Recruiting Recruiters – 10 Tips for Success

I was asked the other day by one of my clients if I could give him some advice on working with Recruiters as he had recently had a bad experience, it seems that 2 Recruiters had both submitted his resume to a potential opportunity and without being aware of that he had also used a contact to take his resume in as well. The result of this mess was that he was not considered for the position as the company couldn’t work out who was going to get the credit. Continue reading

Job-Search Tips: Acing Phone Interviews

In our previous post we discussed the preparation required to be successful in a telephone interview. We are now going to complete the exercise by dealing with the interview itself.

We are assuming that you have created your research and prepared the room and now you are ready to get to work. Remember one of my favorite pieces of advice, we have been given 2 ears and 1 mouth so we can listen twice as much as we talk. Not having the person in front of you allows for a wandering mind that may easily lose concentration, pay attention! Continue reading

You Cannot be Serious!

Working, as I do on a daily basis with candidates who are serious about finding a new position and willing to invest in their future I was surprised when I recently read the comments from a blog post by Executive Recruiter Barry Deutsch Barry lashed out at candidates who seem totally unprepared or at worst disinterested in their own success. Below is a section of the post printed below with his kind permission. The post speaks for itself and personally I am astounded by the numbers and statistics he provides. Continue reading

So, you think you have a great Resume (2)

In the first of these posts we looked at three points that everyone writing a resume should understand, to recap:

  1. The resume does not get you jobs, it gets you interviews
  2. The job market is constantly changing and your resume should too.
  3. A resume on its’ own is not sufficient, you need to be cognizant of all relevant media.

In this post we are looking at the key elements of your resume and how to quickly make them relevant. Continue reading

Understanding a Resume

There are three key issues to understanding a resume. They are The Audience, The Author and The Content. Each of these components requires careful consideration when developing your resume to ensure that you achieve the best possible results. At times such as now when the job market is tight it is more important than ever that your resume stands out from the crowd. Remember a simple rule, Less is More, you would not tell all on a first date, you would tell enough to make yourself interesting and the same rule applies to writing your resume.

The Audience in this case can be either human or mechanical and we have to consider both of these entities. We also have to consider another scenario, that of networking where the resume is used as an introductory tool rather than as a direct job application. In the case of the human audience we are most often considering a recruiter and secondly the networking contact. The recruiter is usually busy and pushed to giving each resume the briefest of scans. To overcome this issue we need to make the resume easy to read, so easy in fact that the information jumps off the page straight into their mind. Long, complicated sentences in the opening summary can jeopardize your chances of having your resume passed on to the hiring manager. The mechanical audience is usually some form of scanning system that is looking for key words. The objective is to make sure the correct words are in your resume.

The Author can either be the person who is the subject of the resume or someone who is employed by that individual. Every time that you show your resume to someone else and ask for their opinion your will receive constructive criticism. There is a fine line between constantly changing your resume for the needs of the opportunity you are chasing and doing it because someone else has made a comment. When choosing a writer to work with make sure that they understand you and your goals, this is not a five minute exercise but requires multiple conversations before a satisfactory result can be obtained.

The Content is the most important piece of the puzzle. This is normally divided into 3 main sections, The Summary, Experience and Education. There are many variations on this theme but in essence the goal in all resumes is to know your target position, research it carefully and focus your resume on answering the needs of the company. The Summary is where you make your first impression; this is the area where you have the first 20 seconds of the recruiters time. Make the best of this and deliver a clear, easy to read section. In the Experience section we are dealing with your accomplishments, we are looking for thoughts and ideas that make you stand out from the crowd. The final section, Education is where we list College and Corporate training information unless we have recently left school where we may also list our High School information.

In summary, a well written summary section focused on what you can deliver to an organization, an author focused on building a great resume that is focused on them and a content section that demonstrates your strengths and accomplishments will provide you with the finest resume.

Stupid Job Requirements and the Stupid People Who Write Them (Job-search/resume tip)

“Candidate must have 10 years in social media”

“Candidate must have five years experience developing Web 3.0 applications”

“Candidate must have taken a start-up to a $100M company in five years”

“Candidates must be able to travel back in time” (just kidding but you get the point)

I love reading job-requirements where it is clear that neither the company and/or the recruiter has no idea what they are looking for by listing skills that simply do not exist.    Yes, web 3.0 or  10-years in social media may sound sexy.  But WTF?   The other requirements that I like are for a person, whom, if they met these requirements, would almost certainly never be interested in the role that is being offered.  If you can take a company from $0-$100M then you do not need a recruiter and you probably wouldn’t be interested in taking a sales-director role at some unknown company.

The downside of this (for job-seekers) is that these recruiters/companies will not work with someone who doesn’t have these skills on their resume.  So it doesn’t matter that you are very successful or are generally a great fit for the role, without ‘Web 3.0’ your resume ends up in the same circular file as everyone else.

