Sunday, December 21, 2014

When interviewing, how important is making it clear that your operating style is well-aligned with the hiring manager?



It could be very important; it could be the deal breaker!

Have you ever received this kind of rejection message after you felt you slammed the interview?  "Your credentials and experience were impressive, and you presented very well in the interview.  In the end, the selected candidate had extensive experience that aligned better with the job and our company."

What they may be telling you is you did not convince them that your approach to the job and business is like theirs, that their business approach is in step with your own. You may have not made it clear to them that “we are alike”, or “you and I think alike”, or “I am aligned with you and your company”. It is worthwhile to convince them that, not only are you the best candidate, you have the same business interests and operating style.


Given two fairly equal candidates to choose from, one aligned the hiring manager and the other not aligned, that could greatly influence final choice.

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, December 10, 2014

Are you concerned that you may lose your job? If not, should you be?



It’s logical to ask, “Why should I bring my resume up to contemporary standards if I am currently employed? The answer is it is for the same reasons you buy any insurance. It is for recovery from the unavoidable things that upset your life. You don’t think something will happen, and then it does. You could be confident today that you will not lose your job. However, change is inevitable and so are surprises.

Most people wait until they lose their jobs to get their resume into shape and to become current with contemporary tactics for conducting a successful search. Often they are in a panic mode when it happens, worried about finances, about their family or loved ones well-being, and they may already be financially stressed.

Everyone knows about what shape the economy is in. Even if you believe that everything is getting better, it’s hard to deny that the situation is still not healthy. The government publishes unemployment numbers regularly, albeit with whatever political spin they want to influence voters and Wall Street with. The bottom line is there are a lot fewer jobs today than there were when the economy was very healthy. Employers continue to be reluctant to create new openings; they are worried about making new financial commitments. And there are more people searching for fewer jobs!

That means companies are overwhelmed with many applicants, so they purchase computer programs, ATS specifically, to help sift through the large number of applicants. The software is designed to weed candidates out. Its primary objective is to help companies reduce hiring costs by replacing the number of employees required to process the burdensome resume load by implementing computerized screening. It helps control costs so you can’t blame them for using it.

Therefore job seekers need to craft a resume that it will pass through the ATS software and reach a human. That is not a trivial task! The software is easily tripped up, not just by what one writes or the lack of the “right” key words, but by the way word processing software creates the resume. It is not just a matter of getting the right key words into the document. It includes using the word processing shortcuts that make document creation easy to do. There are over 40 different word processing software features that can cause ATS problems! And there are additional errors that can be made in addition to the 40 features.

There are very few people, including many resume writers, who are truly knowledgeable about how the software works and how to what I call a ATS-ready resume, one that will not cause ATS issues and get rejected. And if you know you are not a good writer you need professional help regardless of ATS. Since getting professional resume help is a paid-for service there are two choices to make: do it yourself and hope you are doing it right or bite the bullet and pay for good professional help.


This leads to one of two conclusions: either get help creating an ATS-ready resume while you are employed and can afford it, or find a resume writer who is competent regarding ATS as one of the first things you do when you become out of work. If you believe you can do it on your own you are very likely headed for an extended search. The fact is, the cost of professional help is a fraction of the income lost by extending the time to become employed again.

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, November 25, 2014

A lot has been written about how to job search. But what is it really all about?



Salesmanship is the answer!

You may not wish to be a salesperson but by searching for a new position you are selling yourself, selling the benefits of hiring you. You can’t get away from that fact. So if your forte is not sales, perhaps you ought to spend some time learning some of the skills.

Attitude is first and foremost: There are three fundamental attitudes. Open-minded people who want to learn better ways of doing things regardless of the idea or concept; Skeptics, who have some reservations but are willing to listen and learn; and Cynics, disbelievers who are unwilling to try.

If you are a cynic, read no further, you cannot be helped.

If you are willing to listen, here are some things that good salespeople know that could help you:

Prospecting – Define the market target. For job seekers the target is the hiring manager specifically; no one else, not HR, not your network, no one else. The hiring manager is the person to reach out to.

Marketing – How can the target be reached? First identify the hiring manager’s name. There are several ways to do this but most effectively it is through your network. Build a network of people who know the hiring manager and people who know other people who may know the hiring manager. It can be a lengthy chain.

Advertising – Before reaching out to hiring managers prepare good collateral materials, your resume and cover letter. These documents need to be ATS-ready. Be committed to editing each document so it is responsive to whatever the hiring manager tells you his/her critical need are.

