Gifts for Moving Forward

The Road Is Rarely Straight.

The Road Is Rarely Straight.

The other day a bright, young lady, a neighbor, age 19, told me her life plan. She explained in detail she will become a physician, marry, and birth two children. Her intentions are admirable and possible but surprises often interfere with our plans.

When I asked one of my grand-daughters if she is looking forward to the next step in her education she answered with a strong “No, I don’t want to grow up.” Is it fear or is she having too much fun? Fun and fear are intertwined frequently.

Career Change

My first book, “MORE than a Paycheck: Inspiration and Tools for Career Change,” shared twenty stories about people who changed careers or jobs. As a recruiter and outplacement consultant I saw people often trapped in unhappy job situations. When people are laid off they go through a grief process, which can last too long in the anger or sadness. “MORE than a Paycheck” gives people role models for career transitions. The stories resonate with encouragement for the readers to put their fears into a large paper bag and dump the bag in the trash. Some kicked and screamed when their jobs evaporated, never to return. They had to take action or lose their homes and sometimes families.

If you know someone who could profit from “MORE than a Paycheck,” you can order the paperback book on my website at a discounted rate. Order the book or e-book online on Amazon or other e-book site for about the same price. It makes a nice gift for people changing jobs or for a graduation present.

Gift of the Suitcase

I am excited to announce my upcoming book, “Gift of the Suitcase,” which shares the inevitable changes in life such as relocating, facing a divorce or experiencing other critical situations.

My new book launches within the next eight to ten weeks. Since I don’t have an exact date from the publisher yet, I cannot take pre-orders for “Gift of the Suitcase.”

This book begins with a gift from my parents for college graduation. I received a large suitcase and a plane ticket to France for a summer job before I began teaching French. The story encapsulates the unexpected changes in my career and personal life. I wrote it as a gift for people who face similar issues. They make plans and the plans fall apart. We learn from these experiences or stay mired in muck.

Watch for details about my journey of unexpected changes. International travel is part of the story to grasp that loosing baggage may not be a loss. My website will be changing soon to share more information. The road through life is rarely a straight.

 

 

Jimmy Fallon and Job Search Thank You Notes

Possible job search “thanks” from Jimmy Fallon

Thank you, Mr. Hiring Manager, for never answering the phone, although I call you every other day to see for my status.

Thank you, Ms. Recruiter, for throwing my resume into the dumpster.

Thank you, Dear Friend, for telling me about your brother’s new job but “forgetting” to give me his phone number.

pickle store owner

Thank you for the pickle. Quite frankly I’d rather have a new job.

Job seekers might laugh at these snarky thank you notes. But Jimmy Fallon’s segment on his nightly TV show provides a tip for all job seekers. Saying thank you (appropriately) can never hurt.

Why Write Thank You Notes

I kept track of how many thank you notes I received during my recruiting efforts. Although I was not religious recording the numbers, I would say ten percent sent thank you notes, after an on-site interview. I loved receiving the notes. Perhaps some recruiters might scoff but I doubt it. Most people want recognition for efforts on your behalf.

Considering job search is actually selling you as the product, you need to take time to write a short thank you note to say why you are clearly the one for the job…that is if you believe it and want the job! In sales training we hear the buyer (in this case the hiring manager) needs to see your name or product six times before he or she “buys” it. A thank you note counts.

What to Write in your Thank You Notes

A thank you note needs to be short, engaging and worth reading. You can sell your skills in the process.

For example:

“Thank you for meeting with me on December 31 for the Systems Analyst position. I particularly enjoyed hearing about your recent software implementation. I’d like to be a part of the team during your upcoming “Next Gen” project. With my background in analysis, I could help you jump-start the process.

Or:

“Thank you for interviewing me. I’d like to work for your company.”

If you were the recruiter or hiring manager, with both candidates equally qualified, would the thank you note help you decide which candidate to hire?

