Tag Archives: job search tricks

When is your resume thrown away?

We are continually faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  (Gardner)

Hiroshima, WWII:  “I sure wish I could find rice for my family. Hey, what is that lone airplane doing above the city? Oh well, I’ve got more important things to worry about.”

Sometimes timing is everything and you are worrying about the wrong problems.  For your resume there is a timing pattern you must understand.  You have to break through 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.

Hiding real problems

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)

Does this make my butt look big?  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 the 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.

Halloween and your job search

Tips for job seekers and Halloween trick or treaters are just about the same.  Think about how each of these directly applies to looking for a job.

  1. If you are scared, get your dad (a coach) to help on a few doors.
  2. Dress for success.  Look the part from your hair to your shoes, bag and greeting.
  3. The neighborhood you call on defines the size of the treats you get.
  4. Not everyone is giving out one pound candy bars, but they are all worth visiting.
  5. The more houses you call on, the more likely you will get a one pound candy bar.
  6. Go BACK to the biggest house with the best candy later.
  7. The most successful trick or treaters plan their routes and run from door to door.
  8. If you don’t knock, they won’t answer.
  9. If the porch light is out, you won’t get any candy, but you may get advice.
  10. Some of the scariest houses give the best treats.
  11. You get more treats if you start early and work late.
  12. Asking for candy in the traditional way works, ingenuity may get you more.
  13. Helping a little kid can double your take.
  14. Always say thank you.
  15. Sometimes they just ran out of treats, sorry.
  16. Going with friends (groups and social media) can make a scary neighborhood safer.
  17. It is a night of cold calling, even if you know the people.
  18. Trade candy (leads) afterwards to get what you really want.
  19. If you go to a party instead, and complain, you won’t get a big bag of candy.
  20. Don’t blow out the candle in the pumpkin.
  21. Do it again next year, only better, now that you have experience.

Wow!  I could write 21 articles based on those points.  Let me make a few quick points instead.

  1. Planning and preparation. If you want the best chance of quick success, take 15 minutes each day and an additional 4 hours each week to review results, make lists, THINK, and plan for the coming week.  And make sure you have resumes that are attractive so people to call you back.
  2. Work hard and fast. Actually do what you plan.  Make calls and contacts daily.  It is amazing how often luck follows hard work.
  3. Go back again. You should be talking to your best prospects at least monthly.  If you spend 15 minutes thinking and looking for a reason to call, you can usually come up with a helpful reason to call almost anyone.
  4. Work together. Share leads.  Offer to critique other’s resumes.  Suggest websites, books, and other job search ideas.  A lot of people find the perfect job in the castoffs and contacts from someone else’s search. Go to someone else’s house and both of you make calls at the same time.
  5. Be polite. Just because they say “No” doesn’t mean they hate you.  Say thank you and contact them again if it is a company you really want to join.  Never burn bridges or “blow out the candle” with anyone.

Have a great Halloween, and an even better job search.  Good luck finding that one pound candy bar!

Am I showing up?

If they can’t see you, you aren’t there.  If they can’t take their eyes off you, there’s no competition.

 What is the difference between these scenarios? 

  1. You send out 100 resumes in an hour and get no response. 
  2. You spend two days deciding who to send resumes to, send out 3 resumes, and get no response. 
  3. You go fishing.

From a job search perspective, there isn’t much difference.  If you are getting absolutely no response from your job search efforts, change something.  Experiment.  What can it really hurt if you completely change what you are doing 10% of the time?  Can the response get any worse? 

Get creative.  Here are some things others have tried:

Make a trial resume each week.  Do severe changes or just rearrange the bullets.  Send your normal resume out to most jobs.  Send your trial resume to 5 or 10 companies.  Do you get a response? 

Call up 10 friends and ask them to critique your resume.  Send them a copy and find out what they think.  You don’t have to make the changes they suggest.  In addition to getting some good and bad help, you’ll be networking.  They’ll know exactly what you can do and be looking for an opportunity to help you.

Call half the companies you want to send a resume to, before you send it.  Ask for the person who would be your supervisor.  If you get HR (Human Resources) that’s okay.  Whoever you get, ask them what skills they are having the hardest time finding.  If you have the skills, make them the first line in your resume, in bold print.

Once a week walk down the street in a business park and ask for the owner of each business.  Whether you talk to the owner or the receptionist, tell them you are looking for a job.  Take a resume and a sincere desire to help.  It can’t hurt.  Ask everyone you meet who they know that can use you.

Add a recommendation letter to your resume.  Get your last boss or a coworker to write a letter telling how hard you work and how much you help.  Make it the first page of your resume.  It’s bragging when you say it, it’s proof when someone else says it.

Think. Earl Nightingale suggests spending an hour each day with a pencil and a pad of paper just thinking and listing ideas of how to reach your goal. Exercise your brain. You’ll throw most of the ideas away, but you’ll also come up with some gems.  Think.  What can you change that will make you stand out?  What can you do that will draw positive attention to yourself?  Is there any REAL risk?  Probably not.  So try it a few times.  See what the response is. 

Learn.  Do better each week.

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Something To Do Today

Decide what you will do different.  What will you change?  Try your experiment out 5 or 10 times and see what happens.