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

WHY IS MY RESUME NOT WORKING? 2 WORDS!

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 1, 2016 11:19:35 AM

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It's been a long time since anything's been simple about executive resumes. People ask questions such as: should my resume be two pages or one, can you have three or more pages, how should it look, can I have a functional resume? And people ask: why I am not getting called back, why aren't recruiters contacting me, why have I been looking for months with no luck?

Well, the simple answer to all these questions is, drum roll here, you have to make sure that your executive resume provides a...

FAST MATCH

to the job ad. That's it! That's the one important thing your executive resume has to do: provide a fast match to the employer's job ad. If you do this, you will have a resume that has a good chance of getting retrieved electronically when the hiring manager (HM) does a keyword search using the company's ATS - Applicant Tracking System.**

Also, by implementing this FAST MATCH technique, the HM is more likely to respond positively to your content. S/he will not be worrrying about the length or the look or the style of your resume, and you will have a good chance of being contacted.

Also, by providing the HM with the content s/he is seeking in a way that is familiar to them (through their own words in the job ad they wrote), you are respecting their time as well as acknowledging the reality that the HM spends on average 6 seconds scanning each retrieved resume!  

So, how exactly do you do a fast match?* We need to assume that you have selected a job to apply to that is, in fact, a good match with your skills and experience. Then you begin with the job ad. And if you're thinking there's no way you're going to write a different resume for each job ad then you'll be back to asking the questions in paragraph one :)

The first step is to highlight the keywords and key phrases in the job requisition (ad). Then weave them into your executive resume, paying particular to the following points:

  • The title of the job you are seeking should be at the top of your summary section, like this: "Targeting: Job Title" if the title isn't the same as the one you hold currently.
  • You make sure the the core skills being sought are included in the summary you write. It is best here and elsewhere not to rely on a simple lists of keywords alone. Try to include them naturally in the points you are making. If there are too many to substitute in organically, go ahead and include a list at the end of your summary.
  • When you start describing your professional experience, use a 5-line job description to list your primarily activities and responsibilities. This is prime keyword territory! You can substitute in the keywords and key phrases from the job ad in place of the ones you already wrote. (This does not mean that your words are wrong, just that ATS won't recognize them.)
  • When you write your bulleted list of accomplishments, be sure to weave in the keywords and phrases. You don't want to have keyword overload, but it is OK to use a given keyword more than once in a resume.
  • With the keywords and key phrases that are less important, or that you were unable to include, or that were worded oddly, you may choose to have a subtitle "Additional Relevant Skills and Knowledge" and list those phrases at the end of the resume. Use the exact wording you find in the job ad. Don't try to be tricky and copy/paste the whole ad in.

If you have done this skillfully, you will satisfy both ATS compliance requirements and attract the HM's interest. You will have demonstrated that your background and skills are a good fit with the target job.

* A very important caveat: your resume must be an electronic resume - that is, it must be able to be processed correctly in terms of format and design by the ATS. To find out how to do this please refer to one of my earlier posts.

** Don't forget to do your personal branding and infuse the content with what makes you spectacular!

GOOD LUCK!

 

Topics: executive resume writingexecutive resumeATSapplicant tracking systems

 
 
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Topics: executive resume, Get a Job, executive search, ATS

How to Get an Employee Referral

Posted by Jean Cummings

May 6, 2015 9:13:37 AM

 

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OK, in my previous blog post I noted that employee referrals are the #1 source of hire in corporate America. This statistic comes out of CareerXroads Source of Hire Study for 2014. That means leveraging employee referrals is better than depending on recruiters to find your a job, applying to jobs on big job boards, or using specialty services like Execunet or Netshare.

Everyone knows that “networking” has always been the best way to get hired. “Employee referrals” is just a subcategory of “networking.” The BEST subcategory. It involves very deliberately networking with select employees who work for the company posting the job you are targeting.

If you know the contact, you can naturally get in touch with them and open up a conversation. But what if you don’t know them? Does that mean you have to give up on getting an employee referral? Not necessarily. If they are a connection on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter you may well be able to tap into them as a resource.

Why would a networking contact on LinkedIn (LI) or social media be interested in referring you if they don't know you? Many companies offer monetary rewards to employees who refer a candidate who ultimately gets hired. The reason employers are willing to pay for referrals is that hiring this way results in high-quality hires who are more likely to do well in the company culture. Using company employees as sources also is more cost-effective.

