Ask Donna: Are job fairs worth the effort?

career fair cattle call

Are job fairs just a cattle call?

Dear Donna:

Every now and then, I see a career fair coming to my area. While they all promote the fact that there will be “decision makers” present from top companies, I am not certain that these job fairs are worth the effort. It seems to me that they are a cattle call where I have to compete with tons of other job seekers, or that the employers tend to be the lures for “starting your own business” as a financial advisor or insurance agent. Even when I do get to talk to one of my target companies, it feels like their recruiter just tells me to “apply on the website.”

So, are these job fairs really worth the effort?

  • Time Crunched in Lakewood

 

Hi Time Crunched:

I feel your pain! Having sat on both sides of the conference booth table – as the recruiter and the job seeker – some of your observations are true, but that is not the whole story. In fact, career fairs can be beneficial, depending on your circumstances and the type of job fair it is.

  1. Types of career fairs

Fact: not all job fairs are created equal. To determine if this particular career fair fits with your job search, it is helpful to understand what you are considering.

University Sponsored: held at the college, these career fairs are set up by the institution’s career services department for their students and graduates. Because of the relationships developed by career services, these often lead to valuable conversations with the recruiters about both jobs and internships.

Industry-Specific Fairs: some niche industries, such as IT, luxury private service, aerospace, or other technical fields, have career fairs that are organized by outside entities that then sell the booth space to the different employers. Because the employers know that the fair is designed to attract top talent in their space, it is more likely for the candidates to make a quality connection with the recruiters. One such organization is Expo Experts: http://www.expoexpertsllc.com/.

Sometimes you will also see these fairs as part of the annual convention for the niche industry, just like the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA) organizes every year: http://demaconvention.com/index.php/annual-convention/career-day-job-fair

General Job Fairs: these tend to be the “cattle call” that most frustrated job seekers thing of when considering a career fair. These could be organized from any multitude of sources, such as the local business magazine, the county workforce centers, or even third parties. Sometimes these job fairs may be specifically targeting those who are coming out of the military. These also tend to have the greatest variety of employers, including the 100% commission sales jobs, the military branches, and the “be your own boss” opportunities.

  1. When to go

Job fairs can be time consuming. When considering a specific fair, take a look at the participating employers; this is usually listed on the fair’s website. If you are seeing companies and recruiters that you really want to meet face-to-face, make the effort to suit up and show up. If you only see one or two on your list, you might want to consider a more beneficial networking effort, such as contacting those same recruiters and managers through LinkedIn.

  1. What the recruiters are doing

I agree that one of the worst practices that has emerged in the modern career fair is recruiters telling job seekers to “go apply on the website.” Some companies won’t even take your resume anymore! So why did the employer bother to show up?

Recruiters do value meeting the job seeker. If someone comes across as a top candidate, they will make a note of his or her name and credentials. However, this is also true for screening out candidates.  I have been to many job fairs over the years where the recruiters will be nice to someone’s face, and then the moment the candidate walks away, mark the resume as a big “no.” Therefore it is extremely important to put your best foot forward when attending the fair.

  1. Making the right impression

To avoid that big “no,” pay attention to these job fair best practices. First of all, if this is an industry-specific job fair, try to reach out to the recruiters BEFORE the fair itself. Then when you meet the recruiter face-to-face you will be familiar to them. Next, dress the part. A career fair is really a JOB INTERVIEW. Even if they don’t sit down with you individually, that initial 60-second introduction is the same as a screening interview. Be sure that you are wearing proper business attire for your industry. Be sure to bring multiple copies of your resume and business card. Even if they don’t take the paper copy, you need to look prepared.

Finally, follow up. If you don’t bother to send an email or LinkedIn invitation to the people you contacted – which includes other job fair attendees, not just the recruiters or company representatives – then you really did just waste your time.

Good Luck!

Donna Shannon

 

Got a question for Donna? Just email your question to april@personaltouchcareerservices.com

About the author: Donna Shannon is not the feel-good career coach you might expect.  For over eight years, she worked as the grumpy recruiter who never let your resume get through to the hiring manager. Since 2004, she has been teaching effective job search strategies to bypass the corporate guard dogs just like her.  Her book, “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” is in its 2nd edition. Through her consulting business, The Personal Touch Career Services, Donna offers top quality resumes, coaching, and specialized training for job seekers across the country. 

