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Change Your Resume for a Great 2009 – Part I

Change Your Resume for a Great 2009 – Part I

resume

    2009 will be a time of change.  Included in those changes for many will be a job change.  In tight economic times, job search skills become even more important.  You need to stand out from the crowd.

    There are two ways to stand out.  You will stand out if you do things that make you look ridiculous, and you will stand out by doing things that make you look remarkable.  Ridiculous or remarkable: both cause you to stand out, but one gets you the job and one doesn’t.

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    Naturally then, you hope to be seen as remarkable.  That means you need to create a remarkable resume; remarkable, but not ridiculous.  This three-part series will help you prepare a remarkable resume.

    1. Understand the goal of your resume

    The goal of your resume is simple – to get an interview. Your resume will not get you the job, only the interview.  Remembering that goal will help shape how you write your resume.  You are not trying to get everything across.  You are not trying to tell them every reason they should hire you.  You are trying to get across enough information to get the interview – and that’s all.

    2. Customize your resume for your job target.

    In other words don’t use the same resume for each and every job. Employers can easily tell when you use a blanket resume that is the same for each and every job.  Instead you need to use a resume targeted directly for the job you are aiming for. This may mean completely different resumes for each job. For others it may mean a separate resume for each categories of job; for example one resume for all “cook” positions that you apply for.

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    3. Understand that your resume will only be scanned initially.

    Your resume needs to catch attention quickly.  Just like a newspaper aims to catch your attention with stories “above the fold”, the top half of the first page will make or break you. If you are not careful, your resume could be filled under “G – for garbage” before the potential employer even starts to read it.  Make sure the information on the first half of your resume looks good and instantly shows what you can bring to the employer.

    4. Your resume is an ad.  You must stress the benefits you will bring to the employer.

    Just as in good advertising, your resume must stress the benefits. The places you have worked and things you have studied are your “features”. You need to use your features (experiences) to show how they will allow you to benefit your potential employer.

    5. Focus on the employers needs, not on your own.

    In order to understand the employers needs you need to learn as much as you can about the job you are applying for.  Start with the job posting itself.  This job posting will include a job description and job specifications.  Make sure your resume clearly connects your skills to the job specifications.

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    You can go the extra mile by finding someone who works with your potential employer and talk to them about the needs of the company. Use your personal network to make these kinds of contacts.  Any extra information can be used to further customize your resume to the employers needs.

    6. Ask yourself: “What about me makes me the perfect candidate?”

    Asking yourself this question can help you understand how to present yourself on your resume.  The answer to this question is what you want to get across first.  The better you know the employer, the better you will be able to know why you are the perfect candidate for that job.

    7. Put name and full contact information first

    Perhaps it is obvious, but the first thing you need to put on your resume, at the very top, is your name and full contact information.  It is amazing how many resumes have very little, or even incomplete, contact information.  You want to be prepared for any way that the potential employer may want to contact you – remember your goal is simply to get the interview.  Include your mailing address, phone numbers, and email address.

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    8. Use a professional email address and voice mail service.

    Be sure your email address is professional looking. Ideally use an email address that includes your name.  It is amazing how many resumes use an email address that includes a nickname as their contact information.  Email addresses such as “skiergirl” or “skaterboy” or even “successguru” don’t sound professional to someone making hiring decisions.

    Also, ensure that any voice mail service you use on these phone numbers includes a professional greeting.  And don’t use a phone number where someone else will be taking messages for you.  Be sure that either you will answer the phone, or it will go to voice mail.  You don’t want to risk someone missing the message or sending across the wrong signal to a potential employer.

    9. Lead with a summary paragraph.

    Following your name and contact information you want to lead with a summary paragraph.  The summary paragraph is where you should present some of the key benefits that will show the employer why you are the perfect candidate for the job. This paragraph should only be about three or four lines long and should be in a formal third-person tone.

    10. Know the 3 Types of Resumes.

    There are three general types of resumes.  The first is chronological.  A chronological resume presents your work and educational experience in chronological order with the most recent first.  A second type is a functional resume which groups your experience based on job categories.  Finally you can use a combined style.  A combined style generally uses functions as the overarching pattern, but follows a clear chronological order within the functions.  For most people with a variety of work experiences, the combined approach will be the best. It will provide the most opportunity to customize your resume for your employer.

