What You Need to Know About Employment Background Checks


When an interviewer tells you, “Everything looks good. We’ll just need to run a background check,” it’s normal for your heart to start pounding–even if you’re pretty confident your background check is clean.

Understanding the reasons and scope of background checks should put your mind to rest. In this post, I’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions about background checks.Read more

Do You Need a Career Coach?

Do you need a career coach? Here are some scenarios that most certainly warrant some outside help:

  1. Lack of clarity or direction. If you’ve ever taken a job that’s even the least bit outside your wheelhouse, it’s easy to get swept up in your responsibilities without devoting the time or energy to redirect. A career coach can help you make the time and effort to get back on track.
  2. No roadmap! If you’re clear about where you want to go but have no idea how to get there, a career coach will ask questions you never considered to help you build a plan. REMEMBER: Career coaches don’t need to be experts in your profession, but they’re experts at brainstorming to help you find the answers.
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Advice for College Grads Looking for Work in a Ridiculously Tough Job Market

As 3.8 million college students enter the workforce this year,[1] entry-level professionals are launching their careers during one of the most challenging job markets in recent history. As of early June, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate is now at 13.3%.

Tens of millions of (skilled, experienced) Americans are out of work right now so it’s ridiculously hard for new grads with little relevant work history under their belts to compete for open jobs. The last time college students walked off the graduation stage into such a tough job market was during the Great Recession of 2008, when unemployment peaked at 10%.

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Hiring Discrimination? Confront Employment Bias with a New Attitude, Plan of Attack, and a Resume that Positions You for Success

Some of my more challenging clients are the people who’ve been denied jobs because they don’t fit the profile of a perfect job candidate. Extended employment gaps, a negative background check or credit report, physical limitations, and being considered too old, too overqualified, or too expensive are all very real challenges to securing gainful employment.

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Five Reasons to Keep Your Resume Updated

I have been a resume writer for nearly a decade and, over the years, I’ve talked with thousands of people who find themselves in all kinds of career conundrums.

Nine times out of 10, my clients have an urgent need for a resume and we work quickly to create a document that enables them to begin applying for jobs as soon as possible. It’s actually quite rare that I work with someone who says, “I want an updated resume, just in case.” I’d like to challenge you to be that proactive professional.Read more

Use Jobscan to Custom-Tailor Your Resume

When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me, “If you do what others won’t, you will have what others don’t.”

She didn’t coin the phrase. It’s one of those motivational phrases that’s been around awhile. It’s a reminder that if you spend a little more time, or focus your energy more, or do the unpleasant work no one really wants to do, you’ll prosper.

Every time I write a resume, I tailor it for the type of job my client is seeking. This strategy, proven to work effectively with both human eyeballs and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), looks like this: I study job ads provided by my client, identify common themes, create a list of keywords and skills based on those job ads, and write the resume accordingly. This resume—assuming the client applies for jobs similar to the job ads that he or she provided up front—will perform very well with an ATS.

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How to Job Search Before You Relocate

My client Karen is a following spouse with a career of her own. Her husband Bruce has a great job but his company moves him every three years. So, Karen needs to update her resume before every relocation.

I learned from Karen and from other clients who were relocating that the remote job search isn’t always easy. HR people usually want to meet you in real life. Your schedule for meetings may not be as flexible as those of the local applicants. You may not have many contacts or a strong network in the area. And you may not know anything about what it’s like to live in this new place.

But the long-distance job hunt doesn’t have to be scary or unproductive. Here’s the advice I give people planning to look for work prior to moving.Read more

If You Leave a Short-Term Job Off Your Resume, Will It Show in a Background Check?

My client Charles faced a dilemma that’s fairly common: how to list a job that lasted a very short time on his resume. Charles worked in the financial services industry and, after just three months in a new position with a bank, he chose to leave because he realized the job wasn’t what he thought it would be. Fortunately for Charles, his former boss convinced him to return, and even gave him a promotion.

Fast forward four years. We’re now updating Charles’ resume. He wants to be honest when he presents his employment history, but is unsure about listing his brief stint at the bank he left for his present employer.

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Cheat Sheet to Make the Most of Your Cover Letter

If you’re a job seeker, you probably already know it is essential to follow the application instructions to the letter when responding to a job posting.

Although it’s true that many cover letters aren’t read, if a company asks candidates to supply a cover letter along with a resume, you should do so. This cover letter gives you the opportunity to impress a hiring manager by showing him or her that you read the job ad closely and that you are an excellent fit for the job they need to fill. Don’t blow it.

While it may sound daunting to write a custom letter each time you apply for a job, let me assure you that once you have written your first letter, you can quickly and easily modify that letter over and over again. Here are my tips for getting more mileage from a cover letter.Read more