Hard-to-Pronounce Name? Give Recruiters a Clue!

Difficult NamesI can’t tell you the times I’ve dialed someone who has a name I can’t readily pronounce, hoping upon hope that they’ll say it before I’m forced to stammer through it, and they simply say:

“Hello?”

“Aaargh!” I want to shout. “I was hoping you’d answer with your name so I could repeat it effortlessly!”

Instead, I usually come up with something like: “Hi Bee-nolo-block-dee, it’s Jared Redick calling.”

And then you correct me, I extend my good-natured apologies, and we hopefully pick up traction on the call while I jot a phonetic spelling.

If your name is likely unfamiliar to your intended audience — let’s say recruiters — here are some ways to pave the way to a great conversation.

Make a habit of answering, “Hello this is [Your Name Here].”

I answer the phone this way if I don’t recognize the caller, and my name is Jared.

(Although at Starbucks, between the scrawl at the counter and the shouting of my name by the Barista, I’ve gotten, “Janod?” “Fareed?” “Jerald?” And even, “Jamell?”)

Provide a Phonetic Spelling

Another great idea is to place an asterisk behind your name and a corresponding asterisk in the footer of your resume, where you include a phonetic spelling.

Leave Your Name on Your Outgoing Message

If you’re actively in a job search, you anticipate one, or you hope recruiters will find you on LinkedIn and call you, make sure your name is on your outgoing message.

Here’s my suggestion: “You’ve reached [Your Name Here] at 415-555-1212. Please leave a message and I will call you back.” Two beat wait, then the beep.

If you simply leave your number on the message, your caller won’t be guaranteed to have reached the correct person, and a lot of recruiters and hiring managers are dubious about leaving any details when they may have reached someone else. Say, your spouse? Your assistant? Who may not know you’re conducting a job search? The list goes on as to why they’re careful about confidentiality.

Don’t make them leave a benign message because they’re not sure it’s you; or worse, hang up without trying.

The Takeaway

I’ll admit that I’ve come to the point where I hate even checking voicemail on my cell phone. I’d rather be texted. But communication is still a part of business.

Recruiters and other folks who may represent career opportunity are people who walk into their offices every morning just like you. Don’t give give them a reason to avoid calling just because they were embarrassed to try pronouncing your name.

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

Should I Post My Resume Online?

Who's Looking Over Your Digital Shoulder?

Who’s Looking Over Your Digital Shoulder?

Despite my stance not to do it, a senior technology client several weeks ago posted his new résumé online. 
 
He got two job offers within a week.  
 
Now how can I advise against posting your résumé online when you get results like that?
 
As with so much in life, and certainly job searching and career management, we deal in the murkey world of “it depends.”
 
Here are a few examples of questions that career practitioners answer every day:
 
Is LinkedIn a résumé? (I say no, other say yes)
Is the résumé dying? (I say it shouldn’t, others say it’s already gone)
 
Should I post my résumé online? (I say no!)
 
Millions of people do it, and to be fair job boards have any number of privacy settings and levels of résumé visibility.  
 
But I have fundamental problems with posting a résumé online, both for young professionals whose résumés will be archived into forever-ville (think background checks twenty years from now), as well as for professionals in the primes of their lives. 
 
Why?
 
Online activity and privacy is in a constant state of flux. There are hosts of unknowns. And when there are unknowns,  I am skeptical. 
 
From the what-you-don’t-know-can-hurt-you files come my top three reasons to think twice before posting your résumé online. 
 
1. Intention revealed. Transparency in business has its essential merits, but if you’re employed and conducting a stealth job search, it’s your worst enemy. Giving away the fact that you’re looking for greener pastures places your current position in an awkward place if it’s ever found out.   
 
 
2. Privacy compromised. Not only do you run the risk of prematurely revealing your intentions, but your good credit is potentially compromised since credit scores are partially constructed by our work histories. Giving full work histories gives identity thieves one more piece of your history. 
 
This is a reason that I recommend setting your public information in LinkedIn’s settings to “most recent job only.”
 
 
3. Competitive details exposed. Search firms and other institutions make their living conducting what some call “corporate espionage,” which is to say cobbling together pieces of data from unrelated sources to assemble information about one thing. In the case of search, it’s about assembling information on a potential candidate you want to approach about a search you’re working on, so that’s a good thing. 
 
But competitive information is also gathered from people’s résumés because, while we all know that listing proprietary information on a résumé is a no-no, we sometimes list information that could be cobbled with other information competitors could use to make competitive assumptions. 
 
Perhaps this was acceptable in the good ol’ days because the risks were low, given that résumés were distributed to a relatively narrow group of people (hiring entities) with a discrete purpose (hiring). 
 
Today, a few key strokes can send search terms racing across your résumé, giving a competitive business researcher more information not only about you, but about the companies for which you’ve worked. 
 
What’s the takeaway? 
 
I believe information on LinkedIn should be carefully conceived and written, which is why the profiles I write for clients are vastly different from their finished résumés. 
 
Have an accurate and truthful résumé so it’s ready when you begin job searching, or when a recruiter calls to learn more about you. 
 
But it’s really all about control when it comes to you online life, so be sure data is sanitized and curated for online consumption. 
 
Once your information is online, it’s out there. 
 
And since it’s digital, it can be archived into perpetuity. I don’t know any executives today who would like the résumé they wrote as twenty-two-years-old surfacing today. Nor do I know executives who want to unwittingly give away trade secrets via their online résumé.
 
 

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

6 Make or Break Résumé Metrics Every Management Professional Should Cite

Studio shot of a fish in bowlI field 2-4 new business calls a day, mostly from mid-career to senior-level professionals and executives looking to quietly see what their future might hold if they nose around a bit.They’re heads of industry — movers and shakers — looking to move up, down, laterally. They’re looking to find meaning and they’re not sure how.

Related post: Why It’s Smart to Take Recruiter Calls

In nearly every instance, they express embarrassment about their out-of-date résumés. Understandable, since they’ve been busy doing the work, not nursing a résumé.

Almost to a head, they overlook six fundamentals by which they’ll be sought and measured in a job search:

1. Company size. A CEO building a startup is often cut from vastly different cloth than a CEO leading a $150B public company. By merely placing the size of companies on your résumé you quickly tell a huge part of your story.

Caveat: Don’t place company / revenue size if the data isn’t publicly known.

2. Team size. A CTO managing a team of three has a busy job, no doubt. But managing a matrixed team of 450+ engineers, developers, creatives, product managers, and marketers across five global locations is another ballgame entirely.

Tip: Showing team sizes as “up to 20” or “ranging X-Y” can help you strategically position yourself.

3. Geographic scope. A CFO managing a team and its productivity from a New York City loft is tough work, but a CFO navigating the risks and implications of international law and culture on three continents runs an entirely different ship.

Related post: Don’t hide your international experience.

4. Quantifiable outcomes. A CMO who demonstrates measured success, whether by real numbers or percentages, will sail ahead of the competition every time. Whether it’s gains in market share, revenue, clicks, eyeballs, or productivity—or cuts in overhead, time, resources, or some other measurement of success—most candidates have great metrics that they should include, but never do.

Warning: Never list proprietary information on your résumé. Additionally, be careful not to reveal publicly unflattering or potentially competitive metrics on your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is not a cut-and-paste from your résumé job.

5. Reporting relationships. It’s often hard to tell whether an organization is flat, matrixed, or somewhere in between. Listing reporting relationships on your résumé adds a layer of context for a seasoned hiring decision maker.

Aside: In cases where reporting relationships confuse or don’t boost the overall picture, leave them off. Just know that you may be asked.

6. Industry-specific metrics: Part of a CNO’s aptitude centers around the number of facilities s/he manages, and the number of beds at each location. Part of a CIOs matrix of aptitude revolves around market cap and portfolio size. Be sure to include the differentiating metrics that tie specifically to your industry.

Tip: If you’re changing industries, write your first résumé draft with industry information intact. It’ll be easier to write. When you’re done, scrub it of most industry-specific language, and write transferable skills in the language of your inbound industry. (As long as it’s not entirely opposing: development means very different things in varying industries, for examples. Do this task carefully.)

Until next time!

Jared Redick

Who vs. That: The Grammar Battle Rages

Who versus that battle wages onWhen I first heard Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know,” I had to get a car jack to unclench my jaw.

But it sparked a memory and reminded me that I haven’t always had my “whos” and “thats” screwed on straight.

It was New York. More than a decade ago. 

A board member of the organization where I was interim executive director—who made her living in PR—saw an RFP I wrote and loved every bit.

Except my use of who vs. that. 

What?

I know. I groaned, too.

Turns out, I grew up in a world that didn’t care about — much less observe — the distinction between people and objects, and I was part of an eroding grammar norm.

That applies to objects. Things.

Who applies to people.

Think this is trivial? Beyond the scope of this blog?

You’d be surprised how many executives who work with me fill out their questionnaires and ignore the rule.

So Gotye should have sung, “Somebody who I used to know.” (Like Lady Gaga’s song “You and I,” should have been “You and Me.” Too bad it doesn’t rhyme, extolled here.

It stings. But once you adapt, you can’t go back. Plus, you’ll be swimming with the cool crowd. Or the dope crowd. Or whatever. Oops, whomever.

Until next time!

Jared Redick

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

Are You an Air Quote Abuser?

Put down that pencil!

Put down that pencil!

Put down that offending pencil because today is Unnecessary Quotation Mark Eradication Day!

I’m here to single-handedly torpedo the use of unnecessary quotation marks.

Why, you ask?

It’s Friday, Jared, give us a break.

Trouble is, I know many executives—and even many fabulous folks who make their living writing—who “use” “quotation” “marks” “around” “everything” “they” “think” “we” “won’t” “entirely” “understand.”

The quotation mark, of course, is used to set apart spoken or quoted language.

