Tips to preparing applications on-line

October 14, 2013

 

1. Have all your information written out before filling in the online application. The following is information you should have prepared beforehand:

  • Your full name, address, phone number(s), and email address.
  • Company names, full addresses, and phone numbers of the places you worked.
  • Your job titles (from when you were hired to when you left).
  • Dates of each position/role you held at each company. (Date, month and year).  Some company’s ask the date, month, and year, some just ask the month and year.
  • Each of your supervisor’s name, title, and phone number.
  • Salary you made at each role (from when you started to when you ended the position).
  • Description of your job duties.
  • Reason you left the company.
  • Education and training, including all professional certifications and licenses.
  • Honors and awards.
  • Other skill sets, such as software and office equipment.
  • 3 references: Name, company, full address, phone number, email, and years you have known them.
  • Driver’s License Number. (This will be asked on some applications).
  • Salary requested. (If there is not an asterisk before this, then you can put down ” open”. If there is an asterisk, then this is a required field.

If you write all this down separately before starting the application, it makes it easier for you.

 

2.  A resume is not a substitute for the application, so don’t write “see resume” anywhere on your application. Similarly, an application is not a substitute for a resume. (You should have both ready).

3. If there is an asterisk (*) before anything on the application, it means this is a required field and must be filled out.

4. Fill out the application completely and thoroughly. If a section does not apply to you, write N/A (which means “not applicable”).

5. After you fill out your application in its’ entirety, check and correct spelling errors.

6. Once you fill out your application, and check spelling, then save the application .Then upload your resume in a doc (Microsoft Word) format.  Also, cut/paste your cover letter, or upload your cover letter, if asked. The last step is to select “submit” or “apply” to the position. The company should send you an email verifying that you have applied to the position.

7. Once you save a copy of your application/resume on a company’s website, you can easily apply to other positions in the company without redoing the application/resume, for at least 1 year, and can also update your application/resume with new information.

8. Keep your username and password standard throughout your online job search, so that you can easily remember it.

9. Print out a copy of your first application, so that you can have a record of what you wrote.

 

 

FAQ Series 1 – With Real Life Examples

September 17, 2013

In this first of several blog posts which I will make periodically on FAQ subjects, I will answer a few questions, and then provide you with the answer using real life examples. 

Today’s blog is on terminations and references.

TERMINATIONS

Q: I was recently fired from my last job. How do I address this in the interview?

I am asked this question occasionally by my clients who are wondering how to get around this subject in an interview.  The best thing to do in this situation is to answer the question briefly but not negatively, and then immediately go into positives about how much you enjoyed working for their company.

For example:  You were recently fired from your company (for this example, we will use ABC Company, but it could be any company) who hired a new manager.  This new manager did not like you. You are in an interview and the prospective employer asks you, “Why did you leave ABC company?”

Here are two ways of answering that question. See if you can guess which one is better.

Answer A. “Well, they hired a new manager, and we didn’t get along. Her management style was horrible, and she was out to get me from day one.”

Answer B. “In my department, I was in the midst of company changes, which eliminated my position.  However, I enjoyed working for ABC Company very much!  In my 10 years of employment with ABC Company, I communicated well with all my supervisors and coworkers. The team atmosphere was extraordinary!  I enjoyed the strong work ethic culture, and was very dedicated to the team.”

Obviously, the answer is B! When the prospective employer hears the answer in B (or something similar), he or she will remember the positive things. On the other hand, if you tell them the answer in A, they will only remember that you “didn’t get along with your manager”, and this may call into question your ability to work effectively in a team environment.

Remember to always stay positive, and never say anything negative about your former supervisor or company (even if you don’t like them!).

 

REFERENCES

Q. Who should I use as references?

I always tell my clients that you should use references that are your biggest fans!

For example, a reference that would say something to the extent of,

 “She was a good employee, and I would recommend her” would not be my idea of a reference to list.

On the other hand, here is an example, of a great reference:

“She was fantastic!  When I worked with her at ABC Company, she was always available to assist with special projects. She was very reliable, and people loved her! I find her to be a responsible and upstanding individual, and I would highly recommend her for your company!”

This reference is the one to use, because this reference will leave a great impression in the interviewer’s mind about the type of employee you will be.

My litmus test for who to use as a reference is to use those individuals who will say great things about you. This is a great reference. But who do you use?  You have a lot of resources at your disposal.

For example, let’s say you are a warehouse manager at ABC Company. Not only can you use your coworkers and/or managers, but you can also use vendors or suppliers who you deal with regularly. You can also use customers, or even carriers that frequent your business.  You can also use manufacturing representatives of products you purchase, or even purchasing agents of companies if you are in charge of the ordering for your company.  The list goes on! Also, you can use individuals outside of your business, such as former coworkers/managers /customers/suppliers, etc. Also, you can use instructors (current or past), neighbors (as a character reference), leaders or members of clubs or organizations you belong to, etc.

As a rule of thumb, I would put together a reference list consisting of 3 references, perhaps 2 professional and 1 character reference, unless the company asks otherwise.

Remember to always ask these individuals first before you list them as a reference. This is necessary, especially if you haven’t spoken with them for a while. It would not be good if the employer contacts the reference you listed, and they don’t remember you, or are caught off guard. Make sure they will say great things about you! Also, don’t give the references to the prospective employer unless they ask.

 

Thank you for reading, and happy job hunting!

 

An exercise for your online job search

April 24, 2013

An exercise for your online job search

By Maria Deshler, A Plus Resumes 

This post is to provide you with one tip/exercise on something you can do to make your online job search successful.

Make a list of companies .

