Getting Keen Career Advancements, Sideways

August 3rd, 2012

Getting Keen Career Advancements, Sideways

by Jason Stauffacher; Twitter: @RazorResume

August 1, 2012

I have a great friend, a friend of over 10 years, who just got hired in a major multinational corporation in St. Paul, Minnesota and Minneapolis, proper.   It took a few years to get where he is.  It’s a better business card by far and the perfect job title than he had even 4 years ago in Anoka.  (I must change names to keep things matter of fact, but let’s call him Peter.)  Peter was working the whole time, not looking the past four years for work but only for a short time. He finally got his ideal job at this top-20 company in Minnesota which is respected worldwide.

Let’s go over how this happened for Peter, and me for that matter.  I got a call one day a few years ago, and Peter asked me to re-write his resume, at least go over it, as he got displaced from a local engineering firm in the north metro that is not well-known, not a multinational.  It was a big surprise for him and his family.  Peter had a great post as an engineer, but was asked to leave one day with a 2-hour notice.  Nice of them, but a very common practice these days from human resources and intermediate staff leaders.

Peter did not work for about 7 months, getting his state unemployment benefits, emotional accolades were sought by going to a support group at a local organization to talk and work through the issues in his mind.  This helped but not the whole psychology of it all.  Peter needed to get a job, and a job fast.  Enters a temp-to-hire agency with possible permanent placements.  One drawback.  Change of job title.  A significant move for anyone, in any field.  Peter was given an opportunity to work for a subsidiary, a company partially owned and operated by the MAJOR CORPORATION I mentioned above.  It was not a direct way in, but a sideways manner. So it was like a foot in the door, but not exactly.  It was one foot in the door, and the other outside.  And would it ever change?  There was a high chance it would not change he was told.  So Peter took the job hoping that a possible job would open up in a few years.  He took that gamble and it worked.

Peter did take a decent sized pay-cut taking the initial job at the distant subsidiary.  That job title cut from Engineer to Technician from the temp-to-hire agency in New Brighton, Minnesota was an even harder blow too, emotionally.   That’s like going from lawyer to paralegal in one fell swoop.  Will Peter ever get a job as an engineer, again?  Will someone hire me with my degrees with technician on the CV/resume ever?  And it had to happen that way since the job was that, a technical spot.   Peter took the plunge, jumped in happily, and felt like the opportunity from the agency from New Brighton would be more likely to move towards that Fortune 500 arena.  It had to work, he felt.  It was distantly-owned by the multinational, yet was still part of the larger organization.  There was that connection and it had to work somehow.

Here is another amazing fact: this multinational company has an on-going hiring freeze, currently.  Peter got hired on and was part of the company all along.  At least from HR’s perspective, it was an internal post offered to an internal employee.  It just looked like a bad situation at the get-go for Peter.  It was not.  Peter came in the side entryway with a bad job title, back to his original one, Engineer, and got with the mothership.  He had to face a few ghosts along the way to get to that multinational spot, but at the end of the day, he got his career back on track with a far better job than the one he had 4 years previously in Anoka. 

Here are some Twitter like takeaways from this urban job hunting story that happens to be very true for Peter (and maybe you in the future)!

+ Look for companies you would LOVE to work for.  Find subsidiary organizations within the structure that have far-off relationships in your town.

+ Take a gamble at a company even if it is a title change.  It is worth it.  You never know.  Temp-to-hire is not that bad.

+ Listen to your gut for a change.  If Peter took the obvious advice, he would have never had the chance to be hired on by the larger organization.

+ Bypass hiring freezes by working for the smaller distant-off company subsidiaries.

+ Research, research, research the smaller distant-off company subsidiary’s mothership.  You might be very surprised at who owns who.

Human Resource Departments Mimic Vicious Ant Colonies

May 17th, 2012

Dear Job Hunter, I need to confess to you, I have felt this way for years, HR Departments really function as an ant colony, as a vicious killer ant colony.  The bad ones from Africa I’ve seen on NatGeo.  What do I mean?  Human Resources and their supporting staff eat their own, devour wooing applicants up and, will step all over other staff members in other departments in the organization.  I’ll begin this mental journey, to explain why, with a true story of a job seminar I gave some time back.

