Time to organize your job search

GALE BROWN SANDLER, GRIFFIN RESUME SERVICE ::: 

Happy 2014.  It’s a new year with a fresh start and a great time to get organized.

Get your new Day Timer Calendar ready, update your Outlook Contacts and get ready for success.  Planning is key.  Don’t just look for want ads.  Take the initiative and determine what you want to do and where you want to do it.

Put together a spreadsheet of companies you’d like to work for and then start checking out their websites.  Get information on the hiring managers for the departments where you are a fit. Look online and find out all about their products or services, their customers and any news updates on what they’ve done this past year.  Being knowledgeable about the company enables you to have a more effective interview when they call you.  And don’t hesitate to look at their “Career Opportunities”.  Sometimes companies don’t list them on anything but their own website.

Make sure your resume is up-to-date, targeted and looks great.  One of the biggest resume mistakes most clients I talk to make is the “one size fits all” approach.  The world is very specialized and if you list too many types of experience on one resume, it goes in the “circular file.”  The HR person who is looking over resumes doesn’t waste a minute trying to figure out what you do.   If you have an in-depth or varied background, develop several different resumes that highlight your achievements towards a job target.  Include “keywords” that apply to each type of job and then emphasize them in the “Core Competencies” section of your resume.

Don’t know what to include in your resume?  Start with the most important and relevant facts and achievements in your work experience section and don’t go back more than 15 years.  I recently did an executive resume where a career change was involved.  The relevant history needed for this objective was more than 10 years back.  So I did a “functional resume” that highlighted this person’s skill set and achievements without just listing his jobs in chronological order.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that your resume has to fit on one page.  Very few individuals can fit in-depth experience on one page and it’s not necessary.  On the other hand, don’t go beyond two pages either.  If you do have a second page, always feature “Name,” the word “Resume” and “Page Two” in bold letters at the very top. Make sure to check for any errors on your dates, misspellings or typos and make sure your format looks good.  Have someone proofread your resume.  Do not get cute with fancy graphics or logos that may clog up the automated applicant tracking systems that previews your resume.

Best advice of all; try to get your resume in the hands of someone you know at the company.  Not sure who that might be?  Check LinkedIn for the company in which you are interested and click on “Employees.”  The site will actually feature the names of key employees you might want to contact.  You can then address your cover letter with a resume directly to them with much better chances of getting a response.  Don’t hesitate to look over your updated database also and see if you have already uncovered someone you know at this company who can hand deliver your resume to the department head.

Good luck on your job campaign for 2014.  Remember; don’t just wait for the right ad to appear.  Be proactive!

Gale Brown Sandler is the founder of Griffin Resume Service and can be reached at galerbrown@gmail.com.

Gale Brown Sandler is the founder of Griffin Resume Service and can be reached at galerbrown@gmail.com.  

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