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The Recruiting Blog of KG Workforce Solutions.

How to Identify Accomplishments for Your Résumé.

October 16, 2020 by Kelli Long

How to identify accomplishments for your resume.

Do you struggle identifying accomplishments for your résumé?

Many job seekers struggle to articulate accomplishments in their résumés. While some people are natural boasters, others are not. However, accomplishments are a key element of an effective résumé.

Asking questions about what you have done is a great way to help identify key accomplishments. Below are 30 questions that can help you identify accomplishments to include in your résumé. Note, not all accomplishments are relevant to your job search. Use the most relevant accomplishments for the positions for which you plan to apply.

30 Questions to Identify Accomplishments

  1. Have you directly or indirectly increased sales of goods or services?
  2. Did you increase the company’s profits or profit margins? If so, by how much and over what period?
  3. Have you launched new products or services? What results were associated with the success of the launch?
  4. Did you positively impact any profit and loss results?
  5. Were you part of an R&D initiative, where new products or techniques were developed? If so, what did you develop and what was the value of it to the business, customers or users?
  6. Did you decrease company expenses or costs? If so, how and by how much?
  7. Have you implemented technology that improved sales, services or processes?  If so, what did you implement and how did it help the organization, users or customers?
  8. Did you reengineer any processes or workflows? If so, what value did it deliver to the business, users or customers?
  9. Did you have any ideas or recommendations that were implemented by your leadership team?
  10. Did you increase levels of customer service, value realization or retention? If so, how and to what extent?
  11. Did you improve, expand or implement policies or procedures?
  12. Have you led any successful special projects or major initiatives?
  13. Were you a participant in any focus or brainstorming groups?
  14. Did you identify any errors that saved time, money or brand image?
  15. Did you create or improve on any forms, dashboards or spreadsheets for better reporting or monitoring?
  16. Did you meet or exceed any personal goals, timelines or metrics?
  17. Have you led a team that exceeded goals, SLAs or other metrics?
  18. Did you hire and/or train new employees, or expand a department or program’s team? If so, how did this add value to the organization?
  19. Did you improve morale, collaboration or team culture?
  20. Have you streamlined any functions or processes?
  21. Did you influence marketing initiatives that drove customer demand or improved brand awareness or value?
  22. Have you acted as a liaison between departments or business units that improved efficiency or cross-functional communication?
  23. Did you resolve a problem without a significant increase in resources, such as time, money or staff?
  24. Did you create or generate data or reports that supported or enabled better decision making? If so, how did this help management?
  25. Did you create or facilitate presentations, trainings or webinars? If so, what gain did that provide the business, customers or other team members?
  26. Did you improve compliance with internal or external requirements? If so, what was the value to the business? What risks did you mitigate?
  27. Did you directly contribute to increased revenue, ROI or profits? If so, how?
  28. Have you received any awards or formal recognition for your performance or leadership?
  29. Did you earn a promotion?
  30. Were you given additional responsibilities or assigned mentoring duties?

When possible, use data to support your accomplishments. If you are concerned about divulging potentially confidential information, be cautious in how you word things. For example, you can use percentages instead of dollar amounts. While not every accomplishment needs supporting data, it is beneficial to include some data points.

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8 Résumé Tips for Older Workers

October 9, 2020 by Kelli Long

8 resume tips for reducing ageism bias.

Job seekers and ageism is not a new concern. However, with an increase in job applicants for every opportunity, it is important for job seekers with significant experience to understand ageism and techniques to combat it. This starts with having a résumé that minimizes bias by de-emphasizing age.

Before we dive into the 8 résumé tips for older workers, let’s define what ageism is and how prevalent it is in the workplace.

Ageism in the workplace is the stereotyping, discrimination or prejudice against potential employees based on their age. According to an AARP survey, 76% of older workers see age discrimination as a hurdle in finding a new job.

There are many things you can do to help reduce the focus on your age. Below are 8 résumé tips for older workers that are specifically designed to minimize the focus on your age and increase the focus on your value.

1)    Truncate your experience after 10-15 years.

Only list your most recent experience with full details and dates. You can add an “Additional Education” or “Early Career” section which only includes job titles and company names, no dates, for your older experience. There is no requirement that you list every job, along with the dates of employment, on your résumé.

