Remember when you were a kid. Bedtime was the worst, wasn’t it. Especially when the lights went out and the monsters came out. Especially the ones that lived under your bed, or in your closet or in the shadows on the wall.
Do you remember screaming for your parents who would slowly and bedrugingly come into room? They would turn on the lights and those shadow turned out to be innocent pieces of furniture, when you looked underneath your bed there were no monsters just long lost and dusty toys and your closet? Only full of clothes.
The job search can feel like those monsters. It can leave you feeling stressed out and discouraged. And can leave you spending hours on Indeed throwing resumes out there in the hopes of finding something as a way to avoid this scary beast that is the job search! But it is the unknown that is so terrifying but once you turn the lights on it becomes less scary. In fact it becomes something manageable and doable.
Knowing the steps and what is to come is key to turn that big scary monster into some innocent thing! Plus moving through the job search in a more structured and intentional way will give you more control over the job search.
That is why I created The Job Search Roadmap. This is a roadmap that goes over every single step of the job search giving you a sense of what is to come, giving you a plan of action to follow and leaving you feeling empowered instead of discouraged.
This step is vital. It allows you to figure you who you are (and what your superpower is) and also digs into your skills, interests and motivations. It then allow you to create your Career Map – what your goals are and what options exist right now to get you on the path to those goals.
2. Marketing Plan
During a job search you become your own product and you are selling and marketing yourself to potential networking connections and potential employers. Think about the message you want to convey. Write your modern, foundational resume and cover letter. Practice your elevator pitch. And don’t forget your social media strategy.
3. The Job Search
A lot of work comes before you even get to this! But all that work helps prepare you for putting yourself out there. Networking is key since three-quarters of jobs are found this way so figuring out any events, setting up some informational interviews, leveraging LinkedIn – all these different networking types will help you make connections. I don’t want you to ignore job boards, just come up with a plan to use them to actually get a job, go to career fairs if it makes sense and get used to dealing with recruitment agencies.
4. Getting Hired
The best part of the process. It all starts with the interview – prepare to answer those two common yet dreaded questions, deal with those nerves and get ready to shine. Figure out your bottom line so when that offer comes in you know how to get your worth.
I’ve made this even easier for you. The most popular free resource I’ve created is a 5 day email course on The Job Search Roadmap. Each day you get an email expanding each step with vital information to get you noticed, creating connections and finding your way to that dream career.
There is so much conflicting information out there about what you need to showcase in your resume. I cut through all the noise to tell you what the recruiter, hiring manager and Applicant Tracking System need and want to see.
Watch the Q&A to find out.
If you are feeling so down on yourself and just can't get started, then focus on celebrating your wins to motivate you to go after your career dreams.
In one of my Discover Your Career Weekly Q&A sessions on Facebook Live I talked about how to get started when you don’t know how to get started.
I chose that topic because I had spoken to a lot of people that week who were just so overwhelmed, who felt that they didn’t know where to begin but it all just seemed TOO much. Too much information to wade through, too many conflicting ideas, too many things on the to do list, too much everything.
When your feelings are in overdrive – you are overwhelmed, stressed out, anxious and depressed, exhausted and just discouraged. When your head is spinning and your self esteem is in a downward spiral.
So I presented a plan in how to take action, 5 steps that will help you figure out a first step:
A gave a list of suggestions for what that one thing could be. And one of those things could be to just write your resume.
But I want you to think differently about it. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and discouraged by all the noise out there – what format, how to optimize it, how to make sure it gets you the interview – and instead just think about this as a first draft. You can worry about all the rest later.
So for the first draft – use it as an opportunity to build your self-confidence up. This is a chance to celebrate you, your accomplishments and all the amazing things you can offer to a potential employer.
So there are a few exercises I want you to go through that will not only get you great content for your resume but will also help you feel ready to take on the world!
WRITE A LIST
This is a list of all the ways you made a difference, all the accomplishments you have under your belt and all the things you are really proud of doing in your career.
I only want you to focus on the last 2-3 roles and think about at least 2-3 wins for each. These accomplishments could be ways you reduced costs or brought in money, improved employee morale, helped the company go through a major transition phase (technical implementation, process improvements, merger & acquisition), or how you made the lives of others run smoother (clients, customers, team members or bosses).
“But I don’t have any accomplishments”, is something I hear all the time. All jobs have accomplishments! Yes there are jobs out there that are accomplishment based (ie sales, project management) but don’t discredit yourself. Task oriented jobs all have those times – when it is expected that you do the seemingly impossible! Sometimes the accomplishment is just being so good at your job that your error rate or time to complete are amazing.
BRAG, BRAG, BRAG
I know so many of us our conditioned that it isn’t okay to brag. But honestly now is the time! Take each of those accomplishments and just start bragging away.
One way to really get some robust stories is to approach it as you would preparing for an interview. Use the acronym BAR to write out your stories. Background – what was the situation (problem, project, job aspect), your role and who you worked with. Action – what are the steps you took throughout the situation (steps to solve, project lifecycle, etc). Result – what happened? Use numbers here whenever possible to quantify but also think about it terms of Improving, Increasing, Reducing.
I also suggest that you do this in a separate document than your resume that way you can save it for your interview prep. Talk about using your time wisely.
PARE IT DOWN
Now you aren’t going to use the whole story for each of your accomplishments in your resume so now it is time to distill it into 1-2 bullet points.
Start each bullet point with an ACTION VERB and ensure that you are using keywords like skills, knowledge and experience that really show you off.
WHO YOU ARE
Read through those accomplishments. Think about how you want to build on those accomplishments. Now you are ready to write your objective/profile statement of who you are, what you bring and what you want.
NOW YOU ARE READY
You have now completed the hardest part of the resume! So you are ready to find a snazzy template that you like and that will get past those Applicant Tracking Systems (here’s a hint: one with colour but no tables).
Most of your content is written, now all you need is to make sure the resume is filled will all the right components. And I have you covered for that. Get my free resume checklist – a handy way to make sure you are showcasing your worth without any added stress.
The resume feels like this impossible thing sometimes. Especially when we are feeling lost and stuck and not feeling so great about ourselves! But going through these exercises will not only give you WINNING resume content but will also get you ready to go out there and sell yourself!
Don’t forget to get my THE ULTIMATE RESUME CHECKLIST, make your live easier with this to guide you.
Sara Curto, Career Management Specialist. Working with you towards Career and Job Search Success.
Dream Career Planner
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