Stay the course: Resume, job hunt tips for a tough market
More than a decade ago, Mir Garvy was at a crossroads in her career, and the right path for her turned out to be helping others navigate their own career ambitions.Posted — Updated
More than a decade ago, Mir Garvy was at a crossroads in her career, and the right path for her turned out to be helping others navigate their own career ambitions.
Garvy has two kids, a rising high school senior and a 12-year-old on the autism spectrum. "Being an entrepreneur has always given me the flexibility to take care of my children, particularly during the six years I spent as a single mother," she tells me.
I checked in with Garvy to learn more about what she offers and for tips for those who are seeking to reenter the workforce after time away to raise kids or tend to other family members. Here's a Q&A.
I’m grateful to have found a career that allows me to help people in such a tangible, practical way. Starting a new job is one of life’s 10 most stressful events, in part, because job change so often coincides with other stressors like financial pressure, a relocation, a divorce, or a layoff. While there is so much we can’t control about the job search, I’ve seen that when job seekers get help from a professional resume writer, they feel less overwhelmed, more confident about what they have to offer, and more prepared for the interview process. As a writer, it’s very gratifying to be able to provide this type of help to people when they need it most.
- Too long (more than two pages)
- Not optimized for applicant tracking systems
- Fails the six-second test
- Not focused on achievements/outcomes
- Grammar, spelling, or other errors
Right now, we are in an employer’s market. There are plenty of qualified candidates competing to fill jobs and employers can afford to be very choosy. For this reason, your resume must be a compelling and unforgettable snapshot of your most impressive and quantifiable accomplishments. Rather than listing the ordinary duties and responsibilities of the jobs you’ve held, your resume needs to outline your individual contributions, show what you were able to achieve in your previous roles, and explain the impact of your efforts in a way that shows the value you’ll bring to your next employer.
And, of course, your resume can not have mistakes or typos. We’ve all heard stories of qualified people being eliminated from the pool of candidates for this one reason alone. Grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors are instant deal breakers.
A resume for a person whose career timeline has a gap can be a challenging resume to write but we do it all the time. The key is to address the gap in a straightforward way while showing all the many ways you contributed to your community, stayed active in your industry (if you did), and kept your skills sharp during your time raising children, or caring for aging parents, or both. In my experience, women have a hard time remembering, assigning value to, or quantifying outcomes for all the many things they accomplished during their time away from paid employment. That’s where a professional resume writer can help.
Networking is also very important for relaunchers. Leveraging the many connections you have—both professional and personal—can give you the opportunity to speak directly with a hiring manager or company executive. When you get in front of that person, you can tell your story, build rapport, and make your case as to why you’d be a solid choice to fill an open position at the company.
My third tip: Build your network by making connections with people you know, especially if they work at companies you’re targeting. And collect a number of recommendations from people who know you and are familiar with the professional qualities you possess.
Lastly, if you’re actively looking for a job, you can let job posters or recruiters on LinkedIn know you’re open to new opportunities by changing your job seeking preferences in your settings or by clicking the “Open to Job Opportunities” button on your profile page. This privately flags your profile for recruiters so they can more readily reach out to you.
This is also a great time to expand your network. Make new connections on LinkedIn. Rekindle personal and professional friendships by phone, email, or Facebook. Or invite someone to a virtual coffee, which will give you a good opportunity to not only build or strengthen a relationship but also to get more comfortable with videoconferencing. It’s highly likely that, when you are selected to interview for a new role, you’ll be doing that interview virtually, so practicing now will give you an edge later.
Speaking of upskilling, if you do have a skill gap you want to work on, this could be an ideal time to sign up for an online course or complete a professional certification program that will make you a more competitive job candidate.