How To Follow Up With An Employer When They Say Not To.

One of the most important steps in the job application process, is following up with the employer after you’ve sent in your application. As I’ve discussed in a recent episode of the Work At Home Minute, there are many job seekers who completely ignore this step. Little do they know that it could be costing them a chance at an interview for a job that could turn out to be the one of their dreams.

I’m sure you’ve come across vacant postings where the employer is very specific that they do not want job seekers contacting them after they’ve applied. Why do hiring managers do this? I guess it saves them on time and effort on having to deal with hundreds of eager job seekers emailing and calling for an update on the position. In most cases the hiring employer just does not have the resources to handle that amount of interest. So how do you know if the position is filled or not?

I’m a huge supporter of following rules, but there are times when we are forced to bend them, especially when it comes to a life changing event like landing a job of your dreams. I recall applying for a lower management position when I fresh out of college and I was so excited at the prospect of getting an interview that the “don’t contact us, we’ll contact those we wish to speak with further” didn’t matter to me. I called the hiring manager, but not as a follow up to my application, as I knew that would discount me from the position. With my most professional voice I said ” I saw you had a job posted in “NAME OF PUBLICATION HERE” and I’m calling today to inquire if it was still available or if you’re still accepting applications.

With the approach I took, I didn’t break their rules by asking if they got my resume, etc. However, by the response I got I was able to tell if the position was indeed filled or if they were still going through the applications they received. This way if the position was filled, I could move on and not wait around hopelessly wondering if I would ever hear back from them.

Are you following up with employers?

How To Tell If A Job Is Scam.

It’s amazing to me how many “smart” and “cautious” people fall prey to vast array of scams there online today, which target job seekers especially. The scammers are getting really good at what they do and though many people can see through these scams and avoid them, you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to be a victim. The scams we see today are cleverly disguised and there are times when I (with my years of experience) must take a few looks to actually see that it’s a scam.

Can you spot a “job” scam if you were presented with one? In this video we’ll cover 3 simple steps you can take during your job search to ensure that the job you’re applying for is not just a scam to try and get money or your personal information. Even if you think you’ve seen it all and that you can spot a scam from a mile away, still take a look at the video and do make it a habit that you practice the steps which were pointed out.

In this video we cover:

- using google or any search engine

- forums and discussion groups

- the Better Business Bureau

The importance of double checking your job application before it’s sent.

I’ve been helping a friend of mine who recently decided that he couldn’t continue at the job he had, find a job he think he would be happy at. He claims that he needs a change in scenery and challenges. It’s been a rough five weeks for him as far as the job search process goes, since he’s having a tough time getting a response from the jobs that he applied for. But this can be blamed on him being very picky in the jobs he applies for. BTW, are you following the career video series ‘The Work from Home Minute” on my Youtube channel? There’s a video I did on this topic there.

His daily routine includes checking several career and job posting websites which caters specifically to the type of job he’s looking for. It’s amazing how we can now zero in with our job search with the abundance of niches specific career sites there are online today. Additionally he subscribed to several RSS feeds that deliver vacant jobs to his rss reader and I suggested that he should set up a Google alert for the type of job he’s looking for. Basically Google will send him updates when the keyword he entered is mentioned online directly to his email.

He finally lucked out a few days ago and not only found a position that seemed perfect for what he was looking, but in a matter of hours he found another job that was very similar to the first. Both jobs were located fairly close to where he live, but as an added bonus they allowed for telecommuting. So he had the option of working from home a few days a week, providing he landed the job. He was even more excited at the “challenge” these two positions seemed to posses.

I helped him to craft an excellent cover letter that zeroed in on all the employer was looking for and tailored his resume for the first position. He sent off his application with his fingers crossed and there was a glow of confidence in him when we discussed his chances at landing this one. The second job he did the same thing and was excited at his prospect of landing either job as he felt he had the skills the employers were looking for. However in his haste to send the second application out, he failed to edit his cover letter with the correct company and contact details, not to mention he didn’t edit the position title he was applying for. Basically the cover letter he sent out applied to the first position and had nothing to do with the second job. As you can tell, I didn’t help with the application of the second position, nor did he get feedback from any one else.

What can we learn from this? Always double check everything before sending out an application to an employer. After that application leaves your email program, is faxed or sent by traditional mail, it’s gone. There’s no stopping it to make edits or changes and it’s the make or break as far as getting considered for an interview. Make it a rule to not only double check things, but have someone else look it over for you as well. It’s always good practice to have an extra set of eyes look for errors etc.

