Harpreet Singh
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10-second Resume Review

As recruiters, we review countless resumes on a daily basis.  On any given day, the average corporate or agency recruiter reviews 100 to 200 resumes. This means, on average 5-10 seconds per resume is spent making the decision whether a candidate is  worth contacting for open positions.
So, here are a few things that we look for in a resume when making the decision about whether or not the resume represents a viable candidate: 
1.  Presentation:  spelling and grammar
2.  Qualification:  education/relevant skills
3.  Measurable accomplishments
4.  Employment history:  Gaps in employment
5.  Consistency:  Resume vs. LinkedIn
6.  Increasing/decreasing responsibility
7.  Short term employment
8.  Multiple career shifts
We all know that our candidates are more interesting and their backgrounds more relevant than that which can be represented on their resumes alone. But, with a 5-10 second review time, do yourself a favor and work out the kinks in your resume, so that you’re essentially making yourself more marketable. Stand out quickly, but for the right reasons!
Harpreet Singh
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Job Security in a Post-recession World!

Are you only looking for a permanent role or are you willing to entertain consulting roles, as well?

As a response, some candidates will state that they are looking for “perm roles” only – due to job security.  While others are serial consultants and only looking for consulting roles.  In a pre-recession world, selecting the perm role over the consulting role would have been a no-brainer due to job security.  However, we now live in a world where, in my opinion, there is no such thing as a permanent job and being a consultant may actually provide greater job security overall.

In the post-recession world, permanent employees can and have been laid off with little to no notice – making their permanent role anything but.  The general public has a skewed perception about being a consultant (temporary employee) and view it as to being high risk.  However, being a consultant (contractor) may actually provide less of a risk to the individual, in that contracting roles have a start date (‘start of contract’) and a pre-established end date (‘end of contract’).   With this knowledge comes the ability to plan. So, knowing the end date means that the consultant can start looking for other opportunities as their contract term nears.  In reality, they can start as soon as they can see their projects come to an end – products put into production, “go live” dates met, post-go-live testing, etc. The signs that a contract is coming to an end are many, and the consultant is rarely – if ever – caught by surprise. This is in stark contrast to a permanent employee who is caught off guard when the company does layoffs.

Some consultants try to find roles on their own at the end of an engagement, while others will reach out to recruiting firms to find them their next gig.  The beauty of working with a consulting company like Vivo is that we are well connected and if you have worked with us in the past we are able to vouch for you and get you in front of other clients within our network.


So, if risk alone has kept you from the contracting world – though the money and freedom are calling your name – you may want to think again.  Perhaps that contract position you’ve been turning down would provide you more security than that “permanent” role, after all.

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BOLD LETTERING: Do’s and Don’ts


When it comes to composing your resume, a lot of guidelines are out there. There are different styles, formats, titles used, dates needed, etc.  But one thing that is never truly defined is when to make words bold and when not to. There are two rules to follow that will help your resume look more professional when it is submitted to a possible employer.

  1. DO bold your name, contact information and the headings sections on your resume (e.g., education, employment history, awards, certifications, etc.)
  2. DON’T bold words throughout your resume that relate to the skillset needed for a certain position for which you are applying.

Following these two basic rules makes your resume clean and easy to read. It also encourages the person reviewing your resume to look more closely at your accomplishments and the details of your past employment. When someone is reviewing you for a job opening, the way your resume looks can make it or break it for you. Don’t automatically get rejected by being “bold” and standing out in all the wrong ways.

Harpreet Singh
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Note to all the Job Hoppers

Food for thought: If you have been hopping jobs quite regularly or have hopped 3-4 times within the last five years, then I can assure you that on most occasions your resume gets passed over by hiring managers. Simply put, future employers see job hopping behavior as a high flight-risk hire.

Now what you should do is…


Step back for a second and ask yourself these questions:

Am I changing jobs for the right reasons?

Is there anything that I can do to fix my current situation which would allow me to stay with my current employer, and be content?


When should you consider other job opportunities?

Opinions differ from one person to the next, but in my experience, if you are not waking up most mornings with excitement, then it’s likely you’ll never get to tap your full potential and be happy at your current job.  You’ll essentially view your job only as a means of earning a pay check… each day will soon start to seem like Groundhogs day!

Reason to leave: A sinking ship will always sink.  Even though you may have been a loyal employee there is really no need for you to go down with this Titanic.

