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The Do’s and Don’ts of a Compelling Resume and Cover Letter

Is your resume up to speed?

do's and dont's of writing a great resume
If you thought you’d never have to write another resume as a contractor or self-employed business person, then think again.

STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS does not mean you’ll never need to write a resume or cover letter again. We’ve written about this topic before — indeed, when you first start your own business you’ll probably spend a lot of your time applying to work with other businesses directly or through a recruiter.

And the truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. If you don’t like the idea of this, well then maybe being self-employed isn’t for you! Why? Because in order to find the best work; the kind that you’ll love, you need to be always looking for it — or always be closing, if there any fans of Glengarry Glen Ross in the house tonight.

The truth about being a freelancer or contractor is that you’ll most likely spend the rest of your working life applying for work. 

Do pay attention to design

I’m choosing to exclude the “grammar, spelling and punctuation” portion of this list, because if you don’t already know that’s important by now, then oh boy, I can’t help you. But formatting and design are important, whether you’re looking for work in a creative industry or not.

The key is to grab attention in less than half a minute. You can use different fonts, for instance, a larger plain font for headings and a smaller (perhaps serif) font for the body text. You can type your resume up in Word or use PowerPoint or some other design tool. But just don’t get ahead of yourself and use something too fancy that you don’t have a proper grasp of and end up with a resume that is hotchpotch and messy.

These days, some recruiters will even upload your resume into their own “system” which “parses” your content and basically re-formats it all into plain text. If this happens, your gorgeous CV will look very different on the screen of the employer. The simpler the design and layout of the original resume, the easier it will be for them to read if they indeed use this system for getting through the applications of hundreds of job applicants. But don’t feel disheartened, there are others ways to get spotted amongst the crowd.

Don’t use jargon

The next hurdle, once you’ve got the recruiter or hiring manager reading your resume or cover letter, is to urge them to call you. Do not, I repeat, do not use jargon of any kind in either your resume or cover letter. The minute someone reads a sentence that starts with or contains “experienced in”, “team player”, “responsible for”, etc, etc, they switch off.

These phrases mean literally nothing. Nothing. Telling someone you’re a team player: redundant. Everyone should be a team player, and there is no one, not a single person ever, who has written on their resume that they’re not one. Instead, tell the employer what you like about working in a team. (On a similar note, also avoid the term “able to work autonomously” by explaining the times you’ve had to and how that’s gone.)  

When you go to use the words “experienced in” try to remind yourself that this is something that happens to you — not something you proactively go out and do. Instead refer to your background in terms of achievements. Search “typical jargon to avoid on a resume” for more.

Do show your personality

Remember that employers are people too. Work culture is important to lots of businesses, so they need to know that any potential new hire, freelance or otherwise, will be able to fit in and work with them. And if you can make the person reading your resume laugh, oftentimes you’ll get a call back.

Don’t list silly interests

I should add a qualifier to that, which says that it’s okay to list a really silly interest if you know and make a point of noting that it’s a silly interest. This makes you seem thoughtful, and definitely not as dumb as a person who says they like reading or sports on their resume. Reading what? It implies novels, but it could also mean signposts, Aldi catalogues, Post It Notes. And if you like playing cricket more than once a year on Boxing Day, then for the love of all that is holy (cricket on Boxing Day), say that. Otherwise, put down interests that you actually are interested in — they reveal a lot about the type of person you are, which again, goes to help with the point above.

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If you’d like to learn how to create a resume in Microsoft Word or PowerPoint, or if you’d like to learn more about starting your own business, you can be enrolling in our PowerPoint training courses or our online Word training courses, or our Business Start Up Course.


learn xero online training course videos

At EzyLearn you can choose from a range of XERO online courses, depending on your skill level — or you can access ALL courses for ONE LOW PRICE. All our 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. 


