Wednesday, June 30, 2010

When You’ve Been Looking For a Long Time

In this job market, long-term searches are becoming increasingly common. As the monthly jobless statistics indicate, the number of job seekers who have been looking for six months, a year or even more is higher than at any other time in decades. And because the government typically stops tracking those who have been searching for a job after their unemployment benefits run out, it’s unclear how many searches go on past a year or 18 months, and also how many “discouraged” job seekers there are out there who have stopped actively looking for work.
I’ve heard lately from a number of journalists and other professionals stuck in this situation, and they tend to be not only frustrated and anxious about their searches but sometimes peeved at others who though well-meaning  just can’t seem to understand their angst. And it’s difficult to know how to help those mired in a long-term search. Though you want to be upbeat and supportive, often your standard advice seems shallow and pointing to those with similar skills who have landed well can seem counter-productive (and a little mean-spirited, even if your intentions are good).
Hiring experts, though, have some suggestions for ways to try to reinvigorate a long-term search, as well as tips for friends seeking to support a job hunter who has been at this for a long time. These include:
*Set new deadlines. Nearly all job seekers give themselves deadlines for finding a job — within three months to six months of a layoff, by the end of the summer, before the unemployment insurance ends, for instance. But if you’ve blown past these deadlines, you need new ones, and ones that are realistic and help you move forward. For instance, it may be smart to say that you’ll take a part-time or temporary job for now and spend the rest of your time taking some online courses to polish your skills so that you can have a job in your field by the start of the new year. Giving yourself new deadlines can help you give your search a fresh start. And then reevaluate those deadlines as they come closer and extend them if necessary — especially if you’re on the right path.
*Hit the “pause” button in your job search. If you’ve had no luck finding a job in your field, it may be time to get off what has become a dead end and head down a new road. But before you start looking for a job in a new area, give yourself a break. If your unemployment insurance has run out and you’ve depleted your savings, take a job, any job — in retail or sales, for instance, where professionals can often get hourly work; or temporary work — to pay the bills while you reevaluate what you want to do and how you plan to search differently this time. If you have some financial cushion, take some time off from the search — a sort of vacation from the job hunt — while you do free-lance or other work you enjoy, and from a perch where you can rethink things. Ask yourself what hasn’t been working, what you really want to do, and whether you have the skills to do it. Think big-picture, and ask yourself and those close to you lots of questions about what you think might be the right fit for your expertise and talents. It’s tough out there, but often those who aren’t securing jobs may be shooting too high or for the wrong kind of positions for their skills and expertise.
*Get professional help. And, ala the advice columnists, I’m not necessarily talking therapy, though if you’re depressed (and who wouldn’t be after a long and frustrating job search?) it’s important to see a medical professional. There is also help for job hunters. Find a low-cost job search skills course offered by your local community college, a community association or the state (or D.C.) government. Or talk to others who are hunting about forming your own support group. If you’re a friend of someone who has been looking for a long time, don’t only offer them advice or support but help them help others in this situation — it will energize them and studies have found that job hunters do much better when they have the support of others in their situation.
*Do something good for yourself in your non-job-hunting life. Distracting yourself from your job search — even for a few hours — may help energize things and take some of the sting out of long-term unemployment. Volunteering, in particular, has emotional and intellectual benefits. Find an organization that needs your help, join (or start) a book club, go back to a physical activity that you enjoy. During this time, try (hard as it may be) not to think about your job search or your career, and focus instead on this activity or endeavor. And friends of the long-term unemployed should help in this cause and should show interest in these activities, instead of starting conversations with “How’s the job search going?”
*The following piece on cnnmoney.com — about how some employers won’t consider anyone who isn’t currently employed — is getting a fair amount of attention in the work-search world, including in online chats among recruiters. Some say it’s poppycock — that they’ll consider good candidates who have lost their jobs — while others say they tend to agree. The good news for journalists is because of the rampant dislocation in our industry (which often had nothing to do with performance) this tends to be less true. Though it does underscore two things about job hunting: the cliche about it being easier to get a job when you have a job still holds some currency, and there is often a layoff or buyout “discount” applied in hiring. Food for thought:
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Outofwork-job-applicants-told-cnnm-3498252371.html?x=0

Going on a Business Trip? Use the LinkedIn Events Application and Windmill Network!

If you’ve followed my Windmill Networking blog for awhile or read my LinkedIn book, you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of the LinkedIn Events Application.  Seriously.  I wrote an April Fools’s post back in 2009 complaining why Events wasn’t considered an application with a blog post rhetorically entitled, “What are LinkedIn Applications?”  I was the first one to ask “What Happened to LinkedIn Events?” when they mysteriously disappeared for a day in October of 2009.  So you can say that I have a personal relationship with Events, and when all of the “social media gurus” talk about Facebook Events, Eventbrite, and Plancast, which are all also great platforms for events, I still think they misunderstand or under appreciate the potential for using the LinkedIn Events application.
I’ve been traveling a lot the last few weeks, speaking on social media as well as attending award ceremonies for my social media book.  As I am an avid Windmill Networker, meaning that I see the value of social networking to be of networking outside of my present network, I am always open to connecting with others on LinkedIn.  There is value in plugging our windmills into the grid that is social media and virtually connecting.  But the deep value and trust that comes out of relationships are when they are developed offline in the real world.  That is why, whenever I travel outside of my native Orange County, California, I try to create a LinkedIn Event and use it as an avenue to not only bring together people that I am connected to on LinkedIn but have never met, but also an opportunity to meet new people that may have similar interests.
Through the advice that I present below, I have been able to meet with between 10 and 30 people apiece at networking events that I created in Portland, Oregon, Jacksonville, Florida, and New York City in the past few weeks…and I had never previously met any of these people!  Once you meet new people at a networking events, there are countless opportunities to learn from others, share information, help others, and maybe find a new business partner or even get a new lead either directly or indirectly from your new contact.  Rather than spending time in your hotel room by yourself, it is a way to enrich your professional life and make new friends.  You never know when your connecting with that person will help you or them out in the future.
So the next time you are on a business trip, follow this procedure to create a way for people to meet you through the LinkedIn Events Application and Windmill Network!
  1. You first need to create a LinkedIn Event. This is not difficult to do, and step-by-step instructions of how to do so are in my LinkedIn book.  The important things that you need to prepare are a title (“networking event” makes sense), a description which should want to bring people out to meet and network, and you need to find a location.  I do this by going to Google Maps, figuring out both where I plan to be on business as well as where my hotel is, and then find an ideal area which makes logistical sense for the time that I plan to hold the event (late afternoons/early evenings seem to be the best time).  I then go to Yelp and find a location that has a bar/large party atmosphere located in the ideal area.  You can find these by using “large party restaurant” or “large group restaurant” in the search terms so that you can be assured that there won’t be an issue if a lot of people come!  Check out the reviews and take your pick of location.
  2. After creating the LinkedIn Event, inform your network. As a LinkedIn Open Networker or LION, I have acquired a lot of LinkedIn connections over time.  When I did a search through my contacts of connections living in Portland, Oregon, I found that I already had more than 130 connections living there that I had never met!  Obviously the larger your network, the more connections you are bound to have in any given city.  Using the InBox feature, send out a blast with a link to the LinkedIn Event to your connections.  You can add 50 connections to the same message for efficiency’s sake.  If your network is smaller…
  3. Invite those who are members of similar LinkedIn Groups. You joined a Group for a reason: you want to obtain or share information with others that have a similar interest.  Why not do an Advanced People Search using a keyword (I used “social media”) and look for people in Groups that you belong to that you may want to meet up with?  If you are a member of the same Group, chances are you will be able to send them a LinkedIn Message regardless of your connectivity status.  Go for it, contact them, but be clear as to why you want to meet with them in the first place.  And, remember, it is a pain, but every Message to a common Group member that you are not connected to must be done separately, one-by-one…
  4. Send out a reminder to those that RSVP to your LinkedIn Event. This is something that I originally did not do, and I regret not doing it because I think that attendance to my networking events could have been greater had I sent out a friendly reminder to all of those that RSVPed “Attending” and “Interested” on the Event page a few days before the event.
  5. Prepare for the LinkedIn Event by checking out the Profiles of those that RSVPed. Better yet, print out their profiles for airplane reading!
  6. Enjoy your time with new friends!  You’re Windmill Networking!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

