If You Can’t Sell Yourself, How Do You Expect A Recruiter To?

Do you know how many times a recruiter hears, “just get me in, and I can sell myself.”?

A lot.

Hey, I’m all for confidence – more power to you.

This is a BS statement when it is coupled with a resume that doesn’t demonstrate how their qualifications are a solution to that company’s problem. That’s right, I’m immediately throwing the BS flag in this article.

Hey wait a minute, I know what I am worth, I know I’m the solution or savior here, I know how to sell myself – why is that BS?

Because the theory behind this does not jive with the practical application you are employing.

Are you expecting to just have a conversation with the recruiter and they will then translate all your goodness to the prospective employer in order that you will get the interview?

Shame. Shame on you.

You want the recruiter to get you in there, for goodness sake, help them out!
Most recruiters I know are not going to redo your resume, and they shouldn’t. Their time is valuable and their talents aren’t in resumes. It is in matching solutions (you) to problems/needs (their clients – technically their client’s problems or needs).

If your resume doesn’t prove this, odds are you really can’t sell yourself. I’m not trying to be harsh, just help you out.

Your resume is setting the stage. It’s getting the prospective employer to get excited. It’s setting the tone of your brand. If you have a recruiter who can talk you up and get an employer interested, there is going to be a step back when the employer sees that lackluster resume.

Why?

Incongruence.

If you have the goods (and you do), it should come across in everything about you: your LinkedIn, your resume, your interview – every conversation, everything about you.

The reality is, writing your resume is hard and it sucks.

Holy cow, trying to capture what they want to hear, putting it in a way that doesn’t sound like your bragging, making sure it has the right verbiage – that’s a lot of work. It isn’t done in a day. And it’s not something to overlook or take for granted.

You’ve got to know what is important to that industry or company. What are their challenges? You also have to demonstrate your knowledge, expertise or experience in solving similar problems so they can clearly see that if you have done it before, you are more than likely able to do it again – for them.

Giving your recruiter a plane jane resume then asking them to talk you up is like having your buddy try to set you up with someone you are keen on but don’t give them any selling points. So they end up telling that person that you have a ‘great personality’.

Maybe you do have a great personality, but wouldn’t it be better to tell them that you haven’t missed a single opening day at Wriggly Field if that person is a Cubs fan?

Give your recruiter something to work with – it makes their job easier, which translates to getting you in the door faster. Have a quality resume.

I’m not saying that you have to hire me – I’m not saying not to either. What I am saying is to invest in yourself. If you don’t want to make the financial investment to hire a professional, then make the time investment in yourself.

It’s not just for the recruiter or the employer – it’s for you. It will help you clarify your value and develop those impact stories for the interview or networking. Here’s a little help to give you a head start. An article about the two most important elements that need to be demonstrated in your resume: How to Make Everyone – Including you – Stop Hating Your Resume.

That investment will pay off, in spades. Aren’t you worth it?

End Note: if you have tried to write your resume or realize that you can’t or don’t want to, I do welcome you to check out my business site: Career Polish to find out what it is I do, why I love career branding so much and how I can help you.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance. I get people unstuck in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you unstuck

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Help A Recruiter Help You

good eggs and bad eggs

 

Recently, I have noticed a bit of recruiter bashing. I will be honest, there are some recruiters out there that deserve the unkind words and vented frustrations. Another point of honesty – I know more who do not; in fact, they are outstanding professionals and people. Unfortunately, they suffer from the actions in the first group.

A bad experience can certainly taint your view; I completely understand that. Yet give me just a few moments of your time and lend me your ear (or eyes) to give you a different perspective.

There Are Good Eggs & There Are Bad Eggs

When I say I understand the bad taste in your mouth after encountering a bad recruiter, I really mean it. When I was in my mid-twenties, a single mom looking to improve her lot in life, I met with a bad egg. He told me, and I remember these words verbatim, that I would not get a job without him and my son would starve, but if I paid him $5,000 he could get me a job.

Seriously?  Can you say sleazeball? To add insult to injury, he did not even talk to me about skills, career goals or talents. Just pay him the money or my kid would starve. Get outta here!

Luckily, I later met a good egg. She took the time to sit down with me, review my resume, talk with me about skills, responsibilities, strengths, ambitions etc. She hooked me up with a great company for an interview. She helped coach me and debrief after the interviews. She negotiated on my behalf and it wound up being an amazing experience and a great launch for me.

