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Modernizing Your Tech Resume

September 30th, 2020

Creating a modernized resume is imperative to breaking through hiring barriers.  The right resume is clean, succinct, and provides the exact information that an employer needs to move forward.

Call to Action

Your name and contact information are your call to action.  They are the first elements of a resume that a potential employer sees.  It must be immediately clear to the resume reader how they contact you. Even the best resume will be thrown into a pile if it is not easy to decipher your whereabouts.

  • Emphasize your name clearly
  • Include your telephone number and denote the type of phone (cell, office, home)
  • Do not provide your specific street address. Instead include your city / state or metropolitan region
  • Use a modern, professional email address with a simple extension, like gmail.com.  If necessary, create an email address for job searching purposes.
  • Include your personalized LinkedIn URL. If you have not personalized this link, learn how, here.

Objective

Avoid redundancy and save space on your resume by eliminating the summary of experience. Instead, provide a clear objective that a future employer can grasp: What do you want? What are you looking for? Is it a new industry, technology, job title, job function, etc.? 

Your experience already paints a picture of your past and present, but it doesn’t tell an employer about your goals and needs for the future. Defining your objectives turns a snapshot into an on-going story.

Let Your Experience Speak for Itself

Your experience and skills set are the most important parts of your resume. Unless you are targeting a creative position where artistic design is a critical element of your presentation, keep your resume simple and clean.

Muted hues like grays or blues provide a pop of color without distracting from the important information. Keep your organization simple, easy-to-read, and in logical order.  Layouts should work universally with standard file types that most companies require for upload – PDF & Word documents.

Keep your resume to one page. Find impactful words that pinpoint your experience and avoid explanations. Instead, build a meaningful story that lends itself to interest and inquiry from future employers.

Make Modifications

Your base resume should allow for modifications that meet the expectations set out by employers. It is OK to tailor your resume and try different avenues to make your resume stand out. If something isn’t working, make a change or A/B test your resumes.

Consider adding a headshot to help an employer place a face with a name.  But be mindful of any blind-hiring policies or applicant ingestion systems that do not accept embedded images.  

Stay Up to Date

Before distributing your resume, ensure that you any links you are including are updated. Your portfolio, GitHub, personal webpages, and LinkedIn pages should be robust and up-to-date.

Just as you research potential employers and individual hiring managers, you must assume that they are also digging into the entire picture of your experience. This is also a great time to update, hide, or eliminate social profiles that a prospective employer are able to access.

The References Page

Requests for references should absolutely be expected in technology-based positions. Prepare your references in a separate document.  This can be done prior to starting your job search and even before you set up your resume. 

Your references are a source of knowledge and know you well.  They may remember specific events, projects, or successes that you haven’t considered.  Additionally, they are a great networking source when you start your search.

Your reference page should Include updated contact information, preferred names, title, and the capacity in which they know you.

And, of course, give your reference a heads up if you think you are moving into the stage where they will be contacted.

Before & After

Re-writing a resume can feel like a tedious process. But it is an evolution as you mature and grow professionally.  When you have finished your new resume, look back and compare where you are now versus where have been.  You should see that evolution and maturity in your resume.

Resources

If you are looking for resources to help craft your resume, consider using tools like Google Resume Templates, LinkedIn Resume Assistant or Canva.

Google Resume Templates

If you have a Google account, you have access to Google’s library of templates. Sign into your Google account and navigate to the templates to access resumes, cover letters, and more in your Google Drive.

LinkedIn Resume Assistant

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn helped 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.

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.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Work From Home Burnout

May 4th, 2020

Finding balance, giving yourself grace, and accepting that everything isn’t just fine.

Working from home is a privilege that does not require risking our own health and safety every day. We know that the inconvenience of barking dogs or tiny city dwellings are annoying, but far better than the reality that many are facing.

However, even in what we could call the ‘best of conditions’, there is a real risk of burnout that can affect productivity, expectations, and overall mental well-being. We have scraped together new routines over the last several weeks; all while dealing with some level of anxiety and frustration. What signs of burnout should you look for and how do you change the mindset?

