Thursday, October 28, 2010

14 ways to make LinkedIn work for your career

By Louisa Veidelis

Whether you’re happy in your job or are itching for new opportunities, signing up to LinkedIn and exploring its features can open up many opportunities for your career down the track.

LinkedIn was launched as a professional networking site 2003 and has become an essential networking tool, with 875,000 users in Australia, more than 50 million worldwide and many employers using the site to recruit staff.

So it’s time to stop ignoring all those invitations, and get linked in now.

1. Starting out: promote yourself
Admit it – do you Google yourself? Well, prospective employers will be sure to check out your online baggage too. Interestingly, an effectively built LinkedIn profile will appear above your Facebook page in search results, which gives a better first professional impression.

Once you sign up, change your profile to public in the ‘edit profile’ options. You can also customise your URL to make it more user friendly, featuring your first and last name. You can now include that URL on your resume and on your personal business cards.

2. Reconnect with old contacts
Finally, here’s a way to reconnect with old colleagues and people you meet at networking events. Better that industry contacts see your amazing work history rather than those embarrassing Facebook pics of you on a pub crawl.

Any less than 30 connections can look a little lonely but don’t go crazy adding every Tom, Dick and Harry – limit your connections to those people you truly want to stay in touch with.

And if any undesirables request you as a contact, you can simply archive their request to avoid awkwardness.

You also have the opportunity to view the connections of your connections (or, ‘second-degree connections’). If you would get in touch with one of them you can simply ask your contact for an introduction.

3. Connect your websites
LinkedIn provides a central hub to connect all the various websites displaying your ideas and skills – including Twitter, blogs, your portfolio and company websites.

4. Include a photo
While the jury’s still out on adding a photo to a traditional resume, including your headshot in your LinkedIn profile is a good way to add your personality to your profile. Make sure it’s a professional-looking shot – it’s not the place to show off your latest designer bikini.

5. Get headhunted – use keywords
LinkedIn recently revealed that over 1000 companies in Australia use LinkedIn Talent Advantage to hire. Companies advertise jobs on the site and search users to find people with the exact skills they need. Promoting your skills effectively could the difference between being noticed and missing out.

People can search the database using keywords. Search results are displayed by keyword relevance, with the most important words being those included in a user’s headline and summary. Keyword density is also a factor, so try to repeat your main keywords a few times throughout your profile.

6. Create a strong headline
LinkedIn will make your current job title your headline by default, but you can change this to something more impressive or eye-catching. For example, if you are a freelance proofreader, you could make your headline ‘Independent Editorial and Proofreading Professional’.

Tips 7 - 14 and Original Article

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Job Search Grind

In March, 2008, the national unemployment rate was 4.8%. By January of 2010, it had risen to a high of 10.6% and in September of 2010 still hovered at 9/2%. In Nevada, the state I live in, unemployment is above 14%. Because of such high unemployment, most of us know someone that is currently looking for a job.
A recent study entitled “The Job Search Grind” published in The Academy of Management Journal sheds some light on the experience of people involved in the job search process. This well designed study followed 233 unemployment insurance recipients that were actively seeking work every day for three weeks.
One of the most interesting findings for me was that 44% of the job seekers in this study spent less than 10 hours a week on their job searches. Only 20% spent at least 25 hours a week searching for a job. There are a number of explanations for individuals spending little time searching for a job, including discouragement, perceived progress, and simply using the time to pursue other interests. The study had four additional findings that I found interesting:
1.      When individuals reported lower job search progress on any given day, it affected their mood (more negative, less positive) and lowered their confidence about their chances of finding a job.
2.      The ability to manage negative thoughts matters. Lower mood on any given day was related to more effort the following day only for those that could disengage from negative thoughts. For individuals that could not disengage from negative thoughts, lower mood on any day resulted in less search effort the following day.
3.      Individuals with financial hardship experience the job search process differently. The study found that financial hardship strengthened the negative effects of low search progress and weakened the positive effects of high search progress.
4.      The more (less) progress people made on any given day, the less (more) time they invested in job search the next day.
Being unemployed and looking for a job is not only hard work, it’s can also be a roller coaster ride of emotions. People that have high financial hardship and have a hard time managing their emotions will experience the job search process the hardest.
Setting realistic goals for daily time spent in the search process, and sticking to those daily goals regardless of the perceived progress on any given day should help. Making job search a daily routine won’t alleviate the roller coaster of emotions, but it should help with the management of those emotions, especially for those that have a harder time with negative thoughts.
Learn to treat perceived daily progress, either good or bad, as noise in the process and not a signal.
Bret L. Simmons, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), where he teaches courses in organizational behavior, leadership, and personal branding to both undergraduate and MBA students. Bret blogs about leadership, followership, and social media at his website Positive Organizational Behavior. You can also find Bret on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.

