive; the sky is the limit. We believe this publication can do better right now  than it would have done 10 years ago. And I think more people in our industry need to have that kind of mindset with what they’re doing.” … Will Estell

The 30A Company and the nationally distributed travel publication, Beaches, Resorts & Parks magazine have merged and created a new title called Beach Happy. The moniker alone makes you smile. And we can all certainly use something to smile about in these uncertain times.

Mike Ragsdale by Peyton Hollis,
Good Grit magazine

Mike Ragsdale, founder of 30A and Will Estell, former founder & editor-in-chief of Beaches, Resorts & Parks is now editor in chief/ director of publishing, The 30A Company and between the two of them have big plans for their new magazine, even during a pandemic.

According to the Beach Happy brand and motto for life, “30A is the official and original BEACH HAPPY brand. Inspired by a two-lane road that meanders along Florida’s Gulf Coast, 30A shares eco-friendly products and stories that celebrate our small beach town way of life.” Mr. Magazine™ couldn’t have said it better himself.

In fact, I didn’t have to. I spoke with Mike and Will recently and we discussed this negativity and doom and gloom that seems to permeate our world today. From Mike’s observation, we’re getting too much toxic information, even during a pandemic, and our brains are in overload. Beach Happy magazine and the brand itself are here to uplift and give us hope and optimism with stories from beaches around the world, not just that two-lane road on the Florida Coast.

Will joins Mike’s sense of buoyancy and exuberates his own optimism by not allowing negativity to enter his thoughts very often. And while this may seem like an inopportune time to start a new print magazine, even with its extensive digital reach as well,  Mike and Will suggest we all have faith and just “Be Happy.”

And now the 24th Mr. Magazine™ interview in the series of Publishing During A Pandemic with Mike Ragsdale, founder Of 30A & Will Estell, editor in chief/ director of publishing, The 30A Company.

But first the sound-bites:

Will Estell

On launching a new magazine during a pandemic (Mike Ragsdale): I’ll be honest, I am an optimist and I believe and have believed for a long time now, more than a decade, that we are suffering a mental health crisis in our nation, and perhaps in other parts of the world as well. I’ve been trying to sound the alarm, at least among my peer groups and our audience, that we have a lot to be happy about and we have a lot to be optimistic about. So, we’re promoting the agenda that news isn’t always negative, it doesn’t have to be.

On how he went from selling Beaches, Resorts & Parks to 30A and then becoming editor in chief of the new magazine (Will Estell): I’m kind of married to this thing and I tell you, there have been times when it would have been a lot easier to jump ship, to sell it out. We had offers in the past to buy Beaches outright that I probably would have gone along with, but this just seemed like the perfect opportunity and I’ve always been a huge fan of the 30A Company, literally going back to Mike’s early days with the company some 10 years ago. I was donning the stickers on my car and wearing the first T-shirt and all that.

On when the first issue will be launched (Mike Ragsdale): We were planning to launch in mid-May and it will be a quarterly publication at first, and so the issue would have been on newsstands in June, July and August, with a follow-up issue in the fall. We’re not going to deviate from that path very far. We’re waiting really until May 1 to make the decision. We’re going to be prepared to go to print on May 1, but if circumstances call for us to wait a few more weeks so we’ll know a little more, then we may push it back.

On how they’re going to take the large social media base, the radio base, the merchandising, and curate all of that onto the pages of a printed magazine (Will Estell): That’s something that we’re still working through, but the positive aspect is that we do have to be concerned about that. In other words, those things exist, so this magazine is not in a startup phase, standing alone, and having to go out there and find Reader One from Day One. It will be more of a pairing of both sides, where the other side of the 30A Company, be it the apparel or the decals, or people following the website to find events; all of that will promote the magazine just as the magazine will promote all of that.

Photo by Lauren Athalia

On whether the creation of 30A was a walk in a rose garden for Mike or he had some challenges along the way (Mike Ragsdale): It’s interesting, I’ve had a couple of really amazing successes and I’ve absolutely buried those with the failures I’ve had in business. I received my master’s degree in advertising and public relations, but I couldn’t get a job, despite sending out all of the resumes I could send and doing a few interviews, but I just wasn’t able to secure anything. So, I became an entrepreneur by accident and out of necessity to pay the bills, scrounging to stay afloat.

On anything they would like to add (Will Estell): The only thing I would add is for all the negativity and all the doom and gloom that’s talked about in the industry, and I know you’re a huge advocate for the growth and continued success of magazines, what we’re doing with this and what a lot of the companies that have learned to survive are doing is we’re finding new ways to get our message out, still be a magazine, but do it in  different ways.

On what keeps them up at night (Mike Ragsdale): Right now, of course, I’m concerned during my waking hours about the fact that we have a business that’s struggling like everyone is. Our three stores are closed; our 380 wholesale partner stores are closed; our digital advertisers, from restaurants to rental companies are shut down. And so we’re not expecting to see them paying any bills.

Mike Ragsdale

On what keeps them up at night (Will Estell): I do not lay in bed and worry about things. I don’t lay in bed and worry about the fact that the world has stopped spinning for a period of time right now. I don’t worry about the fact that we’re not out selling advertisers left and right. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about those things, but I have learned to be more solution-oriented in my thinking than problematic. It takes the same amount of energy to find a solution than worry about the problem.

And now the lightly edited transcript of the Mr. Magazine™ interview with Mike Ragsdale, Founder Of 30A & Will Estell, Editor In Chief/ Director of Publishing, The 30A Company.

Samir Husni: You’re launching a new magazine during a pandemic, what are you thinking?

Mike Ragsdale: I’ll be honest, I am an optimist and I believe and have believed for a long time now, more than a decade, that we are suffering a mental health crisis in our nation, and perhaps in other parts of the world as well. Despite living in the greatest time in human history and despite the fact that so many amazingly good things are happening in the world despite the current circumstances, we’re seeing an alarming increase in depression and suicides.

I believe personally it’s because about 10 or 15 years ago, we began consuming information at a rate that our minds simply aren’t accustomed to. We are absorbing so much negativity and bad information and stressful, anxious information that, despite the fact that we live in the golden era of humankind, we’re increasingly depressed and increasingly suicidal and anxious. I believe that we’re going to find in the years ahead that consuming so much information, good, bad, indifferent, consuming so much information is skewing our worldview and it is causing a great deal of suffering.

Photo by Lauren Athalia

I believe it is going to be akin to the ‘70s and ‘80s when people began to come to the realization about the health risks of smoking and then later with fast food consumption or foods that haven’t been grown under the right circumstances which causes heart disease and other health issues. So, I think consuming so much information as we do today is like eating one Big Mac after another. And we’re going to realize that the mental toll it’s taking on us individually and collectively is immense.

I’ve been trying to sound the alarm, at least among my peer groups and our audience, that we have a lot to be happy about and we have a lot to be optimistic about. So, we’re promoting the agenda that news isn’t always negative, it doesn’t have to be. But unfortunately, and you know this as well as I do, no one writes about the millions of planes that land safely, they write about the one that had the issues. And that’s the nature of where we’ve come with news. And news has really stopped becoming news, it’s more entertainment. It’s no longer Tom Brokaw or Dan Rather talking for 22 minutes a night and that’s it.

