The 21st Century Job Search

New cover shot for articles

People seem to believe that entering a new century means that there is a new way to do just about everything, or at least there should be. That’s silly. At least as regards conducting an effective job search, the only thing different in this, the second decade of the twenty-first century, from previous centuries, is technology – you can literally find networking events at the push of a button, and apply for hundreds of jobs a week, if you already have a computer and Internet access, virtually for free!

There are two other differences, but I am afraid you will have to read my new book, The 21st Century Job Search, to find out what they are!

I have never been afraid of controversy, nor am I hesitant to admit when I am wrong. Accordingly, in the book I revisit my previous comments on such things as wearing large engagement rings to job interviews, my short-lived position as a career coach at a New York university, and coping with discrimination, topics which raised some eyebrows when I originally wrote about them on LinkedIn.

In the book you will learn:

  • How to prepare for an effective job search;
  • How to research prospective employers;
  • How to handle your Internet presence;
  • How to utilize LinkedIn to build your brand and attract employers;
  • How to effectively network – especially if you are shy;
  • How to prepare for surprises;
  • How to correctly read job descriptions to avoid frustration;
  • What really happens to, and how to write, effective cover letters;
  • What really happens to, and how to write, effective resumes;
  • How to properly prepare for phone, video and in-person interviews;
  • What questions to ask, and how to answers questions you will be asked, in interviews;
  • How to follow-up after an interview;
  • About legal and illegal discrimination; and
  • About negotiating, offer letters, and resigning.

I also tackle the “tough” questions of dealing with a “resume gap,” raising health issues, having been fired, and how to turn having been a stay-at-home parent or caregiver into an attraction for employers.

But I do not simply tell you what to do, when possible, I show you. There is a script, especially for those of you who are shy, for effective networking and follow up. Additionally, you will find sample letters for networking, expressing interest in a company, applying for jobs, thanking interviewers and, my personal favorite, the rejection letter.

While in the book I give particular advice to veterans, college students, “older” candidates, the long-term unemployed, stay-at-home parents, and caregivers about how to effectively cope with the different stages of a job search, the book is for any job seeker regardless of their circumstances.

The official launch date for the book is March 1. You may pre-order the book and receive significant savings through February 28. The paperback edition will only cost you $9.95 (a $10 savings), and the Kindle edition will only be $2.99 (a $6.96 savings; FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers.) To make your purchase, click on the links or the book cover.

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Links to LinkedIn Posts You May Find of Interest

Ten Things for Veterans to Keep in Mind When Conducting a Job Search

10 Things to Do to Get over the Holiday Job Seeking Blues

Why I Believe I am Correct in Accepting Connect Requests from Everyone

The 5-Second Resume Skim

Two Jobs to Think Thrice About Before Taking

How I Got a Former Prostitute Hired

5 Steps to Successful Career Change

Closing the Salary Gap

9 Questions Every Candidate Should Ask in an Interview and Why

Before hiring, meet the wife!

Why reading the classics is important

Check Your References

What is an Informational Meeting and How Should You Conduct One?

The Dangers of Frivolous Accusations of Sexual Harassment

Why Volunteering is so Important for Job Seekers

What is appropriate to share with colleagues and what isn’t?

Is this the Dumbest or Most Brilliant Reason for Working on a Straight Commission?

On Time Management

What will the 2018 Resume Look Like?

On Bald Spots, Women’s Undergarments and Multiple Resumes

It seems that in every generation a gender is made to look foolish. (P.T. Barnum would be proud!) In the 1990s it was men. If you had a bald spot the solution was a can of spray paint or, as I like to call it, “hair in a can.” Con the woman of your dreams into falling head (pun intended) over heels for you and pray you never have to take a shower or that she starts running her fingers through your mane!

Now it’s the ladies’ turn. Not being able to sleep, I turned on the television in the wee hours of the morning and had a good laugh. I don’t remember the name of the product but the company was hocking a modern corset (there is really nothing new under the sun!) guaranteed to give the wearer an instant hourglass figure. Of course, if the new form attracts the man of the wearer’s dreams, no advice was provided for the consequences of the removal of said garment.

