Q. I have been job hunting for over a year. I put together my original resume using one of the major online resume services. The result was okay, but I have submitted 30 online applications and am getting little to no interest. I'm not confident that my resume is as good as it could be and I need help. I would like to work with someone experienced who can help me fine tune my resume. I am willing to pay a reasonable price for quality. How can I find a reputable, knowledgeable consultant?
A. Resumes are one key part of a job search, and a successful job seeker needs to have an accomplishment driven resume to support his or her candidacy and showcase his/her talents. But, even the best resume can't get you a job - especially if too few people see it.
Your job search has not been effective over the last year, and we need to assess what may be limiting your success. Doing a recap and assessment of progress, successes and challenges, every quarter of a job search, can help you make adjustments which will get you closer to the offer stage.
Anyone who has submitted an online application knows how frustrating, impersonal and inflexible the process can be. You can go through the entire process and get hung up in the internal system, which can shut down and leave you hanging. Companies are trying to develop better systems, but until then remember; an online application is a first step in the job search process, and not a last step. This method of application is the minimum requirement to get into the process, and a minimum investment yields a minimum response.
You completed thirty online applications and that is admirable. Those applications must have been very targeted. You aren't getting any response, and it may be your resume, but more likely, you need to broaden your search. Were these 30 online applications generated from hours of research and networking? Was the application completed at the direction of people who told you that is how you could get involved in the process? Did you start with a broad target and come down to these bulls eye roles? Or did you generate these positions as jobs you would be willing to accept? How many more positions should you be considering, and how many more opportunities can you uncover if you broaden your targets and your job search methodology?
Applying online is one method, and you can stay online to move into method two - networking - through online tools such as LinkedIn, or Facebook. You can also complete online research of the recruiters who work with people in your area of expertise. Also, you should check all the online job boards including Monster, Career Builder, and MyJSTN.
But, you can't run an entire job search online. We know on average it takes 150 networking meetings, plus the work that surrounds getting those meetings, to successfully land a job. You can choose to hold these meetings over 18 months, 12 months or 6 months. Some of these meetings will be very helpful - others, well, not so much! But, what they will do is help you understand with great clarity what is happening with the kinds of roles you are looking for, and the kinds of companies you are interested in, and who they are hiring.
Job search math says there are typically 200 candidates for every online application. Are you doing everything you can to improve your odds? As you reviewed your tools, you became concerned that your resume could be improved. The New England chapter of the Association of Career Professionals provides a list of members who are qualified to work with you to write your resume: www.acpi-ne.org.
You may find that the benefit of working with a career professional on your resume leads you to look at the many other career coaching services a great career coach can provide. If they can shorten your job search by one month, how much value could that provide?
Whether you decide to use a coach or not, the real hunt begins when you dedicate yourself to the volume of work that needs to be done to be successful, and you do the work you may not want to do, each and every day.
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Meet the Jobs Docs
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.