Monday, November 30, 2009

How Much is Your Resume Worth?

Seriously. How Much is Your Resume Worth?

Think about it this way: If your communication with a potential employer is limited to a brief email, a cover letter, and a resume, how much attention should you pay to those tiny bits of communication?

You might be tempted to say that you're hoping to get a job at $50,000. That makes your few hundred words worth $50,000. Or perhaps you're hoping for a job at $80,000. That makes your few hundred words worth $80,000.

Realistically, somewhere in this wonderful world of ours, someone is willing to pay you at least $40,000 or $50,000 USD (if you're competent). So your resume is really worth the difference between your ideal salary and the salary you'll actually be offered.

So quite realistically, let's say you'll get a job somewhere for at least $48,000 and you're really hoping for a job at $60,000.

Your resume is worth $12,000.

In other words, if you have THE perfect, butt-kicking resume, it can be the difference between "a job" and THE Job.

For regular readers, this topic may be getting old . . . But Oh My God, why is it so hard to post a job in a great paying industry and get people to care about applying for the job? After years of hiring people, I have given up on the old established way of hiring people.

The old way is:
- Post a job description
- Get 100 + resumes from people who don't give a crap
- Eliminate 90 of them for tiny, meaningless reasons
- Screen ten of them seriously
- Interview 3-5 people
- 2nd interview with 3 of them
- 3rd interview with 1-3 of them
- Hire one of them

I know it sucks to look for a job. But it sucks just as much to hire people.

- - -

So we are trying something new.

I recently posted the standard ad and got about 130 resumes. I started to look through them, but they were full of unqualified losers. I think people submit their half-assed emails and crappy resumes so they can check a box on the unemployment application.

YUP: I looked for a job.

So I threw away all the resumes and cursed. Then I came up with a new plan. I posed the following on Craigslist:

    Tech Support -- MS Certified in Sacramento, CA

    Position: Senior Technical Support--MS Certified
    Location: US-CA-Sacramento
    Job ID: T17

    Employment: Hourly - W2 - Part to Full Time

    We are looking for a Microsoft Certified Professional with field experience who is passionate about customer service and small business consulting.

    Ideally the candidate will also have hands-on experience with Small Business Server and customer service.

    We are looking for an *experienced* and *certified* Windows Technician to support our clients.


    - Do not send a resume until requested to do so. We will not look at unsolicited resumes.

    - To apply for this position send the following two items to [email protected]:

    - 1) 1-2 paragraph description of why you are passionate about technical consulting

    - 2) Go to to register and share your MCP transcript. Email the link to us.

    - We will send a technology self-assessment to people who stand out. Some of these people will be asked to submit resumes.

    We are looking for a long-term employee who will grow with the company as we evolve into offering some new and very cool technologies. If you want to work on known technology and just collect a paycheck, you won't fit in here.

    A background check and clean DMV report are required. KPEnterprises is a drug-free work place.

    This position is in Sacramento. Please do not apply if you are outside the Sacramento Valley.

Let's Examine This

Here are a few key points:

1) Do not send a resume

2) Send a few paragraphs about why you're passionate about this industry

3) Send a link to your Microsoft transcript

Now let's think back. Let's say the average job applicant's resume was worth roughly $12,000. Don't you think for that kind of money you'd follow the instructions?

Here's What Happened

In total, 34 people applied.

17 of them - exactly 50% - sent a resume and did not follow instructions. They were eliminated without looking at whatever they sent in.

Again: I know I'm frustrated here, but for a job that pays the rent and puts food on your table, isn't it worth following some very simple instructions?

- - -

I consider this experiment a success so far. Let's see how the guy works out. :-0

It's a success because I started with passion and the ability to write a paragraph. That was mixed in with the ability to follow instructions. If someone can't spend a few minutes to follow these instructions, they certainly won't put out much effort after they're hired!

We also started with absolute proof that they had a Microsoft certification, so I didn't have to fiddle around with that.

We have a good interview process. And other than a tech who was out sick for part of the IW process, it went well.

