[oclug] [OT] Jobsearch 102
rod at giffinscientific.com
rod at giffinscientific.com
Fri Aug 9 11:04:56 EDT 2002
The goal of a resume is to get an interview, and your resume has all of 15 seconds to accomplish that. That 15 seconds is critical. This essay is a little bit on how to get the most out of the 15 second review – maybe even add 5 seconds to the time spent on your resume – but most importantly, it’s about how to get an interview.
You’ve prepared your resume, spent hours on it really – your entire life and well being depends on what it contains. The first thing you should do with your resume is to send it to someone experienced in resume evaluation. If you know someone who works in HR, they’re perfect. Sometimes an old employer that you left on good terms can help as well. Ask them to tear it apart. This might hurt a bit, since you worked hard on your resume, and you might see some of what they say as an affront to your effort. It’s not.
A second pair of eyes is essential to catching errors that will jump out at a hiring manager and cause them to toss the resume. If you’re serious about your job search, you will accept the criticism, and make the required changes before you take the next step – which is almost a marketing campaign.
Once your resume is ready for the “wild”, you can begin to send it out – but how you send it out will determine whether it rises to the top, or sinks to the bottom with all of the others. Some pointers:
You know that ott.jobs newsgroup? It’s junk. I wouldn’t recommend applying for jobs that are advertized in ott.jobs, for the simple reason that there are 30,000 other people applying for the same jobs. If you want to though, there is a strategy for using ott.jobs which will help to give your resume a little edge over the bulk of the competition. I use the same strategy myself when I’m cold calling for a job. The goal here is to get the hiring manager to expect, and look for my resume to arrive. That might be worth a few extra seconds too, as they read your resume - and tends to increase your chances of getting an interview. It works like this:
Get the name of the person you want to talk to. Avoid HR people, unless it’s an HR firm you’re applying through. Contact that person directly and, if you got their name in ott.jobs, tell them that you have a question about the posting. Ask an intelligent question, perhaps about clarification of one of the qualifications. If you’re cold calling, ask for the name of the person in charge of the position you want to apply for. Then speak to that person. Tell them who you are, and that you’re interested in discussing opportunities for employment with them. FYI avoid the use of the word “job” here. All you’re looking for is an opportunity to get the interview, and it’s the interview process that will hopefully land you the job.
In both cases, if you get a warm reception, ask for an interview on the spot, that after all is the goal. If you follow this tactic, it sometimes helps to suggest a couple of dates when you would be available. If they seem a little hesitant in the conversation though – or you don’t have the guts at the moment to ask for an interview, simply ask if it would be OK if you were to send in your resume. What this does is acts as a bit of a pre-qualifier. Either you now have an interview, or the person is at minimum now expecting to receive your resume.
At any rate, send it to them immediately, within 15 minutes – even if you have an interview lined up. But never never send a resume without a cover letter. The format of the cover letter is relatively simple, and you can use your own style – including first person personal.
Generally, you should begin by thanking the person for spending the time talking with you on the phone, and say that you appreciate it.
Next point out some of the highlights from your resume, especially those that most closely fit the job description you’re applying for.
Finally, thank the person for the time and consideration they are giving you, and tell them you’re looking forward to meeting with them to discuss this.
There are two little games you can play, called “100 interviews”, and “100 resumes”
100 Resumes works like this:
Send your resume, including a cover letter to 100 companies. Surely, one of those companies will give me an interview. When you get the interview, you have accomplished a goal, and you should feel good about that. The problem is, your hit/miss ratio is rather low. I actually don’t think you’d really achieve even 1%, which will be VERY frustrating.
100 Interviews, on the other hand works like this:
You set yourself a goal of having 100 “practice” interviews, and using the tactics above go about setting up the interviews. Try to get only 2 or 3 in a day though, otherwise you may find yourself having to cancel interviews – which is fatal to a job search. This way, every job interview you go to becomes a successful goal achievement, and will make you feel better. There’s one little trick to the game though – In my case, right after Interview #20, interview #5 called back and ruined my game by offering me a job. In fact, the combination of the tactic above, and the game has given me the confidence in my own job searches that I have never had more than 5 interviews without a job offer since I learned it – and that’s through 4 recessions. I can also almost always expect to get an interview in about 30% of the places I contact. That means I’ve never reached the “100 resume” mark, and have lost the game – which means I win.
You do the math. You can play the resume game, and send out hundreds of resumes and play those odds, or you can play the Interview game and play with much better odds.
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