Randstad Canada HR Blog

Resume Tips: No experience? No problem! How to showcase your value

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Wed, Mar 30, 2016 @ 07:00 AM

000072114305-fb.jpgYoung workers, as you venture forth into the world of work you are armed with many things: your degrees or diplomas, fresh ideas (lots of them), work ethic, networks (social and personal) and your work experience.

Take stock of what experience you have and expand on it with projects, personal references and storytelling. Discuss your professional and educational journey and walk your resume readers through these five facets of your work experience:

Promote your skills and certifications: When you leave school you will leave with more than one piece of paper – you will leave with skills. What can you do? Who has trained you to do these things? Remember to discuss the skills you use to complete work in detail in your experience section. Breakout what tactics you’ve used in your work. Better yet, if you have any certifications that prove you are proficient in a method or with a tool be sure to highlight that in your resume.

Include all of your work experience: Whether it was a Co-Op placement, or a temporary position, your experience matters. You ability to conform to corporate methodology and practices is important especially if you have management experience. What training did you receive how many people did you manage, what did your teams achieve? Just because it wasn’t your dream job doesn’t make that experience irrelevant it is a matter of story-telling. You need to look at the job description and funnel your experience through its lens.

Get recommendations, include quotes: Whether it is with former employer, colleagues, professors or volunteer managers ask for recommendations on Linkedin, they help. You can even use them in your resume. When someone says something about you, that comment has a lot more strength than when you say it about yourself.

Break out your project work: Include insight into projects that you worked on, not in terms of tasks, but accomplishments. Describe what the projects’ objectives were, how you helped the team achieve them and what the end results were. This way you share more value.

If, while you visit the company’s website, or read about the industry, you have some ideas, interesting questions or suggestions why not share them? Without pretending that you can solve anything, as at this point you don’t have the full picture, at least you can show that you are curious and creative!

Include your blog: Depending on the role you are applying for, showing employers that you are active digitally and are experienced at building out your own personal audience shows people a few things. One, that you understand tone knowing how to shape content and messaging in a successful effective way and two, that you have web and social media skills, very much valued but today’s employers.

Companies are looking for you, they need to bring you in to become the next generation of leaders, experts and specialists.

When you get to the interview stage it is your time to weave a web through these five factors. Connect the dots between your work experience, your studies, the networks and communities you participate in. Showcase how you have grown and learned through the relationships that you’ve developed with past managers and companies. Explain how the skills you have learned can be useful to the organization, give concrete examples and share your ideas. Employers are looking for bright, well-rounded young workers, so show off your enthusiasm!

 

 

Tags: Gen Y, Gen X, career tips

Resume tips for experienced workers: 7 questions to ask yourself

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Wed, Mar 09, 2016 @ 07:00 AM

 

000057840900-fb.jpgI have experience. Lots of experience acquired throughout 15 years of experience in the field. If I was asked to describe my experience without any constraint, my resume would be a 10-page essay. Front and back.

 

 

This is the challenge for experienced workers: how can you talk about your professional background while displaying the skills that really matter?

Here are questions you should ask yourself when sharpening your resume:

What is this job description asking for?

Read the job description a few times, and write your resume to align with that description and so that you are placing relevance on the projects or work experience that demonstrate your ability to perform the tasks described in the job offer. For example, if my resume features my public relations skills, as they reflect my current role, but I want to apply to a marketing role, I will put the projects I have worked on that are relevant to that field on top, above the others.

What new experience and results do I have to share?

Outside of a copy edit and a design refresh you should add something new to your resume every time you update it. You have new project results, new responsibilities and they are your most important. Remember the adage from the newspaper industry you are only as valuable as your last article.

How has the industry changed since I last updated my resume?

For some industries three years is a lifetime. Think of what it meant to marketing when Facebook started, or how technology influences the engineering or manufacturing industries. Employers expect professionals to have a certain knowledge of these new developments and to be able to adapt. Does your resume reflect those changes and if it doesn’t, what risk does that pose? Have you participated in training sessions, webinars, conferences? Your current role has incorporated new developments and your resume should reflect new learnings that you are expected to have maintained.

Who should I source as a reference to my new experience?

We may not always see it, but our careers evolve fairly quickly, and we often have drastic shifts in roles and activities. In your resume you showcase that evolution and your references should too. While a reference from three or four years ago can still be relevant, how do they know your current habits or professional development. The more recent a managerial reference is the more valuable to you they are.

What should I keep from my previous roles?

You need to showcase all of the years of experience you explore in your cover letter or LinkedIn profile. If you say you have 10 years of experience, you have to include at least a note of where you worked and over what period of time. That doesn’t mean you need to write half a page about a nine-month contract that wasn’t terribly eventful. If you have too many experience points to outline, showcase the best-of and include a sidebar timeline of your work experience to allow people to reference all of your past work.

Is the design of my resume holding me back?
Through your resume, you only have six second to make a last impression, that’s how quickly someone can be disengaged to what you’ve written. The formatting of information can be integral to it being read effectively. Try to move people along in your resume from who you are to how you can help an employer as quickly as possible. To achieve this, include on top of your resume a keywords that allows the reader to grasp who you are and what you can do, as well as a little hints on your ‘’personal brand’’.

