Great ability, fair education and great work experience? You have all it takes to land a tasteful position and your résumé highlights everything. Then again, there lies the issue that your employment applications are being rejected. Today majority of job searches from finding vacancies to filing the applications and finally getting the interview call is all being done on the web. The procedure of being offered a vocation has become much more complicated today and candidates need to focus on many more things besides their résumé.
After extensive research and many years of experience as a recruiter / career coach, I have compiled a list of things the job-seekers generally tend to ignore or overlook. Inevitably they turn into the explanations behind the constant dismissal of your online applications:
Last word: It is never an easy stroll to your fantasy job a little effort goes a long way in landing a new career opportunity. The more consideration you give an opportunity the more you are likely to receive in return.
With an increasing number of employers looking for candidates with very little job experience, there are important changes you may want to make to your resume. Employers have legitimate reasons to look for more entry level candidates. Companies with a comprehensive training program prefer people who haven’t been trained (or at least not much) by someone else’s training program. Like babies changing significantly in terms of habits and thought processes due to nurture as they age, people tend to build habits over the years based on the methodologies they have learned through their employers’ training processes.
Many studies have shown that statistically, hiring managers and recruiters only spend six seconds on your resume. That’s why it’s important your resume represents who you are, your skills, qualifications and experience in the most clear cut way possible.
Of course, many candidates have a significant amount of experience and are still extremely (sometimes more) employable. However, if you are a skilled candidate, there is a good chance you don’t belong in the entry level pool. Being 'overqualified' is certainly not a bad thing, but if you are you need to be looking at higher level openings.
Only include relevant experience on your resume. Did you intern at a deli shop during college, or work for the local bookstore during high school, but are now applying to a business development position selling software to companies? Leave it off your resume. It isn't relevant, wouldn't have affected your habits to a point where it would label you already set in your methodologies’ and yet those years listed are screwing up your entry level status.
If you graduated college two years ago, and have two years of sales experience you are probably a very in demand candidate for an entry level business development role. However, those years of irrelevant part time experience are not only interfering with the amount of experience noticed during the famous ‘six second scan’, but they also affect where you are categorized on job boards. The algorithms involved typically can't differentiate what would be applicable in this type of situation. Yes, you read this correctly. Including this on your resume could be getting you overlooked or rejected when you may actually be perfect for the role of your dreams.
Don’t include extremely short experience. If you have exhibited longevity in the past, yet have a three month stint at a certain role with a very good reason for that short duration, you are better off leaving that off your resume and getting the chance to explain yourself through whichever method of communication when you go through the interview channels with the recruiter/employer. You don’t want to be labeled a ‘job hopper’ especially if you do have a history of longevity and reliability. Just remember to be honest when the conversation with the recruiter happens. If you ever leave your past/present/future employer one of the best things you can leave with is a letter of recommendation.
Keep your resume short. If your resume is more than two pages, particularly if you are a candidate with less than five years of experience, you want to double check your resume and see if you really need to have that much information. Paradoxically, you don’t want your resume too short. In addition to the dates you worked at from each employer (yes, these are necessary and draw suspicion if completely left off) as well as the duties that encompassed the role, you should include any achievements or awards as well as a sentence or two about the company and what they do.
A non-compete agreement is used in a wide variety of industries and capacities including but not limited to: medical professionals, radio and television personalities, and most commonly those working at a sales capacity.
A non-compete agreement can come in the form of a contract, or is sometimes added as a clause to another employment related document. Non-compete agreements are also known as an NCA (non-compete agreement), an NCC (non-compete clause) or and CNC (covenant not to compete).
One Size Does not Fit All. Non-compete agreements can vary not only across industries and positions, but can also differ even amongst individuals working for the same company at the same capacity. Many companies do have a standard non-compete agreement for all of their employees, but others have very specific non-competes that can fluctuate significantly across a particular organization.
Request a Copy After Signing if Possible. It’s extremely important for a candidate or new employee to request a copy of any non-compete agreement they are signing. While a copy of the non-compete can be requested from the human resources department of an organization at any point, it can save an uncomfortable situation to have your agreement on hand early on, especially if requesting it reveals that you are in the market for a new opportunity before you wanted to disclose this to an employer or are officially hired.
Be Aware of the State Referenced for Jurisdiction. The laws that cover non-competes, and how a court will tolerate a non-compete, can differ significantly depending on the state that the jurisdiction of a non-compete applies to. The agreement or clause does not necessarily apply to the state an individual is doing business in, but can apply to the state of jurisdiction as suggested in the contract. For example, a company headquartered out of one state but doing business in many others can indicate the state they are headquartered in as the state of jurisdiction.
Have your Agreement Examined by a Lawyer. Even if you don’t have a lawyer you regularly work with, there are many very inexpensive pre-paid legal type services available for a low monthly subscription without any long term commitment contracts that are utilized for document examination services such as the review of a non-compete. It’s also possible that the company an individual is considering transferring to will have a legal department that would be willing to review their non-compete, and in some cases even offer to support that person through litigation.
A Non-Compete will Not Always Hold Up in Court. Some non-compete agreements are so general and all-encompassing that they can keep an individual from working elsewhere within a particular industry. However, the more restrictive a non-compete is, the less likely all of the factors are to hold up in court. In some instances, non-competes have not held up when they are considered too restrictive regarding the length of time or region specified.
Know the Difference Between Right to Work VS. Non-Compete Laws. A state’s right to work status does not necessarily dictate how a non-compete would be interpreted by a judge. The ‘Right to Work’ is a state constitutional amendment that grants individuals the right to work without forced unionization, allowing an individual to avoid paying mandatory union fees and choose whether or not they want to join a union at their own discretion. The states that have right to work laws, are as follows: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Some states do not enforce non-compete agreements, while others enforce them but have exemptions for certain professions. It’s always a good idea to examine your agreement before changing jobs, as well as the relevant laws, and discuss the agreement or clause with your prospective employer.
While very occasionally, as most are versed on the job hunt process, I sometimes receive an initial message response from a candidate asking to have the company reach out to them directly.
The way an individual interacts with me often will determine their ability to provide valuable customer service in the sales process as well as expose temperament and critical thinking skills, but sometimes albeit rarely, these are decent candidates who have not worked through a recruiter before or have had a poor experience.
I personally like to clear up any misconceptions and explain why the company is not contacting directly, as it can be due to a variety of reasons. The last thing a well qualified candidate wants to miss out on is an excellent opportunity due to a misunderstanding.
Most of the companies I personally work with are well backed start ups or growing subsidiaries with a well established parent, and in many cases I am working directly with the CEO. In this type of scenario they will likely never have time to personally prospect, source and screen candidates as well as obtain all of the information they need to in order to make an informative decision while running their company. Therefore, they use third party recruiters who specialize in finding talent for a living to track down their dream team player.
I did not contact you to solicit something to you. I reached out to you because I felt you were valuable, and wanted to see if you are well matched for a career that could change your life for a company that I believed in enough to accept working for. I’m not selling snake oil, but your career changes and makes up who you are.
Companies that are larger such as those in the Fortune 100 space also often use third party recruitment agencies when they are unable to find the right candidate, want to ‘cover all of their bases’ and not miss out on anyone, or are too busy and need the extra help. Recruitment agencies often even reach out to each other for assistance, because they understand all too well the value of ‘covering all of those bases’.
Another reason is the contingency scenario. In many cases a recruiter does not get paid if a candidate goes around them, and it also causes question to be brought onto the candidate’s ethics, which is certainly important when making a solid long term hire.
There are also confidentiality factors that range from everything to replacements (companies need to protect themselves in the same way an employee does in leaving a job) and anything associated with confidential internal changes that may be not able to be disclosed to the public for a variety of reasons.
I think it’s important that recruiters take the initiative to ensure the candidate is provided a positive experience, even if only for their client’s sake as it will affect them later on down the road. Far too often I am told that the experience I provided was different from other recruiters, and while it should be taken as a compliment it makes me sad that more recruiters aren’t advocates for their candidates in a way that keeps the sometimes ridiculously frustrating job hunt simplified.
There are other reasons a company might use a third party recruiter other than not having an established recruitment department, not wanting to miss anything or not having the time. Recruiters from another company are often less biased than those working directly for the firm, so feedback is often more honest allowing for a more focused match. Recruiters are able to serve as a sort of advocate on the candidate’s behalf, but as the client is the one who contracted them they also need to ensure a long term fit. Even when candidates are not sent forward, the connection that they made with the recruiter can prove valuable for other openings.
Lastly, not all recruiters are working in temp agencies. I only work on direct hire opportunities personally. Don’t discount us before you’ve had a conversation, and be sure to answer questions when you are confused.
I should probably keep my mouth shut as this is a good way of screening out people that don’t have the ability to come to these conclusions themselves, but honestly, the job search process is a job in itself and I’d like to ease the pain in any way I can. Fortunately this is a problem I don't encounter too often, as those who see recruiters as their enemies are often the same employers who keep losing employees by not keeping them satisfied. To that, I have to digress to my 'Bad Manager' article.