I was pleased with all three candidates, although one admitted in the interview that he did not meet all of my criteria. The other two were great and both would work well on our team. We hired one.

So after all that, one out of three candidates that we actually did a first interview with still weaseled through the system far enough to waste a significant amount of my time. The new process is better than the old. But maybe there's just a certain level of B.S. in the whole hiring process!


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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Josh Peterson / Taylor Business Group on SMB Conference Call Today

November 18th
9:00 AM Pacific / 12 N Eastern

Register Now!

Josh Peterson is a business coach and MY business coach for my Taylor Business Coach.

I am honored to be able to talk to this man any time. But I am particularly honored to have him on the SMB Conference Call where you can ask him your questions.

Since I left my beloved HTG 13 group and joined a Taylor Business Group, I have been bombarded with questions about how they compare, etc. This conversation will clarify some of those differences.

But more importantly, we'll talk about the amazing laser focus TBG has on the SMB consulting space and how they promote success. In addition, Josh was VERY well received at SMB Nation and we'll talk about some of those topics as well.

At his SMB Nation presentation, Josh gave some great advice on hiring a new sales person. I took a ton of notes even though I spent three days with him the week before! This man is awesome.

TBG is totally PSA-neutral, but they are creating specialized Business Improvement Groups, including the one I belong to. And they're getting started in the UK. Woo-Hoo.

We have a lot of people signed up for this conference call. Please join us for a great conversation!

Register Now!

9:00 AM Pacific / 12:00 Eastern
Wed. November 18th

Tell all your friends and colleagues!

Link for Taylor Business Group:

Web Address =


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Friday, November 13, 2009

A Personal Note

Several people have pinged me to see if I'm still alive. Of course!

This blog has been relatively unattended for a month or so. I thought a quick note of explanation was in order.

Right now my personal life needs some attention. So I'm giving it the attention it's due. 2009 has been personally challenging for me. The members of my HTG and Taylor Business Groups know a bit about this.

The bottom line as always is: I'll be fine. But I need to focus my attention on the most important things.

2009 has been a challenging year financially. KPE will be in the black, but it has meant cutting back some hours and making some changes. I love my team and it's hard for me to cut back in order to stay profitable. It's the side of business no one likes.

Over at GLB we don't make much money, but it has had no reductions. In fact we've added two 20-hour positions in the last year. But GLB has also taken much more than it's share of my attention in 2009. Several people have reminded me that I started the year trying to travel less. But I've travelled every month, sometimes to three or four cities.

The fall, pre- and post-SMB Nation just about killed me.

As work begins to pick up for KPE and we start retooling for new products and services in 2010, I'm trying to give KPE (my core business) all the attention it needs.

So if I don't respond to email, don't be offended. There are 900 people ahead of you. I will answer every one. But not today. :-)

I am looking forward to my annual retreat in a few weeks. Three days of silent retreat with no gadgets. I need it this year more than I have in a long time. Gotta recharge the batteries.

Thank you all for your support and for your encouragement. Please be patient with me. I'll be back in the swing of things as soon as I can.


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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Drinking Tocqueville's Coffee

Alexis de Tocqueville is a political philosopher who predicted the absolute dominance of mediocrity in America. In his book Democracy in America he makes the point that Americans don't like to stand out, be different, or live on the edges of normalcy.

In a democracy the great masses determine "the good." As a result, the good is determined by the great mass of people in the middle. Good enough is good. Why be great when you've got good?

So I'm at the airport and I grab a cup of coffee that gurgles out of a dispenser and a croissant wrapped in plastic. Both are fine.


Good. Not great.

A stranger comments to me that "Burger King does the same thing with their coffee. It sells enough that they have no reason to change."

Right on. Mass produced, "good enough" and it appeals to the great masses.

This is very much in line with Jim Collins' Good To Great analysis. He say "Good is the enemy of great."

I hope my business can strive to be just a notch or two above good. Maybe someday we'll be great. Cuz you've heard it before: Good Enough Isn't.

[ /random thoughts]