During Barbara Sher’s scanner retreat in Puycelsi, France, we spent a lot of time figuring out what our “Wish” was. As Barbara put it: making your wish a reality is the easy part. Finding your wish is the hard part.

And she was right.

Did I find my wish?

You bet. And I’ll let you in on it in due time…  ;  )

For now, some major take-aways from a lady who is refreshingly different, down-to-earth,  funny, and wise.

  • Forget self-improvement

Basically, you don’t need to spend years or – god forbid – decades trying to better yourself before you can go after your dream(s). Most of us are already “better” than we think we are. (Unless you are some arrogant jack*** but most of us scanners aren’t!)

To realize your dreams and goals, you need a support team, a network, and a plan. You don’t need some sort of fearless super personality.

  • You really don’t know what’s possible. You think you do, but you don’t.

Barbara proved this point to us over and over again when someone would come up with some “crazy, out there” wish. For each one of them, she personally knew someone who had realized the same – or a very similar – dream. After a few days, you start to get how limiting your beliefs really are. And how much you limit yourself in dreaming. Most of us limit ourselves with practical objections. But it’s important to first dream big. The “how” of your wish is next.
Then, join an idea party to brainstorm and you’ll get the ideas and contacts you need to turn your wish into reality.

  • You know you found a real, big dream when it makes you scared to pursue it.

Resistance is bound to come up around real, deep wishes. This is normal. Sometimes it’s a warning sign you need to pay attention to, but most often it’s something from the past you just have to deal with. Or not. Acknowledge it, create strategies, and move on regardless. Just realize that it will surface so it won’t catch you off-guard. And don’t let it stop you.

  • Ask yourself what the 1 thing is about your dream you can’t do without.

This part of your wish is always attainable. You just may have to keep it as a hobby or make money off it later on. If you can lighten up about those aspects, you really can fulfill any wish!

What do you think?


Anniversary Specials

May 12, 2011

The latest specials are in! You let your voices be heard, and here’s the outcome!

A few weeks ago, I asked you for your input, letting you create your own special. I received all kinds of great reactions. One of the funnier suggestions involved dinner and a show in New York or London, followed by champagne and caviar in a prestigious night club. If I were running a dating site, that would be my top pick!

Some other suggestions were great, but not specific enough, or they were for offers that already exist.

A few others contained wonderful ideas, yet had to be fine-tuned a bit.

Today, I’m revealing the outcome of your ideas – some mixed with mine!

Also, I believe I also got back to everyone who emailed me privately as well as on the blog. If by some chance I missed you, please let me know and I still will.

So here are the new specials you helped me create:

Renaissance Resource Special – Free copy of Barbara Sher’s “Refuse to Choose”

Even though Renaissance Personalities/scanners share many of the same challenges, their situations and preferences are always unique. You guys need individual attention.

That’s why I decided not to create a one-size-fits-all special for this special bunch. Of course, there’s already the Renaissance Strategy Session special that is now available for $175 vs. $247. In addition, I am gifting everyone that signs up for one of my renaissance services – whether it’s resume development or coaching – Barbara Sher’s book “Refuse to Choose” that is dedicated entirely to “scanners.” (If you already own it, we’ll get you another title that shouldn’t be missing from your shelves.)

The-Fun-Starts-At-50-Special – Free 50-minute group coaching session, 5 people max.

(Also for those who are trying to get off welfare or off disability or getting back into the workforce after a long hiatus. Join the club!)

Ok. I totally get that for many of you, the 50+ landscape isn’t looking all that funny. That’s why you all wrote to me about a special for this special bunch. 50+ and effected by job cuts.

However, eternal optimist that I am, I firmly believe you can always start over, or make something of a challenging situation. That’s based on the experiences of many 50+ clients of mine.

The key to their success? Networking!

So here’s the deal: I’ll hold a maximum of 2 free, 50-minute sessions per month for the rest of the year. Dates and times will be announced on FaceBook and twitter and directly to those who indicate their interest. So if you qualify and are interested; email Julie ASAP (assistant@CareerBranches.com) to secure your spot!

