Category Archives: Job Search

Have you decided to take your job search to the next level this year? Then you should know these latest trends that will have an impact on your job search in 2014! Improve your job search game by staying ahead of the latest trends and understanding what employers are seeking. Check out these job search trends of 2014 and hopefully you will land the job you’ve always wanted!


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Transitioning Military and Veterans have a huge range of skill sets.  They have acquired a wealth of knowledge, skills and competencies from serving our country.  The training and education that they received during their military service is transferable to those skills being sought by the companies and organizations looking to hire.  In addition to these valuable skills, the Veteran brings a unique sense of leadership and teamwork to any organization!

Veterans also understand the commitment to achieving organizational objectives and goals.  In addition, they have demonstrated the ability to work effectively and efficiently within multi-cultural environments. So when an organization hires a Veteran, they are bringing an individual on who is committed to serving both an organization and this nation through their continued service.

Prior Military personnel also have technical skills in highly sought out arenas, such as; IT, Communications, Security and Medical technology to name a few.  Many Veterans also hold the required security clearances that are needed for some government contract and Federal positions.


The typical military transition process should be started as far out as 24 to 18 months, don’t wait until you are out!  Many transitioning military don’t get the chance to start up their transition this far in advance. If given the chance to jump start the transition process, take full advantage of the time to get your ducks in a row, so you are well prepared.

Many Veterans join the service young, maybe even straight out of high school.  They may serve 20 years or more and then retire. Perhaps they haven’t served that long and had just never had to write a resume or career document ever!  So the first thing they want to do is create, update, and tailor their resume.


When they sit down to write their resume & career documents, there is so much they have achieved & accomplished while serving their country. I always suggest  to gather all your evaluation reports, service awards and letters of commendations.  Include all documents that speak about themselves all throughout their military career.


Some may already know if they want to stay in the same field and pursue opportunities within that field.  Still many Veterans may want to make a career change. Veterans need to figure out what career they want to target when they transition out of the military. It would behoove them to have a target for their job search needs. This will ensure their resume will showcase their career highlights and will make them shine in their job search. Hands down the most important thing that a Veteran can do to improve their chances are:

  1. Tailor their resume to the actual position that they are applying to. I can’t stress that enough.  One should not just have one general resume to distribute to all the jobs he/she may be applying to.
  2. I usually recommend to Veterans to think about what they have done in the past 10 to 15 yrs and have them create one master resume/career document. From that master document they will be able to take and insert the information to create a resume they tailor to each position that they are applying to.

So the easiest way I tell people to do it is to take their master document and pull apart the job announcement that they are planning to apply to.  Go through that job announcement and develop some industry keywords and phrases for that particular position, next you will include those keywords & phrases into your new resume.  The reason they need to do this is to ensure that their resume will pass through the applicant tracking system that many organizations are utilizing nowadays in order to weed out hundreds of applicants.

Many Veterans have been out of the workforce for a bit and they probably have not had the experience of getting their resume passed through a computerized applicant tracking system.  Since Veterans have been out of the job search for a few years now, they have not had to write their own resume or apply to a job before. They also may not be aware of the latest resume trends and have a tough time figuring out how to tailor a resume.



Cover Letters just like the resume should speak to the job announcement as well! This is a key piece of information that many job seekers don’t take the time to do.  What I tell my clients is to do your homework.  Find out what the hiring manager or the Human Resource managers name is.  Ensure to include their name on the cover letter and address the cover letter to that person.

This will show them that you actually took the time to do the research and learn about the organization. This is one sure fire way to stand out in your cover letter! Many job seekers utilize the generic “TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN”.  This may not get you noticed.  Start off your cover letter with an introduction with a few sentences and then add some bullet points to compliment your resume.

In the end, the qualities a Veteran has includes respect for others, pride, honesty and a sense of belonging, it enables Veterans to adapt into any organization. Many transitioning service members and Veterans are eager to serve. Let’s face it the military instills discipline and work ethic into them from day one!  Follow these job search tips and you will landing interviews before you know it!

