EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Job leads can be a tremendous resource for you, even if you aren’t interested in them.

I know it sounds silly, but although most job leads aren’t going to interest you for one reason or another, it can still pay to read them. The most obvious problem with specific job leads is that they aren’t in what you define as an acceptable geographic region.

That said, job leads are targets. By taking each and every job lead that you find of interest, geography aside, printing it out and studying it, you can easily advance your job search.

In the “bad old days” of 1991 and 1992 when I was unemployed, it was still traditional to take your finished resume down to the printer and have 500 copies made. (You also needed envelopes. Did I mention stamps?) In today’s world, we only print enough copies for the day, and then only if we are going to be out of the office.

In today’s glorious electronic world you have the luxury of being able to constantly revise your resume in minor and major ways EVERY day. While I don’t recommend a total rewrite every day, I do recommend frequent reviews and touchups as often as you can. Especially, if you can do it with new information and ideas. This is where those job leads in which you have no interest can prove to be most valuable.

Take the ones that have caught your eye and really take them apart. What skills are they looking for? What are the must haves? Now, take that old resume of yours and see if you are spelling out your capabilities.

Resume writing goes through a process. Step one is to document everything you have ever done that might be of interest to anyone with a checkbook to pay you. Step two is to polish the prose so that you appear to be able to put a coherent sentence together. (I trust you will be able to fool them.)

Step three is to turn your experiences into a selling document. This is indeed the hard part. To sell into any job you have to be smart about how you present your credentials and be willing to tone down parts never mentioned in postings and build up minor accomplishments that are in hot demand. Even a change in prioritization of the elements of your resume may be in order.

Our goal at all times within the bounds of honesty is to give our “customers” exactly what they want. My working assumption is that if a position sparked your interest, there must be something within you that can work for that opportunity. You just have to put your thinking cap on and figure out what it is.

Although no one is expecting you to become a speed typist or a computer expert, your opus needs to be built in a way that you can change it rather dramatically and not be left with lines that bleed onto unintended second lines. Dates that aren’t properly right adjusted and who knows what else. You are going to be spending valuable time fixing the content, but the mechanics of your resume can’t leave you looking foolish.

If you find yourself at a loss and can’t decide if your resume “works,” find a friend to help you. As long as you aren’t asking them to do it for you, I am sure a fair exchange of ideas will more than settle the bill.

A well written resume isn’t enough. It also has to talk to the people in their language who might be foolish enough to engage your services. Reading with great care the job descriptions you clip out for this purpose will strengthen your understanding of the job market and your skills in a way no other method can beat.

Regards, Matt

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