Resume chat with Maureen Crawford Hentz
About Our Guest
Maureen Crawford Hentz is manager of talent acquisition, development and compliance for OSRAM SYLVANIA Inc. She is a nationally recognized expert on social networking and new media recruiting. She chatted with Boston.com readers about resumes and using social networking to help get a job.
Bostongirl: Hello. I have a question regarding the objective part on the resume. I have heard different things- one that you should always put your objective on the resume and have multiple resumes for different jobs you are applying to, but I have also heard that you should never put an objective on your resume and just list your skills, education, and work experience. What is your take on this subject? Thank you.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Hi Bostongirl,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: I don't like an objective - I think they waste space. I know your objective is To Get A Job. However, I violate my own rule when the applicant is looking to change settings or make a transition. For example, let's say that you are a nurse and you are trying to make a transition over to medical sales. You could use the objective to explain the transition and what's in it for the employer: To bring 10 years of hands-on nursing acumen to biomedical sales.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Tell me a bit more about you and what kind of objective you are thinking about.
DustyDog: Since 2005 I have been working long term "temp." jobs. I am at my present "temp." job one year now. The company does not want to hire permanently. How do I overcome the negative attitude potential employers have about temp. work. I am a great employee., but I am stuck in a pattern of long term temping. I do not want this, but I need to keep money coming in.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: DustyDog,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Most HR and recruiter types know that keeping someone on as a temp/ contractor is a way that companies manage headcount, so I'm not sure that it's seen as a negative. However, it's really important to get the construction right on your resume. You want to show that the company loved you so much, they just kept you there. Do something like this:
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Financial Analyst Contractor, Osram Sylvania
Maureen Crawford Hentz: (Do this next part in italics) placed through XYX agency. Initial 3 month assignment extended twice
joe_pr: Hi Maureen, I have been an intern at a pr agency for about 4 months full time and I just graduated in May with a degree in communication. I am having a very hard time landing a job in an agency setting? Any tips or suggestions?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Joe,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Tell me a bit more about what you are doing and what you want to do. Are you a give-away-Red-Bull-samples-at-North-Station type intern (which is a fine internship) or are you writing press releases?
Dennis: Hi Maureen: I think my resume is being hampered by my consulting period for the last four years. I can usually write a well-constructed cover letter to explain that period of time as well as my other transferable skills. However, are cover letters even being read by large companies any more?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Hi Dennis,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: There are two distinct breeds of HR folks--cover letter readers and those who aren't. I myself read them, but many of my colleagues don't. With a consulting practice, the flag to HR people may be that you are too expensive. You may want to put the consultancy in its own section. To give this section gravitas, you should list selected clients (and I would call it precisely that). That way, it can't possibly look like unemployment.
Dennis: I have been a stay at home dad for several years. I did some consulting work when I could and I have listed myself as a consultant on my resume for those years. However, I fear that my "consulting" is being viewed as "unemployed" by hiring managers. What advice do you have for "sequencing" parents?
joe_pr: Essentially a lot of account coordinator type work. Press clippings, managing ed calendars, taking meeting notes, etc. I am just trying to make the jump from intern to full time employee both for pay scale and the responnsibility.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Thanks. Any reason you like agency rather than, say, corporate?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: I would recommend looking for entry-level title like communications assistant. One of the things that's really important is that you sell your contributions to the current firm and your willingness to contribute to the team. While your interest in moving up is important, many times entry level HMs (hiring managers) want to know that someone is going to stay in the role for a while.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Another recommendation is to take a look at non-profits or companies doing something you care about.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: In which case (the non-profits) I'd recommend looking on idealist.org. They are a GREAT resource for hiring in the non-profit sector.
techx: how to find mainly entry level jobs in my area of Massachsuetts, not from a temp agency
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Techx,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: From your handle, it seems as if you are a techie. Best tech resource for looking for a job hands down is dice.com. Make sure you are on the alert for headhunters, though. Some might call you looking to get you on their roster. There's nothing wrong with that, but be prepared. You should NEVER have to pay a fee.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Also, in Boston, I really like Craigslist. It's local, lots of us post there and I always find fresh tech talent there.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Finally, I love Linkedin for online recruiting and social networking. This is a great resource for you in terms of finding what jobs are out there.
