You can effectively use internet job boards. You can get hired. First though, you have to understand the weaknesses of job boards. Then you can use these 4 weaknesses to your advantage.
Let’s say you have a choice between hiring someone you worked with for 3 years or a stranger. The person you know is a proven top performer. The person you never met before says he is a top performer. Who do you hire?
That’s the first problem with internet job boards. Many companies post jobs that they fill from their existing employees. They have a policy to leave the door open for a superstar, so they put the job on the internet. What happens when the superstar walks in? Usually they say she is overqualified and show her the door.
Next problem: Most job ads come from employment agencies. I have seen the same computer programmer job advertised by 10 agencies AND the company that wants to hire. How many people will submit resumes for that job? There will be at least 3 qualified people submitted by each agency, that’s 30. Then there will be 100 people submitting themselves to the company and 5 of those will be qualified. That’s a lot of competition.
Third problem: Did you notice that 100 people will apply directly for the job and 5 will be qualified? If the screener doesn’t see exactly what he is looking for on your resume, you won’t get in for an interview. Usually the screener doesn’t really know what you do. He is looking for keywords and phrases. You have to get past the screener.
Last problem: Most jobs are NOT advertised on job boards. But you can use the job boards to find them.
That’s four problems. Think about overcoming them. How can you turn each weakness into a strength for you? How can you turn the tables? You can. I’ll tell you how over the coming week.
Something To Do Today
Go to www.monster.com and other job boards. Search for a job like yours. Follow the links through and see how many are agencies and how many are by the hiring company. Who writes the most exciting ads? Agencies or companies? Take the list of four problems above and make your own list of ways to overcome them.
Should you quit your job to look for a new job?
Hiring someone who has a job is always easier for managers than hiring someone who is unemployed. The reason is that they figure 90% of the people who are unemployed have one of 3 problems: they are incompetent, they are troublemakers or they are never satisfied. I talked to a manager about a very competent programmer. She asked, “If he is so good, why is he unemployed?” Because she feels uncomfortable with that question, it looks like she won’t hire him.
Since you shouldn’t quit your current job, what should you do? Become a model employee. Treat your current job like you expect a big raise in a couple of weeks. Document how well you are doing and let the people you interview with know how well you are doing.
Here are 8 things you should do at your current job:
- Arrive a little early and stay a little late. Just a few minutes makes a big difference. It is job insurance. Track it.
- Do your job interviews before work, at lunch or after work. Future employers like to hire people who are still looking out for their current boss.
- Use a personal email account for job hunting. Go to Yahoo or gmail for a free account if you have to. Your next boss may be turned off if you are using company assets (email) in your job search.
- Figure out ways you can make more money or save more money for your current employer. Document it. Then use it in job interviews. How will an interviewer react if you say, “In the last 2 months I’ve saved my company $3452.”
- Track how fast you do everything, and do it faster. Compare yourself to others. Use your improvements in interviews.
- Go out of your way to help people beyond your job description. Write down what you do and who you help.
- Absolutely stop bad mouthing your current employer. Stay away from people who gossip. Get out of the beef and whine lunch group. Why? You will do better in interviews. Your attitude towards work will be better. A person with a good attitude always gets the job over someone who hates their job.
- Look for ways to get training on the job or in classes. Prepare yourself for the next job you want. Volunteer for assignments that will make you stretch.
WARNING: If you do all of the above, you will probably be offered a raise or a promotion to stay when you quit. Turn it down and go to the new job. Trust me, it never works out unless they offer you the raise and promotion BEFORE you quit. Much better to come back in a year or two than expect your boss to forgive your accepting another job offer.
Something To Do Today
Improve your performance at your current job. Track the improvements and use them in your interviews and on your resume.
This test applies to resumes and often to job reviews. The principles are the same.
Right now about 5 resumes out of every 100 make it to the hiring manager. The average resume screener is NOT an expert in what you do. If you are lucky he will know half of the technical terms on your resume. The screener will decide in 10 seconds whether or not your resume comes close to being acceptable. After this speed test, the screener will give your resume a 45 second read through. If you pass that test you will finally get in the pile that the hiring manager gets to see. Your resume has to get past the screener or you will not get hired.
How do you test your resume? Find a screener of your own.
Ask a friend to look over your resume for 10 seconds. Time them. Snatch your resume out of their hands. Take it away and ask them what they read. What they tell you determines whether or not you would make the first screen test. If you pass that test, give it back to them for 45 seconds. Again, snatch it away and grill them about what they read.
If your resume passes this test with three different people, you have a resume that may work. If your screener can say what you accomplished, that’s outstanding. If he says what your duties were, that’s good. If you are going for a programming job and he says you worked with VB.Net and C#.Net, and by the way, what are they? You did well.
Every time you submit a resume, look at the ad you are responding to. Will your screener pick out the key phrases in the ad…..from your resume? Test it. Find out.
That’s how you get more interviews.
And think about those long, boring job reviews. Don’t you think the same test, altered depending on your circumstances, could be of help? Test what your manager’s boss will really read.
Some words are so overused that they create a mental train wreck for resume readers. Yes, I want you to have all of these characteristics, but show me, don’t expect me to believe your claim just because you use the word.
Here is the original article on words that drive me to distraction.
Most people read in 2 1/2 inch chunks. That is why drudgereport.com and newspapers use narrow columns.
Do you have a 3 ½ inch reading span?
Or is yours 2 ½ inches long?
To get your accomplishments and victories noticed, you have to learn the art of placement. You need to put power words and numbers in the first 2 ½ or 3 ½ inches of each paragraph and bullet. If you don’t, that bullet and that paragraph will not be read.
More than 80% of resumes are tossed in the trash after a 10 second review. More than half of the rest are tossed out after a second review of 45 seconds. The reason is that 100 resumes may come in for a particular job. Reviewing each resume for one minute would take over 1 ½ hours. Instead a screener takes 15 minutes to reduce that pile to 10 or 20 resumes by trying to quickly reject the obviously unfit ones. Since the boss doesn’t want to read even that many resumes, a 45 second review of the remaining resumes will reduce the pile to at most 5 resumes. Then the boss takes those 5 resumes AND DOES THE SAME THING!!!! He shuffles through the pile doing first a ten second review and then a 45 second review, hoping he only has to read one or maybe two in depth.
Can you survive that process?
What gets your resume past all the reviews is having boss stopping information where it gets read. That means you have to have your greatest accomplishments in bullets. Your finest deeds must be at the top of the list of bullets. It also means you put your list of duties, if you really really feel you need to have them, in a single paragraph so they are easy to ignore until the boss decides he will slog through the whole resume.
At the bottom of www.agicc.com/resumeideas.htm are links to some very good resumes. They are actual resumes we got permission to put on our site. They are resumes that got people jobs fast.
Your job review needs to go through the same editing process. Let’s face it, your boss finds your job review even more boring than you do. His boss will barely glance at it. You have to learn to put critical information in the first 2 ½ inches of bullets. It will earn you a lot of money.
Something To Do Today
Rewrite your list of accomplishments. Make it into bullets. Put the boss stopping words and numbers in the first 2 ½ inches. Write two or three bullets for each accomplishment. Word them different ways. If you have the time, create a new resume or job review. Don’t throw away your practice bullets yet. They will come in handy tomorrow.
I talked to a network technician who is supervising a few others. He is earning just over $100,000 in salary. The techs under him are stuck at $50,000 to $65,000 in salary.
So what’s the difference? He knows what is valuable to his company. Every week his job reviews always include a list of the ways he made money, saved money or speeded things up. His resume is a list of the same things—his value to his company. He knows how much money the guys on his team make for, or save, the company. He knows how fast things used to get done and how fast they get done now. He knows the retail price of every piece of software and hardware he buys and he shows how much his negotiations saved off that price. He proves to his boss and puts on his resume exactly how often the network used to be down compared to today. He also gives how much more it used to cost when 200 unionized assembly line workers stood around for half an hour each week waiting for the network to get fixed.
His current and past jobs are his most valuable assets. Each year he gets $50,000 more than his coworkers. Why? Because he proves he is worth it every week. He keeps his eye on what will make the biggest financial difference and tackles that problem. The funny thing is that he definitely is not the best person technically on his team. He’s the one who tackles and gets credit for the most valuable accomplishments.
Yesterday I asked you to make a list of things you did in each job that PROVE your will to succeed, your positive attitude and your desire to constantly improve. Now that you have that list, here’s the next step.
Something To Do Today
You need to prove how valuable you are. How do you compare to others doing the same job? Prove it with solid numbers. Have you improved a process? How much time does it save every day for how many people? Do you do something faster than someone else? What does that translate into saved time and money over a month or year? Have you brought in more work or new customers? How much is that business worth in a year? Put down solid numbers. Make good guesses if you aren’t sure. Remember that 200 people saving ten minutes a day is worth a lot of money. Estimate how much it is.
Next week I’ll show you how to make this list of successes bring you a lot more money.
This true story directly applies to your job search. The heir apparent of a large family company was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Africa by his brothers. As a slave he rose to be the president of a large privately owned company. Then, falsely accused of a crime he was imprisoned. In prison he soon became the deputy warden, running the whole place. Eventually his hard work was recognized and Joseph became second only to the pharaoh of Egypt. Finally, his brothers who originally sold him into slavery came and went to work for him. Tumultuous? Yes. Fun? Not really. Slave and prison were terrible jobs. Two assets were used in every situation to create a third asset.
- His will to succeed. His attitude. His desire to constantly improve.
- His current job, no matter how bad it was.
Those two assets were used to create a third asset. 3. A great reputation. If you are still employed and want to find a new job, your current job is a valuable asset. If you are unemployed your previous job, part-time job and your job search (your current job) are valuable assets.
Something To Do Today Take your resume and make a list of things you did in each job that PROVE your will to succeed, your positive attitude and your desire to constantly improve. Tomorrow I’ll give you a way to leverage that information.
One of the biggest networking mistakes you can make is to not be real. It makes you seem like a threat, a crank call, or a con artist. Let me demonstrate.
One September night my wife Laura got a call. A woman called Laura’s cell phone, and Laura’s number is rarely given out. The caller said, “I’m a Girl Scout raising money for a trip.” Laura heard something about cookies and knew that Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies in September. The Caller-ID was blocked. The woman never identified herself. Hmm. It sounded like a crank call or a con job. So Laura firmly told the caller, “Girl Scouts don’t sell cookies this time of year, I’m not interested.” Laura hung up.
A minute later Laura’s cell phone rang again with the same blocked ID. Laura let it ring. No reason to encourage crank calls. When she got a voice message she listened. An upset mother, who never identified herself, told Laura that she had no excuse to be so rude to her daughter.
So now we are trying to figure out who we offended. At this point we are not even sure cookies were mentioned. Maybe Laura just assumed she said “cookies”.
The Job Search Application
You are a potential crank caller or con job when you call a hiring manager you don’t know.
That Girl Scout made a few critical mistakes:
- She didn’t identify herself
- She didn’t identify the person who sent her
- Her starting point was ambiguous
- She was calling at the wrong time of year
- She was “not human”
Number 5 is the real problem. By having a problem with the first 4, she guaranteed that Laura did not see her as a human, but as a threat, crank call, or con artist.
When you are calling to network, be very clear who you are and who sent you. Let the person know exactly why you are making this particular call. Realize that they probably do not have a job for you – it is the wrong time of year.
To turn yourself into a human. First say in 10 seconds or less you are job hunting. Less is better. They will tell you if they have a job opening. Then give them something they can easily help you with. Ask them to recommend a business association, certification, trade publication, online community, or to link to you in LinkedIn. Get their email so you can send them contact information in case they think of something else.
Thank them for their time and hang up.
Send them a thank you email. Now put them on your list. Make a few notes so that they are human to you too. Figure out what would interest them that you can do for them every 2 to 3 weeks. Every time they see an email or hear from you, you become more human. Every time you help them, they want to help back.
Don’t be a Phantom Girl Scout. Be a human. Get them to like you and want to help you.
The best people have the hardest time finding jobs when they are laid off. It is a fact. It is not for the reason you are thinking.
This is my experience.
I was the only person out of 300 that knew for sure that layoffs were coming. I had a mole in the headquarters in Dallas. I asked my boss, Mike, when the layoffs were going to start. He said, “There won’t be any layoffs.” Then, he checked with Dallas and was told there would not be any layoffs.
He was wrong, and I knew it. My source sat 50 feet from the division president who was laying plans.
So I told Mike, “If there are layoffs, I want to be in the first group you let go.”
Mike assured me that it wouldn’t be necessary. There would be no layoffs.
I started looking for a job and started a small recruiting company. A week before the layoffs were announced I gave my 2 weeks notice. My company, AGI, had its first contract. Mike acknowledged that my timing was perfect. The only thing that could have gone better was waiting a week so I got severance pay. The new job security was a lot better than any severance pay.
Everyone who was laid off in the first group got a job immediately. Everyone. And they were the problem children that managers wanted to get rid of.
There were more layoffs. The people laid off 6 months later didn’t find as many open jobs as the first group. Those laid off a few months after that were unemployed for a lot longer.
The funny thing is that the best employees were laid off last. But they couldn’t find jobs. Why?
By the time they were laid off, there was a serious business malaise. All the local companies had staffed their urgent projects. Now everyone was afraid to hire more people. So the best people had the hardest time finding jobs.
Isn’t it strange that the best workers, the most loyal staff, the absolutely essential people all had a hard time finding jobs? The reason is that they were let go at the absolute worst possible time. Every job was filled months before. They were hurt the most by their own loyalty.
Are you concerned about layoffs? Even if you are planning to stay, start setting yourself up for a job. Start setting yourself up for a promotion. Work harder than ever. Take over new tasks. Figure out how to make the company more money. Write a resume and hand it to your boss. Ask for a promotion or an award for doing so well. Don’t worry about a raise. Worry about getting recognized for exceptional performance where you are. Then figure out if you really should look for a new job.
And consider asking to be the first person laid off.