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NEWSFLASH: The right keywords won’t land you a job.
Even if you get the interview, if your entire strategy to land a job is focused on your resume or your LinkedIn profile being keyword optimized, without much plan beyond that, you will most likely find yourself frustrated… or with a really difficult job.
You see, when I was a recruiter, only the jobs I couldn’t fill with my network would end up in a job posting.
If I had a really great job, most often I already knew a few people who could do it.
So I would make those candidate calls and the process would start there.
I wouldn’t need to post the job, in many cases. Only the lazy recruiters depended on job postings because they didn’t have a bank of awesome candidates to choose from.
Not me. I did things differently.
So if you are only answering job postings, you are missing out on many openings that never get posted.
In the TED Talk video, she tells a story how she complimented her organist friend after a performance by saying, “You are so talented.”
He friend didn’t really take it as a compliment and replied, “Thanks. I am not more talented than others, but I do work really, really hard at this.” Her friend developed a skill.
That’s when Suzanne had an epiphany that companies are seemingly always after natural talent and not seeking people who have shown they have learned skills and demonstrated they have a pattern of successfully learning skills.
I was so inspired by Suzanne’s TED Talk that I reached out to interview her. She graciously allowed me to ask her some questions remotely, as she is based in Switzerland.
Here are some questions I asked her
(1) What do you recommend to candidates in marketing their skills in a talent-seeking world?
–> Show the employer how you adopted and have used that skill. Outline a success with the skill. Never lie about having a skill you don’t possess.
(2) How to you recommend career changers to use your information about showcasing skills?
–> Tie the task of the proposed job to a skill you have and show how you have accomplished using that relevant skill. Help the hiring manager connect the dots between your skill and the task they need done—that your skill is transferable.
(3) What about employers who don’t want to train and want new employees to “”hit the ground running?”
–> If after connecting dots for hiring managers between your transferable skills and what the employer needs accomplished, you are still not considered for the role, well sometimes you have to walk away. It’s really important to find employers who “get it.” Connect with recruiters who aren’t just looking to check boxes of qualifications and are open-minded to looking at (direct or transferable) skills versus natural talent. Employers who “get it” will want to see how you demonstrate success with your skills.
Suzanne nailed it.
Resumes that demonstrate your skills and how you succeeded at using those skills is how you properly do a resume as a start to attracting employers who “get it.”
The big message I walked away with from my chat with Suzanne was companies need to get away from valuing talent over work ethic. The value of work should supersede talent. Someone who is willing to work hard will do more work than someone with talent, but who may be unindustrious. Someone who will struggle to work their way up may be a better fit than someone who effortlessly takes their talent for granted.
She believes if there can be a shift to training committed, industrious people who have a track recorded of learning skills successfully to train for roles that have been open six months looking for the perfect person, global productivity will increase. There is a lot of stagnation with long-term open roles looking for the purple squirrel.
Job market trends for this year state the employment market is the hottest it’s been in a long while.
Employers state they can’t find talent
Yet candidates say it can take months to land a job—and often they submit their resume to companies and never hear back.
It’s a disconnect.
How can one group say they can’t find talent but the other say they never get replies?
I’ll tell you why.
When I look at “before” resumes, I find the resume doesn’t speak to what the company needs. It’s simply a list of what the person has done—but the resume isn’t selling the person as someone who can do what the company needs.
When I tell a candidate this feedback, sometimes they say to me, “Well, they should know that I can do that based on my title.”
Well no, they don’t. And that’s why you aren’t getting interview calls.
The hiring manager doesn’t know and isn’t assuming anything about you. They simply pass on your resume.
How can you do this better? Here are 3 points you should include in your modern, executive resume:
1 – Go through the job description of the job you want. Write down how you have done that each point and how well you did it. Reframe your resume bullet to reflect this relevant achievement.
2 – Show how you can deliver results and manage a team well in good times and bad. We are in a tumultuous economic time right now. There are -/+ 600 point daily swings in the stock market and other global economic instability. Companies want leaders at all levels who can thrive in the sunny times and the storms.
