This question originally appeared on Quora: What do recruiters look for in a resume at first glance? Answer by Ambra Benjamin, Engineering Recruiter.
Things I rarely pay as much attention to:
Read the entire article here: https://qz.com/525496/done-what-a-recruiter-sees-on-your-resume-at-first-glance/
I work with a lot of dental practices, and often tell them the same information you'll find in this excellent article from Jackson Hadley at My Social Practice. Potential patients read your About page before they read anything else on your website. Make sure yours is well-written, up-to-date, and shares information your patients want to know. If you need help, contact me and we'll do it together.
Think nobody’s looking at your practice website’s “About Us” page? Think again! The About page is typically one of the most-visited parts of a dental website. Take advantage of this valuable opportunity to build trust and share your practice’s story.Coming up with the perfect way to introduce yourself is tough. Whether you’re talking with someone new, writing an email, or giving a speech it’s often the first few sentences you’ll spend the most time preparing.
For potential patients visiting your website for the first time, your About page serves as a formal introduction to your dental practice. Does it succinctly and powerfully present why they should build a lifelong healthcare relationship with you?
Read the full article from the folks at My Social Practice here.
I was pleased to read this article in the Wall Street Journal recently because one of the biggest concerns I hear from people who are getting ready to write, or revise, their bio, is that jobs are hard to come by later in life. Not true, according to the article below. So if you need to write or update your bio, do it now and make sure you're ready when that job offer comes.
By Anne Tergesen, for The Wall Street Journal
The conventional wisdom says it’s impossible. The facts say otherwise.
There’s a stereotypical view of job opportunities for older workers, and it’s not pretty.It goes something like this. If you’re past 50 and thinking of a career switch, forget it. The opportunities for older workers in the new economy are pretty much nonexistent. And you’re in even worse shape if you’re in your 50s or 60s and retired but want to get back into the workforce in a job that is both challenging and financially rewarding. The only spots available are low-skilled and low-paying—whether that’s burger flipper, Wal-Mart greeter or Uber driver.
Boy, have a lot of people have been misinformed.
The numbers make it clear that the nightmare scenario simply isn’t true. The 55-and-older crowd is now the only age group with a rising labor-force participation rate, even as age discrimination remains a problem for many older job seekers. Workers age 50 or older now comprise 33.4% of the U.S. labor force, up from 25% in 2002. And more than 60% of workers age 65 or older now hold full-time positions, up from 44% in 1995.
Read the entire article here.
I recently came across an interesting article, "Here's Why Every Job Seeker Needs a Personal Website, and What it Should Include," written by Jacquelyn Smith for the Business Insider Careers page.
The article calls a personal website a 'secret weapon'. "It's one of the best ways to take a personal brand to the next level, beyond the standard résumé or LinkedIn profile," says Nick Macario, CEO of branded.me, a personal branding platform.
In addition to an introduction, work experience or resume, projects samples, references and your blog (if you have one), Smith recommends including your bio, whether text or video.
Use this section to tell your story and give the reader a look into your personality as well. "It's common to also include personal interest and hobbies," Macario adds.
(Note: I see conflicting advice on a regular basis about including hobbies and personal interests in bios and resumes. Some say yes, it helps 'frame' you as a person; and some say no, it's a waste of space. My advice is to decide on a case-by-case basis. If it feels appropriate, include it. If not, leave it out - they can always ask later if they want to know.)
If you are a job-seeker and you need to write or update your bio, I hope you'll consider my e-book, How to Write a Great Bio, or let me write it for you.
Either way, best of luck,
Over and over again in my work with dental practices I see an "About the Dentist" page that:
Considering the About the Dentist page, and the dentist's bio, is the first page potential new patients look at, I'm always interested to read articles that expand on this topic, such as the one recently published in Dentist's Money Digest entitled "5 Things Every Dentist Website Should Have." Number 2, in particular, caught my attention.
