Archive | December, 2014

“Good” Habits That are Actually Bad Ones in Disguise

December 26, 2014

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We fill our resume with buzzwords that make us sound like the perfect employee: master multitasker! People pleaser! Extremely dedicated! But it turns out these “good” habits might actually give off a warning signal to a hiring manager. Why? We’ll break it down for you and reveal the double meaning behind some popular resume keywords.

The Juggler
“Multitasking” is one of those traits we used to think was great. But it turns out that it’s actually really bad for you. Just think about: how can you possibly give your full attention to more than one thing at a time? You can’t!

The ‘Yes’ Man
If you’re a people pleaser, you might never say no. And if you never say no, you might get in over your head — and drown. Successful employees know when to say no. They delegate when they need to. And they’re better workers for doing so.

The Dedicated Employee
Extreme dedication is great, but becoming a workaholics could lead to extreme burnout. Everyone needs to take a break to refuel their mind and their body. Sometimes all it takes is a lunch break and other times it requires a week-long vacation.

What other resume buzzwords have double meanings? Share your thoughts below!


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Your Resume is a Story… and You’re the Hero

December 23, 2014


4309638815_7a297f3fa8_zYou’re starring in the story of your life. But did you know that you’re also starring in another story? It’s the story of your career. You’re the hero, your resume is the story, and it’s up to you to make it a good one. We loved this recent article called, “Your Resume Should Tell a ‘Hero’s Epic’ Story.” There’s a reason why your resume is an epic hero’s journey and not a drama or a comedy. Everyone loves a good hero’s tale — they want to see you accept responsibility, overcome obstacles, tackle the competition, and rise to the top.

Thinking of your resume as a story might help you to craft the most compelling pitch possible. For example, does the “story” flow smoothly from one position to another? Does the “story” illustrate how you’ve grown throughout your career? Does your “story” have an underlying theme that illustrates your career ambitions and successes? When you think about it this way, the resume and the story have a lot in common.

One of the biggest takeaways from storytelling that apply to resume writing is this: details. Every story — and every resume — needs details that engage the reader. If the reader is bored, they’ll stop reading — and move on to the next candidate. But if you can keep their attention and captivate a reader with explicit details about how interesting and wonderful you are, hiring managers will be clamoring to meet you.

Read the full piece on why your resume should tell a hero’s epic story then apply the tips to your resume. How will the story end? Hopefully with a happily ever after — and a new job!

Image via dixieroadrash on Flickr.

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3 Things You Should Never Say to Your Boss

December 18, 2014


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It’s easy to want to run to your boss anytime something goes wrong at work. But part of being a successful employee is being able to successfully handle your problems. Now — don’t get us wrong — there are definitely times when it’s appropriate and necessary to get your boss involved and we’re confident that you know which times are appropriate.

The following are examples of lighter-hearted issues that you can likely take a stab at solving yourself. If your efforts end up a failure then take the situation to your boss and show the steps you’ve taken to try to remedy the problem on your own. He or she will appreciate the steps you’ve taken. Here are the top three things you should never say out loud to your boss:

1. “I’m too busy.”
Delegating is a super important lesson every employee must learn as well as increasing productivity and staying focused. If you’ve delegated everything you could, found your productivity sweet spot, and pound away at work every minute of the day and you still can’t get all your work done, then it’s okay to bring this up to the head honcho.

2. “I don’t like my coworker.”
If there’s anything you learn in corporate America it’s that you have to get along with everyone. You’ll be working with people of all different backgrounds, communication styles, and work ethics. Part of your job is learning how to best work with each of these people. And you never know — projects come to completion and people take on new positions. This work situation might not be permanent.

3. “I’m not getting paid enough to do this.”
That thought might be crossing your mind, but keep it to yourself. It might seem like your boss has the power to raise your salary and give you a promotion, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes the work just needs to get done, and you are the one who’s been asked to go above and beyond. Do it with a smile and there’s a good chance your boss will remember that — and recommend you for a promotion.



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How to Instantly Sound More Confident

December 16, 2014


We’ve already covered 3 Speaking Habits That Make You Sound Stupid, but unfortunately there’s a few more. While we would all prefer to sound smart, it’s also important to sound confident. And the following bad habits take away from that confidence. You may think you’re in the clear when it comes to these habits, but pay attention the next time you’re engaged in an important work conversation, giving a presentation, or even writing an email.

Stop saying, “I think” before every point you make.
We know you’re thinking it because you said it. Unless you’re attributing a fact to someone else, we’re going to assume that everything that comes out of your mouth is something you believe in. Emails and conversations can immediately sound more convincing when you remove this pesky phrase. Unless you truly want to express doubt, take “I think” out of your vocabulary.

Don’t speak like everything is a question.
This is another habit that might only appear when you’re under pressure. When we raise our voices at the end of a sentence, it expresses a question — and it can make us sound unsure. If you’re confident in what you’re saying, say it confidently. Declare it, don’t question it.

Remove “filler” words from your vocabulary.
Everyone depends on something different to fill the silence. It might be “like,” “um,” “you know,” or even “I think.” These words are unneeded. It’s okay to take a moment of silence while you gather your thoughts. Get comfortable with the silence and you’ll find yourself depending on these words less and less.

What are your tips for speaking more confidently? What speech habit is hardest for you to break? Comment below!

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The Secret to Getting Hired

December 11, 2014


“Soft skills may get you hired, but you need hard skills to get your foot in the door,” says an infographic on hiring by Employment Metrix. That’s one mantra you should take to heart. It clears up a lot of confusion. We’ve heard that employers value soft skills so much, but we also know that it’s not enough to get hired. Saving the soft skills for the interview portion is one great strategy for job seekers.