You are Not the Only One

I had to have my car worked on a month or so ago. I do not like being without transportation so having the old girl sit in the shop was hard for me. It took a bit longer than they anticipated. I wanted to get frustrated and angry, I wanted her to have her zip back and at my disposal, but there I sat, waiting impatiently, until she was ready. At home, car-less.

I had to remind myself, I was not their only customer. I was not the center of their universe.

No matter how much you should be, remember, you are not a recruiter’s only client.  If they do not respond to you within five minutes, do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

They are Not the Only One

When my car was being held hostage (ok, not really, but it felt like it), part of the reason was that the mechanic had to order parts. Unfortunately, the vendor was not communicating promptly. They called and called the vendor and finally got a response.

The recruiter may very well be working really, really hard for you but they cannot make someone respond. If they could, trust me, they would – it would make their life a lot easier. Some companies use internal and external recruiters, while others really stink at responding.

Unfortunately, sometimes a recruiter gets a gig with a company who is clueless as to what they need and become completely scattered about requirements, salary, duties or even expected start dates.

Give them a break, they are dealing with a lot of frustration on both ends, all while really trying to help you.

They are Only Human

Sometimes it happens, mistakes are made. They are human. If they do not call you back when they said they would or you are waiting on information – call them. Make sure you had the time and date right. Don’t stew. They are they to help you, keep that communication open. If a mistake was made a good recruiter will apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again. A bad egg will ether blame you or shrug it off.

Anne Sullivan they are Not

Recruiters work a balancing act. Their clients have needs and expectations and their candidates also have needs and expectations. Oh, if only both parties would be clear and communicative… but they are not. My mom had a saying, “if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, oh what a wonderful Christmas we would all have”.   (I honestly never thought I could work that into an article, and yet, there it is – my mom will be so proud.)

From the candidate’s side, help them out. Yes, they should be talking to you about your skill set, accomplishments, talents, abilities, career goals, education, certification and all other factors that impact your candidacy. However, the onus is not only on them.

If you market yourself in person or on your resume by simply gives titles, companies, time periods and brief description of your job duties, you are making their job more difficult. How can then sell you when they don’t know what value you have to offer? Value is the key. What can you bring to an organization, what can you do for them? That is the most important question to be answered – supply it to the recruiter.

They cannot read or hear a cliff notes version of your career and immediately whip up these value selling points. They are not miracle workers. Help them out.

Their Time & Talent is Valuable

Most recruiters I know do not do resumes. That is not odd. I do not do recruiting. I specialize in personal branding and dipping my toes in the recruiting side would deflect from that. Recruiters, good recruiters, are specialists. Their time is valuable and spent cultivating relationships, leads and matching great candidates with great companies.

In short – they do not have time to redo your resume. Redoing a resume that is a cliff note version is not a quick and easy fix. A resume done right takes time. Time you do not want them to take away from finding you the right fit. They can tell you if you need to revamp your resume – but do not expect them to go through line by line to debrief you and tell you what to do. Remember, you would rather have them using their time finding your happy career place.

Ask for recommendations or do some research. Head their advice on your resume – they know. Yet do not get upset if they do not offer to redo it for you.

Another time consideration – the relationship building aspect of their job. Good recruiters have great relationships. The best have relationships with exchanges like:

Client: “we want this”  ~ Recruiter: “you need that”

You see, they cultivate these relationships to be able to know their client’s culture, values and important factors of positions, departments and the company short and long term. In other words, great recruiters partner with their clients to determine exactly what they need so when they fill it – the fit is like a glass slipper. This type of rapport, research and communication take time.  Time that does not impact their candidates, but hey, these good eggs work hard and this is an aspect I do not believe most people even consider.

Make It Easy to be Found

LinkedIn is an amazing tool utilized by recruiters. If you want to be found, you have to put out there what is important.

Hello keywords!

Yet, instead of throwing out a bunch of keywords; integrate them into your heading, opening sentence, summary and career section. Demonstrate you know what those things are and why they are important. Do not assume that having a specific title will communicate all there is to know about you.

Titles are can be a hindrance. If you are looking for a sales position, be general. The more general the term the more likely it will appear in a search. If you use, for example, Client Representative, that will not score well in a search for Sales Representative. Bring in the broader search terms to make sure you are covered.