If you have great accomplishments from older positions that you want to highlight, add them in a “Career Highlights” or “Key Accomplishments” section. Keep the majority of the focus on recent accomplishments and only incorporate relevant and significant older accomplishments (without dates).

2)    Use an ATS friendly, yet contemporary or modern résumé format.

An ATS friendly résumé means that the artificial intelligence in an HR system can read, scan, and interpret the content on your résumé. If your résumé does not score high enough by the ATS, a human may never even see it. Avoid graphics, unusual fonts, multiple columns, etc. You should also avoid using templates unless you can confirm ATS friendliness. Many templates available online are designed for human eyes not ATS algorithms.

3)    Remove education dates if more than 5-10 years in the past.

While you may be required to disclose your graduation date(s) in an online application, you don’t have to do so on a résumé. If you don’t want to manually enter the dates when you apply online, here is a tip. Add the date(s) on your résumé and turn the font white (or whatever color the background is). The ATS will be able to read and parse the dates into the system yet the human eye will not see your date(s).

4)    Optimize your résumé with relevant keywords and accomplishments.

Include relevant words throughout your résumé. An ATS can’t score your résumé high if it can’t identify relevant content. If a skill is mentioned multiple times in a job posting, you should list it multiple times in your résumé. However, you should not copy and paste the job description into your résumé. Use your own words and experience. The need for keyword optimization is one reason it is important that you customize your résumé for every application.

5)    Use a current email address.

Some email addresses are considered less modern, such as Hotmail addresses. If you have an old email address, consider updating it. You can create a free email address specifically for your job search. This not only keeps you looking modern, but it can also help you stay organized by having all job-related content in one inbox. Use your name in part of the handle and keep it professional.

6)    Include URLs for professional social media or networking accounts on your résumé.

Some employers assume that highly experienced workers are out of touch with modern tools and trends. You can help diffuse this by adding links to your professional profile accounts, such as your blog or LinkedIn page. You should only include links to professional sites, not personal. Keep those sites and profiles up to date with valuable content. For some platforms, like LinkedIn, you will want to add a profile picture. You can use a filter to soften your profile image if you are concerned the picture will draw attention to your age.

7)    Include a relevant and impactful summary, value proposition or career profile in lieu of an objective.

Objectives are an outdated résumé trend. Focus on what you have to offer the company, not what you want from them. Modern résumés include a summary, career profile or value proposition statement instead. These statements tell a potential employer what value you have to offer them. These concise statements, typically 1-5 lines, appear at the top of your résumé under your headline and contact information.

8)    Add a technical skills section or incorporate technology references into your experience.

Demonstrate your proficiency with current technology. If you have a lot of technical skills, adding a technical skills section can be beneficial. If you only have a few technical skills, incorporate them into your job descriptions and accomplishments, or a competency section.

These résumé tips for older workers can reduce the age bias during the job application process. After all, your résumé lands the interview and your interview lands the job.

Are you looking for additional ways to move your job search forward? Subscribe to !Unstuck!, our monthly newsletter packed full of tips, market data, and industry trends for job seekers.

Most Commonly Misused Words in Résumés

April 3, 2020 by Kelli Long

The most commonly misused words in resumes.

Misusing a word is a huge disappointment on a résumé. Mistakes happen, but you can limit them by thoroughly proofreading and doing a little research. Studies show that more than 60% of hiring managers have disqualified a candidate based solely on résumé errors.

Spellcheck is a great tool for ensuring words are spelled properly, but not for ensuring the RIGHT word has been used.

If a word is spelled correctly but misused, or a typo creates a real word, spellcheck will often not catch the error. So, if you are updating your résumé or sending it out, make sure you have used your words properly. While there are many errors I see on résumés, below are some of the most common.

Most commonly misused words on résumés.

Accept/Except

Advise/Advice

Affect/Effect

Capital/Capitol

Complement/Compliment

From/Form

Further/Farther

Here/Hear

Illicit/Elicit

Insure/Ensure/Assure

It’s/Its

Manger/Manager

Personal/Personnel

Principal/Principle

Prospective/Perspective

There/They’re/Their

Your/You’re

Who’s/Whose

There are tons of resources available online to help you determine which words are appropriate, such as Grammarly and Merriam-Webster. Take advantage of these resources and invest some time into your résumé. Don’t let misused words in your résumé cost you a job.