"A proper introduction. Most patients take it for granted that you’ve been through dental school and have all the proper certifications and training to perform the services your site says you can do. When they search your site, they’re looking to see if there’s someone behind the tooth sign in the lawn that they can trust. Consider an introductory video starring you and your staff, perhaps with a glance at the crisp, clean, professional dentist’s office you are undoubtedly running.
The video doesn’t have to be Citizen Kane or Star Wars, with the names of the film’s director and stars swooshing in on impressive graphics. Keep it simple, and keep it personal. Talk briefly about what you like about being a dentist, and what you hope to provide to your patients."
Read the entire article here.
Business Insider gave a career advice expert some real résumés and let her go to work with the red pen. It didn't go so well. Amanda Augustine from TopResume points out some big mistakes.
I see many similar errors when reviewing bios, especially that in resume #7. This is good information to keep in mind when writing any kind of professional document.
People often ask me why they should include hobbies when I write their bio. My answer is always that people like to read about people, and that our hobbies 'humanize' us. This article answers the question from an interviewer's point of view, and makes excellent reading.
By Jacquelyn Smith, for Business Insider
When you're in the hot seat interviewing for a job, you're answering questions such as "What's your greatest weakness?" and "Why should we hire you?" — so a query like "What are your hobbies?" will probably seem like a piece of cake.
But before you start babbling about your lifelong obsession with horses or your newfound passion for baking, consider this: The hiring manager wants to get a better sense of who you are, so it's important to think about which hobbies best showcase your strengths, passions, and skills — and then only discuss those in the interview.
Read the entire article here.
Often when people come to me to write their bio or resume, they fret over the fact they don't have the 'right' education, or the 'right' experience. My advice is always the same: don't apologize for what you think you don't have, emphasize what you do. This video of a TED Talk is a perfect example, and well worth watching. In it, Regina Hartley talks about why she often hires "The Scrapper" over the perfect resume.
Why the best hire may not have the perfect resume.
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This article attracted my attention on two fronts. One, I'm always interested to read about what makes a bio or resume stand out. Two, one of the most common errors I see when reviewing resumes or bios is over-formatting, making them difficult to read not only on a mobile device, but difficult to read in general.
So I was hooked when I saw the headline on this video, produced by Matt Johnson and published in the December 29th edition of Business Insider: "What a hiring manager scans for when reviewing resumes."
Bottom line, Matt says: "Hiring managers spend six seconds on your résumé before they decide on you. This is what they look at."
This video is well worth viewing if you're in the process of writing or updating your resume or bio. Remember, you have only seconds to capture a hiring manager's attention. Makes those seconds count.
One of the most common concerns I hear when helping someone write their bio is this: "I don't have much experience/education."
My reply is always the same: it doesn't matter. We'll focus on what you can do and have done. Therefore I was interested to run across this recent article about Allure Magazine's Linda Wells on why she doesn't care about your experience.
Read Linda's story as told to author Rachel Gillett.
A Magazine Executive Who's Been Hiring for 25 Years Explains Why She Doesn't Care About Your Experience
"The first thing most hiring managers consider when evaluating a job candidate is their experience — Elon Musk, for one, prefers to surround himself with a team chock full of problem-solving experience.
But Linda Wells, the founding editor-in-chief of beauty magazine Allure, takes an alternative approach to finding the best people.
"Experience is always good, but I don't think it's the be all and end all," she tells Business Insider."
Read the entire article here.
So next time you worry about whether or not you have the write education or experience for your bio or resume, remember what Linda has to say. Hard work and a willingness to learn matter much more!
Thanks to the folks at Weebly for this great advice on personal websites for job seekers, as well as a bio that tells a story.
There's no better resume than a personal website. In a recent survey, 84 percent of respondents said they received tangible career benefits from their personal site. Elements of a successful online portfolio include clean design, a bio that tells a story, and work samples that show the work you want to do. Here are some tips on how to make your online portfolio shine.
A bio that tells a story
A professional “About Me" page is a great way to show the personality behind your work. This is where you can include additional information that's not in your online resume or in your cover letter, such as your point of view on your profession, your backstory, and your hobbies and interests. After all, you're far more than a list of accomplishments.
