Sunday, November 22, 2015

Networking isn’t about me, me, me!

Have you ever been in a job search networking situation, met someone new, said “And what do you do?” only to find that the person won’t stop talking about themselves? Does that solicit a positive reaction from you, or do you look for a way to get away from them?

People who respond to you in this manner fail to understand the appropriate way to conduct themselves in a job search networking environment. Often they will leave the meeting without getting any information that may help them with their search.

Networking is a two-way conversation that is intended to be beneficial to both parties to the conversation. At the very least it is important to establish rapport by talking about things that interest both parties that may have nothing to do with job searching. After rapport is established there is the opportunity for finding out “Who do you know? What is it like working for that company?” etc.

When asked about yourself it helps to respond with brief answers that, by not “telling it all,” leaving room for follow-on questions from the other person. Pausing and looking for reactions and responses always trumps monopolizing the conversation. The bottom line: If you like to talk a lot, be aware of it and guard against doing it in networking situations.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Do you differentiate yourself from your competition? Differentiation is fundamental Marketing 101.

Rather than focusing only on what you have done in your career, why not aim your focus on how you will stand out.

When writing your resume, write about the results of your work. Write about the outcome of each thing you did. Most people only write about their responsibilities, not what they have accomplished.

When you network look for opportunities to discuss the results of some things you have done. Engage someone in a conversation about themselves. Then you are likely to find an opportunity to talk about your achievements.

Find and speak to the hiring manager BEFORE you apply or send any materials to the company. You can bet your competition won’t do this.

Be in front of your search, leading the way, doing things that get action. You may think you are making progress by camping on the job boards, posting your resume and applying to every job you think you might have a remote chance of winning, but did you know that less than 2 percent of jobs are found this way?

Contribute to discussions in LinkedIn. Become known.

Do these things and you will differentiate yourself from the herd of applicants.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Show me a consistently successful leader that was a pessimist.

Pessimism paralyzes. It kills interviews. It infects the workplace. It stymies finding solutions to problems. It moves business backwards. Nobody wants to be near a chronic pessimist. 

Optimism is the elixir that keeps things moving forward. Optimists are resourceful. They have positive attitudes. People like to be near them. They are more likable, more fun to be with. They generate optimism in others. They motivate.

Optimistic job seekers are much more likely to compete successfully and win the new job. Interviewers are sensitive to a candidate’s personality; they will be looking for optimists. Given two equally qualified candidates, the pessimist will be the loser! It follows that given two equal employees, the pessimist will be the first to be laid off when business requires reduction in force.

Job seekers, in particular, need to take note. Unfortunately, pessimists do not always view themselves as being pessimistic. There are signs we all can look for. Do people tend to gravitate away from us or toward us. Do they listen intently or dismissively. Do we usually smile or frown. If the signs of pessimism are there, work on changing. Everyone can consciously work on maintaining an optimistic attitude.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Some things that can get you rejected in a face-to-face interview.

You might be surprised how many people don’t do what should be obvious preparation for face-to-face interviews. You can mess up an interview by doing any of these things:

Be late: there are valid and invalid reasons.  Call ahead and explain. Prepare in advance by getting contact names and telephone numbers. Know exactly how to get there; do a dry run if possible.

Be odorific: Avoid this by practicing good hygiene. Avoid things that create bad breath. Alcohol, smoke and food seasonings like garlic on your breath will make you unattractive.

Dress inappropriately: Only lost luggage can explain away this one.

Be totally unprepared for the questions: There are standard types of questions. Prepare with practiced answers. Practice out loud with video if possible. Listen to what you say, how you say it and watch your body language. Learn from it.

Make politically incorrect comments, swear, be negative, berate your employer, don’t smile, and talk too much (monopolize the conversation) during the interview: These things will end your chances quickly and it should be obvious to avoid making them, but given things I have heard in interviews, I wonder how obvious.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sometimes we are simply products of our environment, but we are always the products of our decisions!

