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Mastering the Art of Résumé Writing: Take Control of Your Future

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With stiff competition at every corner, finding a job is a daunting process. To increase your chances of being selected, you should understand the hiring funnel. Here’s a quick breakdown of the typical online job posting:

  • 1,000 individuals will see a job post;
  • 200 will begin the application process;
  • 100 will complete the application process;
  • 75 of those 100 will be screened out by either the applicant tracking system (ATS) or a recruiter;
  • 25 résumés will be seen by a hiring manager;
  • four to six will be invited for an interview;
  • one to three of them will be invited back for a final interview;
  • one will be offered the job, and 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it.

With odds like these, how can anyone stand out? For starters, make sure you’ve reviewed your résumé. Eliminating common mistakes is the first viable step to getting noticed … and in a good way!

Common sumé Mistakes

The quickest way to put yourself out of the hiring funnel is having misspelled words on your résumé. While the interview will land you the job, the résumé gets you in the door. It’s your chance to make a first impression, so don’t screw it up with easy-to-correct errors. Proofread, proofread, proofread and for goodness’ sake, proofread!

Have someone else look over your résumé to catch any errors you might have missed. (Remember: Computer spell-check functions don’t catch everything.) For college students, utilize the career services center, as its staff members are there to help you. For everyone else, ask a friend, family member, mentor or colleague. Mistakes are a direct reflection of you and your personal brand. Don’t let your first impression also be your last.

With regards to formatting, the rule of the one-page résumé is gone. The important thing to consider is whether your skills are reflected accurately. That said, your résumé isn’t meant to be an essay, so don’t go over two pages. Be sure to use action words and sentences to best reflect your abilities, but if you think it’s not necessary, leave it off. Fluff equals clutter.

For certain individuals, the résumé has evolved into a more creative space. Formatting parameters are usually based on preference, but consider the job for which you are applying. A résumé for a graphic designer will look significantly different than one for an entry-level financial position.

Outside of misspellings and formatting errors, having an objective that doesn’t match the job for which you are applying could cause you to be filed under “undesirable.” Rather than including an objective, list your key expertise and skills. Remember that a résumé is a marketing tool to sell yourself, so be realistic about what you can do and showcase that in the most appropriate light.

A final rule: If you cannot recall the details of a particular situation, leave it off. Assume you will be asked, so if you have nothing to recall, not only would you look unprepared, but devalued. Further regarding details, be sure to quantify and qualify. For instance, rather than writing “Process Accounts Payable,” use “Responsible for $1M in payables monthly.” Your credibility increases simply by adding a measurable value.

Demand Attention

With an abundance of résumés floating around, yours is just another piece of paper to add to the stack, unless you can demand attention. During any given week, 427,000 résumés can be found on the popular job site Monster. In order to garner attention from a recruiter, you will have to find a game changer. Here are a couple tips and tricks to creating a more appealing résumé:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Accentuate your accomplishments.
  • Show progression.
  • Provide empirical data to support your successes.
  • Don’t just say you want to succeed; show how you will.

One strategy I have found to set candidates apart is having a personal website. This nontraditional method grabs attention, and is a creative way to showcase your abilities. Having a unique identifier can give you an edge over the competition, but in some instances, a website may not appropriate for the job.

What’s the Take on Cover Letters?

A good rule of thumb for cover letters is to determine if the company you’re applying at requires one. If it doesn’t, don’t. While some argue that a cover letter is an opportunity to frame your candidacy for the employer and expand upon your interest in the position, it may do more harm than good. Your résumé should reflect enough of your skill set to set you apart. Usually, a cover letter is more fluff than concrete information, and fluff doesn’t hold near as much value.

However, if you must submit a cover letter, it should tell why you are excited about the position. Indicate why you are best for the role, especially if it is not readily apparent from your past experiences. And above all, keep it short.

Writing a résumé is an art. Take these dos and don’ts, apply them and become the master of your fate. A few simple changes could mean the difference between simply being a candidate or becoming a new hire.


Tiffany McGowen

by Tiffany McGowen


Author Bio:

Tiffany McGowen, Paycom’s national director of recruiting, is responsible for the oversight of staffing corporate headquarters and growing the nationwide sales force. She has more than 10 years of recruiting experience, ranging from executive-level talent to interns, with a specialty in sales professionals. Passionate about motivation, McGowen is constantly on a coast-to-coast hunt for the best and brightest talent in every market.

