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You didn’t get a degree or spend decades in the military to get out and work at Walmart for $12 an hour. You’re a high performer, and if you’re looking for a new job in 2020, you’re going to want your transition to reflect that. You’ve worked hard and you are ready.

Here’s what you absolutely should not be doing with your time:

Staying Home Alone.

Unfortunately, sitting at home alone and sending a thousand resumes into the black hole of the internet won’t get you very far. Blindly submitting your resume to a company without a warm handoff is a good way to waste your time.

More importantly, you could be doing something wrong on your applications if you keep submitting them with no response. Rejection is a red flag, and you need to ask for help. There is mentorship and guidance available if you keep hearing crickets. Leverage your social capital, the people in your immediate circle of influence, to find the best mentor(s) to review your resume and credentials to help solve what’s wrong with your applications. 

Around 80% of open positions are never posted online, so if you want to reach your goal of getting a new job in 2020, you need to get out there and network your butt off with real-life people. While you’re at it, spruce up your LinkedIn profile and social media pages to make a great impression when networking online. Also note, it’s expensive for companies to post positions to job boards like Monster.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn.com or Glassdoor.com. If you found one position through a job board, try going directly to the company’s website to find more openings at the company and then try to NETWORK with people who work there. 

Describe your job on your resume.

Describing the daily tasks you perform on the job is a snooze fest. If you want to write a resume that stands out so you can have a new job in 2020, check out this example:

  • Generated weekly payroll, ensured compliance with federal and state regulations and dispersed payment to employees of the company. 

(ZzZ!) Instead, write about your accomplishments on the job and create impact with the same information by adding context with numbers. Now compare the re-written version of the previous example:

  • Dispersed $115K in payment weekly for 50 employees and maintained 100% compliance with state and federal payroll regulations. 

You need to adjust your language when writing resumes so it’s more cutting, easy to scan, and direct. Resume speak is different than how we write, talk or read. Recruiters give your resume a quick glance, 10 seconds or less scan, so you need to make an impact on the first glance.

Start by using Power Action Verbs to begin each bullet point followed by a number and then the result and impact. Replace phrases like, “responsible for” or “contributed to” or “worked closely with” that decrease your impact and lessen your level of responsibility with verbs like “managed” or “orchestrated”. 

  • Administered $35M budget and reduced expenditures by 12% in the first quarter resulting in a promotion to CFO. 
  • Responsible for administering a $35M budget… (Just doesn’t have quite the same ring does it?)

Get rid of excess adjectives like, “strong leader,” “hard-working” or “organized” and highlight those characteristics with tangible accomplishments. 

  • A strong leader in charge of leading an innovative new IT project that reduced the amount of time it took to enter manual data into the computer database.
  • Hand-selected among 35 peers to lead a $15M special project and a team of 10 IT Specialists in technology revitalization initiative and decreased manual data entry time by over 2,000 hours per quarter. 

Eliminate fluffy phrases like, “Developed increased knowledge of” or “Significant experience in” and replace with a direct power verb like, “analyzed.”

  • Developed increased knowledge of marketing trends to ensure company advertising strategy is accurate and up to date.
  • Analyzed marketing trends to adjust advertising methods resulting in 42% increase in business leads and $12M in additional retail sales revenue. 

 “See what happens” during your interview.

“Preparation is underrated. I overprepare for everything I do.”

Barbara Corcoran

The Shark and real estate mogul, Barbara Corcoran says, “Preparation is underrated. I overprepare for everything I do.” You need to do the same for job interviews. Do your homework and research the company prior to your interview. Read reviews and research salary data from current employees on Glassdoor.com to get a feel for the compensation and employee satisfaction rates. Go into that job interview like your new job in 2020 depends on it – even if you’re keeping your options open.

Some resume hacks include categorizing the stories you tell as your interview answers, perfect your elevator pitch and to answer each question by using the STAR interview method. Conceptualize, don’t memorize your answers, and come up stories in advance to cover each category:

  • Strengths & Weaknesses
  • Short Term Goals
  • Long Term Goals
  • Previous Positions
  • Failure
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Problem Solving
  • Taking Risk
  • People Skills
  • Working Under Pressure
  • Creativity 
  • Impacting the Bottom Line
  • Impacting People
  • Technical Skills
  • Multi-Tasking
  • Prioritizing Competing Requirements
  • Multi-tasking

Eat humble pie.

“Nice guys finish last” is a common saying about the guy who brags and schmoozes winning the game, getting the girl or landing the big promotion. If you are a part of the Begin Within tribe, I’d hedge my bets that you’re not Mr. Braggy McBraggerpants… so it’s time for me to teach you how to brag a little without being full of yourself.

An easy way to demonstrate value in everyday conversation is to drop numbers that provide context. 

“Hey, Mike, it’s so nice to meet you. What do you do?”

Most people would say, “Nice to meet you. I’m a Marketing Director for ABC Advertising Agency.”

I implore you to say, “Nice to meet you. I’m the Marketing Director who handles 7-figure accounts at ABC Advertising Agency.”

Boom. Drop the Mike. You’re a regular Don Draper and you weren’t even schmoozing, kissing anyone’s butt or bragging… You only dropped one number into the conversation. 

You can do the same thing on your resume and it’s not braggadocios at all:

  • Awarded “Best Marketing Team” award for an advertising campaign featuring company diversity and women’s equality. 

Lie. 

I just taught you how to brag without being arrogant and it may be tempting to exaggerate your numbers a little bit to impress people, especially when a high paying job is at stake. Trust me, don’t do it.

Your reputation, character, trustworthiness, and integrity cannot be tarnished because you wanted to please someone. Some people are willing to bend the truth to get in the door, but this won’t serve you. You will get caught because you’re inexperienced, or because it’s a small world and the hiring manager may actually call your list of professional references to get the skinny on your background. 


Other Recommended Reading: 
Today’s Best Resume Optimizing Software for Applicant Tracking Software (ATS)
Portray Confidence in Your Interview

Resources:
“2019 Recruiting Benchmarking Report.” 2019 Recruiting Benchmark Report. Jobvite, 2019