Like this:

“Stop using quotation marks when they’re not necessary!” shouted Jared.

But somewhere along the way, quotation marks started appearing as air quotes in people’s fingers to symbolize nuanced communication.

Like this:

  • She’s a “dancer.”
  • The “gatekeeper” of information.
  • People don’t follow “bad leaders.”

So finger flapping naturally needed to shuffle over into our writing, right?

Wrong!

Using quotation marks to offset, emphasize, or enhance what is otherwise understood by a reasonably smart cookie (and who else would be reading our masterful work) is weak writing.

I’m not immune.

When I realized my own superfluous quotation mark abuse in 2000 (thank you Patricia T. O’Conner for your excellent work), I had a hard time breaking the habit.

I’d arrange cute little quotation marks here and there, then ask myself, “Are these necessary?”

Ten times out of ten, they weren’t necessary.

Air quotes assume our readers won’t get what we’re saying. (I was tempted to wrap quotes around the word get in that previous sentence, but you got it, right?)

Resisting finger flapping in writing challenges us to toss the crutches, and instead, write better sentences.

Wondering whether you’re an air quote abuser?

Have a peek at The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks (there’s a blog for everything and we love it) for improperly used, user-submitted quotation marks.

Now pick that pencil back up and get it real sharp. It’s never too late to be a better writer.

Semi-related post: Don’t Fall TOO In Love With Keywords

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

How to Hide a Contact’s Activity on Your LinkedIn Newsfeed

Did you know you can hide a contact’s activity on your LinkedIn newsfeed?

I didn’t either, until I met with some LinkedIn folks last year.

Sure, you want to stay connected with your contacts. But some connections like to post a lot of updates. (Meanwhile, what is “a lot?” I post to LinkedIn several times a week, so I could be deemed “a lot.” It’s all subjective, isn’t it? So this post should really help.)

Related post: How to Hide Your LinkedIn Contacts from the General Public

The problem is, you still want to stay connected.

You don’t want to un-friend them overtly, right?

The solution? THE HIDE BUTTON!

Here’s how:

Click the “Home” button on your LinkedIn profile.

This is your newsfeed; information pumped to you from your connections, companies you follow, etc.

Hover over a status update and you’ll see the word “hide” appear in the right corner of the contact’s update frame.

Click “hide” (if you dare), and watch their updates disappear from your newsfeed.

The beauty? You’ve not deleted the offending obsessive status updater from your list of contacts. Instead, you’ve cleaned up your newsfeed from too many posts from the same person.

The downside is that you won’t see ANY of that contact’s updates unless you visit his or her profile page directly. A shame, because many prolific posters can offer lots of insightful newsfeed items. Plus, I’m not sure how to un-hide contacts (there must be a way), so be certain that hiding them is what you want to do.

If you know about “un-hiding” contacts, or have other related tips, share them here!

Until next time!

Jared Redick

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

LinkedIn Checklist: 10 Tweaks for Control Freaks (Part 2)

the traffic lights on white backgroundA week ago, I posted Part 1 of my ten tips for better controlling your LinkedIn profile.

Here’s Part 2:

Control Tweak #6:  Customize your public profile (Settings > Profile > Edit your public profile)

LinkedIn lets you “control how you appear when people search for you on Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc.”

Thank you, LinkedIn.

One of the complexities of having a public profile on LinkedIn is that part of our credit worthiness comes from our career history. It stands to reason that some random individual with illegal intentions could use your LinkedIn profile — and other smatterings of data about you across the Internet — to create a profile in your name, and yes, even apply for and decimate your credit worthiness.

For this reason, I don’t allow LinkedIn to show my past positions publicly, and indeed, you may have other edits once you see the deep levels of customization LinkedIn offers.

Remember that information you’ve listed on your profile will still be fully visible to your connections, which gives good reason to know the people to whom  you are connected. Although even LinkedIn seems to be encouraging that we cast a much broader net these days.

While you’re on the page in question, scroll down and be sure you’ve customized your public profile.

Related post: How to Customize Your LinkedIn URL

Control Tweak #7: Edit your name, location and industry (Settings > Profile > Helpful Links)

I’d ignored this for several years, when in 2009 I took a training by Jason Alba ( author of “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?”) and he recommended that I change my profile headline from “Principal” to “Executive Resume Writer.”

The effectiveness of my profile changed within moments as Google inexplicably re-indexed my appearance in search, not to mention the value of searches inside the LinkedIn ecosystem.

After all, who types in “Principal” when searching for an executive resume writer?

:facepalm:

The same can be true for one’s industry. My profile’s performance increased dramatically when I changed from “writing and editing” to “professional training and coaching,” which more appropriately defines my work.

As an executive résumé writer, I want people to be able to reach me. I use my LinkedIn profile often, and I’m accessible. If I returned to retained executive search, however, I’d write my summary in third person, formal tone of voice, and lock down my accessibility. I might even stop posting status updates.

Decide the best approach for you, and set up your own profile to match your position and purpose on LinkedIn. Continue reading