Blasting your resume will hurt your job search

1 04 2011

You can ask any recruiter, internal or external, if they have a list of candidates who they know by name and will “NEVER CONSIDER FOR ANY OPPORTUNITY” and I’m sure they will tell you they have a list. Our firm has a list of candidates we by heart who apply for every opportunity we post. I’m not sure how they do it but it seems as though they have a program written to apply every time there is an update on our career page. These candidates will never be submitted for any position that I am working on.

Just think about it for a minute. Today’s recruiters are able to store every resume that is ever presented to them. They can then go and conduct a key word search for each job that they are working on, thus producing a list of candidates who may be qualified for the position. If they have your resume then they will call you if you are a match. If not, they will not waste your time.

I suggest limiting your submissions to every 6 months with any company. This is enough time most companies will assume that you have found a new opportunity and would only reapply if you were still looking.

Aside from annoying your potential employer, you are also sending a message that you are not willing to fully read the job descriptions that they have posted, so why should they read your resume. There is no one person who is ideal for every opportunity within any company. While I’m confident there are some CEO’s who could do any job within their company well, there is no way that they would work for the pay offered at each position.

Your resume submission is your first opportunity to meet a company. Make sure that it’s a meaningful conversation and you are only asking for a meeting to discuss a position that you are truly ideal for. Blasting our resume will only help the recruiter recognize your name and associate it with the “Not Interested” stack of resumes in their trashcan.

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You Need Experience To Get a Job But You Need a Job To Get Experience

28 03 2011

So, you’ve completed your degree and you’re ready to get to work. The only problem is that no one will hire you because you don’t have experience. So now, you want a job to gain experience and you can’t get a job because you don’t have the experience because you can’t get the job.

First, I would not apply through a recruiter for any direct hire opportunities. Since you are not the “Perfect” candidate because you lack the industry experience most hiring managers will feel like they are taking a chance by hiring you. When you apply through a recruiter the company will have to pay that recruiter a fee if you are hired. While this is not always a determining factor it’s usually in the hiring manger’s mind when determining the cost of bringing you on as a new employee.

Secondly, explore contract assignments. While they may not pay as well as your current occupation, a pay cut may be required to get your foot in the door. Most companies will lower the qualifications for contract positions even though they don’t lower the compensation, compared to the direct hire candidate so the pay cut may not always be required. Some companies actually hire contract employees directly, but more have these positions outsourced contract staffing firms so if you are going this route you may be speaking with the recruiters who I told you not to speak with in my first suggestion.

Lastly, whenever possible take part in activities that help increase your resume. For example, you could volunteer once a week for a non-profit group that has some type of significance to the jobs you are looking for. By taking part in real world activities you can include them on your resume and show that you are still active even though you may be working a full time job which is not related to pay the bills.





Should your LinkedIn profile say you’re a consultant?

27 03 2011

There are a lot of people out there looking for opportunities. Many experienced professionals take consulting assignments in order to pay the bills or keep them active in the industry. This is great and many consultants end up receiving job offers from the companies they work for upon completion of their assignments. Others do well and gain valuable experience that builds their resumes and contributes to landing future positions.

What I often notice as I browse LinkedIn profiles is many people in this situation post their current roles and place “Consultant” in the job title. Unless you are a true consultant who wishes to jump from company to company working on special projects do not put Consultant as your job title on LinkedIn. I suggest using the title that would be assigned to the role that you are filling. I’m in no way suggesting that you be at all misleading. I feel that you should include the fact that you are in a temporary role in the details for your position.

My reason for not using the word “Consultant” in your title is that it’s directly going against your reason for updating your profile, assuming you are looking for future full-time employment, is that when staffing professionals search for you on LinkedIn they will often assume that you are seeking future consulting roles.

As with most web-based searches there are weighted elements that are used for quantifying results. In the case of LinkedIn job title is the most heavily weighted. To prove this try doing a LinkedIn search for someone with your exact job title and I’ll bet that you’ll come up in your search. Further evidence can be seen when you conduct a search and your result yields profiles of people who have only included job titles in their profiles. Surely, with over 8,000,000 LinkedIn profiles, your key words would come up in thousands of completely filled out profiles, yet people with job titles matching your search always come up.

If you want to get hired you must think like the people looking to hire. How will they search for you? What words will they choose to find people doing what you want to be doing? Once you’ve thought about it take a second look at the job titles in your profile.

I’d love to hear your opinions regarding this and other post on this blog.





You got the interview, Now what? “Read your Cheat Sheet”

27 03 2011

Most of my previous post discuss how to find jobs or make yourself easy to be found by the people working to fill openings. So, what do you do if you have an interview? Do you run out and make sure your interview suit is dry cleaned, read up on the company you’ll be interviewing with, and get a good night sleep before your interview? Those are all great things to do. But will that be the determining factor of your placement? Perhaps the suit may impress, the preparation will certainly help if they ask you questions, and the good night sleep could make you more energetic, but will the person(s) interviewing you notice?

