Job Search Tip #47 – Your resume!/Full-review-your-resume-or-CV-and-advice-for-changes/p/50288854A resume is not about you.  It is about how you can solve that particular company’s particular problem.  It needs to be full of the appropriate keywords and phrases, your PAR statements and dragon-slaying stories.  It must show how you have solved other companies’ problems and how you can solve this one. 

If all of this does not leap off of the top half of the first page and into the lap of the person reading it, you won’t get a second chance.  Most job postings bring in over 100 resumes and only 1 meets the top half keyword bar.  It should be yours!

17 again

Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) half-length portrait, s...

Image via Wikipedia

Every age you ever were is still inside of you.

Job search can put you right back to 17 again. When you had basically no skills (or very few) and there really were thousands of people just like you.

But you are no longer 17.  You have paid your dues and have gained skills and had experiences that make you unique.

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”
Dr. Seuss

You need to know what these things are.  Getting a job is a sales job – you only have to make one sale, not hundreds.  What are your “features and benefits” for the company you want to work in?  Remember that no company hires if they don’t have a problem.  And they only hire when the people they are already paying can’t solve the problem.  So what is your “Unique Selling Proposition” for each company you want to join?  What makes you you?

You have hundreds of skills.  Some you never want to use again.  Some you “own”. Some you know that you are not quite completely confident in. Make a list!  Grade them!  Choose to search for a job that uses your competencies and gives you the opportunity to increase your skills. It is out there!

If you need help with this, schedule a coaching session with me and let’s make it happen! $125/30 minutes

How I Wish I Were The Fairy Job Mother Who Could Simply Grant Wishes!


How to Fail at Job Search

Should Your Job Search Include Smaller Companies?

small companiesby guest blogger, Mike Van Horn

A while back, I wrote an article on how smaller companies can compete for top talent with large corporations. Let me turn that around, and tell job seekers why you should consider looking at smaller companies. (I advise owner-run firms from 5 to 100 employees.)

— Shorter commute.

One 50-person client just hired a COO for $120k who’d received a $150k offer from a corporation in the city. He opted for a local 10-minute bike commute over the hour+ daily grind each way. He figured the extra two hours a day added to his life was worth $30 grand a year.

— More opportunity.

Another client hired a GM away from a much larger competitor. The guy saw that he’d reached the top where he was, and in the new job, he’d get to lead a major growth push. Big fish in a smaller pond.

— Less travel.

Many professionals in their 40s and 50s switch to smaller, local firms because they’re tired of constant travel they’ve had in their corporate jobs.

— Flexibility.

“Yes, we can bend your schedule around your kids’ soccer games.”

— More diverse opportunity.

You may get to take on a much greater variety of projects and responsibilities.

— Work directly with the principals.

Small companies may be headed by much more innovative and leading-edge people, and it’s a great opportunity to work with them.

— Less corporate bureaucracy and politics.

— Un-retired.

Here’s a big growing trend: Senior people retire from the corporation, then go to work for smaller companies. They trade less money for lower stress and flexible hours. The oldest guy working with us is in his mid 70s.

— Less risk of your job being off-shored.

Many small businesses market their personal contact and personal touch, and their customers prefer that. Personal contact cannot be off-shored.

— It’s a real job, not a contract job,

which seems to be the fate of many corporate job seekers these days.

There are a few downsides:

— Small companies may not offer as juicy a benefits package. However, don’t take this for granted these days!  Especially if your alternative is a corporate contract job.

— Some long-time corporate employees aren’t cut out for the small business environment. They may be accustomed to narrower duties, superiors telling them what to do (thus uncomfortable taking initiative), having a lot of support staff (thus not resourceful at getting things done). But by far the worst quality is exhibiting “employee mentality” rather than the “entrepreneur mentality” needed in a small, dynamic firm. And I’m talking about top-level managers! You must look at yourself to make sure you could be comfortable in a small business culture.


Mike Van Horn’s company, The Business Group, leads peer advisory groups for owners of growing businesses.


Want to discuss your job search? Click here

Here are a couple of tips to keep your self-confidence up while you are in the middle of your job search

Self-confidence can be hard to hold on to while you look for your next job. Even if that job will be CEO.

I find that creating a file or keeping a notebook or a “brag book” of what I have already


Image via Wikipedia

done in my life (not just in my current job or in my career) can be a real inspiration.

Then pick one or three and write them on a sheet of paper and post it where you can see it from your desk.

Another place to start is to have a record of your skills.  Do you have a list of them?  Set aside 10 minutes to write them down.  Just keep writing – include everything you can think of, from tying your shoes to making soufflés, from great presentation skills to a thorough knowledge of how to use a PCR, from the technical (we humans can “geek” in any technology from knitting to computers) to the commonplace.

Congratulations – look at all those skills!  And I’m sure that is not all of them.

Knowing what you have to offer will help you remember that you are not one of a faceless mass of people competing for your next job.  It will also help you not waste your time applying for jobs you really won’t fit.

Whether you are currently working full time or not, do something else that you like to do.  Volunteer with those less fortunate, teach, read to elders or children, coach a sport or….

Self-confidence is very attractive if it is true.  And if you need to “fake it, til you make it” be sure that the unstable support under that is not visible.  Better to actually be confident.

If you are worrying about getting hired for a job you really can’t do, don’t apply for that one!!  Apply for one that you KNOW you can do.

If you need some help with this, book some time with me and we can get you back on track.

Your list of skills and keywords

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Do you have your list of skills and keywords on your computer?

You will need this list of skills and keywords so that writing your resume and online profiles is not difficult.  And you don’t need to start with a blank page!  You can use a template or format. Using a list of your skills and keywords will give you a “leg up”.

You exist in a cloud of words that describes your work life or your home life.  Some of them are overused to the point of having no meaning, like “responsible self-starter”.  Some are so specific that only someone actually doing what you are currently doing would understand. The ones from your home life do not belong on a work document meant to attract the right job.  The ones from your work life are unlikely to attract the right people to go to the concert with.

When you pull together a list of words to use,  you can focus on the right words to attract your perfect job.  So start a list.  You won’t just send it off to random people.  You will use it to select the words suitable for the occasion.  You may have PCR, qPCR or whatever comes next on your list, but you want to uses the one that the company you are applying to uses, or they won’t know what you are talking about.

Immediate Next Bioscience Job Search Steps

Bruce Douganby Guest Blogger
Bruce W. Dougan, SPHR

So, you just got the news….

You along with millions of other Americans have just received the news that you are no longer needed at your place of employment.  Call it a lay off, call it downsizing, call it termination of employment…the result is the same – you are unemployed and you need to start your job search.

How you handle the news and what you do immediately will set the stage for the next “chapter in your career.”  I am only going to cover the initial steps to take to “get going.”

Learn from the old role,
Determine the story,
Refresh your network, then
Start the job search

The first step is to take some time to quietly reflect on your past role; What went really well? What did you learn from the role and from your co-workers? What were your Key Accomplishments? Do these first, as we seldom remember the good things.  Only when this list is exhausted, should you write down the improvement/opportunity items.  The purpose is not to lay blame or assign fault, but rather to really search deep inside to position yourself for your new role.

We are not writing your resume nor writing the great American novel here, but simply you need to be clear in your mind what your accomplishments were in your role, why they are important, and why you left this role and are searching for a new role.  Everyone will ask these questions and you need to be prepared; friends and family will want to know how you are doing and what you are going to do next, recruiters will definitely ask why you left and this is great practice for your 30 second elevator speech. So determine the story you are going to tell and move forward.

You likely have neglected your network while you have been working… We all do, the job is your focus and your network is secondary. Now it is time to focus on your network.  Dust off the lists you already have; friends, family, school contacts, LinkedIn, Facebook, recruiting firms, charitable groups, etc.  Don’t send out anything, just update the list and make sure the information is correct.  Now with a newly refreshed networking list, send out your first note using a format that includes some background, what help looks like, and how you can help each other.  Remember, you are NOT asking for a job, you are looking for more contacts that will lead you to a new role.