Executing – If you are not a salesman that’s ok, but learn a few sales skills to be successful in your search, such as making a concerted effort to speak to the hiring manager before applying for a job. When you find out what the hiring managers critical needs really are, describe how you can help resolve those problems. Then you will be ready to edit the collateral documents and make them responsive to the real needs.

Skills – When reaching out to people, whether they are the hiring manager or people to network with, learn what to say to make the a positive connection. Understand how to establish rapport, how to approach people in a manner that does not cause them to fend you off. This requires preparing scripts for different situations, practicing and refining them until you have internalized them vs. memorized them. The way you speak needs to sound natural, not rote.

There are other valuable sales skills to learn as well such as closing skills. Closing every conversation to set expectations for what is to happen next is just one example.  

Practice – It goes without saying that practice is an essential part of learning. All the textbooks in the world can describe how to do something. Practicing what is taught is what develops the skills. Make mistakes during role playing. Revise scripts and practice some more.

Does all this sound forbidding to you? If so, get professional help from a good job search coach.

Get more help by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Are you receptive to new job search ideas? Or are you a skeptic or cynic?


As a job seeker the question really comes down to do are you willing to learn how to differentiate yourself from your competition or are you a “me too” person, just someone who follows the “herd”? It is understandable to be skeptical about new concepts for differentiating yourself, but unfortunately if you are a cynic about learning something new, you cannot be helped.

Unemployed job seekers and employed people considering changing jobs would be wise to prepare for stiff competition for the few jobs available to a record number of seekers by learning how to differentiate themselves. Differentiation is a key element of competition.


Attitude is very important when facing learning challenges. If you are generally open-minded or are skeptical, you can learn. If you are a cynic you will not learn and your search may become an extended one.

Get more help on how to differentiate yourself by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why you should tune your resume for each position you apply to.



What a pain tuning is. It is one heck of a lot of work to have to do for each position you are interested in!

But consider this: The hiring manager has posted the position because he/she needs to solve a problem. Unfortunately the job description often does not adequately describe what the problem is. If you have no clear idea what the hiring manager’s hot buttons are, how can you possibly posture yourself as a great candidate and win an interview?

There is simply no such thing as a single resume that fits all position requirements. Understanding critical needs and making it easy for the hiring manager to quickly see you are a good possible candidate can only be achieved by tuning your resume and cover letter. Otherwise the hiring manager has no reason to call you.

Tuning your collateral documents will give you a competitive advantage.

So the only effective solution is to do the following:

First, read the job description carefully. Look for indications of what problem has to be solved. Edit your resume to be responsive to the stated job requirements. I repeat, edit your resume to be responsive to the stated job requirements. The problem is the stated job requirements may not adequately reflect the hiring managers “hot buttons”. You may have guessed wrong about what the problem is and this may lead you to respond incorrectly and get passed over.

Second, use a more accurate approach to identifying the critical need. Find out who the manager is and speak to him/her BEFORE you apply. It is important to find out the critical need BEFORE you submit your resume and cover letter so you can tune them to be responsive to the need. And there are other significant advantages to talking to the hiring manager before you submit a resume as well.

Once you have established contact and created a relationship with a hiring manager, no matter how you accomplish it, you have a competitive advantage over other candidates.

Trust me, if you don’t do it, your competition will!

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Are you sure the company you are interested in joining will be around 6 months or a year from now?



Just as sure as death and taxes, change is inevitable. So it behooves you to find out as much as you can about the future of a company you are interested in. What is the financial strength of the company? Is there any information about whether the company is likely to be acquired soon or whether the business is failing financially? Are the products or services of the company competitive? Are they developing new products or services? What is the company culture? These and many other questions should be of interest to you.

Where can you find information? That can vary depending upon whether the company is publicly owned, private, or a small business.

It is fairly easy to get information about public companies because they have to file documents with the SEC. One of the more useful documents are 10-K and annual reports. You can behave as if you are an investor and search the following sites:
and Google searches.


Medium size private companies are somewhat more difficult to find detailed information  about. Try:
Or Google searches

For small family-owned businesses there is often information on the Business Chronicle for your city or one close by, and certainly Google searches can be helpful.

And for all businesses, don’t forget to try to connect and network with current or past employees on LinkedIn.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

When you see a job ad you would like to apply for, there are productive and unproductive ways to submit your documents.