I was doing a short talk at a church in Minnetonka, Minnesota about how resumes and career profiles should be written in a tight job market, and had some success with my talking points.  As well, the hosting career coach opened a question and open comment time for everyone, as I was her guest speaker that evening.  To my surprise an HR Director got up, who was displaced herself, said, “I want to apologize in how rude HR Departments are, as I have now seen what it was like being on the other end.  They can be the some of the rudest people in the whole organization.   And I am sorry for that.“ 

I was very shocked why she was so terse in her confession, the same way I felt about HR for years.  They don’t send rejection letters.  If you are fired, they give you three minutes to prep your desk to leave.  I could go on and on, and I’m sure you, the reader, could probably add your own horror story.   This behavior needs to stop.  It needs to stop immediately.  We need to point out how rude and very disrespectful they have always been, and it needs to cease with informative essays like this one.  We demand respect and tolerance they give themselves.


I’ve been working with a local fresh grad paralegal on her resume marketing package, and need to note to you that from my experience over the years, and with her, the only organization that still may have a ‘Pollyanna’ view of people, meaning, be nice to your neighbor, is the law firm.  Law firms still send out rejection letters (or emails) and thank you cards for inquiries into employment of the firm.  HR Directors need to learn from these law firms that you are required to be nice to people by telling them at least you got the application, if the firm is not interested, send a letter stating why the position was recently filled or the position has been closed.  Treat your applicants like you are writing your grandmother from summer camp.  Don’t be rude; see them as a real live person and tell them what’s going on this week. 

Finally, I’ll tell you what ant colonies do.  When in war with another ant colony, going over a water stream or something like that in a desert in Africa, the dead ones in the water are walked all over by the warrior ant. 

HR Managers and the like, please treat resumes and applicants as the best document or work history they can produce at this point.  It is.  Don’t walk over (reject) the applicant IF there is one spelling error.  Functionally, it is the work history represented in the submitted documents that shows some kind of accomplishment.  I am sure, even an HR Director, does not write an email in grammar-perfect English everyday or may have a questionable work history.  Why shouldn’t you expect the same?  Don’t kill the resume or application over one little error or a perceived job gap.  Are you a queen ant dictator that gives no grace and mercy, killing all workers with even the slightest deviation?  I would hope HR would prove to be human and not a vicious ant-eating killer ant colony.

Agribusiness Intern opportunity at Padilla, Minneapolis

March 28th, 2012

Padilla Speer Beardsley is looking for a full-time public relations intern to work on a wide variety of projects with our agribusiness and environmental science team.

We are looking for recent grads who are available to start immediately. This is a paid, three-month internship.

Responsibilities may include:
• Writing news, product and personnel releases.
• Providing research.
• Supporting onsite events.
• Coordinating vendors.
• Creating and editing media lists.
• Making media-verification calls.
• Organizing clips.
• Tracking incoming trade publications.

Candidates must have excellent writing skills and media relations experience, as well as one or two previous internships or volunteer experiences in public relations, journalism or marketing communications.

Q: Can I put that I’m good at criticizing films on a resume?

March 17th, 2012

(I know that it sounds silly, but it is a skill that a lot of people don’t have. I’m fresh out of high school and have no experience so don’t be answering that it goes in experience. I’m also good at explaining why movies are good or bad. I can go into deep analyses and I’m able to write well.)

A: I feel that you can put this on your CV or your resume.  Why do I say that?  It is vital to show the whole you, the organic you on a career-related document.  I am very aware that most in my field, resume writers, that most resume LOOK and SOUND the same.  I put a quote on my resume, do a lot of extra items that add to the whole person and look of the resume.  How does putting down that you are a runner on a CFO resume add to it?  Well,  you could interview and see that the person you are talking to (the HR manager or hiring manager) loves running.  It is a talking-point.  And that is where you want to get to be, on an interview is a talking point that breaks the natural tension between interviewer and interviewee.  There is a point when you first interview it is all formalalities.

