Climb, up and up, go higher. Is that how you view a career? Like a ladder? Rung after rung moving through the ranks? This point of view may have helped motivate you early on when your career path was clear, free from distractions and you made decisions that only affected you.
What happens when you take a career break?
There's always so many questions about cover letters.
What should I say?
How much should I say?
I don't know what to say (ok that's more a statement then question).
Click the link as I share 4 easy steps to make your letter better.
Last month, when I was a vendor at the Mommunity Market, I met Melanie. She approached my booth and asked about my services. During our conversation, I learned that she ran her own website, a place for parents to go for parenting tips, inspiration, recipes and more (MommaBraga.com).
Melanie, like many others, had no idea that my services existed for stay at home moms. She asked if she could interview me so her readers could learn more about SAHM Coaching.
You've made the decision.
You're ready to start working outside of the home.
Problem is, you have no idea where to start?
I gotcha! Check out this list of 5 things you should focus on.
Follow these quick and easy confidence boosts for interviews!
Don’t underestimate the power of a handshake and its ability to influence!
First impressions are made in a matter of seconds – what does your handshake say about you?
I like to think of coaching as an investment in yourself. It’s an investment that pays dividends even after the coaching ends. Whether you’re looking to make improvements, build confidence or simply take control, working with a coach can provide the motivation you need
Traditional interviews are still the go-to process as a way of evaluating candidates. HR and/or a hiring manager still ask candidates to talk about their skills and experiences as a way to determine if they are a fit for the job. This has been the industry standard for years! And because of this, it’s also a great source of stress! But the stress can be minimized by following some simple tips.
Depending on the company, your first interaction may be a telephone interview. These are usually quick, to the point and their purpose is to confirm that you meet specific requirements of the role. Make sure you are prepared. Don’t be surprised if the person calling starts in with their questions immediately after confirming they have the right person. When you are in job search mode, carry information with you at all times on the roles and companies you’ve applied to so you can access them quickly.
A phone interview may then be followed by an in-person interview or a panel interview. During an in-person interview questions may range from traditional to behavioural. Take your time to really listen to the question being asked and give yourself time to process. Don’t be worried about the silence. It’s not necessary to fill every moment. I’ve seen candidates come to an interview with a note pad to write down the key parts of my question. What a smart idea. By doing that you create a visual cue and it helps keep you focused when answering. Stress makes your brain do things it wouldn’t do under different circumstances. So the less you can leave to chance the better.
Behavioural questions work on the premise that past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour. These questions usual start with “tell me about a time when…” I highly recommend that you have a copy of your resume in front of you as a way to easily recall past experiences. When answering behavioural questions make sure your answer has the following three sections:
This system will ensure that you provide a complete answer and keep you from getting off track – another symptom of stress!
Lastly, don’t forget about non-verbal cues, they can give away more than you know. Distracting hand gestures or lack of eye contact can affect your success. Specific body language like crossing your arms, your posture or fidgeting will factor into the decision making process. Take the time to do mock interviews with a friend of family member and have someone video tape it. It’s a great way to find out if you have any unconscious gestures or movements.
The interview process can be nerve racking or you can take control and do something about it.
When I think back on all the resumes I’ve seen, which ones do I remember the most? The ones that stood out - for all the wrong reasons!
On your own, you can find lots of web sites, books, and articles that dive deep into the topic of how to prepare a resume. Instead, I’d like to share tips that are from the point of view of the recruiter. Here are five things that you can do to make the recruiter’s job easier and therefore, potentially, have it work in your favour:
1. Save your resume as a PDF.
A PDF file is easy to share with hiring managers and it also prevents any unexpected edits from happening. It’s a simple step that you can do right in Microsoft WORD. Maintain a WORD version on your computer so you can make updates at any time.
2. Save the document with your name as the file name.
There’s no need to get fancy. Call your resume document, YOURNAME_RESUME. And your cover letter (if you do a separate one), YOURNAME_COVER LETTER. It makes it easier for the recruiter to know which is which and it’s a great way to reinforce your name and keep it top of mind.
3. Provide a professional email address.
This might sound trivial, but this is where some past resumes have made me laugh out loud! I’ve seen email addresses that included “hot”, “cutie” and “juicy” in their names. Instead, keep it simple: Firstname.Lastname@emailprovider.com. It makes following up with applicants much easier.
4. Ensure all your contact info is correct and consistent.
I’ve had this happen where an applicant provided an email address (or phone number) in their cover letter and it was different then what was written on their resume. Not a good first impression.
5. Take your time to proof read and check for spelling errors.
When a lot of time is spent staring at and editing your own work, you’re bound to miss some mistakes. Always get someone else to proof read your work. It looks really bad when you’ve listed “detail-oriented” as a skill and errors are found on your resume!
My last comment is on the choice of resume format: Chronological vs Functional. I think the chronological resume is the better option. This choice makes sense no matter how long you’ve been at home. Chronological resumes, if done correctly, still allow you to showcase your accomplishments and skills while helping the recruiter understand your career history. And it’s a great tool when preparing for interviews.
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You've made the decision to go back to work. It might be the same type of work you did before, or you might want to do something completely different. Either way, the number of postings can get overwhelming. Here’s a way to prevent that.
Focus on the job requirements. Sounds simple but there’s more to it. Ideally you should be fulfilling at least 70% of the requirements, because that’s how most HR departments are determining whether or not you make the first cut. After that you will eventually meet the hiring manager. The questions asked during the interview will undoubtedly come from those same requirements.
Let’s look at the difference between “transferable skills” and “technical skills”. Of course job postings don’t break it down that way (that would be too easy). Instead, it’s up to you when looking at the requirements section of the posting, to figure it out.
Transferable skills should be where you’ll check off most of the boxes. Below is a list of the most common transferable skills. From the list below, you’ll see quite quickly that some of these skills are already in your repertoire:
The tough part is how you convey those skills to an employer on your resume or during an interview. But it’s not impossible. Start by choosing one of the above skills and then reflect on your daily, weekly and monthly activities. Build a list of examples. Do it for each transferable skill. Then work those examples into the “accomplishments” section of your resume. During an interview, use those examples to help you respond and answer questions.
Technical skills are more black and white. Either you have them or you don’t. These include skills and/or knowledge that has a specific focus (i.e. graphic designer, network administrator, an accounting designation, etc.). In most cases these skills would have been obtained through your education or from professional associations.
If you keep your job search laser focused, you’ll make better use of your time and (hopefully) in less time, see the results you want.