Each group will have a maximum of 5 people, and you each get 50 seconds to ask me your most burning question. I will answer you AND leave room for everyone in the group to brainstorm and network. It’s the power of collective ideas and connections!

The Customer Loyalty Anniversary Special – 15% off

Even though I already offer great savings on packages vs. a la carte services, I want to honor Mary’s request who asked for a customer loyalty special. However, 50% off resume-writing services will jeopardize my mortgage payments. So here’s what I came up with…

If you engage CareerBranches’ services and come back within one year for more, you receive 15% off any service you purchase, whether it’s a la carte or a package.

Mary then asked: “Also, if we refer additional people during the year who opt to purchase either the Renaissance Strategy, Resume writing or Career Strategy services then possibly offer 15% off another service?”

Mary: wish granted…you got it! And everyone else who refers a new client.

The Expat Special – 10% off any service …a la carte or packaged

If you want to work abroad as an expat or if you are currently an expat looking to repatriate, this one is for you!

That’s all. Inspired by a client who is looking to move back to his home country and make a career change going after his dream job. When I hear those words, how can I resist?

Here are existing specials that are still good:

Family Anniversary Special – 10% off for each partner

If you and your partner sign up for CB services at the same time, you both receive 10% off your total investment. It doesn’t matter whether one of you wants a resume and coaching package and the other just a new LinkedIn profile.

I’m simply rewarding going it together with your significant other, and lightening the financial investment at the same time.

Burnt-By-Another-Resume-Writing-Firm-Special – 20% off

For all of you who have recently paid – and been burnt by – another resume-writing firm, take 20% off your total project investment so you can still get it done right…the second time around!

My normal fee range for from-scratch-resumes including cover letters is $995 – $1,595+.

(Note: I am a firm believer in resolving issues and misunderstandings with the original writer, so please try that route first. And no; I will not mediate between the two of you.  :  )

The Renaissance Strategy Session and the Career Strategy Session are also still part of our specials! The deal is: $175 instead of $247.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

QUESTION: What do we see right around the corner that will begin to impact careers, employment, job search, and how we work within the next one to two years?

Resumes, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profiles & Other Career Marketing Communications

New resumes look different, read different, and are different. Most, although certainly not all, career professionals believe there will always be a role for the “traditional” resume. However, most also believe that we need to keep moving forward with new ways to communicate our clients’ qualifications. Some of the newest documents already hitting the market are white papers and press release resumes. White papers establish a job seeker’s expertise and credibility around a specific topic, product, technology, or the like. Press release resumes are just that … resumes written in a press release format. Resume writers are already using these documents, so we anticipate they will increase in greater popularity over the next year.

Headlines continue to lead the way. As with resumes in 2011, headlines are expected to be a critical resume element for the foreseeable future. Headlines communicate – in an instant – “who” the job seeker is. They provide instant clarity, and that’s a huge value-add.

Resumes are written and designed to read on a smart phone. With each passing day, more and more people are reading resumes, cover letters, and other career communications on their smart phones. Within a year or two, it will be commonplace. As such, career documents must be written and formatted in small digestible chunks that can be quickly perused and absorbed. Lengthy paragraphs, long lists of bullets, and other text-heavy formats are becoming a thing of the past as we continue to move quickly to new technology platforms.

Resume branding transitions from reputation to value as key differentiator. Reputation will always be important. However, value is shifting to the forefront of personal branding as a more effective strategy to differentiate one qualified candidate from another. By integrating the “who, how, what, and why” into the resume, job seekers communicate the “who” they are, the “how” they do it, the “what” they do, and, most importantly, the “why” an employer should care.

Resumes move to #2 position. We see it happening already and anticipate it will be relatively common within two years. Connections are now being made online through all of the various social media channels, in tandem with traditional face-to-face and phone networking. The result is that relationships are built first and resumes move from the lead to a supporting role.

Street addresses become passé on resumes. Snail mail is becoming a thing of the past and, within the next two years, it will be atypical to see an address on a resume. Stick with your email address and one phone number and that’s all the contact information you need to include on any of your career marketing communications.

