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LinkedIn Questions: Shady connections, responding to bad “recommendations,” and contacting via email vs. through LinkedIn

April 23rd, 2014

A JibberJobber user recently emailed me a few questions about LinkedIn and said I could share my responses with you.  His questions/text is in bold:

I have been consulting for a while, and am now looking for a permanent job. I have a few questions that stop me from moving forward, and I bet it does the same to your clients and readers.

question_mark_blog_smallWhen you contact someone on LinkedIn, and they are linked to a person “who will not sing your praises,” what do you do? I am stopped by concern of this.

I don’t really care who people are connected to.  Being connected doesn’t mean there is a strong relationship, or even a growing relationship, or that my connection is even interested in having a professional relationship with that person.  If I’m going to connect or communicate with someone I see/meet/etc. on LinkedIn, I am not going to go through their network to see who my frenemies are that they are connected to.  I know there is a potential for awkwardness.

Recently I’ve been re-networking into an organization that for some lame reason had branded me as something bad, and cautioned them to not look at or consider JibberJobber.  This is an isolated situation, in only one branch of the organization, but I was surprised that the feelings and perceptions are still there. I’ve tried to move forward without assuming that any of those previous contacts are in touch, have a relationship where they would ask for referrals or information, etc.  I would say that you either ignore the connection to the person who would not sing your praises, or you just move on to another contact.

You won’t know until you reach out to your target.  Maybe they have no idea what’s going on, don’t care, or better yet, realize that the person who “doesn’t sing your praises” is a jerk, creep, narcissist, or otherwise not to have their opinion trusted.

question_mark_blog_smallI was Linked to a boss I had for 2 or 3 months. He has a reputation of just being a terrible person. I was far from the person that took the most demeaning treatment from him. I “de-linked” him as I would rather not be associated with him. But he gets around and is very well known in the business. How do I handle this? Do I just go on hoping other people think the same and/or don’t ask him for a reference?

I wouldn’t put any thought into it. You are too busy moving forward to worry about this guy who probably doesn’t have anything bad to say about you.  It was a short period of time, and maybe he thinks favorably of you?  I know that might seem impossible, but read my post on working with narcissists here.  These people are real gems, aren’t they?

If this person has this reputation, a lot of people will disregard his input.  His brand is that of someone who never has anything nice to say about anyone.  What that means is if he says something mean, that is par for the course.  If he can squeak out something positive, then that is a HUGE compliment.  Don’t spend any time working on this person, just move forward.

If someone says “yeah but, so-and-so said you are _________,” you might need a very short, non-bitter response like “I worked with that person for two months.  There were a lot of problems in his department, and he wasn’t ever close enough to me or my projects to know my work ethic or output.  I can provide you with some character references that are much more qualified to weigh in on this than him.”  Or something like that.  You don’t want to be a deer in the headlights with some negative or false accusation, but you don’t want to come out fighting and tearing him down (which will only make you look bad).

question_mark_blog_smallMost people will say something nice about me, or not much at all. Maybe I am going to get an average or below average comment from 1 out of 20 of my connections. How do you handle this?

I would go to the main people who I know would say something nice about me, and work with them to get LinkedIn Recommendations, and ask if they would be a reference for me.  I would not worry about the 1 out of 20 that would not.

Let’s say you had 19 out of 20 that would say bad stuff about you – don’t pursue them.  Just work on the ones that will be favorable.  And, interestingly, time has a way of changing and softening things.  For example, someone you worked with ten years ago might have a different, even favorable, perspective, and have forgotten petty office stuff.  Even if you are holding on to those things, they might have forgotten about them through time or their own personal life changes (layoffs, job searches, deaths, etc.) or because they have realized that THEY shouldered as much of the problem as you have.

question_mark_blog_smallFinally is it better to contact a person via email, if you have their email (or can figure it out), or through LinkedIn?

I ALWAYS try to connect via email first, instead of through LinkedIn.

