More than just a Resume Writer….

 

I was so thrilled by this feedback from someone that found me online, I have to share:   

Frankly, I am intrigued by your method of presenting yourself.  Might be an odd way to say this.. but, I felt you weren’t presenting yourself just as a resume writer who will write a resume, get paid and move on.  Seems you approach your job more like holistic medicine…  wanting to help a person not just get something done but help the person help themselves get the job done…”   

YES!  

Job searching is challenging.  I believe it’s a combo of concrete work on marketing materials like resumes AND addressing our fears, insecurities & building confidence that together make for a successful job search!

Resume Reader Pet Peeves

“We ought to be able to learn some thing second hand.  

There is not enough time for us to make all of the mistakes ourselves.”  – Harriet Hall

Here’s just a sampling of some real life, straight from employers/recruiters – the Real Resume Reader Pet Peeves & “Oh, Please Don’t Do This” stories . . .  the job search version of “What Not to Wear” – the don’t do’s, turn-offs and professional faux pas.

Employers get so many applicants, they need – and look for – reasons to not consider many of them.

Don’t make it this easy for them!

bademail

A non-example of what not to put in a cover letter: “I am going through a terrible divorce, foreclosure and then got laid off from a well paying job after more than a decade there.”  Employer’s response: “It’s amazing, what are people thinking? I’m gonna pity hire them?”

balloonanimals

An example of literally what NOT to wear:  “Her resume was decent, but she dropped it off in shorts and flip flops, and we clearly aren’t that kind of company. NEXT!”

resume_typo

Your resume is the first representation of your work:  “I couldn’t believe it – she pulled her twice folded and worn resume out of her back pocket.”

Ibroughtsnakes

Other Common Employer Pet Peeves:

** Mass emailed resumes
** Applying for things you aren’t even remotely qualified for
** Candidates that won’t take “No” for an answer
** Applicants that clearly don’t take the time and effort to customize their cover letter

 

Any of you have hiring experience?  

Please add your own “Oh no they DIDN’T!” applicant stories in the comments below!

 

Christmas in July Job Search GIFTS

I’ve been inspired to share the summer hot holiday cheer with a

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

**DAILY 12 Days of Xmas offer, all online, every day from
THIS Monday, July 14, until Friday, July 25!**

Here’s the LIST of Need to Know Info —

Check it Twice (and Check in with Resume Confidence Online EVERY DAY ….)

  • Every day there will be a Xmas in July post on the Resume Confidence Facebook and LinkedIn pages. They will link to the website as well.
  • EVERYONE who likes/comments on those posts will receive Xmas stocking goodies of items, usually only shared with paying clients, to support and inspire your job search (audio mp3′s of interview skills practice classes, LinkedIn profile Tips sheet, Job Board resource links, and more sweet job search & other tasty treats TBA!)

AND ……

  • All especially good boys and girls that SHARE (repost) the post will be entered into a drawing for big job search gifts – values of up to $150!
Gifts I’m SHARING with the SHARERS include:

 

  • a FREE hour of interview/job search/resume coaching ($75 value!)
  • A FREE Resume Critique ($25 value) + stocking stuffer bonus gift

AND

  • A stocking chock full ‘o the assorted gifted goodies given to the likers & commenters, all wrapped up together with a big fat thank you bow!


Make sure you check the Facebook and LinkedIn pages DAILY, 7/14-7/25

for 12 Days of Christmas gift giving and merry making!

HO HO HO!  Haappppyyy HOT Holidays!

Spread the cheer!  Share the post(s)!

Part III: What I Learned From Applying for (and Turning Down) a Job Offer to be a Contract Resume Writer for a Large Job Search Website

 

Part III:  Evaluating the Company and Job Offer

Recently I stumbled upon a job posting for a Contract Resume Writer position with a large online job search services website that shall remain nameless.  Find out how I came to find this opportunity and why I went ahead and applied for it  by requesting the cover letter (as a sample with strategy commentary just for you!) I sent in for this position.

