My Resume is a Worthless Piece of e-Paper

I’ll get personal today because a lot of career issues are common. Many people are unemployed, and stuck that way.

I hate my resume. I mean it is pretty, thanks to fabulous layout. I’ve done tons of interesting things. I’m on top of all new technologies, innovations, social media, and business news; and I’ve started two successful consultancies.  But that doesn’t necessarily get a person an interview request when you’re only submitting to the best places to work along with hundreds-thousands of other people.

I’m  always telling everyone – here’s what your resume should say, how it should say it, and what the overall feeling you get from it should be. But when you don’t like your resume?

You can’t always write a career summary that would explain your situation positively or in a way that would put you ahead of the person who majored in the right areas in school or who obtained and advance degree in an area you want to enter, who then went on to have only progressively responsible positions in your field, and has been in it for 10 years – not too many more or less.

That doesn’t mean you can’t do the job better that above said person – but on paper it’s obvious who gets chosen for the interview.  You haven’t managed large budgets? You haven’t managed large teams? Don’t have ‘accomplishments’ to brag about that don’t sound like, well, bragging?

What’s a candidate to do when they want to work at google or apple? Or some other fabulously innovating company that values and develops their talent – when you don’t have it on paper?

Different people handle this situation in different ways – but here are a few I’ve seen:

1. Have a simple resume, get a job in a company at the bottom of the ladder (i.e. unpaid internship, administrative assistant, etc.), and work your way up. This if fine for the young, patient, and ambitious. Especially the males, they statistically do better with this method. Women who attempt this generally stay towards the bottom of the career ladder.

2. Volunteer either in or outside of work for large-scale projects, so you have those accomplishments to put on your resume. This is great if you’re unemployed or don’t have a lot of obligations, as that it’s time consuming – but for someone trying to manage a career, long commutes, and family or other obligations it’s not always practical.

3. Lying. People figure into the recruiters-are-ditzes stereotype and hope their exaggerating what and where they’ve done it won’t be seen through. Ethics aside – people figure ‘everybody’s doing it’, which is unfortunately accurate for a lot of people. Ewwwwwwww.

4. Humor. I’ve seen a woman returning from being a stay at home mom have on her resume, “CEO of Smith Household.” Or, “Executive Director of Childcare.”  You can throw in a few things that might help your personality come across to recruiters. I know that whomever is reading my resume is probably sick of looking at resumes, especially ones that all sound the same – so a little fun with it, tastefully, might help get attention.

Unfortunately, as you can guess, lying generally gets people the furthest into the interview process. Depending on the employer, often the liar may even get the job. Some jobs you only have to ‘talk the talk’, and it doesn’t matter if you ever did or ever will ‘walk the walk’. But for other positions, actual skills and experience are necessary to do a job appropriately. Once you’re figured out you’ll be back on the job hunt again, bringing you back to the beginning of the cycle where said evil people belong.

So what do you do first?

You be patient. You network. You continue to improve your resume. You follow the places you want to work, be on top of their openings that you’re qualified for. You attend events to meet people who work for these companies. If you have time, offer to volunteer or intern for them. You do everything in your power to set yourself apart from the herd appropriately in all of your social media profiles. You follow people and companies on linkedin. You join industry groups on linkedin. You ask others who were in your boat who’ve succeeded how they did it. You You You…it’s all about YOU, and what efforts you are willing to put in.

And then hope that one day it’ll all pay off, as you sit enjoying the view from your corner office of the company of your dreams. Sigh. Dare to dream.

Advertisements

Top 10 Things to Never Put on Your Resume

Resume infographic

Image by Bart Claeys via Flickr

 