T-letters are coming back into vogue. Everyone has seen T-letters – Company’s Hiring Requirements on the left and Your Qualifications on the right. They used to be a staple in job search. They’re now experiencing a resurgence because they’re “simple” and communicate a candidate’s qualifications succinctly… just like we’re communicating with many of our social media tools.

Job proposals are on the rise. An increasing number of executives are already using “job proposals” as part of the interviewing process – during the interview or as a leave-behind or a follow-up. Focused on that company’s challenges and how the executive would define the milestones, solve the problems, and deliver the desired results, these presentations communicate an instant message that the job seeker is already engaged with the company, the people, the products, and – most importantly – the solutions and strategies to take the company into the future.

New entry points are created to make new connections. Each job seeker’s portfolio of career marketing communications is expanding and will continue to do so over the upcoming years. Because of the new ways in which we virtually communicate, there is a growing need for bold and brief entry- point messages as part of each job seeker’s larger messaging suite that will include print, audio, video, online, slideshares, and more. This need opens a wealth of opportunity for career professionals to lead the way in creating and advancing these new communication tools.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

Multicultural identities are more important than ever. As the world of work becomes more global with each passing day, employers are looking for candidates with diverse backgrounds, bilingual skills, and multicultural experiences. Be sure to include any information that is the least bit relevant to communicate a message of cross-cultural qualifications in resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, career bios, and all other career marketing communications.

Master job applications are a valuable tool in today’s job search market. A “master job application” includes all of the data that job applications require: job titles, employers, dates of employment (months and years), locations, phone numbers, contact names, salary, reasons for leaving, and more. This comprehensive document will be each job seeker’s single source for all online job applications. As career professionals, we provide a valuable service when we help our clients create the master application. Do it once, do it right, and they’re all set.

In discussing salary, timing is everything. Most career professionals around the world still concur that it’s best, whenever possible, to move the salary discussion further back in the interview process so it’s not used as a way to eliminate candidates. We want the companies to know the real value of our clients before they have the money discussion. With that said, a great suggestion for getting around salary requirements in an online application is simply to fill in “1,” with the expectation that a hiring decision maker will still be interested in that particular candidate based on experience, credentials, achievements, and other qualifications.

Candidates face scrutiny like never before. With so many qualified candidates in the market, companies and recruiters today are doing background checks that are the most thorough ever. Hand-in-hand with this reality is the fact that job seekers must be able to discuss their entire career histories and not just the past 10–15 years. Hiring authorities want to know now if there are any skeletons in the closet, even if they go back as far as 20 or 30 years.

Snail mail makes a comeback. A few years ago, sending resumes by traditional postal mail was considered passé. Today, however, many think it can be a great differentiator, depending on the specific hiring audience. Think strategically about “who” the job seeker is and “what” types of organizations he’s applying to. Then, make the determination if snail mail might be the answer. Consider a corporate management trainee position with 400+ resumes uploaded in response to the job posting. If your client’s resume arrives on the hiring manager’s desk, he has made it easy for that manager to invite him for an interview (assuming he has the qualifications). Likewise, a CEO applying for select opportunities might also find that she gets better leverage with a snail-mail resume that is sharp, conservative, and distinctive.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

At CareerBranches, we’re doing a professional version of “Build-a-Bear.”

But instead of creating your own snuggly plush creature, you get to come up with your personalized special for one – or several – of my services!

Meaning $ savings for you… now, if THAT doesn’t make you feel fuzzy…

But hurry – this round of collecting input for specials will close in 10 days – next Friday, April 22!

As you may know, we are celebrating CareerBranches’ 10-year anniversary this year and I’ve already created several specials for you!

The thing is: I like my specials to be inspired by real people and real situations.

For example; not infrequently, I receive inquiries from people who got burnt by another resume writer or resume-writing firm. One particular person really caught my attention and I decided to offer her a special deal as the first to receive my new “burnt by other writers” anniversary special. What you get is 20% off my resume-writing fees!! (for more details, email assistant@CareerBranches.com)

Now tell me – what kind of special deal do you wish I’d offer? This is your chance!

