Resolutions for Getting a Job in 2010 Hiring Pros on What Job Seekers Must Do in This Tough Market
The Recruiter Roundtable is a monthly feature that collects career and job-seeking advice from a group of recruiting experts throughout the United States. The question we put before our panel this month is:
With unemployment rates at record levels in many parts of the country, what would you say are the one or two things job seekers MUST do in order to succeed in landing a job in 2010?
Exhaust All Options
Exhaust every resource at your disposal. Let members of your network know the type of job you seek and work with a recruiter that specializes in your field. Refine your resume and look for opportunities, such as courses or seminars, to enhance your skills and industry expertise.
Also, in your resume and interviews with hiring managers, stay focused on how you can help the prospective employer. The onus is on you to show why you are the right person for the job and will be a valuable contributor to the success of the organization, making it imperative to customize your resume for each position and research companies thoroughly before submitting your application materials and meeting with them. -- DeLynn Senna, executive director of North American permanent placement services, Robert Half International
Do Thorough Research
If you're interviewing with a company, diligently research all aspects of their products, company strategy, executive team, and latest organizational changes. When you are in a situation with a recruiter or company representative, be yourself and don't be nervous. But be able to talk about the topics that interest you with passion. -- Ross Pasquale, recruiting/sourcing consultant, Monday Ventures
Tailor the Resume and Network
In order to land a job in 2010, you will need to network and tailor your resume specifically for each position.
Think of everyone who might be able to help you -- family, friends, social acquaintances, former business associates, leave no stone unturned. Don't be shy! You can get the word out without being obnoxious or sounding desperate. Join a professional organization and attend the meetings. You'll get useful information and leads by networking with those who are active in your field of expertise.
Create a general resume that can be customized. Be aware of keywords. Use bullet points for a cleaner look and just state the facts. Recruiters will not spend time on a resume that contains errors and doesn't have a professional appearance. -- Debbie Dean, recruiter, Wells Fargo
Go for a Realistic Match
Job seekers must remain focused on opportunities that are a solid match to their background, skills, and abilities. While it might be tempting to apply for every open position out there, a targeted search will be a much more efficient use of job-search resources and will give the best chance of success. A hiring manager's number one question is, "Why did this person apply to my job posting?" To be a successful finalist, you need to have a better response than, "It was open." -- Noah Apodaca, lead recruiter for staff at the University of California, Irvine
7 Things You Should Have Said at the Job Interview By Linda Matias, author of "201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions"
One common complaint among job seekers is that they go on interview after interview and never receive a job offer. If you fit into this category, consider the possibility that you might be unknowingly sabotaging yourself by offering a weak interview performance.
Below are typical interview scenarios, common job-seeker mistakes and the best way to manage each situation.
Scenario No. 1: The interviewer came out swinging, asking tough but appropriate questions regarding a professional hiccup: your employment gap and job-hopping image. The question either left you stuttering with an incoherent message or sounding defensive because you were confrontational. What you should have said: When the interviewer read your résumé, she knew about your job- search challenge and invited you in for an interview. As such, your hiccup wasn't a deal breaker, but a negative response could be one. Explain your situation without getting emotional or hotheaded by saying, "In the past I made the mistake of accepting a position based on salary alone. That mindset led to hopping from one job to another, because I was never completely satisfied. Now, I'm looking to work for a company where I'm compensated well and the company values complement mine."
Scenario No. 2: The interviewer asked, "Why should I hire you?" You listed strengths that align with the open position. Although there's nothing technically wrong with your response, you could have taken your answer a step further. What you should have said: "That's a fair question. Instead of providing a canned response, I'd like to participate in an audition interview so you can see my work ethic firsthand." An audition interview is when you perform the tasks of the position as though you were hired. This way, the hiring manager can see your performance before extending an official job offer.
Scenario No. 3: "Why are you looking to leave your existing position?" is another typical question, one that you were expecting but weren't quite sure how to address. Your motive is grounded in bad feelings, and you blurt out, "My boss is out to get me. I'm tired of being looked over for promotions." What you should have said: Honesty is always the best policy when answering interview questions. There is a difference, however, between shooting yourself in the foot and providing a straightforward response. If you're leaving a position because of office politics, the interviewer doesn't need to know the specifics. As a result, a neutral response such as, "I've advanced as far as I can with ABC Co. So I'm looking for a position where I can manage a larger territory and bring in lucrative accounts," works well because it's truthful without oversharing.
