One In A Million: Tips on Standing Out in Search, Rising Up On Career Path

Jennifer Newbill of Dell, Inc. has strategies for getting hired and climbing the ladder into leadership.

Jennifer Newbill of Dell, Inc. has strategies for getting hired and climbing the ladder into leadership.

You’re one in a million. Those are not your odds of getting job at Dell, Inc., that is how many job applications the tech giant receives each year.

And while Jennifer Newbill, senior manager in the Global Talent Center of Excellence for the Texas-based international company, does not look at each resume, she is responsible for the experience of every job candidate globally for Dell. She manages the global employment team on candidate attraction, engagement and experience.

Across all brands, Dell has 140,000 employees, and last  year hired 25,000 people who were external candidates. That does not include people who moved up into new positions within Dell. Fifty percent of all those candidates submitted applications on a smart phone.

Suffice to say that Newbill, who is a member of Glassdoor’s Advisory Board and was voted one of the top Talent Warriors in 2014 by Glassdoor, knows a thing or two about how you can stand out in a sea of applicants. And also how you as a woman in leadership can rise in leadership at a corporation.

Sure, video has become a hip clip to attach to your digital resume. But, Newbill advised, please send nothing longer than two to three minutes. And for your text resume, nothing longer than two to three pages for sure.

The biggest mistake? “Your resume is boring,” Newbill said.

Instead of listing a chronology of job titles and responsibilities, Newbill said, list outcomes. “Show what value you added, how you made an impact, money saved, the ROI, data points, were you ahead of schedule on projects?”

Also, add in some personal information, but not a lot. “Are you an avid reader, passionate about community service?” A little goes a long way in personal information, she said, but stay far away from mentioning political or religious affiliations.

What may seem obvious in a job search is also one of the biggest mistakes, said Newbill, who has been with Dell for 12 years in various human resources roles, including her current title that she created.  That is not understanding what the title of the job actually means, or what the duties, responsibilities and requirements are. So many candidates sit through an interview and are not clear.

For an employer who is unclear, the job search is an impossible search for the “purple squirrel” or someone who can do it all but does not exist.

At Dell, Newbill says her team makes 7 commitments to each candidate, all including  transparency:

  1. A realistic preview of the job and the interview process

  2. To ask any question and have it be answered with transparency and candor

  3. To be fairly considered for opportunities where qualifications meet requirements

  4. Post-interview communication on next steps no later than seven days

  5. The best possible offer the first time

  6. To be treated as a valued customer of Dell products and solutions

  7. Integrity and respect

The last tip is useful, as many women get caught in a trap of not asking for enough salary or benefits  from the start.

Many women don’t ask for enough salary or benefits from the start #womeninbusiness

“In the corporate world, only 15 percent of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies are women, and a Wall Street Journal analysis shows that among workers with college degrees, women, on average, make 76 cents for every dollar a man earns,” according to Alexia Fernandez Campbell in The Atlantic.

The federal government has been successful recently in closing the gender wage gap at some levels.

“Lately, some companies in the private sector have started adopting some of the government’s strategies, says Linda Babcock, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University. For example, Google reportedly bases its salaries on the market rate for a specific job, rather than an employee’s previous salary. And Reddit recently announced that it will no longer allow job candidates to negotiate salaries,” Campbell writes.

The federal government has been successful recently in closing the gender wage gap #LeadFromWithin

“Although limiting room for negotiation seems to have a huge impact on ensuring men and women are paid equally for the same job, it does nothing to make sure that women are well represented at all job levels, or that they are have an equal chance at career advancement. Many economists, including Babcock, argue that part of the pay gap comes from the fact that women tend to be segregated in lower-paying, lower-level positions,” Campbell writes.

Gender bias does exist in the workplace, Newbill says, and Dell’s program, Men Advocate Real Change, is an effort to shift those gaps.

At Dell, once you are hired, in order to be seen as a leader, possibly aiming for promotion and management, Newbill suggested you “do yourself a service and raise your hand,” and take the time express what your passion is concerning your work.

Jocelyn Greenky agrees with this concept and tells Huffington Post, this is about “boosting your score with strategic favors.”

“You can also be a leader without being a manager. Become a thought leader and express your expertise,” said Newbill, who began her career in Dallas at Heidrick & Struggles, before joining a handful of tech start-ups.

“Do not let a lack of confidence slow you down. Have the confidence conversation with yourself, she suggested. “You do not always have to seek external validation.”

About the Author

Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon