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SSS Online's Career Center

Welcome to our career center! As a public service, SSS Online offers a free job posting page and a free career tips service. Please note, the services in this center are for jobs in technical fields only! Although we do not limit postings to RF and wireless engineering positions, we do reserve the right to decline to post vacancy announcements that are, in our judgment, too far afield.

We will also offer occasional "Tips" and articles or links to articles that are of interest to people looking for a career in the RF/wireless field. For professional career counseling, take a look at some of the links and banners on our career center pages.

Pick a Topic from the List Below!

Career Tips

Career Tips by Resume to Referral


Resume Finesse: Tell Me Again, Why Did You Leave Your Last Job After Six Months?

by Teena Rose, Résumé to Referral,
Teena Rose is a columnist, public speaker, and certified/published resume writer with Resume to Referral. She's authored several books, including How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer, and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.

That's not a question you want to field during an important job interview, especially if the details are gory. And why would you be asked such a question? Because you included it on your resume so that it would be sure to come up during the interview!

A resume isn't just a bunch of facts typed up neatly. A resume presents the best picture of you, the professional. A good resume shines a spotlight on your business accomplishments while sweeping your shortfalls and shortcomings under the carpet (or at least putting the best face on these 'difficult' resume entries.)

The Fudge Factor
There's a big difference between emphasizing career highlights and creating highlights that never took place.

During your last semester of college you dropped out to tour as a roadie with Aerosmith. Good times. But, you never quite went back to get that degree. You almost got it, but not quite.

You might be tempted to apply the fudge factor here and claim a degree that you haven't quite earned. Don't do it. Your resume must be 110% accurate in every fact. However, what facts are included or excluded and how the remaining facts are positioned are simply aspects of good resume preparation.

Resume Blemish #1: 12 Jobs in Four Years
You quit for a better job, got laid off, downsized, moved across country and picked up an additional certification so your staying power at any one position is rightfully suspect to a prospective employer.

Pick the jobs that are most relevant to the one for which you're applying. No lies. Just put your relevant experience to the forefront.

Provide accurate employment start and end dates and when the subject comes up during an interview, you'll be prepared to explain the holes in your work history. This brings up blemish number two.

Resume Blemish #2: Holes in Your Work History
Prospective employers like to see a nice, steady work history with nice, steady advancement as you move from company to company: more responsibilities, more varied experience, and greater impact on the company's bottom line. (It all comes down to the bottom line.) That's what your next employer is looking for.

So how do you explain the fact that you left your last job in the previous millennium? Or that two year block of time when you hiked through the Andes?

Holes like this stand out, but they can be addressed in your cover letter. Again, honesty counts, so be truthful. You've been out of the workforce since 1999 raising your family, and now, you're ready to re-enter the job market (with your completely up-to-date skill set). Or, you wanted to follow your dream to trek the Andes before you got too old. Straight up, tell the truth.

The Resume Statute of Limitations
Typically, you can leave off anything older than 10 years. In today's job market, anything before that is ancient history. So, if you had a few 'misfires' early in your career, leave them off.

Also, if your most relevant experience also happens to be your most recent (usually the case as you work your way up the ladder), you can omit that old two-year stint as a bank teller before you got into marketing. Again, the key is to choose selectively the information that best demonstrates your value as the company's newest employee.

Finally, the Details
Read it. Reread it. Read it again. Have your spouse read it, the kids, or your mother-in-law - anybody you can collar. You're looking for input and reaction. Does it grab your attention? Does this sound right? Edit and polish each entry accordingly.

Proof it. No mistakes. No spelling errors, grammar's up to snuff, proper format. If it's professional, it's perfect.

Don't Try This at Home
If you don't have a clue how to structure your work history and play down your job-jumping binge, hire a professional resume preparer. It'll cost a few bucks, but it'll be the best investment in your future you ever make.

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How to Ensure Your Résumé Produces Top Results

by Teena Rose, Résumé to Referral,
Ms. Rose is a certified résumé writer, interview professional, and a credentialed career master. Holding top industry credentials, she's authored numerous Résumés that are published and featured within print publications and currently setting industry standards.

A professionally designed résumé is an important component to any jobseeker; however, the overall effectiveness of the document depends on how and how often it's used, marketing strategies utilized, and the relevance of the content. Concentrating on these important aspects is key to ensuring your résumé produces well.

Use your résumé as it is designed — not how you see it. What this means is, if you've been in sales for years, don't expect to obtain a position outside of your skill set, such as real estate leasing, without an in-depth job search using a résumé that focuses on industry transferable skills. Some of your abilities may apply to the Real Estate industry (as you may see it), but without employment history or a clearly defined résumé for "real estate leasing," the résumé will not produce good results. Crossing over into another career is possible, but is certainly a move that requires preparation for you and definitely for the résumé.

