6 Reasons You Aren’t Getting the Job You Want

This article is for people who have been on the job search for more than 9 months. This seems to be a critical point at which people come to terms with the fact that it’s not the economy but their job search approach that is preventing them from getting a job.

After several conversations with people who are completely frustrated in their job search and those who are trying to support them, I saw some common threads. For numerous reasons, these job seekers haven’t been able to secure a job but a few stuck out. One big reason is that they underestimated how long it would take to get another job. These are people who never had to look for a job because good job opportunities always came their way, and they took them. They assumed the same would happen this time around. It didn’t. This economic downturn is different and many people have to actually look for a job for the first time in a long time.

If you’ve been actively in the job search for 9 months or more and aren’t getting offers, you may need to change your job search strategy. Below are tips for how to get through some common pitfalls where job seekers get off track.

Get focused- It’s absolutely critical to have a job target before you can have an effective job search. You don’t have to spend hours or weeks figuring it out, but you need to have a target. The focus informs your entire approach from how you craft your resume and cover letter, to which companies you approach, to what you say when networking. Lack of focus in your job search wastes valuable time.

Manage your time- You’ve heard the saying “searching for a job is a job.” What does that mean to you? Many people take that phrase literally meaning that they need to spend 8 hours a day working on their job search. Most people who have jobs aren’t productive for 8 hours every day. So, spending 8 hours a day on busy work that doesn’t produce results is just a waste of time. Too many people spend too much time searching for jobs online. If you’ve been using job boards as your primary source for job leads, you’re wasting precious time and missing tons of opportunities. Other job search time wasters are spending time and resources attending networking events or job fairs but not following up. I recommend the book, “Get Hired Now!” for guidance on using your job search time effectively.

Analyze costs and benefits– The phrase “penny rich, pound foolish” often comes to mind when I talk with job seekers. It amazes me what people will spend money on in the job search. People will pay money for a service to send their resume to hundreds of unknown companies but won’t spend $1 for help from a professional resume writer or career counselor. Or, they use only free services that don’t really help them or produce any results. At even the suggestion that they consider paying for assistance they cringe. We all like free stuff, but if it’s not working perhaps it time to pay for more in depth expertise. Career counselors, career coaches and resume writers help people prepare for the job market. Spending even 1 hour with a career professional will be money well spent.

Fill the gaps- No matter what people say, employment gaps can and will impact your ability to get a job. Sure, employers will be sympathetic of the gaps given the tough job market but only to a point. When I talk with someone who has been unemployed for more than 9 months, I always ask what they’ve been doing. I’m looking for initiative, creativity and if they are using their time productively. You need to find a way to fill those gaps. It could be taking classes to refresh, improve or learn new skills. It could be volunteering for a non-profit. It could be project work. I know there are tons of opportunities out there to learn or be of service. It’s a good way to spend your time and in fact, can help you get focused, expand your network and improve your job prospects.

Get cash flowing- You can only cut back so much. So, unless you decide to live a dramatically scaled back lifestyle, you need to get some cash coming in. If you think about one way businesses make money, it’s on incremental revenues. Products and time are broken down into units. You might need to take that approach, even if it’s not ideal. A lot of job seekers want to hold out for the perfect “big” job rather than considering a more modest job that brings money in. Do the math, if you reject the modest jobs for 9 months trying to land the big job that might not appear, not only will you leave yourself in a deeper hole financially, you’ll also have a longer employment gap.

Get connected online– It’s a mistake to dismiss social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook as child’s play and a waste of time. The tools are what you make of them, and they are powerful ways to connect with people who have jobs or information about jobs and to get visible. People post opportunities all the time that are passed along to others throughout the network. Maintaining an active LinkedIn account is an absolute must for all serious job-seekers.

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5 Things You Can Do to Set Your Resume Apart

In today’s hyper-competitive job market, you need to do everything possible to make your resume and cover letter package stand out from the other applicants. Use these strategies to maximize the chance for your resume to get the result you want–a face-to-face interview.