Reason to leave: I hate my boss! I hate the girl in the cube next to me! I hate the…blah blah blah! You get my point.  (Though remember, is this issue on a superficial level only? Can it be fixed? Do other employees feel the same about the person? Ask yourself honestly, “Is it me”?)

Reason to leave: Lack of work-life balance. Only you can decide your priorities. You’ll never have another opportunity to see your children grow up, or be there for your life partner’s graduation. If that’s what’s important and there’s no flexibility at your work then consider moving on.

Reason to leave: Bored? No light at the end of your tunnel? If you have not learned anything new and work has become more of a daily grind then it may be time to leave.

Reason to leave: Workplace harassment, verbal abuse, etc.

But again, just because you’re not excited does not mean you need to move on. Perhaps you should look at ways to make the job work for you. Consider the following:

  • Speak candidly to your boss about the areas of your job which you like least. At the same time, seek to maximize the areas you enjoy most.
  • Consider the career choice as a whole. Is it really your position you dislike – or just the current employer? If it’s the position as a whole, then it’s time for a career change- not a company change with the same job duties.
  • Reflect on the last job that did excite you. What made you happy? What did you have before that’s missing in your current role?
  • Take inventory on what exactly is making you unhappy. Is it money? Hours? Your boss? If you don’t know what you don’t like right now, how would you know to fix it in the future position? It’s imperative to reflect now than put it off later.

When you do decide that it’s time to make the move, you should have other options ready.

First step (do this before leaving):  Contact a recruiter or contact me (I would love to work with you), so that I or another recruiter can work with you to find out what it is that really makes you tick!  I can’t promise that I will be able to find you your dream job in a week or even two weeks. But, I promise to work with you to make sure that we are getting you into a role where you will …A) be happy B) see career progression C) get fulfillment beyond monetary compensation.

Lastly, it’s always a good idea to have an offer in hand before you put in your two-week notice. Avoid preemptively quitting if you can help it. Hiring managers tend to prefer currently employed candidates instead of someone who chose to be unemployed. But, remember – they may be more likely to hire an unemployed candidate than a serial job hopper. So, do your homework, and know what you want before … hopping!

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4 Steps To Be More Proactive In Your Job Hunt

Let’s keep this simple and straight to the point: If you want a recruiter to fight for you from all angles to get placed in a position, BE PROACTIVE ON YOUR END.BeProactive

We are always striving for our candidates to get placed in any and all open positions, but knowing you past a resume stand point makes that easier on our end.  Here are a few pointers on how you can make both your job hunt and our placing of you that much easier and efficient.

  1. Keep us updated. If you are currently job hunting and working through some other opportunities that you didn’t find with us, let us know.  We may know the hiring manager at that company and can put in a good word.  We may also be able to use those other opportunities as leverage to get things moving much quicker on our end.
  2. Check new job listings periodically or set a reminder to check for new listings. Our job board is always changing, and we are not knowledgeable of every single listing.  If you come across a position that looks interesting to you, let us know.  It allows us to get you started with the screening process that much quicker.
  3. Build a relationship with us. If you let us know how an interview went or what circumstances may have changed for you while job hunting, it helps us be a better resource for you moving forward.  By becoming a friend to us, and not just another candidate, it allows us to place you more effectively and keep you on our radar AT ALL TIMES! J
  4. Don’t be afraid of change. In order for you to pop off the page to some of our clients, we need exact wording and phrases to stick out on your resume.  For example, if you have worked with a software that’s in the job requirement that doesn’t show up well on your resume, brag about it more.  If you are looking for a job as Business Analyst and your work history doesn’t list that title in it, change it.  We don’t want you to lie about anything you have or haven’t done, but be open to the synonymous job titles that are out there.

By following these 4 simple rules, your job hunt will become much less stressful and much more SUCCESSFUL!!!


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Incorporate Social Media Into Your Search


We’ve all seen the “how to” with social media, but how could you incorporate it into a job search?

Simple, diversification across all the media you work with. Please see below for a better example than the donut one above:

Twitter: Currently seeking employment in San Francisco in .Net Development #needjob #jobs #need #employment #help


Facebook: Fellow friends, I’m on the job market, message me if you know anyone hiring!


Foursquare: Currently at department of workforce services making a profile with them!


Youtube: Check out my video resume where I explain my qualifications rather than just being an average paper resume.


Instagram: Here’s a collage of companies I have applied for/want to work with!