New job seekers may be the result of their job environment, but the decisions they make regarding how to become employed again are absolutely critical!

Losing a job, regardless of the reason, creates a situation having the potential to bring great harm to real life situations depending upon the decisions made by those losing their job.

What are you going to do if it happens to you? Job searching is more complex than it was years ago, but there are also more search tools available as well. The answer is to do everything legal and ethical you can do to win a job offer.

Getting professional help, immediately, is the most important action to take when one has just become unemployed. While outplacement services are not always available to the newly unemployed, professional job search services are always there. Professional services are more affordable immediately and becomes less affordable as time passes, therefore time is of the essence. Procrastination is the enemy. So is the assumption that “I can do it on my own”.

Job searching is blessed by the electronic age. It is extremely different than in years past. Typewriters are replaced by computers; Newspaper ads by the internet. New search techniques that many job seekers have never used are available, indeed have become required skills in order to compete. Some search techniques are incredible hurdles for the uninitiated. Therefore overcoming procrastination and getting professional help immediately is of paramount importance to the new job seeker.

For those who are fortunate to be currently employed, preparing for the future, be it self-planned or a surprise, would be good ‘insurance’ to purchase.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Have you differentiated yourself from the rest of the job candidates?

Most job seekers will first think of applying through HR because “that is the way it has always been”. But unless you are seeking an HR position you should be directing your efforts directly toward the actual hiring manager, not HR, regardless of what the application instructions say.

Take the requirements stated in a job description with a big grain of salt. Many ads are canned repeats of older jobs and don’t adequately reflect what a particular hiring manager needs. Some will instruct you not to call. However the most successful way to get a job is to speak directly to the hiring manager before you send your resume in so that you can edit it specifically for what that hiring manager’s key problems are. The job description may not say what is critical to landing the job.

Eventually you will have to follow the proper job application protocols, but unless you speak to the hiring manager before you apply and have the opportunity to edit your resume you have no better chance of landing the job than the rest of the herd of applicants! Differentiation is the name of the game, and you don’t differentiate yourself by being just another one of the herd of applicants. Be different. Call and speak directly to the hiring manager before you apply.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Can you prove you are what you claim to be?

Does your resume say you are innovative, world-class, results-oriented, motivated, creative, dynamic, passionate, unique, strategic, collaborative, etc.?

Do you think people will believe what you say simply because it is written? Maybe some will be gullible and accept anything you tell them, but good hiring managers will not!

Imagine you are the hiring manager. You have been charged with the responsibility of achieving many goals. Your personal performance depends upon delivering results. Your pay and promotability depend upon your results. And now you have a hiring need.

You know that hiring people who claim to be one thing and turn out to be another can be worse than not hiring anyone. Making self-assessing claims can raise doubts thereby having the opposite effect then their intent. A good hiring manager will question your claims unless you can demonstrate them. And if you simply describe your results and accomplishments there is no need to make self-assessing claims.

For the hiring manager, not only is making a wrong hire a waste of time and money, it can make results worse and consume much time to correct. So a good hiring manager will not take self-assessing claims at face value.

For a job seeker, the conclusion should be obvious. Demonstrate what you claim to be by providing examples. Clearly indicate the results of your work. Talk about what you have achieved and why it was important. By doing so you will attract the hiring manager’s attention and enable him or her to vet you. You will not need to make self-assessing claims that come across as having questionable merit, thereby raising doubts about you.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, October 4, 2015

When you are told to “Tell me about yourself”. What are you going to say?

The interviewer just turned control of the interview over to you. This is your chance to take the interview into the direction you want it to go. The interviewer surely will take over soon enough but this is your opportunity to tell about the most important thing you want the interviewer to know about you.

While you can respond many ways, it is not the time to talk about your life history. Don’t ask “What would you like to hear about?” That answer turns control back to the interviewer and points out that you are not prepared, not creative, not “street smart” or maybe all of the above. Be prepared with a topic that starts out with “I’d like to tell you about ……….” or something similar. If you have already spoken with the hiring manager by phone (a recommended search tactic) you can expand on something that was important to him or her.