Sometimes LinkedIn communications add some extra barriers to responding. For example, if you message me on LinkedIn, can I respond back by clicking the reply button? Not always.  I sometimes have to click on the respond button, login to LinkedIn, and send a message from there.  That is not in my email sent folder, which is really lame.  I don’t want to be forced to message you through a system that I don’t really like.

Bottom line, I would email them. If they don’t respond in a reasonable timeframe, I assume the email really was bad, and then I connect with them on LinkedIn (and say “can we get on a call or can I email you about _____?”  My end goal is not to connect with them, but to start a relationship and communication that can grow to something bigger (like a long-term relationship, introduction, informational interview, etc.).

I hope these responses help.  I’m not the “final answer” on the above, this is all swayed by my experience.  It sounds like you have elements of fear that are holding you back, but let me assure you that (a) most job seekers do, and (b) most of the time, the fear is unfounded, and (c) as you move forward your fear can melt away.  Also, I think many times we assume things that are just not accurate… don’t let your assumptions paralyze you. Job seekers are not in a position where they can tolerate being paralyzed for too long.

Any other ideas to add to this?

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Don’t ask people to connect on LinkedIn until…

April 21st, 2014

If I can, I like to connect people.  It makes me feel good, and some of my contacts simply must connect with one another – they are that cool or complementary!

I recently made a connection between two people, and I suggested to one of them to NOT invite the person to connect until they actually had a conversation, and started a relationship.

Why?

Too often I see people who will take an introduction, ask the person to connect on LinkedIn, and then… nothing.

Folks, connecting on LinkedIn IS NOT NETWORKING!

Focus on the relationship!

Can you help that person?  Can they help you?  Is there a reason to have a relationship?  Can you nurture the relationship?  Can you get and give value through the years because of a relationship?

Have a conversation.  Then, in a month, or next quarter, have another conversation (or send an email).  And do that regularly.  Over time. Take the relationship from nowhere to somewhere.

The problem with starting out with a LinkedIn invitation is that too often, many times, I see this:

  1. Invitation is extended.
  2. Invitation is accepted.
  3. Relationship doesn’t go anywhere.

The LinkedIn connection is not a relationship, and it is not networking.  It gets in the way.

So, first work on establishing the relationship, and the LinkedIn invitation/connection is something for later. Don’t let it take the place of the relationship.

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Favorite Friday: Your LinkedIn Network is Useless if…

April 18th, 2014

Another Favorite Friday from my LinkedIn blog.  This one is about the utility of your LinkedIn contacts.  Too often I’ve heard people say “LinkedIn doesn’t work for me.”

That’s like saying “the hammer in my shed doesn’t work for me.”  They don’t tell you that they bought it, put it in the shed, and never used it.

You have to do something with it.  The main line in this post is:

Your [My] LinkedIn network is USELESS if I… DON’T DO ANYTHING WITH IT!

Whether it is LinkedIn, JibberJobber, your business card… the question is: what are YOU doing with it?

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101 Best Sites To Use In Your Job Search

April 17th, 2014

I saw another one… an article listing 99 sites that everyone should (1) know about and (2) use.

So here’s my list of 100 Best Sites to Use in Your Job Search:

1.  Linke………….

Wait!  

NO!  

I don’t like lists like this.

Thinking practically, who in the world has time to (1) know about all of these sites, especially since they seem to come and go with whimsical weather (I’ve had more than a couple JibberJobber competitors fold up and drift away into oblivion).

Yes, of course job seekers have time, right?  They have nothing else to do but to check out new sites that might be gone in three months.

NO.  Job seekers don’t have time.  They are not technical analysts for VC firms, trying to decide what is going to be the next LinkedIn or Facebook.  Or figuring out what “popular” sites will be the next MySpace.  They need to know the handful of high-impact, must-use sites to get them from Point A (no paycheck) to Point B (paycheck).

Don’t waste time on the lists, that take entirely too much time to read, feeling bad about not being up to speed on the “you must know about and use” sites.  Instead, figure out what your gaps are, and address those gaps.

Here are three, count’em, THREE sites I’ll recommend to every job seeker.  Beyond that, YOU have to figure out what your gaps are and where else you should be.

