Monday, November 19, 2012

Advice to the young professional

I've been working as a mentor for a local universities and I help coach our client’s kids before they head out to find their “real job”. I’m finding a few trends with the young professionals that need to be changed.
  • To meet someone stand up straight, look them in the eye and shake hands.
  • Sit up straight during the meeting don’t slouch and, again, look the person in the eye. 
  • Don't chew gum.
  • Don’t play with your pen, paper, or anything else your hands find. It's distracting.
  • Turn your phone off or silence it.  Better yet, leave it in the car.
  • Unless you have a photographic memory (being very sarcastic here), take notes during the meeting. It shows interest.(You know what, even if you have a photographic memory, take notes.)
  • Show up to meet your interviewer dressed professionally. You don’t have to show up in a three piece suit but ditch the back pack, jeans and hoodie. You need to look like I can take you to meet a client.
  • Ladies – do not wear “hooker heals” to a business meeting. If you love your high platforms, make sure they are on the conservative side, or at least the rest of your outfit is. Business dress is not the same as night club dress.
  • Polish your shoes, brush your teeth, and wear minimal amounts of perfume/cologne.
  • If you are going to a lunch or dinner, brush up on your table manners. Yes, the basics like putting your napkin in your lap and what fork to use when.
  • Always send a thank you note after you've met with someone.
All of this seems simple, but it's surprising what some of the young professionals think is professional nowadays.  Recent grads, my final words of advice to you: keep it simple, be polite and show your interest in whoever you are meeting with! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Resumes - Personal Statement vs. No Personal Statement

The latest resume question I've been getting is about the personal statement at the top of the resume. 

Just get rid of it! Put it in your cover letter. I don’t always read cover letters but many people do. The cover-letter-readers especially love reading a great personal statement that gives the client a good gut feel for who you are.

The newest trend in resume writing is bullets the top of the resume. It is a great thing to do.  It’s easy to change out and highlight what you want based on the company’s requirements. The top of your resume is valuable real estate and it should highlight all the reasons why the company should hire YOU - so use it well. 

If you do decide to stay old school with a personal statement make sure it doesn’t have too many I’s and me’s in it. What do I mean by that? The company wants to understand what you can do for them - but, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Now go update your resume! 

For resume writing tips go here;postID=5632614948864389561

Monday, August 13, 2012

Rookie Mistake

I had a great morning – made breakfast, did two loads of laundry, swam laps in the pool, kissed the kids goodbye and went off to work. I felt like I conquered all my mommy duties and took some time for myself.  Well, good thing my morning made me feel like a rock star, because my day turned a bit sour.

A CFO I’d known for years asked to meet me for lunch in Cypress. I planned for traffic, about 45 minutes, and got caught in some, but I was still on time and feeling good.  I got close to my destination and started following the directions I printed off Google. Problem was, I hadn't read the directions before I left. They were completely off.

I was heading into Cypress to a restaurant off Katella and the directions had me behind the race track in some residential community. I kept on thinking Google had to be right but it wasn't. The search engine of all search engines has failed me. Thank goodness for GPS on my cell phone and a patient client. I finally arrived at the restaurant, but not without my wounded pride. I felt like I had made such a rookie mistake.  I mean, I know better – review the directions and the map before you get in the car. It's step one. 

So to all you candidates I've lectured over the years:  know where you’re going to interview and be on time. And feel free to call me with a  - I told you so!  

Next time, I’ll double check my directions and or ask for specific directions. 

(To make amends I did buy my client lunch and they asked me to come back in a few weeks to talk some more.  It all ended well and I got a refreshed lesson on planning ahead and knowing where you are going.)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TXT Job Offer?

recntly I XperENs a yung pro (YP) hu wntd 2 email & txt w/o talkin durN d offer process. It mAd 4 a straNg & complicated process cuz d YP wouldn’t TLK How do U tAk a complicated process lIk a job offer & mAk it wrk Thru text?

 U don’t. 

d deal blew ^ cuz ther wz n real QSO – jst txtN. YP’s & recnt graduates U must Lern how 2 communicate verbally Ovr d fone & n prsn. txtN doesn’t wrk wen U negotiate yor salary, benefits vacation dA – thOs R a huge pRt of yor life!

Pick up the phone and call or meet people in person without your phone ringing! This is not a social even it is work and at work you must be a good communicator.

For those of you who couldn’t decipher the text the translation is here - 

Recently I experience a young professional (YP) who wanted to email and text without talking during the offer process. It made for a strange and complicated process because the YP wouldn’t talk. How do you take a complicated process like a job offer and make it work through text?

You don’t.

