Where Resumes and Job Ads Don’t Match

One of the most basic parameters for creating a resume that attracts attention and passes the Applicant Tracking System is  a match between the requirements listed in the job posting and those on a resume.

LiveCareer analyzed several thousand resumes and job openings in 12 career areas, about one quarter of all job categories, to find where applicants claims don’t match the needs of the employers.  They found several gaps that are easily plugged.

Increasingly, soft skills are important to companies hiring.  Soft skills are communication, customer service and so on. Other gaps between desired  qualities and offered skills found by hiring managers are in multitasking, knowledge of retail industry, teamwork, and a positive attitude.

These asks make up one quarter to one half of those listed as necessary but don’t make it onto most resumes.  Job posting typically ask for over 20 items,  resumes claim, on average, 13.  It is easy to put relevant experience with examples into a resume matching the words used by the hiring party.

If you want to get your resume to the person who will decide to interview you, take time to match the requirements to your skills, 1:1.  Have qualifiers ready to prove your ability to meet expectations.  Don’t bother to include things like budgeting, time management or use of Microsoft Word, or anything else not asked for.  The ATS looks for the words the hiring manager tells it to look for and will skip over anything else.

Bring me your job posting and your experience and we’ll craft a resume that passes the ATS and makes it to the hiring manager.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679/



Take Foreign Language In High School

American students are at a great disadvantage in the job market because little emphasis is  placed on learning the languages our trading and business partners speak.  In many countries students have opportunities to learn three or four languages in addition to their own.  Yes, many also learn English but that isn’t a good reason for our students to avoid exposure to other cultures and achievements through their literature and language.

Learning a second or third language is brilliant brain training.    Research on the brain shows that learning languages makes us smarter overall. We write more forcefully, read with better comprehension, develop higher math skills, and increase the ability to focus.

Starting in 9th grade I was required to learn Latin.  I was a miserable Latin student but I learned much about structure and organization that I applied to reading and writing in English.  It was a wonderful, if somewhat painful, way to grow in critical thinking.

Travel to far flung parts of the world helps us see people in the the environment they have created for themselves.  Unless one is able to spend months and years settling in, a travel experience is like an Instagram post.  Learning the language allows us to read the literature that will give depth and breadth to their history, passions, angst, joy, aspirations, how they think and make decisions.  To understand, one must dig deep, not just wave while passing through.  We need to be able to answer two questions: What is it like to be a _______________?  What is it like to live in _________________?

Without language we lose the ability to connect to new people and make them partners.  How can we know what we share if we can’t ask or answer?  This is where being monolingual creates our disadvantage.  Sure, our potential partners may speak English.  Isn’t it disrespectful to not make the effort to reciprocate?  Would you continue to invite someone to your home or parties if they came but never invited you back?  If we want to continue to be part of the global feast we must be good guests and good hosts.

Why argue for studying languages in high school?  As you acquire languages, each one becomes easier to learn.

Equally important is the change in college language departments: they are disappearing.  Fewer students take any language and fewer still major in one.  Budget cuts are made by eliminating shrinking departments so at many colleges foreign language may be dropped. Despite increasing globalization and the need to hire people with language skills, we are losing the opportunity to claim a language distinction in the job market.

Looking for colleges with strong language programs that sync with your intended career journey?  Let me help!  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

PS A recent survey of PhDs in languages found that 50% earn $65,000 to $100,000; half of those earn $80,000 or more.



Curious About MIT?

Daan Mulder
Daan Mulder, studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Several things come to mind:

  • The professor you’ve just casually chatted with and asked about his/her research is actually a Nobel prize winner.
  • Everyone talks in code and it seems to make perfect sense: I’ll see you at E52; I’m taking 780 from course 15.
  • We complain that we should have gone to an easy college, like Harvard.
  • We constantly reference IHTFP (“I hate this f***ing place”) while secretly love every second here.
  • The institute is taken seriously by almost everyone. When we send emails from the MIT domain name (name@mit.edu) answer is almost always guaranteed.
  • You constantly feel inadequate by the level of the people around you (at orientation they even point out that it’s perfectly normal to have the “imposter syndrome”, i.e., feeling like you were admitted by mistake, as clearly you don’t feel like you deserve to be here with these people).
  • Sending an email to a wide distribution list saying “there is food left at [location]” and within seconds a swarm of hungry mouths descend, devour, and leave.
  • Playing with the beaver is totally not a sexual thing.

PS – sorry if this sounds like humblebrag. We’re really not full of ourselves here 🙂


ONE More comment from me: the most popular minor at MIT is music!

If MIT isn’t in your future, we can build a list of great colleges where you will thrive. stephanie@accessguidance.com pr 610-212-6679.