9 Essential Ways LinkedIn Improves My Business

Posted by Sarah Mitchell

Are you getting the most of LinkedIn? I’m always surprised when I hear people say they need to think about opening an account on LinkedIn. I understand the reservations professional people have about creating a social media persona. When it comes to LinkedIn, the benefits far outweigh the perceived risk associated with many online tools.

Defining Feature
For those of you that don’t know, the curriculum vitae (resume) of the account holder anchors each account. LinkedIn is a professional networking tool in the purest sense. The architecture of the site ensures your experience will be relevant to you because it’s based on professional accomplishments, not pop culture or social chatter.
Fun Facts
LinkedIn is one of the granddaddies of social media, launching in May 2003. It has grown from strength to strength in the seven years since its inception.
  • LinkedIn has over 70 million members.
  • Membership is across more than 200 countries.
  • LinkedIn supports multiple languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.
  • More than half the accounts are from outside the USA.
  • Executives from every Fortune 500 company are LinkedIn members.
  • A new member joins LinkedIn every second.
Practical Application
Still not convinced? Here are some of the ways I’ve found benefit from LinkedIn:
1. Preserve Your Network
LinkedIn gives you the ability to establish an online repository for your business network. You never have to worry about keeping your address book up-to-date. You can throw your business card folio and rolodex out the window.
2. Find Former Colleagues
We all plan to stay in touch when a co-worker leaves or you change jobs. It’s not always easy and a busy schedule often gets in the way of good intentions. I’ve found or been found by dozens of people I’ve lost touch with as we’ve moved companies, countries and jobs.
3. Find Good People
One of the best things I’ve ever done is use LinkedIn to find prospective business partners. Since accounts are based on a resume, it’s easy to find the people you want to meet or work with. The search function is comprehensive allowing you to zero in on a specific location, company, school or industry. It's no wonder recruiters view LinkedIn and social media channels as essential tools for vetting candidates.
4. Free Company Listing
LinkedIn lets you enter your company details giving you a free listing connected to their powerful search feature.
5. Research
The Company Buzz feature keeps track of what’s being said about your specified keywords on Twitter. It’s a great way to keep your eye on the competition or track what’s being said about your own company.
6. Find Events
The Events feature will show you all the events being attended by people in your wider network. It’s a great way to keep track of what’s happening around town.
7. Get Recommendations
Word of Mouth referrals are the lifeblood of small business. I’ve yet to meet a person that didn’t appreciate having a colleague or client giving a recommendation on his or her work. LinkedIn makes it easy to request recommendations and makes it super easy to give one, too.
8. Integration with other Social Media Tools
LinkedIn is continually updating their product to provide a clearer picture of the professional qualifications of their members. Slideshare, Amazon.com, Wordpress and Twitter all have useful integration features with LinkedIn.
9. Special Interest Groups
Perhaps the most powerful feature of LinkedIn is the multitude of special interest groups. These groups allow you to meet other professionals with similar interests and participate in worldwide discussions. The discussion groups also have a feature allowing for sharing of news articles. It’s a great place to stay informed, get the opinion of your peers and network with a global community of like-minded people.
My Recommendation
LinkedIn is a wonderful tool for people from any profession. Participating in LinkedIn is a low risk proposition due to the career focus attached to the membership profiles. I consider it one of my key strategic tools for running a successful business. If you’re not already a member, I encourage you to join.
What benefits have you received from your LinkedIn activity? What features do you use the most often?

Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn in Your Job Search

Perhaps you ventured onto LinkedIn and forgot about it. Or maybe you're scared of LinkedIn, period. Let us guide you through what you're missing

If you're a business or professional person and not using LinkedIn, you're behind the curve. Fifty million business networkers must be on to something. LinkedIn is the 800-pound gorilla of business networking sites and an essential tool for job seekers in particular. According to the LinkedIn website, a new user joins the site every second, and it's easy to see why. LinkedIn is a free billboard for businesspeople. It showcases not only your name, photo, and professional credentials but also your colleagues' recommendations, your brilliant thinking (by way of a Powerpoint (MSFT) presentation or white paper attached to your profile), and your excellent roster of connections.

The way to begin your career on LinkedIn is to build a sharp profile. Jump over to LinkedIn.com to create a login and password and begin to fill out your profile.LinkedIn helps you in your profile-building project by providing a handy thermometer-type tool that tells you how complete your profile is.(Until your profile looks fairly complete, resist the temptation to start inviting your friends to join you on LinkedIn.) Push on until you've reached at least the 70-percent mark.If you have a little more energy, use the Applications at the bottom of the profile-editing page to add a Powerpoint deck, your full-text résumé in Word format, an article you wrote, your own blog, or other content to your profile. Last, create a personalized LinkedIn URL for yourself, like this: http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/yourname, and use that URL on your résumé, job-search business cards, and job-search-related correspondence. Now rest and give yourself a pat on the back. You've arrived on the business-networking scene.
Of course, launching a LinkedIn profile is only the first step. LinkedIn offers tons more in the way of friendly functionality for your job search. Not sure how to leverage LinkedIn in your job search? Read on.
1. Write a Compelling Profile
Your LinkedIn profile can read just like your résumé, but it doesn't have to. You can stretch the envelope a bit and use a more human voice to showcase your professional passions and drivers. In particular, make sure that your "headline" field (the one just under your name on your LinkedIn profile) lets the world know your purpose. If you're unemployed, by all means use your "headline" to showcase your availability for work, for example:
Anne Smith
Startup Veteran/Online Marketing Manager ISO Next Challenge
or
Jack Rogers
Sportswriter/Editor with Print and Broadcast Chops Seeking New Opportunity
You get 120 characters in the LinkedIn "headline" field, so use them wisely.
2. Tell Us Your Story
The large LinkedIn Summary field is much like a résumé summary, but longer. There's plenty of room to share your career history with readers in a compelling way. You can tell us your professional story in this space. As you can imagine, stories are easier on the reader than deadly dull résumè-type paragraphs. You might begin your Summary this way, for instance:
"Ever since I began covering business events for my college newspaper, I've been fascinated by business story-telling and its power to shape audience behavior. As a PR manager for B2B and B2C companies for the past 10 years, I've gotten my employers covered by Businessweek and USA Today (GCI) by crafting stories that connect readers with our brands."

