Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Reapply for a Job After Rejection

By Mary Salvino, Career Management Coach

You've found your dream job at your dream company. You apply. Maybe you even land an interview. What you don't land is the job.

Does this mean you'll never be an employee at The Company of Your Dreams, Inc.? Far from it. Too many job seekers react to a single rejection by crossing that employer off their list when, in fact, having been passed over once might actually give you an advantage as you reapply in the future.

So, how can you turn today's ‘no’ into tomorrow's ‘yes’?

Knowledge is power.
Just because you were rejected from a job, doesn't mean you didn't come close to landing it. Part of your follow up process should be to call up the hiring manager, or someone that you interviewed with, and ask for some insight as to why you were not the best fit for the position. There are any number of reason for not getting the job. Some reasons include the following:
  • You were lacking a specific skill
  • Someone else who applied had more experience
  • The company decided to fill the position internally
Persistence Can Pay Off. Regardless of how much you wish to work for The Company of Your Dreams, Inc., remember to keep applying for other jobs at other companies. You can't neglect your career or your bank account while waiting for the ideal opportunity to become available. At the very least, the additional experience will make you even more attractive to the next employer.

Improve your follow-up performance.
Call a few weeks after submitting your résumé to make sure it is in the right hands. Don’t forget to send thank-you notes to everyone who interviews you or tells you of an opening.

It’s not you, it’s your résumé. If you’ve received a computer-generated rejection letter for a position for which you believe you are qualified, you should understand that your résumé has been rejected, not you. In such cases, the issue may be that your résumé lacks specific keywords and search terms or the format caused a problem for the software. Hint: Use the same keywords as those found in the original job posting.

Tweak your résumé and try again. Many large organizations use résumé applicant-tracking systems (ATS). These systems use the candidate’s e-mail address as the primary identifier to sort résumés, therefore changing your e-mail address will probably convince the ATS it’s a new application so once you have taken the time to re-vitalize your résumé, you can feel free to apply again.

Take the time to fill out the on-line application as well as uploading your résumé. While some company sites allow you to upload your resume, others require users to fill in on-line application forms. To increase the chances of getting your application selected, fill in the on-line applications forms as well as uploading your résumé regardless of the fact that it will contain the same information. These on-line applications are likely to be searched using filters for specific skills and/or years of experience, so, it is best to give those who use such systems the information they need in a manner that is easy for them to accept.

If you like this article, please feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues.   You can also join our open group on LinkedIn @

Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. All Rights Reserved. Permission to Reprint: This article may be reprinted, provided it appears in its entirety with the following attribution: Copyright © 2012, Career Matters. Reprinted by permission of the author, Mary Salvino. “Career Matters” is a blog authored by Mary Salvino, Senior Consultant for SMART Career that is dedicated to those who are seeking advice on managing their career and future job opportunities. We welcome readers to share their experiences, post their comments or ask questions about career related matters. This blog is also dedicated to those who stand a little taller each time they picked themselves up after failing and those who gained the wisdom and humility from those experiences to help others do the same. For any questions or comments that are better addressed privately, please feel free to e-mail Mary directly at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Simple Steps Job-Seekers Can Take to Avoid Burnout

