Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It is wise to follow the S.T.A.R. principle when writing resumes. But don’t write a book!



The S.T.A.R principle is a valuable tool to guide you through writing your resume. It organizes your thinking in terms of Situation, Task, Action and Result. Be careful not to get carried away though. Volume is the bane of resume writing. Under time pressure, readers will not read volumes of information about you. They are more likely to simply scrap your resume instead.

When writing about your work experience think in terms of all four elements of S.T.A.R., but focus your writing on Results and Action, in that order. The reader is looking for what things you have achieved (the results of your work) and how you achieved them. State a result first so the eye can quickly spot it. Then add a few words about how it was achieved.

The situation (problem worked on) is implied by the result. The task (the goals of the project) is implied by the action taken (how you achieved the result). It is not necessary to write out long descriptions about situation and task.

Since the goal of the resume is to generate an interview, it is important to create a decision to interview you. It follows that it is far better to trigger the reasons to interview you by generating interest through results and actions taken.

Word volume is the enemy of resume writing. Cut out words. Say things crisply and concisely. Write efficiently and you will help the reader to be efficient. Then you will be rewarded with interviews.

Karl has been providing resume critiques for job seekers at no cost since 1999.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Your personal brand is an important introductory part of your resume.

What you do and what your core competencies are makes a sufficiently complete brand statement for a resume.

Your brand should be presented crisply and concisely (no long paragraphs). What you do should be written as a strong marketing statement that excites the reader.

Your expertise should be presented in a neatly organized, tabular format. The idea is to make it easy for the reader to quickly decide to read further to find out about your specific accomplishments and work results presented in the experiences section.

Hiring managers will hire you if they believe you can help them achieve the results they are signed up to deliver. Find out what their key needs are and feed them!

Karl has been providing resume critiques for job seekers at no cost since 1999. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Your resume should be saved in at least three file formats.

Every job seeker needs at least three files of their resume, each for different purposes. One purpose is to be compatible with different hiring processes. Some processes are manual, some are fully automated and some are a mix of the two.

So that your resume submittal fits their hiring process, a company may ask you to submit it as either a *doc or *.txt format. These are the first two file types. You may be asked to attach your resume to an email, copy/paste it in the body of an email, or copy/paste it into their online application form. If ATS software is used in the front end of their hiring process the document needs to be ATS-ready.

The third file format you need is one I call the ‘FOR HANDOUT ONLY’ copy. That is the document you might wish to hand to a person you are meeting with. It is an attractive version you would be proud of and the recipient would appreciate as a well-prepared, professional looking document. 


The FHO file should never be used to apply electronically to a job online because to make it beautiful requires using word processing creation techniques that will usually cause ATS parsing issues! Since you will not be applying electronically with this file, it can be saved in any file format you find convenient to use.

Karl has been providing resume critiques for job seekers at no cost since 1999. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

If your resume is not ATS-ready, you would be well-advised to consider fixing it.

There are over 200 different ATS (Applicant Tracking System) software programs used by hiring companies today to assist in identifying qualified candidates. Actually ATS parsing software is designed to disqualify candidates; only the cream rises to the top. If a company you are applying to uses ATS software on the front end of their hiring process you may not get a response or you may even be disqualified regardless of your actual qualifications for the position. This is because one can unwittingly build word processing attributes into a resume that cause parsing issues.

If you are not sure what is wrong with your resume or how to fix it, find a resume writer who has competent understanding of what word processing attributes cause ATS parsing issues and knows how to eliminate them.


Karl has been providing resume critiques for job seekers at no cost since 1999.

Monday, May 11, 2015

There is an important link between Resumes, Cover Letters and job search Tactics.



Do you ever wonder why I keep emphasizing the importance of the search tactic of speaking to hiring managers BEFORE applying online or submitting your resume and cover letter by any other means?

The most important reason for speaking to the hiring manager is to find out what the key issue to be solved is and to be able to tell how you can fix it. The key problem is not always evident or emphasized in a job description. The astute job seeker will learn what the hiring managers’ pain is and describe how he/she can help resolve it with an example of his or her work before he/she ever has a formal interview.

Once this important conversation happened it is then possible to edit a resume and cover letter to be responsive to the pain BEFORE applying for the position. Not only that, the cover letter can be addressed directly to the hiring manager instead of to a mundane “dear sir”, “madam” or “to whom it may concern”, or for that matter to someone in HR who is not the hiring decision maker. People prefer being addressed by name. It is much more personal and meaningful than the sterile alternative.