There will be other places in your LinkedIn profile (the Specialties field, in particular) to regale us with your certifications and technical qualifications.
Use your Summary to let the person viewing your Profile know exactly what you're about and what you drives you in your career.
3. Mind Your Settings
You can set up your LinkedIn account (using the Settings link at the top right of each LinkedIn page) to keep all but your close friends (known on LinkedIn as "first-degree connections") from viewing your profile, but what's the point of that? If you're job-hunting, it's better to let hiring managers and recruiters find you easily by opening up your profile to public view. That means you need to click on the link that enables your Public Profile on LinkedIn. Other settings will allow you to dictate how LinkedIn communicates with you and about which issues (new invitations, e.g.), whether your contact list should be visible to your connections (I recommend that you let your friends see who your other friends are—that's the point of LinkedIn), and more.
4. Show Us Your Mug
LinkedIn began allowing users to upload a photo to their profiles a couple of years ago, and these days we can't imagine LinkedIn without user photos. A good photo adds life to your profile, and the absence of a photo raises questions (why doesn't this person want us to see what she or he looks like?) and just looks strange. Get a decent digital photo that shows you looking halfway professional (on-the-slopes and other leisure-time shots are fine as long as you look like a person who might function in the business world, vs. someone we couldn't remotely picture in a professional setting). Upload the photo to your profile, and you're all set.
5. Get Connected
Once your LinkedIn profile hits the 70-percent mark, it's time to start adding connections. LinkedIn won't be nearly as useful to you if you're sitting on your own private networking island. The point of LinkedIn is to allow your connections to make introductions for you, and vice versa, so you'll want to start adding first-degree connections ASAP. First, download the address book you use the most (Outlook or Gmail, e.g.) and let LinkedIn's downloading tool tell you which of these folks already use LinkedIn. Don't worry—LinkedIn won't start e-mailing everyone you know. You get to pick which people to invite to your network. When you do, be sure to personalize your LinkedIn connection invitation. "Hi Stan, I hope you and Jane are doing well. Shall we connect on LinkedIn?" is worlds better than "Since you are a person I trust, I'd like to add you to my network." Customization is key,
Once a person accepts your invitation to join his network, or vice versa, the two of you become first-degree connections. It's a two-way link. If you've accepted Jack's connection, you don't need to invite him to join your crew.

Tips 6 - 10

Monday, June 28, 2010

The un-Googling of Mick Gzowski

A writer burned by a moment in the political spotlight seeks an online image makeover: Can search results be sanitized?



Mick Gzowski
From Saturday's Globe and Mail
When I Google myself, it hurts.
It used to be that when I ego-surfed my own name, that well of digital knowledge delivered me harmless hyperlinks, mainly connecting me with my famous Canadian father. Ho-hum. About a year ago, that changed dramatically. The Net now paints me as the Peter Gzowski progeny who sank Stéphane Dion's coalition.
The worst thing is, it's partly true. I am my father's son, and I was Mr. Dion's videographer on the day when his taped statement making the case for overturning the government showed up late and less than sharply focused.
The links that pain me aren't even that bad. Most of them say I was unfairly scapegoated. Still, it smarts to be forever associated with that ignominy, and I also suspect it does my career no favours. So I decided to see if I could change it: Could I un-Google myself?
When I investigated, I found out that “online reputation management” is currently one of the biggest growth areas of the Internet, according to the digital marketing group Econsultancy. Googling the subject delivers pages of competing companies, with ads bannered across the top and down the sides of every page.
I instinctively distrust those sponsored results; clicking them usually leads into a maze of slow-loading graphics and unhelpful information. I called one, via a toll-free number, and spoke with “Carl” in New Jersey (“Joisey”) – he refused to give me his last name, saying that if it were published, his competitors would launch an online attack. “Dirty business,” he said.
After only a few moments' explanation, he said he was sure he could help me, for between $1,500 and $2,000 (U.S.) a month. For life. I passed on his offer, but realized I needed to know more about Google and the term Carl mentioned, Search Engine Optimization.
Swallowing the spiders
This term (SEO) has two meanings: First, to make your website easy for Google and similar search sites to find; second, to seed the Internet with so many nice things about you that the bad things are buried. The catch is that nobody really knows how the mysterious algorithms that Google employs to find things function, and they're continually being updated.
Google doesn't actually search the Web every time you ask a query. It searches its archived index of the Web. That's created by software programs called spiders that visit pages, fetch their content and then continue following all of the links on those pages.
When you ask Google a question, it searches its voluminous index, then modifies the results by asking more than 200 questions like: How many times does this page contain your key words? Do the words appear in the title? In the address? Are there synonyms? Is it a high-quality or low-quality page? And what is this page's PageRank?
PageRank is the key. It's the formula invented by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin that, according to Google, “rates a Web page's importance by looking at how many outside pages point to it and how important those links are.” So the art of un-Googling yourself is really the art of fooling PageRank, a wizard's curtain behind which we mere mortals are forbidden to glimpse. People are making careers guessing.
However, Google officially frowns upon manipulations of its ranking systems. And in the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission's consumer-protection branch has required paid endorsers to identify themselves since 1980; last year it ruled that those guidelines also apply to social media. So hiring some American college students to troll the Net saying sweet nothings about you is technically illegal. No such rules are in place in Canada as yet, but the industry here expects them soon.
An alternative approach is to ask anyone who may have posted unsavoury things about you to please take them down. If the statements are libellous and you have a lawyer handy, some Internet service providers may be persuaded to remove them on your behalf. Asking politely is preferable, though in some cases, a blogger, for example, could simply take your request and make another, even more insulting post of it. So I decided against sending a note to, for example, Ezra Levant, the uber-conservative blogger. He might make too much hay of it for my liking.
Besides, while blogs might be flexible, unflattering mentions in mainstream media are virtually impossible to have removed. (“Hi, New York Times? Eliot Spitzer here …”)
So I would take the opposite tack: I'd just tell the world all the good news about me. I sought out professionals to help me with a standard do-it-yourself SEO campaign, for which they would be compensated only by being quoted in The Globe and Mail (and therefore having their online reputations improved).
Denise Brunsdon, director of social media for the public-affairs firm GCI Group, says online reputation management is one of the fastest-growing areas of their business. It seems like whenever she tells people her title these days, she gets asked if she can do another contract.
There are black-hat and white-hat methods, but setting up quickie, flattering sites or blogs and dumping links to them in every imaginable Web cranny won't fool Google for long, especially if you have active haters. This kitchen-sink approach “is tiring and does not win,” Ms. Brunsdon said.
She prefers the “teach a man to fish” approach – showing clients how to do the ongoing work of reputation management themselves: First, decide what elements they like and want to promote; then create profiles on “polished self-advertising sites” such as linkedin.com and Twitter that rank highly in Google results (she has a longer list, but considers it proprietary information).
Tell a consistent story
Jaime Watt, the chair of communications company Navigator Ltd., is certainly considered a good guy in a crisis. He recently steered former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant through the subsequently dropped charges in the death of cyclist Darcy Allan Sheppard.
Mr. Watt advised that you can't be phony or contrived, because “people are very good at figuring out who's being honest and authentic and who's selling a load of crap.” He added that it's important to be fighting for something that you know you can defend – the narrative you construct must be consistent.
While Mr. Watt also disavowed underhanded methods, he did advocate creating counter-blogs or websites to “answer every attack, and don't let things go.” In situations much more dire than mine, and for people with the money to afford it, he said, instead of keeping your finger in the proverbial dike, you must send back a flood of your own.
In that spirit, I asked him what effect this article could have on my online reputation – surely skeptics would just see it as another whitewashing effort, setting up a battle I'd be sure to lose. “Not necessarily,” Mr. Watt said. “If you don't want to be infamous for something, you've got to become famous for something else. … Talking about it is not bad, as long as it gets you into something else.”
True, I thought. The words in this article are not coming from the mouth of a politician reading to camera in two official languages, scant moments before the nation decides his and many others' fates. I was a journalist and a filmmaker before I entered the world of politics. I am a journalist and filmmaker now. Writing for the newspaper could help to remind people that I am more than the impossible situation I became associated with.
So I hope, honestly and authentically, that you enjoyed it. And the next time you Google me or anyone else, remember that the fastest-growing business on the Internet is the one trying to skew your search results.
Mick Gzowski is a Toronto-based writer and filmmaker.


