Friday, May 27, 2016

What did you say you do?

When you hear the brand name Ford, Kraft, Coke, Aspirin, or Pampers, etc., your mind automatically creates an image of the company's product because you are familiar with the name. That is one-word branding. When you see MD, CPA, DDS, etc., after a person's name you immediately understand what the person does. But when you see the name of a person you don't know, with no clue about him or her, you have no idea what they do, unless they are a celebrity.

When it comes to writing a personal brand for a resume it can be difficult to convey the message in a way that is, crisp, clear, and understandable without creating a mini-biography. Yet in resumes it's important to quickly enable the reader to understand what you do and to create interest in reading the rest of the resume message.

Because you are probably not well known, it's important to concisely say what you do and add a summary value added statement to piqué the reader's interest. The value statement provides the marketing 'hook' that excites the reader's interest.

"And there's more", he said. The reader also wants to know what you are good at doing. This can be accomplished in a tabulated list of your core competencies. The list should contain the most important skills (key words) required by the position being applied for at a bare minimum. This is necessary for ATS scoring.

Once you have captured the reader's interest in 5 seconds or less you can focus on the accomplishments and results of your work. These details are the primary values you bring to the hiring manager and are the reasons you will be called for an interview. The better able you are at providing quantified business value you bring, the stronger the motivation to interview you.

It all starts with your personal brand statement.

Send your resume to for a FREE estimate Today! Then let's talk, no obligations! 

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Why you need 2 resumes today

Actually it's really wise to have 3.

The reason you need more than one file is because your resume is likely to be scrutinized by a computer before a human ever sees it. And that computer uses ATS parsing software to 'read' your resume. ATS parsing software prefers plain text files because it is only looking for text. Graphics, formatting, and other things that humans like to see can confuse it.  Since plain text files are stripped of formatting and graphics, a plain text (*.txt) file is the preferred file for ATS parsing. Therefore always create a plain text (*.txt) file for applying online.

Fortunately for us humans, ATS parsing software can also read most *.doc files produced by Word as long as they don't include graphics and document generate attributes that confuse parsing. So a Word doc file is the second file we should have. Although the software can read doc files, parsing software has less difficulty reading *.txt files.

The third file you probably want to have is the fancy one that is attractive to the eye. The things that make it shine will almost always cause ATS issues and will result in either outright rejection or at least non-response. I call these files "For Handout Only". You can use them to physically hand to people in interviews or when networking, but the risk is all yours if you try to apply for a job with them.

Send your resume to for a FREE estimate Today! Then let's talk, no obligations! 

And visit my website at

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Could you lose your job tomorrow?

It’s logical to ask “Since I am currently employed why should I bring my resume up to today's standards?" The answer is "for the same reasons you buy insurance". It's for recovery from the potential things that upset your life.

Most people wait until they lose their jobs before updating their resume. Often they find themselves in a panic mode, worried about finances, about their family or loved ones well-being, and they may already be financially stressed. They fail to realize that changes have occurred since they last wrote their resume. It's no longer written in contemporary form.

Competition is more difficult today as well. Although the economy is getting better it’s hard to deny that it is still not strong. There are a lot fewer jobs today than there were when the economy was very healthy. Employers continue to be reluctant to create many new openings and making new financial commitments. 

There are still more people searching for fewer available jobs! Companies are overwhelmed with applicants. They use ATS extensively to handle the load. ATS parsing software often rejects candidates because of resume attributes having nothing to do with a person's qualifications. It's not a trivial task to prevent that from happening. Beyond key words there are over 40 different word processing software features that can cause ATS issues! And there are additional parsing error causes beyond the 40 features.

Because job searching today is more complex than in the past it is logical to get "insurance". Get your resume ready for hiring practices used today. Either get help while you are employed and can afford it, or figure out how to do it yourself. Whichever you choose, get it done! 

If you find yourself unemployed without a contemporary resume you are very likely headed for an extended search until you get it right. 

Send your resume to for a FREE estimate Today! Then let's talk, no obligations! And visit my website at

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Got a gap in your employment history?

You're not alone. Many people do. The question is how to deal with them. What do you say on your resume? What do you say in interviews?

The answer is fairly simple for short gaps like 3 to 4 months or so. In those cases you can simply say nothing on your resume because gaps of that length are commonplace. If asked you can simply answer "Job searching".

However, long gaps are a red flag. The reader of a resume is wondering what was going on during that period. That's not a good mindset to establish. It is far better to make a one-line statement that answers the question. An answer before the reader dwells on it gives you a chance to refocus the reader's attention to the rest of your resume. And at interviews you have already answered the question so there is no need to dwell on it.

