Why use professional resume services?

It makes so much sense to us here at Career Wizards because we do this everyday.  But, the question might cross your mind if you’re considering having your resume professionally written for the first time:  “Why should I hire a trained professional to help prepare my resume?”

Well, if you were going to buy or sell a home, wouldn’t you hire a professional realtor or attorney with years of experience and training to prepare the critical document for you?  After all, it’s rather risky to download a template or sample from the internet with fingers crossed that your interests will be well-covered.

Yet, that is exactly what many job seekers do.  Download a template from their word processing program and then plug in their information, hoping against hope that prospective employers will be able to see just how well-suited they are to open positions.

Hope is not something you can count on in today’s marketplace.  It’s far too competitive out there to make do with a resume that makes you look like all the rest.  You need to stand out from the crowd.  You need a professional document that makes a special statement about you.

The Main Advantage
A professional resume writing service will have staff that focuses on writing resumes everyday.   They’ll have experience preparing resumes for thousands of job seekers in diverse situations.  It’s what they specialize in, so they’ll be good at it. 

That’s the main advantage in using professional resume services, but just what can a professional resume writer do for you specifically?

Besides offering tons of expertise in the area of effective formatting and wordsmithing, a professional resume writer will help you market your skills, knowledge and experience in the resume.

Don’t doubt this for a moment.  Your resume is your brochure advertising brand YOU.  Unless you want be perceived as a cookie cutter candidate, you shouldn’t use a cookie cutter resume.  You want a document that reflects your uniqueness and personal brand.  You want to make the prospective employer curious to know more about the superstar candidate you are.  

A Professional Resume Writer Will:

– Determine your target direction and personal brand.

– Craft an introduction, summary or objective that targets your desired position and/or field while attracting to you what you truly want.

– Aim your personal brand toward your desired audience with a resonating message that’s easily grasped.

– Choose or design an appropriate format that effectively arranges and emphasizes your relevant background to produce the desired results.

– Highlight your strengths so that you can lead with your strong points and make a favorable first impression.

– Compose unique and compelling statements using powerful action words that tastefully show your accomplishments and abilities.

– Ensure that your resume presents your background using the most up-to-date standards of  today’s professional quality resume.


To learn more about how Career Wizards can help you professionally prepare your resume and get your desired results, please visit us at www.careerwizardsinc.com.

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5 Salary Secrets Your Company Won’t Tell You

By Joy Victory, special to PayScale.com

It’s normal to wonder how and why you get paid the salary you do. After all, most employers are not willing to share inside salary information and salary decision methods, without at least a little prodding. So how are wage increases determined in big companies? And how can you use that salary information to your advantage? Let’s take a look at the best kept company salary secrets.

1. For most companies, 3.9% is the average budget increase for salaries
Most “high performers” get around a five percent raise, while “low performers” often receive an annual pay raise of 2 percent or less, according to a survey from World at Work.

“When people are looking for 6 to 8 percent, well, very few people are getting it,” says Rebecca Mazin, co-founder of the HR consulting firm Recruit Right and author of The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals.

Knowing this can make it easier to stomach a 4 percent annual pay raise – while it may not equal big money, it actually means your employer values you. Anything more is above the average pay raise, and means you’re likely considered a top performer, and anything less means you may be underperforming.

2. Your employer (or future employer) may not know the national salary range for your position
Just because a whole wealth of salary information is online these days doesn’t mean your company has any idea what the national average wages are for a person in your field and in your city. If you research the historic average wage trends and discover your salary is abnormally low, it can be a great negotiation tool when you talk to your boss about your annual pay raise – or when you’re accepting a new job offer. He or she will realize they could easily lose you since many competitors nearby are paying better than the national average wages and possibly giving a higher annual pay raise.

“You need to go in with some data behind you, you at least need to know what the going rate is,” says Dawn Rosenberg McKay, About.com Guide to Career Planning. “[That way] you’ll know if you’re being outlandish or asking for something ridiculous.”

3. Most managers have a short memory when it comes time for your annual pay raise
On average, pay raises are given annually, and so it’s important to keep track of all your achievements within the past year – don’t expect your boss to remember your big project from eight months ago. Using a spreadsheet or a special email folder, keep track of your accomplishments as they happen, so when the time comes, you have a strong case for a higher annual pay raise.

Accomplishments that show you’ve either saved the company money or earned the company money are the best ones to highlight, especially if you can specify an exact figure. If that’s not possible (which is the case for most employees), take note of any extraordinary praise you received from managers or fellow co-workers, any special thanks from clients, and any other ways that demonstrated you went above and beyond your normal job duties.

