Recruiting Corner: "So you just got laid off" pt. 4
Tune in on this multi-part series focused externally towards individuals that were recently laid off, providing a how-to style guide to navigating the circumstance like a professional recruiter.
How's it going, everyone? Thanks for tuning in. This is the fourth part of our Cloudflare Career Services video series where we're really focusing on pretty much all things having to deal with the mindset of when you've just been laid off and it's about as scary a time to search for a job.
Sometimes, especially with the headlines the way they are now, it kind of feels like the deck is stacked against you.
But the main purpose that we're going through here is really to just kind of settle the nerves, the best way to approach it, and at each phase of the job search, kind of some tips and tricks you can use to separate yourself, to identify the best jobs for you to apply for, how to approach the entire process from start to finish.
You can catch all of three of the past episodes where they were more of an interview session with different Cloudflare recruiters here discussing.
We started with resumes, materials prep.
We went over when cover letters are applicable, best practices with the resume in general, LinkedIn profiles, making sure those match.
Second episode, we had talked a lot about in the interview process, the best tips and tricks you can use to make sure that you're putting your best foot forward when you're being interviewed by these other companies that are coming to hopefully rescue you from the circumstance.
And then the last one we ended up talking about really the final stages and navigating offer processes, make sure that verbal offers translate into written offers, all those kinds of things.
So the first thing I guess I wanted to start out with, because when I look back and reviewed some of the materials, I guess my criticism for it would just be that it was good material, but it's still sometimes kind of hard to turn interview formats into a step-by -step, easy to follow along, things you can put into practice, and really affect your job search and launch it off the best way possible.
So this session, I have some questions that have been submitted from some of the viewers that had watched our previous episodes.
I believe there's an aspect where people can submit their questions in now, and I'll get to as many as I can.
Also, you can feel free to post in the comments on our event page that was on LinkedIn, anything like that, if I can't get to it today, I'd be happy to follow up and get to as many as I can.
So first things I'm gonna start with is exactly, as a professional recruiter myself, if this circumstance were applied to me, exactly what I would do kind of a play-by-play, put it into action, and I'll share my screen a little bit later to show some of the things we had talked about before, as far as templating your materials, being efficient, but targeted and tailored in your approach to the jobs that you're applying for, and making it as convenient as possible to show a little extra effort, I guess, and separate yourself from the rest of the pack.
So first things first, I'm gonna prepare to search, and it sounds obvious, but I just mean in a methodical way, first things I'm gonna do, look down at all of my resume, my materials, my LinkedIn, and I'm going to start making a list separate of that, just about the tools that I've used, the skills that I've developed over my career, the functions that I've served within various jobs and anything in my background, and I'm gonna try to kind of give myself multiple avenues to land a new job, as opposed to kind of just taking a one-to-one ratio of this is my typical title, these are the jobs I've held in the past, and these are the jobs I'm gonna apply for in the future.
So by that, I mean, really, I'm gonna write a templated out resume that I can fill in with bullet points that apply in certain circumstances.
So for me, that looks like, I'll share my screen real quick and show you.
These materials also were attached to our first episode in the description of the video.
So you can download them there and see them pretty easily, but let me see if I can get this thing out of the way.
There we go.
So here's what it looks like. And when I say a templated resume, the purpose of this is to make sure that I'm not just kind of blanket describing my skillset and pushing it out to job openings that maybe they fall under my core areas of expertise, but there's a good amount of differences that rewording of specific bullet points or focusing on this 30% of my day-to-day role in my last job is gonna be a lot more valuable to company A, whereas this other portion of my experience is gonna be a lot more valuable to company B.
I don't necessarily wanna send them the exact same materials, especially if there's a relatively easy way for me to incorporate the differences and show them that I've paid attention to what they're looking for.
I have the skillset that they're seeking and make it crystal clear and easy to follow along and to pick me out of the pile.
And so what that means, I guess, is all the skillsets that you use, the jobs that you're typically applying for, what are the keywords that they're pushing out there?
What are the emphasis points?
What are the bonus section and the must-haves? I'm gonna try to make a list of all jobs I've held in the past.
As you can see over here, I'm gonna make a bulleted list.
This is gonna be much longer in practice than any of my resumes I'd put forward.
I'm gonna list everything over here. Everything I've done for my most recent job that could be applicable to any of the jobs that I'm going to apply for.