Keep the one-liner brief and honest. For example, if you were care-taking, say so. If you were raising a family, say so. (Interesting information regarding women who want to re-enter the workforce can be found at If you were pursuing education or a certification, say so. If you were recovering from an illness or accident, say so carefully, including why you are able to work now. If you were incarcerated you have no choice but to be say so.

Admittedly, sometimes an answer will not help. Some readers are close-minded to reasons for gaps. They just don't believe them. You are not able to change their minds if you cannot talk with them, but in an interview situation if you run into an interviewer who is negative about your gap, at least you have a chance to impact his or her mindset.

In extremely long gaps there may be no recovery. These are unfortunate situations that require rethinking what kind of employment, often large steps down, are possible. Since these are the most difficult cases, professional career counseling may be the only solution. 

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

6 things to do to win a job

Job searching is all about marketing yourself. The key is to show how you are the best person for the job, how you are different from your competition.

There are some things your competition will probably not do. If you do them you will differentiate yourself.

Resume - Create a personal brand that says this is what I do and what things I am great at. Include a marketing "hook" that entices people to read further. The reader will give you about 5 seconds to accomplish this.

Cover Letter - Write one, even if it never gets read. Direct it to the hiring manager by name and title, not "To whom it may concern." Say why it is important for you to meet instead of asking (= begging) for an interview. Establish rapport by aligning yourself with the company and manager.

Networking - It's not about me, me, me. Ask questions about the other person to draw them out. This will get them to like you and want to help you

Interviewing - Answer questions crisply and concisely. Don't monopolize the conversation. Always be positive. Make sure to establish what the next steps are at the end of the interview so you are not left wondering what to do if you don't hear back within a particular time frame. At the final interview, ask for the job!

Search Tactics - Call the hiring manager before you send your resume. Make voice contact a priority. Find out what the hiring manager's hot buttons are and tell how you can help fix them. Don't just camp out on job boards like the rest of the 'herd'.

LinkedIn Profile - Take full advantage of this free inbound marketing tool. Enable people to find you by completing all categories of the profile. There is no search key word for lack of detail. Include a smiling or laughing head shot picture. That helps make people feel you are fun to be with, to like you. No picture usually results in no interest.

Marketing is about differentiation. Do what most others will not do.

Get more info at
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Friday, May 20, 2016

“It’s not who you know, but who wants to know you"

That quote makes a very good point. 

When we are job searching it is important to be thinking about what the hiring manager's needs are, not just ours. That applies to how our resume is written and what we say when networking.

When writing our resume it is common for us to be thinking, "What have I done? I better think of everything in the hope that something I say will interest the hiring manager."  Wrong!

Those questions apply when we are creating a base list of accomplishments we can use to pick and choose items from when we write a resume that responds to a specific hiring manager's needs. Today there is really no such thing as a resume that is "all things for all people". Everything changed in the mid 90's with the beginning of the web. With access to a computer, word processing software and the web, we could easily create, edit and distribute documents. Forget about mail and 'sneaker-net'.

To be competitive today it is necessary to find out the specific needs for each job we wish to apply to and tune a resume that responds directly to those specific needs. This makes it possible for readers to quickly see those things that are of interest to them. The rest of our background is of significantly less importance to them.

Likewise, when networking, it is key to focus on the person we are talking to, not ourselves. That is accomplished by asking more questions about them and their interests and opinions than talking about ourselves. This is the approach that will most often lead to them liking us and wanting to help us later on when they ask us about our interests (our opportunity to ask for help).

It is important to find out who wants to know us, and understand why, so that we can be responsive to needs!

Get more info at 
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

How to deal with the salary question

We often feel weak as negotiators because we have the sense that the other side has more information than we do or is better at negotiation than we are. When you have done your homework this is rarely the case.

If the other side has a need they believe you can satisfy they will not want to lose you. They would not be talking about salary if they did not believe they might want to make you an offer. For certain they don’t know what your needs are. Use that to your advantage.

The salary question is often asked much too early for a candidate to negotiate a fair conclusion. Sometimes it is asked during screening calls. If that is the case try to fend off answering. Example: "I'm glad you asked. Salary is important to me but fitting your job needs is more important. Let's talk about the specific needs and how I can help you before we discuss salary."

But no matter when it is asked, if you have not done any research into what similar jobs pay, you will be behind the proverbial eight-ball.

