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Interview Tips 102…for the advanced beginner

You sent me a great resume, so now I’m going to ask you to explain some of the bullet points on your resume. This is not the time to tell me how awesome you are and that you are a quick learner or about your extracurricular activities, but please just answer the question.

You see, recently, I have had  interviews with candidates of all ages, all disciplines and throughout the US who feel they need to oversell at every moment. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage. I’ve read that you were the social director at tappa kegga bru, but I’ll overlook that because in some odd way, I like that you’ve shared, but no need to make it a big selling point and over share.   Also, don’t  feel the need to download every positive thing that ever happened in your career. It’s info overload way too soon.

I want to like you. I’ve called you knowing you have relevant experience, that degree from a great university or the gap in your resume to take care of a sick family member. I don’t know all the circumstances surrounding your life, but I want to get to know you….it just shouldn’t happen all in this phone call.

Recently, I had a great conversation with an engineer who changed careers in the high tech splat (some call it the .com burst, but it was all high tech that suffered) of 2001. This guy sent me his resume for a job that he hadn’t done in more than a decade, but he addressed how his life challenges, choices to re-direct his career, and then circle back to technology all made sense to him now. I couldn’t wait to speak to this guy, so we set up a time to speak and what a great time we had. It went something like this: :Small talk, small talk…yes, you have done some great things, small talk, small talk, and I’m excited to do more great things Wayne because of the last 10 years, I’ve realized technology is in my blood…or something to that. The point is…he didn’t try to take big bites and let me know everything I needed to all at once. He let the conversation flow and answered the questions. He wasn’t defensive, but engaging. He wasn’t offended, but willing. He was just a normal guy who tried something different and now wants back in. His resume is now in the hands of 3 hiring managers I support and I hope they give this guy a chance.

You don’t need to control the conversation to be in control of the results. Some of the most senior level managers I’ve spoken to don’t come across as a high level manager, but put them in front of their subordinates and they know their place.

When you have a phone interview, or an initial face to face interview, for that matter….keep your feet flat on the floor (literally, it’s an old broadcasting trick I was taught to keep you thinking more formal), keep a level head (not literally:)) and answer the questions. Not sure if you have shared enough?  Ask the interviewer if s/he would like further details or if you have answered the question to their satisfaction. Most importantly, think conversation and not interview. The word “interview” is intimidating to some, so think of it as a conversation.

Hope this helps and welcome your feedback and thoughts!

Best, Wayne – Co-Founder


“Dear Recruiter, why do you only spend 15 seconds, on average, reading a resume?”

“Dear Recruiter, why do you only spend 15 seconds, on average, with resumes?”

Please note the careful wording…and I’ve included “on average”.
Any recruiter who has been in the trenches knows if a resume is worth further review after just 15 seconds, or less, and here is why.
When you get a candidate who has applied from Baltimore for a job in Texas and they check the “will not relocate” box….you can move on to the next resume.
If you get a candidate who puts in their introduction, that they have 20+ years of experience, and they have applied for an entry level role….you can move along.
When the salary someone asks for is at the level of the manager they will be working for, when a principal level role gets an applicant who says I’m graduating this Spring, but I’m a fast learner, when the role requires a degree and you don’t have one….my eyes are moving on!
You see, it really isn’t that recruiters are being rude, it’s more that candidates aren’t reading the job listings…or they hope a recruiter, HR Manager, Hiring manager, or anyone else of authority, will not read their resume before hiring them. These are the candidates that suck all of the time out of the process and the reason auto responses reign supreme.
If I find that you are a valid, qualified candidate then I’m going to spend a few minutes looking at your resume and will probably send it to, and discuss your background with, the hiring manager. If you are that candidate who truly read our job top to bottom and know that you have the skills and qualifications to do the job (or at least 80% of it). Then I welcome your call or email to follow up, because I want to hear from you.
Again, my words were chosen carefully….”if you have the skills and qualifications” then follow up. If you don’t hear from a recruiter, whether company or agency side after following up, then it probably wasn’t an actual job that they were looking to fill, or it was just, what I call, a “lobster trap”. Simply, this is a dummy job meant to build up their database for when a good role comes along.
Hope this little window into the world of recruiting and HR helps.
Best,
Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder/COO
Night and Day Resume

What’s Summer got to Do With it?

