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Like a Sore Thumb

stick out like a sore thumbThere are many ways a person might stand out from the crowd. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Depending on the way you choose to stand out, though, sometimes it’s not. When you’re a candidate competing for a job, your experience and qualifications are the things that should differentiate you from your competition. Not gimmicks.

Far too often, I’ve read well-intentioned pieces of advice about creative and unique ways to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs, and today I’d like to tell you why you shouldn’t follow any of them. Read More

Cover your Bases

cover your base - baseball baseI can be a broken record when it comes to cover letters, but if I am, it’s only because I want you to know where they fit into the hiring process – particularly at the screening stage. I will probably only read your cover letter if I’ve read your resume and already decided that I’m probably going to interview you.

It’s an important principle, because most people write a cover letter with the mindset that it’s going to convince me to read their resume. It’s not. Your cover letter will do one of two things: reaffirm my decision to interview you, or change my mind and decide not to. This changes how you write them, and I’m writing this to help yours do more of the former than the latter. Read More

The 75% rule

75% rule measure upTo a certain extent, a job search is a numbers game. Statistically speaking, the more applications you send out, the more likely that one of them will materialize into a job. This assumes, of course, that the applications are well put-together, and that your experience is a reasonably good fit for the job you’re applying for. But when it comes to fit, how good is good enough? Here’s why you should use the 75% rule when applying for a job. Read More

I, Robot

Wall-E as the ATS botAs if today’s job applicants didn’t have enough to worry about. You’ve got the quality of your applications, making sure your resume is up to snuff. You’ve got the hiring managers who are doing their best to screen out as many people as possible before interviewing anyone. You’ve got competition from other job seekers – possibly hundreds of them.

There’s another adversary you might be hearing a lot about. Artificial intelligence. Spoiler alert: it’s not your adversary. Read More

Form and Function

blank resume templateI’ll say this right up front: I have a strong bias for chronological resumes, and I know I’m not alone. Most recruiters and hiring managers I know lean towards chronological resumes because they make it easier and faster to find the information we’re looking for quickly. Let’s talk about functional resumes, though, and the reasons you might – and might not – want to use one.

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History Lesson

typewriter typing work experience

‘Career History’, ‘Work Experience’, or ‘Professional Experience’ … whatever you call it, the section that gives me an overview of your work experience is hands-down the most critical part of your resume. It’s where I’m going to spend the most time reading, and it’s likely going to be the single most important factor in determining whether you get a chance to interview or not. Below,  I’ll share what I’m looking for when I’m reading this section, so that you can look at yours through the same lens. A better ‘Experience’ section will translate to more interviews.

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Smooth Operator

speedbumps to avoid when working with a recruiter

As a candidate working with a recruiter, it’s to your benefit to help them be as efficient as possible. There are aspects of this that you can’t control. The suitability of your experience and qualifications for the job I’m hiring for, for example. It’s either a good fit, or it’s not. There’s one thing you can control, though. That factor is: friction. Read More

On Target

dartboard targetIn any target sport, hitting your mark is a matter of disciplined preparation, careful aim, and a perfect release. Targeting job applications is no different. If you take the time, each application you send will have a greater chance of hitting the bullseye and landing you an interview. Read More

The First Cut is the Deepest

knife cutting orange for screening candidates

The resume is, clearly, one of the most important parts of any job search. When deciding whether you’re a good enough fit to spend time interviewing, recruiters base that decision on that document above all else. Words on a page can get you in the door, or they can close it forever. But does your resume get you screened in, or screened out? Read More