Writing Job Ads

Writing Job Ads

The other day I wandered into a debate about resume writing.  It was mostly about copy/pasting job ads as the resume.  Since I’ve really been on a roll with discussing hiring, I figured one more blog post won’t kill anyone.

Good Vs. Bad Writing

Are you trying to hire the person for the job you need done?  I’m going to throw out an idea that simply isn’t popular.  At least, not on LinkedIn. 

Are you ready?

You are hiring an individual. 

That person has a life, outside interests, and their own ideas about how the world works.  Over the years of being job seeker, hiring manager, and now a consultant, what’s become clear this isn’t how candidates are approached.  Anyone who’s looking for a job knows this.  From the generic job ads that don’t say anything about the role, to the 6 – 10 seconds a resume is scanned by a hiring gatekeeper, no one is approaching hiring as though there is a person that wrote the resume.

It’s become big business to hire % $ bullet points.

If you don’t believe me, run a search on LinkedIn for people who are ‘Project Manager’.  Then run the same search for job ads.  It’s all the same generic bullet points.  This is the sound bite that individuals have been reduced to.  

Job seeker forums are lit up with people looking for the secret to making it passed the hurdles.  The desperate outnumber the not so desperate.  On the exact same forums, recruiters offer sage advice on what not to do when looking for work. 

Yet the silence is deafening from companies that can resolve hiring problems.

Hiring is the crux of creating a good team.  The half-way approach of generic job descriptions, ATS, and skimmed resume reading are not cutting it.  While tech is approaching this in some fascinating ways; there’s still something to be said about old-fashioned.

Approach is Everything

My approach is very simple.  In fact, you might not believe how easy/hard it is.  And I’ve personally built dozens of teams for everyone from small businesses to corporations this way. 

I write to the person I’m looking for.

That’s it.  You can now pay me a kazillions of dollars for my sage wisdom gleaned from 1000 years as a hiring manager!


That’s really it. That’s my starting point.

I write a job ad to speak to the person I am looking for.  I’m not copying and pasting an Indeed article.  I’m not using generalizations.  I’m not looking for $ % bullet points.  I’m looking for an individual with skills, brains, savvy, and sparkle.   

When you are looking for someone specific, you describe that person in detail.  When they see the notice, they’ll know it’s them, because it’s like looking into a text-based mirror.

Effective Communication is Key

All right, it’s not that simple, there’s more to it than just that.  I need to know what my areas of weakness are.  I must know what my budget is and then I tell what it is.  You wouldn’t believe it, but people value transparency!  There’s no guessing involved as to how much someone my want and they know the limit.  I also involve the crew in finding the right person.  They’ll be working with them, they need to have some input in it.  When it’s time to conduct interviews with the few people that apply, the team is right there.  Please note, I said few people, not thousands of people.  Thousands of people will not be interested in a detailed job ad that doesn’t speak to them.

Writing is an amazing tool if you use it the right way.  Remember what English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton famously said, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”  When you write to an individual you will get a response from that individual. 

Providing job descriptions that appeal to the right person isn’t easy.  It needs to be specific, clear, concise, and tailored to the right person.  Just like you expect the right person to be specific, clear, concise, and tailor their resume to your writing.  They’ll write back to you in a way that is meaningful.  How do I know this?  Because I tell them how to apply to me in a direct and specific way. 

Obviously, this isn’t everything.  But, it’s a pretty big start in finding the right ‘someone’.  While it’s low tech, it’s personal.  You aren’t looking for just bullet points or carbon copies.  You’re looking for people.  Write to them and let them know what you are looking for.

Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant.  Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can contact her at anna@atomicdumpling.com.



As a Blog dedicated to creativity and design you may wonder… why jeans?

Know Your Customer

Jeans are one of the most poorly designed products to this day, for women, in my opinion. Now I know the huge problem of “female “marketing, which is basically make it pink and charge more for the same product. It’s a lazy and degrading philosophy that most women see through. It’s also a vast missed market of opportunity to make things women actually want. Like jeans, more specifically, jeans with pockets.

Woman come in all shapes and a one size fits all when it comes to jeans is almost impossible. If you have hips, but no waist, you have to cinch-up like a crown royal bag. If you have nothing going on back there, just wide and flat like an aircraft carrier, you get the “gap” whenever you sit, where friends can throw spare change for fun.  To further complicate we have short-wasted ladies and long wasted, and jeans that can be hip-huggers or mom jeans. Worst of all, jeans made for women have no pockets. Why? On average you can fit may be a quarter and a tube of Chapstick. One piece of gum, well one piece of Trident gum.  Even cargos for women, if you can find them, are capri and the pockets are only big enough to hold one credit card, maybe.

Here we are paying minimum fifty dollars, up into the hundreds for jeans, and Men’s Levies start at twenty bucks!

