Part One: Nail the Resume
Getting a new job seems like a nightmare for people. Finding a job while you are employed seems even more daunting. Let’s use a fictional friend, Nancy, to help us navigate this sometimes discouraging task. Nancy is employed and has been searching for jobs for three months. She has yet to have any real feedback from employers that are in her favor. As I would tell Nancy, you will be well on your way to an offer letter if you follow these four key steps in your job search, which are the following:
- Revise and update your resume,
- Create specific cover letters for each job you apply for,
- Create your own circle of contacts, and
- Give back to the community through volunteering.
There is no perfect way to go about obtaining a job, but taking these four steps in this four part series will have you creating opportunities that could not have existed without your action.
Let’s go back to Nancy. Nancy has an advantage over her fellow job searchers. She is employed.
“Andy Teach, a corporate veteran and author of From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time,” says, “‘If you don’t currently have a job, it raises a lot of questions and puts you in a defensive position, and you won’t be coming at them from a position of strength.’”
Furthermore, “Sara Menke, the founder and chief executive of Premier, a boutique staffing firm in San Francisco, says,…‘Companies want to hire the best of the best and [those people] are usually employed.’”
So, as we can see, Nancy is that much closer to obtaining her desired job. Hooray for Nancy!
The first real goal seems tough and mundane, but it is the best way to go about kicking off your job searching campaign. Begin by simply applying for jobs on digital job boards. If you apply for two jobs per week day, you will begin to see interviews pop up within a one to two months’ time. If you apply for two jobs per day, five days per week, you will have applied for forty jobs by the end of month one. This is a great way to apply for jobs, while you currently are employed, as it is not too overwhelming. By incorporating all of the other job searching ideas in this series, you will make yourself extremely visible to potential employers for jobs that you actually care about. So, now that we know what goal to begin with, let’s take step one to making that goal a reality.
The first step in applying for a new job position is updating your resume. Review your current resume in detail. To begin, ask yourself these questions, which are the following:
- Have I included all of my previous educational experiences?
- Have I included all of my awards, honors, and special acknowledgements I received while in school?
- Have I included my notable extracurricular activities, which are relevant to the job for which I am applying?
If you have something to add in this section, well done on finding the hole in your content! Nancy would give you a high five!
Next, review your skills. This step is vital if you are looking for a job in a new field or are interested to see what types of other jobs might interest you. For each skill you have, come up with a job title that could encompass that skill. Would you like to have any of the job titles that you come up with? If so, create a list of skills beyond what you already wrote to match the one job skill you wish to use. Record this new list of skills on our resume and keep moving forward.
Ask yourself, “What work experience do I currently have?” Then, add that to the very top of you list of experience. Rank your previous work experience from most recent to far in the past. Make sure to also include your internships from college and summer jobs (if relevant).
It is colossally important to use bullet points. Make sure the bullet points you write underneath each job experience start with an action verb (present-tense for your current job and past-tense for your previous job positions/internships). You can use this resource to help you come up with positive, powerful action verbs to use.
The final step would be to make sure it is formatted correctly. It should look professional, simple, and sleek. Do not use creative or swirling texts in any part of the resume. Make sure to include your full name at the top of the resume with your mailing address, email, and telephone number in order for hiring managers to have easy access to your information.
By following these rules for creating an excellent resume, Nancy took her resume from looking like this:
Once you have completed the steps above, you are ready to move on to, “Part Two: Make the Cover Letter Specific.” Look out for Part Two next week!