The most immediate impact of these market changes became very evident to me when my client companies stopped hiring. Most of my business was in the manufacturing sector, and that sector was hit very hard by reductions in force, layoffs, downsizing, and many companies going out of business altogether.
Many workers who had been at the same company for decades found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly unemployed, and most of them had no clue about how to present themselves to other companies effectively in their searches for new jobs. Many of these workers were skilled, experienced, and very capable in their fields, but they were woefully unprepared for marketing themselves in the “new” economy where employers had the upper hand. I in many ways it was like what someone goes through when they have been married or in a long-term relationship for many years, and then become widowed or divorced. When they decide to get back into the dating game, they find that everything has changed, nothing is like is used to be, and the ‘rules’ of the game have changed dramatically. If they were married before the turn of the century, chances are that they know nothing about online dating, which is how more than one third of married couples in America today found each other. Online job search and marketing yourself through social media was a totally foreign concept to those who became unemployed in the economic downturn.
So here it is… the first rule of marketing yourself: When demand conditions change, you must also change your promotional strategy.
I jokingly tell my friends that as a recruiter, I’m really just “Cupid” for industry, introducing two parties to each other and arranging dates (interviews). If they kiss and get married (one hires the other), I get paid. However, I am well aware that my corporate clients judge me by the quality of the candidates I present to them, and the only way they get an impression of what they think of a candidate is through that candidate’s resume. Unfortunately, most job seekers still use the same, tired, out-of-date resume style and content model that was common in the years prior to the economic downturn. To make matters worse, most universities today are preaching to their students and graduates the same ineffective model for resumes that they have used for years.
What’s the point here? The point is simple… if you are looking for a job, and not just any job, but the job that you really want, you have exactly one opportunity to make a good first impression. That opportunity lasts about 6 seconds, the amount of time it takes for a recruiter or hiring manager to determine if your resume is one worth serious review or if it is thrown in the trash, literally or electronically.
You cannott get hired unless you get an interview, and you will not get an interview in today’s market unless you have a great resume that gives the recruiter and/or the hiring manager what they want to see.