Job Searching in 2012

January 4th, 2012

Tenet 1: show off yourself.  Tell them what you’ve done, and don’t be shy.

Tenet 2: connect creatively with HR and managers.  Think outside the HR box.  It has to be done in this modern web 2.0 day-and-age.

Tenet 3: echo your skills.  Tell others about what you are good at.  It might lead to a job via a simple conversations over drinks.

Hiring in December

December 10th, 2011

Hiring in December

There seem to be a lot of strange ideas that because of the recession, companies will not be hiriing this holiday season. You may hear some job seekers mumbling that “hiring will be worse this December”.

You know what?

That is complete bunk… It isn’t true!

Most individuals in the employment field : Recruiters, Hiring managers, HR personnel, are totally aware that this December is not going to be any different than the rest of the year. Yes we have a recession, but the outlook for next year is that it will definitely be a better year all around.  Employers are looking for new employees that can start immediately after New Years.

Let’s get rid of these pesky holiday job search rumors:

Rumor Number 1: Companies don’t hire during the holidays.

Truth: Yes the Holidays are extra busy and stressful but companies hire ( big time) in December:  Why?

(A) Companies need to use up the funds in their budget or they lose it next year.
(B) Hiring managers need to tie up loose ends with unfilled positions before the end of the year.
(C) Some Employees tend to quit their jobs  around the holidays.  Why?

They have job offers but don’t want to quit before they get their…yes…you got it …BONUS!
This means end-of-year job openings that must be filled fast.

Rumor Number 2: There aren’t any good jobs available During the Holidays.

Truth: (Reread Truth number 1 above) Your chances of finding a job in December are as good as in any other month. Hiring is the end result of a need; not time of year!  In fact waiting until after the 1st of January can set you back.

Rumor Number 3:  Don’t bother looking for a job the middle of December.

Truth: The interview process does not stop because of the Holidays. You may need to be more flexible,but the more available you make yourself the better your chances . Other candidates will make the mistake of thinking they should wait until after the first of the year and so you can stroll on in, show your initiative and personal drive and land the job of your dreams.

Truth: At the risk of repeating myself, it is a perfect time to send out your Resume. With job seekers going on vacation and employees quitting their jobs, Recruiters hiring managers and employers are under the gun trying to find qualified employees. Take advantage of this scenario and send out your professional resume in volume.

Padilla is looking to hire a Director of Research and Insights.

December 9th, 2011

Padilla is looking to hire a Director of Research and Insights.

Director of Research and Insights, Minneapolis
Padilla Speer Beardsley, an integrated communications firm based in Minneapolis with an office in New York, is seeking an experienced research director to lead our in-house research team.
Candidates must have:
• Expertise in market research, opinion research and/or account planning.
• Exceptional written and verbal communications skills.
• Business development skills, including the ability to write proposals, manage client relationships and present our research capabilities.
• Minimum of 10 years’ experience in a research-related field, and an advanced degree with research or related emphasis.
• Demonstrated ability to manage and execute all phases and types of research, using primary and secondary methods, and qualitative and quantitative techniques.
• Experience supervising and managing a research team.
• A working knowledge of descriptive and multivariate statistical techniques, and experience with analytical software such as SPSS and Excel.

Key responsibilities include:
• Actively managing research projects, including selection of research and analytical methods, study design, data analysis and preparation of strategic recommendations.
• Building strong relationships with internal partners and external clients.
• Managing project budgets and work quality.
• Seeking new business and networking opportunities.
• Analyzing data and generating insights to represent the voice of the target customer to drive positioning, marketing strategies and branding.
• Participating in new business pitches.

To be successful in this position, the candidate must be able to prioritize multiple demands on his/her time, while effectively managing staff and leading clients.

This leader will be expected to grow and support existing research clients by consistently delivering excellent client service, and meeting research challenges on time and within budget. We measure progress by client retention, revenue growth and business development.

Padilla is a multispecialty firm with experts in integrated marketing communications, corporate reputation, investor relations, employee communications and crisis/critical issues management. We serve clients from a variety of industries, including agriculture, consumer products, financial services, health care, manufacturing, retail and technology. All areas of the firm draw upon the capabilities of our research team.

The Professional Experience Section: Tell me more about that…..

December 6th, 2011

Your resume (or CV) can either help you greatly increase your salary or hinder your career advancement. Here’s how to achieve the former with your resume.

