The Paranoid Resumes of Paranoid Candidates

FBI Badge & gun.

Image via Wikipedia

I know I’m always telling people what not to put on their resume. Now I’ll focus on what you do need on your resume not to appear a paranoid candidate – or like you’re more interested in protecting yourself from identity theft than getting a job.

Use your discretion on sites where you upload your resume. Depending on their security, amount of access the public or shady employers have to your info might limit what you want to include.

Thanks CareerBuilder, but when I uploaded my resume I did not want to be recruited for 1) The US Army 2) Shady work from home scams or 3) Commission only entry level sales positions.

  1. Full name. Yes, I’ve seen resumes with just a first name. It’ll make people wonder what else you’re hiding.
  2. Email address – you will appear out of touch with technology if you don’t have one.
  3. Phone number you’re at during normal business hours – cell ideally – some companies still always call candidates first – so if they can’t get in touch with you easily, they’ll find someone they can reach.
  4. Home address is a debatable one. I recommend it especially if your phone area code is not a local one or if you most recent position was out of town/state/country. Otherwise I don’t think it’s necessary. No one is mailing you anything. I personally do not keep my address on my resume, but were I to move to a swanky prestigious building I’d add it then 😉
  5. Sterile information – your job responsibilities should not sound like anyone could have done them anywhere. Unless you worked for the FBI or in a similar level of confidentiality, you can’t be discreet about what you did. If you can’t disclose where you did it, list employer as, “Confidential, USA” or similar. If you legally can’t even mention what you did, you’re probably better off leaving the position off your resume, and for the years employed there, note that it is confidential – don’t try to make it sound like you did ‘important things, somewhere’.  Same goes for university – yes it’s fine to be polite and refer to your attendance at Harvard at social events as , “I went to school in Boston,” so as not to come across as pretentious, but on your resume is not the time to be humble.

Going to Work for Google: The Career Equivalent of Going to DisneyWorld

This is one of the huge welcoming signs for Go...

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There are very few places that offer better benefits than the government. Now imagine this place valued its employees, developed them, promoted talent, and only hired the best people to work with. Add in an incredible mission, forward thinking, world changing technology, and lots of perks. Then imagine this place is real and hiring.

Oh wait, it is real.

Working for google or similar (if there are) top-rated places to work does happen for some people. The question is, how to become one of them? How does one find employment in an amazing place?

I once spoke with a google recruiter I’m networked with from California a few years back. He politely explained to me that as that I did not attend an ivy league school and had not worked or consulted for one of the major firms, I had very little chance of being considered. Sigh. Was very discouraged, especially when I saw on the application you have to check off how long you worked at either: apple, bain, amazon, mckinsey, bcg, ibm, pixare, adobe, oracle, ebay, etc. It made me want to go get a job with one of those places to increase my chances of google wanting me.

Fast forward a few years later…I actually met people who work for google, people who went to good but not ivy universities (hey like me!). They never worked for those big reputation places, and they were hired fairly through their application system. When I mentioned what the google recruiter told me back in the day they were surprised, said it’s just not like that, and that people like me get hired all the time. Dare to dream.

And so I do dream, that one day I’ll find a great position in a place that doesn’t do things ‘the way they’ve always been done’, that might appreciate me and my talents, and hey, while we’re dreaming it’ll let me have a healthy work-life balance so I can see the kids once in awhile.

So I’d love to hear from you, faithful readers. Do you work for a great place or know of an amazing employer? Why do you love it? Are they hiring? Let us know!

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Interview With Harvard Kennedy School, OCA & Urban Policy

Image Credits: Harvard.eduRecently I did a brief interview with the Harvard Kennedy School – thought others might be interested in what Harvard cares about when placing students, and how a recruiter (me) feels about these issues. I’m sure all responses will be combined as a guide for HKS students to help them find careers, but thought non-Ivy hooked-up seekers might value the same information. Here’s an excerpt of three of the relevant questions they asked me.

What qualities or skills do you look for when hiring employees/interns?
I’m looking for someone who can walk in and do the job they’ve been hired for on day one. There are a lot of people on the market now, so even if someone went to a top school, and is capable of doing a job – we’ll still hire the person who has actually accomplished the goals we’re seeking, rather than someone we need to train.
Also I’m looking for a fit for the department they will be working in. A polite tone in their resume and cover letter goes a long way, as do manners when called about an application. Far too often people are rude or haughty to recruiters or hiring managers, and disqualify themselves accidentally.

What kind of experience or background do you like to see in potential hires?
We want experience in the requirements for the jobs we hire for. Industry and background are less important to me when screening resumes. For example, if I need a communications writer (which I do!), I’m looking for someone who has significant communications professional experience, regardless of where they did it or which employer they did it for. Internships are not enough.
Also I work within Civil Service requirements, so our minimum qualifications are not flexible. If it says “3 years accounting experience needed” please do not waste your time & ours by applying because “My three years working in the Mayor’s office as a lawyer were sitting next to the accounting department.” Do not apply to jobs you are not qualified for. No one will hire someone to be a doctor if they didn’t go to medical school; so too no one is hiring someone to be an Accounting Manager if they’re never done accounting!

How can Kennedy School students set themselves apart in the job search process?
I find a lot of top school graduates expect their school name to get them a job – but there are a lot of top school grads on the market. I want to see a brief yet targeted cover letter to a position. Use similar terminology from the job description to parallel the job skills you offer.
Yes, write that you worked as a communications writer for 4 years prior to going to grad school, that writing is your expertise, and that is why you want my communications position.
No, do not write a typical cover letter that tells me nothing about what you’ve done or can do. I’ve gotten the below cover letter, and multiple variations of it more than once:
“As you can see in the enclosed resume, I have a very strong professional background. I know that I could make a significant and valuable contribution in your company. My interest is to be a valuable employee on your team. I am confident I can make an immediate contribution to your team. Enclosed, please find a copy of my credentials. I understand the level of professionalism, excellent communication, and appearance required for success in your company. I would appreciate the opportunity to discuss how my education and experience will be helpful to you. An interview would be greatly appreciated at which time I could elaborate on my background as well as acquire further information about how career services provided specific responsibilities. Thank you in advance for your attention and consideration.”

Also, if a candidate has an interview, write a thank you note the next day – again not one from google that I’ve received more than once. Genuinely thank the person you met for their time and consideration.