For people interested in your work, a cultural fit is often as important as your skills and qualifications. Let them know you're a good match with a bio page that tells a story about what kind of partner you will be to work with.
Reprinted from a recent blog post by Dental Warranty. Thanks, Guys, for the opportunity to contribute to this article!
Mom is looking for a new dentist. Here's a super-easy, super-fast, super-affordable way to make sure she chooses you!
She looked for it, and didn’t find it. She’s on your website, maybe because Google directed her there, or maybe because someone she knows recommended you. But then she goes to your About the Dentist page and finds… nothing. Or an old photo with nothing but your name underneath it.
Once someone lands on your website the first thing they look for is information about you, the provider. At this point, they assume you’re a good dentist and will only delve further into your credentials and experience once they have some idea of who you are as a person. Your bio is the perfect way to let potential patients know more about you, as a clinician and a human being. Even better, a good bio (and professional photo) is one of the most affordable, if not free, marketing tools available to you.
Read entire article here.
One of the things that gives me the greatest pleasure as a professional bio writer, is all the interesting and talented people I get to 'meet'.
Of course they, and probably you, don't think they're interesting. I hear it all the time -- "There's nothing really unusual or unique about me."
I beg to differ, which is why it's a good idea to let an objective professional write your bio for you, especially if any of the following common statements sound familiar:
Professional bio writers like me know how to deal with all these issues, because we've done it hundreds of times before, and I, for one, have never written a bio for someone who is not interesting, or talented, often far, far more than they believe.
One of my favorite comments after someone takes advantage of my professional bio writing services is this: "Wow, you made me sound really good!" (Hint, it wasn't me.)
So if you're in need of a professional bio, consider asking a professional bio writer to help. The investment is minimal while the return -- a professional bio that represents you well -- is priceless.
Often, when I am writing a bio, the person I am writing it for worries that they will a): come across as too 'cocky', or b): they will come across as less competent than the next guy.
My response is always the same: tell what you do with confidence, and don't worry about the next guy.
That's why this article caught my eye, as it applies to writing a bio just as much as it does giving a speech, or attending a job interview. Do any of these undermining phrases creep into your speech at times?
Words and Phrases that Undermind Your Authority, By Laura McMullen, U.S. News
We think this article should basically cover the kind of important aspects of the way we talk in the workplace. It's just that some words can actually make you sound sort of bad. Does that, like, make sense?
The words we use in the workplace are significant, and some make you sound weak. Career and presentation experts suggest you think twice before uttering these words and phrases:
"I think," "I feel" and "I believe"
Take a look at the following examples: "I think you'll be impressed with our final product." "I feel like option A is the better choice." "I believe we should be able to meet that Friday deadline." Why the buffer? In the first two sentences, of course they're your thoughts and feelings you're expressing, and by immediately stating the obvious, you dilute the power of the rest of your statement. When possible, nix those unnecessarily conditionals for a more assertive, assured sentence: "You'll be impressed with our final product," and "Option A is the better choice."
This nip and tuck isn't always an option, though. For forward-looking statements you don't want to guarantee, like the Friday deadline example above, Jerry Weissman, founder and president of Power Presentations Ltd., suggests replacing "think," "believe" and "feel" with what he calls "power conditionals," such as: "I'm confident/convinced/optimistic we'll meet that Friday deadline." Or: "We expect to meet that Friday deadline."
Read Laura's entire article here.
I am always interested in reading about tips that help people get hired, whatever their age. But it is harder for people over 50, which is why this article caught my eye. When helping people write their bios, I always advise again including their age, unless they are the world's youngest astronaut or oldest snowboarder. This article gives excellent advice on how to deal with the age issue in an interview, as well as two other 'elephants in the room' you may need to address. Here is a portion of what Mary has to say, with a link to the full article.
