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Category Archives: Job Search Techniques

Job Hopper Need Not Apply!

It has been some time since I have posted under, ADR, however I have not been without words! I have been publishing and writing for a blog I created: Focus MD Blog for adults, children, providers and others affected by ADHD. Through this there were many things I wrote about that would fit well on ADR so I wanted to share them! Here goes:

I was reading a post on how to explain a bad resume on Additude, which got me to thinking about my work as a recruiter, job coach and manager. Those who know me understand I have a no excuse attitude and high expectations. In return for those sometimes difficult to swallow charecteristics I offer help and support for those who are committed to solving problems. I have written a number of different posts on what recruiters look for in resumes and attidudes that will kill you in a job and job search and I have even written about job hopping but not from the persepctive of having ADHD.

There is a reason for that – ADHD is not an excuse, just like a death in your family, taking care of an ill parent, going on maternity leave, being downsized, getting into a car accident, the list can go on forever. These may be some of the reasons a person might be out of work, but they are not what is keeping you from your successful new job.

Most adults with ADHD know what problems or issues they have: can’t pay bills, can’t keep a job, can’t keep a relationship, etc…

What are the reasons for these issues?

What was YOUR role in these issues? What might you have done differently?

Hindsight is 20/20 so use it

Seriously, get out a pen RIGHT NOW and write down why you either don’t have a job or have lost your job in the past.

DO IT

I am actually not going to finish this post because I know you. We’ve met in a former life. You want to go straight to the answer without putting in the effort and I am not letting you go there, yet. Complete the task and I will get back with you soon.

Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

Job Search Terms – What is that? Don’t I Just Apply for the Job I Want?

NO – that is the long and short of it.

Recruiters – agency or in-house all use key words and search terms when sourcing for resumes. Where are they looking these days? Beyond Careerbuilder, Monster and the industry specific job boards you are posting, we are also looking at Indeed (yes you can post your resume to Indeed), LinkedIn, Google and Google+, Facebook Branch Out, the list goes on and on. So first be sure that you are present and accounted for on all of the sites. Next, you need to really look strongly at your resume. This can be very overwhelming, I know. I have hundreds of tips and suggestions for resume but for this we are going to stick to key words and search terms.

There are lots of posts on this topic and you should by now understand that recruiters and hiring managers use similar search technology (that is more sophisticated) that you might use to find a fine dining restaurant in Seattle that is kid friendly and has a vegan menu. The point is that we are looking for is something very specific and with some work and adjustments in our search can typically find what we are looking for whether it is a restaurant or a SVP of Sales in Finance or an Administrative Assistant with Direct Marketing experience.

The key is to review job descriptions that you find yourself qualified for, don’t worry if the company, location or compensation are right, just look for well detailed job descriptions for which you are qualified and review them for key words. I will use what would appear to be a very simple job title, Administrative Assistant, which returned 44k results on Indeed. Just by looking at job titles some stand out to me that you want review and be sure you have in your resume right away. If they don’t apply, please don’t compromise your integrity by adding them.

Key word examples for Administrative Assistant:

  • Titles: Executive, Senior, International, Global, Operations Coordinator, Support
  • Tasks/Skills: Travel Arrangements, Organization, Calender Management, Correspondence, Marketing, Bookkeeping, Order Supplies, Inventory Management, Planning, Meeting Set up, Virtual Meetings, Coordination, Proposals, Call Routing, Filing
  • Software: Word, Excel, Go2Meeting, Visio, Outlook, HTML
  • Industry Specific Titles/Software/Tasks/Certificates: Be sure to use the acronym and the spelled out versions of certificates and programs in your resume. Are you a legal secretary and have your ALS be sure to write it out as well. If you have a customized software system put the description in parenthesis after the title of it, example: Bullhorn (applicant tracking system)

When you are reviewing the descriptions and relaying the information back to your resume be clear and quick to the point. Don’t use an excessive amount of wordy sentences. Be sure that your resume is something that can be skimmed over quickly and has the key points requested in most descriptions. If you are applying for an industry specific position such as legal, medical/healthcare, IT, manufacturing, accounting/finance be sure and add industry specific key words and details at minimum in your objective or purpose statements.

TIP: The more key words you have that match our search string the higher to the top of the list you will appear!

image borrowed from Wiley

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If They Only Look at My Resume for 6 Seconds; How Do I Improve What They are Looking At?

