Category Archives: Job Search Tips

7 Universal Job Search Truths

There is an awful lot of advice out there about how to write a perfect resume or give the ultimate answer (42??) to the ultimate interview question. Some of it is even pretty good. But, the truth is there is more than one way to do it right. Recruiting, interviewing and selection are subjective.

It’s very likely that if you ask 10 recruiters for feedback on your resume, you will get 10 different opinions. It’s just as likely that if you ask 10 recruiters the best way to answer an interview question (almost any interview question), you will get 10 different replies.

Don’t get me wrong; as a profession, we do everything we can to take subjectivity out of the equation whenever possible. We (try to) ignore resume format choices. We create interview questions which focus on past work experience and competencies only as they relate to the skills necessary for the jobs we’re filling. We even create job scorecards and interview evaluation forms that help us stay as objective as humanly possible. But see… that’s just it. We’re human. So recruiting remains subjective.

That being said… there are still some things that are universal truths in the job search regardless of who’s on the receiving end.

  1. Proofread and edit your marketing material. No typos, misspellings or raging grammatical errors in your cover letter, resume, thank you note, LinkedIn profile, or any other material you are using to represent yourself are acceptable. If you claim to have great attention to detail, and spell manager without the second a, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
  2. Do your research. Due diligence is critical to a successful interview. If you don’t at least know what the company does, what people are saying about it and what we say about ourselves, you are not getting to the next interview.
  3. Nobody wants to hear your life’s story. If I ask you to “tell me about yourself” (which I don’t ever do by the way, but many people do. See – recruiting is subjective.) I do not want you to regurgitate everything that’s already on your resume. I want to hear the things that are relevant to this particular role and what makes you uniquely qualified for this job.
  4. Be ready and able to prove that you can do / have done what you say you can do / have done. You can’t just tell me you’re an innovator (or an excellent motivator, or that you impact top and bottom line growth) and expect me to just take your word for it. Arm yourself with metrics, results, and stories about your work history that validate your statements.
  5. Be kind. Be polite. Be thoughtful. I know hiring managers who ask their receptionists how you behaved while you were waiting for your interview. And, I actually know someone who, while parking their car, flipped off the person who was about to interview them. Yeah – the interview didn’t even happen.
  6. Stay positive. Desperate people don’t get hired. Neither do the ones who badmouth their former employers or team members.
  7. Be honest and be yourself. Life’s too short and you spend too much of it at work to not be in an environment where you will feel comfortable and really fit in.

If you happen to be the hiring authority, keep an open mind. Your way may not be the best way, and it certainly isn’t the only way. If all we do is hire people just like us, we’ll never grow. And, stagnation will never lead to success.

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8 LinkedIn Tips Recruiters Wish Job Seekers Knew

Image credit: amasterpics123 / 123RF Stock Photo

Image credit: amasterpics123 / 123RF Stock Photo

Part of my role as a consultant is to teach recruiting teams how to leverage LinkedIn and other social networks as part of their recruiting and talent attraction strategy. In that, I often find myself wishing that people would just help themselves (and us) by making it easier for us to find them!


So, in an altruistic-in-appearance move, I thought I’d share some top LinkedIn Tips all recruiters wish all job seekers knew!


  1. Build your network. It’s OK to accept personal connections. You never know where that next lead will come from. And, if we recruiters don’t pay for InMail or LinkedIn Recruiter, it makes it easier for us if you’re a first or second degree connection!
  2. Take advantage of all the available real estate on your profile; don’t simply upload your resume. Keywords are very important and need to be in your headline, summary and experience sections.
  3. Your “headline” should be just that. Attract attention! Your goal is to get people to read the rest of your profile.
  4. Articulate your value in the summary. What are the themes of your recurring results? What do you bring to the table that sets you apart?
  5. You can re-order the sections of your profile. Won an award? Uploaded a file? Move it up and show it off!
  6. Set your preferences to receive invites & direct contacts. Publish your email address. Make it easy to for us to contact you.
  7. Choose a few groups in which you can actively participate. Look for people you can bring into your personal network. You can search the membership by keyword, and since you already have something in common, you may find a great reason to connect.
  8. And, first impressions count. Even with all the new prompts and applications; if you’re in job search it’s critical to keep your message professional!

Do you have other tips on reverse engineering the recruiting process for people in transition? Let us know in the comments!

6 Steps to the Top of the Recruiter’s A List

One of the biggest complaints I hear from job seekers is that recruiters don’t return their calls or respond to their resume submissions. Some of this is definitely on the recruiter – everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Everyone deserves at least an automated response. But we know that even with all the tools available, it doesn’t always happen. So, if you want to get to the top of the A list – try taking these six steps:


1. Send a tailored cover letter along with your resume – it shows that you have taken the time to think about the role for which you are applying. I know that some recruiters say they never read cover letters, but the ones I know do, even if only after they have already decided that you’re a possible fit. Help prove them right.

2. Send a tailor made resume rather than a generic one – it demonstrates that you have thought about HOW you are a match to the role (or company) for which you are applying.

3. Quantify your results wherever possible – metrics are “huge” and your results will set you apart from the crowd. Your job descriptions will not. Here are three questions you can ask yourself: How did you help the company MAKE money? How did you help the company SAVE money? How did you help the company ACHIEVE their goals? If you weren’t doing at least one of these things, the company wouldn’t have been paying you.

4. Follow up your resume submission with a phone call when possible. But, when you call, don’t say, “I’m calling to see if you received my resume.” Try, “I’m following up on the resume I sent because I believe I’m a good fit for the position.” And, be prepared to state how and why.

5. Help the recruiter help you. When you’re confident and excited about a particular position, let the recruiter know why. The recruiter may not be comfortable asking you about things they don’t understand that well (please – a topic for another post…), so help them see how to get you in the door. It will make it that much more likely that you get that interview.

6. Treat recruiters just as you would an important networking contact. Be a “two-way”networker. Try to get a referral to them from one of their existing relationships if possible. Most recruiters will take the time to meet with anyone who is referred to them by a valued relationship – even if they are not working on a job opening that is a fit for them at that time. And, refer good fits back to them. They’ll remember you did.

Other than being an unrealistically perfect fit and being able to check 12 out of 10 boxes on the wish list, what other ways have worked for you in getting a recruiter’s attention? Tell us about them in the comments.