What do you mean my resume sucks?

Resume Writing the Black Art of Job Hunting

So far, I have had 3 separate and dissimilar groups of people say the same thing, my resume sucks. I answer, “This format got me a job 20 years ago, what could be wrong with it now?”, they smirk at me knowingly.

I am being facetious, maybe, however the science and acumen to write the “killer” resume is not currently in my writing capabilities (but it will be very soon). The resume is the key to the front door of any job you apply to (unless you have amazing contacts) and it needs to capture the interest of someone who is going to spend no more than a minute reading it (unless this is an electronic system, like Workopolis or Monster, which has other parameters to keep in mind). A resume must catch the reader’s attention quickly (not like a blog, which can ramble on and on, mindlessly about singing horses, or why you hate the banks or whatever else is on the mind of the blogger). Writing punchy, short and catchy phrases is important, this is one of the reasons your resume sucks.

Job Hunting

Job Hunting in Classifieds? Not any More!
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why Does Your Resume Suck?

Well for the obvious reasons given, that most folks never take a course on how to write a resume.  I will be attending a seminar on this exact skill tomorrow, so I might know more soon, however, a lot of folks that will review your resume, tell you your resume sucks, because, they want to rewrite it for you and charge you $600 for this service (at least).  Another reason they say that your resume sucks, is because they want you to buy their book on how to write a resume, or attend their seminar on how to write an effective resume.

Does your resume suck ? I have no idea, however, remember that if someone tells you that and then wants to offer you an expensive service to fix it, you should wonder what their motives are.

I do know that my resume sucks .

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Tomorrow might be my last day at work

From the good old days at Nortel, when I lived through about 17 separate lay off scares (number 18 got me), the advice is still solid though

That was a comment I got from a former co-worker that I had a chance meeting with last night. Having worked in the world of High Tech for too long you learn how to deal with folks who make those kinds of comments to you, but it still unnerves you knowing how tenuous your career is sometimes.

For most of us (I won’t say all because there seems to be some folks who are unfazed by this kind of comment) after a moment like that we would then go home and wonder, “What would happen if I got laid off?”. Luckily for me I have my growing Financial Blogging business (I really must learn what the correct font is for sarcasm), but aside from that what would I do?

Are you ready?

This is an area which you can ignore and hope you will be OK but it might be better to at least outline somewhere what exactly you would do. Here are some of the points that I have on my list (not all of them financial):

  • Call a lawyer to look at any severance package I was given. This makes a big assumption that my company has not simply folded up the tents and disappeared leaving no forwarding address (and I have not been fired for just cause and thus given no severance either). You don’t have to do this, but it’s never a bad thing to get legal advice of what your options might be
  • Go home and go straight to the Denial phase of coping. I find denial is a lot of fun because you delude yourself into believing you’ll be fine.
  • Take a complete inventory of my spending habits. No money will be coming in for a while, better figure out how to make it go out of the house at a much slower velocity.
  • Make a budget from the assets I currently have and whatever incomes I might receive while I am out of work. If you are going to get a severance package, how long can you stretch it? If you are receiving Unemployment Benefits, how long will they last?
    • Having a budget already would make this one a lot easier to do.
  •  Find my resume that I have kept up to date, and activate my contacts network and get the darn resume out there, and start looking for a job.
    • The corollary here is that your resume must be up to date all of the time (within a month or so). If your resume is over a year old, re-write it right now.

    Remember the sooner you get back to work, the sooner your life gets back to normal, etc., your goal is to get back to work ASAP.

  • Figure out if my skill set might need to be polished up and see if there are training programs (low-cost ones) that I might avail myself of.
    • Ideally you should be doing that at work right now. If your company offers training that will help expand your skill set, why aren’t you using it?
  • Drink a great deal for a day or so. Self pity should be embraced for a short period of time, but after that, time to look for a job.

Yes me wallowing in a little bit of self-doubt here, but sometimes paranoia is your friend in these situations as well.

Did I miss anything?

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How do we measure happiness as part of the economy?

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy is asking that very question. How can the economic measures done include the relative happiness of the populous in the economic growth ?

Interesting question but who cares? If there is economic growth the relative happiness of any single worker has very little to do with any of this, that is the nature of the free market system. I am not saying that employers and governments should not care about happiness of workers in their companies or their countries, what I am saying, is: They don’t. The only time the relative happiness of employees or workers ever comes into play is when there is a scarcity of those employees and then the Employers must then make sure their employees are happy (to retain them).

Case in Point

Over my thirty years working various jobs my best examples of what makes people happy is simply whether they get good pay raises,whether their direct boss or the people they work with are good to work with, and whether they enjoy their direct job. I have been lucky in that most of my bosses have been reasonable folk and the folk I work with the same, so my only “happiness” monitor was and is money.

How do I make more money? I really don’t know. Years when I think I have been effective, I have had little or no pay raise, years where I feel I have failed I have been rewarded highly (and vice versa). If someone could train me in how to increase my Happiness by increasing my income, I’d be even happier. If anyone cares to comment on getting a raise, I am interested in hearing your Happiness and Pay Raise stories.

Anecdote

Two years in a row I went into my “pay adjustment” discussions with my boss expecting raises and both times I got not much:

  • The first year my company had not done very well and the stock had dropped a fair amount and the statement I got from my boss at the time was, “How can you expect a raise look at the stock price?
  • The next year, the same boss and I went into our adjust meeting, the stock had rebounded the company was doing much better and when I asked about why my raise was about the same as the previous lean year, given the stock price had rebounded, I got the statement, “The Stock Price, has nothing to do with your relative pay raise“.

Bosses say the darndest things don’t they?

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