Monday, 19 January 2015

7 Words and Phrases You Should Eliminate From Your Resume

They’ll make your resume stand out — but not in a good way.
When you’re putting your resume together, you want to look professional, present the best image possible and find ways to stand out. There are several common words and phrases that many people think fit the bill, but aren’t as great as they seem. In fact, they make hiring managers and recruiters cringe.
Here are eight words and phrases you should eliminate from your resume.

This term is one of the worst, HR experts say. “People use this term in lieu of telling giving me specifics,” says Liz D’Aloia, founder of HR Virtuoso.
Career consultant and data analyst Carl Forrest agrees, adding that the term itself is nebulous and doesn’t say anything. “It implies that the reader should just take your claim at face-value.”
Both D’Aloia and Forrest recommend focusing on specifics instead. “Give me a brief summary of the project that demonstrated your strong drive for results, how you achieved them, and most importantly, metrics so I understand the scale and impact of the results,” D’Aloia says. “This should be one of those stories that you want to share when I interview you.”

High technical aptitude
This phrase is especially grating on a marketing resume, says Wes Lieser, marketing recruiter at Versique Search and Consulting. “It's just not something that needs to be said. It actually makes me assume that you don't fully understand what you are doing. This is comparable to a baseball pitcher telling someone that he or she can throw a baseball. It goes without saying.” Instead, talk about the specific programs and applications you excel at using.

“Assisted” is one that workforce development consultant Frank Grossman doesn’t like. “If you assisted with something, there's something you actually did. For example, if you ‘assisted in
keeping the facility clean,’ what did you do to assist? Did you clean the kitchen? Did you sanitize 24 restrooms before opening each morning? If one of your accomplishments was to ‘assist the CEO,’ what did you do for him/her? Did you make him/her travel reservations, write his/her press releases, fly his/her jet or drive his/her car?” Use specifics to describe your experience.

Strong work ethic
This is the one phrase Kimberli Taylor hates. As the office manager for Conover & Grebe, she is the first person to read through resumes when the firm is hiring, and “strong work ethic” will not impress her. “I hate this because it is not a skill or an asset. It is an expectation of any employee. Listing it as a skill tells me that the candidate believes work ethic is optional for some jobs.” Frequently “strong work ethic” is simply a space-filler on resumes for people with no other skills to list.

Disruptive, cutting-edge and other trendy adjectives
Stick to plain English when describing your accomplishments, says Dennis Tupper, corporate recruiter at Eliassen Group. “Do not try to impress the recruiter or hiring manager with words like 'disruptive,' 'cutting-edge' or 'ground-breaking.' You are not reinventing the wheel, but chances are you are accomplishing some great things. Keep it simple.”

You may think this term makes you look like a productive, eager employee, but it doesn’t necessarily come across that way. “‘Self-starter' is generic, and as an adult if we have to motivate you then you are probably not someone we want to bring into our organization,” Tupper says. Instead, list projects that show your leadership or initiative.

This is another term that should be thrown out, Tupper says.“We expect all people we hire to pay attention to detail,” he says. Again, find ways to show your skills in catching mistakes others miss or your extraordinary abilities to find problems in complex issues.

4 ways you're ruining your chances for a promotion

It’s been a few years, and you’ve been exceptionally diligent. Ever since you realized it was a possibility, that promotion has been your goal, and you’ve been gunning for it with everything you’ve got.
But, wait. Before you keep charging blindly ahead, make sure your grand plans aren’t derailed by any of these easy-to-make mistakes.

1. Winning over your boss but not your co-workers

Your direct supervisor will have a big say in whether or not you get to move up, so it makes perfect sense to curry his or her favor. But before you keep nodding yes to everything your manager says, consider the impression you’re making on your colleagues. It might be completely obvious to everyone but you that you’re “running for office” and ready to sacrifice anyone standing in your way.
To prevent any resentment from building up, you’ll want to be a bit more mindful of the way your actions to please your boss make you look in front of your co-workers. After all, it’s not like these people just go away when you get promoted. In fact, you will still have to work with them—and possibly even manage them.

2. Focusing on new responsibilities but neglecting your current ones

It’s great to be eager, but obsessing over your next career move instead of focusing on your present role isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s easy to get carried away with newer, possibly more exciting responsibilities, but neglecting your core duties will get you in trouble. You won’t make a very compelling case for yourself to take on a greater role in the team if you can’t even manage your current assignments.
In other words, before you get too preoccupied with revamping the internship training schedule or planning the regional conference, make sure your main responsibilities are completed in a timely and consistent manner.

