Posts Tagged ‘Resumes

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, 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, 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.


I just read an article by Dawn Papandrea which outlines 3 key reasons why young professionals are not getting hired. I found it to be right on target with one exception. Under the heading “One Size fits all Resume” Dawn suggests the candidate insert a few keywords in their resume from the job posting.  It has been my experience, that if done properly, a person only needs one resume.   First, the individual needs to do his/her homework in advance – i.e., identify key strengths, research the job market and job posting for applicable skills and take the time to produce a resume which accurately  portrays their skills, knowledge and abilities. Couple this with a focused job search strategy based on key strengths and the need for multiple resumes goes away.  In fact, having several different resumes can come back to haunt you!   For instance, I was interviewing a young man for an entry level consultant role. I asked him to please explain his role at ABC Company. He was very quiet and then said “Lee can I please see the resume” I said “of course” and shared my copy. His face turned red as he stated – “I’m so sorry, somehow you have received the wrong copy of my resume”.  Well alrighty then – let’s continue shall we?  Needless to say the interview was cut short – why? because as a recruiter I expect the person I’m interviewing to be able to talk to everything on their resume. Hence my point, if you start customizing a resume for each position you better have a darn good memory.  I understand there may be exceptions; however, as a rule and to be safe, try to have one resume that does an excellent job of representing your strong performance and technical skills.  Remember, the purpose of the resume is to get you the interview then it’s up to you to sell yourself.  You only have one chance to make a good impression so make sure there are no stumbling blocks.

Enjoy the article by Dawn


Lee Koren is certified as a Professional in Human Resources and Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing.  Her passion and expertise is selection and recruitment.

By Ryan Rancatore

I came across this article and as a Senior Recruiter with over 25 years of experience found it quite interesting.  As more and more generations leverage and embrace the power of social media one can only assume the resume, as we know it today, will definitely change.

Hope you enjoy Ryan’s post

What’s the Prospect of Job Resume – Will Resumes Be Extinct By 2020?


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

I’m a senior recruiter who has 20+ years of experience in selection and recruitment so when I was approached to write an article to help stay at home Moms re-enter the workplace I happily agreed.  But wait, it’s been many years since I was a stay at home Mom, oh who am I kidding, it’s been more like decades.  Hmm, Ok so I am a recruiter, I’ll interview a stay at home Mom.  Wow, what an eye opening experience.

The biggest issue for Moms returning to the workforce is their fear of having been removed from the workplace for so long.  In the case of the Mom I interviewed who left a successful career in Human Resources, she was afraid by not keeping up with new practices, legislation and ongoing trends the transition back into the workplace would be quite difficult.   Not to mention the concern of losing good job opportunities to new grads and those with more recent experience.   Yes, she had good intentions of keeping herself up-to-date but hey when you have two little ones to raise well guess what it is easier said than done.   Her reality was the time gap, she would most likely have to start all over again – at the bottom and work her way up.

All legitimate concerns and if preparation is important for the person who has lost his/her job then it is twice as important for the stay at home Mom.  Why? Because you don’t have any idea of who you are or what you want, let alone how to identify your strong competencies and pull it all together in a resume.  Subsequently, if you don’t know what you want or how to find it you are liable to jump at the first thing that comes along which just might land you in an unhappy situation.  Not a good scenario especially since you just went through a long period of unemployment only to end up in the wrong job.

Ok so here is where my experience comes in as a senior recruiter.  It is not as bad as you think.  There are hundreds of candidates out there with very bad resumes which do a dreadful job of highlighting key competencies, strengths and skills.  Since the purpose of the resume is to get the interview, the end result for these candidates will not be good.   There are even more candidates who do not know how to prepare for an interview or how to best represent their skills during the interview – again the end result will not be good. 

So the playing field may not be as lop-sided as you think.  Keep yourself positive and think about what you have been doing while at home.  Have you been volunteering? Planning community events?  Fund raising for your child’s school?  Handling the funds from your church bake sale?  Organizing, planning or coaching sporting events?  Creating a marketing campaign for the school library?  Participating in school outings?  I think you get the picture! You can pull just as many competencies from these social activities as the candidate can from his/her previous employment.  The key is all in the way it is represented on your resume.  If it highlights your strengths, skills, knowledge and abilities then odds are you are one step closer to the interview.

If you have not been able to extend yourself into the community then think about taking a few courses to sharpen your skills and awareness – now is the time to do it.  Read magazines and search the internet for articles within your profession.  Re-connect with a few close work buddies – LinkedIn is a get place to stay connected (

Go to a few industry meetings to brush up on the lingo and to practice your networking skills.  Attend a few networking events to start meeting people; let them know who you, find out who they are and discuss how you can help each other.

Keep a positive attitude; remember you do have something to offer a company.  Never sell yourself short – Moms are organized, excellent at multi-tasking, able to deal with several distractions at one time and make quick decisions in emergency situations.  Moms are good mentors, good at budgeting and balancing the household budget.   These are the skills that transfer nicely into the workplace.

After all, you won’t have to wipe peanut butter off your co-workers fingers, erase blue crayon from the office walls, or run after a peer who refuses to keep her shoes on – so how hard can it really be?

