Looking for work?

business handshakeLately, who isn’t?
How do you stand-out-from-the-crowd?
In this agonizingly-gradual economic recovery, it’s still a hellish numbers game. Applicants WAY-outnumber openings, and every casting call is a cattle call.
Bookmark SurvivalSpeech.com, and check this page often, for advice on getting-the-interview and getting-hired.

“Nobody has a free hour to hear your sob story.”
Fortune Magazine

Hiring is a process of elimination, and you’re trying not to be eliminated.
How you handle every step of the process is critical. Your objective is to “make the cut” and move on to the next step. Competition is intense, management is nervous, and most applicants look alike and make the same mistakes.

On The Jim Bohannon Show, HC offers specific tips: First things first.

Sneaky way to end-run gatekeepers..
Because there are SO-many-more-applicants-than-openings, the-person-you’re-applying-to is hiding behind receptionists and secretaries.
On The Allan Handelman Show, HC offers a tip for getting past the palace guards:More tips for job seekers

Understand this fundamental:
And, as a longtime, long-suffering corporate suit who’s hired LOTS of people, I can assure you that this is more than a nuance.
To the person interviewing you, there is a world of difference between applicants who convey “I need a job,” and those who simply ooze “I want to work.” Especially in these tough times when many of the applicants you’re competing with will seem desperate, in I’ll-take-anything mode.
If you convey specific interest in THIS job at THIS company, you’ll be conspicuous. Thus the value of going-to-school-on the company you’re applying to.
Hear HC explain, on Dick Heatherton’s “Success Again” show:

Before you say a word…
…look ’em right in the eye, says “attraction expert” Gordon Patzer Ph.D., author of “Looks: Why They Matter More Than You Ever Imagined.”
And he cautions against droopy posture, and crossed-arms/legs or other closed body language.

KNOW this:
You will be judged more by the questions you ask than the answers you give.
Yes, DO anticipate the obvious questions, and prepare concise, insightful, glass-half-full-sounding responses.
But YOU should interview your interviewer. Seeming genuinely curious about what-will-help-get-results for the company will help differentiate you from other applicants.

Say “we” and “our” instead of “you” and “your.”
Rather than putting-yourself-at-arm’s-length-from the person interviewing you, sound like a team player, and like you’re already on the team.

So let’s get you that interview.
Headline news: Your resume won’t get you a job. It’s not supposed to. The objective of your resume is to get you interviewed. A good one will either prompt an interview; or be filed-for-future-reference, which is good, if time is on your side, and you’re aiming to meet your next boss before the next opening. An ineffective resume will also get filed (“circular”).

Your resume is paper-clipped to a cover letter that is one page, four short paragraphs max. This is your written “Hello.” It should tell your prospect four things:

1. That you’re applying for work. This person gets a ton of mail, about all sorts of things. Make the first paragraph a single sentence that tells the reader which pile your material goes in. “I’m responding to your help wanted posting; and I can show you why I am uniquely qualified for this job.” If you have “a password,” that’s your first sentence, i.e., “Holland Cooke tells me you and I should meet.”

2. What you do, and how that relates to the opening. This is a one or two sentence paragraph. “Currently, I’m a Sales rep for Springfield Concierge; and I’m the company’s webmaster.” Relate as-specifically-as-possible to your prospect’s situation. “I myself have been your customer for years, so I know your product; and I have some ideas I think you’ll find opportune.”

3. Why you want this particular job: “I’m originally from Boston, so I know the market well. I have family and friends in the area, so this would be a great homecoming for me.”

4. What happens next: Unless the job posting stipulates “no calls,” end: “I will call you to follow-up. THANK YOU, in advance, for your time!’

Your hard copy resume should be one page. It’s in the hands of a busy person, and the meter’s running. It’s “a snapshot,” not your life’s story. Most only get a glance, and you want yours to get a good look. So keep-the-eye-moving with plenty of white space and zero typos.

And zero means zero, as you will surmise from these actual (I’m NOT making these up) resume faux pas:
“Am a perfectionist and rarely if if ever forget details.”
“I am loyal to my employer at all costs…please feel free to respond to my resume on my office voice mail.”
“Please don’t misconstrue my 14 jobs as ‘job-hopping.’ I have never quit a job.”
“The company made me a scapegoat, just like my three previous employers.”

What you SHOULD include:

• Internet skills/accomplishments, especially if you’ve helped your company make money online. This is BIG. If you can list specifics, that warrants a separate page, possibly with screen shots, which your resume should allude to. Managers are under immense pressure to develop Internet revenue, and many are at a loss as to the-nuts-and-bolts-of how.

• Any icebreaker that can differentiate your package from other applicants’ material can give you an edge. I don’t golf. But golfers seem like a dang cult. And lots of business gets done on the links. I do own a sailboat, and am impressed with how clubby boaters are (misery loves company). Again, the value of doing your homework. Is your prospect a diehard Cubs fan? Catch his eye by listing “long-suffering Cubs fan” as the last item among skills you list. In moderation, fun is OK.

• Achievements that are impressive, though unrelated. Did you make Eagle Scout? Don’t leave that off your resume. It demonstrates that you’ve been a go-getter all your life.
I’m always impressed when I see “waiter” or “waitress” or “bartender” on a resume.
Why? THAT person…
a) Is willing to work hard…
b) Is willing to work awful hours…
c) Can listen…
d) Can manage multiple/conflicting/perishable priorities in real-time…and…
e) Can work-around impatient/obnoxious people.
In other words, he/she would be GREAT employee.

As for your electronic resume?
Be there or be square. Not-being-online will cost you valuable social media exposure, and send a dangerous message, since most industries are scrambling to migrate to the Internet.

Recommendation: Build an online audition on WordPress.com.
Like blogger.com and other similar platforms, WordPress is free. Once you get-the-hang-of-it, it’s easy to use. I’ve built lots of sites on this facile platform, including this one. As you’ll see-and-hear there, WordPress supports audio and video and photos; and you can include a Resume page, and a References page with phone numbers and Email links to your enthused evangelists.

Register YourName.com and set it up to “redirect” to your WordPress site (in the same way that SurvivalSpeech.com redirects to https://survivalspeech.wordpress.com); then put your domain name on every page you send to prospective employers.

You should already be on Facebook.
Why: EVERYONE else is. Facebook recently announced their 500 millionth member! According to Nielsen, it reaches 56% of the active USA Internet universe, with an average usage of 6 hours a month.

If you’re presently working, and your job search is stealthy, DON’T make your Facebook page look like a Situations Wanted ad, and assume that the person who is about to interview you has already Googled your name and seen your Facebook page. So think twice about those photos of your Jamaica vacation with you guzzling from the jug-handle size bottle of Popov vodka.

And during your interview…
Tips from The Wall Street Journal:
• Wait until 10 minutes before your scheduled interview to announce yourself. Arriving any sooner shows that you’re not respectful of the time the hiring manager put aside for you.
• Signal confidence by offering a firm handshake.
• Focus your attention on the interviewer. Avoid looking around the room, tapping your fingers, or other nervous movements.
• Always exude an upbeat attitude. For example, if you were laid off, instead of lamenting the situation, you might say the experience prompted you to reassess your skills, and that’s what brought you here.
• Offer examples of past accomplishments – not just responsibilities you’ve held.
• Wait until you’re extended a job offer before talking pay.
• Follow-up, but don’t stalk the interviewer. Check back in a week.

Bottom Line: Hang in there.

“Muhammad Ali did not become heavyweight champion of the world by punching twenty people one time each. He became champ by punching one guy twenty times.”
Best selling author Seth Godin