Now that we have the leasing vocabulary down, it's time to starting digging into how organizations make financing decisions for new IT projects. This week I will discuss a couple of basic ways in which most organizations evaluate IT purchases.
Example Exercise: Think About Personal Finance Decisions
Let's start with an exercise that will frame up our conversation. Pretend that you are in the mood to purchase a few new items from your local electronics store: a 70" plasma TV ($5,000), a Blu-Ray disk player ($200), and a Blu-Ray disk movie ($20). Note, in this example all of the items go on sale in different weeks, so you cannot purchase all three items at the same time. This is a very wide range of prices, and having limited funds available in the ol' checking account to pay for such wonderful new toys, you have to weigh your options on how to best fund your new purchases. Here are your choices:
1) The electronics store is offering 24 months interest-free financing for purchases over $1,000
2) You have a personal credit card with a high limit
3) You can write a check and/or pay cash
With this information in mind, you decide that the best option is to:
- Use the 24 month interest-free financing option to purchase the TV. The purchase price of the TV plus 7.5% tax equals $5,375. That's approximately $224 per month for 24 months.
- Next, put the Blue-ray player on your credit card. That way you can save your $200 until your next credit card billing cycle, essentially deferring the payment a little. In the mean time you will collect a paycheck or two, allowing you to save up the $200 required to pay off your balance.
- Finally, simply pay cash for the $20 Blu-Ray.
Being the wise shopper that you are, you have just used your personal credit to finance your purchases. By appropriately spreading out the payments, and by managing your personal cash flow, you can now enjoy 70 inches of HDTV greatness. The payment methods you chose for Blu-Ray player and movie were far less complex, but still important.
Apply This Rationale to Business Decisions
Let's apply similar logic to your organization. Like to your checking account, credit card, and a 24-month financing option, your organization has a number of options when it comes to financing IT decisions. Being financially stable, your organization most likely has cold hard cash in the bank, as well as various existing credit lines with banks and other lending institutions. Your organization can also choose to open a leasing account, or can choose a "pay as you go" or "pay per use" option, essentially renting new IT products.
So, what are the details of these common options for procuring new IT products, and what are their pros and cons?
When you purchase your new technology products and service outright, you assume full ownership at the time of purchase. There are two basic ways to finance your outright purchase: You can pay cash, or you can use one of the company's lines of credit. Once you make the purchase, your company will likely choose to either expense or depreciate the IT assets, generally determined by the dollar value.
- You own the assets
- You get to squeeze every last drop of useful life out of the assets
- You can choose to expense or depreciate the assets, potentially giving you an accounting advantage
- You just took cash out of the bank or leveraged a credit line to make the purchase
- You just paid the full sales tax amount for the purchase (unless you work for a school or non-profit)
- You may have limited ability to return the product and/or upgrade inexpensively
Leasing is simply another type of credit line that is extended to your company by a bank or leasing company. There are two basic types of lease arrangements: Capital and Operating.
In a capital lease your organization assumes only some of the risks of ownership. The most important concept to understand about a capital lease is the word capital, as in cash or credit. The accounting treatment of a capital lease is similar to an outright purchase. As the lessee you are obligated to report a capital lease as an asset and a liability on your balance sheet, and your organization can claim depreciation on the assets.
- Spread out your payment over the term of lease
- Sales tax payments are spread over the term of lease
- End-of-lease options include outright purchase of the residual or return to the lessor
- For a fee you can terminate your lease before the end of the term
- Considered an asset and a liability on your balance sheet
- Money factors and mothly payments are typically higher for capital leases vs. operating leases
In an operating lease only the right to use the technology is transferred from the lessor to the lessee. The most important concept to understand about an operating lease is the word operating, as in operating expense. When leasing IT products and services, it is harder to qualify for an operating lease than a capital lease. Operating leases do not show up on your balance sheet.
- Spread out your payments over the lease term
- Sales tax payments are spread over the term of lease
- Payments are treated as an operating expense
- Typically lower money factors and payments vs. capital leases
- Harder to quality for an operating lease than a capital lease
- You cannot negotiate upfront for a end-of-term buyout price
- Early termination can be very expensive
In IT, pay-per-use is typically attributed to software as a service (SaaS) and copier/printer technology refresh projects. Pay-per-use models typically include a bundle of products and services. For example, a pay-per-use model widely used in the copier industry is cost-per-page. Your organization's cost-per-page may include fees for the lease or rental of the copier, toner, service, and maintenance for a specific term.
