Monday, March 1, 2010

Interview Tips

Another article brought to you by the Recruiting Blogswap!

Article Title: Lights, Camera.....Interview: Tips for an Award Winning Performance
Author Byline: Christina Archer is a Career Agent, author, expert resume writer and presenter.
Author Website: http://www.I-CareerSearch.com

You’ve been applying for various positions in your field for a number of months, and finally have received the call to schedule an interview. Are you ready for an Academy Award winning performance?

Top candidates understand the importance of preparation. They realize it can take hours of practice to answer an interview question with the level of confidence and professionalism an employer expects of their next hire. Keep in mind, your interviewer is not looking for “canned” responses, but they do want answers that illustrate your value as a potential employee.

Let’s take a look at the top five tips every job seeker should consider, to ensure they’re ready for ACTION!

1. Review a list of most commonly asked interview questions by clicking here – http://wp.me/pL3D6-2t.

Print out the list, and write down your answers. Know in advance how you will answer each question on the list. After you’ve finished, review your answers, and tweak as necessary. Practice, practice, practice!

2. Visit the employer’s website and read, read, read.

Take notes while on the site, and create a list of ten questions you can direct to the interviewer – specifically about the company. For instance, let’s say the organization just donated one-million dollars towards the Haiti relief effort. What a fantastic opportunity for you to weave this in to your conversation during the meeting! If you’re not utilizing this resource to prepare for your appointments – you’re really missing the boat.

3. Know who you’ll be speaking with, and always address them by name when you first meet.

Remember the old saying – “first impressions are lasting.” When you look a hiring manager in the eye, have a firm handshake, and refer to them by their name, you’re off to a good start.

4. Dress to impress.

We’ve all heard it before, and it seems very common sense. The problem is, we all have a very different sense of style and fashion. In the world of job search, business suits are king. Whether you’re applying for an entry level job or as CEO, you won’t be dressed inappropriately if you’re in a suit.

5. Look the interviewer in the eye.

Many people avoid eye contact, because they have personal insecurities. They may feel intimidated, outside their comfort zone, or simply lack confidence for the interview. When you look the hiring manager in the eye, you appear professional, confident, and focused. What you actually feel on the inside at that very moment – they’ll never know.

The secret to having an award winning interview is being prepared for the unknown. Research the company, practice all possible questions, and dress like you’re the boss! Follow these simple tips, and it won’t be long before you hear…..”and the next job goes to, YOU!”

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Quick Information on Informational Interviewing

The informational interview can be a powerful networking tool for all levels of professionals, and particularly for people early in their careers. There is surprisingly little information that I could find on how to use informational interviewing in your job search and career progression, so I thought I would collect some links of good information in one place.

Informational Interviewing Tutorial: A Key Networking Tool

As a recruiter, I learned early on that people generally like to talk about themselves and their work. Targeted informational interviewing can be a great source of intelligence on target companies, types of jobs (when evaluating a career progression), and just to make useful professional connections. A full disclaimer, I have never done an informational interview, which is why I'm relying on the "experts" on the internet. There are some professions (legal, for example) where this is commonplace, however, I firmly think that this is one of the most underutilized career management tools available.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Job Board Resources

This article comes courtesy of the Recruiting Blog Swap.

Article Title: The New World of Job Search Vol 2
Author Byline: CareerAlley
Author Website: http://careeralley.com

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Yes, the world of job search has changed. The most dramatic change has been to job search boards (the fathers of which were Monster.com and HotJobs.com). But this change was on the horizon long before the current recession. New innovations and new approaches in an already crowded field (and getting more crowded every day). Some of the mainstays have adjusted their models, look and feel to match (or try to match) some of the "new kids on the block" with limited success. If I had to pick any one characteristic that sets apart the new world sites it would be their simplicity. Rather than trying to be "all things to all job hunters", many of these sites have decided to focus on one aspect and to be outstanding at that one aspect.

Which leads us to the second in a series of reviewing job search boards. No one site does the trick as they all have some aspect that is better or different than the others. Not to say you should be reviewing or registered on the hundreds of job search boards, but you should be picking the 5-10 that best meet your needs.

