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How to avoid the killer errors that get your resume shredded

How to Avoid the Killer Errors That Get Your Resume Shredded

So you need a new job then? A first job, a dream job, or maybe in credit crunch 2008 any job will do for now). No matter what job you’re hunting you need a really sizzling resume in order to get interview invites flooding in. Problem: Creating a hot resume can feel impossible. Believe me, it’s not hard at all, when you know what to do. However, it IS easy to make mistakes and mess it up — And messed up means shredded and shredded means no job interview.

Fear not. It’s not that hard at all — once you know what to avoid — and that’s what I’ll tell you now.

So what are the common mistakes that will mess your resume up?

**John Doe — No contact information**

Many people feel that because they’re sending a cover letter, they don’t need to include their name, address, phone number and email address at the top of their resume.

However it’s very common for cover letters to be separated from resumes by HR departments who then pass the resume to various other staff members for review. At this stage your contact information is very likely to be lost forever! And I can tell you that it’s very frustrating for a manager to receive a good resume that has all of the qualifications that he or she is looking for in an employee without a name or any contact information.

So — Very important — Include all of your contact information at the top of your resume. Name, address, phone, email.

**What do you want to do? No objective**

Large organizations may have dozens of ads for employees advertised. If your resume goes first to an HR admin person for filtering then how will he or she know what job you’re applying for unless you state this in your resume as well as cover letter (again same dangers of lost cover letters apply so put it on the CV header too)

**What do you want to achieve? No goals or ambition?**

Not necessary in all cases. Use common sense. Under your name and contact information should be a heading about your career objective. You can break this into two categories. One should be for the position which you are seeking. The other can be what you hope to attain in the future.

If, for example, you are seeking the position of a newspaper reporter but have ambitions to be an editor or a features writer, then you can outline this in your resume as a career aim. This can be a handy indication that you’re a long term strategic thinker as well as a loyal employee who is keen to develop new skills and add value to the business.

As I say use common sense. If applying to small companies it may not be wise to indicate that you want the job of the person who’s recruiting you!

**You don’t many or any skills, bye bye! They’re not psychic you know!**

In any job no matter how junior there are skills required even if it’s just a summer job selling ice cream on the beach (hey that’s customer facing with a bit of sales you know!) Way to many CVs are thin on evidence of relevant skills.

To many applicants lump all their tasks in a short paragraph, which will not impress many possible employers.

So don’t understate your past experience ‘ Include all of the tasks you performed at your old job, or know how to do, that concern to the position which you are seeking.

It’s good to list all of the tasks and knowledge in bullet point format so that it makes it easier for the employer to see just what you can do. This is not the time to be shy or modest. Highlighting your accomplishments, knowledge and past experience can not be too underestimated when it comes to your resume.

**Got fired or saying my current job and company are rubbish — Writing why you left or are leaving**

Not necessary at all and looked at unprofessional. You will most likely be asked why you left your prior employment during your interview. Don’t badmouth your last place of employment, even if your boss was a reincarnation of the Devil! Just say that you are seeking an opportunity for new development.

**I want, I want! Talking money right off the block**

NEVER put down how much you are making at your current job or how much money you expect to pull in at the new job.

While some employers will ask that you state your salary qualifications in your cover letter, this is never acceptable on a CV.

Many employees who ask that prospective employees state their salary requirements in their cover letter tend to pay low wages and do not want to waste their time with anyone who expects to be paid enough money to make a living.

**Your resume looks like a 5 year olds «art» project**

For a 5 year old it’s cute. For a resume it’s death. Coloured paper, fancy fonts and pics may look really nice but is generally considered to be amateurish. Use white paper. Black ink. Standard fonts. Standard upper and lower caps and make it easy to read.

**Uneducated barbarians need not apply**

You didn’t spring into existence from nowhere so make sure that you put down your educational experience from the last college or university that you attended to the first.

If you have a post graduate degree, that should come first under the Education heading, along with the degree and any awards.

Your undergraduate university or college should come second along with degrees and accomplishments. If you have a post grad degree you don’t have to put down high school information ‘ That’s a given.

