How to start building an effective job search strategy

Job Strategy

Do you have a real job search strategy? Or are you spending most of your time scanning the job websites like Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter.com daily, hoping they find your dream job and by some miracle get past the HR screening process? On the flip side, you probably have heard the advice that networking is crucial to your job search. But do you know how to do it effectively?

Overall, an effective job search strategy breaks down the daunting task of finding a job into tactical, actionable steps that open additional opportunities while making the most of every job posting. From successfully navigating the HR maze to tracking down the hiring manager, a real job search plan will save you from wasting time and opportunities.

  1. Understand how HR works

Human Resources is not your buddy in the job search. In fact, they don’t hire anyone – it is their job to CUT candidates. To do this, every single company has processes to quickly weed out candidates. Some of their favorite tricks include specific application instructions, harping on grammatical and spelling errors, and using key word driven application systems.

In a nutshell, surviving the screening process is a game. To win, you need to know the rules.

So, why is this important? You still must apply to legally be considered for a job. Once that application is sent, the real work begins…

  1. Track down the hiring managers

Believe it or not, hiring managers are just as frustrated with the HR as the candidates. HR doesn’t always deliver the most qualified candidates – they are just the ones who played the game the best. Do the managers a favor and send them your resume directly.

Managers can be found through LinkedIn, the company’s website, local business journal databases, and comprehensive online prospecting tools such as ZoomInfo.com or AeroLeads: https://aeroleads.com/ . Many newer apps or Google extensions, such as Hunter https://hunter.io/ or Viola Norbert https://www.voilanorbert.com/ offer free options to nail those elusive contact details, such as email addresses.

For a more thorough list of these prospecting sites, please email me at:  donna@personaltouchcareerservices.com .

  1. Develop a networking strategy

For some, “networking” is a daunting word. Before assuming that you must go to massive after-hours events and shake a bunch of hands, realize that a networking strategy is a multi-faceted approach to cultivating existing contacts while making new ones. This includes face-to-face meetings as well as social media.

First, identify your current contacts. Find former colleagues, clients, and vendors on LinkedIn to start expanding that base.

Second, develop tools to reach out to new people. Join Groups on LinkedIn and get involved, while inviting thought leaders in those Groups to connect with you. Research your target companies and contact potential co-workers, managers, and even past employees to learn more about those organizations.

Finally, don’t forget face-to-face options. Personally, I make quality connections through professional associations, www.Meetup.com groups, and even social gatherings.

  1. Create automated tools

Create specific job search alerts from your favorite job searching sites. Along those lines, get rid of the junk. Always make sure that your resume is posted as “private.” This will greatly reduce the amount of spam, scams, and 100% commission jobs that are famous for contacting every single public resume on the site.

Finally, set up Google Alerts https://www.google.com/alerts on your top target companies. One of the best ways to source a hidden job is to identify a major change at a company and reach out to a hiring manager whether there is a job posting or not. Create a custom pitch that convinces them you can really help improve their bottom line.

  1. Make time to make it happen

Job searching does take time. If all you are doing is casually looking at job online, you are wishing, not working for it. Set aside consistent days and times to work on the job search.

Additionally, take note of the distractions and blocks to your job search. Life does happen, after all. Set your priorities while realizing that you may need to put in some hours after the kids go to bed to really work on your job search.

  1. Track your progress

If you don’t write something down, it didn’t happen. Track every single application, contact, messages, and outcomes. Not only is this important for following up, it helps with seeing how effective your job search is.

Our goal is to get 1-2 phone interviews for every 10 applications submitted. If you aren’t tracking your results, how will you know if you are being effective?

 

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“Fun-Sized” Resumes: A Sweet Treat or a Horror Story?

graphic resumeOne of my favorite things about Halloween are the “fun-sized” candies, wrapped for the perfect taste of something sweet that doesn’t diminish the impact of the full-sized candy bars. In job searching, many people use a ‘fun-sized” resume to do the same thing: within one short page, the candidate conveys the most important information about their background, skills, and education. Plus, just like candy, it’s wrapped up in a visually-appealing format to make the tasty tidbits stand out even more.