Original Article 

Big Blunders Job Hunters Make

Daphne Batts sometimes wonders if practical jokers with hidden cameras are spying on her as she interviews people for jobs at Bankrate Inc., an online publisher of financial information in North Palm Beach, Fla.
That's because job candidates—including experienced professionals—behave so inappropriately that Ms. Batts, vice president of human resources, suspects she's the target of a prank.
"I find myself peering out my blinds to see if Ashton Kutcher is on my office balcony with a camera crew," she says, referring to the host of the former MTV show "Punk'd," which featured pranks being played on celebrities.
Of course, there's nothing funny about a bad job interview, especially for the long-term unemployed. Yet hiring managers say many job hunters don't take their search efforts seriously enough and make the kind of mistakes that they should know better to avoid. In fact, many say they are frequently amazed by some of the colossal blunders they witness at a time when there are five job seekers for every job opening, according to the Labor Department.
Here's a look at eight bone-headed moves job hunters commonly make.


1. Entitlement syndrome.

At the conclusion of a job interview last year, a candidate for an administrative position at PopCap Games Inc. in Seattle asked human-resources executive Pamela J. Sampel if she could take him out to lunch on the company's dime. "He said he was a poor student and that I could just write it off," says Ms. Sampel, adding that for a moment she thought he was joking but his demeanor indicated otherwise. "I was so startled I almost started laughing."

Also last year, Ms. Sampel says she received an unsolicited résumé full of grammatical and spelling errors with a note asking her to have someone on the company's staff correct them. "I'm sure you have people there that could fix them before they put it into your online database on my behalf," the applicant wrote, according to Ms. Sampel.


2. Behaving rudely.

Earlier this year, a candidate for an administrative position at BankRate showed up to an interview with a preschooler in tow. "She didn't try to make any excuses or apologies, such as her babysitter backed out," says Ms. Batts, who conducted the meeting anyway, but didn't extend the candidate a job offer.
Similarly, a recent candidate for an entry-level outsourcing job at Accenture Ltd. unwrapped a sandwich during an interview and asked the hiring manager if he could eat it since it was lunchtime, says John Campagnino, senior director of recruitment for the global consulting company.
Job hunters have also acted rudely by showing up more than an hour early for interviews, interrupting interviewers in mid-sentence and refusing to fill out a job application, referring hiring managers to their résumés instead, say hiring managers and recruiters.


3. Acting arrogantly.

Recruiter Peter Polachi recently met with a candidate for an executive-level marketing job at a midsize technology firm. In the middle of the meeting, Mr. Polachi says he suddenly heard Madonna singing—it was the ring tone for the candidate's cell phone and the person took the call, which lasted about a minute.
Mr. Polachi, co-founder of Polachi Access Executive Search in Framingham, Mass., says the incident, plus the fact that the candidate was employed and arrived late to the meeting without apologizing, signaled that the executive considered himself a shoo-in for the job or just wasn't interested. Either way, "to accept the call and have a conversation is over the top," says Mr. Polachi.

4. Lies, lies, lies.

Six months ago, a candidate for an editing position at Factory VFX Inc. told hiring producer Liz Crawford that he came recommended by an artist on staff at the Santa Rosa, Calif., visual-effects company. After the interview, Ms. Crawford says she called the artist so the applicant could say hello to his supposed associate. That's when it became crystal clear that the two men didn't know each other. "He admitted he had fibbed and walked out of the room," says Ms. Crawford.

Job hunters also commonly lie by taking credit for work they didn't do, inflating their salaries and saying they don't smoke when seeking positions at companies with no-smoking policies.


5. Dressing down.

Last summer, Amy Demas says she was uncomfortable and distracted while interviewing a copywriter candidate for the small Los Angeles ad agency she co-founded in 2008, Standard Time LLC. "She was wearing a t-shirt three sizes too small with bright red letters across her chest," recalls Ms. Demas. "I couldn't help but pay more attention to her breasts than her résumé."
While it might be acceptable to skip a suit and tie in some office environments, it's never appropriate to wear jeans, cleavage-revealing tops, flip-flops or skin-tight pants—all interview fashion don'ts hiring managers say they've seen.
"You should also take out all your funky piercings and hide your tattoos," says career coach Cynthia Shapiro, who is also a former human-resources executive. "Even if you wear a business suit, if you have a piercing through your lip" it doesn't look good.


6. Oversharing.

After learning that a position involved a great deal of travel, a candidate for a senior sales job at a midsize manufacturer told the interviewer he was worried about how his saltwater fish would get fed while he was away. The worst part of the exchange? "He wasn't kidding," says Russ Riendeau, an executive recruiter who set up the interview and confirmed the account with the job hunter. "He was trying to say that it was his only concern." The man, who had been unemployed for four months at the time, wasn't extended an offer for the position, adds Mr. Riendeau, a senior partner with East Wing Search Group in Barrington, Ill.
Other things employers say that job hunters reveal—but shouldn't —include comments about their health problems, details about their love lives and tales of their financial hardships.

7. Saying thanks with gifts.

A finalist for a head of business development job at a well-known Internet company recently sent a pricey fruit bowl from Tiffany & Co. to a hiring manager following a third interview. The candidate was instantly knocked out of the running. "That was a real big faux pas," says Erika Weinstein, president of Stephen-Bradford Search in New York, and the recruiter who introduced the candidate to the employer. "It's trying to buy yourself a job. It's brown-nosing."
A thank-you note is really the only appropriate way to show appreciation. But even so, hiring managers say they've received everything from pricey tickets to sporting events to bottles of alcohol—all big no-no's.
8. Sporting a mom-and-dad complex.
In the past two months, Accenture's Mr. Campagnino says he has received two emails from parents of applicants asking why the company hasn't extended their adult children job interviews. "There's a significant lack of judgment when you have your parents intercede with a potential employer," he says. "We expect individuals to be able to represent themselves and sell themselves."
Hiring managers say they've also seen moms and dads accompany their offspring to job interviews and try to intervene in salary negotiations.

Original WSJ article

Friday, June 25, 2010

Notes from a Job Search: Creative Ways to Market Yourself

Once you get beyond the basics, how can you get noticed without being annoying?

With so many people caught between jobs these days, CFO asked Gary Starr, a CPA and MBA who was most recently CFO at a $70 million professional-service firm, to write about his current experience looking for a new position. In the third installment of a series, Starr looks at ways for job hunters to increase their visibility in some creative and unusual ways.
One of the trickiest aspects of a job search is finding different ways to market yourself. You need to make people aware of your skills and experiences without coming across as self-aggrandizing. This is not necessarily an easy task for financial executives, who typically don't have a marketing mind-set about business issues or about themselves. However, it is important to change your mind-set and start thinking about creative ways to get noticed, besides just networking and sending e-mail updates. There are many ways to do this; here are a few suggestions.

