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10 Tips for Job Seekers from an Employer (CEO)

November 23rd, 2010

I got an email about a blog post asking if I’d check it out and perhaps blog about it.  I rarely do that (I get these requests all the time, and most blog posts are superficial or weak – just marketing plays).

I glanced through the post, though, and thought there was some good stuff… UNTIL THE END.

OH MY GOSH, the ignorance in this country kills me (I declined the invite to blog about this saying I would write a scathing post, but he said that was okay, they want conversation.  So, converse in the comments :)).  And it really, really hurts everyone.  Here are his 10 points, I’m only going to comment on the last one (original post here):

  1. Don’t name your resume, “resume.” I agree… name it something easy for them to find – I think your name and maybe the job title is a good place to start.
  2. don’t use all lowercase. Agreed – perhaps we are losing a lot of our writing skills because of our kewl ability to text?
  3. Don’t write like a robot. Again, poor communication skillz :p
  4. Don’t spam hiring managers. Agreed. The hard part of this, though, is “when do you follow-up?”
  5. Don’t expose your licentious personal life. Totally. He’s talking about not putting Too Much Information (TMI) on Facebook.
  6. Don’t talk badly about your former employer. Agreed… read the post about not letting HR or a hiring manager “smell blood.”
  7. Proofread your resume. Totally – AND know what’s on it. (have you heard *that* story?)
  8. Format your resume nicely. I have seen some really, really bad formats :/
  9. PDF your resume. Okay.  Mac user :p
  10. When you get a job, don’t job hop. … and here we go…

Don says:

“When you get a job, try your very best to stay at it for at least two years, preferably more. We understand that the job market is fluid and you are not likely to stay with us long enough to get the gold watch. However, we do want to get a couple years of productivity from you if we’re going to invest in training and mentoring.”

Man oh man… all the stuff I want to write… I meet with thousands and thousands of job seekers each year.  Imagine what I’d hear if I said that?

I’ve met so many professionals who have good work ethic, are highly talented, and are anxious to have a job for “at least two years.”

You think these professionals want to be on the street looking for a job?  You think they are job hopping, just because you see frequent jobs on their resume, and short-term gigs?

I recently heard the average tenure of a CFO is 18 months.  NOT BY CHOICE, I bet!  Aside from being the traditional (circa 1980’s) job hopper, perhaps here are some reasons why there are frequent transitions on a resume:

  1. Bait-and-switch. I regularly hear from someone who takes a job and then finds that it was nothing like what they advertised.  Don’t give someone a title and description, hire them, and then have them do something entirely different.
  2. Ethics of the management team. Think: Enron.  How many tens of thousands of ethical professionals lost everything because of a few unethical people in power?  It happens daily, even at small, private companies.
  3. Very poor cultural fit. Imagine you get a job that was made for you.  You go to work and find out no one has and moral standards (assuming you do… or, if you don’t, imagine (ugh) everyone does).  The cultural fit will be painful and you’ll want to leave as much as they’ll want you to leave.
  4. Change in pay. You get a job for a certain salary and then within four to six months your pay is slashed… not because of you, or your work, but for “business reasons.”  Your options are to move to another department (sales, anyone?) or go look for another job.  I’ve heard of people getting a $20k cut and others getting more than $50k cut.  You think they signed up for that?
  5. ______________. There are many, many reasons why someone loses a job.  What am I missing?

I think it is irresponsible to assume that frequent changes on a resume mean you are getting an unloyal, job-hopping waste-of-money.  Especially in today’s economy.

The only thing that can fix this thinking, unfortunately, is for people who believe this to go through their own job searches and see what it’s like out there.

4 Comments »

4 responses to “10 Tips for Job Seekers from an Employer (CEO)”

  1. reinkefj says:

    Perhaps, the era of “the job” is over. Like the “gold watch” era, the American Worker has now grown up, and had the triple veil of naivete, ignorance, and deception ripped away.

    • naivete — Not realizing that there has to be value creation in order for the enterprise to reward the worker’s efforts with some of that value. Think UAW member who goofs off.