While a fun-sized resume can be a great marketing tool, they aren’t perfect for all situations. Use it in the right situation, it can open doors with influential hiring managers. Use it in the wrong place, and HR will toss it aside like a kid feeding broccoli to the dog under the table.

 

What is a fun-sized resume?

info-graphic resume

A classic infographic resume

Some people may call them a graphic resume or even an infographic visual resume, but the essence of a fun-sized resume is the perfect balance between design, presentation, and critical information. While a typical resume may be between 700-1,000 words, the fun-sized resume only has 200 – 350 words. In that case, every single word on the resume must be impactful and relevant.

Fun-sized resumes utilize white space to guide the eye and emphasize the important skills, education, experience, and achievements of the job seekers. They frequently incorporate color or bold design choices to stand out from the crowd.

 

graphic or visual resume in red

Some graphic resume still use descriptions.

Sweet treat: when to use a fun-sized resume

Graphic resumes are perfect for networking purposes, whether it is done in person or via email. They are a good option to give to hiring managers, industry insiders, and other valuable connections. You can also use them during job fairs to make an impression on the recruiters.

Of course, visual resumes are always a good choice for anyone in the graphic arts or creative industries. In many ways, your creative resume is an example of your work and design aesthetic.

 

Horror story: when to avoid the fun-sized resume

stylish blocks graphic resume

Even some IT people can use a more visually-based resume.

HR HATES infographic and creative resumes. The fun-sized resumes often don’t have enough key words to get through a screening process, especially when it is a computerized Applicant Tracking System (ATS). To survive the first levels of screening, a resume needs to match the key words within the job description by at least 60-70%. Unfortunately, that includes stupid key words like “excellent communication skills.” Since a fun-sized resume doesn’t waste space on asinine phrases like this, they will almost always be screened out on the key words alone.

Another problem for HR is the fancy formatting. Even if you convert your resume to a PDF, the computers are not likely to parse out, or automatically fill in, your application correctly from the graphic resume. As a result, you will spend a lot of time manually completing or correcting the online application forms to make sure everything is accurate.

More conservative or traditional industries don’t look favorably on the fun-sized resume either. Healthcare, legal, HR, finance, and accounting all tend to favor the traditional resume over something wildly creative.

 

gray blocks visual or graphic resume

Use bold but not confusing design choices.

Best practices for the fun-sized resume

While creative resumes allow you to expand your imagination, you still want to incorporate solid strategies to get the most out of those 250 words:

  • Always email the resume as a PDF – even if it was created with MS Office, Word is notorious for making the same document appear differently on different computers. A PDF guarantees that what you send is what they get.
  • If using a hard copy for events, pay attention to the printing quality and paper stock.
  • Focus on the most important skills for your target job and drop the superfluous ones like “communication skills.”
  • Be careful about using too many logos, graphs or bars that don’t clearly show your value as a candidate.
  • Use a bold design, but not a busy one. The reader should instantly understand what you have to offer.

 

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Agency Spotlight: Pavillion Agency

pavillion agency logoSince their founding in 1962, the Pavillion Agency has gained most of their business and candidates through repeat customers or referrals. With over 50 years in the industry, their reputation for being an effective source for finding top-notch candidates is well deserved. Along with solid recruiting practices, the agency has adopted new technology to stay on the cutting edge of the industry and meeting the ever-increasing demand from principals for the latest technical advances. In addition to their main office in New York, the firm opened a Miami Beach office in 2012. They place candidates in positions across the country, with a focus on Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Greenwich, the Hamptons, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

In today’s Agency Spotlight, Seth Norman Greenberg, their Vice President and Marketing Director, gives us more insight into the long standing and ever-evolving company…

  1. How long have you been in business?

Since 1962.

  1. What makes your agency unique?

Our dedication to integrity, personalized service and client satisfaction. From the very beginning, Pavillion has distinguished itself as an organization with the highest ethical standards and moral values. This is evidenced by the fact that over 90% of our client and applicant base are either repeat customers or personally referred to us. Our reputation is everything. We have set ourselves apart by continuously improving the way we conduct business with innovations unique to our industry.

  1. What types of positions do you place?

Nannies, chefs, butlers, chauffeurs, private security, housekeepers, house/estate managers, personal assistants, baby nurses, domestic couples, laundress/lady’s maids and much more.

