Needing a job is unnerving enough. You’re in transition, going from where you were to someplace new.
The competition for that new job starts with a resume that can get you an interview.
Ditch the panic.
Panic gets you nowhere. In fact, it puts you at risk.
When athletes panic, they make crucial mistakes that cost them the game. The same is true of business leaders, investors, and trades people.
Panic is stress on steroids…and stress makes people stupid.
So if you want to land the right job for yourself, start by taking a deep breath and clearing your head.
Being between jobs gives you a chance to restart or refresh your career. You have the time and space to think about what you really like to do and what you’re good at.
The biggest mistake many job seekers make is writing resumes for jobs they think they can get, instead of ones they want.
If the stresses of being a supervisor caused health problems, don’t extol your accomplishments running a call center. If you don’t like working directly with people, don’t promote the duties you had clerking at The Gap. If you do, your resume becomes the fatal attraction for a job you really don’t want.
Hit your reset button.
Before you start updating your resume, dedicate a good block of time to thinking about the best next job for you. Talk to people who know you and whose views you respect, consider talking to an experienced career coach or an expert on resumes.
Remember: Your resume is a marketing tool, so it needs to showcase the knowledge, skills, and experiences that you are eager to bring to the job where you will add real value.
If your resume is cluttered with everything you’ve ever done, it demonstrates that you have no real career focus–that you are, in fact, panicked.
To be sure your resume attracts jobs you want, avoid these two big mistakes:
Big Mistake #1: Listing all the duties, tasks, and responsibilities from your prior jobs.
If there’s work you don’t like or want to do, don’t tell the screener via your resume that you know how to do it and are even good at it. When you aren’t looking for that kind of work, it just clutters up your resume. (Caution: the screener may have another opening full of all that stuff you hate to do and you’d be perfect for it. Ouch!)
You want to list the outcomes you achieved in your prior jobs that excited you.That’s how your value is measured. Past behavior is a predictor of future behavior.
Big Mistake #2: Showing your entire work history, even down to high school jobs.
Your resume is a marketing tool not evidence in a jury trial designed to prove you’ve worked hard all your life.
Use your resume space to present relevant work and/or academic experience, the kind that aligns with the requirements of the job. The fact that you worked at McDonald’s when you were in high school and as a coach’s assistant in college doesn’t market your talent for strategic planning or app design.
If you’ve been in a professional role and want to stay there, only include your professional experience. If you’re just starting out, align the tasks you performed in those early jobs and internships to the kind of work you’re seeking.
Attract don’t distract.
Attract what you want. Your resume is the bait. The tastier it looks, the more likely you’ll get a bite.
The same is true for the jobs you’re seeking. They have to look yummy to you too. It’s not just a meal you’re after, it’s sustenance for a long time.
The best jobs come when both you and your employer have hungered for the same thing and found it on a shared plate. Let your resume be the appetizer.
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