Potential

Are You as Good Today as You’ll Ever Be?

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Will today be as good as your life ever gets?

Let’s pretend I’m an all-knowing being – which I most certainly am not – and that I visited you with an announcement: today, you’re as good as you’ll ever be. You’ll never be any better than you are right now.

Pursuing Your Leadership Potential: How the Best Can Be Better

Tomorrow won’t be terrible, but you will be a little less happy, a little less healthy, make somewhat less money, have shallower experiences and make a smaller impact. And that will continue each day for the rest of your life.

Would you be happy hearing that?

I am very confident that most people would say no.

At some level, we all hope and expect our lives will keep getting better… but what do we do each day to ensure that happens?

Ongoing improvement requires both desire and discipline. You need a passion and a plan.

That’s why I wrote, The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Narrowing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best companies and highest performers of our day. I noticed that many had succeeded at becoming the best in their space, but once they did, they faced a greater challenge: how to become even better.

When you’re at the top of your game, improvements are more incremental and harder fought. You have few exemplars, if any, to emulate. You are the leader now, and just maintaining (not to mention increasing) that lead grows more and more difficult.

 So Why Get Better?

If you are already among the best, why bother getting any better?

First, consider this: We all know how good we’ve become, but none of us know who good we could be.

No person or organization I’ve worked with has ever claimed they were living or doing business at peak potential. Why? We simply don’t know what is possible, so we keep aiming to get better and find out just how good we could be. That makes life and business incredibly interesting. There are also several practical factors driving the need to improve.

The first is change: with so much change occurring around us, we need to improve our knowledge and skills just to keep up.

The second is competition. If our competitors get better and we don’t, we lose ground.

The third is customers. They have increasing expectations. Ever noticed that the more you do for customers, the more they expect? That’s why you need to continue to increase your value proposition.

Finally, your capabilities are above whatever level you are performing at now. As a client once told me, we don’t benchmark against our competitors, we benchmark against our capabilities.

The Key to Being Better

Nobody gets better “accidentally.” Only wine improves with age without trying. You don’t accidentally improve significantly. And you can’t reach the highest summits of your potential or make the greatest positive impact without intentionality.

How much do you want to get better? Teachers can teach you, coaches can coach you, and motivational speakers can pump you up but it is what you do with the information that matters.

Ongoing improvement requires a process, and it’s based on correctly, consistently applied principles. The exciting thing is, when you take intentional action, the door to your future swings wide open. Your willingness to work at self-improvement is the secret to realizing your full potential.

You supply the commitment to getting better, coupled with the right plan and process, and your effort will start to pay off. It’s well worth it.

Not only will it benefit you, but it will also benefit the people around you. Your customers will be happier. Your boss will be impressed. And your family will see you at your best – the spouse and parent you really want to be.

So, you have a choice to make. Are you content coasting along, content with the status quo? Or are you ready to make your best even better?

The Map of Your Potential

You may not yet know just how good you can be. But I have a tool you can use to make sure you’re moving in the right direction.

I call it the Potential Matrix. This grid identifies four aspects of life that are crucial to your journey toward improvement: the performing quadrant, the learning quadrant, the thinking quadrant, and the reflecting quadrant. Each represents potential areas of growth, and they all complement each other. Growth in one area can be used to foster growth in the others, leading to greater progress overall.


How can you best use this Potential Matrix? Begin by deciding what you want to improve: a project, a performance, a relationship – anything that really matters to you. Then use all four quadrants to help you get there.

One of the most common uses of the matrix (and the most helpful) is to start in the thinking quadrant. Determine what needs to be done and move into the learning quadrant to learn the needed skills. Then you apply those skills in the performing quadrant and afterwards reflect on the insights you gained.

Then you can go back into the thinking quadrant to rethink for even more improvement.

We all have one “preferred zone” where we are most comfortable and enjoy operating, often to the exclusion of the other zones. If you really want to be the best you can be, you’ll have to go exploring outside your comfort zone. It’s in those uncomfortable areas where you’ll grow the most.

Maybe you’re more at home in the inner world of thoughts and ideas than in the outer world of words and action. That can be awesome, but there’s a danger that you might think a lot without doing much. Or maybe the opposite is true, and you like being highly productive. Again, that’s great, but you might be doing a lot without thinking much!

This lesson is an important one: focus on improving within all four quadrants of the Potential Matrix.

