Friday, February 29, 2008

Elements of a Technical Resume

Guest Article by Boston Technical Recruiter

Article Title: Elements of a Technical Resume
Author Byline: Need Resume Help?
Author Website: http://www.boston-technical-recruiter.com

I model my resume on the resumes of consultants I work with. But in general a resume should be clear and should give a manager glancing over it a good idea of your technical capabilities. I’ve seen managers raving about 1 page resumes, but I don’t agree that a 1 pager does justice to someone’s experience.

Furthermore, there is always a mixed review on cover letters, I don’t really pay attention to them since they don’t say anything to me. Your resume should spell out what, where, and how. Chances are that if you do not have something in your resume a cover letter will not save you from the trash pile. I have also received quite a few resumes with the cover letter addressed to the wrong company. What do you think happens to that resume?

Font’s should be conservative, Arial 10-12pt, single spaced, regular round bullets, no underlines, bold only the job title, company name and date, and the heading can be a little bigger. Make sure your education is clearly marked on your resume. I noticed many Indian consultants do not put the school name; one consultant did not put that she went to IIT, a school comparable to MIT in the US and a huge advantage at certain firms. Place your most current education first, even it is not yet completed, unless you did not complete the degree at all.

Use action words such as develop, lead, recruited, gathered, analyzed, managed. Do not write prose “I was responsible for blab la bla… “ boring and slow. You want your resume to be crisp and sharp.

Include your numbers! Especially if you do sales where numbers are important.

Feel free to email me for any questions! Comments are welcome. You can take a look at my resume for an example.

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.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Interview Tips Everyone Can Use

There are always some basic interview rules that most people understand and abide by. You know - dress professionally, show up early, give a firm handshake, don’t talk too much, show confidence in your abilities, ask for the job… But sometimes it’s the simplest things preventing candidates from landing the job. Some recent examples I have seen:

1. Show up. Yea I know, it should be included in those basic rules that everyone understands. Yet it amazes me how many times people just don’t bother to show up, or even call to cancel.

2. Act professionally! It’s not enough to doll up, you have to act the part too. Outside of the friendly banter, don’t try to come off as the funny person everyone would love to work with. That won’t get you the job.

3. Don’t smell. Simple enough, but it can range from body odor to strong perfume or cologne, or maybe the breakfast burrito wasn’t a wise choice.

4. Look at me. Lack of eye contact shows a lack of confidence, or that you’re lying about something. I might not know which one it is, but it never tells me something good.

5. At least act interested. Don’t treat your potential employer like a commodity. An interesting turn of the tables I suppose, but if you’re interviewing with a company that treats their workers like a commodity, you should probably move on anyway. Take the high road and act like this is the only job you want.

6. Communicate any change in your terms. Once you tell a Recruiter or HR what you are looking for (salary, location, responsibilities, availability…), it’s OK to change that as the process goes on, but you have to let them know. Otherwise, you might end up interviewing for a job that has no chance of meeting your new terms for employment.

There are many reasons why you may or may not get a job, many of which are out of your control. But sometimes it's the most basic things that we take for granted that actually get noticed.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Chrysler Hires Tata

Well the rumblings at Chrysler have finally been formalized as TCS signed a contract to manage IT work. Say Ta-Ta to Chrysler IT. This just two weeks after stating that there would be no more job cuts. No More Job Cuts, (until we change our minds.)

And GMAC is cutting over 900 jobs, up to 150 here in the Detroit area. Cerberus has been busy.
GMAC Cuts

I sure hope all of this helps them turn things around, and soon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

How To Tell When You Are Successful

Author Byline: Karen Burns, Working Girl
Author Website: http://www.karenburnsworkinggirl.com

No one decides to be a failure.

But does that mean we all decide to be successful?

Not truly. Most of us want to be live happy lives and be successes in our work, but few of us take the time to define what success is, to us personally. And if we haven't defined what we want, how can we ever get it?
Now's the time to take pen or keyboard in hand and write out exactly what success means to you. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

1. Success is doing your job well. Really well. Being good at something is a true and deep pleasure.

2. Success is working in a field you feel good about. When you go to a party and someone asks, So what do you do? pay attention to how you react. Are you quick to respond, happy to share? Or do you hesitate, or become vague, or change the subject?

