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Mastering the Art of Résumé Writing: Take Control of Your Future

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With stiff competition at every corner, finding a job is a daunting process. To increase your chances of being selected, you should understand the hiring funnel. Here’s a quick breakdown of the typical online job posting:

  • 1,000 individuals will see a job post;
  • 200 will begin the application process;
  • 100 will complete the application process;
  • 75 of those 100 will be screened out by either the applicant tracking system (ATS) or a recruiter;
  • 25 résumés will be seen by a hiring manager;
  • four to six will be invited for an interview;
  • one to three of them will be invited back for a final interview;
  • one will be offered the job, and 80 percent of those receiving an offer will accept it.

With odds like these, how can anyone stand out? For starters, make sure you’ve reviewed your résumé. Eliminating common mistakes is the first viable step to getting noticed … and in a good way!

Common sumé Mistakes

The quickest way to put yourself out of the hiring funnel is having misspelled words on your résumé. While the interview will land you the job, the résumé gets you in the door. It’s your chance to make a first impression, so don’t screw it up with easy-to-correct errors. Proofread, proofread, proofread and for goodness’ sake, proofread!

Have someone else look over your résumé to catch any errors you might have missed. (Remember: Computer spell-check functions don’t catch everything.) For college students, utilize the career services center, as its staff members are there to help you. For everyone else, ask a friend, family member, mentor or colleague. Mistakes are a direct reflection of you and your personal brand. Don’t let your first impression also be your last.

With regards to formatting, the rule of the one-page résumé is gone. The important thing to consider is whether your skills are reflected accurately. That said, your résumé isn’t meant to be an essay, so don’t go over two pages. Be sure to use action words and sentences to best reflect your abilities, but if you think it’s not necessary, leave it off. Fluff equals clutter.

For certain individuals, the résumé has evolved into a more creative space. Formatting parameters are usually based on preference, but consider the job for which you are applying. A résumé for a graphic designer will look significantly different than one for an entry-level financial position.

Outside of misspellings and formatting errors, having an objective that doesn’t match the job for which you are applying could cause you to be filed under “undesirable.” Rather than including an objective, list your key expertise and skills. Remember that a résumé is a marketing tool to sell yourself, so be realistic about what you can do and showcase that in the most appropriate light.

A final rule: If you cannot recall the details of a particular situation, leave it off. Assume you will be asked, so if you have nothing to recall, not only would you look unprepared, but devalued. Further regarding details, be sure to quantify and qualify. For instance, rather than writing “Process Accounts Payable,” use “Responsible for $1M in payables monthly.” Your credibility increases simply by adding a measurable value.

Demand Attention

With an abundance of résumés floating around, yours is just another piece of paper to add to the stack, unless you can demand attention. During any given week, 427,000 résumés can be found on the popular job site Monster. In order to garner attention from a recruiter, you will have to find a game changer. Here are a couple tips and tricks to creating a more appealing résumé:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Accentuate your accomplishments.
  • Show progression.
  • Provide empirical data to support your successes.
  • Don’t just say you want to succeed; show how you will.

One strategy I have found to set candidates apart is having a personal website. This nontraditional method grabs attention, and is a creative way to showcase your abilities. Having a unique identifier can give you an edge over the competition, but in some instances, a website may not appropriate for the job.

What’s the Take on Cover Letters?

A good rule of thumb for cover letters is to determine if the company you’re applying at requires one. If it doesn’t, don’t. While some argue that a cover letter is an opportunity to frame your candidacy for the employer and expand upon your interest in the position, it may do more harm than good. Your résumé should reflect enough of your skill set to set you apart. Usually, a cover letter is more fluff than concrete information, and fluff doesn’t hold near as much value.

However, if you must submit a cover letter, it should tell why you are excited about the position. Indicate why you are best for the role, especially if it is not readily apparent from your past experiences. And above all, keep it short.

Writing a résumé is an art. Take these dos and don’ts, apply them and become the master of your fate. A few simple changes could mean the difference between simply being a candidate or becoming a new hire.