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

We look for four key traits. Specifically, someone who is experienced, friendly, accommodating, and flexible.

  1. Do you place across the country or locally? If so where?

Over the past 55 years, we have developed a strong following in many American cities. We have come to identify a group of regions that have the highest demand for our services. While we do place in multiple locations, we have found that by focusing on some key markets, we are able to serve our clients better as well as build a strong network for sourcing candidates.

Following are the primary domestic cities we have a focus on servicing: New York, Miami Beach, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Greenwich, Hamptons, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

  1. Do you look for any special training or certifications, such as college degrees, private service schools, etc.

Certain positions require a certain education level or skill set.  Any continuing education is a plus.

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

Of course, our website is always a good source. We do advertise on EstateJobs.com and promote our positions through our social media accounts:

Pavillion Website www.pavillionagency.com

Pavillion Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Pavillion-Agency-181560385247783/

Pavillion Twitter Handle- @pavillionagency

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

We would like both.

Apply at https://pavillionagency.com/for-applicants/application

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

International Nanny Associtation (INA)

My Nannies Circle

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

  1. How can people contact you?

Call our main office at 212-889-6609

Email: info@pavillionagency.com

Follow us on Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/Pavillion-Agency-181560385247783/

Ask Donna: Does LinkedIn really matter for my job search?

Dear Donna:

I’ve been looking for a job for several months and haven’t gotten much traction. A friend suggested that maybe I need to improve my LinkedIn profile. Right now, I have my work history on it but that is about it. I have never gotten any response to my LinkedIn profile before. It just seems like another thing to manage when I’m busy enough already just applying to jobs.

Does LinkedIn really matter that much for my job search?

Thanks,

Way Too Busy

 

Dear Busy:

I hate to tell you this, but your friend is right. LinkedIn is the new standard that many employers rely on when sourcing new candidates. Let’s take a look at the numbers:

  • There are over 500 million users on LinkedIn.
  • It is estimated that one in every four professionals on the planet are on LinkedIn.
  • Over 89% of recruiters are looking for candidates on LinkedIn.
  • Even if the company didn’t post the ad on LinkedIn, 90% of employers will look at the candidate’s LinkedIn profile before calling them for an interview.
  • Only 35% of job seekers are fully engaged on LinkedIn. (NOTE: while many job seekers are present on LinkedIn, that doesn’t mean they are using all of the tools available.)

Take into consideration that there are literally millions of publicly-posted AND privately-posted jobs on LinkedIn, it only makes sense for anyone seeking a professional-level job should be on the site. In fact, many employers are now allowing candidates to apply with their LinkedIn profile from their company’s application system, or ATS.

However, there’s a lot more to it than just being an online resume. If all that you have is your work history, it’s no wonder that you are not getting any quality contacts from the site.

Here’s what you are missing:

  1. Attracting recruiters

The best LinkedIn profiles will be fully complete and key word rich. This means that you need a compelling headline, a strong summary, concise but powerful work experience descriptions, and a complete skills section that reflects terms for your target job. When recruiters search for candidates on LinkedIn, they find them because of the amount of key words in their LinkedIn profile. If you didn’t bother to fill out your profile, the recruiters won’t bother with contacting you.

But that’s not all: LinkedIn will also favor users who are more active on the site AND those that have more connections, either personal 1st Degree connections or active Group connections.

  1. Giving employers the rest of the picture

When employers check out candidates who applied to their jobs, they are looking for some very important things. Most notably, they want to see Recommendations (which is NOT the same as the Endorsements on your Skills) and community involvement, such as volunteer work, professional organizations, projects, outside courses and so on. They may check out which Groups you belong to and what Companies you are following.

The most important thing they look for is consistency: does your work history coincide with your resume? While I do not suggest copying your resume word-for-word into your LinkedIn profile, the facts must be the same: company names, dates, locations, titles, and so on. Plus, the descriptions within the LinkedIn profile must be consistent. It drives them crazy when they see a highly detailed work history for every single job except the most current one. It looks lazy and sloppy.