My Experiment

The other day I spoke with a group of 10 job seekers. I asked each to send me a thank you note to see how many would reply. I requested feedback to tell me what point in the presentation helped most. Five or six responded, but only one provided a specific response.   Four said, in essence “Liked it.” I was thrilled to hear from everyone, but his note helped me most. I’d been a little nervous about including the point he chose. I’ll remember him. I thanked him. If I come across a lead to help him, I’ll contact him.  That’s the power of an engaging thank you note!

My bet is Jimmy Fallon probably got his job through someone he knows, rather than a thank you note, but he recognizes the value of thanking others. Remember Fallon’s crazy thank you notes, the next time someone does something nice for you. Just don’t be snarky, if you want the job.

Here’s a clip from NBC’s Jimmy Fallon Thank You Notes.  It takes a few seconds for it to pop up.

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Rolling into Business: Evan’s Plan B

Dumplings for sale

Business in a bike-Plan B rolls along!

Evan Feenstra moved to Portland, Oregon from Southern California.  Hearing that Portland loves music, he intended to set the place afire with instant notoriety and success. But Evan’s plans faltered. He needed a Plan B.  Let’s step back to take a look at this tall, gaunt, young-at-heart guy who knows how to work hard and enjoy life.

Evan graduated from Pitzer College in Davis, California with a B.S. in Psychology.  The stated values of the college include:

  • Social Responsibility
  • Intercultural Understanding
  • Interdisciplinary Learning
  • Student Engagement
  • Environmental Sustainability

He espoused the principles, but what would he do with a Psych major?  Of course!  He’d visit Nepal with a good friend of his, Hailey Flanigan, a native of Portland, Oregon.  His parents, hippies from the 70’s with a small organic farm in California, proudly congratulated his decision.  Hailey found a fascinating job in Nepal, writing and teaching people how to write grants.  Evan took a volunteer job where he helped people learn about science while watering plants or nurtured orphans in the commune where they lived.  What an experience!

Nepal

Hailey knew Roshan Gurung from a prior trip to Nepal.  She fell in love with him on this trip, starting the visa process for him to come to the US as soon as possible.  Evan met Stephanie Ray-Hatten, who migrated from Odessa, Texas.

About five minutes after meeting Stephanie, he was smitten with her beauty and sweet West Texas drawl.  She enjoyed camping, same as him.  She loved biking, same as him.  They remain a couple today.

 Portland

The foursome decided to live in Portland.  The two couples made a little money here and there while Evan played small gigs.  One night they cooked Nepalese dumplings for Hailey’s parents.  Her mom, off-handed, while devouring a dozen dumplings, suggested he needed a second income.  Shauna Flanigan offered a little monetary incentive for supplies.  Why not nurture his cooking habit?  Why not start a traveling business, similar to a food truck only smaller, which he could carry around on his bike.  Maybe he could sell Himalayan Steamed Dumplings.

The dawn of a new business arrived with the clink of the beer cans. Everyone recognized the synergy at the table.  They formed a business partnership.

Building the Business

dumpling biz

Setting up the Dumpling Shop

Evan is mechanically and technically gifted, plus he loves biking.  With a small investment from his friend’s mom, he built a “business-on-a-bike.”  He attends festivals, parades, and has two usual hangouts where people come from miles around for his  tempting dumplings…chicken, vegan and vegetarian.  He designed a food cart, purchased the pans, makes the dumplings beforehand and sells them regularly in the Hawthorne area at 3423 Belmont SE, Portland, Oregon.  Steph organizes music at this venue.

They secured a second location in downtown Portland at Shemanski Square Park through Kickstarter, where they use the business-in-a-bike cart.  The professionals downtown crave his spicy food as readily as the funky folks in the Hawthorne area.  His cash flow is decent.  He rides his bike, meets new people and makes a little money.

At the Portland Summer Parkways, an event where streets are closed for bikes, Evan sold me six dumplings for six bucks.  I loved them!  I fully expected him to sing or play the flute for customers once I heard his story.  Stephanie helps by arranging pods for musicians, similar to the food cart craze, where both food and starving musicians can find a path to stardom.

Good dumplins

Himalayan Dumplings-Umm, Good!

