All Posts by Bec

About the Author

Bec McFarland is an experienced HR practitioner, manager, career coach and the creator of Pop Your Career. She delights in sharing practical, straight to the point career advice, spending time with her family and eating Mexican food.

Do you shudder when you hear the words, “video interviewing”? If so, you should calm down for a moment and read this post (it will help you to get over your fears, I promise!): What is video interviewing and how can you nail it? – Pop Your Career

What is a video interview and how can you nail it?

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

“A video interview? You’ve got to be joking.” “What am I going to say in front of a camera for ten minutes?” “I don’t think I want to work for a company that does video interviewing – it’s so impersonal…” These are some of the comments I have heard and seen about video interviewing this year and I get it. Video interviewing is new. It’s not all that common (in Australia at least), and if you don’t know much about it, it can be nerve wracking and can conjure up all sorts of conscious and unconscious blocks.

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How do you respond when you are asked to tell an interviewer about yourself? If you start to panic, I don’t blame you. Find out a better way to deal with this question in my latest post: “Tell me about yourself” – How to respond with confidence – Pop Your Career

“Tell me about yourself” – How to respond with confidence

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Ahh, the good old ice-breaker interview question. Tell me about yourself. Whether your interviewer is planning a behavioural interview or not, usually they will start off with one or two ice-breaker questions to warm you up for the main event. As an interviewer, I love ice-breaker questions, because they do exactly that. They break the ice and allow a candidate to start by talking about the topic they know the most about. Themselves.

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Don’t know the difference between behavioural and hypothetical interview questions? Get all the deets in this post: Don’t make these mistakes when responding to hypothetical interview questions – Pop Your Career

Responding to a hypothetical interview question

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Have you ever been asked a hypothetical interview question? If so, you would be forgiven for misunderstanding the point of a hypothetical and responding with a real life example of when you have done something similar. With so much information and advice available on the internet about behavioural interviewing, and with most employers now preferring the behavioural interviewing method, you’ve had it drilled into you over and over again. Use an example. Provide an example. Use the STAR method.

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Not sure how to close off your epic cover letter? Get my best advice in this post: How to close your cover letter for maximum results – Pop Your Career

Close your cover letter effectively for maximum results

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

You’ve written your cover letter and you’re pretty proud of where you’ve gotten to with it. But what happens when you get to the end? How do you close your cover letter? How do you tie your pitch up, with a nice little bow, to make sure that those potential employers will pick up the phone and call? I’m so glad you’ve asked. If you think it’s as simple as “yours sincerely”, then you are mistaken, my friend! There is an art to closing off your cover letter and in this post, I’m telling all.

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Is your cover letter up to scratch? I mean, is it really? If you aren’t sure, you better get into this post and see for yourself – stat! : Are you worried your cover letter is killing your chances? – Pop Your Career

Are you worried your cover letter is killing your chances?

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Have you been applying for jobs, but not getting called for interviews? Perhaps you’re wondering if your cover letter has been killing your chances of winning your dream job? Well, your cover letter is an integral part of your job application. I hate to say it, but if your cover letter isn’t up to scratch, it could be the reason you aren’t being inundated with phone calls about job opportunities. 

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Do you tailor your resume to suit every single job you apply for? If not, you need to get onto this trick immediately! Tailoring your job application shows the employer you know what they are looking for and allows you to pitch yourself directly against the role description. Check out this post for tips - Pop Your Career

Tailor your resume and delight new employers

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Do you tailor your resume to suit every job you are applying for? If not, this is the kick in the backside you have been waiting for. If you aren’t tailoring your job applications and are instead, sending out the same, tired resume and cover letter in response to every job advertisement you see, I want you to stop. Sure, with this method, you might eventually get a job. But, will it be the job you really want?  

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5 ways your resume design is failing you miserably ~ Pop Your Career

5 Ways Your Resume Design is Failing You Miserably

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Your resume’s design is arguably just as important as the content it contains. Don’t believe me? Think about first impressions when you meet someone. Unironed clothes or a scruffy appearance, a bitchy resting face and body language, all help you form an initial feeling about whether you like someone. Whether you like it or not.

Now think about a book cover. Of course the saying goes, that you should never judge a book by its cover, but it is only natural for us to gravitate towards books which appeal to us at first glance and it is so easy to overlook a potentially entertaining read, based on the picture, title or the fonts the author has selected.

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How to Make Your Professional Profile Pop ~ Pop Your Career

How to Make Your Professional Profile Pop

By Bec | Changing Your Job or Career Path

Do you have a professional profile on your resume? A professional profile is the perfect opportunity for you to open your resume with a bang, and show potential employers why you are their ideal candidate. In fact, if you don’t currently have a professional profile on your resume, you are overlooking a key piece of the puzzle, and could be missing out on the chance to interview for your dream roles.

