EP 1952 Things are still complicated out there. My guest, DJ Lloyd, discusses the top things that you can do when times get tough including Covid tough.

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Jeff
So, my guest today is David E. Lloyd Jr, a US Marine veteran with almost 20 years of experience, as a consultant to the federal government. He's the founder of DJ, the career coach. I don' know where my head was at that moment; and the author of the job promotion manual. His work, well, what he does is help his clients with landing their next promotion, increasing their salary, and networking within the job market. DJ, welcome; great to have you on.

DJ
Great to be here, yes.

Jeff
Thank you. So here we are time zone, shall we say complicated? You know, I've been through a lot of recessions, nothing like this; no one's seen anything like this, which there's no playbook whatsoever. And we're going to talk today about some of the things that people can do when times get rough. Not necessarily like COVID, tough, but like tough in general. And you've got 10 things we're going to talk about tonight. So what's number one, what's the first thing that people should do, and getting ready when times get rough?

DJ
Well, my go to have always been my resume. So whenever I am considering moving on to a new job or considering this job I have not working out, the first thing I do is update my resume, that's the key thing. And making sure that it's up to date, and just making sure that it's a fresh look. Sometimes can give you some ideas of what to change and what to make better; make sure that there's no repetition as you begin on updating those different sections.

Jeff
I remember in olden times when people have resumes; in Times New Roman font. Back in the stone age's when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and it was the ugliest thing known to humanity, but that's what people did, the time they Roman ugly as all hell. And I go so far as I always tell people to try and make some time every few months to just update your resume; because if you're out the door, or you're afraid of getting fired, stress really hits and you miss things, and you don't land on them as well. And thus, it's always better if you just take a few minutes, every couple of months, just to update your resume to bring up to date, so you don't forget anything.

DJ
Right, that's the key part, not forgetting; because sometimes when you're doing training, or you're learning something new, or you've given training, and you forget about it, so you don't add it to the resume. But the more frequently your opinion, the more things you can add that are more relevant to things, at you're learning, the new things that you're learning.

Jeff
And remember, folks, you can always take it out. It's harder to remember at that time, but you can always take it out.

DJ
Yes.

Jeff
And with that, I'll also add a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn, of course, is where the head-hunters are out prowling for people, and you want your profile ready and up to date, so that they're reaching out to you because you can only say no.

DJ
Exactly. And there is also one thing that you also can do outside of just updating your resume, is also updating those profiles; and something that as you're building your resume, you update your LinkedIn profile, or your monster MD or Career Builder, going back and updating those profiles. Keeping them current is a good thing as well; because I always say, as you said earlier about when you have those rough days at work. It always motivates me to go back and update my resume and update my career profiles, my job descriptions.

Jeff
If you're updating your resume on the day you're feeling homicidal, it's too late, and you should have done it before; so that was number one. Number two.

DJ
So number two, I talk to people and some of them are, I remember I was talking to a client and she asked me, she said, "Hey, do we still need cover letters nowadays"? And I said, "Yeah, cover letters are still important. It's still important to create a cover letter"; and especially if you don't have a really long work history. You definitely want to include that cover letter. And the purpose why I say that is because it gives you that extra 04:58 [Inaudible] to your resume.

The things you can't put onto your resume, like your journey of how you got to your current position, or how you can get to your current state that you live in. I mean, most of us are moving around, moving in places that we didn't live. We were born and raised, but how did you get there? How did you get to this particular place? You can put that all that in your resume; you can play all those things you can't fit. I mean, your cover letter altered, you can't fit in your resume, and you get to tell your story, in your cover letter.

Jeff
And can we teach people how to do cover letters, what are your thoughts about it?

DJ
Make it personal. It's the letter; make it feel like a letter. And sometimes people want to reiterate the things they said on their resume. I said, "No, don't do that. Let the resume do, what the resume supposed to do". Use that cover to be very personal and be direct; and so that you get to show that you're a human being and you have experiences. You can mention your children, your kids, and your family. Why did you relocate? Those things you can't get in a resume, but you can get those things in your cover letter.

