6 Ways to Maximize Your Resume For a Job

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Using effective keywords and specific numbers can capture potential employers’ attention as soon as they open your resume. In fact, simply changing a verb or two can draw viewers. Here are six simple ways to make the most out of your skill sets:

1. Plant the right keywords. Certain buzzwords identify an industry or a profession, showing you know the lingo – and potentially separating your resume from the rest of the stack. Visit the websites of companies and associations related to your target industry, and check out the terminology used on their “about us” page. Also search for LinkedIn profiles of users who have similar jobs to the one you’re seeking, and take note of the keywords they’re using. Remember: Add these keywords and specialties to the “summary” section in your LinkedIn profile. Search engines add more weight to keywords in bold, italics, and in title/header tags.

2. Instead of listing your knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, tout social expertise in areas such as SEO, HTML, CSS, WordPress, Tumblr, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Facebook, Flash, and Dreamweaver. At this point, it’s pretty much universally assumed that you know how to use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Photo credit: enforen.com

3. Highlight specific numbers. If you manage your company’s Twitter account, how many times do you tweet per day? Do you use applications like HootSuite and TweetDeck? Did you increase the number of followers?

4. Use descriptive, action-packed verbs. Verbs on your resume should be concise and firm — and, most importantly, action-first. Change have demonstrated to I demonstrate. Also delete static terms like completed and made. A resume is your opportunity to make a killer first impression on potential employers! To start, here are 10 resume power words: formulate, design, produce, manage, develop, present, master, execute, build, and collaborate.

5. Include impressive stats or analytics, such as total page views and absolute unique visitors to your website. Even if you simply wrote an article for another website or blog, note the number of visits or re-tweets your post received.

6. Social media links should dominate the visual hierarchy. If you’re active on Twitter (which you should be), list your Twitter handle at the top of your resume – near your address, email, and phone number – so it’s easily identifiable. Also include your personal website and/or blog, but ensure it has been recently updated. Including a blog URL on your resume can work against you if you haven’t posted in more than a month.

What other ways do you maximize the skills on your resume? Comment below!

Check out other tips & advice from No Joe Schmo, such as questions to ask at the end of interviews and ways to make your business card stand out.

5 Ways to Make Your Business Card Stand Out

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A few years ago, I began collecting business cards everywhere I went — restaurants, boutiques, hair salons, coffee shops — and stored them in a 3×5 index card file. Today, I dumped them all out to take an inventory. Of the 132 cards in my box, I was most attracted to about 10 of them. I noticed a few commonalities among these 10 cards, and each trait can be translated into a tip to make yours just as noticeable.

1. Include a visual element. Choose a concept that connects to what you do. An image can help jog someone’s memory of who you are, and will reinforce your brand if used on your website and resume, too. Images should use color and take up at least one-fourth of the total surface area.

2. Utilize both sides of the card. Many of the most attractive cards in my box used one side for name and visual element, and the other side for contact information. On some, one side was a solid color, and the opposite side was a white background with that same color for text.

Photo credit: evancarmichael.com

3. Show, don’t tell. Add a creative twist that suggests your passion or field of expertise. For example, the “Google Me” business card to the right implies an interest in programming and technology.

4. Try non-traditional color schemes. Most of the cards in my box had a white background, so the light-text-on-darker-background cards really stood out. Also try going vertical with your layout.

5. Don’t include extraneous information. Pick and choose from these basics: name, email address, phone number, Twitter handle, LinkedIn URL, and personal website/blog address.

Want to really push the envelope? The following suggestions will definitely set you apart from the crowd, but make sure your alterations have purpose and adhere to your product or brand.

Play with shape. Some cards in my box were squares, circles, and ovals.

Add bite marks or holes.

Photo credit: allgraphicdesign.com

Non-cards. Several businesses have online catalogs for personalized chocolate cards. Other materials I’ve seen include leather and dog tags.

Photo credit: reencoded.com

Remember to keep a few business cards with you at all times – not just during networking events. You never know when you’ll meet someone at a bar or on a train ride!

What do you think is the most important element on business cards? What does yours look like?

The Traveling Motivational Speaker

Photo courtesy of Jessie Jolles

Need some motivation to get back in the work groove after a long, relaxing Memorial Day Weekend? Thought so. Well, look no further: today’s No Joe Schmo is Robert Jolles, who has spent nearly 30 years as a professional speaker and corporate trainer. And he has 2,000 pages of journal entries to show it.

At 22, Jolles began his career as an insurance salesman. Now, more than three decades and 2 million air miles later, he gives seminars to corporations across the world that inspire success and dare clients to change their working cultures.

Below, he explains the science behind nailing an interview, his rationale to a work/life balance (hint: he never stays at work past 5 p.m.), and why he wears black underwear during seminars.

