Friday, February 25, 2011

INTERVIEW! 10 Commandments to help you through the INTERVIEW!

Authored by: Ron Cottick, CPC, CHRM

The interview is an important part of getting a new job. It is inevitable that if you are going to get a new job you will be interviewing. Each interview is different and how you perform will be different for each interview you do. Outside of the other preparation you do for your interview, you should mentally prep for how you will conduct yourself during the interview. A preparation plan will be done for each interview since each interview is different from the rest; however, a preparation for performing essentially remains the same. You have a plan for your preparation, now here is your plan for performing.

1. ATTITUDE, is yours great?

Never underestimate what a great attitude can do for you. Think about it this way; would you like to interview someone with your attitude? Attitude is sometimes overrated but one thing you can be sure of, a great attitude is far better than a bad attitude. And when I reference attitude, I am referencing it for everything, not just the interview. If you are having a bad day, someone upset you before the interview or you are generally not in a good mood, it will affect your interview. If this is the case, stop and take a deep breath, clear your head, think about what you are about to do, the interview, and realign your attitude to be a great one. If yours is not great, do whatever it takes to make it a great ATTITUDE before your interview.

2. EARLY is on time!

Ever hear of Lombardi time? I first heard this when I was attending the US Air Forces Military Recruiting School years ago. The reference to Lombardi, the late great and infamous Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers, is that Vince Lombardi believed and professed that arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled time to arrive is being on time. Think about the analogy of this for a moment. How can you walk into an appointment seconds before the scheduled time, introduce your arrival and yourself, sit down and take a deep breath to relax and start the appointment on time? And many times you are asked to complete an application. How does that get done before your appointment if arrival is seconds before? Difficult at best, not is more likely. Whether you subscribe to Lombardi time, or whatever time you want to subscribe to, arrive EARLY to allow yourself enough time to take a deep breath, relax and complete the proverbial application.

3. Oh, and HUSTLE!

Show some bustle to your hustle, or, in other words, enthusiasm, energy, vibrancy and interest. Ask questions as well. You don’t want to ask questions for the sake of asking questions, however, questions are buying signs and show interest. Interest is why you are interviewing so show it. No one wants to interview someone who lacks these qualities. Enthusiasm, energy and vibrancy are self-explanatory. Interest is as well but I want to expand on interest. If you are not hearing what interests you, or, what you are looking for in the early stages of the interview, you should still show interest. It may turn out that as the interview progresses you will see things that are of interest to you and that your interest grows. A second interviewer could interest you more that the first interviewer. Regardless, think of it this way; if a lack of interest is initially perceived by the interviewers then you are likely to lose them. Ask yourself; have you ever lost your audience in a meeting, a presentation or a speech and tried to get them back? Very difficult if not near impossible. You don’t want to lose your interview audience. You can always say no to an offer if one were to come, but, if you have a lack of interest or there is a perceived lack of interest, you will likely be able to call the interview practice. So, be sure to show some HUSTLE!

4. LISTENING; to follow instructions, are you really listening?

Knowing what to do when something is new to you requires listening to instructions, developing perceptions on how to prepare for it and how to act doing it. The company, the interviewer and the interview are likely to be new to you. In order to properly prepare and do your best during the interview requires listening to what will be expected of you. Your developed perception will help you determine how best to prepare and act. Listening for the hints to tip you off on what to prepare for, how to prepare and how to act will pay dividends. You will perform much better if you are properly prepared and act accordingly. Good LISTENING helps get you there.

5. LISTEN more, talk less!

Balancing your dialog during your interview is critical. Have you ever been in conversation with someone and carried on too much with an explanation of something? How about dominate a conversation? I’ve talked too much before, maybe you have too. Have you ever been on the other end where you felt you couldn’t get a word in edgewise or were even listened to? There is no perfect balance; the situation dictates what it should be. The important point here is that you want to answer questions accurately, informatively and completely without carrying on with irrelevant information, which happens very often. Dazzle your interviewers with your brilliance, not baffle them with your, well, you know. Your interview should be conversational, a sharing of information, not robotic, and, not dominant. You should know what to share, how to answer, what to answer. When someone belabors an explanation on something or an answer to a question, it implies they don’t know what they are talking about. They are scrambling for a good answer. If that is the case, you will likely lose your interviewer and it will be hard to get them back if you do. Good listening is more important than talking too much. If you are not listening well you may miss the gist of a question and unintentionally give a wrong answer to a question that you are very capable of answering. So listen, make sure you know what the question is by good listening and give an accurate, informative and complete answer. It is OK to restate the question to validate it, but you sure don’t want to give a wrong answer when you know the right one. Listening is an acquired skill and as with any skill, takes practice. So, if you need to, practice to LISTEN more.