Recruiter Spotlight: The Syverson Group (TSG)

Located in Alpharetta, Georgia, The Syverson Group (TSG) is a world-recognized recruitment firm that stresses the importance of building long-term relationships with not only their clients, but with their top talent as well. Fortune 100 companies and global businesses rely on their personalized, match-making philosophy for retained searches to hire not only key personnel in the executive suite, but also top performing sales and technical positions.

Having built an exceptional reputation in the medical industry – specifically medical device, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics, and other specialized disciplines – they have expanded their focus to include IT, manufacturing, higher education, and the environmental sciences. Past clients include Abbott Diagnostics, GE Healthcare, Roche, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Stryker, and many more.

In today’s Recruiter Spotlight, President and Founder Dain Syverson gives us more insight into their successful firm, their specific industries, and their ideal candidates…

 

  1. How long have you been in business?

The Syverson Group, LLC – TSG has been in business for 5 years and I’ve been in the Executive Search business for over 15 years total.  Most of the TSG staff have extensive, successful careers in relevant markets or in the executive search industry. We are recognized domain experts.

 

  1. What makes your agency unique?

We are a boutique, retained executive search firm with a great reputation based on competence, likability and exceptional delivery for our clients and prospective candidates.  TSG has the absolute best-in-class performance metrics for our clients: 100% success rate over the last 10+ years on thousands of engagements (industry average is 60-65%); over 90% of our placed candidates remain with our clients; and over 60% of our placed candidates have had multiple promotions during their tenure with our clients.

 

  1. What type of positions do you place? Do you specialize in a particular industry?

TSG is a full-service agency, placing Board, C-Suite, Vice President, and Director level positions to front line sales and technical talent for our clients.  Primarily, we specialize in the medical markets of diagnostics, life sciences, medical products, medical devices, distribution, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and biotechnology.  Over the years, our business has expanded into IT, Automotive, Industrial and Manufacturing, Higher Education, and Environmental Services

 

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

TSG typically represents prospective candidates that perform in the top 10% of their respective peer group.  Additionally, we value and assess attributes and talents beyond the work experience to ensure that our clients and candidates form long term, mutually beneficial relationships and sustainable performance excellence.

  1. Do you place across the country or locally? What other locations do you serve?

TSG works with clients on a global basis inclusive of North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, India, Asia-Pacific and Latin & South America.

 

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

Most often, they are on our website (www.thesyversongroup.com) but because we “hunt for talent” and directly initiate contact vs. “gathering” with job boards or posts, most of TSG’s placements are passive, successfully employed candidates. In other words, over 90% of our talent wasn’t looking for new opportunities until we approached them for a specific role.

 

  1. What is the #1 thing a candidate can do to stand out from the crowd?

Be responsive, honest, direct, candid, and possess high integrity. We want people who do and be what they say they are without the unnecessary “fluff.”

  1. How should a candidate apply for a job? Do you want an online application, resume, or both?

They can reach out to any TSG individual and request more information.

 

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

Various, with an emphasis on market-specific or community related instead of recruiter associations.

 

  1. How can people contact you?

Website: www.thesyversongroup.com

Email: dain@thesyversongroup.com

Telephone: 770-495-5997

 

Would your company like to be featured in our Recruiter Spotlight? There is no charge! Just contact donna@personaltouchcareerservices.com to find out more.

Ask Donna: Why won’t the recruiters call me back?

Hey Donna-

I’m a job seeker who has been trying to work with various different recruiters that specialize in my industry. While they don’t work for the company directly, their websites often feature jobs that are a great fit for my experience and skills. Sometimes they even reach out to me on LinkedIn before I even applied!

However, once I apply or do a phone call with them, they go silent. I can’t get them to return my calls or answer my emails. Why are they so rude, especially when they thought I was a great candidate before?

  • Frustrated in Denver

Dear Frustrated:

First and foremost, you need to understand the nature of these recruitment agencies, also known as headhunters or search firms. As talent brokers, they often act like a fine dining steakhouse, sourcing the best raw ingredients to give an exceptional experience to their clientele. With that in mind, realize these facts when it comes to dealing with a recruiter…

  1. You are meat.

I know that sounds harsh, but the sooner you understand that you are the meat – the actual product that a recruiter is selling – the less frustrating your relationship with them will be. You are not their client: the employers are. As such, the employers will always be on the top of their contact list, while candidates may not have the same status.

  1. You might not be on the menu.

Recruiters usually focus on the jobs they are trying to fill right now, even though they will collect resumes and applications for candidates even if they don’t have an immediate opening that fits your skills and experience. If you don’t fit that instant need, you will just be put in the freezer to be stored for later. Of course, anyone in the meat locker usually gets a slower response time.

When a job order is hot and in-demand, recruiters become much more aggressive and consistent about their communication with the candidate. This all relates to the employers’ needs once again. Just because the recruiter pursued you endlessly for one job it doesn’t mean that they will be as diligent with the next job posting.

  1. You can’t tell if the employer has “food sensitivities.”

One reason why an employer chooses to use a recruiter is that they are seeking something very specific, possibly in terms of culture, experience, skills, industry, or achievements. The recruiter knows far more details about the job than the candidates ever will, including the hidden deal breakers (or “allergies”) that they won’t disclose to the job seeker. Just because the job looks perfect to you on paper it doesn’t mean that you are actually the best match for the job. Rather than disclose this confidential information, the recruiter just goes silent.

  1. Become “Grade A Free-Range Organic Beef.”

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to follow up with the recruiter. Don’t just wait for them to call you. Once you are registered with an agency, feel free to call and touch base a couple of times a month, especially if you see a job opening that matches your experience.

Recruiters are often inundated with candidates, especially if they are small, boutique firm that offers employers a personalized experience. This means that they have less staff members to manage candidates than they do for managing client relationships. By becoming responsive on your own communications, including providing any extra information as soon as they need it, it elevates your status as a candidate.

  1. Don’t develop “mad cow disease.”

Just because you want to stay in touch, don’t go completely overboard and turn into a pest that borders on harassment. Don’t call, text, or email every day if they aren’t reaching out to you first. Believe me, they are getting your messages and noting your files, even if they aren’t calling you back right away. Remember, they are dealing with today’s specials and you may not be on the menu. Overloading a recruitment firm can quickly turn into a black mark. Be sure to track your own progress with them, such as the jobs you applied to, who you spoke with, and when. Nothing annoys a recruiter more than a candidate that applies to every single job they posted without showing any forethought or customization to fit the specific job.

  1. Some agencies use wranglers.

Fortunately, some recruiters do believe in building ongoing relationships with their candidates. They may even have dedicated staff members that are devoted to staying in touch with their stable of talent. Over the years, I have seen some recruiters repeated place their top candidates in different jobs. If you are lucky enough to fall in with a recruiter that values their talent as much as the employers, keep up your communication to stay top-of-mind for the next job.

Good Luck!

Donna Shannon

 

Got a question for Donna? Just email your question to april@personaltouchcareerservices.com

If unemployment is so low, why can’t I find a job?

The Bureau of Labor Statics recently released a comparative report showing that Colorado has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, at only 2.6% unemployment as of April 2017. [source: https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/metro.pdf] In fact, that’s the state’s lowest rate since the record keeping began in 1976.

However, many people are still struggling to find meaningful work. Normally, a low unemployment rate helps the job seeker, as there is less competition. However, because of the way that the modern job search has evolved, even people who easily found work in tougher markets are still struggling to find a good job.

What is going on here?

  1. Unemployment figures address the entire market, not necessarily your industry or experience level.

In Colorado, the top occupations by number of job ads for April 2017 are registered nurses, truck drivers, retail workers, food/ restaurant positions, customer service, administrative support, and general maintenance workers [source, Colorado LMI Gateway: https://www.colmigateway.com/gsipub/index.asp?docid=400 ]. In general, the jobs that have the most openings are easier to land, as the need is great.

However, if you are seeking something outside of these industries or experience levels, you are still facing a significant amount of highly qualified competition.

For example, the IT industry in the Denver and Boulder area have been pretty hot for quite some time. Once again, there are more lower level positions or technical positions – both network system administrators and software developers show in the top 10 job ads. But if you are seeking a project manager, senior administrator, mid-career technical or management position or executive leadership role, the competition is still stiff.

  1. Employers are relying more heavily on automated screening systems: the dreaded Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

Computerized screening tools have not only become more efficient, they have become more affordable as well. This means that more companies are using the ATS to manage and screen their candidates. Unfortunately, this means that qualified applicants are still getting cut because of a lack of KEY WORDS.

Anytime you apply to a job online there is a good chance that you are being screened by a computer before a human being even sees your resume. To do this, they rely on the key words within the resume itself. However, computers are dumb and may not recognize similar terms.

