• Fall Makeover Series: Presentation, prioritization, and personality are key

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Dec 12, 2014

        Meet Ken… As a career-long accountant, Ken came to me seeking to change the way he was presenting his candidacy in order to entertain opportunities for new professional challenges. Not sure how to “brand” his candidacy given the repetitive nature of his roles, he sought expert guidance in exploring his background and identifying the unique experiences and qualifications he could leverage to differentiate his candidacy in a crowded market.   Original Resume… Ken’s original resume came straight from the Microsoft Office template gallery.

  • Fall Makeover Series: Communicate undeniable value

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    Meet Jeremy… Jeremy, a recent graduate of a master’s program in Biomedical Engineering, came to us seeking to reposition his candidacy to maximize opportunities within a competitive space. As a young candidate, he was not sure how to best leverage his extensive experience, education, publications, honors, and awards, to ensure he stood out among his peers.   Original Resume… Jeremy’s original resume was outdated in format, structure, and content. While his resume emulated many that emerge from colleges and universities, it was doing nothing to differentiate his exceptional skill set. Opening with an objective statement, Jeremy’s resume immediately presented itself as

  • Candidate returns to her roots

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    Sally, a licensed social worker who was recently downsized, sought to return to a direct care environment. After spending the past five years working with patients over the phone, she was eager to return to her roots in direct care. Sally wanted to focus her search on county and state positions, specifically working with seniors through the Agency on Aging.

  • Beware of the risks of self-publishing

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Nov 7, 2014

    Dear Sam: My daughter graduated from college, started her first job and was recently fired from her role as she made some disparaging remarks about her employer on her Facebook page. Needless to say she is embarrassed and concerned about the impact this will have on her employment search. She obviously needs to make her Facebook page completely private—or delete it entirely in my opinion—but beyond that what should she do to curtail any additional fallout from her actions? — Catherine

  • Streamline efforts for stronger outcome

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    Dear Sam: I am struggling with my résumé. I have looked at other résumés and used them to form my own; therefore, I have six versions using pieces from each. I have wasted a lot of time with this and still don’t have a "winning résumé.” What I am doing wrong? – Lea Dear Lea: There are a number of ways you can increase the effectiveness of your résumé. First, remove your objective statement. Objective statements are self-serving; they do nothing but waste space on a résumé, and only serve to tell the hiring manager what the candidate wants, not what the candidate can do for the employer.

  • Maximizing job offers through interview preparation

    BY SAMANTHA NOLEN | Updated: Fri, Oct 10, 2014

        Dear Sam: I read your résumé tips each week and was wondering if you could provide some general information to orient me to interviews. I have not interviewed in 23 years so I feel a little lost as to what to expect. — Edward   Dear Edward: Absolutely! And do not feel bad, I hear that comment every single week from clients who have also not needed to conduct a job search in quite some time but now find themselves in uncharted territory. Many candidates invest time revamping their resume, not to mention hundreds of dollars on that perfect interviewing ensemble, but neglect to invest time preparing for the interview.

  • “Good enough” doesn’t cut it

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Oct 3, 2014

    Dear Sam: I had the absurd notion that my resume was "good enough" to get a job, but unfortunately I have been submitting resumes left and right and have only had a few interviews. Not only is the geographic area in which I am applying not that ripe with opportunities, but I am also being seen as over- or under-qualified. If I apply for marketing manager positions, I am not able to demonstrate management experience. If however I apply for a lateral position, I think hiring managers may assume my compensation requirements may be too high given my master’s degree and 15+ years of experience.

  • Reshape your brand

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Sep 26, 2014

    Dear Sam: I am a registered nurse and have been retired since 2010. I have an MBA degree with a concentration in healthcare administration and I am seeking entry-level positions in the field. Most of the job offers I receive focus on my skills at the bedside. How can I get my resume to incorporate my past experience and skills, along with the new knowledge and skills I acquired while pursing my graduate degree? — Glenda Dear Glenda: Fantastic question! I work with many clients in the same situation as you where they are attempting to leverage recent education and relevant experience to enter a new arena. I recommend creating a totally different resume to the reverse chronological one you have today.

  • Rekindled love inspires job search

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Sep 19, 2014

    Dear Sam: I am 60 years old and in the process of relocating to the area, and will be interviewing with an automotive dealership later this summer.

