Being my first post here I thought I would jump in with something we can all agree on. As I post more I assure you that you Leftists are going to hate me. For Starters I am a Constitutional Conservative and hate all things Socialist to include Welfare and Unemployment, however, this is about getting my feet wet so here goes.
Looking for a job in today’s economy.
What I have learned while spending 4 months in transition. Yes transition is the new buzz word for unemployed. In this quick rundown I will go over the simple things I learned to get back to work. Things have changed considerably in the last few years with regards to the job hunt.
With the U6 number hovering around 14% everything has changed. In the past when an employment opportunity was posted employers would get 20 resumes with 2 or 3 being good quality candidates. In today’s market the companies are flooded with resumes for entry level jobs. One company posted that for a middle manager position they received over 900 resumes; with the national average of postings getting around 1100 resumes it’s easy to see how yours gets lost in the stack; If it gets through at all. Many companies are now using software to weed out the unqualified. When it does get through you have 7 seconds (national average according to a survey done by WSJ) to get that persons attention. Make your resume stand out.
What I did: I took my chronological resume and used it as a; what not to do template. I took class after class and learned that it’s about the wow factor. Your resume has to be what you can do for the company in bullet points. I am going to go over what and how I used it. Remember each resume should be for each specific job you apply for; There no longer is a 1 size fits all resume. I created a master with multiple examples for each of my resume areas and used the ones that fit the best with the job I was sending that resume to. Get rid of that tired old-fashion outdated rediculous OBJECTIVE, They know your objective is to get them to hire you.
After the heading I added a Summary. The Summary contained my career title and experience adding its benefit to them. Example:”Dedicated Field Service Manager with 10+ years of experience. Consistently achieved record-high customer satisfaction rankings, improvements to the bottom line through customer focus and service agreements.” Experts warn about going over 10 years as it may date you, however 10 years shows a professional level of experience so I used 10+ instead of 15.
Next was my Expertise; I made sure to bullet point this as well as use Italics to stand out. This is your skill set and should jump out at prospective employers. I wrote around 100 expertise points (put them on a master) so I could mix and match. Each resume I sent out had 8 to 10 expertise points.
Skill & Accomplishments: should always be a reflection and supporter of your expertise. I wrote little blurbs on how I used that expertise to make my employers money. For example: “Strong customer service skills resulted in recapturing lost revenue by growing service agreement revenue by $3.6 Million annually.” I used my Customer Service Skill to show: the problem (lost revenue) my expertise (Customer service skill) how it was a solution (recaptured lost revenue) and result (increased revenue to $3.6M). Always use quantitative numbers if possible; do not spell the numbers use digits (3 instead of three).
Career Progression: This is where you do a limited chronological order. Remember to be descriptive and brag about your accomplishments. Make them want you. Do not just post the job description. Example:
Job Title – Company Name Year from – Year to
Brief Company description
• A few Bullet points about what you did. Again use numbers to show the Return on investment.
• I would use 4 or 5 for each company or Job title.
Use LinkedIn. Make your profile a reflection of who you are Career wise. Companies are on the record as often checking LinkedIn to “look up” prospective candidates.This is a wonderful tool to get your resume past the HR roadblock. For every job I applied for I would search for a person at that company through LinkedIN. I watched my “who’s viewed your profile?” to see who from what companies was looking at me. What I found was many of the HR Managers and hiring managers would view my profile after they received my resume. I took the approach that each job gets 1100 resumes on average so I was going to be aggressive. Example: Today I applied for a “document manager” position at “Docurite” (made-up company). I would search on LinkedIn for Docurite and see who I was connected to via 1st or 2nd level. For first level I would contact that person, tell them I was interested in Docurite as a company and ask them if they had a few minutes to answer a few questions. Everyone will say yes; people love to talk about themselves and their work; this can be done over the phone, but I found people appreciate you buying them a cup of coffee. I would ask about general culture, work environment, and how they liked the company. Once that rapport was established I would let them know I was interested in the document manager position and ask their advice on who I should talk to; most of the time they will offer to make the introduction. If not then ask if there is a referral bonus (many companies offer referral bonuses for employees to refer new prospects), if there is; offer to let them collect it – who doesn’t want free money?” Give them 2 copies of your resume; have them hand one to the hiring Manager and to HR for the referral bonus. It’s always good to at a minimum get the name of the hiring manager for that position. Be bold and contact the hiring manager. Remember there are 1000 or more people after that same job; if you were looking to hire someone are you going to pay attention to the person sitting at home not really interested or the person that is coming to you for that position? If by the off chance you somehow offend the hiring manager; is this really the culture you want to work in? A recent survey said that most Companies hire based on referral and Networking. Be both.
