Client Testimonials

Martin,

I wanted to pass on my thanks for your assistance with my résumé rewrite. I am now the VP of IT for Citizens Energy Group in Indianapolis. Having a professional résumé was critical, especially in today's economy.

Thanks!
—John, Indianapolis, IN


"Calling to let you know I am now the new CEO of an $800 million investment corporation. Your résumé opened doors that were closed to me before."
—Peter R., New Jersey


"Marty is an artist, truly he is, for anyone who can take the rough raw material his clients provide, which more often than not comprise drab, dry, and dreary career histories, and transform those into vibrant resumes: marketing pieces showing the individual’s true potential worth as a prospective employee, that person is an inspired gifted practitioner of the written art.

Not only is he a wonderful writer who knows a quick and effective turn of phrase, but through years of corporate experience in the real world as a successful recruiter, Marty is adept drilling down to the essence of a candidate’s professional value offering through a knowledge-driven give and take review process.

I should know, for I’ve experienced Marty’s talents first hand and what he can do to reinvigorate a seemingly sagging job search campaign. I’m pleased to advise that once my revised resume was released; there was no longer need for me to solicit employment opportunities . . . the opportunities came to me!

—Vice President of Sourcing, Supply Chain Management
(from résumé to job in under three months)


I can't tell you how much I appreciate your professionalism, service, and skills. The résumé, cover letters, executive recruiter distribution, and job search coaching were just what the doctor ordered. After only 12 weeks I landed my ideal job and am relocating to California. I am the new CFO of a multi-billion dollar financial services company. The ROI for your services was fabulous. I wish I did that well on all my investments.

—BK, Austin, TX


Just wanted to let you know I found a position here in Cincinnati, OH. I am very excited about the opportunity as it is exactly what I wanted down to the last detail. As I shared with you before, your résumé support was AWESOME! I sent the letter to upladders.com as well as reiterating in my closeout letter to them regarding how exceptional your service is and how pivotal your résumé writing work has been to my success. Thank you again and again. Much love sent your way and take care.

—Private, Cincinnati, OH


On Monday, December 4, I start a new job as VP of Education in Washington DC. This is with a fantastic organization and a great position.

The résumé you created for me went out around September 13, and I finalized my new job last week, mid-November. You told me that most people take about 6 months to land a new job but people who use your résumé service can do it in as little as 3 months; well, I landed my job in approximately 2 months!

Your résumé generated 6 high-level opportunities for me and I am delighted to have secured the one I wanted the most.

Thank you again for your help. My investment in your services was one of the best career decisions I have ever made.

—John G., Washington, DC

How to Ask for a Raise

Follow these three simple steps to negotiate a higher level of pay in your current job. 1. Get Ready Before marching into your boss’s office, arm yourself with some critical information. Start by doing some research into comparable salaries. This data will help both you and your boss understand your true market value and the cost to replace you should you leave. Two good salary-research sites are www.salary.com and www.payscale.com – there are many more, and you should check several because you’ll find wide variations in the results. Another way to gather general salary data is to review online job postings. You can also ask friends and relatives about pay ranges for professionals like you at their companies. Of course, your company isn’t interested in paying you based on what everybody else is making, what you need, or what you think you deserve but rather on your value to the company. To provide credible, factual evidence of that value, you need to document what you’ve accomplished.

Pull out your accomplishment file, performance evaluations, and other documentation that will help you recall what you’ve done for the company in the last weeks, months, and years. Write up brief summaries of your activities along with the specific benefits and results – including hard numbers wherever possible. For greatest impact, tie your accomplishments to strategic company initiatives and goals. Finally, based on comparable salary data, your level of responsibility, and the value you’ve delivered, set a compensation range that you think is fair. Also think about other perks and benefits you might ask for – this approach can be particularly effective at companies that have rigid salary structures and inflexible review periods.

2. Get Set Mental preparation is key to a salary discussion that is positive and professional. Your preparation will build your confidence; now it’s time to make sure you are going in with the right attitude. Banish any thought of demanding a raise, complaining that you’re underpaid, or comparing yourself to others in your department or at your company. You won’t win points by acting entitled or getting angry or emotional. Don’t bring up what you need or any personal situations that have strapped your finances. This is a business issue, and your goal is to stay focused and keep the discussion on a positive note. Now, mentally prepared and confident, tell your boss you’d like to schedule some time to review your goals for the coming period. Do not tell him or her you are going to ask for a raise, and don’t say you want a performance review. Schedule a meeting in a quiet place.

3. Go At the meeting, spell out what you plan to accomplish for the coming period, and get your boss’s agreement to these goals before moving on. Express enthusiasm and excitement for where the company’s going and how you’re going to help it get there.

