Confessions of a Job Seeker: What I learned!

For those who don’t know, I was a recent job seeker. Through hard work and perseverance, I found a great position with an innovative company called SmashFly Technologies. Through this recruiting journey, I learned a lot about both sides of the recruiting spectrum. By experiencing the ins and outs of the job search grind on a daily basis and more importantly actively seeking advice from job seekers and recruiters, I was able to garner some key takeaways on how the recruiting process can be better.


In addition, as I talked to both sides, I came to realize the great value that came from these two sides sharing thoughts with one another. To foster this sharing of wisdom, I would like to share my observations from my job seeking process and the many conversations I had with job seekers and recruiters. I hope this article helps you both.


FOR JOB SEEKERS


I’ll start with job seekers. Here are 4 tried and true tips that worked for me in finding the great job I have today:


One Page Resume: Recruiters and HR professionals don’t have the time to read through every line of every candidate’s resume, so make it easy for them. A one page resume forces you to prioritize what experiences are the most important for a crisp, clean submittal. (This may change for candidates with more than 10 years experience.)


Knock Their Socks Off with Your Cover Letter – Your cover letter is a great chance to get noticed by a recruiter (and have them look at your resume). So how do you write one? Ignore the basic cover letter templates you see out there and be yourself. Be enthusiastic and let them know why you’re interested and more importantly qualified for the job. Most importantly, don’t worry about being informal (disrespectful is another issue), as the more your cover letter is different the more you’ll get noticed. (One great cover letter that I wrote provided me with over 6 interviews in less than a month.)


Leverage Your Online Networks – From Twitter to Facebook to LinkedIn, there is a wealth of people that you are connected to, that are more than happy to go out of their way to help you. Identify what you want to do and companies that you’d love to work for and see who in your network has connections in these disciplines or companies. Email them and set up some time to talk and learn about how you can get into the company and ask for other people to talk to. (And who knows they may receive a referral hiring bonus from their company which provides even more incentive.)


Do Your Research – Make sure you do your research for every position you are excited about. Know what the company does, follow them on Twitter and Facebook for company news and look up your interviewers on LinkedIn. There is such a wealth of information out there today, that not doing research for a job is just plain lazy which is not a trait you want to show a recruiter in an interview.


FOR RECRUITERS


As you go through the recruiting process, you notice a lot of things that companies do extremely well from a recruiting perspective. When you notice the good, it becomes eerily evident when a company doesn’t provide these benefits. Here are my 3 biggest pet peeves when it comes to employers:


Provide Opt-In Opportunities - One of the most frustrating parts of job seeking for me was coming across a job I was qualified for but was posted 30 days ago. I finally realized that I could create alerts in Indeed that would allow me to follow new jobs at companies that I wanted to work for. But why make it that hard? A simple opt-in form during the application process would give the applicant the opportunity to get updates on new jobs quickly through email and provide recruiters with a great pool of interested candidates to po.... It’s a win-win, but something not every company does.


Leverage Your Online Presence – For every job that I applied to, I always made sure to join the social network pages to learn more about the company. What surprised me was that more companies didn’t provide me with a good way to follow them through the application process. Not only would a few links make it easier for candidates to research these companies but it’s a free and easy way for companies to promote their employer brand to a group that is definitely interested in listening.


Repetition for the sake of Repetition – Some companies just seem to go out of their way to make their application process difficult. I understand this helps weed out less motivated candidates but sometimes it can just alienate qualified ones. The one that annoyed me the most was having to type in everything I had on my resume again into their form (seemed pointless). To make it easier for candidates, invest in some parsing technology that pulls info from their resume or use a technology that can give the candidates an option to use their LinkedIn profile in their application. Simple things like this will sky-rocket your application completion rates. Trust me.


Overall, I had some great experiences and some not so good ones. Job seekers and Recruiters alike can find great value in speaking to one another and taking a quick look from the each other’s point of view to make the recruiting process better. So I encourage you to get feedback from the other side and use it to improve your recruiting results!


These are just my observations from the process but I want to hear from you. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or email me at chris@smashfly.com. Feel free to send questions my way as well.


I look forward to hearing some more tips and must-haves for the recruiting process.




About the Author: Chris is the Marketing Analyst for SmashFly Technologies. SmashFly provides a recruitment marketing platform called WildFire that enables companies to easily launch and more importantly measure their recruiting efforts online.

Views: 69

Comment by Thibault on April 2, 2010 at 2:14pm
I second the remark of having to enter in another form (and a dedicated one each time) your resume for each company you apply to.

Worse than that, you have companies using software to complete automatically their candidate base with the resumes of the applicants, with those software being terribly erroneous leading to mistakes on diplomas, companies etc.

it is Ironic that those softwares, with the erors they introduce, make recruiting at the Internet age worse (less accurate and reliable) than before.

even job boards (eg monster) are using those mediocre softwares (at least I have experimented that in France).

The motivation behind it : going faster even at the cost of passing by good candidates and neglecting that pitfall on account of todays disproportion between offer and demand, it is too bad for the H in Human Ressources.

the solution :

There is a simple way forward though :

to standardise a structure of a resume content.

I mention content because only the content structure should be standardised.

The presentation must be able to reflect the personnality of the candidate.

I am thinking of a standardised structure in xml separated from presentation aspects.

exactly like wordpress blogs, your can backup your blog by exporting its content which is independent from
the blog theme, and see your blog with another theme without changing anything to the content.

we should reach that same separation for resume.

with a standardised structured content that you would fill once resulting in a xml file, to be used to feed bases.

it could be used to fill in, in one click the companies candidates databases, or jobboards profiles (by means of import, upload etc.).

the full resume with the content and customised presentation being used for printing, web publishing, emailing, presentation, communicating with (human) recuiters.

All it takes is to standardise (well and exaustively if possible) a resume content structure
have it approved by one or several standard bodies (ietf, ansi, etsi, etc.)

The fact that the standard would be widely accepted means that candidate database manufacturers will implement it to preserve investments, job boards too (1 content standard is easy and worthwile to implement as opposed to ten of thousands of today resume possible forms).

people will make software editors to produce the standardised xml structure based on the candidate imput (same reason worthwile for 1 content structure standard).

people will make editors to customize the presentation based on the standard stucture, so that every body will be able to make a personnal theme (same reason worthwile for 1 content structure standard).

NB I think using linked to input your resume is not the best idea because people may nnot all update right away their inkedin profile when they leave a job, because they may get distracting questions etc.
alway
and as opposed to your linked profile which does not have to be updated quickly, the resume you send is a document that has to be updated, it is a moral contract toward the company you are applying.

Benefit

and there will be no more errors due to erroneous automatic softwares, if you find a diploma in your base this will be because the applicant asserts having it not because the software confused studying for that diploma with getting it.

And candidates will have time to concentrate on the gist of their application : meeting people, doing their search etc.

hints on "How"

which and how select the structure ?

- it should be in xml (I think for it is a robust, open, evolution-ready standard)
- it should have a standard version number in it (to allow for backward compatibility, as the structure will be able to evolve)
- it could be close to the model proposed by the emurse.com website (though I would plead to add just a field to describe the department of the company you worked in)

conclusion

The whole standarisation process could take a couple of month but this will be setting resumes on the right XXIrst century rails
Comment by Thibault on April 2, 2010 at 2:26pm
in my comment above please read linkedin instead of linked

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