Before a person views your resume, it might be scanned by a computer to screen your qualifications.
Career experts suggest preparing your resume for three audiences: a computer screening program, a human resources specialist, and the hiring manager.
To pass the test of automatic resume scanners, consider these suggestions:
- Be sure to include your contact information, and avoid putting required information in the heading where it might be missed by the scanner.
- Avoid fancy formats and fonts. Use a professional presentation. Bullets are suggested for an organized, easy-to-read appearance.
- Emphasize keywords that reflect your competencies and experiences.
- Connect to the job description. Use the requirements and responsibilities of an employment position as a guide for presenting your background, skills, and accomplishments. Avoid a generic resume; tailor your resume to the specific position. Especially look for keywords that are repeated in the job description.
- Use clear job titles. Adapt and simplify previous job titles to fit generally-accepted labels in an industry.
- Seek guidance. Ask for assistance from career development centers, professional colleagues, friends, and others who can help you prepare a resume appropriate for scanning software.
Of special note, job applicants with military experience should match job description keywords to their military service. They should also emphasize and communicate their background so the resume scanning software will easily recognize their employment competencies.
For additional information on automatic resume scanners, click here.
- Have students create a resume for a specific job description to connect their background to the available position.
- Have students talk to a few people to obtain suggestions for improving their resumes.
- Based on selected job descriptions, name keywords that might be appropriate to use in a resume for those positions.
- List various sources that might be used to obtain resume preparation assistance.
“The war for talent that obsesses tech companies is intensifying and is about to spread economywide.”
This Fortune article is a must read for job seekers in today’s world, Geoff Colvin explains that after nine years of sluggish economic growth, the economy has turned the corner and creating jobs at a record pace. The hiring boom is not only creating opportunities for unemployed workers, but also currently-employed workers who want to get a better or higher-paying jobs.
In the current job market, employers are seeking talented employees that have a great future. Traits that include creativity, the willingness to work hard, and love of learning often help employers evaluate potential. Digital skills are very important, but not restricted to just tech companies. For example, many retailers are hiring workers who can use digital skills to reach customers in new ways.
Human skills are also more important than in the past. Companies want workers to feel they’re part of the organization and a valued asset. These “same people” skills are very important for workers applying for management positions.
For more information, click here.
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to
- Reinforce that employers want workers who have the knowledge and skills that they need, but also are willing to work hard, become part of the organization, and keep learning once they get the job.
- How do you develop the traits and skills so that employers are willing to pay you a salary?
- If you were an employer, how would you choose between job applicants applying for a customer service position at American Airlines? What traits and skills are most important?
“Letting Employees Work from Home Can Be a Win-Win for Employers and Staff Alike.”
For employees, the option to telecommute appeals to a vast majority of full-time workers. Research by Global Workplace Analytics found that there are benefits for employees and employers when employees telecommute and work at home. For employees, the chief advantages are
- Reduced time commuting to work
- Lower costs of commuting to the office
- Less stress of juggling the demands of work and family
There are also benefits for employers including
- Less office space is needed because not every employee works in the office every day
- Lower expenses for rent or costs associated with ownership of office space
- A new way to attract talent because employees like the option of working at home
- Increased employee motivation and engagement because telecommuting is considered a benefit
The top five companies and organizations that encourage telecommuting are:
- United-Health Group
- S. Department of Agriculture
For more information about this article and a complete list of the top 20 companies for telecommuting, click here.
- You may want to use the information in this blog post and the original article to point out the benefits of telecommuting.
- Not everyone is a candidate to work at home. What traits and time management skills are needed if you obtain a job where you can work at home?
- Are there disadvantages to telecommuting and working at home?
Studies reveal that most people do not enjoy their work. In an effort to enhance your career satisfaction, career coaches recommend answering these questions on a regular basis:
- Am I doing something that is aligned with my core values?
- Am I doing something that leaves a lasting impact?
- Am I doing something that is related to my natural talents, aptitude, and disposition?
- Am I stretching myself a little every day?
- Can I see myself doing this same work five or ten years from now?
Responses to these questions will allow you to make a better connection between your passion and meaningful work activities. To assess your strengths and interests, use tools such as the Myers-Briggs personality test, Pathway Planner, StrengthsFinder 2.0, and the Enneagram personality assessment. While aligning your work with your talents, aptitude, and dispositions, also continue to challenge yourself.
For additional information on career assessment questions, click here.
- Have students ask others for their answers to these career questions.
- Have students research various careers that who allow them to make a better connection between their passion and meaningful work activities.
- What are actions a person might take to plan for a satisfying career?
- How might a person research careers that provide meaningful work?
Trick questions are designed to help hiring managers get to the real person who is being considered for employment. Using well-chosen questions, the interviewer can obtain a true profile of the person being interviewed. These questions are also designed to obtain information that the candidate may be trying to conceal. Some common interview questions that might seem tricky but are used for attempting to gather valid information include:
- How would you describe yourself in one word?
- What do you want to work here?
- How do you define success?
- What’s a difficult situation that you encountered? What actions do you take?
- How does this position compare to others you are applying for?
- Why do you want to work here?
- What accomplishment are you most proud of?
- What kind of boss and coworkers have you had the most and least success with, and why?
- Have you ever considered being an entrepreneur?
- If you could work for any company, where would you work?
