Staying Motivated
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January 11, 2011

The Secrets to Staying Motivated in a Stressful Job Search

Secret #3: Experiment with Change


(Especially With Ideas from Expert Sources!)

 
You are one in a million, no doubt about it!  You possess a rare blend of skills and special abilities.  You have experience and training few others can boast.  Your personality, sense of humor and work ethic are well respected and you've been recognized with honors, awards and distinctions.  Yes, indeed, you are one in a million.
 
So why are you still searching for a job without getting the offer you desire? 

One major reason could be precisely that 
you are one in a million. 

One in a stack of a million resumes sitting in the inbox of the recruiter or hiring manager -- the individual you're counting on to spot your unique credentials, contact you to schedule an interview, be impressed enough to champion your candidacy, elevate you up the management chain until you reach the decision-maker who will hire you. What's more, if you apply online, being one in a million is practically a given.  The Internet has made it extraordinarily easy to find and apply for job openings.  As a result, record numbers of people are responding to postings for which they are not qualified... sometimes not even remotely. And that makes it tougher than ever for scanners, human and electronic, to sift through them for gold (that's you!)

No wonder you're feeling frustrated and unmotivated.  Searching for a job during one of the most challenging times in history means that you are wrestling an unprecedented number of opponents. 

That's not your fault, of course. 
But that doesn't mean there's nothing you can do about it!

Here are some tips to help ensure that your resume stands out in that stack of resumes vying for attention: 

1.  If it's not working, it's broke...if it's broke, fix it.   

The #1, most critical fact to accept is that, if it hasn't worked so far, your resume is not making an impact -- so DO NOT continue sending it out as is.  It's not generating the interest (or even curiosity) required to appeal to recruiters and hiring managers.  It may not be attracting their attention at all!  Clearly, it's time to make a change.  What to change?  You didn't think I was going to leave it at that did you?  Read on!

2. Make sure you LIVE in the most important "real estate" on the page.

Internet marketers and website designers call it "above the fold" and they make strategic use of it to sell.  So can you. On your resume, that's everything that appears from the top to the middle of the first page (where you would "fold" it in half.) So use it to come alive! Here's how:

  • Include your name in a larger font size and your contact information in a smaller size.
  • Include job titles or industry specialties that suggest what you do as a heading above your profile. 
  • Include a profile or branding statement that tells in narrative form the story of you that will be proven true by a quick glance at the facts and figures below. 
  • Include a listing of special skills, certifications, sample clients, awards and technical proficiencies -- but only if they are noteworthy, not routinely expected of someone at your level. 
  • Finally, be absolutely certain that the first job title, company name and bullet point are impressive because that may be as far into your resume as your reader gets.  On a positive note, done well, that very well may be all your reader needs to see! 
3- The Ahhhhs Have it!

The debate rages on over whether a resume should be one page or two.  Scientifically speaking, until you land a job, you can't know the answer that's right for you.  However, you if haven't yet landed a job, you certainly know what is NOT working.  Take a minute now to check your resume.  Ask yourself: 

    • Are your side margins smaller than an inch?
    • Have you used a font size of 9 or less for important information?
    • Is every line single-spaced?
    • Have you single-spaced between sections or individual jobs? 

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you've probably squeezed too much onto a page.  A crowded page is hard to read, reducing the likelihood that it will be read at all. Worse, it can actually repel a reader, sparking a disastrous reaction such as,"With so many resumes to choose between, why should I ruin my eyes reading this one?"

Easy Solution: Encourage your reader to say "Ahhhh...now this one looks intriguing." Edit your text to make it clearer, tighter, shorter, more concise. Reformat your layout to make it appear easy to read, easy to skim and easy to understand. It usually pays to enlist the help of an experienced colleague or a professional.  

These are 3 ways to improve your resume immediately!  Try them one at a time or all at once.  Then send out your new version and see what happens.  If you don't get a response, strengthen it further. 

More than likely, you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover that your efforts produced the image you want: a one in a million candidate any employer would be fortunate to hire!