6. Give the interview your very best as a matter of PRINCIPLE!

Sometimes people have or show a lack of enthusiasm, energy or interest in what they are doing. It can be from lack of knowledge of what they are doing, lack of confidence or no interest in what they are doing. They are not putting forth their best effort. That could show a lack of character and less than stellar work ethic. When people do their best they are showing character and exhibiting an excellent work ethic. Ever hear of “you are what you eat”? Well “you are what you do”! When I attended the US Air Forces Military Recruiting School, every morning and every time we came back to the classroom after lunch or a break, everyone in class was required to shout out in unison “boy, am I enthusiastic”! At first, most everyone thought it was a lame exercise, but later it was proven to have a very positive impact on everyone. That exercise motivated everyone to do their very best in class. Whatever you do to get yourself in an appropriate frame of mind and do your very best in what you do, your objective should be to do your very best. It shows when someone is doing their best and they are generally rewarded for it. The moral here is not just to have the right frame of mind for what you do, but as an element of who you are and what you do. As a matter of PRINCIPLE, do the very best you can!

7. SKIP the gossip, opt out!

Stay away from gossip, opt out! Don’t buy into rumors, they are just gossip with another name. Gossip can take different forms and what may not appear as gossip could very well be construed as gossip by just the way it is presented. Many times, an interviewer will ask questions about your current company, your management, product line, what’s going on and how it’s going. They may ask you about your likes and dislikes. You will be expected to answer such questions but be careful how you answer them. Answer them like you would any other interview question; you want to answer questions accurately, informatively and completely being careful not to give away any information that is considered confidential or irrelevant. Stay positive with your answers as well. The way you answer these types of questions will do several things; establish your professionalism in the way you answer the questions and how you would respond if you were their employee. No one is looking for a water cooler gossiper and if there is any idea that you may be, your interview will likely be over. You probably will not be able to avoid those kinds of questions but how you handle them will tell volumes about the kind of person you are, about your character and your professionalism. Chose not to distribute gossip; SKIP the gossip!

8. Don’t BASH the boss, policy or show negativity!

Many times you will be asked about how you work with management and your relationship with management. Behavioral questions are becoming more popular. One series of questions you may get goes something like this; “Was there ever a time when you were asked to do something by your manager that you disagreed with”? “If so how did you handle it”? “What was the outcome”? If someone did not have a very good relationship with their manager it would easy to “bash” the boss in the way the questions were answered, the tone of voice and the angst that rises as the question is being answered. Don’t think this isn’t possible, think back to a time when you answered a question about an unpleasant situation. I know it can happen and you probably do too. Regardless of the exact question or how it is asked, the point here is to not bash the boss or show negativity in your response. Be very diplomatic, professional, positive, and, answer the question accurately, informatively and completely. How you answer the question will tell as much about you as much as to what the answer actually is. It can be construed as a test as to how you would talk about them if they employed you. Never good to be negative or BASH.

9. Show DISCIPLINE dipped in diligence!

I like to use the term “comfortably confident” when I brief someone going into an interview. I am not employing cocky and arrogant. If someone goes into an interview with anything less than comfortably confident, they show a lack of self control and discipline. Diligence instills discipline and discipline breed’s confidence. If you know what you are doing, confident in your ability, is there any reason you wouldn’t show it in everything you do? Continued long term discipline helps insure success in what someone does. Diligence helps get them there. Presenting yourself confidently illustrates that to others. The interviewer is not likely to take an interest in someone who is not diligent, discipline or confident. Have it, practice it and show it. Exercise your DISCIPLINE in your interview.

10. Get it DONE!

Getting it done is not just about your tasks, your job or the projects you are in or get involved with, it is as much about your attitude as well. When you illustrate a “get it done” attitude there will likely be less to explain about the get it done in what you do. You instill confidence in others that you can get it done and the proof is what you have gotten done. Your hard and fast examples discussed during an interview are easy enough to validate, how you present yourself validates your “get it done” attitude. Present yourself well in your interview and you will show you can get it DONE!

