Monday, July 27, 2015

Script Writing for Making Job Search Calls

If you wish to be successful making calls to the hiring manager it is wise to prepare and internalize scripts that will navigate you through the gate keepers and engage the Hiring Manager. These are the key things to do:

The call objective: The overt objective is to get an interview, overt because blurting out that you are a job seeker will put the hiring manager in a defensive mode, so don’t do it. The right approach is to establish rapport, gain knowledge of what the hiring managers pain is, speak to how you can help, and get his/her email information so that you can send a resume and cover letter that have been edited to be responsive to his/her pain directly to him/her.

Ask the hiring manager if he/she has time for the call. Don’t give up with a negative answer. Set expectations; establish a better time to call; then do it.

When you get a yes answer, begin establishing rapport. Use words that will cause the recipient of the call to be receptive to it. Do some research. Do you have anything in common with him or her? Google his/her name. Look at his/her LinkedIn profile.

Be crisp and concise. Get to the point quickly. Once you have established that it is ok to talk, don’t abuse the privilege. Resist building background. Time is important to the recipient. Lengthy dialogue is likely to motivate the hiring manager to get you off the phone, politely or otherwise.

Try to maneuver the conversation toward setting up an interview (your objective).

Always be looking out for objections and how to overcome them in real time. Learn to be ‘fast on your feet’.

Practice out loud, preferably role play with someone who can be challenging. Practice until you have internalized your scripts.

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

Monday, July 20, 2015

If your LinkedIn profile is incomplete you may never be discovered!

For job seekers: Your profile is a place to conduct free inbound marketing. Take advantage of it.

A complete, well prepared LinkedIn profile is often the path that leads to getting hired. Many companies use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature to identify potential candidates for open positions. There is considerable cost for companies to conduct searches on job boards, but using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature is free to them. Thus LinkedIn is the preferred approach.

Here are some guidelines for preparing a good profile:

As a preface for all profile sections, whenever you see a drop down button, click on it. You will often find some interesting information topics you can add.

#1 – Your picture: It really IS worth a thousand words! It is the first thing people look at when they open your page, even your closest friends. Often people searching for candidates won’t bother reading your profile if a picture of you is missing.

The optimum picture is a close-up headshot of your smiling or laughing face. Your smiling or laughing face is inviting; it causes the readers mood to immediately be set to liking you.

#2 – Your Tag Line: This is the section directly under your name. Linked in gives you 120 characters including spaces, so make it effective. For example: “Senior Project Manager – Agile, System Analysis, Financial Analysis, Procurement, Data Systems, Risk Exposure, Six Sigma.” In a nutshell this tells the reader what you do and what your expertise is.

#3 – The Summary section: Here you have 2000 characters and spaces to tell people what your personal brand is plus other information. Use important key words in context here. Summarize your most significant accomplishments, the results of your work, your passions, etc., in this space. And unlike your resume, you can be more personal here. And you can use the word “I”.

Add your contact information here too. LinkedIn has a place for contact information but it buries it way down in your profile. Do your readers a favor and add your contact information to the summary so people can reach you quickly and easily.

#4 – Experience: This is perhaps the most important section for job seekers. In it you have the opportunity to say why you should be hired by writing specifically about your accomplishments and the results of your work. Accomplishments and results are the chief reasons you will get called for an interview. Keep them simple and easily read. Bullet statements are desirable.  So are numerical results.

#5 – Skills and Endorsements Section: You should list all your skills (core competencies) here using your industry’s key words as well as others that are important to you. People looking for candidates with your skills will conduct searches on key words. Feed their needs.

#6 – Education: Fill this out. It is perfectly acceptable to list a school you attended even if you do not have a degree from it.

#7 – Additional Information: This section enables you to talk about your personal interests and other details and provide your contact information.

Make sure your contact information is listed here as well as in the Summary if you are job hunting. If you make it difficult for people to contact you for a job interview, they will probably not try.

#8 – Recommendations: In this section you can request a recommendation from people and prioritize the recommendations. Very useful.

#9 - Certifications: Sometimes certifications are critically important job requirements. Don’t forget to list them.

#10 – Groups: It is highly advisable to join groups you are interested in and very beneficial to add or join in on discussions in those groups. That will help get you noticed.

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

Are you job searching and ready to make calls to the hiring manager?

When you are trying to make voice contact with a hiring manager, plenty of corporate offices, and their human resource departments in particular, behave guardedly against unknown callers.

When making calls, your attitude is important and your telephone personality must be engaging, upbeat and respectful of busy people’s time. Many job seekers get cut off because they sound underwhelming at best and unprofessional at worst on the phone.