Scenario No. 4: Since the average person searches for a new job about every two years, the interviewer wanted to know how long you planned to stay with the company if hired. Not sure how to respond, you said, "Until retirement." At first blush, the response sounds like a good one, because you're making a commitment to the hiring organization. But the response comes off as brown-nosing and not entirely believable in today's environment. What you should have said: Show your ambition alongside your dedication by saying, "I plan on staying on board as long as I'm contributing to the department and growing professionally."
Scenario No. 5: You committed an interview misstep by arriving late. Nervous, you rambled with a long excuse, bringing prolonged attention to your blunder. What you should have said: Apologize and move on quickly. Extend your hands and say, "My apologies for my late arrival. I'm enthusiastic about the position and am looking forward to discussing how my accomplishments support the open requirements."
Scenario No. 6: Toward the end of the interview, you were given an opportunity to raise questions. You asked typical questions, such as, "How soon do you expect to make a decision?" but stopped short of asking for the job outright. What you should have said: "Based on today's conversation, do you have any reservations about extending me a job offer? If the interviewer provides a reason for hesitation, resell your qualifications. If the interviewer says "no," respond with, "I'm interested in the position. Can I have the job?" You'll be surprised that many will hire you contingent on a referral check.
Scenario No. 7: At one point during the interview you were asked about your salary requirements. Based on advice you read over and over again, you throw back the question by asking, "What's the budget for the position?" Unfortunately, you did this one too many times, and the interviewer became irritated. What you should have said: It's acceptable to avoid answering the salary question one or two times, but answer the question when asked a third time. You can provide a range by saying, "Based on the responsibilities of the job and my proven success in driving profits, I'm looking for compensation within the $60,000 to $75,000 range."
With the right responses, you can turn those awkward interview situations around and land the job you want.
Linda Matias, JCTC, CIC, NCRW, is the author of the new book "201 Knockout Answers to Tough Interview Questions: The Ultimate Guide to Handling the New Competency-Based Interview Style" (Amacom 2009). As the president of CareerStrides, a career consulting firm, Matias coaches clients on effective interview techniques. For additional information visit: www.careerstrides.com.
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DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates with Soldering experience for a temp to hire opportunity in Alpharetta. $10 per hour. Multiple positions available. 1st shift available now, with second shift starting in February. Must have production soldering experience.
Candidates must be local to the Alpharetta area and have reliable transportation. Please send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.
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DISCOVER STAFFING is seeking direct hire candidates for an inside sales position with a company located in Suwanee. Position will be selling company product to customers primarily via the telephone. 90% of the calls are outbound and cold calling is required in addition to account maintenance.
Must have at least 2 years of telephone or sales support experience,excellent communications skills,and have a desire to succeed.
Salary is $45K plus commission. Please submit resume to email@example.com
The Often-Overlooked Interview Advantage: Good Grooming by Caroline M.L. Potter, Yahoo! HotJobs
There are dozens of factors that affect whether or not you land a job: from your work and expertise to your education and your personality. In addition to these weighty factors, your appearance also counts, in particular good grooming. Fashion stylist Colin Megaro, the founder of Planet Style Concierge, says that today, "Grooming standards are definitely higher across the board." Megaro, whose company offers style analysis, personal-shopping services, and more, offers up these tips to make sure you're good to go at your next interview.
1. Good grooming is standard, no matter the industry. If you work in the music industry, you may think you can push the boundaries of good grooming -- but you'd be wrong. "Standards do not vary from industry to industry," according to Megaro. "No matter what you do for work you should always be well-groomed. Take some pride in yourself and always present the best you."
2. Nail it! Men and women should always be manicured, according to Megaro. "That's right, gentlemen! A manicure and a good buff go a long way," he states. Megaro, who styles both men and women, advises women to choose neutral colors for nails. "Bright red, black, or jeweled nails are not appropriate for the workplace."
3. Don't look shady with a "five o'clock shadow." The rugged look probably isn't best for the office, either. He says, "Five o'clock shadows aren't OK -- even after five o'clock. If you're heading to an interview from a current job or even from home, schedule it so you have time to wash your face, shave, and make sure your suit is fresh and wrinkle-free."
Facial hair can be fashionable, but it's probably best for men not to rock the ZZ Top look. "If you must have it, it needs to be short and well groomed," he cautions.
4. Put your best foot forward. "Women MUST have a pedicure if they're wearing open-toe shoes, but even if you're a man, your shoes shouldn't look as if you regularly walk on hot coals (unless that's the job you're pursuing)," Megaro counsels. He recommends that shoes always be polished with proper soles. If you scuff a shoe, he reveals, "A Sharpie the color of your shoe can save the day!"
