Words are important; tone is critical.

It’s not so much what you say, as the manner in which you say it.

It’s not so much the language you use as the tone in which you convey it.

“Come here!” I said sharply,

And the child cowered and wept.

“Come here,” I said

He looked and smiled

And straight to my lap he crept.

Words may be mild and fair but the tone may pierce like a dart;

Words may be soft as the summer air but the tone may break the heart.

For words come from the mind,

They grow by study and art.

But the tone leaping from your inner self

Reveals the state of the heart.

Whether you know it or not, whether you mean it or care,

Gentleness, kindness, love and hate

Envy and anger are there.

Then, would you quarrels avoid

And peace and love rejoice?

Keep anger not only out of your words,

Keep it out of your voice.

Is your job search going mobile? It should.

Here are some quick stats to get you thinking about one way you should approach your job search.

  • 1 in 5 of all job searches are now made via mobile (Google)
  • 30% of company traffic is now coming from a mobile device (WRC)
  • 63% of passive candidates used mobile to search for their next role (Educate)
  • 90% of smart phone users use mobile to read emails and search the web (ALP)
  • 61% of users will go to a competitor site if you do not have a mobile site (Forbes)

In my life there have been two distinct job-search worlds; one when I graduated from college, the other just recently.

Here’s what my job-search world looked like when I graduated from college:

I graduated in May of 1995.  The next month I got married.  At that point, we certainly had no money and only an idea of what we wanted our future to look like.  Obviously, the first priority was finding me a job.  It seemed only fair.  At that point, my wife had two.  Actually, I was working a retail position.  But it was time to find that ever elusive “career” track.

Back then I read the want-ads in the Sunday paper and circled the best possibilities.  Because we did not have a home computer or printer I would find some time during the week to go over to my father-in-law’s office and use his.  I would update my resume and write a cover letter, print it out and put it in the mail.  So after reading an ad on Sunday I would be lucky to have my resume/cover letter in the mail by Wednesday or Thursday.  Talk about lag time.  Obviously, it was not the quickest or most efficient system.  But I had to use the resources available to me the best way I knew how.

Contrast that to what my job-search world looked like when I was searching for a new position just a few months ago:

This time, no want ads.  It would have been difficult to do that since I haven’t had a subscription to the paper in several years anyway.

I did lean on all the other avenues available to me, however.  The most valuable was my network.  I have spent the intervening 15+ plus years since my post-college job search building it and I knew it would be a powerful tool.

I also created several job-search agents on various job boards that met specific criteria I entered.  The various systems would then email me the daily results.  By the time I woke up every morning, I would have anywhere from a handful to several dozen opportunities waiting for me in my inbox.  Even before my feet hit the floor in the morning, I could respond to any particular opportunity I chose by submitting my resume which was stored on my smart phone.  I use the Galaxy S II and am a huge fan.

I had several versions of my resume to reflect various aspects of my career.  I could choose which one to send based on the details of the opportunity.  If a particular opportunity required me to make additional changes to my resume I would get on my laptop, make the changes and store the new version on my phone as well.

If a lead came through that looked really exciting I would get on Linked In and see if anyone in my network worked at that particular company.  I would then reach out to them and ask for their help in networking with the right people at the target company.

The best example I can think of to illustrate how things have changed in my two job-search worlds is this story:

I was meeting a member of my network for lunch.  I got there early and as I was a waiting, another member of my network who happened to be located in Pennsylvania had forwarded me a really good job lead.  I looked through the details, composed an email/cover letter and sent it off with the appropriate version of my resume.  By the time my lunch was over I had already received a response from the recruiter.

It’s fascinating to me how things have changed.  Years ago, looking through the paper it took days to respond. Today, anyone can receive and respond to opportunities in real-time all thanks to advances in technology, their network and their smart phone.  Did I mention I love my Galaxy S II?

If you don’t use your mobile device for your job search, you are missing out on a lot of opportunities.  The ability to respond to opportunities in a timely manner is essential.  Don’t miss out.

A recruiter’s job

I was talking with a friend the other day and our conversation reminded me of an experience I had while working at a job fair.

It was several years ago (maybe 2002 or 2003) and I had signed up to attend a career fair for the company I was working for at the time.  It had been a long day as I was the only recruiter there so I talked to EVERYBODY that came by.  During a lull in the crowd this gentleman stopped by and started a conversation.  He had a technical background and I was there recruiting for sales people – I’m a sales recruiter, that’s what I do.

I told him I was not aware of any specific technical positions at our company because I had a different focus.  I told him I could take his resume, share it with the other recruiters on the team and that he could also apply on-line directly to any specific position that interested him.  Judging by his reaction, you would have thought I threatened his life and the lives of each of his family members.  He  instantly started wagging a finger at me yelling about the ‘black hole’ and how it was my job to find him a job.

For those of you that know me, when I say that I am a really easy-going, laid-back kinda guy, it wouldn’t be a shock to you.  That’s the way I like to live my life.  But when necessary, all that can go away.  And it did, considering the way he reacted to my comments.  He had clearly fallen prey to a serious misconception that I now felt was my duty to cure him of – and quickly.

