Your Job Search Toolkit — Part One: Do you have the right perspective about your resume?

I have approximately 187 cookbooks. They range from the obscure, “Classic Deem Sum” by Henry Chan and Yukiko and Bob Haydock, to the sublime, Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry Cookbook.” While I have opened all of them at one time or another and cooked from the majority of them, there are perhaps ten that boast oil-spattered pages and hand-written commentary about the success of that dish and/or any changes made. Why? Because they are the tried and true recipes that have never failed me. While I have no problem experimenting on people – even those whom I don’t know well, there are those recipes that are, in effect, my cooking toolkit: the reliable recipes that will impress without stress. The ones that I am so confident about that I can change cilantro to parsley because there’s parsley growing in the garden and I don’t have time to get to the market; the taste may change slightly but I won’t have to duck and cover.

Can we do the same for the job search process? What should be in your job search toolkit and how/when should you deploy those tools? toolkit-resized As an executive recruiter who has read thousands of resumes, conducted hundreds of in-depth phone, video, and in-person interviews, I know what engages me. Over the next several posts, we’ll discuss the tools that you should have at your disposal. We’ll range from philosophical to tactical. Again, these are my opinions, but I know what makes me take notice and if sharing some of these experiences assists you with your career transition during a tough time, then I’m happy to help.

In a previous post, we talked about making sure that you have a point when you’re reaching out about a particular position. Let me leave this first part of the series with a few general comments about resumes.

There’s great debate about whether traditional resumes will become the latest “do you remember when,” victim of technology and social media advances. Will they be replaced by personal websites, social website profiles, and video introductions? ITRHO (in this recruiter’s humble opinion) don’t give up those templates . . . just yet. While those newer tools may enhance a candidate’s story, there’s nothing that will provide rapid insight into what a professional can bring to an organization like a well-designed, well-written resume. A busy human resources, talent acquisition, or recruiting professional will not be able to work too hard to learn about you, so make it as easy on them as you can.

Over the next several columns, we will deconstruct a resume, but closing this post as we started – with the theme of cookbooks, let me leave you with some initial food for thought regarding your resume. Make sure that you’ve got the right perspective.

Your resume should be a living, breathing document, not something that you have to do because you’re looking for a job . . . that makes it a chore. I hear the pain in candidate’s voices all the time: it’s not easy and it’s not fun. Changing your perspective, however, may help.

A regular review of your resume should be something you schedule. Whether it’s weekly or monthly, make yourself a reminder to visit it. Treat it like a hair appointment or a trip to the gym. Put it in Outlook or your cell phone. Think about it . . . if you’re actively engaged in the search process now, you will be receiving feedback. Think about conversations you’ve had that week and the feedback you’ve received. Was there something on your resume that sparked a conversation or resonated well with someone? Highlight that! On the other hand, are there points that drew some scrutiny or questions and should be reconsidered? Change those, as well. Checking in on your resume on a regular basis will keep you on your toes and improve how you’re marketing yourself and how you’re first perceived by your future employer.

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