Archive / November, 2013

What are your Strengths and Weaknesses? – The Right Answer

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Two related questions that often trip up job candidates are “What are your strengths?” and “What are your weaknesses?” The first can be difficult simply because the interviewer is often looking for a specific answer, and the second because it seems to force you to say something negative about yourself. It’s possible for anyone to give a good answer to either of these with proper preparation, however. Keep reading to find out how.

“What are your strengths?”

The secret to answering “What are your strengths?” well is to know what the interviewer is looking for. This can be difficult to do in the middle of an interview, since interviewers are often aiming to be inscrutable. That’s why you need to know the right answer well before the question is asked.

The key to what the interviewer wants should be right there in the original ad for the job. If the ad is seeking a “detail-oriented” candidate, talk about how your strength is your ability to pay attention to detail. Conversely, if the ad declared a desire for candidates who “work well on a team”, talk about how well you work with others. Don’t lie or invent things, just focus on the areas that are emphasized in the job description. Also be sure not to exaggerate, or sound like you’re arrogant.

“What are your weaknesses?”

The other question, “What are your weaknesses?”, is actually something of a trick question. The interviewer doesn’t really want an employee with serious weaknesses, and is hoping to fool you into revealing any you might have willingly. On the other hand, everyone has weaknesses, and saying that you have none will only make you sound like you’re not very self-aware (or like you’re lying). So you do have to pick something to say for this question.

The key to this question is also in the job description. What you need to do is give a weakness that doesn’t have any bearing on the job you’re applying for. Don’t stray out of the work arena when choosing a weakness, but pick one that wouldn’t hinder you in doing the particular job you’re seeking in the slightest. If the job requires you to work with other people all the time, say you get bored working alone. If the job requires organizational skills, say you don’t do as well in a disorganized environment, and so on.

Finally, even though you’re giving a weakness that doesn’t have any bearing on the job, you still need to say how you make up for your weakness. Mention something you do to work past it or how you’ve been working to improve yourself. They don’t want an employee who can’t be bothered with self-development.

Remember, what the interviewer is really asking you is: “Are your abilities suited to this job?” Using the information you have about the job, you should be able to craft an answer that will easily satisfy the interviewer.

Get interview call from the right company with the help of Style Resumes

Before worrying about the interview, first you have to think how you could get the interview! One of the best ways to get a lot of interview calls from the right company is to submit an excellent resume, tailored to the position you are applying for. So why not leave it in the hands of professionals?

A creative resume could also help you during the interview. When you submit a creative resume, you have stolen the interviewer’s attention from the beginning. Then, the interviewer will be much more enthusiastic about your prospects at the company when he/she is interviewing you.

At Style Resumes, we are well-equipped with the skills to craft a perfect resume that will get you the right job. Get one step closer to your dream job by checking out our products now!

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Should You Include Interests in Your Resume?

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It is becoming more common for people to be asked what their favourite hobby or pastime is on a job application form. It is therefore advisable to include a section on your interests and any hobby that you are actively engaged in on your CV or Resume too. This helps to differentiate your application from all others that have similar experience and qualifications as you do. A hobby can be used as a great ice-breaker at interviews too and you may find yourself discussing your skydiving exploits more than your previous job. Obviously the more unusual the hobby the better as it is likely to make an impact on anyone reading your CV and be a point of interest that helps the reader remember your application over another.

Be relevant

It is important, wherever possible, to list hobbies or interests that clearly demonstrate relevant skills and accomplishments that are appropriate for the job your resume is being considered for. Obviously, if you are applying to be a cook for a company you would want to list cooking as one of your hobbies. This may seem an obvious point but you could also highlight other areas of the same hobby such as researching recipes or jam making for example.

Consider the hobbies and interests you put

It is advisable to be selective about the number of hobbies you list. If it seems that your time is taken up with a myriad of different activities a potential employer may reject your application for fear that you may never be available for overtime work if necessary.

Another possible impact of your choice of hobby may be if it involves a lot of travel or long hours. The potential employer may feel that your hobby would have an adverse effect on your ability to hold down a long term position and may think you are just trying to fit in work around your hobby and not the other way round.

Don’t lie

Whatever you do, don’t make up a hobby purely to get a job. If you say you are a chess player, to indicate that you are a logical thinker and forward planner that is great if it’s true but beware, you may find that you are challenged to a game by your boss and be rumbled on the first day!

Leave it to the professional

Writing resumes is a tricky job as you only have several seconds to leave lasting impression. So, it is always better to leave it to professional resume writers who know exactly what they’re doing. At Style Resumes, we are equipped with the skills and knowledge to write you various types of resume and cover letter. Let’s craft that perfect resume!

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4 Creative and Productive Ways to Face Redundancy

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A lot of good people face redundancy nowadays for many different reasons. Whatever the reason is, the person facing redundancy can be demotivated, which will make it even harder for him/her to move on to another job.

Here are some creative and productive ways to find redundancy.

Think Positive – Even if you don’t feel positive

It may be difficult to be positive, especially at first. When faced with the reality of redundancy, most of us won’t immediately think of it as a wonderful opportunity.

Despite that, we can deliberately set out to think of it that way. Every time a negative thought creeps in, override it with a positive one. Take some time out, and think up ways this experience will be positive for you. For example, it is a good chance to address your work/life balance, to retrain in something more exciting, to find a better paying position (e.g. by applying for more senior roles), to go to university (or add a second major to your existing degree), to start a charity, or help an existing one, to pursue a hobby, to investigate starting a new business or to see if you can offer your skills as a consultant.

What matters is that you force yourself to think positively about redundancy until such time as it starts happening naturally (usually 10-20 days). The key to doing this successfully is to have already thought of several ways this is positive for you, so they’re immediately to hand when negative thoughts creep in.

Give your resume a face lift

Potential employers will want to see your resume. The sooner you get it ready, the faster you can get yourself into the job market.

These days, most advertised jobs are found online. It’s essential that your resume is available in either MS Word or PDF format (preferably both). You should have it with you at all times, in both physical and digital form. Burn it on CD-ROM, have it on a USB thumb drive, and carry printed copies with you. That way, you’ll always be ready to start selling yourself should an opportunity arise.

Nowadays, there are more types of resumes than you think there is. Other than the traditional professional resume, there are infographic resume, video resume, mobile resume, as well as web portfolio. Revamping your profile on LinkedIn is also a great way to find new opportunities. It is advisable to invest in high quality resume written by a professional in order to save you time and frustration in job searching.

Start Networking

Many jobs aren’t advertised in the press, online or via agencies. Employing people is a risky business, and employers can reduce that risk by using their connections and find people that way.

Anybody can follow this strategy, even if they’re hopeless at networking or painfully shy.

Most of us know at least 100 people well enough to phone. Each of those 100 people knows another 100 people well enough to phone. That’s a total of 10,000 people. Within that group, there’s likely to be around 100 people (1%) who could either employ you directly or recommend you to an employer.

Your challenge is to find out who those 100 people are, and meet them. It may not sound simple, but it’s a lot easier than waiting for a miracle (i.e. doing nothing). And I have a great system to help you achieve your goal.

The process starts by writing down the name and phone number of everybody you know well enough to phone.

There’s no point calling them up and asking if they know any employers who just happen to be looking for employees. This is about networking, and that works best when you have something to offer. Here are some things you can do:

  • Call up someone on your list.
  • Tell them you’ve been made redundant, and that you want to keep busy. Tell them you’re not interested in charity, but you would like to make yourself useful. See if they need their car washed, or have some other simple chore you can do.
  • Offer to do it free of charge. Don’t accept money. Make it clear you’re interested in keeping busy, not looking for hand outs. But also joke that you’ll accept a drink or a snack as payment (which will help your plan).
  • Arrange to do the chore at a time when that person will be home. This is essential to the success of the plan.
  • Do the chore as well as you possibly can (it’s essential this person realize you have a good work ethic). Then seek out that drink or snack. The person you’ve helped is now socially obliged to chat with you. Keep the conversation light, and wait until it naturally turns to what you’re going to do now.
  • Tell the person you’re doing all the normal things, as well as networking.
  • Let them know you’re hoping to meet people who own their own business, or who employ others. Be clear about the type of work you do, and what you’re looking for. Be as specific as possible.