There was a great piece that just came out by Vivian Giang on a study done using heat mapping about what a recruiter focuses on in the 6 seconds they have your resume in front of them. **Please note, as was pointed out to me by a colleague, this artlicle was produced by the Ladders, they have motivation to make money off of their resume writing service, however their was still good reminders in there.

First of all let’s really think about what you can do in 6 seconds, I am not even sure I can get my coffee pot set in 6 seconds, but I do believe that is the average time I look at most resumes.

Here is what she says we are looking at:

In the short time that they spend with your resume, the study showed recruiters will look at your name, current title and company, current position start and end dates, previous title and company, previous position start and end dates, and education.

She goes on to point out that one resume seems to have been reviewed more thoroughly than the other because of its clear format.

What are we looking for:

  • Name: are you someone we know or someone in our network, referral, etc…
  • Current Title: Is this going to be a lateral move, a huge jump, a step back – basically are you over or under qualified
  • Company: Is this a company with similar work ethic, training programs, type of work as the company we are hiring for? Is this company a target of our client or is it one we have been told to steer away from?
  • Start/end dates: are you employable for a long period of time? Were you let go during a certain season or year that is common during the “downturn”
  • Education: do you have any? Does it match the position you are applying? Is it better than those who are also applying for the position? Does it meet the requirements set by the company? Does it meet the requirements set by the recruiter/hiring manager?

 

How to improve:

  • Name: be sure to have your contact info correct street address is not relevant, city/state, phone, email, LinkedIn profile, blog/website ARE
  • Current Title: not much you can do other than make sure it matches what you were hired as and don’t deviate because it could mean falsification of documentation later on
  • Company: can’t change it just be aware of the culture of your company and what the “community” opinions might be on the employees that work there. Examples: hard working, nose to the grind stone, mandatory OT, difficult supervisors OR over paid, only know how to do one job, not team players. Example of culture: Creative, fun, employee centric OR dictatorship, most direction comes from upper management, not a lot of input from employees. Please note: one is not better than the other and even if a company is “known” for certain attributes it does not mean that you have or carry those attributes no matter what they are, but you need to address who you are in your cover letter, phone interview and in all of your face to face interviews.
  • Start and End Dates: There are different schools of thought on adding a reason for position end dates. I am for it. For instance: 1/10-3/12 relocation to NYC OR contract position. What this won’t help you with – things like excessive terminations, if it is one instance on your resume possibly, but if that is the reason you have ended every job you need to work with a career coach/life coach and start with a temp job or job in retail and regain your credibility (IF you are ready for it).
  • Education: Don’t ever mislead us in to thinking you have a degree if you have only taken a few classes most of which you never finished. If you are a more recent grad you want to emphasis your education and academic works if you have been established in the workforce or academics are not as relevant in the position you are applying simply include the school you attended, degree received OR coursework pursued.

Additional Tips:

Recruiters are analytical, use experience, history and deductive reasoning to make decisions quickly. HELP US HELP YOU! Keep your information easy to read, less is more in most cases but I will caution that using only a few words to describe your position is not enough. Use quantitative and qualitative data to support the work that you have done and list out your major accomplishments or successes.

 

Which is it: Feed Your Followers or They Will Die? OR Have Something Interesting to Say?

Which is it: Feed Your Followers or They Will Die? OR Have Something Interesting to Say?

I have to admit that my tweets are pretty boring. I do not do a great job of creating a buzz or even contributing to the buzz. Why? I forget, well that and I fell like the energy and work that I put in to my blogs are enough, or they should be. Jessica Merrell-Miller writes about creating the buzz as recruiters, employers, executives and sales people so that people are interested and engaged with you; one of my favs is why people follow and un-follow you. It sounds simple and common sense enough, that simply posting a job that you are looking to fill is not going to excite anyone.

Maybe I should look at myself as the Laziest Recruiter Ever (rather than job seeker) if I am not going to do all that it takes, I cannot be frustrated when I am not gaining results using certain tools like Twitter. Isn’t that the definition of insanity, doing the same thing in the same way expecting a different result? I would say it is also the definition of a know it all. I think I have all the answers and know what I am doing.

The problem with me is that I have a bit of recruiter ADD sometimes, I put my plan together and map it out, but then I get distracted. I move down a path and start seeing some momentum and keep going and then that takes me to a new path and I move down that and by the time I am ready to wrap up the day I have 4-8 windows open (none of them are shopping sites). I know that other professionals have this same issue; typically this is when there are 5 people in and out of your office door or you have sent a plan for review and it takes on another life.