Some say attitude is everything; I say attitude is almost everything. How you control it and having it is the everything. Each of these commandments has ATTITUDE in them. To get the most out of your interview you need to be aware of your attitude when you interview. Let your attitude help influence your performance and you will likely see the success you are looking for as a result of your interview.

There is much that can be said about interviewing but I think most would agree that without the right attitude, you’re swimming up stream. I know for a fact that the right attitude can overcome a weakness in another area. The weakness could be from lack of training or experience and at the time of the interview can’t be changed, however, you have control over attitude and it can be controlled and changed. Learn these commandments, keep them in mind when preparing for your INTERVIEW and you will be miles ahead of the competition.

There is more to the INTERVIEW and than can be covered in one BLOG. Watch for future BLOG’s on all topics JOB SEARCH at You should also look at past published BLOG’s as well, you won’t be disappointed.

If you like what you see and find value in this information, BOOKMARK this site as a favorite, become a follower and COME BACK often.

If you know someone else in JOB SEARCH mode, I suggest you


I encourage you to do so as they also could benefit from this information. .

I welcome comments and if you wish me to address a specific subject let me know in the comments section or send me an email at

Special NOTE: This BLOG is still developing and will eventually have its own web site to be easier to find and better serve those viewing this material. An announcement will be made when that happens.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The JOB SEARCH! Get into a HABIT and become more EFFECTIVE!

Authored by: Ron Cottick, CPC, CHRM

You have probably heard the term “Practice Makes Perfect”! That term is commonly associated with athletes and musicians. They practice to get perfect, to become #1 in their profession and continue to practice to stay there. They get in and stay in the HABIT of practicing.

Regarding a JOB SEARCH, I don’t know anyone that makes it a profession. I do know many that are in job search mode though. The ones with the greatest success get in the HABIT of doing the things that need to be done and continue to do them until they achieve their objective, getting a new position. They get into a habit. They practice to become highly effective in their quest to attain their objective.

This does not imply getting into the habit of doing just anything, the wrong things, or, working without a plan. Everyone should know that PROPER PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE. With all the elements in place that constitute a good job search plan and being in the habit of exercising that plan, you will be much more effective during the whole process and get a better result.

Let’s recall the fundamental steps in the JOB SEARCH process:

1. Determine you objective
2. Develop your resume, cover letter and presentation(s)
3. Post your resume
4. Conduct search, create search wizard
5. Research your targets
6. Contact your targets
7. Develop your network

Dr. Stephen R. Covey wrote a book entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. The book was about habits and when practiced, how they make people more effective. Although written 15 years ago, its message still applies to this day. Getting into a habit mode when conducting a job search, to have a plan and do the things that need to be done, will make you more effective in the quest for your next position.

HABIT 1 is about being PROACTIVE
As in any number of situations in your life where you are or should be proactive, being reactive puts you in second place, or, first loser. You design your personal life, as well as your professional life. Every situation provides you with choices and you chose how to deal with them. Taking responsibility through proactivity will get you to do different things to get different results when you are not getting the results you are looking for. You embrace the positive and expel the negative. You chose to control your environment and not allow yourself to be affected by it. You will have greater power when taking control of your environment. Taking control is doing something about it. To influence you speak in the positive I can, will, do. You focus your efforts on what you can control choosing to be in a Sphere of Influence instead of a Center of Concern. Being proactive you will determine the areas to focus on that will keep you in the Sphere of Influence and on track to a more effective result in your job search. You chose your behavior, be PROACTIVE! Something to remember; there are people who make things happen, people who want things to happen and people who wondered what happened! Which one are you?

HABIT 2 is about the END IN MIND (the GOAL)
Being all you can be is “what” you should want to be. What and “where” you want to be should be part of your goal. When victories come at the expense of things far more valuable, are they truly victories or, steps on the stairway to the ultimate prize? If you are not headed up the stairs you want to be on, to where you want to be, this is less a victory than a climb to dissatisfaction. Visualize what you want and where you want to be 5, 10 or 20 years out. Have a mental image to create a physical image. Visualize whom you are, what you want and how you are going to get there. Think about how you will win friends, influence people and overpower the people and circumstances that will shape your future. Develop a personal mission statement, as companies develop business mission statements, to be your goals and to help you keep your eye on the prize. Keep the END IN MIND. Re-affirm who you are, your goals, focus on those goals and elevate yourself up the stairway to success. If you conceive it, and you believe it, you will achieve it.