The Interview: Once you have gotten to this stage they know you are qualified, now they are trying to see how you fit in. How do you fit with Docurite. What do you bring that the other 3 Interviewees don’t. Research Docurite and have facts and press release information ready to share. Show them you have an active interest in them as a company. DO NOT ever go negative in any way (even if they tell you to go negative). Turn everything into a positive. If they ask about a bad boss (we’ve all had them); do not tell them about your worst boss or about a bad boss. Explain to them about a minor conflict you had and how you resolved it and learned for that experience. Turn that bad into a good. Example: “Mr. Smith can you tell me about your worst boss?” “I’ve never really had a “worst boss” but I did have a minor disagreement about a customer issue. We sat down and discussed the issue; He listened to my point of view and then explained to me that I did not have all the facts as to the big picture, In the end I knew that no matter my stance he was willing to listen and I became a better employee”. Dress for the job at a higher level. I cannot tell you how many times I was looking to fill a Field Service Engineer position and was amazed at how many people showed up for the interview under dressed. I literally had one candidate show up in jeans and a Concert T-shirt. I was courteous and went through a quick interview. Simple rule: If you do not take the interview serious and professional do not expect a prospective employer to take you serious. Always get a business card from every person you talk to including the receptionist. If you are a note taker make sure you ask first and take notes. If you are not a note taker do NOT ask if you can, people get offended if you ask to take notes and then don’t; they may feel you think what they said was not important enough for you to write down. When asked if you have questions ASK THEM. I have always used a couple of closer questions. 1) “What are the next steps in the hiring process and when can I look forward to hearing from you again?” This question lets them know you are interested, and want to move forward; usually they will give you an indication on where you stand. 2) “30, 60, 90 days or whatever your timeline what key goals are objectives do you want to see met in order for you to feel that I was the perfect candidate to bring on board?” This shows them you are very interested in their opinion and gives you a great understanding on what they think the key points of the job are. 3) “Are there any concerns you may have that I did not address or could expand on that may cause you pause in moving forward with me as the key candidate for the Document managers position?” I love this question. It gives you a chance to correct any misgivings they have. I always get great feedback on this question.
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After the Interview: After every interview I would go out to my car and hand write a small thank you card to each person that I spoke with including the receptionist. The card was a 1 or 2 line thank you for taking the time out of their busy schedule for the interview or to make you feel welcomed. Seal them in individual envelopes and hand carry them back in if you can, or mail them immediately. The following day sit down and write each person a follow up email thanking them again for their time, and hitting on a few key areas where you can be an asset. Show them you listened to what they had to say. Do not be afraid to contact them again if you do not hear from them in the time table they gave you for moving forward.
The last thing is; do not get discouraged. When you are talking to others any negative feelings can be felt and turn potential employers off. You will get many no’s on your way to that yes. It’s a numbers game that you have to play. I was really interested in 2 positions that I felt I was perfect for that I was passed over on before I got the yes on my current position. Looking back I can see how they were not a perfect fit, but this one is. If you don’t get hired usually when you look back you can see how it really wasn’t the perfect fit. Don’t be desperate; and fall for the “money” question. They know what they want to pay for that position, avoid answering it if at all possible.
Good luck and keep your head up