5. Wear it well. Make sure your clothes reflect the job you're pursuing. "When dressing for an interview, research the company and dress accordingly. If you are interviewing at a bank, wear a classic suit with a beautiful tie or scarf. If it's a media company, you have a bit more freedom. Aim for a more modern suit with a great briefcase/bag. You should show your personality and individualism when it's appropriate," he states.
6. Breathe easy. Fresh breath is a priority if you're going on an interview. Megaro points out, "You don't want to smell bad breath on other people and, trust me, they don't want to smell it on you!" He recommends brushing your teeth, carrying breath mints, and keeping mouthwash in your desk or breath strips in your pocket.
7. Use scented products sparingly. If you're wearing cologne or perfume, exercise caution. "Yes, it can be worn, but please do not bathe yourself in it. Remember that some people are sensitive or allergic to smells. Also, no one wants to walk into a wall of cologne," Megaro says.
8. Act natural. Aim for a daytime appearance, especially when pursuing an office job. Megaro, whose company also offers wardrobe consultation and shopping tours, urges job seekers, "Avoid wearing too much makeup or overpowering nail color, and keep hair color to natural tones. We don't need to see bright colors, over-done highlights, or bad wigs."
9. Tress to impress. Beware of overdone hair. Megaro says, "Too much, whether it be color or product, is never attractive!" If you're a bit too coiffed, you may appear high-maintenance, and, possibly, out of touch.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking a Human Resources Generalist for a position in Alpharetta. Client is looking for someone with a minimum 5 years HR Generalist experience. HR Managers or Directors are not being considered at this time. Will be responsible for employee benefits, employee relations, policies and procedures, maintaining employee records, training and development, compliance and reporting. Bachelor's degree in Business Administration with focus on HR preferred. Proficiency in MS Office required.
Please submit your resume to laura@discoverstaffing for consideration. Only qualified candidates will be considered at this time. No phone calls please.
Is Your Resume Costing You a Dream Job? by StyleCaster, on Thu Nov 26, 2009 8:36am PST
Contrary to Legally Blonde, dyeing your resume pink and bathing it in Chanel No. 5 will not get you into Harvard, nor will it get you a job. In case you take career advice from Elle Woods, below you will find the worst resume mistakes in the history of resumes mistakes, followed by why these little errors are the reason why you're not even granted a pity interview. Spell check doesn't catch everything, and no one cares how active you were in Girl Scouts, unless you traveled to India to empower girls to sell Thin Mints. Which, in that case, we'll take two boxes.
The idea of a resume is to fit the most pertinent information into a small space. (On that note, a resume should NEVER, under any circumstances, be more than one page long.) Your name and contact information should not be size 40 font, and you should include multiple ways of contacting you; phone, address, and email are sufficient.
[Here is where I disagree with StyleCaster. Recruiters today don't expect professional candidates to squish all of their important information on to one page. It is not only acceptable but also common to have your resume on two pages. However, don't let the information get out of control. Keep it succinct and professional and don't let it progress past two well-tailored pages. The ten page resume gets deleted just as quickly as the one page with no margins and too much information squeezed on.]
This should be no more than 5 or 6 words, and should state exactly what you are looking for. Keep in mind your wording could give them an impression of how experienced, or inexperienced you are. If it says "Seeking an entry-level position," guess what? That's the salary you'll be offered.
[Many recruiters also suggest that you leave an objective off all together. If you still feel the need to include it, tailor it to each individual company that you apply to. Recruiters will not consider a resume where the objective is "To seek a position in Accounting" that has been submitted to a clearly labeled Receptionist job posting. Instead, you may want to consider a summary or just begin your resume with relevant experience.]
Think of a resume like an upside-down pyramid. The most important information should be on the top, and the farther down the page you go, the less important the information is. Your potential employers knows how to skim resumes, and if they don't see something impressive in the beginning, they will move on. Make sure your experiences are first, recognizable names and companies are more impressive than what school you went to.
[Another rule of thumb for resumes is to keep it to the last ten years of professional experience. Recruiters and hiring managers don't need to see that you worked at McDonald's in college if you have also had 15 years of otherwise professional experience.]
Things not to include
Reasons why you were fired or left from a job, winning a spelling bee in high school, and your high school GPA and SAT scores. Also, do not include typos. Have ten people read your resume over after you, so that they might catch any grammatical errors that you may not have caught. Also, do not include your Myspace or Facebook page link. Chances are, if you're being considered for the job...they'll see it soon enough, anyway. Also, do not link to your personal blog unless it is somewhat successful or extremely relevant to the job you're applying for. Lastly, do not rhyme. (Saying you have a passion for fashion is more than not okay.)