Often, when people negotiate during the hiring process, rather than at the end, they are happier than those who passively accept whatever is offered at the end.

A frequent mistake is failing to negotiate terms until after the job is offered. Many people are intimidated to the point of being afraid to ask for the best terms possible. Other people aren’t aware they can negotiate. Be aware, not intimidated.

Get more info at 
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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

8 things that make cover letters stand out

Whether to write a cover letter or not will be debated forever. Some people read them, some don't. A lot of people say don't bother. But how do you know if a potential employer wants to see one? Ans: Be ready.

To make cover letters stand out, consider doing the following things:

It's a business letter so write it like one. Include a letterhead. A good one might be the top of your resume, name and contact information.

Follow that with the date, hiring manager's name and title, company name, city and state, and a subject line with the exact title of the position you are seeking.

Open by addressing it to the hiring manager by name. Avoid being impersonal. No one's name is "To whom it may concern" or "Dear Sir/Madam".

Make the opening paragraph unique. Reference an important need required for the job and very briefly say why you meet the need. (If you have already spoken to the hiring manager as I suggest to all job seekers, think about how easy the opening paragraph becomes. You simply reiterate what was discussed in the conversation.)

Then tell them it is important that you meet, don't just ask for an interview. After all, you have explained why you are the right person for the job. 'Asking' for an interview is similar to 'begging' for one. 'Telling' them is just the logical outcome of why you should meet.

Next add a few bullet statements about your major achievements and don't copy and paste from your resume. Summarize them to continue to build interest.

Follow with a paragraph that aligns you with them, something of interest to them that you have in common from your research about the company to establish rapport.

Next set their expectations. Tell them you will follow up in a week (and then do it). Don't sit around a week from now wondering why you haven't heard and if you should 'bug' them.

Finally, don't forget to thank them and sign your name.

Get more info at 
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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

11 tips for creating a good LinkedIn profile

Your LinkedIn profile is free inbound marketing. Companies use it to find you but if it is incomplete they will probably ignore you. So do these things:

Your picture: Use a close-up head shot of your smiling or laughing face to immediately set the readers mood to liking you. Without a real picture (don't use the ghost) you may be ignored. 

Your Tag Line: This section is directly under your name. You have 120 characters including spaces to describe what you do and what your expertise is.

Summary: You have 2000 characters and spaces to expand on your personal brand and to summarize your most significant accomplishments, the results of your work, your passions, etc. And unlike your resume, you can be more personal here. You can use the word “I”. I would always add your contact information to the summary. If you make it difficult for people to contact you, they will probably not try.

Experience: This is a very important section. Describe your accomplishments and the results of your work here. Bullet statements and quantified results are most desirable. 

Skills and Endorsements: List your core competencies here. Use industry key words and others that are important to you. People looking for candidates with your skills conduct searches on key words.

Education: Fill this out. It is acceptable to list a school you attended even if you do not have a degree.

Additional Information: This section enables you to talk about your personal interests and other details. Make sure your contact information is listed here as well as in the Summary.

Recommendations: In this section you can request recommendations from people.

Certifications: Sometimes certifications are critically important job requirements.

Groups: It is highly advisable to join groups you are interested in. It is very beneficial to join in on discussions to help get you noticed.

Get more info at 
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Give me some reasons to hire you

Who the are you, what do you do? And what are you good at? Have you ever resolved my kind of problems?

Those are first questions common to all hiring processes. When people look at your resume, the first two things they want to know is your personal brand and core competencies. If you capture their attention they will read further. And it all happens in 5 seconds, or less if you turn them off somehow.
If you get past the first quick glance you will be given another 25 seconds to show them how you can help them fix their problems. You can do this by telling them about your accomplishments, the results of your work, quickly, intelligently and concisely. You've got a half minute total.
Making the mistake of writing only about what your responsibilities were, what the scope of your job was, is likely to be the end for you. You've written about yourself but ignored their needs. They will not go back and reconsider you later. You have too many competitors who did a better job of getting them interested.
Those who make it past the first 30 seconds may get a screening call and be vetted. Vetting will include calling anyone in their network that may know someone or something about a you. They will check LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, Google+ and other media. They may check to see if the you have a blog or website. Warning! Social media conduct can break candidates.
Hiring processes are disqualification processes. Your resume and social media presence are critical to getting interviews. Stay sharp. Find out what the hiring manager's needs are and feed them.

Get more info at 
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

There is no such thing as unemployment!

