Pattie's Blog: Is your resume keeping you unemployed?
Jordan Smith, a recent graduate of Memorial University in St. John's, takes his job hunt to the streets of Halifax on Tuesday, July 14, 2009. (Andrew Vaughan/ THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Monday, October 22, 2012 12:42PM EDT
Long term unemployment can wreak havoc on one’s finances. I met with Paul Hill, author of The Panic Free Job Search and we talked about the effects of long-term unemployment and how to break out of its grasp and get re-hired quickly.
Over reliance on your resume may be hurting your job prospects. For many who find themselves in a long-term unemployment situation, Hill suggests getting out from behind your computer and meeting people who can help you land a job.
“There is a mentality out there of hiding behind digital communication, either by sending emails or responding as an applicant to online job postings,” said Hill. “Landing a job is about seducing a hiring manager, to first like you, then take the time to get to know you and finally get her to trust you before she will extend an offer.”
Resumes lost in the terabyte jungle
Most long-term unemployed job hunters rely on their digital resume to open doors for them, in other words they take a passive approach to job search, clicking and hoping their resume will open doors for them. Getting a decision-maker to take notice of your resume is hard to do in the digital world where software makes many of the initial screening decisions.
The North American culture is a culture of performance but performance by itself written on a resume is not enough to get you hired, you need to first get noticed and then sell yourself. Getting noticed because of your resume is usually tough to do because it is mixed in with terabytes of other resumes. If it is never read because it is never flagged by the right decision maker then no matter how great your accomplishments are in your career, it’s all for nought if they can’t find your resume.
Own your message
Get rid of your resume as a crutch and it will force you to “own” your message and get you out from behind the computer. Owning an impactful message means not simply regurgitating your resume verbally but first and foremost demonstrating what you can do for a specific employer or decision-maker, and often it comes down to how you can make her money, save her money or do both.
Hill recommends using networking and networking letters as the best source for landing a job. Hill does not recommend people start networking without first conditioning themselves for success in networking. In his two-day job search boot camp he shows job hunters how to do it right. They bring their laptops and telephones and learn how to network on the spot by making telephone calls to decision makers. The process is broken down and they learn step by step how to voice and own their message, create their customized job search plan, make calls, and write networking letters -- it’s all about taking action without hiding behind the resume.
Land more interviews
For those who do not want to take the time to learn how to network effectively and hope to still be considered for positions they find online, he has offered the following tips to land more interviews:
- Do the research online about the employer and understand how you fit in.
- Identify the decision maker two levels up from the level you expect to get hired at.
- Send the identified decision maker a one page marketing letter by post mail explaining and demonstrating what you can do for her, her team and/or company based on the research you have accumulated and request a meeting. This way with the letter as opposed to a resume you are giving just enough information to peak her interest.
- Follow-up the letter the next day by leaving a message for the decision maker after work hours saying that you have sent out a letter to her attention and you look forward to her reading the letter and calling you. By leaving a message and avoiding a live call you avoid cracking under pressure on the first call and you can let your letter and voice message “touch” the decision maker and work for you. In other words, it acts to warm-up the eventual first call when it happens because she gets an opportunity to get to know you prior to the first call and hopefully gets to like you.
- If you have written your letter properly you will entice her to pick up the phone and call you. Be prepared at all times to receive a call. This means being ready with your message and to answer her questions. This is the chance you have been waiting for so be prepared to sell yourself!
- If she does not call, don’t give up, decision makers seek out people who are determined and resourceful. Figure out when the letter should arrive and a few days after follow-up with a call. Follow-up, follow-up and follow-up again, until you reach her. Be super tenacious. If you cannot get the decision maker on the phone after numerous tries, interspersed at different times of the day, find her email address and send her an attached audio recording explaining why she should meet you.
- When you do get to speak to her, and also when leaving messages, make sure you are enthusiastic because decision makers rarely hire sleepwalkers.
Don’t send your resume
Hill recommends when you send your marketing letter you don’t send a resume but rather let the process work for you. However if you feel it is absolutely necessary to submit a resume – submit and follow the same process with the letter and voice message by telephone and also indicate in both that you have submitted your resume.
Follow his tips so you can get your finances back in shape by getting re-hired as quickly as possible.
Paul Hill is a job search expert and the Chief Instructor at Transition to Hired. You can reach him through his web site at http://www.TransitiontoHired.com