If you had a chance to read any business news during the holidays, you probably saw several stories about retail spending being up significantly during Q4. Of course this could be new info to those of you with small children, because you were consumed by the eternal search for more AA batteries in the house, and styling parties for Silly Hair Dolls.
But yes - the big news is that shoppers spent more aggressively during the 2011 holiday season compared to 2010. I'm not an economist (although I hear they throw KILLER parties!), but I know that's a sign of consumer confidence, and more evidence that we are on the road to economic recovery.
A stronger economy means more companies will be in hiring mode. So if you are looking for a new gig this year, now is the time to start preparing. But trust me when I tell you that contrary to popular belief, it takes more than a good resume to land your dream job.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- With the evolution of the Internet and social media, a prospective employer is just as likely to Google you and check your LinkedIn profile as to read your resume. So make sure your info on LinkedIn is current, relevant and concise.
- There was a time a few years back when longer resumes were acceptable, but now you're better off keeping it to one page if possible. Two at the most. Long resumes turn off he recruiters I know. This means you need to be economical with which information you include and how you phrase things.
- You should lead with a value proposition. Just like you would in a sales pitch. Right at the top you should have a branding statement that gets their attention. Try to sum up your value in a short paragraph that communicates your career goals and tells the prospective employer what you bring to the party (seven-layer dip is a personal fav'). It might even be necessary to tweak that a little bit for different companies and positions. Try to get a feel for the culture of the company you're applying to, and for the hiring manager if possible.
- Unfortunately, not many people get their foot in the door by simply sending a resume. It really helps to network and have some sort of conversation or introduction to pave the way. Look at everyone in your social network (both offline and online), particularly LinkedIn, and figure out if you know anyone remotely associated with any of the companies you're applying to. Maybe it's a friend of a friend. Use whatever angle you can to set the stage and warm up the HR rep or hiring manager before you send that resume.
- Be aware that companies don't post all jobs. And sometimes positions are actually filled before the posting is published if the hiring manager has someone in mind for the job. This is where your networking is valuable again. Identify some companies you would like to work for - even if they don't currently have a job posting in your field. It doesn't matter, because you never know when they WILL need someone. Become a detective. Start following people from the company on Twitter. Retweet them and make comments when appropriate. Don't go overboard, but make your presence known. Go back to LinkedIn and see if there are any friends of friends working for those companies. Get introductions. Arrange it so you end up at happy hour with people from the company, or on a golf outing. Having connections ahead of time makes all the difference in the world. It is far more likely to result in a job then sending a resume cold.
And with that, I shall return to styling the Silly Hair Dolls. How do you think my daughter will feel about me giving one a Mohawk or high-top fade? Hit me back and give me your thoughts! Thanks.