One approach is to simply apply online, but that is usually not the best search tactic to use.

However, if you insist on doing it, the first rule is to follow instructions given in the job posting.

If there are no instructions, call the company and ask.

If you cannot get an answer the choice is yours and it doesn't matter which way you go because everyone receiving resumes has a different opinion of the right way, none of which is going to affect the outcome much.  Most online applications wind up in “the black hole”.

SO CONSIDER THIS: There are more productive ways to get a job than to apply online. The best approach is to find and speak to the hiring manager before you send any documents. Here's why:

- The hiring manager can give you insight into what is most important to him or her, things that may not have appeared in the job description. Then you can tune your documents to fit the needs.

- It gives you the chance to avoid the automated systems (ATS) on the front end of the hiring process because you will be able to send your documents directly to the hiring manager instead of a candidate filtering machine first. Of course eventually you will have to apply through the company protocols but the hiring manager will already have your resume.

- Reaching out directly to the hiring manager demonstrates you are motivated, take action, and are direct in the things you do. You take control of your destiny.

- Occasionally the hiring manager can lead you to opportunities you didn't know about in other parts of the organization and even make introductions for you.

- Sometimes the hiring manager will make assignment adjustments in his/her  organization and create a position just for you.

- And most important, making the effort to find and speak to the hiring manager before you apply clearly differentiates you from your competition. You are not just "one of the herd".

It is true, applying online using the ‘shoot-aim-ready’ approach is the most common search tactic used by job-seekers. And it is the least effective. The astute job seeker will learn how to find and speak to the hiring manager to get ahead of the competition. 

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Consider the risks of selling yourself too hard in interviews.



Frequently I see long-winded resumes. They often belong to people who are verbose talkers as well as writers. I suspect these same people don’t realize it how badly it reflects on them. It shows an inability to express oneself crisply and succinctly. How do you suppose a hiring manager is going to view that in an interview? Regardless of whether they realize how they are coming across, they are in serious need of professional interview coaching.

Here is the point: Verbosity is likely to cause the listener to stop listening and focus on how he or she is going to get rid of the candidate!

Why are some people so verbose? In some cases they may simply be narcisstic. But I think in most cases it is either the inability to express oneself well, or it is simply fear, and perhaps desperation caused by the inability to get interviews; more reason for them to get professional help.

Some people believe they can’t answer a question without building the background to their answer first. They fail to respect the listener’s ability to comprehend. They may fear that if they leave anything out they may not pique the listener’s interest. Of course quite the opposite is usually the case. Interviewers are interested in getting the answer quickly and asking a follow-on question or moving on to the next question, not listening to a lot of information that doesn’t answer their question. Verbosity is an interview killer!

So here are just some suggestions for people who are verbose.
-       Listen well – this is #1 in importance. When interviewing, listening is more important than speaking. Focus on being crisp and concise.
-       Pause, Breathe. Listen for reaction. Watch body language.
-       Role play responding crisply and concisely with someone who can offer positive feedback. It takes lots of practice.
-       If necessary pause a moment to organize your response when asked a question.
-       Tell it but don’t tell it all – generate interest and bait the interviewer for more questions.
-       Speak at a modest pace, not so slowly as to be boring and not so fast that the interviewer cannot grasp what you are saying.
-       Practice good enunciation. Don’t slur your words. Get rid of the gum before the interview.
-       Practice not using “um, uh, like” etc. Did you ever notice that good public speakers never utter any of these? They have trained themselves not to.
-       And get help. Take the time to learn how to verbally communicate. It takes considerable practice and self-control to overcome verbosity:

Add comments with your own suggestions about how to overcome verbosity.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Why do so many resumes contain lots of ‘Fluff’?



Fluff is information that is thrown into a resume to fill space! It doesn’t help sell a person, it usually hurts. That’s because resume volume doesn’t sell, only the results of your work do! If you tell everything about the responsibility and scope of your jobs but don’t provide any accomplishments or results statements, should I conclude you never accomplished anything in your career? I hope not!

Every day I see resumes with all kinds of overused words, self-assessing adjectives and verbose descriptions of job scope and responsibilities. Their competition does the same thing they do. What makes them different? Results statements tell the reader if they are worthy candidates. People often say they are ‘effective’, ‘self-motivated’, ‘innovative’, ‘creative’, ‘dynamic’, ‘results oriented’, etc., but not prove it. So many people use the same adjectives the words become meaningless.

Then there are those who are simply too verbose. They won’t stop writing about what they have done for fear they might leave out something someone might be interested in. Endless descriptions of job scope are things detract from the purpose of the resume which is to quickly generate interviews. Readers will not sift through a lot of words to search for the reasons to interview you. You need to present the reasons up front, crisply and concisely.

You will have ample time to prove yourself in the interview where you can discuss the details of your jobs face-to-face with the hiring manager. If you want someone to call you to set up an interview, make it easy for them to quickly discover why they need to call you. You may never get to the interview table if you introduce fluff.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, October 27, 2014

The four stages of learning and how it applies to resume writing:



If you are seeking a new job opportunity, try to reach stage 3 at a minimum:

1 - Unconsciously incompetent stage – we start out writing our resume ourselves and without realizing it, create a document that won’t get us interviews

2 - Consciously incompetent stage – we begin to realize we’re not very good at resume writing and start to consider getting professional help

3 - Consciously competent stage – we get professional help from a resume writer/job search coach, we learn and begin to get better

4 - Unconsciously competent stage – we now know how to do it right without thinking about the mechanics of it

Some people will never get past the first stage.

Many people will reach stage 2 and do nothing to go beyond it.

Those people who get good professional help will at least reach stage 3.

Professional resume writers should function at stage 4 all the time, but not all do.

What stage are you?

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Your resume needs to say who you are, how to contact you, what you do and what your brand is. Sounds simple, right?



You would be surprised to know how many people actually mess up those basic resume questions.

Hiring managers also want to know:  What are your core competencies? What have you achieved, what are the results of your work that benefited your employer? What is your educational background? Do you have any certifications? And other special needs depending upon the job.

In the first 5 seconds looking at your resume the reader will know if they want to spend more time reading your resume. They won’t spend more than 30 seconds to decide if they want to put you in the review further pile or discard you. It is really a yes/no decision because there are lots of other candidates, so you need to get it right. If the answer is no, there is no second chance, they are done with you.

The key to passing the first 5 seconds is the statement of your brand and your core competencies. Your brand statement needs to excite them to read further. It needs to be crisp, concise and have marketing “zing”, something eye catching, usually a one or two line summary of your accomplishments.

Hiring managers will decide to interview you based upon what they believe you might help them achieve, specifically the results they need to accomplish. So they focus on your results and accomplishments. Your responsibilities are important, but it is the results of your work that will get you the interview.

When you interview the hiring manager will be thinking “Do I like you? Do I think you can do the job? Do I think you will work well with other people?” You will need to satisfy these other key considerations to get an offer. Any sense that you do not fit any one of these three key considerations will likely cause rejection. The hiring manager is hiring you because of a need to solve a problem. He/she does not need to create any new problems by hiring you.

Feed the hiring manager’s needs!


Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The best way to get hired is to be referred by an employee! But how do you get referrals?


Many companies have employee referral programs that pay a bonus to employees who refer a candidate that gets hired. Companies do this for several reasons. First it costs them far less than what it costs to use a recruiting firm or recruit on their own – far less! In addition companies often feel an employee would not risk their reputation by referring a candidate that becomes a problem, so it reduces the risk of making a bad hire.

Your objective is to get connected with the hiring manager, not HR, unless you are seeking an HR position.

So how do you go about getting referred? Use good networking skills (see more below) to connect with current employees.

First, search your existing network of family and friends. Stay in touch with your existing network. That is the easiest way.

Second, do a search on LinkedIn. Find out who is a current or past employee of the company you are interested in, focused first on current employees. Then try to connect with past employees. Past employees may have an axe to grind so be careful with information you receive. But it is a good way to get a sense about whether the company is a good match for you in terms of their financial health, their core philosophy, their management style, etc.

And if you have ever worked as an intern or part-time or in a contract position, take advantage of the access to people you've been given. Go out of your way to meet intelligent individuals and leaders. Build up a network of contacts so that when you leave (or if they do first), there is a foundation for a networking relationship to find out who they know.

How do you build your network and make connections with people you don’t know? A lot has been written about this. The consensus seems to be:

Build rapport: You do this by leading in with something you have in common with the person. You can often find the person’s interests by reviewing their profile for the positions they help, the schools they attended, their outside interests, the people they know, etc. Tell them you noticed the thing you have in common with them. You might also check them out on FaceBook, Twitter, etc., to find topics of commonality. Always start out by telling them who you are and what you do.