Poets day picks

This week there were a large number of excellent posts across many of the Blogs I read, and it seemed a shame to keep them all to myself, so in case you don’t read the same ones I do, here’s my Poets day Picks for this week

How to work with recruiters from FRACAT. – For those unsure how it all works and how to make the most of it in your job searcch.

An old boss of mine had this great quote (not sure from where) about one’s behavior and its impact.
“You can’t talk your way out of something you’ve acted your way into”
from jobsyntax, the Career Journal and the Career Hub some great advice if you were ever in doubt.

Finding it tough to keep the search going. Here’s some great advice from Career Hub and Wireless Jobs to keep “the blues” at bay.

This made sense when I heard it the first time: “Money is not a motivator, lack of money is a demotivator”. When you’re looking for your next job, figure out what makes you happy, and then find someone to pay you to do it. Still not convinced, The Net-Savvy Jobseeker and Execunet provide some more evidence.

When you look at all the advice about where and how you can fluff an interview, it makes sense to get a lot of mock interview practice done and start getting ready for interviewing well before you have one. These articles let you know what the folks who sit on the other side of the desk are thinking: Spherion, Employment digest here and here, Boston Works and Jobsyntax

Have a great weekend

Round peg, square holes and recruiters.

I met with a recruiter for coffee the other day, and we were chatting about life, the universe, the job market etc….

Interestingly, he mentioned, career changers and those that are under or over qualified are rarely going to get much value from a recruiter.

He went on:
What recruiters ultimately do is to match a round peg (you) to the round holes (openings) they know about. The closer the fit the easier they can make the connection.
The reality for the recruiter is they’re paid, by the hiring company, to find suitable candidates, quickly! The better they are at matching round pegs to round holes the more money they can make. But there’s another dimension at work here: if the closeness of fit of candidates (includes education, salary, skills, experiences, even past employers) is not close enough then the hiring company is likely to look for another recruiter to find candidates.

So while the Recruiter would genuinely like to help it doesn’t help them, or their clients (the hiring companies) if they cannot find good quality matches.

True when we look at all the skills experiences etc. we have, we’re all more then just one square shape and could quite neatly fit several different square holes. If you’re expecting a recruiter to help you with your search they need to know what types of roles are best for you.

p.s. I just read this from Dave at Execunet, and how “some” recruiters are beginning to view candidates as he points out, it’s bout time!

12 Days of Job Hunting. Days 9 to 12

9th Day. So far we have written a resume, developed our marketing pitches and constructed a networking list, moving forward we are now going to start building our target company lists and add some other items to the mix including cover letters and some general tips. The primary task for Day 9 is to identify a list of organizations that you wish to target as potential employers. This is important at a number of levels, firstly it provides you with a focus, and you are not shooting resumes every which way rather you are focused on networking your way into an organization and insuring that your pitch, resume and cover letter (coming soon) are targeted. We are also going to use this list as part of our networking activities.

10th Day. The days are rushing by and as we call or email our network contacts our primary goal is to set up meetings either in person or if that is not practical by phone. With our target company list we can now provide a focus to our contacts on the types of people we are trying to connect with. Often when we ask the question “who else should I be talking with?” you are met with a blank stare as your contact has not been prepared. With the target company list we can now provide this information in advance and have a better chance of success in getting that elusive next step. To summarize, Day 10 is focused on setting up networking meetings and from now on we should allocate a portion of the day to setting up those meetings. Set a weekly goal as to the number of meeting you need to make in order to build out your network.

11th Day. Let us now start stretching our wings and adding some additional tools to our arsenal. As part of reaching out to our contacts it is necessary for us to utilize as many tools as possible and LinkedIn dot com and Plaxo dot com are two well known and business focused web sites. Build out your profile and connect with ex-colleagues from previous employers. This works just as well if you are employed and looking for the next great opportunity, make sure that your digital profile is out there and up to date. Recruiters troll the networking sites looking for strong potential candidates and in my experience I have seen senior level appointments being made as a result of these profiles. Our final piece of marketing collateral is the cover letter. Many recruiters will tell you that they never read it and they are a waste of time, others will say that they are crucial to the decision as to inviting the candidate in for an interview. As we are unable to determine which recruiter is which from an advertisement it is better to err on the side of caution and prepare a strong letter that clearly lays out your qualifications for the position. The worst that can happen is that is ignored.

12th Day. The last day in our program, this day is being devoted to summarizing important To Dos and adding some addition tricks and tips.

1. Create a professional email address; barefootwrestler @ xxxxx dot com does not portray a great impression.

2. A resume is not a chapter in a book. Focus on information that is relevant to your future employer. They do not want a life story. Ensure that your industry key words are in the resume.

3. The cover letter should clearly lay out your qualifications for the position.

4. The “Why I am no longer with?” and “Tell me about yourself” pitches should be practiced and focused on delivering success. No criticism of previous employers.

5. A solid list of contacts to build your network is vital.

6. Create a list of target companies.

7. Build your digital profile (You own your brand, make it work for you)

8. Set achievable targets and keep to them.

9. Network, network and network.

10. Success is directly proportional to the amount of effort you invest.

Good Hunting.