Saturday, March 24, 2012

Writing a Great Resume

Resume writing can be terrifying and paralyzing. If you weren't born with awesome connections (ahem, Paris Hilton) you must have a resume. 

To stand out from the crowd your resume must be great.

Forget perfecting the interview for now. A poorly constructed resume will close doors before you ever had the chance to show off that dazzling personality. 

We all have our own style but there are some basic rules to writing a resume people will read. 
  1. Write the resume for someone who hates to read.
    • Bullets draw the reader's eye to certain points you're making - you only have about 5 seconds to catch the reader’s interest.
    • Recruiters don't have the time to read beautifully written poetry on your resume.
  2. Don’t just list your duties.
    • You do want to paint a picture of your experience and you do want to be brief but you don't want to have a "duties" only resume. It won't impress.
  3. Brag about your accomplishments.
    • Saved a company some money or added to their profits? Mention it! 
  4. If you have metrics - Use them!
    • Managers love metrics. This rule goes triple for anyone interested in sales and marketing. Numbers = attention.
  5. Focus your resume.
    • Looking for sales -> Focus your resume on sales. 
    • Looking for management -> Focus your resume on management
    • You get the drift
  6. Create multiple resumes so you can adhere to #6
  7. This is a you advertisement.
    • Stand out but don’t be gimmicky
    • Feel you're an asset to an employer? How so?
    • When did you shine?
  8. Proofread times three!
    • Spell check will cover spelling errors but it will not correct silly mistakes, like forgetting the ‘f’ in ‘for’ -  ‘Or’ is still a word.
  9. Always put the phone number that you want to be contacted on your resume
    • This might seem like common sense but if you use your cell phone, put that on your resume. Home phone numbers aren’t the standard anymore.
  10. Key words
    • The job you're looking for requires 'Marshmallow Eating' experience and you have it? Make sure it's on your resume. 
There are a ton of great resources out there on how to write a perfect resume. Do your research and put a lot of care into yours. However, these ten simple rules will definitely increase your chances of being noticed. Once you're noticed it’s a cake. Mmmm cake.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Social Media in Job Search

The millennials are here. Every year more and more people enter the workforce who grew up not knowing a world without an "online".
A couple of years ago my friend decided that he need to look for a new job. I told him to start developing his network on LinkedIn. His response was “I need a new job, not a new hobby”. This retort was no shock to me considering he still owned a rotary phone. However, he did make me think. Was his a common attitude, is it still?
It's 2012 now and there is no denying that social media is taking over the world. Every company with a will to survive has some sort of social media strategy. It's easy to see its value with advertising and brand enhancement. What is less visible is the value in recruiting and job hunt'en. I was interviewing for jobs not too long ago and more than one HR Director seemed to hold the idea that social media was a waste of time. Still? I guess we have a longer road than I thought.
Since I use social media for recruiting and employer branding I read a lot about the subject. I am connected to other big advocates and they saturate my life, my online life. Sometimes it is easy to forget that while a ton of people are invested in social media there are a ton who only dabble in it. Everyone isn't 'there' yet. Some people still buy a newspaper. OK, maybe I went a bit far with that one but some people still haven't embraced the new world.
The first of the big media sites is LinkedIn. This is the most professional and transparent on why you need to get on there to job hunt. The whole idea of LinkedIn is to create professional relationships and a public resume. It is just part of the deal. Your boss won't freak out if you're on LinkedIn. Your boss will probably just ask to join your network. The whole concept is great, as you can see from #4 in this article but I know too many easily marketable people who don’t take advantage of it.
LinkedIn is a place to post your resume and accomplishments even when you’re not looking for a job. You know what, recruiters love passive candidates. One day you could get lucky. Your dream job could fall into your lap because someone saw your LinkedIn profile. With new features constantly being added such as  the follow company button, job hunt'en only gets better here. Recruiters have a whole  slew of great LinkedIn toys making it easier to find you. This site has been around for a while and it keeps getting better. I won't be shocked if it takes over all things recruiting and job hunt'en (talking to you job boards). If you're not on LinkedIn, get on there.
Facebook is a little different because it is more social but I do think it has great value. For example, you can re-connect with an old college buddy. This buddy could be working at your dream company. Send a little facebook message saying “Hey, I noticed you’re at XYZ Company, do you know of any job opportunities there?” It can't hurt. Facebook is also a great place to follow career pages and brands. It keeps you in the loop. You do want to be careful because, as I mentioned earlier, facebook is predominantly social. When you're searching for a new job keep your profile clear of ridiculousness. That's right, keep your 'Trip to Amsterdam' pictures hidden for the moment. It won't kill you to use discretion but it could kill your chances at a company.
Twitter, ah twitter….I love it! I find it to be ever so useful and informative. I follow various people and brands. I stick to following those who post valuable information. To me, twitter has the most educational value of all the social networking tools. I follow tweeters who post links and/or comments that have helped me grow both professionally and in my knowledge of American Idol ;). I actually don’t follow celebrities because I find their tweets to be less interesting than a good old-fashioned snarky column or blog. I do follow experts and industry leaders who provide useful insights. Not everyone uses twitter the right way, but those who do are gems of knowledge.
Pinterest is the latest of social media trends and I am loving its potential. It is an online bulletin board and I will dedicate another day to this fireball of social media. There is a new kid in town and this kid has power!!

To end my “pro social networking” monologue my advice is to hop on monster, careerbuilder or any job search site but don’t stop there. Start looking in places you play and if you're not playing on these three big then start.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Top Talent Talk

The past year or so I attended numerous meetings about how to find top talent. It's the "new" initiative.

New? What?

Isn't that always the goal? Any recruiter or hiring manager with half a brain already does this. In fact, we sometimes take a little longer to hire someone because of this very objective. Contrary to the "I don't care how, I want it now" crew our slower than desired 'time to fill' is not laziness or incompetency but due diligence. We are fully aware that hiring a great employee makes our lives easier.Yet, the great and powerful Corporate Ozes do not think this is common practice. Why?

I scratched my head to ponder. Scratching one's head for thinking purposes can be pure magic because I have already thought of two reasons why companies don't have 'top talent'. Well, to be honest, I have more but only two are objective enough for me to write.

Reason One: We DO have top talent.

They just lost motivation.

It happens.

It happens a lot.

I just spoke with someone who was almost in tears about a potential hires background check failing.  The depression in this poor girls voice was heartbreaking. She wanted me to tell her it was OK to hire. Alas, I could not. No, we can not hire people who lie to us. I am not the most sympathetic chappy on the block; yet, I felt really bad for her. She said, " I have been doing 3 jobs for 6 months and am just tired".

Sing it sista.

The way companies are slashing departments and expecting more and better results is amazing. The way the Oz creatures blame the lack of talent for dipping numbers is just cruel.  I don't understand how they (the big guns in the corner offices) don't get it. Are they really that removed? I understand these Oz creatures tend to be work-a-holics and actually enjoy never seeing sunlight, their family or the daytime drunkscapades of Snookie. They don't even notice they stopped living with the rest of us. However, they shouldn't expect this from top talent because work-a-holism is a trait of a CEO and most of us won't ever be a CEO. To be perfectly honest, I would rather own my own Kangaroo Scrotum Key Ring making company than be a corporate CEO.

My advice on finding the ever elusive Top Talent? Staff and train your departments properly. Watch the magic reappear.  These over-worked, over-tired and under-napped superstars are just stuck in mudd. Mudd that the Oz creatures slung at them. It's time to take a rag, clean up the mess and watch your munchkins shine!

Reason two: Sometimes we F up and hire a lemon. Mistakes are made and lessons are learned.
Whadda ya want!