J Patrick + Associates Blog

Why Ageism Isn’t Your Real Problem

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 02:30 PM

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Ageism as a challenge gets thrown around a lot in the executive recruiting world. There is this false assumption that because you’re a certain age that you won’t get the job. The reality is there are plenty of companies who will hire you for your expertise regardless of your age if you can properly convey your value.

Yet many executives looking for work still cite ageism as their main challenge in landing the job. Pardon the bluntness, but perhaps “ageism” isn’t the real problem here. In fact, it’s very likely that perhaps you’re making some mistakes that portray you as dated, inflexible and victimized – characteristics that are unattractive at any age.

Use our tips to make sure you aren’t coming off this way in your job hunt.


Your resume is outdated.

Resume trends change all the time. What worked 15-20 years ago will not work today. Furthermore, if you’re still working with the resume your college’s career center taught you to write, and have just been adding your jobs as they happen, then you’re in for a very rude awakening. You wouldn’t wear a suit from 1995, so why would you use a resume format from the same era? The days of sending in paper resumes are gone. Objectives have also been thrown out with yesterday’s trash. Additionally, everything has gone digital so if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile or a way to participate in mobile recruiting then you’re going to struggle finding job.


The people you are contacting prefer corresponding via email—and you’re calling.

In the age of smart phones it’s a miracle if anyone uses a phone to actually talk on it anymore. The truth is several people loathe using the phone and prefer using email. It’s quick, easy, doesn’t really interrupt their day and doesn’t take nearly as much time. You may think it’s impersonal, but the reality is you can easily have the same conversation via email as you would on the phone. If you insist on calling (or worse, faxing) when your contacts clearly prefer email then you’re annoying them. It also shows you haven’t gotten with the times. That’s far worse than running the risk of being impersonal, which no one thinks of email anyway.


You don’t understand effective email communication.

The point of email and instant messaging is that it’s quick and to the point. If this is how a prospective employer operates for intercompany communications then you need to make sure you’re with the program. That means you must avoid sending confusing subject lines and emails that are the length of the Old Testament. MindTools has a great guide on how to properly write effective emails for business. Learning how to write catchy email taglines and first email lines is key to increasing the chances of your email getting read.


You make it hard for people to reach you.

Make sure your resume has a mobile number, email address and LinkedIn profile URL listing in the top section easily seen. Put some variation of your contact information in the summary section of your LinkedIn Profile, twitter bio and/or about.me pages. Google your name and see what options come up and see if it is easy to contact you when clicking on those links. Also, evaluate your email provider. Sometimes Verizon.net and aol.com email addresses can over filter emails and bounce emails being sent to you—even if you initially emailed the person. So ask friends to email you and see if messages bounce—and consider moving email to a more universal provider, such as Gmail.com.


You’re focused too much on the past during job interviews.

While it’s good to touch upon past accomplishments during job interviews you must remember to balance it out with some forward thinking conversation. For instance, don’t forget to mention how your skills can help the company with their current issues. You also need to talk about how you can contribute to company goals both now and in the future.


You’re too expensive.

This isn’t to say that companies are trying to get experience for cheap. It just means they have a budget to work with and not every position needs the expense associated with bringing on an experienced person. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t buy a BMW, if a Toyota suffices for what you need. Sometimes the executive role a company needs to fill doesn’t require so much accumulated experience and therefore isn’t worth the cost. This isn’t ageism, it’s just finances. With all of this outlined, know that I do believe ageism exists in hiring and can be a valid issue in preventing an appropriately qualified, within-the-budget executive getting hired. However, often, I see ageism is not the reason and one of the above reasons is the root of the issue. When someone cites the ageism cause without looking at what they can change or other valid business concerns, all they are doing is destroying their own mindset to get positive results from the search.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

3 Ways to Master the “Why Should We Hire You?” Interview Question

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Thu, May 14, 2015 @ 01:50 AM


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Interviewing can be stressful – especially if it’s been awhile since you last did it. You prepare ahead of time by researching the company, the position, the contacts with whom you will interview and the challenges the company may be experiencing. You rehearse answers to expected interview questions outlining your accomplishments and the stories behind them. You are ready to knock them dead for your upcoming executive interview!

Even with research, preparation and rehearsal,some questions can take you off guard. My favorite recent example being, “If you were a part of a cheeseburger, which part would you be?” Best answer, in my opinion, “Umm,yeah – the cheese, of course!”

