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Career-Life Times, Issue #62--Top Three Mistakes
October 05, 2009
Click on the birdie to...
and How to Avoid Them
TheLadders.com, an executive-level job search site, recently surveyed 500 executive recruiters to determine why their experienced, well-qualified clients aren't getting hired.
In a nutshell, their senior-level job applicants are making rookie mistakes.
Here are the top three things they're doing wrong, and what you should be doing instead.
1. Failing to Prepare for the Job Interview. Walking into a job interview unprepared is like telling the hiring manager you don't want the job. And yet 44% of the surveyed recruiters said this was the number-one mistake. There's no excuse for this. The Internet is full of information about companies and jobs (and in many cases, even the individual hiring manager). Excellent advice on how to prepare for a job interview is readily available. Avoid this mistake by doing your homework!
2. Submitting Poor Resumes. The second most common mistake according to 43% of the surveyed recruiters is submitting a weak resume. Many job seekers do no more than compile a list of their job history, skills and education onto a sheet of paper. That is not a powerful resume. Avoid this mistake by creating a resume that is focused on results--results you've achieved in the past, and results you can provide for the company you're sending your resume to.
3. Being Too Desperate. Let's face it: in this horrible economy, virtually every job seeker is desperate. But 43% of recruiters say that allowing your desperation to show during the job search is a big mistake. Desperate job seekers talk too much (and listen too little) during interviews, follow-up too aggressively afterwards, and are too eager to accept low salaries. Avoid this mistake by remaining confident and enthusiastic (or at least pretending to be) throughout your job search, keeping your job interview answers relevent and brief, listening more than talking, following up reasonably but not excessively, and negotiating for a competitive salary.
You can read about more the mistakes identified during this survey at Forbes.com.
Do you think your resume should highlight your past (and/or current) job responsibilities? If you do, you're not alone. I'd say about 90% of job seekers design their resumes around their job responsibilities.
Here's what's wrong with that approach... Imagine that swimming champion Michael Phelps had to submit a resume in order to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Following the model most job seekers use, his resume would include sentences like these:
"Responsible for swimming swiftly during the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne, Australia in March 2007."
"Successfully completed eight swimming events during the 2008 Summer Olympic games in Beijing."
Pretty ridiculous, right?
Hiring managers want to know about your results and accomplishments, not your duties and responsibilities. Focus on results!
Here's my favorite email from last month:
"It is with great joy that I write to you. I attended a job interview on the 17th of this month and before the end of the day I received a call congratulating me that I have been offered the job.
"I never forget the fact that failing to prepare is just preparing to fail, so I went there well prepared. Thank you so much for your great work!
Thank you, Elias, for reminding us all that people are getting hired, even in this terrible job market. Be like Elias. Stay focused, stay motivated, stay on top of your job search... and don't give up!
Another email I recently received said, in part:
"We have just launched our specialized search engine for jobs in the USA: www.jobrapido.com.
"Jobrapido enables jobseekers to find jobs posted on all web sites in one single search, so we believe our service could be useful to those visitors of yours who search for jobs.
"How about adding a link to Jobrapido? Your visitors would gain an easy access to all jobs."
I receive at least a dozen requests a month asking that I promote other websites by linking to them from mine. About 99% of those are "canned" (boilerplate) requests, taken word-for-word from some "how to get links to your site" ebook or link-building service.
It takes me about 2 seconds to tell the difference between a boilerplate request that is automatically blasted to hundreds of websites that are never actually seen by the requester, and a genuine request from a real person who has, indeed, looked at my site. I'd say 99% are boilerplate requests, which I delete.
[SIDE NOTE: Employers can spot boilerplate cover letters and resumes, too. Guess what they do with them?]
The message I received from Jobrapido.com was NOT boilerplate (although I have no doubt they sent it to many career-oriented website owners). So instead of deleting their request, I checked out their site.
I like the site's simplicity. You enter "What?", "Where?" and click "Find Jobs."
I entered "Writer" and my hometown. It didn't find any matches, but offered to expand the search to other locations. After I did that, it found more than 182 results within a few seconds.
In case you don't like any of the jobs shown right now, a nifty feature is their option to send you email notifications of new jobs that match your search criteria as they become available.
It's a quick and convenient service for job seekers--and it's f-r-e-e. So if you're looking for a job, I do recommend using Jobrapido.com. To check it out for yourself, go to www.JobRapido.com.