If you still have any questions regarding your resumes or federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 


Job Search Items to do on a Snow Day


In the Washington D.C. area four to six inches of snow fell overnight, prompting the closure of the federal government, schools and businesses.  It was the area’s first major snowfall of the season, and crews worked throughout the morning to clear roads and sidewalks.

So if you are like me and stayed inside sipping on some hot chocolate and keeping warm, why not work on some items needed for your job search! Below are a few items to work on and check off of your to do list!



Create a Cover Letter

Cover letters are an excellent opportunity to add qualifications we can’t fully clarify in our resumes.  They also assist job seekers to allow them to come across as real people to prospective employers.  Don’t just throw together a cover letter and think the hiring manager won’t read it.  You may be missing out on the chance to land the job.  In order to take advantage of a cover letter’s full potential perform the steps below.

Make sure you include a salutation in your cover letter.  The greeting you select will depend on the information you have about the organization.  Assuming you know the name of the Human Resource manager, your salutation should be listed as follows:  Dear (Mr. Smith) followed by a colon or a comma.  Ensure you address the hiring manager with their proper title (Ms. or Mr. etc.).

Let’s assume you don’t know the name of the hiring manager.  Simply put “Dear Hiring Manager,” or “Dear (insert organization name) Team.”  Last but not least, you could address the cover letter with “To Whom It May Concern”.  However, I would not recommend utilizing this salutation.

You can first start off writing the first paragraph of your cover letter.  This is where you will state which position you’re applying for and how you heard about the job listing.  I would recommend this being about 1 to 2 sentences in length.

The second step will be to write the body paragraphs of your cover letter.  Many cover letters will have typically about 1 to 2 body paragraphs.  Keep in mind you want to keep the letter short and not take up a great deal of their time.  Ensure you answer these questions in your body paragraphs. Why do I want to work for this organization?  What work experience you have that fits the job qualifications in the job announcement? Why are you a qualified candidate for this position?

Next you will write the final paragraph of your cover letter.  In this paragraph you will wrap up your letter and how you will follow up with your application.  You want to recap in one sentence why you feel you’re a perfect fit for the position.  You will then address what you’ll do next.  If you plan to follow up with the hiring manager in a week, then input the date in your letter.  You can also just say that you look forward to discussing your qualifications further and interviewing for the position.

Always present your contact information to include email and phone number so they may reach you. In addition, state if your resume and references are attached.  Finally always thank the person for their time. Finally, you will end your cover letter with a closing statement.  “Sincerely” or “Best” are always great options.  Finish up your cover letter by typing your full name.



Create a Reference List Sheet for Job Interviews 

Job seekers shouldn’t include the standard blurb “references available upon request” on your resume.   You need to have a reference page set up ahead of time to include a list of job references.

How you organized your reference list can make a huge impact in your chances of landing the position!  When you’ve reached the point in the interview process where a hiring manager asks you for your references, you will already be prepared.

Make sure to present your information accurately and in an easy to read format.  This will ensure you have a quality reference list!  Remember, everything you say or do during your job search helps to create a lasting impression in a prospective employer’s mind.

Now I certainly hope you are enjoying your snowy days this winter.  You can’t change the weather; however you can find activities that will help with your job search!

If you still have any questions regarding your resumes or federal application process feel free to drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you!

Dannielle Ramos Rash is an Army Veteran and Founder of First Class Resumes & Career Services. is a Certified Federal Job Search Trainer (CFJST), Certified Federal Career Coach (CFCC), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides dynamic resumes & career documents for job seekers around the globe. 

Job Search

Job Search Plan for 2015

Job Search
Job Search

Now that the ball has dropped, you have made your New Year resolutions in taking the next step in your career and 2015 will be the year to remember let’s get started! Assuming your goal for the New Year is to obtain a new job, you need to design and develop a plan to ensure your success.  Finding a new job takes time and the following is a course of action to prepare to land that job in the coming year. So let’s start 2015 off on the right foot and consider adding the following to your list of resolutions:


Ensure you define your goals and having a plan to reach them.  Be specific about your plan and have actionable steps.  Think back about the positions you’ve held in the past and assess your knowledge, skills and strengths.  You can’t reach the end goal if you don’t know where you’re going. Be mindful about setting weekly goals and hold yourself accountable to those goals.  Write down your plan and measure your progress.


