How to Upgrade Your Resume Design for 2017 [Templates Included]

How to Upgrade Your Resume Design for 2017 [Templates Included]

Your resume is important, because every piece of paper or profile that is associated helps to make you more marketable. If you can master a good resume and how to sell yourself on paper, you can sell yourself in your side hustle, for speaking engagements and other opportunities. Job seeker or entrepreneur, your resume is not to be ignored. By now you should know that whatever you learned about creating a resume design is probably outdated, especially if you're in a creative industry. It is the one piece of paper that we obsess over the most and the hardest one to get right it seems. Microsoft Word templates are just not going to give you the wow-factor that you need to stand out in a pile, and the contents on it is probably a lazy collection of copy-and-paste from past job descriptions. Your resume is your introduction and speaks for you. What does your resume say about you? While a resume is just one part of the job search process, it is what can get you in the door.

How To Withdraw Your Job Application Properly [Template Included]

So I was chatting with my blog manager, Jennifer who recently accepted a job offer after going on tons of interviews. She got an offer on Monday and was offered a second interview by another company the following day. So what's a girl in such demand to do? For the sake of clarity, we will call the first company, Company A, and the second, Company B. Creative, right?

Here's what to do when you have an offer from one company on the table and are still interviewing for others.

1. Notify Company A that you have received their offer, are excited about potentially working for them, and need some time to review the offer. This is also the time to start negotiating. And yes, always negotiate.

2. Check in with Company B and reconfirm the hiring timeline. Communicate that you have received another offer, but are interested in exploring their company further and would like to know (if all goes well) when you will hear back about a final decision from them.

Now, if you are as amazing as I think you are, Company B will be transparent and may even speed up their interview process if you are a viable candidate. Company A will also try to put the pressure and ask for your decision in a few days after you've negotiated. (Again, this is a super important step that shouldn't be skipped. Hence, why I dedicate a whole section of the The Job Magnet to it. Whether it is your first job or your 5th job, negotiate.) If it is looking like the interviewing process with Company B will go beyond the deadline Company A set for a response, you have a tough decision to make.

However, this post is titled how to withdraw your job application, so we will assume that you decided to go with Company A. Now, let's get back to Jen.

She ended up accepting the first offer because she thought it was a better fit. Naturally, she should have withdrawn her application immediately when she chose to accept the other offer, right? Nope, she carried on. Please refer to this conversation to see the job coaching realness I dropped on her via text.

Job search etiquette

Template: Withdrawing your job application

If you accept another job offer, do not string the other company along unless you are planning to possibly rescind your acceptance from Company A, which is not a good move at all but it happens. Once you have sent off your job acceptance letter, here is a template to say thanks, but no thanks to Company B.

Hi [NAME],

Thank you for considering me for the [POSITION] and for inviting me to interview at [COMPANY].  Although I enjoyed learning more about the role, I feel that this is not the right fit at this time. I would like to formally withdraw my application from consideration. I sincerely appreciate your time and wish you much success during your search.

Again, thank you for your consideration.

It's really that simple. Don't drag it out and do the most sharing too many details. Withdraw your application quickly and politely, so they and you can carry on. If you happen to know someone else that would be a good fit for the role, offer to connect them. Be very cautious however, because the person you recommend will be a reflection of you. Choose wisely.

Job searching is full of layers and nuances. So many questions around when and how to negotiate, what to say during the interview, how to improve your resume and cover letter etc. That's why I created the Job Magnet course. If you're looking to get ahead of the competition, register today. 

This is Why You're Still Job Hunting


You’re stuck job hunting because you are invisible online. You have a network that you aren’t sure how to tap into, your online presence isn’t stopping employers in their tracks, and you have no distinct voice. Luckily, there is a solution. For millennials, it is crucial to leverage your personal branding to accelerate your career. According to PayScale, a whopping 98 percent of recruiters report that they turn to LinkedIn to find and contact top candidates. Recruiters and employers no longer wait for in-person interaction for the first impression. Instead, recruiters spend their time reviewing social media profiles and blogs. [Tweet "As social media reshapes the job market, what digital footprint are you creating?"]

One common mistake many women make is ignoring the narrative. They have not taken time to assess their skill sets, acknowledge their accomplishments, establish their expertise and proactively promote themselves. Each person has a compelling story to tell. Your professional narrative is a way to communicate where you have been, what you have learned, and how you apply it to the here and now. You focus on the obvious work of sending out resumes, networking at events, or putting in overtime at your job to get noticed. But what about developing your narrative? Many people jump into the creation of a personal website, social media channels, and blogs without thoroughly considering the message that they are trying to send.