 Rolling into Plan B

Evan remains involved in music, providing two more streams of income.  He creates music for advertising videos, and he plays in small venues and bars, when he can.  I love his ability to juggle three small businesses.

I asked Evan what advice he’d suggest to my readers.  His response, “If you follow your dreams, it won’t turn out the way you think, but is will turn out.  Be open-minded!”

Meanwhile, check Evan’s three colorful websites for additional information.

Momocart.com

Evanfeenstra.com

Goony.us

MORE than a Paycheck

 Who are your role models?

 

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders,

but they have never failed to imitate them.”

 James Baldwin

 Who are your role models?  Have you thought about that?  Was it a parent, a teacher or rock star whom you wanted to emulate?  Did your dad take you to work with him periodically?  Do you know who influenced your career most significantly?  Do you remember your very first paycheck?

Are you a role model for your children?  Is Mommy so overworked she can’t make it to her son’s band concert or is Dad so overwhelmed he never comes home until 8:00 p.m.?  What message does that send to your kids?

As a recruiter and outplacement consultant, I saw many people unwilling to let go of anger when laid off, scared they would not find another similar job.  I wrote MORE than a Paycheck to provide role models, 20 short stories, to be exact, to help people see they don’t necessarily need to change careers to find the next opportunity.

Let’s look at the first chapter, or story, in the book.  Carl’s story moves his career from sales to marketing and publishing.  When he got bored or unexpectedly laid off, he demonstrates flexibility to find the next step in his career.  Instead of competing with the same people for the same jobs, he moved his family a few times to achieve MORE than a paycheck.  Wasn’t easy, but it paid off!

I wrote for people who could use a few swift kicks to move their careers forward.  I want you to see you, too, can earn MORE than a paycheck.

You need to read MORE than a Paycheck!

You need to read MORE than a Paycheck!

Today MORE than a Paycheck became available in e-book formats for all devices.  You can purchase it at IBooks, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and from other distributors.  It’s far less expensive than the print copy.  Just search online for MORE than a Paycheck by Ruth Glover.  The complete title is MORE than a Paycheck: Inspiration and Tools for Career Change.

MORE than a Paycheck

 Now available in all e-book formats!

 

 

Finding a New Job Is Like Getting a Dog

Learn from your dog

What will he teach you about job search?

When my dog Sinder died in 2009, I was devastated but he was 16 and ready to go.  Since my husband and I like to travel, he stated repeatedly, in a very loud voice, “No more dogs!”  .

History

Sinder knew my name when I met him, calling me “Rooth, Rooth, Rooth,” at the  McKinney SPCA, long ago. I knew there would never be another Sinder.  But finally toward the end of 2010, my husband decreed I could get another dog, as long as he or she would be neutered (no problem), under 15 pounds (no problem), short haired (dog haircuts are as expensive as emeralds) and under five years old.

Requirements

The husband really didn’t want me to purchase another dog, so I encouraged him to look online for this very special animal.  He found six pictures and I chose one to visit.  We drove about 100 miles to see this dog.  “Better take a collar and leash with you,” the loved one uttered.  No, I wasn’t going to get the first dog I saw, but I took the leash.

If you are not familiar with dog rescue groups, they are wonderful.  The members foster the dogs until someone purchases the dog, which has been neutered and “chipped.”  If the dog bolts and someone takes him to the vet or SPCA, the owner can be contacted.  The new dog weighed about 10 pounds, age one with short hair, and house trained.  He fit the husband’s requirements.

Personality

This shy, little dog was bigger than the rest.  He walked around behind me, put his paws on my back:  I was smitten!  He shook most of the way home.  The foster family called him Ledger.  Didn’t fit!  He didn’t look like Heath Ledger (deceased singer) or have an accounting degree. “I wonder if he’ll be a good traveler?  I wonder how far he’ll go with us,” I thought.  That’s it!  I named him Far-Go.

Fargo is much loved; we could have named him Mr. Personality.  He’s not the best behaved dog I’ve ever owned.  He thinks of his stomach constantly, hates rabbits and is not fond of dogs until properly sniffed.  He loves to play with his stuffed toys, working diligently to get the squeaker out and distribute the “guts” of the toy throughout the house.

