IT Employment

Site offers tricks for getting an interview


So I came across this site (HowtoWriteAResume.org, no less) that boasts some tricks for getting past the resume stage and getting your foot in the interviewer's door. Most of the tips refer to those who are sending out paper resumes -- choose a color other than white or beige for your resume, use a different size paper -- and were fairly low-key. Some were a little adventuresome, but might work, such as sending your resume via registered mail to the hiring manager.

But then things started to get a little weird. The author suggests that it may work to deliver the resume in person. That's all gung-ho and all and will certainly make you stand out in the hirer's mind, but would it be in a good way? I"m not sure how I would take it if someone delivered his resume to me in person. Part of me would be annoyed that he clearly couldn't follow the instructions given in the print ad or job board. I might be a little put off by the action. But I guess there's no real harm in it.

But then the author suggests you deliver the resume with a gift. Seriously. Like a pizza or a bouquet of flowers. He even suggests taping the resume to the pizza box lid (in a zip lock bag). Now, I know a lot of you are all in favor of stepping outside the box on this resume business, but unless you're obsessing on one particular company, this gift giving could become pricey.

But here's a tip that I thought was pretty ingenious (and a lot cheaper than FTD): Attach a post-it note to your resume that says something like "This one looks good -- J." The article states correctly that no one has to know who "J" is. The point is, the article says, that the hiring manager will get a resume with a Post-it note on it, stating that it's good. "Therefore, they are more likely to pay close attention to the resume at the direction of another employee." It's worth a try!

Anybody got any other tips?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

16 comments
Stuey_C
Stuey_C

I heard of a neat trick lately for those trying to get their resume past an automated reader. Copy the entire "requirements" section of the ad and paste it into the bottom of your resume. Then select the copied portion, turn the text into a miniscule font, and then turn the text white. This essentially makes the text invisible to the eye, but still allows the automated reader to see you have all the 'required' qualifications. A little sneaky? Yes, but you need every advantage you can get to get the interview.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

As someone who has worked in recruiting, I am aware of many such websites, and so are most of the recruiters. They are onto teh game and know what 'inside company info' is being passed on about them and how to apply to them. One company in Canada, that offers online assessment tests (you know those really stupid and irrelevant ones, not the Picasso testing or other really accurate or definitive tests)also offers tips about companies they represent, who hires, contact info of C-level employees, what buzz words they seek etc. In many cases, the recruiters are fully aware that thier information os somewhat jeopardized, therefore they plant tips to weed out what they call "counterfeit resumes". The idiots that use these tips and tricks, fail more than the idiots who feel that mass emailing resumes from job boards, like Monster and Workopolis, are actually effective. TIPS: Seek a company that YOU feel you can help and would WANT to work with. Not just who is advertising, those ads (especially newspaper ads) show less than a 2% success rate, it's a numbers game, not a way to seek employment. NOTE: Recruiters get paid a percentage of your first years salary, if the job WOULD have paid 100K, ther recruiter now gets 15-20% and you get the balance, 80-85K instead of the 100K. What happens is the employee is undervalued, does not progress properly in his role and will seek a new employer in oen year, most common stats show this pattern anyway. Find a company, research it and WHO OWNS AND MANAGES IT, not the HR department. Don't hesitate to call and ASK who the president or senior level manager is. Canvas that contact! Call (with a written pitch) and 'pitch' your skills your goals and objectives, then ask for an interview in person. t works flawlessly more often than not, choose a so so one first so you are honed for calling the key companies. In most cases, they (senior level employees)will listen attentively, and offer advice on finding what you seek (if they have nothing for you themselves) [b]ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS.....ASK FOR A REFERRAL IF THEY CAN'T OFFER YOU SOMETHING!!!!!![/b] I have had some great jobs just through asking a prospective employer if he knows who would be able to utilize my skillset. Ask them to meet for lunch or coffee, you willlearn to build rapport with employers and C-level prospects, this shows initiative drive and ability and will inevitably lead ot to a career of YOUR choice at a wage that YOU can dictate, not what they are ready to offer or a portion of such due to some recruiter filling the chair. Recruiters are NOT in it for he long run, they know most people that don't 'fit' will last a year, they get their year's pay and then start looking for the next guy to fill the chair they get paid to fill. They usually don't benfit by finding you a long term position that you will enjoy, but one that they will fill a year later and gain a new client and more skilled job seeker in the process. YOu will almost always be sold into taking a job that you are overqualified for and unerpaid for, one year and...NEXT!! This is just an FYI personal tips from experience working in recruiting and teaching a job club. Best of luck with your hunt, OM

aja+techrepublic
aja+techrepublic

The Dibert comic strip has "Mordac the Preventer of IT". Many firms have a Mordac rather than a Catbert in HR, but with Catbert's smarts. Policy is that managers can't deal with candidates directly, can't write job descriptions. EVERYTHING has to go though HR. If you do approach a manager directly he is required by POLICY to redirect you to HR. So you get situations like this: http://wiki.pragprog.com/cgi-bin/wiki.cgi/AnneLearnsToRecruit There are few managers in this thread who seem to have kept control of the hiring process away from HR. All power to them. But in larger companies, HR seems to have hijacked the process completely. Even to the point where you have to submit a resume (in MS-word of couse) to a keyword scanner via their web site. "Untouched by human hands." There a complaints about a shsortage of IT workeers. I think its that HR is being to ggressive in its screening.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

I have found that even in companies with large corporate structure, a board of directors where no single owner can be named, it is easy to get in by finding the right contact and using THEM to push through HR. HR has a job to do, but if you impress HR's boss with a proposal that shows company benefit (how else would you search for employment?!?), and that 'boss' sends your information to HR for screening, you get a LOT farther a LOT faster than those who are submitting online or through recruiters. I have often taken positions where others were more qualified or I didn't have the formal educational requirements, even though others did. Companies that are proactive will quickly realize and recognize the difference in drive, one usually wins and the other fits in with all the rest. Working a company from the top down has always proven to be the most effective way to secure a position, it also allows you to dictate a higher salary more often than taking what the company is prepaared to offer up front. I'm just speaking from personal experience and experience teaching others to find employment of choice at a salary of choice. Companies that don't recognize that form of drive are generally companies I have no interest in working with anyway.

Wayne M.
Wayne M.

My favorite pizzeria is a small local outfit called Piasano's. In Kentucky, my favoirte is Joe Bologna's but he is only in Lexington (sorry, TR). Will this get you an interview? No, but it will get me some free pizza. Also, don't bother hand delivering your resume. You may impress our receptionist, but she will still not let you in to see anyone.

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

We had a contest once to see who could get past Vancouver's toughest gatekeeper. Jimmy Pattison's secretary. I got through and set a meeting in two calls. The first one is just an easy set up for the second. No good gatekeeper will stop all walk-ins, it should be instant grounds for dismissal. Anyone with half a brain knows that the best candidates are usually the walk-ins who are well prepared and determined enough to knock the door.

JamesRL
JamesRL

It is one thing to set a meeting through the phone. In another to walk in the door and get a meeting. In my company, you cannot get through the door without being escorted by someone with a pass. The receptionist would be fired if she let you in. This is true even when I go to another corporate building - they don't give out temp passes. If the admin to our VP let someone in without a pre -arranged meetnig, she would be gone to. Like I said in the other post, its different in smaller companies where the owner is present and runs things. Pattison's policy is Pattison's policy. Its not always the same. I often get asked to screen for VPs. James

JamesRL
JamesRL

We just went through a big security push, if you make it to my desk unescorted or unannounced I will not be happy and I will definately not be into hiring you, unless I am looking for a security person. James

Oz_Media
Oz_Media

If not, why would they want to speak with you? Nothing personal, James. Hiring manager? Okay if all else fails, but not my first choice.

JamesRL
JamesRL

But I do make the decisions on who is hired for my department. My HR group does not screen for me, unless I ask them to. My boss doesn't meet anyone I hire until after they are on board. So why wouldn't they want to speak with me. But there are appropriate ways to do it, and getting around security isn't one of them. James

JamesRL
JamesRL

I used to get ads with something very similar - a "whitepaper" with a post it attached. I wouldn't buy from someone trying to con me, neither would I want to hire. Now when a co-worker sends me a resume, I pay attention. You wouldn't make it past security in most large companies, if you were trying to deliver in person. On the other hand, if you are trying to reach the owner of a small company, this might be a very good thing. I'm more concerned about the content than the manner in which it arrives. James

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

I'd go looking for "J" to ask if it was a friend. Also, I know of a few companies who go nuts over post-it notes on resumes. A few years back, one company got in trouble for blacklisting people through post-it notes as a way to avoid leaving a paper trail. I wouldn't advise going the post-it route. The Pizza idea would get my attention. I'd likely give the person an interview just to see what kind of person would do such a thing. the best "trick", however is networking. Friends are worth more than gold.

kaptandrews
kaptandrews

Networking is a great tool. I am working through that process now. Cold calling, asking for advise on what skills sets would be needed to work for their organization, etc. I have found this very effective in getting my foot in the door to at least get my name out there. Now this is within my company and have not tried this externally. I would assume that would be more diffcult but persitents is the key. For every 20 calls you make you might only get one or two that are willing to meet with you. But you have to also follow up with the other 18.

Locrian_Lyric
Locrian_Lyric

If I see a contact number for a job posting, I ALWAYS call it. When I call, I ask for some clarification on the position. I ask if I should send it to that person's attention and I chat a bit with the person. I make a human connection so that I am no longer just a few sheets of paper floating accross someone's desk.

NOW LEFT TR
NOW LEFT TR

Cold Calling....& the quote "Now this is within my company and have not tried this externally" Who is going to hire a person who spends time at work calling other areas of the company asking about work? Bad Move.