Archive for the ‘Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter’ category

Mirror ‘their’ needs, not your ‘wants’ in #jobsearch

March 31, 2010

In honor of April Fool’s Day, the Career Collective is tackling a few important and timely questions: How are you fooling yourself about your career / job search? What can you do about it? How can you avoid being tricked by common job search blunders?

To see how other members of the Career Collective responded, please scroll to the end of this post, or, follow the #careercollective hashtag on Twitter. Thanks, once again, to Miriam Salpeter, @Keppie_Careers, for your partnership in organizing this initiative!

RESPECT WHAT YOU HEAR WHEN YOU SAY YOU ARE LISTENING

A recent computer shopping expedition with Rob (my hubby and co-author of this blog) reinforced for me the importance of

not just listening to another person, but respecting what you hear, mirroring what is being said, then shepherding the person you’re listening to toward a “them”-fitting solution.

Acknowledging their tone, their inflection, the areas where they emphasize phrases and where certain feelings erupt, depicting their passion and / or pain —is a very DIFFICULT skill to master, yet is integral in impactful communications. And it’s integral in how we respond to others’ needs.

And this is what job search is ALL about: respond to OTHERS’ needs first (as a result, thankfully, your needs of finding a job also will be fulfilled, ultimately).

Back to our shopping trip: Rob and I both agreed that he would invest in a notebook computer, one with certain software features and compatibilities with my computer. That’s easy to achieve in today’s technology! However, well into the process, I urged Rob to look at the brand names and technologies I favored, including features and benefits I just KNEW he would value, once he was on board and a super user, like me.

As the day progressed, and our shopping trip escalated, a lightbulb flickered, then brilliantly shone on our scenario: This purchase was about ROB’S current and future goals, and though my past experiences and preferences provided value to his purchasing decision, they wouldn’t heavily influence his decision.

His needs were, and will continue to be, different than mine, so I must selectively offer my opinions and learnings based on his unique needs. For example, though computer screen size and powerhouse technology are of large importance to me, they were not as critical to Rob as having a compact, lightweight machine that he could fold under his arm and transport to our sailboat.

As well, he didn’t need the latest and greatest graphic capabilities and other technology wizardry that only an iMac or certain, amped up Dells or other made-to-order technology would offer. These are just a couple of examples, but you get the drift. Rob’s computer was Rob’s computer, tailored to his lifestyle and business needs, not mine.

However, once his intrinsic needs were fulfilled, mine would also be fulfilled as we partner in business endeavors, creating a ripple effect. First, though, I needed Rob to have a computer that would equip him to fulfill his requirements, and then, as a value-add, my satisfaction would follow.

FOCUS ON THE HIRING MANAGER’S NEEDS AND WANTS

Likewise, in a job search, you may feel you bring to the table the most magnificent, savvy skills in marketing, sales, operations, finance, technology, design, etc. that you simply must convince the hiring manager that s/he needs. As a result, you become overwrought with enthusiasm, pushing YOUR message, and often, in the process, turning off the person you are most trying to attract. In this way, I think job seekers often fool themselves into believing if they exhibit the right passion about what they believe they can do for a company versus first focusing on specific company and/or industry NEEDS, they will win the interview.

I implore you: Stop for a moment and REALLY listen. What do THEY need? Research their position descriptions, and beyond. Move through their corporate website, Google them, find industry chat rooms, follow them on Twitter, meet their counterparts on LinkedIn, locate business journal articles, understand their positioning in the market and their next great goals. Other sites include Hoovers, Glassdoor, Forbes, Manta.com and many, many more. Twitter offers an absolute goldmine of opportunity to unearth information via conversation with and around your target company’s people who may be casually chatting or building business presence among this global community.

Find their pain (this isn’t easy – you must be listening to do so); understand if they are battling to gain market share, bring new products to market, propel profits, contain costs, or thwart specific economic challenges. Be the person they need you to be to drive new revenue, build new markets and stamp out painful business issues tied to economic woes.

