Category Archives: Career Resource

How to write your resume so you will be selected for an interview!

Applying on line is so easy these days that companies are inundated by resumes of both qualified, and unqualified, candidates. A typical fortune 500 company receives thousands of resumes in one week. Whether you’re accustomed to working with recruiters, human resources or talent acquisition teams, there are some things that they want to see on your resume.

Pull out your resume right now and as you read this article, and make the necessary changes to your resume. Remember, you should always add to your resume as you work on key projects, so you don’t forget to include crucial details that may be a differentiator of why you get asked for an interview. You never know when a reduction in force or sale of a company is going to occur. Take the time to invest in yourself now and keep your resume up to date.

How your resume is selected for an interview

Unique formatting with 3 different types of fonts and 2 graphics do not usually import correctly to the applicant systems that almost every company today uses. The reality is that companies today receive your resume through an applicant tracking system (ATS). Once in the ATS, a keyword search for the skills for a specific job search is done in the applicant tracking system, and that is what brings your resume to the top to be reviewed. Your most important information should be able to fit onto the recruiters/talent acquisition/HR first computer screen. Your professional summary and current role are what they will be reviewing. It is critical to make the first page grab their attention!

Brag on yourself

Explain what you did at each job and what the results were. If there are cost savings, process improvements, or other efficiencies, include them in your resume! List what you accomplished. Do not exaggerate your skills, but feel free to brag on what you have accomplished, because your resume is what gets you to the interview phase.

Be transparent

If you weren’t working for a time, explain why that was, don’t try to hide it. Maybe because of a downturn in the economy you were out of work for a while. Perhaps you had to quit your job to focus on caring for a relative. Whatever the reason, rather than trying to hide or come up with ambiguous dates to conceal the gap, explain it briefly. Do you want to risk losing an offer because during the employment verification stage they find out you hid your time off?

How to Deal with an Overly Controlling Boss

Have you ever had a boss who is always peeking over your shoulder, constantly needing to be involved in your work, or sending you a detailed-to-the-max list? If so, you know how it feels to be micromanaged. As much as you would wish the situation would just go away, you may have to learn how to deal with this kind of boss.

Understand the Cause

There are several reasons why a boss may micromanage. None of them is an excuse for this behavior but knowing “the why” may help you in dealing with them. Basically, this kind of person is a control freak. The need for control can come from a lot of different areas, the principal one being fear. Are they getting a lot of pressure from their boss to produce at a certain level? Are they feeling the stress of a competitive workplace? Whatever it is, knowing this can help in resolving the issue.

Maybe part of the cause is yours or your coworkers’ behavior. Examine your own work. Have you been turning projects in late? Are there things you’ve relaxed or that you need to tighten up? It could be that your manager took the fall for a project for which you or one of your coworkers were responsible. First, be willing to check your work and habits, and if you’ve got an area for improvement, start there!

Think Ahead

Are you constantly reminded to do things that are on your regularly scheduled to-do list? Get ahead on some of those, so that when you’re reminded of them, you can go ahead and tell your manager you’ve already completed it.

Communicate with your coworkers what you’re working to accomplish. If you’re all working to show that you can do your jobs well, this will help your micromanager understand that they don’t need to be controlling.

You can also keep track of what you’re doing so that if your manager asks you about it, you can show them right then and there. This may also help if they require updates on what you’re doing. By showing that you’re aware of what you’re supposed to be doing and that you’re getting it done, you’ll boost their confidence in your abilities.

Talk to Them

It may come down to confronting—in a gentle, respectful way—your manager about this issue. This can be very difficult to do, especially if you’re in a workplace where you don’t know your manager well. If possible, try talking to them and letting them know how their actions are impacting you. They may not even know what they’re doing.

If you can’t necessarily approach them in that way, then see if you can get them to agree to letting you work on a project on your own—without any day to day interference. Let them know that at the end of the project you’d welcome a meeting with them. Then you can talk about what you did well and what needed improvement. When you excel, your manager will see that you, at least, don’t need such constant supervision.

There’s no easy way to deal with micromanagers, but it can be done. If you’re willing to put in the work, you may be able to help change their attitude towards you and you will enjoy your workday more.

How to Use Effective Humor to Improve Your Workplace

Humor at your workplace? Bite your tongue!

But really, humor has great benefits, if done well. People who laugh together create a bond. When you’re enjoying some humor at the office, you’ll generally be more productive and enjoy being at work. However, if humor is done the wrong way or taken too far, you can quickly crash and burn. Here are some ways to properly use humor at work.

