Have you ever wondered why job hunting seems like such a bore? It’s because you’re eventually wasting a lot of time looking for the wrong type of job. I’m going to put forward that job hunting can be an exciting time for you… if you follow these steps.
For any millennial, and the Gen Y’s just ahead of them, landing your very first job is a typical right of passage. Cue the casual weekend job down at the local supermarket stacking shelves, ripping tickets at a cinema, or selling jeans to your mates at the local shopping centre. Read more
For my entire time studying at university I often hear lecturers, tutors and students talk about this thing called ‘the real world’. Having spent eight years working and travelling before university, I was confused by this term. Studying at university IS the real world – you’re just not treating it that way.
I am going to put things into perspective for you and show how university is just like working in a big organisation.
This blog post is the second in a new series authored by The Job Search Coach marketing intern Jasha Andrews. Jasha has been invited as a Guest blogger to TJSC to help uni students hunt smarter for a position. If you are a regular reader, this could be the refresher that you need on basic job hunting.
Congratulations, you’re ready to jump into the world of job hunting. If you’ve followed my previous post carefully, you should have a concise resume and cover letter ready to go.
I am sure you have heard this adage before: “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. I think it’s old fashioned. This phrase may be spot on for business, but if you are in job hunting mode what you should really be thinking is: It’s not who you know, it’s who wants to know you. Read more
So you need to start looking for a job, but haven’t got much to put on your resume. You could be a new job seeker, just dipping your toe into the waters for the first time. What do you put on your resume? What is good information and what is just a waste of space? Read more
Negotiating yourself through a job interview requires preparation and skill, no matter your aim is: a better position, higher pay, a workplace closer to your home… You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.
This cliché is worth repeating, putting up on your wall and tattooing on your forehead. Read more
You need 10 successful job hunting and job search techniques if you want to secure a job interview. Searching for a job can be a stressful experience fraught with uncertainty. Job seeking and career changing is different for very candidate and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Some people are able to secure a new job in no time, while others seem to struggle just to get one interview. Only dogged determination, positive thinking and smart strategies will take you where want to go. Employers are looking for much more before they even consider you for a position. Some people just seem to have a gift for this sort of thing, while you’re sitting here getting nowhere. Read more
So, you want to score a startup job interview, but you haven’t landed a job interview yet? I guess you need a few essentials?! Well, it’s not an easy task. Just how do you find a job at a business that may only have four or five team members and no real recruiting budget?
Stop what you are doing.
My team and I have worked in the midst of over 70 Sydney-based startup’s for the last 2 years and we have helped a good number of them with their advertisement and selection process. We not only spend a good deal of time looking at candidates, profiles and the usual resumes & cover letters, we are also running a startup ourselves. So, we decided to put our heads together and we came up with this to-do list for a successful startup job search.
I’ve read many applications and the resumes that come through, and as a whole, it’s clear that most people don’t know how to approach getting a job at a startup.
Here are our 13 essentials to
score an interview with a Start Up.
1. Know what you’re good at!
Fluffing around will not get you anywhere. I know it sounds harsh, but that’s the world you are going to enter. If you are a marketer, developer or designer, list that at the top. List it in the subject line even. “Ruby on Rails Developer Looking for Early Stage Start Up” would be a good example. I should be able to glance at your cover letter and know specifically what you are looking to do. Please don’t write a career objective! Get straight to the point.
2. Your resume
If you insist on sending a resume, it should be named “yourname.pdf”. Do not wond a word doc.
3. Be creative.
One of the best cover letters (preferably in the email body) I’ve ever read said, “I’m amazing at creating buzzwords, hot tubbing and finding adventure. I’m also a kick ass Rails Developer, just coming off a long term contract. Early stage startups are a plus.” This sure as hell beats “I’m looking for a challenging and engaging environment to develop my talents.” If you are afraid to be creative, don’t apply. I have not seen a single startup who hired a ‘generalist’. I am dead serious here, if you can’t focus on something, at least in your introduction, you have a <0% chance of landing a job interview. Specialise! Customer support! QA! Development! Marketing! Intern! Product Development! Design! Get it?