One: JibberJobber

Yes, I put JibberJobber as number 1.  Partially because this is my website, my blog post, and I can order these however I want.  But more than that, the ability to keep you organized in a job search, help you with your follow-up, and be a hub for the information you are collecting from online and offline sources.

In my recent phone calls with users I’m amazed and humbled to hear how people use and depend on JibberJobber, not just in a job search but to manage their personal and professional relationships.  Indispensable.  ”Logged in all the time.”  People are using it the way I envisioned they would use it, and have come to depend on it to help keep them organized… it’s very cool to hear from people around the world that for them, JibberJobber is more important than LinkedIn, or other sites.

Two: LinkedIn

LinkedIn has changed a lot since I wrote the first edition of the LinkedIn book.  They have decreased the value by removing features, or moving them to the paid side. Recruiters tell me they aren’t using LinkedIn much, or as much (they are going to where their target audience is engaged, which isn’t necessarily LinkedIn).  They seem to be saturated in the U.S. and, while expanding globally is fine for them, the change in the userbase means that the value to a U.S. user has lessened.

Having said all that, they are the 8,000 pound guerrilla in the professional networking space.  You should turn to LinkedIn (or, if you are in a country that has a more powerful professional network, like Xing in Germany, then use that one) for research.  Learn about your target companies, your prospects, come up with a prospect list, figure out the structure of, and players in, a company, etc.

I regularly go to LinkedIn to figure who the heck people are, and why we should get on a call or have a conversation.  I can’t think of any system or site that is as helpful as LinkedIn is to help me understand that, and make a decision on how much time to pursue on a person or company.

Don’t use LinkedIn to read all of the influencer stuff, blog posts, or immerse yourself in Groups in the name of learning and education.

Do use LinkedIn to help you focus on networking and targeting prospects, and being more prepared for conversations.

And then, of course, go to JibberJobber and enter relevant information about your companies and contacts :)

Three: _____________

I’m really kind of stuck on this one.  Do I tell you to use Indeed?  When I’m on the road, at job clubs, they all talk about Indeed and LinkedIn.  My hesitation is that too many people use Indeed the wrong way.  They use it to find and apply to jobs.  WRONG!  WASTE OF TIME!  DON’T FALL INTO THIS TRAP!

Okay, applying to jobs isn’t totally wrong or bad, but if you do it a lot, because it’s easier to do that then to call someone, email someone, go to a network meeting, etc., then you are chickening out of your job search and probably wasting time.

Use Indeed as a research tool.  Find out what’s going on in an industry or company by the postings on Indeed.  Or, if you are preparing for an interview for a Product Manager, go to Indeed and open up ten Product Manager openings. Then, study those job descriptions and make sure you understand the lingo, keywords, phrases, expectations, qualifications, tasks and duties, etc.  What a great way to prepare for your interview!  Marry what you learn with your interview preparation (which you can wordsmith and store in JibberJobber), so you have stories that exemplify the phrases from those job descriptions, etc.

Or instead of indeed, should I tell you to use Google?  The starting point for the internet… Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc…. to find information and do research.  You can find too much information, which becomes a pain to sift through, but if you can get over your fear of picking up the phone, a search engine + your tenacity can be invaluable.

I’m not sure what #3 really is.

There comes a point in your job search where you have to accept that your problems aren’t going to be solved by widgets or websites, and that you simply have to send *that* email, or make *that* phone call.

Don’t hunt for silver bullets.  Work on relationships, and your messages, and how you request help.  You need to add a bit of old fashioned elbow grease to this job, and not hope you stumble into your next dream job just because you are on the 99 right tools.

What am I missing?

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Fred Coon: Ask The Expert, April 22

April 10th, 2014

On April 22, we’ll have Fred Coon as our Ask The Expert guest.  Fred owns Stewart, Cooper, Coon, an outplacement firm based out of Arizona, with clients world-wide.

Over the years I’ve chatted with Fred at conferences, over meals, on a bus, and on the phone.  Fred is a great thinker, very astute, and continually looking for strategies and tactics that work.  Just as important, he puts all of these things together to create plans for his job seeking clients and tracks their progress, and overall success, so he can further refine his systems and do more of what works and less of what doesn’t work.

