This Resume Building Stuff is HARD

As you may have heard, I was laid off last month. My former employer was gracious enough to pay for a three month service with an outplacement agency. I’ve done their resume development webinar and their LinkedIn webinar and learned a lot of things.

The hard part is getting outside my head to figure out what my skills and expertise are. I’ve done a first draft resume and gotten feedback from my consultant. I’ll be meeting with him on Monday to go over my changes. I’ve also reached out to former co-workers and my boss to get a list of what they think my accomplishments are.

Part of my issue is I don’t want to bug them. I’ve followed up with one person twice now and haven’t received anything. I’m sure they’re busy, and I don’t want to nag them. I asked one co-worker twice if I could list her as a reference and she never responded, so I’m a little hurt over that (I texted her so I know she saw my request.)

LinkedIn is odd to me too. Before I was ignoring requests from people I didn’t know but the webinar facilitator said you accept everyone, because you don’t know where it will lead. Why is some real estate broker in Philadelphia interested in connecting with me? How am I supposed to leverage that? I also feel weird trying to connect with people I don’t know. “Hello, HR rep at a company I’m interested in. Let’s connect so I’m on your radar.” I’m an introvert, so this networking stuff is quite difficult for me.

It’s been three years since my layoff. Have done a number of contractor gigs since. Some freelance. Real jobs with benefits are rare.

I recommend googling your job title and seeing what it entails. That helped me write my resume. Sounds weird, I know.

I don’t know how your old company did performance reviews, but if you had to give input with your accomplishments, that could be a good place to start.

My son-in-law got a job from an out of the blue inquiry via LinkedIn, so it can work. And when I was trying to hire someone I did have my HR person do LinkedIn searches to find the skills we needed. I assume your LinkedIn webinar covered getting the buzzwords in.

You might also do a walkthrough of what your typical week was like, and write down any skills that helped you do the job.

I’ve got input from my former boss and co-workers, so I will fit that in. It’s more about networking now. It’s no longer enough to apply online to a job.

I think my biggest frustration with job searching is that I firmly believe that some companies put out job ads even though they have no intention of hiring anyone. I can only assume it’s for some statistics gathering reasons. I have ‘applied’ to jobs that’s I’m 100% perfect for on paper; and never hear anything back; but the job continues to run, non stop. Seriously 1 company has run and ad for over two months for a job that just doesn’t require that scarce of skills. There’s no way it wouldn’t be filled by now. Job hunting sucks.

There is absolutely no substitute for sitting down and talking with someone. From what you’ve previously written about yourself I doubt you’ll be unemployed for long; you just need the right stuff in your CV to catch a recruiter’s eye.

I have my current job through someone who reached out to me through Linkedin. Recruiters are constantly combing through resumes for discreet listed skills. The more you list the better the odds you will be contacted. is a good tool to create a word cloud. I got keywords from that and will incorporate them into to my LinkedIn. I have 20 years of Sales Operations experience so I’m confident my new adventure is coming.

Job hunting is soul killing, especially when your work history is not a cut and dried office type business. I’m back looking for a job after 20 years of self employment, mostly teaching riding and training horses, and running barns. There was also 10 yrs of managing our own small health clinic on top of that. Making that look good on a resume is not easy, and I’m worn out.

I don’t know what I want to do, I just want someone to pay me money to show up every day and do stuff.

Sigh … I hate this.

Good luck with your search Ivy lass!

And then you can have three interviews with a company, and they never contact you with an answer! So rude.

About references.

I posted about this in another thread that there’s only one person I’ve ever given a raving review about. Most of the time, the most I’ll ever say, if I say anything at all is, Yes I’ve known them for X years. Or if asked about their work ethics or competency, I’ll just say we worked well together.

Many companies don’t allow your former boss and coworkers to do anything but verify that you worked there for X number of years and nothing more. This is the same reason no one is likely to give you a professional assessment of your outstanding skills. The reason I was able to and willing to praise my former co-worker wasecause we’re both no longer with the company.

I recently didn’t get a job because they weren’t able to get in contact with my personal references. I hadn’t talked to them in the year since I left the company and didn’t want to contact them to ask for a reference after a year.

Finally, you never know what people really think about you or your work, especially when it comes down to giving a recommendation to someone they don’t know.

