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Career Search Strategies

  • looking-for-employment

    “Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it!” – Steve Southerland

    Your resume writer has prepared for you a strong document that should optimize your chances for an interview. So you begin looking for employment by scouring the online job boards and company websites, where you begin applying for positions. But is that enough? You may be competing with hundreds of other applicants. Some of which also used highly talented certified resume writers to assist them. When seriously looking for employment, what you need is your resume and cover letter in the hands of the decision makers. But in this digital age, there seems to be layers of firewalls between the applicant and these keepers of employment. So, how do you make it happen?

    Of course, if you have been managing your career properly, you have some infrastructure that can go a long way in helping carry out your attack plan (well-crafted LinkedIn profile, manicured social media, blog or website to establish your subject matter expertise, etc).

    When looking for employment, you can use your social media tools to tunnel your way to those who either have the power to bring you in, or at least may be able to wield some measure of influence. After researching who the decision makers may be for the position you seek, look them up on social media. Assess their openness to communication, and if you deem it feasible, introduce yourself and inform them of your application for the position available in their department. Since your LinkedIn page is optimized and blog updated regularly, they can immediately get a good feel for your qualifications. But don’t cyber-stalk or harass. The idea here is simply to get their attention for a few more moments than the competition. One never knows the conversation that can lick off.

    Of course, there are much riskier and crazier approaches job seekers have taken when looking for employment. Everything from singing telegrams to wacky formatted resumes have been used in attempts to get noticed. But remember, negative attention is not what you are seeking. So don’t do something so outlandish that your application becomes a punchline. You just want an edge, a subtle nudge that ever so slightly diverts the hiring manager’s attention your way.

  • job searchGet Your Hustle On! (That Job Search Won’t Manage Itself)

    You just received your degree, your company is closing, or you are just tired of your most recent employer. Either way, it’s time to begin a job search. But before you do, Let’s be clear on one thing: no matter the economy, jobs rarely just fall of the tree. Now, there are exceptions to that rule. You might be in an industry experiencing a talent shortage. Perhaps you are a high profile commodity within your profession. But if neither of these is true, you need to be ready to “shake a tail feather”.

    Perhaps it is a sign of times, but job search persistence seems to be in short supply these days. It is a bit myopic and self centered to believe that using an average resume to apply for an average number of position using an average methodology is going to produce results. Forbes Magazine once reported that the average number of applicants to apply for any particular job was 118, with only 20 of those getting an interview? So, your middle-of-the-pack effort using your middle-of-the-pack tools would mean you likely won’t even sniff an interview in this scenario.

    To ensure optimal success, your job search efforts need to be put into overdrive! Have your resume professionally written. Then, plot your job search meticulously. Look for any and every entity that hires people with your skill set, not just the ones with posted openings.

    • Have you tapped all of your friends, family and colleagues for their contacts?
    • Are you on LinkedIn? No, are you REALLY on LinkedIn? Is your profile optimized for search and visually appealing? Are you using enough of the character limitations to give the search algorithms something to hold onto?
    • What about your other social media profiles? Have they been sanitized, free of “hot mess” of fight videos, incessant complaints and personal spats?
    • Do you put in a full 8+ hours of effort every day on something toward employment?

    The period of unemployment is no time for a lack of intestinal fortitude. There are going to be moments of self-doubt and disappointment. But expect it. And then fight past it. Trust your job search strategy and stick to the plan, regardless of how you feel.

  • resume-writerWhen you considering hiring a resume pro while preparing for a multi-front job search, you may have to make some tough decisions. Your resume writer can’t realistically prepare multiple documents for the price of one (additional keyword research, potential rephrasing and re-ordering based upon the goal, new cover letter focus, etc.). So, how does one approach this dilemma?

    Option #1: Hire A Resume Pro Willing To Give Discounts On Additional Work

    When your resume pro prepares properly for the project, research is done on the industry and the position in question. A strategy is then developed based upon your particular qualifications mix to best bring immediate focus from the hiring authority to the relevant concepts. If you are seeking multiple position types (that vary in core skill utilization), you need a resume for each one to fully optimize your chances for success. Any credible resume service should be willing to prepare  additional targeted resume and cover letter packages at a discount. After all, you actual background doesn’t change and usually, the resume that was just prepared can usually be used as a starting point. check with any resume pro with which you consult to ensure this is an option.

    Option #2: Send A Resume Pro 100% After The Top Priority

    Perhaps you have a few employment areas that can be viable options for you, but there is one type of job in particular that you really want to land. if this is the case, your resume pro should develop a strategy to land interviews for that particular job. But along with developing strategy for that #1 target, your resume writer should seek opportunities to include concepts from the other job targets. But the kicker is, the #1 target should not be compromised in doing so. It is the resume equivalent to biting off one’s nose to spite one’s face. The primary target gets diluted, and now your resume is not strong enough for any of the employment goals.