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

I just had to share this article written by Joanne Royce of Royce & Associates.   So many of us are programmed to “hurry” all the time – I found this article refreshing.  Actually, it was an Ah Ha for me because for the first time in a long time I took vacation between Christmas and New Year and realized “the sweetness of doing nothing”   Enjoy………Lee Koren,PHR

For the past two years I have been facilitating workshops on how to optimize your resume and the interview experience.  I created and designed the workshops myself using my extensive experience as a senior recruiter so you can imagine my delight and joy when I received actual validation that it really works. 

I was invited to speak at the McMaster University Biochemistry Career Day Symposium – a true honour which only came about due to my association with Donna Messer.  Donna, the “Queen of Networking”  was asked to speak at the career day and I happened to be in the right place at the right time.  Awesome!

The day was filled with speakers from the academic and private sectors, each speaker brought his/her own perspective about their career choices.   I learned so much about the long and sometimes difficult process to obtain a PhD in Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences.   However, the light was definitely “turned on” when Dr. Melissa Ayers told her story.  You see she just graduated in the summer of 2010 and had been doing her research on suitable career choices – would it be academic or would it be the “dark side”? ( a term the students use for the private sector).   Melissa spoke about how she targeted a specific pharmaceutical company, identified a senior executive within the company and called for an informational interview.   To her surprise and delight she received a call back and was invited in for a meeting. 

Now by this time, I am smiling and shaking my head “YES – Oh YES” because this is the precise method I preach in all my workshops.   I’m saying to myself  “way to go Melissa”.   She went on to say how the senior executive reviewed her resume and “lo and behold” one of the first thing he told her was to add a “profile” at the top of the resume.   A few lines which highlight her strengths and/or key competencies.  Alright, now I am restraining myself from jumping out of my chair and cheering.  Why? you guessed it – I stress the exact same principal – in fact it is one of the most important sections on the resume.  Right there under the header (eye level) a section titled “Profile” or “Career Summary”.   

During Melissa’s informational interview she learns this particular company has job openings, so she fixes up her resume and applies online.  She sends the senior executive a thank you note (again I’m cheering – oh yes very important) and mentions she has applied on-line.   Melissa is called in for an interview and the rest is history – yep she lands a job as a Scientist with the pharmaceutical company. 

Melissa definitely did everything right – a true success story.   Does this mean it will work so quickly and effectively every time? Probably not; but the proof is there and with the right attitude and dedication it can work – it just may take a little longer.

After the speakers were done, I approached Melissa and told her “she made my day” – the process she went through to land her job is the exact process I teach during my workshops.  She smiled and said “I knew you agreed with what I was saying Lee by the way you were shaking your head”.   I laughed and said “it is just so inspiring to hear that something I have been preaching for years does in fact work”.  I asked for her permission to write about it in my Blog and she graciously agreed.  In fact, I will tell Melissa’s story during my next workshop.

If there is a morale to this story – it is that effective networking, positive attitude and determination will take each and every one of us a long way on our journey towards success.

Until next time remember to take one day at a time!

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


As most of you know, I’m a senior recruiter who has been reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates for over 2o years, so quess you can say I know a little about the subject.    Now grant it – there is no magic wand when it comes to the job search but one thing is for sure, a “system friendly” resume which optimizes  your strengths, accomplishments, skills and experience will get noticed.   I created the “Optimize Your Resume and the Interview Experience” workshop through the “eyes of a recruiter” and intentionally keep the attendance small so the participants get the benefit of one-on-one attention – it’s like having a personal recruiter for 2.5 hours – really, what could be better? 

Participants view their resume as others see it, identify key strengths and performance skills and through the use of  activities make sure their best accomplishments and results are depicted on the resume and explored in the interview.   Participants learn about the tools a recruiter uses when conducting a resource search, i.e,  Applicant Tracking Systems, Google searches and LinkedIn.  Then using the information from the resume participants learn how to prepare and practice for the interview.  We explore the behaioural and performance based interviews and how to maximize your performance in the interview.    The participants interact with each other sharing stories, learned experiences and concerns about being in-between successes and conducting a job search.  

This is not another workshop about “how to” write a resume or “how to” interview, nada; it is all about how to optimize your written resume to insure it is viewable when uploading on-line eliminating the risk of  recruiters or HR skipping over the resume because he/she cannot open it,  to insure your resume captures the attention of the viewer ; and it is about how to customize your preparation for a specific interview using the 2 most important tools.

I  facilitated the “Optimize Your Resume and the Interview Experience” workshop at the offices of ConnectUs Canada two weeks ago.  It was a small group who bonded and took advantage of the time together – below are a few comments:

Hi Lee,
‘Nice to meet you yesterday at your workshop. I enjoyed the whole stuff, especially how to dissect the job ads and find out the real requirements. Thank you very much.’Wonderful stuff. Please keep it up.
 Hi Lee:
 It’s nice to come to the Resume and Interview Optimization workshop last Saturday. I learned a lot. The performance skills handout is very useful as you listed all transferable skills to help me connect those skills to the job, and some small activities helped me to learn from other people.
Overall, we learned from each other which is the best way to learn and had fun doing it.   I will be holding another workshop in the near future at ConnectUs in Oakville – watch for the details.   Until then, remember to network and include social media into your job search.
Lee Koren is a Senior Recruiter, Master Trainer in Behavioural Interviewing and a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). 

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