Unemployment takes its toll on both the job seeker and the job seeker’s pocketbook. While there is not much you, as a job seeker, can do to relieve the stress on your pocketbook, there are things that you can do to relieve the stress on your psyche. If you feel as if you are starting to burn out here are some things you can do to avoid it:
  1. Take care of #1. Do something good for your physical, emotional & spiritual well-being every single day. If you don't schedule time for yourself ahead of time, and guard this time as sacred, you may never find "spare time" to do it. (When was the last time you have "free time"?) Self-care can be something as simple as spending a few minutes enjoying a cup of tea/coffee, taking a walk around the block, taking a bubble bath, chatting with your friends/family, reading a novel (or some jokes), watching your favourite TV show (just don't veg out in front of the tube for too long), exercise (the endorphin will make you feel great), cooking your favourite dish, playing with your pet, listening to your radio (instead of your children's music) in the car, etc.
  2. Make the time to do nothing! One of my favourite quotes of all time was written by author and humorist Samuel Langhorne Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain who said, “Time spent wasting is not wasted time.” Everyone needs to take time to relax, refresh and replenish. Don’t keep pushing yourself. During your job search, you should strive to keep regular business-like hours and take breaks during your day.
  3. Get back in touch with the things you value. This period in your life is a gift wherein you have the opportunity to assess what needs to be eliminated as well as what needs to be restored. The time spent looking for suitable employment will give you the opportunity to clarify if the job you seek will be fulfilling and meaningful. Have you considered how important it will be to blend or balance your next job opportunity with your core values? How much are you willing to compromise on those values? Now is the time to re-assess and re-adjust your priorities as needed.
  4. Establish realistic expectations for what you can and cannot accomplish. If you find that you are driving yourself too hard, it may be time to let go of unrealistic expectations and readjust. Shorten your ‘To do’ list, give yourself some slack when needed and know when to let up on yourself and others. Build in consequences. Promise yourself a reward to be ‘paid’ when you succeed.
  5. Think out of the box and challenge yourself consistently. If you’re in a rut, try spicing things up a bit! Find innovative ways to do mundane tasks.
  6. Learn how to communicate clearly. Resolve conflicts, don’t run from them. Let people know what you expect from them, and ask them what they expect from you. Be clear and concise with what you say, and how you say it. Listen closely to the people around you, it will teach them to listen closely to you.
  7. Embrace and Practice the 3-D Principle (Do it, Delegate it or Dump it) When you feel overwhelmed, it's a sign that you're doing too much. Take an honest look at your ‘To do’ list -- how many of those tasks are **truly** necessary for YOU to do? Can someone else do some of those jobs for you? Can you hire help or barter with your friends (or other professionals) to get some tasks done?
  8. Learn to Let Go Be flexible about HOW you want things done. If you can be flexible, then there is a greater chance you can delegate some tasks to someone else, and free up your precious time & energy for the tasks that really must be done by you, and/or things that you actually enjoy doing.
  9. Manage your time. Poor time management will always lead to burnout. Set regular business-like hours to concentrate on your job search. Make appointments with yourself to get things done – and keep them! Squeeze in time for daily walks. It’s free, the fresh air will do you good and it will give you the opportunity to settle your mind. Put your perfectionism on the shelf. Moreover, keep it there! You can take it down later when you're up and running Watch your estimations. But think big! Don't be afraid to tell someone that you need thirty minutes to do the task , even if you know you can do it in ten.
  10. Set up e-mail filters. Separating e-mail into distinct categories if possible makes the whole mess much easier to manage and establish designated times for responding to e-mail.
  11. Turn off the computer/email and the phone for set hours.
  12. Stop blaming yourself or others. If you’re playing the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” game, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your attitude. Blaming yourself or others for things that have gone wrong doesn’t help. What does? Learn from your experiences and make changes to ensure that you get the results you want the next time.
  13. Value yourself by establishing boundaries and limits. Learn how to establish boundaries and limits it in a way that clear and consistent. Don’t give away too much of your time. Learn how to say no.
  14. Deal with your emotions. Keeping your feelings inside is not healthy. If you are feeling any kind of negative emotion, don’t deny it. Instead, learn how to acknowledge your feelings, be up front with them; and find ways to address the underlying causes.
  15. Laugh, smile and enjoy the ride! Life is too short to worry and be serious all the time. Find ways to make your life more fun and enjoyable. Eat at least one meal a day with family or friends. Know your own "Relax" buttons. I not only make coffee I grind my own beans and use the stovetop espresso pot in the kitchen to create a relaxing brew. The relaxation is not only in the coffee itself but in the process of making it.
  16. Don’t feel embarrassed to ask for help. Everybody needs a little help once in a while. You can’t do everything yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or associates for help, or hire a professional when needed.
  17. Avoid Multi-Tasking. While it's impossible to totally avoid multi-tasking, try to minimize it whenever you can. Many new studies showed that your brain actually works slower when you multi-task, because it has to stop and start to switch between tasks. Multi-tasking also increases your stress level and makes you more prone to making mistakes. Because you are distracted and switching among several tasks, you might find yourself running like crazy but not accomplishing much at the end of the day. It's very frustrating when every project is half-done and you can't cross them off your list. A better approach is to tackle the most important task for the day first (like Brian Tracy said, "Eat that frog"), and then move on to the next one.
  18. Slow Down. I know, this might sound counter-intuitive. When you feel overwhelmed and your life is spinning out of control, instead of trying to work faster and harder, you should try to deliberately s-l-o-w d-o-w-n. Ideally, you want to create some "white space" in your life, i.e. pockets of quiet time to meditate, reflect, stop and smell the roses. Just like a Chinese painting needs adequate "white space" to maintain the balance, so does your life.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Résumé Cards? - Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

As a job seeker, you should identify all events as networking events. That said, there are often situations wherein you would love to get your résumé into someone's hands but it would not be appropriate to whip out your résumé and do so.

Résumé cards are one of the latest tools that should be in your job-seeking arsenal. They are the same size as a business card and are used to highlight your specific talents. These cards are specifically designed to be handed out in situations where giving out a résumé would not be appropriate or practical.

These cards are designed to highlight your special talents and skills as well as give out your important contact information. If designed and delivered correctly, the résumé card acts like a mini résumé.

Résumé cards are the perfect complement to your elevator speech and should be distributed liberally to all friends, family, colleagues and anyone else you know who may be willing to pass them along if they hear of suitable opportunities for you. You should also take your résumé cards with you to social events, job fairs, industry groups, and any function wherein you may encounter someone with whom you can network.

Résumé Cards Musts:
  • Full Name [including earned special designations such as BA, BSc, MBA, etc.]
  • ONE phone number that, if goes unanswered, will be redirected to a professional sounding answering machine or service
  • The Job Title of the position you seek [optional]
  • E-mail address [that incorporates your full name e.g. NOT]
  • Utilizes the back of the card by listing 3-5 your career highlights in bullet form
  • Be clean, crisp, up-to-date and with you at ALL times

Monday, June 21, 2010

A 12-Step Path to Success

Once upon a time, a French naturalist came to study the behaviour of the simple caterpillar. Among the many conclusions drawn from the study was the fact that caterpillars naturally appear to follow one another. The scientist took a number of caterpillars and lined them up end to end around the base of a flowerpot. The scientist then removed the pot and observed that the caterpillar continued to follow each other is the prescribed manner i.e. in a circle the circumference of which was set by the original flowerpot. To further the study, the scientist then placed some pine wax, a divine indulgence in the world of caterpillars, in the centre of the circle. The scientist observed that rather than break the chain and make their way towards the tasty treat, the caterpillars chose to remain in formation. They continued to march in formation until they all died exhausted and hungry. The moral of the story: Everyone needs to set his or her own goals in order to be successful.

Step One: Set a SMART goal i.e. one that is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.

Step Two: Write it down and leave it place where you can refer and remind yourself of it on a daily basis.

Sep Three: Keep a record of the rationale for your SMART Goals.

Step Four: Split the overall SMART Goal into several smaller and more easily achievable smaller SMART goals.

Step Five: Identify and list the resources, including your personal Board of Directors [mentors, coaches, etc.] you have available.

Step Six: Create a list of your accomplishments to date.

Step Seven: Review your accomplishments with particular attention paid to the obstacles that tried to keep you from achieving your success.

Step Eight: Identify the resources that will help you with achieving your goals.

Step Nine: Identify the [human] resources, i.e. your personal Board of Directors, who can help you achieve your goals.

Step Ten: Visualize and imagine what your success looks and feels like.

Step Eleven: Identify the experts in your field and suss out everything there is to know about them.

