Imagine for a moment that you are starting a new business and decide to hire a top-notch advertising firm to help you with your marketing materials. Sooner or later, someone from the agency will ask you "So what exactly is your business," along with many other probing questions.
Now suppose that you told them "Oh, I don't know...don't have a clue really...just need an awesome brochure to get the word out." Right away it becomes obvious, there are some first steps as a business owner you will need to take prior to developing a knock-out brochure. First things first.
In the world of resume writing, though, I routinely get calls such as this:
Caller: Yes, I need help with a resume...
Me: Thank you for calling...how may I help?
Caller: Well, I have a couple of quick questions...how much will it cost me and how fast is your turnaround time?
Me: Happy to answer your questions...first, I have one for you. What do you want to do...what type of job(s) are you targeting?
Caller: Oh, I'm just shoppin' around...you know, just sort of lookin' around to see what's out there.
As a career management professional, when I hear words such as the above response or some derivative thereof, it's a large clue that the caller is not prepared to embark upon a resume-writing expedition. While I may think writing a resume is as easy as pie, I have found that many job seekers simply do not know how to do this task. Putting together a stellar professional resume takes time, thought, assessment, planning, preparation, clarification, focus, and direction, for starters...which brings me to the heart of my post...the word knowledgeable.
Take a close look at the letters that comprise k n o w l e d g e a b l e. If you wish to scramble the letters, you can make several news words: down, lag, low, bleak, now, be, glad, led, won, own, deal, etc...however, for the purpose of this post, I have chosen these three words to write about: know, edge, and able.
KNOW: You've no doubt heard the expression "You don't know what you don't know." In today's uber-competitive job market, knowledge is a weapon -- use it to your advantage. And the more you know about yourself and the job search process, the better your chances of experiencing success, sooner than later. So whether it is learning state-of-the-art job hunt strategies, putting together an award-winning resume, or selling yourself with confidence in an interview, know your stuff! Get to know your subject matter! And if you don't know your stuff, get help from a competent career professional. Time and again, I have witnessed the distinct advantage a knowledgeable job seeker has over one who is not well-educated in the job search realm. There are hundreds upon hundreds of smart, talented, highly skilled career management professionals who uphold the highest code of ethics, standards, and best practices in serving the job-seeking population. Do yourself a favor and find one now if you are stalled out and stuck in looking for a j-o-b.
EDGE: The other day, a client came into my office for help with a professional resume. It became abundantly clear that he was not ready to move forward with any conversation whatsoever about a resume. So, we backed up (first things first) and did a career coaching session where he began to discover some insightful and interesting (his words) things about himself. At one point he remarked "So I need to know all I can about me and looking for work in order to level the playing field, right?" Precisely...which brings me to my next word: edge, as in competitive edge. Know your competitive edge before you go to market. Do not be caught off guard or tripped up by some routine question that 'should' be easy for you to answer. Avoid putting yourself at risk unnecessarily because of your lack of knowledge about you and your brand. Know your competitive edge, and know how to speak of it with confidence and knowledge!
ABLE: Once you have well-schooled yourself on the various phases of the career transition process, and when you are ready and able, hopefully, you will find it much easier to speak comfortably and confidently about yourself in support of your candidacy for a position...be it in a phone conversation, in a professional resume, or at a face-to-face meeting with a hiring manager. When you know more about yourself, you will then be able to move forward with a greater sense of focus and purpose. Indeed, you can then begin to level the playing field as a knowledgeable job seeker.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for a lifetime. ~ Chinese proverb