**No autobiographies please!**

Pages of life story filler are a sure way to get round filed fast. With that said, it’s a context thing. Don’t hesitate to make your CV more than one page if your accomplishments, experience and education warrants this in the context of the position applied for.

It’s better not to underestimate yourself than to keep your resume short and sweet. On the other hand don’t pout down long lists of hobbies, and non work related achievements, your junior schools, places lived in, travel done and so on. It’s filler and recognised as such right away. Black mark.


So, avoid these clangers and you’ll be well on your way to creating an interview magnet of a resume that will reflect all of the reasons why you are the best person for the job as well as a resume that reflects your personality.

Inbound call center: email and chat support

Inbound Call Center: Email and Chat Support

The modus operandi for businesses has changed drastically in the recent past. The same can be said for the BPO firms. You would associate the call center firm to deal only with telemarketing. When you look at them now, you see they handle a diverse range of services that can be broadly classified into inbound call center and outbound call center. Other than this broad division, there is a subtle one as well. Contact with customers is not solely depended on voice calls. Other methods of contacting and dealing with customers have come up as well. Primary among the alternate methods of call center services are email and chat support.

Email is the communication medium for the future. There is nothing that is not being done with the email. BPO firms were quick to pick up this trend. They realized that many customers preferred emails because they could write emails at their convenience. Moreover, the fact that everything is written down reassures them that they are not making mistakes. When the call center agent calls, they might be busy on other work or just distracted by the ambiance. They may also feel at a loss because of information overload. Emails are useful that way. The inbound call center team answers each of their queries in a professional and precise way. They get their answers and the call center services team gets their opportunity to push their sales.

Answering emails is a huge opportunity for the inbound call center team. They have a written document to respond to. This is not just easier to do than convince a disinterested customer. This is also a chance to pitch in your sales stuff. Answer emails in a way that the customer can get to the information without any digging around. A sloppily written email, with grammar and syntax errors, can do a lot of harm to the company’s brand. So the call center agents responding to customers’ emails have to be really careful. There are zero margins for error, just like there is no end to the possibilities of cashing in on the opportunity.

Chat support is another non-conventional method of touching base with your customers. The inbound call center team uses the chat option to interact with the customers informally. Customers feel at ease when they are chatting. They feel comfortable to ask questions which they would have skipped if it was a telemarketing call. BPO agents understand this psychological advantage that they have. They know they have the attention of the customers and can direct the flow of conversation. The chat excerpts can become a coaching manual for future agents who are dealing with similar customers or products/services.

Email and chat support substantiate the fact that BPO in general and inbound call center in particular would leave no stone unturned to tap their customers. Customers have the freedom and the comfort level to connect with the call center agents through a medium that they prefer. The written word holds more value for many. When emails and chats are the vehicles of corporate communication in the modern world, why not use them for marketing?

Is good customer service going to the dogs

Is Good Customer Service Going to the Dogs?

I had an experience the other day that has made me think about how too many customer service experiences unfold in the business world today, and about the difference that really good service can make.

I have two dogs. Earlier this week, it was time for them to get their summer haircuts so that they will be able to comfortably cope with the Houston heat.

The newest addition to the house is Jason, a miniature schnauzer who had been the prized pet of an old lady who had to give him up for adoption when she moved to a nursing home. She had chosen to keep him fully furred, not trimmed in the traditional schnauzer cut, so that he had a really nice wire haired coat to go with his bushy eyebrows and stubby tail. The other dog is Lucky, a schnauzer-poodle mix—poodle ears and body, schnauzer muzzle and curly tail—he gets the traditional cut.

So, I took the two little guys to the groomers the other morning. I was the first client of the day, and the salon was nice and quiet. I explained what I wanted to the person who would be doing the job—traditional schnauzer cut on Lucky, but not on Jason. Just a trim for him. This is important, I told her, because I don’t want his coat shaved off—once that wire hair is gone it never grows back. Did she understand, I asked?

Yes, she answered. But did I want Jason’s skirt trimmed?

