Resumes and other Accoutrements

So maybe you’ve been job hunting for a while now, sending your resume to 30+ companies - with zero responses. Feels like you submitted your resume to a black hole, right? Is it your resume... or something else? Why won’t someone call you back?

Chances are it is your resume - but it might require more than your resume too.

Of the resumes I've seen in my career, most people list responsibilities as details of their work experience - and nothing else. What's missing is the IMPACT that was made while working there. The best resumes are the ones that answer the question "So what!?".  'So what' that you built a training program. 'So what' that you organized the marketing materials. In what context did you do these things and for what purpose? The more your Experience bullets can answer these questions, the stronger your resume will be. Also, be sure to include key words so that robots will find your resume. And makes sure it's customized for the job you're applying for. Recruiters can identify the 'generic' ones.

With more tips on great resumes in the tweets to come this week on Twitter, let me also elaborate on the things OTHER THAN a resume that you may also want to consider. In today’s job market, a powerful resume might be enough to get that phone interview, but you might need a few more things in your corner to get that and more. Here are some important tips to follow to increase your chances of getting some feedback from that 'black hole'.

1. Be clear about what you’re looking for
The more clearly you know what you're looking for, the more customized your resume will be and therefore, more effective in getting that perfect job. How you respond to the questions during an interview and what you ask the employer in return will also be more powerful. So if you want to land that perfect job, be sure to narrow your search and be sure it's the right next job for you.

2. Write a Powerful Resume
Most resumes are a bit diluted, because they don't have the 'context' and 'results' of their responsibilities. Kinda like saying "I cleaned the basement" but without knowledge of how messy it was to begin with or how long it took you or what it looked like when you were done - then it's kinda weak. While you should look for great formats and perfect punctuation, pay attention to the richness of content too. This can make all the difference. [And look for tweets the week of June 25 for further tips in how to build that awesome resume.]

3. Make sure LinkedIn matches your Resume
LinkedIn is essentially your resume - online - with other interactive links and personal connections. If you update your resume, you should update your LinkedIn profile too. They should virtually match. Refer to this article from topresume.com for tips in how to best use LinkedIn to find a job.

4. Have a cover letter template ready to go
Along with your resume, have a cover letter template that fits the current trends and is customized to the job you're applying for. Be sure to pull out a personal story that matches the job posting and/or company culture. You might also consider using a different personal story per job application to really make it fit.

5. Know how to use your network (LinkedIn / Digital or real life)
What does "Networking" really mean these days anyway? Is your list of followers on Instagram your network? The answer is yes - and so much more. Check out my June 8th blog and related tweets to learn how best to leverage your network to get that job.

6. Set up a website and/or online portfolio
Telling your personal professional story beyond Facebook or Instagram is best done with a personal website or online portfolio. Not only for freelancers (although this is where you'll most commonly find them) but great to intentionally make your online persona, consolidating all points of your online presence, and pointing people to your resume or LinkedIn.  Check out the top 25 MUST SEE online portfolios for some great inspiration. About.me is also a free and simple place to start.

7. Schedule informational interviews
Informational interviews are meet-ups where you get a chance to get to know someone who has information, experience, or connections with people in the area where you want to move next in your career. Depending on what you're looking for and where you want to go, you can schedule an informational interview by finding someone in your network or writing a really compelling email to someone you don't know yet [TheMuse.com has some great advice in how to do this]. These types of conversations can be extremely helpful in gathering information about the place you want to work, learning about to field or profession you're looking to work, or even making new connections, as it gives you a chance to demonstrate who you are and what you're capable of. They can be casual, fun, and all together useful for your overall search as well. Harvard Business Review also gives some tips in how to get the most out of them.

8. Hire a career coach
As a starting point or a 'save me' strategy, you can invest in a career coach to help you with the search. Career Coaches are great at helping you sort through the clutter of thoughts or directions you might want to go, give you tools and suggestions in the next steps to take and can hold you accountable to your personal commitments over time. Well worth the investment for better, faster, or more accurate results along your career journey. Look to Monster.com for some signs of when it's time to hire a career coach.


So, overall there are plenty of things you could be doing to go after that new job. None of them are a silver bullet but by using two or more of them, you increase your chances of getting closer to where you want to be. And overall, just remember that you need to balance the time you spend behind your computer uploading your resume or commenting on social media sites and the time you spend out meeting people and learning about the industry/company/job/position you want to move into. After all, you will be working alongside people and people are who select you, interview you, and make the decision to hire you - so meeting with people is part of the journey and perhaps, the journey requisite.

For the latest and best tips in sprucing up your resume (in addition to these 8 suggestions above) check out our Twitter and Facebook feeds throughout the week of June 25.

#ChooseGreatWork #WorkHappy

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