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A Resume Writer uses the right keywords, has the best ATS resume checker, applies the latest formatting strategies for speedreading, enhances your content, and helps your resume stand out from the crowd.
A Resume Writer is often a freelance writer who specializes as a technical writer and focuses on resume writing and other career-related documents.
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Employment Law 101
When applying for a job, what most candidates say they want is a level playing field — the opportunity to be considered for employment because of their skills, experience, and education, without consideration of how they look, what they wear for religious reasons, or how old they are. In other words, they want a hiring environment free of discrimination.
Employment Law Guide
There are a number of local, state, and federal laws that employers must follow when hiring employees. Generally speaking, these laws prohibit discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, ethnicity/national origin, disability, or veteran status.
With so many government agencies involved in creating laws for hiring and employment, it’s no wonder companies get confused. In some instances, these may affect you, the job seeker, as you may face potential discrimination in the application and/or hiring process.
There are laws to govern how many hours you can work (Fair Labor Standards Act), the type of work you can perform in certain industries (Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, for example), and even the types of benefits some types of companies can offer (Employee Retirement Income Security Act).
This guide, however, is designed to familiarize you specifically with laws relating to applying for jobs, interviewing, and getting hired. Note: The information in this guide is not intended to provide legal, medical, or financial advice. If legal, medical, or financial advice is needed, an appropriate professional should be consulted.
You are most likely to encounter these situations in smaller companies, where the owner or hiring managers handle applications, interviews, and job offers directly; however, discrimination occurs in companies of all sizes.
Here is an analysis of some of the most relevant laws for jobseekers.
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) addresses employment eligibility, employment verification, and nondiscrimination in hiring. Under this law, employers may only hire candidates who are legally eligible to work in the U.S. (i.e., citizens and U.S. nationals) and aliens authorized to work in the U.S.
Employers must verify the identity and employment eligibility of anyone hired, including completing an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9 form) for each applicant. These forms must be kept on file for at least three years, or one year after employment ends, whichever is longer. Newly-hired employees must complete and sign the top section of the form (which collects biographical data) no later than the first day of employment. However, Section 1 should never be completed before you accept a job offer.
Employers must complete Section 2 of the I-9 form within three business days of your first day of employment. Candidates will present documents to verify their identity, choosing from a list of acceptable documents outlined on the form. The identification establishes your identity and employment authorization.
The INA protects U.S. citizens and aliens authorized to accept employment in the U.S. from discrimination in hiring or discharge on the basis of national origin and citizenship status.
Another section of the act applies to employers seeking to hire nonimmigrant aliens as workers in specialty occupations, often referred to as “H1-B workers.” This is more common in the engineering, teaching, technology, and medical professions. The number of new H1-B visas that can be issued each year is subject to a cap.
Relevance to Job seekers:
You will be asked for documentation to complete an I-9 form at the time of hiring. You can review the I-9 form here: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-9.pdf.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects applicants from discrimination in hiring. Protection is granted on the basis of the applicant’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), and national origin.
Religious discrimination includes an employer failing to provide reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices if the accommodation does not create an undue hardship for the employer.
Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) protects jobseekers who are 40 years of age (or older) from age discrimination in hiring. However, it is not illegal for an employer to favor an older job applicant over a younger one, even if both workers are age 40 or older. The law also forbids harassment because of age; for example, offensive remarks or repeated jokes about a person’s age.
The ADEA applies to employers with 20 or more employees, including state and local government entities.
Relevance to Job seekers:
The ADEA generally makes it unlawful to include age preferences, limitations, or specifications in job notices or ads. A job notice or ad may specify an age limit only in the rare circumstances where age is shown to be a “bona fide occupational qualification” (BFOQ) — for example, airline pilots must retire at age 65 in the U.S.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973
Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), is very similar to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). It requires certain employers (including those with federal contracts or subcontracts) to take affirmative action to hire, retain, and promote qualified individuals with disabilities.
Covered disabilities include a wide range of mental and/or physical impairments that “substantially limit or restrict a major life activity,” such as hearing, seeing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, caring for oneself, learning, or working. In addition, individuals who have recovered from their disabilities may not be discriminated against because of their past medical history.
Relevance to Job seekers:
The law only protects against discrimination for disabilities. You must possess the necessary education, skills, or other job-related requirements to be considered for the position. You must also be able to perform the essential functions of the job — the fundamental job duties of the position you desire — with or without reasonable accommodation (which require the employer to make adjustments or modifications in the work, job application process, work environment, job structure, equipment, employment practices, or the way that job duties are performed so that an individual can perform the essential functions of the job.)
