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If a hiring manager clicks to open a resume and the document is neon green… chances are they will not be reading it. It is always better to be safe than sorry, and that is why we’ve always recommended to leave colours off your resume.

There is a chance that a hiring manager will appreciate the creativity and the unique element of colour in your resume.

There is a chance that adding colour into your resume will help you “stand out from the crowd”. However, there is a greater chance that a hiring manager will dislike the colour, and that you will not be considered as a serious candidate.

It comes down to personal style and preference, and unfortunately it is impossible to determine the hiring manager’s personal style and preference when you’ve never met. For those of you who refuse to keep it black and white – you can use colour, but it will be at your own risk.

That being said, Resume Target polled a group of professionals on LinkedIn to get an answer to this very question: “Would you disregard a resume that incorporates colours?”

According to these results, if you choose to integrate colours into your resume format, you can expect to lose 11 per cent of job opportunities immediately. To be honest, we thought that number would be higher. So why do some hiring managers accept colour while others don’t? We’ve broken down the reasoning so you can decide your course of action.

Pros

When light colours are used sparingly throughout a resume, it can help highlight specific areas of information and also break up sections of the resume. Effective light colours to use on resumes include grey, light blue, and pale beige. Bright colours can distract the reader from the content itself, where light colours are much easier on the eye.

When a hiring manager is searching for the right candidate for a role, most of them will not disregard your resume simply because you’ve incorporated colours. The content on your resume is always more important. This is also why the colouring on your resume should be minimal, because the attention should remain on the text, and not on the format.

Cons

The use of bright colours on a resume, or too much colour on a resume, is viewed as unprofessional. The traditional resume is black and white. This format is easy on the eyes, easy to read, and easy to follow. That is why it works. When you incorporate bright colours into this format, the focus is immediately shifted.

Infusing your creativity into your resume is only important if creativity is a skill that you are trying to demonstrate in your resume.

This is acceptable for professionals within a creative field or industry. For professionals in fields and industries outside of the creative scope, a black and white resume (maybe with a touch of grey) is the most effective format.


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When developing your LinkedIn profile, a simple copy and paste of your resume just won’t cut it.

Yes, a LinkedIn profile is an online version of your resume – the keyword is online. That means that you are targeting this profile for an online audience, and that is very different from targeting an offline audience.

The attention span of an online reader is shorter than that of an offline reader. When it comes to LinkedIn, you are hoping to catch the attention of a recruiter and maybe even a hiring manager – these are individuals who spend their days reviewing resumes.

When they receive hard copy resumes for a position, they already know that the individual is interested in the role and may be qualified for it.

However, LinkedIn is completely different. If they are searching through the hundreds of millions of profiles on LinkedIn to find a candidate that they think is qualified for the role, the process becomes far more daunting. Suddenly a stack of a few hundred resumes doesn’t seem so bad.

That is why your LinkedIn profile needs to catch their attention with the right information – right away. We’ve compiled a list of a few ways that you need to differentiate your LinkedIn profile from your resume in order to get better results in the online space.

DO: include your LinkedIn profile URL on your resume

To increase the reach of your LinkedIn profile, you should include the link to your profile on your resume. This is also an important reason as to why your LinkedIn profile should offer a slightly different side of you than what is already on the resume.

DO: include a professional picture of yourself

Your profile should include a professional picture of yourself, because this is a more personalized document than the resume is. A picture on the resume would be viewed as unprofessional; however on the LinkedIn profile, it is a great way to personify yourself as more than text on a screen.

DON’T: include your current title as your headline

LinkedIn provides you the option to include the title of your current role as your headline. Do not use this option. Remember, this is an online space. In the online world, you want to be searchable. Therefore, the headline should be common keywords and terms that recruiters would use to find individuals in your role (or the role that you are targeting).

DON’T: copy and paste your value statement into your summary section

Remember, your LinkedIn profile is a space where you can personify yourself to the recruiter or hiring manager. Therefore, take the information from your value statement and turn it into first person.

Phrase the summary as though you are talking directly to the reader, tell them what they need to know about you, and why your skills and experience will match their requirements.

