Advice for getting a job (without a perfect resume)
I’m a little jealous of my wife’s perfect resume. She’s known she’s wanted to be a children’s librarian since high school. When you look at her resume, she is the obvious choice candidate since all of her experience is applicable. When she first was applying for jobs as a children’s librarian in Austin, she got an interview for every two jobs she applied for.
Most of our paths are not that linear. Most adults will switch careers 5.7 times according to Zippia. This can leave us feeling unqualified for the positions that we’re applying for or force us to make some pretty tricky career transitions with regularity.
What can you do if you don’t have a perfect resume?
Network like it’s your job.
It’s estimated that 75% of all jobs are NOT posted online. You can often make these career jumps thru the networking you do. That way, they see your resume but know the story behind it and make you less embarrassed by your resume.
When networking, focus on making both peer-to-peer connections as well as hiring manager connections. Your goal is to know multiple people in the company who can advocate for you if your resume isn’t the most obvious choice.
Follow up after you apply.
Yesterday I attended a job fair/career panel with 100+ job seekers in attendance. I had 1 person follow up with me afterwards. One.
Following up allows you to connect with people and share your story to overcome barriers, such as not having the perfect resume.
Do some creative writing.
That experience in fast food was not wasted. It probably taught you customer service skills, to work on a team, manage inventory, and even cash handling. You might have even managed people! Sometimes, it’s all about how you frame your experience.
Have someone else look at your resume.
We’re not all strong writers and sometimes our embarrassment comes from grammatical and spelling mistakes. You can have someone else read your resume and provide editing and feedback–this is a great way to help perfect your resume.
If you don’t have someone who can read your resume, at least read it out loud yourself. This forces you to slow down and catch more mistakes.
Seek out resources.
You don’t have to do this alone–there are many local resources to where you’re at (here are a few Austin resources).
Austin Community College offers a free job skills and strategies class where you can work on your resume and interview skills. Workforce Solutions Capital Area offers free job coaching and various other services to help you get working fast. And join a job club such as Launchpad Job Club where you can meet with peers who are also looking for work–use this to grow together and overcome your embarrassment with a support group.
Own your experience.
What inspired this post is yesterday I was talking with a job seeker who seemed to be embarrassed because of her many years of experience working for a multilevel marketing company. While many may not agree with MLMs business practices, that’s not a reflection on you, the “employee.” I think most of us have experience in an industry that gets a bad rap (I used to work as an email marketer.) Also, you still gain valuable skills in sales, marketing, and recruiting–you’re running your own small business! Own your experience and speak positively about the skills and experience you gained from it 🙂
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