When I was growing up the news that we were consuming had to be bundled within 22 minutes of time. And if it didn’t make that cut, then you never heard about it. But now we hear about every single awful thing because we’re in a 24/7 news cycle. And not just that, we have pushup notifications and breaking news alerts, so we hear every awful thing that happens.

So, Beach Happy the brand is something that we’ve been promoting internally. And then when Will comes along with this publication that has this great distribution and great reach, it just seemed like a perfect marriage for us and to say, let’s take what we’re already doing on the digital side, kind of a bastion for optimism and positivity, and let’s reach all new audiences across newsstands. We’re already doing the work of content writing; we’re already doing the work of photography and content creation, we might as well add an additional platform. And

Will has really been brilliant in the way he has architected his business, in that it doesn’t require as much overhead as the more traditional publications, so we don’t view it as a risky proposition at all. We view it perhaps as the perfect message at the perfect time. And we certainly wouldn’t wish ill on anyone else who is on the newsstands, but we also know the impact on those companies that have massive overheads, so we’re lean and mean and we’re looking at it as an opportunity to present a platform for happiness and positivity.

Will Estell

Samir Husni: Will, I read the press release and you sold your Beaches Resorts & Parks to 30A Company, which Mike heads, so people might think you’re jumping ship. But then when I finished reading the press release, you’re editor in chief of the new magazine. Can you explain what happened?

Will Estell: I have managed through four different iterations of Beaches Resorts & Parks and of course, you were familiar with the magazine when you tracked it that first year. In 2013, you named us the New Launch of 2012, with the highest newsstand sell-through at the time, and the magazine continued to do really well. There were four different iterations of ownership, including one period where I solely owned it on my own, which by the way, was not an easy thing and not the way I would ever want to go again.

You know though, I’m kind of married to this thing and I tell you, there have been times when it would have been a lot easier to jump ship, to sell it out. We had offers in the past to buy Beaches outright that I probably would have gone along with, but this just seemed like the perfect opportunity and I’ve always been a huge fan of the 30A Company, literally going back to Mike’s early days with the company some 10 years ago. I was donning the stickers on my car and wearing the first T-shirt and all that.

I’m a lot like Mike in that I’m an optimist too, so I saw this as a great pairing. Actually, we’d been talking about this, I guess our first conversation was about the potential of 30A doing the magazine, probably about six years ago. But then we really got serious about this around last June and again talked about it. I can’t think of a better entity to be able to acquire the Beaches Resorts & Parks magazine than 30A. I’ve worked for quite  a few publishing companies outside of partnerships of my own, some large companies and some small companies in the past, and I’ve never had the ability to work for a company that had a magazine that already had a brand and a consumer reach that 30A does already built around it. So, we’re super-stoked about what we think this can do and the people it can reach.

And that’s part of the opportunity. Will had newsstand reach; he obviously had decades of print experience that we did not have. But we did have 1.5 million social media followers; we’ve got a quarter-million newsletter subscribers; we have orders that are being shipped to all states every day out of our fulfilment warehouse. So, we have the ability to take Will’s newsstand reach and combine it with our digital audience.

Mike Ragsdale: As Will and I were working through this, we realized we have an audience size that very few people can touch. There are some companies out there that have big established, decades’ worth of audiences, but to be able to come in with Issue One and have a print reach that Will has and have a digital reach of 1.5 million fans is a great platform to build upon.

Photo By Lauren Athalia

Samir Husni: When will the first issue be released?

Mike Ragsdale: We were planning to launch in mid-May and it will be a quarterly publication at first, and so the issue would have been on newsstands in June, July and August, with a follow-up issue in the fall. We’re not going to deviate from that path very far. We’re waiting really until May 1 to make the decision. We’re going to be prepared to go to print on May 1, but if circumstances call for us to wait a few more weeks so we’ll know a little more, then we may push it back. But we’re not going to push it off more than a month. One way or another we’ll be in May or June and we’re just waiting to see what happens with COVID-19 and the travel restrictions.

To us, and this is why it’s important that the launch isn’t really predicated on the physical; in my mind, again, Will comes from a little bit of a different place with the prior magazine, it really was focused on a lot of destinations, and we’re certainly going to have destination information in the magazine, but it’s as much or more about lifestyle.

In a regular week, the 30A brand; we do not think of ourselves as a travel or tourism brand. We’re a lifestyle brand that keeps people in touch with the beach when they can’t be there. So, whether you want to talk about Margaritaville or Disney World, you can’t be at Disney World every week. Our target audience is not people who are here on this beach and it’s not people who are coming to this beach next week. Our target audience is the people who wish they could be on the beach, whether it’s this beach, Key West, or whether it’s a fantasy beach in their mind.

So, we’re all about reaching that person who’s landlocked, wherever they may be. We want to reach that person who is having a tough time, be it their mortgage, boss or because they’re freaking out about the pandemic, we’re about giving them a moment of vacation in their minds, even if they can’t be on vacation at the moment. And that’s really what we build our products around. We have 30A Radio, which plays uplifting beach music 24/7; we have recycled apparel, shirts, hats, drinkware; we have all these things that I liken to Corona or Red Stripe, no one drinks Red Stripe beer because it’s great beer, they drink it because it mentally transports them to an island, Jamaica typically. And never mind that it’s brewed in Pennsylvania. It’s a way for them to step away from the pressure of their jobs or anything that is stressful, it enables them to take a beach vacation.

And Beach Happy, the magazine is the same thing. It’s really not about booking immediate plans and coming down to spend a week with us in Florida, we want to bring stories to people that make them happy and make them smile, give them a little bit of relief during what can only be described as some of the most stressful times we’ve seen as a nation in recent memory.

Photo by Lauren Athalia

Samir Husni: How are you going to take this large social media base, the radio base, the merchandising, and curate all of that onto the pages of a printed magazine?

Will Estell: That’s something that we’re still working through, but the positive aspect is that we do have to be concerned about that. In other words, those things exist, so this magazine is not in a startup phase, standing alone, and having to go out there and find Reader One from Day One. It will be more of a pairing of both sides, where the other side of the 30A Company, be it the apparel or the decals, or people following the website to find events; all of that will promote the magazine just as the magazine will promote all of that.

So, we’re being careful within the magazine not to let it come off like a glorified marketing piece or a catalog, if you will, for the 30A Company, but instead to, obviously, show a lot of what we offer and to show what the 30A Company is about, while also integrating that with everything else that has to do with the beach too.

I think in a lot of ways the magazine will be a lot like any other travel magazine, except beach-oriented, it won’t be a heavy push on necessarily promoting only 30A,  just the beach in general. I don’t think we’ll have to do a whole lot different than if we were just launching any travel magazine. It just has the backing of the rest of the brand behind it.

I would also say that obviously, a lot of people who would know about this or hear about this might think that we’re ignoring the fact that we’re a publication that’s launching in what could be deemed a bad time, if nothing else than economically speaking, because it’s no secret that advertisers aren’t jumping through hoops with any publication right now to put ads out there. But we do believe that the lifestyle surrounding the beach will be something that comes back quicker than anything else in our current economic situation.

