Bing Crosby gave a one minute resume update lesson.
Bing Crosby gave a one minute resume update lesson.
Do you need a job now? Then use the best job search plan ever created.
Come on! How could it possibly be the best EVER created? Because it was created for only one person. You.
I have seen it happen over and over.
One guy is out of work for less than a month, and he gets a job offer with a raise.
It takes 6 months to get a job for the guy who sat next to him. This poor guy was doing exactly the same job, got better performance ratings, and would get rehired first if the job was re-opened. To make things worse, the guy who took six months accepts a huge pay cut.
It isn’t fair, but it happens every day.
It isn’t luck. The guy who finds a job quickly did things differently. He may have instinctively done the few most critical steps within the first days of losing his job. He may also have mapped out a strategy and executed it. Either way, he got the critical steps executed. He got the job.
The critical steps most often screwed up by the guys who take 6 months to find a job.
For 22 years I’ve been watching people get jobs in days, or wait a year to find a job. The steps most often screwed up are:
Give me a call or research these topics on my blog.
No, I don’t guarantee that you will get a job offer in 5 weeks. But I will put 22 years of experience behind your job search.
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 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.
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.
Your resume has spots that no professional resume reader ever looks at: the objective, the summary, and big block paragraphs. It is just a fact, no one reads them.
You may have hidden critical stuff in your resume the way my son once hid himself. In a game my son hid from our family right by the front door. Right in the open. We have coat hooks there. He hid inside a coat hanging on a hook. His shoes and a foot of his pants were fully exposed. Our whole family looked for 15 minutes before someone found him. He hid in a spot no one ever looks at.
The objective and summary on everybody’s resume says the same thing. So I read the first 5 words just to be sure, then I skip them.
You say, “hard worker,” “team player,” and “want to grow.” So what? The day I read a resume that says, “I’m lazy, can’t work with others and want to stagnate,” I’ll show the whole office. I don’t have time to wade through a bunch of descriptions of things everyone does. So I skip the objective and the summary.
If I’m going to read your objective or summary it has to be short. One line is best. It has to start telling me about you in the first 5 words. What is unique about you must come out. Don’t talk about things I expect in every employee.
Ugly, huge, wordy paragraphs are also more than I can handle. Take the 6 most important points of your paragraph and turn each essential point into one line bullets. I’ll get those 6 points. If you bury the 6 most important things about you in a half page paragraph, I’ll never read them. If YOU don’t know what the 6 most important things are, YOU have been lazy. Don’t expect me to pick the most important points in your resume out for you. I don’t have time.
10 seconds is all that most resumes get before they are trashed. If they make it past the 10 second screening, they get a 45 second review. A final few will be fully read. Don’t hide the most important information. Make it stand out. Make sure I read it.
Something To Do Today
Try to get your Objective and Summary sections down to less than one line. If you have a paragraph over 3 lines in length, consider cutting it out or turning it into bullets.
Remember: Your resume has only one job, to get you an interview. It is not a complete job history or a confessional. Its only purpose is to get you an interview.
Tomorrow: Referrals vs. Monster
Later: Personality tests
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 three scenarios?
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, before you send it. 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. 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.
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.
Tomorrow: Down Syndrome vs down syndrome
Drayton Bird has sold more products and services than small countries buy in a year. Here is how he helped the daughter of a client re-write her resume and cover letter, in his words.
Here is the glamorous star of this helpful idea, and even if you don’t find it useful I bet someone you know will.
She’s actually the daughter of a client, who wrote and asked me how she should write to get a job. I was intrigued because when we analysed the things people went to most and stayed at longest on my old website, one won by a mile.
Can you guess what it was?
It was, of course, “How to get a better job”. I’m kicking myself because it isn’t on the new site – so we’d better put it on there.
Anyhow, this is what my client and I cobbled together.
Most people never write a more important letter than this – yet they’re nearly all clueless!
Why I would never have employed my own daughter – and what she should have done.
