Q: I was recently laid off after working for the same company for 22 years. Needless to say, my job search skills are rusty. I went to buy good resume paper to print my resume and my sister literally laughed and said that was an outdated practice. It got me thinking: are there any other practices I should not use to avoid looking like a dinosaur?
I’m afraid that your sister is right, high quality resume paper is a thing of the past. Your biggest focus for now should be on the quality of your resume content and how you can market yourself to prospective employers in today’s job market – not the one you faced 22 years ago.
It’s easy to make yourself look outdated in the job search process, but it’s just as easy to get current too. Concepts like a one-page resumes don’t apply anymore. That was a practice people used when working for one company for decades was the norm. If yours fits on one that is fine, but it shouldn’t be the goal.
Also, don’t insist upon taking a phone interview from a land line. Mobile phones are acceptable and an employer would rather talk to you while you are waiting for the train than schedule an interview for time when you have access to a land line. Also, ask if the interviewer has Facetime or Skype and conduct the session by video conference.
During the interview process, if you are asked to provide an example of a professional weakness, don’t offer up a strength. Too many people think they are still fooling interviewers by suggesting their greatest weakness is their ‘perfectionism’ or their need to ‘work long hours.’ Responses like this make you seem outdated as well as disingenuous and dishonest. It’s perfectly acceptable to provide a real weakness that you are working on as a professional growth opportunity.
There are a few quick things you can do to bring your job search strategy into 2013. First, complete every area of your LinkedIn profile and include a professional headshot of yourself. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile on your resume. This is a great way for employers to see examples of project work and other things you would not typically include in a resume.
Write a professional cover letter for every opportunity. Even those where you are completing an online application. After an interview, Email a thank you note and follow that up with a hand written note sent by postal mail. Gratitude, etiquette and consideration never go out of style.
22 years at one company is extremely impressive and I imagine that searching for a new job must feel a little daunting. Go easy on yourself. It won’t take you long to get back in the full swing of it.