Artisan Blog

Job Jenny and Why You Should Be Rethinking Your Resume

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Job Jenny and Why You Should Be Rethinking Your Resume

In the first of a two-part blog, we speak with career expert Job Jenny and why we need to rethink our approach to resume writing and personal branding.

I was recently introduced to Job Jenny and her “ridiculously awesome resume service” by a candidate-turned-friend of mine who had used her services. It got me thinking about our approach to resume writing and personal branding. Resumes are essentially a marketing tool, right? So why is it that so many job seekers pay little attention to keywords, layouts and job search strategies? As recruiters we see all types; from carefully constructed portfolios to formulaic textbook resumes. I took some time to speak with Job Jenny to discuss resume writing and how job seekers should be marketing themselves to recruiters and potential employers.

At this point you may find yourself asking “Who is Job Jenny?” and wondering why she knows so much about resume writing and job seeking. Job Jenny worked for several years in marketing and communications at corporate level before moving into recruitment and starting her own agency. Job Jenny came into being in 2010 offering job seekers a support service which includes: resume writing, personal branding, LinkedIn makeovers and one-on-one consulting, job seeking and transitional strategies along with interview skills and e-books. She does it all!

If you’re faced with the daunting task of searching for a new job or if you’re applying online to multiple companies and getting nowhere, perhaps you need to rethink your resume. Are you having difficulty transitioning into a new career path? Are you wondering why you’re receiving little to no response when applying online? Take a look at these tips to get you started on the right foot:
  • Try to avoid approaching your resume as a list or a biography detailing every single responsibility and duty, but instead look at it as a marketing document that is a reflection of your personal brand.
  • Familiarize yourself with Applicant Tracking Systems if you are submitting your resume online. Does your resume contain industry-relevant keywords specific to the job you are applying for? Additionally, if your resume is over styled it could get in the way of the ATS and may not be received at all.
  • Pay attention to the job you are applying for. If you’re applying for an Account Manager position when you have a Project Management background, pay attention to the common deliverables of the job and detail your skill-set for the recruiter to see and make a connection. Do not expect them to deduce your experience from your resume without you making a connection.
  • Be consistent and focused with clear goals in mind – how do you want your resume to be conveyed? Be consistent with formatting and don’t forget: spellcheck!
  • If you’re looking at divergent roles, have a resume specifically tailored for each industry to showcase your work that’s most relevant to the decision maker. The easier you make it for HR to make a quick connection between what they need and what you do, the better the response
Your resume is your first (and often only) opportunity to sell yourself to recruiters and potential employers so investing time and effort into your personal brand is crucial. Your resume is a marketing document and a reflection on you (and often your recruiter.) Make it work! 

In the second part of our blog we’ll discuss LinkedIn strategies, social media branding and interview tips so stay tuned and if you have your own tips to share or would like to know more about resume writing, get in touch.

Laura Pell, Talent Acquisition for Artisan Creative

Revise Your Resume Now

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Revise Your Resume Now

How long has it been since you read your own resume? A month? Three months? Since you got your current job? Unless you have revised your resume since the end of the summer, you have waited long enough. 

Why revise your resume if you’re not looking for a new job? Here are some of our reasons for spending time tweaking your resume even if you are happy where you are working:

  • Memory is tricky--Right now you have a great handle on the numbers for that big project you just completed. Those numbers will not stay at the front of your mind when you get immersed in the next one. Add bullet points with quantifiable data to your resume before the details get away from you.
  • Resumes are not just for job search--If you want to take on a volunteer opportunity that uses your professional skills, join a professional organization or do some networking (which you should do often), a current resume is a quick summary of your experience for anyone who is interested. 
  • The longer you wait, the longer it takes--Someday you will need or want to have a great--and current--resume. If you keep it up to date every quarter, it won’t take you long to bring it right up to today, but if you have to work back two or three years, it will take many more hours to make it work.
  • You never know--No one likes to think about it, but many layoffs are at short notice. I have a friend who found out on a recent Friday that it was her last day of work. If your resume is always current, you have one less thing to worry about if an unanticipated period of unemployment comes along.

