Wednesday, November 11, 2015

*Week #1* Work At Home Wednesday - Part #1 - #WorkAtHome #WAHM

This is our very first (belated) Work at Home Wednesday!  I am really excited about sharing tips, tricks and advice on working from home!  There is a lot of information to share with you and this post took much longer to research and type up than I expected so it's a week late but I assure you the information is worth the wait.

We're going to start out, right at the beginning, before finding work, before applying, we need to make sure everything is prepped and ready to go. Working from home is something millions of people are interested in and there are only so many positions available.  So you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd.

Updating Your Resume

Whether you already have a resume or not, a "work from home" resume is going to be different than any other type of resume you've already created.  This is your first chance to stand out from the crowd and really blow them away.  When applying for a regular job, you have the opportunity to meet your future employer, in person, to make a great first impression on them.  You can dress appropriately, make sure you look them in the eye and sit up straight and read their body language and tone of voice to get an idea of how to react to their questions.
So your resume is going to be your first impression and you're going to want to work a little harder to make your resume stand out from the thousands of other applicants.  I recommend making a general resume for now that information can be added to later on.  You're also going to want to include a cover letter for every potential employer you send your resume to.  But let's start right from the beginning.
Choosing the Correct Format
Before you start typing up your resume you'll need to choose what format works best for you.  There are three basic formats to choose from: 

  • Chronological: This format is used to emphasize your prior work experience and career progression.  This format lists your work history in reverse order, starting with your most recent and going back through each position you've held for the past 10 to 15 years.  This format is designed for employees without large gaps in their work history, employees that have been with the same company for a long period of time and/or if the position you're applying for is similar to the most current position you've held.  For example, if you're seeking Customer Service work and you've been a Customer Service Rep for 5 years, this format would be for you.
  • Functional: This format concentrates on what you can do instead of when you did and for whom.  This is perfect for those of you that don't have extensive work history, change jobs frequently, have large gaps in your employment history or are either just entering the work force or just returning to the work force.  *There is one draw back to using this format and that's the fact that employers can't really get a feel for your career progression and if there are long gaps in your resume, they may feel as though you're hiding something.*
  • Combination or Hybrid:  As you can probably guess from the name, this format is a combination of Chronological and Functional formats and helps to pull focus to your skills, accomplishments with your work history, including employment title and details.  This format is designed for employees that are looking for a significant change in career or a promotion in your current field.  Tip: You want to make sure you emphasize a broad array of skills and the accomplishments you've made but still stick to the traditional chronological listing of your past jobs that employers are expecting to see on your resume.
The Combination format is the most flexible and tends to work for someone that has a fairly steady work history, someone with very little work history and everyone in between.  I tend to use this format the most since it's the easiest way for me to showcase my skills and what I can provide to the company.
Career Objective (sometimes called Professional Summary)
After starting your resume with your contact information and your title, the first section of your resume will be your career objective.  So what is a resume objective?  This is basically a short, targeted statement that clearly states your career direction and what you can offer the company in a way that no one else can.  Basically, instead of a generic statement begging for employment, you want your objective to be a researched and really specific way of telling your potential employer, "Don't bother looking through these other 500 resumes, I'm right here!  I'm just what you've been looking for!"
If not done correctly, a career objective can make you sound a bit like an amateur so it's crucial that you do your research and make your objective sound educated. (A thesaurus is going to be a very useful tool when creating or updating your resume!)  An objective isn't always necessary, depending on what type of work you're applying for.  

  • Yes: If you're relatively new to the work force or lack work experience.  If you're changing industries.  If you're targeting a specific job or position.
  • No:  If you have plenty of work experience or have been in the same industry for a long period of time. *If you're not new to the work force, not changing industries or not targeting a specific job or position you may not need a resume objective.  You may be better off using an alternative such as a resume summary statement. (resume summary statement: a few short, well worded and targeted sentences that summarize your skills & experience. Summary Statements and Resume Objectives are not interchangeable.  They are two completely different things and shouldn't be confused.

If you'd like more information about the differences between the two, comment below and I will write a post explaining the differences in detail and provide more information about Summary Statements and examples as well.

