The Daily Recruiter

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Category: Job Search Strategies (Page 1 of 31)

5 Quick Interview Dress Tips for Professional Women

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Article Written By:  Andy Zeeman,

1. Wear a 2 piece suit

You can never go wrong with a 2 piece suit, be it a skirt suit or a pantsuit. A well fitting suit looks professional and goes a long way to make a good first impression. Stick to black, navy or dark grey for the interview.

2. Keep it conservative

No outlandish cuts & styles. A good conservative suit and a dress shirt is all you need. Outlandish dress never goes down well in interviews. Short skirts and low cut blouses are out. Wear stockings, to be on the safe side. It is not always necessary, but it is always acceptable. Don’t wear wild nail polish. Stay on the safe side and err on the side of conservatism.

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How to Negotiate a Better Job Offer in Just 1 Simple Sentence

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Interviewing for jobs can be grueling. But if you manage to drum up the right answers to trick interview questions and prove you’re worth hiring, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: a job offer.

Once that offer letter hits your inbox, you know what you’re supposed to do next. Always negotiate. That’s easier said than done, especially if you desperately want the job and it’s already a pretty good offer. Is asking for more money or a better compensation package pushing it?

Fortunately, there are people who specialize in coaching candidates through this mission-critical moment. One of them, Karen Catlin, is a 25-year tech veteran who now advocates for women in tech. She’s a speaker and coach who helps clients get better salaries, signing bonuses and higher-level roles.

Catlin recently shared one of her favorite negotiation tips in a blog post. It all comes down to one, succinct sentence. Not only will it get you more money, Catlin says, but recruiters love to hear it. (She actually got the tip from interviewing recruiters.)

The 12 magic words? “If you can get me X, I’ll accept the offer right away.”

Catlin recently encouraged a young woman to use this tactic who was deciding between three job offers. The one she was most excited about was also the highest offer. But Catlin thought she could get more. The candidate used that exact phrasing and asked for 5 percent more. Two days later, her counter offer was accepted. She accepted on the spot.

Why hiring managers love to hear these words

Recruiters and hiring managers expect candidates to counter. But there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. There are a few reasons why this particular phrase is so effective in getting you more money.

It shows you really want the job

Hiring managers look for more than competency and cultural fit. They want to hire people who are enthusiastic about the role and company. It’s one reason why ending your interview with a candid statement could sway the hiring manager in your favor.

When it comes time to negotiate, using this phrase shows the hiring manager how excited you are about this job. They know you’re likely considering other offers. But now you’re telling them you’re willing to forget the others because this is The One.

It eliminates the back-and-forth

Catlin says there’s often some wiggle room in the salary or the compensation package. If the hiring manager knows you’re ready to sign on the dotted line, that gives her some leverage. She’s more likely to be able to meet your request if she already knows you will say yes.

“Assuming it’s a reasonable request, the recruiter has something tangible to bring back to the hiring committee,” Catlin writes. “It’s easier to make a case to dip into the reserves if the recruiter knows you’ll say yes.”

It displays confidence

No one wants to hire a wishy washy candidate. They want people who take action. That’s exactly what this negotiation tactic does. You’re not just asking for more money, crossing your fingers that they’ll say yes. You’re laying out a clear course of action. One that involves a better offer to move forward.

“Recruiters also love this approach because it demonstrates a decisive leadership style,” Catlin says. “Chances are, they want to hire people like that.”

While the candidate from Catlin’s success story asked for a higher salary, remember you can make other requests at this point. Some other example:

  • If you can get me one work-from-home day a week, I’ll accept the offer right away.

  • If you can get me one more week of PTO, I’ll accept the offer right away.

  • If you can get me a corner office, daily visits from a massage therapist and a personal chef, I’ll accept the offer right away.

OK obviously kidding on the last one, but you get the point. There are a lot of things you can ask for beyond a higher salary. As long as the ask is reasonable, you have a pretty good chance at landing an awesome job that comes with an even awesomer offer.

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5 big mistakes

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” By Jill Krasny, Clark contributor”

1. Not knowing what you want

Too often, people don’t put enough thought into a whether job is the right fit for them, Samantha Zupan, spokesperson for, a job search and recruiting site, said. “They don’t take that moment of pause to go, ‘I need this much in terms of compensation, these benefits and this kind of environment,’” she said.

Beyond that, it’s key to know what you’re looking for in terms of the role and professional challenges. If you don’t, you may find yourself in a less-than-ideal situation.