Guilt & Anxiety

You feel guilty about the work that you are doing (or not doing). Perhaps you should have done one more item on your checklist, finished up one last project, or made one more phone call. After all, you’re saving time on the commute, going out for lunch, and socializing with co-workers.

Perhaps you are comparing yourself to your co-workers and it’s causing anxiety & guilt? If your co-worker sent an email at 6:30 am, does that mean that you should be doing the same? It is easy to want to create benchmarks.  You can rationalize the decisions that you are making when there is a beacon guiding you.  But this is a time when we’re juggling new systems, children at home, and schedule disruptions. Focus on what is expected of you and lay out those expectations with your manager so there are no ‘should have’, ‘could have’ feelings.

You’re making yourself available 24 hours a day

Your office phone is forwarded to your cell phone, the video conferencing app is downloaded, and your email notifications come through to every device you own. You’re feeling the need to be available and accessible 24 hours a day – trying to avoid the ‘out of sight, out of mind”.

Being in a cycle of constant visibility and accessibility to your co-workers or managers is exhausting. If you wouldn’t do it in a normal office setting, then you shouldn’t be doing it in a work-from-home setting. Even if you are not working all-day, every day — if you’re feeling the need to be available all of the time, this may affect your ability to wind down and recharge . Find the right time to turn off notifications, stop answering emails, and communicate with co-workers. If you’re feeling uneasy about not being available at a moment’s notice, talk to your manager about your schedule and when you cannot be immediately available.

You can’t stop working

Not only are you available 24-hours a day, but you are working many more hours than you normally would. You’re skipping meals, breaks, and exercise in favor of getting work done.

While you may think that you’re being more productive by stretching out eight-hour days to twelve, fourteen, or more – it’s likely that you’re not taking care of yourself as well as you should. There are many instances in which working too much actually provides diminishing returns in work quality.

This is the time to set boundaries and create a schedule to force yourself to stop and take a breath.  Schedule breaks, exercise, lunch, and shutdown times.  Ensure that meetings are scheduled within normal working hours.  It is imperative to draw a line under the day and end it when it needs to end. If you wouldn’t have answered a late-night email before working from home, then you shouldn’t be doing it now.

You can’t find your groove

Working from home is not for everyone . It just isn’t. It can be a nice break from time-to-time, but for many, it just isn’t part of their routine that gets them out of bed and ready to tackle the day. Some people genuinely enjoy the in-office interaction or the face-to-face meetings with clients. 

If you’ve never gotten into the WFH groove and you are resenting the situation as time passes, this can trickle down to other parts of your life.  Are you overreacting to professional and personal situations that wouldn’t normally irk you? Are you struggling to use the makeshift home-office that you set up? Are you accumulating take-out containers as you work from bed (for the 3rd week in a row)?

Acknowledging the burnout is the first step to dealing with the situation. While it may seem like everyone else has got this down, it’s very likely that they’re facing similar challenges. There is only so much that you can see in a video conference call or via email.


At the end of the day, it may be hard to avoid the burnout. You may be in a situation where you’re playing the role of parent, teacher, and employee.  Dramatically changing your routine may not be in the cards; but very small measurable steps can help you get through each day and help you to slowly take control of the burnout. Things may not go back to the normal that we now yearn, but this situation isn’t permanent and we must take care of ourselves in order to be better employees, families, and members of society.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Asking the Right Questions: Accepting a Job During the Pandemic

April 27th, 2020

Four people are around a table with laptops. A woman and man are sitting, smiling. Two men are standing, shaking hands across the table.
Young modern men in smart casual wear shaking hands and smiling while working in the creative office

Even if you find yourself in a position or an industry that has been spared from severe economic hardship or layoffs, there is still anxiety about changing jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Knowing what types of questions to ask a potential new employer or a recruiter is critical to your career when there are so many unknowns. There is a new normal that we will face, and it is important to understand how it will impact your new job.

