Saturday, January 28, 2012

At the end of the interview, do you close the deal? Do you ask for the job?

If you were selling a product or service, would you leave the table without closing the deal?

Would you leave the table without knowing if you’ve answered all the buyers’ objections?

You say you are not a salesman? WRONG!

If you’re searching for a job you are a salesperson selling your services! You may not have chosen the job, but you are a salesperson! You are selling the benefits of hiring you directly to the hiring manager! At the end of the interview it’s not wise to leave the hiring manager wondering if you’d take the job if it were offered to you. Leave no doubt! If you haven’t yet discussed compensation, that’s the next closing question to ask. But if you know the compensation is right, leave no doubt that you want the job!

When job searching, every time you speak to someone you are selling. And you need to close every conversation. Does closing mean you should ask for a job every time you speak to someone? Absolutely not! Closing does not necessarily mean finalizing the deal. But it does mean closing every conversation with a ‘what next’ or a ‘if I do this, will you do that’ or some other closing technique.

As a job seeker you would be well advised to learn about closing techniques. The book store section on Selling is full of them. Start learning before you lose an opportunity you could have had if you knew how to close.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Is applying for a job on-line a double-edged sword?

Interesting question. Do you know how to avoid being stabbed?

Let’s say you find the perfect job on-line, you fit it perfectly, so you apply, following directions carefully. Then you wait, …and wait, …and nothing! What happened?

Any of a zillion things happened.
It wasn’t a real job, just a ploy to get your resume by a head-hunter.
It was a real job and you didn’t fit the criteria set into an ATS system.
You submitted a resume that could not be read by ATS.
The job has been filled but not removed from on-line.
The job was listed to make the company look like it’s strong and hiring.
They hire lots of people for multiples of that job so it sits there all the time, even when they’re not currently trying to fill it.
They want some resumes for future positions, even with different requirements.
You’re late and they are in the final interview process with several candidates.
You didn’t include something they wanted, like a cover letter maybe.
You’ve been discriminated against (nobody will admit they discriminated).
Etc., etc.

So what do you do? For starters, rethink what search tactics you use and how much time you devote to each. Put less emphasis on the on-line tactic.

The on-line tactic: This is often the most time-consuming and least productive tactic. Use it to identify companies you might be interested in. Then use parallel on-line resources to evaluate the company. Is it solid? What is its culture? Is it really for you? Can you find out who the hiring manager is?

The cold-call tactic: Unlike the on-line tactic this is often the most productive but it requires learning and practice – lot’s of it, unless you have sales cold-calling experience. The objective is to find out who the hiring manager is, call him/her and get him/her interested in you before you apply. You want to find out more about his/her pain so you can modify your resume to respond to the pain.

The network tactic: This is always one of the best ways to get and share information. It should be a tactic that you use perpetually, before and after you land a job. But NEVER ask anyone you network with for a job! Offer help and ask for information.

The recruiter tactic: Some recruiters can help you, others can actually hurt you. Be very careful. Understand how recruiters work, who they work for (it’s never you! Never!) and how they are compensated. Get help from a qualified job search consultant to learn all you can about this tactic.

Post your experience and tell what you did about it here.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Currently working but thinking about making a job change? Stealth is the path to follow!

Do’s and don’ts:

If you are currently working, Don’t let anyone know you’re even thinking about making a change if you don’t want it to get back to your boss! That means anyone and everyone, your best friends, your most trusted confidants, your potential references, everyone! Even those you trust the most can make a slip of the tongue. After the word gets out you’ve totally lost control.

But at the same time you want to look and utilize LinkedIn and other on-line resources. So what should you do? How do you control exposure?

For starters, Do clean up your social media act. Hiring authorities will check you out. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. Be conservative. Delete everything that could potentially hurt your chances of getting an interview. Language, pictures, biases, anything at all that might make a company think twice about hiring you or even interviewing you could hurt your chances. With ‘squeaky-clean’ candidates available to them, why should they take a chance on you? They don’t need people who have an alcohol or addiction problem. They don’t need people whose language may upset others in their workplace. They do need people who are stable, reliable and productive.

