It was the resume before Christmas…I was buying last minute gifts with money I didn’t have. As I was leaving, a manager let me know they were hiring this Thursday and to come in for an interview. I thanked him and called for my Uber driver to take me home.
Once in the car, the driver yelled, “RICHARD!” I sat there quietly, in shock, thinking, how did she know my name? She asked, “Richard, if you are not working, why buy gifts for the world? Did it ever occur to you that you need a gift that keeps on giving well past the holiday season? I’m talking about the gift of knowledge on a favorable career!” I said, “NO!” The driver looked in her rearview mirror. I gazed back thinking what do you know? You are just an Uber Driver. Not happy with my empty face, the driver said, “You have resisted my tactics for the last time! For the next three mornings, when the clock strikes 7 a.m., 6 a.m. & 5 a.m… you will be visited by three ghosts that will show you a career path for your future, starting with this cold Monday.”
As the word “cold” was uttered; I began to feel cold. I blinked to warm my eyes. When my eyes opened, I was in my bedroom. The 7 a.m. alarm scared me. At the foot of my bed stood ghost number one! He laughed and said, “Get dressed scaredy-cat. We have some networking to do. I am the Networking Ghost. I believe it’s not only what you know, but also who you know. And I know just the place to meet others in your situation; a place called, In Between Jobs Ministries.” We observed individuals shaking hands, making small-talk such as, “Where did you grow up?”, “What school did you attend?”, “Do you speak a different language?” — all while explaining their work experiences. In a different room, they were learning to give a 30 Second Commercial. It was remarkable. In 30 seconds you have to say the position you are looking for, how many years of experience you have and an accomplishment you are proudest of achieving. So why do all of this? Because… you never know who will bring you your next job. The person sitting next to you, listening to your story could bring you a joyful career. Later that day, the ghost asked in his deep belly laugh, “Isn’t networking fun?” I wanted to answer yes, but I was freezing.
In an effort to warm my eyes, I put my palms over them. When I lifted my hands away, I found myself on my couch, wrapped in my preferred blanket. The TV was on again, but I wasn’t alone. It was 6 a.m. and ghost number two walked in front of the TV. “I am the Regional Facilitator Ghost, now get dressed!” he shouted. Scared out of my mind, I wasted no time! This ghost was a Workforce Solutions (WFS) encyclopedia. He told me there are 26 WFS offices in the Houston-Galveston Region that are open M-F from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and each hosts job search seminars. “So my friend, you will be attending all of these classes today,” he laughed. One class I found helpful was mock interviewing. As I listened in on the interviews, a young man came to my table and asked, “Why should I hire you? What are your limitations?” Each answer had to be 30 seconds. And no matter the question, your answer must demonstrate that you can save the company time, make them money and fit their culture. These questions are vital to practice. They help narrow down your focus on skills to offer each company. Because each company may require a different set of talents/skills that need to be presented.
At 5 a.m., someone was calling on my cell. This time I was on the kitchen floor. I answered the phone. A young, friendly voice answered and said, “Hi, I am the Resume Ghost. I am outside your door!” My heart sank, as I knew she must be the third and final ghost. I opened the door with a question, “Why was I on the kitchen floor?” In her apologetic voice she said, “Sorry about that. Our teleport machine is faulty at times.” With a snap of her fingers, I was in a resume class. We learned two main resume formats: Chronological and Functional. Chronological resumes list your work history from newest to oldest, but no more than 10 years. Functional resumes showcase your key abilities on top with your work history shown at the bottom. “Oh remember!” the ghost shouted across the room, “The true purpose of your resume is to land the interview! Apply these techniques. Go see a WFS Employment Counselor; they help shape career paths!”
Before I could say thanks, my Uber driver was shaking me. “Wake up Sir… you have arrived at your destination,” she said. Still half asleep, I gathered my belongings and stepped out into the fresh air. She said with amazement, “For only a 6 minute drive, you sure can sleep! Good luck on your job interview today. I’m sure after your three days of training, you will do well.” It was then that I noticed she looked a lot like the Resume Ghost. With a big grin, she said, “Happy holidays and I hope you get the gift you wished most for!”
Richard Prather is a bi-lingual Regional Facilitator for Workforce Solutions. Richard combines 3 years of experience at Workforce Solutions with his Master’s degree, diverse experiences traveling abroad, and commitment to excellence in customer service to provide training to both customers and staff throughout the 13 counties of the Gulf Coast Region.