Competing in a Post-Pandemic World: Hire A Professional Resume Writer and Career Advisor
After this worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, job seekers face plenty of competitors in the job market—even though we aren’t in an environment with many job openings. Be prepared now for when jobs you qualify for get listed on job search websites. If you are unemployed, a poor resume will only slow down your job search (or possibly bring it to a grinding halt.) Or what if you’re currently employed and itching to leave your position but afraid to compete in this market? When the job market gets hot again, you will benefit from having an updated resume in hand.
State of the U.S. Labor Market
Currently there is 25% unemployment rate. Do you belong in that group? Or not yet? Well, when you do look for a job, you will have to compete with many other hopefuls. That is especially true if you live in an area hard-hit by COVID-19. According to the New York Department of Labor, unemployment insurance claims increased by 1,398% over the past year for the week ending May 23, 2020. The New York Times breaks it down nationwide: One of out every four American workers has filed an unemployment claim. Time Magazine says the United States could be looking at the next Great Depression.
Knowing all of this is important; dwelling on it and spiraling doesn’t help land you a job. So how can you build a resume that markets you the best way possible for your field? Because whether you like it or not, content is king and your resume is the first piece of content potential employers see.
Using Your Resume to Make a Mid-level Career Change
This is a frightening and discouraging time for many people. One reason is that many feel they must defer their dreams and goals. For instance, you might have been planning a mid-level career change before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and now feel that pivoting to another industry would not be a prudent choice. But what about everything you’ve been working toward in your career for months, years, or possibly decades? There’s no time like the present to make the leap.
At the time of writing this post in early June 2020, quarantine has already lasted two and a half months. Millions of people have pressed pause and sat in limbo for all or part of this period. Meanwhile, life goes on; dreams persist. Will you act on those dreams and continue working toward your goals? Overhauling your resume can help you do that. Leaving your resume untouched will not. A quick update of your resume will not be sufficient and is not much better than leaving it untouched. To be clear, your task is more challenging than that of the average job-seeker. Rise to the occasion and make the transition you want.
Quick Tips for Updating Your Resume (for the Casual Job Seeker)
There’s some relatively easy work you can do on your resume without professional help. Just know that it’s surface-level work and cannot replace the labor that a professional resume writer or career advisor can offer. You can accomplish something, but only so much without professional resume writing experience. At this stage, you should:
- Update all positions. You may have been in the same position for years until you were laid off, furloughed, terminated, or voluntarily quit your job for reasons related to COVID-19. It’s possible you have not updated your resume at all since before starting your most recent position. So hop to it! It does not take much effort or strategy to update the dates and titles on your resume. Did you get a promotion and new title at some point with the company? Maybe more than once? Go from managee to manager? Put it down on your resume. List the duties you had in your new role(s) at the company and list related accomplishments (e.g., exceeding sales goals, winning industry awards, etc).
- Proofread your resume. Read through for careless errors. Read out loud for awkward and wordy phrasing. You don’t have to be a grammar whiz to spot basic mistakes. When in doubt, look it up. Googling specific rules of grammar and mechanics can help you craft a stronger draft for a professional resume writer. Then they can focus less energy on correcting typos and more energy on shaping your resume’s selling power.
Keep in mind that these are quick fixes, not a true overhaul of your resume. It’s good to have this quickly updated resume on hand in case you must apply for a sudden opportunity with a tight deadline. However, in order to make yourself truly competitive in this job market, you need to give your resume more time and attention. See the next section on brainstorming and strategy.
Give Professional Resume Writers Something to Work With
Consider this stage in the process preparation for handing off your resume to a professional. A resume writer cannot know your entire career history and skillset without you telling them. You must get your resume to a point where it’s truly productive for them to use their skills to make it shine. Here’s how to give them something to work with:
- Think critically about hard skills for your resume. Brainstorm all of your marketable skills. This is not the time to be modest. “Hard” skills are much easier to identify than soft skills: software knowledge, language proficiency, equipment or machinery training and operation, and any kind of technical certification. For instance, your industry may expect competitive candidates to have advanced knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite or SalesForce. Employers across industries look favorably upon being bilingual, or at least basic knowledge of more than one language. Depending upon your field, knowing Spanish, Portuguese, French, Chinese, Arabic, Russian, or German can help you broaden your job search. American Sign Language counts, too! Once you take the time to think about it, you probably have more hard skills than you realized.
- Think critically about your soft skills. “Soft” skills are harder to identify because they are not tangible or quantifiable. However, they are still important to list on your resume. Depending upon your field and intended position, they may be absolutely essential to mention. Some examples of soft skills (also known as “people” or “social” skills) include communication, customer service, problem-solving, time management, leadership, active listening, and conflict resolution. Again, just as with hard skills, do not be modest about listing your soft skills. A resume’s primary function is to present and “sell” your skills as a job candidate. An employer will not buy into the idea of hiring you unless you persuade them that you have the proper skillset, or at least the potential grow into the necessary skillset at a reasonable pace.
- Carefully curate your experience. You might struggle with what to list on your resume. In today’s economy, it’s not unusual to work two or three part-time jobs or multiple contract or freelance gigs at once. Similarly, it’s becoming increasingly common to run a side hustle on top of a full-time job. Perhaps you switched fields or worked jobs you feel are irrelevant to your current trajectory or “brand.” Maybe you took “survival” jobs while putting yourself through college or graduate school, but want to distance yourself from those experiences. Use your best judgment in picking your experience and remember these three things: 1. One document does not define your entire identity, self-worth, or capabilities. 2. You can have more than one resume, each document tailored for a specific facet of your professional identity. 3. A professional resume writer or career advisor can guide you in curating your career history.
Hire an Expert Resume Writer or LinkedIn Profile Writer
When it comes to career advisement, don’t delay. There will be a stampede of people all competing for jobs and it won’t be pretty. Stampedes never are! Once you have gotten your resume to a point where you can hand it off, find an expert and trust them to do what they do best. Wondering why you should hire an expert? Here are a few reasons:
- Professional resume writers know the lingo. The average person knows little, if anything, about the keywords and industry language that either make a resume stand out or bury it deep to the bottom of the pile. Many companies use computerized applicant tracking systems (ATS) to hunt for specific keywords and phrases. Often a real human being, e.g., a hiring manager, only looks at the resumes that ATS prioritizes. Professional resume writers know which keywords and skills are ATS-friendly.
- Professional resume writers can summarize. Your narrative may be long and complicated. Another common challenge is struggling to describe what you did at a particular job and what you accomplished while there. The challenge of a resume is that you must be direct and persuasive with a fairly limited word count. Resume writers know how to distill information and present it in easy-to-read career objectives and bulleted points.
- Professional resume writers strategize. All of the work you put into brainstorming and listing gives resume writers material to shape. They can discern how to best present your narrative to potential employers, how to market yourself for a career change, and whether you need more than one resume, Resume writers are more than technicians or grammar nerds; they are storytellers with specialized knowledge and powers of persuasion.
- Professional resume writers are LinkedIn savvy. Resume writers know more than ATS. They know that LinkedIn is a key website for job seekers everywhere. These days, your resume is not just a sheet of paper that lives in a folder you bring to job interviews. Your LinkedIn profile counts for a lot, too. Just as you need professional advice for writing your resume, you need professional advice for writing your LinkedIn profile.
For more information about professional resumes and LinkedIn profile writing services, call (954) 236-9558 or go to www.myexpertresume.com.