Original Article

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop Applying For Jobs And Get Tactical And Creative

I recently stumbled across a post in one of the LinkedIn forums I frequent where a young lady was asking for help. She said: I have a BS in Accounting and an MBA in Finance, and I’ve applied for over 1,500 jobs and nobody will hire me.

Would you like to know what I told her? Stop applying for jobs. Period.

You might be saying that’s harsh, but it really isn’t. Everyone else is doing the same thing she’s doing (and probably you too if you’re on the market), and very few people are getting their desired results. There were tons of other constructive feedback but I felt none of them really dug into the heart of the matter. In today’s job market you have to be tactical and creative. If you’re not finding ways to stand out from the crowd, you’ll be just another resume.
Mentioning that she has her degrees tells me absolutely nothing about what she has accomplished other than she was determined and smart enough to make it through school. People tend to throw around degrees and acronyms like they really hold a lot of weight in the recruiting world. Newsflash, they really don’t (unless of course you’re a doctor).

You have to be sure to let people know what you’ve done, what your expertise is, what makes you that expert, and how you’ve impacted your previous employers. On paper, anyone can look the part. But if I interview you and I can’t determine what you’ve actually contributed or done for your past employers, I consider it a wasted conversation. I’m not being facetious, I’m coming from the perspective of a Recruiter.

So like I said to the young lady with the dilemma, you have to stop applying for jobs. It fascinates me that people don’t stop to think that there are hundreds of other people just like them applying for the same jobs. What makes you so special? That is the million dollar question and trust me, if you want to stand out, you better be prepared to answer it. In the mean time, there are things you can do to make sure you increase your odds of finding a job or creating an opportunity. It’s not enough to apply, you have to work at finding a job.

Tired of not getting interviews? Well take your skills and strike out as a consultant or start your own business. I wouldn’t try to do something that takes you out of your skill set. Consulting work or starting a business that falls back on your skills is a great way to make some money and position yourself as an expert.

But remember, there are a host of other things that come along with running a business such as invoicing, billing, bookkeeping, marketing, sales, etc. If you are going to be a one woman shop, be prepared to take on the many hats that come along with striking out on your own. Be realistic about whether or not you can handle those things. Otherwise, try marketing yourself as a consultant to recruitment firms who specialize in placing consultants.

Remain true to you. When a recruiter scans your resume or profile and they see you moved out of your skill set, a red flag goes up. You may have had honorable intentions or may be filling the time to bring in a check until that ideal job comes. But remember, you are one of hundreds applying. Your resume has 30 seconds to wow a recruiter. Don’t sabotage your chances.

Now I don’t say this to discourage you. I know in these tough economic times, everyone needs to bring in a paycheck. But be careful about what you choose. You want to stay as organic to your strengths as possible. Unless you are looking to change course completely, try to remain in the industry or at least a similar type of position so it won’t look like you’re just passing the time until you find the right job. It spooks hiring managers to see that you will settle for a check instead of holding out for what you are meant to do.

