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Posted 9 months ago
Since most recruiters and hiring managers receive far more resumes than they have time to review carefully, they’re forced to find shortcuts that will allow them to quickly sort resumes into "yes," "maybe" and "no" piles.
But there are also many ways to get your resume immediately consigned to the "no" pile. One way is to use the wrong words or phrases -- often, empty clichés, annoying jargon or recycled buzzwords. In a recent article, “10 Words and Terms That Ruin a Resume,” we highlighted some of the worst offenders. That article really got people talking, so we asked some recruiting experts to share more of these detestable resume terms:
1. “Job Duties”
Heather Huhman, career expert and founder of content marketing and digital PR consultancy Come Recommended, says the term “job duties” is not convincing on a resume.
“List job duties under each position at your own risk,” she says. “Instead, focus on your accomplishments. Ideally, you should be able to use the S-A-R method: Situation, Action, Results. Include up to three bullets per position, and as [few] as one.”
Keep in mind that your job duties are something that happened to you, not something you achieved -- and your resume should tell a story of achievement.
2. "Related Coursework"
"Unless you're applying for your very first internship, remove your related coursework," Huhman says. All your relevant education definitely belongs on your resume, but a separate section for "related coursework" isn't necessary. Your resume needs a laser-sharp focus. If you're struggling to show how a class is relevant to the job you're applying for, consider removing it.
3. “Proven Ability”
HR manager Jen Strobel views this phrase as just resume filler. “The ability was proven by whom? How is the ability proven? How does this ability compare to those which are not proven?” she asks.
So use your resume to prove your ability by giving specific examples of your career achievements.
4. "Married with Children"
Delmar Johnson, an HR professional with 20 years of experience and founder of HR services firm HR Brain for Hire, says personal information doesn’t belong on a resume. "That's great you have a family and you're proud [of it]," she says. "[But] your goal is to reflect a level of professionalism that demonstrates your knowledge, your skills and abilities that are applicable to the job to which you are applying."
5. "Transferable Skills"
When executive recruiter and career counselor Bruce Hurwitz sees these words, he takes them to mean “I'm not qualified, but do me a favor.” He says the terms “skills” or “skill set” are fine to use, but the word "transferable" has negative connotations.
And this is a great example of why it’s important to show, not tell. Don’t tell a recruiter that you have transferable skills. Show how the skills you have are relevant to the job.
Cousin to the term “hard worker,” this is something anyone can say about himself. And as Stacey Hawley, career specialist and founder of career consultancy Credo, points out, that you’ll work toward results “is assumed.” There’s no need to use your resume to tell people things they already know.
7. “Utilized My Skills”
“Who else's skills would we be using?” Hawley asks.
Stuffy, overly formal language on resumes is out. It’s wiser nowadays to use direct language. Beware of boilerplate phrases that have lost their meaning and that can be replaced with expressive words that say something specific about you.
8. “Had _____”
Career and etiquette expert Sandra Lamb is a proponent of using strong language on resumes. “’Had’ is an anemic and colorless verb that gives the reader the impression you’re submitting a job description,” says Lamb, author of How to Write It. “Don't use this to start a bulleted item on your resume; you’ll be better-served by a strong, active verb.”
For example, you might say “Managed three people” instead of “Had three direct reports.”
9. Wacky Email Addresses (and Twitter Handles!)
Recruiting and career expert Abby Kohut of AbsolutelyAbby.com says that inappropriate email addresses like “ can send a resume to the bottom of the pile, if not the trash. “It’s not so much the email address as it is [the job seeker’s] judgment that I’m concerned about,” she says.
25318 postsback to top
| Posted 9 months ago
You may be the perfect fit for a job -- but a hiring manager is never going to find that out if he trashes your resume after a mere glance. Even in this age of online professional networking, a great resume is still the foundation of a successful job search.
1. Your Resume Is Badly Formatted
Looks matter. Career expert Abby Kohut lists misaligned indentations and double spaces as a couple of the things that make a resume start to look like it belongs in the garbage. The fix? Use tabs for indents, and search your document for stray double spaces.
Also beware of being too creative. "I don't like it when I receive resumes with funky fonts," says Mona Abdel-Halim, co-founder of the Web-based resume tool Resunate, who echoed other experts we spoke to. "It is not professional and it makes the resume harder to read." When choosing resume fonts, opt ones that are widely used and readable, such as Calibri or Arial, and use no more than two fonts with their associated bold and italic styles.
2. Your Resume Is Immature
Other hiring managers we talked to said they had immediately trashed resumes with pictures on them -- for example, of cartoon character Bart Simpson (in the case of one applicant for a technical writing job) or of a kitten (an applicant for a customer service job). Cute resume additions like these are for kids -- not professionals.
3. Your Resume Is Too Templated
Longtime recruiter Mike Monroe says that unaltered, familiar resume templates from word-processing programs annoy him. "This won't automatically put you in the trash, but it tells me that you have put less thought into your resume than your competition," he says.
