I need some advice on finding my next job. A new job. I am one of those senior people you hear about that lost their job from a big company in the last six months. Yes, one of the scenarios everyone is talking about... I will not say which company but you can assume I lost my job at Staples, or as a result of the HermanMiller / Knoll merger. I am receiving “outplacement” but it is generic, and a useless formula delivered by a group who does not know anything about our industry and the nuances of how to find a new job in contract furniture.
I am a mature worker but still have years of experience and productivity to give a new employer, and lots of earning power left in the tank to give my family. I can sell, I can manage a team, or I can do both. Let’s face it: almost every job in this industry is related to revenue and that’s a relationship that I am very comfortable with. You can imagine how frustrating it is for me to read about and see on the news the "millions" of job openings that there are. Companies are desperate to hire, the current market implies that if you can fog a mirror you can get a good job. However, that’s not been the case for me. Maybe it’s the type of job I’m looking for, maybe it’s bad luck, or maybe – most likely – it’s me. I must be doing something wrong.
I keep getting mixed messages and advice about my resume and I have been told more than once that my LinkedIn is confusing. I now realize that with most companies hiring again, I need to present a clear and focused message of my credentials and work experience to prospective employers. The free resume I got from the outplacement people is not working for this industry, and I have made enough money to pay for a service to improve on that. What exactly do manufacturers and dealers in our industry expect from a resume? What does the AI reader or the HR executive look for? What about my LinkedIn? I had no idea it was so important until I lost my job and now I realize that it’s the first thing that hiring managers look at. They may not admit it, but they do.
Do you have a suggestion as to a resource to get this done for me?
Unemployed, Needing Help
Dear Needs Help,
I hear you. Outplacement companies are paid for by the company that let you go to soften the blow and help you find a new job fast so you will not be so focused on suing them. It’s a nice gesture but the outplacement services provide only a very generic resume and typically don’t do anything at all to help you improve your LinkedIn.
HR managers and hiring managers tell me those generic resumes are too broad and do not guide them to the specific skills, talents or experience that relate to the position they are trying to fill.
One example that is frequently missed is the absence of a (full) street address in the resume header, which is incredibly important for our industry. It may seem like a simple thing, “what’s the big deal”, and in most industries it probably isn’t important, but in contract furniture sales most hiring companies and HR managers want to know exactly where you live. They want to understand where it is in relation to the geography you will be covering and in relation to the office or showroom. Remember, very few companies in the interiors industry subscribe to hybrid working or virtual working. Most furniture companies are back at work, even when your customer may not be. The new normal with contract furniture may not be the same as the new normal at Chase Bank.
A couple of other things about the street address issue, if you’re still thinking about that: Some would contend it’s a privacy issue but please, privacy? You’re pouring out every detail of your life on that resume, including your email address and your cell number and yet you’re worried about your street address? Which, by the way, is available in a large number of databases already. Now, most critical of all, some employers will eliminate individuals from consideration just because--and we’ve seen it happen--the person doesn't live in the city at all. You may need a job in that city, but, leaving out a street address may get you eliminated before a conversation even happens.
Meanwhile, your LinkedIn page can ruin your chances of an interview as much as a bad resume can. For instance, do you know, if you don't have #hashtags, you may be deemed a dinosaur?! Hashtags simply make content more discoverable. Also, you must display your personal email and your cell phone number on LinkedIn. #LinkedIn often ‘hides’ this info, so be sure to put it in your headline or in your 'About' section so that it’s truly accessible. All of these tips will definitely help you land an interview faster.
By the way, I have a great resource for you, so get ready. I'm always hesitant to unconditionally “recommend” any resource, unless I've had firsthand experience, but I was working with a candidate for a job we were hired to fill and they told me about a service they liked. Then, I saw the end results, the resume and the new LinkedIn profile... I was impressed. Then, when I heard what it cost, I was even more impressed! This guy also takes credit cards and does all of the work for you over the phone. The hard part on a resume is that most people hate writing things out for themselves. Doing a resume is the worst, so being interviewed by phone changed that. As for LinkedIn, very few people can be experts, after all you have a day job, and LinkedIn changes all the time.
To me, LinkedIn is almost a more important first step (even when you are not looking…), this company knows how LinkedIn works almost down to the minute. Did you know one of the most important things on your LinkedIn could be your “recommendations” and “endorsements”? Yes, it is true, and this guy can tell you how to get them.
Oh, who is this guy you ask? I call him the LinkedIn guy, but his name is #JohnCrant. You can look him up on LinkedIn and his website is www.SelfRecruiter.com. I recommend him even if you have not lost your job but have your eye on that promotion. Have John review your LinkedIn, (just like your boss will) and make it better! Let’s face it, everyone could use a better resume and LinkedIn.
I told John I was going to write about him in this column. I rarely interview or quote sources here. As my regular readers know this is an “advice” column, but recommending John is good advice and I asked him what is trending on LinkedIn and how he can add value to someone’s LinkedIn page and this is what he told me:
"When you begin to take a closer look, and imagine the deluge of information which now populates the LinkedIn platform, the real way to add significant value to your background is by elevating your story and your brand using the very tools built in to the LinkedIn system."
"Combining effective use of available tools with an understanding that in 'today's world' individuals really do not want to read… It becomes about simplifying, clarifying stories, and making it visual – until it's so powerful it cannot be missed. That's how I help my clients."
So, folks, you want to know my LinkedIn guy. He does resumes and coaching as well. John is a resource to help you get ahead in your current job as much as to get that new job. This is a column you will want to keep for the future and click on his LinkedIn profile today and while you are there, be sure to FOLLOW The Viscusi Group, on LinkedIn and me, Stephen Viscusi.