3. Going above and beyond but not letting anyone know

So, you’re knocking out old and new responsibilities, helping out colleagues, and mentoring interns. If anyone is paying attention, that promotion should be yours. Problem is, you can’t rely on other people to pay attention. If you’re not fully promoting yourself and your achievements, it almost doesn’t matter that you’re killing it at your job.
So, how does one actually do this? It’s all about setting aside time to talk about and celebrate team successes with your manager. Check out this handy guide on how to brag at work (without sounding like a jerk) for a more step-by-step guide.

4. Not creating a plan for when you actually do get promoted

This one might be the least obvious one. What is your team or company going to do if you’re not longer in your current role? If you don’t have a plan in place, that can be a serious deterrent for promoting you.
Plan for your succession, or if you’re in a more entry-level role, document processes you oversee, training you’ve completed, and your general responsibilities so that it’ll be easy to train someone to take your place. It might feel a bit presumptuous to be getting ready to move on to a new role that you may or may not get, but when it does happen, you’ll look completely prepared and ready to take on that promotion.
The moral of this story is that getting promoted shouldn’t just be about you. If you’re able to make it about what’s best for the team or the company, you’ll be not only be making a better impression on everyone involved, you’ll also be more likely to get that coveted promotion. Good luck!

What makes a recruiter hate your CV?

A recruiter can be your short cut into a new job. With a good understanding of industry trends – and insider knowledge of that particular employer's preferences and needs – a recruiter will be briefed to find exactly the right candidate with a specific set of skills, experience and qualities. To even be considered for the role, you need to make sure that your CV hits the right notes with them.
Recruiters can be generalists working in a number of sectors or headhunters specialising in one, but there are a few pet hates they all share. Avoid these and you'll be giving yourself a better chance of getting into the yes pile each time.

Functional or quirky formats

Functional (or skills-format CVs) are often recommended for career changers, or those who have taken a break in their careers. These layouts typically have an enhanced skills section at the beginning of the CV, with a brief work history following.
But recruiters generally hate these layouts. Unless you're going for a quirky/design led job, use a traditional style as it makes the task of sifting so much easier.
Think about layout from a recruiter's point of view. A recruiter will be looking for similar experience or a solid employment record to prove your ability to do the job. This is most easily achieved in a traditional chronological format, where job titles and employer details are prominent, and achievements and career progression are in context.

Lack of relevance

Researchers have found that headhunters, recruiters, employers and HR professionals screen CVs – without exception – looked first at the most recent work experience and job title. These must be relevant for the CV to get a second look in a competitive job market.
For recruiters to put you forward to an employer, they need to see that your background matches the role. A simple way to ensure that you're giving your CV the best possible chance is to search the job description for key criteria, then make sure you include relevant details on your CV that show you're a good match. Remember to quantify your achievements and be specific about how and where you added value to an employer.
Relevancy also means using the right keywords. This is especially important if you're applying online, where your CV might be automatically filtered at the initial stage of the recruitment process. Check that you're using appropriate terminology for job titles, skills, responsibilities and achievements. If the job description is short on keywords, look at a range of similar roles to get an idea of what's commonly required.
If you're aiming to change career, make sure your CV supports your new goals. Learn to extract the most relevant details from previous experience, minimising what's not relevant. You may also need to tweak job titles to more closely reflect the job you aspire to. Don't just rely on recruiters in your job search: networking, voluntary work or side projects are other good strategies for career changers.

An unclear focus

At the higher end of the job market, it's essential to have a clear career goal. Headhunters are interested in people who know what they want next in their career, but who aren't desperate to move at all costs. She says: "If you want to be headhunted, position yourself as a passive candidate. You will move for the right role, but aren't actively on the market."

A weak profile

Cliche and fluff (phrases such as "innovative problem-solver", "dynamic individual", etc) can detract from an otherwise strong CV, while a strong initial statement can improve a weak one: "A personal statement should summarise what the candidate has done in the past, what they want to do next and the skills/knowledge/experience that bridges the two." Aim for a brief, factual snapshot, backing it up with examples in the rest of your CV.

Missing, inaccurate or hard-to-find information

When recruiters are dealing with hundreds of CVs, the time they can allot to each is severely limited. Don't imagine that they will be settling down to study yours in order to work out where to place you. Instead, they're briefed to find candidates for a particular role, so make the key details clear and easy to find. Check before you submit your CV that it can pass a "five-second" test: is it obvious from a quick scan what role you're applying for? Have you included relevant keywords and factual evidence to support your application?
Don't make a recruiter have to work to piece together information. Dates are often forgotten, but are essential. Give the months and year of employment – not just the year.
It sounds obvious, but spelling and grammar errors can also get your CV discounted. Keep your CV to two pages and clarify any unusual jargon or terminology.

Generic cover letters

More candidates get knocked back by having generic cover notes than CVs, as they show you haven't read the job spec. Make sure yours is relevant and brief, showing how you match the role requirements. Make it the body of the email, attaching your CV as a Word document.