While 62% of HR professionals say candidates do a good job of including relevant keywords in their resume, 73% say applications don’t do a good job of tailoring their resumes, according to the same infographic. That means job seekers are focusing too much on the jargon and less on the meaning behind it. But as we just learned, those hard skills are what’s going to get your foot in the door. So you better illustrate your relevant experiences specific to this position and share information that pertains to this specific company and this specific position.

If you’re short for space, perhaps phrases like “team player” and “great communicator” are better reserved for the interview portion of the hiring process than the resume. Seeing “team player” on a resume can’t really compare to a two-minute conversation during an interview that exemplifies the multitude of ways you’ve worked in a team. Analyze all of the phrases in your resume and decide which are best expressed in written form and which are best expressed verbally.

Before you apply for your next position, think of the resume and the interview as two separate and unique stepping stones on the path to getting hired. A hiring manager will find a strong candidate and bring them in based on their resume — the cold, hard facts and qualifications. But the interview is really much more telling of someone’s personality than of their career strengths and weaknesses. The recruiter has already learned most of that from the resume and LinkedIn profile anyway. Regardless of what questions are asked, the interview is about showing off how communicative, personable, and agreeable you are. It wouldn’t hurt to show off your problem-solving skills too.

Find comfort in knowing that this interview is a chance to express yourself and not just a cataloging of your skills. Be yourself. Be polite. Be enthusiastic. And hopefully the job offer will follow.



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Will LinkedIn Replace the Resume?

December 9, 2014


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I haven’t touched my resume in over a year — why? Because I’ve been busy updating my LinkedIn profile. It’s almost polished to perfection. That’s all I need these days, right? Unfortunately, wrong. Many employers still use Applicant Tracking Systems that require an electronic copy of your resume. That means you resume needs to be in tip-top shape.

There are other reasons why LinkedIn might not replace the resume anytime soon. Although the resume is short, it allows each to be tailored to a specific position, while your LinkedIn profile is a more general recap of your career. Tailoring your LinkedIn for each job application would be almost impossible. But there are still many benefits of using LinkedIn. Here are our favorite ones:

  • Get Recruited by Hiring Managers: LinkedIn is a great place for recruiters to find top talent. Make sure your profile is filled with industry keywords that will help you get found. You never know — a recruiter might reach out to you when you least expect it.
  • Find Relevant Job Listings: Many companies share their recent openings on LinkedIn — and we’re one of them! Find our recent listings on the Spectrum Brands LinkedIn page.
  • Network within Your Industry: When you check out an open position on LinkedIn, it will tell you who you’re connected to at that company. That opens opportunities for information interviews or even changes to get your resume in front of a real person for feedback.
  • Show off Your Various Skills: Your LinkedIn profile is a great place to show off your personality and your various skills. Unlike a resume, you have more room to play with and a more informal way to present this information.
  • Establish an online presence: If a hiring manager Googles your name, a LinkedIn presence is a great thing to stumble upon. It’s an equally professional but expanded-upon illustration of who you are and where you want to go in your career.

We’ll see whether the resume or the LinkedIn profile is taking the lead ten years from now, but right now it’s worth polishing both presences.

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3 Ways LinkedIn Summaries and Resume Summaries are Different

December 4, 2014


It’s true. There is a difference between LinkedIn profiles and resumes. But they sure do have a lot in common. One of those things is the summary. But each summary has different goals and expectations. We’re going to break them down for you so each of your summaries can shine and help you land that dream job.

The Length
LinkedIn summaries are longer than resume summaries. A resume is all about conveying the most important information in the most effective way possible — and it’s about landing this specific position. Although there are less words to write, the resume summary will be more challenging to piece together and it could change for each job you apply for.

The Tone
On LinkedIn, you can write more informally and more conversational than on a traditional resume. In fact, it’s expected. Luckily, it’s easier to express your personality and voice on LinkedIn because you aren’t as restricted when it comes to space. And it’s totally okay to say “I” instead of referring to yourself in the third person.

The Content
A LinkedIn summary sounds more like a personal biography or your own personal story, while a resume summary is 100% career focused. Since many recruiters will look at both summaries, use LinkedIn as an opportunity to expand on the information provided on your resume. It’s okay to incorporate your major selling points and a few impressive statistics in your LinkedIn summary as well. Sell yourself!

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Things You Should Do For Your Career Before You’re 35

December 2, 2014



We all have bucket lists — things we want to do before we die, things we want to do before we turn 30, things we want to do before retirement, or things we want to do after retirement. But have you ever created a career bucket list? Think of it as a big picture list of goals or benchmarks you’d like to reach within a certain time frame.

Mashable shared an excellent piece lately called 35 Things You Should Do For Your Career By The Time You Turn 35. But we don’t think a career bucket list has to have an age limit. Make up your own version that’s tailored to your journey and your career path. Here are our favorite points to help you get jumpstarted on your own list:

  • Refine your elevator pitch: This is one of those things we always talk about doing but never actually do. Take the time to write a little ditty for yourself that markets your best features and your career goals.
  • Know you superpower: There’s something you can do better than anyone else — or at least a few things you know you excel at. What are those things? Memorize them and share them.
  • Learn how to delegate: No one can do it all. Even the biggest control freak needs to learn how to delegate work appropriately. Start practicing now before it’s too late.
  • Do something that scares you: That could be as big as changing career paths or as small as speaking up in a meeting. Both are equally honorable.
  • Have a career emergency plan: If you got laid off tomorrow, what would you do? You always need a plan B when it comes to your career. Whether it’s a side project, a strong network, or a career change, get comfortable with your options now.

Read the rest of the insanely helpful list of career goals over at Mashable. Which ones will make it onto your list?

Image via Courtney Dirks on Flickr. 

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