You thought all you had to do was apply online, attach your resume, and hit send.  Right?  How is that working for you? 

If this is the perfect job for you, you can increase your chances to make it yours by about, oh, 500%!

I'm going to recommend that you complete a number of tasks, some of which may not be seem directly related, but it's the sum of the parts that brings "the magic".

Note: If this is not an online job posting the list still is applicable and will have an even greater impact!

Avoid skipping any one action because you never, ever, know which action will be the one that "cinches the deal".  It's rarely the one you think it will be. If it were, you would already have your brand new job.

1.  Customize your generic cover letter for this job posting.
  Hint:  match skills you
       tout to the job posting.

2.  Find someone who knows someone in the company and ask for an introduction
       and c
onnect on LinkedIn with the hiring manager, recruiter, and current employee.

       A good place to start is with your Board of Advisors.

3.  Ask the current employee to "check you out" and "hand deliver" your resume, i.e.
       email it to HR on your behalf along with your customized cover letter. 

Note:  Many companies have a policy of putting any viable application submitted
                   by a current employee at the "top of the stack".
  Most will do a phone
                   interview at the minimum.

(You did create an online presence worth checking out, right? 
       If not, click the button below)

4.   If you cannot find a current employee, research and contact the recruiter directly.

5.   Follow (and "like") the prospective employer on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

6.  Locate current employees in the role on LinkedIn, review their background, and
       note any commonalities that might help you in the application process.

       Does this employer tend to hire people with consulting firm backgrounds?
       Graduates of a certain university?  (Much more common than you might think!)
       If so, and you share these commonalities, find a way to use this in your application).

7.  AFTER your application has been submitted directly to the recruiter, complete
       the online job application as instructed in the job posting.

       The reason you submit your application via the job posting is that typically HR
       needs for you to do this to comply with company policy. 

        The reason you submit your application after the employee or recruiter submits
        your application is because, if you do so beforehand, the employee could lose an
        employee referral bonus or the recruiter could lose the commission.

The next three tasks are to ensure that, should this application not end in an offer, you are positioned to keep moving forward. 

8.   Set up search agents to learn about similar job postings from this company.

9.   Set up search agents with this job title in similar companies and with Indeed
        and other job posting sites you use.

10. Add this employer to the list of employers you are tracking on Glassdoor to learn
        about how they typically interview, salary ranges, etc.

11. And one more!  Add the job application info to your Application Summary

That's it.  Not so bad.  It took some effort and time.  BUT if your effort and time don't pay off on this application, they will on the next.

Take a break.  You deserve it.  You just showed everyone how to apply for a job.

Stop and think about this: your competitors aren't doing any of this. They threw a resume out into Jobland and they're sitting on the couch watching the game.  And they'll be doing the same thing a month from now while you're preparing for your final interview.

You know you should make a list of prospective employers in your area.  But is it worth your time and effort?  Yes. Building your list will help you focus your efforts.  Focusing your efforts is what a good job search is all about. 

Additionally, this is a job search task where the journey is  as productive as the end result. 

How building your list can help you find a job faster
Build your list through research and by asking others for additions.

1.   You'll learn what's happening in your industry in your area.

2.   You'll build and deepen relationships in the process of doing your research when you ask
       for additions in your LinkedIn groups, on Twitter and Facebook, and in Google +, Beyond.com,
       and other communities.

3.   You'll gain credibility through the discussions you'll have as you research companies within
       your professional and industry organizations

4.   You'll have a great topic of conversation for networking events, one that slyly alerts others
       that you are in transition, while giving the other person a way to help.

5.   You'll engage your Board of Advisors. 

6.    Researching new companies to add to your list is a
that is minimally challenging, but    
        keeps you moving forward in your job search when you are waiting to hear back after an
        interview or expecting an offer.

7.    It's a productive
way to start or end the day or to continue to move forward while
        you're waiting to hear back on an interview or a job offer.

How "working" your list can
help you find a job faster
Now "
work" your list by completing a variety of tasks for each
prospective employer. 

8.    Set up search agents on major job posting sites (like Indeed.com).

9.    Set up search agents on each prospective employer's career site.

  Connect on LinkedIn and build a relationship with the internal or external recruiter.

