As 3.8 million college students enter the workforce this year, entry-level professionals are launching their careers during one of the most challenging job markets in recent history. As of early June, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unemployment rate is now at 13.3%.
Tens of millions of (skilled, experienced) Americans are out of work right now so it’s ridiculously hard for new grads with little relevant work history under their belts to compete for open jobs. The last time college students walked off the graduation stage into such a tough job market was during the Great Recession of 2008, when unemployment peaked at 10%.
Some of my more challenging clients are the people who’ve been denied jobs because they don’t fit the profile of a perfect job candidate. Extended employment gaps, a negative background check or credit report, physical limitations, and being considered too old, too overqualified, or too expensive are all very real challenges to securing gainful employment.
We often write resumes for people who have lost jobs due to downsizing, mergers and acquisitions, off-shoring, changing regulations, or industry shifts. Whether a layoff is anticipated or is a surprise, it can be an emotional minefield. Here is the advice I’ve found most helpful for these clients.
I have been a resume writer for nearly a decade and, over the years, I’ve talked with thousands of people who find themselves in all kinds of career conundrums.
Nine times out of 10, my clients have an urgent need for a resume and we work quickly to create a document that enables them to begin applying for jobs as soon as possible. It’s actually quite rare that I work with someone who says, “I want an updated resume, just in case.” I’d like to challenge you to be that proactive professional.Read more
When I was growing up, my mother used to tell me, “If you do what others won’t, you will have what others don’t.”
She didn’t coin the phrase. It’s one of those motivational phrases that’s been around awhile. It’s a reminder that if you spend a little more time, or focus your energy more, or do the unpleasant work no one really wants to do, you’ll prosper.
Every time I write a resume, I tailor it for the type of job my client is seeking. This strategy, proven to work effectively with both human eyeballs and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), looks like this: I study job ads provided by my client, identify common themes, create a list of keywords and skills based on those job ads, and write the resume accordingly. This resume—assuming the client applies for jobs similar to the job ads that he or she provided up front—will perform very well with an ATS.
My client Karen is a following spouse with a career of her own. Her husband Bruce has a great job but his company moves him every three years. So, Karen needs to update her resume before every relocation.
I learned from Karen and from other clients who were relocating that the remote job search isn’t always easy. HR people usually want to meet you in real life. Your schedule for meetings may not be as flexible as those of the local applicants. You may not have many contacts or a strong network in the area. And you may not know anything about what it’s like to live in this new place.
But the long-distance job hunt doesn’t have to be scary or unproductive. Here’s the advice I give people planning to look for work prior to moving.Read more
My client Charles faced a dilemma that’s fairly common: how to list a job that lasted a very short time on his resume. Charles worked in the financial services industry and, after just three months in a new position with a bank, he chose to leave because he realized the job wasn’t what he thought it would be. Fortunately for Charles, his former boss convinced him to return, and even gave him a promotion.
Fast forward four years. We’re now updating Charles’ resume. He wants to be honest when he presents his employment history, but is unsure about listing his brief stint at the bank he left for his present employer.
If you’re a job seeker, you probably already know it is essential to follow the application instructions to the letter when responding to a job posting.
Although it’s true that many cover letters aren’t read, if a company asks candidates to supply a cover letter along with a resume, you should do so. This cover letter gives you the opportunity to impress a hiring manager by showing him or her that you read the job ad closely and that you are an excellent fit for the job they need to fill. Don’t blow it.
While it may sound daunting to write a custom letter each time you apply for a job, let me assure you that once you have written your first letter, you can quickly and easily modify that letter over and over again. Here are my tips for getting more mileage from a cover letter.Read more
If you’ve worked with me to write your new resume, you know I’ll ask you to send me a few job ads at the outset of our engagement to help inform the process of drafting your new resume. I use these job ads to help me understand your goals, of course, but I’m also using them to identify keywords that will help your resume rank with applicant tracking systems (ATS) as well as to help frame your experience in a way that positions you for the type of job you want next. Many resumes suffer from being an overly-detailed, obituary-style reporting of everything you’ve ever done, professionally speaking. Instead, your resume should be a relatively short, very strong persuasive argument about what you’re positioned to do next. To write a great resume, we rely heavily on job ads that represent your desired next step.
So where do you find these job ads? For years, I have recommended Indeed.com and linkedin.com/jobs/. In the last couple of years, Glassdoor.com has become an increasingly fantastic resource for job seekers and my new favorite website to share with my clients. That’s why I was excited to read that Reviews.com recently released its “Best Job Sites for 2017” report.
Congratulations! Your hard work and perseverance paid off. You got the job you wanted. Now what?
First, it’s time to celebrate. Pat yourself on the back and share the news with your closest friends and confidants.
Take a few days for yourself, a small vacation. You deserve it. Use the time to catch up on what you love to do, the things you haven’t been able to indulge in while job searching.
Tie Up Loose Ends
Now’s the time to write a courteous thank you note to the hiring person or your new boss, saying how pleased you are with the offer, and how much you look forward to your new duties. This is especially appropriate if you don’t start for a couple of weeks.
Now’s also a good time to touch base with HR and any contacts at your new company. Ask if there’s anything you need to do before your actual start date, such as taking tests or gathering personal paperwork.Read more