3. Success is earning the amount of money that makes you happy. No less. And, weirdly, no more. Anything above enough to live on, plus some for playing and some for saving, quickly just becomes all about more stuff. It's a simple fact that more stuff does not make you happy.

4. Success is passion. It's doing what drives you, inspires you, energizes you.

5. Success is making a difference. Everyone wants to "leave a legacy." Some jobs result in a clear product you can point to and say, This is what I did. A lot do not. The key is to do whatever you do well and with love. Add to the sum total of human happiness in the world and you will be leaving a valuable legacy.

6. Success is when you can give from your abundance. You have so much time, money, energy, and love that you are able to give some away! Cool.

As you work to be successful you'll find that success is a process, not a fixed point. It's sort of a moving target. You never "get there." So ít's hugely important that you enjoy the process, that it makes you happy.

Which leads to this important final point: A lot of people say that if you are successful you will be happy. But it's the other way around. If you are happy, you will be successful..

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.

Friday, February 15, 2008

IT staff still in short supply

Interesting article from today's GLITR report shows that IT workers remain in demand:

IT staff still in short supply, but hiring pace may slow. Amid all this talk of unemployment, IT workers continue to be in short supply, according to a CIO Insight analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. A record 3.76 million workers in the United States held IT jobs last year, a record and up 8.5 percent from 2006, the analysis showed. The rapid growth in employment lowered last year's IT unemployment rate to 2.1 percent, from 2.5 percent in 2006, the lowest level recorded since the government redefined IT occupations in 2000. While those are great numbers for IT jobseekers, they aren't welcomed by CIOs fighting among themselves for limited human resources. More at this link. However, CIOs also say they plan to increase their staffs at a slower pace in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to a survey of 1,400 CIOs from a national IT staffing company. More at this link.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Chimes Fallout

The recent Ensemble Chimes bankruptcy affected a lot of people here in the Detroit area. Beeline (http://www.beeline.com) purchased the Chimes assets earlier this month, and in their press release they made sure to mention that they intend to work hard to get the former Chimes clients back up and running as quickly as possible. Unfortunately there was no mention of helping all of the employees that were affected. Robert Stanke makes some good points about Chimes and VMS in general.

It's about time Chimes took the fall!
http://www.ere.net/blogs/The_Recruiters_Edge/A0005999368340E7B2E5D86297409C31.asp

Monday, February 11, 2008

Michigan economy continues to struggle

Two reports came out recently showing how bad the economy is in Michigan and Detroit. As you might expect, the automotives are to blame. With seven straight years of job losses, the experts are predicting a challenging 2008.

Report says Michigan lags in creating high-wage jobs
http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/02/report_says_michigan_lags_in_c.html

Comerica Report - Detroit Regional Economy Plunges in December
http://comerica.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=press_releases&item=893

Tips for Job Seekers from Kelly Services

Saw this on the Great Lakes IT Report this morning. There are some interesting findings for people in the job hunt. And one really important one for us Recruiters. According to the survey, the worst part of the job search is waiting for a response about a job. If we as Recruiters are not staying in touch with candidates regarding the status of a job, good or bad, then we are damaging our reputations both individually and as an industry. There are other aspects of the job search with which we can help our candidates, such as searching for jobs and helping word their resumes. The resumes are especially important as most survey participants did not feel that their resumes accurately illustrated their experience. As Recruiters we have some understanding of what customers are looking for and what tools and technologies they want spelled out in their job descriptions.

Not so surprising to me was that word-of-mouth was number one and Recruiter calls were number two, for methods that survey participants used to find jobs.

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/PR-CO-20080206-902984.html?mod=crnews

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hottest Skills for '08

ComputerWorld published this back in December, but hey I just found it. They list eight top skills for 2008 including Application Development, Project Management, Helpdesk/Technical Support, Security, Data Centers, Business Knowledge, and Networking/Telecommunications. They specifically mention AJAX, .Net and PHP under Programming needs. I have seen similar trends, but probably in a different order. The piece also links to some other intriguing articles, like the Top 10 Dead or Dying Computer Skills. You don't want to be on that list. But the problem is once you're on it, how do you get off the list. Those people are probably a niche skill that employers either want for that specific skill, or they don't want for the still current skills.

http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=308800

Friday, February 1, 2008

Successful Job Hunt Starts with the Interview

Article Title: Successful Job Hunt Starts with the Interview
Author Byline: Judit E .Price
Author Website: http://www.careercampaign.com

There was a time when skills, experience and accomplishments were the keys to a successful job hunt. After all, companies want the best person for the job and a strong record of accomplishments ought to put anyone at the head of the line. Or at least it should. Fortunately for firms and unfortunately for job seekers we are in a situation where the number of qualified professionals available for a position is higher than the demand. In too many cases, qualifications are only the door opener.

