“What people are really looking for is what did you do and what was the result,” Norz said. “One need not limit themselves to employed accomplishments. Things that one accomplished as a volunteer or on a committee count, too, because that’s where people gain a lot of leadership skills.”
Explore This IssueOctober 2012
Resumes should not be recitations of job descriptions, she advised. They should be lists of achievements described, with action verbs that give the applicant a clear identity and brand. “When you read a resume, you should walk away from it knowing who this person is,” said Dr. Kaplan. “If you don’t see that on their resume, then you’ve got to question it.”
The best applicants network. The more you can develop a relationship and rapport with peers and potential employers, the more likely it is that you will be given a greater chance to sell your strengths and explain weaknesses, said career strategist Ellen Dunagan, president of Traverse Management Solutions in Arlington, Va.
“You really want to step it up and be much more active with your own pitch,” she said. “That goes for selling yourself to a peer who’s working for Organization X and telling him exactly what you need other people to know about you in his workplace.”
But before any applicant with a resume shortcoming begins to look for a job, he or she must resolve the issue internally, Dr. Kaplan noted. Taking responsibility will allow you to speak clearly and comfortably about what happened, without negativity or blame.
“If you don’t, you will fumble,” he said. “The prospective employer will start seeing those red flags and they will ask you about it, and you thought you had your pitch ready. Then they ask you two more questions, and before you know it, they’re not going to feel a sense of transparency with you.”
More and more, what employers are looking for, regardless of the profession, is positivity, Dunagan said. It’s a trait applicants won’t have if they still harbor negative feelings toward a previous employer. “It’s just very important to be not only a team player, but to have a really good attitude,” she said. “So present yourself in the best possible light.”
Reprinted with permission from the Society of Hospital Medicine.