Keys to a Winning Resume: A 101 for Millennials

Author: Tony Iliakostas, Career Advice

One of the toughest obstacles any millennial will encounter is stepping foot into the job market. It’s petrifying. Here you are with a bunch of skills and a wealth of knowledge that you hope will lead to a job that pays decently and includes benefits. But, you’re competing with tons of other freshly-minted higher education graduates or those with a few years under their belt. How can you stand apart from the rest? By having a solid, well-drafted resume.

How am I so sure about this? Because mine set me apart. And trust me, you’ll sleep better at night knowing that you’re doing at least one of the following. Here’s how to get a winning resume…

Every great resume starts with a great template
Whether you’ve never drafted a resume in your life or you have a working model, it’s always good to check out what others look like. Maybe yours looks archaic with an older font and you want to modernize it a bit. It’s totally kosher to look at what formatting other sample resumes use — those could be the basis for your great resume. A quick Google search will render millions of results.

Your resume should tell your story
Before you draft a single word on your Word document, take a moment and ask yourself, “who am I?” You want your resume to achieve one goal: to tell your story in an effective manner. Remember that human resources departments and job recruiters will be reading your resume, so you want to tell them, in a succinct fashion, what your career aspirations are, where you went to school, where you interned or previously worked at, and all your other accomplishments. Yes, your resume is the one opportunity to boast about yourself. And remember that you have to achieve this goal within one page in most cases.

Including your social media profile could add some personality, but keep it professional
Social media profiles are very telling of who you are. Your online persona often mimics your offline persona and you may want a prospective employer to see that side of you. Now, this doesn’t give you license to share every link to every social media account you have on your resume. Stick to the basics — include your LinkedIn URL in the header of your resume. And, if you don’t have a LinkedIn page, create one ASAP. As for other sites like Facebook or Twitter, if they’re professional enough, it’s at your discretion to share those links too, but make sure that they’re clean first.

Draft, then revise. Then take a break. Then revise. Then take a break. Then revise again
As the old adage goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” That means that things take time before they take full form, and that is especially true for your resume. Draft as much as you can and then take a break. The next day, take another look at your resume, make any necessary revisions, and then take another break. Repeat this process until you are comfortable with the way your resume reads. Any level-headed person will tell you that this approach to resume review is important. Taking a break and reviewing your resume each day helps you view your work product with clear eyes each time.

Do you know someone older than you who’s working? Have them review your resume
Peer review is tremendously beneficial. If you already have a resume, find at least three people to review your resume. See what they say. If they all like it, great. If they provide feedback on ways to improve it, take their advice into serious consideration. Getting the perspective of others and getting an unbiased review of your resume, is very important.

Hire a career consultant
Does it feel as though all of this seems like a lot? Look into hiring a career consultant to help you draft your resume. This can be a lower-stress option in the end if you’re worried about feeling overwhelmed. Plus, they’re pros who know what they’re doing!

How Showcasing Your Volunteer Experience on LinkedIn Helps Your Job Search

Author: Brett Pucino, Career Advice

Let me ask you a question: do you use the Volunteer Experience box on LinkedIn? If you have volunteer experience, then I hope the answer is yes. I’m not saying it will be a difference-maker in getting you a job — you still need a solid core profile as well. What I am saying is that a good recruiter can tell a lot from that experience.

Showcasing your Volunteer Experience shows you’re altruistic
Volunteer work differs from work-work in one glaringly obvious way: volunteers aren’t paid. In today’s time-obsessed world, you’re a good person if you donate your time to a worthy cause. How does being a good person matter to your job search?

It shows you’re a good culture fit. Today’s business world is seeing a shift toward socially-conscious capitalism. Consumers, especially millennial consumers, demand brands to be environmentally and socially responsible. In order for brands to achieve the goal of such a reputation, they need good people from the bottom up. Not to mention your volunteer experience makes your more attractive to B-Corps and nonprofits.

Showcasing your Volunteer Experience can show off soft skills
This point piggy-backs on the previous — it’s pretty much impossible by looking at a person’s resume to tell if that person cares about anything other than themselves. You can’t tell if the candidate has interpersonal skills like compassion and a desire to help others. You can’t tell if the person is good at working with others.

Your volunteer experience shows off these interpersonal skills with concrete evidence. It can also show off other hard skills depending on your position. For example, being President of your fraternity or sorority chapter in college shows that you have leadership skills.

Your volunteer experience also shows you believe in something bigger than yourself. This is important when it comes to culture fit. A recruiter who sees this experience in a candidate is more likely to deduce that the candidate will be an employee who will fall in line with the company’s overall mission.


Showcasing your Volunteer Experience attracts networking opportunities
In my mission statement I outline my five drives, and one of them is embodied by this quote: “Your Network is Your Net Worth.”

I believe people should always pursue opportunities to grow their respective networks, which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest benefits of volunteering. It is emotionally rewarding in that you grow your network through the people you help, and it is professionally rewarding in the contacts you make with those you volunteer with.

Listing your volunteer experience on your LinkedIn profile provides an instant common ground with anyone who browses your profile and believes in the same cause. Even better, it can lead to meaningful connections with people who have also volunteered with the same organization. All of these could potentially lead to a job opportunity someday…you never know.

Final Thoughts
Like I said in the intro, I’m not hyping up volunteer experience to be the secret sauce of a successful job search (if you’re looking for that, then I have a book for you). All I’m saying is that if you have this experience, you absolutely should be highlighting it on your LinkedIn profile. Just because you weren’t paid, doesn’t mean the experience has no value.

3 Reasons Keywords Are Crucial in Today’s Job Search

Author: Brett Pucino, Career Advice

Have you ever thought about how Google is able to give you search results related to your search word or phrase? It gives them to you with bots, called “spiders,” that crawl web pages and index them based on the keywords they contain.

Keywords have always been crucial to those trying to rank their content on the first page of Google, but what if I told you keywords are also crucial in today’s job search? Here are three reasons why.

Reason 1: Your resume is read by ATS Software before it’s read by a human
The Internet has made it easier to apply for jobs than ever before. There are dozens of job boards available to you, where you can upload your resume and apply to jobs with the click of a button. LinkedIn even has a job search app in which some jobs allow you to apply with your LinkedIn profile.

The problem is that the process has become too easy. The average corporate job opening gets 250 resumes for every opening. Rather than waste resources on the massive manpower it would take to have every resume screened by a human, the Applicant Tracking System (ATS) was created.

ATS Software is essentially a keyword filter. Companies can set keywords and phrases-such as desired skills-and have the software only pass on those who qualify. Companies can also set keywords and phrases that automatically disqualify a candidate. The skills that are listed prominently in the job description are the keywords you want to focus on.

Reason 2: Keywords also optimize your resume for scanning by a human
Keywords still play an important role once your resume gets through the ATS. The people reading your resume will move on to the next one in six to eight seconds – so they aren’t reading every word. Instead, they’re scanning for the same keywords as the ATS. When a reader sees a keyword (skill), he or she will pause and read that section for specific proof that the candidate possesses said skill.

Reason 3: Keywords are the core of creating a focused career brand
Keywords are the foundation of your career brand. Making a list of three to five keywords and phrases that describe your ideal version of yourself helps you develop a clearly defined unique value proposition.

These keywords should be your most valued professional strengths and personal characteristics. These words are what make you, you, both on a personal and professional level. You may think you intuitively know these words and can call them up when asked, but you’ll be surprised at how fleeting they can be when you need them most. Make a physical list of these keywords and weave them into an elevator pitch of your most desirable skills and traits. It’ll work wonders for your job search.

There is much more to using keywords successfully in your job search than squeezing in the key skills listed in the job description. You have to have the right strategy. I’ve spent the last five years playing chess with Google’s algorithms as a web content writer, and I’ve spent the last year understanding the ATS software. If you want to learn how to further use keywords to optimize your chances of getting noticed, then all you have to do is contact me at to set up a free consultation.