Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Now is the Perfect Time to Polish Your Resume

Believe it or not, we're beginning to see flickers of hope in the economy – tiny signs of life in hiring. We're beginning to see home sales pick up, and banks are slowly but surely starting to release their iron grip on those bail-out dollars.

And, there are ever-so-slight signs of movement in the job market. There are some indications that we're beginning to turn the corner and the economy is going to begin to improve. I'm not being a Pollyanna here – the job situation is still bad, and will probably continue to be difficult for many months to come, but some economists and labor experts are beginning to speak with cautious optimism about signs of economic recovery – not a rebound by any means, but at least some signs of life.

As the market begins to turn around, it’s important to make sure you're ready to meet new challenges in the job market head-on. If you've been hanging on to a job you hate because you're worried there may not be another one out there very easily, good for you – that's the smart thing to do. The good news is the coming months may be a great time to start testing the waters.

If you've been laid off, downsized, or let go because of the economy, and have not been able to find a job, the good news for you is that the pendulum may be starting to swing your way.

What do you need to do in order to make sure you're on the leading-edge as the job market improves? First and foremost – make sure your resume is top-notch. Make certain you've got a killer resume that is going to put you at the top of the heap.

If you don't feel 100% sure that you can create the kind of resume that gives you a distinct competitive edge, then hire a professional to help you. It's an investment you can't afford not to make in this job market. How much should it cost? Expect to pay 1% to 2% of your salary for a professionally done resume, cover letters, and assistance with putting together a job search strategy.

How do you know you're working with a reputable firm? Ask for references, and call them. Ask the references what response they've gotten with their resume, and what feedback they've received from recruiters and hiring managers. Ask to see some sample resumes. Check the writer's
LinkedIn profile and recommendations there.

Most resume writing companies will provide the resume and one or two cover letters. Very few offer to help you find resources, put together a search strategy and get you connected with recruiters, any of those that do, many charge extra to do that – try to work with a company like
The Resume Group that includes those services in the original price. When shopping for a professional resume-writing firm, make sure you compare apples with apples in terms of products and services.

Ask about the process. Are you going to fill out a questionnaire or answer emailed questions? Or is the writer going to spend time interviewing you on the phone? Are you going to get a resume that truly highlights your unique skill set, strengths and achievements, or does the company use phrase-generating technology, stock templates and one-size-fits-all cover letters?

The resume process should be about you, your skill set, your experience, your qualifications, and your accomplishments. It's about making you stand out – not fitting you into the fastest, easiest, most streamlined way to spit out resume after resume. Hiring managers can spot a cheap resume template a mile away. Don't squander the opportunities that are about to come your way as the economy improves.
The Resume Group is here to help if you decide that now is the time to polish your resume, develop a job search strategy, and find the resources to help you succeed in your search for a new job.