For example, if the job description says, “Microsoft Office” but your resume says, “Word and Excel,” the computer may screen you out because the terms don’t match.

One of the worst cases I saw of this was just a few months ago when I was speaking at an IT Career Day. An audience member pointed out that he spoke to the recruiter after submitting his resume and discovered that the ATS had disqualified him as a viable candidate because he didn’t have a Bachelor’s degree. In fact, his resume stated, “BS in Computer Science, University of Colorado.” As humans, we understand that this is the same thing, but in this case, the computer was not configured to recognize the abbreviations.

  1. There is a disconnect between your LinkedIn profile and your resume.

If you are a professional seeking a job, you need a good LinkedIn profile. 90% of employers will go check out a candidate’s profile before bringing them in for an interview [source: LinkedIn, 2016]. If there is something off, you may lose the opportunity.

While it’s not a good idea to make your LinkedIn profile a carbon copy of your resume, there are some things that recruiters and HR departments specifically check:

  • Consistency on the facts of your work history: dates, titles, companies, and locations
  • Consistency in the education
  • Well-written summary section
  • Number of connections
  • Number of recommendations and for what jobs
  • Any volunteer work
  • Professional development, such as ongoing classes, courses, or professional organizations
  1. You are giving too much information.

Some people might consider this ageism. Others call it “overqualified.” Whatever the case, it can be challenging to break into a new job if you have a lot of experience. This is why most resumes only address 10-15 years of experience. Similarly, you don’t have to list the date of graduation on your resume or LinkedIn profile, especially if you obtained your degree 20 years ago or more.

Conversely, if a younger worker is still listing every job since high school, that’s overkill and usually not relevant. If you have been out of school for over five years and you have professional experience, listing your grade point average or specific classes becomes less important.

No matter what your circumstance, everything on your resume must be supportive of the job you actually want – any skills, achievements, or responsibilities that fall out of that target can be distracting to the recruiter. Show your strengths in a strategic manner instead of making them sift through a ton of irrelevant data. Remember, you only have 20 seconds to make that first impression with your resume. Be clear, be precise, and be relevant.

  1. You aren’t reaching out to hiring managers.

HR departments are notorious for cutting applicants – in fact, that is their job. They don’t hire anybody. It’s the department managers that make the final decisions. Thanks to tools like LinkedIn and other social sites, it is easier to find the decision makers than ever before.

If you aren’t taking the time to track down hiring managers, keep in mind that your competition is. It’s not enough to throw your resume at the HR department and hope for the best. Even in a hot job market like Colorado, you must outperform the competition and proactively network to land those crucial interviews.

Want a see how your resume stacks up to the competition? Visit my website to schedule a  free resume review: http://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact

Recruiter Spotlight: Glickman Consulting, LLC

As a well-connected career coaching service, we often build relationships with key recruiters in the Denver area and across the United States. To help our clients – the job seekers – find the right recruiters for their situation, we have our ongoing Recruiter Spotlight series to answer the most common questions that job hunters ask.

In this week’s Recruiter Spotlight, Mark Glickman with the Denver-based Glickman Consulting, LLC, tells us what he is looking for in the specialized IT niche of ERP systems for multiple industries.

  1. How long have you been in business?

Glickman Consulting, LLC, was founded in July 1994, although Mark Glickman, the founder, has been a full-time recruiter since 1976. Mark holds the highly recognized distinction of Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC).

  1. What makes your agency unique?

We are highly specialized in IT Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). Our candidates are experts in some of the most in-demand software applications for large companies, such as SAP, Oracle EBS, PeopleSoft, JDE, Epicor, Dynamics AX, NetSuite and more.

  1. What type of positions do you place? Do you specialize in a particular industry?

Our candidates include both technical and leadership roles, including Developers, Business Analysts, Project Managers, Directors, VP and C-Level executives.

We work with all industries – it is the employers’ need for IT ERP specialists that drives them to us. We have successfully placed candidates in Manufacturing – Discrete & Process, Oil & Gas, Federal, State & Local Government, Consumer Products & Retail, Financial Services, Energy & Utilities, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Education: Higher Education & K-12 Schools, Food & Beverage, Telecommunications, and Travel, Sport & Leisure.

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

Our ideal candidates possess a minimum of four years ERP technical and/or functional experience. We also look for ongoing professional development.

  1. Do you place across the country or locally? What other locations do you serve?

We work nationwide and globally with both our own direct end-clients and our global network of 500+ associate firms.

