As a career strategist, I engage with people who are just passing through; people who earn a living doing something other than looking for work. When I come across a common question, one that seems to resonate with job seekers across many fields, you’ll find it here. Feel free to toss over a question of your own, and please visit this space frequently for updates!

About Resumes:

Q:         Quick question about resumes… unfortunately, my friend got laid off this week and I’m helping her update her resume. Her last two positions were the exact same thing: Closing Assistant at a title company. With them being the same position and her duties being exactly the same, how would you put that on a resume? List the position title, then the two employers, then the bullets? Or should I break them up and list them both separately and do my best to make them not say the same exact thing?

A:         Your instinct is right – Give the title in boldface type, and below it write the companies and dates, and below that the job description and accomplishments. Like this:

Professional Hockey Star
Chicago Blackhawks 2009 – Present
Detroit Redwings 2000 – 2008

  • Captain
  • Lead scorer, averaging 7 goals per game
  • Stanley Cup winner 2002, 2008, 2010, 2013, 2015


About References:

Q:         I am about to submit my application, but I noticed there is no place to put references down and on my resume, someone removed my references from there. I am unable to go back and remove my resume and add on references. I would have to do the entire application over again. Should I go ahead and send it without references or should I start over and add my references to my resume?

A:         Submitting references isn’t what it used to be. These days, you provide those only if requested, and that will usually be at the very end of the process (sometimes even after an offer is made). That is why you don’t see a place for them on the application, and why they were removed from your professionally-written resume. Keep a separate list and provide quality references if asked.

Q:         QUALITY references?

A:         Supervisors, Peers, Subordinates, Vendors and a couple of friends (for personal references). These should be people close to your work, who know you well and who know what your current employment situation is. They will confidently support your application by providing honest examples of your strengths and development potential, and they’ll be quick responders. The former boss who loses emails and ignores phone calls? Not a quality reference.00 2013

What’s Your Resume Doing this Weekend?

Friday afternoon. You’re either powering through something important, or your thoughts are drifting toward the weekend. Happy hour tonight, baseball tryouts in the morning, friends over Saturday for dinner… typical stuff. If you are looking for new work, “applying for jobs” might have to be wedged in there somewhere. During a job search, it seems like applying for jobs is always hanging overhead, spoiling a relaxing weekend even (or especially) if you don’t find time to spend on the hunt.

This weekend, let your resume to the heavy lifting.

  • Friday afternoon, tweak your LinkedIn profile to a nice shine, update your Headline to reflect the job you’re looking for and upload your resume. Next on LinkedIn, check to make sure your information is “open” or visible to the public. Your boss won’t notice.
  • Set one or two new alerts on and Glassdoor.
  • Spend the weekend relaxing, and if the opportunity for small talk comes up at those baseball tryouts or during dinner, ask questions about the work other people do, and the companies they work for. This is called networking, but it’s the easiest kind. You don’t have to hand out business cards; just build knowledge.

Monday morning will come, and with it the job search. Because your profile and resume were accessible, your inbox will include alerts to positions you hadn’t noticed last week. On LinkedIn you can begin to “Follow” the companies you heard about over the weekend, and connect with the people you met casually over the past couple days. Job searching can be a hassle, but don’t let it ruin your weekend.


The 15 Second Resume

Fifteen Seconds. That is all the time your resume has in the spotlight before a recruiter or HR manager decides whether or not to look further at your resume. Fifteen seconds? People spend more than 15 seconds reading a fast-food menu! The pause between channel surfing clicks is at least 15 seconds! 15 seconds? That’s all you get.

So how can you be sure the person glancing at your resume recognizes the value in your rich and storied work experience? Pick up a couple of magazines and peruse the ads. You’ll see white space, varied font size and color, and precise, powerful language. Apply that to your resume, and you’ll improve your odds of going to the next round.

In their book on messaging and advertising, “Made to Stick,” Chip Heath and Dan Heath outline six key principles that make messages stick.

  1. Simplicity
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concreteness
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotions
  6. Stories

The Heaths wrote about advertising, but what’s a resume if not a slick advertisement for your skills and expertise? Check your resume for the same six qualities:

Keep it Simple: Include necessary, relevant information, but save the minute details of your everyday responsibilities for the interview. If your resume is fourteen pages, no one’s going to look past page one. Is your contact information easy to find?

Deliver the Unexpected: Stand out. Which accomplishments or activities set you apart from the competition? Every Accountant can reconcile a bank account; tell me how your reconciliation saved the company millions of dollars.

Use Concrete Language that connects to the job you want: This is about Search Engine Optimization. When you apply the word choices the company uses, your resume will more likely come up in an electronic search. Boldface type accenting relevant words and phrases a manager might be looking for will help the manager quickly make the connection between you and the job.

