Hire Friday Twitter Chat Recap
by: Brandon Lawson
18. November 2011 | Show Originial

Happy Friday everyone! Every Friday, there is a huge forum on Twitter amongst HR professionals and jobseekers called #HFChat. I encourage you guys to hop in on these conversations because valuable information and advice are shared during this hour. Another perk of joining in is that you can contribute to the conversation and network with everyone involved through Twitter. 

If you’re not able to attend, don’t worry because I have you covered. Every week I will do a recap of what went down by letting you know the weekly topic, questions and answers. This week’s topic, hosted by Paul Anderson, was Critiquing Companies as Part of Your Job Search. Here are some questions, with great answers by participants:

 

Q1. If you see a poorly written or confusing job description, what should you do?

A1: “Poorly written - Use as excuse to call and ask for clarification?” - @MaureenSharib

 

Q2. Do employers prefer applicants from job boards, employee referrals networking, or …?

A2: “Employers prefer the RIGHT candidate - no matter how they get in front of them. Being a referral is big.” – @HeyOverbey 

 

Q3. What would cause an employer to blacklist you as an applicant?

A3: “Being a pest rather than being merely persistent. Do not go overboard and forget to respect the employer.” – @cachinko

 

Q4. How can you make your resume stand out before the holidays?

A4: “Discuss your availability to interview and be available during the holidays – a lot of candidates disappear during this time.” – @BruceRecruiter

 

Q5. What are some of the ways used by recruiters to cull through all the resumes they receive?

A5: “They may deep six resumes that are too short or too long. Jam packed with verbiage, difficult to understand, too many buzz words.” - @CyndyTrivella 

 

Have you been involved with #HFChat yet? Share your experiences with us on Facebook!


16. November 2011 | Show Originial

 

If you want to land a job, you may want to think about rewriting your résumé. Chances are you have cliché phrases, buzzwords, or annoying jargon that drives the Human Resources guys nuts. To help you appease the HR gods, we will give you a quick list of some of the most common résumé words that they want retired:

 

1. “Salary Negotiable”: Don’t you think it would be odd if your salary were NOT negotiable? You may want to think twice before wasting space on your résumé to state the obvious. An HR professional may think that you are just adding this to pad space on your résumé. 

 

2. “Career Objective”: Back in the day, it was popular to have the top section of your résumé stamped with an objective, like “To obtain a position as a [insert job title here] that leverages my skills and experience as well as promoting growth.” HR professionals have seen this one too many times, and it drives them crazy. You should replace your “Career Objective” with a “Mission Statement” that summarizes your background, core competencies and accomplishments to show what you have to offer to employers. 

 

3. “Team Player”: When you consider that there are few jobs where you don’t work with others, “team player” becomes an overrated term. Regardless of how talented you are most companies will not hire someone that does not work well with others, so consider team player as a given. 

 

4. “Experienced”:  This is a vague term especially if you’re not putting a specific length of time behind it. Saying “Created Excel spreadsheets for marketing strategy meetings” is a lot more specific than “experienced at creating Excel spreadsheets.” 

 

5. “Detail-oriented”: So you pay attention to details to prevent from making mistakes? Awesome. Unfortunately, employers are not fans of mistakes either, and tend to hire a lot of “detailed oriented” individuals. Having this quality doesn’t make you special in a work environment; it just means you’re like everyone else. What qualities truly set you apart from the rest? 

 

6. “Hardworking”:  Anyone can say that they’re a hard worker. The description of your work history should imply how hard you worked over the years. 

 

7. “Proactive”: This is another word that is overrated and overused. Without explaining a scenario where being proactive paid off at a job, the word has no substance to HR. 

 

8. References Available Upon Request: This is another statement that HR will consider a given. If a manager wants to hire you, they will assume that you will have references available. 

 

 

Questions? Comments? Share them with us on our Facebook page.

 


11. November 2011 | Show Originial

In this economy, it can be very difficult to land a job if you do not have skills that stand out. Believe it or not, the skills that you acquired in the military are often valuable to employers. Employers may consider hiring veterans over civilians for many reasons, including: the ability to battle through adversity, leadership qualities and working well in a team environment. 

 

One skill often learned in the military is the ability to battle through adversity. Employers value this quality because of the countless issues that can arise within the workplace. Employers also like people with the ability to work under pressure. In most work environments, it is imperative that companies have employees that can do their jobs effectively under time constraints. 

 

In addition, employers also value the leadership abilities that you may have acquired during your time in the military.  There is almost nothing more valuable to a company than someone that can come in and motivate employees to become more productive at their job. Another quality of being a good leader is the ability to strategize. Having a strategic mind means that you can help companies formulate ideas that can contribute to their long-term success.  

 

Another important military skill that may help you acquire a job is the ability to work in a team environment. Companies like people that can build a good rapport with other employees. There may be more skills that you developed during your time in the military that may be useful to a company, but the most important thing that you must do is be able to explain those qualities to employers.  See our other article on The Military and Resume Writing in this edition of the Veterans’ Transition Guide.

