Business during COVID-19

Effective Job Search Techniques During COVID-19

With millions of Americans out of work during the COVID-19 crisis, many of you are searching for a new job. The way we job search has changed due to the crisis, and this article will explain the most effective job search techniques that you can employ. Job search is a skill that is difficult for many of us, but you can easily and painlessly improve this skill

Change Your Mindset

The days of attending networking events, trade shows, career expos and other job search events are gone, at least temporarily. Since we can no longer attend these events, we must find other job search strategies.

Also diminished are job postings from companies as many of these positions are now placed on hold or have disappeared altogether. Some of these positions may open up later once management has determined the daily routines and logistics. Human Resource (HR) departments are getting up to speed on how to manage a remote workplace. So, while organizations are revisiting how they do business, you can be proactive in several aspects of job search strategies that will help you gain attention, skills, and hopefully your desired job.

Get Comfortable Networking

Networking is a great skill to have but it’s difficult for many of us to get motivated and actually reach out to other people. With no physical network events happening right now, you need to turn to online networking and activate your networking skills.

The quickest and most effective way to do this is to look for like-minded professional groups online in sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. Search for groups that interest you and join them. Become comfortable networking by adding comments, posting, or sharing relevant business posts. Make yourself visible. Always keep the conversation professional and on relevant business topics. As you become known in a group, you never know who may reach out to you with an open position at their company (did you know that referral candidates have a 15% higher rate of being hired than someone who responds to a job ad?).

You should also network with friends, former colleagues, mentors, etc. Tell them your story and ask them about their story. Share a video chat to get comfortable using that platform or practice with a friend or family member to learn the right settings to showcase yourself favorably in case you have a video interview. Video interviews are more common today.

Create a List of Targeted Companies

Take the time to sit down and reflect on what you really want to do in your career. List the companies you are interested in and job titles. Focus on these companies and reach out to them in several ways:

  • First, research each company online and see if they are hiring and if it’s a physical position or a remote position. Look for job descriptions or their job board to see what these jobs entail. Set up Google alerts to notify you if an article is posted on this company so that you can stay current.
  • Secondly, contact their HR department and inquire about hiring activity for the position(s) that you seek. If they sound interested, get a contact name and email address and send them your resume. It never hurts to ask.
  • Thirdly, on LinkedIn you can search for employees at each company you’ve listed and send them an invite to connect. You can learn a lot by knowing someone on the inside. Tell them who you are, and you’d like to connect with another person in the same field. Start a conversation.

Job search has changed and knowing more effective ways to land your next job is vital to your success. These job search techniques are simple and do take time, but once you’ve mastered them, you’ll find better opportunities. Stay focused, network, and take the time to research companies.

Video Interviewing

How to Make a Good Impression with Video Conferencing Interviews

a person in a suit standing in front of a screen

Today, most hiring interviews are being done by phone or video conferencing such as Zoom due to COVID-19. To make an impressive interview, here’s what you need to do:

1. Find a quiet spot in your home where you can communicate freely. Close the door if you’re not home alone.

2. Let everyone in the house know that you’ll be having an interview and cannot be interrupted.

3. Turn off all distractions such as your cell phone, notifications on your computer, music, and anything else that makes noise.

4. Make sure the room you’ve chosen is brightly lit so that the hiring manager can see you. Your computer/laptop should be facing a window to offer natural light on your face. If the window is behind you, it casts a shadow on your face and creates a silhouette effect. Also, it can be distracting for the hiring manager to watch what may be happening outside your window.

5. Dress professionally.

6. Look into the camera while speaking to maintain eye contact with the hiring manager.

7. Don’t forget to ask questions.

By focusing on the interview and making a good impression with these seven tips, you’ll have a better chance of having a productive interview.

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What is the Purpose of a Resume?

targeted resume, custom resume, professional resume

The true purpose of a resume is to land a job interview at a company that you’ve applied to. Once you get that call for a job interview, the resume has met its objective and now it’s up to you to land the job during the interview process.

How does a resume gain the attention of hiring managers? A professional resume writer will create a custom resume that highlights your specific skills, achievements, knowledge, and abilities for the job you are applying to. For instance, if you are responding to a job ad looking for someone who can lead projects and optimize cost-saving efforts, these abilities need to be highlighted on your resume if you have them. By describing an achievement as a team leader or a cost-saving effort that you identified at your company, you will gain the interest of the hiring manager. If you leave this information out, you could be passed by for a job interview.

