Tag Archives: knock em dead

5 steps to take when you can’t tailor your résumé to a particular position

ResumeWhen I tell job seekers they should tailor their résumés to every position, their eyes widen. Some protest that this is too much work and one or two even become angry and profusely refuse to put in this hard work.

The reason I tell my customers to make the effort is because they need to speak to the needs of the employer. Further, this will impress the employer with their research of the position and demonstrate how they can solve problems the company is facing.

But let’s be realistic; this is not possible for every résumé you write, particularly if:

  • you’re posting your résumé on a job board where it will be stored in a résumé bank among millions of other résumés;
  • you don’t have a descriptive job ad and/or;
  • there’s no one to network with to find the real deal about the job for which you’re applying.

So what’s the solution?

In his Knock ‘Em Dead series, Knock ‘Em DeadSecrets & Strategies for Success in an Uncertain World, Martin Yate offers his Target Job Deconstruction (TJD) method as the next best thing to a tailor-made résumé. His method makes sense to me, so I teach it in my workshops.

“Your résumé,” he writes, “will obviously be most effective when it starts with a clear focus and understanding of a specific job target. TJD allows you to analyze exactly how employers prioritize their needs for your target job and the words used to express those needs, resulting in a detailed template for the story your résumé needs to tell.”

There are eight steps Martin describes when writing your TJD (they can be found in his book), but I’ll talk about the most immediate steps for creating your résumé template.

1. The first task in creating your résumé template is to collect approximately six job ads for a position you’re seeking. Use websites like Indeed.com. They use spider technology pulling from other job boards and deliver a plethora of positions from which to choose. The locations of the jobs matter not.

2. From there, you’ll note a requirement (skill, deliverable) most common for all six positions. Next, identify a common requirement for five of the six positions, a common requirement for four of the six positions, and so on, until you have a list of the most common requirements in descending order.

This will give you a good understanding of how employers think when they determine who they’d like to hire. It will also give you a foundation to write a résumé template, which you can modify whenever you send your résumé to a particular company.

Let’s look at a Marketing Specialist position in the Boston area. I managed to find six job descriptions by using Indeed.com. Listed below are the six most common requirements for this position.

  1. Common to all six companies is writing copy for web content, as well as creating a social media campaign.
  2. Common to five of the companies is managing relations with appropriate departments.
  3. Common to four of the companies is coordinating projects with outside vendors.
  4. Common to three of the companies is researching competitors’ websites and reporting activity.
  5. Common to two of the companies is coordinating trade shows.
  6. Another notable duty is Photo shoots/animation development, which drew my attention, as I enjoy, but have limited experience in photography.

3. Now write your résumé. Given the above information, your new résumé should first verify in the Professional Profile your qualifications for the most common requirements listed. Your Performance Profile could read as follows based on the general requirements:

Produced compelling content for website and social media distribution ~ Manage communications between engineering, production, and sales ~ Develop and nurture vendor relationships ~ Direct trade shows from planning to completion ~ Acknowledged by CEO for cost reduction.

4. You will next extract all the key words that apply to you and create a Competencies section including those key words, as your résumé might be scanned by large and even midsize companies. Don’t forget the strong transferable skills you possess.

5. Finally, you will prove in your Employment History what you have asserted in your Professional profile. Try to prove your assertions with accomplishment statements that are quantified. For example, the following accomplishment addresses the first statement from the Performance Profile above:

Produced persuasive content which was distributed via the company’s website and major social media platforms. During this time, revenue increased by 56%.

Final Note: I continue to insist that, when at all possible, my customers tailor their résumés to each job they apply, as it demonstrates their knowledge of the position and effectively demonstrates their qualifications to meet the position’s requirements. This is ideal when you have a list of your top 20-30 companies, the companies for which you want to show your love.

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The importance of competencies on your résumé, according to Martin Yate

If you’re wondering why the hundreds of résumés you’ve submitted online to various job boards haven’t resulted in an interview, not even a confirmation–it might have something to do with some very important information missing from your résumés.

The information in question, and what Martin Yate writes about in his latest blog post, Resume Getting Lost In The Resume Databases?, is your core competencies.

Martin Yate, author of the popular Knock em Dead series, describes in layman terms the importance of core competencies, how they act as the keywords that front-line managers use to search their company’s database for the next best hire. Don’t have the proper keywords, you may not end up in the pile of 20 résumés to be read by the front-line manager. Read this article to grasp the importance of keywords and how to present them on your résumés so they land on the top of the pile.

Martin Yate’s advice for if you were fired

Guest post from Martin Yate.

Firing someone is the single most unpleasant responsibility a manager has, and never a decision that is made lightly. If you have been terminated, it is easy to point the finger of blame, but for your own financial well being, please look at where your other three fingers are pointing – right back at you.

It is difficult to face, but almost always, you bear a degree of accountability. If you take responsibility you can clean up your act and leave the past behind. If you do not take responsibility for past actions, you cannot change the problem behaviors that cost you that job and they will continue to dog you through the years.

Ignore this advice and get a couple of terminations and you kill any potential for professional growth and good jobs at better companies. So the first and most important thing is to take responsibility for the actions that led to your dismissal.

Learn from your mistakes & clean up the mess

Call the person who fired you; your aim is to clear the air, so whatever you do, don’t be antagonistic. Reintroduce yourself and take responsibility for what happened. Say that you appreciate that the manager had to do what was done, that you want to apologize for being such a problem, and that you learned from the experience. Be sincere.

If the manager talks to you about your transgressions, don’t take offense: you are here with a business agenda not to fight battles already lost. Instead listen, try to learn and whatever is said thank the manager for the insights. Even if the termination was unjust it doesn’t matter. It is better to eat a little crow now if it will help you get back to work and make a living, and benefit you for the rest of your working life.

After you have made your apologies, explain that you are still looking for a new job. Then address what you learned and ask, “If you were asked as part of a pre- or post-employment reference check, what would you say about me? How would you describe my leaving the company? Would you say that I was fired or that I simply resigned? You see, every time I tell someone about my termination, whoosh, there goes another chance of getting back to work. You had a right to terminate me, and I have learned and I have apologized and I am suffering financially in ways you can’t imagine. Can we bury the past so that I can put my life back together? It’s in your hands.” Most managers will give you a break. Taking responsibility and cleaning up the past really works and is the first step in putting yourself back on a success track.

Check company reference policy

You should also call Human Resources. Tell them you are an ex-employee who was terminated and ask them

* What is company policy on giving references?

* Are managers allowed to give references?

* What information will HR give in response to a reference request?

Unwarranted crappy references have led to enough lawsuits over the years that many companies have a policy that managers are not allowed to give references and that all HR will confirm are dates of employment and salary at end of employment. This may give you an added line of security that the past employer will say nothing about your termination.

If this is the case, but that past manager, despite your efforts to clean up the past still insists on damning your future, tell HR. Tell them what he has said he will say about you, that he is actively striving to deny you the opportunity to put food on your table and a roof over your head. Ask if there is anything they can do? If they “aren’t sure” ask again, adding that you don’t want a lawsuit, you just want to get back to work. If you have followed my advice, ninety nine times out of a hundred, someone in human resources will spike his guns.

You can learn more about resumes, job search and interviews at Martin’s free weekly webcast http://my.knockemdead.com/.
Courtesy, www.KnockEmDead,com