When people answer, it is often best to ask them their name and make a nice comment before letting them know who you are. Showing them you are listening and interested in them will usually get you started correctly.

When you are a job seeker it is usually not wise to blurt that fact out. Doing so puts the recipient in a defensive mode almost immediately, and you need their help. It is far better to simply ask for their help: “I need your help about something”. Most people love to give help if they don’t feel pressured.

At this point it is important to have well-rehearsed scripts prepared. The scripts will be different for gate keepers than for the hiring manager. For gate keepers the object is to get forwarded to the hiring manager. For the hiring manager the ultimate object is to discover what problem needs to be solved so you can describe how you can help. That is the sales part of the conversation. The initial objective is to keep the hiring manager interested in talking to you long enough to get to the sales part.

A key throughout all conversations is to demonstrate good listening skills, display confidence, be upbeat, and sound nice to listen to. You will need to speak clearly, at an easy to hear pace, be crisp and to the point, and vary inflection in your voice rather than be monotone.

A hiring manager will know in the first few seconds whether you are a person of interest or not. They will recognize if you are listening, confident, and someone they might like on their team in the first few moments of speaking with you.

If you can’t get through to the boss, be sure to politely thank his/her administrative assistant for his/her time. This person will likely become one of your biggest allies in the company.

It is not easy to make contacts over the phone. Keep calling, politely but persistently, until you reach the person you need to speak to. It is not advisable to leave messages with people or voice recorders. They often do not get through or are deleted. And busy people often make promises and are often too busy to keep. So make sure to set expectations that you will call back in a particular timeframe if you don’t hear back from them. That will make the next call easier because they are expecting your call.

If you don’t achieve your objective after speaking to the hiring manager, you are not done! At the very least establish that person as part of your network. Find out who he/she knows that you should try to contact. Expand your network.

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

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Calling the hiring manager is an effective search tactic. But do these things before you call.

I have repeatedly said: Do not send your resume to a company until AFTER you have spoken to the hiring manager.

Picture yourself making that important call as you are attempting to make actual voice contact. You have run into gate keepers, successfully navigated past them and have reached the manager’s office. An administrative assistant answers. What should you say to get through to the decision maker?

The answer is script writing and practice, preferably with role playing.

Script Writing is a tool you need to master in order to break the barrier to winning an interview. You will need scripts for the receptionist or whoever first answers the phone, the gate keepers that follow after, the hiring manager’s administrative assistant and the hiring manager. As in physical fitness training, it’s the reps that make you better at it.

Scripts have to be written in your words and practiced until they have been internalized and flow off your lips without sounding ‘canned’. Practice your scripts out loud with someone who can play the recipients role. Role playing is the way to hone your skills and improve the messages and delivery. In role playing there is no negative outcome, nothing to lose, everything to gain. As in physical fitness, reps achieve goals.

I cannot emphasize the value of role playing enough!

A helpful aid in making improvements to your scripts is a voice recorder. You can use a smart phone with a recording feature or a video recorder or even a tape recorder. Recording video is better than just audio because it helps you prepare for interviews as well by highlighting mannerisms you may wish to change.

Some thoughts to consider for the scripts and the actual calls are:

Keep your scripts very brief and very pointed. The listener is busy, does not know you, realistically does not care about you, and will find a way to get rid of you if you ramble, build background to your message, etc. Delivery should be crisp, concise, and to the point.

Ask the recipient for their name and address them by it. People generally like that personal touch.

Speak clearly, confidently and at an easy rate of speech so you can be clearly understood.

Do not leave messages on a recorder. Messages will likely be ignored and deleted if they don’t know you. (Emails are likely to be deleted for the same reason.) If you don’t make voice contact with the hiring manager, try again at another time.

Listen to responses. Listening for objections is the only way to figure out how to overcome them. Listening for positive responses enables you to reinforce the call and ask more questions.

Ask for help. Most people like to help and are more likely willing to give help when asked.

Avoid blurting out that you are job searching. There are some exceptions to this advice, but most often it will put the recipient in a defensive mode, driving them to end the call.

Remember, other than the hiring manager, his/her administrative assistant is the most important connection you can have. Develop a positive rapport with this person.

You do not want to get transferred to HR unless you are seeking an HR position. HR is the junk yard dog of gate keeping, and generally proud of it.

If the connection is bad, stop and call back.

It is easy to recognize scripts that are being read, and even easier to get rid of the person reading them.

Karl has been coaching job seekers since 1999. He can be reached at