Be aware that it is nearly impossible to compare a pay-per-use procurement option to a non pay-per-use. This is because pay-per-use procurement options are usually slightly more expensive than a typical lease or outright purchase, however they also come bundled with more value.
- Essentially a rental agreement that can be treated as an operating expense
- Flexible options to stop using the service (common of SaaS programs)
- You get a lot of extra value for the dollar
- You always have a payment
- You never get to own the product, only use it
- Can be difficult to compare to more traditional procurement models
Just like with personal financing, when your organization is procuring new technology products, understanding the options available can help you make smarter purchase decisions. What options have you taken advantage of in procuring new technologies? How have they worked out long-term?
Spotlight on Leasing Topics:
- Leasing Vocabulary
- Financing Decisions
- Advantages of Leasing
- Capital vs. Operating Leases
- Understanding My Payment
- Picking a Lease Partner
- The OEM Lease
- Interest-Free Leasing
- Managing Lease Schedules
- Managing the End of Lease Process
Jeffrey Goldstein is Senior Consultant at MCPc and is responsible for the delivery of hardcopy and value added services within the Lifecycle Management Group. Jeff earned his BS in Management of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management from The University of Akron and his MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.
Historically, storage arrays were developed with only minor differences in basic design. However, in today's world of storage virtualization, there are several options to consider, including: traditional storage, modular storage and Intelligent-Clustered Storage (ICS), the next generation of modular storage.
When evaluating these critical data storage systems, everyone seems to agree on the key desired attributes:
- Acceptable Levels of Performance
- Easy to Manage (including Remote Administration)
- Snapshots or Continuous Data Protection (CDP)
- Ability to Replicate Data to Remote Locations (i.e., Disaster Recovery Planning)
- Non-Disruptive Additions
- Non-Disruptive Scheduled Maintenance
- Pay-As-You-Grow (Substantial Scalability)
- Industry Standard Technology (non-proprietary)
- Realistically Priced
- Support for Virtualization Platforms (e.g., VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, Linux)
- BONUS Feature: Automated Tiered Storage & Automatic RAID
- BONUS Feature: Support for SSD (Solid State Disk) Drives
- BONUS Feature: Support for Data Encryption or Enhanced Security
- BONUS Feature: Power Friendly (idles drives not being accessed to conserve power)
So, how do different data storage solutions stack up?
Traditional Storage Arrays
Traditional storage arrays are comprised of a head unit that typically holds one or two storage controllers, the various interfaces to the storage network, and connectivity for storage shelves or cabinets. This design can scale only to a certain point and consequently a specific level of performance. Once those limits are reached, a forklift upgrade to a larger system is required.
For this reason, one must usually estimate the projected storage growth and acquire a system much larger than what is required to meet current storage needs.
Often people do not like the idea of buying more than they need in anticipation of future developments, nor are they interested in expensive proprietary systems since "open" alternatives are plentiful.
In data storage, nothing is more "open" than a truly virtualized storage environment because of the flexibility afforded by the basic premise of the design.
Modular (Virtualized) Storage
A more modern approach, offered by storage manufacturers like DELL EqualLogic, Compellent and Hewlett Packard (LeftHand P4000), is the modular storage node architecture reminiscent of a grid-computing paradigm. Each storage node includes controllers, interfaces and drive space; therefore, scalability is much greater than the traditional storage array architecture.
A significant comparative to traditional designs is that one need only purchase the amount of storage required to meet current needs. This is because simply adding another storage node accommodates expansion. Due to the integrated virtualization layer in modular storage units, more storage is usually accomplished without the complicated reconfiguration required by traditional storage arrays.
Of further contrast to traditional designs, the modular storage node approach actually realizes a performance increase as it is expanded. This is a result of each node having controllers and dedicated storage network connections, in addition to disk space,
Also worth noting, day-to-day management, system upgrades and important features like Snapshots, Thin-Provisioning and Replication (synchronous and asynchronous) are more easily implemented in the modular design — typically at a much lower cost and decreased levels of downtime.
Note: Some manufacturers offer storage virtualization solutions in the form of front-end appliances or host-based software solutions that are positioned in front of these traditional storage arrays. This offers an opportunity to upgrade an otherwise outdated system without a complete overhaul.
