What I am about to discuss may seem like a small thing, or perhaps even like I am nit picking. However, as a Recruiter with over twenty years of experience in corporate and executive search recruitment, I have looked at a ton of resumes.
Just today, I was reviewing a stack of resumes that I pulled from my printer and the phone rang. By the time I got back to the stack I had somehow managed to get the copies out of order and found myself very annoyed because 80% of the professional resumes I viewed did not have the candidates name and contact information and page number on each page. Why is that important , you may ask? Well it took me a long time to match type styles fonts and places worked among other things, so that I could match up the appropriate pages of the resumes.
The lesson here is: Resumes should always have the contact information on each page – in case this information gets lost, mismatched or whatever. It made me wonder how many recruiters just get so frustrated trying to match that they either throw the copies away or judge the candidate as lazy, unprofessional or not very smart.
I actually took the time to match the resumes but it did take an unwelcomed amount of time and I know that busy recruiters (like myself) do not have a lot of time to spare. They say the average recruiter spends about 10 seconds reviewing a resume. Honestly, I think this is accurate. If you are good at what you do in the recruitment world you can decide if a candidate has the minimum qualifications in a very short time.
Job applicants take heed: It is a very competitive job market. Make it as easy on the resume reviewer as possible. Add these very small but important items to your resume.
Written by Deb Sutton, MS SPHR
CEO/Founder, HR Pros, LLC
Originally posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 9:30 AM
Interestingly, you don't hear as much about networking as you did five or ten years ago. I am not sure if that because it is so ingrained in our job search strategy or if it has become somewhat passe. I do think it is important as ever to get out into the community and be seen. Networking should become a way of life - not just to be used when job hunting but to continue it throughout your career.
Here are some great tips to use when networking:
1. Your Job Search Strategic Plan (yes you do need one) should include the attendance of at least one networking event a week. There are numerous events out there. Check your local newspaper for Chamber of Commerce Events, Check out www.meetup.com for a comprehensive list of meetings in your area. Some other ideas are: PTA, Homeowners Associations, Civic Clubs, Networking Groups, Women Business Groups, College Alumni Groups. these are all potential places to hear about job opportunities.
2. Take care to dress for success when you attend a meeting. You will be making an impression on those in attendance and much of our initial impression has to do with initial appearance and non-verbal signals.
3. Observe who is attending the meeting and look for Centers of Influence. These are the people that are at the center of conversations and are more than likely dominating the conversation (in a good way). People are taking notice and listening to what they are saying. Join in the group and make sure you make a connection with those individuals. Exchange business cards and ask them to talk about themselves - do not talk about yourself until the very end of the conversation.
4. At the end of the conversation, if possible, tell the contact that you enjoyed meeting them and that you would be more than happy to refer business to them in the future.
5. When you return home from the meeting, hand write a short personal note to the individual and reiterate your pleasure at meeting them and your interest in referring them business. Do not make this a shallow attempt. Really consider someone to talk to about them and tell the new contact that you gave their name to "so and so". Following the steps outlined above will go far in building your personal network. You must nurture and feed the network, or just like a lovely flower, it will die. Do not break the cardinal rule: Only keeping in touch with your network when you need them: ie: you are looking for a job. This is a rude and unacceptable business practice and will promise to give you a bad rap. Hopefully, networking will be something that you do as a habitual strategy in business. People gravitate to others who are genuine, helpful, and kind. They see right through those who contact them only when they need them.
Hope these tips are helpful.
As always - All the best in your job search,
Preparing for a Telephone Interview
Originally posted on Saturday, July 09, 2011 1:55 PM
In a recent poll of Fortune 500 employers, 95% said that they always conduct a telephone screening interview prior to inviting the candidate to meet face to face. When asked the purpose of such a phone interview, they pretty much unanimously responded: to screen out less qualified candidates and to ascertain (as well as possible) if the candidate may be a good fit for the position. Based on the information learned from this poll, it seems that the Telephone Interview is a VERY important part of the Job Search Strategy. Knowing how to prepare for and maneuver a successful phone interview is extremely important tool for today’s Job Hunter. Here are some very practical yet useful steps you can take to prepare for this monumental step in the job hunting process.
1. Absolutely make certain that you have an answering machine and that it has a professional recording on it. Having an “unusual” message is a big turn off to hiring employers. More than likely they would hang up rather than leave a message on a recording that is inappropriate or silly. And, of course this is an opportunity lost.
2. Make certain that you alert your housemates, children, friends, or spouse to answer the phone professionally and to take meaningful and legible messages. Making a mistake on the name of a caller or jotting a wrong phone number can mean the possible loss of an interview.
3. Designate a place in your home where you can have privacy to speak to employers and set it up like a professional office as much as possible. Make sure you have note pads and pens, a clock, free of rock music or TV noise so that you can conduct a professional phone conversation.