R U Kidding?! Not really, it depends upon what you do about it. Those who do not have a paid job have the most important, perhaps the most difficult, job they ever had, or ever will have!

Unemployment could be defined as "a state in which a person is actually self-employed, without pay, in a job with the sole objective of getting a paid job, or a different self-employment position that pays."

When unemployed there is one rule to live by: Rule #1 - Don’t wait to be found!

OK, but "How should one job search"? The answer is "That depends". There are many search tactics. However there is one thing they all have in common: The need to network! 
  • Word-of-mouth works for people who are well known in their field, sometimes without a resume.
  • Others are well connected with recruiters who have successfully helped them  in the past. 
  • A few, less than 2%, are successful applying blindly, without introduction, to job jobs posted on job boards or company websites. 
  • More are successful applying on LinkedIn. 
  • But the highest success rate is achieved by people who find ways to make direct voice contact with hiring managers.

They use a number of different search tactics to get there. They always involve their own network and are constantly expanding it by finding people who know the hiring manager or know someone else who does. 

They use LinkedIn a lot to connect with current or past employees of a company they are targeting. They find out if the company has an Employee Referral Program in which their new connection can get a bonus by referring them. In fact this is among the most successful tactics.

They find hiring manager's names on LinkedIn, Google, Annual Reports, company web pages, industry journals, Business Chronicles, and more. They learn successful sales techniques to make direct contact through calls to the hiring company.

They are successful because they don't wait to be found. They make it happen!

Get more info at 
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Friday, May 13, 2016

Why you didn't get the job

Many people feel they can "go it alone" when it comes to a job search. Take the case of Sam. Like most people searching for a new position, Sam does not understand why he is failing.

Sam assumed writing his resume was a no-brainer. He's done it before. Of course that was when jobs were plentiful and companies had to compete for the few available good people. And besides he has a friend who is a good writer who will help him.

Sam has heard of ATS but really has no idea of what it is, how it works, or why it will continue to disqualify him for jobs he is a 'perfect' candidate for. After all, his friend wrote his resume for him.
But Sam's resume is not compatible with ATS parsing software.
And Sam does not edit his resume for each job he applies to so that it is responsive to what the hiring manager needs.
Furthermore Sam makes no effort to find out who the hiring manager is or what his real needs are. He assumes the job description says it accurately.
And Sam fails to realize his competition is doing all the things he is not doing!

Sam does not know how to differentiate himself from the 'herd' of applicants applying to the jobs he is applying to.

Sam is not alone. Few people understand hiring processes today. Few realize that of the hundreds of resumes received, conservatively over 75% are immediately rejected by ATS. And of the remaining 10 to 20 applicants that are passed on to humans for review, half will not pass preliminary screening, 6 or fewer will get face-to-face interviews, of which 3 will become finalists. The one chosen will be 1 out of hundreds that apply! What kind of odds is that?

It has become virtually essential for job seekers to have an 'agent' on their side, someone who is close to new hiring process technology, contemporary resume writing, and who can teach skills that make new search techniques successful.

To do otherwise is wasteful and pretty much guarantees an extended search.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Why ATS is gagging on your resume

Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software is sold to companies and recruiting firms wanting to improve hiring processes and human resources management. Reducing hiring costs is the primary benefit of the software. Altogether there are now over 200 ATS products offered.

ATS products reduce cost. Staggering numbers of resumes are received electronically by ATS rather than humans and are scanned in milliseconds. People require half a minute to glance over the first page of a resume. Thus cost savings are achieved by eliminating people.

While hiring companies are the benefactors of the software, job seekers are not. Parsing software that ‘reads’ resumes is the key tool used by ATS to eliminate those whose resumes do not meet predefined requirements. And parsing software is seriously flawed. Chief among the flaws is the inability of parsers to read graphics. If the parser encounters a graphic it may not attempt to read any further. All information presented thereafter may be lost. 

Other flaws include how information is presented (format), section titles used, and even what kind of file the document is saved in. Compounding this is the fact that document creation software, for example, Microsoft Word, makes document creation simple and efficient, but in the process introduces graphics attributes into the document that are invisible to humans. In total there are over 40 attributes that may be unwittingly introduced into resumes.

Resumes created using document creation software will often cause a gagging reflex in parsers causing rejection or non-response regardless of how well an applicant meets requirements. The losers are not only candidates, but companies who will not see some of the best candidates because they are rejected by the software that is supposed to help them find good people. 

Fortunately there are a few professionals who understand how to create resumes that are ATS parsing compatible. 

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