Jeff
Interesting; how long do you think a cover letter should be?

DJ
I would say no more than three paragraphs. Usually, two paragraphs is not the length of ones that I do help people create; and then usually those sentences are no more than five to seven sentences, but then each paragraph. So you don't want it too lengthy, because who wants to be reading a dissertation doing cover letter. But you don't want it to be too short, you want to definitely make it feel as though you put some time and energy into your cover letter, but not overwhelm the recruiter or the hiring manager.

Jeff
Because they won't be interested after a while.

DJ
I see a letter that's five paragraphs I get kind of, you know, this is going to be long, so I wouldn't suggest doing that.

Jeff
Do you have people send it in as the body of an email as an attachment; does it not matter to you?

DJ
Well, usually I know monster.com allows you to submit a cover letter with your resume, so that's the opportunity there, it just depends. Typically, if a recruiter reaches out, I won't typically automatically send my cover letter or ask the client to do that unless they really are trying to make an impression. It's not always necessary to provide a cover letter, but in those situations where you really want to impress the recruiter, you want to stand out, especially if you don't have an empty work history, you want to do those things. But if you have a five-page resume; because you're showing all the work history that you have, it may not be required to send a cover letter to them, email to them. It may be a little bit overwhelming to give them another page on top of that. So just being thoughtful about if you're on the receiving end of that, would you do that?

Sometimes, there are five or six pages, and I've seen that five or six-page resumes, and added a cover letter to that. And even I've seen two-page cover letters. That's now a seven to eight-page document you're sending someone to have them look over. That's not going to go over well when you have a recruiter who actually has interviews; and who's doing all kinds of other things in conjunction with reading your email. So just be mindful of if you're going to do a cover letter, you want to send it, be mindful of how many pages you're sending that individual. And also be mindful, what is the story you're trying to tell them, it may not be necessary.

Jeff
Agreed, number three.

DJ
Number three: avoid restating in your resume 09:14 [Inaudible] the things you said in your resume, I say it again, be careful not to just repeat all the things you said in your resume on your cover letter; so that's another thing that I see people do. They will go back and just start putting a sentence form all the bullets that they said in the resume. And don't do that. Make it personal. That's the purpose of the cover letter you want to, as I say all the time to my clients, make a friend with your cover letter, your interview, try to make it personal. Try to tell a story that's compelling and interesting in your cover letter. So that's given insight into why you made certain career choices and hobbies that you love. So that way, they feel like I'm getting to know a person.

Jeff
Got you; are we on to number four, or number three?

DJ
We're on number four now.

Jeff
That's what I thought. Number four.

DJ
So nowadays, we have ATS. And for some people, this is intimidating, for some they like the idea; and this is the applicant tracking system. So what it does is it looks through, once you put your resume on monster.com, indeed, Career Builder, it goes to a little crawler goes to looking at all of those words that are on your resume, and looking for they called keywords. And based on those keywords, they will begin to fit you into categories based on the words that it comes up with. So let's say you have a keyword like an engineer or a network engineer, and then you're going to start getting emails, maybe from those sites about network engineering. And this is a great thing, that's what a wonderful thing is. But let's say you have things that you don't want to get a job for, but you still have some those keywords on your resume, you will start to get some of those listings as well. So those are some of the, I guess the downsides of the ATS system. And that's why we'll get into the objective later about objective statements, and why I feel that it helps the recruiter in his ATS world to definitely reach out to you. They know exactly what position you're interested in; because the ATS can also sort of backfire in a way to send you down a road where you're not interested in.

I agree. Within the ATS, I know if you position it higher in the resume, it thinks it's kind of like currency, it's more current experience. And thus, if it's at the top of the first page, if it's in the first two-thirds of the first page, it likes that, especially if there's repetition. If it's on the bottom of page two less interesting; because it interprets that as being old.

