Category Archives: Resumes

The 2 critical resume tests – do them yourself

Testing your resume

Testing your resume

Your resume has to be good enough in a blind test to get past the trash can.

Getting past the trash can

When is your resume being thrown away? In my last post I gave the 4 major trashing points in your resume’s life.

You have two ways to break through the cycle:

  1. Have someone give your resume directly to the boss with their recommendation.
  2. Have a resume that passes all 4 trash points.

Networking will get your resume directly to the boss with a recommendation.  Outstanding networking will get you an interview without a resume.

For the rest:

Do you pass the idiot test and the expert test?  Assume an idiot and an expert will each try to find a reason to throw away your resume.  Assume they have too many resumes and want to throw away as many as possible.  They are proactive trashers.

Pass the idiot test

The secretary has to see an obvious, undeniable fit with the job description.  She won’t understand all the acronyms, but she knows they have to be there.  She knows how much experience is required.  She knows it has to be a manager or a worker. She trashes resumes that don’t shout that they fit the job.

Pass the expert test

The boss has a lot to do.  He wants a great person to work for him, but doesn’t have enough time to talk to everyone.  Like the secretary he throws out the obvious problems.  The difference is that he understands the resume.  He also throws out the resumes that just don’t feel right.  Time is critical to him.  The first person he calls has the accomplishments he needs in his company.

How you can test both ways

Run a test.  Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Hand both to someone who doesn’t know the field.  Do they think you pass?  Do the same with an expert.  Do you pass?

Hoping is not a plan

Stop wishing and hoping.  Either network your way in or find your own screeners.  You need other people to help you get your resume out of the trash can.

Something To Do Today

Who do you know that is up front and brutally blunt?  Take your resume and the job ad you are responding to.  Ask them read the job ad thoroughly.  Then give them your resume.  Ask them to decide in 10 seconds if it looks like the resume passes.  Then ask them to take 45 seconds and look closer.

Do you pass the test?

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Later:              Slavery and recruiter ownership

Non-competes

Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm

Glass ceilings

The hours game

When is your resume being thrown away?

bin-297863_1280You have to know when your resume is being thrown away to fix its problems. There is a timing pattern you must understand.  You have to break through your resume’s stumbling block in the following pattern to get hired:

  1. Your resume arrives along with 100 others. The secretary trashes 80 after a 10 second review apiece.
  2. The secretary trashes 10 more after giving them 45 seconds apiece.
  3. Her boss gets the 10 remaining resumes and trashes 2 after a 10 second review.
  4. The boss throws away 3 more viable resumes. He just doesn’t have the time to deal with more than 5.  For the 3 trashed, something is not quite right.
  5. He calls the 5 remaining candidates, starting with the best one.

Can you see why knowing when your resume is thrown out is critical?

Every time you send out a resume and fail to get an interview you should ask, “Who threw away my resume?” Ask the question of yourself.  Also ask your recruiter and the HR person at the company.  Beg, if you have to.

You need to find out when and why your resume is not being considered.  Also be sensitive to the recruiter and HR.  They may lie to you.  They don’t want to argue.  They want to be powerful and all-knowing.  Play on that and ask for advice as you try to find out when your resume was trashed.

Next time we’ll talk about how to get past the screenings and into an interview.  For now, try to figure out when your resume is being thrown away.

Something To Do Today

Make some calls.  Find out where your resume is being trashed.

Ask some friends, they may be able to give you some ideas too.

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Later:   Getting your resume past the trash can

Non-competes

Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm

Glass ceilings

The hours game

The best way to hide real problems on your resume

If you’re afraid to let someone else see your weakness, take heart: Nobody’s perfect.  Besides, your attempts to hide your flaws don’t work as well as you think they do. (Morgenstern)

Hiding real problems

044919164-president-barack-obamas-daughtThe trick to hiding things on your resume is the same one that stars use to hide flaws.  For instance, what if you had to be perfectly honest and still answer the question:

“Does this make my butt look big?”

A good honest answer would be, “No. Your butt looks big anyway.  Let me find something that makes people look at your smile.  It is ravishing.  They will never care about what you are sitting on.”

More than one starlet has played an irresistible vixen on TV while 8 months pregnant.  How?  They focused on everything above and below the swollen pregnant belly, and the actress stayed out of the tabloids until fully recovered. No one ever saw the belly.

If you have problems, even severe problems, you have to make sure the camera focuses somewhere else.

Common problems people want to hide are frequent job changes, being fired, bad references, a several year sabbatical from your field, not accomplishing much, working for a disreputable employer, an ogre boss, etc.