By reaching out to the hiring manager you are also showing that you have done some research rather than just applying blindly online like everyone else. And it avoids falling into the “bottomless pit”.

Equally important, speaking to the hiring manager enables differentiation from the competition. You are not just “one of the herd”, another “me-too” candidate. Differentiation is one of the keys elements of good marketing.

Obviously there is work to be done to accomplish this tactic. First you need to find out who the hiring manager is. There are many ways to do this. For people searching for an HR position it is rather simple to find out who the HR manager is.

Then one needs to create and practice scripts for the gatekeepers that will be encountered on the way to the hiring manager. And a strong script is necessary when one finally reaches the hiring manager. Scripts need to be internalized, not memorized. This is the hardest part of preparation. You can’t just blurt out that you are looking for a job to gatekeepers or the hiring manager or you will be diverted to HR and be told to apply online like everyone else, the dead-end approach unless you are looking for an HR position.

Contacting the hiring manager, either by referral, warm- or cold-calling or even using email requires careful planning and practice. Aside from salespeople, people looking for an HR position and certain marketers, many people might find approaching the hiring manager difficult to do. But it is an art that can be learned and is well worth the effort. Job seekers owe it to themselves to find out how.


Karl has been providing resume critiques for job seekers at no cost since 1999. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Job Searching 101: Job seekers are salespeople by default, like it or not.

Every job seeker should understand they are a salesperson. For some this is difficult to accept because they are not salespeople by profession and do not want to be. The truth is even some sales professionals have difficulty selling themselves as opposed to a product or service.

Regardless, here are some things one must think about when searching for a new job.

Selling requires collateral marketing materials, the resume and cover letter in the case of job seekers. These collateral materials are advertisements.

Advertisements outline the benefits of buying a product or service. The objective is to entice people to buy. The resume and cover letter must do the same thing.

Job seekers offer their services to a hiring manager (the buyer). The hiring manager is the person who has a need to fix. The greatest search success is achieved by those who can pinpoint that key need and show how they can fix it. That is sales!

When creating your advertisements, think like the hiring manager, the customer for your services. He or she is the decision maker and the most important person to impress. Put yourself in his or her shoes and ask yourself this: If I were the hiring manager what would I want to see on my resume that would make me want to interview this person.

Hint: Primarily it is your accomplishments and the results of your work. Your responsibilities and the companies you may have worked for are interesting but are usually not likely to get you an interview by themselves.

So here is some advice: Your resume needs to sell the benefits of hiring you. It must be easy to read quickly. So cull out words and statements that don’t really address the requirements of the job. Particularly, leave out fluff, things that are not pertinent to the job. Once people begin to read fluff they tend to lose interest quickly which makes your sale much more difficult. In addition to things that are not germane to the advertised position, fluff includes those self-assessing adjectives that say how great you are. Instead of making those statements, use your accomplishments and results to demonstrate how good you are without saying so.

It is also important to use an easy to read font and type size. An excellent choice is 12 pt Arial, but no less than 11pt. Stay with one inch side margins and no more than 2 pages.

Do not write in paragraphs; they are not easy for the hiring manager to skim through.

Finally, make sure you will score high if your resume is subjected to ATS scrutiny. Get help if you do not know how to do that. It is not intuitively obvious what you might do unwittingly in creating your resume that will cause you to be rejected regardless of how well you fit the job requirements.


Karl has been providing resume critiques for job seekers at no cost since 1999. 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The anatomy of a recruiter. What you should know.



There are two kinds of recruiters: Internal recruiters who are paid employees of the hiring company and external recruiters who work for recruiting firms that serve hiring companies.

They have one thing in common: their mission is to identify candidates who have the potential to serve a hiring need. There are other similarities, but there are also big differences between them you should understand.

The internal recruiter:

Is a company employee who works in HR and is paid a steady salary. He or she has no “skin in the game”.

He/she is often pressed to find candidates for a variety of positions, may or may not understand the job he/she is hiring for and may not be able to understand how you fit the needs of the job.

He/she may or may not view their work as nothing more than “just a job”.

He/she may have a myriad of other responsibilities in addition to recruiting.

He/she is driven to identify good candidates but is not incented financially for doing so other than having a base salary and employment.

The external recruiter:

The external recruiter usually works on a commission-only basis, therefore has considerable incentive to make placements.

