By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
As a member of Career Collective, and in collaboration with my friend and co-coordinator, Miriam Salpeter, I am happy to announce this month’s topic: Job-hunting “Rules” to Break / Outdated Job-Search Beliefs. Please visit other blog posts on this subject, linked at the end of this post on Wednesday. For those on Twitter, we invite you to follow the hashtag, #CareerCollective.
Relax, and You Can Rule the Road
This subject is one of my favorites, as I believe the urge to follow ‘rules of the job search road’ often paralyze career-changing candidates. In an effort to stay on the safe road and not take a wrong exit or encounter any rough patches, slick spots or potholes (e.g., a desire to please recruiters, human resource managers and hiring decision makers and/or finesse the electronic resume scanning systems), job seekers often create bland, rules-bound resumes that not only bore the tar out of folks, but offer no real value.
Alas, in a desire to please all, you please none!
Break those page-limiting, attention-deficit-disorder-guided, buzzword-inhibited, design-depleting resume laws and discover the liberation as your compelling career story unfolds.
Discover Your Value!
First, be introspective, diving into the deep waters of your career and discovering the golden nuggets of your treasure chest of years of experience, talent, decision-making, team contributing and problem eradicating and proudly display your cache of wins.
Initially, this may smack of chest-pounding and bravura. It is not. In fact, this outlay of your achievement booty is just a first step toward unfurling the folds of career fabric that have become enmeshed amidst layers and layers spun throughout a richly woven career.
No worries, this early career unfurling is but one of several successive steps toward preparing your targeted career communications dossier that will feed the RSS career channels.
Hang On! There’s Been a Wildly Transformative Shift in Career Management Methods
You see, the world of career management has undergone a metamorphosis in the last several years, not to mention the wildly transformative changes of the last 10 to 20 years, for those of you who’ve been immune to job search for that long. The outbreak of social media sites, tools and resources is breathtaking, even to those of us who regularly partake. For those unfamiliar, the idea of social media profiles; e.g., LinkedIn, Twitter, About.me, Quora, Facebook, Google, ZoomInfo, Jigsaw, Naymz, Ziggs, Ryze, Ecademy and more, can be stifling.
Where does one begin to fuel the content? To manage the message? To Market Me, Inc.?
It all begins with a slow-down and breathe process. Job search is not a hurry-up event, not if you want long-term, sustainable results. Find a quiet place of solitude as you, your computer and your thoughts converge to complete the career introspection step described, above.
Next, with your career fabric unfurled; with the career gems spread about you, continue your thought process. Assuming you’ve already identified your target goal [the targeted types of companies, industry(ies), position titles/types that best describe your ideal audience], you will now make some decisions on what career gold to display on your resume, and what needs to be shuffled back into the chest.
You see, though the job search process IS about the target audience, you must first have intimate knowledge of your own value before draping your narrative around their needs.
Moreover, you will ferret out the right word stories from your career chest that meet the requirements, soothe the pains of and delight the target reader in showing how you can do things for them they know they want and some things they may not even have known they need. Surprise them a little!
This value proposition is not just one comprised of buzzwords that meet keyword scans (though, keywords should intuitively be knit into the fabric); it is not one that is shaved down to the scalp of the resume so that it is devoid of style, flow and texture (yep, a 7-page resume generally is considered too long, I agree; but getting all bound up by 1- and 2-page resume limits may prove to be fatal to your message); it is not one that caters to the 30-second-only initial scan (though a glimpse-able resume ‘design style’ will facilitate that initial, shorter ‘look’).
Attract Your Reader With a Substantive Story
Instead, it is rich with substance, story and emotion that lifts the reader from his seat, that transports his vision of you as a capable and impressive candidate who will be part of the team that drives home the ball, that, despite swings and misses, will keep on swinging and aspiring to improve your game to the advantage of the organization.
So, please, release yourself from outdated job search rules; your resume most likely will be read on a screen that is easily skimmable, where the font can be expanded or shrunk at will, where fluidity and flexibility abound and where less is not always more.
As long as your resume story is well organized with a focused, snapshot image at the ‘front’ end (the popular phrase for this key-information placement is ‘above the fold’), supported by relevant details that help the reader easily imagine your fit into their ever-moving, growing and successful career team, then you have won the resume challenge.
Be You-Nique. Do not follow the throngs when reporting on CareerYou!
Please see what my Career Collective colleagues are saying:
Juice Up Your Job Search, @debrawheatman
It’s not your age, it’s old thinking, @GayleHoward
Want a Job? Ignore these outdated job search beliefs @erinkennedycprw
Job Search Then and Now, @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes
Break the Rules or Change the Game? @WalterAkana
The New: From The Employer’s-Eye View, @ResumeService
Job Search: Breakable Rules and Outdated Beliefs, @KatCareerGal
Job Hunting Rules to Break (Or Why and How to Crowd Your Shadow), @chandlee @StartWire,
Shades of Gray, @DawnBugni
3 Rules That Are Worth Your Push-Back, @WorkWithIllness
How to find a job: stop competing and start excelling, @Keppie_Careers
Modernizing Your Job Search, @LaurieBerenson
Don’t Get Caught With an Old School Resume, @barbarasafani
How Breaking the Rules will Help You in Your Job Search, @expatcoachmegan
Beat the Job-Search-Is-a-Numbers-Game Myth, @JobHuntOrg
25 Habits to Break if You Want a Job, @careersherpa