I bet you can relate to this.
My 19 year old daughter Ally is at a dreadful stage in her life. She’s trying to get a job, which means she has to write letters.
Admittedly it’s only for a summer job while at university, but it’s still pretty important. But since she is young with hardly any experience of this part of life, she’s at sixes and sevens on how to go about it.
Let me tell you what happened
She sent her unsolicited CV to a famous jewellery firm she is pretty keen to work for. I asked her if I could have a look at what she sent, in case I could help in future.
My heart sank when I read what she had sent, as I knew if the letter arrived on my desk I wouldn’t have wanted to interview her. I felt like kicking myself, too, since I do sales letters all the time and here was my own daughter not even getting the basics right – because I hadn’t helped.
And let’s face it, a letter to get a job can either start you out on a career – or fail to do so. This could be the most important letter she would ever write.
It got me thinking that there must be lots of other parents out there with children in the same boat so I thought everyone might benefit if I looked at how Ally could have done a better job – and she would also do better next time.
If you find these tips useful, please pass them onto any young people you know who are about to look for a job. They probably need all the help they can get.
You might even be looking for a job yourself and be a bit rusty.
Let’s look at what she sent in.
The application had no covering letter to speak of except something along the lines of, “I would like to work for your company this summer so I am enclosing my CV”. This 3 page statement of facts began like this:
“I am a hard working, intelligent and sharp person who works well on her feet. The experience from working in retail has helped me immensely in becoming very confident in selling goods to a variety of people. I have a friendly and approachable manner and greatly enjoy interaction with members of the public. I am also responsible and trustworthy, and work well in a team and on my own.”
Four things struck me when I read it.
Because there was no decent covering letter, it felt a bit like being whacked in the face with a wet fish. There was nothing linking her CV to the job she was applying for.
Secondly the whole thing was just about her and how good she thought she was.
There were no obvious benefits to the jewellery shop if they were to employ her. Thirdly and rather astonishingly there was no reference to the shop itself, or even the jewellery industry!
Fourthly the whole thing was utterly devoid of any enthusiasm or passion for the company or its products.
I was dying to tell her she should have sent in a photograph of herself as people like to see who they might be employing and it helps to get their attention, but I didn’t have the heart as it was all too late and I didn’t want to make her feel too bad.
She is such a good looking kid (Her father would say that wouldn’t he?) that I thought a photo wouldn’t do any harm, particularly as the company sells very costly jewellery.
It was no surprise to me when she didn’t get the job – a real shame as she really wanted to work for that company. You never would have guessed it though from what she sent in, and that was where she went wrong, as do thousands of others every month.
But the principles involved in getting a job are the same anywhere, and you can’t escape that fact that you have to sell yourself.
Which brings me to my main point. Never forget, getting a job is an old fashioned marketing job: you are selling yourself and the aim of what you write is to get an interview. And what does good marketing involve?
Paying huge attention to detail, spending time finding out about a person and/or organisation, (in this case the prospective employer) thinking through the benefits of something (the job applicant) to another person (the employer) – and using your imagination to increase your chance of success.
Oh, and I should mention one other thing: making an effort.
Sorry about this, but very little comes easily in life, and marketing yourself to get job is no exception. But if you get the job you want it will be worth it a hundred times over.
So here is my advice:
Write a proper covering letter for your CV
Under no account ever again should she just send a CV.
Send a letter, a proper letter and not just a skimpy “please find enclosed” letter.
Go the whole hog and send a real sales letter which gives every reason why they should employ you and answers any concerns or questions they might have about you. Don’t be afraid of going onto a second, or even a third page.
If you don’t know what a good sales letter looks like, there are heaps of examples and suggestions in How to Write a Salesletter that Sells by Drayton Bird you can look at.
Talk to the right person – and get their attention.
Think who the best person might be to write to, and find out their name.
I think my daughter should have got the name of the director or owner and written to them, in the hope that they would find her interesting and pass it onto personnel with a comment, “This person looks good.”
