Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why you should not apply for jobs online

Many people tell me they can't seem to get traction in their job search. They just can't seem to win interviews. When I ask them to describe how they search, most tell me they spend a lot of time searching job boards. When they ask me for help, I always start by reviewing their resume so I can get an understanding of their background and see if the resume itself may be causing problems. Then we talk about search tactics, mostly about the "who you know" principle and a lot about how to meet the right "who you don't know" people.

The most successful job seekers today realize that getting a new job today is far different than years ago. There are many people seeking fewer openings. The web makes it simple to apply online so everyone is doing it, sometimes without considering the requirements for the positions they are applying for. That floods the job market causing the supply of applicants to be far more than the demand for them. If you fit this behavior model perhaps it's time to try a new approach.

* Applying Online is Rarely Effective – For most professionals, I find that applying for jobs online is only slightly more effective than applying for jobs advertised in newspapers! Far less than 2% of jobs are found on job boards. The most successful job seekers I know practice a more productive search method.

They speak to hiring managers for jobs they are interested in, before they apply, to determine what problem needs to be resolved and to find out what critical skills the successful candidate must have.

In the conversation they are able to generate the hiring manager's interest by describing how they have resolved similar problems. Once they understand the hiring manager's pain they are able to edit their resume and cover letter to focus on needs that may not be adequately described in the job description.

The most successful people reach out and expand their network by seeking every opportunity to schmooze with anyone who may know hiring managers. For instance, they find that connecting with employees in their target companies is a very effective way of getting an interview. Companies often have an employee referral program that can earn the employee a cash award if the candidate is hired.

There are other reasons why applying online is not effective:

* Applying online doesn’t Differentiate a person from their competition. Differentiation is essential for successful marketing and is impossible if job seekers cast their resumes in concrete by posting it online job boards.

To differentiate, use Job Boards and Company Websites for identifying opportunities and vetting companies, not for applying online.

Differentiation is achieved by doing things others are not doing. Those who feel like they are making forward progress by camping on job boards are not marketing themselves well. They are simply becoming just another "one of the herd".

* Posting a resume online doesn’t allow you edit it for the requirements of specific jobs.
People who may be looking for you have specific needs and requirements. Resumes that attempt to be "one size fits all" don't work in today's job market.

Editing a resume for the needs of each opportunity is essential for success.

There are many more useful ways to spend your time than posting a resume on job boards. People become good at job seeking by practicing their interviewing skills, learning effective salary negotiation skills, and getting their base resume and cover letter into shape so that it is easy to edit them once they learn about a specific manager's 'pain'.

The takeaway is this: Use job boards judiciously. Avoid 'camping out'. Don't immediately apply to jobs you see. Learn about alternatives. Plan and budget your time on all activities you decide to employ in your search. 

Send your resume to kl@hoochresumes.com for a FREE estimate Today! Then let's talk, no obligations! And visit my website at bit.ly/1TEqj93.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

5 Reasons why ATS is rejecting you.

There is a lot of information about the causes of ATS rejection of job applicants. Some of it is correct and some of it is conjecture passed on with good intentions, but without an understanding of the facts. The following are the key reasons for rejection or non-response by ATS.

Qualification. Many times applicants are simply not qualified. 

Key words. Sometimes people ignore using key words exactly as written in job descriptions or fail to use them in context. 

ATS parsers. ATS parsers cannot extract text located inside graphics. Frequently resumes are created using word processing shortcuts comprised of graphics embedded into the document. Borders, headers, footers, tables, charts or text boxes that contain text are typical  examples. For instance, if a name and/or contact information is located inside a header, ATS will not know who the person is or how to contact them. If skills or other information is listed in a table, ATS will not know it is there. If a border is used, nothing will be read.

Columns. Some people use text columns to format a resume. ATS parsing software reads data across the full page, one line at a time. This jumbles columnar information into sentences that make no sense.

PDF files. Most ATS software cannot read PDF files. Although some providers claim they can, what they fail to say is "converted PDF files". There are two types of PDF files, Native and Scanned, plus many variants. How are you to know which variant your file is? And how are you to know if your resume will be scrutinized by an ATS that is capable of reading PDF files?

The bottom line. For the best online application success, use keywords exactly as written in job descriptions, do not use word processing creation tools, and don't apply online with a PDF file. When applying online, use txt or doc files. And make sure you are qualified before you apply.

Send your resume to kl@hoochresumes.com for a FREE estimate Today! Then let's talk, no obligations! And visit my website at bit.ly/1TEqj93.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Is ATS gagging on your resume?

Are you like many people who do not seem to be able to get responses when applying for jobs? Have you even had their resume created by a professional resume writer and see no change in the number of responses you get?

There are only two causes for this to happen:

1. The resume may not be written in a manner that achieves interest or ATS is gagging on it. Writing a resume that results in interviews take knowledge and creative talent. Getting through ATS successfully requires an understanding of what it cannot do and knowing how to avoid doing things that will make it gag.

2. ATS may be the culprit. ATS uses data extraction software to retrieve information it is searching for. If ATS is rejecting a resume or giving it a low score, it is very likely the applicant will not receive any response. Often the problem is in the information extraction process itself. Here are some of the most common causes.

Your name and contact information is in a header.

