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The Recruiting Blog of KG Workforce Solutions.

Headlines for Job Seekers

October 1, 2020 by Kelli Long

Headlines for Job Seekers.

Are headlines for job seekers valuable? The answer is an overwhelming YES!

Job seekers have several ways to leverage headlines. The two most prevalent being on their résumés and LinkedIn profiles.

What is a Headline?

Simply put, it is the top of a document that explains what to expect from the content. In résumés, it appears below a job seeker’s name and contact information. In LinkedIn, it is the key text that appears below the profile picture.

What is the Goal of a Headline?

A headline tells readers what to expect and captures their attention. This is a job seeker’s opportunity to entice a hiring authority or recruiter to read further. After all, if no one reads your résumé or profile, it will not help you land a job. Most employers spend less than 8 seconds reviewing a résumé. The headline grabs their attention and motivates them to learn more about a candidate’s experience.

Headlines on LinkedIn

The default LinkedIn headline is a person’s current job title and company. While this gives a hint into what you do, it does not show any significant value you offer. Luckily, you can change your headline.

Default headline example: Accountant at Company ABC

Alternative headline 1: Accounting │ Cost Savings │ Process Improvement – steering organizations to profit optimization through analysis, meticulous record keeping, and repeatable and efficient processes.

Alternative headline 2: I help companies stay profitable by identifying cost savings, implementing efficient and sustainable processes, and analyzing financial data to maximize profits and reduce costs.

LinkedIn headlines must be concise due to character restrictions. Job seekers can use emojis and symbols to draw even more attention to their headlines. To create a consistent brand image, keep the color scheme the same on your LinkedIn profile and your résumé.

Headlines on Résumés

Unlike headlines on LinkedIn, there is no default in a résumé (unless you are using a generic template which I don’t recommend). Job seekers should create customized headlines for every unique opportunity. Résumé headlines can be title based or outcomes based. Below are a few examples:

Example 1: Accounting Manager │ Financial & Data Analyst │ Compliance & Auditing Leader

Example 2: Cost Savings │ Process Improvement │ Risk Mitigation │ Profit Optimization

Résumé headlines are typically one line and contain no more than 3-4 individual components. Use font size, color, bolding and other accents to draw attention to the headline. It should stand out near the top of your résumé.

Headline Myths

Myth: I cannot use a headline with a job title I’ve never held.

False: Headlines are descriptions of your skills and abilities. You should not falsify your background, such as calling yourself a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) if you are not. Yet, you can call yourself an Accounting Manager if you have strong accounting and leadership skills. So, if your goal is to be an Accounting Manager, you can use that headline even if you have never held that exact title.

Myth: A headline must be a job title or series of job titles.

False: While headlines are most commonly job titles, that’s not a rule. Demonstrating value and key skills can be excellent alternatives (see example 2 under Headlines on Résumés above). A headline can also be a short, powerful accomplishment. Such as “Reduced vendor costs by 35% within 18 months.”

Myth: My headline should reflect my strongest skills or accomplishments.

False: Headlines should reflect and support your candidacy for a position by being relevant. While you may consider earning a Ph.D. in History to be your greatest accomplishment, it may not be the most relevant. A manager who is hiring for an accounting position will be less impressed by your history expertise than your accounting expertise. Keep your headline relevant and impactful.

Your LinkedIn profile and résumé are marketing tools. Writing for your target audience is critical. The target audience of a job seeker is typically a recruiter or hiring manager with a specific need. Express your skills and accomplishments that matter to them. Think about what solves their problem. Write your profile and résumé with the reader in mind. Market yourself!

Looking for additional ways to move your job search forward? Subscribe to !Unstuck!. This monthly newsletter is packed full of tips, market data, and industry trends for job seekers.

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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Resume Design for Automated Screening

February 1, 2019 by kgworkforce

Approximately 90% of job applicants submit their resume online, and most of those resumes are scanned by automated technology (applicant tracking systems or “ATS”). So how do you get your resume “accepted” by these screening tools instead of rejected? Follow the below tips to increase the likelihood of your resume passing the system’s check.

Customize Your Resume

Yes, this can be time consuming, but it is essential. If you want the screening tools to accept your resume as “qualified,” the tools must identify content in your resume that matches the requirements listed in the job for which you are applying. Every job is different, every company is different, so every resume should be different. Even small tweaks to keywords can make a big difference!

Focus on Your Relevant Experience

Don’t copy and past the job duties from the posting into your resume. However, make sure the requirements from the posting are included, and NOT hidden, in your resume. Focus on those relevant skills, even if that means you have to remove less relevant experience to draw attention to the relevant skills. Most importantly, make sure your relevant experience is somewhere referenced on the first page of your resume!

Incorporate Key Words

Review the job posting and make sure to use the same terminology in your resume as is used in the posting. Don’t go overboard but use the key words more than once. For example, instead of “recruiter”, use “talent acquisition specialist” or “talent manager” if that is the term used in the job posting. Instead of “business development”, use “sales” or “prospecting” if those terms are used in the job posting(s). You get the point! However, do NOT copy and paste exact verbiage from the job posting into your resume. This is a huge turn-off and even if it gets your resume through the screening tools, it won’t get past the first set of human eyes.

Review the job posting and make sure to use the same terminology in your resume as is used in the posting. Don’t go overboard but use the key words more than once. For example, instead of “recruiter”, use “talent acquisition specialist” or “talent manager” if that is the term used in the job posting. Instead of “business development”, use “sales” or “prospecting” if those terms are used in the job posting(s). You get the point! However, do NOT copy and paste exact verbiage from the job posting into your resume. This is a huge turn-off and even if it gets your resume through the screening tools, it won’t get past the first set of human eyes.

Avoid Fancy Fonts or Formats

Some fonts and formats are hard for screening technology to recognize or translate.

  • Use standard fonts, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, and Calibri
  • Use a font size no smaller than 10.5 and no larger than 12
  • Avoid multiple tables and graphics
  • Label information and resume sections with appropriate headers/notation (such as Education, Experience, Certifications, Competencies, etc.)

Include a Skills List or Competencies Section

Include a skills section or competencies section at the top of your resume. Some technology analyzes how recent experience is, so putting critical competencies at the top can help the technology identify it as more recent. Some technology only uses dates, not placement within the resume, so make sure your resume has dates and that relevant competencies and key words are included in the most recent jobs.

For more tips on resume writing, interviewing, or job searching, follow us on Social Media. Need help writing your resume, contact us at resumes@kgworkforcesolutions.com. Happy Job Hunting!

5 Must-Haves for Every Resume

October 10, 2018 by KG Workforce Solutions

Most hiring managers and recruiters will spend 6-8 seconds reviewing a resume, largely due to the volume of resumes they receive. On average, managers and recruiters receive more than 250 resumes per job opening. So how do you craft a resume that stands out from the other 249 applicants and gets the attention of the manager or recruiter?  By treating your resume like a marketing tool and giving managers and recruiters what they want! 

Our Top 5 must-haves for any resume.

Keyword Optimization

Many resumes are never seen by a hiring manager or recruiter because they are deemed “unqualified” by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). The ATS automatically scans resumes that are submitted online and identifies keywords that are relevant and required for a specific position. It is imperative that you use the RIGHT words, and with enough frequency and variation, to get past the ATS. If your resume does not pass the ATS review, the hiring manager or recruiter will likely never look at it.

Clearly Identified Key Information

There are a few items that almost all hiring officials skim for during the initial resume review. These include dates of employment, job titles, past and current employers, your name, and your contact information. If these things are difficult to find on your resume, you can expect your resume to quickly be thrown in the trash pile.

Accomplishments

Hiring managers and recruiters want to know that you have not only performed certain duties, but that you performed them well. If your resume does not have obvious accomplishments that jump off the page, you are not likely to get much of their time. Make sure to include accomplishments, quantifiable or data-driven if possible, and not just tasks in your resume.

Readability

Resumes that contain too much information, look cluttered, and are difficult to read are not going to get a good review. Hiring managers and recruiters receive hundreds of resumes a day and won’t waste time on a resume that is difficult to read. Ensure adequate white space, use different font size or features to section off your resume and highlight your accomplishments, and write content in bullets instead of lengthy paragraphs.