In this Ask The Expert we’ll drill down into some of his systems, ideas, strategies, and experience, to learn from someone who not only has been doing this for a long time, but is always looking out on the horizon to make sure what he is doing is the best.

Register here: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/938296386

fred_coon_largeHeres’ a link to one of Fred’s books, Ready… Aim… Hired!

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Finding Humor in Your Depressing Job Search (or the bad economy, or whatever)

April 9th, 2014

Here’s some fallout from my 2014 April Fools prank (where I laid myself off, even though I’m the sole owner of JibberJobber)…. on my LinkedIn Group I got this message:

Sorry– I do not see the humor; if the economy and employment levels were decent…well maybe. But not when so many people are in real pain and suffering after 7 years of this “great recession.”

My reply to her, and the group:

Karen, sorry. This was my story (kind of) 8 years ago, and it turned out to be a massive blessing. I talk to unemployed people (usually JibberJobber users) daily, and I know the pain and hurt and suffering… both because I lived it and because I hear it every day. I choose to use humor in my life to help me get through hard times…. nobody has to, but I’m not going to sit around and mope and be somber, essentially empowering the suffering.

No one has to educate me on the real pain and suffering of job seekers.  You see, I was there, but that was during an awesome economy.  During a crappy economy (like that of the last seven (give or take) years, if you can’t get a job you can at least blame the economy.  People might say “when the economy picks up…”  But when you are out of work during a great economy, and can’t hardly land an interview or an offer, there is seemingly nothing to blame but you.  That means a lot of self-finger-pointing, wondering how messed up you really are… which leads to unnecessary and unhelpful pain and suffering in abundance.

The bigger issue, for me, is coping with challenges and trials.  How do you do it?  I tend to gravitate towards humor.  Not always, of course… but I’ve been doing this long enough (8+ years, since I got laid off in January of 2006), to know that there will indeed be an end to unemployment.  That might be because you get a dream job, or you get a “step job” (that is a job that is a stepping stone as you continue to look for your dream job), or you start your own business, or you adjust your expenses and simply retire.  I’ve seen this happen many times over the last few years.

I’m convinced that dealing with our temporary situation in a healthy way is critical to getting out of our healthy situation.  Let me give you two examples:

Coping Strategy 1Let’s say that I cope with stress by eating crap.  So, I’m unemployed and stressed, and I eat at McDonald’s three times a day.  Sodas, fries, high-fructose-corn-everything.  I’m coping with my pain and suffering, and while I plop stuff in my mouth, I feel better, for a second or two.  Between meals I throw down some chips, and have a big cup of soda by me at all times.  I indulge, and it’s good to have no rules on my eating.  I think about going on a walk around the block, but my ankles and knees hurt too much… so I’ll do that “later.”What will that do to me?  From personal experience I know that I’ll physically feel like crap, I’ll probably be more moody, and my clothes will get tighter… this only makes me feel moodier and more depressed.  That’s okay, I’ll cope by eating more crap.

Guess how my next face-to-face networking event is going to go?

I will want to be invisible.  And I’ll probably be jaded enough that I’m not going to have the right conversations which could lead to introductions.  People will smell blood.

Coping Strategy 2

Contrast that with eating much healthier, and exercising. Let’s say I have healthy food around me, in abundance (this doesn’t mean I have to have money or a paycheck, I simply make better choices when buying food).  I eat at least one green smoothie a day (the way I make them, they look green but taste like a fruit smoothie), I drink lots of water, and eat things like soaked almonds, brown rice, etc.  Instead of feeling like I can “cheat” to “cope,” I am now addressing a physical/mental/emotional issue by feeding my cells (nutrition) instead of focusing on feeding my belly (satisfaction).

I feel great, physically.  I take time to exercise, whether it is walk around the block or walk a few miles, do yoga, squats, pushups (even against the wall or stairs), etc. My clothes fit better, I sleep better at night, I feel fit and I have more energy. I can think clearer and have more fun networking.  People want to be around me, they even gravitate towards me (or at least I don’t feel like they are trying to get away from me).