4. Be real – be genuine – be human.
The worst case scenario when looking for a job is sending out resumes and getting no responses. startups tend to be different. They know how to deal with applications if you are not wasting their time. Be a human and ask questions that can be answered by friendly folks. Keep the discussion going.
5. Be clear.
You are looking for a job. Cut the buzzwords. Start Ups don’t work with ATS filtering systems. What is the best fit? Steady? Fast paced? Live in Melbourne? Just say it. Cut the c#%p.
6. Trash the traditional resume.
You really don’t need one to work at a startup. A simple email along the lines of ‘this is what I have done… I’m looking to join a team as a _________ to kick some goals’ is a great way to do it. List specific projects and accomplishments. Show that you can be to the point, effective and humble. The rest will be requested when you get an interview.
7. Comment on their blogs!
Yep – again – I am not kidding here. Most company blogs are largely lacking in comments! An easy way to get into the founders inbox is write a post about the company, saying how you admire / like them. Be genuine and say something valuable. Founders tend to look at the blogs, and if in your bio you are clear in what you are looking to do (Front End Developer!) you might just get on the expressway to an interview.
8. Email is a great way to show you’re on to it.
Reply almost immediately. The more out of the usual workday, the more important. Keep your emails concise. “Hey Lisa, just got your email. Quite late here but I would love to respond, a) b) c) d). Feel free to call if you have any questions.”
9. Have a personal blog.
I don’t care how good you are – if you don’t share – then I most likely won’t look at you. Write posts about what you specialise in. Get people to comment on it. Stand out. You control your personal brand, and if you don’t do this you are showing you don’t care.
10. Did I mention, have a personal blog?
Today. Now. Get. On. It.
11. Not caring is the #1 reason you won’t be hired at a Start Up
12. Hack on stuff.
I’ve seen it many times. There are great fits for people and startups. When you find that special company, do what you do for them. E.g. “I know you have processes to do things like this, but I couldn’t help but see your XYZ campaign is missing some pieces. If I was there I would help by doing _______.” Consider it the interview the others were too lazy to do. When getting a job, standing out helps, a tonne. But, obviously be selective and don’t do this for every app, nor spend too much time on it.
13. Go out to Start Up events.
Meet folks there. Follow up from there. We don’t care if you are intro or extrovert – we see you – we will sort it out. Just show up and show initiative.
One last word. You are not too old to apply!
Don’t let anyone suggest that you are too old. That’s absolute nonsense! Yes, we all know … Gen X and Baby Boomer applicants tend to be more expensive than their younger counterparts. Is hiring more mature candidates a luxury that should be considered by startups often strapped for cash? In fact, I have experienced it right around me that not only can older employees contribute to startups, but failing to leverage their kind of experience has been detrimental to a number of startup companies. Hiring a Gen X or a Baby Boomer for a startup then becomes not a luxury, but a really good idea that can help provide a true competitive differentiator. Remember, startups are all about not following the rules, disruption, flexibility and being nimble. Just because, on average, the startup world is younger doesn’t mean that there aren’t places for more mature employees to shine and add real value.
So get with it, and if you think you have what it takes, apply! Keep it simple, get to the point and remember to hunt wisely.
PS. Feel free to comment or share this blog post or contact me if you want some further insight and tips.
If you type ‘resume’ into Google you will receive approximately 180,000,000 hits. If you then type “IT Professional”, it nets only approximately 5,500,000 hits. Thus the documentation of work experience is 33 and 1/3 more popular than one of the most sought after group of professionals. What does this really tell us? Actually, not much, but neither does the average résumé that comes across our desks. Here are some excerpts:
Here are some excerpts of ambiguous resume items:
- “Administered coordination of issues and implementation of ideas surfaced by individuals.”