Next, review what you’ve contributed in the last several months or even longer. Recap your accomplishments, being sure to stress the hard numbers and results. Again, before proceeding, get your boss to agree that these are the most important things you’ve done.

Now it’s time to ask for the raise. Reiterate that you are proud of what you’ve accomplished in the past and excited about the future. But you believe your compensation should be adjusted upward – to reflect increased responsibility, above-and-beyond performance, or significant contribution to company goals.

Then stop talking and let your boss react and respond. By preparing in advance, you should be ready to counter most objections with facts and figures, not anger, emotion, or defensiveness. And remember, in all negotiations it’s best to let the other party state a number first.

Above all, don’t let the discussion get contentious. Don’t threaten to quit. And don’t issue any kind of ultimatum. It’s likely your boss won’t agree to anything right then and there. Thank him or her for listening and establish the expectation and timing for follow-up. Then go write a brief memo summarizing the meeting, send it to your boss, and pursue the matter as diligently and professionally as you would any business issue.

With a businesslike and fact-based approach, you stand a good chance of getting something (if not everything) you want and will preserve your relationship with your boss. Regardless of what you negotiate, don’t let it affect your performance. After all you can use your fresh accomplishment summaries to update your résumé and look for a better-paying job!

Marty Weitzman, NCRW, CPBS, IJCTC, CPRW Gilbert Résumés 800-967-3846 For further information please contact Gilbert Resumes A Career Network Company resumepro@gmail.com 800-967-3846 Fax: 732-536-4429

With an Expert Résumé Writer as your “career growth partner,” success is just an e-mail or phone call away.

Rev Up Your Résumé: Expert Secrets to Add Power, Punch, and Personality

There’s no doubt about it, your résumé is an important tool in your job search. It is a door-opener that can lead to interviews and job offers. Often it’s your first chance to make a positive impression on people who can give you advice, assistance, and referrals. And it must convey all of your skills and qualifications in a powerful yet concise manner. That’s a lot of expectations for one or two sheets of paper!

How can you keep your résumé from being drab, dull, ho-hum, weak, or boring? Follow these expert secrets and you will have a résumé that is accurate, credible, and professional while communicating your true value and worth to an employer.

Be specific. When describing your job activities, include examples of specific things you have done that have been valuable to your organization. Be brief with general statements and generous with stories and examples. Your résumé will be more credible and more powerful because you can back up your statement of qualifications.

Here’s an example. “Contributed strategies to increase customer loyalty and drive revenue growth” — tell the specific story: “Developed monthly customer focused newsletter providing investment advice and trading strategies. Increased trading activity and generated significant referral business that added 11% incremental business in 2004 and directly contributed to record year.”

Add numbers. As you can see in the previous example, it’s important to document your successes by measuring results. This is how you know your efforts were successful. Take a look at the various aspects of your job and see if you can show an improvement, then add numbers or percentages that are proof of your capabilities.

Every organization has criteria for success. Find out what matters to your organization, then document how you have helped them to be successful. Consider these areas of measurement that are meaningful to most companies:

  • Revenue or sales growth
  • Profit increase
  • Cost control
  • Efficiency improvement
  • Productivity increase
  • Waste reduction
  • Activity increase
  • Market-share growth
  • Decrease in competition

Let your personality shine through. Your résumé should be as unique as you are. One way to do that is by including your specific stories, as discussed above. Another is to share information about how you achieve results. Do you do it by persuading or convincing others? By inspiring your team? By sheer hard work and dogged persistence? Mention these kinds of traits in your stories and in your Summary/Introduction, and you will have a résumé that is like nobody else’s.

Consider the difference: (A) Gained more than $400,000 in new business. (B) Relentlessly cold-called every new business start-up in the county, making as many as 20 cold calls per day for six weeks. As a result, gained more than $400,000 in new business — more than twice as much as any other sales rep in the office.

Here’s another example: (A) Led successful membership drive that met all chapter goals for new pledges. (B) Provided inspirational leadership to a dedicated membership team. Gained their support for new ways of approaching pledges; kept spirits high during intense three-week pledge period that often involved 12-hour days. Achieved 100% of membership goals for the first time in 8 years.

Most job seekers make the mistake of including too much detail about job duties in their résumés. Keep in mind, job duties are the same for anyone who holds that job. What makes you unique are the activities and achievements you contributed while you held that job. Employers want to know that you will be successful working for them. What better way to prove it than by sharing stories that are specific, filled with hard proof (numbers), and indicate how you achieved your results?

