These Words Will Get You Laughed At More Than Hired

I am a big believer that you really do have to sell yourself (and sell yourself well) to get hired in any economy, especially this one. On the other hand though some people have taken things to the point where they look just plain silly.

I can almost guarantee you that if you use one of these words/phrases listed below to describe YOURSELF (ie NOT someone else describing you) on your resume, LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile, or really anywhere else you are probably getting laughed at and not hired.

  • top  gun
  • ninja
  • superstar
  • guru
  • rock star
  • expert
  • top notch
  • top shelf
  • Jedi
  • ‘Yoda like’

You have been warned.

Until next time, good hunting and good luck!


Major League Baseball and Job-Search

If you’ve ever watched a pro baseball game you know two things are true – it is as about as entertaining as watching paint dry and they have a statistic for everything.

Now, most of the stats are ridiculous (ie “he’s the first left-handed batter to hit the second pitch of a game to the third baseman since 1988”) but some (batting average, runs batted in, etc) are worth having and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they keep them to track how a player is doing.

When it comes to job-search what are you tracking?

Could you tell me the number of jobs you are applying to per interview? Can you tell me the number of interviews you are having per offer? What about the number of networking calls you are making vs. the number of networking meetings you are having?

I would guess that if 1,000 people read this post 990 cannot tell me any of the numbers requested above which is VERY poor.

How can you judge what is working and what is not if you are not tracking what your activities are. If I were looking for a job today I would go MLB all over it and be able to put together a data story that would impress any MBA out there.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Malcolm X and Job-Search Reality

I was listening to ‘Cult of Personality’ by Living Coulor today and the beginning of the song (which, in my opinion, is one of the best ever recorded) a snippet of a Malcolm X quote is featured, “. . .and during the few moments that we have left, we want to talk right down to earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand.”

To breakdown job-search into a ‘language everybody here can easily understand’ if you don’t network don’t expect to find work anytime soon.

Now, I know a lot of people have differing definitions of what networking is. Some might think sending an email (or InMail), or connecting with someone on LinkedIn, or showing up at a chamber of commerce meeting is networking.

All of them are kinda, sorta, in a way networking but what I am referring to is good old fashion one-on-one informational meetings over coffee or your favorite beverage.

If I am being honest, I am to the point where I feel just as sorry for those who tell me they have applied for 1,000 jobs and haven’t heard anything back as I am those that play the lottery and don’t hit the jack-pot.

To put it simply, there’s no global conspiracy to promote networking to the detriment of our way of life and nobody is secretly making money off of telling career experts to promote it as an effective job-search tool.

The reason that so many people promote networking is BECAUSE IT WORKS.

If you are going to refuse to do effective networking please go tell your sob story to someone else, there is not much I can do to help you. I know that’s harsh and I will probably have someone hate me because I said it but it needed to be said.

Learn how to network (read our previous post on the topic), learn how to do it well, keep your network alive, strong, and well and you have more job security than you could ever imagine.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

The Good News About Looking for a J-O-B

In most cases when conversations are had about job-search the talk is more about current activity (where are you interviewing, etc) than the end result (a J-O-B).

The truth of the matter is you WILL land somewhere, so why not focus on that rather than the daily grind of looking for work. It more than likely won’t be on your schedule (it rarely is) but the good news is there is a job out there with your name written all over it.

When talking about the art of looking for work you never know when, where, and how an opportunity is going to develop so you need to have a plan that includes all different avenues to get there (networking, recruiters, social media, applying to jobs, career fairs, etc) and having all of your ducks in a row to sell yourself at the drop of a hat.

If you need encouragement in your search please know that I pray for all of those looking for work on a very regular basis as I know how difficult job-search is and know the pains associated with it (financial, emotional, spiritual, self-confidence, etc) all too well.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Eight Sure Fire Ways You Are Screwing Up Your Job-Search

There are as many ways to find a job as the day is long and over my career in helping folks do just that I belive I have seen just about all of them. On the flip side, there are as many ways to screw up a job-search and today we are going to highlight eight of them.

  1. A recruiter / employer knows before they even post a job opening that you are going to be one of the first to apply. I think if most recruiters are being honest they know exactly who is going to apply to a position before they even post it. In fact, a recruiter friend recently told me that he was hesitant on broadcasting a role because he was starting to feel bad telling the same people no every time.
  2. A recruiter / hiring manager knows your phone number as soon as it pops up on caller id. Congrats you have moved from candidate to stalker. I would lay off of the following up a little bit and give the recruiter / hiring manager a bit of time to make decisions and move the process along.
  3. You are not easily found online. If you are looking for a job your information needs to be findable on LinkedIn, through Google, on Twitter, on Facebook, and on the job-boards (even if you just post a confidential resume). Recruiters are hunters, you are the prey, and if you cannot be found you  are going to make life much harder for yourself.
  4. You think that your resume and ability to interview are second to none. There is not much I can say here other than a reality check is needed.
  5. You have not worked on growing your network. Simple rule to remember – either network or don’t work. The reason that so many people say to network as part of your job-search activities is BECAUSE IT WORKS!
  6. Your computer and / or Oprah is your best friend. Get out from in front of your computer, turn Oprah off, and re-review number five.
  7. You have not worked to keep your skills current / improve your skills while you have in search. One of my favorite questions to ask is, “What are you doing to keep your skills current and up to date” and I am always shocked and appalled by the number of times I hear ‘nothing’ or complete silence. Your skill-set is a living, breathing thing. If you don’t feed it, it will die.
  8. Your phone feels like you have deserted it. Go back and review number five. If you are not working the phones you need to review your whole job-search strategy.

