|Survival Tactics For Those In Job Or Career Transition|
Issue 155 - Jan. 20, 2013
• Your Turn To Ask
Questions In The
Job Interview - "Do
you have any
By Steven Provenzano
A Good Resume is Critical - You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
It seems we're all looking for a better job these days, but there's only one aspect of your job search over which you have total control: your resume.
Sure there's plenty to do: keep track of job listings, network, track down leads, analyze potential employers and schedule interviews. But these depend on various circumstances, such as other people, word of mouth, and the quality and quantity of job postings available at any given time.
But only your resume gives you total control over how you are perceived by potential employers. It doesn't have to be a passive job listing with subjective information on why you think you're a great and wonderful person (which of course you are). You need a high-impact career marketing piece that takes full advantage of the paltry 10-60 seconds of attention most resumes receive. This is the break point for the email vs. web version.
Perhaps you don't think of yourself as a very good writer, and just don't like "writing about yourself." You're not alone: even published authors and top-flight executives who visit my office tell me they have trouble writing a decent resume. They also tell me, "My resume isn't perfect, but I'll explain myself in the interview."
However, you may be the perfect candidate for a position and still not get the interview, for no other reason than your resume. Resumes are typically used to exclude people from positions more often then include them; whomever is left in the 'potential' stack gets called for an interview.
The Big Picture
First and Foremost: Tell Employers What They Really Want to Know.
Pre-digest your information. Employers may have a stack of resumes on their desk and a job to fill, right now. They'll have some key requirements that candidates must meet before they'll consider an interview. What they want to know from each person "sitting" on their desk is: What can you do for me? How can you fill this job effectively? Why should I talk to you?
If you send a resume with no Profile/Summary section, described briefly below, you're not sending a marketing piece; you're sending a job history. As an employer, that means you're telling me what you've done for someone else not what you can - or want - to do for me. That's why the Profile is so important; it gives you total control over how you're perceived by the employer. Besides, employers don't always have time to read 10 or 20 years of your work history before calling you in. This is why purely chronological resumes, for the most part, are on the way out.
Consistently Market Your Skills and Abilities
You must extract your most applicable skills and talents from your past work experience and sell them at the very top of your resume in that Profile.
Steer clear of fluff words in your Profile such as "Self-motivated, hands-on professional with an excellent track record of..." Let's face it. The first two items in this sentence could be said about almost anyone. As for your track record, let the employer decide if it's excellent by reading about your abilities (on top) and your duties and accomplishments (under the Employment section).
Avoid the ubiquitous (and space-filling) "References Available upon Request" at the bottom of your resume. If employers really want your references, they'll ask. When conducting a confidential job search, consider "CONFIDENTIAL RESUME" at the top of your resume, and/or stating this in your cover letter. Always respect the reader's intelligence!
Research the company's brochure, annual report and job advertisement, if any, and tailor your resume as much as possible to the position.
Here are some key points for creating a better resume:
What did - or are you - achieving in your positions? Give facts and figures like budget amounts, how much you've saved the company over how long, awards, recognitions, etc.
Some Final Thoughts
Although personal networking is the best way to get a job, an excellent resume can open doors all by itself, and is still required in most networking situations. Of course, a brief cover letter should be targeted to the hiring authority whenever possible. Tell the reader what you know about their operation, and why you want to work specifically for his/her company. Make them feel like they're the only person getting your resume. Consider this: a resume that's only slightly more effective than the one you have now could help you get a job weeks, or even months faster than your old resume.
Of course, resume writing is an art form in itself, and there are few hard and fast rules. I've given you a basis to start from here, however, you need a complete, professional job search strategy, and your resume must be a key part of that strategy. When you implement these ideas in the next update of your resume, you will almost certainly have better success in getting more interviews.
About the author: Steven Provenzano
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