Sexybaby@hotmail.com?

Dear RSL,

I just started my job search and a friend advised me that I should sign up for a generic email address.  I’d rather not; I really don’t
want to check yet another email.  What do you think?

I couldn’t help but laugh when I initially read your question.  Memories came flooding back of a previous employer and the whiteboard we had posted in our department with the top 10 email addresses.  Included in it were things like:  sexybaby, honeylove, etc.  While having an “interesting” email address might not kick you out of the running for a position it does not portray the professional image you are trying to get across to your potential employer.  You want to dazzle them with your resume, not put them in a fit of laughter.

To sign up for an email address when starting your job search, I recommend using a service such as gmail with a format such as:  firstname.lastname@gmail.com  Once you have your email set up, I recommend using the email address only for your job search or professional communications.  Not only is it more professional but it also will limit the amount of email coming to your personal account.

Do you need to change your email address?  You don’t have to, however I highly recommend it, especially if you don’t want to end up on someone’s “top ten” list!

Resume Survis Lady is written by Billye Survis. To have your
resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Feel free to also connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/billye

Overqualified?

Dear RSL,

I’ve applied for multiple jobs and keep being told that I’m “over-qualified” for the position.  I know I have the skills
needed and would do a great job and isn’t someone who has experience doing the same thing preferred?  What does “over-qualified” really mean?

Wow…first day back from vacation and you hit me with a good one!  Being considered “over-qualified” for a position can mean an array of different things.  A lot of it depends on what industry, type of job, etc.  Start by looking at the job description.  After reading the job description and matching it up to what you’ve done and where you currently are at in your career, how does it match up?  Would the position be a lateral move for you, a step back or a step up on the career ladder?  Most likely if you’re being told that you’re over qualified, it would be seen as a step back.

Why are you applying for positions that are a step backwards in your career versus a step up?  Are you not receiving feedback for positions that require experience more in line with where you are at in your career?  Perhaps
it’s time to talk with a resume writer or invest in a resume writing seminar.  Chances are; there is nothing in your resume that is catching the eye of the recruiting and/or hiring manager to make them want to jump at the chance to talk to you.  Are you customizing your resume and cover letter for each specific position?  Are you making sure that keywords and phrases used in the job description show up in your resume?  This is something simple you can do now that will make a huge difference to your future applications.

Getting back to over-qualified and how recruiters use it in communicating with their candidates.  Most times when a recruiter lets a candidate know they’re over qualified, it’s because the position would be a step back.  Even if a  candidate says they’re willing to take a step back it’s still considered a “risky” hire.  Why?  Because past hires have shown that hiring someone that’s overqualified often leads to an employee that’s unhappy in their job, bored and unchallenged.  Most companies are looking for those employees that are looking to continually improve their skills; which in most cases entails moving up within their profession or chosen career path.

If you’re being told why you’re not being hired, use this information to your advantage.  Update your resume.  Start looking for positions that are a better fit for your skill set.  Don’t give up, just tweak your search.

Are you overqualified for the positions you’re applying for?

Resume Survis Lady is written by Billye Survis. To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Feel free to also connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/billye

SOLVE THE RIDDLE: TRANSLATING A POSITION DESCRIPTION INTO SUCCESS

So you’ve printed out your resume, highlighted key phrases, and written some great questions for each
of the central bullet points. Now we need to take a deeper dive into the position description – section
by section.

The company description section of the position description is a great place to hunt for the values and
hints about the corporate culture. Remember that much time and energy has been put into mission
and vision statements and this is a big clue on how the company wants to be perceived. Think about
the difference between “customer-focused” and “results-driven” in the mission statement. Most
importantly – this changes the lens by which you will create your cover letter and what you will want to
convey during the interview.

The position overview will provide some details about reporting structure and general responsibilities.
One of the biggest flaws I see in position descriptions occurs in this section – it is often quite difficult to
determine what the actual day-to-day responsibilities are. The verbs, or action words, that are used will
provide some additional context. What’s the difference between “direct” and “oversee”? If you need to
pull out the dictionary and look the words up – there are subtle differences that may have some impact
on how you portray yourself.