Step Twelve:
Evaluate your strategies for success and start again with your next SMART Goal

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Résumé Tips for the Digital Age

When you are applying for a job, your résumé must command the attention of the first person who reads it. Unfortunately, it is increasingly likely that the first reader of your résumé won't be a person at all.

Companies are inundated with hundreds of résumés for many advertised positions and many companies are using technology to streamline résumé screening. Any time you submit a résumé, you should expect to have your resume scanned for keywords.

Many companies use applicant-tracking systems [ATS] to electronically sort and store the résumés they believe ‘worthy’ of taking up space in their databases. These systems search for keywords, sort the résumés, and give hiring mangers the ability to focus on the most promising candidates.

Although designing a résumé that will impress both a computer and human readers may seem intimidating, there are some basic “Do’s” and “Don’ts” that will help ensure that your résumé will not get tossed.

Choose the right keywords. Hiring managers and recruiters will use the applicant-tracking system to search for keywords related to the job they are looking to fill. To make your résumé rise to the top of the list, you need the right keywords.

Use variations of keywords. Some systems check how often a particular word or variation on a word is used. For example, if you are looking for a job in accounting, use both "accountant" and "accounting" throughout your résumé.

Use keywords smartly. Some résumés have a keyword section that simply lists keywords for the computer to pick up. Others include a keyword list in white text on white paper, so that it is read by the computer but not seen by a human reader. While theses tactics might help your résumé get pulled out and placed on the ‘worth reviewing” pile initially, these same tactics can hurt you when a human reader takes a look.

Make your job title generic. If most companies would call you a ‘business analyst’ but your current or former title was "process improvement specialist," consider listing "business analyst" on your résumé and putting your actual title in parentheses after it.

Don't go overboard.
While it is useful to have a list of key skills on your résumé, both for search engines to scan and to give human readers an idea of your strengths, be cognizant of the number of skills wherein you claim expertise.

Incorporate Hyperlinks. All job seekers should have an on-line presence. All hiring managers will take the time to search your name on the Internet before they call you in for an interview. Make it easy for hiring managers to search and/or contact you by including hyperlinks in your résumé.

Use text only. If you are asked to paste your résumé into a website text box, you use a text-only version of the document (ascii, or plain-text format). If you copy and paste from a Word document, some characters and formatting may not translate properly making your résumé illegible for both the computer software and people in charge of reading the document. You may want to save yourself some time by storing a copy of your résumé as a plain-text file and make any adjustments in that file before you paste the text.

Follow directions. Every applicant-tracking systems [ATS] system is different, so it is critical that you follow the directions on the site that is accepting your résumé.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Résumé Rejected? Here's Why!

As a professional résumé writer, I am often exposed to what can be perceived to be the 7 Deadly Sins of résumé writing. Hiring manages know all the gimmicks, so why risk your future on a cheap trick?
  1. The Extensive Vocabulary Gimmick

    Using big words and lengthy sentences will not help you sound important, especially if or when they are used incorrectly. .Your résumé should be always be an easy read. When your résumé is not concise and direct, the reader gets confused and distracted. (The $5 word to use here is 'discomfited'). Using common words and clear sentences helps to put the focus on your background and abilities.
  2. Missing Employment Dates

    Eliminating your dates of employment to disguise career gaps will not work. Recruiters know that missing dates can only mean one of two things, either you are trying to hide a poor career history or you are just plain careless. In order to pass the detailed résumé review, always include employment dates. If you need to extend the longevity of your résumé and minimize gaps, consider listing the only the year instead of month and year.
  3. Cutting and Pasting Job Requirements

    On the surface, copying content directly from the original job posting may sound like a great idea because you will have some of the keywords that your prospective employer is looking for will be incorporated into your résumé. The problem with this strategy is that copying the content word for word may be telegraphing a lack of creativity and initiative. Try crafting original wording by using keywords and phrases that your employer will be looking for so that your résumé can stand out from the stack.
  4. Copying Your Job Description