Silly questions aside, the question “Why should we hire you?” or “Why do you want this job?” will surface often and can put even the most prepared job seeker on edge. Expect it to come and prepare for it. It’s best not to have a generic answer.

But what makes a good answer? Here are three tips to keep in mind as you formulate your own response.


1. The answer is more about the “We” than the “Me”

Instead of focusing on what’s great about you, instead focus on what you see that is awesome between what you bring and what they offer together. Do you have a particular skill that would shine in their culture and bring about growth at the same time? Does the prospective employer have a situation before them to which you can uniquely contribute that makes benefits you both?

Is the company experiencing financial issues and you have a specific track record turning around distressed companies in their industry? Outline how fixing these types of scenarios is rewarding for you as a progressive Chief Financial Officer.

Answering in a way that promotes a winning scenario all around is the best strategy. If there’s a specific example of how you can advance the company, while advancing your own career, then absolutely share it!


2. It’s about your ability to solve problems they have

A smart answer focuses on solving existing problems the company is experiencing. Is the company experiencing high staff turnover? Demonstrate as a Director of HR the retention programs you have put in place that have reduced turnover. See that the organization’s main product line has plateaued in sales with its target market? Showcase how you reinvented the brand to invigorate sales and by how much for each instance you had success during your tenure as a EVP of Sales & Marketing.

Interviewers love to hear about a mutually beneficial solution or arrangement. Turnover is a real problem for some industries or companies and the better the likelihood that you both get something out of it (beyond trading work for pay), the better chances that you’ll stick around and they’ll want you to.


3. Your Passion Shines Through

If this is a position or field that you're passionate about, little rehearsing may be necessary for this questions, if you are speaking from your heart. There's little that trumps what intrinsically motivates you when it comes to an effective answer.

Demonstrating what motivates you deep down is of great interest to a company. A great company knows they can’t motivate people—top-notch employees come with motivation and great companies know how to supercharge and channel that already-there mojo. Sharing what made you interested in finance or what inspired you to get involved in the pharmaceutical industry can show a company how you come to them already fired up about the cause/product/service and all you need is the proverbial gas to fuel that passion. This information, combined with your earlier research about the company, will emphasize that your personalities and interests mesh well making you a great hire for them –so don’t be afraid to share why.

When answering the question, “Why should we hire you?” it’s best to focus on the company’s needs and how you can serve those need and provide an answer that is a win/win for you both. Don’t be afraid to show your enthusiasm and let your passion for the position or industry emanate.

Above all else, take this question seriously and be prepared. This the time to showcase why you care about this position, what you have to offer the company and demonstrate that you want it.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Job Interviews, HR and Hiring, Resume Optimization

3 Psychological Hacks to Give You an Upper Hand When Asking for a Raise

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Dec 30, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

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Chances are that you already know that psychology goes a long way in sales. You may have also heard how psychology helps when you’re networking. But did you know that you can also use psychology to better your chances of getting a raise?

A quick note here, knowing about psychology is not about manipulating the other person into get what you want. It’s about knowing how the mind works so that you can ease situations that can cause a lot of anxiety while getting others to collaborate with you.

Use our tips below to give yourself an upper hand when asking for a raise.


Using their own words to describe their problem.

In sales and marketing you’re taught to use a prospective client’s own words to remind them of why the need your product or service. You can use the same concept when asking for a raise.

For example, perhaps you know the company is looking to open up a new office overseas and have run into some issues like struggling to find employees. Perhaps your boss has even mentioned it during meetings.

When asking for a raise you can bring up the issue and then explain how you can fix the problem. The key here is to use their own words. So if your boss has mentioned, “Wow we’re really having a hard time finding qualified people to open up our new office in China” then you would use the exact wording when you bring it up.

The reason it’s so effective to use their own words is because it will create familiarity between the two people. The detail also triggers much more emotion than saying something general like “The company is having recruitment issues.”

Then you can provide examples of how you’ve already handled issues like this and can continue to do so, therefore making you a valuable asset to the company and worthy of a raise.


Mirror their body language.

In addition to using your boss’ own words, you can also mirror their body language.

The concept of mirroring is pretty simple: when asking for a raise use body language that is similar to the other person’s.

This creates a sense of familiarity, trust, and comfort because when someone behaves like us we tend to automatically assume that they are actually like us.

In other words, if you’re asking your boss for a raise while mirroring their body language, they will see themselves in you therefore making them more accepting of your request.

