Overcoming the Past

Is you past job experience sporadic or less than glowing? Have you had some unfortunate events occur causing you to be terminated from prior positions? Do you have solid skills, but lack reliable references? Fear not. All is not lost.

Job hunting in today’s market is largely about connections and marketing one’s strengths in a visible way. Creativity can be a strong asset.

“A brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”—Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder.

I’ve spoken before about candidates having calling cards printed. This is about your brand; the impression you make and leave behind. You want it to be positive and strong.

Your card allows you to represent yourself as you wish to be viewed. An Administrative Wizard? Are you pursuing a new career in photography? A self-taught I.T. Guru? Pick the title you are presenting yourself as and include that on your calling card. Set the tone instantly with your first impression; a firm handshake, eye contact, and handing out your card.

Remember my touting the QR code? Well, when the person receives your card, his/her eyes will glance at it. What will they notice? Color, design, title, a QR code? These details are all about marketing you as professional, creative, aware of current trends, and tech savvy. It creates the lens through which you will be viewed as your conversation progresses whether it is a networking opportunity or a job interview.

Let’s talk strengths. You have skills that you have honed throughout your work experience regardless of the success at specific positions. Call them out in a section with bullet points so that the reader of your resume sees them at a glance rather than having to read through paragraphs of prose to glean where your talents lie.

· Client Support· Operations Management

· Strategic Planning

You are marketing yourself as the product, and specifically the “product” here is your POTENTIAL. Potential to solve the employer’s need. Potential to deliver a fresh perspective to the employer’s pain point.

People often withhold great ideas during the interview process or when networking about improvements for a company they are interested in working at; however, thinking one will use those ideas when/if they get the job is a huge mistake. Do not hoard your ideas. Put them out there to demonstrate you understand what is needed and you have the solution, or at the very least have fresh ideas of how to approach the issue at hand. Keeping these brilliant ideas to yourself serves no one. The employer doesn’t get to see how you problem solve first-hand so you may not get the opportunity to present your ideas because you are not offered the job. Be confident. Put yourself and ideas out there to “wow” your audience; using your creativity and skill to stand out above the competition.

I have briefly mentioned in past posts about having an online portfolio or website. You can check out GoDaddy or Square Space to inexpensively secure a domain and find templates to create a memorable representation of your capabilities. For older or relaunching job hunters, this is an easy way to demonstrate that you have some tech skills beyond MicroSoft Office programs. Link you site to the QR code on your calling card and include the URL link on your resume.

Think outside the box. Think beyond the single page resume. Think about how to showcase the potential you can deliver and sell your skills. Don’t get stymied by past job performance. There is a reason it’s called your job history; it’s HISTORY. Move forward and make the future your focus.

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