Questions and Answers with Career Expert Teena Rose
Please note: On a somewhat infrequent basis, Quintessential Careers asks noted career experts five questions related to their expertise and publishes the interview in the current issue of QuintZine, our career e-newsletter. Those interviews are archived here for your convenience.
Teena Rose of Resume to Referral is a resume writer, book author, and career expert.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||You are one of the few career authors to suggest “utilizing the same font, margins, and header [in your cover letter] as with your resume,” and we’ve rarely seen job-seekers who create matching documents. Can you explain to our readers why it’s important that the appearance of one’s cover letter match one’s resume?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Personal branding is huge right now, and job-seekers who don’t recognize the need to properly create their own brand are chipping away at long-term job-search and overall career successes. A job-seeker is equivalent to Me, Inc.
To me, maintaining consistency in the development, layout, and visual presentation of a job-seeker’s cover letter, resume, bio, online portfolio, and so on, aids in reflecting a person’s overall brand — even if on a basic level.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||From your observations and experience, just how tough is the job market today? How can job-seekers achieve success and stand out from the crowd in such a competitive market?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Today’s job market is the “what if” scenario I coach clients to prepare for. My advice has always been to develop a skill set that transitions well — not only from one job role to another, but from one industry to another. The job market today is challenging, but there are countless pockets of opportunity … and for job-seekers who prepared, the current recession is something to weather, not forcibly chew and swallow.
How can job-seekers stand out? Start by using a branding statement across all your job-search collateral; i.e., resume, cover letter, networking accounts, professional blog, online portfolio, branding statement, and so on. Also, let companies know you do your homework. Properly research and professionally contact hiring managers and recruiters, utilizing new networking/data mining tools such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and ZoomInfo. Learn about and pre-qualify potential new employers before making initial contact — it’s common advice, but so many fail to heed it.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||By far, the excessive blasting of one’s resume to job banks and recruiters is not only a bad practice, but it rarely produces quality results. Job-seekers sometimes feel a scattershot approach to resume submission is the answer. I continuously explain to clients the importance of strategic, quality submission to pre-qualified recruiters and hiring companies. “Quality, not quantity” should be the motto of today’s job-seekers.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most exciting or hopeful trend in job-hunting?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||Social networking is certainly changing how we communicate online, and services such as LinkedIn and Naymz are making their way into the hiring process. LinkedIn offers a growing list of applications that hiring managers can utilize to discover a candidate’s full online presence. Naymz goes where LinkedIn doesn’t (at least as of this Q&A), offering identification and background checks, a Trufina scoring system [Editor’s note: See explanation here.], and for business professionals, search-engine placement once they hit a RepScore of 10. Beyond LinkedIn and Naymz, TwitHire is gaining ground, and Craigslist is mainstream for some job-seekers.|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||We hear increasingly from job-seekers about frustrations with Internet job-hunting. They complain that they never hear anything from employers, and that employers increasingly put up impenetrable barriers to keep job-seekers from following up and being proactive. Are the old rules of job-seeking and follow-up changing? How will job-seekers need to adapt to the new rules of Internet job-hunting? Are there ways to follow up after responding to an online ad, and if not, what can job-seekers do in lieu of following up to increase their odds?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| The hiring system is undoubtedly bogged down. Resume management systems, which were originally designed to manage large numbers of incoming resumes, are now engorged — “resume bloat,” if you will. A recently laid off software engineer in Nantucket, MA, for example, is now competing with what seems like every software engineer in and outside the U.S. Who isn’t involved in an active job-search these days?
Job-seekers want acknowledgement, even if only two simple words: go away. HR managers are bombarded with job-seekers with varying degrees of intention; some are passive seekers while others are unemployed and far hungrier for employment. I feel for those on both sides of the hiring fence.
Followup to today’s job openings sometimes takes a bit of wrangling to get around guarded third parties, such as recruiters, or doing a bit of detective work to decode confidential job postings. But if you’re lucky to have the right contact information in front of you, then yes, follow-up can be an important part of the process.
When it comes to followup, you have three main choices — phone call, email, or letter. I challenge job-seekers to put unique spins on those outdated follow-up practices, however.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the best way to uncover job leads — or do you advise multiple methods? What’s the best combination of methods and what percentage of a job-seeker’s time should be spent on each?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| I love using job aggregators like Indeed.com, a somewhat one-stop shop for sourcing jobs from a multitude of job banks and company pages. Talk about a time saver!
LinkedIn’s “search job” feature produces an attractive list of ideal jobs. Since companies use and seem to respect LinkedIn tools, I feel jobs found in LinkedIn’s system aren’t always found elsewhere, maybe providing some insight into the “hidden job market” that everyone talks about.
Another feature of LinkedIn I use is the site’s “search company” feature, currently in the beta phase. Conducting a quick query for corporate giant Microsoft, for example, I receive a quick description of the company, a look at their current subsidiaries and other select statistics; i.e., number of employees and year founded. I also can view new hires, promotions, and other position changes. The new feature offers some transparency into Microsoft’s inner workings.
Teena Rose is a leading resume writer, book author, and career expert who can be contacted through Resume to Referral. She has authored several books, including 20-Minute Cover Letter Fixer, How to Design, Write, and Compile a Quality Brag Book, and Cracking the Code to Pharmaceutical Sales.
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