Here’s one more tip as far as emailing out your resume and cover letter to a potential employer. Email a copy to yourself as you would an employer. This will allow you to see exactly what an employer will see when you send out the actual application. Look for formatting issues, check to see if your email goes in the junk folder or inbox and pay attention to the attachments if you included any. Ensure that you can open the attachments without any problems.

4 Ways To Not Get Hired for The Job You Applied For.

The resume is the first real connection you make with the employer or hiring manager and it comes down to “first impressions”. My mom would always say “the first impression is what counts” and I’m sure you’ve heard this a million and one times in your life. So what you include on your resume will have an immediate positive or negative effect as far as you getting that call or email inviting you to come in for an interview. As we discussed in an earlier article “Six Things You Should Omit From Your Resume“, there are several critical mistake people make on their resume that can be avoided. Have you gone through your resume to see if your resume needed editing?

In this article we’ll go though four things that some job seekers still choose to include on their resume, which would explain why they’re guaranteed to never be shortlisted for the job they applied for. Once you go through the list you’ll notice a trend…

1. Sexual Preference: Your sexual preference has no relevance on how well you can perform the job. Leave it out when putting together your résumé, because according to statistics, discrimination still exists in the hiring process. By including this information you’re leaving yourself open to having your resume discarded.

2. Discussing religion in the workplace is another big no-no in North America. Including your religion, or lack thereof, on a résumé is too controversial and is irrelevant to the job. So unless you’re applying for a job at a religious institution, exclude this information. In my years as a career coach I’ve seen this mistake several times and the funny thing is, the job seekers who include it are under the impression that it would put a positive spin on their hiring chances.

3. Political Identity: Again, asking your future employer to acknowledge your political leanings is just too controversial.

4. The world of our great grand parents are no longer and prejudices will not be tolerated. If you harbor any prejudices against certain groups or individuals, it’s best to keep that to yourself (or consider counseling). Advertising the fact that you don’t work well with others is not going to get you the job. Employers want employees who can blend into the workplace and relate to their co-workers in a civilized manner.

Take a look at your resume and make the necessary edits if there’s room for improvement. It makes absolutely no sense spending countless hours at the job bank and even more time and money sending out countless resumes and applications if your resume is destined for the garbage can, due to the simple errors you never corrected.

Are You Making This Critical Job Application Mistake?

So you’ve applied for what you think is a “dream job” and you’re patiently waiting to hear back from the hiring manager. But wait! It’s been more than 3 weeks and still not a word about a possible interview. In our haste to apply for jobs we get excited about, there’s a vast majority of us who tend to overlook some of the basics when apply for a posted vacant job. As I’ve pointed out in the past, it’s very important to apply for jobs as soon as they become available so you can get the “jump” on other job seekers applying for that particular job. This means checking the classifieds and job listings websites as often as you can. Make it a daily routine if you can. In this video I’ll touch on a mistake that I’m sure you’ve made at least once in the past and how to avoid making that mistake again, as it will cost you ever getting a response from the employer. Do leave me your comments below…

How to write a successful cover letter when applying for jobs online.

With all the emails people receive and ignore these days, one must question if a cover letter is necessary when applying for a job online. Personally I’ve created several filters and methods to avoid having to go through the onslaught of emails I receive on a daily basis. But I strongly believe that every resume sent to an employer should be accompanied by a cover letter as I see it as the first page of a good resume. Giving the application process a personal feel the resume can’t and it also shows the employer that you have the qualities they require, as you can focus on this in the cover letter.

In this brief guide I’ll go through some key components to a successful cover letter:

If emailed put your cover letter in the body of the email. If you plan on attaching it I would recommend that you convert it into pdf format, as employers are more likely to trust an attachment that’s in pdf. Remember to say what the attachment is, in the body of the email so it doesn’t seem like a blank email and deleted as spam.

Don’t make the employer work to read your letter! Make it easy to read so keep away from going crazy with the font you choose. (match the font used on your resume)

Keep it clear, concise and to the point. (you’re not writing an essay)

Use your own words not formal long-winded clichés. This is what gives it the “personal” touch so the employer can really connect with you.

Action verbs can help to make it sound better.

Spell-check and then double-check your spelling and grammar. Spell checkers won’t pick up form instead of from or sex instead of six!

Answer the question “Why should I see you?”

Make the person who reads it feel special: that it is addressed to them personally and not one of fifty identical letters you are sending out without thought or care. WARNING! Remember to research the “contact” so you’re actually sending the cover letter / application to the person making the decision. Don’t forget to double check the exact spelling of that person’s name. It’s very unprofessional to misspell a person’s name, especially in this case.

