Expert Advice

Full-length articles, listicles, videos, and other resources to guide you in making great decisions in terms of your resume, interviews, job search, and overall career trajectory.

Archives for the 'Career Transition' Category

5 Stand-out Strategies for Answering the “Tell Me About Yourself” Interview Question

Most interviews start with the same question (which, actually, isn’t even a question):

“Tell me about yourself.”

Why?

Because open-ended questions are the best way to get to know someone. And, they’re the easiest way to allow someone to reveal themselves.

The question is simple enough, yet most people answer it incorrectly. Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Executives, Interviewing, Job Hunting in a Recession, Recent Graduates |

How to Keep Your Career Alive Through Coronavirus

Is anyone hiring?

Not really. There are, indeed, industries and companies that are going strong, but they’re not necessarily adding to their headcount right now. Everyone’s in waiting. HR departments are in an Arctic freeze. People with jobs are clinging to them like driftwood in the cold open sea. Unemployment numbers are rising, which means the competition for life rafts is growing.

It’s hard to be cooped up in your house, knowing all of this is going, feeling like you should be “out there” looking for work.

Still, it’s always better to take action during a crisis. Action delivers a sense of progress. It fans the flame of hope in the night while we pray for the sun to come back over the horizon.

Here are some ways to stay productive and generate your own warmth in this time of uncertainty: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Interviewing, Job Hunting in a Recession, Networking, Resumes |

HR Directors Speak Out About What They Want

I had the privilege of engaging an HR panel who took the time to share what they wanted to see (and did not want to see) on a job candidate’s resume. Here’s what they had to say: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Recruiters & HR, Resumes |

Resume Tips For Overcoming Recession-Related Challenges

Recessions tend to push hardworking people into two groups. On the one hand, is the layoff survivor handling the load of multiple former employees. On the other is the hyperqualified, abruptly laid-off job seeker who needs to explain the abrupt ending to their tenure. Different destinies but both types tend to struggle with how to present these career changes on their resumes.

Here are some tips: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Job Hunting in a Recession, Job Market, Resumes |

Cliff & Scott Shafer Talking About Resumes and Hiring on NPR

Had to dig this one out of the archives…

KQED called me up to be the San Francisco Bay Area career hero on the California Report with Scott Shafer. Scott let me use his own career as an example for how to use seemingly irrelevant work experience as an asset, not a liability. We also discussed taking a different approach to networking, and some of the things that employers look for in job candidates.

Check out the podcast; they even included the original take which has plenty more advice for people looking to beat a tough job market. Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Job Market, Networking, Resumes |

Not Going Down Alone

I admit I’ve had a couple of challenging clients recently. It’s easy to write them off but it’s always best to look inward before casting blame.

So, what’s really going on? Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Job Hunting in a Recession, Job Market, Resumes |

Career Advice for Older Workers to Prevent Age Discrimination

As a seasoned professional, you have much to offer but remember to make room for new experiences as well.

An effective resume will balance your strengths (i.e. what you can teach) with your areas for growth (i.e. what you can learn). In regards to the latter, I’m certainly not suggesting you claim ignorance. Rather, consider showing a recently developed interest in a new industry or field.

This is best done by illustrating how you’ve already Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Job Market, Mature Workers, Resumes |

Are Job Gaps A Good Thing?

Recently, a resume client of mine forwarded a newsletter article from a job board discussing ways to overcome “job gaps” of 3-6 months.

Here’s a snippet from the article, and my subsequent retort as to why we should redefine the criteria for a job gap: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Interviewing, Job Hunting in a Recession, Job Market, Resumes |

Let the Government Pay For Your Career Development

One of the best kept secrets in job-hunting: The government has offered to pay part of your expenses!

You read correctly: Career expenses, including fees incurred for career counseling, professional resume writing, and job-search coaching, are tax-deductible for everyone with only a few exceptions: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Interviewing, Job Hunting in a Recession, Job Market, Mature Workers, Resumes |

Is A Cover Letter Really Necessary?

Truth be told, some hiring managers will never read your cover letter.

I know screeners who delete the cover letter immediately, some who forward it on to others but never read it themselves, and others who print it out only to staple it behind the resume.

But you know what else they tell me? Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Cover Letters, Recruiters & HR |

The Most Common Question About Resumes

1 or 2 pages?

This concern is valid, especially since lengthy resumes can make an applicant appear arrogant, unfocused, anxious, old, or overqualified.

So how do you know when to stop writing? Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Mature Workers, Recent Graduates, Resumes |

Should I Lie On My Resume?

After sending out 1000+ resumes with not a single job offer, a job seeker concluded that he needed to lie on his resume. In his case, he felt he was overqualified and therefore needed to dumb down his resume to get some interviews. It’s my estimation that he’s looking in the wrong place Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Mature Workers, Resumes |

How Do I Get a Management Job If I’ve Only Held Positions As An Individual Contributor?

A software developer was looking to move further into management but had no idea how to build a resume to support this transition. I told him about some of the things I’ve done in the past to help clients do just that…”

As luck would have it, I’m currently helping a developer transition into management — and he came to me because I helped his friend do the same thing (successfully) just a few months ago. Here’s what we did: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Mature Workers, Resumes |

Why You Should Avoid Functional Resume Formats

An aggrieved job seeker, sick of hearing that functional resumes are the scourge of an HR person’s day, asked why this type of format is unfavorable. Here’s my response: Continue reading this entry »

top Career Transition, Executives, Job Hunting in a Recession, Mature Workers, Recent Graduates, Recruiters & HR, Resumes |

How To Make Your Job Better

A lot of us hate our job or at least see it as a grind. Getting up in the morning is a chore, there’s not much we look forward to. We become dichotomous in our thinking: “Maybe I should quit.” In other words, it’s either this crappy job or nothing at all. And leaving is often too big of a hill to climb. There’s another way.

Make your job suck less.

1. Find people who don’t suck, and hang out with them.

Ask them what they do and what they like about it. They don’t have to be in your discipline, in fact, it might be better if they’re not. Most important, make sure this new alliance doesn’t turn into a venting session (for either of you).

2. Start a pet project.

What change do you wish to see at work? What would give you energy if it was there waiting for you every day? Maybe it’s about addressing the culture of the company, maybe it’s about changing a process, or rearranging furniture. Own something and chip away at it. Create something to look forward to.

3. Expand your perspective.

Pull back and look at the whole organization, the workflow across the entire enterprise, no matter how big. Which parts light you up. Are you touching them? How can you make it so that you are?

4. Harness your negativity in a positive way.

Determine what’s frustrating you, get to the heart of it. If it’s mostly about you, that’s good news. That means you can change it. If the problems lie with the company, think about an alternative way of doing things. If it really catches fire with you, turn it into a proposal and bring it to a supervisor. Share it in earnest but as a proposal, not a demand. You may be surprised by the reaction.

5. Give yourself something to get up to.

Try not to have your first thought be about the job you hate. Have your first thought or activity of the day be something good. This will shift your perspective for the rest of the day, including your perspective at work.

Sometimes, it’s not about leaving. It’s about tweaking. Change is at hand.

top Career Transition, Job Hunting in a Recession, Job Market, Navigating Work Stress |