Since it’s a new year, it’s imperative to organize your job search.  It’s important to have the appropriate tools in your job search tool box.

Let’s start with your resume.  Is it up-to-date and ready?  Have you had someone else proofread it?  Having another set of eyes is vital to ensure you have no grammatical errors or typos.  Know who you will utilize for references, and make certain you have their accurate contact information.  This will ensure you have the correct tools in your tool box and can enable you to get your foot in the door so you have an opportunity to sell yourself to the employer.


We all know this is the most significant step you can do in your job search.  Nearly 80% of positions are filled through networking than any other combined.  If you didn’t know, online job postings receive hundreds of responses.  That’s a lot of resumes! How will you stand out and be noticed?

By networking you will be able to receive an internal contact to pass your resume to the hiring manager.  When you network it assists you in building and identifying those internal contacts.  Networking involves a large amount of listening.  Meet with someone at the organization to learn more about their culture, the industry and the types of positions they offer.  Make it a goal to add 5 to 10 connections each week! It truly makes a difference.



Think about the organizations are you most interested in working for.  Which organizations are typically hiring for the roles you’re considering?  What organizations fascinate you the most? What organizations are in your area and how far is the commute?

Start devising a list and then research those organizations to learn more about them.  To direct your job search efforts utilize your list.  Next you will organize and prioritize your list based on where you have contacts and LinkedIn connections.


If you’re missing significant skills on your resume and career documents, volunteer a few hours per week to acquire them.  Many nonprofits need the assistance and are always seeking volunteers.  This would give you an opportunity to develop and enhance your skills.  Think of it as a great investment to add more skills to your resume.  Not only does this add valuable skills but it also shows your initiative.  What employer doesn’t favor an employee that takes initiative?


Be careful what you post on your social media platforms.  Many hiring managers do a search and check candidates online. Be mindful about what you post on your Face book, Instagram, Twitter pages, or any other social media pages.  Keep in mind that a potential employer may see it.  If you don’t want your grandma to see or read it, don’t post it!  Always put your best foot forward and you will have no issues!

Social Media


You shouldn’t have any grammatical errors or typos in your resume or career documents.  This is a huge mistake and shows a lack of attention to detail. This is extremely vital and can be the thing that has your resume thrown in the trash pile and not the “interview pile”.  Finally don’t brag about your attention to detail when your letter has obvious typos.


Nowadays there are hundreds of candidates for each open position, and sometimes more!  How will you differentiate yourself?  Always focus on how you can meet the employer’s needs and what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. Focus on how you can assist within their organization.  What knowledge, skills and abilities do you bring to the table?  How can you make a difference within their organization?


Finally hiring managers always remember when candidates send them a thank you note.  Ensure you stand out and send them a handwritten thank you letter.  Most people value their time, so a “Thank You” for taking time out of their busy day can go far!

Now is the ideal time to revamp your approach as your pursue new career opportunities in 2015! Design a plan and implement it today and there’s a great chance you’ll be ringing in the New Year and celebrating with a new job!

Which of the above will you add to your career search strategy?

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Top 5 Do’s of LinkedIn!

Let’s face it, LinkedIn is known as one of the largest professional social network sites! Professionals come together from all fields and are able to build relationships and showcase their knowledge and experience.  It’s also a great place where companies can highlight their organization to prospective clients and prospective employees. To assist you with getting started on LinkedIn we have listed our top 5 Do’s of LinkedIn.

1.       Professional Headshot

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can have a huge impact on your profile and its overall appearance.  Don’t leave the photo area blank, nobody wants to see a ghost image of you.  More importantly they want to ensure to connect with the right individual.  One of the biggest mistakes I see is having no photo at all.  Believe it or not, you are more likely to have your profile viewed when having a photo listed.

