Dear Coach Joan: Career Advice
I’d like to share a winning career tool with you, one that has helped many clients become the candidate of choice, even if they didn’t have the most competitive credentials. This tool can differentiate you from other candidates and put you in the lead. It does this by showing that you have put more thought into the process, bring more self awareness, and you are providing more comprehensive information about yourself than 99% of the other job seekers.
Everyone prepares a resume, and a resume is the standard tool of introduction. But I suggest, you differentiate your introduction and arrive with a RESUME PORTFOLIO. It is something that goes beyond the traditional resume in showing who you are as a self aware candidate who can best show why and how they are a great fit for the job. The RESUME PORTFOLIO also shows that you are willing to go above and beyond in your efforts to get to the head of the pack.
OK, so what does a RESUME PORTFOLIO consist of?
A RESUME PORTFOLIO has the stand listing of employment, education and key achievements included. It also contains a clear objective so potential employers can see what you are aiming for and recognize an aligned with their needs.
But a RESUME PORTFOLIO also includes the following items:
- A CAREER STORY : This involves some real thinking and analysis. It is typically a one page story that explains who you are and how you developed into the person who is qualified and excited about doing the job to which you have applied. For example: A recent college grad client had majored in both art and engineering. He had been a visual storyteller from his childhood, yet he loved to take things apart and build things. You might think of those as disparate and disconnected interests but he explained how they relate and how the combination of the two capabilities make him ideally suited as a user interface designer. He prepared his one pager that included visual examples to show his art skills and he made the story clear and concise to show analytical, clear thinking skills.
- LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION: Although not asked for, my candidates always include letters of recommendation from professors, past employers, colleagues, professional association colleagues and more…Letters that strongly show that you are a proven, capable person in your field and also talk to your soft skills, too. Employers want to see that you are capable and that you get along with others well. By collecting and showing your letters of recommendation you are creating a positive impression of your candidacy, even before it’s been requested. This shows you are planning ahead and putting in the extra effort toward your candidacy.
- PERSONAL FOLDERS: Although you can electronically send in your resume, career story and recommendations, I always strongly suggest that my client prepare individual folders for every person they will be meeting with. You can typically call ahead and inquire about the names and titles of the people you want to meet with or will meet with and you can hand write their names on the folder, along with your name and the date. One client was interviewing for a competitive nursing job at a top university teaching hospital. She knew she would have a panel interview and she worked hard to find out the names and titles of all the people on the panel. When she walked into the room (dressed professionally) she handed a RESUME PORTFOLIO FOLDER to each of the people on the panel. She made sure to have eye contact and she confidently said that just in case they hadn’t had a chance to see her materials online, the whole package was here. She reviewed the contents of the folder and gave them a few minutes to go through it. YES, she got the job! Afterward, she was told that everyone on the panel was tremendously impressed with her preparation and the quality of her materials. Yes, when you are applying for good jobs there is typically competition out there. I saw do all you can to differentiate yourself, make it easy for the potential employers to know you and like you. Give a little extra time and work into preparing a RESUME PORTFOLIO that will distinguish you and give you additional confidence as well. Onward in your career success,