Title: Professional speaker and corporate trainer, Jolles Associates, Inc.
Age: 54
Salary: Ranges between $200,000 to $2 million/year, depending on time on the road.
In the industry for: 30 years
Number of miles in the air: 2 million
Graduated from: University of Maryland, major in communications/minor in business
Biggest audience : 10,000 people. Usually speaks to 300-500.
Previous jobs: Salesman for New York Life Insurance Company; Training specialist for Computer Science Corporation; actor

Job description in one sentence: I teach persuasion and influence to a variety of clients, including over 60 financial institutions, universities, and other Fortune 500 clients.

What does that mean? I can get in front of a group of teachers and totally change the way they teach you. They’re not persuading the way students learn – they’re using fear tactics. You have to motivate and inspire someone to learn.

How he got into the business: At my first job working as an insurance salesman at the University of Maryland, I went to a meeting to find that the entire management team had gone to lunch and was stuck in the parking lot because someone had parked behind them. So I handled the meeting instead, and I ran it like I was directing actors. I got such a high, it made me want to be a corporate trainer. Another freakish occurrence made me take that to the next level. I was sent to a seminar called “How to Listen Powerfully” by Lou Hampton. They charged $250 per head, and I thought, that’s a very good day’s work that guy is having. I thought, I can do that, and I can do it better than that guy.

Why he loves his job: I get the pleasure of teaching, the thrill of performing, and the ability to feed my family.

Biggest mistake in interviews: People forget that the more the interviewer talks, the more they like the interviewee. If you want to win an interview, engage the interviewer in some questions about themselves, the company, and something they would want to brag about.

The most important lesson he’s learned: You’re as good as the last time you opened your mouth. You need to always give 100 percent maximum effort, period.

One of Jolles' three best-selling books, "The Way of the Road Warrior."

What skills are necessary for starting a business? The book answer is to have a passion for what you’re doing. But the reality is, it’s too much pressure to tell a recent graduate to go do their passion. Recent grads think they’re absolutely heading to their careers, but I think they’re just answering some questions so they know more about what they want their careers to be.

What rules do you live by? I have a fear that if I give into a temptation of quitting, I’ll open a Pandora’s Box to make it much easier to quit the next time. So I have many quirks that a psychiatrist would have a ball with. I only wear black underwear when doing a seminar; I wear a Jerry Lewis cufflink on my left arm, and a Dean Martin one on my right; I’ll pick up a USA Today sitting outside my hotel room, but won’t read it until the wheels have lifted on the plane, as a treat to myself. I’ll never drink the night before a seminar — I believe doing so would open the door to not run the best race I possibly could. Some of it is superstition, and some of it is probably crossing the line.

So you’re kind of like George Clooney’s character in Up In The Air. I measure speakers by their mileage in the air. I understood on a deep level what it felt like to have that addiction to travel that was portrayed in the movie.

Favorite quote? “We weren’t put on this earth to make a living, we were put on this earth to make a difference.” During my first two years in the business, I was caught up in making a living. My travel went up to over 200 nights a year, and the more I went out, the more money I made. Limos came to my house. But then one day, my wife sat me down and told me we didn’t need all that stuff. Now, I balance my family and career, and feel like I make a difference because I help others become more successful. I never stay at work past 5 p.m. so I can spend evenings with my family.

Jim Carrey in the movie "A Series of Unfortunate Events." Photo credit: hollywoodjesus.com

Does being positive 24/7 ever get tiring? I live in the positive, and that’s not crap. I’m not bullshitting you. The only time I had serious trouble with that was on 9/11 – I couldn’t think of anything positive, and there was nowhere to go mentally.

If you could be reincarnated into someone dead or alive, who would it be? Jim Carrey.

Sense of humor: I never tell jokes, but I can have you falling out of your seat laughing. I have go-to lines, but you’ll never hear me say, “Two guys walked into a barber shop…”

Want a job based on inspiring others? Rob Jolles offers the steps to get there.
1. You need to be energized by getting up, performing, teaching, and motivating others. You also have to like to write, since you need to study and know your subject matter.

2. A job as an entry-level training specialist is a great place to start. It’s the step before becoming a professional speaker. As a professional speaker, if you do a good job, everyone knows it. But if you don’t do a good job, everyone also knows it. If that scares you, don’t be a trainer. But if that makes you smile, let’s keep talking. At the end of day, I’m just a training specialist on steroids.

3. Remember the quote by Jerry Lewis: “If you finish a performance and you’re not sweating, you’re an amateur.” Not only will I sweat [during seminars], but I will very rarely wipe it away. I want people to see me go across the stage and think: wow, that guy is really working.