Be Credible: Tell the truth. This may not be a factor in the first round of resume reviews, but it will definitely matter later.

Emotions and Stories: Is your resume attractive to read? Does it tell a compelling, chronological story of your career thus far?


This Year, Resolve to Build Something Better

First published in Insight News, African American newspaper serving Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Source: This year, resolve to build something better

This is an update to an article published a couple of years ago. I stumbled across it and realized a topic like this is timeless. Think about it. What are you building today?

Looking back on this day twelve months ago, what was different? What aspects of your life (career, family, home, finances, fitness level, spiritual depth, musical ability… you name it) are better now because of something specific you did during 2014? What’s worse?

Fast forward to the end of 2015. What do you hope will be different? The best way to ensure that your personal remodel is satisfactory is to oversee the construction yourself. Don’t wait for your ship to come in; if you want something better, build it. This year, resolve to be your own architect.

Things you can build: A house, a car, a sculpture, a family, friendships, career, bank account, roads, bridges, walls, teams, muscle mass, fatty deposits, spiritual understanding, websites, blogs, a following, a brand, a name for yourself…

During 2015, what will you build into your life to make the world around you a better place? What are the pieces you’ll put together to create a foundation? How will you reinforce the framework so the end result will be strong and long lasting?

What are the finishing touches that will say to the world, “Here is something truly valuable? Look! I did this! This matters!”

Building something of quality can be challenging work. Every little pig who ever slapped a few sticks together knows what happens when a wolf shows up at the door. Better to take the time to plan for your own success. If you are thinking of building a better career for yourself, take time to think about what that journey needs to cover. What positions do you need to tackle or what education do you need to get where you want to go in your career? There are no shortcuts. Lay a strong foundation.


April 15th. My last blog post was April 163-days-ago Fifteenth. That was 114 work days ago. That was fsunburstorever ago. I don’t even know where I was on April 15th of 2015. Paying taxes? No, that was earlier. Working? Yes, working with my head down when I received a phone call out of the blue. Kind of out of the blue. Kind of with my head down. You see, I was thinking there had to be something more. Had kind of (that phrase again) settled into a groove: search, source, contact, repeat. Kind of got to the point where I could see things going where they were supposed to go. Kind of missing newness and mostly wondering if what I was doing was meaningful to the greater, I don’t know, universe… So, I kind of applied for a volunteer coordinator position with hospice, which is a thing I have been passionate about consistently over time. Someone called and said, hey, do you want to do this other thing for us, instead of the volunteer thing? Yes, yes, I had always wanted to do that. Was it fate? Or was it faulty vision? I went. I buried myself in something. And now I’m back above ground. A little wiser. A little worn out. And with a longer list of friends, because I met some great people during the last 163 days. Every time you leap, you risk something. Every time you risk something, you gain something, too. Does every risk have rewards? I’d say so.

So, what have you been doing for the last 163 days?


Random collection of Job Search Advice — CareerCloud

via Random collection of Job Search Advice — CareerCloud.

Number Three

“Start. If you have not had to look for work for a long time, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Not everything has changed,” said Julie.

· You still need a resume and it still has to look good; but it will never be printed on a piece of paper, so it doesn’t matter how long it is.

· You still need to apply for positions you are qualified for; this is more important than ever, because companies today have no budget for an “I can learn that” candidate.

· DON’T fill your resume with personality words: hard worker, driven, multi-tasker… who isn’t?

· DO save space for words that describe what you can do: “Developed an application through full SDLC including requirements gathering, design, coding, implementation and user testing.”

· DON’T think you have to rely on the major job boards; your online social profiles will help recruiters and hiring managers find you.

According to Julie, “One thing hasn’t changed. If you want to find a job now, the best thing you can do is network, network, network.”

Submitted by Julie Desmond from George Konik Associates.

via Random collection of Job Search Advice — CareerCloud.

Best Keywords for Your Resume

By Sarah White

It’s hard getting your resume in front of a hiring manager. The economic downturn, coupled with an increase in technology, can make it feel like you are sending your resume into a void, never to hear back. Chances are, there is a hiring manager or recruiter on the other end that is overwhelmed with resumes, scanning them to find keywords that will make them put a resume in the yes pile. The same goes for electronic recruiting systems that scan through resumes, searching for the right words on your resume or CV.

While you can’t read the minds of recruiters – or computer programs for that matter – there are ways to tailor your resume so that a human or bot will pick up on keywords and give your resume a second look. We spoke with a number of people in the tech industry who are experienced with sorting through IT resumes and asked them what keywords catch their eye during the hiring process.


Read the article at:

Disruptive HR: Take a Look at Tomorrow’s Workforce

Tom Gillaspy at Oct MNTRN event

how today’s demographics will shape your organization tomorrow


Thanks to Tom Gillaspy, longtime MN State Demographer, for presenting to the MN Technical Recruiters Network at Health Partners this week.

