Greetings Leaders!

I had the privilege of serving as a coach at a career fair last night and have reviewed quite a few resumes lately. I want to pass on some observations based on common errors that I see people making and will be making several posts on this topic over the next week or so.

Avoid the Shotgun Method

While the shotgun method might make you feel better because it looks like you are doing a lot, your chance of success does not necessarily increase proportionately with the volume of jobs you applied for. The key is to apply for jobs that…

  1. You are qualified for
  2. You have experience at
  3. Are appropriate for your career level

I have talked with quite a few people who are looking for “anything”. From a hiring manager’s perspective, that doesn’t cut it. As an example, I’ve met several experienced managers applying for entry level positions because they think the middle management market is non-existent. One gentleman in particular was a previous director of marketing in the newspaper industry. He is applying for entry level sales positions because his network is pretty small and he doesn’t think he can find what he called “invisible” jobs (jobs that are open but not posted on bulletin boards or advertised). Using this shotgun method, he is getting interviews, but, he is not getting hired. Why? Because he is in his mid fifties, competing against younger people in their 20s and 30s. The perception is that he doesn’t have the energy to keep up with a younger salesman or woman. I know, that is age discrimination. Being over 50 myself, I find that a bitter pill to swallow. But it is reality. Instead of just applying for as many entry level sales positions as he can, he should be building his network and focusing on landing a management position.

While general skills such as management, supervision or administration are easily transferable, they are also very common. To say you are a good manager, is to say nothing. Everyone who has ever managed someone else will be competing with you for “management” positions. To make your resume stand out, look for ways to bring a specific set of skills into focus that someone may be looking for.

All the best!
All the time!
JT

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