SPEAKER’S CORNER: Gina Perez’s Five Tips to Help Applicants Uncover the Mystery of Human Resources

By Candace Waller
Gina Perez, Human Resource (HR) Director for Lucky Brand Jeans, demystified human resources and provided five tips to make human resources work for job seekers. Perez, who has worked in the retail industry for over ten years, gave PSGCNJ members an inside peek on how HR views job seekers.
Most job seekers have a love/strong dislike for the Human Resources department. The love side is that H. R. presents the job offer, explains the benefits packages and other perks. The strong dislike side is that H. R. lays off employees and screens applicants early in the job search process.
#1) Make sure that your resume speaks to the job.
Job seekers should tailor their resumes to speak to each job they apply for. But don’t put items on the resume that are not true because you may be asked to speak to them in an interview. H. R. personnel are trained to find out if an applicant is not being honest about their experience.
Perez says that cover letters don’t carry a lot of weight in the retail industry because jobs often have to be filled quickly.  H.R. personnel in other industries may read all the materials provided. If an applicant does include a cover letter, it should highlight pertinent items from the resume that match the job description.
# 2) Make sure all communications both oral and written are consistent.

Dates and jobs on applications must match those on the resume. When they don’t, hiring managers and H.R. personnel start to question the truthfulness of the applicant. Inconsistencies in dates between the application and the resume may forestall some H.R. departments from offering an applicant the job.
#3) Make sure social media is a part of your job search.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are the best places applicants should search for jobs. Perez’s company doesn’t use CareerBuilder or some of the bigger job search aggregators, opting instead for social media or industry-specific websites. Many companies post jobs on their own LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook pages.
On Facebook, look for a careers link which will usually take you to the company’s career page where positions are listed. Following or friending a company is a good idea because applicants get information on what a company is doing and a heads-up on jobs. Companies using Twitter will also tweet jobs.
#4) Make sure you are creative wherever possible.
There are thousands of people looking for jobs, so make sure you are creative and take calculated risks. Posting a video resume on YouTube is a creative way to attract companies, some of which have their own channels.
Zappos.com, an online site known for great deals on shoes, has a channel and accepts video resumes. Many job seekers stay away from video resumes thinking that they have to produce a great film.   But most companies are looking at how applicants present themselves, rather than their technical film-editing skills.
#5) Make sure you research companies.

Many job seekers rely too heavily on job boards or company career web pages, waiting for perfect jobs to appear. Perez urges job seekers to be more proactive, looking for connections on LinkedIn and writing to hiring managers via that site.
Use Glassdoor.com to see what employees and former employees say about the company. The site also has a feedback button where applicants can rate and add comments about their job interviews.
Salary questions are coming up earlier in the interviewing process and job seekers don’t want to be caught unprepared. Many online job sites require applicants to provide their salary requirements. Glassdoor.com, salary.com and money.com list salary ranges.
Gina Perez can be contacted through LinkedIn. Director of Human Resources for Stores at Lucky Brand Jeans, she holds an MS in Human Resource Education from Fordham University. 

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