The thing to remember about and interview is that it’s as much about you meeting with the company as it is about you meeting with the company. As a recruiter I’m always expected to provide pertinent information that the candidate should have prepared for their big day. The fact is that there is typically very little I can provide in detail. Interviewers judge candidates on an unlimited amount of factors when determining who they would hire. We all talk to people who were members of the teams who interviewed us when taking a job. I’m sure that you’ve all heard stories regarding the discussions that took place when your candidacy was considered. Most of the ones that I’ve heard about myself are hardly relevant to the job.

My point is that 80 percent of the interview process is out of your control and half the decision has already been made. The people who are interviewing you have already decided if they like you or not. They are meeting you for one of only two reasons. They are speaking with you because they feel that you are really worth speaking to and they WANT to give you the job or someone in HR told them that they should really interview at least three people before making any hire because it’s the right thing to do. In either event, it’s either a good thing or a bad thing right from the start and you can’t control it.

The only thing that you can do is to be prepared to discuss the items that are on your resume. Your resume is what got you to this point. What more could they want to know? Just think back on every interview you’ve ever been on. They will ask you about things on your resume every single time. I give this advice to every candidate that I send in for an interview. “KNOW WHAT’S ON YOUR RESUME, IT WILL COME UP. Your resume is your INTERVIEW CHEAT SHEET!

So next time you have an interview scheduled sit down and read your CHEAT SHEET!





LinkedIn Groups, Are you using them to your advantage?

27 10 2010

Some people may ask me if my blog is about recruiting of LinkedIn because of my numerous mentions of the great professional social networking giant. This is because LinkedIn is an essential tool for giving you the edge in the job search. Today I’d like to discuss LinkedIn groups and what you may or may not know about them.

LinkedIn Groups are all joined by networkers voluntarily. This means that everyone in any given group is there because they choose to be and are interested in the subject mater of that group. This means that each and every member is in some way connected to the subject mater in some way, thus having a vested interest in preserving the group and its’ goals.

As we all know the value of LinkedIn is based on being connected to people, and more importantly, the right people. The groups feature on LinkedIn is the most effective way to connect with the people that matter to you. The importance of groups is that when you join a group you are given the option to accept messages from other group members even if they are not connected to you in any other way. LinkedIn sets the default option to accept messages. This is great because most people will not deselect this option. Meaning you can search members of the group and send them messages directly without them approving an invite, introduction, or using a valuable InMail.

There are two ways to join a group. You can be invited because someone in the group thinks that your expertise would be an asset to the group. You can also submit a request to join. Some groups allow you open membership where a group owner is not required to accept invitations. Many groups will require the group owner to review your profile and manually approve your membership.

Now that we know how you get in groups and some of the value in being in a group there are some other things you should know about LinkedIn groups. The single most important thing is that you NEED TO BE A MEMBER OF 50 GROUPS at all times. By having membership in 50 groups you get the most out of your LinkedIn account. You always have to remember that the more people that you are connected to, the more potential you have to be noticed by others as well as notice opportunities posted by members of your network, which includes group members.

I would like to mention one last point. Use care in choosing your groups. LinkedIn lets you view the membership numbers of each group prior to joining. You always want to be in the largest group, granting you connections with the most people. Also, use different search terms when searching for a group. For example if you are a scientist working on an Oncology projects within the Biotech or Pharmaceutical industry and you are seeking new opportunities try, Biotechnology Jobs, Biotechnology Careers, Biotech Jobs, Biotech Careers, Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Medical Device, Careers, Jobs, and so on. For a majority of these examples you may even see one of my groups “Oncology Jobs In Biotech and Pharmaceuticals”.

Best of luck and enjoy your groups!





Is recruiting Luck or Skill?

15 10 2010

I am constantly looking back at my successes in order to attempt to duplicate practices that work and eliminate those that don’t. Sometimes I look at the recruiting business as pure chance.

I spend a majority of my day tracking down candidates that are possibly qualified to find out that many of them are just off the mark, not interested in the position, or totally the wrong candidate. Then out of nowhere I find the perfect candidate who wants the job and is exactly what my client has asked for.

What I realize when looking at my past success and failure is that every placement I’ve made is a lucky situation for me. Something inevitably makes that candidate want another job. I’ve placed candidates that needed a new job because they had been unemployed for two years while taking care of an ill family member. I’ve placed candidates who have been told they are being laid off in 90 days. I’ve placed candidates who I’ve called one week after they were passed up for promotion at their annual review. All of these situations were by chance and lucky for me and my clients.

What is all comes down to though is Skill. I would have never spoken with any of the candidates that I’ve placed if it was not for taking the time to know my clients, their jobs, and my candidate’s situations. I would not have placed any of them if I didn’t put in the effort to conduct a search and continue to search after 90% of the candidates that I spoke with were not able to be considered for one reason or another.

In the case of my largest single placement to date I knew who the ideal candidate was within two days of searching. I called the candidate and established a relationship. He indicated that his employer was just purchased by a major competitor and, at his senior level, stood to gain a lot by staying for a while and cashing in on his stock options. There was no way that this candidate was going to leave and potentially give up significant earnings.

