We help you speak English clearly.
Free Speech Lesson


Careers – Getting Hired— Four Steps to a Perfect Resume

Careers – Getting Hired— Four Steps to a Perfect Resume


Did you know that companies have favorite times for eliminating positions… and you.  I know from personal experience—the experience of our students in the last 15 years.

Thankfully, organizations actually do try to avoid eliminating positions and letting go of employees before or after the Christmas or Winter Holidays.  They often do this dastardly deed when one quarter ends and another one starts (when they have crunched the money data). To be blunt, that means July or August, October, and April are favorite times to terminate employees.

Also, this aside.  A word to the wise. My experience via my students over the last 15 years has been that most often, but not always, organizations in the USA rarely hire between our Thanksgiving (late November) and about January 20th.

For every trend or rule, there are exceptions.  One of my all-time favorite Human Resources executives landed a job right after the Christmas/Winter holidays.

Back to the point!  For job hunters, life is difficult these days.  Top fear is the resume.

For many job hunters – especially the entrepreneurial kind, the day is upon us when traditional resumes by themselves are not sufficient.

Instead, job hunters today (already!) need to rely more and more on narrative bios, personal websites, or preformatted resumes posted on social networking sites like LinkedIn.

That said– it is still wise to have a traditional resume ready.

Experts widely agree that there are two major areas to focus on to ready your resume for a company or recruiter to view: format and content.

Format is easy to do. (Our next blog will give hints for preparing an online resume.)

Important tip for the traditional resume—make it simple and easy to read once it is scanned.

  • Most organizations use applicant tracking systems (online recruiting tools)
  • So for those organizations your resume is scanned regardless of how or to whom you submit it

On the content side of writing a resume, you are a product competing against many other similar products.

  • So you need to write your resume so it is easy for anyone who reads it to see whether you are the fit they are seeking for the particular job they are filling.

Here are simple steps and “tests”

Profile and title. Put a title at the top. Perhaps not your current title, but the type of professional you would call yourself if someone asked.  For example, “I’m an experienced marketing manager.”

Follow that title with a profile.

  • Customize the profile for every job for which you apply
  • Your profile should tell the recruiter or reader of the resume who you are, what you bring to the organization and what you are seeking for in a job

     Test: Have someone read your resume for 10 seconds.  If they cannot tell you the particular type of job you are intending to attract, then the recruiter will fail also to do that.

Professional and Personal Development.  Recruiters and hiring managers first want to know your professional strengths and work experience and formal education.  Therefore, before you list your personal accomplishments, focus on what has helped you develop professionally.  Make those easy to find.

Create a professional development section.  If room, do add one or two more lines where you include anything personal that does these things:

  • Distinguishes you from others
  • Shows strengths you bring to the job
  • Go for Great!
    • For example– Running a Good but not great
    • Training for your fourth full triathlon? That is superlative

Test: If your supplemental skills are spread all over your resume – languages, technology skills, post graduate certifications, do this:

  • Organize them in one place
  • Limit personal details to one or two outstanding successes

Positions Listed Separately.  If you have been promoted, show that.  Progression and moving up the career ladder is important.  That shows:

  • Commitment to a job, to a company and to success

Don’t lose yourself behind strange titles.  Simplify your titles in a professional and honest manner so the reader understands

  • For example, “Junior Lead-Accountant III” should be listed just as Accountant.

Test: If your title changed and your responsibilities increased, make it obvious in your resume!

Overall Differentiation.  Imagine this- A position opens for a marketing manager.  The recruiter gets 200 resumes for the position.   The 20 the recruiter is even considering have generally the same skills.

If you list only your basic responsibilities, you will just be one of 20.


  • Do stand out and don’t just include what you did, but how you did it, and for whom
  • Don’t dump a list of keywords into your resume
    • That might get you a glance or quick look from a company, but a resume with purposely placed keywords is quickly recognized like a sore thumb and stands out these days like a Christmas tree on Halloween in a grocery store.


  • Focus on applying for jobs that fit you
  • Carefully write your content to be persuasive
  • Think like the best product brands. How do they stand out? How are they special?

Test: If your resume reads like a job description, wrong!  Solution? Make the content stronger and eye-catching to show what you have accomplished.

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com



Rerun from August 17, 2016

Don’ts for Effective Preparation and Speaking

Don’ts for Effective Preparation and Speaking
1. Never read a speech to an audience. They deserve better and so do you. Recall your own experience. Have you ever been impressed when a speaker read a talk or sermon to you? If you answer is, “No,” then don’t inflict the same injury on others.
2. What about reading notes? Audiences feel offended or shortchanged. The drama of a presentation from your personal angle of view is lost.
3. When a speaker begins a talk with head held high, looking at the audience as he speaks, we know we are getting the news of the moment—created fresh in the moment before us –like fresh bread or a unique soup. We are impressed with a live and in the present performance.
This is a rerun from 2013 and again from Sep 19, 2016

Interview— How to Pick the Best References

Interview— How to Pick the Best References


Before the most recent Great Recession, the average USA worker changed jobs about every 7 years.  I have not seen data and research for what the current data is for this topic.  My observation is that people, especially people younger than 35, are changing jobs more frequently. From my personal observation, people younger than 35 are making job changes both by personal choice to move over and up to a better position or because of “position elimination.”