[Not completely inappropriate advice. However, I would encourage you to use your LinkedIn page link on your resume. It is becoming a common standard for today's professional networking. But I do agree with the advice about your blog. If you have a successful blog that matches your career path, by all means include it. This also applies to hobbies; if your hobby directly relates to the position to which you are applying, feel free to include it. If not, leave it off along with other personal information including your birth date, photographs, or marital status.]
The worst thing you could do
And finally. Never appear at an interview without a copy of your resume. Can't find a printer in time? Reschedule the interview. Unless you won the Nobel Peace Prize, showing up sans resume is what Liz Lemon calls a dealbreaker, ladies.
[This is true - recruiters and hiring managers typically have a copy of your resume, but it shows another level of attention to detail if you bring one yourself. However, I believe it is negligent advice to reschedule an interview just because you have been unable to locate a printer. Be a 100% professional candidate and don't let either event happen.]
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Security Analyst position in Alpharetta. Will be supporting the security, investigations and incident response team. Will monitor and execute security processes. Must have experience with MS Office, PC and Internet, and SQL. Must have excellent attention to detail. Track and update incident reports and review daily logs. This is a contract position, up to $17.00 per hour.
Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org - no phone calls please.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Shared Services/Quality Support position in Alpharetta. Will be responsible for finding, extracting, analyzing and reporting data for quality, supply chain, customer care, purchasing and accounts payable departments. Will be developing and automating the metrics using information systems. Must have experience with creative data mining. Will also facilitate meetings, special projects and workshops. Must have experience with data management and structure, JDE and SalesLogix, MS Office, Business Objects and Lotus Notes. Bachelor's degree in Business or Science. 5+ years industry or business experience. Direct Hire position, $50,000.
Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please submit your resume to email@example.com - no phone calls please.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Planning Specialist position in Alpharetta. Will be responsible for forecasting, production planning, logistics, supply chain management, inventory management process, production scheduling and control, and MRPII Systems. Must have a bachelor's degree in a science subject, Industrial Engineering preferred with Supply Chain focus. Must have 5 years experience within a supply chain function and production area. $50,000 annual salary, direct hire position.
Only qualified candidates will be considered. Please send your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org - no phone calls please.
Certification Programs and the Job Search Edge By Rachel Zupek, CareerBuilder.com writer
Have you ever seen "CMP," "CQM" or "PMP" behind someone's name and not had a clue what it meant -- or if it meant anything at all?
Contrary to what you might think, those letters aren't just for show. In fact, those two or three symbols can separate you from the pack or be the reason you get the job over someone else.
"Especially in today's business climate, anything that differentiates you from the crowd and emphasizes your commitment to your profession is career critical," says Kent Johnson, partner for Da Vinci Search, a Minneapolis-based recruiting firm. "As hiring managers pore over the multitude of résumés for an opening, their eyes will naturally pick up those with the all important initials that trail their name."
Sheri Rice Bentley, APR, a public relations specialist for Knupp & Watson Inc., says earning her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) enhanced her career tremendously. APR, the only certification that exists for public relations professionals, consists of presenting work to a jury of PR professionals, followed by a written exam. After Rice Bentley passed the exam, she was immediately headhunted into a position that paid 50 percent more than her previous salary and boosted her to the managerial level.
Lesly Simmons, APR, a media relations specialist with the American Red Cross, concurs that the designation has been a huge professional improvement.
"In a field like PR that doesn't typically have degrees associated with it, it shows my peers that I have a certain level of expertise on the field. It wasn't easy, but it was definitely worth it," Simmons says.
How can credentialing help you?
Certifications show employers your dedication and commitment to your profession. They show you're credible and knowledgeable about current trends and best practices in your field. In addition, designations polish all skill sets -- not just the hard skills you might need in a position. In fact, 64 percent of employers in a recent CareerBuilder.com survey found social interview skills and the ability to communicate well were the most important assets in a potential employee.
"Staying on top of soft skills such as critical thinking and time management while maintaining expertise in hard skills such as widely used software programs provides candidates and employees with a necessary edge," says Christian Idiodi, director of CBInstitute.com, a division of CareerBuilder.com that offers online courses and certifications.
Even if you already have a designation, employers expect workers to consistently improve their current skill sets. According to the survey, the following percentages of employers want their employees to sharpen their skills in the following areas: time management (62 percent), customer service (45 percent), Microsoft Excel (44 percent), leadership (39 percent), interpersonal skills (33 percent), business etiquette (26 percent) and business ethics (17 percent).
