Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Professional Advice

I just spent a brilliant hour and a half with the VP of Human Resources for a major retail company based here in Atlanta reviewing my resume. He is a social friend and volunteered to give me some advice on my job hunt and resume/CV. Getting the input and advice from "the other side of the desk" really opened my eyes. Not only did he give me some good advice but he completely rewrote my resume and I can't even begin to tell you what a difference having someone like that write your resume and doing it yourself makes. I, like most others, tried to put everything in two pages going back to when I graduated from high school. Not good!

As he reiterated repeatedly, the goal of a resume is to get a chance to get face to face...get an interview and not relate your life story. Most human resource folks get a lot of resumes and if the first paragraph or so doesn't get their interest you are not likely to hear from them even if you have President of the U.S. somewhere down the page. The goal is to catch their interest and keep them reading. They don't care who you worked for or what you did and when. They want to know what skills and experience you can bring to their organization. My two page resume with job titles, dates and job descriptions is now one page and focuses on my skills and what I can contribute to an organization. My work history is now just a few lines at the bottom. Pretty amazing change and the meeting was a pretty good confidence builder.

So anyway, I need to spend the next day or so making a few minor adjustments and making sure I can "talk to the resume" and then reposting it on all the job sites. The other bit of advice is that with the economy the way it is I might be better off looking for contract jobs. A lot of companies might have a hiring freeze on right now and even be laying off people but they still have pain points in my "sweet spot" that need to be urgently addressed and a CEO might still be willing to spend money addressing something that is keeping him awake at nights even if he can't hire a permanent employee to address them. The reality is that this is what I have actually been doing for my last company for a while. I have been going back to existing customers and they have been paying for my expertise to help them reach the next level or solve specific problems. I can do that.

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