Gillis' ''guerrill job search tactics'' and their simple yet direct and powerful message pinpoint methods for getting hired that not even the most prestigious students and professionals remember to acknowledge. Having practically stumbled into the world of hiring and its technology after a 10-year career in real estate, Gillis had the sales skills and the enthusiastic personality to get the ball rolling in his journey.
Because he held a position at HoustonEmployment.com when the Internet was first launched, Gillis was encouraged to start speaking to various offices for the Texas Employment Commission in 1998; and that was where it all started. Last August, he was offered—and accepted—a weekly, two-hour radio show called "Employment Radio with Rick Gillis," on which he speaks with the "smartest guests on radio," such as Good Morning America Workforce Contributor Tory Johnson and President and CEO of the American Staffing Association in Washington, DC, Richard Wahlquist.
Today, after years of networking and learning from a plethora of human resource and hiring managers, staffing companies, and "titans in the industry," as well as feeding his constant hunger to learn from other employment experts, Gillis has created his own route for getting hired fast.
"Show me, as an employer, how you are going to make me money or save me money" is the underlying theme of Gillis' presentations and recent book, REALLY Useful Job Search Tactics. No matter how old job applicants are or how much experience they have, this is the contingency that they will get hired upon. Many job seekers tend to forget that companies want to be profitable—and that means hiring people who can aggressively make them profitable, period.
In today's cutthroat business world, young people are beginning to replace older employees in their jobs because they will work for less money. It is essential for professionals to understand that they always need to be exercising and justifying their existences in particular jobs because there will always be young people who will come in and do them for less money.
"I don't want young people who are 23 to 26 years old today to have to listen to someone like me when they are 50 years old because they did not internalize and lost sight of the fact they weren't making somebody money," said Gillis. Making and saving money can also translate as adding value to an organization and saving time.
According to Gillis, the resume, cover letter, and interview must tactfully communicate how someone is going to add value to the company and increase profitability—no matter what industry the candidate is in. Gillis stresses the importance of "making yourself, your resume, and your interview so compelling that your recruiter will be afraid to let you leave the office for fear that you will end up with the competition!"
Most resumes are "nothing more than obituaries," Gillis commented. "All resumes speak to the past, but how does that express to somebody that you're going to make or save them money? You have to speak to the future."
There are two components that Gillis always stresses when advising job seekers about how to prepare dynamic resumes. Underneath the contact information at the top of a resume should be a brief "seeking statement" that simply states the exact position that the candidate is in search of. If you clearly highlight the type of position you are looking for, the person looking over your resume will know who to forward it to.
"Don't give me all of the fluff saying, 'I am a talented, skilled individual seeking challenging...' No, that doesn't work anymore," he said. A good, clean example of a seeking statement would be "I am seeking a position as a sales director for your corporation."
Gillis also suggests an objective statement, which should come after the seeking statement and should speak to the future, as well. It should target, in a sentence or two at most, what you can bring to the company and its value. Concisely specifying what you can bring to the mix and what benefits the employer will reap will excite and encourage the employer to continue reading your resume, which will ultimately persuade him or her to call you in for an interview. "You will be compelling and memorable when you speak to their needs and not what you want," Gillis said.
Following the seeking and objective statements with supporting accomplishments will tie up the package. When discussing achievements in a resume or cover letter, it is crucial to make those words jump off the page by including numbers and percentages. One might say, for example, "I was responsible for 49% of all annual sales for one company one year, resulting in a net bottom line of $850,000."
When employers see something like that, the details they really see are the percentage symbol, the dollar sign, and the numbers. Tactfully, and a little slyly, leaving out the company name and the year of the action can prevent—or, rather, delay—the employer's knowledge of one's age and experience. This will entice the employer to make the phone call to ask, "How did you do that, and where did you do that?" Then, the job seeker and the employer can have a dialogue.
Creating a worksheet of your top 10 achievements, no matter where or when they occurred, and using the top three or so in your resume will, again, entice the employer to inquire further about your professional successes. Gillis recommends including the heading "Selected Accomplishments" above your list of achievements. This lets the employer know that the few accomplishments listed were taken from a larger reserve. In an interview, when an employer asks about additional accomplishments, you'll be prepared with those remaining seven accomplishments to fire away with.
Gillis also suggests keeping a work journal of daily job accomplishments and tasks that can later add value and depth to your resume and cover letter. Perhaps, one day, another department is having a struggle, and you drop what you are doing and devote six hours to helping them get back on track. As a result, you end up going in on Saturday to finish your own work and get prepared for Monday morning. You can draw from experiences like this when preparing your supporting details for a resume and cover letter or when going over your performance review for a current job. These kinds of instances make you more sellable to a company...and more profitable in their eyes.
"Too many of us—I think all of us—go above and beyond. That's very valuable stuff," Gillis said. A company's employees are like "line items in this year's budget; and if they don't make money or save money or justify their existence, they will not be line items in next year's budget."
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