5 Things Recruiters Look for in a Resume
By Yolanda M. Owens
Have Recruiters Seeing STARS!
You've heard people say that when they met that special someone, they saw fireworks. Well, when a potential employer reads your resume, they should see S.T.A.R.S. (Simple; Truthful; Assertive; Results-driven; Swagger).
A resume should be intriguing and informative, alluring yet accurate, should tell a story, but leave room for conversation and the reader wanting more. So how do you accomplish this without sounding cliche, self-absorbed, or like you're trying to hard? Follow the S.T.A.R.S. guide below and win the attention of recruiters who will be screening your resumes.
Simple = Skip the fancy formatting! Recruiters respect the fact that you're innovative and have a knack for clipart and textbox formatting. But at the end of the day, just keep it simple, sunshine! Be more graphic about the skills and deliverables you have to offer than showing off your flair for
Truthful = Make your resume sound interesting but keep it accurate. In other words, save the embellishments for your outfits. Most companies conduct background checks on your resume information, so that little white lie could banish you to the unemployment line.
Assertive = Don't be afraid to toot your own horn! That's why they call the resume a brag sheet. It's an opportunity to show what you've accomplished. But keep it professional and relevant to the position(s) you're applying for. You don't need to list every accomplishment you've made since your third grade spelling B!
Results-Driven = Focus on your deliverables and quantify them. This will make you stand out among the competition. Anyone can say they make widgets. But if you say you made widgets 25% more efficiently while saving the company $10k in production costs, you'll get more attention.
Swagger = Having swagger means taking that extra step to tactfully get someone's attention and getting them to want to know more about you. This means showing you put some thought and effort into your resume before dispatching it. A well-crafted, thoughtful resume is the first step in demonstrating that you've got game.
How to Get Out of an Employer Dating Slump
By Yolanda M. Owens
I've been looking for a job for almost 6 months and haven't landed anything yet. I've posted almost 400 resumes to various job boards and still nothing. Help! --R.A., Washington, DC
First let me say that I admire your tenacity and congratulate you on sticking with it! It's easy to get discouraged when you don't get attention from employers right away. But don't take your employer "dating" hat out of the ring just yet! You see, finding a job is an investment; and with any investment, you need to diversify. You can't "date" an employer by simply posting your profile on job boards or blind contacting employers through social media. It takes more than 140 characters and some emoticons to start a relationship. So here are a few tips to amp up your job search:Patience is a virtue.
The reality is job seeking doesn’t happen overnight. Your ego and patience will have its fair share of blisters from pounding the pavement and you’re going to make a few trips around the employment search block before landing a position. Employers will take their time in getting back to you, making decisions on where they want the relationship to go…You may find yourself involved with an all talk, no action employer or employers you just don’t have
chemistry with. In the midst of it all, build your professional network and learn from your mistakes and successes throughout the process. The right opportunity will come along, and your patience will be virtuously rewarded.Hang with people who are already in a relationship.
Your single friends (aka those also swimming in the job market pool with you) are your competition. So find happier ponds to swim in by keeping in contact with friends who have jobs at companies you’d consider working for. They’re in a better position to provide you information on current openings, names of hiring managers, and can refer you for positions through employee referral programs. Visit sites like http://www.bettergrind.com
that help you find a job where friends work.Make yourself uncomfortable.
Stop relying solely on job boards to look for positions. In order to find where the jobs are, you need to give a little face time. Get out and mingle. Go outside your comfort zone of people, places and things you typically do and take plenty of business cards with you. Contact individuals from your alumni association, be a plus-one at a company sponsored event, attend a professional networking happy hour...Unexpected things come from unexpected places so expect the unexpected and see what opportunities follow when you dare to stray from the path. You’ll have more possibilities when you let yourself go outside the box.Have a "pre-date" through an informational interview
. Instead of blindly contacting someone to ask them for a job, stroke their ego and build a rapport before asking them for an official "date". Send an email or message via LinkedIn (if you don't have a LinkedIn account I STRONGLY suggest you get one!) telling the individual that you're interested in their field, company, project, etc. and would love to schedule an informational interview to discuss their involvement. Never send your resume with your initial request. Give the individual an opportunity to respond first so your first impression isn't tainted by looking presumptuous or
opportunistic. If you feel the need to include some professional info about yourself, be subtle and add a link to your LinkedIn profile to your email signature. Once you've established a relationship, then you can talk about your interest in working for the company and how that individual can help you make it happen.Mind your manners
. No matter the outcome of any job search situation, always remember to follow up with a thank you. Common courtesy goes a long way. So while you may not have landed the opportunity you applied for, taking the time to say "thank you" at the end of any job search contact could keep you top-of-mind for the next opportunity that crosses that person's desk.