The deal blew up because there was no real conversation – just texting. YP’s and recent graduates, you must learn how to communicate verbally over the phone and in person. Texting doesn’t work when you negotiate your salary, benefits vacation day – those are a huge part of your life! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

How to Write a Resume

How to start writing a resume.
Writing a resume is difficult. I was asked to write a resume for a Round Table I spoke at and I froze --  I hadn’t written a resume in years!  I had to go back to the advice I give and crack down and start from the beginning. It was tough to capture what I do on paper, especially 17+ years of what I’ve done. I get asked almost daily for help with resumes so here goes my attempt at putting it all in one place.  This info is still in development and will be added too and changed as needed.

At the Beginning  -  The Plug and Play List
Start writing at the beginning, your first job.  Write a historical document of everything you’ve done. Yes, everything to quote myself, “Barf it all out.”  Part of an easy job search is to develop a document to use with your resume. This plug and play list will have all your accomplishments and all of your skill sets.  Use this document as a brain storming document. Do not publish this document or send it to a company - EVER. 

This is a working document not one you will share with a potential employer.  Mostly, this document is strictly for convenience when you are styling your resume for your next job. Every job you apply for you must re-write your resume and highlight what is appropriate to the job.  I call it putting a spin on it. If the company wants someone with SEC experience and you have it at the top you need to speak to their needs. It’s about highlighting not lying.

The Published Resume -
Do not write in 3rd person.  Remember how we all learned that rule in High School? Stick with this basic grammar rule.  

Keep your detailed job descriptions to the last 10 years. After that, just list the company names, your title and dates of employment.  Or if you prefer, you can do a one page resume with just the last 10 years.

A two page resume is plenty of information about you for corporate America. There is a reason why companies conduct interviews – to get to know more about you. If you have a portfolio of work, most marketing people do, bring that to the interview.

Do not do a summary at the top use bullet points that you can change easily according to the job you are applying for. 

Always explain what industry your company is in.

If you are comfortable listing some of your personal interests put something fun and true, for example –
·         Member of the Surf Rider Foundation
·         10 year member of Gamma Phi Beta
·         Pop Warner Football Coach

It gives us, the interviewer, something different to talk to you about besides all the rank and file information. But keep in mind, if your interests are unusual, like you eat only bugs, keep that to yourself.

No embellishments of your work record. List your accomplishments but do not indulge in any creative fictional accounts of your success. Don’t lie.

No stodgy boiler plate phrases.

No exaggerating the truth. If it was a team effort that is OK. You were part of a successful team.

Write in your own voice.  Writing like you are someone else shows up in the interview. When we drill you down and get the – who, what, why where and when (5W’s) we can pick out all the truths and falsehoods.

Be prepared to go into detail about all your accomplishments.  Again the 5W’s.
We like numbers -- Increased sales by 200%.  Saved $70 million.  Reduced overdue balances by 25%.

Social Networking and your resume -
If you are on Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram etc.  make sure what is on that site is appropriate for your future employer to view. This includes –
  Your profile picture – you should be smiling or looking friendly.
           I prefer pictures of people out of suit and ties but still looking professional.
           No beer/wine glasses, footballs, fishing equipment, kids, dogs etc. in the picture.  
Don’t write in 3rd person it comes off stuffy or like your Executive Assistant or wife did the work for you.
If you don’t want recruiters checking out your Face Book page shut it down except for friends. So many people don’t realize their page is open and recruiters will happily cruise through them to see who you know.
Google yourself to see what pops up.  
Keep your LinkedIn profile short without too many details. Why do this? So you can change your resume to high light/style/spin what the company wants without looking like you lied. You’re not lying – do not lie but you can highlight those things the company wants at the top and drop off what they don’t need. Bottom line if you’re profiles on LinkedIn, Face Book etc. don’t all match up we think you are lying or at least hiding something.
Don’t put an extended very detailed resume on LinkedIn. You want to be able to change and highlight your skills depending on the job you are looking at.
Resume Formats/Styles
Put your home city, email address, phone and cell on your resume.

Make sure each page of your resume has a footer with your name, email address and phone number on it. Recruiters and HR people have occasionally been known to lose the first page of a resume and it’s usually the perfect candidates resume. So then we have to search endlessly through our email for it. Yes, oops, we occasionally make mistakes. 

Your resume should look like you.  If you are a formal person or in a formal industry your resume should look and read formal.  If you’re in a hip/cool/tech industry your resume should look hip and cool. A VP of Sales resume should look nothing like nor read like a CFO resume. 

Keep your resume format simple and do not use Times Roman type face. It’s a great type face but everyone uses it.  You want to look a bit different from everyone else.

Don’t use a MS Office template for your resume. You can riff off it and borrow what you like but you want to look like you not Bob 4 cubicles down.  If you have a friend who is in marketing or a graphic artist have them help you make the resume stand out and look cool. Make sure it’s not over the top in creativity unless you’re looking for a graphic artist job.  

Not feeling creative about your resume format and don’t know anyone in marketing or graphics? Cruise through your friends resumes on LinkedIn and see what they are doing. Pick one you like and improvise upon it. You can also check on Monster for good resumes you like – just make it your own format. The easiest fix it so change the font.