Human Resources and the employment relationship reflect one of the fastest growing areas of litigation
in the United States today. And with that comes something most HR folks dread – compliance. If a
company has government contracts, they are required to follow OFCCP. Aside from sounding scary,
this alphabet soup has a big impact on your job search. If a company uses the phrase “minimum
qualifications” in the requirements section this means that they are truly minimum qualifications. The
HR representative is not allowed to consider you for the position unless you have these qualifications.
Do not waste your time on applying for positions that you only have 3 out of 5 the minimum
qualifications.

The additional requirements section is where recruiters puts the “nice to have” elements of a job. If
you have many of these skills and abilities, you have an increased chance to landing the position. You
will also notice that many of the “soft skills” of the positions are mentioned here. Be sure to use those
themes in your cover letter, resume, and for your interview preparation. Here’s one way to think
about it: If the company says they are “customer-focused” you will want to prepare an example story
to demonstrate of when you delivered exceptional customer service. Also, sometimes you will see
a requirement such as “must come to work on time and be ready to contribute” – which sticks out a
little bit or doesn’t have the same voice as the other parts of the description. This may be a clue that
the person in the role before you had problems with punctuality or brought problems at home into the
workplace. In these cases, be sure to highlight your punctuality throughout the hiring process.

In summary, use the key words and phrases used in the position description when you are tailoring your
cover letter, resume, and through the interviewing process. Pay particular attention to the verbs being
used. Make sure that when preparing for your interview that you are able to highlight examples in your
work history that reflect not only the tasks/skills of the position, but also the values of the organization.

And finally, remember to use the 5 W’s: who, what, where, when, and why to be able to ask exceptional
questions during the interview. Good luck!


Angela Harris has a 15 year career in human resources, with several years in management consulting and quality. She current works at ASQ, the American Society for Quality, where she works on the development of ISO standards.  In addition to working at ASQ, Angela owns a consulting practice (ASHconsulting), is a Wisconsin Forward Award Examiner, sits on the SHRM Task Force for Metrics & Measures, is on the Board of Directors for the Wheaton Franciscan Foundation for St. Francis & Franklin, and was Executive Director of Milwaukee JobCamps.  She received her M.S. in Human Resources from Marquette University.

Feel free to connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/billye

SOLVE THE RIDDLE: HOW TO READ AND ANALYZE POSITION DESCRIPTIONS

When I work with my job-seeking clients, one of the first skills I teach them is how to read and analyze a position
description.  This is a critical skill that all job seekers must learn.  Once you get the hang of it you will realize it is fun – like solving a riddle.  Think about it this way:  does your resume convey everything there is to know about you and your experience?  Of course not!!  The position description serves the same purpose:  it provides the starting point for a very important conversation.

There are many benefits to learning how to read a position description.  You will:

  • Only apply to those positions you are actually qualified for – saving time and effort
  • Save your reputation with recruiters by not applying to things you aren’t qualified for
  • Be able to better tailor your cover letter and resume
  • Discover what made your predecessor successful (or not!)
  • Be well-prepared for an interview
  • Be able to better guessimate the compensation range for the position

So with all those benefits, I know you are ready to take the first step.

STEP #1:  PRINT OUT THE DESCRIPTION

After a quick scan and interest, print out the position description.  This is not a time to worry about trees – most descriptions will be 2-3 pages and the investment you make here is well worth it.  Once you have a job – feel free to make a donation to your favorite environmentally-friendly group.  I have found that I can read more easily on paper versus the computer screen.

STEP #2:  ACTUALLY READ THE POSITION DESCRIPTION

I mean actually READ it.  Not skimming.  Not scanning.  Not reacting.  Read the document for COMPREHENSION.
Pay particular attention to the verbs being used in the general responsibilities section.  The verbs not only give you a clue to actual tasks, but also to the level of responsibility of the position.  For example:  there’s a big difference between “Manage multiple communications projects…” and “Deliver web-based content by target deadlines.”

