Blaine and Associates

Blaine and Associates

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Resume Workshop from our President

(Carrie Blaine is the president of Blaine and Associates, Inc. She has thirty years experience in the staffing industry.)

With the job market only slightly improving these days, you need to make yourself stand out - stand out with a great resume, a great cover letter and a quality, aggressive follow-up.

The Internet seems to offer unlimited amounts of positions today - Monster, Craigslist to CareerBuilder and, but how many of you are sending your resume off into that big, black hole never to hear one word from a prospective employer?

Let me help you. Here are my resume "must do's" to get yourself seen on the job boards:

1. A cover letter cannot have mistakes - you will not get the job. Proofread your letter. Have your friend proofread your letter. Have your mother proofread your letter.

Make your letter an amazing story. Make your letter an invitation to call you. Tell a potential employer what makes you a standout. If you are applying for an Executive Assistant to a CEO or President, you'd better have skills far beyond an ordinary assistant - TELL THEM.

For instance, you could say something like:
"My social intelligence is probably the one area my former boss would tell you that I surpassed all of his other assistants. I am as comfortable with Warren Buffett as I am with Snoop Dog. I pride myself on my ability to work with all people, at all levels and all walks of life."
Then give an example:
"I traveled with Mr. Boss to the World Economic Summit in Munich, Germany last year and handled his dinner parties, his press conferences and scheduled and attended meetings with various heads of state and industry."
Granted, most jobs aren't this exciting, but each position has a unique set of skills and responsibilities that made you so good at the job. Tell your future employer. Boast on yourself - no one else can.

2. Print out the job description you are interested in from the Internet. Compare your skills on your resume to the skills they are requesting. If the job description has "keeping busy calendars for 'C' level executives" as the first call of duty, you'd better make that the first bullet point on your resume. By the way, I am suggesting that all resumes be done in a "bullet" format so you can switch responsibilities around as requested on the job order. Here is a typical example of a job posting on the Internet:

Provide administrative support to the President and CEO, including overseeing calendars, scheduling appointments, screening phone calls, responding to mail and emails, writing correspondence, proposals and retainer agreements, preparing presentations and assisting with marketing and other special projects.

Qualified applicant will have 5+ years of experience in a similar position. Applicant should be detail oriented, have excellent verbal and writing skills, be able to multi-task and prioritize assignments in a deadline-driven environment. Also, applicant should be familiar with Microsoft, Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint. ACT! Database knowledge is a plus, but we are willing to train the right candidate. Only applicants with a stable work history will be considered.

Please submit resume with cover letter in Word format.
Wonderful. So your resume should look like this:

Walter Campo and Associates, Los Angeles, CA
September 2003 - Current
Executive Assistant for President of biotech firm

Responsibilities include:
4Oversee business and personal calendars
4 Schedule meetings and appointments
4 Screen heavy phones
4 Compose and draft correspondence, proposals, agreements and presentations
4 Assist with marketing and other projects as needed.
Bottom line: you can change a bullet formatted resume around. Make your responsibilities line up with the job order. If the job mentions heavy travel arrangements or expense reporting first, make those the first bullets in your resume's job description. Change your resume on each job you apply for on the Internet. Don't be lazy - be right on target.

3. If you have a Facebook or MySpace page, make sure it is clean and nothing on it can incriminate you. I had a young man lose a great job because of a posting on his page using foul language and mentioning drinking and drugs. Clean up your act. All of my clients "google" candidates now and anything you have posted that you think is questionable, take it off. Take it off the Internet before you send your resume out.

4. Make sure you have all the correct dates of employment on your resume. Attach a reference list if you have outstanding references from top management. A reference from an owner, President, CEO, CFO goes a long way. Companies are doing background checks today. Make sure your information is correct on your resume. Don't even stretch the truth a little - a little could cost you a lot.

5. Don't waste your time applying to positions you are not qualified for. For each ad I run on CareerBuilder, Craigslist, or any other Internet job board, I receive no less than 500 resumes. 500! And out of those 500, at least 300 are deleted immediately. If a job requires a 4-year degree, you must have a 4-year degree. If a job requires finance or accounting experience, you must have experience in finance or accounting. Now is not the time to try and make a switch in your career. Apply for what you know. Apply for what you can get. Apply for the RIGHT JOB RIGHT NOW. You can try something different when the job market opens back up. And it will.

If you would like some assistance or some suggestions with your resume, please feel free to ask us for some help. Blaine and Associates, Inc. would be happy to assist you in these difficult times.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brand Spanking New Job Order!

Executive Assistant/Office Manager in Bay Area - $55K-$65K

This is an opportunity of a lifetime for a recent college grad with a degree from a top tier school - Berkeley, Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, etc., to work for a non-profit that is changing the way we help the world.

The CEO is seeking an ambitious humanitarian with a passion for people, the planet, and animals. You will work as his executive assistant and also the office manager. Your major responsibilities will be keeping hectic calendars, scheduling appointments, assisting with special projects and presentations, being the "go to" person with any problems with computers, copiers, vendors, messengers, insurance, supplies, planning lunches and other special events.

Skills required: maturity, multi-tasking, MSW, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, 1 -2 years office experience supporting an executive (internships are considered excellent experience), non-profit background, great personality, exceptional client service skills and the desire to work your way up in a rapidly growing non-profit company.

Please submit your resume immediately. We are looking to interview and hire within the next two weeks.