Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Posting Your Resume On-Line

So this is partly to test out Google Chrome's "Blog This" add-on (which seems to work beautifully, by the way). Personally, I don't see any reason not to have a resume posted on the major job boards when you are engaged in a job search. I have received positions through my Monster resume, and have placed numerous candidates, both active and passive, while I was in both agency and in-house recruiting positions.


MN Headhunter/Nerd Search: Increase Your Odds. Candidate Job Board Tricks

Paul has a Recruiting Blogswap article about increasing your odds of getting contacted. They read as general resume advice to a certain extent. I only want to highlight these points (again, they are not Paul's, but Jessica Miller-Merrell's)

4. Update Your Profile Weekly. Job boards list resumes by most recently updated and allow recruiters to use search by resumes updated daily, weekly, and monthly. Keep your resume at the top of the pack by updating it weekly. You can also take advantage of CareerBuilder’s advantage option which automatically provides you this service but at a fee.

5. Use Searchable Buzzwords & Keyword Terms. Recruiters resume mine for qualified candidates also by keyword search. Include terms relevant to the industry or job you are interested in. Include any specialized certifications and their abbreviations as well as other specific qualifications to increase your exposure.

First, the major job boards no longer default to listing resumes by most recently updated. They have some kind of similarity score algorithm to sort by relevance instead of date posted. A recruiter can sort by date if the recruiter wants (I do, but most probably don't), and some recruiters will only search the last week or month of resumes for a given search, so updating is important, but having a searchable resume is far more important.

Regarding keyword terms, it is important to realize how recruiters search for resumes. Many will use complex boolean logic to target resumes for a specific position. Here's a search I might run for a software engineer: (embedded and ("C++" or ADA) and ("DO 178*" or "DO-178*" or "DO178")). I might run 20 different searches for this position to target people who highlight specific skills. Using buzzwords and keywords only makes sense if you actually have substantive skills in those areas. The job boards highlight the keywords in the resumes when viewed, so if I looked at a resume and it only mentioned DO-178B in passing, or in a section that looked like it was intended for keywords, the resume will get passed over quickly.

Some recruiters, however, do not yet know how to use boolean searches. They might do a search for: Software Engineer, Aerospace. Then they will try to weed through many more resumes to try to find something useful. To accommodate both parties, here are the two things to do when posting a resume:

1. Title your resume with a short objective statement so your resume gets opened. If you are a software engineer, your resume title should be "10 year Embedded Software Engineer, Aerospace and Medical Device Experience." Or whatever happens to be relevant.

2. Include all relevant job titles in your resume. I would say that the most common keyword searches run by recruiters will include the job title. I tend to run searches for all possible job titles ("Director of Operations" or "VP of operations" or "vice president of operations" or "general manager" or...etc.) to make sure I don't miss anybody. Most recruiters won't be this diligent, so the job seeker needs to make sure that they are. This is one case where having a keyword section could make sense, but it would be better to try to include it in the resume. So if you were VP of Operations, your title on the resume should say VP of Operations, but then in your description you might say "As Vice President of Operations...." Or if you had a funny title (Value Stream Leader), you could list it as "Value Stream Leader/VP of Operations," to make sure that it gets picked up in both basic and complex searches.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Career Sites Revisited

Another article from the recruiting blogswap...

Article Title: Job Search Sites Revisited Vol I
Author Byline: CareerAlley
Author Website: http://careeralley.com

Search“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. - Albert Einstein

Searching for a job (especially if you are out of work) can sometimes feel as if you are running through a maze. Submitting your resume when there have been countless resumes and too many qualified applicants is frustrating as well. So, not only is the secret to creativity knowing how to hide your sources (as Albert Einstein says above), but it also applies to your job search.

The beauty of the information provided on this website is that most of it is timeless. Advice, links to job search boards, recruiters and company career sites is fairly static (but not always). The sheer volume of data on the web regarding job search is overwhelming to say the least. So now that we've established that you can't look at everything, I can explain the purpose of today's post. This series (and the topic will alternate) is meant to provide a recap of the numerous sites related to job search without the need to do additional research.

What to look for on a Job Search Site:


  • Resume Posting: Many sites allow 1 or more resumes to be posted. Sometimes there are options to build your resume online, upload a Word doc or cut and paste your resume into their form (depending on the site).