Marty Weitzman, NCRW, CPBS, IJCTC, CPRW Gilbert Résumés 800-967-3846 For further information please contact Gilbert Résumés A Career Network Company resumepro@gmail.com 800 967-3846 Fax: 732 536-4429

With an Expert Résumé Writer as your “career growth partner,” success is just an e-mail or phone call away.

Networking: Key to a Successful Job Search

No matter how popular and how easy it is to apply for jobs online, the vast majority of people still find jobs the old-fashioned way: by talking to people they know and making personal connections to people who can hire them.

Don’t believe it? According to a 2002 New York Times survey, 64% of people found their jobs through networking. Only 15% credited either the Internet (4%) or ads (11%) for their jobs. If this news surprises you, then it’s time to put your network strategy into high gear — and devote most of your energy to the methods that really work.

What is networking? Networking is nothing more than talking to people. When you’re looking for a job, you should talk to anyone and everyone who can give you ideas, leads, suggestions, and referrals. You should not expect that most people you talk to will have real job leads, but everyone you connect with can refer you to one, two, or more people, and the cycle goes on. Your goal is to build a knowledge and support system that will eventually lead you to the right person at the right time.

What should you tell your contacts? What you say and how you say it is important. You will need to prepare and practice your message so that it is clear, concise, and lets people know how they can help you. Keep your introduction to 90 seconds tops. Longer than that, and you risk losing the interest of your audience at this early stage in the conversation.

Don’t recite your entire biography. Give your listeners just enough information so they understand what kind of work you do, what you’re really good at, and what kind of companies and opportunities you’re interested in.

Be sure you tell them what you need. Are you looking for an introduction at a specific company? Do you need some industry information? Do you want to tap into an alumni group or nonprofit organization?

Be specific so your listeners will understand how they can help you.

Follow up on every lead.

If your contacts have been helpful enough to give you some names and phone numbers, be certain you follow up quickly and professionally, even if at heart you don’t think the referrals have much value. For one thing, you never know — perhaps your contact’s cousin has an “in” with your target company. For another, it’s good etiquette, and you’ll be able to go back to your contact for more help only if you’ve done as he or she suggested.

Get organized.

Networking involves lots of names, phone numbers, and cross-connections. Set up a good system so you can accurately track how you got someone’s name and how that person is connected to others in your network. Take notes every time you talk with someone, and schedule your follow-up activities on your calendar so you don’t forget.

Keep your contacts in the loop.

Periodically, send a brief status report to your network. At that point you might be able to ask for more help with a new, specific request. As long as you are polite, professional, and never ask for something your contacts can’t provide (like a job), your phone calls and emails will be welcomed.

Let people help you.

A lot of job seekers are hesitant to reach out to their network and, beyond that, to strangers they’re referred to. For some reason, it’s much easier to give help than to ask for it! Understandably, you don’t want to be a bother. But put yourself in your contact’s shoes. Wouldn’t you be willing to spend a few minutes trying to help a friend or the friend of a friend? Don’t you get a lot of pleasure from helping others? It’s best to get over your reluctance and open yourself up to the help that others want to give. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by how helpful and generous people are – whether your own friends and colleagues or people you don’t even know. This discovery is one of the true joys of networking – and once you experience it, you will certainly be a helpful network contact for your friends as soon as you land your next job.

Marty Weitzman, NCRW, CPBS, IJCTC, CPRW Gilbert Résumés 800-967-3846 For further information please contact Gilbert Résumés A Career Network Company resumepro@gmail.com 800-967-3846 Fax: 732-536-4429

With an Expert Résumé Writer as your “career growth partner,” success is just an e-mail or phone call away.

How and When to Follow Up During Your Job Search

Every job seeker on the planet has experienced the agony of waiting to hear – about a job, an interview, a key contact, a next step in the selection process. These guidelines will help you minimize the waiting without antagonizing your contacts.

Set the expectation. At the end of every meeting, clarify the next step and the expectation for follow-up. “Great, I’ll look forward to your call on Friday. If I don’t hear from you, may I check in on Monday?” With this approach, you’ll feel confident on Monday that your call won’t be viewed as intrusive.

Keep the ball in your court. Whenever possible, rather than waiting for someone else to take action, take the initiative to pursue a contact or expedite a process. Busy executives will appreciate it, and you’ll be assured that progress is being made toward your important goal of finding a new job. For example, if a network contact promises to pass your résumé on to a colleague, you might say, “I know you’re busy, so I’ll be glad to save you a step and get in touch directly. May I use your name?”

Don’t be demanding. No matter how impatient, frustrated, or angry at a lack of response, never let negative emotions show in a voice mail, email, or person-to-person message. If your contacts feel uncomfortable when hearing from you, they’ll be less and less inclined to take your calls.

