8 Red Flags employers see on your resume’

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Thank you to Jessie Liu from THEJOBNETWORK.COM for this. Jessie is a career advice journalist who investigates and writes about current strategies, tips and trending topics related to all stages of one’s career. Her entire article may be accessed via THEJOBNETWORK.COM. After reading the article, I ask these question:

  1. Why does your resume get recycled with the first five minutes?
  2. Is your resume too flashy?
  3. Is your email address NOT professional?
  4. Does your resume contain spelling and diagrammatic errors?
  5. Do you omit dates – causing suspicion?
  6. Is your information outdated?
  7. Have you changed jobs frequently?
  8. Do you use bullet points?

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Take advantage of the power of a great story

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From the National School Public Relations Association — of which I have been a long-time member — comes this information about story telling and its value:

  • Stories create trust
  • We pay more attention to a story
  • We connect stories to our own lives
  • Stories break down walls of misunderstanding
  • Stories help parents identify with a school’s challenges and solutions
  • Haring stories with your staff reinforces values and school culture.

Visit www.nspra.org for much more information and the opportunity to become a member.

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Landing your next promotion

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These suggestions come from CareerBuilder.com and Deanna Hartley

  • Start the conversation before even accepting a job
  • Have career-development discussions
  • Make the most of your performance review
  • Be prepared to show your expanding skills and value

Visit careerbuilding.com for details and many more suggestions.

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From NSPRA – Tips to help staff connect with more parents

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From the National School Public Relations Associations comes these suggestions:

  • Hold an in-service training session on working with single parents
  • Work with your staff to schedule parent meetings and parent-teacher conferences at times convenient to parents
  • Insist that all staff practice good customer service
  • Encourage staff to give parents a chance to offer comments and ask questions when they communicate with them

Visit www.nspra.org for much more information and the opportunity to become a member.

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A potpourri – From ‘USA Today’

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Some “USA Snapshots” from USA Today. It gets full credit.

  • 41 percent of Americans cannot tell the difference between secure and unsecured Wi-Fi, but still take questionable actions (Norton by Symantec survey of 1,002 consumer
  • One in 14 computer users fall for phishing — being tricked into following a link or opening an attachment (Verizon’s 2017 Data Breach Investigation Report)
  • Lower pay, higher happiness: Almost half would be willing to take at least a 10 percent pay cut to work at a job they are more interested in and passionate about (Jobvite survey of 2,287 U.S. adults)

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Making your resume ATS (applicant tracking system) – friendly

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BY MATT TARPEY (From the Courier-Post – Sunday, July 16, 2017)


When looking for candidates to potentially fill an open position, the majority of employers use something called an applicant tracking system (ATS) to find, collect, organize and screen all of the applications they receive. This means your resume will likely need to pass through an ATS before ever reaching human eyes.

Here are a few essential tips to make sure your resume is ATS-friendly.

Simplify contact information 

Many job seekers are so focused on the professional information included in their resumes that they overlook even more basic information – their contact info. When optimizing your resume for an ATS, make sure that the system will have no problem identifying your name, email address and phone number.

“Do not put your point of contact information in the headers – some…ATS software doesn’t know where to put this information when they convert the resume from the Word doc. (or PDF) into a ’text’ parsing into their database,” says Dawn Boyer, CEO of Boyer Consulting. “Many ATSs will simply dump the headerand footer because the system doesn’t know where to put header info. It also takes up way too much white space and page space on pages two and three (or four).”

Use keywords

ATSs are continually growing in sophistication, but keyword identification will always be an essential component.

Employers don’t have time to carefully read every single resume they receive, and keywords help them quickly identify resumes that deserve a closer look.

“Recruiters and hiring managers are busy and many rely on applicant tracking systems or databases to search through resumes based on Boolean searching,” says Sarah Connors, principal staffing manager at recruiting firm WinterWyman.

“You might think it’s obvious that as a salesperson you cold called companies, closed deals, followed up and so forth. However, if those tasks aren’t listed on your resume, companies might assume you haven’t done them. Moreover, you won’t come up in recruiters’ keyword searches.”

Wendi M. Weiner, an attorney, certified executive resume writer and career coach, suggests using the employer’s description of the open position to identify keywords you should be using.

“Look to the job posting and highlight the keywords that stand out and include those keywords in your resume,” says Weiner. “At the same time, avoid keyword stuffing, which means just throwing in as many keywords as possible, including ones that maynot match your skill set.”

Use simple formatting

While you might think that a unique or unusual resume layout will help it stand out from the pack, it may actually make your resume more difficult for an ATS to make sense of, and hurt your chances of getting hired.

“Applicant tracking systems cannot decipher graphs,

charts, columns or even text boxes. Therefore, make sure your resume does not contain those items,” says Weiner.

Use a standard font

Even the font you choose can impact the ATS’s ability to read your resume, so stick with a very basic, standard font.

“Use one font throughout the resume – preferably a font that easily converts to text in the parsing process,” says Boyer. “I recommend Arial or Times New Roman, but as a recruiter, my preference is Arial on the original resume.”

“Plainer [font] eliminates issues with the parsing engine and makes it easier for the recruiter to read the important parts without the visual interference,” adds Boyer.

Complete the application 

Some online application processes require you to manually enter some information that may also appear on your resume. While this may seem unnecessary or redundant, do not skip over these steps.

“When filling out online applications, make sure to complete all portions of online submission forms,” says Valerie Streif, senior advisor at The Mentat. “Answer all the filtering questions thoroughly and don’t leave anything blank. The ATS could automatically eliminate resumes that leave portions of the forms blank, guaranteeing that your resume won’t be seen by any live human.”

