REAL-WORLD TESTED JOB SEARCH
AND CAREER PLANNING STRATEGIES
Here are the most recent articles on Career Choice Guide, posted immediately as they are written.
To subscribe to this site's blog, and be informed as soon as a new article is posted, simply right click on the orange RSS button, copy the URL of the RSS feed, and paste it into your feed reader.
If you use Feedly, My Yahoo, My MSN or Bloglines, click on the appropriate button and follow the instructions.
New to RSS? Want to follow this blog, but still not sure what to do? Click on the small question mark to the left of "Subscribe to This Site" for more instructions.
Here is a cover letter sample to give you some ideas and inspiration for writing your own cover letter.
Need a refresher on all of the applicant tracking system information that's been covered in the past six articles? Here are links to all of the articles in the applicant tracking system series.
It's time to take everything I've covered in the applicant tracking system (ATS) series and pull it all together into a sample resume. Here's your sample ATS resume.
An applicant tracking system optimized resume needs to be saved in a very specific way to ensure it is formatted correctly to avoid "choking" the ATS software. Here's how to save your resume to ensure you avoid special characters that the software cannot process, and to ensure you have used the file format the employer requires.
You may know you need to use effective resume keywords to score well in ATS screening. But do you know how to find those important words and phrases?
Discover how to research keywords so you can create an ATS optimized resume that scores as well as possible.
ATS software uses resume keywords and phrases to score your resume, so the better you understand how the ATS interprets keywords, the better equipped you'll be to write a resume that scores well.
Creating an effective, keyword rich ATS optimized resume is not a simple matter of stuffing the document with as many words as possible. Here's how to really use keywords effectively on your ATS optimized resume.
Applicant tracking systems require very specific resume formatting. This software has some limitations, and if you don't format your resume correctly, it will not be interpreted correctly by the ATS software.
Here's how to format your resume for ATS screening.
You may have heard the hype about ATS optimized resumes. Some experts will tell you that every employer is using applicant tracking systems to screen resumes. The fact is, that is just not true.
Here's the first article in a series of six about ATS optimized resumes, with an overview of how this software is used by employers, who actually uses applicant tracking systems, and how to tell if you need to use ATS resumes in your own job search.
Sample combination style career counselor resume with formatting tips.
Sample career change resume shows you how to highlight your most relevant skills and education to switch into a new career.
Choosing a career is one of the most impactful decisions you can make. Don't leave it up to chance! The tools, resources and strategies here will help you understand yourself and the jobs that interest you so you can make a choice that is right for you.
Find out the most common resume writing mistakes that are easily avoidable, so you can prevent these costly errors.
One of the most common problems people have with writing cover letters is not knowing when to capitalize job titles.
Like it or not, employers see your cover letters as a representation of you at your very best, and they infer things about your work habits based on the contents of your cover letters, so they must be pristine.
The short answer is almost never. People frequently make the mistake of capitalizing job titles in cover letters when none are needed.
Example: Stephen Thomas, Vice President
Example: Vice President Thomas attended the conference.
You won't typically encounter either of those situations when writing a cover letter.
At the risk of stating the obvious, most of the time, people are job searching because they are out of work. That means they won't have a job title to attach to the signature line and will just sign off with a name and no job title.
However, if you do have a title to include after your name in the signature line, it should be capitalized.
This example is typically used only when referring to another person. You would not normally refer to yourself as Vice President Thomas.
Your cover letter is all about you, not other people, so this rule is rarely applicable when writing cover letters.
Usually, when you mention a job title in a cover letter, you are referring to a job you once held.
Example: I worked as a quality control technician for five years.
Any time you refer to a job you once had, or a current job, in the body of your cover letter, the job title does not require a capital.
Sometimes people incorrectly use capitals on job titles out of pride. They feel their job is important; therefore, it deserves a capital.
Other times, people use capitals incorrectly to direct attention to the job title. A capitalized word stands out in the body of a letter more than a word written in all lower case letters, but it is still incorrect.
Granted, some employers won't know this grammar rule and won't penalize you for incorrect capitalization of job titles, but those employers who are aware of the rule might form a negative opinion of you.
Employers review so many applications, they will use any reason to exclude someone from being considered for the job. Don't let a stray capital exclude you from a great job!
There's a lot of terrible resume writing information floating around online that can really get in the way of landing the job you want. Here is the truth about some common job search myths.
Discover the single most important step in writing a winning resume which is skipped by most job seekers.
Good resume writing requires you to follow some very specific rules and conventions. Here are 12 rules you need to follow to create a winning resume.
Learn how to create a resume the shows you at your best with this 12 step guide.
My ebook, The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Creating a Winning Resume, is free on Amazon from 7/24/2013 to 7/26/2013.
It will help you create a resume that shows you in your best light and get back to work.
Grab your copy here while it is free: http://smarturl.it/resumeguide
Learn how to prepare a resume that gets employers' attention and gets you back to work with The Resume Writing Guide.
Are you trying to make a work-related decision and feeling stuck? Try this simple and effective career decision test.
Use this printable job skills list to find out if you have the skills employers in your industry are looking for. Find out how here.
This free, printable job interview strategy planning guide will help you track every detail of your interviews, determine what you're doing right, and what you need to fix to find work.
I am thrilled to announce that my new ebook, The Resume Writing Guide: A Step-by-Step Workbook for Creating a Winning Resume, is available on Amazon.com! This book has been a long time coming, so I'm happy to finally be able to share everything I've learned through writing over 1000 resumes.
I've seen a lot of resume books in my time, and while there are some helpful books that provide good general explanations of the dos and don'ts of resume writing, I've never found a good book that takes you one step at a time through the process of creating a resume and helps you make good decisions about how to write your own resume based on your specific background, strengths and challenges.
That's why I decided to write my own book - Because the book I'd love to be able to give to clients, and the book I would love to have read 14 years ago when I was first learning how to write resumes didn't seem to exist.
The Resume Writing Guide takes you through the actual process of creating a resume one step at a time, carefully guiding you through each decision and answering all of the "what ifs" people normally worry about.
The answers to all of those "what ifs" are in there.
I've broken the resume writing process into small, manageable steps. In each chapter, you complete one or two tasks and make decisions about your resume based on your specific circumstances. If you complete all of the tasks to the best of your ability, by the time you reach the end of the book, you will have written a resume that shows you in your best possible light.
You don't need a Kindle to read this book. You can read it on any computer or tablet using Amazon's free software available here http://amzn.to/10jJ5Ge
In order to get the word out about my new book, I'm offering it for a short time for only 99¢. You can get your copy here: http://amzn.to/ZLYJOj
16 good resume examples show you how to structure your resume for a variety of situations.
This sample manufacturing resume for a wastewater operator shows how to demonstrate increased responsibility over time at a single company.
Music teacher sample resume showing how to avoid repetition if you've held the same job at more than one company.
Here's a quality assurance resume written in the chronological style. This resume format is a good choice for anyone who has a solid work history.
High school graduation is just around the corner. That means young people should be job searching! Here's a resume for a recent high school grad.
This forklift operator resume shows what to do when your most relevant experience is in the past, and the work you are currently doing is not particularly relevant to the job you are seeking.
This administrative assistant resume shows you how to structure your work history section if you've worked at a lot of contract jobs through a temporary agency.
The trick with showing contract jobs on your resume is you don't want to list a lot of separate short-term jobs because, at a glance, it will look like you've been job jumping.
Here's how to show several short term jobs in one longer entry.