“I need a job!” I got this phone call from one of my friends and industry colleagues last week. I started to ask questions on what happened and all she could say that turnover was high and they are doing reorganization. I wish I could say that this is uncommon right now in the industry, but it’s not. This is actually the third call I got last month from friends and industry colleagues that were unexpectedly laid off, fired, or underemployed.
The first thing I recommend to people that are in between jobs is to look at having a professional resume writer rework their cover letter and resume.
Believe me – this is worth it!
With the help of Angela at Red Rocket Resume, I was able to update my resume and used this when I applied for my job with Marmot three years ago. According to a study conducted by Forbes, “Recruiters gave professionally rewritten ones a 60% higher score than amateur résumés. The recruiters surveyed said the professionally written samples were 40% better organized and readable than those written by applicants themselves.”
I have been on both sides of the hiring process and have found that unless you know someone at the organization, it may be difficult to get your resume to the top of the pile. I wanted to pick the brain of one of our industry leaders on what she looks for when she receives a resume from a potential candidate.
Petzl was named in the Top 100 Best Places to Work by Outside Magazine in 2015. The brand offers employees a variety of ways to maintain a healthy work life balance. From flexible work hours, vacation time, and encourage employees to work hard, but also to explore their passions. Not to mention the onsite climbing wall and workout facility is a huge plus!
We asked Petzl’s Human Resources Director Lena Laakso her thoughts on what she is looking for when hiring and also industry insider tips.
What can applicants do to make their resume rise to the top?
LL: Project enthusiasm and brand knowledge in the first sentence. The cover letter is your critical advantage when done well. Avoid stock phrases and generic language. Your writing style needs to have an engaging voice or tone. Also, “show, don’t tell”. This means list the top three reasons you are uniquely qualified, don’t waste space simply stating, “I am sure you will find me uniquely qualified”. Oh yes, never use the salutation “Dear Sirs”! Seriously.
What do you wish applicants would do before submitting their resume?
LL: Proof for missing attachments, typos, or even worse, misspelling or naming the wrong company. Send them in PDF to control formatting. Do your research and incorporate recent developments to show your initiative and connection to the brand.
Quick Tips on improving a resume?
LL: Links links links! Make your resume come to life. Include links to your personal marketing sites such as LinkedIn or blogs. If you have received awards, link to them rather than list them. If you have worked for companies that aren’t commonly known, list them in a link so they can easily be researched. Bullet lists are higher impact than paragraphs, use them when possible.
Consider creating a “Recreational Resume” addendum if you have proud accomplishments that fall outside of your professional work, especially if active participation in recreation creates an authentic connection to your audience or customers. Remember, the reader is trying to learn as much about you as possible, from as many angles as possible, to create a well-rounded candidate profile.
What makes a candidate stand out in an interview?
LL: Demonstrating genuine psych for the position and the company! Being well-prepared with insightful questions. Having both the humility and confidence to honestly assess their qualifications and areas of weakness for the position.
What are three questions that you like to ask in an interview?
1) What do you know about this company? The answer tells me how interested the person is in the job, how much or little did they research, and what the connection is to the brand.
2) What part of this job posting are you least qualified for, and how would you plan to acquire that skill set? This answer indicates honesty, humility, confidence, and level of insight into what is needed to succeed in the role.
3) What did you like the most about your last position, and what did you like the least? History is a great indicator of the future, and this question reveals much about what motivates the person.
What is the biggest need in industry?
LL: Diversity! This is true for gender, backgrounds, age, skill sets, personality types. A strong manager knows to hire people who can supplement their own shortcomings, not possess the same attributes. The outdoor industry has a bit of work to do in this area, and I’m greatly encouraged by the recognition being given to the issue.
I want to thank Lena for her insights into what HR Directors are looking for in the outdoor and active lifestyle markets. My dear readers, I encourage you to take Lena’s advice, consider hiring a professional resume writer, or you can always reach out to Ladyhawk if you want more information on making your professional experience standout.
Until next time, see you at the trailhead!