It creates empathy and takes your boss’ mind off of numbers, budgets and more logistical excuses they may have otherwise thrown your way.


Limit their options.

Limiting people’s choices is a well-known persuasion technique. Simply put, when making a proposition it’s very easy for someone’s mind to start creating a myriad of alternatives to said proposition.

Rather than letting their mind wander give them only two options: your proposition or something less desirable.

For example, either you get a raise or you take another offer you have on the table. Or, either you get a raise or they continue having major issues (such as the recruitment example).

This technique is obvious, but it works if you don’t overdo it and actually bring something valuable to the table.


Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

If you are interested in working with Lisa Rangel, an accomplished executive resume writer, social media profile writer and job search consultant, to achieve social media exposure and interviews you want, sign up for an exploratory call now and learn about the Chameleon Resumes services that can help you land your next role.

Tags: Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Do You Have Job Search Burnout?

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Apr 22, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

Job Search Burnout

Despite it being a new year, many job seekers have been looking for a job already…in some cases, conducting that job search for a while and are burnt out.

While some job seekers have new inspiration to start a search, I know some of you may be tired and burnt out on your search and need a renewed source of perspective. Well, you have come to the right place.

When you are burnt out on your job search, you may need a mental break. Rest to rejuvenate is crucial, but what I think can be equally as effective is to give a good, hard look at the job search activities that you have been doing.

Are you setting yourself up for disappointment and job search burnout? 

Here are 5 Questions to Ask yourself

1. Have you submitted to more than 10 – 20 online job postings per week?

If yes, then you may be spending too much time on job boards and not enough time engaging actual people. You should not be spending more than 10% of your job search time on job boards. Set up Google Alerts and job alerts within notable job boards to have applicable jobs emailed to you and stop wasting time mining for jobs on the boards. 

2. Are you Reaching Out Directly to Hiring managers?

Of the job applications you applied online, how many did you find someone at the company and reach out directly to connect about your application?

If the answer is less than 50%, you are depending on the computer/database gods to get you an interview, when you need to be talking to people. You need human discussion (phone and email) and contact (in person meetings) throughout this process to stay energized and get hired. “A computer hired me,” said no one ever.

3. How Many People are you Talking to?

I suggest keeping a log of how many conversations you are having with people. If it is less than 10-15 people per week, you need to step it up. Again, people hire people–so talk to people. Computers do not hire people, so do not spend time submitting to electronic job applications for most of your time. 

4. Do You Say "I'm Open to Anything"?

If this is exactly how you ask them, I ask you: Do they know what you do, really? Do they know specifically what you want? It is much better to say, “I am looking for an accounting manager position with a mid-sized company in manufacturing” or “I am seeking a customer service position with a technology firm” than say “Hey, let me know if you hear of any job openings” — Specific is so much better than general each and every time! Specific also breeds confidence. 

5. Are you speaking to the right people in your industry?

How many new contacts are you adding to your contacts list each week–or are you circling back to the same 50 – 200 people each month? Add new people by attending industry and profession-related networking events, alumni get-togethers, former co-worker get-togethers and events in your community. Be sure your business card markets you in a memorable way.

Generally speaking, if you are not speaking to people about your job search, not speaking in specifics to people about your job search and/or not speaking to the right people, you could be spinning your wheels a bit, which will contribute to your burn out. It is important to rest and have fun to recharge…but it is also important to do the right activities suggested above to help support your success and preserve your mindset. Good luck!!

Originally posted at: Chameleon Resumes on Job Search Burn Out - Lisa Rangle


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Tags: Job Search, SaaS, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

5 Best Practices For Resume Writing

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 @ 10:23 AM

5 Best Practices (1)

It’s an age-old question: “What should I put in my resume?”  There are plenty of articles and how-to videos offering advice on what a resume should say and how it should look.  But, when looking for employment, be sure not to put the cart before the horse. Realize this one thing: you are not writing a resume to get a job; you are writing a resume to get an interview.  

That said, let me offer you 5 great tips to keep in mind while writing your resume:

1. Don’t Just List Your Strengths

When writing your resume, don’t just list your strengths.  Say, for example, you’re a good public speaker. Connect it with some real-life success and tell a potential employer why they should care.  If an employer can look at your resume and see a relevant personal experience in which you displayed your strength it will put you at an advantage.

