Weekly Top 3 Job Search Tips

March 8, 2010

So the recovery sputters along, but the jobs are lagging. There are some signs of large companies in the Bay Area starting to ramp up after a couple of years of downsizing and freezes. In particular, Cisco and PG&E have announced that they are hiring. Look for other large companies to slowly start making offers as well.

Here are the top 3 job search posts from the past week. Enjoy!

First up this week is from Interns Over 40 and a very timely 10 Simple Ideas to keep your resume out of the Black Hole.
Here’s an excerpt:
Whatever Happened to my Resume?
Astronomers define a black hole as a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. I have often heard job seekers refer to the application process as a “black hole where resumes go, never to be heard from again”.
Here are some simple ideas to keep your resume out of the black hole:
1. Apply only to those jobs where you possess 85% or more of the requirements
2. Customize each resume to include every key word that is mentioned in the job description
3. Develop a headline that provides a “wow factor”, uniquely defining your area of expertise
4. Create 3 or 4 key sentences at the top of your resume to highlight your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)
5. Focus on promotions, results and direct contributions, not responsibilities and tasks

For the entire article, click here.

Next up is from the WSJ’s Laid off and Looking blog and After 16 Months, Finally Starting a New Position.
Last Monday I was (finally) offered a job. A good friend recommended me for a position that was never advertised. A couple of interviews later, I am back among the employed.

As far as I can tell, there is nothing remarkable about this position. Other jobs that I had applied for were closer fits for my experience, and I had gotten recommendations for similar positions from friends and business acquaintances. At the time, I was interviewing for two other jobs, which was more interest than I had received during the previous 14 months. I don’t think that market conditions had improved, the positions were not related, I hadn’t recently changed my resume or approach, and it didn’t feel like Divine intervention. It was simply my time.

I never thought it would take as long as it did to find a job. Months of networking, internet job board searching, resume matching, applying, calling, emailing, waiting and hoping were dreadful. I was shocked at the lack of respect potential employers had for me as a job seeker, as 90% of my applications were never given the simple courtesy of a response. Employers seemed unconcerned about the quality of their applicants, as almost none even asked for my references let alone checked them out. I have no idea how they evaluate things like work ethic and leadership skills from a resume, often not even written by the applicant but by a professional resume writer. It seemed that aligning with internal Applicant Tracking Systems was much more important.

I also had many positive experiences. Networking put me back in touch with friends and business acquaintances I hadn’t talked with in years. My family and I have never been closer — I spent time with my wife and kids that I will treasure forever. I got to pretend to be a writer for the WSJ. A few fix-it jobs around the house even got done. I learned about myself and take a new and improved attitude into my new job. I believe that I will be more helpful and understanding of others when they are unemployed or facing their own obstacles.

A total creature of habit, I still look at job openings every day. Instead of worrying about my future, I think about others who find themselves in the same place I was two weeks ago. My advice is to stay positive, level out the good times with the bad, protect your personal brand, nurture your professional entourage, and be patient. Your time will come, just as mine has.

Lastly, You Rock, from Seth Godin:

This is deceptive.

You don’t rock all the time. No one does. No one is a rock star, superstar, world-changing artist all the time. In fact, it’s a self-defeating goal. You can’t do it.

No, but you might rock five minutes a day.

Five minutes to write a blog post that changes everything, or five minutes to deliver an act of generosity that changes someone. Five minutes to invent a great new feature, or five minutes to teach a groundbreaking skill in a way that no one ever thought of before. Five minutes to tell the truth (or hear the truth).

Five minutes a day you might do exceptional work, remarkable work, work that matters. Five minutes a day you might defeat the lizard brain long enough to stand up and make a difference.

And five minutes of rocking would be enough, because it would be five minutes more than just about anyone else.
Which of these tips are you going to employ?

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1

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Weekly Top 3 Job Search Tips

January 31, 2010

Here are the top 3 posts I’ve selected for this week. Please feel free to comment or add your own posts.
First up is from the WSJ’s Laid Off and Looking blog by John Brownrigg on Mishaps During the Hiring Process. These are the things that could go wrong that did. You probably have a few stories of your own you could share here. Here’s an excerpt:

Recently, I have dealt with a few failing job prospects, where yet another “perfect fit” didn’t work out. I met a company’s internal recruiter at an airport, where he was going to rent a car and drive me to the office for my interview. When the rental car personnel ran his company credit card through the machine, it was rejected. Assuming a malfunction, she called the numbers in, but the card was still rejected. I’m not sure why I didn’t turn and run, but I stepped in and used my credit card to rent the car. The hiring manager seemed perplexed at my story, and the interview did not go well. The recruiter disappeared by the next day, the hiring manager reluctantly took a couple of calls but then also disappeared, my expenses were never paid, and I didn’t get the job.

Next is Meg Giuseppi’s post Never on Sunday, a reminder that we need to take a break now and then from the internet (yes, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, the job sites, all of it.) Here’s an excerpt:

When I recently visited my elderly, ultra tech-challenged father (he still has trouble with his answering machine – forget about him ever getting a computer), I brought along my netbook to see if I’d be able to pick up a signal at his house.

He marveled at how small my laptop was. “Is that a full computer?” he asked. I told him it was. We talked a bit about how far we’ve come with the Internet and technology.

He shook his head and asked, “Is the Internet open 24 hours a day”? Of course, I answered “yes”.

I think he was politely nudging me to put the thing aside while we were visiting. But did that little question of his ever hit home with me.

Finally, here’s a great blog for those over 40. It’s titled appropriately enough, Interns Over 40 and has some very useful tips. I’m including their weekly list of the top rated sites by their readers in this post.

01/22/10 Readers weekly choice of the Most Read Career Transition Articles. (or how to quickly find out the best of Internsover40).Grab a cup of coffee. Put on your favorite Weekend Tunes. We are giving you a chance to catch up on your weekly reading and viewing with a list of the most popular Stories on Interns over 40. These are the the top 4 stories that your peers have read this past week. Hope you find them valuable. We look forward to reading your comments.
1. Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make:http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/11/7-mistakes-job-seekers-over-50-make.html
2. Where are the Jobs in the Next Decade:http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2010/01/where-are-jobs-in-next-decade.html
3. Interview Questions and Answers For Older Worker: http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/10/8-interview-questions-answers-for-older_31.html
4. 10 Ways to Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out:http://internsover40.blogspot.com/2009/12/10-ways-to-make-your-cover-letter-stand_10.html
New Career Transition Tools:
Job Seekers: Post your Resume and Search for new careers or new industry:
http://ow.ly/ZwE7

Let me know which one of these you like best.

By the way, you can see my columns on career coaching and transitions at SF Examiner.com.

JP McDermott is a financial services and insurance advisor in Walnut Creek, CA. specializing in career transitions. He is also a career and financial coach, a freelance writer on career coaching with SF Examiner.com, and has been volunteering his time and experience to various non-profit, service and civic organizations.
JP lives in Danville with his wife Candy.

Check out his LinkedIn profile http://www.linkedin.com/in/jpmcdermott
JP Headshot1