The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted February 24, 2010 by

Caution People! How Social Media Is Muddying the Waters for Perfectly Good Jobseekers … and How Companies are Letting it Happen

Written by Teena Rose,
Invited to an interview, you step into the room and unload that heavy photo album you’ve been clinging to onto the conference table. In addition to a resume and brag book, you have pictures on your iPhone of your dogs and the neighbor’s cat stalking the birds enjoying your new bird feeder. The interview progresses by you opening and flipping through the pages of your album, pointing to your family and friends. You gladly draw the interviewer’s attention to those older pictures taken during your college days … and to the many of your drunk, sleeping positions your friends encapsulated forever through one click of a camera.


What? Personal items presented during an interview?
Why not? Isn’t that basically what hiring companies are doing rummaging through your public social media accounts, learning more about you and your online activities?
The next few years are certainly gray, unchartered waters for jobseekers. The issue of whether a person’s personal life and involvement online should have any place in the hiring realm is definitely a topic that will be battled over for years — maybe even decades. Some might unexpectedly find themselves entangled in lawsuits, as privacy experts grow increasingly concerned that disqualifying a candidate based on information gained online can introduce certain forms of discrimination into the hiring process.
Jobseekers have every right to be concerned about protecting their online identities from prying eyes, but where should the line be drawn? Employers shouldn’t be given uninhibited access to a jobseeker’s private life, should they?
Interestingly, a recent study released at Microsoft’s 4th Annual Data Privacy Day identified that 70% of those surveyed in the US indicated they had disqualified a candidate based on online information. What was the incriminating online information that caused the disqualification? Of course this was not made public … and behind the curtain of hiring, only HR managers and recruiters seem privy to such information.
The deeper issue is whether employers should be allowed to open that flood gate by bringing social media activities into the hiring world in the first place. I’m reminded of a line from the movie Jurassic Park. When referring to scientists, Jeff Goldblum’s character says, “Yeah, but your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.” Maybe employers poking through a jobseeker’s online activities are so preoccupied with the fact that they could that they never stopped to think whether they should.
Ahh, but hiring companies won’t find my online activities. Think again. Technology giants have only just begun leveraging the social media phenomena; and not surprisingly, for financial gain.
Microsoft announced the integration of Social Connector software, which will be released mid-2010. The add-on software is designed to let someone like me readily see the online communications from those who send me email. Microsoft’s Group Product Manager, Dev Balasubramanian, was quoted as saying: “As you communicate you can see their social activities; you can see all the folks in your social network and it updates as you are reading your e-mail.” Certainly it appears to offer great benefits to the masses, but for jobseekers, it just might leave an unpleasant sour aftertaste.
No doubt, employers will soon be given a larger spy glass — and unfortunate for jobseekers, Microsoft isn’t the only company abuzz with developing new applications that will take public social media data and translate it into something that can be researched and used, for good and evil.
Regardless, employers need to take a long look at their current hiring practices to determine whether a drunken party photo showing Joe Jobseeker has anything to do with the value Joe brings to the table professionally, and how well he performs while on the job.

Posted April 30, 2007 by

Paper Resume … So Old School

By Teena Rose
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In 1986 when a college graduate embarked upon their first job search in the professional world, the first task was to break out the Remington typewriter, grab some fresh sheets of paper and start plucking away at creating a resume. Just 20 years later, it seems like a prehistoric way to put together a resume.
The typewriter went the way of other prehistoric creatures, replaced by the personal computer, which essentially creates resumes the same way a typewriter did, with fewer errors and more efficiency. Now, the latest technology is again threatening the way job seekers put together their resumes, making the emailed MS Word document, once thought of as cutting edge, an endangered species.
Several high-tech alternatives have become players in the resume market, including Web resumes, PDFs, Flash and even video resumes called “talkers.”
The Web-based resume is becoming extremely popular for those in the high-tech and creative industries who also have portfolios to show off. These Web-ready HTML resumes can be packaged with samples like art work, advertising pages or Web creations at a moments notice, allowing employers to view stats with one click of a link. The resume never gets lost, and can be viewed by any employer in any city, 24 hours a day. Once it’s on the Web, your work is pretty much over. No folding up your resume and stuffing it into an envelope, not to mention buying stamps. Even if you don’t have your own Web space, there are many websites that offer free space to post your resume.
The PDF resume is also gaining popularity. It’s similar to a Word resume, but provides a sort of digital coating. PDF, which stands for Portable Document Format, lets resume writers produce a secure and reliable document that can’t be altered once it hits someone else’s email inbox. If a Word document is saved as a PDF, it retains all the original content, including images, graphics, etc. On the receiving end, a potential employer must have the Adobe Reader to view the resume, but that’s typically not an issue since the software is free and a basic component for most computer users.
Flash resumes are adding some spice to the job-hunting world. Flash is brand-name software used for creating interactive website and other digital experiences. The Flash resume can be a bit like making a movie, and has the potential to add as many bells and whistles as you like. The creative industries are where these resumes are a big hit, although they can be simple and straightforward enough to appeal to every employer.
There are a handful of services online that provide all the templates and formatting for a Flash resume. You just have to fill in the information. When applying for jobs, however, you don’t email employers your resume since the files would be too large. Instead, job seekers should get Web space and upload the Flash resume as part of their online presentation.