    Option #3: Have A Resume Pro Develop An Excellent Base Resume That Can Be Retargeted As Needed

    If your employment goals are in the same ballpark, you can have a resume pro to build a document that gives you a good foundational resume that can be easily directed toward different, but related goals. Of course, this depends upon how comfortable you will be in making the resume changes yourself. A few keyword changes, profile entries and perhaps re-ordering duties and highlights to bring the most relevant ones to the top can be all you need. But be sure to seek consistency in phrase styling, formatting and spacing.

    Your resume is always to be written for your audience. So if you are not comfortable retargeting your resume and cover letter to pull attention to critical areas, be honest with yourself. Remember, a sluggish job search is a drain on your financial resources and delay in career advancement. Not to mention that the longer you are unemployed, the more “unemployable” hiring managers perceive you to be.

  • career mentorOnce you decide on a particular career direction, the next thing you will want to do is to begin developing a strategy for making it happen. So you begin to consider any education and training you may need to achieve your career objective, along with conducting research on the industry or profession you will be pursuing, right? But what if you did not have to do this type of leg work? What if the path you are trying to forge has already been traveled? This is where a good career mentor comes in. Finding and engaging a professional who has achieved a level of success in the arena you are seeking can be one of the most important tools in your career arsenal. Here are just a few things that a good career mentor can do for you.

    Career Mentors Help Eliminate Unnecessary Effort

    As we all know, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. When pursuing your chosen profession, there can be dozens of ways to get to the place that you want in your career. But wouldn’t it be nice to avoid the pitfalls, mistakes, and time wasters that delay your progress? Or even worse, take you completely off the path? A career mentor who has traveled the road to get to where you are trying to can provide you with insight as where to focus your efforts. Why take a course that you don’t have to? Or take a job that leads you to a dead end? If you were looking for directions to someone’s home, wouldn’t you want them to tell you where the potholes, dead ends, closed street, and heavily trafficked areas where? A mentor can turn you on to resources that perhaps they wish they accessed when they were coming up.

    Cultivate a Relationship That Leads To A Fertile Professional Network

    If you have just graduated from college, there is a chance that the only people you know attend beer bashes and toga parties. As enjoyable as that may be, these don’t usually do a lot for your career advancement. When you secure a good career mentor, you are also on the verge of accessing a pipeline of like-minded professionals who can lend a helping hand when it comes to securing employment or other opportunities. A good career mentor for you will be someone who is well established within the profession. With years of experience, they will likely have built an extensive network of others just like themselves who are a “speed dial button press” away. When you prove yourself worthy, there is an excellent chance that your mentor will open up their contact list to you. (Now, you must be sure to be on your game before most will do this for you. When they introduce you their reputations are also on the line. But if you are serious about your career, things will eventually fall into place.)

    Career Mentors Can Show You the Ugly Side You Many Not Have Seen

    Have you ever seen a movie trailer so exciting that you could not wait to buy your ticket and see it, only to find that the movie have numerous holes and that the only exciting parts were the trailers you already saw? This can sometimes be the case when it comes to pursuing a career. All of the website and periodicals you’ve accessed can show you all the great aspects of the career. But what about the things that only someone in the profession would know? With any profession, there may be some aspects of it that just will not work for you, but the research you conduct may not reveal it. A career mentor that has been there for 10 to 20 years is liable to have run across every scenario and be able to point out those things that no amount of research will reveal.

    Too many people are fond love the concept of wanting to learn from their mistakes. But be smart people know that the best way to do it is to learn from someone else’s. Committing to a career path can take time and resources that you may not ever be able to repeat. Traveling the road alone leaves you vulnerable to all sorts of mistakes. As you can see, a good career mentor can help you to avoid many of these, while potentially providing a pipeline of contacts to utilize in the future. Along with a great resume and excellent interviewing skills, the career mentor is a must for your tool box.

  • resume writing tipsAmerica has always been known as the land of opportunity. Immigration and employment in the US is always a heavy topic during our presidential cycles. The US GDP is $18 trillion. It’s no surprise that our global neighbors look to migrate for opportunity. As US citizens, we do not have that to worry about. We are right here in the center of the economic Mecca. I know, it does not always feel that way, but tell that to the resident of Greece, who are experiencing a 25% unemployment rate countrywide.

    But as US citizens, we not only have unfettered access to the largest economy on the planet, we also can access employment opportunities in foreign countries. And there are many benefits to doing so. First, you get to develop a global network of contacts. Secondly, international posts provide greater opportunities for promotion and advancement. And of course, you are exposed to other languages, which further improves your marketability.