The things you want to be interviewed for, you always want to have up high. The things you don't want to be interviewed, you want to play slow. Because even if it shows up as a keyword on one of these systems, it's scored lower; because these systems kind of score things like this is a 32% possible match. Okay, I'm right over that one. Let me go to 8 first, and I'll get to the number 32 sometime when Hell Freezes Over.

DJ
Yeah; and you start getting those job listings that, I had a client one time, he was saying, "Hey, I'm getting all these jobs that I don't want. I'm getting all these job listings of things that I don't want; and then he went back with his resume, he had like, "Okay, well, you have these keywords in your resume, so you're going to get them". So we had to go back and sort of look at his resume, and we phrase things and bring up the terminology a bit so that it was up to date.

Jeff
Gotcha! Number five.

DJ
Number five: So strategy in salary negotiation. This is a scary thing for people. They do not like negotiating salary; they would rather just take whatever they're being offered and complain about it later.

Jeff
Not the people I work with.
DJ
I meet some, and the reason why they feel that way it's; because you just want to hear yes, you'd want in hear, I got you, you got the job, but that's not good enough.

I had a client one time she actually took, she knew that the salary they want to give her wasn't satisfactory, but she was just trying to get a job. She was trying to get back into the workforce, and she was going to take whatever they would offer her, but then when she got the job, she had to go back to actually do what she should have done in the beginning to negotiate a salary.

So to do that, effectively, what I believe is you need to really understand your budget. Because sometimes, I think when people have the conviction, that they really need to say this is how much I'm worth, it's because they don't really know how much they're worth, they don't really know what it is that they need in order for their life to function. So I would definitely recommend going over your budget, look at how much your vacation costs, how much your insurance costs, how much all your utilities, all your loans, all your credit cards, look at that, and really come up with a number about this is how much I need in order to survive and save, and then look at how much you're asking for in terms of your salary.
So when you're asked what is your salary rate? You have that conviction; because you know how much money you actually need in order to survive off of.

And a lot of people are actually surprised when they actually go through that exercise, I have this ad this whole budget exactly go through to really give them an idea of how much money they need. Most folks go, "Wow, I'm not asking for enough; or they'll go, I'm really wasting a lot of my money that I'm getting from my salary".

Jeff
Very true! I know, I had a situation a few years ago, where a woman I was coaching, she came to me after her interviews have started. She was moving from New Jersey to Seattle, and really didn't have a sense of cost of living in Seattle, She thought she did until she was about three interviews in and said, "I can't afford to live there, and they're about to make me an offer". And I helped her by just pausing the conversation with the firm and said, "I made a mistake. I suspect you know this, but I made a mistake. I thought the cost of living between New Jersey and Seattle was comparable", and it really isn't". And she went through four or five different items where Seattle was significantly higher; and they said, "Okay", and they upped what they were proposing to her to get her on board.

Yeah, things can be rectified sometimes, but not all the time, particularly when times are tough, and employers think, "I've got one over the barrel. I got one. She can't argue with us, she's unemployed".

DJ
Right, Right.

Jeff
And they use that leverage. So folks, be aware of what the market is for what you do, for real, not just what your friend tells you.

DJ
Exactly, so do your own research. The other thing is to know what you need, that's the thing know how much you need. Don't depend on, I mean, there are lots of websites out there that will tell you what salaries are for a particular position. But what do you need? How much money do you need to function; and creating your budget off of that? Now, given you might go out and do all your budget; and you look at all your finances and decide that still know that I can make more than that. That's totally fine, but at least you still have an idea of what your operating expenses are.

Jeff
I'm also going to remind you that from the time they start asking you about what you're looking for, or what your current compensation is, they're negotiating.

DJ
Right.

Jeff
Job Hunters think that negotiation takes place at the end; no it takes place every time they're asking a money question, that's negotiation.

DJ
Yes.