Jessica Campbell, an HR manager for talent agency Voices.com, says one of her pet peeves is "when a candidate has used a template resume," but hasn't updated it before sending it. (And if you use Word's Track Changes feature to edit your resume, make sure to accept all changes in the final version before submitting it.)
To prevent your resume from ending up in the trash for this reason, customize your resume for each job you apply for using the language of the job ad and highlighting your most relevant experience.
"When the resume is not tailored to the position, it shows you don't really understand what the employer is looking for and are just hoping your resume fits some of the criteria,” says career expert Heather Huhman, author of Lies, Damned Lies & Internships: The Truth About Getting from Classroom to Cubicle. “To avoid this mistake, show the employer how you fit those [criteria] through your previous experience, skills and expertise."
4. Your Resume Is Sneaky
Kohut says she immediately distrusts people whose resumes have no dates on them. “Gaps are not a problem,” she says. “The problem is when you try to be deceptive."
David S. Williams, founder and CEO of salary consultancy SpringRaise, agrees, saying that if you are or have been unemployed, don’t try to hide it. “You may be doing yourself a disservice because you may be a strong candidate for a position, but you tried to hide your current status," he says.
A better tactic is to be straightforward on your resume, and then use your cover letter to tell the story of your career's progress -- including information about how you maximized your time away from the 9-to-5 routine. And do remember to write a cover letter -- not doing so is another guaranteed way to get your resume thrown into the trash, according to the experts.
25318 postsback to top
| Posted 9 months ago
It's deceptively easy to make mistakes on your resume and exceptionally difficult to repair the damage once an employer gets it. So prevention is critical, whether you're writing your first resume or revising it for a mid-career job search. Check out this resume guide to the most common pitfalls and how you can avoid them.
1. Typos and Grammatical Errors
Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn't, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: "This person can't write," or "This person obviously doesn't care."
2. Lack of Specifics
Employers need to understand what you've done and accomplished. For example:
A. Worked with employees in a restaurant setting.
Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but the details and specifics in example B will more likely grab an employer's attention.
3. Attempting One Size Fits All
Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all resume to send to all employers, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.
4. Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments
It's easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing job duties on your resume. For example:
Employers, however, don't care so much about what you've done as what you've accomplished in your various activities. They're looking for statements more like these:
5. Going on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short
Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules governing resume length. Why? Because human beings, who have different preferences and expectations where resumes are concerned, will be reading it.
That doesn't mean you should start sending out five-page resumes, of course. Generally speaking, you usually need to limit yourself to a maximum of two pages. But don't feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Conversely, don't cut the meat out of your resume simply to make it conform to an arbitrary one-page standard.
6. A Bad Objective
Employers do read your resume objective, but too often they plow through vague pufferies like, "Seeking a challenging position that offers professional growth." Give employers something specific and, more importantly, something that focuses on their needs as well as your own. Example: "A challenging entry-level marketing position that allows me to contribute my skills and experience in fund-raising for nonprofits."
7. No Action Verbs
Avoid using phrases like "responsible for." Instead, use action verbs: "Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff."
8. Leaving Off Important Information
You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you've taken to earn extra money for school. Typically, however, the soft skills you've gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.
9. Visually Too Busy
If your resume is wall-to-wall text featuring five different fonts, it will most likely give the employer a headache. So show your resume to several other people before sending it out. Do they find it visually attractive? If what you have is hard on the eyes, revise.
10. Incorrect Contact Information
I once worked with a student whose resume seemed incredibly strong, but he wasn't getting any bites from employers. So one day, I jokingly asked him if the phone number he'd listed on his resume was correct. It wasn't. Once he changed it, he started getting the calls he'd been expecting. Moral of the story: Double-check even the most minute, taken-for-granted details -- sooner rather than later.
25318 postsback to top
| Posted 9 months ago
Seven Tips to Ace Your Nursing School Interview
Are you a prospective nursing student with a nursing school admissions interview coming up? Three nursing educators who’ve interviewed many student nurse hopefuls over the years offer seven tips to help you beat your pre-interview jitters and ace your interview.
1. Consider the Interview an Opportunity
It’s normal to be nervous, but take heart: The purpose of most nursing school interviews (whether they’re a required or optional part of the admissions process) is generally not to weed out applicants, but to provide for a face-to-face, two-way exchange of information about the particular program and how an applicant would fit in. “The interview process itself doesn’t usually make or break our [admission] decision,” says Nan Ketcham, MSN, RN, FastBacc program coordinator at Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing in Dallas.
2. Sell Yourself
The interview is a golden opportunity to shine, especially if your GPA and test scores don’t. Admissions committee members remember applicants’ stories more than their statistics, says Genevieve Chandler, RN, PhD, an associate professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and author of The Ultimate Guide to Getting into Nursing School.“It’s your opportunity to let people know who you are, to convince them this is the right fit and to say, ‘I am the person you want to be a nurse,’” she says.
