Blogs Directory !tzalist Business Directory Fight Unemployment - The ResuWe Blog #fightunemployment: July 2009

Friday, July 31, 2009

Garlic Pizza winner of "Worst Food to Eat Before an Interview"

Congrats to Bean Burrito & Kimchi for a close 2nd & 3rd place finish! Happy Weekend!

Team ResuWe

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Great references can secure your next job

Excellent references can put you ahead of the competition when it comes time for companies to make a hiring decision. If an employer has to choose between two equal candidates, great references can be the determining factor that land you your next job. With increased competition for every job you need to make sure that your references are up to date and that they know you are looking for a job. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your references:

What to do first?

Before you get started on your job search you should contact your most recent references to inform them you are looking for a new position. Have a detailed discussion on the types of jobs you are looking for and make sure they are both willing and available to give you a good reference and to discuss your job performance with a potential future employer. If the information you discuss with your references is anything but glowing do not use that reference. Contacting your references ahead of time also informs them that you are on the job market and you can ask them to keep an eye out for you as well.

When do companies ask for references?

On the job application there is a space for references. If the job application is online you may need to complete this section if it is a required field. If you are comfortable, list your references on the application. Make sure you have your references' work and mobile phone numbers with best time to call as well as their email addresses. This allows the potential employer to have multiple ways to contact your references. If you don't feel it's appropriate listing your references at this point you can simply write that references will be provided upon request. This allows you to supply the references once the company establishes you are in contention for the job.

How many references should I list?

Generally companies like to speak with 3 references. One peer or client reference and two past supervisors. If they request a current employer reference you can contact a trusted peer / colleague and confidentially disclose that you are looking for a new job. For the supervisor / manager references a direct line reporting supervisor / manager is best.

What type of questions do companies ask?

Depending on who is checking your reference (Human Resources (HR), Recruiter or Hiring Manager) the questions will vary. If HR / Recruiting is checking references the questions will be usually more personality and general job performance versus the hiring manager who will ask more job specific questions.

What if my references are unwilling/unable to give detailed information?

Due to legal reasons a lot of companies are not able to provide detailed references. Make sure you ask your references if they are able to give detailed information ahead of time. If they are not able to give detailed information but you still want to list them as a reference inform the future employer on the application or when references are requested.

What is a company wants to verify employment with HR?

If you complete a background check release form for a future employer it allows them the ability to verify your past / current employers. Companies check for your position title, dates of employment and eligibility for re-hire. This information is confidential and is not shared within the organizations.

What if I left a previous employer on bad terms?

If you had a negative experience with a previous employer you may need to do some damage control. If your reason for leaving was your direct supervisor or other manager, try to find a trusted peer who can give you a good reference. Talk to the peer reference before you start your job search and inform them to keep things positive.

What if the company is checking my previous employers and I didn't list a past job on my resume?

It's best for you to list all previous jobs on your application. If you left after a short period of time make sure you disclose this job as well as the reason you left the position on your application.

What about my profiles on social networking sites?

Professional social media sites such as LinkedIn allow the user to have online professional recommendations. These sites allow a potential employer to view your profile and see who has recommended you in the past. However, the future employer is not able to contact these individuals directly. It's best to use these sites as an additional reference tool but not to eliminate the traditional reference check.

What about letters of recommendation?

If you have letters of recommendation make sure the contact information is listed on the letter and the future employer is able to contact this reference directly.

Don't make the reference check hinder you from earning your next job. It's always best to take the honest and upfront approach with your references so your future employer knows you are professional and ethical.,

What is the best day to follow up on a resume?