One way to hide problems is to point out what you did well.  If you switched jobs too much, create a resume format that draws the reader’s eyes away from your employment dates and to your accomplishments.   If you have bad references, you may want to emphasize how long you worked for a company so that those bad references will sound like sour grapes. If you left your desired field for a few years and want to get back, make those few years a one line entry, not a detailed account.  You may want to put your jobs in order at the top of your resume, but put the dates at the bottom of the resume in another section on the third page.

If your problem might get your hiring manager in trouble later, make sure he knows about it before you receive an offer.  If you are using a recruiter, tell him up front before he submits you anywhere.  If you hurt someone who is trying to help you, your bad reputation will be spread very quickly.

Accentuate the positive.  Make people’s eyes slide past the negative to get to the ravishing.  It’s a game you see every day on TV.

Something To Do Today

Do you have a real problem?  Emphasize the positive and make the negative insignificant.  Don’t lie.  Just put your emphasis on all the good things you have done.

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Next:   When is your resume being thrown away?

Later:

Getting past the trash can

Non-competes

Coyote traps – when to gnaw off your arm

Glass ceilings

The hours game

7 ways to hide what is NOT on your resume

Our greatest pretenses are built up not to hide the evil and ugly in us, but our emptiness. The hardest thing to hide is something that is not there.  (Hoffer)

Hiding what is NOT on your resume may be the hardest part of writing one.  Someone is going to get that job. Most successful candidates lack some of the requirements.  Some lack major components and still get hired.  Let’s look at one of the world’s greatest experts.

Many people say Saddam Hussein was the foremost expert in hiding what is not there.  Rather than argue the facts, let’s exploit his methods.  It works when you are trying to get a job or promotion to do something you have never done before.

Saddam showed great enthusiasm for the weapons he was not supposed to have.  He built expertise in their design, construction and use. He got hold of parts of the technologies required to build the weapons and made sure the world knew it.  Tests were done openly with related weapons and delivery systems.  His experts visited seminars, arms factories and suppliers of illegal goods.  There were even articles published by “insiders” who “blew the cover” of the program. Last of all, he refused to prove he didn’t have the expertise.

Here is how to apply Saddam’s tricks towards getting a job or promotion you have no experience for:

  1. Show enthusiasm for the job.
  2. Learn on your own.  Get certifications.  Join societies.  Read related magazines.
  3. Start doing what you can.  Programmers (to be) can create games and databases.  Salesmanagers (to be) can lead popcorn sales for the Boy Scouts that gross a quarter million dollars. A computer technician (to be) can put together a network in his basement.
  4. Get a job in or volunteer to work somewhere that is doing what you want to do, even if you are not directly involved.
  5. Talk to people doing what you want to do.  Attend their seminars and trade shows.  Discuss the latest ideas in the field with people in that field.
  6. Start a blog.  Write articles for trade publications–they are always starved for good thoughtful articles.  Call reporters with ideas and quotes.
  7. List what you have done in your resume or job review.  Do NOTapologize for lack of experience.  Emphasize what you have done.

In order to get the first shot at your future, you have to prepare. Eventually your enthusiasm and persistence will get you an opportunity.

Apaches – hiding inside your resume

Hide not your talents.  They for use were made.  What’s a sundial in the shade? (Franklin)

Walking on the flat, open plains, an Apache claims he can disappear from sight. There is no place to hide, so the Army officer backs off to a safe distance and turns his back for a minute.  Sure enough the Apache is gone, but there is no place to hide.  After the officer searches fruitlessly for awhile, the Apache erupts from the ground.

In the book  Life Among The Apaches, John Cremony gives example after example of Apaches hiding where it should be impossible to be out of sight.

Do YOU hide inside your resume?

Another example: Be honest.  Do you read every insert in every medicine package you buy?  Every word?  Why not?  You may open it up and take a few seconds to look for something obviously important, then you throw it away.  Critical information is on those inserts, but you don‘t read them.

Is your resume as bad as that insert?

You’ve got 2 or 3 sheets of paper for your resume.  How much do you hide in plain sight?  Are the most important facts about you hidden in long paragraphs?  Are they hidden at the END of bullet points?

In school you were required to write in paragraphs.  Opening sentence, 3 arguments saving the best for last, and a closing sentence.  Guess what?  It does NOT work for resumes.  No one reads paragraphs in a resume. No one gets to your best argument.

Use bullet points that are effective.

  • A bullet should be less than one line
  • Power words at the beginning
  • Never give the whole story
  • Make readers want to call you
  • Your most important word should be in bold in a set of bullets

A resume’s job is to get you an interview.  Nothing more.  It is not a job interview. It is not a medicine package insert.  It is not an essay.

Does your resume get read?  Does it get you an interview?  If not, change it.

Here is the QUICK FIX

This is an exercise that will help you fix your resume and get job interviews.

  • Make a copy of your resume
  • Cut your longest paragraphs down to three lines
  • Do not split paragraphs, mercilessly shorten them
  • Make every bullet in your resume less than half a line
  • Do NOT split paragraphs

After you have done this, look over the two resumes.

Which is most likely to be read?

Now that you have hacked with an axe, go in with an editors pen and make your resume more readable.  But don’t make it longer or you’ll be like that Apache again, hiding in plain sight.

One more idea?  Go to www.grab-me.us and check it out.

Does your resume say you are trash?

Living in a ghetto, slum or trailer park does not make you trash.  Mother Theresa lived in a slum.  Her resume was good enough to get a Nobel Peace Prize.

I get some REALLY bad resumes. They say:

I can’t do this job.  I have no skills or training.  The reason I have the nerve to apply for it is because I really will work hard.  I know I was fired from my last job.  It wasn’t my fault.  The job really was terrible.  The job before that was terrible too. I’m not a freak.

We get at least one of these resumes or cover letters every week.  Yes, this bad.  Okay, only close to this bad.  The resume is trash.  It is literally worse than nothing.

Being laid off or fired tends to get workers, salespeople and executives to focus on the negatives from their previous job.  They feel they have to explain things in their resumes.  That is a mistake.  Your resume has only one job, to get you an interview.  It is not a confessional.  It is not investigative journalism.

Here are 4 signs your resume will be thrown away in record time:

  1. Explain that you are part of a group that would normally not be hired (I want to learn to be a…)
  2. Tell why your boss was an idiot in your last job (I was not allowed to fix…)
  3. List excuses instead of accomplishments (Due to lack of…)
  4. List skills way below those really required for this job (As a carpenter I sawed boards…)

Are you sure you don’t do any of these?  Usually these errors are hidden in a cover letter or large paragraph.

Something To Do Today

Seriously look at every line of your resume and cover letter.  Every single line. Do you make excuses?  Do you subtly or openly put down your previous boss or job?  Were you smiling as you wrote it because of the subtle needle in a paragraph?  Is a skill you list so basic it shows your lack of higher skills?  Do you put yourself in a group of losers accidentally?

How to motivate a recruiter to find you a job

Many recruiting offices have a button that rings a bell.  You can only push the button when you make a placement.  Some recruiters live only to press that button.  When they do press it, they keep their finger down for a full minute.  It drives everyone else nuts with envy.  Recruiters are competitive people.

Placing someone in a job motivates recruiters.  Sure recruiters want money.  That’s not their base motivation.  Their whole job is centered on making placements.

Want to motivate a recruiter?  Convince them they can place you quickly.

Some things that help:

  1. A great resume showing accomplishments, not responsibilities
  2. A positive attitude
  3. Talents that are in strong demand
  4. Winning interview skills
  5. Reasonable salary expectations
  6. Motivation to take a new job
  7. Little job hunting done on your part already
  8. A list of companies you would like to work for
  9. An exclusive relationship with the recruiter
  10. Your spouse and kids back you in the move
  11. Willingness to relocate or commute
  12. Ability to interview at a moment’s notice
  13. Great references that can be checked immediately or that are already on LinkedIn
  14. A current job

If you bring me all of the things above, I’ll start salivating.  I’ll drop everything I am doing and find you a job.  So will any other recruiter worth his salt. With that list, you should find a recruiter who will market you.  Get his commitment to report back how his marketing is going. If he won’t commit, he is the wrong recruiter.

The way to motivate a recruiter is to be a great candidate.  If you have a motivated recruiter, soon you’ll have a new job.

 Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score.  The real excitement is playing the game.  (Trump)

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Something To Do Today

Go back over that list.  Can you figure out how to line up more of those things for your next job hunt?  Ask a recruiter for his honest opinion, AHow marketable am I and what can I do to make myself irresistible to employers? You can, get a commitment from your recruiter of how much he’ll do and when he will call you back to report on his results.

How to overcome an employer’s resistance to hiring you

Why won’t they hire you? Do desperate employers resist hiring anyone?  Do they resist change? Or is it something else they resist?

Would you like to win a million dollars tax free?  But isn’t that a change?

If Oprah gave you a new car and money to pay the taxes on it, how hard would you resist? That is also a change.

Did you notice that I added that line about taxes in each question?  I had to add that because you might resist otherwise.  It isn’t the taxes, it is what the taxes represent in your mind that may cause you to resist.

Employers have the same resistance to hiring you that you might have to accepting a new car or even a million dollars.  They are afraid there is a hidden tax, a hook, a hidden problem.  They are afraid they will be forced to do things they don’t have time or energy for.  It can all be boiled down to their fear of losing control. People are afraid of losing control of their million dollars or their new car due to taxes. They are afraid of losing control if they hire you.