Tiffany McGowen

by Tiffany McGowen


Author Bio: Tiffany McGowen, Paycom’s national director of recruiting, is responsible for the oversight of staffing corporate headquarters and growing the nationwide sales force. She has more than 10 years of recruiting experience, ranging from executive-level talent to interns, with a specialty in sales professionals. Passionate about motivation, McGowen is constantly on a coast-to-coast hunt for the best and brightest talent in every market.

5 Leadership Lessons from History

5 Leadership Lessons From Crossing the Delaware

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Leadership Lessons From History

Several years ago in a meeting, we were asked to share the name of the best leadership book we’d read in the past year. My colleagues suggested books by Maxwell, Gladwell and Collins, yet my mind went directly to the historical account of General George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in 1776, depicted in “To Try Men’s Souls” by Newt Gingrich.

You may remember the story from high school history class. In December 1776 during the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army was demoralized and on the run. Christmas night, while camped along the Delaware River, Washington realized that their only chance to win – or even to survive – was to attack the British at Trenton.

It wasn’t evident at the time of course, but historians now consider the events of that evening and the next morning as the turning point of the Revolutionary War. As we study Washington’s decision-making during these extraordinary circumstances, five leadership lessons emerge.

1. Heroes Exist in the Unlikeliest of Places

Henry Knox served as Washington’s chief artillery officer, and before the war, Knox managed a bookstore.

According the Washington, Knox’s efforts made the attack on Trenton possible. As a devastating blizzard engulfed the area late on Christmas night, the river seemed impassable. Knox coordinated efforts to load the army’s few remaining artillery pieces onto the creaky flatboats and to navigate the ice-choked river. Once across, it was his leadership that allowed men to transport heavy machinery up and down the icy hills in the midst of an historic blizzard.

Washington later said he was stunned by Knox’s confidence and impressed by the routine, matter-of-fact way Knox explained his plan. He had horses drag artillery pieces up frozen hills in the middle of a snowstorm, in the dark, using malnourished and barefoot soldiers, yet Knox made it seem like an ordinary, routine event.

Like eagles, leaders don’t flock together. You most often find them one at a time, and sometimes a bookseller helps you win a war.

2. Hold Steady in the Face of the “But Sirs”

Once Washington made his decision to cross the Delaware and attack, he never wavered. As soon as the order was disseminated through the ranks, leaders were hit with a barrage of “but sirs.”

• “But sir, the river is filled with ice.”
• “But sir, these boats weren’t designed to transport cannons.”
• “But sir, my men haven’t eaten in three days, they won’t survive the march.”
• “But sir, the British are well-rested and well-fed, what chance do we have in battle?”

But sir, but sir, but sir. As a leader, how often do you deal with resistance to a tough decision? Washington responded by increasing the level of communication so that everyone had better understanding of his decisions, as illustrated in this brief aside to his officers:

“If we do not win soon, there will be no army left. When there is no army left, the rebellion will be over. When the rebellion is over, we will all be hung. Therefore we have little to lose.”

3. Frequently Communicating Vision is a Necessity

Washington didn’t say it just once, he repeated himself over and over, up and down the line of soldiers. The vision: Cross the river, move the artillery and cross Jacob’s Creek. In twelve hours.

Did everyone agree with his plan? Hardly. Did they execute the mission? Definitely.

4. Be Visible

A Continental soldier’s diary recounts that for every mile he covered, General Washington probably covered twelve. Riding back and forth, checking on the front line, then crossing the creek to check on the men at the back of the line, then back to the front again. The soldiers knew their leader was invested and that he was fighting right by their side.

A good rule-of-thumb for leaders: the tougher the mission, the higher the visibility.

5. Leaders Aren’t Called to Do Their Best

Washington knew this leadership secret better than anyone. He knew that most of his men’s enlistments expired in a week and that he was outmanned and outgunned. He knew that their only chance of survival was to attack and win at Trenton. Everything else was irrelevant.

It didn’t matter that the river was filled with ice, or that half his men had no shoes and hadn’t eaten in days. The boat boarding passcode that night was “Victory or Death.” This is what Washington believed and it was how he led his army. He knew that as leaders, we are not called to do our best – we are called to do what is required.

