why resume blasting services don’t work

Resume distribution services draw a lot of attention from job seekers.  They’re seductive, aren’t they?  Only fifty bucks to reach thousands and thousands of recruiters and employers!  How can you miss? Easily.  What the blaster services have going for them is that potential customers, like you, respond to their marketing from your purely assumptive point of view, rather than applying logic or viewing it from the recipient’s. 

To you, the odds sound tough to miss.  Thousands?  If even a few hundred respond, think of all the interviews you’ll have!  You’ve also assumed that the service has done their homework, carefully researching the validity of each address.  And perhaps even that they’ve forged relationships with these recruiters and employers, who are each, in turn, eagerly awaiting the next “blast” of resumes from the service.  Fallacy, fallacy, fallacy. 

The email addresses aren’t qualified.  Usually they’ve been harvested, even if it’s from a legitimate source like The Kennedy Guide to Executive Recruiters. Consequently a large percentage bounce back, and for those addresses that are legitimate, your resume is viewed as spam, and more often than not, simply deleted.  

Let’s start with a look at the Kennedy Guide, an extremely valuable tool, and one, by the way, that you can find in the reference section of any library, or purchase on line access to for $60.00.  Got that?  For about the same price, you can have the real thing and not the imitation.  And even so, you need the most recent edition because the info in it goes out of date quickly.

Additionally, I know one retained search firm that put a general catch-all email address in there.  They received so many resumes from it – many from blasting services – that every day or so, they just deleted the entire inbox.  Better you use the guide for the other wealth of information it provides, and call them to qualify their specialties and geographical area of concentration.  You can get the guide here:  www.kennedyinfo.com.  It’s absolutely worth the $60.00 online access price. 

Employers who are actively hiring, receive enough unqualified resumes from their ads for specific positions without having to take the time to look at ones that come through a blind service for which they didn’t pay.  These companies already know that those resumes have nothing to do with their business or their hiring needs of the moment, 99% of the time.  For the other 1%, it’s not worth bothering to look. 

Recruiting firms too, receive massive amounts of resumes each week.  And while many firms cover multiple industries and disciplines, their data base is still probably 75% unusable.  I know; I was a recruiter for 20 years and was at several firms, both contingency and retained.  While it’s possible that some firms download the resumes from services, they simply go right into the database.  If you’re thinking the recruiters actually see them and study them when they arrive, you’re wrong.

As a further example, because of my URL and email address, I’m on the list of many of these services.  So a few times per week, I get these resumes.  I’m not a recruiter.   I don’t collect them, send them, or have any interest in them, unless they’re my client, and my clients are job seekers, not employers.  So if I’m fooled enough to open the email, once I see what it is, I delete it. 

Faxing your resume is no different.  Fax spam is almost as insidious as email spam.  Roofing companies, mortgage refinancing firms, stock tips, local restaurant menus, it goes on and on.  Who looks at the fax spam?  It’s usually tossed right in the trash with nary a glance, unless, perhaps, you’re standing there waiting for a fax.  

This is what you’re paying for.  Your resume is being sent to addresses that aren’t valid and aren’t qualified.  It’s being send to, and received by, people who didn’t ask for it, don’t look at it, and don’t care.  If it still sounds too good to be true, remember what your mom told you when you were a kid:  if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  File resume distribution services under that heading.

How to find me:

sign up for my free newsletter at www.FindthePerfectJob.com http://findtheperfectjob.wordpress.com/
Connect to me on http://www.linkedin.com/in/judiperkins

The importance of being customer focused

I am sure you are looking at the title of this post and wondering why a career expert is writing about customer service. Well, there are two reasons; the first is that I think customer service is prevalent in all areas of business. Providing strong customer service can be the difference in getting repeat clients and referrals – and not getting them at all. The second reason is that I recently wrote to a company that sponsors outdoor street fairs. I was interested in obtaining information regarding an upcoming fair. There, displayed on their website was an email address indicating that they would be more than happy to answer any questions to help the public. What did I do? I wrote to them; I was interested in simply obtaining the location of the fair so I could take my daughter over the weekend. What did I receive? An email from Darryl (the customer service rep) with a street name. Not very helpful; that street name would not really give me enough information to get to the fair; I wrote again and asked for some specific directions. Not being familiar with the town, I needed a bit more to avoid getting completely lost. What did he send me? A Google map of the entire United States. Thanks Darryl. You officially win an award for complete rudeness and utterly poor customer service.

I am not one who believes the customer is always right; however, I do believe that you should always try to provide good customer service in a friendly and helpful manner. They don’t say that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar for nothing.