When you have a talking point like that you are into movies that can make for a very engaging conversation.  That is what you want.  A very engaging conversation at the desk of your hiring manager.  I don’t care that you are entry level right now, but in the end, you might be a CEO in the next 30 years coming up, but give it a go.  Try it out and see what happens that shows you are very good at movie reviews.  There is so much out there you can blog out that.  Make yourself a blog and try to monetize it.  You might find that you are more into the movies, writing it up and then have your own shop to hire other writers 5 years from now.  Never ever second-guess yourself. 

-Jason Stauffacher

What to say when giving a hiring manager my resume?

March 17th, 2012

by Jason Stauffacher


Q: Okay, I applied online at this store but I’m going to turn in my resume tomorrow morning. What should I say to the hiring manager when I take my resume and CV in? Should I ask for an interview or just give it to her and leave?


A: This is a great opportunity to do for a walk-talking interview without setting a proper interview time with HR.  And that may lead to a fast job offer than the other route of waiting for the response email or call on the phone.  Your are putting your body in front of the potential employeer and showing your stuff. 

I like to call this a ‘baby-step interview,’ and you need to dress and submit your resume like you are going to a REAL interview, mind you.  You are not just dropping off your resume, and maybe something will happen.  First of all, you don’t know who will be there, if the hiring manager will be in or the HR Director had a bad day and just wants to get this job filled ASAP.  That would be to your benefit.  So it’s just not going in and dropping it off your nicely printed off resume.  You need to ask to speak to someone who is related to the job.  Most, I would say up to 90% of applications are done by email now.  You need to do this and fast, as others are sending in their resumes and emails as fast as I am typing this Q&A response.  Ultimately, you really are short-listing yourself and making the process far easier for HR and putting the show on for yourself.  And this is a great way of getting things done in your career.

Here is a Twitter way of saying this: @RazorResume Dropping your rez off gets you in the door faster than just an email.  Who knows who’s watching when you walk in that door.

This Is How to get A Federal Job

February 21st, 2012

Jason Stauffacher

First of all you have to know where the jobs are.  In a recent survey it was found in a survey by that the top city for jobs in
the entire United States is Washington D.C.  Here are the top ten in order listed with how many jobs are
available per 1000 residents:

1. Washington, DC – 133 (postings per 1,000 people)

2. Baltimore, MD – 90

3. San Jose, CA – 80

4. Austin, TX – 56

5. Hartford, CT – 54

6. Seattle, WA – 53

7. Salt Lake City, UT – 52

8. Denver, CO – 50

9. Boston, MA – 49

10. Las Vegas, NV – 49

(Charlotte, NC, also with 49 postings per 1,000 residents, takes the eleventh
spot on the list.)

So the first step, if you will do anything to get a Federal job, is to look in
these areas for employment. This doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs in other
cities, it only means these are the cities with the most jobs.  Step two: visit the governments website  Here you will find every job (well
almost every job) open in the federal government. There are other places to
look but this is the website that lists the vast majority of the positions

When you see a position you qualify for study the announcement very closely, if
there is something you do not quite understand, you can call one our great
specialists at at 1-800-818-1355.

Now Pick 1 or 2 or 3 positions you would like to apply for.  Once you have decided which positions
you will apply for it is time to get your federal resume in order and
supplemental documents written and submitted.

I will be frank with you here, you can try to wrestle through this process
yourself, and believe me the preparation of a Federal government application
package is difficult and tediously detailed work. Or you can have a
professional resume writer do it for you. 
Try your hand at it and see if you can do it, or if you need a professional’s
hand at it as well.

That ultimately is your decision, but I strongly suggest that you hire a
professional to bounce ideas and concerns off of. The main reason is that these
positions are very competitive, hundreds of people apply for them and you have
to do all you can to make sure that you are one of the ones that gets called in
for the all important interview.

There is no substitute for a real experienced writer you can have at your
finger-tips, but read the full Federal announcement, and see what I am talking
about.  It’s a lot of information
to do and perform.


professional writer knows the correct words to use they know the correct forms
to use, they know and are very familiar with all the  procedures and rules
associated with the federal application process.

