“I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need” – Aloe Blacc

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Due to my current impending emigration to the Great White North, I will have to find a new job when I get there. Given that I have been with my present company for seven years and have not had a Job interview since leaving School in 2005, I’ve realised I may be a little rusty when it comes to a job search. However, due to this fact, I’ve spent the last few months learning and reading up on the process and decided to combine a collection of tips and tricks in relation to resumes, finding the job and nailing the interview.

These days, with the tough global economy, the number of people applying for even the most basic job has skyrocketed and as such the level of competition has also risen.These days you need to take the initiative when it comes to finding that job. The goal of this guide is to move you from a “passive”  to an “active”  job search. Most people take a passive approach where they wait for opportunities to fall into their lap.

• They open a newspaper and there is a job they like
• They receive a call from a recruiter who presents a new opportunity
• They go to the Internet and see a new job listed.

What we want to do is move you to be more “active,” i.e., moving forward beyond the waiting and taking an active role in networking. You need to:

• Get in front of people who can help you
• Follow-up on want ads in the paper or on the Internet
• Work recruiters harder

You must be pro-active to get this next position. If you are out of a job at the time you begin your networking efforts, remember – you are not out of a job, you are out of a paying job. Your job is to get a job.

The first step to this is having an up to date killer resume. I don’t agree with the idea of a resume – as it’s a document that is skimmed rather than read properly, they are still required for the majority of companies.  Mangers are human beings, and no matter how hard they try to be objective, they sometimes give a resume a ten-second glance and they just…know. Even before they reach the “education” or “work history” sections, they’ve already formed a strong first impression. In other words, the first glance can make or break the success of the entire application. Here are a few ways to use this quirk of the hiring process to your advantage:

  1. Summary, summary, summary. The summary of a resume is like a movie trailer: It’s the quick version that sells you.
  2. Make the first sentence of your summary say everything about you that your readers must know. Reporters keep a rule of thumb in mind: Put the whole story in the first line.
  3. Cut to the chase. It’s about what you can do that other applicants can’t. Here’s how to rank your information: The body of the resume contains evidence to support the claims of the summary. The summary contains the primary claim. And the primary claim tells the employer why you should be hired instead of the next candidate in line.
  4. Remove words and language like “try” or “might” or “almost” or “probably.”
  5. Replace overused cliches and common phrases. ‘I have good communication skills…’ means nothing. It’s a pretty standard requirement for adult humans. It doesn’t impress anyone. Same goes for being ‘motivated’. It merely suggests the ability to get out of bed in the morning. You are saying nothing unique.

    Use the following words within the body of your resume to cut through the waffle and highlight actual employable skills such as leadership.
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    (Photo: http://media.careerbliss.com/cms/power_words_large.jpg)

  6. Focus on work accomplishments, not job duties.  For instance, get rid of lines like “managed email list” and replace them with lines like “increased email subscribers by 20 percent in six months”. Statistic work when you’re trying to catch their eye
  7. Shorten it – Your resume should be two pages at a maximum. A long resume highlights to the employer that you lack the ability to edit and prioritize appropriate information. Remove blocks of text and use bullet points to make it more readable. Omit information that has no impact on your candidacy and keep it relevant to the job sector. Keep the summer job you had eight years ago off the resume as this will only hurt your candidacy.
  8. If you have to submit your resume online, naming your CV file ‘CV.doc’ will not do you any favours. How long do you think it takes to re-name 50-100 Word documents? Naming your CV file ‘YourNameCV.doc’ will save recruiters vast amounts of time and make them love you.
  9. Sometimes, you just have to stand out and be creative, especially when it comes to certain jobs. Check out this example.
     

So you’ve adopted these idea’s and wrote an updated resume, what now? You get dressed and pound the pavement. Dress like you would as if you were attending an interview. I’m talking a suit, tie, polished shoes- the whole hog. You print out your resume/cover letter/application, and go in person to hand it to whomever is responsible for hiring (the hiring manager, your potential supervisor, the head of the department, etc.) for the job you want. Figuring out who is responsible for hiring can be difficult at large, faceless corporations, but often can be done by looking online or making some calls.

When the person responsible for hiring meets you for the first time, you introduce yourself with a big smile and firm handshake, hand him your cover letter and resume and explain to him “I just didn’t want to be another face in the crowd so I thought I’d take the initiative and stop by in person so you can put a face to the name.” Odds are they will interview you on the spot or schedule an interview for a future date, and you can be sure you’re getting a call back before the guy who applied online.

So that wraps it up on the resume front, next post will be about interview tips- what to do and what to avoid, how to dress and how to correctly answer those questions that are designed to trip you up.

Dave

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