Pulled from or Linked to Company Career Sites:
  • Hound.com – This is a different type of job search site from what I’ve reviewed in previous posts. Rather than listing jobs from recruiters or from other search sites, hound.com pulls jobs directly from employer career pages (their tag line "Search Jobs Direct from Employer Career Pages"). However, this is not free. Hound.com charges a fee (based on the length of time you subscribe). Due to the fee, I’ve not fully reviewed the site, but there is a free video you can watch on the main page of the site.
  • Job-Hunt – Job-Hunt is a free online search site which offers advice, job search news, and a comprehensive (and quite amazing) list of job search sites (categorized by location, networking, industry/profession, etc.). You could easily spend a few days leveraging the links from this site alone (and maybe you should). Unlike other search sites, it does not appear as if jobs are posted directly to Job-Hunt. Rather, it provides links to other sites which have posted jobs.
Matchmaker Search Boards:
  • Employersjobs.com – This is a free site that claims to link employers and candidates. The set-up is a 3 step process: upload your resume/cv, create your profile (I don’t recommend entering your date of birth) and create email alerts. The password is assigned to you (you will receive it in an email). You can set-up a job alert, but I’ve not been able to find out how to run it. If you try to edit the alert, you get an error. After creating an “advanced” search, specifically indicating the US and NY, it only produced jobs in York (the UK) and other UK locations. Clearly, this is a UK based search site which either needs additional work or should not show locations it can not support.
  • Trovix.com – Trovix, which is in beta (and is free), matches your “dream job” and your resume versus open jobs. It also looks like they are creating a social network (like LinkedIn) at the same time (but you can skip this step). When joining, the site analyzes your resume and some basic information (location and title). After analyzing your resume, the site asks you to confirm some basic information from your resume, then you complete the sign-up process. The site also lists several employers on the main page that are currently hiring. The matching seems to work well and is easy to use.
Job Search Boards by Industry:
  • Casino Careers Online – Yes, there is a job board dedicated to Casino careers and this particular one is celebrating its 10th year! The main page has job search by department (such as food and beverage) or by keyword. You can also select advanced search and add additional criteria. The right side of the page allows login for those who have registered before (or registration for first time visitors). Resume posting is permitted, and the site provides news and additional links.
  • BioSpace.com – This job search board is focused on the Biotech and Pharmaceutical industries. The main page is jam packed with information and tabs and is somewhat confusing. The first set of choices (along the top tabs) are Biotech/Pharma, Medical Device/Diagnostics and Clincial Research, each of which takes you to dedicated pages (which have the same look and feel). A wealth of news, career info and additional resources is listed down the left-hand side of the page. Additional choices include Job Fairs and Career Network. Job search is also available from the main page. I could not find a link to post your resume or register, but applying for a position does take you to additional information request screens (I did not follow them all the way through).
  • BankingBoard.com – The BankingBoard focuses on Banking and Finance. Homepage has job seeker information on the left-hand side and allows login, career resources and resume posting. Featured jobs are shown down the left-hand side of the page and specific industries (such as Escrow and Real Estate) are listed in the middle of the page. The generic job search link is at the top of the page and this takes you to a traditional search page. The site is well organized and easy to follow.
  • Blueline.com – This site is dedicated to law enforcement. The main page lists logos for featured cities/towns recruiting for various law enforcement positions. Left-hand side of the page is divided into Police Jobs, Fire Service Jobs and Civilian Jobs. Career resource links are listed at the top of the page and specific search functions are listed on different parts of the page (such as “by State or Title” on the left-hand side and “Find a Job” on the top). Seems well organized, lots of resources, job leads and information.
Good luck in your search.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Quick Post - Making your Monster Resume Searchable

This was just a random thought as I was assisting a colleague in crafting some boolean searches. When you post your resume on Monster, they send you through a resume-building exercise that allows you to either upload a resume, or build one through their service. Nowadays, almost everybody has a resume to upload, so they choose that option. The kicker, however, is that Monster requires you to complete their resume-builder for your current or last position.

When I first saw this as a candidate, my first instinct was to put "see resume" or something like that, since I knew that my full resume would be searchable anyway. However, I quickly realized that because of the way Monster runs searches from the recruiter's perspective, candidates need to take a different approach.