Time management is very helpful in putting first things first, or setting and working the priorities. It will also help you with having a balanced existence, a quality of life balance. Being proactive and having goals come together here. It’s about life management, your purpose, your values, your roles and your priorities. Priorities are the things that are most important to you and when putting first things first you are organizing and managing your time according to what’s most important to you. Practicing the A, B, C time management methodology will help in the organization of your priorities. Put FIRST THINGS FIRST, set your priorities, focus on them and you will be more effective in getting to your goal.

Negotiation results in both parties winning. There are concessions from both sides, whatever they may be, and the result is an agreement, WIN-WIN! The human interaction and collaboration is a win for both parties. It is not an I win, you lose, if you win, I lose scenario. That ends up being a zero-sum game. WIN-WIN is cooperative, having the frame of mind and heart that seeks mutual benefit, solutions that are mutually beneficial and satisfying. Approaching life’s issues with a WIN-WIN attitude displays vital character traits:

1. INTEGRITY: sticking with feelings, values and commitments
2. MATURITY: expression of ideas, feelings with courage and conviction and consideration for ideas and
    feelings of others
3. MENTALITY: the belief of abundance, plenty to go around

Many think you’re nice or you’re tough, either or. With WIN-WIN, both either and or are required balance between courage and consideration. You need to be empathic as well as confident. You need to be considerate and sensitive as well as brave. To achieve balance is the essence of maturity and fundamental to WIN-WIN. This is all about you and life around you. It’s about your INTEGRITY, MATURITY and your MENTALITY. It’s about you attaining balance with the attitude to succeed, to WIN-WIN.

Communication is the most important skill we have. If you don’t communicate well, you will have trouble being understood. Listening is an integral part of the communication process. If you are not a good listener, you will have trouble understanding. You need to understand if you expect to be understood. Many seek first to be understood and get their point across. When it comes to listening, many pretend to listen selectively hearing only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focusing on the words being said while missing the meaning entirely. They listen while preparing a reply, comment or answer in their mind before they fully understand what is being said. Referencing what is heard through their “life experience” they measure it up and consequently decide prematurely how to respond or answer a question before the other person finishes communicating. The cart starts getting ahead of the horse here. Your chances of giving an intelligent response or answer after listening poorly are slim. Because of how we process communication we tend to respond by:

1. EVALUATING: we judge and then either agree or disagree
2. PROBING: we ask questions from our own frame of reference
3. ADVISING: we give counsel, advice and solutions to problems
4. INTERPRETING: we analyze others motives and behaviors based on our own experiences

Sometimes “life experience” responses are appropriate, such as, when specifically asked for help from your point of view. Regardless of how you communicate, you should understand that if you are a poor listener you probably are a less than stellar communicator. Don’t let the cart get before the horse, listen to UNDERSTAND and communicate to be UNDERSTOOD.

HABIT 6 is about SYNERGY
Synergy is achieved through collaboration, putting heads together, and, interaction. This is the habit of creative cooperation, teamwork with open mindedness and finding new solutions to old problems. It’s the process where people bring all their personal experience and expertise together for the team to learn from. They discover things they are less likely to discover on their own. It is the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. When people interact they’re open to each other’s influence and begin to gain new insight. Capability to invent new approaches increases exponentially because of difference. Valuing difference drives synergy. Many mistake uniformity for unity and sameness for oneness. Differences should be seen as strengths and not weaknesses. Ever talk to someone where something is said that helps you solve a problem, complete a project, make something more efficient? SYNERGIZE yourself and collaborate your way to success putting heads together; network.

You are your greatest asset. You should be sharpening your skills and preserving and enhancing that asset, YOU! Invest in yourself and hone yourself through self-improvement to make a better you. If you are not investing in yourself, you are doing yourself an injustice. Through self-improvement you are developing a balanced self-renewal program, a reinvention of a better you. Key elements in self are:

1. PHYSICAL: eating, exercising, rest
2. SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL: having social and meaningful relations with others
3. MENTAL: learning, reading, writing and teaching
4. SPIRTUAL: spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through mediation, music, art, prayer and

You create growth and change in your life. Working the habits will increase your capacity to produce and handle challenges around you. Through renewal, your body will remain strong. Your mind will be sharp, your emotions healthy, the spirit sensitive and your person generous. Feeling good about one’s self doesn’t just happen. You need to take time for renewing yourself to live a balanced life. Renew yourself through relaxation, practice the spiritual and mental elements and know what your well being requires. Experience the vibrancy and energy. Practice and experience the benefits of good health and exercise. Revitalize yourself to peace and harmony. Expel apathy before your get up and go has got up and gone. Watch for that new opportunity for renewal each day and recharge yourself. It takes desire, knowledge and skill. That can only come from YOU!

