Is your resume anemic?

Posted February 13, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Professional Resume Writer, resume, Resume Story

Does the following describe your resume’s plight?

1. Anemic, weakened by lack of attention as it sits idly in your virtual computer drawer, untended and under-fed as your career purrs along.

2. Or perhaps, it was resuscitated by artificial means as a result of the panic you felt when you were suddenly laid off.

3. A heart stint strategically placed here to unplug a clogged resume artery, a pin there to bridge disconnected resume bones.

4. You gave it a quick facelift and a boost of botox to endear it to the modern masses.

5. As a result, your resume is an unwholesome reflection of its once healthy self.

Your resume is your career heartbeat. Feed it regularly, reevaluate and revisit your career health-care plan and reinvigorate your resume with fresh-from-the-vine, vitamin-enriched word stories to achieve a more robust career outlook and competitive edge.

Isn’t your career lifeblood worth the nurturing to boost your vitality in the career racetrack within which it will be expected to outperform other vital, story-enriched career positioning documents?

Due and Proper

Posted February 3, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, Professional Resume Writer, resume, Resume Story

Do you wake up every morning on time? Do you head to the shower and prepare your body with a cleansing for the work day ahead?

Men, do you step out of the shower and faithfully put your razor to work, ridding your face of offensive stubble that began creeping up on you around 5:00 the previous day?

Women, do you faithfully set about the task of applying make up and styling solutions to your face and locks, not to mention, working the curling iron, blow dryer and whatever other machinery produced by modern man to ready you for taking on the day?

And after these laborious tasks are completed do you not all head for whatever room contains your clothing for the day, and don the appropriate clothing, taking time to make sure this tie goes with this shirt and these shoes go with this skirt?

Day after day, week after week, those with deadlines and commitments pull ourselves from soothing slumber and stumble into our hostile environment. Maybe we’re not fighting a dinosaur for our next meal, but we certainly face our share of challenges that can make facing off with a tyrannosaurus rex seem like child’s play.

Eight, 10, sometimes 14 hours later, we head to our cars, or trains or cabs or whatever conveyance got us to work, and we head home. Beat up, bruised and battered by the events of the work day, we walk through the door of our homes, shoulders slumped, hair a mess, make-up in dire need of restoration, stubble on our chins that we know tomorrow morning will have to be removed, yet again.

Finally after years of toiling for the fire-breathing figure who sits in the corner office, you are called into said office where the figure bestows upon you a great honor.

You can hardly contain yourself.

The moment you leave the office you begin telling everyone how they gave you a promotion. You call your spouse, your best friend, your children , your next door neighbor, your mailman, the guy at 7/11 that you always thought was a little strange. You tell them all, “They gave me a promotion” , “ I’m the head of ——-“ .

Oh,boy, oh boy.

Now, wait a minute, you! They didn’t g i v e you that promotion.  You earned it by grinding whatever griss the mill required. You stayed late to finish the project; you fought bumper to bumper traffic to and fro each day, you showed up every day on time and took the lead when no one else would.

There was no grace involved by the powers that made the decision to promote you. They studied you, they watched you, and they knew by promoting you, based on your own hard work and self sacrifice, they would, in most cases, add to their bottom line. This is, after all, what the free enterprise system is all about. Is it not?

What a shame it would be to allow all that you’ve been through to go unappreciated because you felt it unnecessary to invest in a resume that shines adequate light on your accomplishments. That simple little form that lets the world know, “Hey, man I’ve been tried by the fire and not only survived, but thrived!”

There is a very high likelihood that someday you’ll leave your current place of servitude, and when you do, the next powers that you apply to won’t have the luxury of watching you grow into what you have become and base their decision on that when it comes to hiring you.

They will only have that all important document that you hand them.

