Age: Should You Mask It?

Ever considered downplaying your age during a job search? 

Yes, it’s illegal to make discriminatory hiring decisions based on age, but if I had a nickel for every time a client asked what I thought about the topic, the notion must be alive and well, if only unseen.

Libraries, bookstores, and online articles are jam-packed with career development articles dedicated to euphemizing, masking, or spinning a person’s seniority to postpone the discovery of age.

But stop the presses a minute.

Instead of masking your age, have you considered taking an active role in capitalizing on your experience for everything it represents?

So what to do? Continue reading

Missed the Memo? Don’t Put Negative Stuff in Writing

Recently, a friend — let’s call her Sue — wrote a pretty funny Facebook rant. Don't Share Negative News

Witty marketing is her gig, after all, and she’s smart-as-a-whip, so we all enjoy reading her creative take on life.

Unfortunately, the post involved blasting a sponsor, and she then proceeded to copy and paste the would-be sponsor’s rejection letter on her Facebook wall.

Yes, on her wall.

I inboxed her right away and suggested that she remove it ASAP.

While perhaps humorous behind closed doors — yes, there’s probably a time and a place to blow off steam — social media has become a bull pen of possible career-blunting blunders. For some, “trying not to step in it” has become a full-time affair.

If you’re prone to what my mother used to call, “popping off at the mouth,” consider the possible implications of my friend’s post: Continue reading

Are You Innovative? Think Twice About That Keyword

I live in a world dripping with keywords and phrases.

Actually, we all do. Think the billboard you drive by every morning isn’t precisely written? That Google search you just performed isn’t engineered within an inch of its life?

Everyone knows that advertising and marketing has been turned on its ear in little more than a decade.

Bye bye subscription rates, content is king.

Findability and click-through rates (CTR) long ago hijacked the quest for eyeballs.

The same has become true for résumés, particularly résumés that are first taken for a spin through a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) before ever being seen by a human being.

Without the right mix of keywords, the résumé may never be seen by anyone.

And don’t forget LinkedIn. Without carefully chosen keywords and phrases, you risk being missed in a sea of 150 million users.

But in my practice, I regularly see confusion around keywords.

For example, I regularly ask my clients for the top 8-12 keywords and phrases they think we should build copy around. We use job descriptions to help make the decision, and we revisit the notion throughout the engagement. Clarity comes with revision after revision.

Oddly, no matter the client’s background — no matter his or her skill or seniority — they inevitably come back with first-round words like this:

  • innovative
  • leader
  • experienced
  • seasoned

(The funny thing about using the word “innovative” is that its use is anything but … but that’s a topic for another blog post!) Continue reading

Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

Are keywords making you a liar

Are resume keywords making you a liar?

About two years ago, an executive client looked over my desk, pointed to a job description, and asked, “Jared, what do you think of these keywords?”

I said, “Do you have those skills?” (We’d been at this a while.)

“No,” he said.

“Well, then we can’t include them,” I replied.

It seems we’ve all fallen so concerned (perhaps rightly) with building our websites, blogs, and career copy around keywords and phrases, that we might have lost our collective sensibilities!

Why would an otherwise smart professional ask such an apparently silly question?

Truth is, my client hadn’t lost his mind. When you’re in the thick of writing a really great résumé or LinkedIn summary—or any other chunk of career copy—it’s hard to strike a balance between pushing the envelope and totally losing sight of the big picture, while making sure to clear today’s technology hurdles.

Trouble is, if you’re stretching the truth—or straight up lying—you’re not representing yourself authentically. Plus, the blowback can more than chafe. Who can forget this unfortunate-ness?

The lesson? Next time you’re writing your résumé, optimize the heck out of it. Include the right keywords and phrases. Just don’t forget to take a step back every now and then to be sure you’re including keywords and phrases that are truly yours.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

4 Things SEO Taught Me About Résumé Writing

Of the things I swore I’d never do in 2005, writing résumés for technology professionals topped my list.  

Yet, while 85% of my business is outside the San Francisco Bay Area, living here has tricked me into writing technology résumés after all; such that writing for tech now accounts for roughly 40% of my overall work.

It’s all due to my acquiescing under a friend’s referral pressure. Which led to another. And another.

But something happened as I carved out an unexpected specialty.

Technology started teaching me.

From my own Google AdWords optimization, to learning about how a Web site is ranked by keyword algorithms, to the use of natural keywords, I’ve learned a few tricks. And they’re surprisingly helpful when it comes to résumé design.

Here are four: Continue reading