He/she is paid part of the commission the firm receives from the hiring company, typically 25 to 35 percent of the candidates’ first year salary.

Very often there is a considerable time delay, perhaps 3 months or more, before the recruiter receives payment for a placement. Therefore the pressure is constantly on to find new candidates and achieve ‘sendouts’ (face-face interviews) every day.

Like the internal recruiter, the external recruiter may not understand the job he/she is recruiting for, but usually works in only one industry or discipline and has a higher incentive to understand the job, at least the jargon of the job, in order to make placements.

There tends to be considerable turnover in recruiting firms. Those who fail to get their candidates hired often leave the recruiting firm for lack of income, or they get fired.

Recruiting firm management presses hard for recruiters to make many calls each day. They know their business is a “numbers game”. Unless you are a “purple squirrel” you may not get much attention.

Sometimes it is not obvious from a job ad which type of recruiter you may be dealing with. When you get a call from a recruiter, make sure you understand which type is calling 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 kl@hoochresumes.com

Monday, April 27, 2015

A recipe for failure to land a new job may be caused from the lack of only one ingredient.

Do you fall short in any of these things?

Failure to get professional help early. Delay only extends the time to find a new job which creates a larger than necessary current gap in the resume.

Failure to network properly or at all. It really isn’t just who you know but who needs to know you.

Failure to have an ATS-ready resume. This is the largest cause of landing in the bottomless “black hole”.

Failure to find out who the hiring manager is and speak directly with him or her. If you are not seeking an HR position you do not want to apply to HR before speaking to the hiring manager. Many job ads are poorly written. Too often HR does not understand the hiring managers’ real needs, and that is what you need to know first and foremost. After all, if you don’t know what the key problem is, how can you demonstrate you are the best candidate to fix it?

Failure to edit your resume to be responsive to the hiring managers’ needs. Specifically, failure to demonstrate the results of your work. The resume is about you, but it needs to be edited for each and every job you apply to in order to show how you can help resolve the hiring managers’ pain.

Failure to learn good interview technique. Do you answer questions crisply and concisely? Do you listen carefully? Have you prepared for the interview? Do you talk too much?

Failure to learn and understand the art of selling. Your background may not be in sales, but you must learn how to sell the benefits of hiring you.

Wasting time pursuing a flawed job search strategy and tactics. Measure your search results. Make sure your plan is effective and be willing to modify it if it is not.

Make sure you are preparing yourself to conduct a search that does not fall short in any of the above.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What a personal brand Is, and what it Is Not.

When it comes to understanding what a personal brand is it is easiest to understand what a product brand is first. A product brand might be “Ford Mustang”, “Kleenex”, “Kraft Cheese”, etc. It is a short statement. It might include a brief modifier to attract attention such as, “A Ford Mustang that will do zero to 60 MPH in six seconds”.

Your personal brand is similar. It simply answers the question, “What do you do?” in a brief few words. It is not a long, detailed description about how great you are.

You might be “A School Teacher who has improved the math test scores for fourth graders from 62% to 88% over a five year period”, or “A Manufacturing Process Engineer who has saved companies millions of dollars in production costs”.

It is important to avoid the temptation to embellish the statement with lots of extraneous information, particularly self-assessing adjectives. But it is very worthwhile to follow the statement with a tabulated list of your core competencies, perhaps 3 columns by 3 rows, written in short phrases. These identify the primary skills you have that support the personal brand statement.

These two elements will give the reader an easily read picture of what you do in a manner that encourages them to read further. Your name, contact information, personal brand statement and core competencies should fit in the first one-third of the page so that the reader can quickly get to the results you have achieved in your most recent job experience on the first page of your resume.

If you can achieve this you will get more interviews.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com

Monday, April 20, 2015

I think Ulrich Schild said it best: “It’s not who you know, but who wants to know you.”

So you are searching for a new position. Who might want to know you? I suggest certain people in your network may.

Your personal network is critical to a job search, that is, if it contains people who can help you.

If it is just a lot of people you don’t know who you have connected with on LinkedIn, you may be wasting your time connecting unless they are employed by a company you are interested in pursuing or they know someone in the company or they are recruiting people for a position.

Employers often have ERP’s, Employee Referral Programs, in which current employees may receive a bonus if the company hires someone they refer (like you for instance). Connecting and establishing rapport with a current employee is an excellent way to get hired. In fact it is one of the best. So check out company websites. Sometimes they will say they have an ERP. And certainly ask a new connection the same question.

