Let’s say that you bump into potential employer at a networking conference. Your polite introduction grows into a pleasant conversation that makes both of you laugh out loud. After five minutes of chatting, she hands you a business card and asks for a copy of your resume. She wants your information available when the next position opens up at her company.
The next morning, you send her an e-mail message saying that it was lovely to meet her. You mention that your unique background seems like a perfect match for her creative, deadline-focused team and you hope to have an opportunity to work with her in the future.
Of course, you know better than to put your job search on hold for a single opportunity. But this situation feels promising. Assuming that your resume showcases your stand-out achievements and you follow up with the employer in a positive, appropriate manner, you may be on your way to a new job.
There are several reasons why this interaction went so well. First, you deserve credit for making a great first impression. You started with friendly small talk, engaged in a conversation and made a genuine connection with someone in your field.
The employer deserves some praise as well. She played a key part in establishing a light-yet-professional rapport. And when the conversation ended, she told you precisely how to keep her attention in the coming days.
There is no question that job hunting is much easier when you understand exactly what an employer wants. Sometimes, recruiters and hiring managers are forthright about the information they need. They tell you what to send and where to send it. Other times, you’re on your own to guess what an employer might like to see.
Getting back to basics, here’s a description of the most common job-search tools:
Resume or online profile: A resume is a strategic presentation of your background that accentuates your goals, career history and personality. Start with a summary of your qualifications and flow into a professional experience section loaded with accomplishments. Remember, the more you target your resume for a specific industry or position, the better results you’ll receive.
Curriculum vitae: A CV is an expanded resume used to land jobs in the academic, scientific and research fields. In addition to highlighting your education and work progression, they list publications, presentations, patents and awards. They can be five or more pages in length depending on your experience.
Biography: If you are an executive or consultant, you might need a bio, which is simply a one-page career overview written in paragraph form. When writing your narrative, don’t bore your readers with a tedious account of past jobs. Emphasize your successes in each position. And let your personality shine through.
Some employers may also request a reference sheet or salary history. In some fields, a creative portfolio is required as well.
As a motivated job hunter, you should have well-written materials ready to go at all times. You never know, the person sitting next to you on the bus, waiting for a meal at the lunch counter or throwing a Frisbee at the dog park might be a hiring manager in your industry. Take your job search seriously. Be prepared for anything.
Send your questions to Eve.GetaJob@gmail.com.