"if you can't articulate your strengths AND your weaknesses in a productive light then you don't belong with us."
I HAVE said that the 5 strengths question is just plain stupid. How about "WHAT skills do YOU have that YOU will provide to benefit the company that others may not."
I've NEVER implied that if you can't sell yourself you can find work, in fact I have been VERY ADAMANT that you MUST be able to sell yourself.
You made two assertions that really tell me that while you have seen a change in the market, you as most people also do, do not look in the right places for employment.
"That way, no matter if it's a person or a machine that scans you in, your resume stands out."
How and WHY would you NOT know who is reading your resume? Because it has been emailed into a POOL of thousands? Ineffective.
You also mentioned about reading ads. Newspaper ADS represent less than 4% of available jobs. THe Internet a few more, company website ads a few more. All in all only 20% of jobs are ever advertised.
The trick is to seek out the pther 80%, you find BETTER jobs, at MUCH higher salaries, and without competition.
Target an industry, field that you wish to work in. Write a proposal, not a resume, call and get the OWNERS name, NOT HR!! (that's the biggest and most common mistake) and PITCH yourself and what YOU want to offer the company. Get the BOSS or owner out for a meeting over lunch or coffee, pitch yourself and present your "proposal", AGAIN...NOT A RESUME, THEN ask for help. If he/she CAN'T give you work, they are usually more than happy to help you by passing on a name of a friend who also runs a business that COULD use you.
It's AMAZING the results you get this way, people are imply SHOCKED when they try it at just how easy it really is. The first few cold calls will have you pretty confused and nervous, but call some TEST companies first, when you have made 15-20 calls go on to the bigger fish, you WILL get meetings, you WILL get listened to and given leads you WILL get a job at a FAR higher salary than others in your field who applied for an advertised position.
YES IT WORKLS FLAWLESSLY EVERYTIME, regardless of industry, profession, education or skillset, some need a little mroe practive than others but it is a learned skill just like anything else. I know SO many big business owners worth millions who themselves have no college courses or certs to speak of, many don't even have grade 12, they definitely DON'T look for it in Employees, HR does THAT part and again if you AVOID HR, you AVOID the certs BS. It's the entrepenueral spirit that makes them successful, not school or applications.
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