  • Privacy: A Privacy option (which allows you to block companies) can be very useful. Blocked companies either be companies that you don’t want to work for or your current employer (the last thing you want is for your name to come up in a search by your current employer!).

  • Job Search: The job search function allows you to narrow your job search to certain criteria (varies from site to site). Some also allow you to save 1 or more searches (with a number of options). This allows you to quickly run searches for specifics (as decided by you).

  • Job Match Notification: Some sites will send an email to you with the results of your searches.

  • Other Stuff: Some sites offer career advise, resume building techniques, samples of resumes, samples of cover letters, etc. Some free, some not.




  • Monster.com -Monster is one of the more popular job search sites. As with most sites today, there is a free version and a premium service. A brief overview.Resume Posting: The free service allows up to 5 resumes to be posted. You can build your resume online, upload a Word doc or cut and paste your resume into their form. Privacy: There is a Privacy option which allows you to block companies. Job Search: The job search function in Monster is very good. You can save up to 5 searches. Email notification is available.



  • Hotjobs.com - Hotjobs is another popular job search site. This one is owned by Yahoo!, so you can use your Yahoo! username/password (if you have one). A brief overview: Resume Posting: This site also allows up resumes to be posted. You can build your resume online, upload a Word doc or cut and paste your resume into their form. Privacy: There is a Privacy option which allows you to block companies. Job Search: The job search (”My Searches”) function in Hotjobs is also very good. You can save searches (can’t easily see if there is a limit). Hotjobs also allows “job alerts” which will send an email based on your criteria.



  • Careerbuilder.com - Careerbuilder is one of the largest online job sites. It has in excess of 30% of jobs posted on the web. Similar to some of the other popular sites, Careerbuilder allows you to create an account, post your resume, search for jobs and receive job alerts. Additionally, there are numerous tools and advice. This is a site that should be on your list. If you haven’t visited this site yet, it should be the next on your list.



  • Jobfox - This site is different than most of the other sites I’ve reviewed. The site tries to match job seekers with potential employers. It includes a number of tools including resume tracking as well as suitability. The site presents the user with jobs that match the user’s profile (rather than the user having to do a search). This site has a unique process and should also be on your short list.



  • Indeed.com - Indeed.com is a job search engine. it aggregates jobs from websites, newspapers, company sites and other sources. As with other sites, you can create a free account which allows you to create specific searches as well as alerts. Another great resource in your job search.



  • Coolworks.com – Coolworks.com is a really different site. This site is about finding a seasonal job (”in some of the greatest places on Earth”). Ski resorts, National Parks, etc. This is great for summer work (college students, etc.) or working in great places for parts of the year. I’m not sure this is the right site for those looking for traditional “9-5″ jobs, but is certainly a great resource for individuals with the flexibility (or sense of adventure) to work when and where they want.



  • Craigslist.org – Who would have thought – certainly not me. Craigslist, which is categorized by city has an impressive list of jobs. If, as an example, you look at Craigslist for NY, it lists jobs by category. Click on a category, and you are presented a list of jobs. Very well done, very easy to use and a great source for job hunting.



  • Realmatch.com – Three easy steps to finding a listing of jobs that match your criteria. Easy interface that quickly allows you to narrow down the list of jobs. You then submit your resume and you are done. You can also add a profile with username and password.



  • Simplyhired.com – “Job search made simple” – Allows key word search or searching by category by location. Very easy to use and a very quick interface. You can search with or without joining, although there are advantages to joining (for free) as there are with most sites (saved jobs and searches).



  • USAjobs.gov – This is the official job search site for the US Government. If you are looking for a government job (numerous industry backgrounds are available), this is the site for you.


Good luck in your search.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Moneyball and Recruiting

Michael Lewis wrote a book, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game in 2003 to chronicle the unusual strategies employed by Billy Beane, GM of the Oakland A's, to keep his team competitive even though he was at a severe financial disadvantage compared to the Yankees and other big-market teams.

The book has received a lot of condemnation by the traditional baseball folks, it is largely misunderstood. Lewis' main point was that the A's did a good job exploiting market inefficiencies by using advanced statistical analysis to gain an advantage. In the early 2000's, teams cared less about On Base Percentage, so the A's were able to acquire high OBP players for below market rates. As time went on, other teams properly valued OBP and it was no longer a market inefficiency. Last year, my Mariners exploited an inefficient market for defense, and improved their team significantly at a below-market rate. General Managers are all trying to find out what the next undervalued skill is to put their team ahead.