Make a list of the organizations you would like to work for. As you come across a new company you think you would like to work for, add it to your list. Once your list reaches 10 or so, then go to your computer or laptop and begin with the first company on the list. Search that company using google and type in their name. Almost all organizations these days have a company website.

As an example, let’s use Target. For purposes of this exercise, I have written down Target as one of the company’s I would like to work for. I type in their name in google. You will then see their website comes up first after you type in their name, and they have a link set up for their career section.  After you select their “careers” link, you can then select whether you are seeking corporate or hourly position, at the far left.  

Look through all the jobs.

It is a good idea at this point to look through all the jobs at the company, not just by keyword. Continuing to use Target as an example, If you search by location, and select Minnesota, then all the jobs in Minnesota will come up. For company’s other than Target, they may have it structured differently. You may select “all jobs” rather than by location. You may think to yourself it is too much work to go through all the jobs.  However, there are many reasons this is a good tactic.

For one thing, you may find positions or jobs which you would not have discovered if you would have focused your job search on just a couple items.  For example, if you were searching for a logistics specialist, but found a supply chain specialist or distribution manager, these jobs are both similar in nature, but the search terms are different. Also, what if you were just applying for a store manager position, but you discovered as you were going through the jobs, that there was a project manager position available that you were also interested in? In addition, you will also get an idea of the types of positions and careers which are most in demand in company’s these days.  There is also one other point to mention. Some organizations just list the positions they have available on their website, and in no other location on the Internet.

Once you find a position you are interested in, you can upload your resume (using Microsoft Word), fill out their application, then move on to the next company on your list. Once you have completed the list of 20, you can start creating a new list. This is a good exercise to keep you proactive in your job search.

Not to mention the fact that you will gain valuable experience in online job search and internet surfing.  Looking for a job on-line is interactive, it is something you have to “do”. It’s hard to explain it or tell you how to do it, you just have to jump right in!  

The more you work at it, the better you will get! I hope what I have mentioned here gets you started.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you have a successful job search!

The truth about resumes

April 17, 2013

At times, I get asked by my customers:

“Should a resume be one or two pages?”

You will find people providing you with different answers to this question. Some will say stay with one page. Some say two pages is best. The answer is that it depends on you. The number of pages a resume should be (1 or 2) is directly related to your circumstances. It is a personal result, and some people need one page, and some require 2 pages.

In other words, a college graduate with minimal work experience, would have a custom-designed one page resume. On the other hand, a senior manager, with over 30 years experience in the work force, would have a 2-page resume, with a strong career profile, and career highlights underneath, along with a chronological work history.

 

Here is another question I get asked:

“Do I need to include work that I have done in the 80’s? Is it true employers only look at the last 10 years of work history?”

Again, this depends on your circumstances. Let’s look at another example. For the last 20 years you have worked in the insurance industry, and have decided to make a career change back to IT/Networking. The only experience you had in networking was in the 80’s, where you worked for 7 years as a networking specialist. In this case, you would need to bring your experience as a networking specialist up the front of the resume.

On the other hand, if your main experience and achievements have occurred in the last 10 years, and you do not have anything worth mentioning beyond that, then of course you would not mention something way in the past.

A resume is not meant to include your entire work history, just what is needed.

The only truth about resumes, is whatever it takes to get you interviews! If it is getting you interviews and calls, then it is the right resume for you!

Happy job hunting.

Exercise: Start a “Job Journal” to discover what you should do!

April 17, 2013

At times, I have customers over 50 who are unsure what their career path should be. If this is you, the most important thing is to stay upbeat and don’t get discouraged, no matter what. Here is an exercise that I think will help you if you do it.

Get a fresh notebook and pen and prepare to write down every job you have had, or that you can remember, in your life. Let’s begin in high school. What was your first job in high school? Write it down. Write down how old you were and what you did. Write down how this job made you feel. As you progress, ask yourself these questions and write out the answers for each of the jobs you have held:

  1. What was the company name?
  2. What was your title?
  3. What did you do at your job?
  4. Did anyone compliment you for something you did? What was it?
  5. What did you like about this position?
  6. What didn’t you like about this position?
  7. How did you leave the position – Did you get laid off or terminated? Did you resign or leave the position? How did that make you feel?

You can make it as long as you like, and if there are grammar and spelling mistakes, don’t worry! The only person that will see this is you. Be VERY honest about what you feel, there is no right or wrong answer. Just write it down. Again, this exercise is only for you.

Once you have written down a chronology of all the jobs you remember, go back and read what you have written. Underline, or make a note, of all the things that are common about the jobs that you have liked. For example, You may have written,

“My first job was at (company name) when I was 16. I was a clerk and helped the customers at the front. The thing I loved about that job was the cash handling.”

Then later, you may have written, “My first job in my 30’s was working temporary at a company in downtown Minneapolis. I am not sure what company this was, since I was working temporary, but I remember I was creating purchase orders and doing matching. I loved this part. I also had to tally checks, and I used the 10-key to add them up.  I loved this also. The day went by fast.”

In these two sentences, we notice that the person liked money handling early in his or her career, and accounts payable later in her career. Perhaps an accounting position would be a path to pursue!

Similarly, make a note of the items you did not like in your career. For example: “My last job was as an office manager for xyz company. I worked their for over 7 years. I put together budgets and reports for my supervisor, and managed 8 employees. I liked doing the budgets, but did not like supervising people.” Here we see, that supervising people is not something this person likes to do! 

Once you have completed this exercise, you should have two columns: Things you like to do in a job and things you do not, which should point you in the right direction and path to take for your job search.

Happy job hunting!