30 April 2009

My Great Resume is all Wrong

Developing a good resume is hard work.  I have a great resume.  I have worked with various resume gurus and and spent countless hours working on it.  I have a one page and two page version.  I start with my 4 page resume and edit it down to one or two pages depending on the job.  Tailoring your resume is an important step for each position you apply for.  Sending out 25 copies of a resume broad enough to cover all 25 positions will produce fewer results that 3 tailored resumes.  My resume is full of action words and results.  I don’t include anything without a reason.

But my resume that is great is not producing the results i want.  I recent sat down with a recruiting manager that reviewed my resume.  I sent him a copy of my resume and told him of the results i was getting with it.  They were poor.  I was getting a call in every 50-75 applications.  Not the 1 per 25 average i see different locations.  He told me my resume looks good and requested we sit down for a discussion.  He asked about my background similar to a normal interview.  He made some notes then told me the bad news.  My resume was great.  It was possibly the best resume of someone getting such poor results.  I even accounted for time self-employed consulting.  There was only one problem that was causing my heartache.  My chronological resume was not a functional resume.

All my life i learned that a resume listed your work from the most recent to the oldest.  Included the positions relevant to the one i was applying for.  Kept the action words and results that showed i have the skills from the position description.  Sent my resume with a cover letter that showcased why i fit the job.  I had also learned that functional resumes were for people who had something to hide.  Functional resumes were for covering up that you did not have the experience.  

This recruiting manager pointed out that many resumes are not scanned by someone other than the hiring manager.  These individuals often screen out applications where the most recent position is not in their field.  People were not seeing that i had the skills only that my last job was in a different field.  He suggested that i needed to build a functional resume.  I needed to to highlight my skills not my recent positions.  Functional resumes are for people changing careers.  You want someone to see your skills first.  Now before i send resumes i have another task to complete; determine if this company will accept a functional resume.

20 April 2009

Finding a job is Hard Work

I am not a victim of the current economy. I lost my job 9 months ago. I have not been able to find new employment in my previous field of employ of the field i have the most experience with. I progressively branch out my job search. To begin i was looking in one or two locations. I told everyone that i was looking for a new job. Since my wife is working i have been doing odd jobs and looking for something in my preferred field. Finding a job is harder work than having a job has ever been. Despite having applied for over 50 jobs in 6 states this month i have not managed a single interview. My one interview this afternoon is from a position i applied for last month. I follow up best as i can.

But i am not a victim of the current economy. I refuse to let myself be a victim. To me a victim is to be helpless in a current situation. I have options available to me. Many others that consider themselves victims are also not victims. They have options. There are places such as Labor Ready or other daily labor positions Anyone that can legally work in the US can work for these positions. I and most of these people could work fast food. Almost anyone with access to a car can get a job delivering pizza. Being unemployed is not being a victim. We are also still making headway in paying off debt. We spend as little as possible. We look for deals and savings on those things we do spend money on. We will get by for now.

This is not a long term solution. I don't like being unemployed. Being the homemaker is nice. It has given me more respect for those that do this. It is not for me in the long term. With plans to grow our family with children we decided that i would be the bread winner and Mary Jo will be the homemaker. She wants to do this. I want to be able to provide for my family so she will not have to work outside the home. Being a stay at home mother is likely harder work than any job she would have outside the home.

For anyone interested in my resume. I do DJ gigs and am looking for a position in one of two fields. With a degree in Scouting Education (non-profit business administration) i am looking for a position in non-profit management. With a Information Technology background with 10 years over of experience i am looking for a position as a Server / Network Administrator. I am looking to stay in the Western United States in Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, or Idaho. If you have a potential lead you want to share use the contact me links from my resume.

12 April 2009

Vacation Woes

Last week was Spring Break. Since i am looking for new employment and my wife works at a school we made plans to take a vacation to California. We figured out a budget and did what i always do on vacation. We did not look at our budget once during our trip. We did anything we wanted to do on the trip and did not worry about costs. We stayed with family so we did not have hotel costs and this reduced our food costs. But these things were budgeted for. Weather interfered with our plans to go to Yosemite so that was added back into our budget. We spent more when we went out to eat. We tried to do activities that were mostly free so almost the entire budget was traveling and food.