Lots of folks say that Summer time is not the time to be looking for a job. Is it because you might have to dress up on a beautiful summer day for an interview that’s keeping you from aggressively looking for a new job, or the fact that you really think nothing is going to happen?

Well I’m here to disappoint those of you who take your foot off the job search gas for the Summer and let you know you should keep your pedal to the metal. If for no other reason, consider the fact that others do slow down and there is less competition…much like during the Holidays.

Think about the community you are in and sometimes it’s obvious that employment swells during the summer…near the ocean, lakes and local sites to be visited. If you are in a college community things might slow down with students away for the summer, but hiring won’t. Those students leave holes in schedules that managers need filled through the summer, so take advantage and take their spot. Once you show your skills and the students start to flood back to the area and things pick up, your manager is going to need you even more, that is, if you have done a great job and shown initiative.

There is never a bad time to look for a job if you need, or want to. It’s all psychological, but don’t try to over think it. If you need work, or want out of your current situation just worry about yourself and not market conditions or the season.

If you have been sending your resume to appropriate roles and not getting interviews you should take a good look at your resume.

This week we had over 100 free reviews…our most in a single week since we have offered this service. I saw some great resumes, but many were missing the mark. Some had excellent content, but the formatting was too casual. Others had awesome formatting, but the summary was not passionate. My biggest concern was candidates felt the need to oversell, or over state their work. Remember, a resume is to get your foot in the door so you can sell yourself, not tell every little thing about you.

Here’s another hint…if you are using “I”, especially to start off your thoughts, you aren’t thinking deeply enough. Start off with the verb.

Here’s an example of good versus better:

“I was responsible for closing the store at night and locking up after cashing out.”

Instead, you could say “Responsible for closing the store and cashing out”.

It says the same thing, but hits harder and shows you aren’t trying to pad your resume. If someone who wants to hire you reads the second suggestion, they know you get it and you will then get the interview. The first one isn’t bad, it’s just that the second one is better.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume

 

For feedback specific to your resume send it along for a Free Review!
Free Resume Review – Click Here


Look Into The Company Before You Interview

It seems obvious, but many people just don’t understand that when you prepare for an interview, make sure you read up on the company that you are speaking with. If at all possible, find out about the manager you are interviewing with and his or her background. Sure, it’s about what you know, but finding some friendly common ground with the manager can’t hurt.

Often when trying to find a new job you are bombarded with calls from recruiters and managers and HR all in quick succession. You can sometimes find yourself taken back. It is ok to ask for clarification about the position if you aren’t sure which one they are calling about.

They will understand that they are not the only company you have applied to, but after the initial conversation you should be able to speak about why you would like to work for their company. You don’t need to go into the company’s full history, stock price and founders wife’s middle name but you should understand their message and be able to answer the inevitable question “why would you like to work for us”.

Company’s also like to hear that you have worked with their product so if there is a free trial version then get it! Many managers will immediately eliminate candidates who have not done some due diligence.

The economy is turning around and a new resume is going to give you better results now than it has in the past. You can’t afford to let any opportunity slip away, so make sure you show the interviewer that you are willing to put in the effort and go the extra mile in everything you do. Start with your interview.

Brandon Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume

 

For feedback specific to your resume send it along for a Free Review!
Free Resume Review – Click Here


Make your Resume Stand Out…for the Right Reasons!

I was sitting on the back deck last night as I put our dog out to do his nightly duty. He was a bit restless so he ran around for a bit while I just hung out. My eyes happened upon this pure white moth that was walking across the deck. Wow, what a white moth, was my first thought. After a moment I realized it wasn’t flying. Must be ready for his first flight, I thought. 3 or 4 minutes and about 4 feet of traversing the deck later I thought, wow, is this little guy drunk?

You see he stuck out originally because he was so white. He grabbed my attention because he was walking and not flying. Then I started laughing at him because he was walking all over the place and just looked silly.

Of course I relate everything to job hunting and resumes and this little guy couldn’t have been a better metaphor if I tried.

