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21 Sep

Successful job hunters, over the years, shared with me their “secrets for success.”

In my latest article, which appears in U.S. News & World Report, I share their tips for reaching a speedy and successful conclusion to a job hunt.

Find out how to orient yourself to the job of getting a job, why it is important to keep up to date with the latest skills and knowledge in your field, the key to networking success, and more. Learn about eight of my favorite rules to organize your search while maintaining your sanity and a normal life. Here’s the link:

Happy Hunting!



25 Jul

Amid huge competition, your best chance of standing out from every other job hunter is to do something no one else but you can do: tell your own professional story. You do this through your resume, and by elaborating on your resume in the course of your interviews.

Often, job hunters know their own stories so well that they assume incorrectly that others do also. Or, they feel that by simply conveying the nature of the jobs they have had, others will understand what they have done and what successes they have achieved. Just the opposite is true: You need to spoon-feed your story to those who will evaluate you at every step along the way.

To learn the key to getting your resume to shine like a star, check out the rest of my article which, on the web at USNEWS & World Report.

Just the Facts, Ma’am

10 Jul

5 Ways You Can Use Facts in Your Job Hunt

“Just the facts, ma’am…” is the famous line attributed to Joe Friday on the old TV show Dragnet. But an Internet search reveals that what the character really said in an early episode was, “All we want are the facts.” Recruiters, human resources staffing personnel, and hiring managers are like Joe Fridays: They just want the facts when reviewing your resume and conducting interviews.

In my article which today appears in the USNews Money/Career page, I give five easy ways sticking to “just the facts” can help your job search.  Here’s the link:

Happy hunting!



22 May

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Career Coach & Job Search Coach

2 Key Ways To Focus Your Message

6 Jan

After years of very high unemployment, things appear to be turning around.  The N.Y. Times reported (1/6/2012) that the U.S. added 200,000 jobs in December, 2011.  This was the sixth straight month that the economy has added more than 100,000 jobs. 

Are you telling your story in a compelling way to make you 1 of the next 100,000 people to be hired?

Are you effectively providing your message to snag one of these new jobs? 

Your job as a jobhunter is to make it easy for people to understand how you can add value to the company that hires you.  Everything about your resume, networking, and interviewing should be designed to strategically further this fundamental message. 

Here are two of the most common examples of off-track messaging and how to fix them:

SITUATION #1:  You are between 45-65 years old, and your cover letter begins like this:  “… I’ve got 25 years of experience doing XXX in YYY industry.”  You get rejected, and fear that it is due to age discrimination.  In reality, that might be the case, but by the way you project your own case you give the underlying message that you are an older worker. Remember that you aren’t selling decades of experience.  Rather, you are selling the knowledge, skills, and abilities which you happened to attain during your years of experience.

  • THE FIX: Lead with something like, “In my most recent position as XXX, I provided value for my company by…”  Then give a brief story that conveys a situation, how you took control of it/dealt with it, and the glowing results that you accomplished.  Sell the story of your experience – not the length of it.

SITUATION #2:  Point after point in your resume begins with the words, “Responsible for…” or something else that describes your prior job description.  Such language fails to give any positive message.  It doesn’t say anything about what you actually did, how you think, how you interact with others, or the results you produced.  Worse, you simply position yourself as one of countless others who have had similar roles and responsibilities.

  • THE FIX: Make each point in your resume is about something that you actually did, and briefly tell the story providing three basic elements:  a) The situation or problem; b) your actions; and c) the success/results you achieved.  Wherever possible quantify your results in terms of increased sales, decreased costs, reduced liability, potential savings, or increased productivity. 


Sales people have the greatest quantifiable resultsThe numbers speak for themselves, but they speak even louder when you tell a story about how you achieved your numbers like this:

  • Uncovered and exploited opportunities to increase revenue from new and existing accounts, and rekindled dormant relationships, resulting in year-to-year sales increases of 16-18%.

 Of course, not everyone has a job whose results are measured in dollars.  Still, you can tell a story and give a “soft” result like this:

  • Achieved customer satisfaction for engineers involved with new product development by organizing seminars on emerging technologies.

Remember this:  you can fashion the impression people will have of you.  The words you chose can tell important stories, and convey purposeful messages.  One of my greatest joys as a coach is working with my clients to frame the messaging that builds the case for them to be hired. 

What’s your story?  What’s your message?

Happy hunting!


10 Things Employers & Recruiters Want From Candidates

21 Apr

Every job hunter has the same question:  What do employers look for, and how can I best show that I’ve got “it”?

A few days ago, I attended a panel discussion for career coaches led by three of the leading recruiters in Greater Boston.  Each recruiter had the assignment of explaining their view of today’s hiring environment, what employers are looking for, and then to give a few tips for candidates.  The recruiters deal with different specialties, including:  Human Resources, Medical Devices, Information Technologies (IT), and Marketing.  Nonetheless they agreed on one thing:   Five years ago, if an employer listed a job with 8-10 bullet points of “requirements”, a candidate might have been hired if he/she only had 3-4 of them.  But today, virtually every client of theirs wants “12 out of 10 requirements to be evidenced— just to get the initial phone interview.”