First, focus on the structure. An ideal structure consists of Name and Contact Information, Career Summary, Computer Skills, Professional Experience, Education.

Then, consider the length. For entry-level purchasing positions, a one-page resume is appropriate. However, “If you have more than five to seven years of experience, then you want to have a two-page resume,” according to Tonia Deal, President of Tonia Deal Consulting, a leading supply chain recruiting firm. “I will not submit a resume over three pages.”

Next, ensure that the Professional Experience section is done well. List experience from most recent to oldest.

Within the Professional Experience section, have headings listing each company and the years you’ve worked for those companies. But an additional commonly ignored item that employers and recruiters like to see is a short description of those companies.


“Who is this company? What do they do? I want the annual sales,” says Deal of company descriptions on the resume. She explains that employers like to “know the type of organization that [candidates] are coming from.”

Underneath each company heading, you should include subheadings for each position you’ve held accompanied by dates you’ve held those positions. Under the position subheadings, include your responsibilities and achievements in bullet point or paragraph form. For responsibilities, Deal indicates that she finds the following information helpful:

* The categories you’re responsible for buying
* The annual spend you’re responsible for
* The type of supply base you’ve dealt with
* The number of team members you’ve supervised
* The purchasing organization’s structure (e.g., centralized), particularly if “the individual [has] been part of restructuring the company,” she says.

For achievements, Deal admits “The first thing that I will look for is numbers,” such as “Improved delivery performance by 50%” and “Initiated structured cross-functional global sourcing process to accelerate $20 million of annual savings.”

“I love it,” Deal exclaims when asked about a candidate including credentials such as the SPSM Certification on a resume. “I like to see it right under Education.”

Including a certification on a resume “is really critical,” in Deal’s opinion. “I really want to see that because that should be highlighted.”

Job Lead Ideas…

December 5th, 2011

Q: What is a good website to find job leads?

A: MANY of my clients have used for a good place to start.

“Spell Check This!”

November 21st, 2011

In honor of the last few episodes, you wonder if anyone from the Sopranos would ever say, “Spell check this!” as they “off” someone.  Never?  You might be very surprised.  Tony Soprano might actually do one more step than just running spell-checks.  (I’ll explain Tony’s next step soon.)


Now you think your résumé is perfected after you sent it through your spell checker on your laptop sitting at Caribou, or your favorite hot spot.  You’re done.  Great.  Then you sent it off by email that instant with one quick read-thru.  You had to email the HR manager that day.  Well, think again. You wait a week and call the company and ask about your application, and to your disappointment you get the run around: call this person, get their voice-mail and get no callback.  Wait.  You need to know that most spell checkers do that, just do the checking on the exact word, but not the context of the sentence, or what I like to call, idea-editing.  Idea-editing is a new way of saying the flow and coherence of the paragraph or prose section you’re writing.  It’s more than grammar.  For example, let me write this sentence for you:  “Sinking too have a long term professional relation-ship…”  Sometimes you don’t know what you are writing when you are working under pressure or typing fast.  You get the idea here?  “Sinking too” should be “Seeking to.”  And the hyphenation?  Bad mistakes and ones that spell-check overlook and would not even get you past the part-time HR personnel.  No spelling mistakes and writing coherence is Commandment One in any job application.


So how do you get around this dilemma?  There are some very simple ways to avoid these problems.


First, you should do your spell checking on your PC at home where it is quiet so you can pay attention and focus on your writing.  Hitting “OK,” or “CHANGE” is not always a fast process and we want it to be fast.  Forget fast and start thinking “PERFECT.”  Take your time.  It’s okay to take your time.  It’s that job you’ve always wanted.  Don’t you think it’s worth the time?


Second, I said I would get back to what Tony Soprano would do.  Here it is:  Tony would have Carmela read his résumé and cover letter to him aloud.  This is what I do with my Apple computer.  I have a program that can speak any text I highlight.  So I “speak” any text I send out to any company.  The reading out loud makes you hear the actual words and see if the sentences make any sense.  And coherent writing can be really seen in this step.  Your boyfriend or girlfriend can even read it aloud for you.  Your ears know if it sounds bad or not.




