Highlands – Data – Resume’

How important is data on a resume’?  It’s a question people do not ask themselves often enough when creating or updating their resume’.    Think about it.  If the average hiring agent spends less than 6 seconds scanning a resume’, what catches their eye?  What creates meaningful impressions to move you forward in the process?  

  • Data is king and can provide power for how you communicate and substantiate information.

Back in 2008 when the stock market tanked and millions were left without jobs, hundreds and even thousands were applying for the same jobs.  It became prevalent to embellish a resume’ with non-factual information.  Anything to get a foot in the door.   It backfired on thousands of people. 

  • Authenticity is the name of the game today and understanding yourself and how you fit with a company is vital.

Regardless of whether there is a pandemic, market crunch, or any other influencing factor on the employment rate, a factual and well communicated resume’ wins the game.  So how do you influence your chances to win the game?  Use your data.

First, for those of you who have taken a Highlands Ability Battery, your profile has key information for you based on the job you are applying for and specifics in the posting for that position.  Matching your data to a company’s needs and verbalizing that in a Summary Statement can power you ahead in the applicant pool.  Using that information in an interview can demonstrate your ability to understand self, working with others, the mission of a company, and relate it directly to outcomes.  Boom!

Second, review your resume’ and consider any of the bullet points you have identified and whether there is a relevant number associated with that responsibility?  If so, include it!  Including numbers in your resume’ helps guide the eye of the hiring agent and it provides a data point for which they can verify your performance both with you and potentially with a reference check. 

Third, have someone else review your resume’ before you send it.  Yes, you can spell check on the computer, but does the information make sense?  Always have a second set of eyes look it over before you jump into the pool!

Need more resume’ help or want to take a Highlands Ability Battery? Contact me.

A Big WOW!

This week is a Special Guest Post – Bud Bilanich has been recognized on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and countless other news programs and publications.  He has devoted his talents and passion to being a top life and career success coach with companies like Chase, Johnson&Johnson, Merck, PepsiCo and countless others benefiting from his work.  His message is valuable for high school students as well as those in college and already in the workforce.  I hope you will enjoy his work as much as I do:


I love Marla Brady’s College and Career blog.  She packs a ton of common sense advice into each post.  That’s why I was flattered when she asked if I would contribute a guest post.  I help young professionals – those who are just out of college get on the right track to life and career success.

Receiving your degree is a great accomplishment.  I remember how proud I was way back in 1972 when I became the first person in my family to graduate from college.  But as I began my career, I learned that there is a lot about life and career success that they don’t teach you in college.

I made a lot of mistakes as I went about creating my career success.  I’m hoping that I can help young people just beginning their careers to get the benefit of the knowledge I gained through experience with having to deal with the frustration and pain that sometimes come with gaining experience firsthand.  So I’ve written down some of the things I’ve learned about what it takes to succeed in your life and career. This is advice I wish I had when I graduated from Penn State in 1972.  I hope you find it helpful.

I’ve found that all successful people have five things in common.

  • Successful people are self-confident.
  • Successful people create positive personal impact.
  • Successful people are outstanding performers.
  • Successful people are dynamic communicators.
  • Successful people are interpersonally competent.

Self-confident people have at least three things in common:

  1. Self-confident people are optimistic.
  2. Self-confident people face their fears and take action.
  3. Self-confident people surround themselves with positive people.

People who create positive personal impact have at least three things in common:

  1. People who create positive personal impact develop and constantly promote their personal brand.
  2. People who create positive personal impact are impeccable in their presentation of self.
  3. People who create positive personal impact know and practice the basic rules of etiquette.

Outstanding performers have at least three things in common:

  1. Outstanding performers are technically competent.   They remain technically competent because they are lifelong learners.
  2. Outstanding performers set and achieve goals.
  3. Outstanding performers are organized.  They manage their time, stress and lifestyle well.

Dynamic communicators have at least three things in common:

  1. Dynamic communicators are excellent conversationalists.
  2. Dynamic communicators write in a clear, concise easily readable manner.
  3. Dynamic communicators are excellent presenters – to groups of two or 100.

Interpersonally competent people have at least three things in common:

  1. Interpersonally competent people are self aware.   They understand themselves and their impact on others.  They use their self awareness to increase their understanding of others.
  2. Interpersonally competent people build solid, long lasting mutually beneficial relationships with the people in their lives.
  3. Interpersonally competent people are able to resolve conflicts with a minimal amount of problems and upset to relationships.

When my niece graduated from Florida State several years ago, I wrote a little book called An Uncle’s Advice to His Niece on Her College Graduation.  Inside, you’ll find my thoughts on each of the success characteristics above and my best advice on how you can use them to build the life and career success you want and deserve.

