Living in a time of uncertainty, where we can’t rely on our so-called stable position, can be challenging. People lose jobs and find themselves in difficult positions, but this is something you can’t really influence. What you can do is to focus on your thoughts and actions. Use this opportunity to look for a change in a career that maybe you have been needing, instead of feeling sorry. Evaluate your position by asking yourself these questions:
- Was I happy in my former place of employment? Was I headed the right direction in my career?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of my former job? Make sure to write them down.
- Was I having thoughts of leaving/getting a promotion/changing department already?
Evaluate your answers and the scenario could go 2 ways from here – you were in love with your career and company or you were anyway thinking of changing your role or your employer.
Based on that, ask yourself these questions.
- What are my strongest skills? Why am I a valuable worker?
Spend as much time on this question as needed, because it is so easy to go into the self-doubting or self-devaluing mode. List all your achievements regardless of the size and revenue brought to the company.
- Where do I see myself in 5 years career-wise, as well as on your self-development path?
- What are your values in life?
These 2 questions are important. Companies these days are not looking for the workforce as a faceless mass, rather for individuals and personalities. CEOs and founders tie their personal goals and values with that of the companies so it is important to show that you are not just another Joe from the block, looking for a paycheck. You are interested in your own growth and have already identified the direction you are moving towards. If yours and the company’s paths are matching you will be a good fit.
You may be wondering why I am not talking about the resume yet. Well, here it comes. Imagine how many people are applying for the same position. HR department is going to read through a ton of resumes so you need to make sure yours is short, eye-catching, and presents you in the best way possible.
If you can fit it all on one page – perfect! If you absolutely have to use the second page – go for it, but remember, most of the time it will not be seen. Save the best for last scenario will not work here. Put all the valuable info on page 1 to ensure the employer wants to read page 2 or better yet, call you right away.
If you have had too many jobs and they don’t fit, leaving only the most recent/most relevant experience will be your best tactic.
Forget the boring style of just listing everything one after the other. Be creative! Use bulleted lists (highlight your strengths and skills, or achievements you have discovered answering questions above). Use the space wisely – insert a table and have columns. Dividers can be colored. It will help your resume to stand out. Using a professional headshot is a great way to score extra points!
Show your best.
We have already talked about values that sets you apart from other applicants. What else have you discovered about yourself that will make people line up to hire you? Talk about it. The resume is an ad! It has to talk about your advantages. Include your education, extra courses you are taking, volunteering, side gigs, etc.
After you are done, read your resume and think, would you hire this person? Make necessary adjustments if needed. If you are applying to a few different jobs (say, English teacher and an Interpreter, it may be useful to make 2 separate resumes highlighting relevant skills and experience).
Bonus life hacks.
DO NOT SKIP THE COVER LETTER. And don’t use a generic one – it has to be unique for every job and have specific references, use the name of the company, and the job title. Say you know a language they are looking for or you share the company’s values. Talk about why you want to work there and what will you bring to the team. You definitely want an employer to spend time on your resume so spend time creating a cover letter and showing that it is not a copy-paste from another job.
Reach out to a company directly even if they are not openly hiring. You may have a firm in mind you wanted to join for a while, but they don’t have a career page on their website. That doesn’t mean they are not hiring. Look them up, fund decision-makers, and reach out to them directly via email. Explain why you admire what they do and praise them for amazing service (product, the way they are growing, whatever). Talk about who you are and what you can do to see if they have an opening they are just thinking to fill in, or they may create a position just for you (yes, that’s possible too).
No matter what you do, don’t get discouraged by “no thank you” emails or even silence in response to your letters. Looking for a job is a full-time job itself and it will eventually pay off. Good luck.
Written exclusively for our company by Anna Aguilar