Now it’s time to actually start your job search.  There are absolutely tons of resources on how to conduct a successful job search.  I’ll leave that up to the experts, but by immediately (at least within the first week) completing the first three steps (learn, story, refresh) you are ready to begin with a positive attitude, knowledge of what was successful during your last role and a great networking list.

Good luck.
by Guest Blogger
Bruce W. Dougan, SPHR
Group50 Consulting


Pick a Career!



Because companies don’t hire “potential”, you have to be the one to choose what job you want to go after.  No one has time to figure that out for you.  You can hire a career coach to help you work it out or you can be really brutally honest with yourself and do the hard work to figure it out for yourself.  

Saying to a recruiter or a hiring manager that you want “any job” or that you “could consider any job” or even “I am currently looking for a job opportunity in biotech/pharmaceutical field”.  You have to be the one to  choose what you want to look for, what you want to do in your next job.  

You can run a couple of job searches simultaneously, but it takes twice as much work. And you can certainly be a serial entrepreneur, or serial careerist.  It seems that we are now working for about 50 years and that jobs only last 2-5 years, so you have plenty of time to change careers.  On the other hand, going from VP to barista or barista to VP can be very difficult.  Choose your next job to get you closer to the one you want to retire from.  

Know what you know. Know what people are willing to pay for. Know what you are willing to do.  Know what brings you joy and also brings you toward your personal goals.  This is what it means to “choose a career”.   

iPhone, Android, iPad, or Nexus – what Apps work for you?

Today's latte, Google Play.

Today’s latte, Google Play. (Photo credit: yukop)

Back in 2012, I asked my subscribers (click here if you would like to subscribe to the newsletter) to tell me what apps they have on their smartphones and tablets.  Here are some of the responses (the programs that are no longer around are strikethrough:

Andrew de Guttadauro, expert in business development (IP, M&A in the biotech world), said, “Here are the ones that I currently favor:
Communication:  Skype (great for saving money when overseas and a wifi connection is in hand)
Organization:  Evernote & Pocket (I’m a big believer in cloud-based software and these two apps work great in tandem to allow one to clip, tag, organize, and store just about anything that comes across a computer, smart phone, tablet, or other similar device)
RSS & News Streamers:  Reeder, Flipboard, Zite, and Feedly (admittedly, this is overkill, but I’m a news and media junkie and these apps all do a wonderful job of combining my RSS feeds, and other news sources of interest, into organized news channels/feeds that are more pleasing than the underlying RSS engine – Google Reader, in my case)
Task Management:  I favor Wunderlist because, like my other apps, it’s platform-agnostic and cloud-based, so I can access my “to do’s” whenever and however I like or need (Remember the Milk is a good alternative)
Data and Info Storage:  Dropbox is great, but it’s important people realize that Dropbox isn’t especially secure as the company wants to give users the choice of security/encryption software so it’s important to use 2-step authentication plus “True Crypt” if using Drop Box to store anything even remotely sensitive
E-mail:  I use the native Apple app for Outlook but favor Google’s Gmail app to access the latter service (despite it being from Google, this app could use additional improvements).  I also recommend using Xobni if possible, to help sift through Outlook more efficiently.
News and Sports:  ESPN, Huffington Post, The Atlantic
Travel:  Kayak
Web:  Chrome’s my favored browser on all devices
– Shopping:  Amazon (via app on iPhone or via browser and website on iPad), Target app
– Dining:  Open table, Yelp (applicable in the shopping category as well)
Social Media:  LinkedIn
– Bookmarks:  X-Marks
– Media:  Amazon streaming, Netflix streaming, Hulu Plus, HBO GO

That pretty much covers the apps.  I would recommend to everyone that 2-step authentication should be used on any site where it can be enabled and that separate signups be used on any site where possible (never use Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn username/passwords to access other sites as you’re needlessly exposing yourself to sequential hacking).  Finally, I use a password management tool but do not have the app loaded on either smart phone or tablet as it makes me too antsy viz. potential loss of the device. I also don’t have bank or insurance apps loaded on my devices for the same reason and would recommend using such apps only if you don’t keep permanently signed in to either (I’d rather access such info through the added hassle of the web browser instead).

I hope this proves helpful and look forward to hearing what others are using.”