So, when traversing your way through your job search and working the fundamentals of:

1. Determine you objective
2. Develop your resume, cover letter and presentation(s)
3. Post your resume
4. Conduct search, create search wizard
5. Research your targets
6. Contact your targets
7. Develop your network

You should be developing and incorporating:

HABIT 2; keep the END IN MIND (the GOAL)

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr. Stephen R. Covey

The definition of INSANITY is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. If you keep getting the same results with what you are doing and you are looking for a different result, then you need to change the way or what you are doing. Are you in the HABIT or just wandering around in your JOB SEARCH? Only you know the truth. Recognize, initiate and implement the change you need to change things. Get in the habit of doing what it takes to affect change. Embrace it; you will be glad you did.

Remember, the more dedicated and committed to habit formulation when conducting a JOB SEARCH, as well as other aspects of your life, the greater your chances for better and more successful outcomes.

To view more on the elements of a JOB SEARCH, the practical application of those elements, the how to and the tips, view the other BLOG’s on all topics JOB SEARCH at

You won’t be disappointed.

If you like what you see and find value in this information, reference my other BLOG’s, become a FOLLOWER and BOOKMARK this site as a favorite to COME BACK often.

ALSO, TELL A FRIEND! I encourage you to do so.

I welcome comment and if you wish to have a specific subject addressed let me know in the comments section or email me at

Now go out, get in the HABIT and SEIZE the DAY!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Job Searching During the Holidays

Author Byline: Peggy McKee

True or False? Companies stop hiring during November and December.


One of the top myths of job searching is that no one hires during the holidays—but that’s just not true. But many job seekers take a break from the search during the holidays because they believe it (and because they get distracted by family plans and holiday parties).

The truth is, the end of the year is a great time to land a job.

I know as a recruiter, we don’t see any drop in business during the holidays, and January is always one of our busiest times of year—and the groundwork was often laid in December.

Why are the holidays a great opportunity to get the job?

1. You can take advantage of the fact that other candidates have temporarily dropped out of the race—because they believe the myth. That means there’s less competition for you, and a much greater chance to stand out.

2. Companies don’t stop needing great employees in November and December. You never know when they’re going to have an opening, and often, they have their own end-of-year deadlines to meet to fill a spot. Don’t miss it.

3. Networking opportunities are plentiful during the holidays—holiday parties, professional networking events, and all kinds of social occasions. Even though you should tread lightly and make a point of gathering information, you should definitely let people know you’re looking. (Here's a link to a quick video - what to say when you're unemployed.) It’s also a great idea to send out a funny or entertaining Christmas letter that mentions your search and what you’re looking for. You never know where your next job lead might come from.

Look at the holiday season as a unique opportunity for your job search. Goodwill and friendly feelings often abound at this time of year. Absorb some of it, project some of your own, and stay motivated. Your persistence will eventually pay off.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Is The Top Recruiter Pet Peeve (And How Can You Avoid It)?

Author Byline: Cathy Eng, CARW, Owner of Resume Rocketeer, Inc.

"What makes you want to work at our company?"

"What was a challenge you were met with and how did you approach it?"

"Do you have any questions you would like to ask me?"

Lack of preparation to answer these deliberate interview questions is among the top corporate recruiter pet peeves. There are very specific reasons interviewers ask you these questions and how you answer them says a lot about you. Weak or incomplete answers send a negative message and leave a poor first impression.

Here are some tips to ensure you are prepared for your interview:

- Research the company and its products or services. When you are asked, “What makes you want to work
  here?” you can bet they really just want to know if you researched the company. If possible, gain at least a
  high level knowledge of its mission and vision, financials, and business practices.

- Research the position. Have a clear understanding of what the job entails before you interview for it. If you
  don’t, the hiring manager will soon realize that you either don’t know, don’t care, or aren’t qualified.

- Always have questions prepared for the interviewer. At the end of the interview, ask them for more details
  about the position and the company. If you can’t think of any real questions, ask a great fallback question
  that will bring attention back to the interviewer: “What makes you enjoy working here?”

