It’s Not Your Resume, It’s You!

You spend hours changing, editing and preparing your resume that will surely land you that dream job!  It is sent out through every job board, imported into your LinkedIn profile and scattered to the 4 corners of your geographic preference!  Then, after all that – NOTHING!  You are confused, baffled, angry and blame everyone else for not seeing your talents and abilities.  Guess what; it may not be your “resume”, it may be the YOU!

When a recruiter or hiring manager reviews a resume their eyes are trained to scan and pass judgement on your background in a short period.  Outside of education, key words that match the job description and current/ previous job titles they are looking for key indicators of success.  These key indicators include:

  • Duration
  • Progression
  • Innovation

If these 3 things suck, then goodbye dream job and hello to resume black hole!

Are you a job hopper?  Don’t answer that with what you think, look at your background.  Have you held a different job every 6-12 months?  Do your short-term jobs outweigh your long-term?  You may be selling yourself on this as “career progression”, but it will be viewed as instability.  You will be hard pressed to convince anyone that you have held so many roles because you are such a superstar and highly coveted asset.  The first few jumps may be explained, however after a consistent pattern, hang it up!  Most recruiters will PASS on this resume and never tell you why.

I make it a policy to tell people this if it is the reason… can imagine how well this is received!

How have you manged your career?  Have you grown and progressed over a reasonable time or held the same role and duties for 10+ years?  Have you held multiple jobs and titles with no clear progression path or advancement?  Perhaps you have jumped around to many departments of the company that are in no way related to a career progression.

Here is what goes through the mind of the resume reviewer when they see this type of resume:

  1. Why is this person not a ______ (manager, top performer, Staff etc…) by now, they must not be _______ (motivated, driven, smart, good etc…)
  2. Let me get this straight, you have moved between sales, accounting, HR and engineering in a 3 year period and been a key asset in the organization?  “Yeah, right!”
  3.  Is this a problem employee?  I realize that many organizations do not cut poor performers, they simply move them.

What have you done that is different? Unique?  What have you created, built, imagined and delivered?  Every person, every career and every role has the opportunity to innovate. Is your resume the same song and dance “accomplished ___”, “achieved _____” or “delivered _____”?

Let’s use an example of sales;  This resume will be filled with above 100% of goal (never seen a sales resume, no matter the duration that was below goal achievement).  What have you done differently?  How have you built and maintained a repeat customer base?  Tell me this story in your resume, describe what you have done past “completed 75 cold calls” or “visited 15 customers per week”.

The most important thing a resume can do is tell a story.  This is your opportunity to write the “Odyssey of You”!  If your story has too many chapters, is short in duration or simply does not capture the imagination of the reader…..then your odyssey will simply lead to a black hole!


5 Traits of Success

I have spent many years interviewing candidates, teaching interview techniques and picking apart interviews.  Over the past few months, I really started breaking down the basics of what I look for when hiring someone.  Most jobs require a tangible skill set as it relates to a specific field (i.e. a C# software developer, will of course require knowledge of C#).

But what intangible traits make successful employees?  What is the DNA code that successful people possess?  Whatever the code, these are the skills most employers are looking for, they separate the “Your Hired” from the “Thanks, best of luck in your search.”