SocialTimes reports that 92 percent of U.S. companies have used social media networks in 2012 as a part of their recruitment efforts. Additionally, 7 out of 10 employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media. Recruiters want to learn more about you, so you must clearly communicate the value that you can add to their organizations without a single spoken word. Online you are not able to explain yourself the way you would verbally, so your professional biography, about pages, portfolios, blog posts, and recommendations on LinkedIn are key in speaking for you.

Take hold of your narrative. Create a powerful personal value proposition (PVP) statement that helps others understand who you are and what qualities, skills and experience you bring to the table. How do you do things better or differently from others in your industry? Your PVP explains why someone should hire you or work with you. What skills can you leverage to make you stand out?

Explain what you do

Never go on to simply state your job title. You want to give the listener an idea of what industry you are in and your main responsibility. By simply stating your job title, you lose the power to control the first impression, because the reader will already have a preconceived notion about what that “title” entails.

Present your value

What are your skills? Help the listener understand how you add value. Share the skills you have developed and how you utilize them.

Highlight the outcomes and showcase your accomplishments

How have you made an impact as a part of your companies or organizations? Show how you have delivered results with specific examples.

Collect three recommendations on LinkedIn

Have some supporting evidence for your value proposition. Use LinkedIn to request a recommendation from a former supervisor, a peer who has worked with you or a client that you have served, and a mentor or adviser. Each of these people should be able to speak to different qualities and skills providing a well-rounded view into your abilities.

Ready to write your own narrative? Here’s an example for inspiration:

Elizabeth Grant is a digital marketing professional that creates audience-driven campaigns for non-profit organizations. As a professional working in the marketing industry for five years, she has worked with clients such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Boys and Girls Club of America, increasing their engagement on channels such as Twitter and Facebook. Elizabeth currently works for an agency where she has learned to manage online communities and is skilled in proving her return on investment through the reporting and metric processes she has developed. For more information, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.

Now it’s your turn! Fill in the blanks below, and you’re set for success with your personal narrative.

______________ is __________________ (what you do) that _____________________ (problem you solve and who you solve it for). As a _________________ (your expertise or notable achievement), ________________(proof of your expertise and ability to solve stated problem using skills or past accomplishments). _______(name) currently __________________ (what you currently do) and ______________ (value you have added to you organization or team). For more information/to contact __________ (contact information).

By having the answers to these questions, you will be able to piece together a narrative that communicates who you are and what makes you a valuable asset in a quick snapshot. This is the start to the creation of your personal brand. This exercise and more are also available in our Break The Internet Muse Manual.

When Not All Advice is Good Advice


Another fork is in the road, another major life decision to make, and many questions to answer. Times like these happen to all of us and often beg us to seek advice. We turn to those near and far, close friends and family or perhaps anyone willing to lend an ear. We live an information age where sometimes the information is simply too much or not useful. The same goes for advice. How do we know what we should listen to and what should be discarded?

1. Listen to your heart and intuition

Knowing what your heart really wants is a powerful way to filter advice. Try mediation or taking some time to visualize the future that you want. Setting this framework will help you piece together advice so that it is most useful for YOU. Keep an open mind to everyone’s opinion but let your intuition chime in when it needs to. It will happen more naturally than you think!

2. Consider the source

When asking for advice, be cognizant of the lifestyle and interests your source has. It is not that they want to deceive you, but it is hard to remove personal ideology even when trying to give advice. If you ask a group of doctors what they think the best way to help people is, you will likely get an answer along the lines of “in the healthcare field.” However, what if you feel the best way to help people is through artistic expression? Their advice, while suitable for some people, will surely be misleading and likely confuse you. For that group, attending medical school was the best road to help people. For you, it may be different and that is where your intuition should kick in. Strive to get advice from a source with a similar lifestyle to the one you want.

3. Recognize your journey

It is prudent to seek advice from those older and more experienced than you. They have been down the road that you may want to travel. However, do not fall into the trap of comparing your stage one to someone else’s stage four. Trust the process and know that you can get where you’re going but your journey may look differently than your advisor’s journey. Ask your mentor to share some failures and ask what they learned from them. [Tweet "Knowing how to navigate bumps in the road may be more helpful to you than knowing the destination."]