    • ignorance — Not realizing that they were getting screwed by their employer in: salary, bonus, pension and benefits. As well as by their government in: inflation, taxes, “regulation”, bailouts, and ponzi schemes . Think working for the American Dream and having it taken away.

    • deception — Not realizing that the leaders and managers of the “company” and the “Government” were lying to them. (Far beyond spin. Look you right in the eye, and lie to your face.) The annual appraisal ritual with its “political” adjustments , “pensions and benefits” are for your good , and finally appeals to “team spirit” (work through the tough times to get laid off when it suits the leadership).

    I’d suggest that in self-defense, people have become cynical. To quote one of the “judge shows”, “Wouldn’t believe him if his tongue was notarized.”

    IMHO, I think we are seeing that there is a glacial movement in the employment marketplace. Folks are realizing that they may have to work to survive, but that their interests may NOT align with the enterprise. In fact, those interest DO NOT align. May be they NEVER aligned.

    Trust!?

    Not on your life. Fool me once shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.

    I see people trying to form their own businesses. Much like you did. If I can’t have a full time job, maybe I can have a dozen part-time ones. If I do have a full time job, maybe I can have a webfront to sell seashells from the seashore. If I do have job, I don’t expect to keep it.

    Job hopping may be back in vogue because I don’t care if you, the employer, like it, I have to protect myself. And, if it suited your bottom line, I’d be on the unemployment line so fast my head would spin.

    No. It’s not “job hopping”; it’s self-defense.

  2. Boy, singing to the choir on this one, Jason!

    Not happy with “disloyal” employees who “job hop”?

    OK, Mr. CEO, how about, in addition to Jason’s list above, we add:

    * NO LAYOFFs!
    Or, if the employer absolutely MUST to “cut back” they give everyone 6 to 12 months, with full pay and benefits, to find a job before throwing them out on the street!

    * NO “HUMAN RESOURCES”!
    People (other human beings!) are NOT “resources” that are added to and subtracted from the employer’s balance sheet (like raw materials in inventory, etc.) without considering the personal cost paid by those other humans for being declared “redundant” or “excess” or whatever term the accountants like this year!

    Personally, I liked the people in HR much better when it was called “Personnel.” At least that had the word “person” in it to remind management that “HR” is another term for PEOPLE.

    * NO UNEMPLOYMENT PENALTY!
    Be as interested in “active” job seekers as “passive job seekers”! Yes, they’re unemployed – it just MIGHT NOT BE THEIR FAULT, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they are “less” than employed people. Anyone who’s been through a layoff has been astonished at the people who kept their jobs (“that idiot?”) vs. the people who were laid off (“who can do [whatever critical function] when [name] is gone? Why’d they do that?”)

    * NO POACHING!
    Want your employees to be loyal, how about not “stealing” those treasured “passive job seekers” from other employers!

    I see this post as is a CEO reading the proverbial “writing on the wall.”

    In the future, employers are going to be more worried about “retaining” their employees than planning the next cut backs, because a few decades of treating people like disposable wipes has had a price associated with it.

    The balance of power is shifting from the employers to the employees because:
    * The shift in workforce demographics (Boomers leaving the job market), slowed now by the bad economy will inevitably pick up as the economy improves because we Boomers have been looking forward to our retirement.
    * Technology enabling job seekers to be better known (think personal branding) AND more visible (LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc.).

    NOT that I’m opinionated about this or anything :-)

  3. reinkefj says:

    The operative question is can “the little people” save the country from the stupidity of the effete elite?

    Can “we” morph into a “nation of consultants” (i.e., little entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs) all working, like eager beavers, to store up wealth in tangible form. Seeking our own slice of the American Dream.

    To do that “We, The Sheeple” have to wake up and change: inflation, debt, deficit, the overgrown Gooferment bureaucracy, the Gooferment education system, the minimum wage, … … and at least one of our memes — the meme of “entitlement thinking”.

  4. Mark Goldstein says:

    Re sending your resume as a PDF attachment, I also put a picture (.jpg) of my resume in the body of the e-mail at the bottom. This is for lazy hiring managers, recruiters, etc. They don’t need to open an attachment. The reason for the picture is to ensure that the recipients e-mail program shows the resume in the body correctly formatted.