Welcome to your future!

Years of study and sacrifice are done and you are ready to take on the world. Well, at least you feel that way … but no one is calling for an interview! Is it luck, timing, connections? What does it take to land a real job, a first-step career-building position?

Although some will insist it’s who you know (it’s called networking), those who landed themselves a part-time position at the local building supply warehouse retailer will insist it’s luck, and they ain’t got it!

Nonsense, it’s not luck at all. It’s all about strategy. A strategic resume, strategized cover letter, job search strategy – that’s how you land a position within your field of study and that leads, step by step, to the career you’re envisioning.

Check back for regular updates, valuable information, useful tips and more. All written with your career success in mind. To your career success, Stephanie

Tips for Success Once in a while, I have a memorable client. Memorable can be good – like the new grads who land wonderful and appropriate jobs. But then there are the ones who are memorable for all the wrong reasons, like the new grad whose father made a lasting and bad impression.

I’d say that about half of my new grad clients arrive via parents, siblings or other family members – aunts, uncles, and grandparents. So that’s not unusual. Actually, the gift of a professional resume is an amazing, career-launching gift. The investment reaps lifelong rewards if you consider that many new grads remain stuck in jobs not related to their studies.

That’s how “Howard” arrived at my service, via his father. Most family members step aside and I continue the work with the client, but not this father.

Howard was soon graduating from a Canadian university with a degree in Finance, which is a fairly conservative and traditional role. His father “distinguished” himself with these complaints, concerns, observations:

  • Why, he asked, does my son require a formal cover letter with an employer’s address and so on? Why can’t he just send exactly the same letter to all jobs, without needing to change company name, date, salutation etc?
  • He told me that Howard would never have passed if he (the father) hadn’t done most of his homework for him. Had I heard that at the beginning, I would have refused to work with Howard as my resumes are based on truth. Unfortunately this info was shared in the wrap up call.
  • As I spoke with Howard after sending him his resume, I could hear his father in the background, berating him and putting him down.

I had a strong impression that this father would try to attend interviews with his son, or would brow-beat him when he didn’t land a job offer after an interview. This was easily the worst client experience I’ve ever had.

My point in writing this is to exhort parents to entrust their new grads with confidence in their abilities to proceed with their careers. “Hovering” parents do not help their children succeed; they stunt their development, rob them of self-confidence, and diminish their achieving meaningful success by making their own authentic mark in this world!

- supporting new graduates with resumes that land interviews, Stephanie

 

 

Young GraduatesIt seems like a long way from graduation to retirement, but as someone who is closing in on retirement age, time honestly zips along.

And the truth is that from your first job, you should be saving – if not for retirement, then for a car, a home, travel, the “what ifs.”

The article linked below provides great, easy-to-follow advice for saving, and I encourage you to read up on how to create a financial cushion, how to make contributions to your retirement part of your regular banking, and more. The article is actually written for nannies, but it’s sound and will work well for almost any profession (unless you’re an investor, in which case you should be able to outperform most of us!).

“Money makes the world go around” goes the song. Here’s the link to “Financial Tips for Being Able to Retire.”

- Thanks for reading! Stephanie

p.s. if you want to ensure that you land a job in your field of studies rather than remain stuck at a non-related job, New Leaf is here to support that goal! There is power in the written word; what’s your resume saying about you?

Stack of Library Books Occasionally serendipity or coincidence are at play, and I have clients that have some sort of connection. One month I had three clients with the same surname, and it wasn’t all that common! And then I’ve three clients who were applying for the very same job. And last month I had two clients, both new grads, and both Research Analysts.

Although both were graduating and looking for Research Analyst positions, both came with different experiences, skills, and backgrounds.

One was soon to complete a PhD in Applied Psychology and the other from a post-grad Research Analyst Diploma, which had been pursued after a medical career. Their resumes were unlike in all except for a few key words and phrases.

I love facing this kind of challenge: to make sure no two clients sound alike, that no two resumes look too similar, that no two resumes have anything much in common except for excellent content.