  1. One of the most powerful items you can include in your resume package is recommendation quotes from former employers. Adding quotes from each reference contact to the information on your references page (usually the reference name, title, current employer, phone #, email, and relationship to you) sends a powerful endorsement of your qualities, and will certainly set you apart. Here are some other ideas for ways to deliver these powerful testimonials:

Written recommendations on company letterhead. Scan and convert to .pdf format and include with your resume submittal.
Link to your LinkedIn profile, where the quotes can be read. By the way, if you aren’t actively using LinkedIn for research and networking, you are probblu
Add a “Recommendations” section to your resume, boldly and proudly!

  1. Another way to separate yourself from the competition is to utilize old school paper mail. Think about it: nowadays, the amount of printed mail delivered to most offices is low, so there is a chance that your printed and mailed resume package might get opened! Mail it on nice resume paper and matching envelope directly to the hiring manager(s) with a copy to HR. You will stand out even more if you send it in a flat, easily opened 9” X 12” envelope, mailed first class.
    Of course, always send your resume package via email as well as to maximize your chances of success.
  2. Go direct to the hiring manager rather than just relying on HR. When you find a job posting you want to apply to, find out the name of the hiring manager or someone who works in the same department, and send the person an e-mail directly. It’s 2012, which means almost anything can be found online, including names and e-mail addresses. A LinkedIn search on the company should turn up a list of employees and their titles, from which you can select the most appropriate person. Then, search the company website or company press releases for the company’s e-mail format (9 times out of 10 it’s either john.smith@abc.com or jsmith@abc.com)
  3. Effectively utilize the subject line as a marketing opportunity! Instead of the boring “Application for sales position” use “Jon Smith’s Resume-Dynamic Quota-Busting Sales Rainmaker.” If you were referred by someone, use the name in the subject line for a better chance at a response.
    You can use a similar tactic with the titles of your resume documents. Instead of “resume.doc” use “Experienced Accounting Clerk, Bob Snnith.doc” or “Certified Sales Trainer, Bob Smith.doc”
  4. FOLLOW UP WITH A PHONE CALL! This is something that will definetly set you apart. For best results, call both the hiring and hr managers and ask for the interview. THis is not the time to be meek, and beside what do you have to lose? Most likely you wont happen to catch them live, but that’s okay–LEAVE A VOICEMAIL!!! Be articulate, professional and persistent and tell them 3 things about you that make you better than all the other candidates. Then tell them how excited you are about the position and the prospect of working at their company. Close strong by asking directly for an interview! In many cases this will at least give your resume a better chance of being reviewed.
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7 Job-Seeking Tactics You Probably Haven’t Tried

When out of work, many job-seekers’ first instinct is to go straight to online job boards. When you consider the sheer number of job boards out there, and the amount of people trolling them, it’s easy to feel like you’re lost in a crowd of well-qualified applicants, long before you actually upload your resume and hit “submit.”

“Once a job is posted online, the company is going to receive anywhere from 200 to 1,000 applications,” says Donald Asher, the author of the new book, Cracking the Hidden Job Market: How to Find Opportunity in Any Economy. “You can win in a stack of eight to 10, but not in a stack of 1000.”

The key, Asher says, is connecting with people at the work-unit level before they decide to expand.

“It’s easier than ever to make those connections and reach out to strangers,” says Asher, so don’t rely solely on tired job-searching tactics. “Telling someone to join their college’s alumni group is like telling someone to shine their shoes before they go to a meeting,” says Asher. “It’s common sense, and it’s not enough anymore.”

The information in Asher’s book is for the job-seeker that has tried all of the “common sense” approaches and still can’t find work. Here are a few of the tips he offers.

  1. Write an ‘I’m On the Market’ Speech

“Part of being a careerist is coming out to your inside circle,” says Asher. “Many people are reluctant to admit that they’re on the market, but they have to get past that.”

One of Asher’s clients hadn’t shared with his closest friends that he was seeking a new job for more than a year after being out of work — and a number of them worked in his industry. After telling them his situation, he re-launched his job search, and ultimately landed a job in his field at his desired pay rate, through an introduction made by his golf buddy.

“Sharing your employment status is simply not optional,” says Asher.

  1. Start a ‘Stone Soup Club’

“This is literally a potluck that you set up with people in your industry, at your level, and unemployed or job-seeking,” says Asher. If you got laid off with a number of your colleagues, or have friends of friends in the business who are in a similar situation, that’s the perfect place to start. “No one wants to socialize across socioeconomic lines,” says Asher.