Get to the point quickly: This applies to all networking, email, messages, face-to-face and meeting by chance in public. Don’t ask for a job, period! Let them know you are interested in the company by asking what they know about the company. If you ask for help getting a job their guard will go up more times than not. You do not want to put them on the spot.

Show interest in them first, then the company: Once you have established rapport by showing interest in them, show them your interest in the company.

Wrap it up quickly: People are busy. Wrap up the first communication quickly by asking them if they would be willing to talk live someday soon. If they are willing right now, continue showing interest by asking them what they do, what they like about the company, dislike, and other things about them. Then tell them about a few of your greatest skills are (emphasis on “few”). It may take more than one conversation or email communication to reach the point where it is appropriate to let them know you are seeking a change (looking for a job), but not always. To get a referral you must give them enough insight to convince them you are worthy of being referred.

When you ask to connect by sending a written message, keep it brief, crisp and concise with no spelling or grammar errors (be professional).

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Differentiation is a critical goal of marketing. Does your job search differentiate you from the 'herd'?



Do you read job descriptions and immediately apply online or do you take the initiative to find out who the hiring manager is and make live voice contact first? If you speak to the hiring manager before applying you will differentiate yourself from the herd. If you learn directly from the hiring manager what the critical needs are you can tell him/her how you can solve the need and then modify your resume to reflect that before you apply, that will further differentiate you from the herd.

Do you use ready-made templates for your resume? If you do you will look just like the herd. Templates can be spotted from a mile away and are quickly rejected by many companies. They do not demonstrate your originality. They do not give you guidance for what kind of information to write or how to write it either.

Do you make sure your resume is peppered with the results of your work? In the final analysis, this is what will make you attractive and it will differentiate you form the herd. Your responsibilities are important but if that is all your resume talks about there is really no reason to call you because you will look like one of the herd. Your results are what will motivate people to call you.

Do you get a knowledgeable person to review your resume and make sure it is ATS-ready? There is much more to do to your resume than to simply include key words to make it ATS-ready. And yet that is usually the extent of the advice you will receive from many people. Resumes that are not ATS-ready usually belong to members of the herd.

Do you actively network in informal as well as formal ways? If you don’t think about networking in all of your daily activities, you are indeed one of the herd. All kinds of networking is important to differentiate you from the herd.

Do you seek out professional help early in your search or do you believe you can do it all on your own? If you don’t seek good professional help early you will probably extend the time it takes to find a job and you will become one of the herd. If you believe professional help is too expensive, try amateur help.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Remember the phrase “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” How apropos for job seekers.



Frank Leahy used this phrase to inspire his football players when he was coach at Notre Dame from 1941 to 1943 and 1946 to 1953 (taking time away to serve in WWII). He had a big sign on the locker room wall when he was coach at Notre Dame. Sometimes he used it in very inspirational speeches at half-time, particularly when the team was losing.

Of course Frank Leahy was an excellent coach who made sure every player was very well trained. He only needed to encourage the players to reach deep down inside themselves and step up to the challenge, using their well-trained skills.

Like football and other competitive sports, job seekers, mostly those who are unemployed, often go through tremendous emotional challenges. Their challenge extends to their families as well making it doubly difficult to maintain a competitive spirit. But unlike Leahy’s players, quite often job seekers are totally untrained to overcome the challenges of contemporary  job searching,  which has changed a great deal from what it was only 10 years ago. This exacerbates the emotional side of being out of work making it more and more difficult to deal with over time.

The logical way to overcome job searching hurdles is to utilize a good professional coach at the very outset of becoming unemployed. The operative word here is “good”. In fact it is better to become prepared while working and more able to afford the cost of good help.

When one loses a job the natural urge is to quickly dust off an old resume and start blasting it out into the universe. And that is a fire-aim-ready approach that is destined for failure today. It normally wastes time that could be better spent getting professional coaching to create a robust job search and it compounds emotional issues by extending the period of unemployment. Regardless of one’s situation it is never too late to establish a recovery plan and get on track.

A word to those of you who are currently employed: You may not be in a job search mode currently but you would be well-advised to do the preparation work now! Astute people who are presently employed owe it to their future to become trained as well, as insurance against possible changes around the corner because change is inevitable.


Contact me if you would like more information on this or related job search topics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Do you sense that your job is in jeopardy? Have you planned your escape?