According to Wikipedia, this Great Recession in our lifetime officially lasted from 2007 to 2008.   However, based on my observations (and the observations of our current USA presidential candidates) that is not the experience of the general USA population.

Put most simply, it seems to me and to many others that on this very day and likely into the future beyond, workers are seeing the results of this Great Recession.

People even today (and probably tomorrow) are falling in the category of “Position Elimination.”

In other words, persons who are high (and not so high) salary are having their position eliminated for the purpose of saving their organization a bucket full of money.

An organization can save a bucket full of money by eliminating long-standing workers (3 years, 5, 7, 21…).

Or an organization can save a bucket full of money by eliminating the position of bunches of lower-income persons ($15.00 an hour, $12.00 an hour, or minimum wage persons).

Organizations as businesses need to survive.

Organizations usually want to grow.

Individual workers need to survive (pay rent/mortgage, educate their children, pay medical insurance and bills).

Individual workers usually want their income and career to grow.

Soooo, no matter who you are, it is likely that at some point you will be doing interviews and seeking another job.

Now—Keep these tips in mind—How to Pick the Best References.

These days, organizations are asking for potential hires to provide references, usually three persons, on the initial application.

So, what characteristics should you be looking for when choosing your references?

Here’s how to choose the ideal references:

  • You must be certain they
    1. Think highly of you
    2. Will take the reference request seriously
    3. Will respond quickly… ideally
    4. Be thoughtful in their answers—even if you don’t have time to brief or inform them beforehand
      1. Your taking the time for a thorough briefing is an excellent idea (but not always doable for you)
  • Your potential reference person must understand the context in which the reference is being given (for a job in marketing or food service management or academia or research, for example).
  • They will know, intuitively or in their “gut”, how to present any of your potential weaknesses as strengths. This is important that they can do this. Or alternatively, they will outright state that you have improved on your weaknesses.
    1. What are common potential weaknesses?
      • Most common potential weaknesses include punctuality, time management, taking on too much (more jobs, too many extracurricular activities or hobbies), independence, teamwork, taking criticism, self-reflection, attention to detail
  • They know how to express themselves well, either verbally or in writing, or both, depending on which type of reference they will be asked for
    1. Your reference is direct and to the point (ideally) in verbal or written communication.  However, being verbose and using lots of words rather than a few words works…
  • A final consideration.
    1. A fancy title or prestigious organization is great in a reference
    2. But don’t choose those things unless all the other qualities are also present
    3. The worst possible reference you can get is a person with a great reputation or affiliation who is not able to convey high praise for you and your abilities

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercise.

Check out our advanced weekly speech tip program, our new subscription called ClearTalk Weekly, www.subscription.cleartalkmastery.com



Rerun from Aug 10, 2016

Cool Tips for How to Prepare for Your Presentation

Cool Tips for How to Prepare for Your Presentation
1. Should you write out your talk? Some say absolutely no. Others say that with the computer, this is easy and helps us think. People are surprised to hear that is what I do. Many other ESL people have told me that is what they do.
2. What’s next? Read it over and over again. Read it in front of a mirror while trying to maintain eye contact with yourself as you read.
3. Next, do the same talk without the script. Make notes. Use them while you rehearse. Take the notes with you to be used in an emergency or for last minute review.
This ends the second tip for things to do when you prepare and speak. Our tip next week will be about some of the don’ts.
This is a rerun from 2013 and again from 09/12/16

English communication—What Not to do at the Interview

English communication—What Not to do at the Interview

So many different social situations to deal with in your life.

What about interviewing?

Keep these tips in mind—What Not to do at the Interview

  • Don’t let your eyes wander to the floor, ceiling or walls of the interviewer’s office. Instead, maintain eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Don’t forget to research the company. Know the hot or important issues before going into an interview. Check out the website.  Expand out and search out business or specific industry-related publications for information to give you the back story for issues of current importance.
  • Don’t interrupt or answer too quickly. Listen carefully to questions and answer each one before giving more information on other points.  Be specific and give examples.
  • Don’t forget to maintain your professionalism including your e-mail address and telephone voice mail message. Speak as clear as you can for your voice mail message.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you. Sending a thank you note after an interview demonstrates an attention to detail and courtesy which helps you stand out for the interviewer.


Rerun from Aug 4, 2016