Archive for the ‘resume’ category

Equipped to Climb the Ladder

March 25, 2010

By Rob Poindexter, Writer and Sailor

“Wow,”  he thought to himself. The large indoor pool area looked immense as he stood there alone at the foot of the high dive. It soared some 25 feet in the air above the glassy pool’s surface, over 5 times higher then his own 8-year-old frame. Many times he had stood here, only to be told by his mother or some other well meaning adult that it was far too dangerous for him.

Well, none of those would impede him now. He had slipped into the pool area while everyone else had moved on to other activities at the club. He looked up the tall ladder leading to the lofty perch, and then allowed his eyes to trace the board out to the edge, and from there followed his imaginary line of descent down to where he supposed his body would make contact with the water’s surface. He had planned this scene many times in the past year or so, and now he was face to face with the reality of it.

He knew it would not be easy, but the thought that it wasn’t possible never entered into the picture. He let out a soft sigh as he reached for the ladder rail, rung by rung he hoisted himself toward the ceiling, stopping briefly about halfway up to check his progress, looking down first , then up at the board, then across the pool. Concerned, but undeterred, he continued his ascent.

He knew from this height, if he slipped and fell to the hard surface below him, he would be seriously injured, if not killed. For now, those thoughts had to be abandoned if he expected to succeed in this endeavor.  For even at this young age he knew what we all eventually come to realize, that, of course being that fear is usually the number one reason we fail so often in life.

Finally, reaching for the top of the rails, he stepped onto the board. He had two choices at this point, but only one option as far as he was concerned. “After all,  jumping from the board would certainly require less effort then climbing back down the tall ladder,” he thought to himself.

He stood , wide eyed, looking around the huge empty room. The ceiling was still no less then 25 feet above where he stood now, the pool although immense when standing next to it at ground level, didn’t seem to be as large a target from this new perspective. The hollow silence that can usually only be sensed in these large indoor pool areas, felt somewhat intimidating to him.

He walked cautiously to the end of the board, careful not to begin his jump before he was ready by slipping off the side of the narrow runway. Knowing that this may be the last time, for a long time, that he would get this opportunity again , he stood enjoying and taking in, his new vantage point. Finally, the time had come, so he took in a long breath, filling his tiny lungs to, what he hoped was full capacity, and without a second thought, leapt from the board, with no particular target other then the pool itself.

He broke the surface of the pool’s motionless water feet first and continued to slip below the new waves he had caused. Once downward momentum finally gave way to buoyancy,  he kicked his way back up until his mouth and nose were once again able to take in fresh air, and swam to the nearest pool ladder. Once there, he turned himself around and hoisted himself so that he was now seated on the top rung.

He had done it. He was thrilled and relieved to have finally accomplished that which had seemed so overwhelming until just a few short moments ago. What’s more,  he had survived.

Not unlike our little friend here, we have faced our fears at some time or another, and like him we had choices about how to best handle those challenges in order to achieve our goals.

Was he equipped properly to achieve his goals? I think so. He could walk, he could climb, he could jump, he could hold his breath, he could swim. Leave out any of those abilities and I dare say, he could not have jumped from that board with the same amount of success as he demonstrated.

We find the job we’d like to have, we make the proper connections to secure an interview, and then we make our way to the office to be measured by those who will have the last say on the success of this venture.

We are set to enter the ‘pool,’ if you will.

Very little, at this stage of the game, is as important as a well written, professional resume.  You may want to look at it as your life ring in the pool of the job search. For without it you are very likely to be drowned out.

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.

Sleeping Beauty

March 3, 2010

By Robert Poindexter, Sailor and Writer

For six long months she lay at rest in her slip.

Six long months of cold days, and even colder nights, her lines filled with pink fluid, running through her like the medication from an IV filling the veins of a coma patient. But soon she will be awakened from the deep slumber that winter forces on her every time summer’s warm breath gives way to fall’s chilly warning of cold north winds filling her berth.

But now, an early spring sun gleams off her bow pulpit and dances around its edges as her prow rises and softly falls like the chest of a sleeping beauty while muted waves lap at her water line.

I can scarcely contain myself as I walk to greet her. Like a long lost friend who looks so good after a long absence, I reach for her, grabbing a handful of shroud, I caress the wooden rollers and hoist a leg over her lifeline.

One by one, I ease around her decks, releasing bungee cords one at a time from the tarps that have been her blankets for the winter she has endured. Soon enough, they are folded and stowed. The usual inspections are done, the cleaning, leak inspections, hoses reconnected that need be, valves checked, opened, and cleared of anti-freeze, fresh water added to tanks, and the mundane, but necessary tasks that go along with bringing her back to life.

Now it’s time to turn my attention to the iron genny. With new filters and fresh oil in place, I climb into the cockpit and prepare to do battle.

Key on, choke pulled, throttle set, engine room fans on. I listen to them hum for a few minutes, then I bump the key – batteries are strong, and the little four gives it her all, but she needs time, she just needs to wipe the sleep from her eyes and clear her throat. A few more tries, and now she sits idling, water spilling from her stern, singing the sweetest song I’ve heard in ages.

While the melody continues, I move forward and hank the 150 in place, running the sheets to the cockpit, kick off the dock lines and pull away from the slip that has held her captive too long. We glide past the others in our little marina, waving at neighbors as we head towards the lake.

Once past the buoy that marks our harbor, I give the Atomic 4 enough throttle to take a bigger bite out of blue-green water. Looking up the mast, I turn the wheel to port and follow the windvane as it slowly reaches for the bow.

Ahh, there it is, now I cut back the throttle to a sweet idle, kick her tranny in neutral and let the forward momentum keep us moving as I head up and hoist the main. Once secured, I swing around to the port side and hoist the genoa.

Now, back at the helm, I spin the wheel to starboard and watch the sweet westerly fill her sails. As they billow, the smile in my soul makes its way to my eyes, my chest is filled with laughter as I reach for the key and silence the beast in her belly.

She heels slightly as we become one with the wind and waves as our only companions.

It’s only a small lake, in a small town in Kansas, but I couldn’t have felt more content than if it were the wide blue sea.

How like opening up a sailboat after a long winter is the person who is suddenly in a job search situation. Whether you are a new grad looking for the first time or a seasoned pro that has not been in the market for a while, there are basic tools and checklists that must be performed in order to properly launch your new career search.

The most important tool by far being the professionally written resume, which, like the sails on my “sleeping beauty,” when set properly, will catch the eye of the hiring manager to create that “whoosh” that propels your career across the lake of life.

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.

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

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


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?

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

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.”

Is Your Job Search Strategy a Snore?

January 19, 2010

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

January 14, 2010

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

January 8, 2010

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