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Seriously Want the Job? Show some Enthusiasm in the Job Interview

enthusiasm in the job interviewSome job seekers believe they don’t stand a chance to be hired for certain jobs because they don’t believe they are “excitable” enough.  As one job seeker shared with me. “I am not the bubbly-jumping-out-of-my-seat-type, so I might not show all that enthusiasm in the job interview.” True.  So instead of thinking about showing enthusiasm in the job interview, let’s think more about showing a positive attitude and high energy. Therefore, whether or not you think of yourself as excitable or not, you can develop specific strategies to bring enthusiasm in the job interview.

Keeping energy levels high during the job interview shows enthusiasm

Every job seeker must do some introspection to know what is right for them and what is comfortable to do in a job interview. Here is a simple example. If you are a job seeker who is a morning person, you might find that job interviews in the morning work better for you when your energy level is highest. If you are a job seeker who peaks in the afternoon, then afternoon job interviews might be better for you. Similar patterns might apply for you with nutrition. Don’t risk being in a job interview where you are more concerned with a growling stomach, than you are with the questions your interviewer is asking. Keeping your energy level high is one way to ensure you will show enthusiasm in the job interview.

Doing research before the job interview might help you show enthusiasm

Another way job seekers can show enthusiasm in the job interview is to do the required research ahead of time. During the job interview is not the time to ask the employer basic questions like such as who are your customers? Who are your competitors? Job seekers who do the research ahead of time, can have more meaningful conversations in the job interview. It is easier to show enthusiasm in the job interview if a job seeker knows why this would be a great job to have. One recruiter told me that sometimes he actually tunes out of the interview, when a job seeker shows no enthusiasm for the job. Being able to speak about the company and ask insightful questions will show enthusiasm for the job and show passion for the industry.

Show you are ready for a new role

Some job seekers worry that if they show enthusiasm in the job interview they might come across as desperate. On the other hand, as one job seeker shared, “I really don’t want to look like I think I will be rejected again.” Instead, show enthusiasm in the interview by speaking honestly about why this position would be a good next-step in your career. Say why the timing is perfect. To continue to show enthusiasm for the job, beyond the job interview, restate your interest in a thank-you letter.

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Expand Resumes During Spring Break

Not every collspring break volunteersege student heads south to warmer climates for their spring break get-a-ways.  Increasingly, college students are seeking meaningful ways to use spring break to expand resumes with volunteer work and alternative spring break experiences.

Think about how much more impressive a college resume showing some volunteer work will be when students search for internships, a new career after graduation or apply to grad school.

It’s wise to start checking out spring break experiences well in advance.  However, if you are home with nothing to do and no funds to travel, call around and find a local organization where you can volunteer.  There are plenty of non profits with lots of projects and more mission-driven work they can handle.

If you missed the chance to do something this year, start planning for spring break next year as soon as you go back to school.  If there is no existing program, then start one. Take the lead, gather fellow students who think like you and start something.  These types of spring break experiences not only help you build resumes, but they can expand your professional and social network and even help you find professionals who are willing to help you through long term mentoring relationships.

The only thing employers and grad schools love more than a student who participates in meaningful college experiences, is a student who STARTS a new campus program!

Here are a few options published at The Huffington Post including one program involving 40 Howard University students who trek to Detroit for a volunteer assignment.

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50 Resume Writing Tips that Work

50 Resume Writing TipsResume Writing – 50 Tips That Work

I’ve been updating this list every spring  for almost a decade.

Our goal is that if you use this list and spend 60 minutes with your resume you can improve your resume in the process.  With social media increasingly becoming a part of the job search, many are debating the value of resumes.  IMO, (a first for me to use text language in an article) resumes are still important and these 50 resume writing tips still work.  Remember though that your resume has 20-30 seconds to make an impression on a reader who will have to decide if they will put your resume in the KEEP or TOSS piles.

50 Resume Writing Tips

1. Skip the prepackaged templates. Start your own resume writing project from scratch.  Copy a layout you like.

2. Proofread resume for grammar, spelling and factual errors by reading from the end in reverse order.

3. Use consistent font size including bullet sizes on your resume.  New trend is to skip the old Times fonts and get something more contemporary.  Don’t force the recruiter to squint to read the text.  Stick to an ASCII font.

