Audrey LeGrand is worried less about the unemployed than she is about the underemployed.The phenomenon of underemployment affects nearly twice as many Americans as unemployment, and the underemployment rate for Americans has leapt from just under 10 percent in 2007 to nearly 18 percent in 2010. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, underemployment is a category that includes, but is not limited to, people who are unemployed, or who have a job but still cannot make ends meet. LeGrand, author of "How To Get Out of Job Jail: Eight Ways To Have The Career You've Always Wanted" (audreylegrand.com), believes that your resume is your first line of defense for preventing being incarcerated in the "job jail" of underemployment. "Your resume could be landing in the recycle bin across corporate America because it was not thought out, laid-out or carried out correctly," she said. "Job Jail is a particularly sneaky trap, because many of us land in it without ever realizing it. Whether our hours have been shaved from full time to part time, or we've struggled just to get two low-paying jobs to replace the one higher-paying job we once had, it can be almost impossible to escape once you've been locked in that cell. The first thing we should all do in the new year is to take a new look at our resumes, because they represent the first time a potential employer considers us for a new job." LeGrand's tips for resume health include: Appearance - Check for typos, grammatical errors. Use spell check and ask someone else to read it. Human resources professionals will many times summarily dismiss a qualified candidate because their resumes were rife with simple grammar and spelling errors. Don't wind up in the reject bin just because you aren't perfect with the written word. Take extra care to be articulate and informative with your resume. Size - Don't use such a small font that your resume is difficult to read. If your background is so extensive that it will take 2 full pages to lay it out, use the spread wisely. Ethics - Don't fudge dates of employments, degrees earned or career accomplishments. If a prospective employer conducts a background check, you'll lose that opportunity to work for them. Target your audience - Don't just email your resume to every electronically posted position. Narrow your search for exactly what you want and what you're qualified for. Don't waste your time or the recruiter's. Tell us why you are the best choice - Don't just copy your current job description. Show what you have accomplished in your previous position and why you are more qualified than the competition for the positions you are seeking. "Cheating on professional resumes has become a commonplace activity, but that does not make it right," LeGrand advised. "When job candidates are deceptive or less than honest it simply makes it more difficult for job seekers who have been honest and forthcoming about their qualifications. Perpetrators are almost always caught." Audrey began her career as a human resource generalist with a major financial institution. In 1987, Audrey left the corporate arena and formed Innovators & Motivators, Inc., a human resources consulting firm dedicated to helping organizations create tomorrow's opportunities out of today's challenges, while saving big money. Audrey's past clients include Bellsouth, IBM, SunTrust Bank and many others.
********** Published: January 13, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 39