 

As you seek employment after the military, remember that the skills that you have gained are useful to you in the civilian setting. These skills put you at an advantage in the civilian job market. Employers recognize that your ability to handle adversity, work under pressure, and work in a team environment are valuable assets in any company. Good luck in finding employment!


09. November 2011 | Show Originial

Do you wish that you could get into a recruiter’s head, and figure out what you are doing wrong, or right in your job search? Unfortunately, I don’t have the power of telepathy. However, I can give you a short list of things that recruiters want you to know:

 

1. The Résumé Objective is Obsolete: Hiring managers are not interested in what you want from the company. They’d rather hear about how you could possibly add value to their team. You should delete your objective and put a summary in its place.

 

2. The Incessant Follow-Up Calls are a Turn Off: Some job seekers getting a little too phone happy when it comes to following up with an employer. Recruiters will contact you as soon as they hear something.

 

3. Add a Competency Section: This section will help recruiters see how you can add value to their team. This is your résumé at a glance, and it should tell employers if you have the core skills to do the job.

 

4. You are not Entitled to Anything: Don’t assume that you will receive a certain amount because you asked for it, or you earned it at your last job. Recruiters are usually willing to negotiate a fair amount, if it is within their budget. 

 

5. Be Transparent: Honesty IS the best policy, especially in the job hunt. Recruiters will never take anomalies on your résumé at face value, so be honest and clear when asked about them and a hiring manager may be more understanding. If you are not upfront about something then hiring managers will draw up their own conclusions.

 

Do you have questions or comments? Share with us on our Facebook wall.


08. November 2011 | Show Originial

The interview process can be a stressful one. Even with proper preparation, you will never be fully prepared for the mind of the hiring manager. To help ease some of the anxiety, here are a couple of thoughts that are more than likely running through the head of the hiring manager:

 

1. I didn’t read your résumé: Hiring managers may have skimmed through your résumé, and decided that they liked what they saw. However, between booking interviews with other candidates, meetings and other day-to-day tasks, they may not have been able to look at your résumé in full detail. This is part of the reason why it is essential to bring extra copies of your résumé with you to the interview. Make sure that you are familiar with every detail of your résumé so that you are prepared to explain to the hiring manager when required.

 

2. I’ve heard it Before: Some interview responses are common among job seekers (i.e. My biggest flaw is that I’m a perfectionist), and it tends to become monotonous to hiring managers. Try to make your interview memorable in a good way, and stay away from cliché interview answers.

 

3. How you dress is important to me: Your first impression is usually given off by what you wear, rather than what you say at a job interview. Give yourself a fighting chance by not looking like you just rolled out of bed 5 minutes before the meeting.

 

4. I will try to throw you off: Hiring managers may try to throw a curveball or two in your direction during the interview process. This action is not for the pure joy of watching you sweat it out; they want to see how you work under pressure. If you’re given an oddball question like “If you could have a superpower, what would it be,” don’t over think it. Answer the question while explaining you thought process. 

 

5. I want to impress you: You’re not the only person in the interview room looking to get a nod of approval. The Hiring manager is working to convince you that working for them is a great move for your career. This is a great opportunity to ask questions of your own to get them to open up about themselves and their time at the company. 


02. November 2011 | Show Originial

 

Small businesses are hoping that Creat Jobs for USA is a success. If you haven’t been to your local Starbucks lately, you have a good reason to stop by. Starbucks is teaming up with Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) to create a new project called Create Jobs for USA. OFN is a group of community lending institution, which main purpose is to provide funding to community businesses that could use our help. 

 

With the help of your donations, Create Jobs for USA will provide capital grants to select Community Developed Financial Institutions (CDFI). These CDFIs will then be able to provide funding to underserved community businesses (small businesses, non-profit organizations, microenterprises, etc.). The goal is to create enough funding to help in grow small businesses, thus creating new jobs.

 

To help the program hit the ground running, Starbucks contributed $5,000,000 for the cause. The good news is that you can help out, with a lot less money, today! Stop by your local Starbucks, or visit http://www.createjobsforusa.org/ and donate $5 to show your support. Not only will you receive a cool wristband, but your donation may also open up an opportunity for you or another job seeker in the near future.  

 

When you get a chance check out the cool YouTube video Starbucks made to promote the program.

 

What do you think of Create Jobs for USA? Like it? Love it? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.  

Picture Source: http://www.createjobsforusa.org/Success-Stories/success-stories,default,pg.html

 


28. October 2011 | Show Originial

Recently, we were introduced to a show called, How do I Get Hired, that seems pretty interesting. It’s a reality show, based out in Detroit, where a group of job seekers are placed in a career boot camp. Their instructor, Terese Maire, will use her 20 years of human resource expertise and no-nonsense approach to help these people with their job search. 

