Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Let's say I am a hiring manager. I have your resume. I see what you have done. But I'm scraping it!

Food for thought: Let’s say I am a hiring manager. I have your resume. I see what you have done. But I’m rejecting you!

Wait a minute. Why are you doing that?

Ans: Well I don’t see any results of your work? Next resume please.

But wait. I put a lot of effort into writing my resume. Don’t all of the things I’ve done impress you?

Ans: That’s the problem. I see is what your responsibilities were, how impressive the projects you worked on were and what you have done in each. And those things are important. But you haven’t shown me that you understand my needs and can help me so I’m rejecting you.

Look, I have to skim your resume quickly because there is not enough time in the workday to read every resume end to end. In the first 5 seconds I’m going to decide if you have interested me within the top third of the first page of your resume. If you haven’t, you are toast. If you have, I’ll give you 25 more seconds maximum to cause me put you in my ‘review further’ pile. Those are the resumes I will spend more time on.

Does that make you angry? Welcome to the real world of busy hiring managers.

If a busy hiring manager wants to hire someone he or she wants to know 3 primary things: Can you do the job I need done? Do I like you? Will you fit into my group?

If your resume is all about your responsibilities, what you have worked on, what you have done and what your credentials are, but does not talk about what your accomplishments were, what the results of your work were, the hiring manager is probably not interested! Your accomplishments and results are the reasons the hiring manager will want to talk to you.

So what? Look, there are plenty of other resumes that tell the hiring manager everything he/she needs to know to go to the next step. Furthermore, by not being responsive to the hiring managers’ needs you have shown that you haven’t figured out which job requirements you should respond to. Being ‘responsive’ means you need to edit your resume to the hiring managers’ needs if you are to differentiate yourself from your competition. Those needs may be different for each job you apply to, which means you may need to edit your resume for each job. If you don’t do it, trust me, your competition will!

Oh, and don’t forget this. Don’t send in a document that is crammed with verbiage, has narrow margins and tiny font size or difficult to read font type because it will probably be scrapped before the reader reads your name. Even if you buried results somewhere in it the hiring manager may not read far enough to find them.

Does that sound harsh? Hey, you are writing a resume. It is about you as it should be, but feed the hiring managers’ needs too, crisply and concisely. Then you might get a call.

Think about it.

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You can get more help on this topic by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com and by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What is the cost of failing to get professional job search help, even when you still have a job?

Simply put, it is the cost of failing to be able to conduct a top quality campaign!

The cost can be measured by lost income, the cost of obtaining good quality help, psychological stress, family strife and personal health of the job seeker and those dependent upon him or her.

The problem grows as the time to find the next opportunity grows.

Joseph Juran first discussed cost of quality analysis in 1951. In the 1970’s Philip Crosby defined COQ (Cost of Quality) as the Cost of [Quality] Conformance plus the Cost of [Quality] Non-Conformance. In the 1970’s Xerox Corporation internalized COQ throughout the corporation and added a third dimension, the Cost of Lost Opportunity, defined as the cost of lost business by doing nothing about the quality of all operating procedures, not just product quality.

How does all that relate to job seekers?

When job seekers strike out on their own to conduct a job search campaign they often fail to conduct a quality search thereby losing or delaying a new opportunity for themselves. They may have created a flawed resume and/or cover letter. And they may fail to think seriously about what their search strategy will be and all too often they fail to understand proper tactics that will support their strategy. These four elements of a good job search, resume, cover letter, strategy and tactics, are non-trivial subjects. What those of us who have searched in the past have done to find a job or career has been immensely transformed by modern technology.

There is a cost associated with losing a job opportunity that grows with the length of time it takes to find the next opportunity. The income lost by extending the time it takes to find the next opportunity is enormous compared to the cost of reducing that time by one week of salary and benefits. The cost of securing top quality search assistance normally does not exceed one week of former salary. Think about it, the return on investing one week of salary to a search is a pittance of the total income lost without a job.

The best time to invest in preparing for a top quality job search is when one is employed and not under the financial pressure of being without a job; one can view it as a kind of insurance policy. But most of us wait until our employment status goes wrong. Perhaps that is human nature.

Today there are some job search consultants who understand the new technology, strategy and tactics changes from a technical perspective. You can get more help for your job search by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. 

Comments to this post are very welcome.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Your resume should be saved in at least three file formats.

Every job seeker needs three files of their resume, each for different purposes. There are many different hiring procedures used by companies looking to add staff. Some are manual systems. Some are fully automated. Some are a mix of the two. They may ask you to submit a particular file type (*.doc, *.txt, or other type), they may ask you to attach it to an email, copy/paste it in the body of an email, or copy/paste it into their online application form.

