Job Hunter's Journal

A Third-Party Recruiter's Effort to Help Job Seekers

FINDING A JOB IN THE 22nd CENTURY

Once upon a time, in America, all that was needed to start a very good paying career was a four year college degree but, unfortunately, that is no longer the case.  Companies no longer just care about what you know, they want to know how well you can apply that knowledge.  After all, companies are looking for employees that can solve their problems and solve them immediately.  Gone are the days when companies were willing, and could afford to, train promising talent coming straight out of college.  Technology is changing so rapidly, and most schools lag behind industry, that a degree, even in an engineering or computer technology field, is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for candidates to do a particular job.  Many employers are designing, or purchasing, tests to determine if the candidate can apply their knowledge.  Unfortunately, most schools (High Schools and Colleges) are so busy trying to force feed knowledge into students’ brains, and then testing to make sure it is there, that they do not have time to teach students how to apply that knowledge.   Now many technical companies are asking candidates questions, such as, “how many tennis balls will fit in a school bus and what was your thought process that led you to this solution?”, instead of asking; what is the value of Planck’s constant?

What does this mean for individuals looking for their first or a new job (obsolescence occurs very rapidly in todays job market)?  Obviously, demonstrated experience and training in the field that the employer is trying to fill is a must.  As a Technical Recruiter in the Plastics Industry, I am constantly amazed that after advertising for an Injection Molding Engineer, almost 90% of the respondents do not have any experience in the plastics field, much less, injection molding experience. If you have the requisite experience, the next step is preparing a resume that not only shows that you have the experience and training in the field you are applying for, but in addition, it is very important to provide examples of how you have used that knowledge to solve your employer’s problems and, therefore, increase sales and profits.  Obviously, most college students lack the experience and skills upon graduation that employer’s want so desperately.  That is why it is important, more than ever, for college students to perform internships, or summer positions, with companies that can provide some of the experience and skills that you want to pursue upon graduation from college and emphasize them on your resume.

Keeping your resume current is also very important.  Not listing skills or experience that you have that a company wants, based on the posted job description, is the kiss of death.  I never cease to be amazed how many individuals send me resumes that do not contain any reference to the experience required by the hiring company and when I reject them for consideration for the position they e-mail saying they have the experience requested but they have not had time to update their resume or “you are a recruiter and should have been able to tell that I have the right experience”.   Despite of what some people believe, Corporate or Third Party Recruiters are rarely clairvoyant.

Companies are constantly looking for overqualified people these days or “purple squirrels” as those of us in the recruiting industry call them.  Usually, if a company asks that a candidate meets 10 criteria, as soon as I submit a candidate that meets all 10 criteria, the company comes up with a 11th.  Being under qualified in areas of experience, training and skills will also keep the company from seriously considering you for the position.  This means that someone that has been out of school for a years should be continuing their education, usually through seminars conducted by whatever technical society they belong.  Companies use to provide continuing training to their employees but that is rarely the case anymore.  It has fallen upon the individual to assume much of the responsibility for keeping expertise and skills current, much as it is the responsibility of the professional athlete to run and lift weights to stay in shape in the off-season.  An example is; currently almost all plastic injection molding companies want engineers and technicians with “Scientific Molding” or RJG experience but some companies do not do scientific molding and their engineers or technicians lack that expertise and then when the get “downsized or rightsized” they have trouble finding another position because the lack the scientific molding skills.   Scientific Molding and/or RJG training is offered by some very good trainers and should be pursued by everyone in the industry if for no other reason than to keep themselves marketable.

In summary, candidates get rejected for jobs for two main reasons; the candidate cannot demonstrate to the company that they can solve the problems they are being interviewed for, or they don’t know what the company needs, and it comes through because the candidate has not developed the expertise and learned the skills that are needed.

 

When Applying for a position DO NOT USE CareerBuilder’s “BETA” mobile resume

I am a third party Discovery Personnel, Inc. Technical Recruiter filling job openings for the plastics industry niche, therefore, this Blog does not purport to speak for all recruiters, but I believe most recruiters and using the services of CareerBuilder will agree with it.

Before I begin my rant, I want to say that I have posted positions in the plastics industry on  CareerBuilder since in was free and called HeadHunter, approximately 16 years ago, and I feel Discovery Personnel, Inc. has received a good value for our posting investments over the years.

I am not angry with CareerBuilder, but I must speak out (I have already discussed this issue with my CareerBuilder Sales Representative to no avail) because, I believe CareerBuilder is doing a gross disservice to job seekers using the CareerBuilder “BETA” mobile resume job application service.  This mobile resume consists of the candidate’s; name, e-ail address, phone number, most recent company name, most recent job title, years of experience, and work status.   Unfortunately, the mobile resume provides too little information for me to determine if you have the experience needed to make contacting you worth my recruiting time to insure you have the job qualifications our client company wants.  If you are really interested in pursuing the position posted on CareerBuilder,  please take the extra few minutes to reply to the job positing with a complete chronological resume.  I want to make it clear that I do not contact anyone that sends me a CareerBuilder “BETA” mobile resume and I doubt that any other recruiters will either.