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

www.glickman-consulting.com , LinkedIn and some other sites e.g. specific User Groups and Associated firms.

  1. What is the #1 thing a candidate can do to stand out from the crowd?

We seek professionalism at every step of the recruitment process. Show a sincere interest in working with us, including giving us prompt responses and practicing excellent spelling/grammar in all verbal and written communications.

  1. How should a candidate apply for a job? Do you want an online application, resume, or both?

Just email me with a resume attached. We maintain a dynamic ERP database and will contact you when the right position becomes available.  We also have positions that are not posted, or are upcoming opportunities.

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

We are an active member of Rocky Mountain Association of Recruiters (RMAR), the Colorado Technical Recruiters Network (CTRN) and several Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) User Groups. In addition to an extensive proprietary ERP database, contacts, and recruiting capabilities, Glickman Consulting has access to national and international search resources within the ERP world through membership in the NPAworldwide Recruitment Network.

  1. How can people contact you?

mark@glickman-consulting.com or 303-306-7400

 

Would your company like to be featured in our Recruiter Spotlight? There is no charge! Just contact donna@personaltouchcareerservices.com to find out more.

 

graduates or zombies

The New Grad Problem: The Market Just Got More Competitive

Every May, colleges and universities spew out a fresh crop of graduates. While many new graduates struggle with landing their first job due to a lack of experience, these candidates cause another problem: increased competition.

Whether you are still seeking an entry level job or have a little salt in your beard, a large influx of candidates makes it more difficult to stand out. In fact, HR is more likely to mistakenly screen out qualified job seekers during rush seasons just because their systems are being strained. However, there are some tricks and strategies that you can use to outsmart the competition, survive the screening process, and get to the hiring manager.

  1. Use smart key words

Using “smart” key words, phrases, and acronyms that relate to your industry shows that you understand the language of your business. For acronyms, it is a good practice to define them the first time they are used to alleviate any possible confusion, such as “Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification.”

When using terminology for your industry, keep two things in mind: HR and hiring managers will evaluate these phrases differently. HR only looks to see if the word from the job description is somewhere on your resume to screen you, while the hiring manager knows how to use it in a sentence. Remember to cater to the requirements of your audiences.

  1. Use stupid key words

Unfortunately, HR continues to use some key words that have been over used, such as “excellent communication skills.”  This does make for very boring writing and reading, which is why many resume writers will tell you to avoid these clichés as much as possible.

However, that is a trap. If HR puts these terms in their job description, they WILL use those exact words to screen candidates. If you fail to put in these asinine terms, you could be screened out because of a lack of relevant key words – especially if the company is using a computerized screening process.

  1. Focus your experience

I often hear older job seekers lament that they think they are facing age discrimination, especially with the Millennial population coming to the forefront. We often see job seekers who are in their mid-forties voice these concerns, not just the candidates that are over 60.   The problem isn’t necessarily being too old, but being too experienced and falling into the “overqualified” category in the employers’ mind.

There are ways to mitigate this impact. If a company states that they are looking for 5-10 years of experience in the job description, be sure to list your last 10 years of employment, or 15 at the most. Going back further does highlight your age and, as the employers often assume, a demand for a higher salary.

If you happen to be one of the newer grads, highlight any activities or work during school as it relates to the jobs you are applying for. Working through school shows that you are willing to work hard, and getting involved in extra-curricular activities.  This helps employers get an idea of your personality, which matters greatly when a company is looking for a culture match.

  1. Don’t be scared to reach out

Above all, don’t let all of your fate rest in HR’s hands. Remember, they are literally dealing with hundreds of applicants and won’t be able to give you personal attention – or in some cases, even screen your resume properly.

Use some clever tricks to find and make connections with key managers and even potential coworkers at your target company. The LinkedIn Company pages are a great tool for identifying these people. Check out www.ZoomInfoGrow.com for a free account that actually reveals direct email addresses and phone numbers.

You can even do something totally shocking, once you find the right names through LinkedIn: you can actually pick up this thing called a “phone,” enter a series of “magic numbers” to call the company and reach someone called a “receptionist.” Now they won’t reveal a hiring manager’s name – they have been trained to avoid that – but if you say a special phrase, they can help you out.

Here is one possible approach: 

“I was trying to email Joe Schmoe, but I think I may have written it down wrong. I’m really embarrassed that I may have messed it up – could you please confirm if it is joe.schmoe@abccompany.com?”