Boost your networking. Don’t just be connected to people, communicate with them. Get involved in networking activities and make yourself known. Make sure you are building a database of ‘must know‘ people and not just connecting with anyone for the sake of connecting.

If you’re hanging out with customer service reps and you should be hanging around finance professionals, it’s time to make a change. True anyone can be a great networking source, but you have to be laser focused when you’re looking for a job. You have heard me say time and time again to get out and build networks and relationships. You can’t just turn to people when you need work. Cultivate those relationships so that when you are in need, people are more receptive and empathetic to you.
Get out and get known online and offline. Do something to showcase your expertise (podcasts, blogs, guest articles, etc). Recruiters are looking at those things more than you know, especially for certain positions. Social media is very powerful and it levels the brand positioning playing field. Building your professional brand is key. Show them what you’ve got and don’t be shy about it. You want recruiters coming to you, not to chase after jobs and recruiters.
Create a job opportunity. Research companies you want to work with and identify sore points that they are dealing with where you know you could be the solution. Speak to the hiring manager, department manager, etc (not HR) and ask to meet with them to network. During the conversation mention their problem and ask for clarification on what ails them. Then offer some (generic) solutions by giving them the what and the why (but not the how…that’s how you come into play) of what they most likely need.
If they seem interested in hearing more, ask for an interview. Then be prepared to blow them away with your knowledge and record of accomplishment.

I have a feeling many of you are going to job boards and applying for everything you are interested in. I’ll let you in on a recruiter secret that’s probably going to get me kicked out of the inner circle. Those are sometimes ads to pipeline candidates. Some (not all, but some) companies have no intention of filling the jobs, only building a database. So if you choose to apply, find out who you need to get in front of that matters and go through them first to let them know you’re interested. Then apply online per protocol.
You must approach online job ads as if there is a potential that it is solely for pipelining. Make sure you back that application up with some roll up your sleeves, investigative work to connect with the true hiring manager. Express your interest in the position, let them know you’ve applied per protocol and make sure it gets to the right people. You just never know in this day of technology and applicant tracking so it’s up to YOU to do the due diligence if you really want the job.

Get More Advice and Read the Complete Original Forbes Article

A LinkedIn Profile That Works! Tips From A Recruiter

By Harry Urschel

image As I’ve said many times before, LinkedIn is a game changer when it comes to an effective job search in today’s online world. There has never been a resource that made it as easy to find the critical information you need when you’re looking for a new job… Companies, Contacts, Interview Prep information, Comparative Job Histories, and venues to discuss topics and challenges related to any job, field, or industry. It’s incredible… and that’s no overstatement.

As much as LinkedIn can be used proactively to gain the information needed, it sure is nice to be “found” once in awhile and pursued for potential opportunities as well. The key to being found, is having a profile that works!

What gets attention, what gets read, what improves your chances of getting a call or an email?

As a recruiter, I look at hundreds of LinkedIn profiles. It’s one of the most powerful and effective tools I have in finding qualified candidates for positions I’m trying to fill. What makes me move on and what gets me to reach out? Here are some key points…

Keywords – Keywords – Keywords!!! The only way anyone is found is by someone entering some keywords in the search box for what they are looking for. Generally, it’s not practical to “browse” 80 MILLION profiles in the hopes of stumbling across the right person. They will enter some words to find people with that specific background. Here’s the tough part… there is no dictionary of terms used to find certain skills. Anyone running a search has to figure it out for themselves.

So… take the time to think about “what are all the possible search terms someone might use to find someone like me?” Then make sure all those words are somewhere in your profile. If someone is looking for a “Payroll Manager”, and your were a “Payroll Supervisor”, they may not find you if you don’t have the word “Manager” in your profile. Incorporate the different terms in your job descriptions if you can. Otherwise, it’s perfectly fine to simply have a list of additional keywords somewhere at the bottom of your profile. Be honest about your background, but make sure you turn up in the appropriate searches!