By Mary Eileen Williams, Author, 'Land the Job you Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers over 50'
Are you over 50 and feeling frustrated by the lack of opportunities in the job market? Do you think you're being overlooked simply because of your age? Are you tired of seeing the jobs go to younger, less experienced applicants? If so... read on!
There is little doubt that age bias is out there. In fact, many younger employers hold three main objections to hiring mature workers:
Read the full article here.
This is an excellent article, and has lots of good advice for someone who is writing a bio as well.
By Emily Brandon, U.S. News, March 23, 2015
It can be especially challenging to find a new job in your 50s and 60s. The unemployment rate for older workers is lower than that of younger workers, but once out of work, older workers seem to have greater difficulties landing a new position. The average duration of unemployment for job seekers age 55 and older was 54.3 weeks in December 2014. That's over five months longer than the 28.2 weeks younger workers remain unemployed, according to an AARP Public Policy Institute analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Here are some strategies to find a new position after age 50.
Start your job search right away. Don't wait until your unemployment runs out to start looking for a new position. "It does seem like prospects are best for the unemployed as soon as they leave their jobs, so it might be a good idea to start job searching in earnest right at the beginning, rather than easing into job searching while on unemployment," says Joanna Lahey, an associate professor at Texas A&M University who studies age discrimination. A large gap on your resume and a growing sense of frustration with the job search process can make it even more difficult to get hired again.
Read the entire article here.
I came across this interesting article on common phrases even those of us who write for a living might misuse. But what really got my attention is the Correcta tool mentioned in the article. What a great idea! When working with people who are writing their bio, I always recommend they have a third party read them before sending them out. Correcta sounds like it would work well!
Just for fun, see how many of these 20 phrases you may be misusing!
By Christina Desmarais, Contributor, Inc.com
When you hear someone using grammar incorrectly do you make an assumption about his or her intelligence or education? There's no doubt that words are powerful things that can leave a lasting impression on those with whom you interact. In fact, using an idiom incorrectly or screwing up your grammar is akin to walking into a meeting with messy hair. That's according to Byron Reese, CEO of the venture-backed internet startup Knowingly. The company recently launched Correctica, a tool that scans websites looking for errors that spell checkers miss. And the business world is no exception. "When I look for these errors on LinkedIn profiles, they're all over the place--tens of thousands," he says.
Correctica recently scanned a handful of prominent websites and you might be surprised at how many errors it found. Here is Reese's list of the some of the most commonly misused phrases on the Web.
Read Christina's entire article, here.
I see it all the time as a copywriter for dental websites — the “About the Dentist” page says “Coming Soon,” or it has a picture of Dr. Who with no information. I’m always tempted to pick up the phone and encourage Dr. Who to complete his or her bio, because the About the Dentist page is the first page potential patients read.
People looking for a dental provider want to know about you before they make any financial or emotional investment in you or your practice. They assume you’re good at your job, and will only delve deeper into your qualifications after they learn more about you as a person. Having a blank “about” page, or a picture with no information, is a huge waste of a free marketing and bonding opportunity.
I’ve heard all the reasons dental practices don’t have bios. It’s also common for them to have bios, but they haven’t updated them since the practice was formed. The top reasons I hear for no bios are:
Please read the full article here, as published in Dentistry iQ
I get the opportunity to review lots of bios from people who buy my Bio Review Service. I can honestly say they often leave me very little do to - a tweak here or there, but by following the guidelines in my "How To Write A Great Bio" e-book, they almost always come up with a really good bio on their own.
Having said that, I do often see other easy-to-make mistakes that lessen the ultimate impact of their bio that have nothing to do with the content, but with the 'packaging'.
Here a 5-point checklist of things to avoid, and not just in your bio, but across the board:
Take a few minutes to avoid these easy-to-make mistakes, and you will vastly increase your chances of your bio being found, read, and appreciated.
This excellent article by Neil Patel, an internet marketing guru and entrepreneur, has a lot of good advice for bio writers as well. You can read Neil's About Me page here.
Read Neil's entire article, How to Create the Perfect About Page, here.