4. Run with what hits home

Take in advice with a net rather than a bucket. It is not about capturing every word your family member or mentor says but rather picking out the pieces that really resonate with you. As they speak, they may deliver a line or story that sends a chill up your spine. That’s resounding and probably something you should write down and think about later.

5. Alter the course and source

Sometimes advice will lead to a shift in your course. For instance, a sibling may recommend a college class or a book to read. It is perfectly suitable to follow the advice through but be sure to inspect the value it adds to your goals. It is also perfectly suitable, and even preferable, to decide against that advice if it turns out to be a bad fit. Perhaps you’ve read the class description and it doesn’t exactly fit what you’re looking for. Use this as an example of advice that would need to fall through the holes in the net and simply be dismissed. If the mentor is close to you and therefore sensitive as to whether you use the advice or not you can use language like “I really appreciated your suggestions. I will keep it in mind for the future.” It shows you’re grateful for the advice but may not have use for it at the moment.

Lastly, it can be difficult to go against the advice you receive from someone you admire. But whether the conversation has brought up good or bad advice, do not be shy to ask your current advisor for another reference to speak to. Be as specific as possible in your criteria. For example asking, “Can you please refer me to someone who has personal training experience in a small yoga studio?” will make it easier for the person to think of another source. They may not know anyone but perhaps can get you closer to someone who does.

by Kristiana Monterosso

About Her Agenda

[zilla_column column="one-third"] [/zilla_column][zilla_column column="two-third" last="true"] Her Agenda is an award-winning inspiration and information hub for ambitious millennial women providing the best resources found online to motivate them to reach their full potential. Named a top website for millennial women by Forbes.com our content driven resource portal attracts driven women and we give them the tools to become accomplished women. Her Agenda also features interviews with powerful, successful women to offer direct advice from their career journey to our readers. For more visit, www.HerAgenda.com. [/zilla_column]

How to Wow Your Post-Graduation Interviewers


So you finally have the degree in your hands and now you are ready to start working on the position you’ve been preparing yourself for. Get ready to deal with mixed emotions: anxiety, excitement, fear, disappointment, and patient anticipation will become part of your daily life. The market is a tough place for young graduates, but you cannot give up on your goals now that you’ve came so far. Sending applications with different motivational letters is an energy-consuming, but necessary part of the job hunting process. Once you get a call for an interview, you can get ready for the real excitement.

You can expect the interviewer to be experienced in dealing with different categories of applicants and estimating their eligibility for the particular position. You already provided information about your degree in the application; that helped you get an interview, but it won’t be the factor of determination. The way you present yourself during the short interview is what really matters.

The following guidelines will help you get ready!

 Anticipate the questions

You cannot predict all questions the interviewer is going to ask, but there are several universal clichés you can rely on:

  • What are your strengths? What about your weaknesses?
  • Why did you apply for this job? What makes you interested in working for this company? (Hint: don’t say the money!)
  • What are your career goals?
  • How will you contribute towards our organization’s growth?
  • What do you do in your free time?

In order to answer the questions successfully, you’ll need to do some homework before presenting yourself at the interview. Research the company’s programs and find out what its goals are.

 Work on your handshake

If the interviewer encourages a handshake when you enter the room, you should know that this is a test. People with flabby handshakes undermine their chances for being hired right from the start. A nice, firm handshake tells a lot about your personality; it presents you as a focused, reliable person with healthy self-confidence.

 Dress as a person who wants to be hired!

You thought that a potential employer would be interested solely in your capacity, knowledge, and motivation? Snap out of the utopia; looks are still important. Make yourself presentable with decent clothing suitable for the position you are applying for. This doesn’t mean that you should wear a boring suit that makes you uncomfortable, or pick the most expensive clothes you have in your closet. Investigate the company’s culture and think of a way to dress as a perfect fit. If you are having style doubts, just go for something classic and professional looking, but add a twist: a nice watch, tie, glasses, or subtle jewelry.

 Ask your own questions

Before wrapping things up, the interviewer will probably ask if you have any questions. Don’t say no! Your response in this situation shows if you’ve done a proper research of the company’s goals and values. Don’t be pretentious; ask two or three simple questions that will show that you are interested in the job.

Here is an example of a good question: “What are some of the greatest challenges your employees deal with?”

 Don’t talk too much… or too little

It’s hard to find the right balance here. You are expected to answer all questions without making the interviewer bored, but you should still present yourself as an eloquent candidate who can think fast and provide a meaningful response.