+ I have proven expertise in interactive content strategy
+ I have a creative mind and a structured, results-driven work method.
+ I have 8 years experience in communication program management.
+ I have received industry recognition awards for the quality and originality of B2B campaigns.

Use bullet lists, visual cues, alternate text blocks with quotes, stats on your results, recommendations, to make it visually appealing to the reader.  Show a trend line in experience and be sure to organize your work chronologically, to show managers that you actually have all of the experience you’ve spelled out in your cover letter or objective statement.

Would I hire myself based on this resume?

Another test to work through on your resume is to think about the work you do today and then evaluate the information you have shared in your resume – do they align? Does the work detailed in your CV reflect the work you do now and does it encompass all of that you can do?

With years of experience, key skills and an extended network of professional colleagues, you are a highly sought after candidate. But employers do need to want to know more first. I recently reviewed my resume. I managed to keep in within 4 pages. How about yours?

 

Want some more tips on networking and job hunting, tweet at @RandstadCanada #WorkWithMe to learn more.

 

http://cdn.theladders.net/static/images/basicSite/pdfs/TheLadders-EyeTracking-StudyC2.pdf

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/resume-design-eye-tracking-study-6-seconds_n_1503037.html

Tags: career tips

Engaged or just dating? The fear of commitment at work

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 @ 07:00 AM

 

000066173871-fb.jpgWe talk a lot about employee engagement and what employers can do to ensure optimal production through optimal engagement. That repetition, by the way, is not accidental. The only thing wrong with that approach is it assumes employee engagement is a one-way street, when, really, it’s a two-way, fully integrated highway linking employer and employee, with on ramps for happy customers and special rest stations for investors. That’s how it should work, anyway.

What we’re suggesting here is that the onus for engagement is as much on the employee as it is on the employer. It’s a symbiotic, give-and-take relationship at its best. It’s the same kind of responsibility you have when you go to the theatre. There’s only so much the production crew and cast can do to ensure you have an optimal experience. The rest is up to you. If you’re chatting to your neighbor, checking email or snoring, you’re not only interfering with your neighbours’ ability to engage with the production, you’re impacting your own.

The same holds true for behavior and expectations in the workplace. By owning your engagement, you can enhance your experience and that of your co-workers, impact your company culture, increase production and look like a hero. When people are happy where they work they’re less likely to look around. Less frequent turnovers result in more stability, consistency, growth opportunities and more of what we all say we want: a work/life balance.

Maybe this sounds a little too precious, but consider this:  Companies that actively engage their best employees attract other top employees who bring new skills, fresh faces and perspectives and elevate the company culture. They’re more likely to stick around for the long haul. That’s a measureable benefit to everyone in the organization. Who wouldn’t want to be part of an organization like that?

Here’s what you can do to enhance your own work experience and contribute to that of others:

 

Market your organization

Your organization’s first, best magnet for attracting and keeping great employees is you. You make the organization irresistible to potential employees by how you talk about and market it.  We’re not suggesting you create a fairy tale, but do think about the things you really like about the company and tell others. If you can’t think of anything, your next stop should be a great recruiter.

Ask hard questions

What does engagement mean to you? How far are you willing to go to help make it happen?  Do you see a desire for employee engagement reflected in your corporate culture and behavior? Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll be better positioned to determine a strategy. If your organization isn’t into employee engagement, maybe they need someone like to you drive the initiative. Suggest opportunities for employee events, ways of rewarding and recognizing initiative and effort, or opportunities for your company to support community involvement. At best, you’ll awaken a sleeping giant. At worst, you’ll know you did what you could, add impressive skills to your resume and know what you’re looking for in your next job -  a company that understands the benefits of an engaged workforce. What you’re doing is developing yourself as a leader so that when opportunity knocks, you’re right there to open the door.

Make yourself indispensible

You’re the boss of you. Drive your own engagement. Offer to cross-train to learn skills and processes inherent in other jobs. You’ll pick up new skills and be the person people come to when they need something done. You’ll increase your own productivity (can’t hurt when it comes to asking for a raise), be more autonomous and help co-workers who in turn will back you up when you need it.

Empower yourself

Most of us hang back and get by because it’s the path of least resistance. That’s the antitheses of leadership behavior. Instead of trying to stay below the radar:

  • Set measurable, quantifiable goals over quarterly, yearly and five-year plans.
  • Coach others.
  • Hone your skills and learn new ones.

 

Organizations where employees are empowered shine like beacons to customers and attract would-be customers, in the same way they attract potential employees.

Optimal engagement doesn’t mean you’re always going to get along with your coworkers, like your job or drink the company Kool-Aid. What it does mean is you’re going to have more chance of finding satisfaction in the considerable amount of time you spend working, greater appreciation of the diverse working population that makes up your colleagues and make a more significant contribution to the organization that pays you. Win-win-win. And that’s what it’s all about.