Mix resumes with your SPF
Finding Summer Love in the Employment Market
by Yolanda M. Owens
Oh, the lure of summer! Back yard barbecues, beach parties, and outdoor happy hours are the perfect summer settings for finding love; especially if you’re in the market for a new employer. Whether the boy-next-door or the business down the street, summer is the season for everything relaxed. So take advantage of casual dress codes, summer hours, and company picnics to scope out new employer prospects.
So how do you mix summer fun and sun in your employment search? Here are a few tips to go along with your SPF 30…
Get Referred. That’s right, get someone to refer you. Employee referrals take top priority with recruiters when interviewing potential candidates. Couple that with slower markets during
the summer seasons and you have a winning combination. Many companies and employment agencies use the summer to promote their employee referral programs and can offer referrers upwards of $5K for candidates they refer that get interviewed or hired. So scroll through your rolodex and bring your resume along with your killer potato salad to the next cookout and see where the summer takes you.
Party with a Purpose. Summer is the perfect time for meeting and greeting. Use your charms to be a plus one at company picnics, professional organizations, class reunions and alumni networking events. Get your name out there and get a sense of the hiring climate while chilling by the pool. You never know what opportunities could be waiting poolside so be prepared to dive in when they do!
Be an Accidental Tourist. If your job search is open to relocation, consider planning your summer vacation in a place you may want to move to. Ask your friends for contacts they may have in the area or contact your alma mater’s alumni association or career center and get a list of area alums. Then contact them and set up meet and greets or mini reunions over
coffee/happy hour. You can also play the tourist card and sneak in an informational interview while taking in the sites with your contacts. Not only will you get the insider view of your potential new home/employer, you’ll stroke the contact’s ego by giving him/her the opportunity to show off what they love about their city.
Capture the Moment. Follow up can be a little awkward in ordinary networking scenarios. But summer makes it easier and much more creative with casual settings, sunsets and a little help from technology. Take a camera with you to networking events and capture some Kodak moments. Then forward the pictures with a “pleasure meeting you…” email. By sharing summer memories you’ll keep your name filed away in their mental rolodex for future opportunities and have your own memory book of people you want to stay connected with.
My Inspiration from "The Help"
by Yolanda M. Owens
I was reading Kathryn Stockett's 'the Help' this morning and was inspired by a particular line…"Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else." I read this and thought to myself, what's the use of having your own blog if you only write what matters to someone else? For those of you who know me, you know conformity is a word I can spell but has no meaning in my vocabulary or character. So I'm taking some motherly advice from 'the Help' and channeling my inner free-spirit for this blog article.
So what, may you ask, disturbs this author chick/recruiting sensei/educator when she's not doling out employer dating tips?
I'm disturbed by the fact that the youthful ambition that sparks creativity often matures into an entitled apathy that produces mediocre crap. I often say inexperience is the mother of all creation. Some of the best things in life were procreated from "duh" moments and the happenchance of not knowing what the hell you're doing. So why does age, experience, and society make this a flaw instead of celebrating its genius? Somewhere in history Never-Never Land was deemed an unrealistic place. But youth should never be the place where we leave our originality and determinations to die.
I'm disturbed that living out loud is a buzzword trend without a filter. Living out loud is an art that not everyone is meant to emulate. So before you toot your own horn, keep in mind that there are times in life when it's more effective to be seen and not heard. In other words, listen before you speak and leave a little mystery. Just because it's in real time doesn't mean the message is appropriately on time.