Follow up with a purpose. You can simply call to follow up on a prior message or letter, but why not find a better reason to get in touch with your contact. Can you supply a bit of information on a topic you discussed? Share a news story or an idea? Refer him or her to someone who can help with a specific problem? With this approach, you’ll call with confidence.

Never ask for something your contacts can’t give. Remember, you want your call to be cordial, friendly, helpful, and professional at all times. If you ask for something your contacts can’t give, such as a job, they’ll feel guilty and uncomfortable when hearing from you.

And what about the protocol for following up when you haven’t had a meeting or even a conversation? You’ve sent your résumé in response to an ad, and now you want to know if you’re in the running. Here is a strategy for this kind of follow-up call.

Try calling early or late in the day (before 8 am and after 5 pm) to improve the odds that your quarry will pick up the phone.

Leave a polished, positive message. Practice in advance so you can perform beautifully whether you reach a live voice or get routed to voice mail. Preparation will boost your confidence in making these difficult but critical follow-up calls.

Don’t leave your number or ask your target to call you back. Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? But remember, you want to keep the burden off your contact and the ball in your court. Instead, leave a brief message and indicate you’ll call back “tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.” Then be sure you call precisely as promised, and repeat the process until (a) you give up; (b) you reach your target; or (c) your target calls you. (This happens much more often than you think, even if you didn’t leave your number.)

Decide how many times you’ll follow up before giving up. For many job seekers, once is more than enough. But chances are, your target is simply busy, and returning your call never reaches the top of the “to do” list. Consider persisting for four or five times, leaving a brief message each time, before you give up. Most importantly, when calling any contact during your job search have a clear message about who you are, the value you offer, why you’re calling, and how (specifically) they can help you. This clarity will help your contacts to help you as best they can and will give you confidence when you pick up the phone. And that’s half the battle, ensuring that you approach your calls with an upbeat tone and a positive attitude.

Marty Weitzman, NCRW, CPBS, IJCTC, CPRW Gilbert Résumés 800-967-3846 For further information please contact Gilbert Resumes A Career Network Company resumepro@gmail.com 800-967-3846 Fax: 732-536-4429

With an Expert Résumé Writer as your “career growth partner,” success is just an e-mail or phone call away.

5 Salary Secrets Your Company Won’t Tell You

It’s normal to wonder how and why you get paid the salary you do. After all, most employers are not willing to share inside salary information and salary decision methods, without at least a little prodding. So how are wage increases determined in big companies? And how can you use that salary information to your advantage? Let’s take a look at the best kept company salary secrets.
  1. For most companies, 3.9% is the average budget increase for salaries

    Most “high performers” get around a five percent raise, while “low performers” often receive an annual pay raise of 2 percent or less, according to a survey from World at Work.

    “When people are looking for 6 to 8 percent, well, very few people are getting it,” says Rebecca Mazin, co-founder of the HR consulting firm Recruit Right and author of The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals.

    Knowing this can make it easier to stomach a 4 percent annual pay raise – while it may not equal big money, it actually means your employer values you. Anything more is above the average pay raise, and means you’re likely considered a top performer, and anything less means you may be underperforming.

  2. Your employer (or future employer) may not know the national salary range for your position

    Just because a whole wealth of salary information is online these days doesn’t mean your company has any idea what the national average wages are for a person in your field and in your city. If you research the historic average wage trends and discover your salary is abnormally low, it can be a great negotiation tool when you talk to your boss about your annual pay raise – or when you’re accepting a new job offer. He or she will realize they could easily lose you since many competitors nearby are paying better than the national average wages and possibly giving a higher annual pay raise. “You need to go in with some data behind you, you at least need to know what the going rate is,” says Dawn Rosenberg McKay, About.com Guide to Career Planning. “[That way] you’ll know if you’re being outlandish or asking for something ridiculous.”

  3. Most managers have a short memory when it comes time for your annual pay raise

    On average, pay raises are given annually, and so it’s important to keep track of all your achievements within the past year – don’t expect your boss to remember your big project from eight months ago. Using a spreadsheet or a special email folder, keep track of your accomplishments as they happen, so when the time comes, you have a strong case for a higher annual pay raise. Accomplishments that show you’ve either saved the company money or earned the company money are the best ones to highlight, especially if you can specify an exact figure. If that’s not possible (which is the case for most employees), take note of any extraordinary praise you received from managers or fellow co-workers, any special thanks from clients, and any other ways that demonstrated you went above and beyond your normal job duties.

