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10 Things Recruiters Won’t Tell You (But I Will!)

By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell

Recruiters have one job: Find the right person for the position. Their performance is evaluated on how efficiently and effectively they match top talent to job requirements. Ironically, in the current economy, recruiters are finding their jobs harder than ever. I’m serious. There’s too much talent for them to weed through. What used to be ‘finding a needle in a haystack’ has now become ‘finding a needle in ten haystacks.’

As a result, recruiters have to determine a candidate’s marketability much quicker. Translation: candidates must pay even more attention to the power of the first impression factor. People skills, attire, etc. all become more important when competition amongst talent is this fierce. Reality check: Those who are failing to make a good first impression get put in the ‘no’ pile and are never contacted again. So, if you aren’t getting called back by a recruiter after either an in-person meeting or talking by phone, there’s a good chance that, in addition to the fact you didn’t have the right skills, you also might have displayed one or more traits on the ‘I can’t market them’ list. Now, most recruiters won’t tell you what you did wrong. Why? For one reason, they aren’t paid to give you the bad news. Second, they don’t want to burn a bridge. And third, as I mentioned, they just don’t have the time.

And yet, how are you going to fix the problem if you don’t know it exists?

I’ve put together the most common reasons why a recruiter writes a candidate off. You may not like what you read, but the good news is with a little attention and practice, all of them can be improved upon. So, ask yourself, “Am I guilty of the following?”

Top 10 Things a Recruiter Won’t Tell You

1. Your interview attire is outdated/messy/too tight/too revealing/too flashy.
2. Your physical appearance is disheveled/outdated/sloppy/smelly/overpowering (i.e. too much perfume).
3. Your eye contact is weak/shifty/intense.
4. Your handshake is limp/too forceful/clammy.
5. You say ah/um/like too much.
6. You talk too much/use poor grammar/say inappropriate things (i.e. swearing) when you answer interview questions.
7. You appear overconfident/pushy/self-centered/insecure/aloof/ditzy/scatter-brained/desperate.
8. You talk too fast/too slow/too loud/too soft.
9. You giggle/fidget/act awkward/have facial tics/lack expression.
10. You lack sincerity/self-confidence/clarity/conviction.

So, how do you fix these?

Well, given 93% of communication is non-verbal, I can tell you that many of the negatives above can be improved by focusing on one thing: attitude. If you are angry, fearful, or confused, it’s going to show. You must find a way to feel good about yourself and your ability to contribute. This comes from knowing your strengths and embracing them. It also comes from doing your homework on a company so you can articulate clearly and with enthusiasm why you would be a great fit for the job. I realize this is easier said than done, but it can be done. Here are a few things I suggest:

* Watch the free webinar (below) where I expand on each of the above in far more detail.
* Improve your self-knowledge with these free online tools.
* Get answers to your job search and career questions from approved-experts.

I hope I’ve convinced you to take a hard look at the 10 reasons above and to commit to finding a way to improve your first impression factor. It’s your career. Own your actions and take control of your professional development. I promise, recruiters will take notice.
7 Ways Your Resume is Just as Boring as Everyone Else’s

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

The economy seems to be picking up a little, and more and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger than ever before. Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

It’s still sporting that outdated objective.

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

The design/format is generic or elementary for your professional level and experience.

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

It’s missing important keywords.

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

Generic and/or vague statements.

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

Soft skills vs. hard skills.

And the championship goes to…hard skills. I used to be a full-time recruiter, and I used Monster and CareerBuilder to search for candidates. Not once did I ever enter the search terms: great communicator, excellent verbal skills, detail-oriented. These are universal statements millions use to describe themselves. Give me something tangible and relevant to the position I am trying to fill.

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Duties and responsibilities

Instead of wasting valuable real estate on your resume providing me with a rundown of your job description (the same one I’ve read a million times as a hiring manager), show me what you achieved, what you accomplished, and what you contributed in the past. WOW me with something other than the predictable, mundane job description. I want to know the challenges you faced in your previous roles, how you addressed them, and the results you obtained. This makes you different from everyone else. No two people will have the exact same experiences. Your experiences are what make you outshine your competition—USE THEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.

Are you passive or active?

