After Losing Your Job…7 Tips for Job Searching Success

Everything has been going along just fine with your career—nothing exciting, but things are stable. But, are they really stable? Do you know what’s around the next corner in your company? And, are you established enough in your career just in case something does happen? Most companies, many industries, and the economy in general are constantly evolving. What does this mean as a worker in this twenty-first century? It means that you have to be prepared for uncertainty and a potential job change.

As a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), I have partnered with over 1,000 clients in developing forward-thinking, eye-catching, and industry-appropriate resumes and cover letters. Unfortunately, many of those clients contact me only when they have lost their jobs and need to quickly rework a 20+ year-old resume or are starting with no documentation. Along with needing a new resume, there are other things to consider if you lose your job.

#1 – Don’t be ashamed of the job loss. First, a job loss can happen to anyone. Companies, merge, businesses close, and organizational needs change. Tell people that you are actively seeking new employment opportunities. Did you know that most jobs are found via networking and existing contacts? It’s a much better way to find a job then replying to hundreds of job postings online.

#2 – Be sure your resume is up-to-date. Although it was mentioned before, it deserves repeating. If you have let others know that you are seeking a new job and they ask for your resume, it doesn’t look good to make them wait for an updated document. Be sure to include your most recent job and know that you don’t have to list why you left that particular position.

#3 – Get a new email address. Many of us are tied to our job email address, which is obviously gone if you have lost your position. And, home email addresses could be checked by multiple people in the household. Instead, open a new email account that is used specifically for job hunting. Then, you can be sure you will be the only one checking the email account. And, always use your name or a portion of your name as the email address. Don’t use your graduation year, birth year, or other information that could detail your age. Keep it professional and simple.

#4 – Join LinkedIn as your preferred social media outlet. LinkedIn is a professional resource for social media content, updates, company profiles, and job searching. If you already have Facebook, Twitter, and other profiles, then be sure there is nothing out there that could harm your job search. While it is true that everyone has a personal life, it is also true that a quick Google search of your name will generate hits on your social media profiles.

#5 – Attend networking events. Again, most people find job opportunities through contacts they know. If you can attend a local chamber of commerce expo or a local networking group, take the chance and do so. And, if those aren’t available to you, then schedule a lunch appointment with a contact you haven’t seen for awhile. The more people that know you are seeking opportunities, the more eyes and ears are out there assisting you with your job search.

#6 – Never badmouth your ex-employer. Never. Ever. Do. This. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘don’t burn your bridges?’ Well, this rings true when seeking employment. The more you badmouth your ex-employer, the more you are viewed as a critical, sad, and annoying ex-employee. Furthermore, you never know who may know the people and/or company that you are criticizing. It doesn’t matter if what you are saying is true—just don’t do it.

#7 – Take on part-time work, freelance projects, or volunteer opportunities. If you are unsure of your career direction or can’t seem to find the perfect full-time job opportunity, then grab the chance to volunteer with an organization close to your heart, find a part-time opportunity that meets your family needs, or be open to the idea of freelance work. These short-term gigs show future employers that you kept busy during your time away from the full-time workforce and still honed your skills while networking with entirely new groups of people.

Remember that you are not the first person to lose their job and you certainly won’t be the last. By keeping a positive attitude, being proactive, and establishing a network of people that are also seeking opportunities for you, you can be on your way to a new opportunity that may meet your needs even better than your previous position.

Are you READY to take your job search to the next level? Contact us today!

Where Does Education go on a Resume?

As you piece together the information on your resume, you may start to wonder where that information needs to go. Should you include your qualifications at the top of the document or is that better left for the end? And, do you include your contact information on each page? But, the question I am asked most often is whether or not to list your education prior to your experience or after that work history.

The answer is this: IT DEPENDS. While that may not be the answer you want to here, it is the truthful response. Read below for several ‘rules’ and questions that we can apply to the Education section that will guide you in its placement on your new resume.

First – have you graduated college within the last six months to one year? If so, then it is appropriate to list your education prior to employment experiences. This is because you most likely have little or no professional experience and your education is the core competency that you wish to highlight for an employer.

Secondly – have you graduated from a well-known college or university? For example, if you graduated from Harvard or Princeton, this is information that should be highlighted. Depending upon the position and the employer, these types of universities will provide you with an additional advantage over other candidates.

Next – how many years of professional experience do you have in your desired field? If the answer is one or more years, then the Education section can go after the professional history. In this case, we should focus on highlighting your skills, accomplishments, and abilities at each position. For those that have many years of professional experience, education becomes less important as you move forward through your career.

Remember, there is not one resume format that fits all job seekers. Be strategic when placing your information and showcase your strongest assets and experiences first. Recruiters and hiring managers have precious little time and you want to ensure the front-loading of pertinent information.

If you still have questions about your resume, please contact us for a free resume review!

Why Volunteerism and Community Involvement is Important on Your Resume

As you are writing your resume, you have most likely listed your skill-set, your professional experience, work history, and education. However, did you also consider your volunteerism and community involvement initiatives? If you haven’t, now is the time to start thinking how these items can help you in your job search.

First, consider how you have chosen your volunteer activities. Most likely, you are working with organizations and events that align directly with your skills and qualifications. Although this isn’t paid work, it is still valuable experience that can be used to attract a potential employer.

Next, have you been unemployed for short or long time periods? If so, ramp up your volunteerism during this time and list it on your resume. For example, if you are in accounting or bookkeeping and currently serve as the treasurer for your church, consider adding this to your resume. If you are an event planner that has planned large-scale events for your child’s school, list this as well. And, remember that this experience can be listed under professional experience—just because it isn’t paid work doesn’t mean that it isn’t “professional” work.

Finally, consider how those community involvement activities may have added further connections to your circle. Did you know that many people find new job positions through personal connections rather than job advertisements? Use your volunteering time to also network with community leaders. You never know when someone at an event may hear about the perfect opportunity for you.

Contact us today for a free resume critique – we are ready and excited to work with you!

The Importance of Personal Networking During Your Job Search

While looking online for your next job opportunity, many people get frustrated, exhausted from the search, or fed-up with the long application process. In today’s economy, searching online for job openings is an important part of the process. However, it is not the ONLY aspect that you should consider while seeking the next move in your career. In fact, many people underestimate the importance of personal networking during the job search.

Recently, I worked with a client that had casually met with a business acquaintance and mentioned that she may be looking for a different opportunity. The person told her to send her resume and cover letter to her—just in case there was a potential fit with the organization. Guess what? Less than a month later, my client was contacted because they are creating a new position and she may be the perfect. The job is not advertised nor will it be posted online. It is only because of the personal networking that my client has a chance at moving ahead in her career.

If you are interested in building your career opportunities, build and utilize your personal network. If your job search is not a secret, tell people that you are actively searching. Be specific and let them know the types of positions you are seeking. If you are a “stealth job seeker,” then tell only one or two trusted individuals that you are actively looking for a job so they can remember your information when a job arises.

Next, be sure to schedule time for personal networking. Make it a priority within your schedule. Attend local Business After Hours events, sign up for a workshop within your field, or invite a trusted colleague to lunch. Write down your personal networking goals. For example, “Attend one networking meeting and invite Bob Smith for lunch during February.” Make your goals as concrete as possible and assess them at the end of each month.

Finally, be prepared. While you don’t want to be pushy, keep a copy of your resume and your personal business card with you at all times. When meeting with business acquaintances and colleagues and they ask for your information, you will have it readily available. This will show that you are prepared, organized, and eager for that next job opportunity.

As someone that has built my business from the ground-up and utilized in-person networking greatly to accomplish this, please email me with any personal networking questions: heather@feather-communications.com. And, if you are ready to move forward with your job search, please visit our website.

Feather Communications Owner Receives Polka Dot Powerhouse Award

On Saturday, October 25, Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, received the “Extraordinary Business Woman of the Year Award” for the Eau Claire Chapter of Polka Dot Powerhouse. Polka Dot Powerhouse is a rapidly-growing, unique, and refreshing community for women’s business and personal networking.

Heather has been involved with Polka Dot Powerhouse for over two years and truly enjoys the camaraderie, business relationships, and friendships that have blossomed since joining this group. Furthermore, she enjoys the opportunities of being able to visit various Polka Dot Powerhouse chapters throughout the area.

“Being elected to receive this award means the world to me. There are so many amazing business women in this organization and to be voted on by my peers is humbling,” Heather said. “I’m excited to continue my journey with Polka Dot Powerhouse and look forward to the continuous opportunities it offers in both my personal and professional lives,” she concluded.

For more information about Feather Communications services, please contact us today!

How Volunteering Can Help Your Business

When you own a small business, you are often short on time and money. Unfortunately, both of these things are required when starting, maintaining, or growing a business. And, when you have been in business for awhile, the calls start coming in to your office. Would you be able to assist with this event? How about sponsoring a community-based children’s festival? Can your business provide monetary donations to an upcoming benefit? And, you first thought is the following: “How am I going to fit that in to may already packed schedule?” The next thought is, “Why would I want to do that?”

Volunteering your services can greatly enhance your business. And, volunteering can mean many things. It can mean providing a monetary donation to a local event, speaking about your business to a civic organization, or providing a presentation to a local chamber of commerce. All of these methods have one thing in common: they allow for added visibility for your business. When someone calls Feather Communications and asks if the business will participate in volunteer work, my question is usually the same: “How could I potentially help?”

Does this mean that I take part in every volunteer or free opportunity? No – no business can possibly do that. However, it means that I do investigate to see if my business will be a good fit with the potential volunteer engagement. Not every opportunity is a match for my organization. And, if it’s not, I respectfully decline the opportunity.

Here is an example of how volunteering can really help grow your business. Recently, I was asked if I would make a presentation to a local chamber of commerce audience. The presentation had to do with social media and how to utilize it effectively. Because this is an area of business I want to promote, I decided to take the opportunity and made the presentation about a week ago. The chamber of commerce did not pay for the presentation; however, I knew that I would be meeting a variety of professionals throughout my area.

Since that non-paid presentation, I have worked with a company to set up its Facebook page and met with another attendee to revise and update her resume. Both of these jobs are paid. And, if both of these clients are happy, then they will tell others. In this way, volunteering your services and expertise truly does help your business grow. Furthermore, it raises your profile within the community and provides additional exposure for your business.

So, the next time someone asks you or your small business to participate in an event for free, strongly consider the possibilities that may come in the future. And, be sure to completely consider the opportunity when it presents itself.