44% Of Employees “Unsatisfied”

Wednesday, 30. May 2012


According to a recent article at Forbes.com, 44% of employees are unsatisfied with their current jobs. As Susan Adams writes in her article, “New Survey: Majority of Employees Dissatisfied”, even while unhappy, many employees feel stuck, afraid to make a career change, due largely to the current job economy.

Most articles you will read about professionally written resumes will focus on how to get a potential employer’s attention. Very few give tips on making sure the right employer pays attention…and the wrong ones don’t.

For instance, many people say that I am a team player. But really, that is just a code word for loyalty. Not everyone plays well in a team and not every workplace is good for team players. Some people work better on their own, and some workplaces leave employees to work on their own. Some individual bosses like to micromanage, while others like to give direction and kick you out of the nest.

In order to find a work environment that will make you happy you need to be upfront, honest, and specific about your preferred working style. Many new hires have the tendency to try to be the type of worker that they think the employer is looking for, even if they know it will not make them happy in the long run.

Catering your perceived working style and preferences to a new employer will not help you to attract the right kind of employers, the ones you would actually enjoy working for.

By not being upfront about your work environment preferences you will likely become one of the 44% – dissatisfied with the one thing you spend the most waking hours doing, your job.

Billboard Cover Letter: When A Resume Is Just Not Enough

Wednesday, 9. May 2012


Let’s face it, with the ever-present recession and slowed economy, finding a job is tough. So how do you stand out from the crowd? A professionally written resume is a good start, but what happens when a resume is just not enough? Well it’s time to get a little creative.

Take these job seekers for example. Tifani and David have gone above and beyond to get noticed with their billboard, which was placed off of Hwy 80 in Sacramento, CA:

Tifani Goldsmith, a Sacramento native, states that the billboard idea originally came from David, when they both agreed that the investment to market themselves was priceless.

A billboard can be a very creative way to get the word out that you are looking for work when a resume is not enough. Think of it as a unique, if not very expensive, cover letter. But as Tifani pointed out, it can be well worth the investment, especially if it only takes a month instead of four months to land a job.

Since both Tifani and David’s websites are no longer active we can only hope that their investment paid off.

Pasha Stocking was also ‘unemployed and seeking employment’:

After being unemployed for over 10 months, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She created a website and rented a 14×48 foot billboard that was located on Interstate 95 in Fairfield County, CT. Although the campaign was a media success, Pasha was unable to gain ‘suitable employment’ and decided to venture out on her own. She now runs her own Public Relations and Marketing firm called PR Bar.

Although we are unsure if Tifani and David’s investment actually paid off, Pasha’s billboard did not seem to attract the type of work that she was looking for. So what was wrong with these billboards? The features, benefits, and the unique selling propositions are all “I am unemployed”. You wouldn’t focus your cover letter or resume on your status as being unemployed. Why not put a more effective message, like “Hire Me – results driven sales manager between assignments” or “Hire Me – full-time accountant available immediately”.

Here is an example of billboard that sends the right message:

Mark Heuer rented his billboard in, what he describes as a time of “desperation as he was seeking his next career opportunity”. The beginning of the economic downturn in 2008 was hard on everyone, but instead of letting it overtake him Mark came up with a creative way to change careers with his 16×60 foot billboard that was located in Milwaukee, WI, and with the right message, he successfully made that change.

Top 10 HR Secrets That Will Help You To Get Hired

Wednesday, 25. April 2012


Exactly one year ago Readers’ Digest posted a few HR related articles exposing how Human Resource professionals really feel about CV’s and job interviews.

Although the articles made HR professionals look a little, as one commenter put it, slimy, those HR people that were quoted in the articles made a host of valuable points, and we’ve picked the top 10 HR secrets that will help you to get hired.

#1 – Customize your professionally written resume for each application, highlighting your relevant work experience and skill set as it relates to the job you are applying for. And as HR Consultant Emma Worseldine puts it, “Never lie – you will be found out.”

#2 – Proofread your resume, whether you get it written by a professional or you’ve updated it yourself. HR consultant Marianne Wilkinson “won’t hire someone who has a ‘Batchelor’ degree”, and neither will the majority of hiring managers.

#3 – Explain periods of unemployment on your resume or leave dates off entirely, because as former HR executive and author Cynthia Shapiro points out, “We assume other people have passed you over, so we don’t want anything to do with you.”