If you are thinking about writing your resume, your ultimate goal is to land the job that you want. The first step is to create a targeted resume professionally written by someone who knows and understands how to write professional resumes. At UpperCrust Resumes, we’ll work with you to develop a strong resume highlighting your skills to gain the attention of a hiring manager. We’ll create a targeted / custom resume to get you noticed for your next job.



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Objective Statement or Career Summary – Which Should You Use?

As you update or create your resume, you want to make sure that it’s current including the format of your resume. One of the biggest changes over the years in resume writing is the elimination of the objective statement which is now considered to be obsolete.

Why is an objective statement outdated? Because it tells the hiring manager what YOU want for a job and not what the prospective hiring manager is looking for in a new employee.

Today, hiring managers want to see only applicable attributes to the open position they’re hiring for. They want to know if you have the particular skills needed for that position, any relevant experience, and what value you can offer them to help them succeed. If you begin your resume with an objective statement, chances are a hiring manager will cringe and put your resume aside.

The obsolete objective statement is replaced with the professional or career summary. This is where you describe your achievements, experience level, skills, and what values you can bring to a prospective employer. This section needs careful thought as it is usually at the top of your resume, and it’s usually read by hiring managers. If they don’t like what they’re reading, your resume will most likely be rejected. So, make sure to describe your skills, achievements, and values that are relevant to the job you’re applying to. For instance, if you’re applying for an IT Technician position, don’t mention that you used to be in customer service and can type 65 words per minute. It’s not relevant.

Unfortunately, if you’re scanning the Internet for resume samples in your field, you will find many templates that still list the objective statement. Our advice is to disregard these examples.


Resumes Are Legal Documents; Don’t Pad Your Information

It’s becoming harder and harder for job seekers to stand out among other job applicants when applying for jobs. With hundreds, sometimes thousands of resumes being sent to companies for one particular job, you’ve got to make your resume stand out above the rest. Unfortunately, many job applicants are doing this by lying on their resumes. That’s a no-no and can cost you the job.

You MUST keep in mind two things when writing your resume: A resume is a legal document and companies can (and usually do) verify your information.

Resumes are legal documents which means that all the information on your resume should be factual and true. If something is found on your resume to be not true or misleading, the company who hired you can fire you.

Secondly, companies will verify your information. If employment dates, position titles, certifications, degrees, and other information are found to be false, you may be terminated.

So, why are job applicants lying on their resumes? It’s obviously to impress the hiring manager and to get the job. However, at any point in time, if the company finds out you falsified information on your resume or job application, you can be terminated. The most common areas where job applicants falsify information is:

Education: Padding information about a degree that you did not receive or even a high school diploma is one of the top misleading areas on a resume. Inflating your GPA is also cause for termination.

Certifications: Likewise, if you claim a certification that you don’t have, it’s a lie. You should only list a certification if you’ve taken the course and passed the exam.

Proficiencies and Skills: Maybe you learned Spanish in the 8th grade and can speak it a little bit. But are you proficient at it? Can you help a company with Spanish-speaking clients? If not, don’t list it. The same is true for a software program. If the company is looking for someone with experience in Excel to create spreadsheets, don’t list this skill unless you are proficient at it. If you lie about your proficiency levels, it is just-cause for termination.

Employment Dates: This is a simple item to easily verify. One call to your former employer will be all it takes. If your employment dates are exaggerated to cover up a gap in your resume or to increase longevity with a company, you’ll be found out quickly and out the door.

Job Responsibilities: Whatever your previous job was, don’t elevate your resume by exaggerating your job responsibilities and adding higher level tasks such as supervisory experience, managing 12 people instead of three (3), or staff training when you actually provided some guidance to co-workers. All of your duties can be verified with your previous employer.

Quantitative Results: Hiring managers like to see quantitative results on resumes and it’s the quickest way to impress a hiring manager. However, all your information can be verified by your former employer. If you inflate your results, it sends a red flag to a hiring manager who may not hire you.

It’s always best to write a resume truthfully and in good faith for the position you are applying to. Think about your skills, knowledge, and accomplishments that will be relevant for the position you’re interested in and list that information. A true resume makes you look good and is what hiring mangers want to see.

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Do You Really Need a Professional Resume?

professional resumes, business resumes, targeted resumesYes.