So how exactly do you go about introducing yourself to someone who is unknown to you or who is a relative stranger on one of your social media sites? You probably don’t want to just email them with a request like, “Hi! I’m a VP of Sales for the Americas at one of your competitors, can you refer me for the job of Global VP of Sales your company just posted?” It’s a little too abrupt and doesn’t give the employee much information to help build her confidence in you as a candidate.

Try an engaging, respectful approach like this: “Hi, I see that we are third-degree connections on LinkedIn. In fact we both know [Bill Jones]. He’s a great guy – we worked together back at [Raytheon]. I wanted to introduce myself to you because I’m interested in applying for the open job [Lockheed Martin] just posted. And I wonder if you could take a look at my resume and tell me if you think my background looks interesting for the job. I’d welcome any advice you may have, either by email or in a brief 5-minute phone call.”

If you get a positive response from this employee, thank them. If you feel the general reaction was positive, you might then ask, “ Do you feel that you have a good enough sense of my background to refer me to the CEO (or whoever would be the hiring manager for the job)? If the answer is in the affirmative, then express your appreciation and email your resume, having incorporated any valuable suggestions. Remember, as always, to tailor the resume to the job and industry, including keywords.

Once the resume hand-off is achieved, make sure to write a thank-you email and extend an offer to help the employee in any future situation where they might want a referral. These last steps are very important! They align with the basic rule of all good networking: Givers Gain.

Why use this time-intensive, relationship-building route when just firing off a resume to a posted job ad is so quick and easy?

Because candidates who come in via employee referrals have a one in 10 chance of ultimately getting hired. With job boards it can be more like one in 100 or one in 1000. Which odds do you prefer?

If, when you approach a new contact with this method you don’t get a response, try again with another employee. Be persistent and take advantage of the #1 Source of HIre in corporate America. Get a touchdown! 🏈

Jean Cummings

 

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Topics: job search, executive search, branded executive resume, career marketing, job interview, employment trends

Job Search Tip! Five Sites Where Recruiters Could Be Looking for YOU

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 26, 2012 8:05:00 AM

 Sites recruiters search

Job search today is bewildering to many. Social media. Job boards. Recruiters. Networking. Should you have your resume out on the Web? Or not? How do you get on recruiters' radar?

Today I'm only going to talk about one piece of the picture: the free sites recruiters visit to source candidates and, therefore, the sites on which you may well want to build out a presence.

1. LinkedIn Groups. Everyone by now knows that LI is a top resource for recruiters. But they may not just be doing keyword searches to pull up candidate profiles. They may also be joining groups where they look for the right kind of candidates. So join prominent groups in your industry and function. Also try to link with recruiters. And grow your network. If you're up for it, become a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) to exponentially expand your network so that your chances of being found in a recruiter search go up.

2. Twitter. "Rapidly becoming a search engine in its own right," Nick Leigh-Morgan says in his post on "Free Hiring: the secret to $0 cost per hire." Now is the time to think seriously about developing a Twitter profile and starting to tweet on interesting ideas and resources in your field and function. Recruiters ARE searching Twitter for job titles, industries and functions in the hope of turning up interesting candidates. Can you afford NOT to be where they are looking?

3. Jigsaw.com & ZoomInfo.com. Like LinkedIn, these sites allow you to set up your profile with the career brand you want recruiters to see. Recruiters will be sourcing candidates here, so don't pass up this easy way to be found onlilne. Also, being on these sites will improve your searchability. Because recruiters also Google search candidate names, it pays to be on the Web on multiple properties.

4. Blogs. A great way to be more visible to recruiters is to comment on some of the top blogs in your field or function. If you use gmail, use Reader to identify those blogs and interact with them. Also, consider starting one yourself if you are willing to post once or twice a week.

5. Facebook. This one is a little trickier. The melding of personal and professional is sometimes happening and sometimes not. BeKnown, Monster's creature, is making inroads in this area. Another issue is that Facebook is often used by recruiters to rule people out not in. But, all that said, Facebook is HUGE and will assume a larger share of recruiter attention as time goes on. If you think you can maintain a Facebook presence that references your line of work while using it to keep in touch with friends (never veering off into areas you don't want the world to see), then by all means start now.

Of course, if you're not a senior executive and you want to post your profile on job boards, there are dozens where recruiters may be looking. Don't neglect the niche job boards.

But for everyone, take seriously the need to build a presence across most if not all of the five websites above. Just a few years ago, these five sites weren't prime recruiting grounds. Now they are. Just a heads up for savvy job seekers!

 


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Topics: job search, personal branding, executive resumes, executive recruiters, retained recruiters, executive search, using recruiters

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