Resume

Can’t Find A Job?

cant-find-a-job

Have you been looking for a job for six, eight months even a year and still haven’t found anything?

Have you sent out hundreds of resumes and no one is calling?

Have you been on countless interviews only to be told that someone else got the job?

 

If any of these apply to you, it’s time to examine what might be the issue.

So where do you start?

Resume

Take a second look at your resume. You might think it’s great; however, the recruiter and hiring manager might think differently. If you have the opportunity, ask a recruiter their opinion of your resume. Most recruiters will give you pointers because recruiters really are jazzed about getting you the job. If you can’t ask a recruiter ask a former supervisor to take a look at it. You don’t want to ask a friend because friends don’t always tell us the truth fearing they might hurt our feelings. Another option is talk to a staffing/employment agency. They’ll give you honest feedback as well. You want someone to review your resume who has had a lot of experience looking at plenty of resumes.

Finally, make sure to tailor your resume to each job. No longer does one size fit all in the world of resumes.

Interview

It’s time to practice your answers to interview questions. If you can remember some of the interview questions you’ve been asked, write them down and then write down your responses. There is plenty of help on the internet related to interview questions and responses. I’ve also included a list of some of the more common interview questions with responses HERE. Remember to keep your answers brief and to the point. As you practice, time your responses. If you take ten minutes to answer a question, try again. You want to keep your answers less than ten minutes. Also, keep your responses related to the job the company needs to have done. Review the job description and write down examples of how your experience meets the requirements of the job. Don’t bring up examples of experiences that have nothing to do with the job. Find someone to practice with, perhaps a previous co-worker.

Salary Expectations

Sometimes salary requirements can prevent you from obtaining employment. If you’re standing firm on a particular amount and you know it’s too high or you’ve been continuously told your requirements are outside of the range, perhaps it’s time to lower your expectations. Doing so depends on how long you want to be employed. Sometimes companies will hire you at a lower rate and then once you’re employed and they see how much you can do they will adjust your salary. This has happened to me on occasion. Be sure to conduct your research to make sure that your expectations are market rate for your skills. Just because you were making the amount at one company doesn’t mean another company has to pay you the same.

Applying to Jobs that You’re Qualified to Do

Over the years I’ve seen applicants set themselves up for failure and frustration applying to jobs they weren’t qualified to do. If you truly are qualified, make sure that your resume reflects your qualifications. But if you know that you aren’t qualified don’t apply. Spend your time wisely applying to those jobs that you’re qualified to do. If you want to make a career change, consider accepting a position that you can do while you train to make the change. If you’ve been training, then make sure you explain in the cover letter why you are applying and what you’ve done to qualify for the position.

Unexplained Gaps in Employment

Does your resume show gaps in employment without any explanation? If so, you need to correct this immediately or you’re only setting yourself up to not be contacted. Explain either on the resume or cover letter why there is a gap. The majority of the time gaps are explainable and no big deal. But if you don’t explain them recruiters aren’t likely to take the time to call especially if they have plenty of other qualified applicants.

Are You Only Looking on Indeed?

If you’re only using one source to look for open positions you might be unemployed for a very long time. Companies don’t use one source to post their jobs. Many companies don’t post their jobs at all. You’ll need to conduct a search of companies in the area and start looking at their websites. The local Chamber of Commerce is a good source to determine companies in the area. Other sources to use to look for jobs include professional associations, networking groups, and social media especially LinkedIn.

Relocation

If you have already followed all the guidance above and you’re still having trouble, it might be time to consider relocation. Sometimes the market for certain jobs changes. In this case you’ll need to consider changing professions or relocating to where the jobs for your skill sets are.

My point here is that if you’re having trouble finding a job there are things you can do to help yourself find employment again.

And don’t forget – stay positive and persistent!

Over 50 and Just Lost Your Job – Now What?

over-50

After you’ve gotten over the initial shock that for whatever reason your job suddenly ended – breathe! The worst you can do is start thinking you’ll never find another job or that you’re too old. Haven’t you heard 50 is the new 30? There are plenty of companies who are searching for the experienced worker. Even though someone with less experience would be happy to jump in and do your roll for less money, companies don’t have time to devote to training. Business is moving too fast and product has to get to market to beat the competition.

So how do you find the companies who are looking for the experienced worker? If you haven’t searched for a job in a while and don’t have a clue where to start – here are some tips.

Resume

Let’s start with your resume. By now you’ve collected a lot of experience and you probably think you need to wow your next employer by listing all your achievements. Not true! The recruiter is going to see your resume first and they only have a couple of minutes to review it. If you’re resume reads like a novel, you’re going into the slush pile.