2. Use The Right Keywords

Working in a recruiting office I witness first-hand every day how true this statement is.  The bottom line is that, recruiters in my office sort and search through piles of resumes using keyword searches.   If your resume doesn’t contain the right keywords for the job you’re after, there’s basically no chance you’ll land that interview.

3. Customize Your Resume For Each Potential Employer

As easy as it would be to just make one resume and just dish it out across the board, do not make a generic resume.  Is every job the same? Of course not, so don’t make every resume the same. Tweak and fix your resume to make it a custom fit for each particular job description.

4. Don’t List All Your Job Experiences

When people are writing their resumes they innately want to cram as many job experiences as possible on one or two pages. You know, to “impress” the potential employer, right?  Actually, this is the opposite of what you should do. Your resume should not be packed like sardines on the page, but rather clear, legible, and eye-catching. Obviously, you need to list the most current and the most relevant jobs on your resume, but try to keep it all within the last 15-20 years.

5. Begin Narratives With Action Verbs

Follow this very powerful and useful practice when writing your resume.  It’s an attention grabber. And describing your accomplishments with action verbs such as organized, managed, directed, etc., actively describes what your duties were at that job.

Final Thoughts

When you sit down to write your resume, really think about what you have to offer an employer. You’re not simply a beautiful snowflake, just like everyone else. Your resume is the first step in differentiating your personal brand from the rest of the pack. It’s a tool to position you as an employable commodity.  Along these lines, don’t just write what you think they want to hear. It’s imperative to always proofread as well-- nothing says unqualified better than a resume with grammatical and spelling errors. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to get professional help. After all, it’s your future we’re talking about. So, why wouldn’t you want the perfect resume?


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Tags: Recruiter Tips, Job Search, Job Interviews, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Why Being Qualified Is Not Enough…

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

Why Being Qualified is not enough

Executive job seekers need to know that corporate and search firm recruiters are overwhelmed with resumes and communications from candidates who are earnestly seeking their next position.

Knowing this fact, I tell my clients that being qualified is not enough!! Those that are qualified will rise to the top of the pile and have their resume read ONLY if their resume is idiot-proof. Yes, I said it—Idiot-proof. I mean no offense to my recruiting brethren with this term. But a job applicant’s resume has to be very crystal clear on the job for which they are applying. This will almost ensure that the reader will know without a doubt what position the applicant is applying for by reading their resume on its own using a branded title. Here are some points to help you do this well:

4 Tips for Writing an Effective Resume

Resume Should Send a Clear Message

You have to assume the resume will be separated from the cover letter. Will your resume stand on its own? The gut check question you can ask yourself is: “Will a hiring manager know exactly what you want by reading your resume only?”  If the answer is ‘yes’, then your resume is in good shape. If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘I don’t know’, here are some steps you can take to position the resume to make it easy for hiring managers to realize which position you want to be considered.

Don't Use the word "Summary"

Eliminate the word “summary” as the heading to your resume. Give it a title that mimics the title of the position you are seeking and for which you are qualified. For example, if you are formerly a Director of Information Technology and are applying to a Chief Information Officer position that is an appropriate next step, make the branded resume heading the latter and keep your title on the employment section accurate with the former.

But Do include a Summary paragraph

Ensure you have a summary paragraph under the branded title heading that supports the title outlining briefly what you bring to the table and the results you have accomplished.

Use Keywords

Use keyword bullets under the summary to punctuate your qualifications and experiences. Note: Be sure the keyword phrases you use describe your background further specifically and are not so generic that they tell the reader nothing. GUT CHECK: if the phrase used can be used on an HR resume, an engineering resume, and a finance resume, then that phrase is wasting space and not telling the reader anything about your specifically. For example, “Energetic manager that brings results to the organization” does not differentiate you in anyway, even if it is true. Use specifics.

The goal is to have the hiring manager look at your resume and within an instant know exactly which position is the right one for you. If the hiring manager has to work at figuring out which position a job seeker is good for, chances are the resume gets tossed in the ‘no’ pile, or the ‘maybe’ pile or in the wrong pile. By making it easy for the hiring manager, you increase your chances of getting in the ‘yes’ pile and getting the call. All things being equal and all considered applicants being qualified, the bottom line is the job seeker that makes the hiring manager’s job easiest wins.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

12 Executive Resume Writing Misconceptions

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Tue, Apr 16, 2013 @ 08:00 AM

12 Resume Writing Misconceptions

Executive job seekers often want to know what are the benefits and features they will experience if they have their resume done by a professional or should they do the resume themselves. The decision is a different one to be made for each person. But here is a list of misconceptions made by job seekers that can at least help you know what an executive resume is not or should not have:

12 Misconceptions of Writing an Effective Resume

Myth# 1: Executive resume summaries are the same as objectives.