Today was the day or reconciling what was spent with the budget. We planned a budget of $400 dollars. We ate at Sonic and In-N-Out since we do not have those near home. We did less traveling than planned (since Yosemite had snow we cut it out). We went to more LDS Temples than planned (free). We used cash part of the time and did not track exact amounts off cash. Food $175 + Gas $150 + Other $50 = $375. $25 under budget. But only because some plans fell through.

This time we were on budget but suggestions would help us stay on budget better next time?

07 April 2009

Our Plan

When deciding what to include and plan for in our plan it was important to remember our goals. We plan to live debt free. We want to have a large family. We expect to own a home one day. The LDS Church councils us to avoid debt, have food storage, build a financial reserve, get all the education we can, teach others. These items match with a number of the financial plans you can find.

  1. Plan a budget: Most plans just assume the budget. We put it as a step. Setting a budget is important to know what resources we have available. We started by creating the budget. But sitting down and reviewing the budget every quarter is important. A company puts out quarterly earning statements to ensure the financial plans are working. This is also good advice for a person or family. Review and adjust every quarter.

  2. Get out of debt: Saving $1000 dollars before paying debt is nice but we don't have as much debt as half the callers on Dave Ramsey's shows. Dave also suggests a debt snowball. We opted for a similar plan but instead of paying debts based on the amount we decided to pay them based on the interest rates. This makes the best use of our money. The emotional benefit of getting rid of smaller debts is nice, we felt the more logical approach would work for us.

  3. Three months supply: Different from Dave's 3-6 month emergency fund. A 3 month's supply includes 3 months worth of cash on hand and 3 months worth of food and water. Three months worth of budget and three months worth of basic food supplies. Grains, dried beans, rice, canned or dried fruits and vegetables.

  4. Retirement fund: 15% of income into retirement investment accounts.

  5. 1 Year Emergency Fund: Build up financial reserves to cover one year. Use your income as a basic starting point. Up until this point you are spending less than you make so you don't need a full year's salary. Figure out what you do need and save it.

  6. 1 Year Food Storage: Increase your 3 months of stored food to enough to sustain for 12 months. Well stored staples like sugar, grains, beans, etc can store for 30 years or more. Rotate the staples you have with your new purchases.

  7. Pay off the home: Get rid of this last debt as fast as possible. Get rid of the mortgage.

  8. Children's college funds: It is possible to work your way through school. Once you are clear of all debt and working for the future you can begin helping others. Paying for children's college is a bonus.

  9. Build wealth and give: This point is the last point of almost every source of financial information. The what's next step. Now that you are sound you can help others financially. Give substantially to charity, start your own organization, do what you want. Just use your wealth to help others.

01 April 2009

Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps

Quite possible the largest financial program i know of is Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps. Dave is often the person that got other bloggers and financial analysts into the field. He has a number of books and programs to not only teach you how to establish financial freedom but to help you complete the program and path. Before beginning his program he suggests you have a plasectomy. This is a process of removing your ability to produce more debt. On his TV show he even shows the creative videos people send of destroying their credit cards. Let me explain the steps.

  1. $1000 Emergency Fund : Things happen we don't plan for. When starting out we often have been using our Credit Cards for Emergencies. This fund is to replace the credit card for emergencies.

  2. Debt Snowball : List all debts and minimum payments from smallest to largest balances (don't include the mortgage as this comes latter). Do everything possible to pay off that first debt. Once the first is gone take the full amount you were paying and add it to the second debt until all debt is gone.

  3. 3 to 6 month Emergency Fund : Take your emergency fund and increase it to be large enough to live on for 3 to 6 months. Now you can survive if you lose a job instead of just fixing a broken appliance.

  4. Invest 15% of your income : Use your pre-tax (401K, 403B, etc) to its max then put the rest of the 15% into a Roth IRA. This is creating your retirement fund.

  5. Create a college fund for each child : Save enough to pay for their college. Since Dave wants you out of debt he does not want you children to start with college loan debt.

  6. Pay off the home : Once the college tuitions are secure; pay off the home as quickly as possible. Get rid of the mortgage payment.

  7. Build wealth and give : Invest in mutual funds and real estate to build wealth. Use this wealth to help those in need. Help how you feel best.

Dave has a great program. I feel it is not the best plan for me. I know what motivates me and how my mind works. In the next post i'll show our plan and compare it to Dave's Baby Steps. Dave's plan is fundamentally sound and more can be found in his book The Total Money Makeover.