Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley on Writing Resumes

 

Larry Polhill of Café Valley: 3 Tips for Writing Resumes

Larry Polhill of Café Valley has pored over thousands of resumes in the span of his career. With extensive experience in people management, Larry knows firsthand what kinds of resumes get a foot in the door for an interview. Read his blog below:

When it comes to writing resumes, many people instinctively search for a template and then fill it with the necessary details. While there’s nothing wrong with using templates, applicants should remember that these are merely guides and that the hiring manager will know the difference between a resume that has real and tangible accomplishments and one that was merely copy-pasted to death with buzzwords. Larry Polhill of Café Valley suggests finding a template that has a clean and simple look. Because an interviewer usually spends only a couple of seconds scanning resumes, accomplishments in a clean-looking resume will therefore be easier to find.

Here are some tips when putting together your resume:

1. Be specific with dates – Believe it or not, dates matter to interviewers. This is because it’s one of the few ways to express employment history. Many applicants know that working only three to six months at a time can raise red flags, which is why they may just stick to putting the year. However, doing this achieves the opposite of hiding that small detail about your work history. Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends indicating the start and end months in your resume. If you’re worried about gaps, don’t be. What’s more important is honesty.

2. Omit subjective traits – Let’s face it; everyone states that he/she is the best candidate for the job. Unfortunately, at this stage of the job hunt, there’s little to nothing the hiring manager can do to validate that claim, which is why your resume is much better off without those subjective traits like “detail-oriented” or “excellent written and oral communication skills”. Instead, Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends listing down accomplishments that show those traits. For example, a detail-oriented programmer may cite how much time or revenue was saved by the company because he/she was able to catch bugs or software defects.

3. Include a cover letter – Many applicants still ask this question: is a cover letter needed? There are few exceptions wherein a cover letter may not be needed, such as when it’s explicitly stated, so it’s always a good idea to include a cover letter. Larry Polhill of Café Valley explains that having a cover letter paints a better picture of the applicant e.g. the applicant took time to understand the role and how his/her strengths and skill set could benefit the employer.

That said, the cover letter should provide additional information about your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Like the resume, avoid using templates as well, as a contrived cover letter can definitely hurt your chances. Hiring managers often use the cover letter to get a better idea of the applicant’s personality and character, so don’t be afraid to spend time rewriting it until it’s perfect.

Stay tuned to this page to read more from Larry Polhill of Café Valley.

 

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley on Writing Resumes

Larry Polhill of Café Valley: 3 Tips for Writing Resumes

Larry Polhill of Café Valley has pored over thousands of resumes in the span of his career. With extensive experience in people management, Larry knows firsthand what kinds of resumes get a foot in the door for an interview. Read his blog below:

When it comes to writing resumes, many people instinctively search for a template and then fill it with the necessary details. While there’s nothing wrong with using templates, applicants should remember that these are merely guides and that the hiring manager will know the difference between a resume that has real and tangible accomplishments and one that was merely copy-pasted to death with buzzwords. Larry Polhill of Café Valley suggests finding a template that has a clean and simple look. Because an interviewer usually spends only a couple of seconds scanning resumes, accomplishments in a clean-looking resume will therefore be easier to find.

Here are some tips when putting together your resume:

1. Be specific with dates – Believe it or not, dates matter to interviewers. This is because it’s one of the few ways to express employment history. Many applicants know that working only three to six months at a time can raise red flags, which is why they may just stick to putting the year. However, doing this achieves the opposite of hiding that small detail about your work history. Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends indicating the start and end months in your resume. If you’re worried about gaps, don’t be. What’s more important is honesty.

2. Omit subjective traits – Let’s face it; everyone states that he/she is the best candidate for the job. Unfortunately, at this stage of the job hunt, there’s little to nothing the hiring manager can do to validate that claim, which is why your resume is much better off without those subjective traits like “detail-oriented” or “excellent written and oral communication skills”. Instead, Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends listing down accomplishments that show those traits. For example, a detail-oriented programmer may cite how much time or revenue was saved by the company because he/she was able to catch bugs or software defects.