 

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Free Microsoft Word Beginners Training Workbook

Get Your Free Microsoft Word Training Workbook Now

Microsoft Word Beginners Training Course WorkbookWe’ve been hard at work on our Microsoft Word courses in readiness for the launch of our 2016 Microsoft Word courses and I’m happy to let you know that we are offering the first of our Microsoft Word Course Workbooks to you for free. It’s the 201 Course workbook and it includes exercise files that explain all of the different types of tools available in Microsoft Word.

Interested? Register Now for the Microosft Word Beginners Workbook and Exercise Files

Microsoft Word Exercise Files

The image in this blog is of one of the exercise files we’ve created that has loads of different Word formatting, including:

  • Font formatting (colour, size)
  • Paragraph Formatting (alignment, spacing)
  • Heading Styles
  • Headers and Footers
  • Images and Graphics
  • Tabs
  • Background shading formatting
  • Inserting hyperlinks
  • much more..

Sales Letters, Proposals and more

The “Content Marketing for Real Estate Agents” exercise file included with the free Microsoft Word workbook is one of dozens of files we include in our MS Word Courses and as a Microsoft Word student you’ll also get access to new training content we’re including Sales Letters and Proposals.

The exercises in all of our courses and the object for every course is to use software for practical purposes in every business. The Sales Letters and Proposals exercise files we’re working on combine software skills with marketing strategies we go through in our Small Business Marketing Course. Not only will you learn strategies to grow your business by increase your customer base and enhancing your product service offering, you get to create your own marketing materials using Microsoft Word.

Register for the free workbook

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Intermediate skills in Microsoft Word can help you create great sales letters

Microsoft Word Training Course is Being Nurtured With New Content

203 Microsoft Word Beginners Courses for sales letter, flyers, resumes, cover letters and tender proposalsI recently wrote about the content in our Microsoft Word Training Courses and because its a couple years old we’ve been offering the Microsoft Word Courses as a FREE BONUS to anyone who enrolled in our Excel or MYOB courses (with certificate options). If you’re a regular reader (subscribe here) or an EzyLearn student you’d also know that we offer either 12 month or lifetime access to courses and that includes access to brand new content.

[highlight]We’re in the process of create brand new content for Microsoft Word, including training on the creation of great sales letters, resumes and tender proposals.[/highlight]

I’m happy to share with you that we’ve been working on our Word course feverishly for the last 3 months (and there is still a couple months of work to go) to make sure that we have training on the most recent version – Microsoft Word 365 (the clould-based Microsoft Word program that you can purchase on an annual subscription that costs less than the previous versions). The new Word course content is now also aimed at helping you create documents to make sales (for businesses) or find work (for job seekers).

If you’ve always wanted to improve your skills using this popular program and write documents faster, make them look more professional or take advantage of tools like Mail Merge then you’ll get some great value out of this course. We’ll be going through some exercises to help you create

  • A great sales letter to highlight the call-to-action for your direct marketing campaigns as well as
  • A resume for the job you’re looking for (and a focussed cover letter).
  • Proposals and tender documents to win new business for your company

Sales Letters, Resume’s, Cover Letters and Proposals

[highlight]Can you see what they all have in common? They are all marketing focussed.[/highlight]

Each of these documents are used by people EVERY day to show how professional, smart, committed and capable they are. Most companies need to write sales letters and proposals to try to win new business and maintain or increase their annual revenue. Job seekers create resumes and cover letters to convince employers that they are the best person to choose for a job vacancy.

In creating this updated Microsoft Word Course content we’ll also be working on some real life examples of creating marketing materials as part of the Small Business Marketing Courses AND our Career Academy that aims to prepare students to confidently search and apply for job vacancies.

Sales Letters for Bookkeepers and Website Designers

Bookkeepers and website designers need new clients all the time, sometimes because they just don’t have enough work but sometimes because the nature of their work is project driven so it’s [highlight]important to always be spending some time in the sales department[/highlight] (even if you are a one person band). Some people do this with content marketing, or Pay-per-click advertising on Google or Facebook, while others actively seek to meet new people and give them a reason to engage their services.

