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How are you asking for help? – Part 2

Yesterday, I shared an email from a job seeker and offered some suggestions how he (you) can improve on responses to requests for assistance. The job seeker’s questions and concerns are common, so I’m sharing what I told him with you.

Here’s his original email:

“I am currently unemployed and for the past few months I have been trying to present better ways to get my resume points of view across to recruiters. I have been trying to co-mingle value based information and actual job duties that I have done. When I do that it seems to create sort of a “laundry list” of my duties and I am trying to stay away from that, but I want to at least show some type of duties that i have. Could you please send me some pointers and advice. Thank You.”

And here’s how I responded:  (Just so you know … I did address him by name. :))

Dear Job Seeker:

Target. Focus. Differentiation is paramount in this market. A resume has morphed into a sales and marketing document telling an employer what they want to know about you; not what you want to tell them. Target your message to your audience. Focus on their needs and tell what differentiates you from why/how you’re better than “any” other person applying for the position. The “laundry list” feel comes from not knowing what to tell them. Without focus, you try and tell them everything. And, without focus they don’t know how they’ll benefit by employing you.

Photo by deanmeyersnet via Flickr

Think about it … If you’re shopping for shoes and I’m telling you about hot dogs, I won’t have your attention long. If you tell a potential employer about X skill set and they’re looking for Y … you won’t have their attention long.

A potential employer will not try and figure out how you fit into their organization. You have to tell them. You tell them, by researching job posting and identifying what your “buyer” is “buying”. What skills do they value? You then create a solid demonstration of those skills. Anything that doesn’t pertain to what they need is clutter.

Objective statements, stating what you “need” went the way of the dinosaur. It’s not about what you need (seek, want to secure ….) It’s about what you bring. In this market, the focus is on the employer. Employers really don’t care what you seek or want; their focus is on what you can do to impact their organization’s bottom line.

I do hope you’re networking, both virtually through social media and in-person though professional organizations, community events and volunteer work. And that you can be found online and your online presence is clean. If you are solely dependent on recruiter interactions, you should know only 3% of hiring is done through professional recruiters. They are a valuable tool in a job seekers tool belt, but it takes more than a hammer to build a house. It takes a variety of approaches to execute a successful job search.

I write a job search blog and I link to lots of other professionals through my site, as well as blog with an international group of writers every month. If you want to go it alone, there is plenty of GOOD teaching material and information linked from my website. (Blue Sky Resume has a fr*e downloadable tutorial.)

If you have the funds available to invest in your future, then engaging with a career professional is the best thing you can do for yourself. (Personally, I’d rather see job seekers spend the time networking, making connections and researching companies than learning about how to write a resume. The return on the investment, both monetarily and time wise is exponential!)

And one final thing, if you’ll indulge me … If you’re asking for assistance, personalizing the salutation and signing with your full name and contact information goes a long way in engaging someone and encouraging them to want to help you.

I wish you well in your search. If you’d like to work with me, I’d be happy to speak with you. If that’s not an option, I encourage you to take advantage of the information I provide on my website.

Best regards,

This young man was a willing student. He replied back to my email, used my name, thanked me and signed with his full name and telephone number. YAY! Taking the time to say thank you was a nice touch too. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve crafted a thoughtful responses to requests like this and never hear from the “stranger emailer” again.

Bottom line, remember your manners. Please, thank you and a little flattery in between are powerful motivators. Use them with abandon – in job search AND in life.

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  1. Whether job seeker or not, understanding the value of your experience and skills is a challenge. For many, discovering value is a marathon, and a life-time venture. Demonstrating “fit” is easier when one’s value is realized and communicated.

    • Dawn says:

      Mark –

      What a clear, succinct add-on to this post. THANK YOU! Finding value in ourselves is probably the largest hurdle. But, as you said, “Demonstrating ‘fit’ is easier when one’s value is realized and communicated.” So happy you stopped by and took a moment to comment.


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