Now I have worn the hundreds of dollars jeans, and they look good. I can’t carry my phone, keys or Id, unless I have purse or a coat with adequate pockets. I think this is the origin of my hate against lady jeans, I am not a purse person. I can’t be trusted with them. I have tried and have left them in restrooms and friends’ houses all across America. I need pockets, jeans with pockets. Ones that don’t slide my phone out of its back pocket when I stand up in the restroom stall and send it into the bowl. I have to hold my phone in my mouth because putting it on any surface is gross, and I may forget to take it with me. I need working pockets, but women jeans don’t have them. They are there so the jeans look normal, not to serve any function.

Pink Product Fail

I got fed up and bought some men’s Levies, they are their new line for guys called Flex, because men like words like Flex, rather than stretch, because ladies’ jeans stretch and men jeans flex like bulging muscles instead of stretching under muffin tops. They are also slim fit, because that’s a lady’s jeans standard and the pockets go almost to my knees.  They look good, feel good and cost twenty bucks.  So, my question is, why can’t we have them? What is the issue in the design that stops all manufacturers from making them? Do women not look good with real pockets? Do women not want to wear men’s jeans outright that they must buy “boyfriend” style jeans at two to three times the cost? I have never worn “boyfriend” jeans and I can’t vouch for the pockets. Why not just buy the same jeans your boyfriend wears?

And this is the problem. Fashion is a beast unto itself and I am not questioning or tackling it, I am asking about a fundamental difference in a staple of everyday clothing and work wear. Is it not feminine to have pockets? Is the line ruined? Why are we concerned about a line in jeans that we throw on to hit the grocery store? Because in woman jeans, designer or every day, it doesn’t matter.

No pockets for you!

That again, is design flaw. If you’re out and want jeans that look painted on, I can understand, but if you’re out to buy you aren’t wearing those jeans, you wear the ones that need functioning pockets. But we don’t because some imaginary rule forbids it. This we can change. To do that we have to look at things beyond who we always do them and begin questioning why we do it and change it if it is no longer working. 

Leigh-Alexandra Jacob is a visual effects artist and creative director.  She’s the founder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can reach her at leigh@atomicdumpling.com.

Seeing the Unseen

Seeing the Unseen

Right now, I’m looking at System 001’s position.  The Pacific Garbage Patch has been in the news since 1997 and System 001 project is trying to clean up the gyre.  While the project is ambitious, it only skims the surface of the problem since 70% of ocean trash sinks.  That leaves tons of trash that requires locating and more complicated cleanup process.

Out of sight, out of mind… 

Do you think about waste?  I’d say most of us recycle where ever we can.  That big blue bin is a hot spot of activity.  What we recycle is barely encompassing what we consume.  Food and beverages are an essential part of our everyday lives.  Americans love their fast lives and their fast foods.  Our mantra is the word ‘Go.’ 

I want you to do me a favor.  Go to your garbage can and look inside.  Imagine the contents floating on ocean waves.  That’s what System 001 is cleaning up. 

Give the bag a lift.  Inside are you hard earned dollars.  We pay for cups and lids from Starbucks.  We pay for plastic grocery bags.  We pay for candy bar wrappers and chip bags. 

See that red solo cup?  It takes about 450 years for that cup to go away after the party.  That’s about the same for plastic drink bottles, six-pack holders, and disposable diapers.  Yup, my poopy baby diapers will out-live me by at least 4x. 

The Harsh Reality

An estimated 80% of ocean trash comes from food and beverages.  The top pollutant in the ocean is cigarette butts.

Recently, there was an article about whale that had over 1000 pieces of plastic in its stomach.  This shouldn’t be a surprise as you stare at that garbage can.  Not everything will make it to the land fill.  How long it will take to break down everything you’re looking at.  If you aren’t sure…. read this.

Having worked on the oceans for over 20 years, I can tell you that your garbage isn’t that different than someone in the UK.  It’s also not that different than someone in Australia.   The rate at which we consumes things has significance because it’s in our oceans and inside of us.  Beach cleanups aren’t enough to fix the problem, and neither are litter patrols.  It first must be a social change, demanded through your hard-earned dollars to affect companies. 

The problem is trash is everywhere and most of it is under the waves.  In order to locate it, underwater acoustics and optic systems work the best.  Locating deposits zones of trash is more economical in terms of remediation work.  Ideally, cost reduction can probably be achieved though the platforms used. 

The best platforms for locating trash underwater are unmanned vehicles. 

Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant.  Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can contact her at anna@atomicdumpling.com.

American Hiring Practices

American Hiring Practices

The Problem

Companies have become reliant on the Field of Dreams idea, “If you build it, they will come.”  What do I mean by that?  I’m saying the ideology of the candidate doing all the initial work is wrong.  That’s 20th Century thinking and unsustainable for modern business.

Using generic write ups for job descriptions that look like someone robbed Wikipedia at gun point isn’t winning your company any awards.  With generic job posting, then the hot mess of copy/paste onto job boards, you’re effectively turning off everyone who isn’t desperate for ‘anything’ and willing to be strung along. Thus, killing your real potential candidates. 

