The Simple Change That Makes It 34 Time More Likely You’ll Get Yes

When you have a big ask, you aim to make it easy for the other person—be it your boss, co-worker, or networking contact—to say yes.

And so, you think through contingencies, prepare answers to likely questions, and pay close attention to how you word your email.

If that’s your go-to strategy, research by Professors Vanessa Bohns and Mahdi Roghanizad could be a game-changer for you. They led a study in which people had to ask strangers to take a survey. Half asked them over email and half asked in person.

As Bohns writes in an article for Harvard Business Review:

…participants who made requests over email felt essentially just as confident about the effectiveness of their requests as those who made their requests face-to-face, even though face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than emailed ones.

Why? Bohns notes that while the person asking often feels more comfortable doing it from behind a computer screen—people receiving the request respond positively to trustworthy body language.

Now, before you renounce email for a work routine centered around face-time, it’s helpful to remember the participants in this study were dealing with strangers. Which means, you don’t need to bump up the number of in-person meetings with the co-worker you sit next to.

However, you probably have people at your office or in your network, who—while you know them—you’re not particularly close with. And it’s with those people that this advice could make a big difference. Need help from someone who you only see in the elevator or at the company holiday party? Want to ask someone you went to college with a decade ago for an in at their company?

These are times when it’d be worthwhile to discuss in person.

As ironic as it is, you’ll often need to send an email to set up that in-person meeting. So, be literal about time (“Do you have [30 minutes] to discuss…”), flexible about place (“I could meet by your office”), and transparent about why you’re reaching out (“I’d like to discuss how our departments can work together on [project]/ I want to learn more about your work at company), which’ll make it that much more likely your conversation will happen. And if you need even more guidance, we have a networking email template to ask for a meeting.

Yes, email’s literally at your fingertips. But, the next time you need someone to say yes, consider if it’s the best way to go about it, or if it’d be better to set up a chat.

 

Article originally published on The Muse.

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3 Resume Summary Examples That’ll Make Writing Your Own Easier

There’s one thing you likely already know: If you still have an objective statement perched at the top of your resume, it’s time for some serious updating.

That formal (and, let’s be honest, totally useless) blurb of the past has since made way for something new: a summary statement.

So… uhh… what exactly is a summary statement? It’s a few short lines or bullet points that go at the top of your document and make it easy for the hiring manager to understand your experience and qualifications. Basically, it explains what you bring to the table for that employer.

It sounds simple in theory. But, if you’re anything like me, when you sit down to actually crank out that brief little blurb, you’re left staring at a menacing blinking text cursor for a good half hour. Yes, even I struggle with these—and I make my living as a writer.

Fortunately, there’s nothing like a little bit of inspiration to get your creative juices flowing. So, I’ve pulled together three real resume summary statements that are sure to get a hiring manager’s attention.

Extract some lessons from what these people did well, and you’ll take a little bit of the stress and pain out of writing your own.

Who Needs a Summary Statement?

Just wait—before we jump right into the samples, this is an important question to answer.

If you’re one of those people who has righteously told yourself, “Psh, summary statement? I don’t need one of those!”—well, you might be right, they work better for some people than for others.

“Summary statements are usually best for more experienced professionals with years of experiences to tie together with a common theme (read: brand). Or, alternatively, they can be used to tie together disparate experiences with a set of key transferable skills,” explains Muse writer, Lily Zhang, in her article on the topic.

If you’re someone with a pretty straightforward career history and path, that precious real estate might be better used for bullet points, rather than this type of paragraph. But, if you’re an experienced candidate or are changing careers? This could be just what you need to make your resume a little more cohesive.

1. Start by Saying Who You Are

Editorial-minded marketer and communications strategist transforming the way brands interact with audiences through content. With over seven years of experience at consumer startups, media companies, and an agency, brings a thoughtful perspective and blend of creative chops and digital data-savvy. Entrepreneurial at heart and a team player recognized for impassioned approach and colorful ideas.

Why it Works: “This is a great example of a concise and compelling summary because it explains who this professional is (first line), puts her experience into context (second line), and highlights her intangible strengths (final sentence),” explains Jaclyn Westlake, career expert, resume writer, and writer for The Muse, of this summary she worked on with a client.

But, what this statement does exceptionally well is start with a powerful statement about exactly who this candidate is and what she does. “If this were the only sentence a hiring manager read about this candidate, she’d still have a pretty good idea what this person is about,” Westlake adds.

2. Make it an Elevator Pitch

High-achieving Enterprise software account manager driven to increase sales in established accounts while reaching out to prospects. Help Fortune 500 companies gain a competitive edge and increase revenue by identifying customer needs, providing recommendations, and implementing technology products that solve problems and enhance capabilities.