3. Include a cover letter – Many applicants still ask this question: is a cover letter needed? There are few exceptions wherein a cover letter may not be needed, such as when it’s explicitly stated, so it’s always a good idea to include a cover letter. Larry Polhill of Café Valley explains that having a cover letter paints a better picture of the applicant e.g. the applicant took time to understand the role and how his/her strengths and skill set could benefit the employer.

That said, the cover letter should provide additional information about your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Like the resume, avoid using templates as well, as a contrived cover letter can definitely hurt your chances. Hiring managers often use the cover letter to get a better idea of the applicant’s personality and character, so don’t be afraid to spend time rewriting it until it’s perfect.

Stay tuned to this page to read more from Larry Polhill of Café Valley.

 

Larry Polhill (Cafe Valley) on Writing Resumes

Larry Polhill Café Valley: 3 Tips for Writing Resumes

Larry Polhill Café Valley has pored over thousands of resumes in the span of his career. With extensive experience in people management, Larry knows firsthand what kinds of resumes get a foot in the door for an interview. Read his blog below:

When it comes to writing resumes, many people instinctively search for a template and then fill it with the necessary details. While there’s nothing wrong with using templates, applicants should remember that these are merely guides and that the hiring manager will know the difference between a resume that has real and tangible accomplishments and one that was merely copy-pasted to death with buzzwords. Larry Polhill of Café Valley suggests finding a template that has a clean and simple look. Because an interviewer usually spends only a couple of seconds scanning resumes, accomplishments in a clean-looking resume will therefore be easier to find.

Here are some tips when putting together your resume:

1. Be specific with dates – Believe it or not, dates matter to interviewers. This is because it’s one of the few ways to express employment history. Many applicants know that working only three to six months at a time can raise red flags, which is why they may just stick to putting the year. However, doing this achieves the opposite of hiding that small detail about your work history. Larry Polhill of Café Valley recommends indicating the start and end months in your resume. If you’re worried about gaps, don’t be. What’s more important is honesty.

2. Omit subjective traits – Let’s face it; everyone states that he/she is the best candidate for the job. Unfortunately, at this stage of the job hunt, there’s little to nothing the hiring manager can do to validate that claim, which is why your resume is much better off without those subjective traits like “detail-oriented” or “excellent written and oral communication skills”. Instead, Larry Polhill Café Valley recommends listing down accomplishments that show those traits. For example, a detail-oriented programmer may cite how much time or revenue was saved by the company because he/she was able to catch bugs or software defects.

3. Include a cover letter – Many applicants still ask this question: is a cover letter needed? There are few exceptions wherein a cover letter may not be needed, such as when it’s explicitly stated, so it’s always a good idea to include a cover letter. Larry Polhill of Café Valley explains that having a cover letter paints a better picture of the applicant e.g. the applicant took time to understand the role and how his/her strengths and skill set could benefit the employer.

That said, the cover letter should provide additional information about your skills, experience, and accomplishments. Like the resume, avoid using templates as well, as a contrived cover letter can definitely hurt your chances. Hiring managers often use the cover letter to get a better idea of the applicant’s personality and character, so don’t be afraid to spend time rewriting it until it’s perfect.

Stay tuned to this page to read more from Larry Polhill of Café Valley.

 

Polhill | Cafe Valley | How a Well-designed CV Helps Your Chances

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley on CV Design

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley is an experienced recruitment and human resources practitioner. He estimates that he has looked at tens of thousands of curricula vitae during his very long career as a recruiter. In a job market that is getting even more competitive by the day, he cites the need for applicants to submit CVs that stand out – not only in terms of content, but also in terms of presentation. Today, Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley discusses how to balance creativity and content to produce a CV that will make any recruiter take a second look.

Employers nowadays tend to look for people who will not just do their jobs well, but also do their jobs in the most creative way possible. Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley believes that creativity is the spark that drives process improvement, product design, and revenue, and it separates those who are constantly looking for new ways to do things from those who are all about the money. The creative process is one of passion – passion for the job, passion for the industry, and passion for self-improvement. For Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley, it’s a trait that spells the difference between merely succeeding and totally dominating in one’s industry.