Word processors create headers by giving you a box to write things into. A box is a graphic. Parsers are used to extract data. Parsers can parse text, but not graphics. When a parser reads a file, if it encounters a graphic it will stop or skip over it. It will not read anything located inside a graphic. Thus if your name or address is located in a header, ATS will not know who you are or how to reach you!

You used a table in your resume.

Many people use tables set up by word processors to record information in their resumes. Tables are graphics containing text. Just as in headers, information located in a table cannot be read, therefore is lost.

You are using text boxes to create your resume.

Text boxes are also graphics containing text. The result of using them is the same as above.

You have put a border around your resume.

As you might expect, nothing will be extracted from the resume.

Your resume contains multiple columns. Parsing software used to extract data reads completely across the page, line by line. This causes information in one column to be intermixed with information in the next column located on the same line, resulting in nonsense.

There are many other word processing tools that can cause parsing issues.

Footers, WordArt, Shapes, Charts, and other things created by word processing tools are some examples.

The rule of thumb is avoid trying to be fancy when creating the resume file that will be used for applying to positions on job boards or company websites.

The takeaway is this:

For applying for positions online (electronically), don't use word processing tools that create the headers, tables, text boxes, or borders. These are almost guaranteed to cause problems for ATS. And avoid being fancy.

If you want to be fancy, create a separate resume that you reserve for situations where you can physically get it into the hands of a human. I call this the For Handout Only file. Don't use it to apply for jobs electronically.

Send your resume to kl@hoochresumes.com for a FREE estimate Today! Then let's talk, no obligations! And visit my website at bit.ly/1TEqj93.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A little creativity can go a long way in a job hunt.

 “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” 

OK, I agree, job hunting sucks! So why not get creative and begin having fun with it.

Occasionally I have found that one of my clients did something truly original, exciting, and demonstratively unique to land a new job and they didn't start out by just pounding the job boards and applying to everything that piqued their interest. On the contrary, I found that these clients listened intently to my skills development advice and then took their learning to the next level. These are the stories of three such people.

One client, I'll call him Phil, asked many questions about job searching skills and he learned the techniques I teach very well. Equipped with a resume we had worked on together, Phil interviewed and landed a job very quickly. But after starting the job some troubling things became apparent. It wasn't really the way things had been described to him in interviews. The answers to some questions Phil asked in interviews turned out to be less than truthful. Sometimes that happens during the interviewing "courtship" process. Despite trying to work his way through the work issues, Phil reached the point where he simply had to resign and start over.

In his renewed search, Phil spoke to the hiring manager before applying for the position, just as I had coached him, and took it one creative step further. Once Phil understood what the hiring manager's critical problem was, he edited his resume and cover letter to focus on past accomplishments that could address the issues, just as we had discussed and he was invited to interview. At his first interview, instead of asking what his priorities should be in the first 90 days, Phil already knew what the hiring manager's key problem was, so he presented a detailed proposal, a "first 90 day plan",  about how he would address the problem. The CEO was very impressed and told Phil he likes people to text or email additional questions or thoughts after interviewing. So at each of next three interviews, Phil offered something of value to them, rather than just asking for info that would benefit him.  And after each interview he submitted additional thoughts and information instead of just asking the usual "how is the search going" questions. Using this unique approach Phil was able to assess reactions enabling him to feel more confident the job would go well if he accepted an offer. Phil won the new job.

In another example of creative job hunting, Suzanne, another client, was seeking a new marketing job in her industry. Knowing who all of her company's competitors were, Suzanne signed up for an upcoming industry conference. The conference website listed the names of all the prominent attendees, some 125 CEO's that would be attending. Suzanne emailed each of them, asking to meet with each over coffee while at the conference.  Ten CEO's accepted and met with her. Within the 3 days of the conference Suzanne learn a great deal about their needs. She casually mentioned some accomplishments that addressed similar needs whenever she could and before the conference ended, Suzanne was offered jobs at two of the companies. She went well beyond my job search coaching to find new opportunities she had known nothing about, and did so in record time.

A third client, we'll call him Gus, was a great salesman.  Gus landed a job with a company he was targeting in a totally unique manner. Gus researched the company's products and potential customers thoroughly, learning minute details about the company's premier product. He developed a sales 'pitch' about its benefits and how it could resolve customer problems. He then picked one of the company's potential customers and presented the product to them without indicating he was really not an employee of his target company.

The end result was the customer agreed to buy the product and called the hiring manager at the target company, telling the sales manager that despite not buying the product in the past, he was going to buy it now. He told Gus's prospective employer the reason he was buying was because of Gus, and he wanted Gus to be the sales rep for all future products he might buy. 

The hiring manager called Gus and offered him the job, explaining the call he had received from the customer. Despite the fact that Gus was not an employee, a fact he could not admit to the customer, he was so impressed with Gus's unique approach, he wanted to hire him because his staff had not been able to sell to this important customer for years. He was elated to have the order and Gus was hired immediately.

The takeaway is this. Like baby birds taking their first leap, these clients used their creativity and guts to accomplish the end goal. They made things happen rather than waiting for something to happen. Many people are very creative on the job. There is no reason not to extend that creativity into a job search. 

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Send your resume to kl@hoochresumes.com for a FREE estimate Today!