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10 Signs That is Time to Change Your Job

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“by Karaoulanis Andreas,”

There are times, when one has to take her next step. And I mean in everything. In a relationship, in life in general, in the way she is thinking and definitely in her job. Job is a vital part of everybody’s life and just because nothing is forever, in the same way you end a relationship, sometimes you have to end your job “relationship”. Maybe is not good, but be careful, as everything in this life has its own risks, sometimes, staying in a bad relationship/job can create more risks than go away from it. It depends on many things.
But how you can understand that is the time for you to make the next step in your career and change your job?

You are not willing to get up in the morning and go to your work. This is one of the worst scenarios. “Not again 07:30”, “where am I going again?..” are some of the questions you might think every morning. This is not a good sign.

You counting the hours to get back home. “Two hours left” etc. You can’t stop looking at your watch. This is not good for both the company and the employee because has a bad effect in both of them. This is not a good sign either.

You don’t care about what customers want or need, although you may understand that this is not the right thing to do. “Oh, leave me alone. Who cares about what you want. Just finish and leave me alone..” This is a very bad case for your company. It is when your company needs to ask itself, what have I done to make this guy feel and treat this way?? Not a good sign either..

You don’t care about your targets. When your boss tells you that you didn’t reach your semester’s targets, you think “who cares…” Not a good sign..

You don’t care about what your boss tells you. Whatever she tells you, you don’t care because you are simply not there. Bad sign too. Creates a lack of equilibrium in your job and a bad team..

Something is missing from your life’s soup. Because you don’t have a good time in your job, this reflects to your entire life. Your job is a vital part of your life, so you need to have quality time during the 8-10 hours you are there. Otherwise, you have a bad sign in your hands..

You can’t concentrate in what you are doing during your working hours. This is easy to understand. You are not there mentally, so you can’t concentrate. So simple. Bad sign too and something which creates risks.

You can’t wait to reach Friday.. Well, for some people this is irrelevant of weather they like their jobs or not, but in general, when you are about to leave, every Monday, the target is Friday afternoon. Bad sign here..

You don’t care about the money, you just want to start something new no matter the risk. This is the really desperate situation. The one who feels so desperate, so she already have started to find a new job, or even if she didn’t, mentally she is not there, so money is not an issue in such occasions. Very bad sign here..

You envy your friends for their jobs and/or life style. That means that you want something better than what you have, something which usually springs from a job you don’t like. This sign is devastating, because makes you feel sad and the thing is that the moment you start feeling that way, is the moment you already have gone…

All the above mentioned signs are bad ones and have always the same results, bad for employees and their jobs. A happy employee can create value thus revenue. That is why so many jobs are proud for their cultures and their happy employees. A miserable employee has to go away. The problem for her is that she must do a new start while for the company is double, to find an equivalent employee while to understand what made her leave. Herself or the company? Telling truths is difficult sometimes for everybody but is always the only way to go ahead.

So, what about you? Do you recognize any of these signs? I hope you don’t because otherwise you need to think it twice for continuing in the same job you are into. Some can say that there are more signs. I agree. Of course many people can recognize some of these signs in their lives, but they don’t feel like leaving their jobs. In my opinion, nothing is absolute. What they must consider is if they are telling themselves the truth about all the signs. Then it’s up to them to decide if the positive signs are more than the negatives. Sometimes also, you must consider that leaving is not possible no matter how much you want it due to special circumstances. The issue is very complicated and depends on the case.

My advice, is what ever you feel, be honest with yourselves and your colleagues. Honesty can only lead you to the right decision.

10 Questions to Ask Before You Take a New Job

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“By Natasha Burton,”

What are your expectations for This Role?

You need to get a sense of what you’re in for with this new position, particularly what will be expected of you during the first three months on the job. “Asking about quarterly goals for the position is key to setting yourself up for success before you even accept an offer,” says Lindsay Shoemake, founder of career lifestyle site That Working Girl. “If your interviewer or potential manager doesn’t seem to provide a clear answer, that might be a red flag that they haven’t set clear expectations for the position.”

A related follow-up: “What is the biggest challenge I would face in this position?”

“Many interviewers will respond to this question by providing you with an honest overview of company politics that will help you to evaluate whether you can succeed,” says Joe Weinlick, senior vice president of marketing for “If the answer is, ‘You won’t have any challenges,’ beware! There are always challenges, and you may want to dig deeper before accepting a position.”