The interviewer is most likely interested in something that applies to the job, but the question might also be a probe for something non-work related that talks to your outside interests to see how “well-rounded” you are. While this may be the case, be prepared to at least direct the flow of information to those work-related strengths you think the interviewer should be interested in.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, September 27, 2015

How many file formats do you save your resume in? Is one enough?

Not today!

If all you have is one you might want to reconsider what you are doing in view of ATS software used in company hiring processes today and document processing software used in the creation of your resume. You can inadvertently make your resume incompatible with ATS!

Front end hiring process technology has changed over years and it is not kind to job seekers. Most firms use ATS in the front end of their hiring process and rely on a parser to sort out candidates before a human will ever know about them, much less see their resume. You will get scored and compared with your competition before a human ever knows about you. The best candidate on paper can get weeded out of the competition by the parser.

Fortunately for you document preparation software makes it very easy to create and edit a resume today compared to the technology your father and grandfather had. It’s easy to edit the resume to be responsive to what is required for a particular job. However, without even realizing it you might incorporate problems for the parser that have nothing to do with your qualifications but everything to do with the software features you used to create the document. This can result in failure to respond to your application, or worse, outright rejection regardless of your qualifications.

Most people need help to create an ATS-ready resume. But even after you create a resume that is compatible with ATS parsing, you will need your resume saved in different file formats to serve different purposes. Thanks to computers that is easy to do as well. A pure text file is the optimum format for ATS parsing purposes, but for humans who can see and appreciate professional appearance in a resume, you certainly want a more attractive file saved in a more attractive file format.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Cold calling: Breaking the barrier between you and reaching the hiring manager.

Sometimes there is no other way to find the name of the hiring manager than to make cold-calls into a company. Many people are timid about doing this. Many are in full panic mode when actually to trying to speak directly to the manager. To overcome the fear, the best remedy is to prepare and practice some brief scripts for soliciting the name, for getting past the gatekeepers and for speaking to the manager.

Practicing out loud with another person is critical because it affords the opportunity to make mistakes and modify the script when there is no negative outcome. Practice also enables one to internalize the script rather than memorize it. A memorized script usually comes across very “canned” and obvious.

It is always easier to get information if you establish rapport with the person on the other end first. Before giving your name, ask for the name of the person you are speaking to before asking for the name of the person you are trying to reach. Once you have the exact name of the right contact, either continue to try to make voice contact with the hiring manager or call back later and ask to speak directly with that person by name.

Quite often you will be asked what the purpose of your call is. Whatever response you offer, do not tell them you are looking for a job. That answer will get you transferred quickly to HR. Unless you are looking for an HR position, that’s not where you want to be.

It’s not always easy to make contact with the hiring manager over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. If you are asked to leave a message, don’t do it. Messages often don’t get returned. Instead, find out when the boss will be available and offer to call back at that time, and be sure to do it.

It’s not always easy to make contacts over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. The more you do it the better you will get at it. Don’t leave messages. Instead, find out when the boss will be available and offer to call back at that time, and be sure to do it.

Just don’t give up.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Monday, September 14, 2015

Resume Writing 101 vis-à-vis ATS parsing, a conservative approach.

When creating resumes for the job market today one must consider who, or in most cases, what is going to review the resume first. With the proliferation of ATS software being applied at the front end of the hiring process it is very possible a human will never see the resume, at least in the form it was prepared. Because ATS does not have eyes, beauty or attractiveness is totally unimportant to it and in fact, can cause the resume to become “unreadable”. Appearance is important to the human eye but not to a computer. So it is important that the resume be professional in appearance when humans read it. This means resumes need to be saved in at least two file formats.