You might include your understanding of the work/knowledge of the company, and how you fit the criteria required. “I have a real interest in working as a ….” will not do: you must say why you decided to pursue this career, what first brought it to your attention, why you as a Science student should be interested in a career in finance.

Relate your skills to the job. Show the employer that you have obtained the communicating, team working, problem solving and leadership or other skills that are appropriate for the job.

Say when you’re available to start work (and end, if it’s a placement): be as flexible as possible, but don’t say things you know you can’t fulfill.

* A recent survey showed that  60% of resume/cover letters are mailed to the wrong person.

It’s important that you demonstrate to the potential employer that you understand the job requirements and can do the job. So include the skills and experiences you have that match the job description. You also need to show that you are enthusiastic and have a positive attitude towards the role and the hiring company.

Good luck with your job search.

Six Things You Should Omit From your resume.

I’ve been working with job seekers, employers and recruiters for over 10 years now and over the years I’ve seem many mistakes or things people place on their resume without giving much thought to it. Things that would certainly lead to them not securing the job they were applying for. And without knowing they are undermining their own chances at ever securing the dream job they’re looking for.

I’m sure if I had the time or focus, I could point out over 25 such mistakes, but today we’ll concentrate on six of them.

1. Job experience that’s unrelated to the position you’re applying for only clutters your resume and irritates the potential employer. Always consider that she may be a very busy person and that her time is of value to her.  Did your paper route or high-school job as a cashier at Walmart really prepare you to be a team leader of Java programmers? There are other ways to prove your people skills, so stick with the jobs and internships that are most relevant.

2. Like it or not, some hiring managers will discriminate against employees based on their age. Technically, this kind of discrimination is illegal, but if you seem too young or too old to do the job, you may not even get an interview — despite what the rest of the résumé says. It seems to be common place in the Caribbean and other former British colonies that age and other personal information is included on resumes, but I’m sure it’s illegal in those places for employers to ask for such information.

3. Lies about your previous job experience, inflated to make you seem like the right fit for the vacant position. If you haven’t worked in a managerial position, you’ll be outed with a simple phone call to your last boss and immediately disqualified from the rest of the hiring process. If you feel uncomfortable about your lack of skill, focus on the positive and show how other great qualities would make you a great manager or supervisor. With the right “focus” you’ll get that interview and then be able to convince the potential employer why you’re the right person for the job.

4. Who cares about what your hobbies are? While some employers like to see that you’re active in the community or have won nonprofessional merits and awards, no one really wants to know that you love knitting with your great aunt or were named the beer-chugging contest winner in university. When in doubt, leave it out.

5. When should you include information about your family? NEVER!  Whether or not you’re married or have children does not belong on a résumé. Employers will automatically assume that as a parent of small children you will be unavailable to work odd hours. YOU should be the one to make that call, not them.

6. Even if you have a hard time believing in your strengths, your résumé is not the place to show weakness. If you know that you’re not a born leader, consider writing that you work well in groups or that you take direction well. Putting a positive spin on yourself will help the hiring manager see you that way also. there’s absolutely no room on your resume for negative thoughts/words.

I’ll revisit this post in the near future with some other great resume writing tips, to help you in your quest to locate and secure a better paying job.

Life Lessons You Can Learn From Cleaning Your Closet.

We live in an older home, which means the few closets we have are very tiny compared to ones in newer homes. I guess people back in the old days didn’t have much need for large closets… maybe they didn’t have much clothes. Today we have “collections” coming out every season and if you can afford it, you’ll soon amass a huge pile of clothes. Lately when I go to the closet for something to wear I find myself struggling to remove stuff off the hangers, as they’re so packed in there. You can only imagine how difficult it is when I do laundry and have to find space to pack things away.

It took about 1 hour, but I now have a closet with tons of space and though it was tough (I like keeping stuff), I got rid of all the clothing items I know I would never use again. Yes, I’ve been keeping some of these pieces for years, always saying that I’d wear it again someday, but in reality I knew I would never use it.

The few days that followed saw me use this approach to life in general. I took a closer look at all the websites I have, how much time and energy they were costing me and the income derived from them. Only when you take a closer look at things do you realize how much time you waste on things that’s not profitable. I’ve been on a mission after this, getting rid of the websites that just didn’t make sense having any longer. I can now safely say that I’ve gained an extra couple hours a day, with the time I freed up.

Take a close look at your everyday life and try to identify things that are like the unwanted clothes in my closet. Things you can trim and make room for more positive activities.

