I have teamed up with T.M.Lewin, British experts in work-ready attire to show you how to be best dressed for an upcoming interview or new position. If you’re wondering what to wear to work this graphic has many useful style tips. If in need, T.M.Lewin has an unmatched selection of men’s dress shirts for any work environment and beautiful classics for the ladies. Let me know what you think. rg
Then there is the trend of reducing monumental, genuinely important journalism, facts and ideas to three paragraphs or less.
In light of both of these trends I have determined how I can synthesize my message into as few words as possible. I have come up: How and Wow.
HOW refers to how your resume/CV will successfully navigate resume-filtering software. This is accomplished by taking those significant keywords from the job posting and making certain they appear ON your resume. Note I did not say IN your resume. You don’t have time to craft a new resume from scratch for every submission. For an example of how I accomplish this go to this page on my website: https://rickgillis.com/job-sample-documents/ and download the sample SHORT FORM RESUME. Look at the bottom of the page for the KEYWORDS section. It will be the section that is of a significantly smaller font size than the rest of the document. These random looking terms come directly from the job posting. This is HOW you manage the software portal. Or, in other words, whether a real, human-person will see your document on the other end.
And now for the WOW.
The WOW comes from speaking to your accomplishments. All statements on a resume should resolve with a net result. This is my accomplishment statement formula: Responsible for ______ that resulted in ______. This applies to your LinkedIn profile as well. Every statement; every bullet point should end w/a value statement that will make someone ask you, “How did you do that?!” In reality what they are actually asking is, “Can you do that for me?” Express to an employer how you are categorically going to make or save them money and you will have their attention.
What I have just provided you is a two-word synthesis that is my JOB! Search Optimized book.
As always, I wish you great success!
I tell clients during the job search process they need to understand that the clock is not theirs. There can be a lot of reasons for this: How many candidates are being considered for a position; are we in the ‘hiring season‘?; is there even a budget in place for the position you seek or is the company just shopping now to hire at the beginning of their fiscal year?; are there enough of the proper management in the office at this time to sign off on the hire?, etc.
But regardless of the reasons, real or imagined, or what the lawyers say you can or can’t say to a prospective candidate, I STRONGLY FEEL there needs to be, at minimum, a basic courtesy message (even if only electronic!) extended to someone who has put all that deeply personal effort into successfully managing what you know is a ludicrous online application process and has made the all-out effort to professionally make the grade. (Remember when that was you?!)
My motivation for writing this is based on an email I received from a friend currently seeking his next opportunity. Please read, review, respond—whatever. I hope you will share that this can become a more robust discussion.
I have nothing more to add to what my friend says so eloquently below.
Thanks so much for thinking of me. I want you to know that I was not ignoring your thoughtful inquiry, but I find it hard to admit that I am struggling to keep my spirits up. I was so optimistic about a position that I had many reasons to believe I would be offered, only to find out weeks later that I was passed over. This was a very hard blow and one that the lack of feedback as to why has been consistently on my mind.
With every rejection a bit of self-esteem is peeled away. I know that I have become far too sensitive, taking it far too personally and therefore become too affected when repeatedly not selected for interviews. Also when someone takes an extra day or week to get back to me from what they promised I feel like I’ve been treated shabbily. Often they become unresponsive when I am checking back to find out the status of positions that I have applied to weeks’ prior with nothing more than an automated response either acknowledging my application or a rejection notice for not being further considered.
This post should be simply “It is mandatory that your young job seeker—and anyone else reading this post for that matter–prepare some snappy questions to take with you to your interview” and that would be the end of it.
But I believe I’ll go the distance and explain a few of the ‘why’s’ in support of this statement.
First your new grad needs to show up at their interview(s) with a portfolio of interview questions pre-prepared (is there such a term/word/phrase?!) simply because recruiters at all levels, business owners and hiring managers, demand it. OK, ‘demand’ might be a bit harsh of a term but, no, it’s really not. Over the years I have asked recruiters what drives them the most crazy about interviewing new candidates and the FIRST response is always a lack of written questions prepared for their specific session.
Why would this be such a big deal? I mean what’s wrong with a job seeker showing up, sitting down and asking, “Hey, what do you guys do around here?” I can answer that question categorically with EVERYTHING! Lack of interest comes to mind as well as lack of courtesy and a dire lack of initiative that just screams “Don’t hire me.”
So to get to the real point of this post: Make absolutely, positively certain that your job seeker does their homework and preps some questions specific to the position they are seeking. And I gotta tell you it’s really easy to do the basic prep. All your job seeker has to do is Google “job interview questions _______ (fill in the title of the position sought).” Every job interview question ever asked is online. Let Google cover the basics quick and easy. But, this is only the OVERVIEW that Google has accomplished for your candidate. Overview meaning the generic questions necessary to get the ball rolling in the meet-and-greet. The next part comes with some not difficult research but it will take a little bit of time. Tell your new grad to research the corporate website and:
- Read or scan every page–even the job postings. You can learn a lot about a company by looking at their career pages. It gives you an idea of growth and how active they are in their field.
