Monday, May 28, 2012

Mumford Recruiting - Advice for your job search from Mumford and Sons

Ok, it had been a little while since I did one of my musical posts and this one will be a little different.  It’s a pretty new album and it’s decidedly NOT metal.  If you look on wikipedia Mumford and Sons are described as a “British Folk Rock Band”...whatever that means.   Regardless, they totally rock and I’d highly recommend if you are looking for something cool.  This post is dedicated to them and will hopefully share a few recruiting/job search advice from their album “Sigh No More”.

Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, - Sigh No More

I’m not really sure the recruiting hook here but I love this line and this song.  I’m sure you could make some snarky joke about Corporate America or who companies will always dismay or enslave you but I’m trying to start this on a positive note.

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again - The Cave

This song pretty much rules, check the video here.  I really like this line for people who are having a hard time finding a job.  Interviewing sucks, and it’s very difficult.  The trick, is to take all these interviewing experiences good and bad...and get better.  Next time your name is called for an interview, be ready and kill it.

And my head told my heart
"Let love grow"
But my heart told my head
"This time no
This time no" - Winter Winds

Another quote that aligns perfectly with my recruiting your heart.  Doesn’t matter if you are a hiring manager or a job seeker.  If something tells you “this is off” it probably is.  Now, I’m not sure you’re head should ever tell you to “let love grow” in a work setting but we’ll leave that to the HR folks....for now, trust your heart when looking at a new job.

It seems that all my bridges have been burned - Roll Away Your Stone

Have you burned bridges?  Not sure?  Think about it.  The second to last thing you want to do is burn bridges....the LAST thing you want to do is burn bridges and not realize it.  Take time every now and again to think about your networking and former coworkers and if you’ve burnt bridges try to repair them.  If you can’t repair them....that’s fine, just make sure you don’t ask them to be references!

Lead me to the truth and I will follow you with my whole life - White Blank Page

This quote makes me think of mentors and people I’ve looked up to in my career.  Mentors are hugely important.  A mentor is with you for life and if you are a mentor to there for them when they need you.

I really fucked it up this time - Little Lion Man

Little Lion Man is probably Mumford and Sons most popular’s awesome.  The recruiting link?  Well, we all f it up’s inevitable.  So, when you f it up....don’t avoid it.  Embrace the experience and grow from it.

And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
His ladder to the stars - Timshel

I REALLY like this quote for people looking to do great things.  There are times in your career when you have choices and those choices will make your career.  Some of them are HUGE and some might not be as big.  But the fact is, the choices you make in your career will be your ladder to the stars.  Are you up for the challenge?

My weakness I feel I must finally show - Awake my soul

If you honestly, truly want to grow as an have to expose your weaknesses and grow.  In order to become great, you have to focus on those things and turn them into strengths. Find a mentor, talk to them about your weaknesses and grow.

That’s it for this one, I’m on the road this week for work so I’ll try to post again but it might be a busy week.  Good luck out there this week, more soon.

Friday, May 25, 2012

How long should your resume be?

Writing a resume is tough stuff, really difficult and it feels like a life/death kind of exercise.  One of the biggest long should my resume be?  Now, you’ll hear a million different opinions on this topic and honestly no one is right.  That’s not true...I’m right on this topic.

In order to make this easy, I’m going to break it down by “Years of Experience” so if you fit into a certain can just read that and ignore my other comments.

Less than Five Years of Experience - This covers new graduates, interns and people generally about ~5 years out of school.  Generally speaking you want your resume to be one page. Standard career center advice here.  However and this is important!  If you have unique experience or have done really amazing work (think contribute to a cool startup or open source project or solved world hunger) then you should add a second page and show off your experience.  Under almost no circumstance should your resume be longer than two pages.

Five to Fifteen Years of Experience - Your resume should be two pages.  By now you’ve done enough to justify the second page (easily??) so you should use it.  Now, this does not mean you MUST use two pages.  If you have a career that’s pretty easy to explain, feel free to keep your resume one page.  Short and Sweet.  Additionally, you could add a third page if you needed it too...especially if you have a lot of publications or have done some truly remarkable work.  