Monster allows recruiters to search by "Most Recent Employer," "Most Recent Job Title," among other things. It pulls this information exclusively from the info you put in their resume-builder step rather than from your uploaded resume. While your full resume is searched in a general search, if a recruiter is only looking for people who were Software Engineers in their last job, they may use this search functionality. As discussed here, your resume should already have different job titles to be conducive to search, but it is absolutely essential here. If you are a Software Engineer, when asked for your last title you should put "Software Engineer, Programmer, Systems Engineer, Software Developer" and anything else that describes what you did or want to do. This information appears at the bottom of your searchable resume, so your resume, when viewed, will have the appropriate title listed first, but it will get your resume more eyeballs, which is the most important thing.

If you utilize this strategy, make sure that you include your actual title in the description. Example:

Job Title: Production Supervisor, Production Manager, Manufacturing Manager, Shift Supervisor
Description: As a 3rd Shift Production Supervisor for XYZ, Corporation, I oversaw....

The description put in the resume-builder should also be similarly comprehensive since that is searchable (although I don't use that search function, I'm sure others do).


Thursday, January 7, 2010

IT Resume Advice

Another recruiting blog swap article. This is pretty sound resume advice and a good addition to the mix of resume information here on the Chelsea Recruiter Blog (see here, here, and here).

Article Title: Resume do's and don'ts for the IT Job Seeker
Author Byline: Laura Vezer is an IT recruiter and creator of the blog, IT Matters Canada! The blog contains resources and advice for IT Professionals looking for work in Canada.
Author Website: http://itmatterscanada.blogspot.com

Today I would like to offer you a few valuable tips on your resume. Over the past couple of weeks I have seen some resumes that have had really effective formatting, and some resumes that... well, could use some work.

In this post I will share with you some top tips that I like to see in a resume.

(Please remember that all resume readers have their own preferences, and I am no exception. I will try to remain as objective as possible. Please add your own favourites in the comment section below!)

Remember your target audience.

Your resume may travel through several sets of hands before reaching a technical hiring manger. Often a HR intern with little to no technical experience may be screening potential applicants. Can you imagine how confusing a generic technical resume could be to a fresh HR intern? If you feel that your resume could use clear keywords to help it get to a hiring manger, consult your recruiter. Recruiters are familiar with their clients internal hiring processes and can offer a wealth of information on how to effectively market your resume.

The easier your resume is to read, the more effective it will be.

Resumes are more often scanned rather than read. On average a client may take seven to twelve seconds before deciding to move onto the next resume. Having a resume that is detailed, easily readable, and truly sells your capabilities is the key to capturing their attention during that critical twelve seconds. Here are a few effective techniques to really give your resume an edge:

  • Keeping your resume to one font,
  • Formatting a 1.5 spacing between bullet points
  • Keeping your bullet points succinct, yet detailed enough to really highlight your abilities
  • Add a link to your LinkedIn profile to supplement your resume – the reader is likely to search for you anyway, why not make it easier for them
  • Creating a skills matrix in a table that highlights all your technical capabilities, from Networking through to coding languages, and rating your own ability. (example below)


TECHNOLOGYYEARS USEDRATING
Software Development
Java6 YearsExpert
.NET4 Years Intermediate
C#4 YearsIntermediate
Methodologies
Agile1 YearBeginner

Include a one to two sentence synopsis at the top of every job you have worked. This is a great introduction to the reader of who the company was that you worked for, and what you did there.

If anyone tells you that you must restrict your resume to two pages, don’t listen to them! Putting a two page limit on YOUR career will hinder you from selling your true abilities to the reader, and will put undue pressure on telling your story. I’m not saying to make a 20 page resume, but don’t be afraid if it goes to five or six pages. If it still reads simply and easily, go for it!

Don't be an job seeker wall flower! By submitting generic resumes, you will become invisible!

A generic resume to a specific job description will not maximize your chances of being picked out from the crowd of applicants a company might receive. By spending an extra ten minutes on tailoring your resume to the job description, you will be received by the reader as a great breath of fresh air amongst the stale boring generic resumes that were clicked over without a second thought.

To Whom it may concern? No thanks.

Don’t EVER send a cover letter addressed to “HR Director,” or “Dear Manager,” If there is not a name on the job ad, pick up your phone, call the company, and ask the receptionist who you should address your cover letter to. It will take 30 seconds, and will give you a leading edge by personalizing your application.

Location, Location, Location!

Don’t leave your location a mystery. If you don’t want to include your address, fine: but include your city of residence, and appropriate contact details so the reader can connect with you straight away.

What's your word count?

