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Stop Wasting Time on Your Resume: A Lesson From The Hunger Game

Stop Wasting Time on Your Resume: A Lesson From The Hunger Game

While phenomenal resume tips (and debates) abound, there’s one point everyone seems to miss:

Out of all the job search activities, crafting a perfect resume is the least likely to land you an interview; the odds are simply not in your favor.

You see evidence of the disadvantageous resume odds every time you apply for a position online. For example, one of my clients this past week wanted to apply for an HR Generalist position in Chicago that had been live for three days and had already received 649 applications.

On top of this, we know that recruiters spend on average 6.25 seconds reviewing a resume (if at all), and 80% of that time is spent on your name, and the company name, position title and date range of your two most recent positions -- all things you cannot change.

The takeaway: spend less time on your resume

Think of The Hunger Games. Those in power offered contestants false hope with the phrase, “May the odds be ever in your favor.” While most of the contestants rehearsed their fighting skills to marginally increase their chances, Katniss’ winning approach was to ignore conventional wisdom -- she changed the rules of the game instead.

If you’re still focusing the majority of your job search time on your resume, cover letter, and applying online, it’s time for you to rethink the rules of the job search game.

It’s not that you don’t need these resources; you still do (sorry!). But this week’s article shows you how to focus and complete your resume in the least amount of time so you can save the majority of your job search energy for higher value activities like strategic networking.

The key is to invest just enough time to make your resume strong enough to keep you in the running once you’ve gotten your foot in the door.

At NSC, we compiled all of the available research and advice into what we’ve found to be the highest value, safest bet, 30-minute resume creation template -- that still increases the odds of a recruiter or resume review software paying attention when you submit online.

Most importantly, your resume needs to accomplish two critical goals:

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Job-Seeking Friends & Family

Holiday Gift Ideas For Your Job-Seeking Friends & Family

Over the holidays, even if we know a friend or family member is actively looking for a job, we typically avoid asking them about it like the plague. The job search process is demoralizing, lonely and hard to navigate, so why bring up such a touchy subject?

In response to this I say: The job search process is demoralizing, lonely and hard to navigate -- show your support!

We all need affirmation, encouragement and positivity, but job seekers have to go to battle for it every day. In the spirit of our gift-giving holidays, here are a few gift ideas under $50 (and a couple of free ones!) to make someone’s search a little brighter.

4 Must-Ask Questions To Ask At The End Of Your Interview

4 Must-Ask Questions To Ask At The End Of Your Interview

At some point in the interview, likely towards the end, we know we’ll be asked for our questions (it happens in 84% of interviews). And we know asking good questions is important, since 32% of hiring managers in a recent study stated not asking good questions in the interview is one of the most detrimental mistakes job candidates make. 

Yet we often short-shift preparing for this inevitable moment of the interview. I hear it all the time: 

“I’ll just ask about company culture, or what they like most about working at the company, or about an exciting project coming up.” 

These mediocre questions may not hurt your chances of getting the job like some questions do (which I’ll be digging into next week), but they don’t help you either.

What few people realize is that great questions have the power to convince your interviewer to give you the offer -- sometimes right there in the interview room! And a handful of these great questions carry the dual benefit of eliciting information to help you determine whether you really want the job. 

The “Do you have any questions for me?” moment of the interview can confuse us, because we’ve prepared for and gotten used to responding; when the table turns, we can mistakenly put ourselves in the driver’s seat and assume what we ask doesn’t matter. 

And while in some cases this may be true (like when you know you’re the top pick for the job), most often you are still selling yourself during this part of the interview! Focus on questions that demonstrate your commitment and determination to helping your prospective employer be as successful as possible, and save the “me, me, me” questions for once you receive the offer.

Keep reading for our shortlist of dynamite win-win questions that get you one step closer to an offer -- and figuring out if you really want the job. 

5 Reasons Growth Mindset Candidates Get The Job

5 Reasons Growth Mindset Candidates Get The Job

I firmly believe that Stanford Professor Carol Dweck’s research on the growth mindset can positively impact all aspects of our personal and professional lives, which is why I share a 2-page summary of Dweck’s book with all of my clients.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dweck’s research, here’s the 2-bullet summary:

  • Dweck shows that with the growth mindset, you can train your mind to approach challenges with wonder, excitement and resilience.
  • In contrast, the fixed mindset carries the detrimental effect of making us react to challenges with fear or avoidance, hence diminishing our potential to grow.

