Cover Letter Tales From the Dark Side *ahem* Inside of Recruitment

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Image via Wikipedia *Notice: It doesn't say "Some State Welcomes Someone"

Anyone have any job leads for a talented writer/editor in the Northern Connecticut area (Lakeville, CT ideally)?

Let me give props to my hiring manager who I’m quoting below for sharing some advice directly with you all. Next let me repay them by giving a shoutout to anyone reading this in Northern Connecticut. My hiring manager’s brother is a super accomplished writer/editor/Yale grad who needs a full-time job in the area (yes you should never school-name drop for yourself, it’s tacky, but no reason I can’t brag for a complete stranger). He’s also happy to make a  career change to internal and external communication/PR work.

Please feel free to post any leads/ideas in comments or email them to hookabrotherup@sharon.cc of even better, hook him up directly & see his writing style (while giving his blog a nice stat traffic spike) at http://www.explanationizer.com/

Now for the juicy stuff to help you…

“Thoughts from a hiring manager:
If there’s anything you can do to encourage people to include a cover letter–a REAL cover letter–you know, one that makes the connection between their resume/experience AND THE JOB THEY’RE APPLYING FOR, you’d be doing people on both sides of the interview process a HUGE service!”

In other words, ditch the, “I believe my skills and experience would be an asset to your organization for your open position.” That only makes you look bad.

Instead try, “I would kiss your feet everyday on my way into the office and bring you coffee from a street cart if you hire me to work at google. My 15+ years of experience buying street coffee combined with my foot fetish and unwavering, slightly obsessive desire to work at google would make me an ideal Recruiting Manager for your New York offices. I want to make an amazing place to work even better, and would make sure to get google back in the #1 spot on the best places to work list by bringing in the top talent of our city. I’ve done this for 12 different companies in less than three months at each blah blah blah.”

Hope you get the point kids…just don’t creep out the hiring manager either, so keep the fetishes mum, ok?

Shortlink directly to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-bJ

5 Basic Reasons Your Resume Wasn’t Even Viewed

Cool Blog Sociale - 10 July 2008 - Creative hi...

Image by SOCIALisBETTER via Flickr

 

Of course as usual recruiting should be an objective science, but as that it’s humans and computer systems combined trying to figure out if they want YOU or someone BETTER than YOU to work for them, you might get knocked out of the pool quickly with these simple issues.

1. You saved your resume in a non-standard format (i.e. docx, wordpad, even occasionally pdf’s get tossed). Stick to a basic word format – you have nothing to lose.

2. You have an immature or inappropriate email address. Yes, this includes having your age or the year you were born in your email, not just sexykitten@hotmail.com – when you’re TimSmith88@yahoo.com, We know you’re 22ish, and probably don’t really have the 10 years of experience on your resume.

3. Your name. I would personally never discriminate, but I heard this from a coworker who did a large study in her masters program: 2 applications were put in for the same job, one with an ethnic name, one with a ‘white sounding’ name. The applications with the ethnic names were disqualified first.

Now I’m not saying to change your name, but if you have a more American sounding nickname or middle name, it might be worth trying to see if you get a better response. Just correct them at your interview, unless you always want to be known by this “American” name.

4. You applied to every job the company had posted on the website. Some job sites have spam guards that will think you’re a bot spamming them (when in reality you’re a human spamming them – because applying to every job IS spamming) and will delete your application.

Stick to only applying for jobs you’re qualified for and really want. There’s no way you want to be an engineer, custodian, hairdresser and an IT person – so don’t apply for them all.

5. Your cover letter is lousy, looks like it was written by someone else, or could have been written by anyone. It had spelling/grammar mistakes, or perhaps the company or recruiter’s name misspelled; it had clichés like ‘My skills and experience would be an asset to your organization’. If someone can’t take the time to cut and paste in the company name and title of where they’re applying for, then perhaps another ‘organization’ who doesn’t mind laziness will hire you!

