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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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

sarcastic job interview questions

Snarky Answers to 6 Common Interview Questions

Everyone knows some job interview questions just beg for a snarky answer. Wouldn’t you love to once, just once, really say what’s on your mind? Enjoy these forays into the dark side – followed by some suggestions for how to really answer the question if you actually want to get the job.

Q: “What’s your greatest weakness?”

Snarky Answer: “Bourbon!”

Oh, there are so many tempting answers for this asinine question: alcohol, sleeping in late, slacking off at work, chocolate… just take your pick. In reality, what employers want is either a prepared answer or one that would make it obvious that you aren’t the best candidate for the role.  I usually coach people to provide a real weakness and then discuss how you deal with it. Of course, don’t choose one of those fatal flaws that would immediately get you cut, such as an executive assistant who isn’t detail-oriented.

Real Answer: “While sometimes I can take on a lot, I do my best to be conscious of deadlines so I can set appropriate priorities.”

 

Q: “What motivates you?”

Snarky Answer: “Spite.”

Wouldn’t you just love to say that I’m here for the money and the benefits? But of course, that’s not how the interview game is played. The only exception would be a sales role where being competitive and in control of your own earning potential should be your top motivation. For other roles, the companies want to know that you care about the work itself and their mission in particular. To make the right impression, align your motivation with the heart of the job.

Real Answer: “As a project manager, I love bringing a project to completion while overcoming challenges and staying within the given budget and timeframe. It’s a real sense of accomplishment to know that I was an integral part to a project that takes over a year to complete.”

 

Q: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Snarky Answer: “Retired on a beach after winning the lottery so I don’t have to answer questions like this.”

This is an ancient, dusty, and often stupid question. In spite of the fact that we know people change jobs after 2-4 years and even change their entire career up to 3 times in their lifetime, employers are still asking this stupid question. Unfortunately, the only appropriate answer is to take the brown-nosing route and play up to staying with the company for a long time. Any other answer makes them question your desire to really work for this company.

Real Answer: “I see myself working for this company, working up the ladder and adding to my skills to continue making a positive contribution.”

 

Q: “Tell me about something you learned in the last six months.”

Snarky Answer: “How to look for a job.”

Ironically, even though this probably is the top thing you learned, employers don’t care. They want to see something that actually relates to your career. This is how you clearly demonstrate that you are in touch with the latest trends, technology, and practices. Consider taking online courses through Udemy.com or another learning platform to stay on top of things without having to break your bank.

Real Answer: “Recently, I took a course on Excel on Udemy.com, which is an online resource. I continue to do exercises every day, including using it as a way to track my own job search progress.”

 

Q: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Snarky Answer: “Because it frickin’ sucked.”

Maybe the boss was a screaming psycho who threw things. Maybe you were fired. Maybe your co-workers constantly threw you under the bus. Or maybe the pay was just plain terrible, with no chance for advancement at all. Whatever the case, DON’T say anything negative about a past employer if possible. If you jump on the negativity train, it only makes you look petty and bitter. If your last job really did suck, do some personal journaling to get your feelings out way before you ever step into an interview. THEN you can come up with an answer that is still honest without being negative.

Real Answer: “Unfortunately, I was part of a lay-off that affected many people in the company.”

Variation: “Unfortunately, there was not a lot of room for advancement at the company. I would like to find a job where I can continue to grow professionally.”

 

Q: “Why do you want to work for us?”

Snarky Answer: “Because I need the money – duh.”

While this sounds similar to the “five year” question, it is actually a test. You must show that you did your research about this company and say something very specific that draws you to the job. Even in sales, pure money motivation is not enough. Tie in with their mission, products, services, or reputation to really make a positive impression.

Real Answer: “I am impressed by XYZ’s commitment to excellence. I noticed that your customers consistently leave raving reviews for your services. Plus, I really support your mission to make a difference in the world.”

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linkedin cardinal sin lust

LinkedIn Cardinal Sin: Lust

On the surface, this may appear to be the most obvious “LinkedIn Cardinal Sin” to avoid. After all, this is NOT a dating site, so lust shouldn’t be part of it, right? However, there is more to the concept of lust than the sexual aspect. When we look at it from a different point-of-view, lust is the ultimate concept of using other people to get what we want. And using people is definitely a huge LinkedIn Cardinal Sin.

I WANT IT NOW

Just like Veruca Salt, the spoiled brat from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” someone consumed with lust wants what they want and they want it right now. I personally have seen this on LinkedIn when I accept a connection from someone, just to immediately be hit with a heavy-handed sales pitch. The person didn’t do anything to build a relationship with me, and I instantly feel duped or used as a result. Needless to say, those are the connections that I tend to “unfriend” almost immediately.

 

HUNTING MANAGERS

Another area that the instant gratification becomes a problem is with job seekers. Now I’m not suggesting that job seekers refrain from using LinkedIn to connect with managers and workers at their target companies. It’s the way the connections are made that needs to be addressed.

When reaching out to a possible future employer, be honest about your interest in the company as well as the target contact as a person. Ask about their backgrounds and how they managed to rise to a leadership position within the company. If all of your messages to a possible hiring manager only talk about how much you want the job, it’s not showing that you care about the other person at all.

THE OBVIOUS INTERPRETATION

No discussion about lust on LinkedIn would be complete without pointing out that for some people, lust is the literal interpretation. In this case, I’d like to warn you both about the phishing profiles and the poor choices that can lead to misinterpretation from other LinkedIn users.

  1. Phishing profiles

Typically speaking, if you see someone with a very beautiful or attractive profile picture, a low number of connections, and a job history that is either inconsistent or not complete, this could be a phishing profile. The scammers are hoping to connect with you to reach out to your own contacts or to even proposition you directly.

One of the more unique examples were phishing profiles that used the job title of “BDM.” In some circles, that means “Business Development Manager;” however, it can also mean “bondage, discipline, and masochism.” Yikes! And yes, I HAVE seen profiles that indicate the secondary meaning.

Fortunately, LinkedIn is proactive about identifying these types of abuses on the site. Of course, when you find one yourself, you can report it to LinkedIn as well.

  1. Profile misinterpretation

In some cases, just a poor choice on a profile can open a LinkedIn user to a misinterpretation of their intentions on the site. Most often, I this relates to the profile picture.

Some recent bad pictures I saw include:

  • Showing too much skin – both male and female
  • A low-cut prom dress – complete with roses
  • Cheesy selfies
  • Vacation pictures
  • Workout pictures (but still applying for professional jobs)
  • Duck lips
  • Extreme close-ups

Picture choice is vital on LinkedIn. Not only do profiles with pictures gain 11x more views than those without, they do send a huge message about the person. If you aren’t sure that your picture is sending the right message, I highly suggest that you check out the website www.PhotoFeeler.com. You can get direct feedback as well as source great articles on how to improve your pictures.

GO AWAY, CREEPY PEOPLE

One other way that lust slides onto LinkedIn are direct predators. Every now and then, I will get an invitation from someone I don’t know. Once I accept, they will follow up with a message along the lines of “you had such a beautiful smile, I just had to reach out to you!”

Yep, that’s creepy.

The solution is simple: “unfriend” and block that user. If the person really crossed a line, you can also report him or her to LinkedIn directly.

PROTECTING YOURSELF

LinkedIn offers several tools to make sure the site stays a safe environment for networking, professional development, career advancement, and research. When you run across something questionable, help the community and yourself by making LinkedIn aware.

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