4 Common Resume Mistakes to AVOID

Screen shot 2013-03-21 at 3.00.16 PMThe average employer or HR department spends approximately 35 seconds on each resume or CV before deciding to toss it in the “NO” pile or read on. Some employers are not even doing this, opting for technology to search your CV for them.

Resume Mistake #1: No Goal

The most important part of your CV or resume is your goal or objective. People often dwell on spelling and punctuation errors being the most important thing, and while it’s an important consideration, if you’re really serious about a position, then checking for these should be instinctive.

Most people leave writing their objective until the rest of their CV or resume is done. Then they often write a one-size-fits-all, generic summary of the kind of position they’re looking for that’s then regurgitated for each job they apply for. Big mistake! This is the only part of your CV that tells a prospective employer what you’re looking for — use this space wisely.

Resume Mistake #2: Leaving the Reader To Guess What You’ve Done

Don’t wax lyrical about “challenging work environments” and “putting your creativity to good use” — these aren’t quantifiable objectives; save them for your interview.

For example, if you’re applying for a position as a computer engineer, tell them why you want that position and why you’re suited to it, referring to your previous work history. This will get the reader far more interested in your CV.

Also people are often too ambiguous with the actual wording they use. Don’t use vague statements like “assisted with” or “handled” — these leave the reader wondering what you actually did.

Your CV should tell employers exactly what your role was — if you wrote and distributed press releases to national media outlets, tell employers that.

But don’t fall into the “my responsibilities involved” or “my duties included” trap — these outline your job description, not how capable you were at your job.

The sentence:

My duties included writing and distributing press releases to national media outlets to publicise the national launch of Revlon’s midnight red lipstick.

would have more impact if it was written as:

To publicise the national launch of Midnight Red lipstick, I wrote and distributed press releases to various media outlets, resulting in national coverage in The Weekend Australian and the Nine National News.

Here, people can see that you’re actually (very) competent at your job.

Resume Mistake #3: Not Using Bullet Points

If you’ve worked somewhere for several years, chances are you did a lot more than write one press release.

This is where writing a three-sentence description for each of your accomplishments becomes impractical —  and if you do, your resume is more likely to resemble War and Peace than a CV — a massive turn-off for recruiters.

Bullet points are not only easier to read, they’re also space savers, great for breaking up dense blocks of text.

  • Wrote and distributed press releases, resulting in national coverage for Midnight Red Lipstick in The Weekend Australian, Nine National News.

Resume Mistake #4: Getting the Length All Wrong

Then there’s the subject of much conjecture: resume length. Some people believe a resume shouldn’t be longer than one page. And in adhering to this rule, there are many resumes out here with an overwhelming amount of 9-point text crammed into one page.

As a general rule of thumb, if you have to choose between crammed-in text and another resume page, go with the latter.

White space is your friend! Use it liberally. There’s nothing more daunting than having to sit and read a page-full of dense text that leaves no safe place to rest the eye.

See more resume writing tips here, or perhaps you need to brush up your Microsoft Word skills for resume writing? Or if you need broader assistance generally with writing a CV or resume, see the services offered by our professional partners for resume writing services.

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Would you rather work from home? We help many students operate their own home based business by giving them the software skills to do it. Here are some home based business opportunities from our professional partners.

The Skinny on Resume Writing

Basic do’s and don’t on resume writing

Resume writing to perfection
There’s an art to resume writing but it’s not rocket science.

The job market is tough; that much is true. But if you’ve been sending out your CV with very little response, the job market is only one part of the problem. It’s more than likely that your resume isn’t doing you any favours.

Keeping resume writing simple

Resume writing is about showing prospective employers why you are the best fit for a position and their organisation. It’s not about listing all the jobs you’ve ever had in the past — a café owner looking for a new barista is probably not interested in the three years you spent working in a corporate law firm.