Here is one of the resume’s profile:

Organized and conscientious researcher with 5 years’ autonomous and team-based experience conducting analytical and research activities utilizing various data collection methods, analyzing large and complex data, and compiling reports and recommendations for project stakeholders.

·         Proficient use of database, spreadsheet, geographic information system, SPSS, AMOS, SurveyMonkey, and MS Office Suite; strong interest and willingness to learn new software.

·         Proven ability to conduct research, collate and interpret data with effective analysis, and relate patterns and trends to assist with setting strategic directions.

Working style:

·         Driven to explore ideas, gather information, complete goals within the context of research – and do so emphasizing ethics and building collaborative, respectful relationships.

·         Articulate speaker who can express complex ideas without jargon; effective writer who produces well-composed reports.

And here is the second client’s profile:

Profile:                                                               Research Analyst

Dean’s List Post-grad Research Analyst with Professional Medical Background

 Organized, meticulous, and achievement-oriented candidate. Apply critical thinking to gather, aggregate, and analyse data findings, and compile findings in concise, well-written reports and presentations. Excellent relationship building; outstanding work habits; highly ethical.

·         Achieved Dean’s List in post-graduate Research Analyst program (2013).

·         Selected as (award name) finalist for team-based, real-world client research project.

·         Hold credentials of (medical field position) and (additional training).

 Additional relevant skills include:

·         Collecting information from secondary sources—all levels of government, internet, on-line journals, library databases, and from developing and administering questionnaires.

·         Analyzing, evaluating and interpreting information and findings to develop recommendations relating to projects, policies, and services, and forecast problematic areas.

·         Writing reports, briefs, abstracts, and summaries, using analytical techniques supported by statistical and scientific data, and providing recommendations and theories.

·         Conducting queries and using computer programs such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, SPSS, Nvivo, comScore, and BBM Infosys. Also using IPad survey.

Each client’s profile showcases the best of what s/he brings to the table. It answers the question “Why should we hire you?” And it addresses the needs of the job as derived from the job posting.

That’s the key to creating a resume that is distinct, does not read like the next grad’s, and that attracts attention.

If you’re having trouble distinguishing your unique value, New Leaf is here to help!

- taking immense satisfaction in positioning each new grad as a unique and valuable new hire, Stephanie

crusaderSometimes I read headlines for articles that fool even me. I say that not because I am so clever, but because I have seen it all! It’s more of the same-old and yet … Titles that assure you that this contains the holy grail of job searching, the gem for interview success, the magic pill of career management can hypnotize even me, who knows there is no such thing, into reading the article.

But really? If it were that easy, would it be so time consuming to actually write a great resume, prepare for an interview, and land job offers?

Some things don’t change. Yes, you can use Twitter and Facebook to beat out your competition and land an interview, but you can’t do it without one old-fashioned tactic: you must establish a relationship.

“WIN” in my headline stands for Wireless Interpersonal Networking. That’s the fastest way to a new job. Getting out there or picking up the phone (no, not texting), talking to people, communicating your value and your passion for the job at hand — that’s the way to land a job.

Here are a few ideas on how to WIN:

1. Rather than tell everyone that you’re looking for a job, get super specific: share the employers that you’ve identified as top prospects, share your resume or at least your credentials and skills, and ask for introductions to anyone who works in those organizations, or to their clients.

2. Pick up the phone and call. Research and create a list of companies (make an A-B-C list, from most attractive to least, and practice on the least attractive to perfect your pitch by the time you get to the “A” list), research the hierarchy and try to call the person who would be your hiring manager. Be prepared with your (sales) pitch before you call. A simple “I’m a new grad and I’m wondering if you hiring?” won’t do!

Hiring is still reliant on fit, and fit relies on a budding relationship. If you don’t fit the culture or the team dynamics, even if you’re ironman, wolverine, storm or catwoman in terms of your intelligence, skills, marks, etc., you won’t get hired. Managers don’t want people who need to be “managed”; they want new hires who fit right in and become productive without a lot of their intervention.