Why It Works: One way to make writing your own resume summary statement easier? Think of it like an elevator pitch.

Since employers care most about what sort of value you can add to their organization, it’s smart to follow in the footsteps of this sample and use the bulk of your summary to emphasize not only what you do, but why it’s important.

“This summary clearly articulates who he is, whom he serves, and how he helps,” says Theresa Merrill, Muse Master Career Coach, of this client sample she provided.

Maybe you won’t use words like “gain a competitive edge” or “increase revenue” in your own statement. But, give some thought to how your skills and expertise help the overall organization, and then weave that into your statement.

3. Keep it Short

Award-winning journalist and digital producer offering extensive experience in social media content curation, editing, and storytelling. Adept at transforming complex topics into innovative, engaging, and informative news stories.

Why it Works: This one is significantly shorter than the other statements included here. But, that doesn’t mean it’s any less effective.

“It’s short and sweet,” says Merrill of this statement she wrote for a client, “It highlights his expertise right away with a word like ‘award-winning’ and also shares what makes him unique.”

When you’re trying to keep things to one page, you know by now that space is limited on your resume (here’s some great advice about what to cut, by the way). So, the more concise you can make your statement—while still ensuring it still packs a punch—the better.

If you do choose to move forward with a resume summary statement, remember to treat it as your own personal highlight reel.

“A summary isn’t meant to be a regurgitation of the information already on your resume,” concludes Westlake, “It should serve to further enhance the reader’s understanding of your experience, specialties, and strengths. It’s also an excellent way to tie your work history together to help hiring managers better understand how your experience would translate into the role they’re recruiting for.”

Think through what you bring to the table and then use these three samples as your inspiration, and you’re sure to craft a resume summary statement that grabs that hiring manager’s attention.

 

This article was originally published on The Muse. 

3 Times You’re Overthinking When You Read Job Listings (and 3 Things You’re Not Thinking About Enough)

Applying for jobs is stressful. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who would respond to that fact with, “What do you mean? I think it’s a totally enjoyable process and I can’t wait to do it again soon!”

But as harrowing of an experience as it can be, there are a few surprisingly insignificant factors that you’re agonizing over whenever you read a job listing. And as a result, you’re so caught up on those things that you’re missing important details that potential employers are looking for you to catch.

For example:

1. You’re Overthinking Your Deadline to Submit

It’s really exciting to find an opening that makes you want to apply ASAP. But on the flipside, it’s not hard to figure out that if you’re so pumped about it, there are probably lots of other people who want it, too. So, the obvious conclusion is to submit your materials immediately, right? Well, not quite.

Read the listing again and take note of everything the employer asks for. Then, think about how long all of those materials typically take you to customize. If you’ve found it at the beginning of a day, and think you can dedicate the amount of time required to submit it later that afternoon, give it a shot.

But if you think you’ll need a full 24 to 48 hours to get your act together, that’s perfectly fine. Your application will stand out much more for being tailored for the role than it will be for getting there within minutes of the listing going live.

You’re Not Giving the Application Your Complete Attention

Before I was a full-time writer, I really wanted to be a full-time writer. And every time I applied for a job, I crossed my fingers in hopes that the employer would be the first to give me a shot. But I soon realized I wasn’t putting myself in a good position to hear back because I wasn’t following all the instructions.

So, before you rush to apply, read the listing three times and write down exactly what’s required—from a resume (tailored, obviously), to a cover letter (template to make that easy here), to a portfolio, to social media links, to responses to additional questions.

No matter what the case may be, it’s worth double-checking this list before you submit.

2. You’re Overthinking Whether or Not You Should Apply

How often have you come across an amazing opportunity and thought that you’d like to apply, but then decided you were under-qualified? After all, being told “no thanks” is never fun. But here’s the thing—a “no” is much better than thinking, “Hm, I wonder if I would’ve had a chance at that.”

If you’re not an exact match, take a second look at the key requirements. If you think you meet the core competencies, don’t be afraid to throw your hat in the ring.

You’re Not Thinking Enough About the Required Skills

While you shouldn’t be afraid to apply for positions that might be a bit of a stretch, you also shouldn’t blindly assume that you’re awesome enough to make up for the fact you can’t do the job. (Yes, you might be a fast learner, but sometimes that’s truly not enough—especially in a role that requires you to hit the ground running.)

If you decide you’re more unqualified than under-qualified (this article can help you figure that out) and it’s a job you really want, do some research to figure out how to get those necessary skills. Hint: Do some informational interviews and ask that very question.

