Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Ever wonder why you were rejected? These are 5 key reasons.


ATS is often the cause. While some ATS software is better than others, there is a lot of information about the causes of ATS rejection of job applicants. Some of it is correct and some of it is conjecture passed on with good intentions, but without an understanding of the real causes. The following are the key reasons for rejection or non-response when the ATS does not or cannot properly extract information from a resume.

Qualification. Some applicants simply don't meet the qualifications. Sometimes they don't care and waste precious job search time by applying anyway. 

Key words. Some people ignore using key words exactly as written in job descriptions or fail to use them in context. Key words are the first level filter in all ATS and recruiting searches.

Graphics. ATS parsers cannot extract text located inside graphics. Text inside a graphic is interpreted as just part of the graphic. Frequently resumes are created using word processing shortcuts that use graphics into which the text is written. For instance, if a name and/or contact information is written inside a header, ATS will never know who the person is or how to contact them.

Columns. Some people use text columns to format a resume. ATS parsing software reads data across the full page, one line at a time. This jumbles columnar information into sentences that make no sense.

PDF files. Most ATS software cannot read PDF files. PDF files are graphical representations of text files. Although some ATS providers claim they can read PDF files, what they fail to say is "converted PDF files". There are two types of PDF files, Native and Scanned, plus many variants. How is one to know which variant the file is? And how is one to know if their resume will be scrutinized by an ATS that is capable of reading PDF files?

These are only 5 of over 40 possible issues that can contribute to ATS rejection.

The bottom line. Make sure you are qualified before you apply. For the best online application success, use keywords exactly as written in job descriptions, do not use word processing creation tools, and don't apply online with a PDF file. Apply using txt or doc files.


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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tips for winning interviews plus some interview closes



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 ‘must have’ or ‘must develop’ for getting a job offer.
Good salespeople know how to prospect, make contact, establish rapport, discover needs, present solutions, 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 tips can help:
1 - Get sales training from a competent job search coach. Good salespeople will tell you unless you are dealing with the decision-maker, you are wasting your time; Make direct voice contact with the hiring manager to generate interest. Create and practice scripts for navigating through gatekeepers and for making a good introduction. Avoid mentioning you are 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 focusing on the other person. Ask questions about them. This applies when 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. Bad habits carry over into 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 - Learn closing skills. 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, 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 conversations 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. This avoids the problem of wondering if you should call after a week goes by. When you make the follow up call and the gatekeeper asks if your call is expected, the answer is one word, "Yes".
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 conditional close: The Conditional Close builds on social agreement. It states "If I do this will you do that?" Thist 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 the other way around. 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 whereas 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 achieves two things, it lets the decision-maker know you want an offer and the question forces a response.
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 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 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.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Want a new job? Don't apply online!


If you enjoy being frustrated, spend all your time searching for a job online. Apply to every job you are remotely qualified for.

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

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, try another approach.

Getting a job by doing what everyone else is doing, AKA following the herd, is rarely effective. In fact there is less than one chance in a thousand of getting a job by applying online. The most successful job seekers I know practice a different, more productive search method.

They speak to hiring managers before they apply!

They reach out to hiring managers informally. They talk with them, establish rapport, ask questions about what their problems are, and they generate interest by describing how they have resolved similar problems. They casually probe for the hiring manager's hiring criteria. Usually they find the real needs are not adequately described in job descriptions. They finesse conversations toward setting up a formal interview.

After their conversation they are then able to edit their resume and cover letter to focus on the needs they discovered and send their resume directly to the hiring manager, avoiding the dreaded ATS filter.

Really successful job seekers learn how to discover the hiring manager's name, get introductions, and maneuver their way through gatekeepers. They reach out and expand their network by seeking every opportunity to schmooze with anyone who may know hiring managers. They often find that taking advantage of Employee Referral Programs (ERP's) and connecting with employees in their target companies is a very effective way of getting referred to the hiring manager.

The takeaway is this: Applying online is not effective. Those who feel like they are making progress by camping on job boards simply become just another "one of the herd". Use the web and job boards to study and target companies. Use time to identify hiring managers. Use it to learn how to write and internalize scripts that will get past the hiring managers' gatekeepers. Use it to practice how to approach hiring managers when first speaking with them. It's not necessary to be a well-versed salesperson, but your job right now is selling. Spend your valuable time practicing techniques that win jobs.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Your resume is not just about you!

Just like the young lad trying on his dad's boots, you may not fit the job you are applying for. Before you fix in your mind that your resume is just about you, think again. Your resume may not fit the hiring managers' needs.
When hiring managers first look at your resume, they want to see if you might be able to help resolve their specific needs. What you want out of life and a job is irrelevant to them at this point. Your resume needs to focus on how you can fix their problems at hand.
Hiring managers want to interview you only if they think you might fit their specific needs. If you don't understand what the needs are, you can't possibly respond to them. Since job descriptions rarely describe the real pain of the hiring manager, a better alternative to job descriptions is necessary. The best approach is to speak directly with the hiring manager before you edit and submit your resume.
While it's not always possible, there are many ways of identifying who the manager is. The most effective way is to identify employees of the company of interest who may know the hiring manager or lead you to the name. You might even be able to get an introduction via an Employee Referral Program (ERP). ERP's are often a preferred way of identifying candidates. Bonuses are usually offered to the referring employee. LinkedIn is the ideal source for identifying employees and connecting with them.
An alternative is to simply call the company and use well documented sales tactics to drill through the layers of gatekeepers to speak to the hiring manager.
Another method is to use the web. Use a Boolean search of the company name and likely title of the manager on Google. Or try the websites used by investors to identify senior officers.  A top down approach is often very effective.
Whatever approach is taken, understand your resume is not just about you. Be proactive in determining why a position is open so you can respond effectively.
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