 Show some enthusiasm!

No one likes those candidates who complain that they haven’t been able to find a suitable job for years after graduation. Don’t let the interviewer label you as a disappointed person with lack of inspiration. Be positive and lighten up the room with your presence. Think of the interview as a chance to “sell” yourself as a person anyone would be glad to work with.

 Your personality is important!

The human resources department already reviewed your application and decided that you could be a suitable fit for the job. They called you for an interview to learn something more about you and see how you react in the company’s environment. You can tell an anecdote about yourself, but make sure it relates to the job you’re applying for.

Remember: you are allowed to let your personality shine through. You don’t have to act like the perfect candidate; just be natural and let the interviewer sense how awesome you are!       

About the Author

Michael McPherson is a graduate student from Boston University, freelance blogger and a regular contributor at http://www.scholaradvisor.com/. You may follow him on Twitter: @McPhersy

5 Sad but Real Realities About Your First Job After College


You thought you’d never get to this day. It’s graduation and you can’t believe you’ll be wrapping up four years of academic bliss, self-discovery and experience building. What’s next? What can you expect in “the real world?” Where will you live or work? Once you send out those application and the interviews start coming in, there are a few things you should know before making a decision. Here are 5 things you should know about your first job out of college: 1. It may not be exactly what you went to school for.

There are many ways to find your first job, but often many college graduates find themselves in positions that may not be their dream job. For me, that looked like taking an administrative position as my first full-time position and developing my organizational and management skills. If this happens to be you, don’t get discouraged. Every opportunity is just a stepping stone to the next.

 2. You may have to take a low-paying job to get you foot in the door.

Many times, college graduates leave school with high GPAs, high hopes and little-to-no experience. This may result in having to take a lower-paying position in order to get past the “...years of experience,” requirement. Just make sure that the position has room for growth and promotion before agreeing or have a strategy for how long you plan to keep the job until you find something that will meet your needs.

3. It may start as a paid internship.

My first job out of college was a well-paid internship. It gave me the room to learn and figure out if what I went to school for and what I was doing on a daily basis were really what I envisioned for my career. Full-time internships also have the ability to turn into long term work or a full-time position. Make sure you work hard and let your manager know that if the opportunity arises, you’d be the first to apply.

4. It may start as a fellowship.

Fellowships are more in-depth internships with a lot more autonomy. They are often setup so that the fellow will be considered for work at the end or be expected to produce a project that will aid in the evaluation of their performance and future placement in the company. The great thing about many fellowships is that some offer full-time salaries, benefits, substantial work experience, mentorship and a longer term that most internships. They are often also geared towards recent graduates.

5. It may convince you that your dream job is actually not what you originally thought.

I have learned so much about my self as a professional through working in a different field than my major. By taking on various projects, getting to know my co-workers and getting knee-deep in business and education, I have learned that I have interests and skill sets that include both my college interests (communications and nonprofit management) and my new found interest in business. Sometimes the best thing to do is to branch out from the norm and try your hand at some other industries or job types and see if your interests broaden or change.

Remember: Your first job may not be your dream job. It’s just a stepping stone to the career you’ve always wanted!

Have you had any similar experiences? Do you have any tips or advice to share? Comment below

About the Author

Chiereme Fortune is the multi passionate writer, blogger, do-gooder and your marketing/pr go-to. She writes about all things #womanhood and personal branding on her blog, becomingthewoman.com. Find her on Twitter, Linkedin or IG.

8 Things You Need to Do To Close The Pay Gap


The gender pay gap is real. No one can deny its existence. One UN study says the pay gap won’t close for 70 years at its current rate. Does everyone else agree that’s ridiculous? Let’s speed it up by doing these eight things:

1. Be Verbal at Work

Women are often faulted for staying silent rather than making demands or stating opinions. We’re considered the quiet, passive gender while our male counterparts are more likely to voice their desires. In order to close the pay gap – entirely or even just somewhat – we should acknowledge this stereotype, and smash it. We need to be just as assertive and confident as our male co-workers, but then know when to dial those traits down.

According to a study conducted by Stanford GSB, the ability to successfully turn masculine characteristics on and off results in more promotions for women. Acting as a chameleon, apparently, has its advantages. So while women definitely shouldn’t stay silent, we should find our own voice. We should utilize our emotions and passion to our advantage while remaining levelheaded, composed and confident. It’s a tricky, delicate balance, but we can do it.

