Career interviewing job search Job Search Advice resume Uncategorized

Do You See What I See?

Probably not, unless you work in HR or hire people, but let me clarify where I’m going with today’s blog. The job search is a stiff competition. But unlike most competitions, it’s one where you rarely get to see what you’re up against. Professional athletes understand that in order to succeed, you can’t just read a book and go out and perform if you expect to win. You need a coach to study what you’re doing right and wrong. The coach also knows what the competition is doing, and then develops a strategy on how to win.

How can you do that, when you have no idea what you’re up against? Or what you’re doing wrong? Or even what the rules are. In the job search, the rules are constantly changing (online job boards ring a bell?) If you’re doing it yourself, without a coach, it will take you a lot longer if your goal is to get a job. Take a lesson from Olympic Ice Skater Michelle Kwan who fired her coach one year and tried to do it herself. The results were not stellar.

I’ve been to numerous job fairs across the country, and have critiqued thousands of resumes and cover letters. So I see what the competition has to offer. Rarely do I find career documents without issues. During the critiques I’ll point out about 3 problems with the resume. These 3 things will make a slight improvement, but probably not enough to make you stand out against my own clients. That’s what they’re paying me for. To win the job.

Throughout my 8+ years as a professional resume writer I hear the same comments from ignorant people on a regular basis. Comments such as “oh, my resume looks fine. I just need to add a few things to it.” Or, one of my favorites, as told to my husband, “why would anyone pay to do something they can do themselves?” I’ll admit, these comments used to irk me, as if I was out to take their money for something as “simple” as “typing” a resume and cover letter. But now that the economy has truly taken a turn for the worst, I no longer feel that way.

That’s because it’s a lot easier to compete against the under-performers than those who do their homework, practice, and undergo professional coaching. And with fewer jobs available, and a greater number of applicants who can’t present themselves well, it’s a cinch to help my clients stand out and win interviews. Resume Writing is a combined art and science that is highly under-rated.

So for all the folks with self-written resumes and cover letters — thank you. You really do make my job a lot easier.

— Susan Geary, 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Careers job search Job Search Advice Telephone Interviews Uncategorized Work

The Art of Perfect Voicemail

One of my big pet peeves is when people who leave me voicemail rattle through their phone number so quickly, I have to hit the rewind feature 3 or 4 times to make sure I got it.

Therefore if you want to ensure you’ll get a callback, slow down! Remember people don’t write as fast as you speak. Wikihow published 5 more tips in an article titled “The Art of Perfect Voicemail.” It’s a quick read but necessary for any jobseeker trying to convince the decision maker to return their call.

Here’s an audio version of my voicemail hints that aired on a radio show a few years back.

–Susan Geary, CERW / 1st Rate Resumes

Blog Career Careers job search Job Search Advice Networking Work

The Value of Professional Memberships

If you’re committed to continuing education in your career, it’s in your best interest to join professional associations that focus on your occupation. They offer an excellent ROI considering the average price of an annual membership.

When I decided to become a professional resume writer, I quickly realized there was no school I could attend to learn the trade. So instead, I joined 3 professional associations to learn all I can in a short amount of time. The average annual dues are $150 and here are the benefits:

1. Continuing education through annual conferences, webinars, and publications.
2. Expert advice on how to deal with unique clients and situations.
3. Member search feature on the association website.
4. Marketing and publishing opportunities.
5. Certification and credentialing.
6. Vendor discounts and partnerships.
7. Credibility

Nearly every occupation has a related association of professional members, whether you’re a Professional Organizer or a Tour Operator. Find one that relates to your career at, join, and add it to your resume!

–Susan Geary, CERW, CPRW, CRW, 1st Rate Resumes