Archive for June, 2009

Resumes: Paper or Cyber?

June 22, 2009

Several people have mentioned that they heard on NPR that paper resumes are gone.  According to an expert, that document on beautiful paper, carefully folded and clipped to its matching cover letter, belongs to the ages.  What’s going on here?

Several trends have contributed to this mostly-accurate observation.

First, the world of IT has been emailing its resumes for some years now.  They exchange credentials and qualifications with the greatest of ease, and were never known for beautiful papers in the first place.  

Second, the volume of resumes in circulation today would crush anyone’s inbox.  Tools exist which can read, sort, scan, and select the best candidates for the job in a matter of seconds.  

Third, there is a matter of security.  Remember anthrax?  One of the first changes in the twenty-first century has been that of increased security in the U.S. mail.  Mail entering a government building must be decontaminated, and no one can tell you how long this process takes.  If one attempted to mail an application or resume, the job would be filled long before your document reached its destination.  

Is there an exception?  Well, I think that if you are applying for a very small, independent business, very hands-on, which focuses on human relations, such as a wedding consulting firm, day care center, senior center, auto repair shop, or retail shop locally based, a paper resume and cover letter will still be acceptable

New skills are called for in today’s world of job hunting.  Formatting, effective words, and computer software that transmits accurately can be combined with the highlighting of your skills, accomplishments, and goals which always made for a great resume.  Stay up on resume trends for today and tomorrow – you’ll be glad you did.

Fewer workers + more work = your opportunity to shine

June 12, 2009

As a career counselor, I hear it  from  burned-out employees: 

They let go three people and now I’ve inherited their jobs as well as mine.  I don’t think I can do it.

Well, that’s true if business goes on as it did.  You did not suddenly become a party of four.

Now is your chance, though, to shine as an innovative, willing, flexible, valuable worker.  It’s time to schedule a meeting with the boss. Your points to make:

  • I have a few thoughts about our priorities, as I’m sure you do, too.
  • Clients/customers are changing in their habits/needs/questions.
  • Although our turn-around time may have to be lengthened, we can improve our overall customer service by …

I hope you get the idea.  Although the characteristics of your job are unique to you, the opportunity exists for all employed people to shine, learn new skills, and expand their horizons in these challenging times.

What is not on the list for your meeting with your supervisor?

  • Whining,
  • I can’t do this,
  • It isn’t fair,
  • Why me?
  • I’m stressed and I need to get out of here.

What is your immediate goal?  I hope it is to keep your job.  Ask your unemployed friends – it’s a rotten time to be job-hunting.  They would join me in urging you to work harder and smarter at your job, to contribute possible solutions instead of complaints, and emerge from this in a stronger position to move ahead when the recession is over.

If you would like to talk with a career counselor about your situation and how to make the most of it, feel free to contact me by visiting my website at

An Overlooked Resource for Networking

June 5, 2009

What was the last school you attended?  How are you still using it?

If it was college, whether for an undergraduate,  graduate degree, or no degree, does that school know where you are?  Are you in touch with your alumni office? Is that office helping you find a better job?

If you are not enlisting their aid, you are not getting a benefit that you or your parents paid for.  A good placement office should be in touch by email or newsletter or other publication with as many graduates or attendees as possible.  And there should be networking opportunities.  If you live in a metropolitan area, there should be a regularly scheduled meeting for alums in that area.

If there is no such thing, someone needs to start one, and that someone might be you.  Contact your college’s alumni relations to find out.  

Embarrassed about your employment situation?  Many people are.  You may feel like an insecure 20-something again, and it need not be that way.  Yes, there are those who will come and flaunt their success to the group.  Some were always like that and always will be.  But you may reconnect with a friend or two, or make a new one.  You will find people eager to share business cards (don’t forget yours).  And you just never know what might happen.  You can always leave if nothing is happening.

Do you have a story about an alumni gathering that might encourage others?  I’d love to see you write it here.