Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Job Search Practices

It seems as though all of my posts involving the actual job search process seem to stir up the most questions, and really just resonate with readers. I wasn't too surprised, and then thought why not highlight my top read blogs in the past all in one place? I have outlined my top read posts below.  I hope these top 5 posts help you with your search, but please know you can always reach out with any questions, comments or concerns.  If you have any topics you would like me to cover down the road please don't hesitate to let me know.

Completing Employment Applications with a Cautious Eye

Before you fill out a company’s application for employment you better read this. This certainly has to be the wildest thing I have ever experienced in my 16 years in this profession. Let me paint the picture for you. Our client is a leading international broker & risk management firm. Well respected. We've worked with them for years. The professional we are assisting is a well-respected & accomplished broker. The broker client HR Recruiter requests that the candidate complete their employment application. Offer extended. Offer accepted. Background check completed by third party company at client’s request. Third party company reports three discrepancies. Offer revoked. Here are the discrepancies:
  1. Candidate worked for a broker previously in their career that was acquired by another broker. Instead of breaking the two brokers out the candidate listed their employment as continuous from date of original broker through end date of acquiring broker. Background check found that the candidate was employed with a different start date naturally. 
  2. At two previous employers the candidate’s job title per offer letter and stated on business card provided by each respective employer stated one title. Upon background check the “official” title on record in HR department records was different. 

Upon being told of found discrepancies the candidate produced offer letters from both of these past employers stating title they used to complete the employment application. Candidate also was naturally able to easily explain the discrepancies in employment date regarding the merging companies. So all should be well, right? Nope. Even after the HR Recruiter at our broker client requested the documentation to clear up the discrepancies found by this third party company, they still would not reinstate the offer. Come on, why make this professional provide this supporting documents believing the offer would be reinstated only to not reinstate? This entire fiasco simply boggles my mind.

It certainly has served as an inspiration for this blog topic however. So here is the message to all of you out there completing company employment applications. Be absolutely certain that you complete everything on the application in 100% accurate detail. Be absolutely certain you use the same exact title for a previous position that can be confirmed by your previous employer’s HR department not necessarily what you think your job title was. Be certain if you worked for a company that was acquired by another that you list these out separately with exact dates. 

While this is about completing employment applications, I would certainly say that this also applies to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Leave nothing to chance. This was an extremely unfortunate situation for this person. One that frankly should never have happened. However it serves as a reminder to be absolutely certain to have all information on your resume accurate and detailed out, be certain your LinkedIn profile is also accurate and that you complete employment applications with a very cautious eye. 

Things You Do Wrong on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool for sharing ideas with other professionals. However like it or not, it has become a powerful tool for career networking. And yes, there are right ways and wrong ways to utilize this tool. And do remember it is just another tool in your networking tool box. Because I’m all about giving credit where credit is due verse simply reinventing the wheel, I’d like to point to what I found to be a very good piece in Forbes.com regarding the proper use of LinkedIn. Any questions or thoughts, please share.

8 Things You Do Wrong on LinkedIn by Molly Can, Forbes.com

The Hook on your Resume

The hook:  What was one of the biggest injustices done to the American Natives?  The Trail of Tears was a horrible event in American History.  I’m sitting here working in my office at home while my daughter is working on her English paper.  She is writing about Andrew Jackson and his part in the Trail of Tears. She starts her paper with what is called a “hook.” The hook draws you in. It makes you want to keep reading.  So what is your “hook” on your resume? What makes the reader (hopefully a hiring manager) want to keep reading verse placing you in a pile of other resumes and forgotten? How can you make your resume stick out? Get noticed? Get separated from the crowd? What is your hook?

A resume hook is going to tell the reader what you can do for them. The best way to illustrate what you can do for them is by providing examples of success stories and accomplishments. If you saved your current company $100,000, tell about it in your resume. If you created a new innovative product, tell about it in your resume. If you collected $6,000 on a subrogated claim, tell about it on your resume.

All these success stories are the best way to illustrate to a company what you can do for them. It draws the reader in. It creates interest. It separates you from the other 25 resumes the reader just reviewed, or scanned or glanced at.

Don’t just regurgitate your work history and job description at each company and in each position. The savvy reader knows what a Product Manager does, what an Underwriter does, what a Claims Adjuster does. Nothing will put the reader asleep faster than simply inserting your job description. Add some pow. Add some wow. Add a hook!

What Do You Wear For A Job Interview?

Today the question of what to wear to an interview has a whole new meaning. This blog highlights the ins and outs of what you should wear for an interview, and then how you should handle tattoos, piercing, etc.  It also provides a couple picture examples, but I would encourage you to check out Capstone's "Interview Attire" boards on Pinterest. We have pinned multiple pictures of acceptable interview attire for both men and women

What is Considered Business Casual?

A question I come across somewhat regularly is “what is the definition of business casual?” These times of business casual leave much open to interpretation. Oftentimes candidates head in for their first day on the job and get nervous about what is acceptable.  Here are my thoughts...  Again, I would encourage you to check out Capstone's "Business Casual Attire" boards on Pinterest. We have pinned multiple pictures of acceptable attire for both men and women. If there are any other examples we missed that you would like us to include just let me know.

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