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Leveraging Resume Templates

July 22nd, 2019

Job hunting is a full-time job. And on top of that, you may be working a full-time job.  Prepping for interviews, researching companies, and crafting the perfect eye-catching resume takes up valuable time in what can be an already stressful process.

But how do you take a step back and let someone else do some of the work?  By using resume templates, you can create clean, formatted, and easy-to-read resumes in minutes. Instead, spend your valuable time on crafting the perfect content.

Once you’ve mapped out the important talking points around your experience, education, projects, and specific skills, you can identify the right template for you.

Consider the following:

How long is my resume?

At some point in your career, your resume will spill over onto a second page.  Your skillset or industry might demand very detailed information that takes up space, i.e. technology languages or frameworks. Evaluate how the template will display the information.  Is the most important information displayed first? If the hiring manager doesn’t make it to page two, will you still be in the running for the position?

Is my resume going through keyword-matching software?

If you are conducting your job search on your own, do you know how the resumes are reviewed at the companies at which you are applying? Are you joining the black hole of keyword-matching software or is a member of staff looking at individual resumes?

What file type do I need?

If you know the companies you are targeting, take a quick look to see what file types they accept. It’s frustrating to craft the perfect resume, just to realize that the file extension isn’t accepted.

Is the format right for parsing?

We’ve all been here: ‘Please upload your resume’

‘Now, please type in almost the exact same information – even though you just uploaded your resume’

‘Or, let us pull the information from your resume’

If you’ve ever allowed resume parsing, you know that it rarely matches the fields exactly and you must retype your resume information anyway. If parsing is a standard in your industry – opt for simple, clean formatting without all of the bells and whistles.

What type of template matches my job aspirations?

Your resume is a reflection of you as well as the type of work that you do.  Your resume is the first glance into your abilities. How creative, organized, long, or colorful does it need to be to catch and retain the attention of your future hiring manager?

Getting Templates:

Google Templates:

If you have a Google account, you have access to Google’s library of templates. Sign into your Google account or navigate to https://drive.google.com/templates to access resumes, cover letters, and more in your Google Drive.

Google Resume Templates

LinkedIn Resume Assistant in Microsoft Word:

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn helpted the two join forces to bring better resume templates and a resume assistant to Microsoft Word.  If you are an Office 365 subscriber on Windows, customized templates and resume writing help are at your fingertips.  Check out LinkedIn’s Blog or get started in Word by opening a new document and choosing a resume template.

Microsoft Word and LinkedIn Resume

Canva:

If you’re looking for a template to give you more creative license, sign up for a free account on Canva and get started with more free templates. Or, sign up for the pro-version to get custom-tailored designs.

Design your resume with Canva Pro

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Proactive & Flexible: Preparing for Amazon HQ2

December 11th, 2018

The highly anticipated Amazon HQ2 decision unleashed a myriad of personal opinions, economic analyses, and political responses. Emotions are running high in two metros where there is concern for overcrowding, employees leaving their current jobs for Amazon, and affordable housing – to name a few. Amazon’s decision to choose the DC & NYC metros means that staffing agencies and companies alike need to assess how this will impact their current and future talent.

Talener CEO, Michael Dsupin, sees a world of possibilities that will open to job seekers, both in and out of the tech industry. This is a moment for DC & NYC to dominate the narrative surrounding its tech talent capabilities which is traditionally centered around Silicon Valley & Seattle. The Long Island City and Crystal City HQs reinforce the notion that they can compete with a capable and experienced tech workforce. Both metros have been on the radar previously as two of the top 10 cities for tech talent.

The estimated 12,500 jobs that will be created by Amazon at each HQ bolsters the potential for new residents who may relocate to surrounding metros in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, New York & Connecticut. Likewise, the jobs may bring other positive impacts to communities by enabling the circulation of money for housing, restaurants, transportation, and more. At this point, it is difficult to predict the scope that Amazon’s move will have on these communities.

Companies will need to assess how Amazon’s arrival will impact their own workforce. Will their talent be scooped up to work for the tech giant? How will companies be proactive to retain their employees and keep them engaged? The more competitive environment may force employers to consider increasing wages or providing better benefits packages to retain talent.

Overall, there will always be talent that is eager for jobs. Companies will have the opportunity to hire people who are new to the industry and train them fresh out of school or certifications. Additionally, not everyone will stay at Amazon forever. Markets are constantly changing, and with that, come new job seekers. Existing tech talent will return to the market for new jobs.

The eCommerce space in particular could see the most influx with current talent leaving for new Amazon opportunities. Applicants with eCommerce experience have a leg up on other talent being recruited for Amazon.

Until we know for sure how and when Amazon will open their second headquarters, the best course of action that companies can take is to develop a strategy that is both proactive and flexible – one that is adaptable to increased market competition.

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Posted in Current Events, Talener Blog

7 Ways Evaluate Your Contract-to-Hire Job

October 9th, 2018

If you find yourself in a position to consider or accept a contract-to-hire job, use this opportunity to evaluate the company, the job, and whether it is the right permanent fit.

Try before you buy

A contract-to-hire job is a great way for both a consultant and employer to try each other out before making a long-term commitment.  During your contract period, you and your manager can assess whether the job and the company is the right fit for you.  At the end of the contract, you can choose to continue the relationship or part ways, ending the contract period.  For an employer, the end of a contract may not cause the ripple among employees that can occur when a permanent employee departs. And for you, it is easy out if you really don’t like the job or your co-workers.

Assess the company & its culture

Contract-to-hire jobs put you in a unique position to evaluate the company from the inside.  From procedures and hierarchy to organizational stability and operational structures, this time gives you a snapshot of how you will interact with the organization on a day-to-day basis.  Likewise, assess whether the company’s culture matches your values.

Find your fit

Knowing that a new job is the right fit can be tough to decode after a few interviews.  Chances are, you haven’t had a chance to meet with everyone and see the team dynamic before starting your job. Figure out where you fit into the team and the organization through your contract. Decide whether it is the right structure and environment to meet your needs and goals.

Assess work-life balance

What kind of hours do permanent employees work? Are they expected to eat lunch at their desks? Are there flexible arrival and departure times? Are vacation days hard to come by – or does this vary by manager or department? Evaluate how a permanent position will affect your lifestyle and whether you would need to make changes.

Evaluate the perks & benefits

Since most contracting positions do not offer full benefits or perks, this is a great time to evaluate what other employees have through the organization.  Get an insider’s look at their 401k plan, wellness benefits, company-sponsored insurance & more.  Plus, there may be some non-advertised perks or incentives that help you in your decision-making process.

Build your skill set

Add new experience and skills to your resume. Whether you decide to stay with the position or not, take the opportunity to learn new systems, programming languages, or methodologies.  These skills build on your existing experience and give you a leg up if your contract-to-hire job also has to be advertised outside of the organization before it is officially offered to you.

Answering: Why did you leave?

Explaining short stints on a resume can be tough. And it can make future employers weary that you won’t stick around if you’re hired permanently. In a contract-to-hire job, you can roll right into the position without needing to jump through the question hoops that outside candidates may face.

Or, if you decide to leave at the end of the contract, it’s easy to confirm that your contract finished without any further explanation needed.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Eight Tech Resume Red Flags

September 5th, 2018

Your resume is a short reflection of your experience.  It doesn’t tell the whole story, but it invites potential employers to learn more about your background and open a door into how you can potentially fit into their organization.  Typically, less than 30 seconds is spent scanning a resume before it is moved from one pile to another.  Here are eight resume red flags to watch for as you craft your own:

  1. Perm Job Hopping: Consulting or project-based roles have become increasingly popular for tech jobs. Employers can wrap their heads around this type of work because they have a defined start and end. But hopping from one perm job to another raises eyebrows- even in a market where tech talent is in high demand.

 

  1. Your Resume Isn’t Relevant: Creating a detailed, yet concise resume is tough. But one or two pages of relevant and focused information about you generates further interest without overwhelming your potential employer. Listing every position you’ve held creates noise that dilutes what’s actually important.

 

  1. Being the CTO in a Team of One: Did you start or join a start up as a junior or mid-level engineer? If you were the only technical person, it may be tempting to list yourself as the CTO when you apply to new jobs. But unless you can back up your skills and experience, potential employers may have a hard time translating your resume into your actual capabilities.

