Q: I am applying to an organization I know. Grant procurement is a big piece of my job, and the organization is an upstream grantor organization. Do you have any tips about how to approach the group?
Your immediate task is to have your peers and colleagues take a fresh look at you. They think they already “know” you. But, in all likelihood, there are many aspects of your leadership they have either forgotten or truly don’t know. Your work is to package yourself so they see all of your work, vision and potential in ways beneficial to the organization.
Because ethnicity/race/national origin raise sensitive issues, you do not need to open the door to unnecessary inquiry around topics of this nature.
Q: I am discouraged, upset and depressed about my job search. What should I work on next? My resume? Or …?
A: Without a doubt, work on yourself first. For now, set aside the resume, and stop typing the cover letter. No document will hide your frustration and upset feelings. They manifest themselves one way or another, so addressing what is bothering you takes priority above developing your documents.
These days, my sense is employers use the cover letter as a candidate development tool. In other words, once employers conduct initial screens for skill parity and interest, the cover becomes an additional tool to really get to know a candidate.
Q: Should I include graduation dates and dates for all of my diplomas on my resume? A recruiter told me to get rid of them because they “date” me. What do you think?
A: The sad truth is when dates are left off the resume, the reviewer is likely to draw one of two conclusions: (1) The candidate is, in fact, an experienced professional, or (2) The candidate is somehow trying to skew the truth.
Q: As a recruiter, what do you look for in a leader? What signs indicate leadership?
A: Sometimes, it is difficult to quantify the traits comprising successful leadership. The obvious traits include: effective communication of a vision to others; the ability to execute; the ability to enroll others in the mission/vision, and the ability to generate resources to meet a mission/vision. Stamina, resilience, persistence and integrity are other key qualities.
Have you ever wondered why it takes several days to get around to revising your resume or why you spend hours agonizing over each bullet? I do, too. After many years of working in the recruitment field with countless candidates, I still ponder, perseverate, and, frankly, procrastinate when I get stumped. And, that happens quite often. Why do resumes generate this level of angst and nervous energy? What’s really going on?
A good not-for-profit resume is concise, accurate and industry-friendly. It highlights your past successes, strengths and potential for growth. It shows commitment to mission which, in this sector, means social equity. It is a powerful, truthful document. And, when referenced along with your communications on the Web (LinkedIN/Facebook profiles, Twitter and blogs), a potential employer gains a clear picture of the value you will add to an organization.
No matter how senior you are in your organization or how secure you believe is your position, you would do well to take an entrepreneurial attitude toward your career. It is comforting to believe others will take care of you, and it’s easy to become either complacent or too busy to pay attention to yourself when there is so much work to do. But, there are new habits and skills you should be adopting to ensure you remain in charge of your own professional growth and career development.