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Posts Tagged ‘job seeker

Check out this article by Jacquelyn Smith, Forbes Staff. There are some very good points here especially the part about networking. Successful job seekers know the value of networking, don’t just send a resume on-line, get out there, be visible and network. Also pay attention to the section about keeping your resume simple, no graphics, tables or logos which might “clog” an applicant tracking system. Enjoy – Lee A Koren, PHR

Many job seekers spend countless hours writing, polishing and blasting their resumes to dozens of companies. Then they wait, and wait, and never hear a thing.
That’s because human resources people and hiring managers receive heaps of resumes for any given job opening, and they end up missing, skipping or tossing a lot of them. However, it turns out there are things you can do to help ensure your resume is seen.

Career experts and a spokesperson for Glassdoor.com, a jobs and career community where people share information and opinions about their workplaces, weigh in.
“I think resumes end up in the resume black hole if the person just responds to a posting or ad and does nothing else,” says Anita Attridge, a Five O’Clock Club career and executive coach. “Today companies are receiving hundreds of resumes for each position and, due to the volume, are not acknowledging receipt of them. Most large and medium-size companies are using applicant tracking systems to screen resumes before a person looks at them. Smaller organizations many just review the ones they receive until they find enough qualified candidates and then set the other resumes aside.”

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at the jobs site CareerBuilder.com, says she suggests that candidates use the job posting to their advantage. “Use some of the same words and phrases that appear in the job posting in your resume,” she says. “The computer will then recognize them and move your resume toward the top of the pile because you will be a match. But don’t just cut and paste the job posting into your resume or cover letter. If the computer doesn’t catch it, the hiring manager definitely will, and it could hurt your chances of moving forward with an interview.”

Ruth Robbins, a certified career counselor with the Five O’Clock Club, agrees that using buzz words and key phrases that demonstrate you are a perfect fit for the job will help you get on the employer’s radar—but even with a perfectly tailored resume, there is no way to know if or when it will be reviewed by the hiring manager.
“The best way to make sure your resume is seen is by networking into the company,” Attridge says. “Let your networking contact know that you have applied for a position, and ask that person if he or she would send your resume to the H.R. department with an endorsement of you as a candidate. Another way is to try to determine who the hiring manager is and send a resume directly to that person, with a letter asking for an informational interview.”

Robbins agrees. “H.R. managers are often avalanched with resumes, so if you can find someone who works at the company who would be willing to hand in your resume directly to a hiring manager or interested influencer in the selection process, your chances of landing in the black hole [will shrink significantly],” she says.
Mary Elizabeth Bradford, an executive resume writer and author of the bestselling eBook series The Career Artisan, offers some alternative advice. “From what I have seen, what works best in any market is for the job seeker to take a pure, entrepreneurial approach to their job search process,” she says. “I think it would be futile to call H.R. and leave repeated voice messages. A better way is to contact a key decision maker through hard mail and follow up with a phone call. Go around H.R. That’s provocative, right? Well, it works.”

Samantha Zupan, a spokesperson for Glassdoor, agrees that it’s smart to look for more than one way to apply. “In addition to sending your resume through a company’s online job portal, also take the time to do some research and try to identify who the hiring manager may be. If you send a personalized note to the likely hiring manager, a good e-mail may get your resume pulled out of the stack.”
Zupan offers some additional advice:
Have someone proofread your resume. Sometimes it can be something as small as a typo that may turn off an employer and land you in the black hole, she says. “Before sending your resume, have at least one person you trust review it so that it can have a better chance of catching the eyes of the employer.”
Keep it simple. Avoid graphics and logos and other things that may “clog” how an applicant tracking system reads your resume, Zupan suggests.

Research the company’s hiring process. “Companies like Google and Facebook include specific insights into their interview process,” Zupan says. “For example, on the Google careers page, they let you know that one of their recruiters is the first to review your resume and that they look first at your qualifications and experience.” Thorough research can help you properly prepare to avoid the resume black hole.

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I shared this Q& A over a year ago, I have since made some updates – enjoy!

Q: With the job market so competitive, getting beyond the resume to an interview is difficult. Resumes are screened by recruiters or systems – any advice on how to get noticed?

A: The purpose of the resume is not to get you a job – it is to get you an interview. Therefore, the resume must optimize your key strengths and competencies and highlight them in a way which “catches the eye” of the recruiter or whoever might be reading the resume. Therefore, it is important to insure your key strengths and competencies are identified and strategically placed on the resume using “keywords”. This will improve the odds of your resume being noticed during the screening process. Also make sure your email is hyperlinked – the easier you make it for the recruiter to contact you the better.