#4 – Use a professional email address for correspondence, because as Shirley Watt, director of a recruitment agency, explains nobody will to take you seriously with an email address like, “sexykitty@hotmail.com” or “doomsday_slayer@yahoo.com”.

#5 – Record a professional sounding voicemail message, because as Bonnie Currin, director at specialist recruitment company PAG, East London, explains, with “a voicemail that is far from acceptable for a potential employer to hear” you will likely lose out on a chance to be invited in for an interview.

#6 – Do extensive research on a company before attending an interview, because as one New York City HR professional explains, “It’s amazing when people come in for an interview and say, ‘Can you tell me about your business?’ Seriously, people, there’s an internet. Look it up.”

#7 – Practice your interview skills ahead of time, paying particular attention to your body language and your ability to make eye contact. An HR manager of an undisclosed finance corporation advices that you should never “stare out the window as you’re talking, even if the view is magnificent.”

#8 – Keep your answers simple and concise. Although the interview is your chance to wow the hiring manger, you do not want to bore them. Take HR consultant Sharlyn Lauby’s experince for example of what not to do, “One time I said to a candidate, ‘Tell me a little bit about yourself.’ An hour- and-a-half later, I was afraid to ask question No.2.”

#9 – Be flexible in your work schedule and availability. As Laurie Ruettimann, an HR consultant and speaker in Raleigh, North Carolina, explains, “If we ask you to travel for your job or attend a conference, it’s not a question. Say no, and it can be career-ending.”

#10 – Prepare a list of potential questions to ask the interviewer, leaving the discussion about wages until the end. Bonnie Currin, director at specialist recruitment company PAG, East London, feels that it can be “off-putting to ask a candidate if they have any questions and the first thing they ask is ‘What’s the salary?’ Surely there are more profound questions they can think of to leave a lasting impression?”

Why You Need A Keyword Rich Resume

Thursday, 12. April 2012


When you are applying for a job, especially online, it is very unlikely that a human will first read your resume. In most cases, a computer program, which will search for keywords that are relevant to the job position, will first scan your resume. Those resumes that have a sufficient amount of the desired keywords will be moved to the top of the list, while those that do not will likely ever be read by a real person.

Phil Rosenberg, President of reCareered, recently discussed this the importance of keyword rich resumes in a post entitled, Why You’re Not Called When You’re The “Perfect” Candidate. Rosenberg answers the question quite simply, “It’s likely the reason you weren’t called is because one or more major criteria weren’t on your resume. And if it’s not on your resume, it doesn’t exist.”

When you submit your resume to a company ‘s application system, your resume is immediately scanned for specific criteria in the form of keywords. This is why it is so important to have a keyword rich resume that is specifically tailored for each application.

Writing a keyword rich resume is not as difficult as it sounds, especially with the help of a professional resume writer. The following guidelines will assist you with drafting a keyword rich resume, as well as what to do with it once it is complete.

#1 – Keyword Research
Before you can begin drafting your resume, you first need to do some research on the keywords the scanning software will look for. The best way to do this research is by carefully reading the job posting, paying particular attention to the keywords that are used in the job description. The scanning software will look for keywords that describe such categories as degrees, industry certifications, job titles, computer knowledge, and personality traits.

#2 – Keyword Density
Once you have an understanding on which keywords will likely be required, it is time to develop a list of variations of each of those keywords. For example, the education requirements for a particular job posting may require an MBA. In order to increase the keyword density in your resume, without sounding redundant, use the different variations, such as, master’s degree, Master of Business Administration, and MBA. The more keywords the scanning software finds, the more likely your resume will get passed on to the hiring manager.

#3 – Readability
Not only must your resume be keyword rich, so that the scanning software accepts it, but it will also have to read well. Once your resume has passed the virtual gatekeeper it will be sent off to the hiring manager. If it is packed solely with keywords and doesn’t read well, the hiring manager is likely to dismiss it.