Using terminology that is passive is boring and lacks action. Instead of using phrases like ‘served as’, ‘duties included’, ‘promoted to’, ‘worked with’…choose strong action verbs. Action verbs do just what they say: they convey action and, ultimately, results. The hiring manager is interested in results you can provide about what you did along the way. Choose terms like: Launched, Catapulted, Spearheaded, and Pioneered. These terms tell me something. They show me the action you took and captivate my attention so that I want to read on to discover the results you achieved.

Your resume needs to do two things: It needs to capture the hiring manager’s attention—and it needs to motivate him or her to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. If you look and sound like everyone else, you have no competitive advantage. And therefore, you’ve provided the HR person with zero motivation to pick up the phone, call you, and schedule an interview. Stop creating a ‘same old, same old’ resume that looks and feels just like everyone else’s. Start today by adding some variety and focusing on your accomplishments.
What is a Personal Brand and Why Do You Need One?

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Sean Harry

Many of the posts on my website focus on developing your own personal brand. They address questions such as:

- What is a personal brand?
- Why do I need to develop my personal brand?
- How do I create a personal brand?

Of course, you don’t really “create” a personal brand. You already have one.

Don’t believe me? Google your name followed by your home town. If you have a Facebook page or LinkedIn profile your name probably comes up on the fist page. Perhaps you are listed in the phone book. Maybe you have recently been mentioned in a local news article. All of these things are part of your personal brand.

Scary? Get over it. It’s already out there and you can’t do anything about it. What you CAN do is manage your personal brand so what people see about you is what you WANT them to see.

Personal branding was popularized by an article by Tom Peters first published in Fast Company Magazine (“A Brand Called You”) over 10 years ago. He starts out the article by writing, “Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

When I read that 10 years ago I implicitly KNEW he was right but I didn’t understand HOW a person could go about creating their own personal brand. The only brands I knew of were huge corporations with hefty advertising and marketing budgets. What could a lone individual do to create their own personal brand?

Then along came the Internet, and social networking, and web 2.0, and Google, and…

Blogs, Myspace, Facebook, LinkedIn and many other applications entered the scene and made it virtually impossible for anyone to keep from creating a personal brand, whether they wanted to or not.

Enjoying this article? You could get the best career advice daily by subscribing to us via e-mail.

Here are a few things you can do to manage your personal brand:

1. Be clear about the image you intend to project. If your have more than one message you run the risk of confusing people about what you are all about.

2. Make certain your brand message is consistent across all platforms. For instance, your resume and LinkedIn profile must be in sync.

3. Back up any broad statements with objective proof. Show numbers, dates, etc. of what you have done the backs up your claim.

4. Keep it brief. Can you state your value proposition in 10 words or less? If not, you run the risk of being forgettable — the death nell of any brand.
7 Cover Letter Mistakes You Make When Applying via E-mail

By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez

How many times have you replied to a job ad via e-mail by shooting them a copy of your resume and cover letter? I’m going to venture a guess and say at least 20 (but more likely hundreds of times) if you’ve been searching for any significant length of time. Here are some of the most notorious mistakes we’ve seen—and what you can do to greatly improve your chances of being noticed.

Attaching the cover letter to the e-mail.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? Most hiring managers aren’t going to open the cover letter and read it. They’ll go straight to the resume instead. Want to ensure your cover letter gets read? Copy and paste it into the body of the e-mail. Whoever received the e-mail will be much more likely to read it if it’s already right there in front of their face.

Writing your whole life story in the body of the e-mail.

Don’t go overboard with details; keep it short. The hiring manager won’t be willing to invest a lot of time reading your e-mail. Keep it short and to the point.

Providing information not relevant to the position.

Here is a great example. When I want to bring an additional resume/cover letter writer on staff, I’m not looking for someone with technical writing expertise, article writing skills, or journalism savvy. Those forms of writing aren’t relevant to what we do here. I want a writer who has extensive expertise and certification in resume writing. If someone goes on and on in their cover letter (or in the body of the e-mail) about all their other writing experience, they will lose my interest. Instead, I want them to tell me about their most relevant experience as it relates to my needs. I want them to tell me about any resume writing experience they have. Give the hiring manager a brief overview of the most relevant experience you have, appropriate to the position they are trying to fill. This will pique their interest—rather than lose it.