So, we made that commitment to go ahead and put that issue out like Mike told you, however, we think as soon as everything opens up, advertisers are going to want in the issue. We don’t have any doubts about people buying the issue, but back to Mike’s point about the timing being potentially better than ever, I think after all of us have been cooped up for 30 to 45 days, we haven’t left our homes and we haven’t taken vacations, we haven’t even been able to walk in a store and buy our favorite apparel or anything, everyone is going to be ready for some good news and nothing is better to some people than the whole lifestyle surrounding the beach.

Mike Ragsdale by Peyton Hollis,
Good Grit magazine

Samir Husni: Mike, was creating your company 30A just a walk in a rose garden for you or did you have some challenges along the way?

Mike Ragsdale: It’s interesting, I’ve had a couple of really amazing successes and I’ve absolutely buried those with the failures I’ve had in business. I received my master’s degree in advertising and public relations, but I couldn’t get a job, despite sending out all of the resumes I could send and doing a few interviews, but I just wasn’t able to secure anything. So, I became an entrepreneur by accident and out of necessity to pay the bills, scrounging to stay afloat.

The first business I started was a success, it still took seven or eight years to build it and to exit at the right time, but it was a trial by fire and a wonderful thing to experience as a young person, the ability to grow a company from a literal idea into 70-person operation, then to be able to sell it. It was awesome.

But it was also a curse, because as a young arrogant person who went through that process, you think that was easy, I’ll be able to do that easily enough again. But the reality is that’s not how entrepreneurship works, you can have the best business plan in the world, you can have the best minds and a great idea, but it just doesn’t always work.

I spent the next 10 years just absolutely striking out, having failure after failure. And although it was painful and demoralizing to go through, it also enabled me to understand what things I’m good at and what things I’m not. And to stay away from the things I’m not good at and recruit other people. A great example, there’s not a chance in the world that I would have gotten into the print business if Will was not staying on. This merger would not have happened if Will’s experience wasn’t part of the package, because I don’t want to go in and learn a business; I can’t learn his 20 years of expertise myself. I don’t have that kind of time or inclination.

I have learned some important things and what I have learned is to focus on what I do very well and what I don’t do well, either stay away form or partner with someone who does do it well. And Will certainly does print publications well.

In some ways we’re really looking at Beach Happy as a cooler, hipper version of some of the more traditional publications, such as Coastal Living. I’m not knocking Coastal Living, but one of the things that we’re doing is integrating our audiences. We’re making it more fun, some of the themes we might have are : Five  Beach Beers You Need In Your Cooler This Summer. Fan comments: If This Were Your Beach Ball, What Would You Name It? That way, we make our fans some of the stars in the new publication.

It’s not a catalog; it’s not a 30A mouthpiece, and it’s not even about the particular stretch of beach we live on. I tell our team all the time, we’re like Coastal Living, we just happened to headquartered on a beach as opposed to being headquartered in Birmingham, Ala. But being on our beach doesn’t mean we can’t share incredible stories from Bali or Turkey or Ecuador or other beaches around the world.

Will Estell

Samir Husni: Is there anything either of you would like to add?

Will Estell: The only thing I would add is for all the negativity and all the doom and gloom that’s talked about in the industry, and I know you’re a huge advocate for the growth and continued success of magazines, what we’re doing with this and what a lot of the companies that have learned to survive are doing is we’re finding new ways to get our message out, still be a magazine, but do it in  different ways.

And one of those is all the ways we have of reaching people through digital means. It’s no secret that Beach Happy magazine will reach a lot more readers digitally than in print. Although we hope to grow the print way beyond what I ever had with Beaches Resorts & Parks. I’m saying all this because everyone in the industry, no matter what point they’re at, whether they’re an editor in chief or writer coming right out of school or a publisher in the business for 20 years, everyone has to rethink how we’re doing things. I would love to hear an end to the doom and gloom and just have more people think about new ways to do stuff. And that’s with every industry, not just  magazines.

We’re thinking positive; the sky is the limit. We believe this publication can do better right now  than it would have done 10 years ago. And I think more people in our industry need to have that kind of mindset with what they’re doing.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you both up at night these days?

Mike Ragsdale: Right now, of course, I’m concerned during my waking hours about the fact that we have a business that’s struggling like everyone is. Our three stores are closed; our 380 wholesale partner stores are closed; our digital advertisers, from restaurants to rental companies are shut down. And so we’re not expecting to see them paying any bills.

We just launched this new endeavor, which again might seem like strange timing, but as Will said, this has been in the works for a very long time. We looked at it and we could have all walked away, but the reality is the world needs optimism. I’m not saying that in some philosophical, mumbo-jumbo kind of way, I’m saying just like fast-food found an anecdote by offering organic, free-range healthy alternatives, we’re going to be one of the first movers in providing a healthy information alternative to all of the toxic news and information that we consume every, single day.

This is an immense business opportunity. We’re going to start to see that information is causing slowly and in small bites, in fact, so slowly we don’t even realize it, to affect our minds. Once those studies start to come out, once we realize the suicides and depression are related to the ingestion of information, people are going to be unplugging. We’re already seeing that happen on our own, but they will be seeking healthy sources of information. And positive sources of information.

So, we view Beach Happy as being right in that first mover just as if someone was coming out with the first free-range organic product on the grocery aisle. We’re going to be one of those first movers to give people a sense of hope and optimism and a sense of escapism on a crowded shelf, competing with people who are peddling in scandal, sensationalism and division.

Will Estell: I go to bed at night and many times lay there for about two hours. The last time, for example, that I looked at my phone this morning was about 2:00 a.m. and I fell asleep right after that.

But all that to say, I do not lay in bed and worry about things. I don’t lay in bed and worry about the fact that the world has stopped spinning for a period of time right now. I don’t worry about the fact that we’re not out selling advertisers left and right. Now that doesn’t mean I’m not concerned about those things, but I have learned to be more solution-oriented in my thinking than problematic. It takes the same amount of energy to find a solution than worry about the problem.

So, I stay up at night, but I am brainstorming mostly. I’m thinking of a new article to write or a new way to reach people or how to do something no one else has done, even within our industry. Coming up with something that hasn’t been done does occupy my thoughts.

You will never find a piece of negative information within the pages of Beach Happy. There will not be an interview where we put someone down.  And I think people are ready for that. And that’s what keeps me up at night.

If there’s any negativity in my world right now, even with what we’re going through with this pandemic, it would be that I have three children, one in Atlanta, Georgia, one in Birmingham, Ala. and one that lives with his mom in Oxford, Ala. And the only thing that does keep me up at night from a negative standpoint is the fact that I haven’t been able to see them through this for about six weeks now. Other than that, nothing negative on my part.

Samir Husni: Thank you both. 