I taught Fargo to lie down, sit, play dead, and roll over.  He is very particular about arranging his little baby blankets in a circle when he sleeps.  Funny dog!  Great friend!  Even the husband loves him.

Lessons Learned

  • When your dog dies, the next dog may be wonderful, but certainly not the same.  If we translate that to the business world, if you lose your job or hate your boss, the next one definitely won’t be the same.
  • If you want an animal, know what will work with the family. Define and focus.  Know what you want. Ask good questions.
  • Animals have quirks but can be trained.  Learn quickly what you can and cannot do to cope with the new reality.  You are in training when you get a new manager.  Watch the personality traits and accommodate.  Be flexible.
  • Is the new animal beyond what you can live with? Find out history, if possible.  Research the company.  If  the atmosphere is unbearable, start looking for the new gig, as life is too short to stay unhappy.  Interviewing is two way.
  • Traveling with a dog is a hassle.  Managing management is sometimes a hassle.
  • Waiting for the right dog may never happen.  Listen to your instinct about whether you should take a new job or stay with the known. Don’t be fearful, especially if you are unhappy with your current situation.

Change is inevitable but you can become ill from too much stress.  Getting a new animal in the family is like finding a new job.  You need to define carefully what you want with input from those who love and understand you.  It may take awhile…but you can do it!

Ruth Glover writes articles to on a variety of topics: many help with career and job change. Some are about fascinating people and places.  She is a former recruiter and helps people with the many aspects of moving forward.

 

3 Is the Magic Number for Your Career

One is not the “magic number” as the song says.  Listen toThree Dog Night as they sing the song One.  Three is the magic number.  When you think about your career, start with three questions:

What is your passion?  What are your skills?  How are your finances?

Not ONE but Three

3 Dog Night at Work

Action Plan

After you determine your focus and check your finances to determine how much you must make vs. want to make, it’s time to create your action plan.

Your  Action Plan contains three distinct parts that you capture on a spreadsheet.

Page 1-Friends, relatives, co-workers who would be willing to help your search

Page 2-Target companies which hire people with your skills

Page 3-“Shotgun” page to track submissions and activity for random companies (when you see something that appeals to you and say, “I could do that).

By managing your  spreadsheet for your marketing plan, you can find the company quickly when the recruiter calls you six weeks later.  Create columns for when and where you send documentation with at least three more columns for LinkedIn, web addresses, follow up and comments.  Color coding allowed!

Resume Review

Don’t confuse duties with accomplishments. Duties are expected, daily tasks and responsibilities.  An accomplishment demonstrates how you went the extra mile to exceed expectations.  Each job should have duties with a minimum of three bulleted accomplishments.  If the job was short term or a disaster, you can shorten the text and omit accomplishments.

Duty

Supervise six Accounts Payable clerks and two Payroll Administrators. Oversee the operations and activities of a centralized accounts payable system.

Accomplishment

  • Created new database to track project tools at all times with reduction in tool expense of $4500.

Cover Letters

Do not regurgitate your resume in a cover letter.  You cannot omit a cover letter, as you never know whether someone will read it.  With careful research analysis of the job description,  you can easily show three reasons your training and experience makes you the top candidate.  Some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) prohibit entering it into the database.  Don’t worry about it.

Interviewing

Your resume helps you open the door.  The interview closes the sale.  Underline all the key items the job description requests.  Write questions for each, as if you are the hiring authority.  Practice interviewing in front of a mirror.   Attitude and like-ability are inherent in the process that can readily be visible in the interview.  Take a good-looking leather folder with a pocket for 5-10 resumes and your tablet for notes.

Three things you might forget:

  • Like-ability
  • Listening
  • Asking for the job ( or closing the sale)

When asked a question, look down, and take time to focus your thoughts before you respond to questions.  Then look the interviewer in the eyes, smile and answer concisely.  Watch for the chance to mention how much you want to work for the company.

