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  • 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.

  • good resumeI had a very long conversation with a client yesterday. He was perplexed as to why he could not find a simple job for which he knew he had more than enough qualifications and experience. He explained that he was a former business owner who had made millions in revenue. He also excelled at several other jobs over his career, all with varying skill sets. But he simply could not understand why the interviews were few and far in between, and why the few interviews he had did not result in an offer. Granted, this is not the first time I have had such a conversation. Although, he thought his situation was highly unique. But as resume writers, we see this scenario all too often.

    When most people prepare their own resumes, they do so from their own point of view. The theme of the project becomes “I have a wealth of skills and experiences that can benefit any employer. How do I summarize that best in a one or two page document and communicate it all?” What they do not realize is that the problem is their perspective. No shame in that. It is natural to take this approach. But it is dead wrong.

    A good resume is not written for the applicant. It is written for the reader. The question you should always ask when preparing your resume is “What problems does the employer likely need resolved, and how do I communicate my ability to resolve them?” Newsflash, people! Most professionals charged with the task of reading resumes really don’t want to do so. They are frustrated, distracted, and may have to go through dozens, if not hundreds of resumes before selecting a small number to come in for an interview. The last thing that you want is to have them fishing around in your resume to find the information relevant to their situation. Most will simply not bother, and move on to the next one.

    Another issue that our multi-skilled applicant will have is that if your resume communicates “executive” but the position you seek is “middle management”, most readers will step back to try figuring out why you are applying for a position that seems to be beneath your talent. Hiring managers are usually hesitate to bring aboard someone in such a situation simply because they wonder whether or not this type of applicant will be happy in a position that seems to be below their skill set. Or, they may feel that at the salary the available position offers, someone of that level will eventually want more money. Neither scenario is one that the hiring manager wants to take on. It simply means trouble down the road, resulting in having to go through the hiring process all over again.

    Employers look for a “good match”, and a good resume will clearly show one. That is not to say that an executive does not legitimately want a position with less responsibility. Many in the twilight of their careers seek opportunities to shed some of their high stress responsibilities. But your reader will not necessarily get this right away just by looking at your resume. The goal of a good resume is to give the reader what they need to make a decision to bring you in. So if that means not including the fact that you ran a $12.3 million business on your resume, then that is what you have to do. Does Target really need to know that you managed more than 2000 employees in a region in order for you to get an interview for an Assistant Manager position?

    Books are written for the audience. Movie scripts are written for the audience. A good resume is no different. If you want rave reviews, as well someone to call you in to learn more, give them what they need to know, not what you feel you have to say.

  • professional resume writerDid you know that in 2014, 57,800 people were fired per day? As you can imagine, as a professional resume writer, we have heard it all when it comes to why people have lost their jobs. Some more creative and mind-boggling than others. Some out of the realm of control of the employee, such as a layoff due to economic conditions. But there are just some things as an employee you do not do if you wish to keep your job. Here are a few things that can surely get you canned.

    Risk Work Quality For Speed

    A gentleman named Howard Newton once said “People forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well you did it.” rushing through your duties, and especially critical projects, for the sake of being able to say you finished quickly is sure to come back to bite you at some point. With a focus on speed, you are very likely to ignore the finer details that make your efforts a success. While you don’t want to drag your feet, the important thing is that when your work reaches your supervisor’s desk, it is impeccable. The quality of the work will be remembered and recognized for more than how quickly you performed it. As a professional resume writer, we very often have projects that are time sensitive. But the point of the exercise is getting the client equality document that will win interviews consistently over time. As such, the good ones do not even accept projects where the timeline does not permit the development of a quality resume and cover letter.

    Repeatedly Remind Everyone “That Ain’t My Job”

    Ahhh, we all know this person. If it is not in their job description, you can’t count on them to do anything. While no one wants to be taken advantage of, in the 21st century working environment, it is almost understood that everyone chips in where they can. Employers in general are employing fewer workers, but the same amount of work is required. Those who move up will be those who prove that they are willing to take up the slack. Its called accountability and leadership. Those with it move up. Those without it, move on. There is a way to ensure management is not taking advantage of you, while still demonstrating that you are a team player.

    Avoid Professional Development

    If you are not moving forward, then you are moving backward. A career without professional development and the sharpening of your tool set is destined to be a shorter one. Things change fast in the 21st century, and you need to stay on top of your game to prove you’re worthy of your spot. Because trust me, someone else is gunning for it. If your employer is offering access to free training courses, take advantage of each and every one of them. Not only does demonstrate to your current employer that you are dedicated what to bettering yourself, it also makes you more marketable should you have to reenter the workforce. By the way, never, ever pass up on anything that is free, okay? As a certified professional resume writer, we are required to always stay on top of the latest and greatest in document production, word processor tools and human resources resume review strategies. Staying on top requires work. Be willing to put it in.

