Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Will Protection Help?.....Or Not?

It was about two years ago when I began learning from  emailers and clients and job seekers in general that unemployed job seekers were being discriminated against.  It’s great to see an issue getting national exposure that we in the career niche have known about for awhile.

Obama’s proposed bill prevents companies with 15 people or more from not hiring someone who is unemployed.  Cheers, right?  Advocates of job seekers have applauded the proposed measure.  But others say it fosters discrimination in favor of the unemployed and may well result in unnecessary litigation. 
According to Wikipedia:  “Unemployment (or joblessness), as defined by the International Labour Organization, ocurrs when people are without jobs and they have actively looked for work within the past four weeks.”  Not hiring the unemployed goes back further than you might expect.

Wikipedia also says that in the 1576 Act each town was required to provide work for the unemployed. The Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601, one of the world’s first government-sponsored welfare programs, made a clear distinction between those who were unable to work and those able-bodied people who refused employment.

I googled various phrases to see what’s happened in the past, but didn’t find much.  In 2006, Gary Aguirre was hired by the SEC, but sued them for not hiring him when he earlier applied for the job.  In 2010, a job applicant asked on a Colorado website if he could sue a company for not hiring him when they required a degree, hired someone who didn’t have one, and he didn’t have one either.  In 2004 a male wanted to sue Hooters for not hiring him as a waiter.
In a 2007 blogpost, one executive advises HR people on how to “delicately” handle the subject of why someone wasn’t hired by issuing any number of vague phrases – none of which are new to so many of todays job seekers.   I can’t count the number of times job seekers have asked me what to do when they have the qualifications, are ignored, and see the job ad remain or even be reposted on a job board.

Personally, I can argue both sides of this.  In deference to the job seekers, I’ve written several articles about the stupidity of companies not hiring the unemployed (here’s the most recent:   In deference to employers, I know from having been a recruiter and now from working with my clients there are an awful lot of job seekers who think they are qualified….and aren’t. 
Companies who don’t hire the unemployed are discounting a valuable resource.  After all, it’s not as if it’s a candidates’ market and thus those who are unemployed are, generally, not the cream of the crop.  These days, there are a lot of very good people who were  let go individually or as a group for reasons having nothing to do with their performance. 

On the flip side, there are going to be job seekers who have a history of not accepting responsibility for their actions and aren’t going to change that if this law goes into effect.  In a world where people sue for spilling hot coffee on their lap, for getting cancer from cigarettes and equally absurd reasons that spend taxpayer dollars and tie up the courts, this attempt at fairness will most definitely have its boundaries tested.
It may well be that a few cases have to be litigated in order to set some sort of a precedent, with or without EEOC guidelines.  This issue isn’t really anything new – it just has a different shape to it. So, whether it’s enacted or not is a moot point, really.  Only in an ideal world will companies consider candidates based solely on their capabilities and credentials, and will job seekers take responsiblity for their decisions and actions and not look for the easy way out.
I’m just wondering………so you sue a company for not being hired and then… get lots of money for not being hired which underlines your lack of interest in conducting  a  productive job search in the first place (and shows what type of person you really are) or you get to work there after all.  You lose either way , no?  
Or you can look at it this way – if they don’t want to hire you because you’re unemployed, it’s not likely to be a place you want to work anyway.  Then you’re at a meet up group and run into the hiring manager who put you in the “no” stack because you were unemployed, you can quietly hope he’s learned something from his earlier decision.

looking for the right answers to the wrong questions?

