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Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?” - (Part 3 of a 3-part series)

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In Part 3 of this 3-part series we continue to highlight how good people get in their own way during a job search, my hope is that in this 3-part series you will avoid being one of those good people that get in their own way.

1. Taking corporate job descriptions as gospel – They seldom accurately describe what the job entails. It’s your responsibility to dig deeper. Beyond a headhunter’s or HR person’s description of a job. When running classified ads, companies are forced to reduce a complex job to fifty words, which is next to impossible.

2. Listing office phone numbers – Many resume writers think they’re being helpful to prospective employers by listing their office phone number on their resume. They’re wrong. Job hunters suffer not from being unavailable but from being too available.

Being too available can scare employers. This is why unemployed job applicants rank lower than candidates who are working. They’re freely available, and may be willing to join anyone’s payroll. They’re required to give up nothing. The employed worker, on the other hand, must make a sacrifice to join an employer and is therefore more desirable.

3. Providing a generic non-specific subject line for your email transmission. – In a world of click and send job postings and canned letters that pass for communication, I prefer more substantial contact. That way you can be sure they hear and you know they’re listening to you. For that reason I personally prefer face-to-face discussions and telephone conversations, but hate the impe4rsonal emails. Nevertheless, emailing is dominant when we search for new employment, therefore, when submitting your resume don’t use your name in the subject line, such as “John Smith’s Resume.” Sadly, most job seekers say something like “Resume Submission,” or worst “Resume Doc#2 Final.”

Stating a subject such as “Resume of (your name,” “Vice President,” “Manager,” or “Sales Representative” will do nothing to gain a reader’s interest in opening up your email versus the dozens of others on the screen.

What you need is a hook in your subject, something to convey that you could fill an important company need.

Here’s how to transform the above subjects into eye-catching information: “Vice President-Finance, with IPO and Multiple Turnaround Successes,” “Manufacturing Manager with Plant Start-up Lean, and JIT Experience,” and “Medical Device Sales Representative – New Account Development/New Market Entry.”

With the added information, a recruiter or prospective employer has every reason to open up the email.

During the interview process, a smart job seeker asks, “What qualities other than skills and experience are needed to succeed in this job?” – You should spend at least as much time walking with the interviewer through a typical day, month, and year as talking about your experiences and past achievements. No interviewer can answer your questions without revealing a great deal, unless (the worst scenario) the interviewer has no idea how you’d spend your time. Evasiveness should raise a red flag.

4. Following each interview, conduct an analysis of what worked and what didn’t work – After you do this, incorporate what you learned into your preparation for the next interview. One of the most helpful interviewing techniques that I discovered for my clients is for them to take along a 2-3 page presentation to talk about, a hand-out on a technology or performance program that the designed, or something that will make them as, “Wow. Did you do this yourself?” Pure talk not backed with examples can be too subjective for an interview situation.

5. Ships operate the way people ought to. Why? Because ships always have a destination. How many people do you know who can say the same thing? – The notion of ‘keeping your options open” is a misguided approach to job-hunting, managing a career and, especially, resume writing. A prospective employer should know in the first two to three lines of your resume what type of position you’re looking for, and in the first 10 to 15 lines the greatest benefits you can bring to the position. Having two or three resumes with different targets still allows for an effective, manageable search. If you’re unable to narrow your target, focus on assessing your skills and career research, not writing your resume.

 
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