How do I make my resume stand out in this dismal economy?
– Bill from Bend
Dear Billy Boy:
I recommend the multi-pronged approach. HR folks can screen out a resume in 30 seconds or less. Which means you need to implore clever tactics to ensure your resume stands out against the bazillion other ones. Start with a personalized cover letter, preferably addressed to the hiring manager. Include two things 1) why you want to work for XYZ and 2) why you are the perfect candidate for the job. I cannot tell you how many resumes I get with generic cover letters. I even get ones addressed to the wrong company. Obviously, the applicant is just doing a spaghetti toss job search to see what sticks to the wall. You know where these resumes end up? Two words “round file”.
I want to read in your cover letter that you know about my company, that you have done your research. I want to hear that you know what product or service my company provides. Secondly, I want to read and honestly believe that you have the KSAs (knowledge, skills and abilities) to do the job. The best indicator of future performance is past experience. One hint, employers tell you what they are looking for in the job posting, so it behooves you to touch on all those points. If you really want the job, repackage your skills so you become that ideal candidate.
Third on your list, network, network, and network. Tell everyone you meet about your background and what you’re seeking in your next job opportunity. While I might not have an open position, my daughter’s school teacher’s husband – may have a job opening that is perfect for you. In this economy, it is not what you know but often who you know that lands you your next job opportunity.
We have an employee who is not meeting performance expectations but everyone likes this guy. He has been with the company for six years. What do we do?
-Lucy in La Pine
Put the guy on a performance improvement plan (PIP) with specific goals and time lines he needs to accomplish them. Let him know what the consequences will be if he can’t make it. If at the end of the time frame, he still isn’t cutting the mustard, then you must let him go. You are not doing anyone a favor by allowing him to continue. Your employees are looking at YOU to lead. If you instill a culture of mediocrity your employee morale and your company will suffer greatly. Letting go of someone is never easy especially if it is someone whom everyone likes. The best advice I can offer is to handle these situations with dignity and grace. It is not the termination the employee will remember, it is how you handled it. Do it with compassion and empathy.
Provide the employee with helpful information like: 1) COBRA rights to continue benefits 2) unemployment benefit information 3) a severance package 4) outsourcing services and 5) employee assistance program counseling. Give him tools so he can leave the room with a a little dignity and a positive game plan for moving forward in life.
, HR Consulting Services. You can visit her at her website at www.thehumantouchHR.com. Send your workplace dilemmas to julie@thehumantouchHR.com and she’ll answer them in her next column.