When it comes to pointing out your experience, there are some basic do’s and don’t’s to resume writing. A resume shouldn’t be like a laboured novel; nor should it be so subtle in pointing out your experience that the reader is left to work out exactly how your experience applies to the position they need to fill — recruiters don’t have time for that.

And remember, the majority of companies today outsource the recruitment process to recruitment agencies that receive thousands of CVs and resumes on a daily basis for their large portfolio of clients. Even those companies that still  handle recruitment themselves will have extremely busy HR departments; even in large companies, often there’s only one person reviewing the abundant CVs they receive.

35 seconds to make your mark

When it comes to resume writing, you have to get them in quick! Being time poor and exceedingly busy, most recruiters only spend about 35 seconds on each CV or resume.

This means you have 35 seconds to convince a recruiter that it’s worth reading your CV further or, better still, getting you in for an interview.

You’ll achieve this if you:

  • Get to the point, but don’t be arrogant — this is a massive turn-off.
  • Don’t over-embellish: if you didn’t actually do something, don’t say you did — you will get found out.
  • Are concise: don’t cram your resume or CV full of interesting (to you) but ultimately irrelevant previous positions (like dog walker in 1982), achievements or interests (ferret racing is better kept to yourself).

But don’t see the minimalist approach as an opportunity to get fancy with the design of your CV.

Unless you actually are a designer of some sort, just use a clean template that clearly highlights why you’re the right person for the job. I once received a CV formatted like a crossword puzzle to list the person’s experience and education; clever perhaps, but the CV after that was easy to read and it was that person I called in for the interview.

To avoid the daunting task of resume writing from scratch each time you decide to change employment, you should get into the habit of updating your CV on a regular basis.

Need more help?

EzyLearn is in a great position to help you with your resume writing because we understand the employment market and the needs of employers. We also have team members with top quality resume writing skills and experience in creating quality resumes for administration and bookkeeping positions in particular. Other related blog posts: Finding a Job Using LinkedIn

If you’d like to share your job hunting experiences with us and others, please visit us our Facebook page — you can also let us know here if you need help with resume writing. We can also help you brush up your Microsoft Word skills for resume writing


Social Media and Digital Marketing online training course_comp

Are you in business as a bookkeeper, tradesperson, retailer, trainer or real estate agent and want to stand out from the crowd? We can teach you the online marketing techniques to help you do just this! Check out what’s included in our comprehensive Social Media and Digital Marketing online training courses.


 

LinkedIn Profiles: How Useful Are They, Really?

What is the power of a LinkedIn profile?

how useful is a linkedin profile online learning social media training
We scrutinise the power of a LinkedIn online social media profile.

THERE MAY BE SOME debate over whether having a LinkedIn profile actually helps professionals make valuable connections with other professionals, but the same could also be said of traditional networking.

As a writer, I probably should network more, but personally, I don’t find much value in it. In the past I have either fallen prey to someone wanting publicity for their pyramid-scheme-type business or I’ve turned into a borderline stalker myself; harassing someone who perhaps only gave me their business card out of a feeling of social obligation.

Besides, a business card tells you nothing about how competent or capable that person is at their job. For writers and journalists, I’ve always found it pretty easy to validate their claims on Google; for other professionals: not so much. Until LinkedIn, that is.

The Professionalism of LinkedIn

LinkedIn may not connect you with the recruiter of your dream job, but Twitter doesn’t guarantee you’ll become BFFs with Mariah Carey, either. What LinkedIn does, however, is give you an online professional profile.

And it’s the rather perverse nature of today’s digital society that makes an online professional presence invaluable; LinkedIn itself can act as your calling card, demonstrating how others endorse you and your work; it can act as your resume; and it can help you to actively find the right job.

The Power of a LinkedIn Profile

Any time you meet someone, you can pretty much guarantee they’ll Google you. Whether they’re prospective employers you’ve interviewed with, people you’ve met in a professional setting (clients, industry alums) or even colleagues, you can bet at some point or another they have Googled you.

