Vault's Careers Blog

Career advice and job search strategies for the modern careerist

Posts Tagged ‘resume

Four Tips to Get Your First Job Ever

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Hopefully if you’re graduating from college, you have at least one internship stint under your belt. But what if you don’t have any work experience at all? You spent your summers on an anthropological dig in Boudreaux, for example. It’s unlikely that your skills dusting ancient bones will translate easily to the corporate world. So I’m not going to lie: it’s going to be an uphill battle convincing employers that you have what it takes to hack it at their organization. But it’s not impossible.

College student applying for first job with student resume I asked Connie Thanasoulis, former recruiter, co-founder of SixFigureStart and esteemed Vault blogger about how to find a new job if you don’t already have one–in fact, have never had one. “Recruiters and hiring managers always feel that a person with a job has more posture,” Thanasoulis says. “With that said, you could learn to have more posture. I once coached an employment lawyer who had never had to look for a job before. His wife did well in her job so income was not a problem. But he said that he lost all his posture and confidence. I had to talk him down from the ledge!”

While the job search of an employment lawyer is quite different from someone straight out of college, the same “posture and confidence”-building techniques are the same. Here are four tips recent grads and other inexperienced job searchers need to understand:

Four Tips to Get Your First Job Ever

  1. “You have skills that are necessary in the marketplace,” says Thanasoulis. No matter where you are in your career. “Make a list of your top 10 skills and quantify them–give an example of each skill in five or six bullet points.”
  2. “You have significant and measureable accomplishments” as a college graduate. Think of your academic experience in terms of accomplishments and make a list of your top five: Did you start a new club? Did you volunteer in an interesting way? Were you a research assistant on a professor’s project? These are real, quantifiable accomplishments that will look good on your resume.
  3. “You will find a job.” Even if it’s not your ideal job, it’s a valuable step in your career. Says Thanasoulis: “The first job is so key because you learn so much. Then you can take your skills to the next level.”
  4. “It’s just going to take some time…but you will get there!”

So chin up. Figure out exactly what your accomplishments and skills are–you probably have more than you think. Good luck!

–Posted by Carolyn C. Wise Admit One,

How Effective is Social Media In The Job Search?

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Before reading, I encourage everyone to take Vault’s Social Media Survey and let us know their own thoughts about using social networking tools in their job search.

The job search process has evolved a lot over the last few years. Back in the day, I would simply walk from store to store and ask if there were any jobs available.  The store clerk would have me fill out a form and I wouldn’t hear back from them.  As I graduated college, I started proactively sending out my resume to various companies with the hopes of turning my degree into a full-time career.  When I wanted a new job, I started submitting my resume online through various job boards and company websites.  Today, many are preaching about the values of social media in the job search, but are sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter really going to get you your next job?

When I was unemployed last year, the first thing I did was apply for jobs on LinkedIn.  My experience with LinkedIn was positive.  I posted my work experience and started soliciting recommendations from former colleagues who knew what kind of worker I was.  I felt that this was actually a better way to search for a job, as it provided potential employers with instant references, and it appeared that on LinkedIn, the more recommendations you had, the better your chances of being reviewed.  I even received an email to begin discussions about a potential job.  The conversation went nowhere, but I was satisfied with this tool.

I never thought Twitter could land me a job.  In fact, when I was bored between job searches, I would use Twitter with the thought that I just wanted to accrue as many followers as Ashton Kutcher.  Yes, this was my dream, and for some reason, I failed miserably.  But now that I am working again, I see a lot of potential in Twitter.  The fact that companies can instantly tweet jobs out to the public before they even go up on the site is exciting.  I would encourage anyone who is unemployed to monitor a Twitter feed dealing with employment and take advantage of the instant possibilities.

Facebook is not for the job search.  This is just my opinion, but I find it hard to believe that in the midst of people playing Farmville and sending out fake beer or hugs, they are conducting extensive searches and locating promising job leads.  I believe Facebook is just to let off steam, vent about life, and post 30 pictures of yourself that look exactly the same, albeit with different clothing.  However, in a weird way, it actually led to my most successful social media-based job search. While I was looking for work last year, I received an interview for a job as a press aide where the previous incumbent had resigned due to a backlash over inappropriate comments she had posted on her Facebook profile. On top of that, I applied as soon as I found out she had resigned, not even waiting for the position to be posted on a job board. That’s the kind of speed of action normally associated with social networks, and it certainly didn’t hurt my case.

Now, there are more social networks popping up that proclaim to help people find work.  But are they truly effective? Vault wants to know your thoughts and is conducting a survey about social media. It shouldn’t take much more than five minutes to complete, and as an incentive there are five year-long Gold memberships up for grabs.  Share your social media job hunt stories with us.

