Are paper resumes outdated?

A recent article from CNN makes a pretty good case for the single page, double spaced resume to go the way of cassette tapes.

The article quotes Gretchen Gunn, a principal at MGD Services, a staffing firm in Stockton, New Jersey as saying she doesn’t accept paper resumes and instead asks for them electronically.

Further, potential employees are becoming more and more creative in their applications. Like this Living Resume by Rachel King, “An ongoing collection of decidedly cool things I’ve done in my career, side gigs, and other projects.” The novelty helped her land a job at Adobe, according to the article.

Separating yourself from the other candidates is important. If you can do that in a creative way, you’ve got the attention of the hiring manager, who’s next step is probably going to be to check your social profiles.

Social sites like Facebook and Twitter give hiring managers a better sense of a “person’s judgment, personality and communication skills” thus making the formal resume obsolete. In the era of verifications, a quick Google search can reveal more information about a candidate’s work history and personality that type on a piece of paper.

The obvious first place for online resumes is LinkedIn. Though job seekers would prefer a job search function on Facebook, according to this Mashable article, the infrastructure isn’t there yet.

Facebook doesn’t have privacy screens or a way to separate personal and professional contacts,  the article states. Until Facebook offers these options, job seekers should look to the established sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

The answer of whether or not paper resumes are outdated can be best answered by the trends in the industry you’re applying to work in, so do your research. As always, you should read the job descriptions carefully and look for keywords like electronic, email, and look at the LinkedIn profiles of the person who is most likely to receive your cover letter.

Unlike in the past when all resumes looked the same, when it doubt it might be in your best interest to err on the side of standing out, rather than blending in.

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Volunteer experience can help you get a job

In some non-profits (and other companies), unless you have worked there as a volunteer or intern, you aren’t likely to get a full-time, paid position. Even if the organization doesn’t have an official hire from within policy, volunteering might entice the hiring manager to give your resume a second look.

In the February, 2012 issue of Real Simple magazine (page 100), Laura Vanderkam wrote an article, “How volunteering helps you land a job,” which reiterates how important volunteering can be on your resume if used appropriately. Unfortunately, the article isn’t available online.

Vanderkam suggests listing specific skill-building volunteer activities on your resume. Look objectively at what you did. Did you organize a fundraiser? Recruit volunteers? Train them in assisting you with the event? Organize, recruit and train are all keywords that hiring managers like to see on a resume. Be sure to include as much detail as you can such as what the event raised, hoe many volunteers, time, etc. It cannot be said enough having skills and using them are two different things. Hiring managers want to know you can the use skills you highlight and transfer them into a new position.

Don’t discuss your volunteer work in an interview, unless the interviewer bring it up. “The employers who find the service to be relevant will ask you about it,” Vanderkam states in the article. “But some won’t feel that way about any unpaid work. In such cases, it’s best to stay quiet.”

Vanderkam also cautions against listing volunteer activities for polarizing organizations. Yes, you might have organizational, recruiting and event planning experience from staging a protest at a local business, but you might not want to cite that if you are applying to a Chamber of Commerce.

Additionally, Vanderkam suggests not listing activities that relate to being a parent, such as the PTA. “Researchers have found that women who cite volunteering related to motherhood on a resume are less likely to be called back for an interviews than those who list a neighborhood group.”

Have you listed volunteer activities on your resume?

Applicants Beware!

I hope in sharing my story, some of you will avoid the same situation.

Like lots of recent graduates, by July 2005, I was freaking out and applying for any position that I was even remotely interested in. Unfortunately, using Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and a few others meant, I was also unwittingly applying for job scams.

Below is a word for word email I received from “Grey Marketing Team” (to my knowledge, they are no longer in existence).

Dear Aurora,
I have recently viewed your resume online and feel you may be qualified for our Advertising Department Assistant position. We are Grey Marketing Team, a national management and marketing firm. We assist companies in maximizing their marketing dollars by developing advertising, sales, and marketing campaigns.
We are currently seeking an Assistant to our Advertising Department to help our Creative Team develop print, internet, radio and television ads for our clients. An Advertising Department Assistant’s responsibilities would include the following:
Working with in house creative team
Assisting on sets and shoots
Acting as a liaison with production companies, photographers, etc
This position offers direct hands on experience working with clients. We offer the following:

Starting Salary of $41,600
Quarterly and annual bonuses
Top benefits package including medical, dental, 401k, tuition re-imbursement, paid vacation and holidays, and paid holidays
Rapid advancement opportunities

The person we are seeking must fit the following description of the five “B’s”
Be a self starter
Be motivated to succeed
Be willing to travel occasionally
Be a team player
Be willing to learn and educate himself or herself

If you feel this position is for you please apply online at: www.greymarketingteam.com

Go to the “employment” section

Select the “Advertising Department Assistant” position

Fill out the application.