  4. Your manager probably has little influence over your annual pay raise

    Decisions about an employee’s annual pay raise are often made at a high level of company management. So, even if you follow all the pay raise tips above, your manager may have minimal control over your annual pay raise. Case in point: Mazin recently worked with a non-profit organization whose board decided to give every employee the exact same pay raise.

    There’s not a lot you can do in this situation, but if it leaves you feeling dissatisfied or taken for granted, it may be time to look for a new job.

  5. Threatening to quit can result in a big pay raise (but it’s risky)

    If you’re hoping for a big annual pay raise, or were disappointed by a recent pay raise, you may want to start job searching. For most people, the biggest salary jumps they have in their careers occur when they get a new job or threaten to quit because of a tantalizing job offer.

    Sometimes, telling your current employer about your new gig can be a potent bargaining chip – they may be willing to match the new offer just to keep you. But not always, as Mazin points out, so don’t let your plan backfire. Make sure you really want that new job – and are ready to quit your current one – before threatening to quit.

    “If you do decide to do it, do it for the right reasons,” Mazin says.

—by Joy Victory

6 Myths About Job-Hunting During a Recession

The job market is tight. Competition is stiff. But, if you are one of the thousands tasked with getting a new job in this poor economy, all is not lost. Hopefully, you can move more quickly from the unemployment line to a job offer once you get past these six common myths about job-hunting during a recession.

Myth No. 1: No one is hiring during a recession.

Layoffs are happening, but some employers – even those laying off workers — are still hiring. Companies often eliminate full-time employees with budget-busting benefits only to replace them with contractors or consultants to save costs. Additionally, “green” jobs and health care jobs are among those still actively populating want ads. And, the pay is respectable. For instance, Payscale.com shows the median annual salary of an environmental engineer with 3-5 years experience is $60,672.

Myth No. 2: The Internet is the best place for finding jobs in a recession.

The Internet is an efficient way to survey jobs among many companies, but personal interaction is still the smartest way to find a job during a recession. Truth is, employers are bombarded with thousands of resumes from the Internet. Therefore, the chance that your new boss will choose your resume out of a pile of prospects is slimmer than ever. Instead, focus on finding a position, apply for it, and then do some research and connect personally with a hiring manager in the company to follow-up. Social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, also offer a great way to connect with targeted employees on your company dream list. These connections are golden because they can give you insider info about unpublished positions and help you sail past HR “blockers.” Personal recommendations go much farther in landing a job during a recession than random resumes.

Myth No. 3: Searching companies in hiring freezes is a waste of time.

Like many situations in life, hiring freezes are not absolute. Savvy networking, the right face-to-face meeting, and the ability to sell skills critical to the prospective company can be the perfect formula for lighting a fire under an employer in a hiring freeze. Behind closed doors, hiring managers are told to make exceptions for spectacular candidates that can show them the money, especially in a recession when every dollar counts.

Myth No. 4: Expect a salary cut during a recession.

In hard times, companies value astute problem solvers more than ever. While employers may trim the fat elsewhere, there is always room in the budget for salaries of top-tier talent. However, in a competitive job market, there is a bigger burden to prove you are worth a higher salary, John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, says. Ultimately, companies want their talent investments to pay off — and stick around. “If an employer goes to the expense, time, and effort to find a qualified candidate, it wants the person to stay,” Challenger adds. The last thing an employer wants is for a prized candidate to temporarily accept a lower salary than her previous salary and say “hasta la vista” once the job market recovers.

Myth No. 5: Companies are not interested in hiring people over age 55.

There are several reasons Challenger, Gray & Christmas disputes the adage that older employees are unemployable. In a struggling economy, employers value seasoned workers’ shorter learning curves (aka: less money invested in employee training) and their ability to do the work of several younger, less-seasoned workers. Separately, like a fine wine, experienced employees who are surgeons, accountants, attorneys, engineers, and IT professionals get better with time. Clients gravitate to more experienced employees in these professions. This adds up to more cha-ching for employers.

Myth No. 6: Experience and advanced degrees guarantee a job during a recession.

While experience and education have their plusses, they aren’t guarantees to landing a job during a recession. In a deep job recession, experienced and degreed people come a dime a dozen. “It is very important to sell your world experience, your concrete accomplishments, and expertise; things that make an impact on the company rather than just your knowledge,” Challenger says. Research what skills the employer values most in order to tailor your sales pitch accordingly, Challenger adds. And, because the market is so tight, though you are experienced, someone with more experience is likely applying for the same job. Take time to create your brand image and sell, sell, sell!

Sources: Challenger, J. Interview, Feb., 2009. Challenger, J. “The Job Hunt, Don’t Be Sidetracked by Myths About Today’s Job Market.” Challenger, Gray, & Christmas, Inc.