A  job  seeker sought me out for a consultation last week.  She was feeling lost (not uncommon) about what direction she should go in.  She’d not had any luck turning anything up; her resume hadn’t gotten her any response and she was wondering if she should get another degree or a certification in something and if that would help.  She wanted feedback on her resume.
No response to the resume is a common problem  But the solution isn’t the same from person to person -  aside from probably needing their resume fixed.  Fortunately for her she sought some answers to her questions instead of just running pell mell off into some solution that seemed sensible. to her
The first problem was her resume (which she’d had done professionally.) And after all my questions, part of my solution to her was to refer her to the two people I consider very good at what they do (and I endorse very few professional resume writers).  Despite having seen over half a million of them and the results people have achieved with ones I’ve done, I’ve chosen to no longer do them. 
Her resume was functional rather than chronological – a good choice for her though it was poorly done.  It was hard to read.  The bullet points had no bullets.  They were job description statements instead of ones that really highlighted what she could do and had achieved.  Her jobs were concurrent but only the years were listed, not the months.
She had a hodge podge of job titles, although a steady employment record, and an advanced degree and the result was that you couldn’t tell what she’d done, you couldn’t tell what she wanted, and the degree said “expensive” so the result was that after about 3 seconds, her resume went in the “no” pile.
It was clear to me that her strengths were leading things behind the scenes; making sense out of chaos; pulling a hodgepodge of details together into one organized, cohesive grouping and establishing a prioritized timeline; talking to the different parties and making sure that all groups were represented in a manner that was equitable, agreeable, and satisfying to those involved, etc.
The resume conveyed none of that.  Nada. Zip. Zilch.  So my first piece of advice was to tell her to make sure the new resume writer knew that’s what needed to be conveyed on her resume.  So that handled the resume problem for now.
But an extra degree or certification, such as a PMP, wasn’t necessary – at least not now.  She was more a project manager in theory rather than in an industry requiring that certification and using that title, and not every industry does.  Sometimes project manager is a functional part of another title rather than a formal title and formal job description.   People with this skill (and I’m not one of them) are always in demand – but you have to know that it’s your “thing” and be able to convey that.
So rather than running off to school, I counseled her on how to use for research to pull things up to research titles, industries, requirements etc in searching for opportunities that had those skills as the essence, but in which the industry or company or context varied.  That’s considered looking horizontally rather than vertically.
The purpose of this exercise was to see what the varied titles were – and as I was doing this on Indeed while talking with her, the titles varied greatly – and if there were any trends.
Project Management positions that require PMP certifications are usually vertical – IT; setting up a complex, company-wide safety program (usually manufacturing, nuclear technology, oil & gas, etc); things like that vs a more horizontal focus, that is, companies looking for someone with project manager skills – event planning, marketing communications liason, student development coordinator – all of which pulled up and necessitated a closer look.
I showed her what steps to take, how to asses each result, etc.  Based on her results, then she’d know if she needed to go back to school and  she could decide if she wanted to do that. 
As for the advanced degree and the random assortment of companies and titles – that was easy to pull into one coherent sentence for her to utilize by means of an explanation, but it put a great deal of emphasis on the cover letter, which is where it needs to be handled, and not through a generic one.
I see this problem with so many job seekers and I’m always thankful that the ones who seek me out for a consultation do so.  I applaud them for it too because it means they’re thinking things through clearly enough to not just run knee jerk into the night in some random – but seemingly plausible – way to solve whatever they perceive to be the problem.
But if all she’d done was had her resume redone, her strengths still might not have been uncovered and highlighted.  Or if she’d gone and gotten a degree or certification in something, it could have been unnecessary – especially as she didn’t even know what she wanted to do in the first place. 
If she’d done that and started all over again, she still wouldn’t have had the primary questions resolved and furthermore, the hiring authorities would still be rejecting her resume, not the least because of the advanced degree and how it was interfering with their perception of her because she wasn’t shaping the perception she wanted them to have.
Finding a new job is a skill – and it’s really not a skill many job seekers have, which is why so many of them are operating at about 25%.  Issues they think are one problem are actually an entirely different problem.  If you haven’t properly defined the issue, whatever action you take isn’t going to provide a satisfying resolution or put you any closer to your goal.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let the Beauty of What you Love be What you Do:

Friday night Steve and I went to a great little venue in Pawling, NY, called The Towne Crier Cafe.  It’s an intimate little place with tables up front where you can get a superb dinner and a separate small section in the back if you’re just coming for the show.  They’ve got musical acts there – mostly ones that are on the upward or downward trajectory as the place seats only about 100 people.

We saw Joe Louis Walker - serious rocking blues guy who’s played with Jimi Hendrix, BB King, Muddy Waters, etc – and Murali Coryell (son of fusion guitarist Larry Coryell), and the rest of the band that travel with Joe Louis Walker.
Which brings me to my point.  Friday night, they’d just returned from 6 weeks in Europe.  Saturday morning they were leaving NY to head to Florida for 6 shows on successive nights. Then back north for 1 show in PA, then 4 shows in New York City, then back again to Florida for another 8 shows.    By January 20, 2012.