11.  Connect on LinkedIn and build a relationship with at least one current employee and review
        others' profiles to learn about the background of people hired for your role.

12.  Follow the company on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated on happenings.

13.  Add the company to your "watch list" on Glassdoor to learn about employee perceptions,
        salaries and interview practices. 

14.  Set up Google alerts for each company. 

Solicit information interviews using "working on your Target Company List" or "getting to
        know local employers" as a rationale for meeting.

How this works in real life
Recently I worked with a client, Sam, who was seeking a job in a particular niche in IT.  He arrived at the place in his How to Get a Job in 90 Days Plan where he was to find local employers who did the type of work in which he was an expert.  He was not excited about this task.  Sam saw these types of activities as a distraction from his main activity, which was to cruise online job postings and send in resumes.  He was a "no frills, no distractions" kind of guy.  He was also unemployed a lot longer than he expected. So he dug in. 

Sam was surprised at the number of prospective employers he had never considered.  That was the good news.  The bad news was that most of these prospective employers had abandoned the type of work that was his expertise.  [How did you know this? He used LinkedIn groups to ask questions.] It seemed that while Sam had been working on a long-term overseas assignment, IT departments had moved on to other technologies. 

Sam re-grouped quickly.  He took an online course, finishing in half the estimated completion time, crammed for and passed a very difficult test, and within a month was certified in the new technology.  Then he started working his Target Company List one by one.  He had 80 companies on his list.  He had only set up search agents at 26 of the companies when he found the ideal job for his new skills. The company agreed and he was hired shortly after getting his new certification. 

Additional resource: 
This article lays out a great plan for working with your Target Company List.

Please share this post with someone you know who is in a job search!

Some job searchers love them, but most consider an Application Summary a necessary evil.  All it takes is one call from a prospective employer who you don't recognize to convince you that you need better record-keeping. 

Note: Because they may be required to show their job search activity, some job searchers depend on their application summaries to support their unemployment reporting. 

What is an Application Summary?
It's a written record used to track the progress of job applications and need for followup activity.  It typically includes the job title, job description, date you applied, any materials you submitted, names and contact information, and comments. 

How can my Application Summary help me evaluate my job search progress?

An Application Summary is worth every minute you spend when a recruiter calls you "out of the blue" three months after you submitted an application! 

In reviewing your Application Summary you can identify which applications:
  • Require follow-up
  • Should be moved to the bottom of the list as "Inactive"
  • Produced the most interest from potential employers
Below is a sample Application Summary with many rows deleted to be able to show it on one page.  Note that entries are hyper-linked back to the original documents. Copy each job posting into a separate Word document and file it in a folder along with the cover letter and other documents related to that application. The job posting will disappear once the posting period is over, never to be recovered. Many of us had to learn this lesson the hard way!

It's especially important to hyper-link to the resume and other marketing materials that you used if you tend to use different resumes for different types of jobs.  You don't want to walk into the interview later with copies of a different resume!

You've got the whole resume thing behind you, yeah you! The rest of your marketing materials will be easier because of all of the work you've already done.

You will need a generic cover letter that is ready to adapt as needed for each job application.

Depending on your
profession, role, or industry you may need an addendum to your resume and/or a bio. Let's take them one at a time.


How can I create a
powerful cover letter that's easily adapted?
Here's a
format I recommend.
Here's how to address your cover letter.

Follow these basic tips on writing your cover letter.

Words to avoid in 2015
BUT do read your job posting carefully and integrate keywords from it (subtly and naturally!) into your cover letter.


What's an addendum and how do I know if I need one?

You may or may not need an addendum. An addendum is a page or two that expands on your resume. You can submit it with your resume or at another time or occasion.
An addendum does not have the same format as a resume. It's a list of extra items a prospective employer needs to know but, if included, would make your resume too lengthy.

Format your addendum to the subject matter.  As with your resume, balance comprehensiveness with brevity. Maximize clarity and white space.

View an example of an addendum.

