Posts Tagged ‘Job Search’

Plan B Premiere Podcast

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Welcome to Plan B’s premiere podcast. On a weekly basis, Susan San Martin, a retained executive recruiter, will bring practical, tangible insights related to your career, your job search, the hiring landscape, and the tools you need to find your next great career adventure. The first podcast discusses resume resistance and how to overcome it as well as what your philosophical approach to your resume should be.

In addition to resume guidance, future episodes will include interviews with Communications and Talent Acquisition professionals, answers to listener questions, and much more. Plan B also welcomes feedback, which can be posted here or on our Facebook Page.

Thanks for listening and we’ll talk again soon!

Your job search toolkit — Part Six: Is your resume rude or has it made the proper introductions?

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

We love to have people over and our best times are when we’ve mixed up the crowd a bit. Last week’s Thanksgiving was typical for us. For dinner, we had 14 and by the end of the evening, we added another seven. Besides the U.S, countries of origin of our guests included Argentina, England, India, Taiwan, and Italy. We and our guests are aerospace engineers, marketing managers, human resources directors, architects, musicians and sound track composers, venture capital analysts, college professors, business managers, credit union CEOs, students, and – of course – executive recruiters. In the precious hours leading up to the first arrival, as I stood in the kitchen, stirring, sautéing, baking, and barking commands, I also puzzle-handshake-resizedthought about, while caramelizing shallots, how to introduce everyone. How can we make sure that every guest knows enough about each other that they will sit together, talk comfortably, and want to know more. Meaningful introductions, especially with a diverse crowd, are critical to everyone having a good time. To not do so would be rude. Is your resume rude? At least 75% of the resumes I read would be guilty. If you feel strongly about introducing your guests, why wouldn’t you do the same for the companies you’ve worked for? Think of how much more meaningful a conversation is when you know a bit about the person with whom you’re speaking. It’s critical that you do the same when describing your experience.

Take a look at your resume. You spent five great years at XYZ Corp. Do you introduce who they are and what they do? Most of you don’t . . . and you should. Don’t grapple with creating a few lines about what XYZ does, regardless of whether the company is publicly-traded or privately held. Look up their stock symbol on a financial website like where there’s always a profile or go to the company’s “About Us” link on their website. How does the company describe itself to the public – what’s important to them — and then ask yourself how you contributed to that and then tell the reader how.

To demonstrate, let’s take a look at the top company on the Fortune 500 list: Wal-Mart. From their “About Us,” use a few lines to introduce them after you list them as job experience on your resume.


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. * Bentonville, AK * 2005 – Present

Walmart serves customers and members more than 200 million times per week at more than 8,159 retail units under 55 different banners in 15 countries. With fiscal year 2009 sales of $401 billion, Walmart employs more than more than 2.1 million associates worldwide. A leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity, Walmart ranked first among retailers in Fortune Magazine’s 2009 Most Admired Companies survey.

Title, Functional Area

* Responsibility or accomplishment, #1
* Responsibility or accomplishment, #2
* Responsibility or accomplishment, #3, etc.


Let’s now take it a step further and think about what each is saying and how it should tie to how you describe your experience and contributions:

* Serves customers – and lots of them! (customer service, employee training, crisis communications are all important)

* 8,159 locations (their broad reach means the consistency of information and solid distribution channels must be a priority)

* 55 banners (branding is obviously important)

* 15 countries (global vision, cultural and language differences for both customer and employees are key to their success)

* 2.1 million associates (that’s a lot of employee communications and they all receive information in different ways: newsletters, intranet, break room posters . . .)

* Sustainability (being a steward of the environment is an important part of the Corporate Social Responsibility program)

* Corporate Philanthropy (care for their various communities is shown through diversified outreach programs)

* Employment Opportunity (means that employee development provides career paths)

You get the idea. As you describe your roles, keep how the company views itself, top of mind. Tie your responsibilities and contributions to the company’s mission and while you may not have held roles that directly impact the bottom line, you, undoubtedly, supported the leader or group that did.