4. Consider the phone interview just as or more important than the face to face. After all, if you do not wow them here, you won’t be getting a face to face. Be prepared. Have the Job Description in front of you and review it thoroughly. Do your research on the company and the interviewer. Use the company web site as well as registries like Hoovers and Dun and Bradstreet. Check out the interviewer by Googling them, using the company website and using a social media site like LinkedIn. You may have something in common with the interviewer that will give you points like: graduating from the same college or being from the same hometown.
5. Have a list of commonly asked questions that you have answered at your fingertips also. Make sure you go over these several times and talk out loud when you answer the questions. It may be beneficial to record your practice exercise and take note of where you need to be stronger or less intense, etc.
6. During the interview call, stand up. Make sure you are calm and not breathing too heavily. An interviewer will take this as a sign of nervousness. Your speech should be clear, audible and not too fast. Remember you are trying to present yourself as a professional and communication skills are being evaluated.
7. At the end of the phone call, remember to ask for the next step. Make sure you ask who, what, where, and when. Also try to ask if you will get a call back. This is difficult because it takes a lot of courage and risk of rejection. However, it is a perfect time to get important feedback. It is possible that something you said may have been misinterpreted and this gives you an opportunity to correct any misconceptions. Write out your ending: “May I ask what the next step in the process is? Will you be recommending me on for the next step? If not, may I know why not?” Here is where you can hopefully fix any negative misunderstandings. Finally, end the conversation by thanking the caller and letting them know it was a pleasure to speak to them and that you are extremely interested in pursuing the position. Get their email address if you don’t already have it and follow up with a professional email again reiterating your interest in the company and the position and giving them a key point in the phone interview that reinforces you are a stellar candidate.
Follow these steps and the chances of a face to face interview will be noticeably improved!!
As always – Best of luck on your job search!!
Don't be a Debbie Downer
Originally posted on Monday, August 08, 2011 5:45 PM
Do you have an attitude of gratitude, or are you a Debbie Downer? Coming from someone named Debbie - I am upbeat and positive most of the time. Obviously none of us are perfect, but I can honestly say that I am a pretty confident subject matter expert when it comes to projecting a positive attitude, especially as it relates to the job search arena Here are some helpful hints for those of you in the job market to help you:
~ Keep on Smilin'~
1. Take care of yourself. Get enough sleep (7 to 8 hours a day), and eat healthy. This stressful time often gives us carte blanch for eating anything and everything we desire. Remember you need to fit into your interview suit. Try to exercise regularly - even if it is just a 20 minute a day walk. A walk will not only get you fresh air, increase endorphines but it will also give you 20 minutes to plan your job search strategy or to prepare for that up and coming interview.
2. Preparation ~ preparation~preparation - Of all the important advice you can get concerning the job search, preparing is KEY. There are so many ways that you need to prepare, I will try to cover the most important. Research the company. Google or Bing the company's web site and read it thoroughly. Know about products, people and places they are located. Practice Interviewing - have a friend relative or even better, a Career Coach go through a mock interview with you. This can be done in person or on Skype. A prepared job candidate will have a more confident attitude. Your self confidence will improve with each interview as long as you keep trying to improve.
3. Do not let the stress of life get you down. If the news stresses you out, avoid the TV or newspaper the day of or before the interview. If your mother-in-law stresses you out, try to avoid her during the days leading up to the interview.
4. Laughter is a great antidote for negative thinking. Try to watch funny TV or movies instead of something dark and intense. Be around people who are upbeat and encouraging. Listen to something light and fun on the way to the interview. I recommend "Silly Songs" by Veggie Tales or Bach or Beethoven (although not funny they are calming). The act of job hunting whether you are unemployed or not and just looking for a better opportunity, is difficult. Staying focused and upbeat is a good way to get comfortable prior to the interview. Hopefully using one or more of these ideas will make your job search strategy more comfortable and ultimately bring about that ~ Dream Job.
As always - All the best in your job search,
Originally posted on Friday, August 26, 2011 10:18 AM
My experience in the world of work spans over 20 years. I have a lot of awesome stories about the workplace (some good and some not so good) that I hope to share with you along the way of your journey. Working as a Temporary Employee is one of those really great stories of success. I will get to this story in a minute. Temporary Service Companies are full fledge employers who employ a contingency work force for businesses and industry. The companies need a worker for a generally specified length of time which is deemed "temporary." The Temporary Services company is your employer, however you provide your work skills to a third party business. You show up at work at their work site, you use their equipment, you follow most of their work rules, you are supervised by one of their employees but you get your paycheck and benefits from your employer, the Temporary Services Company.
Good Reasons to Work as a Temporary Worker
As always - All the best in your job search,
Owner and operator of HR Pros, LLC, an HR consulting company handling full HR services on a project basis: writing policies, procedures, and handbooks; providing recruitment and talent management expertise; employee relations projects, and training for mostly small to mid-sized employers.