The barriers to entry? A food item, and a handful of job leads that aren’t right for you, but might suit someone else in the club. Set up the meeting for a Friday afternoon, says Asher: “No one is going to get a job on a Friday afternoon, so you’re not taking away from your job search.”

  1. Get Past Screening Software

While it’s still valuable to include a few of the key skills listed in a job description within the text of your resume, Asher says that resume screeners have upped the ante on search terms. “No one searches for ‘good manager,’” he says.

Take postings apart, look for unusual words, and put those in your resume. And don’t stop there. Everything from competitors’ names to zip codes are fair game, as long as you’re creative about working them in.

For example, if you’re in California looking for a job in Miami, call up your long-lost cousin that lives in the Sunshine State and ask for permission to borrow their address for your resume. It’s tricky, but inserting a simple “care of” before the address can make an exclusive search for local candidates work in your favor.

  1. Don’t Hate on Temp Work

“The contingent work force is now, measurably, 10% of all employment,” says Asher. “Take those part-time, temporary, and contract assignments seriously — about a third of newly created jobs are contingent when they’re first created.”

If you take a temp job that the company decides should be a permanent position, and you’ve done a good job, chances are the company will save themselves the manpower and resources for a talent search, and ask you if you’re willing to stick around on a longer-term basis. Money from a temp staffer’s paycheck isn’t any less green than money from a full-timer’s.

  1. The Postcard Technique

If you have a few extra dollars you’re willing to invest in your search, Asher suggests utilizing the postal service. Write a letter to the companies you’d like to apply to — describe yourself and what your career goals are — and send it in an envelope with an addressed, pre-paid, personalized postcard inside. (That’s right, no resume.)

On the postcard, give the recipient three options: send the postcard back with their contact information; send the postcard back with the contact information of a colleague who can best help you; or send it back with a dismissal — which, Asher says, is still a positive. You know not to waste any more time trying to connect.

  1. Send an Updated Resume

Another of Asher’s clients developed a list of 400 executives in her field, found their e-mail addresses, and sent her resume to all of them. Two weeks later, she followed up from her initial e-mail with a second one, leading with “I have updated my resume since we last had contact.”

“I would never advise anyone to tell a lie,” says Asher — and while her change was minimal at best (she added or removed her middle initial), the principle is an excellent one. If you take on a new project, think of a way that would strengthen the wording of your past experience, or finish up a temp assignment, add it to your resume, and send it out. Within a few weeks of her project, Asher’s client had gained a wealth of new connections, leads, and interviews from people who started to believe they knew her personally.

  1. The Three-Shot E-mail System

Most job-seekers have probably felt the disappointment from getting no response to an e-mail. Asher advises to be persistent.

“If you’re willing to e-mail people once, you should be willing to e-mail them at least three times,” he says. The system goes as follows: E-mail them. Wait three days, and e-mail them again. Wait four days, and re-work the subject line: “Dr. Wilson, I may not have an accurate e-mail address for you….”

Still no response? Assume you have the wrong e-mail address. Find a new one, and try, try again.

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20 avoidable job search mistakes

The phrase “shoot yourself in the foot” didn’t create itself. Although it didn’t originate with job seekers, it might as well have.

Every day, thousands of people look for a job, and almost every one of them makes at least one mistake in the process. The worst part is, many of these blunders are avoidable.

“It never ceases to amaze me when people make mistakes, then slap themselves on the forehead and say, ‘I can’t believe I did that.’ I feel the need to pop them on the head,” says JaLynn Hudnall, of Georgia-based Ravenwood Forest Consulting, a business consultancy.

Here are 20 dumb job-search mistakes that experts say you can avoid with a little thought:

  1. Not using a professional e-mail address.

“It is wonderful that you are proud of your heritage and cultural roots. However, please don’t use ‘juicygapeach’ as your e-mail address,” Hudnall says. “There are enough free e-mail hosts out there that you can set up a plain first.last account that is professional and nondescript.”

  1. Jumping into the fire without your fireproof undies.

“[Don’t start] your search without a plan or much thought as to where you want to go and how you plan to get there,” says Julie Bauke, author of “Stop Peeing On Your Shoes: Avoiding the 7 Mistakes That Screw up Your Job Search.” Also, make sure you can answer these three key questions: Why are you in the job market? Tell me about yourself. What are you looking to do next?