—by Cherie Berkley

Ways to Earn Extra Cash While Job Hunting

So, you’re looking for a job. You’re not alone, and right now it’s safe to bet that it’ll take a little longer than usual before you score the permanent job position you want. What are some ways to earn extra cash in the meantime, pay the bills and maybe have a little fun to boot?

Before you start a part-time job, make sure that you know what you’re looking for in terms of permanent work so that your side odd jobs don’t create a conflict. Balance is the key, and if you are doing side jobs to make money, make sure they help your future career path.

Restaurant and food service work. Whether you’re serving up chilled martinis or burgers and fries, waiting tables is often considered one of the best ways to earn extra cash – and there’s a reason for that: the industry offers some of the most flexible part-time jobs, and with tips you can earn well over minimum wage. Most shifts don’t conflict heavily with regular office hours, which is helpful for making business contacts and attending interviews during the day. Job prospects are considered excellent due to the high employee turnover that is characteristic of this industry – but don’t forget that competition can be stiff at upscale establishments where the tips are the highest. Waiter/waitress median hourly wage = $14.50 (including tips)

Retail jobs. If food service isn’t for you and you just need a side job that makes money to fuel your job search engine, then working in retail could fit the bill. Employment growth for these jobs usually reflects the expansion and contraction of the economy, so right now, it might be a little harder than usual to land a position. Despite that, retail job opportunities are still considered good because of the high level of turnover in this sector. Furthermore, warehouse, clubs and supercenters are supposed to have excellent prospects as their popularity is strong with bargain-hunting consumers. Sales clerk/cashier median hourly wage = $8.16

Temp agency work. Companies are wary about hiring directly at the moment, creating many temporary job opportunities. “Employers are looking for flexibility,” says Eric Buntin, of Randstad US, a staffing company. However, they are still looking for plenty of entry to mid-level temp positions that, with a little patience on your part, may turn into a full-time job. “It’s important to be flexible, but be clear with the agency about your long-term and short-term plans, so they can help you meet your goals,” advises Buntin. “Some contracts could be just for a week, then become one month and eventually lead to a hire. “Salaries vary widely depending on the industry and your experience level, but the potential is there to earn quite well while you’re waiting for a permanent offer. Entry level temp work (healthcare) median hourly wage = $8.00; Experienced contractor hourly wage = $35.00**

Recreation workers. Sharing your knowledge of creative arts or sports and recreation can be a fun way to earn extra cash, and this job sector offers an unusually large percentage of part-time and seasonal employment, leading group outings or activities. Work environments range from community centers to summer camps. This is considered a tough field if you want to get into it full-time, but for part-time, job openings are good, stemming from the large number of people who leave the field each year. Recreation worker median hourly wage = $15.03

Test prep instructors and tutors. Opportunities in educational support are growing, many of which are part-time job positions, usually scheduled during evenings or weekends. If you’ve done well on standardized tests and have a passion for helping others succeed, you can earn $100/hour teaching GMAT prep courses. If test prep doesn’t sound like a fit, students from elementary school through college are often in need of tutoring or extra help with homework assignments as well. Test prep instructor wage = $100/hour*; Tutor = $13.40

Need more flexibility? Find odd jobs for fast cash near your home.

If you’re looking for more casual ways to earn extra cash, you can get a long way by using a little creativity, according to Robin Ryan, Seattle-based career coach and author. In her years of coaching people toward the right position, she’s seen many innovative and entrepreneurial spirits earn extra cash with side odd jobs they develop themselves, from mowing neighbors’ lawns after finishing their own, to planning birthday parties for their children’s classmates.

“One woman was cooking dinner for her family one night and thought to herself, why not offer to cook for other families in the neighborhood,” Ryan recalled. She ended up having a number of families willing to pay for meals a couple of times a week. For just a little extra prep time in the evenings, this turned a side odd job into extra cash.

“Also, if you have clothes that don’t fit anymore, furniture, or that terrible gift that your aunt gave you for Christmas – sell it!” Ryan advises. Sites like Craigslist or Ebay are easy ways to earn extra cash, or you can rally a few neighbors to have a larger garage sale to increase your inventory and your earnings to few hundred dollars in an afternoon.

Whichever route you choose, part-time work is important. “A serious job search takes about 20 hours per week,” according to Ryan, “any more than that is just spinning your wheels – job searching is slow. Fill the rest of your time with something that produces results. Psychologically, this helps a lot.”

