JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

20 Insider Job Search Tips from Recruiters: Ignore at Your Peril

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 24, 2012 9:46:00 AM

Executive recruiter tips

Have you caught up yet? I am amazed that there are CIOs of big companies out there who don't have a built-out LinkedIn profile - just name, photo, and employers. At a recruiter round table a couple of weeks ago, sponsored by the New England Network of the Association of Career Professionals International, the new picture of recruiting emerged. Successful job seekers will proactively be where recruiters are looking for talent. Here is some of what these three recruiters said and tips for being a successful candidate:

1. They want to find you in a Google search. Have profiles on Linkedin (LI), Twitter, Facebook, ZoomInfo, About.me, at a minimum.

2. They will look for you on LinkedIn. Be there - both with a profile and membership in relevant industry groups.

3. They want you to have a 100% complete LI profile. Also, get an edge by adding video, audio, PowerPoint presentations, etc. using apps available at the bottom of your profile.

4. They will look to see who your connections are and if there are any that work for their company. Then they will go through that employee to talk to you, if interested. Expand your LI network continually.

5. They will see what you are doing on Twitter and Facebook. Curate your content with an eye to your professional image.

6. Many recruiters no longer pay Monster and CareerBuilder, because they can source great candidates through Google searches, LI and social networking sites. So spend your time there.

7. They still do find some candidates on indeed.com, a job posting aggregator. So put your resume up.

8. They try to hire from within and develop employees, if they can. Have you explored that possibility where you work?

9. They rely on employee referrals for good candidates. So the more networked you are, the more likely it is that you will be known by someone in the company. Work towards 500 connections on LI. Expand your Twitter following.

10. They want you to have 10 out of 10 of the skills they are looking for. Build towards those as you manage your career.

11. One of the recruiters said she doesn't look at unemployed candidates. The other two said they certainly will. They understood that the recession was an equal-opportunity layoff machine. If you have a period out of work, fill the time with meaningful volunteer work or consulting.

12. They want change leaders. What change have you managed, how did you do it, what were the results? Get this info into your resume, LI profile and other marketing communications.

13. They're moving towards video interviews. Have someone go through some interview questions with you while filming you on their smart phone. What can you learn about the general impression you give, your tone of voice and body language, your manner? Try to be energetic and engaging, with short pithy messages and stories.

14. They are using assessment centers, competency models, job simulations, 360s, and self-assessments to help determine who is the best candidate. No longer can people get hired on "a wing and a prayer." Take your career seriously and develop the critical skills your target job requires.

15. Jobs are still hard to get. Companies are not replacing some of the employees who leave. They are expecting more work out of those who remain (the jobless recovery). Be hard to replace at the job you're in.

16. Bright Horizons (childcare & other) hired 200 people out of 10K applicants. Get an edge in whatever way you can (see above). Also, be ready with a well-defined career/personal brand, a portfolio of marketing communications, a video, a robust online presence, and a valuable network.

17. They are catering to people active on LI, Twitter, and Facebook. Be there.

18. The workforce is becoming increasingly globalized. Expand your perceptions.

19. They are relying heavily on Web analytics and ATS (Applicant Tracking System) reporting. Submit a quality ASCII/text version of your resume, along with the Word version, if requested, to avoid transmission problems.

20. They want new employees to "hit the ground running." That means you need to demonstrate that you already have the skills required to start up fast.

Does this list seem overwhelming? It is, but it's the future. As you can see, even top IT leaders aren't always up-to-speed. But if you take these suggestions to heart, you will have an edge in job search now and throughout your career.

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Topics: career management, executive recruiters, executive job search, Get a Job, applicant tracking software

Is Your Resume at Risk? ATS Pitfalls to Avoid

Posted by Jean Cummings

Dec 1, 2011 11:28:00 AM

Image Keywords

I spent an enlightening hour attending a webinar offered by Jonathan Ciampi, a former executive at an ATS (applicant tracking system) company. He has started a new business, Preptel, to help job seekers increase their odds of success. He talked about how ATS works and implications for your resume.

Putting his input together with other information about ATS, I've compiled the most important things to avoid in order to optimize your resume for search.

1. Format: Do not submit a highly formatted resume electronically. Stick to a simple format or save your highly formatted resume as a .txt (ASCII) file. Most ATS will scramble tables, graphs, and graphics, defeating your purpose in presenting them. Take your beautiful, creative resume to the interview.

2. Keywords: Don't assume that it is enough to include the common keywords for your position, level, function, and industry or the ones in a job posting! Many ATS will identify as keywords the uncommon, unique-to-the-job-posting words or phrases in the job ad. This practice cuts down dramatically on the number of resumes retrieved for consideration by the hiring authority or recruiter.

3. Headings: Most ATS will only recognize the common headings: Work Experience or Professional Experience, Education, and sometimes Professional Summary. Eliminate creative headings such as "Career Highlights." 

4. Sections: Extra sections - that is, those that don't have the common titles listed in #3 - won't be stored. So if you have information essential to your application, such as certifications, community activities, publications etc., I suggest you include it under the Education heading.

5. Contact Information: Leave it out of the Header and Footer sections. Put it at the top of page one. And do include both home and mobile phone numbers if you have them.

6. Process: Don't paste your resume into a field online. Rather, upload it if given the opportunity. Chances are better that the formatting will remain intact with this method.

7. Acronyms & Abbreviations: Don't rely on acronyms alone. Include the full language. For instance, don't use USPs for "unique selling points." ATS should process common acronyms correctly, such as BA, MA, and MBA, but may not process other tech and business acronyms right.

8. Keyword Use: Newer ATS recognizes keywords in proper context within a sentence or word group. Don't rely solely on a keyword list. Let the job ad be your guide about which keywords to use in context. You may still want to provide a keyword list at the end of your resume under "Education" to cover the bases.

9. Source: Don't neglect to indicate where you heard about the job. ATS tracks sources and ranks some more highly than others, such as employee referrals over the big job boards.

10. Job Description: Don't forget that the ATS software will be searching for the descriptions of your jobs. Many people have been leaving that out in favor of just achievements. Time to put them back in!

If you are like a lot of people, you probably wish that the resume you worked so hard on to make visually attractive and easy to grasp would be seen on the first pass. Unfortunately, it isn't even seen on the second pass. The resume you submit to most large companies and many small-to-mid-sized ones gets mined for data that then populates fields on a form that the HR employee or recruiter sees (not your resume). Your resume may in fact only be seen at the time of an interview.

One further thought on length. If you need to go longer to adequately communicate what you've done and integrate keywords into context, go ahead. The software doesn't care!

 

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Topics: executive resumes, ATS, applicant tracking software, resume, resumes, IT executive resume, keywords

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