  1. Connecting directly with hiring managers, potential colleagues, and industry influencers

Believe it or not, with a little strategic thinking and understanding of how the site works, it is possible to track down and connect with decision makers on LinkedIn. Even if you don’t find the direct hiring manager, connecting with current or past employees of your target companies can give you great insight into their culture and hiring procedures.

  1. Building your reputation

Whether you are posting your own articles or sharing content from other sources, one of the best way to build your brand is to share quality information on a consistent basis. Plus, when people look at your profile, they can all see your past activity, which includes these articles and posts.

  1. This IS a social network

The best thing about LinkedIn are the Groups. In these, you can connect with other professionals that can help your career. Note I said CAREER, not JOB SEARCH. Building a network is a long game, not just the short-term goal of getting a job. I know that some of my favorite people I’ve met in the past few years only know me online. Plus, you can use the Groups for professional development, learning about the trends in your industry. Nothing improves a candidate’s chances like staying on top of the latest developments.

Good luck with your networking. Remember, the old adage that 80% of jobs are found through networking is still very true. It’s just that much of the old school networking has morphed into the digital age through such sites as LinkedIn.

 

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.

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. 

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

Recruiter Spotlight: PrideStaff Arvada

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, John  Bohannon from PrideStaff in Arvada, CO, shares their secrets to success in matching candidates with temporary, temp-to-perm, and permanent placement options.

  1. How long have you been in business?

PrideStaff was founded in 1978 and the PrideStaff Denver Northwest office opened in 2010.

  1. What makes your agency unique?

We make it all about you!  Staffing excellence is built upon two fundamental principles: client service and exceptional job candidates. Everyone says they provide these things, yet few can prove it. PrideStaff does. How do we do it? By taking a few crucial steps:

Track Results

We proudly follow the Net Promoter methodology developed and validated by client loyalty expert Fred Reichheld. The premise of his work focuses on continually measuring, tracking and responding to feedback based around a single question: “Would you recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” All PrideStaff offices utilize a Net Promoter* survey process, three times a year, with all clients and job candidates participating. In addition to industry-leading NPS scores, PrideStaff has also been consistently recognized among the best of the best in staffing, having received multiple “best of” awards from the American Staffing Association, Inavero and Leading Providers, LLC.

Build Loyalty

At the core of PrideStaff’s success are the relationships we have with the candidates we place. Our candidates are crucial to helping us deliver our Mission and deserve to be treated fairly during the employment process. Our candidates have come to value the following when working with PrideStaff:

  • We care about them as individuals
  • We provide job opportunities that fit
  • We treat them with respect and fairness

Celebrate Success

PrideStaff has received the staffing industry’s highest honor for client service: the Best of Staffing award from loyalty research firm, Inavero. Inavero is our industry’s leading provider of independent client and job candidate surveys. Their Best of Staffing award is reserved for the top performing firms; fewer than 1% of all staffing firms in North America.

  1. What type of positions do you place?

For temp and temp to hire positions, we focus on the broad categories of office/clerical and warehouse/light industrial.  Through our direct hire placements, we fill a variety of other positions.

4. Do you specialize in a particular industry?

We work across a broad range of industries.

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

We work with a very diverse candidate pool.  We typically look for prior or transferable experience in the type of position the candidate is seeking.  Initiative, communication, and responsiveness are traits we value.

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

The PrideStaff Denver Northwest office places locally, but PrideStaff has offices nationwide. PrideStaff’s current office locations can be found at www.pridestaff.com

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

We post most of our open positions on our website at http://pridestaff.com/search-job-database?location_id=32.  We post positions on CareerBuilder and also utilize Snagajob and Indeed.  PrideStaff has a Talent Network candidates can join.  Based on the position, we will use local job boards such as community colleges, universities, and workforce centers.

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

Communicate responsively. In other words, please return our calls and emails in a timely manner to be counted as a top candidate.

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

The easiest way to get started is to email a current resume to denvernwap@pridestaff.com.  We prefer to start with a resume and go from there. Candidates may also apply through jobs posted on our website and other job boards.  Candidates are welcome to visit our office to apply in person.

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

American Staffing Association, Arvada Chamber of Commerce.

  1. How can people contact you?

They can call us at (720) 279-0960 or via email at denvernw@pridestaff.com.

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

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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