Top 10 Resume Mistakes

1. Using One Resume for All Applications

You have to tailor your resume to fit every job application – there is no “One Resume Fits All” format. Recruiters use a resume as a tool to shorten the list of potential interview candidates. Make sure your resume speaks directly to the job you’re applying for.

If you were applying to a nursing home, and you had to choose between including your volunteer history at a hospital, or your time as a member of your local photography club, which would you include? Probably your time at the hospital. First, include everything that fits with your desired job – then, and only then include everything else if there’s enough space.

2. Incorrect Resume Length

This will depend on the type of job you’re looking for. Many jobs – specifically ones in finance or very fast-paced businesses prefer that a resume be one page at most. This does not mean three quarters of a page, or one and a bit – one exactly.

Resumes for government positions, or other businesses such at marketing usually allow for longer resumes; about two to three pages. Research the industry, and keep it within that length.

3. Not Clearly Focused

Employers are very busy people – they usually only give your resume between 2 and 20 seconds to make an impression, and then it’s either the trash, or you’ve got yourself an interview.

Including an objective statement is a great way to make your intentions known. Be sure that your application package (resume and cover letter) clearly indicate the type of work you are looking for.

4. Spelling Mistakes

Speling mistakes do not look profesional. See? You would be surprised how many resumes have spelling and grammatical errors. Proof-read your resume, and have someone else look at it to be sure. Even just one mistake is enough reason for an employer to throw your resume in the trash.

5. Lack of Action Words

Make sure that you include ‘action words’ in your resume. These will help create energy and they’re what employers are looking for. They signal specific actions and skills, which are often sought after by companies.

Use words like “Achieved” or “Optimized” or “Supervised” where appropriate, but be careful not to overuse.

6. Irrelevant Information

Information such as your age, race, gender, nationality (sometimes), marital status, other personal information are not needed on a resume. Unless they are relevant to your job (in which case it will be made known to you before you apply), irrelevant information should be left off your resume. It also reduces the number of reasons to not offer you an interview.

7. Not Enough Self-Promotion

Go ahead! Talk about your achievements! That’s what a resume is for. Don’t be humble – if you were in charge of something that became a success, be sure to mention it in your resume.

Employers want to see what you achieved in your positions; they don’t want a job description. Instead of saying “Stacked boxes in storage facility” you could write “Improved inventory management, leading to 12% increase in turnaround time.”

Be sure to not stretch the truth – or lie. If caught, this could be detrimental to your career.

8. Incorrect Formatting

Make sure your resume looks nice. You can use a resume template if you like, but you may want to personalize it a bit. (Just don’t overdo it.)

It’s up to you what you want to put first, but be consistent; if you’re doing it chronologically, make sure everything on the resume is chronological. Be sure to use bullet points instead of paragraphs, and don’t forget to include your name and contact information at or near the top.

Unless you’re applying to a creative job (marketing, hair stylist, etc.) keep the resume in black and white.

9. Does Not Highlight Your Skills

Somewhere in the resume you should specifically point out your skills if your education or work experience hasn’t already done this for you. It could be a separate section, or part of your education section, but make sure it’s there.

10. References Included in Resume

You only need referenced if your employer requests it. Don’t list them on your resume. Even the phrase “Referenced available upon request.” can be left off, because it’s assumed you will be able to provide references.

Remember not to make these 10 mistakes, and your resume will be on track to getting you an interview!

Kieran Scott is a career coach and hiring expert with 12 years of experience in the industry.

Beat The Holiday Boredom And Earn Your Profesional Development Units

If you are one of those Project Managers who are really hard to keep entertained, or if you constantly need to learn something new even during your holidays or vacations, make sure you plan ahead so you won’t have to deal with holiday boredom. Holidays or vacations can be depressing at times if you have not planned for some fun activity. When you feel bored at the end of a fun day at the ski resort or on the beach, and you need something to fill your spare time with, you need to think about bringing along a small laptop with internet or WiFi connection, and you need to think about earning your Professional Development Units (PDU).

The Professional Development Unit (PDU) is the measuring unit used by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to quantify approved learning activities for PMI Credential holders such as Project Management Professionals (PMP®). Typically, one PDU is earned for every one hour spent in a planned, structured learning experience.

