Category: Resumes


Should You Share Your Passions on Your Resume?

I’ve critiqued resumes for nearly 20 years, and oftentimes I’ll see an “Interests” section on a resume. One of the most memorable “Interests” sections I saw included “eating peanut butter.” Yes, you read that right. Someone actually put on her resume she likes to eat peanut butter. And she wasn’t applying for a job as a taste-tester at Skippy!

Clients will ask me, “Should I have an ‘Interests’ section on my resume?” and there’s no right or wrong answer to this. Allow me to make this a little clearer.

When it’s wrong to share your passions on your resume:

  • When you don’t have enough room on your resume because of all the great accomplishments and results you have listed from your work experience. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  accomplishments are KING on a resume. This is what your reader most wants to see, so give your audience what they want first.
  • When your life passions are totally unrelated to the job for which you’re applying. Again, know your audience!
  • When your life passions may initially be viewed as odd. While liking peanut butter it is not unusual, it could seem strange to include it on a resume. (All I could picture was her with peanut butter smeared all over her face – not a picture of professionalism!)

When it’s right to share your passions on your resume:

  • When you don’t have enough work experience to fill a full page.
  • When your life passions might be relevant to the job. For example, if you love golf and the job will require you to take clients on golf outings to network and close sales, then it’s appropriate. Or, if you’re passionate about playing basketball and the job requires you to work with youth in an after school program that promotes healthy living, then it’s appropriate.
  • When your life passions are relevant to your work passions and have prepared you for the skills needed in the job. For instance, if you like doing improv, that skill is often a basis for good sales skills. A love for blogging can be a plus for a job requiring strong writing and/or social media skills. A passion for coaching little league can translate into good leadership skills.
  • If you’ve completed a passion project that would be of interest to your reader and would showcase your skills.

Always be professional

Whatever you choose to include, always make sure you present it in a way that looks and sounds professional. Perhaps it makes sense to include it on a section other than an “Interests” section. Or, maybe you rename the section heading to “Work-Related Passions” (which sounds more dynamic and attention-grabbing than “Interests,” don’t you think?).

Also, help the reader connect the dots on how your passions will benefit the company. Remember, your resume isn’t about you. It’s about the company and what you can do for them! Let your passion for them shine through in your resume, your interview, and all of your communication and interactions with them.

For more tips on what to include and what not to include on your resume, subscribe to the paNASH newsletter. I’ll send out announcements for the on-demand Resumes That Get You the Interview program, due out later this month.

How to Get Published, and Get Noticed!

Get Noticed by Potential Recruiters or Clients

Are you a job seeker wanting to get noticed by recruiters or potential employers? Or are you a small business owner looking for new clients or customers? A resume or a company web site are necessary elements of your marketing efforts, but you need more to stand out among your competition. You need to show just how knowledgeable you are about your industry. You need to get published!

How do you do this? There are a number of ways, including writing your own blog, guest blogging on others’ blogs, commenting on others’ blogs, etc. However, one of my favorite and most effective ways I’ve recently discovered is through Quora.

Get Published Through Quora

Quora is a site where people can ask any question about anything, and you can respond with your own knowledge and point of view. You get noticed when you provide quality answers to your industry’s questions.

For example, I started doing this only a couple of months ago. I focus on answering job search and career-related questions (my area of expertise). Typically, I choose questions with a larger audience (at least 500 followers). This allows more people to see my answers.

In just a few months with answers to only a handful of questions, I’ve generated:

  • Over 128,000 views (just one of my answers has nearly 65,000 views)
  • 950 upvotes (Quora’s version of “Likes”)
  • Over 225 shares
  • A dozen new subscribers to my newsletter
  • 3 potential clients
  • “Top Writer” status for the categories of Job Searches, Job Search Advice, Interviewing, and Job Interviews
  • A published article on Inc.com

I haven’t generated nearly as many results in a year of writing and promoting my own blog. I’ll always have my blog as one method of reaching my audience, but I know blogs take a little longer to grow organically because of the lack of a captive audience, unlike Quora.

Quora is organic. The people who are seeing your information are the ones who want that information. Also, it’s great because interest in the answers you posted months or even years ago can continue to grow in readership long after you’ve posted them.

Get Credibility

So what does this mean for you? If you’re a job seeker, you can showcase your knowledge of your industry and even your problem-solving skills. You can answer questions that show how you would solve (or have solved) common problems in your field. Employers are always looking for good problem-solvers and good communicators. You’re able to exhibit both of these top skills in your answers on Quora.

Include a link to your Quora profile in the contact info section of your resume. If Quora publishes one of your answers on another site (i.e. Inc.com, Huffington Post, Apple News, etc.), you can link to that as well. Include it on your resume and your LinkedIn profile, and talk about it in your interview!

If you’re a small business owner, you can share information your potential clients would be interested in. Your answers must include useful and relevant information. They can’t be just a sales pitch. Quora’s readers will “black-ball” you for that. You can include a one to two line pitch at the end of your answer, as long as your answer is helpful to the reader.

I’ve found the longer the answer, the more interest the readers show, resulting in more views, upvotes, and shares. If your answers get published, you can include the publication’s logo on your web site and other company collateral.

Sharing your knowledge on Quora is great because it:

  • Builds your credibility.
  • Establishes you as an expert in your field.
  • Creates opportunities for you to get published on mainstream sites.
  • And grows your audience (potential employers or clients).

I encourage you to give it a try (and a few weeks; BE PATIENT!). The more you write in response to questions, the better your writing will become. Click here to read my answers on Quora.

paNASH Success Story: A better resume results in more interviews

I recently heard from a client whom I helped overhaul her resume for a career change. She made the changes I’d suggested for her resume, and ended up with seven phone interviews for opportunities from Maine to California. She has four more interviews lined up next week. Here’s what she had to say:

The new resume is working and you’re to thank! It looks good and the response so far has been very positive. I just had to be patient during the quiet season.

The quiet season she’s referring to is the time right around the holidays when hiring goes down. There’s an ebb and flow to hiring practices. Hiring, especially within certain industries, have their own seasons, much like sports do! So your patience is important during the down times.

Avoid a Cookie-Cutter Resume

What’s interesting about this case is my client came to me with a resume she’d had critiqued by a professional resume writing service. While the advice the service provided wasn’t necessarily wrong, it was somewhat out-dated. In fact, most of the info on the Internet in regards to resumes is very outdated.

Her resume was also what I call “cookie-cutter.” There was nothing about her resume that made it stand out from the competition. You can’t run the risk of having a cookie-cutter resume that doesn’t stand out among others’ or even your own. What do I mean by “your own”? You can’t use the same resume for every job for which you apply! It must be tailored to each and every job, and there are certain ways to do this.

This client’s original resume also didn’t include the “secret weapons” I share with my clients. Want to know what those secret weapons are? I’ll soon be sharing them in my upcoming on-demand coaching program due out this spring (subscribe here for updates). I’m also always available for a personalized resume critique in a one-on-one coaching session. Email me at lorib@yourpassioninlife.com to schedule a resume and LinkedIn profile critique!

Increase Your Income With This Simple Task

Increase Your Income

The number one way to increase your income is to provide proof of your work accomplishments. By detailing how you’ve impacted your company’s bottom line, you are more likely to increase your income in one of the following ways:

  • Get hired for a higher-paying job at another company (if you are currently conducting a job search).
  • Be promoted to a higher-paying position within your current company.
  • Receive a pay raise for your current job.
  • Avoid a possible layoff.

Accomplishments Are King

In a recent post on The Daily Positive entitled “What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Job Loss,” I said accomplishments are king in the job search. This is because a resume without accomplishments is guaranteed to end up in the trash. But, accomplishments are king throughout your entire career, not just in the job search, especially if you are trying to achieve one of the above results.

So what do I mean by “accomplishments are king”? Your resume, performance review, and LinkedIn profile should never read like a job description. Instead, these credentials should show what you did that no one before you in that position and no one after you can duplicate. They should include specifically how you made a difference in your job. Examples of accomplishments include:

  • Ways you made the company money and/or increased revenue or profit.
  • Ways you saved the company money or decreased spending.
  • Ways you saved the company time or man hours.
  • Ways you increased efficiency or made a process easier.
  • Ways you increased customer satisfaction or decreased customer complaints.
  • Ways you met deadlines ahead of schedule.
  • Ways you came in under budget.
  • Ways you improved staff morale.
  • Ways you discovered a potential problem no one else saw and corrected it.
  • Other examples you can think of.

Quantify It!

Once you brainstorm a list of your own accomplishments, you want to go back and quantify what you’ve done by including dollar amounts, percentages, etc. It’s okay if you have to approximate the numbers or if you have to go back and ask your supervisor what those numbers might be.

Often times when I advise my clients on doing this, I get some push-back. They’ll say something like:

  • “Well, I really didn’t do anything important.”
  • “I wasn’t trying to get the glory, I just did my job.”
  • “I’m not in sales so I didn’t make the company any money.”
  • “I don’t remember what those numbers are.”/”I have no way of finding out what those numbers are.”