Coping Strategy 1: eating what my tongue wants me to eat, without boundaries, and my stomach feeling satisfied a lot.

Coping Strategy 2: eating to provide nutrition to my cells, as abundantly as I want, with the right foods.

The question: what are the fruits of either strategy?  Which strategy is better for the short-term, and which is better for the long-term?

So let’s go back to my humor thing.  For me, I gravitate towards humor.  Finding humor in things helps me put things in a different perspective that is, many times, easier to understand.  It helps people I work with find perspective, also.  When I’m in front of 100 job seekers, you better believe there is a lot of laughing.  Probably some tears, too, because I get very raw and real.  But there is humor throughout the presentation.  We don’t get enough laughing when we are in a job search, and no one wants to touch our delicate situation with a ten foot pole… but I do.  Because even after eight years, I still consider myself a job seeker.  I am you. I am with you.  And I know there is a time to let your frustrations out, and I’ll be a shoulder you can cry on, or an ear you can vent to, but I’m not going to go in front of my audience and start crying and venting for the entire time.

Laughing releases good brain chemicals (practically natural narcotics).  Why not let job seekers laugh?

Maybe my coping strategy (laughing and humor) is different than your coping strategy (medication, nutrition, hobbies, reading and movies (escapism), soduko, doing the dishes, lifting weights, running, etc.).  I’m not going to list them and say which are better than others, but I will say this: LOOK AT THE FRUIT.  What are the results of your coping strategy?

Does it put you in a worse place, or does it prepare you to do the hard things that you need to do in your job search?

 

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Favorite Friday: Chicken List Is Out – Now Put Away The Honey-Do List!

April 4th, 2014

By March of 2007 I had gotten an idea of this so-called chicken list, which still scares me, and had been consumed by the idea of wasting time in a job search.  Here’s a post I wrote in March of 2007 about making sure your honey-do list doesn’t take time away from what you should be doing in a job search:

Where's Your Honey Do List?  I know you have one...Last week I encouraged you to get your Chicken List out and make “that” call – the call that has been scaring you.

That encouragement does not transfer over to your Honey-Do list.

A job search is more than a full-time job. You almost have to create the wheel, and reach deep inside yourself to do stuff you haven’t had to do for a long time (create a resume, create elevator pitches, etc.). Its hard to change your mindset from “sell my company’s product” to “sell myself.” And then on top of all of this, you are the one that has to execute the strategy! Its a HUGE job!

So why do you think that you can knock things off the honey-do list? I know, you are now “working from home.” And you “have time.” And you “need a break” from the job search.

I know you have a hole in the wall. I know your toilet needs some work. I know you should really paint, or weed, or change wallpaper, or shampoo the carpets so you can have a better work environment.

But none of those things are really going to get you closer to getting your next job. Or next client.

So put the Honey-Do list away until the weekend. Pretend that your new job (that is, the job of finding a job) has you tied up from early in the morning until dinner time – and stop fooling yourself that doing honey-do’s right now is a good use of your time.

It isn’t.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to be sexist, or offensive. This post is not intended just for those in a job search. You know you have some kind of list that distracts you from doing important stuff. If you don’t have a “honey,” I bet you still have your own “to do” list. Same thing.

And finally, this is not a ticket to not do anything that needs to be done. I’m just saying that there are some things that are not as high a priority as working on your job search (or career management, or small business development, or your job – even if you are underemployed!).

Reading that post now makes me wince a little.  That is some harsh advice.  You can tell where my mind was at.  The message is important.  You can see Deb Dib’s insightful comment here.

Leave your own comment below….

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Defining Your Vision, Path, and What You Want

April 2nd, 2014

Laura de Jong wrote an awesome post titled It Starts with a Vision.  In this post she tells the story of a job seeker she was working with who had a vision of what kind of company she wanted to work for.  Laura listened to this vision and thought of a perfect company, but it was on the other side of the country.