We are living in unique times, Tom says. Think, global aging which really means a global – yes, global – shortage in the workforce. The shortage comes by way of an unprecedented number of REPLACEMENT openings on top of newly created positions, along with economic growth in developing nations. Does your team have a plan for identifying and attracting talent in history’s most competitive hiring environment?

Continue reading “Disruptive HR: Take a Look at Tomorrow’s Workforce”

Who’s Searching for Work: IT pros or Engineers? Google knows

Are More Searching for IT Jobs or Engineering Jobs in 2014?

Our Internet marketing guy is always telling us that Google has a lot of pretty cool tools to help formulate a business strategy. So when some of us at GKA were we were recently discussing a question that we all clearly didn’t agree on, we decided to check out one of these so called “cool Google tools” to see what it could tell us about our question – and who was right and who was wrong on this particular point (of course).

The Question?

At George Konik Associates, we specialize in staffing and recruiting services for higher-skilled technical jobs in the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul area, Minnesota at large, and Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas as well. In particular, we specialize in recruiting for Architectural, Design/Drafting, Engineering, Information Technology, and Manufacturing positions as a core area of our staffing business.

The question that came up amongst our little group was: Which of these job types do you think more people are searching for right now, and is that different than even a few years ago?

  • Engineering Jobs?
  • CAD Jobs?
  • IT Jobs?
  • Architect jobs? or
  • Manufacturing jobs?

So our Internet marketing guy said he’d take a look for us using a tool called Google Trends. As it turns out, Google Trends can provide some pretty amazing insights on just about any topic that you can think of! And maybe our example of a Google Trends query isn’t really “amazing” – but it did provide us with the answer we were looking for with some pretty compelling data to back it up. So we decided to blog about the results thinking that there are probably a lot of HR recruiters and technical hiring managers and technical job seekers that might find the answer to our question of interest as well. And, the chart was interesting and pretty “cool” all on its own as well!

Go to Google Trends Home Page and type in any word you’re interested in into the Google Trends search bar to try this tool out yourself.

– See more at:


Recharge Your Job Search

The Career Transition Connection at Woodbury Lutheran Church is in its 17th year of Helping People Find New Work!


September 11th – Resume Reviews are performed in the Chapel Room adjacent to the Fireside Room from 5:30PM to 7PM prior to the group meetings. Recruiter Julie Desmond will review your resume and give helpful tips to make sure you stand out in the crowd.


September 11th  – Featured Presentation   Nathan Perez will be presenting; Networking For A Job”.  Nathan Perez is co-author of “The 20 Minute Networking Meeting, How Little Meetings Can Lead To Your Next Big Job”, and founder of 20-Minute Communications, LLC. He is a career consultant who helps job-searching professionals reposition themselves for the Hidden/Invisible Job Market through networking, online presence, resume reconstruction.  We are excited to have Nathan at the CTC for the first time!


September 25th – Mock Interview Sessions with professional recruiters from 5:30PM–6:45PM in the Fireside Room Ashley Kolodzek leads the sessions that are held prior to the 4th calendar Thursday CTC meetings each month. Sessions start promptly at 5:15PM and cover preparation for interviews as well as actual mock interviews.


September 25th   – Featured Presentation  – LaBarre Spence will be presenting; Seizing the Opportunity:  Answering “Walk Me Through Your Resume” with Confidence”. How you respond to this common opening question can make or break your interview.  We’ll cover how to build a great answer. Preparing for this question forms the foundation for the entire interview.  You may even look forward to interviewing. LaBarre is the Associate Director of the Graduate Business Career office at the Opus College of Business at the University of St. Thomas.  He coaches and consults with MBA students and alums.  He has 14 years of experience in career and leadership coaching including 7 years at the Carlson School.  Prior to that he worked in marketing, consulting, training and development and quality.


Reminder that we have a “Career Transition” resource shelf containing reference books related to career development and job searching topics that may be checked out.  This is located in the church’s library on the main level. 


Cookies and coffee will be served.  Everyone is welcome to attend free of charge.  The Career Transition Connection (CTC) meets the second and fourth Thursday’s of each month throughout the year except on Holidays at Woodbury Lutheran Church.

All featured presentation meetings are from 7:00PM until 8:30PM. On the second and fourth Thursday’s of each month,  the forum consists of guest speakers at each meeting who focus on the needs of those in transition.  Each meeting also allows time for networking, sharing success stories and general Q&A.

The goal of the CTC @ WLC is to reach out for support to those people in career transition or thinking of transitioning in a Christian support environment.

For more information, feel free to contact Woodbury Lutheran Church directly at 651-739-5144.

Woodbury Lutheran Church is located at 7380 Afton Road in Woodbury, MN. 55125.

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Member of:          International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS)