Sunday, March 19, 2017

Rule #1 for Resume Writing

Actually there is only one rule. All others are guidelines to be interpreted by the writer.

Rule #1: A winning resume is about the hiring managers needs, not the candidates' wants. A winning resume describes a candidate in terms of what the hiring manager needs.

That's how to create a winning resume, one that generates interviews.

Some facts and generalities about resume writing:

Fact: Resumes are not biographies, they are advertisements. Buyers want to get the message quickly, succinctly, and concisely. They are easily bored and prone to trashing massive, densely packaged ads.
Fact: Keywords that are relevant to the hiring managers' needs will get candidates discovered. Fluff will not.
In General: Hiring managers and the recruiters who support them don't read resumes, they glance at them; their eyes quickly scan them. Well-written resumes generate interest quickly. If people are not excited about what they see within 5 seconds or so, the resume is toast.
Fact: A strongly stated personal brand statement with a great marketing 'hook' will excite people to read further.
In General: Quantified results statements generate the most interviews. Responsibility statements without results, not so much.
Fact: Neat organization, with like things neatly aligned and decent borders, font and font size, result in a professional appearance. Fanciness does not, particularly when excessive.
Fact: Poor spelling or grammar is an indicator of carelessness at best and ignorance at worst; and they stand out like a sore thumb.
Fact: ATS may gag on over 40 resume attribute mistakes. ATS is not kind to candidates or writers. Writers must know how to appease the beast.
If you enjoyed this post, please click share it and leave a “comment” letting me know your thoughts. Thank you!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

How to Navigate the New Look of LinkedIn Simplified

Simplified may be an overstatement but don't get frustrated. Anything new requires use to master; there's a learning curve. This document will help you find your way around the new profile look. The intent is to help you learn "how to" use it. It's not intended as an opinion of whether the new version is better than the old.

The following are the basics of navigation as viewed on a computer. Navigating LinkedIn on a mobile device is not covered.

To view your profile, first open LinkedIn and locate your picture on the upper right hand part of the task bar. Click on your picture or the drop down arrow and select "View profile".

The page you open is divided into two side-by-side areas. The left hand area is the Profile. The right hand side contains the Tools (that's my term for it) which are used to create new sections and perform other useful functions. 

When you first join LinkedIn, you are asked a series of questions that begin to fill out sections of your profile. Any questions you skip don't fill sections, so incompletely filled sections appear in Tools so that you can edit them later if you wish. Whatever you enter in Tools will populate your profile. Once a section is listed in the profile, further editing can be accomplished by clicking with the pencil icon on that section of your Profile.

About The Tools area:
Information that can be accessed in Tools appears differently depending upon whether the page is being viewed by you or by a visitor. It is also different if the visitor is a 1st degree connection or a 2nd or 3rd degree connection. When viewing your own LinkedIn home page you have the option to edit your profile using the Tools side of the page.

On the other hand, when a visitor views your page the editing tools are replaced by very limited details about you. For instance, when viewed by a 1st degree connection visitor, your contact information is visible. But if the visitor is not a 1st degree connection, the contact information is hidden. 

Editing information in Tools is accomplished by clicking on down arrows or small question marks. There are many primary and secondary options for editing sections of the profile so you should click on all of them.
The Tools are organized as follows: "Change your picture" is first
"Add a new profile" follows. Clicking the down arrow exposes 3 sub-options: "Background", "Skills", and "Experience".
*       Clicking the Background or Skills down arrows exposes further sub-options: "Work experience", "Education", and "Volunteer experience".  Clicking the plus signs exposes forms to fill out for each.
*       Under Skills you have the ability to add skills you would like to be recommended for.
*       Clicking on Experience exposes:  "Publications", "Certifications", "Courses", "Projects", "Honors and Awards", "Patents", "Test Scores", "Languages", and "Organizations". Visit each section.

Below the "Add a new profile" section you will find two useful options "Edit your public profile" and "Add profile in another language". It is advisable to click on "Edit your public profile" to view your profile as visitors see it. If you wish to enable reading your profile in another language you can do so in "Add profile in another language".

Next, those proverbial advertisements. That's not different from the old version. But don't stop navigating at the advertisement. After it you will find "See connections" and "Contact and Personal Info". Be sure to visit the latter and make certain it is correct. If you want to be found and receive calls or email, this information is essential.

About the Profile side of the page:
Your profile begins with your picture as before although now it is circular and centered at the top. To the right of your picture are a pencil icon and 3 dots. 

When you click on the pencil icon of any section you can make changes. Depending upon how you set up your privacy settings your changes will be broadcast to your connections or not. Privacy and other settings are accessible from the dropdown icon under your picture on the home page.

The three dots:
On your own profile clicking the three dots gives you options to "Share profile" or "Save to PDF". It's wise to save to PDF whenever you update your profile. If anything goes awry you will have a copy to make recovery easier.

The following table indicates what options are available when you view your own profile or the profiles of others:
Your Profile
1st Degree Connection
2nd or 3rd
Share Profile
Save to PDF
Remove Connection

Request  a recommendation

The populated sections of your profile will appear in the following order:
  • Header with your picture, tag line and summary
  • Who's viewed your profile
  • Strengthen your profile
  • Your articles and activity
  • Experience
  • Education
  • Featured Skills and Endorsements
  • Recommendations
  • Following (Influencers, Companies, Groups, Schools)

How to work around old LinkedIn features that no longer available:

Professional Interests: There is no section to enter Professional Interests into. The work around is to go to "Add volunteer experience" in the tools area. You do not actually have to be a volunteer to fill out the form.

Advanced Search: The Advanced search button is gone. However, you can still conduct searches and filtering is extensive. Simply type in key words into the "Search" space at the top left area of your Profile. Boolean algebra can be used as well. You can search for People, Jobs, Companies, Groups, and Posts. Once you enter some keywords a screen will open with further filtering options: Top, People, Jobs, Posts, Companies, Groups, and Schools.

For example, enter [plant manager] without the brackets. You are brought to a page listing plant managers. If you select  People, Jobs, or Posts, you will be presented with a large list of filters on the right hand side of the page which can be applied to refine the search. At the bottom you can create a search alert.

How to join a LinkedIn group: Just to the right of your small picture on the main screen Groups is a 3x3 dot icon with the word "Work" under it.  Clicking on the down arrow opens a "view more" list of options. Click on "Groups", then click on "Discover". Alternatively you can use the search space at the top left area of your Profile.

Posting on Group Discussions:
To post an article to a group:
Sign in to LinkedIn if you are not already signed in.
Click on the "Me" down arrow under your picture.
Click on "View profile".
Scroll down your profile until you reach the "Following" section (the last section of your profile).
Click on any group.
Click on the Gear located in the reddish-brown area next to "Search" and select the group you wish to post to.

There are probably many more 'tricks' that can be used to navigate. If you know of any please post them here.

Thanks for visiting! Visit too. Send your resume to for a FREE analysis Today!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Looking for a job? Don't apply online!

If you enjoy being frustrated, you should spend all your job search time online, applying to every job you are remotely qualified for.

If on the other hand you want to get hired, do what successful job seekers do.

Successful job seekers realize that getting a new job today is different than years ago. The web makes it simple to apply online, so everyone's doing it, often without considering the requirements for the positions they are applying to. That floods the job market causing the supply of applicants to exceed the demand for them. If you fit this behavior model perhaps it's time to try a new approach.

Getting a job by doing what everyone else is doing is rarely effective. In fact there is about 1 chance in a thousand of getting a job by applying to jobs online . The most successful job seekers I know practice a more productive search method.

They speak to hiring managers 
before they apply.

They reach out and speak directly to hiring managers, informally. They establish rapport, ask questions about what problems need solving, and they generate interest by describing how they have resolved similar problems. They probe for the hiring manager's requirements. They finesse conversations toward setting up a formal interview. It's a form of networking; they haven't had a formal interview yet.

After their conversation  they are able to edit their resume and cover letter to focus on their discussion and needs that may not be adequately described in the job description. And because they have established rapport and gained the hiring manager's interest they are able to applying  on the company website, and they have the advantage of having the decision maker asking HR to set up a formal interview.

Really successful job seekers reach out and expand their network by seeking every opportunity to schmooze with anyone who may know hiring managers. For instance, they often find that connecting with employees in their target companies is a very effective way of getting referred to the hiring manager. Companies often have an employee referral program that pay a cash bonus to the referring employee if the candidate is hired.

But in case you're not convinced, there are other reasons why applying online is not effective. In the first place it doesn't differentiate a person from their competition. In any competition, differentiation is the key to winning! Differentiation is achieved by doing things others are not doing. Those who feel like they are making progress by camping on job boards are simply becoming just another "one of the herd".

The takeaway is this: Use the web and job boards to study and target companies. Use your time to identify hiring managers. Use it to learn how to write and internalize scripts that will get you past the hiring managers' gatekeepers. Use it to practice how to approach hiring managers when you first speak to them. You may not be a well-versed salesperson, but your job right now is selling. Learn techniques that win jobs.

If you enjoyed this post, please click share it and leave a “comment” letting me know your thoughts. Thank you!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Why I Love Cold-Calling Hiring Managers

Many successful job hunters talk to hiring managers informally to find out what problems need fixing before they apply for a job. They establish rapport sell their experience and skills at solving those problems. Cold-calling is a good way of making direct voice contact to have the discussion. It isn't the only way, but it is a proven, effective way.

Certainly some people have greater knowledge of how to engage in cold-calling than others. But many people who were never trained in the skills, like me, have learned through good coaching and lots of practice. Cold-calling requires script preparation, skills development, the right mental attitude, and the commitment to practice and try. It is one of the most effective ways of getting hired.

What I like about cold-calling is this:

It Works – It establishes rapport with the hiring manager. It enables identification of the hiring manager's specific needs and provides an opportunity to showcase how you can help. It generates interest.

It Enables You to Edit Your Resume and Cover Letter – Armed with the reasons why the job is open enables editing your resume to be responsive to the hiring managers' hot buttons. It also makes writing your cover letter a 'walk in the park'.

It Gives You the Competitive Advantage – Cold-calling demonstrates you are willing to do what others won’t. You are different from the others. Differentiation creates competitive advantage.

It Trains You for Interviewing – Skills learned in cold-calling have huge benefits for interviewing. You learn to be quick on your feet and maintain composure under stress. Nothing sharpens communication skills like cold calling.

It Builds Confidence – Rejection to cold-calling is not uncommon and should not be taken personally. What you learn from rejection is how to become better at cold-calling and interviewing.

It Builds Your Network – Networking is critically important. I believe 'Who you Know' may not be as important as 'Who needs to know You'. Everyone you speak to is an addition to your network. They may know of other positions you might fit.

It Identifies Hidden Jobs – Cold-calling is useful for identifying unadvertised opportunities. Some people identify a company they would like to work for without knowing if a job exists. They use cold-calling to identify needs and generate a hiring manager’s interest. Sometimes that exposes hidden jobs.

It Enables Follow-Up Opportunities – Cold calling creates follow-up opportunities. Sometimes now is not the right time, but sometime in the future may be.

It Trains You for Warm-Calling - Warm-calling to hiring managers you were referred to uses the same skills as cold-calling. 

The takeaway is this: If your job search is not making progress and you are looking for alternatives ways of searching, seriously consider cold-calling. Be willing to learn and practice alternatives to camping on job boards. Think of cold-calling as an informal way of speaking with a hiring manager, not as a quasi-interview. Don't think of cold-calling as a hard sell technique. Hard selling is likely to create a negative reaction. Making calls in an informal manner without pressuring the hiring manager leads to success. Handled correctly even the most adamantly opposed managers can be won over. Learning and practicing are key.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it and leave a “comment” letting me know your thoughts. Thank you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tips to Help You Sell Yourself for a New Job - Plus some Closes you can use

Now that you are searching for a new position, how are your selling skills? Armed with the best resume ever written, you still have to sell the benefits of hiring you to a hiring manager. Selling skills are a ‘must have’ or ‘must develop’ part of landing a new job.

Good salespeople know how to prospect, make contact, establish rapport, discover need, present, listen, overcome objections, negotiate, and close. That's a lot to ask of job seekers that are not trained salespeople.  But these sales skills are incredibly important in job searching. Most people can do a reasonable job of discovering opportunities, but then fail to get the interview and be hired. Frequently, the problem they have is developing the skills and confidence necessary to close the deal.

These are the tips:

1 - Get sales training from a competent job search coach if you need help. Good salespeople will tell you unless you are dealing with the decision-maker, you are wasting your time. The hiring manager is the decision-maker so prospect for hiring managers. Make direct voice contact with the hiring manager to generate interest. Voice contact requires practicing scripts for navigating through gatekeepers and for making a good introduction. Tip: Avoid saying anything about job searching.