STEP #3:  HIGHLIGHT THE KEY WORDS

Get out your favorite color highlighter and find the 5 or 6 phrases or sentences that seem to be central to the position.  Use a different color to highlight industry jargon, certifications, or buzz words. You should use these exact key words in your cover letter and resume.  For example:  if the position description says “Must be proficient in Microsoft Office” write “Microsoft Office” – if it says “Word, Excel, and PowerPoint,” write the same.  This will ensure that when a recruiter runs “Google-like” searches in an applicant database, your resume will come to the top.

STEP #4:  WRITE QUESTIONS ON THE DESCRIPTION

In the above example, I would want to know WHO I am managing, HOW many projects, and WHAT type of communications they are referring to.  Back in high school, I remember learning the 5 W’s – who, what, where,
when,
and why.  And let’s go ahead and add the how too.  You should have questions for all of the key bullets on the description.  Writing these questions down will have many benefits for the interview process, particularly with the hiring manager.   First, having this completed will show that you took the time to read and understand the role.  Opening the interview with, “I read the position description and I have some questions I really would like to ask you…” allows the interview to become less Q&A style and more like a conversation – which is better for everyone.

In a follow-up blog, I will show you how to look at each of the key sections of a position description and how to use that information to land your next job!


Angela Harris has a 15 year career in human resources, with several years in management consulting and quality. She current works at ASQ, the American Society for Quality, where she works on the development of ISO standards.  In addition to working at ASQ, Angela owns a consulting practice (ASHconsulting), is a Wisconsin Forward Award Examiner, sits on the SHRM Task Force for Metrics & Measures, is on the Board of Directors for the Wheaton Franciscan Foundation for St. Francis & Franklin, and was Executive Director of Milwaukee JobCamps.  She received her M.S. in Human Resources from Marquette University.

Feel free to connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/billye

Still Not Sure What You Want to Be “When You GrowUp?”

Remember as a kid how people used to askyou what you wanted to be when you grew up? You probably gave differentanswers depending on your age at the time. As you got older, you may haveswitched from telling people you
wanted to be an actress, an explorer,or a famous writer to giving some kind of expected answer. Maybe you gaveup on all those dreams you had about what you’d do with your life.

Somewhere along the road from childhoodto adulthood you made a decision — or perhaps someone else made it foryou — about what kind of career to pursue. Perhaps that job was a goodfit at first; maybe it was like wearing shoes that are too tight. A lotof people try this job and that one, hoping to find THE ONE that bringsnot only a paycheck but provides meaning and purpose and a feeling of satisfactionat the end of the day.

Are you in a career that makes you wantto jump out of bed every morning, raring to go? Or are you drifting along,trying to figure out what your true purpose is and start living it beforeit’s too late? You only get one shot at living, so shouldn’t you be doingwhat you love instead feeling like you’re stuck on a “human hamsterwheel?”

If you’re struggling to decide what youwant to be “when you grow up,” I know how you feel because I’vebeen there myself.

Getting “unstuck” starts with a few simple questions.  In your answers, you’ll find clues (and maybeeven gigantic road signs) pointing the way back to those forgotten dreams,pointing the way toward the life you were meant to live.

  •  As a child, what did you absolutely lovedoing? List anything and everything. The germs of a career may be hiddenhere.
  • What activities can you spend hours andhours doing now, where time just seems to melt away? Don’t worry aboutwhether or not you can get paid for these activities just yet. You’re stillin research mode.
  • If you never had to earn another dime,what would you do for free just because it’s fun?
  • What do you value the most? Is it money,status, recognition, family time, a challenge, security? Be honest. Noone else has to see your answers.
  • Where do you find meaning, purpose, andinspiration?
  • What are you doing when you feel themost energetic? Happy? Peaceful and calm?
  • What do you REALLYwant in your life?

Now look for common threads or patternsin your answers. You may not see your perfect career yet, but these littlenuggets of information are the first step to finding it. Explore your options.Get input from others. Think
outside the traditional Job Box. If you’restill not sure, find a coach to help you sort it out.

It doesn’t matter if you’re 43 or 57 or76, you’re not through yet.  There’s still time to decide what tobe when you grow up. There’s still time to create the life you were meantto live.