Many people have opinions about how to write a resume so that it will pass ATS scrutiny. And much of their advice is correct, but often only true for certain ATS products. Most often the advice given does not cover all ATS products, and there are over 220 of them. So how can you deal with their advice when it is wrong for the software used by a company you are applying to? The answer is to take a conservative approach and write your resume to satisfy virtually every ATS parser.

Some will argue that many of the issues that used to cause parsing failures have been fixed and no longer apply. The fact is that is not true for all 220 products. The company one applies for a job at may not have ATS software that can overcome the issues. Therefore one must prepare for the entire universe of parsers. That is the conservative approach.

For the most part, expert opinions on parsing software are well-intentioned. However, many who profess to have detailed knowledge of ATS base their opinions on limited knowledge, some of which is incorrect. Many do not understand that the optimum file format for ATS parsing is ASCII text. Many also do not understand that most parsers are designed to look for certain information in a certain order for best results. For example some will tell you that it doesn’t matter in what order date information is given. That may be true for some parsers, but not all; therefore it is best to take the conservative approach and list dates fist. And there are many more examples.

All parsers can ‘read’ ASCII text. Therefore the conservative approach is to have a file saved in ASCII text for applying electronically and and a copy that is saved in a standard word processing format that is attractive to the human eye!

The fact is that when any of over 40 common non-ASCII attributes are incorporated by word processors into a resume, most ATS parsers will fail to parse correctly and are most likely to outright reject a resume. One simple rule to follow is this: Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and parsers do not have eyes, so when applying electronically, use the text file (*.txt).

Having said that doesn’t mean that you should not care about the appearance of a resume. On the contrary!  You also need to save your resume as a Word or other word processing file you hand it to people or send it to them. When you wish to hand give resume to another human, make sure it has a professional appearance, is written intelligently and displays excellent language skills. Then save it also as a txt file for electronically applying to a job.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Do you want to avoid the black hole? Then don’t risk falling into it in the first place!

The use of ATS software at the front end of hiring processes is becoming more and more prolific. It is also being used extensively by recruiting firms under contract to hiring companies to do candidate searching for them. Is your resume ATS-ready? If not, ATS parsing software just might toss your resume into the ‘bottomless pit’.

Applying to jobs online is like standing on the edge of a bottomless pit. One false move and you and your resume are gone. At worst it can result in no one knowing you were there, no one able to contact you or help you. At best you might be one of the less than 2% of people who actually get called for an interview. At worst you are an unknown MIA.

There are two solutions that go hand in hand. A more effective way of spending your valuable job search time is to make your resume ATS-ready and talk directly to the hiring manager before you apply for the job.

Consider the fact that all hiring companies are concerned with the costs of doing business, including recruiting and hiring costs. Hiring costs have gone through the roof because of the ease with which people can apply for jobs whether they are qualified or not. Companies are willing to purchase an ATS software license because they can offset the cost by eliminating people and the associated salary and benefits they would have to have on board to handle the volume.

For years companies have used referrals from employees as one source of candidates. Companies have created Employee Referral Bonus plans (ERPs) wherein bonuses of a few hundred to a thousand dollars are awarded to employees if the person they refer is hired. ERP bonuses cost a lot less than the cost of a recruiting firm or the costs of advertising on job boards, therefore many companies prefer using ERP bonuses whenever they can. Recruiting firms can be effective, but they are the most costly to the hiring company. Recruiting typically costs between 25 to 35 percent of the candidate’s first year salary and sometimes more!

Being referred to the hiring manager and talking directly to that person before you submit your resume is the most effective job search tactic you can use! If you make sure your resume is ATS-ready, it gets you past the ATS issue and it costs the company far less than the alternatives. Trust me, if you don’t do it, your competition will and you will remain just ‘one of the herd’.

And take it from an HR professional who writes about internal company recruiters: “Nothing personal: Why recruiters don’t get back to you” by Suzanne Lucas, March 25, 2013:

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Why should you try to speak directly to the hiring manager before you apply for the job?