Don’t write an ‘essay resume.’ If your paragraphs are turning your resume into a memoir, I invite you to give your draft to a parent, relative or friend who is NOT in your field of expertise, and ask them to read and judge your resume in 10 seconds. If they struggle getting through the first page, you know you have written the beginning of your life story, and not your resume.

Finally, my last recommendation would be to ask for help. You will be amazed at the amount of knowledge your recruitment consultant has. Recruiters look at resumes every day, and see what works and what really doesn’t.

I hope this is helpful to you. If you would like me to read through your resume, and offer some tips to help make your resume more effective, please email me at itmatterscanada@gmail.com

Thanks and enjoy your week!

Laura

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Posting Your Resume On-Line

So this is partly to test out Google Chrome's "Blog This" add-on (which seems to work beautifully, by the way). Personally, I don't see any reason not to have a resume posted on the major job boards when you are engaged in a job search. I have received positions through my Monster resume, and have placed numerous candidates, both active and passive, while I was in both agency and in-house recruiting positions.


MN Headhunter/Nerd Search: Increase Your Odds. Candidate Job Board Tricks

Paul has a Recruiting Blogswap article about increasing your odds of getting contacted. They read as general resume advice to a certain extent. I only want to highlight these points (again, they are not Paul's, but Jessica Miller-Merrell's)

4. Update Your Profile Weekly. Job boards list resumes by most recently updated and allow recruiters to use search by resumes updated daily, weekly, and monthly. Keep your resume at the top of the pack by updating it weekly. You can also take advantage of CareerBuilder’s advantage option which automatically provides you this service but at a fee.

5. Use Searchable Buzzwords & Keyword Terms. Recruiters resume mine for qualified candidates also by keyword search. Include terms relevant to the industry or job you are interested in. Include any specialized certifications and their abbreviations as well as other specific qualifications to increase your exposure.

First, the major job boards no longer default to listing resumes by most recently updated. They have some kind of similarity score algorithm to sort by relevance instead of date posted. A recruiter can sort by date if the recruiter wants (I do, but most probably don't), and some recruiters will only search the last week or month of resumes for a given search, so updating is important, but having a searchable resume is far more important.

Regarding keyword terms, it is important to realize how recruiters search for resumes. Many will use complex boolean logic to target resumes for a specific position. Here's a search I might run for a software engineer: (embedded and ("C++" or ADA) and ("DO 178*" or "DO-178*" or "DO178")). I might run 20 different searches for this position to target people who highlight specific skills. Using buzzwords and keywords only makes sense if you actually have substantive skills in those areas. The job boards highlight the keywords in the resumes when viewed, so if I looked at a resume and it only mentioned DO-178B in passing, or in a section that looked like it was intended for keywords, the resume will get passed over quickly.

Some recruiters, however, do not yet know how to use boolean searches. They might do a search for: Software Engineer, Aerospace. Then they will try to weed through many more resumes to try to find something useful. To accommodate both parties, here are the two things to do when posting a resume:

1. Title your resume with a short objective statement so your resume gets opened. If you are a software engineer, your resume title should be "10 year Embedded Software Engineer, Aerospace and Medical Device Experience." Or whatever happens to be relevant.

2. Include all relevant job titles in your resume. I would say that the most common keyword searches run by recruiters will include the job title. I tend to run searches for all possible job titles ("Director of Operations" or "VP of operations" or "vice president of operations" or "general manager" or...etc.) to make sure I don't miss anybody. Most recruiters won't be this diligent, so the job seeker needs to make sure that they are. This is one case where having a keyword section could make sense, but it would be better to try to include it in the resume. So if you were VP of Operations, your title on the resume should say VP of Operations, but then in your description you might say "As Vice President of Operations...." Or if you had a funny title (Value Stream Leader), you could list it as "Value Stream Leader/VP of Operations," to make sure that it gets picked up in both basic and complex searches.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Career Sites Revisited

Another article from the recruiting blogswap...

Article Title: Job Search Sites Revisited Vol I
Author Byline: CareerAlley
Author Website: http://careeralley.com

Search“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. - Albert Einstein

Searching for a job (especially if you are out of work) can sometimes feel as if you are running through a maze. Submitting your resume when there have been countless resumes and too many qualified applicants is frustrating as well. So, not only is the secret to creativity knowing how to hide your sources (as Albert Einstein says above), but it also applies to your job search.