In the field of recruitment, getting this kind of candidate starts with sifting through CVs.
Nowadays, a two-page resume containing the basic stuff – education, skills, experience – is not enough. As a recruiter, I have to admit that looking at the same templated CVs can get boring and tedious. This is partly why I consider creativity one of my criteria when deciding which candidate to call first.

Let me assure you first that “creative” doesn’t necessarily mean “pretty”. To be honest, I find CVs that are huge on design but short on content to be a complete waste of time. However, a well-designed resume will at least attract my attention. Personally, I attribute that to looking at websites such as LinkedIn all day. LinkedIn is a good example of design thinking at work – it is straightforward, but at the same time, it grabs my attention and demands that I read what it has to say.

One of the best-designed CVs I’ve ever seen was submitted by a candidate whose partner was into graphic design. It had just one page, but it contained a lot of information on the man’s skill levels. Instead of indicating that her Microsoft Excel skills were “very good”, he presented his skills in graph form. This made it a lot easier to digest the “skills” section and allowed me to proceed to her experience with a clearer idea of what he was able to bring to her previous workplaces.

Presenting his skills in chart form also allowed him to list her experience more extensively without making his CV feel cramped or crowded. Thus, I could get a good idea of her previous work experience and gave me a reason to pass her on to the hiring manager. She was eventually hired and became a top contributor to her team and company.

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley writes regularly about recruitment topics. Feel free to join the discussion by leaving a comment below.

 

Larry Polhill | Cafe Valley | The Correlation Between Empathy and Getting the Job

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley on Empathy and Hiring

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley is an expert on recruitment and human resources. As an experienced HR professional, he has come across different kinds of job requisitions and applicants, and through the years, he has identified certain attributes that recruiters and hiring managers alike look for in applicants. Today, he writes about the often-overlooked role of empathy in the hiring process, and how an applicant can use it to help land the job he/she wants.

Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley believes that employers now tend to be more discerning when it comes to choosing a person to hire. While there are some can’t-miss prospects that stand out based on their skills and experience, many employers choosing between applicants with similar skill sets often make their decisions based on certain soft skills, such as communication skills, teamwork, or presentation skills.

One trait that is fast gaining traction among recruiters is empathy. While empathy has long been sought after for customer-facing roles such as customer support, Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley has noticed that it is now being applied to other roles, such as recruitment. Many recruiters pass up on otherwise-qualified candidates because they tend to see things in black and white; however, a good recruiter should be able to see a better picture of an applicant beyond what is written on his/her CV. This is driven by a desire to know more and to dig deeper into a candidate’s background.

Of course, a recruiter will not have enough time to empathize with every candidate that comes his/her way. Empathy should be used wisely and its proper utilization can only be learned through experience; there are no hard and fast rules for determining if a candidate, despite or because of the submitted CV, will be a good fit for the role and the working environment.

While technical skills are important in technical roles, Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley believes that showing some empathy towards a recruiter can also help a candidate land the job he/she is applying for. A recruiter may ask an applicant a question that might seem out of the blue, but instead of dismissing the question outright, a successful applicant finds a way to make the question all about the recruiter. This shows the recruiter that the applicant would like to know more about the job and is not just some sort of question-and-answer automaton. This is particularly effective for face-to-face interviews, where the body language of both the applicant and recruiter speaks volumes about their interest about each other.

This interest also extends to the job itself. A candidate who shows empathy is more likely to be a good teammate, someone who is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that a project or task is finished on time. By “going the extra mile”, we are referring to the willingness to not just do a task, but to learn about it, and by extension, understanding how his/her teammate performs it. Empathetic people are also more likely to suggest changes in business processes that have positive impact on the employees involved.

Thank you for reading this article. If you would like to join the discussion, feel free to leave a comment below. Larry Polhill of Cafe Valley appreciates your honest feedback.