My career coach told us to spend 5 hours on our resumes every quarter and at the time it sounded like a lot. But I know that it will be much harder to remember my accomplishments of this year when next year has begun. Think about spending an hour or two this week on your resume--you’ll be glad you did!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Sincerely Yours: Cover Letter Closers

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

You’ve introduced yourself and told the hiring manager why you are a great fit for her job opening. You have used keywords from the job description so that computer screeners will flag you for further review. You have been personable and professional--and brief. Now to tie it all up with a bow.

Some people will say that cover letters are dead and unnecessary, since “no one reads them anyway.” Certainly there are hiring managers who are not reading cover letters, but there are also some tossing out any resume that does not have one. We recommend always including a cover letter with a resume or job application when it is permitted. A hiring manager then has the choice of learning more about you than your resume can show.

We have written about salutations but the last thing in your cover letter might be what the hiring manager remembers. Here is our advice on finishing it off:
  • Mission--If you have done your research, you should have come across the company’s mission statement or vision. We hope that mission is something that piques your interest. Tell him why that mission is something you are excited about.
  • Readiness--She will know your qualifications from your resume. Finish your cover letter with a clear statement of how prepared you are to get started right away being a productive member of her team.
  • Contribution--You want to work at this company because you can help it grow and thrive, not just to further your own career. The rest of your letter was about you, let the closing be about them.
  • Follow-up--Be clear about how and when you will get in touch with the hiring manager to check on the process. Put it on your calendar and make sure you follow through.
  • Appreciation--If the hiring manager has indeed read your letter, she has already invested time in you. Be appreciative of that for its own sake. Say thank you.

Your cover letter may not be read and it may not get you an interview, but don't miss this opportunity to have your voice heard by the person who decides which candidate is worth bringing in. Make sure you are presenting yourself as well as possible. And proofread!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Freelancers on a Job Hunt

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Freelancers on a Job Hunt

Jumping Man
Image by Mattox via stock.xchng

At Artisan Creative, we often place people in contract and temp-to-hire positions, giving our talent a chance to test the waters, while giving our clients time to try out talent and find the perfect cultural fit. Freelance roles tend to be more short-term and a long list of them on a resume may make a job seeker who is also a freelancer feel like he or she looks like a job hopper, but those freelance gigs can help if you frame them well:

On your resume:

Instead of listing your freelance jobs by company, list them by category. If you have had consistent work as a Graphic Designer, for example, create a Graphic Design category and list your clients and how long you worked for them, as well as one or two accomplishments for each project as your bullet points.

Listing the projects you worked on as a freelancer between full time roles is a far better strategy than having an empty space in your employment history.

In an interview:

A hiring manager will ask about your freelance work if you have it on your resume. Talk about what you learned and the challenges you overcame working on your freelance projects. Remember--when a company brings on a freelancer, they have a problem to be solved. You solved it and that is a great story. Make sure you practice telling it.

If you have been spending your time between full time roles as a freelancer, embrace the lessons you have learned and the relationships you have built. Those projects have more than monetary value to you if you don’t apologize for them, but rather celebrate the successes you have had, no matter where or for whom. Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Experience or Trainability?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Experience or Trainability?

Every job seeker wants to know the answer to this question. In trying to create the perfect resume and to choose the best jobs to apply for, there are ways to focus on one or the other. What is our answer?

It depends.

When Experience Wins

If a company is looking for someone to hit the ground running, experience is paramount. There may not be training available or resources to provide it. Especially if someone is being brought on to complete a project that already has a deadline, specific experience requirements are a good idea.

For hiring managers, make sure job listings say clearly what skills are required. Software packages and levels of expertise should be listed in the requirements.

For job seekers, if a job posting looks very particular, the company probably need candidates who have done those things before because they will not want to train. Evaluate this listing carefully before applying.