Tell recruiters or those you want to read your profile what you want them to know about you – put it right there in your summary and career section! If you don’t say it – how are they going to know? Do not let them assume, as my dad used to say, “never assume, it makes an a$$ out of you and me.” (wow, look at that, a saying from both parents in one article!) 

If you are in between jobs, put in there that you are looking or interested in what you want.

If you are making the case that you have a strong strength in a certain skill, industry or capacity – demonstrate it. Listing it over and over as keywords is not enough. For example, if you are a rock star Project Manager, give examples, tell a story demonstrating why you are a rock star. Help them find you in order to sell you.

The other wonderful thing about LinkedIn is it is a great resource. Search for articles or  career professionals in your network or just beyond to help you get on the right track with your profile. There are an amazing amount of articles and thoughts on making the most of your LinkedIn profile!

Participate – It Goes Both Ways

If you are thinking about working with a recruiter do your due diligence. Participate in the process. Interview them. Ask them questions. This is your career here, would you take a job without asking any questions? Talk to a couple, search LinkedIn, ask your network if they have used a recruiter or if they recommend anyone in particular – then ask why.

You still might come across some bad eggs, but by remembering the points above, you will find that there are some amazing professionals out there who really work hard to make sure their candidates and clients are happy. These are the ones that love what they do – and that, you will spot a mile away. That is the kind of professional you want in your corner.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

What Hiring Managers & Recruiters Won’t Tell You: Stop Being a Whiner

no whine

I can look at a resume and tell you what job the person loved, which one they hated and if they are still ticked off about looking for a job. You can use all the keywords and phrases you want, but that anger or frustration still comes through.

It is not just what you say; it is how you say it. This is translated through the written word and verbal communication.

This is proven in our daily interactions frequently. Think of a time that you sent a written message to a friend or significant other and they responded in a way that was completely off the wall and contrary to your meaning.

Better yet, try gently telling your girlfriend or wife in a very even, soft monotone that you want to not go out to dinner because, “I think we need to watch what we eat.” That “we” will get you. I will bet dollars to donuts that if you meant that you want to eat healthier that is not how she is going to translate that sentence. Have fun with that.

Job searching is not fun. It can be humiliating, frustrating, aggravating, gut-wrenching and exhausting. You may still be smarting from having to look in the first place. Being placed in this situation, voluntarily or not, is much like a death or divorce and as such, you go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

A company downsized, they let you go unfairly or they finagled their way of managing you out – it is not fair and it really ticks you off. You have every right to be mad. I encourage you to get mad, go for it, let it all out. Do it once and do it big – alone in the privacy of your own home. Get it out of your system. Give yourself permission to be mad, then let it go.

It is important for your mental health to allow yourself to be angry but even more important to let it go. It is not healthy to hold on to that anger. It also sabotages your job search efforts. People can pick up on that and it makes them uncomfortable. No one wants to hire the angry person.

It is natural to want to explain, to rally others to your side. You want to feel vindicated, understood or be the good guy who was wronged garnering more and more support for your side as you go to make you feel better.

The problem with this is – no one cares in the business world. It was a business decision. Take the personal feelings out of it and remind yourself that it was business.

If it was a hideous boss that manipulated to get you out of the company, well, they are an a-hole and they will get theirs. Don’t sweat it, it will come. And really, you do not want to be the person to deliver the karma. When it does come, it will come from someone or something much bigger than you that will give them what they deserve.

I had this happen to me and for a long time I about bit my tongue off taking the high road. Karma finally did step in about a year later and by that time, I had let it go. Although, it did please me in a small, dark place deep inside me – I’ll be honest. But I was also glad that it was not me because I could have lost credibility by looking like a whiner or disgruntled employee screaming, “It’s not fair.”

How to Eliminate the Whine from Your Job Searching

 

1. Your Resume – Descriptions

Even if you absolutely hated a job, put on your big person shoes and take a different approach. There is a benefit to every job you had – otherwise someone would not have paid you to do what you did. Find the benefit in the job. How did you add value? How did you contribute? What did you learn?

Find the positives and write about it from that perspective – the positive. This will change your tone and allow you to make minor changes in your verbiage that will make a huge improvement in your communication.