  1. Determination
    Here is the short of it, you got to make things happen!  No excuses….how many times do I listen to a candidate discuss reason they “did not achieve” goals i.e “blame others”.  I recently landed my dream job and on day 1 was provided a clear instruction; “hire the best”.  No careers page, no huge budget, no desk with everything laid out….just make it happen!  At age 17, I learned this lesson when I was literally dropped off at college and told “good luck”.  No car, no scholarship, no trust fund…..  My options were …succeed or fail – I chose to succeed!
  2. Ambition
    What are your goals in life?  Where do you want to be in 3 years?  All common questions, so why are people so scared to answer them truthfully and directly?  Most are afraid if they answer and it does not match the employers “desired answer” they will not get the job.  When I was 15 years old I worked in a peach orchard, during the hot Alabama summers.  I loved the people and the job, but was determined to find a job “indoors with cool/refreshing air conditioning.  The next summer I landed a job in a local grocery story after  a long search and very few options (my hometown has 1200 people, kinda limits the options).  Over the years my goals and ambitions have grown past A/C, but those lessons have stuck with me for a lifetime.
  3. Passion
    I often say, ” I can teach a person to recruit/sale/whatever” but I can not teach you passion!  If you dread Mondays then you are not pursuing your passion!  I have not dreaded a single Monday since November 2011…guess what, I love what I am doing….if I dread Mondays then that is a huge problem!  Passions will grow and new ones will reveal themselves, but only if you are seeking to understand them,  Know what you are passionate about and pursue with your full heart or be satisfied with staying awake on Sundays dreading the inevitable “case of the Mondays”
  4. Delivery
    If you can not provide clear examples of delivering on objectives and goals and how they tie back to the company’s vision and goals, you most likely will not work for many desired employers.  Do you execute on goals and deliver work product?  My career goals have always been simple, “hire the best”, these were the goals in my first professional job in 1996 and ring true today.  Of course I have done more than just hire people, as my roles grew and career advanced….but every new venture required delivering my best!
  5. Smart
    Employers want smart people, that make things happen and can figure out problems.  As a child I remember speaking to a relative that did not hold a college education.  He sold honey and needed a way to quickly extract honey from beehives….he built a machine out of a few bicycles and other parts that could extract the honey quickly and easily…this was prior to Pinterest of Google!  He was smart and determined, tried many times, finally got it right and had success!  Ask yourself, what is the most innovative thing you have done in your career?

I could list 10+ traits but these sum it up.  Don’t just think about these from the perspective of “my next interview”  Are these life traits that you possess and embrace?  Can you honestly convey these 5 things about yourself to others?  I will end with two of my favorite quotes that should sum it up:

“Do or Do Not, there is NO try”!  Yoda

“Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it. When you do attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit”…Paul “Bear” Bryant



What choices have you made that impact your career?  I speak with people everyday that have decided to change direction 10+ years into their career.  This in itself is not bad, but most are not willing to make the “tough choice” of taking less money, less responsibility or a less prestigous title based on a new direction.  Choices we make will always have an impact, some short term and some long term.

Check out my 2 minute Vlog on the subject of “choices” and look for more post on this topic.  Would love to hear comments on choices you have made (life, career, etc…) good/bad and how they impacted your life short/long term.


Network Your Butt Off!

April 1999 – August 2005:  I was working for a great company and as the Talent Manager had spent 6.5 years building a 450+ person team!  Like any company we had ups and downs, but there were a lot more ups!

September 2005:  With great remorse, I resigned.

October 2005:  The great company, were I grew, learned, laughed and played (a lot!) announced their closure…many saw it coming, many did not.

This was the same month I decided to organize and manage my massive network and never reach a point in my life where I was dependant on an unknown hiring manager with only a piece of paper and one hour to decide if I may be “a fit” for their job.

Networking is an absolute MUST for any aspect of your life!  Networks are like your butts, everyone has one; some are larger and some are smaller, but we all have one!

October 2005:  Searching for a tool besides Outlook to manage my network, I stumble upon something that I think will be useful in staying connected; LinkedIn.

March 2011 – October 2011:  Time for a new challenge!  Begin a confidential job search…

Since March, I spent several months searching for a job through traditional methods….apply with a piece of paper and let someone I don’t know decide my fate.

October 18, 2011:  Campaign specific people in my network for leads on new jobs
October 20, 2011:  Interview with potential new employer
October 21, 2011:  Receive offer for new gig!

It’s never to late to begin growing your network.  It takes time, effort and lots of work.  Connect and network with great people and always be willing to help others.  Remember, networks are like butts, and in the immortal words of Sir Mix A Lot, “I Like Big Butts and I Can Not Lie”!!

