Tag: resumes


How to Write a Resume: Make it About THEM, Not You

Below is an answer I provided to a Quora question that has nearly 200,000 views so far.

Shock is the reaction I usually get when I say what I’m about to say. Your resume is not about you. Thinking it is, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on your resume. Here’s what I mean:

A few weeks ago, I was working with two different people to help them polish up their resumes. One was a client seeking a pay raise and promotion.

The other was one looking for a new job following a layoff.

Resumes for both clients had the same common mistake: they were void of any results or accomplishments from their past jobs or positions.

This is a HUGE mistake because it’s the one thing people reviewing resumes are looking for the most!


When I first suggested to each client we add in some results of their past work so their resume doesn’t read like a generic job ad, one said, “I was just there to do a good job, I wasn’t seeking any kind of glory.”

While this is a noble approach to good work, job seekers have to understand that including accomplishments on their resume is not about them.

The moment you say, “I don’t want/like to brag,” is the moment you’ve made it all about you.


Resume Truth Bomb: It’s About Them!

Including results of your past work on your resume and talking about those results in an interview or a performance review IS NOT ABOUT YOU!

It’s about what you can do for the company’s bottom line, which is all the hiring manager really cares about (typically and mostly).

Your resume should always speak to your audience’s pain points by showing how you can solve their problem.

The way you show this is including the results and accomplishments you’ve had when solving similar problems in your previous jobs.

The reader knows past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.

They’ll want to learn more about you if you can show how you’ve excelled in the past in problem solving.

But you have to speak their language.

And you must connect the dots between your past experience and your audience’s current needs.


How to Make It All About Them

In order to do this, you must know something about your reader.

This is why you must research the company you’re applying to.

This is also why you can’t rely on one blanket resume for each job.

It’s important to really analyze the job ad to figure out what the company needs from the new person in the role.

Start by looking at what are the top 3–5 skills listed in the requirements for the job.

Can you think of a specific time when you’ve demonstrated each skill? What was the result? Can you quantify the result? How did it impact the company’s bottom line?

  • Did it increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did it decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did it save man hours? How does this translate to dollars saved?
  • Did it increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did it make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did it boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

By showing the byproducts of your good work, the hiring manager can infer that you can and will produce similar results for them.

Not sharing those results will leave the manager wondering if you’ll be a productive and valuable addition to the payroll.

Don’t keep your reader guessing!


The Result of Including Results on Your Resume

Defining your results and being able to articulate them tactfully is one of the biggest challenges of a job search or promotion negotiation, but there is help.

I work in depth with my clients on how to properly word their results and accomplishments for both their resumes and their responses to interview questions.

By doing this, my clients gain a better understanding of their skillset and greater confidence in their net worth, resulting in successful salary negotiations, higher salary offers, and better promotions.

Are you looking to get hired, earn more, or advance in your career?

If so, now’s the time to learn how to do it with a little paNASH! Click here to get started.


How to Know When It’s Time to Get Career Help

My freshman year of college I found myself struggling in my college algebra class. In fact, my entire class was struggling.

That’s because our professor always let us out of class 20 minutes early and never assigned us any homework. At first we all thought this was great! What college freshman wouldn’t?

But when it came time for final exams, it wasn’t so great. None of us were prepared for the common final.

I was falling behind in my understanding of the material due to the professor’s teaching methods. But it was also my fault because I didn’t demand he spend more time going over sample problems.

And I didn’t seek tutoring, at least not right away.

I was embarrassed to get tutoring and put it off until it was almost too late.

Once I got help, I realized there was no way I could expect a tutor to teach me 12-15 weeks worth of college algebra in just three sessions to prepare me for the final.

I also couldn’t expect to crash study and do well on the exam.

By some miracle, the common final wasn’t as challenging as expected, and I squeaked by with a passing grade. But my GPA that semester was the lowest of my entire college career.

When I later became a college career adviser and professor, I noticed two different groups of students who took advantage of tutoring services.

  • The students who waited until right before an exam to seek tutoring.
  • The ones who attended tutoring sessions all semester in preparation for the big day of finals.

One group consisted of A students. The other consisted of D and F students. (You rarely saw any B or C students getting tutored.) Can you guess which group was the A students?

You Can’t Afford Not to Seek Career Help

I was reminded of this scenario in a recent conversation with a new client. She commented on how much she’s learning from our career coaching sessions. And how it’s something she should’ve done a long time ago.

Now she sees the mistakes she’s been making in networking and interviewing. She concludes this is what’s cost her some important potential connections and even some job offers.