Unfortunately, people assume there must be something wrong if there is no photo at all. Others are cautious about connecting with someone if they don’t have a photo, as it may be a fake profile.  In addition, let’s say you leave a networking event with a bunch of business cards.  You get home and jump on LinkedIn to follow up. The person you link to may be the wrong person because they have no photo listed and it may lead to a missed connection.  But above all, keep it to a professional headshot.   Don’t put up a picture of you with your spouse, child or cat! Instead, place a professional headshot of yourself.

2.       Join Groups

Try to join at least 40 groups.  If you join 40 groups, you still have leeway to add more if you are interested in another group at a later date. Joining groups are how you get things accomplished on LinkedIn.  Don’t just join LinkedIn and not join groups, throw yourself out there! What’s the worst thing that could happen? Others will get to know you by joining groups.

3.       Participate in discussions

Don’t just join the groups, but rather participate in them!  Nobody likes a lurker, jump in there and participate.  Share articles, post discussions and share your opinions on a regular basis. Ensure your comment or article is of value to the group.  Ask for advice and discuss a topic that is relevant to the group.  This will also engage others in the group to participate in the discussion and group.

4.       Networking

Build your network as much as you can.  Don’t worry if you don’t have any interest in networking with an individual who invites you into their network.  They may have a person in their network that you have an interest in, but you won’t know unless you add them! When you connect to them it then gives you access to that network of people.  The more connections you have, the more likely it is that someone you want to connect with will be in the network.



5.       Update, Update, Update.

Make sure you are continually updating your profile.  Your position may be changing as well as your needs. Ensure you don’t keep the same phrases in your profile and make updates.  It’s essential to keep all of your profile information up-to-date.

I encourage you to apply the 5 strategies above to build your following on LinkedIn.  LinedIn is an excellent tool to add to your professional arsenal.

Dannielle Ramos Rash is the Founder and Principal Writer at First Class Résumés & Career Services. She is an Army Veteran and a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) as well as a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches.  Dannielle provides powerful résumés & career documents for job seekers around the globe.

If you would like a complimentary resume review, feel free to forward your resume to  If you would like to stay in touch, please “like” us on Facebook.


Top 10 Job Search Trends of 2014

Have you decided to take your job search to the next level this year? Then you should know these latest trends that will have an impact on your job search in 2014!  Improve your job search game by staying ahead of the latest trends and understanding what employers are seeking.  Check out these job search trends of 2014 and hopefully you will land the job you’ve always wanted!


In 2014 you’ll need to become more tech-savvy.  We saw the rise of the mobile job search in 2013 and we’re not just talking about your LinkedIn profile or tweeting several times a day.  Ensure you have perfected an electronic version of your résumé so that it can easily be submitted to hiring managers.  By doing this, it will ensure you’re prepared for your next opportunity that comes along your way.  Hold on to your pants, because this year the job search will become more digital than ever. 


This trend is already here and will continue to rise!  Mobile Apps seem to be the wave of the future for applying for jobs! has a free iPhone app, where users are able to perform a search for jobs available by using keywords, salaries and descriptions.  Another free app available is The Career Search by LinkUp.  This app allows users to perform a search of job available and research careers. 


Working remotely will be the norm.  Talented employees don’t have to work in a traditional work setting and employers are beginning to notice.  Agencies are recruiting people and extending them the option to work from home. 


In addition to working remotely, more jobseekers are choosing to become freelancers.  There has been an increase of workers deciding to freelance their services.  This trend will only increase in numbers over the next 10 years.  Freelance work is becoming a popular trend of employment for job seekers. 


This seems to be another trend there is going to be more emphasis on.  Recruiters are continually checking social media to research candidates.  Ensure you are presenting oneself on these platforms in a good light, as it may affect your job search.  Companies are also taking advantage of video interviews via Skype to screen the best candidates for their company.  Not only is your online presence going to matter during your job search, but the way you utilize technology will as well.


Don’t just copy and paste your résumé into LinkedIn.  Your LinkedIn profile should be a complement to your résumé. Your profile is used to connect with people in your network and that is how they will find you on LinkedIn.   Your profile should be more engaging than a résumé and therefore should be more personal.  Don’t forget to be creative in your summary and show passion, motivation and personality!