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]e’ll be working on sales letters as part of a direct marketing effort to reach potential clients and give them a [highlight]reason to act on the sales letter using a special offer and a call to action[/highlight].

You can create sales letters for your marketing campaigns using beginners skills in Microsoft Word, but when you develop the Intermediate or advanced skills you’ll find a dramatic difference in the quality of your documents.

Special Prices & BONUS Courses are for a LIMITED TIME ONLY

free online training course in Xero or Microsoft Word with MYOB or Microsoft Excel CourseAre you planning on doing a Microsoft Word Course in the new year? Why not enrol now and save at least $50?

After we’ve completed all the new course content and support exercise files we’ll be bringing the Microsoft Word Course prices inline with our other course prices, so when you enrol now you can get the Word course free if you enrol into Excel or MYOB (Certification option) or you can enrol directly into Microsoft Word and get the current discounted price. Enrol now and you’ll get the benefit of the new Word course material when it’s published but you’ll get it at today’s price.

 

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Feedback from Students About Our Online Training Courses

We value - and need - your feedback about our online training courses.
We value – and need – your feedback about our online training courses.

Over the years, we’ve provided online training to numerous Australian – and international – students, whether via our flagship MYOB training course or one of our Excel or WordPress courses, or our more recent Small Business Management Course. Over the years these students have provided us with valuable feedback.

The feedback we receive from our students helps us to understand what’s working and what isn’t, which is why it’s invaluable to us that you get in touch and let us know what you think.

It was based on the feedback we received from our students that we decided to develop our Reach Accounting and Xero training courses. It is also based on the feedback we received that we changed the way we issued our certificates so that students received them faster and could use them to find work.

Recent Feedback

Here’s just some of the feedback we’ve received from our students recently:

“I found the workbooks the most helpful for giving practical experience.” — Karen Dimitri, Glengowrie SA 5044

“The best part is that you can do it on your own time and pace.” — Juliana van Wyk, Hilton WA 6163

“Short, easily digestable videos. Can fit in easily with a busy lifestyle.” — Korina Power, North Shore, Auckland 0630

“I could learn at my own pace.” — Jackie Smith, Sheidow Park, SA 5158

“Doing the workbooks and watching the videos at my own pace has helped me a lot in pursing the current workforce requirements.” — Merritt Ray, Loganholme QLD 4129

“I was able to finish the whole course in just a couple of weeks.” — YoonOck Lee, Atwell, WA 6164

“By watching videos on one particular topic and doing a test straight after relating to those videos, you don’t become too overwhelmed with too much information.” — Michelle Bankstown, NSW 2200

“I am happy as I could completely the course at my own pace. It was easy n simple to understand. As a mother I felt the course was very time efficient. Looking forward to putting my knowledge into action.” — Kimberline Francis, St James, WA 6102

“This course is best for me because I can access any time from home, I can replay any video provided when I didn’t understand.” — Mika Humphreys, Innisfail, QLD 4860

“Everything within the course itself was great. I liked the most how easy it was to understand and navigate through.” — Katie Davis, Whyalla, SA 5608

“Being able to actually move around the sample company file to get a feeling of how the software is structured, made me have more confident.” — Joy Khoo, Mudgee, NSW 2850

“The best parts of this course is that we get freedom to learn and complete this course in your own suitable time. There is not so much pressure that you have to complete in certain time limit. I would advise and recommend this course from EzyLearn to international students who want to further their career in bookkeeping and accounting. It was a great privilege to be part of your institute.” — Prabin Gurung, Auburn, NSW 2144

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We’d love to hear from you too. Get in touch via our course evaluation page.

 

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Adjusting the tab stops in MS Word (TRAINING VIDEO)

Microsoft Word is still one of the most widely used software programs in every small and large business in the World. Despite free or cheaper alternatives most small business use this software because everyone else does – it means that they don’t have to learn a whole new software program.