    When deciding to apply for positions abroad, you will want to account for cultural differences and interacting with another country’s people and entities. But you have to get the job first. So your resume must do the same. Why should you go through the trouble? Well, think about it for a minute. Let’s be honest. As a US citizen, we are sometimes erroneously already considered by the reader of the resume (or Curriculum Vitae, as it is called in most other countries) as obnoxious and self centered. You do not want to confirm this by asking someone for a job and not even considering their cultural differences.

    Below are a few resume writing tips to consider before you begin preparing for this quest.

    Resume Writing Tips #1: Foreign Employer, or U.S. Employer with Foreign Offices?

    Just because a position is located in a foreign country does not mean that it is with a foreign entity. Before making changes to your resume, you will first launch to verify, if you can, exactly who will be reading and processing the resume. More than likely, if the post is in a foreign country but with a US concern, then a US compliant resume will work just fine. But if you are applying for a job with a foreign entity, then there are some resume changes that you will need to make to give yourself the best chance.

    Resume Writing Tips #2: Ensure MS Word Document is Configured to Spell-check for Their Language

    What you will find if you travel the world is that English, in one form or another, is pretty much the language of commerce. The chances are, if you are applying for a position abroad, the recipients will speak English. However, the likelihood is that it is not the US version of English. Did you know that Microsoft Word has the ability to spell check your resume in a number of English variations? There is even a Zimbabwe version of English MS Word can check. Be sure to change your resume settings accordingly.

    Resume Writing Tips #3: Adhere to That Country’s Resume Writing “Guidelines”

    Now here is the biggie. When it comes to resume writing for employment in other countries, you may be looking at different resume writing guidelines. For example, while in the US, we never put photographs on our resumes/CVs, but in many European countries this is standard. US resume writing standards also prevent us from including personal information on our resumes such as marital status, children, and religious preferences. But there are some countries where this information is standard for inclusion. Additionally, here in the US, we normally attempt to keep documents to two pages or less. There are exceptions to this guideline, such as scientific and academic CVs and federal resumes, but otherwise, 2 pages is the limit. But there are countries where extensive CVs are expected. They do not want to be truncated version of your background, they are looking for inexpensive accounting of your professional, academic and training history.

    So, before you began to spec out of the changes to your resume, conduct a thorough research of that country’s resume writing guidelines before you start.

  • fashion design resume writerResume Writing Case Study for East Coast Fashion Industry Professional

    The resume writer who will consistently produce an effective product will do more than just lay your experiences out on paper. Like any communication vehicle, one must take into consideration several mitigating factors to optimize the message.

    New York City is considered the hub of fashion in the U.S. With an industry of 175,000, the NYC fashion industry makes up almost 6% of the workforce. The city stages 75+ fashion shows annually, put on by almost 14,000 fashion entities of varying sizes. But when preparing a resume and cover letter to enter the NYC fashion world, you want to start off considering how the industry works and the logistics of how the process works.

    Resume Writer Strategy #1: Understand How the Fashion Network Works

    As a resume writer who has prepared documents for several east coast fashion professionals at all levels I have noticed a consistent underlying theme. Most clients need the resume for a relationship that has already been established in some way through some other means. As you might assume, such an artistic profession is quite “handshake” in nature. So many of the interviews are a result of someone who has been introduced to someone else or had heard about their work and talents. As such, I find that most east coast fashion clients are looking for a resume product that leans more toward “getting to the point”. Perhaps even at the expense of strategies that help with database searches or optimizing a reader’s navigation who would normally go through hundreds of documents.

    Resume Writer Strategy #2: Focus more on creativity, less on management

    Even for the director level executive, the tendency has been for the clients to want a lower percentage of the “functional” competencies normally associated with senior level management and stick to the fashion particulars. So, less strategic management and more textiles sourcing. Less team development and more fashion event planning. Less process improvement and more sketching. As such, it is apparent that the top decision tree to bring someone in leans more on the fashion-centric talents than the mastery of organizational oversight. Although, I am sure that eventually must be addressed in the interview. After all, those are also necessary skill sets for long-term success.

    Resume Writer Strategy #3: Use a touch of flair (but not too much)

    This is normally where I have to step in for clients and keep things from going over the top. The purpose of a good resume is to be accepted by the widest number its eventual reviewers. You do not want a document that alienates have of those who see it. As a creative professional, it is very tempting to want your resume writer to create a high flair resume. But one must be careful to ensure its design does not overshadow the message. The more polarizing the look and feel of the document, then more of a chance some will not like it and your message doesn’t get across. Yes, your resume writer should not give you something too bland. But a good resume writer is going to keep your creative juices in check just a bit to ensure your audience focuses on your ability to do the job.

    New York City attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, many of those pulled in by the fashion industry. It houses unmatched high-traffic retail space and production companies, along with world-class design schools. While the industry is expected negative growth through 2022 (-3%) by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NYC is still home to more fashion designer headquarters and retailers than anywhere else in the country. Stay up on the latest in the industry through organizations such as The Fashion Industry Association.

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