Pregnancy Discrimination Act
In 1978, Congress amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to enact the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). This law forbids discrimination based on pregnancy when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring. If a woman is temporarily unable to perform her job due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the employer or other covered organization must treat her the same way it treats any other temporarily disabled employee. For example, the employer may have to provide light duty assignments, disability leave, or unpaid leave to pregnant employees, if it does so for other temporarily disabled employees.
Relevance to Job seekers:
You do not have to disclose your pregnancy to a prospective employer when applying for a position. However, you may not want to change jobs during pregnancy if your health care coverage would be affected by a new position. If the new employer offers health care coverage, there may be a waiting period before coverage begins. However, insurance coverage for a pregnancy generally cannot be denied within a group insurance plan. The Health Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) ensures that group health insurance plans cover pregnancy, in most cases. However, if your new employer does not offer a health insurance benefit, you may find it difficult to obtain an individual policy that covers your pregnancy-related claims.
Immigration Reform and Control Act
In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, discrimination on the basis of national origin involves treating applicants unfavorably because they are from a particular country or part of the world, because of ethnicity or accent, or because they appear to be of a certain ethnic background (even if they are not). National origin discrimination can also extend to treating candidates unfavorably because they are married to (or associated with) a person of a certain national origin, or because of their connection with an ethnic organization or group.
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (IRCA) makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate with respect to recruitment and hiring based on an individual’s citizenship or immigration status. The law prohibits employers from hiring only U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents unless required to do so by law, regulation, or government contract.
Employers may not refuse to accept lawful documentation that establishes the employment eligibility of an employee, or demand additional documentation beyond what is legally required, when verifying employment eligibility, based on the employee’s national origin or citizen status.
Relevance to Job seekers:
Discrimination on the basis of national origin may begin with your initial application to the company. An employer may be reluctant to call an applicant whose name he or she cannot pronounce, so providing a nickname on the résumé or job application may help.
For example, if you wear a hijab for religious or cultural reasons, an employer may be worried about how the company’s customers would react to it. However, customer preference is never a justification for a discriminatory practice.
The employer is not likely to articulate that as the reason why you were not selected for the position. Even though you might feel that was the reason you were not hired, a fuller explanation of the employer’s business reasons would be needed to determine whether or not discrimination was involved.
Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990
Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) protects qualified individuals from discrimination in hiring on the basis of disability. Covered employers must make reasonable accommodations for known physical and/or mental limitations of an otherwise qualified individual (unless it creates an “undue hardship” on the employer).
The term “qualified” means that you have the skills, experience, education, and other job-related requirements of the position being sought, and can perform the essential job functions of the position, with or without reasonable accommodation.
Not all employers are required to comply with the ADA. Covered organizations include private employers with 15 or more employees, employment agencies, and labor organizations. State and local government employers must also comply with the ADA.
Accommodations are considered “any modification or adjustment to a job or work environment that enables a qualified person with a disability to apply for or perform a job.” It also includes alterations to ensure a qualified individual with a disability has rights and privileges in employment equal to those of employees without disabilities.
Relevance to Job seekers:
When applying for a position, the prospective employer may not ask you to answer medical questions or take a medical exam before extending a job offer. You may not be asked if you have a disability (or about the nature of an obvious disability). You can be asked, however, whether you can perform the job and how you would perform the job, with or without a reasonable accommodation. (After you are offered the job, an employer can make the job offer contingent on passing a required medical examination, but only if all candidates for that job category have to take the examination.)
From a practical standpoint, you should not request an accommodation during the application process unless there is a workplace barrier that prevents you, due to a disability, from competing for a job or performing the job. Likewise, you should not reference your medical history when applying for a position (for example, to account for a gap on your résumé or explain a job change on your cover letter) unless absolutely necessary — or if it is relevant to the position you are seeking.
The only limitation on an employer’s obligation to provide reasonable accommodations is that no change or modification is required if it would cause “undue hardship” to the employer — meaning significant expense or difficulty in making the accommodation (for example, if the modification would be disruptive, or if it would fundamentally alter the nature or operation of the business).
One of the newer candidate protection regulations is the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which protects applicants from discrimination in hiring based on genetic information. GINA restricts employers’ acquisition of genetic information and strictly limits disclosure of genetic information, including information about genetic tests the applicant may have received, the manifestation of diseases or disorders in applicant’s family members, and requests for receipt of genetic services.
GINA was enacted, in large part, because of developments in the field of genetics, the decoding of the human genome, and advances in the field of genomic medicine. Genetic tests now exist that can determine whether individuals are at risk for specific diseases or disorders. The law addresses the concerns of individuals who fear the loss of health coverage or employment because of their genetic information.