The key to making this strategy work is to keep it low key. What you want to do is make an impression, and educate the person as to what kind of work you’re looking for, and who is likely to employ someone who does what you do.

Let the person know that you’d appreciate a recommendation if they meet somebody like that. If they already know somebody like that, you can be pretty sure they’ll bring it up immediately (especially if they’re happy with the work you just did for them).

If they don’t, they’ll remember when they do meet somebody like that. And there’s a good chance several of the people on your list will.

This is why you have to be very specific. It creates triggers in their mind that associate you with that type of person. This brings you to the top of their mind at exactly the right time (i.e. when they meet the person you’re looking to be introduced to).

If the person agrees to do this for you, make sure s/he knows how to get in touch with you.

Online Networking

LinkedIn was created to help people find work via introductions. Get yourself a LinkedIn account, and then use Google to find articles that explain how to use it. You can upload your resume, join industry groups, and get to know the right people through LinkedIn. It’s well worth investing your time in this activity.

It’s worth noting that your mastery of online business networking makes you more valuable to a potential employer. If you keep it up, even after you find work, you can continue to use your skills to secure better paying and/or more senior positions.

Get Professional Resume Help

When you are looking for job, your resume is your most powerful weapon to score that dream job of yours. Most people think that writing resume is an easy job. However, more often than not, they are wrong. They end up submitting a messy and unimpressive resume which is quickly thrown into the trash bin.

Don’t let your resume get treated like that! At Style Resumes, we know what we’re doing. We’ve helped thousands of job seekers get their dream job by giving them an impressive resume and cover letter that made employers feel in love with them. Get in touch with us and let’s craft that perfect resume!

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How to Avoid the “Job Hopper” Stereotype

Just like you are less interested to date a serial dater, many employers are reluctant to hire a job hopper. Yes, just like you are afraid to invest your feelings for fear that s/he might leave you for someone better anytime soon, employers are afraid to invest their time and resources in recruiting and training you for fear that you might leave them for some place better soon.

Although an increasing number of career experts now believe that job hopping is not viewed as something negative anymore in this era, a lot of conservatives still see job hopping as a number one red flag they watch out for on a resume. Candidates who change jobs many times in a short period of time are seen as unstable, disloyal employees. Hiring managers might assume that these candidates may look good on paper but actually be poor workers; this would explain why they could keep getting hired but never last long in one spot. Or perhaps they have personality issues that lead to conflicts at work, also causing them to move on frequently.

However, it might not be your choice to hop from one place to another, and your job hopping might be due to layoffs, company mergers and temporary assignments. Or, you simply wanted to reinvent yourself by changing career paths several times over the course of a career. So, the job hopper stereotype is unfair to you!

How could you convince your potential employers that you are worth hiring despite your short employments in several companies? Read on.

Explain yourself

Many career experts and human resources professional now see job hopping as something positive, if the candidate did it for the right reasons. So, if you have a history of hopping from one job to another within a short period of time, you should explain how this is actually your advantage on your resume. One of the best places to explain this is the summary at the very top of your resume. Besides that, you can also emphasize on the unique skills you gained in each of your employment, and the great contributions you made within a short period of time: making their investment worthwhile.

When explaining yourself in your resume, show your potential employers that you are someone who is young but wants to gain experience rapidly, who is also flexible, resourceful and learns fast (proven by your experience in many companies). Changing jobs frequently also gives you a broader perspective of your industry, because you become familiar with the inner workings, challenges and strategies of numerous companies. You might also have valuable networks of contacts across the industry because you connect with new teams, clients and partners at each job along your journey, so you can contribute this network of resources for your new team.

Leave notes

When the reason you leave the job is because of the situations that are not within your control, such as structural changes within a company or the company closes down, these are and should not be cause for you to appear like a job hopper on your resume. Whether you were laid off, the company moved out of country, or went out of business, indicate that as a brief note on your resume next to your dates of employment.

Also, for company mergers, rather than relisting each company name and your position, simplify matters by listing the company’s current name and indicating in parenthesis, “formerly [previous name(s)].” An employer reviewing your resume will immediately understand and not assume the worst – that you’ve been job hopping.

