Learn From My Job Search Mistakes
This is a personal story about some mistakes that I made, and a product I wish existed when I was jobless.
Or, maybe knew existed? In hindsight I didn't do enough research on; how to write and format a resume? .. or perhaps Google wasn't smart enough at the time to feed me the answers yet.
I've been without a job twice in my career, and now I'm a business owner with a team of five wonderful people who I would do anything for.
I clearly remember my first resumes. I opened up Microsoft Word, started typing in name + address at the top. Then followed by left aligned headlines with a couple of bullet points of each assignment I had.
... and that was it. Sort of like this:
Brian Korup Snedvig
Sreet Address 11, 9000 - Aalborg
Tel: xx xx xx xx
Mail: mymail @ email.com
Shop Assistant - Dagli Brugsen Storvorde (local supermarket)
Jul 1999 - currently employed
- Operate POS cash register
- Open and close the registers and count money in cash drawers to ensure the amount is correct
- Monitoring cash limits and ensuring unbiased quality customer service at all times
- Oversaw and assisted training of three additional young workers to manage extended store hours
Library Assistant (as a young worker)
Sep 1996 - Feb 1998
- Provide feedback to management on book records
- Organize book shelves
- Microsoft office superuser
- Computer savvy
- Good interpersonal skills
- Strong listening skills
- Great speaking skills
Is that it? I guess so, I mean it's readable and my work history is on there.
That's what I thought of it at the time, and boy was I wrong.
If only I had spent more time on researching layout, formats, and read actual expert advice about how to write a resume. I would have made a more fitting resume to each job, to increase my chances, instead of my boring two pages of left aligned oversized text with bullet points.
I didn't think about unique value propositions, quantifiable results, or anything like that. I followed the same boring and uninspiring standards that the local job center recommended. Sounds familiar?
I eventually got a job (through my network) at the local zoo, which was right up my alley (you see, as a kid my dream job was to become a marine biologist).
I worked at the zoo as a Sales Associate in the gift shop and tickets office, so I always joked that I was the zoo-keeper of the plush bears and plastic snakes. It was cool though, I liked it. The people working there and the passion they have for what they do is infectious.
After working at the zoo for a few years, I was approached with the opportunity to come work for a local startup as the Storage Manager. This was in 2009. A job which I accepted, and where I advanced to become Risk Manager of that company within just a few years.
During this time my skill set evolved a lot, and I never thought about keeping any of my professional documents, or even my LinkedIn profile, updated.
Fast forward to 2014, I was looking for a job again. The company that I worked for as a Storage and Risk Manager went bankrupt. So now I had to up my resume game one more time.
A continuously updated resume would have come in handy now, right?
I Googled again, "how to write a resume?" because my documents had not been updated for several years. This time the Google query served me some of their templates from Google docs. I chose a template that I liked, but it was a pain to format since I had to start all over again, and with Google docs customization limitations.
Here's a snippet of my resume from 2014, which secured me my next job (Text is in Danish but I’m sure you’ll get the picture).
Ha! I look like a crook, but I got the job!
(in Denmark it's normal to add a picture of yourself. Over 70% of all employers expect it)
My resume wasn't completely tailor made to the specific job, as you can tell if you can read Danish. But, I had sent out an unsolicited application to an employer who I really wanted to work for, and then made this more generic 2-page resume to fit that, to tell more about who I was. It worked!
As a job seeker there are several ways to start your job search, but one of the first steps should always be to create or update your resume. If you feel discouraged because you haven't written or updated your resume in many years, I'd recommend contacting a professional resume writer.
I've got tremendous respect for professional resume writers. They're able to tell your unique and fitting story to a potential employer in one or very few pages.
How cool is that?
It does come at a cost though, and if you're absolutely in the dark about how to start, or what to do next, you should really pay that money for a tailor made resume made by a professional, no doubt about it. I'd do it.
However, if you don’t want to pay for a resume writer, there are software that is designed to help you with your resume. It's just that either the business model is based on:
a) complex features that you don't need, or
b) forcing a recurring subscription on you that you don't want, after you've just spent two hours creating a document.
And that’s NOT fair to a job seeker, or anyone really, who actually just wants to get help with their resume.
So the idea came up:
Resume & cover letter building simplified and transparent as a service to job seekers.
There's a popular saying: when you build a product, build it as if it were for yourself.
You can't help everyone, or build something everyone finds excellent. But what you can do is, create something you would use yourself. Because there are many people around the world who have the same problem as you.
This realization reminded me of my previous struggles, and which steps I took when I was looking for a job earlier in my career. I would've loved to use a service like this, because it would have spared me for so much of the frustration that I experienced with the resume writing and formatting process. It would have given me a way to focus only on what I knew best; my data and my history.
If I were ever to be unemployed again, I could also go back to that service and just update a few things about myself, instead of starting from scratch.
So, here we are. We're building jofibo.com as a transparent resume service to job seekers and students.
We're not done yet, but, we're already helping thousands of people from around the world to create or update their resumes and cover letters in a simple and fun way.
Take a look at my updated 1-page resume example created with one of our resume templates:
My content is very well presented in a double column template. And the content is the most important thing on a resume. You need to stand out, and a well formatted and structured template can help you achieve that.
One thing I'm particular proud of about our company is, that we're giving students from around the world a place to start. If you're currently studying and have an .edu email, you'll automatically receive free access, without having to do anything else than just signing in and verifying your email.
So far we've had excellent feedback and results from many job seekers, and students who we've helped. The cool thing is that we work with our users to improve the experience for everyones gain, in a continued collaboration, which directly benefits the next generation of job seekers.
It makes us immensely proud, and we'll continue to keep asking for all of your feedback, to help you get a job. We're wholeheartedly committed to that purpose and are grateful for the support.
I hope that you learned something by reading abit about my story and why we're doing this.
If you’re interested in staying up to date on our journey or looking for advice, follow us on Twitter: @Jofibocom where we share and engage on relevant topics.
You're always welcome to ask us questions.
/Brian, CEO & Co-founder
PS. If you want to try out what I've just described, start here by choosing one of our templates