Success with Significance

Your purpose is essential to pursuing your potential. If you want to be everything you can be, you need a compelling reason. That’s your purpose. It takes a strong why to power the what and the how of personal growth.

D. L. Moody said that our greatest concern in life should be to succeed in something that really matters. One of the best ways to do this, and move closer to realizing your true potential, is this: Look for the inherent meaning in your work, and infuse your existing work with meaning.

When you commit to something bigger than yourself, you’ll often find your bigger purpose. Remind yourself every day of how your role as an employee or an entrepreneur contributes to the purpose of your company, and of the impact you have on customers. When you make your best even better, you also have more to give your family and community.

Remember that you have a positive impact on others through your performance. It isn’t just the job that you have but also how you do that job that makes the difference between average and extraordinary. Resolving a customer’s complaint gracefully, delivering a knockout sales presentation or going above and beyond as a parent or spouse gives purpose and meaning to your efforts.

What matters most to you? What gets you out of bed each morning, excited and ready to face the new day? Where do you enjoy spending your time, energy and heart?

As a person of faith, I believe we all have a purpose in life. Find yours. Discover the meaning in what you do. Then give it everything you’ve got, using the tips I’ve shared in this blog and the guidance and encouragement I offer in The Potential Principle. Not only will you find success in bettering your best, but your success will matter—both to yourself and to the people around you.

Tags: ,
Posted in Blog, Featured, Leadership

Mark Sanborn

by Mark Sanborn


Author Bio:

Leadership expert Mark Sanborn is the author of eight books, including the 2004 best-seller The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary and 2017’s The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be. A member of the Speaker Hall of Fame, he is a winner of the Cavett Award, the National Speakers Association’s highest honor. Sanborn is also a member of the exclusive Speakers Roundtable, made up of 20 of the top speakers in America.

third gender

California Legally Recognizes ‘Non-binary’ as Third Gender, EEO-1 reporting remains the same

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In October, California passed Senate Bill 179 to recognize a third gender option on state-issued IDs, driver’s licenses and birth certificates. The new law also makes it easier for California residents to change their legal gender to male, female or nonbinary. For EEO-1 reporting purposes, employers still will be required to report all workers as either male or female, even if an employee declines to self-identify as one or the other.

As defined by the bill, “nonbinary” is an umbrella term for people with gender identities that fall outside the traditional conceptions of strictly female or male.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2018, applicants no longer will be required to have undergone clinical treatment for gender transition when seeking a judgment recognizing a change of gender. Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, an individual will be able to change their gender on their birth certificate by submitting an application to the state registrar. Also required is an affidavit, made under penalty of perjury, attesting the request for a change of gender is to conform the person’s legal gender to the person’s gender identity.

The new law also requires applicants for a driver’s license (including renewals) to choose from one of the three gender categories.

Effect on employers

Although California employees may identify as nonbinary, this third option currently does not exist on the EEO-1 report, therefore, employers still will be required to report all workers as either male or female on the EEO-1 report, even if an employee declines to self-identify as one or the other. Under current guidance of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers will be allowed to record and report the person’s biological sex based on a good-faith observation.

However, California employers must remain mindful of an employee or applicant’s choice to identify as nonbinary. Pursuant to California Fair Employment and Housing Act regulations, employers should request gender information from applicants only on a voluntary basis and should not discriminate against applicants based on their failure to designate as male or female on applications. Furthermore, to avoid potential liability, employers should identify employees by their preferred gender, name or pronoun, including gender-neutral designations.

Other states

Although California is the first state to allow a nonbinary gender option on birth certificates, residents of Oregon and Washington, D.C., recently were allowed the option to select a third gender option on driver’s licenses. In June, Washington, D.C., began offering an “X” option in addition to female and male designations on state identification cards.

Similarly, in July, Oregon began allowing individuals to mark their gender as “X” for nonbinary or unspecified on state driver’s licenses and identity cards. Currently, New York is attempting to pass similar legislation.

Disclaimer: This blog includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction for advice on specific legal problems.

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog, California, Compliance, Featured

Kristin Fisher

by Kristin Fisher


Author Bio:

As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Kristin Fisher monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, with a focus on labor and employment laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. Previously, she served as an attorney at the Oklahoma City law firm Derryberry & Naifeh LLP. Fisher earned a bachelor’s degree and MBA from the University of Central Missouri, and her Juris Doctor from the Oklahoma City University School of Law. Outside of work, she enjoys cooking, hiking, going to the movies and spending time with her fiancé.