This reminded me of a recent exchange I had with a job seeker who insists on having a different resume for every job for which he applies. This was not just someone who tweaks his resumes, he rewrites them. Significantly, he would change job titles and not just responsibilities and accomplishments. That’s called lying and is not something that I ever condone.

My warning to him was that one day, when he does well in an interview, and an employer starts checking references, the lies in his resume will become apparent. Next time I will continue the thought with…much like the bald spot after the shower and the true figure after the removal of the modern corset.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements. Follow him on Twitter at @HurwitzStaffing.

“Caregiver”​ and “Stay-at-Home Mom”​ are not jobs

Usually, it takes a while for me to lose it. I have a high tolerance for the ridiculous, the foolish, the ignorant and the stupid. My feeling is that sooner or later people will realize who, and what, they are and they will receive the anonymity that they so richly deserve. So why bother getting upset?

On the other hand…

I received a call from a perspective career counseling client. This woman is interested in entering the job market. Nothing new about that. But this woman is rather unique. She has never had a “job job,” to quote her. And she does not have a resume. She’s never had one. And when she called “professional resume writers,” they all told her that since she had no “employment history” they really could not help her. After all, what she had been doing all of her adult life “didn’t count.”

The woman graduated from college and then got married. For the next 17 years, she raised three healthy, well-adjusted, children. When her eldest turned 15, her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The family decided to move her into their home. She now had, along with her husband, responsibility for raising three children and looking after her mother who needed an increasing amount of attention as, ironically, her children required less.

Her mother recently passed away and now, with her eldest heading off to college, and her other two children more or less independent, she needs to get a job to help pay medical bills. And, for obvious reasons, she wants to and needs to get out of the house.

But the resume writers told her that she has no employment history. Talk about ridiculous, foolish, ignorant and stupid! Think about the skills this woman has had to master:

  • Patience
  • Organization
  • Scheduling
  • Maneuvering in governmental bureaucracies
  • Budgeting
  • Vetting of service providers
  • Negotiating
  • Being meticulous

What employer, in their right mind, would not want an employee who has mastered these skills? No work experience? Rubbish!

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter and career counselor. He has helped scores (thousands if you include attendees at his presentations) of people, including veterans, not only change jobs but, on occasion, change careers. Having successfully transitioned from academia to non-profits to the recruiting industry, he has been there and done that!

Bruce is a recognized authority on job search and career issues, having been quoted in over 700 articles, appearing in some 500 publications, across the United States and in more than 30 foreign countries. His posts on LinkedIn have been read over 350,000 times and have garnered national and international media attention, including television appearances on Fox Business Network and Headline News (CNN).

An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies and to learn about his upcoming speaking engagements.

Never Use a Functional Resume

I have been a recruiter since 2003 and a career counselor since 2009.  During this time I must have received hundreds of functional resumes.  Not in some; not in most; in ALL cases the sender was trying to hide something.  Allow me to explain:

Most job seekers either don’t know, or have forgotten, what the purpose of a resume is.  Traditionally, we say, “The purpose of the cover letter is to get the recipient to look at the resume; the purpose of the resume is to get the interview.”  True enough.  But the real purpose of the resume is to tell the recipient what they want to know.

So what does a resume recipient want to know?

First, where you live and how to contact you.  If they are conducting a search for local candidates only, and you are across the country, they don’t want to waste their time with you.  Not including your city and state of residence (no one needs to know your actual address), will not get you an interview.  At best, you will get a very short conversation:  “Where do you live?”  “Thank you, but we are only considering local candidates.  It’s on the job description!”

Second, can you keep a job?  How long did you work for your various employers?

Third, do you meet the minimum qualifications for consideration meaning, do you have the necessary education (degree), certifications, licenses, etc., not to mention years of experience?

