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The perfect resume for a gap in employment: The functional resume format
Episode 3514th November 2022 • Careers & Coffee • Corridor Careers
00:00:00 00:16:03

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In this podcast we review the Google-recommended functional resume format and talk about the ins and outs.

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Once again, another episode of careers and coffee. How are you

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Liz?

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Great. How are you doing?

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I'm doing good, doing good. Well, we are in November of

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2022. Lots of interesting things happening in the world and our

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last careers and coffee was actually about the economy. And

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what's happening around the world, you can check that out on

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our channel, if you'd like to. But today, we're going to go

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back to the basics a little bit, which we like to do here on

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cruising coffee, and give you some tips and just things to

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think about when you're building your resume. So Liz, I know you

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attended a webinar recently. And could you tell us a little more

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about that?

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Yeah, so I listened in on a Google Grow with Google webinar

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that was all about optimizing your resume with practical

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strategies. And they had so many great tips in there, I highly

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recommend this webinar, and we'll link to it in the show

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notes. So you can watch it yourself. It's only about it's

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an hour long. But there's you don't have to watch the entire

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thing. It was definitely relevant to any job seeker. So

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whether you're applying for a professional position or another

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or warehouse position, any anybody that you're going to

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have to put together a resume, this is a great tool for you. So

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one of the things that was new to me and of listening to this

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webinar was talking about what what do I do when I have a gap

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in my employment? How do I explain that in a resume? This

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is a common question we get from job seekers. And previously, you

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know, maybe we'd advise, like, well make the most of your

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volunteer experience and whatever skills that you've

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built. And those are, that's still good advice. And that was

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some of the advice that they had in this in this webinar. But

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they proposed that, I'm just going to open up my screen here

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of the notes from here. It's really important when you're

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optimizing your resume that you choose a professional format. So

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you make sure that the format of your resume is something that is

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going to look professional to a HR hiring manager, or even just

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a manager that was going to review your resume. So that

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professional format is a place to start. The second thing that

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you're going to want to do is highlight your skills and

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accomplishments. What's what's unique to you, what have you

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accomplished so far. And then citing a specific examples, and

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measurable details is really key because and as as quickly as

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possible, too, because people are scanning these resumes. And

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you want to show you know whether it's improved sales

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numbers by 25%. And my time there, whatever it is, it's got

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to be something that is specific and measurable that you can

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claim in your resume with, you know, that's accurate. And then

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you're gonna tailor your resume to the job description. And

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we've talked about this before with keyword optimization. It's

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just a, it's just a tip that you're going to want to have

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some of the exact verbiage that's in a job. What do you

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call that a job posting? Yeah, and the job description of what

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they're looking for, make sure you use some of those keywords

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in your in your resume. That is the that is the last step

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though. The first step is that professional format. So bringing

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it back to well, what do you do when you've got a gap in

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employment, they have a template in Google Docs, anyone can use

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this.

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So this functional resume template really puts your skills

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first. So if you're, you know, you haven't seen him work for

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seven years, because you've been taking care of kids or older

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family member or something like that something has gotten away

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of your work? Well, it's something that is a different

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kind of work that's not outside of the home, you're going to

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make the most of what skills that you've gained through that

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time period. And so it could be, you know, were you Vice

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President of the debate society in college and whether that's an

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interesting example there, but it could be organizational

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skills, account management, let's say you paid all the bills

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in your household or something like that. That's, you know,

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organization that is something that's going to be important.

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Maybe it's a communication skill, you know, that you're a

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good communicator or friendly. We've talked about those those

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counting skills. Those soft skills are super important to

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employers, especially in this day and age where it's really

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they can teach you the things that you need to learn on the

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job but the Soft skills are kind of hard to teach. So any soft

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skills I think you should put in there, and you just put your

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your first and last name, your contact info, that's the most

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important part of a resume in the first place. And then you

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were my education that you've gotten it. Maybe you didn't

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finish a degree, that's okay. You just you just put that you

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have some experience, you know, maybe you took took a year at

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Kirkwood, or you at a year at Iowa or something like that,

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just put that in there. And that you graduated high school, if

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you had a high school diploma, and then any experience, you

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want to include your most current position first. If it's

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been a time, it's been quite a time since you've been there.

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Just keep it to the year and month that you started and

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stopped what your title was. And then going back to that

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optimization, like, what did you accomplish there? What's

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Specific, measurable things? Did you accomplish there? But it's

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really starting with the skills first. And then your experience,

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which is different from our traditional resume that shows

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your experience first, and then your skills maybe on the side?

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Yeah, I like this. I have a question. If so, let's say, you

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know, it has been a while since I've been in the workforce. And

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I'm sitting down working on this functional resume template. I'm

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just drawing a blank as to exactly what my skills are. I'm

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sorry, I just can't think of, you know, like, what am I good

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at naturally? Like, what? What skills can I bring to the table?

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How would you suggest somebody go about finding out? What am I

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most good at?

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So we've talked about this before, we have like quizzes,

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right like that, we could, you could do an online quiz that

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kind of helps you identify those things, but I kind of using

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another person, you know, and this is where, you know, calling

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on your resources when you're job searching is really

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important. So it should be a friend or a family member that

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that thinks highly of you. You know, you don't want some

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naysayer to be part of this process, you want someone who is

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positive, and that is forward thinking and, you know, kind of

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has a nice view of you to be helping you with this process.