The only thing I ask is that you come up with a twist, or a story, or something interesting. Of course, we all want everything we need for half off…no wait…why stop there…for free! Right?  ;  )

Ok, so be a little creative, and you’ll get my attention!

If your idea is selected, not only will YOU enjoy the special, but it will be instituted for anyone else – that is, anyone who meets the criteria you set forth.

And..I will get back to each and every one of you if you email me your idea. Promise!

So  what are you waiting for…do yourself a favor – as well as your friends, family, colleagues…and let me know what kind of anniversary special you think I should offer!

Remember: there is room for more specials, so you’re not necessarily competing with everyone else’s ideas!

Do it now – next Friday will be here before you know it – I don’t want you to miss the boat on this one!

Leave a comment here on my blog or email me at Ilona@CareerBranches.com with your idea, ok?

I can’t wait to offer you your own special deal!

In excited anticipation…

P.S.: Remember: we have 3 active specials right now…email my assistant assistant@CareerBranches.com for the details and to secure your spot!

P.P.S.: To refresh your memory, here’s a current overview of my services:

    • Resume writing (as well as creation of cover letters, thank-you letters, follow-up letters, resume addenda)
    • Resume distribution
    • Company research (for use in your job search)
    • Bios
    • LinkedIn profiles
    • Social media strategies for career management
    • Online identity management
    • Renaissance Strategy Sessions (part of the current special! Now $175 instead of $247!)
    • Renaissance career coaching
    • Career Strategy Sessions (part of the current special! Now $175 instead of $247!)
    • Career Update Sessions
    • Career transition coaching
    • Job search coaching
    • Networking coaching
    • Interview coaching
    • Salary negotiation coaching