val: At what age does it become acceptable to have a more than 1 page resume?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Great question. The short answer is that it doesn't matter now in the age of on-line applying. If you are cutting and pasting your resume into an online system or if you are uploading your resume to an applicant tracking system, we don't really see the number of pages anyway.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: If you have enough relevant job-related data on your resume to necessitate more than one page then go for it!
junebug: Is ten years in one job viewed positively or negatively in today's world? What spin should I aim for in my resume to accomplish this. Should I consider a functional resume versus a chronological one?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Functional resumes are almost always a good bet, especially if you are looking to stay in the same field, but move up the ladder. 10 years in a company is a good long run. Longevity used to be 100% positive and staying in a job less than 2 years was 100% negative, but with the millennials (people turning 18 in 2000 and everyone after) staying in jobs an average of 2.3 years, there's not so much of a job jumping stigma. Ten jobs in ten years is bad. For you, I'd recommend articulating progression in the company or in your responsibilities so that when I look at your resume I can tell that you haven't been complacent in your job but have taken on more complex tasks.
Glenn: What is the best way for an applicant to handle the "references" section of an application form? Shouldn't applicants wait to see if they want the job. Why hand out one's references just because you're applying?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Glenn, if you were in my office now, I'd pay you $5 for asking that question. You are right----don't put 'references available upon request' on your resume. I KNOW you have references, and if you don't then we're not going to hire you anyway.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Also, really think about where you are posting people's contact information. If your resume is posted on monster.com and your references' name, phone number and email address are part of your resume, you are opening him/her(the reference)up for phishing attacks and for having their email address picked up by a web spider that goes hunting for addresses to send spam...um..marketing materials to.
underdog76: Hi, Maureen. I'm a young professional trying to transition my resume from that of a recent college graduate. I graduated in 2006, was involved in many leadership positions at school, and as such had a pretty strong resume right out of school. I'm wondering now however, as I try to weed out college activities, what's still appropriate. While I still lack enough work experience to fill the space, I'd still like to sell these leadership positions and qualities. Thanks for all your help.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Underdog,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Another great question. I think you are right---you do want to move your resume gradually into the I'm-out-of-college-now mode. First, take a look at your resume and begin cutting the activities rather than the leadership (ie: things you participated in rather than led) That being said, it depends on what kind of leadership activities you had on your resume and how your resume is formatted. For example, if you are in corporate training and development, and you have a functional resume, and you were, say, an RA or an orientation leader, then I would still want to see that experience in the training section.
birdbybird: Do you have any advice on how to use (e.g.) LInkedIn to put yourself out there as "looking", without letting your current employer know that as well?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Hello Bird,
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Yes, thanks for the question. On-line social networking sites like Linked In can be very valuable in terms of getting yourself out there. The most important things with sites like this is to really maximize your text. LI has a section where you can put special interests. Let's say that your dream is to work at a feminist legal practice, but you are currently at a white shoe firm making scads of money.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: What you may want to do is make yourself easier to be found by including about 30 key words related to the work that is of interest. In that way, if people like me (recruiters) are looking for someone who has some perspective, on say, feminist legal theory, when I put that in as my key word string, your profile will come up.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: However, LI has settings that say what kind of communications you are open to receiving and most recruiters (including me) will NOT contact you directly about a job unless your settings permit it.
DustyDog: How do you handle age on a resume. The employers tend to want young college brats right out of college, it seems.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: If you are over 40, I recommend leaving any relevatory details off. For example, don't indicate the date that you graduated from college, just indicate that you did in fact get a degree. You may also want to leave off jobs that are from 15 years or more ago. (However, please note that you are leaving these off your RESUME not off a background check document. If you leave it off there, you are failing to furnish full information and that may be grounds to rescind an offer).
bc: Good day Maureen. I am a electrican , and for the 15 years have been on the road doing large speical events tv, movies and corprate shows, I am now trying to find a ficility job or a service job. i have experince with ups generators, and I also worked in a convention center and did buliding mantince. i do not seem to get a reposnse from ads.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Well, let me tell you, you have some very in demand skills, so any company not responding to you is missing out. I would recommend looking on craigslist and applying to jobs there. Also, there are a number of temp to per temporary agencies that would be happy to have you on their roster. If you are a union member, the union is a great resource as well. Finally, I'd recommend a reverse engineered Google search.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: What I mean by that is to look for electrical companies in your area that do concert setups, large AV, etc... Go to the websites of the companies that come up the most often and put your resume in there.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Also, home entertainment set up is huge now. You may want to check with companies like Best Buy. I bet they'd LOVE an application from a licensed electrician. Be clear and upfront about your rates, though. My main concern is that HMs (hiring managers) will think they cannot afford you.
