It was a dark and stormy night. Actually every day seemed to be a dark and stormy night as the weeks turned into months and the months progressed without a job. The monster that I called Mr. Laptop ate my resumes and sent them into a black hole where no one ever responded with a call inviting me to interview. Despite being totally competent after 20 years in my job as a human resources professional, I was getting ZERO responses, other than an occasional rejection post card. At least the post card assured me that somebody actually received my resume!
When silence and rejections were the only response, I decided to try something different – start networking at one of those networking groups. Sometimes they are held in a church location and begin and end with a prayer, though they are not particularly religious. There’s just a pleasant unifying atmosphere to get us all into an attitude of gratitude as we learn new job search techniques. It beats staying home alone with the silent and moody Mr. Laptop, so I figure what can it hurt?
“New techniques” is putting it mildly. What I learned rocked my world. Going into the meeting all full of myself and with an attitude thinking I knew everything about how to find a job was soon replaced with fresh ideas about using a “networking business card,” an “accomplishments worksheet,” and a “short form resume” to pique the interest of the hiring manager.
In fact, one presenter quoted Albert Einstein (though actually it’s Rita Mae Brown) when he suggested a definition of insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. How did he know exactly what I had been doing?
Just so you know, the networking business card is a regular business card, printed with name, profession and contact information on one side. But the other side contains all the pertinent information about my accomplishments and background that will compel a hiring authority to call me. And he suggests handing out these cards 3 or 4 at a time to EVERYONE I meet . . . let my contacts market my skills for me, as well!
Then there is the accomplishments worksheet – a compilation of awards, accolades, personal bests from my professional and personal activities. It’s suggested that I should keep a copy of this worksheet near the phone and ready to be discussed in response to phone inquiries.
But the piece de resistance is the Short Form Resume. This “baby” resume landed me the interview! This was the bait that made that trophy fish bite! This ‘recruiter friendly’ document introduced me with just a taste of my background, accomplishments and experience and left the reader anxious to know more! So guess what – she CALLED me!!! How cool was that? And during that call, of course, I had to wow her with my ability and sell myself into an in person interview. Then during the interview, I had to demonstrate how valuable I could be to her organization.
So in the end, this HR professional learned a few new tricks that I can pass on to you. Try them. They just might turn your dark and stormy night into a bright and sunny day!
Sharan Nunn is an employment counselor with Workforce Solutions – Pasadena. With a background as a human resources generalist, she has experience in both health care and hospitality industries, where outstanding customer service equals success. Sharan is a native of East Texas, and has called Houston home long enough to remember when the Astrodome was the new “Eighth Wonder of the World.”