Thursday, December 23, 2010

5 Hidden Resume Killers

5 Hidden Resume Killers!

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC GetInterviews.com

You may think you have the perfect resume, but you keep getting overlooked for all kinds of positions, and you can't figure out what's happening! Perhaps you are sabotaging yourself in ways you don't recognize.

Almost everyone is aware of obvious job search killers in resumes, such as spelling and grammatical errors; however hidden mistakes often end up costing you the interview when you have an otherwise solid resume. Protect yourself from being misperceived out of a job opportunity by carefully reviewing your resume for hidden killers.

1. Highlighting Political or Religious Affiliations

Many people fill their time with charitable work and, in the process, make some strong community contacts. Great idea and very fulfilling, most likely, but if that organization is your local church or political action group, you may be sabotaging yourself if you include this in the resume. Just the mere mention of such groups may subconsciously create a negative response in the reader. Don't place yourself at risk for potential discrimination or a negative first impression because of an association with a group that may not align with the values of hiring managers. We all know it's not ethical, but it's better to protect yourself, than be naïve and lose another opportunity.

2. Explaining Employment Gaps with too ! much Personal Information

Although it is critical to be honest about gaps in your employment history, exercise caution about giving too much personal information or suggesting that your personal life may overwhelm your work life. Be brief and succinct in explaining any gaps in your personal work history, and be aware that caretaking for elderly parents, for example, is becoming much more common. Career change or geographic moves may be part of necessary family caretaking decisions, which could also be important to explain in your resume. However, you don't need to provide a lot of detail regarding the emotional toll and investment of time such caretaking has taken. The explanation doesn't need to suggest you have been consumed by personal obligations, hinting that personal obligations may be more important than your work life.

3. Broadcasting Weaknesses

Everyone has skill deficits or areas where his/her work could improve. However, by over-emphasizing these deficits or appearing nervous about them, you are likely to sabotage the strengths identified in your resume. Being honest doesn't mean you have to hang your head and kick at the floor like a school child; it's likely you feel worse about these shortcomings than necessary. Emphasize your strengths and practice a response to express information about potential weaknesses. What is it that bothers you so much about this particular deficit when you likely have other strengths? You don't need to be "all things to all people in order to land the job", and feeling shameful about deficits can only work against you.

4. Too Many Positions within the Same Time Frame

Sure, you may have worked 2 or 3 jobs in college, but later in one's career, this may send a messag! e that you are scattered, unfocused, or worse yet, not committed to your primary field of interest. Potential employers want to know that you are working toward company goals with the same level of energy that they are, rather than being tired and distracted. Review the job history realistically. You cannot misrepresent your work experience, but try to look at "your story" during that time of your life. If there were a number of part-time positions pieced together out of financial necessity, be certain to identify the positions as part-time. Perhaps the positions included experiences for certification. If so, mention it – this denotes a commitment to professional growth, and more clearly explains seemingly dual, simultaneous employment.

5. Over-emphasizing Periods of Self-Employment

Many potential employers question your ability to be a team player if you are accustomed to being the boss yourself. It may also intimidate hiring managers or suggest that you are over-qualified, if you have labeled yourself President of your own company. Again, don't be deceitful, but be cautious regarding labels. Describe creative development skills associated with self-employment in ways that will benefit the prospective employer, such as market analysis, client development, or full P&L.

Increase your own awareness of potential "resume killers", and you will be well on your way to eliminating obstacles to employment. Resumes can communicate in many more ways than just using words. The nuances of a resume are similar to body language – people get the message even if not overtly expressed. Rid your resume of hidden killers and move ahead in your job search!

About the Author:

Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Ca! reer Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country's leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm's credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North America," quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee -- interviews in 30 days or they'll rewrite for free!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Spotting Legal Issues

The essential matter for lawyers, judges, law students, and paralegals in reading law cases is to properly spot the "legal issue" -

here is what Prof. Vermelia Randall of U.Dayton Law School says on Issues

"Issue(s)
An issue is a question of law. It is usually a question that asks, "What is the result when you apply this rule of law to these facts?" Lawyers constantly look for the legal problem or problems at hand; they are problem solvers, and sometimes the toughest problem is pinpointing the problem. In an appeal the lawyers on both sides have selected their legal battlegrounds and put forth their theories, both at the trial and on appeal. The court selects from among, and may reframe, the issues presented by the parties. Nonetheless, it may still be difficult for the reader of the court's opinion to precisely identify the legal issues.

Most cases raise more than one question of law. A case may involve three issues, but have only one or two of them resolved by the court. When this happens, it is often because the multiple issues are related in such a way that whether one issue must be resolved depends upon the resolution of another issue. If "issue one" must be decided in order to determine whether "issue two" must be addressed, then the first question is referred to as a "threshold issue." For example, if a statute of limitations question is resolved in favor of the defendant and the cause of action is dismissed, then the case is concluded without the court considering issues related to the merits of the suit. (If you are writing about the pending case, you must discuss all of the issues that the court might possibly reach, of course, because you do not know what the court will conclude about the threshold issue.)