Matt Tarpey is a writer for the Advice & Resources section on CareerBuilder.com. He researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

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Recovering from a bad interview

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CareerBuilder.com’s Sarah Sipek writes in detail about interview follow-ups.  Look for the entire article online or visit the Courier-Post Sunday, July 9 edition, page 16 C. In addition, http://larrylitwin.com/handouts.html contains many “handouts” on resumes and interview techniques.

Here are Sipek’s key points:

  • Send a thank-you note
  • Ask for a second chance
  • Don’t grovel
  • Reflect
  • Conduct mock interviews (practice practice practice

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Henry Clay Eulogy

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Read by Larry Litwin on behalf of the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association at Henry Clay’s funeral on July 7.

First I’d like to acknowledge your late pastor Reverend Britt Stargell. I miss his advice, counsel and friendship.

When I got the call last Saturday, the news of Henry’s passing hit me like a brick. I couldn’t sleep Saturday night. Like all of you, I am broken hearted. BUT, I am an optimist and continue to be – because Henry is in a better place.

Where do I start? How about at the beginning…when we first met – where else, but in a press box? This one…during a Phillies’ game at the Vet.

What kind of person was Henry Clay? Let me read from an email colleague Phil Neuman sent me soon after hearing of Henry’s passing: Phil speaks for many of us…

        “This IS sad news,” wrote Phil. He said Henry was very good to him…especially when he first started in Philly back in the mid-80s. It was Henry who showed Phil how things worked in South Philly…little things like where to plug in his microphone during post-game news conferences and what rooms were used for other interviews.

        Phil remembers there were a number of times he had problems…a broken tape recorder or his microphone went bad … or he may have missed an interview because he was interviewing someone else. He said Henry would hang around and make sure Phil had what he needed…all stuff he didn’t HAVE to do….but just helped out anyway. Phil speaks for all of us when he says…Henry WILL be missed by plenty of people.

        My early memories of Henry are similar. While Phil met Henry in the 80s, I go back even further – to the late 70s. A few years later, I was one of his sponsors to join the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. His membership goes back nearly four decades. I will miss Henry because of his regular emails – containing information about Philadelphia media…and the Sports Writers Association.

        Before the days of email, it would be a Henry Clay phone call…just to assure I was in the know and wasn’t caught by surprise when changes were happening in radio, TV or in print.

Here are a couple of recent examples:

  • He was the first to tell me about the Philly Journalism Institute getting millions in new donations assuring The Inquirer would be around for years.
  • He wrote a mail telling me to “Be careful with PayPal. There’s a scam going on and HE – Henry, didn’t want the Sports Writers to lose any money because of the scam.
  • He wrote about Dawn Staley – South Carolina’s women’s basketball coach: He suggested, she’s got to be at next year’s banquet. Wrote Henry: I nominate Dawn Staley who just added another chapter in her unbelievable life as a basketball player, leading the South Carolina Lady Gamecocks to their first NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. Getting her here will be difficult, he said, as they will be in the middle of conference play again. Just a thought, he said, she will be coaching in the USBA Basketball Season, this summer, but, she always comes into Philly for a girl’s summer league game no matter what she is doing. Maybe if she were chosen for the award, the presentation and speech could be pre-taped and shown at the banquet. If, she could be flown up here the night of the banquet and right back, I would think the ticket sales she would generate would offset a major part of the cost.
  • That was Henry – always thinking – not about himself – but of others.
  • He would mail me or call when one of the Sports Writers previous award winners was a guest on ESPN or another channel – or was interviewed on the radio and mentioned the Sports Writers Association and was among the first to call me when our colleague Frank Bertucci passed away unexpectedly. Henry would always say, “I just want to be sure YOU know so you can mass mail all the members.”
  • And: almost monthly, Henry would email me the Philadelphia radio ratings just so I could stay on top of the industry we love so much.

Henry – whose 73rd birthday would have been Aug. 19th –  spent years covering Philly sports…and thinking back to Phil Neuman’s experience…and mine, too, he certainly touched a lot of people – the athletes, writers and students who wanted to do what Henry did – cover the games we grew up playing and watching. There is no doubt in my mind, Henry – who faced personal challenges over years…as did many of us…  made a difference in this world and helped make it a better place for all of us. As we who are Jewish say of those who have passed: May Henry Clay forever be a BLESSED Memory.

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Firework safety tips

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  1. Do not allow children to light fireworks, even sparklers, without parental supervision.
  2. Do not allow young children to handle sparklers at all — certainly not those younger than 5, says Jefferson Hospital surgeon Randall W. Culp.
  3. Do not pick up firework debris. It might still go off.
  4. Avoid buying fireworks wrapped in brown paper. That often means they were made for professional displays, and are unsafe for regular consumers.
  5. Never position any part of your body over fireworks when lighting the fuse. Light them one at a time, then retreat to asafe distance immediately after lighting.
  6. Never point or throw fireworks at anyone.
  7. Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy to cool off used devices.
  8. Never shoot fireworks while holding them in your hand, or in metal or glass containers.

Sources: Consumer Product Safety Commission; Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

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Personal Finance — Some tips to help

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(From USA Today on Sunday, June 25, 2017)

From Robert Powell who suggests, “If you have to go it alone, use these tips to help you get started.” (See USA Today for full article.)

  • Knowledge is power
  • Build a budget
  • Set goals
  • Save as much as you can, as early as you can
  • Maximize the benefits you already have
  • Work with an adviser
  • (Powell is editor of Retirement Weekly and contributes regularly to USA Today.)

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