Everyone wants to stand out from the crowd when they submit a resume. Everyone wants to bring something unique to the table. Most try to do the latter by standing out for the wrong reasons and come across like a drunk moth.

How can you avoid being a drunk moth? Stand out, but don’t try to oversell and keep your resume normal. I had a review this week of a young man with a great resume but it was colorful and overstated. After my review he sent me his revised resume and it looked so much better.

Try to stand out with positive, normal facts and classic styling on your resume and leave the drunk moth method behind.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume

 

For feedback specific to your resume send it along for a Free Review!
Free Resume Review – Click Here


Yikes, I have an Interview!

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, there are more than 3 million students who have just graduated from college this spring and this got me thinking…how many are going to be interviewing for their first “real” job. Even though recent grads will benefit most, this advice applies to anyone and everyone.

 

There is so much to think about while preparing for, and getting to the interview, please allow me to list them in order:

Dress appropriately

Yes, a suit is always best, but if the company tells you to dress down still go in neat and clean. Iron your clothes and shine your shoes.

Turn off your technology unless you have an actual need for it.

I’ve actually taken calls while in interviews and won the role. I apologized and said a child needed to contact me to let me know about a ride I needed to provide. He was understanding which made me appreciate the company and manager even more.

Be on time!

This should be at the top, but I’m going in chronological order. On time is not actually on time, but 5-7 minutes before your scheduled interview. Too much earlier is not good because when the manager is called they might feel obligated to get you right away, but too close to on time could stress out the manager because of a tight interview schedule.

Smile and give a firm, but not Hulk like handshake.

This goes for both sides. I will not work with managers who give me a “hasty handshake”. That’s the one where they are so busy they just grab your hand and shake…usually grabbing your fingers and not allowing you to give a good handshake. It’s hasty and rude and if you can’t take 3 seconds to give me a good handshake then you aren’t worthy of my time. Can you tell I have had a few bad experiences with “hasty handshake” managers? Also, no need to overcompensate for your lack of stature with a ridiculously strong handshake. Yes, small people tend to overcompensate too much, so don’t. Females, don’t give a feminine handshake. This is business and you need to learn to shake for business. Knuckles vertical, thumb to the sky and put ‘er there!

Know your audience.

It might be difficult to know at first, but you will soon find out if this interview is going to be personal or strictly business. No matter what the role you can expect to start off with a little chit chat about the weather or traffic or upcoming Holiday, but don’t get too far off track. Give short but complete answers and always be cordial. You are having a conversation, so be conversational, but not overly so.

Don’t think interview, think Conversation.

Yes, it’s an interview, but don’t think of it that way. As I mentioned above, it’s a conversation you are having and it should get detailed about your experience and your personality, but don’t get stressed out. After all, you are talking about you and most people like talking about themselves. Just remember to keep the drama out of it, no matter how tempting it might be to “overshare”.

Don’t Overshare

If you think you are “oversharing”, you are. Try never to lose sight of the fact that this is a job interview. I’ve had candidates call me after interviews and say they and the manager got along great. They chatted about old times like old friends for hours. The manager calls the next day and says, “what a great guy, but not a fit for our job”. See, the manager still needs to fill a job where someone is qualified to do that job. If it was the role of personal friend you might get it, but that manager is given the task of getting a job done. If you can’t do it, it falls on him/her.

If you leave an interview and feel that the interviewer/manager didn’t ask you enough questions to determine if you were a fit for that job then you are probably not a fit. They asked you a question early on that you failed miserably in answering and now they just want to be polite and not walk you out after 20 minutes. You have 2 options if this happens – Very directly ask if you are a fit for the role at the end of the interview and if you will be considered for the role, or the next round. You have nothing to lose! The second option is to outright say “I don’t believe we have spoken in detail enough about my related experience for me to have won this job, can I tell you about anything else or can I tell you about xx, which directly relates to this role. I have seen it work. If they are looking for a take charge individual these tactics can turn an interview around. Remember, you are interviewing from the moment you enter their offices (or the parking lot/elevator, depending on who you encounter) and it’s not over until you leave.