With Twitter you have to remember that you have to start following and listening to what others are saying and share that with others who are following you. I know many of you are saying this is a lot of work and how can 140 characters be valuable or make an impact? Well, even if you are not a recruiter, it is important to understand what recruiters are saying about Twitter and how they use it.  Think about it, in business, you want to know what your competitors or the experts in your field are doing to stay on top, right? Then it is in your best interest whether you are corporate HR, business manager or job seeker to know what recruiters are doing to find the best talent.

The common thread and theme I have found that really resonates with me re: Twitter is to BE SOCIAL!

  • You have to work it in to your daily lives and ping.fm and other tools make it easy to use your other social media content and incorporate them all together.
  • Follow people that you find interesting, you will be that much more likely to check in, interact and be inspired
  • Add the Twitter feed to your phone, when you are waiting in line at the grocery store check in and retweet
  • Know what your specialty is and find and follow others in the field
  • Believe that you are a person of interest and share your ideas
  • Question and poll your followers with something you need an answer to (be sure it is relevant to others)
Feed your followers or they will die? Maybe, but then I have to investigate why I follow people and really it is because they have something interesting to say not because they retweet my stuff.
Image borrowed from Carlos in a 2009 article re: Twitter and if it is stupid or not and that people can’t figure it out so he created some visualizations!

What if Recruiters Stopped Using Social Media?

What if Recruiters Stopped Using Social Media?

So I was just reading an article by Erica Swallow  about how recruiters use social media to screen candidates. The article is more of an infograph than an article and it is packed with incredible detail. One of the strongest findings, recruiters who participated in this confidential survey shared that 69% of recruiters had ruled out candidates based on what they viewed on their social media sites. Conversely 68% of recruiters hired a candidate based on the profile or pages of a candidates social media presence.

Obviously this type of information is going to send lawyers and candidates everywhere in to an uproar, but wait a minute I am confused! I personally don’t search out candidates to see their activity on Facebook however I have searched for candidates on Facebook and LinkedIn and I post jobs on both. I also use LinkedIn to review a candidate.

I have put together a hypothetical thought. Here are some potential ramifications if recruiters are not supposed to use social media to make hiring decisions and stop:

  1. No more posting jobs on twitter, google+, LinkedIn, LI Groups, Facebook, etc…
  2. No more asking for recommendations from colleagues, former bosses, customers, etc… on LinkedIn because we won’t be looking at those
  3. re: #2 it will be back to company policy of dates of employment and title only
  4. Passive job seekers will have to go back to putting their resumes on CareerBuilder and Monster for their current employers to see
  5. Most people learn about openings from referrals and people in their “network” that they trust without social media our networks shrink considerably and so do the candidates
Maybe I am in the minority, I believe that what people are doing is working if just as many recruiters have hired candidates based on their online presence as not, they are better odds than the traditional job boards. Honestly, we are looking for strong positive connections to make a good hire that we know will last and by seeing deeper connections through your online profile we feel that much more confident in the decisions we are making.
It is fairly simple what we are looking for:
  • We want to see that you have recommendations from former employers, colleagues, customers, etc…
  • We want to make sure your resume and profile match
  • We want to see that you have connections with a variety of professionals in your industry
  • We want to see that you have joined groups in your field
Does this mean that a recruiter should only be using social media to find the positives about a candidate?  Define what is positive? This DOES vary from employer to employer and job to job. It isn’t feasible.
RE: YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT (this is the one people seem to really struggle with) Here is the biggest thing to understand, as a job seeker or potential candidate, even a current employee “we” see what you let “us” see! WOW, crazy isn’t it! I don’t want to see any interrogating or compromising pics or posts from any of my friends let alone someone I don’t know; it honestly makes me uncomfortable. If you have an issue with an employer, your grandmother or anyone else seeing you sloppy drunk then use your security settings to block us, we aren’t friends, so that should be easy, as far as grandma you will have a few extra steps to take.
Recruiters and Business owners please note that there are unwritten guidelines and ethics we use as guiding principles in all of our recruiting and sourcing efforts, this is no exception. The laws are detailed and vary based on the use of social media in recruiting be sure that you are staying on top of them or reaching out to a professional when you are unsure of proper protocol.
thank you Social Media Sean for the image

The Dreaded Cover Letter

The Dreaded Cover Letter

It is getting to that spooky time of year and one of the most frightening pieces to the puzzle for a recruiter and job seeker alike? A poorly executed cover letter. There are all types of schools of thought on the cover letter, including whether you include it or not? Well, as a rule, a cover letter is a good opportunity for you as an applicant to assist the recruiter or hiring manager with sharing why you are a good fit for the job using cliff notes. This is not an essay or a sale presentation, this is a brief introductory document that is informative and engaging.