Excluding information they’ve specifically asked you to include.

Depending on the position, the employer may ask you to submit a sample of your work, portfolio, hours of availability, or even salary requirements. Whatever it is they’ve asked you to include, make sure you include it in your cover letter. If not, you will most certainly be removed from consideration for failing to follow instructions. Following instructions and acknowledging everything the employer has asked you to address in the job ad not only saves the employer time but makes you look good. I can tell you this from experience because 9 out of 10 applicants will fail to address every stipulation the employer has listed. It happens to us all the time.

Enjoying this article? You could get the best career advice daily by subscribing to us via e-mail.

Not using a cover letter at all.

We’ve received e-mails from applicants, and the body of the e-mail provides either little or no information whatsoever. Some simply state, “Here is my resume for your review.” You are selling yourself short by not including at least a brief introduction. Especially if the employer outlines specific requirements. Take the time to write, “I see you need someone with availability to work nights and weekends; I would enjoy working these hours and am available to do so.” Or, “I have included a sample of my work for your consideration along with my resume. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.”

Forgetting to tell them why you’re the best fit.

Let me tell you about one of THE BEST cover letters I’ve ever seen: I could tell this person put effort into it—and she took the time to specifically and meticulously review our job requirements. She scrutinized our requirements and detailed in her cover letter how she had experience meeting those needs. It was applicable, relevant, and attention getting. It was probably one of the only cover letters that actually made us want to read the corresponding resume.

Using a boring closing statement.

Instead of using the same old boring line, spice it up a bit. One of the more daring cover letter closings I have read closed with, “Call today, don’t delay.” I applauded her boldness and had to call her. The closing was confident, feisty, and it certainly grabbed my attention. Not to mention the entire cover letter addressed everything she brought to the table as a potential employee and how these elements were relevant to meeting our needs.

What I am trying to get you to see is boring the hiring manager with details not relevant to the opening—or not making the most of the space and time you’re getting is really to your detriment. Instead, take the time to write something catchy, relevant, and targeted to the position for which you are applying. Sure, it may take a few extra minutes—but in the end, if you get the interview, won’t it be worth it?

The Rules of Resignation

Once you've accepted a new job, your next challenge is to quit your current one. While you may be happy or sad to leave your current job, you should approach the occasion in a professional manner. Since past employers are often great references, you do not want your resignation to leave a negative lasting impression. Here are a few thoughts to help you prepare for your last day on the job.

* Strategize

First, you'll want to consider the logistics of your resignation. Will you give your employer the standard two weeks notice or longer to help train a replacement? How will you react to a possible counter-offer?

* Write a letter

You'll need to write a resignation letter to deliver to your employer. Use a business format for your letter and keep it short and simple. Give a brief statement about moving onto a new career opportunity and state your last date of work with the company. Remember to show appreciation for the opportunities the employer gave you and avoid expressing negativity or grievances.

* Meet with your manager

Deliver the news of your resignation, as well as your letter, to your manager in person. While it is important for you to state that you are moving on to a new job, do not feel the need to explain your reasons for leaving in detail. Also in the meeting, restate your last date of employment and express your appreciation for the opportunity to work for the organization. Lastly, discuss your current projects and the process of how they will be completed.

* Work until the last day

Over the remainder of your time with your employer, your mind will most likely be on your new job. However, continue to give 100% every day. Complete or organize any unfinished work and provide training and instructions for your replacement. Before leaving, communicate any outstanding work to your manager.

Web Developer - Entry Level

Nashville, Tennessee, United States

Date Posted:
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Information Technology
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Company Name:
Salem Communications
Bryan Meyer
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Job Description:
Salem Publishing of Nashville, a leading producer of Christian music and ministry print and online content is looking for an entry/junior level to mid level person with initiative to work with and fit into our small team of developers maintaining existing and developing new in house websites. Other job responsibilities will also include assistance with other computer/web systems that are used in our business processes.

The right candidate would have experience with and knowledge of C# and SQL 2005 as well as experience working in Visual Studio.

No recruiters please. Please submit resume to or inquire at bmeyer@salempublishing.com.

Bryan Meyer
Web Developer
Salem Publishing • 402 BNA Drive • Suite 400 • Nashville • TN • 37217

Salem Publishing of Nashville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

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