  1. Not checking your appearance in the mirror before walking into an interview.

“I once interviewed someone who had a giant piece of lettuce hanging off his mustache,” says Mario Schulzke, founder of CareerSparx.com, which provides online career training. “I should have said something to him, but it was just too awkward and instead I spent 30 minutes staring at the guy’s upper lip.”

  1. Falling into the ‘black hole.’

Many job seekers misunderstand the role of the Internet in their job search, Bauke says. “It is good for research and connections,” she says, but “you are not most likely to get a job that way.”

  1. Being forgetful.

“One mistake that I have seen a number of times over the years is people using a cover letter template and forgetting to change the company and name to who it is addressed,”says Paul Peterson, a national “talent resource” manager. “Your cover letter should always be customized to the company and position to which you are applying.”

  1. Going to networking events — but not really networking.

“Real networking is building mutually beneficial relationships,” Bauke says. That can be hard to do in a group setting. “Make sure you are having at least three to five one-on-one meetings per week.”

  1. Omitting a signature block in your e-mail.

“A signature block is a perfect place to give a brief 20-word teaser and include a link to your online résumé,” Hudnall says. For example, “Georgia environmental engineer with seven years experience, seeking job in new locale, click here for full résumé.”

  1. Casting your net too widely.

“You are not a fit everywhere and you are not good at everything,” Bauke says. “Your search will be much more effective if you focus on exactly what kind of work you want to do and where you want to do it.”

  1. Not paying attention.

“Job seekers aren’t reading the job description carefully and following the specific directions provided by the employer, recruiter or hiring manager,” says Eddy Salomon, founder of WorkAtHomeNoScams.com and WorkAtHomeCareers.com. “The job description may state, ‘Please apply by visiting x site. Please do not send a résumé.’ But many job seekers are guilty of scanning the information provided and will end up doing the opposite of what has been described and send a résumé. Employers can’t help but disqualify these candidates because it shows a lack of attention to detail and the failure to follow directions.”

  1. Overlooking the interviewing “gimme” questions.

Prepare to answer the basics questions: What are your strengths and weaknesses? Tell me about yourself. Why should we hire you? “You know they are coming. Be prepared,” Bauke says.

  1. Not joining your local Chamber of Commerce.

“Every chamber across the United States has a monthly get-together usually called something like ‘Business After Hours,’ and many even have young professionals associations,” Hudnall says. “Not using this as an opportunity to network and meet others in your field is a missed opportunity.”

  1. Having grammar or spelling errors on your résumé or cover letter.

“No matter how many résumés you send out, each customized to fit one job description, you must review each one closely for grammar and spelling errors,” says Rick Saia, content writer for Massachusetts-based Pongo Résumé, which provides résumé and cover letter templates. “Even the tiniest error will cast a bad impression on the hiring manager, especially if you write ‘attentive to detail’ as a strength. It’s good practice to have a trusted friend or relative read through your documents before you send them.”

  1. Not being mindful of your social media presence.

“Job seekers need to be mindful of social profiles and pictures they may have out on the Web that may be deemed inappropriate. In some cases, employers may secretly try to ‘friend’ you on a given social network so they can have access to your wall and photos,” Salomon says. Before applying to any job, search for your name to ensure nothing is out there that would be deemed inappropriate.

  1. Trying to turn an informational interview into a job interview.

“This is probably the worst form of abusing your network contacts. An informational interview is to get information, not an offer,” says Ron Katz, author of “Someone’s Gonna Get Hired … It Might As Well Be You!” “When people start peppering the contact to see if there are any openings or jobs available, the person with whom they are meeting feels duped, taken advantage of and, at worst, angry and resentful.”

  1. Not having a LinkedIn profile.

“Many employers and HR professionals use LinkedIn as their go-to resource for more information about a candidate,” Schulzke says. “If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, you are missing out on a critical opportunity to showcase your skills and experience.”

  1. Failing to research the company.

“At least take some time to review the company’s website and use some of that knowledge in your résumé and cover letter,” Saia says. “When you get to the interview, you’ll need to know much more, especially to show how your skills and experience match up with the demands of the job and how your skills and experience can benefit the company.”