The Latest Option: Intelligent Clustered Storage (ICS)
Some people view ICS technology as being so significant that they refer to it as a paradigm shift in the way we'll work with data storage going forward. This intriguing storage technology has roots in the General Parallel File Systems (GPFS) that were created several years ago by IBM in partnership with Intel. In fact, this technology is pervasive in the majority of production super-computer platforms deployed today.
Essentially an ICS solution is comprised of a number of physically independent storage nodes that have complete awareness of one another, and present themselves as a single, logical pool of storage.
The storage nodes are referred to as intelligent because each node has processors, controllers, memory, network interfaces and hard disk drives along with the enabling software. This could be considered to be storage virtualization software, because what is presented to the host operating system is not the true physical storage, but rather a logical representation of the storage that we want the operating system to see or have access to.
Fault resilience is inherent in this design, as data is automatically saved to multiple intelligent storage nodes. Consequently, a single disk failure, or the failure of an entire storage node, will not disrupt service. This is because data is split into blocks that are striped across all of the nodes within the intelligent storage cluster. In fact, some manufacturers can provide protection from multiple storage-node failures in their design.
While the storage system attributes mentioned above are difficult, expensive or unavailable in traditional storage array solutions, they are commonplace in the ICS design.
Virtual Storage Options Offer Increased Business Agility
Bringing server virtualization together with storage virtualization enables an environment that can respond quickly and effectively to business changes that require more computing power and/or more storage. Furthermore, it is no longer necessary to bet too much capacity as a hedge against the dynamic nature of business, saving money both upfront and ongoing.
In the early adoption phase of this virtual technology wave, management of virtualized storage solutions may have been labeled complex or cumbersome. Those days are behind us as manufacturers have made great improvements in easing management techniques and interfaces, as well as simplifying underlying architecture.
Today, virtualized storage options are affordable, scalable and easy-to-manage, and worth consideration if you are looking for a new, dependable storage solution that can grow with your business.
Perry Szarka is a Solution Consultant at MCPc with expertise in data storage and network infrastructure. He works closely with clients to understand their business objectives and discover solutions to help them achieve their goals.
Greetings! My name is Jeff, and for the next ten weeks I am going discuss the topic of technology leasing. So, before we get started, I think it's important to frame up our conversation and find some common ground. Let's take a moment to quickly build some value into our conversation.
From an IT perspective, I know that leasing and financing are not the hottest topics, and I can bet that learning about leasing is not in your top 10 priorities. Having said this, let me take moment to set the stage with the following scales.
The Cool Scale (1 - 10):
- Technologies such as VoIP, Visual Communication, and Virtualization - 10
- Leasing - 0 (Didn't make the list)
- Leasing cool technologies such as VoIP, Visual Communication, and Virtualization - 3
The Importance Scale (1 - 10):
- Having the appropriate technologies that drive down the cost of doing business - 10
- Appropriately financing those technology investments in order to maximize ROI - 10
So, even though leasing may not be very cool, per se, having knowledge about the topic can certainly help you make the case for obtaining the technology your organization needs in the most cost-effective way. My goal over the next ten weeks is to help those who make technology investment decisions better understand leasing, and how it can positively impact your future technology lifecycle refresh projects.
As the IT decision maker, it's important to be able to have relevant conversations with your CFO, the manufacturer or OEM who makes the products you're considering, and the bank or leasing company that has been recommended to you. This will help you find some common ground with finance, and even make better-informed recommendations for new technologies. As we move forward, I encourage you to ask questions and provide feedback. I sincerely look forward to assisting you in meeting your business goals and objectives.
What are the important terms to understand when considering leasing?
To lay the foundation for future posts on technology leasing, following are some general leasing terms and what they mean. Understanding this vocabulary will help you ask better questions, and get better answers when engaged in a leasing conversation.
Time Value of Money
This is the fundamental, underlying principal that guides investment decisions. I'm offering you a risk-free return, no strings attached, however you have to pick from only one of two options:
- Option 1: I will give you $100 today
- Option 2: I will give you $100 a year from now
The time value of money simply suggests that the best option is to take your $100 today. Why? Because $100 today is not worth $100 one year from now; if you wait a year, you are essentially losing money. The simple takeaway is that money now is better than the same amount later.
The lessor is the party/company/bank who is leasing the technology products and service to you. Though you may have a technology consultant guide you through options and offer advice, this company is typically not your lessor — the lessor is always a bank or other financial institution. If your technology partner (VAR) highly suggests that you lease directly through them, as opposed to evaluating multiple lease options, run!