If you have a choice between personnel and a senior person, go for the senior person; it shows initiative and will get to them anyhow.
Enclose a photograph.
People always like to see who they might end up employing
Be enthusiastic – and prove that you are genuinely interested in them.
You can do this by referring to something you have found out about the company.
Use your research to show you know about the company and its activities: they are interested in themselves, not you.
You are trying to get the reader’s attention, and you flatter them by doing this. Nobody, no matter how senior or successful dislikes flattery, but don’t go overboard and gush nonsense – it will get you nowhere.
How will you benefit the company?
Explain your skills and experience and relate them to the needs of the company. How will they benefit by employing you?
How can you prove you are any good?
Depending on the job do you have any examples of your work to send in?
How about some testimonials from teachers, the Brownies, other employers, any damn thing for that matter. Just something which will help convince the reader that you are worth seeing.
Make an offer
You can offer to come in do the first two days work for nothing, because you know that it’s expensive to train staff. Can you think of anything else you can offer them?
Pay attention to detail
Have a big, confident handwritten legible signature, preferably in blue ink. You want to be noticed and stand out from the crowd. If you handwrite the person’s name in the salutation this gets their attention straightaway.
And try having a PS, as this is the most read part of any letter. You could use this as an opportunity to emphasise how keen you are to get the job. Or repeat your offer.
For example: P.S. I realise you get many letters like this, and many would-be employees, which is why I’d love the opportunity to come and work for a week for nothing
Don’t forget the follow-up phone call
Why not follow up with a couple of phone calls.
Talk to the important person’s secretary or P.A., who is extremely powerful in these cases.
Once three or four days later to check the letter has arrived and then again a couple of weeks later to see if there is anything else they need to know about you. Anything really to remind them about you.
As a matter of interest, I suggested to my client that even if her first letter didn’t work, a good follow-up might.
I actually proposed this opening:
“My last letter to you failed dismally – because it was awful, to be honest.
So I’m trying again.
Would you like someone so keen to work for you that I’ll gladly work for nothing while you see what I can do?
For instance, I can:
P.S. Don’t forget – if you have a friend or colleague who you think would like to hear from me, please forward me their address. They’ll get a polite invitation – which they can decline – and I never share my email lists. AskDrayton.com
Drayton Bird Associates Ltd., Moyle House, Fleet Hill, Finchampstead, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 4LJ
You see 6 ads for one job you really want. It is so good you would quit you’re your current job just to apply. What do you do?
High Priority Jobs
Getting your resume into the hiring manager’s hands is your quest.
First gather information.
Is there anything that makes you think the writer of one of the ads knows the hiring manager personally?
Check the date on all those ads. When were they posted? What day did they appear? List when the company and each agency first advertised. Did an agency advertise before the company itself? They may have a close tie to the hiring manager. Have the ads been going on for months? The company is either getting a little desperate, has decided not to fill the job, or the job is full but recruiters haven’t bothered to pull the ads yet because they are still getting lots of calls.
How are the ads different? Does one include a lot more in-depth information? Is another extremely short? Look closely. Do any of them make you feel like the writer talked to the manager? You want to talk to someone who has the hiring manager’s ear.
Second work your network.
Call the people you know at the company, or invite them out to lunch. Call up recent employees. Connect on LinkedIn to everyone at the company you can.
What can you find out about the job? Is there someone who can personally take your resume to the hiring manager? How about to the hiring manager’s boss? This is still the research phase. Don’t give anyone your resume yet. You only get to submit it once.
Is there a recruiter you trust? Find out what information they have. If they can bypass HR (Human Resources) or have other great connections then work with them. For instance, there is one company I work with that requires all recruiters to submit resumes through their online system. But I call the HR manager and tell her when my candidates go in so she can immediately extract them. She is afraid of missing a truly hot candidate. Other people who submit themselves are first sorted through by the receptionist.