    Be The Focal Point Of Office Gossip And Rumors

    You may have found out that Sally in Marketing is sleeping her way to the top, or that Bradley in Accounting has a drug problem. But trust me when I say that you better not be the source of that information in your office. Office gossip is one of the biggest no-no’s in the professional sphere. Once you get this reputation, there is almost no way to get rid of it. Not to mention that you may even open yourself up to litigation depending upon what information you spread. When it comes to the juicy stuff, let someone else take the chance. That should not be for you. Want a good example of this? Click here to read this story on a similar situation.

    Now, as a professional resume writer, most of us work alone. As such we do not have this issue to deal with in-house. But one thing you can imagine is that we constantly get information on other client that would be interesting and juicy to pass along to other clients. Professional etiquette says this is not wise. So although we do not have the same office dynamic, the goal is the same.

    Complain About Your Job or Your Boss on Social Media

    Now this is the 21st century job killer here. People tweet and post on Facebook and other social media platforms so easily and without thought, that they do not realize the serious damage that they may be doing to their careers when they do so. It may feel as though you are just chatting with your friends, but trust me when I tell you, nothing, and I mean nothing actually disappears from the internet. Not only that, trust me when I tell you that many employers can find a way around your privacy settings to see what is going on. How important is social media to the employment process? Many employers have openly admitted that before they even read the resume they are scouring the internet for an applicant’s social media footprint. Keep your social media clean if you are planning to advance your career. Got a complaint about an employer? Meet your friend at a bar and talk about it. Isn’t that what bars are for?

  • jobNot Every Job Is Worth Having

    We all know that the interview process is primarily about the employer assessing whether or not they want to hire you. The truth is, you are supposed to be doing the same. There are, of course, questions you should be asking in the interview to get information on everything from the job to your potential supervisors and the company’s direction as a whole. But there are some things that you can simply observe before the job interview even starts that may clue you in as to whether you should turn and run. Now, before you get huffy, I know that everyone’s pocketbook status is different. So yours may be a case of “I would run if I could afford to, however …”. But trust me when I tell you that there are some employment situations that will be worse for you than a few late notices. While the final decision would be up to you, here are some things you can pay attention to that may help you go into a job situation more aware.

    So, you have arrived at the employer’s office (15 minutes early, I hope). You have been greeted by the receptionist and now you are sitting in the waiting area. Don’t zone out completely. This a good opportunity to observe the surroundings. If you have already prepped for the interview (and as my sister would say, YA BETTAH HAD!!!), then you can take that time to put up your antenna to get a sense of your environment. Is the reception area continuously experiencing traffic by people complaining about their boss, their job, or just gossiping? It is amazing how few people who do these things try to disguise it or even pay attention that others you have no business hearing it can hear them. Take a listen to get an idea of what you are potential future coworkers are like.

    It is now time to call you back for the interview. Perhaps they are walking you through an area where most of your future coworkers are housed. Watch their body language. Look at their faces. Do they look motivated? Do they look satisfied? Do they look happy? If the pervasive look is one of despair and wanting to escape, put this into your decision matrix.

    What about the physical space? Is the job in a shoddy or unkempt building? Is the furniture falling apart? If you prefer a serene environment, then what about plants and artwork while performing your job?

    Happy workspaces do in fact exist. True, no job or employer is perfect. But to toil away for 8 to 10 hours every – – – single – – – day in a place that drains you? Well, you could be back on the market in 6 months just to maintain your sanity.
    But again, everybody’s pocket and past due notice stack is different. You gotta “do you”, right?

  • job huntAcceptance of the Job Isn’t the End of the Process

    If you are a fan of the NBA, then you know that when it comes to your favorite player, he can be speedy, strong, and have dribble/drive skills beyond belief. But if he cannot “finish” the play, he will never be considered one of the best. When it comes to the job hunt, accepting the job offer is not the last of it. Or at least it should not be. Remember, along with the short term position, you have a long-term career to manage. The following are some things you can do to tie up all the loose ends once you have been offered the position and the job hunt ends.

    Get the Offer in Writing

    The hiring manager has called you and offered you the position. That is great! The job hunt is over! But don’t start doing the happy dance just yet. If the salary and benefits are to your liking, go ahead and verbally accept, but request that a copy be sent to you in writing. You want to go here is to avoid any misunderstanding should your application have to cycle through other individuals and departments for the details. If you are told that you are being offered $80,000 annually, you do not want to find out on the back end that somehow this was changed to $72,000 and have no documentation to refute that. Be sure all benefits and perks are mentioned within the document. Ensure that you can access a copy of this when going through your onboarding process. This is just good business, people.