  • When in doubt…

Your idea of funny may not exactly line up with everyone else’s in your office. Something funny to you could be offensive to the next person. When you’re considering a joke, if you’re not sure if you should say it, then don’t. Better to err on the side of caution. Your goal may be to lighten up the atmosphere, but if your joke goes south, it’s going to make that atmosphere even worse.

  • “And then I…”

Being able to laugh at yourself is a great trait. Seeing the humor or irony in situations you find yourself in assures that you’re not offending someone by poking fun at them. Also, being able to laugh at yourself is a good way for people to see that you don’t take yourself too seriously. As with all jokes, just don’t go overboard. You still want your colleagues to respect you.

  • Train yourself

Start to train yourself to see the humor in certain situations. Irony or seeing the absurd is a great chuckle-inducer. Even if you never voice what you find funny, being able to have a lighter perspective on your environment can be helpful to you personally.

  • Stop the passive-aggressiveness

Humor or making jokes about someone is not the way to go if you have an issue with them. Rather, talk with them directly. Mean-spirited joking really isn’t funny, even if people go along with it and give it a chuckle. If you have to say, “I was only joking!”, or you find yourself complaining that “they don’t know how to take a joke,” then you’ve got a problem.

  • Just be you

Can you tell a joke? Can you really? Let’s be frank, there are just some people who can’t tell a good joke, and that’s okay. Contribute with a smile or a laugh! Be who you are, don’t try to force something when it isn’t natural. Just remember, you can learn how to develop this aspect of yourself.

  • Think outside the ordinary

The opportunities are limitless for you to come up with a unique way to use humor. From personal choices to office-wide interactions, you can come up with some crazy good ways to have fun. If you’ve got an idea, see if you can get your manager on board. The more support you’ve got, the greater chance the rest of your colleagues will want to join in on the fun.

Not nearly enough workplaces employ humor well, or at all. Be the change at your job and see if you can bring some levity with you to work. The health benefits are numerous, the camaraderie building is beneficial, and it just makes life better.


Use These 5 Words to Revitalize Your Business Writing

“The pen is mightier than the sword.” Those words were written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton over one hundred years ago. Just like the art of fencing requires practice, so does the art of using the pen. Choosing to utilize its power can bring great results.

Most business communication, like presentations, various business documents, and emails are just plain boring. Just like you dread reading that text, so does the person on the other end of your email. It’s time to get a little risky. There are words that you can use that will give some life to that otherwise yawn-worthy email. The person on the other end will thank you.

Here are some words to use as a starting point:

This word conveys swift, effective action. In our microwave world where instant gratification is the norm, people are looking for things to happen or be accomplished quickly. Maybe the person receiving the email will receive the benefits of a certain desired action immediately or you’ll immediately see to their request.

No side door or backup plan is allowed with this one, and that’s why it appeals to people. This word provides a risk-free option for the other person because you take on all the responsibility. This word is guaranteed to get your recipient’s attention and ease any concerns they may feel.

Be careful how you throw this one around. People are used to hearing companies talk about their “proven” methods when in reality they’ve never actually proven anything. Accompany this word with a specific example of why your claim is true. This shows them that not only are you confident, you’re also trustworthy.

No one likes getting a generic email that really has nothing to do with them or adds no value to their day or their goals. Likewise, any business writing you may be doing or may have to consume can become pure torture if it has no relevance to you and what you’re trying to accomplish. First, make sure that what you’re trying to communicate is relevant to the person on the other end, whether it’s a coworker, supervisor or customer. Then use this word—sparingly and succinctly—to highlight the value that you’re adding to the other person’s life.

If you’ve refreshed a plan, you’ve given it a new energy, a new vitalization. You took what had worked before, polished it up, and now it’s like new. Use this word to communicate the benefits of your plan and the overall feeling it will result in.

It’s not all semantics. If you can harness the power of the written word in your business writing and emails, you’ll find the responses that you desire. Being able to spur someone to a desired action because of an email or a well-written business article isn’t just going to happen. You’ve got to put in the forethought and effort. These five words are just a springboard, any word can have powerful results if utilized correctly.