4. Limit or avoid graphics completely.  Don’t add your photo or picture of your dog or any fancy images.  Recruiters will see your profile photo from LinkedIn or other social media.

5. Use upper case letters sparingly and only when appropriate.  Upper case is actually very hard to read and it doesn’t make what you are saying anymore important.

6. Include short term projects that were great learning experiences.  Remember to write team outcomes.

7. Bullets will make resumes easier to read.  Definitely large blocks of text don’t really fit with the scanning approach that the reader will take.

8. Avoid useless words like “responsibilities”, “responsibilities include” or “duties include.” Also you don’t have to label your email address with the word “email” anymore.

9. Volunteerism and community service really enhance a resume.  Sometimes, especially, for new grads or even career changers moving from one industry to the next. this is all you have.

10. Adjust margins if the resume is slightly too long. Don’t go less than .5 inch, but don’t leave a few lines hanging on another page either.

11. No personal pronouns like “I”, “my” and “me” except maybe in the objective statement.  Some don’t like objective statements.  I still do.  They can’t be shallow however.

12. Do not list complete addresses of past employers, don’t even include your own address if you don’t want to.  This is a new trend especially in a job market where people are relocating often.  Your address doesn’t add anything new.

13. Don’t include names of references on the resume.  Also don’t use the line, “References Available on Request”.  We know that you have references who will brag about you.

14. Top 30-40% of the resume gets the most attention; Make it grab the reader’s attention.

15. Use little notes to steer the reader’s attention or spark interest.  For example, if you list a job that appears out of synch with the rest of your background, write a note “Ask me about my career change.”  Get help from a professional with this “personalization” of the resume.

16. Use page numbers if the resume is more than one page.

17. Add name, phone number and email contact to all resume pages.

18. Use tables to align columns.  Right click on tables to remove lines and leave a clean look.

19. Do not include any salary information or salary history on your resume.  The resume is not the place.

20. Use a professional email address or social media links on your resume.  Make sure when a recruiter does click over to your social media that they won’t be unimpressed at what they see.

21. Use no jargon or slang on your resume.  In my intro paragraph, I used “IMO” which means “In my opinion”. Did you notice? Please don’t use this on a resume.

22. Do not write any information above your name.

23. Follow sample layouts if you are stuck.  There is absolutely no reason to use a resume which doesn’t flow.  I still get them. Often. There are tons of samples to pick from and just follow.

24. Education information goes to the top of the resume for new grads.  It is the MOST important thing about you right after graduation.  With years of experience, move education to the bottom of the resume.

25. Create a new document called a “Resume Inventory” and this is where you will dump any information you eliminate from this resume.  You may want to come back to it at some time, if it’s more relevant.

26. Change the resume objective statement as needed according to the job.  Know how to write a great resume objective statement.

27. Write a strong “Summary of Qualifications” or “Career Profile” instead of an objective.  Get professional help with this so you are as succinct as you can be and still be effective.

28. Use industry “buzz words” or “keywords” on a resume.  Not enough to go overboard with “keyword stuffing”, but enough so people know you know what you are talking about.

29. Resumes must identify specific successful outcomes – not just what you did!  If you can’t share the outcome, don’t tell the story.

30. Quantify outcomes by using $, % and # to demonstrate achievements.  Use the appropriate action verbs to emphasize accomplishments.  Your college GPA if you are a student or new grad is an example of outcome.

31. One specific phrase to try and avoid – Entry Level.

32. Do not use one-word resume objectives or one-word descriptions of what you did. eg. Sales

33. Which layout best represents you: Chronological vs Functional vs. Skills resume?  Know the difference and when you would use one over the other. Consider the Combination Resume which is built on skills and in reverse time order

34. Be consistent with dates and numbers eg 09/02, Sep 02, Sep 2012

35. Don’t fall in love with any resume content.  You may have to eliminate it or delete it.  I know it’s your background and you are proud of it, but eliminate it, if it doesn’t speak to your current mission.

36. Get others (career staff, colleagues, HR professionals) to proof read your resume – be open to criticism.  If you aren’t asking these types of professionals, then ask some who you know has looked for a job recently.

