What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do
We’ve talked about this before, but recruiters and hiring managers are literally weeding through hundreds and hundreds of resumes, cover letters, and applications for just one specific job. If you’ve thrown yourself into the pile, what are you doing to make sure they’re not just glossing over it like the rest of your competitors?
In a previous blog post, we spoke with recruiters directly to find out what they actually want to see from you when you’re applying for a job posting. If you take only one thing away from this post today - understand this:
Hiring managers are looking for that ONE applicant who is going the extra mile to stand out, show that they’re the perfect fit, and understands how to get someone’s attention appropriately.
With that being said, how do you think to send generic resumes and cover letters fits into this equation? It doesn't! If you’re mass uploading your resume and cover letter to job boards or just sending them out via email to everyone you can get your hands on, in hopes that someone will surely call you back and not having any luck, then it’s time to STOP!
This tactic and method will rarely work for anyone, and chances are if you’re reading this blog, it’s not working for you. We recently had a brief consultation meeting with a client and he put it best - “The one size fits all approach doesn’t seem to be working, so I think it’s time to look at another direction.”
If you’ve found yourself saying one of these phrases, we suggest you keep reading:
I don’t know what exactly career field I want to get into.
I’m not sure what type of job would be best to me to move into, based on my experience.
I have a lot of different skills and experiences, so I want to appear well rounded.
I am interested in several different types of positions and don’t want to exclude opportunities when I find them.
What happens when I don’t know where to start?
First, we suggest sending us a message to schedule a Career Consultation so we can help you personally work through these issues. Talking them out with an objective third party [such as us] can really help you see more insight into what direction and path is going to be the most lucrative and meaningful route.
What if I’m interested in a lot of things?
Not having a clear career direction is probably the common career conundrum we find with not only our clients but individuals that come to us to just review their resume. They aren’t sure what avenue or career field they want to get into, so they’re applying to everything in hopes that something sticks.
Even if you put down their best accomplishments and skills on a resume, you may be missing something that you're actually not able to see. Your resume is actually reflecting your inability to pick a direction - and that impression is coming across clearly to a hiring manager.
We have seen some resumes with really amazing content and people with truly impressive skills and talents. The problem is that we’re still asking them what career field they’re looking to apply towards because it really isn’t clear which direction they’re trying to take.
This is why your resume needs to be customized and tailored towards a direction - which may also mean you have to create more than one!
What if I have a diverse career background?
It’s important to remember that it’s ABSOLUTELY OKAY to want to apply towards several different career fields if you’re interested in more than one path!
Personally, I’ve been down [what feels like] a hundred different career paths, but what made me successful in landing jobs in these different fields is that my resume was tailored to those fields specifically.
If you’re looking for a Human Resource job, then your time as a Server isn’t going to really be pertinent to the hiring manager looking at your resume. Likewise, [and a more personal example] if you’re applying towards jobs in the Marketing field, then your time as a Piano Teacher doesn’t really correlate as well.
This is also where your Transferrable Skills come into play! [If you don’t know what we’re talking about - read this]
When I was applying for more Marketing related positions, I was actually able to use some of my experience as a Piano Teacher on my application. How? Putting together studio policies, advertising materials, social media outreach platform knowledge, and how I actually marketed myself to gain clients was all Marketing. Again - my time actually sitting at the piano teaching lessons to 5-year-olds wasn’t going to be important. But the process of how I created a full personal studio of clients definitely was!
What happens if there’s now a gap in my resume?
Don’t fear gaps! Recruiters aren’t just going to assume you were unemployed just because there is a gap [this is where your cover letter becomes important]. If you’ve done a good job at showcasing you understand the field, the job you are applying to, and that you’d be a great fit for the company, gaps aren’t going to be their focus. And if it is, they’ll ask you during the interview for clarification! It’s super simple.
Where do those other interests fall in line with my career goals?
People love learning about each other’s backgrounds and their interests, but this is best saved for the interview process and getting to know someone to make connections and leave lasting impressions. Right now, you’re just trying to get your foot in the door. And it’s not going to work if you just have everything under the sun listed on your resume - unless you can make it apply and work for what that company is looking for.