  • Out-of-date approaches hinder job search

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    Dear Sam: I’m really struggling to see why my resumes aren’t effective. I have spent time explaining what I did at each job, highlighting accomplishments, and still I don’t get a response. I even developed multiple versions with different objectives noted. Help! – Rachel Dear Rachel: I noticed that your resumes do not contain qualifications summaries, and instead use very valuable real estate at the top of page one presenting an objective statement. Defining your purpose or objective is critically important to the development of this section, but instead of simply stating your objective, this section, along with everything on your resume, should be developed to sell yourself for the type(s) of roles you are

  • Keeping your options open often doesn’t

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Sep 5, 2014

        Dear Sam: I am trying to develop a resume that positions me for accounting and possibly auditing roles, but if I see a position I want to apply for in another field—as I was a nurse earlier in my career and am interested in possibly exploring that again—I do not want to limit my options. How can I develop a resume that keeps my options open? – Annie   Dear Annie: I hear this question all the time Annie. Candidates are so afraid to close doors—as they need a job—that they often create resumes without targeted content and with very diluted approaches. While keeping your options open may seem like an effective strategy, it is actually quite the opposite.

  • Resume not getting the attention you believe your candidacy deserves?

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Aug 22, 2014

        Dear Sam: I am a registered nurse currently working in an emergency department. I have been employed with the same hospital for the past 4 years and am looking for a change. I have submitted several resumes to various hospitals, and I am not having any success. I have attached my resume and appreciate your expert opinion. - Michelle   Dear Michelle: Thank you for writing to request a critique of your resume. I definitely can provide insight into why your resume is not getting the attention you believe your candidacy deserves. First, let me paint a picture of your resume for readers.   Your resume opens with your contact information, which immediately transitions into a

  • Do you disclose your diagnosis or special needs?

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Aug 15, 2014

        Dear Sam: Do you ever reveal a learning disability on your résumé or in an interview? I have a 37-year-old daughter trained as a State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA). She was recently released from her job—after 6 years and nearly perfect attendance—for actions that may or may not be related to her language-based learning disability, diagnosis of high-functioning Aspergers syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) tendencies. These imposing sounding conditions do not always present themselves in obvious behaviors, or are more understandable (acceptable?) if you know her conditions.

  • Titles do not have to define you

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Thu, Aug 7, 2014

    Dear Sam: My current title—Accounting Coordinator—is considered to be a junior accounting role. I perform much more than data entry; I am the sole accountant and perform every function in accounting including preparing financial reports and performing variance analysis. I work for a very small company where each person manages his/her own department but has the title “coordinator”. When interviewing, the interviewer always seems to get stuck on my title, often questioning why I carry that title yet do much more. I try to explain—in a positive manner—that the manager has labeled all staff as "coordinators”, but it doesn't seem to help them get past it. I am trying to break into a larger company

  • Return-to-work résumés require careful planning

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Wed, Jul 30, 2014

    Dear Sam: I've been a full-time mom for 16 years with most of my early jobs in the retail arena. In 2012 I earned my bachelor’s degree in general studies and completed continuing education toward a Human Resources Certificate. The résumé I am attaching was completed by career services at my university. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. — Wendy

  • Omissions are often strategic options

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    Dear Sam: I am trying to write my résumé and am receiving conflicting advice on what to include. I am reading through job postings and the requirements for positions and attempting to ensure I include all of the requirements that are pertinent to my background. I wondered though, when a posting calls for a college degree—which I do not have—should I list my high school diploma? Also, I do not possess all of the technical skills required for some of the roles, but I am sure I can learn them quickly; what do I list in those instances? — Joe Dear Joe: When reading through a job posting, be sure you are scanning the “requirements” but paying most attention to the actual description of the

  • Plan for and avoid potential disqualifiers

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Jul 11, 2014

    Dear Sam: I read your article titled "Is it my age?" and it hit home. I know you are probably bombarded with emails requesting assistance and suggestions with respect to résumés, but I thought I would give it a try. I will be 65 years old in September, have worked all of my life, and am still in good health. Most people find it hard to believe I will be 65 soon! I was told you should include only the last 10 years of your career on a résumé; but if I do that, it will appear I did nothing before 2008 since the majority of my work career (i.e., 36 years) was spent at one company. I did tone down my résumé (1972-2008) to focus on administrative support, since that is the type of employment I

  • You only need one job

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Thu, Jul 3, 2014

    Dear Sam: I am struggling with my job search. As a business owner, I have spent the past 20 years doing everything and then some: from developing a business plan and securing funding, to washing the dishes and taking out the trash! How do I craft a resume that reflects that diversity? I am overwhelmed by the choices I have at this juncture in my career. Selling my business and planning on relocating to a new city, I am starting over and find myself drawn to a multitude of opportunities.

  • Dig deeper to differentiate your candidacy

    BY SAMANTHA NOLAN | Updated: Fri, Jun 27, 2014

    Dear Sam: I read your column and find myself in the same boat as the girl who wrote to you about tying to find a receptionist position. I have had two interviews for one particular position but have not heard back from the employer. I was wondering if you could look over my resume and tell me if you have any suggestions on where I could find a better template? – Ashleigh   Dear Ashleigh: I urge you to not only completely revamp your résumé—as it is outdated, especially for a young candidate—but to truly determine what value you offer, how you are different, and what is unique about your candidacy.