Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to job search and maintain your sanity.

The single biggest reason many job searches become extended is failure to get good professional help early in the search. Financial, emotional and personal relationships often suffer as a result. 

Maintaining sanity comes from balancing work and free time. And free time won't occur unless the elements of work are planned, organized, prioritized and conducted well.

Here are some thought starters. An effective job search requires learning how to to market and sell yourself. Selling the benefits of hiring you is quite different from selling the product or service of a company.

There are five components to marketing and selling yourself: Strategy, Tactics, Resume, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Profile. Any of these that are not properly prepared for may cause an extended search.

What strategy is appropriate for you? 
  • You could broadcast your resume widely to as many companies you can think of. 
  • Or you could target specific companies. This is most appropriate for professionals and those who have a specific industry or discipline they wish to pursue. 
  • You could also do a combination of the two approaches, in which case you need to understand the potential impact on the search tactics you may want to use.

What tactics will you use? The tactics to consider are: 
  • Using Job boards: How should you use job boards for the strategy you choose?
  • Using Recruiters: Should you use a recruiting firm? Do you understand how recruiters work, how they can help, how they can hurt you? There is an important relationship between using a recruiter and a broadcasting that could hurt you.
  • Networking: How and where should you network? What approaches work, don't work?
  • Hiring Managers: Do you understand what motivates them to want to interview you? Do you know how to find out who the hiring manager is and how to reach out directly to him or her ? Do you understand how to get past the gatekeepers? This is the most effective search tactic regardless of which search strategy you use
  • Interviewing: Are you prepared for different types of interviews? Do you understand the different categories of questions that may be asked? Are you prepared to answer the tough questions?
  • Salary Negotiating: When salary comes up, how will you answer? Do you know how to negotiate compensation?

Resume and Cover Letter: Writing proficiency is crucial in creating professional collateral marketing documents. So is understanding how managers are motivated by resumes and what they look for. 
  • Do you understand how to write a resume or cover letter that will generate interviews?
  • Do you know how to write documents that will differentiate you from your competition?
  • Are you a proficient writer with a strong command of grammar, spelling, punctuation and resume organization?
  • Are you current on what is considered 'best practices' in contemporary resumes?
  • Can you craft a cover letter that is not boring and mundane like everyone else's?
  • Do you understand how to write a resume that is compatible with ATS parsing software?

LinkedIn Profile: LinkedIn is the most powerful inbound marketing tool for you, and it is FREE! What could be better?
  • Do you understand how to  write it in a way that it works for you while you conduct your search?
  • Do you know how to use the many tools available to you on LinkedIn?

To be sure, job hunting is never simple. Today competition is extreme and there are more pitfalls than in the past. One thing that hasn't changed though is stress level. It's important to maintain a balance between your "job search" job and your life. Therefore it is important to plan and execute your search efficiently and effectively. If you can achieve daily goals you will feel that you have free time to recreate. 

Professional help in planning and executing your job search is a remedy that can help you achieve a balanced life while searching for that next opportunity.

Get more info at Get a FREE resume assessment today! Send your resume to Then let's talk, no obligations!

Monday, April 18, 2016

How to leave your job for something better

If you have decided it's time to quit and move on to a new job, for whatever reason, stealth is usually your best plan.

More than one person has lost their job because their plans got back to the wrong person. They lost the advantage of moving on their own terms and wound up job searching at a disadvantage, as one of the unemployed.

If you plan to leave your job, Rule #1 is Shut Up About It!

Stay under the radar. Don't expose your intentions with anyone. If you don't it can work against you to share what you are doing with others. Even your closest friends may slip up and talk about it with others. Word gets around even when you are sure there is no way it could happen. You are sure your closest friends would never betray you. Well maybe not intentionally, but mouths become loose under a lot of circumstances.

Consider my friend Sam who lost his job before he was ready to search for a new one because his closest confidant at work shared his intentions in confidence with a friend who slipped up and told a friend who told a friend, etc. His employer quietly find a replacement for him, then let him go.

The moral? The best strategy for leaving a job is a surprise strategy!

Get more info at And get a FREE resume assessment today! Send your resume to Then let's talk, no obligations!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Should I use a PDF file of my resume to apply for a job?

Don't be too quick to say yes!