Q: Do cover letters really get read?

A: Depends on the person – I have been a recruiter for 20+ years – if the cover letter is in the body of the email I will read it. If it is attached to the email along with the resume I will open the resume first. If it is incorporated into the resume document well I might scan it quickly. The shorter the cover letter the better, recruiters are just not going to read a 2 page cover letter. Three short paragraphs – First Paragraph contains your interest in the job. Second Paragraph makes the link between the key skills required for the job and your strengths. Third Paragraph is the close.

Q: I do not have a problem getting the interview; in fact I get good feedback on my interview skills. I usually get invited back for a second interview; however I just can’t seem to get beyond this point. Do you have any words of wisdom?

A: Oh to have a magic wand when it comes to the interview! There are so many things riding on a successful interview, some of them are out of your control. I coach my clients to be as prepared as possible. Find out all you can about the company on the internet, its website and Linkedin. If you know any employees ask for a few minutes of their time to chat about the company. Spend time going over the skills required for the job and identifying your accomplishments which demonstrate these skills. Be prepared with specific examples which link your skills to the skills required for the job. If the interviewer does not perform a behavioural interview work some of your good examples into the conversation.

Q: Does it matter if my resume is a Word document or PDF when applying on-line?

A; Many companies are purchasing Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These systems may or may not be integrated with the rest of their business systems. If not integrated, then the system may or may not open a PDF.doc so to be safe I suggest using a Word doc Why? Because if the recruiter cannot open your resume he or she will most likely move on to the next resume on the list.

Q: You talk about a “system friendly resume” what does this mean?

A: Again, it goes back to a company’s technical infrastructure; and if there is an Applicant Tracking System (ATS), whether or not it is fully integrated. If you up-load your resume online and it happens to contain fancy formatting, graphics and tables there is a possibility the text will be distorted when the document is opened at the other end. To be on the safe side, keep the formatting simple; avoid graphics, table and fancy bullets.

Q: I am in career transition and have been told to put a profile on Linkedin. As a recruiter do you use Linkedin to locate talent?

A: Absolutely, Linkedin is the best social networking tool out there and is very popular with corporate and agency recruiters when it comes to locating qualified talent. Again, remember “keywords” are critical – use them in your Summary and list them in the Specialties section. Don’t forget to monitor the Jobs section and take full advantage of all the other nifty job search functions.

Q: I have a few companies I am targeting and would like your option on asking executives at these companies for an informational meeting – what has been your experience with this type of approach – does it work?

A: It depends on how and who you ask. I know of a PhD grad that targeted a pharmaceutical company she was very interested in. She sent an email to one of the executives asking if he would mind taking time from his busy schedule to meet with her for the purpose of learning more about the company. He agreed and when they met he asked for a copy of her resume and suggested she send her resume to Human Resources. She sent the resume and sent him a thank you note (letting him know she sent the resume) and the next thing she knew she was being invited in for an interview and yes, received a job offer.

Remember to take one day at a time as one never knows what tomorrow may bring!

Lee Koren. PHR
lkoren@selectionstrategy.com

Sharing this article by Lou Adler
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I just read an article from the Harvard Business Review about why top talent is in a nonstop job hunt and I say “right on” – this is not a new scenario. Most companies do not have a strong talent management programs to help retain talented employees. This article hits the nail right on the head – unless companies are recognizing and developing their talent, there will be turnover and they will lose high potentials which will affect buisness.  Take a look at one of my earlier Blogs “Does your Talent Management Program Drive Business Performance?” – yep it is all above talented people – hiring and retaining. The economy is turning the corner and there are more opportunities available so if your company believes “talented people drive business performance” then it is time to take action!

Enjoy this article written by Monika Hamon, Jie Cao and Burak Koyunca http://bit.ly/LALXeh

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Ressources (PHR) and a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing.  Her passion and expertise are recruitment and talent acquisition.

Today I’d like to talk about personal strengths.  Each of us has them, yet most of us do not know how to identify and leverage these strengths.    It is a fact that when we are engaging our core strengths we feel much better physically and mentally.   If employed, you are likely to be more engaged at work when utilizing your strengths.  When not using these strengths you may dread going to work, have more negative interactions with your colleagues and achieve less.  Same can be said for the Entrepreneur who may have a great service or product; however, if not utilizing and leveraging their core strengths on a daily basis it can affect their confidence, direction and ability to win business.