- Practice, practice, practice. Then practice some more! Find a friend or family member who has a couple
  free hours to help you. Dress in interview attire and find quiet place out of your comfort zone (e.g. library
  study room) to meet. You will think and answer questions a lot differently there than sitting on your couch
  in your pajamas! Give the person a list of interview questions and conduct a mock interview. Have the
  person give you feedback and run through them again.

Other essentials for interview preparation:

- Groom and dress appropriately. Although it may seem superficial, you can bet your appearance sends a
  strong message about your personality, confidence level, and how seriously you take the interview.

- Plan to arrive a little early. When I interviewed for my first job out of college, I drove to the office the day
  before my interview to be sure I knew long it took to get there! Know your drive time (consider rush hour)
  and plan to be there 5-10 minutes early.

- Bring the requested materials. Many companies mail out packets before interviewing candidates with
  employment applications and other forms, so it is imperative that you bring this completed paperwork in
  addition to requested work samples, college transcripts, references, recommendation letters, etc.

Being prepared for a job interview takes more than dressing up and arriving on time. You must be ready to provide thoughtful, smart answers to the strategic line of questioning you will receive. That takes thoughtful research, anticipation, and a lot of practice. Don’t get caught unprepared! 

Article courtesy of the a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for students looking for internships graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

JOB SEARCH! The JOB DESCRIPTION! Is it what it appears to be?

Authored by: Ron Cottick, CPC, CHRM

There is no short answer to that question. And, considering that most JOB DESCRIPTIONS are poorly written, how could there be? If a JOB DESCRIPTION is well written though, then the most appropriate answer would be “almost always”.

There is a process in most companies as to how a job is created and a JOB DESCRIPTION generated for that job. It starts with a Hiring Manager having a need as well as a budget to hire someone. From that point, the request goes to Human Resources (HR) to determine if it is a justified need. If the Hiring Manager does a good job in justifying the need, HR will buy off on the request and approve a requisition for it.

The Hiring Manager gets word of the approval as well as a request for the JOB DESCRIPTION they will use for the “requisition”. Here is where things usually get convoluted. Convoluted, because, almost all Hiring Managers go back to their JOB DESCRIPTION database and retrieve the last JOB DESCRIPTION they used when they last filled a “like” position. That JOB DESCRIPTION could be months or years old. That is not necessarily bad, however, the Hiring Manager usually does not update nor make the necessary changes to bring it up to date. HR accepts what it is given to work with because they assume the Hiring Manager knows best what they want, are looking for and would have updated the JOB DESCRIPTION. So what you end up with is less than the best of a JOB DESCRIPTION going forward to attract the best talent for the job. “How’s that working for them, usually not so good”.

If the position is turned over to an internal recruiter, they take what they get and run with it. Seldom is the time taken by the Recruiter to sit down with the Hiring Manager to discuss all the nuances of the position to assist in finding the best of the best in talent. In the recruiter’s defense, sometimes if they were to try, hiring managers don’t always make themselves available to discuss it. The mindset usually is “you have the JOB DESCRIPTION and should know what we are looking for”. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard a comment similar to that. The assumption is good recruiters know what they are doing and don’t need anything more than what was given to them to get the job done. So, we have a dated JOB DESCRIPTION, no discussion with the hiring manager and are expected to find the GURU that is expected to fill the position.

So, in the interest of getting the position filled recruiters move on into the hiring process with less than the best of information. What a concept. It is more like a recipe for settling. “Settling” is settling for what you get instead of going after what you want! Settling in this kind of scenario is when so much time goes by, anxiety levels go up with the desire to fill the position and the best candidates are yet to be found. What happens is best of the rest is hired instead of the best of the best.

Smart and good recruiters, whether they are corporate or outside recruiters asked to assist on the search, always redo the JOB DESCRIPTION to what it should be after discussing it with the Hiring Manager. If they can’t talk with the Hiring Manager they do their best to edit the JOB DESCRIPTION to bring it up to date, be the best that it can be and attract the right talent.

Follow along as I discuss the “usual” target areas that come under the editing pen.

