With so many old jobs lost, positions in need of applicants, and businesses cautiously reopening their doors, it is no wonder countless people are exploring new careers. We asked Allison Madison, president of Hawthorne-based staffing firm Madison Approach Staffing Inc., how job seekers can edit their résumés to optimize their chances of landing a new gig.
Making a shift is often difficult, particularly if it is a 180. It is often a good strategy to find a sector or job that is tangentially related to work you have done in the past. Often, there are contacts who can help you find a job, and the transition can be smoother, as there is continuity in knowledge. Alternatively, if you are absolutely committed to doing something new, volunteering in the field you are interested in is a great way to make contacts and gain experience.
Whenever possible, find out the name of the hiring manager and address the cover letter to that person by name. Always edit your cover letter and résumé to suit the job you are applying for. This is your job search; put some effort into it! When I get a résumé for Job X and the résumé objective reads that you want Job Y, can you guess where your résumé is going? If you cannot put the time and effort to simply edit your résumé, can you really be that interested in my job?
There is no perfect answer for addressing employment gaps on a résumé. However, I tend to think that people’s imaginations are usually worse than reality, so providing an explanation in black-and-white to fill the void is preferable. At least you provide yourself an opportunity of explanation and consideration before someone simply sets the résumé aside. For example, a statement of: “Primary caregiver to terminally ill parent, January 2019–July 2019.”
You need to demonstrate on your résumé with compelling information what you can do in this role you are applying for, using examples from your prior experience or education. You need to sell yourself in the top half of the document, since when someone opens a document on a screen they only see the top half, with five bullet points specific to the job you are applying for. Résumés are a marketing tool, so tell your story quickly and effectively as to how your background can be a value-add.
The remote job market is here to stay. This will mean that many job opportunities are no longer limited to a geographic region, expanding job opportunities for many job seekers. Additionally, once the economy is fully open, I would expect there to be a frenzy of activity to get caught up with all the back orders and pent-up demand. Can everyone say, “Roaring ’20s”?