What that Google search turns up can totally change the way they interact with you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve LinkedIn-stalked a fellow writer only to discover their LinkedIn profile is not so impressive, after all. From this point on the entire dynamic of our relationship has changed immediately; suddenly I feel I’ve got the power.

On the other end of the scale, discovering the meek-mannered, unassuming but otherwise seemingly-unimpressive editor I chatted to with extreme ease is actually a former Vanity Fair staffer or contributor to The New Yorker adds another dimension to our relationship — usually, I’m putty in their hands.

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And it’s in this context that, yes, a LinkedIn profile does work. Whether you’re using LinkedIn as a job-hunter or a networker, your LinkedIn profile tells people everything they think they need to know about you.

The old phrase — first impressions are lasting impressions — is out. It’s online impressions that are the lasting impressions.

If you haven’t already, we welcome you to connect with EzyLearn at LinkedIn.


learn online training Xero courses videos for less

Our Xero online training courses include EVERYTHING for ONE LOW PRICE. Furthermore, if you select our Lifetime Membership option, you’ll have LIFETIME access to our ongoing course updates. All EzyLearn courses are accredited by the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) and can be counted towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. Find out more about our Xero online training courses. 


 

Do you stand out when looking for work?

Create Postcards to use with your resume to find a jobIt’s that time of year when people are turning their new years resolutions into action and we’ve noticed a massive increase in students searching for help in writing resumes, as well as resume and business plan templates for those who are looking at starting a business.

I was speaking with Rehab Consultant Ross Miller, who helps people who’ve been injured at work find more sedentary office type jobs, and he mentioned an interesting idea.

[quote]Create a Postcard with your details on it and attach it to every resume you send[/quote]

At first it seemed a little absurd but after we got talking and he revealed more of his idea it made a lot of sense.

When you submit your resume with your job application you end up as a document in a pile and for years people have been looking for ways of standing out from the crowd. With the advent of new printing technologies like moo.com in the UK, it is becoming easier to produce and print a professional, full colour, Postcard for not a lot of money.

Social-Media and online MYOB Training coursesRoss’s idea is to create a Postcard with your photo and a brief bio about yourself on one side, plus an image that reflects the industry you want to work in (picture of a retail shop or office etc) and some words to describe it on the other side. What do you think of that idea?

If you like this idea let us know on our Facebook page. If you have other innovative ideas share them on our Facebook page.

NEW in 2014

Are you looking for work closer to home or interested in changing your working style from an employee to an independent contractor so you can work your own hours and do things you actually enjoy doing? Look at the Work at Home Opportunities that we help to create!

Need to reinvent your career? This weekend?

Your Career

Reinvent your career become a bookkeeper or start a bookkeeping business

Our MYOB Training Courses are available through our partner network of accountants, business development and career services companies across Australia and one of our partners is exhibiting at the Reinvent your career expo this weekend.

I recently wrote about their project to help students find bookkeeping work or start a bookkeeping business and you’ll get a chance to learn more about what they have planned this weekend!

MYOB and your career

Many of our students learn to use MYOB accounting software so that they can

  1. Find work in the accounts department of a company,
  2. Become more valuable to their current employer, or
  3. Start their own bookkeeping business.

When you look at this list you realise that learning = change and change usually provides new opportunities and advancement. Workface are a team of career experts and MYOB Bookkeeper Training at Reinvent your career expoI will be at the stand to demonstrate how the company can help you and your friends become more valuable in your career by becoming a bookkeeper.

Workface have a professional business development consultant who provides training tools and support for those students who want to start a bookkeeping business so make sure you pop into the expo this weekend and come and say hi.

It’s in Sydney so I don’t expect out-of-towners to make a trip to Sydney for it, but if you are Sydney-based and want to participate in our open meetings to build a community of bookkeepers please come and talk to me.

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Want to start a business from home?

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many interesting and intelligent people and since operating my first physical training centre in Dee Why in 1999 I’ve found it very rewarding to help people learn new skills so that they can find a job. We now do a lot of online training and I’m even more excited when we can help people start, promote and manage their own business – particularly if students are doing it for the first time. If you are interested in exploring ways of starting a business from home and working as an independent contractor see the business opportunities available.