You would not typically send an addendum with your resume when applying for a job. It won't get the attention it deserves. I've found that you can create the most impact from an addendum is by either sending with your portfolio to an internal recruiter for distribution to interviewers or referring to it in your interviews. If, for some reason, your addendum is not seen by interviewers, it makes a great attachment to your post-interview thank you notes.

You should consider creating an addendum when: 
  • You have extensive experience in a certain skill or type of work.
  • Even though you are new to a role, you have skills and/or experience relevant to the new role.
  • You have diversity in your work experience.
  • You work in a profession where a list of your work product is expected.

Here are some examples:
Role: Writer
List of published works

Role: Psychologist
List of courses attended

Role: Artist/Photographer
List of showings or works

Role: Project Manager
Brief listing of projects led (budget, goal, result)

Role: Training Facilitator or Instructional Designer
List of topics taught or curriculum developed

Role: IT
List of systems and applications with level of mastery


Do I need a biography?  What does a bio look like?
You'll need a very brief bio for profiles on sites such as LinkedIn, Levo and about.me. You'll also need one if you publish works or for speaking engagements.

Before you write your bio, think about who you are, about factoids that might help your audience relate to you, and the tone you want to adapt. While it's important to state your credentials, give the reader a peek into what drives you.

A social media bio should reflect your personality and may look like this one:
     Hi! I'm a former CPA, author, and employee performance consultant who has left
     corporate America to focus on helping someone you love find a job fast. I've never met
     an infographic, haiku, or mindmap I didn't love. If I'm not with the kids or grandkids
     or working online, you can usually find me walking on the beach.

Many professionals and senior executives use a bio as a occasional substitute for a resume. It should be part of any professional portfolio. Tip: Ask someone else to write the first draft as it may be difficult to write glowingly about yourself in the third person. Here's an example of a professional bio:

Jane Arthur

Jane Arthur, senior employee performance consultant with RTRN, a financial services firm, has helped numerous businesses and teams around the world develop their employees and implement and achieve their business objectives. 

She has designed curriculum and led learning projects in every training medium including: classroom, webinars, link-accessed narrated slide shows, web-based interactive training, and one-minute clickable tips.

Her ideas for capturing virtual audiences, tracking training effectiveness, and developing business processes to achieve learning outcomes have been published in online learning publications and have led to measurable results for internal and external corporate clients. 

She is the former Training Manager of North American Operations for ASMCO, a global outplacement firm. Her business acumen is a result of fifteen years of experience as the CPA/owner of both public accounting and business consulting firms and her success in developing an award-winning team as Managing Consultant of the ASMCO Burlington office – the most profitable in company history at that time. 

She is the mother of four and a longtime business leader who is widely published, the author of two books, and a sought-after speaker on every aspect of communication, change management, leadership, business and financial management, and career transition. Ms. Arthur has served on numerous educational, professional, and charitable boards. She has received awards for her leadership, creativity, and performance and for her achievements on behalf of charitable and business organizations.

How do I write a bio for Twitter? 
Here's how to write a bio for Twitter.


    Got a question you'd like a recruiter to answer?  Submit it here!

Recruiters are an integral part of the 2015 job search.  And that's a good thing.  My recruiter friends are happy to dish on how to work with them and how you can put your best foot forward.  Each week I ask them a question that will help you enrich your recruiter relationships.

This week I asked:
A great candidate made it to the “final two”, but didn’t get the offer. What could that candidate do that would encourage you to keep her/him in mind for future openings?

Here’s what recruiters suggest you do to remain in their own AND in employers' "candidate pipelines":

Thank interviewers and the recruiter
  • Send a thank-you note to everyone who participated in the interviews.
           -  Include a link to an article of mutual interest.
           -  Note that you will be following the company on social media.
           -  Offer best wishes to the team/company and their future endeavors.
           -  To the hiring manager/lead interviewer: ask for consideration if circumstances change
              in the future regarding the position. (Happens more often than you would think!)

  • Send a thank-you note to the recruiter – whether internal or external
           -  Thank the recruiter for working with you.
           -  Accept the #2 spot graciously.
           -  Briefly explain why it was a positive experience for you.
           -  Ask the recruiter for feedback from the company on how you could have
              improved your performance.
           -  Cite additional roles you could fill for the employer (and similar companies,
              if writing to an external recruiter).