 

Larry Polhill | Café Valley | Resume 101: Do’s and Don’ts

Larry Polhill (Café Valley) Shares His Do’s and Don’ts on Resume Submissions

For Larry Polhill (Café Valley), one of his pet peeves is receiving a resume that looks haphazardly put together. If the applicant can’t give his or her resume the time and attention that it needs, this could be interpreted as laziness or even complacency, which is a big no-no for employers. It’s unfortunate that some applicants undermine the power of a well-written and well-thought out CV. For the reader’s benefit, here are a few do’s and don’ts that you can keep in mind before submitting your resume:

Do customize your resume according to the company and the position you’re applying for. Take a look at the job description and requirements for the position provided by the company. How can you tailor your work experiences to make it more relevant for the position?

Don’t copy phrases verbatim from the company-supplied job details. For instance, if the job description or requirements include words like team player, excellent communication skills or extensive experience in C, PHP, and JavaScript, don’t use the exact same words for your work experiences. Be a little creative; perhaps give examples of how you’re a team player, or how adept you are at programming languages enumerated in bullet points.

Do highlight skills specific to the position. Make sure to include your accomplishments when highlighting your skills, especially highlighting quantifiable results such as increased percentage or amounts in sales.

Don’t include common/general skills like excellent command of Microsoft Office applications or Internet search skills. Even elementary grade students have these skills so if you’re already a professional, it’s a given that you know how to use these tools.

Do include volunteer work or other contributions you’ve given to charities and nonprofits. A lot of companies these days support certain causes, and if yours are aligned with theirs, or they see that you support good causes too, they could see you as a valuable addition to the company.

Don’t talk about religion, political affiliations, or support for “controversial” issues. Your CV isn’t the right avenue for talking about your personal beliefs.

There might be other do’s and don’ts that you can think of, but these are the general recommendations of Larry Polhill (Café Valley).

The reader is invited to check out previous posts on this page from Larry Polhill (Cafe Valley) to learn more about interview preparations and etiquette, and resume writing especially for applicants who are fresh out of college, or applicants with minimal work experience.

If you would like to comment on this post, or you wish to share your own do’s and don’ts please feel free to let us know! This site is open to everyone, and if you’ve got something you wish to share, you’re more than welcome to do so! Let’s make this a community of individuals that supports one another.

Please leave your comments or tips in the comments section below this post.

Larry Polhill (Café Valley) will be updating this page regularly so please make sure to come back soon for his latest updates on job interviews and CV compositions.

 

Writing a Resume After College

 

Larry Polhill (Café) Valley Shares Tips on How to Write a Professional CV after College

You’re ready to get out in the real world but you don’t have any “relevant” work experiences to put on your CV since you’re fresh out of college. How can you land a “real” job when you don’t even have a professional resume? Consultant Larry Polhill (Café) Valley shares a few tips on how to write a resume even without extensive job experience. Fresh graduates may pick up a thing or two from this post; you’re encouraged to continue on below to read Larry Polhill’s tips.

Transferable Skills

Did you work part-time while you were still in college? What was the nature of the job? College students usually work part-time at fast food joints, whether as a server or behind the scenes in the kitchen. Sometimes, they work as babysitters to a neighbor’s young one and at other times, they helped at retail stores. Do not regard your work experiences in any of these areas as dismissible because your stints at these odd jobs provide an excellent reference for your transferable skills.

What are transferable skills?

In a nutshell, these are sets of skills that you can apply to various employment settings. While they’re usually general in nature, these can get you started on your career. Examples of these include computer skills, interpersonal or customer service skills, written communication, time management, budgeting and computing, problem-solving, an ability to work independently when needed, or the capacity to instruct or lead a team,.

Looking closely at the examples given above, you can see that these are skills that you may have developed working the tables at a restaurant, being in charge of a neighbor’s toddler, or assisting customers at a retail store.

Clubs, organizations or volunteer work

Even if you never got paid for work during college, there are still other avenues that you can reference for your transferable skills. If you were part of a college club or organization, what were your responsibilities? How did you help the organization meet its goals?