There are two main reasons why you should have a professional resume. First, a neat, attractive, resume is the first impression that you will give a hiring manager or recruiter. Secondly, there’s the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which your resume will need to pass in order to get an interview. Let’s look at these two reasons more closely:

1. First Impressions always count whether it’s in person or on paper. A resume is how you market yourself for every job that you apply to, so it’s important to be attractive on paper. Unfortunately, many resumes that are poorly written and not appealing to read are put aside and may never be looked at again even though the candidate may be qualified for the position. You always want to present yourself at your best by submitting a professional resume.

You also have to keep in mind that most hiring managers and recruiters will only scan your resume for an average of 8 – 15 seconds. So, if your resume is not properly formatted or has typos, chances are your resume will be put aside.  A professional resume will have  a consistent format, be grammatically correct, and list your key skills, accomplishments, and abilities right upfront where a hiring manager can easily find them. If a hiring manager has to search your resume to find your skills and accomplishments, chances are they don’t have the time to do that and your resume may not get a second look.  And that leads us to the second reason you need a professional resume:

2. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was created to help hiring managers scan resumes for qualified candidates. There are numerous systems on the market and none of them are standard. It’s estimated that more than 70% of American companies now have an ATS system to find qualified candidates.

The ATS system works by scanning resumes into a machine similar to a copy machine, and scanning the resume for key words and phrases. The company will tell the system what key words and phrases to look for and if they’re not on your resume, you’ll be rejected. This system saves companies time and money in finding qualified candidates. However, the system is not perfect and resume writers have to create a resume that will pass these systems.

Some of the issues that ATS systems have is that they will jumble up resumes that have fancy fonts, colors, tables, sidebars, graphics, and other formatting features. Once a resume is jumbled up, it gets rejected. The best resumes to pass these systems are simple yet attractive resumes.

The bottom line is that since you don’t know if a human will actually read your resume or if it will be scanned by an ATS system, you will need a resume that works for both.

At Upper Crust, our professional resume writers will create a resume that will give a great first impression as well as being accepted by humans or machines.


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4 Reasons Why Cover Letters are Necessary

woman writing, woman writing a cover letter, cover letter writing,Are you debating whether or not to send a cover letter with your resume? Many job seekers find it difficult to create a cover letter and don’t want to be bothered writing one. The truth is that cover letters are still essential with your resume when applying for a job. Here are the reasons why:

1. It Can Impress the Hiring Manager: This is obviously the main reason why you want to create a cover letter. It’s your chance to add something that is not on the resume or emphasize something that is on the resume to impress the hiring manager. For instance if you’ve been out of the workforce for several years due to raising a family or medically caring for a family member, it’s your chance to simply explain that. You can also indicate that you’ve been enrolled in training courses to keep up-to-date on your skills or you did volunteer work relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’re a college graduate, you can emphasize a project that you accomplished indicating your skills and results. You can also reference that you’ll be enrolling in an upcoming degree program or certification.

2. It’s Less Formal than a Resume:  Cover letters are written in first-person where you can connect with the hiring manager in a friendly tone. A cover letter serves as an introduction of yourself to the hiring manager and allows you to tell a story about yourself to gain interest. You can tell the hiring manager what it is you are passionate about in your career as long as it relates to the prospective position. For instance, if you enjoy leading projects because of the challenge and variety of assignments, you can mention this, cite a specific project,  and explain how your leadership skills will contribute to the overall success of the business.

3. Write a Targeted Cover Letter:  A well-written cover letter will specifically emphasize skills and accomplishments that relate to the position you’re applying to. If the hiring company is looking for someone with leadership skills then you can specifically indicate these skills or a situation where you successfully utilized those skills. Creating a targeted cover letter as well as a targeted resume will earn you points.

4. Most Hiring Managers Expect a Cover Letter:  Even if the job ad that you’re applying to doesn’t require a cover letter, it’s best to send one. Hiring mangers will read a cover letter to get a sense of who you are. Job applicants who do not send a cover letter are many times considered to be less motivated for the job. An applicant who sends a cover letter expressing interest in the position and states why they are qualified for the position are more likely to get an interview.

For these reasons, taking the time to write a professional cover letter is recommended. The only time a cover letter is not needed is if you’re applying to a job ad online and there’s no place to attach or write a cover letter.