MAP YOUR TALENT TO THEIR PAIN * COURT THEM * ENTICE THEM

Wrapping your unique value offering and promise of being their solution around their pain points is not easy, and is not a linear process. It often evolves a series of exploratory conversations, brain dumps and self-editing to create the tailored and meaty, meaningful approach that resonates with their needs. Court them, entice them, make them feel that you really ‘get’ them to engage their interest, draw them to you for an interview and ultimately, extend the offer.

Later, when you are on the job, immersed, interacting with your colleagues, customers and others up and down the chain, you can deepen you message, elevate your mantra of change and beat the drumbeat of your other special offerings. For now, step back a moment, quiet the noise within and without, and focus your attentions on them.

Earlier this week, a Twitter pal and Business Coach, @AliciaSanera wrote an excellent blog post on the art of listening as it applies to business. Click here to read her valuable words.

The April, 2010, Career Collective Links


10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke, @careerealism

April Fool’s Day – Who’s Fooling Who?, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

If It’s Not You and It’s Not True, You’re Fooling Yourself, @GayleHoward

Don’t Kid Yourself! (The Person You See in the Mirror is a Good Hire), @chandlee 

Avoiding the Most Common Blunder, @jobhuntorg

Are you fooling yourself? Bored at work? Is it your own fault?, @keppie_careers

Hey, Job Seeker — Don’t Be a Fool!, @resumeservice

Job Search Is No Joking Matter,  @careersherpa

Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside), @KCCareerCoach

9 Ways You Might Be Fooling Yourself About Your Job Search, @heatherhuhman

Don’t get tricked by these 3 job search blunders, @LaurieBerenson

Trying to hard to be nobody’s fool?,  @WorkWithIllness

It’s not all about you, @DawnBugni

Mirror ‘their’ needs, not ‘your’ wants in #jobsearch, @ValueIntoWords

Stop Fooling Yourself about your Job Hunt: Things you may be doing to sabotage yourself – @erinkennedycprw

Same as it ever was – @walterakana

Your Resume Is Not a Tweet

March 11, 2010

I read it, and I get it, and I buy-in to the 20-second ‘resume scan’ rule. Yet, I don’t  FULLY buy in. What I mean is, I don’t accept the implication by some that  your resume only gets a 10-, 20-, 30-second sweeping glance by the hiring manager, recruiter, HR. .. AND THAT’S IT (the end of the road for your resume).

I love how GL Hoffman discusses the lean resume concept by playfully experimenting with the idea of a  6-word resume over at his blog. I enjoy these thought-provoking experiments, and I believe Twitter and other social media vehicles are teaching us to write tighter and more thoughtfully. These exercises help us all do a better job of drilling down to our unique value statements for those quick quips and exchanges we ‘initially’ may have with someone in our networking group or during any aspect of job courting.

As well, your resume must be glimpseable and pithy to grab the attention of the reader so he will pluck yours from the stacks of lukewarm, unfocused resumes and call you in for the interview.

However, I fear we may get so caught up into thinking our resumes must be tweet-like and ultra-lean, that we miss out on an expanded opportunity to provide content- and story-rich value, with muscle and meat!

Job seekers, and those who are presently employed but actively engaged in their career management, let’s take a breath, please, and realize the value of your message, and the extended value of your words, moving from conversation to conversation and interview to interview, reinforcing and propelling your unique proposition of value.

Once it has reached the short stack, realize if written strategically and compellingly, the resume can and often WILL support your interview movement, represent your professional/executive presence and boost your momentum leading to the negotiation phases. Recently, one of my actively interviewing resume clients, expressed that value so well, saying this about his resume:  “It is absolutely a great presentation and value statement, and I love how it moves from all the lower level discussions to the higher level ones so quickly.”

If you honor the resume process, you will reap the return-on-time and intellectual investment deep into your interview engagements. The resume is your partner in the process of clarifying not only who you are but what you bring to the job-opportunity table. No longer a brief listing of where you were, when you were there and what you ‘did,’ the eloquent and compelling resume knits you intimately into the company’s story fabric.

Suddenly, they gasp, “Aha, I can no longer live without this person. He is the salve for our pain, the revenue driver for our lagging sales, the inspirer for our lackadaisical team …” (You get the drift).