You really do have to quiz recruiters about their connections. If you answer a particular ad when there are 6 ads out there, you have a right to ask why you should send a resume in through them.
Third decide how to apply.
If the job is not exciting, it doesn’t matter how you submit your resume. Just do some quick cosmetic changes and submit it through an agency or the HR department.
For the job that really turns you on, figure out who should submit your resume. For any company it could be you, a friend, a recruiter or an acquaintance. Choose in this order:
Fourth get your resume perfect
Put the bullets on your resume in order of importance. Put a few key words in bold to make sure the screener and manager sees them. Get rid of bullets, lines and sentences that do not apply to the job!! A two page resume is fine for most jobs, but the second page may never get read.
Do the 10 second test with several people. Hand your resume to a few friends and ask them to read it for 10 seconds. Time them. Take it away in 10 seconds. Ask what they remember. Do they mention your most important qualifications and accomplishments? If they do, it’s a winner. If not, change it.
The 10 second test is critical because most screeners and managers give all the resumes a 10 second review to try to find the best ones first. They will probably throw out your resume without further reading if they can’t see what they want in that first 10 seconds.
Fifth submit and follow up
Submit your resume. Call up and find out what happened two days later. Did your resume arrive there? Did the manager see it yet? When will he decide?
You really want that job? After your two day follow up call send a thank you note. Give them a nudge, short and friendly. It is amazing how a thank you note can get someone to personally try one more time for you.
Keep calling back at least weekly. Sometimes it does take a couple of months to fill a job. Keep your candidacy alive until it is pronounced dead by someone who knows.
Take Your Best Shot
If you really want a job. Go all out. There may be 100 applicants. In some cases there may be 1000. Use personal contacts to set yourself apart from the herd. Make sure your resume instantly says, “I’m qualified.” And follow up in case you somehow get missed.
Something To Do Today
Start prioritizing all the jobs you can apply for. On your written list make sure the jobs you crave stand out. Treat them differently. It is worth the extra effort.
Next week: Recruiters and the hair on the back of your neck.
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 using 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” spot as a summary in your resume. 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.
Tomorrow: Job Boards: What if there are 6 ads for the same job?
First of all, apply for every job you are qualified for. It is impossible to tell if the job is real. You may as well take 5 minutes and apply.
Did you notice I did NOT say take 15 seconds and apply? Internet job boards let you send off a resume without thinking. You can send off a hundred in an hour. That just assures you of 100 failures. If you take 5 minutes and send off an effective resume for each job, you’ll do better than if you spam every employer in your area.
Most resumes are screened out electronically for large companies. Every company then uses a clerical screener to throw out 90% of the resumes that are left with only a 10 second glance. The remaining resumes get a 45 second read through and often only 5 out 100 original resumes are seen by anyone outside of HR.
Machines only care about one thing….a perfect match. You have to have every requirement. Look at the job advertisement. Does it have an acronym like “MS Word”? Then have “MS Word” and “Microsoft Word” in your resume somewhere. Does it ask for “PC experience”? Then put the words “PC experience” somewhere. You may want to put a “Technology Experience” section at the end of each job or the end of the resume. You can put PowerPoint, Access, SAP A/R, Lawson GL and other cryptic requirements there. The machine will find an exact match and you will get to the clerical screener.
The clerical screener really wants to throw out as many resumes as possible. Every one he keeps means more work. Look at the job listing. What are they asking for? Don’t bury your most important experience in a paragraph.
Screeners do not read paragraphs. They read
They may read italicized words, but not as often as bold. Warning: Don’t camouflage your qualifications by bolding everything YOU think is important. Only bold the things asked for in the ad.
Make sure a screener who doesn’t want to have to read your whole resume sees you match the job.
Something To Do Today
For every job you are applying for, create a resume that will get past the screeners. Bullet and bold everything the job ad asks for.
Tomorrow: Job Boards: How to beat the internal candidate.
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.