Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Get a job by avoiding ATS

ATS is the nemesis of job applicants if their resume is not compatible with the limitations of ATS.

With the proliferation of resumes submitted for every job opening, it’s no wonder companies need help in handling the work of sorting out candidates. That’s where ATS steps in. It helps them handle application volume and minimizes hiring costs by eliminating some of the staff required to assess resumes.

But it often fails miserably because it is easily tripped up by documentation attributes that are unwittingly built into many resumes, things that have nothing to do with a candidate’s qualifications.

The fact is, talking informally with hiring managers before applying is the highest percentage way of getting hired. It’s possible to find out exactly what their hot buttons are, why they are hiring and what are their key requirements are. It is the starting point for selling skills that match requirements. It establishes rapport with the decision-maker. It provides a competitive advantage over those who don’t do it. And it avoids ATS completely.

Fortunately, there are many ways to identify hiring managers. They don’t always work but the time spent trying them is better that the time spent applying blindly applying online for a job only to face ATS before a human. Not that using job boards and company websites is a bad thing. It’s a good way to gather needed job-hunting information, just not a good way to apply.

One is to do a Google search using search words such as the logical title of the hiring manager, the company name, and perhaps a location. Search for the likely title by trying different ones. Sometimes searching for the hiring manager’s boss enables working downward to the hiring manager. Senior managers are often extremely helpful.

Another way is to do a similar search on LinkedIn. This may take you directly to the hiring manager. Read profiles. Try to learn something about them that you have in common, so it is easier to write an appealing connection request. Do not use the standard impersonal LinkedIn request, and never ask for a job. Those things rarely get positive results.

Check out the Business Chronicle for a specific city if the company location is near one. Very often there’s a wealth of information about things companies are doing, expansion plans, new products, etc., which provides the necessary leads.

Use Annual Reports and 10k’s to find top officials of the company. Reach out to them. If successful, it makes reaching out to the hiring manager by saying “So-and-so suggested I call you”. Nobody risks offending a top manager.

These are four ways to get started. They may not always work, but if you don’t try, they certainly will not!

Try the approach and see for yourself. 

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Monday, September 7, 2020

Job Seekers are Salespeople by Default

Obviously, there is no way to get a new job without selling the reasons you should be hired. The easiest way to apply is online, but it is full of obstacles you have no control over such as ATS and ghosting. This makes it the least productive way. Fortunately, given a little coaching, there is a way to job search that minimizes ghosting and ATS problems. And it results in more formal interviews and more job offers.

Avoid HR. Avoid ATS. Talk directly to hiring managers, not HR or systems you cannot control. The hiring manager is the decision-maker to sell to. Making informal contact directly with hiring managers puts you in the driver’s seat. Establish rapport. Discover the critical needs. Sell to the needs. Then edit your resume and cover letter to reflect what you have learned and send it directly to the hiring manager.

Good salespeople start first by prospecting, identifying who the decision-maker is. They prepare and internalize scripts that get them past gatekeepers. They learn what to say when initially speaking with the decision-maker and they establish rapport. They learn how to discover what the decision-makers chief pain is so they can sell their solution to the pain. They view objections as an opportunity to sell and learn how to overcome them. They make more sales than their competition. These are all trainable skills. Get a coach if you need one.

Sure, you will ultimately need to apply online which will process you through ATS and HR. If you have sold your benefits to the hiring manager well, he or she will be asking HR to set up an interview. And because you have established rapport, he or she is likely to be responsive to you, not ghost you.

Does this approach always work? NO! But it is more successful than most other approaches to job searching.

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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Create a cover letter that will get read.

There is a reason many cover letters don’t get read. One reason people consider them a waste of time is because too often they are poorly written, mundane, not unique, they say what everyone else says. They are addressed to “To whom it may be concerned”, they don't attract attention. They ask for an interview in a way that sounds more like begging, almost apologetic for bothering the reader. They don’t display confidence. They don't establish rapport.

Write a unique cover letter for each job you apply for. One letter cannot fit all jobs.

It is a business letter. Make it a formal one.

Address it to a person by name, preferably the hiring manager (the decision-maker). Make an honest effort to find out who the hiring manager is (there are many ways). It is rare you cannot get the name of the ranking HR manager at the very least.

Grab attention quickly. State the logical reason an interview should happen, choosing compelling words. Do not ask or beg, call to action.

Demonstrate confidence; do not use words like “I think”. Demonstrate that you know what you are saying.

Research the company and the hiring manager. Establish rapport and align yourself with them by telling them how you fit in with what they are doing, or their company philosophy.

Close the sale. Establish that you will call them if you do not hear back in some specific time-period . Tell them up front so they will expect it! That makes it easy to get past gatekeepers.

Do not forget your manners. Thank people for their help and attention.

Sign "Respectfully", your name.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

What to do when you’re hunkered down for the duration

During WWII (we number then now you know) many people planted Victory Gardens to grow things for the war effort and to supplement their own food needs. Guess what. We’re at war again, only this time we’re the troops and the enemy is Covid-19.

So one of the things the better half of our family has done is to plant some cool weather “starter plants” in an outside garden they created. On the inside, they decided to start some plants from seed that they would nurse and plant outside when the weather warms up. They bought some kits through Amazon and now have a mini-nursery that looks somewhat like the real commercial thing.

Try it. You just might have some fun.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

What to do while social distancing

OK, I get it. I’m practicing social distancing, cleaning and sanitizing like it’s a religion. I don’t want to become infected and I sure don’t want to be a germ-taxi that gets others infected. You could call me a Coroniac. You too, I hope.

The personal, financial and other impacts of this pandemic is unnerving at the least. Social distancing is a necessary part of the solution and it has repercussions on all of us. 

In order to maintain my sanity, I have found that keeping myself busy with something that is necessary and worthwhile, whether it is home-schooling, fixing something that I’ve been putting off, working on a hobby, or something else.

Here are some ideas that might help you:
-Establish a daily routine. Your old one has been interrupted, and everyone needs one.

-Take time to breathe some fresh air.

-Clean, then disinfect what you’ve cleaned, whether it’s yourself or surfaces and Stay Well my friends. 

-Exercise any way you can, regularly.

-Update your resume to be ready for the recovery. Even if you are fortunate to still be employed there’s nothing like being ready to make a change in the future.

-If you’re a consultant, update your marketing materials or your dossier.

-If you’ve been job searching without success, get some help learning why and what you can do about it. Besides your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile, consider things like your improving your search strategy, interviewing skills, salary negotiation and other skills.

-Learn how to enable your resume to pass safely through Applicant Tracking System software when you apply for jobs.

-Find out how to learn about jobs that are not listed anywhere; be ready when the tide turns.

-Learn good networking technique while social distancing.

-Help others. Think about what you can do for others without having to make close contact. 

I mention these things because I’m a resource for some of them if you need help. It’s what I do. Shout out to Karl (that’s me) at kl@hoochresumes, or just visit my website, 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

On Being Likable

The most likable people generate their own positive attitude. Their attitude does not depend on everything going well and everyone being grateful for their good work. Their attitude is positive simply because it is positive. It's infectious. They're fun to be around.