They lose control when they make you a job offer

As long as the employer is looking at resumes, interviewing, testing, talking about candidates, doing reference checks, and thinking about making offers, they are in control.  The second they make you an offer, they lose control.

Suddenly it is all up to you.  They get edgy.  To regain some control they will put a time limit on their offer. Usually they will give you overnight.  Sometimes they will give you up to a week.  But they want to have control over the process.

They have even less control when you start working for them

I am sure your new boss has worked with someone who was hired and was an absolute disaster. That person looked like the solution to their problem and was a horrible mistake.

You look like the perfect solution to their problem.  But, if they hire you, they lose control. When you come on board, there will be training, detailed supervision, review of your work, correction, adjustments to team duties, interpersonal conflicts, and a lot of other things that change. They will lose control of all those things the second you start with the team.

You have to help them regain control before you are hired

In order to soothe your potential boss, you have to give them as much control as possible.  If you can prove a few basic things, they will hire you immediately.  You need to prove:

  1. You will take the job and keep it
  2. You can do that job
  3. You won’t take too much training
  4. You will take the initiative to do things within their system
  5. You learn quickly
  6. You get along with all kinds of coworkers – good and bad
  7. You will quickly take other burdens off the boss’s back and give them back control.

How do you prove it?

We’ll talk about that over the next few days.

Motivating recruiters

Many recruiting offices have a button that rings a bell.  You can only push the button when you make a placement.  Some recruiters live only to press that button.  When they do press it, they keep their finger down for a full minute.  It drives everyone else nuts with envy.  Recruiters are competitive people.

Placing someone in a job motivates recruiters.  Sure recruiters want money.  That’s not their base motivation.  Their whole job is centered on making placements.

Want to motivate a recruiter?  Convince them they can place you quickly.

Some things that help:

  1. A great resume showing accomplishments, not responsibilities
  2. A positive attitude
  3. Talents that are in strong demand
  4. Winning interview skills
  5. Reasonable salary expectations
  6. Motivation to take a new job
  7. Little job hunting done on your part already
  8. A list of companies you would like to work for
  9. An exclusive relationship with the recruiter
  10. Your spouse and kids back you in the move
  11. Willingness to relocate or commute
  12. Ability to interview at a moment’s notice
  13. Great references that can be checked immediately or that are already on LinkedIn
  14. A current job

If you bring me all of the things above, I’ll start salivating.  I’ll drop everything I am doing and find you a job.  So will any other recruiter worth his salt. With that list, you should find a recruiter who will market you.  Get his commitment to report back how his marketing is going. If he won’t commit, he is the wrong recruiter.

The way to motivate a recruiter is to be a great candidate.  If you have a motivated recruiter, soon you’ll have a new job.

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Something To Do Today

Go back over that list.  Can you figure out how to line up more of those things for your next job hunt?  Ask a recruiter for his honest opinion, “How marketable am I and what can I do to make myself irresistible to employers?”

Get a commitment from your recruiter of how much he’ll do and when he will call you back to report on his results.

2 ways to use certifications to FIND jobs-especially if you don’t have any

Certifications can definitely get you a job interview.  They can also get you laughed at.  BS, MBA and PhD are all certifications.  So are CPA, CISSP, MCSE, MCAD, MCST, CNE and CPC.

The most amazing certification chameleon has been MCSE-Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.  At first it was a sure key to a quick job and pay raises.  Then schools popped up all over and it became a joke. People with no aptitude nor experience in computers applied for a job as an MCSE.  Now, MCSE is regaining its luster if you have a good solid background.

You should find out which certifications will help you get a raise, a new job, or a promotion.  The best way is to ask.

WAIT! Don’t just ask, network.  This is a great excuse to network. Ask to talk with your boss and his boss about it.  If there is a company you would like to work for, find managers there and ask them to lunch.  Make appointments to talk with experts for 10 minutes of career help.  Find out what certifications and education they prize.  Call up recruiters and ask them.

So, those 2 ways are….

  1. Put the certification on your resume so the recruiters find you.
  2. Network by asking which certifications would help you the most.

Even if you think you know the answer, call one person a day to ask which certifications would be most useful for you.  It is a GREAT question that hiring managers will want to answer for you.

Once you find the certifications that will do you the most good, get one.  Then call everyone back you asked about certifications and let them know what you have done.

The right certification will turn those networking leads into gold.

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.  (Bohr)

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Something To Do Today

Networking time.  Call some managers, recruiters and people you respect.  Ask them what certifications would be best in your field.  Ask them which certifications will get you the NEXT job you want. Track every single person you talk to so you can get back to them later. Now go find out how you can get those certifications.

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Next:   Recruiter motivation