Dealing with Depression During the Job Search

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I know what you are thinking – all this talk about an improving economy and yet you don’t have a job yet.  They are saying America is doing better, but then you read about the significant cuts that are being made in New York.  What’s this furlough nonsense and why does it not sound good for my job prospects?  And don’t get started on Greece…if that economy falters any more, can America truly be out of harm’s way?  These are great questions, but dwelling on them will only hurt your job search.

When I first became unemployed, I seriously thought that I would get a job within a month’s time.  And I thought that I had the secret key to job search success.  I would just treat my job search like a job (who else had thought of such a unique concept).  I woke up at 7 a.m. and worked until 5 p.m., sometimes later, with hopes of securing a position somewhere…anywhere.

I got off to a good start.  I had a notebook filled with every single job I applied to.  I tailored cover letters and resumes.  I made follow-up calls, even though they often didn’t work on the initial attempts because HR staffs were also cut during the recession. (You should still make them, though.)

But then, after a month went by, I started getting up a little later.  I started enjoying The View (women arguing over politics…genius!).  I started getting a little angry.  I started making mistakes, like sending the wrong cover letters out and applying to jobs without sending the writing samples I had promised in the email.  I wasn’t getting job interviews.  Jobs that I felt I was destined to get went to someone else.  There is nothing more disheartening than getting a letter telling you that you weren’t even good enough for one interview for a job you seemed destined for.  It was a brutal period that I’ve only touched upon in previous blog posts.  I was depressed and needed to snap out of it  or else I was never going to get a job.

Realizing that I needed to make some moves, I changed my job search a bit and began reaching out to contacts for freelance work, which kept me busy and provided me with a little extra money.  But I made some other changes.  I played hooky from the job search at times and did other creative things that allowed me to stay sane.  First, at my girlfriend’s request, I went to Home Depot and Ikea and inexpensively redesigned our living room, which allowed me to be artistic and create a new space in which to perform my job search.  Newness makes me happy and is refreshing.  This was a fun step that recharged the batteries.

Second, I started taking care of myself again.  Yes, the 99-cent menu at Burger King fit my budget, but it also made me unable to fit my clothes, so I began a workout routine again that kept me in shape and energized me for a day of sending out resumes and heading out to job interviews.  Looking unhealthy adds to the depression, but looking fit gives you the confidence you need to conquer the world.

I also reacquainted myself with my Xbox.   I spent four hours sending out a resume and then took a break – playing MLB 2K10, and I had a blast.  It was fun and it broke up the monotony of the day.  Plus, while I was losing at the job search, I was winning in the game, and in a weird way, that lifted my spirits.  Everyone needs a boost.  Sometimes, I would take walks outside, meet some friends and play a little basketball and at least one day, I didn’t look for a job at all and just lounged and pampered myself with rest and de-stress.

I eventually found a job.  It took me time and it certainly wasn’t roses and sunshine along the way, but if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the news or the stress and if we allow our egos to get in the way, the jobs won’t come.  Sometimes, just like when you’re looking for a date, you need to let go a bit, have fun, relax and live life, before you actually get what you are looking for.

You Have to Be This Beautiful To Get This Job

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When I was unemployed and searching for a job, I always felt like there wasn’t a job site that met my specific talents.  Luckily, in spite of this, I was able to find a job, but should anything ever happen and I am out looking again, I was just made aware of a site that seems almost created exclusively for me.  On April 29, 2010, http://beautifuljobseekers.com was launched to help those men and women who have been hampered by their good looks and want to find a job where the competition is a little less fierce.

All sarcasm aside, this site truly did launch and the press release that was sent out to announce this new job search resource makes some sense, as disgusting as that may sound.  As the press release notes, if you walk into any successful night club, you’ll notice that the bartenders are hot.  At any restaurant, the waitresses can get you to order extra food just by batting their eyelashes.  And a good salesperson knows that their ability to sell can be augmented by a beautiful face, a winning smile and maybe a specific way they dress.  And look at your news anchors.  Beautiful people are a hot commodity, so it would make sense that a website would be devoted to this sect of the population that is out of work and “too beautiful” to be unemployed.

When I worked at a newspaper, our salesperson was very attractive and led us to record sales.  Our receptionist was beautiful and she was there to greet people – the first face they would see when they came to our office.  And one of our reporters was a knockout and she was strategically used on the police beat – why, because if police didn’t respond to the guy talk that sometimes wins them over with male reporters, they love flirting with a beautiful woman.

According to the press release, BeautifulJobSeekers.com is an employment website which helps beautiful, skilled and talented job seekers to stand out from the competition in the job market. At the same time it helps employers seeking beautiful, skilled and talented people, to speed up their recruitment process.  Here is what Ralph van Troost, founder of BeautifulJobSeekers.com, said about the site: “I figured if no-one else is going to close this ugly gap between beautiful job seekers and employers looking to hire them, I’m going to do it myself.”