Does it seem like someday soon you may not have to work late anymore?

That’s just one way of asking if you sense your job may be in jeopardy. If you are having feelings that things are not going well for you anymore, it is time to plan your escape. Be proactive: Do it now before you are forced to!

Most people who are about to lose their job have a strong sense about long before it actually happens. There usually are warning signs, the relationship between you and your boss seems to have changed, you are no longer included in certain meetings or discussions, you have received some kind of warning, and many other signals.

Change is inevitable: If you don’t like the way things are going, it will change; if you do like the way things are going, it will change.

You owe it to yourself to prepare for some point when you will either have to or want to make a job change. Preparing is like having catastrophe insurance. You don’t really want to pay for it but you can’t ignore the possibility you may need it.

A well thought out job search plan will help you to be “first off the line” when the race starts. Your plan should include having a search strategy and supporting tactics that makes sense for you. It should include a detailed understanding of the pros and cons of the various tactics you could use in your search. And obviously it includes having a master, ATS-ready resume and cover letter updated to contemporary style, particularly if you have not conducted a job search recently. Like everything else, the world of job searching changes too. Without professional help you are hard pressed to know enough about contemporary job searching to do it effectively on your own. Without a robust plan you may unnecessarily extend your search.

Procrastination about becoming prepared also extends job searches. Early planning mitigates the pressure one feels when one must start a search. It is easier on the budget to get professional help while you are employed than when you are not!

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Salespeople sell products or services. Job seekers sell the benefits of hiring themselves. Get ready for your search.



Job seekers and salespeople have a lot in common. Both need to sell the benefits of buying something. For the professional salesperson it is a product or service. For the job seeker it is the benefit of buying his or her services.

Most salespeople are trained for their job. Many job seekers are not trained for sales. And many job seekers do not want to have anything to do with sales. That puts them at a distinct disadvantage with respect to any competition who has taken the initiative to learn some sales techniques. Fortunately one does not have to become a sales expert to improve the results of a search, but basic training certainly helps.

Fundamental to all sales is the ‘close’. A sales close is defined as "to put an end to; to conclude; to finish." For job seekers it is important to conclude conversations in a manner that sets expectations for both parties. Of course the most important close is getting a job offer, but there are many preliminary closes that lead up to the offer. Salespeople would call these “trial closes”.

Trial closes are used to identify objections that need to be overcome to guide the decision maker  toward a ‘final close’, the decision to hire. They are also used to reiterate points that the buyer likes about your qualifications and to set expectations for next steps in the process. Closing can also be applied to networking.

In interviewing the final close makes it clear to the decision-maker that the job seeker wants the job and seeks agreement from the hiring manager. Of course, if during the interview you decide you do not want the job, it is advisable not to close at all.

Closing does not have to result in the outcome you would like. A decision not to hire you or not to pursue you further is as valuable to you as a decision not to buy is to the professional salesperson. It enables you to change your focus to the next job opportunity and not waste valuable time on one that is not going to get you hired.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Help your references provide positive referrals for you.



It is best to prepare your references for the possibility they may be called for a referral. Once a company has asked you for references it is advisable to let each reference know that the company may be call them. This enables the reference to be prepared rather than blind-sided.

Have a frank conversation with your references regarding their true feelings about your work, your positive attributes, and reasons you left a job.

Provide accomplishments they will recall. Remind them about important events that you performed particularly well at if they knew you in that job.

Find out if they have any negative thoughts about you that they would expose to someone asking for their referral. Leave them off your list if you suspect they would not give you a good referral.

If you know your former boss or company will not give you a positive referral, you need to deal with that directly with the hiring company at some point in the hiring process, preferably not in the first communication. Above all do not speak negatively about your former company or boss. Diplomacy and tact in the choice of words is the best approach.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Why can't ATS parsing software read your resume? There's a lot more to it than just having the right keywords in it!

Today there are over 200 unique ATS software programs sold to improve the hiring practices of companies. ATS software is proliferating. Almost all large companies, many medium size companies, many recruiting firms and even many small companies have purchased ATS software licenses in the hopes of simplifying their work and saving hiring process costs.

The problem is the parsing software that “reads” a resume. Most parsing software cannot read some resumes correctly … or at all. The software is written by ATS providers, 3rd party companies and some is home-grown, written by the hiring company itself.