Posted April 30, 2007 by

No Experience, No Job? Not Always the Case

By Teena Rose
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With a strong economy, low unemployment rate and a job market flush with opportunity, it should be a good summer for college graduates jump-starting their careers.
According to jobsite’s new survey, “College Hiring 2007”, 79 percent of hiring managers are planning on hiring recent college graduates this year, up from 70 percent in 2006. With 24 percent of hiring managers expected to hire more recent college grads at higher salaries than last year, the entry-level job market looks bright.
With that sunny outlook in mind, there’s a paradox that many college graduates face. Employers want experience. College grads usually don’t have. What to do?
This is the common Catch-22 of the entry-level job. Of course, 22-year-olds fresh out of college have spent their time in school, so on-the-job exposure is going to be non-existent. The part-time job at Taco Bell during the summer is not likely going to be relevant to that hard-earned degree in marketing.
The first thing the college grad must understand is that employers don’t simply base hiring on the amount of years you’ve spent in a particular field, especially with entry-level jobs. Recruiters looking for entry-level employees are equally concerned with finding candidates who are diamonds in the rough. Their long-term potential, interpersonal skills and leadership abilities are just as important as applicable experience.
Just because you’ve spent the past four years in college polishing up that economics degree doesn’t mean you won’t have some of the know-how employer’s desire. The internship is the key experience tool college students use to acquire the skills of their desired field.
Internships are in an opportunity for students to apply their classroom comprehension into real-time situations. This allows the student to receive hands-on training while testing the waters of his or her own career choice.
Employers love college graduates who have gone through an internship in a related field, but there’s more they’ll be looking at on the resume than an entry-level job seeker might be unaware of. Any activities during those years of college that can be translated into the everyday working world are valuable. Volunteer work, student government and even team sports are excellent indicators that a potential hire has the ability to work together with others and possesses leadership qualities.
Whether you’re captain of the basketball team, student body president or volunteered on a school political campaign, companies are always looking for campus involvement. The way a job recruiter sees it, someone involved in a handful of activities while pursuing a college degree is someone who can manage time effectively. And using time wisely on the job means a better bottom line for any company.
Once the internship and campus activities have been applied, there are still more skills that shouldn’t be left out. Any know-how gained that can be used on the job is important for a recruiter to hear. If your desire is to be a Web designer, the technical skills acquired during the past four years and mastery of different types of software is vital. If you’re a communications major but want to be an event planner, experience putting together parties, fund-raisers or other exhibitions are relevant talents.
With thousands of entry-level jobs out there this summer, college graduates simply shouldn’t take their experiences for granted. Whatever company you’ve targeted, do the research first, find out what their culture is, and leverage every possible amount of past experience you have when applying for the position.