The beauty of the information provided on this website is that most of it is timeless. Advice, links to job search boards, recruiters and company career sites is fairly static (but not always). The sheer volume of data on the web regarding job search is overwhelming to say the least. So now that we've established that you can't look at everything, I can explain the purpose of today's post. This series (and the topic will alternate) is meant to provide a recap of the numerous sites related to job search without the need to do additional research.

What to look for on a Job Search Site:


  • Resume Posting: Many sites allow 1 or more resumes to be posted. Sometimes there are options to build your resume online, upload a Word doc or cut and paste your resume into their form (depending on the site).

  • Privacy: A Privacy option (which allows you to block companies) can be very useful. Blocked companies either be companies that you don’t want to work for or your current employer (the last thing you want is for your name to come up in a search by your current employer!).

  • Job Search: The job search function allows you to narrow your job search to certain criteria (varies from site to site). Some also allow you to save 1 or more searches (with a number of options). This allows you to quickly run searches for specifics (as decided by you).

  • Job Match Notification: Some sites will send an email to you with the results of your searches.

  • Other Stuff: Some sites offer career advise, resume building techniques, samples of resumes, samples of cover letters, etc. Some free, some not.




  • Monster.com -Monster is one of the more popular job search sites. As with most sites today, there is a free version and a premium service. A brief overview.Resume Posting: The free service allows up to 5 resumes to be posted. You can build your resume online, upload a Word doc or cut and paste your resume into their form. Privacy: There is a Privacy option which allows you to block companies. Job Search: The job search function in Monster is very good. You can save up to 5 searches. Email notification is available.



  • Hotjobs.com - Hotjobs is another popular job search site. This one is owned by Yahoo!, so you can use your Yahoo! username/password (if you have one). A brief overview: Resume Posting: This site also allows up resumes to be posted. You can build your resume online, upload a Word doc or cut and paste your resume into their form. Privacy: There is a Privacy option which allows you to block companies. Job Search: The job search (”My Searches”) function in Hotjobs is also very good. You can save searches (can’t easily see if there is a limit). Hotjobs also allows “job alerts” which will send an email based on your criteria.



  • Careerbuilder.com - Careerbuilder is one of the largest online job sites. It has in excess of 30% of jobs posted on the web. Similar to some of the other popular sites, Careerbuilder allows you to create an account, post your resume, search for jobs and receive job alerts. Additionally, there are numerous tools and advice. This is a site that should be on your list. If you haven’t visited this site yet, it should be the next on your list.



  • Jobfox - This site is different than most of the other sites I’ve reviewed. The site tries to match job seekers with potential employers. It includes a number of tools including resume tracking as well as suitability. The site presents the user with jobs that match the user’s profile (rather than the user having to do a search). This site has a unique process and should also be on your short list.



  • Indeed.com - Indeed.com is a job search engine. it aggregates jobs from websites, newspapers, company sites and other sources. As with other sites, you can create a free account which allows you to create specific searches as well as alerts. Another great resource in your job search.



  • Coolworks.com – Coolworks.com is a really different site. This site is about finding a seasonal job (”in some of the greatest places on Earth”). Ski resorts, National Parks, etc. This is great for summer work (college students, etc.) or working in great places for parts of the year. I’m not sure this is the right site for those looking for traditional “9-5″ jobs, but is certainly a great resource for individuals with the flexibility (or sense of adventure) to work when and where they want.



  • Craigslist.org – Who would have thought – certainly not me. Craigslist, which is categorized by city has an impressive list of jobs. If, as an example, you look at Craigslist for NY, it lists jobs by category. Click on a category, and you are presented a list of jobs. Very well done, very easy to use and a great source for job hunting.



  • Realmatch.com – Three easy steps to finding a listing of jobs that match your criteria. Easy interface that quickly allows you to narrow down the list of jobs. You then submit your resume and you are done. You can also add a profile with username and password.



  • Simplyhired.com – “Job search made simple” – Allows key word search or searching by category by location. Very easy to use and a very quick interface. You can search with or without joining, although there are advantages to joining (for free) as there are with most sites (saved jobs and searches).



  • USAjobs.gov – This is the official job search site for the US Government. If you are looking for a government job (numerous industry backgrounds are available), this is the site for you.


Good luck in your search.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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