Last week I posted a discussion topic addressing non-response to job applications which asked what techniques people can use to overcome non-response. One reader asked why you should try to speak directly to the hiring manager before applying for a job. This week I will elaborate on the reasons.

        DIFFERENTIATION: The most important reason is to differentiate yourself from your competition!  Few people take the trouble to learn how to find out who the hiring manager is and speak to him or her. Differentiation is the foundation of marketing. Isn’t marketing yourself the key to a robust job search?

        NEEDS DISCOVERY: One really cannot be all things to all people. It seems logical that to get an interview you need to sell to the hiring manager’s needs. But quite often a job description does not reflect the hiring manger’s highest priority needs. You can find out what they are by speaking to the hiring manager. And at the same time you have the opportunity to explain why you are the solution to the problems.

        COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE: Another factor to win an interview is to cause the hiring manager to like you. Consider the value of establishing rapport with the hiring manager while the competition is idly waiting for a call from HR. By having a conversation you can build rapport and learn about what is most important to the hiring manager. Meanwhile your competition becomes more and more disadvantaged.

        RESUME EDITING: By learning the hiring manager’s hot buttons you can edit your resume to focus on your specific achievements that are responsive to the critical needs before you submit. If you submit before you have the conversation you forfeit that opportunity.

        COVER LETTER EDITING: When you have a hiring manager’s name, title, and have discussed how you are the solution to his or her problems, you have a reason for writing and the ability to reiterate the points you made during your conversation. Effective cover letter writing becomes a much simpler task.  

        OMBUDSMAN: Speaking directly to the hiring manager offers you the chance to send your edited resume directly to the most important person in the hiring process, the decision maker, without going through the company protocols first. Of course eventually you will have to submit your application through the company hiring process, but you will have the hiring manager looking out for you.

        MOTIVATION / INITIATIVE: Making the call demonstrates that you are self-motivated, that you take the initiative. It shows that you don’t just sit back waiting and hoping someone will call you. You take the initiative in managing your search. You are action-oriented.

        HIDDEN JOBS: Sometimes a hiring manager may not have a position that fits you but after speaking to you likes what you have to say and decides to make adjustments in the organization and create a new position just for you. It does happen!

        NETWORKING FOR FUTURE JOBS: A decision maker is a valuable member of your personal network. Sometimes the conversation opens up other opportunities either now or at a later date. Decision makers usually have other decision makers in their network.

        CONTROL, THE BOTTOM LINE: Speaking with the hiring manager gives you the greatest control over your destiny, making it the most effective job search tactic.

Without question this tactic requires learning new skills for many people. It involves learning how to identify who the decision maker is (as in sales prospecting) and how to get past the gate keepers to make direct voice contact.

These are skills practiced by good salespeople. With proper coaching and practice you do not need to be a salesperson to learn them well enough to help you find the job you want.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Monday, August 17, 2015

When you are a “perfect” fit for a job, why don’t you get a response to your application?

Has it happened to you? Does it happen often? Have you written and rewritten your resume many times and still received few or no responses? 

There are many reasons why job seekers don’t get responses: 

·         I am not going to defend companies who do not respond except in cases where it is actually your fault, such as when it is not clear how to reach you or you have made a typographical error in your contact information.

·         Or they may be using Applicant Tracking System software to process the volume and you may have made some mistakes in the creation of your resume that make it impossible for ATS software to understand who you are.

·         Or you are not as qualified as you believe you are.


While it is a fact that companies are overwhelmed by the volume of applicants that should not be a reason for failing to respond to you. Sometimes companies seem not to care. And some employees are overworked or apathetic regarding their responsibility for contacting you. 

Fortunately there are some things you can do to improve your situation:

·         #1, don’t start out by pounding the job boards and immediately applying online. Yes it is the easiest way to job search. It is also the least effective way. There are better ways of spending your valuable search time.

·         Have you hired professional resume help from people who understand what causes ATS parsing software to fail?