DON’T: phrase your professional experience in the first person

After phrasing your summary in the first person, you should not do the same for the professional experience section. Under each role, the information should remain the same as it appears on your resume. However, this is where it gets tricky.

LinkedIn maintains character limits for each role; therefore you may not be able to include all of the information that is present on your resume. It is important to focus on your achievements and contributions and cut down the information that focuses on daily tasks.

Also, keep in mind any confidentiality or bad practices.

If you have disclosed certain numbers regarding annual revenues or targets in your resume that your previous/current employer would not want published online – remove them from your profile. This also goes for any information regarding failures in certain processes with previous/current employers – do not include this information.

You most likely have connections that are still employed with the company, and if senior management were to see information on your profile that they are unhappy with, you may lose a good reference and ruin a relationship.

DO: include information that is not mentioned on your resume

Another great way to personalize your LinkedIn profile is to include details about your community involvement, professional development courses and professional organization memberships that may not have fit within your two-page resume.

Just don’t overdo it. There is no limit on how long your LinkedIn profile should be, but you will only keep the hiring manager or recruiter’s attention for so long.

Make that time count by showing them the right information that will catch their interest enough so they will contact you.


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Job seekers place a huge importance on making themselves stand out, and it has never been more important to do so. Today’s intense job market paired with advanced technology has turned job hunting into quite the uphill battle. We’ve talked about getting creative with your resume before, but this time we’re taking it way outside the box.

Though a resume has always been a traditional document consisting of words on paper, the new fad is to create a video instead. This is still a relatively new trend and it has been incredibly successful for some candidates, and incredibly disastrous for others.

That’s why we are breaking down the Who, What, Where, When and Why of video resumes to help you figure out if this is the right choice for you.

Who

Not every job seeker should take the route of a video resume. You should only stray towards a creative style video resume if your industry and field is also creative. A video resume is also a great idea for those who work with video production in their career.

For business professionals, we recommend against video resumes. The skills and experience that a business professional needs to portray in their resume, is better communicated via text than it is visually. Also, hiring managers in non-creative industries are less likely to welcome a video resume for a prospective candidate.

What

A video resume should accompany your physical resume document – it should not stand alone. Therefore, a video resume cannot be a regurgitation of the information on your resume. You need to say (and show) something different.

Think of it like a portfolio of previous work. If you are using video to show your skills and experience, you should only do so if those skills and experience cannot be demonstrated on paper.

This is a great time for professionals such as broadcast journalists, cartoon animators, and video editing specialists to show their skills in a portfolio style video resume. In your resume, you can refer to your video resume as a visual demonstration of the skills and experience you will offer in your new role.

Where

Do not upload your video onto YouTube. Your resume should not be openly available to the public. If you choose to upload to YouTube, ensure that your URL is private and that only those who receive the URL can view the video.

We recommend using a more private website, such as Vimeo, where you can protect your video resume with a password.

Before uploading your video, take a look at samples and other videos available on the website to ensure that your video matches up to the quality that is already offered.

When

Allow your video resume to be secondary to your traditional resume.

Towards the end of your cover letter or e-note, include the URL for your video resume. This way the hiring manager has already read through your skills and experience, and if they are interested in viewing a video resume, they will do so.

Many hiring managers may shortlist you without viewing the video resume – especially if they prefer traditional job applications.

Other hiring managers, who prefer a more creative application, will immediately click the URL to view the video resume. This added touch is what may land you on the shortlist.

Why

We recommend opting to create a video resume if your job search has not been successful thus far. If you are already gaining traction through your traditional resume and receiving interviews, then you don’t need to change your job search strategy just yet.

If you are in a creative field and find that you are constantly being overlooked for each role you apply for, then it is time to determine a new strategy for your job search.

If you are in a field where you can showcase your skills effectively through a video, then this could be a great option for you. However, you should also look into strengthening your traditional resume, because that document will need to catch the hiring manager’s attention before the video resume can wow them.