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

  • CareerXRoads 2010 survey pinpoints sources of hire. Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler from CareerXRoads publish an annual Sources of Hire survey of Fortune 500 companies. Their 2010 study showed that, of all external hires, 26.7% came from referrals, 22.3% from employer career sites, 13.2% from job boards, and the remainder from other sources. As in years past, the largest number of new hires came from referrals. These are today’s results and what we anticipate for tomorrow.
  • Other statistics reveal interesting hiring trends. Following are statistics that were shared during various Brainstorming Day sessions in both the US and Canada. Not all of these stats are verifiable nor attributed to a particular individual or organization, so read them with that in mind.
  • At least 65% of all new hires come as a result of networking.
  • Up to 80% of all new hires come as a result of networking.
  • Recent Wall Street Journal survey showed 95% of positions were found through networking and leads through people the job seekers knew.
  • 90% of all corporations upload resumes and do keyword searches to identify qualified candidates.
  • 80% of recruiters are using social media to recruit candidates.
  • Contract, temporary, and interim opportunities are soaring. Never before in the history of our industrialized world has there been such a demand for 1099 workers (so-called because corporations report payments to these workers via IRS Form 1099). Quite often, these workers are individuals with a unique expertise (e.g., telecommunications product design and commercialization, Asian market development, biomedical instrumentation). In years past, contract and interim opportunities were almost looked down on as though someone couldn’t get a “real job.” Today, these positions are the future where individuals control their own careers and are directly responsible for generating their own paychecks. Companies are just as eager to jump on the bandwagon because it reduces their corporate benefit and tax expenses while creating long-term flexibility because permanent employees are not added to the payroll.
  • Vocational and skilled trades jobs are in demand. There is a huge market today for plumbers, electricians, welders, and other skilled trades people yet, unfortunately, there still exists a stigma that those types of careers are not “enough.” As we continue to move through this economic recession, we hope that the perception of these careers will change to more accurately reflect the high pay scales, great benefits, and other perks of these professions. College isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
  • LinkedIn is THE online place to be seen. The consensus of career coaches, career counselors, resume writers, recruiters, outplacement consultants, and others who participated in Global Brainstorming Day is that LinkedIn is now the #1 online networking platform for job seekers, both active and passive. Some concern was expressed that job seekers are not currently devoting the amount of time necessary to write the well-branded and comprehensive LinkedIn profiles that are essential because LinkedIn is used daily by recruiters and hiring managers to find quality candidates. The only group of career professionals not quite as focused on LinkedIn were college and university career center directors, 9 who see a great deal of online employment action on Facebook and Twitter for their traditional young graduating students.
  • A minimum number of LinkedIn recommendations is important. One participant recommended that everyone on LinkedIn should strive to have a minimum number of recommendations equal to 10% of the number of their contacts. That indicates that many of us need to get to work asking for our own recommendations!
  • Online identities are more important than ever before. Your online identity used to be something that you could worry about later. Not now. The time to be concerned about your online identity is today as the vast majority of recruiters and companies will Google potential candidates or look them up on LinkedIn before initiating contact. Every single person – job seeker, happily employed worker, entrepreneur, CEO, consultant – must be dedicated to building a strong online presence that ties directly with their brand and/or their business.
  • It’s important to monitor online identity. If you want to know what others are finding out about you, Google yourself routinely – for job seekers, at least once a week. An easy and efficient way to keep an eye on this all-important online identity is to set up a Google alert to be notified whenever their name appears online. If they find digital dirt (negative things) about themselves, they should work very hard to move those Google results to page 3, at least. People can write blog posts, participate on LinkedIn and other social media sites, join online groups, and otherwise increase their digital footprint to populate their Google searches with favorable information.
  • Jim Johnson meet Jim Johnson meet Jim Johnson. How many Jim Johnsons do you think there are in the US? In the world? This fact complicates the entire online identity management process. Fortunately, today offers a solution with Search-Me Google technology developed by Vizibility.com. This new tool allows a person to pre-set the top five results that appear on Google when someone clicks on the Search-Me button that they can add to an email signature line, online resume, LinkedIn profile, and other career communications. This technology is great for everyone, not just people with common names. Think of the power you have to control what people see first about you, your business, your college or university, your transition program, your workforce development center, or your outplacement company, not to mention all of your clients.
  • Participating in social media is a must. Having an account with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms is not enough today. To “be,” you must be seen, and that means posting frequently, commenting on others’ posts, joining groups, and otherwise actively engaging in online communities. If you think you don’t have time to do this – or if your clients think they don’t – consider some of the shortcuts. For example, update your LinkedIn status and you can set it to also appear on Facebook and Twitter. Use Tweetdeck to schedule tweets ahead of time.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”

QUESTION: What does the current job-search and employment landscape look like and what are the trends and best practices that we currently experience?

Resumes, Cover Letters, LinkedIn Profiles & Other Career Marketing Communications