A few days later, the job seeker described her vision to someone else, and said “you need to talk about to this company in Boston!”

A few days later the job seeker talked with an executive recruiter who was commissioned to fill the Chief Sales Officer role for that very company, and get this, the person could be based anywhere in the US!

She had a vision of the idea country, defined that vision (not as easy as it sounds), shared the vision with others… and through what might seem like a miracle, she eventually got a CxO role at the very company that matched her vision – even though they were three thousand miles away!

Having a vision, and communicating it, is much, much, much more effective than being open to anything.  Be focused and it’s easier for people to understand what you want and think of ways they can help you!

 

 

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Favorite Friday: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

March 28th, 2014

Here’s another favorite I wrote in May of 2012.  I’m surprised it didn’t become a Favorite Friday before now: Stop hiding and actually start your job search.

Many years ago I worked as a clerk at the FBI.  I was bored beyond description.  There really wasn’t anything to do, as our department was overstaffed.  Some of my colleagues picked up projects from the analysts, but I was too low on the totem pole to do anything like that.

So I found myself organizing, and then re-organizing, and then re-organizing my file folder drawer.

You have to understand, as a clerk, I really didn’t have anything important in my file folder drawer.  The exercise was about as useful as sorting, and resorting, and resorting the garbage.  It didn’t help anyone or anything… it just burned time.

Do we, as job seekers, do this?  I know I did.  Here’s my ode to this wasteful, rut of a practice:

This post is for anyone in a job search, no matter how long you have been at it.

Looking back at my job search I found I did activities that were safe and comfortable, but of very little value to my job search.

I refer to this as HIDING from the job search.

Some people hide, in the name of being busy in a job search, by doing things that are seemingly good:

  • going to networking clubs/groups/meetings, but just to go, not to actually network.  And if they do “network,” they aren’t following up, they are just collecting business cards,
  • applying to jobs online, as if it were they most important thing to do in a job search,
  • researching companies, industries, trends, or current events (um, that’s called reading the newspaper… reading the newspaper doesn’t necessarily land you a job),
  • going to one-on-one networking meetings (coffee, lunch, breakfast, etc.) without a real purpose or strategy that is directly tied to getting a job,
  • ______________ (what are YOU doing that is not leading towards your job?)

I was HIDING from my job search with these fake, non-productive activities for three reasons:

  1. These activities are comfortable. We  gravitate towards comfortable, don’t we?  Heaven forbid I got outside of my comfort zone, even if it meant I was doing a something that could produce real results.
  2. I didn’t know any better. I *thought* I was a smart guy, and I could figure it out on my own.  I didn’t want to read books, articles, blogs, etc. about how to do a job search.  I was better than that advice written for “most people.”  I wasn’t “most people.”  I was unique (just like you think you are unique).
  3. Doing those activities are socially acceptable, and at the end of the day you can “feel good” about how hard you worked. When someone asked how it was going, you could tell them how many jobs you applied to, or how many network meetings you went to, or some other metric.  Metrics seem meaty, but those metrics were the wrong things to focus on.

I should have been more consistent at picking up the phone and calling people.  I should have realized (or learned) how to identify target companies, network into those companies, and do real informational interviews.

If I would have spent time on other (high value) activities my job search would have been completely different.

Do you want YOUR job search to be different?  Where are you spending your time?  On activities with potential for high return, or HIDING from the hard stuff?

Leave a comment below…

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How Long Does a Professional Resume Writer Take to Write a Resume?

March 27th, 2014

Julie Walraven of Design Resumes has a great post titled The Chief Cause Of Many Poor Hiring Decisions.  She starts off with CareerBuilder’s new stat about how long hiring managers spend reviewing resumes…as we know, it’s pathetically low.

But then Julie takes her post in an unexpected direction: how long SHE, as a professional resume writer (she is certified and has been doing this, afaik, for over two decades): she will easily spend six hours creating a resume.  Usually that is for an entry-level person.  It’s not unusual for her to spend ten or more hours designing a resume.

