By Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter
It seems so simple, doesn’t it? After all, who better knows where you’ve been and what you’ve done than you? Open up your Word file and dump all that information into a pleasing format, forward it to a prospective employer or two, then sit back and wait for the phone to ring.
Before you hit “send” on your resume, there are a few things you may want to consider, or you may be waiting a very long time.
1. Ask: “Would I Hire Me?”
First, take a hard look at the document you’ve created and ask yourself this question: “Would I hire this person?” Before you answer, remember, there is a very good chance you are not the only person applying for this position. With that in mind, repeat the question. If your answer is anything other than a resounding “Yes,” you may want to hold off hitting that send button.
2. Be the Red Balloon in a Field of Yellow Ones
The resume is so much more than just a “data dump,” if you will, yet it is treated thusly all too often. This happens much to the chagrin of the sender as well as the recipient.
It is vital to the success of this document that it sets you apart from the competition. You are likely rivaling candidates whose qualifications are similar to your own. So, you must be the red balloon in the field of yellow ones if you want to get noticed.
Give the reader something to get excited about that can’t be duplicated on any other resume they may encounter. It simply does not matter that you spent X years in X position and accomplished X goals during your tenure. Your competition has probably done similar things. While this information is important, don’t stop there. Dig a little deeper to mine the career gold that only you possess.
Were the goals you reached achievable by anyone who may have held that position? Or, is there something unique about the way you go about getting things done that gave life to them? Did you have a differentiating way of coalescing disparate teams, shortening processes or clarifying complexity? Did your distinctive voice offer a value-add that set you apart from peers?
For the remaining three tips on how to exploit your uniqueness to take your resume from “blah” to “wow,” please visit my latest Glassdoor post, HERE.
By Rob Poindexter
It seems the landscapers who had done some work for us recently left just a big enough hole under the fence for 12 pounds of curiosity covered in dog fur to slip through.
Yes, Louie was indeed, missing.
Keep in mind, this is no ordinary dog. My wife adopted him shortly after he was weaned. That was some 14 years ago. Since that time he has been her constant companion. He can usually be found curled up in his bed not far from wherever she is working. He’s not much of a conversationalist, but, as she says, just having him there makes her feel a little less alone than when no one else is at home.
I was seated at my desk with a line of customers outside my office when the message came across and was essentially useless as far as being any help to her at the time. I felt bad for her, and I knew it would be a long night at my house if he didn’t show up soon.
Around 8:30 pm I pulled into the driveway and headed up the stairs. I fully expected to see Jac splayed in the middle of the living room floor, weeping and vowing vengeance on all those responsible for this travesty, including me to some degree, I’m sure.
But no, she was in the kitchen preparing supper and doing her best not to cry. I told her to shut everything off, and I headed to the bedroom for some jeans and comfortable walking shoes. She got the flashlight from the kitchen drawer and met me at the car.
So began our search, up and down each street, shining the flashlight, as we went, into every dark corner of the neighborhood looking for the reflection of two little eyes. We were sure by now he was curled up, scared and alone peering helplessly into the dark night full of strange creatures and strange noises.
We called to him over and over, whistling and clapping our hands so he would know his saviors were coming for him. We asked everyone we saw if they had seen him and gave our phone number to countless strangers along the way.
Finally we were filled with hope as a gentleman approached us to ask if we were missing a dog. No sir, we are not missing a dog, we are missing a member of our family, you savage. That is not what we said of course, but if you’ve ever lost a pet, you know how we felt.
Sure enough, he had seen Louie just within the last half hour or so. We now knew we were close; it was just a matter of time and he would be safe again, and I could get my supper and full night’s sleep. We drove around the block once more like cops looking for an escaped convict, shining the flashlight into every back yard we could see, every porch, every row of bushes and even into the tops of trees. I know, I know, but we were getting desperate, man!
About the time we had worked our way back to the house of the man who said he had seen our little orphan, I spotted movement just beyond the headlights.
