Archive for August 2009

Einstein, Bob Marley and Me

August 28, 2009

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As I sat watching the cars whiz by me on the interstate, I envied them all their 4 good tires, all full of air going around and around, 70 miles per hour plus.

I, on the other hand, had only three, which is why I am here, on the shoulder of the highway I had only moments ago been on. Air conditioning blowing cold, Bob Marley playing at about a level 21 on my level 20 radio, speedo needle dipping just a little over 75, quite confident in my ability to reach my destination in the time I had allotted for myself, not a care in the world, just cruisin’ man, just cruisin’.

The soulful Rastafarian’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ was abruptly interrupted by the sound of rubber being thrown forcefully into the wheel wells, and echoing throughout the cabin. A sense of dread suddenly gripped my soul as my mind tried to come to grips with the sudden change in atmosphere. All of  the usual questions came up:

Do I have a spare?

Do I have a jack?

Do I have one of those things that undoes the bolts on the bad wheel?

Do I have roadside assistance?

Do I have time for this?

The answer to the last question was superfluous at best.

I landed as gently as I could on the shoulder, popped the trunk release and headed for an area of my car, that until now I had only heard of. I rarely carry passengers in my car so the backseat typically holds anything that would normally be fodder for the trunk.

I raised the deck lid, not sure of what I might find, and tried to remember what the car salesman had told me about this area and the tools within when I bought this car 5 years ago. A tab marked ‘pull here’ lurked conspicuously from the right corner of the carpeted trunk. So I pulled, and to my delight, was rewarded with the sight of a wheel with a somewhat smaller tire wrapped around it, and a nifty little plastic bag bolted to the center of the hub with every tool necessary to accomplish the task at hand. I won’t bore you with the details of the next few moments of this scenario, but suffice it to say these car guys really no how to put together a step-by-step manual. It was written as though I had never seen a car before, much less had knowledge that  the wheels were actually changeable.

The guy who wrote this step-by-step brochure made sure that I was parked on a level surface. He also made sure I turned the lug wrench to the left to loosen the wheel and to the right to tighten the wheel in steps 10 and 24 respectively.

Now I’m no mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but this manual could have been less then three steps long and it would have sufficed for most people.

Step 1 . Raise Car

Step 2. Remove old wheel, put new wheel in its place

Step 3. Lower Car

Had I been tasked with this project, that is what you would find in your trunk marked, “Instruction Manual.”

Soon enough I was back on the road, but the detail of that manual reminded me how often people will hand in a resume almost as simplistic as my version of the instructions and then scratch their head and wonder why the phone’s not ringing off the hook.

Instructions manuals are written with the idea in mind that the reader has absolutely no preconceived ideas about the task they are about to undertake, Most are simple yet detailed to the point that Einstein and I both can understand them and decipher them equally as well.