One dead giveaway that you hated a job is lack of information. If you worked for a company for five years and have two bullet points – guess what…. Really dig to find out the value. Think about who you worked with, how did you work with them, what did you do, how did you do it and how did it add value to others?

Even if you worked at the most monotonous job there is, you may have found a way to make your life easier in performing your tasks. Guess what, those are improvements. Write about them from the improvement perspective.

2. Your Resume – Departures

Often people want to state that it was not their fault for the departure. Do not do it. The resume is not the place to talk about why you left. Save it for the interview. Then you can leverage the powerful tools of tone and inflection to convey the right message. Often applications ask why you left a position – give a short answer not a dissertation. Plant closing, company downsize, recruited for advanced position.

3. Craft Your Message

This is the hardest part. You need to find a way to deliver the message of being let go yet put it in a positive way. No, you cannot tell people that your boss was an a-hole, even if it is true.

Downsizing or closures are easier to deliver, a simple, “Unfortunately, the company downsized; however, this is a great opportunity that allows me to bring xyz to a new organization and really make an impact” can be all you need to say. No need to add “because they wanted to bring younger people in with less experience so they could pay them less and not pay me what I am worth and I hope they burn in hell” in between the two thoughts.

Quitting or getting let go is a little more bitter pill to swallow or deliver. Try as hard as you can to be positive and deliver it in a non-demeaning, professional manner. “There was a change in structure or direction and felt that brining someone on with a background in this direction would be an immediate value; however, this allows me to get back to xyz, which is my greatest strengths and passion.”

The critical element of your message is ending it in a way that focuses back on your, in a positive way, highlighting your strengths, skills and value.

Practice your message over and over and over again, in front of a mirror and whenever you are alone until it comes easily, naturally, professional and positive. Watch your facial expressions and body language when practicing in front of a mirror to identify and eliminate any tells.

Practice it infinitum and eventually your mind shift will be to see it as a positive.

4. Networking

It is very easy to get comfortable with people you are networking with and your connections leading to a comfort in going into the gory details of your departure or job search. Stop that train before it leaves the station.

Your network is a professional network. Sure, you may drum up some sympathy, but in doing so you will not create any allies in helping you find a new position. They will get the impression that you are not ready.

If your network helps you in your search, they are putting their name out there and no one wants to tag their name to the angry person.

After the networking event, grab a bottle of wine (the good kind) and get with your partner or best friend as an accountability person and then let it all out. Set a limit to the whining – half an hour or one glass, whatever works for you.  Make sure your accountability person cuts you off on the whining and you get back to the positive.  The positive is you networked and remained professional!

5. Don’t Get Sucked Into Gossip

Unfortunately, there are those that love a good little bit of gossip or bad news. They may sound innocent enough with, “Oh, I’m so sorry, what happened?”

Answer this with your prepared message. The identifying bait for this type of person would come next. It can come in the form of, “I’ve always heard bad things about that company/manager” or “Did they tell you why?” or even as blatant as, “oh my gosh, tell me all about it!”

Do not take that bait. If they try to bait you to say something negative, do not bite. Remain upbeat and positive with a short statement putting an end to their probing. Smile and tell them that you are very excited to take on the next great adventure or opportunity. If they still try to probe, leave them. Politely excuse yourself to the rest room, to go get more networking chicken or that you just saw someone that you need to go speak to – just leave them.

6. Interviewing

This can be similar to the networking; however, there is intent in their probing rather than morbid gossip. Keep with your message and if you need to expand, do so in a way that is not disparaging to the company, managers or team member and end it on a positive for you. If you were fired, take ownership, let them know what you learned and how you incorporate that into your strengths.

Everyone makes mistakes, organizations downsize, companies close and sometimes you have a horrible leader. It is life. This is one event in your life, not the defining moment. You define yourself in how you learn, grow and move on from this event.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies and their leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about Career Polish and how can help you.

It is NOT Okay For Your LinkedIn Profile To Sound Like Your Resume

credit shutterstockI think I am going to have to start paying my dogs hazard pay for being in the office. Some offices have office cats, we have office dogs.

I was reading an article about LinkedIn about general advice for all users relative to their profile. All was fine and quiet until I read one tiny statement saying that if you are looking for a job it is okay for your profile and resume to be the same.

