Who Do I List As My References?

Dear RSL,

I am going to my second on site interview for a position I really want.  The company has asked me for a list of references.  Should I include personal references, peer references, managers or a combination?  What types of questions does a company ask a reference?

Great question!  A company asking for references is a good sign! When you are preparing your list of references, it’s always good to have a combination of people including at least two people who you have directly reported to as well as one or two peers.  There really is no need to add a personal reference unless it is an entry-level position or a first position.

To answer your next question as to what to types of questions a company asks references; that depends upon the company and what type of position you are applying for. Generally, the questions will revolve around work ethic, attendance, reason for leaving, ability to be rehired, etc.

Do you know what your references will say about you? Although my current position does not include conducting reference checks, I have conducted plenty of reference checks in my past.  What always amazed me is those candidates who give me a list of references and one or two people on their list give them a
terrible reference.   Have a conversation with them before adding them to your reference list.  Ask them what they are going to say about you.  Don’t just assume that they are going to give you a glowing reference.  If you’re not sure what they’re going to say when called by a potential employer, don’t include them on your reference 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: Resume Survis Lady or www.linkedin.com/in/billye

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White Texting Is Like Hiding Your Vegetables….Huh????

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

I just read your post about adding keywords to your resume and I understand the concept.  What is your opinion on “white texting” within a resume?  Will that help me get noticed?

First of all, for those of you that don’t know what “white texting” is, it’s the practice of adding a bunch of keywords at the base of a resume and having the text be colored white so that the words are invisible to the naked eye but a computer will hit on them and pull back the resume during a keyword search.  Now as for if it will help you get noticed, it will but necessarily in a good way.

Have you ever heard a story about how someone’s child hid their veggies in a napkin or fed them to the dog because their parents told them
they had to eat them but they didn’t want to? Maybe you did this as a child? To avoid actually eating them they come up with a way to conceal the evidence so to speak to make it look like they ate them and appease their parents.  White texting is a little bit like that food hidden in a napkin.  It’s a dirty little secret way of trying to cover up experience that one might not actually have and make themselves look better to a potential employer.  When I pull back a resume and I cannot find the keywords or experience that I am looking for, the first thing I do is go to
the bottom of the resume and highlight it to see if there are any hidden words there.   9 times out of 10 the key words I was looking for can be found this way.   Are you getting the picture that I don’t like white texting?

When I come across a resume that contains white text, the first thing I do is scrutinize the resume.  If the keywords I’m looking for are not actually in the resume does this candidate even have the experience that I’m looking for?  Chances are they do not.  My next question as I’m looking through the resume is: “what else are they hiding or being dishonest about?”  Job seekers, if you have certain experience, put it in your resume, don’t hide it.  If you’ve taken the time to research what keywords are important and want to include them so your resume will get hits, find a way to incorporate them into your resume.  This could be in your objective, work experience, technology; adding them to any of these sections would work.  If you’re not sure how to do incorporate the keywords you’ve identified, consult a resume writer.  I happen to know a  good one.

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 or on twitter: resumesurvisldy or connect with her directly on LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/Billye

Know Your Recruiter: The Specialized World of Third Party Recruiting

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

 I posted my resume online and I have had a few third party recruiters contact me.  What exactly is a third-party recruiter and how does a third-party recruiter differ from a Corporate Recruiter

For this question I have turned to an expert in third-party recruiting:  Todd Nilson.  Todd is managing director of Social Syntax, a social media strategy, governance and analytics firm with specialized  expertise in employer branding. He is also the founder of the Milwaukee JobCamp events. You can read his personal blog at: https://talentline411.com

If you’re in a job search, it’s important to remember that not every recruiter you will encounter works in the same way. While some recruiters work as full-time employees of a corporation, you’ll find a much larger number of what’s known in industry jargon as third-party recruiters.

Why is it important to know the distinction? Third party recruiters are compensated in a completely different way than corporate recruiters. Think of a third-party recruiter as a recruiter-for-hire, someone who companies go to because their internal recruiters don’t have enough time or have too many requisition or the hiring need is simply too specialized for the internal team to handle. Companies pay for third-party recruiters as a matter of expediency.