Resume Mistakes: 7 Mistakes To Avoid

Resume Rules - 2018Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Resume mistakes can cost you a job.  Even in an environment where jobs are plentiful and candidates scarce, mistakes on your resume can get you eliminated from the search.  Hiring managers don’t spend more than a minute reviewing resumes so you have to make a great impression in a short time frame.  Here are 7 mistakes to avoid:

  1.  Typos.  Your resume represents who you are.  You don’t want someone to think you are sloppy and can’t proof read.  It’s important to check and recheck your resume every time you send it out.
  2.  Formatting Problems.  You want to show an employer that you are detailed-oriented.  Formatting errors will show that you are not.  Watch out for any inconsistencies in format – using bold for headlines, size of type fonts, spaces between numbers, etc.
  3.  Not Customizing Your Resume.  In today’s market, every time you send out your resume, you should be customizing it to the specs mentioned in the ad.  You want to show an employer that you are qualified to fill this particular position.
  4.  Clichés And Overused Words.  Use verbs that are action oriented and make sure not to use the same one twice.  Quotes and clichés will only make the reader roll their eyes.  Keep your resume simple and to the point.
  5.  Tailor Your Summary/Objective.  You make think you have a general summary or objective on the job of your resume.  However, you need to make it fit the job.  Tailoring is everything.
  6.  Too Much/Too Little.  You need to insure that your resume is scannable and easy to read.  The information in your resume should pertain to a particular position.  Any other information can be distracting.
  7.  Use Appropriate Keywords.  Part of customizing your resume is using keywords from an employer’s ad or job description. This is particularly important if you are applying online.  Applicant Tracking Software uses keywords to find qualified candidates.



5 Crucial Ways to Improve Business Fitness

Business Fitness

Susan Parks, Freelance Blogger

With a trade war raging in China and concerns about a global economic slowdown growing, many small business owners are left wondering what to do.

Do they stay the course, investing for growth and bringing on more staff? Or do they rein it in and take a more cautious approach?

As it stands, the economy is humming along. However, for some, confidence is starting to waiver. The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index declined 3.2 points in January to 101.2, the lowest reading since the weeks before the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The index polls small businesses on their plans for spending and hiring and any weakness could be a forewarning that pain may come, requiring business owners to ensure their business fitness is in optimal shape.

Businesses need to be in top shape not only to handle potential business interruptions but more importantly, to weather them. That means ensuring the organization is primed to achieve the maximum profits with the least amount of outlays. If that sounds difficult or impossible to you, check out the following five ways to accomplish it:

1. Reduce Costs

Small business owners know all too well how to do more with less. After all, many are operating on shoestring budgets as they grow their enterprises. In order to protect what they already have, they must run a lean business and keep costs to a bare minimum. When you add potential business hiccups to the mix, the phrase “doing more with less” takes on a whole new meaning. The good news is that there are ways to cut expenses, which is the first step in maximizing your business fitness. Here are three examples:

  • Everyday Expenses. Whether it’s the costs of supplies from wholesalers or the expenses associated with running an office, those outlays can quickly add up if left unchecked. That’s why it is important for business owners to keep a regular eye on expenses and be willing to constantly shop for a better deal. The last thing you want to happen is to find out after years of using a specific vendor that you could have gotten it much cheaper from a rival. Plus, cost-cutting strategies can run the gamut, from headcount to advertising.
  • Real Estate. Office space is one of the biggest outlays for business owners who are not operating in their home. Whether they are paying a mortgage on a commercial property or paying rent, businesses shell out a lot of money to house their staff. Unless you operate a storefront or warehouse, chances are you can get by with a smaller space. Curbing that ahead of a potential downturn can go a long way in improving your business fitness and positioning the business when growth resumes.
  • Outsourcing. Giving up control can be hard for a business owner but when looking to reduce costs, it can be a huge money and time saver. The Internet makes it easy to outsource certain business tasks. For instance, services are available to help with everything from payroll to customer relationship management. There are also a host of more traditional outsourcing companies and freelancers who can take care of the busy work for your business.

2. Streamline Operations

Every business owner wants to have a lot of smart policies and procedures on the books. Without them, how can they ensure control and confirm that everyone is following the proper protocols? But sometimes, those processes and procedures can bog a business down, wasting time and money in the process. In times of growth, a business owner may not even notice these questionable policies on the books. However, when money is tight and time is constrained, those policies could come back to haunt them.

To prepare for any future challenges and to improve your business fitness, let go of those processes and procedures that aren’t working and replace them with more cost-effective strategies, being mindful of those steps that save time rather than create more work.

Determining which policies should go in the heap can be challenging, particularly if you are the person that came up with them. To ensure you aren’t hanging on to ineffective processes just because you thought it was brilliant at the time, have your workers weigh in. They are on the frontline following those processes and procedures and as a result, they know which ones work well and which ones are a waste of time.

3. Train Your Staff Regularly and Efficiently

Most businesses focus on training their staff when they come on board and then outside of the annual review, they do very little in the way of retraining. And that’s even true for businesses that experience constant changes. Smart business owners understand the importance of staying on top of evolving industry standards and training their staff accordingly. For instance, this could mean staying abreast of every trending social media platform or offering the latest payment system — and training their staff to use them effectively. Without any training, employees will make mistakes that can cost a business a lot of money or worse, harm its reputation.

To avoid any of those unthinkable scenarios and to prepare for any changes that come your way, pledge to train your workers consistently and for every new process. The more your employees learn, the better they will be at their jobs. That will eliminate frustration and enhance productivity — ultimately boosting profits for your enterprise. Not to mention, it can breed loyalty. For example, if you have a vested interest in your employees, they will be more committed to you. When times are tougher, they won’t be too quick to jump ship if you are forced to freeze salaries or cut hours.

4. Maintain Laser-Focus on Customer Service

If your philosophy is “the customer is always right,” you are much likelier to succeed in business. After all, customers are the lifeblood of any operation. Without them, there would be no business to operate. That’s why it’s important to remain laser-focused on customer service in good and bad times. When business is booming, the more customers you retain the better and when business is suffering, you’ll be thankful for their loyalty.

When focusing on customer service, make sure to meet your customers wherever they are. For example, if your customer base is predominantly on Twitter, try to respond to any tweets as soon as possible — they will appreciate the immediacy of your response. If your customers prefer to communicate by email, ensure you respond daily when dealing with complaints and concerns. In this fast-paced, technology-driven society, people welcome a business owner who goes the extra mile. Even sending a coupon on a customer’s birthday can go a long way in boosting customer service.

Make sure that the love of the customer is weaved into the culture of your organization. It should be part of the mission, emphasized during the onboarding process and frequently during training and retraining. After all, if your employees aren’t providing top notch customer service, your business will undoubtedly suffer.

5. Embrace Technology

Cloud computing, chatbots, digital payments, and social media can be very scary, particularly for business owners who aren’t that tech savvy to begin with. But just because technology frightens you doesn’t mean you should avoid it. Technology can do a lot for businesses — from cutting costs by moving operations to the Cloud to reaching new customers by running ads on a social media platform.

Technology is designed to streamline operations, freeing you up to run and grow your enterprise. If it seems daunting, take baby steps. Embrace just a couple of applications or new marketing ventures and take it from there. Make sure to learn how to use the technology or platform — and teach your staff to do the same — before going live with anything customer-facing. You want any novice tech mistakes to happen behind the scenes and not in front of your customers, many of whom have grown up with a smartphone on their hip.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining a fit business doesn’t mean embracing everything under the Sun. Instead, think of it as picking and choosing the strategies that work best for you. Just like people benefit from a healthy lifestyle, businesses can benefit from ensuring their operations are fit for the race. For instance, that could mean cutting costs out of the equation or implementing new technology in an effort to grow. Either way, the idea is to have a well-oiled machine that can thrive when times are good and continue operating in strength when times are bad.

Are you a business owner? What strategies have helped you keep your competitive edge?


About the Author: Susan Parks is a freelance contributor and journalist based in San Diego, California. She writes and reports on topics related to personal finance and careers. When not working, she splits her time between the beach and the hiking trails.

 




Time to Rethink Employee Engagement Strategies

Zoe Connolly Co-Founder & Managing Director, Hospitality Spotlight

Companies today must rethink their employee engagement strategies and communication techniques. This means going beyond what was a typical employee/employer affiliation in order to attract and retain top talent. Fortunately, there are technologies on the market that make this easier, and which can improve every facet of the employee communications lifecycle.

Interview/onboarding

Finding the right employees begins with the job description. On one hand, employers should attempt to put their best foot forward, offering a glimpse into the positive aspects of working with the company. On the other, employers must be realistic about what the role, and expected career path, might look like. One tool that’s becoming more common across the recruiting (and overall) landscape is Grammarly, a proofing and editing software that uses AI to help improve writing and persuasiveness. More than ever, job descriptions must be about effectively communicating a vision, and this tool helps recruiters encourage prospective employees

More resumes, however, does not always mean more quality candidates, making it so recruiters should consider some sort of applicant tracking system, which can help separate the cream of the crop. Bullhorn is particularly effective, in that it removes many of the application hurdles; we’ve all applied for a role through services that ask you to upload a resume, which is promptly sliced and diced incorrectly, at which point we need to key in all the relevant information. While making it easier for candidates, Bullhorn also enables recruiters and HR leaders to sort candidates based on the criteria of their choosing.

When it comes to making an actual offer, many organizations are now trying to create a more professional look, as opposed to using company letterhead and sending a word doc attachment. Canva is one tool that allows anyone to create amazing looking documents. It offers a free version, as well as templates that can help the least tech-savvy among us build amazing documents.

Of course, once an offer is made and accepted, there is the onboarding process to consider. In an episode of How I Made This, Stewart Butterfield discusses how Slack was originally built as a way to maintain (and share) institutional knowledge. After all, if a question has been answered in Slack, a user can search for its answer with ease.

Current employees 

Once an employee has come on board and hopefully gathered lots of important information, companies must realize that retention efforts are just getting started. One way to retain talent is to instill a sense of company pride, which can be accomplished through a number of technologies, with one of the simplest being LinkedIn. HR departments that regularly feature employee events and gatherings, charitable initiatives, leadership thoughts and even work anniversaries can help to facilitate a corporate image that makes employees proud to work at an organization.

WeWork seems to have established an expectation of alcohol being acceptable in work environments (to be clear, beer fridges and wine tastings were a corporate staple long before coworking became common, but the idea of never-ending beer supplies became much more mainstream when WeWork started advertising it as a perk). As such, many HR teams have come to love services like Uber, which enable them to ensure employees can get home safely on the occasion where they have perhaps overdone it. Many organizations today offer ride-sharing services to all their major events.

Of course, not everyone enjoys drinking, and there has started to be a movement to find other means of employee activity. Let’s Roam is carving out a niche as a team building platform that offers scavenger hunts around cities. Amazon and Google are among the companies that have used the service for employee events.

Regarding other perks that employees have come to expect, the ability to work from home regularly ranks among the top considerations. After many, MANY attempts to build video conferencing solutions, Zoom seems to have finally built a platform that works well on all platforms (Windows, Mac, and Chrome) and enables remote workers to “be there in person” when it is necessary.  

Departing employee 

Companies must remember that employees who are leaving their role are often a tremendous resource. If they’ve been treated well, they can be a source or referrals for new hires and can actively help an organization look more attractive. Employees that have given their notice and are on their way out the door tend to be incredibly honest about giving feedback. While exit interviews are encouraged, there isn’t always time for them. One way to encourage feedback is through the use of Google Forms, which enable non-technical individuals to easily create web-based forms to gather information. Data is then stored in a spreadsheet or document, and therefore available to be reviewed at a later date.

For employees that are leaving on good terms, HR leaders should consider asking for a review on Glassdoor.  Prospective employees are doing more research than ever before, and peer reviews are gaining traction as the most important source of information candidates will consider before even applying.

Oftentimes, employees will have some sort of expense report that they need to fill out after they have left. Expensify is one solution that makes it incredibly easy for employees to submit these reports, simply by taking pictures of receipts and emailing them into the service. Failure to pay seemingly small expenses can leave a bad taste in a former employee’s mouth and tends to dramatically impact whatever goodwill the employee is leaving with. Also, while this is not legal advice, it is possible that failure to pay might negate specific clauses in a departure agreement (such as a non-compete clause).

Speaking of departure agreements, HR teams can incorporate eSignature solutions like those offered by DocuSign, in order to dramatically cut down on paperwork and printing, as well as storage for physical files.

Many of today’s employees have been conditioned to believe that companies are responsible for providing more than a paycheck. This means building pride over an organization’s mission and how it treats its people. However, not every organization has learned to effectively communicate their approach. Fortunately, there are technologies available that help employers more effectively convey their employee relations approach.


About the Author: Zoe Connolly is the co-founder and managing director for Hospitality Spotlight, a full service executive search firm for the hospitality and travel industries. For more than a decade, she’s pioneered innovative and proactive recruiting efforts, connecting the best talent with the best companies, across all levels of organizations. In her career, Ms. Connolly has worked with a variety of companies, from startups to Fortune 500 firms. For more information, visit www.hospitalityspotlight.com 



Job Hunting When You Have A Job: 10 Tips

Job Hunting Tips

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Job hunting when you have a job is difficult at best.  Contacting people, answering job ads and interviewing are all very time consuming. While you may want a new opportunity, you want to keep the one you have.  Here are some tips to help navigate this tricky road:

  1.  Keep it confidential.  Since you won’t know how long it will take you, it’s just your business.  As you get closer to an actual job offer, you will need to ask someone at your office to be a reference.  Until then, outside friends only.
  2. Make a time commitment. You can’t start looking and then not get back to people.  You can’t start looking without speaking to recruiters and answering ads.  Pick a time of day, before/after/during, work when you can do this.  Stick to you schedule.  It will keep you committed and recruiters will quickly pick up on the best time to reach you.  Think 15 – 60 minutes a day.
  3. Leverage your social media discreetly.  Don’t announce you are looking for a new job as you don’t know who will see your profile.  Make sure everything is up-to-date and list what you do and what you would like to do in the future.
  4. Be careful answering ads and posting on job boards.  Don’t answer a blind ad as it could be your company and, remember, an employer can easily search these boards for resumes.  Any new ones will pop up first.
  5. If you have your resume on your website, make sure it’s current.  It doesn’t mean you are actively looking, just that your website is current.
  6. Watch your interview schedule.  If you keep disappearing from the office, it will look suspicious.  In the early interviewing stage, explain your situation and see if you can interview before or after work.  If it’s close by, a lunchtime interview might work.  Just let the recruiter know how much time you have and allow for the commute back and forth.  Use vacation/personal days for the later interviews and any testing that might be done.
  7. Being employed while looking has it’s advantages. You will be move confident and you won’t have to worry about the “why don’t you have a job question.”
    • Why do you want to leave?  That’s the question you will be asked.  Take the time to evaluate your present position.  What do you like about it and what don’t you like about it.  This will help you answer this question but will also help you decide if an opportunity is right for you.  You don’t have the time to waste on opportunities that will not give you what you want.
  8. Work with outside recruiters.  Just remember to tell them ‘not’ to share your resume without checking with you first.  Most recruiters do this but restating it can’t hurt.
  9. Keep track of everything.  Use a spreadsheet to track when you submitted an application, who you contacted, interview dates, call times and follow-ups.
  10. Take advantage of technology by turning on search and text alerts for online job boards.  This will cut down on your search time.

And remember to has a master resume ready.  It’s less time-consuming to select and cut/paste then to rewrite your resume.




The Most Important Quality I Look for in a New Hire

Lauren Parker, Executive Vice President, FrazierHeiby, @ImLaurenParker

Hiring quality employees, particularly in the boutique agency setting, can be challenging. When you’re adding to a small team, new hires make a big impact on company culture, productivity and client service. So, when I’m reviewing resumes and interviewing prospects, there is one quality I look for that is typically the golden sign of a high-potential employee: CURIOSITY.

Naturally curious people are well-suited for agency life for a number of reasons:

  • They are self-motivated to learn and develop new skills. They are often the first to take advantage of professional development perks like continuing education scholarships and access to learning databases like Codeacademy, Harvard Online Learning and com. In the long term, they tend to develop a well-rounded skillset that makes them a Swiss Army employee.
  • They are willing to take on any account. While some may have a strong background in healthcare or financial services, curious employees are willing to pinch hit for any project that comes through the door and needs staff support. These employees take the time to get to know the client’s business and industry, so they can develop and execute a strategic program quickly and effectively.
  • They build strong relationships with staff and clients. Naturally curious people are great at asking thoughtful questions. This skill makes it easy for them to befriend colleagues around the office and build rapport with clients in a short period of time. Those relationships keep employees and clients around longer.
  • They teach me new things. From my experience, curious colleagues like to share what they learn. If they come across a great article, they’ll circulate it among the staff. If they attend a conference, they’ll share those insights at a staff meeting. And – my favorite – they will leave a copy of a great book they just finished in the common area of the office to encourage others to pick it up.
  • They lead to creativity and innovation. Esteemed management author Greg Schinkel once said, “Curiosity is the root of creativity and innovation.” Creative people bring a diverse background and distinct perspective that enables them to connect dots others may not see. In today’s business world, this is essential not only for delivering high-quality results for clients, but for pushing the boundaries of the type of agency you want to be in the future.

For managers or HR leaders, identifying a curious candidate can sometimes be difficult because curiosity isn’t always listed on a resume under special skills. Look for candidates who show their curiosity on paper and in person. Do they have a non-traditional background that’s led them into marketing or communications? Do they ask thoughtful, unexpected questions during the interview process? Do they look at challenges as opportunities and can they pinpoint specific examples of creative problem solving throughout the course of their career to date?

Hire curious people. Curiosity can be infectious.


Lauren ParkerAbout the Author: Lauren Parker is Executive Vice President of FrazierHeiby, a marketing and communications firm based on Columbus, Ohio. Lauren has more than a decade of experience counseling clients through crisis and reputation management, brand positioning, social media engagement, employee relations and digital communications strategy. You can find her on Twitter at @ImLaurenParker or connect by email at lauren@FHcommunicate.com




Artificial Intelligence Takes on Talent Acquisition

Amanda Peterson, Enlightened Digital

Almost 2 million individuals are preparing to receive bachelor’s degrees in May 2019, meaning a wave of fresh talent is gearing up to take the workforce by storm. With diplomas in hand, an eager generation of prospective employees are beginning their job search and sending resumes to dozens of human resource departments.

For recruiters, however, this number can be daunting. An expanding talent pool coupled with an unprecedentedly low unemployment rate poses one of the greatest challenges in talent acquisition: screening resumes in a timely and efficient manner. In fact, over 50 percent of talent acquisition leaders say the hardest part of recruitment is identifying the right candidates from a large applicant pool. Sourcing candidates for just a single role is extremely time-consuming, encompassing more than 13 hours of a given work week, as many talent acquisition professionals complete all required tasks by hand. Fortunately, new developments in automation technologies offer more efficient ways to modernize and streamline recruiting efforts.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the leading technologies that works to simplify high-volume, repetitive tasks like resume screening. At its core, AI focuses on solving problems as well as humans can. Today, AI has an increased capability to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. By combining large sets of data with fast, iterative processing and detailed algorithms, AI programs can learn from dataset patterns in real-time.

Tech industry leader Oracle, which has been named one of the most popular companies for recent graduates, has begun to utilize AI in its own hiring methods. “We recruit 2,000 college students today,” says CEO Mark Hurd. “It used to be done manually, but now we use machine learning and algorithms to figure out where to source people.” Not only can AI assist in finding potential employees, but it can also evaluate whether an applicant would be successful at the company.

AI can be applied on an existing resume database to automate and learn from the candidate screening process. More specifically, an AI program gathers information on existing employees’ experience, skills and other qualities and applies this knowledge to new applicants in order to automatically rank, grade and shortlist the candidates who match these qualities.

Additionally, AI-powered chatbots can respond to applicants in order to quickly provide feedback, updates and next-step suggestions. As 67 percent of job seekers say they form a positive impression of companies that provide consistent updates throughout the application process, AI is also improving the recruiting experience from a candidate perspective. Online interview software equipped with AI can even assess minutiae such as candidates’ word choices, speech patterns and facial expressions to assess his or her fit for the role as well as the company culture.

AI will undoubtedly change the recruiter role as we currently know it, but the position won’t be replaced by AI technology anytime soon. As Shobhit Gupta, business strategy and operations lead for AllyO, describes it, “We at AllyO think of [AI] like the Roomba, the friendly vacuum cleaner that frankly does things that no one wants to do and does it well.” Utilizing AI gives recruiters the opportunity to become more strategic and creative rather than devoting time to completing mundane tasks.

Recruiters will be able to conduct proactive strategic hiring that ensures the selection of candidates who are truly the best fit for the organization. A hiring process equipped with AI efficiently sorts out applicants that don’t fit the needs of the organization and gives hiring committees more time to analyze suitable candidates. Of 800 surveyed recruiters, 69 percent said that incorporating AI into their hiring process has helped them source better candidates than before.

