Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Are you a passive job searcher? Do you want your search to be discreet? Here are some Do’s and Don’ts:

Stealth is the path to follow!

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.

If you want to utilize LinkedIn, be very careful. For starters, DO NOT connect with anyone on LinkedIn who is in HR, job search consulting (like me), recruiting, career planning, resume writing, etc. Because when you get connected, LinkedIn publishes that fact for everyone to see on your page and your connection’s page and on the page of everyone you are connected to!

Instead of connecting to people and businesses who you would like to have help you, email them privately and ask them to be discreet! For instance, my email address is prominently displayed on my profile just for people like you. LinkedIn has no idea you are emailing me.

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 or joke about it. 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. 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 Don’t say 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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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Don’t start writing your resume by writing your resume!

The results you have achieved are the primary benefits of hiring you!

Getting your resume in shape is just the starting point of your job search. You need to get it right before you even think about applying for jobs. But often you’re not ready to start writing because you haven’t first considered what hiring managers need to know about you, the accomplishments and results of your work. To be ready to respond to new opportunities, you need to have a great resume ready, but not just any resume, a resume that focuses on the results of your achievements.

Why are results so important? Because hiring managers have goals to meet. Their success, their compensation and future promotion are what drives them to achieve or over-achieve their goals. Likewise their bosses, the ones who approve their hires.

It follows that if hiring managers are having difficulty achieving their goals with their present staff, they will look for people who have achieved the kinds of results that are applicable to their goals and problems. 

The more results you have that the hiring manager can relate to, the more interest there will be in interviewing you. So preparing the achievements part of your resume is not only the most important part of your resume, it is the most difficult to write properly.

The best results statements start off with a strong action verb, then the result followed by how it was achieved. State the result first where the readers' eye will pick it up first! Write it in the most crisp, concise manner that adequately makes the statement. 

To a hiring manager, the strongest results statements are quantified because the typical manager is numbers oriented. Sometimes it is not possible to quantify the result. When that’s the case a qualified result will suffice. Regardless, developing strong results statements should be the starting point in writing your resume.

By focusing on your results you will differentiate yourself from your competition. Differentiation is what marketing is all about. From many years of reading thousands of resumes I can assure you, most of your competition fails to understand the importance of results statements. Their resume is focused on what they did without any consideration for what the hiring manager needs!  Don't write yours that way.

Your resume is all about you, as it should be. But if you ignore responding to what the hiring manager needs, the hiring manager will ignore you!

Regarding the Experiences section: Because “Experience” only tells what you did, it misleads you as you write your resume. I would add "and Accomplishments" to the experience section title to set your mind to writing about accomplishments and results.

Once you written your accomplishments and results you can start on your resume. Years ago everyone had an objective on their resume. Contemporary resumes no longer use an Objective. That has been replaced by the ‘personal brand statement’. Brand statements tell the reader what you do and what your core competencies are. There are various ways to fashion the branding statement, but one thing should be kept in mind. The reader is going to give you 5 to 30 seconds to quickly scan your resume and make a decision whether it goes into the “read further” pile or the dreaded other file. If the latter is where you end up, they are done with you! Period! Fini!

With 5 -30 seconds in mind, you need to keep your brand statement brief and to the point, crisp and succinct so that the reader quickly gets to your results statements. Don’t write a biography or the reader will never get to your results! 

Tell the reader what you do without any self-assessing adjectives. Get the reader to call you and assess how good you are. Self assessments can do into a cover letter; leave then out of your resume. 

Follow your brand statement up with a neatly formatted list of Core Competencies.

Now that you have identified who you are, how to contact you, what your brand is and what the results of your achievements have been, you can write about your education, certifications, awards and other information. These will be more or less important depending on the job, the job description, the industry and other factors. Some will be included, some will not. Generally speaking these items will appear at the end of your resume although there are exceptions, for instance new grads or certain professions.

Keep in mind most resume readers prefer to see your work experience in reverse chronological order. They will look for gaps in employment, so if you have any, I suggest making one-line statements indicating very briefly what was happening during the gap. For example "Homemaker 2005 - 2007" or "Care giver 1999 - 2001" or whatever was going on in your life. One line! What this does is to answer the question that will come up and not let the readers mind be focused on the gap and away from what you want them to focus on, your results. 

If you like this blog, please follow me or leave a comment. I love encouragement but I also respect different opinions. You can get more job search help by visiting or by emailing me at

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

For job search candidates a good resume is extremely critical. And so is an excellent LinkedIn profile. Don’t neglect it!