A third-party recruiter may work for a staffing firm, as part of a boutique or search firms, or as an independent businessperson.

How does it work?

Since a third-party recruiter is not an employee of the company doing the hiring, third-party recruiters usually have some sort of financial arrangement with a company called a search agreement.  Leaving aside contract work, third-party recruiters are usually compensated in one of two ways: contingency and retained search agreements.

In a retained search agreement, the recruiter is paid a portion of a search fee to engage in the search up front. The remainder of the fee is disbursed to the recruiter upon the successful completion of a search assignment—namely, when you’ve been hired. Retained searches usually reside at the upper end of the search spectrum, where companies are engaged in a highly confidential search for a new C-level executive. These searches require recruiters with skills at the top of their game and often a highly specialized network of candidates.

As you might imagine, retained searches are in the minority.

Far more frequently the case, contingency searches also involve the payment of a fee based on a percentage of the hired person’s starting salary, but there is no up front cost to the employer to engage services. By contrast, where retained searches are usually given exclusively to just one recruiter or firm, a contingency search is typically given to two, three or even dozens of recruiters depending upon how savvy the company doing the hiring is or how many requirements they’ve got to hire for.

What do I need to know when working with third-party recruiters?

 Knowing payment terms for third-party recruiters is one key to making it a successful relationship. Most of the fees paid to third-party recruiters are significant amounts to the companies paying them, so there is a guarantee period. In many cases, if you are hired via a third-party recruiter and leave the job within the first few months, that recruiter has to refund all of that fee if he or she cannot find a suitable replacement. When you work with a third-party recruiter, therefore, understand that it is in that recruiter’s best interests to make sure you are sincere about accepting an offer of employment and that you feel as certain as you can be that it will be a good company for your career growth.

Most third-party recruiters develop a sixth sense about candidates who are just “shopping” for a new job. If you’re just looking and not seriously committed to your search for a new position, a solid third-party recruiter will confront you about it (hopefully in a nice way) in an effort to protect his or her own time.

A large benefit of working with third-party recruiters is that they tend to have a wide breadth of companies engaging their services. Some of these recruiters work a particular geography or industry segment and tend to have deep connections with a handful of premiere client companies.

Another big plus to working with third-party recruiters is that they can serve as an additional buffer in the dreaded salary discussion process for a job offer. The third-party recruiter is not a disinterested party. In most cases, his or her compensation is directly impacted by the amount of your base salary offer. Treating the third-party recruiter as an advisor, just as you might consult an attorney about your taxes or your lawyer about a legal case, can result in a better, faster offer since most recruiters on this side of the business already know about a tolerable salary range for the position you’ve applied for and can tell you if your expectations are consistent with that range. They understand that range not only from what the hiring company has shared with them, but they also know what the market bears due to the nature of their experience working with many other companies.

Finally, think for a moment about contingency searches. The recruiter is only paid after a successful placement. Successful placements often take months, representing many hours of unpaid work with the promise of a payoff in the form of a placement. Candidates who back out of a search prematurely or are perceived to waste time will be remembered. Take care when working with these recruiters, because they have a long memory and talk frequently to other recruiters in their industry space!

However, managing a friendly relationship over the years with one or more third-party recruiters can make a large difference in your job search. Their broad understanding of industry segments and variety of search assignments make them good people to know and interact with on a regular basis.

Todd’s personal blog can be found at: https://talentline411.com

Do I add a photo to my resume?

Dear Resume Survis Lady,

I was talking to a Professional Resume Writer and he suggested I add a picture to my resume.  I had never heard of this before.  Is this something new and I’m behind the times?

I have started to see more and more resumes come through with pictures on them, however they are still very few and far between on them.  So no, I don’t think you’re behind the times with that one.  My personal opinion regarding photos on resumes is to save the photos for your LinkedIn profile but leave them off your resume.  Why?  I left my opinion out of it as I posted this question in one of the many Recruiting groups I belong to on LinkedIn. What I found was the responses I received echoed my own thoughts on the matter.