Here are some guidelines related to your resume:

1. Be brief – Keep your resume to no more than 4 pages.
2. Achievements – Your achievements will set you apart from your competition. List your achievements under each one of your jobs but don’t list ALL of them. Pick out the 5 – 7 most important achievements and if possible match them to the job description.
3. Use bullet points – The ‘look’ of the resume is as important as the ‘content.’ Recruiters read hundreds of resumes daily. A resume with fewer words is a lot more appealing to read then one where the entire page is covered in words. Think about marketing campaigns. Are you more likely to read an ad where there are fewer words and more white space on the page? Consider your resume as your marketing device. After you finish it look at it. Is there any white space on the page? If not, cut…cut….cut words.

For further guidance on how to complete your resume and cover letter CLICK HERE.

Networking

In a study conducted by AARP of individuals over 50 trying to enter the labor market again, 45% of the respondents surveyed said that networking was their most effective tool in finding another position.

Here are some guidelines related to networking:

1. Announce you’re looking – Soon after losing your job announce to your professional network that you are on the market again. Be sure to include a statement as to the type of position you are interested in finding. Let your family and friends know that you are looking and ask them to announce it to their networks, too.
2. Networking Groups – Search for local networking groups to join. One word of caution before spending your time with the group, find out the group’s agenda. Some groups meet and the members are uber proactive in finding a job so that’s a good group to join. You’ll want to avoid groups where members only lament how difficult their search is going. You want to make sure that you surround yourself with positive supportive energy during your search.
3. Professional Associations – Search for a professional association for your field and attend a local chapter meeting. At the meeting announce that you are looking for a job. Some professional organizations have job boards. Be sure to add your resume to their database. Recruiters have very little time to source so they go to places where there is the largest concentration of professionals with the skills they’re searching for.

For a list of professional organizations that have job boards CLICK HERE.

The Job Search

With hundreds of job boards where do you start? The easiest way to find job boards that list your type of position is to conduct an internet search using Boolean logic. Boolean logic uses ‘operators’ such as AND, OR, NOT, to retrieve information based on the search words and phrases you want to use.

Here are some examples of searches you can do:

1. Google Search – Following is an example of a Boolean search string to type into Google if you were looking for Business Systems Analyst jobs needing Agile. (Note: just replace the job title and skills to match your specific situation.)

“Business Systems Analyst” AND Agile AND Colorado AND job –resume -descriptions -profiles -“resume profile” -template -“job description”

(Google doesn’t recognize the operator NOT so use a ‘-‘ instead.)

You can also be specific about the sites you want to retrieve information from.
Following is a search string to bring Business Systems Analyst jobs from Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn. Using this search string will be a time saver because you won’t have to go to each job board separately to search for jobs.

(site:indeed.com OR site:monster.com OR site:careerbuilder.com OR site:linkedin.com) (“Business Systems Analyst”) AND (Denver OR Boulder)

2. Yahoo Search and Hotbot Search.

Use the following Boolean search string in these engines:

“Business Systems Analyst” AND Agile AND Colorado AND job NOT ad NOT resume NOT description NOT profile

Note: be sure and look at multiple pages on all these search results.

3. US.JOBS – This is one job board to search no matter the position you’re looking for. This is a job board that companies who are doing business with the government use to post all their jobs in order to comply with affirmative action laws.

Whatever you do, don’t concentrate your search with any one job board. Companies don’t normally post all their positions with one job board. They spread the jobs across many of the boards to determine which boards bring them the best talent.

Interviewing

As we’ve already established you have a wealth of experience. You’re going to be tempted to ‘dump’ all your knowledge during the interview to impress the team. Don’t! Dumping all your experience during the interview might lead the interview team to decide that you’re overqualified for the role, you might be a know-it-all, or if the hiring manager is less experienced than you, they might be concerned that you may not listen to them.

Here are some guidelines to follow during the interview:

1. Practice ahead of the interview – Look at the job description and for the first 5-7 bullet points under job responsibilities write down examples of how you have had experience in these areas. Do the same for the first 3-5 job qualifications. Stick to addressing these bullet points during the interview and don’t stray.
2. Don’t say ‘this is my last job’ – When asked the question ‘why do you want to work there’, whatever you do don’t say that you’re looking for the last job before retirement. I can promise you, you won’t get the job.
3. Being overqualified – If you know that you’re overqualified for the job that you’re interviewing for you’ll want to address the elephant in the room even if the interview team doesn’t. Make the interview team aware that you know you have more experience and it could work to their advantage. For example let them know you can help mentor junior personnel, or that they won’t have to spend time and money training you, or that you can be up and running from day one. Also let them know that you’re okay with accepting a lower salary. Make them aware that your primary goal is to be able to contribute to the success of the organization.