Posted April 09, 2007 by

GRADUATING INTO A GOOD JOB is a professional resume service for new grads and entry-level professionals. She’s authored several career books, including “How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Sales Brag Book” and “Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales (includes sample resumes).” Visit today.
A rosy job market for entry-level job seekers just got stuck by a thorn.
College graduates had been on a good run during 2006, when they hit the streets for their first jobs. However, a February report from the Labor Department may mean that the brakes have been applied to a fast-moving market.
During 2006, employers added an average of 187,000 jobs per month, which corresponded with the lowest unemployment rate since 2001. The February numbers showed that 2007 may not be as bright as once thought. The Labor Department showed the U.S. economy created the fewest jobs in two years, even as the unemployment rate fell to 4.5%. Nonfarm payrolls increased by just 97,000, the lowest since January 2005.
Many economists believe the trend of slower corporate profit growth has produced a cautious environment directly related to overall economic weakness and, in turn, a slow down in hiring.
Just last year, the graduating class of 2006 entered a strong market where 72 percent of employers planned to hire graduates, compared to 64 percent in the previous year.
Whether there’s a weak jobs forecast or not, graduates in the crop of 2007 still face the same challenges and formulas for jump-starting their careers. The first place to start for any entry-leveler is a polished resume.
The job may be listed as entry-level, but most require experience and education that’s relative to the requirements. All relevant material should be included, like volunteer work, internships and interests, in order to make the employer aware that you’re familiar with the work. For example, if you’re applying for a job in public relations and you volunteered for three months working on a political campaign, then it’s relative material for a resume. If you flipped burgers for six months at McDonald’s, it likely won’t have much weight as PR rep, unless you’re making lunch.
The format of any resume nowadays is just as important as the writing. High quality paper resumes are still in demand, but electronic versions, whether HTML, Flash or on your own Web link are all necessary in today’s high-tech environment. There are hundreds of job boards, but and cover the widest range of listings across the country, so these sites are the best place to start.
If where to start, and what to do are still up in the air as graduation approaches, there are plenty of occupations that are hot now and will be in the future, including IT. Tech jobs in the U.S. for entry-level workers are in high demand, even though it may seem a lot of the work is outsourced. Grads that are tech-savvy and have some background to prove it are being coveted by companies with jobs in developing, business systems analysis, and technical support. Other job markets expected to be flush with opportunity in the future include retail sales, healthcare and teaching.

Posted October 01, 2006 by

How Email Can Get You Fired.

How Email Can Get You Fired.
Jobseekers are increasingly searching the Internet during paid business hours. Making matters worse is that these same jobseekers are using a business email; have it listed within their resume; register for new accounts and send inquiries using it. Employers are forced to crack down on daytime surfing. Job searching while on company time is reason for an immediate dismissal. The other obvious problem that jobseekers likely haven’t considered is the impression using a company email has on the new company receiving the resume. Teena Rose, a resume professional with Resume to Referral.

Posted October 01, 2006 by

Posting to Job Boards: Smart Move or Foolish Practice?

Posting to Job Boards: Smart Move or Foolish Practice?
A recent survey conducted by Bullhorn Software indicated that 85% of recruiters use job boards to source for candidates. With that said, posting your resume to job boards can significantly increase your rate of return. Throwing your document into a “sea of resumes” may seem useless, however, it only takes one “shark” to find you. Think of taking your resume submission one step further by submitting to boards that target your position or industry. Latest career tip provided by Teena Rose, a resume-writing professional with Resume to Referral.

Posted April 24, 2006 by

Selling Air: Marketing Your Entry-level Career

Everything has a market. If you could go back in time thirty years and tell someone people would actually be buying water in 2005 for prices higher than gasoline, you would probably be severely ridiculed. Go back fifteen years and tell someone that you would actually be able to purchase air in an oxygen bar and they would think you had been hitting the sauce. Water and oxygen are interesting products because they are readily available, free, and vital to life. There has been a demand created for them out of, well, thin air.
The basic principle of selling air or water is the same as selling an entry-level career in which you have no experience. Entry-level workers are cheap, plentiful, and easily found. As a new graduate/entry-level worker with little or no real experience, what can you do to sell your experience to employers? The same as if you were selling air – package it well, market it effectively, and create a demand.
Packaging your budding entry-level career is the first and most important step to getting your start. How you present your background and education in an entry-level resume is the make-or-break point. You have 35 to 60 seconds to pique the interest of the employer in your non-experience. The entry-level resume should be hard-hitting and aggressively written in order to gain that attention.
The key is to find your point of individuality and play upon it. Each brand of bottled water has a “claim to fame” whether it is that the water is from a mountain spring, or it is flavored, or it is vitamin-enriched, etc. You can do the same thing with your entry-level resume. Do you have an exceptional academic record that can be highlighted in your entry-level resume? Do you have an internship that adds value to your degree? Have you worked your way through school and financed your own education? There is something in everyone’s background that is notable and can be used to advantage in an entry-level resume.
Appearance is also key to a resume. People are drawn to attractive things – it’s human nature. By packaging your qualities in an attractive, eye-catching format, your entry-level resume will automatically have an advantage over your competition. Appearance can be more than pretty whiz-bangs in a Word format. Even database-friendly entry-level resumes can be made more attractive with the strategic use of spacing, font size, and placement of text.
Marketing yourself as a valuable entry-level hire is the second component of success. How do you go about getting your entry-level resume to employers who are seeking trainable workers? With the Internet, sending out your entry-level resume is very easy, but are you sending to the correct people? An indiscriminate resume blast may not be the best selection if you have set strict parameters on relocation preference. You need to find out who would be in the market for entry-level workers with your education and who might be a good match for your career goals. A little (gasp!) homework might be in order!
Finding out about employers and selecting those in the market for entry-level personnel is called market research. A little research on employers, their goals, and the work opportunities they offer will assist you in being more focused in your hunt for that first “real” job. It will also provide insight on how best to approach a company. Knowing what the employer wants helps you to position yourself as the best choice. Just as product manufacturers do market research before they launch a new product, you can do the same to better market your entry-level career.
Creating demand is the third aspect of marketing your entry-level career. Personal career branding backed by solid research and an excellent entry-level resume will compel potential employers to contact you about joining their teams. Demand can also be further enhanced during the interview by being well-prepared, mature, and knowledgeable. An entry-level candidate who is eager, open to training, and flexible is desirable by employers.
As an entry-level job seeker, you essentially are selling “air” – lack of experience. To do that, you must create a great package (a resume), market it strategically, and create the demand. Most people take air for granted and laugh at the thought of paying for it. Put those same people at the top of Pikes Peak where the rarified air of 13,000+ feet is thin and most will pay for air at the oxygen bar at the summit café. Air can be very valuable to those in need.