Relevance to Job seekers:
Special Consideration for Veterans in Hiring
Certain companies with federal government contracts or subcontracts are required to provide affirmative action to employ
For more information, visit http://www.dol.gov/vets/.
How to work with a Resume Writer
“Resume Writing Services: Everything You Need To Know”
Here is how to help me to help you
When you make the decision to hire a professional resume writer, you’re not only investing your time and money, but you're also entrusting me to articulate your personal brand and shape how you'll position yourself in your job search. I take this responsibility very seriously, and am providing these 10 tips to help ensure we have a successful, positive collaboration!
1. Communicate clearly
2. Be clear on your career plans and objectives
3. Meet your deadlines
4. Invest in yourself
Your new résumé is just one tool in your job search toolbox. If I suggest you purchase a new outfit for your interview, or I recommend additional services to complement your résumé, consider the request carefully. Your income is your number one asset, and as the saying goes, “sometimes you need to spend money to make money.” Spending 1-3% of your annual income on improving your career prospects is a wise investment.
5. Trust me, I'm your Résumé Writer
Please don't solicit opinions about your résumé from your friends or family members. You hired me for my expertise. So, if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask me. Related to this: Don't believe everything you read on the Internet. For every article that talks about why your résumé should be one page, there are more which say it should be two pages (and not longer).
6. Remember, your résumé is a marketing document, not a biography.
I'm not going to include every detail about your life and work history on your résumé, especially if you have certain jobs that aren't relevant to your career target. These details are important to who you are, but they are not necessarily important in this résumé for this job target. I will be selective in what information I include because your résumé tells a story about who you are and what you can do.
7. Don't “lend” your résumé to anyone else.
Your new résumé is a customized document developed just for you. Allowing someone else to use your résumé (format, design, and/or wording) may even dilute its effectiveness for you — especially if you "lend it" to a co-worker or colleague. If someone admires your résumé, send him or her my way and I will create an equally awesome document customized for their job search!
8. If you're not getting results, let's talk.
We might need to make some changes to make your résumé more effective, or I might be able to share some strategies to help you increase the number of interviews and job offers you receive.
9. Let me know how you're doing.
Sometimes I don't hear from clients until they need an update to their résumé when it's time to look for a new job. But I want to hear from you when you get a job offer. We'll celebrate together!
10. Keep your résumé updated.
Speaking of your new job, once you land a new position (and you're sure you're going to stay -- usually, after the first 90 days), get back in touch with me to add your new position. Keep an accomplishments journal so you can track your achievements in your new role, which makes it easier to respond to new opportunities that come up.
I look forward to working with you. We can start here!
Things to keep in mind
Your job search success
Your resume won't necessarily look like the samples on my website
Don't just use your new resume to apply for jobs online, please!
Provide the information you want on your resume up front
Upload resume to LinkedIn
How to protect your info on LinkedIn
Normally, when you are setting up your LinkedIn privacy settings, you’re selecting the audience you want to be able to see your LinkedIn profile. But there is one new LinkedIn setting that you will want to select to ensure that LinkedIn doesn’t share your content.
When Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016, the integration of the social media platform with Microsoft’s products was alluded to in the announcement. In an internal memo published on TechCrunch.com, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner identified some specific areas where the two companies would work together. These included:
With the announcement of a new Microsoft Word feature called “Resume Assistant,” that integration is becoming even more apparent. When this feature is enabled, it shows what other people in similar roles say about themselves in their LinkedIn profiles, allowing users of the word processing software to incorporate that content directly into the résumé they are creating for themselves.
While it has always been possible to view profiles of individuals in similar roles for inspiration when constructing your résumé, LinkedIn Headline, and profile content, this new feature allows users to directly copy content from other peoples’ LinkedIn profiles. And, in fact, it is encouraged by Microsoft/LinkedIn.
Fortunately, with the introduction of this new feature, LinkedIn has also recently added a new privacy setting to allow you to omit your LinkedIn profile from showing up in Microsoft Word’s Resume Assistant.
Disabling the sharing function makes it harder for others to “plagiarize” your LinkedIn content — whether you wrote it yourself, or had assistance from a professional résumé writer.
One of the best things you can do to keep your content from being plagiarized is to make it uniquely about you and branding yourself so distinctively that your content couldn’t possibly be used to describe anyone else but you!
Step 01: Click “Me” on Your LinkedIn Profile
Step 02: Find “Settings & Privacy”
Click “Settings & Privacy.”