But here is the problem with the site.  After working hard on a resume, preparing for the job interview and struggling with rejection from one company after another, there really is no need for a site to deflate the ego of the unemployed job seeker any further.  In order to get full access to the site, you need to be considered a beautiful person.  How does this happen?  You upload your picture and get ranked, sort of like Hot or Not Hot or Face the Jury.  If you don’t rank, you don’t get the access you might need for the job you want.  Now, not only are you not getting the job, you are also being told by total strangers that you might be ugly or at least not pretty enough to work where you want to work.  Imagine how detrimental this could be at a time when morale is already low.

But here is the other problem.  We do take notice of beautiful people – it’s a tragic fault of the society we live in, but if you pay close attention, there are those that aren’t considered beautiful who are the patron’s favorite bartender or waitress, because they win them over with conversation.  There are sales people who sign the clients on their charm.  There are reporters who use talent to get the story.  There are other kinds of beautiful out there, which can’t be measured by a photograph and superficial minds.

If anything, BeautifulJobSeekers.com is for those who already have jobs and are casually looking for new ones, but for those hardworking unemployed individuals who need a job yesterday, BeautifulJobSeekers.com is not only an ugly site, it’s a waste of time…and no matter what economy we are in, time is money.

Vault.com Offers Free Job Search/Career Management Webinar – April 30, 2010, 12-1pm

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Despite news that first-time jobless claims have taken a dip last week, the national unemployment rate continues to hold steady at 9.7%.  Finding a job is still a priority for so many Americans and Vault.com is taking another step in its quest to help them get back to work with another in a series of broad-based free webinars that will allow job seekers to ask former recruiters anything.

The webinar, slated for Friday, April 30, 2010, from 12 to 1 p.m. coinciding with the traditional lunch break, is designed to provide career information, advice and resources to help students entering the workforce and employed professionals land their next job.  The monthly free webinars offer users a taste of what is offered during the more focused webinars offered each week at $27.  Last month, over 1,000 participants signed up for the free career guidance. You must register to participate.  Go to http://www.vault.com/SixFigureStart.html.

“Despite signs of an economic recovery, job seekers still find themselves in a challenging and highly competitive marketplace.  Vault has a long history of providing the critical insight and information to enable high potential candidates to build and execute a well planned job search strategy.  Vault’s proven tools help candidates identify the right industry, the right role and the right company,” said Claude Sheer, Vault CEO.  “Our career experts will pack this one hour session with experiences and strategies built over a combined 40 years of career management experience.”

Vault career experts and SixFigureStart co-founders Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio and Caroline Ceniza-Levine are former Fortune 500 recruiters who have led staffing groups at Citigroup, Warner-Lambert-Pfizer, Merrill Lynch and Time Inc.  Together, the duo will be on hand to provide resume writing, interview preparation, and other job search-related advice.  They are prepared to answer the toughest job search quandaries for those at the executive level to those beginning their first job search.

Participants can look forward to discovering answers to some of the following questions:

  • I am losing jobs after getting to the final round of the interview process.  What am I doing wrong?
  • How do I respond when a job posting asks for a salary history and requirements?
  • I am working full-time.  What’s the best way to manage time during a part-time job search?
  • I am miserable in my new job after less than six months.  How can I leave without damaging future prospects?

“The job search is tough and only candidates with exceptional job search skills are getting placed,” said Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio.  “Taking part in these webinars will give you the edge needed to beat the competition, and there is a lot of competition out there, from the employed to the unemployed; and let’s not forget the college graduates that will be hitting the job marketplace in May.  Get all the critical advice you need during your lunch break.”

While this webinar is free, space is limited and filled on a first come, first served basis.  Vault encourages all participants to go to http://www.vault.com/SixFigureStart.html for more information and to register immediately as each webinar is announced.  Submit your questions in advance to info@sixfigurestart.com or pose them during the webinar.  Questions submitted in advance will be answered first.

How Showing Flexibility Can Help You Land Your Next Job

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Following on from yesterday’s post on changing paradigms in the working world, both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times provide further evidence that this isn’t your grandparents’ hiring market, and that the key to surviving in it is adaptability.

First up is a piece in the Journal, which points to the trend of companies giving younger workers “new responsibilities typically reserved for employees with more work experience under their belts.” The reason: younger workers are typically cheaper and therefore less likely to be laid off for cost reasons than more experienced colleagues. That creates opportunity for younger workers seeking to get ahead—provided they’re willing to take on extra responsibilities, and likely for little to no extra money.

