“The only person you are destined to become
is the person you decide to be.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
ACTUAL “CASE HISTORIES”: Okay, just imagine this: It is a Thursday afternoon in late January, and you get a call from a good friend. As she has mentioned to you, she has been working with an executive recruiter on a job search. She mentions to you that the recruiter called her today, and asked her if she knew anyone with just the type and level of experience that you have. The job opening is with a very young, growing and exciting firm, and he has just been handed an urgent assignment from them seeking someone just like you.
Sure enough, the employer that the recruiter mentioned is your absolute, number one, monster “dream employer.” Your friend says, excitedly, “This could be your lifetime break . . . it could be fantastic for you . . . can you send over your resume today? You freeze.
You have no idea where your resume is on your computer. You can’t remember when you last updated it. It makes no mention of anything you have done, learned, accomplished or joined for the past year or two, and there sure is a lot of new stuff to mention. Even if you find your resume, it is focused on a different type of job, working for a different type of employer, doing different work, than you have interest in now. And, too, the resume-writing service you used two years ago has closed its doors.
Right job. Right time. Wrong resume. Bad news.
LESSON TO LEARN: No matter who you are, what you do, and for whom you work, you just never, ever know when and how someone important – even your “dream employer” – is going to ask you to submit your resume. Chances are, like most other opportunities in life, it will knock on your door when you least expect it to, and when you are least prepared.
Since there is an annual rhythm to the hiring process, and there is a peak in that annual hiring season each year from mid-January to mid-April, the odds are that the scenario described above will, sooner or later, happen to you in that timeframe. Even if it does not happen in that timeframe, by re-thinking your resume at least once a year, you’ll be ready just in case it arises at any other time.
Because the peak hiring season takes place between mid-January to mid-April, the best time to begin “re-thinking” your resume each year is in the month of October, which gives you at least three months to (a) re-THINK your resume, (b) do, learn or join new things, and (c) re-DO your resume.
Re-thinking what your resume should include or exclude, project or suggest, takes more than an hour to do. It requires thought, review, analysis and creativity. It is a process that takes time and effort, and like anything else important in your life, it requires both care in planning and care in execution.
Start now, and when the proverbial knock comes on your door, you’ll be entirely ready to answer it. Many of my most successful clients do this each and every autumn.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are ten thoughts and ideas to assist you in re-THINKING your resume, and then in re-DOING it, too, to maximize your chances of getting your “dream job” and working for your “dream employer.”
A. First, Re-THINK: What Would Impress Your “Dream Employer?”
It is always wise to think before acting. In this context, think about your resume and how it could be improved to better create the perception of significant value to your “dream employer,” so that you might be a stronger candidate for your “dream job.”
How do you do that? Imagine yourself being that “dream employer,” or ask a friend to imagine being that “dream employer,” and think “outside the box” about what that “dream employer” would be positively impressed with, and thus who that “dream employer” would want to hire.
The great thing about “re-THINKING” your resume in October is that it gives you three to six months to do any number of things to improve the perception of your value to a prospective employer. Starting in October, you have time and opportunity to do each of the “re-THINKING” and “re-DOING” items noted below if, that is, you are truly dedicated to your own success. You can even start doing things – or even one thing – that you can add to your resume.
1. Attitude that Reflects “I Really Want This Job” – Positive attitude is perhaps the most important characteristic to project to a prospective employer. Positive attitude starts with caring about your audience, and its wishes, desires and needs. Your resume should be thought of in this way: “If I was my prospective employer, what would make me think, “This applicant really cares about getting this job?” Your answers to that question – which is not an easy question to answer – should be the first step in the “resume-rethinking” process.
How can a resume project positive attitude? Most of all, by its presentation, including its being well thought out, its pleasant design, its clarity, its neatness, and its attention to detail. Your cover letter, too, can express sincere, deep and longtime desire for such a job, and a readiness to do it with gusto.
Positive attitude is also projected by mention of the efforts, enthusiasm and energy you have devoted to projects you worked on in the past.
2. Abilities that Show “I Can Do This Job” – Consider your “dream job’s” daily responsibilities, and let your resume clearly show that you are confident you can fulfill them. Said simply, “Convincingly convey your confidence.”
How can a resume portray “I can do this job” with conviction? Mention your knowledge, note your skills, and lay out your experience in doing the same, similar or analogous jobs, tasks and duties. Even if you are a relative novice, which is something that cannot be hidden, you can note basic tasks that you have done successfully in the past, including such things as (a) identifying business prospects, (b) interaction with clients, (c) preparing analytic reports, (d) accounting relevant to your industry, (e) social media promotion, (f) business research, and (g) successful presentations.
3. Aptitude, meaning “I learn fast, easily, and on my own.” – It goes without saying that employers are positively impressed with those who exhibit a “hunger” to learn more over time, and take on more responsibilities over time. Aptitude for a given job, position, career or profession – what some people call “teach-ability” – is a rather elusive characteristic, one not easily demonstrated on a resume. Still, it can be done.
How can a resume exhibit that? For one, it can say quite clearly “Fast and Eager Learner.” Also, you can come across as someone who is an eager mentee, and ready, willing and able to “roll your sleeves up” and “get down to it.”
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B. Second: Re-DO: Therefore, What to put in, and what to take out of, your resume.
A resume should be short, sweet, to the point and – most of all – memorable. Something on your resume has to make it stand out from the “crowd” of other resumes. Don’t be bashful, dull or bland in presenting yourself; in most positions, energetic people are sought.