Artists are driven by what they do.  Musicians, writers, painters – creators.  They can’t not do it.   So what’s the deal with so many other people?  Many of whom don’t see themselves as creators and thus are creating by default?
BusinessWeek ran an article a few months ago that said according to Deloitte’s Shift Index survey, 80% of people hate their jobs.  The article’s question was “Passion or Paycheck?”   I want to know – why do you have to choose?  Because I don’t believe you do.  My clients who do the work aren’t – they’re finding both.

Part of it is the questions you – and I say “you” because I do love what I do, and firmly believe it’s my life’s purpose – part of it is the questions you ask yourself and the beliefs you hold: 

  1. “How can I make money?” ….rather than “What do I love? And how can I make that work for me?”

  2. Flinging yourself at any job ads that look remotely viable and collecting possibilities like marbles, clutching on to them…rather than “What would be my perfect job?  What would it look like?”

  3. “That won’t work.  I can’t do that.  This is the real world.”….rather than “How can I make that happen?”

  4. Limited thinking……..rather than expansive thinking.

  5. Fear.  Job seekers are full of fear.  The way conventional wisdom is advising job seekers these days hugely perpetuates that……rather than self empowerment, being yourself, letting the process taking care of itself, not jumping through hiring companies’ hoops, and realizing you don’t have to sit at the table like a 12 year old who’s been told to eat all your vegetables! or you can’t get up from the table.

When you love what you do and you have your heart and passion in it, the stress isn’t so stressful.  You find ways to create solutions and feel in control of your life and decisions, rather than feeling as if you’re at the mercy of a job that robs you of something….your time, your health, your soul.
It’s no accident that my company and URL is Find the Perfect Job.  I know it’s possible.  I see people who are doing it – like Joe Louis Walker and his group.  I’ve guided job seekers to achieve it.  I’m doing it… and guess again if you think the road has been easy from the moment I chose it.  More like….it chose me and I said “YES!”

There’s more that factors in to being happy, identifying what you love and moving into it.  There’s mindfulness as well.   No matter what you are doing and whether or not you love it, be mindful of the time spent doing it.  Whether you’re looking for another job or just looking, your attitude, attention, and focus contribute to your results.
Whatever you’re doing at that moment, whether you like it or not, choose to do it with love, care, and attentiveness.   This leaves the door open for new ideas and possibilities you might otherwise miss.  It fosters blooming, if you will.  Grumbling shuts things down.  Choose to be involved and connected with what you’re doing, even if you don’t – at that moment – like it.  Sure, when you love what you do it’s easier and more natural, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only time to practice it.

Back to Joe Louis Walker.  I was fascinated watching Murali Coryell play guitar.  After the show I told him it was amazing to watch how clearly he connected with his playing and how that contributed to the music.   He said a lot of people think he’s tuning out the audience. ” Totally not,” I said.  “You’re tuning in the music precisely so you don’t miss connecting with the audience.”   (He closes his eyes and practically goes into a trance)
Am I perfect? Do I do this mindfulness / gratefulness / choice / deliberate-creation-of-my-life thing all the time?  No.  But thankfully, I get a little bit better at it every day in all areas of my life.   When you love what you do, it facilitates that.  So don’t make the recession an excuse.  You’re creating your life.  Doing what you love is possible.  All you have to do is choose to make it happen.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

When is an Offer Not an Offer?

I received an email from a woman who was “elated about an offer for employment for a long awaited job opportunity.”  She’d been looking for a while and hadn’t been having much luck.  Despite her elation, she went with her instinct and turned down the offer.  
They’d been “sweating” her about coming in for training while she was working notice on her current job.  She felt she needed to have fully resigned one job before she began another.  They countered with they needed to train her before she started with them. 
She wrote, because she wasn’t sure she’d made the right decision.  I told her she absolutely had made the right decision and applauded her for making it.  It takes guts to turn down an offer when you want a new job badly, even if you’re employed. 
That wasn’t a job offer.  It was “sort of” an offer.  It was a dangling carrot.  “Don’t quit your job yet because we want to see if we actually like you before you start, and if we don’t, then you won’t actually be starting, and you’ll still have a job.”
Later she emailed me again.  They’d been calling and “pestering” her.  She wanted to know how to handle it.  Not coincidentally, in this email she wrote  “this company is also known for its high turnover due to its unpleasant working environment.”  So perhaps they didn’t want her to quit because they realized she might quit them first, rather than what I’d initially surmised.
No matter.  Either way, it would have been a losing proposition for her to accept it.  Even if she’d made it through the transition she’d have been there just a few months, and having left her current job…where would she be? Nowhere.
So in answer to the pestering lady question, here’s what I advised:
Don’t give in or second guess yourself- stick with your original decision!  Just say “Thank you very much but I’ve decided to withdraw myself from consideration.  I’m no longer interested.”