Skirt? I stared blankly and finally figured out that she was talking about the feathery bits on his chest and belly. Yes, fine, I said. Trim that area but just don’t shave him. She nodded.

I went back a few hours later to pick up the boys. At that point the salon was buzzing with dogs, clients, and groomers. The fur was literally flying. First came Lucky, looking very dapper and neat. A few seconds later, out came Jason, and my mouth dropped open.

He had been completely shaved!!! The groomer had given him a standard schnauzer cut—and that lovely wire coat was gone forever.

I couldn’t believe it. I was angry and sad at the same time. What had happened? How could the conversation we had had in the morning have been so completely lost?

After discussing the situation with the salon owner, she reluctantly refunded my money, which was very small consolation for the snafu. It should be no surprise that I will not be going back to that salon when the boys’ fur has grown out.

This whole thing left me thinking about how this kind of customer service happens in other businesses. There were several points about the experience that translate:

1. Are we really listening to our customers? Do we ask the questions we need to ask to make sure that we understand what they want from us? Do we make accurate notes so that we retain instructions and deliver what was asked for? I got plenty of nods from the groomer during our talk, but my instructions obviously got lost somewhere between her ears and her shears.

2. Are we communicating clearly back to them, or do we use industry jargon that they may or may not understand? When the groomer asked me about trimming Jason’s skirt, I had to stop and think. It was MY responsibility to figure out what she was talking about. Not a great way to do business.

3. Finally, and very very important, when mistakes do get made on our side of the transaction, how do we make amends? Even the worst error doesn’t have to mean the loss of the customer. Respond to the mistake with restitution that matches its seriousness. In my case, given the extent of the mistake with Jason, and the permanence of the result, the salon owner fell far short in restitution and in terms of keeping my business. I had to struggle to simply get a refund, which was insufficient compared to the permanent impact this error has. I won’t be back to that salon.

These three points—listening to the customer, communicating back in ways that they will easily understand, and making appropriate amends when mistakes get made on our end—are the core of excellent service and the key to keeping loyal and happy customers.

(As a post script, I should note that Jason still looks darn cute, even without his fur. And I’m sure he doesn’t care one way or the other about all that wire hair!)

Insurance for business

Insurance For Business

Whether you are running a multinational corporation or a small business operating from a spare bedroom at home, insuring certain aspects of your business is essential. For a number of years an increasing amount of people have been choosing to work from home. With cheaper IT costs, broadband and a greater accessibility over the internet, running a business from home is now an affordable, realistic option. But before you start thinking of converting that shed in the bottom of your garden to a new office, you should seek some professional advice to make sure you cover your business requirements.

Before you start a new venture you need to address the business insurance cover that may be required. These include:

Professional Indemnity

Professional indemnity insurance indemnifies professionals against third parties claims of negligent acts committed in the course of their professional duties. In many businesses such as accountancy or IT consultancy it is a legal requirement to have PI insurance. There are three main areas of PI insurance cover, firstly against a negligent act, error or omission. Secondly cover against a breach of duty and thirdly cover against civil liability, which include breaches of contract, libel or slander.

Employers Liability

Employer’s liability protects a business from any claims made by the employees, for instance claims for accidents in the workplace or sickness caused by the working environment. There are many different types of claims employees can make on their employers, some of the more common include slips, trips or falls, stress and anxiety or an unsafe workplace, for example falling objects. Even if you work alone and you employ someone on a temporary basis, you will be liable for any injuries that they receive.

Public Liability

Public liability insurance protects against claims of a third party due to damage or injury as a result of your businesses activities. The owner or occupier of a business premises is required to provide a level of care for the general public, there are three main degrees of care. Firstly people who by some form are invited onto your premises they are called ‘invitees’. If this ‘invitee’ spends money on a service, your duty of care and your chance of being liable increases, for example if you run a karting centre and one of your customers is hurt due to faulty machinery, you are liable for their injury. Secondly if people enter the premises with the permission of the occupier (called ‘licensees’) but without any economic advantage to the occupier, then the duty of care is less than in the case of ‘invitees’, for example a travelling salesman. Thirdly if there are ‘trespassers’ who enter the business premises without the permission of the occupier, there is still a degree of care owed but it is slight compared to both ‘invitees’ and ‘licensees’. A good example of this is a child who wanders onto a business premises and injures themselves, without necessarily knowing the dangers associated with the building.

