Monday, July 28, 2008

Voice Mail

It is often overlooked, but simple phone ettiquette is vital in the job search. Most job hunters speak to potential employers on the phone before meeting them face-to-face, so it is the first impression for many people. Thus, it can make or break your job search.

Some people prefer to never leave a voice mail message, instead calling back to try to reach a live person. Others like to leave a message after the second or third try.

If you do leave a message, make sure to follow a few simple guidelines.
Make sure that the message is professional, concise, and gets to the point immediately. Also, clearly state the reason for your call, and clearly ennunciate your name.

Leave your phone number or any other vital information twice, just to ensure that the recipient can hear it.

If the voice mail system has an option to listen to your message before it is posted, go ahead and review it to make sure that the message is intelligible and that any contact information is clearly audible.

Good luck job hunting!

Note: I'm scipting and filming this week, but a new video is coming soon...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Scheduling the Interview

So you've sent out resumes, and finally you get a bite: someone wants you to call to schedule an interview.

Have your calendar ready beforehand. Don't begin the call without an idea of what time would work for the interview. However, the hiring manager usually suggests a time first, since they are busy and do not have to interview you. Thus, be as flexible as possible, since you're trying to make a good impression.

(Most of the time, they will call you rather than you call them. In this case, make sure to have a general idea of your schedule when you're job hunting so you can answer these calls. If they call at a bad time, you can politely say that you don't have your calendar at hand and will call them back as soon as possible. Then call them back AS SOON AS POSSIBLE with your calendar ready.

If they don't state a time immediately, be ready to suggest a couple times that would be convenient for you. However, if you suggest a time, don't decide later that it would be a bad time. You're stuck with that time.

When a time really does not work, say that you have other commitments and leave it at that. Don't go into any further explanation unless it would be obvious to everyone that it is more important, such as a doctor's appointment. And don't start explaining why you have to go to the doctor, they don't need the details.

If you know that you really do better in the afternoon, go ahead and try to steer the conversation toward that time, saying that afternoons are really more convenient. But don't say that you're sleeping in past 1 PM!

Above all, be professional. Whenever you're on the phone with a potential employer, be sure to pay attention to what they're saying and present yourself well. Focus on being articulate and polite.

Although you could ignore all of these guidelines to test how much they really want you and are willing to go through to get you on their team, I wouldn't recommend it.

Update: Video uploaded!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Video: Cold Calling

Cold Calling

"Cold Call: noun. A telephone call soliciting business made directly to a potential customer without prior contact or without a lead."

Source: Merriam-Webster Online

Cold calling to potential employers can be a nerve-racking activity for many job hunters. The job hunt is often like personal selling, except for that you're not promoting a product in the job hunt. Instead, you're promoting yourself. This is particularly true when you're doing selling activities in your job hunt, such as cold calling. Cold calling is a vital activity during the job search, because you will often have to call people who do not know who you are, and a phone call gets more immediate attention than an e-mail. This is great news for salespeople who are skilled at the act of selling, but what about everyone else?

For these people, it helps to have a couple easy hints to remember in order to make your job hunt more effective.

First, always remember to smile when you're on the phone. It will show through in your voice

Be professional, respectful, and courteous, since this will make everyone's life easier. Above all, make sure to be interesting and engage the person on the other end of the call.

It is a common sales tactic to find and talk about a connection that you might have with the interviewer. This is a good idea, but don't get sidetracked.

(Also, this may be obvious, but never hang up on someone who says they may have a position for you.)

Get to the point quickly, don't waste their time or yours. Never just read your resume, they don't have that kind of time.

Know what you're going to say before you dial the phone. If you need to have a script ready, go ahead and write one. However, don't just read it with a monotone voice. Practice if necessary. (I'll talk more about practicing in a later post._

Just like you would in an interview, try to research the company and individual so that you know at least some information about the company and the person you are calling. This may give you a better approach than simply "Hi, I'm looking for a position in..."

Remember, if you reach an administrative assistant, your goal is to get connected to the hiring manager. If you reach the head honcho, you've invariably caught him at an extremely busy time. So don't waste time! Always be respectful and kind to the assistants, however.

Be ready at all times for an on-the-spot phone interview. I'll talk more about how to handle phone interviews soon.

Finally, here's a good site that has some general recommendations for cold calling in sales that may be helpful as you work on your job search.