It comes as no surprise that they all report that both recruiters and companies are being inundated by resumes, as more people are chasing fewer and fewer jobs.  In this environment, they report that employers have come to view job boards like Monster as counter-effective.  When they advertise a position, they get SO MANY responses it becomes an overwhelming task just to sort through all the extraneous resumes to find the quality people who would be of interest.  Result?  They are utilizing alternative methods of identifying and recruiting top talent.  It is more time efficient and effective for both corporate (in-house) and contingency (3rd party) recruiters to scour LinkedIn and other social media sites to find candidates worth pursuing.  More and more, self-submitted resumes are not responded to because they aren’t even read!

Employers are looking for the following:

  1.  Candidates are expected to clearly articulate their accomplishments as part of their personal brand.  LinkedIn profiles must highlight an individual successes and results! Skills are important – but only insofar as candidates use them to attain results.  Never lead with:  “XX years of experience doing….”!  Each resume bullet point should tell a story: “Accomplished X by doing Y, resulting in Z”.
  2. Clear branding:  know who you are, what you offer, and what you are after.  Be comfortable with your own story, and have that story down pat.  Convey it consistently in your resume, LinkedIn profile, on Facebook, and increasingly on Twitter.  Tip: get all those references to partying, and anything that wouldn’t well represent an employer’s brand off your own Facebook page – NOW!  LinkedIn is seen as a way screen people in, and Facebook is viewed as a means to screen people out – even before an individual knows that he or she might be considered.
  3. Fit, Fit, & Fit! It’s the buzzword of the decade, but it means different things to different companies.  Fit goes beyond the job requirements and speaks to an individual’s experience working in a similar type organization in size, product/service, marketplace or geography.  Questions of “fit” go to the concerns: would a given candidate be happy working as part of this company/team… and would the people here be happy to work side by side with this individual?  If hired, would the person last? Commonly, employers are utilizing behavioral interviewing to determine if a candidate is a “fit”.
  4. One recruiter put it this way:   The length of time [companies are taking] to fill openings is increasing.  Companies are increasingly picky about who they hire.  But they are hiring people who have “bull’s eye” skill sets, have industry experience, and are a fit for their particular corporate culture.  More and more, you have to have all three to be hired, and candidates should adjust their job search accordingly.

 Recruiters are looking for the following:

  1.  People who can show that they volunteer to do more than is required of them in the workplace
  2. People who “know what they don’t know”, make no bones about it, and constantly strive to learn to fill in the gaps of their knowledge and experience.
  3. People who can explain what they did in a past job that makes them valuable to a future employer.
  4. People who can understand that recruiters are professional service providers who deserve respect. (If you are dealing with a recruiter who doesn’t deserve your respect, move on to another one!).  Understand that recruiters work with candidates, but ultimately for companies.
  5. People who make an effort to establish a mutually beneficial relationship, by addressing them personally, offering to help find other candidates for positions if they aren’t the right fit themselves.
  6. People who recognize that it is counterproductive for both themselves and the recruiter to do the “end run” around the recruiter and deal directly with the company that they represent.

All of this goes to show the importance of seeing the search for a new position as a “hunt” which requires a coherent strategy and a consistent message.  Getting a job is a job!  For more information about what recruiters are advising job hunters, don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly.  I offer an initial free consultation to any job hunter.  Happy hunting!

Today’s Tip: Use Facts to “Brag On Yourself”

11 Oct

One of the hardest things for jobhunters to do is to run the fine line between self-aggrandizement and self-deprecating humility.

Candidates who say on their resume or in an interview things like, “I’m a great fit for your job” or “I’m the best at…” come off sounding conceited.  Other candidates have trouble conveying how good they really are for many reasons.

Remember: it is the job of the interviewer to evaluate you and your credentials.  Don’t take that role away by making “conclusion” statements about yourself.  Instead, remember that it is the job of the jobhunter to provide enough solid facts and evidence to lead the interview to the inevitable conclusion that you are the “best fit” candidate!

Whether in your resume or in an interviewer, you should focus on facts – achievements attained, and methodologies used.  Quantify wherever possible!

If you say: “Responsible for increasing sales” doesn’t say anything about whether or not you achieved that goal – or how you did it.  It gives the resume reviewer no basis to judge how successful you have been, or might be in your next position.

Better to restate it something like this: “Achieved goal of 22% increased sales by…. “  This statement gives the reviewer a sense of your accomplishments – in size and scale, as well as demonstrating that you know how to go about replicating that kind of result in your next job.   Statements like these create the inevitable conclusion of the resume evaluator:  “This candidate has what it takes to be successful here!”

Few people will be able to quantify their accomplishments in terms of hard numbers for every single bullet,  but that is the aim.  And even if you can’t cite the numbers, you need to convey as best as possible what you did – not what your job description says you should have done!

Stating facts is just that – it isn’t bragging, and it isn’t overly humble.  It is the best tool to avoid both of those pitfalls, while presenting yourself as a person of valuable accomplishment!

Happy Hunting!