The key is to have the exact name along with any variation of the email address, even if it is wrong. The receptionist will frequently give you the correct email address since it sounds like you are already in conversation with the target manager.

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How to Behave in A Behavioral Interview

Do you struggle with answering behavioral interview questions? Not even sure what they are? Behavioral questions demand that the candidate describe a specific event from their past, such as “tell me about a time that you had to deal with a conflict at work…” These can be challenging, not just because you must think of a situation, but you also must answer the question in detail and conclude with a tangible result.

Why They Exist

The theory behind behavioral interviews is that your past performance will be indicative of your future behavior. This is why HR and hiring managers alike ask for specific examples from the past. Plus, it is a pretty good test for how well you can think on your feet and formulate a comprehensive answer that really addresses all the components of the question.

Difficulties in Preparation

While most candidates already have prepared answers for typical questions like “what is your greatest weakness” or “tell me about yourself,” it is more difficult to prepare for behavioral questions. There are some behavioral questions that have become more popular in the last few years, but in general, not all companies are using the same list of questions. In fact, employers will often customize these questions for their specific situation and needs. This means that preparing canned answers usually won’t work – instead, you must train your brain in HOW to answer behavioral questions, rather than just rattling off memorized answers.

Tell-Tale Sign of a Behavioral Question

Not sure of what denotes a behavioral question? Pay attention to the way it is asked. If it starts with anything like “tell me about a time…” or “describe a situation…” or “give me an example…” or similar language, you better start thinking of some story that will fit their criteria.

 The STAR Method

One of the best strategies for a behavioral question is the STAR method. This consists of 4 components to the answer: a situation, a description of your task, the action you took, and the result:

S = Situation: A specific, real world example that relates to the question

T = Task: Job duties or responsibilities within that situation

A = Action: What you actually did

R = Result: the measurable outcome of your action

Here’s an example:

Question: Tell us about a time when you had to manage a large project.

[Situation] Our company was putting on a conference for our employees scattered around the state.

[Task] As the executive assistant, my supervisor tasked me with organizing the event.

[Action] I selected the speakers, found a venue, contracted with caterers and managed the attendee list

[Result] Many of the 500 employees that attended stated it was the most meaningful conference in the past 5 years.

As you can see, this may be longer than the answer that you are used to giving. That’s part of the trap. Candidates feel like they have been talking too long, so they cut off the result from their answer. However, the result is the most important part!

Preparing for Behavioral Interviews

The best way to prepare for these types of questions is to practice writing out your answers to as many questions as you can find. Yes, it’s tedious. Yes, it can be boring. However, you really need to put pen (or keyboard) to paper to work out your answers. Just reading a list of questions is not going to help prepare for challenging and complex behavioral questions.

How To “Behave” In the Interview

Since you have few chances to prepare for specific questions, be ready to exercise some flexibility during the interview itself. If you find yourself in the midst of a behavioral interview, follow these tips to get your brain in gear:

  1. Don’t forget to breathe.
  2. Repeat back part of the question to help solidify your answer and give you more time to think of an appropriate situation.
  3. Don’t answer a behavioral question with a hypothetical response. If you honestly haven’t had a situation like what the employer has posed (for example, “tell me about a time you lead a team that failed” but you never managed a team before), DO preposition your answer with: “while I haven’t faced that yet, here’s what I would do…”
  4. Always come to a clear result at the end of your answer.
  5. If you feel like you spoke too long, ask the interviewer, “would you like to hear more?” This gives both of you an escape and an opportunity to move onto other subjects.
  6. Don’t use the same situation for every answer. It’s a common trap for candidates to keep coming back to the same story. To an interviewer, this looks like you have very limited experience (plus, it’s boring).

Some Practice Questions to Get You Started

While there are literally hundreds of behavioral questions, here’s a few that are very popular with hiring managers and HR departments alike:

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a conflict at work.
  • Tell me about a time when you went above and beyond your job description.
  • Describe an achievement that you are very proud of and was very difficult to accomplish.
  • Give me an example of a time when you couldn’t provide a service that your customer wanted. How did you handle it? What was the outcome?
  • Tell me about a decision you made while under a lot of pressure.
  • Describe a mistake you made or a project that failed. What did you learn from it?

 

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Pricing changes effective May 15, 2017

It has been quite some time since we have adjusted our prices for our resume and LinkedIn services. To continue to provide our signature, high quality writing services and still keep it cost-effective, we are making some adjustments to our pricing policies, effective May 15, 2017.