Sometimes the job title is more specific to the company and not easily recognizable to the industry. I have seen Product Managers do Project Manager work. The company may have the position titled that way. If you were looking for a Project Manager position would you key word it with Product Manager? Not likely. Unless Project Management was used in the body of the JOB DESCRIPTION the position would not likely come up in your search. To preempt an inappropriate JOB TITLE for a position you want, are looking for and are qualified for, you need to “think outside the box”. If the JOB TITLE were right on, no problem! Chances are more likely it’s not, so, think of all the possibilities of the JOB TITLE you could/would fit and use them as key words in your search.

Companies usually use a range when listing compensation. Sometimes they refer to benefits as competitive. If there is a relocation package, it’s usually stated as relocation available. None of these references tell you how much. There is some reasoning behind it. First of all, lets talk compensation. Companies target to hire someone at what is called the “mid-range” of the compensation. If the position is listed at $70 - $100K, they are looking to start someone at $85K. The reason is companies want to have room for merit, COLA and other raise incentives such as merit in the pay grade. If they start someone at the top, there is no room, consequently, no raises until promotion to the next pay grade. Although someone could get more than “mid-range”, not likely will they get top dollar. The only chance of more, and the usual carrot used to get more going in, is a sign on bonus. Now, on to talk benefits. The competitive part comes in on the company view as to competitive compared to whom? A like size company in the same industry, in a different industry, a small company, or what? Only the company defines competitive in this case. As for relocation, it is usually tied to the level of position. Do skilled professionals get the same package as Mid to Senior Level Management? Hardly ever! Knowing how the dollars work helps you get a better idea of what to expect. You can only evaluate the other perks once you know more specifically what they are. Use this information as your guide to determine if the compensation for the position you have interest in meets your requirements.

This is where the fluff comes in. A popular buzzword in the industry is “branding”. Companies and recruiters are all the time encouraged to brand the company and themselves to create better awareness and interest. If the company is doing the advertising, you will likely see their name listed in the JOB DESCRIPTION. If a recruiter is running the ad content, they will likely not list the company name. They almost always keep it confidential until they talk with you. Either way, the intro is where you will see “fortune 500 company”, “industry leader”, “#1 in the nation”, or some like type comments. The intent is to shout out that they are everything you want and expect them to be. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this, except, if you never heard of them you should check them out to better know who they are. In their minds eye, they could be #1 but in the real world they could be on the bottom. You don’t want to be taking interest in a 3rd rate company if you are looking for a 1st rate company. Do your research, as you always should, to have absolute certainty who they are, where they stand in the industry, and, are they financially solvent enough to pay you should you be hired. Are they who they say they are.

This is where you get to the substance of what the company is looking for. Here you will see the duties and responsibilities of the position. Many times this area is vague on substance and too much on generalities. You may have to interpret the meaning from what you know about like positions. If the JOB DESCRIPTION is well written, this area should be loud and clear. This is where you will see if you are qualified, the areas you can emphasis when you sell them on your background and what is expected as part of the job. This is the heart of the JOB DESCRIPTION. This is where you will see if this position is for you.

This is where you will find the wants, the must haves and the preferred skills. Nothing is absolute, but you will at least see what the company’s first choice of skill sets are and the strength of their desire for specific skill sets. In some cases, companies use this area to screen out certain talent. Don’t let this deter you if you have a comparable rather than a specific requirement. Many times comparable or transferable skills are acceptable.

If a JOB DESCRIPTION is written to its optimum, it will have branding, education, motivation, sales and encouragement to make a move to action. You will see the fluff, get an education, could become motivated, get sold and be encouraged to a move to action. If that is the case, you will be armed with information to make an intelligent decision as to how you want to proceed. If that is not the case, at least you were able to decipher everything to make an intelligent decision and “is this the one”! Knowledge is power and invaluable to make the right decision.

How does the title “When is it more than it appears to be” fit this article? Simply put, if you do not understand the intent of what the JOB DESCRIPTION is saying in its entirety and how to read between the lines, clear or otherwise, you could be pursing something that is erroneous or does not exist. I am not implying you should not follow every lead, just saying you should know, as best is possible, what it is you are pursing. The better informed you are, the better you can “work smarter and not harder”. Call it a best use of time a resources.

One more point to help put you on a level playing field when it comes to introducing yourself to a position. Just as the JOB DESCRIPTION draws you in with branding, education, motivation, sales and encouragement to a move to action, YOU SHOULD do the same when you present yourself. BRAND yourself in your presentation, EDUCATE the company you are approaching on you, MOTIVATE the company to take interest in you, SELL the company on all the attributes of your background and skill set that qualifies you for the position and encourage them to a MOVE TO ACTION.

