Leveraging a referral to a Hiring Manager

Franklin Paterson Company Inc. Your One-Stop career boutique for resume writing, interview preparation and career strategy consulting.

Have you noticed that companies are beginning to list more jobs and the interviewing pace has picked up?

But, as mentioned in my last post, while there may be fewer job seekers on the market, the competition is stiffer, so a failure to follow the job application and interviewing rules is going to be far more obvious.

This is no time for the faint-hearted, budgets have been approved and the jobs that are available are part of a company’s long-term strategy, so there will be fierce competition.

You will also need to get by a natural adversary, the resume gatekeeper, whose sole purpose it appears is to decide whether your resume or your expected phone call will get through to the Recruiter or the Hiring Manager.

Here are a few tips that can help:
1. Do not address your cover letter, intro, or follow-up email with: “To whom it may concern”, the answer to that intro is – nobody. Use Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Recruiter, or the person’s name if available, or a simple: Hello, I am seeking a. XXX position (add the remainder of your cover letter here)

2. If you need to be a Confidential Job Seeker, please put somewhere prominent in your application an indication that you are actively seeking a new position. The word confidential can be off-putting, it may appear that you are not actively seeking a new position, so you must make the extra effort to alert the reader once they open your resume that you are actively job seeking immediately

3. When posting your resume on the job boards, follow the job application directions, before calling the person your colleague has referred you to.

4. If you have been directly referred to an HR person or to the manager, try to call from a place other than your desk at work or a noisy eatery. You cannot charm a busy recruiter, no matter how great your phone skills, if you cannot be heard properly.

Please call at the designated time and have your resume at hand. The company contact will do a better job interacting with you if you have forwarded your updated resume, and or created a job application in advance of the call.

If they should ask you to forward the document to them directly please enquire regarding the format they would prefer, please follow the instructions do not send a locked .pdf or a Dropbox file unless you are especially asked to do so.

Remember to ask your friend how the person’s name is pronounced, if asked to create an online application before the call or in-person meeting; please do so and do it properly and completely.

Follow up later with a phone call to give feedback regarding the call results. Hang in there… This could still be your year!!!!

Is there an Advantage to being Multilingual?

Franklin Paterson Company Inc.

The challenge for most people is to remember the point of speaking is to communicate.

Too often we put the onus of understanding what we are saying on the listener. And what we end up with is frustration and a “failure to communicate!”

As someone who speaks and thinks in four languages, (English, Spanish Hindi, and German) – there is always a better word, and sometimes the word spills out, and often it is not in the main language of the listener.

Our focus is to say our piece, to be heard, and not necessarily to be understood. Here are a few things that helps to be heard and understood:

  1. Pay attention to the silence or stare at the beginning, which means you have their attention, use the opportunity use it properly.
  2. Pay attention to the listener, let them know if you plan to take notes, in addition inform them when you have missed or misunderstood a point.
  3. Invite the listener to interrupt you if something you say is unclear. Be prepared to repeat yourself.
  4. Do not expect acceptance or agreement with your point of view.
  5. Know when to close and “get out of dodge” if the conversation starts going downhill.

My thoughts: Instead of thinking that I have the right to be understood, I simply think that there are four languages, in which I can get reasonably good verbal directions, as I am dreadful at following maps!

Being laid off or fired can be a shock.

For some people, being laid off or fired leaves them feeling angry, ashamed, or resentful. For others, the response could be, “Well, that was interesting. Time to move on. NEXT!”

But remember how quickly you bounce back and begin to represent yourself and your expertise as valuable to another company is always going to be your choice. 

A fast recovery depends on how quickly you accept that while you have had done interesting work, it is time to move on to better things. So, give yourself space to work through your feelings. Don’t let this setback diminish your pride in your otherwise successful career.

Put your redundancy package in perspective. Does it allow you to survive in the near future, or are you stranded? When your career game is interrupted, middle inning, it helps to remember that the sun is shining elsewhere, it is not raining everywhere, and you should remember to let that sink in.

Here are some other survival tips:

1.  Although a quick bounce-back might be a struggle, you will need to project a positive image to persuade your friends and potential employers that you are still in one piece. Focus on the highlights and achievements in your career. That helps to minimize the emotional fallout.

2. A layoff might free you up to explore a new career path or reassess your strengths, values, or where your career interests truly lie. Layoffs affect everyone in the department. Those who remain with the company quite often feel like they have just won the booby prize.