Objectives only state what you want. Summaries outline how what you offer can meet the needs of the prospective employer. Simply put: nobody really cares what you want only.

Myth #2: Your executive resume needs charts and graphs to be impressive.

While I put charts and graphs in executive resumes for some of my clients, it is not the norm. Most clients can have achievements properly outlined in well-written content. Charts and graphs are often not digested by applicant tracking systems (ATS).

Myth #3: Everyone should be able to write their own executive resume.

Would you be your own lawyer? Try to sell your own house? While there are some people who can, for the majority of us, it is best to hire a professional to handle these matters.

Myth #4: Stuffing keywords into your executive resume gets through the ATS.

While this may actually work, when the recruiter reads your keyword stuffed resume, they will think you are spending more time trying to game the system versus outlining why you are qualified.

Myth #5: Every company uses ATS systems.

Every company does not use an ATS, but most do in some way. Having your resume keyword optimized is as essential as me having my coffee in the morning. You just would not want to see me without it.

Myth #6: Put all of your experience on your resume and show everything you ever did.

As a general rule, I do not go back more than 15 years. Even if what you did 25 years ago is applicable to what you are targeting today, no company will hire you for what you did 25 years ago. I believe, in most cases, putting 20+ years experience on your resume only dates you and does not really help your candidacy.

Myth #7: Follow a page rule: one page or two pages…no more.

Know that as long as you make the resume, one page resumes included, it is never guaranteed that the reader will read it. Keep your audience interested in 5-10 second increments to keep the scrolling and reading. If that is one page, so be it. If that is three pages, ok.

Myth #8: A great resume is the magic elixir to landing a job.

A great resume with an excellent job search plan, robust network, superb follow up skills and an amazing attitude land you a job. The most fabulous resume alone will not get you a job.

Myth #9: Stretch your dates to reduce or eliminate your employment gaps — no one will find out.

You can find out what your neighbor ate for dinner last night on the internet. You don’t think today’s background check technology can find out that you are fudging dates. Yes, they may not find out…but they also may find out. Don’t do it.

Myth #10: Put your references at the bottom of your resume.

Put your references on a well-crafted reference sheet. And don’t put :”references available upon request” at the bottom either. It is implied.

Myth #11: Use the same resume for all of your job applications and submissions.

Customize each submission showing how you meet the needs of the job description. One size does not fit all.

Myth #12: My old resume will work just fine.

The same way your shoulder padded jacket or skinny tie will work at the company party this weekend. Go for it.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

Managing Your Online Reputation

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

How To Manage Your Online Reputation

Employers do check the social media presence of job applicants at some point in the interview process. Some check upon stumbling onto your background when searching for talent on LinkedIn, others right before the interview and other employers do a thorough investigation before extending an offer. No matter what the employer’s process is, you have to assume, people will want to check you out online during the recruitment process.

Here are 11 Ways to manage your online reputation

1. Google your name in Google Search

Perform a search on your name to simply see what comes up. This will help you come up with a game plan not only to clean up your profile, but to proactively strategize on what to include to improve your online image and set you apart.

2. Search on your name on other Search Engines other than Google, such as Bing and Yahoo

While search results should be consistent, sometimes they vary. Double check and ensure you are coming across as you wish.

3. Maintain a professional, but fun, Facebook profile

Mind the pictures you post and consider limiting tags by others to pictures on your wall. Ensure your wall and photos are professional in nature (so take down the party pic of you dancing on the bar with your friends). Post academic achievements (I received an A on my chem. Exam!!), athletic wins (I just did my PB during the 5K race!) and non-profit initiatives (Loved participating in the food pantry fundraiser last night…consider joining me at the next event).

4. Check your name in Google Images

Here you will see what pictures are online that are connected or tagged to your name in a public manner.  You may not have all of your and your friends’ Facebook pictures come up, depending on the privacy settings. However, all public photos that are tagged to your name will arise.

5. Check your privacy settings on Facebook and other online media

Assume nothing you put on the web is ever private—that is my cardinal rule. If you are in doubt if you should put it up, well, maybe you should not do it.