I'm disturbed that conferences that were established to create calls to action are now merely pacifiers of tradition. Conferences have lost their purpose. They're all rhetoric with no resources. Back in the day (I'm disturbed to be old enough to use that phrase) conferences were held to educate and equip people with resources to fill necessary gaps and make them viral. Now conferences are politically correct vent sessions assembled to pacify collective problems and stroke collective egos. However, the only solutions coming out of these conferences are the fact that a panel of 'experts' discussed it via moderator followed by a brief Q&A session. It's like attending a catered staff meeting where you leave thinking "there's 3 hours of my life and $1500 I'll never get back". People need to be empowered by more than eloquently crafted answers and hypothetical solutions. I'm tired of attending conferences feeling like I've had a caught-up-in-the-moment experience with a check left on the nightstand.
There you have it. A glimpse of my current thought bubbles. Will they produce any future life altering articles? Probably. Not. But exhaling my angst has been cathartic and utterly blogasmic. So be on the lookout for more rants in the future keeping in mind, it's not you (it's me) that's fueling them.
Yolanda M. Owens
Yolanda M. Owens is a college recruiting specialist and award-winning author of How to Score a Date with Your Potential Employer, an employment guide for young professionals that parallels job searching with dating from the lens of a corporate recruiter.
Avoiding Fashion Faux Pas on the Job Search Casting Call
by Guest Blogger Tori
Make them that matter aware you know your role.
In a tribute to fashion week, we’re talking fashion dos and don’ts on the hunt for all things employment. So I’ve asked makeup artist guru Tori, to give readers some tips on how to look stylish while pounding the pavement in this guest blog article.
Listening to the daily chorus of high employment accented by the beat of a slow economic recovery can make for a depressing soundtrack. It can also subconsciously make your job “audition” less than stellar before you even press ‘upload’ for your resume. True, many people are up for the same position; but make your “audition” or interview one employers will never forget by dressing the part and putting on your “game” face on.
In theatre, you’re taught to research for the role you’re auditioning. The same holds true for your interview. The best way to do this is to check out the appearances of people in the position you’re applying for and the attire of the people in the role that you ultimately would like to have.
For the ladies…Unless your interview is in the fashion or beauty industry, a suit in a conservative color (blue, black, gray) is the best wardrobe choice. The jacket should not be boxy but have a tailored fit. Pants or a skirt? It’s your choice. Just make sure they’re pressed and the appropriate length. And don’t worry that wearing a suit will make you lose your personality. You can show your personality through carefully placed accessories like a tasteful broche or pashmina. If you don’t have a suit, a skirt or pants and matching sweater/cardigan will work fine. If possible, try to wear heels. Flats send the image of normal--not exceptional.
Regarding make up for the big interview, putting your game face on doesn’t mean smoky eyes and frosty gloss. It simply means covering the basics. A light powder, a tinted moisturizer, or foundation says that you are seeking a “call back”. Your eye shadow colors should be taupe, brown, gray, peach, or pink. Lipstick or gloss should be in colors like brown, bronze, pink, peach, plum, or burgundy. Notice I did NOT mention red lipstick. Red lipstick can be a distraction to the interviewer. Save the red lipstick for after you’ve landed the job.
And for the fellas…Dressing the part means a nice, well-fitting dark suit and tie. A three piece suit is not a requirement; a 2 piece suit is sufficient. Shoes should be polished and professional (no sneakers or boat shoes, please!). Game face for the gentlemen means being well groomed. If you wear a beard or mustache, make sure it’s shaven, shaped and clean. Your hair should be freshly cut and clean as well. If you wear your hair in locks, make sure they’re groomed and arranged neatly. You can put them in a ponytail or wear them down.
Looking the part in any scenario can build your confidence and make them that matter aware you know your role.
