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English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenščina: George R.R. Martin med podpisovanjem knjig v ljubljanski knjigarni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet is Endless and Full of Errors

//”Career Advice” Advice

Okay, I admit: I’m missing Game of Thrones and October is still a ways off. I am HUGE fan of the HBO show based on the books of George R.R. Martin, and I need a marathon soon. The title of this post is a riff on “The night is long and full of terrors” spoken by Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten), close adviser to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). And, boy, is she right. Bad things are on the way for so many characters, and if you watched it last season (spoiler alert), you’ll know that some major characters were, um, relieved of their lives. At least Melisande’s advice is accurate!

Beware of career advice on the Internet, as it’s not as reliable. I spend A LOT of time reviewing career blogs and hanging out on G+ Career Communities, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and many more sites, scouring columns, articles and websites for the latest info on all things career and job searching. Rest assured, there are some career advisors out there that are truly subject matter experts. But, there are way too many sites that are dispensing absolute crap advice. Here’s few sites to avoid:

Resume Advice from Non-Native English Speakers
If you’re seeking advice on crafting a new, professional English language resume, please avoid advice sites where it’s obvious that the writer/advice giver is not an English speaker. Since you want your resume to be flawless and grammatically correct, do not take advice from career experts who can’t conjugate or construct correct sentences. I speak a little German, but there is no way I would ever write a resume advice blog IN German, for a German speaking audience. (Some of you may be picking apart my English language blogging abilities right now!)

Advice from Non-Experts
Copy writers, technical writers, coders, and logistics experts are not typically career experts. Yet, I find blogs from them offering career advice all the time! Seek out advice from: Recruiters, HR Managers, and career experts with backgrounds in interviewing and hiring people.

Shady Websites
Stay away from any career website that wants something from you before they give you any advice. Don’t subscribe, or input a credit card number or your Social Security Number. If it’s a site that offers you 1,000’s of job postings, but you have to endlessly click through a bunch of pages, it’s a Pay Per Click site, devoid of actual job postings. I find these all the time in LinkedIn’s Groups, unfortunately. Also avoid the “squeeze” page career advice site, which is a website with a really, really long intro/sales letter with little to no info whatsoever, usually ending with a “purchase this first and you’ll get the advice later” offer.

I remember following a “career marketing” expert on Twitter, and her offer of a free ebook took me to a site that was a tedious, never ending sales page that wanted you to “upgrade” to the pro package level for a couple of hundred dollars, without offering one tiny piece of free advice. Another site offered a bunch of freebies, and as soon as I signed up, I received an email with the subject line: FINAL NOTICE. Geeze, really? They were offering me a final chance to purchase their guide for, you guessed it, a couple of hundred dollars. Unsubscribed 2 seconds later.

Let me just write what I think: there’s an endless supply of bullshi$ sites out there that give truly awful career advice. I read a blog post on interviewing the other day that said “recruiters don’t like over ambitious persons.” What?

Like I said, the Internet is Endless and Full of Errors!” Proceed with caution. Hopefully, you’ll find the light. At least you’re not going to lose your head!

A few sites I recommend wholeheartedly are: Career Rocketeer, The Career Sherpa, and The Undercover Recruiter, and The Savvy Intern.

If you want helpful, practical and easy to implement career advice from someone that’s hired over 400 people in her career, you can drop me an email at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com or send me your career question below:

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Q & A Time!

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

// Too Hot to Blog

I don’t know about you, but where I am it is hotter than hades! I can’t begin to think of a topic for this week’s blog, so, instead, I’m answering questions. Here we go:

Q: I have applied for lots of jobs online, but no responses yet, except a couple of immediate rejections, with little or no explanation.  What’s up with that?

A: A recent study just came out saying that job boards are a still significant source of hires, but the top hiring source remains referrals, and most companies are moving to Social Media for hiring. Job boards have a less than 2% success rate. If you apply online, use Simplyhired.com, Indeed.com, glassdoor.com, or even Craig’s List. Better yet, apply directly on the company’s website, which is much more effective. I recommend that you CALL before applying online, to make sure that the job is still open (ignore the “No Calls” plea), that they are not deep into interviews, and that the job is real in the first place. While you have HR on the phone, ask if you may send your resume to a person. If not, then you must use the ATS – Applicant Tracking System, which you need to hit a 90% or higher match rate to get to the yes pile. Most firms use ATS to screen out 97% of submissions.
Q: How do I update my status on Linked In?
A: Update your status in the “Share an update” section. You can post a link to an interesting article, blog or news item that are of interest to your connections. This way, you are providing info AND driving traffic to your profile, which is the goal. Increasing your visibility, that is. You can use the Share an Update section to mention “you are looking for Sr. Project Manager position in Southern California” about once a week. Update every 3-4 days.
Q: Should I include my college graduation dates if they were 20+ years ago?
A: You can include it, or not. A résumé should only go back 10 to 15 years, max. It really is what you’re ok with, since there is so much age discrimination out there. But, it’s not like you can hide it! I can go both ways on this, so do whatever you are comfortable with. Just don’t lie about it!
Q: I am also wondering if I should do anything more with my Facebook page?
A: Yes. You should limit access to your personal FB pages, and have a “Fan” or business page, and it should highlight your professional career, with photos, links to projects, etc. Need help? I can do it, or you can type “tutorial for Facebook Fan Pages” into Google. That works for everything!!
At the very least, update your current FB page, use the same (professional) photo on all of your social media sites, put a link to your Linked In, include your email and phone. You can search for jobs on FB, and follow companies on their pages…a great way to reach hiring managers and more effective than applying to jobs online. They have a job search site called BeKnown – which is awesome and better than job boards. You can join, just Google it. You can also follow recruiters that you find elsewhere (like Linked In). FB is HUGE so spend more time there than on the job boards.
That’s it. Don’t stop your job search because it’s summer, or your power is out, or you’re hot. I’m working, you can too!! Happy 4th of July, USA! Have a frosty one for me.
As always, contact me if you need help or a gratis resume review.

Resumes: Most Get it Wrong

//Re-do

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.

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