Persistent actions, not blind submission. Taking a persistent and consistent approach to sending out a résumé is one aspect of job searching that few jobseekers take seriously — not necessarily because of the inability to be assertive, but rather due to the large task at hand. Job searching can be exhausting and individuals tend to lose initiative after receiving constant rejection. Sending résumés out in blocks of 50 per week will allow the jobseeker to remain very active in the hunt, yet allow enough time to focus on other strategies. Suggestion: Focus on a list of companies that best match your existing skill set and career focus, rather than applying to help wanted ads or conducting an exclusively online search. Create a new list weekly and follow up with each employer within 5-8 business days to ensure receipt and to answer any questions.
Adding an eye-catching introduction followed by sticky content. Marketing professionals will tell you that you must have a "hook:" something that will make the reader act. Relative to job searching, a hook should cause the reader to call for an interview or possibly discuss the candidate with a colleague. There is no clear definition of what a hook actually can or cannot be, but it should answer two or more of the following:

  1. How is this candidate different from the others applying?

  2. Does this candidate's résumé clearly outline and focus upon the company's requirements rather than cloud this information with irrelevant content?

  3. Does this candidate possess the educational requirements specified?

  4. Does the candidate possess the minimum knowledge, skills, and abilities to satisfy the company's short- and long-term goals?

Your résumé should be alive. Envision each available position as a door lock, and your résumé is the key that will allow you passage. The résumé should be a certain shape and size for the first lock, but require modification or a completely new design for the next lock. This probably isn't the best metaphor, but I think you get the idea. Job descriptions from position to position are rarely identical – especially for those that require an individual to "wear many hats." Take a secretary, for example. The job responsibilities for a secretary may be completely different from one employer to the next. Modifying the top section of the résumé, generally, is the only upkeep required to ensure the résumé continuously fits the lock of the door you're trying to enter. Other modifications, such as rearrangement of categories / headers, replacing certain keywords or key phrases and restructuring employment details, may also be necessary.

Focus your job search using networking, online and offline tactics. Networking is still the tried-and-true king relevant to an effective job-search campaign. However, job seekers today are taking their campaigns online due to the ease of researching a company, locating open positions by inputting 2 or 3 keywords rather than scanning a Sunday newspaper, and the quickness of résumé submission. Failed job-search efforts result because some candidates spend most of their time concentrating on the two least effective methods: online and offline (newspaper) applications. Although these two conduits produce results, they can eventually require additional time, effort, and resources to produce the same results as networking. While job searching, utilize all tactics available to you; however, focus your best efforts on networking, then strategic offline (targeted letter campaigns, recruiter contact, and newspaper ads) marketing, and finally, online submissions.

Taking a serious approach to your job search campaign is mandatory to securing a favorable return from the résumé. Avoiding some of the largest job seeking pitfalls will allow you to conduct a strategic and effective campaign that's designed to get you a job in the least amount of time.

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Job Bank Posting
Needle in a haystack approach to marketing yourself, or one of the best strategies since networking?

-- By Teena Rose, Career Writer Résumé to Referral

Teena Rose is a certified résumé writer, interview professional, and a credentialed career master. Select résumés have been published and featured within print publications and are being used to set industry standards. Mrs. Rose assists job seekers regardless of industry and magnitude of experience - even those with career blemishes.

Technology has grown in leaps and bounds - even the résumé industry has been transformed with the introduction of various job-search conduits, such as online recruiters, headhunters, and job banks.

Like many employment agencies, job banks have seen a significant growth spurt in the last 10 years. I think I can safely say there are 1,000s of job boards containing the descriptions of open positions located locally, nationally, and internationally.

Job banks may seem intimidating to some, but in reality, they are no more than a fat section of help wanted ads in the Sunday newsletter - online.

Many job banks also possess a résumé submission area, allowing a document to be available online and searchable by keywords and key phrases.

Taking it one step further, some of these job banks have incorporated "job sleuths" into their script programs. Jobs matching your skill set, target area, and/or salary requirement are automatically submitted by e-mail account for your review and action.

An increasing number of recruiters are focusing themselves within a niche market; and because of this, a rising number of industry-specific job banks have emerged. Finding job banks serving the information technology, sales, health care, and manufacturing industries (among others) are more common today than even 10 years ago.

Job bank results can vary upon a number of variables:

  • Visibility of the job bank
  • Keywords / key phrases contained in the résumé
  • Jobseekers current industry and position
  • Requirements for target position (i.e. some companies seeking medical sales professionals require a minimum of 18 months sales experience)
A number of résumé writers now advertise "keyword strong" documents, catering to technological advancements.

Posting to job banks can be an added approach to your job search, but shouldn't replace the tried-and-true results produced from networking.

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Would Your Résumé Pass Our Test?

-- By Teena Rose, Résumé to Referral, reprinted by permission

For over two years, our office has performed countless - FREE - résumé critiques for job seekers from all walks of life - business executives and owners, blue-collar workers, customer service, computer support, human resource, academic, managers, sales and marketing professionals, and administrative / support personnel. What amazes me is that 80-90% of the résumés receive a fair to poor rating. With the resources available, why are jobseekers still utilizing a mediocre or poor document to attempt career advancement or to change careers?