*** Oh, and don’t forget to check your other documents. Cover letters and thank you emails frequently have the same errors.

Happy job hunting!

Contact us if you need assistance creating your dream résumé. We love to help job seekers!

Set Goals for Your Job Search

March 26, 2020 by Kelli Long

Set goals for your job search and be diligent in following through.

Let’s be real…..during a pandemic is not the ideal time to be looking for a job. However, there are companies hiring! If you are in the market for a new job, be diligent, organized, and positive! Set daily and weekly job search goals and follow through! While these tips are directed more toward job seekers who are unemployed and/or have been furloughed, they can apply to anyone at any time!

Job search goals for every day!

  • Review job boards and social media outlets for opportunities EVERY day.
  • Tweak your résumé for every job for which you apply.
  • Set a goal for how many contacts you want to reach out to EVERY day (recruiters, past coworkers, chamber members, clients, employed friends, etc.) – network, network, network! This is probably your overall best tool right now!
  • Keep track of where you apply and for which jobs to avoid repetition.

Do the above EVERY day. Don’t get discouraged or make excuses. Stay diligent!

Job search goals for every week!

  • Share something positive or something that demonstrates your expertise at least once per week on social media.
  • Analyze your outcomes  – if you are not getting interview requests, review your résumé carefully and cross-reference it to the jobs for which you applied. Do you need to make changes to better showcase your relevant skills?
  • Practice your responses to common interview questions – be prepared when an interview request comes in. Practice video interviewing, not just face-to-face or phone!!
  • Follow up (professionally and not too often) on pending applications and interviews.
  • Reevaluate your goals. Are you at a point where you need to be more flexible on money, type of position, or location? Only you know the answer to those questions, but it is important to evaluate your goals regularly. There is no shame in taking a job out of your skillset if you need work!!! There is no shame in taking a pay cut if your cash flow is dwindling. Most employers will be understanding about any atypical work employees perform during or as a result of the pandemic. TAKE CARE OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!

Set your job search goals and stick to them. Be consistent. Stay positive. Network!

For more tips on job searching, check out our other blog posts or follow us on social media (FacebookTwitterLinkedIn).

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Résumé Writing Tips- Keep it Concise and Relevant

March 25, 2020 by Kelli Long

Keep your resume relevant and concise

According to Glassdoor and numerous other resources, hiring managers and recruiters spend about six seconds reviewing a résumé. This means that your résumé needs to be concise and relevant. It needs to grab the reader’s attention quickly. For many job seekers, the hardest part of résumé writing is pairing it down. What do you include? What do you exclude? Should you omit education or experience? What accomplishments should you include?

If you are struggling with developing a concise and relevant résumé, below are some tips to help you determine what to add and what to remove!

Step one- Identify the RIGHT professional accomplishments!

Make a list of your professional accomplishments; any and all of them. Read your list at least twice. Then, highlight the accomplishments that are relevant to the job for which you are applying. Cross-reference the job posting to ensure you are actually highlighting only relevant ones. Those are the accomplishments that need to shine on your résumé (Page 1)!

Pro tips

  • Give yourself permission to delete the accomplishments you did not highlight. It does not mean they are not impressive. It does not mean you should not be proud of them. All it means is they are LESS RELEVANT to the job for which you are applying.
  • If you are struggling to come up with accomplishments, pull out previous performance reviews. They can be great resources. If you don’t have any performance reviews and you can’t think of any accomplishments, move to step two and then come back to this. The order of the steps does not matter. Completing other sections may trigger your memory so you can come back to this step later.
  • Use formatting to make these accomplishments stand out in your résumé. Depending on how many accomplishments you have, you may include them in one section or under each relevant job.
    • If you have an “Accomplishments” section as a separate category, put it on page 1 and list three or four accomplishments.
    • If you list accomplishments under each job, use formatting to draw attention to them and aim for three or four accomplishments under each job.

Step two- List your experience and responsibilities!

Make a list of your primary duties for each job. For each duty listed, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. Why did I do this task?
  2. What did this task accomplish OR what was its purpose?
  3. Is this task relevant to the job or company for which I am applying?

If you answer “no” to question three, scratch through that duty. That duty provides no relevance to the job for which you are applying, which means the hiring manager is not likely to find value in it. The remaining duties are the ones you should include in your résumé. Make sure you demonstrate the value of the duty in your résumé; don’t just list tasks.

Pro tips

The above will ensure your content is relevant. You still need it to be concise and accomplishment focused. The below tips will help keep your content concise:

  • Use bullets instead of lengthy paragraphs.
  • Use formatting to highlight accomplishments and/or separate them from duties or narrative text.
  • Keep bullets and sentences to less than 25 words. Tip, if you highlight the sentence in MS Word, it will tell you how many words the sentence contains!
  • Limit each job to five sentences and/or five bullets (depending on the format of your résumé), but no more than five of each. Concise is critical!
  • Barring a few exceptions, it is appropriate to only include the most recent 10 years’ work history.

Step three- What education and training demonstrate the most value?

Make a list of your degrees, certifications, and professional training. Highlight the ones that are relevant to the job for which you are applying. Those are the ones that should be in your résumé.

Pro tips:

  • If you have an expired certification that is relevant to the job, list it but clearly note its status (expired, inactive, etc.).
  • If you list professional training, include the organization that provided the training to add validity.
  • If you completed courses yet not a degree, make this clear so there is no question of misrepresentation.
  • Remove education dates if completed more than 5-10 years ago.
  • If you have an advanced degree in which the subject area is not relevant, consider leaving off the subject area or listing the college/department area instead of the major.

Step four- What else should be included or removed?

Use the same process from the above steps to evaluate other categories on your résumé, such as Honors & Awards, Skills Tables, Competencies, etc. Make a comprehensive list and highlight the relevant content. It might be hard but LEAVE OFF THE REST. If it is not relevant, it adds minimal, if any, value to your résumé for the specific job for which you are applying (yes, you have to tweak your résumé for every unique position or category of positions).

While a one-page résumé is no longer the standard, it is still important to be concise and relevant. Few people will read a six-page résumé. Remember, a résumé is a marketing tool to get you an interview. The interview gets you the job. Your résumé is your “sales brochure”. Tell the manager what he/she NEEDS to know, not everything about you. If you were considering a landscaper to make your yard beautiful, would you hire the landscaper who brought you a brochure about his vinyl siding skills? Probably not.

Review your résumé and make sure it tells a story. Effective résumé writing showcases your value and successes. One of my favorite quotes is “demonstrative not declarative.”

YOUR RÉSUMÉ SHOULD BE DEMONSTRATIVE NOT DECLARATIVE!

For more advice on résumé writing or job search tips, follow our blog and social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). Need customized résumé writing help? Contact us.

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LinkedIn Job Search Tips & Essentials

March 14, 2020 by Kelli Long

LinkedIn Job Search Tips

LinkedIn is a powerful job search tool. A well-designed profile and strategic engagement can steer hiring managers and recruiters your way. Below are some of my favorite LinkedIn job search tips.

Profile Basics

  1. Use a professional-looking headshot (shoulders and above).
  2. Create a custom headline (first line under your name). Include keywords relevant to your desired position/ job search goals.
  3. Add a custom banner (image behind your profile picture). You can show some personality as long as the image is appropriate for potential employers.
  4. Create an “about me” section that draws INTEREST in what you do. What makes you good at your job? Why are you different? What do you offer? Communicate these things to your audience.
  5. Add relevant, professional media files, such as a résumé, testimonials, videos, etc.
  6. Go through your security and privacy settings. There are a lot of settings that can improve your visibility to prospective employers.

Experience

  1. Add your work experience for the past 10 years. Experience more than 10 years ago is only needed if it is the only connection you have to a certain company, skill, or industry that is relevant in your job search.
  2. Use prepopulated options for titles and companies when possible.
  3. Add job descriptions with keywords under each job. Recruiters and hiring managers can search for candidates using keywords within the job descriptions.
  4. Include accomplishments under each job, not just duties.
  5. Use short, concise sentences or bullets instead of thick paragraphs.
  6. Match dates, companies, and titles to your résumé.

Education

  1. List only relevant education and degrees. Consider leaving off the subject matter if it’s irrelevant to your career goals.
  2. Remove the graduation year if you earned your degree more than 5-10 years ago.
  3. Use the “Licenses & Certifications” section (instead of the “Education” section) to include relevant certification and licenses. Be clear on whether certifications or licenses are active or expired.
  4. If you have not completed a degree or certification, list it as training or courses to avoid confusion.
  5. Match your certifications and education to what is listed on your résumé.