While most resumes are written for a target audience, you never know if the person making the decision will be Einstein or me. If you always assume they are me, like the folks who wrote the manual for changing my tire, then your chances of success go way up.

~~~~~

Written by Rob Poindexter, sales executive and sailor, who, as Jacqui’s husband, provides an observer’s perspective to job-search coaching and resume writing.

“I Can Write My Own Resume!”

August 8, 2009
Feeling Adrift at Sea in Your Job Search?

Feeling Adrift at Sea in Your Job Search?

Adrift in Job Search, (but I Don’t ‘Get’ Resume Writers)

I get it: most professionals do not understand, until well into the job search process, the impact and importance of their resume nor the complexity of the process and complex strategy involved in creating a meaningful resume. Though some professionals embark on a job search with an appreciation for the value of partnering with a professional resume writer, many wait until they are ‘not’ getting interviews, or, more important, not getting interviews with the right audience, before reaching for the resume writer life line.

Avoid Urge for Fast-Food Resume Services

Resume writers must continually aspire to do a better job to educate job seekers to our value before they sink into the abyss of the job-search sea. However, if they already feel water filling their job-search lungs, we can first throw them a quick life-line to prevent drowning. Once the imminent crisis is resolved, we can move them gently and proactively into a meaningful resume development process versus a fast-food, cheapened resume experience that further weakens and lengthens their career transition process.

In this economy, with so many professionals being laid off, companies folding, and organizations downsizing, the pool of unemployed job seekers has multiplied (as has the pool of resume writers, many lacking a value proposition). Many in our resume writing field now feel compelled to provide a less expensive, short-cut service approach, shaving prices, giving away services and advice, shortening service turnaround time frames, abbreviating processes, and stripping the value of professional resume writing in the desire for leaner operations while maintaining revenue flow.

I encourage job seekers to look beyond resume writers offering cut-rate services and engage with writers who provide maximum value and service. Slashed price and diminished service does not effectively serve the job seeking public.

Insider Resume Writing Information Unveiled

Foundation of Resume Writing Value

A few weeks ago, following a Tweet I posted, GL Hoffman, chairman of JobDig, (Twitter: @GLHoffman) asked how I trimmed 34 pages of a job seeker’s resume worksheet down to a three-page resume. As a result, I am revealing insider information (i.e., overview of my consultative writing process) as follows:

The resume rewrite (totally from scratch) is the primary service that clients hire me for – it is my specialty (this is not an enhancement; not a fluff up; not a reformat; not a “putting punch into existing resume;” – is totally, bare-bones, from the ground UP rewrite).

The processes my client and I navigate are a valuable take-away for them preparing for interviews, clarifying their unique value proposition talk points, identifying and carving out their most compelling stories affixed to their target goal — clearing the clutter of non-relevant stories. This involves hacking content with a very large machete at times, but also trimming very selectively, blade by blade, if you will.

Another HUGE insider secret: Clients are deeply involved in and committed to heavy lifting (i.e., company, industry, and position research and worksheet completion that takes them hours/days to complete). The worksheet is purposeful (I realize that means arduous manual labor of the mind for the client). I combine a phone interview with the worksheets to garner forethought, introspection, and clarification from my clients that will not erupt solely through either a phone interview or worksheet. With the results of both — worksheet and interview — I accumulate a depth and breadth of career introspection and stories essential in understanding their unique brand and performing the writing.

This is when, behind the scenes at Career Trend, a LOT of  heavy lifting occurs, hours upon hours of ferreting out nuggets of gold from the worksheet/interview notes to write a crystal-clear resume story that stands apart from all other candidates.

Beyond my unique processes, I know my worth is to flush out the job seeker’s own unique value drivers. Most people are far too broad with this endeavor. They are so CLOSE to their own day-to-day initiatives they dismiss critical nuggets of gold and ‘blather on’ about insignificant information that has no value to the reader. In addition, many people wish to transition their skills/experience/achievements to new industries and have no clue how to do this effectively.

Many Job-seekers Blindly Navigate the Job-Search Sea

As Jane, my Twitter friend, so eloquently pointed out, “People unfamiliar with the vast and unknown job search sea are trying to navigate it without a compass.” In her own experience, she has worked with professionals whose “can-do attitudes, results-driven focus” works against them because they are certain they can write their own resume.

And here’s an additional kernel of wisdom Jane so articulately expressed: “They have no idea how their resumes pale in comparison to others seeking the same position. They also do not comprehend that most times the only key that will open the door they want to go through is a stellar resume.”

Resume writers must continue to promote value to permeate the job-seeking public, collecting and marketing client statements and success stories that stand apart in the media streams fueled by Twitter, Career Management Alliance Blog, LinkedIn, and other venues to reinforce how our services provide job seekers a SOLID return-on-investment.

Cost of Job Hunt

Speaking of return on investment, job seekers can seek to better understand the exponential impact of an extended job search process. If hiring a resume writer can decrease the job search by just a few weeks, the investment pays off.

Dawn Bugni (Twitter: @dawnbugni), Certified Professional Resume Writer and owner of The Write Solution, references the July 2009 Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches newsletter to underscore the cost of being unemployed during a protracted job search.

  • If you want a $20,000 salary, your weekly salary is $384.61 and an 18 week job hunt will cost you $6,992.98.
  • If you want a $50,000 salary, your weekly salary is $961.54 and an 18 week job hunt costs you $17,307.69.
  • If you want a $100,000 salary, your weekly salary is $1,923.08 and an 18 week job hunt costs you $34,615.38.

Taking Responsibility

Bottom line: As resume writers, we must ooze our value and maintain momentum in positioning ourselves as career thought leaders and drivers steering our professional job-seeking clients to swifter job landings, saving them potentially tens of thousands of dollars in lost wages, boosting their incomes, and revitalizing their careers. As job seekers, professionals must conduct their due diligence and search out reputable, experienced, and quality-centered resume writing and career strategy firms focused on their unique needs to multiply job search results.

Article by: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter, MRW (Twitter: @ValueIntoWords), inspired via a recent Twitter chat with my friend Jane Dominguez, a trainer and champion for better business writing and owner of The Write Business Advantage—Twitter handle: @WriteAdvantage.  She posed the question: “How do you overcome the objections of professionals that they do not need expert help with their resumes?” As a result of our exchange, this article evolved.