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Should I put my photo on my resume?

Recently, I started receiving a question I haven’t heard much before. The question is, “Should I put my photo on my resume?”

It’s a great question! If you’ve wondered the same thing, you’re not alone. Resume templates are beginning to pop up on the internet with photos embedded. In all honesty, these templates are often beautifully designed. They look like a work of art. At first glance, they’re very enticing – and they make you question what you thought were the rules of the road with resumes. It makes you wonder if things have changed since the last time you looked.

Despite this, I would not recommend putting a photo on your resume. There’s certain information that companies aren’t supposed to factor into hiring decisions such as age, race, and gender. Providing a photo up front gives the company the option to make judgements about you that are unrelated to your work experience. Remember, it takes years to build up that experience. Yet, it takes less than ten seconds to make a first impression – even on a resume. A hiring manager looks at your resume for just a few moments before deciding whether or not to read further. It’s best to use this precious time on information such as your college degree and work experience rather than your current hairstyle and outfit.

In addition to taking the hiring manager’s eyes off of your expertise, you also risk leaving a negative first impression. There are certain unspoken rules when it comes to business. For example, you should always wear closed-toed shoes with a suit, or you should always be on time to an interview. The hiring manager probably won’t bring up the picture in the top corner of your resume. But, they will think to themselves and wonder how up to date your business skills really are. They’ll wonder why you included a photo, when it’s something that’s not done.

The same rule applies to your business cards. One of the only fields where it’s completely normal to have a photo on your business card is realty. It makes sense. Realtors are sales people. And, buying a home is a very personal process. You want to feel like you know your sales person well. But, in any other industry, a photo on the business card typically looks amateurish. It can make your otherwise professional looking cards look homemade, or too salesy.

If you have a great photo you want to show off, the perfect place for it is LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is incomplete if it doesn’t have a photo of you. Be sure the photo is just you. Wear business or business casual clothing. Take the photo of your face, with good light, and smile at the camera.

If standards for resumes change, we will revisit this topic again. But, for now, don’t be drawn into the pretty template with the bright photo. Using it will only make you look out of touch with hiring, and the unspoken rules of business.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Three tips for moving to another city

Have you ever thought of moving to another city? For many job seekers who are searching in a difficult market, I often recommend looking in other places. But, searching in one city while you live in another can be a challenge.

In a new city, chances are good that your professional network is weak. You won’t have the same number of friends you can call and ask for referrals. When you do get an interview, it can be hard to get to the company in person. The entire process can be frustrating, and can leave you wondering if you should just stay put.

If you’re interested to move to a new city, follow these three steps to find a new job. They’ll make the entire process easier and faster.

First, research all of the cities you’re interested in. Think about the qualities that matter to you. For example, you may want to live in a city with a certain size of population. Perhaps you want to be within driving distance of the mountains, the beach, or your aging parents. Cost of living may matter to you, or the quality of the nearby schools. Whatever qualities you select, create a spreadsheet where you can track how each city ranks. Narrow your list down to your top one to three cities.

Next, visit the city (or cities) you’re most interested in. But, don’t go as a tourist. Plan a business networking trip. Have lunch with friends in the area, and meet recruiters. Attend networking events, and job fairs. Look for any opportunity to build connections and learn more about the local market. Not only will your knowledge grow, but people will take your interest in their city more seriously if they meet you. You’ll transform from a printed name on a resume to a real person.

Last, save money for unexpected expenses. Although some industries pay their employees relocation, not all do. After you land a job in a new city, there’s a chance you may need to pay some or all of your relocation expenses. If you’re moving to a more expensive market, you may also need a little extra money to make the transition seamless. Start saving now.

Moving to a new city shouldn’t be taken lightly. Making the right move requires research, work, and time. And, it takes honesty. Very often, job seekers ask me whether or not it’s okay to use a friend’s address on their resume and job application. Don’t be lured into this trap. You will forfeit any potential relocation the company would have paid. And, you’ll have to make up a story about why you’re not available to come in for an interview on short notice. When the company realizes you’re being dishonest, it will put an automatic strain on the relationship.

If you are interested to move, take the time to save and plan. Your search will take time, and possibly money. But, you’ll secure an entirely new place for yourself and your future.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Pay Attention to Signs It’s Time to Go

Very often as job seekers, we struggle with the idea of when to leave. We may feel that it makes no sense to leave one good job for another. This can make sense in certain situations. However, when the writing is on the wall, it’s best to pay attention.

If we wait too long, we can create a tough situation for ourselves. We may feel helpless, and at the whim of our company or our boss. We may feel like we have few choices when looking for a new job. We may be quick to take a job that pays less or doesn’t fall in line with our career goals.

But, if we’re proactive, this is a pitfall we can avoid (or make less painful). The first step is to pay attention to the signs. If your manager is unhappy with your performance and begins to document their complaints, it can be a sign. Do your best to correct any issues identified, but if the manager is not interested to be pleased, pay attention. Documentation is one way that managers are able to justify firing an employee.

If your job function is becoming outdated, pay attention. It can also be a bad sign if there are more people entering your field than necessary. It can also be a bad sign if computers or workers from other countries are replacing workers.

