Tag Archives: prove accomplishments

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.

Resumes and elephant guns

Give me a place to stand and with a lever I will move the world.  (Archimedes)

 In the old Tarzan movies a “great white hunter” is walking through the African plains followed by a couple of trusty gun bearers.  Suddenly, out of the trees, an elephant charges.  He reaches back and his huge elephant gun is placed in his hands.  He takes aim and waits.  When the elephant is a mere 30 yards away he fires.  The elephant falls to the ground at his feet.

What would happen if the hunter reached back and a bow and arrow were placed in his hands?   Well, there wouldn’t be enough left of the hunter to have a funeral.

For every job there are a few key experiences that will get you an interview.  They are the elephant guns or levers in your job hunt.  If you have those experiences, you will get an interview.

Before you submit your resume for any job you have to ask yourself, “What is the elephant gun for this job?  Is there one?”  You may have to read the job description two or three times before you know.  If you are still confused, call up the company and find out.  Ask for the person in charge of that job.  Whether you get HR (Human Resources) or the hiring manager, ask what the most difficult to find skills for that job are.

We submitted one resume for a job using an elephant gun.  The candidate did not have the college degree necessary.  He was not a CPA and had never been an auditor.   Still, the company phoned back immediately.  They were excited that we had found a candidate with the one skill they absolutely had to have.  He had several years of experience collecting the data to fill out a particular set of government forms.

We knew what the elephant gun for the job was.  The candidate got the interview.

Are you using a bow and arrow resume when you could be using an elephant gun?  You need a lever and a place to stand to move the world.


Something To Do Today

Find an ad that is picky, an ad that asks for 10 different skills and a lot of experience.  Find out what the elephant gun is for that ad.  Call the company and ask what the most important skill sets are and which are not essential. Find out where the lever can be placed.

That pesky resume. Is it working?

If it moves and it shouldn’t, use duct tape.  If it should move and doesn’t, use WD-40.     You can fix anything if you can figure out why it isn’t working.

In college there was a 1930’s Rolls Royce in our apartment’s garage.  It was gorgeous.  It didn’t run.  It was useless for transportation.  Is your resume like that Rolls Royce?  Is it beautiful, but not doing what you need it to do?

Resumes are only supposed to do one thing….get you an interview.  No matter how pretty it is, how hard you worked on it or how much you paid to get it written, it is not working unless it gets you an interview.

 6.3 reasons why resumes don’t get interviews

  1. You are not qualified.
  2. The resume doesn’t address the job requirements
  3. Your qualifications are hidden or camouflaged
  4. Only responsibilities are mentioned, not accomplishments
  5. There is nothing memorable

6.3            You don’t send it out

If you are not qualified, don’t cry because no one calls you back.  You are relying on luck and luck is fickle.

If you don’t send out any resumes, no one will answer you either. (Duhhh!)

The other four points will take longer to go over.  We’ll do that in the next few days.

That Rolls Royce was a collector’s item.  It was for looking at.  Your resume is not a collector’s item.  It is not a job application.  It is not a due diligence audit.  It is not your life history.  It has one job to get you an interview.  If you are not getting interviews, let’s fix the resume.

I Am Overqualified

I Am Overqualified

Did you climb the corporate ladder and find it was leaning against the wrong wall?  Tired of 80 hour weeks or being in airports constantly?   Did you get a degree that makes it harder to get a job?  Do you want to go hunting more?  I know a lot of people who managed to get a huge responsibility (and pay) cut. 

One essential thought: Your resume has one job….to get you an interview.  It is not a confessional booth.    

If you are overqualified but want the job anyway, make a new resume.  Put in what you did that directly relates to the job.  Leave the rest out.  Get over your job wounds.  Your future boss doesn’t need to know your deepest sorrows.  You don’t have to say that you led a team of 40 people in your last job. You need to say what you did that applies.

What you think of as a job title is used by screeners and managers as a job summary.  In one or two words they see what you did.  Since that is how screeners and managers use it, so should you!  If your job title hurts you, then make an accurate title that helps. Describe what you do with your job summary (title).  When you fill out the job application right before an interview you can put your official title.  Never lie.  Don’t deceive.   Be accurate.  Use the job title as a summary. The manager reading it does.

Over-educated?  Choose from these resume options: a) no education section, b) an “Applicable Education” section, and c) put your advanced degrees under “Hobbies.”  

You can get a job you are overqualified for.   Make sure you are honest in everything you say and present to an employer.  Then blow your new boss away with how well you do your new job. 


Something To Do Today

Look at all the job titles on your resume.  Are they effective summaries of what you really did?  If not, change them.

What To Do Before You Quit

Should you quit your job to look for a new job?  NO!

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.  Last week 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:

  1. Arrive a little early and stay a little late.  Just a few minutes makes a big difference.  It is job insurance.  Track it.
  2. 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.
  3. Use a personal email account for job hunting.  Go to Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail 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.
  4. 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.”
  5. Track how fast you do everything, and do it faster.  Compare yourself to others.  Use your improvements in interviews.
  6. Go out of your way to help people beyond your job description.  Write down what you do and who you help.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Leveraging Your Assets

Leveraging Your Assets

Yesterday 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 I’ll show you how to make this list of successes bring you a lot more money.

Your most valuable assets

Your Most Valuable Assets

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.

1. His will to succeed. His attitude. His desire to constantly improve.

2. 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.

Over the next few days we’ll talk about leveraging your assets. We’ll talk about how to REALLY get a GREAT JOB.


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.