For the past few weeks, I’ve been applying to jobs online. As a Career Coach, I want to be informed of what’s going on in the cyberspace job hunt. Ick..the job boards are such a joke. I wonder if the HR Personnel and CEO’s ever apply to their own company. I read a while back that one employee did apply, and he was rejected! Ha ha.
I am not sure how companies make decsions based on these online apps, unless they are basing it on:
1. Age – I can not believe how many ATS’s required I disclose my age!! Asking a candidate age during an interview is illegal. So, how are they getting away with the online app?
2. My Salary – What? Premature salary discussion much? Can’t you wait?? I don’t even know if I want to go to coffee with you, much less marry you. Don’t ask me about money upfront.
3. My High School – Seriously? That’s a huge WTF for me. Even if I graduated 6 years ago, it’s NONE of their business. Unless I’m applying for a job that requires a HS Diploma. And – if that is the case – a simple yes or no question will suffice!
I read all the time about the “skills gap” we’re suffering from here in the US. Great jobs at great companies are going unfilled because the recruiters can’t find qualified candidate. I can tell you, any qualified candidate is not going to waste an hour or more applying to a job online, no matter how great!
I like solutions, as you know. It did have a few experiences that were pretty cool. The best online apps let you upload your resume, type a short cover note, and hit send! Yes, your resume is still going down the black hole, but you didn’t have to spend forever with some slow, glitchy ATS where you always miss one little thing and it won’t let you “submit.”
Applicant. Submit. Reminds me of a Philip K. Dick novel.
Keep using LinkedIn, especially the “apply with LinkedIn” button. It’s easy. I hope it works, but in the end, it’s a job board. Be sure to read the article below from Ask the Headhunter. It’s an eye-opener.
As always, if you need career help, contact me for a comp chat.
Over the weekend, I received a desperate email from a friend who was about to go into a 2nd interview with a firm, and she asked me this question:
“I have been asked to explain my short tenures over a series of jobs for the past three years. Help! What should I tell them?”
Oh my, I get this one A LOT. Here’s my reply:
As a recruiter, I would ask you the same question. Short tenures are often red flags. It is quite expensive to hire and train someone if they’re only planning on a short stay.
Answer honestly; were you not learning enough? Were the jobs temp in nature? You need to reassure the company that you’re a candidate that is looking for a “home” and plan on staying for a long time. They need to know that you are not going to leave after 6 months, so be prepared to discuss this issue.
Here’s the Real Deal
Job hoppers (I’m lookin’ at you Millennials) in general, are not “ideal” candidates in the eyes of the company, especially the HR Department. Do realize that one of HR functions is to save the company money, and act as a gate keeper. One of their missions is to reduce turnover and increase retention. So, they want to make GOOD HIRES. That means hiring candidates that are going to flourish and be assets for the company.
The Burden of Labor
Candidates with a track record of jumping from job-to-job or with long gaps in between gigs look like a risk. And HR is risk averse. The cost of hiring someone is their salary, PLUS the “Burden of Labor” which sounds pretty bad, eh? The “burden” part is the cost of recruiting, hiring, training, taxes and fees associated with employees (Federal, State, City and County taxes), and benefits. You can add 9-19% of your salary and that’s the cost to the company of hiring you.
Plan Your Answer
If you were spending that kind of money, per employee, you would want to hire dependable workers too! So, why take the risk of hiring a candidate with a jumpy work history, when the well is so deep at the moment (and maybe forever at this point)? If you make it to a FIRST interview, I am shocked! So, to get to the 2nd interview, you have done something right. Your job in the second round is to ease their concerns about your flight risk. You need a cogent explanation of your past job tenures, and a well thought out answer of why you plan on staying should you be offered the position.
Here’s what you do: WRITE out what you’re going to say. Read it out loud. More than once. Does it sound reasonable to you? If not, make some adjustments. Here are three reasons recruiters/Hiring Managers might understand:
3 Reasonable Explanations of “Why?”
“The job (or jobs) was (or were) a temp position in the first place and I worked for an agency that placed me in several temp positions for the past 3 years.”