Jeff
So don't be surprised, and there are ways to duck off of this. And I know I've done in other videos and other interviews. But for today; because we're a little tight on time, let's keep going, number six,

DJ
Number six: so what I asked people to do, especially in this particular time period, where we're looking at a whole pandemic and possibly into a recession, you want to take online courses, you want to show employers that, hey, I'm learning new skills, and I have new skills to provide. So what's great is there is a lot of training that's online is free. So I go to Udemy Coursera. I go to these places, and look and see what pieces of training that are available are, that I could possibly get a certificate for that is free, or I pay. I think you can pay $13, $15 for a class, and it's a really reasonable price that they have on there. They give you a certificate, and that's something you can put on your resume, so that's the opportunity there for you to become more competitive.

Jeff
Folk, folks Udemy is spelled: U-D-E-M-Y, there's Coursera, C-O-U-R-S-E-R-A. I was looking for a friend of mine yesterday, heck, Harvard has classes online that you can take for nothing or very little, like really very little. So there are ways to continue your training and keep improving because that is a signal of someone who is career motivated.

DJ
Yes, I like to see that, that someone who's who enjoys, and regardless of age. I talked to some people like "Oh, well, maybe certain age. Should I go back to school"? And it just depends on what your goals are, but you still should always continue taking courses and learning something new.

Jeff
Agreed. You may have noticed this face of mine is not 24. And I'll simply say, older workers come to ages and much too easily. They think they're getting turned down because of their age, most of the time, it isn't, and sometimes it is; most of the time, it’s skills deficiency, lack of preparation. Now, they've done nothing to upgrade their talents over the last few years; either background is out-dated, that's the biggest issue, or they don't know how to present themselves.

DJ
Definitely.

Jeff
Folk just keep taking classes, it makes a big difference.

DJ
Right. And I always say, when someone who's older, you have a ton of experience; and that experience needs to be passed on to the younger generation. So that's one of the things that you show up with that I have the ability to help others get better and help train. So I'm always looking at, I have a person who is older; I want to encourage them to include that training on that they're willing to train others on their resume.

Jeff
Absolutely. And I'll also say, folks, if you get the question that basically translates into, "Hey, look, I'm 34, and you're not, how do you feel about working with someone older than you?" I'll just simply say, folks, the way to respond, is to say something to the effect that, "I've been in your seat; I don't want to be in your seat, I'm happy to help you if you want it. If you don't want it, my feelings aren't hurt, I'll keep my mouth shut and do what you want me to do". And to say it with conviction, not just as though you're going well, um, and make it seem like you're making it up on the fly. You have to be really clear about this, "I don't want to be your seat at all. If you want my advice, I'll give it to you. If you don't want my advice, my feelings aren't hurt. I'll just do my job. I'm okay with that". And people respond well to that. The big issue that a lot of older professionals have when they go on the interview, and they see the order manager, and their first response is to go, "Oh, I'm doomed". Seven, we are on to number seven,

DJ
Be flexible; so sometimes when we're stuck in a particular position, and especially when you feel stuck. If you want to get out of that particular position they want to grow, they want to do the thing, and see all the people who are moving ahead and they're not. And how do you find flexibility? It may not be the answers that I want to move to a different position, or a different job, or a different company, it just I want to move to have some greater responsibilities and bigger opportunities. So if you're in the government, a lot of my customers are government employees, or they are contractors to the federal government, I try to encourage them to look at what they call TD wise, which is temporary duty training, which is what will happen is they will look out and see what positions are open or who can a shadow, and they will begin getting credit for that. They can put that on their resume for all that training, they've gotten working in a different environment, maybe a different unit or division, or they may shadow one of their co-workers on the team they're currently with. But that's all things that will you can put on your resume.

And because they are tracking that, the government actually tracks this, they will help you, and those items you learn will help you get that job. So there's a particular job that you're interested in that you want to someday hopefully apply for, then you will find the person who's already doing that job and begin to sort of shadow them; and then what happens is when you're ready to apply for that job, you can say I've already done a lot of those duties already. I have already accomplished those tasks and then that makes you more competitive for that position.

Jeff
Interesting. It's an interesting approach that the government takes. Number eight.