Of course, not every company is as recognizable as Wal-Mart. I have found that many candidates can be defensive about working for start-ups and small companies. Get over that . . . and quickly. These types of companies require and nurture skill sets that are becoming increasingly important in a more competitive marketplace (entrepreneurial mindsets, budget-consciousness, hiring key talent . . . and the list goes on.) You may have worked for the greatest company that no one has ever heard of so its mission must be introduced, as well. XYZ Corp. could also be the world leader in the production of widgets, but if the reader hasn’t heard of them, your contribution will have less impact.

That’s why those first few lines after each company are so important. They provide the lines within which you will draw your history. By taking this approach, you’re showing a prospective employer how your contributions aligned with how the company sees itself and you’re making the reader think . . . “if he/she could do it for XYZ Corp., he/she could do it for us, as well.”

Your Job Search Toolkit — Part One: Do you have the right perspective about your resume?

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

I have approximately 187 cookbooks. They range from the obscure, “Classic Deem Sum” by Henry Chan and Yukiko and Bob Haydock, to the sublime, Thomas Keller’s “The French Laundry Cookbook.” While I have opened all of them at one time or another and cooked from the majority of them, there are perhaps ten that boast oil-spattered pages and hand-written commentary about the success of that dish and/or any changes made. Why? Because they are the tried and true recipes that have never failed me. While I have no problem experimenting on people – even those whom I don’t know well, there are those recipes that are, in effect, my cooking toolkit: the reliable recipes that will impress without stress. The ones that I am so confident about that I can change cilantro to parsley because there’s parsley growing in the garden and I don’t have time to get to the market; the taste may change slightly but I won’t have to duck and cover.

Can we do the same for the job search process? What should be in your job search toolkit and how/when should you deploy those tools? toolkit-resized As an executive recruiter who has read thousands of resumes, conducted hundreds of in-depth phone, video, and in-person interviews, I know what engages me. Over the next several posts, we’ll discuss the tools that you should have at your disposal. We’ll range from philosophical to tactical. Again, these are my opinions, but I know what makes me take notice and if sharing some of these experiences assists you with your career transition during a tough time, then I’m happy to help.

In a previous post, we talked about making sure that you have a point when you’re reaching out about a particular position. Let me leave this first part of the series with a few general comments about resumes.

There’s great debate about whether traditional resumes will become the latest “do you remember when,” victim of technology and social media advances. Will they be replaced by personal websites, social website profiles, and video introductions? ITRHO (in this recruiter’s humble opinion) don’t give up those templates . . . just yet. While those newer tools may enhance a candidate’s story, there’s nothing that will provide rapid insight into what a professional can bring to an organization like a well-designed, well-written resume. A busy human resources, talent acquisition, or recruiting professional will not be able to work too hard to learn about you, so make it as easy on them as you can.

Over the next several columns, we will deconstruct a resume, but closing this post as we started – with the theme of cookbooks, let me leave you with some initial food for thought regarding your resume. Make sure that you’ve got the right perspective.

Your resume should be a living, breathing document, not something that you have to do because you’re looking for a job . . . that makes it a chore. I hear the pain in candidate’s voices all the time: it’s not easy and it’s not fun. Changing your perspective, however, may help.

A regular review of your resume should be something you schedule. Whether it’s weekly or monthly, make yourself a reminder to visit it. Treat it like a hair appointment or a trip to the gym. Put it in Outlook or your cell phone. Think about it . . . if you’re actively engaged in the search process now, you will be receiving feedback. Think about conversations you’ve had that week and the feedback you’ve received. Was there something on your resume that sparked a conversation or resonated well with someone? Highlight that! On the other hand, are there points that drew some scrutiny or questions and should be reconsidered? Change those, as well. Checking in on your resume on a regular basis will keep you on your toes and improve how you’re marketing yourself and how you’re first perceived by your future employer.