Near the end of the interview, you will need good questions to show interest for the interviewer or team.  Since your palms and pits may be dripping by the end of the interview, write down at least three potential questions in that nifty notebook beforehand.

Once you start thinking in “threes,” your research and preparation provide more confidence and greater potential for success.  Maybe you’ll have three offers before the end of the week!  Follow up three times and then move on.  Listen to the song again.   Yes, THREE is the magic number, which will make you a “rock star” candidate!

Ruth Glover is a career coach and author, former technical recruiter and outplacement consultant.  You can purchase her book, MORE than a Paycheck, online on this website or through Amazon.

Lessons Learned In My Job Search Journey

Lessons Learned from Experience

Lessons Learned from Experience

Going to a professional meeting to gather a few business cards does not equal networking.  But standing in line at a job fair, could mean the start of a meaningful, ongoing relationship with the person in front of you.  Whether you are unemployed, under-employed or in an unstable situation, you must continue adding people to your pool of friends and referrals.

Three years ago I published MORE than a Paycheck, which is a book of 20 stories about real people who moved their careers in various ways.  Very few found the roller coaster of job search much fun.  I am contacting all 20 people to see how they have fared in the past three years.  Here is one response.

 

Networking, Networking, Networking

“Looking back on the past three years, I’ve learned the importance of ongoing networking, particularly when you do not need any help.  While employed, my objective is to meet with two new people per week and connect with five individuals within my network per week via phone call, email, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

While in transition, my goal was to meet five new individuals per week, and connect in various ways with 10 to 12 individuals from my existing network.  I continue to update my job search records monthly to assure my efforts.  Looking at my spreadsheet, while employed, brings a smile that I have a great job!  But, I don’t want to drop the ball now.  I recently turned 50 and know job search will not get easier, if or when, I’m in transition again.

 Lose the Pride

One area I had failed to network into heavily was my very own Sunday School class.  I think one of the reasons for this failure was my own pride got in the way.  By losing my pride and networking with members of my Sunday School class, the door opened for a consulting opportunity with XYZ Corporation (my current job).

Consulting Reaps Rewards

During my career, I have accepted various consulting roles, many of which resulted in new full-time opportunities.  This approach works well. Not only does one learn about the company and culture, one can see what the challenges within the company are and then position oneself to be a solution to the challenges.  Companies benefit from this approach, as well as they get a trial run with the consultant to evaluate “attitude, aptitude, and fit” (the top three things a hiring manager seeks in an employee).”

Our guest contributor has impeccable educational credentials and work experience, yet he struggled  with layoffs before landing his last job.  Throughout un-employment, his attitude remained upbeat with unwavering faith, at least outwardly.  He volunteered, helping others in job search.  He seemed to do all the right things, but the job journey wasn’t easy.  His wise remarks should slap you in the face with reality.

Job search wisdom can easily be forgotten when you are employed.  Our spokesman is right on target with his advice: you need to make new contacts weekly, regardless of your employment status.

Job search does not end when you start a new job.  Networking is an ongoing activity.  You need to show pride in your work but stay in touch with the outside world and if you are laid off, consider contract work.  The world is changing.  More contract jobs are available than ever. The message is clear!  Now call someone you haven’t talked with in months!

A special thanks to our guest contributor for his insight for you, the reader.

The Importance of Joy in Job Search II

Joy in job search mode?  No, I’m not kidding!  We need to find peace daily, not just on vacation, but especially when unemployed or looking for a new career.  A book I read a few years ago, titled The Joy of Not Working: A Book for the Retired, Unemployed and Overworked, by Ernie Zelinski flashed through my mind while on vacation this past week.  His premise is you need to find quality of life by doing what you love to do.  The title is a little misleading, but led to me to think about how we can find joy.

joy in job search

Find joy in job search to keep moving forward!

Ernie doesn’t say you should collect welfare but recommends finding work you love, which you would do, no matter what.  The joy of working is discovering your gifts and using them.  I’ve “morphed” or moved my career a number of times, always using the same skills differently.

