Brenda Greene

Brenda Greene, author of “Get the Interview Every Time,” talked about her third-edition release in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

ENFIELD — In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Enfield author Brenda Greene said it was time to update her book on tips to landing a job.

Greene, author of “Get the Interview Every Time,” said she felt there was a need for the revision due to the pandemic’s effect on the hiring landscape and job loss.

“I said, you know what, people need to know how to get back into the workforce,” she said. “So, that’s when I decided to update the book.”

Her first edition was published in early 2000 as the Digital Age began changing the workplace and lifestyles, and she released her second edition in 2008 during the financial crisis of that period.

Greene said she wanted to update her book prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but became consumed with other projects. However, she found that it was time to self-publish the third edition of her book.

“Get the Interview Every Time” addresses the ever-changing hiring protocols with tips on resumes, cover letters, online profiles, the interview process, negotiating a salary and more as the Digital Age continues to change.

The entire process has changed from the idea of a one-size-fits-all to having a bit more finesse toward getting that interview for a job, Greene said.

“People who have worked for 10 or 15 years, when they want to change jobs or they’re forced to change jobs they come out — they think they can use their old resume and just update it,” she said. “But the protocols for hiring have really changed since the Digital Age. What you basically do when you’re updating your resume is your experience. There’s no changing that.”

Greene said changes for hiring began through an online job board, which in turn graduated to applicant tracking systems that are software that handles resumes by selecting specific keywords for certain jobs.

While platforms such as LinkedIn and Indeed allow people to create profiles as a digital resume, they are not always a way to land that job.

Greene said the platforms are useful, but suggests using them to look at job postings to find out which company positions are offered and then apply through the company website. But it all comes down to listing the right skills that one actually possesses on a resume for the job, she said. Skills are a big thing in her book, Greene said.

“It is about skills and about learning new skills because the job market is changing and the workplace changing,” she said. “Next year it could be completely different. The job market is very dynamic. So, you have to stay plugged in and you continually have to be a life-long learner. Get as many skills as you can possibly get at a job, and keep broadening your skills. I’m much more interested in that than a PH.D.”

Oftentimes, many people list in their resumes skill sets they do not have, which could make it more difficult for others with job skills for the job as employers tighten the hiring criteria.

However, Greene said the software can sometimes pull specific keywords to for a person to land the interview if they do not have those skills, but a good interviewer can figure out in 10 minutes if someone has those skills or not.

“You’re wasting people’s time,” she said. “But say you luck out, and you’re good at convincing that you have skills that you don’t have. You get into the new job, you can’t perform with the skills you don’t have that you said you had. That’s why within six months’ time, I think almost 35% of people leave their jobs, whether they’re asked to leave by the employer, or they figure out themselves that this is not working or a good fit for them.”

Greene said people applying for jobs should have 80-90% of the skills required to do the work.

“You might have a skill for writing, and so you do a lot of research,” she said. “But you don’t think it’s that important. So you don’t even bother listing it on your resume. But if it’s on that job posting saying intensive research and that sort of thing, that keyword must be on your resume for you to make it past the box.”

While someone may research on companies where a job is listed, employers are also conducting research on applicants by simply using a search engine such as Google, Greene said.

“Your pages are going to come up, and if you come across as a rabid anti-vaxxer or something like that, they’re going to say, ‘Wait a minute here, maybe he’s not the right fit for this company,’ ” she said.

The search can go deeper where employers will view an applicant’s social media profile, Greene said.

“If you’re complaining about everybody, if you don’t like this person and you’re fighting with this person, that negativity is going to be a red flag for this company as well,” she said. “We think we’re benignly posting our hearts out we have a right to complain. No, we don’t. Complain to your significant other or your best friend, not on social media, because that paints the picture of you as someone that may be hard to work with.”

Greene’s book is based on feedback from human resource departments at Fortune 500 companies, a list of the top companies in an annual publication, such as Pepsi, Walmart, Harley-Davidson and more.

The larger companies on that list said they have hundreds of thousands of applications and have created a basic standard on hiring using the applicant tracking system, Greene said.

“Smaller companies eventually jump on board, but midsize companies definitely jump on board because they are looking for simpler ways to weed through all the resumes they get,” she said.

Though her book can be found on Amazon or at Barnes & Nobles, Greene said nobody is born with the knowledge to write a resume.

“Everything is changing, and it continues to change,” she said. “I’m glad it’s out there, and I’m glad it was a great project to do during COVID with keeping me busy and out of trouble.”