Josephine's Personnel Services, Inc.

Focus Your Resume on Results!

September 21st, 2012

Effective resumes typically follow an established formal structure, and there’s a good reason for this. When resumes are standardized, hiring managers can easily scan them for necessary information, and they can also compare one resume to another in a way that’s efficient, accurate and fair. So while we work to create resumes that stand out and give us an edge over the competition, it’s still a good idea to stay within the formal framework that defines the classic resume. All resumes should begin with a clear, compelling summary section. The summary should be followed by an overview of the candidate’s educational background. And the education section should be followed by a section dedicated to work history and relevant experience.

Making the Most of Your Work History Section

For most mid-career candidates, the work history portion of the resume can be broken down into distinct sections for each relevant past position. Format your resume in a way that separates each position from the others, and under each position title, offer the following information:

  1. The name of the company and the dates you began and ended the position. This is the easy part. Make sure your dates are accurate, and don’t alter a single word of your position title. If you were a Junior Associate Account Manager, don’t just call yourself an Account Manager. Dates of employment and position titles are easy for reviewers to confirm with a single phone call.
  1. The basic responsibilities that fell to you while you held the position. If the person holding this job title is expected to process incoming forms, monitor a sensor array, or generate five new client accounts per year, list these under the position title, dates, and company name. Keep this list of responsibilities as short and efficient as possible. This information helps reviewers understand your background, but it doesn’t do much to help you shine, since these responsibilities represent the minimum necessary to hold a given position.
  1. The unique accomplishments and victories you achieved while you held the position. This information contains the heart and soul of your resume. And since resumes should not exceed two pages and every inch of space comes at a premium, you’ll need this section to carry high impact. These are the words that will actually help you grab the attention of reviewers and get your foot in the door. So make every word count. Quantify your accomplishments and edit empty buzzwords without mercy; that means cut every adjective, adverb and phrase that could be applied to anyone but you.

Your “responsibilities” may belong to anyone who’s ever held a given position, but your “accomplishments” are yours alone. Make them leap off the page and take your candidacy to the next level. Need specific guidance with your resume and cover letter? Contact the Silicon Valley staffing experts at Josephine’s and arrange a one-on-one consultation.

Resolve to Retain: Keeping Your Star Employees

July 25th, 2012

The uncertainty of today’s economic climate has professionals, young and veteran, constantly searching for the next big opportunity with other companies or venturing out on their own.

But you’re in a business that requires skills, and the last thing you want to do is lose quality talent when you’ve got it.

Retention is vital when running one of these businesses, but sometimes the proprietor and/or management need to know how to do that. Remember that a competitive salary is just the beginning, because if they’re skilled in what they do, there are competitive offers just around the corner.

After your competitive salary offer, make sure your employees have the chance to choose from a variety of benefits. Sort out what you can afford, and offer an array of benefits they can take advantage of. This might include flexibility in office hours, option to telecommute, or choosing which vacations during the year should be longer (Christmas over Easter, shorter summer days, not to forget variations in religious belief and customs).

These more tangible or easily acknowledged benefits are the right start. But if you’re looking to keep talent on your team, you need to assure them of the team they’re on. No one wants to be the 3rd string quarterback or the understudy, especially your ambitious talent.

When professional athletes need to get into the team mindset, a lot of times they room together in the same hotel the night before a big game. Now, you don’t have to shack up with your employees, but the idea is to create that sense of camaraderie amongst the team. How?

You’re the leader, and a team needs to trust their leader. So get to know them. Have one-on-one consultations that allow you to really understand their backgrounds, their interests, and family life. Know the employee beyond the workplace. Not only will you earn their trust, but you’ll gain key insight into what they need from you in the future.

Your team is full of bright and innovative leaders, so make sure they know that you see them as such. Offer them the opportunity to come up with ways to be rewarded. This way, they know that their opinions are valued and that they have a true stake in the company and its operations.

Need more ideas on how to keep the best on your team? Visit us at Josephine’s Professional Staffing for more.

What You Can Do for Your Country: Tips and Advice for Finding a Great Government Job

September 8th, 2011

About 2 million people are employed in government jobs, making the federal government America’s largest employer. And you don’t have to live in Washington, D.C. to be a government employee. Only 10% of that 2 million are located in Washington, while the rest work throughout the United States and overseas. Government employees are hired in just about every career field and in a wide variety of occupations.

While government salaries aren’t always comparable to private sector on the lower levels, the benefits and pension plans are excellent. So is the job stability.

Finding a government job can take time: the period from initial application to job offer can be four months to a year. But if you’re willing to invest the time, a government job can offer long-term rewards. Here’s how to compete for one:

Know Where to Look

All federal agencies are required to list all openings publicly. The best place to start looking for a government job is on the USAJobs web site, where you can search for jobs in various locations, build a resume online and sign up to receive job postings via email.

However, not all federal agencies use that site, so if you know you want to work at a specific government agency or department, look at that agency’s web site for further career information.

Network

To find out about new government positions on the federal and local level, join professional networking groups. Just like in the private sector, there are professional associations for government workers in just about every discipline, and most of them collect job openings in the relevant field.

No matter how many years since you’ve graduated, you should also check with your alma mater’s career services department, since many colleges and universities maintain good relationships with certain government departments and agencies in an ongoing partnership.

If you have specialized technical or professional skills, you may be able to speed up your search by finding recruiters who have contracts to fill government jobs.

Know the Scoring System

You only have to file one application for a government job, but that application has to do two things: get you past the lower-level screeners or computers that are making sure you meet minimum requirements and impress the hiring managers who will eventually be evaluating your application.

Make sure your resume includes as many of the exact keywords as possible from the requirements in the job listing itself. Most applications for federal jobs are rated on a scale from 1 to 100, and more matches will get you a higher score and increase your chances of making it to the next level. You will also get points for military service, disabled status and volunteer work related to the position, if you use the right keywords to describe it.

To impress hiring managers, don’t just list responsibilities: cite and quantify results you achieved in past positions. Don’t worry too much about taking up too much space. Resumes for federal jobs typically average three to five pages.

Ace the Interview

Government interviews are quite different from what you’re probably used to when applying for a corporate job. It’s likely to be a panel interview with two or more questioners interviewing you at the same time. Also, the interview will likely be focused much more on what you’ve done in the past than anything you hope or plan to do in the future.

Interview questions will focus on your ability to meet the requirements mentioned in the job posting. The government wants proof of your abilities, so create a list of relevant anecdotes and practice discussing them in a clear and confident way. Their theory is that the best predictor of the future is past performance.