3.5 Reasons why attending an IT Conference every single year can help your career!

Conference Attendees1. Network with your peers. This is an opportunity to meet new people from other companies. It is also important to visit with prior and current co-workers or classmates and get to know them on a more personal level. These are great people to build relationships with for multiple reasons:

a. You may reach out to these people to see how their company is using a new technology or transforming into an agile environment

b. Get non-biased references or opinions about a new technology you are evaluating and thinking about implementing

c. Learn how other companies operate and what makes their cultures great

2. Invest in Yourself! You will be seen by your boss, peers and others that you network with at the conference as a person who wants to keep current with your industry and who cares about keeping up to date with technology and best practices. The educational component of a conference can expose you to new ways to be more productive. Many people who attend conferences return back to work revitalized and more passionate about their work.

3. Hot new technologies.  Take time to meet with vendors. This is a great way to gain insight on what new technologies are available. You also have an opportunity to build relationships with vendors. Those vendors may be the person you need to reach in the middle of a critical project and if you know someone at that company they may be able to help get you connected to the right person to solve your problem. You can also pick up free giveaways or participate in raffles from vendors at many Exhibit Halls.

3.5 Have fun! Attending a conference should be work mixed with fun! Many conferences have activities such as happy hours, late night parties, and golf tournaments. Treat yourself to    an extra day in the city you are visiting. Plan to come in town early or stay an extra day at the at the end of the trip. Mix business with pleasure and keep your career trajectory on track all at the same time.

Don’t be busy, be productive

Do you feel busy? In fact, would you go on to state that you are constantly busy with little time for yourself or new projects?  Well, if your answer is yes then stop it.  Stop saying you are busy and stop being busy as there is a far better way to live life. Busy has accomplished very little in life, not even for the poster board busy bee.  If you asked a bee what it does, he wouldn’t say he is busy.  Rather, he would respond with saying he makes honey and pollenates the flowers of the world. So now it’s time for you to do the same.

The Business of What You Do

As the reader, there is no way one can say with certainty what it is that you do.  In the IT field, you are doing all sorts of technical stuff.  Maybe you are in management watching other people do stuff.  However, whatever stuff it is that you are into, if you were asked what you did, you wouldn’t respond with busy stuff.

So why would you constantly state you are busy? It’s a common belief that human language and spoken word is a powerful tool.  Consequently, your words matter.  Let us propose as a first step to stop stating you’re busy and make a habit to state specifically what you are doing.  Speak not of work, but of outcomes desired.  If your spouse calls you at work, don’t respond with stating you are busy.  State you can’t talk right now because you are designing a system or you are revolutionizing communication for your company.  Be honest, but state what you are doing and feel the power that unleashes.

Shifting Priorities

The other side of busy comes from humans not taking on too much, but prioritizing too poorly.  You see, when you start the habit of stating the business of what you do, certain priorities become clearer.  Simply stating you are busy doesn’t provide the same opportunity as busy can mean a variety of things.  Are you updating the CEO on the future of your organization or are you reading about cats on the internet?  Both would be justified as busy, but each has varying impacts.

Consequently, when you state what each outcome is then you have the ability to shift priorities at will with accuracy.  Imagine a long train with various cars serving various function.  When you can clearly identify the utility of each, then you can simply lift and shift each car in its proper place. Consequently, rather than always existing in a perpetual busy state, you can be accomplishing a series of outcomes in their natural order.  You can do this all day long to include rest and recreation.  Busy?  No thanks. I think I’ll make some honey and pollinate a flower today says the bee.  What will you do today?

Quitting Your Job? 5 Considerations Before Deciding

Are you frustrated with your current job or boss and ready to make a change?  It is important that you are strategic when you are leaving your job, so that you can be positioned to move your career forward.  Too often, people make the decision to leave an organization without putting a proper plan in place.  Here are five things to consider before you turn in your notice.

  1. Assess Your Finances
    Plan ahead and build up your nest egg.  Money is one of the biggest motivators that will push you back to your old job, or into a new job that you don’t like. There may also be a gap in between companies pay cycles and you don’t want to get caught short on cash.  Companies often check credit and you do not want to have late pays or delinquencies.  Your savings will also allow you to take the time that is needed to find the best match for your career, rather than settling for something else because you need to pay the bills.
  1. Establish a relationship with a “Career Agent”
    Just because you are currently employed, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a relationship with a Recruiter (Career Agent).  You want to have a career agent just like an all-star athlete wants a sports agent.  You want someone who can represent your best interests and has a pulse on the market.  A good Recruiter will keep you posted on opportunities that will match what you are looking for and if the timing is right for you, you should explore the position and if not, let the Recruiter know that the timing is just not right.
  1. Fly under the radar
    As tempting as it might be to tell your friends at work, don’t mention the fact that you are looking for a new job.  The information could be accidentally or intentionally leaked to management, which might result in a situation where you then must make a move or you may end up burning bridges or ruining relationships.  Stay quiet about your job search!
  1. Resignation / Transition
    You will need to provide your boss with a letter stating the reason that you are leaving, how you plan to transition your work and your last date of employment.  It is possible that someone might call your former employer for a reference at some point in time, and the way you resign and transition your work can have an impact on the impression that you leave with your boss and the company.
  1. Plan how to leave on a positive note
    Work diligently through your last day.  Make sure that you have everything organized for the team member(s) taking over your workload.  You will have an easier time maintaining relationships and cultivating goodwill by working hard to make the transition easier for your coworkers and management.

