Who would have ever thought that the use of telephones and the US Postal Service would become old fashioned to job seekers? On the flip side, who would think bringing back these old fashioned resources in finding employment could be considered creative? Today’s younger job seeker is amazed at the idea of calling a potential employer over the phone much less sending a resume and cover letter through the mail. The very idea of printing a resume, printing a cover letter, signing the cover letter, addressing an envelope with a stamp, stuffing then sealing that enveloped and finally walking this envelope to the mail box is almost inconceivable in today’s job market.
“Pounding the pavement” has become a lost art in seeking employment. Too many have flocked to the comfort of the online application process. As I have said many times, applying for a position online is a task. An effective job search is a process. As a job seeker, what are you willing to do in addition to applying online to secure your targeted job?
When looking for innovative or unique ways to be noticed by potential employers, why not first return to these two basic techniques used from the not so distant past:
Pick up the telephone: The internet provides easy access in finding general telephone numbers to every business in the world. Call employers. You can certainly call the HR department, but you will probably be more successful by calling the department in which you want to work. Emails can often time get lost, but phone calls are rarely lost or overlooked.
Mail your resume: Typing resumes and cover letters on bond paper and sending these job search packets through the mail used to be the most widely used practice for job seekers just 20 years ago. Today, very few job seekers take the time to print resume and cover letters to mail much less know what bond paper is in the first place. In addition, we are more likely to read the mail we physically receive over every email we receive. The volume of mail we receive at the office has dramatically decreased. Job seekers stand a very good chance of their letter being opened.
Applying online will get your resume into the company applicant tracking system. While some companies do look at these resumes for identifying talent, candidates must take extra steps to be noticed unless you believe in the needle in a haystack theory. In order to prove your interest and commitment for the job to employers, think about returning to basics if you will. Purchase a book of US postage stamps, stationery paper and envelopes, and good ink for your printer. The walk to the mailbox will be good for you. In addition, use the Internet to find a few phone numbers and dial the telephone. Dare to be innovative by returning to what many consider “old fashioned.” You might be surprised with the positive feedback you receive.
I receive numerous questions this time of year centered around creating an effective profile statement on resumes. While objective statements are quickly becoming obsolete, the employer still needs to know what you want to do with your career. So, the question is how to create a profile statement that would interest an employer as well as state what you want to do in the process. Here are three basic elements to address in your message:
1. What is your experience? What have you been doing? Five years of experience in consumer product sales, experienced in financial analysis and project management, positions with increasing responsibility in management consulting, etc.
2. What are you good at doing? Proven success in, Ability to, Demonstrated skills in, etc. Each statement begins with an indication that something great will follow. What ends each statement must directly relate to either the job (Proven success in financial modeling) or a needed skill (Successful results-driven leader). The bullet points you will write later in your resume will prove these quick statements to be true.
3. What are you good at doing TAKE 2? Write another sentence highlighting your competitive edge another example of your ability to be successful in your chosen profession. Reputation for, Track record for, Accomplished, etc.
You can also include a bulleted list of the areas in which you have expertise listed below your branding statement, but unless your resume is two pages in length or longer I would refrain from that practice. The point is to promote the problems you solve and the solutions you provide. Ex: Reputation for idenitfying areas of improvement and creating cost effective solutions.
Write a branding or profile statement on your resume that communicates what you want through the value you can bring. Be reader focused and not writer focused.
Most popular word pressing programs offer templates for several documents including resumes. My advice to anyone seeking to present a professional resume whether that be for a new job or application to an MBA or any graduate program is to refrain from using standardized templates. There are several professional resume services available with free templates to use which are all accepted by business today.
A word processing resume template screams amateur and is not taken seriously at the professional level of the job search. White space is important, but your resume should always be designed in relation to the types of positions and careers you are seeking. Your resume should be your masterpiece and be designed in a way that shares the most important information in the most effective way possible.
Professional resume writing organizations such as the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches has a robust database of resume writers with the most professional templates available. There are also several other associations to search as well. Take the value of your resume seriously and don’t look like an amateur. If your resume looks like an amateur, so will you as the job seeker.