Tuesday, December 16, 2014

So, have you found a job yet?

Author:  Barbara Perone
              Writer | Editor | Reporter | Technical Writer | Proofreader

If you have been unemployed for a while, you know how this question can make you cringe whether you hear it from family, friends, acquaintances, or former co-workers.

To me, that question seems equally as insensitive as asking:

  • When are you getting married?
  • When are you going to have children?
  • Are you dating anyone now that your divorce is final?
  • Now that your pet is gone, are you going replace it?

People may ask these questions out of true concern, but they just don’t understand that they can really hurt, particularly the one about finding a new job. Doesn’t it make sense that if someone found a job he or she would tell you right away? But those with jobs just don’t seem to get it and persist upon asking this question every time they see you. 

My advice – please don’t ask an unemployed person that question, it’s tactless. Instead, ask something non-committal, like, “How are you doing?” 

If someone does ask you the did-you-find-a-job-yet question, how should you respond? One woman came up with a brilliant idea. She designed several T-shirts with the sayings “No, I haven’t found a job yet” on the front, and, “When I find one, I’ll let you know” on the back. 

Some say you should tell the person who asks this question “I’m working on it,” but don’t provide any additional details. Others say you should ask the person a question, such as, “Why do you want to know?” Still others say the best response is to remain silent and change the subject.

If you really want to ask an unemployed professional a question, try this one “Is there anything I can I do to help you find a job in your field?” Believe me, the person will really appreciate being asked that question.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Are Your Accomplishments Legendary?

Author:  Ed Han
              Wordsmith, Recruiter, LinkedIn Advocate, JobSeeker Ally
              Translating business objectives into strategies & tactics

In Greek mythology, Hercules was the son of the Greek god and chronic philanderer Zeus and Alcmene, a mortal woman. More than mildly miffed by this dalliance, the goddess Hera sent serpents to kill Hercules when he was only an infant. Even from his earliest days, Hercules clearly demonstrated that he was destined for great things.

Hercules is best known to modern audiences for his epic Labors, a series of tasks he was assigned as penance for a terrible crime—and again, thanks in part Hera. They have come down to us through legend from slaying the Nemean lion to capturing Cerberus, the three-headed guardian to the underworld. Hercules went on to join the Argonauts, the Greek mythology version of an All-Star game and finished by being elevated to godhood.

It may sometimes be tempting to view oneself as a latter-day Hercules, heroically striving against the mighty challenges an antagonistic figure sets in our way. But the real applicability is in his Labors—specifically, as relates to your résumé.

Imagine what a résumé for Hercules might resemble. What might his professional experience look like?

Hero at Large
Righter of wrongs whose boundless energy brings justice, thrills and spills across Greece. Author of heroic feats of strength poets will recount for millennia. Creator of effective solutions for proverbially thorny issues.

  • Overcame Nemean lion through deployment of legendary strength in service to intelligent tactics, ending the lion’s threat to 500+ local residents.
  • Defeated the Lernaean hydra and its many, re-growing heads with the surgical application of medical best practices, resulting in acquiring a unique tactical asset.
  • Won passage to and from the underworld to capture and subdue the three-headed dog Cerberus, the underworld’s guardian, producing the return of Athenian hero and king Theseus.

Examine the accomplishments, each drawn from one of the legendary Labors of Hercules. Although no metrics are included for any but the first, note that the form of each is in the PAR (Problem, Action, Result) behavioral interview question form. In each case, the chief challenge or problem for each task is listed at the beginning followed by the specific action undertaken and closes with the result. And the result is that Hercules looks heroic

Do the accomplishments on your résumé do the same for you? Shouldn’t they?

At the end of the day, making your accomplishments the stuff of legend will yield a more powerful résumé that will help you stay focused on the big picture: landing your next opportunity'