Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Build a Trail

I had resumes on my mind this morning.  I got to thinking about the differences between good and great; short vs. long; creative vs. boring.  I wondered what kind of results I would find if I did a quick search on "how to build a better resume."

The results were, as Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh-In,

The Resume.
Google "how to build a better resume," and you'll get 4.7m results.  Yep, that's millions.  The ability to create/present an unbelievably great resume can't be overemphasized.  First and foremost, it serves as a platform to open the door - even if only a crack.  That's why I like the 2-step resume approach:
  1. First, a Guerrilla-like resume (which I learned from Mr. David Perry) to crazy-pique a recruiter's interest. 
  2. And a second resume (with much more detail) to pass along once the hook has been set.
And that's why the Linkedin Profile is more than just a little important.  It is one of the primary tools for catching a recruiter's attention. Check out this article by Ronan Keane on tips and tricks for building a profile that makes a difference.    

The Trail.
So, the resume is important - that's established.  In a sense, it is a picture of the trail that has been blazed throughout one's career.  A trail that should be easily identified and recognized by a recruiter. At different times in my career, my trail's had the appearance of being torched, instead of blazed. And that's okay, as long as I am prepared in the interview to describe the various u-turns, left-turns and off-ramps of my career trail.  In short, the things I've learned and improved as a result of the torching: the good - bad - and the ugly.

The Digital Trail. 
I recently read a post by Seth Godin titled, "Are You Willing to Build a Trail."  Godin emphasized the importance of building a trail - a "digital trail."  His post begs the question, "What does your career look like online?"  Not just your resume, but all of the things you have done that are important. That has made a difference.  That added value.  That changed an industry.  Are they easily found? And do they leave an impression that is not easily forgotten?

The Interview.

Here's the point.  It all comes down to the interview.  We create resumes to get "the interview." Therefore, resumes are important as they describe our career-trail.  Our digital-trail is important as it makes us findable.  BUT, our ability to communicate effectively in an interview with regard to our career and digital-trail is not a given.  And unfortunately, it's oft-attempted with little to no preparation & practice.  

The Preparation.
Here's my big-hairy-point (forget everything else but remember this):  

Trail-building doesn't start on the first day 
of unemployment.  It takes time.

But if you'll begin working on it today you'll be ready to kick-butt in your next interview.  To help you get started, I've written nine (9) interview questions (adapted from Godin's post) that will serve you well in your attempt to paint a picture of your trail and distinguish yourself from the pack:

  1. Point me to your personal website (even if that's your Linkedin profile).
  2. Describe a project you've led that made an IMPACT.
  3. Describe work you've performed against a DEADLINE.  Explain.
  4. What do you do in your spare time that builds a trail, or makes an impact?
  5. What is the best lesson you've learned from a top leader in your industry?
  6. Reference a post or book that changed the way you think about CONNECTING with people online.
  7. Have you ever taken something that's completely lame and fixed it or turned it in to something BETTER than good?
  8. Have you ever created anything worth watching on YouTube?  Explain.
  9. Where do you work now and what is GREAT about it?

Building a trail is all about DOING those things you talk about in the interview.

Develop insightful answers to the nine questions above, and you will be better prepared for the next interview than at any point in your career.

See you on the trail,


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