What’s the first thing you do when your looking for a new job?

OK, so you have been laid-off, downsized, riffed, let go, fired or maybe you even quit. Before you rush to put your resume on Monster, Careerbuilder, Hotjobs, Dice or Florida Alligator Wrestler Jobs, or all of the above, take a minute and ask yourself a question:

What job do I really want to do? Well, Bill Gates isn’t handing over controlling interest of Microsoft and Bono hasn’t mentioned he is looking for a replacement at U2, so those choices may be gone, but there are certainly others. 

Leaving your job is a very destabilizing situation, and depending on if you have money put away or are given some kind of a severance, can even be a threat to your survival. But no matter what the case is, it is a time of transition that is for sure. Now during a time of transition, why not do a little reflection. Dig down deep and see what you really want to do.

Here is what I suggest, write down 20 jobs or careers you would like to do. If you write down the King of France or a Cage Fighter as your choices, the process may take a bit longer, so stick with jobs in the realm of possibility. But that does not mean you cannot think out of the box and get creative. If you have been looking to start that website business selling antiques your Grandmother left you, write that down as one of the choices.

Now after you have written your 20 possibilities, it is time to look at their feasibility. Here is an example: you have worked at a company for 15 years and have done a lot of product management, product marketing and marketing in general and in the course of your work you have helped negotiate several contracts and played a key role in bringing in business for your company.  Now, you have never really been a sales person or really even a Business Development person, but you have great customer facing skills and also have been the key subject matter expert in a number of sales. A natural progression for you would a Business Development Manager or an Account Manager. Actually, I see this type of job progression all the time.

So you have decided that you really want to go for a job as a Business Development Manager.  Great! But, what about the fact that your resume has no real Biz Dev. experience? Unfortunately, in this current economy there is not a lot of people hired based on what they might be able to do at a job. Maybe “gleaning” your resume to the biz dev. role will be enough. A professional resume writer, career coach or counselor can do wonders on a resume if the person really does have the experience but his resume just needs shaping to be focused properly.

What if all the help in world can’t make your experience match the job you are aspiring to? Then it is time to do something to bridge the gap. Perhaps a sales training course? Or, maybe you need to take a job in sales or business development that is a little lower pay and responsibility than what you are used to. That way, you can work there for a few years and when it is time to really go for that dream job, you not only have the desire and skills to do it, you also have the quantifiable experience.

But why not plaster your resume across every job and resumeblaster service on the planet, and then do your reflection? As they say, isn’t job hunting “a game of numbers”? Yes, most definitely it is! But, here is something that can happen. You right away slap together a resume that is nicely done, but very general and immediately you start getting calls and even interviews. Awesome! Unfortunately though, after 3 months of you turning down jobs you didn’t like, and companies turning you down because you were not a right fit for the job, you’re worn out and depressed because of how bad the job market is. But, did you really know what job you wanted in the first place? Trying to drive to Las Vegas without a map or real plan on how to get there, you will end up in Idaho.

So, to sum this all up: In life there are times when a moment of reflection is in order, a baby is born, someone dies, the Cubs win the World Series, or you need to find a new job.  Take that time to reflect and reevaluate.  Who knows? Maybe those clothes you never threw out from the 80’s could be used for your new cage fighting job. The sky’s the limit!

Assume the person reading your resume is a Monkey

The title of this Blog is a bit insulting and rightly so. It is meant to get your attention so that you do not pass over the article – – to make you take notice!!!

If you were driving down the street and you saw a Billboard but you couldn’t make out what it said because the words were too small and the message was hidden in a thousand words, you would probably not understand it or crash your car trying to figure it out.

But on the other hand, if it said “EAT AT JOE’S” there would be no mistaking the message.

So is my message when referring to your resume. If you were trying to show something to a monkey you wouldn’t do it quietly or subtlety. You would be obvious about what you were doing. You’d talk simple to a monkey — Monkey wants a Banana? Monkey wants a toy? — Straight forward and obvious.

So how does simple talk, monkey talk, apply to a resume?

As a recruiter when I am sent an unsolicited resume or one that just lands in my inbox without me asking for it, I read it quickly. I am looking for the general gist of what it is about. Do I have a job for this person now, later or never? If it is later, I take a minute to review it. If it is never I take even less time. The “now” resume I will read in detail.

But if it is not obvious to me what your resume is about, what you are looking for, what your skills are, I could easily pass you by. A candidate’s submission that could be a “now” resume can easily be missed.