Get Published
The most obvious marketing strategy for me is writing articles. I have begun to write about the search process for several online forums, giving helpful hints. In response to my articles, many people have reached out to me, including recruiters, old friends, and people who didn't know me. I also posted a note about the articles on my LinkedIn profile, which helped with the exposure. We all have expertise and good knowledge about various topics; it's just a matter of transferring the information into a compelling article or blog. Having exhausted the search tips, I am now thinking about my next subject, and I am energized by the challenge and possibilities.
If writing isn't your passion, think about other ways you might leverage online media to raise your profile. For example, I noticed recently that someone on LinkedIn started a group called "150 Most Influential Recruiters" and invited all the recruiters who had been tagged with this honor by a major business publication. In two days, more than 20 recruiters signed up. That was a great idea and a smart way to get noticed. I wish I had thought of that!
Go Back to School
Finding opportunities at your alma mater could be a good way to get exposure. Consider taking or teaching a class, or volunteering at a high-profile alumni event. You might even ask the alumni office for people to contact or review the alumni list for networking possibilities. There are many opportunities here; you just need to find the right one for you.
Do Good Work
Volunteering your time at a nonprofit organization is a good way to help others and feel good about yourself. It may also allow you to display your expertise, especially if there is an opportunity to meet some of the board members. You might also register with BoardNetUSA, an online organization that matches individuals with nonprofit boards. I obtained my last job as a CFO through one of my nonprofit board connections.
Find the Fountain of Youth
Look for a start-up that needs help or find some part-time work. There are lots of groups and organizations for start-ups that could be good beginning points. New York City even provides space and desks for start-ups before they are able to go out on their own. I recently began working with a preseed start-up, and it has been an interesting and challenging experience. I am using my financial skills and connections, and I am learning a lot about the digital media space. I'm happy to take on any new projects that help me expand my nonfinancial skills. You may be able to negotiate some compensation for your efforts in either cash or equity, but don't dismiss an opportunity if no money is involved; the experience and exposure can be invaluable. (By the way, the founder sought me out through my LinkedIn profile and connections. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is robust!)
The bottom line is that there are endless possibilities to market yourself; you just need to move outside your comfort zone. Getting involved in activities that allow you to meet other people, extend your network, show off your skills, keep busy, help others, and generally feel good about yourself is critical while you work through the lonely process of finding that next full-time opportunity. — Edited by Alix Stuart


Original Article

What’s different in LinkedIn Groups today?

What’s different in LinkedIn Groups today?
1. An improved look and feel
We’ve made the conversations within groups similar to face-to-face professional interactions by removing the wall between original remarks and off-site content such as shared news articles. The rich link-sharing experience you already enjoy on your LinkedIn homepage is now also available within the context of groups.

Even better is the ability to easily recognize the participants of a conversation by linking to individual profile pictures that makes the experience more personal. It also brings to your finger tips profile information of the professional participating in that discussion.
2. Ease of use
The new design makes it easy to browse through the latest updates of a discussion and make comments quickly and easily. You can roll over the images of the last three participants on any thread to see comment previews and click their profile pictures to jump to their segment  of the conversation.
Alternatively, you can chime in right away by commenting in line without drilling down into the whole discussion. If you’re new to the thread, clicking the discussion headline or the “See all comments” link will take you to the beginning of the discussion.
3. Surfacing the most popular and recent discussions in a group – faster
A key part of the new groups experience is the democratization of discussions, as group members actively curate the conversations that will be seen by the group. This is most obvious in the carousel of new content – original posts, RSS items, and off-site links shared by group members – that can be voted up or down by any group member.
This feature allows users to quickly peruse new content and vote either by “liking” or commenting on discussions they deem worthy of the group’s attention.  Users who prefer to see all discussions sorted chronologically can just click on the “See all new discussions” link on the homepage.

In a live discussion, nodding fuels a conversation and the new “Like” button is a simple way to do this virtually.  You can also see who has liked a conversation to get a sense for topics that group members are gravitating toward. The “More” drop-down in the carousel also makes it easy to flag new items as a job or as inappropriate for the group.
4. Making it easier for you to receive email updates from select group members
While you may check in to groups ever so often to get the latest news and discussions from your fellow group members, you may also like to set up a persistent email alert when select members of the group make a contribution (like or comment) within the group. This is easily accomplished from the global Groups’ People I’m Following page.
5. Shining a spotlight on users who add most value to the group each week

Finally, the new groups interface introduces an easy way to discover participants who truly drive the activity of the group’s discussions each week by highlighting them as “top influencers”.  This designation is given not only to those who contribute the most, but also to those whose contributions stimulate the most participation from other group members.
Members who are highly regarded and heavily followed in the group often play a key role in stoking the conversation with their comments and Likes even if they don’t start a thread.  Of course, the authors of popular threads are often the most influential.
We’re all about nurturing the professional conversation, and we hope the changes to LinkedIn Groups will make it even easier for you to contribute and participate in a professional groups setting. We’d love to hear your feedback, so please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post or @linkedin us on Twitter.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

What Your Resume Says About You


By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Heather Huhman
You want your résumé to impress the future employer reading it. It’s the first impression you’ll get to make, but it’s amazing how many people continue to gloss over errors. In the job market today, you need to ensure your résumé is going to be read rather than quickly scanned and thrown away.
So, do you know what your résumé really says about you? Here are some typical mistakes job seekers make—and what they can make future employers think of you:
  1. Typos, misspelled words, and bad grammar can make a hiring manager think you’re careless or won’t pay attention to details on the job. Show you are capable of doing the job by choosing words carefully and catching any mistakes.
  2. Including too much information can make employers think you aren’t able to write clearly and concisely, which has become increasingly important in today’s high-tech world. Your résumé might not be read if it’s too long, either.
  3. A busy, cluttered résumé may make others think you are unorganized and scatterbrained on the job.
  4. Sending the same document for every job opening shows you aren’t great at adapting. Show the future employer you know what they need and you are the one who can help them fill that need.
  5. Using an inappropriate name for your e-mail address will very likely make hiring managers skip your résumé altogether. It’s unprofessional—create an e-mail account with some variation of your name for job seeking purposes.
  6. Incorrect or false information can make the employer think you haven’t updated your résumé for the job opening—or worse, that you aren’t being honest.
  • Make sure your name is bold and stands out from the rest of your résumé.
  • Combine sentences that are too similar. This will make your message much clearer and allow for easier reading.
  • Change all responsibilities to accomplishments you had at that position. Most people who will read your résumé don’t want to hear about the general tasks you did, but rather how you benefited the company while you were there.
  • Eliminate anything that doesn’t pertain to the job for which you are applying. You want to show the employer you know what they are looking for and YOU are it.
  • Read your résumé out loud or have a friend look it over. You will catch anything that sounds awkward and your friend can probably give you some suggestions you wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
  • Don’t bury important skills. If it’s important in your field to have extensive computer skills, write about that in your professional profile (at the top) rather than burying it in a ‘skills’ section (at the bottom).
The lesson is to take your time to make your résumé showcase the best “you.” Highlight those accomplishments. Update it when necessary. Make it concise, compelling and error-free.
Did you enjoy this article? Read more articles by this expert here.
CAREEREALISM Expert, Heather R. Huhman is a career expert and founder & president of Come Recommended, an exclusive online community connecting the best internship and entry-level job candidates with the best employers. She is also the author of #ENTRYLEVELtweet: Taking Your Career from Classroom to Cubicle (2010), national entry-level careers columnist for Examiner.com and blogs about career advice at HeatherHuhman.com. Follow her on Twitter at @heatherhuhman.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Top 11 Blogs for Job Search and Career Advice







One of the best ways to collect relevant and up-to-date job search information and career advice is by following and subscribing to online blogs.  Navigating the blogosphere to find career-related blogs that are relevant, reputable, and provide you with the best of practical information could be a daunting task.  From online job search recommendations to interview tips, these Top 10 Blogs offer the best in Jobs Search and Career Advice:

1. Careerealism Blog This is a great blog for daily career advice, personal branding and job search tips. All of the content on the blog is generated by career experts.  The blog was started with an idea that the conventional job search tactics are no longer valuable in today’s job market.  Advice from Careerealism could be instrumental to your career success.

