When Facebook Privacy Settings Just Aren’t Good Enough

Wednesday, 28. March 2012

Robert Siegel, host of the award-winning NPR program All Things Considered, recently interviewed Robert Collins, a now previous employee of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. During a routine return-to-work interview, Collins was asked to submit his Facebook username and password as part of the application process.

It may sound shocking, but this is something that has become common practice, so much so that states such as Illinois and Maryland are now putting through legislation that would ban the practice.

Just when you thought setting your privacy settings was enough to dissuade potential employers from creepin’ out your Facebook profile, in order to now land that job, you may have to actually hand over full control of your Facebook account.

Since setting your privacy settings to limited will no longer be sufficient, the only recourse is a complete overhaul of your Facebook profile. Here are some areas to pay particular attention to:

Profile Picture
This should go without saying, but if you are looking for a job, your profile picture should reflect the mature, educated and responsible person you are trying to portray. A picture of you half naked, or doing a keg stand, (or both), probably won’t help your cause.

Photo Albums
It may be kind of fun to share pictures of you getting wasted at a tropical resort with your friends, but if your potential employer now has full access to your account, these types of albums may be safer on your home computer, where only you have access to them.

Tagged Photos / Places
Isn’t it great that Facebook basically allows anyone to tag you in a photo or sign you into a place? Your friends might think it is funny to see pictures of you passed out or know that you just went into the local strip bar, but I’m sure your hiring manager won’t. Before you begin your job search remove any tagged photos that can be incriminating and turn off the ability for others to sign you into places.

Info Page
This is one spot that typically gets overlooked. When you first opened your Facebook account you may have put a whole slew of interests, quotes and other nonsensical garbage on your info page. Remember to clean up the page as well, and just because it is a quote from a movie, it doesn’t mean your boss will know it, understand it, or not be offended by it.

The Wall
Finally, we’ve reached hit dreaded Wall. When it comes to Facebook, it’s not only your own actions that you have to worry about, but also those that leave comments on your profile. Delete any unsavory comments made by friends, and don’t forget to clean up your own status updates as well. If they are anything like the samples below, they can be just as bad, if not worse:

If you are not a big fan of self-censorship, you have two final options:

1) Create a second Facebook profile used solely for business interactions
2) Delete your Facebook account altogether

You can read the full transcript of Robert Siegel’s interview with Robert Collins here.

Top 10 Careers For Women In 2012

Wednesday, 22. February 2012

Authors Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D have determined the Best Jobs for the 21st Century and in the sixth edition of the their book by the same title, Shatkin has compiled a list of the top 10 jobs for women, based on a number of factors, including satisfaction levels.

The top career in Shatkin’s list was teaching, specifically a career as a post-secondary teacher. Careers with the lowest satisfaction rates included servers, retail and administrative assistants.

So before you go and update that teaching resume you might want to consider our list as well. Our list is not as extensive as Shatkin’s, we based ours solely on the 2011 numbers that took into consideration average yearly income and the percentage of women are represented in the field:

1) Doctor
In 2011, women doctors earned an average yearly income of $84,000. With only 31% of women representing this field, there is definite room for growth. This is why Doctor takes our #1 spot for top 10 careers for women in 2012.

2) Pharmacist
Following closely behind, pharmacist is our #2 spot with an average yearly income of $83,500 and 48% of women are representing the field.

3) CEO
In 2011, women who held the role of Chief Executives pulled in an average yearly income of $83,000. With only 26% of women are representing CEOs, there is much room for advancement.

4) Lawyer
In the field of law women, who on average earned $76,000 in 2011, represent 35% of American lawyers.

5) Computer Software Engineer
Only 21% of women make of this industry, however, on average they earned $75,000 in 2011, so it might be worthwhile to update that engineering resume after all.

6) IT Manager
Since only 30% of women are currently represented in this field, IT is a growing industry that is hoping to attract more women in its ranks. Since the average yearly income is $73,500, it might not be a bad idea to get your IT resume updated.