2 - Learn how to prospect. Learn how and where to identify hiring managers. One great way is to network with current employees and get referred.

3 - Establish rapport by asking questions. Focus on the other person whether you are networking, having an informal meeting or discussion, or interviewing. Practice good listening skills. Avoid monopolizing conversations. Watch out for your body language, even on the phone. Habits carry over to interviews.

4 - Overcome objections. Objections are opportunities to sell. If an objection is not responded to it becomes the final disqualifier. Don’t lose the opportunity to respond. Be quick on your feet and ask a clarifying question to get at the heart of the matter to respond to.

5 - Close the Hiring Manager; Get an offer. If you wait for the hiring manager to close you, it may not happen.

The most useful closes for job seekers to master are these:

Ask For The Job!!  At the last interview with the hiring decision maker and if you have decided you want the job, lean forward, look the hiring manager directly in the eye and ask for the job. Never let the hiring manager wonder if you are sincerely interested in taking the job!

Set Expectations!  At the end of any conversation get into the habit of establishing 'who is going to do what and when', including the fact that you will follow up at a certain time, so that your follow up is expected. When you make the follow up call and the gatekeeper asks if your call is expected, the answer is one word, "Yes".

The conditional close: The Conditional Close builds on social agreementIt states "If I do this will you do that?" It pushes the dialogue towards the final close and is very effective in salary negotiations. For instance, “If I accept that offer will you add more vacation time".

The conditional close should always be phrased in the form of "If I, will you'', not 'Will you, if I". It works because our brains work very quickly. Starting with 'If I.' causes psychological closure on what you are offering. It draws the other person closer to the final close. But starting with 'will you' causes the other person to begin thinking immediately about objections which drives the conversation away from closure.

The Rational Close: This close uses logic and reason to persuade. For example, We've gone through all your needs and the benefits I bring to help you resolve your needs, correct? [pause] Is there anything else that would stop you from wanting to offer me the position? [Pause]  No? Good! When should I expect to receive the offer?

The Assumptive Close: The Assumptive Close works on the assumption principle where acting confidently as if something is true makes it difficult for the other person to deny it. In this close one acts as if the hiring manager has already made the decision to make an offer. For instance, if at the end of the last interview you’ve established there will be no further interviews, the most important thing to say is “I like what I’ve heard and I want the job. When can I start?” This does two things, it lets the decision-maker know you want an offer and the question forces a response.

The Yes-Set close: This close gets the buyer saying 'yes' to a series of questions. It also ferrets out further objections to respond to. A series of questions are asked that are easily answered with "Yes" leading toward the Final Close:
Does that answer your question adequately?
Do you feel positive about my answer?
Does that address the problem for you?
Can you see how well I fit in your organization?
Are you feeling positive about hiring me?

The Take-Away close: This powerful close is very effective in salary negotiations or when you are very certain the hiring manager is strongly interested but is undecided. You could say, "It appears that you don't want to hire me. Perhaps we should stop discussing the position." It is a bluff, so stop talking and listen. If you're correct, the hiring manager will worry, thinking he or she has lost the opportunity to hire you.

The Trial Close – This is a close that should be used frequently. It tests the hiring managers' readiness to make a decision to hire. Use it after you have made a strong selling point or when you have answered an objection.
The Trial Close may use other closing techniques such as the Assumptive and the Yes-Set closes. Questions are asked to see if the hiring manager is ready to hire you. When you have asked the Trial Close question, as with most other closes, be quiet, watch body language, and listen carefully to the response:
"Can you see how my ability to achieve [some result or accomplishment] can benefit your need for [some need that was discussed]?"
"Can you see how my background in [  ] would benefit your need for [  ]?"

The final close: Often this close uses the assumptive close. ( I like what I’ve heard about this position and the company. I want the job. When do I start?”)  Closing does not always result in the desired outcome. Sometimes closing results in rejection. That is still a positive outcome because it gives you closure. You are able to refocus immediately on other opportunities. You can also come back and try again at a later date.  

The Future Close - close on a future date. Sometimes a hiring decision is simply not going to happen today. If this is the situation, ask how much time is needed. Ask if there is they intend to make you an offer then. After thinking about this, they may be ready to close now. The Future Close works by getting them to think in the present about the future, hence bringing the future to now so they can 'compress time' and possibly close now.

You can watch many of these closes work on the TV show "Shark Tank".