So, when the corner office calls, will you be ready?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Written by Robert P. Poindexter:  Blogger, Sales Executive and Sailor

Nipped and Tucked Resumes

Posted January 26, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, resume, Resume Story, Resume Update

In many cases, just a single year or two at a new position will infuse your resume with a plethora of new content that if plugged in too hastily, will create a patchwork coat effect: It may serve a practical purpose at a very base level but it will not turn heads, evoke a visceral reaction and inspire the meaningful, targeted interview call that, as a job hunter, you seek.

Nourished Career Bodies Require Resume Refitting

Not only is a resume update comprised of new resume content to fit the evolving shape of your career body, but older, faded, stretched career fabric needs tightened, trimmed and emboldened to align with the new information.

As an example, over the seven years we’ve collaborated,  Jennifer has hired me for three iterations of her resume. When she originally approached me in 2002, Jennifer’s career focus was Operations. The majority of her professional experience to that point had been spent contributing to operational and financial software machinations inside a major telecommunications company.

Within just a few years, Jennifer returned for an update, and her career fabric had expanded to include adjunct experience in a new industry (not-for-profit) versus the major, Fortune 500, publicly held company of her past. As well, she had been instrumental in leading a change management initiative and start-up effort that transformed the organization’s direction and goals.

Most recently, Jennifer circled back to me for another ‘simple update’ after having driven culture change at an even larger not-for-profit entity with multi locations. Moreover, Jennifer sought to reposition herself in a for-profit organization, having run her career course in the not-for-profit sector.

She needed my help in determining how to reposition her resume to showcase her last several years’ not-for-profit experience in a light that mapped to private sector; as such, the Profile section as well as the Performance Overview (chronology) section, were critical areas in which to spotlight a commingling of her last seven-years’ experience.

Not only had her career fabric expanded, but her audience was shifting, requiring new folds of career fabric be patterned and stitched together to present a whole new career suit that would appeal to today’s trends and to her current target industry.

In both update collaborations, resume updating required significant rewriting and strategy (versus a quick, easy update process).

In both collaborations, just a few driving questions allowed me to talk her down from the ‘I need a quick, simple update’ vantage point and redirect her vision that the resume update was much more involved.

It required careful introspection as to how her recent several-years’ experience/achievements/leadership learnings mapped to her goals. As well, it required deeper assessment and specificity in communicating her go-forward goals.

Career Stagnation Is Not an Option

What I’ve also found, in working with Jennifer and many other job hunters over the last 12 years is that virtually no one I’ve ever written for – no matter their career level, from entry to senior-level – has wanted to remain stagnant in their job or career. Even when they perceived their job move as lateral, they always wanted something different — or more — in regard to day-to-day tasks and challenges.

How Do You Determine Your Resume Update Needs?

Trying to determine whether a strategic approach to revamping–vs. ‘simply updating’–your resume is in needed? Ask yourself some or all of the following questions:

  • What have you been doing the last year, two years, etc. at your current/new job (i.e., what have been your department’s, division’s, company’s, YOUR overarching goals/results)?
  • How is this different from what you were doing last time you updated, or originally wrote, your resume?
  • What are you most proud of doing in the past year, etc.? Why does this matter to your target audience?
  • How would you describe your ideal ‘next position?’ Type of role? Title? Company? Industry?
  • If you look at the Headline/Profile/Summary of your ‘current’ resume, would you feel it represents your go-forward (target) goals of types of position you are seeking? Why or why not?
  • Think specifically vs. impulsively what your resume’s current state of being is (whether it’s an outdated career cloak befitting viewing by a past career generation or whether it is a modern-audience-attracting resume), then note the differences in what you would like your resume to attract as your next great opportunity (your go-forward goals) versus what your were vying to attract last time you updated your resume.
  • As well, consider the evolving resume design strategies and the value to revisiting / amending certain aspects of the layout to reinvigorate and perhaps boost the competitiveness of your career positioning tool (especially important in this still very tough market).

All of the above questions and talk points are critical to determining whether you truly require a ‘simple resume update.’ High-performing resumes require ongoing maintenance, overhaul and strategic attention.