If she calls again, repeat the message, but start with “As I said last time we spoke (etc)…”

And if she calls a third time, then it’s time to get a little….not rude or nasty, but certainly emphatically insistent.  “As I’ve told you twice, I am no longer interested in working with your company.  My decision is final.  Please do not call me again as I will not ever change my mind.”
Gotta be FIRM.  Not apologetic, not “nice.”  Just firm.  It’s a FIRM statement.  No room for debate.  As far as I’m concerned, if she calls a fourth time, just hang up on her! 
My point being, that at the point, the one who wasn’t getting it was the pestering lady and her invasive behavior.  If she hadn’t understood and respected the message by then, she probably wasn’t going to.  So why not save your breath and your energy?  
For those of you who might not have gone that route and worried about who knows you and who they know and if it would affect a job somewhere else and what about references and will it have an adverse effect, save your worrying.  The possibility of that is slim.  And quite frankly, anyone that knows this company and is worth working for (small things telling!), would probably call you precisely because you handled it as you did.

Friday, November 11, 2011

You don't really want to find a new job.....Do you?!?

Much of what I teach isn’t just technique, it’s the psychology of the strategy and behavior.  I like to help people see what’s going on with them that they don’t realize.  I also like to give insight into why certain behaviors, actions, and strategies work or don’t work, by showing how hiring authorities and others might interpret or react.

 When I took retained clients, and even still in consultations, so many clients find a lightbulb going off.  Major epiphanies.  It’s great – because they’re reaching out for help, looking to define a problem, and when they’re open to a solution, the wall breaks and information flows through.

Here are some examples of people I haven’t worked with.  They’re just behaviors I’ve observed and noted within the course of doing what I do.


One of the emails I received today was from some one I didn’t know.  It didn’t have a subject line.  I open them – and always check my spam folder – because I don’t want to miss anything legit and I know from experience many people don’t give much thought to the subject line.  Or in this case – any thought.  It was a resume!  It was cut and pasted into the message form.  There was no introduction, no note, no information, no nothing.  


People comment and ask questions on this blog, my facebook community fan page (, and another blog on which I post (  I often comment back and do my best to answer their questions.  Often however, I need more information, and I offer them the opportunity to send me an email with whatever information I request and sometimes their resume.
 Most of them don’t.  Jeff LeFevre, who runs Job Advice Blog, notices the same thing.  When someone offers free help, and is there to answer your question, why aren’t you jumping on that?


I do free Q & A sessions every other Tuesday (  See above post.  Same thing


When I was taking retained clients, and even now on a smaller a la carte or consultation basis, I have people come to me for help.  Most of them are serious about doing what they need to do to get where they want to go.  It wasn’t an easy program.  But there were some who I began to call “Magic Bullet” people.

Usually they were at the mercy of whatever anyone happened to tell them at the time.  Frequently they’d come back to me and challenge what I’d said, and when I shared with them why whatever it was they were asking about didn’t make sense, they said “Oh, I get it.”  Then did the same thing again shortly after that.

They were kind of running around in circles, looking for the easiest way or the perfect way or the “thing” of the moment.  Changing with the wind – every 15 minutes.  They each did one month with me.

Guess what – I’m not naming any names but  all 3 of them are still unemployed over 1 year later.  By contrast, the ones who hung in there with me for 2 months or 3 and stuck with it, became employed.

 My point isn’t that I’m great.  I am great – and I bring results, but I’m not the only coach who does that.  At a certain point – it’s up to you.  So my point is that whatever coach you choose, give it a chance.  There is no magic bullet.   Subscribe to their newsletter, read it a while, and if you like one of them, lock in and follow the program instead of looking for problems and hats with rabbits.


You know the defniition of insanity, right?  I see a lot of that.  Here’s an example: one lady wanted a resume done because she wasn’t getting any results.  But she couldn’t afford my price.  So I gave her some lower costoptions that would help, all the way down to the special report I have on resumes, which is $10.00.  I urged her to do something, if not through me, then somewhere, somehow.

I followed up with her a few months later.  She hadn’t bought anything, done anything or changed her resume.  And she still wasn’t getting any results.  I wonder why?