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There’s something about hearing a real-life human voice at the other end of the phone that a computer will never be able to duplicate. As we continue to live in the era of automation where computers are taking over the roles of humans in so many industries – we also must recognize the roles that computers can’t replace.

As a job seeker searching the web, you’ve most likely come across websites who are willing to offer you a free resume assessment. This is a great and inexpensive way to get some tips as to why you haven’t had any traction in your job search. However, when you are offered a free service, you should always ensure that it is worth your time.

A resume assessment simply cannot be done by a computer, and many free resume assessment websites operate in that manner. It may be a free service, but it will end up being a waste of your time. Your precious time that you could’ve spent applying for more job opportunities.

An effective and worthwhile resume assessment service will include a friendly phone call from the resume expert to explain why your resume is (or is not) effective, and how you can improve it.

It really comes down to common sense. The hiring manager who will be reading your resume is a human. This is the human that you are trying to impress with your document.

So if you are seeking a second opinion as to whether or not the hiring manager will find your resume impressive – shouldn’t you be asking a human? Computers cannot perceive the same emotions and thought process that a hiring manager would have, and that is why your resume assessment should always be done by a human.

How do I know if a human is assessing my resume when I submit it online?

Some websites will do a fantastic job of tricking you into thinking that your resume will be assessed by a human, even if that is not the case. We’ve outlined a few tips for you to try, in order to determine if the service will be worthwhile.

Call-back

Many free resume assessments are distributed over email. The entire process is automated from the point that you submit your resume, to the assessment that you receive.

If there is no option in the service to discuss the resume assessment with the reviewer, chances are there is no reviewer. The resume is being assessed by a computer and you are getting a standard review that is sent out to hundreds of other job seekers.

Testimonials

Read the reviews online. Better yet – look for reviews and testimonials on the website itself. This is a great way to get the inside scoop.

If previous users have been delighted with the results of their resume assessment, and they’ve expressed it clearly in a testimonial, then you’ve got the proof you need.

Yes, sometimes these testimonials can be fabricated (which is immoral and bad practice), but if you look up the name of the reviewer on LinkedIn, you can ensure that they exist.

Contact Number

The company should clearly include a contact phone number for you to call if you are interested in the free resume assessment service.

If you cannot find a phone number, do not use the service. This is the number one clue if an online company is purely automated. You want to use a company that employs resume experts to conduct your review – and you want to be able to talk to them.


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Realistically, no matter how many tips we give you on how to ace your interview… you will still mess it all up from time to time. So we’re taking a different route to tell you how to recover from a terrible interview.

Few people walk out of an interview completely confident that they nailed it.

Most people are humble and modest, and often unsure if they answered all of the questions appropriately. This is a common feeling. However, there are also instances when a candidate walks out of an interview completely aware of the fact that they bombed the interview.

This is unfortunate – but it’s not the end of the world. It may seem hard to believe, but you can recover from a bad interview. Hiring managers are completely aware of how nervous you might be, and they can often be very understanding.

You may have been their favourite candidate prior to the interview, and if that’s the case, they will be more open to your attempt to implement some post-interview damage control.

Let’s break down what you need to do to get yourself back on the shortlist.

1) Don’t Over Analyze

If you are already not confident in your interview performance, chances are you will now find something wrong with every answer you gave. You will break down your words to the smallest details and determine that there was something wrong in everything you said. Stop it.

Review the interview from a high level and determine what your biggest mistake was. It usually comes down to one answer that was either wrong or not strong enough. Make this one answer your focal point, and outline a better response with the details you should’ve mentioned in the interview.

Reach out to the hiring manager with a casual email explaining that your nerves got the best of you and that after leaving the interview, you wanted to clarify one of your answers. You can then let the hiring manager know the stronger response and hope they will erase the original one from their memory.

2) Thank You Letter

Whether you gave a great interview or a terrible one, you should be sending a thank you letter to the interviewer the same day.

In the case of a bad interview, the thank you letter is a great time to attempt to redeem yourself. Keep the tone of the thank you letter calm but professional, and jokingly mention that you were nervous.