37. Relevance is key. Don’t include every job you have ever had.

38. If you are using a resume writing services make sure to keep your “voice.” Don’t write words you don’t use or can’t pronounce.

39. Always keep a resume accessible via email or in services like Dropbox.com, Google docs or in an email somewhere.

40. Resumes, Cover Letters, Thank-you letters can have the same letter heading layout

41. No need to state why you left any organization – unless you are clever about how to share with what I call “love notes” to the recruiter eg. A small insert that says “Ask me about my career change”

42. Add your LinkedIn profile information on your resume. If you don’t have one.  Please create one.

43. No social security numbers should be included on your resume.  Federal job applications may ask for it.

44. Use Action Verbs such as “managed”, “improved” and “delivered” etc. on your resume to describe accomplishments.

45. Using short paragraphs, 3-5 sentences maximum, is possible.  Make sure these blocks of content are well written and says a lot about you.

46. White space on a resume is not a bad thing. Don’t cover every inch of it with words.

47. Make sure your resume contact information is current and that recruiters can find you if they want to reach out to you.

48. Ask a professional resume writer, HR person, mentor etc. for a free resume critique.  If you have the posting for the job you are seeking, share that with the person who is going to be doing your critiquing.

49. Remove “References Available on Request” as it is a waste of valuable space

50. If you just graduated and your resume is beyond 2 pages, you haven’t edited enough.  Eliminate some more.  Keep in mind you still have cover letter and social media to round out the information about you and your experiences.

Professional resume writers still agree there are many right ways to write a resume. Get 10 professional resume writers working for the same resume client, and they could probably create 10 different resumes based on style and look. However, all of the resumes could still be very good.

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A Practice Interview Gives Job Seekers a Leg Up

So you didn’t do a practice interview before the first round job interview and the employer was impressed enough to call you back for a second interview.  You can also do a practice interview, otherwise known as a mock interview, if you make it past the first round and really want to turn up your presentation for the second or even third round job interview.

Best Reaspractice interviewons to Do a Practice Interview

One of the cool things about doing a practice interview is that you get to walk through job interview conversations, not just in your head, but in real life.  You get immediate, real-time feedback on your interview responses which helps you improve on your responses in a very dynamic way.

A practice interview can teach us how to sync our responses with the information that was already included on a resume.  During the practice interview process we can hopefully get a better  sense of which of our stories about achievement might have the best impact in the job interview.  As part of a good practice interview, we will also get the opportunity to develop the list of questions we want to ask the recruiter in the real interview.

If I am helping a job seeker with a practice interview, I always ask them to share the job announcement with me.  This way  I can tailor my questions based on what the recruiter is probably going to be looking for in an applicant for that specific position.  If you are doing a practice interview in the career center on your campus, ask the career coach if you can send the job posting ahead of time.  This way the career coach gets to prepare specific questions appropriate to the job and not just generic interview questions.

Finally, if you are not able to work with the career center on your college campus, seek out other professionals such as career coaches, interview coaches and human resources professionals.  I do practice interviews on the How to Interview Like  a P.R.O. technique that I developed years ago.  Other interview coaches use the Behavioral Interview approach.  Regardless of which method the interview coach will use with you,  your interview performance will definitely improve after a practice interview.

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25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow

25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should FollowWhen the Twitter social media platform began a few years ago, people couldn’t imagine how relevant 140 characters could be.  Many thought it wouldn’t last. Well it has.   Twitter has grown to be a favorite for millions sharing and communicating about every possible subject you can imagine.  Like most Twitter users, we have carved out our little corner of Twitter where we meet, greet and tweet on issues related to workplace diversity, professional development, career advice and work success. My audience is primarily African American college students, emerging and experienced professionals and entrepreneurs.  Basically, if you are about life success through career success,  job search, education, college life, human resources, leadership, industry and professional branding  – our Twitter page is a resource.   Although there are hundreds, if not thousands of Twitter pages where career experts dole out free advice, insight and information, there are many diverse college students that don’t know where to go for career success ti[s.  To help, we assembled this 2015 List of 25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow.

Why these 25 Twitter Pages Diverse Students Should Follow?

Why, in my opinion, are these 25 Twitter pages diverse students should follow?