In most cases, career resume fabric, like that in a well-worn suit, becomes stretched, faded and dated in time. A nip and tuck of fabric may impulsively feel like the easy choice to maintain a career resume suited for the job; however, in many cases, your career fabric needs reshaped and replaced to best enhance your nimble and more muscular career form.

I want to credit The Recruiting Animal for inspiring this post with his unique take on how a Resume Writer Is like a Tailor over at RecruitingBloggers.com, in a blog post, “The Resume Writer.”

Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?

Posted January 19, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, job search, resume

As co-coordinator with my colleague, Miriam Salpeter, I am pleased to participate in our first round of posts in 2010 from our community of expert career advisors and resume writing professionals called the Career Collective.

This month’s articles address the topic of helping job seekers transition and make the most of the new year. Please follow our hashtag, #careercollective, on Twitter. Responses from other contributors linked at the end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

As I lay in bed at 3 a.m., distracted by dear hubby’s snoring sounds erupting in my ears, I realized a correlation between this not-so-gentle disruption and the disruptive tenor of today’s job search.

From unrealistic resume expectations to the run-rampant highways of the digital media highway, the din of multimedia job search in 2010 is, at times, earsplitting.

During daily conversations with job seekers, I often am asked how they can ensure their resume words are heard and spark that elusive call for an interview. This is when the clatter begins, as new-to-the market resumes often are just  regurgitations of laundry lists of to-dos and ‘responsibilities for’ peppered with a handful of percentages and dollars–both ineffective and, well, noisy.

I witness job hunters’ zealous ‘hope’ to hand off  this unfiltered career brain dump to someone to magically push through a chute and out the other end, causing the resume and job opportunity to now miraculously and harmoniously be linked together.

As I navigate Twitter, wander through LinkedIn and tread lightly through FaceBook, I’m often overwhelmed and overcome by the unfiltered content and constant chatter, each voice escalating just a bit to outshine the next.

That said, with a bit of ferreting and organizing of my preferred groups, I also find eloquently targeted conversations. Such elegant conversation is fleeting, however, and like the snoring that disturbed my ears this morning, the constant Twittering, chatting and self-promoting often is distractive and disruptive. For these reasons, I find myself publicly signing on and off Twitter, so as not to be perpetually distracted.

As such, my advice for job seekers to tune up their job search in 2010:

1. Develop unique career lyrics that add value to the social media orchestra. Hone your search goals, then create and share your message aimed at a well-tuned ear. This voice artistry, like a hummingbird to nectar, will attract the right-fit audience.

2. Be somebody with unique talents and problem-solving abilities focused on precise employer needs; avoid the ‘everything to all people’ approach. Tune your instrument to fit within a particular employer’s ensemble.

3. Be proactive. Remember, your resume rhythm must resonate with an employer’s needs; research those needs and adjust accordingly to create a befitting tone. Like stringed, brass and woodwind instruments that coalesce to create a symphony, the combination of your skills with the right complementary environment will ultimately harmonize to help you achieve your goals.

4. Toot your own horn, but not in every room of the social media house. Because you blasted your value on Twitter doesn’t mean you must stream it into LinkedIn and Facebook. Loud and omnipresent doesn’t create a buzz; instead, it creates the buzz-saw snoring sound that drives people away.

5. Stop listening to all the voices. If this means, ceasing to Tweet for a bit, donning your coat, gloves and boots and taking a brisk walk, do it. It’s VERY noisy out there—find your quiet place, refocus and then return to the Internet highway. As well, getting a good night’s rest — 6, 7, 8 hours – is helpful to your staying alert alert, hopeful and energized in the rigorous job search.

Bottom line:  You can control your actions, and ultimately, the outcome to achieve YOUR target goals during the 2010 job search, and beyond. It’s about observing and researching the corporate symphony with which you wish to unfold your music stand. Find your dream company, court them with your career notes and contribute to an  orchestral new year career.