“I had the unfortunate timing at these firms as they quickly downsized once I had been there for a brief period; last hired, first fired. I have endeavored to conduct deeper research on companies I interview with since then; hence, this interview.”
“Once I was in these jobs for a short period, I quickly realized I was not a good fit for them. In my journey since I graduated, I have had to pay my student loans, so work of any nature had to fit the bill. I have searched for a “home” where I can contribute and become a valued team member. I truly want my next position, hopefully this one, to be a long-lasting engagement.”
Job Hopping may have happened out of necessity or through no fault of your own, but you will have to answer for it at some point. Unless you start your own business!!
Do you have a career question? Send it to me Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.
ps. Millennials – I love you no matter what! You may not stay at job for very long, so emphasize what you bring: innovation, sincerity and great attitudes!
Everyday I hear from job seekers asking what they’re doing wrong and why they’re not getting interviews and job offers. There are any number of reasons why, of course, but I can tell you that in many cases the job seeker is off track. Finding a job – a good job with benefits – is damn hard work these days. Unemployment remains high even though the official numbers are getting better. Companies are slow to hire, and the hiring they are doing can stretch the interviewing/hiring process over months! I know of candidates having to endure 3 months of interviews.
What can you do to take a proactive approach to career management? The first, and most important thing to do is think differently about your job search. For many years, job seekers have turned to job postings (back in the day they were found in newspapers; today, it’s job boards on the Internet). A much more effective way of finding a good job is targeting companies first. Consider the way companies hire. These are 4 basic criteria:
1. The candidate can do the job
2. The candidate is perceived as a “good fit”
3. A job salary can be agreed upon
4. Will the candidate will stay on the job
There are other factors involved in hiring, but these are the primary focal points for the hiring manager. The way you can fulfill these 4 items to spend time researching companies and organizations that you believe there will be synchronicity.
Start by identify 20-40 firms that you think you’ll fit well. Look for them on LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, or Google Search. Need ideas to find companies? Run a search for “top firms in (your career field)” to get started. Then do the research.
Next, look for connections to those firms. Use LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Branchout on Facebook. Once you find them, use INMAIL on LinkedIn to reach out them. Keep your message short and professional, and let them know that you’re interested in learning more about the culture of their firm. That’s a better approach than asking for a job or if you can email them your resume.
And, finally, don’t be afraid to use your smart phone for…phone calls! Try to make “warm” calls, to people you’ve been referred to, but, do not fear the “cold” call. They are not that scary, especially after the first 10!
The key to a successful job search these days is to be proactive! Do not upload, post, apply and then wait. It won’t work!
Have a job search question? Email it to me at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.
I receive many questions about the do’s and don’ts of working with a recruiter, so here’s a blog post with my top 3 tips. Let me first disclose that I was a recruiter, and I still recruit now and then. I worked for a large global staffing firm for 2 years, and before that, I worked for a design firm where I recruited and hired staff at every level. I have recruited candidates at every level, from interns to Principals. So, rest assured, my advice is based on first-hand experience, but keep in mind, every recruiter is different. These tips are general guidelines.
1. Be a Perfect Match
One way to quickly get the attention of a recruiter is that your resume is a “perfect match” for one of the positions they are recruiting. That means you must customize your resume specifically for the job at hand, and make sure that the information is focused and easy to read. That means a resume that is accomplishment based and quantified.
2. Get Introduced
The single best way to get a recruiter interested in you is to get introduced by a former or current candidate of theirs. Recruiters are open to referrals, and often follow-up with those candidates first. If you have a colleague or friend that was recruited, ask them for an intro. Be sure to follow-up. Also, follow recruiters on Twitter, FB, and Linked In – they check out their followers.
3. Recruiters Work for their Clients
Recruiters are busy and have limited time. If you need a new resume, or interviewing tips, they are not going to select you for presentation to their clients. They want to work with total pros, which means that your must be on top of your game and industry. If you’re a job hopper, or have had numerous career twists and turns, or you won’t pass a credit or background check, you might not attract the interest of a recruiter. A lay-off is okay, as long as you’ve kept on top of things while unemployed.