Take a look at the thread where the OP is fresh out of college looking for a job. There are a lot of posts that cover some of what you’re asking.

A tip about what to put on your resume. Be sure that everything on there is true and accurate. Precise, but somewhat generic so you’re not pinned down to do something you’re really not fully competent with. Never put down any skill that someone else tells you you’re good at unless you know you’re really good at it. People like to butter others up to get them to do something for them.

Be very wary about anything that promises to train you as a executive or manager. Even the real estate broker contact sounds suspicious unless you’re in the field. A lot of times these are come-on’s to recruit you into a commission based sales job, just so they can use your name as a door opener. Just a step above a literal door to door salesperson.

From the inside, here are some of the things that can happen. The ad might be for immigration purposes - which you can tell by it having weird requirements. The company does have to interview people writing in with those requirements, but you had better be spot on. I know of one case where someone was hired, but it is rare.
The ad might be obsolete, filled long since. many companies are not good at taking down ads.
The hiring manager might never get to looking at resumes. Though I did most of the work in hiring, my boss was the only person who could log into our job site and get the resumes. He then gave them to me. Three months out of date. Not too useful.
And the job might be meant for an internal candidate but has to be posted due to company policy.
If you get a contact in the company, you might find that the posted job is filled, but there are others not yet posted which you are good for.

Gee, using a reference without talking to the person first is a really bad idea. Most people will let you know - indirectly - if they are not comfortable giving you a glowing reference.
After I retired, when layoffs hit my old company, I emailed a bunch of my former colleagues offering to be a reference to them. Some took me up, and I was able to give a suitably glowing reference, which seemed to work. My former intern got hired at Facebook, which seemed like a good move at the time.

When I left the company, I asked them if I could use them as a reference as they all agreed, giving me their personal phone numbers and email addresses. After a year of not talking to them and several phone changes requiring a different size SIM card, I lost their contact info. The only phone number I had was the generic one for their workplace and I didn’t want to be a voice out of the blue asking them for a reference.

Nothing wrong with contacting people saying “hey, you agreed to act as my reference a year ago, I’d like to verify that you’re still ok with that and that the information I have is correct.”

The colleagues for whom I’ll act as a reference are also happy to provide one for me; many companies want recent info only but there’s times someone drops some emails saying for example “hey, I’ve changed emails and I thought I’d make sure the contact info I have for you is correct. How’s life?” Most of us are contacts through LinkedIn and provide each other’s profile as part of the reference contact info (most people in Spain will not, period, ever, no fucking way, accept your providing their phone number; we’re not the only ones).

This. Same here, me too, I have my current job through someone who reached out through LinkedIn. I had been wondering if my LinkedIn should be minimalist, or if it should have full descriptions of my work history. ivylass, what does your coach(es) say about that? — what an interesting tool! But how do you get keywords from that, are you pasting in job descriptions?

LinkedIn needs to be as robust as possible, going back 10-15 years. A lot of HR folk use it as a Rolodex, and you won’t even pop up in their searches unless you have key information. A photo is mandatory, make sure it looks professional. You can get free LinkedIn banners here. It’s all about branding yourself, making yourself stand out to recruiters. I have a hand out from the webinar I’m happy to share via email. Just PM me. There’s a lot of good stuff in it.

The outplacement agency suggested finding eight to ten job postings that you are interested in, copy the requirements into a Word doc, then dump that into Tagcrowd.

When I transitioned from teaching to IT, I had no track record in the industry. I bit the bullet and did temp stuff for pretty low pay. I even accepted a 5-week Dell refresh contract in Round Lake even though it was a 125 mile round trip every day just so I could build up my resume.

I went from temp jobs of a few weeks to temping steadily for much better pay at a place for three years, and then I was finally able to get the full time job I have now with a pension plan and health care.

I guess I’m trying to say that it’s a process that takes some time. Stick with it and don’t be discouraged.

PM sent — thank you!! This will be a great help. I was laid off a couple of years ago and for circumstances beyond my control I was unable to take advantage of the outplacement services offered. Missed opportunity! Your webinar handout will be a great help. I have a great job now, through LinkedIn, but it’s with a small startup, and the company has one customer. Things look promising but I’m close to 55 and at my age, stability is important.

Best of luck in your search, ivylass, and thanks again!