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  • Putting Your Best Foot Forward: 5 Guidelines for Job References

    by Ray Blush

    Recently, I was talking to a Vice President of Human Resources who works for a medium-size manufacturing company guidelines for job references in Ann Arbor. The executive indicated their organization always checks two to three business references and sometimes one to two personal references as part of their decision-making process in hiring a person. This company and others check business references for several reasons including verifying past employment, confirming whether or not the person would be eligible for rehire and inquiring about previous job performance. 

    When a company representative speaks with references who are not previous employers, questions typically focus on work habits and personality attributes. The thinking process behind checking references is to get a third party’s impression of an applicant as well as verifying accuracy of the information provided during the application process.

    In this job economy, putting together a list of references is just as important as writing a robust resume. Having positive references will differentiate you from everyone else. When former employers and others who have direct knowledge of your skills, abilities and personality are willing to provide recommendations to prospective employers, their comments can make the difference between getting the job offer or not being considered for employment.

    So, here are five job-reference guidelines that will put your best foot forward with employers:

    1. How many references do you give employers?  Typically employers want three to six references including former supervisors, co-workers and people you have supervised if you are applying for leadership/supervisory positions. If, in your previous positions, you worked with suppliers or customers, you may want to include them in your list.

    2. Contact your references.  Send an email, make a call, or visit with them in person to inform them you are seeking new employment and you would like to use ...

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  • 3 Buzzwords to Avoid on Your Resume

    By Jessica Rayburn

     

    I know you’ve heard it:  Resumes are your first impression when applying for a job. And even if it isn’t your first impression, it’s an important marketing tool when applying for a position.  3 buzzwords to stop using on resumes

     

    Job seekers spend hours reading, studying and learning about what they must INCLUDE in their resume. But they often don’t spend enough time learning what to leave out—namely, buzzwords! Overused phrases and vocabulary can detract from all of the hard work you’ve invested in your resume. 

     

    Although we see many buzzwords on resumes, here are three that must get the heave-ho immediately:

     

    1. “Familiar with” – This phrase implies that while you might know a system or process, you are not an expert at it. And what are employers looking for?  Experts!

     

    2. “Spearheaded” – Yes, action verbs are important on a resume. But in the process of searching for original action verbs, many job seekers have started using the same language entirely too much —like “spearheaded”—thereby stripping the word of all originality. It’s been turned into a trite phrase that employers see on too many resumes. If you use this word, please use it in moderation and consider using other action verbs like “lead,” “directed” or “supervised” as well.

     

    3. “Experienced” – Chances are, when you are applying for a position that requires experience, each applicant who is applying is also experienced. Avoid using the actual word and inducing eye-rolls from the hiring manager. Instead, explain HOW you are experienced. Talk about what you have done in the past and use stories and examples to show your qualifications. 

     

    Resumes are tricky and must constantly be tweaked and adjusted for each position for which you are applying. Don’t let your hard work and qualification be ...

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  • 12 Useful Tips for Job Seekers

    By Ray Blush, OI Partners - Hugh Anderson Associates, Ann Arbor, MI

    For the past several years, I have coordinated monthly job networking meetings in my community. In the meetings, participants want to know different techniques and tools they can use to “give them an edge” in finding positions. Here are 12 useful tips I have presented and discussed recently in our meetings: 12 useful tips for job seekers

    1. Free job search information and expert advice. Two Internet sites that provide good job search advice, information and resources are www.job-hunt.org and http://jobsearch.about.com. There are also links to job boards and state directories on these sites.

    2. The top 15 most popular job websites. Go to eBizMBA.com to obtain the top 15 most popular job web sites. The information is updated monthly.

    3. Get a smartphone / tablet. Owning a smartphone or tablet can help your job search.  ob seekers should store copies of their resumes on their mobile devices or tablets so they can respond to recruiter requests immediately. This also shows employers that you are comfortable with new technology.

    4. LinkedIn’s advance people search. A very helpful feature found in the site’s “People Search” area lets you tap into a nearly 200-million-user database. This feature locates companies that hired your former colleagues. You can access this feature by: Find the Advanced People Search screen by clicking on “People” on the drop-down box at the top of your LinkedIn display; Click “Advanced” to the right; From this screen, enter in the “company” field; Next use the drop down box next to the company to choose “Past not current”; and Click on “Search” to see the results.

    5. Take a career / personality assessment. A career assessment is a tool which gives you an indication of what jobs are a match ...

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  • 7 Job Search Lessons from Vegas

    by John Fitzgerald, managing partner, OI Partners Ireland

    Recently on a trip from Ireland to the OI Partners Conference in Las Vegas, I learned some key rules from the card tables that could prove useful if you are currently job seeking. 7 job-search tips from Vegas

    Learn how to play the game.

    I first visited Vegas with very little knowledge how to play the tables. Like anyone setting out in search of a job, I felt nervous that I didn't have all the insider knowledge or fully know the rules. The first thing I did was to observe and spent most of the first evening standing behind players learning how the game was played.

    Find the game that best suits you.

    I eventually decided that Blackjack was the game that suited me. What I didn't know was when to stick and hold and when to ask the dealer to hit. The first hands I played, I felt and looked like a novice and knew I was leaving myself exposed. Job seekers often feel this way when they don’t have all the skills and knowledge required to compete in the jobs market. Yet as I continued to play, bit by bit, I learned more.

    Find a mentor to guide you.

    I noticed one particular dealer who seemed to converse a lot with the players. He was, in fact, teaching the new players the rules of the game. His game was more fun and held more hope for me. As the games progressed, I asked more and more questions of my new card dealer mentor, Larry. He gave me great advice and looked out for me more than others.

    Just one mentor is not enough.

    The rules of the game are that the dealer moves on after about 30 minutes and a new dealer is introduced. This ...

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The vOIce is written by many of the managing partners of OI Partners. Topics include our ideas on how you or your organization can be effective in areas related to career development, executive development, workforce development, career transition and more.


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