October 17, 2007

Spell Check Is Your Friend. . .

All I have to say is use it! Spell Check that is. I've talked alot in this blog about using your resume as a marketing tool. Build a campaign and stick to it. Would you be okay with Nike misspelling words in their advertising campaign? Would it change your opinion about the company's product quality?

Yup, you bet it would!

Hiring Managers see a misspelling as a extension of your work performance. Many professionals I speak with state that just one misspelling can put you in the no pile. Yes, I'm serious!! Make sure your resume and coverletter are flawless. Use spellcheck, but I suggest go a step further and have someone else proofread them.

Yes, I'm serious!! With the use of text messaging and electronic emailing, spelling seems less important, but it's not. Don't take it for granted. Use your marketing tools to get you noticed and your foot in the door. It's like having a mustard stain on your white blouse when you're on the first date. Make the most of your first impression!!

Next time. . . Perception is Reality!

October 8, 2007

Contact by phone. . .More than a Voicemail

You've submitted your resume and the waiting game begins. How does one follow up that the resume was received, the position is still open, or if you have questions about the position? A well-trained receptionist will take messages for any calls he/she believes are regarding an open position. First, understand that HR Professionals are busy people and contrary to what you believe, we are not waiting for your call. Don't treat them as such. On an average day as a recruiter, I would receive 30-100 calls about an open position. My gatekeeper or receptionist was trained to take messages and ask questions about who was calling when the caller asked for Human Resources.

So how do you make contact?

A method I have used in the past is very simple. You can use it two different ways. Make a call to the company and say the following, "How are you today? Can I speak with Joe? I had another question for him. This is (your name)." To the gatekeeper it sounds as though you already know this person and they will put you through to Joe. Once you get ahold of Joe, tell him you were mistakenly transferred to him and was trying to get ahold of someone in Human Resources. Bingo!! You're in.

Another common method is to call, speak to the receptionist, and ask to speak to a generic department like Accounts Payable or Safety. Typically, this department receives many calls and are not guarded by a gatekeeper. Once you are transferred to this department, let the person know you were mistakenly transferred and wanted to speak to someone in HR.

Speaking to a HR professional for the organization you are looking to work for takes a little work like I explained but alot of luck. Chances are that person is away from the phone. Leave a message, sound professional, practice your script prior to calling. Don't phone stalk!! No more than 2 calls a week. Did I mention be professional and practice??

Next week. . . Spell Check is your friend!!!

October 5, 2007

The Coverletter-The Quick and Dirty

There is a great debate among Human Resource professionals about whether to include a cover letter or not. When evaluating a cover letter from a Marketing prospective I say, "Why the heck not?" Not everyone reads your cover letter. Heck, not everyone reads your resume, but for those hiring managers that do read cover letters, you are taking a big risk by not including a cover letter.

A coverletter is a great opportunity to discuss any gaps in resume or your planned relocation to Florida in November. I recommend not using a canned coverletter and make changes to your cover letter each time you apply for a position. Look at the job description of the position you are applying for. Yes, these things take time, but isn't it worth putting your best foot forward? Find 3 qualifications that you possess from the job descript and focus on those on your cover letter. Your letter should look something like this:

Dear Ms. Smith, (Do your best to find their actual name or use Director of Human Resources. Everyone needs a little ego boost, ayy?)

I am interested in being considered for the position of _________. I have _____ years of experience in the areas of ________, ________, and _________ with an interest in _________. Explain your recent relocation here or other informaiton not covered in your resume.

List your first qualification-the position you were in, the company, and for example, how you grew sales by 15% in 2005 by focusing on specialized sales training for your team, restructuring incentive programs, and building a strategic marketing plan for each geographic location. Try to use work examples that are not included in the resume. No need to repeat and waste the Hiring Manager's valuable time.

List your second qualification following the same setup for qualification number 1.

List qualification number 3.

Your final paragraph should include your strong interest in the position, recap the qualifications you listed above (3) along with a passion for _________ (list fourth qualification here). Please contact me at xxx-xxx-xxxx at your earliest convience to set up an interview to learn more about the __________ position. I look forward to meeting with you.


Your name

Here are a few Do's and Don'ts to consider:

Do address your letter to a named individual.

Don’t use a sexist salutation, such as “Gentlemen” when answering a blind ad. "Use To Whom It May Concern or Human Resource Director"

Do keep your letter brief. Never, Never more than one page.

Do distinguish your cover letter from those of other job-seekers by quantifying and giving examples that amplify and prove the claims you make in your letter.

Do avoid negativity. Negativity never has a place in a cover letter or an interview.

Don't forget to personally sign the letter.

Next time . Making contact by phone. How to get past that pesky secretary????