2. Alison’s Job Searching Blog Alison Doyle is a job search expert with many years of experience in HR, career development, and job searching. Her blog focuses primarily on online job searching, job search technology, social media, and professional networking. Make sure to follow this blog for practical hands-on advice.

3. Resumark Blog Subscribe to Resumark’s own blog to get the latest in employment news, relevant advice, and practical recommendations that can help your job search and your career.  With new articles published daily, Resumark’s Blog features many “how-to” posts that are written in simple English, with a touch of humor, designed to help job seekers navigate through rough waters of today’s job markets.

4. RecruitingBlogs.com RecruitingBlogs is one of the largest blogs and social networks for Recruiting and HR Professionals. You may wonder why it is on our list of blogs for Job Seekers… The answer is simple – RecruitingBlogs.com has a collection of blogs posted by Recruiters and HR professionals, many of which contain recommendations invaluable to job seekers. Follow this blog to get a daily scoop of wisdom from professionals who make hiring decisions on a daily basis.

5. On the Job by Anita Bruzzese Anita Bruzzese is an award-winning journalist with ten years of experience writing about workplace, employment trends, and job search. Her blog is exceptionally well written and is a treasure chest full of practical information for job seekers and anyone interested in helping their career.

6. The Change Blog This particular blog is not about Job Search. It is about personal changes in life, which is a very important topic for anyone going through unemployment and/or career change. Peter, the author of the blog, started blogging to share his story of personal change. Follow his thoughts on fundamentals in life, true values, and learn how to overcome depression, and build up self-confidence.

7. Personal Branding Blog by Dan Schawbel The Personal Branding Blog is run by Dan Schawbel, a renowned personal branding expert. This blog teaches you how to create your career and positively influence your future by using the personal branding process and gaining competitive edge in the marketplace.

8. JobMob by Jacob Share This blog is run by Jacob Share and is about bringing together job seekers and employers.  It is filled with straight-talking advice that is based on real world experience and with lots of humor.  It is a pleasure to read and is one of our favorites!

9. Indeed Blog Indeed’s Blog is a great resource to keep track of job trends.  Indeed.com is one of the world’s largest job aggregators. They compile real time data about changes on job markets in the U.S. and around the world and regularly publish this information on their blog. Subscribe to this blog to get up to date information on employment trends by industry, geographic locations, occupation, etc.

10. WebWorkerDaily Career Blog The Career Section of the WebWorkeerDaily blog offers a great deal of practical advice for job search and career change, from social networking to freelancing; office politics to personal branding. The website is targeted primarily to web professionals and freelancers, making their advice and tactics invaluable to anyone who is serious about their online job search campaign.

11. TimEsseBlog Collection of Job, Career, and Tech Advice.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Truth Behind the Hidden Job Market Myth

Is the “hidden job market” a myth? Career experts have for years touted the notion that the vast majority of jobs – published statistics have suggested figures ranging from 75 to 95 percent of the total job market – are never advertised. This portion of the job market that is hidden from public view is behind the rationale career practitioners use to promote the effectiveness of networking in the job search. But, based on a prominent consultant’s assertion that the hidden job market is a myth, Quintessential Careers (http://www.quintcareers.com/), one of the Web's leading career tools sites, investigated the hidden job market concept and has published its findings in a package of three articles.
The consultant was Gerry Crispin, who in 2009 stated in a career-management discussion group that the hidden job market is one of the biggest myths of job-hunting; that, in fact, it doesn’t exist: “Maybe a few thousand out of 20 million jobs are unpublished, and they are primarily at or near the C-level,” said Gerry Crispin, who with partner Mark Mehler, operates CareerXroads®, which consults with corporations in career planning and placement, contract recruiting, executive search, recruitment advertising, and human-resource management.
With his permission, Quintessential Careers shared Crispin’s opinion with more than 70 experts in the career-management, employment, recruiting, and hiring sectors. The majority refuted Crispin’s opinion that the hidden job market is a myth, though few offered concrete evidence in favor of the hidden market. Some agreed with him. The experts, however, identified two problems with the hidden job market concept:
1. Definitions and interpretations of the “hidden job market” may not reflect reality. “Hidden” may not be the best term for this sector of available jobs since employers don’t deliberately hide vacancies.
2. Those who are skeptical about the hidden job market generally admit it exists but dispute commonly bandied-about figures – that the hidden job market comprises 75-95 percent of the job market — contending that the portion of the job market that is unadvertised is much smaller. The size of the hidden job market may also fluctuate based on the economy, some say.
In Quintessential Careers’ lead article on the hidden job market (http://www.quintcareers.com/hidden_job_market_myth.htm), Is the Hidden Job Market a Myth? A Quintessential Careers Investigative Report, experts agreed with Crispin’s assertion that employers generally don’t purposefully hide job vacancies from the public, but suggested that situations such as the following may result in unpublicized openings:
  • The employer needs to confidentially replace a nonperformer.
  • The employer at a public company fears news of significant hiring will hurt stock prices.
  • The employer does not want to reveal future plans to competitors and others, and publicizing openings could expose those plans.
  • The employer wants to get referrals before or instead of publicizing the vacancy and being inundated with resumes from unqualified candidates.
  • The employer hires a search firm or recruiter to conduct a confidential search.
  • The employer uses social media or other non-advertising means to find candidates.
  • The employer may be very small and does not have the resources to advertise the opening.
  • Human error; the employer simply fails to publicize the opening (e.g., lack or time, forgetfulness) or has a poorly designed Website, where job-seekers have difficulty finding vacancy listings.
  • The opening exists, but there’s a hiring freeze, so the job cannot yet be publicized.
  • The opening is still “in the pipeline;” it’s unofficial, so it cannot yet be publicized.
Techniques for penetrating unpublicized openings like the foregoing is the subject of the second feature in Quintessential Careers’ hidden job market package (http://www.quintcareers.com/unpublicized_job_market.html), How to Tap Into Jobs in the Unpublicized Employment Market.
Experts speculated on the size of the market and, in a sidebar feature in Quintessential Careers’ hidden job market package (http://www.quintcareers.com/unpublicized_job_market_experiences.html), shared plenty of anecdotes in which job-seekers obtained jobs that had not been advertised. The only definitive statistics on the size of the market come from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in a regularly issued report called Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS. The Quintessential Careers’ hidden job market report explains that, while determining the size of the hidden job market from these statistics depends on how the stats are interpreted, what they include, and the state of the economy, they clearly suggest the existence of the hidden job market.
“Regardless of the size of the hidden/unpublicized job market,” said Quintessential Careers Associate Publisher Katharine Hansen. “The evidence is clear that networking is crucial to job-search success and remains the most effective way to land a new job. Job-seekers should consider tapping unpublicized jobs as just one tool in the job-search kit,” said Hansen, who wrote the three hidden job market features.
Source:  Quintessential Careers/EmpoweringSites.com

