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.

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What’s in it for YOU: 5 Gains of Helping Others Find Jobs

Filtering to Gain Social Network Value

Image by Intersection Consulting via Flickr

Even though most of the time people don’t even say thank you for sending them a job (unless they get it), and even more often they won’t actually apply – take a few minutes a day when you see opportunities for others and forward them on or share them with your social network.

Although this has always been an obvious one to me, there are a lot of benefits of helping others in any capacity – but for today let’s focus on helping someone find a job or better job than they currently have. I’m sure every person reading this knows at least one person, if not many who are out of work or who are underemployed currently.

Also, especially those out of work: while you’re surfing job boards, when you see interesting jobs that aren’t for you, why not take 30 seconds to send it to a friend or to tweet them to bring them to other people’s attention? I’ve helped countless people find jobs this way.

Let’s review a few of these perks so maybe you’ll feel encouraged (or guilty enough) to help someone else.

1. Financial benefit. Many companies offer referral bonuses, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Generally this comes a few months after the person is hired & passes a ‘probation period’, but usually you’ll see a check at some point for helping that friend of a friend get a job in a different department at your place of work.

*Always check your company’s policy – some require that you submit a resume before a person does on their own in order for you to be credited, so don’t tell them to apply online until you know how you can gain from their potential hire.

2. Moral benefit. You just did something good for someone else. You’re not a terrible person at this second for a tangible reason. Now pat yourself on the back and do it again. Do unto others….as they say.

3. Reciprocal benefit. A recruiter once told me something along the lines of that recruiters never have trouble finding a job & always know about new opportunities before others. Why? Because people remember that you helped them, and oft will return the favor one day. While yes it’s a ‘pay it forward’ kind of act to do, you never know when you’ll end up on the beneficial end.

4. Social benefit. It’s a great way to make friends. Networked with someone new? Help them find a new role and you just may end up friends (at least on linkedin) for life.

Your child’s best friend’s father was just laid off & will have to relocate the family if they don’t find a job. You help them find a local career, and voila, you just saved your child’s social life and a whole lot of family drama.

Don’t have kids? Perhaps if you find a job for someone within your community or within a cause you both support they’ll be able to contribute more to the cause which will benefit you (because hey, what cause or community doesn’t need money nowadays?)

5. Brownie points. While not a tangible thing necessarily, HR will remember you as that person who helped them find someone for that really hard to  fill role. Referred someone to work for a nonprofit you saw was hiring online? You never know when they’ll look you up to thank you or offer you to join them as well.

So these are just a few of the benefits, and I’m lucky enough to have gained them all from helping various people over the years. It’s even how I found my current job. Try it to today, and share what you gain by it. You have nothing to lose.

Care to Share With the Class? Want to write for Sharon.cc?

I’ve developed Sharon.cc as a Social Good platform. It’s not a business, it’s a collaborative site which helps people, companies, and places optimally market themselves.

Would you like an outlet for your career advice, job search struggles, free resume critique (anonymously published of course) or anything else you’d like to share?

Guest posters & interviews are encouraged – just send me what you’d like to share with my readers & I’ll post it if I feel they’ll benefit from it.

Also feel free to subscribe or follow me on twitter @sharondotcc to automatically be notified of new articles!

Catchy Websites Without the Dot Com

Although not career advise per se, I did an interview with Mike Sullivan http://sullysblog.com that you might want to check out –

http://sullysblog.com/Sharon-Siegel

It’s a bit more insight into why I didn’t choose a .com for my site, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to step a bit outside the norm when it comes to branding & marketing yourself.

Shameless vs. Fabulous: Resume, Social Media & Life Etiquette

154 Blue Chrome Rain Social Media Icons

Image by webtreats via Flickr

“Self-promotion is an art, not a science, because it takes a bit of instinct and talent to tiptoe across the tightrope between tooting your own horn and sprinting down the street at 6 a.m. with an air horn blaring whilst your soon-to-be-former friends roll their eyes and plug their ears and discuss behind your back how desperately they wish you’d just shut the eff up.”  – Brenna Ehrlich, author of blog Stuff Hipsters Hate – see #5 for full article

  1. Don’t be a school snob. You might have gone to Harvard, but if you don’t have an impressive resume or cover letter & think your school will open all doors for you, it won’t…well, it might open some, there are Ivy Snob hiring managers – but mine aren’t generally. And if you do, you’ll end up working for ‘the man’ you profess to hate.
  2. Don’t be a workplace snob. You worked for google? Well obviously you left or were let go, or are on your way out for a reason. Don’t think that will get you your next job.
  3. Make your online profiles & resumes easy to navigate. Viewers should be able to easily, immediately tell what and why you have done what you’ve done, when and where you’ve done it.
  4. FAIL: Shameless Promoting. We’ve all probably done it at some point, but you have to offer value in return for asking for something. Goes back to the ME, ME, ME complex (see http://wp.me/pWfpN-2M for more about me, myself, and I).
  5. Want tips on how to use social media for self-promotion that doesn’t make people gag? Try http://mashable.com/2010/09/22/promote-online/

Shortlink directly to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-6

 

Footer Fetish: Top 5 Resume Tips

Cool Blog Sociale - 10 July 2008 - I Heart Job...