Beyond that, once you’re contacted for the interview, your resume can guide the interview process (yes, it will not only land the interview, it will provide fuel for the interview conversation). As well, for group interviews, your resume is passed around among interviewers; and for deeper interview processes involving senior managers, executives and board members, their first impression of you is a read-through and sometimes, thorough examination of your resume BEFORE you walk through their doors for a face-to-face interview.

Yes, you heard right, a read-through: they are  actually reading through and scrutinizing your resume, judging you by your resume presence. Is it assumptive? Assuming they know your value? Tactical? Only providing the nuts and bolts of your career, but not really positioning you for their needs strategically? Is it boring? Yawn. Is it elementary in design? Again, like a pressed suit, polished shoes, coiffed hair and the tailored words that spew from your lips, your resume represents YOU at every critical stage of the interview conversation.

Restoring Your Joy in Job Search

February 24, 2010

Miriam Salpeter (@Keppie_Careers) and I are delighted to co-coordinate the February Career Collective, a community of career advisors and resume writers blogging together on behalf of job seekers.

This month’s articles address how to overcome discouragement in job search. Please follow our hashtag, #careercollective, on Twitter. Responses from other contributors are linked at the end of this post. You may also wish to visit us at www.careercollective.net.

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Joy was palpable as the oversized airplane plane descended onto the tiny tropical landing strip. The pilot forcefully applied brake pressure, wings wobbled and dear, flying-averse hubby squeezed his fingers tightly into my arm as the plane safely landed.  Applause erupted and a plane-FULL of passengers, many of whose travel had been delayed several days due to winter storms, were elated to finally embark on their Key West adventure.

This spirited introduction belies the full story of our Winter 2010 vacation get-away, as just two days into the long-awaited event (we’d been planning this trip for 6 months), I fell sick with a wicked, and somewhat debilitating cold virus that I still battle today.

As with most who experience life’s unexpectedly altered plans, my hubby and I first expressed upset and disappointment, then adjusted, simply, ‘dealing’ with the reality of my less than 100%  involvement in our dream vacation — the first either of us had planned in over a decade.

Discouraging? Yes. Insurmountable? No. Akin to a disappointing job search, a vacation derailed by sickness, often can be resurrected, reshaped and reinvigorated. Here’s how:

* Visit the local pharmacy. Hubby promptly shepherded me to the local CVS Pharmacy for an investment in Dayquil and Excedrin. I immediately dosed myself with a capful of the liquid cold solution, and I felt some relief, allowing me to focus on the trip agenda at hand.

* Likewise, job seekers, consider the stifling effects of a protracted, discouraging job search as you tick off another month, 3 months, 6 months, even 1 year-plus of  looking — then find a salve that will provide initial relief from the distress and anxiety you feel, so you can positively concentrate on refocusing and remapping your job search efforts.

* Everyone’s salve will be unique to his/her own situation. It may come in the form of an activity – something and/or someone that you engage with that will produce endorphins, positivity and hope. This might simply involve planning a weekend away from the search with friends and loved ones that make you laugh and stir your optimism.

* Or, it may mean incorporating a daily exercise into your routine, a visit to the gym that will provide both social and physical stimulation, or becoming involved in a local church other spiritual or social group that has nothing to do with job search and has everything to do with your inner (and outer) well-being.

* Perhaps a visit with a career counselor will allay some of your angst.Or, a consultation with a career coaching / resume strategist who will shine clarity on your goals and/or career messaging strategy may help.  Most such career medicine, if prescribed by a credentialed, experienced professional is designed to allay your unique condition and spark a healthier, more robust go-forward path. You don’t have to commit right away; simply reach out to such a pro and request an exploratory, complimentary consultation. Just the motion of this activity may create traction and a sense of relief that you’re ‘doing something.’

* Today’s job search is unique from and takes longer than last year’s or last decades’ job search, and flailing about with the old techniques, pulling from bits and pieces of free advice from the Internet, the library or from your friends to build your search strategy probably won’t cut it. This is the time to invest in your future. And there’s no one-size-fit-all service or product. Do the footwork, risk a little of yourself to uncover the rewards. Do, then redo, then reshape and revisit and maintain momentum.