6. Write a professional LinkedIn Profile

A Linkedin profile that is optimized for keywords will improve your ability to be found by recruiters and land an interview. 93% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find their next hire. You need to be here.

7. Create a Twitter account to follow target companies and network with contacts who can help you lead You to your dream job

Twitter provides real time data to improve the content of your communication with key contacts.

8. Consider removing information that references topics that should not be considered as part of a hiring decision

Information such as religion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or other group represented in Title VII or the American with Disabilities Act should not be part of a hiring decision. It is discriminatory to ask for this data or use it in a hiring decision. But if the information is offered by the applicant, it can (wrongly) be used in a hiring decision in an unconscious manner.

9. Share positively across all social media channels

Negative rants are major turnoffs to employers, as no one wants to hire their next problem. Demonstrate your ability to communicate constructively and don’t overshare.

10. Create New Content to Replace Negative Content

If you do have negative information about you that you cannot remove, or if you share a name with life-long criminal, one option you have is you can create new content by launching a blog, writing online book reviews, creating a personal website URL (i.e. www.yourname.com), and using other tactics to bury the information.

11. coming up anywhere online is almost as bad as having a negative online image

Employers wonder do you get technology and/or what have you been doing all this time? So get online to get hired.

Maintaining a professional online image without losing your personality is very doable. Take the time to craft the image that is true to you and resonates with employers to land that first job—making your time in school all worth it.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer 

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Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

5 Ways to Get Recruiters to Call You Back

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Feb 04, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

How to get recruiters to call you back
Wondering why recruiters call you back after you have submitted your resume? Feel you’re perfect for the job they posted, you know you can do it, but you are baffled by the fact they have not returned your call? Well, I have some answers for you as to why and outline a few things you can do about it. Read on if you are open to honest, tough talk, you are serious about optimizing your job search time and you are prepared to do something about it. Here goes: 

Why Recruiters Don’t Call You Back

1. Just because YOU think you can do the job, does not mean they think you are QUALIFIED for the job.

Search firms are paid a significant fee to evaluate candidates that the client company cannot find on their own. They are charged with having to determine if that candidate will exceed expectations for that client in the given job. The client company gave the search firm a series of parameters to meet that they feel justify paying a fee to the search firm if the candidate embodies those requirements. Frankly, it just does not matter that you think you can do the job. The search firm has to ensure you have the proper years of experience, company caliber exposure, demonstrated a track record of results, culture fit potential, professional training and educational credentials requested before sending you to their client. And if you are missing one piece of it, typically you will not be considered by the search firm and never submitted for the job. As long as you have neither been contacted by the search firm nor submitted to the company by them, apply through a different venue (following a job search plan, networking, submitting directly, company website, etc) that does not add a fee to your head if hired.

2. Search firms are not paid by you, and therefore, do not work for you.

Reputable search firms are paid by their client company ONLY. The company is their client–not you. Credible search firms do not accept fees from candidates for representation to companies. As stated in reason #1, you will receive a call from the recruiter only if your background is dead on for their client. Search firms typically only get paid to make the placement. So if your background will help them get that placement fee since you meet the client requirements, I assure you they will call you. Remember, they work for their client. They do not exist to find you a job.

3.You paid a firm to send your resume to 1,000 recruiters…and it shows.

If you are doing a mass direct email, you cannot expect personalized response results. A very successful direct email campaign has a response rate of 1-2%. If you have a properly targeted, well written direct campaign to 1,000 contacts, you will get 10-20 quality calls. If you have a well-written campaign sent to a random sampling of recruiters, you may get 5-15 calls from recruiters who may not place what you do. And if it is a non-targeted, poorly written campaign, no one will call—or you will receive calls to sell you job search services since you clearly need some help.

4. Search firms don’t place what you do.

You are a Medical Director of a Big Pharma Firm and the recruiter places digital media experts within high tech firms. You live in Wyoming and the recruiter works with companies in New York and New Jersey—no matter how great you are, you are not getting the call. Know your audience before you send your resume.

5. The search firm has no idea what you do.

Your resume is filled with so much corporate-speak and fluff on the first page that they have no idea what you do. Saying ‘Leader in the industry” does not help anyone understand what you do. What kind of leader? What level of leader? What industry? If the recruiter has to work at figuring out what you do, you are not getting the call.