Screening potential employees has become very complex. Hiring managers really look for the perfect candidate. The fact is firms today reject the prospects that are "good enough" or even "very good." They don't want anyone who is willing and tries hard. And any candidate who "just wants a chance" will be shown the door. In addition, career managers, who believe that managing is the job and have lost their edge in their particular expertise, are also rejected routinely. The fact is each hiring decision is analyzed and each candidate is scrutinized as if the fate of the organization depended on this single decision. The screening process may seem to go on forever. As a result, the frustration of waiting can be torture. Yet that is today's reality.

Job seekers must understand no matter how good they consider themselves, candidates must take on a new or enhanced set of skills. As an interviewee, you must acquire those interviewing communication skills that will set you apart and create a comfort zone of confidence in the interviewer that this person is the right person for the job. The interviewer can only see what the candidate reveals. That means you have to respond to what they want to see. If you get that interview and position yourself as someone who has a record of accomplishment in the specific areas sought, and position yourself as well qualified with the human characteristics they value, you become a very viable candidate.

Since a candidate gets only one chance to make a good first impression, careful preparation must precede every interview. Preparation generally means five golden rules: Know the company with which you are interviewing; know the job requirements; know how your skills, experience and accomplishments fit the job requirements; know why you are uniquely qualified to fill the position; and know why this firm has unique qualities, values or culture that make it a particularly good fit for you.

It is essential to remember each organization is a type of community, with values and expectations that go well beyond the mechanics of the job. These values extend to factors such as honesty, reliability, efficiency, personal chemistry, leadership traits or a whole host of other criteria that significantly influence the hiring decision. Consequently, research into these traits can make a huge difference. Perhaps a former colleague works for the firm, or a networking event can offer an opportunity to meet someone who can supply information. Candidates must never lose sight of the "human side" of the organization, those values that interviewers consider critical for success.

It is also possible that many of these traits are totally irrelevant to being successful. Nevertheless, if the corporate culture says certain factors are important, then by definition, they are important.

Success on the job and frequently in life is often linked to good communications skills because almost all work calls for some form of communication. Communication is speaking, and most candidates know what they are going to say. However, candidates often fail in an interview because of the other side of the equation: the need for good listening skills. It is essential to develop good listening skills with sensitivity to nuance and body language. Interviewers are interested in both the facts and the delivery. Consequently, listening carefully, with good eye contact, good posture and focus on the question and questioner may elicit a response from you that has far more thought and depth than you might otherwise deliver.

As preparation, put yourself in the interviewers shoes and think about what you would want to know about a candidate. Then develop a set of responses based on your knowledge of the organization. Finally, listen carefully to the questions to ensure that what you have prepared is truly relevant and substantively responsive to the question.

If after all of this, you are on track, there is one more step. At the end of the interview, the interviewer will almost always ask if there are any questions. This is your opportunity to "close the deal" with this interviewer. Ask if there are any questions or concerns you should address. Second, ask if the interviewer believes you can do the job. Finally, try to get the interviewer to relate their own experiences, challenges and issues, and how they tackled them. Ask them if they are happy in their job; do they like the company; what are its strengths and weaknesses and how employees are measured. Demonstrate interest about the values and philosophies that guide relationships within the firm. And, as best you can, create bridges between those issues and challenges and your own experiences.

Stay alert. From the moment you walk in the door and announce yourself to the receptionist, the interview has begun. After the interview debrief your experience with a coach or friend. Remember, the interview is also a learning experience in preparation for the next one. Finally, send a thank you note. The debriefing may uncover a point or two you want to re-emphasize in the note. Then follow up a few days later. Based on any response it might be advisable to stay in touch with the hiring manager even if you were not chosen. Even if they do not want to hire you for this position, a positive impression can sometimes result in a call back for a different job.

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.