Whenever I meet with a new job seeker, I always ask the same question: "Where are you getting stuck in your search?" It sounds simple, but it can shed quite a bit of light on what's going on.
One of the main reasons why many job seekers struggle is because their resume isn't put together well – even after they've spent hours combing over the details, refining each word, and trying to craft the perfect resume.
The way you present yourself to a hiring manager in your resume has a big impact on your results. First impressions are critical. For example, a typo in your resume can cause a hiring manager to automatically throw it out.
And while I believe wholeheartedly that your resume is a key piece of the job search puzzle, I have to mention a friend of mine who, no kidding, has a six-page resume. Is that ever a good idea? On a number of occasions, I've volunteered to help him rewrite it.
But guess what: Every time I started to reconstruct his resume, he landed a new job. Not just any old job, but a great job at a great company. It has happened so many times that I eventually gave up on helping him rewrite it.
How is it that someone with a six-page resume isn't getting stuck in their job search? The answer isn't as straightforward as it may seem.
First, my friend has developed a specialized skill set. He is focused on being the best at one particular thing. When a hiring manager is in need of his particular skill, he's someone they think of.
There's another thing he does that is just as important as his specialized skill set – if not even more so: He is always working to build and grow his personal professional network. He takes the time to get to know the people he works with. He spends time with colleagues. He meets their families. He flies around the world to attend their weddings, just because he cares about them. On top of doing a good job at work, he does a great job outside of work – and people remember that.
He also doesn't rely on the internet to find his next job. He has built up his contacts over the years. If he wants to find something new, he will reach out to the people he knows in the industry. They know him. They trust him. They want to work with him.
What my friend is doing is playing a different game than everyone else. He has taken his job search offline. He is playing a people-focused game, rather than an internet-focused game. Instead of optimizing his resume, he's optimizing his professional network. And it's working!
Now, if only I could get my hands on that resume ...
A version of this article originally appeared in the Memphis Daily News.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.