Why should that be important to you? It’s important because you have to submit it in a manner that is compatible with whatever system the hiring company uses. In fully automated systems a human won’t see your resume unless ATS parsing software grades you into a ‘high’ fit. Many automated systems are fussy about what file format they will read. So if you aren’t careful about the file format you submit, you might get overlooked. But that’s not all. There are also some companies that utilize OCR readers to read your resume and upload it to a server. In that case not only is the file format important but also font size and a multitude of other things.

As hiring processes have evolved to include more technology, document creation that is compatible with the technology has become more complex, requiring additional knowledge and expertise. If you are in doubt about how to make your resume and cover letter technologically robust it is advisable to get help.

Let’s look at some hiring processes:

Automated hiring procedures typically use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software, usually accompanied by parsing software. Some parsing software can ‘read’ many different file formats. Others can only read a limited number of file formats. All can read *.doc (Word 97-2003) and *.txt files. Not all parsing software can handle *.wps, *.pdf, (*.rtf sometimes) and others. So it is prudent to err on the side of caution and keep a *.doc and a *.txt file as a bare minimum.

If a manual system is used, meaning a human will read the resume and not rely on automation software, usually any file format can be used. But there are exceptions. If the hiring process is a mix of manual and automated, sometimes the document will be manually printed and then scanned by a Optical Character Reader (OCR) which will load the document into a server for further processing by ATS and parsing software. Please be aware, some companies have not upgraded their word processing software to the latest Word version, so they may not be able to open your *.docx files.

Optical Character Readers (OCR scanner) have limitations on what they can convert into ASCII text and load onto a server. When part or all of the document cannot be converted into ASCII text, OCR will convert it as a bit mapped file such as a *.jpeg. But most parsing software is looking for text, not jpegs and either won’t read the bit mapped information or will abort the parsing process altogether. If either happens your resume is doomed. This as one key reason you need to have a *.txt document. (Another reason is the company may insist that you submit only a text or ASCII text document (text and ASCII are the same thing).

So what is the third file format you need? That is the file that you might want to use FOR HANDOUT ONLY to a warm, live person with eyes who can read and appreciates beauty. The FHO file should never be used to apply to a job online, electronically. Why? Because to make it beautiful will require you to utilize document creation techniques that will usually cause ATS parsing issues! Because you will not apply electronically with this file, it can be saved in any file format you find convenient to use.

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Get more help on this and other job search tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. 

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just because your resume is beautiful to look at, don't assume ATS parsing software can read it!

Some can, many cannot. The parsing software your resume will be scrutinized by could have been written by any of the over 100 companies that write ATS software. Or it could be written by a 3rd party software company. And it could also have been a “home grown” variety, that is, written by the hiring company.

The point is, there are many different parsing software packages, each different from one another, with unique capabilities …. and limitations.

Why be concerned? Good point! You shouldn’t have to be. But the reality is if you are applying to a company that uses ATS in their hiring process, they are likely to be using parsing software to search for key words and phrases and other information to determine if you are a possible fit. But not all can ‘read’ certain formatting attributes that may be an intimate part of your resume. So it is advisable to get help from someone who understands the technical side of parsing software, what and how it ‘reads’, how your resume is stored on a database server and most important, how your resume should be written so there are no parsing issues.

If a human reads your resume you don’t have to worry. We have eyes and can see everything on it. But if ATS is used at the beginning of a company’s hiring process, before a human sees the resume, your success in getting contacted to set up an interview may be seriously compromised.

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Get more help on this and other job search tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com. 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Some fundamentals that job seekers should understand about Recruiters and the Recruiting Industry

After my first career as a hiring manager primarily in high-tech industries I joined a recruiting firm and became an executive recruiter where my eyes were opened wide regarding the recruiting industry. In this discussion I want to share a few of the things I learned with all job seekers. There is much more beyond what space will allow here that I can share with those that are interested.

The salient point of this discussion is this: Is the external recruiter who calls you capable of helping you? There are plenty of good recruiters to go around so choose wisely! “Capable” is the operative word.

By “external” I am referring to recruiters who work in a recruiting firm, not recruiters who are internal employees of a hiring company.

Here are some rules of engagement:

Rule #1 –
 Never pay a recruiter for help! Recruiters are paid by their client companies.

Rule #2 – Never assume a recruiter works for you! Again, recruiters are paid by their client companies. You are a meal ticket, not a client.

