I bet you thought Step Two was “Write a Resume.” A common misconception is that resumes are “one size fits all,” meaning you submit the same resume for all of the jobs you are applying for. Sometimes that may be the case, but that might not be the best approach. I’ll tell you why.
In this day and age, it may not be feasible for a Human Resources department to view each and every application, resume, and cover letter. Instead, agencies may use software to screen and sift through applications and resumes, by searching for key words. If your resume does not clearly demonstrate that you have skills as required by that specific job, your application could be missed entirely through this process. This doesn’t mean that you should copy the job qualifications list onto your resume. That’s actually a really bad idea. Rather, you should look at the required experience and qualifications of the job, and be creative in your approach to set yourself apart from other applicants.
What should you be doing to set yourself apart from others as you write your resume?
Recruiters want to know that you’ve done your homework on the company you are applying to. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- What is the company’s mission?
- Why do I want to work for this company?
- Why should they pick me above anyone else?
- What can I do for them that other applicants can’t?
- What kinds of traits or skills does this company desire from its employees?
Think about your work experiences, paid and unpaid internships, as well as volunteer and personal experiences. Then ask yourself:
- What have I accomplished that demonstrates that I have the skills I say that I have?
The answers to these questions can go into a professional summary at the top of your resume, before your relevant work experience, specialized skills, awards and honors, and education. You can also answer these types of questions within your cover letter. If you aren’t addressing these questions in your professional summary and you aren’t writing a cover letter to submit with your job applications, I strongly recommend you start. Find out more about the importance of the cover letter in your job search.
Have you heard about Wisconsin Promise? Wisconsin is one of six sites participating in the US Department of Education’s demonstration of a promising path to success for youth receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Wisconsin Promise will help youth and their families meet their school and work goals in order to better their income and financial stability reducing poverty.
Wisconsin Promise will enroll 2,000 youth (between the ages of 14-16) receiving SSI and their families. Families who participate in the study will receive $30 in gift cards. A computer program will assign participants to one of two groups based on chance, like a lottery. Half of the youth will be assigned to the Promise Services Group and the other half will continue to receive Services as Usual.
The PROMISE initiative is intended to improve services for youth SSI recipients and their families. Services provided through Promise can help youth participants achieve better education and career outcomes, including:
- graduating from high school college and career ready
- completing post-secondary education and job training, and
- obtaining competitive employment in an integrated setting.
As a result, youth participants can achieve their goals and move toward a stronger financial future.
Youth age 14 to 16 who are SSI recipients are encouraged to participate.
Youth and their parents or guardians may complete the enrollment materials at home by downloading them from the Wisconsin Promise website or in person at a Promise office or community event.
Social Security is spreading the word about the underutilized Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program as a way for people with disabilities to achieve their employment goals.
At the end of April 2015, Social Security began mailing letters to beneficiaries who qualify for the Ticket to Work program. Social Security expects to mail up to 60,000 paper Tickets every month to beneficiaries who became entitled the previous month. Social Security expects these mailings to encourage a substantial number of beneficiaries to seek additional information on the Ticket program and to contact Employment Networks (ENs) and State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies for assistance in going to work.
Adults age 18 through 64 who get disability benefits, qualify for Ticket to Work. The program connects individuals to Employment Networks (ENs) who offer services and support needed to help individuals with going to work or earning more money. The goal is to help individuals earn enough money to become financially independent.
Remember! Social Security has rules that encourage individuals to try work. The rules are called work incentives. Work incentives offer safety nets that make it easier to try work without losing benefits right away or access to healthcare. Work incentives can also offer an easy way to get back on benefits if a job doesn’t work out. Connect with a benefits specialist to learn more about Ticket to Work or Social Security work incentives.