Why I like my job so much. Writing résumés for good people like Brian, (not his real name) a 64 year old talented and vastly experienced tradesman is the perfect example.
I sat down with Brian at a coffee house to hear his story. He was a guy devastated over a knee jerk reaction to a supervisor being a jerk to Brian one too many times. So..... Brian had up and walked out on a job he had held down for years. He had been an exemplary employee at every job he had ever held.
He sat there, over his coffee, down-dog face, and wondered how big a mistake he had made. Walking out on a job. Something he had never even contemplated before. How hard would it be to find another job at his age? (BTW, he looked not a day over 50: fit, articulate, passionate and as cogent as a college kid.) His biggest worry however, was he didn't have the technology that the new industry he had been in for 30 years was focusing in on. There you have it. Right? He was in trouble!
Far from it.
During the résumé writing process we discussed his strengths. MANY! I pointed out his loyalty over the years. He was reliable, dependable, got along with his teammates, he was known for mentoring the kids, and he was excellent at his trade with a distinguished performance record. He needed to focus on all those good things about him. His value.
But what about his issue with the tech? I reminded him he could read the technology (that the new industry wanted). He couldn't write it, but he could read it and perform well. Basic fundamental wisdom and experience counts for something.
Here's the best part.
Got a call from Brian 5 days after completing his résumé. He's a new man after 4 interviews. Not only is he sure of getting a new job, but he can choose from 4 highly rated companies who want him to join their teams. All opportunities better than the company that ran him off. What do we say about clouds? They all have a silver lining if you just look
It's stories like this that me feel good.
Happy job hunting.
I recently had a conversation with a favorite client of mine on updating a résumé we had written 3 years ago. He had an impeccable sales record and had been a loyal employee for twenty some years. Suddenly he finds himself out of work.
Well, the résumé update dialogue was easy. However, during our discussion, it became clear he was bitter about how he had been treated at a particular past company, which resulted in only a 6 month stay. So his original question: "Should I leave that company short stay off the résumé?"
During our discussion on the résumé update, he would abruptly interject how he had been misled by this sales manager and eventually let go even though he had been a good producer. As it turns out, the entire sales force had been terminated because the newly created department in the company was unprepared for the launch and it had failed through no fault of my client. But he still couldn't get over the fact that he was lied to and let go. His ego was damaged. He was convinced, as a result of his strained relationship with that sales manager, he would probably get a bad review and, and, and on and on and on about how it was unfair and, and, and....
First of all, leave that 6 month job ON the résumé. It was a highly regarded company and even though it was a short stay, the experience was good and enhanced his experience. As opposed to 6 month gap, that would have been worse since he had had another gap earlier on in his career.
Next, and probably more important, he had to realize he needed to let the venom go of his dismissal. How he was holding the feelings of the way he was terminated was oozing from his pores. All his impressive accomplishments were being over shadowed by his bitterness.
After all there was a valid reason why he was let go. In this case, the ENTIRE department was terminated, a blood bath. Everyone knows these stories of wholesale dismissals and recognize how good people get caught up in the bathwater. Interviewers do also.
DO NOT get into the weeds as to how unfairly you have been treated; move on. The more effort to "right-the-wrong" on a résumé or in an interview only instigates more interview questioning on a dark blemish to an otherwise brilliant career.
If questioned about a blemish on your résumé, be prepared with a “SHORT” fluent, without hesitation, stumbling or hem-haws, answer. Put an emphatic period at the end of the answer. Then follow it up, while you still have the floor, with a positive forward looking statement as to how you will be a positive and effective producer for your next company.
Let the venom go!
Happy hunting, Chet
If you're writing your own résumé, beware of using excessive exaggerations, otherwise known as superlative adjectives (busiest, greatest, strongest, quickest) in one form or another to describe yourself. Be very judicious with the words "most" and "least” preceding adjectives (most wonderful, most successful, most intelligent.) Be particularly careful with these intensifiers: perfect, excellent, great. There are many; you know them when you hear them. It's up to others to describe you as such. Generally, not yourself..
And then let’s look at a few of the consistent, overused bloviations that don't get a candidate very far. If these phrases appear (world class, result oriented, dynamic) take them out and find fair and respectable alternatives. Good résumé writers are very careful about allowing clichéd intensifiers into a document.
Tip for knowing if you should use them.
Consider how you speak to co-workers or friends around the water cooler. Would you say something like this? "I'm the most efficient, best prepared, dynamic person in the running." Probably not. So, think twice about using these terms to describe yourself, especially to someone you've never met who might be making a decision whether to hire you or not.