Let's Talk Work

because there are two sides to every story

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BIG little MiS tAkEs, Etc.

See Etc. Below

On my soapbox today…as I am spending a small part of this holiday weekend reviewing resumes received in response to a recent posting.

Candidates, there are a few golden rules to submitting your resumes online. Please consider the following so you don’t fall into that ‘black hole’ or get ‘lost in the shuffle’:

  1. ALWAYS name and save your document with your name or at least your initials. At least 1/3 of resumes just received are named as resume.doc or myupdatedresume.doc or similar. This makes it much easier for us hiring authorities to look through a long list of applicants and sort them by name, maybe alpha, in order to review them. Resumes that don’t have an identifier as their saved document name can indeed get lost in a shuffle of dozens if not hundreds more that do have some identifier.
  2. When you decide to use the template of someone else’s resume in order to copy and paste your own information – don’t forget to RENAME the resume and document to your own. Nothing raises the  red flag at the hiring company like two different names associated with one resume. Most likely, that is all the company will then read.
  3. Don’t associate your resume with a glaring or inappropriate email address for response. Just another Triancular_red_flagto the company about one’s professionalism.
  4. When submitting your resume, seriously, for a job, be sure that you meet some if not most of the qualifications listed. When you don’t, that sends yet another Triancular_red_flag that you probably didn’t even read the posting in full. And, if you take such shortcuts in your own career search endeavors, then what might you do on the job if hired?
  5. Always, email a copy of your resume as both your document as well as a .PDF version. Occasionally, employers will get resumes that have notes entered all over, or have some form of code or template lines on top of the content that was intended. This may say to an employer – he/she doesn’t proofread their own personal work, so we probably can’t trust them to be responsible for any workplace documentation that would be tasked with.
  6. Triancular_red_flag There are often red flags when resumes are submitted through various recruitment websites and aggregators and the intended targets (being the company) may not actually see what you intended them to see.
  7. Consider the level of the position you are applying to. Have you shown, through your own resume format, content, grammar and spelling, that you even meet the qualities required for the job?

And then some…

8.  Always be sure to place your name on each page of your resume.

9. It’s helpful to insert page numbers when your resume is more than one page.

10. There is no need to waste space on your resume with ‘references upon request’ as that is a given. If you don’t provide them ‘when asked’ you probably won’t go further in the process.

10+. Don’t even place the names and numbers of your references on your resume. Most people don’t want their contact information out there on the global resume/job search market – and wouldn’t be comfortable if this got in the wrong hands. On the other hand, have that list available to share (in person) when and if they are requested, most likely during an interview.

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Are You Prepared for a Job Fair?

1st things first – do your homework.

Dress appropriately. Business casual at the very least. Bring a comfortable supply of Resumes. By comfortable – I mean easy to carry along and navigate with shaking hands, networking, etc. It’s no fun to be weighed down by too heavy of a briefcase or portfolio – or with documents that are unnecessary at this point. While there will likely be hundreds of pens at your disposal, be sure to have your own on hand for filling out anything requested of you during an event, such as  registrations, raffles, etc.

Please, don’t smoke just before coming in and meeting (sometimes in close proximity) recruiters face to face. First impressions are not always just visual. Just saying. Take 10 deep non-smoking breaths before going in and saying to yourself “I’ve got this!”

Go ahead and carpool to the event, but please visit the employer booths independently. No one takes a friend or parent along on an interview.

Be sure you know who is hosting the event, and why.

Is it at a local college who continues to build relationships with local employers? Beyond providing this opportunity for their students and alumni, a job/career fair held here could be a good thing. Chances are that there will be familiar faces and repeat attendance by both employers and job seekers.

Is it being held at the employers’ own location? Well, at least you know who is doing the hiring. That company most likely has current and future job openings that they are eager to fill.

Is it being organized by a job fair marketing company? Well, they may certainly be able to attract attention of both employers and applicants. But chances are, they may not be so invested in the community, other than to fill exhibit space and hopefully attract job seekers. They’re in – then they’re out.