How can you apply this to your job search? Take your resume for instance. How much that’s on there is not relevant to the job you’re applying for? There’s no need to clutter your resume with certificates that are not related to the job requirements. If you’re applying for an IT position, highlight your professional certifications or designations. Show a link between your past work experience and your current career goals. If the information doesn’t serve that purpose, delete it.

Today I’m working on cleaning up my desk, you won’t believe how messy (is that a sign of productivity?) and unorganized my desk is. If my mouse wasn’t attached via a cord, I would surely misplace it, in this mess. I’ve already found notes I made several months ago on a great idea for a blog that could potentially generate some incredible income for me. I wonder what else I’ll find?

How to target your application to fit the specific needs of the employer.

One of the biggest mistakes I see job seekers making on a daily basis, is saying everything the employers doesn’t necessarily want to hear. Employers are usually very busy people and the mere fact that they’re looking to hire someone is clear indication that they’re up to their neck in work and need help. So the very last thing they’ll want to do, is go through a maze to know if you fit the profile of the employee they’re looking to hire.

Here’s what I’ve noticed over the past 11 years when dealing with  job seekers and employers alike. The sad reality is that most job seekers look at 2 things when they see a posted job. The job’s title to see if it’s the type of jobs they’re looking for and the skills requirements that’s needed to perform said job. But there’s so much more to a job posting that’s prevents qualified applicants from ever getting past the job application step.

The job’s description is a good place to start, pay close attention to exactly what the potential employer is looking for. Not just skills but the actual duties involved. Then when you respond, key in on those specific areas and force home that fact that you can do all that they want. Highlight those areas very prominently in your application and this will not only make it easier for the ‘busy’ employer to find but it will show them that you pay attention to details. Something every employer homes in on, like a shark to blood. If you can’t act on instructions, you’ll never be able to complete assigned tasks competently.
Before I wrap up this article I’d also like to suggest that you pay very close attention to the specific application process itself. If the employer says to contact them via email and put a certain title in the subject of the email. Do so. They may be using a filtering process to make sure only job applications gets to their inbox. Chances are your application will never be seen or taken serious if you can follow simple instructions on applying.

Good luck with your job search and be sure to check out my website if you’re interested in applying for work or getting career advice.

Successful time management in a clock free world

It’s clear that working from home is just about everybody’s dream job, with the amount of daily visitors we get at our work from home job listing site.  You get to set your own hours and work in your pajamas.  You can be home with the kids and save money on daycare services.  Plus you do not have to answer to anyone but yourself if you work on a freelance or contract basis.  This all sounds great right?  What most people don’t realize is that this can be a difficult job to do if you are not disciplined enough to use some sort of time management techniques to make sure that you’re actually doing your job and not watching TV or trying to do your chores.

You may find it’s hard at times to work from home while caring for your children and the house,  if you do not manage my time well.  You may think you are doing well by doing a little of your work as well as personal things but in reality, you are taking away from the time that you can be working.  With proper time management, you can manage all of the things that you want to do all while being able to work from home.

Here are some time management tips to help you keep on track and stay focused on what you need to be doing.

•    If you find that you are being pulled to do things with the kids more than you are getting to work, then it may be time to look into hiring a playmate for the kids for a few hours a day.  This is really inexpensive and the amount of stuff you can accomplish in the time they are occupied will be well worth the $20 you give the sitter to sit and play with them.  It is cheaper then having someone watch the kids while you are out as you are still there, they are merely there to play with the kids.

•    Have set times that you do things.  Make a certain time that you check email as apposed to checking it many times a day.  Block off an hour to work on household things and stick with it.  Remember that if you were at a job away from home you would be doing nothing but that so look at your home job as it is just as important.

•    Make a timer your best friend as you can really stay on task if you allow only a certain amount of time for each task.

•    Get set with a routine.  Do things at the same time each day and you will find that you are much better organized.

•    Be sure to keep the limits that you set and set aside a special place such as a home office that you do all of your business in.  Working can be very difficult if you try to work where ever in the house.  Let your family and friends know that when you are in the office you are at work and schedule certain breaks that you can be available for the family.

Personally I’ve found that by using a calendar, dry erase board and training my family on my systems, works best. They know that if they need me they should consult my calendar thats posted where they can see it. So if my daughter wants a ride somewhere and my wife is not around, she can clearly see if I have something scheduled or not. Everyone knows that when my office door is closed I need silence or some level of them being quiet. I’m either on the phone or concentrating on something. The dry erase board I use to list what I expect to complete for the week. This way I can clearly see what I’ve accomplished and what still needs my time.

With the right work at home time management strategies, you will be well on your way to making the best out of your home job or business in no time.  You will be able to enjoy the benefits of working from home with ease.