Hired: Job-search tips for new grads

By MARVIN WALBERG - Scripps Howard News Service


"Entry-level and middle-manager positions were most affected by last year's job cuts," said careers expert Carolyn Thompson, "and many companies that laid people off over the last 18 months are beginning to hire again."
Now is the time for new grads to use all means to approach companies with their interests and make their qualifications known. Keep these tips in mind:
1) Start with reasonable expectations: Your first job is meant to get your foot in the door. Do research and figure out what "entry level" means in your industry. Understand the requirements, responsibilities and compensation. Setting reasonable expectations up-front will pay off in the end.
2) Temporary is OK: Temporary jobs often lead to permanent positions. Before investing in you, companies want to see that you have what it takes, not just hear about it in an interview. If a great organization offers you a temporary position, consider it.
3) Network: Eighty percent of jobs found today are the direct result of networking. Ask your parents, your friends' parents and all of their friends for help. You'll be surprised at how willing these personal connections are to help and how quickly a small network can expand. Be sure to have a printed business card on hand at all times so you can professionally connect with people you meet.
4) Develop a job-search strategy -- and stick to it: Identify the industries and companies that interest you. Read through their websites, blogs and profiles on social-networking sites. By familiarizing yourself with the facts, you can better prioritize your time and energy, create stronger action plans and make more informed decisions.
5) Going back to school is not the only option: The job market can be tough, but that doesn't mean you need to go back to school. Job availability is expected to climb over the next few years. Depending on your specific interests, it may already be on an upswing. Jobs and promotions don't automatically go to the one with the highest degree. In many cases, practical work experience in a specific industry is equally important to employers.
Thanks to Thompson, a 20-year veteran of the executive-recruitment industry and the author of three books on career development. Visit her site, http://www.CarolynThompson.net.
(Marvin Walberg is a job-search coach. Contact him at mwalberg(at)bellsouth.net, marvinwalberg.blogspot.com, or PO Box 43056, Birmingham, AL 35243.)

Original Article

Monday, June 21, 2010

Job Strategies: Getting excited about networking

For the AJC
When you hear the word “networking” do you feel excited? Rarin’ to go out and greet the world? Oh sure, that’s the reaction I get from people. They can hardly sleep for the excitement of meeting new people over cocktail wienies at the bank open house.

Chances are, no columnist or career adviser is going to convince you networking is fun. I’m not even going to try. I’ll settle instead for making you less uncomfortable and maybe even a little confident. For extra credit, I’ll tell you how to make it productive. Read on, MacDuff!
1. Consider yourself a networker. I’ve heard people in the trades say, “Networking is for the guys with a briefcase.” Then I heard a stay-at-home parent say, “I don’t have anything to network about.” And then a white-collar professional told me that networking doesn’t work if you’re introverted.
Enough! As long as you believe you’re not a networker, you’re right. Embrace the label and wear it proudly. If you have ever asked a neighbor for a referral to a plumber, you are a networker. If you’ve ever helped one friend sell a car to another, you are a networker. The trick isn’t learning how to network; it’s learning how to apply networking to job search.
2. Assume others want to talk to you. Look, you really don’t know whether someone wants to talk to you. So why leap to the conclusion that they don’t? If you have to believe something, choose to believe the other person is happy to hear from you. Then it will be easier to make the contact.
3. Accept charity. There, I said it. You will sometimes receive a favor when you have no way to reciprocate. Accept the favor graciously, thank the giver earnestly, and move forward. Then remember that the giver may already feel rewarded by helping someone in need. Much as you hate to be the needy person, remind yourself: Someone has to be. Without gracious recipients, benefactors cannot experience the joy of giving.
4. Make a strategy. This is the big-ticket tip, the one that will make you more comfortable, confident and productive. When your natural networking instincts -- and you do have them -- are used for job search, you immediately encounter a situation more complex than finding a plumber. Now you’re embarking on compound networking, where one contact leads to another until you have the information or contact that you need. For this you need a strategy.
Space is short, so I’ll give you the general structure of that strategy and you can fill it in. First, you need to know what kind of job you’re seeking. Ideally, you’ll know the job title or at least the industry. You need this for the next step, which is to identify specific companies. Once you have a list of, say, 25 companies that you want to work for, and you know the work you’d like to do, you’re ready to network.
Here comes the strategy. Ask yourself: Who do I know at these companies? Whoops ... what if the answer is no one? Then ask yourself: Who do I know who might know someone at any of the companies? No one? Really? OK, go back one more level: Who do I know who might know someone who might know someone at any of these companies?
Sure, this is starting to sound silly. The most important things in life often do. Never mind how silly it sounds. Make your lists of contacts and start contacting them.
And how is it that you’re suddenly going to be more comfortable with networking than you were 10 minutes ago? Simple: Now you know who you’re calling and why. Instead of a general order to go meet people and tell them you need work (eeek), now you can identify specific people to ask a specific question: “Do you know anyone who works at zzzz company? I’d like to work there, but first I’d like to have coffee with someone to learn more about the company and get some advice. Eventually I’d like to meet the manager of the yyy department to see whether they need my help. Can you help me find a connection?”
5. Keep going. Not every conversation will be a home run, but so what? If you have enough conversations, some of them will be. And how will you know whether your networking is productive? Simple. When other people call you first, you know your name is getting out there. And when you find yourself in an interview for a job that wasn’t posted? Oh yeah, that’s productive. And that will happen if you follow these tips. What are you waiting for?
Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul, Minn. She can be reached at alindgren@prototypecareerservice.com or at 626 Armstrong Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

Original Article

Top 15 LinkedIn Groups For Job Seekers

LinkedIn is one of the most popular professional networking sites on the web, and if you haven't set up an account yet, you should do so right away! If you already have one, check out this list and see if there is one or two that you haven't joined.
Although LinkedIn is not as popular as Facebook or Twitter, it is offers one of the best resources for job seekers to network and find out about openings in their job field. For one, your LinkedIn profile is also your online resume, and there is also a recommend feature that allows other users to recommend you for a position, so it works as an instant personal reference.
LinkedIn groups are an invaluable resource for expanding your job. You can join up to 50 groups out of thousands of user created listings. Some groups are created by individuals and some by companies. Each group is a community where like-minded people who are in similar situations can discuss problems within the group. As you can imagine, this lends itself perfectly to the job search. Some of the groups are devoted to job listings and networking, and some focus more on support and helping others find jobs. Whatever your needs are, take a look and see if one of these groups can help you with your search.
Here is the top 15 groups for job seekers and their group summaries, if I am missing one of your favorite groups, please let me know.
  1. JobAngels - “Become a Job Angel by helping one person find a job! It can be a friend, a colleague, a neighbor or a total stranger. And if you need help yourself, join JobAngels to locate someone who is willing to lend a hand. “
  2. Project:Get Hired : A motivational support group for job hunters to share creative strategies and stay motivated. Whether you are recently downsized or have been unemployed for awhile, join for valuable information and insight.
  3. Job Search Help : This group is for all Job Seekers. Share advice and leads. Network and help each other. Discuss Job Boards, job search engines, career sites, ways to write a good resume etc.
  4. Executive Suite - Community of over 100,000 US-based executive-level and recruiter members.
  5. The Talent Buzz - Job Seekers, Candidates, Recruiting, HR, and Marketing professionals interested in networking, and being kept up to date with the latest trends in Human Resources, Diversity, Talent Management, Recruitment, Social Media, and Social Networking.
  6. Star:Candidate for Hire - Group working in tandem with Linked:HR, the largest Recruiters’ Group on LinkedIn, to help top candidates find jobs quickly and efficiently.
  7. JobsDirectUSA - Official job search group on LinkedIn for JobsDirectUSA.com.
  8. Career Rocketeer - Career Launch Network - Fastest-growing professional network for career search, career development and personal branding, bringing job seekers and employers, recruiters and career experts together for mutual success.

