Tag Archives: career

Breaking News

29 Mar

Check this out, will ya, please – me and my new friends at CAREEREALISM.

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Killing or Kissing

27 Apr

I am at your local Starbucks last week – meeting with a guy I have developed a lot of respect for over the years.  He has about 10 years on me in the recruiting biz and has built a relatively successful recruiting firm along with a couple of partners.  Besides being a good recruiter – he is a good guy.

We talk our usual shop as well as what is going on in your world stuff.  It was a one hour meeting and good to reconnect.  In the midst of the conversation, the light bulb goes off for me that I have a blog entry brewing with a phrase he drops on me.  I had never heard the phrase, still don’t know if it is common and if I had missed it or not somewhere, but it completely resonated and I think offers clear perspective in your job search.

His term for reviewing potential candidate resumes – Kiss It or Kill It.  I know you would expect the pile or file folder to have a better name – maybe A candidates or B candidates – NO, NO – Kiss it or Kill it.  Seriously – a smooch for being qualified and a snuff for not.  I love the word picture that paints for the job seeker and the question you should ask before you press submit.  Is my resume going to be in the kissed or shredded – I mean – filed under future consideration in their Applicant Tracking System – allegedly.

The idea of kiss it or kill it says decisions will be made and made quickly.  How long is the resume perusal?  At the most – 15 seconds.  Pucker up or say Buh-bye.  Have you spent the extra time proofreading it?  Read it out loud.  Not every HR manager and hiring manager offers grace to the typo.  Just assume they do not.  I don’t think it is that much of a penalty – it is more a basic easy reason to ding ya to the kill pile.  DOA.

The whole resume review process is all about having a glanceable resume that gives me a reason to actually read it.  In deference to the hiring manager, it has to be.  You have competition and there is no time.  More people applying for the same job.  I know this is basic stuff but I continue to see terrible resumes and plain cover letters.

Are you offering a solution to their problem?  Are you surveying the job description for key words?  Again, basic.  Be clear, be honest, be compelling.  Make them want to actually read on.  Tell your story.   Give the employer reasons to bring YOU in now.

My favorite quote of the week was from a VP of HR that said, “I just want to see that these people have done a little extra work.”  Is your resume begging for a big wet kiss or simply asking for it?

Mental Health Day

29 Mar

Clearly, you need a break from your job search.  Where are you going to find it?  I am so glad you asked.  You know I am music fan.  I tend not to gravitate to the genre that engages the likes of Yanni and Zamfir – but that would seem to be a miniscule subset of the music arena, yet I do have an affinity to Andreas Vollenweider and Enya.  So..maybe..anything will do.

Here is today’s career advice – head down to your local electronics dealer and purchase an Ipod, or a Zune, and the really expensive BOSE headphones right now.  Today.  If you already have one, treat your self to a gift card for tunes, tunes and more tunes.

But I thought you said – Monster,  Careerbuilder,  or some niche job board?  Indeed… dot wrong!!  We are talking a mental health day, Jobseeker.   Remember those when you were employed?  A fun-filled melodic, frustration escaping, head banging or not so much, anti-jobsearch diversion-filled afternoon on the lawn at a Lilith Fair/Ozzfest direct from Itunes or the Zune Marketplace where you won’t find a career opporunity but you will find a well-deserved getaway. 

Why?  Because you and I occasionally need to grab hold of a big ol’ dose of Sublimation.  What?  Look – not only has this blog saved my life on occasion, I consider it my no cost Employee Assistance Program and… sublimation?  Well, sublimation is my personal therapist at a buck and some change per song.  Most therapists are by the hour, mine are like – by the mix tape.

I almost forgot to share the definition of the day –

Sublimation is the transformation of unwanted impulses into something less harmful. This can simply be a distracting release or may be a constructive and valuable piece of work.

When we are faced with the dissonance of uncomfortable thoughts, we create psychic energy. This has to go somewhere. Sublimation channels this energy away from destructive acts and into something that is socially acceptable and/or creatively effective.

How could you not want some significant milligrams of that?  Being self-employed – or unemployed with a business card and a website as I like to think of it, I have my share of frustrations and I need an outlet – for instance, a place to channel my urge to hang up the phone violently after leaving the nineteenth slightly, different worded positive voicemail about a great candidate in a salesy voice with a question inviting a call back that is coming at I time I wish I knew.  While waiting for the call, I simply dial up Linkin Park’s – In The End and find out “it doesn’t really matter.”

Perhaps I find solace in an oldie but a goodie by Limp Bizkit when I want to “Break Stuff” or simply try to answer everyone’s oft asked rhetorical question “Who’s Gonna Give Me Some Sugar Tonight?” with solid counsel from Kid Rock.  I don’t have to schedule an appointment and even though there is a CVS or Walgreen’s on every corner, or one currently under construction – this is over-the-counter laced musaceuticals and I am happy to participate in the clinical trial.