Are you too Busy for your Own Good?

There are three types of people in this world: people who are busy, people who are not, and people who have the time to brag about how busy they are. No matter which camp you belong to, keep reading.

  • Busier Than Ever?
    The projects at work are mounting to Himalayan proportions. The list of personal errands is swelling by the minute. New family responsibilities keep popping up. If you observe the stereotypical TV sitcom family, they’re constantly in motion, going from one scheduled activity to another, from exhausting weekdays to jam-packed weekends, with nary a moment to stop and smell the roses. Everyone’s running around like headless chickens, right? Well, that’s the thing – it’s not everyone. There are people who live the slower life. It’s just that the busy bees are often ambitious type-A personalities who are very vocal about their lack of time. Or they’re type-B folks who voice their stress during moments of genuine time-crunch, and when their schedule calms down we assume that their plate is still full; we have no reason to assume otherwise. Then again, have you ever heard any of your colleagues bragging to their boss about how much free time they have? It doesn’t happen often.
  • This Is Not a Competition
    Time management is not a team competition. It’s a useful individual skill which few have truly mastered, but it’s not a game. If you try to play it, you may ultimately lose. If you spread yourself too thin by taking on too many projects in an effort to impress your boss or colleagues, you’ll end up with little time to reflect, to wonder, to nourish relationships, to develop projects, and to cultivate creativity. You may accomplish all of your tasks by working long hours and weekends, but this is not a healthy long-term strategy. By bragging about how busy you are, you are helping to perpetuate the view that this state of affairs is not only common but acceptable. The challenge is to transcend this plague of the modern workplace by either (a) managing your time effectively or (b) not complaining, even when you are swamped.
  • Consider Your Health
    In the workplace, physical and emotional health is often relegated to lower importance than work. In some offices, project deadlines are of the utmost priority and must be met at all costs, especially when executive visibility is involved. If you are extremely busy, your reputation as a hard worker (or workaholic) may grow, but in the long run your ability to deliver on all your commitments will shrivel. Retention of critical information will suffer. Organic learning will be stunted. Relationships, both personal and professional, will fall to the wayside. Self-awareness will go down the drain. If you’re overworked, your health may be compromised, which can affect your productivity, happiness, and long-term prospect at the job. In other words, by working too hard, you may be shooting yourself in the foot.
  • Would You Rather Be a Liar, or Incompetent?
    If you spend too much time bragging or even “just” complaining about how busy you are, you are either (a) exaggerating or (b) genuinely too busy for your own good. If it’s the former, and colleagues see that you’re spending too much time on irrelevant or personal tasks (e.g. checking your phone or social media accounts), you’re putting your professional and personal reputation on the line. There’s also the possibility that you have terrible time management skills. Another employee might be able to complete tasks in half the time with higher quality. Perhaps they are aware of shortcuts, or simply able to prioritize and focus better than you. Either way, admitting that you’re swamped doesn’t look impressive to a boss. Either boost your time management skills or…
  • Learn To Ask for Help, And To Say No
    Instead of spending a huge chunk of your day complaining about the never-ending pile of projects, focus on what you can accomplish. Additionally, make a commitment to say no – firmly, but politely — to additional responsibilities. If a new task is critical (everything is NOT a fire, contrary to some beliefs), be realistic and explain to your boss and/or client that something else will have to give. If you don’t communicate this, you’ll be expected to deliver everything on time, which may not be realistic. Instead of taking everything onto your own plate, hone the skill of asking for help. If you’ve been helping colleagues all along, they should be willing to lend a hand when you need it most. Don’t see this as a sign of weakness. By inviting others to help, you give people the chance to feel useful and you can strengthen relationships that way as well. You will achieve greater professional success by recognizing the contributions of others than by complaining about your incredibly, ridiculously, insanely busy workload.

Don’t Know What To Do? Act!

