Things You Can Do

If you’re like me, you’re getting tired of the bad news constantly on the news each and every hour.  A recession is here, but with things starting to open up hopefully things will start to get better.  It won’t, however, automagically revert back to where we were before the government shut businesses down.

I don’t believe anyone can really tell us how fast things will get better.  Personally, I am not going to worry about the broader, nationwide ramifications and encourage you to do the same as I believe it’s time to think of yourself, your family and career, and what you are going to do to get ahead in the world.  Besides, as the recession is here there’s not too much we can do about it individually except get through it.

Here’s my challenge to you as we start reopening the economy: assume the best and get out of the blues that may have enveloped your career or job search, and believe your job search will heat up.  I’m not talking about wishing a problem away but a successful job search typically takes a fresh attitude.  This is especially true for those of you who have been under or unemployed.

Take a good, hard look at your resume.  When is the last time you really sat down and took a look at its content?  Does it accurately tell the story of “you,” or is it too high level?  Is it too detailed?  I’m certain you have looked at online articles or books on how to construct a good resume – have you applied the principles you read about, or is your resume looking somehow different?  I’m talking about grammar, verb tense, consistency of fonts, and a real killer called misspelled words.  Make sure your name, address, phone number, and email address are at the top of the document, and try to keep it to no more than two pages for your resume.

When introducing yourself to a prospective employer, you have about 30 seconds (or less) to make an impression.  Can you quickly give a summary of “this is me” in a professional context in 30 seconds?  You should, because if you don’t catch a person’s interest or attention in that initial 30 seconds the remainder will be similar to the teacher talking in a Charlie Brown cartoon (wa-wah, wa-wah, blah blah).  That’s not to say it needs to only be 30 seconds – you need to be able to quickly go from the 30 seconds commercial to a quick two-minute drill that dives a little deeper.

Let’s put it in another perspective: a car is a major purchase as, after all, most people drive a car for a number of years.  When most buyers walk into a car showroom they have a general idea of what the car can do and its conveniences and options (i.e., they read the resume).  Once you as a potential buyer are in the showroom, the salesperson has just a moment to capture your attention on a Buick Enclave before you may lose interest and think of the Honda CRV you saw last week (i.e., your 30 second announcement).  If they have captured your attention, you will want to learn more and may even take the car out for a test drive (i.e., let’s sit down for an interview and get to know you).

Some of you may read the 30 second part above, or the analogy to a car buying experience, and scoff.  Trust me: as a hiring manager I am presented with a lot of candidates.  If something doesn’t catch my attention, quick, I move on to the next one as there just isn’t enough time in the day.

You can’t have a do-over with a first impression whether it is your resume or introduction.  Put your best foot forward, work on marketing “you,” and have the attitude America’s post-recovery period will be much better than what we’ve experienced lately.



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