I told him as much as he may want to belive it, my company does not (did not) pay me to find him a job.  I had a long list of positions I was tasked with filling and THAT was my job.  I also told him it was not my job to find any single individual a job.  My job was and is to find the best possible candidate I could find to fill the positions I was responsible for.

That’s the message I want to share with you today.  When you are in the midst of your job search, remember that it is not the responsibility of the recruiter to find you a job.  They are responsible for evaluating as much talent as they can find and making selections based on that pool.  It’s also important to remember that no matter what news you’re hearing, you must always stay professional.  The gentleman in this example lost any and all opportunity to find a position with my company because of his behaviour.  True to my word, I did go back and share his resume with my team.  But it came with a  warning to stay away from him.  He was far too volatile to consider.

And just so you know, there are people out there that will be more than happy to take your money, leading you to believe they will guarantee they will find you a job.  It is my strong recommendation you tell those kinds of people what they can do with their offer.  They are about getting your money not finding you a job.

In your job search, stay positive and work with trustworthy people.  How do you know if they’re trustworthy?  Ask lots of questions and trust your gut.

Happy hunting!

How should you submit a resume via email?

In your job search, a recruiter or hiring authority has asked you to send them your resume directly.  Or, perhaps someone in your network has told you “I heard about an opportunity you would be perfect for.  I know who you need to send your resume to.  Here’s the email address.”  They provide you with the email where they would like you to send it.

Ideally, the subject line should contain only three things: 1) your name 2) the word ‘Resume’ and 3) the city or location of the opening.  It should look like this:

Chris Gustafson Resume – Dallas

Those elements in a subject line tell the recipient everything they need to know about what the email is for and what it contains.  There’s no guess-work or excess information.  If there are any other details you believe should be included, I recommend you leave that for the text of the email.  I recommend adding the city because all too often recruiters or hiring authorities have multiple positions in multiple markets.  Listing the location is a very simple way for them to know where the candidate is located.  It also makes it easy for future searching.  Presenting your information this way prevents the recruiter from having to guess what email your resume is in or opening multiple emails trying to find the one with your resume in it.  Additionally, if it gets forwarded, more often than not, nothing needs to be changed in the subject line.  It’s already ready to go.

And another quick suggestion is to label (name) your resume with your name only; first and last.  Don’t put the date it was last updated or anything else.  It just makes things confusing. Ultimately, you want to make the experience of receiving your resume via email an easy experience.  Who ever you send it to will want to name it based on their system so having a lot of additional information is unnecessary.

Spelling 101

The importance of spell check cannot be overstated.  Weather you are preparing your resume, an email, a presentation, or another form of business communication you cannot skip this step.  It should go without saying but it is often overlooked.  ALWAY, ALWAYS, ALWAYS hit spell check.

I was once preparing a job-search email, hit spell check and realized I had misspelled the recipient’s name.  Had I not caught the error, my job-search query would have been over before it even began.  In my career I have seen countless resumes and cover letters with typos.  Those are the ones that do not make it to the top of the stack.  A major and consistent complaint from job applicants is that they never hear back from employers after applying for a position.  Many candidates would do well to go back and double and triple check there documentation.  Their “hit” rate might increase if they do.

Once you have gone through the spell-check suggestions be sure to re-read your whole document slowly to ensure you have used the correct words (or have not omitted a word).  You many have spelled “there” correctly so it will not flag as an error.  But do you need to use “their” instead?  Or “whether” instead of “weather”?  Spell check won’t let you know that’s wrong.

Did you notice when you spotted the errors in this post how it distracted you from the message?  That’s what those types of errors do…take away from the message you are trying to convey.

Happy hunting!

Leaving a message

Have you ever had the experience of having to listen to a long-winded message and in your mind you’re thinking “I sure wish they would hurry up and get to the point and give me their phone number?”  And when they finally do give their number – at the very end of a 3 minute message – they say it so fast you either couldn’t hear it clearly or write it down fast enough?  Me too.  There’s really nothing that annoys me more.

To me it’s a sign of respect.  The caller ultimately wants something from you.  They are not respecting your time because they are leaving long-winded messages and then speeding through the most important part.  That means you must now consider listening to that whole message again.  There is a cure for that.

And it all starts with you.  When you are on the job hunt it is critically important that you leave brief, concise and clear messages.  Do not ramble.  But most important of all, leave your name and phone number twice in your message; once at the beginning, and again at the end.


“Hi John.  This is Chris Gustafson at 972.555.5555 following up on the next steps from the interview we had last week.  You mentioned I would be meeting with Sally next.  I wanted to let you know my availability has changed a bit.  I can be available anytime next Monday or next Tuesday afternoon starting after 12:00 noon.  John, again, this is Chris at 972.555.5555.  I look forward to speaking with you soon to get that interview set up.”

That’s all there is to it.  Get in.  Get out.  Be professional.  We will go into the anatomy of that call in later posts.