There you go! The magic pill to a faster job search!

If you need help launching your own job search, New Leaf is available! Thanks for reading, Stephanie

question 2Although I rarely say “never,” I think that this question deserves a “never.”

The functional resume is one that identifies two or three skills that are relevant to the position to which you are applying, and then lists a few bullets that define (or should define) your expertise in that area. Examples of these skills may include Technical Abilities, Health Care, Customer Service, Sales, Project Management and so on.

That sounds like a great strategy, except that it typically does a poor job of convincing the recruiter that you’re a great fit. There are a few problems inherent in this structure (as opposed to the reverse chronological structure). These are:

1. It is often impossible to figure out in what job the person did what. And without that info, recruiters feel lost. Certainly they don’t have time to try to figure out where you got that experience, and they have plenty more resumes that spelled it out for them, so on they go to the next one.

2. Recruiters tend to assume that a functional resume is trying to hide a lack or problem. Lack of relevant experience, a gap in employment — whether you think this makes sense or not, that is the general opinion amongst recruiters.

I have seen many functional resumes written by potential clients and they err significantly in that the examples of their use of a particular skill set is often written like a position description, that is as an accountability. It would be more effective to incorporate the accountability within an accomplishment. Also, most self-written functional resumes provide no insight into which position entailed that responsibility.

Oftentimes, too, the reverse chronological list of jobs in a functional resume is a skeleton outline – no fleshing out of the scope of the position, importance in the organization, significant clients or projects or any context at all! Which leaves the reader with a bare-bones impression as well. Such lost opportunity!

I have written many new graduate resumes and have never found that a purely functional format would benefit my client. My advice is that if you are a typical new grad, with no unusual issues to overcome, stick to the reverse chronological for best results!

If you need help, New Leaf is your ideal partner. With two awards for Best New Graduate Resumes, your resume is in expert hands.

Occasionally I receive an inquiry to post a guest blog, and such is the case with today’s blog. Although written for Nannies, its information is sound and applies to everyone from the new grad to the executive.

Because a resume is not a historical document, detailing a complete chronology, it can indeed leave a job off, skip even a major component of a position’s accountabilities – all in an effort to focus the reader’s attention on aspects of your work and history that are relevant to the job to which you have applied. A resume is more self-marketing than history and marketing is all about telling the truths that are of interest to your audience. (Fast food outlets tell you the truth about taste and speed of service, not about the lack of quality in the ingredients or use of substitutes or flavor enhancers. That’s marketing!) I hope you enjoy this guest blog. – Stephanie

When Is It OK to Leave a Job Off Your Nanny Resume

July 17, 2013
Category: Resumes Written by: rachael

 

​ As a working nanny, your resume should reflect your skills and experience. Sometimes, though, you might find yourself wanting to leave a job (or two) off of your resume. You’re welcome to do this. A resume is, after all, a specially tailored marketing document designed to sell yourself to potential clients. The content, layout and tone are entirely up to you, as is the decision to delete certain jobs from your history. However, it’s best to make sure the job in question falls into one of a few special categories.

If It’s Old

The more jobs you take and the more experience you acquire, the less you might need to list the jobs you held early in your career. This is especially true if you worked a few short childcare jobs when you were just starting out as a nanny. Younger working professionals are usually best served by including as many jobs as possible to play up their employability, but if you’ve been working for a few years (or more), it’s OK to consider dropping a job that isn’t as impressive or helpful as those you’ve held more recently. Entry-level spots can eventually fall by the wayside or be relegated to a line or two in your personal statement.

If It’s Irrelevant

Your nanny resume is just that: a document designed to place you in the childcare field. As such, you might want to consider omitting jobs in other fields that might not have a bearing on your work as a nanny or on the skills you bring to the table. Shift work in retail, for instance, doesn’t really gel with what parents are looking for in a caregiver. If you’re just starting out in childcare, or if your history as a nanny has breaks in which you worked in other fields, you might want to leave off the irrelevant jobs and opt for a functional resume layout that emphasizes skills learned and downplays job chronology.