“Could it be?” I asked myself. Without saying a word I got out of the car and walked quickly in the direction of the form. As I approached, I hollered back at Jac, who was in the throes of a game plan with our concerned neighbor on how best to cover every square inch of the planet in order to flush Louie out, “It’s him; it’s Louie; he’s here!”
Jac was now close on my heels, and we were within 50 feet of calling to him, clapping our hands, rushing to his side ready to forgive every bad thing he had ever done. He looked up at us as if to say, “Hey, what are you guys doing here? Did you find a hole in the fence, too?”
Well, soon enough we were all three back in the car, Louie on Jac’s lap, stubbed tail wagging as he kept an eye on me.
I couldn’t help but think to myself as I looked at him perched there, happily in the arms of his “mommy,” he was the only one who didn’t know he was lost. We knew it, all the neighbors we ran into knew it, every car that had to squeeze past us doing 2 mph down the middle of the street knew it.
But, Louie, no. Louie was quite content and knew exactly where he was; he wasn’t lost as far as he knew. Rest assured, though, had we not found him as soon as we did, he would have recognized there were no treats nearby, no warm puppy bed to curl up in next to Mom and Dad’s bed when he got tired, no bowl of water sitting next to his food dish, (which has never been empty), no shelter from the lightning, the rain, the cold wind.
Once those things became apparent to him, would he know then that he was lost? Probably not. He would know his life had changed, but I don’t think he would have equated that with “being lost,” per se.
As in the story above, so many job seekers are lost without even realizing it.
They hand in their resume to countless hiring managers with no phone calls; they go into interviews with no concept of what to do once they are there.
Louie was sure that he was okay, but in a very short period of time reality would have sunk in, and he would have been anything but okay.
When you are on the search for a good home/job, be sure you have someone looking out for you by hiring a professional to keep you from winding up with no dog food in your dish.
During WW II, General George S. Patton rolled into Palermo, Italy. The people crowded the streets and hung out of nearby apartment windows, waving American flags, cheering and throwing flowers at the American soldiers who marched behind Patton’s motorcade. A local band played, “The Yanks are Coming” over and over again.
These people, who had been oppressed for so long by German rule, were finally liberated, and the man responsible for this day of jubilation stood in the front seat of a roofless U.S. Army truck with his left hand grasping the top of the windshield frame, to steady himself, as he waved and acknowledged the grateful throng with his right hand.
A big, unlit cigar jutted from the right side of his mouth, while the left side of his face victoriously smiled in the direction of his wave to the souls who were all too aware of what his arrival meant to them and their families. Mothers rushed to his side in hopes that he would reach down and place a fingertip on their baby’s forehead. A blessing, of sorts, from a conquering hero.
A messenger, working his way through the crowd, finally caught up with the General’s truck and jumped onto the running board. Looping his right arm over the large rearview mirror, he deliberately and with all the composure of a Shakespearean actor, unfolded the note and read loud enough to be heard, the contents.
“To General George S. Patton, Commander of the Third Army: ‘Do not take Palermo.’ Signed, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America. Stop.”
The General, without taking his eyes off the crowd, shouted down to the messenger, “Send a message back asking him if he wants me to give it back,” a sly grin curling his lips as he continued to wave.
This is one of my favorite Patton stories, and I doubt that I did it justice. But, I hope you can agree that this tale shines a light on the problem of some less then “professionally” written resumes.
What a shame it would have been to give back that which he and his army had fought so hard to win. How devastated the elated crowd would be had the joyous event suddenly been cut short because the powers that be determined our army should return this city to German rule.
When pertinent information is left out of a resume, or not acknowledged to the correct degree, aren’t you essentially “giving back” that which you have earned through your own hard work and self sacrifice? So, the next time you’re in the market for a resume, or just updating your current resume, be sure you have the right “army” in your corner to help conquer that next hill or liberate yourself from a current oppressive situation.