AI is changing the field of play across many industries and will continue to have a significant influence on the recruiting process. With an influx of recent graduates ready to take on new endeavors in the workforce, AI will be an integral part of streamlining the process that allows them to begin their careers.


About the Author: Contributor to Enlightened Digital and software engineer from the one, the only New York City. When I’m not trying to find the best record store in the city, you can find me curling up to watch some Netflix with my Puggle, Hendrix.




Writing Skills Need Help: A Practical Guide To Help

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

Writing skills are a must for anyone in the job market.  Regardless of your career path, the more you move up, the more you need to write.  Knowing how to structure your thoughts before putting them on paper, transferring them to paper and dealing with sentence and grammar structure are skills you need to learn and improve throughout your work life.

Business Writing Today:  A Practical Guide by Natalie Canavor can help.  This new edition is structured to guide you through the writing process step-by-step with examples, demonstrations and callouts.

Whether you are a student, new to working or experienced, this book can help you sharpen you skills at all levels from setting writing goals, writing all types of business materials and even helping you present a well-written resume..  For those of you in a supervisory role, you can use this as the course outline for your own in-house writing class.

From resumes to marketing materials and presentations, this book will help you or your staff reach a new level in your writing.




Resume Rules

Marie Raperto, The Hiring Hub

In today’s world, you should always have a resume ready even if you are not currently looking for a position.  Keeping your resume current allows you to see what you have accomplished each year and it can help prepare you for your annual review and, if something does come up, you don’t have to start from scratch.  With applicant tracking systems, social media sites and a hiring manager’s time, resumes have changed more in the last five years than the ten prior ones.  Customization, easy-to-read keyword specific resumes that can be read on varied screen sizes are essential.   You must remember that a recruiter scans a resume for approximately 6.25 seconds.  Eighty percent of those six seconds is spent looking at your name, current title and company, previous title and company, start and end dates for current and past positions and education.  The remaining time is spent looking for keywords that match the open position. 

Your resume must have:

1.  Just the pertinent information.

2.  It should be tailored to a particular position.

3. Be strategic with the content you include.

4.  Proof, proof and proof.

5.  Make sure it can be read easily.

6.  Include any metrics that you can.

7.  Take out any old, outdated material.

8.  Add specific keywords.

9.  Make sure your contact information is correct and that phone numbers are labelled home, mobile etc.  If you include your LinkedIn URL or online portfolio, check to insure the links work.

10.  Name your file with your name and date.

Your first step is to pick the format best for you.  There are basically four resume styles:

1)  Chronological: The body of this type of resume includes a listing of your work history, beginning with your most recent job. 

Use when:  

  • The length of time on each job can be seen as a strength.  
  • Your work experience is in line with your job objective.
  • Job titles or employers are impressive.
  • You want to highlight career advances.
  • THIS IS THE MOST COMMON RESUME FORMAT

 2)  Functional:  The body of this type of resume highlights your major skill areas.

 Use when:

  •  You want to change fields.
  •  You have the skills but not the work experience.
  • You have acquired skills through unpaid experience.
  • You have had many different work experiences not directly related to the position you are seeking.  (Note: Functional Resumes are not as common as they once were and many hiring managers believe that using a functional resume means you are hiding something.  If you choose this format, be very careful to include all pertinent information and dates.)

3)  Combination:  The body of this type of resume utilizes parts of both the  functional and chronological resumes.

Use when:

  • You have acquired a number of skills while progressing on one or several jobs and you want to highlight specific ones.

4)  Targeted:  A targeted resume focuses on specific abilities and duties that directly  relate to a specific job.

Use when: 

  • This type of resume is prepared specifically for one position and should show your qualifications against the job’s specified qualifications.

The Targeted resume is the most favored right now.   With Applicant Tracking Systems in use, targeting your resume for each and every ad you answer is essential.

A resume should be your personal marketing piece. It should tell enough about you so someone will want to meet you but not enough about you so that you can be eliminated from a search. Everyone has preferences as to resume format.  Make sure that you are comfortable with the one you are using and that it clearly shows all the information.

Don’t try to use a template.  Customize your resume so that your experience shows.  It should be very easy to read and not text-heavy.

Resume Fonts

The typeface you choose for your resume is very important.  Your resume needs to be as clear and concise as possible.  It also must be read on many types of devises from desktops to mobile phones.  Sans-serif typefaces are best for small screens and the easiest to read on all screens.  Make sure your resume is readable as research shows that hiring managers and recruiters only scan resumes for 6-8 seconds.  Typing in sans-serif fonts on your computer will give you a complete list, but here are some of the most common:

  • Arial
  • Arial Narrow
  • Book Antiqua
  • Calibri
  • Cambria
  • Didot
  • Garamond
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Times New Roman
  • Verdana

Resume Rules - 2018Resume Basics

Remember, it’s  not your autobiography. Your resume is your chance to call attention to you and what you’ve done as it pertains to the open job description. You must be careful to be specific, concise and to the point.  You want the hiring manager to want to learn more about you.  It is not a list of your current and past job descriptions.  It is a list of the things you have done that will get you to the position you want.  Using the right key words will increase your chances of making the first round.  

The most relevant information should be started at the top of every section to get the reader’s attention.

Bullets can set your resume apart and make it easier for a reader to scan.

Remember, headers/footers, graphs, color etc., may not be read on every computer and that resumes with these items may not get through an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Some Job Facts:  You should be getting 5 or 6 first interviews for every 100 targeted resumes you send out.  (Targeted resumes are written with the job description/ad in mind.) If you are not, you might be sending out resumes to every ad you see, whether the job fits or not. Also, have someone review your resume to make sure it’s clear as to what you are looking for and that it doesn’t contain a typo.

You should be getting one second interview for every 8 first interviews. If not, ask yourself whether you need to polish your interviewing skills. Are you coming across as desperate or unsure?

Have you ever been a finalist for more than 8 or 9 positions and not landed a job? If so, try to review what happened. If the companies hired from within, there isn’t anything you could have done. If the company decided not to hire anyone, there isn’t anything you could have done. But to get this far this many times and not have closed the deal suggests that something is wrong. For starters, you might want to review your references. Are you giving them enough information so that they can be helpful? Consider adding new ones to the list. Sometimes, the personality of the reference makes a big difference, too!

What Goes on Your Resume and What Doesn’t

To start the year off, do a basic review of what and what does not go on a resume. It may sound elementary but many resumes don’t follow the rules. If you have been in the workforce and not looking for your first job, here’s what should and should not go on your resume.

What to Put on Your Resume

  • Your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Identify your phone numbers if you are putting more than one (cell, business, home, message etc.) If you are looking for a job out of town and want to be relocated, put your full address on the top, as usual. If you are looking for a position where you have a residence or a place to stay lined up, leave off your address or use the address at the location.  Also, remember to check the email and voice mail you list regularly.
  • In your description, put the company/agency name with a short explanation of the nature of the organization. Hiring managers might not be familiar with your employer or you may be working in a specific product unit of a large conglomerate.
  • If you are working for an agency, list your clients or expertise within a specific industry.
  • Under education, list the school, degree and dates. You might not want to put your graduation dates fearing ageism will come into play. However, not having any dates makes your resume “suspicious” and can make you look even older than you are.
  • If you are fluent in languages (s) or have knowledge of specific or technical computer programs, do list them.
  • Current Board/Committee memberships can show your interest in your field or in philanthropic areas. These should go on your resume.