Step 03: Click “Privacy”
Step 04: Scroll Down to “Data Privacy and Advertising” Section
Step 05: Click on Microsoft Word
The default setting is “Yes” — “Allow Microsoft Word to display work experience descriptions from your profile to users of Resume Assistant.”
Step 06: Slide From the Default “Yes” to “No”
Changing the setting to “No” keeps LinkedIn from sharing your descriptions with Microsoft Word users.
Step 07: Resume Assistant Integration
Here is LinkedIn’s explanation of the Resume Assistant integration.
One of the best things you can do to keep your content from being plagiarized is to make it uniquely about you — branding yourself so distinctively that your content couldn’t possibly be used to describe anyone else but you!
Step 08: Changing This Setting in the LinkedIn Mobile App
You can also change this setting in the LinkedIn mobile app.
In the app, go to the “Settings” gear in the upper right-hand corner and click “Privacy.” Scroll down to “Microsoft Word” and display the setting. Change the slider to “No.” Resume Assistant is a new feature that is only available to Office 365 subscribers who are part of the “Office Insider” program. Resume Assistant pulls suggested skills and work experience descriptions from LinkedIn profiles when the Resume Assistant setting is set to “Yes.”
Five ways to assess a new job offer
Is it really "Time for a change"?
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low in September 2018, making candidates more desirable than ever. Maybe you’ve been thinking it’s time for a change. You wouldn’t be alone.
According to Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent report, 37 percent of respondents are looking for a new job — either actively pursuing new opportunities (20 percent) or casually seeking a new position (17 percent).
Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, or are having trouble getting along with a new boss. The easy answer would be to just quit, but it’s probably not the right answer.
When you see someone quit their job in dramatic fashion, that may look like fun (especially after a bad day at work), but there are many reasons why that’s not a good idea.
An Addison Group 2019 Workplace Satisfaction Survey of 1,000 jobseekers found 79 percent of respondents say they are likely — or very likely — to look for a new job after a single bad day at work.
One of the top reasons why that may not be the right choice is that “unemployment discrimination” is a real thing. Both research and anecdotal evidence have found it’s harder to find a job when you’re unemployed than if you’re job searching while you’ve got a job.
One recent survey measured the difference. According to “The Science of the Job Search (2018)” survey by TalentWorks, “People who showed they were currently employed (even if creatively) saw a 149% hireability boost compared to their previously-fired or laid-off competitors.”
“Creatively” demonstrating current employment can be anything from continuing to show the work experience as “To Present” on a résumé or LinkedIn profile even after leaving a job to listing a “consulting business” as interim employment.
But when a hiring manager looks at your résumé — in particular, at your most recent positions — he or she likely won’t know if you’re not there because you were fired, laid off, or you quit.
Quitting can negatively impact your chances of getting hired. And it’s not just about quitting your job — it can be about quitting your job too soon (or looking for another job too soon).
The need to demonstrate current employment is particularly important if you haven’t been at your most recent job for very long.
According to the TalentWorks research, “People whose shortest job was 9+ months were 85 percent more hireable than people whose shortest job was 8 months or less.”
Furthermore, TalentWorks found that you are more hireable for your next job if you are at your current job for 18 months or longer.
If you did quit your job, you had better be ready to answer the question in an interview about why you left your most recent position.
That’s if you get the chance to interview at all. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for reasons to narrow down the pool of candidates they will interview. It may be worth your while to address the reason for your departure in a cover letter accompanying the résumé, because leaving that question unanswered may result in your application being discarded in the initial screening process.
Why People Quit Their Job
There are many reasons to think about making a change. The Pulse of Talent survey found the top five reasons for quitting include:
Nearly a third of employees in the same survey said they would need to leave their current position to move forward in their career.
All of these are “valid” reasons to pursue a job change, but they are not a reason to necessarily quit a job before lining up another one.
Reasons to Look for a New Job While You’re Still Employed
When you’re employed and looking for a new position, not only will recruiters and hiring managers be more inclined to interview you, but you’ll also have more money to invest in your job search. Being unemployed can be expensive!
The average job search is 13 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Could you afford to go without a paycheck for that long?
Networking takes time, as does applying for positions. You may have to wait a month for the application window to close, and candidates to interview to be selected. It can take 1-2 weeks after that to even get an interview scheduled, and the hiring decision may not be made for a couple days or weeks after that. Even if you’re available to start immediately, the company may require drug testing or have other pre-employment tasks that can lengthen the time before you actually start the job.
On the other hand, conducting a confidential job search while you’re still employed gives you time to prepare the tools required to support your job search. Having a résumé or professional LinkedIn profile professionally prepared can take 2-3 weeks.