I'm gonna talk about anything I've done, any projects or initiatives I've led, the things I've learned along the way, specific successes, a lot of times in, let's say, the sales fields or, I mean, any really, there's a lot of metrics you can pull from that are typically evaluated and looked at closely when people are reviewing resumes and applications.
I'm gonna try to build out as robust a list I can for each job that I've held.
Some of the times I'll see resumes that come in where they have the position titles kind of singular and then a large block of core competencies listed.
That's not necessarily, in my opinion, the best way to go about it.
You kind of want to tie what you've done at each job.
That's what we're usually looking for anyway to see how recent the work that you've done was and how it relates to what we're looking for.
So once I build that list out as big as I can, I'm gonna have my own templated version of a resume that makes it easy for me to fill in what's applicable for a specific job.
So I'll use myself as an example. The last job I had before I worked here, I was at a recruiting agency, but I held a lot of roles within that company and I wore a lot of hats, so to speak.
So I started there as a recruiter. I ended up being an account manager where I was dealing with the clients one-on-one and then also working with recruiters to identify the candidates.
And at the tail end of my tenure there, I was in a sales seat where I was just trying to acquire the new clients and then make sure that the account managers and the recruiters had everything they need to fulfill those clients' needs.
So when I look at that type of experience that I had, it's kind of, you know, I can apply to recruiter jobs.
I can apply to account management jobs that may or may not be within the realm of recruiting.
I could probably make a decent case for any type of B2B account manager type of role, or I could apply to sales jobs that wouldn't necessarily be in the recruiting space, but maybe they have a similar clientele.
My last company, we recruited for a lot of like small to mid -sized businesses.
And I had experience with a lot of different types of businesses with different focal points.
These are the things that I'm talking about when I say I build a big robust list so that maybe the first job opportunity that I'm applying for, you know, they're only looking for the sales side.
So I'm gonna take all of my sales bullet points from job, from the most recent job that I had, and those are gonna be what I'm gonna put on top.
I may include the other things about the liaisoning between specific clients and kind of owning a B2B relationship.
But if they're looking for a salesperson and it's not recruiting related, even if a lot of my recruiting bullet points, you know, that I would include for that job, they did make up a large portion of my function.
That's not what the other company is looking for and it's gonna seem like noise to them.
So that's kind of the lens that I would recommend viewing it through is just trying to make sure you're pulling the parts of your past experience or anything you've done particularly recently and you're making sure that that's immediately visible and easy to see for those that are, you know, going through a lot of resumes likely at a time.
Make it easy for them to see the things that they're looking for that you've done before and you want them to notice.
So let's say it's a position that incorporates the account management and the sales, not so much the recruiting.
Well, maybe that's the first third of my bullet points that I, you know, copy.
I paste them over here. That's the resume that I use for company A.
Let's say company B, the total opposite, just a straight up recruiter role.
They're not really gonna be interested in the sales. They're not gonna be interested in the account management, but they are gonna wanna see that I'm able to, you know, do full desk recruiting, full cycle, all those kinds of things.
Candidate experience, the amount of hires that I've made, you know, maybe then the first portions that I put together on resume A, they don't necessarily apply, but by having these kind of templated out and easily adjusted versions of your resume and the things that you're putting forward, you can make quick changes and make sure that your resume is speaking to the intended audience in the best way that it can be.
I will follow up, the next episode we'll do will actually be a little bit more robust of a demonstration of this.
It'll include setting up the automated alerts on the job boards, you know, probably more specific examples where I'll truly walk you through and compare it to some job postings that I can find, but that's the gist of it is just making sure it's important to tailor your materials to your audience and to, you know, when there's gonna be a large application pool and you're going to see a good amount of competition when you're entering these jobs, make it easy to stand out as best you can.
So once I've kind of got these basis points set settled and I feel prepared to apply to a variety of different jobs in a relatively quick fashion, but in a tailored and specific way, the next thing I'm going to do really is, you know, I'm gonna go to the job boards and I'm gonna set up my automated alerts.
And so what I mean by that is a lot of the times people when they specifically are searching for a job, they'll search for jobs when they have the time to do so, they'll apply to them, they'll use the same resume for a wide variety of different applications, and then they'll kind of sit back and wait.
I would say that the best thing for you to do is kind of treat searching for a job almost like a salesperson would treat searching for leads.
