Author Archives: Alex Freund

About Alex Freund

Alex has extensive experience with interviewing people. He has also practical training in career coaching. Consequently, he formed LandingExpert – Career Coaching services. He is prominent in a number of networking groups and has helped many job seekers with their career searches, providing them with tools, information, marketing material, and one-on-one preparation for the interview. Via his website www.landingexpert.com he offers people in transition and otherwise a comprehensive and updated list of job-search networking groups. This list is being viewed consistently by over 3000 people per month.

How to Create Your Best Personal Image

How to Create Your Best Personal Image

Personal image is the dearest thing you own

When you feel disappointed, you feel let down because your expectations failed to be met. Little children at times express their reactions to disappointment by crying; adults deal with disappointment more maturely—through logic. Regardless of your age, though, disappointment evokes strong emotions.

Those in job transition have a heightened sense of awareness of such emotional response and make every effort to protect themselves from disappointment, yet at times they’re the ones causing disappointment to others and themselves—often unknowingly. Job seekers certainly do not do that by design, but awareness of the possibility of being the cause provides an opportunity to avoid or correct a potentially critically fatal situation. For example, as one who uses social media extensively, I have to admit that I’m attracted to people who have a really good picture on their profile—not necessarily because of their looks but because I can identify with those who I can see understand the value of projecting their best.

Next I poke around the Internet and sometimes find a video or other, more recent, pictures of the person. And that’s when the disappointment might come in: when it’s apparent that the picture on the profile is years old. That causes me to feel let down. Another instance that people in transition should consider is their submission of an archaic résumé to accompany a job application. This is the equivalent of being invited to an important event and showing up in soiled clothing in disrepair, which of course is simply unacceptable.

Recruiters tell me that occasionally, in contacting job seekers by phone, they get the impression that the person at the other end of the call is totally unprepared to discuss employment issues. The job seeker wants and needs a job but has failed to prepare for such a phone call. The result? The recruiter feels disappointed, and the job seeker has lost an opportunity. What a shame!

I remember a time I went to a job search networking event. Admittedly, it was a warm-weather day, but I’ll never forget the inappropriate apparel of several of those attendees who wanted to project themselves as high-level executives, high-powered lawyers, and the like. The shorts, worn-out T-shirts, and flip-flops (!) some of them were wearing were certainly incongruent with the image I would have expected from such people.

Building a personal image is difficult and takes time. Ruining it is easy and instant. How often do job candidates come out of an interview and blame themselves for not having answered the interviewer’s questions well? Both parties know it and feel equally disappointed. The candidate could have prepared better, but by then it’s too late. The irreversible damage has been done.

So, the next time, especially when you’re in transition, try to think with the other person’s mind, and ask yourself whether you’re making the right impression or the wrong one.

How do You Deal with the Black Hole

How do You Deal with the Black Hole

WHY don’t they answer me??

In this context, black hole is not a scientific term but, rather, the annoying situation when people apply for posted job openings and never hear back. It’s very frustrating because applying for jobs is a time-consuming effort—too often with no results. But why is that state of affairs so prevalent? The answer is simple: because 72% of job applications are never seen by the human eye. Applicants need to understand that unlike in the past, most companies today—except for smaller ones—are using a software application called applicant tracking system, or ATS. This software acts similarly to the spam filter on your e-mail whereby the majority of spams never reach your in-box, and therefore, you’re not even aware of them.

How does an ATS work?

The ATS scans résumés, culls relevant data, and plugs the data into predetermined columns by categories in its database. For example, the contact information at the top of the résumé gets plugged into the database so that the recruiter can sort it and search; the applicant’s education goes into a slot in the ATS assigned for education; and so forth. If such information does not get picked up properly from the résumé, the entire content might get omitted or placed in a different part of the ATS’s database.

Typically, résumés contain section headers or job titles different from those the ATS is expecting. Assume a section title on a résumé says, for instance, “Further Training and Skills.” The wording may confuse the ATS, and, again, result in omission of the entire section or attachment of the section to another area where it does not belong and where it makes no sense. The human brain can deal with such variations and exceptions, but the computer cannot. Another example might be the existence of periods in the separation of the elements of a 10-digit phone number instead of what the ATS is expecting, which could be that the area code is given in parentheses, after which a word space follows, and then separation of the next three digits from the last four by a hyphen. There are of course many other such examples whereby the ATS is unable to properly code the information.

How is the recruiter using the information the ATS presents?

The recruiter can sort the information provided by the ATS by status—for example, interviewed, hired, offered, in review or rating at his discretion; geographic location; or information for future sorting. The recruiter can group applicants by skills or status or other criteria established as relevant to the candidate search.

Conclusion

  • Use conventional terminology when choosing section header wording. Check other résumés to see what’s common. This is not an area to apply your creativity to.
  • Use synonyms—for example, HR or human resources—because you never know what query the recruiter is using.
  • Best if you apply for only one position at a company. If you apply for more than one position, the second application might get ignored unless the recruiter is manually indicating that this is the second position you’re applying for.
  • Use Jobscan or TagCrowd software, with which you can compare the words used in the job description to better match the words in your résumé.

A final word

The logic of a job seeker is to apply for as many positions online as applicable. And that makes sense. I am reminded of the famous bank robber Willie Sutton, who was asked why he robbed banks. His humorous—and logical—answer was, “Because that’s where the money is.” Indeed, recruiters have jobs to fill, but it is known too that the chance of a job seeker’s landing a position through a recruiter is around 5 percent. Most people—60 to 80%—get their jobs by networking. So, how will you spend your time in finding a job?

How Millennials Adapt to Change Quickly

How Millennials Adapt to Change Quickly

Younger people are open to changes

Companies are not permitted to discriminate in hiring based on a candidate’s age, because such discrimination is illegal. And yet they do it every day. Why? Why are younger people considered more desirable in the workplace? The simple answers are that they require less compensation; they’re hungry because they need to accumulate wealth for future years; sometimes they’re more educated and have advanced degrees; and they can stick around longer before retiring. There are other reasons too, such as getting sick less often and having more stamina. But there’s one crucial thing that people don’t often talk about: that younger generations can adapt more easily to change and therefore can—and are willing to—learn new things. Invariably, when more-mature people joke about the fact that if they need to do just about anything technology related, they phone their children or even their grandchildren. Younger generations’ brains are wired to deal more readily with modern technology. And they don’t have to unlearn old technology.

Today’s work environment requires the ability to adapt quickly to market demands. New technology is ubiquitous and evolving fast. Learning new things and immediately becoming able to use them are modern-age requirements. Younger people more easily learn. Older people often resist and can’t.

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,”

As the adage says, is true for people more advanced in age. Many don’t know how to use a smartphone or how to e-mail or how to navigate the Internet or how to shop online. And they’ve come to believe they’re too old to learn; they’ve given up on learning new things. Employers are fully aware of that phenomenon and consider the age of an applicant before making an offer.

Beginning with our birth and for many years after, learning new things is a necessity to survive and be part of modern society. As we get older, though, we reach a point when learning becomes optional. We no longer need to learn new things to survive. Some use the excuse that they can’t learn anymore because they’re old. It’s not true, of course, but it still gets used as an excuse. And some simply lack the motivation to expend the energy required to learn new things.

Older people should stress in job interviews that they have the desire to keep learning new things, and in fact they should give examples of new things they’ve learned recently and adopted as parts of their daily lives.