Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Alex's story - the results of a good resume

When I first met Alex (fictitious name), he was absolutely convinced he was unemployable. The ream of meticulously compiled spreadsheets, which slid out of his folder and onto the desk, was testament to over 200 unsuccessful job applications made within the preceding 18 months, and without attracting any interviews.

My client had recently secured his PhD in IT, had over 15 years extensive local and international experience in education, new business development and management. Needless to say, the months of fruitless job searching, whilst in the last throws of completing his doctorate, had taken their toll.

Convincing Alex on a structured course of action was no easy task, his self-confidence was low, but through discussion, and guiding his thought process to contemplate and reflect on specific areas of his career, then further exploration of those chosen experiences, a dynamic, strong and exciting story emerged.

The resulting tightly honed, brief résumé, with a covering letter of application, showing a few carefully chosen career achievements and results, catapulted Alex into the job market at lightening speed. Within two weeks he had two significant job offers in the corporate and tertiary sectors.

It is important to note here, that at both interviews, the position, which Alex had applied for, was superseded for a far more senior position.

Careful preparation and discussion about important aspects of Alex’s career and the results he obtained, boosted his confidence, promoted him effectively to prospective employers and recruiters, sharpened his focus, which also prepared him for the interviews. So much so, that although still tentative at interviews, he made such an impact, as to be considered worthy of a higher prize.

The work that went into the preparation of the résumé, the client collaboration, plain speaking and writing, exploration of achievements, lateral and positive thinking and the choosing of relevant facts and results got Alex both jobs.

It’s a ‘whole deal’ situation! We cannot assume that only one or two things get a person the job. We need to look and think more holistically about our clients and their objectives in order for them to win. This way we help them to get noticed with recruiters and prospective employers.

(Name and some details have been changed for privacy reasons).

What makes a good resume?

As a writer with nearly 20 years Industry experience, 16 years of which have been spent writing for clients with an extremely diverse range of employment needs, my experience shows that the results obtained from an effective résumé,  start a long time before the delivery of the actual document on the recruiter’s or employer’s desk.

It’s all about content; concise, defined, interesting information which will captivate and maintain the reader’s interest. As résumé writers we need to start at the source and gain critical information from our clients – the job seekers.

It is our clients who have the answers!

By conducting thorough interviews, with well considered and relevant questions related to a person’s career, the résumé writer will obtain the critical information required by the prospective employer.

A recruiter can not be expected to know or understand all the nuances of the myriad of professions and jobs that he/she will be expected to recruit for. It is an impossible request for even the most experienced. However, the mechanical engineer who has twenty years Automotive Industry experience and wants a similar position or even the next step up, with another car manufacturer does! Ask the right questions and you’ll uncover what is most important. Consolidate and craft the information, add a more finely tuned covering letter of application and the impact and ‘reader captivation’ should be secured within 15-20 seconds. 

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Are covering letters for job applications important and why?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

A covering letter of application or letter of introduction is very important. Why? Because a well-crafted covering letter will get the ‘big-picture’ and your ‘critical information’ across within two or three paragraphs (about 10-15 seconds), and engage the reader.

Statistics show that a job applicant has the first six lines (five to ten seconds) to make an impact. The covering letter is the best way to make that impact.