While I'll encourage you to make the most of August, get the jump on the other guy in December, and use the summer slowdown to your advantage, there are times when even fervent job geeks like me will advise you to take a load off and skip the job hunt.
It's simple math: Smaller towns breed fewer jobs, especially at the director level and above. What's more, people who have those jobs don't tend to leave them, according to Rosemary Polczynski, who lives in a small town in rural upstate New York.
To up the ante, she recently completed an MBA program. But it took a third party to graduate her mid-level resume to her new rank in society.
A Band-Aid fix
After she finished her master's degree this spring, Polczynski simply added her latest school information to her old resume - a document that went back at least 12 years and hadn't been updated in any major way.
After a month of circulating her old resume without responses, she ventured down to her undergraduate college and met with a job counselor who told her that her resume was perfect and needed no changes or updates.
Polczynski was skeptical, however; when she joined TheLadders, she decided to try out the company's free resume critique. "It was respectful, but it was also blunt and extremely honest about why it was so poorly done and outdated," Polczynski said. "My old resume wasn't telling anyone what I was really talented at in my career."
After working with 20-year career coach and certified professional resume writer Gary Nelson, Polczynski saw how to put her new marketing knowhow to work.
"It's funny how I have been marketing products and services in my career, but I didn't realize I needed to be marketing myself in my resume," Polczynski said.
Polczynski's old resume was a typical grocery list of titles, dates and descriptions. It included a few accomplishments but nothing that stood out visually or thematically, Nelson stressed.
"What did she do? What did she want to do?" Nelson asked. "Recruiters - and I would know, as I used to be one - want documents that are easy to navigate and easy to scan either in a machine or with their eyes. Rosemary's needed a full makeover."
After receiving Polczynski's detailed worksheet and having a conversation with her about her immediate and long-term career goals, Nelson got to work. With new information in hand, he bolstered Polczynski's profile, emphasizing her new MBA and a summary of her distinct marketing, public relations and communications skills. He also added a structured core competencies list with key industry words. In addition, Nelson reorganized her work-experience section by spelling out the results she'd achieved.
Putting a face with a name
Nelson also focused the document Polczynski's personal strengths in the workplace.
"She's a giver and strong diplomat," Nelson said. "Her character is important to her, and I wanted to make sure it came across in the resume."
"I love everything about this new resume," Polczynski said. "It's impactful, and it describes me and who I am at the job to a tee. It captures my strengths as a worker and as a person.
"I'm really comfortable with this document," she said. "There are no more question marks or concerns anymore. I have something really strong I can use and tweak as needed."
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