Could millions narrow current ‘skills gap’ in job market with better recruiter interviewing?

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Ask ten managers or recruiters what’s most important on a resume, and beyond contact information, you will undoubtedly get ten different answers. Having commented (even raved) about this under-employment situation with numerous people, I’m committing to a discussion about the pitfalls of “You must show ACHIEVEMENT, not *just* did things” mind set.

That the standard eight seconds of recruiter viewing time for resumes doesn’t seem to have improved is certainly a gripe many will have, and scanners are definitely still a problem.

I’ll use three examples regarding resumes and delineating production versus achievement relative to executive-administrative associate roles. Those who think millions lack necessary skills probably haven’t explored beyond singular tests adequately with clients.

Having seen articles about the desirability of ‘soft skills’ recently, communications ability doesn’t equate to verifiable ACHIEVEMENT. In my own freelance writing, community involvement projects, and significant sales background, I’ve relied on the Q&A style of determining what needs to be known with rapport building, and handling of whatever blips or situations come up.

Having the necessary computer skills, even if not the most current version, is an expectation, yet being the oil that keeps gears moving smoothly is an understood factor in admin associates job. When the phone rings, the keyboarding skills take a break.

Many counselors agree a functional vs. chronological resume is legitimate.  Many others feel dates, including when NOT working, are still required.

cropped-1000wd-picture-beyond-resume2As a contract employee pre-recession, I became the primary coordinator for a quarterly meeting of a 185-person Master Servicing group, after replacing an executive associate that handled three vice-presidents.

Determining the site, menu and costs for lunch, the AV equipment setups, which logo-ed gift participants would receive, and team building exercises were all wrapped in the project.

Singular achievement or significant collaboration

While there was a sub-set of nine or ten others who helped with coordination (especially the participant gift, a sweet, extra-large umbrella with padded grip from the corporate catalog I still have), it was my job to get the major ABCs together.

The ballroom location and equipment needs became essentially free once the luncheon cost ($17 x 185 v. approx. $34,000 budget) was negotiated, which proved a no-brainer to green-light when presented to the veep with oversight responsibility.

The lunch banquet worked smoothly, and a scavenger hunt for the team building exercise proved brilliant. The participant who didn’t put a printout in her team’s box by ‘3-2-1-zero!’ as everyone counted down the end of exercise certainly won’t forget it.

It’s not fair to you, lumping that under an ordinary job description. It was clearly an achievement, and while banks were fat then and it was almost a blank check on budget, quantifying the magnitude of a similar Great Job! shouldn’t be missed.

Take space on your resume to draw attention to any similar ability to handle complex or out-of-the-ordinary situations.

Customer Service Administrator

In a multi-functional job tagged as Customer Service Administrator, I interfaced with three mutually exclusive data bases, had over-sight and justification of eight technicians hourly and travel expenses, and researched customer billing questions (the techs weren’t always great on documentation). Putting together $30,000-60,000 consignment orders of parts for new locations and call backs were secondary administrative tasks.

Varied as these factors were, there’s still nothing that smacks of that all important ‘Achievement’ at an administrative level.

Recognizing the Parts Department was often asked by customers to diagnose which part of a machine had failed, I utilized my writing skills to create a ‘Parts Ordering and Return Policies’ piece, which became that out of the ordinary achievement.

Diagnosing was a Service function, so codifying how the company wanted callers – generally the guys in the pits with machines, not office personnel – to present needs in 1st, 2nd, 3rd best ways to determine the required part improved process efficiency for the Parts Department.

Ordering-return procedures as ‘value added achievement’

It took considerable grunt work, but distilling a comprehensive 1,325 user mailing list from an 18,000 machine database and disseminating those ordering-return procedures became a quantifiable ‘value added achievement.’ Such projects aren’t about knowing the most current software, its about initiative.

That’s a quality potential employers will only recognize if it’s presented on a resume early, and somehow as a scannable line of copy. That isn’t always easy, its just what’s needed though, so work it.

Departmental re-org, Five Team Leaders

During a reorganization of a 105-person Purchasing Department, I was tasked to the change coordinator and became a point of contact for five Team Leaders. Multiple executives or managers is usually included in position descriptions for administrative associates. Beyond creating and disseminating all new policies through the e-mail (non-WYSIWYG) system, where does quantifying come in?

Take some space on a resume to make sure you draw attention to an ability to handle complex or out-of-the-ordinary situations.

Rewriting an environmental assessment questionnaire was a difference maker. There wasn’t a data file with all the information to tap and go for desktop publishing, so while the vast majority of preparing 150 hefty binders of information for a chemical safety conference was keeping two copying machines operating, it was a two-day rush order that would’ve taken two weeks notice for a corporate print shop.

 As the Team Rubicon crew says, GSD – Get shit done.

Scanning snafus and eight seconds of attention

It’s still a discouraging factor with recruiters, who we *know* are trying to fill a specific need for their clients. Many still won’t sit with someone to determine the ‘extras’ their experience or under-utilized skills might amount to if known about.

Many counselors agree a functional resume is legitimate, many others recruiters say dates, including when NOT working, are still required. While a uniquely formatted resume is often acceptable – LinkedIn does a decent one – many operations still throw things into a scanner that will not be your friend when parsing.

When you’re looking for a better job, making the time to create the best possible, and hopefully unique, picture of what you offer is a factor every expert agrees about.

As a small, reasonable fix, this is stated absolutely:

FOLLOW UP with anything you send.

Describe ‘Career Experiences’

Although I came across a NASCAR application with a 2,000 word limit to describe ‘Career Experiences,’ few applications have the flexibility to include ‘other stuff.’ In 2020, recruiters might again have massive numbers of resumes, with some 40 million sidelined indefinitely. There was supposed to be a shortage for many positions, but helping to keep recruiters focused on you as the payoff requires more than a voice mail every ten days.

Being eliminated because your recruiter didn’t see you as an EXACT match for their job order, that you under-state your own achievements will happen far too often if you don’t put it in the mix in a substantial way.

What’s more legitimate – hoping today! a recruiter discovers YOU are a unique, shining example of paper portrait which includes a factor they hadn’t considered, or calling them and offering an explanation of some additional experience that drew your attention to a new possibility. (Yes, you might have included that in a cover letter.)

Even if you think writing that extra couple lines will never get seen, doing less is seldom (if ever) going to win the day.

A ‘Tweener’ Feeling About Christmas

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First off, I’m not a Grinch-type, nor do I have an attic full of ornaments and lights and reindeer waiting to be planted on the front lawn. I have yet to try peppermint latte, and while I have a red stocking hung by the chimney with care, its more because my Dad made them for all four boys about 1,000 (okay, 50-something) years ago, with our names in felt and a glittery star at the toe. Putting it up is a reminder how we– and I include family and the many, many friends he treated so kindly– miss his cookies and good cheer. Like Santa Claus, everybody liked Dad.

Several cousins are coming to visit this holiday season, mostly because they want to be with Mom, who at 84 moved to the assisted living side at her senior community at the end of August, but hopefully because we haven’t seen each other in a while. Frank– who was Skip for the first thirty years I knew him– retired this year, and he is financially set to do whatever the heck he wants over the next couple years. He even mentioned going to Minnesota for some *really* cold weather, not something you normally hear from a true Florida Boy. He’s got three terrific kids, as do two of my brothers, Steve and David.

That’s where the ‘Tweener’ thing comes in, because having someone truly special in life to share such times with is way ahead of wondering what you can or should be considering gift-wise. While I could actually use a new basketball, how fully I’ll throw myself into this season of cheer is open to debate. I’ll drink your spiked egg nog, I’m good with any Woman who wants to walk around with some mistletoe and surprise me– hopefully its a worthwhile kiss– and I travel with a small bag of food behind the seat in case I run across someone on a street corner who needs a break from that necessary worry, even for a day. I’ve got six stamps on hand, so a couple people get cards.

late crewdoes tree12-17Okay, I just signed up for a Hawai’ian pig roast, and my experience on that is, no problem smiling about next Saturday. Brother Steve has an oyster roast on 23rd, and THAT’S always a winner, with enough testosterone–guys only at this event–  to float a battleship. Our church group’s 33rd annual Christmas tree sale ends in a couple days, and that’s been an uplifting experience, too.

The hitch of not being a Grinch– a role that’s soooo easy to slip into– or (overly) Super Positive Person for holidays– is over-thinking the Why not? that kind of comes with being a single guy, mistletoe or not. Yeah, yeah, I know its supposed to be about the Christ child’s birth, Peace on Earth-Good Will towards Men (and all other categories of humanity), but isn’t there some “What about me?” when you see a hottie elf nuzzling a geeky guy in one of those super-ridiculous tree lights suits? Without being disrespectful of the many who have much less, not having a couple things to open and wow! at someone’s thoughtfulness for getting it (or perhaps a negative if you recognize its a re-gifting with zero thought), that you’re getting the coffee on (as usual) and hanging out till church, football games and dinner is a relative downer.

It doesn’t seem legitimate to protest that things aren’t exactly as you’d want them to be

When brother Dave, Donna, Maria, Curtiss and his wife, Stephanie came down a couple Glenn w-captainsyears ago it was a great couple days, and even the recent Thanksgiving I got to participate in with twenty others in Gastonia, with food and beverage aplenty, was a harbinger of why many find the holidays somewhat depressing: It doesn’t last. We watch Trump being good (for Trump, no excessive butthead Twitter-ing, and there’s got to be PLENTY on his pea-pickin’ mind right now) at President George H.W. Bush’s funeral for a couple days, but there’s no doubt in our minds that’s going to change real damn soon, right? You don’t expect a three-year old grandchild to be perfect after the 26th either.

In the bigger picture, it doesn’t seem legitimate to protest that things aren’t exactly as you’d want them to be at a specific time. I pity the millions who will make New Years resolutions for 2019, knowing that 99.7% of whatever weight, job, relationship, economic, personal or altruistic promises they make to the Universe or whomever they’re accountable to in their goal-setting awaits failure. I’ve never worried about ten pounds too much-not tanned enough for swim suit season, never sworn I’d move into a perfect new, high-paying job before New Years. I loved the insurance commercial about Mayhem, who was resigned to doing the mundane safety stuff until he found out resolutions rarely make it very far into the new year, because he could be his regular self, the pressure was off at that point.

Of *COURSE* I’ve asked for the stockings I put in my stocking to be filled appropriately with a desirable Her. What I’m going to be glad about is Mom still recognizing me (most of the time) when I pick her up for church, for Mike, who never asks for the rent money absolutely on time (unless its poker week), and if he fixes the head he broke off the choir boys cutout, I’ll be glad to put it on the porch and put some framing tree lights in the window behind them. I’ll kiss under any mistletoe when prompted, just because. I’ll watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ (original version) with spiked egg nog and know I’m not him,  watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and consider whether I’m that kind of difference maker in other peoples lives. I will *never* say “Bah, humbug!”

That it probably only takes getting another good gig work-wise (half a loaf is still good) to brighten things brings HOPE, and isn’t that what the season is truly about? Positive expectations people, and Season’s Greetings! to all who might need a little extra cheering to make it though. I’m not a Grinch, you probably aren’t either. Tweener isn’t *bad*, not with all the alternatives and/or blessings we have to help us over The Small Stuff.

And while you’re up, could you get me another egg nog?