Tuesday is absolutely the best day to follow up on a resume submission! I find that I am slammed on Friday by job seekers calling me to follow up on resumes I have submitted on their behalf to my clients. On that same note, I am tempted to make Friday my "Follow-up Friday". Here is why Tuesday works best (and why Friday does not):

- Employers and recruiters usually reserve Monday to check emails, return calls, and transition back from weekend mode to work mode.
- By Tuesday, a recruiter's desk is usually clear and organized. It is the beginning of the the workweek and employers, recruiters, and hiring managers are fresh, focused, attentive, and responsive.
- When a job seeker follows up with a recruiter, the recruiter may need to check the status with a hiring manager. It's much easier for a recruiter to connect with a hiring manager on a Tuesday than on a Friday.
- I you are a job seeker and a recruiter can't give you an answer on a Tuesday, offer to check back in 48 hours. Now you can check back 2 days later on Thursday. You cannot use this technique on a "Follow-up Friday".
- Similarly, a Recruiter can easily get results or feedback from a hiring manager at the beginning of the workweek on Tuesday.
- Very few people will take a Tuesday off compared to a Monday or Friday. Many people don't work Friday, take half-day Friday, or are simply burnt out from a hectic workweek.

#fightunemployment coming soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fight Unemployment - Aggressive Tips for Online Job Seekers

For many job seekers, using job boards can be frustrating. The ease of applying to a job is sometimes overshadowed by the lack of correspondence. You send your resume out to numerous jobs and have no idea if your resume was ever read. Traditional job boards don't give you any resume tracking ability or knowledge if your resume was viewed. You may receive an auto-reply from the company but the email address will be a do not reply to this email. What is the job seeker to do in order to have more power when it comes to your job search? Here are a few Do's and DONT's related to your online job search.

First, when you apply to a job your resume goes to a Recruiter or Human Resources (HR) person within the company. That person uploads your resume into an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) which parses your resume into the company database. They will determine if your resume is a good fit based on the job description. Your resume will than be forwarded to the hiring manager for review.

DON'T send your resume multiple times to a job. The HR / Recruiter is the gatekeeper and they don't want to do extra work by attempting to upload your resume and it's already in their database attached to a job. If you haven't received feedback or the job has been open for an extended period of time you need to take another approach.

DO follow up with the company directly. Go to the company website and view the jobs / career page. Depending on the size of the company there may be a human resources email address. If there is a page that links you to an ATS (such as Taleo) you can still follow up with HR/Recruiting directly. The most common email formats for HR/Recruiting are:

You can determine the domain by the website address. For example, if the company's website is the emails will be or or When you follow up with HR / Recruiting don't just say I sent my resume and I wanted to know if there was any interest. Make sure you include the day you sent your resume, the job you applied to (including job number), a copy of your resume and write out a few specifics on why you feel you are a good candidate for the job (cover letter). Include your phone number and email address and include availability for an interview (phone or in-person) with your email. Since this is going to the gatekeeper you still need to sell them on why you are a great fit.

DON'T call HR / Recruiting at the company. First off if you call the company main line and ask for HR you will get transferred to a voice mail which will instruct you to contact HR via email. If you happen to reach someone at the company they will have no idea who you are and ask you to communicate via email.

DO join a professional social networking website such as LinkedIn or Plaxo. Type in the company name in the search and determine if you know anyone at the company. Make your former colleagues do a little leg work for you. Contact your former colleagues and let them know you applied to a job within the organization and ask if they can get your resume in front of the right people. Make sure you include the job you applied to, date you applied, job number, resume and cover letter with your correspondence.

DO get aggressive. If you still haven't heard any feedback and the job is still posted online you can use the same professional social networking sites to determine possible hiring managers for the position. Most companies have employee email formats such as first initial last name or similar. When you send an email to the possible hiring manager make sure you let them know you already applied to the position online and include the same information (date sent, job applied to, resume, cover letter, contact information, etc.) that you sent to HR / Recruiting. HR / Recruiting policies at companies do not prohibit unsolicited resumes directly from job seekers.

DON'T call the hiring manager or send countless emails. If you call the manager most likely he/she will be working and not have time to talk to you. Also, phones have caller ID and if you call them constantly they will think you are a stalker. Take your job search into your own hands and get aggressive.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What to Wear to a Job Interview?

Another important part of the job search process is dressing appropriately for your interview. This is the first time your potential employer will meet you, and the way you dress will influence how they perceive you as a potential employee. It is always better to err on the side of dressing more conservatively for an interview. This typically means a solid color conservative suit (skirts knee-length or longer), moderate shoes (no stilettos or strange colors, I would stick with black or brown depending on the suit color), limited jewelry (especially for men), a conservative tie for men, and a coordinated shirt (white shirts are always good). It’s also important to be well groomed (short clean nails, and a professional hairstyle are important).

Of course this will differ based on the industry in which you work. If you are working with someone in the HR department to set up your interview with the hiring manager and you’re not sure if a full suit would be appropriate for that particular company, it is perfectly acceptable for you to ask them if they think it would be appropriate. When I was setting up the interview for my current job in a beach town in Southern California, the hiring manager told me that he wears shorts and flip flops to work. Up until that point I had been wearing suits and button-down blouses to my interviews. However, he made a point of telling me what a casual atmosphere the office was and I didn’t want to show up dressed in a way that may suggest I wouldn’t fit in with the company. Yet, I didn’t show up in shorts and flip flops either. I wore pants with a ¾ length sleeve shirt (no cleavage ladies), and 2.5 inch black heels.

Also, I was at a job fair yesterday and the number one advice I can give all job seekers is to buy a new suit . Yes, it is expensive but you only need one suit to wear to all of your interviews. Many of the job seekers at the job fair were wearing old, ill-fitting suits, and this does not impress hiring managers. The suit should be black, dark gray, or dark blue (especially for men), without stripes, and it should fit you well. You can check out Men’s Warehouse, outlet stores, or sales racks at department stores to find a good deal. It is definitely worth the expense.

Ultimately, dressing well for an interview will not guarantee you the job, but dressing inappropriately will guarantee you won’t get the job. It is always better to be too conservative versus too casual or flashy. You don’t want a bad outfit or unkempt hair to keep you away from your dream job.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to negotiate a higher salary for your next job

Whether you are currently employed or unemployed below are several tips on how to get the most money from your next job. Companies use several criteria to determine employee salaries. These salary ranges are determined by the department head, hiring manager and human resources (HR). Be aware that the company is thinking the low number and you are thinking the high number or more. Before you even interview it's a good idea to answer for yourself what is an acceptable offer versus how much money you want.

How companies determine salaries:

1. Job title and responsibilities.

2. Education and years of experience.

3. Internal equity or salaries of other people in the department with the same or similar jobs. Employers manage internal equity by paying people within a salary range.

4. Online salary resources. These tools give employers an idea of salary ranges based on job titles, years experience, degree, skills, etc.

5. Applicant's current salary / what does the job seeker currently make. While this may not dictate the company salary range it will give the employer an idea if they are in the ball park.

Stick with the facts:

It's a good idea not to pad your salary when looking for a new job. A future employer may want proof of your salary in the form of a recent paycheck stub or verification of salary by your current company's HR department. If your future employer finds out you padded your salary they may not want to move forward with the offer. Since your previous salary is only one factor for future employers to determine your salary it is not recommended to pad your current salary.

Adhere to your number:

If you fill out the employment application and write down $65K as your desired salary the employer now thinks you want $65K. Instead, you should write "open" in the desired salary box. If it's an online application and you need to put in a number make sure you stick to that number during the interview process. Nonetheless things change during the interview process. If the interview process uncovers additional job responsibilities such as travel, long hours, weekends, etc. you can always use that additional information to change your desired salary.

When is the right time to discuss salary?

A good time to discuss salary is after the company has expressed interest in you and you have passed the second round of interviews. Nevertheless, it may come up as early as the first interview or before. Be careful who you discuss your salary with during the interview process. If it's the hiring manager or human resources it's okay to talk numbers. However, if it's a future peer interview you may want to side step any salary related questions. You can answer this by telling the future peer that you need to more information about the job before you conclude any desired salary amount.

How to answer the salary question:

When salary comes up during the interview the best way to answer is let the employer know of your current base salary and all additional compensation. Then add that you are looking for both an increase in base salary and total compensation. If they ask for a number be confident and tell them what you want for your next job.

How to ask for more:

Your total compensation is a formula of Base Salary + Bonus + Benefits (medical, dental, retirement, pension, vacation, stock, etc.) If a company is not able to offer you a higher base you can ask for additional money in the form of stock, sign on bonus, performance bonus or stock. These variable pay systems allow the employer to individualize employee total compensation based on a blend of personal and company performance goals. You may also be able to negotiate a quick salary review (6 months versus 1 year of start date). This would allow you to prove yourself to your future employer and give you the ability to earn more quicker. Paid Time Off (PTO) or Vacation days may also be worth negotiating if you feel the presented amount is less than you currently receive or less than you desire.

Don't make it all about the money:

In addition to compensation make sure you add that you are looking for career advancement, career challenge or job security.

Negotiate before you accept:

Once you accept the job don't go back and try to renegotiate the salary. Employers will think you are all about the money and not interested in their opportunity or company. Fight Unemployment.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Google Voice Features for Job Seekers

Google just sent out invites for the highly anticipated Google Voice service. Google Voice allows you to create one universal phone number for all your calls. It also has an easy to use web-based interface similar to Gmail which manages numerous telecommunications features.

Below is a breakdown of the best Google Voice features a job seeker can utilize to improve their search efforts:

Universal Number - A job seeker can simply list their one Google Voice number on top of their resume instead of their home, cell, and office numbers. This universal number can be set to ring multiple numbers simultaneously so an employer is sure to get a hold of you if it is set to ring your cell, office, and home lines. You can answer a call on any of your phones and you can even...

Switch Phones During a Call - This is a very cool feature if an employer or recruiter calls on your office line but need to speak privately. You can easily switch your phone from your office line to cell and step outside.

Voicemail Transcripts - By far the coolest feature! Voicemail transcripts will list your voicemails from within your online inbox, essentially converting a voicemail to an email. Voicemail notifications with transcripts are also sent to your email and as an SMS text message on your cell. This is a key feature for an employed job seeker helping ensure privacy and while on a confidential job search.

Universal Number Area Code - You are able to create your own phone number from scratch (based on availability) when setting up your account. You can choose to integrate a text string for a vanity number or choose by any US area code. If you are targeting relocation to Orange County, CA, you should set up your number with a 949 area code.

Ring Schedule - Each phone number has its own advanced settings so phones can be designated to ring at different times. You can ring your office line from 8-5, your cell during your drive times, and home line at night.

Call Widgets - A job seeker with an online resume can embed a Call Widget featuring a "Call Me" graphic with Name and Number form fields. An employer can simply auto dial the job seeker from their own phone. will have this covered!

Overall Google Voice offers an easy way for job seekers to create, use, and manage their telecommunications using one number. Google voice offers almost any advanced feature imaginable from managing groups, multiple rings, and personalized greetings. iPhone users can download the app GV Mobile which manages Google Voice from the iPhone.

I hear Phone Number Porting is in the works since it would be great if you could use your existing cell number.

To get started you need to receive an invite which may not be instant - Google Voice invitation request. Good luck!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

How to prepare for a job interview?

So your job search is starting to pay off. You've sent your resume to multiple jobs and have had several email correspondences. Now it's time for the actual interviews. Whether it's a phone interview or an in-person interview it's a good idea to do some homework prior to any interview communication. In any job market the last thing you want to do is not have a clue about who you are speaking to or what the company does. Here are a few pre-interview tips:

1. What does the company do?

*Review the company website. Don't just look at the home page. Dig into the website. Find out relevant company information, and review management biographies.

*Google search the company. Use the company name and key words (such as hiring, news, lay-off or downsizing) in a Google search to find out any recent news about the company.

*Stock Information. If the company is publicly traded check out their stock. Look at the company's 3 month and 12 month stock charts. Review any headlines or press releases.

2. What does the job require?

*Review the job description. Go over the job responsibilities and requirements. Write out a few key points on how your experiences match the job description. If you lack some of the job requirements or don't know a specific requirement Google search these items. This will give you insight as to what you may be missing and shows the employer that you investigated their job.

3. Who will I be speaking to / meeting?

*Use websites like LinkedIn, Spoke, Bebo, and Xing to search for the hiring managers and other interviewers' online profiles. Look for the interviewers' titles and determine what their role may be in the hiring process. You can also search these websites for people who currently or used to work in this job to look at their background and compare your experiences to theirs.

4. What questions do I want to ask?

*After performing your research it's a good idea to come up with some company and job related questions. You don't want the interviewer to ask if you have any questions and you reply, "no." Remember, you are interviewing the company as much as they are interviewing you.

Everyone's time is valuable. Don't waste time by interviewing with bad companies or for jobs that are not of interest. Take control of your job search and be prepared., fight unemployment.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Don't Get Fired before you get Hired

Currently employed but looking for a new job? These tips can make sure you don't set off any online alarms with your boss.

With so much electronic information around us, it's difficult to know who can see your information and who can't. When looking for a job the last thing you want is to have your current employer find out you are unhappy. I speak with many job seekers as well as view hundreds of resumes every day. I notice quite a few errors on job seekers behalf when they try to keep their search confidential. Here are a few helpful tips that can make sure you don't jeopardize your current job before finding a new one.

Phone Number - Use your mobile phone as your job search phone number. This way you can easily track any incoming and outgoing calls as well as have better control over receiving messages. You can also have access to your email via your phone while at work without using the company computer. Additionally, using your mobile phone number is an easy way for you to walk out of your work area if you need to field a call. You can always use a land line if you are speaking with a potential employer for a phone interview.

Email Address - Remove any email address from your resume which has multiple users or a silly name. Set up a designated job search related email account (Gmail is best). Don't include your full name in this email address. Make sure you put this email address on your resume and remove the old one. This will allow you to both have better tracking of the jobs you applied to, and not have personal email traffic on this address. You can keep this email address open even after you find a new job.

Online Resumes - It's tough sometimes to remember which job boards have your old resume. If you set up a new job search account using one of the job boards make sure you don't upload your Word resume with your name and contact information. You may not be able to see your contact information but an employer or recruiter who has a job search account with the job board can see your person information if you do this. Also, you may want to take out your current company's name on your updated resume. Just put "confidential" in the company name box. You can disclose this information when someone contacts you directly. Make sure your current company name is not in the text of your resume as well.

References - Rather than listing your references as an additional page on your resume simply put, "will provide upon request" if you feel the need to have this on your resume. The last thing you want to do is list your current bosses name and number on your reference page of your resume.

Twitter - Set your privacy settings so you have to approve anyone who follows you. Also, block anyone who currently follows you and is a work related connection from receiving your tweets.

Facebook - Change your privacy settings to allow only your friends to view your communications. If you are Facebook Friends with your boss or work colleagues they will be able to view your communications even though you changed your privacy settings. It is better to simply remove any work related connections from your Facebook Friends.

MySpace - Not sure if anyone uses this site anymore, but set your privacy settings so only your friends can see you. Again, if you are friends with any colleagues / bosses make sure you remove them from your friend list.

With the current job market there are a lot of potential candidates out there for every open position. Don't make a silly mistake and become an unemployment statistic. unemployment.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Score Your Next Job With Keywords

Companies, search firms, and HR departments use Applicant Tracking Systems as part of the resume screening process. ATS's use boolean search strings and keyword matching technologies to score how your resume matches specific search criteria set for a position. The following is a recruiter's perspective of how to beat out ATS's using a high scoring resume for each position you apply for. Let's use the following example job:
Unix Systems Administrator

You will be responsible for performing Linux Systems Administration activities for an enterprise. Your responsibilities will include:

- Providing installation, support, and maintenance of Unix servers and other computer systems.
- Performing system utilization, availability analysis, and capacity planning.
- Programming and scripting using PHP, Perl, Python, or Shell scripting


- 5+ years of Unix System Administration experience in a large-scale Unix (Linux/Solaris/BSD) environment.
- Experience managing LAMP web-farms serving 10+ million page views daily.
- Apache configuration and operation expertise.

