Monday, July 14, 2008

What I Said at the Fraud Conference

At the ACFE's annual Fraud Conference, I was asked to talk about the value of Internet career sites. This is one of those topics where the truth, I think, lies somewhere below the surface. I don't think many people would dispute that career sites have become the ubiquitous tool for scanning opportunities and submitting a resume and job application, but using sites effectively is about more than copying and pasting your resume in response to every posting you see - something far too many job-seekers do.

So, here are the main points I made:
  • Remember the rules of good job-hunting apply.

  • Make Sure You Fit

    o Digest the job description - make sure you have the required experience and education.
    o Recruiters say up to 10 percent of people replying through job boards don't do that.
    o Advertised for a CFO – got a resume from a messenger.
  • Sweat the Details

    o Note the position name or ID number in the subject line of your e-mail, and repeat it in the body of your message.
    o Attach your resume first. Even before you write your cover note.
    o Stick to the basics: Don't send Powerpoint presentations, videos, or what have you. Send Word documents or pdfs.
    o Add a greeting: Ladies & Gentlemen, Dear Sir, if you don't know the real name.

  • Be Brief, Be focused
    o Brief cover letter: One recruiter says "wake me up."
    o List your technical skills, licenses and certifications – first.
    o Sorry - no one wants your personal philosophy. They don't care that you like Mark Twain, or that you just completed hiking the Appalachian Trail.

  • It's Business
    o Simple formatting. No colors, no backgrounds, no fancy fonts.

  • Remember: This is the first step.
    o Call the company.
    o Look for tips online (on, ahem, JobsintheMoney, for example) about getting past the online wall and to the real, correct people.

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