Claiming Unemployment and Taxes:

If you’re collecting unemployment, you may be wondering how a side job will affect your claim. Legally, you must report all earnings, which will then be subtracted from your unemployment check until you exceed the amount of your benefit. Sometimes it is just a partial deduction from you benefit, so it’s best to check with your state’s unemployment office for full details on how to report your earnings.

Regarding taxes on self-employment or odd jobs, you usually don’t have to report earnings of $400 or less. The IRS gives complete information in publication 501 about federal filing requirements.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-09 Salary data from PayScale.com unless otherwise noted. *Salary quote from Veritas Prep. **Salary quotes from Randstad US.

—by Siri Anderson

Resume Tips – Whip Your Resume Into Shape

Expert advice on how to do a resume correctly.

So you’ve discovered the perfect gig with a higher salary, and you’re bent on shuffling your credentials to the hiring manager immediately, if not sooner. You’ve got the experience, education and skills that make you a star candidate.

One hurdle remains: how to do a resume appropriately.

Don’t fret-you can soon be on your way to crafting a stellar resume; just use the following key resume tips from career experts Brian Drum and Heather Heath.

Drum is president and CEO of New York City-based Drum Associates, Inc., a global executive search firm, and Heath, based in Minneapolis, is practice leader of sales and marketing for Hudson, a recruitment and talent management firm.

Expert Resume Tips on How to do a Resume

  1. Be accurate and truthful. “A resume should not be embellished or exaggerated-it’s not an exercise in writing a novel. If there’s anything that is not correct or is misstated, it could be a reason for not hiring you,” Drum said.
  2. Take two pages for your resume if necessary. Drum said once you have four or five years of experience, it often becomes very difficult to squeeze your career path all onto one page. Heath said she sees two-page resumes “all the time.” Most applicants should avoid three page resumes.

    Resume Tip for Recent College Graduates: Stick to one page.

  3. Use bullets with concise descriptions. Most resumes that use paragraphs aren’t looked at, Drum explained, so it’s best to use bullets, and keep them to a maximum of two lines a piece.
  4. In most cases, list experience before education. If you’re a seasoned executive, it’s best to list your work experience first.

    Resume Tip for Recent College Graduates: Put education up top.

  5. Mind your keywords! Both Drum and Heath underscored the importance of including terms to help get your resume picked up through online searches. “We’re seeing more and more systems ranking people’s resumes based on how many keywords are being matched. … More people are putting more words on their resumes because they understand that tracking systems are keyword-driven,” Heath said.
  6. List your contact information, particularly your cell phone number and e-mail address. Heath advises against listing your current work phone number. “I don’t think a potential employer would be impressed that you’re using company resources to find a job,” she said.
  7. Use consistent formatting. Use the same size and type of font throughout your resume, such as 12-point Times New Roman. Offsetting your name in a slightly larger font is acceptable. If you cut and paste from various versions of your resume, be sure to align the text and eliminate formatting glitches.
  8. Remember to double check your spelling. Heath suggests printing your resume, reading it and proofreading it to catch spelling and grammatical problems. It’s fine to use an automated spell-check, she said, but be wary of such systems introducing errors.
  9. Bling on resumes is bad. Steer clear of using lots of large fonts in different colors, and of underscoring and bolding text for extra emphasis. Excessive use of bells and whistles distracts the reader and makes your resume look unprofessional.
  10. No headshots, please. Pictures and resumes are like oil and water. If you have the urge, don’t give in.

At the end of the day, Heath said, “People need to remember when they’re sending their resume out they’re sending a version of themselves. … Make it a statement-a strong one.”

—by Kristina Cowan

Increase Your Salary: 10 Expert Tips

Determined to increase your salary? Follow these tips from Reesa Staten, vice president of communications and director of research at recruiting firm Robert Half International and Anna Ivey, a Boston-based career and admissions counselor, to increase your salary this year:

  1. Get comfortable negotiating salary raises.

    “Women fall behind here, because they generally aren’t as aggressive and fall farther and farther behind with their salaries. You can’t be shy about asking to be paid what you’re worth,” Ivey said. Along these lines, she said, it’s important to keep detailed documentation of your achievements.

  2. Research and compare your salary.

    Staten urges workers to make sure they know how much their skills are worth before they pursue a different position or a promotion. Compare your salary.

  3. Become an indispensable expert.

    Continue to learn about your line of work, so that you stay current with trends and developments. Your strategy might include going to industry conferences, reading industry publications or setting up regular lunch meetings with others in your field to exchange information and ideas. This is a key to increasing your salary.

  4. Make yourself visible.

    Network and mingle, making sure you are continually visible to others in your industry and your workplace. At work, take on difficult challenges and make sure that management is aware of your contributions.