Look at
your application requirements and if you are serious about this process, you
can start the work and see what the extent of the work can and will be.  Then again you can try it on your own.
But when you don’t get called do not “fool yourself” and make up some
reason that you didn’t get called, there are only 2 reasons:

a. Someone actually read through your entire resume package, the supplemental
documents KSA’s or ECQ’s or PTQ’s and then determined that you weren’t
qualified. That doesn’t usually happen because most people apply for jobs they
are not qualified for.  That’s a
basic idea.  Too many apply for a
job they are not really qualified for.


b. The
hiring committee never saw your resume in the first place because it never made
it through the initial steps to get to the step where a real person actually
got to see the documents. In other words your package wasn’t written correctly
because it did not have all the right key words on it!

Note from Susan about her job and resume….

February 7th, 2012


I only applied for one job outside of Target.  I got the job!!!  I was laid off from Target on November 30th, and one week later I was offered the job.  God Blessed me on my job search, and you were part of his answer to my prayers.  Thank you for your help.  I passed on your name to four people from Target, I hope they were smart enough to contact you.

Thanks again,


Resume Writing Terms

January 19th, 2012

Resume Writing Terms-by Jason Stauffacher
Having a well-written resume is vital in any job market. It can make the difference between getting an interview or not. With so much competition for openings, you need a resume that sets you apart from the other candidates. Below are some terms that can help you achieve that goal.
Reverse Chronological Resume – Outlines a person’s job history, starting from the current or latest position and working backwards. The flaw in this type is that it is easy to spot long periods of unemployment.

Functional Resume – This type is arranged by job function instead of by year. This allows potential employers to focus on the skills you have aquired throughout the years.

Template – Many people write their own resume and cover letter. A template can help you achieve a professional-looking resume. This is an example of how a resume should be designed. These samples can be found online and are often specialized for specific positions. It is important to remember that some templates are only examples, not outlines. To make the most of your resume, the samples should be tweaked to fit you personally.

Cover Letter – This is usually a mandatory addition to a resume, especially when you apply for higher level employment. This essay basically introduces you to the HR manager who is in charge of filling the open position. In it, you can include why you want the job and what unique skills or advantage you will bring to the company.

Curriculum Vitae – Latin for “course of life,” this is sometimes requested by companies as an alternative to a resume, mostly for the academic and medical industries. A curriculum vitae is more comprehensive in a lot of ways. It includes your education, job history, special skills, all in a greater depth that you would find in most resumes.

What Jobs can a Bachelor in Computer Science Get?

January 12th, 2012

There are lots of jobs in Computer Science all over the globe.  You can work remotely in places as you can see that it is on your computer screen!  (Thanks to IBM’s new business mode)!  Other areas are hardware and software development.  You need to ask yourself a few good questions.  Even the guys who made Angry Birds were guys who have a sense about software and technology. 


iPhone and iPad apps are up and coming.   Look into that~!  Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself about what areas of Computer Science jobs do you want or think in this venue. 


1) What am I good at?

2) Do I want to work for a big company or not?  Small are good. 

3) Work on iPhone apps or classical software firms?

4) Where will you get an advanced degree?  (i.e. as more advanced degrees come with CS majors, jobs and career-tracking towards management.)


I hope that helps you!




Looking for a Research Analyst, temporary part-time assistance at Padilla…

January 12th, 2012


Looking for a Research Analyst, temporary part-time assistance at Padilla…

Padilla Speer Beardsley is looking for an analyst to join its in-house communication research team and work three to four days a week for one to two months. Projects include large-scale opinion and attitude surveys, qualitative studies to develop messages and campaigns, and marketing research work for brand and product development.

The analyst will participate in planning and executing projects, including the selection of research and analytical methods; the writing of questionnaires; the preparation of tables and charts; and the writing of final reports. The analyst will also assist with writing research proposals; managing projects and budgets; providing day-to-day oversight and client contact on research projects.

To be considered the candidate must have a minimum of five-to-seven years experience in a research-related field and a Master’s or Doctorate degree with research thesis in a social science or related field. The analyst needs a working knowledge of descriptive and multivariate statistical techniques and experience with analytical software such as SPSS and Excel. The ideal candidate will have excellent communication, writing and relationship-building skills. The analyst also must be experienced in conducting library research with online databases and synthesizing results into written reports.