Smile & the World Smiles with You

25 09 2012

Have a career fair coming up?  How about a phone interview?  Maybe you even have an in-person interview lined up in the coming weeks.  First of all, congratulations!  You have no doubt worked hard to get to this point.  The research, dedication, and training that you have put in will pay off.  Want to know a little secret that could even help more?  I’ll tell you, but you have to promise me something.  When you watch the clip below, you have to smile.  It shouldn’t be hard to do.

NOTE: I did not receive any goods or services for promotion of the ad above.  I don’t drive a VW, but do still yell out “SLUG-BUG!!” when I see a Volkswagen Beetle.  Remember that?  🙂

Did you know that smiling has positive health benefits?  It’s true.  I think we’ve all heard that it takes 17 muscles to frown, but only 4 to smile (those numbers are disputed by many, but you get the point.)  My point: smiling really does make a difference.  Let’s break it down into a few career tips:

Smiling makes you more approachable.  I’m from the Midwest.  Folks around here smile a lot.  Maybe we’re happier.  I don’t know that it’s a happiness factor issue, but I do know that a smile has opened a lot of doors and sparked some very meaningful conversations throughout my career.  Whether you’re in the Midwest or NYC, a smile goes a long way.

Smiling makes others feel good about themselves.  If you were giving a speech to a group of people and the front row consisted of several stone-faced audience members and a few who are smiling and engaged, which ones do you gravitate towards?  The ones that are smiling!  Why?  These people made you feel that what you’re saying is important and understood.  Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Imagine how a smile makes YOU feel.  Why not pay it forward?

Smiling helps you exude confidence.  You have the suit, your (minimal) accessories, and your good luck charms (I have Superman socks.)  Don’t forget to wear your smile!  Even if it’s a phone call or interview, smiling can make a difference.  Nothing says “I know this” more than a nice, cool smile.  Confidence is key.  Believe me – a little smile goes a long way!  Next on the list: know your stuff.  🙂

Now, with all this talk about smiling, remember that there is a balance.  Don’t be the smiling idiot.  You gotta know your stuff.  Don’t be the creepy guy that always has a Joker grin on his face.  That freaks people out.  Just smile.  Oh, and do one more thing for me: smile like you mean it.

By the way, I’ve been smiling the entire time as I write this post.  🙂

Have a great week, and as always, thanks for reading!


Top 10 Job Hunting Smartphone Apps

18 09 2012

By Pearlie Davis

Get the competitive edge you deserve!

When it comes to finding a new job, we need all the help we can get! Today’s job market is competitive, so any edge or advice you can get as far as setting yourself apart is beneficial. These days the job hunt almost entirely takes place online, unlike 10-years ago when we looked to cold calling and newspaper advertisements for job listings.

A modern-day search demands tech-savviness—like using keyword phrases in your resume to show recruiters and human resources departments that you fit the role and have the experience needed to fill the position you’re applying for. A job hunt also requires a familiarity with social networking on sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook, which can help you connect with the right people and broadcast your instant availability on the job market.

Thanks to the array of job hunting apps available for smart phones, you can look for a job from almost anywhere. Check out the following 10 job hunting apps that can help you write your resume and cover letter, learn valuable interview tips, network with folks in your industry, organize your portfolio, and get the professional attention you deserve.

1. SparkHire (Free – for iPhone)

Before I go for any interview at any dream job, I look to SparkHire , a video resume, interviewing and job board mobile app that I can use on my T Mobile Galaxy S3 when I’m having a coffee at the local café. My current employer even used this app to pre-screen candidates for the position I applied for by using the app to present multiple text-based questions to each applicant. I was able to give my answers in a short, video format so that the hiring manager could sort through and select candidates for in person interviews.

2. ResumeMaker On-the-Go (Free – for Android)

Resume a little outdated? Never written a cover letter in your life? Good news; the handy ResumeMaker On-the-Go app features tips and step-by-step instructions to help you craft an attention grabbing resume (in a good way) right on your smart phone.

3. LinkUp – Job Search Engine (Free – for Android)

The LinkUp Job Search Engine app lets users to search job listings by openings by category, company, keyword, or location and apply to the job of your choice discreetly and professionally.

4. LinkedIn (Free – for iPhone)

This app offers a mobile option to the online social networking platform for making business connections. LinkedIn is an excellent source for job hunters for making connections with recruiters and hiring managers, getting recommendations from old bosses and colleagues, and putting your experience front and center for head hunters who are interested in your specific set of skills.