But it is difficult to get a referral from a connection who doesn’t know you if they have nothing to gain from it. If you are a strong candidate the referring employee is likely to want to know you. The hiring manager will too.


And if you get an interview from a referring employee, make sure HR knows who referred you so that person gets the credit …. And the bonus!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Is your resume long and verbose? You probably talk too much as well.


More than any other factor there is one thing will cause people to reject your application or fail to hire you, even if you satisfy the basic job requirements:

You can’t express yourself verbally or in written form crisply and succinctly.

This factor is the single biggest reason people don’t get interviews or they get rejected after interviewing.

If you write too much your resume won’t get read.

If you talk too much you will monopolize the conversation and interviewers will find ways to get rid of you.

Verbosity is likely to be interpreted as unable to work efficiently, spending too much time getting to the conclusion.

A simple solution is to record your own conversations with people. Listen to the play-backs and see what you are doing. How long did it take you to arrive at the point of the answer? How could you have gotten there quickly?

When you write, think about the end point you are trying to reach. Start eliminating words. Can you get to the point in one brief sentence?


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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It’s no wonder that many candidates drop out of the online application process before completing it.

Listen up employers: 

By asking candidates to fill out an online questionnaire that requires repeating information already on their resume and by asking them for their salary requirements before they have even had an opportunity to talk to you, you are driving away many of your best candidates in an attempt at being efficient.

If you ever find yourself wondering why your job advertising is not delivering results, or why you don’t seem to get enough good people to interview, consider this: It is often because you made a bad first impression online.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Do you plan to use a recruiter in your job search? Here are some rules of engagement:



Rule #1 – Never pay a recruiter for help! Recruiters are paid handsomely by their client companies. And be careful. There are scam artists who may promise you employment within a short time period for a fee.

Rule #2 – Never assume a recruiter works for you! Again, recruiters are paid by their client companies. You are a meal ticket, not a client. And if you are not a “purple squirrel”, a clearly unique, superior candidate in the eyes of the recruiter, you may get lots of promises but little or no real help.

Rule #3 – Figure out if your recruiter is capable of helping you before you align yourself with him or her! This may be an obvious thing to do, but it is easier said than done. Ask probing questions. The industry has some great recruiters, lots of turnover, lots of rookies, its’ share of  “hard-sell salesmen”, some sharks and a few crooks.

Rule #4 – Make sure the recruiter does not change anything in your resume unless you review and approve it before it is submitted to their client! Find out why the recruiter wants to make changes. Make sure any changes represent you accurately, honestly, are grammatically correct and have no spelling errors. Many recruiters are not good resume writers.

Rule #5 - If the recruiter appears annoyed by your questions or unable to answer them thoroughly and confidently, do not walk away, RUN AWAY!


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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Why you should avoid using resume templates.


Generally they are not ATS-ready! And if not, they may not be parsed correctly … or at all.

It is true that resume templates are often attractive and easy to use. That’s probably why you would pick one to use. However, that attractive format may be the very reason you don’t get many responses because it may not be ATS-ready. In fact most are not. Resume templates usually include features that cause incorrect text parsing. It may be the reason you get rejections. Parsing software does not care about beauty. It does not have eyes. It cannot see. It can only the ‘read’ the binary code that represents your resume on a server.

If a company does not use ATS software to make their hiring process more efficient and less costly, then using a template may not be a problem.

But the question is how do you know for sure whether they do or do not? It’s also not a problem if you physically hand your beautiful resume to a human who can see. But if ATS is used in the hiring process you may run into a pile of trouble.

Some templates are free, and that certainly is appealing.

 But you may just get what you paid for. Think about it.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Beware of claims about “Secret Sentences” you can use that will land you a job!


We see this kind of hoax posted frequently on LinkedIn, posted by people who make all kinds of claims about sharing with you a certain sentence you can use that will win you a job – in exchange for your money! The hype usually includes “comments from satisfied customers” who have been hired by using this “secret sentence”. You can guess who wrote the comments.

“Secret Sentences” are pure marketing hype worded to entice you to spend your money. After all, who wouldn’t want to know what secret sentence would get you hired. If it really were true everyone would use it and there would be no secrecy about it; and every hiring manager would recognize it in a heartbeat. There are very few hiring managers in this world who can be swayed by some “secret sentence” to hire you.