How do you prepare for interviews or presentations? Any superstitious quirks? Share them by commenting below! To learn more about Rob Jolles and professional speaking, visit jolles.com. You can also follow Rob on Twitter at @Jolles.

The Perks of a Side Job Outside Your Industry

One option for a side job is working as a barista. Photo credit: en.wikibooks.org

After graduating from Syracuse University, I came home to find an application for Bed, Bath & Beyond sitting on my desk. Trying to be helpful, my mom had picked it up for me when she saw they were hiring. “It would just be a little something while you’re applying for full-time jobs,” she explained when I approached her about it. I was furious – didn’t she realize that applying to full-time jobs was a full-time job?

However, the more I thought about it, the more my mom’s logic began to make sense. Here’s why.

1. Cash is the most obvious reason for a side job. Before you accept a position, though, make sure the hours are reasonable and flexible – your search for a “real job” should take precedence. For example, you might only want to work nights and weekends so that your days are free for potential interviews.

2. The skills you’ll hone are extremely marketable for any position. Working as a host/hostess, waiter/waitress, or salesperson shows you’re able to handle cranky customers, use common sense, work hard, and get your hands dirty. As much as employers are looking for qualified and accomplished candidates, they also want to hire someone who will be perfectly happy to make copies or go on a coffee run.

3. Working anywhere keeps your focus clear. It’s easy to get down on yourself while sitting on the couch all day, applying for job after job after job. Surrounding yourself with a productive working culture – being around others who are also working – will keep you more motivated and have a positive impact on your overall performance.

Want to make quick cash without leaving home? >>
1. Collect all the stuff that has been sitting in your room collecting dust over the past four years (start with jewelry and CDs). Instead of keeping 60 Beanie Babies lined up on your desk, choose one or two with sentimental value and sell the rest on eBay. The site even offers a Beanie Babies Buying Guide!

2. Utilize local networks. If you’re passionate about graphic design, approach local businesses in your town and offer to design flyers for a small fee. If you’re a techie, ask your parents to email their friends to see if anyone needs computer help (chances are, they do, and are willing to pay for it). Have a younger sibling? Tap into his/her friends for babysitting jobs.

3. Get paid to try new products, services, or programs on “Get Paid To” sites (called GPT for short). Advertisers pay GPT sites to have people try their products. GPT sites then pass a portion of that money to the members who sign up to try various “services,” which can be as simple as filling out surveys or playing online games. There are hundreds of GPT sites to choose from, including CashCrate, RewardPort, and UniqueRewards.

What are your thoughts on getting a side job while looking for a full-time gig? Comment below with your opinion.

PLUS: Introducing the No Joe Schmo Facebook page — please become a fan!

7 Questions to Ask at the End of Every Interview

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The interview is coming to a close, and you can’t wait to get out of the spotlight. The interviewer asks if you have any questions. You smile, shake your head, and end with a firm handshake.

Don’t expect a call back.

The number-one way to ruin an interview is not asking follow-up questions (even if you really don’t have any, ask anyway!). If you get flustered and nervous and can’t remember the question you intended to ask, write it down on a notepad beforehand, and refer to it once you’ve been asked. That said, you don’t necessarily have to wait to be asked if you have any questions. An interview should be a two-way dialogue; you and your potential employer should be getting to know each other.

Seven questions might be a bit much for one interview, so pick and choose those that best fit your needs.

1) Why did you decide to join this company, and what’s kept you here? The more your potential employer talks about him or herself, the better.

2) Where do you see the company in five years? Tailor to the company’s longevity. If you’re interviewing at a relatively new start-up, ask where your potential employer sees the company in a year or two. There’s likely to be much more change within a year than at a firmly established corporation with branches across the country.

3) What makes someone successful at this company? And/or: How do you measure and determine success for this position?

4) Research the company’s recent activity on relevant blogs and business websites. Perhaps they just opened an international office, or underwent a merger. You should reference your knowledge of their activity with a question about how that affects day-to-day business or what it means long-term. (Don’t simply state that you read the news — anyone can do that.)

It's important to find a working environment that fits your needs. Photo credit: stopstressingnow.com

5) How would you describe work culture here? This portrays your interest in the company working as a whole, rather than the individual position you’re interviewing for.

6) Integrate your career goals. Ask about the values and opportunities that are important to you in a potential career, such as training, collaborating with different departments, and travel. Remember, the job interview is just as much about making sure the company is a right fit for you.

7) What are the next steps in the interview process?

In first interviews, stay away from questions about salary — the time for talking about compensation will come later. Also avoid questions that can be easily answered by the company’s website, such as how many people they employ and where other offices are located.

Any suggestions for questions that should be added to the list? Comment below!