The Candidate Advice You Need To Succeed In Today's Economy

By Tony Restell

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Mark Goodstein InterviewI recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Goodstein of Mark is passionate about helping candidates figure out what they need to do to succeed in their job search in today's economy. Here Mark shares ideas on things people can do if they've been laid off, what to focus on in a job search - and some common things he sees candidates do that undermine their chances of success in today's economy. Hope these tips help you - and good luck.

Watch the full interview

Here's the full video, a transcript of which follows underneath

Interview Transcript

Just to introduce myself, Tony - I've been doing recruiting for the software industry since the '90s.

I started Techpros in 1998 and our clients are software companies that range in size from startups to publicly traded, and we place people at all levels from individual contributor through executive.

In addition to that, I personally and my colleagues, at Techpros have an expertise in career issues and marketability issues and interviewing and how to best present yourself in the job market.

I definitely think, just to address the question of "is now a good time to make a career move?", I definitely think it's the perfect time.

Things did halt because of the virus...There's no question, but when they come back, they're going to come back strong and you want to be ready, and you also want to start.

And then lastly, there are companies that are hiring right now.

So if you're in a position where you see there are openings out there that you think you are fit for.

Now's a great time to get in there.

And as things continue to open up, which they will. Now is a great time to be ready when that right opportunity comes up.

Absolutely. I'm hearing that from a lot of companies that recruitment is still happening.

So you just gotta find those opportunities.

And as you say, position yourself to be ready to go after them.

For people who have actually been laid off, Mark, what would you recommend they should focus on doing to give themselves the best shot at securing some of the opportunities that are still out there?

So the first thing I would recommend is, I think they should take a step back and relax.

There are two components to job search. One component is strategic, and one component is tactical.

So the strategic component is, gee, I've been laid off.

Or gee, I'm thinking of making a move.

What do I want to do?

What's the best match for me, and what am I the best fit for?

If there's a gap between those two questions, then as a job seeker, you need to think about what that gap looks like.

And if that gap is doable to fill in.

And if it is, how are you going to fill that gap in?

What types of skills are you missing?

Once you figure out what you want to target.

Then you want to go back to your resume which is a sales tool and look at the job descriptions for the positions that you're applying for.

And make sure that, realistically, that you feel if you're going to apply for a position that you're more than 50% a fit for the position, based upon the job description.

I think that there's a lot of psychology that takes place when you're in a job search, and I think all too often people...

It's so easy to send resumes out today.

All you have to do is click a button, and I think it also can be very debilitating for people, because it's so easy to apply for a position.

But the truth is, are you really applying for positions that you're a fit for?

That seems to be a big issue from my experiences with people who are unemployed and in job search.

So you want to look at, you want to go back to your resume.

Once you've come up with your job search blueprint, who are you going to target?

Look at the different pieces of the job search pie.

There's your personal network.

There's job openings that you see posted.

And of course, there's using people like me.

What are you going to be focusing on?

What's the biggest piece of pie for you?

That you should be focusing on where you should be spending your time.

Then once you've figured all of that out and you understand that your resume is a sales tool.

You go back to your resume - the most valuable real estate because resumes are real estate.

The most valuable real estate on your resume is the first half of the first page.

Resumes are more important than cover letters.

If it's not in the resume and you put it in the cover letter, chances are the people that are looking at your resume for the position that you're applying for are going to key into your resume and not see that.

So make sure it's on your resume.

Make sure that when you look at the job descriptions that you're applying for, if you have the experience, that your resume matches and mirrors the language, that's in the job description that you're applying for.

I personally, as a recruiter, I feel that you're much better off applying to 5 positions and redoing your resume and targeting versus applying to 100 positions where you're pushing out your resume just to see if it sticks.

So make sure that your resume is targeted.

It's all about the competition.

So it's about who you're competing with for the same position, and we're in a world where people look at resumes.

It's not about who you are as a person, and the fact that you can do the job, and the fact that you're talented, and the fact that you're a quick learner.

It's more about, do you have the experience that the company is looking for?

Sorry, Mark. I'm guessing you would say the same holds true with your LinkedIn profile as well in terms of the importance of the top part of the profile and making sure you've made that mirror the types of positions you're going after.

Exactly. So once you have your resume that you feel is a good resume, then you want to go to your LinkedIn profile and make sure that it mirrors the resume.

That the information is available and you might want to target different types of positions.

You may have that type of experience where you can target different types of positions, but you want to key into what's core.

What the best fit is. Have different versions of your resume, but you should have a core resume and that your LinkedIn profile should match the core resume.

The last thing about your resume is your summary should be your elevator pitch.

Your 5 seconds of fame.

The "what's so great about you", not fluff and your accomplishments and achievements should be filled out appropriately

These are things that, but for you, wouldn't have happened. So it's not enough to say I built this.

You also want to say I built this, which resulted in this.

How did it help the company? Did it make the company money?

Did it save the company money?

You want to think about that as well.

Absolutely, and that probably brings us onto the last point.

What are some of the things that you see candidates do that actually undermine their chances of success?

So I think that applying to too many positions is a problem.

I think that, if they get an interview, even though an interview is a sales situation, you also want to be accurate about what you are and what you're not.

And you want to make sure that what you...

anything you wrote on your resume that you have experience with.

It's something that can be asked on an interview.

So if you put down a string list of, for example, in software, a lot of software engineers will put down a list of technologies because they know that that's what the market is looking for.

They know that's current, but yet the reality is that some of it is experience they have an expertise in.

And some of this is experience that they're familiar with.

And if you haven't done something commercially, then there's a big difference on an interview.

So you want to make sure that your resume is an accurate reflection of what your expertise is and what you're familiar with.

Definitely. Mark some really great advice there.

Thank you ever so much for your time today.

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