4. Your manager probably has little influence over your annual pay raise
Decisions about an employee’s annual pay raise are often made at a high level of company management. So, even if you follow all the pay raise tips above, your manager may have minimal control over your annual pay raise. Case in point: Mazin recently worked with a non-profit organization whose board decided to give every employee the exact same pay raise.

There’s not a lot you can do in this situation, but if it leaves you feeling dissatisfied or taken for granted, it may be time to look for a new job.

5. Threatening to quit can result in a big pay raise (but it’s risky)
If you’re hoping for a big annual pay raise, or were disappointed by a recent pay raise, you may want to start job searching. For most people, the biggest salary jumps they have in their careers occur when they get a new job or threaten to quit because of a tantalizing job offer.

Sometimes, telling your current employer about your new gig can be a potent bargaining chip – they may be willing to match the new offer just to keep you. But not always, as Mazin points out, so don’t let your plan backfire. Make sure you really want that new job – and are ready to quit your current one – before threatening to quit.

“If you do decide to do it, do it for the right reasons,” Mazin says.

Additional Links:
Asking for a Raise During a Recession
Salary Negotiation: What Not to Do

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Increase Your Salary: 10 Expert Tips

By Kristina Cowan

Determined to increase your salary? Follow these tips from Reesa Staten, vice president of communications and director of research at recruiting firm Robert Half International and Anna Ivey, a Boston-based career and admissions counselor, to increase your salary this year:

1. Get comfortable negotiating salary raises.
“Women fall behind here, because they generally aren’t as aggressive and fall farther and farther behind with their salaries. You can’t be shy about asking to be paid what you’re worth,” Ivey said. Along these lines, she said, it’s important to keep detailed documentation of your achievements.

2. Research and compare your salary.
Staten urges workers to make sure they know how much their skills are worth before they pursue a different position or a promotion. Compare your salary.

3. Become an indispensable expert.
Continue to learn about your line of work, so that you stay current with trends and developments. Your strategy might include going to industry conferences, reading industry publications or setting up regular lunch meetings with others in your field to exchange information and ideas. This is a key to increasing your salary.

4. Make yourself visible.
Network and mingle, making sure you are continually visible to others in your industry and your workplace. At work, take on difficult challenges and make sure that management is aware of your contributions.

5. Update your skills.
Consider training or certifications that could lead to a promotion. “In some companies, if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree, you can’t advance to the next level. Some jobs require an MBA; get as much education as possible,” Staten said. Search for online learning that could help increase your salary.

6. If you return to school, make sure that it will pay off.
Ivey said it’s important to investigate degree programs before launching into one that might not increase your salary — and could end up costing you more in the long-run. Also, find out what continuing education benefits are offered by your employer. You may be able to “earn more” by getting your employer to cover tuition costs. Research the best college degrees for higher earnings.

7. Absorb and adapt to new methods.
“Things are changing quickly; what is state of the art now will be obsolete 10 years from now,” Staten said. When things change at work instead of getting grumpy, be the first to jump on board. Your enthusiasm for change and adaptability to new systems and ideas are to how your employer values you and could lead to a salary increase.

8. Be receptive to criticism.
Constructive criticism can help you improve your performance, Ivey said. Not only is it important to be able to gracefully accept criticism from your coworkers and boss, but integrating that feedback into your work can win you points and opportunities for promotion.

9. Sharpen your communication skills.
“I don’t care what role you’re in. If you can read and speak well, you are way ahead of the pack,” Ivey said.

10. Get comfortable with math.
“A lot of people coast through college without number knowledge — just basic knowledge, like how to read a financial statement. We live in a Sarbanes-Oxley [SOX]  now. If you work in a publicly traded company, you will be affected by SOX. Accounting is a great skill to have in your tool set,” Ivey said, referring to the federal law that tightened corporate governance standards.

Kristina Cowan is the senior writer for PayScale.com. She has over 10 years of journalism experience, specializing in education and workforce issues.

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Top 5 Salary Negotiation Mistakes

Top 5 Salary Negotiation Mistakes

By Bridget Quigg

If you want to make adults squirm like kindergarteners, broach the subject of salary negotiation. Talking money makes most workers uncomfortable. And while they want such talks to succeed, they make plenty of blunders. If only they had some basic negotiation guidelines.

So what’s the best way to avoid stumbling and also boost your confidence? Rebecca Warriner, a job search coach and owner of Woodland Recruiting, a Seattle-based recruitment and outplacement firm, has some salary negotiation tips when pursuing a win-win situation for you and the employer—rather than starting out defensively, assuming you’re going to get a low offer. Warriner notes, “Salary negotiation is a dialogue that the company and the candidate should be having throughout the hiring process. It should not be a one-time conversation at the end.” She says to embrace your power and how it relates to the negotiation.