You get the picture.  Self sabotage.  Unwillingness to chase it down.  Kidding oneself.  Making excuses.  Unrealistic expectations.  Discomfort with change.  Hoping for magic.  Lack of self confidence that continues on a downward spiral.

There’s lots of help out here.  When you’re ready to get serious, face your fears and demons, and make something happen, we’re here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Job Advice: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly!

ONE – ugly
I’m working on a national publicity campaign, and I was talking with a guy who runs multiple national trade shows.  We were talking about some of the books he receives that people want him to promote.  He said (more or less), “Most aren’t worth the paper they’re written on.  What makes some speaker think they know about how to get a job, I don’t know.  They’re only capitalizing on the market needs.”  Caveat emptor, you know?

 Here’s a good example.  This guy has authored over 55 books.  He’s a national motivational speaker. He’s an exec on a major pro sports team.  All good stuff – and definitely credible.  He’s written a book called “Nail It! Top Ten Secrets for Winning the Job Interview.”  A few of his secrets:

Being prepared.  Exuding self confidence. Display professionalism.  Radiate energy and enthusiasm. Reveal your creativity.  Did anyone not know these types of things were important?  No  word on what types of questions you’ll be asked, what they mean, or what they’re looking for or any insight into the psychological or sales aspects of addressing them.  Caveat emptor!

 TWO – bad

A job seeker in one of the LinkedIn groups responded to the this question: what do I put in the online applications that ask me for my desired salary?

“Just put $1 if ‘Negotiable’ isn’t available. It will be an item on their ‘To Ask’ list and hopefully you can get a better understanding of what they are looking for from your conversation if they don’t offer a salary range.”

Don’t do that.  They’re not going to ask you because they’re not going to bring you in.  You’re going to be jettisoned for being flip.   Assuming you’re interviewing in the same line as what you’ve been doing, then the salary range is roughly in the same area as what you’ve been making.  Put what you’re making now.

THREE – good
 Ten Commandments for Better Networking – an article written by Dr. Ivan Misner, who is the founder and chairman of BNI, the world’s largest business networking organization.  His latest book, Networking Like A Pro, is probably very good because….it’s something he knows and it’s what he does.  The article offers very good advice in brief, digestible paragraphs.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving: The Power of Choice

Unemployment is at an all-time high, and here come the holidays, which means stretching money to buy gifts and answering questions from family and relatives about why you aren’t employed yet and what you plan to do about it.           

Those of you who are familiar with me know that while I provide specific direction and advice, I also believe that what you think is what you create.           

Everything is always in a state of flux, constantly changing into new forms depending on the force of whatever causal elements are focused on them. All objects are made up of atoms, which have energy, and are constantly moving.  Atoms, manifested, become substance.           

Simply put, substance is held in place by the power of your attention until – or unless – you create a new thought or desire. An inhabited house retains its essence much longer when lived in, while a deserted one falls apart much faster. Curse your car everyday, and it will give you problems just as surely as plants respond better to loving attention.           

Recognizing that manifestation is an end-product, be aware of what you give your mental and emotional attention to.  But let me be clear: it’s a conscious choice, which is why I talk about knowing specifically what you want in your job. Focus your desire on achieving it. Know what it must be composed of and what it looks like. We are in complete control of the quality of our experience, and to a large extent, the characteristics of it.  

Your situation is what it is. If you don’t like it, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude, because you have the power to make that choice. Happiness breeds happiness, sorrow breeds sorrow, and conflict breeds more conflict.

So this holiday season, you can stress out, whine, think about how little money you have, and how everyone else is employed and luckier than you, or you can think about something else – like how much you have instead of how much you don’t have.            

Because no matter what’s going on with you, someone else always has it worse.

Some people who have jobs, hate them and wish they were unemployed, but it’s nice to have a regular paycheck while you’re job hunting, isn’t it?   Others are unemployed and worry about money, but these people have no restrictions on their time.  They can shop in off-peak hours and job hunt full-time.

My point is, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, so take whatever it is you don’t like, and choose to find the good in it.

There is something very profound about gratitude – expressing it for the smallest thing and expressing it often. If you think lousy negative thoughts, you have lousy negative things happen to you. If you think thankful positive thoughts, you’ll find little windows of blessings opening all over. Try it if you don’t believe me.