Once you have filled out the application completely I will contact you for an interview.

Vonda Dixon
Director
Human Resources
Grey Marketing Team

Surprise, surprise, I applied and was granted an interview. When the HR Director I spoke with sounded really young and told me the dress was business professional, I got an uneasy feeling. But I brushed it aside. I arrived for my interview at a nondescript building in St. Louis. As I found the suite, I noticed a lot of people wearing backpacks and business suits, which I thought was odd. The suite looked like any other office suite, only everyone in the office was young, really young. I interviewed with three people who couldn’t have been older than 25.

They asked the standard interview questions and others that were really off the wall. Like super powers and wishes. The entire process lasted about an hour and a half. At no point did we discuss what I would actually be doing for the “company.” The interviewers talked about a second interview, which would be going out with one of their employees “in the field” for a day and that I would be hearing from them soon.

When I got home, I researched the company and realized it was more door-to-door sales and less actual advertising or marketing work. I decided I would not be going into “the field” with one of their employees for any amount of money. Apparently, soon meant less than 24 hours later. I got a call from the woman I interviewed with. I politely turned down the second interview and was barraged with “you’ll regret not taking this opportunity.”

The more I’ve talked to recent graduates in the last seven years, the more I’ve heard about these kinds of job scams. Positions likes these are preying on the eagerness of young graduates and unfortunately, seem to be becoming more and more popular.

You can avoid job scams by throughly researching the company you are applying to, which you should be doing for your cover letter anyway! This includes a standard Google search, verifying phone numbers, addresses and general details. You should also check out the scam websites and search the key words used in the ad. Also, misspelled words and bad grammar are dead give aways that something isn’t right.

Similar scams include: Steel Town Promotions

Have you encountered a job scam of your own?

Overtime

Image from: http://www.cartoonstock.com/directory/w/working_overtime.asp

Overtime is a sticky subject. Obviously, there are legal issues, but there are also culture, relationship and budget factors in the equation.

First and foremost, you should always refer to your letter of employment, employment contract and your employee handbook to answer questions about overtime in your specific company. The second set of resources are your direct supervisor and your Human Resources person. The third is observation. If you are just starting in a position, observe your coworkers. Are they putting in overtime? Are they including it on their time sheet?

Have you seen The Pitch on AMC? The culture in those offices is to work until the job is done, period. Now, granted, most of those employees are salaried, but the culture of the company is to work more than 40 hours a week.

No employer likes to be nickel and dimed. No employee likes to be monitored like a hawk for every five-minute increment. It’s time-consuming, micromanage-y and petty on both parties.

Let’s say for example, you are an hourly employee and in your letter of employment you are eligible for overtime. You typically work your 40 hours a week, but occasionally you’re asked to come in early or stay a little late. Usually, your direct supervisor considers the extra time to be “comp time” and lets you take a longer lunch or go to an appointment to balance everything out. In this instance, unless otherwise told by your direct supervisor, you should not be putting in for overtime pay. The unspoken rule could be interpreted rule that under three hours should be considered compensation time. When you adhere to this office culture practice, you’re showing you are a team player, conscientious of the cost and budget implications of paying you overtime.

What’s the overtime culture in your company?

Where to put Education on your Resume

I recently received this question, “How should I answer the question about education if I’m applying for a job before I graduate?”

The spring semester is a great time for students to update their resumes, even if they aren’t graduating in May. Any resume template will leave you a space for education and many employers require this information on an application.

Most resume advice suggests listing your education like this:
NAME OF SCHOOL, location
Degree, Date (or anticipated date)
Major
Minor
GPA (if above a 3.0.)
If your GPA is not above a 3.0, is coursework in your major above a 3.0? If yes, consider listing it like this:
3.5 Major GPA. Note: this may raise some red flags. Have a conversation with your adviser or some one in the field you are applying for to see if this is necessary (sometimes it is).

As for where to put education in your resume, that depends. Are you still in school? If yes, list your education first unless you have significant experience which directly ties to the position you are applying for. Did you just graduate? Same as above. If your degree is a requirement for the position you are applying for, you may want to list it first. It all depends on what you want to highlight. Remember to tailor your resume for each job you apply for. To summarize, read the job ad closely and make sure your resume reflects the keywords and requirements listed in the ad.

You can always include relevant courses and course work if your experience is slim or non-existent. Additionally, if you have any honors or awards, find a way to list that under education or under another section, perhaps titled Honors and Awards.

Another way to list your education and include the relevant course work.

NAME OF SCHOOL, location
Degree, Date (or anticipated date)
Major
Relevant Course Work:
Minor
Relevant Course Work:
GPA (if above a 3.0)

This article from St. Could University lists several ways to add your education to your resume.