- “Partaking in meetings designed to enhance collaboration, identify and develop strategies to ensure success regarding the accomplishment of goals.”
- “Experienced IT leader with superior interpersonal skills and business acumen, talented at building interpersonal relationships across a global organization.”
Huh? – Are you serious?
If you haven’t heard of it yet, the first hurdle you have to take, in order to get noticed with your resume, is ATS and the second hurdle is a Hiring Professional. We all know that there are more jobs being lost than created, and that an opening will get dozens, if not hundreds, of applicants. But in your fear to avoid saying anything that might get your résumé tossed out of the pile, and you might end up saying nothing at all if you say weird stuff like the samples mentioned above, you are better off if you KEEP IT SIMPLE.
The result of bizarre sentences is, the hiring professionals feel like they’re reading tea leaves, not resumes and cover letters. The other common result from hiring managers is, that they feel forced to come up with arbitrary rules to narrow the field. Nobody with an objective statement, no résumés longer than 3 pages, no serif fonts.
Our job search coaches at TJSC are not immune. Personally, I look at a lot of elements including the formatting to ensure that the documents have flow and make sense. Many people don’t know this, and they don’t notice that their layout is hard to read. Does this mean they are more or less qualified to be a project planner? I don’t know, but it’s easy for me to say, “If you don’t know that your own résumé is inconsistent, how can you be expected to supervise a multi-million dollar project?”
Other people have their own “minor resume offences”. The best you can do is try to achieve the maximum content with a minimum of strange or unusual features. I have 10 tips to make your résumé stand a better chance of survival:
# 1 Keep it simple.
Nobody buys a complicated story. Keep your resume simple by reducing it to the max and focusing on what matters while using Powerwords.
# 2 Get the formatting right.
Line up bullet points, dates, headings. Wacky spacing will get you questioned about skills that have nothing to do with what you can do on the job. And please learn to put dates flush against the right margin.
# 3 Insert dates for everything.
If you’ve got a gap, explain it in your cover letter. But don’t leave the dates off a job or a degree. Maybe you’re worried they’ll think you’re too old or too young — but at best you’ll look sloppy. At worst, sneaky.
# 4 Fill up on the Powerwords.
Yes, buzzwords are typically “bad” for clarity, but you have to get past the HR department first, and they’re screening for matches with the words in the job description. Words such as ‘consumer goods industry’, certified project manager, SPL, BMN, FLB…whatever it is that matches the requirements, put it in. Use Powerwords.
# 5 Choose verbs that mean something.
“Assisted,” “Worked on,” “Contributed to” and so on don’t convey much to a prospective employer. Instead, say what you did: “Wrote,” “Designed,” or “Managed.” The more specific, the better.
# 6 Rewrite the introduction of your resume for each job application.
If you really want a job, your prospective employer isn’t going to be impressed by your inability to adjust one 3-page document to meet their needs.
# 7 State career objectives or outside interests
— but be very careful. Do you know that they’re looking for a “motivated team player who wants to excel in international fashion and likes skiing and hot tubbing?” Great, put that in. Otherwise, save the non-job stuff for the cover letter. Or better yet, the interview.
# 8 The further into your past, the less detail you should have.
Don’t have 13 bullets on a job from 10 years ago. See point 1.
# 9 Keep it short.
A four-page résumé may be justified, but you’ve got to make it clear through headings and organization why you need so much space. If you’ve got a list of publications or industry conferences you’ve spoken at, great, but put it at the end as a separate section. Consider the résumé of a CIO. He doesn’t need to say that he “attended meetings, assigned work” and whatever other tasks. He ran the IT for a whole company. One line.
# 10 No serious typos.
Your résumé is like the restroom in a restaurant – Sorry guys… It’s the best I could come up with. And if you can’t keep that clean, what’s it like in the kitchen?
If you are serious about your application, pay attention, keep it smart, simple and reduce it to the max. Don’t waste other people’s time and when you search and apply for jobs always remember to hunt wisely!