Explorer: Good afternoon. I'm writing because while I'm currently happily employed, I will soon be making along distance move. The move stems solely from the desire to want to move to a different city. I do not have a job lined up in my new city yet, but I wonder when I do move in a couple months, will I have a hard time explaining in interviews why it is that I left my job/moved? Again, I'm moving because I love the area.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Good for you for taking a risk. Don't worry about a small gap on your resume for moving. Your answer in the interview will be something like I moved to Seattle and wanted to get settled before looking for a job.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: I just have to say, though, why not let a company move you? Look for jobs in the area you'd like to move to and have some big company pick up your relocation. My company, for example, does that often. If you are a hot talent, let a company pay.
RecentGrad_2: I'm a recent BU grad that spent my summers taking extra classes instead of doing internships, and as a result, I lack any real work experience in a resume. Are there things I should be looking to highlight in place of work experience that aren't clubs/skills/etc?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Hi Recent Grad, This can seem like a big hurdle, as HMs are looking for experience and it's hard to get experience. I'd recommend listing your hard skills in a section called technical competencies. If you are a mechanical engineer, for example, you want to list the devices you know how to use and the software, etc... what was your major and what do you want to do?
okiew5: Recent college grad trying to break into the financial sector. Graduated from a top private college in Massachusetts with a Bio.Pre-med degree and have finacial internships. The market was tight and so I decided to basically take an internship at a top pharmaceutical company in Houston. My internship has ended and now I am trying to get back into the financial sector..how should I explain my choice for getting into a pharmaceutical company.. SHould i just say that the market was tight and this was an opporuntity to develop my analytical, detail skills? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Yep. That's exactly what you should do. We (recruiters) get it--we understand. Really don't worry about this. What it says to me is that you were a go getter and went and got a post-bacc internship. Good job.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Also, can't resist a bit more advice: you would be a SWEET CATCH for a biomed devices firm--you get numbers, but you understand the medical market. There are a zillion biomed companies here on the north shore of Boston. Dangle yourself out for them (I recommend on someplace like LI) and just wait for the phone to ring.
Sam: Hi, Maureen. Do you have any advice for those of us who have been working in nonprofits and educational institutions and would like to switch to a corporate position? In my search, I have had difficulty finding a way to transfer my specific skills sets (e.g. communications and supporting fundraisers) and educational background (liberal arts) to for-profit positions. I know people often make the switch, but do they make a lateral move or even a move down the ladder? It seems that this is what Iid have to do.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: That's me! That's what I did. New England Aquarium, then Wentworth Institute of Technology and now here at Osram Sylvania. NO! You do not have to move down the ladder---you're going to move up. The non-profit sector is not lesser experience--it's just a different sector.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Communications and fundraising could immediately go into an in-house corporate communications or events planning role.
john: multiple companies advertise jobs on-line, but I never receive a reply after appyling, is this due to there filtering software? thank you
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Fabulous question. Unfortunately the answer is not a good one. ATSs (applicant tracking systems) are set up to receive your application and then 1) match you to the job requirements and 2) put you in a database. Unless the company sets up a basic email thank you, you're likely not to hear anything. It's terrible, I know, and such a difference from applying even 3 years ago.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: One thing I would recommend is to go in an refresh your application every 2.9 months. The reason I say this is that many ATSs have a setting that says to the recruiter 'do you just want to see the newest resumes' and the setting is 90 days. Go in and refresh your resume and you will look like you are very interested in the company. Make sure to set up a job alert, too.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: In my ATS, I can see who has done that and to me that says the candidate is really interested in our company and is watching US.