Do you often find yourself stuck in a pattern of analysis, constantly looking at hypothetical scenarios without taking action? Indecision is common problem that people face, and the inability to move forward can freeze their progress and have a negative impact on their career. One of the best things that you can do to move forward is to start taking action, even if you are only moving forward one step at a time.

Action Uncovers Possibilities
You can analyze all day long, but it will be impossible to uncover the real possibilities until you start taking action. This principle applies to all areas of your life, including your career. For example, if you are involved in a project with a team at work and you find yourself in the situation of always making suggestions but never implementing anything, then it is likely that the team will become frustrated because no forward progress will be made.

On the other hand, you can develop stronger credibility with your coworkers and managers by showing that you are willing to take action. It is important to assess the situation before moving forward, but sometimes the best analysis can’t happen until you have started taking action on the project.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Many people are scared to take action because they are afraid of failure. So, they limit their progress by analyzing the situation in order to reduce the possibilities of failure. The truth is that failure is inevitable in life, and you can gain some of the best experiences by taking action to see what didn’t work.

If you start taking action, you can always make small adjustments along the way to increase the likelihood of success. Or, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to completely start over, but you have valuable insights that will make the new plan even more effective.

Taking Action Positions You as a Leader
Taking action is a key factor to help you move forward with your career, because other people will naturally follow when you are taking action. More action gives you more opportunity to improve systems, increase productivity, and achieve higher levels of success. Other people are drawn to the employees and managers that are confident in their actions, and you can come out on top if you aren’t scared to get your hands dirty.

Eliminate Regrets
When you take action, you can eliminate regrets in your life and your career. One of the worst feelings is the doubtful “what-if” questions that arise when you missed a potential opportunity. Action will help you to increase the likelihood of success, and you won’t have any doubts or regrets along the way.

At the same time, action makes you an interesting person. If you don’t want to be the boring person in the office, then you need to start taking action to get people to notice what you are doing.

Sometimes getting started is the hardest part, so it is better to look at the first step instead of trying to understand every step of the process. Start moving in the right direction, and you will see that the momentum will carry you to higher levels of success.

Find an Extra Hour Every Day

Time is passing you by this very minute as you read.  If you are currently reading this article, then perhaps you have some interest in creating a little more time in your day.  Now to be perfectly honest, your day is going only have 24 hours in it whether you like it or not. So don’t consider yourself a magician creating time, but a detective scavenging your day for that precious 60 minutes that might have lost its way. And more than a tip or trick, self-awareness is your map to these 60 minutes.

That Thing Only You Know

People are more self-aware than they are often given credit. Consequently, the experts believe that with the right questions, people can quickly come to a conclusion more powerful than anything they have been told. So here is where you start to find your lost 60 minutes.  Start with you analyzing your day and you being honest with yourself.

How much time do you spend doing things at work that you wouldn’t want your boss to see? This works for management as well.  How much time do you spend on something at work for which you would be embarrassed if your hard working employees were to witness?  You see, there are those that expect good stewardship of your time.  You know who those people are and you know the time spent on things that would disappoint those people.

It’s not that a little time aloof can’t be healthy from time to time.  However, if you really want to find a lost hour of the day, you have to start here as no one knows what this time looks like apart from you.  If you are unwilling to go here, then you need to question how committed you are to finding that extra hour.

The End of the Day

If you get off work at 5:00, what time do you stop working?  This is not a trick question.  Remember, we are talking about saving the day by finding an extra 60 minutes.  So if you frequently shut down at 4:45 every day, then recovering that time gets you 25% of the way there. Now this is more than just a motivational approach, but a scheduling one as well.

However, before you schedule, you have to be honest with yourself about when you quit working. You can’t ask your boss about it because you often don’t tell your boss that from 4:30 is when you start staring at the clock rather than working.  If you know this about yourself, then its time to start being smart about what you schedule for the end of the day.

If you put projects that are too large to complete at the end of the day, then you need to ask yourself if it is too tempting to just wait until the next day to start.  Moreover, if you put frivolous tasks without deadlines at the end of the day, the temptation might be to just put it off until tomorrow.  Remember, we are seeking an extra 60 minutes, not a whole day. Consider putting easy tasks with a deadline of that very day as an end of the day task.  Consequently, it forces you to put that last hour to use which otherwise would be unproductive.

So these are routes to discovering lost time for which self-awareness will be your guide. If you are unwilling to ask yourself the hard questions about your own work habits, then all the tips and tactics in the world will be of no use. Search yourself and these 60 minutes will be easier to find than you think.