Education Career Services

April 3, 2009

Take the “Don’t tell” approach about your job search

Does your boss know you are back in the job market? I hope not…it can mean the april-03-2009difference between wanting to get a new job and having to get one.

Most corporations avoid keeping employees who don’t want to be there.  They certainly won’t tolerate employees who are not being productive in their current position while surfing Monster.com.  You may end up being eaten by that monster (i.e. your boss).

Keep your job hunting to yourself.  Even though statistics show that 25% of employees perform their job searches while at work, don’t do it.  Never sit at your desk and search job sites or scan the local newspaper’s want ads while on your lunch break with coworkers.  This is like having a neon sign above your head that reads, “Job seeker here.”

If you must make search-related phone calls during work hours, use your cell phone where no one can hear you.  Look for some isolated area, like a sound-proof room once used for interrogation of disloyal employees.  Do not use the phone at your desk or workstation.  Many employers do not approve of their staff using equipment for personal reasons. They might also monitor employee phone calls.  This is not the way you want them to discover you’re hoping to find a better position.

If you have an interview with another company, it is acceptable to ask the interviewer not to contact your current employer.  Most hiring professionals understand the necessity of discretion and will avoid any undo disclosure.

Your employment search is nobody’s business but your own.  Keep it private or prepare to be unemployed until you find your next job.  If you need any help in this endeavor, throw your questions my way.

 Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

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February 20, 2009

Resume Darwinism

Survival of the fittest;” these four words highlight our current economic and employment condition.  According to NPR, global layoffs for 2009 alone will alter 50 million families negatively.  To remain on top, the best defense is a strong offense: one must actively engage in a proactive approach in their career management strategy or suffer the consequences.

 

The “resume” has changed over the last ten years, dramatically over the past two years.  The days of “resume as biography” are extinct and with it passive verbiage, extended length, and over-sized generalities and have been replaced by “resume as marketing tool” with a leaner, stronger, and metric-based approach.  Take a moment to objectively review your resume, taking specific note on its:

 

  • Focus: clear, concise
  • Tone: aggressive, confident
  • Verbiage: lean, metric-based, non-repetitive
  • Appearance: audience focused, ideal length
  • Strength: survivor or soon to be extinct

We have all seen significant changes within the social, cultural, political, and economical arena.  Adaptation is no secret and key to survival.  Resume expectations have also progressed.  The Career Management Alliance states it clearly: to survive, executives must update their resume once a year or will fall prey to those displaying progression.

 

Yesterday’s biographical essay has now been replaced by a marketing resume.  Has yours?  There is no better time than now.  As a professional resume writer, I have seen a ton of outdated material.  If you are a student or a seasoned executive, you owe it to yourself (and future) to review your documents often and objectively. 

 

If you need any quick reviews or have specific questions, do not hesitate to contact me via blog or email address.

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

February 19, 2009

Professional Portfolio and Career Persona

For the past two evenings, 12 American Idol contestants sang to the world and, on a dime, the world turned ugly for 9. 

 

Several submissions ago we juxtaposed the show with career marketing; the similarities keep on coming.  Simon mentioned to one hopeful that he just did not look like an Idol; true enough (after further review) the contestant had the voice but there was no connection…hmmm, how many times have you heard that in an interview setting?

 

Resume development, career summaries/objectives, cover letters, and the way you present yourself beyond paper defines who you are and makes your career persona come to life.  Like it or not, you are who the person sitting across the table believes you to be.  The tricky part is getting Simon, Paula, or a hiring executive to see you as the “right” candidate.

 

I did not want to rush into any decision so I waited a lofty ten seconds before making up my mind as to who I liked (and this was before a single tone departed singing lips).  What does this mean to you, the student looking for a job or the executive seeking advancement or a career transition?  Pure and simple, it means you MUST impress instantly—even before any handshaking.  Be aware that the ways to lose the first round is to present sloppy material, dress inappropriately, or display a shaky character (never forget the words of a song and NEVER forget YOUR VALUE).

 

Value is what the hiring executive is looking for.  Value is what you bring to the company.  For the seasoned executive, value is hitting the pavement running, reducing costs, increasing production, developing processes, penetrating new markets, etc.  For the student, value is the foundation of knowledge and skills acquired in college or a university as well as the strength to complete projects.

 feb-19-professional_life

Value believability is weighed by quantifiable accomplishments; in other words, the past predicts the future.  According to the Professional Resume Writers Association, 7% of people believe what they are told while 93% of people believes what they are shown.  When applicable, show the reader what you completed with facts, figures, and metrics.  As your career progresses, keep a journal of metric accomplishments and bring the total package to the stage for the judges to perceive. 