It is hoped you found value in this article on JOB DESCRIPTIONS. The more you know about dealing with all the elements of a JOB SEARCH the more successful you will be in attaining your OJBECTIVE. You don’t have to settle for what you get, go after what you want.

There is more to a JOB SEARCH than can be covered in one BLOG. Watch for other BLOG’s on all topics JOB SEARCH at

You won’t be disappointed. And, if you like what you see and find value in this information, reference my other BLOG’s. You should also BOOKMARK this site as a favorite to COME BACK often and

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And, by all means: NEVER give UP, give IN or quit TRYING! If what you are doing is not getting you what you are after, you have to change what you are doing to get a different result.

Now go out there and SEIZE the DAY! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Are You Making the Most of Your LinkedIn Profile In Your Job Search?

Author Byline: Expert resume writer Jessica Hernandez is the President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast a top-tier job search and resume writing firm.

Author Website:

Although hiring appears to have picked up a little over the last month or so, some sectors are still cutting back. We still talk to job seekers who are finding themselves out in the job market for the first time in a long time. These candidates often feel overwhelmed and don’t really know where to start with their job searches. Obviously, getting a polished, keyword-rich resume together is one of the most important steps. For many, a step that is equally important is creating or updating their LinkedIn profiles.

Studies show that the majority of recruiters and hiring managers now use LinkedIn at some point during the hiring process. So it’s not just important to have a LinkedIn profile but to have a complete profile that focuses on your brand and what you can offer the employer. You want your profile to show up in the top of search results and then convince the hiring manager to make contact.

LinkedIn also offers somewhat of a one-stop shop for a hiring manager trying to learn more about the candidate behind that fabulous resume on his desk (that would be you!) If you have recommendations on your profile, your candidacy receives instant credibility. If the companies you’ve worked for have created company pages on LinkedIn, the hiring manager can instantly learn things like how big the organization is and its Web site address without having to search around. Your LinkedIn profile also offers you the opportunity to create a more personal connection and communicate additional information not included in your resume.

So what’s in it for you? Besides allowing hiring managers to actively search for you or learn more about you once you’ve applied, LinkedIn also offers you a fabulous opportunity to research companies in which you’re interested. There’s probably no other place on the Web where you can find information like what percentage of the employees at a particular company have a master’s degree or attended particular schools. Wouldn’t you feel more confident walking into an interview knowing that 20% of an organization graduated from your alma mater?

If the idea of creating an attention-grabbing LinkedIn profile feels overwhelming, our professional branding experts can do it for you!

Article courtesy of the , a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for  students looking for internships graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Is There Still a Market For What You Do?

Author Byline:
Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter.

Author Website:

Most people know that certain sectors of the economy have been hit harder than others, like real estate, construction, and banking. If you’ve spent the last decade or two working in those industries, what are you supposed to do now? As you begin your job search and sit down to write your resume, you should ask yourself an important question: “Do any companies pay people to do what I do?”

Remember five years ago when the real estate market was booming and everyone you knew was becoming a realtor? Fifteen years ago, IT was the popular industry that everyone was going into. Both of these sectors have been profoundly affected by economic forces, although fortunately, the IT industry is now back on an upswing.

The reality is that the economy has changed. There simply isn’t a market for certain things for which there was in the past, i.e., new homes. Some of these markets will return as the economy recovers, but some of them will never be the same. The changing economic landscape requires workers to change and adapt along with it.

If you conclude that your career is one that needs to take a different tack, your resume should clearly demonstrate where you’re going as much as where you’ve been. This offers you a wonderful opportunity to reshape your career and align it closely with the type of work you most enjoy. For instance, for our example realtor, his strong suit may have been combing data to produce excellent competitive market analyses. This is a transferable skill that could allow him to do pricing in a different type of industry. On the other hand, if the realtor’s strong suit was staging a home, photographing it, and marketing it online, then perhaps a new career in PR and communications would be a great fit.

Many people have no choice about making a major career change, and others just have the desire to. Whatever your circumstances, the current economy requires all of us to stop and think, “Do companies still pay people to do what I do?”

If you’re faced with a career change consider asking an expert for help. Certified resume writers are trained to strategically address career changes in resumes.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap < > a content exchange service sponsored by, < > a leading site for students looking for internships and graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.