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Your resume. It’s the key that opens the city’s gates.
If it’s not close to perfect, you’ll be tossed into the rejection pile faster than the speed of light.
Hiring managers traditionally look at your resume, follow up with your LinkedIn profile and then call you for an interview. If you’re rarely getting interviewed, you need some serious feedback. Like right now.
But where can you get reliable feedback? Your friends only want to look at your resume so many times.
Here are a few non-traditional places to find out where your resume needs improving:
1. Your not-so-nice brother-in-law
You know that person you don’t get along with? He might irritate the hell out of you, but he’s also smart.
Try asking him for advice. Why? Because he won’t brown-nose you or tell you what you want to hear. He’ll give you straight-up, actionable feedback.
Why would you want to get advice from someone who doesn’t like you that much and isn’t very nice? Because your friends might tell you your resume looks great, which is entirely unhelpful.
This might not be easy, but it’s worth dealing with him for 15 minutes if it helps you land a job, right?
2. Your former boss
Your old boss has hired you before. Find out why.
Fire a bunch of questions at her. Ask what she liked about you as an employee and what appealed to her on your resume. Laser in on these attributes as you make edits.
Why is your old boss such a valuable asset? Because she actually makes hiring decisions, and she knows how to help you leverage your skills and experience.
3. Strangers in coffee shops
What do strangers in coffee shops have in common with resume screeners? They both don’t know you.
This could also be the perfect excuse to talk to that cute guy you’ve been eyeing across the cafe. Tell him your friend asked for some feedback on her resume, and you’re wondering if he can quickly help you out.
Resume readers take an average of 5-20 seconds to skim a resume (usually on the lower end of the spectrum). So give him 20 seconds to read it before you snatch it back.
Now here’s the important part: ask him what he remembers about the resume.
If he doesn’t remember much about you, neither will anyone else.
What better place to get constructive criticism and get eaten alive by trolling piranhas than the Internet?
If you’re as gutsy as they come (or just desperate for a job), post your resume to Reddit’s job section or another forum and ask for feedback.
Be sure to remove any information that identifies you. (You could even fabricate company names.) As long as the meat of the resume remains the same, you’ll get valuable suggestions for improvement.
Remember: there’s a lot of garbage out there on the Web, so don’t take anything people say too personally.
The most important part of the job search process is to never give up. Constantly improve your resume and keep your eyes open for opportunities.
Most winners have gotten where they are because they failed, learned and tried again.