Recruiters make money when they place candidates. So, if you’re a good fit for their open positions, they will be happy to work with you. But you need your A game!
The questions keep coming, so I think I will have a Q and A once a week. This week I’ll tackle age discrimination and college graduation dates.
Q. Should I put college graduation dates on my résumé if I know that I’ll be discriminated against because of my age?
A. I get this question A LOT. I think it depends. It is easy for potential employers, recruiters, and hiring managers to find that type of information on you, so there is no use in lying. Leaving it off your résumé is different however. If you graduated in the 1960’s, I would leave it off. The fact is that age discrimination does exist, and there is really no way around it.
Instead of worrying about that, spend some time searching for companies and firms that hire employees over 40, and have a culture open to bringing in employees with experience. There is a very helpful blog called Internsover40, and also recruiters that specialize in older candidates. Run a Google search to find companies in your area.
Q. I have some major gaps in my résumé due to the recession. What should I put on my résumé?
A. Hiring Managers and recruiters are much more forgiving of employment gaps because of the recession. In a recent study, they report that it is no longer the red flag is used to be. So, don’t freak out if you have some gaps. Millions of people do!
If you have taken any college classes, or volunteered, be sure to list those. It shows that you are staying sharp and using your time wisely. The important thing is to show potential employers that you are not sitting around rusting.
Need resume help? Email me at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com. My resume reviews are gratis for one more month!
Last week I answered some of your questions (emailed to me Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com). I got a great response, thank you! I am happy that my answers helped. I did receive a few more questions, via Facebook, and thought I would answer them this week. Here we go:
Q: I work in a professional industry, and in one of my last jobs, my direct supervisor sabotaged my work and used “poor work quality” to terminate me 6 months later. What should I have done and can I prevent this from happening again?
A: This is a tricky situation. In certain instances, you can confront him her/him in non-threatening way by simply having a conversation with her/him about the quality of your work, or ask for a mini-review. If s/he is hostile to this, make a note of it, and write a “memo” to the HR director explaining the situation and how it is making you feel. Be prepare to have a meeting with Human Resources afterwards.
If your boss is directly abusive or threatening you, put the problem in writing and then report it directly to your HR manager. It may be that this supervisor has a history of this type of behaviour. The one thing to keep in mind is that you do have rights, and you need to keep a careful record of any and all instances that you feel are treated with hostility.
Finally, if it is so egregious, you may have a case for wrongful termination. If you think you do, contact an employment lawyer.
To prevent this from happening again, do research about the company and managers before you accept the offer. Two ways to get inside info is through Linked In; try to connect with current or former employees and ask about the culture and managers/management styles. The other great site to get insider info is glassdoor.com. They have candid reviews and ratings from current and ex-employees for hundreds of companies worldwide.
Q. I was fired from my last two jobs, one was 6 months and the other was 3 months of employment. Neither jobs were a good fit, so should I leave them off my résumé? If I do, I’ll have a 9 month gap. Please help!
A. It is so easy for potential employers to investigate you, you should not lie via omission. However, it the jobs are not relevant to the job you are applying to, you can leave it off and use a line such as: “Mar-Dec 2010 – Employed in a different indstry”. If you are seeking work in the same industry, include the jobs on the résumé, and even list one or two accomplishments. Even though your tenure was brief at both places, you did learn and contribute. Be prepared to address the short stints in a cover letter or interview. As a former HR Manager, I was fine with an explaination like “those jobs were not good fits for either party, and it was better to separate sooner than later. However short the time was, I did contribute to the firm (give an example), and continue honing my expertise. I am excited to interview with you, as I feel I am a good fit for this firm.”
Q. Since the Great Recession really affected my profession, I went back to school and got a Master’s in another field. How do I present this on my résumé?