“NO it is NOT!” is what I yelled out. At which point the little one I think growled at me, the middle one looked at the biggest one like, “he did it” and the biggest one just sat there with a big goofy grin on his face.

It is not okay, in no way is it okay for your profile and resume to be the same.

Different Conversations

Your resume is an arm’s length, removed conversation; a professional sales pitch for a general audience.

Your LinkedIn profile is a one-on-one conversation with the person reading it; a business casual, professional conversation.

In a resume you used the assumed I: “Manage nine districts”

In your profile you use I and me: “I managed nine districts”

Your resume opens with a sales statement, telling the reader what you bring to the table and answers the question “What can you do for me?” Say that statement out loud, you sound silly. No one talks like that in conversation. In LinkedIn, speak from and as yourself as you were answering that question to a person sitting across from you.

Different Parameters

A resume is normally one to two pages yet there is flexibility as to font type, size, spacing etc. LinkedIn has limits, including:

First Name: 20 characters, Last Name: 40 characters
Professional Headline: 120 characters
Summary: 2,000 characters
Recommendation: 3,000 characters
Position Title: 100 characters
Position Description: 200 minimum and 2000 maximum characters

Different Pieces to the Puzzle

In job searching you are a brand and it is imperative that your branding is consistent. Your brand extends to your resume, LinkedIn profile, networking and interviewing. Each of these are individual pieces that carry the same brand. They should have a similar feel but be fit to the situation and expectations of each one.

Although you use words in your resume and LinkedIn profile that resonate with you in describing your value; the difference is that in LinkedIn you are letting your personality show through a bit more.

If your LinkedIn and resume are the same you sound like a one-trick pony. People read your LinkedIn profile to find out more information, get a deeper feel for you as a professional and person.

The primary purpose of your resume is to sell yourself. The primary purpose of your LinkedIn is to engage your target audience; to begin a conversation that opens the door for you to sell yourself.

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I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at colleges, professional organizations and companies around the US speaking to leadership, sales and athletic teams; transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

15 Resume Tips to Hate Applicant Tracking System (ATS) a Little Less

Computer FlowersJust when you thought you could not get any more frustrated with job searching, along comes software that may hold your fate in its bytes.

Technology is fabulous, except when you feel like it is working against you.

Welcome to the world of Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Hate it and all that it stands for, but it is here and it is not going away anytime soon.

Before you suit up for battle it is important to know the rules, your opponent and how to create a good offense. Here is a breakdown of automated tracking systems: what they are, their flaws, why they are used and how to play nice with them to help increase your odds of getting your resume into the hands of a recruiter or hiring manager.

Your Opponent – The What of ATS

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a recruiting software system used to organize, contain and evaluate resumes. It contains database field and assigns data within your resume to the fields within the software.

Original ATS software utilized a semantic search technology that basically counted keywords; however the software is evolving. Many systems now run contextualization searches that weigh the use of keywords in the context of the information.

This means that older systems may have given higher rating for having “Logistics” appear all over a resume, but newer systems are looking for demonstrated experience. They can incorporate and interpret depth of experience and time frames.

These systems can also differentiate between someone who has five years demonstrated experience as a Logistics Manager versus someone who took a class in logistics a decade ago.

The more advanced systems are not just recognizing a title or company name, they are analyzing your content to match your skills and value compatible to that role.

In 2010, it was believed that half of all mid-sized companies were using some form of an ATS; current studies estimate that between 75-90% of large companies use ATS, including 70% of Fortune 100 companies.

Their Trick Plays- The Flaws of ATS

This is not going to come as a surprise – the systems are flawed. One company performed a test by submitting the resumes of their top five existing employees and two were screened out. Another director of a company tested their system by submitting his resume for his own organization and it was rejected.

As many as 75% of qualified applicants’ resumes are discarded by ATS systems according to Forbes.

Why? Often the system is misreading the resume or the resume is missing key information.

Flawed as they may be, ATS make recruiters lives easier by automating the initial review of resumes. They help organizations remain compliant with required equal opportunity reporting and prevent charges of discrimination.

Creating a Good Offense

Now that we have gotten the bad news out of the way we can start to prepare a good offense. Here are 15 factors that can help keep your resume in the system and get to a real person.

