A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (03/26/04):
- Providing some basics on preparing and writing a resume
- Writing a salary history when you don’t have one in your field
- Finding time for job interviews outside normal business hours
- Identifying job-search strategies for hearing-impaired job-seekers
|Q:||James writes: I’m searching for a guide on how to write my resume but I can’t seem to find anything. If you could give me some tips or a site that I could go to that would be greatly appreciated.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Can’t find anything on resumes? Wow. There’s tons of stuff available on resumes — in magazines books and on the Web… but I’ll give you a quick primer.
Your resume is a critical marketing tool. Your resume has to entice a prospective employer enough — through its focus content and style — to first consider your qualifications for the job at hand and then to invite you for a job interview. A resume is a statement of your unique mix of experiences education and skills. You must not lie on your resume but you must always remember its goal.
I think the most important thing any job-seeker should do before attempting to write a resume is to first sit down and make a list of your skills and accomplishments from all your previous experiences (work volunteer school etc.) because you will take from this list those critical skills and accomplishments — not your duties and responsibilities — that highlight your fit for the next job you are seeking.
The next step is researching and identifying the job — and all the requirements of that job — that you are seeking because it is critical that your resume is focused on specifics. You should also research the potential employers that may have jobs that you seek so that you can incorporate some of their keywords into your resume.
Wait! Does this advice suggest that job-seekers need to have a specifically tailored resume for every single job they apply for? Yes! There is absolutely no reason for you not to develop a different resume for each job and employer. For most job-seekers this task will simply mean tweaking small parts of your resume for similar jobs.
Once you have the content down you should focus on the style and look of your resume. Do not use a template; design your own. Follow a consistent style. Use normal fonts and sizes. Use bullets rather than paragraphs. Do not use personal pronouns. Consider using a career/job objective or profile section. Always list education and experience in reverse chronological order (starting with the most recent stuff). Do not list any personal information (such as age marital status weight). Do not include controversial information. And ALWAYS ALWAYS spell-check and carefully proofread your resume for any and all errors.
Read our newest articles published on Quintessential Careers: The Scoop on Resume Length: How Many Pages Should Your Resume Be? and 10 Resume Mistakes to Avoid.
You can gets lots more advice including resume samples resume-writing tutorial and more in this section of Quintessential Careers: Resume and CV Resources.
|Q:||Gabriel writes: I am a Graphic Artist just starting out. I have been asked to give a salary history but really do not have a salary history in my field how can I get around this and still prove I am very able candidate for the job. Thank You.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Getting asked by a prospective employer for a salary history — especially when you are a new graduate or new to the career field — is not that big a deal. Employers often want this information for a variety of reasons such as to evaluate your salary progression through a series of jobs and employers to evaluate whether you have been underpaid or overpaid and to gain power in the salary negotiation phase.
A salary history for you seems kind of moot since you don’t have any salary history in your field. Still if you want the job it makes sense to comply with the request.
When writing your salary history use the same letterhead as for your cover letter and references list. Simply list job titles employers (including location) dates of employment and starting and ending salaries — in reverse chronological order (with most recent job first).
You could also have a short paragraph on your salary history sheet and/or on the cover letter with which you send the salary history that explains why you feel these salaries are not important – and that makes a case for a better salary in your new career field.
And whatever you do never lie about your salary history.
Read more — and see some sample salary histories — in this article published on Quintessential Careers: Responding to Requests for Salary Requirements or Salary Histories: Strategies and Suggestions.
|Q:||Rebecca writes: I have a question regarding interviews. I currently have a full time job but am looking for something new. Unfortunately in just the few phone calls I have made it seems as though most companies interview between 9 and 5. How should I handle this? Is it rude to try to make an appointment for earlier or later? For companies near my office I can schedule an interview during my lunchtime but some places that are farther away might take half a day of travel. I only have a limited amount of vacation time and while one or two days for a viable job option would be fine I don’t want to waste all my vacation days on jobs that might not pan out! What is the typical protocol on this?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Yours is a very common misconception among job-seekers. Many if not most employers are willing to work around the schedule of their top candidates. Thus many employers are willing to schedule before- and after-hours job interviews’ and some will even sacrifice the lunch hour to schedule interviews. So when you get to that point of scheduling interviews simply ask the employer for a convenient time for both of you.
As for the employment opportunities where the prospective employer is located some distance from where you work and live’ that’s a different issue. It’s obvious for these interviews you are going to need to burn a personal day or vacation day. No question. But you can avoid using up all those days by being very selective in applying for jobs that require that kind of commitment. Remember you should be taking a narrow approach to your job-search selectively choosing only the best opportunities in terms of fit with the job and employer. Don’t waste your time or a prospective employer’s time by applying for jobs that you really have little interest in. And don’t ever use sick days to go on job interviews; it is not only unethical but could come back to haunt you if discovered.
One other strategy to follow if you have several out-of-town opportunities assuming they are in the same far-off city is to attempt to schedule all of them in a two-day period’ that way you can get them done in two days while spending the night there and staying fresh and focused on your task at hand.
|Q:||Rosie writes: I am hearing impaired and have been in search of jobs with no luck. I don’t know whether employers are not hiring me because of my hearing impairment or they just don’t want to be bothered about it. I have long history of office-related skills. Have you studied about hearing impaired or disability that can’t get job? What is the purpose for employers to limit who can be hired? I hope you can understand and take a look this moment.|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: First of course the overall job market is still in a bad way. Skeptical and tight-budgeted employers are not hiring pushing existing workers to work longer hours and do more work for the same pay (thus increasing their productivity statistics) and/or outsourcing jobs overseas. We all keep looking around the corner for the upswing in the market but no one knows for sure when it will arrive.
But job-seekers with disabilities always find it tough so the current situation only exasperates the issue. Even though there are laws protecting and promoting job-seekers with disabilities you still need to seek out employers that have it in their corporate culture to hire the best candidate — based on skills and experience and nothing more.
First to identify prospective employers I recommend using your network of contacts. If there is a local deaf agency or deaf college I would ask for their assistance in finding opportunities. You should also have your references prepared to discuss how your hearing impairment did not affect your work.
Finally in the interview your best strategy (and not just for you but for all job-seekers) is to make the interviewer feel at ease. You don’t have to but you could be the first to mention how there are multiple ways to communicate and that you are open to all of them followed quickly by a statement about the strength of your skills and positive reviews/evaluations from previous employers.
Find more resources (including articles and job sites) specifically for disabled job-seekers in this section of Quintessential Careers: Career and Job Resources for Disabled-American Job-Seekers.
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