Third, another step you need to consider is the emergency element.  One of my college writing professors, Dr. Black, who was one of the hardest writing instructors I had, said this in our Technical Writing class: “An emergency on your part is not an emergency on my part.”  Sometimes doing a rush-job on your résumé and cover letter is unavoidable.  True.  But you can still have someone read it aloud, get a speaking program if your boyfriend or significant other is just a bad editor or reader.  My point is: you should prepare ahead of time and not have it be a rush-job, sending your résumé off five minutes before Caribou closes.  Give your writing and your editing time to “settle.”  Dr. Black always seemed to be right.


You must read through your résumé once again for accuracy in percentages or numbers, dates of employment, city names, and contact accuracy.  You know best your work history and career aspects.  Again, look for missing and extra words, and once more for spelling and idea-editing. 


Lastly, when you are listening to where your wife pauses in your résumé and cover letter, this actually could mean you’ve written something confusing or inaccurate.  That is where I am lacking, as I just use my Apple.  Have your significant other read it, and after you get their feedback, revise your résumé and your cover letter so that it’s 100% error-free.  And I know Tony and Carmela Soprano would be proud of you!

Networking 201

October 25th, 2011

Networking 101: Start Today and Everyday

Networking. Not a scary word, but for some it is, and yet this is the key way of locating new job leads for your job search. We at Razor want results, and this is step one in finding that great job. We don’t know your contact lists, but we will ask you. We can’t promise an instant hire after one day of calling, but starting today is the key. You can generate job leads today even within the next 30 minutes just if you simply take action and just start today, right now. Here are three kinds of people to call today. We dare you to call. Just try it and see what happens. Let’s say it’s your classroom assignment for today to do by 3pm. Give it a go. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

1. Call a former client you liked in the past

Call a company or organization that you really could see yourself working for or see them as a great company. You have contacts there you might not know of, and would just not know unless you call. There is a CAUTION here: If you’re working now, never, never ever call current customers for job leads, ever. That’s conflict of interest. No matter how sensible you think they may be, or how sensible you are, this will almost always get back to your employer.

2. Call a well-connected friend you know, or your significant other knows from the recent past

Make your labyrinth of friends work for you in a new and fresh way. We all have at least one friend or our significant other’s friend who seems to know everyone in town. Now that is the call you need to make today for sure. By inviting them to dinner at your home, you might advantage the situation in a way you never thought. Dinner out? You can try that too. Be sincere and show that you are really a person they want to help. Sometimes the people we think are friends, are just by-name, but be assured that well-connected people love to chat, and give help when they can.

And when you meet, bring a list of the 10 companies you’d most like to work for. Ask if she knows anyone who might know someone at those top 10 companies. Friend-of-a-friend always worked for me. Bring more companies if you want. From this dinner you should glean from the conversation at least 10 names and phone numbers you can call for informational interviews later.

3. Call a former employer today: make it #1 priority

Pick up your cell phone and call a supervisor or boss from any job you’ve had since the age of 18, or even earlier. Tell them how much you enjoyed working at their organization. First of all, your former manager will be happily pleased by your call. A surprise call is always enjoyable to anyone.
So you got Networking 101 down now. It’s not a scary word, but step one in finding that great job you’ve always wanted, and it revolves around the people you know already. As said before, we at Razor don’t know your contact lists. You know them the best. We can’t promise an instant hire after one day of calling, but starting today is the most important key. It’s your classroom assignment for today. Give it a go.


Subtle Ways to Tell Your Story in Your Resume

October 25th, 2011

A frequent theme of our blogs is limiting your resume to information that’s truly relevant to the position for which you’re applying.  You should feel free to leave off your high school job serving fast food or your college job working retail if you have years of subsequent work experience.  Also, listing only the achievements from your previous jobs can actually omit an important component of your career: your personal story.
Many of the clients I work with put themselves through graduate programs years into their career, while they were working full-time.  This is no small feat!  If you know anyone who has gone to grad school while they were working, you probably remember that period of their life as one of high stress and limited play.  However, making this career move almost always pays off with greater career opportunities and a higher salary.  It requires (and displays) real ambition to return to school when you already have a job.  So, if you’re one of the many people who has done this, one way to highlight it on your resume is to stick it right into the job summary:

Manager, ABC Company
Managed a department of 20 employees. Directed all sales and billing.  Earned MBA while working full-time.
Many job seekers have also performed years of consulting services on the side.  Some do not include this on their resume, as they think of it as irrelevant additional information.  Not so!  If you have the business wherewithal to handle some amount of self-employment in addition to your regular job, that’s a valuable skill.  And even if you don’t end up getting the job for which you applied, you may just gain yourself a new client!
Another way to spark great interview conversation is by including any education or work relevant to your personal passions or hobbies.  I’m not suggesting that you put “likes to play golf” on your resume, but if you’re good enough to have won numerous tournaments, that shows dedication and skill that most people don’t possess.  I recently worked with a woman who had taken more than 30 classes at her local culinary school over the years.  I jokingly asked her if her retirement plan was to open a restaurant, and guess what … it was!
Ninety-nine percent of your resume’s content should relate directly to the position you’re targeting.  However, don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a few sentences that differentiate you from the other candidates in the pile.  After all, hiring managers want to work with interesting people!


The iPhone Gone Bad in Japan

June 23rd, 2011

The iPhone Gone Bad in Japan

By Jason Stauffacher


I was flying to Southeast Asia last spring for a long holiday and a cheap getaway.  I really needed it.  I didn’t really plan the layover as I barely look over my itinerary as a standard practice to make it more exciting. I do that on purpose; it’s more invigorating that way.  So I had my layover in Japan, processed threw the international customs and had nowhere to stay the night.  Visa in hand, I had not a clue where to stay.  And I was stuck at the airport.  So I walked up and down the greeting isles and areas where I found, just my luck, people congregating at pay-per-minute kiosks for Internet.  Ah!  I found my safety net.  Not so.  I looked up on Google-Japan places to stay close by and some pamphlets were not translated on the information booths in the airport to English.  I solved this easy problem.  I walked to the subway station and talked to a local American expatriate about my options.  This easily translates into skills for gleaning jobs and a career track.  How? Talk to people, get phone numbers at dinner parties, wherever, but don’t rely solely on technology and emails to companies to get you where you need to go.



iPhones or iPads don’t get you a job.  You do.  And let me tell you why.  Getting the resume into the hiring manager’s inbox or on her desk is the goal.  Another dose of the obvious: computers don’t hire; people do.  Nor do iPhones or iPads.  Y-O-U do.   iPhones don’t connect you to the right people. It’s a great technology to have and use.  But it’s not the cure for getting you the links and connections that you need for a career that fits you best.


The guy I met in the subway system adjacent to the Japan airport was from Ohio, an English teacher and someone that was living in the Tokyo area for years.  He knew where to send me and places to call.  We exchanged contact details and I thanked him.


Hand Deliver Your Resume or Email Directly to a Hiring Manager.  It’s the old fashion networking option.  That’s what I did.  I took myself to the subway.  I did not rely on Google for all my life’s woes.  It was my fault in someway in Japan, but I like to live by the seat of my pants when I travel internationally.  I did what I had to do: I hit the pavement hard.  I think some of my predecessors, a generation back, have real good ideas about what it means to get a good job and a happy career.  Call, email directly to a manager for an informational interview.  Talk to people.  Yes, you even can find people on LinkedIn to email too for a short interview about the company you are interested in.  But it’s all about the human network, not about the savvy of the technology at hand.  The technology helps, and I wouldn’t live without my iPod or Twitter.  It makes my life easier and connected, but it does not rule the actions of my career hunting.  Move.  Act.  And think that networking is a living and breathing animal to be grasped and mastered.  Don’t revert back to the technology that helps you in getting a job.


The chap I met in Japan had more insights into what I needed to do than whatever Google-Japan didn’t offer.  Some say unless you get a long face-to-face with the hiring manager, you will not get the job. I disagree.  After creating a top-notch professional resume and cover letter, your next major goal should be to meeting hiring managers at companies by networking and getting your feet on the cement like I did in Japan.


A certain and powerful way to increase your odds of meeting a hiring manager (even short meetings) is to pick up the phone and call, or even walk down for an informational interview with a resume in hand.  Give it to the front desk person.  You don’t know what will happen.  But give it a go.  I did in Japan and it worked out first-rate.


Here’s are some Twitter-like suggestions (short, pithy sayings as advice): 


Never just email send your resume and leave it at that.


If they’re not available, just leave it with the receptionist. Would that be OK?



Say this: I’d like to stop by and drop it off. When I do, I’ll ask for you. If you’re available, I can introduce myself and personally give you my resume.


It will give you a huge advantage over other candidates who simply mail or email their resumes.


Getting a mini-job interview at the same time is SWEET!