DJ
The number eight: prepare to interview virtually, so especially now we're doing a lot of virtual interviews. And people are finding out that they don't interview very well on the zoom meeting, they don't have that connection. I can't make that connection. And I guess I've never thought about that until I started talking to individuals about, Hey I'm getting interviewed, and I'm going in zoom meetings, but there's something that's not clicking. And I'm saying well, "Do you smile"? 24:45 [Inaudible]. Do you open the conversation up with an opening? 24:56 first started this conversation was like, "Hey, how are you? You "How are things going"? I really just didn't jump into the top 10; we actually had a little banter back and forth, so you want to do that, before the meeting. Sometimes everyone has that conversation, and so the recruiter may not do that, but still, it's on you to do that.

One of the things that; can you see behind me? I have a ton of books behind me. So if I was the interviewer, then what I would do is, if I was you, and I was the interviewer, then you would simply say, "Hey, you know, I see you are a book lover. What kind of books have you read lately'? My face would light up because I'm a book guy. So that's a great conversational opener so that when you're engaging online. You don't have an office to really look and say, "Okay, let me see what's on his desk" so I can start a conversation about that; because that's something that I do in an interview. I try to find things that interesting, or are conversation openers in the person's office. But since you don't have that ability, you want to have to really, look behind the person and see, do I see any pictures; or I see a Fern? I think there's a Fern behind you.

Jeff
The big26:19 [Inaudible].

DJ
26:21 [Inaudible], but that's the conversation opener. Why don't you get a chuckle you get a laugh that helps out in terms of breaking the ice when you're doing a zoom meeting.

Jeff
Absolutely. Nine, sorry, nine.

DJ
For my number nine suggestion, I have sent a thank you letter. So we don't do this anymore, we don't send thank you letters anymore, or thank you emails any longer. It's sort of out-dated, but it's a great way to make yourself stand out, it's superb. So I'm sending a thank you email is awesome. That's great to say, "Hey, 27:01 [Inaudible] the interview, thank you for meeting with me, hopefully, I'll hear your decision in a certain timeframe.

If you know, the timeframe it's great, but no one says hand-letter written thank you letters anymore, thank you notes any longer. If you really want to stand out, then I would do that if I really wanted to stand out. So before I leave the interview, I would definitely try to get the person's card in order to find a way to get in contact with them through the mail; and then maybe immediately after the interview, put together a thank you letter, so that way, you will sort of surprise them with that.

And it's another way if you know the time period when they want to make a decision, to say it's going to be two weeks from the day of the interview, then you can schedule that thank you letter, so that they so by the time they have forgotten about maybe your interview, then they have a little reminder to say, "Hey, remember me"? They think of rescheduling so that you can come up in their memory one more time before they make their final decision. If you know, around the timeframe, you're going to make that decision, and it's a little bit farther out into the future.

Jeff
That was number nine, if I'm not mistaken, right?

DJ
Number nine.

Jeff
Number ten.

DJ
Number 10: the most important out of all of them, be patient.

Jeff
And that one's interesting, go into more about being patient.

DJ
So one of the things that because we're so busy, did I get the job? Did I do well, did I do well? And all the nervousness and worry about that we forget to be diligent. So instead of using that energy, that energy of worrying and trying to figure out, why didn't they choose me, or had they chosen anybody yet? Just sit back and say, what can I do right now that's going to help me to possibly not get this job, but maybe another job? So whenever I end the interview, I keep looking, I don't just stop there; I don't stop looking because I had a really good interview or a bad interview. I want to continue looking and searching for jobs. Because what makes it feel better when I am leaving the interview, I know that I have other opportunities lined up in the process, which makes it a lot easier. And especially if you happen to get a no, then it makes it easier when you know that you have other things lined up along the way. So when I say, be patient, I really do mean be diligent and don't just stop looking, just because there are one or two opportunities on the table.

Jeff
I'm going to do this in a way that's designed to be playful. Job hunting is very much like dating. And when you think about dates, for me, it's been a long time. And I still remember times where I thought I had a great date, and the person goes, I don't think so. It's the same thing on a job search, you have a great interview, and they choose someone else' because you stopped at that point, you're not keeping on looking.