So what does this have to do with recruiting? I think that there are undervalued resources and techniques that could allow recruiters to get ahead of the curve.

Lou Adler addressed this in an article back in 2003 (I didn't realize this until I started writing this post, but it's too late to turn back now), and approaches it from a "challenging conventional wisdom" approach. I like to think about what is undervalued, and I'm thinking particularly about the agency recruiting model right now. The only way to test these theories is to collect data, but I think it's interesting to think about.

Here are three off the top of my head that I think are assumed in the industry, but that most agencies probably don't have the data to support:

Job Boards
There was a time when finding candidates posted on Monster was a fools errand. There weren't very many candidates, and there were lots and lots of recruiters. A generation of recruiters has been brought up with the mantra that "job boards are useless." What if that isn't true? I have found many great candidates on Monster and CareerBuilder and have found less competition for their services than in years past. I think there is a chance that it is becoming an undervalued resource.

Perhaps if you relied on easy-to-reach candidates, you will end up filling more jobs more quickly than your competition (perhaps not too).

Meeting Candidates
I think it's important to meet candidates, but what if it isn't? I wonder if any agencies have run detailed studies to compare the profitability of meeting all of your candidates vs. meeting none of your candidates.

Perhaps sending candidates without meeting them will allow you to react to your clients faster and fill more jobs than your competition (again, perhaps not).

Submitting a lot of Candidates
This is as much a question of approach as results, but is it more effective (i.e. profitable) to submit a lot of candidates and hope that one sticks, or to interview a lot of candidates and only send one or two? Well a lot of it will depend on what your clients' expectations are, but the standard answer is that the latter will be more profitable, but one of the most successful recruiters I've ever known relied on the former.

Perhaps sending a lot of variably qualified candidates will result in more fills than your competition that tries to find just the perfect fit (or not?).

Conclusion
I could go through this all day, but the take home is this: Top billing recruiters do things differently than average recruiters. Average recruiters need to figure out what that is, and emulate it. It might not be something obvious, and it might not work for everybody, but I guarantee that top billers are exploiting some kind of market inefficiency. I would love to be able to break down the numbers of a broad range of recruiters to see what it would teach me, but I don't have the resources. Here's what I would start with:

# of Job Orders
# of Clients
# of MPC Calls
# of Ad Chase Calls
# of Submits
# of Sendouts
# of Placement
# of Types of placement (different jobs)
Geographic distribution of placements
% of contacts that are HR
% of contacts that are Managers
% of placements by source
Some quantification of boolean search skill


Friday, December 4, 2009

Today's Jobs Numbers

There is a lot of hoopla being made about the jobs numbers released today that show the economy only losing 11,000 jobs. As is frequently reported, the unemployment numbers only measure the number of people who are able and actively looking for work. They do not count the underemployed (people with part-time jobs), or the discouraged (those that have given up). The BLS also publishes a number that somewhat includes those workers that is called the U-6 unemployment rate (rather than the U-3 rate that gets reported). That rate is currently at 17.6%, which gives a better picture of what the unemployment situation is actually like. (Thanks, MintBlog!)

I had heard some time back that the economy needs to create 120,000 or so jobs per month just to stay even because of population growth. So even when we hit positive job growth, the economy could still be considered to be shedding jobs (unless there are no new immigrants or new entrances to the workforce, which of course never happens).

I thought I'd look at the BLS numbers that include those outside the workforce to try to get a different picture of the jobs situation between, say September and November, the time that the media is reporting sharply reduced job losses (Is that a double negative?).

(Source: BLS) Numbers in Thousands from the Household Data:

September November
Labor Force 154,912 154,006
Employed 140,591 138,502
Unemployed 14,321 15,375
Not in Force 80,547 82,866

So by my back of the napkin calculations, there are 1,400,000 more people counted (adult population), and 2,089,000 fewer people working. While there are 3.3 Million more people in the country who are not working, only about 1 million of those are counted as additionally unemployed.

