It’s short answer Sunday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. What was up with the bizarre call from a recruiter for a job I’m not a fit for?
I received a rather bizarre phone call today and wonder if this is a “thing,” an issue of an inept recruiter, or a red flag for a company in general.
A recruiter contacted me after having (supposedly) viewed my resume on careerbuilder.com and wanted to set up an interview. The position was as a financial advisor. That is not at all my field or an area in which I have any experience or interest. I sounded flustered, I’m sure, because (1) I thought I’d removed my resume from Careerbuilder long ago (I later checked my account, and I had no resume uploaded; I can only think the recruiter managed to find some sort of archived resume); (2) my field has nothing to do with financial advising or financial anything; (3) I just tend to not be prepared for these sorts of things anyway.
Third point aside, I managed to question what it was about my resume that made the recruiter think I might be a fit for the job. At this point she sounded flustered herself and said something to the effect of “Your resume indicates that you have excellent communication skills. This is for an entry-level financial advisor role.” (I have over 7 years of experience in my field.) At that point, I declined to interview, stating that I’d prefer to stay in my field, and we hung up. I mean, if the best someone can say about my fit for a role is that I “seem to have excellent communication skills,” that doesn’t seem like a situation I want to get in to.
I know recruiters are paid when they fill a position, but is this common? It strikes me as a very ineffective way to go about recruiting, even for entry-level positions.
So very common, especially for the sort of role it sounds like she was trying to recruit you for. Those tend to be warm-body roles, where they’ll take just about anyone they can find — and since this is a job market where it’s not exactly hard to find candidate for most roles, that tells you something.
2. How to describe filling in for a colleague on your resume
How should one note covering a colleague’s leave on their resume? My position is meant to serve as back-up to our grants administrator (I work at a community foundation), with the understanding that when that person is on vacation I would cover the role and help process grants on higher-volume weeks. When our grants administrator went on maternity leave, I covered the process–which essentially superseded my own role, due to the volume and time-sensitive nature of the work–for three months. Shortly before my colleague was due to return, she gave notice. In total, I will have served as acting grants administrator for 6+ months. This equals about a third of the time I have been in my “real” role (as a research manager).
My resume currently says I “support” the grants function, but for 6 months, I truly did manage all aspects of the role, and also contributed significantly to refining and developing new procedures, as well as training the incoming grants administrator. Do you have any suggestions for how to note this on my resume without being redundant (since I am still covering my own responsibilities during this same period and, for the foreseeable future, I will again be “supporting” the grants function)?
“Served as acting grants administrator for six months” — followed by what you did in that capacity and any achievements you had in the role.
3. How to get informational interviews when no one is responding to my emails
I’m a recent grad with a B.A. and I’m deeply immersed in the whole job search. I am not having much luck, as a lot of work in the field that I am interested in appears to require a Masters, at least, and previous research experience…at least that’s what I can tell so far. Essentially, I need more information, and thus would like to do informational interviews. I am not having any luck, though, with getting these set up. I have been contacting HR people at relatively large organizations in my field. Is this the correct person to get in touch with, and ask them to put me in touch with employees at their organization, or should I send emails directly to employees (researchers, in my case)?
In addition, I have read all of your warnings about these NOT being a job interview–and I promise I understand that! But do you have any other advice about the way to make the most of informational interviews?
Nope, don’t go through HR. You want to reach out to the specific person you hope to meet with, and do four things in that initial email: (1) Tell them why you’re interested in talking with them in particular, as opposed to someone else in that field (and being flattering doesn’t hurt, as long as it’s not obsequious); (2) suggest a meeting with a specific (and short) time limit, like 20-30 minutes; (3) tell them precisely the type of thing you want them to ask about (so it’s clear that you’re prepared and have thought this through, and so they know what to expect); and (4) offer to make it easy as possible on them — meeting at their office, or buying them coffee somewhere nearby, or even meeting via phone if that’s more convenient for them. Good luck.
4. Should I update this headhunter so she doesn’t think I’m off the market?
I was contacted by a headhunter recently hiring for a position I am well qualified for. This was a few weeks ago. She hasn’t had a chance to present me to her client yet because they had a board of directors meeting immediately followed by a time sensitive project that needs completion, so hiring for this position has dropped lower on their priority list. As soon as they have breathing room, the headhunter will present me.
In the meantime, I am continuing my job search since there’s no guarantee this potential job will pan out. I was laid off in October and have been doing some freelance consulting since then, but not having a consistent paycheck is stressful. So, I have taken a 3-month temp position through a staffing agency to bring in some steady income while I continue to search for a full time permanent job. The temp job is in my industry and fits my skill set well, and I want to at least update my LinkedIn profile with the information so it doesn’t look like I am unemployed anymore (operating on the theory that having a job makes me look more desirable to potential employers). However, the headhunter I am working with is one of my LinkedIn connections, and I don’t want her to see my update and assume that I am no longer on the job market and then not present me to her client. Should I give her a heads up about the temp job before I update my profile so there are no surprises? What should I say? Should I also send her an updated resume? I don’t want to offend her.
You’re over-thinking it. It’s fine to update your LinkedIn profile. You can note there that it’s a short-term position if you want, but you really don’t even need to. If it will give you peace of mind, it’s fine to send her a note to check in and mention that you’re doing some temp work meanwhile but that you remain very interested in the role she mentioned once they’re ready to move forward, as well as in any others that she thinks might be a good fit.
5. How to turn down a promotion at my part-time job
I have an unusual problem. I work part-time at a retailer while I’m in school. I’ve been promoted once in this past year and the store manager wants to promote me again. The trouble is, this new position is going to involve a lot more time, a lot more hassle, not a lot more money, and I’m going to hate it. (I know I’m going to hate it because I help the current person with it and it drives me insane.) And to be brutally honest, I’ve been looking for another job–for reasons I don’t need to go into here.
I need to be able to turn down the promotion without burning my bridge with the store manager. How do I do that?
You have the perfect excuse since you’re in school: Say that while you appreciate being thought of for it, you need to focus more on your schoolwork than the new position would allow, and so you’d prefer to stay in the job you’re in currently, which is the right fit for your schedule.
6. Do I have to list both schools I attended, when I only graduated from one?
I transferred from UC Irvine to Brown. On some versions of my resume, I list both, but on others, I only list that I graduated from Brown in 2013 and my degrees. The reason for this is that listing two colleges can look awkward and take up space. However, I don’t want potential employers to think I am trying to hide my time at UC Irvine. What is your opinion?
It’s fine to simply list the school you received your degree from; you don’t need to list the school where you did some of your earlier coursework.
7. Contacting companies that don’t have current openings
Some companies don’t have the option to submit a resume or fill out a form for future consideration if positions open up, or even a “careers” page. When I email such companies inquiring about potential job opportunities, should I attach a resume and cover letter to this inquiry email, or ask them if they are interested in taking a look at my resume/cover letter, and only send them those items if they respond in the affirmative?
You should alway attach your resume; they have no idea if they’re even interested enough to email you back unless they can see that first. As for the cover letter, that’s going to be the same thing explaining why you’re emailing them in the first place, so there’s no need for an additional document. Make those one and the same.