Short Substantive Sound-bites! Like a resume, a LinkedIn profile will typically only get scanned for a few seconds before the reader decides whether you are worth pursuing further or not. In that quick scan, short phrases will get read and long sentences and paragraphs will not. A paragraph may make a powerful argument why you’re a dynamite prospect, but if it never gets read, it has no impact at all.

Figure out what things in your background are the most important, most marketable, and most in demand in your field, and make those experiences pop out in your profile. Take long descriptions and figure out what are the most important points to get across from each sentence. Make those points in a few words in separate bullet points. Each bullet does not have to be a complete sentence, and will have more impact in a few well chosen words.

* 4 consecutive years of 15% or greater sales growth

will more likely get read, and has more impact than…

* Sales production increased by 15% or more in year-over-year growth in each of the last four fiscal years due to increased efforts and new strategies.

The first example has more impact and gets more results, however, the second example is the norm because it seems more complete. In your LinkedIn profile as in your resume, it’s better to be effective than it is to have complete explanations!

“Call me!” Unless you are directly connected as a first level connection in LinkedIn, your contact information is not visible to the reader. If you are hoping to be contacted, make it easy for them to contact you! Put your phone number and email address in the Summary section at the top of your profile. Don’t make them have to send an introduction through another user, or use up one of their “In Mails”, or have to scroll to the bottom of your profile, or try to look you up in some other way. The easier it is, the more likely they will connect.

When I’m hunting for a good candidate for a position I’m working on, and find someone that seems like they might be qualified, but can’t tell for sure from their profile… I will likely call if their contact information is easy to find. If it’s not in their profile and I can’t easily find it otherwise, I will generally simply move on to another candidate… there are plenty to look at. If your profile is on the bubble in their mind, you’d rather get a chance to make your case rather than just have them move on… make it easy to for them to connect!

Make yourself real! Pictures have an interesting effect on LinkedIn. While I would not recommend that anyone put a picture on their resume, having a picture on LinkedIn often sways me to make a call rather than move on. When someone’s profile looks like they might have relevant experience for the position I’m working on, but it’s not crystal clear… I will often connect with them to find out more if they have a professional looking picture displayed. It personalizes it, and makes them more of a real person than a faceless listing.

The picture must be a professional headshot. A vacation picture, or a picture of your boat, or pet, or kids tells me that they don’t understand that LinkedIn is a Professional networking site, not equivalent to Facebook or MySpace. The profile pictures are tiny, a full body shot or even a half body shot will not allow anyone to see your face well enough to make it personal. Get up-close, wear professional clothing (at least on the neck), and smile!

“They LIKE me!” Get recommended! When looking at a profile, I usually look to see if anyone had recommended them. Since LinkedIn allows you to choose which recommendations are visible on your profile and which aren’t, I always assume they are positive so I almost never take the time to read what the recommendations actually say. However, the fact that someone was willing to write something positive about them creates a good impression.

The easiest way to get recommendations… is to give them. Write recommendations on LinkedIn for previous managers, co-workers, customers, or vendors. Usually, at least half the time, they will return the favor. Three or four are good, it’s not necessary or even particular helpful to have 10 or more.

LinkedIn is a great place to have more information than your resume. It’s not necessary to limit yourself to two pages as you should in your resume. However, although you can have more overall length, each line should be shorter. Include all the appropriate keywords you can, include your contact information, include a professional picture, and get recommendations. You will greatly improve your chances of getting found.

Original Post

Friday, October 22, 2010

Do you really know me? 20 Tips to learn about your audience.

Social media provides the opportunity to connect with millions of people that we would normally not have access to. We have people following us from every walk of life, numerous countries and the list goes on.

What do we really know about our audiences? Have you taken the time to know them, understand them or connect with them.

We talk about social media being a relationship, a conversation. However, I think very few take the time required to build a meaningful conversation, let alone a real relationship! How can we build a relationship with someone we haven’t taken the time to know anything more than what their Twitter handle is?

I encourage my clients to take the time to truly understand and know their audience. Take them time to follow a group of them. Listen to them and better connect with them.