Washington’s army went on to win the battle at Trenton, and to win again at Princeton. The momentum of those wins turned the war in their favor, eventually leading to American independence fifteen years later. And I believe the momentum truly began with the perseverance of one man, directing his forces to victory through a blinding snowstorm.

Nearly two hundred fifty years later, General Washington’s leadership lessons are as valuable today as they were that snowy night on the banks of the Delaware River.

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Posted in Blog, Featured, In the News, Leadership

Jim Quillen

by Jim Quillen


Author Bio: As director of business intelligence at Paycom, Jim Quillen is responsible for a team of analysts, survey professionals and product strategists who handle reporting, analysis, client feedback and internal product development. Quillen, a CPA by training, has worked in many fields during his career, including finance, auditing, recruiting, sales, business development and software implementation. Prior to his current role, Quillen has served Paycom as the director of new client implementation and director of recruiting.

ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

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ACA Awaits Repeal or Repair

After his electoral win in November, President Donald Trump, buoyed by Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, vowed to act quickly to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Pres. Trump has now been in office for a month, and Republicans have not yet voted to repeal the ACA, and have not agreed upon a potential replacement, leaving the date of “repeal and replace” somewhere in the uncertain future. stethoscope

Early strategies

When the current Congress convened in January, it moved quickly to begin the “repeal” portion of “repeal and replace” by passing a budget resolution. Because the GOP does not have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and cannot count on votes from Democrats to repeal the ACA, Republicans have decided to utilize a procedure known as budget reconciliation to dismantle it.

By using this procedure, Congress can pass a bill to repeal the ACA with a simple majority in the Senate. The reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution directed various committees to come up with proposals to repeal the ACA and submit them to the budget committees of the House and Senate. The reconciliation proposals would then be crafted into a bill by the budget committees, and the reconciliation bill would then need to pass both the House and the Senate before being signed by the President.

Potential outcomes

However, the provisions of the bill passed this way must target elements of the ACA that have a federal budgetary effect. Therefore, the ACA provisions that allow children to stay on their parents’ insurance through age 26 and the requirement that insurers cover preexisting conditions could not be eliminated using this procedure. Nor could the individual and employer mandates be eliminated in this way, but the amounts of the penalties could be reduced to zero, eliminating them in all but name.

Repeal or repair?

Republicans originally called for reconciliation proposals to be submitted to the budget committees by January 27, but that date has come and gone. Congressional Republicans continue to work on “repeal and replace,” but many of them have begun talking about “repair” of the ACA, rather than repeal, as they recognize the difficulty of legislating in this area.

In an interview with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly on February 5, President Trump said that replacement could take until 2018.

O’Reilly asked “Can Americans in 2017 expect a new health care plan rolled out by the Trump administration this year?”

Trump responded, “We’re going to be putting it [the new healthcare plan] in fairly soon, I think that … by the end of the year at least the rudiments but we should have something within the year and the following year.”

Employer mandates remain in place

One thing that has become clear during the first month of the Trump presidency is that repealing the ACA is a much tougher prospect than many had thought. Despite the uncertainty with regard to the long-term future of the ACA, the current reality is that the ACA and the employer mandate remain the law of the land, and employers should continue to comply with the law’s requirements. Applicable Large Employers should file IRS Forms 1094 and 1095 no later than the March 31 if filing electronically, or February 28, if filing paper forms. Forms 1095-C must be furnished to employees no later than March 2. Large employers should continue to comply with the employer mandate, measure their full-time employees, and offer minimum essential coverage providing minimum value to those employees and their dependents.

Paycom will continue to monitor executive and Congressional action regarding the ACA closely and stands ready to help our clients maintain compliance.

 

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Posted in ACA, Blog, Compliance, Featured

Erin Maxwell

by Erin Maxwell


Author Bio: As a compliance attorney for Paycom, Erin Maxwell monitors legal and regulatory changes at the state and federal level, focusing on health and employee benefits laws, to ensure the Paycom system is updated accordingly. She previously served as assistant general counsel at Asset Servicing Group in Oklahoma City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma and a J.D. from the University of Oklahoma. Outside of work, Maxwell enjoys politics, historical mysteries and spending time with her family.