Warriner, who’s been on both sides of salary negotiation for over 15 years, offers a handy list of negotiation mistakes to avoid.

1. Being unprepared. “I get pretty frustrated as a recruiter when I ask somebody, ‘What are your expectations as far as pay goes?’ [and they do not have an answer],” says Warriner. She suggests doing some homework, and then determining what you’d like to earn. Warriner recommends several methods, including using salary information Web sites, talking to recruiters, asking friends who work in human resources, or connecting with local professional organizations that have salary information.

Once you have a solid answer, practice it. Get in front of the mirror, look yourself in the eye and say, “I earned $55,000 at my last job and I am targeting the $60,000s in this job search.” If you feel you were underpaid in your last gig but aren’t sure about bringing it up, Warriner advises raising the topic in a positive light, underscoring that you’d like to increase your earnings as you make your next career move to better reflect your skills and experience. It pays to be confident with your salary negotiation counteroffer, she adds.

2. Playing games. Telling a prospective employer what you think they want to hear is risky business. “Oftentimes, a candidate will say that they are very flexible; that they are willing to take a step back in pay. Don’t say you’re really flexible if you’re not,” Warriner says. She points out that this approach assumes the company will be more invested in and attached to you at the end of the interview process, and therefore willing to offer you more money than you first asked for—but they won’t be.

The key, she says, is to be confident in the salary range you want, and walk away from jobs that aren’t offering it. More than anything, “don’t go through the [hiring] process to have compensation be the reason it doesn’t work,” she says.

Warriner also discourages pitting offers against each other, such as going to your current employer and saying, “I’d like to stay here, but this other company is offering me more.” She says “companies are not interested in candidates that are only interested in pay.” Warriner believes this will likely result in a lost job offer, and lost respect for you from all companies involved in the process.

3. Comparing apples to oranges. If you’re changing careers or moving into a different industry, Warriner says you should tailor your salary expectations. For example, a person moving from a larger company to a smaller organization, or from a corporate outfit to a nonprofit, should expect lower pay. She suggests looking at compensation factors beyond salary in these cases, such as the commute, benefits, the team you’ll work with and industry experience you’ll gain.

4. Stringing a company along. When the time comes to say yes or no, you need to be ready. Warriner believes that “the comp package is something that should have been talked about during the entire process,” so you shouldn’t encounter any big surprises. If it really is the first time you’re seeing the offer and you need time to review it, say something positive, such as, “I’m really happy to receive this offer. I am happy to work for this company. I just want to make sure I am seeing everything and would like tonight to think about it.”

5. Following bad advice. “A lot of advice on salary negotiation is really old fashioned,” says Warriner. “It is based on power plays and assumes that the company is being dishonest.” Some examples include delaying the salary conversation as long as possible, not giving a salary range/figure, or delaying your response to an offer for a week. Taking this power-play approach may cause the company to be turned off by you.

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A Dynamic Game Changer for Your Recruitment Firm

Buying decisions are made at a whole-brain level.  Nobel Laureate, Roger Sperry, discovered how we use our whole brain by doing split brain experiments.   He discovered that the left side of the brain is linear and uses rational thought and logical analysis. The right side of the brain is intuitive and helps with creative thought and the big picture.  The left side processes language and writing.  The right side processes visual stimuli and music.

The Talent Wizards’ Career Web Portfolio creates a powerful impression of your candidate in the minds of key decision makers.  The animated graphics, the visual/audio aspects of the virtual interviewing feature, and the colors and photos on each page are balanced with well-written language about their skills, accomplishments, affiliations and value in a sophisticated and elegant way.

Web portfolios are the greatest technical advancement in career transition in over a century. The graph below shows how old career transition tools and technologies are lingering on today.  It’s time to jump with both feet into the 21st Century.

Candidates who use a Career Web Portfolio:
– Move Ahead in the Hiring Process
– Demonstrate Initiative & Technical Savvy
– Sharpen the Perception of His or Her Value Proposition
– Develop an Immediate and Meaningful Dialogue with the Hiring Manager

When candidates make a greater impact during the process, they are propelled ahead of the pack.  Using web portfolios provides greater momentum and accelerates the hiring decision.  They allow employers and candidates to have a meaningful dialogues, and they improve the quality of the interviewing process for both parties.

As a result of using the web portfolio in placing your candidates, you and your firm will:
– Move Ahead in the Competitive Marketplace
– Demonstrate Your Initiative & Savvy with 21st Century Technology
– Sharpen the Perception of Your Value Proposition to Your Candidates & Clients
– Develop a Meaningful Dialogue with Hiring Managers and Top Talent

By using this dynamic game changer, you will attract top talent, as well as loyal customers, once they hear about your success with this competitive differentiator.  Your placement rates will increase, which, of course, affects the bottom line.

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