Ensure to utilize Twitter for following companies you’re interested in with job opportunities.  You can locate job postings and follow companies to learn more if you would like to pursue opportunities with them. Unlike other websites recruiters can post job announcements on Twitter for free!


Hiring Managers are requesting writing samples for most professional jobs.  Employers are placing a high value on written communication as they screen candidates.  Candidates are required in some instances to submit writing samples even for internships. In addition, they may be asked to send a writing sample in addition to a résumé or bring with them in a job interview. 

Job Search


Recruiters are plagued with an assortment of technologies and crunched for time.  The standard résumé review was roughly 20 seconds, now 5 seconds is the norm.   It’s imperative to match your résumé to each job announcement to connect with the employer and the position. Hiring managers have more candidates to evaluate in their search for the perfect employee to their need for talent. Your goal is to reach the top of the candidate list, not get your career document thrown in the trash pile.


Follow-up letters are becoming more common sent via email, typically within 24 hours of an interview.  Candidates that want to stand out and be remembered should reference key points uncovered during their interview.  The idea is to stand out from the hundreds of candidates applying for the same position.

A candidate’s job search will continue even if they are gainfully employed.  A job seekers job search doesn’t end after they land a job.  Regardless of your current status, your job search will continue.  A great candidate is continually seeking new positions and opportunities, regardless if they are happily employed. We don’t know what opportunities will present themselves in 2014, so candidates need to be open to opportunities.  So keep these trends in mind when searching for your next dream job!








COMMANDMENT I: Now is not the time to take a vacation.  Don’t take an extended vacation from your job search.  Searching for a full time job is a full time job.  Do not miss out on employment opportunities by taking a break.  You are only harming yourself and your chances to find work when you extend the time between your last job and your next.

COMMANDMENT 2: You will be disappointed.  Expect disappointments and turndowns. You cannot be offered every job you apply for and not every applicant can be hired for the same job.  Your job search is a competition, be competitive!

COMMANDMENT 3: Have a plan.  Establish a daily job search plan.  Know what you are going to do every day to apply for jobs.  Have a schedule of where to look, who to talk to, and what applications you need to call back on.

COMMANDMENT 4: Network, Network and Network.  Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a job and what job you want.  Networking is one of the best ways to find employment.  Wherever you go, mention that you are looking for a job.  You never know who may know of a job opening, works for a company that is hiring, or will pass the word along that you are looking for employment.

COMMANDMENT 5: Budget yourself.  Put yourself on a budget.  If you do not have an income, you need to know how to make your existing money go further in order to get you by temporarily.  You also need to know what your living expenses are and what kind of salary you will need once you are employed, as not to live beyond your means.  Spending more than you earn is the quickest way to get yourself in financial trouble.  Know how much money it takes to support yourself and your family.


COMMANDMENT 6:  Keep up your appearance.  You never know when you will meet a potential employer.  You must present yourself appropriately at all times during your job search.  You are making your first impression the moment you attend a networking event.  You must also be prepared for on-site interviews in case an employer is able to meet with you immediately.

COMMANDMENT 7: Don’t stop applying until you get an offer.  Do not stop your job search while waiting to hear from an employer.  Just because you have a good feeling about one employment possibility does not mean that you got the position.  Keep all of your options open, no matter how badly you want a certain job.  Do not count on any lead completely until you have actually been offered employment with a set start date.

COMMANDMENT 8: Keep in touch.  Stay in touch with family and friends.  Now is the time you need a good support group to help you with a job search and to stand behind you.  Let those you are close to know how your search is going, what disappointments you have faced, and what you are striving for.

COMMANDMENT 9: Don’t forget to follow up.  Follow up on each contact with a phone call.  Let each company you have applied to know that you are interested in the open position.  Keep your name in their head as someone they need to consider for employment.  Ask if the position has been filled, when they are hoping to fill it, and if you can get an interview.

COMMANDMENT 10: Always say Thank you and express gratitude right away.  By showing gratitude it makes people want to assist you in landing a job or even hire you.  Gratitude will help you in your career and will also make you a happier person.