If you're wondering how to describe your job skills on your résumé in a way that will get you noticed as a "match," Marc Karasu...

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If you’re wondering how to describe your job skills on your résumé in a way that will get you noticed as a “match,” Marc Karasu, career expert at Yahoo! HotJobs, an online recruiting site, has helpful insights.


Though other career professionals often suggest that so-called soft skills should not be mentioned until the job interview itself, Karasu disagrees:


“Soft skills are important to include — words like ‘teamwork’ and ‘detail-oriented’ help a résumé stand out.”


He adds: “Avoid vague words such as ‘assist’ or ‘contribute.’ ” Karasu also warns against such overused words as “synergy” and “interface.”


Not everyone knows what those words mean.



Uncomfortable retirement

While politicians in Washington debate the pros and cons of Social Security changes, a recent survey by Hudson, a global staffing and outsourcing firm based in New York, reports that 45 percent of 2,170 U.S. workers “have not set aside enough money for a comfortable retirement.”


In fact, 74 percent think they will have to work part time to supplement their retirement funds.


I hope the country’s leaders pay attention to these numbers and don’t decide to take the “security” out of Social Security.



Not too old for school

In 2000, at age 50, when many of her friends were thinking of retirement, Nancy Candrian, of Sandy, Utah, went back to college to be certified as a teacher in early childhood education. In the interim, she has been able to work as a special-education teacher.


Now, at 55, she will get her degree this spring.


“I’m finishing up two classes this semester and will student-teach in the fall,” said Candrian, who teaches in the developmental preschool for the Jordan school district in her state.


“I love my teaching job and am making full teacher’s pay with a wonderful benefits package. And I have at least 10 years left to be active.”


What’s more, she says, “I am committed to finishing my education or I would have quit two years ago — before my math and statistics classes!”



Only a few are called

Human-resource professionals and other hiring officers often complain they are inundated with hundreds of résumés for the few open positions they have.


So the question becomes, how many job applicants are asked to come in for a personal interview?


The answer: not many.


According to a survey of 150 corporate executives by OfficeTeam, a global staffing firm based in Menlo Park, Calif., the executives interview only “six candidates for each job opening.” That was the “mean” response.


It sure was!



Negotiate, negotiate

One way to get the salary you deserve is to present strong arguments about why you should be granted the specific figure you want.


But, it seems, that’s not what most job seekers do.


“More than 50 percent [of job seekers] will accept their next job offer without benefit of negotiation,” according to Robin Pinkley and Gregory Northcraft, authors of “Get Paid What You’re Worth: The Expert Negotiators’ Guide to Salary and Compensation” (St. Martin’s Press, $23.95).


“Because they won’t negotiate, most will receive lower salaries and fewer benefits than their employer was willing to pay. … Nothing feels worse than beginning a new job only to discover that others less qualified than you receive better compensation.”


E-mail questions to Carol Kleiman at ckleiman@tribune.com. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.