Here are some good tips to follow to ensure your customer service skills shine:

Communication: One of the hallmarks of success in providing customer service is to communicate clearly and effectively with your customers. Answer questions in an easy to understand manner, be thoughtful in approach, and don’t rush. You don’t want to make people think that you have something better to do, like washing your hair. Part of being customer focused is being attentive and making the person or people feel special. This will go a long way in establishing trusting relationships, which will lead to continued business.

Set Expectations: Don’t make it up as you go along. If you know that you cannot deliver something, don’t simply agree to it to make the sale. This will come back to bite you. All parties need to be on the same page with clear expectations outlined from the beginning. This will serve to avoid confusion later and a he said, she said situation. When people understand the situation from the outset, they are more likely to remain happy.

Keep Written Notes: This will allow you to remain organized and also serve as a point of reference if questions about initial agreements arise later on. You cannot remember everything that was said; nor should you try. Writing things down will help keep everyone on the same page, no pun intended.

Walk A Mile in My Shoes: Be empathetic to the position of others. You cannot provide good customer service if you fail to see or recognize that there is another side to the coin. Your genuineness will likely foster longer-term relationships that will be highly beneficial for business.

You can really add tremendous value and generate clients for life by simply providing strong customer service. The point is that no matter what you do, customer service is important in all aspects of business.

Want to develop stronger customer service skills? Here are some resources for you: Learningtree.com; theelearningcenter.com; and elareners.com.

Comments and feedback are requested and desired; and you are welcome and encouraged to submit questions to thecareerdoctor.

Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC is the founder and Chief Career Strategist of ResumesDoneWrite, a premier career services provider focused on developing highly personalized career roadmaps for senior leaders and executives across all verticals and industries.

Debra can be reached at –
Connect to me on LinkedIn
Follow me on Twitter

5 Things You MUST Do Before a Job Interview

So you just found out that you have a job interview tomorrow and unfortunately procrastination is a weaknesses you haven’t yet conquered.  Here are the down and dirty tips to pull it together at the last minute.

1.  Look at the job posting you are applying for, and develop sound bites that address the needs of the employer.  Think of examples where you demonstrated the skills that appear in the job posting and develop answers that clearly show an employer that you are the perfect candidate for this position.   All sound bites should be 2-3 minutes in length.

2.  Use the TODAY acronym to develop additional sound bites of your experiences.  TODAY stands for Teamwork, Overcoming Obstacles, Duties of your past positions, Achievements, Your strengths and weaknesses.  Remember to clearly describe exactly what you did in each situation. The employer is hiring you, not the other people in your story.

3.  Research the company.  Search the internet for any recent press releases and check out the company’s website.   Know what they do, and develop some idea as to how the position you are hiring for fits within the company.

4. Think of questions to ask an interviewer.  Look at the job posting and your research about the company and think of 3-5 questions you can ask during the interview.  What are you curious about?  Do they manufacture a product you are familiar with, or never even knew existed before you started to research the company?  Where does this department fit in the grand scheme of the company? What projects is the department currently working on?

5. Lastly, prepare answers to the following questions: Tell me about yourself, Why did you leave your last position, or why are you looking for a new job, Why should I hire you, and The Salary Question.  You know that these questions will be asked in one form or another, so there is no excuse to not have prepared an answer.

And that’s it.  Interviewing is just that simple when it’s broken into it’s simplest components.  Focus on preparing answers to all of the scenarios above, and you will be ahead of the game.  Remember to clearly articulate in each and every sound bite exactly what you did.  Practice with a tape recorder to critique yourself, or with a friend to repeat back to you exactly what you did in a situation to make sure you’re preparing correctly.

4 Things That Can Completely Derail a Job Interview

Everyone knows (or should know) the big things that can cause an interview to completely tank.  However, there’s also some smaller little things that interviewees do that give interviewers an “oh, I think we’ll pass.” feeling.  If you want to get hired—best to avoid these gaffes:

  1. Going into an interview without anything.  Always bring a notebook or a folder with paper, extra copies of your resume (trust me, the printouts from Monster.com are a mess) or a small, professional briefcase to pack these things in.  Also—always make sure you have a pen.  Sounds so simple, but it’s easy to leave the house without them.  Arriving at an interview without them tells an interviewer that you’re just planning on “winging it”, and that you don’t anticipate the need to jot anything down to ask about later.  Kind of like when a waiter arrives at your table without a pad.  You assume he’ll care enough to remember your order correctly when he gets back to the kitchen, but you’re not always sure. You want an employer to always feel sure about you and your abilities.
  2. Saying anything remotely negative.  This should be implied to include past employers as well (which everyone knows).  Let’s say that in your last job you spent the majority of your time on the phone with clients and customers.  In your mind—you’d love to get a job where you’re off the phone and in front of them more.  You’re happy because the job you’re interviewing for sounds like it includes a lot more facetime.   In the interview, an interviewer asks why you’re looking to leave your past job.  You start to talk about how much you don’t like being on the phone for the entire day.  What you don’t know about the job (and don’t assume the job description is a complete inventory of all components of a job) is that before you can meet with all of those clients face to face, you’ll need to spend the mornings for the first 3 months making calls to current customers to set up those meetings and establish a relationship.  So while the new job does allow you to get out and mingle—there’ll be time spent on the phones in the beginning.  The employer hasn’t been secretive.  You made an assumption. The solution? Don’t ever say how much you dislike anything.  Ever.  In the case of the above example, say that you’d prefer to spend more facetime with clients.  Your current job just allows for phone conversations, not travel, but you would appreciate the opportunity to travel and meet with people face to face.  You never said you hated being on the phone with the heat of a thousand suns, just talked about how much you’d appreciate talking to them face to face.
  3. Look tense.  Come on, you can handle this one.  I know you’re going to be nervous, the employer knows you’re going to be nervous and you know you’re going to be nervous. However, acting nervous and tense makes the interviewer nervous and tense.  Remember that they’re trying to assess if you can do the job and if they like you.  I have interviewed but not hired people who sat stiffly in my office because I figured that they’d be stiff to work with, and I’m not a stiff person.  Before you walk into the interview, listen to your favorite music (theme song from Rocky?) and remember that being likable and competent goes even further than just being competent.
  4. Fake knowledge you don’t have.  If they’re looking for experience in a particular field or with a particular computer program—your first instinct may be to say that you have worked on it or “played around” with it, when maybe all you did was pick up the box in the computer store.  It’s OK to ask them if it’s similar to a program that you do know, and give them some examples of programs you’ve learned at other jobs in relatively short timeframes.  Remember if they’re looking for an egg and you’re a chair, it’s never going to be a fit and it isn’t anyone’s fault.  If it’s something that you’re seeing as a requirement on quite a few of the jobs you’re applying for, then you do need to take a class to learn it.  You never need to “fake it until you make it.”

Those are some of the basics.  Remember to always be genuine and friendly.  Think of Julia Roberts, Oprah Winfrey or Will Smith when you prepare for interviews.  Keep in mind how they’re nice, approachable, but never show their nervousness and always show their personality.  Friendliness will go far.

#1 Way to KILL a Phone Interview

Typically the topic of verbal crutches is something that people are coached on when they are improving their group presentation skills.  Verbal crutches are those little “connector” words that all of us use from time to time.  These are the ums, ahs, and even in the case of one candidate I interviewed—fabulous, that we unconsciously toss in while we’re thinking about the next sentence.

Let me tell you—this will KILL and I mean—RUIN your chances for a follow up interview, especially if your first interview is a phone interview.

As the interviewer on a phone interview, I have nothing else to focus on other than the sound of your voice.  If that sound is constantly interrupted by an umm, or a ya know, I’m really going to notice it.  If the job I’m considering hiring you for has a lot of phone work involved, I’m not going to subject the person on the other end of the phone to your poor verbal abilities.  At this point, I don’t care if you are the most qualified person on paper—you’re out of the running because your message is being lost in a sea of these verbal crutches.  It’s a very silly way to get eliminated.

Here’s how you clean up your act.  First, you need to either ask your friends very seriously and honestly if you are a verbal crutch offender.  Explain to them how important this is in your job search, and unless they want to hear you whine for an additional six months about not finding a new job—they should help you.  Verbal crutches are bad habits that can become more apparent when you’re in stressful situations like job interviews, but are probably apparent when your guard is down like when you’re hanging out with friends.  They don’t just appear when you pick up the phone for an interview.

Your other option is to record yourself while you practice for the interview.  This can be trickier because you will of course know that you’re taping and will make more of an effort to clean up your act, but it could work.

Another option is to just make a conscious effort throughout the day to listen to what you are really saying.  Too many times I find that if I’m not completely engaged in what I’m saying and am not truly “in the moment” that I will start umming and ahhing as my brain searches for the next coherent thought.  When I focus on the message I’m trying to convey, my speech patterns clean up immediately and I’m back on track.  I sound more professional and people have a tendency to not tune me out because they’re tired of trying to sort out the wheat from the umm and ahh chaff.

So bottom line, if this could be a problem for you—fix it NOW!  Make an effort everytime you say something during the day to really listen to what you are saying—don’t tune out!  If you want the interviewer to pay attention to you—you need to pay attention to you. For some people, this will be a hard habit to break, but it is well worth the effort, I guarantee it.