    Change LinkedIn Profile

    A “current” LinkedIn profile is a good profile. When the timing is right after your job hunt, log in and add the new position to your profile. Don’t forget to change the previous position to past tense verbiage and provide an ending date. Follow the new company via your profile as well. While I recommend that the alerts on profile changes usually be turned off, you may wish to inform the world of your new position. If so, then turn on alerts before entering the new position and it will automatically update your timeline. What??? You do not have a LinkedIn page yet? Then click here so I can help you join the 21st century, will you please?

    Inform Colleagues of your New Position

    If you have been conducting your job hunt the right way, you have your colleagues also keeping an ear to the ground for positions that may be of interest to you. Once you have accepted a new position, take the time to let all of your colleagues and networking contacts know that you have done so. This not only prompts them to stop expending effort for you, it provides you with the opportunity to thank them for their assistance. The “thank you” is a powerful gesture. While you should be doing so all the time, small gestures such as this help to maintain your relationships. Remember, one’s network is still the #1 avenue for finding new employment, even in our highly technological age.

    Reach Out to Strong Interests to Inform of Acceptance

    Hey, let’s not forget those hot irons you had in the fire. While most people will simply break off communication with other potential employers after landing a position, what you should do is reach out to those hiring managers to inform them that you have accepted another position. Why? You may have to reach out to these hiring authorities again in the future, be it with these companies or the next. Again, little gestures carry more weight than most people think. With these individuals considering bringing on professionals, you will save them time by letting them know you have taken your hat out of the ring. This will make their job easier, and perhaps even open up long-term lines of communication that adds to your trusted network. (HINT: it is always, always about the long game!)

    Research new Position, Prepare Questions to Hit Ground Running

    Ok, you have think your network, advised by the potential employers, now it is time to prep for your new role. Do as much homework as you can on the new job that you have been offered. The more you know going in the door, the more impressed they will be. Have your questions prepared in advance if you can. First impressions have always been important. (That is why you got your new resume from a certified resume writer, right?)

    I know there is a lot to account for and plenty to do to prep for your new position. But taking care of these seemingly minor items can do a lot for positioning you for expedited movement in the future. If you are managing your career correctly, you are always working the long game. That new job you accepted could abruptly end in six months. You want to be ready just in case.

    Now go WOW them!

     

  • interviewsHow to Make the Most of Your New Resume to Manage Your Career

    In our last blog article, we addressed a couple of the things that you should do to manage your career once you have your brand new resume in hand. We went over storing electronic copies in various places for easy access. We also went over how to treat your social media, at least during a job search. Keep it clean, keep your professional.

     

    Build a Complete and Search-Friendly LinkedIn Profile

    Your brand new resume is only part of your toolbox in getting a new job to help manage your career. A LinkedIn profile is quickly becoming a necessary part of your job search package. Did you know that there were more than 300 million LinkedIn users and that 1 in 20 of these are recruiters? Folks, I’m afraid LinkedIn isn’t optional anymore. A few weeks ago, I ran across a job posting that specifically asked for the LinkedIn URL and not to send in the resume. LinkedIn is here to stay people!

    Be sure to develop your profile fully. Incomplete profiles do not score as well in their search database. Also, sit for and upload a professional photo. Did you know that a LinkedIn profile is 11 times more likely to be viewed if there is a photo in the profile? Flesh out each of your professional experience positions as well. LinkedIn profiles allow up to 2000 characters for each of these. Best to make use of the available space to help with Search strength. And don’t forget to make connections and get recommendations.

     

    Make Your Battle Plan In Writing

    So now that you have your resume, a refined LinkedIn profile, and a cleaned up social media space, it is time to create a plan for your approach. How many hours per day will you spend networking vs applying for openings to mange your career? How much time will you spend researching companies that hire people with your skill set, but just may not have posted openings yet? Identify those viable targets and build an action plan for reaching out to each and every one of them. Put those whom you communicate with, be sure to track those conversations for future reference. Always seek to make your communications a personal one. Your competition won’t always do so. Use any scheduling software on your phone or computer to ensure that you execute all stages of your plan in a timely fashion. (No, that fancy phone isn’t just for playing Candy Crush)

     

    Get a Mentor

    Now, this is more of a long term strategy than a short term job search move. What a mentor will do for you is keep you from unnecessary making mistakes in your career path. Often, a mentor’s personal experiences, trials and tribulations can serve as warnings to you to ensure that you reach your goals with minimal stress. Perhaps there were classes you are planning to take that are unnecessary. Your mentor may know this as they took those classes and found that it was a waste of time and resources. And perhaps they can be of some short-term service to you. As a member of the industry or profession and which you are seeking membership, they may have a colleague looking for someone exactly like you.

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