3. Know the School
Arm yourself with facts about the program to which you are applying. Prospective students should do some homework before the interview, says Patricia Peerman, RN, MS, assistant dean for enrollment management at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing. At the very least, “they shouldn’t expect to come in and be told all the information about the program that’s readily available through the Web site,” she says. According to Chandler, all nursing schools have different missions, such as diversity and community at UMass, acute care or health policy. Before your interview, “find what that school is interested in and match your story to the mission,” she says.
4. Know Nursing
Review nursing journals and health-related news so you’re conversant in timely health-related topics (diabetes and obesity, for example). “You should become articulate in health issues, because you are trying to convince [your interviewers] that in two or four years you are going to be able to manage these important subjects with patients,” Chandler says.
5. Prepare and Practice
Some nursing school interview questions are pretty standard like, “Why do you want to be a nurse?” (Hint: Don’t say, “Because my mother wants me to.”) Formulate and practice responses to such common questions in advance.
Be reflective and offer examples in your answers. “People will say they’re attracted to nursing because it’s a caring profession,” Chandler says. “That’s a fine place to start, but give an example of how you’ve been caring or been an advocate or a leader in some way. Those are all transferable skills.” Ketcham, who uses behavioral interviewing techniques for Baylor’s FastBacc applicants (a typical question is, “Tell us an example of a problem you’ve had in your life and how you came to a resolution”) notes: “A lot of people forget there is no right or wrong answer. Everybody doesn’t want to be a nurse for the same reason, and everybody doesn’t solve problems the same way. We’re looking for the ability to [think critically].”
6. Don’t Pass the Buck
Don’t lie, evade or embellish during an interview. In addition, Peerman says prospective students should be forthright about their academic record. “If there’s a little hiccup in your academic background, you don’t need to overexplain it, but you shouldn’t overlook it either," she says, as faculty members will carefully pour over your test scores, grades in specific courses and GPA. "If something is irregular, the applicant should mention it and take responsibility." Equally important: Avoid braggadocio in all forms, like exhibiting a “this program needs me” attitude.
7. Be Professional
Treat your nursing school interview just like a job interview. If you've never been on such an interview, read up on basic job interviewing etiquette about what to wear and how to groom yourself (no visible tattoos, please), as well as the importance of a firm handshake and good eye contact.
On interview day, plan ahead to avoid anxiety: •Arrive early.
25318 postsback to top
| Posted 9 months ago
Four Ways to Become a Standout Nursing Student
Talk about a misdiagnosis.
Yes, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees the need for nearly 600,000 new nurses by 2018, but employers and patients still want standout nursing students. Here's how you can become one of them and move to the head of your class.
Use Your Teachers' Tough Feedback to Improve
In nursing, the stakes are high, so your instructors' and clinical supervisors' constructive criticism is often blunt. But it might help you save a future patient's life.
"Your sociology professor never tells you your bedside manner stinks or your penmanship is sloppy," says Nancy Saks, RN, DNSc, chair of the nursing department at National University in California. "Nursing instructors give this type of feedback. A great nursing student receives it and improves."
Learn More Than What's Required
Standout nursing students master the profession's basic skills and actively push to learn more, says Jane Gould, president and CEO of Visiting Nurse Regional Health Care System, which employs home-health nurses throughout the New York City area.
"This student often goes beyond course requirements in their readings, raising questions, seeking to learn from their own and others' experience, and applying new learning in their clinical experiences," Gould says.
A great student "takes nursing education and makes it part of their life," explains Kathryn Tart, EdD, MSN, RN, associate professor of nursing at the Houston campus of Texas Woman's University.
Gloria Donnelly, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University, describes one such student: Felicia Sode.
While doing clinical work at a local hospital, Sode received rave reviews from the staff. "She was not shy about asking questions when she needed to check with a more-experienced nurse," Donnelly says. "If she finished her work sooner than expected, she asked if there was more she could do or if she could be assigned to assist another nurse. She pitched in with the scutwork and took every advantage to converse with the staff about clinical issues and about their own careers."
The result: Sode "raised the bar for everyone," Donnelly says, and received two job offers months before her June 2006 graduation.
Demonstrate Responsibility and Accountability
"I have found that nursing students have a problem talking with and/or approaching a professor when they're not doing well in a class, and, moreover, the student often doesn't take accountability for their performance," says Beth Kaskel, ND, RN, director of Ohio Northern University's nursing program. Nursing students must show initiative -- just as nurses should when patients' lives are at stake.
Kaskel recently asked three students for their current grades in chemistry. None of them knew or had even asked. "A professional-practice nurse cannot behave this way," she says.
Show You Care
The nursing student who thrives in school and at work is the one "who not only provides the appropriate care but also invests in the patient," says Cathy Antonacci, PhD, RN, an assistant professor of nursing at Utica College in New York.
"This student is truly interested in how the patient is and wants to know what more he or she can do to promote comfort or a sense of well-being for the patient and their family," she says.