Ideally [if you follow these guidelines], you'll be positioned to fill an open or vacated role before they even have time to update the job postings!!  D. Parillo     _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Invite interviewers and the recruiter to connect on LinkedIn
           -  Send a LinkedIn invite to everyone who participated in the interviews.
           -  DO NOT use the default invitation verbiage. Make it personal.
           -  DO mention that you would like to keep in touch.
           -  Then, send a LinkedIn invitation to connect with the recruiter.

Remain engaged with the employer and, if applicable, the external recruiter’s firm
           -  Follow the employer (and the external recruiter’s firm) on social media.
           -  Congratulate the company on new product launches, awards, and achievements.
           -  Visit the employer’s or external recruiter’s firm booth at industry conferences,
              career fairs, or networking events.
           -  Attend future social media presentations or events in which the employer or external
              recruiting firm participates.
           -  If you've not already done so, set up a search agent to receive alerts for future job
              openings from the employer.

Extra special thanks to:
Barbara Marks, internal recruiter with eVestment
Daniel Parillo, internal recruiter manager with Razer and co-founder of RecruiterJob.net
Hermann Kepfer, internal recruiter with RAND corporation

Recruiters:  Any additional thoughts?
Job searchers:  How will you change your post-interview actions giving this advice from recruiters?

Please share with someone who is looking to find a great job.  Thanks!

    Got a question you'd like a recruiter to answer?  Submit it here!

Recruiters are an integral part of the 2015 job search.  And that's a good thing.  My recruiter friends are happy to dish on how to work with them and how you can put your best foot forward.  Each week I ask them a question that will help you enrich your recruiter relationships.

This week I asked:
What should job searchers keep in mind when devising their strategy for working with recruiters?

Here are the responses I received:

External Recruiters
  • External recruiters work for employers, not for job searchers.  It doesn't mean they don't care.  And, because their fee may be dependent on your getting the job, they have a stake in your success.  But, in the end, they are seeking the best match for the employer.

  • Although you may have your initial formal interview with a recruiter, any time you are talking with a recruiter, you should be in "interview" mode.  This is true for both internal and external recruiters.

  • If they identify you as a good candidate, they will keep you in mind, especially if they specialize in a very narrow area with limited candidates at each level.

  • They are very focused on the job openings they are trying to fill at any given time.  Keep communications brief and specific to an opening. 

  • They use social media a lot.  Make sure you have an online presence (especially LinkedIn but others as well) and that your profiles are comprehensive and up to date. 

  • The old "add me to your database" strategy doesn't work as well today because people change jobs more frequently now.  Recruiters are more likely to run a search on any given day to locate candidates than to refer back to a prior list.

  • Some recruiters will connect with you on LinkedIn especially if you are searching in their niche and if you provide info on your key skills and experience rather than the default invite. 

  • When you are working with an external recruiter, you can learn a lot about the prospective employer and what the employer is seeking. 

  • They may help you gather feedback from your interviewers on your performance and the reason you weren't selected.

  • Connect them with GOOD candidates for their openings whenever possible.

  • The best way to establish relationships with external recruiters is to contact them regarding a particular job opening of theirs, impress the heck out of a potential employer, and, even if you don't get the offer, stay in touch. 

Internal Recruiters

  • These recruiters, of course, work for a specific company or group of companies.  They are active in searching for candidates, coordinating hiring efforts with external recruiters, and in accepting applications from candidates

  • Regardless of how you make your initial contact with an internal recruiter, be sure that you request guidance and "follow the rules" on getting your application into their Human Resources system.

  • They may help you get feedback from your interviewers on your performance and the reason you weren't selected.

  • More often than you would think, they will keep you in mind if you impress them with your credentials, but don't make the final cut for an offer.  This is especially valuable when the company decides to add another posting for a position they recently filled or the initial candidate doesn't work out. 

  • Some recruiters will connect with you on LinkedIn if you are a credible candidate in their industry or role and if you give them a reason rather than using the default invite.
  • Follow their positions and refer GOOD candidates to them whenever possible. 