Fifteen Plus - As a general resume rule, I’d recommend keeping your resume at two pages if possible regardless of your experience at this point.  If you’ve done a lot or really feel like you’ve got the experience to justify three pages by all means go for it.  Don’t go to four pages unless you are creating a CV and have a bunch of articles/publications to add.

I hope this makes sense, for the most part your resume should be around two pages. Quick True Story - I once got a thirty-four page resume from a guy....I laughed and rejected him.  Thanks dude, save a tree.  As a rule the shorter the better, and if you find yourself going long just beware as you don’t want recruiters throwing your resume in the trash before you have a chance to prove your great!

Would love to hear your comments!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Your cover letter is dead...

Ok, I’ve spoken a lot about resumes lately and so I wanted to quickly hit on the whole idea of a “cover letter’.  Here is a fact, the cover letter as it’s commonly known is dead.  D-E-A-D.  Do you know why?  Because no one, and I mean no one sends paper resumes anymore.  If you do, they probably end up in the trash.  It’s true, sorry.

So, if the cover letter is dead in it’s traditional form what are you supposed to do?  Here are a few ideas.

Send an email - um, is the new snail mail (well, it’s not that new) but send an email that would kind of look like a cover letter of old.  You’ll obviously want to be less formal, and word to the wise----craft an email that shows up is only as big as the “preview pane” so recruiters like me can quickly review it and not have to scroll through a ton of text.

Send a resume - You know, apply online.......if you need more than that, nevermind....

Network for a job - This is my favorite and one of the most important.  The BEST way to get a job...networking.  So, do some networking and meet people by leveraging your LinkedIn profile so that you don’t NEED a cover letter.  All you need to do is have a few informational or informal chats about the role...follow up with a resume later....interview.....take the job.

That’s it for now, I should have another post later in the week.  Special thanks to David Rosenthal for the topic...Thanks!!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Lessons from the Scott Thompson story

Usually I avoid talking too much about “current events” in recruiting but I think I’ll start doing more blogs that give my views on such things.  So, here we go...first try.

By now you should all know the story of Scott Thompson, the former CEO of Yahoo who resigned because of a discrepancy on his resume.  If not, you can read about it here.  Crazy story, but honestly I think there are a lot of lessons for anyone either looking for a job or involved in hiring.  In no particular order:

Don’t lie on your resume - OBVIOUSLY!!!  Come on man, don’t like on your resume!!!  This is like being a decent human 101.  And while I’m at it...lying about the kind of degree you have?  Really?  I mean, come on people this stuff isn’t hard....

Blaming the recruiter is for jerks - Apparently Thompson blamed the recruiting agency who placed him for the discrepancy...please!  This whole part of the story makes me sick.  Seriously, this kind of thing gives recruiters a bad name and it shouldn’t.  If you get busted doing something shady, suck it up and admit it.

Background checks matter - I’m pretty horrified that neither Yahoo nor Heidrick & Struggles did a background check to confirm degrees on Thompson.  Frankly, what was Ebay doing too?  Now, some of my Exec Search friends might chime in with a “finding a CEO is different” response but I’m sorry...if you’re going to do a background check on a $35K a year entry level hire you’d better be doing it for C-level hires too.

Know your candidates - If you’re a recruiter out there reading this, you have to know your candidates.  Spend the time to check references from when they were in school and get to know them.  Companies are going to pay you big bucks for the service, do them right and take the time to know your candidates.

Admit it - Thompson was outed by and then proptly went all Watergate and tried to blame everyone involved....rather than take the blame.  The moral as always here, the coverup is frequently worse than the crime.  When busted, suck it up and admit you were wrong.  People love a comeback and are likely to forgive you.  No one like a lying jerk who digs a deeper hole.

That’s it, sitting here I feel like this could be a REALLY long blog so I’ll cut it short.  Now, I don’t know all the facts (clearly) but from what I’ve read (see the link to the WSJ story) we can all learn a ton from this story about recruiting, HR, a job search and working with an external agency.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Use a customized resume!

Quick job search tip this week.  Make a customized resume!  When you  are applying for a job make sure the resume is relevant.

For example.  Applying for a job at Wal-Mart you'd want to make sure your "Objective" says something like "To obtain a job as a sales professional at Wal-Mart".  Even are sending that to a recruiter at Wal-Mart (call him Jeff) and you'd want to send an email/cover letter that actually addresses "Dear Jeff" with that customized resume you make specifically for Wal-Mart.

Finally, make sure your resume speaks to the job.  If the job requires a certain skill that you have...make sure you MENTION that skill in your resume. Never assume people will think it's there.  Assume they won't, and put it into works.

You'd be surprised how many "To Whom It May Concern" letters I see with a resume that states something like "To get a cool job that grows my skills".  Lame, lamer and lamest.....take five minutes to do a good job an send in a resume that shows you care.

Good luck this week!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thoughts on relocating for a job...

Alright a few weeks back I asked for some recommendations on blog topics, so this weeks is the first in the series.  It comes from my buddy Greg Schwan, so Greg...this one’s for you.

Ok, so you’re considering a job and that job will require you to relocate.  Relocating where you live is a big deal, one of the biggest decisions you can make frankly.  In order to honestly consider a job that will require relocation you’ve got to, and I mean GOT TO consider a few things.

1) Can you actual work in the location - There are visa issues you need to consider as well as potential language issues.  Consider this stuff before you even apply.  I once applied for a job in Zurich...first question of the interview was “Do you speak German?” nope, interview over.  

2) Can you afford it? - Don’t expect your new company to buy you out of an underwater mortgage or give you a 50% bump in pay.  Understand your target location and know if you can actually afford to move there.  Additionally, if you are moving from say New York City to Pittsburgh...don’t expect MORE money than you make now.  Typically moving from an expensive city to a less expensive location you should expect a CUT in your compensation. When taking a role that requires relocation, be realistic about compensation before you start interviewing.

3) Have a timeline - Companies want to hire people yesterday, you know something about business needs.  As such, they really don’t like it when you get a job offer and tell them “Great, I’ll start in four months”.  When you looking to relocate, people realize it takes time...just be upfront and communicate it to your future employer.

4) Ask your spouse - You’d be surprised how many people I talk to about taking a job and they call back saying “My spouse doesn’t want to move right now”, thanks for that.  Like I said up top...this is a huge decision and you HAVE to talk to your spouse before you get started.  If the whole family isn’t’re not going anywhere.

5) Have a target location - You’d be surprised how many people I talk to and they say things like “I’m looking at opportunities in Boston, NY, Austin Tx and the Bay Area” what?  Seriously, moving a HUGE life decision don’t be all willy nilly with it.  Find a location you like, and target it.  You’ll waste a ton of time if you “think” you’d like to work in Texas but you find out that you really only wanted to work in Boston.

Ok, that’s it.  Would love to hear from you guys what you think.  Hopefully more soon, trying to crank out a second post this week!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hey can I work from home?

Quick tip this week but one that I think is very important.  How to ask if you can work from home when interviewing for a job.   It’s a tough question, to be sure...but one that needs to be addressed.  Here’s why you can’t ignore it if it’s important:

- Some companies view working from home as a privilege, not a right.  So they expect you to earn that privilege by working hard and becoming a top performer.

- Many companies don’t allow working from home, end of conversation so bringing it up can save everyone a lot of time/energy buy withdrawing from the process before too long.

So, how do you deal with this?  Well, you start off by being up front.  If you are working from home currently or have a flexible work environment, mention it from the get go so people understand where you’re coming from.  If the company won’t give you the ability to work from home but you love the job...take it.  If not and it’s that important, then don’t.  Earth shattering advice, I know.  

One thing you absolutely can’t do is take the job and try to finagle your way into working from home.  If you want the ability to work from home you either have to get it as part of the deal or bust your tail and earn it.  No shortcuts here my friends.