What Personalities Flourish Here?

This question is a must. Most managers can easily identify the type of person who would be successful in their organizations. Their answer will give you a better sense of whether you would be a good fit within the organization, says Jenn DeWall, a certified career and life coach. “It’s best to know this early on versus fighting to fit in and be the type of personality you’re not,” she says.

What Personal or Professional Development Opportunities Exist?

Learning about a company’s commitment to development can signal how much the organization values its employees, says Maria Katrien Heslin, founder of Business Boostcamp. “For example, there are some organizations that do not provide training or time off for professional development. Some have overly strict policies on employees being able to attend conferences,” she explains. “Organizations like this most often are pretty old-school in their management approach.”

What’s the Typical Career Path for This Position?

“For those who are goal oriented, it’s important to know up front what you’re working toward,” DeWall says. “If you are eager to climb the corporate ladder and develop your resume and an employer indicates there aren’t career advancement opportunities, the position may be a dead end for you and your career goals.” Definitely something you’d want to know before taking a position that could lead you nowhere — and back on the job hunt in a couple of years.

What’s the Company Culture Like?

Whether you’re interested in a job that allows for flextime or you’d like to be able to bring your dog into the office, you need to find out what the company culture is like before you’re hired. DeWall advises asking about the organization’s take on work/life balance and what a typical workday looks like. Of course, you don’t want to come off as unprofessional, so you might not want to ask straight up about working remotely and whether you’re allowed to dress casually in your first interview, but these key elements might be important to find out if you have an offer in hand.

“By asking about office culture you should get the answers to your questions,” says Erik Bowitz, senior resume expert at Resume Genius. “The ability to dress down and work remotely are valuable benefits for today’s graduates entering the workforce,” and companies are trying to entice the best and brightest with more modern policies.

Do You Have a Bonus Program?

“Don’t be bashful about asking about compensation,” Bowitz says. He advises job hunters to get all the details on their pay — from base salary to bonus programs and equity — before accepting an offer, even unofficially or verbally. “Remember you both are bringing value to the table, and so you should never feel lower or disadvantaged being the interviewee.” Joseph Terach, founder and CEO of Resume Deli, also advises not being shy when asking about benefits, especially how much you’ll have to contribute to medical and dental coverage per month and how the 401(k) vesting and matching programs work. At the end of the day, you’re working to get paid, so you need to be sure the compensation is adequate.

Why Do You Like Working Here?

The answer to this question can be quite telling. “This is a good question to ask the interviewer because it’s unexpected and the response can be revealing,” says career consultant Melissa Cooley, founder of The Job Quest. “While most folks will pause before answering because they aren’t anticipating the question — which is a normal reaction — others may stumble all over their words. If an interviewer has a challenging time forming an answer, that’s worth noting.” Some interviewers may give a boilerplate response when asked about company culture, says Weinlick says. But with this question, you’ll get an immediate emotional and verbal reaction. “If the response tells you the person isn’t excited to go to work, then ask yourself if you are likely to be any different,” he adds. “Ideally, the interviewer will paint a picture of why you would want to work at the company.”

What Values Are Important to Your Company?

Getting a sense of the company’s values is extremely important, says Ethan Austin, co-founder of GiveForward: You want to find out whether there’s a common mission or goal that employees collectively work toward — and whether it matches your own values. “If different interviewers give different answers to this question, it’s a red flag to the interviewee that the company is not aligned around a clear mission,” he explains.

John Fleischauer, senior talent attraction manager for Halogen Software, agrees. “What you’re looking for is a response where the interviewer can explicitly communicate, with examples, how the organizational culture is intentionally reinforced across the employee life cycle,” he says. “In other words, if exceptional customer service is a cultural value, the importance of wanting to help or serve clients and meet their needs should be included in all job descriptions as a core competency.”

What Do You Think Are the Top 5 Assets of This Company?

This is a bit of a trick question, but the answer will give you further insight about what it might be like to work at the organization and how the company values its personnel. “One of the responses should be, ‘Employees,’” Cooley says. “If the people who make the products or provide the service are mentioned as an afterthought, or not at all, a candidate should really wonder how that would impact the way the company treats them.”

Where Will I Sit?

It might sound silly, but literally seeing the office or cubicle in which you’d spend five days each week is very important for assessing your quality of life at the company. “It’s a mistake not to ask to see where you’ll be sitting: Imagine taking a job only to find out on day one that you’re in a windowless basement,” Terach says. Not the kind of surprise you want, right?

I Lost My Dream Job — Now What?

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By Alison Hatfield

Last March, everything changed.

It was 10 a.m. when I got the email from my office manager: “Mandatory company meeting at 10:30.” A few minutes later, another email with a reminder. I joined the meeting via video from my home office with a sense of foreboding.

I watched our general manager, Alison Moore, deliver the bad news with sincere regret in her voice. I saw the New York editorial team — cherished friends whom I’d worked alongside to build a business — huddled together on a couch.

DailyCandy — my place of employment for nearly a decade — was shuttered.

This was not just a job to me: It was the core of my professional accomplishments, freedom from financial worries, the day-to-day scaffolding of my life, and the dearest friendships a woman could want. And now it was all gone.

What was I going to do?

I’d joined the company as a part-time copy editor in early 2005, when there were fewer than 25 employees and a room where we took naps. I’d watched it grow to a staff of more than 100, ridden waves of funding, weathered the sale to Comcast, celebrated the merger with NBCUniversal, and held on tightly during failed attempts at both Gilt-style sample sales and Groupon-style discounts. I’d seen things go from good to bad and back to good again.

I doubt anyone cried more than I did that day — or in the weeks and months that followed. The crying, however, was not about money. I’ve always been smart about money. Driven by the knowledge that more money equals power and control over my life, as well as the fact that I have neither a spouse nor a family who can provide a financial safety net, I had amassed the kind of savings that Suze Orman told me to in so many late-night CNBC appearances.

I had eight months’ salary in cash, and the severance package that NBCU offered me was a generous cushion to the blow.

No, my tears came from a place of deep heartbreak.

I was in denial for a while. Even after most employees had turned in their ID badges (things happened in waves; I stayed a couple of weeks longer than most of the staff), I held out hope.

The brand was intact! It made money, just not enough for a media giant! I couldn’t imagine that anyone who had ever been involved with DailyCandy wouldn’t want to get the band back together immediately — especially founder Dany Levy.

She was still rich, right? And her original backers, Pilot Group? They were still rich, right?

I guessed that there was probably a deal on the table even as I finished another box of Kleenex. Fantasies about having my daily routine restored to its previous position powered me for weeks.

Levy did attempt to buy her baby back. NBCU declined her offer. And I was left to figure out next steps.

When you lose your job of nine years and you’ve done all the right things financially, you don’t have to rush out and get a new job right away. For that I felt so grateful. There have absolutely been times in my life when I would have needed a job that Monday, but this was not one of those times. So I took a deep breath and allowed myself the space to sort things out. I went on long walks. I did a lot of yoga. And I took a vacation.

On bad days, I revisited the crying stage. On days I needed convincing it wasn’t all just a shitty dream, I checked the site to see whether anyone had posted new content. On good days, I schemed, making a list of the things I love and trying to determine which ones could be meaningful and provide a viable living.

But once September rolled around, I began to feel the passage of time, and I knew my severance wasn’t going to keep coming forever. I also knew I had a six-figure lifestyle, including mortgages on two properties. Plus, there’s the matter of health insurance. As part of my severance, NBCU is covering COBRA premiums through the end of 2014. After that, I can choose to pay nearly $600 per month through COBRA for another 12 months, or I can obtain insurance through — a daunting process for even the smartest among us.

Today, nearly nine months after DailyCandy published its last story, I am at my desk at home, doing contract editorial work and teaching Pilates a few days a week. I’ve had a strong couple of months as a full-time freelancer, but I don’t know what the future holds. Sometimes that feels scary.

One of my projects is a Dallas-based series called Oral Fixation, which connects people through real-life stories. And my goal is to one day have a business teaching exercise to elderly people. I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than helping old folks feel better in their bodies.

For now, I am laying a foundation for that new venture, living a bit more modestly, and paying my mortgages with what I know best: copy editing, project management, and journalism.

How to Get Management Experience When You’re not a Manager

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by Dan McCarthy, courtesy of

Help wanted: Manager. 5-10 years of experience required. Proven track record of effective management.

It’s hard to land a management position when you don’t have the title “manager” on your resume, or be able to provide specific examples of your management experience.

So what’s an aspiring manager to do without holding formal management positions? Plenty! If you are interested in becoming a manager, then here are 5 ways to get management experience without being a manager:

1. Lead a project. The skills required to be an effective project manager are very similar to the skills required to be an effective manager: planning, organizing, setting goals, managing budgets, leading people, and juggling multiple priorities. If you have never managed a project before, then start by volunteering for project teams. It doesn’t have to be a huge project – start small – perhaps volunteering to be a part of the office Thanksgiving food basket drive.  Hopefully, you’ll get to see what a good project manager does. Or, watch what an ineffective project manager does and do the opposite. Then, once you’ve established yourself as a dependable team member, step up and volunteer to lead a project.

Take a course in project management, read a good book on the topic, and interview successful project managers. You can even get certified as a project manager, but that may be overkill, unless you are planning to make a career out of project management.

2. Train, teach, coach, and mentor. A big part of being an effective manager is developing your team. In order to do that, a manager needs to know how to onboard and train new employees, coach experienced employees, and eventually mentor employees.

Of course, in order to be considered for an opportunity to train new employees, it’s a given that you’d need to be very good at your job, or whatever it is that you’re teaching. But beyond being good at something, it’s important to learn and practice the skills of training, coaching, and mentoring. The best way to learn is by doing! Volunteer to develop a training program; volunteer to mentor underprivileged kids or coach a sports team. Learn the art of coaching – learn to ask great questions.

3. Hone your interviewing skills. Many organizations use selection committees, hiring teams, or will involve others when interviewing job candidates. Again, volunteer for these opportunities. However, don’t just “wing it” when it’s your turn to interview a candidate. Develop a list of great interview questions, practice active listening and asking probing follow-up questions, and learn how to establish a rapport quickly. Being able to screen, interview, and select great employees is an essential management skill and can be learned and practiced! For more on how to interview, I’d highly recommend my colleague Alison Doyle’s Job Search site – it’s the best there is.

4. Learn to manage conflict, have a “crucial conversation”, and give feedback. Yes, dealing with those sticky “people issues” is the most challenging part of a manager’s job. We all face challenging people issues – with our co-workers, family members, and friends. Life is “target rich” when it comes to opportunities to resolve conflict. Learn to do it in a positive, constructive way. See:

How to Manage Workplace Conflict

A Proactive Approach to Tough Feedback

How to Hold a Difficult Conversation

I’d recommend reading the book Crucial Conversations and look for opportunities to practice and get good at it.

Being able to provide specific examples of when you were able to handle a conflict, provide difficult feedback, or address a sensitive issue will demonstrate that you have the willingness and capability to handle the “people” aspect of a management position. And believe me, there are plenty of experienced managers that won’t or can’t deal with people issues, so it really will set you apart.

5. Create and manage a budget. As a manager, I would love it if one of my employees volunteered to create and manage a budget for me! While some managers enjoy the number crunching aspect of management, it’s my least favorite part. If you’re good at Excel, you can learn to create and manage a budget. A good place to start is with your home budget.

If you can’t convince your boss to let go of the budgeting responsibility, you can still do what you can do learn finance, budgeting, and accounting. Take a course, learn to do a cost-benefit analysis and ROI, and learn to speak like a bean-counter. See A Finance and Accounting Glossary for the Non-Financial Manager.

There are a lot of more skills you can learn to prepare you to be a manager, including presentation skills, communication skills, leading change, and strategic thinking. However, it’s important to be able to talk about what you have done, not what you could do. The suggestions listed above will give you that practical management experience needed to help land your first management position.

How One Man Found a Job Without Applying at All

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By Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, Great Resumes Fast Contributor

Chances are you’ve never heard of Ernie Miller. He’s just a guy who found a job he really loves. What makes him interesting, though, is the way he found it. He didn’t go through the usual channels. He didn’t pound the streets carrying resumes, didn’t network, didn’t search the job boards. He found a job without applying. So, how did he actually end up with meaningful employment?

A Unique Approach

Ernie decided to try an experiment—instead of looking for work, he was going to let work look for him. So he wrote a blog entry in which he listed all the traits he was looking for in a job, and then he linked to the post via Twitter and also on Hacker News. He heard from over 40 companies, not all of which offered work. In fact, he got quite a few responses accusing him essentially of being pretty full of himself. Some responded praising his original approach—but not offering work.

Finally, the experiment paid off. Ernie heard from a Louisville firm, Appriss, which developed a system called VINE, which is designed to let victims of violent offenders know when the offender is due to be released from prison, or if the offender has escaped custody. After years of working for e-commerce startups, Ernie was intrigued by the possibility of working for a company that could actually help save lives, especially since one of his requirements was that he wanted to work for a company that would enable him to make a difference. Ernie’s new job fits the bill in other ways, as well.

The Benefits

Here are Ernie’s other requirements:

  • Above-average compensation
  • Not a contract position
  • Remote-friendly
  • Challenging
  • Opportunities to learn and also to mentor

Appriss not only met all of Ernie’s requirements, there was a bonus. Ernie lives in Louisville, and he really didn’t want to move. His “reverse job search” had brought in responses from all over the world—including Berlin and the Russian Federation—but it didn’t bring in a huge volume of responses. So, what were the odds that the job offer that would really set his heart to beating a little faster would be in Louisville? Probably slim, but obviously just a little bit better than none.

The Lesson

Sometimes, to get where you need to be, you have to think outside the box. Ernie’s approach yielded mind-boggling results. Never give up. Persevere, and think creatively—miracles do happen. Who knows you may find your next job without applying too.

This article is part of our Hope for Your Job Search Series. My goal is to bring you uplifting inspirational and hope-filled stories, tips and advice to encourage you during your job search.

Job Search Insanity—The One Mistake That Leads to Longer Searches and More Stress

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By Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast

I hear the pain and the frustration in job seekers’ voices every day. They’re discouraged from spending countless hours job searching only to end up feeling like they’re just spinning their wheels and going nowhere. Job seekers are becoming disillusioned with job boards and discovering quickly that job boards aren’t the answer they hoped they would be. It seems job seekers aren’t sure where else to turn or what else to do—and this is leading to frustration, desperation, and stress. Well, if you haven’t heard it yet, let me be the first to tell you there IS hope. Your job search doesn’t have to be stressful and depressing—or frustrating and overwhelming.

Although I cannot offer you one magical solution that will fix all of your job search woes—or find you a job in one day after only one hour’s worth of effort (no one can promise that, by the way; and if they do … RUN)—what I can tell you is that with some effort and a diversified job search strategy, your job search can be much less time consuming and a whole lot shorter than the average job search of 6-10 months.

So Where Do Most Job Seekers Go Wrong?

According to this job search study, the average job seeker spends between 5%-20% of his or her time during the week searching for work (given a 40-hour work week, for the sake of some simplified math—that means between 2-8 hours spent job searching). Of the 2-8 hours spent searching, almost ALL of it was on job boards. Up to 96% of job seekers spent their time exclusively online—with only 4% conducting work searches offline. Doing the math for you here … that means, at best, job seekers spend 19.2 minutes PER WEEK using one of the methods I’m about to mention—and at worst, they spend 4.8 minutes per week using these methods. That’s incredible! That means between 5-19 minutes per week of job search time is being spread across all the other search methods—networking, informational interviews, cold calling, direct mail, targeting, etc. It’s no wonder that

a) job seekers are frustrated and not getting any responses from job boards and

b) that the other search methods are wildly more fruitful at helping people to land jobs—yet they’re hardly utilized at all!

Here’s my plain interpretation for you:

Job boards = SATURATED.

Other job search methods = LITTLE TO NO COMPETITION.

Would you rather be job searching in an overcrowded pool full of candidates … or using methods that virtually no one else is using and securing employment in a fraction of the time it takes the average job seeker?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying job boards are all bad. I know that some people do get jobs from them, but the odds are not in your favor—I can assure you of that. I hope this little math lesson has been effective at convincing you that job boards are essentially the least effective way that you’ll find a job—and turning to them exclusively is the reason why many job seekers are frustrated at the end of the day.

But like I mentioned at the beginning of the article, there is hope! You don’t have to keep banging your head against the wall or feel like you’re going insane. As I’m sure you’ve heard, someone once defined insanity as the act of doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. I think it fits here.

Here are a few more numbers to chew on:

Many experts report that 75%-85% of jobs are hidden. That means they’re openings that are not published online, on the company website, a job board, or shared socially. In fact, once someone other than the decision maker knows about a position, it has just become visible; and as soon as it hits social media it’s no longer a hidden position, and competition increases exponentially.

According to this article on, job seekers should only spend 20% of their job search time on job boards—and still other experts recommend only 10%. In the aforementioned Forbes article, executive career coach Donald Asher explains that, given the opportunity to hire someone without posting a job, he’d do that 100% of the time. I’d have to agree. As the President of Great Resumes Fast, I’ve often searched for executive assistants, VAs, or had other positions come available as my team has grown—and I can tell you the response from posting a position online is overwhelming! There’s no way I can wade through all the responses I receive. Now I go through word-of-mouth referrals first. In fact, I first ask my husband, family, and friends if they know of anyone. When I need a new executive resume writer to help me meet the demands of growth within my company, I reach out to my current staff of writers and trusted colleagues and ask them for referrals.

Before I started Great Resumes Fast, the hidden job market was how I found a position as the HR manager of an international Fortune 500 company. Someone my dad worked with was networking with a client—and they had a need for an HR manager. The general manager of the company asked his colleague if he knew of anyone, and he said he’d ask around. He came straight to my dad and said, “Hey, isn’t your daughter in HR?” And that’s how I found that position—which eventually led me to starting my own company more than six years ago.

It’s not just about word-of-mouth referrals—and I’m not the only one who’s experienced success with the hidden job market. ABC News reports that 80% of positions are filled through referrals! You can read more about their report in this article.

Astonishing? I think so! Needless to say, if you’re being tight-lipped about being unemployed or job searching, now may be the time to “spill the beans”. You certainly wouldn’t want to be out of work for a year like this executive was before he shared with his golfing buddies that he was searching.  You never know what may be out there; and the fact is, you won’t know if you don’t ask!

That brings me to my next point … so now that you know job boards shouldn’t be your #1 go-to job search method—and you’re now aware that the hidden job market is massive (75%-85% of positions), and that 80% of positions are filled through referrals … where do you go from here?

Here are some methods for finding a position; I’ll be elaborating further on these later in my series: Hope for Your Job Search.

Informational Interviewing – What is it and how to leverage it in your job search. If you can’t wait for the article, check out this related article published on LinkedIn.

Cold Calling – It’s not just for telemarketers; and using this method is actually a very effective job search strategy. I’ll be elaborating on it more in the series, but here’s some information to get you started.

Networking – Those word-of-mouth referrals I discussed earlier. I’ll be sharing tips and how-to’s on networking your way to a new position.

Direct mail can be an extremely successful job search method. I’ve experienced success with this method and have researched its use—including statistics that state utilizing direct mail results in 80% job placement in 90 days or less. I’ll be discussing how to use this method as well.

Value proposition letters go hand-in-hand with direct mail. They’re short, compelling letters written to the decision maker—packed with influential facts and figures that show the employer exactly how you would add value to their team. You can read more about value proposition letters and see an example here.

13 Red Flags In Your Resume – And How To Fix Them

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By Jorg Stegemann, Kennedy Executive Contributor

Did you ever wonder what we external and internal recruiters check when we decide within 5-10 seconds if your resume is of interest to us or not? Which are the red flags in YOUR resume – the reasons you will not make it to the interview?

Here are the 13 most flagrant warning signals we might spot in your CV – and the solution to fix them:

  1. Unexplained gaps: [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@kennedyexec” suffix=”“]It is OK to have a gap in the resume – if the explanation is good[/inlinetweet]. PROBLEM: If we don’t understand its reason immediately, we will pass on. SOLUTION: This advice is unorthodox but if your last job ended four months ago, add a bullet point on top and call it “language course, move to another city, baby-break, taking care of a sick family member, business analysis to open a restaurant” or whatever. Yes, these are imperfect solutions but they are way better than… writing nothing. Alternative: meaningful executive education. See point 5 for more advice on this
  2. Inconsistency in professional choices: Every career will become flat at one point of time and when you change jobs at fifty, sideward steps are perfectly okay. When you are younger and applying in a fast-paced environment however, it should go upward and demonstrate dynamic evolution. THE PROBLEM: If you have had  the same job three times but in different companies, we might assume that you are not able to do more or lack ambition – and put your application aside (I know of course that the reality is that you can not always freely choose…). THE SOLUTION: Add information on job content if the title does not reflect an evolution. Or indicate that the company was bigger. You learn somethings new in every job. Make sure your resume reflects this
  3. Too many job changes: Careers where you retire in the very firm that hired you fifty years ago are over. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”“]Dynamic changes are part of a competitive profile[/inlinetweet] – but not too often. THE PROBLEM: If you worked for three companies within the last three years, we might assume that you will not stay here either and not call you. THE SOLUTION: If you had good reasons for changing, add them (“reason for leaving: company went bankrupt” or “job was made redundant”.  “New management” is also perfectly plausible)
  4. Not enough job changes: Did I say before that careers in one only company do not exist anymore? THE PROBLEM: The “life” of a job is 3-5 years. After that period, some kind of evolution should occur or we might consider you being inflexible or not ambitious. THE SOLUTION: Even if you have been in the same job for the last fifteen years, your job has evolved since, hasn’t it? Break down your current function into different parts, for instance “Since 04/2011: same job plus the responsibilities X, Y and Z”
  5. Lack of formal education/ having an outdated one: The term “lifelong learning” is overused – but 100% correct. Returning regularly to school is an essential part of a competitive profile at the beginning of the twenty-first century. THE PROBLEM: If your last education dates ten years ago or more, we could think that you are not interested in advancing your skills or that your theoretical skills fall short. THE SOLUTION: This is an easy one: Take meaningful executive education. Choose wisely, as you send a message with the kind of module you have chosen. If you have been working in finance for the last twenty years, do NOT take something on finance but rather on strategy or leadership. Don’t have money to take a residential week at Harvard Business School or Stanford University? Have a look at Coursera and enroll in “Smart Growth for Private Businesses” at Darden Business School. Or why not “Competitive Strategy” at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany – for free
  6. Fancy layout for non-fancy jobs: THE PROBLEM: You will shock no one with a plain layout and font but you might shock with strange colors or fonts in your resume. THE SOLUTION: No colors, make it plain and sober to be on the safe side
  7. Poor grammar or typos: No ecxuse with this one. THE PROBLEM: We might assume that if you cannot write your own resume without mistakes, you will not be able to put anything else on paper without errors either. THE SOLUTION: print out your resume, check it meticulously, run a spell-check and ask a friend or family member to proofread it one last time
  8. An unprofessional email address: THE PROBLEM: You can be 100% sure to make a bad impression with disco.fever@strangeprovider.peculiarending in a traditional white-collar context. THE SOLUTION: Call me narrow-minded but I cannot come up with any alternative to first Also, do not change the orthography of your name: I know a “Francois” with an email address “Fancois” (his explanation: “Francois.lastname” was taken”). Eight in ten people will get it wrong when typing it or will simply think that you have escaped from the nuthouse…
  9. Vocabulary that lacks energy: THE PROBLEM: “Involved in”, “assisted ABC” or “exposure to” do not show that you were in the driving seat of your career. THE SOLUTION: use active, not passive words such as “implemented 123”, “driven the project XYZ” or “headed up 123” to show you were you in charge and made it happen
  10. Inability to get the message across: Again, you have got 5 seconds to make an impression on us… THE PROBLEM: … and if you don’t, we will file you. THE SOLUTION: use bullet points, talk about your achievements (“I created double-digit revenue growth for three consecutive years and built from scratch one of the top ten teams company-wide”). Be precise, clear and avoid jargon (a twenty-two year old intern could be the gate-keeper…). Your resume should be on two, maximum three pages. Make sure you put all essential information on top of page one, the part we see when we open your resume without scrolling down, for instance, by adding an executive summary such as “General Manager/ trilingual/ managed up to 100 million USD and 250 people/ service industry” on top. Because we might never scroll down if what we see does not click with us
  11. Bad structure: THE PROBLEM: We are used to reading many, many, resumes. And if yours is too different, we might not understand it – and pass on. THE SOLUTION: Use the following structure: contact data, executive summary, education, last job then downwards. Clearly indicate year and month of the respective job If the month is missing and you write for instance “2011: job A, 2012: job B”, we will automatically assume that you lost job A in January 2011 and found job B only in November 2012 – because if you had nothing to hide, you would have put the months
  12. Banalities: THE PROBLEM: we have read “accomplished leader”, “results-driven”, “excellent communication skills” etc. one thousand times before and won’t believe a word. THE SOLUTION: Don’t talk but show: Prove “accomplished” by demonstrating your seniority, “results-driven” through stating hard facts, “excellent communication skills” through plain and clear speech
  13. No contact data: THE PROBLEM: In twelve years in this industry, I have seen it all: resumes without email address, phone number or post address… THE SOLUTION: Check your resume once, and do it again


There are many valid reasons to do things differently than outlined here. Whether you agree or not with the above, bear in mind that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=”@kennedyexec”]an average reader will spend no more than 5-10 seconds on your resume[/inlinetweet] before deciding whether to spend more time on it or not. You are a valid candidate, right? Help us to understand this fast – and ensure that we call you for an interview if you are the right fit!

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