Stupid Resumes: 5 Content Reasons Your Resume Was Trashed

Shea Stadium demolition

Image via Wikipedia

Please bring the shredder a little closer to my desk. I have a lot of resumes that need to go in there.
So I hear people want to know why their resumes get thrown out some more . Here are a few more tips to stay out of the circular file. Imagining yourself on the other side of the fence can be helpful for figuring out why you didn’t get that call.

1. You’re looking to change fields without explaining yourself. While you might think you’d make an excellent paralegal after your IT position layoff, and have no legal experience whatsoever, just try to imagine what it’s like for the client. They pay mega bucks to hire a lawyer, but the paralegal does a LOT of the casework & preparation for them. You’re paying $500/hr for someone with no relevant training or experience. How would that make you feel?

2. Keep in mind cultural fit. It’s very easy for me to tell a hiring manager, hey, this person has the skills you want, just try to overlook their body odor and dirty clothes. You have to fit in where you work, both within your department as well as the company at large. If you’re a PETA activist and an accountant, and your resume screams ‘save the animals’, don’t think you’re going to be called in to interview for a slaughterhouse account role you applied for. You might be desperate enough to want the job due to the economy, but don’t think the company will be desperate enough to call you in for an interview. Check out my post on religious & activist resumes if you’re concerned about how your resume presents at http://wp.me/pWfpN-b.

3. You have to make a compelling case for yourself to be called with your resume. If 500 people applied to the job you’re applying for, what have you presented to impress? If you’re bored reading your own resume, everyone else is too. If you sound just like everyone else, you’ll remain unemployed like everyone else. If you keep repeating the same information over and over and over and over and over and over again, no one wants to hear it, even if you did the same thing at each job. No one wants to read it. No one wants to read it. No one wants to read it. Sick of hearing the same message? So are recruiters.

You need to make yourself sound like you’re done varied things with progressive responsibility. It’s OK that you haven’t always been a director, but faxing, photocopying, and answering phones do not each deserve their own bullets. Just make sure you’re not compelled to do a functional resume. As I’ve said before, Functional Resume = Shady Resume (http://wp.me/pWfpN-8).

4. You’ve included information that makes the hiring manager or recruiter uncomfortable. In other countries marital status, photos, exact salary histories, age, and number of children are required on a resume. Here it just screams: Wow, I hope they don’t sue for discrimination based on info the candidate has included. They say when in Rome, do as the Romans. When you’re applying to a job in America, don’t include personal information beyond talents & what you can bring to the table. TMI (Too Much Info) is a definite turn off. Another post I have about Resume Content (http://wp.me/pWfpN-1P).

5. You’ve included stupid information. Yes, I said stupid. There may be no stupid questions, but there are definitely stupid resumes. You might be an exact fit, but then list on your skills & hobbies your love of the Mets. The hiring manager is a Yankee fan. You just potentially lost candidacy over a completely irrelevant fact on your resume. Again, if they don’t ask for that type of info on the posting,  and it’s not a job to work at Shea Stadium, keep personal preferences and tastes off your application.

Besides, who still likes the Mets?

Less Design is More – Top 5 Ways to Get Your Resume Thrown Out

25_1_3 Red Swans anad Floral Border Close-Up

 

1. Mail in a hard copy on floral stationary. Or any ‘stationary’. Could be that small companies or those with older hiring managers might be impressed with such efforts, but even those places generally want it faxed in. (On a side note: Can you believe people still use faxes? Sorry, I didn’t get it, do you mind sending it again? Oh, you have a confirmation receipt that it was sent? Isn’t that lovely.)

2. Email in a virtual copy on floral stationary. Or any ‘stationary’. Even the ones in outlook, like simple plaid, are completely unprofessional. Not for sending a resume, not for once you start a job.

3. Put a border on your resume or cover letter. Again, no design is professional beyond a small logo, if you have one. I’m not going to say that if you’re an artist you don’t have more leeway, but for everyone else, NO.

4. Put a picture on your application for any reason beyond modeling-type jobs. If it’s a job on craigslist requesting it, save yourself scumbags checking you out – just don’t apply.