Fourth, if you pass the first three tests, what were your most recent accomplishments.

That’s it.  Four things.  If your resume does not make those four clear, you will not be considered.

So what’s the problem with function resumes?

They usually begin with a description of the applicant’s accomplishments/ responsibilities by category.  For example, let’s say it is a business development professional.  There may be  headings for “Sales,” and “Marketing,” and “Client Acquisition and Retention,” and “Customer Service.”  Under each the owner will list their accomplishments and specific responsibilities.

That is all fine and good, but let’s say that the employer is interested in “Client Acquisition and Retention,” and the person has not been involved with that for 10 years.  That is something that they need to know but will not appear on a functional resume.  So when the employer calls and ask, “How long ago was your client acquisition and retention experience?” , that conversation will also be very short.

Under “Work Experience,” some persons list all current and past employers, but have one general heading for the years.  Except for the basics: name, title, location, there’s no content.  That sends the message that the applicant probably only had one job, if that, for a significant amount of time.  They are a jumper.  Employers don’t hire jumpers.

In other words, a functional resume sends the message:  I don’t want you to know how long I worked for my various employers and when was the last time I actually did what you are interested in hiring someone to do.

Stick to the traditional chronological resume.  Start with your name, city and state of residence, and contact information.  Don’t waste your time with an introductory paragraph telling the recipient how great you think you are; they do not care.  What they care about is what you have actually accomplished.  So start with “Selected Accomplishments” and half a dozen bullet points.  Then comes “Work Experience,” showing dates, employer name, your title, and what you actually did for the employers.  Then “Education,” “Certifications,” “Skills and Languages,” and “Volunteer Activities.”  And if you have them, “Awards and Honors,” “Publications,” “Media Citations,” and “Speaking Engagements” – all the things that tell employers that other people think you are as great as you think you are!

If you want an employer to call you, make certain your resume clearly answers their questions:  Where do you live and how can I reach you?  Can you keep a job?  Are you qualified?  What have you actually accomplished in your career that will make me confident you are the right person to solve my problems and how long ago was that?

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.  Visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about the latest questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies.

You Only Need One Resume

When someone signs up for career counseling, I ask them to send me their resume and, if they have one, a sample cover letter.  No surprise there; I’m sure we all do it.

A new client said he had a few and would send them to me so I could choose the best one.  When his e-mail arrived with the attachments I called him to confirm that he had actually sent what he has sent.  There were 23 resumes!  He explained that he would “tweak” the resume to better match each job for which he was applying.  I looked at the first 10 and gave up.

I called him back and asked him to send me the one resume that had gotten him the most interviews.  There were none.  So, as the basis of our 2-hour consultation, which got the ball rolling, so to speak, I used his most recent.

He had made all of the classic mistakes:

First, no city and state of residence.

Second, there was, front and center, an “Objective.”

Third, he had a “Professional Statement.”

The rest of the resume was fine.  If you bothered to read it, you would get an accurate summary of his professional career.  He is good at what he does.

So what we did was to add on his city and state of residence, and lose the nonsense, which we replaced with a section titled, “Selected Accomplishments.”   There were now half a dozen bullet points, front and center, that gave an employer six concrete verifiable reasons to meet with him.  The only changes he would now make in the resume, if he was so inclined to do so, would be in the order of the bullets.

The reasons you don’t want to have multiple resumes is that (a) it can get very confusing; (b) if you are just adding keywords because they appear in a job description, even though you really have no experience with what they represent, you will get caught in the lie; and (c) if, and it may very well happen, you send two different resumes to the same employer, they will suspect something is wrong.

So all you need is one resume and, if you are so inclined, rearrange your highlighted accomplishments.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor.  His posts on LinkedIn have been read close to a quarter of a million times and have garnered international media attention.   In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.  An advocate for the protection of job seekers, visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies.

How to fill a resume gap

There are resume gaps and then there are resume gaps.

