Dec 18

Do you need a resume or a job search strategy?

As you consider the idea of a new job, is your first thought that you need a new resume or your existing one polished?

Many job seekers contact me in search of help in creating a new resume, yet after a brief conversation, it is clear that a resume is not their first need.

Before fine tuning or crafting a new resume, you need a clear plan as to where you want to go in your career and what means you will use to get there. Do you have a specific job in mind? Specific companies that you want to work for? Certain salary ranges that you are targeting or geographic locations that are on your radar?

Too, how will you go about your job search? By networking online and offline? By responding to posted ads? By targeting specific companies? Job fairs, recruiters, executive placement firms? The list goes on depending on your needs and expected future career target.

Outlining your job search strategy, the action steps you will take, the resources you need and your ultimate goal will be a valuable launch pad for your job search process!

From there, you can determine if you need the help of a professional resume writer, career coach or another career services professional to help you achieve your career goals. Most definitely a resume will be needed, but it might not be the first vital tool in this process.

For help, please feel free to contact me at jill@pinnacleresumes.com or visit Career Directors International www.careerdirectors.com or the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches www.parw.com to find comprehensive lists of qualified professionals who might be of assistance.

The Importance Of A Cover Letter

When you send out your résumé, it is likely to be one of many which will be screened by the recipient. Make sure that yours makes it through the screening process by creating a compelling cover letter.

The letter needs to be concise, yet effective. You want to appear confident, but you don’t want to brag. Demonstrate your written communication skills with an eloquent opening statement as to why you consider yourself to be the candidate for the position. Be careful to use correct punctuation and grammar.

Emphasize your skills and experience as they relate to the position being offered. Demonstrate what value (in skills or qualities) you can bring that will benefit the company. Give specific examples where you have made a difference in your previous position(s) and how those examples are directly relevant to this position. This is especially valuable to help flesh-out a relevant position that is listed on your résumé in less detail.

If you are available at short notice or live close to where you would be working should your application be successful, make that clear.

This is your opportunity to make your application stand-out among the rest, so be sure to make the most of it.

Is Twitter The New Résumé?

Recently, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Twitter is increasingly preferred by recruiters rather than a standard résumé.  While the idea is interesting, it’s unlikely that Twitter will singlehandedly eliminate the traditional résumé.

Obviously, reading a candidate’s tweets will give a recruiter some idea of the knowledge level, experience and personality of the candidate.  However, in most cases, Twitter alone doesn’t provide enough information for a recruiter to make a job offer.

Unless the job is specifically in Social Media, it’s virtually impossible to adequately “vet” a candidate based on 140-character quotes. A recruiter has a responsibility to the company which requires their due diligence in selecting a qualified applicant. Education, experience, references and demeanor will generally be evaluated by traditional means.  So, you still need to be prepared with your traditional record of qualifications, education and experience.

Some companies may advertise for a position on Twitter.  Again, for certain jobs, this may be appropriate. For many positions, a company can capitalize on the exposure a tweet can bring.  This is good for them.  However, this exposure could result in a flood of applicants that will all be in competition with you. Where you need to focus is on making yourself stand out from that crowd.

Where Twitter can benefit you most is in making connections with hiring managers and other industry professionals.  These connections can lead to interviews, and/or demonstrate your unique “voice” to a recruiter making hiring decisions. Use Twitter for conversations, not to merely broadcast tweets about your skills without interaction.  Get to know people, and allow them to know you.

Most importantly, remember that social media is your voice in the world, and what you project is what others see.  If you want to be considered a professional in your field, make sure your Twitter timeline reflects this.  Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a recruiter to see, avoid spamming people with tweets about your qualifications, and use Twitter to network wherever possible.

Web 2.0 Resume

Is your resume going to stand out in today’s market? With the popularity of social media and mobile devices it is critical that you have a web 2.0 resume even if you aren’t an IT professional.

What this means is that your resume must not be longer than 2 pages, no matter how extensive your relevant professional experience is to your future goals. Let’s face it, most of us are typically faced with information overload, so it is critical that your resume be succinct and rapidly engage the recipient.

Achievement bullets need to be less detailed and showcase impact. Even the font style needs to be modern; forget Times New Roman or Garamond, but instead view the fonts currently available in the latest version of Word and consider styles like Calibri and Cambria. Welcome to the new resume and the challenge of standing out in a world of technology!