What Not to Put on Your Resume 

  • Don’t list any personal information such as birthdays, marital status etc. While this is common practice outside of the U.S., it is not legal here.
  • Keep the names of your references on a separate sheet and give them out when asked. First, you don’t want to give out personal information or put it out online and, secondly, remember that you always want to speak with your references to tell them who will be calling and the nature of the job before they get the call.
  • Salary information does not belong on the resume. If a job ad is asking for salary history, it should go in your cover letter.
  • Don’t include any activities that are not relevant. Long lists of past Boards/Committees or sports that do not pertain to your job search should not be included.
  • Do not include the phrase, “References available on request.” The fact that an applicant has references is taken for granted.

Resume Objective/Summary

One of the most difficult parts of the resume seems to be the Objective or Summary. Here are some tips to help you decide which one to use and what to include.

Use an Objective if you are looking for a specific opportunity or an opportunity within a specific discipline.

Examples:

  •  A senior-level communications position within a global consumer company.
  • Social and digital media specialist position within a healthcare agency.
  • Interested in furthering my career with an agency that focuses on international direct marketing.

Summary paragraphs are better for experienced, multi-disciplined professionals.

Examples:

  • Extensive management experience in integrated marketing, including work with a global consumer products company and a major financial services company.
  • Over 10 years of experience in public relations with a special emphasis directing media relations, social media, crisis and issues management and financial communications.
  • Fifteen years experience in communications. Specialties include investor relations, public policy issues and crisis communications.

When writing your Objective/Summary Statement, remember:

  • It’s ok not to have one.
  • If using an Objective, it should be as specific as possible.
  • The objective of a resume is to find employment so don’t put this in your statement.

Summary statements should be brief and to-the-point. Ideally 2 to 3 sentences. Statements should contain the information you want the reader to see and cover the disciplines/keywords you want to highlight.

Remember to:

  • Eliminate the pronouns.  Resumes should not contain I, he/she.  They are written as if you are the subject.
  • Keep it short.
  • Eliminate buzz words.
  • Sell yourself.  Tailor your summary to the position.
  • Don’t include non-sequitur information.
  • Do not list specifics.
  • Use bullets when possible to make it easier to scan.
  • Avoid jargon.
  • Don’t exaggerate.
  • Do not include personal information.
  • If you feel your resume is too long, eliminate from the bottom.  You don’t really need to explain your first jobs.  So just list the title, company and dates.
  • If you decide to use an Objective or Summary statement, it will set the tone for what you highlight in the Experience Section of your resume. Think it through and be comfortable with it. You are selling yourself to someone who doesn’t know you. What do you want to highlight?

Words Not To Use On Your Resume

Unnecessary words, words that don’t add anything, describe anything or showcase your writing ability should be eliminated from your resume.  Buzz words are no longer accepted in communication resumes.  If you see any of the words below in your resume, delete them.  Ask yourself why they are in your resume and can you support their use.  You want to clear and concise.  Meaningful words only.

  • Extensive experience
  • Innovative
  • Motivated
  • Results-oriented
  • Dynamic
  • Team player
  • Fast-paced
  • Problem solver
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Liaison
  • Business-savvy
  • Interface with
  • Aptitude for
  • Works well with
  • Good communication skills
  • Measureable results
  • Good work ethic
  • Bottom-line oriented

Words To Add To Your Resume

  • Directed
  • Handled
  • Initiated
  • Achieved
  • Spearheaded
  • Maximized
  • Innovated
  • Increased
  • Implemented
  • Generated
  • Exceeded
  • Quantified
  • Negotiated
  • Organized
  • Pioneered
  • Presented
  • Reviewed
  • Strengthened
  • Trained
  • Collaborated

Applicant Tracking Systems

Today, most resumes go through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  When you answer an online ad or submit your resume online, resumes go through an ATS.  All applicant tracking systems work basically the same. They use a ‘parser’ to read the information in your resume.          

The parser will read the information it has been given by the company.  In most cases, this information consists of keywords pulled from the job description used. Unfortunately you don’t know the keywords or the parameters entered into the system. What this means is your resume submission must use the exact terminology in the ad or description or you risk the parser not forwarding your resume.

Yes, you read that correctly. Just because you submitted your resume and received notification that it was accepted, it doesn’t mean it will reach the hiring manager or HR. Unfortunately, unqualified candidates answer job ads so the applicant tracking system helps to sort out qualified resumes.       

It is important that you customize your resume to each job description. Your resume is scored for relevancy. Relevancy is based on the correlating matches between your resume and the job description’s keywords.

You must also read the disclaimers/information on the web site. You need to know how long a company keeps your resume, can you update it and can you apply for different positions or does one resume submission cover other jobs as they become available. This is important because one general resume for a media relations position may not fit the qualifications for a corporate communications position etc. Some companies post a new position and look at the resumes they receive for that position. They don’t go through the database to search for other candidates. You need to know how long it will be on file so you know when to resubmit it.

 If you have submitted a resume online, a recruiter cannot resubmit it.

When submitting your resume online “think keywords.” Computer software programs make matches by keywords. Read the ad, job description and any other materials so you can use the company’s words as your keywords.  If you are an experienced professional, you probably need 20+ keywords in your resume. Always remember to position yourself. If you are going to post your resume online, find the right sites. If you are a senior-level professional, look for sites that only handle your level or area of expertise.

Customizing Your Resume

Tailoring your resume so you get the interview is what you want to do.  You can’t please everyone with one resume.  Each hiring manager/recruiter could be looking for something different.  That’s why it is so important to customize your resume for each job.  It might sound tedious and time-consuming but with a few tips you can get it done easily.

When answering an ad or reviewing a job description:

Hunt for the keywords.  Watch for keywords like external relations, digital marketing etc. and also note how many times they were mentioned.  The more an ad or description mentions a specific keyword, the more important it is and you should make sure to add it more than once.

Look for job skills.  While keywords are usually the disciplines, the job skills will further define responsibilities such as managing, supervising, writing/editing.

Pick the most important keywords and see if you can add an accomplishment to it.

Lastly: Sending Your Resume

Knowing how to name your resume is extremely important.  It’s a digital world when it comes to job hunting.  It doesn’t matter if you are answering an ad online, emailing HR or a recruiter.  Sending your resume with a generic name can cause it to be overlooked or lost in the system.  Be professional and make sure you name it properly.  You want hiring managers to know it’s your resume and make it easier to track through their email system.

Use either a PDF or Microsoft Word Format

Personalize your file by adding your name – MarieRapertoResume.

Remember to be consistent and use the same style for the resume name, cover letter or sample documents.

You can capitalize words, use spaces or dashes.

Don’t use a version number.  You don’t want to give the impression that you keep changing your resume.  You can use your computer to keep track of different versions.

Test all the links included in your resume.

Happy Resume Writing!