Rick Gills is at the leading edge of coaching people in how to circumnavigate the technology and challenges, in today's overheated job recruitment environment ... he shares tips on how to create a resume so that you get called for that all important job interview.
In this interview he shares with you, his pre-resume technique that will help you get to the head of the short list for interview, and shows you how to write your resume so that recruiters sit up and take notice. I highly recommend Rick's book, "The Real Secret to Finding A Job", which you can either download from his site as an ebook, or purchase in paperback over at Amazon. Its filled with great resume tips and ideas that will help you get your foot in the door.
Shelley: Today I am very excited. We've got a fellow that sat around with three guys in a dining room, which might sound a bit like the title of a sitcom, but those three guys in the dining room successfully launched Houston's first job board. It was in the '90s, and technology was rapidly changing how a job search would be conducted.
Interestingly, only one of those three, Rick Gillis, is still active in the business of teaching others how to successfully negotiate the brave new world that job search has become.
Formerly host of Rick Gillis Employment Radio in Houston, Rick is regularly interviewed on radio stations across the United States and Canada, including N.P.R.
He was recently mentioned in The Wall Street Journal for his innovative short form pre-resume concept. Rick's most recent book on job search is called "The Real Secret to Finding a Job, Making Money or Saving Money."
Please welcome, Rick Gillis. Hi Rick.
Rick: How are you?
Shelley: I'm terrific, thank you. And you?
Rick: I am very well. Thank you very much.
Shelley: That is good. How is recruitment different today from say 10 or 15 years ago, that potential job seekers need to be really aware of, particularly those who have been around for a little bit longer?
Rick: One of the quotes that I express early on in my presentations is that job search is no longer about selection. It is about elimination.
People have to understand that with the overwhelming number of resumes and online applications being received by hiring managers, and that is of all professions, whether it is HR, business owners, staffing companies, they are receiving so much, they are looking for any reason possible to eliminate, number one.
The second part of that answer is that people have to take a new mindset to employment and finding their next position by stating how they are going to add value to an organization. I am continuously seeing, and I am sure you have as well, particularly from new college graduates, they always say, "I am seeking a rewarding and challenging career." I have got to tell you, in my position, if I was hiring right now, with the economy the way it is, all the taxes, fees, situations, we do not know if we are going to be in business next year, and for you to come in and tell me you're seeking a rewarding and challenging career, forget it. I am not interested in what you want. I am interested in what I need.
Shelley: Absolutely. So turn the attention away from yourself and on to their needs, right?
Shelley: Sure. You mentioned the recruiters are in overload, and look, the leaders listening in on our call today would be going, "Uh-huh. Welcome to my world."
Shelley: When you are out in that job search arena, and knowing that recruiters are in that info overloaded, how does somebody stand out from the crowd?
Rick: Let me answer the question in kind of a roundabout way. People think that when you lose your job or when you're looking for some new opportunity, you start by creating a resume. That is wrong. That is absolutely wrong!
Where you start, and to answer your question ... how do you stand out ... you start by creating a personal list of your very best accomplishments, your achievements. They don't have to all be employment based. They can be stuff that you did, volunteer, charity, academic, military, whatever. But go in stressing previous accomplishments, previous achievements.
The question you want somebody to ask you during an interview is, "How did you do that?" Because the real question behind that question is, "Can you do that for me?"
Rick: I would also go a little bit further and say that you can use that same mindset to minimize age discrimination, because as you and I both know Shelley, age discrimination is rampant in job search. The way you beat that is by stressing your accomplishments, and don't stress them unless you can duplicate it ... you can replicate it, because if you are 55 and what you did at 25 you can't do again, then you are shooting yourself in the foot.
However, if you are 55 and you still could create that sales campaign ... get out there and have the energy to drive it forward and implement it, then you should stress that because the relevance lies in the fact.
Shelley: Yes, and are you still up to speed with what is going on today, not 25 years ago.
Rick: That is very, very ... what you just said, you just said a mouthful right there. That is worth a topic. That is a show of its own, because too many people are not staying current with their skills.
Shelley: I often say to people, "If you aren't learning, growing and developing, how can you learn, grow, and develop your people?" To me, that is critical to staying current in any operation.
Rick: It is. It is. I will tell you, and it is interesting because I have talked with a couple of people in some of the national media in the U.S. and I have said, "I think there is a story there about former masters of the universe who no longer have the skills to even find a job." I regularly run across these CEOs, C-Suite people, who do not have the skills because they are used to somebody else doing it for them.
Shelley: Absolutely. Technology is just so important. In terms of recruiting, that has just changed so much. Where before it was all paper based resumes, today much more put is online and things like that. What is your take on all of that?
Rick: You are absolutely right, and I will tell you what I'm thinking as you're saying that is that we don't even know where all of this is going. This truly is a brave new world. The technology is doing that more and more, I was just reading something in one of the business magazines yesterday or the day before, stating that more and more young people don't even like using email.
Rick: They want it short and sweet, and to tweet via Twitter is the way it is done. I have a friend in New York who told me she had attended, basically, a Twitter Job Fair, where everything you did was in 140 characters or less. It was kind of like speed dating.
Rick: Yeah, so I don't know how that worked. She flat told me, she said, "I'm not sure if there was success there," but it is an opening to what we might be looking for in the future.
Shelley: Sure. I interviewed somebody just recently about managing your reputation, and she was saying that the vast majority of companies are using Facebook to vet people before they even bring them in for interview, etc.