Microsoft Word is used to create documents like:

  • Resumes
  • Business sales flyer and brochures
  • Letters
  • Menus
  • Pricelists
  • Business Forms
  • much more

 

Despite how popular it is many people still don’t know how to use it properly. If you ask most people they’ll say they can use Microsoft Word but as soon as you ask them to create a flyer or something that uses multiple columns, images and  alignment you’ll start to discover that there are MANY ways to go about it.

The concept of TABS has been used since the day of the typewriter and in Microsoft Word it’s much more powerful, but who really know how to use them?

 

In addition to our MYOB training courses, we also offer a MS Word training course. If you’ve ever needed to add columns into your word document, you’ve probably done one of two things: counted the number of times you’ve hit the ‘tab’ button, inserted a table or just pressed the space bar until the text lines up. If this applies to you, watch this free training videos (one of MANY in our online Microsoft Word training course)

When you spend the extra time using tabs properly you’ll see how it saves time and lives up to it’s name as a productivity tool. It’s when you want to change the formatting or add new information that you will find the correct use of Tabs in Word VERY rewarding.

If you are looking at starting a new job, promoting a new product using a flyer, sending out a mail merged information letter or many other tasks this year, do it with a new confident, skill level and speed.

 

 

 

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Feel Threatened by a Newcomer in Your Workplace? Gain Knowledge, Instead!

The more confident you are in your abilities the less threatened you will feel by the arrival of a newcomer to the workplace.
The more confident you are in your abilities the less threatened you will feel by the arrival of a newcomer to the workplace.

As part of our MYOB Training Course, we’re constantly adding new content and helping our students win work and improve their employability. That’s why we always emphasise the importance of continuing to educate yourself — for the obvious skills advantages you bring to any company, but also for your own confidence.

For many people, it can be a little nerve racking when new blood enters the workplace and in today’s job market, it’s not at all uncommon to see a new face appear. Sometimes it’s in the form of a new employee there to share your workload and other times it’s because your organisation has employed someone to help restructure the business so they operate more efficiently.

The Many and Varied Threat

For many employees, this new face around the office can make them feel threatened — threatened about the future of their jobs and threatened by the prospect of the office dynamic changing. Fortunately, however, there’s an antidote for this rather common reaction to change: taking a course or continuing professional development.

The thing about feeling threatened is that it’s entirely to do with your confidence. You may feel like you’re not quite as educated or as skilled as this other person and as a result, you think your employer won’t need you any more. The truth is, your employer probably has no intention of letting you go, but nevertheless, the job market is changing and up-skilling to increase your knowledge base is invaluable — to you and your employer.

Confidence in Upskilling and Continuing Professional Development

Aside from the tangible knowledge and experience a highly-skilled employee brings to an organisation, they also bring with them confidence. The more secure you feel with your ability to do your job and do it well, the more confident you’ll feel as a result. For this reason, EzyLearn is a big believer in continuing professional development.

Our MYOB, and Microsoft Word and Excel training courses each come with lifetime access to the course content, so that you can review the course material and even access updated content, whenever you need it.

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A truly confident person would embrace the idea of working with someone new and potentially learning and sharing knowledge, rather than feeling threatened by them. But the key to achieving this confidence is being able to feel secure in your own knowledge base and that’s what EzyLearn’s Continuing Professional Development Program aims to provide bookkeepers with: knowledge.

So stop worrying, stop feeling threatened, and feel more confident in your skills and knowledge by taking one of our online courses today!

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What’s New in MS Office 2013? Here’s a Quick List

Frequent updates and infrequent use of software like Excel can really leave you stumped - that's where Lifetime Membership comes in real handy!
Frequent updates and infrequent use of software like Excel can really leave you stumped – that’s where Lifetime Membership comes in real handy!

At EzyLearn we offer online training courses for MYOB — the #1 Cloud-accounting software — but did you know we also offer training in Microsoft Excel and Word?

Just as we do with our MYOB training courses, we also offer Lifetime access to our MS Excel and Word training courses, which means each time Microsoft releases a new version of MS Office, we update our course content so you’re always totally up to date with the latest versions of Word and Excel.