The more we know about our audience the better we can inspire and connect with them!
20 Tips to Get to Know Your Audience

1. Listen to them. This one sounds simple because it is! However, many don’t take advantage of this simple and first critical phase of social media. Listening should be the first step when engaging in social media. It should also be something you do on a regular basis. Listen with an intent to understand. Listen to the meaning of what you audience is saying. How are they engaging with others? How are they engaging with you? What is the tone? What questions are they asking?

2. Join conversation. The best way to learn how your audience will respond to you is well of course seeing how they respond to you. Don’t sit on the sidelines for months while you learn about social media tools. Engage. Join conversation. You don’t always have to be the initiator of a conversation. Comment on other blogs, respond to other tweets and comments.

3. Ask questions. I love asking questions. Often times I’ll ask simple questions on Twitter. I am always amazed at how many answers I receive. I love asking both serious and fun questions.

4. Create a poll. Creating a poll easy. Use Poll Daddy to create a simple poll. You will be provided with a link that you can share on any social or web platform. Poll Daddy also has a widget for WordPress websites as well as Facebook. Again, I love creating both serious and simply fun polls.

5. Implement an email program. If you do not currently have an email program you are missing out! Subscribe to an email program such as aWeber, iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp or Infusionsoft. We use Infusionsoft as it has more advanced features than some of the others. If you want something simple start with one of the others. If you want something that includes an integrated shopping cart, affiliate program, and advanced nurturing then I vote for Infusionsoft.

6. Create call to actions on a regular basis. Action is the social currency of social media. Create meaningful ways for your audience to take action. This needs to be more than just clicking on a link you place in a tweet to someone else’s website! Give your audience a reason to engage with you. Create something that they want and need. Then place this content or the action they need to take on social platform or website. Encourage them to move from an email program to your website or from your website to one of your social platforms. A call to action could be an invitation to buy something, answer a poll, answer a question, share something about themselves. Anything that will get them to take action.

7. Integrate a fun call to action with an email communication and an online platform. Integration of marketing across mediums is key to return on investment (ROI). Don’t be afraid to have fun with your audience. I frequently ask questions at the very bottom of my email newsletters and updates. I like to do this to measure how many people are actually reading my email to the bottom of the email. I will frequently ask questions that are funny and off the wall. They usually will align with our brand but in a fun way. It always amazes me how many people will respond. One example is I recently asked subscribers in a p.s.s. what their favorite nut was. Many of our subscribers answered the question on our Facebook page as well as a Tweet response.

8. Follow them. This sounds simple but it’s more than just a simple follow. What I am suggesting is really following them. For example if you find an interesting follower on Twitter or on your Facebook fan page then check them out online. Follow their tweets. Follow where they are sending people via links, announcements, blog posts. Where do they comment? What social platforms do they hang out on? How are they engaging on each platform differently? What can you learn from their online behaviors that will help you better provide them with useful information to draw them closer into your tribe?

9. Check out their following. Check out who is following your audience. This is basically who are your followers followers? Is it the same or different audience who follows you? Are there new people, new demographics maybe you should also check out and possibly target? How is their following responding to them? What can you learn from their engagement with other audiences?

10. Check out their Twitter lists. This is a great way to learn what interests the user has as well as how people view them. I love seeing the Twitter lists people put me on. My favorite of course is any list with the word geek on it because at heart I am a tech geek. I have to laugh at many of the lists people put me on. It has helped me connect with people I would have never met had they not put me on a list. Do the same for your audience. You can often tap into new audiences from taking time to build and view other people’s lists. When joining a new market niche other people’s lists can save you weeks of time.

11. Run a Tweet Reach report. This is a simple measurement tool that will tell you how far your most recent tweets travel. You can see total reach of your last 50 tweets. It also details the reach of your tweets via the people who retweeted your tweets. For each Twitter user who retweeted you it provides the reach of that user with your tweet. It’s a great way to see what influential followers and supporters you have. Note, it only shows the last 50.