3. You’re Overthinking if the Job’s a Perfect Fit

There’s a lot of validity in the idea that you should only apply for a position you really want. But what does that actually look like? Does it mean that you should only apply for roles that check every single box on your list? Probably.

But based on many listings alone, you won’t be able to see if all of those boxes are checked until you interview.

So, how can you figure out if you “really” want the job? Ask yourself a few questions before applying.

  • Does the position require anything you find incredibly boring?
  • Does the role ask for experience you’re not willing to learn?
  • Does everything you know (and can research) about the company make it sound like a good match for you?
  • Will this role get you closer to your own career goals?

If you’re satisfied with the answers you come up with, go ahead and take a shot. If you’re not, then don’t.

You’re Not Thinking Enough About if You Actually Want the Job

You’re probably thinking, “Rich, this is the complete opposite of what you just said I’m overthinking!” And it is, but at the same time, it’s easy to send off resume after resume for a handful of roles you know you’d hate.

I get how much you probably want to find a new job—and the sigh of relief you breathe when a new offer comes into your inbox. However, what happens when it comes for a gig that you know you’re probably going to hate? You don’t feel all that great.

Like we just discussed, ask yourself the questions above before you apply and listen to yourself.

Sifting through job boards can be overwhelming. And even though the easy solution would be to simply apply for all of them, there are a few things you should always consider before you invest the time and energy into doing that. Applying for a new position shouldn’t be a quick activity—but you can make things less stressful by giving each one a little more thought before you blindly send your resume and cover letter.

This article was originally published on The Muse. 

How to Figure Out Your Salary in Your Next Job

Maybe you’ve just gotten word that there’s a new job opportunity opening up at your company. Maybe you are thinking of shifting industries and want to explore a new career track. Perhaps you’ve been offered a job already, and you’re trying to assess whether the pay matches your skills and experience. Whatever your situation, if you’re looking for a new job, there’s probably one big question on your mind: What’s my salary going to be?

Even when the money on offer is enough to live on, you need to figure out if it’s an amount worthy of your knowledge and skills and whether it’s in line with the local market. Look at the financial package on the whole,” says Rebecca Knight, an author for the Harvard Business Review. You need to know your worth relative to the context of the job, so that you can have an idea of whether the salary offered is fair, and also have a better sense of what leverage you can use in a negotiation. Here’s how!

1. Do your online research

First, you need to get a sense of what people in your same position would make. This is not only limited to the same type of position – “office manager”, for example – but also your location. Being an office manager in Kansas yields a different average salary than being an office manager in San Francisco does. Also, your years of experience count. Someone who’s been an office manager for 10 years is more likely to land a higher salary than someone who’s just becoming an office manager this year. To get a sense of what the ballpark salary is for the type of position you’re eyeing, a simple search on Glassdoor’s salary search tool will give you a baseline idea.

Then drill down by comparing the average compensation with your market worth. How do you find out your market worth, you say? Use Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth, which gives you a personalized estimated market value, what others in your field are being paid, as well as the open jobs available. Once you have a ballpark for your market worth, you’ll be able to compare that with what the average salary for the position you’re vying for is. Plus, many job openings on Glassdoor will reveal a salary estimate which allows you to know how much a role can pay before you apply. #Transparency.

2. Do your in-person research

On top of what the internet can tell you, it’s also important to get as full a picture as possible by talking to people within the and in the industry. There may be specific factors at play that lead to a company offering a certain salary that you weren’t expecting. Reaching out to people through your professional network or over social media can help you get more insight into whether you think the salary a company is offering is fair or not.  

3. Decide if you’ll negotiate

If your market worth is higher than the salary you’re being offered (or even if it’s not higher!), this might be a time to consider negotiating. Knowing the general range of salaries for people in your position will give you leverage in your negotiation. But also keep in mind that the market worth you’ve calculated for yourself might not factor in the overall benefits package they’re offering. It also might depend on the size of the company or how long it’s been established for. The bottom line is that you should be able to explain why you deserve a pay increase. Come prepared with the research and the right questions, and be confident.

4. Think about what other benefits matter to you

At the end of the day, salary is certainly an important factor in why we choose a job. But it’s one factor among many. There are also many other reasons why we might take a job – personal fulfillment, a great location, ideal work-life balance, opportunities for future advancement, just to name a few. Think about the benefits outside of salary that you’ll get, too, when you’re making your ultimate valuation of a job.  

There are many forms of variable compensation from cash bonuses and tips to commissions and equity that could influence your base salary. In addition, some companies offer comprehensive benefits, including medical and dental benefits, paid time off, commuter subsidies and more. These are all important considerations in negotiating.