You can download a free copy at http://www.budbilanich.com/uncles-advice/.  When you download the book, you’ll also get a bonus.  You’ll begin receiving daily life and career success quotes that have helped me on my life and career journey.

There’s a reason they call college graduation ceremonies “commencements.”  As you leave college you are commencing on a new and exciting phase of your life.  You are commencing on a career.  I hope that you find the career advice in An Uncle’s Advice…to be helpful.  You have my very best wishes for a lifetime of success.

The Importance of Identifying a Major for College – Early

In June of 2008, The Wall Street Jour­nal pub­lished an arti­cle ref­er­enc­ing The High­lands Abil­ity Bat­tery and the impor­tance of stu­dents being able to iden­tify their nat­ural abil­i­ties for the ben­e­fit of life­long career man­age­ment.  But it is also impor­tant to under­stand that the abil­i­ties that are mea­sured at age 17 for a high school stu­dent, remain con­stant through­out your life.  There­fore, the results are applic­a­ble for a life­time and serve as a great resource in career deci­sions whether that deci­sion includes decid­ing on a major area of study, pro­mo­tion oppor­tu­nity, going back to school, or tran­si­tion­ing into retirement.  The results are also a great source of data verification on resume’s and in interviews.      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121375062383682907.html

Select­ing the right major can mean the dif­fer­ence between grad­u­at­ing col­lege on time or becom­ing one of the national sta­tis­tics.  Nation­ally, less than 40% of col­lege stu­dents com­plete a four-year degree on time and more than 51% require up to 6 years to com­plete a four-year degree.  That fright­en­ing sta­tis­tic impacts your abil­ity to cre­ate a pro­duc­tive income after 4 years, but it also comes with a price tag that equates to a national aver­age of $30,000 per stu­dent in loan debt due to changed majors.  Imag­ine being ahead of the game just by grad­u­at­ing on time!  Imag­ine sav­ing $30,000 for an advanced degree or to open your own business!

Your Image to Others

Do you have a social media presence?  What does it look like?  Universities and employers alike are using social media to “check out” their candidates.  Everything from your email address and voice message to your pictures and comments on the Internet are available for public scrutiny and feed into your public image or “social entity.” Some even check your credit rating.

Just as different people have different perspectives on issues, different generations view and address issues differently.  The one thing we all have in common is we don’t like to wait or have our time wasted.  Does your voicemail ask that we wait while the party is located?  Change it.  Do you make flippant remarks or have blaring music?  Change it.  What works with your friends won’t work with college admissions, college coaches or potential employers.  So set yourself up for success and make sure your contact media is appropriate for your targeted audience.

Now ask yourself the question again and consider who may be on the other side of the computer monitor checking you out.  What does your “social entity” look like?  What do you need to do to make yourself more marketable?  Are there photos, trends, or comments that could jeopardize your opportunities?  Clean it up.

Protect your image to others and manage your social media so that you put you in the best possible position to take advantage of opportunities.  If you’ve had a social media experience that netted a positive result or a learning experience, post your comment above so others can benefit.

3 Keys to a Great Interview

This month has been about planning and presenting your self.  I addressed the importance of creating a Plan and then following up with Updating Your Resume’.  Now it’s time to talk about Presenting Your Self…the Interview.

Key #1 – Presentation – Presentation is all about your image.  From your first impression to walking out the door you will be evaluated.  Dress appropriately, make eye contact, provide a firm handshake, and smile!  When you sit, sit square in the chair, not slouched or leaning on one elbow.

Key #2 – Target Responses – Be specific in your responses to questions and speak with confidence.  Even “I don’t know” can be spoken with confidence and followed up with “But I will find out.” They will be listening and watching for how you react in situations and how you solve problems.

Key #3 – Questions – Have your own list of questions.  The interview should go both ways.  Be sure that you are not asking for information that is already available on their website or in literature about the school, organization or firm.  Your questions have to demonstrate interest on your part and that you have done your homework.

Creating a great interview for a job or college admissions begins long before you walk through the door.  Be prepared to Present Your Self effectively, answer questions with Targeted Responses, and take your list of prepared Questions.

Bring It Up to Date – 6 Resume’ Reminders

There is nothing worse than sitting down after four years and trying to reconstruct the work you’ve done, courses you’ve taken and awards received in order to write or bring your resume’ up to date.   April is the perfect time to review or initiate a resume’.   With summer employment possibilities or first job opportunities, now is the time to get it done.  Consider your resume or athlete profile as a “work in progress” and keep it updated regularly.  Have you recently added….