Success Story

While on vacation I met an artist on the Long Beach Peninsula in Washington who makes a healthy living painting.  Eric Weigardt lives in the area of his ancestors in Washington state.  He attended  the  American Academy of Art in Chicago. Wiegardt Studio Gallery is in the home of Eric’s great grandfather, Heinrich Julius Wiegardt, an oystering pioneer from Denmark.  He teaches art to thousands and guides budding artists on European trips to paint “en plein aire.”   Seeing his paintings and meeting the artist… WOW!

Imagine what his dad, the oyster farmer, might have said to him when he wanted to become an artist.  Visit his website, as it might percolate ideas running around your brain.  Eric started a career in Civil Engineering, worked at Catapillar in Chicago when he convinced his young wife that corporate life was not for him.  After art school, he started his own business in his small hometown in southwest Washington, which was not easy.  His story is living proof we need to work for MORE than a Paycheck.

Quiet Time

Emotional upheaval and noise may surround you at home, like whitewater rapids, causing you distress.  You need quiet time to think, plan, and explore.  Job search is notoriously a manic-depressive experience.  But summer is almost over.  The kids will soon return to school.  The house may be beastly quiet.  Use it to advantage for introspection and quietly seek inner peace.  Then move forward.

New Friends

I’m sure you know that 80% of jobs come via people or  “networking.”  The next step in your job search combines friends and fun.  Laughter is great medicine for  job search challenges.

Try new ways to meet employed people.  How about attending a conference in your industry?  How long has it been since you attended a civic meeting?  Attend a gallery opening.  Who knows?  The CEO from your next company may be standing in line for appetizers.  Have you ever attended a “Meet Up” Group?  What is your passion outside of work?  Dogs?  There’s a Meetup group for that!  I found a Meetup for people making their “bucket lists.”

Do Something Different

Buy a goldfish.  Visit an art gallery.  Register for a Spanish class.  Drive around an industrial area, stopping to write down the names of companies you don’t recognize.  One of those companies may need someone like you!

Look at the Bigger Picture

Some find great peace in their faith.  Others, not so much.  But there is a bigger picture. In almost every endeavor, we need variety, not just the manic, jump-for-joy that I experience when the Packers make a touchdown.

Finding joy during your job search will put a smile on your face, to keep you moving towards your target.  You realize something better is just around the corner. When you find your attitude suffering, look around you.  Experiencing joy daily is just one of the tasks for job seekers but every bit as important as revising your resume for the 40th time!  Finding joy daily is critical, even if we are happily employed, retired, a homemaker or student!

 

10 Easy Tips to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

Improve Your LinkedIn profile regularly

Grab your coffee and improve your LinkedIn profile

We all know that careers can be detoured with a simple caustic remark or new boss.  But don’t wait until that happens.  LinkedIn is one of the best ways to improve your business contacts.  Focus on improving your LinkedIn connections with the following helpful hints.

A gentle reminder before you begin: go to your LinkedIn settings to turn off the notifications while you are working on the improvements.  Be sure to notify everyone once you complete your improved profile.

Quick Tips

1.         Monitor who visits your profile.  Ask the individual(s) to connect.

2.         Customize your invitations. Wouldn’t you prefer to connect with a real person, who invited you to connect for a reason?

3.         Use the endorsements wisely.   Although you may have a few unknown people endorsing you, use www.LinkedIn.com/skills for additional understanding.

4.         Make sure your summary contains enough information to entice people to want to read more about you.  Remember: it’s a profile, not your entire resume.

5.         If you are in job search, add your email to the profile.   You may want to add a phone number, too, depending on your circumstances. This is your advertisement of YOU.  You want people to find and contact you.

6.         The power in LinkedIn is through adding meaningful connections.  Do you understand that?  You are building relationships, not just bragging rites for a huge number of contacts.  You don’t need to actually know everyone in your connections but invite people in your industry, especially ones you see in your professional meetings.   You may want to contact people for bench marking, for advice about their hiring practices, or to learn about their corporate culture.