Before I get into the reasons, I just want to remind everyone that I am NOT an attorney.  Now that we have that business out of the way, let’s talk about why there should not be pictures on resumes.  The first reason you will want to leave your picture off your resume is because most electronic means by which you will be submitting your resume for a position will not be able to read the photo and will instead replace it with gibberish.  When your resume is read electronically and comes across something it cannot interpret, it turns that into a bunch of symbols, numbers and letters which in turn takes out the formatting of your resume and makes it very difficult for the person on the other end of the resume.  If the recruiter or hiring manager cannot read your resume, they will not be able to give your resume proper consideration.

The second reason you will want to leave your picture off of your resume is that if it does make it intact through an electronic applicant tracking system, your resume might not be looked at due to the fear of discrimination based on what you look like.   Again, I am NOT an attorney.  If you submit a resume with your picture on it, there could be pre conceived notions about age, race, etc.    So, if it’s notice during the application process that there is a picture file attached, they will not open or consider the resume to avoid what could be perceived by others as a bias.

So why is a picture okay on LinkedIn but not on a Resume?  The answer might surprise you.  A LinkedIn profile is not considered an  application however a resume that’s been submitted for a position is considered to be expressing interest in the position.  In simpler terms, it’s the difference between being an applicant and being a social networker.

Bottom line, leave the photos off your resume and instead put them to good use on your LinkedIn profile for networking purposes.

To have your resume or job search questions answered by Resume Survis Lady, or have her help you with your resume, email her at: resumesurvislady@gmail.com or on twitter: resumesurvisldy or connect with her directly on LinkedIn by sending her an invite to connect: resumesurvislady@gmail.com

LinkedIn Recommendations On Resumes???

Dear RSL,

I use LinkedIn for my professional networking and have a number of colleagues both current and past that have written recommendations that are visible on my profile.  Now that I am out job searching I would like to share those recommendations with potential employers.  Is it okay to add my LinkedIn recommendations on my resume?

First of all, congratulations on the recommendations!  I know it can sometimes be difficult to get co-workers and managers to write recommendations so you must be doing such a great job that they want to shout it from the rooftops.  After all, I received 3 requests for recommendations in the last week.  Of course they were from people I didn’t know and I will never ever write a recommendation for someone I have never worked with and do not personally know.  But I digress.  You asked about including LinkedIn recommendations on your resume.  You can probably ascertain by my introduction that I do not recommend it.

While there might be some out there that do not agree with me and I’d like to hear your reasons if you do disagree; I don’t think that a resume is the place for these recommendations.  As I mentioned above, I have received requests for recommendations  from people who I have never met.  How many other people have received the same requests?  As a recruiter or hiring manager, while I might look at the recommendations, they would not sway me one way or the other as to if I was going to move forward with the candidate. I would still require a list of professional references that I could call and talk to regarding the candidate’s qualifications, previous work history, etc.  Perhaps I’m “old school” but I like to talk to the references and see what information I can pull out of them to make sure I am making the best hiring decision.

So, back to the LinkedIn recommendations and what should you do with them.  I have two recommendations for you.  The first recommendation would be to include your LinkedIn address on your resume.  This allows the potential employer to go to your profile and look at not only your recommendations that you have listed, but also see who you’ve recommended, what groups you belong to and compare the work history on your resume to what you have listed in your profile.   The second recommendation that I have is if you absolutely feel a need to share your recommendations with your potential employer, put them together in an attractive format separate from your resume and if the occasion arises during an on-site interview you can pull out the list and share some of the recommendations with your interviewer.

LinkedIn is a great networking tool that should provide a synopsis of your professional history.  Having recommendations on your LinkedIn profile can help to build credibility.  I utilize it extensively to network and recruit candidates.  But while I look at the recommendations occasionally, I always have in the back of my mind the emails from those requesting that I write a recommendation for them without ever having met them.  Bottom line; leave the recommendations on LinkedIn where they belong, leave the resume to showcase your talents and successes to land you an interview.

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 through twitter:  @resumesurvisldy her LinkedIn group: Resume Survis Lady and on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Resume-Survis-Lady/150368705033497