Two weeks ago, I talked with an individual who retired several years ago. The job seeker had decided to return to the workforce to offset the impact of the financial markets. This individual had spent the last 25 years of his career with the same company and had not written a resume or gone on a job interview in more than 30 years.
I reviewed the first draft he wrote of his resume and it was terrible. The resume started with an objective statement listing the job seeker’s goals. It said something to the effect that the job seeker need to supplement his retirement income and is looking for a position to do that. This reminded me of the interview from the movie The Wedding Singer. In the scene, Adam Sandler’s character talks about he likes money and is looking for a job where he can get more money. Although his interest is probably the same as many job seekers, talking about how your only goal or concern is to get more money is not a good strategy.
The remainder of the resume wasn’t any better. It contained very little information about the experience of the job seeker. The information he provided was limited to basic responsibilities – the type of tasks anyone that held the job titles would have done. There was nothing to differentiate the job seeker from other candidates.
The bottom third of the resume focused on the hobbies of the job seeker in retirement.I understand why he did this. The hobbies show his current active lifestyle and are the most recent elements of his background. Unfortunately, they do little to show the candidate’s qualifications for the job he is pursuing.
Mistakes like this are extremely common. There are very few people who can sit down and write a great resume if they haven’t written a resume in more than 20 years. Even job seekers with more recent job search experience struggle. It is very difficult become really good at resume writing when it is a skills only used every few years.
The solution very few job seekers adopt is hiring a professional resume writer. The retiree asked me to rewrite his resume for him.It only took a few days and we developed an impressive presentation of his experience and accomplishments. The job seeker also asked for some one-on-one coaching to teach him how to search for jobs on the internet, how to apply and how to write an impressive cover letter.
I completed the resume and the coaching two weeks ago.Earlier this week, the candidate let me know he landed a job that was almost an ideal match to his goals and wrote “There is no question I could not have gotten a job so quickly without your help, thanks.”
It is very rare that a job seeker can land a job this quickly. Few companies have a hiring process this rapid and the economic situation has made it more difficult.The candidate had a couple advantages – he is in a part of the country that is holding up better than most and he was seeking a job a level or two below the last position he held. With these advantages, an impressive resume and a good job search plan, the candidate was able to capitalize on this opportunity immediately.
Whether you are returning to the workforce after years off, or are actively employed and looking for a change – get help with your search.