She also commented on how much time it takes to learn and apply what we’ve been covering.

In other words, it’s not something you can wait to do until right before a job interview. Or right before you have to send off a resume.

Yet, I have so many people who wait to contact me after they see a job posted or have an interview scheduled.

In the case where they see a job posted, usually by the time they do all the things necessary to get their resume up to par, the posting has already closed.

You can’t write a resume in an hour, a day, or even a week. It requires numerous revisions which take time.

Once you have an interview scheduled, you shouldn’t spend your time learning how to prepare for an interview. You should already know how so you can spend your time applying what you’ve learned.

It’s too overwhelming to try to learn so much information in a short amount of time, while trying to also do your research on the company, prepare for your questions, and shop for something to wear.

Don’t Risk Making Bad Career Decisions

All of this is especially true for those of you who are feeling a desperate need to leave a bad job situation.

So many people come to me after they’ve reached their breaking point in their job or their business. They’re so ready for a much-needed change.

But it’s at this point they run the risk of making bad career decisions, even with the help of a career coach. It’s because they’re making these decisions while emotional and before putting a strategic plan in place.

I know people who were on the fence as to whether they should invest in career coaching or not. Then they were forced to make a decision because they got a call for a job interview the next day and now needed to know how to improve their interview skills. While I could give them some tips, I couldn’t cram all the info I had to share in one session.

They’re no different than me when I finally sought tutoring. But unlike my final exam, the grade for an interview is always pass/fail, and only one candidate passes.

You Can’t Just Wing It!

Interviewing is a skill you should already have in your back pocket. You should be so schooled in it you’ll be ready for a job interview at a moment’s notice.

And don’t think you can just go in and wing it. This approach may have worked for you in your high school jobs or entry-level jobs you’ve gotten in the past. But the further along you are in your career, the more is going to be expected of you in an interview.

It’s never too early to learn how to interview well. The skill comes in handy not just for sporadic interviews but also for impromptu performance reviews, promotion opportunities, salary negotiations, etc.

It’s Never Too Early to Start Perfecting Your Job Search Skills

While it may not always be the right time to leave a desperate situation, it’s always the right time to prepare for your exit. Knowing how to update your resume and interview well are the first steps in doing so. Being armed with this knowledge will help you get out of a bad job sooner than later.

When you do have to pull the trigger, make sure you always aim before firing.

Some signs it’s time to get career help before it’s too late include:

  • You’re already entertaining the idea of leaving your current job for something else.
  • You’re experiencing the beginning of physical illness due to a stressful or toxic work environment.
  • It just became clear there’s no longer room for you to grow or advance.
  • You can’t picture yourself in the same job or same company in the next 1-3 years.
  • Rumors about a downsize are circulating at your company.

You don’t wait until you’re in a car accident to buy auto insurance. And you don’t wait until you’re dead to see a doctor. So why would you wait until your career is collapsing to consult a career coach?

You can get career help today!

If you know your resume or interview skills are way too rusty and you need to be ready if you got a call requesting your resume or an interview tomorrow, you can start improving your skills today with paNASH’s on-demand courses.

These courses include Resumes That Get You The Interview and Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety. They’re available 24/7 for you to work at your own pace.

You can also get one-on-one career help now instead of waiting until the last minute. Complete the paNASH intake form to get started.

There’s no need to feel embarrassed about any past career mistakes or interview failures. Instead, you can focus on learning how to not just improve your job search skills, but also land better job offers and negotiate a better salary.

Related Posts:

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How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 1)

While ageism is illegal in hiring processes, it unfortunately still happens to those over 40. Also unfortunately, there’s not a lot a job seeker can do to fight it.

My clients who’ve previously experienced age discrimination often say,

“If I could just get in the door for an interview I could really market my experience and show them I’m the right person for the job. I could show them how I’m an asset for their company instead of a liability.”

But much of the discrimination comes prior to the interview, usually at the first glance of the candidate’s resume or LinkedIn profile. This is when it’s hardest to prove or fight.

The timing of the discrimination makes it darn near impossible to advance to the interview where the candidate can really show his or her competitive advantages.

So, what can a 40+ candidate do (or not do) on his or her resume and LinkedIn profile to increase the chances of landing an interview?

Several things!

What to Avoid Doing on Your Resume

There are several mistakes older job seekers make on their resumes that quickly give away their age. These are mistakes you can easily avoid and therefore increase your chances of landing an interview.

1. Avoid using outdated contact methods.

If you still have an email address ending in aol.com or hotmail.com, this just screams over 40 (more like over 50)! Instead, create a Gmail account you can use just for your job search correspondence.

Also, don’t list both a landline and a cell phone in your contact info. Only include your cell phone.

You probably also don’t need to include your mailing address since most companies no longer send snail mail. Just your city and state is fine.

2. Avoid specifying exactly how many years of experience you have.

Announcing immediately in the profile summary exactly how many years of experience you have is not always a selling point. The only time it is a selling point is if you have the same amount of years of experience as the job ad requires.

But, if for example you have 20 years of experience for a job only requiring 15 years, you probably want to re-word your summary from “20 years of experience” to either “15+ years of experience” or “extensive experience.”

3. Avoid listing jobs from more than 10 years ago.

Many candidates want to show every job they’ve ever had, but employers really only need to see the last ten years of your experience.

If basing it on requirements like the one in the example above, adjust accordingly.

4. Avoid the outdated typing rule of two spaces between sentences.

If you’re over 40, you probably took typing in high school on a type writer. And you were probably taught to put two spaces between each sentence.

Well, this rule no longer applies since people no longer use typewriters (Google it if you think I’m wrong).

So break the habit now before you give away your age! Trust me, it’s not as hard of a habit to break as I thought it would be.

5. Avoid listing outdated (or obvious) technical skills.

That software program you learned at your old job which is no longer used anywhere else – leave it off!

Also, unless the job ad specifically states Microsoft Office as a must-have skill, don’t list it. At least not the programs EVERYONE uses, like Word or Outlook. Almost everyone has (and should have) these skills so they’re kind of “a given.”

And if you do feel like you need to include Microsoft Office, indicate your level of proficiency for applicable programs if you can honestly say you have “intermediate” or “advanced” proficiency.

Or name some of the advanced features you know how to use that will be useful in the potential job.

This will make you stand out from those who only list the program names.

Next, go and start learning some of the software and platforms required for the job you’re not already familiar with.

Many programs and platforms have free demos or online tutorials you can do right from your own computer. Start there and then play with them! Then, you can at least say you have “working knowledge” of those programs.

An example would be Slack, a platform many companies are now using as a team collaboration tool.

I have a Slack channel set up for me to communicate with my clients and for them to communicate with each other (both openly and privately) in one place.

By making this available for my clients, it gives those new to Slack the opportunity learn it and add it to their skillset.

6. Avoid listing your graduation dates.

You can take your graduation dates off your education if you’ve been out of school for at least 5 years.

There’s no need to have them on your resume. (And you definitely don’t want the hiring managers doing the math in their heads from your grad date since you’re trying to protect yourself from ageism.)

Just list all the other information about your education, and use the most up-to-date name of your institution. (For example, if your alma mater’s name changed from “_____ College” to “_____ University” after you graduated, change it on your resume.)

7. Avoid including your photo.

This advice isn’t just true for older candidates. It’s true for most candidates of all ages. While it’s okay and even encouraged to have a photo on your LinkedIn profile, it’s still not widely accepted on the resume.

This is true even though there are several online resume templates with a designated space for the candidate’s photo.

But, you can appear younger to employers by using one of these more modern looking templates (check out Canva) and just deleting the placeholder for your photo.

The templates found on Canva are good if the job is in an especially creative field where graphic resume designs are more appropriate. I would advise you not use these templates if you’re seeking employment in a more traditional or conservative industry.

How to Protect Yourself from Ageism, Part 2

But what about LinkedIn? Should you include a photo there? And how far back should you go on your experience in your profile?

Stay tuned for next week’s Part 2 post!

In the meantime, get more resume writing tips and advice when you purchase my on-demand course Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed.

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Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?


As a career coach I often get the question, 

“Should I put my side hustle on my resume?” 

This question comes from a variety of clients. 

Sometimes it’s from clients who still have plans to turn their side hustle into a full-time gig, but in the meantime need to find employment to help fund that dream.

Sometimes it’s from clients who started their side hustle to keep them afloat during a lay off or temporary time of unemployment.

And sometimes it’s from clients who have their side hustle strictly as a hobby or a passion.

In fact, I previously wrote a similar post, Should I Share My Passions on My Resume?


Is It Relevant?

Just like in my previous post, the answer to whether you should put your side hustle on your resume can be either “yes” or “no”. Of course this depends upon your own unique situation.

The best way to answer the question is with a question. Always ask yourself, 

“Is it relevant?”

Is your side hustle relevant to the job for which you’re applying?