Social Media

You’ve probably heard that Social Media is the way to your next job and you’re stressed because perhaps you’ve let your LinkedIn account go and you haven’t ever Tweeted or Pinned. Don’t panic. While there are a lot of cool tools recruiters can use to find people on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, if you’re not already on these platforms, don’t stress yourself and join them. Most recruiters don’t use the cool tools if they don’t have to. So you don’t need to stress yourself more by setting up and having to learning new social media platforms.

There is only one social media account you’ll want to set up if you don’t have one and update if you do and that’s LinkedIn. This social media platform is the single most used tool by recruiters.

Here are some guidelines regarding establishing/updating your LinkedIn Profile.

1. The Summary – Use the Summary to provide a snap shot of your skills and your Work Objective. State specifically that you’re currently searching for your next job and what type of job you’re looking for.
2. Job Titles – Under your Name, when using words to describe yourself, use job titles for positions that you’re interested in obtaining.
3. Make your Work Experience brief – Once again don’t write a novel when you’re adding/modifying your work experience. Make your bullet points abbreviated and meaningful. Make it easy for recruiters to scan your achievements. Make your ‘current position’ as ‘seeking new employment’. By doing so, when your profile comes up in a recruiter’s search they’ll see right away that you’re open to hearing from them.

The single biggest factor in finding the next job is being persistent in your search. To help you focus check the  3/50 Plan to Conduct Your Job Your Job Search.

Finally let’s address the mental aspects of searching for a job. Regardless of the age, searching for a job can be daunting, frustrating, overwhelming, stressful – well, you get the picture. When you’re over 50 and searching, thoughts like you’re too old, no one wants you, you’re never going to find another job again, can send you into a tailspin.

Here’s a tip on countering those negative thoughts when they come. Every time your mind shoves a negative thought to the front, counter the thought as follows:

Negative thought: I’m too old. My best days are over.

Counter: I’m a mature adult with a lot of life experience that someone is going to be lucky to get. My best days are yet to come.

Negative thought: Employers are going to take one look at how old I am and won’t hire me.

Counter: Employers are going to see my enthusiasm and my value and are going to be lining up to hire me.

Negative thought: I’m never going to be able to find work.

Counter: Jobs are being dropped in my lap one after another. I’m going to have multiple offers to choose from.

Get my point?

Your thoughts don’t control you. YOU control your thoughts. It’s just as easy to have a positive thought pop into your mind as it is a negative one. It doesn’t matter how many times negative thoughts pop into your mind keep countering them.

Finding a job is as much a mental game as it is an actionable one. Whatever the reasons you find yourself unemployed put them behind you and look forward.

The sun will come up and you will find a job!

I’m going to leave you with one last point. If you’ve sent out fifty to a hundred resumes to jobs that you know you are qualified to do and no one has contacted you, consider having a professional look at your resume.

Now go get ‘em!

Attributes Hiring Managers Want From College Graduates

college-gradsAccording to The National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook Survey for 2016, 80% of hiring managers surveyed responded that the number one attribute they want see on a graduate’s resume is leadership abilities.

Graduates, you’ll want to make sure to list any leadership skills you’ve acquired in college such as a leader of a professional organization, team project, sports team, debate group, etc. If you don’t have any collegiate leadership examples it’s acceptable to include any high school leadership skills such as holding a class officer position, team lead for dance, band, etc.

After leadership, 78.9% of hiring managers reported the ability to work in a team as being the next most critical attribute. Graduates, be sure to include any teams you participated on during your internships or as part of a class project on your resume as well. Don’t forget to mention if you were a lead on any of the teams, too.

Written communication skills were rated as the next critical attribute by 70.2% of hiring managers. Graduates, your writing skills will come through when you prepare your resume and cover letter so keep this in mind. After you’ve completed your resume, read it out loud for any confusing statements that might need to be modified and be sure to use grammar and spell check.

Rounding out the top five most critical attributes hiring managers want from college graduates include: problem solving skills (70.2%) and verbal communication skills (68.9%).

To see the full of attributes CLICK HERE.

For guidance what to include on your resume and cover letter CLICK HERE.

Graduates, see if you can address the top 10 attributes as you draft your resume and cover letter. If you can, it just might make the difference over your competition for the job.

Do You Need A Cover Letter?

cover-letterYes! If done correctly, the cover letter can be equally as important as your resume in getting you noticed.

Your cover letter should…

  • Introduce you to the company.
  • Provide a snapshot of your skills.
  • Clarify and/or explain items missing or confusing in your resume.