When I was working in Silicon Valley, I heard “growth mindset” used often in meetings about hitting goals or shifting directions. But to me, job seekers are the audience that can most benefit from Dweck’s findings. Because every phase of today’s job search process requires us to face rejection and a host of other challenges, the growth mindset is almost required for getting the job. And quite simply, it can make it a whole lot more fun.

Keep reading for the five reasons the growth mindset seeker lands the job -- and how to put those tenets into action yourself.

The Cold Email Template With a 60-70% Response Rate

The Cold Email Template With a 60-70% Response Rate

So you’re moving forward in your search, but you feel like you’ve tapped your existing network for support and introductions. With the knowledge that 85% of jobs are landed through networking, what else can you do to position yourself for success? 

You got it: more networking (I know, queue agonizing scream...). 

There are many reasons why people don’t like reaching out to someone they don’t know: It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary. It may result in silence or rejection. 

But here’s why you should: There is nothing to lose, and a whole lot to gain -- an introduction, an interview, or a job offer -- if you do it right. 

My clients who use this template see 60-70% of people they reach out to responding positively. Pause and think about that for a second: From your desk, you could send 10 brief emails and make 6-7 new connections, and then wow them with your dynamite informational interview skills. That’s 6-7 new advocates to help you succeed in your search.

So how do you do it? 

The goal is to show this person you don’t know that, in fact, you’re already connected. 

You want to show that through some shared experience, passion, or aspect of your identities, you are not strangers, but allies. As a stranger, you are easy to ignore amidst the busy working day and inbox overflow. But as an ally, you are someone worth making time for -- especially when you show her that you will use her precious time wisely and create value for her in return. 

Take a look at our template and steps to craft your perfect cold email. It shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes to write once you master the technique. 

10 Questions for Getting To “Yes” After A Rejection

10 Questions for Getting To “Yes” After A Rejection

So you interviewed for a job, started to see yourself in the position and feel it within your grasp, and then didn’t get the offer. This article will share step-by-step instructions on how to get the best insight out of your rejection and increase the likelihood of getting to “yes” next time. 

The One Trick You Need to Rock Your Next Interview

The One Trick You Need to Rock Your Next Interview

There must be thousands of articles on typical interview questions and how to prepare for them. Mostly, the advice tends to center around “be specific!” or “do your research!” or “make eye contact!” All good stuff. But I haven’t seen anything yet that shares the secret to interviewing, and the number one trick you can use to knock it out of the park, every time. 

So here’s the secret:

Master The Informational Interview: Proven Tactics & Language

Master The Informational Interview: Proven Tactics & Language

So you’ve figured out who you want to speak with to move forward in your job search, and you’re getting ready for an informational interview. 

What would make this conversation a success? 

Some people mistakenly think informational interviews are informal and all about relationship-building. But the real opportunity in an informational interview is to convince someone to become your advocate, by getting you an interview or another introduction in the right direction. 

A 2016 survey revealed that 85% of jobs are found via networking, and experts tend to agree that only 30% of all jobs are posted online. Master the informational interview, and this can become the key to landing your next gig. 

Here's how to convince someone you’re worthy of a little effort and a little risk, by making sure they leave your conversation thinking:

  1. “He knows what he wants.”
  2. “He came prepared with reasonable expectations.”
  3. “I know exactly how to help him.”
  4. “I want to help him.”

Want A Great Manager? Ask The Right Questions.


Want A Great Manager? Ask The Right Questions.

A strong, positive relationship with your manager is one of the most critical components of loving your job.

You are not expected (or likely) to thrive working under any manager under the sun; all managers have different approaches to leadership, communication, defining and evaluating success, work-life balance and mentorship--as do you. Just like finding the right partner in love, fit is important. 

What you are expected to do, however, is work hard during your interview process to learn as much as you can about your prospective manager in order to make the most educated guess as possible about whether you will fit and thrive working together.  

Of course, you’re also half responsible for making your relationship with your manager great after you’ve accepted the job (fit doesn’t mean everything comes easy!). But that lesson is for another day. First, let’s focus on concrete steps to helping you evaluate your prospective manager before you get so excited about your offer that you forget to do your due diligence:

  • What to research about your prospective manager before meeting her/him
  • How to develop your question list for your in-person meeting
  • Reflection questions for after your meeting