·         Do you target companies you are interested in rather than broadcasting to everyone?

·         Do you find out what the hiring managers’ critical needs are and edit your resume and cover letter to be responsive to those needs before you apply?

·         Do you know how to identify who the hiring managers are? Do you reach out to them; talk to them before you send your resume so you can identify their critical needs and edit your resume. Job postings don’t always reflect the real needs.

·         Have you ever found out who works for the company and tried to get a referral to the hiring manager?

·         Have you learned how to create scripts you need to make calls, get past the gatekeepers and speak directly to hiring managers? It is important to learn the communication skills you need.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, August 16, 2015

How does your picture influence a reader’s mindset when they view your LinkedIn profile?

If the reader gets a positive image of you in their mind, they begin liking you before they read anything about you. That is the equivalent of a nice smile and good eye contact when you go in for that face-to-face interview.

What can go wrong with your picture? What are the turn-offs?
#1 - No picture.
#2 - Picture that is so dark your expression cannot be seen.
#3 - A picture of your dog, cat, motorcycle, boat, a flower, a scene, etc., instead of you.
#4 - A picture of you in a group of people or you and your favorite pet, vehicle, etc.
#5 - No smile, No expression, A poker face.

What makes you look most likable?
#1 - A big, happy, contagious smile or laugh.
#2 - A head shot from the shoulders up.
#3 - A light background with enough lightness in your face to clearly see your expression.

How do you accomplish that?
Take lots of pictures and either buy a picture editor or have someone edit it for you.

Crop your headshot out of a larger picture, edit the fill light, highlights, shadows and color temperature as necessary.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, August 9, 2015

What would you say is the difference between Selling and Interviewing?

I would suggest they are totally alike.

Selling is the logical explanation of why a particular decision makes sense.
Selling is overcoming objections, logically responding to roadblocks.
Selling is knowing how to negotiate.
Selling is knowing how to deal with rejection when it happens and how to maintain both self-confidence and self-esteem.
And most important, Selling is knowing how to communicate with people and build relationships.

So what is the difference between Selling and Interviewing?

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Why should anyone believe a resume that is full of self-assessing adjectives?

Job seekers, the best way to market yourself is by stating the results of your work, not by describing yourself as being ‘innovative’, ‘effective’, ‘self-motivated’, ‘creative’, ‘dynamic’, ‘results oriented’, etc. Why should anyone believe unsubstantiated, self-assessing descriptions of you? That’s just resume “fluff”.

Please! Prove it to us. Tell us what you have accomplished, what the results of your work have been. Let us conclude how great you are. Your accomplishments are all the proof we need.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Monday, July 27, 2015

Script Writing for Making Job Search Calls

If you wish to be successful making calls to the hiring manager it is wise to prepare and internalize scripts that will navigate you through the gate keepers and engage the Hiring Manager. These are the key things to do:

The call objective: The overt objective is to get an interview, overt because blurting out that you are a job seeker will put the hiring manager in a defensive mode, so don’t do it. The right approach is to establish rapport, gain knowledge of what the hiring managers pain is, speak to how you can help, and get his/her email information so that you can send a resume and cover letter that have been edited to be responsive to his/her pain directly to him/her.

Ask the hiring manager if he/she has time for the call. Don’t give up with a negative answer. Set expectations; establish a better time to call; then do it.

When you get a yes answer, begin establishing rapport. Use words that will cause the recipient of the call to be receptive to it. Do some research. Do you have anything in common with him or her? Google his/her name. Look at his/her LinkedIn profile.

Be crisp and concise. Get to the point quickly. Once you have established that it is ok to talk, don’t abuse the privilege. Resist building background. Time is important to the recipient. Lengthy dialogue is likely to motivate the hiring manager to get you off the phone, politely or otherwise.

Try to maneuver the conversation toward setting up an interview (your objective).

Always be looking out for objections and how to overcome them in real time. Learn to be ‘fast on your feet’.