The Departure

Thank the interviewer and on your way out the receptionist who received you if he/she is available. Even if they are on the phone, a friendly wave and thank you will not only be appreciated, but should go a long way in showing you value everyone at their company. For me this, just like holding doors for others, is something I grew up with, so it was handed down to me by my parents as courtesy. Some may think this is over the top, but why would extra courtesy and kindness be a bad thing?

Thank you note/Email

This has been blogged about many times by many people. Personally, I feel a thank you note is unnecessary, but others feel it is critical. A thank you email is always nice, but do what you feel good doing, no more, no less.

Hope this helps any and all with a bit of insight from a hiring managers perspective. Best to all for successful interviews all Summer long!

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume


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What’s keeping you from $100?!

I was checking out job listings in the Sunday Newspaper over the weekend and it made me think, who is going to look for a job in the newspaper with all the other digital mediums that reach so many more people. Then I thought, well there are plenty of people who still read a newspaper and those folks are the type that might be saying, I need to make an electronic resume so I can email it or apply online.

Sure, you might not be that person because you probably wouldn’t be reading blogs, but think of those people who feel stagnant in a job and technology might have moved a bit beyond their comfort level, so they stay at their current job and suffer. Companies are looking for these people in manufacturing and engineering and support roles throughout the nation and this one little document, this one angst they are feeling towards getting a resume they are happy with is stopping them from moving on.

I’m sharing this knowledge because you need to share with these people that there is help out there for them. You are going to see these people around the bonfire, at the fireworks and around the BBQ grill this Holiday.

Here’s how to start the conversation: “I was reading this blog earlier this week and they said the person who posts a 4th of July picture on the Night and Day Resume Facebook page and gets the most amount of “likes” by July 25th wins $100”. You can follow up the conversation by adding “the picture must be family friendly to win and yes, it can be of your pet, your parents or just an awesome picture of fireworks”.

So Yes, I have decided to make this serious topic into a contest so you have something to talk to all your family and friends about hoping that someone you know will get inspired to use Night and Day Resume to get out from beneath the job they have been stuck in for years.

We ask you to be safe while taking the pictures and throughout the Summer.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume


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Please consider “liking” us on Facebook and sharing one of our blogs with your friends. Each time you share a blog post or story on your Facebook page, you get an additional entry into our monthly drawing. One lucky person will get their resume done for FREE! If you are the monthly winner and have already purchased our service you will get your money back plus $20! Facebook Fan Page


Let’s Talk Seriously About The Aging Work Population!

First of all let me start by saying that I am 48 years old. Technically, I am a baby boomer. I have worked on the corporate and agency side of recruiting/HR and hired well over 900 people in my career and I have to honestly say that very few times has age been a factor in my hiring decisions.

I know, age is not supposed to ever be a factor in hiring, that’s discrimination, but when you have a job where someone needs to lift heavy boxes continuously, younger backs usually prevail. If you are hiring someone to mentor a team, a seasoned veteran with some experience is often a better choice.

I don’t buy into the “we have a better work ethic” than younger workers. Personally, my children have much the same work ethic as my wife and I have. During the tough economy, while in school, my children have had at least one job and often 2 jobs. The work ethic comes from family values and the desire to be better.

The recent college grads who are singing the woe is me, how do I get a job if nobody will give me a chance to get experience tune are the same people who decided to forego the internship and attend the parties while in college. They were sunbathing over the summer while others were interning or working and making great contacts. Yes, not all, but I experienced this first hand in college.

As the sports director of a large college radio station I had 30 or so people I had to coordinate and train. I made myself available for the entire year to help them learn and grow their skills. At the end of my tenure, as we were just weeks from graduating, a friend asked if she could put that she worked for me at the station on her resume, but not once did she actually do any work or learn anything. I told her do whatever she wants because if she got an interview they were going to flush out that she had no experience. Last I heard she was working at a major network…as their receptionist.

I guess my point is…there is no substitute for experience. Managers who are in their 30’s should try to understand that someone in their 50’s and 60’s has a different look on life. They aren’t looking to necessary climb the corporate ladder to make all the money they can, but rather put in a hard day at work and enjoy the fruits of their labor. It’s a work life balance. Someone in their 50’s might have kids who are out of college and their home paid off, so they don’t need the 150k job downtown, but they will take the 100k role closer to home. Are they overqualified, probably. Can they do the job? Not always. See I understand that more experience doesn’t always mean you are qualified to do a job for less money. You still need the appropriate skill set and personality, but if you have those and are willing to take less money and want to move away from the stress of a manager’s job, please try to understand that that is not a bad thing.

