Perky Perspectives

A positive view from young professionals building their careers


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That Darn Resume

What a rascal that resume can be. Love it or hate it, you need it. It’s what a recruiter or hiring manager will quickly scan to determine in a matter of seconds whether or not you are qualified for the job. Knowing this, it was one of the first things I focused on at the start of my job search. Even though I hadn’t looked at my resume in over 3 years, it was easy to find. My computer hard-drive is kind of like library data-base, as opposed to a hoarder’s basement. Things have their places. I quickly found and opened the document and skimmed what I was working with [insert twisted, scrunchy, sour face here]. I’ve gotten jobs based off of THIS? It was prehistoric. I had some work to do.

Anyone who has sought help on resume-writing through a website, an organization, or a consultant knows that the world does not lack an amount of opinions on how to write a stellar resume. 10 things you should do this, 15 mistakes to avoid that, and so on. The two biggest takeaways that I have learned and applied to my resume throughout my job search are this: focus on results and tailor your resume to the job you’re applying for.

A big mistake I had made in the past was that my work experience detailed my responsibilities and duties within a role, instead of the results that I achieved. I knew that mumbo jumbo wasn’t going to fly with any potential employer. Solution: replace non-descriptive activities with quantitative results that I achieved within the role. Here are some examples that are on my master resume under my experience as a community economic facilitator in the Peace Corps:

– Secured and managed over $10,000 in local, state, and international grant funding (Results, nice!)

– Developed local workforce skills through the instruction of over 600 hours of business, ICT, and ESL skills (Quantitative, hoo-rah!)

– Consistently demolished by 10-year olds in evening soccer matches (Wait, what?)

Another mistake I had made in the past was that I would send the same resume to all jobs that I was applying for. It took me a couple failures to break this bad habit. And even then, I still didn’t want to do it. Because the fact that I facilitated the planning and implementation of a recycling program, collecting over 6000 pounds of recycled materials, was cool! And I wanted everyone to know about it!

Realistically, a hiring manager looking to fill an account coordinator position that has nothing to do with environmental initiatives or project design and management, probably doesn’t care about my super awesome recycling center. Ouch. It still hurts to say it out loud. I will say, though, that the companies that have called me for interviews were the positions for which I tailored my resume and only focused on the work that I had done specific to the position that I was applying for. Besides, I’ll just wait until I get hired to tell them about the recycling program.

That darn resume. When I’m not thinking about it I’m working on it. And when I’m not working on it I’m writing about it. It’s really got me wrapped around its finger.

Stay positive,

Hannah

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This Ain’t Your Grandmother’s Job Market

Social media? Networking? I guess I am supposed to know these things since I’m a said “Millennial”. Well the truth is, up until about 2 months ago, I didn’t. But let me back up a few years and start from the start.

I have been used to the good old system of create a resume, submit the resume, get an interview, get the job. It’s how I’ve gotten every job I’ve ever had, starting with my first job as a cashier. Followed by receptionist, receptionist again, waitress, financial analyst, etc. My last job was a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica. Best job I’ve ever had. But I digress.

Around my final 6 months as a volunteer I knew that my service was coming to an end and I needed to start thinking about my career. I started to think seriously about the projects I had done, the work I enjoyed, and what I was truly passionate about. Reflecting on all of these things I was able to come up with a loose idea of what I wanted to do; be a community development, marketer, fundraiser, event planner, person. Sort of. Ok, I didn’t really have it figured out but I knew what interested me and started looking at companies and positions that spoke to my career goals.

Move home. Start applying. No calls. Oh, crap. After about 1 month of applying to places with little response I realized that I needed to change my game plan. I quickly realized that I would have to start networking and get active on some social media platforms to get results.

During my past 2 months of job hunting I have had failures and successes. Not getting a job yet: fail. Learning about job hunting, networking, and social media: success. Attending networking groups, setting up informational interviews with professionals in the career industries that I am interested in, and learning to use social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest has not only helped me to get closer to getting my dream job, but it has helped me to grow both personally and professionally. I know that I will be bringing new skills and knowledge to my future job that I didn’t have before I began my job hunt.

The truth is that job hunting is a process. Especially when you are young professional still trying to figure out your career goals. But it’s a good process. Every day that I research companies, send out resumes, write cover letters, and go to interviews, I get closer to understanding what I want in my career and how to achieve it. While being out of work isn’t ideal, it’s a time to learn, grow, and come out better than you were before. And that is just what I’ll be documenting on this blog. I hope you will follow my experiences, share your own, and that we can learn from each other.

Stay positive,

Hannah


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From Realization to Inspiration

After Hannah coached me in parallel parking to sequester the rock star spot, we strolled into Cincinnati’s Bunbury Music Festival. You can’t do this everyday, go to an awesome three-day series of concerts with a best friend on an early Friday afternoon. Hannah and I could do this though because we are in transition (a.k.a. unemployed).

Right now, I’m 25 living with the parents and financially dependent. This is not the career situation I imagined to be in at this point in life. Mom, Dad and I are still adjusting to each other after not all being in the same house for several years. Unemployment has made me grumpy and these feelings unfairly get directed toward my parents, which affects our relationship in ways I don’t like.

Entering the gates at Bunbury, Hannah makes a good observation, highlighting a perk to being unemployed that I have not fully appreciated. Wait, what? Unemployment has perks? Hannah notes how nice it is that we at least have the time and flexibility to enjoy the summer, miss rush hour, and relax to some great music.

We do enjoy a great summer weekend of music, which included getting to meet Eric Nally, the vocalist of Foxy Shazam.

Upon reflection of Hannah’s observation and the weekend, I say to myself, “O.K. So you aren’t where you thought you’d be career wise. That’s fine. But Kristin, this doesn’t mean you have to take the situation as a bad thing.”

With support from family and friends, I have time to look for a job within an organization that will help me build my dream career. I have time to enjoy the summer. I have time to develop discipline, sit down and learn to play the guitar I got in high school. My schedule is flexible. I can participate in activities such as roller derby because I have time to train to make the team. I have time to travel 15 hours by car to Vermont (a state I’d never visited) to see a best friend from college (who I only see over Skype because she currently lives in France) get married.

In case you missed it, I have time.

Staying positive and motivated in testing situations is easier said than done, I know. But it needs to happen. Appreciating the support and time I have is a start to achieving this. Changing my attitude can help build my relationship with the parents. Hannah’s observation and reflection inspired a new project: Perky Perspectives, which encourages me to check my attitude and be a proactive. Plus, I get to work with my friend. Maybe it will even help me find a job 🙂

Best to you,

Kristin

One last word: I was able to win free tickets to the Bunbury event, which I recommend doing to lower costs (especially helpful if you need to save money).