Did you volunteer at a local shelter or community center? You can also use your experiences from volunteer work as your starting point.

The bottom line is that you are not without experience; you only have to look at all you’ve accomplished during your years in college to give you something of substance to put in your resume.

Usually, fresh-out-of-college resumes start with your educational background and then your list of experiences follow (with experienced professionals, it’s usually the other way around). Some HR experts say that including your GPA is okay so long as it’s above 3.0 (others say it should be at least 3.8); but your GPA isn’t really necessary. It’s up to you whether to include it or not.

In the coming days, Larry Polhill (Café) Valley will share more tips on landing a job interview, do’s and don’ts of resume writing, and more, so please stay tuned for those. If you’d like to comment on this post, or you wish to get in touch with Larry Polhill, please feel free to leave him a message below.

For more information please follow me at Larry Polhill (Café Valley)

 

Top 3 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get an Interview

Larry Polhill (Café Valley) Talks About Reasons Why You Didn’t Get an Interview

Larry Polhill  (Café Valley) has had his own share of picking out candidates for various job positions; starting with looking at the stack of resumes on his desk. Short-listing candidates is not an easy task, especially if the position requires extensive managerial skills or a specific skillset. Here he shares some of the reasons why applicants didn’t get that job interview call they were hoping for.

You know you wrote an outstanding resume, highlighting all your skills and achievements. You also know that you’re actually qualified for the position you applied for. So why haven’t you been contacted for an interview? Here are a few reasons why:

1. Your social media profile and posts didn’t match the persona you showcased on your resume. In this day and age of the Internet, everything and everyone becomes fair game, including job applicants. One of the fastest ways for an employer to find out about their employees and job applicants is through social media. What you post, what you share, what you always talk about can pretty much tell what you’re like—in the eyes of your virtual friends, actual friends, family, and employers.

Look at it this way; if you’re reckless about your posts, personal details about your life, or you’re always ranting about how unfair the world is, employers will see this behavior as counterproductive. You may not have anything of value to contribute to the company after all.

2. Details in your resume come off as showing you’re overqualified for the job. One of the most common reasons why applicants don’t get that call for an interview is because, right off the bat, employers can already tell that you’re overqualified for the position. And while you don’t mind being overqualified since all you want is a good, stable job, this isn’t how employers look at the situation.

First, they immediately think they won’t be able to afford you. In other words, they won’t be able to match your salary expectations. Secondly, they think that you won’t be able to do menial tasks or you wouldn’t expect to be asked to do them in the first place. Finally, you might be under a manager with less experience than you, which can cause problems between you and the manager in the future.

3. You didn’t follow the application process. Companies usually have their own specific steps for the application process, and while your resume may be exceptional, not following these simple steps could show the employer that either you don’t know how to follow instructions or you’re too important to follow them. In either case, you could come off as someone who might turn out to be a burden on the company instead of an asset.

If you don’t get a call for an interview after a week or two, Larry Polhill (Café Valley) recommends that you follow up on your application. There’s a chance that your resume may have gotten buried under other documents, or it got lost, or something else entirely. Whatever the case, it’s still good to follow up just to find out why you weren’t shortlisted. This could help you in your future applications.

For more information follow my Facebook at Larry Polhill Café Valley

 

 

Larry Polhill | Café Valley | CV 101: Accomplishments vs Responsibilities

Larry Polhill of Café Valley on Resume Writing: Talk More About Accomplishments

Larry Polhill, consultant at Café Valley, wants to help readers land their dream job by giving them tips and hints on the two most important components for the initial job-hunting phase: resumes and interviews. He hopes that by sharing his knowledge and expertise on the subject matter, individuals will finally get the boost they need to work at a job that they love and are passionate about. In this post, he shares his insights on writing a resume that stands out from the rest.

Every resume contains the following basic information: educational background, personal information, work experiences, organizations, affiliations, job-related awards, trainings, seminars, and courses. From time to time, an employer will come across such information as the applicant’s advocacies and other activities outside of their professional field. But all of these are pretty common, and while they do need to be included in your resume since these are vital details about your professional background, there is a way that you can give your CV that extra push. How? By highlighting your accomplishments instead of your job responsibilities.

