Episode 73: Job search and resume tips from a recruiter - with Michele Olivier


October 26th, 2021

56 mins 53 secs

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Welcome Michele, resume coach, recruiter, and LI influencer extraordinaire. Michele is a seasoned global HR professional who is the owner of O&H Consulting. We brought Michele to RJT to talk about resumes, job searches and to give insider tips around job seeking.

Michele’s big picture resume rules:

  • The top one-third of your first page needs to answer who you are, what you want, and why does the reader care?
  • Depending on which ATS (applicant tracking system) we’re working on, we either see the actual resume you uploaded, or we get a parsed version which is word soup.
  • No pictures. Ever.
  • No canned phrases -- recruiters know them and dislike them...if you have the word “athlete”, you better be talking about a sport….

Insider tip: recruiters look at your resume for a few seconds to decide if you are a no or a maybe. If you’re a maybe, we’ll give you a lot of time, but if we can’t see a maybe in a few seconds, we won’t scroll down.

Most recruiters work with databases called an ATS. Many of them parse fancy resumes into word soup, so make sure you have a text only resume if you are applying online.

On your resume, NO PICTURES. Some companies have to rule you out if you attach pictures. Words only.

Michele advises to show both who you are as a professional and who you are as a person. Michele talks about a friend who is both an Engineering Manager and an Aspiring Zombie Novelist... Recruiters want to talk to people who are interesting, so grab their attention appropriately!

LinkedIn is a business, so if you want your profile noticed, you need to be an active LinkedIn user. If you’re searching for a job, it helps to be an active user, because you come up in the algorithm more often. To be an active user, you must have 500+ connections, and provide five pieces of data a day, meaning a like, comment, share, or post. Liking five things a day matters to the algorithm, and you will come up higher when people are searching for you.

Some recruiters have special access to LI Recruiter, which is very $$, so many recruiters don’t use it.

We talk about Open To Work... Michele thinks it’s fine, but it also leaves you open to contingent recruiter reach outs and people selling bad resume writing to you.

Michele, as a resume writer, talks about how to find someone who isn’t a snake oil salesperson resume writer (they’re out there in droves). There’s a LI group called Job Seeker Guardians whose purpose is to keep people from being ripped off by bad resume writers. Ask them before hiring someone! Also, make sure they have been an active recruiter in the last 5 years. The industry has changed, and you want someone who has the most recent information. Someone who has never been a recruiter, even if they’ve hired people before, won’t have the perspective of someone who has recruited. Lastly, if someone asks for your resume and wants to send it back “done” and doesn’t talk to you isn’t worth it. If it’s under $100, they’re either not spending time or their time isn’t valuable ... either are a rip off.

Smarmy resume writers love ripping off executives. Execs need a 1-sheet for the panel and Board, but they also need a developed 4 page strategy around the strategies and cultures they’ve created.

Even more tips? Numbers! Numbers create context. Don’t tell me your duties, but tell me your impact. As a sales person, we know you create rapport, but we want to know what your numbers were and did you hit them? What did you sell, who did you sell it to, and how much did you sell???

The technology you work with is important. What systems do you use? For example, in HR, what HRIS do you know? Payroll system? ATS? Performance system??? People search for the technologies you use. That said, saying you know email, Word, Excel, Zoom just makes you someone living in 2021.

For people who are managers, they still brand themselves as an IC and then are surprised when they are only tagged as an IC and then get rejected because they’re a strategic contributor.

Be honest about the technology you know or you risk getting caught. Saying you know version 1.7 when the latest version is 1.2 will get you caught. Also, do not lie about degrees or jobs -- background checks will catch you. Lying in an application will not go well for you and will put you on the “never hire” list for that company. In general, telling the truth will be so much easier and will help them get to know the real you.

We asked Michele how to work with recruiters. Her first piece of advice is to never pay a recruiter/website to find you a job. Her second piece of advice is that recruiters work for companies, and not for you. Help them figure out if it’s a waste of time, yours and theirs, and see if it’s a fit. They’re not the hiring manager, but can be a great advocate, and they want to see if you’re going to be a fit. Have a pitch of what you’re doing and what you’re looking for and be ready to give it when asked. Be ready to answer questions and talk about money up front because the recruiter is trying to see if it’s a good fit. It’s not worth your time if they can’t pay you.