Now is not the time to make excuses, especially if your job or salary is on the line. Everyone is unique and everyone solves problems and does their job uniquely. Therefore, you have accomplishments to show your contribution to the company.

You may have to do a little research and reach out to people from your work history, but it’s well worth it when you can prove why you deserve a job offer, promotion, or pay raise. It can even save your current job from possible downsizing if you can show just how big of a loss it will be to the company if they let you go.

Everyone Can Do This

Obviously, someone with more experience is going to have more examples to list, but even someone with very little experience can do this. For example, when I used to work with college students, a student came to me for help with his resume. The previous summer he was hired to deconstruct an old barn. He said, “Ms. Bumgarner, all I did was tear down a barn. How in the world can I make that sound good on a resume?!” After working with him, here’s what he came up with:

  • Worked alone for long hours in extreme heat to deconstruct large barn, calculating the best way to disassemble it without causing costly damage to adjacent structures.
  • Saved $1,500 by reusing board to create additional shelter.
  • Made a profit of $500 by reselling remaining usable metal to salvage yard.
  • Properly disposed of other materials that might harm the environment.

Display Your Accomplishments

Once you have brainstormed a list of your accomplishments, you want to include select ones on your resume under the appropriate job, several of them in your LinkedIn profile, and all of them on a separate document entitled “Accomplishments & Contributions” or “Competitive Advantages.” This separate document will serve either as an addendum to your resume for a job application, or as a stand-alone document for when you go in for a performance review or to ask for a pay raise. It should be formatted neatly, and it can simply be a bulleted list of all your accomplishments (no need to indicate in which job you performed these accomplishments).

Accomplishments ⇒ Confidence ⇒ Increased Income

When you perform this exercise, something magical will happen:  your confidence will soar! It is such a confidence booster to see on paper all you’ve achieved in your career. This confidence will also be noticeable when you go in to a job interview or a performance review, therefore increasing your likelihood of getting what you want. You’ll be able to tell the details of how you achieved such results, which is what employers want to hear!

Most people need help with brainstorming ideas or with the final wording of their list of accomplishments, and that’s what I’m here for. If you need help with making these necessary updates to your resume or LinkedIn profile, contact me so we can begin working on that. You need to be ready for when that promotion or job opening comes up. Don’t wait until it’s too late!

Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months

I have a lot of clients updating their resumes right now. Their reasons for doing so vary. Some are retiring from their current company but want to continue working in their field with another company. Others are moving to a new city or state. Some are looking to change industries all together. 

Update Your Resume Every 6 Months

But, you don’t have to be looking for work for it to be necessary to update your resume. I tell all my clients that they should always update their resume (even if they are not looking for a job) every six months. Why? Because:

  1. it’s much easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than trying to remember what you’ve done in the past six years, and
  2. you never know when you may lose your current job or you may have to provide a copy of your resume for reasons other than trying to find a new job. 

For instance, if you are up for a promotion, or if you are asked to present or speak at a conference, you may be asked for a copy of your resume. 

Last year I worked with someone who had been in the music industry for about 20 years who found himself suddenly out of work and looking for a job. He had never updated his resume over the course of those 20 years. However, when I had to help him put together a new resume, he was scrambling to try to remember results, accomplishments, dates, and other necessary details for a resume. It took us a little longer to complete his resume since he had not kept up with it during his career.

Include Results to Get Results

When making your updates to your resume, always remember to include your accomplishments and results of your hard work. This is necessary to land an interview. If your resume only lists your job duties, it will end up in the trash. Recruiters want to see what you’ve done for your past employers (i.e. have you made them money, saved them money, saved them time, increased efficiency or improved customer satisfaction?). If you can show (especially with numbers and figures) that you’ve done these things, they’ll assume you’ll be able to do the same for their company.

Most people struggle to come up with accomplishments for their resume. I work with my clients on how to properly word their accomplishments so their resume will be much more marketable. When they include results on their resume, they then see results in their job search!

Learn How to Make Your Resume Marketable

 

update your resume

Updating your resume not only helps you stay prepared for the unexpected, but it also gives you a sense of achievement, rejuvenates you, and helps you brainstorm future work opportunities and projects. To learn how to improve your resume and include your accomplishments, register for my resume class I’ll be teaching this October through the Nashville Community Education Commission. The class is only $35 and spots are filling up! Click here for details.

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