An issue can usually be framed in the form of a question that can be answered "yes" or "no." In order to yield a legal conclusion that can be applied under the principle of stare decisis to future similar situations, the issue must be stated neither too narrowly nor too broadly. "

check out more information at see a complete brief

Good luck. hope this helps. Prof. J

Study Skills

It is absolutely essential to always look at improving your study skills. As the word applies, it is a "skill" - defn. " A developed talent or ability ". If you are taking online classes as part of our Paralegal Program, and most students are taking at least one or two, you will need to be self-motivated, and apply excellent "study skills" - since you cannot just raise your hand - or course, you can email the instructor. Read study skills, and apply them in your classes. Hope this helps. Prof. J.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Great New Browser - mozilla "firefox" and email "thunderbird"

I have now been using mozilla "firefox", a brand new browser, and I love it. If you are looking to change, I would highly recommend downloading it and giving it a "whirl around the block". I also use the mozilla program "thunderbird" for my email, and it works great. What I love about both programs is that it incoprates your previous preferences from Internet Explorer, so you can just pick up where you left off. Let me know how it works for you. I am amazed at how well it serves me. And as you know I do a lot of "browsing" as an online instructor. Good Luck. Prof. J.

Volunteer Work

Why is volunteering, especially in the legal field so important.

Your reasons for volunteering are as individual as you are, but no matter what your reasons you can get a lot out of volunteering. You can learn about yourself, learn about others and meet a lot of interesting people by volunteering. You can help others as you help yourself. 20 ways to volunteer.

So get active today, and volunteer in the legal field .

Good luck. Prof J.

The use of "I believe" in legal analysis

I have noticed a number of students start out their legal analysis with "I feel" or "it is my opinion" - this is not a strong start to your legal analysis - look at the information on persuasive appellate briefs.

Quoting from that article:

"Judges are generally bright people. (Any judge who is reading this is definitely one of the bright ones!) They have a keen sense of the law, and they can quickly detect a bogus (i.e., fake, foggy, far-fetched) argument. While some lawyers may make deliberately bogus arguments, I think that lawyers more often do so because they don't really understand their cases, the law, or the law's application to their facts. They try to hide their ignorance in their writing. But it shows every time. Your argument will strike the judge as bogus if it displays too many of the following characteristics:

Exclamation marks!
Long, convoluted sentences that talk around the rules and facts instead of addressing them directly.
Needless repetition, including repetition of rules in the section that should instead be applying those rules to the case facts.
More law set out in quotations than in your own words of explanation.
Lots of adjectives and adverbs.
Personal attacks on the lawyers for the other side.
Insertion of your personal opinion or emotion ("I think," "we feel").
Merely citing cases without explaining how they apply.
Rolling two or more distinct issues into a single discussion.
Any conclusion that should "clearly," "obviously," or "undoubtedly" be reached. "

So what have you learned in this blog. Do Not start your legal analysis with "I believe", etc. Hope this helps. Prof J.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Improve your law quiz and assignment scores

Now that you have taken a few law quizzes, and you received possibly a low score, i.e. 40 -60, you are thinking either the "quizzes are completely unfair", or "that I am really stupid and should never become a paralegal" - actually neither are completely true (just kidding). Actually what is happening is that you are being asked to "kick your skills up a notch". Legal Analysis is actually a very funny "animal" - and very frustrating. You must move from the "concrete" to the "abstract". It is like you were playing baseball, and your batting average was .400 but you were only being "dished up" straight balls, and now the slider, and curve ball, and knuckle ball all are being introduced, and your average now plummets to .150 (sorry if you do not like baseball metaphor).

So take heart. There are a number of things you can do. read the following inforrmation - click here to improve your scores

First make sure you know each word you read. So go to an online dictionary and look up even the simple words you thought you understood. Then make sure you look up all of the legal words. Then read the facts of each case as if it were a story. Diagram with pencil stick figures the main characters and use arrows to show their relationship and what they are doing to each other. This helps you to understand the story. Legal facts can be very confusing a lot of the time. If you do not know the story you will not know the law I can promise you. Then finally follow the 7 steps of Critical Thinking when you read your law mateials. I think that most students are having "real problems" with steps 6 - Synthesis and step 7 - Evaluation, so go down to steps 1-5 and get those down first, and then jump up to 6 and 7. hope this helps a little. Prof. J.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Paralegal Jobs

The first thing you need to consider in getting your ideal is to put together a killer resume - Sometimes you will need to do a self-assessment to locate your job niche. Next start looking for a job. Network in the legal field - Look at the big mistakes you can avoid - volunteer for community service while looking for your job, finally check out Paralegal Jobs posted for our students. Good luck everyone. Prof. J.

Monday, May 09, 2005

California Paralegal Requirements

California is one of a few states which regulate their paralegals . On Jauary 1, 2001, Business and Professions Code 6450 necame effective. (formerly Assembly Bill AB 1761 was signed by Governor Gray Davis on 9/14/00). This section regulates Paralegals, defines the term "paralegal", and sets forth the "academic training" required.

The new law requires "a certificate of completion of a paralegal program at, or a degree from a post-secondary institution that requires the successful completion of a minimum of 24 semester, or equivalent, units in law-related courses and that has been accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization or approved by the Bureau for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Education."

Mission College Paralegal Program is such an accredited institution. We believe there are numerous good reasons to choose our Paralegal Program, and so do our students .

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Value of Networking

The Values of Networking
from an article at http://www.lib.niu.edu/ipo/ip050108.html
William J M. Wold, Chief Executive Officer of Illinois Periodicals
Online states in an article on Networking:
"Most professionals know that by developing a network of colleagues they gain a valuable asset that can make a difference, especially during difficult and changing times. Networking can be a fun and easy way to enrich your life, broaden your horizons and enhance your career. "

"In fact, networking may be crucial to your success. Networking is a chance to gravitate towards a new area of knowledge you may have never explored. And meeting people outside your current position may enable you to fully understand the next step of your career."

This is very true. Prof. Jordan recommends highly in addition
to networking with your own fellow and sister paralegal students,
join the list-serv for our Paralegal Program, and also join one or more of the Paralegal Associations to keep current in the legal field.
Hope this helps. Prof J.