The first thing I do as a recruiter is break down keywords within the position and create a boolean search string. This boolean string will be used to search my own internal database, external databases (Monster, Careerbuilder, Dice, etc.), and to score candidates who apply from external job postings.

Boolean search string:
(unix OR linux OR solaris) AND ("systems administration" OR "systems administrator" OR "Unix SA") AND (installation OR support OR maintenance OR utilization OR availability OR capacity OR capacities) AND (programming OR programmer OR PHP OR perl OR python OR scripting OR shell OR LAMP OR apache OR mysql)

I have taken the most applicable keywords from the job description for my boolean string. I've counted 23 unique keywords or keyterms within this string.

What should a qualified job seeker do?

A qualified job seeker should scan the position description, identify the most applicable keywords, and ensure all variations of these words are placed within the context of their resume. Let's use the following mini-resume examples:

Smallcorp IT Admin
- Responsible for managing Unix computer systems
- Working with IT staff to ensure systems are available
- Performing Systems administration and data reporting tasks as needed

Goodcorp Lead Unix Systems Administrator
- Responsible for managing Unix Systems within a Linux, Solaris, BSD, LAMP environment
- Ensuring 24X7 availability of servers, systems, and web-farms while monitoring system availability, capacities, load balancing, and utilization
- Project management of reporting tools development efforts utilizing PHP, Python, and Shell scripting on Apache web servers and mysql databases.

Both resumes describe the same responsibilities. Resume2 is far more descriptive and keyword rich resulting in more matching keywords to the boolean string highlighted in yellow (as it will look within most ATS's). Resume1 receives a score of 2 matching keywords while Resume2 wins with 16 matching keywords. ATS's and job boards rank resumes by a score or percentage match based on matching keywords. Recruiters and hiring managers call the highest ranking candidates first for interviews!

It's that easy to beat an ATS with keywords!

1) Break down the keywords within a job description you qualify for.
2) Integrate all matching keywords, synonyms, and variations of the keywords from the job description within the context of your resume.
- Do not just provide a laundry list of keywords as this looks obvious and cheesy!
3) Keep re-working your resume for new positions you are interested in pursuing. The more unique keywords within your resume the better!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How Will Google Chrome OS Effect Recruiting?

Yesterday Google introduced the Google Chrome OS - This announcement is a logical progression in the course of Google's product developments over the past few years including Google Desktop, Docs, Chrome Browser, and Wave.

The open source Linux based Google Chrome OS will be a cost effective alternative to Windows and Mac based Operating Systems running the MS Office Suite. It will also offer additional freedoms for working remotely from multiple desktops, Netbooks, and Tablet PCs. A few game changing questions come to mind for recruiting?

Will MS Word continue to be the standard format for submitting and receiving resumes?
- Google Docs could now be a standalone application and more widely accepted for generating and receiving resumes.

Will Google Calendar take users away from MS Outlook?
- MS Outlook is heavily used by recruiters and hiring managers to determine availability and schedule interviews.

Will the Google Chrome OS open the doors for mass acceptance of Tablet PCs and Netbooks?
- Tablet PCs and eReaders running a light fast OS would be an ideal tool for recruiters to quickly review and screen resumes.

Will Google Wave become an integral communication tool for recruiting applications?
- Possible Google Wave recruiting applications involve facilitating virtual group interviewing & pre-screening, online career fairs, and international recruiting -

Will the Chrome Browser force Applicant Tracking Systems to become web based and Chrome browser compliant?

- A web based ATS running within the Chrome browser on PCs, Netbooks, and Tablet PCs integrating with Google Docs & Google Calendar could be a killer and easy to use sourcing tool!

Google expects to release the Google Chrome OS the second half of 2010. For now, we have a year to ponder the possibilities.
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