5. Best Resume Tips (Free – for Android)

Best Resume Tips is a mobile app that offers both new and veteran resume writers tips, advice, and step-by-step instructions for putting together an impressive resume, cover letter, and professional portfolio.

6. Evernote (Free – for iPhone)

If you need to put together a portfolio and don’t know where to start, Evernote can help you collect and organize everything from notes to personal recommendations, online clippings to photos, and interview notes to reference contacts into a single view system where you can edit and access it as you need it.

7. LunchMeet (Free – for iPhone)

You can get a lot done over lunch hour. That’s why LunchMeet is a great app for job hunters if they’re looking to connect with people in their industry. This app uses your LinkedIn account to geo-target relevant industry contacts who are open to setting up a lunch meet up to discuss career opportunities.

8. JobJuice ($14.99 – for iPhone)

JobJuice will clear up any hesitations and fears you have concerning marketing yourself via social media. You can use this app to connect with industry professionals, market your own personal brand, research and target key companies, and connect with hiring managers and industry head hunters.

9. Pocket Resume ($2.99 – for iPhone & Android)

It’s like having a resume writer in your pocket. The Pocket Resume app does the heavy lifting for you by scanning your LinkedIn profile and exporting the essentials to create a PDF resume. This way you can tailor resumes to specific positions.

10. RealTweets Job Networking (Free – for Android)

Imagine learning about your dream job in 140 characters or less! With RealTweets you can get your daily dose of relevant job search news via relevant tweets as they appear in real-time.

About the author: Pearlie Davis is a staff writer for GoingCellular, a popular site that provides cell phone news, commentary, and reviews.

5 Things That Will Get Your Resume Read

11 09 2012

There is a lot of advice out there regarding résumés, both on campus and off.  I’ve seen a lot of résumés during my 10 years in the profession and have heard my fair share of complaints and critiques from recruiters, hiring managers and career services.  As most students have returned to campus for the fall semester, I thought it would be good to revisit some of the things that could get your résumé noticed in a good way.  It’s one thing for your résumé to be different; another to be good.

For more Résumé Essentials, click here.

I’ll never rip apart someone’s résumé, offering my two cents as an industry professional.  Why?  That person probably worked hard to create or update their résumé.  You see, most are good.  In today’s market, good isn’t good enough anymore.  So I’d like to focus on taking your résumé from good to great.

Here are five things that can help get your résumé noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager:

Format.  There are thousands of free templates out there for you to use.  Research sample résumés for the industry you’re interested in (there are differences) and tweak your format as needed.  My boss said something to me recently that resonated well.  She said, “Don’t put yourself into a box if you don’t have to.”  Now, she was referring to something else, but it translates well here.  Feel free to edit sections and headers to fit your purpose.  If you don’t have “work experience” think about other types of experience, such as leadership experience, volunteer experience, etc.  Keep your résumé in a format that is consistent with industry norms.  In a world where everyone has to be different, you might be thinking this is bad advice.  Trust me, it isn’t.  If your résumé is easy to follow and has the right KPIs (Key Performance Indicators,) it can take you a long way.

Fun fact: A simple Google search for “great résumés” returns over 590 million results!

Quantification.  One thing that I see that is consistently lacking on most résumés is quantification.  I don’t want to see your job description, duties, or applied skills.  I want to see accomplishments, leadership, and results.  All too often, candidates focus on their current job duties versus what they’re actually doing or did in that position.  Here’s an example: You might see “responsible for supervising shift employees.”  As a reader, I don’t get much information from that statement.  Rather than the generic statement, focus on things like HOW MANY people you supervised/trained.  WHAT was the OUTCOME of your customer service?

Results.  Your results can’t speak for themselves if you don’t give them a voice.  What I mean by that is that you can’t expect the reader aka recruiter to know what you’ve accomplished with a generic statement.  Focus on the WHAT.  What was the IMPACT?  Did you increase sales or participation?  If so, by how much? ?  Numbers and percentages speak volumes here.  Don’t be afraid to toot your horn a little!

Leadership.   What sets you apart from the competition?  How are you any different than the thousands of applicants companies receive on a daily basis?  Think about those two questions.  Have an answer?  I do.  It’s all about leadership!  Are you leading a team?  If so, how?  What are you doing as a leader?  Do you learn from failure as well as success?  Recruiters today are looking for leadership qualities as they seek top talent.  Involvement in athletics, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, church groups, SIFE, military, etc. can show that you are dedicated, work well with a team as well as on your own, can make on-the-spot decisions in challenging situations, and can communicate this effectively to your team and superiors.