Instead of simply quitting, you can also prepare yourself for a career move. Rather than quit right now, you might stick it out for six months, using that time to get yourself ready for the next opportunity. For example, taking classes or pursuing a certification that will better prepare you for your next job, or starting a side hustle (that might grow into a full-time opportunity in time).
Also, you want to make sure that you’re not running away from something as much as you are running towards something better. Spend some time thinking about what you do want to do next and why this particular job wasn’t a good fit.
If you’re looking to change careers, lining up your next job before quitting is even more important. Switching careers itself is more difficult than finding a job in the same industry, and adding unemployment to that equation can make the job search process take even longer.
The Costs of Unemployment
In addition to the time you’ll spend unemployed, there’s the potential costs of being unemployed. When you quit your job, you may lose benefits that will affect you financially. For example, if you need COBRA to continue to have health insurance coverage, that can be expensive. (COBRA is the temporary medical insurance named for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the federal law that gives people who have lost employer-sponsored health coverage the right to continue their coverage, at their own expense, for at least 18 months. However, the insured is responsible for 100 percent of the insurance premium — plus up to 2 percent for administrative costs — not just the amount you were paying as an employee.)
If you quit your job, you likely will not be able to collect unemployment benefits. So even if you think you are going to get fired, it may be better to let that happen. If you are laid off or fired, you may also get severance pay or access to outplacement services.
In general, you can only collect unemployment benefits after quitting if you have “good cause” — for example, due to an unsafe work environment, or if you weren’t being paid as promised, or if you were subject to harassment or discrimination. You can check with your state’s unemployment office before quitting to determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. It may also be wise to talk with an employment attorney to be sure.
Why You May Need To Quit
Now, there may be some valid reasons why you may need — or want to — quit your job immediately.
These can include:
Can I Just Quit?
The answer is probably yes, depending on where you work. In the United States, all states are formally recognized as “at-will” employment states, meaning the employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason without “just cause” and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal. Some states also place limitations on at-will employment, which is more for the employee’s protection in the event of being fired or laid off.
Employees not covered by an employment contract are employed “at will,” meaning neither you nor the employer need to provide notice prior to ending the employment.
If you have an employment agreement, read it carefully to find out how you need to turn in your resignation. Do you need to provide two weeks’ notice? Do you need to provide notice in writing? Make sure you are following the process outlined in the contract.
It’s always a good idea to offer two weeks’ notice to your employer — if you can — even if they turn you down and have you leave immediately. Keep in mind if you quit without giving notice, you are likely burning a bridge with that employer that will lead to negative reference checks in the future.
Prepare To Quit
If you are going to quit your job, do everything you can to prepare yourself ahead of time:
One advantage of quitting your job is that you will have more time to spend on the job search, especially time to interview and network. Looking for a new job has often been compared to taking on a part-time job because of the time and energy required.
A job change may be in your (immediate) future. But don’t act without thinking or planning your next move — especially if you want to make a change in reaction to a bad day, being overlooked for a promotion, or because of a disagreement with a co-worker or manager.
Branding? Positioning? What IS all that?
The terms “branding yourself” has already become a part of many people’s vocabulary, while others are still wondering about its definition. While “branding” (which is defined as “to make an indelible mark or impression on somebody or something”) is a valuable strategy, you may be more comfortable with the idea of simply positioning yourself to be successful in your job search and career.
Many jobseekers don’t realize they have already positioned themselves — they just haven’t articulated it yet. Maybe you’re known as “the sales manager that makes quota, no matter what’s going on in the economy,” or “the engineer that can speak in language the customer understands.” That’s your positioning.
To cultivate the positioning that will help you reach your career goals, you must understand and be able to communicate what makes you exceptional and compelling.
You must find a way to stand out in a crowded job search. If you’re not known for something, you won’t be known for anything. One size does not fit all.
Knowing your skills and professional qualifications — and being able to articulate them — will also help you navigate applicant tracking systems (ATS).
Position yourself effectively to attract connections, opportunities, and job offers.
How to Develop Your Positioning
To identify how to position yourself, it helps to examine a couple of key issues:
Be aware of the kind of work you are willing to do, and the kind of work you don’t want to do. Make a list of the things you like to do, and what you don’t like to do.
Look to your work history for clues to your positioning. What in your work history did you do to make things better? Look for instances where you showed leadership and accomplishments.
Check out your existing online profile. What comes up when you Google yourself? What is your social media presence? What are you known for online?
Begin with the end in mind: What job do you want? Then figure out what qualities and attributes set you apart from your competition.
Additional resources to help you identify what makes you stand out:
Research Your Profession to Identify Your Positioning