Pinterest: Here are interview tips I found, anyone else have great helpful tips & tricks?


LinkedIn: Currently seeking employment in San Francisco in .Net Development, please message me if you have any openings and check out my profile!

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Vivo, a Panda, & The Workflow

Every winner – or at least consistent winner – is a creature of habit.

It’s true. Look it up.

Whether it be in sports, in work, or in life… when you find a winning formula, you ought to stick to it.

I mean, why wouldn’t you, right?


Let’s take baseball, for example. The next time you catch yourself at a baseball game or watching one on TV, keep your eyes on the batter. It’s quite incredible, really. He’ll walk into the batter’s box the same way, every time. Even before then, his ritual may have already begun. Pablo Sandoval, aka “the Panda,” of the San Francisco Giants, usually takes a skip and a hop toward the pitcher’s mound, kicks his bat with each foot multiple times, taps it against the crown of his helmet, then swipes the bat clean before he trudges his way back into position… only to step back out, re-fasten his glove straps, and finally settle in for the exchange. A few minutes later, he’s taking the pitcher deep, opposite field, for a 3-run home run to ice the game.

Sure, his ritual is terribly exaggerated and may have had nothing to do with how or why he hit that home run, but who are we to judge? It works, and is only worth judgment if it didn’t.

The same sort of concept applies with us here at Vivo.

Our team takes great pride in our success, and most of all, we love to win. A lot. So it should come to no one’s surprise that we’ve developed a ritual, or better yet, a workflow here that is set up for premium results.

The main strength of having a well-developed workflow is that when we break down the intricacies of each and every deal we do, we can pinpoint when and where things go right, but even more so when things go wrong. We know that when we perform each step of our workflow to perfection, an offer – barring any mental breakdowns from the candidate—is practically inevitable. At the same time, when we take a deeper look into our failed transactions, we can clearly see where we as recruiters or account managers either skipped, or failed to execute a step properly.

So once you experience your first win, it’s important that you dissect it, and subsequently, develop a successful plan or workflow that you and your team can then repeat ad nauseam. From there, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to triumph again and again. And again.

Now let’s get back to “the Panda” and his homerun. You can probably assume that the ritual is more appropriately the final stepalbeit a small one – in his workflow before he sees the fruits of his labor. It’s a step he always performs, regardless of outcome. But after 2 World Series rings and a World Series MVP to go with them, why change it?

You could say the same for Vivo. After having the best first quarter Vivo has experienced in many years, why change what’s working?

The answer is, you don’t. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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You Oughta Be In Pictures


No, really. You should have a picture on LinkedIn. I’m not going to go on and on – as we have done here, ad nauseum – about the quality of,  and pose you choose for, your picture – that horse is dead. But, please put up a picture.


When you do not put a picture on your LinkedIn, we worry about you. What’s she hiding? What doesn’t he want us to know?

If you are pictureless and willing to present the alternative point of view – post here! We would love to hear from you: why no picture?

Until then, we will go on assuming you are in witness protection, or just robbed a bank.

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The Road To Self-Reinvention

4 weeks ago, a former consultant reached out and asked for help: his wife had been looking for a job, hadn’t gotten any luck, and needed guidance. She’s not in the technical field, said he. Could Vivo possibly help?


Assessing the situation, the wife – let’s call her Ms. Courageous – seemed to be bent on reinventing herself. She has years of dental office administrative experience, had grown tired of it, and decided to wholeheartedly pursue her passion: social media marketing. The problem was Ms. Courageous had her resume out there but hadn’t received any interest at all.

Cut to last week and Ms. Courageous sent a thank-you note. She was absolutely positive that my help turned the tide since she had nary a luck prior to my input. She has started a 150-hour PR internship with a fast-growing social media marketing agency with offices nationwide. She also had another offer on her tail. It’s pretty cool, right?

The road to self-reinvention is rough. How do you make the industry you want to break into take you seriously? Beats me too as I tend to chalk up most good fortunes to cosmic luck. (Read on to identify which Syndrome this statement exemplifies.)

Here are a few non-expert tips that hopefully can help you:


Here is where I had my hand in helping Ms. Courageous. I edited her resume to highlight her qualification. I reformatted: changed the font, spacing, indentation, bulleting, consistency, and most tellingly, the FUNCTION. I’ve noticed that a lot of job seekers make the mistake in assuming that their resumes’ function is to tell every job held. Your resume’s function is to share relevant experience (education, job, training, association) to the job you’re after, not to every industry and career fields you’ve been in. By changing the function, I zeroed in on her skills such as SEO, AP writing, and blogging on top of her Journalism degree. Packaged sensibly, her resume communicated her objective… without its explicit statement.

