Are you trying to paddle upstream?

Photo by Ted Bratton

One of the things I learned early in my days with Wausau Whitewater was the difference in the red and green slalom poles in the slalom competitions. Unlike ski slalom, in whitewater slalom, you have to conquer both paddling downstream and paddling upstream. Red gates mean you have to go around to the downstream side of the gate and paddle through it upstream.

As you might guess from the look on our young paddling friend’s face above, this is a hard job! Course designers often are labeled as diabolical for their placement of gates creating very difficult maneuvers. As the competition reaches higher levels such as US Team Trials or World Cup level, course design becomes even more challenging.

The skill of the paddler is needed to find the line that will best take him around the gate and back through to continue downriver to the next obstacle. When top paddlers like Casey Eichfeld or Hailey Thompson take to the river, they can make paddling upstream look effortless but even for them, it is challenging.

No matter how skilled you are in your profession, when you are faced with an unexpected and unplanned job search, you may feel like you are paddling upstream. Career industry professionals (resume writers and career coaches) understand this because we have worked with so many different types of job seekers and economy that we know the obstacles that you can face.

New job seekers who are not focused in their job search often think that they must do one of two things. Throw the resume out to every opportunity out there, mailing or e-mailing letter after letter, professionally or homemade resume after resume or perhaps they use online applications to apply to openings all day long. Either way, they expect they will get results because someone told them that was all that is to it.

Sadly, it will not. I ran into this concise reminder in an article in the Kansas City Star by Diane Stafford, Job Search needs the personal touch:

Because that’s not easy, these two job-hunting tips need to be sent again and again:

•People you know — not formal application processes — provide your best chance for re-employment.

•Small and midsize employers are likely to be more receptive to hiring you.

Any job posting you find is going to be found by hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants. Your application needs an advocate to pluck it from the pile.

Like many in the career industry, I throw out this reminder to my clients and in this blog frequently. I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to have a value-rich, accomplishment-driven resume, LinkedIn profile, targeted cover letter and then USE them by seeking out the jobs you would love to have by building connections, building networks, and using information interviews to know all you can about a company, their products, their culture, and their financial picture before you even start to apply.

A job search IS work and you can’t expect results unless you go beyond the job boards and dig deep to find the connections to the job of your dreams.

Is it time for you to stop paddling upstream? Leave that to the slalom paddlers.

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

Here are ways I can help you land your dream job.

You may be halfway across the country or the world. When you work with me, we share coffee, laughs, and concerns. This turns the scary job search into creative, consultative writing and learning sessions.