Or is it relevant to the skills needed for the job for which you’re applying?

Is it relevant to show you have the “soft skills” employers now seek? (I.e. curiosity, the ability to learn, the ability to take initiative, etc.)

Is it relevant to help you land your next client?


How Your Side Hustle Makes You Marketable

In today’s job market, side hustles are no longer seen just as employment gap fillers. 

In a recent article in Fast Company magazine, the CEO of Quizlet Matt Glotzbach says that by discussing your side hustle and other self-driven learning projects in an interview, you’ll show employers your ability to understand today’s technology and to learn new skills and subjects.

And this is what employers are currently looking for!

So if it’s important to discuss this type of work experience in the interview, why wouldn’t you include it on your resume? Especially if it’s relevant to the job or it demonstrates your transferable skills.


How to Market Your Side Hustle on Your Resume

Unfortunately, a lot of people miss this opportunity. That’s because they think a resume should still look the way it did when they conducted their first job search 20 years ago.

They assume they can only include their full-time paid work under the “Experience” section of their resume.

This simply is not true. 

If you created a side hustle for whatever reason, you can include it under the “Experience” section of your resume as well. Even if your side hustle hasn’t earned you a lot of money, you’ll want to include it for the new knowledge and skills you’ve gained from it! 

Don’t worry so much about how much money you’ve made. Instead focus on what you’ve accomplished in that time. This includes:

  • The skills you’ve gained.
  • The software programs and platforms you’ve learned.
  • How you’ve been able to build relationships with strategic partners.
  • The number of clients or customers you’ve gained in a short period of time.
  • The things your customers have recognized you for.
  • Customer satisfaction feedback.
  • Any funding you’ve been able to raise.

The same thing goes for volunteer work. If you’ve volunteered your talents to a cause that’s near and dear to you AND you’ve learned a new skill while doing so, you can still include this under your “Experience” section with the job title of “Volunteer” (or whatever official title the organization gives to their volunteers). 


Connecting The Dots

Including such experience on your resume, however, does require you sometimes to connect the dots for the reader. 

While it may be obvious to you how your skills transfer to the job at hand, it may not be so obvious to the reader of your resume. 

Therefore, you need to make sure your wording is clear about how your skills transfer over to the job. 

One way to do this is to use some of the same language from the job ad.


Practice Connecting the Dots

For example, I like to challenge my own resume writing skills. I take a job ad I see posted and write a resume that includes my own experience as an entrepreneur. I include how the skills I’ve gained from that and other experiences are relevant to the job.

Since I personally am not looking for a job, I don’t submit my resume. I just use the job ad as a way to practice connecting the dots for the reader. 

This sharpens my writing skills by helping me put myself in the reader’s shoes. Also it sharpens my skills in helping my clients do the same with their own resume.

In fact, just recently I saw a job ad for an E-Commerce Lead Generation Specialist with a stand up paddle board manufacturer. Many of the sales and marketing skills required for this job are ones I’ve learned from marketing my own career coaching services. 

My past speaking engagements also meet their requirements for someone with public speaking experience. And the fact that I have my own business meets their need for someone who’s a self-starter.

Not only that, my passion for stand up paddling and my previous side-hustle of teaching beginner standup paddle boarding lessons helps me understand the needs and desires of their target market. This also shows I’m immersed in the lifestyle they’re company promotes. 

I simply re-wrote my resume to address the top concerns listed in the job ad. Then I used similar language from the job ad to show how my experience is a good fit for this specific position. 

It’s a good thing to practice even when you’re not looking for a job. By doing this simple exercise it will teach you how to write better marketing copy to your unique audience, no matter what kind of work you do.


For more resume writing tips, check out my on-demand video program Resumes That Get You the Interview: Surprising Secrets to Getting Your Resume Noticed.

side hustle on your resume

What You Need to Know to Ensure A Successful Career


As both a career coach and a creative thinker, I’m always brainstorming unique and out-of-the-box ways to help my clients have a successful career.

It’s important to be innovative and unconventional when competition for opportunities is fierce.

It’s the only way to get the attention from the right audience (those who have the opportunities to offer) and to stand out from the competition in a good way.

That’s why I’ve shared posts like:


However, there is some career advice that stands the test of time, but only when it’s put into practice.

The problem is, some people still don’t even know about this timeless advice.

And even if they do, they fail to implement it and then wonder why they’re not having the success they’d like to have in their careers.

Don’t be one of these people!


Career Advice That Never Goes Out of Style

To have a successful career, you have to always work at your career, even when you think your job is secure. (Understand that it rarely is!)

