Career Coach Corner: Avoiding Resume Black Holes -- Whether You Are a Career-Changer or Not!

Coaching for career changers can help you focus on priorities and values which will help you concentrate on what you really want to create in the future of your life’s work. But it still won’t stop your resume from ending up in some company's black hole — a digital garbage can where your resume is never seen by human eyes.

My career coaching is private and one-on-one. You can make an appointment with me for that here. But here’s some information to help everyone being coached on career direction that doesn’t need to be kept private or done one-on-one.

Your resume is likely to fall into a black hole.

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I think — or hope anyway — that we all know that. If you don’t, let me awaken you.

Did you know your resume is already digitally pre-judged by machines before it even has a chance to make it to human eyes? The larger the company you apply to, the truer this is! Applying for a mom & pop company means you’re less likely to encounter the Automatic Tracking System for applicants — or ATS. Use of keywords makes the ATS your friend. For some reason, the ATS threw me to the customer service and sales wolves years ago. I have no clue what on my resume did that! (Possibly my liberal arts degree?)

If you’re struggling with wanting a career change and needing coaching on it, I’m here to help. We will take stock of where you’ve been already in your career. What are your accomplishments? What skills and talents do you bring to an organization? What kind of education do you have, what certifications do you hold, and what kind of teams have you led? We will take a look at the past that brought through your career so far.

Then we will work on where you are headed. What are you passionate about? What have you done before that can be used to your advantage in where you are going? For example, I had to use skills acquired in radio broadcasting and journalism for jobs I applied for outside the field. No one cared about my audio editing experience. But I could translate some skills over. I had done social media marketing, interviewing, writing, editorial, and press releases. I learned that personal connections were the best way for me to get hired. Through my network, I obtained part-time employment that turned into full-time.

Very little of my radio skills were useful in the field of addictions I entered after radio. But I learned new skills. The person who hired me at the time knew me because I’d done charity work for her at the non-profit that became my employer. She had seen something in me she thought would be great for the job working for her in the recovery center. Then I was thrown into a variety of trainings for my job. Eventually, I put my new skills to work full-time in a new position.

That was more than three years ago and I learned so much! The skills I have now can probably get me into a variety of places in the social work and non-profit field. I also used to think I wanted to learn grant writing. After all, it was writing, wasn’t it? Now that I’ve worked in the field and seen friends go through grant writing courses in college, I realized that isn’t the work for me.

This is the number one reason to go take any job. It’s automatic field research into what you don’t —and do— want to do for work. Career changes don’t have to be scary! It also shows you what exactly your strengths and weaknesses really are.

 

Career Changing & The Job Search: Will Any Job Do?

More now on my “any job will do” and “just get your butt out of the house” ethos for career changers.

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I’ve seen what happens when a person doesn’t do this. It’s not pretty. When you don’t have something to do each day outside the house, you know, like a job? You’re at home on the couch eating a bag of chips. It’s life wasted because no matter what, you have something to give somewhere. You’re needed in this world. Sitting at home firing off resumes into a black hole and eating chips while overdosing on reality TV does no one any good. Not you, not anyone else.

Put a cap on the amount of time you’re allowed to sit and feel sorry for yourself. Then get out of the house.

Good God, do volunteer work if you have to!

Why?

Top 7 Reasons why you must get out of the house:

1. You can create a schedule and structure again
2. You can meet people. New people could invite you to things. Or you get some networking out of it.
3. It keeps you from isolating yourself.
4. You truly never know where any job leads.
5. You have to be a part of the outside world and rejoin society through rejoining the workforce.
6. Sometimes you get a retirement fund started off even a part-time job. I’ve done it!
7. New jobs mean new training, new training means new skills and more resume padding.

Of course, there are many more reasons depending on what career field you end up working within. Some have fringe benefits, like paid training and licensing. Some have awesome holiday parties and quarterly luncheons that make for great networking grounds. Part-time jobs with flexible hours help you keep money flowing in as you seek your next big gig. Part-time jobs have hooked me up with everything from free flu shots to concert tickets over the years — depending on the field.

Some jobs show you what you don’t want to do. It can be fun to try something new, but 30-90 days in, we should know whether it’s a good fit or not. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s OK to move on.

The aforementioned resume black hole is something we can contend with in the next edition of Lessons for Career Changers…