Let’s take for example a resume from Joe who sells software to wireless clients. Joe’s resume needs to spell out who he’s selling to, how much he sold, how much his quota is and how he achieved or exceeded it. Plus, if Joe knocked it out of the park by hitting a quota of 150%, this statistic had better jump out on the resume, bold-faced and blazing across the top of the resume.

Having placed many sales people, I have learned the hard way that when the client throws the resume back in my face because this blazing info was not included. A sales resume is not the exception to the rule. Every resume needs a bold-faced listing. Show a little confidence in your resume. Speak out. It never hurts.

In my business, we are submitting resumes for specific jobs. That means we have job-specific specifications. In “monkey” terms, — state the obvious, say what you do, say it boldly, say it so that it’s obvious, meet the specifications, tell me what you do best, tell me what you have achieved that apes (mimics) the job-specific specifications — because if you don’t, your resume won’t be a “now” resume to anyone who reads it.

Companies speak in their own language or nomenclature. If you have the exact skills in your resume that meet the job-specific specifications, and you call these exact skills “email marketing” and the company calls it “viral marketing” or “ECRM Marketing”, change your verbiage to read what the company is asking for on your resume. Make it obvious

Make it so that a Monkey could figure out that you’re the one for the job!

When you give a resume to a company, either through a recruiter or directly, you do not see the path that your resume takes. Your resume can pass through an “applicant tracking system” that looks for specific keywords. This “monkey-like” system only reads for key words — no key words and the monkey understands nothing.

Take my advice. Make your key points bold, clear and obvious. Always assume the person reading your resume is a Monkey.

How to avoid embarrassing recruiting calls at work

It amazes me how many times while calling a perspective job candidate, that I call someone in the middle of a meeting, or inappropriate time at work.

You would think in this world of technology that can make an unmanned space vehicle go to Mars a sheep genetically grown from a test tube and Joan Rivers still looks the age of 50 when he is actually 110, that they could create a way for job searchers to have their phone calls go somewhere else beside their cell phones.

Now with gmail, hotmail, yahoo mail and other free email services, people have handled the problem of receiving email at work from headhunters and companies.   In addition, with so many people today only having a cell number, how can one receive those inappropriate calls at work?

Well, believe it or not there are actually several solutions–

http://www.tossabledigits.com/ Tossable Digits is a virtual number, meaning you can use it for a while and when you no longer need it, as if after finding a job, you just toss it away.  Some of the features include.

-Do Not Disturb:

Control when callers can reach you!

You decide when you want to receive calls by restricting the times that your calls are forwarded to you. If a call comes in after hours, your caller can leave a message on your voicemail.

-Advanced Voicemail:

Listen to messages via phone, web or email!

If you’ve activated voicemail on an Extension or Virtual Number, and a call is received during a time you have restricted, callers will be asked to leave a voicemail, which you can later retrieve via their website, phone or email as an MP3 attachment.

-Call Screening:

Hear who is calling before you answer!

Tossibile Digits’ advanced call screening system asks callers to identify themselves by recording their name. When a call is forwarded to you, you’ll hear your callers recorded name and can choose to accept or decline the call. If you decline a call, your caller will be forwarded to voicemail without knowing their call was declined.

Now, I have not personally used this service but a friend has and loves it. It is not free, but not too expensive, running about $5.00 a month.   If it saves you from getting busted by your current employer because of you’re talking to potential new employers, it is worth it.

Now with a little bit of “googling” you can find other similar products, but with slightly different features. http://www.googlevoice.com/ Google Voice http://3jam.com/”  are among others, all of which approximate the cost of a ring tone or two per month and are well worth it.

My favorite and the one I use all the time is http://www.magicjack.com/ Magic Jack. For a one-time fee of $40.00 you have a VOIP line that you can call at no cost, anywhere in the US. You have voice mail, music on hold, can pick your area code, and check your messages online from a received email. It is a killer. In addition, to renew each year the cost is only $19.95. I have used it for several years and love it.

The point is this — don’t get your “butt in a sling” at work while driving in your car and answering your speaker phone. Just because the number is in your area code, and you think it is someone you know, it could very well be a recruiter calling about a job you’re not even interested in. In fact, he may be calling you because you forgot to take your resume off Monster three months ago, when you got a new job.

I know about this from experience. I have been that recruiter and it was ugly, real ugly.

Here are 10 tips from a Career Coach to help you find a job.

