Friday, October 31, 2008

"We don't need no stingking résumé"

Job seekers put a lot of emphasis on their résumés. Probably more than the average employer cares about or wants to know. The down side to a résumé is it doesn’t tell the reader what kind of a person you are. It can sell accomplishment till the cows come home, but unfortunately it doesn’t say whether or not you did it as a nice person or a tyrant.

The number one favourite way an employer likes to fill a vacant position, is from within. Hire from within and you don’t need a résumé. The boss already knows what the person is like because they have been working with them. There is no guess work. Now if they can’t hire from within, they next favourite methods are hiring someone they know outside the company, or someone who comes highly recommended. Chances are, if it is someone they know they may not even need to see the résumé. It is also not uncommon for a résumé to not be required people by the person who comes highly recommended.

Trying to decide who to interview based on a pile of résumés is a daunting task for any employer. As a job seeker, you may want to help them take the guess work out of hiring you by becoming someone they know, or someone who is highly recommended.

Now go check out the blog entry called- Networking without a résumé.

Your comments are welcome.
Glen Slingerland – Skills 101 / Job Development

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Objective, Summary, Profile or what??

Here it is, another one of those million dollar questions. Do I start my résumé off with an objective, a summary or a profile? The answer.. drum roll please…I don’t care. Truly, I just don’t care. What you say at the top of your résumé depends on you, your personality and the point you are trying to make when you write it. I recommend you think about it this way. If the top half of your résumé were beach front property, what kind of house would you put on it? Hopefully, common sense would tell you to put up a house that looks like it belongs on the beach, something that catches the eye, stands out, and looks fantastic. This rule applies to your résumé as well. You want something that catches the reader’s eye and stands out. “To utilize my skills to enhance the performance of your company:” simply doesn’t cut it. Actually it almost makes a person yawn just reading it.

Take your time on that opening line. Really think about what you want to get across. You only have about thirty seconds to get their attention and if the reader doesn’t think you have the skills to do the job right off the top, they may never make it to the bottom of your résumé.

Objective, summary or profile? I don’t care.

Your comments are welcome.
Glen Slingerland Skills 101/ job Development

Thursday, October 16, 2008

You charge HOW MUCH to write a résumé?

We were sitting around the other day discussing whether or not a job seeker should pay a professional to write their résumé? The best answer we could come up with is, it depends. Obviously some people are better than others at expressing themselves on paper. However, if you are going to have a professional write your resume it should be job and education appropriate. “Cultivated profitable relationships at the executive level by exceeding expected service requirements which led to repeat business” on the résumé of someone who served guys in business suits lunch, may be a little excessive. There is also a real good chance the waiter or waitress using a line like that in a résumé probably doesn’t sound like that during a regular conversation.

It is really important that a person take ownership of the words and language style of their résumé. We all want to sound professional but at the same time we don’t want to be misleading. A six figure executive may need help from a résumé writing professional to tighten up the flow of his or her résumé and give it the results based accomplishment lines needed to grab the reader’s attention. The Food Server on the other hand, needs to simply word it in such a way the reader can see the person applying knows their way around a restaurant, how to deal with the public under stressful conditions, and most importantly how to improve on the bottom line. Someone who is good at writing résumés can help you identify how you made, or saved a past employer, money.

Being able to write your own résumé is a wonderful skill and it is something I encourage everyone to try. If you know someone who is considered a good writer, have them critique your résumé while it is under construction. Search the internet for samples and really read them. Learn to identify good from bad.

If you are thinking about hiring a résumé writer remember it is buyer beware. Résumé writing fees are all over the board and you will not always get a very good resume for a $150.00. Then again, I have also seen some pretty bad résumés for $350.00. Shop around, talk to writers, find out about their style, ask to see samples of their work and be prepared to pay more than you think it will be.

Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerland Skills 101 / Job Development

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Humour and the Job Search

When it comes to looking for work I have always believed that a person should not take themselves too seriously. Ones ability to laugh at the world as well as themselves can have a tremendous positive impact on the job search. If a person gets depressed or feeling down because of every rejection letter or door slam during their quest for employment, it sets them up for one long painful job search. Looking for work is not a lot of fun at any time so whatever a person can do to lighten things up will only help in the long run.

Let’s start with rejection letters. I used to collect rejection letters. I couldn’t wait to see how I would be blown off. Sometimes they were form letters, sometimes they were “gee you’re swell, but you haven’t got the background we’re looking for” letters. My one claim to fame was receiving a rejection letter for a position I never applied to. While networking I passed my résumé on to a friend who in turn passed it on to someone else and from there it ended up in a rejection bin. The real funny thing was it was for a type of work I would never have applied for in the first place.

So, what is funny about being out of work? Well, I used to joke that when you are out of work, every night is Friday night. Going to the grocery store on a weekday at 9 in the morning to pick up some milk, wearing baggy shorts, a dirty t-shirt, bed-head and running into someone you might have networked with is funny. Ok, it is a big mistake but it is still funny. A rejection letter for a job you didn’t apply to is funny. Practicing your interviews with someone who can make you laugh is funny. Finding a typo in your phone number on a cover letter after you sent it is funny. It’s stupid too, but you have to laugh at it. Can you think of any others?

Remember, we’re not landing airplanes; we’re just looking for work.

Your comments are welcome.

Glen Slingerland Skills 101 / Job Development

Monday, October 6, 2008

There is more than one way to find a job

There are two types of job seekers. Job seeker number one treats his or her résumé like a newspaper flyer. They send their résumé out to anyone with an address, often the same résumé no matter what the job. Sometimes this style of job search is the result of pressure from an outside source, to find work. It doesn’t really matter where the pressure is coming from, it could be anything from a nagging spouse to the looming end of EI payments. If you send out a couple of hundred résumés in a short period of time, there is a good chance you will forget who you sent them to and that many will be filled with typos. This shot gun approach to job searching is all in hopes that something will stick. Unfortunately, it is often a job that doesn’t last long.

The second type of job seeker is focused. They know what they want, where they are going, and if they aren’t sure where to go, they ask. Their résumés are targeted, their cover letters are personal and they don’t apply for anything or to anyone they haven’t researched. Since a smaller number of résumés are being sent out it is also easier to keep track of who they are sent to. They also spend less time with the newspaper and more time with real people. The end result is more often than not, a position that lasts.

Now the million dollar question: What type of job seeker are you?

Your comments are welcome.
Glen Slingerlands Skills 101 / Job Development