*They include images of a diverse workforce.
*No issue seems off limits.
*They share honest advice my students and emerging professionals need to hear.
*They stay current (a biggie for me).
*The advice shared is in line with one of the 5 Points in the Career Development Model that I believe works.

Of course we would love for you to follow us @HBCUCareerCntr where we primarily serve the diverse community of students, employees, families and alumni of America’s 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As usual, my lists are never in a particular order, because they are all equally valuable.

  • @UndercoverRec – Undercover Recruiters is a recruitment and career blog.
  • @WetFeet_Career – Career information about employers and market trends.
  • @GreatResumes – Resume writer Jessica Hernandez shares tons of resume tips.
  • @womenworking – Women Working is an online career and lifestyle magazine
  • @networkingman14 – Art of Networking shares advice on networking and personal branding.
  • @BCWNetwork – Black Career Women Network is a professional network for women.
  • @NBMBAAhq – National Black MBA Association offers business and grad school tips and resources.
  • @eddiefrancis – Eddie Francis bridges the gap between your Greek life and professional life.
  • @Truaccess – Tru Pettigrew is all about inspiring and empowering millennials.
  • @DailyMuse – The Muse is all about seeking and finding that dream career.
  • @ChelseaKrost – Radio show host gives personal branding advice for millennials.
  • @OutforWorkOrg  – Educating LGBT students and allies on workplace issues.
  • @HeyDrWilson – Dr. Caleph Wilson speaks on STEM careers and resources.
  • @BOSS-eMag – Publisher of an educational, entrepreneurial magazine for minority youth.
  • @AlisonDoyle – Workplace, career and job search guru with immense credibility among career professionals.
  • @DiversityInc – Leading resource on workplace diversity management.
  • @FastCompany – Awesome resource for what’s hot, what’s current and the future of business.
  • @LevoLeague – Career advice for designing a life you will love.
  • @TorinEllis – Torin is a recruiter who shares tips on job search strategies.
  • @NatUrbanLeague – Excellent resource committed to empowering African Americans
  • @BlackEnterprise – Promoting initiatives related to careers and business ownership
  • @CareerSultan – US Navy Veteran who supports the career and job search goals of other Vets.
  • @Glassdoor – Their mantra is simple: Get Hired; Love your Job.  Salary, interview, industry information.
  • @NSBE – You don’t have to be a STEM student to get career advice from the National Society of Black Engineers
  • @BlackEOEJournal – Working hard to help corporate America develop a more diverse workforce

Please contact us, if you think we have overlooked any Twitter pages you have found particularly helpful with career advice for diverse students.

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Company Perks for Employees to Stay

company perks

company perks for employees

What company perks for employees, would make you love your employer even more?  Career Builder asked this in a recent survey and here were the things that 3900 employees said were important to them.

Things that were most important to workers:

  • Salary mattered – 88%
  • Flexible schedule – 59 %
  • Being able to make a difference – 48 %
  • Having a certain title – 45%
  • Challenging work – 35 %
  • Ability to work from home – 33 %
  • Academic reimbursement – 18 %
  • Having an office – 17 %
  • Company car – 14 %

Wish List of Company Perks for Employees

26% percent of workers said that offering special perks is an effective good way to improve employee retention.

  • Half-day Fridays – 40 %
  • On-site fitness center – 20 %
  • Ability to wear jeans – 18 %
  • Daily catered lunches – 17 %
  • Massages – 16 %
  • Nap room – 12%
  • Rides to and from work – 12 %
  • Snack cart that comes around the office – 8 %
  • Private restroom – 7 %
  • On-site daycare – 6 %

What ultimately entices workers to stay with a company?

70 percent of workers reported that increasing salaries is the best way to boost employee retention while 58 % pointed to better benefits. Of course we knew it had to be about compensation.  What other company perks for employees really make people stay?

  • Provide flexible schedules – 51 %
  • Increase employee recognition (awards, cash prizes, company trips) – 50 %
  • Ask employees what they want and put feedback into action – 48 %
  • Increase training and learning opportunities – 35 %
  • Hire additional workers to ease workloads – 22 %
  • Provide academic reimbursement – 22 %
  • Carve out specific career paths and promote more – 21 %
  • Institute a more casual dress code – 14%

Check out the full article from Career Builder here.

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