We love hearing from our readers. We also love offering career advice. Below are some reader-submitted questions, and our two cents.
“I’m looking for a job in the healthcare field and I’m told I need to demonstrate a sense of “compassion” in my resume and cover letter. Is this true? And if so, how should I do it?”
Hiring managers like to know that compassion is an integral part of your care philosophy. But since this quality can be difficult to demonstrate in a resume and cover letter (unlike, say, written communication skill) it’s okay to just state it. Make it clear that compassion is something you think about every day on the job and in every interaction you have with patients. It informs the decisions you make and the quality of care you deliver, and you’re looking for an employer that shares your priorities.
“If I’m unwilling to travel more than 20 percent of the time, can I still land a job in medical and pharmaceutical sales?”
Of course. But you’ll need to become as efficient as possible with your job search by targeting only employers with low travel demands. And get ready to clarify this deal-breaker early in the application and interview process. Enlist the help of recruiters, and make it clear to each recruiter contact that your travel abilities are limited. Look for positions with smaller companies (some of which may be risky start-ups). And consider moving to an area with a higher level of local opportunity.
“I want to enter the restaurant business, but I don’t think I have anything unique to offer employers. I have no experience and no college degree. How can I stand out if I have no special skills?”
If you know anything about customer service (which you do) and you know how to solve problems, work hard, support a team, and engage in a warm and friendly way with restaurant patrons, you’re halfway home. Just use your resume to make these qualities clear.
“I’ve been out of work for more than a year now, and I’m thinking of choosing a new career direction altogether. I’d like to find a position as an administrative assistant in the meantime. Do you have any advice for me?”
This is a smart and popular move for a growing number of job seekers. And your timing couldn’t be better: A few generations ago, admin jobs were low-paying, low-responsibility clerical jobs that usually didn’t offer much room for advancement. But now, these jobs rely on rapidly evolving technology, and they usually come with significant responsibility and demand complex skills sets. Many of these skills can be learned on the job and leveraged into more advanced positions down the road. The best advice at this point is twofold: First, learn as much as you can about your target employer’s specific industry before you apply (fashion, warehousing, higher education, consumer electronics manufacturing, etc, etc). Second, briefly state your general skills (like basic software proficiency), and lay more emphasis on complex skill sets like budgeting, programming, schedule management, and event planning.
In the meantime, check out LiveCareer’s Resume Builder and Cover Letter Builder. Create a resume that’s tailored to your target industry and your specific professional goals.