While there is no doubt certifications open the door and improve your chances of getting an interview, official recognitions are not the silver bullet, says Wayne Botha, a project manager with two designations: Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Project Management Professional (PMP).
"Certifications are especially beneficially when coupled with an appropriate number of years of experience in the field that you work," Botha says.
In some cases, however, certifications might count for more than just an added skill. Joe Palmer doesn't have a degree but believes his certifications as a bookkeeper, notary public, registered representative (series 7 & 63), and business coach and trainer count as qualifications in the absence of a degree.
"Years of experience are a great gauge, though interviewers had to see my highlighted accomplishments to even entertain me," says Palmer, a life coach and certified sales and leadership trainer. "I absolutely believe that my certifications are important and attractive to employers."
What kinds of certifications are out there?
There are literally thousands of certifications available to people, both on and offline, specializing in hard and soft skills, and in every industry. CBInstitute.com, for example, offers more than 4,000 courses and certifications in topics ranging from business etiquette and workplace safety to language skills and customer service.
"CBInstitute.com offers easy-to-use online courses at all levels to help employees get ahead in their current jobs or improve their skills to land the job they aspire to have," Idiodi says.
Looking to expand your skill set, boost your salary and make yourself more marketable to employers? Here are several certificate programs that you might not have known about to beef up your résumé:
Designation: Certified florist
Where you can earn it: Only a few states offer floral design certifications through their state floral associations. Among them are the California Certified Florist (CCF) and Texas Master Florist (TMF) programs. Shenlei Winkler received her TMF and says it always earned her a higher salary and more respect on the job.
Designation: Search engine marketing
Where you can earn it: There are several search engine optimization and marketing programs that offer certifications; you just need to find one that's right for you. Jon Negrini, founder of the search marketing firm Arrive Digital Marketing Solutions, is certified in SEM with Google Adwords and Yahoo! Search Marketing. Negrini says his certifications with these companies, who are industry leaders in search marketing, add a nice touch and a level of professionalism to his résumé.
Designation: Certified plant maintenance manager
Where you can earn it: The Association of Facilities Engineering will administer an online and classroom course beginning in February 2009. The CPMM certifies these professionals are qualified in preventive and predictive maintenance, work-flow planning and scheduling and overall productive management.
Designation: Accredited jeweler professional
Where you can earn it: The Gemological Institute of America, which developed the four C's of diamond value (color, cut, clarity and carat weight), offers an accredited jewelry professional diploma program that focuses on product knowledge and proven sales techniques. It's offered through distance education only and is accredited by the Distance Education Training Council.
Designation: Certified purchasing manager
Where you can earn it: The American Purchasing Society has a purchasing certification program for professionals in the purchasing industry. If offers two certifications: a certified purchasing professional (CPP) and a certified professional purchasing manager (CPPM).
Designation: Professional in human resources
Where you can earn it: The HR Certification Institute offers several certifications for HR professionals, including Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR). The requirements and qualifications for each vary, as do the conditions to keep certifications current. Cathy Missildine-Martin, SPHR, has had her designation for 13 years and says it's helped her establish authority. "HR historically has not had a lot of credibility, but I have found that having the certification helps with that," she says.
Designation: Certified wedding consultant and coordinator
Where you can earn it: It may seem obscure, but wedding certifications are actually available through a number of media and in a number of different ways. Some companies offer online certification, while The Association of Certified Professional Wedding Consultants, for example, says certification is available after working two years as a consultant, completing 18 weddings and obtaining 14 letters of recommendation.
Designation: Certified professional organizer
Where you can earn it: The National Association of Professional Organizers sponsors the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers, which offers the certified professional organizer (CPO) designation to anyone, not just professional organizers. Candidates must document 1,500 hours of paid work experience in the last three years, according to the BCPO Web site. CPOs must also adhere to a code of ethics.
Rachel Zupek is a writer and blogger for CareerBuilder.com. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.
DISCOVER STAFFING is currently seeking candidates for a Shopper Recruiter position in Norcross. Will be recruiting independent contractors for mystery shopping opportunities throughout the country. (Not a "work from home" scam!) Hours are 9am to 6pm. Must be experienced in and comfortable with cold calling. Must be a creative thinker with great communications skills. Professional attitude is a requirement. Must be organized with excellent follow up skills. Previous experience with Cold Calling or Sourcing is required. Temp to hire opportunity starting at $12 an hour.
Candidates must be local to the Norcross area and have reliable transportation. Please send your resume to email@example.com
DISCOVER STAFFING specializes in general office support and light industrial positions in the North Fulton, Cobb and Gwinnett County areas. We are always considering new applicants. Send resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org
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