  1. Not following up after applying for a job.

“Following up is critical to set you apart from other applicants. Job seekers often neglect this key step because, for example, they applied online and don’t have a name to follow up with,” says Amy Olmscheid,manager of the career center at Capella University, an online university based in Minneapolis. “But if you don’t have a name of a person to follow up with, find one. Use the Internet or use your network. Get the name of a contact in human resources or a manager in the department you want to work in and then follow up with a call or e-mail.”

  1. Neglecting to follow up after an interview.

“Always send a thank-you note to the interviewer,” Olmscheid says. “Sending your note by e-mail is perfectly acceptable, but a handwritten note is a nice extra touch.”

  1. Failing to ask questions at the interview.

“Remember that you want to find out about the company and hiring manager as much as you want to tell them about you,” Saia says. “By passing on the opportunity to ask questions, you’re sending a message that you’re not that interested in the job. And employers want candidates who are interested.”

  1. Relying on a single job-hunt strategy.

“Some job seekers will declare that they are only using online job boards, and those individuals may miss excellent opportunities,” Olmscheid says. “Job seekers typically identify more jobs and make more connections that can lead to jobs when they use a multipronged approach. Amp up your job search with job boards, face-to-face meetings, networking at professional development meetings, phone networking and other search strategies.”

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How to write a resume when changing careers

Changing career paths has never been easy, and with the volatile job market these days, it is already difficult enough for those who are on a dedicated career path to get a job. It’s even more so for career changers.

So how exactly do you land a job in your target career knowing full well that you have no experience or relevant background to show for it? The answer, if you are intent on finding it, lies first and foremost in your resume.

It’s All in the Resume

Your resume will probably be one of the most important tools you are ever going to need if you want to successfully land a job – any job – be it one in your current field of expertise, or one in an entirely new industry. This is because your resume is your best foot forward. It represents you at your very best. It is a sales tool that helps the employer get to know your qualifications in order to fit you to the requirements of the job they are offering.

The right resume will do more than just represent you fairly; it will get your foot through the door. A well-written resume will catch the employer’s attention enough to make them want to get to know you more and invite you for an interview, at which time, you are better able to expound personally on your qualifications.

Tips on Writing a Career Changer’s Resume

Or better yet, this section could be called “Tips on Re-writing a Career Changer’s Resume”. This is because for a career changer, the common scenario is that they already have an existing resume, and often, they make the mistake of sending the same resume they’ve been using for their previous career instead of making a new one that is tailor-fit to the new career they are aiming to shift to

Rather than falling for this common mistake, career changers would be wise to take their current resume and re-write it to reflect the differences in skills needs, objectives and priorities of the new career they’re changing into. To get a feel for the new qualifications and objectives you are facing, try to network with people from that industry and research about the skills and other qualifications that are important to the industry that you want to make a new career in.

Another helpful tip to help you re-write you resume is this: try answering the question “Why should an employer take a chance on me?” Career changers often don’t have the desired experience to get the job but they probably have certain skills that are transferable from their previous career.

A transferable skill is a skill that you may have developed in your past job experiences that may be useful to your new career. Review your most desirable skills and arrange them in the order in which they are most relevant to the job you are applying to. Include any skills you may have picked up from a hobby or a volunteering experience that may be applicable to your desired career.

Choosing a Resume Format
Sometimes, the right resume format can go a long way in making your resume a cut above the rest. A career changer, because of their more challenging circumstance, will benefit more from a combination chronological resume format. This resume format is written chronologically but leads off with a qualifications summary, which will emphasize the skills most relevant to the new career. Starting with a qualifications summary instead of most recent experience will allow hiring managers to easily see that you are qualified for your new career goal. When re-writing your resume in this format, make sure you state clearly your new objectives so that the employer knows you are shifting careers. Also make sure that your work history emphasizes the most relevant of your skills, talents and accomplishments. This will ensure the effectiveness of your new resume.

Changing careers can be a terrifying step. You are leaving the comfort of your past experience and moving in a new direction. Writing a resume for a job in a new sector is difficult, particularly if you are lacking some of the skills generally needed in the sector. Don’t let fear of a resume stop you from achieving your new dream. There are many simple steps that can help craft a resume when you are changing careers.

Focus on Skills

While you may be looking for a career that has little in common with your old employment, dig deep to think about any skill sets which may transfer over. Your computer literacy, ability to work in a team, or problem solving may come in handy. Though the specific tasks will not be the same, larger skill sets can be valuable to your new employer. Be honest about your past experience, but focus on the aspects that will best suit your new career.