If It Doesn’t Put a Hole in Your Employment History

Employers like seeing nannies with relatively stable work records. Short jobs aren’t necessarily bad; short jobs with big spaces of unexplained time between them are another story. If leaving a job off your resume would create a serious gap in your history, it might be better to leave it and emphasize what you learned there in a positive way.

If You Were Fired

If you were fired, it might be a good idea to omit the job from your resume, especially if your tenure there was brief. Maybe you really didn’t like the people you worked for, or maybe you and the client found yourselves clashing at every turn. Maybe you wound up in over your head with a client who demanded more and more, only to cut you loose when you complained. Maybe you were terminated for cause based on your behavior or performance, and though your habits have improved since then, you’re not exactly in a rush to talk about the experience with new clients. Those are all perfectly valid reasons to leave a job off your resume. Again, your resume is your business, and it’s the document you’re going to use to sell yourself and your services. What goes on it is up to you. If you were fired from a job, you might not have the best relationship with that client, which can hinder the recommendation process. And for nannies, recommendations and references are crucial. If you do decide to keep a job you were fired from on your resume, be prepared to talk truthfully (and briefly) with future possible clients about why you left and what you learned.

All in all, it’s your decision whether to cut a job from your work history or leave it on your resume. Just remember that every job, positive or negative, represents experience that can be vital to working in childcare.

 

Job WAntedThere is a little word in the English language that I dislike. Yes, it’s a four-letter word, but no, it’s likely not the one that comes to mind first!

The word is “just.”

As in “I’m just a clerk, I just file.” Or “I don’t have any co-op experience, just restaurant experience.”

That word belittles valuable experience, even if it isn’t career-related experience! Here are a few sample interview conversations that will steer your audience toward appreciating your transferable skills rather than have them thinking “This candidate just doesn’t fit our needs!”

Regarding customer service:

Having worked my way through college with a part-time job in hospitality, I have developed perceptive customer service skills. I started with Yum Foods as a hostess, progressed to a server and then with some training, to part-time bartender. Now I have been promoted and am working full-time over the holiday season as Assistant Manager. Along with being ultra-reliable and conscientious, it’s my level of service that Yum Food’s manager noticed. He now asks me to train new hires on service because I don’t miss an opportunity to be helpful, and I consistently communicate in a friendly yet professional manner. Would you like me to give you some specifics of service tactics that I’ve introduced to our team of 12?

The word “just” couldn’t make an appearance in that paragraph!

Regarding written communications:

I was fortunate to land several consulting jobs as a technical writer. Mainly I have been composing or editing and updating procedural guides for local small to mid-size employers. In those contracts I applied the techniques that I have been learning about – gathering comments or end-user needs, and addressing syntax, cutting out the fat, sticking to facts, adopting one style, and using plain language. This experience – by the way I am keeping a tally of how many pages I have written or edited and I’m now at 1500 – has earned me repeat business and referrals. The comment I hear most often is that I’ve managed to eliminate ambiguity while strengthening the message and shortening the page count! I am certain that the skills I’ve developed are transferable to corporate correspondence and minute-taking.

I can see the word “just” fading into memory!

Regarding time management and organization:

Throughout a full course of studies over three years’ time, I have held a series of part-time and seasonal jobs. Sometimes I have worked up to 30 hours a week – on top of classes and studies – but mostly I averaged 20 hours a week. Still, that’s a lot of juggling of responsibilities and workload. I managed to organize my time by using and sticking to a planner and by prioritizing. With the method that I perfected I continue my record of not missing work unless I am ill and in bed, and of handing in every assignment either on time or ahead of schedule. I’m also no procrastinator and have self-discipline that surprises even me!

“Just” slam the door on that word!

It’s all in the way you own your accomplishments and present information with strategy. If you “just” need help eliminating the feeling of the word from your resume, New Leaf is ready to be of service.

- crafting masterful resumes that launch careers, Stephanie :-)

 

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