  1. Age, date of birth, words like young, youthful. Nothing can be gained by sharing this info other than giving the hiring manager a laugh.
  2. Marital/family/partner status. Sharing this info can make the employer uncomfortable and afraid to pursue you as a candidate as that they cannot take this into consideration legally.
  3. What year you started your degree. It doesn’t matter how many years it took – just the date you finished or anticipate to finish – unless you graduated over 15 years ago – in that case remove graduation date too.
  4. Social Security number or other confidential info if not asked for. You don’t want your resume to be thought of as something that has to be shredded or an opportunity for identity theft.
  5. Current or past salary & benefits. It looks tacky, no matter what the quantity of money made was. If an employer asks for it, include it subtly in the cover letter.
  6. Pictures or physical characteristics. Unless it’s a response to a shady ad or for modeling, it shouldn’t be requested either. Studies have shown very attractive can actually hurt your chance of getting a callback.
  7. Anything negative. Your resume should be a showcase of what amazing things you’ve done, and what amazing things you can do. Especially important not to have anything negative about past companies or coworkers.
  8. Why you left your job(s). Again, if asked, put it subtly in the cover letter. This emphasizes leaving companies, not an impression you want to create.
  9. Explanations for breaks in your resume. Highlight what you did in those breaks if substantial (include relevant volunteering or education breaks perhaps) but in no way should anything about personal issues or economy be brought in. Do not indicate you were sick, caring for a sick family member or took a child leave, do not say you were laid off and couldn’t find anything for three years. You want to give a positive feeling, and an impression that work is your #1 priority at all times.
  10. Grammatical or formatting errors. I know word does a lot for you, but no one will be as impressed by collages as they are by college. Not that patchwork isn’t pretty…but you need to carefully comb your resume for errors and print it to see how it looks formatted.

“80% of Jobs Are Not Advertised” – by Lavie Margolin

Lavie Margolin

Today I have a contribution from a guest blogger who also has a successful career coaching blog & book to assist job seekers. His practical advice helps many find great positions – even in this economy. He also happens to have been the inspiration for my blog, so I have to give major props and encourage you to buy his book.

Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Job Search Advisor, Public Speaker and the Author of Lion Cub Job Search: Practical Job Search Assistance for Practical Job Seekers. To read more of Lavie’s advice, check out his blog at www.lioncubjobsearch.blogspot.com

“80% of jobs are not advertised” is just not true.

It has been said over and over again that 80% of jobs are not advertised. It has been written about so many times that it is taken as fact.

Having the experience of helping professionals in their job search for nearly eight years, I think this 80% number is inflated and false.

How many midsized to large companies do you know of that do not list their jobs publicly? To prove that fact, think of any company with more than 200 employees. Search for the company on Indeed.com and and you will notice that many of their job vacancies are listed. After all, why would they not list job openings and keep them a secret?

By repeating this 80% myth over and over, it is dissuading job seekers from looking for work. The thinking goes: “why should I apply for work when most jobs are not advertised?”

It is true that some smaller companies do not advertise their jobs as it will be cost prohibitive but this is a tiny fraction. 

Perhaps this 80% number comes from a strict definition of the word “advertise”. An advertisement is defined as a PAID announcement or promotion. There are many jobs publicly available for viewing that are not PAID for:

1. The official company website
2. Job Boards that do not require a fee from the employer
3. Industry news publications
4. Industry blogs
5. Yahoo/Google Groups
6. Linkedin Groups
7. Social Network postings
8. Bulletin boards

The truth of the matter is that most jobs ARE advertised (or at least publicly available for viewing). A key to receiving a successful response is to apply for those jobs in a dynamic way:

Are you sending the same resume and cover letter for every job or taking the time to make sure it is an appealing advertisement for that job specifically? 

Are you then finding a contact in the company through your network on Linkedin and asking them to advocate on your behalf? 

Most jobs are out there for you to see. Be dynamic to have the best chance at receiving a response.

 

Thanks Lavie! Again, to read more check out Lavie’s blog or to buy his book go to:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1453668357?ie=UTF8&tag=louboorev-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1453668357

…and for my opinion on getting jobs advertised online: http://wp.me/pWfpN-4K

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-eM

Do I know you? “Opportunity knocks once in a lifetime.”

My Name Is

Image via Wikipedia

– Lose Yourself, Eminem

Who to & not to connect with is entirely a personal choice, but you only get one shot to make a first impression, and it will be remembered.

My opinions for Linkedin, Facebook, Myspace & Twitter.

Some people are open networkers (LION = Linked In Open Networkers, thanks Lavie for clarifying) which means pretty much they’ll connect to anyone hoping that a wide net of a network will help them professionally. This is a great tactic probably for sales people, executive recruiters, marketing professionals, etc. that need to get their word out to a large crowd – however this can easily backfire. In this way you’re also competing with all the other LION people for attention. Buy my product! Hire my friend! Join my pyramid scheme (don’t worry, it’s not a pyramid scheme!)!

Delete, delete, delete. Oh, delete from connections too. I’ll even leave groups we’re in together if that happens.

(I’ll go more into networking manners & protocols another post.)

Linkedin: Link with everyone you know that you respect from schools, friends, workplaces, and one degree away that you know of. Always write a message to someone when you want to connect with them unless you speak with them on a regular basis. Remind them that you went to elementary school together, that you were both on the college chess team, or that you both barista’s at the same Starbucks…and you want to connect professionally.