When Trainability Wins

A company that has long-term plans and growth strategies in place can afford to train smart people with transferable skills. If a company culture wants their teams all working the same way, using the same systems, they need adaptable people who can learn to fit into their existing dynamics.

The job descriptions can be less specific for skills, but more specific for development, education and the kind of challenges candidates may be faced with.

A resume tailored for this style of job description should feature bullet points that show accomplishments that were obstacles overcome, growth achieved and especially changes in responsibilities.
Attention to the tangible requirements of a job serves both sides of the hiring process. More appropriate candidates speed up the hiring process and applying to more appropriate jobs leads to less frustration for job seekers.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

Job Posting Red Flags

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

If you’re like most job seekers, you spend hours searching for, identifying and applying to jobs that seem like a great fit for your skills and experience. Most of the time your resume and cover letter disappear into the “resume black hole” with no response or feedback. Sometimes when you do hear back and go through a round of interviews, the job or company really is too good to be true! In both cases – you’ve wasted valuable job seeking time.

If only there were a way to know which job postings had the best potential for success?

While our recruiters know of no guaranteed solution, they can suggest a few red flags to be aware of when reviewing job postings:

  • Details about the position, requirements or salary are lacking. This usually indicates that there is not an actual position. Rather, the company is using the posting as a way of collecting resumes for future positions. It’s not always a bad thing to respond to these kinds of posts – especially if you are a freelancer. However, if you’re searching on a deadline – you’re better off applying for something more targeted.

  • The job description doesn’t match the title or the job pairs two skillsets not normally found together. When companies are asking for unrealistic or hard to find skills, it usually means they either don’t value those specific skills in the business (and therefore don’t understand what’s required for certain positions) or their budgets are too tight to allow for more than one position (and this person will be called upon to wear many hats within the business). Candidates should consider the effects of work environment and ability for growth in organizations like these.

  • The job is older than 30 days or is constantly reposted. This can indicate the job is not a high priority for the company (and they are in no rush to fill it), there is a high turnover at the company (requiring them to refill the job often) or the job has already been filled (and not removed from the company website). None of these reasons is good news for a prospective candidate.

  • The job description asks for sensitive information. Before you provide your Social Security Number or Bank Information, be sure you are considering a legitimate company and providing the information through a secure talent management solution. You have enough to worry about when searching for a new job. Don’t add identity theft to the list!

While one or two of these red flags don’t necessarily mean something is wrong with the job, the more you see in one job, the less likely you are to find a successful match.

Jess Bedford, Marketing Manager

Spring Cleaning? Don't Forget Your Resume!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring Cleaning? Don't Forget Your Resume!

If you’re like me, you spent some time this weekend putting winter clothes away and checking to see if last year’s shorts still fit. Maybe you’re going through the things you put in the garage to deal with later or pulling out last year’s tomato plants. 

Spring is also a great time to refresh your resume, whether you are on a job search or not. Here are some housekeeping tips:

  • Check your keywords—With more employers and recruiters using computers to filter through dozens or even hundreds of resumes submitted via the net, keywords for titles and skills are all-important. Make sure your keywords match your skillset and your accomplishments.
  • Write new bullets—More recent accomplishments should be added or used to replace older items if you are out of space. The more tangible – the better. Add numbers wherever possible.
  • Responsibilities—Did anything about your current role change this winter? If so, make sure it is reflected on your resume.
  • Activate your language—Verbs such as “maintained” and “managed” sound tired in the spring. Use a thesaurus to find more active verbs for your bullet points.
  • Proofread—Yes, again. You can never proofread enough. If you made any changes to that resume, have someone (or a few someones) take a look. You don’t want to add any new mistakes.
It can be fun to take a new look at an old resume. My career coach recommended 5 hours of resume work every quarter, whether you are on job search or not. If you are a creative, updating your portfolio of work regularly is just as important. Spend a couple of those hours now and it will pay off later!

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

4 Common Resume Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

4 Common Resume Mistakes (and How To Avoid Them)

We hope that you re-read your resume every time you send it out, especially since you should be tweaking and updating it often. But any time you make changes, you can also make mistakes.