This experience was really just a strong, first-hand rerun of things I already knew but just hadn’t had happen directly TO me in awhile.  I’m so glad I did this because it turned out to be a great way to keep myself in my clients shoes, feeling what many of you may feel during the job search process.

I’m sharing all about my experience in a 4-part blog series:  Part I – Applying, Part II – Interviewing (and Interview-ers), Part III -3 Steps to Evaluating a Job Offer and Part IV- Turning Down a Job When You Could Really Use One.

This Week:  Evaluating the Company and the Job Offer

Here are the questions and observations I used to evaluate this job offer and the company that I recommend you consider in your search as well:

1.       What have you learned about the company directly and INDIRECTLY during the interview?

Keep your eyes out for direct indication about the quality (or lack thereof) of staff they are seeking, and/or, the quality (or lack thereof) of their product or service.

EX:  See above (they don’t ask you anything . . . ) to me, this is the sign of a bad interviewer or possibly even a company that doesn’t care all that much about the quality of their employees (and therefore the service they offer customers)

And so while I know I am a highly qualified candidate and can and did prove it, it made me wonder if they were always this non-stringent in all their hiring and quality control, or just with me & writers whose samples proved their skills were more than adequate.  Of course I don’t know why they didn’t ask me anything, but I personally believe that always being thorough as a best practice of the best companies.

EX:  This interviewer also said this to me in the first 5 minutes, and it was a HUGE red flag to me:  “Our system is simple and makes it easy to write quickly.  It’s basically “resumes by numbers”.  Ummmm?? What?  That is NOT the way I approach my clients at all.  Each resume/person is unique, there is no formula  that serves anyone the same, or best (and to be fair, the templates they used were varied, and we were allowed to tweak them if needed) – but just the cookie-cutter “by numbers” description turned me off.  Efficiency is great but not at the expense of standing out to the reader. I never use templates, each of my formats are original to the client, and besides, employers can spot templates a mile away and they are a turn-off.

EX:  This company stated in no uncertain terms (and a bit terse for my taste) that they don’t negotiate, and don’t offer pay increases, even after expert credentials are earned (which were also required at the contractors expense).

While sometimes an organization simply may not have the leeway to offer you more (in terms of pay or benefits, flexibility of schedule or any number of components in a job offer), the way they approach and talk about this and the facts as stated should be noted as an indicator of what to expect going forward as well.

As Oprah quotes Maya Angelou as saying, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”  Also see “resume by numbers” comments above, which I also took as a clear indicator of the quality of service they offered clients, that was not in keeping with my own.

On the other hand, an indication of a company striving for excellence in their staff, quality of product and service, a willingness to show you they value you however they are able to, and how they go about doing this, in my opinion, are big considerations in evaluating a company you might want to work with.

 2.       What does the interviewer say when asked, “What qualities does a strong candidate for this position bring to the company?” or “What are you looking for in an employee that will be successful in this position/at this company?”

A version of this question is one I really recommend you ask when given the opportunity.  It will show what they expect, how they approach the boss/employee relation, corporate attitudes on these roles, what skills they really need and value, etc.

In this case, the answer was what I consider very ‘old school’ and a bit dictorial.  Statements like “when I was an employee, I just did what I was told, no questions asked” made it clear to me that I would be expected to do the same with her and very much seen as a subordinate; we were not business colleagues working together.  (Again, “believe them when they show you who they are.”)

So, I had to evaluate & decide if this was the type of working relationship I wanted or not.

Why I usually love this question is that you can also use their answer as a way to reiterate how your skills do, in fact, match exactly what they just stated they most value  - gold!

 3.       Is the offer fair and on par with what is average, better, or worse in your industry and at that job level?

This company paid 50% or more LESS than what I know other resume companies pay contractors (I’ve worked for two, large and small in the past), so honestly, I found the pay rate both a little insulting and, a possible indicator of poorer quality for the client being the norm and accepted.  For example, to be able to make their pay rate worth it, the amount of time spent on writing a resume would have to be a LOT less than, in my professional opinion, what is needed to serve the client properly.  It also simply shows the valuation they place on their contractors.

So, I had to decide if I was willing to possibly do sub-standard (my own personal standards) work  if that was what was required, and if I would value my own time that much less as well.

