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Why Resumes Aren’t Quite Dead (Yet)

Why Resumes Aren’t Quite Dead (Yet)
    From Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dreamingofcalifornia/

    Being someone that just entered the job market about 2 months ago after graduation from a four year school, I placed the emphasis on creating a résumé to give to potential employers. In fact, I even met with some of my universities “career development” professionals that help me craft and hone my résumé, making sure that it was the best it could be.

    But according to many of the tech, productivity, and social media experts online, my résumé was all wrong. According to many of these outlets I shouldn’t even be using a résumé at all.

    I consider myself to be a tech-geek type of guy, trying to keep up with the latest and greatest stuff online and in the technology realm. But I notice most times that many of these “experts” online give advice that they and their direct colleagues hold to be true and not what the mainstream still knows to be true.

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    The résumé is dead… sort of

    The social media experts will tell you that the résumé is dead, and that if you are trying to get a job in today’s market that using one will not only get you overlooked, but will almost guarantee you not to get a job.

    That’s not entirely the truth.

    The idea that the résumé is dead could be true in some fields, like graphic and web design, marketing and social media jobs, some development and programming jobs, etc., but to say that it is dead (period) is pretty hyperbolic.

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    So, here is what these experts should really be telling you:

    “A résumé alone is in bad company”

    Why you need more than a résumé

    Listen, if you are going for a position in the aforementioned fields, then making something other than a résumé is the right thing to do. But, if you are in the other 90% of applicants in the world in other fields you have to have a strong résumé along with some other things.

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    I will give an example of something I know the best, software development. When applying for a programmer analyst or developer type of position it’s important to have the following things:

    • A strong résumé. Also ditch the “objective” section, that is so 2000’s. Instead consider using an “executive” or “skills” summary where you highlight what you are the best at right off the top. It helps when HR people are going through hundreds if not thousands of candidate profiles.
    • A creative, well thought out, custom, cover letter. Cover Letters is where you can show some more about yourself that isn’t in your résumé and where you can show your communication skills. Also, if you have heard of the position through someone in the company, this is a good place to name drop. Yeah, maybe a little sleazy, but it works.
    • Information regarding your current or latest projects. Including a link to your site or online profiles at GitHub or Codeplex (remember for software developers) is an awesome way to show potential employers that you are busy and that you really love to do what you are applying for.

    Giving your employer some stuff to pick through rather than just a simple résumé will surely get you noticed. I remember how interested my potential employers were when I had that I wrote about technology and software and included links to some of these writings.

    Remember, it isn’t that hard to stand out from the status quo; anything more than a résumé and dinky cover letter will do the trick.

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    How to hone your résumé to be the best it can be

    Since you need a résumé for most “mainstream” type of jobs, you need to make sure that it is honed and looks awesome. I don’t agree with the “social media experts” that employers will laugh at the idea of sending in a résumé in 2011, but I do agree that they will if you don’t meet the following criteria in your résumé.

    1. No spelling mistakes. Seriously, NO SPELLING MISTAKES. Checking for spelling errors is cheap. If you have spelling errors on your résumé you should consider it to be complete garbage.
    2. No cliché and run-of-the-mill résumé sayings. If you have “strong interpersonal skills, productivity skills, and communication skills”, that’s pretty cool. But don’t write it like that. Cookie-cutter sayings are noticed a mile away by HR professionals. Be creative and avoid clichés like the plague.
    3. Length doesn’t really matter. Many people argue about this but in reality having a two page résumé is pretty good. I don’t agree with the idea of student coming out of college only having one page résumé. To me that means you really haven’t done enough. Coming out of school mine was about a page and three quarters and after talking to a few HR reps in large companies that looked it over, they all agreed that the length was good. Don’t worry about length, worry about content.

    So, the next time you are online looking for a job just see how many companies don’t require a résumé; it won’t be many. Unless they are social media companies. But, if you want to make sure that you résumé is kept up with the times, try to include more than just a simple, dull, boring résumé with cover letters and links to other work online.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Published on January 7, 2021

    How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

    How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

    Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

    If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

    Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

    You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

    When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

    Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

    In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

    Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

    3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

    Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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    1. Respect deadlines
    2. Understand the work-flow plan
    3. Build in time to mess up

    1. Respect Deadlines

    Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

    One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

    2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

    Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

    3. Build in Time to Mess Up

    You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

    Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

    For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

    Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

    This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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    Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

    Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

    Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

    When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

    12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

    Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

    1. Learn to Listen Well

    You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

    Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

    2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

    Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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    3. Follow Rules

    Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

    4. Take Notes

    Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

    5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

    When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

    As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

    6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

    If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

    7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

    English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

    8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

    Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

    9. Minimize Distractions

    It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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    If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

    10. Take Breaks

    It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

    11. Make Time for Reflection

    At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

    12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

    This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

    Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

    Final Thoughts

    Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

    When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

    More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

    Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

    Reference

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