This month's column focuses on the job seeker because the fraternity of unemployed in our industry is growing rapidly as the housing market declines.
We usually approach this column from the perspective of an employer. I'd like to focus this month's column on the job seeker because the fraternity of unemployed in our industry is growing rapidly as the housing market declines.
The last time I saw our industry go through such a major downturn was back in the days of RTC (Resolution Trust Corp.) in the late 80s. Since then, snail mail, faxes and FedEx have been replaced by the ability to blast a resume to hundreds of people with one keystroke. The Internet has changed the rules and tactics of the game, much to your advantage — but with some work. For those of you facing unemployment, here are tips to get back into the job-search arena.
First get your resume in order. DO NOT use a Summary of Qualifications or Career Objective at the top; it's a waste of valuable space and people rarely read them.
The same goes for the laundry list of career accomplishments on the first page. And don't title it "Curriculum Vitae" unless you're applying for a position at Oxford.
The best resume format is clean and concise. Besides your name and contact information, limit your resume to company name and location; positions held (including dates employed); a brief description of the company's product line or niche if it is not a recognizable name; core responsibilities in two or three sentences; closed unit volume, revenue and profitability; direct reports and number of staff; and two to three key accomplishments.
As you begin networking, I recommend sending an introductory e-mail that includes your basic career data in the text body. This will help the reader learn more about you without having to open an attachment.
Note that attachments are one of the key triggers for SPAM filters. Leaving an attachment off will improve the chance of your e-mail being received.
The same is true for messages with HTML; send the message in plain text format instead.
Begin by identifying geographic markets that interest you. Narrow it to the top 10-20 builders in those markets through new home guides and similar online resources, then identify senior executives or owners.
Send them an introductory e-mail or letter, then, repeat the process for other markets. This will require work on your part but results in a more targeted job search. You'll also be much more familiar with the local market if you get an interview.
Good luck and best wishes to all of you in 2007.
Rodney Hall is a senior partner with The Talon Group, a leading executive search firm specializing in the real-estate development and home building industries.