    Hopefully these ten points will help you get started on writing a remarkable resume that will help you get the interview you desire.  Part II will continue to help you with what to include on your resume and where to put it.

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2020

    When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

    When Should You Trust Your Gut and How?

    Learning how to trust your gut, otherwise known as your intuition, can keep you safe. Your gut can guide you and help you build your confidence and resilience. My own gut instinct has saved me on more than one occasion. It has also guided me into making sound career choices and other exciting, big decisions. I’m also aware of the times when I’ve gone against my instincts and really regretted it later, wondering why I didn’t tune in to that valuable internal voice that we all have within us.

    In this article, we’re going to explore why and how you should listen to your gut, as well as some concrete tips on how to make sure you’re making the most out of your gut instincts.

    How to Listen to Your Gut

    The key when making any big decision is to always take a minute to listen well to yourself and your inner compass. If you hear your actual voice saying yes while inside you’re silently screaming no, my advice is to ask for some time to think, or simply take a breath and pause before the yes or no escapes your mouth.

    Use that moment to breathe, check in with yourself, and give the answer that feels congruent with who you are and what you want, not the one that always involves following the herd. Trusting your gut means having the courage to not simply go with the majority. It can be about holding your own. Here’s how to hone that skill for yourself and reap the rewards.

    1. Tune Into Your Body

    Your body gives you clues when you’re faced with a big decision. There are many visible and obvious symptoms that we feel in uncomfortable situations. Our body’s reaction is often something that we might try to hide, for example, blushing, being lost for words, or shaking. There are things we might do to try and hide that physical reaction, whether it’s wearing makeup, having a glass of wine or coffee to perk us up a bit, or learning to control our nerves.

    However, paying attention to your body when you experience these feelings of anxiety can teach you so much and help you to make sound choices. Some people will experience an actual “gut” feeling of stomach ache or indigestion in an uncomfortable situation.

    Ask yourself what’s really going on here, and explore what is happening behind your body’s response to the situation. What can your reaction or instinct teach you? Understanding that can be a clue and can help you either learn something about yourself, the situation, or other people. The answers are often within us.

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    Sometimes we’ll get this “something’s not right here” feeling and cannot quite put our finger on it or explain it. That can still be incredibly useful and really guide us away from danger, even if we don’t know the reason.

    In his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell also argues this, making the point that sometimes our subconscious is better at processing the answer we need, and that we don’t necessarily need to take time to collect hours and hours of information to come to a reliable conclusion[1].

    2. Ensure Your Head Is Clear Before Making a Decision

    Energy, sleep, and good nutrition are so vital to nourishing our minds, as well as our bodies. There are times when your instinct could lead you astray, and one of these is when you are hungry, “hangry” (angry because you’re hungry!), tired, or anxious. If this is the case–and it may sound obvious–do consider sleeping or eating on it before making an important choice.

    There is, in fact, a connection between our gut and our brain[2], which is where terms like “butterflies in the stomach” and “gut-wrenching” originate from. Stress and emotions can cause physical feelings, and ignoring them might do more harm than good.

    3. Don’t Be Afraid to Say What You Think and Feel

    Listening to your gut and really paying attention to it might involve standing up and being counted, calling something out, or taking a stand. As someone who works for myself, I’ve become used to following the less-travelled road, and that’s given me the chance to strike out on my own in other ways, too.

    As they tell you in the planes, “put your own oxygen mask on first,” and part of that self-reliance is knowing what you really want and like and what is safe and good for you, including what resonates with your personal and business values. Making good decisions with this in mind means making choices that do not go against your own beliefs, even when it may mean taking a stand. This is part of trusting yourself and trusting your instincts.

    This does not always mean taking the “safe” option, although keeping ourselves safe is an important part of the process. This is how we learn and grow, by following our own inner compass. When you do take risks, go outside of your comfort zone, or choose the less popular option, spending some time researching the facts can stand us in good stead, too.

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    4. Do Your Research If Something Feels Off

    As well as listening to our instincts, we can also back up the evidence for our chosen course of action before taking the leap. I had a gut feeling about the need for a learning and development network when I noticed my clients getting stuck with the same problems. I set up and now run such a network, but instead of simply going for it, without evidence, I followed up on my instinct with research.