Don’t use a generic posting.  Whoever started this needs to be given a stern talking to.  If your company isn’t going for vanilla, don’t post job ads that read like the company is where careers go to die.  You are looking to a person, so write to that person.

What the Hiring Culture has Become

I like to say that the hiring culture in the United States has become a gauntlet run.  You don’t know what to expect, who the contenders are, or whether you’ll make it.  You just know that is starts with a Guillotine and ends with a Catherine Wheel, and inside is an unknown maze.  If you make it through the instant disqualifiers, your prize is there for the taking.

Harsh?  That’s the reality for Americans looking for work with employers across the Nation. 

Candidates consider rewriting their resume seven different ways a time waste.  Why would this even be a thing?  Think about what your presenting as your initial introduction to an employee that’s going to do amazing stuff for you.  You really want to start out on the ‘busy work’ with an application process more complicated than getting a job at NASA?  Don’t believe me?  LinkedIn is a hotbed of candidates with tales of whoa about your company and its sad hiring practice.  That’s just the start of the mess that’s coupled with applicant tracking systems (ATS) and HR managers as a double whammy stage gate, creates the gauntlet.

Are You the Gatekeeper?

The HR Manager isn’t Zuul, Gatekeeper of Gozer.  Why are you treating them as such?  Your HR manager is far more effective with your hiring manager and provide them information and being in on interviews as extra ears and eyes for the team.  Otherwise, a candidate has no successful means to navigate without an insider guiding them every step of the way.   Candidates will be working with a team, the people they need to be referred to is that team.

Now I’ve been on both sides of this coin.  I’ve been the hiring manager and the candidate.  I’ve worked with recruiters and I’ve bypassed them all together.  I can also tell you that I’ve been successfully building, managing, and leading crews all over the world and there’s not a lot of guess work on what’s worked and what hasn’t.  Nineteen years of managing people give you a little bit of perspective on those types of things.

While that’s all pretty common sense, this isn’t being done.  That leads us to discussing a much-needed paradigm shift in hiring practices.  While it’s true you can keep ‘doing things the way you’ve always done them’, the competition and 21st century are changing the game.

The Fix

The start of the shift is recognition of poor practices.  The next step is to move away from passive practices and stage gated systems that don’t immediately involve a team knowledgeable in the positions you are recruiting.  Creating a strategy for a modern marketing stylize recruiting methodology will help build a better system. 

Whoa, what does that mean?  That means actively searching for the right people using every tool available to you.  Beyond that, you need to embrace change of the hiring system like you did when you threw out the old fax machine… you did throw out the old fax machine, right? 

We’re here to guide companies into creating better strategy for their business.  It helps we’ve done it a few times.

Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant.  Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can contact her at anna@atomicdumpling.com.

Social Media for Small Business

Social Media for Small Business

As a small business owner, it’s tough trying to come up with things to talk about daily. It’s even harder trying to come up with conversation starters to get people to notice your business over the noise on social media.

There’s always so much to talk about, but only so little can be said in opening.  That’s the hard part.  Finding the balance of blathering on about a topic, finding the right opener for people to jump onboard and get the conversation rolling.  It feels like walking on a slackline; it’s unstable and the balance is a lot of guess work.

Social media is like a giant hall, filled with music, people, and a place where everyone is trying to be heard all at once.  For someone just getting cracking, it’s both awe inspiring and nightmarish.  Twitter alone reminds me of a room full of sugared up toddlers, each hell bent on getting your attention one way or another. 

I’m not trying to rattle all social media with a level of cartoonish glare.  I’m trying to open conversations.  Whether they be about the Energy industry, awesome ways to film in the air, or about the startup drone idea living in your head. 

I’m looking to use my knowledge to help people and the environment.  Which gives me a lot to talk about, if your willing to jump onboard to have a conversation.   

Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant.  Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can contact her at anna@atomicdumpling.com.

Digital Consulting

After years of working for the companies that used complicated systems, being in the military, and going freelance, Leigh & I are taking the next cosmic step with Atomic Dumpling.  We’ve opened our doors to creating a consultancy of our own.

Needing an advise, project manager, or a killer team of people helping you doesn’t need to be a guessing game anymore.  I feel great about making the decision to take the next step in my career by starting my own company.  I know I have the experience and the understanding to bump things up and make some magic happen.

Running a business is a complicated process. There’s a level of understanding that needs to be in place in order to operate successfully.  Understanding outcomes for the expected project is only a small piece of the puzzle.

That’s why we’re starting a consulting company. Our goals are fairly simple really. We want to help people expand their footprint, their digital foot print. Business is hard. But, with the team we’re growing, we’re going to make things easier.  

Anna Pilette is a geophysicist and technologist turned digital consultant.  Anna is a Cofounder of Atomic Dumpling.  You can contact her at anna@atomicdumpling.com.