Accomplishments vs Responsibilities

It’s good to mention your responsibilities at your past job/s just to give the company you’re applying for an idea of your basic capabilities. But responsibilities are more of enumerating specific tasks that fit your job description. What you want the employer to know is the value that you can give the company and you do this by talking about your accomplishments. What does this mean?

Simply put, talk about certain projects that you worked on, or tasks that you accomplished in a way that enhanced the company’s operations, gave its sales a boost, solved a long-time problem, or streamlined processes that enabled the organization to be more productive. And when you talk about your accomplishments, it’s best if you can attach quantifiable terms or examples to them.

For instance, instead of saying that you helped double the sales through a marketing campaign you developed and launched, you could quantify the increase in sales, as such: increased sales by up to 125%. If it’s about productivity, you can say something like, increased the team’s productivity by 95%.

When you present employers or companies with quantities and numbers, they are more likely to remember your capabilities and qualifications over the rest. Remember that businesses are almost always about numbers, and when an employer sees that you can deliver numbers, you’ve already got one foot in the door. The next step is to nail the interview, of course.

Larry Polhill of Café Valley has an interview page that you can refer to if you wish to learn more about preparing for and acing that interview.

Think of your resume as your print advertisement. When you look at an ad, what catches your attention more; details about the product (how it’s made, the ingredients it contains, etc.) or that line that tells you how it can enhance your life (and by how much, in most cases). It’s likely that you paid more attention to how it can enhance your life. That’s how it should be with your resume. How can you enhance the organization’s performance or operations?

So when writing your writing, Larry Polhill, Café Valley consultant, suggests that you focus on how you can help the organization more than what your past job descriptions were.

 

Larry Polhill | Café Valley | Your Resume Reveals Your Branding

Larry Polhill of Café Valley on Resumes and Personal Branding

Larry Polhill of Café Valley knows just how important a well-written resume is. Employers usually spend no more than a minute on an applicant’s resume, which is why it’s vital that you immediately let the employer know what your field of expertise is, and why you’re the perfect man or woman for the job. If, at first glance, they don’t see what you’re capable of, it’s very likely that they won’t spend time poring over your CV just to know why you should be considered for the position. In other words, don’t wait until you get to the bottom of the page to reveal your personal branding.

What is personal branding?

You know how an image of golden arches always bring McDonald’s to mind? Or how the swoosh symbol and the Just Do It slogan are always associated with Nike? That’s corporate branding. It’s how one product or service separates itself from the rest of the players in the industry.

Personal branding works the same way; only this time, the focus is on you and your target audience could be potential employers, business associates, or clients. Your competitors are other professionals in the same field as yours. So how do you launch a personal branding campaign? You begin with your resume.

Your resume is a marketing tool

When you submit your resume to a potential employer, you have to remember that they know nothing about you save for what you wrote in your CV. This is why you should consider it as your personal marketing tool that, when written flawlessly, can get you that interview you were hoping for.

This is where branding comes into play. When an employer looks at your resume, what is it about you that make you a good addition to the team? While the job description for the position you’re applying for may be cut and dried, selling your qualities in a way that would make the company see these as a solution to an unforeseen “need” that has to be fulfilled will definitely put you above other individuals applying for the same position. To put it another way, if you have more than what they were looking for; if you have capabilities—skills and experiences—that would not only satisfy the job description, but more importantly, make you a critical component to the team’s success, then you have just nailed personal branding.

But just as in corporate marketing and branding, you have to be careful about false advertising because any sign of dishonesty will reflect poorly on your character; and employee character is a huge consideration for companies.

Sell your good points but don’t exaggerate details. Show what you’re capable of but not to the point of pulling someone else down (blaming an ex-boss for your poor performance at a previous job, begrudging a colleague for taking a promotion away from you, and so on).

So what does your personal branding say about you?

To comment on this post or to reach Larry Polhill of Café Valley for questions related to job interviews and resume writing, please feel free to leave him a message below.