Every month I will seek out expert advice to help consumers make better decisions pertaining to personal finance with the newly launched section – PF TALK. Hopefully you’ll enjoy reading the interviews as much as I’ve enjoyed conducting them. Enjoy.
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down for an intimate interview with one of the leading recruiters in Toronto. She also happens to be a personal friend and a blogger within the personal finance niche. We caught up over dinner, but more importantly addressed the current job market while I asked some fairly “tough” questions according to her about resume preparation, applying for jobs, changing careers and the necessary preparation for an interview.
Jen has over 1o years experience as an information technology recruiter and has helped corporations nationwide find the best candidates for their organizations. She takes pride in her work and is always willing to go above the call of duty for her clients. There is one key difference that Jen possess versus the average recruiter. She believes in equally standing behind potential clients when presenting them to corporations by guiding them through the interview process and polishing their resumes before hand.
Her comments on the current job market and strategies for employment were so on-target, so I thought I’d share them with you. I have compiled her responses to my various challenging and sometimes dull questions in this month’s edition of PF TALK.
And in case you missed last month’s PF Talk Interview, here’s the interview with the CEO of InsurEye – Insurance Comparison Done Differently
1. For recent grads looking to land their first job out of school, what are some traditional ways one can use to approach when job seeking?
I’ve always suggested to new grads, even well before they graduate to become interns. Give up some of your time for FREE, and in return you’ll gain some valuable experience. Most fresh grads are lost and unsure where to go for in their first big job hunt. Brand your self. Know your strengths and your weaknesses before you approach a potential employer. And when you do get out and start searching for work, start with traditional ways;
One thing that a lot of people forget (including new grads) is to network. Talk to friends, family members, professors and professionals they know within their circle. The key to networking is being tactful about it through politeness, rather than harassing people. One thing that new grads needs to be prepared for is rejection. Job hunting is a numbers game.
2. How about some non-traditional, or new ideas for those on the job hunt?
I would suggest cold-calling. This best works with small to mid-size companies where the job hunter can get direct access to the hiring person. Attending events such that are thrown during career week can be very rewarding. Far too many job hunters focusing on applying rather than networking. And as a recruiter I can easily spot a client that is networking through the confidence they portray versus someone desperate and job hunting.
3. What are some things that new grads need to be realistic about?
Most of today’s new grads are a little unrealistic. They’re unrealistic about their salary expectations and sometimes the position they’re applying for. You need to start from the bottom, be eager to show your skill set and prove your self. Experience will always be a greater asset to new grads in the early stages of their careers than the money they earn. When I look at resumes, including those of a new grads and seasoned veterans, I’ll always look at experience first and use their education as an asset to their experience.
4. Are recruiters/head hunters known to work with new grads or do they prefer someone more seasoned?
Most recruiters prefer someone seasoned. Companies don’t have a hard time filling entry level positions, and most fill those entry level positions through their own recruiting process.
5. What sort of things do hiring companies look for in new grads?
They want someone different. I mentioned this earlier the key to getting that interview is to stand out and be different. One way to be different is offering something different within your skill set – a blog would be a great example. I can say that roughly out of the last 80 people I interviewed in the last two months, only two candidates had a blog, and they both have jobs now.
One of them was a new grad who came to me with an urban planning degree. He landed a job within a month of graduating due to a very informative Estate blog. Candidates shouldn’t pretend to be a know it all’s and instead just be the real them by exemplifying their eagerness and enthusiasm.
6. Often we hear about keywords or buzzwords on resumes. How important are they and how can one go about finding these words that are geared towards their industry?
Keywords are really important. Companies feed the incoming resumes through systems designed to look for keywords. Recruiters are also trained to look for keywords. I would suggest to those looking to keep their resumes polished to keep up on what new trends are hot for job hunting, and don’t be afraid to look at others resumes within your industry. Bios of successful people within your industry are a really good place to get keywords to add to your resume. Check out websites pertaining to your industry and view the bios of the presidents, vice-presidents, directors and others in the management.
7. Ideally, how long should a resume be?
This depends on your experience, but never more than two pages. If you’re a new grad, typically one page will do the trick. Fight the length of your resume through the use of powerful keywords. It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers have very short attention spans.
8. What are some things to leave off of your resume?
I think I’ve seen it all…or maybe not quite yet. I had the opportunity to receive pictures with resumes and pictures built into resumes. I also don’t need to know your marital status or your date of birth. Email addresses should be professional, none of that “bigsexy@hotmail” stuff. It just looks too unprofessional. Simply, lose your high-school email.
Finally, there is no reason to have McDonald’s on your resume, unless you have management experience. And if you have a diploma, drop your high-school diploma.
9. Being a recruiter, what is the first thing you look for on a resume?
I look for stability. Roughly three to five years in a job. I get turned off by job seekers who have been in a job duty for 20 years. It shows me they are lacking some motivation. Finally, depending on the type of job, there is no one size fits all.
A big thanks to Jen for providing such helpful information to job seekers.
I’m glad I had the opportunity to conduct this interview as the conversation was effortless. Please make sure you check our her blog – shebloggs.com for some really insightful posts pertaining to personal finance, job hunting, interviewing and a lot of other career goodies. And if you’re looking to get your resume polished, she offers a wonderful service on her blog to help job seekers get their resumes ready for the job hunt, cover letter development and interview preparation – check out Jen’s HIRE ME page.
Oh, and don’t be afraid to use the secret code “Mr. Fox Sent Me” for a special discount. :)