If your resume doesn’t have much meat on the bone, it doesn’t mean you are doomed to working at Flippy Burger for the rest of your career. In fact here are 5 steps that can help you get a great job regardless of how thin your resume is:
1. Tell A Few Good Stories
Have you overcome work or life challenges? Have you fixed a big problem that others struggled with? Have you pitched in to be of service to others in a meaningful way? Write up a few of your best stories and attach it to your resume. Any high quality person reviewing that is going to sit up and pay attention. This can make all the difference – especially if you don’t have a degree and need to find a good job.
2. Your Unique Positioning Statement – (UPS)
This is what’s called your “elevator speech” – a 30-second response to the question, “tell me about yourself?” The goal is to have a quick, concise, memorable response. Even if an interviewer never asks you this, it’s important to have your answer on the tip of your tongue because it helps you remain focused and clear.
Have a reply that sets you apart from other job candidates. Talk about what you’ve already accomplished, your core competencies and the most important abilities you bring to the table. Just make sure you can deliver this in under 30 seconds partner. Once you come up with your own UPS practice it in front of a mirror and then in front of a few friends. Practice makes a Perfect Pilgrim!
I’ve interviewed several hundred job seekers over my career. Out of all those people, only a handful knew a thing about my company, the competition or my industry. And even those who did, had a very superficial understanding.
Find out what special challenges your future employer faces now or will face in the future. What are they thinking about? What are they worried about? What opportunities do they want to explore?
Don’t ask these questions during the interview. Learn the answers before you meet with your potential new boss and don’t wait to be asked. Write up a fact sheet on these topics and include how you’ll help solve these problems as part of the team. This one pager should be attached to your resume when you apply for the job.
No candidate has ever gone to that length when they interviewed with me but had they done so, they would have been far ahead of the other candidates.
4. Focused Objectives
Your objective is to land a great job – not just any job. That being the case, write down exactly what you are looking for. Describe the perfect situation.
- How big is the company?
- Where are they located?
- What industry?
Get as specific as possible and add that to your package. Assuming you are interviewing for a company that fits your description, the employer will be impressed by how clear minded you are.
5. References With A Twist
Reference letters alone won’t get you a job but the person writing the letter just might. Four out of five people find work through connections they have or create. When you approach people to write recommendation letters, also ask if they know people in the industry you can interview to learn more about what’s happening in the business.
And do a little research before you ask. LinkedIn is a great resource to find out who your connections know. Once you identify good candidates that people in your circle are acquainted with, ask for introductions to those specific people.
I am a huge fan of interviewing others as a way to create a network and I’ve written an entire post on this topic. This is a huge secret weapon that will be a game-changer if you take advantage of it.
Note: While reference letters aren’t that effective, they are still important to have. In other words, if you don’t have them, the employer will take notice. Make sure to get solid references which are signed on official letterhead.
Finding work is a process that can take time. Keep track of your activities and your results. Follow up and be professional at every junction. Send thank you letters to the people who interview you and people you interview (step 4 above). Most important, don’t give up. Remember, you only need to find one job. That’s it. You just need to find one “yes” and every “no” you hear gets you closer to that great job you want.
What other outside-the-box ideas have you used to find work?