Posted April 24, 2006 by

Choosing a Career Path

From the time children are old enough to talk, grown-ups persist in asking the foolish question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Most of the time, a four-year-old will answer something like, “a fireman, a policeman, or a dancer.” Little children want to be heroes and fairy tale characters because these are the larger-than-life characters that populate their worlds. It is rare to encounter a preschooler who plans on a career as a nuclear physicist or a sous chef.
As children grow up and mature, they will answer the question more along the lines of their interests. A typical preteen will answer, “jet pilot, NFL star, or movie star” as their chosen career field. A high school student will start to consider the career question in a realistic manner but usually from the point of view of what career is popular or what career pays well, such as, “physical therapist, doctor, or lawyer.” The career choices have changed as they have grown and experienced more of the world, but are still idealistic to some degree.
As college students, these recent-high school students are required to decide at the beginning of their college careers what career path they want to pursue. When naming a major course of study, a college student usually is still in the “doctor, lawyer, chief operating officer” mode and decides to select a career path based on career popularity and income potential. Interest starts to play a role at this stage, but many students find it difficult to translate interests into careers or employment. The choice they make will determine the course of the next four years of college study and set their investment toward a specific career path.
Is it possible to successfully make a career choice and plan an education to achieve that goal at the tender age of 19? Obviously it is because many people go straight through college to become physicians, engineers, and other professionals with never a hesitation. It is interesting to note, however, that 80 percent of college graduates never work in a career related to their major field of study. The average American will also change career fields at least three times during his lifetime. Such statistics bring into question the value of choosing a career path as a freshman in college.
June Rankin* grew up confident that she was going to have a career as a veterinary surgeon. As soon as she was old enough to legally work, she gained a part-time position as a veterinary assistant for a local veterinarian. She took the ACT in her junior year and scored a composite of 29. Offers of scholarships started to arrive. She was confident of her chosen career path – four years of pre-vet and then acceptance into the very competitive veterinary medicine school of her choice.
What June did not take into consideration was her natural abilities. She had an IQ that put her in the “gifted” range and had worked for five years in a hands-on veterinary practice where she had seen nearly every type of procedure and participated in most of them. What she couldn’t do was balance a chemical equation, work the trigonometric equation for a hyperbole, or understand derivatives in calculus. Her natural abilities were simply not math-oriented.
June ended up failing miserably at the beginning of her college career, finishing up on probation status with the university and very frustrated with her studies. She considered hiring a tutor but realized at best she would achieve a C average, not good enough to be competitive in the race for veterinary school admission. In the end, she changed her major and the following semester made the Dean’s List – she had found her natural abilities. She went on to success in a career field in which she loves to work.
June learned a good lesson early on – do what you do well and career success will come. Unfortunately, many invest large sums of money and time in education only to discover after graduation they hate their new career. An investment up front in career assessment, ability testing, and research of careers would be an investment that brings huge returns while saving a great deal in wasted time and funds.
All successful people, however they define career success, all say they chose their careers because they love the job and because they are good at doing it. It is impossible to be truly successful in a career and hate it. (If you hate your career, you are not successful.) The key is to find activities you like to perform, find out in what tasks you are naturally skilled, and then find a career that combines the two.
Research, introspection, testing, and investigation into career options can help you achieve career happiness. A career coach or career counselor can lead you through the process of finding your career niche. If you find yourself past college and in a career you do not like, it is time to start planning a career change. A career coach can support you through the process of career transition without career upheaval. Invest now in professional coaching or counseling for your career and bask in job happiness in the future.
*not her real name.