  • The best way to establish relationships with internal recruiters is to be referred by a company employee, impress the heck out of the company employees who interview you, and, even if you don't get the offer, stay in touch.

Recruiters:  What should candidates keep in mind about working with recruiters?
Job searchers:  What have you learned working with recruiters during your job search?

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find their ideal job!

    Submit your resume for a free makeover! If you'd like an opportunity for your resume to be selected for a free makeover, enter your email address and industry (in the Comment box) and I'll send you instructions on how to send it directly to me.

Every so often I'll show you how a few tweaks (sometimes a lot of tweaks) can make a significant difference in the positive impact a resume has on prospective employers. A resume is a two-page (one-page if you are a newbie) opportunity to present the sum total of who you are and what you offer to a skeptical stranger. And you have only have six seconds to achieve this amazing feat. 

Yeah, that’s worth a little time and effort!

Today's resume is designed to attract a marketing position.  Terry's broad experience and his well-developed community relationships would have impressed prospective employers if it hadn't been buried under so many words.  The result: no interviews in four months of searching.

After you review the before and after resumes, scroll down to the end of the post to see how it all turned out for Terry. 

[Bear with me on the long post.  I want you to see the details on how this resume was completely transformed!]


      Desired position: Senior Marketing or Public Relations Associate
      Key skills: Building relationships, organizational leadership, community outreach
      Focal points: Experience in healthcare, established community affiliations 

This resume was originally designed to appeal to employers in the oil and gas industry.  It needed to be trimmed down considerably, re-chunked to make it readable, and re-focused to encourage prospective employers to learn about his skills and interests.

P.S. As always, I’ve changed names, dates, etc. slightly to provide anonymity. 
To upgrade this resume, I:

  • Targeted the summary to the job match Terry's desired role. 
  • Pared down the accomplishments and re-focused on results.
  • Moved the two types of extra information to separate addenda so Terry can include or exclude in initial contacts (and to enrich his portfolio). 
Terry was in a job search due to layoffs in his department. Because he enjoyed working for his current employer and he and his family didn’t want to move to another town, he swallowed his pride and applied for a lesser position in another department of the healthcare system. 

so impressed his interviewer for the lesser job that he was asked to apply and interview for a much higher position - Marketing Director of the healthcare system.  Whoa!

He got the job, which was a level above his expectations.

Looking back, I realize that Terry's new resume was used solely for that one job application.  Sometimes once is enough.

Please share this post with someone who is looking for their ideal job!

Just because you’re following the same How to Get a Job in 90 Days Plan as others doesn’t mean that your job search should look and feel like theirs.  No way!  Review the profiles below; select the one that is most like you. Then check out my thoughts on how you may want to adapt your job search so it reflects who you are.

So how would you describe yourself? 

The Hipster
Moving fast and taking advantage of every tech and trick in the book to keep up the pace?  You've got big plans.  Maybe you're a Hipster.

The Social Butterfly
Constantly connected to others?  Into sharing and helping others? Have you ever in your life met a stranger?  You thrive on interacting with others.  Maybe you're a Social Butterfly

The Traditionalist
Confident?  Are you just looking for someone to point you in the right direction and you're good to go?  You have some things to learn, but you have some things to teach as well.  Maybe you're a Traditionalist.

The Newbie
Uncertain, but not unprepared?  You know you can do the job, but need some help landing in the right place?  Is this your first rodeo?  You need guidance, not constraints.  Maybe you're a Newbie.

The whole point here is to follow the plan, because every step is critical, BUT do it your way.  Inject your personality.  Go with your strengths. 

Some ideas to get you moving...

Please share this post with someone you know who is looking to find their ideal job!
I was brand-new to job search consulting when Richard became my client. Richard had been a client of the previous consultant for over three months, a long time, given the excellent job market at the time.

Richard was very overweight, which would have been fine IF he carried himself well and projected a high level of energy. Richard did neither of these. His posture was poor and he seemed to shuffle rather than walk through the office. I was concerned about how prospective employers would perceive him.

And he wouldn't leave the office. Richard would come in at 7:30am and spend the entire day on the computer. He would rarely leave the technology center. A real problem in 1996. Sure, there were some job postings on “listserves” and “bulletin boards” (I think they were called).

But an online job search twenty years ago was not the introvert’s dream it is today.

Successful clients got out of the office, did lunch, met supporters and new contacts for coffee, and attended professional organization meetings and career fairs. 

He wore a suit every day in anticipation of the interview we were sure would never come.

Although Richard was shy, he was well liked in the office.  Because he was a technology whiz and always available, he often helped fellow clients use the computers. But he would sit silently in lead exchange meetings and was uncomfortable and inarticulate in practice interviews. 

From our conversations, I realized that Richard was highly skilled in accounting software that was becoming popular in the manufacturing industry. He wanted a job implementing that software.

So we formulated a research and communication plan. Richard, because of his technical skills, used our online job search tools to develop a solid list of software users and distributors. And we developed introductory emails highlighting his skill and experience in software implementations and maintenance.

Richard sent one email to companies he had identified as current software users.  He sent a variation of that email to distributors asking for recommendations to new clients and prospective buyers.

While Richard responded to inquiries during the week, I developed a plan to make Richard interview-ready. With him in mind, I negotiated a deal with the fitness center next door to offer our clients a free one-month program.  I found myself rehearsing the following Monday morning on my way to the office, how I would talk frankly with Richard.  My plan was to to advise him to start an exercise program and adapt his demeanor to project more energy and engagement. He was a sweet guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I was not looking forward to the conversation.

It was my job, however, to ensure that he present his best self in what I hoped would be a coming round of interviews.     

I was surprised that Richard was not at his usual computer when I arrived and ducked my head in the technology center. But i was thrilled when, an hour later, the receptionist buzzed me to say that Richard had a job. A job? She must mean an interview, right?

“No,” she said, “He got a job. Starts next week.” Richard had gotten a job between Friday afternoon and Monday morning.

I had only a few minutes to debrief with Richard. Turns out, that’s all it took for his new employer to make a decision. He received the offer after a 30-minute interview. They had a problem – how to successfully implement new software. Richard had the expertise to solve their problem.    

Would my efforts to help Richard present a sharper presence to prospective employers have been wasted? Absolutely not.

Fortunately, it turned out that Richard’s new employer was wise enough to overlook superficial attributes and focus on Richard’s strengths.

Were our joint efforts to position Richard as a solution to an employer’s problem critical to his success? Absolutely. 

Companies have problems.  Successful job search candidates have solutions.

What I hope you learned
When you have clearly identified what you offer, you can identify who is likely to need what you offer. In doing so, you may be able to overcome typical job search challenges and reduce the time to receive an offer.

What to do
1.  Develop your Job Search Datasheet to identify what you are selling.
2.  Clearly articulate what you offer a prospective employer in your resume, cover
     letter, and oral and written communications
3.  Identify the problem you are a solution to.
4.  Build your Target Company List to create a list of companies who might have that problem. 

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find their ideal job!

You'll be writing lots of emails throughout your job search. And the right one could seal the deal. Here's how to make your emails do what you want them to do.

  • Complete the "To:" field only after you have completed the email to your satisfaction to avoid accidental sending.
  • Write from a professional email address.
  • Identify the result you want from the email.
  • Address the recipient by name.
  • Write as a "real [professional] person" talks.
  • Refer to previous correspondence.
  • Use bullet points to create white space.
  • Use numbers to create order.
  • Minimize multi-syllabic, "hoity-toity" words. [See why?]
  • Clearly communicate the action you want the reader to take.
  • Review the email:
            1.  Did you follow a logical order?
            2.  Does the recipient know what to do next?               
  • End with a signature that includes contact information.

Bonus tip: Add an English teacher friend to your Board of Advisors to serve as your job search editor.

What I hoped you got from this post:
Emails are important communication channels.  Make your emails stand out from the rest and do what you want them to do.

Take action:
Act as if every email you send will be the one that will get you the job.

Please share this post with someone who is looking to find their ideal job!  Kat