3 – Demonstrate how you have stayed ahead of trends and capitalized on opportunities. Organizations want people who can create something out of nothing. Highlight your creative problem solving by stating how you did it and not just that you did it.
Want to learn other ways of ensuring your executive resume is modern and able to land six-figure job interviews when you need it to?
Marilyn received her 1st poor performance review in 22 years… and she has been with her current employer for 4 years.
She was dumbfounded. She told me it was like she was kicked in the gut with the added bonus of not seeing it coming.
She thought she was doing well. Sure, it was a challenging year… but three VPs left in the last 6 months and she assumed some of each their responsibilities without anyone having to ask her, in addition to her own job.
And she didn’t even ask for a bump in pay since the company was going through some rough patches.
She thought, not only that was she was doing well, but was expecting a few pats on the back for her initiative in taking on other responsibilities without anyone prodding her or financially rewarding her to do so.
And that’s so not what happened.
She was told that there were a ton of unfinished projects.
She was told she was delusional for thinking she “stepped in” to the roles of those other three departed VPs… because from their perspective, that hasn’t happened.
The couple of bosses she sat with during this unnerving meeting even told her that she has done well the past, but this particular year was disappointing.
So as I consoled Marilyn, when she was at a point of being calm and not angry, I reminded her of a cold truth:
She has a history of jerky bosses.
(Marilyn has worked with us on and off over the years for her resume and LinkedIn profile through job changes she made… so we know this about her situation).
Boss before this one? Jerky. That’s why she left.
Boss before that prior boss? You guessed it… Jerky.
And the one before that one? Yep… Jerky.
I reminded her she has a pattern of jerky bosses. Was she ready to look at her part into why she had jerky bosses all the time to avoid it in the next job?
She got little mad at me. She asked me if I was blaming her for her jerky bosses?
Well, no… not directly.
Is it all Marilyn’s fault she has had jerky bosses?
Of course not….
There will always be jerky people in the world.
Marilyn is pretty damn good at what she does and deserves to work at a place where her skills will be valued and appreciated.
But if this keeps repeating itself employer after employer… at what point do you look at it and go, “Maybe I am doing something (or not doing something) that draws me to these types of people/companies?”
So I told Marilyn, she basically has three choices:
(1) She can do a job search to flee this place (but probably not look at what she is going to as closely since she is just focused getting out of this place). This will work temporarily, but she runs the risk of landing a job with the same type of jerky boss.
(2) She can look at… I mean, really look at… why she chose this place (and her prior employers) and what decisions she has made while working here that put her in the position of tolerating jerky behavior repeatedly.
(3) And if she genuinely can’t leave the job right now, she can develop a set of coping tools to still thrive in a dysfunctional environment and not have her self-esteem in the toilet every time something doesn’t go as it should (because of the jerky people at work). She can shift her thinking that she chooses to be there and has stronger, healthier coping mechanisms.
That’s it. Those are her three choices.
Actually… there is a fourth option, but I told her it’s not an option for her. The fourth option is she can stay and continually feed off of their negativity to be sapped of energy and spirit from these jackasses at work each and every day… she can remain a victim. I told her this option, while always present, isn’t going to work for her any longer.
Why do I tell you this story?
Because it also happened to me.
Because chances are it’s happening to you.
So how do we fix it?
You begin to fix it by (1) accepting sometimes jerky bosses happen to good people and you then have to decide if you are going to tolerate it or/and (2) realizing sometimes good people have habits that can lead them to consistently getting hired by crappy bosses.
Working for a great boss is not only going to happen because you researched and found a great boss.
You have to commit to making a change to your behavior that leads to you getting hired and staying hired by dysfunctional people.
If you have had a history of jerky bosses and anxious situations, you have to know you have choices.
You may feel you don’t, but you do.
However, you have to want to commit to breaking the pattern… and then make the commitment.
