Recruiter read ‘tech writing’ experience as intended, but wrong on client needs

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I recently had three very different chances to interface with recruiters regarding the same possibility with a major Charlotte bank, in this case, for technical writers. While  that’s generically “a club in my bag,” it didn’t get much play until I added a resume on DICE site.

Basic point: Know which sites work best for your skill set and goals.

Two people, who supposedly know how certain skills may fit with work orders, told me Monster and Careerbuilder were places they found most of their placements and possibilities. I’ve never liked those chronologically-oriented sites, and there have been plenty of possibilities on LinkedIn and FlexJobs, including remote options. 

KEYWORDS – BIG DIFFERENCE

It’s worth noting that early searching for ‘Writer’ roles on LinkedIn often produced more Underwriter and Service writer possibilities than creative positions. Putting ‘content creation’ in the keyword box, that went from barely a handful to nearly 100, and often included marketing and editorial managers. Knowing more than one way to look for things is a legitimate piece of any search effort.

Non-negotiable factors like moving still allow frequent opportunities to contribute from a laptop – good content can be created any time or place.

This up close and personal situation reinforced operational negatives I’ve held for a long time about recruiters, but also led to an affirmation of  opinions about whether current “talent gaps” could be mitigated if finders of people for positions did a better job of interviewing.

In two of these calls, I admit first contact appointment-getters – with fairly heavy, difficult to understand accents – were a consideration. Repeatedly asking them to slow down, and yes, thinking scams often flourish with confusion, I was on guard. There are dialer-operations that turn over leads that fill client schedules, and we’re all aware that “others” are constantly phishing for data.

I fixed my attitude about totally different groups of people contacting me – because “I saw your resume…” isn’t actually out of the blue, I am out there – just in time.

Key in recruiters getting what they need

One caller was totally in left field, because he was trying to work with an online resume from 2015 (Careerbuilder). Trying to steer him to more current information like LinkedIn seemed futile. Trying to explain a 2015 post-Recession in retail resume, which  represented nothing  I was trying to accomplish in 2019 – just, no. Thinking I could turn that option into even a 3-month contract wasn’t a reality.

I admit being less nice to him, but fixing my attitude about different groups of people contacting me out of the blue with “I saw your resume…” came through just in time. 

Talking with Recruiter #2, the ‘take over’ local (Charlotte) person I’d scheduled a call with left me far far less confident about success compared to the CBD company I connected with through LinkedIn right after New Years. Maybe he was describing a totally different job – I found out a month later he was actually right on about a situation that sounded far above my comfort level regarding previous technical expertise.

There’s a definite difference in needing-to-be-done-a-certain-way design for multiple layers of starting from scratch tech writing vs. compilation and interpretation of content and “editorial values.”

Recruiter #3 was Goldilocks – just right – a pro out of Philly who interpreted my resume exactly the way I wrote it, and expect it to be read.

#3 had a WHOLE different POV on my matching the client’s  web/content management needs, not what I seemed to lack with #2. Don’t burn bridges with recruiters. Having an above average and realistic interview is still the goal of responding to online-available descriptions. 

He indicated there would be a training period, so that contract people were trained in Open Text, and picking up something on gigs becomes career enhancing expertise for content people. I haven’t been intimidated about using systems listed in job descriptions, and glad to know about up front training, which is nothing but good business.

Recruiter Guy #3 was prepared

He’d seen my LinkedIn profile, knew about my real estate, and made a suggestion about amping the job titles regarding tech writing for two specific jobs. He liked the continuity of  ‘2000 to Current’ – and frankly, side hustle business doesn’t have to pay all the bills to go on your CV.  When its relevant, make sure its known. You’ll rarely get asked about things people don’t know are possibilities.

  • Customer ordering and return procedures, written for “guys in the pits” v. front office personnel, regarding industrial laundry equipment.
  • Editing and formatting of 65 page Monthly Management Report – from 17 contributors.
  • After Hours Care ‘cheat sheet’ of weekend staff procedures

CDTalent Enterprises has produced in a variety of situations that create editorial depth.

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This is an upgraded kronut by Sugarrmann, with an extra blob of flavorful lemon under the glazing, after I reviewed a previous version’s tastefulness.  I’m not a coder.

I appreciated speaking 40 minutes vs. ten – If you’ve gotten jaded hearing about recruiters and eight seconds checking a resume, getting to phone calls is actually the goal. You don’t WIN! because someone responded, and IMHO, getting the right kind of help by better communicating your expertise is its own reward.

As a gig, we’ll see about phone interviews next week, but part of my work system is to keep the professional options hopper productive. While its proof nothing goes away on the Internet AND what it can deliver as results, I’m elementally glad my opinions about how much better recruiters could do with interviewing turned out to be right.

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.

That’s What LinkedIn Should Be For

Getting a private, positive response yesterday as a direct result of an online discussion (Global Executive Assistants) validates what I’ve believed LinkedIn was supposed to be about. While there are still too many ‘PLEASE read my blog!’ type messages on writing sites I utilize, articulating my objections about what should-shouldn’t be included on CV-resumes got a specific unfairness off my chest as strongly as I wanted. Based on comments from others and that indicator of attention I needed, it hit a righteous chord.

Given that *everyone* says recruiters only give resumes a scant 6-8 seconds attention, and resumes aren’t supposed to go past 12-15 years at the max, my point was 6.5 years of retail work that paid bills-put food on the table-gas in the car-allowed for occasional road trip vacations during The Great Recession was apparently DQing me from consideration for executive assistant level positions handled prior to 2007. That contract work, which was my case from 1995-2000 after leaving regional sales rep positions, of less than six months shouldn’t be included– even if it involved learning a significant skill– was a deal-killer many applicants recognize. Most recruiters, and even a *computer generated notation* for one application I labored on, still pick at EVERY TIME GAP, making for a Catch-22 situation.

Having illuminated that frustrating situation won’t change 99% of recruiters methodology. When I first changed from being a ‘windshield warrior’ to getting results driving a desk in 1995, it was mandatory that you do alllll the paperwork with an agency (it still screws up applications to put ‘multiple agencies’ under Employer, because who remembers origin of each assignment ?) and test on software before anyone would talk to you. Now, even after going through online on-boarding process for a major temp-placement operation, the recruiter stonewalled an office visit 3x in one phone call because “there’s no sense WASTING your time or mine” to determine how jobs that barely made it– no description or dates, just the position– onto a page might make me a better candidate. *I* sure wouldn’t think its a waste, not when most EA ads involve ‘Exceptional verbal- written communications skills’ in the description, something barely scratched on Page 1 that is a HUGE strength of mine, much higher order than being current on learnable software.

I’m going with the positives though. I’ve followed that particular lady for a while, and now I’ve done something that attracted her personal interest; a guy whose house I’ve played several Hold ’em poker tournaments at is a recruiter and he’s also looking at my material. That recruiter who said “all we have” is a survey situation for a Republican project and a tele-marketing deal up-selling dating site users to full membership, wow, his whole office must be starving. Guess he should have some extra time to read deeper into resumes then, right?

Glenn S.