Are you applying for the right jobs and are you credible to the hiring professional who will decide to bring you in for an interview?
Yes? Are you sure?
The fundamental concept that all Forward Motion programs emphasize is the importance of finding employment that is a good fit. This single element can save job seekers hours of time and frustration. It take careful consideration. I encourage clients to ONLY apply for jobs that they believe are a good fit. That way, they have done their “due-diligence” and increased the odds that they will land a job with the potential to be a good match.
Many jobseekers apply for every job they can find whether it’s a true match or not. If the job title includes Project Management, and they have been a project manager, then they apply. There is little, if any, consideration for the remaining job requirements, which may include industry experience and specific technology.
Understandably, this kind of résumé is exasperating to hiring professionals! (Dear jobseeker: do not exasperate hiring professionals…it’s a bad career move and completely avoidable!)
Jobsearch Credibility Part 1: Are you who you say you are?
Hiring professionals often complain about the poor quality of résumés that they receive. A quick Internet search brings up a credibility issue. Career Builder reports that 58% have lies on them. The Lansing Business Weekly reports that 80% are misleading.
So we can rest assured that every candidate is going to get thoroughly checked out! Nothing can be worse for a hiring professional than to be embarrassed by a bad hire! So, for HR pros and recruiters this is personal!
Hiring professionals are keen people-readers. When we are excited about something it comes across—both in our writing (cover letter and résumé), as well as our demeanor and verbiage. Genuine excitement is detectible and it isn’t something we can fake. This should be a distinguishing factor in your job search.
How do you know if the job is a good fit? It should be satisfying, sustainable, and meet your financial needs. In the Forward Motion Differentiation Workshop, job fit is the first topic and everything else builds from there.
Eight questions you should ask before you respond to a job posting:
- Overall, do I like the position and believe it is a good fit?
- Does the job description for this position outline activities I enjoy and can do week-in and week-out? (I’m particularly fond of German-chocolate cake—but I can’t eat it on a daily basis.)
- Do the activities that I enjoy comprise 75-80% of the job?
- Do I have 90% to 100% of the required qualifications and 80% of the preferred qualifications?
- Can I build a good case for the reader to consider me even with the missing “required” qualification?
- Do I truly have the attributes listed (e.g. strong leadership skills, or business acumen).
- Can I complete 75% to 80% of the activities in the job description?
- Is there a good balance between my current competencies and challenge?
If you answer “yes” to these questions, then consider applying for the position.
Jobsearch Credibility Part 2: Can you do what you say you can do?
With the high number of false, forged, counterfeit, and phony résumés that hiring professionals receive every day, your online persona is going to do one of two things:
- Support your candidacy.
- Cause you to be eliminated from the candidate pool.
NOTE: If the hiring professional finds mixed messages when you are checked out through various online processes, then you will be eliminated as well.
Everything the hiring professional finds about you online should create one consistent message. No exceptions.
What are they looking for when they check you out online?
When inconsistent messages are found, it brings up questions that beg for answers.
Consider the following:
- There’s an overuse of the word “passion” (just my opinion). It goes something like this:
Job-seeker résumé line:
“I have a passion for project management.”
Hiring professional thinks: “Really?
- Is that the message I’ll find when I check you out online?
- Is that what you talk about on LinkedIn?
- Is that the kind of books you are reading? Do you go to the PMI chapter meetings (PMI=Project Management Institute)
No? Well … as a hiring professional, I thought you said it was your passion. Hmm … I’m not seeing it so that raises questions for me. I’d better take a closer look.”
- Are you following project management groups and companies on LinkedIn?
- Have you contributed to project management chat rooms?
- You indicated that you have experience in the IT industry. Is that reflected by your activity on LinkedIn?
- Do you have contacts who are IT project managers?
- Are there recommendations by people in the IT world?
- Remember that with huge numbers of job-seekers and limited resources, companies can’t afford to make a hiring mistake.
- The idea of limited paid internships, temp-to-hire contracts, temporary projects and consultant assignments … the “try it before you buy it” approach, is geared towards making good hiring decisions.
Do you get the idea?
How to create a consistent online image:
First, answer these questions (even if they seem purposeless):
- What kind of job do you want? Teacher, Marketing, Theatre Technician, Retail Operations, Medical Office Manager, Finance, Engineering, Business Analyst, Writer?
- In what kind of a setting? Large corporation, non-profit, small business, manufacturing, academia?
- Do you have specifics about how you work best? Work-at-home (WAH) or virtual, small team, large division, lots of direction, minimal direction?
- What is most important to the companies that you hope will hire you? Make a list. Don’t be tempted to think you can skip this step.
- Now check your cover letter and résumé.
- Do they both send a message that you are right for the jobs for which you are applying?
- Check every social media site where you have an account. Is there a consistent message?
- Find three LinkedIn profiles of people in your industry that are doing what you want to do. The closer the match, the better. Take time with this step. Find people who have been careful with their profile. They should be profiles that make you think, “Wow. I’d like to look like that! I’d hire that person in a second.” Use what you learn to create your profile.
- Be completely honest in your content. And remember that hiring professionals look first from 5,000 feet and then focus on what’s most important to them with regard to skills, experience, and cultural fit.
- Publish your online image:
- What books are you reading about your industry/expertise, career? Not reading – why not? Post on LinkedIn (look at what others in your interest groups are reading…and be sure to read those books!)
- What kind of postings are you making on LinkedIn?
- What industry-related meetings do you attend? How about classes you are taking. Can’t find a meeting – create one. Get 4 or 5 job-seekers who have your “passion” and meet weekly to keep current in your industry. Check your local Meet-up Groups.
- Check your LinkedIn Groups – are they the groups that relate to your career goals? Are you active in your groups? If not …that’s not good. It sends a mixed message: “I like this stuff, but I’m not really doing much with it.” (So much for your “passion”.)
- Do an Internet search on your name and derivatives of your name. If you find unwanted publicity, check out the article on Digital Dirt.
- What have I left out? Email me please: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Check your cover letter and résumé again to confirm that your online image is consistent with what you send to hiring professionals.
- Repeat this process quarterly, even if you are employed.
(Plan to spend some time with this.)
Seven reasons this will cut your jobsearch in half:
You ask, “How does this cut my jobsearch in half?”
If jobseekers will take the time to carefully scrutinize job postings before they apply, and only apply to those jobs where they present a clear, consistent message regarding their qualifications and their credibility, then the following will be likely:
- It will reduce the number of applications that have to be prepared and processed.
- It will reduce the number of rejections.
- It will increase the likelihood of interviews.
- It will reduce the number of applications cluttering up the black hole.
- It will not alienate hiring communities.
- They will learn what does and does not work at a faster rate.
- They will get hired quicker.