Q&A: How Do I List Temp-to-Hire on My Resume?

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Q: How do I list temp-to-hire on my resume? I started working for a company though a temporary assignment but was hired on six months later. How do I list that on my resume?
-Jenn

A: Great question, Jenn. There are a couple of ways that you can do this, but the answer for YOU lies in your intent – what you are trying to convey to future employers.

If you are trying to convey the length of time you have worked at XYZ company, for example, I would recommend something like this, where you count your starting date as the date that you began working for the company, no matter who paid you directly:
XYZ COMPANY Position Title From-To
Job description

If you are trying to convey the fact that you were hired on quickly, perhaps because of your talents/skills, I would recommend something like this, where your last sentence, perhaps in italics or as a bullet reads:
XYZ COMPANY Position Title From-To
Job description
• Promoted from temp in ### weeks.

When you are completing an application, however, for the second scenario, started with the hired on position as the most recent, listing the respective address, position title, manager and salary, and the temp company as the next position in reverse chronological order, with its respective information.

Best wishes on your job search.

If you are in need of Career Coaching or resume writing service. Contact us. 504-434-0510 or info@noecareercenter.com.

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Q&A: What About my Sketchy Job History?

gateway

Q: I am 50yo with sketchy job history due to abusive marriage and PTSD after divorce.

I’m in therapy, moved out of state and ready to get on with my life and back in the work force. Suggestions, tips, advice?
-Tia

A: Good for you Tia, you have taken the steps that you need to get on with your life. I’m sure that this has been an extremely challenging process for you. It wouldn’t be odd for you to be feeling some anxiety right now about what putting yourself back out there will entail. Just know that you can get through this as well.

One of the first things we need to settle is your resume and how it presents your job history. If you have several gaps in your employment history, you may wish to consider a functional resume instead of a chronological one. The functional resume will tell the employer about your skills and experiences, instead of emphasizing dates and
longevity on the job.

After you rework your resume, you will want to strengthen the references you will use when applying for jobs. Be sure your list of references includes former supervisors, co-workers, and other personal and professional references who will sing your praises. Their testaments of your experience, skills, and worth ethic will be invaluable.

Third, I highly recommend thinking through the spiel you will use in interviews and call backs about the gaps in your employment. Make sure that whatever you decide to say, that you do not appear apologetic or ashamed of your time away or need to switch employment. You once lived in a very volatile situation and your safety and that of your children (if you have any) was paramount. Rehearse what you will say with a friend to gain feedback about how it comes across.

Lastly, I recommend that you spend time networking with employers and friends who work at places that may be hiring. When people like and care about you, it expands the list of what they what be willing to do to help you.

Best Wishes.

Q&A: Do I Take Lower Pay to Get the Experience?

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Q: It has basically been said, in so many words that I wouldn’t move up any higher in my current department. I applied for a management position in another area that I currently support. They are considering me but because I have never had a management title they consider me as not having experience and want to start me at the bottom of the pay scale, much lower than current salary. Do I push for this position knowing it will open doors down the road even though it’s much lower in pay and the understanding that my current boss doesn’t plan on helping move up?
-KTuck
A:  This is an excellent question, K, one that I believe many people struggle with, more often than we realize.  It is possible, however, that you don’t have be one of these.
Although your job title, to date, has not yet been “Manager,”  you could very well have operated in the role many times.  I think it may be time to reevaluate the effectiveness of your resume.  Reflect on each of your previous work experiences.  Think about the tasks and responsibilities you encountered with each and weigh these against the job responsibilities and tasks of a manager at your company (the job ad or job description will help).  Research the core competencies and common responsibilities and tasks of a manager, supervisor, or leader, if necessary.  Have you lead any projects or teams?  Have you trained team members or other new staff?  Have you represented the company outside of your “traditional role?” If this is the case for you, perhaps you can submit a restructured resume showing your justification for management classification now, while you are still being considered for the position.

In this new resume, I would recommend that you include any professional development courses (continuing education or otherwise), college courses where you have been taught how to be a leader.  Then review your activities – volunteer activities or other extra curricular activities – where you have been or have emerged as a leader.  These all add to your experience. The rest is up to you to plead your case, given the opportunity.

Best Wishes.

Q&A: Avoid Hobbies on My Resume?

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Q&A:  Avoid hobbies on my resume?
Q:  I read that I should avoid including hobbies on my resume unless I am certain they will help me get the job? How do I determine what is a non-essential hobby? What types of hobbies would actually aid in the job search process?
-Grace

A:  Good question, Grace.
A hobby can be defined as an activity that one does on a regular basis, in their spare time, for their enjoyment.  Generally speaking, these activities are things we practice and become good at, consequently, we develop skills from them.  From putting together puzzles, we develop our logic, hand-eye coordination, memory, and problem solving skills.  From knitting, we develop our hand-eye coordination, pattern recognition, and concentration skills.  From genealogy, we develop our research, logic, communication, computer, and problem solving skills.  From sports, we develop our interpersonal and team work skills, as well as strategy, collaboration, and resilience skills.  The list goes on and on.  (For a list of other skills developed from hobbies, visit: http://good.co/blog/2013/10/23/top-hobbies-boost-employability-skills/)
Because the skills you develop in having a hobby increases your employability, I would say that you should definitely consider them when you are applying for work.  These skills could be a part of what you include in your “Summary of Qualifications” or “Skills” sections.  Any awards that you have received as a result may be fodder for your “Accomplishments” section.  If you have been participating in the hobby for a long time, doing something that qualifies you for the position you are applying for, you may want to list it within the “Experience” or “Volunteer” section of your resume.  This way, your hobbies get a sort of “honorable mention” without getting an actual section of their own to be listed individually.
Because the resume you submit for a given position is an assertion that you are qualified for the job being offered, you want to make sure that the information you include is information that tells a potential employer why you believe you are a good fit for the job.  In order for you to know if you are a good fit, you must carefully read the job ad and research the company. You must understand what type of company you are applying with, what products/services they offer, their culture, and what they need in an employee.  The ad will tell you if they are looking for someone who has analytical skills, for example, and if you have developed these skills playing chess, then that skill is a part of who you are and should be included in your summary.  If the job is for a chess coach, you should certainly state that you have been playing chess for 15 years.   While you may not list chess on your resume, you are certainly free to talk about it in your interview when you explain who you are and why you are a good fit.