4. Update and Refresh Your Facts. The world changes every day, and so do you. Just as who you are changes over time, so too should your resume. Each year you learn new things, meet new people, and have new experiences, many of which may be of great interest to your “dream employer.” You may have even changed your career goal.
While recent college graduates don’t have much to report on their resumes other than their student activities, grade point averages, courses taken, college clubs they belonged to, and internships, that kind of information is just not entirely appropriate for those same young people once they acquire a bit of work experience. Nor, of course, is it appropriate to see GPA’s on the resumes of those in their 50’s. Keep yourself fresh, and keep your resume fresh, too.
5. New skills and new knowledge are absolutely to be put into your resume. If there is anything you should give a lot of thought to, and consider placing into your resume, it is the answer to this question: “What new skills and knowledge have I acquired since I last updated my resume?”
Learned a new language? Mastered or been introduced to a new software? Attended a new and exciting conference or course? Deepened or widened your knowledge base? If at all relevant to your “dream job” and your “dream employer,” these things are great items to be placed into your re-thought and re-done resume.
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6. Consider noting new industry relations and new professional affiliations. Since you last updated your resume, have you come to know or worked with any key industry figures? Have you joined – by application or by invitation – any new industry panels, committees, or organizations? Networking of these kinds is an attractive trait to most employers, and very possibly to your “dream employer.” The same goes for membership and participation in charitable events related to your industry. For example, if you have “Walked to End Breast Cancer” organized by your company or others in your industry, you just might strike a very positive note with your “dream employer,” as this shows heart, soul and concern for others, as well as a person who will likely be successful at networking.
7. Have you been publicly recognized for any industry-related contributions? Any chance during the past year you have been publicly cited as an authority in your industry or profession, authored an article, given an industry award or the like? Were you cited as “Woman of the Year” of your state’s Alzheimer’s Association? These awards might just be viewed quite positively by your “dream employer” as potentially bringing renown and reputation enhancement to the company.
8. Proximity to possible revenue sources could be key. I recently read that over the past ten years, the number of people who are employed as Sales Representatives for pharmaceutical companies has dropped by 50%. Why? One reason is that more and more physicians are not self-employed, but rather are employed by large health care organizations. Simply put, now it takes less Sales Representatives to sell pharmaceuticals to the relatively few large health care organizations than it did to the tens of thousands of individual physicians who formerly made pharmaceutical purchase decisions.
So, if you are a member of the FDA’s Hospital Pharmaceutical Council, you likely know those at large health care organizations who make pharmaceutical purchase decisions. Or, suppose you attended the annual Institutional Pharmaceutical Conference? Might you have introduced yourself to any pharmaceutical purchasing managers? Don’t underestimate how significant the perception of value that such relations associations, affiliations and introductions may be at an important interview, and they make interesting interview discussion topics, as well.
9. Got any ideas about who might serve as influential references for you on job interviews? One young fellow we know in the floral industry in New York went far beyond what was expected for a well-known fashion designer during New York’s annual Fashion Week. Working fourteen hours a day, seven days a week, for three weeks straight initiated this email from one of the very top fashion designers: “I feel deeply indebted to you.” Sure enough, when he asked if he could name the designer for a new job reference, the response was “I would love to. . . you deserve it.” He now feels so very confident that his dream job in the New York floral industry is well within his reach.
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10. Review for Accuracy – Lastly, if there is one thing you never, ever want to be accused of, it is “resume fraud.” Yet it happens every day, and spoils far too many careers. The temptation to inflate one’s background and credentials is understandable, but doing so is simply and universally considered unacceptable. Be your own “resume checker” before someone you don’t know is given that job to do. This should be done at the end of your resume re-do.
P.S.: If you get a new job, resignations can be tricky – and treacherous. To help you, we offer a 100-Point Master Pre-Resignation Checklist. All you need to know and remember. To obtain your copy, just [click here.] – Delivered by Email – Instantly!
October is the ideal month to re-THINK and re-DO your resume, in preparation for expected and unexpected job offers that may come your way in upcoming months. These ten ideas and thoughts are offered to both inspire you to do so, and to help you take action on your own behalf, as well. Information, insight and inspiration to help you navigate and negotiate for yourself with your employer. That’s what SkloverWorkingWisdom™ is all about.[jobsearch]
SkloverWorkingWisdom™ emphasizes smart negotiating – and navigating – for yourself at work. Negotiation of work and career issues requires that you think “out of the box,” and build value and avoid risks at every point in your career. We strive to help you understand what is commonly before you, and know what to “watch out” for. Now, the rest is up to you.
Always be proactive. Always be creative. Always be persistent. Always be vigilant. And always do what you can to achieve for yourself, your family, and your career. Take all available steps to increase and secure employment “rewards” and eliminate or reduce employment “risks.” That’s what SkloverWorkingWisdom™ is all about.
*A note about our Actual Case Histories: In order to preserve client confidences, and protect client identities, we alter certain facts, including the name, age, gender, position, date, geographical location, and industry of our clients. The essential facts, the point illustrated and the lesson to be learned, remain actual.
Please Note: This Email Newsletter is not legal advice, but only an effort to provide generalized information about important topics related to employment and the law. Legal advice can only be rendered after formal retention of counsel, and must take into account the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Those in need of legal advice, counsel or representation should retain competent legal counsel licensed to practice law in their locale.
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