Recruiters tell us about some of the mistakes they see all too often:

  • Incorrect contact information—You’ll never know if a company wanted to interview you if your email, phone number or portfolio / URL has a typo. 
  • Relying on Spellcheck—If your resume uses the wrong form of a word, your attention to detail is definitely called into question.
  • Too much personal information—While it’s important to have a life outside of work, your resume is not the place to highlight your extensive stamp collection or fondness of hiking. Save it for onboarding!
  • Listing recognitions that have nothing to do with work—Your mom is glad you won Top History Student your Senior year in High School, but your hiring manager probably doesn’t care.
Our tips for avoiding these mistakes and others like them:
  • Always have at least 3 people read your resume before you send it out. One of them will probably catch any errors or odd information.
  • Print out your resume and read it on paper.
  • Take a break between the revising and finalizing stage to review with fresh perspective.
Everyone makes mistakes, but your resume is a place where those mistakes could really cost you. Make avoiding them a priority.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

So What?

Thursday, November 01, 2012

So What?

When I began a complete overhaul of my resume not long ago, under the tutelage of a wonderful career coach, the first thing she taught me was to quantify everything possible.

Her first instruction for my resume rewrites was always to add numbers wherever we could: How many? How quickly? For how many people? Made of how many pieces? To raise how much? To sell how many?

But then she made us ask a question about every resume bullet point that seemed, at first, quite difficult to answer:

So what?

It seemed like the resume project had evolved into a journalism project. 

We had the Who (us), the What (the job), the When (how long ago), the Where (the company) and even the How (the numbers) but we still needed the Why.


To make your resume really tell the tale of your work life in a way that will make a hiring manager want to meet you in person—and that really is what a resume should be used for—you need all of the elements of a good story.

The Why is where you go from a cut-and-dried list to a three-dimensional description of your experience - the passion you brought to the purpose behind your work. 

So what?

To increase the effectiveness of internal communications.
To build better relationships between sales staff and customers.
To bring a marketing strategy into the 21st century.
To make a difference. 

That’s why you really did what you did. Tell that whole story and get those interviews.

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative

I Can't Believe I Missed That Typo!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Can't Believe I Missed That Typo!

It happens all the time.  

You hit "Send" and just as the button goes click you see it--a mistake.  It's so frustrating, but since it happens to all of us occasionally, even if we are careful proofreaders, it might help to know why we don't see errors on the first--or second--or even third reading.

It happened to me just yesterday.  I had to send an email out to a large group of people and, although I read over the body of the email before I sent it, I neglected the Subject line.  Yikes!  No one has mentioned it yet, but someone will eventually.  Luckily, I'm a volunteer and so are my audience.  They are a pretty tolerant group.  But what if I had been sending out an email cover letter?  I would have to assume that I had made a fatal error.

Why does this happen?

Our brains are programmed to figure things out, not to find anomalies.  If we understand what is being communicated, our minds move on.  In fact, as long as the first and last letters of words are in the right place, our brains read them almost as quickly as if they were spelled correctly!

If you are spending hours--and you should be--tweaking your resume until it gets you every interview you are qualified for, you will become extremely familiar with what is on it, so familiar in fact that you probably will miss a small error in spelling or formatting when you think you are finished.  

How can you avoid sending out materials with typos?

The best way to be sure there are no errors in your materials is to have other people read them before you send them out.  A trusted friend or colleague is a valuable tool in a job search for this as well as for interview preparation.  Be sure to run your resume under some eyes other than your own before you apply for that dream job.  If you have time, send a draft of your cover letter to someone with a good eye as well. Spell check is not enough! 

At Artisan, we want your resume to always make it into the "Yes" pile and although thoughtful proofreading cannot ensure that you will, typographical errors can get you culled out before a hiring manager ever sees how perfect you are for the role they are trying to fill.  

Wendy Stackhouse, Consultant for Artisan Creative


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