Student-Written Counselor Recommendations

I recently learned that in many high schools students are told to write the recommendation or to tell the counselor what to write then to edit the document.

If this is the policy in the high school you attend you will need to know what the admissions office wants to read in the recommendation.

Every part of your application should contain different information.  For instance, don’t write your essay about the most important thing on your activities list.  That is covered already.  Write about something the reader can’t find elsewhere.

That principle applies to the counselor rec, too.  Write about things you care about that are outside of school-organizations, events, awards.  Include details that show executive skills like your reaction to failure (did you get extra help?); persistence when challenged (use an anecdote); critical thinking you’ve applied to projects; ways in which you’ve helped a person, club, or class outside of a leadership role or mandated volunteering.

You can add the WHY to information on your record.

Do you have a perfect attendance record?  That will show up on your transcript but the reader won’t know that you came to school everyday because you didn’t want to miss learning even one thing unless you tell them.

Did you join the modern dance club although you don’t like dancing because your best friend wanted to join but was afraid he/she would look stupid so you joined for moral support?

One way to prep for this task, ask 3 family members, 3 good friends and 3 acquaintances how they would describe you or what they see as your best qualities.  Ask for examples.

Even if you write the recommendation, its possible that the counselor will only use it a background information.  If you put in the work you will have a good chance of sending the colleges an accurate snapshot of who you are.

If you are asked to write the recommendation, I can help you gather and organize the information.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.





Cheap Apps For Career Advancement

We all need help with some aspect of our business life.  Just handling incoming email can be a challenge.  Here are a few apps, free or inexpensive ones, that will help you take your career to the next level. Students, take note, these can help you, too.

When you must give a presentation or are prepping for a job interview, use UMMO to up your game.  Record what you plan to say and get an immediate response.  Great for ditching the place holders, like, you know, um, uh. Whatever.

Network like crazy with Whova.  Before you attend a networking event, conference or professional gathering, find out who will be there so you are prepped to talk to those most influential or interesting.  There is also a feature to post job openings or perhaps the one you’re looking for.

Find golden opportunities with Golden, the app for volunteer opportunities.  One of the best ways to network and connect to potential jobs is to volunteer with others who share your interests.  Employers hire those they know or who are referred by people they know. Learn new skills and do some good for others as well as for yourself.

Another great way to make an impression is by giving outstanding presentations.  Prezi is an app that allows you to create interactive events that will WOW your audience.  You never know who will be watching!

Time saver app SLASH allows you to share content across devices and media without changing apps.  Type  /  to send almost any content almost anywhere.

LinkedIn Lookup allows you to get the skinny on people in your company.  When you need someone with particular skills,titles or background, find them through LinkedIn.

Become the Meeting Maven with Solid, the app that helps you organize, invite, create agendas for and keep records of, all your, meetings, one-off and recurring.  Earn kudos for your organizational skills!

With all the new responsibilities you will now have you need Timely to organize your schedule and give you reports on your to-do and done-it lists.

What Goes Into The Additional Info Section?

What should I include in the ‘Additional information’ section of the Common Application?

Keep in mind that the people who read applications have a case load of 1000 or more and may read 50+ applications during a weekend. Less is more when deciding what to include.

Additional information should be material that isn’t anywhere else on your application or adds insight into why an activity or event had meaning for you.

Depending on what a college has asked to see you can upload a well-crafted resume (get help with this!), portfolio, a graded paper, links to a brief recording of a recital, the link to your Zeemee account.

The format for your resume, activities list and additional information should follow STAR.

Situation (or activity, club), Task (what you tried to accomplish such as being membership chair), Action (promoted club activities and sign ups), Result (increased membership by 25%).


Websites for College Detectives

The preoccupation of juniors outside of school, is developing their college application list.  For most families there is a discouraging overabundance of facts, figures, brochures, even recruitment phone calls from current students. The  information can be overwhelming not to mention the opinions of relatives and friends.

Here are some websites where you can find useful information without scouring the cyber universe.

Search for Colleges        https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org

You will find lists of colleges by location, major, selectivity, cost and more.  Easy to use and search can be saved.

Tour the Campus in your PJs       https://campustours.com

Lots of good info here starting with the number of students, admission stats, type of college and other details.  Virtual tours, maps of campus so you can find the admissions office if you go in person, videos and unscripted interviews make this a top resource.

Can I Get In?        https://collegeraptor.com

Not only does College Raptor generate lists based on student profiles and performance but they also estimate your chances of admission.  There are many factors that enter into holistic admission reviews; Raptor looks at academic background only.  The prediction is useful only in helping a student balance the college application list.  Too many colleges in the Reach category may reduce chances of admission to any of the choices.  Too many colleges in the Likely Admit range may send a student to a college without enough challenge.

A solid college list has options in the Likely admit, Target and Reach categories.  All colleges will be ones that the student will be happy to attend if admitted.