A. You must highlight your “transferable skill sets”. Those are the skills and experiences that can be an asset in your new career field. Often, those skills are management, communication, leadership, mentoring, supervising, training, etc. Those are “soft” or “people” skills and competencies, and they are transferable because they involve core or intrinsic skills related to working with people. Use a “Key Areas of Expertise” section to list those skills that transfer to your new career.
Also, you might include a brief description in your cover letter to explain your career change. Try something like: “during the past few years, I have taken the time to return to school to gain a new career in XYZ. I felt this was a natural extension of my existing experiences and background, and a far more productive use of my time than waiting for my old career to bounce back”.
I hope that helps. Do you have a career question? Email me at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.
Things change. And, in the world of Career Management, they have changed A LOT. In the past three years, everything that you thought you knew about managing your career and job searching is out the window, and the new changes are vague and complicated. You used to have a résumé. Now, you need a “Brand”. You used to apply for jobs. Now, you have to use Social Media and engage to be considered. You used to answer job ads. Now, you must navigate the online process and Applicant Tracking System. For many people, especially folks that have worked at a job for years and years, the new rules are, uh, confusing. OK…they may be confusing for everyone. Here then, are a few tips to help you figure this out!
1. Résumés are Marketing Documents
In the old days, a résumé typically listed your entire work history and responsibilities. Not so today. Now, your résumé must be a document that markets your accomplishments to a specific job and company, and you need to update it each time you send it out. Keep the formatting simple, no matter what résumé samples you see on the Internet. HR likes them concise and plain.
2. Use a Career Brand
Back in the day, your qualifications were enough. Not anymore. You must have a “brand” to stand out in a crowded field. And, boy, is it crowded! Your brand is essentially your key strength or unique ability. Use branding statements and headlines such as: “Global Career Coach” or “AutoCAD Expert” on your résumé and social media profiles. Make sure to support your claim with quantified statements.
3. Social Media Rules
Yes, I hear you, you hate it. But, you need it! At the very least, spend some time over at Linked In and put up a professional profile, including a pro headshot. Most Hiring Managers and HR personnel find you and/or check you out on the Internet. That means, specifically, they type your name into Google and have a look-see. What pops up is your Online Brand. Make sure it’s consistent, and it represents you accurately. Also, be careful about commenting on blogs, and
check the Facebook vacation photos. Things never die on the Internet. Ever.
There is a lot more to career management these days, so I’ll do some more blogs on this topic down the road. If you need more info on wrangling your career, send me an email.
For the past few years I have helped hundreds of my clients manage their careers. I written hundreds of resumes and social media profiles; I’ve helped career changers and others prepare for interviews. I helped more than a few launch small businesses and consultancies; I’ve helped a lot of my clients start blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking and marketing themselves in a crowd; I’ve helped most of them negotiate offers and/or relocate; and I’ve led seminars on networking and job search strategies.
My clients have had success, and this year alone, 12 of my clients received employment offers with combined salaries over $5 Million USD. But, recently, I’ve noticed a shift. It seems that hiring picked up a bit in the first six months of this year, and is slowing back down, again. Jobs are so scare, and the unemployment numbers reported by the media are wrong. Way wrong. The real unemployment number in the US is closer to 23%. Michael Thornton wrote this informative article at HuffPost with the real unemployment numbers.
I have, on many occasions, questioned this administrations’ response to the job crises. They have come up with a plan, yeah, but I have yet to find it in its entirety, so here’s a synopsis. I applaud their effort to do something. Is it a little too little and a little too late? Probably. Is it expensive and debt increasing? Yes. But it does have some necessary foundational work, like fixing schools and infrastructure, and extends Unemployment Insurance, and offers some tax breaks for hiring. I also like that there’s a provision that addresses offensive discrimination of long-term unemployed.
But it needs Congressional approval. Great. So here comes the battle. This is one Congress I could do without. It will be all about raising taxes on the rich for them. I think it’s interesting that some billionaires are asking the President to raise their taxes. Obama listens to rich people all the time – why not listen to them?