    This may be a quick and easy way to get all your duties on the résumé if you are trying to create a job description. But, your résumé should viewed as a marketing document that focuses on your achievements rather than your job duties. If an employer is posting a job, they already know the basic duties. It is best to build a résumé that is rich with accomplishments and demonstrates what distinguishes you from the rest of the candidates.
  5. The Fancy Paper Trick

    A résumé printed on fluorescent pink or bright blue paper is guaranteed to stand out long enough to be dumped in the trash. This strategy was outdated years ago and for good reason. Intense colours are not suitable for a professional business document. When submitting your résumé via e-mail, it is best to refrain from using the fancy stationary that is available through many word processing software. It is also a good idea to stick to the 'dull and boring' fonts that are less likely to show up as funny little symbols when sent to recipients that do not share the same word processing software. If you are choosing to send your résumé via snail mail, select a high-quality résumé stock paper that is watermarked and brilliant white or off-white in colour.
  6. The Mass E-Mail Ploy

    Job searching is a numbers game. But broadcasting your résumé by e-mail to multiple recipients at the same time will not work. These e-mail messages are treated as spam and deleted before they are ever read. It is best to send your résumé individually with a personalized cover letter to the appropriate person involved in the hiring process..
  7. The Big Lie

    Many people “creatively embellish” their résumés. Dishonest candidates who falsify their job title, responsibilities, dates, academic credentials, and grade point average are looking for trouble. Most reputable organizations do background checks and may also request official copies of your transcript. As you go higher up in the organizational hierarchy, the more rigorous the screening process will become. Always be completely ethical and honest in all your dealings, written and verbal. With integrity, you will earn genuine credibility, trust, and respect.

A well-thought out approach, based on sound résumé writing principles will generate interviews. If you can avoid some of these tacky tricks, you will be well on your way to producing results. If you are unable to design an outstanding strategic résumé, hire a good résumé writer. It is money well spent. A professional résumé writer is an objective third party with the expertise to overcome your obstacles and make you shine!

Need résumé help? It's only a click away!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tips to Surviving the Career Cocktail Party - Keith Ferrazzi

You’ve been to a few parties in your day and know how to pump a keg and avoid embarrassment on the dance floor, but socializing for work is a whole different matter. How can you make the most of a cocktail party that doubles as a networking event?

Business relationship guru and successful author Keith Ferrazzi offers eight helpful suggestions on how to work a professional party. These tips are sure to help those new to mixing career and cocktails to make the most of the night and avoid any potential embarrassment:

  • Don’t cherry pick. Don’t waste the whole event strategizing how to connect with the most popular person there, but by all means take advantage if the chance arises!

  • Use the chance to talk to new and undiscovered people. At the very least you’ll get to practice your conversation skills. One of those unknowns could turn into one of your most treasured lifelines, you never know.

  • Don’t feel like you need to talk to everyone. A few sincere and connected conversations are more valuable than hours of glad-handing.

  • Be approachable. Make eye contact, but not in a creepy stare-down sort of way. Practice your best open body language – unfold your arms and relax.

  • Be an engaged listener. First, really genuinely listen to what the other person is saying. Then find ways to show that you are interested – nod your head, gently touch their elbow, lean in slightly.

  • Be sincere. Make the conversation count, don’t scan the room looking for someone “better” to talk to. For the time that you are engaged in the conversation, be completely present.

  • Know how to make a graceful exit. You shouldn’t feel like being engaged in a conversation means that you are glued to that person for the rest of the evening. You can excuse yourself by offering to go get another round of drinks. If the other person declines the offer, you have no obligation to go back. If they accept, you can strike up another conversation on the way back from the bar and then ask your initial contact to join you and your new friend.

  • Plan for follow up. In order to develop into a true connection, your small talk should end with an invitation to meet again. Compliment your conversation partner on some shared interest and establish a verbal agreement to meet again, even if it’s not about business.

Making connections at a social event doesn’t have to be painful. Take advantage of these ideas to make the most of the time you spend at functions and you might even have fun!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Women: Want a Raise? Think Scary Thoughts - Adriana Gardella

What if you could trick yourself into becoming a better negotiator by summoning a particular emotion? A new study suggests that women who use fear to self-motivate may boost their earning power. The opposite effect was observed in frightened men — they negotiated marginally lower payments in the experiment, which is part of ongoing research by UCLA Anderson professors Heajung Jung and Maia Young, and University of Washington professor Christopher Bauman.

