So you’re looking for work or looking for a different job. That’s great news and I commend you for making a good decision to improve on your financial health; the job you are looking for will hopefully make things a whole lot better for you both in your wallet and in how you spend your time.
All that stands in your way of getting a job offer it would seem is getting to meet the people who make the hiring decisions in the places you’d like to work. The thing is of course; and it’s easy to overlook – there are a lot of other people who are also hoping to meet the people who make the hiring decisions in the same places you want to work. Not only are you applying, but so are others. In fact, it’s the case these days that employers get about 75 – 150 applications for each job they advertise. That’s a lot of people competing for their attention!
I’ve sat down with two people this week who are looking for work and they couldn’t have greater differences of opinions when it comes to the value of resumes and how to go about looking for work. Let me tell you about each of them and you’ll see two different attitudes; and I assure you both are very real people, not just made up to make a point.
The first was a man in his 20’s with an extensive criminal record who has only ever worked under the table and done some volunteer work. He’s muscular, done general labour in the construction field and even a little cooking here and there. His job ambition? Anything. His thoughts on resumes? A waste of time and useless. He’s anti-resume because quite frankly he doesn’t like the idea of making one and doesn’t have the skills required to make one; skills like keyboarding, formatting, computer skills in general. What he doesn’t like he has no patience for.
When it came to putting together his resume, he sat beside me and actually told me to just make up stuff. “You know what to put down so just say I’ve worked at some places; it doesn’t matter if it’s true or not.” He wanted one resume just to send to his Social Services Worker who strongly suggested he get one, but he wasn’t planning on using it at all, hence the lack of regard for what was on it. When completed, he sent one copy to her and walked out with none for himself – in fact he refused to take one. His plan? Go to job sites all over town and introduce himself in person until somebody would hire him.
Surprisingly, this might actually work for him. Someone will look at his muscles and plan to use him for the grunt work until he either injures himself, quits, returns to jail or they lay him off for the winter. He’ll be trapped in an entry-level, physically tough job with little chance of advancement and all the while becoming increasingly bitter and angered about his situation in life. His choice though.
The other is a woman with one child also in her 20’s. She sat down with me and said right off the top that she was here for help as she knows her resume is flawed and she wants to learn how to make it better.
First thing we did is quickly find a job she actually wanted to apply for using the internet which took us all of 4 minutes. An excellent investment in time. Next we targeted her skills and qualifications on the resume to match the job requirements for the position she wanted. Again and again as we went through her resume line by line she said things like, “I get it now, ugh, I can’t believe I made so many mistakes. I thought it was at least okay but now I see how I’ve been coming across to employers. No wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere.”
It takes a wise person to see how they’ve been making mistakes, admit those mistakes and then take the steps to eliminate making those mistakes moving forward. This woman is such a person. She not only left with a strong resume for the job she wanted to apply to, she left knowing how to change and edit that resume for any subsequent job she wanted to apply to; even if those other jobs had exactly the same title.
Look, I want you to be successful. I want you to use your time productively; not just making resume after resume without any success. I want you to make strong resumes that will get employers interested in meeting with you (interviews) so you can sell yourself in-person and then get an offer of employment. Then of course, you will no longer need to make a resume until such time as you want a promotion or different job to improve your happiness at work and your finances.
So here’s good advice for those smart enough to take it; don’t get someone to make a resume for you – get an employment professional to make one WITH you – someone who will empower you so you’ll know how to do it on your own in the future. This way, you won’t be dependent on someone every time you apply for a job. Put in the effort, pay attention and learn how to make a resume with a good attitude.