Education and Training

Have you recently went back to school or been on any kind of training program with your old employer? Management or motivational training could be seen as advantageous to your new employer, even if it is not directly related to the position you are applying for. If you have had any schooling that could apply to your new career, mention it. You might even want to consider taking a class or two at your local community college if you are planning on changing careers. This may help you brush up on skills and prove to potential employers that you are serious about the switch.

Keep it Brief

Luckily, the point of a resume is to summarize your skills and experience in a short amount of time. A one or two page resume that is snappy and concise will serve you well. This will benefit you because you can pick and choose the skills or experience from your previous work that will most closely match what you need for your new career.

Convincing Cover Letters

Almost as important as the resume is the cover letter to the prospective employer. The cover letter should be short – three paragraphs will generally suffice, and they should be no longer than one page. In the first paragraph, you should explain what position you are applying for and what about the company interests you. The last paragraph is a reference to the attached resume, request for an interview, and thanking the person for their time. The middle is where people changing careers have a chance to shine. Here you can explain why you want the position and why you are qualified to have it. You can include more detail than a resume will generally hold. Make it specific and convincing.

Changing careers might be the best move you will ever make. It takes courage and determination to make a move like this. Pursuing something that will make you happy or advance your life goals will be rewarding in the end. Take time writing your resume and you can improve your chances of success.

There are a lot of things to think about when you decide to change careers. One thing that it is important to make sure doesn’t get lost in the shuffle is writing a new resume.

In writing any resume the priority is to present yourself to a prospective employer in a way that makes them want to hire you. This is a bit harder when applying for a job in a career you have no previous experience in. However, with a bit of thought you can create a resume that emphasizes the benefits you offer, rather then any experience you lack.

First off, make sure you know what the new career requires. And make sure you can meet all these requirements.

Then, take the time to review your previous positions, or if you are recently out of school, your school work, and volunteer work you have done. Even being the house-spouse for a few years can give you skills that are useful in many careers.

Think about it. Accounting is accounting whether your balancing books for a corporation or managing inventory and expenses in a store. Organizing a 300 person yearly reunion and a 150 person corporation event aren’t much different either. And organizing and running a fundraiser or food drive gives you experience in managing small to medium scale projects.

Instead of listing your previous positions, now you are ready to write a resume based on previous experience. List the organization you were working for (employer, volunteer group, etc), what you did (budget, events, fundraisers), and the results – kept store in the black with average profit of _ monthly, raised __ for charity over 2 week period, etc.

Next, consider your objective. Why do you want to change careers? Why do you think this company would be a good one to work for? Why do you think you can do well in this new career? If you’re careful, you can include a lot of information in a few sentences.

People aren’t expected to stay in the same job or career for their entire lives any more, and employers are learning the value of having diverse out looks and backgrounds on their team. No matter what you’re background, you have skills and experience to offer an employer in a new career. A good resume can show a potential employer exactly what you have to offer.

And don’t forget to write a good cover letter either!

In a competitive job market, where it is already difficult for job seekers to get noticed, trying to convince managers in a totally different field that they should recruit you to their team is likely to be a Herculean task, but it can be done with some thought, determination and positivity. The one thing you cannot do is to use the same old resume you had for your old jobs to cross over into something else. In fact, you might not even need a resume at all, just a longer covering letter, depending on your objective.

Getting into a new field depends on whether you are merely transferring the skills you already have or are making a significant change in direction. There are two forms of emphasis when you are changing career fields: one is emotional, if the change is drastic, and the other is transitional, if the change is minimal.

  1. Transitional

With a transitional objective, your skills are likely to be transferable (something you developed in your old career being applicable to a new one). There will be connecting links between the new field and your old one and you will be able to identify those links easily between the jobs and responsibilities you have had to the one you are hoping to get. For example, from being an accountant in the construction industry to being a bursar in a school.

Transitional posts are often accessed through regular research into the field, networking with people from it and learning about the skills and qualifications necessary to get into it. Skills that can be transferred would include those gained perhaps from your former career, a hobby or volunteer experience, etc. For example, if you were very good in communication as a lecture or teacher, you could use that in marketing to help write press releases or persuade people to buy goods and services.

