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January 26, 2010

Don't Let Competition Dampen your Energy!

How, Why and Where to Marshall Motivation to Your Advantage in the Job Search

Sure, there are plenty of people looking for jobs.  And yes, the economy has not yet strengthened to the point where employers who downsized are hiring again. However, where there's a job posting, there's a company about to hire someone.  Why not you?

Inspiration for everyone new to the job search...
or frustrated by it:

In his January 18 newsletter, Marc Cenedella, Founder and CEO of TheLadders.com, reminds us that the Internet is now a primary source for job postings, making it incredibly easy to find openings down the street and around the world!  That's good!  And not so good.  Since it's so easy to apply, hiring managers are now flooded with resumes, far more than they can reasonably handle.  Cenedella hits the mark when he advises: 

"Find a way to stand out and get the attention of the hiring managers who need you."

For jobhunters looking in the $100K+ salary range, working with Cenedella's firm offers instant distinction. For jobhunters in all salary ranges, networking is key; applying through a connection can help get your resume in the hands of decision-makers.  Nevertheless...

Whichever route you choose to get it to hiring managers, your resume must command attention
-- even steal it from your competitors!

That's because, amidst this torrent of resumes, hiring managers may glance at yours for as little as 20 seconds.  Will it sink or swim?  Cenedella compares a resume to the hundreds of product catalogs and ads we receive every day.  Do we read the ones with tedious lists of product details?  No, we read those that make us realize we need that particular product.  He posits, "it's the ones that sell you on the benefits to you."  In the same way, he counsels, "your resume needs to 'pop' and make the hiring manager say, 'I need someone like that.' "

That's both the secret and the strategy.

In your resume, start with job titles and profile keywords that instantly bring you and your talents to life.  Then, jettison job responsibilities; recast them in terms of results you've engineered in previous jobs (Translation:the same value you'll deliver for your next employer.)  In each of our resume workshops, we help jobhunters achieve these goals and more - to transform their resumes from boring lists of dates, titles and addresses to vibrant portraits of exceptionally qualified people everyone will want to meet!

If you haven't read blogger Seth Godin's January 24 missive on "The ubiquity of competition," here's a peek. Godin presents this vivid example: "There are three hundred photographers looking for work in a particular specialty.  One puts a creative commons license on his shots in Flickr and they start showing up in many places, from presentations to brochures.  Which of the 300 photographers has won the competition for attention?" His advice:

"Your fair share isn't going to be yours unless you give the public a reason to pick you."

He's absolutely right!  Your resume and cover letter are your first and best chance to give hiring managers a reason to choose YOU!  Present that reason in a way that's impossible to miss.  Steal the attention from the competition to land the interview that will lead to your next job.