With the growth of wireless technologies, laptop wireless Internet access is becoming readily available in many locations. The good news is that all major cell phone carriers in the US/Canada/Europe make it relatively easy to connect, and regardless of which carrier you use, the connection process is very similar. Connection speeds will be fastest in areas where digital coverage is available. When WiFi is available, it is definitely one of the best and fastest ways to connect to the Internet while on vacation. Some carriers also offer mobile WiFi HotSpots which you can use for sharing internet connection between several computers and other devices. Any connected device can enjoy 3G connectivity at just the touch of a button. These mobile hotspots fit in the palm of your hand and wirelessly connect up to 5 devices including laptops. They are ideal for temporary work sites or standalone kiosks where Internet service is needed and a power outlet is not available. Some features include:

- Connect up to 5 Wi-Fi enabled devices including laptops, tablets, wireless projectors and more simultaneously

- Share files easily with on-device expandable memory storage

- Safeguard your privacy with customizable password protection and wireless encryption

- Rechargeable battery up to 4 hours battery life on a single charge

- No software installation required – just press the power button to create your Wi-Fi hotspot

- Carry anywhere – barely larger than a deck of cards

- Enjoy download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps

Most Project Management Professionals (PMP®) or other PMI Credential holders (PgMP®, PMI-RMP®, PMI-SP®) find it a real challenge to earn their Professional Development Units (PDUs) required every few years. In fact, a large majority falls further and further behind obtaining their required Professional Development Units (PDUs) for maintaining their hard-earned certifications. Lack of time is the biggest culprit, lack of planning and discipline another. But the biggest issue is that most people have no idea about the available options at reasonable prices. Most professionals don’t know that earning PDUs can be accomplished after the business hours, from the comfort of their home over the Internet, and at a reasonable cost, sometimes even during your holidays!

Earning PDUs is not necessarily as challenging or daunting as many might think. It is actually quite easy, and it can fit into the regular routine of the career goals that most professionals have. The purpose of PDUs is to keep PMPs engaged and growing professionally. Think about your goals for earning PDUs: If you are a Project Manager you have many responsibilities that require varied skills, much similar to the skills of a Business Manager or a General Manager. In fact, many project managers aspire to become Business Managers or General Managers some day. So, the first step toward incorporating PDUs into the normal course of business is to determine your personal and professional objectives. What is missing from your knowledge base? Are you as comfortable with Accounting, Finance and Six Sigma aspects of your work as you are with the routine Project Management processes? Are you able to follow a high-level conversation with your company’s executives during your quarterly Project Reviews?

The objective of online courses should be to help you prepare for the set of skills that you need during your career. Assess your needs and map them to your personal and career goals, while earning the required PDUs. Online training offers great quality at reasonable prices.

Having a good plan and buying an online video-based training before departure is sure to keep you busy at times, and avoid those ridiculous situations where you get bored on holidays.

Alternative Financing Vs. Venture Capital: Which Option Is Best for Boosting Working Capital?

There are several potential financing options available to cash-strapped businesses that need a healthy dose of working capital. A bank loan or line of credit is often the first option that owners think of – and for businesses that qualify, this may be the best option.

In today’s uncertain business, economic and regulatory environment, qualifying for a bank loan can be difficult – especially for start-up companies and those that have experienced any type of financial difficulty. Sometimes, owners of businesses that don’t qualify for a bank loan decide that seeking venture capital or bringing on equity investors are other viable options.

But are they really? While there are some potential benefits to bringing venture capital and so-called “angel” investors into your business, there are drawbacks as well. Unfortunately, owners sometimes don’t think about these drawbacks until the ink has dried on a contract with a venture capitalist or angel investor – and it’s too late to back out of the deal.

Different Types of Financing

One problem with bringing in equity investors to help provide a working capital boost is that working capital and equity are really two different types of financing.

Working capital – or the money that is used to pay business expenses incurred during the time lag until cash from sales (or accounts receivable) is collected – is short-term in nature, so it should be financed via a short-term financing tool. Equity, however, should generally be used to finance rapid growth, business expansion, acquisitions or the purchase of long-term assets, which are defined as assets that are repaid over more than one 12-month business cycle.

But the biggest drawback to bringing equity investors into your business is a potential loss of control. When you sell equity (or shares) in your business to venture capitalists or angels, you are giving up a percentage of ownership in your business, and you may be doing so at an inopportune time. With this dilution of ownership most often comes a loss of control over some or all of the most important business decisions that must be made.