  5. Update your skills.

    Consider training or certifications that could lead to a promotion. “In some companies, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can’t advance to the next level. Some jobs require an MBA; get as much education as possible,” Staten said. Search for online learning that could help increase your salary.

  6. If you return to school, make sure that it will pay off.

    Ivey said it’s important to investigate degree programs before launching into one that might not increase your salary – and could end up costing you more in the long-run. Also, find out what continuing education benefits are offered by your employer. You may be able to “earn more” by getting your employer to cover tuition costs. Research the best college degrees for higher earnings.

  7. Absorb and adapt to new methods.

    “Things are changing quickly; what is state of the art now will be obsolete 10 years from now,” Staten said. When things change at work instead of getting grumpy, be the first to jump on board. Your enthusiasm for change and adaptability to new systems and ideas are to how your employer values you and could lead to a salary increase.

  8. Be receptive to criticism.

    Constructive criticism can help you improve your performance, Ivey said. Not only is it important to be able to gracefully accept criticism from your coworkers and boss, but integrating that feedback into your work can win you points and opportunities for promotion.

  9. Sharpen your communication skills. “I don’t care what role you’re in. If you can read and speak well, you are way ahead of the pack,” Ivey said.
  10. Get comfortable with math.

    “A lot of people coast through college without number knowledge – just basic knowledge, like how to read a financial statement. We live in a Sarbanes-Oxley [SOX] now. If you work in a publicly traded company, you will be affected by SOX. Accounting is a great skill to have in your tool set,” Ivey said, referring to the federal law that tightened corporate governance standards.

—by Kristina Cowan

How to Clinch a Killer Resume Cover Letter

Experts say keep resume cover letters short, sweet and memorable.

Do you enjoy writing resume cover letters about as much as you relish root canals? Dread isn’t uncommon when it comes to resume cover letters.

“It’s an area where job-seekers could do the most to improve, because it does require a certain amount of heavy lifting,” said Anna Ivey, a career counselor based in the Boston area. “Most people just write generic resume cover letters, and it’s the resume cover letter that’s really going to open or close that door, that will decide whether they [employers] bother to read on and look at your resume.”

But dread shouldn’t get the best of you. Instead, try thinking of resume cover letters as jalapeno peppers-small, but packing a wallop-and heed the following tips on how to write a cover letter from career experts Ivey, Laura DeCarlo, Bernadette Kenny and Deborah DeCamp.

How to Write A Cover Letter

  1. Keep it short. Ivey suggests resume cover letters stick to one page, with about three paragraphs total. “Once you roll over onto a second page you’re really taking a risk,” Ivey said. DeCarlo, executive director of Career Directors International in Melbourne, Fla., said writing should be punchy and crisp. “Resume cover letters are a form of marketing. Make it easy for recipients to be interested and find what they’re looking for, and easy for them to find reasons to keep going,” DeCarlo said.
  2. Draw the reader in immediately. The first paragraph of a resume cover letter should be an attention-grabber, DeCarlo said: Use an interesting fact, ask a question, or mention a personal connection to someone at the company. Learn how to write a cover letter that engages the reader.
  3. Pack it with a “wow” factor. DeCamp, a Chicago-based regional director for Manpower Professional, said you create the wow factor by highlighting accomplishments on your resume cover letter. “You’re not just stating what you did in your last job, but what you achieved, created, that you saved the company money, blew out a budget, exceeded expectations,” she said.
  4. Write well! Resume cover letters are a prime place to demonstrate that you have strong grammar, writing and communication skills, said Kenny, the Melville, Long Island-based chief career officer at Adecco Group North America.
  5. Don’t recreate your resume. You might underscore one or two points on your resume, but be selective and don’t turn the resume cover letter into a laundry list, Ivey said. Learn how to write a cover letter that is unique.
  6. Have someone else read it. A second set of eyes is always a good idea, Kenny said, and after someone reads your letter, ask if he or she thinks it’s effective.
  7. What about responding to ads that ask for salary history? While this is a difficult question to address in a resume cover letter, DeCarlo said it’s best not to ignore it. Be broad and vague, giving a general salary range, and stress that you’re negotiable.
  8. Finish with a statement that keeps the conversation rolling. “A good resume cover letter has an action close, that asks to take the next step,” DeCarlo said. She explained that many job-seekers aren’t interested in coming on too strong, so she suggests a phrase such as “I look forward to hearing from you.”
  9. Follow up! Ivey encourages job-seekers to follow-up. “I think when it comes to your own job search you need to take more control,” she said. If you’re hesitant because an ad reads “No phone calls,” Ivey suggests sending an e-mail to follow up your resume cover letter.

—by Kristina Cowan

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