    Having confidence in your gut instinct through these kinds of tests can help to minimize your risks, as well as spur you on. It will encourage you to trust your gut again in the future and trust that you are an expert with foresight and experience. You are!

    5. Challenge Your Assumptions

    When you look at the assumptions your making, this could be the clue to mistakes you are making.

    In order to check that our instincts are wise, we need to ask ourselves what blanks we might be filling in, either consciously or unconsciously. This is true not just when it comes to our own decision-making. It’s also true when we are listening to someone explain a problem or situation, and we’re about to jump in and give some advice. If we can learn to be aware of our own assumptions, we can become better listeners and better decision makers, too.

    A useful tool to become more aware of your assumptions before making a final decision is simply to ask yourself, “What assumptions am I making about this situation or person?”

    6. Educate Yourself on Unconscious Bias

    Unconscious bias is something we all have, and it can trip us up big time!

    There is a vital caveat to bear in mind when wondering about whether you can trust your gut and the feelings your body gives you, and that’s having an awareness of your unconscious bias. Understanding your own bias–which is hard to do because it literally does happen in our subconscious–can help you to make stronger, better, decisions instead of re-confirming your view of the world over and over again.

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    Bias exists, and it’s part of the human condition. All of us have it, and it colors our decisions and can impact on our performance without us realizing.

    Unconscious bias happens at a subconscious level in our brains. Our subconscious brain processes information so much faster than our conscious brain. Quick decisions we make in our subconscious are based on both our societal conditioning and how our families raised us.

    Our brains process hundreds of thousands of pieces of information daily. We unconsciously categorize and format that information into patterns that feel familiar to us. Aspects such as gender, disability, class, sexuality, body shape and size, ethnicity, and what someone does for a job can all quickly influence decisions we make about people and the relationships we choose to form. Our unconscious bias can be very subtle and go unnoticed..

    We naturally tend to gravitate towards people similar to ourselves, favoring people who we see as belonging to the same “group” as us. Being able to make a quick decision about whether someone is part of your group and distinguish friend from foe was what helped early humans to survive. Conversely, we don’t automatically favor people who we don’t immediately relate to or easily connect with.

    The downside of that human instinct to seek out similar people is the potential for prejudice, which seems to be hard-wired into human cognition, no matter how open-minded we believe ourselves to be. And these stereotypes we create can be wrong. If we only spend our time with and employ people similar to ourselves, it can create prejudices, as well as stifle fresh thinking and innovation.

    We may feel more natural or comfortable working with other people who share our own background and/or opinions than collaborating with people who don’t look, talk, or think like us. However, diversity is not just morally right; having a mix of different people and perspectives that can be genuinely heard is also a valuable way to counter groupthink. Diversity stretches us to think more critically and creatively.

    7. Trust Yourself

    It is possible to learn how to truly trust yourself[3]. Like any talent or skill, practicing trusting your gut is the best way to get really good at it. When people talk about having great intuition or being good decision-makers, it’s because they’ve worked at honing those skills, made mistakes, learned from them, and tried again.

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    Looking back at decisions you’ve made, what you did, what the outcome was, and what you’ve learned can help you become a stronger decision maker and develop solid self-trust and resilience. Making a mistake does not mean you are not great at decision-making; it’s a chance to grow and learn, and the only mistake is to ignore the lesson in that experience.

    If you are in the habit of asking others for their input, then the trick here is to choose your inner circle wisely. Having a sounding board of people who have your best interests at heart is a valuable asset, and, combined with your own excellent instincts, can make you a champion decision maker.

    The Bottom Line

    The above tips are all actionable and easy to start immediately. It’s simply about switching your thinking around, slowing down, and taking great care of this amazing machine that is your body and mind!

    Learning how to trust your gut is one of the most fundamental ways to make decisions that will help you lead the life you want and need. Tune into what your body is telling you and start making good decisions today.

    More Tips on How to Trust Your Gut

    Featured photo credit: Acy Varlan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: Learn to Trust Your Gut Instincts: The Science Behind Thin-slicing
    [2] Harvard Health Publishing: The gut-brain connection
    [3] Psych Central: 3 Ways to Develop Self-Trust

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