  • Courses or Special Classes for Training
  • Conferences (as an Attendee or Presenter)
  • Athletic Showcases or Camps
  • Publications you have written
  • Scores on National Exams or most recent GPA
  • Awards or Recognitions

Students, employees, employers and stay-at-home parents who may one day re-enter the workforce all need to pay attention to their profile or resume’ and bring it up to date.   In addition to keeping it current, be sure that the presentation of material highlights the most current or relevant information for the position you are targeting.  If you were doing the hiring, what makes you look like the best candidate for the job?  Need help with writing a targeted resume’?  Contact me.

Making Yourself Marketable

  • Are you marketable? 
  • How will you differentiate yourself from everyone else? 
  • How will you demonstrate key characteristics for maximum opportunities?

So why ask these three questions?  Whether you are in high school or college and looking for summer or full time employment, you face a tough job market.  Being able to answer these three questions in a targeted and positive manner can help put you in a winning situation.

Are you marketable? When an employer does a social media check on you, what will they find?  When they call you, what will your voicemail tell them about you?  Your social media is your first line of contact and will either provide support for you as a professional and serious candidate for a job, or it can be a yellow or red flag that diminishes your opportunity.

How will you differentiate yourself from everyone else?  What have you done that furthers your capabilities to perform on the job?  Is it a degree or have you participated in a learning experience that measures abilities?  CareerBuilders and many of the top job search engines and headhunting experts have written about the need to have supportive data to back up your claims to job capability.  We can help you provide that data through expert tools and guidance.

How will you demonstrate key characteristics for maximum opportunities?  As employers conduct interviews, more and more they are looking for evidence of your past performance as a predictor of your future performance capability.   What examples will you use from your past experiences as a demonstration of your future performance?

Making yourself marketable is a matter of looking at you from another perspective and taking action.  We can help you do that!  Contact us for more information.

Natural Abilities in Your Work

According to The Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2010, “Identifying one’s natural abilities is more than just an interest survey, and the value of knowing can have lifelong impact that creates opportunities for great satisfaction.”  The use of abilities in our daily work can make the difference between tolerating a job and loving a chosen career path.   Understanding our abilities helps us to use them more effectively and communicate them to others in a resume’ or interview.

The Resume’ – A successful resume’ is created to target a potential employer and specific job tasks for a posted position.   Natural abilities can be identified as strengths for that position and they are quantifiable.  They can be used to promote you as the best candidate.

The Interview – When the resume’ lands you an interview, your quantifiable abilities provide great examples of the kinds of things you do naturally and quickly.   They can be used as a predictor of future performance.   The winning interview success formula looks like this: situation + action = results.

After all, in a challenging job market, with highly competitive and qualified applicants, shouldn’t you do everything you can to stand out in the crowd!  What’s your evidence?

3 Timeline Considerations

Depending on where you are in your career direction process, there are three things you should have on your radar screen.

 High School Students:

  1. A calendar with SAT/ACT test dates for which you will register and a prep plan that fits that timeline
  2. Timely notification to those you are requesting a letter of reference
  3. A timeline that identifies application deadlines for colleges you are applying

 College Students:

  1. Attend job fairs on your campus even as a freshman to get a feel for the events
  2. Get your resume’ in order or sent out even as early as September of senior year
  3. Even as a freshman you can begin preparing yourself with examples of your leadership, problem solving or other desirable attributes for employers

Career Changers/Job Changers/Those Re-entering the Workforce:

  1. Identify a target date to be in that new position and work backward at least 6 months.  Currently the average worker spends 19-28 weeks in a job search
  2. Along with your resume’, have a sheet of references prepared and make sure you have notified the individuals of your intent to identify them as a reference
  3. Identify when applications need to ne submitted in order to meet your timeline for securing that new position

Planning and organization are effective tools for success.  They are also part of natural ability patterns and therefore easier for some people and not for others.  These timeline considerations should be a part of your organization as you plan your college and career path.  Want to know more about your own natural abilities?  Contact me.

Creating a “Best You” Resume’

Presenting the picture of you to a potential employer requires a careful, accurate and quantifiable selection of words that will pique their interest and provide connections to their need and purpose for hiring you.  Many times over the past several months I have referenced the importance of measuring natural ability. In so doing, it is possible to quantify characteristics which are valued by employers and most especially in today’s job market.

Just as there are jobs that no longer exist, the words once highly effective in resumes have also changed.  There was a great article on MSN Careers about writing an eye-catching resume’.  Click here to read the article.  Click here if you want to know more about measuring your natural abilities.