Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dusting Off - The Old Résumé

In May 2010, the Georgia Department of Labor reported that over 57,000 initial unemployment claims were filed with Atlanta leading other state regions in claims; reporting just over 28,000.

If you are a statistic of the 10.2% unemployed citizens in the state of Georgia, you know first-hand that the competition for placement in this labor market is tough. Businesses have made cut backs in most every area, to include employees, and with minor spikes in supply and demand; employers are reluctant to return to previous staffing levels.

This situation leaves job seekers desperate to find employment, as unemployment compensation benefits are limited. Time is running out, and many job seekers find themselves faced with new trends in securing employment. For the first time ever, many employers are asking for a résumé; and in some cases, doing this for positions that pay only minimum wage. Additionally, many employers track job applicants through automated data management systems, and will only accept employment applications through online programs.

The new strategies used by Human Resource Managers and employers to screen applicants may help them streamline the hiring process, but may also hinder their ability to hire the best candidate. Many of the more seasoned professionals have spent the majority of their career in stable employment, and have not had the opportunity to keep up with advancements in technology that support these new processes, so many job seekers find themselves at a loss if they cannot get their foot in the door to speak with a representative. The competition is tough, and it appears that those more familiar with automated assets have the advantage over those who lack the communication assets needed to apply for vacancies, even if they possess commendable experience or credentials.

Well, the only choice is the one that most job seekers find brings on more stress than the lack of a steady paycheck – writing the résumé. When a potential candidate has had the security of stable employment, and has not had to keep up with the strategies used to prepare a value-based, targeted résumé, they quickly find this task to be “challenging”.

The standard approach usually consists of going back through the years and remembering the guidance received when first starting out on a career path.

Gathering the contact information is easy; name, address, home phone, cell phone number, and e-mail address. Next, most job seekers decide to include an objective statement; a requirement still promoted by some members of the academic community, and remembered as a “must include” by the average professional. Finally, a chronological list of employers, responsibilities, education, and personal interests follows and the résumé begins to come to life.

Armed with the basic requirement, the job seeker sets out to obtain employment, and quickly comes to realize that the new résumé does not seem to be producing the expected results. Trying to identify exactly what may be the problem leads an already fear filled, desperate job seeker down a confusing path of information overload. Once you have made the decision to seek help in developing your Professional Résumé Presentation, things tend to get even more interesting.

The internet is filled with résumé help, and hundreds of service providers, but it can be overwhelming to decide which service is credible. The pressure to make a decision when seeking immediate help can cloud the ability to use sound judgment, and being vulnerable makes it easy for unethical services to take advantage of a serious situation.

By being an educated job seeker, you can avoid the anguish associated with finding a service provider that can help you address your career development needs. Knowing where to start when seeking professional guidance is priceless. The following information summarizes a few of the most valuable resources.

The Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW-CC)
is the career development industry’s original certification organization for career development professionals, and résumé writers. PARW-CC is contracted by the Department of Labor, and the Federal Government to provide certification for their career development and employment service specialists.

Launched in 1990, PARW-CC is the industry standard and most reliable resource for identifying Certified Professional Résumé Writers (CPRW), Certified Employment Interview Professionals (CEIP), and Certified Professional Career Coaches (CPCC). On the PARW Web site, you will find a list of credentialed career assistance professionals, making it easy for job seekers to locate legitimate service providers around the world. The best thing about this resource is; that if a service provider is listed on the PARW Web site, you can be sure that they strive to uphold a strict Code of Ethics, maintain currency on trends in the résumé writing industry, and take their role in career development very seriously. Trends in the labor market, and the things an employer will look for in a candidate change on a regular basis, and even though a service provider may have obtained one of the certification credentials previously; if they do not keep up with trends in the industry – how will you know the product they provide is up to date? Visit PARW and check out the credentials of any service provider, prior to contracting them to work your project.

Georgia Department of Labor
Many career centers throughout the state provide résumé writing classes, and many of them have a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW) on staff that can assist job seekers as they prepare their most valuable marketing document. They may not be able to write your résumé for you, but they can provide some valuable guidance as you try to promote your value as a potential candidate. The career centers also maintain an extensive library, stocked with many of the most sought after résumé writing resources, and provide workstations where clients can use a computer to develop a simple résumé. Additionally, these services are free. Once you register with the Department of Labor, develop a viable résumé, and speak with an Employment Career Counselor, you will be well on your way to getting your foot in the door with a local employer.

National Résumé Writers Association (NRWA)
This organization was launched in 1996, in order to keep up with the growing need for résumé writers and career development professionals, and was spearheaded by some of the professionals originally certified by PARW-CC. As mentioned on their web site, with a mission to support the continued advancement and development of Professional Résumé Writers; NRWA developed a multi-step certification process for those seeking career development credentials, and takes pride in certifying some of the best résumé writers in the career development industry.

The NRWA is actively involved in public education and awareness initiatives. Through partnerships and alliances, NRWA is able to contribute not only to the career development industry, but also to those individuals seeking to advance in their professional careers. One of their most notable partnerships is with Southworth Paper, the most recognized and prominent supplier of résumé writing paper, folders, envelops, and accessories for job seekers. Included in each package of Southworth’s line of professional, watermarked résumé paper; you will find a résumé guide, complete with information about NRWA and the value of a properly written résumé presentation.

Consider this when contracting a Certified Career Development Professional; the cost is an investment in your future. These professionals are experts in their career field, just as you are an expert in yours. Pricing will vary in range, and prices are usually quoted based on the challenges your particular situation presents to the service provider, whether it be writing a Professional Résumé, or providing Career Development service.

A Certified Professional or credentialed service provider can be expected to charge by the hour, or by the project. Prices may range anywhere from $35-$90 per hour, or by the project from $185, well up into the thousands depending on the client’s professional background or career goal. If you happen to locate a service provider who charges a very low or standard fee for various levels of the workforce, make sure that you conduct your research and carefully consider your decision to move forward in contracting the service. This is one area where the old saying that “you get what you pay for” is very close to the truth.

Ms. Parker is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Certified Employment Interview Professional (CEIP), Retired Service Member, Member of the PARW-CC Certification / Credentialing Committee, and Owner/Operator of Parker-CPRW.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Reliable Résumé Help is Hard Not to Find!

As a Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), owner of Parker-CPRW, and member of the PARW-CC Certification Committee, it is not often that I find an online resource that provides reliable information and resources for job seekers.

I ran across a site that I find very refreshing, as the contributors are hand selected by the web site host, and in most cases are certified service providers. In reviewing the contributions, it is apparent that the contributors make every effort to keep up with the trends in the labor market; as well as consider the needs of employers when guiding job seekers.

Do yourself a favor, if you are seeking reliable help in preparing your résumé, cover letter, or thinking about the next job hunt, and check out a service provider known as Workbloom.