6. They do not have the right job for you.

The search firm actually thinks your background is amazing. They know what you do and are impressed where you do it and how you have done it. But they simply do not have the right job for you. Given that recruiters need to focus on finding candidates that can fill their jobs to make a living, they will not have time to call you, most likely. It’s not personal.

7. Your background is not worth a company paying a 25% fee.

I know this is harsh—but it is true. Accepting this fact about your background does not mean you are doomed to be jobless. It means you will probably not find one through a search firm. This really is not that bad of a lot in life. Search firms account for a small percentage of hires in the US. Most hires are made through networking. If you are unemployed or you have too many jobs in a short period of time, you may fall into this category. If you do not have a series of promotions or you have an eclectic group of varied experiences, you are in this boat, too. Yes, they know it was out of your control…BUT this is a simple economics issue. The supply of these types of candidates is too great right now where companies will not pay a fee for this type of candidate. But they will hire you through other venues without the price tag attached—so go to those venues.

8. The search firm is overwhelmed and, unfortunately, cannot get back to every applicant with the “Thanks, but no thanks” email. 

Please do not take it personally when recruiters do not call back to tell you that you are not right for the job. Yes, it is good manners. Yes, they should call/email. But do not cause yourself added stress by thinking it is personal —it is simply a logistics issue regarding limited resources. With the volume of resumes third party and corporate recruiters receive in today’s market, it is physically impossible to get back to everyone, even if they hired a team to do it—which they won’t. To help ease the rejection you experience, set up metrics of outbound activity you commit to performing each week, knowing a certain percentage will reap results. It is a numbers game. It is not a personal attack. It is a reality that a good amount may not get back to you ever.

9. Your resume is posted on all the job boards…for a while.

Companies pay recruiters to find candidates they cannot find themselves. If your resume is posted on all of the job boards for any length of time, you are not exclusive. You are readily available and easily found. When I recruited, I have had past company clients tell me I could not submit candidates that were found on the job boards–even if I sourced that candidate myself or the candidate was referred to me! As frustrating as it was, I understood. Why would they pay me $25,000 for someone they can find readily available on their own? Does this mean you should not be on the boards? Not necessarily. It depends on your story. If you are not working or know that you will be laid off soon and you cannot be without a job, do what you have to do to get that next job. If after reading the article, you know that you will not be well served by recruiters, then you must use other means to advance your career. But consider being selective and not post yourself everywhere. Or consider submitting to job postings only. The best option is to commit to networking within the target company list you create an approach contacts directly.

10. You are looking to switch careers or start your career.

You are a successful pharmaceutical sales manager, who just recently graduated with a bachelors in accounting. Now you are looking to get an entry-level position in accounting. The best option for you to take is to contact companies directly for a position in your new career path. A recruiter cannot help new college graduates typically or individuals who want to change careers. Why? Remember, recruiters, get paid by clients to find candidates who have had prior success in the job at hand. A company is not going to pay a recruiter to hire someone starts a new line of work with no proven track record in the position.

11. Don’t test the waters on the recruiter’s time.

On paper, you may appear too comfortable in your job. Recruiters want to work with candidates who want to make a move. If it seems you may be shopping or comfortable, but not serious about a new position, your resume will be passed over. Reformat your resume to show career progression, achievements, and promotions. If you present yourself as someone out looking for the next ripe opportunity and who brings results, you increase your chances of getting the call.

You find that you identify with a few of the reasons and fall in a few categories above. Does this mean you are not destined to find a job? Absolutely not!! This is a lesson in marketing and economics. You need to present your background in venues where you will be reviewed and perceived as a valuable candidate that should be hired.

5 Ways to Get Recruiters to call you back

1. Set yourself up to succeed. Do not set yourself up to be rejected. 

If in reading the above content you know you have background recruiters won’t work with, then stop approaching recruiters. Find other channels to market and present yourself.

2. Commit to doing the work YOURSELF needed to execute an effective job search plan.

There are no short cuts. Do not pay someone to do the dirty work. If you need help, pay someone to show YOU how to do it correctly. But the key is to do it yourself.

3. Be Creative In Your Job Search.

Use venues that you increase your chances of being reviewed and called for a particular job. If you have a background that is not going to be attractive to search firms, then choose other venues: Target Company List Job Search Plan, Industry-focused job boards. Effective Networking, LinkedIn Utilization, Company Websites, Career Fairs, Volunteering, etc…

4. Quality over Quantity.

Better to create a target list of companies and research 30 leads to mindfully contact directly than to send a mass, impersonalized, poorly targeted email to 3,000 people. Garbage in equals garbage out.