The first gap is because of stupidity.  You robbed the Bank of England.  You got caught.  You did your time.  So what do you put on your resume?  I was stupid.  I robbed the Bank of England.  I got caught.  I did my time.  And this is what I learned.

Given that this is such an emotional topic for some people, I thought I would begin with a bit of levity.  Hopefully it worked.  (Actually, it’s not such a bad idea!)

Now let’s get serious.

The first type of gap is that caused by a personal situation.  Usually this is being a caregiver for an elderly relative.  Under “Work Experience,” list it as follows:

Caregiver (Parent had Alzheimer’s)     2013-2016

Responsibilities included:

  • Scheduling of appointments
  • Dealing with insurance issues
  • Interacting with medical staff
  • Vetting recreational, health and social facilities
  • Securing a residence (“adult-proofing”)
  • Negotiating
  • Learning patience

I worked for a number of years in a nursing home and think this list is accurate; I know it is incomplete.  What employer would not want someone who has been through this, there’s no better word for it, hell?  If I had a client, an employer, who was looking to fill a Customer Service position, this is the person I would want to submit.

The next type of gap is that which is due to the fact that you lost your job, for whatever reason, and have not been able to find employment for some time.  In this case I would suggest the following.

Under “Work Experience,” for your most recent “job” write, “Employment Related Activities.”  What you want to do is to show the employer that you are not the type of person who remains idle.  You want the employer to see that you don’t waste your time.  During your unemployment you have bettered yourself.  This is what I mean:

Work Experience

Employment Related Activities       2012 – Present

  • Completed the following on-line courses:
  • Took the following non-profession related assignments:
  • Established a professional networking group on LinkedIn resulting in:
  • Volunteering:

XYZ Corporation, New York, NY      2009 – 2012

Marketing Director

  • Identify prospects
  • Prepare marketing materials
  • Oversee social media
  • Etc.

(XYZ is included just for the visual.)

Let’s look at each of the “Activities” individually:

Completed the following on-line courses:

The message you are sending to the employer is that you are current in your field.  Of course, the courses do not have to only be “on-line.”  In-person classes are even more valuable because they will expand your network as you interact with faculty and students.  And if they result in a certification or license, so much the better.  Anything that can increase your value to an employer will aid in getting you hired.

Took the following non-profession related assignments:

Now you can show that you can leave your ego at the door and do what you have to do to pay your bills.  So what if you drive for Uber?  Or stock the shelves at the local supermarket?  That is nothing of which to be ashamed!

Established a professional networking group on LinkedIn resulting in:

There’s what I call a con, a lie, phoniness.  People put on their LinkedIn profiles that they are the “Founder” of a something that sounds impressive but is either non-existent or a LinkedIn group.  It’s nonsense and really won’t full anyone.  But if it is real, include it on your resume.

What constitutes “real?”  Having the answers to these questions:  How many members do you have? How did you get them? What is their average involvement? How many discussions are there? How many comments? What, in general is the level of involvement and interaction? How many real relationships do you know about that have come from involvement in the group?

The beauty of a real group is that it will raise your professional reputation.  But it will take a lot of work and a lot of time, time which may be better spent networking in the real world.  There are only so many hours in the day so you have to decide where your time is best spent.

Volunteering:

When you volunteer you are actually doing work, albeit without monetary compensation.  The key is to make certain you are using your professional skills and not stuffing envelopes.  You want to accomplish three goals: (1) help the cause; (2) keep sharp professionally; and (3) be seen by people who will value the quality of your efforts and either offer you a job or help you obtain a job.  Volunteering is a great way to feel useful, stay sharp, gain new meaningful experiences, and expand your network.

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Bruce Hurwitz is an executive recruiter, career counselor and business advisor.  In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, he chairs their Entrepreneurs Network, hosts their weekly podcast – The Voice of Manhattan Business – and serves as an Ambassador.  Visit the homepage of his website, www.hsstaffing.com, to read about the latest questionable offerings of so-called job search assistance companies.