Resume Packages

Effective mid-May, a 5% fee for processing, handling, and shipping costs will be added.

We wanted to keep the core price of our resume packages the same, ranging from $299 for entry level, $399 for mid-career, and $499 for senior level careers. When it comes to our executive packages, we encourage you to contact us directly to get an accurate quote.

Our resume packages include in-depth exploratory interview to discuss your work history, your new resume, a highly adaptable cover letter, a references page, and my book, “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy.”  CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR RESUME PACKAGES

 

LinkedIn Packages

As with our resumes, the core price of our LinkedIn packages will remain at $125. The 5% processing and handling fee will be added.

LinkedIn packages include a fully written profile and our online class, “Using LinkedIn to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” (a $65 value).

Interview Coaching

Interview coaching will be increased to $249 for two sessions. The first 60-minute session covers strategies, establishes baselines, discusses behavioral interviews, and assigns ongoing exercises to help you be the best in your interview. The second 90-minute session is an invaluable recorded mock interview and review of the tape to provide direct feedback on your overall performance.

Get Your Quote Today

All of our written quotes are good for 30 days.  Anyone who gets a quote BEFORE May 15, 2017, will not be charged the increased prices. Now is the time to sign your quote as soon as possible to lock in your price.

P.S….       In addition, we will give you the option to delay starting your project until it is convenient for you, so long as we receive payment before the quote expires! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!

hockey skates

What job seekers can learn from the Colorado Avalanche’s historic season

While other hockey fans are preparing for the playoffs, Avalanche fans are just relieved to see their season end. With a final standing of 22-56-4 for the 2016-17 season, their record was one of the worst in NHL history since the salary cap was put in place. Yet even within this poor performance, there are a lot of lessons for job seekers.

  1. Celebrate every victory

For me, this was the first year that I bought a partial season ticket plan. Over the course of the season, every time the Avalanche won, the fans lost their minds – especially because it was all too rare.

For job seekers, it can often feel like a losing season because HR provides very little feedback after you turn in an application.  It is helpful to celebrate phone interviews, in-person interviews, new networking contacts, and even finding posted jobs in your ideal field as a victory. Rather than letting a defeatist attitude permeate every attempt, highlight the little victories to give yourself a positive boost.

  1. Know your winning percentage

The Avalanche ended their season with a .268 winning percentage – well below what the fans hoped to see.

As a job seeker, you need to know your percentage as well. Do you know how many jobs you applied to in a given week or month? Are you tracking how many interviews (including phone interviews) that you receive? Are you taking note of how long it takes for an employer to get back to you? If you don’t know these numbers, you really can’t gauge your success.

Here are some metrics that reflect a successful job search:

  • Receiving a phone interview for every 10-15 job applications
  • Gaining an in-person interview out of 5-10 phone interviews
  • Hearing back from HR within 3-4 weeks

 

  1. Understand the weaker statistics

The Avalanche looks at more than just the final score to determine their success. This includes shots on goal (SOG), time of possession, number of hits, and so on. After all, if your goalie is dealing with 40 SOG per game without a strong defense to back him up, some of those shots are going to get through.

As a job seeker, tracking both the positive and opposing outcomes can be beneficial in developing a better strategy. Here are some snags you might recognize, along with its underlying definition:

  • If you consistently get automatic rejections within 1-24 hours after submitting your resume, this means the computer screened you out before a human even read your materials. You need to refine the key words listed in your resume.
  • If you get phone interviews with HR but never invited to interview in person, you are not convincing the potential employer that you meet the requirements. This could also be because the hiring manager is not understanding the relevance of your background on your resume.
  • If you get the in-person interview but never get a second one, you need to improve your interviewing skills.
  • If you get multiple interviews with the same company but are constantly being told that there was someone who “was a better fit,” you are misunderstanding the company culture.

 

  1. Capitalize on what is working

One of the biggest complaints that Avalanche fans had this past season was Coach Bednar’s performance, especially in switching up the players’ lines before they had a chance to settle into a rhythm with each other. Even professional athletes need time to meld and improve.

Job seekers often ditch a strategy before they have a chance to really see how it is working. Similarly, they sometimes invest a lot of time into a losing strategy, simply because they don’t have any other tools in their resume and interviewing toolbox.