3.  Focus on your achievements in your former role. Use short and factual explanations. Too much detail can sound defensive rather than accepting of the situation.

4.  Laid off due to a merger, restructure, or downsizing? Use a broad brushstroke: Use all-encompassing language. “Unfortunately, I was laid off along with other colleagues.”

6.  Management change or a shift in direction: My skills and expertise are no longer aligned with the projects or the new manager’s priorities.

7.  Fired for performance reasons? Briefly explain the circumstances and what the experience has taught you. Then move on to what makes you a good match for the current position.

8.  Try to stay steady? Avoid responding to a deluge of jobs in a desperate attempt to get any new job. Instead, update your resume and shift your focus towards what you can offer.

Finally, accelerate your networking. The more active you are in your professional communities, the easier it will be to ask for and get help.




High Maintenance Job Seeker

The high maintenance jobseeker views the job search process and interviewing as a highly competitive structured process that should run at a clip. Many try to force things and cross over into Jobseeker Uptighterati territory, in an attempt to get an edge over other job seekers.

Franklin Paterson Company Inc. your One-Stop Career Boutique for Resume Writing, Interview Preparation and career Strategy Consulting.

Recognizing the High Maintenance Uptighterati Jobseeker in yourself:

1.      In addition to applying to the job online, the high maintenance jobseeker sends their resume or project samples to Human Resources and the Hiring Manager by the next day post.

2.      Many job seekers use colorful paper or ink or graphics in their online resume in an attempt to stand out.  This may render a fair portion of the resume unreadable and look ever so slightly like a craft project gone wrong.

3.      Once contacted for an interview, they need to think about it, research, or look at their schedule. Then bombard the recruiter or manager with a series of “I would like to know emails” or calls before setting up or attending the interview.

4.      Resist your tendency to be a Uptighterati by showing up half an hour early for the interview to see if the manager is available and can meet with you a bit earlier. Adhering to your punctuality principle, then trying to make reality conform to it, can be very annoying to others.

5.      The high maintenance jobseeker brings a series of show-and-tell items, awards, projects, reference letters, etc., to the interview and constantly interrupts the interview to show the items.

6.      Is accompanied to the interview by a friend, who sits glumly in the lobby, or worse, wanders around, peering into the interview room or other offices.

In an attempt to stand out from other candidates, many jobseekers inadvertently commit one or more of these interview mistakes. Qualified for a position, had the first interview you are not asked back for a second interview? Check the items above. Did you commit any of these blunders?  Have you turned into a High Maintenance Uptighterati Jobseeker?

Why over-using Buzz Phrases in your Resume is a bad idea!

In one resume I read this recently, the candidate described herself as an “extremely qualified team player,” a “self-starter,” and a “proactive worker” who will to “take it to the next level” with her “ability to multitask and prioritize.”

She did not explain what she was going to prioritize.

Very few of us can exercise distance and restraint when creating a career portrait, that highlights details of our skills and achievements. There is some pride in writing one’s resume and seeing our career history documented in word.

It can be exhausting work.

Now, I am not rubbishing the effort candidates put into creating a professional narrative of their work history and achievements. But (and I am struggling to be generous here), if the use case for your resume begins and ends, at you being the only person meant to read it, I would say go for it. Otherwise – Don’t do it!

Work with a professional resume writer whose job it is to make you look good, qualified, and hirable in two pages or less.

The problem often starts with the job description. If companies stopped using buzz phrases in job descriptions, perhaps candidates will stop cutting and pasting them into their resumes. Competencies and attributes that are not related to or referenced to achievements in the resume’s body may dissuade a reader from inviting you to an interview.

1. Perennial winners in the resume writing useless phrase derby include – “a demonstrated ability.”

2. Or the even worse phrase, “a demonstrated history.” How do you demonstrate your work history?

3. Battling for third place are the cringe-worthy twins “forward-thinking” and “drill down.” It appears that “forward-thinking” people tend to “drill down,” too.

Candidates add buzz phrases to their resumes hoping to increase interview invites. But it has the opposite effect. The professionals reading your resume are real people, and there is no benefit to adding nonsense jargon to your resume.

Finally, be wary of others who tell you that investing in a quality resume does not matter, because other important things do not matter to these folks either, like referring you and rooting for you at THEIR place of employment.

But I digress.