Practice out loud, preferably role play with someone who can be challenging. Practice until you have internalized your scripts.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Monday, July 20, 2015

If your LinkedIn profile is incomplete you may never be discovered!

For job seekers: Your profile is a place to conduct free inbound marketing. Take advantage of it.

A complete, well prepared LinkedIn profile is often the path that leads to getting hired. Many companies use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature to identify potential candidates for open positions. There is considerable cost for companies to conduct searches on job boards, but using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature is free to them. Thus LinkedIn is the preferred approach.

Here are some guidelines for preparing a good profile:

As a preface for all profile sections, whenever you see a drop down button, click on it. You will often find some interesting information topics you can add.

#1 – Your picture: It really IS worth a thousand words! It is the first thing people look at when they open your page, even your closest friends. Often people searching for candidates won’t bother reading your profile if a picture of you is missing.

The optimum picture is a close-up headshot of your smiling or laughing face. Your smiling or laughing face is inviting; it causes the readers mood to immediately be set to liking you.

#2 – Your Tag Line: This is the section directly under your name. Linked in gives you 120 characters including spaces, so make it effective. For example: “Senior Project Manager – Agile, System Analysis, Financial Analysis, Procurement, Data Systems, Risk Exposure, Six Sigma.” In a nutshell this tells the reader what you do and what your expertise is.

#3 – The Summary section: Here you have 2000 characters and spaces to tell people what your personal brand is plus other information. Use important key words in context here. Summarize your most significant accomplishments, the results of your work, your passions, etc., in this space. And unlike your resume, you can be more personal here. And you can use the word “I”.

Add your contact information here too. LinkedIn has a place for contact information but it buries it way down in your profile. Do your readers a favor and add your contact information to the summary so people can reach you quickly and easily.

#4 – Experience: This is perhaps the most important section for job seekers. In it you have the opportunity to say why you should be hired by writing specifically about your accomplishments and the results of your work. Accomplishments and results are the chief reasons you will get called for an interview. Keep them simple and easily read. Bullet statements are desirable.  So are numerical results.

#5 – Skills and Endorsements Section: You should list all your skills (core competencies) here using your industry’s key words as well as others that are important to you. People looking for candidates with your skills will conduct searches on key words. Feed their needs.

#6 – Education: Fill this out. It is perfectly acceptable to list a school you attended even if you do not have a degree from it.

#7 – Additional Information: This section enables you to talk about your personal interests and other details and provide your contact information.

Make sure your contact information is listed here as well as in the Summary if you are job hunting. If you make it difficult for people to contact you for a job interview, they will probably not try.

#8 – Recommendations: In this section you can request a recommendation from people and prioritize the recommendations. Very useful.

#9 - Certifications: Sometimes certifications are critically important job requirements. Don’t forget to list them.

#10 – Groups: It is highly advisable to join groups you are interested in and very beneficial to add or join in on discussions in those groups. That will help get you noticed.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Monday, July 13, 2015

Are you job searching and ready to make calls to the hiring manager?

When you are trying to make voice contact with a hiring manager, plenty of corporate offices, and their human resource departments in particular, behave guardedly against unknown callers.

When making calls, your attitude is important and your telephone personality must be engaging, upbeat and respectful of busy people’s time. Many job seekers get cut off because they sound underwhelming at best and unprofessional at worst on the phone.

When people answer, it is often best to ask them their name and make a nice comment before letting them know who you are. Showing them you are listening and interested in them will usually get you started correctly.

When you are a job seeker it is usually not wise to blurt that fact out. Doing so puts the recipient in a defensive mode almost immediately, and you need their help. It is far better to simply ask for their help: “I need your help about something”. Most people love to give help if they don’t feel pressured.

At this point it is important to have well-rehearsed scripts prepared. The scripts will be different for gate keepers than for the hiring manager. For gate keepers the object is to get forwarded to the hiring manager. For the hiring manager the ultimate object is to discover what problem needs to be solved so you can describe how you can help. That is the sales part of the conversation. The initial objective is to keep the hiring manager interested in talking to you long enough to get to the sales part.