Using social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn has been front and center on many job hunters' "To Do" lists these days. Most likely, you've made some forays into these areas already. While some are reporting success by incorporating these sites into their job search strategy, if you have little experience using these sites, you might not know where to begin.
Before you jump into the social media fray, first decide your overall purpose. In a recent interview, Shama Hyder, social media expert and CEO of the Internet marketing firm, Click-to-Client, advises job hunters to first start with a focus. The biggest mistake she notices is that most people post profiles to social media sites without having a future employer in mind. So start with a purposeful profile and think from the perspective of what overall first impression that employer will have of you. Hyder suggests only listing interests that support or underscore your purpose.
When we talk about purpose or focus, most job hunters think of themselves as a list of skills, job duties and responsibilities developed over the years. Unfortunately, this is not going to make you stand out in the world of social media. Two major issues today grip employers: too little time, and unfilled job problems. They don't have the time to leisurely read through hundreds, if not thousands, of candidate profiles on Facebook or LinkedIn. Furthermore, their mind is focused on their immediate job opening and the problems this is causing them. So, how do you break through these social media barriers?
Consider your BOD.
Before you jump into the social media world, make sure you have a clear understanding of why an employer would hire you. One good way to do that according to Hyder, is to develop what she calls a "BOD". This stands for Brand, Outcome, and Differentiator, and is a good way to answer the question "Why would an employer hire me?"
You can find a lot of personal brand information on the Web. Actually, a brand is a concise sentence or phrase that can quickly describe you to an employer. In the marketing world this is called the Unique Selling Proposition. What is it that sets you apart from other candidates looking for a similar job or opportunity? Since time is of the essence, Hyder goes even further by asking if your brand can be summed up with one word. While most of us may not be able to distill our brand into one word, we should at least have it down to a sentence or phrase.
This is what I see missing from so many resumes and profiles. What is the one clear benefit of hiring you? Remember, employers have no interest in pawing through lists of skill sets or past duties. They want to know whether you can solve their problem. Right now. So imagine that if an employer were to hire you, what is the single biggest benefit that YOU bring? This is the outcome of hiring you.
Employers today may look through thousands of potential candidates before settling on just a handful that they'll interview. So ask yourself, what makes you stand out from the pack? What do you bring that other candidates with similar skills and experience don't? This is your differentiator. Examples of good differentiators might be your expertise as a cold caller, your bi-lingual expertise or your combined technical and management abilities as a project manager.
Look for factors that employers would highly value when searching for your differentiator.
While it's true that social media sites offer new venues for both employers and job hunters, start with a profile that is purposeful from your standpoint. Consider the employer's first impression and use your BOD to your best advantage to quickly cut through the white noise of your competitors. Once your message is clear, you'll enjoy more of the benefits that social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter can provide you as a job hunter.
A former recruiter, Joe Turner spent 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. The author of Job Search Secrets Unlocked and Paycheck 911, Joe also hosts his weekly Job Search Guy Radio Show on JobRadio.fm as well as other locations. You'll find Joe's free tips and advice on landing a job in this tough economy at: www.JobChangeSecrets.com.
Here are some of my recent Twitter tweets (posts) with information you may find helpful:
Best Career Strategies. I've produced an ebook called "The Best Career Strategies of 2009: How to Get Hired and Get Ahead Even When the Economy is Getting Worse." It's loaded with powerful tips -- and it's F*REE! Go get your copy here: BestCareerStrategies.com Job Interview Success System. The job market is worse than ever, but you don't have to go it alone. Get step-by-step help, and a big advantage over your competition. Get all the details here: Job Interview Success System.
and I never quit trying."
The Job Interview
A businessman was interviewing applicants for the position of divisional manager. He devised a simple test to select the most suitable person for the job. He asked each applicant one question: "What is two and two?"
The first interviewee was a journalist. His answer was "Twenty-two."
The second applicant was an engineer. He pulled out a calculator and showed the answer to be between 3.999 and 4.001.
The next person was a lawyer. He stated that in the case of Jenkins v. Smith, two and two was proven to be four.
The last applicant was an accountant. The businessman asked him, "How much is two and two?"
The accountant got up from his chair, went over to the door, closed it, then came back and sat down. He leaned across the desk and said in a low voice, "How much do you want it to be?"
He got the job.
So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com
Please forward this to your friends!
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P.S.S. I apologize for the glitches (especially in links) you may see if you receive this as straight text. If you can receive your email in HTML format, choose that and it'll look better. (There may still be some odd formatting quirks, though.)
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