Consider the following questions as you navigate the hiring process during this time?

Have you had to lay off or furlough any staff? Which ones?

This question can be asked in many ways, but it is important to understand the general well-being of the organization. If there are lay offs or furloughs, who were they?

Is there a waiting period for health benefits?

For many, COBRA or the health insurance marketplace may be too expensive – even in the short-term. Find out if there is a waiting period on health benefits. If there is, ask them to waive it and negotiate this into your package.

How will I be on-boarded?

If your potential employer is currently WFH, how are they on-boarding new employees? Will you receive equipment? Will you have someone to walk you through the first few days in the same way you would in an office / team setting? How are they dealing with team introductions and assignments?

How am I being evaluated?

It is important to understand the how and what of evaluation if you will be starting your new job while working at home (when you would otherwise be in an office environment –even partially).

What are the measures of success? Am I expected to produce on the first day? The first week? The first month? Who will be evaluating my performance? Who can I go to with questions?

When am I expected to be available?

Find out whether you have core hours or whether you have flexibility. Will this continue once things are back to ‘normal’? If the position is traditionally in-office, how many days will you be expected in the physical office?

Is there any flexibility? For example, many schools or after-school care programs are closed for the remainder of the academic year.

What will the transition back to ‘normal’ be?

While a plan may not yet be fully formed, particularly in areas of high impact, it is reasonable to ask how the company will be addressing changes in the office – cleanings, social distancing, masks, seating arrangements, staggered shifts, in-person meetings, etc.  It is important to understand these changes and expectations.


The Talener team is currently working from home and providing continued (but adapted!) services to our clients and candidates. If you have questions about the types of companies that are hiring and how the hiring process is functioning during this time, please feel free to contact us.

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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

Six Reasons to Hire Temp-to-Perm Employees

October 9th, 2019

Multiracial young creative people in modern office. Successful hipster team in coworking. Businesspeople walking in the corridor of an business center. Motion blur.

The perfect employee isn’t always standing on your doorstep waiting to apply for your job. Or, the right fit for your company might be missing a few ideal skills.  And sometimes, it isn’t about the employee at all. A project could terminate early or evolve into something that requires creating a permanent position.  Business needs change and temp-to-perm employees solve an immediate talent shortage that organizations face– while providing the opportunity to keep a long-term employee.

Should you hire a temp-to-perm employee?

Consider the following.

You need talent, fast. You can expedite the interview and on-boarding process by bringing on contract talent quickly.  You avoid the lengthy perm interview process as well as the possibility that the talent you want is scooped up by another company while you get through your standard interview process.

You want to try before you buy. Temp-to-perm gives both you and the employee the opportunity to see if the job is right for them.  The prospect for a long-term position is available, but neither side is obligated to extend past the initial contract period.  The contract portion of this model is defined and gives both parties an out.

Off boarding is easier.  The contract has a clear end date that both the company and employee have agreed to. Off boarding a contractor is faster and doesn’t come with the potential morale dip that permanent employees may feel if they were to lose a colleague hired into a permanent position.

Initial feelings on long-term fit aren’t critical. You need to create an immediate, temporary solution to a business problem.  You can hire someone with the right skills, even if you aren’t sure that they will be the right fit for a long-term position.  This gives you both the opportunity to try out the relationship through the contract.  You may be surprised about how well someone integrates into your team– especially if they didn’t initially feel like the right long-term hire.

Saving Equity. If you are looking to save equity that is typically offered to permanent employees, consider hiring a consultant and paying them a higher hourly rate.

The right culture fit. If you’ve found the right person to fit your position but they are light on a few skills that you’d ideally like in a permanent employee, this contract is an opportunity to see how they learn and develop their abilities.  The right employee who is equally as talented and motivated to learn can be critical to sustained success.


Looking for more resources to help with your job search? Contact Talener or check out some of our latest info on resume templates, offer rejection, and more!


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Posted in Career Tips, Talener Blog

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

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