And so if you've never been in any sales role, it's a lot of the times it's not just about trying to sell your product, or in this case, sell yourself to everybody that you can get an audience with it's about generating as many leads as possible, triaging and kind of prioritizing those different leads and your ability to convert them or the likelihood that you feel that it'll come ultimately to an interview, to an offer, what's the likelihood that you're going to actually see some ROI on the time that you spend applying?
So by that, I just mean, I would be looking at, A, how long has a job been posted?
If it's been posted up 30 days, 60 days, if it's up there for a long time, those are gonna probably go to the bottom of my list.
Maybe, you know, logically, you might think that they really need to hire someone if it's been up that long, but in practice, I think a lot of the times companies all over they don't necessarily take down postings that they've already paid to broadcast out and things like that.
So the best thing to do is kind of set these trigger alerts and everything like that based on your job titles, the list we talked about making before of all your core competencies, the tools you've used, the functions you've used them within, you know, these things can be built out pretty well to use whether it's LinkedIn, Indeed, anything like that.
They all have these email, you know, notify me when a new job that fits these parameters pops up.
So that should be the way that, at least in my case that I'm searching for jobs is I'm really making sure that I'm funneling all these things in and then I'm acting on the ones that kind of seem like they're most worth my time.
So I'm typically gonna triage the leads that I'm generating or the jobs that I see that, you know, I think I could apply for and I would be interested in working.
And I'm gonna kind of tier one, tier two, and tier three them.
A lot of the times I think it's best that people set up a specific email address that they use solely for the job search.
If your email address is anything like mine, my personal one at least, it's got every single, you know, TV streaming channel that I've signed up for every time I've ever bought anything and accidentally said yes when they asked me for an email address at the register.
I don't want a bunch of noise included with, you know, what I'm trying to set up to be is a pretty high volume intake for jobs that I can apply for.
And then I'm, so when I'm going through this email inbox that's specifically dedicated for my job search, it should be populated realistically with a large number of options every time there's a job posted that triggers I'm gonna get these alerts and then I can start my triaging or my tier one, two, and three of them.
So the tier ones I would describe as on paper, it looks like a dead ringer.
I'm extremely confident that my background, my experience, my education, anything that would be evaluated as my ability to do that job, it kind of screams on paper that, you know, I would be worth interviewing.
It's not something that's maybe a level or two above, I'm not gonna be, you know, an independent contributor and tier one in a senior manager role, even if everything else looks pretty good.
It's kind of the things that line up and you think you have a really good shot at landing that gig.
The tier one, I would say is worth the tailored resume where you really go through, you look at the job description, you compare it with all of the potential bullet points and all of the description, the descriptive aspects that you could include in your background, especially for your most recent couple of positions, anything that applies to what they're looking for that's top, front, and center.
And that's the resume that you're, you know, kind of dragging and dropping from that bulleted list to kind of put everything at the top and make it really easy for them to see what you're seeing.
And that's the fact that it lines up really well.
Those are the ones I kind of bashed cover letters in the first episode a little bit.
I think I bashed the typical cover letter, you know, I'd say the most common one that anyone would see, which is generally, it's not for a targeted audience a lot of the time, it's the, to whom it may concern.
And then here's a summary of my resume, which you can then see on my resume.
That's not going to hurt, but it comes across typically as a, well, you expect the cover letter, so here's a low effort version of one.
Those are the ones that I bashed. I would say that when it comes down to it, the cover letter should be describing exactly what you saw in the job that made you so excited about it, that specifically references what excites you about the company, what you feel has prepared you for the role that they're seeking to hire for.
Those are the cover letters that are worth writing and they don't need to be really long.
They don't need to take forever to put together, but they shouldn't be a templated to whom it may concern.
And the tier one jobs that I'm seeing coming in, those are the ones that get that extra attention.
The second thing I'm going to do for the tier ones is the targeted reach out.
So anything that I feel really good about, I'm going to write my cover letter, I'm going to be specific about it, and I'm going to also do a little bit of investigative work, try to figure out who's in charge of the posting, who's likely to be reviewing these resumes.
Maybe if I can go on LinkedIn and find who the manager of the team is based on the content and the job description, that'll let me know, especially with larger companies, which team this position would reside under and kind of a quick ping to say, hey, I'm really excited, I just applied for this job.
