Is Bad Advice Killing Your Job Search?

It seems like everyone (and their well-meaning cousin) has a piece of career advice when it comes to job hunting. As one of the leading resume writing agencies in Houston, ResumeSpice has seen firsthand how the advice of even the best-intentioned friends, family members, and trusted colleagues can actually foil your job search and prevent you from landing a new position.

So what advice should you toss out of the window? Let’s take a look:

Myth #1: A Resume Must be One Page
Sure, this was the standard practice years ago, but not anymore. Your resume can be and should be, if you’re highly experienced, more than one page. It’s better to have an easy-to-read and well-formatted resume that’s two pages long, than an unreadable and poorly formatted resume that’s crammed into one page. That said, don’t go overboard and submit a resume that’s longer than it needs to be to reflect your experience. The one page resume myth is so pervasive, we wrote a blog post about it.

Myth #2: You Should Apply to As Many Jobs as You Can
Hiring managers can quickly identify whether or not you’re right for the job. So if you’re sending your resume like spam mail – just because “hey, you never know” – you’re only wasting your time and the hiring manager’s by applying to every position under the sun. Instead, spend your time crafting customized resumes and cover letters for the few positions you truly are a great fit for.

Myth #3: Companies Post All Openings
If there’s a company you’re interested in working for – say you love their product or you’re a loyal user of their service – reach out to them, even if they haven’t posted a position. In your cover letter, be sure to communicate why you are passionate about working for the company and what you plan on bringing to the table to create a positive impact there. The fact that there isn’t a job posted can actually help your chances, as there’s likely to be less competition. Company’s love hearing from candidates who have a true passion and desire to work for them.

Myth #4: Staffing Agencies Don’t Help
Back in the day, staffing agencies were used to fill administrative and industrial type positions. Today’s staffing agencies place highly skilled professionals in fields ranging from accounting to IT to human resources. If you’re someone with plenty of experience under your belt, and you’d like some professional help finding your next job, a staffing agency can help get you there.

If you’re ready to begin your job hunt and need a resume that works for you – let us help! As one of the country’s leading professional resume writing services, ResumeSpice can help you produce a winning resume. Contact us today to learn more at 832.930.7378.

3 Reasons To Never Use a Functional Resume Format

One of the most common questions we receive here at ResumeSpice is, “Does format really matter?” It’s been well established that recruiters don’t spend a lot of time screening resumes. So it’s crucial to keep their attention and it begins with the correct format. We don’t want you to lose out on your dream job due to resume formatting, so we’re here to tell you one format you should never use.

It’s called the functional resume.

This format is designed to highlight your achievements under a skill set rather than a chronological order of date and place of employment. Recruiters and employers who see functional resumes immediately become disengaged or, even worse, look over the resume altogether. Simply, a functional resume should never be used and this is why.

6 Seconds of Comprehension

We’ve mentioned in a previous blog that you may get around six seconds of a recruiters’ time when they pull up your resume. That’s a very short period to decide if a candidate should move forward or be taken out of the running for a potential position. A functional resume hinders recruiters from understanding your career path timeline – or the details. Functional resumes require digging and recruiters do not have enough time to connect your skills to your job history. Stick to a format that always places your skills and achievements next to your company and tenure.

Hiding Information

Hiring managers and recruiters carry suspicions of any resume with a functional style. They have a good reason; the vast majority of job seekers who utilize this resume format are doing so in order to hide something. And recruiters know it. Oftentimes the candidate has the best intention when trying not to display a job gap or a string of short-held positions. However, a functional resume only highlights those pieces of information. Reverse chronological order is best at highlighting that you’ve moved forward despite the bumps.

Unclear

It may seem like your skill set is lost amongst your job history but it’s actually not. When you provide context by showing where, when, and how you accomplished an achievement or mastered a skill, it speaks to the employer.  Functional resumes, simply put, make poor story-tellers. They give no context for an accomplishment or skill. Remember, how you did it holds just as much merit as what you did. That’s why it is not ideal to separate what you achieved from your place of employment.