Error Free

Even though most managers and recruiters don’t read every word of a resume, it is critical to have an error-free resume. If during a skim of your resume, a recruiter or hiring manager spots a spelling or grammar error, your resume will most likely be added to the trash pile instead of the interview pile.

Remember, a resume is a marketing tool to land you an interview. It should be unique, appropriate for its audience, and sell your best features! You only get one chance to make a good first impression and your resume is that chance when you are a job seeker.

For more tips on resume writing and job search techniques, subscribe to our blog or follow us on social media.

Are you New Job Ready?

August 17, 2017 by kgworkforce

Resume Tips

Opportunity can knock on your door at any time. Are you prepared to apply for a new job whenever you get that knock? Maybe another parent at a little league game tells you about the perfect opportunity at his company, or you stumble upon the perfect job posting while perusing your social media for the latest shoe sales. Many opportunities don’t stay open long, so even if you are not in the market for a new job, you should always be New Job Ready!

Follow these quick and easy tips to ensure that you can quickly apply to a great opportunity at any time. Don’t let the perfect job pass you by because you are not New Job Ready!

New Job Ready Tips

Visit the KG Blog or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn for more employment related information.

Resume Verb Use….Not all Verbs are Created Equally in Resume Writing!

August 1, 2016 by kgworkforce

So you have finally started your job search and are diligently working on your resume.  You know your resume is more than an iteration of your employment history.  You know your resume is a marketing tool that sells you. You also know that a resume can make or break your chances of getting an interview.

So do you also know that all verbs are not created equally?  That’s right, a verb is not a verb.  To write a compelling resume, you have to write a story that demonstrates more than a list of tasks. It must reflect your accomplishments and stand apart from the hundreds of other resumes that are being reviewed.

To demonstrate this point, read the below excerpt from a resume:

  • Led a sales team that was rated number one in the company for their increased market share in Q2 for product XYZ
  • Led training sessions and helped develop team’s sales and negotiating skills
  • Managed territory routing and workload distribution
  • Responsible for ensuring quotas were met and revenue targets were achieved

What is wrong with this? Technically, nothing. The better question is “what is special about this”?  The answer, nothing!

Now read the below resume excerpt:

  • Orchestrated training in Q1 2016 that was focused on sales tactics and negotiation skills for the product XYZ team, which earned the highest market share growth for Q2 2016 out of 200 sales teams within the company
  • Engineered territory routing that balanced team workload and improved efficiency which enabled the sales team to maximize coverage and exceed revenue targets

Both excerpts say the same thing, but the second excerpt paints a picture of what the candidate did and what that resulted in for the company. Using powerful verbs and tying those verbs to a result or accomplishment is critical in writing an effective resume. If you struggle to identify meaningful verbs that allow you to connect your tasks to results, below are tips.

Common Resume Verb Substitutes

Instead of Led, try one of these verbs:

Spearheaded, Steered, Guided, Mentored, Consulted, Chaired

Instead of Created, try one of these verbs:

Engineered, Pioneered, Assembled, Orchestrated, Synthesized, Established, Prototyped

Struggling to find words that demonstrate an accomplishment? Try one of these verbs:

Standardized, Enhanced, Regulated, Accelerated, Awarded, Earned, Boosted, Attained, Energized, Capitalized

Not sure how to demonstrate your effective communications skills without saying “effective communicator”?  Try incorporating one of these verbs:

Corresponded, Collaborated, Campaigned, Presented, Illustrated, Influenced, Authored, Publicized

There are endless powerful words that can be used to reflect your skills and experience. In addition to the suggested verbs above, don’t forget that there are many other verbs not listed in this article. Know how to find them? Use a thesaurus. One of the most underutilized tools in resume writing is the thesaurus.  Most resumes are written using a data processing software with a built-in thesaurus.

After each bullet on your resume, ask yourself “why did I do this” or “what was the result of this”. This will help you draw accomplishments out of your tasks so you can create a story with your resume and not just a list of tasks.

Follow us on Twitter @kgworksoln every Tuesday for more resume tips and every Wednesday for interview tips. Ready to start interviewing and understanding how to answer tough interview questions, such as What is Your Greatest Weakness? You can also check us out on LinkedIn for even more tips on your job search.

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