Sometimes, owners are enticed to sell equity by the fact that there is little (if any) out-of-pocket expense. Unlike debt financing, you don’t usually pay interest with equity financing. The equity investor gains its return via the ownership stake gained in your business. But the long-term “cost” of selling equity is always much higher than the short-term cost of debt, in terms of both actual cash cost as well as soft costs like the loss of control and stewardship of your company and the potential future value of the ownership shares that are sold.

Alternative Financing Solutions

But what if your business needs working capital and you don’t qualify for a bank loan or line of credit? Alternative financing solutions are often appropriate for injecting working capital into businesses in this situation. Three of the most common types of alternative financing used by such businesses are:

1. Full-Service Factoring – Businesses sell outstanding accounts receivable on an ongoing basis to a commercial finance (or factoring) company at a discount. The factoring company then manages the receivable until it is paid. Factoring is a well-established and accepted method of temporary alternative finance that is especially well-suited for rapidly growing companies and those with customer concentrations.

2. Accounts Receivable (A/R) Financing – A/R financing is an ideal solution for companies that are not yet bankable but have a stable financial condition and a more diverse customer base. Here, the business provides details on all accounts receivable and pledges those assets as collateral. The proceeds of those receivables are sent to a lockbox while the finance company calculates a borrowing base to determine the amount the company can borrow. When the borrower needs money, it makes an advance request and the finance company advances money using a percentage of the accounts receivable.

3. Asset-Based Lending (ABL) – This is a credit facility secured by all of a company’s assets, which may include A/R, equipment and inventory. Unlike with factoring, the business continues to manage and collect its own receivables and submits collateral reports on an ongoing basis to the finance company, which will review and periodically audit the reports.

In addition to providing working capital and enabling owners to maintain business control, alternative financing may provide other benefits as well:

It’s easy to determine the exact cost of financing and obtain an increase.
Professional collateral management can be included depending on the facility type and the lender.
Real-time, online interactive reporting is often available.
It may provide the business with access to more capital.
It’s flexible – financing ebbs and flows with the business’ needs.

It’s important to note that there are some circumstances in which equity is a viable and attractive financing solution. This is especially true in cases of business expansion and acquisition and new product launches – these are capital needs that are not generally well suited to debt financing. However, equity is not usually the appropriate financing solution to solve a working capital problem or help plug a cash-flow gap.

A Precious Commodity

Remember that business equity is a precious commodity that should only be considered under the right circumstances and at the right time. When equity financing is sought, ideally this should be done at a time when the company has good growth prospects and a significant cash need for this growth. Ideally, majority ownership (and thus, absolute control) should remain with the company founder(s).

Alternative financing solutions like factoring, A/R financing and ABL can provide the working capital boost many cash-strapped businesses that don’t qualify for bank financing need – without diluting ownership and possibly giving up business control at an inopportune time for the owner. If and when these companies become bankable later, it’s often an easy transition to a traditional bank line of credit. Your banker may be able to refer you to a commercial finance company that can offer the right type of alternative financing solution for your particular situation.

Taking the time to understand all the different financing options available to your business, and the pros and cons of each, is the best way to make sure you choose the best option for your business. The use of alternative financing can help your company grow without diluting your ownership. After all, it’s your business – shouldn’t you keep as much of it as possible?

Buying a French Property in France from La Giraudiere Charente S W France

OK lets continue on the basis that the agent found you your French home. In france you will be asked to sign apromise de vente which is a bidding contract between you and the seller. Within this contract you can state reasons for pulling out i.e subject to seeing the plans of the property, you can also insert conditions like subject to you receiving a French mortage. You may also have further development plans for the property and again this contract can be used to say subject to you receiving planning permisssion for your proposed project. Another good request is to say subject to the property being cleared of all it’s rubbish ( I know of people who have had to pay thousands of euros to have barns cleared out or even lofts cleared. This is where you will start to learn that the French love paper work and demand copies for all sorts of documents. You will need a copy of your passpost, a copy of your birth certificate (The full one not the small one) You will also need copies of your marriage certificate and divorce papers if applicable. If you are financing your purchase with a mortgage then you will need copies of the paper work. The compris de vente normally takes up to four weeks to arrive and it will be in French allthougth some notaire’s and agents will supply an additional copy in English. If you are not sure about any of the contract then seek profesional advice before signing.