#4 – Formatting
There are times when a hardcopy of a resume may still be required to be sent the traditional way, i.e. through the mail or fax. However, this does not mean that your resume will not be subject to the computer scanning software. Many times the hard copy is still scanned into the system so the program can look for keywords. In order to ensure that your resume is properly scanned you will want to take the following formatting guidelines into consideration:

  • Font choice: Use simple recognizable font styles, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana or Courier
  • Font size: Keep the font size between 10 and 12 points
  • Font style: Do Not use italics or underlined text
  • Headings: Format all headings in bold or ALL CAPS

#5 – Posting Your Keyword Rich Resume
Once you have a keyword rich resume, whether you have written it yourself or with the help of a professional resume writer, your next step is to post your resume so that it can be passively searched. Yes, sometimes the job offers come to you. Recruiters are known to search the popular job boards using the same keyword scanning techniques that the hiring company’s application software uses. Post your keyword rich resume on all the popular job boards, on your LinkedIn profile, and even your personal blog.

A resume is your chance to make a first impression to the decision makers of the hiring company. Ensuring that your resume is not only keyword rich, but also fine-tuned to meet the specific requirements for each job posting you are applying for, will enable you to get past that first crucial barrier, the virtual gatekeeper.

A professionally crafted resume that also reads well will help you to pass the scrutiny of the hiring manager, sending you well on your way to the first interview. After that, it’s up to you.

How To Display The 4 C’s To A Hiring Manager

Thursday, 5. April 2012


In a recent article published in the Harvard Business Review, Douglas R. Conant discussed the importance of effective team building.

Conant, the former President and CEO of the Campbell Soup Company, recommends that the “time to think about building a highly effective team is when you recruit people into the organization in the first place”.

According to Conant, when interviewing prospective employees, he suggests to look for the 4 C’s: competence, character, courage, and collaboration.

Many hiring mangers are already incorporating these ideals into their interview style. Therefore, today it is no longer just about showing that you possess the skills and knowledge that are required to do the job, both on your professionally written resume and at the interview, but you also have to prove that you are a good fit for the company.

Meaning that you will need to show that you will be an integral part of the team.

If you are preparing for an interview in the near future, the following tips will help you to display the 4 C’s to a hiring manager:

#1 – Competence

When it comes to competency-based questions, a hiring manager is looking to find out about your character, your soft skills and your personal attributes. They will ask questions to see how you acted in real life situations, similar to the scenario type interview questions post we did last year.

To prepare for this type of interview you should:

1. Write down a list of your attributes and characteristics, such as, creative problem-solver, or logical thinker.
2. Next, for each attribute think of two real life situations where you used your creative problem-solving abilities, or logical thinking skills to solve a problem.
3. Don’t try to answer what you think the hiring manager is looking for; rather it is better to be honest about the attributes you possess.

#2 – Character

Along with the competence-based questions, hiring managers are also trying to determine your character. They will ask character-discerning questions, which are also similar to the ones above, during the interview process in order to weed out those applicants that may have the proper skill set, but are not the right fit for the team. As in the first C, preparation is key. You may also want to take the following into consideration:

1. If you have not actually experienced the situation the hiring manager has posed to you, don’t make it up; they will know when you are lying. It is better to explain that you have never experienced that type of situation before and describe what you would do if you had.
2. If your only example puts you in a negative light, you will have to make a decision either to use the example from above, or spin the story to a positive by demonstrating that you have learned from your previous mistakes.

#3 – Courage

Hiring managers employ courage-based questions during the interview process in order to determine which applicants possess leadership skills and leadership potential. These type of questions are typically posed in the scenario/situation type format. Some examples include:

1. How would your co-workers describe your leadership style?
2. What are the most important values and ethics that a leader should demonstrate?

You want to be able to display your courage and leadership abilities to the hiring manager; so again, preparation is definitely the key to answering these types of questions.

#4 – Collaboration

Not only are hiring managers assessing your courage with your ability to lead, they are also looking at your ability to collaborate and be part of a team as well. Collaboration-based questions will come in the form of specific examples, usually with some form of problem and resolution tied into it, such as:

Give an example when you were part of a team. How did it go? Did you face any difficulties and disagreements? If so, what was the resolution?

In a perfect world everyone would get along together, in reality, this rarely happens. Unless your only example as being part of a team would make utopians jealous, then give it, but include the ‘This is what I would have done if there were problems’.

If your experience of working in part of a team was the norm, i.e. rife with difficulties and disagreements, then be honest. Focus on how you helped to resolve the conflicts within the group and were able to bring the team project back on track.

Just remember, preparation is key with any interview, especially if your goal during the interview process is to display that you possess the 4 C’s to a hiring manager.