- What would you do if you won $5 million tomorrow?
- Have you ever been asked to compromise your integrity by your supervisor or colleague?
- Can you give us a reason someone may not like working with you?
When encountering these questions, career experts recommend answers that are honest, concise, and focused on your skills, competencies, and achievements.
For additional information on tricky interview questions, click here.
- Have students ask another person interview them using some of these questions.
- Have students obtain sample interview questions and effective interviewing techniques using online research.
- What are common mistakes when answering interview questions?
- How might a person improve their interviewing skills?
What separates successful people from others? While favorable timing, personal connections, wealth or other advantages can lead to success, a person must also possess various success-oriented attitudes, behaviors, and skills. Some of the actions that can lead to academic, career, and personal success include:
- Display poise and confidence in your ability.
- Assess existing skills and knowledge.
- Set personal and career goals that align with your abilities.
- Develop a habit on ongoing learning.
- Take risks that allow you the opportunity to achieve at a higher level.
- Persevere in your work efforts
- Be prepared to face and go beyond obstacles.
- Rejection and criticism can lead to future success.
- Develop effective interpersonal skills. Your ability to interact, gain support of others, and develop trust is critical.
For additional information about a success path, click here.
- Have students ask people to describe their definition of “success.”
- Have students obtain suggested actions for personal and career success using online research.
- What are common mistakes people make in their personal financial planning and career planning activities?
- What actions do you plan to take to improve your personal and career success?
While a person should expect a wide range of questions in a job interview, awareness of three main questions can help a person better focus their preparation. Instead of practicing answers to a long list of possible questions, emphasize responses to these questions.
1. Have you got the skills, expertise and experience to perform the job?
This question will allow you to communicate your competencies that are required to do the job.
2. Are you enthusiastic and interested in the job and the company?
This question will demonstrate that you researched the company, its strategy, markets, and products.
3. Will you fit into the team, culture and company?
This question allows job applicants to discuss their personality and work style along with how they might fit into the organization.
Responses to these three questions will prepare a person to respond to most other questions. Your answers should be presented in a comfortable manner to create a natural, two-way conversation with the interviewer.
For additional information on the three interview questions, click here:
- Have students prepare preliminary answers for these three key interview questions.
- Have students obtain suggestions for effective interviewing by talking with people who recently interviewed for a job.
- What information is commonly presented in effective interview question responses?
- Explain how job applicants might organize their ideas to better present themselves in an interview.
Offering career information on a daily basis, SmartBrief on Your Career provides brief summaries and links to articles and other information. These resources cover topics ranging from resumes and interviews to leadership and effective communication. This service would be of value to those looking for their first job as well as seasoned professionals with a desire for ongoing career advancement.
For samples of SmartBrief on YourCareer and to sign up, click here:
- Have students conduct online research to determine the most valuable websites for keeping up to date on career planning activities.
- Have students select an online career source and create an elevator speech with a summary of the information presented.
- What topics might be most valuable for keeping up to date with career planning?
- Explain how social media might be used for career planning activities.
- Describe how career information needs differ between entry-level employees and those who are at an advanced stage of their careers.
In many types of job interviews, a person will encounter decision-making situations. A case interview is one example, in which a prospective employee has the opportunity to demonstrate a capacity to think in a structured, creative manner when presented with a real-world problem.
When involved in a case interview, consider these actions:
- Carefully read the case to understand the background and the main problem of the situation.
- Plan a framework to organize your analysis and to show the relationship among key issues.
- Prepare alternative courses of action to show varied approaches and versatility in thinking.
- Use evidence to support your analysis and suggested actions.
- Clearly communicate your analysis process, conclusions, and recommendations.
For improved success in a case interview:
- prepare by using practice cases online and researching the organization’s culture.
- talk with people who have experienced the case interview process.
- ask questions of the interviewer to clarify key points.
- stay focused on the key question for the situation and main issues.
- avoid stock answers; popular frameworks and buzzwords may not be appropriate.
- emphasize the process, analysis, and actions rather than finding the “right” answer.
- prepare by researching current business events and organizational trends.
- practice the process with others who are willing to help.
For additional information on case interviews, click on the following links:
Case Interview Prep Guide
Video-Preparing for a Case Interview
- Have students describe business situations that might be the basis of case interviews.
- Have students create possible responses for potential case interview situations that they might be asked when applying for a job.
- For what types of employment positions might a case interview be used as part of the selection process?
- Explain how case interviews help employers select the best candidate for a job.
- What actions should be taken to prepare for a case interview?
Most career planning experts believe that “career capital” is vital for success. Career capital refers to differentiated skills that are both rare and valuable, and usually involve creativity, impact, control, or autonomy. A great job requires that you can offer something of value. Factors that contribute to building career capital include:
- an attitude of “what can I offer the world and my company?”
- understanding what’s valuable in your career field by seeking varied expert opinions
- continuing to expand your skill set
- obtaining feedback to gain knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses
- setting priorities on what will benefit your career
- creating goals appropriate to your career stage
For additional information about developing career capital, go to
- Why are some people more successful in their careers than others?
- What factors might be used to measure career success?
- How might a person better prepare for future career success?
- Have students create a list of attitudes, behaviors, and skills that they believe are important for career success.
- Ask students to explain actions they are currently taking to enhance their future career success.