When I began my resume business, I quickly realized that most clients had problems that a resume alone couldn't always help them with. Sometimes, a person's career history is so complex, or they are encountering a particular job-change transition obstacle, that they require more job search strategy than a pretty piece of paper.
If you've ever had a break in your work history or you've transitioned to a different line of work; had difficulty remembering some straightforward, data-driven accomplishments you could mention; or have experienced any number of difficult situations that are difficult to portray in a positive light on a resume: you can relate. The resume is a necessity, but not the end-all-be-all solution to many career dilemmas.
Yes, there is a way to put spin on these situations to make you shine in your final document. And yes, you absolutely need one to get hired. But eventually the employer will want to ask you tough questions in an interview, check you out on social media, or talk to your references. What to do then?
Get some coaching with that resume! (Yes, you would like fries with that.)
1. Digital dirt
A resume can't clean up digital dirt. If you've had negative things posted about you online, you need to bury it. A well-written LinkedIn (and Google Plus) profile will help. So will blogging, press releases, and article publishing. But, a resume won't do you a bit of good if an employer Googles you and finds a blemish you'd rather they not hold against you.
2. Being let go
A resume alone can't help you answer the question, “Have you ever been fired?" You need coaching to craft a concise script and answer this with your best poker face. Staying calm only comes with practice and preparation, which a resume can't do for you.
3. Barriers to employment
A resume can't help you with your in-person image. If you think you're being overlooked due to a disability, ageism (old or young), or any other serious discriminatory practice, you need a coach. Or perhaps you're just struggling to look or feel the part. You need a solid strategy to deal with these obstacles that a resume can't help you with.
4. Moving up
If you're vying for a promotion, wanting to achieve an executive-level position, or just transitioning to a new field, a resume alone might not cut it. You need a portfolio of documents and writing to reflect how savvy you are as a communicator. A coach can help you know how and when to use an executive bio, cover letter, reference dossier, and LinkedIn profile.
Also, you'll need insider information to know what the company's real struggles are. Finding out what the job ad isn't saying by interviewing your network with targeted questions you go over with your coach can give you the advantage over your competition.
All of these challenges necessitate developing a relationships with people that will advocate for you. Relying on a resume alone will just lengthen your search. You can apply for years to posted positions and get nowhere because people really do tend to hire people they know, like, and trust. If you are not working on “Digging your well before you need it," as the title of the famous book by that name recommends, you may end up struggling for years. A coach can help you build your network, learn to do informational interviews, and make progress faster.
A resume is tough for the best of candidates to write for themselves. But, throw in one of the above stumbling blocks, and you can end up in an endless cycle of obsessing over how to deal with it.
Avoid this stress by getting some fries with that. Coaching is one add-on my clients never regret.
This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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About the author
Kristin S. Johnson is a TORI award-winning, 6-times certified resume writer, job search coach, and social media consultant. Her approach is cutting-edge, creative, and kind. As owner of Profession Direction, LLC, she works with professionals and aspiring executives across the country.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert.