I’m in a somewhat unique position from the job search perspective in that I am a professional resume writer, I provide career coaching, I am a recruiter, I am a Talent Acquisition Consultant for a Recruiting Process Outsourcing firm, and for some of my clients I serve as the hiring manager. All that to say, I am intimately involved in the hiring (and firing) process from all levels and lately I have been noticing some things that are keeping perfectly good people from matching up with other perfectly good people!
If you are looking for a job:
· Please include a cover letter with your resume – even if no one asks for one but especially if they do. Take the time to customize it for the actual job to which you are applying. Last week someone sent me a cover letter detailing how their goal in life was to be a medical coder and biller. Too bad they were applying to be an Account Manager for a label manufacturer!
· Please review the job posting and the hiring company’s website prior to your interview. If you tell me in the interview that you have applied for so many jobs that you don’t recall applying for this one I will have a very hard time believing you really want to work for this particular company.
· Please tell me your desired compensation range. A range is fine and if you are negotiable let me know but please let’s not play the ‘whoever talks first loses’ game. I will happily tell you my payment range as well but I as the hiring manager am likely more flexible if you are awesome.
· I don’t expect you to be a professional resume writer (but hey, I can help you out with that if you like) but please get your resume to modern day standards. Don’t give me your career objective, don’t hand me something that looks like it was produced on a typewriter and mimeographed and at if you’re going to claim to have great attention to detail, check your spelling. And don’t go back more than 15 years, because you are unnecessarily exposing yourself to prejudice about age that you just don’t need.
· I totally understand being desperate for a job, I really do – I’ve been there, but please don’t just send your resume out to every posting blindly. This week I had the same applicant apply to an AR job, a Safety Role and a Business Development manager for two different companies in three different states! No cover letter and nothing remotely relevant on his resume to any of the jobs. Do you just need to check a box that you applied or did you want to be considered.? HELP ME HELP YOU (recruiter cries pitifully)
And to my clients who are hiring…
· Please don’t label someone as damaged goods just because they’ve been laid off if they are an otherwise great candidate. At least let’s find out the whole story.
· Please hire for culture, but is it really necessary for every manager in the building to interview someone? Especially if none of you get along…how exactly do you see this ending?
· Please don’t add unnecessary complexity to the hiring process. If you don’t trust your hiring manager to make the decision, why don’t you hire an awesome management development expert (and hey, I can help you out here too) to get your hiring managers more proficient in hiring rather than insisting that the C Level execs sign off on entry-level candidates. BTW…I have noticed absolutely no increase in retention in companies that do this. I completely agree with hiring for culture and in getting C Level buy off on some position but other times it shrieks control issues.
· Please try to look for the good and not just the bad. You will find whatever you are looking the hardest for and no offense but are you sure you can afford the perfect unicorn you are demanding?
And to my resume clients
· Pick a career target. Any career target. It will make it easier to write AND read your resume. You can have more than one resume – no one is going to get mad at you.
· Just be yourself. The right company for you is out there. This is like dating and if you fake it, you’ll end up with someone who only likes fake you, which equals stress, stress and more stress.
· Please provide me some accomplishments you’ve done, or impact you’ve had. If you want your resume to ‘pop’, you must provide me some information besides all the tasks you were responsible for. Tasks are boring and don’t ‘pop’. And no, I will not use colored font for your resume and neither should you!
So there, for the people, by the people, to get the people working for the right people!
Carrie Maldonado is the founder of Limitless HR Solutions, a Seattle-based management consulting firm devoted to helping business owners fall back in love with their businesses. A certified executive coach, seasoned Organizational Behavior Management Practitioner and Senior HR professional, Carrie can be reached for consultation at email@example.com