The lessee is the person/company leasing technology products and services. (This is you.)
This is the length of the lease agreement. Typical technology leases range from 24-60 months, depending on the technologies being leased; however, a lease can be for any term. When comparing lease options, do not fall into the trap of comparing dissimilar lease terms. Make sure you compare "apples to apples."
You most likely already know this term, but it stands for Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price. Many advertised lease offers are based on MSRP or above. However, the MSRP is not necessarily your final price.
This is basically the negotiated price of the technology products and services. Think of this as your complete bill of materials (BOM). Capitalized cost becomes one of several figures used in calculating a monthly lease payment.
This is the lessor's prediction of what the technology products will be worth at the end of the lease. The residual value is also important because it affects your monthly payment: the higher the residual, the lower your monthly payments.
However, software and technical/professional service have no residual value because the leasing company cannot resell them at the end of the lease. For this reason, bundling software and service into one lease can have a dramatic affect on your lease rate.
If you hate paying taxes, you are going to love this aspect of leasing: when you lease a product you do not pay sales tax the same way that you would if you were to outright purchase the exact same product.
Instead of paying the full tax amount up front, a portion of every monthly lease payment is paid for sales tax. In addition, you pay tax only on the dollar amount of the technology products and services value you are using, not on the residual value. Think back to the Time Value of Money, Capitalized Cost, and Residual Value concepts. Would you rather pay your full tax bill today or spread your payments over a specific term?
The security deposit is usually equal to one monthly payment. Multiple security deposits can sometimes be made to reduce the interest rate and, consequently, the monthly payment.
Sometimes called buyout amount, this is the amount of money you have to pay to own the technology products and service that you originally chose to lease. The payoff amount might be different from the residual value because of a refunded security deposit.
If you are not happy with the products that you have leased, or you believe you will gain a lot of value by switching to a different product before your lease term is up, you may be able to start from scratch with an early termination of the lease. Be careful: this can be a useful tool, but it can also be very costly.
This is the amount by which property (in this case, some technology product or service) loses its value. In leasing, depreciation is the difference between the cost of the technology product when it is brand new and the value of the technology product at the end of the lease (plus tax, interest and various leasing fees).
As with residual value, software and technical/professional service have no depreciation because they are essentially worth $0 at the end of the lease.
Subsidized or Subvented Lease
To make a lease more attractive (i.e. make the monthly payment lower), manufacturers (OEM) sometimes subsidize or subvent the leases. This means that the manufacturer or OEM is either offering a very low interest rate or is inflating the residual value of their products. Both tactics have the effect of lowering the monthly payment for you, the consumer.
Excess Wear and Tear
Most lease contracts have a clause which states that the company leasing the technology products and service is responsible for the cost of "excess wear and tear" to the products when they are returned. Read your contract carefully to understand what is considered "excessive."
One extra step that may help you avoid having your security deposit revoked or incurring extra charges from the leasing company is purchasing end-of-lease servicing, which will bring your laptop back to like-new condition.
If you break your laptop beyond repair and/or it is stolen, there might be a gap between what your insurance company will pay you for the loss and the amount you now must pay to the leasing company. If you take out gap insurance (it is included in some lease contracts), this will cover you for this loss.
Pay close attention to this one. Your approved money factor will heavily influence the amount of your monthly lease payment. Also called a lease factor or even a lease fee, this is the interest rate you are being charged.
It is expressed as a multiplier that can be used to calculate your monthly payments. The money factor is calculated using a Present Value formula and is based on: the total dollar amount being leased, the lease term, your company's credit worthiness, your security deposit, and the residual value of the technology products and services that you intend to lease.
Thanks again for your time today. If you found this information useful, I invite you to read my future posts (upcoming topics are listed below) on leasing over the next several weeks.
I would love to know how leasing may affect your business decisions, and welcome you to leave comments and ask questions about topics you'd like to see addressed.
Focus on Leasing Topics:
- Leasing Vocabulary
- Financing Decisions
- Advantages of Leasing
- Capital vs. Operating Leases
- Understanding My Payment
- Picking a Lease Partner
- The OEM Lease
- Interest-Free Leasing
- Managing Lease Schedules
- Managing the End of Lease Process
Jeffrey Goldstein is Senior Consultant at MCPc and is responsible for the delivery of hardcopy and value-added services within the Lifecycle Management Group. Jeff earned his BS in Management of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management from The University of Akron and his MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University. Connect with Jeff on LinkedIn.