5. Ask and let the company reveal

One of the biggest mistakes we make as job seekers and employees is not asking direct questions to the hiring manager or HR person. Be confident and ask for the salary range for a position or role. According to a 2016 Glassdoor site survey, the #1 piece of information job seekers want employers to provide as they research where to work is salary/compensation. Recruiters know this and they expect the question.

If you’re job hunting, remember one of the most important rules of thumb to salary negotiations: you do not have to tell employers what you are or were earning at your previous company. Let the employer make the first offer, then you can follow it up with a higher number, and further showcase why you not only deserve to be hired but that you deserved to be hired at a better pay rate because of the value you are bringing to their team.

Remember, the most important way to figure out your salary in your next job is to be equipped with as much information as possible. Recruiters and hiring managers appreciate and respect informed candidates, plus those with information are better equipped to make better decisions to find a job and company to fit their lives.

This article has been re-blogged from Glassdoor.

Fact: Being Too Trendy Can Cost You The Job | Apertus Partners

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Fact: 70% of employers say applicants were too trendy while attending an interview.

Fact: This goes for all forms of trendy. From the clothes that you wear to the lingo you use during your interview, everything needs to have a balance.

Lets start with attire. What should you be wearing to an interview? Here’s the dilemma – you want to be dressed up, always, but is there such thing as too dressed up? Believe it or not, hiring managers let their first impression of you weight heavily on their decision. Sad, we know, but we live in a judgmental world – especially when it comes to our attire. It’s true that it’s always better to be too dressed up than not enough, but you can do this without being extravagant. Keep your clothing less bold and colorful and more reserved and plain. You can show your unique personality through your choices, but always choose the more toned down version.

Moving onto lingo – this goes for all the language you use in all senses – career specific terminology as well as the urban trends. Avoid using “like” too much and never ever say “dope”, “rad”, “wicked”, and whatever other terms you may use with your friends. It’s just all around unprofessional. When it comes to career specific terminology, things get a little tricky. This is another area where balance is key. You want to show the hiring manager that you are a master in your field but you don’t want to come off as a big shot who is pushing the limits. In some cases, your hiring manager might not even know what you’re referring to, especially if it comes to detailed coding, etc. so keep things light yet smart.

Past lingo and attire, we are even going to touch upon the pen and notebook you bring (yes, you should be bringing this to an interview… for more on being prepared, read this blog post: How to Prepare for an Interview). This, like your attire, should be even more subtle. Your soccer ball notebook and floral pen should be left at home.

Overall, there’s one standard message that applies here: keep it simple (but not stupid). You want most things other than your personality to be subtle, and even then, that should be impressionable but not overbearing. It’s all about having a good balance.

Employers Say You Need More Than A Resume When Applying to Jobs

We’ve done our research on the job searching practice so that we can give to you the best tips and tricks out there, and this statistic was not surprising to us: 53% of employers say that just a resume is not enough when it comes to apply for their jobs.

This wasn’t surprising. The job searching process is always finding ways to be more complicated and competitive. Therefore, we have provided you with a list of ways in which you can surpass a standard resume application:

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Another tip we can throw in there for you to amp up your resume: sometimes, or more so in many instances now, it’s not always about being better than another applicant – it’s about having a wide variety of experience. Don’t be better, be different. A wide variety of experience is key. Show your unique skills so you can stand out!

 

The Reality of Job Searching: Facts That Will Surprise You

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After doing some research, we put together a list of some of the most interesting and important facts we came across about the job searching process. This insight in particular is important because it teaches us some of the dos and don’ts that we may not even be aware of.

Here’s the fact of the matter – many of us (especially millennials) tend to disregard that our social media accounts do indeed play a factor in not only our image, but if we get a job or not. 79% of employers will look you up online and it will affect their decisions. Actually, 70% of employers have said they have turned down applicants because of their social media accounts. Unless you’re keeping  it private, it’s important to monitor exactly what it is you’re posting – and we mean this intensely. In the job searching process, it’s all about appearing, and staying mature and professional (and, well, that goes for your career in general). For instance, if your email is ilovesunicorns1234@gmail.com, there’s at least a 76% chance that you won’t even make it to an interview. Fact.

After all, we only want to see you succeed! So take these facts and run with them.

Top Skills to List on Your Resume via Monster

Article by Caroline Zaayer Kaufman via Monster.

The skills listed on your resume are the keys to unlocking a load of career opportunities. Think about it: Just by sheer numbers, your resume is a needle in a haystack. Your goal is to make your talents easily identifiable so that your resume is the one that gets a recruiter’s attention.

