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 By now you should know that whatever you learned about creating a resume design is probably outdated, especially if you're in a creative industry.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.

Optimizing your LinkedIn Profile for the Job Search

Optimizing your LinkedIn Profile for the Job Search

Job search season is upon us and more and more people are approaching me for help around Linkedin profile tips, their resumes, cover letters and personal brands. I recently completed a brand audit with a client, and noticed that I am consistently sharing the same tips and tools around LinkedIn. It is the most underutilized and underestimated social media network. Most millennials don't understand what to do with it and the power that it has when it comes to networking and job hunting. Since this information is so important during job search season, I jumped on Periscope and shared my top tips for getting your LinkedIn profile on point. Of all the social networks, LinkedIn is the most important when it comes to presenting yourself professionally to potential employers and recruiters. Although it may seem tedious and awkward at first, investing time and energy into your LinkedIn profile as you would a job application, helps your online presence stand out among 175 million job seekers and professionals on the platform. Trust me, after you read this post, you will be doing better than 80% of them.

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.

How to Contact Recruiters During the Job Search [Templates Included]

How to Contact Recruiters During the Job Search [Templates Included]

Everyone isn't a master networker. I get it. However, we often let opportunities pass us by because we are too busy looking for answers online and everywhere in between. So here is the last post about contacting recruiters that you will ever need to read so you can get out there and get these opportunities popping. Even if you aren't actively searching, you should contact a recruiter as soon as you think you may want a new job. Why? Because, finding the right fit for you may take some time. Don't be afraid to reach out to a recruiter without having any prior connection. Tracy Vistine, lead recruiter with Messina Group said it best: "A recruiter's job is to present highly-qualified candidates quickly. So, they are always networking. It's completely acceptable to contact a recruiter via LinkedIn - even if you haven't met them in person." Here are some tips on how to connect with a recruiter.

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.