- Check out the About Us page and seek out the names of the ‘powers that be.’ Always good to know.
- Review press releases for the last year or so. A lot can be gleaned from those as well.
- If the organization is publicly held review the SEC 10K and Quarterly 10Q reports. These documents are the ‘report with all the warts’ as required and reported to the Securities Exchange Commission. Boring as mud but GREAT information can be found here for an interview–even if your new grad is seeking an entry-level IT position.
Of course your grad will want to visit LinkedIn to review everyone s/he is meeting with come interview time. There’s always great information there and some may be worthy of noting for the interview.
Show your brilliance
It is still astonishing to me how often job seekers do not show up with any prepared documentation. Do not let this be your new grad. All that schooling. All that work. ALL THAT DEBT! This really is a simple ace-in-the-hole kind of effort that will show their brilliance, initiative and set them apart from the competition. All those recruiters haven’t been telling me the same thing, over and over for years now, if it weren’t true.
Upon arrival at their interview your job seeker will be opening up that new leather portfolio they received for graduation and the first thing they want the interviewer to see–and the first thing the interviewer wants to see–is a long, random page (or 2 or 3) of relevant questions.
All righty, then. That’s all the explaining I’m going to do in this post.
Good Luck to your new grads. I wish them, and you, well!
Hey Parents, I’m back with another idea for your soon/newly graduated young person who may be seeking gainful employment. I know you want them off the payroll so here is #3 in this job search series. (Once again, no disrespect is intended or implied when I call your new grad a ‘kid’ or ‘child,’ ‘k?)
This one is mandatory but you are probably going to have to force your new grad to accept this one so I’ll explain in detail below. Let’s talk about the Thank You Note card. This isn’t your old fashioned Thank You Letter (which doesn’t work. More on that in a little bit.)
For many, many years now I have been promoting, er, requiring the job seekers that I have worked with to buy a box of 4″ x 5″ plain white or ivory colored panel cards. You can get a box of 10 to 12 for $10-15 at Target, Office Depot, Walmart–just about anywhere really except for maybe Home Depot.
My clients, age not relevant; gender not relevant, attend their interview with this box of cards in their car, in purse or messenger bag. As soon as the interview is complete (Which reminds me of something else I may as well bring to your attention while I’m at it…) I promote that your job seeker head to the lobby, their car, or a nearby Starbucks (there’s ALWAYS a Starbucks near by!) and write out their Thank You notes ON THE SPOT. This is when they will learn why I insist on taking the entire box. They are going to screw up 2 or 3 for every one that makes the grade.
Their note will be short. Essentially “Thank you for your time today. I’m the right person for this position. I look forward to hearing back from you shortly”/Signature. Something like that.
Remind your job seeker that she will have to write down the exact spelling of her interviewer(s) names as they may or may not (most often not) offer a biz card. Tell her not to assume the guy’s name is spelled “John” because it may be “Jon” or “Steel” when it’s “Steele.” They cannot misspell a name at this critical moment.
Upon completing them (1 if for an individual. 1 each for every person they interviewed with in the event it was a panel interview or if they suffered, er, participated, in multiple interviews.) Have your job seeker return to the reception area where they began the process (See why I recommended the lobby…?!) and hand completed card/s to the receptionist asking him or her to “Please deliver this card to Mr. Gillis. I interviewed with him a few minutes ago.”
Here’s the rational:
- First, your kids can’t TXT their interviewer their thanx.
- Second, email is not elegant and makes no impact whatever. It may not even be seen.
- Third, the traditional snail-mail letter with USPS stamp will probably not arrive prior to a hiring decision being made. At this moment timing is of the essence.
More importantly the hiring manager will be blown away–on the spot–while your kid’s name and face are still a fresh memory! I can tell you what that person will be thinking: Who the heck does this?! Wow! Classy! I want my clients treated this way! Marge, get that kid back in here!
See the win? This is a cheap and highly effective way to become memorable and compelling in the mind of that person you, um, they are so badly trying to impress. Oh, and BTW, that next young person beginning their interview when the receptionist drops off your kid’s card with the manager? They don’t have a chance. Boom!
I Want This Job
Back to what I remembered to tell you while writing this little post: Make absolutely certain that your child ends the interview with a firm handshake, a steady gaze into the hiring managers eyes and these EXACT words: “I Want This Job.” Instruct them that after say this to turn confidently away and head for the door. THAT’S HOW YOU DO THE DEAL.
Think about it this way: Your child has finally completed school, has found that opportunity they want and was selected to interview. S/he does the appropriate apparel, hair, research–you know the drill. We’ve all been there. And then they go into interview and BLOW IT by asking that world-famous question at the end of their session: “What’s the next step?” Arrrrrgh! This is SO wrong on so many levels. Your job seeker has just lost all control/authority in the situation. How do you respond to “We’ll get back to you.”
The proper and only way to close the deal (thinking sales here–this isn’t hard) is to leave on a statement. NOT a question.
So, once again, the last statement is, repeat after me: “I Want This Job.” No one before him/her will have asked for the job and no one after them do so. It’s a win!