2. Counter the Initial Job Offer

Speaking up and being confident should begin from the get-go. Don’t shy away from countering your initial job offer and demanding more money. Some companies may even expect you to counter, leaving you looking like the weak sucker when you fail to do so.

You need to be your own cheerleader, expecting the best and going in with high expectations. The company would be lucky to have you – that should be your mindset. You need to speak for your worth, and make yourself clear. Insisting upon higher pay at the start will demonstrate confidence, a bold demeanor and that you really view yourself as a worthy employee.

3. Negotiate Pay

Continue to negotiate your pay as you progress. You shouldn’t be knocking on your boss’s door every day, but reasonable negotiations are a good way to close the pay gap and put more money in your pocket. When should you consider negotiating? Research what others in your field are making; don’t try to negotiate without first doing that research. Then act. If you’re completing assignments above your pay grade, say something. Working a ton of extra hours? Say something. Leading every project within the office? Bring it to your boss’s attention.

Your pay won’t just magically change; you need to be the force behind the increase. Unfortunately, in today’s society, women need to demand higher pay, or they may never get it. Don’t let fear stop you. If you have done adequate research, and truly deserve higher pay, you have nothing to be afraid of.

Rihanna And The Radical Power Of "Carefree Black Girl" Celebrity

4. Learn a New Language

Another way women can tackle uneven pay is to one-up their male counterparts. How can they do that? Invest in Rosetta Stone. Hire a language tutor. Enroll in evening classes. Do something to learn a new language – there are numerous ways to go about it. Knowing another language will make you a greater asset to your company and will likely result in a pay jump. In fact, bilingual adults earn on average $7,000 a year more than those that only speak one language.

5. Pursue a Lucrative Career

There are certain areas of employment that will bring in more dough. Pursuing some of these areas starts in college – like studying majors that have created numerous billionaires. Many of these job markets – like engineering, economics and finance, for example – remain male-dominated industries. Women cannot be intimidated, and should not be afraid to tap into the money being made in these concentrations.

6. Balance Work and Life

Some experts argue that it’s not gender that impacts a pay gap, but rather life choices that make the difference.

According to Warren Farrell, author of “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap – and What Women Can Do About It,” gender isn’t to blame. Work and life decisions are wedging the gap.

“Research shows that work/life decisions lead to men earning more and women working less and leading happier and healthier lives,” Farrell says. “When you look at men and women who have never been married and have no kids, women make 117 percent of what men make, even when you control for education, hours worked and years in the workplace,” he says.

7. Find a Mentor

Just as you’d want an expert to accompany you on a dangerous climb up Mt. Everest, you want an expert with you in the workplace. One of the best ways for women to excel in their careers, and to earn more money, is to find a valuable mentor – someone within the field or company that has achieved a level of seniority. This should be someone who can offer advice and help improve work performance. Someone who knows the ropes and understands the industry – that’s an asset every woman should have.

If you’re not already getting mentored by someone through your workplace, keep this in mind: women can really benefit from having a male mentor, says Pamela McCauley, professor of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Men can offer new perspectives and skills that can help to diversify female employees, making them more valuable.

8. Be aware of your environment and proceed accordingly

The results are in: women can access 2014’s best and worst places for gender equality within the United States. Some states offer better chances for equal pay, while others lag far behind – dragging the country to the 23rd spot for gender equality in the world. Pretty shameful. The five states with the smallest pay gap are, in order from best to worst: Arizona, California, Maryland, Florida and Nebraska. The five worst states are: Mississippi, Alaska, West Virginia, Louisiana and Wyoming.

This is likely due to the variable costs of living across the nation, but if given the option to relocate you may want to consider one of these locations for a salary increase. And if you’ve already thrown down roots in one state, you may just want to use salaries from similar positions in the best states as bargaining power for a raise.

Practice these things and there’s no way the pay gap will hang over us for another 70 years.

by Sarah Landrum

About Her Agenda

[zilla_column column="one-third"] [/zilla_column][zilla_column column="two-third" last="true"] Her Agenda is an award-winning inspiration and information hub for ambitious millennial women providing the best resources found online to motivate them to reach their full potential. Named a top website for millennial women by Forbes.com our content driven resource portal attracts driven women and we give them the tools to become accomplished women. Her Agenda also features interviews with powerful, successful women to offer direct advice from their career journey to our readers. For more visit, www.HerAgenda.com. [/zilla_column]