As the salesperson of your services you want to maximize your market size, don’t you? Then LinkedIn is an important place to be. It is used by employers and recruiters to find candidates, and that's a fact. 

But candidates need to realize it's a passive job search tactic if all they do is post their profiles and sit back and wait for someone to find them. Going on the offense is the best way to search. That means continuously improving your profile, clearly and concisely stating the results of your work and keeping it current. 

What you did in past jobs is interesting, but hiring managers are looking for the results of what you did! Your results are the benefits of hiring you! Occasional ‘tweeking’ of your profile to improve the results statements and organizing them in priority importance will attract more people to you. Visit this link to find more job search tips.

Proactively identifying companies you'd like to work for is also an important part of your search. LinkedIn is a valuable resource for researching companies, getting names to connect with, preferably hiring managers and pursuing more names in those companies and networking with them effectively. 

It’s been said that LinkedIn's success rate is actually extremely low. I don’t buy that. But it's not LinkedIn's success rate anyway, it's yours and yours alone to manage.

If you like this blog, let me know by clicking +1 below. Add a comment too. And get more job search help be visiting or by emailing me at

Monday, February 20, 2012

ATS and Key Words – It’s Not Just the Key Words that are Causing You to be Rejected!

It's amazing to me that more people don't understand that ATS is not JUST about key words and phrases! There are some things that cause some ATS parsing software to become completely fouled up, even unable to 'see' what's on a resume. And ATS software companies won't tell you what they can't do! That would be negative marketing. The problem for job seekers is many resume professionals don't understand it either. Seek help! Contact me.

If you are getting rejections or no response, or are preparing your resume for an upcoming job search, sign in to this blog and let’s talk!

If you like this blog let me know by clicking +1. Better yet, add a comment. Find out more about Job Searching by visiting or by emailing me at

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Do you tend to talk too much? Be honest with yourself, because it could destroy an interview!

Think about how you communicate with people: 

  • Are you one of those people who can’t stand a moment of silence in a conversation? 
  • Do you consciously or unconsciously feel the need to fill the void? 
  • When asked a question, do you pause briefly to formulate a response, or do you just start talking, perhaps rambling on with background information before you answer the basic question?
  • Are you so desperate to get everything you want to say out of your mind that you talk without any pauses to allow the other person to interject a comment?
  • Are you afraid of losing your point if you get interrupted by the other person? 

Well consider this: If you begin to monopolize the conversation, the interviewer will begin to find a way to shut you down and get rid of you!

If you are a talker, you need to do a lot of interview practice! 

  • You need to practice verbally. Do it out loud with a friend or someone who will cut you off if you don’t answer the question with a crisp, concise answer until you automatically control the temptation to elaborate. 
  • Think about what you're saying. 
  • Avoid saying things which really are fluff; things that add nothing to the answer. 

In an interview you if you talk too much you are actually more difficult to talk to than a person who says very little, who is, perhaps, a little introverted.

Why even bring this up? Because you need to understand your audience. Interviewers, whether they are hiring managers, HR interviewers or external recruiters, or people you might possibly wind up working with, have a tight schedule and not a lot of time for each candidate. They have a list of questions that must get asked in a short time. 

Find out more about Job Searching by visiting or by emailing me at

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Regarding the hiring process. (Or is it the disqualification process?)

If you want results from people looking at your resume or LinkedIn profile, show them the results of your work, don’t just tell them ‘what you did’. Hiring managers are results-oriented or they wouldn't be managers. They have problems to solve. That's why they are looking for people who can do the things they need done. Understand their needs, not just yours! Tell them about the results you’ve accomplished!

Creating a list of the things you’ve done is the right place to start. Note: The operative word here is ‘start’.

After you’ve created your list, ask yourself ‘so what, why did I do this’? Did it achieve something? Did it accomplish something? Or ‘Why was I asked to do this? Was there a business reason? What was it? Did I accomplish it? Do this for each item in your list.

You’re after the answer to ‘What was the result?’

Some results can be quantified. They might be in dollars, percent, time, quantity or some other measurement, e.g., ‘Saved $XXX by improving YYY’.

Some cannot. Can you turn those that cannot be quantified into qualitative results, e.g., ‘Turned this around by doing that’?

Creating strong results statements can be difficult, so it deserves the most time and attention when creating your documents. If you do it well you will reap the rewards. If you don’t try, your competition will.

If you like this blog let me know by clicking +1. Better yet, add a comment. Find out more about Job Searching by visiting  or by emailing me at