You see, every relationship is 50/50. It’s hardly ever all one person’s fault when relationships aren’t working.
Even if you think it’s all your jerky boss’s fault (or the fault of jerky co-workers, vendors or clients) that you are miserable.
It takes two…
My favorite old school rap artist Rob Base said, “It takes two to make a thing go right…”
You have a part in your misery.
And you have a part in making this thing go right.
The first major step to eliminating the misery is to acknowledge that you had or have a part in either putting yourself in your situation, tolerating your situation or positioning yourself as a victim in your situation — or possibly 2 out of 3… or all 3.
When I realized that I had a part in my own misery in some of my prior jobs, a liberating wave of freedom came over me.
Why? When I realized I had a part in my misery, I felt empowered.
I felt like I can change my course.
And when I did….
I got control back in my life.
I didn’t feel stuck anymore.
It didn’t matter to me anymore what other people thought of me.
I didn’t focus on what I could lose anymore — and focused more on what I had … (note I didn’t say what I could gain)
What did I do to relieve my angst, to avoid jerky bosses and to find an invigorating employment environment?
I committed to not wanting to save the day, each and every day, every time, for every little thing, so I can be thought of highly by others.
I committed to setting boundaries and put myself first.
I committed to finding fulfillment internally and stopped needing external validation to feel good about myself.
When committed to making these points happen in my daily life, miraculous things started to happen:
I had the energy to save the day when it really mattered and I did it because it was the right thing to do. I didn’t do it because I sought accolades, which means I wouldn’t ever be bitter when people didn’t give me accolades in return, since often they didn’t.
I wasn’t upset when others didn’t value me first because I put their need first — because I stopped putting their needs before mine. So no more resentments.
I didn’t need my boss to notice every little thing I did to feel valued, because I found fulfillment internally. So when my boss didn’t notice something, I wasn’t automatically deflated.
And I started to think my boss wasn’t a schmuck. And that my co-workers didn’t suck. And not because he or they changed.
It’s because I changed.
All because I changed behavior within myself. It’s the advice I gave to Marilyn, too.
Would you like to learn how to get career coaching help to get you through and triumph in your current situation?
Would you like to discover how to invest in yourself by hiring us to work with you to apply these tactics to your current situation?
Being unemployed for seven months sucks. Seeing someone you love suffer hurts my heart.
My friend wasn’t getting any interviews from her resume that she was submitting to job boards.
I told her not to submit to job boards, but she didn’t listen. And she also wouldn’t let me look at her resume to give her feedback for the longest time.
Finally… after struggling for 7 months, she let me look at it. This is what I found on her resume…
<Basically, these are the 5 steps to all but guarantee staying unemployed>
(1) Use phrases like “Responsible for…” for resume bullets that sound like a lackluster job description bullet.
(2) Have a laundry list of duties and responsibilities with no description as to how well you did at each task.
(3) Still utilize a college career center resume format—even though you are now 42 years old with 20 years of work experience.
(4) Fail to tie any of your work to the job description outlining what the potential employer needs.
(5) Assume the potential employer knows what you do from your title… and offer no detail as to how well you do your job to effectively compete with other candidates for the same title.
After I gave her these suggestions and she incorporated the changes, she landed 2 interviews… through submitting the resume to a job board!
If she just asked for help 7 months earlier.
You don’t have to wait that long.
My ‘Interview-Generating Resume Templates’ eBook contains three unique resume templates catered to what hiring managers and recruiters are looking for in today’s market, and focuses on highlighting your achievements with an eye-catching, contemporary layout.
When you use these interview-generating templates you will:
(1) No longer waste hours of frustration trying to determine which template you should use (when you have three proven options to chose from, you can simply pick whichever one you like most).
(2) Remove the angst of wrestling with resume bullets (these three templates include our ChamRes formula for writing resume bullets quickly, easily, and without frustration.
(3) Perhaps most importantly: each template is easy on the eyes, and easy to read. Between being easy to read, and our simple solution for writing bullets you’re practically guaranteed more interview calls.