A key throughout all conversations is to demonstrate good listening skills, display confidence, be upbeat, and sound nice to listen to. You will need to speak clearly, at an easy to hear pace, be crisp and to the point, and vary inflection in your voice rather than be monotone.

A hiring manager will know in the first few seconds whether you are a person of interest or not. They will recognize if you are listening, confident, and someone they might like on their team in the first few moments of speaking with you.

If you can’t get through to the boss, be sure to politely thank his/her administrative assistant for his/her time. This person will likely become one of your biggest allies in the company.

It is not easy to make contacts over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. It is not advisable to leave messages with people or voice recorders. They often do not get through or are deleted. And busy people often make promises and are often too busy to keep. So make sure to set expectations that you will call back in a particular timeframe if you don’t hear back from them. That will make the next call easier because they are expecting your call.

If you don’t achieve your objective after speaking to the hiring manager, you are not done! At the very least establish that person as part of your network. Find out who he/she knows that you should try to contact. Expand your network.

Karl has been reviewing resumes for people at no cost since 1999. He has been counseling job seekers since that time as well. If you would like his help, email him at

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Calling the hiring manager is an effective search tactic. But do these things before you call.

I have repeatedly said: Do not send your resume to a company until AFTER you have spoken to the hiring manager.

Picture yourself making that important call as you are attempting to make actual voice contact. You have run into gate keepers, successfully navigated past them and have reached the manager’s office. An administrative assistant answers. What should you say to get through to the decision maker?

The answer is script writing and practice, preferably with role playing.

Script Writing is a tool you need to master in order to break the barrier to winning an interview. You will need scripts for the receptionist or whoever first answers the phone, the gate keepers that follow after, the hiring manager’s administrative assistant and the hiring manager. As in physical fitness training, it’s the reps that make you better at it.

Scripts have to be written in your words and practiced until they have been internalized and flow off your lips without sounding ‘canned’. Practice your scripts out loud with someone who can play the recipients role. Role playing is the way to hone your skills and improve the messages and delivery. In role playing there is no negative outcome, nothing to lose, everything to gain. As in physical fitness, reps achieve goals.

I cannot emphasize the value of role playing enough!

A helpful aid in making improvements to your scripts is a voice recorder. You can use a smart phone with a recording feature or a video recorder or even a tape recorder. Recording video is better than just audio because it helps you prepare for interviews as well by highlighting mannerisms you may wish to change.

Some thoughts to consider for the scripts and the actual calls are:

Keep your scripts very brief and very pointed. The listener is busy, does not know you, realistically does not care about you, and will find a way to get rid of you if you ramble, build background to your message, etc. Delivery should be crisp, concise, and to the point.

Ask the recipient for their name and address them by it. People generally like that personal touch.

Speak clearly, confidently and at an easy rate of speech so you can be clearly understood.

Do not leave messages on a recorder. Messages will likely be ignored and deleted if they don’t know you. (Emails are likely to be deleted for the same reason.) If you don’t make voice contact with the hiring manager, try again at another time.

Listen to responses. Listening for objections is the only way to figure out how to overcome them. Listening for positive responses enables you to reinforce the call and ask more questions.

Ask for help. Most people like to help and are more likely willing to give help when asked.

Avoid blurting out that you are job searching. There are some exceptions to this advice, but most often it will put the recipient in a defensive mode, driving them to end the call.

Remember, other than the hiring manager, his/her administrative assistant is the most important connection you can have. Develop a positive rapport with this person.

You do not want to get transferred to HR unless you are seeking an HR position. HR is the junk yard dog of gate keeping, and generally proud of it.

If the connection is bad, stop and call back.

It is easy to recognize scripts that are being read, and even easier to get rid of the person reading them.

Karl has been coaching job seekers since 1999. He can be reached at