The Look
1. Tracking systems do not know how to process images, fancy fonts or characters which makes it difficult for the system to assign the information to relevant categories therefore eliminate graphics, tables and images.
As most ATS reads text only you will need to reformat tables, graphs or charts, which will increase the length of your resume. It is acceptable to be longer and hit the relevant requirements rather than be pretty and be dismissed. Bring the pretty version to the interview.
2. Use common fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Garamond, Calibri, Georgia or Tahoma. Again, a content translation thing.
3. Use simple bullets and formatting, getting too creative will prevent a system from analyzing information and apply it to critical areas.
4. Systems are evolving to begin to read PDF files; however, many organizations still have versions that do not; therefore, upload a Word document, not PDF.
5. Use section headers for each area of your resume: Professional Experience, Education, Professional Development and Community Involvement. The system will determine what to do with the information on your resume based upon the heading it is found under.

The Content
1. Use the keywords, industry jargon and phrases as listed in the job description; the system is looking for these. Use relevant keywords in the skills section, summary and bullet points.
Need help identifying core keywords from a description? Copy and paste the job posting into Tagcrowd.com and it will create a word cloud of the most frequently used words for you. Make sure these keywords are in your resume.
2. Use keywords appropriately and in context, do not sprinkle them throughout your resume or hide them by using white text.
3. If the posting mentions “programmer with XYZ experience” do not assume that the system will understand “XYZ programmer”. Use both phrases within your resume to make sure it is picked up.
4. Focus on relevancy of your qualifications to the position eliminating any descriptions of past duties that do not support you in this role. Eliminate fluff – it confuses the system and wastes valuable space on your resume.
5. Create a skills section and include strengths, competencies, specialized and technical skills. Spell out and use abbreviations for industry specific acronyms.

The Basics
1. Check your spelling. Misspelled keywords will be missed by an applicant tracking system.
2. Put your contact information in the body of the resume on the top of the first page and include name, email address and phone number. Tracking systems do not always read headers and footers.
3. Customize your resume for each submission tweaking your skills, experiences and qualifications to match the keywords and phrases within the specific job description. One job description may use leader, another uses manager – make sure your resume is a match to the description.
4. Use consistency in formatting pertinent employment information for all positions.
5. Save your resume with your name and the position title as a word document or text file: i.e. John Doe Logistics Manager Resume

At the end of the day these tips can help avoid having your resume kicked out of the system, but there is no magic bullet to beat a system and it is not a system only approach, there is still a human element. If your resume makes it through the screening, it will then be viewed by a person. It is important that it is written in a way that a software system and individual can identify and evaluate your value.

Lisa

Interviewing – Helpful Tips from a Professional Panel

woman interviewed by two

Yesterday morning I had the pleasure of participating on a panel discussion on interviewing sponsored by Dress for Success Indianapolis.

 

I was very fortunate to be surrounded by such knowledgeable and open professionals.  There were several great points that came out during the presentation and one particularly stood out.

 

Here is the interesting thing, the panel was comprised of a diverse group all coming from a standpoint of hiring managers, interviewers; basically gate keepers or the ones actually performing the interview.

 

They were very informative and professional in representing themselves and their companies.

 

And then there was me.  I came from a different perspective.  I’m the coach working with the people trying to get to these professionals and impress them.  Basically, I’m in the trenches with you so I could take a little different approach in answering the questions.  I could be more blunt.  Big surprise, I know, for anyone that knows me.

 

This came to light when I offered one of the most important reminders about interviewing.

 

I stated that when answering an interviewer’s question be direct, specific and when done stop talking.  I said that a pause after the answer was not necessarily a bad thing so let the interviewer think about your answer.  They will then decide where to go from there, but during that dead time – shut up.  Yes, I actually used the phrase “shut up”.  I apologize to my mother and grandmother, of course my dad was probably shaking his head at me too.

 

Sometimes bluntness is an effective tool.  This is taught to me by my father do he probably wasn’t that upset, or surprised.

 

Anyway, what struck me as funny is when I said “shut up”  I could see the rest of the panel shake their heads in agreement and almost see a visible sigh of relief like a wave go down the line.

 

There were a couple that followed up in full agreement.

 

You see, they really do think about your answers.  They really do need that pause to think.

 

And they really don’t like it when you freak out and think you answered wrong and then try to fill in the dead space with verbal diarrhea.