 

Much like American Idol, a successful career portfolio is not just what you bring to the table; it’s also the image presented and the ability to convince others you are the right choice.  One more thing, make sure you sing the right song by supporting the right objective on your resume.

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

February 16, 2009

(UN)Employment and Your Career Portfolio

Employment rates are heading in the wrong direction.  For those new to my writing style, I have a habit of not coloring words while laying the news on the table for all to see and oftentimes taste.  If you are interested in sugar-coated data, know this, I am on a diet—no sugar coating here.

 

News is not good.  Numbers released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics is clear on one trend: unemployment figures for the month of December are up from the previous month in each of our 50 states.  With this news, how does the average person survive?

 unemployed-worker

The first step is to accept the difficult situation we are all in.  Secondly, do not become overly frustrated, depressed, or stressed out…which is all but impossible not avoid.  Thirdly, represent to your advantage and stand out from sea of other job applicants.

 

On a brighter side, the lowest unemployment rates are found in Wyoming, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota, all with 4.0 percent or below.  On a dimmer note, states with a 9.0 percent or above rate of unemployment include California, Nevada, Oregon, and leading the pack was Michigan with 10.6 percent.  Combining the 50 states, the national rate for December was 7.2 percent.

 

Besides trying to keep a positive approach and an upbeat career marketing campaign, now is the time to make sure your job portfolio reflects your skills and accomplishments in a metric style.  Double check your career objective and career summary (refer to an earlier entry for additional insight).  If you are a student or alumni, contact your university career services department for possible information, including job postings.  For the seasoned professional, I recommend professional assistance from an accredited and reputable career management firm.  I review hundreds of resumes from executives and many from students on a monthly basis; take it from me, have someone review and evaluate—it is an investment with great ROI.

 

In other words, do not go solo, more than your career is at stake!

 

With the unemployment figures the way they are, it is hard to keep emotionally pumped; this is understandable as budget crunches affect everyone.  For today, we simply need to make sure we display the mot effective personal career marketing material available and that’s where double-checking and having assistance may be what it takes to lift you up.  Hold your head up and when you are called back for a job interview, nail each interview question perfectly.

 

Perhaps President Obama and the economic stimulus package will benefit the average person soon.  Though hopeful, I am not optimistic this will become reality.  If you have any specific questions or topics you would like covered, let me know…I will definitely tell you the way I see it—no sugar coating, just the facts.

 

Source: Career Management Alliance and http://knowledge.wpcarey.asu.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1746#

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

dhuffman@careersi.com

Education Career Services: http://www.educationcs.com

Career Services International: http://www.careersi.com

February 12, 2009

Resume Objective and Career Summary Required

Recently I was asked to describe the difference between an antiquated resume objective and a highly targeted objective and, in a nutshell, the following outlines my response:

 

First of all, one should understand the purpose of a career objective is to convey to a potential employer the candidate’s intent for employment or the career focus.  A resume without a highly targeted objective is like a one-size-fits-all document and most hiring managers will not waste time trying to figure out what the candidate wants to do or what the candidate has to offer.

 

In today’s instant age, readers simply do not have time to guess what you offer, much less what you want to do.  Years ago, truthfully not too many years ago, drawn out short stories acting as a career summary or objective were common place.

 

An antiquated resume objective lacks focus, is not straightforward, and may read like the following: “seeking a management position with growth potential in a progressive company.”  Needless to say, I have seen thousands with the same basic heading and I still do not know the candidate’s intent…this reads too much like a shotgun blast hoping to hit anything moving.  A highly targeted objective is specific and is typically limited to 3-5 words.  Take, for example, “Logistics Manager,” “Public Accountant,” or “Entry-Level Network Engineer” lets the reader know instantly what you are interested in doing. 

 

After your career objective, it becomes time to prove (via metrics) your value and immediate contributions with your career summary.  If you have any specific questions or would like to review your objective and/or career summary, do not hesitate to ask.

 

Danny Huffman, MA, CPRW, CPCC, CEIP

http://www.educationcs.com

http://www.careersi.com

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