That’s not to say life doesn’t get hard. Be thankful for that too. It’s in times of crisis that we learn who we are, precisely because we have the ability to choose who we want to be in response to the crazy things that are happening to us. Start looking at problems as opportunities. Make that a conscious choice.

Instead of “Why don’t I have a job yet?” say “Hey great! I got an interview!” And it’s not “I can’t believe they didn’t hire me!” but rather “It’s probably a blessing I didn’t get the job anyway. I know the right one is waiting for me!”

Here’s an exercise for everyone – employed or unemployed, happy or unhappy. Pay attention to your speech. Pay attention to your thoughts. Stay conscious in the moment, and see how many times you think or say something negative. When you catch yourself, turn it positive.

Every hour, actively look for things around you for which you can be grateful.  Finish every day by naming five things that happened to you that day for which you are thankful. And yes, I do this too, just before I fall asleep.

It can be as small as discovering you still have strawberries in the refrigerator when you thought they were gone, to suddenly noticing the gracefulness of a bare tree silhouetted against the sky.

Notice what you take for granted: your car starting, having a house when foreclosures are up, having food to eat. You have friends who care, a place to sleep, clothes to wear, and the ability to breathe.  Be thankful, and stop taking these things for granted.

From a child’s simple prayer to exclamations of “Thanks a lot!” the business of being grateful seems like straightforward stuff. Yet recently, research has increasingly studied gratitude and other positive emotions. People who are grateful experience less stress and depression.  They’re less materialistic and more spiritually connected.

A sense of gratitude also has been found to speed healing for people who have experienced loss or trauma. This holiday season, think of all the things you have to be grateful for, and then when the season is over, keep the gratefulness going.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unemployed? Well, now’s not vacation time!

It’s a myth that no one hires during the holidays.  As a recruiter, mid-December through year end was one of my busiest times.  I started doing search in 1985 waaaaaaaaay before cell phones and often spent the day shopping with my sister and running from one pay phone to the next, and on the phone at my parents house at night.

If you think hiring doesn’t happen during the holidays, you’re rationalizing a reason to do nothing.  So another good reason to do something is because most other people aren’t.

Employers often have year-end deadlines, budgets, and tax-write offs that mean they hire you now, but perhaps you begin in January.  One of my clients was offered a job last week.  And today I got this nice email from a guy in Boston named Mike:

Just dropping you a quick note to thank you for the extremely helpful article on Body Language. I received it yesterday in the Net-Temps newsletter which was perfect timing for my second interview at my ideal company. I took your advice, was confident, and visualized success. It was so successful the hiring manager originally was going to get back to me in a few days but I received an offer (and accepted) last night!  So thank you again for your spot-on insight. I know I’m far from alone in whom you’ve helped.

If you must persist in your belief that nothing happens until January 1st at least don’t wait to fine tune or update your resume.  If you consider this to be the calm before the storm, now’s the time to batten down the hatches and prepare.

When January first arrives, every job seeker who has taken a vacation from searching will be fighting for the time of career coaches and resume writers.   Not only will turn around time will be longer than it is now, but in the spirit of economics, prices may be higher as well.

Your resume isn’t something you want to do under duress.  As the primary agent that determines whether you’re contacted by a prospective hiring company or not, it’s not a document that should be slapped together.  

A well done resume tells the story of your unique accomplishments.  It is not simply a list of job descriptions and companies.  It takes time to craft a resume that will bring results to its owner.

Waiting may mean you’ll miss the submission date for the perfect ad you see on January 3rd.  Or it may sour the opinion of a hiring authority referred to you by a networking contact, who wonders why you didn’t update your resume over the holidays while it was quiet.   

While it might seem wise to ask your family’s opinion during the holidays, banish this thought.  Some of the worst resumes I’ve seen have been defended by “I had my friends look at it, and they said it was fine.”  

As a third-part recruiter, I participated in more hirings in six months than most hiring managers did in their entire career.  For the same reason, a professional resume writer, even the bad ones, will generally create a better product than you can.  

How do you know if your resume needs work?  If your ratio of responses to send-outs is more than 1:3, it needs work, and indeed may be only one of several problems contributing to an abysmal ratio.  

To make sure your resume is the best it can be by January 1, send it to several resume writers for a quick critique and a quote.   They’ll always find problems for two reasons.  One, they want your business, and two, there always is at least one problem.  Don’t select by price because you get what you pay for.  Yet some professional writers are exorbitant, which doesn’t imply they know what they’re doing.

Lest you think I’m angling for you to hire me, I don’t do resumes.  I advise, teach, and critique, but I don’t write them.  I can, and have, earlier in my career, and they received praise from hiring authorities, but as a recruiter and now career coach, I’ve seen over 500K resumes in my career.

I do, however, give away a free resume report against which you can measure yours, and see where it falls short – and it will, in at least one, probably more, areas.  Then you can submit yours to various professionals and have a baseline measurement for their responses, gauging if their knowledge justifies their price and works with your budget.

Your resume is the most important document in your job search.  “Good enough” doesn’t suffice.  It’s your brochure against which people measure you, just as you use brochures when you buy a car, select a service, or choose a college for your child.  An excellent resume doesn’t guarantee a “yes,” but a bad one guarantees a “no.”

Get the free report by signing up for my free newsletter – the form is over there on the top right (scroll up)  –>  see?  Easy!

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

This Decision Makes Me Ill!


First, I want to lay some ground work.

Having been a recruiter for 22 years, with a lot of repeat clients, and having always been a top producer, I know a thing or two about sales.  Also, I know a thing or two about the psychology of people.  This is what differentiates me from other career coaches.

I’ve long discussed the two types of companies and their differences.  I’ve also taught why and how hiring authorities default to “No,” and how to get around that in the job seeking process.   Learning and understanding that is partially why so many of my clients have found jobs quickly.

And now this.  Stupidity.  A prime example of one of the two types of companies and an even more emphatic reason why the factors I talk about must be put into play before you start your search.

Thank goodness for companies like these.  Recruiters love them.  Companies like this are often the first place to be raided because of their pervasive attitude that manifests itself in so many other ways.

I’d also like to ask them “You couldn’t think of any new way to screen?  Is your business built on such arbitrary decisions?  Does your withdrawing this requirement when asked about it by the media give you any clue at all about the requirement you’ve just implemented?”

What am I talking about? 

Thompson said he also thinks ruling out the unemployed is a bad idea. But he said that part of the problem is that recruiters and human resource departments are being overwhelmed with applications for any job opening that is posted. So they’re looking for any short-cuts to get the list of applicants to consider down to a more manageable size.

Is there a way around this?  Sure.  There are about 5 ways I can think of right off the top of my head.  I totally see why this is happening, what the obvious repercussions are for those who are unemployed, and why it makes understanding the psychology and behavioral thinking process of these people all that more important if you want to get around it. 

For two years now, “good enough” hasn’t been.  You’ve needed to be “cutting edge.”  Now that’s not only more important, you better be razor sharp, and learn this skill called job seeking like your life depended on it.  Because it looks like it might.

Exploding Common Words of ‘Wisdom”

Most of the people who have worked with me know I’m a renegade when it comes to career advice and that I don’t agree with a great deal of it.  There’s a lot of  “one size fits all” stuff out there, but since everyone is different, how on earth can “one size fit all?!?” 

  1. “A resume should be  one page, but I don’t ding people for more than that.”   [Name], director of talent acquisition at [a major company] Laboratories.  –> Nay, nay, unless you’re shortly out of college.  More often than not that means a tiny font or omission of Very Important Information.  Two pages, sometimes 2.5 pages.  The key is the information on it.  A very good 2.5 or 3.0 page resume that makes relevant points and tells the full story  is infinitely better than a really bad 1.0 or 1.5 page resume any day.  It’s not the length, it’s what’s on it.

  1. “Do you have any questions for us?”  This is your time to ask questions at the end of an interview (from a career newsletter) –> No, it isn’t.  The time to ask questions is throughout the interview and by creating a dialogue. 

  1. Here’s a tip for cover letters to get more interviews. Use a bulleted format cover letter rather than a standard letter in paragraphs. The bulleted format is more eye catching, and is more likely to be glanced at by the hiring manager or other person assigned to sort through resumes. This format will help you get your resume seen by more people and as a result get more interviews and more job offers (from a professional resume writer).–> I disagree.  It’s usually a format for generic covers which are scarcely looked at.  It doesn’t allow for truly selling yourself in a way in a way unique to the job seeking industry that only my top sales experience through relationship building has taught me and that I teach to clients.  These letters have  often gotten compliments from hiring authorities…which means the letter was actually read.  There’s a few tricks to the paragraph format that make it work quite well.

  2. In the final paragraph of your letter, before the “sincerely” and your name, simply state “I will call you next week to check on a convenient time to speak with you in person” You’ve told the hiring manager you will be calling. Logically he should be expecting your call. For this reason you may tell the gatekeeper that “Mr. HR Manager is expecting my call this week.”  This will increase your chances of getting through, and of getting the interview. (from a career coach’s blog) –> No, it won’t.  This person has never made cold calls in her life.  By contrast, I cold called for about 20 years of my career.  And for various purposes, I still do it.  So yes, logically what she says about them expecting your call is true, except that from the hiring authority’s standpoint, he’s not really expecting your call, and some of these executives are very irritated that you presumed to sound like someone they know.  Rule no 1.  Never play down the gatekeeper.  There are ways to tell the efficacy of one, and then act accordingly. Rule no 2.  HR (now Talent Management, and lately Human Capital) isn’t generally the way to go.

  3. You can’t afford to work with a rookie or a recruiter who isn’t making it. Try to find recruiters with a minimum of 5 years in the business with at least 5 years at the same firm. Check him out  on  linkedin. Look for recommendations. Only work with a recruiter who  puts in quality time learning what is important to you and demonstrates that he understands it. (a linked in post from an in-house recruiter)–> Oh painful.  I made my first placement 2 weeks after I started 3rd -party recruiting.  In the space of 3 years I’d developed an entire new industry that the whole firm adopted, so I’d left that company and started/trained a department in the new firm.  I was typically, in an office of 20 people, the first or second top biller and I had a huge number of repeat and exclusive clients.  To this day I know recruiters who have been around 15 + years that totally bite and still don’t get the point of what they’re supposed to be doing.

I see and hear erroneous stuff all the time.  It upsets me.  People who don’t know what they’re talking about are giving advice that others are listening to at the cost of their search.  But there’s some really good stuff out there too, and next week I’m going to give some examples of that, but this time I can use the source!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Do You Reeeeeally Want to Just Settle for “Good Enough”, When You Could Have “Perfect”......


........Well then, why just settle.....? 

I was on a  radio talk show out of Minnesota this morning and one of the hosts, Patty, told a story about a lady she knew that quit her job because she hated it, and then turned  down two other jobs, took the third offer, and is now in a job she loves.   Patty wanted to know what I thought about doing that.

I think that’s exactly what someone should do!

Because the woman in Patty’s story hated her job and quit it, obviously gave a lot of thought to what she was looking for the next one – the environment, management style, chemistry, etc, which was exactly what resulted in her turning down those two offers.  They weren’t what she was looking for.

In today’s market, that doesn’t happen often.  People are so desperate they want any job and will take any job.  I get a lot of people saying to me “Well, I knew I shouldn’t have taken it but .......*fill in the blank issue*.....”  Some people don’t even hear their instinct in order to ignore it – they just go blundering blindly into disaster.

But just like in Patty’s story, a funny thing happens when you push away what you don’t want – what you want shows up.  It’s happened to several of my clients, too!

There’s a little trick I know from recruiting that cuts through any doubt or confusion and makes the answer of yes or no quite clear in about 3 minutes.  So when I go through that with a client, they’re not very comfortable to come full on, face to face with the realization they won’t like it at that company.

One that comes to mind is Jane T who lives in CT and was a student in my Perfect Job University class.  Jane was an architectural consultant and  sort of a liaison between clients and contractors.  Prior to that she’d worked with an in-house design firm on salary.  What she wanted was sales for a building supply distributor or wholesaler.

Despite having no experience in sales, she was getting interest from a number of companies and one of them made her an offer.  Some things were good, some not so good.  I supported her decision to decline the offer.  She was unsure and nervous, but she trusted me.  And then about a week later, two offers came through, both exactly what she was looking for and now she had a difficult time deciding which one to take! 

You have to know what you want and be willing not to settle.  When you refuse to settle, your intention becomes that much clearer and paves the way for what you want to arrive.  Settling happens out of nervousness and desperation and usually does nothing more than perpetuate the existing circumstances – only now you’re miserable with a paycheck. 

If you’re looking for a new job, set your intention, know what you want it to look like, and keep going until it shows up.  That’s what it means to take control of your career.  That’s how you end up in your Perfect Job. 

PS -  in looking for a pic to put at the beginning, I came across the one I’ve used.  It’s for this website and you should go there right now, read the blog posts, and subscribe to the newsletter!