Please read what other Career Collective members are saying:

@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, “The Art of Being Gracious: Much Needed in Today’s Job Search,”

@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes,  Career Trends and Transition 2010

@heathermundell, life@work, Kaizen and the Art of Your Job Search

@barbarasafani, Career Solvers, Looking Into the 2010 Careers Crystal Ball

@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog, The Resume and Your Social Media Job Search Campaign

@kat_hansen,  Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, New Year: Time to Assess Yourself and Your Career

@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, Help for job seekers in a rut

@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, Job seekers: 5 tips for making the most of 2010

@DawnBugni, The Write Solution, Ya, but

@ErinKennedyCPRW, Professional Resume Services, Advice to Job Seekers in 2010–learn Yoga?

@Chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, Starfish, JobAngels, and Making a Difference

@ValueIntoWords, Career Trend, Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?

@debrawheatman, Resumes Done Write, Making the most of a new year

@walterakana, Threshold Consulting, Starting anew – tips for truly managing your career

@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, The Year of the Tiger

@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithIllness.com, Dogs Can Do It, Can You?

@JobHuntOrg, Job-Hunt.org, Lifelong Learning for Career Security

@AndyInNaples, Career Success, What Are You Getting Better At? Make This the Year You Become the Best You Can Be!

@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, A Flash of the Blindly Obvious

Resume Is Your Career Heartbeat

Posted January 14, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, resume, Resume Story

Okay, I get it: the ‘traditional resume is dead.’ May we put a stake through this aging topic and just bury it, along with the tombstone resume?

Savvyresumes, by contrast, are not only alive and well, but they have matured, become more sophisticated and muscular, and are more essential now, than ever.

Just yesterday I witnessed a resume that had been forged like a finely carved weapon doing battle for a soldier in job search, and winning the war against unemployment; and the day before that, a pithy and powerful company-targeted resume appealing to the desperation of an over-worked hiring manager underwhelmed with compelling candidates.

As such, it continues to perplex me, the continual interjection of this disruptive question, popularized in the stream of Twitter and other social media. It goes something like this:Is the resume passé? Further, is it being wedged out by social media?

My pondering response (answering a question with more questions):

  • Will the complexity of social media: with all of its arteries and veins linking me to this Twitter profile and LinkedIn profile and VisualCV profile, and directing me to that blogging site or that specialist webfolio  ‘replace’ the resume?
  • Will hiring decision-makers be required to piece together candidates’ value proposition from dozens of resources, linking interlocking and innocuously shaped puzzle pieces to initially discover just a brief career snapshot?
  • Will this value-digging rigor be required to gain traction in choosing who to initially interview? Will being an investigative reporter be a requirement to even select to converse with a potential candidate?
  • Does a candidate’s presence on the complex and often clogged social media highway replace a tightly and singularly focused resume intended to ‘sum up’ value in crisp, coherent language?

My initial and sustaining thoughts: Noooo, of course not!

It’s simple, the resume, defined by Dictionary.com as ‘a summing up’ will ALWAYS be the central hub from which social media message spokes attach. Or, put another way, the resume is the heartbeat, and the social media vehicles are the veins and arteries that transport the heart blood out and about to the critical organs of job search.

Bottom line: It’s about thewords; precise, compelling and targeted words. So, slow down, create your resume ‘hub,’ THEN begin promoting your value message through the spokes of the vast and cascading social media space.

There’s a Hole in Your Story, Sir

Posted January 8, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, job search, Professional Resume Writer, resume, Resume Branding, Resume Story

So on       morning, I got up around        , and decided it was time I finally took care of that        which had been bugging my wife and I for quite some. I fixed myself a couple of         with some        on the side, then headed out the           to pick up the items necessary to complete the         at hand.