 

Be prepared in your answers and potential questions.  Many are behavioral based so I highly recommend you do research on the STAR method: Situation, Task, Action and Result.  Use this as a format in showing your strengths, opportunities, lessons learned and value added.

 

Be confident in your answers.  Once you respond allow the interviewer to think about what you said.

 

They could be thinking “Hey, I never thought of that” or “This person might be good at even more” or they could be contemplating asking more about that situation or taking the next question in a new direction based on your answer.

 

Just because they pause does not mean you answered wrong.  Settle down cupcake, relax.

 

If they want clarification, they will ask.  In the meantime, while they are thinking just take a slow breath in for a three count and let it out for a three count – silently – and wait.

 

Oh, and one final tidbit – be nice.  They all stated that they wanted to talk to people who really wanted that job, not just any job, and were engaging with them.

 

Before you leave, be sure to tell them that after speaking to them you are more interested in the job now than ever.  They need to know you still want the job – it is up to you to tell them, don’t assume they know.

 

They have enough on their plates and do not need to take on assumptions, too.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Are You Expecting Too Much From Your LinkedIn Profile?

confidenceAs a resume writer, career and business coach I am one of the first people that will tell you how important a LinkedIn profile is – a good LinkedIn profile – for you and your career/business.

 

I will also tell you that it will be a very good tool to use in combination with other factors of your job search/business building.

 

However, it is not the miracle worker and should not stand alone.

Give it a break, it is a piece of your overall communication, not the be-all, end-all everything in one problem solver!

 

Too often individuals will craft a LinkedIn profile and expect that once they upload it the phone sill start ringing off the hook, offers will pour in the door and the sky will open to let a light and chorus of angels sing “hallelujah” as all the rights will be wronged and business will pick up or the right job will be offered.

 

That’s a lot to expect out of one piece of the puzzle, don’t you think?

 

Let’s review what your LinkedIn profile is or should be:

 

  • An inviting personal narrative where you are speaking directly to your targeted audience.
  • An opportunity for you to add your personality into communicating your value.
  • A brief narrative written in first person to build a connection.
  • An invitation for further communication.

 

In other words, this is either step one or step two in a multi-step process.  Often recruiters or hiring managers are reviewing LinkedIn profiles after they read a candidates resume.  Prospective clients will also check out your LinkedIn profile after hearing about you, your company or reviewing any prior company information (like a website).

 

In that case it is step two.  It could be the first encounter that someone has had with you so that would be step one.

 

If it is step two it needs to add further dimension and depth.  Let them see you.  Express in your own personal way how you add more value than the other guy, are an expert in your field or the contractor of choice.  Give them another take away as a second touch.

 

If it is step one you are setting the stage for the above.

 

In either case the point is to engage and invite further communication – without demands or outrageous expectations.

 

Do not think that just by reading your LinkedIn profile that is enough to sign the deal.  They are still going to want to talk to you, find out more and make a decision on their own that you are the right person.

 

Use LinkedIn to set the stage for that next level of communication.  If you are job searching are their certain skills, value or ability that are important for your next position?  Then these should be highlighted and given enough leeway for further communication.

 

In other words: you don’t need to tell them every single aspect – just enough to demonstrate your value and create the desire to find out more.

 

If you are utilizing LinkedIn to build your business speak directly to your client’s needs and follow the same principle: demonstrate your value and create the desire to find out more.

 

Invite them to connect with you and why they should.  As a general rule we make decisions when they are easy to make.  Give me the information I am looking for, an easy way to contact you and a reason to do so and I am more likely to reach out.

 

But make sure you are ready for that next communication.  Are you following up, are you available to respond, are you presenting the same context and tone that you established in your LinkedIn profile?

 

If I am impressed with your profile and the tone of your message but then speak to a person who is disinterested or worse – do not get a response at all, I will quickly dismiss you as a candidate or prospect.

 

I want to make sure the person I read about and felt connected to is the same person I speak with either by phone, email or in person.  If there is any difference it will create confusion and that will end any prospective deal.  I don’t like being confused or dealt with the responsibility of figuring out which person you really are – it is exhausting.

 

Do you have a resume or business communication that mirrors your LinkedIn?  They should not be the same, but similar.  If a recruiter has already read your resume and sees that your LinkedIn is simply a copy and paste of that they are going to think you are a one trick pony.