Listmania             https;//diycollegerankings.com

Looking for colleges that superscore the SAT?  Meet at least 50% of need?  Have a Kosher kitchen?  Start here!   Most of the lists are free. Skip the lists that ask for payment; if you subscribe to the newsletter you may get that information anyway.  Check the blog, too.


Whether  you are working on your preliminary list, choosing colleges to visit or finalizing the ones you will apply to, I can help.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.








What is the best way to negotiate a higher salary during the initial phone call job offer?

Here is good advice on salary negotiations.  In an initial screening interview it is unlikely that the interviewer will pursue your salary requirements, it is possible.

From Quora Digest

What is the best way to negotiate a higher salary during the initial phone call job offer?

Daniel Burgin
Daniel Burgin, studied at Stephen F. Austin State University

This is a bit of an art form. But the rules are simple. Whoever speaks a number first, loses. Typically a hiring manager or HR representative will ask a question like:

“What are your salary requirements?”

Don’t answer this question with a number or that will be your salary offer, or very close. Instead, answer with reasons why you can’t give them a number. It’s best to have different ways to say the same thing – which bluntly is “are you kidding? I’m not giving you a number” but are much more respectful than that. Here are some example answers that contain no actual salary numbers.

“Well, it’s hard to answer this question as many things factor into that answer. For instance, what is the full benefits package? Is there a bonus structure and how likely will it be to attain most of it? What is the vacation accrual schedule? You know, things like that.”

Then when they ask again, “yeah well just tell me what you made in your last position.”

Again, don’t answer with a number. Say something like:

“Well, I took a pay cut at that role because it was a horizontal move into a position that was new to me, but I wanted the experience. Now that I have 5 years of experience, I feel like I need to assess what the market pays for an experienced person in that role. I feel confident I am among the best skilled people in this role so I feel sharing past salary info is misleading for where I am now.”

Then ask your own question:

“What is your salary budget for this role?” And then be quiet.

Most hiring managers or IT folks won’t answer this, but what you want them to do is make an offer in writing for you to discuss with your partner, or spouse, or mentors (as the case may be) and so you can assess the entire offer, not just the salary.

If you are disciplined and don’t answer any question about salary with a number, you will almost always come out on top. The pressure to give them a number might be high, but respectfully declining and answering with thoughtful answers (not a number) like above, will usually yield the highest dollar amount they can offer you or something close. If they go to the trouble to write you an offer, they want you, so why not force them to pay you what they think it will take to get you, rather than some lower salary amount you just happen to tell them you would settle for by saying a number.

Good luck.

There are many other ways to deflect the salary query.   Lets practice answering salary questions before your interview!  For an appointment contact me at 610-212-6679 or stephanei@accessguidance.com.

Advantages Of Study Abroad For Professionals and Students

Study abroad isn’t just for college students.  Exposure to new ways of thinking and problem solving can  help working people  rejuvenate their career and take it to the next level. Travel is a type of professional development that keeps on giving long after returning to your home base.

Start with a plan including both goals and intended outcomes,  personal and professional. Search for programs that match your needs and that you will be able to propose to your company with confidence.  Individuals who are thinking about a career pivot can use study abroad to acquire experience in their new field.

Investigate programs from universities, corporations, research organizations, NGOs, governments or non-profits that  offer opportunities to practice what you already do in another culture or environment.  Find one that allows you to expand your competencies or take on additional roles so that you grow in new directions.  Push the edges of your comfort zone.

Study abroad could also be study away.  Consider the benefits of working in a native American reservation, inner city or under-served rural area.  If you work for a large corporation, can you translate what you do into assistance to a start-up?  Perhaps your sabbatical aligns with your employer’s mission or personal passion, giving  you leverage in getting them on board.

To be effective, you will have to learn new customs and possibly a new language.  If you can reside in a local community or rent a room from a family  your understanding of  the local culture and language will develop quickly.  A bonus to these challenges is that they keep the brain supple and out of ruts.  For many, they also lead to new passions and directions and higher value in the workforce.

When you return, you will want to include your experiences on your resume and be prepared to talk about them in the same way you highlight other professional development.  Perhaps you’ve become proficient at bargaining in the marketplace and can transfer that to negotiations.  The place for this item in in your Skills section.

Prepare anecdotes that link your challenges abroad to those in your current company or the one you are targeting.  Keep them brief and on point.  Highlight one in your cover letter and save others for an interview.

From initial light bulb moment to the hand shake at the end of an interview, travel and work in a new environment makes you an interesting person, one who is willing to take a risk, accept a challenge in order to grow.

Let me help you craft a proposal for your sojourn abroad to present to you company.  When you return we will draft a new resume that includes the highlights of your expanded abilities.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.