Image by SOCIALisBETTER via Flickr

  1. Do not list references, unless you like to offer freeloaders access to the info of the most successful people in your life. Recruiters often love this as that it gives them contacts of people who they can send their positions to. If a company wants your references, they’ll ask for them. Don’t even waste space saying they’re available upon request. Of course they are! Use that space for something useful. If anything, write snippets of recommendations from those important people (see below for my example).
  2. Do not include clubs and activities you participated in while in school if you graduated more than 5 years ago. If you did something significant that’s relevant (i.e. fundraised a large sum of money, organized a large event, gathered a lot of people for a good cause) definitely include that, but present it as an accomplishment, not as “Served as treasurer of the Boston University Chess Team and raised money for t-shirts”.
  3. Do not repeat your contact information if it’s at the top of the page, unless your resume is more than one page, which most likely it shouldn’t be. If it is, add it faded as a footer.
  4. Do not put key words randomly at the bottom of your resume. Do not do this in white font for ATS’s to pick up, it will also likely show up then. If you feel it’s important to stress a word use it in the body of the resume, not as a laundry list trailer. I know some people recommend this, but it can also land you in the spam/trash pile where those buzz words belong.
  5. Do use the very bottom of your resume for skills, hobbies, talents, languages, etc. that may be relevant for the position you’re applying to, or might help you stand out of the crowd. Worst case it doesn’t get read, just make sure you don’t come across as an activist or religious zealot if you are not applying to that cause (more on that at http://wp.me/pWfpN-b).

 

Bonus Goodie of the day: Here’s what the bottom of my resume looks like. Yes, it’s a bit much for the average person, but as someone who looks at resumes all day, every day, I make myself laugh with my resume. I probably should make this more formal, but I’d personally like to work for an employer with a sense of humor (oh and one with telecommuting option which allows for a healthy work/life balance, while I’m creating my dream employer).

SKILLS & FASCINIATING THINGS
 Expertise in Word, Advanced Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SMART Technologies, OpenHire, Recruiting ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems).
 Social Media 2.0 & 3.0 Networking: twitter, linkedin, facebook, myspace, blogger, blogspot, stumbledupon, wordpress, mashable, etc.
 Experience with SEO, NYCAPS (PeopleSoft), SharePoint, HTML, Photoshop, HRIS, Siebel, Visio, Avaya Technology, SPSS, Types 75WPM.
 Published Photographer featured in art shows in NYC. Published poetry author.
 Independently raised & nationally awarded for development of over $25,000 for non-profit organization by editing/publishing journal.

WHAT’S BEEN SAID ABOUT…“Sharon demonstrated an astute judge of talent which was critical in supporting recruiting needs…I would rank her in the top 5% of employees that I have managed in the past five years in respect of her writing ability, research skills, and ability to attract talented staff.” — L.E.S., Asst. Commissioner for External Partnerships and Research, New York State Education Department

“A hard-working individual, Sharon does an amazing job at anything to which she sets her mind…she is very bright, creative and organized. She pays attention to the small details and excels at writing, editing and marketing people, ideas and products. She has the uncanny ability to turn something mediocre into something exceptionally fascinating and vivid. She is also excellent at networking and is familiar with a wide variety of industries. She is never afraid to tackle new projects or ideas.” – E.O., CEO, NYMFCU

Social Media Careers & Networking Your Way to Fame and Fortune

A tag cloud (a typical Web 2.0 phenomenon in i...

Image via Wikipedia

 

My husband was mentioned (not by name though http://bit.ly/aYwmJo) in a recent article about Social Media  – Yes, we happen to have met a friendly writer for Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek at a Social Media day networking event – see the power of networking people???

There’s been a buzz recently about web 2.0 & 3.0 people to fill jobs companies are struggling to create as that they barely understand what they need in these spheres. Companies will fail if they try to use a traditional customer service/advertising approach. No one will follow someone on twitter because they constantly tweet ads. They need to offer value, insight, discounts, or entertainment in their tweets to get people talking & following. No one signs up for commercials voluntarily, and if they do, they will unsubscribe. Stop following is just as quick and easy as starting.

Mashable keeps a job board (http://jobs.mashable.com) for Social Media jobs, and I’ve stumbled upon (and then added it to my http://stumbedupon.com account) http://socialmediaheadhunter.com/ – interesting insight into an Executive Recruiter who’s specializing in Social Media job placement.

The issue you always have to consider in making any career move is the experience this will give you both for life & on your resume. I’ve wondered if social media jobs are dead –end career moves.

Will it put you closer to your career goals? Is it a goal on its own to be a ‘social media’ person? You might enjoy it while you’re young, but when you’re 50 if you have to tweet about a company if might not be so exciting. So as with any job you make take, always stay connected to others in both your industry and others to network your way to advanced positions. Although big places might eventually need a ‘director’ of social media, most places nowadays won’t get beyond the mid-level manager, probably reporting up to marketing.

What’s to say for the future really depends on the evolution of technology and networking, both social online & off. As long as you’re on top of the progress and evolve and continue to learn, you’ll do just fine. Limit yourself, or decide that you can’t understand or embrace a new technology, and you’ll end up like your grandpa who has trouble using his VCR, let alone a DVD player or DVR…not that he wouldn’t enjoy tivo’ing the game so he doesn’t miss it when he comes over for the great grand-kid’s birthday party…oh wait, that’s my grandpa!
Shortlink directly to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-5E