12. Run a Klout report. Klout is a great measurement tool to measure your influence. It looks at your following, who you follow, the ratio of followers to the number you are following. It provides you pointers to influential people you could be following but aren’t. It will show you tweeters who influence you and also who you influence. It measures the amplification of your message and the depth to which your brand and content is being shared online. It recently even incorporated Facebook into the measurement. Remember social media is not just about numbers. The key is to have a loyal following who is engaged with you. You want a tribe that loves your content, loves you and at the end of the day takes action! Action = social currency!

13. Read their blogs. This one is also simple. Read other people’s blogs. Not rocket science. Read them with a goal to learn and understand. Not just scan them to cross this item off a list.

14. Read the comments they leave on other blogs. This is another great way to see how they engage with others. What comments are they leaving for others? Are they leaving as thoughtful comments on your blog? If not, why? Why are they engaging on other blogs? What is different than yours?

15. Encourage them to share and comment on your blog. Invite people to comment. I include an invitation at the end of every blog post for people to comment. Don’t be afraid of comments and opinions that differ from yours. When people start to listen to what you have to say you will hear differing opinions. Opinions are good. You should welcome them. You can also include WordPress plug-ins that encourage engagement via comments. I include a recent comments plug-in on the side bar of all of our blogs and websites.

16. Set you favorite social friends comments to be automatically approved. This is a great way to encourage commenting and engagement. There are a few people who comment on our blog regularly. I set their comments to be automatically approved. That way they don’t have to wait for any approval. They simply are live the minute they hit submit.

17. Engage them on your Facebook page. Ask questions. Share content. Encourage them to share their urls, Facebook Fan pages, information about what they do and how they can help your audience. Include polls, trivia and simple questions to get them to engage! Be inspiring, real and have fun! Chances are if you only speak in business speak you will get little to no engagement.

18. Start a group on Facebook. Facebook just launched a new group feature. Start a group around your business or one of your favorite topics. Invite people you would like to know better in combination with people you already do.

19. Start a group on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn groups. Start a group around your business or favorite topic. Similar to Facebook encourage others to engage. Ask questions. Ask people to introduce themselves. Make it a place for sharing of self and business.

20. Start a question and answer session on LinkedIn. This is last on this list but one of my favorites! Asking questions on LinkedIn is a great way to get to know your following in a deep way. You can learn what they are thinking about a certain topic you are struggling with. It’s a great tool to meet new people with common interests as well. I have met many great social friends from LinkedIn Q&A sessions. If you haven’t checked it out, do it!

About the Author @PamMktgNut Half marketing, half geek, social media addict, CEO and Founder of FruitZoom, Inc., entrepreneur, speaker, trainer, coach. Lover of strategy, ROI, Brand, God, Family, Friends, Beach & Life! 15+ years of experience helping small startups to Fortune 100 companies, budgets teeny tiny to big in both B2B and B2C markets build brand awareness, grow new markets, develop communities and master ROI across all mediums! Industries of expertise include high technology, non-profit & fundraising, green eco-friendly, enterprise data storage, professional services and storage management, real estate and home building, natural lighting, database analytics & modeling, online marketing, as well as web 2.0 ecommerce for online retailers.

Original Article

How to Get Better Online Job Search Results

(Hint: Stop searching by job title) It can be tough to figure out the nuances of the online job search. With the option to search by keyword, location, industry, company or all of the above at once, it’s hard to know which query will return the best search results for you.

In the absence of knowing the best method for getting targeted results, many people default to what they DO know about their job search: the title of the position they’re looking for. While searching for “marketing assistant” or “pediatric nurse” may seem like a good way to get direct hits on the jobs you want, searching by job title actually eliminates a lot of positions that may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Why? Because job titles often aren’t standardized across different companies and industries. One company’s software engineer is another’s database programmer. The job descriptions might be exactly the same, but the positions may have different titles.