So, what does all this mean for working professionals who have had their career plans seriously interrupted by The Great Recession? Well, from my experience with my clients, it’s meant that most have had to reassess their careers. What they planned on doing for the next 10-15 years may have evaporated. It’s been a journey of self-realization for many, finding new passions and ways to make a living. It might be the “End of a Career” for you, but that just means you have to find a new niche. Here a few things I learned in the past three years about careers:
1. Don’t Cry
Shit happens. I think our Government should have taken a tangible and sustainable approach to employment in the US ages ago, but they are inept and it’s not really in their interest. So, if you find yourself out of a job – or career – mourn, but not for too long. The competition is overwhelming, and you need the time to strategize, not whine.
2. Assess Your Real Skills
As we move forward into the 21st Century, you may need new, relevant skills. What sufficed in the past may not cut it when you consider your competitors are mostly young, and possibly in another country. You must know exactly what you do the best, and how you can adapt those skills to the new labor market. Not knowing what you bring to the table, or what services you can offer as a consultant, is risky.
3. Go Global
Think about work outside of your local environment. The Internet creates new opportunities worldwide to work, or consult. With Skype and Google Chat, you can connect with employers or clients worldwide. It takes some research, finding the right people/recruiters/clients, but you do have some time on your hands, yes?
4. Think Per Project
The days of “permanent” employment are most likely going the way of the dinosaur, as companies look to keep the profits high and overhead low, so salary and compensation packages may not be generous, if even offered. Health insurance from employers may become a thing of the past as well. You need to know what your hourly rate is, and how to offer your services on a “per project basis” as this may be the future of work.
These are just a few ideas to help you face the end of your career. It’s all about re-booting. If you find yourself in need of covering the basics, register with nationwide staffing agencies, but even at that level, the competition is stiff. It’s important not to waste a lot of time lamenting what was, or spending time on outdated job search techniques such submitting your résumé online. You need an actionable career management plan, and that takes some thought and time, and most likely professional help. It’s worth the money to get back into the working world.
If you are a C-Level job seeker, contact me for a complimentary consultation.
After 20 years of reading resumes, I have concluded that most job seekers cannot compose a compelling resume. Whoa…that’s harsh, you say? Well, yes, but it’s true. I am recruiting now, and the resumes I am receiving are for the most part, not very good. In fact, some are so bad that I could not submit them “as is” to my clients. And I don’t have time to re-do every résumé presented to me. When I re-write a résumé for a client, I charge them a fee. And my clients get interviews, and jobs!
What I am saying is that in general, job hunters really have very little idea of how to put together a résumé that gets responses or interviews. I almost wish that there was a “universal resume template” that everyone used. That way, talented candidates that cannot write a résumé will have a chance for consideration. You may be an expert in sales, or auditing, or organizational development, but that doesn’t mean that you’re an expert resume writer.
There’s a ton of free career advice available online and I read as much of it as possible. A lot of it is good, some of it is marginal, and much if it is out-of-date. One of the results of the Great Depression is that there are suddenly a million “career experts” available to dispense advice and part you from your money. Just be sure to ask your résumé writer or career coach if they have ever HIRED anyone, or reviewed resumes.
It’s not hard to get a Certified Resume Writers credential, or career coaching certificate; it costs money, and there are classes, tests etc., but getting certified is not that difficult. But, here’s the difference, if your résumé writer or coach hasn’t been involved in hiring someone, it’s like having someone cut your hair who has only watched it be done, and not actually cut anyone’s hair.
So, here a are few tips to help you create a better resume:
1. Ask the Recruiter
If you are working with a recruiter, ask them what style of résumé their client prefers. Ask them early in the process, and customize your résumé based on their recommendations. DO NOT ask your friends or your Mom, or your professor, (unless they hire people!). Always go to an expert in your career field, such as an ex-boss or HR Manager, and get their opinion if you really need some feedback.