Skills & Endorsements

  1. Enter all relevant skills, up to the max (50 at this time).
  2. “Pin” your top three skills to be easily viewed on your profile.
  3. Don’t spend a lot of time trying to get endorsements; just get the skills listed.
  4. Skills are searchable by recruiters and hiring managers, so include your most relevant skills first, then fill in any additional slots.

Recommendations

  1. Ask for recommendations from co-workers, clients, professors, and vendors.
  2. Giving recommendations is a great way to get them.
  3. Set a goal to receive at least three recommendations (you can use quotes/excerpts from these in cover letters or résumé testimonials too).
  4. Review and approve your recommendations to make them visible.

Accomplishments

  1. List awards and achievements.
  2. Add relevant affiliations (trade organization memberships, community involvement, etc.).
  3. Be conscientious about adding affiliations of a sensitive nature, i.e., politics, religion, and age.
  4. Add additional languages for which you are fluent or business proficient.

Interests

  1. If you apply with a company, follow it on LinkedIn. Also follow leading companies in your industry and local market.
  2. Educational institutions and trade organizations related to your background and profession are great to follow.
  3. Join relevant groups. It is not necessary to spend a lot of time in the groups. Most job seekers find groups more beneficial for exposure and research than networking.

Connections

  1. Send connection requests to co-workers, managers, vendors, clients, and fellow alumni.
  2. Connect with recruiters in your local market and/or niche industry.
  3. Follow or connect with influencers relevant to your industry. Caution; only connect or follow those with whom you share the same values.
  4. After an interview, send a connection request to the manager and/or HR.
  5. Use LinkedIn for research before an interview and to help build relationships within an organization. However, use it for research and networking, not stalking!

Messaging

  1. Respond to messages from recruiters and potential employers promptly. Even if you are not interested in the position they present, send an acknowledgment.
  2. Check your settings to make sure messages are pushed to your email if you don’t log in daily.
  3. Turn on the notification to let recruiters know you are open to job opportunities. This is one of the many options in your account settings.

Engagement

  1. Set up job alerts.
  2. Set a goal to post something relevant to your industry or companies of interest (original content or sharing/liking) at least three times per week.
  3. Avoid controversial content.
  4. Comment on relevant articles and posts. Add your expertise, such as tips, support, recommendations, etc.
  5. Stay positive!! Don’t get sucked into polarized content. Negativity on LinkedIn WILL HURT your job search, so don’t do it!

More than 87% of recruiters use LinkedIn in the hiring process, so use it often and use it right! While that percentage varies from year-to-year, it remains a primary tool used by employers! Take advantage of the platform!

For more job search tips, follow us on social media! Need help in creating a great résumé or LinkedIn presence? If so, shoot us a message.

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Social Media as a Recruiting Tool

December 14, 2016 by kgworkforce

Social Media Recruiting for Job Applicants

Did you know that approximately 50% of employers use social media recruiting strategies to find, screen, and research job applicants? Depending on the study, some data reports as high as 80% of employers are implementing social media recruiting strategies in some capacity. In 2017, this is expected to become even more common.  As a job seeker, what does your social media presence say about you?  If it does not reflect the attributes you want an employer to know about you, it’s time to clean it up. Below are some easy tips:

  • Set your privacy settings to limit information seen by prospective employers.
  • Review all of your social media accounts, even the ones you no longer use.
  • Google yourself and see what comes up……this is usually a fun one. Do you like what you see? If not, fix it.
  • Remove pictures and nicknames that might not represent you in a favorable manner to a prospective employer.
  • If your job(s) or education are listed in your social media accounts, make sure the content on your social media reflects the same content on your resume.

Employer Reviews on Social Media

The use of social media by job applicants is also on the rise. Data shows that the majority of job seekers are using social media to evaluate prospective employers.  If your company does not have content on social media that is designed to attract prospective job applicants, it might be time to refresh your strategy. This is especially important for companies hiring job applicants for non-management positions, as this is the largest job seeking population using social media for employment research. Deploying social media recruiting strategies has become essential in today’s job market.

Looking for more tips for a successful job search?  If so, check out other articles at https://www.kgworkforcesolutions.com/blog/.

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