Job Description(s)

When you are the applicant, you don’t give a lot of thought to the job description, other than do you meet some of most, or all of the criteria that they are looking for in that next perfect candidate. Now keep in mind that if you are reading it on the company website, or a job website, chances are the recruiter and internal staffing person at the company have not had any successful internal candidates and now need to open the job pool. Also, employee referrals probably have not garnished terrific candidates.  Have you ever noticed that some job descriptions are super lengthy, full of wordy “stuff” that probably no one really can prove? If you are the owner of a start up company then you might have the luxury have actually writing the job description of the new staff member you want to add to the team. So why am I talking about job descriptions? Well, it is really important in the job search process and the resume writing exercises.

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If you REALLY want the job, then you are going to memorize the job duties/requirements and then rewrite your action statements from your current job and the past jobs so they reflect that you have ALL of the things they want out of that person. If the hiring manager wants ______ (insert any transferable skill) then you better darn well demonstrate that you meet or exceed that skill. You action statements should be results oriented. Meaning, you say what you did, how you did it and what was the result.

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Example: ” – Demonstrated excellent client relationship skills by increasing new business development 200% (1.2K annually) by effectively growing clientele base utilizing referrals and willing to recommend.” Of course this is a sales type of example, but you get the idea of a well written action statement that is guaranteed to get some results (like an interview). [job description might have asked for “cold calling” or some prospecting skill/technique and this action statements meets/exceeds that requirement.] This is what you will do for every requirement and then find a place in the resume where you did it. Part of the screening process is to ensure candidates at least meet the minimum requirements. The “nice to have” skills are what get candidates to the final round.  So now that I shared this little bit of info with you, go back and look at the last job you wrote. Line up where you showed on the resume that you exceed every requirement. How impressive is your resume now? Btw, no one cares what you did 20 years ago. It is not current or relevant anymore. Sure you learned to type then but how fast do you ten key now in addition to typing?

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As a reminder, if you are doing the job now, using those skills, you keep it in first person tense. If it is an older job, you put it in past tense. Hire, not hired. At all costs do not write in first person. “I did this. I did that.” No. No. No. Action verbs that show you can use a thesaurus effectively. There are already websites that write about good action verbs. Use Google if you can’t figure them out on your own. They don’t do actual career fairs like they did in the 80’s and 90’s, but if they did, you as a candidate could get a really good idea of what type of competition you are up against. Like, oh snap HE looks like a lawyer. SHE looks like a business executive, as you look at your “good” jeans and black athletic shoes. I sat in an office of candidates once, looked at what I had on and realized I was in the wrong place. Under-qualified but over ambitious. Save yourself the grief of thinking you will get a job you aren’t qualified. That HR person or screener many time are just looking to see what skills you have and ensure you can do the job. Your dazzling personality has to shine when you get that phone call for the first interview.

 

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Reasons for Immediate Disqualification

Yes. Yes. No. No. Maybe. Maybe. Yes. Yes. Yes. So, which ones make it to the next round?

Would you like to know the number one reason why candidates get disqualified in the screening process? Oh you think you know it all right? You have a 100% batting average. Send out 1 resume, you get 1 call, 1 offer and a corner office right? Wrong. It never works that way for anyone. So I had a friend who was having a really hard time getting an interview. Keep in mind this was years and years ago. So I took a look at the resume and it was just awful. I smiled and said there was definitely some room for improvement, and we could probably consolidate the 4 pages into 1. So why did my friend get disqualified? Well believe it or not, he was cut in the first round due to a couple of big mistakes. 1 page should sell you nicely. 2 pages and you are some kind of nerd. Dude, I have been working since the 80’s and “I” have 1 page. So can you. He was trying to get a job by listing every single piece of information about himself. He changed tense. He wrote in first person and third person, in the same sentence. He spelled manager as manger. Boom. Next. I redid his resume and amazingly he actually got an interview. He later relayed that his original 4 page resume was attached to the new one in the HR manager’s office. He was ashamed and confessed to the HR manager he got professional help on his resume. He got an interview an eventually got an offer. His honestly is what won them over.

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Everyone lies. Don’t do it on your resume or cover letter. If/when you get caught you WILL get terminated. In my profession I have been so lucky to get to do ALL the HR legwork in hiring candidates. Yes, that means background and educational credential checks. I can’t begin to tell you how easy it is to find out information on someone when you have a resume in hand. Lying about your degree is probably up there as far as lies, other than titles, and falsification of duties/responsibilities. If you are a general manager and had to do all kinds of shitty jobs, you don’t list each of those titles as jobs. HR managers know what a general manager does. Remember, it is HR that writes all those job descriptions, does the performance evaluation and promotes from within the company. They know a lot of stuff. We know that bigger titles sometimes mean smaller salaries. We know that non-profit employees get screwed. Don’t give false salaries that you cannot back up. I had an employer who wanted proof that I made my prior salary. I showed him my W-2 form and he shut up.