Keeping Excel in Your Memory

Let’s be straight up here; once you get the hang of Word you probably won’t need to refer back to our course content all that much. Excel, on the other hand, is a different ball game.

In many ways Excel is a lot like algebra or a foreign language: if you don’t use it often, you’ll forget it. Sure, you’ll remember bits — J’adore Dior! E = mc2! — but you’re likely to struggle through your day-to-day if it’s something you rely on heavily at work.

Because many people use accounting software like MYOB, their use of Excel is fairly infrequent. For instance, suddenly trying to create a PivotTable will probably leave most of us stumped! And let’s not forget that by the time most users have mastered how to create macros in their worksheets, Microsoft will have released a new version of MS Office and we’ll be back to square one again. This, in large part, is a key reason why we offer Lifetime access to our training courses— because we, just like you, also forget stuff.

New Features in New MS Word and Excel (in a Nutshell)

Now that Microsoft has released their highly anticipated MS Office 2013, it’s likely you won’t be able to find the ‘Paste Special’ button again, so we’re updating our course content to reflect the new changes.

Here’s a low-down on some of the new features in the new MS Word and Excel:

Word:

  • Open and edit PDF files in Word – finally! Gone are the days of having an additional piece of software installed on your PC to enable this.
  • Threaded review comments
  • Read mode with page turning
  • Alignment guides – hallelujah! Why have they never had this before!
  • Placeholder

Excel:

  • Quick analysis
  • Flash fill – we’ve always had this to an extent, but flash fill just got a whole lot more intelligent!
  • PowerView – for the real Excel pro, but still a welcome addition.
  • New PivotTable tools
  • Improved functionality when opening new Excel windows
  • Recommended PivotTables and charts
  • New chart controls
  • Get a link
  • Publish Excel data to social media – we don’t recommend using this often, because snore. But it’s still great if you want to quickly share your yoy sales results with your Twitter followers or Facebook friends.

So whether you’re using MS Office 2013, 2010 or prior, if you’ve forgotten how to do a VLOOKUP, it’s time you educated yourself in the mystery that is Excel — enrol in one of our Microsoft training courses today!

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Tabs and Tables make a great resume

Microsoft Word Training Courses - Insert TablesOne of the most popular office productivity programs in the world is almost taken for granted these days as a program that everyone knows how to use, but there is a lot to learn to really master it. We’re talking about Microsoft Word of course, and we’re currently having new training content recorded for Microsoft Word 2010.

You might recall from previous posts that we offer lifetime access to our training courses. You might also recall that our Microsoft Office courses include most versions of the software so you can enrol knowing that all versions are covered. We also include access to beginners to advanced courses all for one low price! That’s our learning guarantee.

You will have the chance over the following weeks to see some of these new videos right here so stay tuned and make sure you subscribe to receive these posts via your email.

You’ll get some insights into tabs and tables. They are extremely powerful Microsoft Word tools that help you make your Word documents look professional. If you get the wording right in your resume and use your Microsoft Word skills to make your resume look good you’ll increase your chances of getting that job.

Tables are like spreadsheets

Even though you often see the borders of a table in Microsoft Word you can change the formatting so that they are invisible and this is a great way to get some structure in the content in your work document while not showing that your using tables. Tabs are also very handy but you need to remember that tabs are paragraph formatting so if you forget to apply them to each paragraph you are working in you might find the whole process very messy. There are also the option of using the default tab stops to make text line up, or setting your own (which we recommend because you can make the text line up as centres or right aligned and even to the decimal points if you are putting a pricelist together).

Formatting your resume

If you are using Microsoft Word to create your resume you’ll definitely make it look better with the use of some structure, after all, it’s the structure and layout that often separates a professional looking resume from an average looking one.  If you are not sure how to create your own resume, let one of our professional partners create a professional resume for you and provide training so you know how to make any modifications yourself.

Discount Coupon for MYOB Training Courses

We also mentioned the discount coupon available to you for our online MYOB training course, but we forgot to mention that the discount coupon actually applies to all courses!