In order to get the largest number of relevant search results, try one of these methods instead.

1. Search by keyword

Instead of simply searching by a job title, develop a list of keywords that represent both the type of job you’re looking for and the work you’re qualified to do. The list should be comprised of functions you’ve performed at previous jobs, duties you’d like to perform at your next job, as well as relevant skills and experience.

For example, if you’re looking for software engineering position, your keyword search terms may include:

* Software design
* Software languages
* Algorithms
* Linux
* .Net programming
* Network security
* Computer science
* Master’s degree

Instead of searching the term “software engineer,” use the terms above terms to find job results that match what you’re looking for.

2. Combine keywords with Boolean search terms

While searching by keyword will bring up a broad range of search results, combining keywords to create a “Boolean search” will allow you to narrow down your results.

Though the term may sound complicated, Boolean search is actually a simple way to combine search terms in order to form strings of keywords. They’re surprisingly easy to conduct once you understand the basics.

The basics:

* Put quotes around terms you want to keep together. For example “software languages.” This will ensure that your results are returned with listings that contain this specific phrase, not just the words software and languages somewhere in the listing.
* Combine words using plus (+) and minus (-) signs.
o For example, if you’re searching for a job where you can put your Master’s degree to good use while working on software languages, your search may be: “Master’s degree” + “software languages.”
o However, if you prefer not to use the JAVA language, your search may look like: “Master’s degree” + “software languages” – JAVA.
* To make your search even easier, Boolean searches also enable you to search root words. Meaning you won’t have to conduct separate searches for “programmer” “programmers” and “programming.” Instead, type in the root of the word, with an asterisk, to search all forms of the root word. For example, you might search “software language” + program*.

3. Try an advanced search

If you’re not sure exactly what you’re looking for, or you’re interested in a job function, but not a specific industry (i.e. an administrative position in any sector), start with a broad search — you can always narrow it down as you figure out what you want and don’t want.

On CareerBuilder, for example, you can type in a general keyword, like “administrative” and then narrow it down through a variety of search categories. If you realize you’d prefer to work as an administrative assistant in a medical office or at a school, for example, you can specify this in the advanced search.

Similarly, if you are only interested in jobs that pay over $50,000, you can enter in your salary requirements as well.

The more fields you enter values for, the fewer, but more targeted, your search results will be.

Kaitlin Madden is a writer and blogger for and its job blog, The Work Buzz. She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues. Follow @CBForJobSeekers on Twitter.

Original CB Article

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

20 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

By Karen Burns

The longer you look for a job, the tougher it becomes. Who could blame you for feeling despondent, discouraged, depressed—even bitter? Some days you may not even feel like getting out of bed.
Unfortunately, not only is depression, well, depressing, it also makes it harder to get out there and look. And the less you get out and look, the less likely a job offer will come your way. Even worse, prospective employers tend to be turned off by negativity. It’s the most dastardly kind of Catch-22.
What all this means is that a major part of anyone’s job hunt is staying motivated. We all have our ways of keeping on keeping on, but here are some time-tested suggestions to prevent your search from getting you down:
1. Join a job-search group. It’s a reason to get out of the house and a venue to vent. You may even get some great feedback on your presentation, resume, cover letter, etc.
2. Socialize with employed friends. It’s a reminder that jobs do exist. Besides, these are the folks most likely to know about available positions and upcoming openings.
3. Limit your exposure to the news. Yes, you do need to know what’s going on in the world, but you don’t need to wallow in the latest dismal job-market reports.
4. Invigorate yourself through hobbies or sports. These can be activities you already love or, better yet, something new and exciting.
[See 21 Secrets to Getting the Job.]
5. Avoid “glass-is-half-empty” folks. Everyone knows people like this. Minimize your exposure to them as much as you can.
6. Hang out with people who make you feel good about yourself. Find and stick with friends and family who respect you, who like you for who you are, and who are positive and upbeat.
7. Expand your network every single day. The growth of your professional network is a better way to measure progress than how many interviews you have each week.
8. Expose yourself to media that inspire you. Choose books, blogs, magazines, movies, and TV that uplift you and make you feel the world is a wonderful place.
9. Read biographies of successful people. It can help enormously to realize that every successful person encountered failures and setbacks along the way. Every single one.
10. Try new (to you) job-search techniques. Go for an informational interview or switch your resume from chronological to functional. A different approach may breathe new life into your hunt.