Then there’s the Times, which reported yesterday on a surge in short-term contracts—a result partly attributable to cautious employers not wanting to commit to full-time hires, and partly, as the Times piece makes clear, to employees seeking to keep their options open and not become reliant on a single employer.

What both articles make clear is that flexibility and adaptability are key qualities to be able to demonstrate to existing or potential employers. Short of including those qualities as adjectives on a resume—not a tactic that’s likely to be especially effective, given that anyone can do it—the question is how to draw attention to one’s ability to deal with flux and learn on the job.

For those already in jobs, that answer is easy: volunteer for new tasks and projects, and express willingness to try anything that comes along.

For those seeking a new position, however, the task is trickier. Obviously the best place to stress your adaptability is in an interview. For that reason, it’s worth brainstorming a few examples of different types of work you’ve done in advance of an upcoming interview. And, if you can stress how you stepped up to a new task that lay outside of your regular responsibilities, so much the better.

For so many of us, nailing the interview is the easy part. Getting it—especially with so much competition—is the tough part of the process. As such, try preparing a resume that demonstrates a range of skills and abilities, even if you held the same job for the past 20 years. And, as always, if you can provide details of how those skills brought value to your employer you should be a lock for a call inviting you to come in and press your case face to face.

The importance of being flexible cannot be overstated in this economy. But it’s about more than a simple exercise in branding yourself: with temporary positions likely to dominate the market for some time to come, demonstrating flexibility and adaptability on the job is the real key to getting ahead—not to mention securing that permanent offer or killer reference for the next position.

In Case You Missed It: How the Hiring Process Really Works

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What does $27 get you these days?  Depending on the place, you could probably get a drink or two with some friends after work and be able to remember the night the next day.  You might instead go on a date to Friday’s, choose from the $9.99 menu…and <gasp> pay for her, too!  Or you could spend your money and completely change your life, with advice you will remember for a lifetime; advice that could help you land your next job.

On Friday, April 16, 2010, Vault.com teamed up with SixFigureStart to present another edition of its weekly seminar series aimed at providing job seekers and those looking to change careers with the intelligence they need for the career they want.  Caroline Ceniza-Levine was on hand for a webinar entitled “How the Hiring Process Really Works: An Insider’s Guide to Getting the Job” that provided a behind-the-scenes look at what the recruiter sees during the job search.

According to Caroline, because the economy is still in a state of flux, the employer continues to have the upper hand in the job search.  However, with companies now starting to hire more than before, the time is ripe for job seekers to get out there and be noticed.  Still, with the uptick in the economy giving employed people the courage to test the waters and change jobs, the market has become even more competitive than before.  Sharpening your job skills is of the essence.

The webinar, which you missed (yes…you!), focused on the 8 steps of the hiring process from the employer’s perspective:

1.  The job opening is defined.  Our company needs a new public relations specialist.

2.  The budget is approved.  The company gets the green light on offering $XX for the job.

3.  The search kicks off.  HR posts the job on the company site or through a job board, like on Vault.com.

4.  Resumes.  The handwritten ones ripped out of spiral notebooks are thrown out here, as are resumes that are too hard to read, too long, or have spelling errors.  You have been warned.

5.  The interview process begins. Remember, you only have a few minutes to make an immediate impression.  Develop your elevator pitch fast. Make sure you follow-up with a thank you.

6.  Finalists are selected.  Keep your energy up as you move through the process.  Each interview takes you one step closer to the job.

7.  An offer is made.  Everything is negotiable, including salary.  And if you didn’t get an offer, maintain contact with the potential employers, because if the offer isn’t accepted by the first place job seeker, the runner-up can still find him or herself with the crown.

8.  The new hire begins work.  This is where you want to be.

Caroline offers key advice on how your own job search should not begin with Step #3, but rather before then, through various networking possibilities.  This is what we often refer to as the Hidden Job Market.  For every job that gets on a job board, there are so many others that don’t make it because someone with the proper networking capabilities got to the company first.  These networking opportunities, such as friend referrals, can also help address issues with your resume, such as a gap in employment, or extreme career changes.

In addition, Caroline answered some of the following questions:

  1. I got laid off and my boss and my boss’ boss offered to help with my job search; how do I take advantage of this opportunity?
  2. What are the best ways to talk about gaps in employment?
  3. I sent my resume to 50 places and had two friends put my resume forth personally, but I have heard nothing.  Feels like a big black hole and I am getting very frustrated.  Why am I not getting any responses?

You can find out answers to these questions and other advice that will help your job search by purchasing a downloadable version of this webinar…or register for the next webinar and learn on Friday, April 23, 2010, from 12 – 1 p.m., how to Identify Your Ideal Job Targets.  This webinar will teach you how you can get your dream job when you don’t know what it is?  Go to http://www.vault.com/SixFigureStart.html to register today.

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