Many of the bios I write, or review, are for About Pages, therefore I wanted to share some of what Neil had to say that is relevant to writing a great bio for your own About Page or online profile.
Don't write just about yourself.
Your About Page doesn’t have to focus completely on you. Sure, it can include your personal story, but it’s wise to focus on how you solve a problem for your readers.
Use a headline.
Every pages needs a headline, and your About Page is no exception. Make it clear, simple and descriptive of what you do. For example, my About Page headline is: Learn more about Jill Townsend, and why she loves writing bios!
Use a photo.
Usually of yourself, but it could also be a logo or relevant image.
Tell your story.
As well as telling people what you do, tell them how you got to where you are, warts and all. People love stories about other people. Don't overpraise or be overly critical.
Include a call to action.
Where do people go after they read your About Page? Don't leave this to chance, guide them with a call to action. This could be an opt-in form, a link to your blog, or something else, Just make sure it provides value to your readers.
Consider color and font choice.
Some colors and some fonts are more reader-friendly than others. Keep that in mind and go for simple over complex.
Use a conversational tone.
About Pages are not resumes, and should not read like them. As Neil says,
"You want your About Page to build a connection with your target audience and influence their decision-making process. A great way to do that is by using a conversational tone and evoking emotion with the words you choose."
There's lots more good information in Neil's article, but just remembering these few will go a long way toward ensuring your About page or bio is as effective and professional as you want it to be.
If you would like help writing your About page or bio, please contact me. I have several bio writing options to offer. See them here.
I came across this article today and wanted to share. In the course of writing bios I often am asked to review someone's resume as well. Often the resume comes with the issues identified in item #2 in this article: Your resume is too broad:
"So you worked at a deli in high school, did telemarketing in college and had a brief stint at your brother-in-law’s marketing firm. And maybe there are some gaps between jobs.
This resume simply isn’t appealing. While you likely learned useful skills at each position, your resume doesn’t tell a story -- it doesn't reflect that you've been working consistently toward finding a job like the one you're currently applying to. Your resume is a lot like a first date: It has to make a great first impression and it has to make your date (the future employer) think you’ve got lots of qualities in common."
I recommend reading #5 as well, which is related: Your job is no longer relevant.
Find the complete article here.
If you need help updating your bio or resume, please contact me. Most fixes are easy, and you could have a better bio and resume in just a few hours!
I came across this blog post recently, and want to thank my colleague in the dental industry, Fred Joyal, for writing it, and letting me share it here. It caught my eye because one of the most common issues I come across when I am writing or reviewing a bio, is the subject's tendency to want to say too much.
Bios are intended to be snapshots, 4-5 paragraphs at most. They should give the reader a good idea of who you are as a person or businessperson, with your career highlights and accomplishments included, but concisely. There is no room, nor should there be, to list everything you've ever done.
Resumes are no different. I recommend that work history go back only 10 years, 15 at the most. And keep your bulleted lists brief as well, 4-5 per job, not the 10, 20, even 30 I often see.
The fine art of shutting up is as important in your written communication as it is in your verbal communication, as Fred so aptly explains, below.
THE FINE ART OF SHUTTING UP
By Fred Joyal, goaskfred.com
One of the key lessons that every salesperson learns is when to stop talking. The reason I bring this up in a dental blog is because, in case you hadn’t noticed, successful dentistry involves effective communication in order to facilitate treatment acceptance. (Put another way, selling.) Human nature is what it is, and human behavior is often quite predictable. If you’re trying to convince someone to do something that will benefit them, but they don’t understand the value, then they need to be sold on the idea. Click here to read Fred's entire article.
One of the most common concerns I hear when talking to people about writing their bio is this: "I don't have a college degree, will that work against me?"
My answer has always been no, it won't. We will a): not mention or apologize for it; and b): make sure your experience tells your story.
That's why I was interested to come across this article: "Why Google doesn't care about hiring top college graduates".