Good luck on the hunt!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Video: Video Resume

There are periodic problems with the embedded YouTube player, here's the link to the video if the above player does not work :

Special thanks to Team 7 and the rest of the Crummer crew for suggestions!

Video Resume

You've sent in your resume, but you know you're competing against 200 other resumes. How do you separate yourself from the rest of the pack?

How about trying a video resume?

Video resumes are more like cover letters than resumes, since they allow you to highlight certain parts of your experience that you feel make you the best fit for the position. You don't want to stuff all of your resume into the short time that you have in a video resume. Although popular, video resumes remain somewhat controversial, for various reasons. First, human resources managers oftentimes do not like to take the extra time that it takes to view the videos. Also, they feel that it may open them up to charges of discrimination since they are able to see the person's physical appearance on the video.

Also, the usefulness of a video resume varies depending on the desired position. The video format would obviously be helpful for someone who is showing off his work in multimedia production, while it would not serve a purpose for someone applying for a position in accounting.

However, if you have weighed the options and have still decided to create a video resume, there are several things that you need to keep in mind.

Like written resumes, video resumes are ideally adapted for each specific application and are not posted publicly. However, always assume that the video could become public, as one Yale student learned the hard way.

Follow the same guidelines as a written resume.

-Keep it short and focused, watch for grammatical errors, etc.

-Ask yourself why you are a good fit for the company, and try to express this in the video. When possible, craft the video specifically for each position.

-Mention your name in the video, and place in titles at the beginning of the video.

-Dress professionally, just like you would to an interview.
Silence your cell phone beforehand.

-Speak clearly and enunciate your words.

-Make sure the background is clean and non-distracting; nothing gives managers a worse impression of your organizational abilities than a messy room with dirty laundry on the floor.

-Focus on professional achievements, not personal tidbits. Hiring managers are not interested in you as a person! (Well, not exactly, but your favorite movie quote will have little impact on their hiring decision.

-If you mess up, refilm the video or edit it carefully. It only takes a couple minutes, and it is well worth the effort. No verbal filler, such as "um, let's see...", should be included in the video.

-Don't go crazy with special effects, transitions, or other graphics, unless you are a bona fide multimedia expert and are selling this ability to the hiring managers. Graphics can be very distracting, so just use visuals to highlight the most important parts of your message. If you don't mention something, don't put it in a graphic.

Finally, if you have a script, (which is a good idea if you have trouble with spontaneous remarks) don't read it while you're filming. Instead, memorize it and deliver it as naturally as possible. The audience will know if you're reading a script.

Good luck with the resume!

P.S. One last tip: don't ever tell someone that you're applying for THEIR job.

Video: The Search Begins...

The Search Begins...

So, it's your first day of the job search. What should you do first?

You need to make sure that you keep focused in your job search. Know beforehand how wide your search will go, so that you do not become desperate and make poor choices in allocating your time.

Also, you may want to get a better idea of what you're looking for than a nebulous title such as "Marketing Manager". In what area? What type of company? Taking a moment at the beginning of your journey to figure out what you want will focus your search and save you time and effort down the road.

Go online to research as well, make a list of activities completed and stuff to do. Don't make it a huge undertaking, just a small notepad with a couple notes will help. This will help you to stay organized and not do the same thing twice. This way you will keep on track since you will have activities to complete that will help in your job search rather than wasting time aimlessly searching for hours because you don't know what to do.

After you've hit the major job search sites such as, Jobster, or HotJobs, you may be hitting a snag in your search. If this happens, try looking at local professional organizations (the local Chamber of Commerce should be able to help you find them if you're having trouble). They should have websites with job boards, and may offer networking opportunities that will help in your job search. Here are some national professional sites that may help you to find their local chapters and get you started:


Commercial Finance Association

Association for Financial Professionals

List of Various Other Finance Organizations


American Accounting Association


Mortgage Bankers Association


American Marketing Association

American Advertising Federation

Ad 2

Public Relations Society of America

If you have other sites that would be helpful, go ahead and post them. I'll have some more tips up soon to make sure that your search keeps moving and stays focused. Good luck!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Welcome to Overemployed

As many people have experienced, the job search is a full-time job without the break room and free stale coffee. So when you've exhausted everything, HotJobs, CareerBuilder, and all the other major job sites, check out for a coffee break and some fresh ideas for the job hunt drawn from some of my own research and experiences. Most of the posts are probably best enjoyed with caffeine, so stock up on Starbucks and enjoy the videos!