Hiring managers want to know who you are, how to reach you, what you have done, what you have achieved (the results of your work), and what your credentials are. From this information they will decide to interview you or not.

Based on interviews hiring managers will decide if they like you, if they think you can do the job and if they believe you will fit into their team. No “secret sentences” will ever come into play, so don’t be duped into believing that. Hoaxes are just that, hoaxes.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are you undermining your job search by doing these things?


You will stunt the progress of your job search if you do any of the following:
Don’t bother to write a cover letter.
Create a single resume that you believe will fit all jobs.
Riddle your resume or cover letter with spelling or grammar errors.
Avoid networking.
Broadcast your resume far and wide.
Avoid participating in LinkedIn groups and discussions.
Make sure your LinkedIn profile is incomplete, forget about having a good, smiling headshot of yourself (only you) and make it difficult for people to contact you.
And if you win an interview anyway, show up late, chew gum, forget about good hygiene, arrive reeking of tobacco or alcohol, don’t make good eye contact, provide long-winded answers to questions, bad mouth a previous boss or company and make some bigoted remark.
Be creative and think of many other things you can do to extend your job search. You can do it.
Of course if you really do want a new job you could choose to do the opposite of all of these things.
Best wishes for an effective search!

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Your LinkedIn profile picture really IS worth a thousand words!


It is the first thing people look at when they open your LinkedIn profile. They don’t even look at your name first. Even your closest friends look at your picture first.

It has been said repeatedly that if it is missing, a recruiter won’t bother reading your profile. If that happens, you lose.

The optimum picture is a headshot of a smiling face of only you. Not an object, a group, your dog, cat, child, spouse, motorcycle, boat, or the biggest fish you caught,  just you.

People like people that are fun to be around. Your smiling or laughing face is inviting; it sets the readers mood immediately. People tend to like you before they read a single word.

Pick a good background that doesn’t detract from you.

Use an editor like Google Picassa (free) or some other software to crop, brighten, color warmth, etc.


Whatever you do with your profile, make sure you include a picture that is inviting; don’t be a ‘nobody’. 


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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Discrimination and the job interview: How to handle it and win the job.


We all know that how you conduct yourself in interviews is critical to winning the job.

Liz Ryan has written an article that appeared in Forbes magazine over a year ago that points out how to win the job. The article was written about age discrimination. But there are many other forms of discrimination that come into play in interviews too. Besides age, discrimination often involves race, ethnicity, accent, looks, weight, disability and more. If you feel you are being discriminated against by interviewers you should read the article by Liz Ryan which is listed it the end.

Let’s face it, discrimination of all kinds is alive and well. But when interviewing, more important than concern about discrimination is how you rise above it and win the job. And the solution is simpler than you might think!

In an interview, a key to winning the job is in how well you draw out the issues and problems the hiring manager needs resolved and how well you provide concrete examples of how you have resolved the issues in the past.  It is important to rise above possible discrimination, if you feel it exists, and refocus your feelings about it into showing how you solve the real specific problems that exist.

In the article Liz concludes “Job-seekers who use their interview air time to ask questions about the processes, the obstacles in a hiring manager’s way and the thorny problems they’ve seen before in similar situations vault themselves to a higher level of conversation than the ones who don’t.”

In other words don’t just sit there answering the interviewer questions like everyone else, focus your valuable interview time on uncovering the hiring managers’ hot problems and showing how one has handled similar issues. Engage the hiring manager in two-way conversation by asking probing questions, digging deeper, showing real interest and responding with examples of how you have handled similar problems in the past. Showing the hiring manager that you can help solve his/her problems will catapult you above other candidates.

Read the article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2014/01/31/the-ugly-truth-about-age-discrimination/

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What can go wrong with your search? Could you be doing things that lead to a long period of unemployment?

If you pound the job boards and apply, apply, apply, do you feel you are doing all you can do?
If you avoid networking do you think anyone will be able to help you?
If your resume and/or LinkedIn profile is a detailed biography of your work, do you think anyone will want to read it?
If you blast your resume far and wide or hire a company to do this for you, do you think spewing volume forth will help?
If you connect with a recruiter do you think they are going to work hard for you?
If you fail to use LinkedIn as the excellent inbound marketing tool it is, do you think anyone will find you?
Most job hunters are anxious to land their next opportunities. But in case you happen to be one of those who fit any of the above situations you are probably looking straight into the face of an extended search.


