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Are you still using a word processor to do your resume?

by Resume Digest on 17 May 2017 permalink
Blasting the same self-promotion masterpiece to every job posting in sight might be the reason why you are not being called for an interview. Have you ever wondered what a recruiter is actually looking for?

First and foremost they are looking for someone who can READ. That's right - scores of candidates are eliminated outright because they didn't bother to read the job advertisement. Most of the time, the employer would display a bullet list of "must-have" features. In other words, if you don't have ALL of those things, don't bother to apply. Really your guess is that out of 50, 100 or 200 applicants - maybe at least 10 or 20 would qualify perfectly. So if for whatever reason you don't - just move on to the next ad and appraise the situation there.

Worst still, you may indeed be able to tick all the requirements - but if it is not obvious to find - you will be discarded all the same. That in itself, should make you mad at the prospect of missing out because of some communication issue. But in this sophisticated world of ours, communication is everything.

Employers are lazy and they can afford to be choosy. If you are attempting a career change from another industry or if you are coming back to your original vocation after a stint into another field - your last job may not be the most relevant to display upfront. How do you cope with that? You need to use the functional résumé format rather than listing your work experience in reverse chronological order.

Resume Digest in an online app that streamlines the crafting of a unique copy of your résumé to match exactly the expectations of each employer. You would keep online one copy of your work history and qualifications. Then for each job applied for you would enter the list of prerequisites. Then you would tick off each one in turn by demonstrating when, where and how you exercised that particular skill.

This crucial paragraph is featured in the upper third of the page where the gaze of the recruiter will rest for only a few seconds. If they don't find the pattern they're after - they will flick to the next résumé in their inbox and you will miss out.

Do avail yourself of our technology. Your career and financial future may depend on it.


The trap of a secure and boring job

by Resume Digest on 10 May 2017 permalink
securityWhat once happened to blue collar jobs is now happening to white collar jobs: The Commodification of the labour market.

By hiring drones who follow instructions factory owners can drive their labour costs to a bare minimum. We have seen so many manufacturing jobs fly overseas and we are delighted to import from these people what we used to produce ourselves. Some people call it progress. Progress for who?

Here comes the call-centre. An entire office floor of cubicles with in each a computer screen to read the script to the customer, a telephone headset to yap all day to strangers you never get to see and a mirror to remind you to keep smiling...

Yes - wake-up to it office jobs are now a commodity. There will always be someone else to take your place and undercut your pay.

By providing a script, a rule book, a procedures manual (whatever you want to call it) bosses are declaring that you are not allowed to think for yourself. You are not expected to show initiative or demonstrate problem solving skills - all you are expected to do is turn up on time and stay there for the duration of a day's work.

You have become a cog in somebody else's marketing machine. Everything that could be tried has been tried. Outbound automated telemarketing messages were the ire of homeowners who got interrupted at meal time by obnoxious appeals.

Failing that, we had the craze of calls from India to induce us to take up a new credit card or swap our telephone plan.

In the face of all this, it seems that average jobs are disappearing fast. You can either get undercut by a plethora of cheap labour eager to take your place. Or you can make yourself indispensable by providing initiative in a workplace where they didn't get around putting everything in the rule book yet. (They might actually ask you to pour all your knowledge into the rule book and then turn around and make you redundant...)

You think this is too far fetched? I worked in the IT industry as a contractor and the Indian effect was astounding in cutting down our hourly rates. The permanent staffers had a unique technique to hang on to their jobs: procrastination by obstruction. Under the cover of security of information they erected barrier after barrier of passwords and network access so that newcomers could waste an entire day's work by simply being unable to get to the data they needed to perform their task.

Paul Mendham says:
This is all 'well-&-good' Bruno, but whilst true is a tad depressing! What would be the positive ways out of this downward spiral? Go out on a limb, take a huge risk, and set up by yourself (thence introducing your own systems!)? Or maybe look at the changing business landscape and get ahead of the curve? Or move to India? Face-to-face roles seem more free from systematisation, where can these be found outside sales? I look forward to the next instalment, including a solution, with interest. Cheers, Paul


Resolving the interview's 5+5 questions

by Resume Digest on 03 May 2017 permalink
Believe it or not a job interview is just as much a dicey affair for the employer as it is for the candidate. The whole power play can be summed up in just 5 questions in each camp which actually mirror each other.

For the employer:

Why do you apply for this role?

Are you knowledgeable about our industry and are you acquainted with our company ethos? Recruiters dislike people who put their hand up for a job without checking if the role will fit them.

What would you do to address our problem?

What is your track record in bringing about a successful outcome? Have you tackled this issue before? Chances are this candidate will just repeat what he did in the past - let's see the track record.

Are you a team player?

Will you blend in with our existing staff and cooperate rather than exacerbate the situation? Will this person be happy with us or will he move on at the first opportunity? Can a cheerful attitude be passed on to the people we already have? Can some informal coaching be taking place on the job?