* Look inward. With my hubby’s prompting, I took this opportunity to look inward. Though I couldn’t reverse the virus’ grip, I took responsibility and the opportunity to reflect on how I might improve my own fitness (physically, mentally and emotionally) to possibly prevent a recurrence, or at the least, reduce the odds of this illness repeating.

* During this introspection, I reluctantly identified the word, ‘sedentary’ as one word that describes my day-to-day ‘norm.’ The plight of a writer? Perhaps! Or, maybe a self-induced situation I can change through plan-ful action steps that involve increased daily movement, an improved diet and a changed, overall lifestyle. I blogged about my aha moments earlier this week, here.

* Maintaining a strong mind and body or finding myself a broken heap on the floor are directly a result of how I manage my situation, day, after day, after day … after day. And the processes of self-management always are evolving, and so I always must have my eye on how to adapt, even if during the most inconvenient of circumstances, and even if midstream. Over the years I’ve invested in coaches and virtual assistants to prop me up and push me forward more efficiently and more smartly. From time to time, I must be reminded with a swift kick that I must reach out and seek their help to do even better.

* As well, job seekers, I encourage you to look inward at what has become your job search norm these past few weeks, months or longer. What job search lifestyle habits might you adjust, remove or transform to boost your job search momentum and vitality? Are you spending an inordinate amount of time online, with minimal results? Are you dressing up and attending networking, networking and more networking  events, but to no avail?

* Maybe it’s time to switch it up. Often, it’s a matter of trying just one new idea, or turning left when you’re used to turning right for example. Then try another idea, and another. Don’t give up. You’ll get there, but you must remain flexible and forward-thinking. You must not look at the elapsed time and feel you have no more time. As long as you are breathing, there’s still more time.

* Sometimes we get so caught up in doing it the perceived ‘right way,’ that we forget to follow our own instincts. Use your ‘gut’ today and see what happens. Instincts, if left untended, often start to feel unnatural, but over time, with exercise, those instinctual muscles begin to warm up … and strengthen.  Being instinctual doesn’t always equate to being so different that you stand out like a sore thumb. It might simply be applying a different shade of gray, or nuance to your job search communication and presentation style or to a particular job search activity.

* Dawn Lennon over at her Business Fitness blog shares an inspiring story of how her unconventional, yet instinctual actions and being ‘ fearless’ helped her turn around her career. Read it here: you won’t be disappointed, and you just might get inspired!

* Don’t always follow the pack and focus on modeling someone else’s resume or interview style or networking tactic. Be yourself, with a twist and a dose of learning from others. Combine what you’re being told with what you know is YOU and what you sense is sensible, smart and savvy.

* As a resume writer, for example, I know, first hand that the resume CONTENT is what rocks the interview world. Put blinders on, if you will, with regard to all the tedious rules of resume length, etc., and keep your eye on the creative story-telling aspect of career messaging. Build YOURSELF into your target readers’ story.

* And be willing to skin your virtual knee from time to time, because, through this, you will continue to get knocked around a bit.

* Finally, find someone who will hold your needs in the highest of esteem while also regarding YOUR best interests in compelling you to be BETTER. Someone who will NOT let you off the hook when you under-perform but who will continually compliment your efforts while also helping you find ways to shore up your weaknesses.

Clearly, a silver-bullet answer does not exist, but results will happen, if you maintain momentum, hope and a practical, responsive attitude. Traction does beget traction, and the hopeful optimist in me believes the end of any bad situation will come, just give it time, and don’t ever, ever, ever, EVER give up.


@MartinBuckland, Job Search Made Positive

@GayleHoward, Job Search: When It All Turns Sour

@chandlee, Strategy for Getting “Unstuck” and Feeling Better: Watch Lemonade

@heathermundell, Help for the Job Search Blues

@heatherhuhman, 10 Ways to Turn You Job Search Frown Upside-Down

@KCCareerCoach, You Can Beat the Job Search Blues: 5 + 3 Tips to Get Re-Energized

@WalterAkana, Light at the End of the Tunnel

@LaurieBerenson, Ways to Keep Your Glass Half Full

@resumeservice, Don’t Sweat the Job Search

@careersherpa, Mind Over Matter: Moving Your Stalled Search Forward

@WorkWithIllness, Finding Opportunity in Quicksand

@KatCareerGal, Job-Hunting in a Weak Job Market: 5 Strategies for Staying Upbeat (and Improving Your Chances of Success)

@ErinKennedyCPRW, Dancing in the Rain–Kicking the Job Search Blues

@keppie_careers, What do do when you are discouraged with your job search

@DawnBugni, It’s the little things

@jobhuntorg, Just SO VERY Discouraged

@barbarasafani Making Job Search Fun (Yeah, That’s Right!)

