Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Follow up regarding resume tips article...

First, I want to thank Toni Bowers for mentioning my blog article.  You can find her comments here:


I have looked over some of the reader responses to her article, and thought I'd add a few clarifications.

Applicant tracking software or applicant tracking systems can vary greatly in terms of cost and functionality.  Here's a link to a short Wikipedia summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applicant_tracking_system

Mention of these systems can refer to the enterprise level systems used by multinational companies, but can also refer to applications that are used by small to mid-sized employers.  Search firms also use similar systems that also include the functionality of being able to manage client information.

Technically, resume scanning, refers to the process of manually scanning resumes and then using OCR software to convert the scanned images into documents.  This represents a somewhat dated process, but probably still takes place.  That's why you'll see resume tips about creating plain vanilla versions of resumes if you are going to fax them in, or mail in hard copies.

What I was referring to was more of a data extraction process.  Good applicant tracking applications can not only extract your contact information, they can even identify employers, job titles, and many words and phrases referring to specific skills.

Someone rightly commented that it hardly seems necessary to make sure that you r name gets extracted when many employers require you to manually log into their systems and enter all that data.  That's technically correct.  However, many companies don't do that.  Many search firms don't do that.  Lots of organizations would rather make the application process as easy as possible for you and will accept emailed resumes or uploaded resumes.

Another person commented on how sad it is that many resumes don't actually get read.  While I agree, I may end up having to write a complete article on the subject of what corporate and/or third party recruiters deal with on a regular basis.  I'll just mention one incident that comes to mind.  A couple of years ago, I was working as a contract corporate recruiter for a major employer.  In that role, there were countless instances of people logging on and applying for every single posted position, or every single IT position.  (Consider that a not what to do when trying to get hired tip.)  In one instance, I posted a position on the company's website, and in a matter of just a few days, there were considerably more than 500 applicants.  Had I physically opened every single resume, I would not have had time to do anything else.  Also, I had tools at my disposal to start eliminating unqualified candidates based on things like educational requirements and required skills.

Sorry that I can't comment right now on other feedback people provided.  There were some very good comments.

Thanks again Toni!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Political Rants and Job Seeking

It has been really interesting (and also painful) to watch the growing tendency of people to blindly accept as truth the outrageous assertions that are made by various TV personalities. Even more troubling is the acceptance of their behavior as normative.

Let's consider how this plays out when it comes to your job search.

Just for the sake of not stepping on any toes, let's assume that the following political parties have been resurrected recently in your city, and are represented by the proportions below:

Bull Moose Party 40%
Natural Law Social Democratic Party 35%
Gibublican Party 25%

For whatever reason, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents have all fallen into disfavor in your county.

You are a diehard Gibublican and believe adamantly that all Natural Law Social Democrats are in fact Marxists in disguise, and all Bull Moosians are fascists. No arguments to the contrary will convince you otherwise. Let's even assume that you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, because of contact with a parallel universe, everything in the world has remained the same, with the exception of those facts. ... You have been very energetic in trying to get the word out to people. You have posted about in on LinkedIn, and you regularly post links on your Facebook page commenting about what simpletons our leaders are and how only the Gibublicans have any sense at all.

Now, assume that you are unemployed. You have seen a position posted online that would be PERFECT for you. You apply online and are brought in for an interview. The interview goes well. You go home, certain that you will get the job. Unfortunately, you're not aware that the hiring manager is a Bull Moosian and the department director is a Bull Moose Social Democrat.

Sadly, you don't get the job, and you are left wondering why, thinking perhaps it might be your age, or that you were overqualified and they took someone less qualified, for a lower salary.

What happened? As you might guess, both got online at home and looked you up. Each decided for different reasons that you weren't a good fit. One saw your rants about people who disagreed with you and wondered how you might respond in a work environment when confronted with people who didn't agree with you. The other, decided that you were simply a moron who might say something which could reflect poorly on the company, and opted not to take a chance. Technically, neither made a decision based on your political ideology, and you would be hard-pressed to prove it even if they had.

Note, I'm not saying that people shouldn't have strong opinions or be active in their respective parties. I am saying that how you conduct yourself, especially online, is very important.

Here in the United States, our population is fairly evenly spit with roughly even numbers of Democrats and Republicans and growing numbers of independents, who believe that both parties have lost their marbles. In the real working world, you not only have to learn to get along with members of other groups, you have to treat them with respect, as if their political affiliation doesn't matter. ... Because when it comes to the job that you have to do - it DOESN'T matter.

If you're spending a good deal of your time online bashing a particular group or a particular elected official, then the odds are pretty likely that anyone with a browser is going to be able to find some of your comments, even if they look 5, 10, or 20 years from now. If you make inflammatory statements about members of another group which can only be substantiated by some talking head on TV, but not by any real facts, a hiring manager who's a member of that group might at some point in the future read them and take umbrage.

Bottom line: If you don't like someone's views, at least be civil in the way you communicate. Better yet, get away from your PC. Get out in the world and do something useful. Go mentor some kids that need help in school. Find someone who's more down-and-out than you are and offer a helping hand. You'll accomplish far more doing those things than you will yakking away on Facebook, and you won't be sabotaging your own future.