It's a myth that no one hires during the holidays and that nothing happens until after the first of January. So, why are you still waiting to fine-tune or update your resume? Picture the calm before the storm - now is the time to batten down the hatches and prepare.
When January arrives, those who've taken a vacation from job searching will be fighting for the time of career coaches and resume writers - with the disadvantage of not being ready. Waiting may mean you'll miss the submission date for the perfect ad you see on January 3. Or, it may sour the opinion of a hiring authority referred to you by a networking contact, who wonders why you didn't update your resume over the holidays while it was quiet.
Take Your Time
Your resume isn't something to work on under duress. It's the primary agent that determines whether you are contacted by a prospective hiring company or not, and should not be slapped together. Tell the story of your unique accomplishments and take the time to craft a resume that will bring you results.
While it might seem wise to ask your friends' and family's opinions during the holidays, banish the thought. Some of the worst resumes I've seen have been defended by: "I had my friends look at it, and they said it was fine."
How do you know if your resume needs work? If your ratio of responses to send-outs is more than 1:3, it needs work. Granted, your resume may be only one of several problems contributing to an abysmal ratio, but it makes sense to start here.
Get a Professional Writer
Lest you think I'm angling for you to hire me, I don't do resumes. I advise, teach, and critique, but I don't write them. I can, and have, earlier in my career, and they received praise from hiring authorities, but as a recruiter and now career coach, I've seen over 500K resumes in my career, and I would direct you to a professional writer.
As a third-party recruiter, I participated in more hiring in six months than most hiring managers did in their entire career. For the same reason, a professional resume writer, even the bad ones, will generally create a better product than you can. They have more experience than you and they are objective.
Steps to Take
Start your resume process by ordering my free resume report (yes, I do give these away, just sign up for my newsletter), against which you can measure your resume, and see where it falls short. And it will, in at least one - probably more - areas.
Then, submit your resume to various professional resume writers and have a baseline measurement for their responses, gauging if their knowledge justifies their price and works with your budget.
Specifically, to make sure your resume is the best it can be by January 1, send it to several resume writers for a quick critique and a quote. They'll always find problems for two reasons:
- They want your business, and
- There always is at least one problem
Don't select by price alone, because you typically will get what you pay for.
Good Enough Isn't Enough
Your resume is the most important document in your job search. "Good enough" doesn't suffice. It's your brochure against which people measure you, just as you use brochures when you buy a car, select a service, or choose a college for your child. An excellent resume doesn't guarantee a "yes," but a bad one guarantees a "no."
Judi Perkins is the How-To Career Coach and was a recruiter for 22 years. She worked with hundreds of hiring authorities, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, and consistently broke sales records by building relationships with clients and paying attention to details. Her insight into the hiring authority's mind has led to many of her clients finding jobs within 8 to 12 weeks because her focus and orientation is considerably different from that of other coaches. She's been on PBS's Frontline, SmartMoney magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Hot Jobs, the New York Times, featured as an expert in numerous career books and will be in the New York Daily News in October 2010. Judi has been writing for JobsInTheUS since 2006. Join her free newsletter at FindThePerfectJob.com.