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Change Worth Video Chatting About!

I recently heard the following comment about “improving” customer interaction and relationships “well it has worked for 25+ years, it should work the same way today. ” “Why change it?”  This got me to thinking, some things may work the same as 25 years ago (toilets, sinks and other household items) but what about communication and interaction with people?  Think about the following;

  • 25 years ago the best way to apply for a job:  send a resume via mail for .12 cents and wait…  Today, email or upload to a site for free…… and then wait!
  • 15 years ago the best way to communicate with your distant loved ones was get a cheap calling card (love it when you missed a digit and had to re-enter the 16 digit code) or wait till after 10:00 for the cheapest rates….  Today, VOIP  or Google Chat with whomever, whenever, wherever free!
  • 10 years ago if you had an out-of-state/country friend, you may see/speak with them 1x per year (or less)…. Today, SkypeFacebook Video Chat or Google Hangout with them anytime of the day/night for free!
  • 5 years ago, you had long lost touch with your classmates from the class of 90’…  Today, you have a Facebook group with ability to video chat and watch their children grow up in daily status updates!

So how does this apply to work relationships?  If your job is dealing with people, certainly it involves several generations.  Will the techniques of 25 years ago work today?  Of course not!  However let’s not take away from the core principle:  Building Relationships!

Take a chance and Skype with a customer sometime, invite a friend or co-worker to join your tribe on Facebook or LinkedIn, start a Google Hangout about a specific topic or interest.  Don’t forget, it is possible to build a relationship in 140 character or less, Twitter Scouts Honor!

Thank you Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Niklas Zennström (Skype), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google) and Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) for not doing things the same way and improving our relationship building!  I reach more people today, in less time, for less money!

Now time to remove those incriminating Class of 1990 “Party Like It’s 1999”  prom pictures when Prince ruled the airwaves, cassette tapes got stuck, MC Hammer pants were awesome and Mississippi Mudflaps (aka a mullet) ruled!  Now that is change worth skyping about!

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Crazy HR Story: Can I Borrow $20?

Several years ago a sales friend was talking to a new client about placing contract employees.  The hiring manager began discussing his experiences with contract employees and told one crazy story.  It seems that he hired a contract employee in the normal fashion.  During the 2nd week of employment the contractor requested to borrow $20 from the hiring manager.  The hiring manager assumed that perhaps he was waiting to receive his 1st paycheck and loaned him the $20.

A week or so passed and the hiring manager had received the company provided cell phones for employees.  The contractor, who owed him $20, popped his head in the office, holding a $20 dollar bill.  He then asked “hey, do I get one of the new phones”?  The hiring manager replied, “I don’t have enough for everyone, so I will give you one when the next batch arrive”.  The contract employee gave him a glaring, extremely odd look and slowly put the $20 in his pocket.  Now you may think the story ends here, but it gets crazier!!

The manager was obviously flabbergasted.  Later that day one of his employees stopped by and stated that the contractor had borrowed $10 dollars from him.  He said it was not a huge deal, but had been several weeks and he had not paid him back.  Curiosity reared its head and to make a long story short, the contractor had borrowed money from several people, to the grand total of a few hundred dollars ($200+ if I remember correctly)!!

The enterprising contractor was immediately terminated!  The manager then called the agency and requested they “make it right”.  What would you have done in this case?  Well the agency took all the people who the contractor owed money out for lunch.  Maybe they should have returned the money to each person, because the company did not have much use for them after this.  Thus my friend’s ability to work with a new client under the promise of not bringing in a contractor who would borrow money!

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Inside the Mind of the Employer

Interviews! Stressful, uncertainty, informational….what words come to your mind! I want to give you a glimpse into the mind of the employer. Typically you have a few people/layers to make it through when interviewing. Did you know they have an impression of you within 7 seconds? Want to know what they think? Check out this presentation and hopefully it will give you a peak into the mind of the employer.

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