Soon enough I found myself speaking with a knowledgeable            at the         store and he was able to give me some much needed            . I got the           back home and right away figured out the       was missing. So back to the         I went. I hate making more than     trip when I set out to accomplish something, especially something as important as getting the         fixed so we can finally start using the        .  I was able to locate the        that had helped me earlier and expressed my dissatisfaction with him by          in the          . Well that certainly got his attention, and  he was much more           this time . He wanted to be absolutely sure I got the         and wouldn’t come back to         him in the          again.

Long story         , I finally got everything set up right and wife and I can again           . What a           .

You may have noticed that a few words, a few key words were missing from the story above. If you went back and read it several times just to make sure you weren’t missing anything, you weren’t. Many of the words left out, most people could fill in themselves and come to the correct conclusion. Some of the missing words could only be filled in by the author for the story to make any sense.

How often people will turn in a resume that makes about as much sense to a hiring manager as the story above makes to you. Just one missing piece of information could very well send your resume to the land of no return; no matter how qualified you may be for the position.

Hiring a professional resume writer will help you fill in the blanks, making sure the reader is getting a clear and concise message of who you are and why you are the best candidate for the open post.

You’ve worked too hard for the awards and promotions you’ve earned to allow one missing word here or there to completely dive bomb your chances for success.

~~~~~

Written by Robert P. Poindexter:  Blogger, Sales Executive and Sailor

DIGGING OUT FROM UNDER THE SNOW STORM OF JOB LOSS

Posted January 4, 2010 by careertrend
Categories: job search, resume

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve known loss. Haven’t we all?

A blizzard storms through our lives, creating paralyzing white-out conditions.

In my life, a painful storm from which I not only survived but from which ashes I arose to rebuild a new and BETTER life, occurred when my first husband requested a divorce. Within months, I was thrust into life-altering decisions that, even under the best of emotional situations, would have been difficult.

Initially, life lines were tossed my way by family and friends. After years of self-sufficiency, I was faced with either “going it alone” or accepting the help of sincerely caring people. I swallowed my pride and chose the latter.

As well, I acted: traction was the name of the game to maintain my sanity, my emotional stability and my overall fortitude. As in job search loss, the death of a marriage or following the actual death of a spouse or other loved one, the storm requires mourning, but then requires forward movement to recover. Sometimes, even, the two must be managed concurrently.

During my divorce, I did not have the luxury of flying off to a tropical island and licking my wounds or even spending a few weeks resting and healing; instead, I had imminent bills to pay and clients to attend to. Miraculously, I was able to “fake it ’til I made it.” For example, I recall one client telling me (during the thick of the storm) that I was always such a positive person when he and I met! I was strengthened by his sweet comment - further reinforcing the need for forward movement as a key to recovery.

Similarly, job hunters in the midst of career storms often must keep plunging through the cold hard ground of job search. I will venture to say, with persistence and willingness to make changes, these forward-moving job seekers will see sprouts of growth emerge even during the harshest of climates.

Traction Steps Beget Confidence, Courage and Recovery

I imagine the wind-knocked-out-of-me experience I knew following divorce is something people experiencing job loss or major job transition can relate to. I hope some of the practical and soul-fortifying steps I took also may assist job seekers in moving forward in recovery. Here are a few steps I took:

1. Sold my home and downsized to a townhome (saving money but also dramatically reducing my commute to a then brick-and-mortar office from 45 minutes to 5 minutes).

Unfortunately, I hear too many stories of job seekers hanging on to what was versus adjusting their sails and course to mesh with the wind. Sometimes letting go of real estate, other belongings and past lifestyle desires is just the antidote and relief to calm the storms and further work on rebuilding a newer, stronger and often better-than-ever-imagined foundation for the future!

2. Immediately began the process to transform my business, which, at that time was only three years young and not really ready to be self supporting. I had no choice – I was now my sole supporter! I amped up my industry credentials; I now wanted to increase my service offerings (and revenue), so in addition to my Certified Professional Resume Writer credential, I achieved the Certified Employment Interview Professional (interview coaching) training in Dallas, Texas.