You'll want to tweak your objective for each position you apply for.  (Take out that thesaurus!)  You want to be specific, make sure that it's not only tailored to the position you're applying for but also the company itself.  If you're applying for 4 different jobs, you'll want to write out 4 different objectives, each different from the last.

Next, you'll want to explain what you have to offer the company (not how the company can benefit you).  Make sure you don't go on and on, just keep it fairly short and sweet.  
If you're changing careers, make sure you find a way to work in how your past experiences can relate to your future tasks.  The same can go for someone who is inexperienced or just starting out.
Here is an example of a detailed resume objective for someone with customer service experience seeking an at home position.

"A flexible and diligent Customer Service professional with over 4 years of experience in sales and consumer relations.  Aiming to ensure a consistently positive customer service experience and utilize my strong skills to further enhance Blank Company's impressive reputation."

Here is an example of a resume objective for a shorter resume objective for someone looking to continue their career at home.

"A dedicated, self-starter seeking a Work at Home Agent position with Blank Company and have the opportunity to deliver outstanding customer service to prospective clients."
Skills or Qualifications
This is one part of your resume that you're going to be using your Thesaurus a lot!  You'll want to list your skills or qualifications that are going to help you stand out from other applicants.  You're not going to want to use commonly used words or phrases such as:
Hard worker, team player, "Including but not limited to", problem solver, people person and others.  Instead of using these extremely overused phrases to tell your potential employer what you can do for them, show them by describing instances where you were a team player, a problem solver or a people person.  A lot of these phrases are skills that just about any company would expect from you anyway.  So get creative and show them that you're the right person for the job!

Instead of adding that you're a team player which is a skill that is going to be expected of you whether you work in or out of the house, describe a situation where you partnered with colleagues, co-workers in a different department or fellow volunteers, to achieve a common goal.  You don't want to go overboard with providing long, drawn out stories so summarize the situation and make sure to include the most important aspects of the situation including who you partnered with, what you did and the goal you accomplished.

For example, instead of saying that I'm flexible I could say something similar to "My current employers rewarded me with the "Chatter of the Quarter" award for consistently picking up extra hours, being available whenever they need me and always going above and beyond for my employers, colleagues and the customers I chat with."
If your resume is starting to get a little longer than you'd like, use bullets and keep your examples down to one sentence to help keep your resume down to around one page and still get all of the most important information in it.  For example: 

  • Awarded Chatter of the Quarter for proving my reliability and dedication to my employer, colleagues and the customers I chat with. - 10-12-2015
Employment History

When it comes time to include your employment history, you'll want to start with the employer you are currently with or the last job that you had and then move backward.

The first thing you'll start with is the date you started.  If you don't remember the exact date, an educated guess works just fine.  Depending on how much you can remember you can just put the month and year that you began with the company and the month and the year you ended employment with the most current company.  If you're still employed just put present at the end. 
Example:  November 2009 to Present    or    November 02, 2009 to July 12, 2014.

Next you'll include the company that you were (or are) employed with.  You'll want to include the name of the company and the city, state and (if applicable) the country it's located in.
Example:  Live Chat Pro - Spring Hill, FL

Then, you'll want to put down the position you held with the company.
Example:  Live Chat Customer Service Professional

Finally, you'll want to describe the duties you were responsible for while holding this position.  Remember, we don't want your resume to be too long so you'll want to summarize the description to the most important tasks you were responsible for.
Example:  Assisted customers with finding products that fit their needs and their budget.
Helped customers troubleshoot technical issues they experienced with their products.
Maintained a consistent customer satisfaction score of 9.9.
Exceeded sales quotas for each month by over $300.
Received the "Sales Chat Agent of the Year award" in June 2011.

What do you think so far?  Do you have any tips that you'd like to share about work at home resumes or resumes in general?  Comment below!

**I don't want to overwhelm all of you with a ton of information in one post, otherwise you'll be here all night reading.  So I'm splitting this post into two different parts.  The next part of this post will feature more information regarding what else you should include in your resume, a few more tips and tricks and a full sample resume!  Check back for the next Work at Home Wednesday post!**

This post is a non compensated post with no sponsor.  I have included hours of research, interviews and my own experiences to create this post.  All opinions stated are mine and unbiased.  For more information, please visit the PR section of my site.  Copyright Shopping with the Couture Queen 2009-2015.

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