Career Fitness: Use a Smart Resume
Faced with increasingly more able competitors around the world, employers are now seeking workers who can make a difference on the job. They describe these individuals as “A” level performers or with the more general term “talent,” but what they really want is nothing more (or less) than smart workers. How can you prove you deserve that description? First, of course, you have to be at the state-of-the-art in your profession. Then, you have to promote that fact using a smart resume.
Smart workers are always looking for ways to learn from their experience on-the-job. They see themselves as a “work-in-progress.” To them, every assignment – including the most mundane and ordinary –and every challenge – including the most demanding and frustrating – is a means of refining and augmenting their skills and knowledge.
That added expertise isn’t passive, however. Smart workers are learner-contributors. They seek new expertise and acquire new experience in order to improve their performance at work. They want to know more in order to do more and do it better.
That’s why employers are trying so hard to find and hire them. If you have any doubt about that consider the findings of a study by SHRM, the association that represents recruiters and HR professionals. It surveyed its members and found that many of them paid a premium for smart workers, even during the Great Recession of 2007-8.
That downturn was the deepest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression, so one would expect the rational recruiter to cut the money offered to new hires. They did … except for one kind of person: smart workers. In 2008, 70 percent of the survey respondents paid hiring bonuses to lure smart workers in the door, an increase of almost 15 percent over those paying such bonuses before the recession. Similarly, before the recession, 27 percent of employers paid retention bonuses to hang onto their smart workers, and in 2008, that number had grown to 38 percent of employers.
Why were so many employers ponying up real money to hire and hang onto smart workers? Because they believe those workers are in short supply. Why do they believe that? Because smart workers are very hard to identify.
Anyone can say they’re smart – and many people do – but how does an organization’s recruiters know they will actually perform that way on-the-job? Old fashioned resumes are clearly not doing the trick. What’s needed, therefore, is a variation of that document. I call it the smart resume.
What’s Unique About a Smart Resume?
The goal of a smart resume is to portray its owner as a “work-in-progress.” It describes both what they have done in their career AND what they are doing in their job search as a continuous record of learning. It sets them apart by highlighting their acquisition of skills, knowledge and experience which will enable them to improve their performance continuously.
How does it do that? A smart resume has two distinguishing characteristics:
What a person has done on the job
A smart resume adds a new segment to the description of each job in the Experience section of the document. Once the tasks performed and accomplishments achieved are listed, it concludes with a statement that begins, What I learned. That phrase is followed with a list of the skills and knowledge, insights and wisdom the person acquired through their work experience. The statement shouldn’t run more than two lines, but it should be as explicit as possible in detailing how they grew and developed on-the-job.
What a person is doing in their job search
A smart resume codifies a person’s ongoing quest to add to their skills and knowledge even while they are looking for work. Why should someone add to the pressure and demands of a job search by enrolling in an academic course or training program at the same time? Because doing so tells employers they see themselves as a work-in-progress and take personal responsibility for acquiring additional expertise. The resume makes that point by adding a description of the person’s on-going development to the Education section of the document.
Finally, a smart resume also recognizes that recruiters are often inundated with applicants for their openings. The first review that a resume gets, therefore, is cursory at best. If it doesn’t pique the interest of the recruiter in the first four or five lines, it is unlikely to be read any further. To address this situation, a smart resume leads with its owner’s strengths.
Since we humans read from the top of the page, a smart resume highlights its owner’s commitment to learning where it will be seen first. Directly beneath their name and contact information, it provides a Qualifications Summary which lists their key skills and knowledge. And, the first in that sequence should be something to the effect of “An inquiring mind that is always learning.”
Thanks for reading,
Career Fitness: The Book
Are you frustrated by the hundreds of job search and career building techniques you’ve read and heard about? For many of us, all those options can be totally overwhelming. How do you know which are the most effective? And what’s the best way to perform them? And how often should you use them to find a great new job or a better one?
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The Unbiased Connection to Great Jobs
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Get the Advice That Works
There’s plenty of free job search and career advice on the Web. But, if that’s all it takes to be successful, we wouldn’t still have so many folks finding it so hard to get reemployed and so unhappy at work once they are.
The reality is that too much of what you find online is incomplete (a short article here, a blog post there), out-of-date (posted before the Great Recession changed everything) or just plain wrong. So, if you’re looking for strategies and tips, tactics and techniques that will actually work in today’s tough economy, make an investment in yourself. Get one or more of the books below:
The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired and Not Be Fired. This anthology collects the best of Peter Weddle’s columns on job search and career success. It is the only book you’ll find that provides a candid and totally up-to-date look at how to get and stay ahead in today’s workplace.
Recognizing Richard Rabbit. This fable for adults will entertain and delight you and help you leap out of the boxes that keep you from becoming the champion inside you. It is a novel and engaging way to recognize the talented person you are meant to be.
The Career Activist Republic. This blockbuster of a book provides a provocative yet positive assessment of the changing world of work in the American economy and describes an innovative strategy that will enable you to avoid the pitfalls and capture the opportunities in this new environment.
A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream. This modern-day epic traces the journeys of three out-of-work professionals searching for answers in today’s seemingly nonsensical job market. Along the way, they discover the secret to “career security” and the pathway to real and lasting success.
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