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Soft Skills Workshop Recap and Resumes Part 3

Where did the week go? It’s nice to be busy with lots of things. At the same time I am running The Opportunities Project and meeting with clients, I am participating in a program called FastTrac NewVenture, which is an initiative of Mayor Bloomberg’s sponsored by the New York City Business Solutions Center, the SUNY Levin Institute, and the Kauffman Foundation. Twenty-nine fellow entrepreneurs and I meet twice a week to fine-tune and revise our business models and plans. It’s a great program and among other things, has me thinking about how some of my rates will change when my first price guarantee comes to an end on October 1. Please keep that in mind if you are considering buying coaching sessions from me!

Also, this week, we hosted our first workshop (woo hoo!) on Building Soft Skills for career and interview success. We started the event with some pre-workshop music from Glee (anyone else excited about Britney vs Brittany?), New Edition, and Eddie Money (?), and then transitioned into discussion and real-life interview practice and coaching. The surveys came back great and I even got an unsolicited testimonial. The Prezi is online for everyone to check out, and we may even have some video coming soon, courtesy of Eve Hyman. I plan on repeating the event in October with a new and exciting partner so more of you can experience it. Thanks to my summer interns who taught me the wonder of Prezi.

More Resume Tips and Wrapping up the First Cocktails and Careers Tour

What a great week! I attended six events where I got the opportunity to meet and help almost 100 job seekers. It was rewarding and refreshing to talk to people who are optimistic in a difficult environment. One of the best events was the Syracuse University Success in the City event (pictured). Every recent graduate I met was well spoken and prepared- kudos to them and the career center. I also had the pleasure of giving a free coaching package to Dave Bell, a 2010 grad with entrepreneurship in his future. I look forward to helping him with those goals.

At almost every event, resumes were a hot topic. So as promised, here is my second tip on resume development. You may think of your resume as just a list of bullet points and accomplishments, but it really should tell a story about you and your career. If it’s just a multi-page document with a lot of buzzwords, you are not going to get very far in your job search process.

We have become overloaded with blog posts and articles about online application systems that search your resume for keywords and throw out the ones that don’t have enough. First, that is an exaggeration. Second, only a small percentage of people ever get hired through a job posting like that so that is NOT where you should focus your efforts. Instead, commit to creating a clear and concise product that you are proud to email to a personal contact you met at a networking event. Third and finally, if your resume does get through an initial automatic review, an interview is not going to be scheduled without a human evaluation for quality, anyway.

If you’re not sure if your resume tells a story, ask a friend or colleague to look at the most current version and ask what stories they would tell about your career based solely what is on paper. Do they sense that you stood out from other people at your level or in your title? Do they get a sense of the career decisions you made up to this point? If not, what could you do to make your resume tell a better story?

Now that our first Cocktail and Careers tour is complete, we are focusing on our Cupcakes and Careers workshop series. Our first one is tonight at the SLC Conference Centers at 352 Seventh Avenue at 7:00PM. We will be talking about how you can build the soft skills that make people successful in the interview and job search process. Hope to see you there!

Sorry, Your Resume Does Matter: Tips from a Recruiter

The universe is telling me that it’s time to get out of my entrepreneur/new small business owner haze for a bit and write a quick blog post on resumes. Three things awakened me to this realization this week.

(1) Everyday I see at least one tweet scroll by or an article in my Google reader that talks about how resumes aren’t all that important because jobs are obtained through networking. I saw one last night that left me both tired and boiling mad at the same time.

Resumes and Networking are not opposite concepts or tools. Hot is to Cold is not the same as Networking is to Having a Great Resume.  When networking, you may meet the best contact ever, but if  he has no job openings, he will want to pass on your resume to someone in his network. His contact will likely put great stock in the personal recommendation, but your candidacy has to stand on its own and that has to be reflected, at least in part, on paper.

(2) Resumes were a hot topic on Monday night’s Twitter #jobhuntchat. Recruiters and HR folks were telling jobseekers that most of them actually don’t know how to do a resume, and the jobseekers were telling the recruiters they have great resumes. What was interesting is that the recruiters were all tweeting the same advice on resumes, but in most cases, the jobseekers  still weren’t convinced to follow it.

BTW- what’s a Twitter chat you might ask? It’s when a bunch of people (sometimes over 100) get together for an hour to chat on a topic that interests them. A host throws out 5-6 questions and you share your thoughts, reply to other’s thoughts, and retweet things you like to your followers. Everything you do, you include the hashtag in the Tweet. Yes, just writing some of these terms makes me feel like a teenager. But participating in the #jobhuntchat and the #genychat have been some of the best hours I have spent in the last week in making connections, challenging my thoughts, and becoming a better career coach.

(3) We had an awesome first stop on the Cocktails and Careers Tour last night at The Village Pourhouse. People brought their resumes and I did some free reviews over a Guinness. Everyone who came was great and super-focused and I have no doubts with some tweaks to their approach and how they express their brand, they’ll be hired soon. But when I was reviewing one resume, the person kept bringing up advice that she had received at a workshop offered by the public library. For example, she was told ALWAYS use an objective, while I was telling her it was taking up valuable real estate on her resume. If all of your experience is in one area and you’re applying for a job in that same area, I know your objective. I also told her to ditch her AOL email address and she was skeptical, again, because this was in conflict with information she had heard at this workshop.  I am not criticizing her- she was legitimately confused.

So I have three resume tips to share this week. The first tip is now obvious, but it’s to defer to advice being given by real people who hire and recruit. They see resumes all day long and can tell you what stands out to them based on evidence. If you’re a college student or alum using the career office, you should absolutely question where counselors are getting their ideas and if they are requesting and incorporating feedback from employers into their advice to you. What they are telling you could be taken from a book published in 1999.  Likewise, other jobseekers or moms and dads may have great feedback, but if it’s different than what an expert is telling you, you should defer to the expert.

I am becoming more and more convinced that jobseeking is like teaching. Everyone experiences it in some form or other (in the case of teaching, as a student), so they think they know how to do it and love to advise others. But hard data shows that only a small percentage actually succeed at either.

And on that note, if you are in New York City and want your resume reviewed by an expert recruiter, come join me on the Cocktails and Careers Tour. Our next two stops (September 15 and 18) are at The Copper Door Tavern. They are excited to have us and have offered us $12 bottomless glasses of wine tonight. Wine makes resume reviews so much easier.