This is also the perfect time to include details or information that you did not mention in the interview – that you wish you did. Let the hiring manager know that you’ve given a particular question of theirs some more thought, and then express the additional details and information to strengthen your original answer.

You will also show the hiring manager that you are interested enough in the position to continue pondering the questions afterwards, to ensure you gave the best possible answers.

3) Learn From It

The worst outcome of a terrible interview, is a streak of terrible interviews. Don’t let one bad interview knock you off your game.

Whether you are being called in for a second interview with the same company, or a first interview with an entirely new company, you must keep your nerves calm and erase the bad experience from your memory.

If you constantly dwell on what you did wrong in your last interview, you are bound to repeat the mistakes as they will be on your mind.

Instead, learn from your past mistakes and create a resolution plan to ensure these mistakes do not occur again. Then enter the new interview with a fresh mind and a fresh game plan on how you will wow the hiring manager.

4) Don’t Give Up

If you walk out of a bad interview and never attempt to contact the hiring manager about the position ever again – you have admitted defeat.

You and the hiring manager both know that you didn’t give a great interview performance, but if you never attempt to redeem yourself, the hiring manager will assume that you have given up and will move on to the next opportunity.

By maintaining contact with the hiring manager and providing additional details and responses to rectify the initial mistakes you made in the first interview, you will prove to the hiring manager just how much you want the position.

Your persistence and ability to transition a negative situation into a positive one will also translate into preferred qualities for a successful candidate.

I said the steps would be easy, and they definitely are. All it takes from you is the ability to suck up your pride and realize that you need to provide a better impression than what you gave in the interview.

Admitting you gave a bad interview is the first step – then you can follow the four I’ve mentioned to do your best to clean up after yourself.

Will this work every time? Definitely not, but if you really want that position, then why wouldn’t you try?


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“I enjoy long walks on the beach, hiking with my family, and playing soccer in my spare time.” Is this a resume, or your online dating profile? It baffles us as to why people think it is important, and even appropriate, to include your personal interests on your resume.

Whatever your argument is – we’ve already heard it. You want the hiring manager to view you as a real person. You want to use your hobbies as interesting talking points in an interview. You want to strike something in common with the hiring manager to get the conversation started.

These are all fair points, we will give you that, but it’s still not enough to warrant including your personal interests on your resume.

At the end of the day, including personal interests on your resume is generally a waste a time. Notice the word generally, because yes – sometimes your arguments prove to be true.

Sometimes a hobby is a great talking point in an interview, sometimes you will find common ground with the hiring manager, but at the end of the day – is this information the best you have to put on your resume?

Waste of Space

In a resume, you have about two pages to wow the hiring manager. Use this space effectively. Focus on your professional achievements and experience as this is what will qualify you for the role – not your love of biking.

Unrelated Information

You are using your resume to convince the hiring manager that you are the right person for the job. The fact that you’re an avid runner, does not qualify you for the job unless you’re applying to work at The Running Room.

If you have a personal interest that is directly related to your professional career, then you should definitely include it.

For example – if you are an event coordinator who volunteers your time to coordinate charity events for a local organization, you will show that you demonstrate your professional skills in and out of the office. That is a great piece of information for the hiring manager to know.

You’re Not Interesting

One of the biggest pet peeves for hiring managers when it comes to personal interests on a resume is that they are always the same. You play a sport and like to be outdoors. There is nothing thrilling about that information.

A suitable time to make an exception and include your personal interests on your resume is if they are unique and interesting. Mentioning that you are a former Olympian is definitely unique on a resume; it will catch the hiring manager’s attention and will be a great talking point in the interview.

There is No Value

Every single line on your resume should earn its place there. Think of it like valuable real estate. You don’t want to put something on your land that won’t yield a return on your investment.

The value of your personal interests on your resume is lacking in comparison to the value of your professional experience or academic background.

Therefore, it is beneficial to you to expand on the information in those areas, rather than including your hobbies and interests in your resume.

If you take a look at our Resume Samples, you will see that we don’t include personal interests and hobbies on our resumes unless the information is relevant and pertinent for the individual.

If you need help and guidance on what to include on your resume, sign up for a free resume review today.