7.         Friends in other companies in your industry are your “A-Team.”  They will be your “first responders” to help you find another job, when you decide you’ve had enough fun where you currently work.  People like to help each other.  If you stay in touch with these contacts over the years, they will undoubtedly to be willing to help, when contacted.  If they haven’t heard from you in a long time, you renew the relationship, filling the gap with what you’ve accomplished.  Otherwise, they may be reticent to promote your background, as their reputations are at stake.

8.         You need a professional looking picture, even if you work in flops and cutoffs.  You may resist this but the vast majority prefer hiring someone who looks sharp, not slovenly.

9.         If you are actively seeking a job but you could go three different ways, such as Project Manager, Program Manager or Product Line Manager, generate a generic profile, carefully crafting brief accomplishments in each area with a summary that shows versatility in your work.  When you apply, you need to be customize the resume for each one of the paths you could take.  Your LinkedIn profile should attract traffic.  The resume moves the process to the next step, the interview.

10.       Do not try for the perfect LinkedIn profile, as it needs to be updated periodically anyhow.

Bonus:

Funny story…last week I tried to get a new picture for my LinkedIn profile.  The photographer found it impossible to take any worthwhile photos.  I hate to get my picture taken and it showed.  Your photograph needs to show you looking very professional, not stiff as a board or in beach attire.  I’ll try again soon.  So don’t do as I do and procrastinate.  Do as I say.  We all need to improve our LinkedIn profiles regularly!

Your Resume Looks Like Your Grandmother’s Quilt

The economy is growing again, according to many sources.  And you recently discovered your company is being acquired.  You like your job, but you heard the new company will be laying off most of the employees.

Your Grandmother's Quilt

Does your resume look like your grandmother’s quilt?

Your Grandmother’s Quilt

Since you were laid off in 2008 from your long term job, you have had three full time jobs.  Your 10 years of experience at XYZ Corporation was exemplary.  You haven’t had such good luck with a couple of start ups and one large company, since then.  And here you go again.  You added a couple of lines on your resume about each job, but failed to give much detail.  Your resume looks like it’s patched together like your grandmother’s quilt!

Your Best Skills

Do not, I repeat, do not start sending your resume willy-nilly to openings.  Take time to determine what your best skills are and what you’d like to do next.  Make this a career move, not a fear move.  You learned new skills in these last three jobs: video, health care devices and a little defense work.  Your long term job was in the semiconductor industry as a component engineer, so you know both hardware and software.  Where did you hear the most praise from management and colleagues?  Your research should demonstrate what is “hot” and what is declining.

You must write a list of accomplishments.  Resume reviewers want to know your duties and what you accomplished for the company.  Bullet the accomplishments.  Make them stand out. How are you unique?  Why would anyone want to hire you?

Your Technical Skills

If you are an engineer, you may have configuration management skills.  You need a special section for your technical knowledge, but don’t put everything but the “kitchen sink” in that section.  It makes you look like you know the terms but have little depth.  Focus your resume on your marketable skills, listing the skills and experience which make you appealing in that area. Now make a list of companies which need your skills.

I can hear you whining!  “But, Ruth, I didn’t have time to accomplish much in each of the last three jobs.”  Wordsmith the resume, as you must engage the reader’s interest, but do not exaggerate.

Your Education

Maybe you are non-degreed.  That is a problem with some companies who don’t value on-the-job experience.  Make sure you have a section for Education, even if you did not finish a degree.  Otherwise, the reader may think you forgot or have no education.  Surely you must have taken a few seminars or classes along the way.  Add them.  Show that you like to learn.  Plug your certifications in this section.

If your degree(s) are over 10 years ago, omit the dates.  I know others may argue this point with me, but your resume should focus on your recent accomplishments, not how old your education is.

Trivia

You will probably need several different versions of your resume.  Definitely customize your resume for each targeted job submission.

You do not need to put your hobbies and interests, nor your birthday, nor your marital status.  Those factors should NOT be factors.     Omit “References available.” Employers assume your  references are available.  Make every word count!

If you don’t take time at the beginning of your search, you may be mired in your current job or unemployed for a long time.  Try these hints.  You won’t be sorry and your resume won’t look like a patchwork quilt.