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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cover letters, to write one or not write one, that is NOT the question for job seekers.


It’s the astute thing to do.

No doubt there are hiring managers and recruiters who don’t read cover letters. Likewise there are many, including some resume writers, who say “don’t bother, they don’t get read”.

However, many hiring managers do read them. Many will disregard a candidate who doesn’t write one. How does one know who will read one and who will not, who wants one and who doesn’t. Well, it simply doesn’t matter.

Unless one is told by the hiring manager, “don’t bother”, the safe thing to do is to write one. A recruiter may not know the hiring managers’ position on cover letters. Furthermore it does not matter what the recruiter thinks. He/she is not the hiring decision maker one needs to impress.

Write your cover letter in a way that is responsive to the hiring managers needs. Be careful not to write a letter full of mundane things like many job searchers write. That kind of letter will work against you if it gets read.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.


Monday, March 9, 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 optimism; they will be looking for it. Given two equally qualified candidates, the pessimist will be the loser! Given two equal employees, the pessimist will be the first to get laid off.
Personality may be difficult to change but pessimists are well-advised to work very hard at it.
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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Resume writing vis-a-vis ATS parsing software.

There are over 40 attributes that you can unwittingly build into a document that can cause ATS parsing problems. When creating a resume it is sheer folly to ignore this fact; parsing issues may cause rejection, non-response, or dropping a candidate into the ‘black hole’. Making sure a resume is ATS-ready is as important as making sure the written text is responsive to the hiring managers’ needs. 

There are over 200 ATS software packages on the market and probably that many variants of parsing software the ATS uses to filter out candidates. The software is very useful for streamlining hiring processes and keeping hiring costs in check, but they are the bane of existence to job seekers because the parsing part of the software is unable to ‘read’ anything but pure text. If attributes get in the way, the text may not get ‘read’ and all the hard work the job seeker did may be lost.

It takes in-depth knowledge of ATS parsing to assure a resume will not be rejected by ATS because of document attributes. Most people do not understand which attributes to avoid. If you are not sure how to create an ATS-ready resume, get help from a someone who does. It will assure you your resume will get read by the parser. If you are rejected it will be for other reasons. Unfortunately many professional resume writers don’t understand the attribute issue.

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Interviewers don’t measure you on what your responsibilities were. They measure you on the results of your work!

Interviewers don’t measure you just on what your responsibilities were. They measure you on the results of your work!

If you want to be competitive and win interviews it is up to you to give hiring managers good reason to set up an interview with you. The most important reasons are the accomplishments and results of your work.

Assuming you satisfy the critical requirements, your job is to create a resume that focuses on your accomplishments and results, particularly those that are relevant to the described position.

Your past duties, companies worked for, positions held are important pieces of information, certainly things the hiring manager needs to know in making a decision to call you for an interview. But unless you show how well you performed your duties the hiring manager has no idea whether you are a good possible candidate or not and it is unlikely you will get the interview.

Feed the hiring managers needs! 

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What I dislike the most about the search tactic of applying for jobs on job boards.


It Isn’t Effective – It lulls you into a false sense that you are making progress and using your time wisely.

It Doesn’t Differentiate You from the Stampeding Herd– You demonstrate you only do what others do. Differentiation is what creates competitive advantage.

It Doesn’t Help You Hone Other Search Skills like Other Tactics Do – For instance, skills learned in making direct voice contact with hiring managers have huge benefits for interviewing. You will learn to be quick on your feet, maintain composure, and always be professional. Nothing sharpens communication skills like making the tough calls! It also makes writing your cover letter a walk in the park.

It Doesn’t Enable You to Revise Your Resume and Cover Letter for the Real Needs of the Hiring Manager – When you learn what the hiring manager’s critical needs you are able to edit your resume to be responsive to the real hot buttons. When you tell the hiring manager how you can resolve his/her needs you generate interest.

It Doesn’t Help to Identify Hidden Jobs – There are jobs out there that people don’t know about. Generating a hiring manager’s interest in you can expose them. You will never learn about them if you don’t talk to the right people.

It Doesn’t Build Your Network – Calling hiring managers generates valuable additions to your network. And it creates follow-up opportunities. Sometimes now is not the time, but sometime in the future will be.


It doesn’t work … usually!


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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Applying on job boards doesn’t work … usually!