3. Earned the globally unique Master Resume Writer credential and received near-immediate PR and revenue.

When encountered with a hard-hit economy and job search, I encourage job seekers to consider future needs, research and listen to other professional opinions and then ACT: if you may benefit by earning a new credential to better market yourself  – go get it! Or, simply, reach for more training, more training and yet, more training. Continuing education opportunities abound either virtually or within brick and mortar settings!

4. Assertively pursued industry partnerships and refocused time and energy on building relationships that would further build my business reputation, visibility, and ultimately, revenue.

Likewise, I encourage job seekers to seek out and build relationships with key partners who may propel their job search. Encourage Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Companies and Human Resources to follow you and your value proposition via Twitter and build your career reputation. Unfurl the sails, look beneath the layers and get curious. Step by step, you’ll learn the ropes of job search, and it will not only flex your untapped job-search muscles, but it will even be fun–an adventure, at times!

Moreover, visit LinkedIn and set up an account. Click on @eExecutive’s informative article: 5 LinkedIn Resources. Order Jason Alba’s LinkedIn DVD by emailing me to help you navigate the ins and outs of creating meaningful relationships within and without your professional industry.

Start stimulating conversations with other professionals and with recruiters, hiring decision makers and human resource managers. Boost your visibility and credibility via a website established exclusively for movers and shakers who not only take pride in their careers but seek to boost their image and career opportunities.

5. Hired another writer and career coach to help shepherd me through a career repositioning and hold me accountable to implement action steps.

As well, job hunters may revisit their career story arsenal: refit, rewire, reword. A plethora of free articles on building a meaty, value-laden resume may be found, starting with articles on my blog and extending through to a plethora of blog posts by resume writers, career coaches and recruiters. Visit bloggers at Blogs I Read to search for how-tos on resume writing.

You may also hire a Master Resume Writer or other professional career writer, coach and/or consultant from Career Management Alliance, Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International or National Resume Writers Association. Resume writers, coaches and consultants will help uncover the snow-shrouded career story-book and then parse chapters, sub-titles and talk points that reveal your true value to your target audience!

6. Transitioned my business from a locally based, brick and mortar office (with premium office space leasing costs) to a globally focused, completely virtual operation serving clients from coast to coast in the United States, in Canada and also in far-flung places such as Europe and Asia!

Likewise, job seekers should embrace the global design of 2010 job search.  The Internet, and in particular, Twitter, offers a treasure chest of career strategy resources. First, I recommend joining Twitter, creating a pithy profile, and start following others.

As well, my colleague and Twitter friend, Miriam Salpeter and I initiated a Career Collective of 20+ bloggers focused exclusively on job hunters’ needs. Stop in, read a while, find and then personally connect with a couple career experts that appeal to you and with whom you feel a connection. Conversations beget action which beget results–moving from a career hull cloaked in snow to a brightened and buffed career that sails the high seas.

7. Focused on my personal life recovery and fulfillment; getting out there and dating–making it an adventure versus a drudgery. I ENJOYED (for the most part) the interesting conversations and new opportunities to meet new friends. The world was my oyster! It was a series of shared experiences that added value to my day to day life until one day I met and married the love of my life. He is leaps and bounds beyond my expectations, and not because he is perfect (sorry, darling!), but because he is my heart-mate.

Just as the snowstorm that swept through my fare city this holiday season (or that swept through my personal life several years ago), career slamming challenges erupt from time to time, packing your  job-search hulls with snow that weighs you down, virtually paralyzing movement.

After you’ve licked your wounds, commiserated with others about the tragedy that has beset you, Iencourage you to take action. Grab that shovel and start digging! Get out from under that avalanche of job-search snow and regain your career footing.

Captain your career, mend your sails, learn the new rules of career navigation, partner with career experts and SET SAIL!


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