Julie is an “expert,”having investing more than 10,000 hours in her trade to claim expertise.  When I lost my job I spent a couple of weeks fumbling around trying to piece together my own resume.  I had no expertise, experience or training… just an attitude that if I could put myself through two degrees, I could certainly write a one or two page document!

Right??

I didn’t understand that a resume was not simply a list with work history, dates and some “cool” action verbs.  I thought I could easily put that document together… but what I didn’t realize was what a great resume really is.

A great, even an excellent resume, is a marketing document. Coincidentally, a sucky resume is also a marketing document – it just screams: don’t hire me!

A resume is not a standard business document for filing away in a three ring binder, simply to be forgotten.  Your resume has a very specific purpose.  What’s more, the “judge” of your resume is going to take your days, weeks, and for some of you, months of work and give it a cursory 30 or 120 seconds… it’s almost an atrocity!

But really, spending less than two minutes really is NOT an atrocity.

You see, it’s not about YOU.  It’s not about the amount of work you put in.  It’s not about how amazing you are, how clever you are, or how dumb the viewer is for not “getting” how brilliant you are.

This is all about THEM. Pursuing you will reflect on them and could have an impact on their career. Are they capable of hiring the RIGHT person?  Can they hire the BEST person?  Or will they hire a dud, or a lemon?  This could cost them their job!  Hiring the wrong person could sink the entire company!

If an expert, like Julie Walraven, spends six hours to develop the most basic of resumes, which she can only do because she has over ten thousand+ hours of writing resumes, what makes you think that you, or I, without this expertise, can “throw something together” in a few hours, and have it be good enough (much less great!)?

The mistakes I would make would undoubtedly cause my resume to be in the “under-ten-seconds-and-then-throw-away” pile.  Whether that is a typo or a grammar mistake, or not using the best word(s) to put us in the right light, it will cost me.

I know there are people out there, including one of my favorite recruiters (Steve Levy… read his blog!) who say that we must write our own resumes, and hiring a resume writer is as good as hiring a charlatan (those are my words, but that’s the message I hear from him).  I agree that we should do a lot of work to help get the resume done.  We should put our hearts into it.  We should spend time going through our past, listing our accomplishments, and doing the very hard work of self- and career-evaluation.

But I still think we should run it past a real resume writer who will polish our final marketing document so that it gets more time, and more respect, from the person evaluating whether they should bring you in for an interview or not. (professional resume writers are not merely polishers.  They are experts in creating perhaps the most improtant marketing document at this point in your career)

Convinced you need resume help? I suggest considering either of these two options:

First Option: look for someone who’s experience matches exactly what you need and who you are.  There are resume professionals like Liz Handlin (Ultimate Resumes) who are so focused on executives, especially finance executives, that you should NOT consider using someone who doesn’t do finance executive resumes before talking to someone like her.  There are resume experts that specialize in IT executives, CEOs, entry level (recent college graduates), and everywhere inbetween.  When you are looking for the right match, don’t disrespect these professionals and tell them how the process works.  See if they are a right fit, and then humbly work with them within their system.  Otherwise, you might hear a very kind “I’m not sure I’m the right person for you – let me recommend you to one of my colleagues.”  That really means “I wouldn’t choose to work with you for double the money – I can tell you are going to be a massive pain to work with.

Second Option: if you are looking for a low-cost just-get-me-to-the-next-level and clean up what I already have, consider JibberJobber’s new partnership with JC Resumes (we have negotiated discount bundle available to you to get you what you need).  I have been hesitant to do a partnership like this for YEARS.  But I have talked to the owners of this service and I always come back to “is this high quality?  I don’t want to recommend a resume mill that just pumps them out like typists.”  I have asked them about their writing and quality process, and I’m really quite impressed.  I personally should have spent the money to do this instead of wasting a week or two trying to write my own… get it done, have something you can be proud of, and if you find out it’s not good enough, then go back to the first option above.  But I doubt it will be money wasted. Here’s the page to get started.

We’re working on creating an list of specialized resume writers that you can reach out to on your own… stay tuned :)

The point is, make sure that you are putting enough time and resources into getting this marketing document put together the right way.

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