 

 

 

Becoming irresistible: A new model for employee engagement, Josh Bersin, Deloitte Review Issue 16, Pub. Deloitte University Press, January 26, 2015

 

 

Tags: career tips

Resolution, Revolution – It’s All About Ch-ch-changes

Posted by Marie-Noelle Morency on Thu, Jan 14, 2016 @ 03:27 PM


000010604812-fb.jpgIt’s fitting that this, the first article of 2016, comes on the heels of the loss of a huge pop and cultural icon, David Bowie. Love him or not, you can’t deny his impact over decades on people everywhere. His message?

Follow your own path and don’t be afraid to be who you are.

His message is our message with a caveat – we’re here to help you find and define that path.

How did you spend New Year’s Eve? I always approach it with conflicting emotions. I’m either glad or sad the year is winding down, and excited or anxious about the year to come. In my younger years, I’d be wondering what to wear, where to party, who to be with when the clock struck midnight. Now, I just hope I can stay awake.

It’s a magical time, those seconds leading up to, or - depending on your outlook - counting down from the place where both hands embrace the magical twelve, the moment you become a prince, a princess or a pumpkin.

New Year’s is an opportunity to clean house, a time for good hard looks. Maybe you’ve been thinking about changing jobs, careers, cities. Maybe there are skills upgrades you’ve been putting off or a resume you intended to update but haven’t gotten around to. If you think of New Year’s Eve as a point on a turning wheel, you realize that one complete revolution of the wheel is a year. While your position on the wheel stays the same, you’re seeing it from a whole different place. You couldn’t sit still if you tried. Stasis – the state of inactivity caused by opposing equal forces – is not an option. That’s because if the wheel turns, it has to move you somewhere, forward or backward. You get to choose. Where do you want to go?

If the idea of resolutions makes you cringe or fills you with guilt, think of what follows as suggestions for how to position yourself on the wheel so that, even if you only accomplish one or two items on your list, you’re always moving forward.

1. Get to know yourself. Determine your worth – that will go a long way to feeling confident in your abilities. Stand tall even when you don’t feel like it. Look at your capabilities honestly so you can say with certainty what you can and can’t do. Think about what you really want to do and start exploring the possibilities. 

2. Establish or clean up your online presence. Make sure it’s professional. More and more job opportunities come via LinkedIn contacts. And pretty much every potential employer checks out your LinkedIn profile at some point during the hiring process. What does your LinkedIn profile say about you?

3. Target your job search. Go after opportunities you are qualified for and that you really want. No sense going after a data entry position if you’re a people person who thrives on interaction and collaboration. We spend the majority of our time at work; shouldn’t it be a job we enjoy?

4. Learn something new. Hard scientific data tells us that challenging our brains by learning new things, including languages, increases the brain’s natural neuroplasticity and affects the onset of diseases like dementia, often associated with aging, in positive ways. At the very least, lifelong learning affects our self-esteem by making us feel better about ourselves. If money’s an issue – and it is for most of us – check out courses through your local library or school board. Some local government agencies provide seminars and low-cost or cost-free training for job seekers who qualify.

5. Hone your existing skills or learn new ones. The best way to increase your salary is to increase your skills. Talk to people who’re doing what you want to do. Focus on opportunities for advancement and see what skills and education are required for those roles. Then start acquiring them.

6. Chat less, talk more. Technology is great; just don’t let it do all your communicating for you. Phone people – yes, the telephone, an antiquated piece of last century technology. Let them hear the inflections in your voice. A videoconference or phone call can really help create stronger and positive bonds in the workplace, especially when you have colleagues and partners working in different locations. Like the 1980’s AT&T commercial said, reach out and touch someone in a ‘let’s connect’ kind of way. Deciphering non-verbal communication – reading people’s signals – is a dying art. Anyone who can do it is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. But you have to get face-to-face for it to work.

7. Hold regular meetings with yourself. You’re the boss of you. We are often so caught up in the nitty-gritty of our day-to-day that we often forget to see the big picture. Ask yourself questions that not only reflect your to-do list but help you evaluate your evolution. Am I on track? Did I learn something? Did I succeed at something? Did I fail at something and what did that teach me? Did I take a risk/step out of my comfort zone, and what did I feel/think/learn about the experience? Did I feel pride at my progress and how did I express that? Not only will questions like these raise your capacity for self-assessment, but you’d be surprised at how often these questions come up in job interviews.

8. Adapt. Life throws us curves. You can duck or you can learn how to catch and return. Your flexibility and adaptability will become increasingly important skills for employees of the future. Business, commerce and technology change with lightening speed. The organizations you interview need to stay well ahead of the competition; to do that, they’ll be looking for employees who can keep their balance and stay focused in the face of change.

If change makes your stomach knot, you’re not alone. You don’t have to throw everything out and start anew. In fact, that’s the fastest way to make sure your resolutions – or revolutions – don’t succeed. It’s simply not sustainable. Instead, pick one item and make small, manageable, bite-sized modifications. Once you’re comfortable, increase the size and scope of the changes. You’re expanding your comfort zone, which wasn’t never designed to be hard and fast, but elastic and expandable. You’ll find you’re better at this than you think and you’ll build confidence and self-esteem with each success. Step by step, day by day.

That’s how you ride the wheel.

 

 

Tags: career tips