If you do not have a resume please visit our web site at discoverypersonnel.com and click on the “Job Seekers” tab then click “Quick Resume Form” to prepare the resume.

 

Resume Writing Program

If you do not have a resume, or if you want to update, or improve your current resume, an excellent resume building web site is www.jobspice.com.

Unfortunately,  I am not associated with the web site in any way but I get so many requests from individuals who want help writing a resume that I wanted to pass this site along.

TIPS FOR WRITING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME

The perfect resume probably has not been written but a resume does not have to be perfect, it merely has to be good enough to get you a job interview.  The following 13 items should help in your efforts to write an effective, if not perfect, resume.

  1. Never, never lie on your resume.  Even stating that you are still working for a company when you are merely collecting some type of unemployment compensation from the company is a lie.  Intentionally misleading people into believing you have a degree when you do not is a lie.  Leaving a job off the resume that you worked at for six months can be construed as a lie.  Leaving positions off the resume that are so old as to be irrelevant for the position you are applying for is usually a good idea, because; it makes the resume easier to read and, if you think you might become a victim of age discrimination, leaving old positions off the resume makes it more difficult to guess your age.
  2. Make sure all contact information is correct.  I once had an executive, making over $250,000 a year, get very angry with me because my client company would not send him his interview expense check.  When I checked into it, I found out the check had been returned to the company several times.  The candidate had an incorrect address on the resume.  I have seen many resumes with incorrect telephone numbers.  This is not as important in the email era, unless your email address is wrong also, and that is not a good thing.
  3. Make sure you have NO spelling errors on the resume.  Virtually everyone has access to word processing program with a spell checker.  If you do not, invest in a word processing program and use the spell checker.  Spelling errors send everyone who reads the resume a message that you don’t really care or you are sloppy.  I once had a candidate who after interviewing with a company felt compelled to write a thank you letter, which is normally a good thing.  Unfortunately, the thank you note was hand written and full of spelling errors.  The company’s offer letter and the candidate’s thank you note passed each other in the mail.  After receiving the thank you note, the company withdrew the offer.
  4. Talk about your accomplishment’s not the team’s accomplishments.  The team (in most cases) is not trying to get the job, you are.
  5. List accomplishments, not your job description.  The hiring company wants to know what you did to make your company more successful, not that you watered the plants every morning.  This can be very important.  I rewrote an executive candidate’s resume (for a fee) that had been out of work for six months.  The main thing I changed was his to list his accomplishments and eliminated his duties.  A few weeks later I received a letter from him stating he had 6 interviews and was deciding between 3 offers.   He also sent me an additional check.
  6. Minimize or eliminate the use of  fancy graphics.  My computer reads most of the resumes sent to me before I do and it gets very upset if it has to sift through cute winking happy faces.  Also, more and more hiring companies are reading resumes directly into data bases and bullet points and graphics make this a slow process.
  7. Do not use tables.   Tables present a whole host of problems if the recruiter has to make a change to the resume or if the company is trying to feed the resume directly into their data base.
  8. Try to keep the resume to two pages.  One page is usually too short but more that 2 page resumes often get ignored because no one has time to read more than two pages.
  9. Focus on what your can do for the company not what the company can do for you.  Remember, the company has a problem that has to be addressed or they would not be using their limited resources to make you happy.  Hopefully, the hiring process will be a win-win for both of you but remember the golden rule “he who has the gold rules”.
  10. Do not list references on your resume.  There are so many reasons not to do this that I do not want to list them here.  One of the biggest reasons not to list references is that the person you have listed as a reference may quickly become your strongest competitor for the job after the recruiter talks to him or her.
  11. Do not put your Social Security Number on your resume.   This seems obvious in this era of identity theft but I still see resumes with Social Security numbers.
  12. Do not list personal items such as hobbies, number of children, church affiliations, etc.  These can only hurt you because most Human Resource Managers are amature Psychiatrists and if they see you like to read, they automatically assume your are introverted and this could be bad if you are interviewing for the Plant Manager or sales position.  Also, deep down most companies believe you should not have a life outside the company.  If you have time for hobbies that means you could be working longer hours developing that perfect report no one is going to read.
  13. Objective statements are passé.  You have submitted your resume to the company so, obviously, you are looking for a job you can be happy performing.  Do not waste valuable resume space and the recruiter’s or Human Resources Manager’s valuable time.