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When you leave a company there are a few things that HR CAN and will tell the new employer. The call will goes something like this: “Hey, this is Aaron over in HR at store 1111___, doing am employment check on ______.” (If it is internal from one store to another, it might go like this). RESPONSE: “Dates of employment are ___ to ____. Starting title and salary was $____ final salary and ending title was $_____, no performance issues, no attendance issues, is rehirable.” Very standard phone call, and I can say that is exactly how I answered those calls for prior employees. If I didn’t have all the information, I might say “I can’t disclose that information but I can verify what you have is correct or invalid. What dates and titles do you have?” Of course, I could always get classified information out of the other HR person, after all we played on the same team. So I might say something like, “Say, _____ is a final top 3 and we really like him. Is there anything you might say off the record so we don’t make a bad hiring decision? I’d hate to be negligent in my questioning and saved us a mistake.” Surprise, sometimes that person you are taking to might be a best friend of that candidate, and we know they will say anything for a BFF. Like accidentally saying that person has a _____ problem. Oops. Yes, it happens. Bottom line, don’t lie. You have plenty of awesome, marketable, sellable mad skills. Start by using them as you create your achievement statements.

 

On a side note: If you are participating in this job search series, please stop sending out ANY resumes and cover letters until the new one has been created. You only have so many target jobs you can impress and you want to do it with your best foot forward. You have this weekend to finish parts 1 & 2. You will need to define your dream job, as you should be tailoring your skills to the job you want and have the skills THEY want.

I am human and make mistakes. Your resume should not have a single mistake. An extra space, a period or comma missing will be your doom. And on a positive note, I was out in public yesterday, mask free! It was so liberating to laugh and smile in public once again.

 

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Resume Achievements

So now that I can quickly disqualify you because you are not a right fit, based on your overview, OR I like what I read and I want to know more.  Such as, what are the “things” that you can do that you are most proud? Some people are highly decorated and there are many things that are super impressive about them. But what about you? What have you done in your professional life as well as your personal life that you can share with an employer? Are you on any committees? Part of any other organizations? Do you hold any titles or certifications? Your goal today is to start writing down as many things about your skills that you want to advertise. Software, hardware, communication skills. I’m a publisher, editor (sometimes) writer/author (all the time), and reader. Not everyone has ALL of those skills. Some people literally can’t read. As an older person, I am starting to be one of them. Small text on my phone, beauty products, manuals are sometimes more than challenging. Probably the number one reason I compose in a huge font. I actually use Header4, which makes it this size. Some people, like Trump, don’t know how  to click a drop down box and compose in a larger font. Yeah, I know, crazy. If people can’t read it due to size, they won’t even try.

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So you really need a section in your resume that highlights your achievements, or your resume bragging/talking points. Remember, you can direct how your interview is going to transpire based upon the things you tell them in your action statements. So, for instance, one of the things that I am proud of, that is not on social media, is the fact that I raised over a thousand dollars in fundraising for the suicide prevention organization and I had to walk 20 miles overnight for their walkathon. Of course this is interesting and something that someone who is reading will want to know more. So your statements need to highlight what you are capable of doing. Human resources will respond to the correct verbiage on your resume. So understand and know your metrics. For some that might be reaching or overachieving your monthly sales goal. Awards from your employer are also key in getting noticed, remembered, and called for an interview. Do not make the mistake of thinking your resume will get you the job. It “might” get you a telephone interview. If you are the ideal/dream candidate, it will get you an in person interview along with a job offer. If you JUST graduated high school then you have all kinds of things to talk about that make you the best candidate. When I reviewed resume for students I would look at it for things that are talking points, things that are impressive and that that are just wasting space on valuable real estate. Use your network and ask people what are your strengths. Ask yourself, what makes you better than 100 other candidates? Keep in mind, the resume is designed to get you the interview. If you already know someone who can get you an introduction then you don’t need a resume. I have been hired in coffee shops talking with my clients about WordPress, and consultants overhear me and inquire wanting to know more. Sometimes just proving you can do the job, like showing your portfolio or websites, can get you hired. No interview required. Artists are hired all the time to paint/create a piece without ever knowing what the final piece will look like. If I said I would work for you for ONE day, what would you have me do? Create a marketing plan? Website? Review your resume and cover letter? Train you to interview? Teach you how to hire and screen the right candidates? Read financial statements? Teach you how to make money with our own set of skills? Review your manuscript? Create a logo? Photograph you for portrait studio pics? There are tons of “things” that can translate into valuable action statements/skills. Remember, your personality is a sellable skill, as are your looks. Television news anchors are hired because of their personality, not how smart they are. They just sit there, look pretty and talk. Wow, what a perfect job, until your looks fade and you are cancelled.

Shout out to Dollar General for a whole bunch of inexpensive fairy garden decorations. I found a bunch of fun stuff for mine. For those who created their own gardens, the fairies are ever so grateful. Cheers! It’s Friday, and those who are vaccinated no longer have to wear masks, according to the CDC. I hate masks. They tickle my goatee and make it annoying.

If you are working on your resume/action statements, do not do it as a resume format. Do it on a blank piece of paper. The formatting part will come later. Start by listing what you do now, what you did in past jobs, and what you can do in the future. This is really important. Think outside the box. Think like a HR screener.

 

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