Make a list of your most desirable and related qualifications, which should be the key part of your resume, then build everything else around them. Choose a chronological, or historical, format for writing your resume where your career history will be plainly seen. You can either begin or end with your qualifications, but the actual skills and accomplishments related to the new the job should be very clear to see. It is important to mention your new career objective and why you wish to change. It means that employers won’t assume you’re staying in your old field.

A single page covering letter stating your objective of moving into the new field through your acquired knowledge and skills, and why it would be beneficial to do so, would also help your application.

  1. Emotional

For a dramatic change in jobs, you would need what I call the ’emotional’ approach, where it would be an emphasis on feelings, accomplishments and desires, especially in the covering letter, rather than actual work and qualifications. Your resume would be in the ‘functional’ style where it would downplay your former career, while drawing out the related skills from it that would be useful in your new job.

The beginning of your resume should start with your new career goal, a summary of your qualifications and then the skills you believe you have that would be very useful in achieving this new goal. You could end the resume with a brief listing of your past jobs, emphasizing only the relevant ones which would match or enhance the new post. You have to demonstrate why you are particularly interested in this new field and how both you and the employer would benefit from your switching fields.

The cover letter should emphasize your knowledge of, and passion for, the new industry you’d like to enter and any related experience/training you have in it. This is where you would stress your own motivation, enthusiasm and keenness to get stuck into your new career, one that would benefit the employer’s objectives and operation. It would be mainly about your accomplishments, your need for new challenges and your need to keep up to date with new technology and skills. You would also stress your desire to learn, to enhance your own development, despite your age (if you are older) and to put all the experience and knowledge you have had to even better use.

This covering letter could be sent on its own without the resume, if you wish to give a flavor of who you are and what you are seeking first, but you have to be prepared to produce your resume if required.

The emotional approach would take the focus away from your lack of suitability for the new job and place it on your potential to contribute to the new business in a expert way they might not have envisaged. In that way, you might turn a skeptical employer into a welcoming one.

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How to explain a layoff

In today’s dynamic and volatile job market, layoffs, while devastating, are commonplace. In the eyes of most everyone, being laid off is the same as being fired and people oft times have trouble coping with it. Here are some real-world ideas for how to explain layoffs to potential employers.

When an individual has been laid off but still records the job on a resume, he/she will often have difficulty explaining the reason for leaving that job. Even though lay offs are commonplace today, it is a blow to your ego and those emotions are still right on the surface. If asked why you left that job, you stutter or your face gets red and that employer knows something happened.

So, your goal after being the victim of a layoff is to come up with a plausible and true reason why the company laid you off. The key word in the sentence above is “true.” The next goal is to put that event in its place and realize that while hurtful, it was not personal.

Economic conditions
In most cases, when you are laid off from a company it’s related to poor financial condition. Most times, companies have lost revenues over a period of time and find that they must cut back on their workforce to prevent more damage being done. No matter what the reason, the company is no longer able to support their employees and they will start laying people off.

So, the first part of your reasoning could be that the company you were working for was having financial difficulty. Hopefully you were not the only person laid off and you can say, “ABC Company ran into financial difficulties and laid off 8 employees” (or however many it was).

If that is not the case and you were the only person laid off at the time then try to be more generic and say something like, “I got caught in the layoffs of 2020.” This way, you are still telling the truth but letting the employer draw his or her own conclusions from your statement.

Why You?
Sometimes an employer might ask why you were the one laid off, so you will need to be prepared to answer. Look at your situation before you were laid off and decide what might have caused that employer to pick you. Were you at the highest end of the pay scale for the position? Had you gone as far as you could in the position and started looking for a promotion.

If you answered yes to any of these questions then you have additional details you can add to the reason why you were laid off. Now you can start building a statement like, “ABC Company ran into financial difficulties and laid off 8 employees. I was chosen from my department because I had reached the top of my salary grade.”

Be Careful what you say
No matter what you decide to say, always be careful and be sure that you are not slandering a person or company or implying that they broke the law. This falls back to the rule that you should never bad mouth previous employers. Instead, stay detached and explain your reason matter-of-factly and move on to the next subject.

Once you decide on your reason, practice it over and over until your response comes naturally no matter who is asking the question. No matter what, be honest and open and the prospective employer will respect you for it.

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