On the other hand, if there had been indicators of again, excellence in how they treat employees, it is also often an indicator of how they value their customers as well.

As you can tell from this commentary (as well as reading the blog posts title!), I turned down the offer, when a source of clients I didn’t have to find through my own marketing efforts would have been helpful to me.  Here’s why I came to the decision to let that one go, even though it was quite difficult to do so:

 

Next Up:  Why to Turn Down an Offer When You Could Really Use a Job

 

Career/Find Your Passion and Other Inspirational Summer Reading Recommendations

 

Just in time for the long holiday weekend!  Woo hoooo!  Here are a few great reading suggesstions:

 

I get asked about how to figure out one’s life purpose and find the work you love A LOT, being a resume writer & coach.

Though there are MANY books on the subject, these are my personal fav’s hands down!

 

Job/Career/Find Your Passion book picks:

I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What it Was – Barbara Sher

AnythingIf

 

Making a Living Without a Job – Barbara Winter (I know, doesn’t sound like a book for job seekers!  But it’s GREAT for clarity and plus great ideas for what many with jobs do for extra income — side businesses!)

Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams – Barbara Sher (again, she’s fantastic, maybe you’ve seen her specials on PBS?)

 

Job Search guides:

250 Job Interview Questions – it’s small and succinct & you don’t have to go searching the internet wondering if these are good questions to practice or not.  I use some of these in my Interview Skills Coaching sessions as many lend themselves well to the behavioral interview style I teach with  Q & A practice.

The Job Hunter’s Survival Guide – again, it’s short & sweet with concrete (and smart, not stupid, unrealistic, annoying or otherwise not recommended) tips.  There are many many books/blogs out there that I think are just BS, by & large.  I like this one.

AND … 2 e-books:

How to Get a Job:  Secrets of a Hiring Manager – Allison Green
Click here to visit Ask a Manager.

howtogetajobcover1

 

101 Ways to Deal with a Pain in the Butt at Work – Stephanie Goddard of Work Stress Solutions

 

Other Inspirational Suggestions:

Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD (if you haven’t seen her on Oprah or TEDTalks, you MUST watch those videos at the very least!  She is a brain scientist that had a massive stroke while maintaining some lucidity & lived to fully recover & write about what she learned about how life, our brains, our energy and intuition works — amazing story!)

The Invitation – Oriah Mountain Dreamer.  I write about how I read this poem/prose piece daily at a job I hated, to remind me why I was doing it, and keep me inspired …

Heartsongs – the late Mattie Stepanek.  Get your tissues ready, this series of essay/poems from a terminally ill boy also featured on Oprah will tug at your singing heart.  I wrote a bit more about him here

heartsongs

 

Money Issues & Healing:  You may have seen some of my blog posts about fiances & saving money during a job search when things can be tight, such as Ho Ho Home for the Holidays about housesitting as a way to stretch your travel budget, ‘Tis the Season for Seasonal Work and How to be a Crafty Income Earner

These books are great for helping you sort out other money related problems and patterns:

The Energy of Money – Maria Nemeth

From Credit Crunch to Pure Prosperity – Maggy Whitehouse (who also has a wonderful Facebook page, Soul Wisdom Abundance)

 pureprosperity

 

 

And since I LOVE books….

 

For Fun!  My Favorite Novels:

The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver (I love almost all her books, but this one, set in Africa in the 50′s (?) with a missionary family & it’s unconventional, spirited youngest member is deep and delightful.  Disclaimer:  if you are very devotely traditionalist Christian, you may not appreciate this book)

Bible

Temple of My Familiar - Alice Walker (anything Alice Walker, really …)

Daughters of Fortune (and the whole trilogy) – Isabelle Allende (if you like historic fiction that is beautifully written with compelling characters, give these, or any of her novels, a try!)

 

Please add YOUR favorite books in any, all of or other categories in the comments below!

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Grab a cold glass of iced tea, a hammock or lawn chair, and have a great read on a warm summer day …. ahhhhh, books!  For me, a Nook or e-reader will just never replace the printed version….