Rule #3 – Find out if your recruiter is capable of helping you before you align yourself with him or her! Again “Capable” is the operative word.

Rule #4 – Make sure the recruiter does not change anything in your resume without letting you review and approve it before it is submitted to their client! Find out why the recruiter wants to make changes. Make sure any changes represent you accurately, honestly, are grammatically correct and have no spelling errors. Many recruiters are not good resume writers.

Rule #5 - Does the recruiter appear bothered or annoyed by your questions or unable to answer them thoroughly and confidently? If yes, do not walk away, run away!

Here are some things you might try to find out about a recruiter before you engage with him or her:

Is the recruiter speaking to you about a real job? (Watch out for the old “bait and switch” sales approach! They may only want your resume for possible future openings.)

Does the recruiter understand what you do in enough detail to represent you to their clients intelligently?

Will the recruiter agree not to change your resume without your permission and review of the edits?

How much experience does the recruiter have recruiting in your industry?

How much detail does the recruiter know about the industry the job is in?

How much detail does the recruiter know about the company?

How much detail does the recruiter know about the hiring manager?

Recruiters can be an excellent tactic to support your job search strategy. There’s a lot to learn about the recruiting industry, what kinds of firms there are and how they work, what the pros and cons of using recruiters are, how to search for a recruiter, what you should ask and how to attract recruiters to call you. If you are going to use them, do it with your eyes wide open!

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Get more help on this and other job search tactics by emailing me at kl@hoochresumes.com or by visiting http://www.hoochresumes.com.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Your Job Search could be like sailing on uncharted waters. Don’t get hung up on a reef.

Get your collateral documents into good order. Decide on the best search strategy for you. Become knowledgeable about all the search tactics that can support your strategy and learn how to execute them properly.

Every day I hear from people who have been out of work for a while, sometimes years. What went wrong with their search? Is it really just them? Or could it be what they did to prepare or how they conducted their search? Or could it be their resume and/or cover letter that is holding them back.

I also hear from people who are currently employed but want to make a change. Sometimes the last time they searched was 20 years ago. And they feel they can do what they used to do to find a new job without any professional help.

And I hear from new college grads with great aspirations and little or no work experience struggling to find non-sales jobs.

Things have changed in the world of job searching. There are contemporary ways to write a resume, much different from the past. If you get advice from people who don’t understand that you will probably wind up with an ‘old’ style resume … and cover letter.

The electronic age has changed everything and it has been exasperated by the economy and unemployment: how you write resumes has changed, how many people are searching has changed, how many resumes companies receive has exploded, how hiring processes have changed in reaction and how people review your documents is much different than in the past. You are sure to be aware competition has increased dramatically. Differentiation is more important today than ever.

Professional help is not a luxury, it is a necessity. The cost of not getting help early pales by comparison to the time and money you lose by not doing it right the first time.   If you are not in tune with the present regarding job search strategy, tactics and collateral document preparation, how can you expect to compete? The message is clear; you cannot. The conclusion is also clear: get professional help.

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Navigate your way through the uncharted waters starting here! http://ow.ly/dgg2J

Monday, August 5, 2013

One important reason you should avoid using resume templates.

Generally they are not ATS-ready; they may not be parsed correctly, or at all. Generally they include features that make them look very attractive. That’s probably why you picked one to use. But that choice may be the reason you don’t get many responses. It may also be the reason you get rejections. Parsing software cannot see; It has no eyes, so it doesn’t care about beauty. It reads binary coded text.

If a company does not use ATS software to make their hiring process more efficient and less costly, using a template should not be a problem. It’s also not a problem if you physically hand your resume to a human. But if ATS and parsing software is used in the hiring process you may run into a pile of trouble (the ‘bottomless pit’).

Some templates are free and that certainly is appealing, but you may just get what you paid for.

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Send your resume to kl@hoochresumes.com for a free critique. And visit http://www.hoochresumes.com for more advice.

Comments are always welcome here.

Anonymous commented: Helpful info...is there any way to discern which employers use ATS software? My only knowledge of this suggests that companies with 1000 or more employees are using it. How accurate is this? 

The answer is: Yes, there are some clues like requirements to fill out long questionnaires (they are often created by ATS) or requirements for text or ASCHI text files of your resume. So make sure your resume is ATS-ready and you won't care. I provide Word doc and text files to my clients as well as a For Handout Only copy to present at interviews.

Almost all large companies, most medium size companies and even some small companies use ATS in their hiring process. Price is often not affordable to small companies.