okiew5: I am sorry Maureen could you explain LI..in regards to the BIomed devices company...are you talking about sales or finance within that firm? Thanks again.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Sorry. LI is LinkedIn. It's the social networking site that is most often used by recruiters (see above). If you want more tips and tricks for using them I wrote an article on quintcareers that may be helpful. Hang on and let me get the link.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Here it is. http://www.quintcareers.com/making_social_networking_work.html
recentgrad: I graduated last spring and am still looking for a job. I have been listing accolades and academic activities on my resume, including graduating with honors, departmental awards, research projects and conference presentations. All this on top of AmeriCorps, teaching, and media relations experience. But, some have been telling me that I am better off dropping all of those and just having a "right out of college" resume, with very little on it. Which would be a better strategy?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Recentgrad--Be still my heart! Americorps? Teaching? Media? No, don't drop them! Those are hard-won experiences and shouldn't be dropped. Have you ever thought about a functional rather than a chronological resume? That may be the answer for you.
okiew5: Thank you..I am a member of Linked In..So you think I should basically throw my resume out there and follow up in that regards and then basically just wait for people to reach out to me?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Yes, but use the keyword loading I talk about above and in the article I referenced. Also, expand your network to include people who know you (I'm not a big fan of linking to everyone and their brother).
RecentGrad_2: I was a Psychology major, but because I was thinking law school, was looking at Paralegal jobs
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Paralegal is great, but you will be competing with people with paralegal certificates. Also, paralegals make some big coin, and you don't want to get stuck in a job just because it makes money---it gets hard to leave that to pursue a dream. How about looking into legal internships at companies in IP or HR? How about some legal advocacy work in a non-profit? Remember, volunteer work can also provide you hard experience for your resume.
John_2: How far back in Job History should I go?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: As long as is relevant, but not so long that an employer can use it to figure out that you are older and (potentially) discriminate against you.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: I usually say go back only 15 years and that's still a lot.
switcher: If I work on the web and have created a bunch of web content, how important is it for me to have my own website? Can I just include links to the work I've done for other sites on my resume/Linked In profile?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Not so important to have your own website, because high traffic will still be an issue. Using LI is a good idea, as is contributing to blogs of interest in your field. You can then link to work you have done.
okiew5: Maureen thank you for your help..I have one last question and that is in regards to these biomed devices fims..should I be looking into the sales area I assume?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: You could do sales, but if you are a finance type, why not think about financial analyst positions? You will have some industry knowledge from your pharma days, but you still know how to do a balance sheet.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: If you're up for sales, I say go for it. You can make lots of money AND be helping to get medical devices to sick people. A good job.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: We can take 1-2 more questions, so if you have been thinking of asking, now's the time to type! Really, nothing is off limits. I'm here to help (actually I'm here to give you Big Help).
john3: How does someone contact you off-line to see if there a match with my skills at your company? Thank You
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Great question because Osram Sylvania is a great company. What you would do is put your resume into our applicant tracking system and in the source put "employee referral" and put my name. Then in the cover letter put that you participated in today's web chat. Our recruiters will see that and will make sure your resume gets a bit of special attention. Also, of course, set up a job alert.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: OK, while we're wrapping up, a few last word of advice as the last questions are processed:
Maureen Crawford Hentz: It's a tough job market out there, but remember that it's job-getting skills that you have to hone. It's not always the best qualified person for the job who gets the job, but rather the best qualified person who is ALSO good at job acquisition skills.
Maureen Crawford Hentz: What are those?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Attention to detail (grammar, spelling)
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Using new media sources
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Following the application directions
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Thinking out of the box
bc: Thanks for your help maureen, Just one more question should i leave off my years of experince doing speical events and just put down my bulinding expericane
Maureen Crawford Hentz: I'd put it all on. Having special events experience says to me that you can work under pressure and with tight event deadlines. I like it on there for you. I think it sets you apart.
Bostongirl: Hi, Thank you for answering my question. I was referring to objective such as "Seeking a position as an administrative assistant in the challenging environment" or something like that in the objective line... or should i just send a resume without one and address why i am a great fit for the position in the cover letter?
Maureen Crawford Hentz: No need for an objective like that. Instead, do a professional summary on the top and use three hard skills like this:
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Demonstrated ability to multitask in busy corporate setting
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Multilingual skills, including Japanese and Chinese
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Significant executive assiting skill set
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Of course, spell assisting correctly
Maureen Crawford Hentz: Jobs are out there and you will get something great. Thanks for spending time with me today. Best of luck to all of you.