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 And visit his website,

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 And visit his website,