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, “” or “”.

#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.

When Facebook Privacy Settings Just Aren’t Good Enough

Wednesday, 28. March 2012

Robert Siegel, host of the award-winning NPR program All Things Considered, recently interviewed Robert Collins, a now previous employee of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services. During a routine return-to-work interview, Collins was asked to submit his Facebook username and password as part of the application process.

It may sound shocking, but this is something that has become common practice, so much so that states such as Illinois and Maryland are now putting through legislation that would ban the practice.

Just when you thought setting your privacy settings was enough to dissuade potential employers from creepin’ out your Facebook profile, in order to now land that job, you may have to actually hand over full control of your Facebook account.

Since setting your privacy settings to limited will no longer be sufficient, the only recourse is a complete overhaul of your Facebook profile. Here are some areas to pay particular attention to:

Profile Picture
This should go without saying, but if you are looking for a job, your profile picture should reflect the mature, educated and responsible person you are trying to portray. A picture of you half naked, or doing a keg stand, (or both), probably won’t help your cause.

Photo Albums
It may be kind of fun to share pictures of you getting wasted at a tropical resort with your friends, but if your potential employer now has full access to your account, these types of albums may be safer on your home computer, where only you have access to them.

Tagged Photos / Places
Isn’t it great that Facebook basically allows anyone to tag you in a photo or sign you into a place? Your friends might think it is funny to see pictures of you passed out or know that you just went into the local strip bar, but I’m sure your hiring manager won’t. Before you begin your job search remove any tagged photos that can be incriminating and turn off the ability for others to sign you into places.

Info Page
This is one spot that typically gets overlooked. When you first opened your Facebook account you may have put a whole slew of interests, quotes and other nonsensical garbage on your info page. Remember to clean up the page as well, and just because it is a quote from a movie, it doesn’t mean your boss will know it, understand it, or not be offended by it.

The Wall
Finally, we’ve reached hit dreaded Wall. When it comes to Facebook, it’s not only your own actions that you have to worry about, but also those that leave comments on your profile. Delete any unsavory comments made by friends, and don’t forget to clean up your own status updates as well. If they are anything like the samples below, they can be just as bad, if not worse:

If you are not a big fan of self-censorship, you have two final options:

1) Create a second Facebook profile used solely for business interactions
2) Delete your Facebook account altogether

You can read the full transcript of Robert Siegel’s interview with Robert Collins here.

Top 10 Signs That You Won’t Land That Job… And Why

Wednesday, 1. February 2012

Here at ResumeMag we have provided you with a host of sample interview questions that you can expect to be asked in order to prepare yourself for an interview. Everything from the Top 10 Job Specific Questions, to the The Top 7 Scenario Type Interview Questions, and even The 10 Most Popular ‘About You’ Questions And How To Answer Them.

Hopefully this advice has helped you to prepare, and ace, your job interview. Today we are going to discuss the Top 10 signs that you won’t land that job… and why. It doesn’t matter how well written your professional resume is, if you have a habit of doing these 10 things during an interview, you are NOT going to land that job:

#1 Dance around an interview question
This can either be interpreted as having poor listening skills or you may come off as cagey and untrustworthy. Always answer the questions directly and as concisely as possible.

#2 Walk into an interview cold
Walking into an interview without first doing your research on the company and the position you are applying for is a sure fire way to have your application thrown right into the circular filing cabinet. To an interviewer, this is evidence that you are not serious about the position and company.

#3 Ask about pay too soon
Wait until you get an offer; otherwise, you’ll seem more concerned about what’s in it for you than the company.

#4 Talk disparagingly about other co-workers or employers
Interviewers realize that those you don’t care for may have poor views of you.

#5 Be arrogant
There is a definitive line between arrogance and confidence, so make sure you don’t cross it, otherwise the interviewer may assume that you are too judgmental and not a good fit for the company.

#6 Cut an interviewer off in mid sentence
If you think you’re more important than the person who might give you a job, you might not be a team player.

#7 Take too long to answer a question
This can be considered as another avoidance tactic, or that you are not prepared. Either way, taking too long to answer a question will not land you that job.

#8 Oversell your abilities
Overselling yourself can be just as bad as underselling. With overselling you can come off as too needy or desperate.

#9 Avoid direct eye contact
People see it as a lack of confidence, so make sure that you are always making eye contact with the person who is speaking with you and those that you are speaking to. If multiple people interview you, make sure you address each one as you answer your questions.

#10 Speak with poor diction or grammar
It’s a strike against your pitch to be an effective communicator, one skill that most jobs have in common. So take your time, prepare and speak properly. It is best to work on eliminating your crutch words as well, such as the um’s and uh’s that so easily find there way into our speech when we are nervous.