Those kinds of things, they're worth the full bag of tricks, everything you can do to get attention and get yourself in the door for that first interview.
Tier two is the ones that maybe, you know, it's like, it's a job, I need a job.
It's not necessarily one that would jump off the page and I would be super excited to go work for, but it's certainly not anything that I would turn my nose up at and it definitely could be considered, especially in, I think, some of the times, you know, layoffs can hit different people at different phases of life and at different phases of their career.
Some of us won't have a robust savings and can sit around and take three to four months to find an ideal landing spot.
A lot of the times, the mentality is, I need something quickly or my life is gonna begin to change and my family's life is going to begin to change.
And so if you're in the circumstances of, honestly, just evaluating all of that and saying, I need to find something quickly, the tier two jobs, obviously, they still get a tailored resume, they still get a reach out or a cover letter, maybe I do both, maybe I do one or the other, but I would describe the tier two jobs as very obtainable, maybe not super exciting with a lot of curb appeal.
Tier three jobs are just the ones that, you know, let's say they've been up, they look good, but they've been up for a long time.
The company doesn't have very good glass door reviews.
These are the ones that I would say you apply at kind of a high volume, you know, easy apply, just go ahead and click through and get some energy out there.
Be careful with that, you don't wanna bombard, you know, I guess your newly formed a job seeking email address with a bunch of noise if they're not realistic or the need isn't there to apply for any of the jobs that you could realistically land.
But that's kind of, I guess, the way I'm gonna go about it is, I'm gonna evaluate the odds I have at getting the position that I'm targeting.
I'm gonna evaluate the excitement I would have to start it.
And I'm gonna evaluate the circumstances around it.
Is it new? Has it been, you know, has it been posted recently?
Does it seem like there's a good chance that they're looking at these applications and they're looking at them right now?
And I think that if you, the crux of it really is to try to focus yourself, try to turn your mindset almost into like that salesperson of like, I'm qualifying the leads that I get and I'm making sure what's worth my time and what's worth how much of my time.
Those are the things that I think if most people, a lot of the times, I mean, I was, I did this early in my career, applying for a job was clicking the buttons, following the directions and then crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
That's the bare minimum to apply for a job and to get one that you really want.
A lot of the times that people that get those jobs are the ones that go a little extra, that show a little more enthusiasm, even before the interview, that's probably the best way to go about it.
I have a few questions here that I will tackle that we got. The first one is, let's see, we've got one from John who is in Idaho and John asked me how I personally prepare for an interview.
So my biggest thing is I will, I guess not to sound too cliche about it, but I will investigate and I will try to anticipate the things that might trip me up.
Investigate, I mean, I'm looking at, beyond just the job description, I'm looking at the scope of the company, I'm looking at maybe some of the challenges that they faced recently, I'm looking at the size of the team, I'm trying to figure out anything specific, not just organizationally, but about the world that this position lives in.
When I say anticipate, one of the best exercises that I've always started to do was to take a look at my own resume and pretend that I don't like me and I don't wanna hire me.
And so if I didn't like, yeah, if I was being interviewed by someone that didn't like me, didn't wanna hire me, how would they poke holes in my resume?
How would they try to ask me difficult questions to trip me up?
Hopefully you won't ever actually be interviewing with someone that kind of fits that mold, but it's a good mindset to put yourself into to just think like, what are some of the hardest questions that I could anticipate being asked?
Like what are, if you had like work gaps that are outside of, I guess like, I think we're all realistic about COVID, the current times, those things, they're not so bad, but let's say in my instance, let's say I dropped out of college.
That was one that happened for me and I'm prepared for those questions about why I went the path that I took and why it was beneficial for me in the long run, but maybe not so much for everybody.
But try to evaluate yourself and if it's something you can't really wrap your head around, I think we all can point to somebody in our life, be it somebody that works as a recruiter or somebody that does any hiring that's just a personal friend and ask them to poke holes in everything that you're providing as far as the materials that you'll be evaluated on versus the job that you're seeking.
And so if you try to put yourself in that vantage point of anticipating the toughest questions that you might be asked and making sure you have well-formed answers for them, it's unlikely that you'll get any of the really bad ones, but you'll be good to go either way.
Let's see, another question I had was, what are the most common mistakes that good candidates make?
That is from Samantha from Oregon. So thanks for asking us a question, Samantha.