@GLHoffman, How to Overcome the Job Search Negativity

@ExpatCoachMegan, Dealing With Job Search Stress: Getting to the Source of the Problem


What Would Hemingway Do?

February 23, 2010

“I think body and mind are closely coordinated. Fattening of the body can lead to fattening of the mind. I would be tempted to say that it can lead to fattening of the soul, but I don’t know anything about the soul.” ~ Ernest Hemingway in The Good Life, According to Hemingway.

In our recent travel to Key West, I was captivated by Ernest Hemingway’s estate, which my husband and I toured, drinking in the many pictures, artifacts and letters, endearing us to Hemingway’s chaotically adventuresome life.

We chose a casual, unguided tour, allowing us to privately imbibe the words and other visual stimuli, as we lingered, moving from one charming, old-style room to another. Each delightfully spare, tropical room met us with solid wood floors, quaint, uniquely carved furniture and vast windows that led from floor to ceiling, enhanced with fluttering, light curtains.

In reflecting upon our tour and subsequently reading a Hemingway book, cover to cover during our return flight home, I felt myself stretching and growing as a woman, as a wife, as a business owner and as a career advisor. For example.

  • I truly believe that mind and body are connected, and thus with the softening of either, there is an often gentle, sometimes dramatic rippling effect that occurs, impacting every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally. I encourage job seekers to reflect on their day to day activity (or inactivity) that may be impacting, positively or negatively, their productivity and overall quality of life.
  • What can you do, today, to strengthen your physical self in a way that will shore up your mental self?
  • What can you do tomorrow? What fat-reducing and energy boosting activities can you integrate into your life on a daily, even hourly basis? Is it simply removing yourself from your chair to take a 30-minute brisk walk or to take a tour of your household chores, energetically, briskly, while breathing hard and perhaps sweating just a bit?
  • Or perhaps it’s more than that:  join a gym, making a pact with your spouse, your friend, an accountability partner that you will shed a certain amount of  weight, adopt a fitter diet and exercise routine; buy a bicycle and ride it daily; perhaps it’s that you will cease smoking or reduce your drinking … or, you get the drift. What will help you win the war against lethargy?
  • What can you do in-the-moment, every moment, to improve your vitality and convert calories to energy? What can you change up in your manner of operating, writing, communicating, speaking, acting that may seem awkward, hard and unnatural at first, but which may actually move you more meaningfully toward your deeply desired goals?

In Hemingway’s words:

I like to write standing up to reduce the old belly and because you have more vitality on your feet. Who ever went ten rounds sitting on his ass? I write description in longhand because that’s hardest for me and you’re closer to the paper when you work by hand, but I use the typewriter for dialogue because people speak like a typewriter works.

  • I loved this line, as I’ve actually tried ‘standing while writing’ before, and more recently, have spent an exhorbitant number of hours just sitting. I think it’s time to stand again!
  • Not only will it burn more calories, but the idea of improved vigor is reverberating … improved mental capacity, improved ability to manage difficulties that erupt, improved muscle strength in my legs and my buttox! I must not only hope, I must aspire to make it happen!

After all, we are the only ones who control what WE are doing with our bodies, our fingers, our toes, our eyes, each breath we take, each drink we imbibe, each food calorie we ingest.  Starting now, this moment, this next breath, make that commitment to yourself and to your career that you will invest the energy in both mind and body to infuse energy, enthusiasm, hope, health, and ultimately generate the success results you deserve!

Is your resume anemic?

February 13, 2010

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

February 3, 2010

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?

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

Nipped and Tucked Resumes

January 26, 2010

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.”