  • Google has replaced the resume as the preferred introduction to job seekers. Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? and a true pioneer in the employment industry, was recently quoted as saying, “Your Google results are the new resume.” Today’s recruiters are using Google searches and LinkedIn to source candidates instead of trolling job-board databases.
  • It’s essential to keep it short. Forty years ago, resumes were one page listings of an individual’s work history typed, of course, on onionskin paper. Ten years ago, resumes were two, three, or four pages long, extolling a candidate’s qualifications, successes, deliverables, value, highlights, traits, and more. Today’s resume replicates the earlier trend as we work to keep it short (one to two pages; rarely any longer). However, today’s resume also incorporates all of same elements as the longer resumes – qualifications, successes, value, and accomplishments; it’s simply written tighter, cleaner, and leaner. Shorten two sentences to one. Eliminate an extra bullet point. Summarize all of the tech skills into one line. You can do it!
  • Culture fit more important than ever. As recruiters and hiring managers work tirelessly to identify the right candidates for their organizations, one of the most important criterion they use today is culture fit. They want to know if a job seeker will perform well within their company, within their management structure, within their communications infrastructure, and so on. Resume writers, career coaches, and others are working harder than ever today to communicate a strong message of culture fit when writing resumes, letters, and other job-search communications.
  • Resume “extras” require extra thought. With all of the focus on writing short and to the point, what do you do when you’re working with a client who has lots of great information – important information – but it’s never going to fit onto one or two pages? This might include publications, public speaking engagements, media appearances, technology qualifications, projects, consulting engagements, international experience, or more. Today’s savvy resume writer knows to briefly mention these items, include enough substance to make them valuable additions to the resume, and then include the rest of the information in an addendum.
  • Web portfolios are here to stay, but are they? If web portfolios had ever really caught on, they’d be the answer to what to do with all of the extras. With just a click or a tap, a hiring manager would be able to move seamlessly from educational qualifications to professional experience to honors and awards to executive consulting engagements, and down the list through each component of a candidate’s experience. However, as career professionals, we’re well aware that web portfolios have not caught on as so many of us had anticipated. By now, many of us thought they would be mainstream. Today’s reality is that only a small percentage of job seekers use them, either because they’re too much trouble to create and maintain, but more likely because recruiters and hiring managers simply don’t spend the time to review them. They would rather glance at a resume, skim a LinkedIn profile, or do a keyword search through their ap plicant database. That’s today’s market and the one in which we need to work right now.
  • Resume branding is a must, particularly for professionals, managers, and executives. A personal brand is an authentic differentiator that identifies and communicates the unique value of an individual clearly and concisely and with 100% accuracy. Once someone’s brand has been uncovered – through a coaching, counseling, or resum E-writing process – it should then be clearly conveyed in every communication of that professional’s career portfolio – resume, career bio, cover letters, thank-you letters, LinkedIn profile, and everything else. One consistent brand equals one consistent message of value and a resume that gets noticed, an interview that gets scheduled, and a job offer that’s made.
  • Brands extend beyond resumes and job search. Today’s professionals, whether in active job-search mode or happily employed, know they need to continually work on building their brands, expanding their brand messages, and building stronger networks, online and off. They know that it’s best to have all of the pieces in place (i.e., contacts who understand them and their value) before they ever need them because our employment landscape continues to remain challenging, to say the least.
  • Core Competencies section returns to the resume forefront. Using a Core Competencies section near the top of a resume is something that many resume writers have done for years and years. However, for others, it had fallen out of vogue. Today, it’s making a resurgence because it coincides with the 140-character mentality of keeping everything as succinct as possible. Plus, it’s quick and easy for a visual review and works great for automated keyword searches.
  • Resumes rich with STARs, CARs, OARs, and SOARs get the most attention and drive the most action. If you’re not familiar with these acronyms, STAR means situation, tactic, action, results; CAR means challenge, action, results; OAR means opportunity, action, results; SOAR means situation or opportunity, action, and results. This type of information adds remarkable value to today’s resumes by instantly communicating proof of what a candidate has learned and can immediately apply to the hiring company.
  • Testimonials add power. One of the strongest elements you can add to a resume today is a testimonial in which someone else extols a job seeker’s skills, talents, achievements, and value. Professional resume writers use testimonials quite often – in resume headers and footers, in shaded boxes, in summary sections, under job descriptions, and in other places where most appropriate. Many of us believe that these give job seekers a truly competitive edge and a lot of credibility to substantiate their value.