7) Physical Therapist
In 2011, the average yearly income for a Physical Therapist was $63,000. As 62% of women already dominate this field, choosing a career as a physical therapist is #7 on our top 10 careers for women in 2012.

8) Speech-Language Pathologist
Women make up the majority of Speech-Language Pathologists in America with representation of 97%. Last year on average, a Speech-Language Pathologist earned a yearly income of $61,500.

9) Computer Programmer
Only 22% of women are represented in the field of computer programming, however their yearly average income of $61,000 makes this a pretty viable career choice.

10) Human Resources Manager
In 2011, the majority of human resource mangers were comprised of women with 71%. In 2011, they earned an average income of $60,500.

When It Comes To Job Interviews Looks Really Do Matter

Thursday, 19. January 2012

The results are in; beautiful people really do get all the good jobs. According to a study published by the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the attractiveness of an interviewee can significantly bias the outcome of the hiring decision.

“When someone is viewed as attractive, they are often assumed to have a number of positive social traits and greater intelligence,” say Carl Senior and Michael J.R. Butler, authors of the study. “This is known as the ‘halo effect’ and it has previously been shown to affect the outcome of job interviews.”

Okay, so this really isn’t that new of breakthrough. We’ve known for quite sometime that good looking people get all the good jobs, but is hasn’t been until the release of a recent study, conducted by researchers at Rice University and the University of Houston, that we now have a better understanding of why this happens.

The “Discrimination Against Facially Stigmatized Applicants in Interviews: An Eye-Tracking and Face-to-Face Investigation” was published in the November 2011 edition of the Journal of Applied Psychology. The study found that interviewees were less likely to be hired if they had any kind of facial disfigurement, such as birthmarks, scars and moles.

To some degree, this is much more than just a matter of how “beautiful” a person is. A disfigurement is distracting. If an interviewer is drawn toward a mole or a scar instead of to your smile or your eyes, it does several things:

  • It reduces your ability to win over the interviewer with your smile and your eyes.
  • It makes it irritating to look at you, and that creates a negative impression for the interviewer.
  • It might even make the interviewer wonder if you will lose the company clients by creating a negative impression.

Does this apply only to natural or accidental disfigurement? The study doesn’t cover purposeful disfigurement, but at least to some degree we can assume that if you are wearing a nose ring or sporting a tattoo (or war paint?), you will be drawing attention away from you and toward a possible irritant.

Best to remove facial jewelery and use makeup on blemishes as best you can, before heading into your job interview.

“The bottom line is that how your face looks can significantly influence the success of an interview,” says Mikki Hebl, Professor of Psychology at Rice University. “Our research shows if you recall less information about competent candidates because you are distracted by characteristics on their face, it decreases your overall evaluations of them.”

As a professionally resume writer, I strongly believe that your resume is the number one way to get them loving you before they even see your face. So make that opportunity count. But don’t blow it when you show up for the interview.

New Year’s Resume Resolution

Wednesday, 4. January 2012

ResumeMag would like to wish all of our faithful readers a Happy New Year. By now, many of us are well into our New Year’s resolutions, like quitting a bad habit, hitting up the gym to shed those excess holiday pounds, thinking of ways to make more money, or building new relationships.

As professional resume writers we believe that the New Year’s resolution doesn’t only apply to yourself, but you can also make resolutions for your resume. After all, to a potential employer, your resume is you.

We’ve taken the four most common resolutions and have applied them to your resume:

1) Quit Bad Habits

Bad habits come in all forms when it comes to your resume. Ask any recruiter, hiring manager or professional resume writer about the most common mistakes they see and without any hesitation they can list off a grocery list of mistakes that could have easily been avoided with some simple proofreading.

