From Casual Exploration to Job Elimination Panic and Surprising Outcomes
I worked in Human Resources for 17 years and helped implement some of the earliest Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), those mysterious automated resume scanners. I moved out of HR for four years, and when I was ready to go back, I launched an external job search. I updated my resume and started applying to several roles. I had never had to work hard before to at least get phone interviews, but this time that wasn’t happening. Sometimes I would get a rejection email so quickly that it wasn’t humanly possible for someone to have read my resume. Worse yet, I usually never heard anything at all. I was at a loss because I had once been an expert at recruiting and the technology piece. I didn’t realize just how much had changed in four little years. I was eager to make a career change but didn’t have a lot of money to hire an expensive resume writer or the time to work with a career coach. There were a lot of “experts” offering free webinars, and I watched too many to count. Each gave me a little nugget of information, but they withheld the important stuff until I bought an expensive coaching package.
I wanted to be able to compete and win in the job market so I could have the level and salary I felt I deserved and get back into the HR field I loved.
The thing is I was not getting calls for interviews. That meant I wasn’t able to tell my story and sell myself, therefore not getting the higher-level position and salary I felt I deserved.
To make things worse, I felt like a failure. Here I was, an experienced HR person who moved into another area for four short years, and suddenly, I didn’t know how to manage my own career search. I felt even worse about the situation because I looked for “experts,” but they all just wanted to sell me on expensive coaching. I felt like I was trapped into either spending a lot of money or staying in a job that wasn’t fulfilling.
At the height of my frustration, my position was eliminated. Now it wasn’t a matter of wanting a new job-it was needing a new job, FAST. I was no longer in control of the timing of my job search, which caused us to lose 2/3 of our household income and our health insurance.
If there is one good thing that happened as a result, I had unplanned time to learn all about resume scanners and how to beat them today. I also learned what recruiters and hiring managers are looking for because I took the time to study and interview dozens.
It was now crystal clear to me how to build a resume free from the fluff and fancy formatting to pass every filter on the market. I saw I could apply online in a different format to have actual humans read my resume and application…and they finally started calling!
I also learned all the tricks and tips of a successful job search, including how to make my LinkedIn profile work for me, and what questions to expect in the interview.
As a result, I built a modern and professional resume that could pass all the filters and started sharing the format with everyone I could. I also took furious notes from every experience and conversation to improve my skills and knowledge and help others who were struggling.
I started getting interviews for dream jobs, and so did others.
Suddenly, I was driving my career again instead of applying and praying for a response.
That’s when I realized that the two secrets to succeeding in a job search are cracking the code of the resume scanners and knowing what companies are looking for today. That knowledge helped me land interviews and have a real chance to tell my story.
I planned to start deciding where my next role would be, especially now that I had options, and my calendar was filling up with interviews.
I accepted all of the interviews both to practice my skills and to find the best fit. At the same time, I started writing down what worked and sharing it with friends and family.
I soon began to realize how many people were just like me-knowledgeable and experienced in many areas, and yet out of the job market long enough to be uncertain about technology and what works today.
Every time I shared my new knowledge with someone along with what I had learned over 20 years in HR, people would tell me how much more valuable that was than any webinar they attended or book they read. I learned just how hard it was for others to find all of the information they needed to have a successful job search in one place, from someone they could trust not to try and sell them into a high ticket coaching program. Easy to read, concise, and transparent information about the entire job search process today, gathered directly from those on both sides of the front line.
I ended up getting so disappointed with the lack of affordable and accessible career search help that I made a huge decision: my next job was going to be a different type career consultant, one that prepares all job candidates to compete and win AND one that stays connected to employers and recruiters.
I launched Deep End Talent Strategies, splitting my time with employers and recruiters and the rest of my time with job seekers to keep both sides connected to what the other needs and wants in today’s job market. Everyone else is a resume writer or a career coach or an HR consultant. That leaves at least a 50% gap in their knowledge and service.
I knew that if people were going to have a chance to tell their stories to compete and win for that new job, I needed to remove the most significant obstacle that slowed me down for so long-the mysterious resume scanners.
After four months of research, testing, and interviewing experts and recruiters, I released the Resume Bee. A client named it the Resume Bee after saying, “This is going to be buzzworthy!”
I can now build a resume in 30 minutes without hiring a professional, and I know for a fact that every ATS system on the planet can read it. It looks excellent, contemporary, and is extremely competitive. In fact, it looks and works better than most resumes where people paid hundreds or thousands of dollars.
All of those notes I took through my exploration process? They grew into a job search playbook that has been appropriately named “You’re Hired!” The playbook is continuously updated as technology changes, trends emerge, and the job market shifts.
As a result, the lessons I learned the hard way have made it easy and painless for others to land thousands of interviews and new jobs, often making the highest salaries of their career and gaining self-esteem and confidence that transcends all aspects of life. Bottom line: everyone deserves a chance to tell their story and should not be punished for being out of the job market long enough not to know what current practices and technology exist.
I am removing barriers for people to achieve their dreams, which is fulfilling mine. I didn’t expect this would be the way that I moved back into HR, but it has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life, and I get to see transformations in the lives of others, as well. I’ve also been able to stop hoping and guessing what recruiters are looking for because I’m working with them and with job seekers every day.