You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration during your hunt for a job if you spend some time identifying and overcoming common job search misconceptions. These hurdles can trip you up unexpectedly, but if you learn what they are beforehand, you’ll be prepared for a more satisfying job search experience.
First of all, forget the idea that the Internet is a magic bullet for your job search needs. Most “help wanted” ads are NOT placed on the Web, employers seeking instead to look internally or hire based upon peer recommendations. That said, there are a number of good sites around for the places that do choose this route, such as execunet.com, netshare.com, linkup.com and indeed.com. Register with your resume and cover letter at as many sites as seem appropriate, but avoid another misconception when doing so: The more places you sign on with, the more job offers will pour in. You can always check out my favorite, LinkedIn, and see if any companies are listing openings.
Very importantly, clean up your resume. Consider hiring professionals to help you with this task, and learn more about another common misconception. That is thinking that employers dislike frequent job-changers. While that might have been true in the past when the economy was more stable, employers know that nowadays job-seekers are likely the victims of downsizing or the shipping of their jobs overseas. They understand that your unemployed state and the fact that you might have had to frequently change jobs or location may simply have been so you could stay ahead of the recession. Have a professional work with gaps or short lengths of stay in your resume, however, to present a cohesive picture of progressive goals being met on your career path.
Another common misconception is thinking that your cover letter is just a way to introduce your resume. It is not. What it should be is a vital way to put a face to the sometimes-bald facts contained in your resume; a chance to present yourself as a person with certain skills not necessarily covered in your resume. Perhaps you are an eloquent writer. This is a chance to share information such as exactly which job you are seeking, and why you are uniquely qualified to be offered an interview for your dream job.
Probably the most important misconception to overcome is that the most qualified individual always gets the job. The reality is that the job seeker with the best combination of job skills, inherent qualifications and best personality fit with the interviewer and company is the one who will be offered the job. Employers want someone who will do the job well, certainly, but also the employee who fits in well with the rest of the team and has the right temperament for the specific job requirements.
Try not to get discouraged, and keep in mind the old adage that you should spend as much time looking for work as you would if you were actively working. If you need help then don’t be afraid to seek out help from a resume writer. Just try not to jump at the first offer you get without looking it over carefully, so you don’t shortchange yourself.
In the current economic downturn, more and more Americans are joining in the hunt for jobs. Positions that once received ninety resumes are now seeing applications in the hundreds.
Industry standards that once applied to resumes are now doubly, even triply true. You’d heard that employers skimmed through resumes before? You can only imagine how quickly they toss through the pile now.
With your resume as a single sheet in that huge stack of paper, creating a pertinent, easy to skim document is more important than ever. So more and more people are taking steps like hiring a professional resume writer to aid them in their job search.
Some people question the ethics of enlisting this type of aid, implying that you cannot present yourself in a genuine manner with the use of such a service, or that the need for help is a manufactured need, or even that the type of help provided leads to a non-accurate representation of one’s skills.
However, these statements seem to stem from a misunderstanding of what it is that the professional resume writer does.
To start with, what is a resume, exactly? It’s a marketing tool that advertises your skills and experience.
In your business, is it unethical to hire a marketing firm in order to sell your product? Probably not. It’s only logical to hire experts to help you in areas where their expertise is needed to improve sales.
A proper resume writer won’t represent you in a way that is not genuine. It is against our code of ethics, and would damage our reputations as professionals.
Let’s face it, in a consulting-type business, your reputation is really all you have. Not to mention that representing clients inaccurately would cause real problems for them, once uncovered.
What does a resume writer do? We take information, that you supply, of your past jobs and accomplishments, your education and experiences, your old resumes and supporting documents, job positions you are interested in and anything else you think we will need for resume preparation — and present you with a new document, tailored to the type of job that you’re pursuing while showcasing your strengths and promoting your value.
We have industry knowledge of certain words that will catch the boss’s attention in your line of business, and they know how HR filters documents. For one thing, did you know that these days, resumes are often scanned by computer for certain keywords?
Let’s be honest, the first thing we all do when faced with a huge stack of paper that we have to weed down to just a few sheets, is to get rid of as much as possible, as easily as possible. So, the first scan, whether by computer or an individual is for weeding out the chaff.
Industry hiring experts know what keywords are typically used in the computerized process and can ensure that your resume includes them. We also excel at aiding people in camouflaging gaps in history.
We are resume experts, and we know how to make yours clear and readable — after all, if those two attributes aren’t met, the rest falls by the wayside.
Every once in a full moon a client will say to me, “I love this. I love how it sounds. I am so happy with this resume, I would hire me!” and then, “I told my brother-in-law’s friend’s boss’s wife that I would let her look at my resume when you finished it. She manages Applebee’s and she has seen a lot of resumes in her time.”
I get that people want to show off their resume and hear what other’s say. I do. If a person tells me that someone they know is in HR and they want to send it to them, I understand. You want to show your friends. You want to hear their take on your resume. But not all friendly advice is good advice.
Case in point: I had a person call me up and ask me questions about my process and my resumes. She was referred to me by a senior level client of mine. This person was in IT (network analyst) and had 5 pages of experience and technical jargon as her current resume.
She said, “I don’t see any objective statements on your sample resumes”.
I said, “True. You won’t. I use a career summary and branding statements”. I then started to explain career summaries to her when she stopped me dead in my tracks and said, “I don’t want a career summary. I need an objective”. I asked her why she thought she needed an objective and she said because her friend’s aunt worked as an HR person for a small manufacturing company and she said that a resume was no good to her unless it had an objective. I had heard of this company, so I was surprised that the HR person had such strict, outdated, and ineffective rules regarding the types of resumes she wanted to see.
As I was trying to educate her about the power of branding and career summaries vs. objectives, she was pretty adamant that she wanted the objective statement. So we moved on to a couple of other things and I was surprised at her ‘demands’ which weren’t really demands, just antiquated resume ‘rules’. “I absolutely CANNOT have 2 pages” and “I have to list every application, hardware, device, etc” (even though most she said she hadn’t used in 10 years), and “It HAS to have the little ‘references upon request’ thingy at the bottom”, etc. because her friend’s aunt said so, and so on.
I think you get the gist of the conversation. Finally, I gently asked her, “Why don’t you have your friend’s aunt write your resume? Or at least you write it and have her add her two cents?” and she said, “But I was referred to YOU and I want YOU to write it!!”
I politely declined the job and vaguely suggested a few other sites that might appeal more to what she wanted. I’m sure she will find someone who will give her an objective and keep her 15 yrs IT experience to 1 page.
So my point is this— your friends/colleagues may have great intentions to help steer you in the right direction, but may not be doing it effectively. Their advice might actually hinder your efforts, not help. Better to leave it to those of us who are trained and have built careers around writing dynamic and effective resumes. Do your homework. Call around and talk to different writers until you find someone who you are comfortable with. Let them know what your expectations are and listen to what they have to say. Your friend’s aunt might be trying to help, but her help might stop you from getting the job.