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I had the opportunity to attend the VMware partner conference in Las Vegas this week. My wife suspects that it may have been just a ploy to get out of town to avoid dealing with the 2 feet of snow that just happened to hit town while I was away. Pure coincidence. Really!
Not only was I lucky to avoid shoveling snow, I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Rick Jackson, VMware's Vice President of Marketing. The conversation turned to The Cloud and what lessons from the past might teach us about what lies ahead.
Rick observed that how some organizations used Lotus Notes holds a valuable lesson for CIOs. Notes is a powerful and flexible tool, with one of its biggest benefits being the ability to develop custom applications and tools that integrate directly into the program.
Managers in the industry quickly figured out that using Notes, they could simply work around IT and implement their own solutions, thinking, "We don't need to have IT involved. We can work faster and cheaper without them." This would go on for some time, with more and more independent projects working from Notes.
Thus, the CIO would get run over by a proverbial bus* because then came the inevitable — something would go wrong.
Lost data wasn't backed up.
An audit turned up a licensing violation.
There was a security breach.
An intellectual property dispute erupted.
At this point, everyone turns to the CIO and collectively says, "This is your fault, what are you doing about it?" In essence, the organization puts the bus in reverse and runs the CIO over — again. Nobody ever said life being CIO was fair.
Rick's advice to CIOs in this situation is to take control now. Clearly communicate to your organization that you have a plan for The Cloud, because if you don't, people will develop one of their own.
Nowhere is communicating your plan more important than to the managers who are responsible for budgets, particularly if their budgets include charges for IT services, as these are the ones likely to be driving that bus.
Questions to Ask:
Are you helping your employees understand what The Cloud means?
Do your education and communication strategies include risks as well as rewards?
Do you have a migration plan?
Are you including managers' input in helping build your plan?
* Disclaimer on Rick's Behalf: The overused bus analogy is 100% mine. Rick is far too eloquent a communicator to have to resort to such a crude technique. My many thanks to Rick for so generously sharing his time and thoughts.
Lance Frew is the President and Chief Financial Officer at MCPc and helps guide the organization in achieving its strategic vision as an industry-leading technology products and solutions provider. Connect with Lance on LinkedIn.
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Practically everyone concerned with keeping a business computer network up and running has heard of server virtualization, but the concept of storage virtualization is not as well known or understood. Ironically, the benefits of storage virtualization can be appreciated whether or not your servers are currently virtualized, though server virtualization can be a catalyst for considering storage virtualization.
In medium to large data center environments, it is inefficient for each server to be configured with independent storage because of the amount of resulting unused, and therefore wasted, hard disk drive space. This is referred to as DAS or Direct Attached Storage. The storage could either be internal to the server, or it could be housed externally and connected directly to the server via SCSI, SAS or FC (FIBRE-Channel).
In comparison, a shared storage environment consists of one of more storage arrays and a dedicated storage area network (SAN). The centralized pool of storage can be shared amongst the servers as determined by the storage administrator, ensuring that unused or wasted space is kept to a minimum.
Basic benefits of a SAN include:
- Improved reliability due to its redundant design with no single points of failure
- Reduced cost of backup because of the centralized design
- Improved scalability and performance because of the dedicated storage network and the shared design
- Simplified storage provisioning because of the centralized approach
- Improved data availability because of the ability to facilitate server clusters and virtual servers, as well as to provide for either storage array-based or host-based data replication
Furthermore, storage can be tiered.
Tier-One storage typically consists of volumes of data that are either frequently accessed or deemed critical to the daily operation of the business. It is therefore housed on the most expensive, most reliable and best performing SAS or FC type hard disk drives. In comparison, Tier-Two storage is data that is not accessed frequently or is of secondary importance, and therefore it can be housed on less expensive SATA disk drives.
Do you remember time sharing?
As many already know, virtualization as a concept is not new. For example, although the names and references in the micro-computer world may differ, virtualization of computing resources has been a feature on IBM Mainframe computers for quite some time - it just used to be called time sharing. Whether we are considering servers, storage devices or the networks that connect everything, virtualization is all about achieving greater levels of efficiency and optimization.
Consider your portable music player when thinking about storage virtualization.
The driver behind this consideration is the continued data growth that we are all experiencing. It is not just companies and organizations, but individuals as well. As a point of reference, consider your portable music player. Do you ever have enough space?
