is write in your blog. Oops. You guys, I have no excuse. I think I apologize every time. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing it, but I hope you’ll forgive me again.
I had a really enlightening experience a few weeks ago. Every year my company has a week where employees around the world volunteer for our local communities. I found myself at the JVS in San Francisco reviewing resumes (no surprise!!). I was a little nervous, because I had never reviewed resumes for people more than a few years out of school. These were resumes of people who had 10-20 years of experience and were searching, because they had to. (Retirement gone, bad economy, you name it.)
What was so jarring about the experience was how accomplished some of these people were in their fields. In some cases it wasn’t the resume that was the problem. It was the fact that they just hadn’t searched for a new job in a long time. And that put them in a vulnerable place. It doesn’t matter how old you are and how many years of experience you have. It’s a common process to start your career over and over again. I truly wish these people the best of luck.
Here were a few things I learned from these people:
- Treat every job application as if you tailored your resume specifically for that job (because you did).
Every role has job specs. To have a really strong resume for each position, you have to often look at the requirements for the job and rearrange or re-write your bullet points to speak directly to what they are asking for. It is almost helpful to have a master resume that has EVERYTHING, and any time you want to apply for a job, create tailored resumes based off of the master.
- Put away your inner artist.
It’s important not to over think and duplicate information on your resume. I was “discussing” with a woman who had over thunk her resume for a role she was applying to. She was coming up with all this “creative” formatting and ended up duplicating and scattering her work experience all over different sections of her resume. Say it once, and say it chronologically.
- One page resumes–for real.
I was reviewing the resume of a director that had some pretty amazing work experience and was promoted several times at his old company before he became a consultant. Unfortunately, he had done so much ad-hoc consulting since his corporate experience that he had buried half of his promotion and stellar work history onto page 2. What if I never received page 2? What if the printer ran out of paper when I hit print and all I got was page 1? Not knowing that there was a page 2, I might just miss all that great work that was on it. If you’re going to have a Page 2, make it the extra stuff.
- Getting a job is more than your resume.
Once your resume is complete, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Make a list of past co-workers and managers that think highly of your work quality. Send each of them a personalized email letting them know about your current employment situation. Ask them if it would be all right if you took them out for lunch; picked their brains on how they landed their jobs; got their perspective on what hiring managers might be looking for; and just leveraged them for a sanity check. In all this searching, it’s easy to lose your foundation and confidence–lean on your friends for help. Even if their companies aren’t hiring, they might know of others that are. It’s hard to have these vulnerable conversations, but human beings are hard wired to help each other (IMHO). When they need something one day, I hope you’ll be there for them, too.