Sure applying to jobs on job boards works occasionally. The important knowledge one must have to make it work are:
What the hiring managers’ critical needs are,
A realistic attitude towards about how well one meets the requirements stated in the job description,
And a resume that is responsive to the hiring managers’ real needs.
Assuring that the resume is responsive to the real needs of the hiring manager is what will generate interviews.

Strategy and Tactics:

The best job search strategy is to use job boards only for research to identify target companies where jobs exist, to identify industry trends, to identify key people. but not to apply for jobs. There are far better search tactics to use than to follow the stampeding herd that applies on job boards.

The best search tactic is to speak directly to the hiring manager BEFORE submitting a resume. This is the only way to determine precisely what the highest priority problem to be solved is. And it enables one to communicate to the hiring manager how one has solved that kind of problem in the past. It is this candidate-manager dialogue that generates the greatest interest in inviting one in for an interview.

Speaking directly to the hiring manager accomplishes two important goals. It establishes rapport and it results in obtaining information necessary for optimizing the resume to the job before sending it directly to the hiring manager. What better way is there to differentiate one’s self from the herd? It simply cannot happen on a job board!

You might ask how to find out who the hiring manager is and make contact. The answer is simple.
Network!
Data mine!
Identify the hiring manager through family, friends, acquaintances, current company employees, LinkedIn, etc. And use information readily available on the web, like LinkedIn, SEC reports, Google searches, etc., to identify names. Then prepare and practice scripts that will get you past the gate keepers to make Voice Contact with the hiring manager (by the way, never leave messages).

Using recruiting firms is another effective tactic given two conditions:
First, the individual recruiter one is working with should have direct access to the hiring manager, not just HR.
Second, the candidate needs to be a strong candidate, not just a ‘possible meal ticket’ in the eyes of the recruiter. Otherwise the recruiter may put greater effort into better candidates who are more likely to result in a placement.
One problem with using recruiters is, like applying on line, the resume supplied to the recruiter is usually not optimized for the specific opening the recruiter may be representing.

Applying on job boards is a last resort tactic after other tactics cannot be used or have failed. 

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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why You Can’t Get A Job … Recruiting Explained By the Numbers - Take 2


Susan P. Joyce has written a very informative article on Employee Referral Programs (ERP) that has motivated me to revisit my advice on making direct live contact with hiring managers BEFORE applying for a job. The link to her article is at the end. 

As I have often said I believe speaking to the hiring manager and learning about what the hiring managers’ needs are BEFORE submitting a resume is the most effective way of achieving competitive advantage and getting hired. I have also said getting referred by a current employee is highly effective. 

Susan points out the value of being referred by a company employee and the need to carefully follow ERP procedures. This may mean submitting a resume to the hiring manager via the referring employee before actually making voice contact. If that is the case, one loses the advantage of speaking to the hiring manager and editing the resume and cover letter to address the hiring managers’ hot buttons first. 

Therefore determining whether a company uses ERP becomes very important. As Susan states, timing is also very important. One should find out if an ERP program is in place and how it works at the company BEFORE applying. So here are my revised recommendations for finding out who the hiring manager is and making direct voice contact: 

1.  Your personal network should always be the first priority. Network with people you know, family, friends and any others who may know the hiring manager so you can make direct voice contact.

2.  If a company you are interested in does not use ERP, get the hiring manager’s name from a current employee and make direct voice contact to discover what the critical needs of the position are discuss how you can resolve those needs.

3.  If a company you are interested in does use ERP, find out the details of their program and follow the ERP protocols as Susan recommends. Follow up with a call to make direct voice contact with the hiring manager once you know the referring employee will get credit for introducing you to the company. You still need the opportunity to discuss key problems and how you can resolve them with the hiring manager to achieve competitive advantage.

4.  If you are unable to get a current employee referral, find the name of the hiring manager by any means (I have suggested many ways in the past) and make direct contact.

5.  The last resort is to find the name of the ranking HR manager on site and make direct voice contact with that person. While HR is there to help, most likely they will act as a gate-keeper between you and the hiring manager and will not let you contact that person. They are well-known as the junk yard dogs of gate-keeping (sorry HR folks). 

Notice I have said “make direct voice contact” throughout these suggested priorities. Do not leave voice messages or emails. They are often (usually) deleted if the person doesn’t know you. 

This is the link to Susan Joyce’s article:



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 kl@hoochresumes.com. And visit his website, http://ow.ly/dgg2J.