Ask the Headhunter: How you can fix gaps in your resume
In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.
Question: I live out in the country and don't have social or business connections with folks in the city companies where I should be working. I have no lack of work experience, but it's all work on my farm and leads to gap-osis of the resume.
I have a college degree, and I worked at a few companies before I built up my farm. What's the best method for finding and approaching the decision-makers who have the problems that I can certainly solve, and how do I fix my gap-osis?
Nick Corcodilos: Gap-osis! I'm glad someone finally invented a word to describe the gaps between jobs in a resume.
There might be gaps in your resume that you can't help, but there's no excuse for gap-osis in relationships.
You'll find the jobs you want by meeting new people who can help you learn about companies and their needs. Even down on the farm you can benefit from services like LinkedIn.com, business websites that have discussion forums, and by emailing people you've read about or talked with on a forum. Success is all about following up.
Make a contact or two that way. But the best way is to leave the farm for a visit to the big city to actually meet people. That's where jobs come from.
I have a similar challenge. My office is in a partly rural area — I like to say it's out in the boonies. And I love it here. But I make time to go to the city (and to big towns) and to hang out with the people who need the kind of work I do. That's how I find good clients. Face time is more precious than online time. But you have to schedule it.
Since you went to college, there's an alumni association you can tap into. There are "Meetups" you can join where you can participate in person. Join a few in your immediate area, but also in the nearby towns and cities where you'd like to work. Because these are focused on topics, not on job hunting or hiring, it's easy to make new friends who can introduce you to others in their companies. That's where jobs come from.
Does your alumni association have a branch in a nearby city? If so, join, go and mingle. Likewise, find business meetings — like Chamber of Commerce gatherings — to attend where the topics (and the people) are of interest to you.
The best way to overcome gap-osis of the resume is to overcome gaps in your connections and relationships. After making a few connections, you'll soon find the people you need to meet at the companies where you want to work. Once you stray off the farm, you may be surprised at all you will find.
Not sure about how to network? See "Network, but don't be a jerk."
And if you think you're too shy to network effectively, think again, and read "Networking For Introverts: How to say it."
Dear Readers: How do you make connections you need to improve your career? How would you advise this reader down on the farm?
Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth "how to" PDF books are available on his website: "How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you," "Keep Your Salary Under Wraps," "How Can I Change Careers?" and "Fearless Job Hunting."
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