Hopefully none of these eight things apply to your search but if any of them are a review of how you are conducting your search should be had (like right now).

What would you add to this list? It could end up 100 long for sure – look forward to your thoughts and comments.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Passion, Reality, and Job-Search

There is a lot to be said for following your passion when it comes to work and many ‘experts’ who write and discuss such matters will say to give up everything to chase your dreams and follow your passions.

While I think that advice is good in practice there has to be some sort of intersection with reality. Consider the following:

  • I am passionate about soccer and would give up my left pinky toe to have a succesful career playing the sport that I love.
    • The reality: If I made a go at a pro soccer career I would be jobless within the second because no one would pay me to play.
    • The solution: I play in an adult soccer league (and very regularly with my kids in our yard) and PRETEND that I am a highly tuned instrument of soccer destruction.
  • I am passionate about music and would love to be able to make a living expressing myself through song.
    • The reality: I don’t even sound good singing in the shower and I am about as tone-deaf as they come.
    • The solution: Still working out the details here, but no talent is still no talent at the end of the day so being really good at listening to music has to work for now.

Although I love both soccer and music I would be the really, really bad person who auditions on American Idol if I were to try professionally at either. So what do you do to have your passions satisfied while still being able to make a living?

One of my favorite examples comes from my good friend Bill Karlson (check him out – great author and SME on job-search) who once told the story of a woman who was an accountant that had an absolute passion for the opera. So what did she do? Found a job with an opera company doing their books.

Also consider my much better half Christina. She originally came to Nashville (where we live) to go to school and become the next big thing in country music. Life happened and now we have three kids and although she has a great voice trying to make it as a singer would be a bit difficult.

Her solution? She is very active in singing in the children’s ministry of our Church. It’s not making her rich and famous but she gets to do one of the things she loves the most on a very regular basis.

What say you – how do you balance your passion and your work? Look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments!

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!

Why Recruiters and Resumes Don’t Mix

Many years ago, before I really dove deep into the world of recruiting I was under the impression that recruiters (and HR professionals in general) should be a go-to resource for résumé review. Boy was I wrong.

If I was looking for a job right this second I would run away from 99.9% of the résumé advice given by 99.9% of the recruiters out there. Why? Because they will guide you to put things on it that will make it easier for them to rule you out of the process and harder for you to get the attention you need.

Don’t believe me? Go and have just about any recruiter out there and they will tell you the following things:

“Make sure to put the dates on your education.” WRONG! Putting a date on your education makes it easy to potentially figure out how old you are and if someone can figure out your age then you are easier to categorize and weed out.

“Put all of your work history on your résumé.” WRONG AGAIN! Putting all of your work history has the same effect that putting the dates of your education – it makes it too easy to date you (I always recommend going back only 10 -15 years).

“Put your references on your résumé.” COMPLETELY WRONG! This is one of the oldest recruiter tricks in the book – instead of getting the contact of one potential candidate, you get four (the résumé writer + three references). If someone need’s to see your references make sure it’s after a screening or interview.

“Your résumé cannot survive a typo or grammatical mistake.” MOSTLY WRONG! If you are a top-notch performer in a very niche and in-high-demand field and have a misspelled word or two on your résumé it will probably be overlooked; if you are a customer service person it will probably hurt your chances. Fair? No. Reality? Yes.

“You should customize your résumé for every position you apply for.” WRONG 90% OF THE TIME. If you follow the formula of knowing what you want to do, knowing what companies look for in that area, and sell yourself like crazy on paper you shouldn’t need to customize your résumé at all because it will already fit 90% of the positions out there. Why is that so important? Consider the following:

  • You go ahead and spend all of your time customizing your résumé and I will spend my time making networking phone calls. I am not a betting man but I would bet on the fact the fact that I have three offers by the time you get your first call back.
  • Remember – at its core your resume is nothing but a piece of junk mail and anyone with a little bit of networking know how and a phone can run circles around you and your ‘customized résumé’ any day of the week.

Unless a recruiter tells you something along the lines of “your resume is a marketing document that should highlight relevant reasons why you should be hired” or “your résumé won’t get you a job, you will” then they are feeding you a bunch of… well, you know what.

Until next time – good hunting and good luck!