These are available in both Apple and Android.  Reeder, True Crypt, Xnobi and X-Marks are Apple-specific.

Personally, and many devices later, I have many that Andrew had and some others.  They do multiply!!



Navigation (Google maps)
News & Weather (native Android)
Calendar (native Android)
Contacts (native Android)
Messenger/Messaging/Voice Message
Voice Recorder
Voice Search
Gmail and my other emails
Adobe Reader
Out of Milk (but only for grocery shopping)
an alarm clock, a stopwatch, a calculator, a music player
Kindle and Play Books
and my camera and gallery
Plus more, of course.

I’ve only linked a few of these, all the rest can be found at the app marketplaces. 

What do you have on yours?

Getting Organized for Your Search

Finally I found a way to get organized and get the things out of my head and into a to-do list I can really use to be productive … NOW!  Do you know the feeling?

This is what I did:

I worked through Michael Linenberger’s latest edition of his book: 

I was so impressed with my increased productivity that I’m now working through his next book, 

Master Your Workday Now!: Proven Strategies to Control Chaos, Create Outcomes, & Connect Your Work to Who You Really Are.

I really appreciate these two books.


Because I have quite a few projects going at the moment that will really increase my value to my clients and I could not have even begun to make meaningful progress on them without his help!

The first book is about getting control of the “fires” – be they email or interruptions from well-meaning staff and colleagues.

The second book helps you move up Maslow’s pyramid to goals and visions for your whole life.

We are all working on more and more projects with less and less time. 

These two books really cut through the noise and get to the heart of the day to help you manage your priorities, your attention, your energy and your time to accomplish your important goals.

Since then I’ve discovered Contactually, a way to stay in touch with the important people in my life.  It is a great “tickle” file and has templates to help me know what to say.

And I’m trying out Workboard by Velocity. It may be more “horse” than I can ride.

What helps you be productive and make progress toward your goals?  I’d love to hear in the comments below … thanks!

I’ve also found a few other methods of organizing a job search.  I don’t know how well they work but have included them as resources:



What do you use to manage all of your tasks for your job search?

What is a resume?

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper.  Here is what some people think is the difference

handshake19The whole purpose of a resume is to get the hiring manager interested enough in what you can do for him that he will contact you for more information and to see if you are a “fit” for the job, the company and the team. 

Yes, what you include in your resume is important, as are the words you chose to use to describe your actions, but it is as important to eliminate fluff, wordiness and irrelevant topics.  It has to be short and answer the question – why should I hire this person?

[ tweet this! “A resume is a piece of advertising designed to get you an interview!”]

A resume is a piece of advertising.  And the more tightly you can target it to that particular hiring manager, the more likely you are to get the interview. 

You have to answer the hiring manager’s “pain”.  Why is he going through the pain of posting and interviewing when he really wants to be getting the job done?  What has he run out of that he needs to buy it from you or your competing candidates?  How can you supply him with the answers he needs to know that you are the one who can make his pain go away?


What does the hiring manager really need? 

When you agonize over your resume or, alternatively, have someone else write it for you, you are thinking about yourself and not about that hiring manager.  It is as if you want to go to the prom, get all dressed up and then go stand outside the door, waiting for someone to invite you. 

Do you know what you have to offer that hiring manager as well as what he needs.  Can you speak his language? Use it when you talk about how you already fixed that problem (for someone else)? Describe how you can do it again, perhaps even better since you have learned more about it.

Make it easier to write your resume/advertisement!

Dragon Green

Dragon Green (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resumes are notoriously hard to write for yourself because you don’t have the list of words describing what you have done.

Don’t start with adjectives, start with verbs.  What tasks have you accomplished?  What did you do? 

I love PAR statements.  Some call them dragon-slaying tales.  Describe the problem (what was the name of the dragon)?  What action did you take?  (Which tools did you use and how did you approach the dragon?  How did you slay it?)  Then what happened?  What result was achieved?  (Did the villagers go on to harvest more than they could eat in two decades?)  What are your dragon-slaying stories?

Click here for help with your PAR statements and dragon-slaying stories


revised 4/19/17