Questions and Answers with Career Expert Tracy Laswell Valdez
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Tracy Laswell Valdez is a certified job and career transition coach as well as an accredited resume writer.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||On your Website, you have an article that refers to “the headless resume.” Can you briefly explain to our readers why a headless resume is less than desirable and what the job-seeker can do to prevent one?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| It has been my experience that many people (especially busy, overworked recruiters and hiring managers) have a hard time summarizing information on their own. Without a focused and persuasive summary at the beginning of your resume, you’re missing a great opportunity to sell yourself by leaving it to the reader to form an overall impression of your qualifications.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||In 1999, you surveyed a number of hiring managers about resume and cover-letter preferences. The fact that very few said they preferred functional formats for resumes led you to proclaim that the functional resume is out. Do you still feel that way? Is a functional resume an acceptable choice for certain kinds of job-seekers, such as career-changers and those with employment gaps? Are there ways to write a functional resume that can help overcome employer negativity (such as including a chronological listing of jobs and including as much context as possible)? Do you ever write functional resumes for your clients?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||Most functional resume-writers do themselves a serious disservice by belaboring key points, being redundant, or making a convoluted mess of their resumes. Beyond choice of resume style, there are numerous “tricks of the trade” that professional resume writers use to overcome likely employer objections. The resumes I prepare combine elements of the functional and chronological styles as suits the needs of my clients. For clients whose careers are characterized by highly repetitive positions lacking in remarkable attributes (for example, a blackjack dealer who has worked for five Las Vegas casinos or a dental hygienist who has been employed by seven similar dental practices), I find that a more functional resume helps us to be brief yet persuasive.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||We’re in a recession. How are you preparing your clients for tougher times?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| A smart job search, no matter what the economic climate, always takes focus, perseverance, a positive outlook, and a lot of hard work.
My advice: Don’t let the hype get you down. The media love to report massive layoffs and dot-com debacles, since these are hard facts and figures they can report. I’ve talked to some people who seem to be preparing for the next Depression! The media, however, don’t have the resources to say how many people are finding great jobs every single day. Remember that a focused, positive, perseverant approach always pays off, but stressing out about “how bad it is out there” won’t get you anywhere.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest mistake job-seekers make that your advice could correct or prevent?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| In my mind, there is a quartet of common job-search mistakes:
To be effective throughout your job search, you have to be focused, which means you know what you want to do, AND you’re crisp, perky, and articulate about it in all your written and verbal communications.
It takes a lot of contacts to find the right job, which means getting organized! You need to compile 30-40 leads per week, keeping notes on all of your contacts with a given company. (Hint: use the telephone to quickly determine whether or not to write a letter and send a resume, as well as to gather information that will help you make the best possible impression). Don’t be meek and don’t give up. Follow up with all your contacts until you get an interview or a job offer.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest myth about job-hunting?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||The single biggest myth about job hunting is that it is a dreadful experience, one to be avoided at all costs. I say it can be a wonderful, even life-changing experience. Here’s why:
When in job-search mode, you can take time to determine what’s really important to you, both personally and professionally. You can create a life that is elegant and comfortable in its simplicity. You can take great care of yourself so that you look, feel, and sound your best. You can learn new skills and overcome old hang-ups. You can meet lots of great new people and find out just how special old friends can be. You can learn how to create a vision, believe in it, and have faith. You can find a new job that is personally, professionally, and financially rewarding.
The economic climate of the information age means you will change jobs more frequently than ever. It’s wise to consider job search skills and resources as important as the professional skills and resources you use on the job.
Tracy Laswell Valdez is a certified job and career transition coach as well as an accredited resume writer. She is founder of CareerMagic, a recruiting and job search firm that has helped 2,000+ individuals in the search for the perfect job since 1994. Complete descriptions of services and workshops can be found at CareerMagic. She is the author of The Essential Job Search Companion — 2nd Edition, which provides upbeat, big-picture advice for job seekers. Call 888-384-1744 for ordering information.
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