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It’s your third day at your new job, you step in the elevator on your way up to the office and your boss walks in right after you… what now? You don’t have an amazing 30-second elevator pitch to pull out of your back pocket, so instead you stand in silence until you reach your floor.

You definitely didn’t leave a great impression on your boss – you didn’t leave a bad one either – you just left no impression at all. Don’t be afraid to break the silence. By starting a short and easy conversation, you are establishing your presence and demonstrating your social skills.

One of the most important soft skills that employers find in successful candidates is effective and professional social skills.

If you aren’t confident in your social skills or you’re absolutely terrible at thinking on-the-spot, we’ve got three fail-safe conversation starters that will help you break the silence.

1. The Weather

I truly believe that this is everyone’s go-to conversation topic in all social situations.

I talk to my hairdresser about the weather as they cut my hair, I discuss the weather while catching up with friends, and I definitely mention the weather with my colleagues. Although it is a blatantly obvious conversation starter, it always works!

If the weather conditions are extreme or abnormal, the go-to line is “can you believe this weather?”

However, you can even make a comment if the weather is absolutely perfect outside with a line like, “isn’t this weather amazing, I wish it was like this all year.”

If it seems simple and easy, that’s because it is.

2. The News

There is always something happening in the news. Always. Whether it is local, national, or international, there is definitely a story that everyone has at least heard about.

However, the news can be a tricky topic because you also want to avoid any topics where your boss may be on the opposing side of an argument. So our recommendation, stick with natural disasters if you can.

Everyone thinks a natural disaster is terrible and unfortunate, whether it’s a flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc. If you’re really at a loss, let’s hope that your building has a news screen playing in the elevator.

Glance up at the screen as soon as you enter, take a look at what’s going on in the world, and cue your conversation.

3. Compliments

When all else fails, take a look at your boss’s outfit and pick an item that you like.

There is a thin line between offering a friendly compliment and blatantly sucking up to a superior, so be wary if you choose this conversation starter. Also, make sure the conversation can be extended past a “thank you”, by following up with a question or statement.

“That leather briefcase looks great, I’ve been searching for one that colour, where did you find it if you don’t mind me asking?”

You’ve offered a compliment, made a statement and followed up with a question. Now your boss will have to reply with more than just a “thank you”, and the conversation doors have opened.

A conversation like this one in the elevator only has to last about 30 seconds. These tactics can also be used for lunchroom conversations, coffee break conversations, water cooler conversations, and a variety of other professional and social settings.

We haven’t reinvented the wheel here – these are definitely obvious options. However 9 times out of 10, we are all standing in a silent elevator. So it’s time to keep a mental list of these conversation topics so you can pull them out and show everyone that you’re the social butterfly of the office.


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Let me guess – you hate writing cover letters. Don’t we all?

The reason that we all hate writing cover letters is mostly because they are boring, and we generally don’t know what to say. Many job seekers even believe in the myth that their resume will catch the hiring manager’s attention, despite how terrible their cover letter is.

Regardless of your reasoning, one fact remains – your cover letter is your first chance to grab the hiring manager’s attention. If you don’t set yourself apart from the pack and pique the reader’s interest, you can kiss the shortlist goodbye.

Now before I go any further I must state that some hiring managers actually prefer the professional version of a cover letter that follows the same outline and wording as hundreds of other cover letters that they will read – but if you are looking for ways to veer away from the standards, then the tips below are definitely for you.

Address the Reader

Seems simple enough, but a majority of job seekers forget how important this detail is. If your cover letter begins with “To Whom It May Concern”, you have already made your first mistake. You should do your absolute best to include the hiring manager’s name at the top of your resume.

If you’re lucky, the name will be included on the job posting, or in the email address that you are submitting to. The second step would be to check LinkedIn to locate the individual responsible for hiring for that particular position.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to call the company and ask for the hiring manager’s name. If all of your attempts fail, the back-up option is to include “Dear Hiring Manager”, but a name just makes it so much better.

