CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

Archive for the ‘Job Search Skills’ Category

A Resume is Not a Toy

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Your resume is your faceless, somewhat impersonal, professional selling tool… or at least it should be.

Even if you don’t use a professional resume writing service, please, Please, PLEASE(!) take the time to have someone review your resume. In my experience, there isn’t a single answer for how to put a resume together for everyone. Rules of thumb exist all over the place, but most of it is general information and often different groups will provide conflicting information.

I recently stumbled across this list of blunders over at ResumeBear.com and the honesty of the first statement struck me:

“Most articles on this topic list blunders that very few people are dumb enough to actually make.”

That being painfully true in many places, I have to recommend ResumeBear’s list. Taking apart many of the crucial failures, it’s a good primer on how not to completely mess up.

At the same time, I have to disagree with some of the generalizations. If you work in an arena that respects (needs/craves/expects) you to have an eye to design elements, sending in a stock Microsoft resume template is probably not going to do you any favors. Being outlandish in your layout when you’re going for a corporate job isn’t going to help either. Moderation and awareness of who you’re communicating to are essential.

That same moderation needs to be applied when we’re talking about the content you put into your resume as well. Recognizing that often the first person to see your resume will be some one (or worse, a piece of software) that is looking for keywords is important. Writing your resume so that these filters and the hiring manager see the value you bring is crucial. Making every second word a keyword from the job description is overkill.

The best resumes are short, sweet and to the point. Making it legible and error free lifts it a couple of notches, and finding creative ways to get it into the hands of a hiring manager can change the game for you.

As with many areas of life, a little common sense, a good sounding board and a good dose of humility go a long way to getting your resume in great shape. If you need professional help, contact us to talk about your resume today.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Job Search Support Using Facebook?

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Still in very early stages, In The Door shows promise as another tool for your social-media job search efforts.

I’ve taken a little time to explore the site and where it works it’s very handy. Taking your Facebook friends, collecting the companies they work for and collating jobs posted by those companies by the location of your friends is a pretty neat concept.

Where it falls down is in the number of people who don’t post their employment information to Facebook. I’m a prime example of someone who doesn’t list that information and it’s a natural extension of the way people use Facebook as opposed to LinkedIn. That kind of information is often deemed sensitive and, in some more draconian company policies, is grounds for disciplinary action. In any case, no Facebook employer listing, no job results.

Still the concept has potential and may yet lead to another string to add to our collective bows.

(Thanks to Mashable for their introduction – and one of my Facebook friends for the article link.)

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Useful Resources: Consulting Firms

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Something to consider any time you’re either at an employment loose end or in need of knowledge to get something done is a turn to consulting firms. They offer a cheap method to finding (or becoming) talent for an organization to fill short or longer term gaps.

In my search I stumbled across this list of consulting firms. As always, your mileage may vary and different offices, recruiters and account reps within the same organization are likely to provide different levels of service.

Have any experiences to share? Share them in the comments below!

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and (periodically) attempting to learn the bagpipes.

What is Working on the Search: A Small Vignette

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Peter Fitzgerald is chronicling his process of navigating from losing his job to a new and brighter tomorrow. To read other posts from the series, see “Job Transition: A CareerSherpas’ Odyssey”.

As you can imagine, I’ve been voraciously looking for ideas and guidance to help in the job search. What I’ve been surprised at is how little variation there is in the copious articles, books and videos out there.

Taking my own experience and casting it against the backdrop of all the material I’ve read, this is what has been working and how it compares with common wisdom:

  • “It’s not what you know, it’s who knows you’re looking and interested in your success” – Rather than the adage that “who you know” is the most important, it’s really about connecting with the right person. Knowing someone isn’t enough, you have to actively connect. The thought is summed up nicely by J.T. O’Donnell’s comment that “it’s the physical connecting that gets you hired” in “Is getting a job really about who you know?” by Anthony Balderrama that my wife stumbled across on CNN.com
  • “Polish your interviewing skills” – No matter how good you have been in the past, practice is important. This seems to be a pretty consistent theme in conventional wisdom dissertations.
  • “Every lead is a good lead” – I haven’t found anybody to really agree directly with me on this, but no matter how odd a lead looks there’s always something positive to learn from it or another connection to be made through it. Opportunity usually only knocks once and you never know when something that looks like a blind alley has a golden door at the other end.
  • “Be flexible and be polite” – You’re the one who’s asking for favors. Even if someone’s working to find you a job, it’s your job to make it easier on them. Make yourself available however, wherever and whenever you can to connect on the other person’s schedule.

That simple? Pretty much.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, looking for a new day job, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.