It is not so farfetched to say that people are walking around with mobile phones that typically have more storage capacity than the average server did only ten years ago! Data is growing so rapidly that proactive management has become of paramount interest relative to controlling costs, while continuing to provide practical levels of access to the data. In this regard, storage virtualization as a concept speaks to the notion of operational value. That is to say, proactively managing storage resources keeps costs in check, and a technology that facilitates this is of value from an ongoing operational cost perspective.
Automation is key in proactively managing resources.
Traditional approaches to managing storage are becoming too restrictive and cumbersome because of the dynamic nature of data these days. Storage managers need to be able to pass judgment on data and move it around as needed based upon factors such as file size, type of file, age of file, date of last access and other criteria.
Critical data needs to be analyzed, replicated and archived in a timely manner, and having storage resources virtualized more easily facilitates all of this. How? When we virtualize, we are creating a layer of abstraction between the otherwise strict and hard rules of the storage resources. This layer of abstraction provides us with the flexibility that we need to control the storage resources in a more effective manner.
Has your organization implemented a storage virtualization strategy? What challenges have you encountered in as you worked through the process?
Perry Szarka is the Datacenter Strategic Business Unit leader at MCPc. He works closely with clients to understand their business objectives and discover solutions to help them achieve their goals.
It's one of those "million dollar questions" job seekers have: How do I get my resume noticed and make myself stand out as a job candidate? I'd like to share some insights, from an insider's point of view, that may or may not surprise you. And, although many of our positions at MCPc are technology-related, my comments generally apply to most professional positions.
I remember the first time I brought a pile of resumes home to review in the evening after work. That was ten years ago, before resume reviewing went high tech, which I'll get to momentarily. Anyway, my husband was astounded at the time, or lack thereof, that I actually spent reviewing each resume. How, he wondered, could I ever get a feel for a candidate through such a brief perusal of their resume? What a shame considering all the time and effort they no doubt put into creating the documents.
But herein "lies" an important recruiter mantra (pun intended)!
Resumes are marketing pieces; applications are legal documents. The point is, when a recruiter looks at a resume, they can easily scan it for some key leading indicators of a candidate's potential success and easily recognize falsehoods. What I was looking for was:
- Keywords such as required certifications,
- Accomplishments and responsibilities, clearly presented with bullet points,
- Brevity - a lengthy resume is not effective.
Resumes today are keyword searched.
Here's the "high tech" part I mentioned: Nowadays, many resumes come into company databases through ads or online applications, and can be scanned for keywords. This makes it even more important for candidates to mention keywords, industry catch phrases and certifications they possess on their resumes, so that programs searching for such words recognize their resume as being qualified. For example, if the certification required for a position is not listed, the resume won't even make it to the recruiter for review if they have assigned that certification to the keywords they are searching.
So, let's say your resume contains the keywords necessary to end up in the recruiter's inbox for a position; it must then be formatted properly. What I mean is it needs to be:
- Clear and concise
- Devoid of all typos
- Not too long, with bullets for easy reading
- Packed full of accomplishment-centered wording
Recruiters want to see that you understand the big picture - what you've done to contribute to your prior employer's success. For additional information, check out the many resources available online: we use http://www.dice.com/ and http://www.monster.com/ for our large candidate search engines, but many industry segments have their own specialized services and databases as well.
Connect with the Recruiter
After meeting all of the above requirements, if you can do so concisely, feel free to incorporate a few fun facts to warm the recruiter up to you as well. Ever hear of the halo effect? Wikipedia's definition explains that, "the first traits we recognize in other people influence our interpretation and perception of later ones because of our expectations."
In other words, candidates can be judged as being better qualified simply if they have something in their background that the recruiter can relate to, such as an affiliation with the same school or groups. Do your research and tailor your resume accordingly. For example, if you worked for a company that won the NorthCoast99 Award and you see that MCPc also won that award, you might want to mention it on your resume for a job here. Or, if you see on LinkedIn that the HR director of the company you're applying to volunteers at the same agency as you, be sure to include that in a list of organizations in which you're involved.
If your resume stacks up similarly in comparison to others in terms of qualifications and experience, information like this might help yours stand out to a recruiter if you share similar interests.
Are you an HR or corporate communications professional? What do you look for when evaluating resumes? To everyone else, what is the best resume-writing tip you've ever received?
Beth Stec is the Director of Corporate Communications and Human Resources at MCPc, and is responsible for the development and management of personnel programs and policies. Connect with Beth on LinkedIn.