Well, I stuck with him and contacted him on a regular basis asking for referrals for the same position that I knew he was ideal for. He gave me a few but they were not the polished diamond that he was. Almost two months past and my client began getting frustrated because they couldn’t find the perfect candidate and time was closing to find the right candidate for their project.

In one of my follow ups to the ideal candidate he finally said, “Hey, is the position still open. I’d like to be considered if it is” The rest of the story is that he was interviewing within a week in person and received/accepted an offer a week later. It seemed like the easiest placement I’d ever made because it went so smoothly.

What recruiting comes down to is skill and persistence. You must be able to maintain relationships. It’s not so much luck and chance as is it skill. You must know when to back away from a candidate and when to keep following up. While luck will always have to fall in your direction, you have to know what you are looking for in order to find it.





Understanding Recruiters

24 09 2010

I get calls all of the time from candidates asking me how much I charge to help find them a job. There is a misconception out there that if you link up with a recruiter that your life will be good and you’ll know about prefect opportunities all of the time.  The fact is that I don’t know of a recruiter out there has ever received money from a candidate to find them a job.  One thing all candidates must understand that recruiters work solely for the company that they are assisting in finding candidates for.  

I’d like to start out by explaining how recruiting works.  Anyone can be a recruiter.  All you have to do is contact a company that has a job and ask them if they need help filling the job.  If they say yes, you then negotiate an agreement for payment.  There are three general types of recruiting that occur.  Retained Searches, Contract Searches, and Contingency Searches.

  • Retained Searches are usually for extremely senior level positions.  A company will pay a recruiting firm to dedicate full-time attention to one position.  This usually includes and advertising campaign along with contacting senior executives by any means possible.  In retained searches there is only one recruiting firm working on the position and it’s not offered to any other recruiters.  The client company is paying them a fee so that their own staff can focus on other responsibilities.
  • Contract Searches are conducted for several purposes.  Companies can use these services as a temp to hire where they can evaluate candidates on the job prior to offering full-time employment and costly benefits.  Long term contracting is usually used because a company wants to save money on payroll cost like taxes, workers compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance.  These contracts can last several years.  Lastly, there is seasonal contracting.  These jobs are to add extra workers during transition or peak seasons.
  • Contingency Searches are ones where a company is in need of great candidates to fill a job.  In order to save money and to keep their internal recruiting staff small they seek out multiple search firms to assist with sourcing candidates.  In this type of search recruiting firms are competing to find the best candidates for the same jobs.  The recruiters work aggressively to submit candidates before the other recruiters find them or they apply directly to the company.  The reason for the competition is because the firms only get paid if the company hires the candidate that they have found.

Now that you understand the types of recruiting and how a recruiter gets paid.  It’s obvious to see who they are working for.  Like everyone else, our client is the one that writes the check.  Because of the misconception that recruiters work for job seekers recruiters often get labeled as the bad guy because we won’t submit your for every job that you feel your are qualified, but the reality is your should be thanking them.

Why should you be thanking a recruiter for not submitting you?  Well it should start to make sense for you soon. Since you know how a recruiter makes money you should see that it would make sense for them to focus their time on the candidates with the best chance.  If a recruiter tells you that you aren’t the ideal candidate there is a reason.  It’s not because the recruiter does not understand your experiences, it’s more about them understanding your weaknesses and how you stack in comparison to other candidates and the client’s actual needs.

Most job descriptions are general in nature.  How many of you applied for a job and once you were there for a few months looked at the job description again and laughed because your actual job is significantly different from the job you applied for?  I know I have.  Well, given that a recruiter will only get paid for candidates that are perfect and that will get the job, aside from the retained searches for top level executive searches, The recruiter must be very confident that your resume is NOT what the client is looking for.  Now assuming this is true and that you are not the PERFECT Candidate it is a fact that you will have a better chance at the position by applying directly for the position. 

So why should you ever go through a recruiter?  If you are the ideal candidate a recruiter can guarantee that your resume will be viewed by someone responsible for a significant part of the hiring process.  A recruiter will also be able to, in most cases, get feedback greater than the typical, “Thank you but we have decided to select a more qualified candidate.. blah blah blah…” that you usually receive when you are not considered for a job.  A recruiter can also have a direct conversation with the company to explain your gaps in employment and other questions that a company’s HR person simply does not have time to ask each candidate.  A good recruiter can also tell you about the company, reasons the job is open, hiring timeline, and other crucial information that will help you decide if you are even interested in the job.

With all of this understanding about the function of a recruiter you may have also put it together that if you are not the ideal candidate going through a recruiter could hurt your chances of getting the job.  In a situation where the company is concerned about the fee that is going to be charged by a recruiting firm if they hire, they will not hire you unless you are the perfect candidate.  I do not have one client that will hire a less than ideal candidate that I send them.  This is going to be the case with any employer.  So only go with a recruiter when you feel that you are truly qualified. 

With all this said it’s now obvious who recruiters work for.  It’s your responsibility to understand the advantages and disadvantages or working with recruiters.   Understanding what they do, who they work for, and why they are calling you will help you understand rejection as well understanding the advice they will give.