Liz is a married mother of three and soon-to-be empty nester. With her youngest about to accept an early admission decision to her dream school and twins in their second year at the local state university, Liz is both excited and anxious about the transition ahead.
Eager to tackle a new challenge beyond the inconsistent part-time work she has juggled since leaving the workforce 17 years ago, Liz yearns to land a full-time position to invest her time and energy. Of equal importance to her is the ability to increase her earnings to help contribute to the family’s growing tuition needs. Having spent the past few months helping Liz explore the logistics of her return to full-time work and roles that she would find fulfilling, we are now ready to bring her resume into the 21st century.
Our first session dusting off her document starts easy enough with a nostalgic trip down memory lane. After narrating her career path from college graduate to parenthood, some self-doubt creeps in:
Liz: Look at the dates on this. I’m a dinosaur.
MH: If I told you that we were nearing five generations in the workplace at once, would that reassure you about your place in the world?
Liz: Um, maybe. Should I just leave off the dates and use that functional kind of format you talked about?
MH: We’re definitely going to combine a functional and chronological approach to help you leverage your skills and experiences, but the dates are important, too.
Since my private college and career practice frequently involves working with clients from the same family, I often find myself in the fantastic task of helping clients of all ages navigate the stages of career development from education and exploration to the job search. Having helped Liz’s children discover their own place in today’s ever-changing world, my focus now shifts to helping “Mom” develop her own sure footing:
Liz: I totally trust you, but tell me: Are the dates a way to ensure I’m not lying?
MH: More than anything, sharing the dates of your education and experience demonstrates how open and honest you are. My first reaction when reading a resume with missing dates is that the candidate is hiding something. When reviewing resumes with omitted dates, I urge clients to use transparency so no one feels deceived during the job search process.
Liz: But how do I prevent discrimination?
MH: We can’t prevent age bias – it’s a risk and reality of the job search. What we can control however, is the ability to present your dynamic skills and qualifications in way that engages the reader, proves your value to the workforce, and initiates an interview.
Liz: Got it. I’m still a dinosaur, though.
MH: Okay, as long as you don’t use that reference in an interview. Remind me to start your mock interview session sooner than later. I’m eager to debunk that myth for you, too!
While a competitive edge is essential, nothing trumps telling the truth. Check out this infographic to see why honesty is always the best policy.
By Amanda Collins
From virtual tours to online applications, when it comes to college, high school students make many important decisions with the click of a mouse.
But so do the people on the other side of the process, warns a local college and career counselor, who says that online presence is increasingly becoming a two-way street in the college application process.
“This is huge for students during the admission process,” said Michele Hearn, a member of the New England Association for College Admission Counseling. She offers personalized career and college counseling online to people across the country, and to locals right at her Sutton-based business, Hearn College and Career. “One of the first items I cover in college counseling before applications go out is the subject of cultivating a positive online presence. While not all admissions committee members check student profiles online, many admit that they do.”
According to a study by Kaplan Test Prep, at least 35 percent of college admissions officers look at candidates’ online profiles on social networking sites. But in the same study, more than half of students queried said they didn’t think their online presence would be a factor in whether or not they got in to their school of choice.
“Students need to know that whatever they post or are tagged in is public information and may be used in the decision process,” said Hearn.
She explained that admissions counselors want to know more about the person behind the application.
“A lot of candidates can look very similar on paper, when you’re just looking at a list of grades and test scores. Admissions officers want to know more about the person, their story, their goals, and how they’ll fit at a school,” she said.
Instead of letting Facebook photos or tweets do the talking, Hearn recommends students focus on sharing their story in their college essay.
“It can be a daunting task, but sometimes people underestimate the power of an essay. It’s the students chance to tell a story only they can tell,” she said. “It’s not just about being concise and well-written – it can be much more than that. It’s something that should take time and effort.”
Hearn recommends students start thinking about the future long before filling out applications and typing up essays. She works with students from junior high school through college to explore career ideas because she said having an understanding of your interests and strengths is a key to success.
The College Board recommends that students start thinking about college as early as ninth grade. Experts there suggest students find a mentor who they can talk to about their goals and go to for advice on mapping it out.
“I’ve never worked with a student or job seeker who said it wasn’t worth their time to talk to someone who can help them identify their strengths and put their best foot forward,” she said. “Support along the way can save you time and worry and move you forward with efficiency and sanity.”
Hearn helps clients in-person and online in personalized and confidential sessions. For more of her tips or to arrange a free consultation, visit hearncollegeandcareer.com, or contact her at 508-277-2944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Counselor. Mentor. Dream Developer. I am a veteran college and career consultant helping clients of all ages prepare and perform for success!