1. Have a plan:

The difference between one person’s success in a job search and another’s can simply be that the former has a workable plan; though a job seeker may be taking many of the right steps, if he or she does not have a plan, then the plan is incomplete, steps are missed, and the job seeker may give up because he or she does not have enough direction to carry a job search through to completion.

2. Be organized:

There are many methods of organization that you can use to accomplish things. One of the most basic methods is to create a check list each day before you begin your job search to keep you on track. For example:

  • Go on job boards and find jobs 9 – 10 a.m.
  • Go on LinkedIn and find jobs 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Follow up with companies you apply to 11 – 12 a.m.

Map out your day in the best manner you can. Of course, conditions may change, you may get a call for an interview or spend more time on one step or another, but as long as you have some plan in place that keeps you on track, you will have a much better chance of being successful.

3. Track your progress:

During your job search, it is easy to find yourself questioning whether you are being successful or not, especially if you have been looking for a new job for quite a while. An excellent way to keep to measuring your success on your steps along the way is to track your progress. Maintaining a chart or spreadsheet in Microsoft Word or Excel is an excellent measurement tool.

For example:

  • Companies applied today: 25
  • Companies applied to this week: 100
  • Total companies applied to thus far: 325
  • Number of responses: 30
  • Number of phone interviews: 12
  • Number of face to face interviews: 4

Why does keeping track of all these activities and recording specific numbers matter? This method offers you a true representation of how much effort is actually needed to get a job. Based on the example above, this person has averaged 1 face-to-face interview a week, or 4 in a month. These type of numbers will probably not result in getting you a job; 1300 applications in a month would be more likely to produce 4 face-to-face interviews a week. As long as these interviews are indicative of the right jobs for your skill sets, chances are you will be hired.

4. Apply in volume:

If you honestly think that applying to a few jobs online and casually networking to a few other folks will get you a job, then you are sadly mistaken. If this method actually works for you, then you don’t need to be reading this. However, I’m skeptical that anybody can casually look for a professional or management position and actually get hired. But, if you are like most serious job seekers conducting a job search, it is critical to let companies knowing you are looking and are a strong and viable candidate.

5. Diversify your search:

Not that long ago, the most common way to find a job was to read the job section in the newspaper. Now there are several ways to search for a job, and a newspaper is not one that any true job seeker uses. Here are some others that are worth trying:

  • Major job boards like Dice or CareerBuilder.
  • Mega job search engines like indeed, Simply hired or Juju.
  • LinkedIn’s job board.
  • Industry specific job boards. Just put the description of your industry into Google with the word “jobs” or “careers” and you will see that there is a job board specific to your background.
  • Approach companies directly that you would like to work for. Many companies don’t post their jobs but are still hiring.
  • Send your resume to recruiters.

6. Research the companies you apply to:

There are some jobs you may apply to that only stimulate a mild interest, and others you would kill to get. On the positions that most interest you, research the company and the position. You can even Google the hiring manager or contact him or her through LinkedIn, which can be helpful in increasing your chance of actually getting hired if you can talk to the hiring manager directly.

7. Online social networking:

With online social networking, you no longer do you have to go to weekly “business mixers” designated physical location to meet people who could lead you to your next job. It’s much easier than that. Facebook, LinkedIn and a host of other social networking sights provide ways to connect with people for very little if any cost.

8. Follow up with a phone call:

I have often been asked: “I applied for a job recently and got a first interview on the phone, but it has been a week since I got a call from the employer. What do I do?”

It’s simple. Call the employer! Take initiative! What do you have to lose? Get your name in front of the employer. Let the employer know who you are. Be not afraid.

9. Getting a job is sales and marketing:

Your resume is a marketing tool that sells you and gets you an interview. This is the same tool that a salesman uses to sell a product, a collateral, a brochure, a supportive marketing tool. The only real difference is that you are the product.

10. Make getting a job your full time job:

Some years ago, I was given some excellent advice on how to find a job: Make sure that looking for a job becomes your full-time job. If you are already employed, then this would not apply to you, as your full-time job is your job. Unless, of course, it is really important to get another job. If so, then be prepared to hold down two jobs, because “looking for a job becomes your full-time job.” If you are out of work, then it is imperative that you treat your job search as a full-time job. Get up early in the morning, and make your priority looking for a job. If you wake up at 10:00 a.m., and don’t get started looking for a job until after 12:00, then it is obvious why you are not successful in obtaining a job. Enough said.

Carl Schumacher – Career Coach, Executive & Technical Recruiter