Alchemize with Lauren

A magic number?

You only need ONE. Job, that is. But to get to THAT part, you have to go on interviews. It’s natural to wonder what’s going on. You had all the requirements for the position you responded to but you didn’t even get a phone call. What are the odds? Is it statistics? Are there a certain amount of resumes you have to send out to yield a certain amount of interviews? The bottom line is that what you really want to do is increase your odds of getting a job. Not just any job, but a position you actually want.

This is the time of year filled with resolutions. You say to yourself, “I’m going to lose the weight.” “I’m going to quit smoking.” “I’m going to study a foreign language.” “I’m going to get a new job.” You look at your new, immaculate 2014 calendar. All those clean pages (and blank screens) waiting to be filled with exciting events, appointments and the anticipation of all those “tomorrows”.

Have you done everything possible to increase your odds of getting those interviews? There are hundreds of books and articles telling you what to say, what to write, how to dress and the ultimate way to get hired. But there’s only one you. Your situation is different. How many times have you told yourself that? And, you’re right. To a large degree your situation is indeed different and that’s why you have to take all the pearls of wisdom from the books, Internet, relatives, co-workers and see which aspects of them apply to you – specifically. How can you work within the protocol of job hunting and still have a prospective employer see you as the answer to their needs? How do you show them that you are the obvious choice?

If the phone doesn’t ring or the emails don’t arrive, it’s normal to take it personally and suddenly all you can think about is how easy it seems for everyone else to get a job. And that they have more skills or more luck than you do. How can you increase your odds?

The most obvious way but one that is often overlooked, is to make certain that you aren’t doing anything that may be decreasing your odds! In other words, where most people are concerned about what to put on their resume, it is at least as important to think about what should be eliminated. At least half the resumes I review and critique has something on them that doesn’t belong there. Sometimes it’s as simple as a typographical error. More often there is content in the resume that should have been updated or deleted perhaps several versions ago! Seriously evaluating how the reader – a total stranger – is seeing you for the very first time is paramount to your success. Are they seeing you as a prime contender for the position at hand? Or are they seeing a resume that is laden with antiquated language and poor attention to detail?

By eliminating the “excess baggage”, wasted “real estate” on the page, and the extraneous descriptions and non-pertinent items, you have made great strides in getting into the “yes” pile of candidates to call in for an interview.

Lauren Castle is the owner of Impress Express, a professional image firm, focusing on career development, resume preparation, presentation skills, etiquette and interview coaching. We are members of the Professional Association of Resume Writers. For help with your image, posting your resume, or preparing your internet-friendly resume, contact Lauren directly at 858-459-7400. And, as always, please forward your image and career-related questions to for further information.