 

Finding a job using Linkedin as your resume

How to use linkedin to find a job or new customers
How to use linkedin to find a job or new customers

LinkedIn + your resume

I recently wrote about the death of the resume and how Linkedin is replacing the written resume, now I have located a great ebook to help you master the art of using Linked in as a tool to help you find a job or get new customers.

The most interesting change in the employment market that I have noticed is the slow evolution from job seekers looking at job ads to employers searching for the best employees. Social media tools like Linkedin make this all possible.

Attracting the right people

If you are a business owner you have a website to attract customers. You combine great writing and interesting pictures to attract potential customers to your website and then contact details and an offer to ensure they make contact with you. LinkedIn is the same concept for individuals, you combine the right keywords and headings to attract people to your LinkedIn profile. Once people are attracted to your profile you can let them know that you are interested in a job, contracting work or other opportunities.

Find Bookkeeping work or customers

If you are completing our MYOB Training Courses you might want to consider joining LinkedIn if you are not already a member. If you are a member and want to get better results this concise ebook about LinkedIn has some excellent information that will help you get more results from your current LinkedIn profile.

Launch: Are you looking for bookkeeping work? We’ll help.

I recently wrote about how we are gearing up to help our MYOB Training Course students find bookkeeping work and today we are happy to announce the next stage in our project.

The career support professionals at Workface have created a form to collect all the data that a potential employer would need to know about you. Existing students can submit their details for free and begin the process of finding their next bookkeeping job.

If you are an EzyLearn student who has completed the MYOB training courses please submit your details to get started.

Launch: Career Support Services for MYOB Certificate Students

Today we announce the official launch of our Student Career Support services. We have a new team member on board and her role is to help us provide extra support to help students find, apply for and get their next bookkeeping job.

When you enrol into our MYOB Bookkeeping Training Courses with the lifetime membership and certificate option you will now receive access to our Career Support Services for free. We’ll help you find bookkeeping jobs, prepare your resume and cover letters as well as follow-up letters and letters of recommendation for students who join our Bookkeeping Academy CPD program.

Not only will you learn new skills using Australia’s leading accounting software program, lifetime access to use the training material as your own personal resource and a Certificate, but we’ll help you refine your job seeking skills and tools to help you get your next bookkeeping job.

Do an MYOB Training course and get webinars for free

Webinar for MYOB bookkeeping training courses and student support onlineAs part of the research into our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program for MYOB training course students we are exploring different webinar platforms and we thought you’d be interested to learn about it. For existing EzyLearn students it will mean free MYOB Bookkeeping webinars in the coming months.

We’re proud of our online MYOB training courses and thousands of students are too, but we’ve found that students are interested in lots of other skills relating to earning money for themselves as either an employee or a contractor. Things like using Word to write a resume, using WordPress to manage their own website, how to use online CRM (Customer Relationship Management) programs to keep track of all their contacts etc. We mentioned in a early blog post about our plans to provide more training resources for working mums and we’re getting closer to our final goal.

The purpose of a webinar is to deliver educational content similar to what you would experience with a seminar except that you save on time, travel, money, petrol and you can even watch the presentation at a later date. Our team has been in contact with accountants, career professionals, online service providers and a host of other industry professionals who will be providing information, training and tips and tricks at our webinars and I hope you can join us in this journey.

If you are an existing student and have some idea or suggestions of topics that you would like us to cover, this is your chance. Send your suggestions to sales@ezylearn.com.au and we’ll discover the most popular and work on a schedule for the rest of the year. If you are not a student yet, this is the time to enrol. Stay tuned for more updates shortly.

 

Could Linkedin replace the written resume?

Linkedin hands searching for potential bookkeeping employeesI’ve written a series of blog posts about various aspects of resume writing and other tips you can use to help secure the next great job and it’s fitting that we explore why Linkedin is a serious place for you to promote your MYOB Bookkeeping skills.