Also watch for larger industry trends. If your industry is doing poorly due to external factors, watch how your company and its competitors are reacting. If your company is restructuring frequently or turning over top level management, watch closely.

If you sit and wait to become outdated, you will. But, you don’t have to. If you monitor changes in your company and industry, you will know when to prepare for the future.

If you’ve noticed these changes, you may wonder what you should do. First, look for other industries that may be able to use your skills, but that are doing better than your industry. Begin reading job descriptions for alternative jobs that have similar requirements as to your qualifications. And, if you have to, look at other cities near you where the job market is healthier. In other words, do research.

At the same time, take stock of your professional network. Think about how many contacts you have outside of your current company or your current industry. If your company went under, do you have people you could call that aren’t coworkers? If the answer is no, it’s time to start reaching out. Although it’s not always fun, networking has become a way of life, and a necessary part of surviving in today’s job market.

As you can see, all of these suggestions are about taking control of your future. It’s time to stop waiting to see what will happen to you. Instead, begin making small steps toward a future that you choose. You’re more likely to find something you’ll want to stick with for years to come.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

3 job search tips for the introvert

I have to confess: I’m an introvert. People I’ve met in person are often surprised by this little known fact. They assume that public speaking and networking skills equate to extroversion. And, this makes sense on the surface. But, introverts can excel too. If you struggle, here are three tips to help you excel in your job search.

First, practice networking. Don’t wait until it really counts to go to networking events. Prepare by writing down and practicing your elevator pitch. Get your business cards together. Think through how you will approach a business social event, and whether or not you’re comfortable going alone. Set a goal to meet at least five new people per event, to exchange business cards, and to follow up with them after the event online and potentially in person.

Second, look for opportunities to have private meetings with networking contacts. One on one meetings are typically much easier (and more fruitful) for introverts. Despite only meeting with one person at a time, quality often trumps quantity. Invite new contacts for a coffee, or for lunch. Take the time to get to know each person, and to find out what you have in common. Look for opportunities to help the other person, and try to avoid asking for favors up front. Relationship building takes time, and isn’t all about landing a job in the moment.

Here’s a bonus tip about events. If you struggle to remember names or details, write notes on the back of every business card you receive. Include the date you met the person, where you were, and a few things you talked about. Before you attend future networking events, review your business card notes. You’ll be surprised at how much easier it will be to remember names, and how impressed your new contacts will be.

Third, use the internet to your advantage. If you aren’t tapped into the latest gossip on a company, check out their reviews on Glassdoor.com. If you have an interview coming up, use LinkedIn to research your future hiring manager. Use sites like Salary.com to find out what other people are making in your field and in your city. In the past, much of this information was gathered by word of mouth. But, the internet gives you the power to learn more about the company, the hiring manager, and the job – all from the comfort of your living room.

Just remember, being an introvert is an asset. Depending on the type of job you do, the hiring manager may be looking for someone who’s a little quieter or a little more serious. And, if you struggle at networking events, keep in mind that the more you practice, the better you’ll become. Plus, you don’t have to be the best networker to be a great one. Networking isn’t a one-time event, or a competition. Your network is something you develop and grow over time, in many settings. This means that you’ll have many chances to make a great impression.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

How long should this job search take?

One of the number one questions I hear from job seekers is, “How long should my job search really take?” It’s a good question. Knowing what’s “normal” can help you to know whether you’re winning or losing at this game we call the job search.

Unfortunately, there’s no normal. Some job offers show up in days. Others may take months. And for a few, it can take a year or more.

If you’re feeling frustrated by your job search timing, there are a few things to keep in mind. For example, is this the first time that you have proactively looked for a new job? When you look back through your resume, think about how you landed each job. Did you find your past jobs, or did they find you? For many people, jobs have landed in their laps over the years. At some point, they begin to want to take a more proactive approach and start searching on their own instead of waiting. Although this proactive search is preferred, it’s also more time consuming.

Are you changing industries or job functions? If you are switching from a for-profit to a non-profit, or from technology to marketing (for example), your search is likely to take longer. When you’re transitioning from one job to another very similar job, it’s easy for the hiring manager to see how your skills fit into their organization. But, when you make a big switch, you’ve got to find an open minded hiring manager. They’ll need to be someone who is open minded, who believes in you, and is willing to take a risk on you. This will take time.

Is your job function unique, and are you highly compensated? The higher you go up the company ladder, the fewer number of jobs are available. The more you make, the smaller your pool of options is. If you’ve been at the same company for a long period of time, you may not think about this at first. Perhaps you started at an entry level job and worked your way up. When you were hired in, finding a job was easy. You were at the bottom of the pay scale and there were many roles for your job function. But, after receiving promotions, the number of available jobs shrinks. So, finding a new job on the outside will take longer than you remember.

Do you need to stay in a specific location, or are there other constraints on your search? Requirements are a good thing to have. They help you to target the right opportunities. But, the more targeted you become, the harder it is to find a job that meets your specific needs. And, the harder it is to find a job, the longer it will take to land it.

When you’re looking for a new job, remember that it’s not the same search you did years ago. Therefore, the time it takes will be different. Focus more on your search rather than the perfect timing.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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