Do create a strong LinkedIn profile, one that simply represents you in a desirable way without indicating you are seeking a new job. Your boss may be on LinkedIn as well. You may find other people in your company, some already linked to each other. They probably don’t tell each other they’re looking though. Use LinkedIn as a research and connections resource to identify people in companies you may be interested in. But don’t ask for a job; you’re objective should be to offer help to others and seek information about the companies and hiring managers.

If you want to post something on a LinkedIn jobs group, do so, just avoid saying you’re searching. People who can help will read your profile, see that you’re currently working and simply try to connect with you. That way you have an opportunity to look at their profile and decide to connect or not. You are in control at that point.

In the end, if your boss finds out you are looking, it could hurt you or help you, but which would it be? Are you sure you know? If you’re certain it will help if he/she knows, ignore everything I’ve said and go tell him/her your intentions! I’ll wait for your call for help if you need it.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Thinking about changing jobs? Be prepared. Don’t procrastinate! The cost may be too great.

You probably know more than one person who has been out of work more than 6 months. For some of them it’s been over a year, even more. Is the problem just the economy, the industry or something else? Could it be their job search just did not get started correctly?

In today’s job situation, it’s unrealistic to think “it wouldn’t happen to me”. To make matters worse, most people don’t think about what they would do if it did happen. And they are not prepared!

With a high percentage of our population competing for fewer jobs, being ready before something happens is like having auto insurance before an accident.

Resumes that are effective today are much different than in years past. And careful planning is required before the wrong search tactics are used, or knowledge of the pros and cons of each search tactic are understood. What do you know about how recruiters work? How can they help you? Hurt you? How should you select one? What are the benefits and pitfalls of job boards? How should you present yourself on LinkedIn? ATS software is in wide use by companies and external recruiters today. What do you know about how ATS can benefit you or hurt you?

Contact a competent search consultant to get answers. Select a consultant by asking what he or she knows about the above questions. Contact me at and ask me the questions. 

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Should You Care if Your Resume contains Spelling or Grammar Errors?

Shortcuts used to make texting easy is one thing, but can you imagine a business proposal filled with shortcuts like "u", "r", etc.? 

As we increase the use of social texting, do we also slowly forget how to write properly?

Spelling and grammar skills are quite important in business. Sloppiness connotes lack of professionalism. Is that the image a job seeker wants to portray to a prospective hiring manager? 

Given the competition for jobs, those that use proper spelling and grammar will have the competitive edge "IMHO".

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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

How are Resumes Read?

I was a hiring manager for many years and a recruiter after my first career. Resumes were a lot different than they are today. If I were a hiring manager today, my resume reading process would take this path:

If a particular degree or certification was absolutely crucial to the job I’d search for that first, then the following:

I’d look for their brand: What do they do, what is their niche and what are their core competencies?

Then I would want to see if they are results-oriented. Can they possibly help me meet my goals? I’d quickly scan for results statements in their accomplishments. If one or more of their results might help me achieve my goals I would place them in a follow-up pile for more thorough reading. If I found nothing but statements about what they did and nothing about results, I’d pass on them. Their 30 seconds are up!

My message to candidates is this: Think about what the hiring manager needs and be responsive to that in your resume. If you don’t, you can be sure your competition will and will get the call to interview.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

What's the difference between a Resume and a LinkedIn Profile?

Both are advertisements, one for outgoing searches, the other for incoming searches. You send your resume out in response to opportunities you uncover. You want your profile to attract people who are searching for people such as yourself. They both need to carry the same fundamental message, but they need not be direct copies of each other. For instance the profile can include aspects of a person’s personality, whereas the resume should be more focused on factual information relating to one's accomplishments.

As advertisements, both are intended to sell the benefits of hiring you to those who may be interested.

The benefits of hiring you are the results of your work, not just what you did, but what it accomplished.

Hiring managers want to hire people who can achieve results for certain problems. That’s why stating results in both your advertisements is extremely important.

There are many ways to develop your profile. But what most people forget is to put themselves in the mindset of the hiring manager. This person has a totally different perspective on the hiring process than does the applicant. The applicant must sell, sell, sell because the hiring manager is going to disqualify, disqualify, disqualify until the best candidate is found. This applies to both resumes and profiles. 

The advantage of a resume is that it can be ‘tuned’ to respond to the exact requirements of a job description (and should be), whereas the profile can only be ‘tuned’ to general industry requirements.