Following is a breakdown of what you should include in each paragraph of the cover letter:

First Paragraph

Include the position title and position number (if any) that you’re applying to. The number is especially important for companies that fill hundreds of positions. Recruiters will search positions by number, not by title. Then, use the first paragraph to include your objective statement. By including your objective statement in your cover letter and not the resume you allow for more room for achievements on your resume. The first paragraph should be no more than three sentences.

Example:

Accept my resume for the position of Financial Analyst, #53425. I am interested in using my five years analyzing financial data in support of your organization. My intention is to continue expanding my financial knowledge as I move toward a management opportunity.

Second Paragraph

The second paragraph is where you include a snapshot of your skills as they relate to the job description. By including a snapshot, you’re encouraging the recruiter to want to learn more about you. Address only 2 or 3 of the most important job description requirements.

Example: (Tip: Be sure to include an achievement related to your qualification as well.)

 

Job Description Requirements My Qualifications
*5 yrs financial analyst                               *5 yrs financial analyst
Partnered with departmental hiring managers in forecasting and analyzing budgets
*2 yrs Excel including pivot tables         *5 yrs Excel including pivot tables
Developed an Excel spreadsheet for managers to track spending.

 

Third Paragraph

In this paragraph you’ll clarify or explain issues related to the resume. These issues might include gaps in employment, relocation, excessive commute, and being overqualified for a position. If you don’t take the time to explain these issues in your cover letter and the recruiter notices the gaps or that you have an excessive commute etc., your resume is going to get screened out.

Example:

In reviewing the job description, it mentioned that only local candidates need apply. As you can see I am currently living in another state. I am planning on moving at my own expense as soon as I obtain employment. In addition, I am willing to incur the cost to fly out for an interview.

Fourth Paragraph

This normally is a one sentence wrap-up. It doesn’t need to be a full paragraph.

Example:

 Thank you for your consideration.

Keep your cover letter to one page in length. Also, it’s acceptable to address the cover letter to the attention of the hiring manager if you don’t know specifically whom to address the letter to.

Remembering these tips as you draft your cover letter might just make the difference in getting your resume reviewed and you getting the interview.

For a checklist of what to include on your cover letter, Click Here

3/50 Plan to Conduct Your Job Search #careertips

3-50-plan

How many times have you looked for a job and found that you had a hard time figuring out what to do and when to do it? You started your job search and found a job that you’re qualified to do so you decided to apply. Only it’s taking you time to apply and you think that maybe you should be looking for other jobs. So you stop applying and start looking for other jobs. Or you’re working on your resume and you’re stressed because you know you should be applying. If you don’t apply, you won’t get the job.

You get more and more stressed and end up getting nothing done. By the end of the day you’ve only applied to one job, if that.

Good news! Here’s a plan that will help you stay focused during your job search. There are only 3 steps and each step consists of you spending 50 minutes focused on only one aspect of the job search.

Here’s how the 3/50 plan works.

Step 1 – The first 50 – The Job Search

Spend the first 50 minutes searching for jobs. Of the 50 minutes spend the first 40 minutes making a list of jobs. Be sure and print off each job description or save it to refer to later.

Pop the links to the jobs on a separate word doc or excel spreadsheet so you can quickly find the job again when it’s time to apply. Don’t concern yourself about your resume or applying right now.

Then, the last 10 minutes go back through the jobs on your list and select the top 5 that you’re qualified to do and that you want to do. So many times we apply to jobs that we can do but maybe don’t really want to do. Your list probably includes some of the ‘can do’ jobs. Now it’s time to weed them out.

Step 2 – The second 50 – Customize Your Resume and Cover Letter

The next 50 minutes you’re going to spend customizing 5 different cover letters and 5 different resumes to match the top 5 jobs you’ve selected. For each job, review the job description for keywords and make sure those keywords are located somewhere on your resume. You’ll also need to make sure that the title of the job you’re going to apply to appears on your resume. Adding keywords to your resume and matching titles will ensure your resume will be found in a database search.

You’ll also want to make sure that each cover letter provides a snapshot of your qualifications.

For instructions and templates how to prepare your resume and cover letter CLICK HERE.

Step 3 – The third 50 – Apply to the Jobs

For the next 50 minutes, it’s time to return to the site where you found the job and apply. Make sure that you upload both your cover letter and resume. If the system will only allow one document, combine your resume and cover letter together and upload them as one document. If the company specifies they want you to provide both documents and you only upload your resume, you’re going to get screened out.

After you’ve uploaded your documents make sure you get confirmation that they were uploaded successfully. Many Applicant Tracking Systems, that’s the software that collects your documents, don’t all work alike. Sometime you think your documents have been uploaded – and they haven’t.