5. Use the resume format template options in word. They’re generally terrible, and show up awkwardly. If you’re not a pro at word you’re better off just enlarging & bolding your name, headings (like “Experience” “Education” etc.), then center everything. Better yet, play with word when making your resume, and make yourself a pro. There are very few professional positions that wouldn’t benefit from those skills.

…I have yet to hear that poultry, kittens, or flowers on a resume helped to make that ‘special’ impression that helped someone snag the job they wanted…but maybe I’m hanging with the wrong crowd!

Care to Share With the Class? Want to write for Sharon.cc?

I’ve developed Sharon.cc as a Social Good platform. It’s not a business, it’s a collaborative site which helps people, companies, and places optimally market themselves.

Would you like an outlet for your career advice, job search struggles, free resume critique (anonymously published of course) or anything else you’d like to share?

Guest posters & interviews are encouraged – just send me what you’d like to share with my readers & I’ll post it if I feel they’ll benefit from it.

Also feel free to subscribe or follow me on twitter @sharondotcc to automatically be notified of new articles!

Catchy Websites Without the Dot Com

Although not career advise per se, I did an interview with Mike Sullivan http://sullysblog.com that you might want to check out –

http://sullysblog.com/Sharon-Siegel

It’s a bit more insight into why I didn’t choose a .com for my site, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to step a bit outside the norm when it comes to branding & marketing yourself.

5 Second Survey: What Topic(s) Would YOU Like My Advice On?

What’s the biggest obstacle in your career search that you’d like advice on? Click here to answer & let me cater to you!

Disclaimer: Please note all answers will be kept confidential and will not be visible to others. Should I choose to share any information all names & companies will be changed to protect privacy.

I Dream of Google – Getting a Job in 10 Not-So-Easy-Steps

Image representing Google Search as depicted i...

Image via CrunchBase

…but I don’t actually work there.

Noticing a lot of traffic is coming to my blog from people googling ‘google recruiter’ and ‘getting a job at google’.

Readers are confusing my blog, ambition, and talent for recruiting for being an actual google recruiter.

Yes, I’m a corporate recruiter, no, not for google (yet…).

Although I would assume the steps to getting a job there are the same as everywhere else. Here are my tips, I hope you started on this route when you were in 9th grade. Otherwise it may be too late and you might find yourself approaching 30 without the career of your dreams, but alas at least you can blog about it and know that thousands of people are in the exact same boat. Ahoy shipmates!

1. Push yourself to be the top of your class in high school, participate in extra curriculars, and learn as many languages as possible.

2. Go go a great college & get a high GPA, participate in extra curriculars, and learn as many languages as possible.

3. Do internships in the field you will work in the rest of your life (which yes you should have known and been working towards even in high school).

4. Get jobs at impressive places in that field in increasingly challenging and progressive roles and titles.

5. Then apply to their jobs at http://google.com/jobs (or wherever you want to work…like http://tinyurl.com/NYCDOEJOBS).

6. Pray a recruiter is impressed with your resume or credentials (or at least went to the same school) to put you through to a hiring manager or interview process. Or the robo-recruiter is impressed because you have a lot of the words from the job description in your resume (AKA job score) thereby automatically ranking you as a candidate worth human review in the applicant tracking system (ATS).

7. Ignore http://glassdoor.com & other similar sites. Take their comments with as much worth as amazon ratings…people will give a book one star because they don’t like the color color. If you really want to know what people who work at a place think about it, network with them and ask them politely.

Maybe google’s dropped in their ratings from the best place to work to top 3 best places to work, but hey, it gets lonely at the top. No place is perfect, but most people will only go on those websites to bash their employer anonymously. If they were happier they’d be out at happy hour with their office mates after work, not going home to rant about them online. Just Sayin’.

8. Don’t call them, they’ll call you. I’m always super impressed & revolted at the same time when candidates find my personal contact number (especially my personal cell phone). I think it shows they desperately want the job, but never have these people actually been a good fit for a role. I’m not saying not to follow up, but do it through advertised venues. Don’t go linkedin stalking. Instead find HR info from the company website, follow them on twitter, chat with them through facebook. Do not do an intellius search on them and show up at their house. They will not appreciate it.

9. No response? Better luck next time kids. Repeat process for every place you want to work at. If you only want to work at that one place and you’re waiting for the call back then stay on top of the company’s job boards to see if a role that better suits your experience is posted, or a more junior one in your field. Sometimes you need to take a step back or laterally to take a step forward later at a place you want to work.

10. Got a response? Make sure you have a dark suit you look good in, a put-together, yet naturally comfortable style, printed copies of your resume that aren’t stained, folded or wrinkled (yes I actually get those all the time…but save your money on the fancy paper and folders, those make you look more desperate nowadays, they’re just not necessary. A slightly heavier stock is nice, but I hate the resume-in-a-folder-in-a-binder-in-an-envelope old school thing). Go on the interview, be your charming, brilliant self, sell said fabulous self as rockstar without using those words, and mazal tov. It’s a job. And if you’re really lucky, maybe even a career.

Shortlink to this post: http://wp.me/pWfpN-8j

Riverdale, NY Event: Help for the Unemployed & Underemployed

Lavie helped inspire my blog and I’m sure this will be beneficial to anyone seeking a job, or who would like to help those in that position. As we know with today’s economy no one 100% secure in their position, so even those currently employed may benefit from this.

I recommend that you at least consider buying the  book even if you can’t attend – http://wp.me/pWfpN-2r for more info on the book.

Hiring Tips from a CEO

(make that a fabulously-talented-yet-humble CEO)

Today I have my first guest blogger who’d like to anonymously share their opinion about hiring.

What’s yours? Send it over to me posts@sharon.cc and I’ll post it if I feel our faithful readers have something to gain from it.

Ever wonder what a hiring manager think when you apply for a position you’re not qualified for?

Do they think, well hey, you love kids, and want to help them, so maybe they’ll hire you to be a pediatrician even though you didn’t go to medical school? Apparently not. Here’s the real reaction: don’t over-reach if you need a job. If you’re secure and looking for a small advancement appropriate to your experience, well then good luck!

“Perhaps it is not your resume itself – rather it’s the content: do your job skills match what you are applying for?

You should realize that sometimes hundreds of people apply for the same job (although sometimes it is only a handful which may not be qualified, so don’t be discouraged completely).

If you aren’t getting interviews or responses to applications it may be that other applicants would be able to hit the ground running immediately, with little training; whereas you might seem to be a smart on paper if your resume is strong enough, but would need to be trained. 

If you know what you want to do, get an internship in the field.  Think outside of the box.  Ask people who work in the field to let you work for free.  Contact a non-profit that will let you work on your own schedule.  Call your college and speak to alumni in the field.  Ask friends and family who they know.  There are a number of non-profit organizations that can help with resumes. Start at the bottom up, with an entry level role in the field you want if necessary.

Sending a million resumes on Monster.com and other similar sites is a waste of time and energy.  Make sure your cover letter/resume matches what you are looking for. 

For instance, when I was hiring for a 10 hour a week job, I received almost 100 resumes.  People who were graduating applied and stated that they were interested in the job.  I knew they would quit the moment that a full time role was available elsewhere.  I only interviewed people who stated they were looking for a part time job and reasons why (for instance, a sophomore in college who would like to get experience to supplement education or someone looking to get back into the workforce slowly).

If you are getting interviews but not getting the job, you may need to look at your interview skills, how you come across (how do you look, how do you speak, do you have any weird mannerisms?) and how prepared you appear. Perhaps you could do mock interviews. Again, there are agencies that can help if you cannot afford to hire a professional.”

So there you have it ladies & gentlemen – a CEO is not thrilled that you’re under-qualified or not an appropriate fit but decided to waste time: both yours and theirs.

Put your energy into strong applications for positions you have a strong chance of obtaining!

Shortlink: http://wp.me/pWfpN-7g