Archive for January, 2012
Camouflaging Gaps In Your Resume
Monday, January 30th, 2012
A reader recently wrote me to ask this question: How can I camouflage gaps in my resume?
My answer may surprise you. I don’t believe you need to hide anything. Misrepresenting your employment can lead to termination. Instead, be prepared to explain each gap and how you used the downtime constructively. Did you take a class, travel, or tackle a project in your home? Spin it in a positive light but don’t fudge your employment dates.
Two more readers posed equally perplexing questions:
- Does overselling yourself in an interview hurt or help in the long run?
- How often should I follow up if a recruiter stops responding to me?
Get my answers to both of these questions in my new article, “Your Questions and My Opinions: Ready, Set, Go” posted in the Market My Career resource library. While you’re there, browse our other articles on networking, social media, interviewing and more!
Have a question you’d like answered? Respond to this post or send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fax of the Job Search
Thursday, January 26th, 2012
Despite the overwhelming use of e-mail, most offices still have fax machines. There is a HUGE opportunity here for job seekers. In an almost-too-good-to-be-true situation, you can almost guarantee your resume will be read by someone, AND passed on to the decision maker (or their support staff).
Here’s why. People apply online the majority of the time, and mail their resumes when they really want to stand out. Very few send faxes, which means that it’s more likely that anyone receiving it will actually read through your documents. In fact, one HR employee actually told me he reads EVERY faxed resume.
The second part of this situation is even better. If you address someone by name on the cover sheet, the odds are very good your resume will be placed in their inbox. This means they’ll at least glance at it while sorting through the mail. With hundreds (or even thousands!) of emails coming in daily, do you think the same can be said of resume attachments?
Here’s how you can make this strategy work for you:
1) Find out the name and title of the hiring manager (try asking a networking contact or investigating on LinkedIn).
2) Find out the fax number of the department by asking a contact or calling the company’s main number.
3) Send your resume and cover letter WITH a cover sheet.
4) Follow up a few days later.
Though faxing your resume is a great strategy for standing out, it’s not a magic bullet. Use this tool, but keep cultivating your contacts and following up with decision makers. Your persistence WILL pay off!
Making A Graceful Exit
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Every job seeker needs an Exit Statement. This is a brief, positive-sounding sentence or two that tells another person why you’re on the hunt. Having a prepared Exit Statement makes it less uncomfortable to talk about your search and gives you the opportunity to share information about the type of work you’re seeking. Here are some examples:
- Acquisition: As you may know, Acme Inc. was recently acquired and more than 300 positions were eliminated, including mine. I am now exploring opportunities to…
- Reorganization: My position, along with ten other people in my department, was eliminated in a company-wide reorganization. I enjoyed my job and am looking for similar work but open to other industries, including…
- Fired: I am no longer with Acme Inc. and I’m taking this time to consider how to get back into the manufacturing industry, where my true passion lies…
Be prepared to discuss your situation and career goals with your network and also with the people you meet at networking events. The more people helping you look, the more graceful your landing will be!
Inspiration: Why Not Be Great?
Thursday, January 5th, 2012
I enjoy writing this blog, and I hope you enjoy reading it. But sometimes I stumble upon a post from another blogger, writer or pundit that is just too good not to share, and this is precisely one of those moments.
Many of you have probably heard of Seth Godin and if not, I highly recommend you check him out. He’s a writer, speaker, consultant… Part prognosticator, part ruckus-maker, he doesn’t pull any punches. Last week, as we waved goodbye to 2011 and watched the shiny New Year unfurl, Seth wrote a post entitled, “The Chance of a Lifetime.” And it rocked me. Here’s an excerpt:
“The thing is, we still live in a world that’s filled with opportunity. In fact, we have more than an opportunity — we have an obligation. An obligation to spend our time doing great things. To find ideas that matter and to share them. To push ourselves and the people around us to demonstrate gratitude, insight, and inspiration. To take risks and to make the world better by being amazing.”
I’m going to ask you to do yourself a favor and read it now. Right now. You won’t get any tips on updating your resume, finding hidden job leads, or working with recruiters. But I think you’ll find it worth your time just the same.
Let me know what you think. Better yet, let me know what you’re going to do in 2012 to make it great.
The Persistence Effect – The Key To Overcoming Your Job Search Obstacles
Wednesday, January 4th, 2012
I recently learned the term, “the persistence effect” while reading the book Get Hired Now. The idea is that it’s more effective to choose and perform regular actions, rather than spend too much time wondering which are the “right” steps.
Authors C.J. Hayden and Frank Traditi illustrate it for job seekers in an easy-to-follow and practical manner. My favorite aspect is that they advise readers to first determine their obstacles, so they can more accurately choose the steps to overcome them. For example, let’s say you’ve been on several interviews, but haven’t yet received an offer. Instead of spending additional time applying for open positions, it’s likely that your obstacle is at the interview stage. Therefore, it makes sense to focus on resolving any potential problems in this area.
At this point, you’d brainstorm (or review the book for ideas) steps you might take to improve the outcome. A few examples of goals could include:
1) Contacting two people you had interviewed with to see if you can get feedback.
2) Scheduling an informational interview with someone in your target industry to further determine what might be keeping you from getting offers.
3) Conducting a mock interview with a coach or friend.
4) Practicing responses to any questions you’ve had trouble answering (i.e. have you ever been fired?).
The key is to determine clear steps you can take, and not be too tied to the outcome. With #1, it’s completely within your control to reach out to two people. You can’t guarantee they’ll give you the information you need, but you’ve done your part. Performing controllable actions will give you confidence, momentum, and ultimately results in the areas you most need – the effect of persistence!