There are many other types of insurance that small businesses might look into getting, including,

Equipment Insurance

Equipment insurance covers the damage or loss of equipment within a business, subject to the terms of agreement. For example if a new PC is damaged or dropped and wasn’t covered in the warranty, a good insurance policy would cover the purchase of new equipment.

Buildings and Contents Cover

Buildings and contents cover insurance protects a business’s property from damage, it also covers the fixtures/fittings within the property. Also if you are storing your stock at home, then contents cover will be essential. You could be left heavily indebted if your products or tools are stolen and you risk losing business and income if new tools cannot be purchased.

Legal Expenses insurance

Legal expenses insurance helps protect a business if legal action is taken against the company, for example legal fees and court costs.

Many self employed workers in small businesses rarely consider the implications of being sick or having an accident, leaving them unable to work for long periods of time. Sickness and accident policies cover these eventualities, as well as some longer term policies such as income replacement insurance. It is generally a good idea when shopping around for the best insurance quotes to compare like for like cover, it is a well used tactic to lower cost by lowering cover. So make sure you understand every aspect of what is included under the proposed insurance deal, it will greatly benefit you when you need to make a claim.

It is important to seek specialist advice when looking into insurance and it is important that you request quotes for your specific needs.

Investing in single family homes

Investing In Single Family Homes

When you are a new investor in the real estate industry you are not sure where to invest and what will bring in good fortunes. Real estate is not a highly liquid asset and you cannot trade it for immediate cash. However, there are ways that ensure that you can also make money by investing with a smaller amount.

It has been observed that a major part of the trading in real estate happens in the middle or lower range of real estate prices. Usually, this range covers single family homes, which is a good pick for new investors.

The popularity of single family homes among the investors is largely due to the steady market that exists for these homes. You simply need to purchase one that fits your budget, decide if you want to sell it or rent it out and fix it and spruce it up. The tax benefits of investing in single family homes are also factors that make it popular with the investors. The best part of it is the finance options available for such homes and the comparatively lower interest rates available on them. Single family homes also get some easy finance options. The interest rates are low and a higher loan to value ratio can also be obtained making it a good choice for the investors’ financing needs. Owner-occupied homes can be purchased at a very low down payment and in some cases there may be absolutely no down payment at all.

Renting out single family homes is simpler than other homes and they are very popular as starter homes with the upcoming couples and the new blue collared workforce. One may easily be able to invest in a few single family homes, renovate them and rent them out at a good rate prevalent in the neighborhood. However, sometimes the rents may not be able to match the mortgage payments unless a substantial amount of down payment has been made. The negative cash flow means an increased burden for the investor. But it is just a matter of breaking even which can happen in a few years’ time as the rents have been on the rise for some time now.

The depreciation that can be charged on such properties makes it a very good tax saving element. Depreciation can be considered as an expense that can help in reducing the taxable income related to the property. In spite of the low rentals and higher mortgage payment scenario, depreciation can be a great factor to reduce the tax liability to a certain extent. The appreciation in the value of the property can also make a significant impact on the profits on sale of such single family homes. Some investors are also able to overcome the negative cash flow situation by offering such homes on a sale-on-lease option basis. The lease payments may be considered as the down payment and a higher payment may also be charged for the same reason.

When buying a single family home the investors have to be careful about what is being bought. If they are unable to sell there single family home because of the substandard construction, building code violations, faulty floor plans and the deteriorating quality of the neighborhood then their investment is bound to fail. On the brighter side, there could be areas which have been affected by the economic recession. These can make for a good investment opportunity at a great bargain. They can bring in good returns if the investor is able to hold the property till the market situation improves. Overall, the single family homes are a good investment option for the investors.

Written by: VD

Date Written: 03 July 2008

Reviewer Assigned by: David

Reviewed by: HS

Quality Control: AG

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Quality Control Completed on: 07/07/2008