Getting Comfortable With ‘No’

YesNoSometimes a client comes back and says, “They don’t want me!”

To him or her, I say, “Because who you are doesn’t match what they need.”

And that shouldn’t be taken personally.

Imagine if every résumé was so clearly written that you could tell whether you wanted to meet that person within moments.

Forget curbside-appeal and keyword optimization.

A well-designed, keyword-optimized résumé is a matter of course in today’s hiring world.

Résumé writing colleagues and I—not to mention recruiters and executive coaches who refer to us—can attest to that.

No. I’m talking about the details that distinguish you from others.

Niche yourself.

If you have 10-14 years of experience, odds are high that you have specializations that are not only unique to you, but attractive to someone else.

Niching carries the risk that you’ll repel opportunities who aren’t a good fit, of course.

But what’s wrong with that? Repel away!

If it’s not a good fit, why try squeezing a round peg into a square hole?

For many, that’s a perspective shift because we grow up trying to please everybody.

Trying to be who they want us to be. Getting more people to say yes.

People pleasing is fine for a while.

It’s the fulfillment of, say, obligations that don’t fit skill sets, or duties you didn’t know about before you said yes, that can get in the way of delivering on your word.

That can be missing delivery altogether because you should have said no, or delivering on time but with bruises to show for it.

Here’s what you can do.

The more experienced we become, the narrower the opportunities.

We are no longer freshly out of college, blank canvases ready to be groomed.

We have serious marketable skills, and companies are ready to pay for those skills; not for the skills we have yet to learn.

The silver lining—in fact the beauty of that fact—is that it’s this very expertise that helps us command a professional salary.

So….

  • Commit to being comfortable with no. It doesn’t indicate your worth as a human being, it merely means you’re not a fit (or you didn’t take the effort to clearly outline the fit in your résumé or interview).
  • Work hard to find the right fit. It’s easy to give lip service to this idea, and noodling around on job boards might make you feel like you’re doing something. But it’s hard to actually do the work. Mount an all out research and discovery mission using a blend of LinkedIn, Google Alerts, public company records, Hoovers, Google Finance, and Glassdoor.com. Use JibberJobber.com to track your job search progress.
  • Spend 85-90% of your job search effort outside of job boards. The best jobs might not be obvious. In fact, most aren’t. The more seniority you achieve, the less likely that your next position will be obvious.
  • Plan to actively job search one month for every $10K per year that you make. This is a commonly cited concept in the career development world, but not everyone knows it. The higher up you go, the longer it takes to find the right fit.
  • Build your boat. It takes time to craft the right documents, career copy, and personal brand. We’re often the very ones we overlook, however, so committing to the effort of representing and presenting yourself requires willpower and dedication.
  • Be sure your LinkedIn profile is up to snuff. It’s the absolute best to be passively found for the right position. It happens all the time. It’s why roughly fifty percent of LinkedIn’s revenue in 2012 was from Talent Recruit; the expensive deep dive service they sell to recruiters for big bucks. You won’t know if you’re missing out unless you’re out there. Here’s a webinar I presented to CFA Society members (shared with permission) that you may find helpful. All you have to do is register.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com | About Jared
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Like Us: http://www.facebook.com/TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

Age: Should You Mask It?

Ever considered downplaying your age during a job search? 

Yes, it’s illegal to make discriminatory hiring decisions based on age, but if I had a nickel for every time a client asked what I thought about the topic, the notion must be alive and well, if only unseen.

Libraries, bookstores, and online articles are jam-packed with career development articles dedicated to euphemizing, masking, or spinning a person’s seniority to postpone the discovery of age.

But stop the presses a minute.

Instead of masking your age, have you considered taking an active role in capitalizing on your experience for everything it represents?

So what to do? Continue reading

Are You Innovative? Think Twice About That Keyword

I live in a world dripping with keywords and phrases.

Actually, we all do. Think the billboard you drive by every morning isn’t precisely written? That Google search you just performed isn’t engineered within an inch of its life?

Everyone knows that advertising and marketing has been turned on its ear in little more than a decade.

Bye bye subscription rates, content is king.

Findability and click-through rates (CTR) long ago hijacked the quest for eyeballs.