Posted April 24, 2006 by

What’s Your Objective?

Many college career offices and some resume books are emphatic that it is vital to have an objective in your resume. The objective section is the first section after the header and states your job search or career goal. A traditional objective statement is one sentence that succinctly states your goal in terms of a position or type of company for which you would like to work.
An objective statement is very limiting and is often the weakest portion of the new graduate resume, coming in a position on the resume where you want to project the most power – the top half of the first page. If you limit yourself with your objective to one type of job, you are greatly handicapping your prospects for success since most new graduates are quite flexible in the type of position they are seeking or the company for which they would like to work. By using an objective statement, you are narrowing your opportunities at a time in your career when you truly have all sorts of choices.
Objective statements tend to be weakly worded and poorly considered. Most new graduates sense that employers are not so much interested in what the candidate is seeking in a job, but rather interested in whether the candidate’s background meets their needs. An objective, in its very nature, is not employer-focused. As a result, most new graduate job seekers write very poor objectives.
Let’s look at this example: “Objective: To apply my skills and enthusiasm in business to meet the needs of a progressive company.” What does this objective actually say? Does it address the needs of the employer? Does it give any information about the candidate? Would any job seeker NOT consider him- or herself enthusiastic when vying for a new job? This objective statement is a very typical, ineffective piece of writing that all-too-often appears in new graduate resumes.
If an objective statement is not the best choice for a new graduate resume, then what is? A better choice for the beginning section of a new graduate resume is a summarizing statement or paragraph. Three to five lines of text (not necessarily complete sentences) that summarize the qualifications that a new graduate has to offer an employer. If the new graduate has specific qualifications that provide an edge over the competition, that information should appear in the summarizing statement of the new graduate resume.
Examples of information that might give a new graduate an edge over other candidates might be bilingualism, scholarship receipt, internship experience, leadership experience, or high honors. If you have worked your way through college, financing your own education, that is a plus factor that shows dedication and work ethic—traits an employer would be seeking. Employers also like to see prior military experience since often that translates into maturity and leadership abilities. All of this information would be good to have in a summarizing statement.
Avoid cliché or overused phrases and words in a summarizing statement on a new graduate resume if possible. Some examples would be “enthusiastic”, “detail-oriented”, “people person”, “goal-oriented”, and “dedicated”. These phrases have been used so much in resumes that readers no longer give any credence to them and consider them fluff. Choose better words that more powerfully paint a picture of your qualifications.
Keep your summarizing statement to a summary, not an expository paragraph. If a piece of information does not contribute directly to positioning you as a candidate to be interviewed, it should not appear in the summary and maybe not even in the resume. Within three to five lines of text, you need to capture the reader’s attention and generate the desire to read the entire resume rather than scanning it cursorily and putting it in the ‘maybe’ pile.
An example of a well-written summary:
“Hands-on experience in civil projects involving environmental and construction aspects of the engineering field. Superior knowledge of computer systems, design and analytical projects. A mature student achieving high academic honors while maintaining part-time employment; scholarship recipient and former military member.”
This summary was for a resume of an engineering student seeking an internship with a high-profile civil engineering firm. In approximately four lines of text, the summary gives a good picture of his strengths and the unique qualities he possessed that would make him stand out in the crowd. It won him several interviews with leading firms including an interview with the Army Corps of Engineers (due to his mention of his military experience). He later was hired by the company he interned with and is now a junior partner in the firm.
It is doubtful that a weak summary or an objective statement would have had the effect this particular summary had in making his resume stand out in the crowd. If he had simply used “Objective: Civil Engineering Internship” it is almost certain he would have had a longer, more difficult search. As it was, he gained an internship within two weeks of beginning his application process. Speed is an asset when vying for the limited number of internships that are available for students and this summary definitely sped up the process for him.
When constructing your new graduate resume or resume for an internship, remember to consult with an expert in resume writing for the best results. Most experts will tell you to ditch the objective statement and go with a powerful summary statement to reach out and grab the attention of the hiring manager. The top half of the resume is the most important part of the resume and it must not only introduce you to the reader but also make the reader want to pick up the phone and call immediately. Can an old-fashioned objective statement do that? Hardly.