Want to know what to leave OFF your résumé? Click here for the top five.

Relevance.  The age-old dilemma: how many pages should my résumé be?  Ask this one question and you’ll get a variety of answers, depending on who you ask!  Personally, I think that if you have less than 10 years of experience, one page is more than enough space.  Remember, it’s all about relevant experience, not everything you’ve ever done in your entire life (remove things like high school education, irrelevant coursework, etc. to make some room.)  Keep in mind that thousands of résumés come across the desks of recruiters.  They don’t have a lot of time to read your entire life’s history.  In fact, the average recruiter skims a typical resume in six seconds.  Will yours get a second look?  What about Page 2?

My last piece of advice is this:  Your résumé is a living document.  Keep it updated as you gain new experience.  It’s a good practice to revisit your résumé every six months just to keep the content relevant and fresh (even if you’re not looking for a new job.)  You can never be too prepared, right?

Did I leave anything out?  Something you’d like to add?  This is YOUR chance!  I welcome your insight, feedback and opinion.  Please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you.  As always, thanks for reading.

If You Were on a Shelf at Walmart, Would People Buy You?

4 09 2012

Over the past couple of months, I’ve interacted with quite a few guest bloggers who pitched ideas for Campus to Career.  You might remember the Guest Blog-A-Palooza that featured five of the top posts received.  As an author, I’m committed to bringing you the very best content to help you land your dream job, get that promotion, learn to lead and maximize the tools available to make it all happen. That’s why I’m happy to announce a brand new blogging partnership with Zach Buckley.  You may remember Zach’s post about Eeyore or his most recent contribution to the blog-a-palooza, 5 Things Every Young Professional Should Know Before Hitting 30.  Zach has agreed to contribute regularly to Campus to Career, adding his insight and expertise to the arsenal of information already available. Please help me welcome him to the Campus to Career family!  Now, for his first post as an official partner, check out the article below.

If You Were on a Shelf at Walmart, Would People Buy You?

By Zach Buckley

The job hunt is all about making yourself seem a more attractive, attention-getting candidate. To do this, you must make yourself stand out. Think of yourself as a product gracing one of the many shelves that fill your area Walmart store. To stand out, you must transform yourself from a bland and easily forgettable item, wrapped in tacky packaging and sitting high atop a shelf, to a shiny, exciting item that those traveling through the store feel uncontrollably compelled to pick up and and place in their carts.

Build Web Presence

Employers are going online to research potential employees with ever-increased frequency. Just as products that are easily searchable online are more likely to be selected than those that consumers can’t research with ease, you’re potentially more likely to acquire employment if your future employer can turn up something positive when snooping around online. Make your web presence a spotless one, first by deleting anything that you wouldn’t want an employer to see, including your pictures from that long ago forgotten spring break trip that still haunt your Facebook profile. Next, build up a positive image for yourself online by creating a well-developed Linkedin profile. Also consider setting up and populating an industry-related blog, adding to your credibility the same way a well-written product description online would make a Walmart special seem the most desirable choice.

Improve Yourself

Products that feature the attention-getting label “New and Improved” seem harder to resist than those that only promise the buyer the same old features and are wrapped in an entirely forgettable package. Improving yourself through the acquisition of education can make you more noticeable to potential employers. Take a class or workshop in an area relevant to your selected industry. To add a credential to your collection, work towards earning a degree online. Not only will this newly acquired knowledge likely leave you better equipped to handle the job should you be hired, the fact that you sought it out at all will also show that you are eager to improve and be the best you can be within your selected industry.

Give Back

Many manufactures build positive public images for their products by giving back to the community. You can do the same, building a positive reputation for your product – yourself – by partaking in community service. Create a strong track record of community give back, making volunteering a regular habit for you. Feature this volunteerism on your resume to ensure that employers know about your philanthropy. Not only will doing so make you stand above the rest of the competition, it will also likely leave you feeling better about yourself, leading you to exude self-confidence.

No one will know how awesome you are if you don’t properly package and advertise yourself. Instead of allowing employers to overlook you, make yourself the most logical choice. Through effective marketing, you can make it clear that you are leaps and bounds above the rest, giving potential employers no choice but to pluck you off the shelf and add you to their collection of workers.

About the author: Zach Buckley is a freelance writer based in the Midwest. He enjoys exploring developing trends in education, technology and culture.  When he isn’t reading or writing blogs, he enjoys sampling good music and good food. Follow him on Twitter! @Zach_buckley