Most people will tell you it is important to have the right key words in your resume. That is correct. ATS parsing software is looking for them. It is also important to use the key words in context. However, you can have all the right keywords, use them in context and still get rejected because of attributes caused by word processing features you have used to create the document that cause parsing difficulties. To make matters worse there are other document considerations to worry about as well.

Are key words the clue? Not alone. The problem is not just whether the resume has the correct key words in it but those elusive attributes that the resume contains. 

Today there are over 200 unique ATS software programs sold to improve the hiring practices of companies. ATS software is proliferating. Almost all large companies, many medium size companies, many recruiting firms and even many small companies have purchased ATS software licenses in the hopes of simplifying their work and saving hiring process costs.

The problem is the parsing software that “reads” a resume. Most parsing software cannot read some resumes correctly … or at all. The software is written by ATS providers, 3rd party companies and some is home-grown, written by the hiring company itself. Each software is a little different.

Most people will tell you it is important to have the right key words in your resume. That is correct because ATS parsing software is looking for them. It is also important to use the key words in context. However, you can have all the right keywords, use them in context and still get rejected because of attributes caused by word processing features you have used to create the document. To make matters worse there are other considerations to worry about as well.

Are key words the clue? Not alone. The problem is not just whether the resume has the correct key words in it but those elusive attributes that the resume contains.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, September 29, 2014

What skills should you list on your resume?



The answer depends a lot upon the kind of position being sought. Guidance is best determined from what is written in a position description.

Another consideration is how long ago the skill was relevant.

Today’s employers expect candidates to know basic computing skills and office programs, so listing them is not always necessary. However, when you do list any skill, tell the employer how well you know the specific skill by using the term in context in the experience section. Write about the accomplishment achieved and reference the skill used to achieve it.

Simply listing a specific skill will not help an employer understand how well you know it or what your capabilities are.

If you fill your resume with the results of your work using skills in context you should see an improvement in your job search results. Listing outdated skills is nothing more than fluff which detracts from the resume in most cases.


Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Your first interview may be the most important one. Are you ready?



Congratulations to you if your resume just got you an interview! You’ve managed something many people have difficult achieving. Whatever you did in your resume was successful. Now, are you (or were you) ready for the interview?

You may have received an email or a text message letting you know to expect a call, but more likely you will simply receive a phone call.

These are some things you should be prepared for:

Ask for name, title and phone number and the role of the person calling you as well as the name of the company.

Practice enunciating your words clearly and at a moderate speed. And remind yourself to answer questions crisply and concisely, not ramble, not talk too much, not monopolize the call time. The points you should not do are the things that will get you disqualified most quickly if you do them.

If your cell number was given on your resume, make certain you keep it charged at all times.

Keep a copy of your resume handy.

If the call is garbled ask to call them back at a specific time.

Before the call ends close on what the next steps will be. Who will do what and when?

Make sure the caller understands you will follow up if you do not hear back.

If the caller is not the hiring manager ask who the hiring manager is by name and title.

If the caller is the hiring manager, find out what his/her critical need is. It is also very important to find out what his/her email address and telephone number is. This will enable you to send a thank you message that reiterates how you can help resolve whatever the hot button is and get a face-to-face interview arranged.

This first contact with the employer may be the most important for getting the job.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. Please feel free to leave a comment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

All resumes need to answer some fundamental questions. How does yours fare?

The following may seem obvious and trivial to many people, but you would not believe the number of resumes I see that lack critical information. The order information is presented in the resume will vary depending upon a number of factors such as key job requirements, industry, job types, new graduate situations, employment gaps, etc. 

In the U.S. personal information and pictures should not be included because of Federal discrimination laws that hiring companies must adhere to.

Who am I?
How can you reach me?
What is my brand?
What are my core competencies?
Critically important: What have I accomplished in my work? What were the results? How did they benefit the companies I worked for? How did I achieve them?
When did I achieve those accomplishments?
Who did I work for?
What is my educational background?
What certifications do I have that are applicable to the position I’m seeking?
What specialized skills do I have that are applicable to the position?


Ask yourself, is there anything in my resume that characterizes me as careless, unprofessional, unable to write crisply and succinctly, or lacking knowledge of contemporary resume writing? I often see spelling and grammar errors. Some people are verbose and write in paragraph form. Many resumes have a crammed appearance making them difficult to read quickly. Often the appearance is not professional, like items are not aligned. And the most frequent problem is they are not ATS-ready.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. Please leave a comment if you would like.