Interesting Introduction

Remember your high school English class when your teacher explained how to write a great essay, and one of the first tips was to have an interesting opening sentence? Well, that rule is true for almost everything you’ll ever write, at any age, for any purpose. The introductory sentence to your cover letter needs to be interesting.

A great way to catch the reader’s interest is to begin your cover letter with an anecdote – a professional anecdote.

If you’ve experienced a career highlight or turning point, then tell the hiring manager about it. You want the hiring manager to read this anecdote and think “wow, this person accomplished that under those circumstances… that’s pretty cool.”

Now you’ve caught their attention, impressed them, and seriously increased your chances of getting a callback.

Use Bullet Points

The traditional style of cover letters focuses on paragraphs, but the modern style focuses on bullet points. After introducing yourself to the hiring manager, you can include your achievements and skills in bullet point form to draw the hiring manager’s eyes towards the most important information.

Also, try to stay between three and five bullet points. These are just highlights; you don’t need to include every detail – that’s what the resume is for.

Research and Personalize

Researching the company is that extra bit of work that you need to do. If you’re too lazy to take the time to personalize your cover letter with information about the company itself, you don’t really want the job.

In the online job market, most hiring managers will assume that you are sending off the same resume and cover letter for every role you apply for. By making it incredibly obvious that you have targeted this cover letter directly to them, you will automatically grab their attention.

Including the company name throughout the cover letter simply isn’t enough.

You should integrate keywords from their value proposition and mission statement and explain why you will be a great fit within their corporate culture. You can also bring information from the job posting directly into your cover letter and explain how your skills and achievements align perfectly with what they are seeking.


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We’ve broken down lists and lists of things you need to include on your LinkedIn profile, and how you can optimize and improve your LinkedIn profile – but many of you don’t realize what you need to remove from your LinkedIn profile.

Just like your resume, there are little details on your LinkedIn profile that you must pay attention to. In the case of your LinkedIn profile, it is even more important to pay attention to these details because your profile is accessible online.

If your LinkedIn profile is your online resume, you have to keep it completely professional to ensure you are giving off the best first impression – and that is precisely why you need to remove these four things.

1. Outdated or Unprofessional Profile Picture

The lack of acceptable profile pictures on LinkedIn is disgraceful. This is not your Facebook profile picture, this is a professional image of yourself for potential employers and recruiters to view. These are people who don’t know you, and your photo is the only impression they have of you.

An outdated profile picture is just simply inaccurate. A picture of yourself ten years ago should not be the picture on your profile. This is not a trick to use if you are trying to mask your age because when you arrive for an interview, they will figure it out.

2. Present Tense for Past Jobs

Just like your resume, you should only use present tense verbs and descriptions for your current role. All previous roles should be written in the past tense. This ensures that the reader will be able to follow along through the story of your career, starting with your current role and moving back through your earlier roles.

3. Older Roles

Many LinkedIn users see that their profile has no limit on its length, and therefore choose to include all of their previous roles. Simply because you are not constrained to two pages as you are in your resume, this doesn’t mean you can continue adding as much information as possible.

The resume rules still apply. Only focus on your relevant roles in the last 10-15 years of your career. Any roles earlier than this point should be completely eliminated from the LinkedIn profile.

You also cannot include roles without dates, as dates are a required field when adding a position to your LinkedIn profile. Therefore, it is even more important to only focus on the last 10-15 years, as you don’t want potential employers and recruiters to see just how many years of experience you have if you’re hovering over the 20 to 30 year mark.

4. Personal Information

LinkedIn allows you to include personal information such as your marital status, hobbies, and Twitter username.

Your marital status is never required information, so don’t include it. Your hobbies are most likely not related to your professional skillset and therefore not relevant on your profile either.

Finally, when it comes to information such as your Twitter username – it can get tricky. If you choose to include your Twitter username, you must ensure that your tweets are always professional. If you tweet using profanity or about inappropriate topics, this will reflect poorly on you as a professional candidate.

Take five minutes to scroll through your LinkedIn profile and ensure you haven’t made these mistakes. If you have, take action immediately. Your online resume is in jeopardy and it’s time to save it.


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