Job Searching Using Social Media

I am reading Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies by Joshua Waldman, MBA among several other books.  I started reading this book to get a better feel for how Social Media can help the job seeker.  After spending several chapters … Continued

Interviewing Tip #1

During a telephone or face-to-face interview, the key thing to remember is the company is trying to solve a perceived problem.  The company hopes that you are the solution to their problem and that is why they are interviewing you.  If for … Continued

How Is The Plastic Manufacturing Job Market?

“How is the Plastic Manufacturing Job Market?” remains the primary question I am asked by candidates looking for positions in the Plastics Industry.  In June, 2009, I took a stab at answering this question but since over three months have … Continued

An Answer to “How is the Job Market”

As bad as the economy is at the moment, there must be more to life than toys, travel, newer cars, and larger homes.  As Viktor Frankl, who wrote, Man’s Search For Meaning, stated a half a century ago, People have … Continued

Searching for a Job???

I just read an article by the self proclaimed largest Job Search Board, providing ten reasons a job seeker may not be able to find a job.  I totally agree with the first reason, which was, the job seeker may not … Continued

Headhunters, Friend or Foe???

I am a Third Party Technical Recruiter who likes to feel that I am a friend of any job seeker who asks for my help to find them a new position, or responds to my postings at various job posting sites on the … Continued

Reason For Leaving

As a Third Party Recruiter, recruiting for the plastics industry, one of the least pleasant things I have to ask a job seeker is “why did you leave your last employer?”.   This question must be asked because, it is one of … Continued

How is the Job Market???

How is the job market?, or some form of that question is the most common question I am asked when talking to people looking for work in the plastics industry.  The following information form the Federal Government might provide an … Continued

THE HISTORICAL RESUME

I am a Third Party Recruiter (Headhunter) specializing in finding employees for the Plastics Industry.  In today’s buyer (employer) driven market, well written resumes are even more important than ever.  Unfortunately, I continue to see many poorly written resumes.  In order to … Continued

Even GOD Has A Resume

I have been a third party recruiting doing staffing for the Plastics Industry for the last 12 years.  I receive about 100 resumes each day and after all this time I am still amazed by how poorly written so many of these resumes … Continued

Article About Career Sites Failing Job Seekers

Job Seekers often ask me if they should post their resumes and/or search on Career Sites. Depending on the circumstances I tell them that it is their best interest to post or not to post.  Since I get so many questions … Continued

How Did The Headhunter Find You?

Very often candidates are asked by company hiring officials how the Third Party Recruiter (Headhunter) found them.  This rather innocuous seeming question is often asked early in the interview process, why?  There is an obvious answer to this question.  The … Continued

2008 Employment Source Survey

A Recruiting Industry Trainer/Writer recently published “WEEDLE’s Annual Source of Employment Survey” which can be read in its entirety at www. weedles.com.  Since most job seekers are not familiar with Peter Weedle’s work, I decided to take an excerpt from … Continued

Many Job Seekers are Still “Not Getting It”!

I am a third party recruiter who receives over 100 resumes per week.  Most of those resumes are responding to postings I have place on several thousand job boards, or on my own web site.  When I post a job opening, … Continued

Getting the Offer is Job 1 when Interviewing

  Previously, I have talked about the fact that when an individual interviews for a job, the purpose of the interview is to get the job.  Recently another of my candidates lost an excellent job that he fit perfectly because he was worried … Continued

Plastics as a Career?

One of the most famous lines in modern movies (The Graduate) is when Mr. Robinson takes Dustin Hoffman aside at his college graduation party and offers him some career advice, which was one word, “PLASTICS“.  Unfortunately, Dustin Hoffman’s character spent the summer having … Continued

Things Inquiring Recruiter Minds Want to Know

Ken Nunley, a third party recruiter and owner of Ken Nunley Gate House Consulting gave me a Questionnaire that he asks candidates to fill out and submit if they are interested in one of the positions listed on his web … Continued

Eliminate all False/Misleading Information From Your Resume!

A recent straw poll of approximately 1,700 recruiters, members of the Top Echelon Network (the largest group of independent recruiters), found that over 33% of all job seekers lie on their resumes.  The lies range from stating that they have degrees, that they do … Continued

JOB SEEKERS – GET BACK IN THE BOX

I just read another Internet article about how job seekers should get out of the box.  After reading the article I still could not figure out why the author seems to thing job seekers should “get out of the box”.  … Continued

Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves

I  was just looking through a listing of Recruiters’ Top 10 Resume Pet Peeves by Norma Mushkat, from a Monster.com posting that I had downloaded from the Internet several years ago.   Since I was one of the 2,500 recruiters who contributed to … Continued

Plastics as a Career?

One of the most famous lines in modern movies (The Graduate) is when Mr. Robinson takes Dustin Hoffman aside at his college graduation party and offers him some career advice, which was one word, “PLASTICS”. Unfortunately, Dustin Hoffman’s character spent … Continued