There may be all kinds of reasons to look at the data the way the media does, but the situation is not likely to be felt as improving by real people until these trends start to turn around and there is a net gain of jobs and employed people. The household data did show 227,000 more people working in November than October, so perhaps that is a sign of things to come.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Networking Tools

**Editor's Note**
This is an article from CareerAlley published here courtesy of the Recruiting Blog Swap. I'll be periodically posting external content like this that seems interesting or useful.


Article Title: Job Search Marketing Toolkit - Networking
Author Byline: CareerAlley
Author Website: http://careeralley.com

Networking for job search is under-rated. For some of us (like me) there is nothing I like less than "bothering" a former co-worker, friend, relative or business associate to let them know that I am out of work and/or looking for a job. There are, of course, many people who don't have a problem with this.

There are a number of ways you can leverage your network without calling people as the first step (although this is not a bad way to start). Business social networks have been covered in a number of previous posts (quick links are listed below), so I won't cover that topic again in this post. I will, however, provide some basic Networking concepts and methods. But first some quick links to business social networks:The first myth of Networking is that you must have a Network of hundred's of people to have any hope of finding a job (take a look at LinkedIn these days). While the larger your Network the better your chances, it is really the quality of your Network that will improve your job search prospects.
  • Seven Networking Myths: Fact or Fiction? - This article, by Robert Half International and posted on Careerbuilder.com covers some of the misconceptions regarding Networking. This is a very helpful article for those of you (like me) who are terrified about Networking. Just read the comment regarding the myth "You need to be an extrovert" and you will see what I mean. There are only 7 and they are relatively short so you should take the time to read it.
You've got Networking on your list (everyone tells you that this is a "must do") and you really do mean to get to it (because you feel like you are missing a trick and you feel guilty), but you just can't seem to get around to it - read on.
  • Top Ten Excuses Why People Don't Network - This article, on Certified Career Coaches, sounds like the read my mind for the article. This is just about every excuse I can think of (and have thought of). If this sounds familiar, read the article because it turns the excuses into actions for the right way to leverage your Network.
Okay, so now I've covered the myths and the excuses, but what about the best practice for Networking? There are plenty of ideas out there, and most of them are good (and some of them are a bit wacky). So now let's cover the "how to".
  • Successful Job Search Networking - How to Use Job Search Networking to Find a Job - Another article from About.com, gives some helpful advice (as well as the elusive statistic on the percentage of jobs found by networking). Of course the days are gone where the only ways to network were by phone or in person. Email (according to the article) is a perfectly acceptable way to network (excellent, I don't actually have to speak with anyone). Certainly a worthwhile article to read and it includes additional links to relevant information.

  • What is Networking? - One of my personal favorites for advice and resources on job search, the Riley Guide provides this article. It tells you what networking is (and isn't) as well as how to use the Internet, Netiquette, where to network, making contact and additional links to relevant information (such as Enetworking).
Good luck in your search.

Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Just-in-time Recruiting

Glenn over at Boolean Black Belt has a great post that's the third in a series about pipelining vs. what he is calling "just in time" recruiting based on the Toyota quality program (Lean). When I briefly made the transition from agency recruiting to corporate recruiting, I started hearing a lot about pipelining candidates and how recruiting needed to be "proactive" rather than "reactive," in the context of developing candidate pipelines. This always seems to fall in line with discussions about employment branding and so forth.

I've run into similar attitudes on the agency side, particularly related to so-called "purple squirrel" job orders and candidates. I am 100% with Glenn on this one, however. I am not convinced that qualifying, establishing relationships, and keeping track of a pipeline of potential future candidates is worth any recruiter's time, whether on the agency or corporate side.

I think that the time spent on candidate pipelining would be far better served building your network of raw materials (resumes and profiles) so they are easier to pull when the need arises. This is done through capturing potential resumes from sources that are not permanent (like job boards), building your network on social networking sites, and continually acquiring referrals. One of Glenn's main points is that it takes time to "maintain your inventory" when you have active candidates without corresponding needs. Agency recruiters do some of this because having good passive candidates opens doors on the client side, but too much of it would too severely limit your time for active searches. There is little reason for this as a corporate recruiter.

**

I do not know much about Lean Manufacturing, but I know that it could be applicable in recruiting in more ways than this. Quality programs always start "closest to the dollar" (i.e. in Manufacturing, then Engineering, then Finance, then everything else). I would be very interested to learn of other applications of Lean or Six Sigma fundamentals being used in recruiting...perhaps that could be the source of a future post.

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