For other superbly helpful resume tips, check out my colleague Harp’s recent take on resume do’s and don’ts HERE.


MOOC is a funny term. But this funny term is a game-changer in career-reinvention. MOOC, or Massive Online Open Course, is an education platform enabling millions of people worldwide get quality education without the premium cost. Want to learn on the side about Algorithms, JavaScript, or Python taught by a Princeton University professor? Or how about an Information Security subject from the University of London? The caveat is these courses are supplemental sources of education and cannot be applied towards a college degree. Still, you get the benefits of getting a solid foundation towards a career you want to break into, one of which is overcoming this nasty syndrome you’re about to learn. (Keep reading!) So learn which MOOC platform has a solid reputation. The one I particularly like is through Coursera, a company founded by Stanford University professors.  They partnered with top universities to offer courses in various categories such Arts, Engineering, and Medicine. www.coursera.org.


You may have read my love for Girl Geek Dinners HERE. Its Bay Area Chapter vigorously combats the menacing and highly debilitating (dun dun dun) Impostor Syndrome! Impostor Syndrome is the “I’m a fake” feeling you get whenever you’re trying something new and you see everyone around you as the experts that tell their FB friends about “that wannabe newbie in the office”. Another symptom of this syndrome (say that five times fast) is depreciating own’s value in success.

GGD encourages women to get into technology and engineering-related careers; two fields where Impostor Syndrome for women is rampant. By hearing the accounts of women who have successfully conquered the Impostor Syndrome and got into leadership positions, those who try to follow this path will surely feel what Olaf has been wishing to feel in summer.


So what have we learned so far in this incredibly long post?

Define your resume. Leverage the free tools that can build your foundation. And find yourself a support network, a group of people that says, “Hey, I get you. I get what you’re feeling. You got this.”

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Top 10 Interview Rules to Follow

Having conducted several interviews over the past few months for our expanding office in Salt Lake City, UT (as well as daily phone interviews with consultants) there are 10 important interview rules that if followed, create a strong foundation for the prestigious “next steps” in the process of obtaining a new position:

Interview Rules

  1. If you’re early you’re on time, if you’re on time you’re late and if you’re late, no job for you.
  2. Dress to impress but you’re not going to a wedding or GQ runway show, simple yet business is best.
  3. Besides maybe your car keys, a padfolio with resume(s), there is no need to lug anything else into an interview so leave the purse, backpack, lunch box and significant other in the car.
  4. Make sure if you’ve put something on your resume, you know it, you know when you did it, you know why you did it and you know how it made you feel (either good or bad).
  5. Be engaging! I cannot stress this enough, if you make the interviewer do all the work they’re going to wonder how serious you are about putting “hard working” in the skills portion of your resume – quid pro quo is fine, just make sure you’re everything about you screams “hire me, I’m your guy/gal!”
  6. Body Language is extremely important! You don’t want to be stiff, but you also don’t want to appear as though you’ve sunken into a Lay-Z-Boy. As before, be engaging with your interviewer – this is a small chance to “show” you want the position as oppose to merely speaking to that fact. If you get excited, show it (in a professional manner mind you) and in the end it will come across as though you are a truly interested candidate.
  7. Politics and religion aren’t appropriate conversational topics, stick to your attributes in relation to the position.anyquestions_600x300
  8. In closing, have meaningful questions. Don’t ask questions that can be found on the website (do your research beforehand) and questions regarding salary is quite taboo. I suggest not bringing up money, particularly in a first or even second round of interviews. This is usually negotiated once an offer is made and prior to you accepting. Questions I would suggest would be:
    a.     What types of skills is the team missing that you’re looking to fill with a new hire?
    b.     What are the performance expectations of this position over the first 12 months?
    c.     Where have successful employees previously in this position progressed to?
    d.     What’s your favorite part about working here?
    e.      Is there anything else I can provide you with that would be helpful?
  9. Thank the interviewer and shake their hand, be sincere and jovial.
  10. Be sure to get a card and email a thank you!

It may seem simple, but you’d be surprised how these rules go out the window when the butterflies start swirling and the nerves kick in. But if you can take these to heart and remember them, you’ll set a strong foundation for a great impression.