Okay -now you want to know what employers are going to be there. Typically, this will be listed on the event site, somewhere. Be sure to visit your desired employers first, but you never know who you many encounter. Keep in mind that a recruiter who is soliciting for candidates for specific jobs on that day – may also be aware of other jobs not yet advertised. Start a conversation and just ask.

And with what I’ve heard over the past couple of years – recruiters at these events are too often turning away actual resumes — yes, the same one you’ve worked hard on to perfect and for this purpose, printed on very nice paper. Recruiters are redirecting applicants to ‘apply online.’ So, go ahead and do so – but do so before the event so you can respond – ‘Oh, I’ve already done so and thought I should bring a long a hard copy.’


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Wondering Why You Still Haven’t Found Full-time Work?

My first question might be – have you even considered a part-time job? I know unemployment benefits, if you are fortunate to still be getting them – eventually run out. They are to serve as a cushion of support, and I’ve had to rely on them myself at least once in my career. So, when they run out or even before – are you only prospecting full-time work? Did you ever think that part-time work can lead to that, if you truly apply yourself? And if for nothing else, for the hands-on experience you can gain and refresh your resume with: from new computer software to a new industry environment. It can all be good.


When I ask someone about how recent interviews have gone – and they reply they’ve had none, that is telling me one of two things. They’re not really trying and haven’t even put a decent resume together. Or, their resume is not gaining the attention or being sent accordingly to select jobs/companies.

Truth be told, and for the sake of this post – let’s consider you’ve had plenty of interviews with multiple organizations but still not had a reasonable offer.

Some reasons that are out of your control.

  • They hired someone or promoted from within.
  • Budget issues caused cancellation or revision of the job. (I’ve personally seen this on several occasions over the years.)
  • Organizational issues ended the need to fill the position.
  • The chemistry didn’t work.
Other reasons that you can have more control or influence over:
  • Someone else was a better networker.
  • The chemistry didn’t work.
  • You were obviously unprepared for the interview.
  • You didn’t project that you were truly interested in the job.
  • Your references didn’t support you.
  • You expected to fail!

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Overeducated and Underemployed? Part 2 of 3


We continue with that same thought when we asked the following question:

“In your opinion, are people over-educating and should instead being pursing hands-on experiences?”

Most felt that particularly in Illinois, there just haven’t been enough jobs for the people seeking jobs. So, going back to school, volunteering or even consulting in your field(s) are alternatives to having to explain a major resume gap. A few years ago recruiters/hiring authorities were a bit more forgiving of employment gaps of a year or longer. That may no longer be the case.

And one company doesn’t necessarily mean another company will operate in the same manner; nor hiring authorities within the same. For example, we’ve noted managers who refused to consider resumes of people not currently working. And another company whose owner feels that if someone has been out of work for a year is hungry and will work hard for this new boss if hired.

People are people. People, whether owners or hiring managers or outside agencies/third-party recruiters or even internal HR folks – often go with their gut. And that gut reminds them of experiences. Too often bad experiences. One where they started to empathize with the longer-term unemployed and took a chance on hiring only to have it backfire; finding themselves having to fill that role once again in short order – either because a better offer was waiting in the background, or the new hire just didn’t meet expectations.

What was expressed in detail in response to this question – was that a seasoned job seeker needs to understand that education is not an open invitation to a new job or a promotion. In one opinion – online degrees offer little value to an employer. Quality and content of the education is what matters, yet to varying degrees and along with prior experiences.

The cost of education isn’t always worth it in the long run. However, often from an HR perspective, or an organization that touts itself as progressive, intelligent, and sets the bar in certain areas – the college degree (mostly 4 year) will get into the YES pile and chances are – the experience only pile may not get a second look if the right blend of both is in their hands already.

Note: The above are opinions shared from others, and may not necessarily align with ours. There are variables in everything.

Stay tuned for Part 3 – Age obstacles