If you aren’t sure how to write a professional profile, never fear. I have broken it down for you in this post, however, you will find more information about professional profiles in my DIY resume course, Detox Your Resume. If you need to write or update your resume, this course is super helpful, as it takes you through each of the steps and provides loads of examples, templates and ideas to help you maximise the success of your resume.

In the meantime, let’s focus on your professional profile. 

1. don’t be afraid to sell yourself – this is your opportunity

One of the things I find my clients struggling with the most when they write their professional profile, is the fact that they have to up the ante and sell themselves. I get it, selling your skills and achievements can be hard. But, your resume is a sales document and your professional profile is the introduction to that sales document. If you don’t catch your reader’s attention in the professional profile, they may not bother reading on. And that would be a disaster for your chances of getting the role. Here are a couple of tips to help you.

  • Imagine you are writing a professional profile for a friend, with your skills and experience. Think of how you would promote them and sell them to potential employers. It is sometimes easier if you take the focus off yourself and write about somebody else.
  • Be bold and brashy. Write your professional profile in a way that is totally over the top, over-confident and maybe even embarrassing. This is a good place to start, because you can always tone it back – this exercise just helps to get the ideas out onto paper.
  • Ask someone else to help you. Whether this is a friend or a Career Coach, it can often help to bounce ideas off someone else. 

The long and the short of it is that you need to get over your self-promotion blocks. If you can’t move past it at the resume stage, you will find it even more difficult when you get to an interview.

2. focus on your achievements

Another problem I see when people are writing their professional profiles, is making sweeping, generalist statements that could apply to anybody. Sure, you might have excellent attention to detail and strong leadership skills, but what have you done in your career to demonstrate these skills? That’s where the meat is.

When you focus on what you have done, or achieved, rather than what you can do, you make your argument more convincing. After all, past behaviour is the best predictor of future behaviour. That’s why employers conduct behavioural interviews and reference checks. They want to know what you have done. Achievements don’t lie.

3. use my professional profile formula

I teach this formula in my Detox Your Resume eCourse, but I am sharing a snippet with you here today. In order to write the perfect professional profile, there are four things you will want to highlight.

  • Experience – what have you done?
  • Skills – what are you good at?
  • Passion – what do you love doing?
  • Evidence – what are your qualifications?

If you incorporate all four of these things into your professional profile, you are well on your way to a more convincing resume.

4. use first person language

Every time I see a resume with a professional profile written in the third person, I cringe. Seriously. There is a time and a place for third-person profiles, but your resume is not one. Not quite sure what I mean? This is an example of a statement written in the third-person:

“Rebecca is an experienced Career Coach and Resume Writer with over ten year’s experience in human resources.”

Now here is the first person version of the same statement:

“I am an experienced Career Coach and Resume Writer, with over ten year’s experience in human resources.”

It’s not that big of a difference, right? So, why is it such a big deal? When you are applying for a job, you, yourself are submitting an application, with the aim of convincing a potential employer that you are the right person for their job. There is not some imaginary third person applying on your behalf, so why would you write your professional profile as though there was?  It doesn’t make sense.

Would you write a letter to a friend in the third person?

“Rebecca wishes you a happy birthday.”

Nope? In short, the same goes for your resume. I promise you. It won’t get you anywhere.

5. stick to a maximum of two paragraphs

Once you get on a roll, there is probably heaps you can say about your skills, experience and achievements, right? Just keep in mind that your professional profile is a summary. Think of it as a teaser for the information to come, in your resume, cover letter and interview. You don’t need to fit it all into your professional profile.

I have found that one to two paragraphs is usually plenty for your professional profile. This will allow you to give an insight into your situation, and follow the professional profile formula I laid out above.

6. tell your potential employer why you are suited to this specific job

Finally, you want to tell your potential employer why you are suited to this specific role. There is no point building yourself up as an amazing administrative assistant, if the role you are applying for is a CEO. When you are going through each step of the professional profile formula, make sure that you are taking the role into consideration.

Does this mean you have to write a new professional profile for each role you are applying for? 

Absolutely. In most cases you will be able to use the bones of your professional profile and just change a couple of words, assuming that you are applying for the same types of roles each time. But it is a good habit to review your professional profile each time you are applying for a job. After all, you can then make sure it meets the requirements and uses similar language to that used in the job advertisement.

So, what do you think? Are you going to include a professional profile in your next resume? Don’t forget, if you are looking for more information about how to write your professional profile, we can work through this in one of my career coaching sessions. Prefer the DIY option? Check out my Detox Your Resume eCourse, which will guide you through all the steps needed to write the perfect resume.

How to Make Your Professional Profile Pop

How to Make Your Professional Profile Pop

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