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VOL. 131 | NO. 39 | Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Angela Copeland

Beyond The Resume

By Angela Copeland

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Resume writing can be one of the most frustrating parts of the job search process. Many job seekers focus close to 100 percent of their energy on perfecting their resume. 

And, it makes sense. We’re often squeezing up to 20 years of work experience, our education and any community involvement onto two pages. We want to ensure the entire document is accurate, easy to read and free of typos. 

We are also taught to simply apply online. If we’re the right fit, someone will call us. In the Internet world, our resume can feel like our voice. It’s what tells our story and communicates our successes. Conventional wisdom would teach us that the better the resume, the better our chances are of landing a job. 

Unfortunately, focusing on the resume alone isn’t the answer to our job search frustrations. Very often, when we apply online, our resume is never even seen by a real person. It’s seen by a computer. That computer may or may not ever pass our resume along to the hiring manager. And, it isn’t necessarily because we aren’t a good fit.

What I’m suggesting isn’t that we give up on the resume altogether. It should be polished. We should be proud of it, so we can share it when asked – or send it when we’re applying for a particular position. But, once it’s completed, we should move on to the bigger, more impactful parts of our job search. The most important part of looking for a job is, without a doubt, networking. 

Rather than spend hours each week perfecting the bullets on your resume, spend that time researching professional groups of interest to you. Also look into clubs related to your hobbies, where you might meet people you would not otherwise run into. Attend these networking events and put forth an effort to connect and get to know new people.

Spend time perfecting your elevator pitch. Think carefully about how you talk about yourself and what you’re looking for. Be specific. It’s easiest for contacts to help you find a job when you’re clear about what you want in a future career. 

And, most of all, don’t go into every situation with a specific goal in mind. Don’t ask every person you talk to if they will get you a job. Volunteer your time, even if it may not end in a new position. Have coffee meetings with others, even when they aren’t hiring. Look for ways to give back. Reconnect to those you already know. 

One of the best ways to build your network is to approach people with a genuine interest, and no strings attached. Nobody wants to feel like you’re only friends with them in order to get something out of them. Treat others in a way that you would want to be treated. And, when someone does ask for a copy of your resume, have one available to provide that you can feel proud of – even if it’s not perfect. 

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com.

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