The last few months I have seen (and felt) so much anger in just about all sectors of the market. No doubt there is cause for so many ill-feelings as unemployment, foreclosures, higher gas prices, and on and on are no hitting harder each day. As a professional resume writer and career coach, I hear heartfelt stories all the time. Who’s safe from economic devastation? Not to spoil anyone’s breakfast but no one appears to be safe.
Since, in my opinion, no one is “protected” from crisis way, becoming prepared is the only sound practice in this crazy world! So you’re asking how does one protect him/herself; good question. Without any hesitation, I believe the first step is to recognize there are more people than available job positions. Okay, what does this do? Another good question. Recognizing you are not the only contestant in a competitive market brings reality to a new level. Since there are more people than job positions, you must develop a plan to increase your value, your worth, and your immediate contribution.
What determines value? On a company perspective, what can the job applicant do right now—not next week or even next month? Recent graduates, you offer theory and perhaps a capstone, intern, extern, or a bit of experience to go with it. Is this enough? For some yes, for some no. For experienced executives, knowing is not always enough either—you must be the top performer as well.
Let’s make a connection to American Idol for a moment.
Paula and Simon decreased hundreds of thousands of wanna-be’s to a baker’s dozen. In most cases it was clear that the vast majority of applicants were pretenders; only a hand full truly belonged. After months of hard work, the top ten dwindled to only a few. Here’s where you come in….for the pretenders, lack of true talent (or value) will create a schism between the ones who can. In career management, this schism is created and reinforced within 15 seconds of reviewing your cover letter and/or resume. Leaving you with one approach: you must prove quickly that YOU offer value….and still no guarantee (this is where so much (in)visible anger comes into play).
Getting back on track, your cover letter MUST accompany your resume in EVERY situation. Your cover letter MUST be tailored to EVERY job posting. In other words, do not submit a blanket cover letter—incorporate words from the posting and from research about the job and/or company (if known).
Don’t submit a response to a posting without doing your homework. How many contestants on American Idol blew their one chance by not knowing the words (and many still became angry at Simon for eliminating them due to lack of homework)? In addition to creating a tailored cover letter to fit each job posting, so should your resume be constructed. Do not submit a blanket resume under any situation. If you do, don’t become angry at your invisibility! Place key terms, your connection to the job, and what you can do for the company immediately.
There’s no easy way to become “visible” but there are ways to shed light on your work and value. These are tough times but that does not mean anger is the answer.
Complete your homework, get involved in your career campaign, and never forget the words.