What makes you different from the other candidates?

Why should we hire you? What is the significant difference that would make us feel we have spotted the right person out of this crowd?

Can we afford you?

Is this guy prepared to work within our budget?

For the candidate:

What is this job about?

Will I be satisfied and fulfilled working here? Am I going to learn something new?

What skills do you need?

How much of a learning curve is this going to be? Will I need re-training? How can I re-use what I already know?

What is the culture of the place?

Can these people be trusted? Are they playing a game of office politics? Do they keep their word? Do they stand by their employees? What about transport arrangements? Is the office space a good working environment or do they squeeze as many cubicles as can fit on the floor space? What about canteen or lunch break, staff kitchen, gym, kindergarten?

What is my drawcard to stand out from the competition?

Have I spotted a need I could fulfil in an elegant and effective way? Do I bring sorely needed extra skills into this outfit?

Can I get the pay I want?

How can I negotiate the price I believe I am worth? What fringe benefits will I get? What is the policy on yearly reviews and wage increases?

Finally remember that some interviews will get you nowhere for no fault of your own. Some people have their mind set on hiring a friend but have to interview a list of candidates to comply with the procedures. Just use each interview as a practice run to sharpen you listening and negotiating skills.


Are you job hunting back to front?

by Resume Digest on 26 Apr 2017 permalink
Did you know that employers and job hunters go about meeting each other in exactly opposite ways?

Let me explain. A boss would most preferably fill a vacant position internally - stealing a gifted person from another department within the company. If that fails they would seek people from their sphere of influence - service clubs, professional associations, churches, etc... If still no success, only then would a company hire a recruitment agency - despite the cost, it will take care of everything. If that's not an option they will reluctantly put an ad in the paper or online and brace themselves for the onslaught. And finally if they are totally clueless they will pull a cardboard box where all the unsolicited resumes that arrived in the mail are dumped.

Now look at the irony. What would most people looking for work do? Exactly the opposite! They compose a 'one size fits all' CV and blast it on the net onto resume farms. Next they would join the scores of candidates who replied to the same ad - unaware that the name of the game is selection by depletion: people who scan your resume look for reasons to discard you until they are left with a short list of 10 people they are willing to call for an interview. The more daring candidates would then call a recruitment agency and hope they will line up a few good jobs that would match their skills. Little do they know that recruiters don't work for candidates - instead they do the bidding of employers.

Finally la crème de la crème are the smart operators who do their homework and take the time to think about their dream job. They are the eternal optimists who go after jobs that don't even exist - they are such outstanding people that a job will be created just for them... no that's not a joke - their enthusiasm is catching. They can talk their way into a boardroom and convince people to put their good ideas into motion. Bosses are busy and lazy. If someone comes along and repeats out loud all the good things they know they should have been doing some time ago - they would take the plunge and hire the person on the spot. The new recruit doesn't need induction, they have done their homework on the company already. They don't need motivation, they will motivate other employees around them.

You might think that only applies to marketing gurus or public relation experts who do their own spin. But you can scale this approach down to the local workshop. Find out where people have their lunch break and strike a conversation. What have you got to lose? At least you will overcome your shyness and be good at talking to strangers.

Adrian McCabe says:
Sounds about right. Thanks Bruno.


Who Needs A Functional Resume?

by Resume Digest on 19 Apr 2017 permalink
As soon as gaps or changes of direction appear in your employment history you may benefit from a functional resume. The time worn chronological format is a bit like a trail of where you've been as well as how long you stayed in one place on the employment scene. It gives out spurious information that can be used against you.

The first move towards a functional format is when people list their work experience in reverse chronological order. Obviously no employer is too concerned about how you started off in your work life since many students take part-time jobs unrelated to their studies.

So from an employer's point of view your last assignment is the most relevant because what you are doing right now gives many clues as to how employable you are to them.

But why stop there? If your purpose is to match the requirements laid out in the job specifications and you have to compete with scores of unseen other candidates for the same position why not give it your best shot? You've got it - your last role may not be the most relevant for the position you're applying for. Who said you have to list your experience in reverse chronological order? So what are the complications? For a start you can no longer list your start and end dates. What about posting the duration of each role you had instead? Does the employer read some horoscope to screen those who started their last job in May or April? Who cares!

What then will determine the order of your work experience in a functional resume? It will be the order of relevance for that one position you're applying for. Here lies the major trump card of the functional resume: it is custom written for one job posting in order to maximize your chance of being called for an interview.

This is in stark contrast to the reverse chronological resume that people would aimlessly blast on blogs or resume farms in the hope that the prince charming employer in shining armour will find you. Wake up and be real! It's not going to happen. What you have to do in a competitive employment scene is identify the jobs that will both give you the most satisfaction and give you the chance to unleash your skills. Then target each one of those job posts with a tailor-made functional resume.

Sound like a lot of work? Don't worry others are already using a tool to do just that.


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