Best Wishes!

Q&A: How Do You Make Your Resume Look Nice to Employers When You Have Nothing to Put on Your Resume?

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Q: How do you make your resume look nice to employers when you have nothing to put on your resume?
-thegreatone

A: Oh Great One (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. 🙂 ), there’s really nothing to it (no pun intended)! A good resume will include about 4-6 sections. They include:

1.) Heading
Should include your contact information, which a potential employer will need to contact you. Your contact information should consist of your name, current address (or mailing address), working telephone number, and the email address you check regularly. It may be a good idea to include your cell phone number as well, if the employer is more likely to reach you on that number than they are at home. Please be mindful of the impression a would-be employer will get from your email address. If it is not professional, create a new one at Yahoo or Gmail, etc.

2.) Objective
You may elect to include an “Objective Statement” or “Headline” though the need for one is widely debated. This should be one line and should catch the employer’s eye, making your resume stand out. Some examples include “Hard worker seeks Errand Runner position” or “Recent Graduate seeks Entry-position.”

3.) Summary of Qualifications (AKA Skills and Abilities)
Detail (in bullets) a list of what you have to bring to the table. This includes your knowledge, skills (things you have learned to do), and abilities (things you are inherently good at). Any attributes you have that may be desirable to an employer should be listed here as well. Be careful not to overdo it. If you aren’t sure what an employer is looking for, read their job postings. For a list of skills to choose from, see http://jobsearch.about.com/od/skills/fl/general-skills.htm

4.) Education
Where you attended high school, college, or any other training that might qualify you for the job you are applying for. If you did not graduate, you may consider listing any appropriate coursework.

5.) Experience
Any paid and unpaid experience can go here. Volunteer experience is often much more valuable since the scope of the work tends to be greater. Think carefully about what you have done, even babysitters and paper route runners have valuable skills .

6.) Memberships
Any clubs/organizations you may belong to. Be careful about any that disclose your gender or race to avoid discrimination.

If you are unsure of how to piece these all together, consider using a resume template. You can find one in Microsoft Word or any other word processing software you may use.

Best Wishes!

Q&A: Should I Put Computer Technician on my Resume in Work Experience, I Do it for Friends and I Don’t Advertise it?

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Q:  I wanna make myself look good to employers.  But I’ve never held a job in my life. At least I’m known as the “computer guy” to my friends. They always come to me to help fix their slow virus filled computers (and I do fix them well). I don’t really ask for money from them cause they’re my friends after all. The thing is, it’s not really a job (in my opinion) and I don’t post up signs on the street advertising this service or anything. So would it be okay if I put under work experience: 

Computer Technician Self-Employed May 2008 to today

or would I be pushing the “self-employed job” definition a little too much?
-bm585

A:  The “Skills and Abilities” portion of the resume is a great place to list the proficiency you have with regard to computer service and repair.  

SKILLS

  • installing, troubleshooting, and repairing computer hardware 
  • installing software and applications, including anti-virus and mal-ware programs
  • proven ability to repair Windows-based and Apple platform computers
  • demonstrated ability performing software upgrades and configuration enhancements
  • highly skilled in providing end-user support

You may also choose to do a functional resume which speaks to your ability to perform the tasks mentioned and more, to take the emphasis off of the absence of formal training or work experience.

I would steer clear of pronouncing yourself an Entrepreneur if you are not.  There is a skill set that is unique to Entrepreneurs that you should be able to display if you were truly self employed.  These include:  business and industry knowledge, sales and marketing, negotiation, planning, decision making, goal-setting, administration and management skills.

Best Wishes.

Q&A: Should I Dumb It Down?

degreesspec-edQ:   (I have) two degrees. I am often told that I am ‘overqualified’. Should I dumb myself down in an interview?
-Christy

A:  No indeed Christy!  I would never recommend dumbing yourself down to land a job.  The problem comes in accepting the notion that “overqualified” somehow means “disqualified.”  I reject that.

If you get to the interview phase of the candidate selection process, someone was interested enough in what you presented on your application/resume to talk to you further.  Use this to your advantage.  If this is a job you are sincerely interested in having, I suggest you research the company, and study the job posting/description.  Ask questions of the interviewer to understand their concerns with hiring an experienced person for the job.  Come up with some “undeniable facts”  you can use to dispel the notion that you should be disqualified because of your experience.

For example:  “If you don’t mind my asking, why do you feel that this job would be better suited for someone of lesser experience? According to your post, you are looking for someone to ____.  I have had direct experience with this.  I assure you that you could do nothing but benefit from what I have to offer.”

Be careful, however, not to come across as arrogant in your rebuttal.  Your mission is to assure the interviewer that you considered the requirements and functions of the job before applying and that you are aware of what the job has to offer and not the least bit concerned about a difference in title or pay.

For more suggestions on how to overcome the “overqualified” label in an interview, see:

Job Interview Question: Are You Overqualified for This Job?” by Allison Doyle
What to Do When You’re Labeled ‘Overqualified’” by Rachel Zupek
How to Apply For A Job You’re Overqualified For” by Megan Halpern

Hope it works out!