The professors wanted to explore whether study subjects’ emotional responses could alleviate the documented “women don’t ask” phenomenon, which is partly responsible for the persistent wage gap between women and men, and holds that women are significantly less likely to initiate negotiations. Young (pictured) expected to find that anger, not fear, would help women to ask for more as this would be consistent with previous, related research. “The results were a complete surprise,” she says.

In the study, subjects played the word game Boggle and were told that, depending on their individual performance, they would be paid between $4 and $12, and that the amount was negotiable. As their performances were scored, the participants watched video clips intended to induce one of three emotions. Anger was elicited by a clip from the movie My Bodyguard, which showed a person being bullied. Subjects were made fearful by viewing a scary scene from The Shining. The third group remained emotionally neutral after viewing a nature video. Both men and women self-reported feeling the emotions the clips were intended provoke.

The experiment revealed that the fearful men were less likely to initiate negotiations. As a result, they took home smaller payments than the men exposed to the neutral video. In contrast, the frightened women were more likely to instigate negotiations and collected more money than the women who watched the neutral clip. No gender differences were observed between the angry and neutral subjects.

The professors are conducting follow-up studies to help them better interpret and expand on their findings. For now, they have theories as to what might be responsible for the disparate reactions sparked by fear. They say fear is characterized by a “flight or fight” pattern in men, and a “tend or befriend” tendency in women. It could be that, consistent with the flight response, the fearful men avoided engaging and took what they were initially offered. It’s unclear what prevented them from fighting instead. The professors suspect that the fearful women sought out opportunities to “tend and befriend” by affiliating with the experimenter instead of facing their stress alone.

“We hesitate to advocate scaring women … to boost their negotiation outcomes,” write the professors. Instead, they say their findings are good news for women who may feel doomed to under perform in negotiations. Young notes that women and men can self-motivate by reflecting on emotional experiences. “We can prime ourselves in different ways,” she says.

Adriana Gardella is a blogger for the New York Times [] who writes on matters related to women & entrepreneurship at SHE OWNS IT. Gardella is also a columnist for, former FORTUNE Small Business editor and a recovering lawyer.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Every Battery Needs Time To Recharge

If you are one of those people who has been looking for a job for a while, and there are PLENTY of people out there in the same situation as you, it is important that you take some time to think about how you would respond to the following question that would be naturally posed by a hiring manager, “"I have noticed that you have been out of work for over X months. Can you explain this break in employment?"

While there are a number of directions that you can go with your response, honesty will always be the best policy. Of course, honesty also requires the correct verbiage. If you need some assistance with regard to the phrasing, you may want to consider one of the following responses:

  • "I am looking for something different. I am fortunate to be in a position to take time to make sure this job is right for both of us."

  • "I have used this time to brush up (or learn) a new skill, and now I am ready to contribute my knowledge and expertise to a viable company such as yours." - There are lots of opportunities for free or low-cost education – community education, seminars, companies that want to show off the features of their latest gadget/software/whatever, and so forth. There are all sorts of online training programs that are free, too! As long as you can make a case for it making you a better candidate for the position, do it.

  • "I have used the downtime to get Re-certified and Re-Inspired to commit to a permanent role such as this that we are discussing."

  • “I would rather take the time to find the right position with the right company than make a mistake and have to start all over again.”

  • “I have been actively searching for a position through networking, job boards, recruiters, etc."

Anyone with gaps in their employment should think about filling it with part-time volunteer work, education, community service, or other activity that shows a positive attitude, desire to improve themselves or the lives of others, and commitment to personal growth. How many times have you wished you could do something if only you had the time? Get busy! Being unemployed can actually lead to life changing opportunities that may fill gaps in the résumé with qualities & experience that will ultimately make you a more desirable candidate.