I was fortunate enough to attend a social media club (Sydney) education event that was presented by the managing director of Linkedin and he went to great lengths to explain just how deep the company wants to go into the recruitment and talent market. Upon visiting various parts of the LinkedIn website I found some links that might further encourage you to recognise the importance of Linkedin in your employment or business building journey.

Linkedin has a page for talent departments and case studies for companies that have used their services and employers can even place recruitment ads within the site to clearly target the right job applicants.

We found a great article written by Susan Heathfield about how Linkedin is being used as a recruitment tool for the HR team at many businesses. Do you need help in your job searching strategy? Stay tuned.


We will shortly be announcing a fantastic special offer regarding Linkedin and resume writing for all students who take advantage of our forthcoming Bookkeepers’ Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Program. This program is a new service as part of our MYOB training courses. Make sure you subscribe to receive this information in your email inbox.

 

 

Don’t oversell your MYOB bookkeeping skills

writing a resume for an MYOB bookkeeping jobI recently wrote about resumes and social media that is being used by people to help them find employment and I touched on the topic of Linkedin. Of all the social media tools available to you, LinkedIn might be the best to focus on because it has all the tools available in social media (like recommendations, professional profile and education and more) and it is focussed on people and their professional connections and careers.

Michelle Hammond wrote an interesting article for SmartStartup way back in 2010 about “over-used” phrases in resumes and here’s the key phrases from that article:

According to LinkedIn, the three most overused terms are “extensive experience”, “innovative” and “motivated”, followed by “results oriented”, “dynamic” and “proven track record”. Rounding out the list are “team player”, “fast paced”, “problem solver” and “entrepreneurial”.

This view is backed up by our own resident resume writing expert Nicholas, former CEO of a UK based head-hunter who confirmed that “overselling stands out a mile when you are the person having to go through hundreds of resumes for each position. What really makes a difference is when you go into a little detail about what changes you contributed in your last position or some other specific information that the resume reader can delve into and explore a little more. It’s got to be real because a conversation can often evolve from what you write

If you are compiling a resume for your own job seeking efforts make sure you demonstrate some sound information about the evolving legislation around BAS agents and information about Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for bookkeeping professionals.

Make sure you subscribe to our blog to receive other job seeking tips and tricks in your email inbox. If you are interested in our online MYOB training courses, remember that you receive LIFETIME student access.

The death of the resume

Social-Media and online MYOB Training coursesI was reading an article in SmartStartup by Brad Lindenburg just the other day where he writes about the “death of the resume” and thought that this would be an excellent place to begin a topic for EzyLearn online training students. 

We’ve written before about formatting resumes and how they are sometimes read by a machine, but the concept of them dying is a little silly. If you are a high-tech hirer you will be searching for potential employees blogs or Twitter conversations, but if you want to find someone to perform bookkeeping tasks for example you will most likely welcome a comprehensive resume demonstrating your training, skills and experience. Most students of our MYOB training courses have a written resume that they use to apply for positions.

What we have found is becoming more relevant to jobseekers is Linkedin. Although the major social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter are good tools to connect to people with, we’ve found that Linkedin is the place where professionals are often head-hunted because it shows you professional connections and gives high-level hirers a better idea of the circles you “connect with”.

Ultimately, which-ever medium you use the key skill you need is using the right keywords and this will remain the key ingredient until we all focus on the use of videos as resumes. The term resume is here to stay!

Is a machine reading your resume?

OCR for resume and cover letter writing skillsI was speaking with Ross Miller, the blind rehab consultant who has helped hundreds of job seekers learn new computer skills, write better cover letters and resumes and improve their performance at job interviews, and he shared an interesting resume writing tip with me.

Many employers are now using technology as much as possible to help them find the right candidates for job vacancies. With the tremendous cost in time to find the most appropriate employee some companies are using OCR (optical character recognition) scanning to help them identify the best resumes for their advertised positions. This means that they are actively looking for selected keywords in the resume’s that are sent to them.