Rick: I have to tell you that is fascinating you said that. I have just taken a position with a company working in a permanent part-time basis, and it is going to be pre-investigations based on social media and monitoring of employees based on social media to find out who is spilling the beans, who is disclosing proprietary information. Maybe you don't want to hire this person prior. It is a brave new world. This company just announced recently that they were going out for business, and I contacted them immediately because I am fascinated. I want to be a part of this. It is Big Brother-ish. I know it is Big Brother-ish. It is scary. But you know what, we are all doing it.
Shelley: It is the way of the world, and you've got to stay with it. There is nothing else to be done.
Shelley: I know from reading your eBook; "The Real Secret to Finding a Job," that you're very big on pre-resume. Can you share with people what the pre-resume is?
Rick: Sure. Another name for it is the short form resume. I am a big fan of the short form resume, meaning a one page document. It is highly critical, and I have two reasons why I came up with this document.
First of all, the pre-resume, by definition, means it precedes your long form resume. So anybody who would be listening, I am not telling them to throw out their current resume. However, I will tell them that they need to, they almost critically have to start off the job search when there is a place where you submit a resume, because let's face it, more and more times now it's an online application, you are going to utilize it.
But when you are sending out the resume, a one-page document is very important for two reasons. Number one, the hiring professionals are not scanning much beyond the first page because generally they are only looking for the most current information, pages 2, 3 and 4 is old stuff. They will get to it when they need it if you make the grade on the first page.
Number two and most importantly, what too many people just aren't aware of is that the filtering software, the resume filtering software that is out there, most companies by choice are setting up that filtering software so that it will only scan page one of a resume. Once again, they are looking for most recent, most current skill sets. They're not looking for the rest.
Consequently, I have created this one page, pre-resume or short form resume document with the intent that you send that in first. It is loaded with the keywords that are in the job posting, and those keywords are artificially established and set at the bottom of the page, for the purpose of serving the software, not the recruiter. It is meant to serve the software, to get you through the pile so you get noticed.
Then, and I hear this all the time when people use my process, the call they get from the H.R. professional is, "I just got your resume, but I need more information." At that point, you say, "I submitted my short form resume to get your attention. Evidently that worked. Let me have your email address. I will send over my long form to you on the spot, right now." That is it.
It is kind of like Oprah, when she finishes a segment on TV she says, "Stick around. We'll be right back after this break. We'll teach you how to be a millionaire." Well, you stick around hoping that you are going to learn. It's the same thing. It is the tease model. Set it out there, but nail it. It is razor sharp. It is focused, and it made it through the software.
Shelley: Absolutely. Going back 15, nearly 20 years now ... that's aging me ... I was H.R. Manager in a startup facility and I had 1,500 resumes to go through for about 50 positions in the business.
Rick: You know what? I appreciate that. I was with a friend of mine recently, and she has a little boutique staffing company. I mean little, four or five people and she operates an office here, in Houston, and also in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. At that moment in time, she had 1,100 resumes sitting in her inbox. That's a normal day.
Shelley: Absolutely. At that time, that was when I became a fan of the one page resume. The truth was I rarely went past page one because I was just in overwhelm mode with so many. So I stand here saying to you, "Thank goodness somebody is teaching people about one page resumes," because it really is critical. But it is what you put on that one page that is so important.
Shelley: You and I, in our previous discussions, are both of like mind, which is focus on your achievements, which you mentioned before, and be results focused. Do you want to share with everyone today a little bit more about what you feel is the most important thing to have on that one page resume?
Rick: I will tell you what, the very first thing is in my header, and I have designed the header very distinctly and very deliberate. Anybody can go to my website, RickGillis.com. There is a pre-resume tab. They can click on this and they can view this information at no cost to them.
The very first thing, the header has an enormous amount of information in a very small piece of space. The first thing I would like to say, instead of what to put on, how about what not to put on? How about leave off your physical address? That is the first place that a recruiter goes to and red-lines you because you live too far away from the job site. Am I correct Shelley?
Shelley: Yes, absolutely.
Rick: You agree with that?
Shelley: Unfortunately, I know it happens - and I have a couple of times made decisions myself based on someone's address.
Rick: I tell people, leave that off. Now myself, I live outside of Houston, Texas. I am not going to say where I live. I am going to say Houston, Texas if I am even going to put the name of the city.
I want somebody to call me and say, "What part of town do you live in?"
I am going to say, "Where is the job located?" When they tell me and it is an hour and fifteen minutes on the other side of town, I am going to say, "I can get there, no problem," because I want an opportunity at least to interview, even if I am not going to take the position.
Rick: Don't build land mines into your resume that say "No," and that physical address is the first thing.
Number two, I would like to recommend so importantly, after your contact information, I have created a single line that I call the seeking statement. It says, "I am seeking a position as a Chemical Engineer with Dow Chemical Company, reference number . . ."
The reason is I see so many, and I know you have too Shelley, I know you have seen so many resumes that did not bother to tell you what it is they have applied for, and you're not going to read all of that stuff trying to figure it out. That is 1950. That is 1970 maybe.
So you say, I am seeking position as a ________, state the title exactly as it is stated in the posting or as you know it to be. The name of the company, now people think that is redundant. Why would you state the name of the company when obviously you are sending it to them?
Well, the fact is it gives you points in the software.
So use the name of the company. The reference number, so that the person who receives it knows to route it to the right place.
The next piece is, go in with an objective statement that says, and here we go back to my, "I am seeking a rewarding and challenging career." Here is the antithesis of that. You've got to say ...
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