It doesn’t take long, but many job seekers still have the bad habit of sending out their resumes without first having them checked over. Sending out a resume with such things as typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors is the sure fire way to have your resume filed in the circular filing cabinet. So this year, make sure you proofread all of your correspondence, which also includes your cover letters, emails and any applications you submit.

Another bad habit to quit for 2012 is the ‘one-size fits all resume’. Sending out a template resume that is not tailored to the specific position you are applying for not only wastes your time, but also that of the company’s. So make this year’s resolution all about creating a new resume for each position you apply for. The time and effort that you take to tailor your resume will show, thus giving you a better chance to get your foot in the door.

2) Shed Excess Weight

It can be easy to end up with an obese resume, whether it is because you’ve listed every single job you have ever had, or it is jammed packed with useless information. Whatever the case is, it’s easy to lose control and end up with a beefy resume. Your 2012 resume resolution should be to slim down your resume, making it more attractive to potential employers.

One if the easiest ways to shed the excess weight is to remove irrelevant content, such as the standard ‘References available upon request’ line and anything else that isn’t relevant to the position you are applying for, like hobbies and interests or certificates and accreditations. A professional resume writer can also help you to tighten up the writing, making your resume more concise and to the point.

3) Make More Money

One of the best ways to make more money with your resume is to make it more appealing to a hiring manger. Instead of reiterating what your old job descriptions were, use that valuable space to showcase your worth by explaining, not only how you helped to save or make your previous employer money, but also by quantifying your results.

Another thing you can do to help your resume make you money is by hiring a professional resume writer, because as the old adage goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

4) Fall In Love

When applying for a position that you know you will love, take the time to create a resume that shows your devotion to the position and to the company. This includes such things as creating a tailor made resume, that not only speaks to the specific position, but to specific company needs as well. An inside tip to help you accomplish this is to use the same phrases and keywords that the company itself used in their requirements section of their job posting.

So start the year off right, and try these four resume resolutions.

Don’t Give Your Resume a Christmas Break

Friday, 18. November 2011

With Black Friday just one week away, and Christmas not far behind, it’s probably a good time to take a break from your job search, regroup and work on your professionally written resume, right?


Whether employed and looking to make a change in your career, or unemployed and looking for a job, the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is probably one of the most opportune times to look for a job, for many different reasons:

The first being, just because it is holiday season, that doesn’t mean business takes a vacation or employers stop hiring.

The common reaction to the holidays is to take a break, with most people putting their search on hold you will have less competition.

Between mid-November and the beginning of January many managers may have a lighter work schedule, making it easier for you to get in contact with them. They may even be more receptive to taking your meeting or engaging you in conversation.

The final reason why the holiday season is a great time to look for a job is that companies are conducting their year-end budgets. You can help them allocate some of those funds, which they are desperately trying to spend, on recruitment and training for your new career.

You won’t have to change your job search tactics for the holidays, but there are some opportunities that you can take advantage of to help you with your search. Here are just a few:

Christmas parties and holiday functions can be a great chance to use your networking skills. Whether they’re business related or friend and family gatherings, it’s a good idea to have a bit of a spiel prepared to let your contacts know what exactly it is that you are looking for in a job. Who knows, maybe Uncle Jack’s neighbour’s son, who always comes over to helps shovel the walk in the winter, works in the very same company that you are hoping to work for.

The holidays are a great time to do some impromptu follow-up to those managers that you have recently interviewed with. Send them a Christmas card wishing them a happy holiday and thanking them for opportunity to interview with them. Oh, and don’t forget to include your business card.

If you are unemployed, underemployed, or just have some free time during the holidays, taking on some seasonal work can help with your job search by build upon your skill-set and expanding your networking circle. Not only does retail see an expansion in their workforce during Christmas time, but many temp agencies will also see an increase in workforce requests due to companies looking for temporary employees to fill in for vacancies caused by holiday vacations.

In the end, you shouldn’t give your resume a Christmas break, because even though interviewing process may be slower during the holiday season, it doesn’t come to a complete halt and neither should your job search.