Friday, November 2, 2012

7 Ways to Scare Off a Recruiter

I thought this article was great!  Very insightful information about what NOT to do regarding resumes, and I agree with all the items mentioned (especially #1!).  I would also add that highly formatted resumes are a pet peeve too – keep it simple and don’t feel like you have to do anything fancy.
-Kristi Gregory, Staffing Consultant

Did you know that the average time looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds? According to The Confessions of the Recruitment Industry infographic by BeHiring, not only do recruiters spend less than 10 seconds scanning resumes, if they catch one spelling or grammar error the resume will automatically be discarded. Ouch.
With more than 12 million people unemployed nationally, job seekers cannot afford costly mistakes when submitting their resumes. The window of 5-7 seconds is a narrow one, especially considering a potential employer only allots that amount of time to hundreds of resumes a day. Below are seven common ways to frighten a recruiter; avoid them to increase the chances of that ‘narrow reviewing window’ opening up a little wider for you.
1. Sloppy resumes
At number one, grammatical errors, typos and misspellings are the most common and, often, most costly mistakes. Hundreds or even thousands of people can apply for one position. Why would a recruiter waste his or her time with an applicant who spells acheive for achieve or excede for exceed? Obvious typos tell potential employers the applicant did not take the time to review and reread his or her resume before submission and grammatical errors, especially for communications positions, show employers whether or not an applicant is a good fit. Using a colon in place of semicolon, omitting necessary commas and placing the period outside of quotation marks —these are all ways to scare off recruiters. The most threatening error? Misspelling a company’s name. If an applicant cannot make sure to spell the name of the company that he or she is applying to correctly, that person will immediately have his or her resume thrown out.
2. Unprofessional email address
Employees represent the companies they work for; they help maintain and reflect a company’s brand. Recruiters look at potential candidates to see who will best fit into the culture of the company. An unprofessional email sends a red flag to employers. They want to hire mature adults, ones who understand the importance of creating a professional email address. If you aren’t sure whether or not your email is professional, take this test: Imagine a recruiter just called you about a job opening. He or she asks you to provide an email address to forward the information to. Say your email address aloud, just as you would over the phone, and see how it sounds.
3. Residence
Some companies try to avoid hiring out-of-state applicants. Relocation and the expenses that come with it are not always things a company wants to deal with with bringing on someone new. Find out if an employer is seeking “local candidates only” before applying because if that’s the case, he or she won’t even consider an out-of-state resume.
4. Lack of detail in work history
It’s true you do not want to crowd your resume with long sentences, but not providing enough detail is also risky. Simply listing previous positions is not enough. Recruiters want to know the functions and duties carried out while you worked at a company. Lack of detail makes them question how significant your previous roles were.
5. No knowledge of industry applying for
Resumes that reflect work history that has nothing to do with the industry of position you’re applying for are also red flags. Unless it’s a ”no experience necessary” position, most job postings list some type of requirements and/or qualifications for applicants, and applicants must often have some type of background in the field of the open position.
6. Lack of professional references
Having no references can often be a deal breaker for recruiters. Employers value feedback from those who can attest to an applicant’s work ethic and skills. If two or more of a person’s references are personal —family members or friends —this can also hurt an individual’s chances of their resume getting further attention. Too many personal references tell employers an applicant doesn’t have enough professional references, and this leads them to wonder why? Do they not truly have the work experience they claim to? Was their work poorly done? Did they leave on bad terms? You do not want your resume to leave recruiters skeptical or confused.
7. High school activities
This pertains to college students (because I’m hoping no one out of school would do this). When seeking internships or regular employment, a list of high school activities blares a warning to recruiters. Like personal references, the applicant doesn’t have enough current or collegiate experience so he or she went back to high school. Unless you’re a freshman student, this is a big no.

Self-Awareness - How to Sell Yourself in the Workplace

Self-awareness.  It's something that I've been thinking about a lot lately.  It doesn't sound like much but it really is a big deal if it's lacking.  Most of my thoughts about obtaining self-awareness was more related to my personal life.  However, the following article made me realize that this is something to strive for in your professional life as well.  It's really okay to think about what you do well and what you need to work on in order to know how you best fit in your organization and what next steps you may want to take in your career.  
-Sheila Kyser, Director of Staffing

Many people associate selling with pushy sales people who don’t listen to your objections and try to force you into parting with your money for a product or service that you don’t want.  However, knowing how to sell yourself is a vital tool for effective career management.  The process starts with your CV or resume, in addition to interviews, internal meetings and networking events.

Know thyself
When was the last time you sat down and reviewed your career accomplishments, and audited your strengths and weaknesses?  Are you aware of the type of value you consistently bring to a team? Are you typically the person that puts structures and processes in place or the person who comes up with creative solutions to complex problems? Can you describe in specific detail how your contribution has made a distinct difference to the process and outcome of the projects that you have worked on in the past? Taking stock of how far you have come helps you begin to understand the value that you can bring to an organisation and positions you to better articulate that value.

Know the company
It pays to conduct a thorough research of the company you work for or are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for a new position, you can demonstrate your value by not only explaining the relevant experience that you have built up, but by taking it one step further and describing how that experience would be valuable for this potential new employer.  If you are already working for the organisation, you can provide evidence of how your role has made a difference to the growth strategy of the organisation.

Use data to back up your assertions of value
If your role has led to decreased cost, increased revenue or saved time, then it is in your interest to record this data for use during key meetings with managers to build your case for promotion, increased responsibility or salary.  Where this has been documented in detail, the facts speak for themselves and help build a strong case for your value without you having to sell yourself in qualitative terms.

Forward thinking and planning
Many assume that in order to sell yourself you need to look to the past in order to catalog your achievements.  However, selling yourself includes recognizing your current weaknesses and how they might impact your future career goals.  If you have constructed a clear plan to tackle these weaknesses, then this not only demonstrates maturity but also the ability to reflect and improve.

All work and no play
Many employees focus on their workplace skills and experience in order to sell themselves but sometimes your out of work activities can be what demonstrates that you are a “rounded” person. Perhaps you volunteer, that not only shows that you like to give back to your community but is a great way to develop leadership skills.  Maybe you play a team sport? That is usually a good indicator of someone who may be able to work well in a team.  Perhaps you have achieved a black belt in karate?  That shows discipline and perseverance. Often non work activities can be a key factor in demonstrating your value to a potential or existing employer.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fighting Age Discrimination with Linked In

I ran across the following article when I was on Linked In sourcing candidates for a client:
What a great question to address!  Read below for some wise advice.
-Kim Roach, Staffing Consultant

“My questions are should I state my true years of experience, or would that make recruiters shy away because of age?”

By law, there should be no age discrimination, but for realists, we know it exists.  A more seasoned applicant should enter the job search with confidence.  After all, you have devoted a good part of your lifetime into giving your career your best and you still have plenty left to give. You have wisdom and knowledge that a young, entry level candidate does not have AND you have more years to have perfected your craft.   To avoid the “age discriminator” there are ways to somewhat mask your years when creating your LinkedIn profile and resume. There is no reason to include EVERY job you have had. Stick to the last 10-15 years. These are the relevant years for your job search. When you mention years of experience, instead of saying “40 years of experience in…,” say “over 15 years of  experience in…” You are being 100% honest and the information reflects what is important and not your age. Another suggestion is to eliminate your year of graduation when stating your education.   Your goal is to get face to face or over the phone with someone.  You are qualified and capable and an interview is your chance to show them! May your golden years be golden!