Coupled with the descriptions of your achievements, your skills will paint a clear picture of what you can do and how you do it, says Dawn Boyer, CEO of D. Boyer Consulting in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

When applying to jobs, it’s crucial to look at each job description, pick out the keywords and include those same keywords in your resume. Often, those keywords are the skills that employers want to see.

To improve your chances of getting noticed by a recruiter or hiring manager, these are the types of skills to include on your resume.

Industry-specific skills

You know those skills that are absolutely critical to working in your industry? They need to be front and center on your resume.

If you’re in accounting, for example, your skills should list financial reporting and analysis, forecasting and projections, and audit reviews. If you’re looking for a job as a sommelier, list your knowledge of wine fundamentals and food pairing, as well as your experience with inventory management.

Don’t assume that potential employers know you have these skills. List them prominently on your resume so that you undoubtedly pass a recruiter’s initial screening.

Tool proficiencies

Some positions, such as in technology and healthcare, require a base set of skills for any applicant to be hirable, says Geoff Scott, a Reno, Nevada-based career adviser and resume expert at Resume Companion. Tool proficiencies are the programs or machinery you can operate that are important to the job you’re pursuing.

For example, as an interior designer, you need computer-aided design (CAD) skills; and if you’re in radiology you need skills with X-ray equipment. “These skills, as long as they are relevant to the position, can be immediately tallied as points in favor of you landing the job,” Scott says.

Hard skills

Hard skills are skills that can be proven or measured. They tend to be the things you’ve learned through schooling or training, and are often tied directly to your work experience or degrees and certificates you’ve earned.

Boyer says she advises her clients to describe the documentable hard skills that can be proved by past employers. Fluency in a foreign language, proficiency with programming in C++ or a background in data analysis are examples of hard skills that should be included on your resume if they’re important for the job you’re seeking.

Soft skills

Soft skills can be more difficult to quantify, but that doesn’t make them any less important. Some examples of soft skills include creativity, analytical thinking, multitasking, verbal and written communications, time management and leadership.

Employers look at your soft skills to get a feel for your personality and values, and what you might be like to work with on a daily basis. The appeal of strong soft skills is universal.

“Soft skills are crucial for a candidate who wants to switch to a different industry, because these skills are often transferable,” Scott says.

Important soft skills are best expressed with examples that show how you excel at these things.

Environmental skills

A work environment can mean very different things, depending on what kind of job you’re pursuing.

For instance, if you’re applying to a construction job or job as a mover, it’s important to list how much weight you can lift or that you’re comfortable working in various types of weather conditions.

If the job you’re applying to focuses on the importance of teamwork in the job description, you’ll want to include how you excel in collaborative working environments.

People skills

Many jobs out there require you to work in the presence of other people. Therefore, you need to be able to get along with all types of personalities. People skills are similar to soft skills; they speak to what it’s like to work with you, as a colleague or customer.

This includes having excellent verbal and written communication skills, the ability to rally co-workers together to focus on achieving a common goal and the ability to calm an upset customer. Excellent people skills are a crucial part of what makes you such a standout employee who would be an asset to any company that gives you a chance to shine.

How to Gain Unique Experience for your Resume

Having a suitable (or more than suitable) amount of experience on our resumes is the key to reaching new heights in the career world. Experience and proven growth are major selling points to getting the job – and personal drive. Our resumes are our greatest dream and worst nightmare. We all need to have one and we all never know exactly what a good one is, but we can tell you this – having your own unique story and telling it through your resume is important. Matter of fact, it’s necessary. Therefore, here are some easy tips to build your unique experience and have your resume stand out.

  • Get certifications in your field, even if you don’t need them. The more experience, the merrier. You might end up applying for a position that appreciates one of them specifically. There’s no such thing as too much knowledge!
  • Get involved in volunteer work. Show that you are giving, motivated to make a difference, and spend your free time wisely. This is a great way to make an impression.
  • Take side courses that interest you, even if they don’t relate to your career. They can even be geared towards your favorite hobby. People with diverse experience usually get hired faster than people without it. Who knows, that experience alone could land you a job you never dreamed of having, but love! But – don’t get too quirky or into too much detail on your resume. Save that for the cover letter.
  • Find ways to contribute to your field on the side. Writer? Do some free contributing in different genres. Teacher? Do some weekend tutoring; help with SAT prep. In the coding sphere? Give some advice online, help others. Anything and everything counts as experience.

At the end of the day, life is all about the effort you put into it, and contributing to your own growth. Take opportunities, but also work on creating them for yourself. Use your free time wisely!