 

I thought that this might be an interesting show, and those of you currently looking for a job, may want to check this show out. Being a jobseeker, you will be able to relate to these people’s unemployed issues, while being inspired by their determination. You’ll also be able to grab some tips that you can incorporate into your job search.

 

Here’s a link to the show’s website for more information: http://howdoigethiredtv.com/

 

Will you watch How Do I Get Hired? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook


18. October 2011 | Show Originial

 

If you just had a job interview, the worst thing you could do is wait for a call back without doing a follow-up. With so many people being unemployed, the job market is more competitive. This means you have to do more to make yourself memorable to employers. In order to help in this process, we will provide some helpful tips on how to perform the interview follow up. 

 

1. Thank Them: Shortly after you leave the interview, you should write a thank you note for the hiring manager. Show gratitude for them taking the time to interview with you. You can also email them, but a handwritten note makes more of an impact. 

 

2. Remember the Name: When you interview with a hiring manager for 30 minutes, you should know that person by first and last name. It will not look good if you start a thank you note with “To whom it may concern.” It may help to get the name of the person who is interviewing you, prior to the big day. 

 

3. Recall Conversations: Let the person who interviewed you know that they had your full attention the entire time. If you and the interviewer had a short conversation about hobbies and other interests, bring it up in the note. 

 

4. Explain Why You Fit: To follow up on recalling conversations, use this note to show that you also remembered what the job requires. Remind the hiring manager how you can fulfill each requirement, and why you are the right person for the job. Don’t oversell yourself, though. Qualify yourself for the position, while being humble.

 

5. Follow up ASAP: Time is of the essence. You shouldn’t procrastinate by sending a note two weeks or later after you hear nothing back from them. If you send a letter or email later than a week after the interview, you may already be too late. 

 

Comments? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook.

 


14. October 2011 | Show Originial

In most interviews, you have to be prepared for a 30-minute to an hour-long conversation with a hiring manager. What if you have less than 5 minutes to convince a hiring employer that you are the most qualified candidate? You may want to start practicing your elevator pitch, in case you get caught in an impromptu salutation. I’m going to help you by explaining some neat tips, so you can be ready when the moment comes: 

 

1. Think About Why You Want That Position: Write down all the reasons that you want this job, and keep the good points. For example, your commitment to the company, or your desire to grow in your fields may prove to be compelling arguments. You shouldn’t provide typical points, like “I want a job in this field,” or “I need the money.”

2. Honesty is the Best Policy:  Similar to an interview, over exaggerations, half-truths and lies can be your worst enemy. Don’t hype yourself to be the perfect candidate when you know you have some flaws. Let them know that you’re a pretty good candidate, while showing humility. No one likes a phony. 

3. Think about What You Have to Offer: Employers know what they can provide for you (financial stability, benefits, opportunity to grow, etc.) They need to find out what you can provide for the company. Your work ethic, experience and skills learned over the years are examples of what can be highlighted as potential assets. 

4. K.I.S.S.: This is an acronym for Keep it Short and Sweet. Compile your most compelling points and squeeze them into 20-second micro speeches. They are called elevator pitches for a reason; you should rarely go over 1-2 minutes with them.

5. Practice, practice, practice: The saying “practice makes perfect” is definitely relevant when it comes to the elevator pitch. Rehearse your speech to make sure that it is concise and that you are not stumbling on your words.  

 

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Share with us on Facebook.


Outdated Resume Elements
by: Brandon Lawson
07. October 2011 | Show Originial

 

Resume SampleIf you are searching for a job, chances are that you have passed out your résumé numerous times with no callbacks. The problem may not be that you are under qualified, but you may be overwhelming employers with unnecessary information. You may want to make revisions, as we list five top outdated elements on résumés.

1. Objective Statements: Objective statements are a waste of space nowadays. Most employers know that they are there to fluff up your profile, so don’t waste your time on them. Instead you should prepare a cover letter in its place. Cover letters provide more substance as to why you deserve the position that you are applying for.

2. Personal Information: Information like your address, medical history and social security number are irrelevant on your résumé these days. Besides, employers may not shred rejected résumés, leaving your personal information out there to be swiped. An email address, telephone and your LinkedIn URL should suffice.


3. “References Upon Request”: Employers will usually consider this statement a given if they decide to bring you in for an interview. You can replace this by having a list of your most recent supervisors’ contact information on hand. You could also have people who worked with you, or have done business with you write recommendations on your behalf on LinkedIn.


4. Listing All Positions Held: If you held a lot of positions in your lifetime, you may want to refrain from posting all of them. Résumé space is limited, so is the attention span of the employer. Switch to a functional résumé to highlight skills that you have acquired, that are relevant to the position that you’re applying for. Remember: less is more.


5. Jargon: Using jargon that is utilized throughout the industry on your résumé may be a huge mistake. The folly in throwing around vernacular that is used within your industry is that the guy in HR, that reviews your résumé, may not.


Questions? Comments? Something I missed? Share with us on Facebook.

 


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