So how do you discover your core strengths and better still how do you leverage these strengths?  Well, there are ample books, videos and behavioural assessments available to help with this process.   However, the problem is not so much identifying as it is engaging the strengths on a daily basis.   Ever since I was a young child I have possessed a strong intuitive ability, I am told it is a talent handed down from generation to generation.   As I matured I channeled my gift into my career.  My passion and expertise are in recruitment and selection, I am certified as a Master Trainer in behavioural interviewing and because of my strong intuitive ability I am able to take this methodology to a whole new level.   In 2009, during the high point of the recession I decided to use my talent to help those in career transition.  Utilizing their resume, I took clients through a performance based interview.   Nine times out of ten the results were always the same, we discovered that their key strengths are not displayed on the resume.   Hmm, not so unusual, we are good at depicting our experience but not so good at representing our inner strengths – yet it is our experience coupled with these strengths that make the person and tell the whole story.

Earlier this week I attended Donna Messer’s new book launch “Cycles of Life – Keeping you on Track”.  During a break one of the participants came over to speak to me about his small business and resume.   As with most of us who are starting off in business we look for some type of supplemental income to help pay the bills while we get the business off the ground.    This young man was no different; however he could not understand why he was not getting a better response to his resume.  After all he does have a good technical background.  I asked him to describe himself in a few words – he gave me  “artistic” and “storyteller”,  next I asked him if these words were on his resume – the answer was “no”.   Ok! – So this young man is a graphic artist and my first thought is “artistic and storyteller” are very important when it comes to standing out as a graphic artist – right?  Yet these strengths are not mentioned.  Now if he was a client I would conduct a performance based interview to confirm these strengths and help identify other core competencies along with updating the resume to enhance visibility.   In addition, I would help him verbalize these strengths with examples of successful past performance utilizing the mock interview.   You see, this is my strength and I believe by helping others succeed, I too will be successful.

I encourage everyone to discover and identify their key strengths, but don’t stop there! Figure out the best way to leverage these strengths each and every day whether at work or at play.  If you invest the time to do this I guarantee you will feel better about yourself; and that positive energy you are generating is bound to get you noticed in a very rewarding way!

Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and Lead Mater Trainer in behavioural interviewing.   She has over 25 years of international experience in recruitment across multiple industries and levels along with developing and implementing talent acquisition strategies.  In addition, Lee possesses a unique talent when it comes to career transition management.

I know there are companies out there promoting Video Bios and Interviews; yep they want a piece of the action.  However before you leap, please consider a few facts.

  1. Technology cannot change the way a person thinks and unfortunately humans still have biases and make subjective decisions on what they see.
  2. Would you really want to be disqualified from an invite to interview on company site just because you wore a red tie during your video?  I know it might be an exaggeration, however you get the message.

If done properly, the Resume is still the best vehicle to get you in the door.    I have helped many people optimize their resume base on key strengths, competencies and accomplishments.  I read somewhere that an employer makes an impression in the first 5 minutes of the interview, do you really want that first impression to be via video?  At least, if you are face to face or even over the telephone you still have some control.      An alternative may be to create an audio interview highlighting key competencies and strengths as you talk through the resume

I am still very cautious about promoting job seekers to spend money on creating a Video Bio or Interview.   Now I will agree there may be folks out there who are good in front of the camera and a video may make sense if the job requires someone to be in front of the camera or involved in presentations in front of large audiences.  However, until technology can take the bias out of the video bio and/or interview my preference is still the good old fashion face to face interview. 

Lee Koren is a certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) specializing in selection and recruitment.

According to the 2010 Social Recruiting Survey Results, social networks lead all other recruiting channels for planned investment by employers as the economy recovers.

So, what does this mean to you the job seeker? If you are not already using Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook as a part of your search strategy, it is time to take the plunge.   Why? Because 92% of those companies that hired in 2010 use or plan to use social networks to recruit, if you are not visible then you are invisible to the employer. 

It is not hard to get a presence on a social network.  Start slow, your number one objective should be opening a Linkedin account and building a good profile.   A large majority of the companies out there today are using Linkedin to search for talent.  In fact, as a recruiter my searches on Monster and Workopolis have greatly decreased and have been replaced by daily searches on Linkedin.

Make sure your profile has a summary which optimizes your strengths and competencies, add your skills as keywords to the specialty section.  The more info you add about current and past experience the better.  Once your profile is complete get out there and start networking, search for people you know and invite them to join your professional network.  Link in with a few good recruiters who specialize in the industry or areas that interest you.  Search the jobs on Linkedin and join a few groups which are of interest to you.  Make a plan to do a little networking on Linkedin everyday to stay active and visible – remember one never knows what opportunities tomorrow may bring so being visible on a social network is definitely a plus.

 Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) – her passion and strength is recruitment and selection.


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