5. Commit to having the best branding presentation ever. 

You would not go to an interview in a yellow suit without having taken a shower, would you? I cannot tell you how many resumes and cover letters I have received as a recruiter that were poorly written, formatted in an amateur manner or simply did not do the candidate any justice. Make sure your communication documents (resume, LinkedIn profile, cover letter, networking communications, etc) are in their best suit and shower. Doing this will not ensure you get the call, but I can assure you not doing this properly will prevent you from getting the call if you were.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

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Tags: Job Search, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies

15 Ways to Fiscal Cliff-Proof Your Career

Posted by Daniel Sullivan on Mon, Jan 28, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

15 Ways to Fiscal Cliff-Proof Your Career
You can triumph and advance your career in this fiscal cliff economy! Whatever happens in Washington over the next few months, the fact remains that the uncertainty posed by the fiscal cliff have many people worried about how it will affect their job and their career. The rumblings about how the fiscal cliff outcome can affect people at work is loud. Despite this growing concern, I believe you can win in this economic turmoil. How, you ask?

As a general rule, focus on what you can control and ignore what you can’t control to stay sane and win during this tumultuous economic time. Companies want to hire and keep productive, resilient and happy employees…so here are some things you can do to demonstrate this characteristic in you:

15 Ways to Protect and improve your career reputation

1. Remain calm, stay focused and simply do your job.

If your employer sees you as someone who is resilient and productive amongst the economic noise, they will note that you might be worth keeping around if cuts are to be made.

2. Be the voice of reason

Stop talking about what can go wrong and focus on what can be done right. Again, employers want to keep the employees that are positively contributing to the environment and not the Chicken Littles who are running around that the sky is falling.

3. Stay social

Ask a work colleague out for lunch and call a long distance professional buddy to chat. And, for God’s sake, don’t talk about the fiscal cliff or any other negative economic fodder. Chat about productive topics.

4. Join a professional networking group 

Stay abreast of what is going on in your discipline and your industry. Make new friends.

5. Take Credit when credit is due

When doing your performance appraisal spell out how you contributed to revenue initiatives, saved money and streamlined processes. Tell your boss how fabulous you are in concrete, measurable terms.

6) Be grateful and happy


If you come across happy and grateful, your employer does not have to worry about making you happy. One less thing to worry about on their growing to-do list can help you stay employed. I find that demanding, disgruntled, never-satisfied employees who contribute to the problem rather than the solution do not tend to stick around long.

7) Update Your Resume

Update your resume and optimize LinkedIn profile to reflect these winds outlined in your performance appraisal. Have these documents ready to roll if needed.

8) Connect on Linkedin

Audit your LinkedIn connections and see that you are connected with vendors, clients, external and internal partners. Maximize your reach.

9) Get Linkedin Recommendations

Get LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements…can’t hurt, right?

10) Be active online

Post interesting articles, endorse other people, and participate in groups to stay visible in online mediums.

11) Continued Education

Research professional development initiatives you can do…certifications, professional credits, and ongoing learning initiatives improve your credentials and create natural networking opportunities, whether they are in person or online.

12) Attend Conferences

Book yourself to attend a conference…when was the last time you went to one in your industry? Promote yourself as a leader in your field and for your company.

13) Avoid Distractions

Time to turn off the news…don’t listen to it. Unless you are contributing to the senate meetings or advising the President on how to proceed, you really don’t need to listen to the play-by-play.

14) Ask for help

Sign up for interview coaching class or work with a private coach to hone your message and improve your confidence. This type of preparation can help you with a promotion at work, communicating during your performance appraisal and interview for a new job, if needed.

15) Help Others

Be a resource to your network. Connect people who can benefit from knowing each other. This will be remembered when you ask for help.

The bottom line is keep your eye on the prize—retaining and excelling in your job—by just over-delivering on what you are supposed to do. Even you lose your job due to economic circumstances beyond your control, the good karma that will come from doing most of what is suggested above will increase your opportunities to be hired quickly. Again, companies want to hire and keep productive, resilient and happy employees. Companies realize they cannot make you that way, you have to come to them that way, despite the fiscal cliff looming or the financial opportunities arising.

Written by Lisa Rangel, Executive Resume Writer

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Tags: Social Media, Job Search, Networking, Information Security, Resume Optimization, Career Strategies