If a functional resume isn’t a solution, then what can you do? If you have resume gaps or perhaps a time period you weren’t thrilled about in your career, I suggest reading How to Handle a Career Gap on Your Resume. You can also utilize a chronological format which will display your most current position and allow recruiters to effectively review your resume.

Need more help creating a strong resume – and finding a new job? Call ResumeSpice. As one of the country’s leading professional resume writing services, we can help you produce a winning resume. Contact us today to learn more at 832.930.7378.

Should You Include an Objective Statement in Your Resume?

One of the most common questions our team at ResumeSpice hears from candidates is “should I include an objective statement on my resume?

The short answer is no. Reason being, there’s little upside to doing so, but significant downside. An objective statement can work against a job seeker if their objective doesn’t match up perfectly with what an employer is looking for in a candidate. Our goal is for an employer to evaluate a candidate’s fit for a role based on the entirety of their resume and qualifications, rather than on one statement at the top of the document. It’s easier than ever to submit a resume, so hiring managers will see hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes for a single role. They are looking for any reason to screen out a candidate – an objective statement that doesn’t perfectly match the role and the company is one easy way to screen a candidate out.

Secondly, an objective statement is written from the perspective of the candidate, which (we’re sad to report) isn’t the same perspective that a hiring manager or HR professional brings to the resume. From their end, it’s all about what you as the candidate can do for the company, not what they can do for you. The fact that you’re “seeking a marketing role at a fast-growing company” may be important to you, but filling the role with someone whose background and skills fit the position is what’s most important to them.

Are there ways to create visual impact at the top of a resume, without including an objective statement? Absolutely. Let us review your resume and we’ll give you some thoughts on how to do so.

Need more help creating a strong resume – and finding a new job? Call ResumeSpice. As one of the country’s leading professional resume writing services, we can help you produce a winning resume. Contact us today to learn more at 832.930.7378.

Resume Not Getting Responses? Here’s What to Do

As one of the country’s leading resume writing servicesResumeSpice knows you only have a few seconds to make a positive impression on a hiring manager. It’s not a lot of time to stand out and get noticed. The good news is that just a few small tweaks can lead to big improvements on your resume. Here’s a look at 5 you can make right now:

#1: Stick to standard.

In other words, unless you’re applying for a job in a creative field, don’t get flashy on your resume. Instead, format it in a traditional way, with bolded job titles and bullets underneath. In addition, when emailing your resume, always send in the preferred document type. Some employers prefer PDF, while others prefer Word or a simple text version. 

Also, stick to traditional fonts on your resume. That means no Comic Sans or script fonts. Times New Roman and Garamond are always good choices.

#2: Keep it concise.

Get rid of unnecessary verbiage. This includes stating that “references are available on request.” It also means ditching the objective at the top of your resume. In addition, don’t include more than six or seven bullets under each job title. And make sure each one is succinct and makes sense for the reader.

#3: Pull out that personal information.

Details such as your marital status, the number of kids you have, or your religion don’t belong on your resume. In fact, it’s illegal for an employer to consider these factors when hiring and including them makes you look out of the loop.

#4: Concentrate on accomplishments.

The single best way to get noticed by a hiring manager is to promote your proven track record. That means highlighting awards, successes, achievements, praise, and positive comments you’ve received over the years – and that are most relevant to the job you want. Add numbers and percentages to quantify accomplishments wherever you can.

#5: Phone a friend.

Once you’ve polished your resume and think it’s as good as it’s going to get, ask a friend or colleague to review it. Not only can they check for mistakes and typos, but they can also offer you some insight and inspiration into how to position your background.

Need more help creating a strong resume – and finding a new job? Call ResumeSpice. As one of the country’s leading professional resume writing services, we can help you produce a winning resume. Contact us today to learn more at 832.930.7378.

How Long Should A Resume Be?

Does My Resume Need to be One Page?

One of the most common questions our team at ResumeSpice hears from job seekers is some variation of “I heard that a resume needs to be one page. Is that true?”

The short answer is no. Somewhere along the line, a hiring manager must have expressed a strong preference for one page resumes – and all across the candidate landscape, the mythology took off. And it stuck in candidates’ heads. The reality is that we have yet to encounter a hiring manager, human resources executive, or anyone else in a hiring position who has ever rejected a candidate because their resume was more than one page.

