by Darlene Zambruski, CPRW, SME
For those individuals who have just graduated from high school or those who have faced lengthy unemployment because of downsizing in their field, there may be a sense of what do I do now? Where can I best use my strengths?
As with every other endeavor in life, it’s best to determine what you want and what you’re capable of doing, before composing a resume that lacks focus, and then submitting it for jobs you neither want nor expect to get. Rather, take the following steps to get focused and stay-on-point in your resume writing and job search.
1. DO AN ONLINE (HOTJOBS.COM, ETC.) JOB SEARCH TO DETERMINE WHAT INDUSTRIES ARE HIRING & HOW YOUR INTERESTS AND STRENGTHS MAY FIT:
Rather than focusing on what you had or should have, be realistic and flexible in your job search. If you’re uncertain of the field, research those you are most interested in – forget the rest. Once you’re into the targeted industry, research the job postings for entry-level or experienced employment that is a good fit with your academic or professional experience. Most postings list Qualifications sought in an employee. Review these to see if what the company’s looking for matches your skills. Again, it’s important to be flexible. No job is perfect. And what may seem just tolerable at first may very well turn out to be the perfect job for you or even a chance at that higher position you really want.
2. USE KEYWORD SEARCHES TO WIDEN THE FIELD, WHILE KEEPING FOCUSED:
Let’s say the fields or industries you’re interested in aren’t hiring – what then? Use keywords (i.e. tech writer, taxation, mechanic) in online searches that may very well produce industries and fields you never considered. Again, be flexible. And always determine how your strengths fit with the employer’s needs.
3. CONSTRUCT A RESUME THAT REFLECTS YOUR STRENGTHS AS THEY PERTAIN TO THE JOBS FOR WHICH YOU’RE APPLYING:
Nothing is worse, and less effective, than sending the same resume to different industries for diverse positions. Hiring managers don’t have the time – nor will they take the time – to read every line of a resume in the hopes that you have the skills they want. You must tailor each resume to each opening. Use keywords from job postings in your opening summary, make certain to reflect how your skills match those asked for in the advertisement, and determine which of your qualifications is transferable to this industry. It sounds like a lot of work, but in the long run it causes you to be focused and will take months off your job search.