So what is the best course of action and best use of your time? Following these successful career strategies that never go out of style!


1. Keep your resume updated every 6 months, even when you’re not looking for another job.

It’s a lot easier to remember what you’ve done in the past six months than in the past six years.

By then it will be nearly impossible to remember how you impacted the company’s bottom line with each project you worked on.

So, every six months, take an inventory of your most recent on-the-job accomplishments.

Ask yourself how each of your duties, ideas, or efforts made an impact on the bottom line.

  • Did they increase profit or revenue? By how much?
  • Did they decrease spending? By what percentage?
  • Did they save man hours? How does that translate to dollars saved?
  • Did they increase customer satisfaction or decrease customer complaints? By what percentage?
  • Did they make processes more efficient? How much time did this save?
  • Did they boost staff morale? How much did productivity increase with this boost?

Add your accomplishments to your resume each time you update it.

If you do this, you’ll be prepared for three possible scenarios:

  1. When you’re up for a promotion.
  2. When you’re ready to ask for a pay raise.
  3. Or when you need to look for a new job.

There have been times when I’ve been asked for a copy of my resume when I wasn’t even looking for a job, like the times I’ve been hired for a speaking engagement.

When that happens, I’m always glad I’ve got something up-to-date to send them.

(For more details on updating your resume, see my post Why You Should Update Your Resume Every 6 Months.)


2. Find a mentor. 

You should always pinpoint someone in your industry or company you aspire to be like and get to know and learn from that person.

Also, a mentor is something you can negotiate for when you’re offered a job and are negotiating salary and perks.

Asking for a mentor makes you look good because it shows your initiative to learn. It’s a perk that doesn’t cost the company any additional money, and you’ll gain priceless lessons and advice.


3. Serve on committees that match your interests. 

Every company or organization has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on.

Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month).

Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, help you develop your soft skills, and build your resume.

For instance, I have an interest in both sports and international travel.

When I worked in the career center at a university back in North Carolina, I volunteered to serve on a committee that initiated the athletic department’s implementation of the NCAA’s life skills program for college athletes.

I also represented the University of North Carolina’s Exchange Program and served on the Australia Exchange Student sub-committee.

And when I worked in the career center at Vanderbilt University, I partnered with both the Study Abroad Office and the Athletics Department to provide presentations to their students on how to market their unique collegiate experiences to potential employers.

These experiences enriched my career because I got to work with others in areas that fascinated me and I got to develop skills in public speaking and program development.


4. Take advantage of professional development opportunities offered by your employer.

This can include professional association memberships, conferences, in-house professional development programs, etc.

These opportunities also help you build your knowledge, skills, resume, and network.

In fact, there’s a company here in the Nashville that’s hired me to present my program on personal branding to several of their employees.

It says a lot about a company, its culture, and its dedication to the holistic development of their staff to offer such programs to their employees on the company’s dime.

So if your company offers it, take advantage of it of the free self-improvement!


5. Always build your network and maintain professional relationships, even when you’re not looking for a job. 

You’ll benefit from professional relationships whether you stay within the same field throughout your career or if you change industries or start your own business.

And because relationship building takes time, the sooner you start building and maintaining your professional relationships, the more your connections will be willing to assist you when you find yourself in need of their help.

But you have to be realistic about networking. While I’ve had some professional relationships that resulted in immediate career benefits, most have taken years of investment and being of assistance on my part before I fully experienced the benefits.


6. Prepare for a layoff, even if you don’t think one will happen.

This goes hand-in-hand with #1 and #5.

You don’t want to find yourself suddenly without a job and having to scramble to write a resume because it’s been 15 years since you’ve last had to write one.

And you don’t want to have any awkwardness when reaching out to your contacts because it’s been WAY too long since you last spoke with them.

Instead, you want to always be prepared with the tools needed to find your next opportunity when the need arises.

Other suggestions to prepare for a layoff:

  • Always have a few months worth of expenses saved up.
  • Develop your transferable skills and your soft skills (i.e. communication skills, presentation/public speaking skills, interpersonal skills, etc.).
  • Develop the skills of an entrepreneur in case you have to (or desire to) work for yourself for a while.

Yes, it’s easier to be short-sighted and just do your job, focusing on the bare minimum and most immediate items on your to-do list.

But investing time and energy into the above strategies will lead to long-term successful career and will pay off in spades down the road!

If you need help to ensure a successful career, sign up for a complimentary initial consultation by completing the paNASH intake form.

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