  • Visuals and graphics add power to a resume. Today’s resumes often incorporate visual images, graphics, tables, charts, icons, logos, text boxes, borders, and shading (although generally not all of this in one resume). These enhancements are practically a must for people in visually creative professions for their resumes to demonstrate their design talents. For just about all job seekers, these visuals provide an instantly competitive edge because they’re distinct and get noticed and, bottom line, that’s what resume writing is all about … getting noticed from the crowd. Be appropriate and judicious in your use of these enhancements and be consistent from document to document, website to online resume, business card to stationery.
  • Objectives are beginning to r E-emerge … or not. As always, the subject of putting an objective on a resume was the subject of fierce debate. Resume writers focus their words on communicating a candidate’s value and not on stating what the candidate wants from a company. However, resume reviewers (hiring managers and recruiters) want to know – in an instant – what position(s) the candidate is qualified for. That leaves a wide chasm between the two and is much of the reason for the perpetual discussions about objectives. A huge percentage of today’s resumes solve that problem by beginning with a headline that clearly communicates “who” the candidate is and “what” they want. An example headline for a sales professional is “Multilingual Sales Executive & Key Account Manager.” Resume writers are happy with the wording and presentation of headlines, and hiring professionals can instantly f ind the information they want.
  • Paper resumes can still be your clients’ best bet. Hand-in-hand with the use of visual enhancements such as borders, tables, and logos is the concept of paper versus electronic resumes. Today’s answer is simple … there is a place for both. Although we may not use the paper resume as often as in years past, in some circumstances it is the very best option and that’s not expected to change any time soon.
  • Resumes must answer the “right” question. In years past, resumes were focused on what job seekers wanted. Not anymore! The focus of every resume must be on what’s in it for the hiring company. What value will they get by hiring this applicant, and how quickly?
  • Cover letters cannot overcome incomplete or weak resumes. For decades, studies have shown the same results… one third to  one half of the time, recruiters and hiring authorities don’t read cover letters. As such, resumes must stand on their own and include critical information that, if left out, would exclude them from consideration for a particular opportunity.
  • E-letters have different rules. E-letters are continuing to replace traditional cover letters as electronic messages have become the dominant method of business and job-search communications. Although designed with the same objective as a traditional cover letter – to introduce the job seeker and incite interest in the resume (and the candidate), E-letters have a few important distinctions. First, the E-letter is contained in the email message and not sent as an attachment. Of even greater importance is the physical layout of the E-letter; namely, the critical content of an E-letter must be above the scroll line (just like in a newspaper when journalists want their stories above the fold line). Understanding that, you can now appreciate another big difference between the two. E-letters are very short and direct, becoming more so with each passing day. Traditional cover letters remain  one third to  one half to one full page.
  • Resumes are no longer the introductory tool they used to be. There is no doubt that the resume remains a vital component for most job seekers and, in fact, still is the primary tool job seekers use to generate interviews. However, in today’s more complex, more sophisticated, and multi-channel job- search market, at times the resume is presented after the initial introduction or network contact, rather than as the first point of contact – and that’s okay. Career professionals must teach clients to use their resumes and other career marketing communications wisely and appropriately.
  • Career bios can often be an appropriate introduction tool. This is particularly true for managers and executives in transition or considering transition. Giving someone a resume communicates the message of “I’m looking for a job,” whereas a bio is more low-key, great for sharing at informational interviews and making new contacts. Today’s bios are written in a diversity of styles and structures, with the single goal being to position an individual for their next opportunity. Bios can be written in first or third person and can be structured in sentences or phrases. They can focus on skills or achievements or both; showcase technological or artistic expertise; have bulleted highlights or not; include some personal information or not; include educational credentials or not; feature a photograph or not (it’s a nice touch and definitely personalizes each interaction). Just as with resume writing, there are no steadfast rules.
  • Microsoft Word is the “right” resume software and format for today. Word is the dominant global word processing software and is the standard upon which almost every Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is built. As such, job seekers today must create a resume in Word (.doc) format. The newer .docx format is not yet widely accepted, so rather than risk the chance that their file can’t be viewed or opened, job seekers should always opt for the lower-level .doc format. Plain text versions (saved as .txt files) are also important because they are the best format to paste into online job applications. Today’s technology has not yet reached the point where, universally, online applications can read Word files accurately and interpret them correctly, so everyone must also have the .txt version. Similarly, ATS and scanning systems are not all capable of reading pdf files, so unless specifically requested, a pdf file should not be used for onli ne applications nor with resume scanning and applicant tracking systems. Word is the single solution today.
  • Twitres is an interesting and advantageous technology innovation. Job seekers who are active on Twitter can use Twitres (www.twitres.com) to display their resume. All they need to do is upload a copy of their print resume and it will appear as the background on their Twitter page. This is a great tool especially for younger job seekers.

–Text from Career Thought Leaders Consortium “Findings of 2010 Global Career Brainstorming Day: Trends for the Now, the New & the Next in Careers.”