Learning Management Systems 101: Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

Learning Management Systems 101: Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

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Learning Management Systems 101: Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

Learning Management Systems 101 is a weekly blog series exploring how employers can rethink traditional employee training and move toward e-learning solutions, which are faster, easier to access, and more cost effective. Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training is the second post of the series.

 Rethinking Your Approach to Employee Training

Employers who understand that training is a vital contributor to organizational growth are continuously challenged to deliver training that is practical for the company and beneficial to employees. Consequently, there is a need for employers to rethink how knowledge is delivered, accessed and shared across the organization. Here are six factors to consider.

  1. Training Should Align with a Direct Business Need

Training will not solve job performance problems if the real issue lies elsewhere – such as employee motivation, compensation systems or job design. For training to work, there needs to be an association between the training itself and the reason for the training.

Learn more about how to propel your business growth through employee learning.

For example, a banking sales representative may have superb selling skills but poor product knowledge. Through appropriate product knowledge training, he or she may achieve a good balance of product knowledge and selling skills.

Therefore, it is important to perform a detailed analysis of the issue before leveraging training as the solution.

  1. Organizations Are Progressively Adopting Online Training

Classroom-based (traditional) training can be impractical and expensive for employers to implement. Among other things, there are instructor costs, venue costs and course material costs to consider with traditional training. For these reasons, more and more employers are turning to e-learning (online learning) solutions.

Workflow Friendly

According to a study by Brandon Hall Group, it typically takes employees 40 to 60 percent less time to study a particular material via e-learning than in a traditional classroom setting. This is due to employees being able to access training online whenever they need it, without interrupting their workflow.

Boosts Retention

The Research Institute of America concluded that e-learning boosts retention rates by 25 to 60 percent, compared to retention rates of 8 to 10 percent with traditional training. This is because e-learning employees have more control over the learning process and are able to revisit training as needed.

The University of the Potomac stated that 67 percent of college instructors believe online media – such as blogs, video and podcasts – are necessary teaching tools.

  1. On-Demand and Mobile Learning is Growing

On-demand training does not include an instructor. Instead, employees access training on their own, any time, from any device with an internet connection – such as a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. According to Chief Learning Officer magazine, most organizations (58 percent) prefer to use on-demand learning for compliance training, compared to 12 percent who prefer in-person, instructor-led training. In addition, one out of three chief learning officers use mobile devices to deliver compliance training.

Globally, the mobile learning market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of over 36 percent from 2015 to 2020 – and in 2014, the U.S. remained the leading purchaser of mobile learning technology.

  1. Blended Training May Be More Fitting

Depending on your industry and employees’ roles, online training alone may not be sufficient. In this case, a blended approach, which combines traditional face-to-face learning with e-learning, may be ideal. According to a study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, blended learning for health professionals appears to be more effective than (or at least as effective as) traditional instruction.

  1. Modern Learners are Visual with Short Attention Spans

Learners today tend to have packed schedules, short attention spans and an attachment to their mobile device. The majority are also visual learners. Studies estimate that visual learners make up approximately 65 percent of the U.S. population. These pupils need to see what they are absorbing, preferring bite-sized training – such as videos requiring no more than two to five minutes each – over lengthy training sessions.

  1. Company-Wide Information Efficiently Disseminated

Dispersing information to employees across different departments and locations via the traditional training method can be time consuming and financially strenuous. A more feasible option may be an e-learning platform, such as a learning management system, capable of quickly delivering company-wide information to relevant employees, thereby keeping them on the same page while lowering training costs.

Be sure to check out the first Learning Management Systems 101 blog post about the evolution of corporate learning

 

 

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Posted in Blog, Featured, HR Management, Learning Management, Talent Management

Stacey Pezold

by Stacey Pezold


Author Bio: Mrs. Pezold has served as Paycom’s Chief Operating Officer since March 2015 and previously served as Paycom’s Executive Vice President of Operations after joining Paycom in 2005. In the last eight years, Mrs. Pezold has served as Paycom’s Executive Vice President, Director of Corporate Training and Regional Manager. Mrs. Pezold has over 11 years of leadership and training experience. Mrs. Pezold earned her Bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma State University.

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