Some of the article's conclusions, from Laszlo Bock, Google's head of people operations:
On the other hand:
Read the entire article, Why Google doesn't care about hiring top college graduates, here.
So, if you're worried about how your education will impact how you write your bio - don't. If it's good enough for Google, you're good to go!
1. You're how old?
Age is a funny thing, it can work for or against you. Mostly against, so unless you're the youngest Pulitzer prize winner in history, or the oldest living snowboarder, don't mention it. Readers will be able to tell from other informaton you provide approximately how old you are. That's good enough.
2. Do what feels good - kinda.
Go with your gut when writing your bio, regardless of what anyone else tells you to do, including me. However, your gut is one thing - spelling errors and poor grammar are something else altogether. Always have a second set of eyes proofread your bio.
3. Just say no!
Okay, Ladies, this one's mostly for you. Just say no to:
4. Share something personal.
Consider including at least one thing in your bio that "humanizes" you. Share your sense of humor, for instance, or admit to a vulnerability. It's very likely to be the one thing people remember the most, I guarantee it.
This is one of my all-time favorites: "My friends and I organized a neighborhood revue when we were about 10. Unfortunately, our parents found out it was topless and shut us down."
5. "Should I even mention that?"
I get this question a lot. People ask if they should mention, for instance:
6. Ten years is usually enough.
On a similar theme, you don't need to go back more than 10 years with your work history, unless there's a really good reason.
7. Don't sweat it, just write it.
It's easy to feel 'bio paralysis'. Where do I start, what do I say? Just start, don't worry about the order, get it down on paper. You'll be surprise how easy it is from there. (Especially if you use my e-book.)
8. Family can be awkward.
For example: "Jim and his wife Julie have five children -- three from Julie's previous marriage to Harold, one from Jim's previous marriage to Anita, and one of their own."
Huh? TMI. But extended and blended family can be tricky. My suggestion: "The Harris family consists of three sons and two daughters ranging in age from 2 to 17. They also have two dogs, one cat and a cockatoo."
9. Don't fear the punctuation police.
Hmm, should I use a comma or a period? A colon or a semi-colon? Honestly, it really doesn't matter that much. If in doubt use a period and start over. Short sentences are best.
10. Leave your reader something to ask.
Don't try to include everything. That's what resumes and biographies are for. Think of it this way, give people enough information to start a conversation with you, eg, "I see you lived in the UK for 12 years. My father is from Manchester."
11. "But there's nothing particularly interesting about me."
Boy, if I had a dime for every time I've heard that, I'd be a rich lady. And it's never proven to be true. I dare you to be my first uninteresting bio. Go ahead, try me. If you send it, I'll post it and we'll let people vote on it!
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal online says, "The New Resume: It's 140 Characters", and goes on to talk about how some job recruiters are turning to Twitter to recruit new employees. The article continues: "Twitter is becoming the new job board. It is also becoming the new résumé. Fed up with traditional recruiting sites and floods of irrelevant résumés, some recruiters are turning to the social network to post jobs, hunt for candidates and research applicants. Job seekers, in turn, are trying to summarize their CVs in 140 characters or six-second videos."
Wow. Talk about a challenge. But not surprising in this age of instant communication and information overload.
I'm often asked to write a bio based on someone's resume. My first step is usually to strip the document down to bare bones, then use that basic information to write the bio. A 4-page resume becomes a 4-paragraph bio in a matter of minutes. (Well, sometimes it takes a lot longer, but you get the idea.)
I also recommend crafting a bio of 100 words or less, which truly concentrates the mind. I may now also suggest that writing a Twitter bio of 140 characters or less is a good idea, just in case a prospective job opening on Twitter comes along.
I decided to give it a try myself: Jill Townsend is a professional copywriter & author of How to Write a Great Bio. She helps clients write well, write fast and write for impact.
That took about 15 minutes, and it wasn't easy.
Bottom line: to be prepared for any occasion, make sure you have on hand:
Jill Townsend is the author of "How to Write a Great Bio", an e-book with tips on writing a good bio fast, and with confidence.