The same has become true for résumés, particularly résumés that are first taken for a spin through a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS) before ever being seen by a human being.

Without the right mix of keywords, the résumé may never be seen by anyone.

And don’t forget LinkedIn. Without carefully chosen keywords and phrases, you risk being missed in a sea of 150 million users.

But in my practice, I regularly see confusion around keywords.

For example, I regularly ask my clients for the top 8-12 keywords and phrases they think we should build copy around. We use job descriptions to help make the decision, and we revisit the notion throughout the engagement. Clarity comes with revision after revision.

Oddly, no matter the client’s background — no matter his or her skill or seniority — they inevitably come back with first-round words like this:

  • innovative
  • leader
  • experienced
  • seasoned

(The funny thing about using the word “innovative” is that its use is anything but … but that’s a topic for another blog post!) Continue reading

Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

Are keywords making you a liar

Are resume keywords making you a liar?

About two years ago, an executive client looked over my desk, pointed to a job description, and asked, “Jared, what do you think of these keywords?”

I said, “Do you have those skills?” (We’d been at this a while.)

“No,” he said.

“Well, then we can’t include them,” I replied.

It seems we’ve all fallen so concerned (perhaps rightly) with building our websites, blogs, and career copy around keywords and phrases, that we might have lost our collective sensibilities!

Why would an otherwise smart professional ask such an apparently silly question?

Truth is, my client hadn’t lost his mind. When you’re in the thick of writing a really great résumé or LinkedIn summary—or any other chunk of career copy—it’s hard to strike a balance between pushing the envelope and totally losing sight of the big picture, while making sure to clear today’s technology hurdles.

Trouble is, if you’re stretching the truth—or straight up lying—you’re not representing yourself authentically. Plus, the blowback can more than chafe. Who can forget this unfortunate-ness?

The lesson? Next time you’re writing your résumé, optimize the heck out of it. Include the right keywords and phrases. Just don’t forget to take a step back every now and then to be sure you’re including keywords and phrases that are truly yours.

Until next time!

Jared Redick
Visit: The Resume Studio.com
Follow: @TheResumeStudio
Connect: LinkedIn.com/in/jaredredick
Call: 415-397-6640

4 Things SEO Taught Me About Résumé Writing

Of the things I swore I’d never do in 2005, writing résumés for technology professionals topped my list.  

Yet, while 85% of my business is outside the San Francisco Bay Area, living here has tricked me into writing technology résumés after all; such that writing for tech now accounts for roughly 40% of my overall work.

It’s all due to my acquiescing under a friend’s referral pressure. Which led to another. And another.

But something happened as I carved out an unexpected specialty.

Technology started teaching me.

From my own Google AdWords optimization, to learning about how a Web site is ranked by keyword algorithms, to the use of natural keywords, I’ve learned a few tricks. And they’re surprisingly helpful when it comes to résumé design.

Here are four: Continue reading

Keep Your Résumé Fresh

KeepYourResumeFreshI sent this reminder to my newsletter subscribers in March 2006. Today seems like a good day to revisit it.

A fatal mistake we fallible humans make too often is being unprepared when opportunity strikes. Having an up-to-date résumé ready to rock is no exception.

Suddenly the clock strikes and we find ourselves scrambling to become instant résumé writers at the worst time: when we’re without a job, or close to it.

All sorts of mayhem pours into documents written in haste, exposing a vulnerable, last minute “I hope they can’t tell I crammed for the test” flavored desperation.

Is it possible to take our microwave-ready, just-add-water approach to lives to the task of résumé writing?  Continue reading

4 Management Metrics That Can Differentiate You in a Job Search

Need in haystackA lot of my résumé writing time is spent culling “scope of work” metrics that define the capacity of my clients to tackle new jobs.

Perhaps the quickest way to understand the importance of presenting your own scope of work is to do a bit of role playing.

Imagine that you’re a recruiter.

You’ve been asked to find the ideal candidate in a global search. You’ll be paid thirty percent of that candidate’s $375K first year salary, so there’s no room for failure. The candidate will have to manage a $30B division of a $100B medical device company. That division has 12,000 employees in Europe, Asia, and the U.S.

Would you dream of looking for and presenting your client with a candidate who has managed, at most, a local $20M shop with 200 employees?  Continue reading