 Bonnie Pond is a career change expert who works with women over 40 who want to be their own boss. She helps themfind ways to turn their interests into income. Visit her website, http://www.relaunchyourlifecoach.com,  for free resources to help you decide what you want to be “when you grow up.”

Feel free to also connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn:   http://www.linkedin.com/in/billye

Do Recruiters Really Use Monster and CareerBuilder?

Dear RSL,

Is it true that Recruiters don’t look for candidates on job boards such as Monster or CareerBuilder?  Do I even need to post my resume there?  How do you find people to fill your jobs?

While I would love to say that recruiting is easy and the perfect candidates find me, I never have to do any hard core searching; we all know that’s not reality.  So how do I go out and find that candidate?

How I go about finding candidates could be compared to how someone might hunt for the perfect gift.  I start out with certain things that I know for sure, or what’s called “basic qualifications” of candidates much like during a gift hunt you have an idea of what the recipient likes.  Where you might ask some leading questions to find out just what that perfect gift might be, I drill down further in talks with the hiring manager to determine what their ideal candidate would be.  Once the “ideal” is figured out, the hunt begins.

Your original question asked about job boards and if recruiters use them to find candidates.  The short answer is yes.  Just like you would check your local stores first to find if they had that perfect gift in stock, typically a recruiter will do a search of the resume databases of different job boards to determine if there are any “active” candidates (active meaning they are currently looking for a new position) that fit the qualifications of the position.

Once the job board databases have been searched, it’s on to search networking sites.  My preferred site is LinkedIn (although there are many, this is just one example) where I am extremely active in networking and over the years have built up a large network.  This could be compared to shopping online at known stores that you might not have access to locally.  I will search my network and different groups that I belong to on LinkedIn to find potential  candidates that meet the requirements of the position.

If after searching job boards and checking LinkedIn I’m still not able to find any qualified candidates, the next step for me would be to do some “deep web sourcing.”  Without getting into all the details, it would be like you doing a Google search for the perfect present after not being able to find it at different known stores.  This consists of using keywords and different search strings to attempt to find “passive” candidates (candidates who are not actively looking for a new position) that fit the requirements.

I do still use job boards, although that is just a very small part of my recruiting arsenal.  Make sure your resume is keyword rich for the types of positions you are interested in and the experience you have gained.  This will help recruiters like I find you, if you don’t find me first!

Resume Survis Lady is written by Billye Survis. To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Feel free to also connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn: http:/www.linkedin.com/in/billye

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Resume-Survis-Lady/150368705033497

 

New College Graduate Does Not Equal No Experience

Dear RSL,

I just graduated college and I’m looking for my first “real” job.  My problem is I don’t have a lot of work
experience and I think I’m continuing to get passed over in favor of people with experience.  What can I do?

Congratulations on completing your degree!  I’m sure it hasn’t been an easy road but you’re done, completed and now it’s time to find your place in the world and start your career.  What type of positions have you applied to?  What type of internships and/or projects did you work on while completing your degree?

The first thing you need to do is focus on what type of position you are targeting.  I am going to assume that since you just graduated that you are targeting positions that are in your field of study.  What type of experience is being required in the positions that you are applying for?  Many new graduates have gone through internships and although they might not have been paid for this work, they can count that experience when calculating their overall years of experience.  The same can be said for projects that have been completed while in school, this experience can also be counted.

Between internships and classroom work/projects, most college graduates come away with 1-2 years of experience in their chosen field.  The types of positions that you are targeting will typically have an experience requirement of 0-2 years.  You’ll want to showcase this experience on your resume.  Make sure to include not only internships and class projects, but also any relevant groups/organizations or volunteer work that you’ve done that’s relevant to the position you are applying to.   Highlight your relevant experience to showcase the competencies that you’ve gained and how they relate to the position you are applying to.  And while you’re customizing your resume for each specific position, don’t forget to include a customized cover letter as well: http://resumesurvislady.com/2011/04/08/the-cover-letter-mystery/

Resume Survis Lady is written by Billye Survis. To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, send your questions to: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

Feel free to connect with Resume Survis Lady:

Twitter:  resumesurvisldy

LinkedIn: Resume Survis Lady

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Resume-Survis-Lady/150368705033497

 

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