Presenting oneself to an employee-seeking audience can be a difficult task. It is important to not feel intimidated by the thought of competing with top résumé writers or specialists. A jobseeker can honestly create their own résumé (don't tell my boss I said that), as long as that person knows what to list, what to eliminate, what to highlight, and in what order to place this information.

Critique guidelines...

Each Résumé is critiqued utilizing the following steps:

What is the candidate's position, and does the document satisfy target audience requirements? Is the layout appropriate for this person's skills, qualifications, and number of years of experience? Is there irrelevant information within the document? A nice ratio of keywords or key phrases relating to the candidate's background? Does the document contain typos, sentence structure problems, or other common mistakes? Our critique guidelines expose some of the worst résumé problems that are out there. These errors can cause a candidate's résumé to be ignored for an open or upcoming position. Once the jobseeker is thoroughly aware of their target position, knows the audience, and has a nicely designed and well thought-out résumé, he or she is ready to use these tools to their advantage … assuming they are applying for an obtainable position – backed by necessary skills, qualifications, and/or education.

Let's take the above critique process one step further by reviewing, in detail, what jobseekers do to sabotage their chances of landing a better job.

Skill redundancy. There comes comfort when performing the same types of duties for a number of different employers, but it causes skills redundancy within a résumé. Take an administrative assistant, for example. Over the last 10 years, this person has worked for three different medical physicians, performing the same types of duties. This person should brainstorm and game plan how the document should be laid out of avoid this problem. Note: A chronological layout can be the main reason the duplicate skills and qualifications are reflected strongly.

Keyword and key phrase potency. Certain skills and educational requirements are standard amongst various types of positions. These skills in essence "brand" the candidate's knowledge of the industry / field being targeted. Keywords assist in setting oneself apart from others based upon uniqueness. These keywords should be adjusted continuously, catering to the job candidate's target market.

Lacking a mission statement. This portion of the résumé is the most crucial, yet it is left out time after time. A hiring manager receives countless résumés over a one-month period. Why would anyone send a résumé to them without a clear and concise mission statement. A person wishing employment should never assume the hiring manager is a mind reader.

Education. Listing a high school degree is fine only if you're a recent graduate. Envision this scenario: a recently laid-off sales and marketing executive puts the final touches on his résumé. In additional to listing his bachelor's degree, he lists his associate's degree along with his high school diploma. Will he be hired, or even interviewed, because he graduated from high school over a decade ago? The answer is obvious. Once a person receives and satisfies the requirements for a college degree, the high school diploma is implied.

Job relevancy. If a jobseeker is applying for a position as an account representative, why would that person list an entire paragraph - or more - about their stint as a caterer five years ago? That's a question I ask myself every day. Tell the employer just what they WANT to know, and no more. Downplay all irrelevant skills, qualifications, and job history that does not relate directly to the target position.

Telling a company more than they need to know. It amazes me the number of people who document everything they've been doing for the last three decades. In general, a résumé follows the same rules as an application. A 10-year history is sufficient, unless the jobseeker has been employed with the same company longer than the 10-year cutoff.

Learning various résumé tips and tactics can ensure a top-quality copy and layout is used at all times. The art of creating a document that will set yourself apart from other jobseekers can be a difficult task, if you are unwilling to put in the time necessary to discover the pros and cons to each résumé style.

There are paid professionals who are available within your area or online to help you with the task of résumé writing, of course. In fact, our office - résumé to Referral - will debut a résuméToolBox within the next couple of months, addressing IN GREAT DETAIL all areas of résumé writing - layout, design, how to spot and use industry-related keywords, what to include, samples, examples, and much more. The résuméToolBox is designed for the do-it-yourself jobseeker and is designed to help you avoid common résumé blunders.
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Entry Level Woes

-- By Karen Edwards

This exchange was printed in the Fall 2001 issue of SSS Online Ezine.

Q. I'm getting my degree soon, and am just entering the job market. All the job postings want people with years of experience! Do you have any suggestions?

A.Congratulations on your upcoming degree. I know how frustrating it can be job-hunting when the job announcements all say they want 5 or more years of experience.

Many companies have separate programs for college recruitment, and don't do job postings for such positions. I suggest the following: (1) register with your college placement office and interview there (if you haven't already done that); (2) write some of the companies that have interesting-sounding jobs, tell them you're an upcoming fresh-out, and see if they have entry-level jobs to fill.

You might also do some things to pump up your resume, and your experience. If you're interested in RF, I suggest you get your ham license if you don't already have it. Many, many RF engineers are in the amateur radio hobby, and might serve as a source of job leads as well. You might also follow up a line of research and write a paper for publication. There are lots of places, such as SSS Online, that would be happy to publish an interesting article on an RF topic -- wouldn't pay you anything for it, but the experience is good, it adds to your resume, and you get kind of a kick seeing your words in print.

A final word -- remember that your resume will likely be screened by an English major or other liberal-arts type person before it gets to the technical people. Be sure to have your resume edited by a friend that's good at wordsmithing to make sure it will pass that kind of review.

Good luck, and I hope you land a good one!

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