You may be asked to deposit a 10% holding deposit upon signing the compromis and if after signing you decide to with draw then you will lose your deposit unless the reason is for one of the conditions that you laid down i,e you cannot get a mortgage or the plan of the property is not what you saw and so on. Likewise if the seller decides to sell to some one else for a reason other than was stated in the contract he will have to pay you 10% – not bad. The solicitor (Notaire) is responsible for insuring that certain inspections are carried on the property you are buying prior to completion. These inspections will be for termites and other wood eating bugs, Lead and asbestos checks. If you are buying a relatively new house then it may be well worth asking for a copy of the builders invoice as this carries a ten year guarantee in France.

Similar the vendor would have a COUNSEL CERTIFICATE which would have been provided once the property was hooked up to mains electric, this certificate would show that the wiring conformed to French standards and was safe. The notaire will also ask for the plans cadastre for the property you are buying and will check that the boundaries are marked. If you are buying a piece of land or property that was once part of a larger section then a new plan cadastre will be drawn up and new parcelle numbers given to your plot. A property survey does not exists as such in France and you would be better off asking a local builder to survey the property for you. Remeber if you are buying some 200 year old stone French farmhouse then there will be work to be done and do not think otherwise. Do not ask the estate agent to recommend a surveyor or builder as he will probably send some one he knows will not loose his commission. Instead ask at the town hall or Maire to recommend a local builder or other expats to recommend some one. Remember the estate agent will loose a lot of money if you pull out. There also exist some very good magazines which have classified ads from English surveyors residing in France who can help.

The sale completion signing is held in the solicitors or notaire’s office and it’s usual for the buyer to be there, but if you can’t be, you can arrange a power of attorney for it to be signed in your absence. Make sure that you have your deposit in place in France and also that your mortgage has been agreed. If you miss the completion date you will lose your deposit. On the day of the signing be sure to go and view the property one final time prior to signing to ensure that everything is has you expect. The estate agent can arrange this and it is not unusual. When you sign your acte de vente you will be asked to write in French sold as seen so make sure you have seen it.

You Gotta Have a Plan

How that is some people can retire at 50? Or not lose their shirt when there’s a stock market “crash”?

Why are some people able to earn high incomes or even have “multiple streams of income?

How come some people retire to a life of luxury and world travel, while others barely have enough to feed and house themselves?

Of course, one part of it the answer is that some people are more intelligent and industrious than others. No matter what anyone says, we are not all the same. We may have been created equal, but no one has ever guaranteed us equality of results. That depends on our own efforts.

Another part of the answer is that some people consider the risks they will face and do something before they occur to mitigate the damages. One obvious way of doing this is by buying the proper kinds and amount of insurance to protect your home, health and life – if you have an income stream to protect.

Less obvious, but still a very helpful plan is to become an expert at whatever you choose to do – to make yourself indispensable to your employer.

If you work for yourself, you want to be the best at whatever it is you’re doing, from practicing medicine to baking bread. You also have to have the will to persevere and work long hours at making yourself a success.

Yet another part of the answer is having a plan. Some people get up in the morning and let events carry them along through their day. Others plan what they will do with their life and stick to it.

They will learn about investments and how to diversify, so that when one asset goes down another holds its own or goes up. Or they will hire financial profesionals to do the work for them.

They save as much money as possible, using every tax sheltered vehicle allowed, including 401-K’s, IRA’s, Health Savings Plans and 529 educational savings plans. And then they will invest even more in taxable accounts.

They live well within their means. Some like Warren Buffet, one of the world’s richest men, lives well under theirs. They will use credit judiciously or not at all.

Successful people will invest in businesses, rental real estate or work part time, while maintaining their full time job just so they have many streams of income. If one is lost, their world does not come to an end.

Many people play the lottery and hope they will strike it rich. The sad fact is that many think this is the only way get rich. But anybody with the will can find the way.

Our public libraries are filled with books on how to invest, how to insure yourself, how to set up a financial plan or how to open and run a business.

Many employers have tuition reimbursement plans – they will pay your way if you want to better yourself. Or community colleges offer free adult education courses to help you learn new skills or improve on the old.

The internet now makes it easy to set up an online business while you continue with your day job.

The bottom line is you have to rely on yourself to earn and save as much as possible. If you do you can be one of the “lucky” ones who retire young with lots of money to spend.

If you don’t you’ll be living hand to mouth on your Social Security check.