A classic example of this is scanning the job boards every single day, all day. While some opportunities are found on Indeed, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn, these are only a few sources. Take some time to figure out which sites have the type of jobs that you want and concentrate your efforts on those. If a certain site never has viable jobs, don’t waste your time on it.

  1. Make the shot

As Wayne Gretzky said, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

I know some job seekers that screen themselves out of a job before they ever apply. Just because you don’t have 100% of the qualifications for a job doesn’t mean you should not apply. Let HR do the screening.

Every single job description has some requirements that are less important than others. However, you can’t tell what those requirements are just by reading the job description. For this reason, make HR do their work.

Of course, don’t put all of your fate in HR’s hands. Be proactive in taking the next step to get in touch with hiring managers directly. Ways to do this include researching them personally on such sites as LinkedIn and ZoomInfoGrow.com. After all, some of the sweetest goals are made not by the first shot, but by leveraging the rebound.

Want to improve your own job search strategy? Click here for a free consultation to discuss your tactics: http://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact

resume writing struggle

7 Ways to evaluate a resume service

For many people, writing a resume is a painful process that they only have to dive into every few years. Fortunately, a professional resume writing service can help relieve this burden, especially if they make efforts to stay on top of the latest developments in the modern job search.

While having a good service is important, not everyone knows how to find the best company for their needs. Different writers conduct their business in very different ways. To help you determine the right service for you – whether it is with us or another company – consider these seven evaluation points:

  1. Google it!

While it sounds like the automatic first step, using a Google search wisely is more than just typing “Denver resume writer” in the search field. In particular, look beyond the sponsored ads to target the organic listings. This may mean looking beyond just the first 5 results, but sometimes you must dig for gold.

  1. What is their online presence like?

Just like resumes and job searching tactics, websites have changed a lot over time. If the resume service or career coach is using a website that looks static, out-of-date, or clunky, this might be an indication that they aren’t evolving their resumes to fit more modern tactics as well.

  1. Where are they located?

Even if a company’s headquarters are local, their writers may not be. It is very common for resume companies to use contract writers that may be located anywhere in the US or abroad. Most of the time, this isn’t a problem. After all, we all live in an online world where a lot of the communication is done via email, Skype, or phone. Many talented writers may be in a different city than you. However, you should be aware of that fact when evaluating different writing services. Sometimes the local writer can have unique insight into your market and its dynamics that someone in another state or country just may not understand. Plus, a local writer may be able to meet with you in person.

  1. What do other people say about them?

Possibly the best way to research any company is to read reviews on Yelp and Google+.  That will quickly narrow down your search.  Reading actual reviews written by real people is the proof in the pudding.

  1. Are they on LinkedIn – and can you find them?

Without a doubt, any resume writer that you consider should have a stellar LinkedIn profile. Ideally, they should also be active on the site, including publishing articles, participating in groups, and generally being easy to find. Pay attention to how that profile is written. Chances are, what they write for you will be similar. There are different philosophies on how to write an effective LinkedIn profile. Choose one that matches your own personal style.

A new tool that LinkedIn is offering is the ProFinder. This service is free to people who want to collect quotes on particular services, such as resume writing. It’s a great way to gain competing quotes that include a direct link back to the career coach’s LinkedIn profile.

  1. What do they charge?

A quick search will soon reveal a huge gap in price. You can pay anywhere from $20 for an editor on Fiverr to over $1,000 for an executive resume from a boutique writing firm. Of course, there is also a huge gap in the quality of those services. In many ways, the old adage of “Cheap, Fast, or Good – Pick 2” can be very true in the world of resume writing.

However, the most expensive service may not be the best one. It’s more important to find the best service that fits your needs while staying within your budget. On average, most quality resume services will charge between $300 – $600 for a package that includes the resume and cover letter. It is also very common that the package prices will vary between experience levels. After all, it takes more time and effort to write a resume for someone with 20 years of experience vs. a new graduate with only one internship.

  1. Can I see real samples of their work?

The best test of a resume company is their own work. Look at several examples. If their online samples are hard to read, contact them for a cleaner copy. When you sign up for the service, you should be able to pick from different templates that will represent you well while still being consistent with the standards for your industry. Not only that, make sure that this service has some modern design options as well as the traditional formats. After all, the job search has evolved and their resumes must be able to keep up with the times.

 

Wondering how your resume stacks up? The Personal Touch Career Services offers a free resume review!  Click here to sign up for a consultation: http://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact

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