Whew – enough of my rant.  Seriously, step away from it for a few.  You need to disengage and realize this job seeking is tougher than job having.  We talk alot about personal branding  – just accept that right now.. you are more of a brand competing for a position than a person that holds one.  I know that is tough to soak in sometimes – it is just a reminder that your resume, your online profiles, your cover letters, your written communication and the interwoven touchpoints need fine tuning. 

While the selected tunes above are on the raucous side – on the lighter side, we look at a Paul McCartney and Wings song from back in the day and I offer a paraphrased, parody perspective – right now – you are a – Brand on The Run.  What direction are you heading?  Get your clarity from a mental health day or two and head that direction.  Maybe Paul wasn’t talking about your job search – but imagine he was – know that YOU will not be “stuck inside these four walls, sent inside  forever.”

Your Sixth Sense

19 Mar

I was asked to write a foreword for a friend’s e-book recently.  I won’t share the exact title since it is not out yet but the book deals with secrets that recruiters won’t tell you.  The time he took to put this resource together is testimony to his professional credibility – the only thing a recruiter really has to offer you.  The only thing a recruiter has is credibility.

While writing the piece it dawned on me – sharing the secrets of the game with candidates is really what has differentiated my recruiting practice.  That is exactly what has allowed me to enjoy life as a generalist recruiter – I am the recruiter that will tell you what others won’t.

The misnomer of recruiting, Folks – is that, as a candidate, you think your recruiter exists to find you a job.  Most recruiters do genuinely enjoy helping people – but a recruiter is primarily looking to find their client the right person.  We do not broker people, we broker jobs.  Let me manage your expectations for a minute – you are two things to a recruiter – a human being and a commodity.  You need to understand that.  When a recruiter is talking with you, you are a human being.  When speaking with their client, you are a commodity.  A good recruiter knows how to treat you with respect even though you are a product.       

As a candidate, what I think you should expect, if not demand, is the truth – and I would suggest you always look for congruence in your recruiter’s words and actions – tempered with the understanding hiring authorities are often elusive moving targets. 

Are you getting facts or generalities?  You obviously need facts.  Ironically, what you need from the recruiter is what they need from you.  The best recruiter-candidate relationships are built on respect – like all good relationships – and clear communication. 

One last thought, probably the absolute key – once the process gets rolling, your sense of urgency needs to be amped up.  Amped up!  If your recruiter calls, you better call them back.  A strong sense of urgency indicates interest and ultimately offers reassurance to the employer that you are serious – you control the sense of urgency that controls the inference whether you are REALLY serious, which influences whether you get this gig or your slightly more amped up competition does.  Think.  Please.

The Grounded Edge

1 Oct

Sightseeing never really appealed as a kid, did it?  What are we going to do when we get to the sight?  Just see?  Let’s do.  If you have good childhood memories than more than likely at some point you concluded – my parents pretty much know everything.  This epiphany just hits you at some point.  Maybe deep down they knew sightseeing would be good for you.  Maybe they just wanted you to stop for a second and reflect.

Who came up with the Observation Deck anyway?  A big deck for observing – woo woo.  I had the pleasure of standing on top of the World Trade Center 3 weeks before 9/11 – an incredible 360 degree view of Manhattan and one I am so glad my mind’s eye captured.  Standing there – taking it all in.  What a view. 

How about we go to the observation deck overlooking your life?  What do you see?  Can you even look over THERE?  Can you hear anything?  Words you would take back.  Words you should have tasted first.  Strained familial relationships and relationships you knew weren’t right.  Bosses that you just didn’t click with and employees you should have given another chance to or even fired.  All that muckity-muck.  What a sight. Good stuff too – awards, milestones, wins, cherished memories.  Don’t ever forget the good stuff.

A periodic trip to the very edge of the Observation Deck is cathartic and vision producing.  Look – you need to take an occasional breath in a world that is gasping from all the mindless activity.  A chance to take inventory on your own WTF retreat.  A chance for you to give yourself the advice you would give to others or maybe you even bring a friend along.  What do you do up on the deck with all your STUFF, your baggage?  That’s not the point – the point is you need the perspective on your life.  Regardless of the muck level, it really should look better now from the observation deck.  My how small even the Statue of Liberty looked from the top of the WTC.

Own the new found perspective.  You have to own it.  As I counsel the unemployed job seeker – this is a must – you have to bring grounded perspective to the game – hiring managers want to know what you have learned from your previous positions, your season of umemployment, your wilderness experience, and your success.  Many of you are hyping your involvement in a philanthropic organization that no longer exists and trying to revel in accomplishments that were like Beatles era. 

Perspective from the Past, Clarity for the future, Intentionality for the now – all done with boldness and a sense of urgency.  Imagine that along with me from The Grounded Edge.

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