With the aging population younger managers are going to have to get over the fact that older workers might not want their job and they shouldn’t feel threatened.

On the flip side of the coin, I would rather have some 20 something’s I know run my business over workers more than twice their age. There are some ridiculously bright young people out there that deserve a shot, so don’t look at how young they are, but what they bring to the table.

Take age off the table and let’s all get back to work.

No really, get back to work…this blog post has been long and unless you are a speed reader you now owe your company like 7 minutes.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume


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What is the Next Step in your Career? “Marshmallow Eating”

In the past week I have had conversations with different levels of job seekers asking what should I do next? My advice is based not on fact, but rather my experience, so take it as you will.

A single mom that has never had a career track who has not been in the work force for a while has been talking for a decade about going back to school, getting an education and to get a job and work up the ladder. In this market adding a certification class to a resume without a career focus puts her in competition with 20 somethings who are just getting started and she is at a distinct disadvantage…again, in my opinion.

In the Fall of 2008 more than 3.3 million students entered college. The largest number on students entering college on record. Grad schools are highly competitive for the Fall of 2012 because more students are turning to them versus trying to get a job in a tight economy. Does this make sense or should you try to get a job and maybe the company you land with will help out with expenses?

Great question! If you can land a job and get the company to pay for your education that’s a great solution. If you would normally need an advanced degree in your chosen field then you should go to school.

What about those that wanted to go to grad school and couldn’t get in. Don’t despair! There will be a role for you in a class somewhere in the next year or two. It sounds like a long time, but to get to where you want, stay the course. In the meantime, sink your feet firmly in the job market and try to get into a company that makes sense for your career direction. If you can’t, as professional a job as you can get is the way to go. This will help with recommendations and professional contacts in the future.

Whatever your next step, make sure you have a resume that properly reflects who you are. Don’t embellish your resume to get a job as it will catch up to you. I interviewed a young lady this morning who added “marshmallow eating” to her resume. (clearly changed to protect the anonymity of this young lady, “marshmallow eating” was Brandon’s suggestion. Please, if there are marshmallow eating jobs to be had, where do I send my resume! )

She didn’t need “marshmallow eating” experience for this job, but when I asked her about her experience with it, she said she had no “marshmallow eating” experience. I didn’t point out that it was listed on her resume because after this I took her out of contention for the job.

Be the best you that you can be and that will hopefully be enough to get you to the next step in your career.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume


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Self serving Propaganda Enclosed. A Must Read for those who are Working, Would Like to get Back to Work, or Have a Pulse.

You thought I was kidding? Nope. Actually this blog post is all factual, so maybe propaganda is not the correct designation, but it’s self serving and I appreciate your indulgence.

For months now we have been sharing posts to make you to think about your career direction, your job search and your resume. This time around we are asking for a little something back.

Earlier this week we launched an updated website. With clients in 48 states (still waiting on West Virginia and North Dakota! ) we have done well, but we felt the site was missing something. We stepped back, took our time to make changes and as of today you can see how our efforts turned out. www.nightanddayresume.com

Here is where you come in.

We would really appreciate you sharing our website with 3 people. Members of your family, co-workers or friends are great people to tell, but also folks within LI groups, on Twitter or church and social groups in your hometown. I don’t know many people these days who don’t know of 3 people looking for work or considering a move, so hopefully it won’t be too difficult for you to execute.

Feel free to tweet it, post it or connect. Folks can find us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

As a thank you we will be sending a small army of pink fuzzy panda bears to cook dinner and give a massage to the person who refers the most people. OK, that was propaganda.

 

Wayne Schofield
Co-Founder – Night and Day Resume


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Please consider “liking” us on Facebook and sharing one of our blogs with your friends. Each time you share a blog post or story on your Facebook page, you get an additional entry into our monthly drawing. One lucky person will get their resume done for FREE! If you are the monthly winner and have already purchased our service you will get your money back plus $20! Facebook Fan Page


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