 

Remember – a resume and business communication are more of an arm’s length communication.  You are not sure who all will be reading it so you have to make sure it is professional, yet comprehensive for the potential audience.  LinkedIn profiles are to be written more as speaking directly to that one person reading it.  A personal connection written in first person where it is expected to use words like “I”, “me”, “my” and “mine”.

 

Bottom line: make sure your LinkedIn profile is written in congruence with your other business tools, utilized as a communication stepping stone and that you are prepared to continue the message during subsequent contacts.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Tools in Your Toolbox

My dad was a diesel mechanic, when he died he was head of the shop for CCX, a damn good mechanic. He could fix anything. I grew up around tools, the smell of oil, grease, tools, knowing the importance of keeping them clean, putting them away properly and taking care of them. I learned the importance of tools; you can do anything with the right tool. I was comfortable taking some tools and scraps of wood or whatever I could find and see what I could build. I knew how to use tools and what I did not know I liked to ask. (When I was 14 I asked him to show me how to hot-wire a car although much to my chagrin he did not). I have my own tool box, circular saw, jig saw and yes, I have used them well – a couple of years ago I built floor to ceiling bookcases with a bench seat in the middle thank you very much. But the point of this early rambling is that I learned the value of tools from my dad. I also learned the strength in the truth from my dad.

Now that I am much older I carry those same lessons from my dad to other tools. You will hear the message of tools in your toolbox. For a job seeker there are many tools – your resume, your elevator speech, your mentors, your fellow co-workers, employment agencies, recruiters, networking groups – just to name a few. Today I am going to focus on employment agencies and recruiters.

Let me clear up one thing right now – employment agency does not equate to Temp Agency, although there is a time and place for these companies as well. There might be negative connotations about agencies and recruiters and some of those thoughts might be well deserved; however, let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water. I have met some wonderful people in both industries and they are very passionate about what they do and why. If you have not had a lot of experience with either it might be intimidating to try to figure out who to work with and why or even if you want to consider them in your toolbox.

First, go to the agency or recruiter’s website to check them out. There are many agencies that look to fill a need – a professional in a great industry and fantastic position. There are opportunities for office personnel, accounting, all level managers, to name just a few, for many different industries. These are top-notch positions. There are also recruiters who will not work with those seeking employment. This is a good thing to know, too. Any information is good information.

Companies work through an agency or recruiter because they trust them. A hiring company may not want the hassle of having to go through hundreds of resumes to find the right candidate. They utilize the agency/recruiter to filter out the cream of the crop, those that will meet their expectations and qualifications. A good agency/recruiter will have standards and rules that you must comply with so be sure to check this out. Think about it, if they have no standards how can you expect their clients to want the best? That would be you, by the way.

I know one agency that has a rule – if they offer you a set amount of positions within the parameters that you set and you refuse them all then you are no longer a candidate for them. I like this. It is a great standard and it makes you have a frank conversation –what do you really want? And honesty is important. I do not want to hire anyone that promises me the moon. I want someone who is going to be honest and tell me the positives and challenges and then helps me help myself.

A benefit of working with an agency/recruiter is you can be honest with them to tell them your skills and wants. It is not as though you would feel comfortable telling a potential employer “I have these great skills and want to pursue a new vein – how can I get there?” You can ask the agency/recruiter what you can do to improve your lot and have real conversations. They can help you determine a good course for you at this time. They might be able to see an opportunity for you right now that may lead to where you want to go in the future. These are professionals that help cut through the fluff to find the right candidate for their client and the right position for you. Agencies/recruiters have it on both ends so they are not going to waste your time – do not waste theirs.

Let me be very honest here, they are not on your payroll so do not expect them to

1. Drop everything just because you called
2. Perform miracles
3. Bend over backwards for you when you are not willing to put any work into this

Do your homework, just like you would if you had an interview with a company. Who are their clients (not specifically, but more in industry, size, strength etc); why do they chose to work with these companies; who are their candidates; who do they place most successfully; why do they do the work they do; how do they help place you?

In talking to recruiters, many have told me that your best opportunities come from networking, but there are instances that they can help. Find out what these instances are and how you can make yourself more appealing to potential employers.

Remember, you stock your own toolbox. You need to decide what is important to you, what works well for you and how much effort you are willing to give in maintaining your tools. Just keep in mind to look into alternative tools, you might be surprised at what you find.

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