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About this Blog

Debra Wheatman, President of Careers Done Write, provides expert insight to the job search process that puts your career in gear with tips for interviewing, networking, job search strategies and how to create a winning résumé and cover letter.

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Resume and advice blog from Debra Wheatman

7:00AM

Follow-up after a Panel Interview

Dear Deb:

I completed a panel interview with three interviewers.  At the end of the interview, they did not tell me the next steps.  I did not feel comfortable asking about the next steps and how long before I would hear from someone.  I also did not get business cards.  I only wrote down the first names of the interviewers.  What should I do now?   It’s been two weeks.

Thank you,

Chyna P.

Dear Chyna:

Panel interviews can be intimidating.  However, don’t let the panel interview throw you off your game.  In other words, just because you are interviewed by a group of people, remember to follow standard interviewing strategies.   It’s great that you jotted down the names of the interviewers so you could call them by name during the interview.  Take it one step further and ask for business cards from each of the interviewers at the end of the interview.  This is expected behavior so there is no need to feel awkward about asking.  Secondly, before you leave always ask these questions:  “Is there any other information that I can provide to assist you in the selection process?”  “What are the next steps in the selection process?”   The above is great for your next interview.  You also have a chance to maximize this recent interview.   Contact the employer’s main phone number and ask the receptionist for the last names and emails of the interviewers. Maybe the receptionist will be able to identify at least one person for you.  You could also contact the person that scheduled the interview.  After you acquire a name, send a “thank you/follow-up” message.

Wishing you all the best!

Deb

7:00AM

Keywords Are King on Your LinkedIn Profile

If you want to be found on LinkedIn, your profile must be rich with keywords.  If you are confused about which keywords to use, how to integrate them, and where to place them, follow these suggestions. 

Start with a Strong Headline.

The headline is a critical section for keywords.  Some professionals write things that are a bit lengthy. That will not generate a great response unless it is also rich in relevant keywords.  Others rely on LinkedIn’s default headline, which is the current job title and employer as the headline.  It’s better to use highly-relevant words in that 120-character section. For example “Associate” and “Director” are not likely to be search criteria. That section is a perfect marketing opportunity. Come up with a headline that describes you while also including some keywords that are relevant to your expertise.

Expand Your Summary to Contain Keywords & Top Achievements.

When writing your LinkedIn summary, you can use your resume profile (summary statement) as inspiration or a starting place.  Take your LinkedIn summary one step further by packing the summary with relevant keywords.  If you are not sure which words are relevant, study a few job postings for your target job.  The requirements in the postings are likely keywords.   In addition to the keywords, add your top three or four accomplishments.  Those accomplishments should feature measured results.  You have 2,000 spaces, so make the most of this section.

Add a Department Name to Your Job Title.

If your current job title does not contain relevant keywords, consider adding the name of your department, unit, or team.  This more clearly defines your job.  In most cases, the department, unit, or team name will contain valuable keywords.  You have 100 characters for each job title field.

Section by Section, Supplement Your Descriptions with Keywords.

Complete every section for which you have information.  As you update your experience section, examine your description to be sure you have captured the major duties and achievements.  Naturally, you should be rich in keywords if your career history is aligned with your goal.  For the other sections, you may need to supplement with keywords.  For example, if you won the “Starburst Award,” you could boost your keyword quotient by explaining that you earned the award for “creating a new Web-based virtual learning application.” Also, consider adding a short description for your role for each of your organizations and certifications.

Get a Boost from Endorsements.

Most people understand that the skills section is a simple way to list keywords.  You have the ability to add up to 50 keywords, and each keyword can take up to 61 character spaces.  Not completing this section is like leaving money on the table. What you may not know is that skills with endorsements rate higher than skills without endorsements.  The best way to get endorsements is to give endorsements.  Another tactic is to send a personal request to a trusted peer to take a look at your profile and let you know if they see any missing skills.  Often that will generate an endorsement.

The Bottom Line

If your LinkedIn page is not getting traction, consider updating your LinkedIn page to include more relevant keywords and examples of your achievements. Keep your profile clean and concise to facilitate readability. Review job descriptions and even look at other profiles to get some ideas for your profile. You want to be memorable and highlight your relevant brand attributes. Good luck!

7:00AM

Resume Help: Bullets Lead to Boredom

Today’s resume for review is an experienced, credentialed tax accountant.  The biggest problem with the resume is that each section consists of a long list of bullets.  There are several reasons why a resume heavy with bullets is not effective.  Aesthetically, it resembles a shopping list.  Secondly, when a resume is heavy with bullets, readers tend to scan list and not read every single item.  In other words, key information can be lost.

The best way to transform today’s example resume is to add an element of variety to the resume. This will give the eyes a break when reading.  Also, it having some sections in a narrative format and some in bullets will help the reader distinguish different types of information.  

The strategy that I recommend for this candidate is:

Summary of Qualification:  Narrative (paragraph) format

Core Competencies:  A three-row, three column format with each competency (skill or area of expertise) depicted in one to three words.

Professional Experience:  For each job, start with a narrative format covering major duties and the scope of responsibility. Follow with a few bulleted statements with the top accomplishments for the particular job.

Education:  Standard two-line listing with name of college on one line and the degree/field of study on the next line.

Credentials:  Here he can show his two impressive credentials: CPA and IRS Enrolled Agent.  The other items that the candidate listed on his draft resume should be moved to the Core Competencies section.

With these simple changes, the candidate’s resume will improve drastically.  It will be more visually appealing and the reader will be able to absorb the information to prove the candidate’s qualification.  If you are stuck when it comes to writing your resume, contact me and I would be happy to help you.