Finally, make sure you answer all the prescreening questions. Don’t put ‘see resume’ or you’ll get screened out. Recruiters use the prescreening questions to further narrow down their applicant pool. Providing well thought out responses to the questions will help ensure that your resume will get passed on to the hiring manager.

Follow this 3/50 plan and you’ll find that you’re more productive in your approach to searching for a new job – and less stressed!

Not only that but if you successfully apply to 5 jobs a day, you’ll be working before long.

100 Ways To Get Screened Out of Getting the Job

100 Ways

I’ve recently launched my on-line course 100 Ways To Get Screened Out Of The Hiring Process And The Ways To Avoid Them.
Has this ever happened to you. You sent your resume into a company and you never heard back? Or you had an interview and you didn’t get the job and no one told you why?

That’s why I created this course. I want to help you understand what might have happened so it doesn’t happen the next time.

In the course, I go over the…

Resume
Cover Letter
On-Line Application
Interview – to include the phone, video, lunch, and on-site interviews
Background Check
References
Offer
Start Date
Counter Offer

…and for each one of those topics I explain how you can get screened out.

But I don’t just tell you how you get screened out. I share with you what you can do to avoid getting screened out and then gain the attention of the recruiter and hiring manager so that you can better your chances of getting the job.

For example, take the resume. There are  23 ways your RESUME can get you screened out. What I’ve done is broken the resume down into four sections: personal information, education, work experience, and computer skills. For each section I go over how you can get screened out and then share what you need to include. I also provide you a checklist to use when you’re creating your own resume.

I’ll do the same for each paragraph of the COVER LETTER. Did you know there are 16 ways your cover letter can get you screened out? I’ll explain the purpose behind each paragraph and provide you a checklist when you’re creating your own cover letter.

There are 29 ways you can get screened out during INTERVIEWS. I’ll cover the phone, video, lunch, and on-site interview and explain what not to do.  Then I’ll provide you guidelines how to get the most out of all the interviews to help the recruiter and hiring manager know you’re the best qualified for the position.

How did I come up with 100 Ways To Get Screened Out Of The Hiring Process? Over the 20 years I’ve been recruiting I’ve seen ALL of them and the applicants that experienced them didn’t get the job. 

That’s why I’m so excited to bring this information to you now. If you take the course and learn the ways you can get screened out, you can avoid them.  This knowledge will give you an advantage over your competition who didn’t take the course.

To see a preview of the course CLICK HERE.

For a limited time only, I’m offering the course at half price.  CLICK HERE to get your coupon.

After taking the course, stop back by to provide your feedback. Please feel free to share the COUPON LINK with your network, too.

My one desire in sharing this information is to help you get the job!

Achievements On The Resume

AchievementsThe most important section on any resume is the achievement section. This is the section that will set you apart from everyone else who applied to the job. Your achievements reflect that you are the best qualified for the position.

Here’s how you can list your achievements on your resume to WOW the recruiter and hiring manager.

 

Match Your Achievements to the Job Description

You don’t want to overwhelm the recruiter will all the achievements you’ve acquired at each one of your jobs. Instead, match your achievements to the job responsibilities listed on the job description. By matching your achievements to the job the recruiter can see that you have experience in the areas they want along with an explanation of how you improved processes, reduced costs, implemented best practices, etc. Don’t bother listing achievements that don’t have anything do with the job you’re applying to; even if you’re very proud of them. At this point you want your resume to get selected for an interview. Once you get the interview you can bring up other achievements.

List More Achievements than Responsibilities

Listing responsibilities only informs the recruiter that you were assigned that particular task. It doesn’t let the recruiter or hiring manager know that you actually performed the responsibility. That’s what achievements do. They inform the reader that not only were you assigned that responsibility but that you accomplished something related to it. That’s why it’s important to list more achievements than responsibilities. What I recommend is listing 3-5 responsibilities that match the job description. Then list double the number of achievements.

Use Action Verbs

To engage the reader, be sure and use action verbs as you describe your achievements. You wouldn’t want to read a book where the main character sat all the time, would you? Keep in mind that recruiters read hundreds of resume every day. You want them to stop on yours and read it. Action verbs will grab their attention and invite them to keep reading.

Quantify Your Achievements

It’s more impressive to read that you increased revenue by 30% than just to read that you increase revenue. Attaching quantifiable results to your achievements will get attention.

 

Finally, here’s a tip, the best way to track your achievements is while you have your job. It’s always more difficult to remember everything you accomplished after you leave a job. While you’re working, you know the projects you’re involved in and the results. As you complete each project, pop it on your resume. You’ll be glad you did later.