By-Melissa Kennedy: Melissa is a freelance writer, having contributed to various blogs and websites, a volunteer, a full time mom and an active job seeker.


Friday, June 18, 2010

When Is It Okay To Ask For A Job Lead?

After a workshop I led, an attendee connected to me via LinkedIn. Shortly thereafter, she asked me for an introduction to a few of my contacts. I recommended that she find connections who might know her work better than I. She then responded with a very good question that I bet is on the minds of many: a lot of the advice out there promotes networking as a way to access those jobs and companies you want, but as you meet more and more people how do you know when it’s okay to ask for referrals?
Kudos to this jobseeker for a number of things:
1) She expands her network. We connected (as it happened via LinkedIn but you can also use email or other social network);
2) She stays in touch. Some people stop after one contact;
3) She doesn’t stop at No. She didn’t push back on my hesitation for a referral but she did ask for more information (she asked why). So while she didn’t get exactly what she asked for, she got more information and that will help her search.
You can’t expand your network if you always only focus on people you already know. You have to take a chance, like this person did, and reach out to people. Attend social events, go to conferences, take classes, participate in community activities, and then actually reach out to the people you meet.

You also have to follow up because even if you do manage to introduce yourself and get this person in your LinkedIn network or on your email list, if you don’t correspond further, it doesn’t really matter.
But, the follow up stage is a long stage. The best follow up is non-committal.
You focus on the other person – just saying hi or giving an article, a recommendation for a good book, a holiday greeting. Give something that is welcome and doesn’t require a response. This way, you build familiarity and rapport without bothering the person. Then, when you have established familiarity and rapport, you might try asking for something.
A connection/ referral to someone else is a big favor. When you make a referral for a job or even an informational meeting, it is a reflection on you, so you want to make sure that before you refer someone you know them. Likewise, asking someone else to refer you is a risk for them. They need to know that you will reflect on them well, so don’t jump the gun to ask your network for this.


Asking for information is less of a favor, so if you’re not sure where you stand with a contact, ask your connection for information on a company or type of job.
The contact may offer on their own to introduce you to someone they know at the company or to pass on your resume for that type of job. This way, you have put yourself out there, made your aspirations known, but also not imposed too much on the other person.
People have different comfort levels for sharing contacts and referrals. So when you are expanding your network and not quite sure where people stand, be conservative and assume that you need to know the person very well. Then be generous and patient with your network so it becomes connections you know very well. 

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career coach, writer, speaker, Gen Y expert and co-founder of SixFigureStart (www.sixfigurestart.com), a career coaching firm comprised of former Fortune 500 recruiters. Formerly in corporate HR and retained search, Caroline most recently headed University Relations for Time Inc and has also recruited for Accenture, Citibank, Disney ABC, and others. Caroline is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Professional Development at Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs and posts at CNBC Executive Careers and Vault.com.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

How to overcome 7 obstacles to a job search

For the AJC
It’s (nearly) officially summer and nearly the third quarter of the year. Whether you measure time by the moon or the market, one thing’s certain: It’s getting on.

If you’ve been conducting a job search for too long, or with too few results, time can seem like the enemy rather than one of your resources -- especially if you’re running out of cash, another of your scarce resources. How can you turn things around?

The answer depends on what, exactly, is going wrong. In my work as a career counselor, I’ve learned to watch for seven obstacles common to underperforming job searches.
(A word of warning: None are market-based. These issues are “evergreen,” cropping up in good times and bad, at all levels. Since people do get jobs in bad markets, but can also fail to get jobs in good markets, it’s important to check these issues before assigning fault to the market.)
Obstacle 1: Lack of a plan. If you don’t know which job you’re seeking, or which companies you’re planning to approach, it’s no wonder you’re not making progress -- you don’t know which direction to go.
Solution: Create a plan that includes a target job, target employers and people to contact. If you can’t, then your first step is to meet with a counselor to help you do so.
Obstacle 2: Lack of commitment. Maybe you have a plan, but you’re not pushing yourself. In effect, this is the same as having no plan.
Solution: You can either make a new plan, or recommit to the original one by reminding yourself that you made this plan for a reason. Or, a little tougher: Recommit by remembering that you need the money, period.
Obstacle 3: Lack of structure. OK, you’ve got a plan you’re committed to, but entire days still slip by with little or no productivity. Chances are, you haven’t created a schedule that includes specific steps for each day.
Solution: You need to create a structure, perhaps like this: two days a week focused on networking and meetings, one day on sending letters and resumes and one day on follow-up calls and research. The fifth day is scheduled as needed.
Obstacle 4: Feeling overwhelmed. Being unemployed is definitely overwhelming; when we’re overwhelmed, we tend to avoid the problem, opting instead for housecleaning or overeating.
Solution: Break things into small steps. If tomorrow is the day to write letters, spend the last 15 minutes of today noting five people you’ll write to. When you get up, allow yourself one hour per letter, then one last hour for proofreading. Hit the send button, lay out the tasks for the next day and stop.
Obstacle 5: Loss of momentum. You know how this goes: Fail to exercise once or twice, no problem. But take a week off and you’re sunk. As in exercise, keeping a steady pace in job search is more important than spurts of activity at odd intervals.
Solution: Set a pace that works for you. One hour a day? OK -- stick to it. If something happens to today’s hour, start over again tomorrow, but don’t let two days go by or the momentum will be hard to recapture.
Obstacle 6: Distractions. This is the big one for summertime, especially if the kids are home, be they grade-schoolers or college graduates.
Solution: Anticipate and manage the distractions. If you want to be outside at midday, get up early to do your job search. If having a teenager around bugs you while you’re trying to focus, lay down the rules of the house: No one home during the day. Little kids? Form a baby-sitting co-op with another job seeker.
Obstacle 7: Loss of confidence. Ouch. This one hurts. None of the other obstacles and solutions matter if you don’t believe you can get work. Whether your feelings stem from the way you left your last job, the length of your unemployment, or something deeper, you need to tackle this and move forward.
Solution: The best solution may be to seek counseling, especially if this has been ongoing. If it seems situational, then try this exercise: Each time you think of a deficit (“I don’t know anything about databases”), force yourself to think of an asset (“I’m quite good with spreadsheets”). By refocusing your thinking on what you have to offer, rather than on what you’re missing, you’re making a habit of presenting yourself in a positive light -- to both yourself and others. Since assets are the primary topic of interviews, you’ll find that this exercise also leads you to stronger conversations with employers when the time comes.
Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul. She can be reached at alindgren@prototypecareerservice.com or at 626 Armstrong Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.


Original Article