I think it goes back to kind of not to repeat, but the application instructions are the minimum.
A lot of the times it's just don't sit back and wait for good things to happen.
Don't let hope be the main factor in you searching for a job.
I mean, I wouldn't bombard people with constant reach outs and things like that, but apply, find out who you believe is viewing that application and let them know you're really excited about it and kind of keep moving forward in that regard.
Let's see, another question I had that was from David in Raleigh, North Carolina.
This is a really good question actually. What do I do when I don't know the answer to a question that's asked?
And so it looks like David's context was trying to go from like tech support jobs to systems administration or like network administration roles.
So that, I really liked that question.
And I've been asked questions I didn't know the answer to plenty of times.
And personally, the way that I've always taken it is even if I don't know the answer, I'm briefly honest about that fact.
Just be like, I'm not really sure off the top of my head, but I'm gonna tell them what I suspect the answer might be.
So I'd say my gut reaction, I'm not really sure. I think maybe this area or that area might be where the answer lies.
And then I'm gonna tell them how I would go about finding out.
Say, these are the things that I would look up on Google.
These are the resources that I might try to find. Maybe there's forums or your Reddit or Stack Overflow.
Some of these different resources, I guess in this world from the technical space, there's a lot of free information out there that you can go out and be self-sufficient in finding out the stuff you don't know and incorporating it into a working solution in a day-to-day portion of a job.
So I think a lot of the times, especially these questions are being asked by hiring managers.
I think any manager of a team is going to appreciate someone that is going to encounter things they don't know, but is going to make an attempt to learn it themselves.
And then at that point, I might say, if I can't find the answer through all those points, then this is where I might take an escalation and tap somebody on the shoulder, ask them to help me out.
But just kind of showing that you don't have to know the answers to all the questions, that you can figure them out.
Nobody is under the impression that they're going to hire a new candidate that's going to know everything all the time.
And so showing them that you have a plan for when you don't know something and you need to know it quickly is appreciated by just about anybody that's doing the evaluations on the other sides of the interview.
Let's see, another one I had, this one was from Marcus in Florida.
That said, you kind of ragged on cover letters in the first episode, when specifically are they worth doing?
I should have read that question probably before I went through the little run through on cover letters in the tier one.
Outside of just the jobs that jump off the page to you that you really want, I'd say another instance that cover letters are really worth doing are if you're targeting a career change or just like some slightly different function that you feel well -prepared for, but you're not going to jump off the page as being, let's say for instance, I think it was David, yeah, was trying to go from tech support to systems and network administration.
That would be one where I would write a cover letter if all of my jobs were tech support and I'm going for one level up.
And the cover letter would be probably centered around the fact that like, this is the experience I've had and how it's prepared me for the next level up of actually administering these systems and not just putting out the fires.
But I'm also going to talk about any extra, I guess on my own time, the things I've done to prepare for the position that I want and try to grab the attention because if your resume doesn't jump out as like a dead ringer fit, then any, what's the word?
Any additional evidence you can provide that you're a worthwhile candidate, that you're prepared for that job and you're ready to step into it.
That's the places that cover letters I think can go a long way. And especially if the person happens to read it and you strike a chord, then maybe the layoff turns into a job that you would consider a promotion anyway.
The last question I have time to go for and I've got a little bit of a short prism running up just about a minute left.
Are, how do I explain work gaps? I think it's the biggest thing is everyone's a human being and I think like all of us have work gaps and all of us have circumstances where real life has interfered or that we've just been the victim of budget cuts and there wasn't anything performance related.
I'd say that probably resonates with a lot of the audience now.
So the biggest thing I would say in that instance is point to the things that you're doing to keep yourself up to date, like especially in the technical sphere, like there's always open source GitHub projects that you can contribute to.
There's always free online classes that you can beef your knowledge up in certain areas.
Looking for a job feels like a full-time job itself, but at the same time, if you can carve a little time away to show that I'm not just going to kind of sit back and wait for another opportunity to come to me, I'm gonna go get it and I'm going to prepare myself to work for you, whoever the other end, the interviewer might be, that that's probably some of the best things you can do.
So I hope this has proven helpful. I think that the demo show that's next will kind of put a lot of the resume bullet points, the things like that, kind of show you a step -by-step how to do it.
But thanks a lot for tuning in.
I hope this has been helpful and I hope to see you next time.