On an intellectual level, we know that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insane, to paraphrase Einstein.
Yet, I still see intelligent, accomplished job seekers still doing the same mind-numbing activities that bring them no results, in hopes of it working this time.
I can picture it right now.
Sitting at a computer… opening an email notification to see a job posting that seems like it’s a fit. Or worse, searching endlessly for the right job posting, “Here is one that I am perfect for!” the executive job seeker says to himself.
So you apply…
They will see you are perfect for the job… yeah, I know.
Over the next few hours… next few days… nothing happens.
The rejection from not getting a call from a job posting isn’t direct… it’s an ignoring, slow-reaching silence.
But then again… it may work.
This one time.
They may call.
This one time. It may work.
But it doesn’t….
Yet herein lies the insanity…
You do it again. And again. And again…
I mean, it would be so easy and cool if they called from just submitting a document online, right?
This elusive hope of it working easily, without the hard work of networking or ego-humbling activities of proactively reaching out to new contacts, keeps intelligent executives and professionals in front in that computer submitting to job postings.
Trying it again.
This one last time.
Like a shopaholic thinking this last purchase will fix the problem.
Like an alcoholic saying this will be the last drink.
Like a food addict hoping they can have one last potato chip and feel satiated… this one time. (and there goes the bag)…
This has become the new definition of job search insanity.
Your LinkedIn headline is one of the strongest search term areas in your LinkedIn profile, which is why your resume’s headline should be expanded on your LinkedIn profile.
Ensure your LinkedIn headline is relevant-keyword optimized to easily identify your profession and industry as a candidate—not simply identify you as unemployed.
After all, being unemployed isn’t the best thing about you, right?
However, there is one group that can benefit from including “Seeking New Opportunity” in their headline.
For almost everyone else, I think this is a waste of prime LinkedIn real estate space.
Why do I say ‘almost’? The only group of people who may benefit from using this type of phrase in their LinkedIn headline are unemployed job seekers who are interested in working temporary or contract work immediately. When I recruited, one of the areas I recruited for was Temporary / Contract Accounting & Finance roles. When I searched databases and LinkedIn, I would search for the typical accounting and finance titles (ie. International Tax Director, Staff Accountant, Finance Manager, etc) but I would add to my search string the words “temporary,” “contract,” and “seeking new opportunity” to find candidates who were available to start an assignment immediately. Recruiting employed people for temporary and contract roles is pointless. So this is the ONLY group that can benefit from this phrase in their LinkedIn Headline.
And I would still put “seeking new opportunity” at THE END of the headline—not in the beginning. If it’s at the beginning, you don’t see defining keywords pertaining to your position and industry, which sell you more and tell the reader more about you than “seeking new opportunity.” You want your first impression to be that you are a senior finance manager and not that you are unemployed.
So what is the best way to write your LinkedIn Headline?
For many executive and professional job seekers, their LinkedIn headline may be the default headline reading something like, “Senior Operations Manager at Emegen Corporation”
This headline is boring and doesn’t sell you. And you have 73 more characters to use in your headline to further improve your profile’s optimization that are going unused with this headline.
Instead, take your LinkedIn headline and turn it into something like, “Operations Manager with Six Sigma Green Belt Certification and $2M Budget Oversight,” giving the potential hiring manager more information about your fit while expanding your search terms capability. You are also using more of the characters you are given to use in your headline.
The bottom line is to use the 120 characters you have in your LinkedIn headline to maximize relevant keywords in this allotted space—and ensure the first 40 or so characters grab the reader to continue reading.
Want an even more comprehensive LinkedIn strategy session? Join us for my upcoming FREE “How to Create Your LinkedIn Profile to Generate 6-Figure Job Interviews Faster” masterclass training session on Tues. 1/22 or Thurs. 1/24 at 1:30 p.m. ET, where we will cover more proven LinkedIn insider tips & tactics to properly optimize your profile and catch the attention of recruiters and hiring managers to increase your quality job leads.