Once the domain of website designers and search engine optimisation (SEO) specialists the ability to use the most relevant words in your resume is becoming more and more important. It’s the same principle that is used to make websites more relevant to Google’s Search Engine results.

Is there a difference between a resume and a CV? Read the Workface blog and receive regular tips from Jacci, Ross and Yvette for increasing your chances of getting that next job.

What do you want in a training course?

Dr Evil - Need the info - what do you want in an online training courseSometimes we use the EzyLearn blog to learn more about what you are looking for in a training course, particularly if you have not done a course with us before. As a thank you for sharing your opinions with us you’ll receive a discount coupon for one of our courses and updates about special offers.

We’ve assembled a simple Course Needs Assessment to understand what you are looking for. With online training courses and support for MYOB bookkeeping software, WordPress website design and blogging software and Microsoft Office, we cover a wide range of topics.

Our courses are for:

  • Job seekers,
  • Those already in a job and
  • People seeking skills to operate their own business

Each category of student has slightly different needs and we want to make sure we are catering for your training needs.

Complete this brief questionnaire to join the “specials” list and receive a discount coupon code for one of our online courses.

How’s your resume looking?

Resume writer and writing service
Resume Template

Find a job or become more valuable

Apart from our corporate customers who have their staff training on programs like Microsoft Excel to improve their productivity, many students complete their MYOB accounting or Excel spreadsheet training courses to make them more employable because they are in search of work. Their circumstances vary and include:

  • Advancing from one position to a better one,
  • Being made redundant and in search of a new job,
  • Returning to the workforce after bringing up a family
  • Want to work from home while bring up a child

Resume Writing

We are in a great position to help you with your resume writing because we understand the employment market and the needs of employers and we have team members with excellent writing skills. Some of our EzyLearn team members have written resumes and application letters for students and we want to know if you or a friend of yours needs a resume written (or re-written).

Read more about EzyResume combined resume writing and online Microsoft Word Course and use this discount voucher (eler1) to receive a $50 discount. This offer is valid for a limited time only, so be quick.

Share your resume writing experiences with us

Many of our students are looking for work in an administration and bookkeeping capacity so the format for the resumes are fairly consistent. Have you had an experience where you learnt something valuable about what to include and what not to include in your resume?

If you want to share your circumstances (including the success of your job hunting) with us please send visit the EzyLearn Online Training Courses Facebook page and let her know your successes or if you need a resume to be written.

We look forward to hearing from you.

See other blog posts we’ve written about writing resumes and tools to help you find a job.

Linkedin: Will it replace your written resume?

Social-Media and online MYOB Training coursesIn the course of our business we’ve used Linkedin to find people with certain skills and after speaking to recruitment offices and HR personnel we’ve discovered some interesting things about linkedin and how it can help you get the job (or customer) you’re looking for.

How-To Guides: Writing a killer resume?

Example of a Resume CVIf you are like a lot of students who enrol into our online MYOB and Excel training courses you probably haven’t used your CV in quite a while. I had a situation in 2008 when I needed a CV for a project I was presented with and it was a time consuming task which took a lot longer than I expected.

We’ve been talking to a man who operated his own head-hunting business and he has plenty of experience in not only presenting himself to potential employers, but also as a person who reads resumes, and conducts interviews on a day to day basis.

We also spoke to a professional writer and a rehabilitation consultant and they will share their insights as well as provide tips on how to write the perfect resume, prepare for job interviews, write cover letters and much more. Their team even includes a professional bookkeeper who will share insights about how to find work as a bookkeeper.

These career professionals are team members of our training partners, Workface, and you can read their job seekers blog as well as subscribe so you receive the tips via email.

One of the tid-bits that I can reveal is the importance of personalising every resume so that the recipient feels like you are talking only to them. Subscribe to their blog and get some great job seeking skills.

Want to read other blog posts about resume writing and tips and tricks to find employment?