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Take the first step

I’ve been thinking a lot about one of my favorite sayings:

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Click To Tweet

According to Wikipedia, this quote is often erroneously attributed to Confucious, but actually, this *other* ancient Chinese philosopher – Laozi – gets the credit. The saying teaches that even the longest and most difficult ventures have a starting point.

You might feel that looking for a new job is the longest and most difficult of ventures. You’re not alone! Many job seekers feel the same way. While the amount of time it takes to find a new job varies depending on a bunch of factors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this year that the average length of unemployment was around 19 weeks.

That means it can take 4 to 5 months to find a job. Which certainly feels like forever when you’re in the midst of it!

Photo by sporlab on Unsplash

And difficult? You bet! I just typed into Google, “Why is job…” and the first auto-complete suggestion was “…searching so hard?”. A recent article published on Indeed suggests there are three big reasons: Outside candidates often compete with internal candidates, who have the edge; Many corporate jobs don’t even get advertised; and the odds are against you, with job openings attracting dozens if not hundreds of applicants.

Then there’s the applicant tracking system – ATS – which loosely translates to “digital gauntlet.” You upload your resume through the employer’s website, then their ATS scans your resume, importing each section into its database. The recruiter defines parameters and key words to search the applicants who’ve responded to each job, and the ATS produces a list of applicants ranked in order based on how closely they match. So, if your resume doesn’t have all the key words or match the search parameters, it’ll come up as a lesser match, if it matches at all.

And yes, it does seem impersonal, but with so many applications for each job opening, it’s the best way to keep the recruiters from drowning in mountains of paper.

Feeling overwhelmed? That’s why the ancient Chinese philosophers instruct us to begin with the first step. Just the first one. One at a time. This is good advice: If you think about the whole process, you might be tempted to quit before you start. It’s better to break the larger process into smaller, actionable steps.

The first step in your job search journey is updating your resume. You simply can’t do the rest of the job search until you have a resume you can feel proud of and share with confidence.

When your resume features your accomplishments – when it showcases your personal brand and professional mission – when it contains an effective selection of key words – it’s more likely to make the initial cut. And if you tailor your resume and cover letter specifically to address how your experience aligns with the requirements of each job posting, the odds improve of it ending up at the top of the search results.

If your resume makes the recruiter’s “yes” stack, that means you have all the basic requirements. Once it reaches the hiring manager, they will review it further, looking to answer the question, what can this candidate do for *my* team? A well-written resume will provide the answer when it tells your career story by illustrating your most impressive accomplishments, including strong action verbs and quantifiable results. Pair this with a compelling personal brand, and you’ll make the cut for an interview. And once you get the interview, they’ll fall in love with you, because you are an engaging, charming, and articulate human.

My 30+ years experience as an HR generalist gives me unique insight into the employer’s hiring process. I know how hiring managers think. I’ve guided many through the process and worked with hundreds of candidates. My experience benefits you when you work with me to transform your resume.

Want more information? Contact me to schedule a free consultation.

2022 is just a few months away. Hoping to have a new job in the yew year? Then let’s work together now to get your resume up to date and looking great. But do get started soon – I’m booked through October and am scheduling clients for November and December.

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