It has been said that ATS software is used in over 60% of U.S. companies. Assuming that is true, if you apply for a job online, chances are your resume will be read by an ATS parser before a human ever sees it. Besides, ATS parsers will re-format it anyway before presenting the high-scoring resumes to a human.  This is done so that all resumes are formatted exactly the same for the top candidates to be easily compared by humans.

You could  be mislead by those who claim PDF files can or should be submitted. PDF files cannot be 'read' by most ATS parsing software (note that some companies that write parser software claim they can read PDFs). Besides, parsing software is blind. It does not see what you and I see. It can only read the binary coded version of the text stored on a hard drive.

So a beautiful resume, whether saved as a PDF or other format, doesn't matter to a computer. What matters is if your resume also contains attributes your word processing program introduces unbeknownst to you.

Therefore, if ATS gets your resume before a human sees it, as is common in hiring processes that use ATS, arguments like making it beautiful or protecting it from those who would alter your information is a moot point. Having said that, I recommend having a very attractive PDF file copy of your resume to hand out to humans in networking and face-to-face interview situations.

The only file type that is absolutely compatible with parsing software is plain text (txt), because all formatting is removed. (Even txt files should be edited to make sure information is presented in the manner parsing software prefers).

Most Word doc files are safe as long as they are free of certain attributes inserted by Word when one uses some of the tools Word provides to make document creation easy. That's unfortunate, but a fact..

By the way, as most people today know, ATS parsers check for the presence of key words that are in the job description. So make sure you read job ads carefully and don't forget to insert the keywords you are qualified for, exactly as they appear in the ad, into your resume. And use them in context if you want to get a high ATS score.

Need help? Get more info at 

Get a FREE resume assessment today! Send your resume to Then let's talk, no obligations!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Hm-m! Why not use a resume template?

They are cheaper than paying a professional resume writer.
They are easy to use.
They are attractive to the eye.

"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur!" - Red Adair
If you are not a good writer, good speller, know proper grammar and punctuation, or know makes a resume ATS compatible, how will a template help you?  Yes they are easier to use and they can be attractive, but they are risky to use when  applying for a job.

Almost all templates are not compatible with ATS parsing! They may not be parsed correctly … or at all.
It is true that resume templates are often attractive and easy to use. However, that attractive format may be the very reason you don’t get many responses. It may not be ATS-ready. In fact most are not. Resume templates usually include features that cause incorrect text parsing which cause rejections or non-response.

Parsing software does not have eyes, therefore does not care about beauty.
It cannot see what you and I see. It can only the ‘read’ the binary code that represents your resume. You are better off applying electronically with a text (*.txt) file which is loved by parsing software.

But if a company does not use ATS software to make their hiring process more efficient and less costly, then why not use a template?
The problem is, how do you know for sure whether they do or do not use ATS software in the front end of their hiring process? 60% of all U.S. companies use ATS. Of course it certainly is not a problem if you physically hand your resume to a human who can see.

Some templates are free, and that certainly is appealing.
 And you may just get what you paid for. Think about it.

Get more info at 
Get a FREE resume assessment today! Send your resume to Then let's talk, no obligations!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Why you should not use word processing table creators when writing your resume.

Word processing software has been written to simplify  the creation of documents and it does a great job. For instance, you can create neatly organized tabular information that is extremely attractive to the human eye by utilizing a word processor's table creator. The table creator enables a neatly arranged set of boxes organized by a selectable number of rows and columns in which you can store words, numbers, etc. The boxes can be made visible or invisible. But even the invisible ones are graphics none-the-less.

ATS resume parsers are looking for text. When a parser encounters a graphic, what it sees looks like gibberish, including all information encompassed within the graphic. Such information is 'lost'.

Therefore when a parser encounters a table it sees gibberish and cannot 'read' any information contained within.

Use tabs as a work-around.

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Friday, April 1, 2016

5 reasons why Silence is golden in an interview

Silence is a useful expression, often effectively amplified with body language, facial expression, or other non-verbal sounds when you are:

  • Testing to see if you've answered the question adequately
  • Making sure you are not monopolizing the conversation
  • Implying doubt or incredibility
  • Encouraging the other person to talk
  • Negotiating salary

"The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Lord, Keep your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth . . .. . . .. . . AMEN!" anon.


The corollary to this quote is this mechanical engineer's advice: "Make sure brain is engaged before putting mouth in gear!"

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