Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unemployed? Well, now’s not vacation time!

It’s a myth that no one hires during the holidays.  As a recruiter, mid-December through year end was one of my busiest times.  I started doing search in 1985 waaaaaaaaay before cell phones and often spent the day shopping with my sister and running from one pay phone to the next, and on the phone at my parents house at night.

If you think hiring doesn’t happen during the holidays, you’re rationalizing a reason to do nothing.  So another good reason to do something is because most other people aren’t.

Employers often have year-end deadlines, budgets, and tax-write offs that mean they hire you now, but perhaps you begin in January.  One of my clients was offered a job last week.  And today I got this nice email from a guy in Boston named Mike:

Just dropping you a quick note to thank you for the extremely helpful article on Body Language. I received it yesterday in the Net-Temps newsletter which was perfect timing for my second interview at my ideal company. I took your advice, was confident, and visualized success. It was so successful the hiring manager originally was going to get back to me in a few days but I received an offer (and accepted) last night!  So thank you again for your spot-on insight. I know I’m far from alone in whom you’ve helped.

If you must persist in your belief that nothing happens until January 1st at least don’t wait to fine tune or update your resume.  If you consider this to be the calm before the storm, now’s the time to batten down the hatches and prepare.

When January first arrives, every job seeker who has taken a vacation from searching will be fighting for the time of career coaches and resume writers.   Not only will turn around time will be longer than it is now, but in the spirit of economics, prices may be higher as well.

Your resume isn’t something you want to do under duress.  As the primary agent that determines whether you’re contacted by a prospective hiring company or not, it’s not a document that should be slapped together.  

A well done resume tells the story of your unique accomplishments.  It is not simply a list of job descriptions and companies.  It takes time to craft a resume that will bring results to its owner.

Waiting may mean you’ll miss the submission date for the perfect ad you see on January 3rd.  Or it may sour the opinion of a hiring authority referred to you by a networking contact, who wonders why you didn’t update your resume over the holidays while it was quiet.   

While it might seem wise to ask your family’s opinion during the holidays, banish this thought.  Some of the worst resumes I’ve seen have been defended by “I had my friends look at it, and they said it was fine.”  

As a third-part recruiter, I participated in more hirings in six months than most hiring managers did in their entire career.  For the same reason, a professional resume writer, even the bad ones, will generally create a better product than you can.  

How do you know if your resume needs work?  If your ratio of responses to send-outs is more than 1:3, it needs work, and indeed may be only one of several problems contributing to an abysmal ratio.  

To make sure your resume is the best it can be by January 1, send it to several resume writers for a quick critique and a quote.   They’ll always find problems for two reasons.  One, they want your business, and two, there always is at least one problem.  Don’t select by price because you get what you pay for.  Yet some professional writers are exorbitant, which doesn’t imply they know what they’re doing.

Lest you think I’m angling for you to hire me, I don’t do resumes.  I advise, teach, and critique, but I don’t write them.  I can, and have, earlier in my career, and they received praise from hiring authorities, but as a recruiter and now career coach, I’ve seen over 500K resumes in my career.

I do, however, give away a free resume report against which you can measure yours, and see where it falls short – and it will, in at least one, probably more, areas.  Then you can submit yours to various professionals and have a baseline measurement for their responses, gauging if their knowledge justifies their price and works with your budget.

Your resume is the most important document in your job search.  “Good enough” doesn’t suffice.  It’s your brochure against which people measure you, just as you use brochures when you buy a car, select a service, or choose a college for your child.  An excellent resume doesn’t guarantee a “yes,” but a bad one guarantees a “no.”

Get the free report by signing up for my free newsletter – the form is over there on the top right (scroll up)  –>  see?  Easy!

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