If you had five different titles under one employer put the employer, your current title and the total dates of employment at the top.  Below the company name, preferably indented, break out the titles and the dates of each of your jobs.  For example –
COMPANY – 1885 – 2012
What the company does
 VP Sales,   dates
Add what you did here

Sales Director, dates
Add what you did here.

Sales Manager, dates

Sr. Sales, dates

Office salve, dates

COMPANY 1880 – 1885

It’s a simple and easy way to clearly show your work history.

References – don’t put them on the resume or give them unless asked.  Don’t give friends or non-work related references unless asked.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oh No! My Klout Score is Low!

Last Thursday night Colin Kapp, Assistant Vice President and Marketing Manager at Commerce National Bank in Newport Beach (like that plug Colin!) invited me to a Social Media for Small Business Seminar. I like to learn and like to hear new ideas. I was hoping I’d learn something new so off I went to the bank to hear Niklas Myhr, Ph.D. and Global Social Media Professor at Chapman University. 

I was very pleasantly surprised and I had a great time. Professor Myhr was funny, highly entertaining and educational – gotta love learning while you’re laughing.  The one thing I learned that will impact me the most is his view on blogs --  they don’t have to be perfect and that  a blog should focus on serendipity, satisfaction, service, sustainability and sharing. He also said to be happy to make up your mind and happy to change your mind.  I think I’ve been over thinking my blog and making it more like a boring business blog. Good business is my style but boring business isn’t.  In the future I’ll plan on trying to keep his 5 S’s in mind while writing. 

Next I learned to check my Klout Score – which is low a 10!  Obviously they don’t consider me an influencer.  Some of the reason I think my score is low is my FaceBook is not for business (do you really want to see pictures of me sledding with my kids?) and our YouTube videos are connected to Dave’s email and his FaceBook, not mine. So eventually I’ll sort out our media and with the all the tips Professor Myhr provided, maybe up my Klout Score to a reasonable number.  Hey Twitter worked for me this week after 2 years of using it – I’ll get my score up eventually.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

What to do with your hands at a Networking Event.

This morning I got a question from one of the Chapman grads I work with frequently and it’s a good one that I should share.

Chapman grad – “I realized last week in a networking setting that I have NO idea what to do with my hands when I'm standing in a group of people. I never land on anything that works, and then overthink it and feel awkward about it. Any advice?”

I loved his questions because I struggle with what to do with my hands at times when all I want to do is flip my pen around. A few things that work for me:

Things to do - You can keep both hands behind your back with your fingers clasped. Clasped in front works too but some men make it look awkward. You can put your thumb in one pant or suit pocket hang the rest of your hand out while keeping the other hand at your side. If you put both thumbs in your pockets it looks like a “John Wayne” stance (howdy cowboy) although, I do that all the time and it works fine for me. I fidget all the time so I like to lock down my hands. I like to keep my business cards in my left pocket so I can shake with my right while handing my business card with your left. Sometimes I totally mess this up and hand the card to the person upside down but heck I’m human and I make mistakes too. Not often, mind you. 

Things not to do – Don’t cross your arms in front of you - it makes you unapproachable. If someone is annoying you with a rambling conversation, though, it’s a good thing to do because it verbally signals – I’m done. Also don’t hold on to one arm with the other arm – it looks awkward. I see people doing this all the time because they are nervous, every time I see people do this I think they are nervous and/or shy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sticky List Radar

I love my smart phone, computer and tablet but sometimes old school paper works just as well. I keep a list of hot candidates on my desk and it’s a bunch of sticky, multicolored notes all stuck together. It’s not glamorous but it works.

Why keep a short list? Sometimes I remember everything about a person's work history, what they wore, when they met me, and where they met me, but I confuse their name - is it David Smith, David Moore, David Ankenbrandt,? 

I need a cheat sheet. 

The list also has some of my favorite people - yes, recruiters have favorites. Once someone is placed, they may get crossed off the list. Sometimes they stay on forever even though they are happy working – they stay on because it’s a great way to stay in touch! Sure I can create a list on my computer, and I do that too but I prefer my sticky list radar.

Hey David - thanks for naming the list! And - yes you're on it.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Happy New Year - 2012

My last post was in November! What happened to December? it just flew by! I guess the holidays took over and my life got crazy. We did close out the year in a great way, though! We placed quite a few people and it felt good to get people working in 2012. I did enjoy taking the week off between Christmas and New Years. We took the time to hang out with our boys and take it easy. Now, I've been back to work recruiting, but also spending a lot of time helping people craft their resumes.

I have a lot of resume tips spread out through this blog but no one - including me - wants to dig through the entire blog. In the next few weeks I'm putting together a resume guide to post here so you have one place to go for resume help.

Happy New Year!! We hope you all have a happy, healthy and prosperous 2012!! Call us at the office if you need any assistance with your search.