One of the fun phenomena that I've always seen is that when Job Hunters get offers, other offers tend to come in if they keep doing the work.

DJ
Right.

Jeff
A part of it is that you act like you don't care.

DJ
Exactly.

Jeff
If you can relax a little bit, you can be more of yourself and connect with people better. So just keep dating folks. Don't sit back there waiting for the phone to ring going, "Will he call me? Will she call me"? Keep it going out there until someone says, "I love you".

DJ
Yes.

Jeff
"I'm in love. Do you love me"? And then you can start working at slowing things down; even that I tell people don't slow those things down; because you don't know if you're getting an offer that's worth taking.

DJ
Right? And even if you get the job and you hear yes, you don't know if you want to stay. You may get there and say, "Hey, this isn't what I expected". At least you're still continuing to look, then it could be a possibility that you can get one of those jobs that sort of that, "Get me out of here, please. I made the wrong decision. I made the last selection". So just because you heard yes; and even if you came aboard, doesn't mean that the job search ends. I always tell my clients, wait three months in to make that final decision stop looking, sometimes longer, but usually, three months is when you want to stop interviewing for jobs. Because it could be that the job that you accepted isn't the right fit after you get there, you decide that is not what I want to be doing.

Jeff
And I'm going to say one of those tough messages and say, folks, everyone's lying in the job search process, employers or shall we say, embellishing the truth a little bit. You're playing yourself to the best of your abilities, maybe creating a few fictions in there, right, folks? And if you're working with a third-party recruiter, the good ones are just the messengers of the lies, passing them back and forth between the parties. There are, of course, the overt liars. So given the fact that you're going to be, shall we say, exaggerating32:48 [Inaudible], and so we're they. It may be unpleasantly surprised when you arrive.

DJ
Right.

Jeff
So the notion of keeping everything up to date, keep going out on dates. After you're on board for a little while, I'll let you decide how long that should be, makes a lot of sense.
DJ, this is fabulous. How can people find out more about you?

DJ
Yes. So you can reach me: dj@t dJcareercoach.com. Again, it's DJ at DJ career coach com, if you would like to reach out to me. I did want to mention a book. I'm not sure if I can.

Jeff
Of course!

DJ
I wrote a book; and I'm very excited about it, It's called the job promotion manual. And I have a little visual for you here. You can get it on Amazon number, it one bestseller on Amazon for a little while. And I'm really excited about this book because it shows you how to make yourself more competitive. Even if you're already in the job market and you're trying to make yourself competitive in your current job, or you are going through this whole crazy COVID-19 pandemic thing, and you're trying to make yourself more competitive in terms of getting that next job.

Jeff
DJ, thank you; and folks, we'll be back soon with more. I'm Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter. Visit my website, the big game hunter.us. I've got a lot there that can help you. If you're interested in one on one coaching, you can schedule a time for a free discovery call or schedule time for coaching. I'd love to help.

If you have a couple of questions for me, I respond in one of two ways. If you are willing to accept the video in response, there's a way at the site where you can ask me a question, I'll respond with a three to five-minute video. If you would like to 15 minutes of my time, same thing, except this way you get in touch with me live. So that was the big game hunter.us forward slash live to schedule 15 minutes with me, and the other one starts off the same way and ends with forward slash video answer.

Last thing; connect with me on linkedin@linkedin.com forward slash in forward slash the big game hunter. Mentioned that just saw this interview. I like knowing I'm helping some folks, DJ 35:13 [Inaudible] some people to me. And once we're connected message that you might be interested in coaching if that is what you're interested in. I'd love to help you. Hope you have a terrific day, and I'll just remind you, be great. Take care

ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER

JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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No one is authorized to copy any portion of the podcast content or use Jeff Altman’s name, image or likeness for any commercial purpose or use, including without limitation inclusion in any books, e-books, book summaries or synopses, or on a commercial website or social media site (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) that offers or promotes your or another’s products or services. For the sake of clarity, media outlets are permitted to use photos of Jeff Altman. 

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