If you are not getting calls re: your resume you could be getting beat out at the starting gate, especially if your work history is not strong or you are competing for a highly sought after position. You could be making some very simple but fatal errors. I will be brief as to what not to include:

  • Spelling errors
  • Grammatical errors
  • To Whom it may concern:
  • Addressing the incorrect company
  • Being vague and nondescript
  • Being too brief
  • Too long-winded
  • Copying your objective statement from your resume
What are we looking for? Substance. Direct impact statements that are specific to the job and your experience. Drawing parallels between what you have done and what the job requires. I recently had the pleasure of reading a very good cover letter and it was extremely refreshing. I was engaged in the first 2-3 sentences, there were bullets that drew the parallels with quantitative facts and it addressed the job specifically. It peaked my interest and made me want to learn more.
Have you ever read a book and gotten through the first 2 or 3 chapters and just felt like the book was going nowhere? What is the difference between that book and one you don’t put down from the very start? You are drawn in and intrigued, there is a curiosity that is evoked that makes you want to learn more. What is it that you can quickly and briefly share that will keep us engaged? It is challenge for sure but it truly can make or break you if your current cover letter is weak you might be better of leaving it out.
I recommend keeping your cover letter under 300 words, have 2-3 quantitative or impact statements that you place in bulleted form prior to your conclusion statement. If you state that you will be contacting them in the next week, be sure and put it in your calendar and follow through.

Your Phone Rings, It’s a Recruiter; Are You Prepared to Pass a Phone Screen? TIPS YOU CAN’T MISS

Whether your resume is out on one of the job boards or you have applied to a position directly your resume has your phone number on it. What this means is at any given moment in the day from 7am to 9pm you could be receiving a call regarding a potential job opportunity, but are you prepared?

This call is more than just a first impression, this is a phone screen for the person on the other end and whether or not they use the right approach does not matter at that very moment because time is money and they are trying to determine if you are potential candidate for the particular job they are sourcing for and that is it. It does not matter if it is a corporate recruiter or agency recruiter, both are guilty of trying to move very quickly to determining one thing, should we move forward on this person or not? I know it sounds harsh but they have a job to do, they have several different openings they are working on and are under the gun just like in any other job to move as efficiently and effectively as possible to get to the end result.

So how can you prepare?

  • Smile, they can hear it in your voice
  • Don’t be put off by lack of detail and not having all of the information of the job up front
  • Do be in a quiet area free from distractions. If you are not, ask if you can call them back in short order (meaning 10-15 minutes if possible)
  • Do leave a copy of your resume in a folder in your car. If you are out shopping or out to eat, your car is your office. Seriously, if you were a sales person waiting to close a multi million dollar deal would you ask if you could call the customer back later on that day? Let me tell you the answer, NO
  • Don’t push for more detail on the job before you answer any questions on your resume. This is not a give in take call where they ask a question and you ask one back.
  • Do give specific examples to questions regarding your performance and success. HOW? Write down or have printed out in your folder and next to your computer 3 strong quantitative success stories (but have them be more bullets than story like)
  • Don’t ramble or go on and on about your old employer, good or bad.
  • Do talk about lessons learned and opportunities achieved that are specific to you and your expertise.
  • Don’t be too formal or too personal; be yourself but don’t try to make friends. A balance can be tough so practice.
  • Do ask a great open ended question, “I did want to mention that not all of my skills and expertise are listed on my resume, it is accurate and detailed however it is hard to put my entire career on to one page; are their specific focus areas or experiences whether  in (name something you are proficient in whether it is working with C level managers or designing a specific type of window) or a specific technology or software  this job is looking for?”
  • Don’t take it personally if you are prepared and still not offered an interview, they know the company and culture as well as the demands of the job; trust that this is the best thing for you.
  • Do ask “what your background or career goals were missing for this particular opportunity, maybe you could refer a colleague.” This helps you and them out and gives you some needed closer and feedback.
This should help you be better prepared and set you up for an invitation for an interview.
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