You don’t want someone asking, hey, do I know you? Not the worst thing, but not the best impression to give someone that you are asking to welcome you into their network. You’re asking to be brought into their professional circle, not the other way around.

Facebook: I recommend keeping things private, settings private, and only friending friends. Moderate your friends into groups for the amount of access to your photo’s and info that they can see.

You just opened a headband store online? That’s beautiful, open a fan page or group. Do not request to be my friend, that’s called spamming, my un-friend.

 I keep seeing these articles about WHAT TO NEVER POST ON FACEBOOK: why not to post you’ll be away for a weekend, that it’s welcoming robbers…but I feel like if you only are connected to those you trust, this shouldn’t be an issue. No one else should see that you’re going to Hawaii besides people you’re close to. Even some of your facebook connections that you have but aren’t close with shouldn’t see this. That’s what privacy settings are for.

Myspace: Do whatever you want, friend whomever you want, act like whomever you want: but make sure that in no way can it be traced to being you. Keep things anonymous always. Never post personal info there (even like screen names) because google will easily direct an employer researching you then to your linkedin, and there goes your candidacy!

Twitter: I’m using it for public things. As I recently Twittered: Twittering feels a lot like facebooking with strangers without the creepiness of strangers on myspace.

 Don’t Lose Yourself!

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-1a

Are you generic?

  1. Your image. Do you have standard vistaprint template business cards? (I’ll concede is one step above not having cards at all…)

There are hundreds of free business card templates if you can’t design your own. Don’t take the one with the drop of water into the pond. You want people to remember what your card looks like, why its design is relevant to what you do. I’m not saying to shape the entire card like a tooth if you’re a dentist, but hey, that would get you remembered. People would know what it is when the see it in their wallet. They might even show it to friends – hey, that’s free advertising!

2.  Your Email/website?

Is your email: firstnamebusinessname@hotmail.com? Is it long, hard to remember, or even worse, hard to spell? Is it unprofessional?

http://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/domains – you can register a website/domain address for under $30 a year. If you have any company, no matter how small, this can be beneficial in that it’s professional, and looks like a ‘real company’. Just make sure you find a domain that’s easy to remember, and appropriate for your purpose (i.e. .org for non-profit, .com for almost everything else).

If you need to go the free route at least make it something people can remember – like sharonsjobs@yahoo.com – not sharonsjobassistancehelpsite@yahoo.com

3.  Your social networking profiles? You resume?

Do they look just like everyone else’s? Is it basically a bunch of job descriptions from various positions that have come together and look just like that?

Take my LinkedIn Profile as an example. It tells you that I’m unique. That I’ve got a wacky sense of humor, but accomplish a lot, and have an interesting writing style.

“Summary: You can pick my brain, if I can pick yours. Let’s work smarter, not harder.

Young brilliant dynamic creative overachiever with unlimited ambition. The sky’s the limit when it comes to my efforts to attain the impossible. I’m an expert at whatever I set my mind to, whether it be QA or making Wedding Cakes. I’m going to change the world, yes, even more than I already have. Before I forget to mention it, I have an amazing personality, natural knack for networking, and a hysterical sense of humor.

I started my first successful consulting company a few years back, designsdesigns.com which is steadily growing in three countries! I’ve edited a book (Journey Among Nations, buy it on amazon, check out the beautiful cover design, that’s my company at work!), written countless marketing campaigns, and designed corporate image makeovers.

My experience? I’m a talented wife, mother, city employee, job placer, recruiter, resume writer, fundraiser, project manager, program developer, and matchmaker to the not-so-rich-and-famous-yet happily married. I’m always open to new experiences.

Specialties: Brilliant copy writing, enthralling process contributions, policy making, ROI-guaranteeing guru for all Marketing needs.”

What has that gotten me you ask? Numerous job interview offers & lots of people I don’t know wanting to connect with me (some I do, some I don’t, I’ll go into who to/not to connect with another time).  

I’ve heard other people say that LinkedIn is where you go when you’re looking for a job, a friend even said to me once, “Does anyone hire through it?” Well, I’ve gotten job offers through it, and I’ve personally recruited through it for hard-to-fill positions. But if your profile is generic or incomplete, don’t expect much. I’m not saying your profile has to be as out there as mine is, hey, decorum is in order when you’re looking for a job (which yes, you should always be doing). You never know when your current position will be eliminated, or when a better opportunity may come your way, if you’re open to it.

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-q