2. Skip the Design
Please. They suck big time. Don’t over design, use a photo, colored boxes, or a crazy font. Make your résumé powerful by not overcrowding it, or using a 9 sized font, two pages are fine if you have the experience. Make sure it looks good on an iPhone screen. If you’re submitting your résumé online through an Applicant Tracking System, use plain text with no formatting. Also, be sure you integrate keywords in a natural and relevant way.
3. Focus on your achievements
Responsibilities are a given, and in most cases, the résumé reviewer knows the positions’ responsibilities. Accomplishments are personal, and unique to you. Highlight what you have achieved, and what you bring to the table. Resume reviewers are looking for your “story” or career brand, and how it differentiates you from all the other candidates available.
Implementing these simple tactics will elevate your résumé, and help hiring managers and HR put you in the “call” stack. I could write endlessly on resumes, but my last word is to think like a hiring manager. Read your résumé as if you were looking for candidates. Does it make the cut?
Need a résumé review? I offer them gratis.
I have prepared clients for the past two weeks for interviews! It feels good to see interviewing pick up, even a little. Interviewing is not job searching and it requires a different set of skills and mindset. You need to be sensational during the interview! I Tweet and post on my Facebook page a lot of tips for interviewing, but I don’t have them collected in one spot. Uh, well, now I have a blog post! Here are a my top 10 interview tips from the inside (the Hiring Manager’s thoughts):
1. Do your research
When I interview a candidate, if they don’t really know much about the company or firm I am representing, they are OUT. It irritates me so much that they would take up my time. So, go beyond the company website, do some Google searching, and really get to know the company. Surprise me!!
2. Tell me about yourself
When I ask you to tell me about yourself, what I am really asking is to briefly summarize your professional career thus far, and include one or two reasons why you would be a good fit here. DO NOT go into your life story and please, keep it short..like no more than 3 minutes. Otherwise, my thoughts drift…to like what’s for lunch!
3. What can you do for us?
This is purpose of the interview! Please have three strong “bullet points” prepared on what specifically you bring to the table. Leverage your assets, and show me how you are a better choice than the other 3 candidates I interviewed earlier today.
4. Dress to impress
Often overlooked is the fact that many hiring decisions are made within the first few minutes of the interview. Your appearance is important and dressing professionally gives an impression of success. I want to hire successful people, so I do judge you on your outfit. Even if you never wear a suit again in this role, be sure to respect the company enough to WOW them at the first interview.
5. Be honest
If I ask you about something on your résumé, like “How many people did you manage on this project?” give me a straight answer. If was one intern, so be it. I appreciate honesty and it is not necessarily a deal breaker if you haven’t managed 100’s. Management can always be learned; honesty cannot.
Please, do not show up without preparing. Get some role-playing in; have a friend, or hire a coach (shameless plug!) to ask you typical interview questions. I don’t have time for awkward pauses and rambling answers.
Know your career goals and how working for my company fits in, and how you can contribute to my company by working toward your goals. Just don’t tell me your goal is to become my competitor in five years!
A few reminders: Be on time which means not too early as well. And do not bring your cell phone into the interview. I can hear it even on buzz. I find it annoying that you couldn’t do without it for an hour or so. And, don’t wear too much cologne, or smell like cigarettes. Breath mints are good. Please.
9. Strengths and weaknesses
When I ask this, and you know I will, please have something other than “well, I am very detail oriented”…it’s not a weakness!! A weakness is “I am not very proficient at Excel”. And give me a real strength such as “My team leadership has been recognized with over five achievement awards in the past three years” by my peers.
I don’t bring up salary in the first interview, but that’s me. Other interviewers will. Salary is super important in recessionary times, and many companies want to sort it out first. You need to know how much you’re worth, and be prepared to discuss it during the first interview. If you would like to defer it, say something like “I would prefer to discuss salary upon expressed mutual interest, but here’s my required salary range without considering the overall package”.
I hope this helps! I have noticed that interviewing has really picked up since June, and that is a very good sign. Unemployment is still WAY too high, and the competition is fierce for the few positions available. Be sure you are ready for interviewing. You can always contact me if you need help.