Pull them together

Nowadays, a lot of people are resorting to consulting or temporary assignments on short-term projects. So, instead of listing all companies you’ve worked for, you could pull all these experiences together into one pool on your resume. You can indicate on your resume “Consultant” and specify the full length of time you were in the role. Underneath this section, highlight the companies and/or specific experiences and accomplishments in the role. An employer will view all the individual experiences and temporary assignments – and its significance in furthering your career experiences – as a whole.

If that doesn’t fit your situation, just make sure to indicate it was a contract position next to the dates so people will see right away the short tenure was planned.

Reformat dates of employment

Rather than listing the specific month and year you were employed with an employer, indicate only the year. It can appear less obvious that you were only on the job for 16 months, and appear more like two years.

Hire a pro!

Sometimes, our best efforts are still not good enough to get us hired in this difficult economy. With increasing number of layoffs, more and more people are out there job hunting. So, you must really be able to differentiate yourself from the pack of job hungry competitors.

Your industry might have certain keywords that hiring managers are looking for when scanning through a resume, and you have no idea about these keywords. Or, you simply don’t have the necessary skills to craft an impressive resume that is able to show the best of you and what you deserve.

So, why waste your precious time and experience frustration in months or even years of job hunt, when you can get a decent job quicker by a great resume? Simply hire a professional resume writer who is able to understand your situation, turn it into your advantage, and use all the right keywords which will get you hired shortly?

At Style Resumes, we are a team of professional, experienced and knowledgeable resume writers that will craft the perfect resume for you. Worry no longer about being stuck in the job race. With Style Resumes, you will definitely stand out!

3 Secrets for a Winning Resume

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Resume writing is possibly the biggest stumbling block for folks who are looking for a job. While it may seem simple, there are a lot of subtle things that really matter. Potential employers are flooded with resumes in response to their job postings, and you only have a few short moments to make it or your resume will end up in the trash. So, how do you optimize your resume to make it likely to get read? Here are 3 great tips to get you started.

Be Comprehensive, yet Succinct

While your resume should contain a detailed account of your qualifications and accomplishments, you need to keep on topic specific to the job you are applying for. If you are applying for a position as an office manager, for example, you don’t need to include references to your stint as a rodeo clown. The prospective employer will likely be interested only in the skills and work experience that relates directly to the position they are trying to fill. Give them what they are looking for. Take a thorough account of your work history and skills set and choose to highlight what is relevant, and eliminate or downplay the items that are irrelevant. This strategy of niche resume writing keeps your resume focused and gives you the advantage of appearing to be the most qualified candidate for the job.

Your Resume Should be Formatted Nicely

Kooky fonts and such may be okay for personal communications, but your resume should be more “standardized”. You want it to appear as neat and tidy as… well, yourself, right? A typewritten resume using standard fonts such as Times New Roman and Arial on high quality plain white paper will be a winner every time. You also need to pay close attention to your spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Nothing would be more embarrassing than a resume with typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings. Not only embarrassing, but presenting a resume with errors will not impress potential employers and will likely land your resume in the trash can. Don’t rely on computer based spelling and grammar checks. Check it yourself, and if possible, get someone else to check it for you as well. Also be wary of the reformatting that sometimes happens when you upload your resume to an Internet based resume submission service. Allot of times, you will lose your careful formatting only to find it replaced with the wrong margin, strange fonts and worse. Before you send it, check it!

Show Enthusiasm

Your resume and cover letter should not be something that you write begrudgingly. You are excited about the job you are applying for, correct? Well, then show it! Your excitement will come across in your resume and cover letter and will impress perspective employers. Whenever it makes sense to, use action words to describe your career history and goals.

Leave it to the professional

Most people think that writing resume is an easy job. However, more often than not, they are wrong. They end up submitting a messy and unimpressive resume which is quickly thrown into the trash bin.

Don’t let your resume get treated like that! At Style Resumes, we know what we’re doing. We’ve helped thousands of job seekers get their dream job by giving them an impressive resume and cover letter that made employers feel in love with them. Get in touch with us and let’s craft that perfect resume!

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