As we come to the close of 2013, it seems appropriate to share some of the top tips from this blog for the year.
Here are the top ten tips by category:
Distinguishing Your Resume from the Rest of the Pack
1) Find several vacancy announcements for the type of position that you are seeking and then look for overlap in the terms that are used in the announcements. After awhile you will start to see terms like strategic planning or database management used repeatedly in the announcements. These are the keywords that you should include on your resume. These keywords are core competencies that describe different aspects of your skill set. They are also the terms that recruiters will use to search the resume database.
Fine Tuning Your Resume
2) A resume should not be a one size fits all. Just as you tailor a cover letter to specific companies, you should also tailor your resume to meet the company culture and strengths. Think of your resume as your way of speaking directly to the hiring manager and your future boss. When you align your talents with their expectations, you can create a stronger case for why they should invite you to a job interview. When you do this, you have a better chance to stand out in the pile of resumes the hiring manager receives each day.
Staying Relevant While Unemployed
3) Perform contract, temporary, or volunteer work. Doing this will help you fill in the gap on your resume, and it has the added benefit of keeping your skills fresh. Also, because you are in a work environment, you are more likely to hear about openings when they occur, and companies are more likely to hire you since they already know you and your work ethic. Also, continue networking so that you are a known entity.
Maximizing Your Job Search ROI
4) Too many job seekers are over-relying on job boards and even on executive recruiters to find that next position. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, only 13% of positions are filled through job boards. You may have heard before that most people get their jobs through networking. That is still a true statement. While you should try as many job search methods as you can to find a job, you should also try to allocate your time according to the way that most people find jobs. With approximately 80% of all positions being filled through networking, you should spend the lion’s share of your time networking and spend the rest of the time on job boards, executive recruiters, and other job search methods.
Boosting Your Likeability Factor in an Interview
5) Be Engaging. One way to increase your likeability is to share relevant stories in response to commonly asked questions that start to build bridges between you and the interviewer. For example, you might be asked the question, “What are your strengths?” This is an opportunity for you to not just list some of your strongest skills or personal attributes, but to also share a story that the interviewer can relate to. You could talk about a time when your attributes of hard work and loyalty put you in a tough spot, but then show how you were able to overcome adversity and make the situation a win-win for your company as well as for the client. Sharing stories is a powerful way to engage your interviewer and start to boost your likeability factor.
Leaving Your Employer
6) Don’t dally if it’s time to go. Some employees make excuses for not leaving an employer even though they know that they should. They think, “This company can’t do without me.” Although you may feel that the organization cannot possibly survive without you, you should keep in mind that if you get sick or die, they will do without you. It’s not your job to play savior to the organization. Clearly you should do your best at whatever you do, but if you feel that you must stay in an organization because they can’t do without you, you are in an unhealthy situation. Any good organization will ensure continuity and do cross training as well as succession planning.
7) Think of some convincing reasons why the organization can benefit from giving you more responsibility. For example, you may have some ideas that would significantly contribute to the success of a new initiative, and a promotion would give you the opportunity to implement those ideas.
Living a Balanced Life
8) Set appropriate boundaries and intentionally look for a career and a position that will allow you to live within those limits. It is also a good idea to periodically reassess your work-life balance to see if you are where you want to be. A lot of people start out with good intentions, but it is very easy to find yourself off track if you are not taking inventory on a regular basis.
Living Your Dream
9) Identify the obstacles and create a plan to overcome them. It is instructive to review how Diana Nyad succeeded this yearwhere she had failed before. She took a good hard look at what had ended her previous attempts at swimming from Cuba to Florida and created a plan for overcoming the obstacles. For example, knowing that the jellyfish stings had proved too much for her before, she had a specialist make a prosthetic mask for her that the jellyfish could not penetrate. So instead of continuing to repeat her mistakes, she learned from them.
Keeping Your Options Open
10) As the saying goes, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” This is especially true in today’s economy. If you put all of your trust in one employer, expecting that that employer will look out for you because you have bent over backwards to do your job, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. The wisest thing to do is to give your best to your current employer but at the same time keep an eye to the future. Stay abreast of trends in your profession so that you can remain employable whether your current employer decides to retain your services or not. Keep your resume and your skills up to date.