Employer Brand

4 Weaknesses in an Employer Brand From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

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With the holiday moviegoing season upon us, one of the most anticipated blockbusters – about a continuing space battle – is approaching at warp speed. Earlier entries in this enduring franchise actually can teach us about one of today’s hottest HR topics, the employer brand.

The first film’s hero – we’ll call him Lou Swashbuckler – is the most desired talent across several planets. The evil Dark Overlord and his Galaxy Syndicate want him for his special abilities, while Her Highness Laura and her Renegade Association seek his morale and piloting expertise. In the end, Swashbuckler decides to side with the organization whose values and ambitions most closely align with his goals — the good-guy Renegade Association.

Learn more about the employer brand by subscribing to Paycom’s HR Break Room podcast.

Despite having more resources and benefits, the Galaxy Syndicate still lost the war for Swashbuckler’s top talent. Here are four reasons why its employer brand proved unattractive.

  1. Galaxy Syndicate employees are poorly trained

As a workforce, Dark Overlord’s Galaxy Syndicate suffers from a reputation of being less than high-performing. Its low-level, white-helmeted troops are so ineffectively trained for their positions, they can’t even exhibit precise aim with their work-issued weaponry. A few other skills they lack include safely driving levitating vehicles, securing prisoners and identifying people of interest. Plus, they are easily distracted by strange noises and have a keen inability to focus on the task at hand.

These issues found consistently among multiple employees point to a lack of training within the organization. If the Syndicate does not place ability at a high bar, it is easy to see why so many unskilled prospects would apply to this behemoth of an organization. To positively influence his company’s culture and attract quality talent, Dark Overlord should invest his vast resources into proper training on a companywide basis.

  1. The Syndicate has an undeniably high turnover rate

It is no secret that having Dark Overlord for a boss can be hazardous to one’s health. Between the treacherous work conditions of building a battle station while under fire and being ordered to fly straight into a crowded asteroid field, Galaxy Syndicate employees do not last long. The high turnover rate is just another sign of an employer brand that places no value on the livelihood of its people.

Top performers are not going to apply for a company that disregards their well-being. In order to positively influence the employer brand, the Syndicate should craft more specific employee-protection policies and create safety training courses.

  1. The Syndicate bleeds quality talent

Due to the high turnover rate, toxic work culture and the oftentimes ethically questionable nature of the Galaxy Syndicate’s work, many of its best employees eventually defect in favor of joining its biggest competitor, the Renegade Association. That competition may offer a smaller paycheck and more modest benefits, but the scrappy organization’s values and methods are more likely to attract the best workers in less than 12 parsecs.

The Syndicate’s revolving door of employees creates an employer brand and culture of indifference, anonymity and disinterest in comradery. In order to change the perspective of his employer brand, Dark Overlord should create organizational values and a clear mission statement to inspire teamwork and rally his workforce before they quit … or die.

  1. The Syndicate isn’t even a top-performing organization

The destruction of two of the Galaxy Syndicate’s home bases – aka Doom Planets – demonstrates that biggest is not always the best. Its consistent record of failure against a significantly smaller competitor is unattractive and unlikely to draw skilled talent. The organization may have unlimited marketing and recruiting resources to lure applicants, but ultimately, its values attract villainy not invested in the overall success of the organization. This can lead to, at minimum, a toxic culture with high turnover and, quite possibly, the company’s ultimate defeat.

When you are a large company, it is easy to become content with the status quo and, therefore, less invested in your employer brand. But do not become negligent after achieving success. To maintain an employer brand that will attract invested employees, create a strong mission statement and purpose – one around which the workforce will want to rally.

When considering your own employer brand, consider the Galaxy Syndicate’s less-than-stellar reputation and the low quality level of its employees to understand the type of workforce you don’t want to attract. Then try to do the opposite. (Actually, there is no “try.”)

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Blog, Featured, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

caleb.masters

by Caleb Masters


Author Bio:

Caleb is the host of The HR Break Room and a Webinar and Podcast Producer at Paycom. With more than 5 years of experience as a published online writer and content producer, Caleb has produced dozens of podcasts and videos for multiple industries both local and online. Caleb continues to assist organizations creatively communicate their ideas and messages through researched talks, blog posts and new media. Outside of work, Caleb enjoys running, discussing movies and trying new local restaurants.

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