Improving Your Resume
You may have considered going to a resume writer to get your resume revamped. Resume writers are great and most of them produce resumes that are better than what the average job seeker can produce on their own. Resume writers are often writing experts and can eliminate presentation problems like grammar, writing style, and spelling errors. A good resume writer will also have copywriting skills, meaning that they know how to present information in a way that's compelling and exciting. However, it's important to keep in mind that not all resume writers know what a potential employer in your particular field is looking for. Especially if your field is highly specialized. If you're going to use a resume writer, consider looking for some of these traits:
- Experience either working in your field or helping a considerable number of people in your field with their resumes
- Experience working as a recruiter
- Experience working as a manager who made hiring decisions
It would be difficult to find someone who had all three of these traits. But the point here is to be conscious about what advice you're taking from a resume writer. If the person doesn't have experience as a recruiter or hiring manager, and isn't familiar with what employers look for in your field, it can still be beneficial to use their expertise on grammar, writing style, spelling and copywriting. The most common flaws in resumes are grammatical and spelling errors. Even without using a resume writer, you can use the Grammar and Spell-check features in Microsoft Word to improve those aspects.
Perhaps the most effective source of advice for improving your resume would come from active hiring managers themselves. If you're going on interviews and getting calls from recruiters but you're not getting hired, consider asking the manager at the end of the interview if he/she would give you an honest assessment of your resume. Many managers pride themselves on being knowledgeable and would be happy to give you some advice. If you get the sense in the interview that the person is not planning to hire you, the objective in asking for feedback is to find out why (i.e. if they perceive you're lacking some skills or other qualifications, your presentation at the interview, etc.).
If you're sending out resumes but not hearing back from anyone, you could try a different tactic. Temporarily change your objective from getting an interview to getting a meeting. The goal of the meeting is to sit down with a manager in your field and ask them to give you some advice about the next steps in your career. Most people are flattered when you ask for their advice. If you approach a hiring manager asking for advice instead of to ask if they have job openings, they'll put you in a different category and there's a good chance they'll set aside 15-20 minutes for a meeting with you.
The easiest way to arrange a meeting like this is through networking with people you know. If that's not possible, you can cold call into companies you respect and ask to speak with the appropriate department manager. I know cold calling isn't easy but this may be the most effective solution for getting feedback about your career direction and how your background is presented in your resume.
About the Author
Scott Brown is the author of the Job Search Handbook (http://www.JobSearchHandbook.com). As editor of the HireSites.com weekly newsletter on job searching, Scott has written many articles on the subject. He wrote the Job Search Handbook to provide job seekers with a complete yet easy to use guide to finding a job effectively.