Job Search: Make it Simple

I saw this article in today’s JSOnline and something clicked:

Boys’ invention is worth its salt

November 11, 2008 12:35 a.m. | Why didn’t we think of it? That’s how Ariens Co. engineers reacted when they first saw the snow-thrower accessory invented by sixth-grade students Matt Moran and Sam Hipple. »Read Full Article


Now that you’ve read the story, think about your own job search. Have you made things too complicated? Here are 5 tips to simplify your search:

1. The Networking Monster: Have you created a networking monster? “Hey, know anyone who’s hiring?” – that’s the monster I’m talking about. Check out our newsroom for tips to tame the monster and make your networking efforts simple, easy, and FUN.

2. The Long Boring Resume: Is your resume filled with complex language, industry jargon, and other non-essentials that make it 5 pages long? Pass it around to your friends. If they ask you to explain things or look confused, it’s too long, too complex, and too boring. Trim the fat. Focus on results. Accomplishments demonstrate your value and the employer’s potential ROI on their investment in hiring you.

3. The Drama Queen — or King: Are you whining about your situation to everyone? Remember attitude is everything. It’s OK to express your opinion and grieve for your job loss, but then turn it around. “I always hire attitude over experience,” said one human resources director. “Skills can always be learned.”

4. The Over-Engineered Process: Are you making the job search process so complex that you’re afraid to start? Are you making excuses? (You can’t start until you’ve completely updated your contact database… You can’t start until you have the perfect interview suit… You can’t start because…) Take action and do one thing for your search now! A baby step is better than no step.

5. The View from the Pigeonhole: Target your career focus and your search, but don’t limit yourself to the methods you use in the process. Networking is the No. 1 way people land new gigs. BUT there are many ways to tap your network – both online and off. Contact companies cold. Talk to recruiters. Post your resume online – and follow up. Snail mail your resume to decision-makers – and follow up. Paste your resume into company website application forms – and follow up.

Now is the time to simplify. Take action. One small step in your job search is one giant step toward YOUR new dream gig!

Let us know your favorite – and simple – job search step. Share your stories with us – and inspire others!

Copyright 2008 * Wendy Terwelp


Recruiter Rants

Hi, this contribution is from Alice Hanson, former resume writer turned recruiter. Enjoy!  [Oh, and some side bar stuff from me, Wendy Terwelp]

It struck me today how far I’ve gone from resume writing and my former job in career coaching…It’s just a very different perspective here. I am hiring mid level technical contract positions. We get and fill about 10 jobs a day. With this kind of speed, there are some things that really drive me crazy…thought I would share. And a great resume is still a great asset-thanks to those who do them!

Recent pet peeves:

Applicants who don’t put their phone number in the Monster job ad…how am I supposed to call them? Do you want a job or what? Don’t be coy on me. I’ll call someone else and sometimes I don’t have time to mess with an email and wait for you to email back..the job will be closed by then or I will have submitted someone else. The market is really moving.

[Note: I must say, I too have been receiving resumes for review that have only a name listed as contact info. Hello! Read the above!]

Applicants who call back a week later expecting the job to still be there…uh, no, sorry.

Applicants who have nothing but soft skills on their resume. Even if they are a project manager or business
analyst or product manager or even a project coordinator, I want to know what type of projects, technical skills, and expertise they can manage:

Software development, networks, new products -what kind? What beside a PM are they? Don’t tell me they are “good with people.” What industry? What tools? What did you create? Give me all the alphabet soup. Are you a Linux guy or a MS guy? Database or Web/front end? .net or Java? If you test, have you done black box, white box, performance and load, UI or regression testing?

[In other words, provide specific examples of your projects – we call them “achievements.” Quick tip: Use the CAR technique – Challenge, Action, RESULT.]

Give me a grid of hard skills that I can match against the job desciption I’m sourcing…Get really specific and stick it in a chart with number of years used and the year it was used….very helpful….if I see the right skills, then I read the most recent job description and check the date of their last employed date and the job history.I hate resumes that are done in two column tables. Give it to me straight and direct. I just dump out all the formatting and stick it in our corporate format anyway..and tables make it harder..the hiring manager never sees your formatting if you go through a recruiter. 

[Now, now, there is SOME formatting – like paragraphs and bullets. 🙂 ) I don’t bother with profiles..and this makes me grimace after all the pain I used to put into picking the right adjective that “captured” the uniquness of my client…but I don’t mess with them…10 seconds of reading is very true..often I read the resume from the bottom up, looking for career history and how the candidate evolved. If the candidate makes it through my screen, the hiring manager may be interested in the profile so I guess profiles have a role. I determine
who the person is by the phone screen. Chronological formats, to the point, are my favorite…but they don’t hide much, so there you go.

[Time and time again I hear chronological is the fave. I personally use a combo, a few meaty statements in front and chronological info right after. To date, rave reviews from employers and recruiters alike. How do I know? My clients get hired. And sometimes the HR person who hired them becomes a client!]

Six page tech resumes can be fine, suprisingly. I had a Microsoft manager tell me the other day to take a one page resume and “give it more beef.” We had to add a lot of left out details to make the candidate look credible. The old adage–make the resume as long as it needs to be to make the candidate looks credible and worth the money they are asking.

[Six pages?! No way!]

Anyway, a perspective from my desk…thought I would share for what it is worth.– Alice Hanson