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Because they're going to help you, you're always gonna be

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harder on yourself than someone else. And so they're going to

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help you identify, like, you're amazing at this, why don't you

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put that on there, and you would not have done that. Because you

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don't really notice that about yourself as being a skill, you

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know, like, being able to balance the books every month,

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and making sure the bills are paid, that's a great skill,

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that's really important. Or, you know, managing, you know,

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showing up on time to pick people up when they need to be

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picked up, that is a great skill, you know, like being

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prompt, being accountable. Things like that. So yeah, an

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outside person. Okay, if you don't have anyone in your life,

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that is a positive force. Um, you know, I'm going to recommend

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that you try to use some of the resources we recommend in the

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past, whether it be the Kirkwood Career Center, or the

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Opportunity Center at the Library. IowaWorks as well as a

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resource to typically if you're gonna go to Iowa works, you may

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want to make an appointment with someone say, hey, I need help

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with my resume versus just walking in. Or if you do walk

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in, say, that's why I'm here, I need help with my resume.

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Because that's going to clue them that that you're going to

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need assistance with the process. That you're not just

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ready to fill out an application right there.

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Sure, yeah. I absolutely love what you said there. Makes a lot

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of sense. And I've kind of vetted friends for that same

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exact thing, like, and sometimes I mean, you sit down and you get

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to know somebody. And you can usually tell pretty quick like,

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wow, that person is really good at maybe connecting different

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people, right? Like they know a lot of people there. They are

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really good connector, or you can tell this person is really

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good at you know, maybe problem solving or finding opportunities

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or, or like you said, like managing managing the books and

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keeping things organized. So I think that's a great, great tip

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for somebody that's been out of the workforce and just like,

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wow, I really can't think of what I bring to the table. So

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yeah, talking about friends. One other thing, I mean, but I

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wanted to add here and this would be more of like a way to

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differentiate yourself. When you're applying to a job and

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maybe you've been out of the workforce for a while maybe

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maybe you have it maybe you're looking for a way but I recently

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just looked up like trends in applying to jobs or job

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searching and 2022 and The idea of a video resume came up in a

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search. And I know, when I first asked you about this, you were

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like, video resume. Yeah. So I first heard of video resume

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probably 10 plus years ago, and at that point, it was, nobody

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had ever really been doing it. But the basic premise of it is

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to create a short elevator pitch about yourself. So this could be

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including things like your skill set, like what you bring to the

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table, what your education is, what, what you've done in the

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past, why wouldn't be a good fit. And using those keywords

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that are found in the job description, to, you know,

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create a short video that you could, you know, just keep

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private on your YouTube channel, or whatever, and send off to a

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hiring manager. So this might be in addition to, okay, after

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you've already applied to a job through, you know, an ATS system

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or online. But you have contact info for the hiring manager, you

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can follow up and just say, hey, wanted to follow up on my resume

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I submitted. Also, I created a short video about myself and my

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work history. Let me know if you have any feedback for me, that

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type of thing. So I really think that's one way you could

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differentiate yourself. The video, I don't believe has to be

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like professional, the, you know, like super snazzy or

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anything. I just think it's more about the effort level that

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you're willing to put in and differentiating yourself from

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everybody else that might just be applying online.

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Are there certain positions, you think that would be better

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suited to a tactic like that?

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Gosh, that's a great question. I would think any type of position

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that you are dealing with people, marketing, so maybe it's

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communications, maybe it's marketing, I'm thinking more

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along the lines of if you are, say, a developer or an

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accountant, maybe it's not so important, if you work alone, a

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lot like I'm doing, you know, just thinking broadly off the

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top of my head here. But if you're working in a position

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where it's going to be important for you to be communicating

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internally, with with people or externally like in a sales role.

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One of those things that's going to be super important is your

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soft skills, and how you present yourself. So yeah, I could see

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for any of those type of roles as being a really good addition

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to your resume.

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I mean, you might already be recording yourself on Tik Tok,

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right. Like,

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Right

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Just another reminder, your treat your social, like it's

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public, especially when you're job searching, because people

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will look you up. So we have a whole another blog post about

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that. But yeah, I mean, I would imagine that's going to become

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more and more common. I think the interesting thing will be is

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how does HR deal with that, you know, like to introducing bias

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or things like that. I'm just curious about those things.

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Because that was one thing that came up when I was like video

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interviews. It's like, how would you? How do you keep like an

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automated system from in incorporating bias into the

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hiring process when there is a video component or something

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like that, but it can be part of a process like I'm sure if

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you're applying to Google, you know, to work at Google, there

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would probably be a video resume part of the application process

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built into their system? I don't know, I've heard about those

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things happening at these larger corporations.

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Yeah, I mean, you bring up a really good point there. What,

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what kind of cognitive bias? What would happen during if

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you're doing a video, but I guess I wouldn't be too

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concerned with that on the front end. Yeah. It's really not your

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problem. Your your, your problem is, I want to go find a new job,

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or I want to get back into work. Yes. Right.

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Well, you could probably attach it to your LinkedIn right, like

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so just be like a video that would just enhance like your bio

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on your LinkedIn, I can totally see that being something that

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you'd want to share with a potential hiring manager.

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Sure. I like that idea too. Cool. Well, good stuff. Yeah.

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Anything else to add?

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I would just say that Google has an incredible free webinar

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series all about the job search process. We will link to that in

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the show notes. We'll also link that to our career resources.

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But I highly recommend these. Their tips are very sound, and I

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think applicable to any type of job search process, and they

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really just cover the basics that you need to know. Recently,

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I was sitting down with a family member who was applying for jobs

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and just re inserting myself into the job application process

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with them. And just realizing how many steps there are to this

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process and why job seekers hate it so much. Because it is really

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not fun to do this stuff. But once you get a professional base

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resume that you can kind of adjust over time to depending on

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what job it is that you're applying for. You're really in a

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much better state than without it. So I highly recommend it as

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part of your job search process.

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Great. That sounds good. All right. Thanks, Liz. We'll see