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Tips from the pros

Boston area recruiters typically interview hundreds of candidates and review dozens of resumes. So who better to give job-hunting advice?

Bruce P. Allen, founder, Point B Search Bruce P. Allen, founder, Point B Search
By Cindy Atoji Keene
Globe Correspondent / September 11, 2011

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Bruce P. Allen
Founder, Point B Search

Focus: Small high-growth companies

Top job search strategy: To have an industrial-strength resume, your verbiage needs to be clean, clear, and compelling, especially the summary at the top - critical ‘real estate.’ This is a first impression, like a cold call or voicemail. You have 20 seconds to captivate someone and tell why you are special and what you are able to accomplish.

Three job hunting mistakes to avoid:
■ Thinking that top or V.P.-level execs at your target companies are too high on the company food chain to contact directly for an informational meeting.

■ Adding too many LinkedIn recommendations, especially all at once, as it appears disingenuous.

■ Subscribing to a victim mentality, blaming a tough job market and complaining about lack of response.

Favorite Recruiting story: A job candidate was so excited about an opportunity that he got the date mixed up and showed up to an interview exactly 24 hours early. Although embarrassed, he rebounded by stating how incredibly eager he was to get the process started, also pointing out that it’s better to be early than late. The hiring manager picked up on the candidate’s energy, passion, and humor. Ultimately this person was hired.

Last Words: Applying to countless job postings - many a job hunter’s technique - is equivalent to playing scratch tickets. If you don’t play, then you can’t win. But the chances of ‘winning’ the right job are absurdly low.

Beverly A. Kahn
President, New Dimensions in Technology Inc.

Focus: Technology

Top job search strategy: Stay up to date and don’t get complacent, even if you’re currently secure in a job. In today’s economy, workers always need to be looking over their shoulders and staying technically savvy. If you become a dinosaur and get laid off, it’s a challenge to play catch-up with your skills.

Three job hunting mistakes to avoid:
■ Don’t hide behind e-mail. It’s a passive medium that can’t fully convey your energy and attitude.

■ Don’t walk into an interview unprepared. Companies are looking for - and expect to hire - the perfect candidate. Competition is stiff.

■ Avoid bad-mouthing a previous employer, co-workers, or company. This only makes you look unprofessional.

Favorite recruiting story: An MIT grad literally rolled out of bed for an interview. He didn’t shave and was poorly dressed. He didn’t get this particular job, but he received four other offers, proving that if you’re on top of your game, it is possible to overlook appearances.

Last Words: Have a cowboy mentality. Pick yourself up and get back on the horse, no matter how many times you feel rejected during a job hunt.

Steve Ford
Managing partner, OI Partners

Focus: Career transition

Top job search strategy: Consulting projects and interim projects are a great way to work your way into a company. Many part-timers end up getting hired on a full-time basis, so be willing to take temporary assignments to get your foot into the door.

Three job hunting mistakes to avoid:
■ The biggest no-no is being too generic and not specifically communicating the value you can bring to a certain position.

■ Don’t sit down when making phone calls. The sheer act of sitting causes the body to relax, and you lose the passion and enthusiasm you want to convey.

■ Embellishing past experience can only backfire. Honesty is always the best policy, since inflating information will only catch up with you during a reference check or during some other point in your career.

Favorite recruiting story: A woman made it to the last rounds of interviewing, but didn’t get the job. She wasn’t afraid to go back to the hiring manager and ask him, ‘Who else in the industry do you know who might be able to help me find a job?’ He gave her two names and a personal introduction, and the other company hired her.

Last Words: People will say, ‘I don’t need to be on Twitter,’ and I say, ‘Yes you do.’ Jobs are posted on Twitter with the hopes of attracting young and savvy people to that position. If you are older, you can still find these kinds of roles, especially if you are plugged into social networking.

Kip Hollister
Chief executive, Hollister Inc.

Focus: Staffing and recruiting

Top job search strategy: Presentation is key. Dress for success and bring your A game, which includes your best suit and crisp business cards. Don’t forget to smile. Be your authentic self. When asked questions, it’s OK to pause and think before responding. Be real because companies want to hire people who get it.

Three job hunting mistakes to avoid:
■ It might sound like a no-brainer, but turn cellphones off.

■ Too many resumes are written in paragraph form with an abundance of superfluous information. This format risks burying the pertinent experience - as well as losing the attention of a potential employer. Using bullet points instead helps keep your resume succinct.

■ Not editing all social media pages and privacy settings so that they reflect the confident professional you want to portray in your job search.

Favorite recruiting story: Tattoos are gorgeous and a lovely piece of art, but too many people don’t realize that they need to be covered up, especially if working at the front desk or for a conservative client.

Last words: You can lose the deal in the lobby with a fishy handshake and lack of eye contact.