Recent data is bad news all around for job seekers. The number of unemployed workers in the United States now totals 12.5 million with New Jersey’s unemployment rate equaling 10.1%, one of the highest in the nation.
Today’s workforce holds little opportunity for graduating college seniors, stay at home parents are attempting to return and secure a second or a replacement income and people with seemingly stable careers may face downsizing and need to consider alternative career paths. Overall, the process is difficult.
So how des the job seeker get started? The first step is to take personal inventory. (There are many helpful tools available either online or through a career coach) Creating a personal assessment plan will help to answer some difficult questions.
? Who am I and what do I do?
? What skills and talents do I have?
? What are my strengths?
? What skills and talents do I need?
? What am I “not so good” at and what do I not like doing?
Once you have taken stock of yourself and solicited some honest feedback you will be better able to identify what industries and positions are appropriate for you to explore and begin your search.
You will need a solid résumé. EVERYONE seeking employment or career advancement needs a résumé. That résumé needs to stand out and sell the person it represents. The applicant is the product and the résumé is the marketing tool.
Many factors go into writing a stellar résumé. Here are a few:
1. Is it easy to read? Have you chosen a “scannable friendly” font such as Times New Roman or Arial? Fonts that you may think make your résumé “unique” or “creative” will often work against you if they cannot be scanned by an electronic database or are difficult for a person to read.
2. Is your contact information clear and easy to find? If a potential employer cannot figure out quickly how to get in touch with you, then you are heading for the wastebasket.
3. Does your résumé have an objective? Generally, it should not. With the exception of Entry-Level résumés, objectives are limiting and too specific. Your introductory profile will establish the focus and direction of your resume providing the reader with a concise picture of the value you offer.
4. Does your résumé “tell” or “sell? “Telling” says what you did. “Selling” describes why what you did was important, includes results and details on how you added value. Your résumé should be filled with accomplishments, not lists of tasks.
5. Have you checked for Misspellings, typing and grammatical errors. You don’t get a second chance on this one. If the résumé is not perfect, it shows lack of attention to detail and a general “laziness” that the time was not taken to do it right.
6. Are you wasting your potential employer’s time with unnecessary or “given” information? In a sea of a thousand résumés, every time a reader has to read, “References Available upon request” or “Available for interviews upon request” they think to themselves “Oh really? No kidding.” Save the space. Your résumé should be filled with achievements, not clichés or erroneous space filling information.
After you have stellar marketing tool to submit, the daunting process of seeking a position begins. Today, job seekers must be creative in their search and cannot rely on newspapers or job boards to find opportunities. Next month, we’ll take a look at innovative approaches to seeking employment in a difficult job market.