 

  1. Your Timeline Isn’t Specific: Are months or years missing on the resume? Asking an employer to fill in the blanks as they read through your resume is a sure-fire way to raise red flags.  Including the to-and-from specifics eliminates guesswork, uncertainty about months or years of technical experience, and provides a neat timeline to assess your abilities developed within a position.

 

  1. Inflating Technical Experience: If it is on your resume as a technical skill, be prepared to answer questions about what you’ve done and how you can apply it to a future job. If you haven’t used a program or language since college and can’t answer a technical question or whiteboard – leave it off your resume.

 

  1. Out of Order: If your resume isn’t listed in chronological order that lists the most important / relevant information first – you’re forcing an employer to seek out information that is pertinent to them.  Provide them with an easy timeline that lists the most important facts about your experience first. Chances are, the 5th bullet point listed under your third job isn’t getting read at all.

 

  1. Resume Photos & Personal Information: In many countries, it is not uncommon to include photos, gender, birthdate, marital status, or citizenship on a resume.  However, this can send warning signals to an employer who may think that you don’t understand local customs. While you may be the best candidate for the position – including this information also sets you up for unintentional bias or discrimination before your resume has even been read.

 

  1. Buzzword Overload: While resume screening systems search for keywords to match resumes up with jobs– too many buzzwords (or too many of the same buzzword) may turn off a human resume reader. Use the most important keywords to convey your experience; but avoid taking up valuable resume space using words or phrases repeatedly that don’t create any additional value.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Learning from Negative Interview Feedback

January 25th, 2018

“Take criticism seriously, not personally,” encourages Talener’s Gabe Klein.  The Chicago Director echoes this sentiment when he delivers negative feedback to his candidates during the interview process.  Whether he is conveying constructive criticism or relaying a ‘no’ after several rounds of interviews, Klein tries to focus on providing honest information.

Hearing negative feedback about yourself is never easy.  “Delivering it is just as tough,” says Klein.  “After making it through three or four rounds of interviews, candidates are often hopeful that they will get the call asking them, ‘when can you start?’”.

Whether you use a recruiting firm, or you are applying to a position on your own, it is important to objectively digest the negative feedback.  Did lack of sleep contribute to a less-than-stellar interview? Were you late? Or simply, was someone else more qualified for the job? Receiving negative feedback without understanding why you’ve gotten it, puts you back at square one in your job search. If you are taking on the job hunt alone and have received negative feedback, it is paramount to ask your HR team / interviewer what went wrong.

“Often, candidates don’t dig beyond surface feedback,” explains Klein.  “I’m trying to help both my candidate and client, so my goal is to listen for understanding rather than for debate. I can dig for detailed feedback that candidates may be uncomfortable asking for or too upset to address.” Klein says that he uses the feedback as a means for prepping the candidate for future opportunities. He has seen some of his best candidate relationships stem from a role in which they had been passed over or had received negative feedback.  Likewise, this feedback is an opportunity to qualify future candidates for that client.

“I often take responsibility for an unsuccessful interview process. It is my job to make sure that candidates are appropriately and effectively prepared. If they aren’t, I know that I have to do better as their recruiter.”

Overall, Klein advocates for open dialogue and transparency.  This includes things like knowing the number of candidates who are being considered, the interview type, and general information about the organization. The more questions you ask and the information you know, the better prepared you will be. Open dialogue and transparency all go hand-in-hand with providing feedback. Klein’s opinion is that any feedback can be good feedback, if you are willing to be open-minded and transparency on all sides shows that expectations are being managed and maintained.

Klein promotes cautious optimism. Being excited about an opportunity is part of the job hunt, but that doesn’t mean that a candidate should put all their time and energy into a single role. By looking into multiple roles, you’re given the chance to further develop your interview skill set as well as understand that each role and process is different.  And who knows? You may receive negative feedback from an interview on Monday and apply it to an interview on Wednesday.

If you are unsure about how to ask HR or an interviewer why you’ve not been offered a role or what you could have done differently, reach out to Gabe at gklein@talener.com for tips and tricks to successful interviewing.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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