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Sunday, November 26, 2006
'Tis the Season - Really!
We’ve passed Turkey Day and are heading into the high velocity time of the December holidays. Traditionally, December is considered to be the “slow time” of the year to job search coming in just ahead of the month of June for sluggish response. That can be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective.

Most people only see the bad part of job searching in December so they don’t make the effort. They wait until January when it seems like the entire world has resolved to find a better or more challenging job. No recruiters or hiring managers work in December, right? Wrong! Sure, the volume of job seekers on the market tends to drop in December but that is a definite GOOD thing for people looking for a new job. Recruiters and hiring managers have more time to read through your resume, set up interviews, and generally aren’t as harried as other parts of the year. In January, those same recruiters and hiring managers are buried in resumes from people who waited for the New Year to start their job searches.

Another negative that most people see in a December job search is the lag in response time from recruiters or employers in responding to inquiries. People are on vacation or they are leaving work early to shop or attend holiday festivities. Let’s be honest here for a moment – when is the last time you got an IMMEDIATE response from a recruiter or hiring manager that wasn’t an autoresponder message? I bet it was in 1987 or so. Lag time happens and you might as well get your resume in there first before the onslaught of 2007 arrives and crashes their servers.

Now is the time to get your resume prepared rather than waiting until after January 1. We quote a three-to-five day turnaround but it’s helpful to have a little extra thinking time in there and not be rushed when working on strategy. Low volume is a much better time for a resume writer than a high volume time.

Getting started ahead of the rush gives you more time to plan and get organized for your job search. The better organized you are the better your results and the faster the hire. Not to mention, your job search expenditures will count on this year’s tax deductions if you get it done before the end of December!

So get moving on your job search now. Don’t put it off just to be in the crowds of millions!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Smile for the Birdy – NOT!
Don’t you hate your driver’s license photo or your passport picture? They always make you look like a wanted felon. When you watch America’s Most Wanted and they show a picture, you automatically make a judgment about the person even before you know what he/she has done to make it on the program. Pictures are like that – they cause instant judgments to be formed in the mind of the viewer, even it the person looking at the photo does not realize it or intend to make a judgment.

That “instant judgment” is the precise reason you should never include your photograph on your resume if you are targeting jobs in the United States. It is common to include a picture on a CV for job search in other countries, but US hiring laws are very strict. Employers are not allowed to make judgments based on race, religion, gender, national origin, etc. When a photograph is included on a resume, it is impossible to avoid making an immediate, if unintentional, judgment about the candidate.

To avoid potential future lawsuits against them for hiring discrimination, most large employers will automatically delete any resume that contains a photograph of the job seeker. It’s a “better safe than sorry” practice. Employers hire based on how the experience and track record of the candidate matches up to their requirements. A person’s appearance should have nothing to do with either experience or track record. I say “should” because we know we live in an imperfect world but according to the law, appearance should not matter in hiring.

Like all good rules, there is always an exception. Job seekers who are actresses, models or performers actually use their 8x10 photograph as their resume and their experience is printed on the back of the photograph. US law allows this because the person’s appearance is an inherent qualification for the position.

For the average job seeker, though, never put your photograph on your resume. You want to be considered based on your abilities, not your physical appearance.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Absent from School
What do some of the most successful business people in the nation have in common? They did not finish college. They were too busy building empires, working their tails off, and managing growth. Have their lack of degrees hampered their careers? Hardly!

It is not uncommon for senior executives today to not have a college degree. In fact, it seems the more successful executives are the ones who didn’t have time to go to college because they were too busy working. Those who went the traditional route and got all their degrees first do not always have the advantage.

Many senior executives with whom we work start to worry about their lack of degrees when they hit the later years of their careers. They worry that young college grads will be competing with them for the senior jobs. That is just not the way it goes. Sure, a degree or an MBA is nice to see but it’s like icing on the cake. It’s not the substance that employers seek. Employers are seeking experience, wisdom and a proven record of success in hiring senior executives.

Consider that 80% of American college graduates never work in their majors. Think about the most valuable learning you have acquired. I bet it didn’t come through a professor while sitting in a class of 90 taking notes. It came through life experience and that is something that senior executives have to offer than young graduates do not have.

Just because you don’t have a degree is not a reason to leave your education section off your resume. Education comes in all forms – seminars, courses, conferences, certifications, and special training programs. Include this type of information on your resume in the Education section. Leaving out the Education section only serves to draw attention to the fact that you don’t have a degree rather than the reverse. It’s a big red flag to employers that communicates you feel you need to hide something. That’s not the message you want to communicate.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Campaign Hiring
We are now less than a week away from nation-wide general elections. If you are like me, you are sick of the ads and just want it to be over at this point. I heard yesterday that some candidate had taken the day off in preparation for the run-up to next Tuesday because she was planning on conducting two 24-hour long blitzes. Where is she going to be at 2:00 in the morning to campaign? Wal-Mart? Joe’s Cat House out by the airport? I don’t get it.

Aren’t you glad regular job searching isn’t like political campaigning? Think about it. If you had to conduct your job search like a political campaign we’d be a nation of lie-abouts. First of all, you would have to identify the job you wanted at least six months ahead of time, and maybe even up to two years ahead of time. Then you would have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign expenses – signs, ads, barbeque dinners, etc. – to gain name recognition by the hiring manager.

The background check would be a thing of the past because the press would take care of taking apart your life’s history and waving anything derogatory on the front page. Woe be to you if you were indiscreet or just plain stupid during your college days like the rest of us. It would be yanked out and dissected like those frogs from biology class. And it would smell similar, I’m sure.

All the candidates for the position would be doing this so you would have an average of 199 competitors during this period. Then you would get to the first interview (the primary). After the first interview, the field would be narrowed to maybe ten finalists (like a beauty contest) and that’s when the real fun would start. You would have three months to remake your case starting almost from scratch while trying not to sound redundant in every sentence.

Finally, the big day comes – election/hiring day. You’ve done three twenty-four hour blitzes outside the corporate headquarters of the company that you are targeting. You’ve divested yourself of any competing company’s stock. You’ve put 100K miles on the bus you rented to travel from company branch to company branch to network. It’s down to the wire.

Either you will get the job or you won’t. But wait! The announcement isn’t what you expected! They haven’t chosen one from the ten. They’ve chosen three from the ten and told you there will be another, special election. You have to go through all this even longer! And what if there’s a recount? Hanging chads or something?

Not to worry. At the last minute after months of campaigning and schmoozing and networking and stress, they announce that the position was not going to be funded after all and thank you for your interest.

Back to square one.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 / February 2006 / March 2006 / April 2006 / May 2006 / June 2006 / July 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 /


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