Monday, September 22, 2014

If you think the job search process is easy you may not doing it effectively.

Using a computer to visit the many available job boards to find openings is easy. The actual process of  applying is often quite tedious but also not that difficult. But is this search tactic effective? I submit the answer is no, it is not.

It is widely understood that answering job ads on job boards results in few interviews and far fewer hires. Depending upon who you listen to, the numbers are low. Very low.

The response rate and number of interviews you get can be improved by doing the following:

Get referred to the hiring manager by a current employee. Companies like the who-you-know approach. They are more likely to trust the opinions of their employees and it costs them far less per hire than if they were to pay recruiting fees or salaries, even when they have a referral bonus program.

Search out the name and title of the hiring manager and make direct contact with that person. Learning the techniques for doing this should be a high priority for all job seekers. If you feel uncomfortable doing it, that is the most important reason for you to learn how.


Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And please leave a comment for this post.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Definition of a good Job Seeker



A good job seeker is one who conducts a job search from the perspective of marketing, advertising and sales.

It takes all three components to conduct a robust job search. Job seekers cannot afford not to learn the fundamental skills required to perform each of these three components, particularly if they are not already well versed in them. Just having a resume is an insufficient way to compete for the limited number of jobs available today.

If you are a job seeker or considering becoming one, there is a lot of preparation for you to do if you are not already skilled in marketing, advertising and sales. Get help if you need it.

If you don’t do it your competition will.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How to avoid ATS when applying to jobs.



I hope LinkedIn’s  “Apply on company website” button is not new to any job seekers. The critical point is this: It enables you to apply with just your profile, NOT your resume. That avoids all those ATS parsing issues caused by attributes you may have unknowingly built into your resume.

When the company initially sees only your LinkedIn profile information, ATS parsing software is not involved, doesn’t filter you out of contention, doesn’t fail to respond to you, doesn’t drop you into the “black hole”. Of course you still need to make sure your resume is ATS-ready because eventually you will likely have to submit it through the formal application process where ATS may be involved at the front end. But you may have had at least a telephone interview first. That puts you far ahead of people who don’t use the LinkedIn process to apply.

Your LinkedIn profile is a very effective inbound marketing tool, far more effective than a resume posted on a job board. This is because it enables you to provide much more information about yourself than a resume can, particularly regarding key words. So make sure you thoroughly enter information in each of the profile sections and make certain it is easy for people to contact you. (I suggest entering your contact information in the summary section as well as the how-to-contact section of your profile.)

Get your resume ready for interviews and your profile ready for LinkedIn inbound marketing and try it out. Go to your profile home page, select Jobs, select Advanced search (upper right hand corner of the Jobs page), select more options, choose whatever filters you want sorted for you and hit the Search button. Start out with just a few filters. Jobs will be displayed from which you can select those you wish to apply to. If there are too many, add more filters.

Open jobs you are interested in, review them carefully making sure you meet the requirements, and hit the Apply on company website button. Your profile will be sent to the company. By the way, you do not have to be a Premium LinkedIn member to use this feature. If you have done a good job preparing your documents you should see a much better and higher quality response rate than you get on job boards.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.

Monday, September 15, 2014

If you meet the requirements of a job ad and you are a perfect fit, why would you not get a response?


If this is happening to you my first question would be “Have you cited examples of the results of your work or do you simply list all of your responsibilities?”

Responsibilities are important but it’s the results and accomplishments of your work that gets interviews. That makes sense doesn’t it? If all you write about is what you did, how is a hiring manger to understand if you can do the job?

What your responsibilities are (or were) is important and often they do not take more than a few words to say. In fact sometimes just your job title says it all. For instance if you were a Sales Manager and a company is looking for a Sales Manager, they certainly know what a Sales Manager does, so you need not explain it in minute detail.

If it is not obvious from your title what your responsibilities were, try to restrict your explanation to one brief sentence. An employer is more interested in how well you performed in the job. From that they can infer what you might be able to do for them.

How do you create the right words to describe your results? After each bullet statement ask yourself “So what? Other people do this too. What was the outcome of my work? What did it accomplish? What was the benefit of it to the company?” Think in terms of how things were better because you did something. Quantify results where possible.

Of course another possibility for the lack of response is that your resume is not ATS-ready. The ATS parsing software may not be able to read it.

Get more help on this and other tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. And leave a comment if you like this post.