Tori, is a makeup artist, blogger, esthetician and creator of Face Yourself by Tori cosmetics. He has been in the beauty industry for 10 years. He currently resides in the D.C. metro area. He believes “your face is the one accessory that never goes out of style.” Check out Tori's blog at www.2faceyourself.blogspot.com
Why people just aren’t into your LinkedIn invites…
You’ve been there. You meet someone inspiring at a presentation; share a wink and a gun with a few movers and shakers at a networking event; exchange some laughs with an infectious social butterfly at the local bar…You’re enamored. You want to bask in the glow of their effortless charisma. So you give in to the urge to add this professional Phenom to your social networking circle of professional life on LinkedIn only to find out they’re just not that into you.
So what do you have to do to professionally “hook up” with someone on LinkedIn?
Don’t fret my wounded butterfly. Your social skills will flutter again on LinkedIn. Here are a few rules of thumb to help you emerge from the cocoon…
Stop sending John Doe requests. You know the John Doe request I’m talking about. The “I’d like to add you to my professional network” template. I get about five of these a day and they drive me absolutely bonkers. Why? I interact with hundreds of candidates on campuses, via phone and online and my mental rolodex can only hold so much at the end of the day. So when I receive one of these John Doe requests where I have no idea who you are or how we recently met, you lost me at the subject line. Luckily I’m nosy and have an inherent need to help people professionally. So I usually open the request to see if we have someone or something in common. However, if I’ve I come up empty after all those page clicks, not only am I ticked that you’ve added to my spam, but that’s precious time out of my day I’ll never get back.
So stop contributing to the spam epidemic and get time back on your side. Personalize requests to individuals you’ve recently met. Instead of using the LinkedIn template, take a few seconds to write “Hi Yolanda! I recently attended one of your workshops and would love to network with you on LinkedIn.”
Much. Better. When someone takes the time to personalize a message to me (even if I don’t know them from a can of paint) I’ll accept the request. But without a point of reference, there’s no point of us being LinkedIn.
Subtract from your Common Denominators. Six degrees of separation is certified gold in any hook up scenario. Do a little digging and see if you and the Phenom have any friends in common. Then ask those friends for a LinkedIn introduction request. Since the introduction is coming from a trusted source, you’ll elevate yourself from potential spam to friend of the inner circle.
Stroke that ego. Flattery will get you somewhere so go ahead and work it to your advantage when personalizing your requests. For example, “Hi Yolanda! I recently attended one of your workshops and was impressed with your knowledge about XYZ. I would love the opportunity to network with you on LinkedIn and learn more about where you get your information.” Now you’ve stroked my ego, probably made my day, and have a new LinkedIn hook up.
Face the World Boldly
by: Guest Blogger, Jennifer Kumar
Picture by t-dot-s-dota@flickr
In keeping the networking theme flowing from my previous blog, I've invited Cross-Cultural Coach, Jennifer Kumar,to give her global perspective on the topic. Check out her insights on the best ways to get your business card filed to the top of someone's rolodex...
Although I define networking as nothing more than meeting people, making connections, creating and nourishing friendships and helping others, the first meeting with anyone new can make or break that connection.
In that first meeting, we want to be remembered as well as memorable. In addition to just being ourselves and striking up natural and interesting conversation when we meet new people, we want to assure that we can contact each other after that initial meeting. To that end, an exchange of business cards is crucial. Here are a few tips to make that business card exchange a moment that will bear fruit of an ongoing mutual friendship:
Make sure your card is up to date
When preparing to meet someone new assure the cards in your possession have all your correct contact information. If it is not possible to get new cards made before the meeting, personalize the card before or during the initial meeting. (Often placing our handwriting on a card can make it feel more personal to the receiver.)
Add a Photo to the Business Card
There is debate as to whether this is a good idea or not. I have had a photo on my card for the past year. Each time I have given the card out, I have received a comment about that. People took notice as seeing a photo on a business card is rare. It is also easier for people to associate your face to your name among all the business cards and new people they meet when a picture is included. Assure the photo chosen looks like you on most average days, as this increases the ability to attach the name to your face on the card and in person.
Exchange Cards at the Same Time
I have noticed that when both people exchange cards at the same time, both pay more attention to each other’s cards, looking at it and clarifying any doubts that may arise while looking at it the first time. If your card hasn’t been personalized, this is the time to do it.
Give Two Cards, Not One
I learned this tip at a networking event, and it makes a lot of sense. When we meet someone really interesting, they may mention knowing someone they’d like us to meet or we just instinctually feel that the people this person comes into contact on a daily basis may be someone we’d like to know. In that case, I like to give two cards. At the time of exchanging, I like to say, “I’m handing you two cards not one. You have really inspired me and in case you come across anyone else who may like to meet me, please take the extra card and pass it on to them.” I think this trick has helped me get a few contacts that I otherwise would have missed.
Take Notes on The Card You Received
While meeting someone for the first time, we learn interesting things about them. Rather than try to remember it in our head or write it in a place we will forget about, if possible, write a small note on the card itself. Like having a photo, it will increase the chances of remembering something interesting about someone else.
If these tips do not come naturally, call up some friends and do a role play with them. Practice your approach. As Yolanda mentions in her book, we all need a pick up line; and the use and exchange of cards is another skill to add to your ‘pick up line’ approach.
Good luck meeting, greeting and helping others build their ‘network’.
Guest Blogger: Jennifer Kumar
Jennifer Kumar is a cross-cultural coach. She is the creator of a networking seminar entitled “How to Network Professionally?” She works with people individually, in small groups and classroom settings to prepare themselves for finding a job in America having come from abroad. View more about the networking seminar by clicking here.
Fatten Your Professional Little Black Book Online and Off
In a time where everyone is living their lives out loud and unfiltered, it's hard to determine the professional comfort zone when networking. Whether tapping into your six degrees of separation or in cyberspace, you need to establish some professional boundaries. Recruiters and hiring managers realize times are tough, but that does not give job seekers a get out of jail free card for invading their personal space in the name of professional networking; you need to know your role.
So let this be your litmus test. The next time you decide to call, email or "friend" a random stranger on a social network, ask yourself, how would you feel if this person did the same thing to you? Blindly contacting someone you don't know who could possibly take you out of the unemployment line with a 30-second elevator pitch is the equivalent of drunk-dialing an ex minus the personal connection. Can you say stalkerish? And do you honestly think this makes a great first impression? Sure it demonstrates the size of your moxy, but doesn't bode well for you in the personal judgment department.
So what is the protocol for networking (online or off) with people you've never met in the job search process? I call it my social algorithm: six degrees of separation + a common denominator +3 contacts = trust. In other words, in order to effectively network with individuals you don't know (without being labeled a stalker) you need a connection to their social circle, share something personal in common, and have at least three contacts with them to win their trust. You can't expect someone who doesn't know you from a can of paint to miraculously recommend you for a job based on a blind friend request, phone call, meeting at the grocery store (fill in the social scenario blank). You have to build a rapport with them and earn their trust through the social algorithm.
So how do you get these types of vitals on said stranger who could hold your future employment in their hands? Channel your inner 007 and legitimately use your cyber stalking skills for your intelligence. Do a search for said stranger on LinkedIn to see who they're connected to and if you share individuals in your social circles. If you do, contact that connection and ask them for an introduction to said stranger so you can elevate your status from stranger to acquaintance. Now, don't assume that since the introduction has been made you have free access to immediately ask this individual to hook you up with an interview while you're in town the following week. You have to build a rapport. Dig deeper on LinkedIn, Google, or just ask your connection where this person went to school, whether they have kids, play the tuba...The angle here is to find out something personal you both have in common so there's a connection and a conversation piece other than the weather and the fact you need a job.
Now that you have this information in your arsenal, you need to employ the secret phrase "Flattery will get you somewhere". Use these common denominators to stroke the person's ego and get on their personal level. Set up an informational interview to find out more about what they do for a living, ask them to be your tour guide next time you visit their city, give them a list of great restaurants for the vacation spot they'll be heading to for the holidays. This is far more subtle than the blind contact elevator pitch and will get you more traction in the long run. You'll know the equation is complete once you've had three meaningful contacts with the person. By then you'll have established enough common ground to talk about your credentials and how your new acquaintance can help you build upon them.