So how long should a resume be?

Again with a short answer – as long as it needs to be to effectively, yet concisely, communicate a candidate’s background and experience. As a general rule of thumb, we recommend the following:

  • New grad: 1 page
  • Two years of experience: 1 to 1.5 pages
  • Two to ten years of experience: 1 to 2 pages
  • Ten or more years of experience: 1.5 to 3 pages

Important caveat: the above should be used as a guide, as every candidate’s situation is different. For example, a job seeker with ten years of experience, who has a college degree and who has held one job their entire career, may be able to fit their entire work history in one page. Conversely, a job seeker with four years of experience may require two pages in order to fit their college degree, advanced degree, multiple internships while in school, and the responsibilities and accomplishments from two different work positions.

Can a resume be too long?

Yes. In very rare instances is there a need for a resume to go beyond three pages. A resume, unlike a traditional CV (curriculum vitae), is not a complete summary of one’s work history. Rather, it’s a document that highlights one’s career and education, focusing on the parts most relevant for a particular role.

Hopefully that helps clarify a very common question. If you have questions about your particular situation, call or email us. We would love to talk to you! Contact us today at 832.930.7378!

Four of the Worst Interview Answers – And What to Say Instead

Four of the Worst Interview Answers – And What to Say Instead

Have you ever browsed the web and come across an ad targeted to you, but the message doesn’t fully resonate because you’re distracted by the stock photos? The overused photos take away from the credibility of the product being advertised because they’re not unique. That’s akin to what an interviewer experiences when you give a “stock” response to interview questions. They’ve heard them all before and the interviewer believes your answer isn’t authentic.

If you’re new to interviewing and/or haven’t been on the candidate side of the interview process in a while, we put together some cliché interview responses to avoid.

“I work too hard” or “I’m a perfectionist” or “I’m too hard on myself”

These responses, and similar variations, are often answers to the classic (and dreaded) question, “What are your weaknesses?” Employers ask you to talk about your weaknesses because they’re testing for self-awareness and what actions you’ve taken to improve your shortcomings.

A more authentic-sounding answer might sound something like, “I become deeply invested in projects I work on and in many ways I feel the work that I produce is me, so if a project gets scrapped halfway through I can sometimes be deeply disappointed. However, I’ve learned to prepare myself for any outcome when taking on new projects. As I’ve reached positions of more authority, I’m more aware of the global business rationale for which projects the company pursues and do my best to convey that to my team. I remember being in their shoes not long ago – so I believe in consistent communication. That way when a project is put on the backburner, they stay understand the rationale and stay engaged.

“I always meet my goals.”

If you’re trying to set yourself apart from other interviewees, it can be tempting to claim that you never make mistakes, that you never miss your goals, and that all your projects are completed on time and on budget. Most experienced interviewers will believe that either you’re not being truthful or that you don’t have enough experience to have endured and overcome failure.

If you want to set yourself apart, talk more about how you never stop striving for your goals – even in the face of failure and setbacks – and that you keep pushing forward and putting in the work to succeed. Give specific examples of a challenge you faced, how you overcame it, and what the result was. Most candidates won’t go through that process – and you’ll have the edge.

“In five years, I see myself in your position.”

Employers want to know that you’re ambitious and that you can visualize being with the company in the foreseeable future, but you don’t want that to be interpreted (correctly or incorrectly) that you’re gunning for the interviewer’s job. If you really want to earn a managerial role in the future, it’s okay to communicate that, but we recommend expressing it in a more diplomatic way. You don’t want to give an answer that will put the interviewer on the defensive.

“I’m a team player / people person”

You may very well be a team player and/or a people person, but unfortunately those terms are so overused, they’re virtually meaningless. A better way to convey that you’re a team player is to give specific examples of successful projects you’ve worked on with other team members and how you were able to achieve a successful outcome working together. And if you’re a people person – that will come across by the way you greet the receptionist, smile warmly, conduct yourself throughout the interview process, and follow-up after the process.

Are you getting ready to interview for a new job and you don’t know quite how to prepare? Give ResumeSpice a call today at 832.930.7378! Our interview prep services will have you polished and ready to impress!