Tips 11 - 20

5 Questions About Personal Branding

By Kimberly Palmer

Dan Schawbel is a master of personal branding: He runs a popular website on the topic and just released a new edition of Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future. He says almost everyone can use his branding techniques to improve their careers and boost their earning power. I recently spoke with Schawbel about his ideas and advice. Excerpts:

How did you first start to realize the importance of personal branding?
I realized the true power of personal branding when I became my own case study. It took me eight months, meeting fifteen people, and getting rejected twice to get my first job out of college at a Fortune 200 tech company. Then, after several months working full-time, I established, as well as Personal Branding Magazine. I also published articles in the media, started an online TV series called Personal Branding TV, and launched the Personal Brand Awards.
Fast Company wrote about my six-month personal branding journey, and my company hired me internally to be the first social media specialist back in 2007. This title is fairly common in both large enterprises and small firms now. Instead of going through a rigorous interview process, I was being recruited for a job I got to co-create based on my hobby outside of work. My personal brand communicated my expertise and passion to my employer indirectly through a single press article. From that moment on, I was convinced that other people could replicate what I had done for myself and I wrote a book proposal for Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future.

What exactly is personal branding?
Personal branding is the process by which you identify what makes you special, and then communicate that to the world. Your brand is a celebration of who you are, what unique promise of value you can deliver to your employer or clients, and your personality. Everyone in the world has a personal brand, from Oprah to a random doctor in New York City.
Personal branding forces us to take a hard look at ourselves and decide how we want to be positioned in the marketplace and what we want to be known for. You can’t be everything to everyone, which means that you need to have a focused approach so you target a specific audience that would be interested in your services. As a brand, you should have a platform by which you connect with your audience, such as a blog, or a TV program. This way, you can let your audience know you exist and what purpose you serve in their lives.

What’s the single most important thing people wanting to establish their brand need to do?
You need to brand yourself for the career you want, not the job you have. Your entire branding strategy needs to be focused on your long-term aspirations. This way, you will only attract the opportunities that you’re interested in, and filter the rest out. By commanding your online presence, using keywords, a tag line, written content, and a professional picture of yourself, you can tell the world how you want to be judged and what you’re looking for. I’ve never bought into the “law of attraction,” but the internet has allowed us to use our online presence as a magnet to pull the right people in and repel the wrong people.
Are there common mistakes people make?
People make a lot of mistakes when it comes to personal branding, namely because they want overnight results. Too many rely on Twitter as a branding platform, yet it is increasingly becoming ineffective, since 71 percent of Twitter posts are ignored. One tweet isn’t going to make you famous, or get you a job either. I see a lot of people who over-promote because they don’t understand the most important principle of relationships: providing value before asking for anything in return. I also see a lot of people who spam blog comments, and who are careless about their online profiles. You wouldn’t believe the amount of people who don’t even fill out their entire LinkedIn profile.

Does everyone need to think about personal branding, or only those in certain types of professions?
Everyone in the world needs to think about personal branding, from the gardener to the senator. There are certain professions that need to be more concerned about branding, such as real estate agents, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and others in the service industry, where they are selling themselves before any product. Everyone already has a brand, but few people take the time to unlock their unique abilities, and even fewer put their face online for the world to judge.
Everyone is capable of doing great things, but you need to put in the effort in order to be a successful long-term brand that people remember and care about. An unexpected profession where personal branding is important: plumbers. If a plumber comes over and is friendly to you or stays for an extra fifteen minutes without charging you, you will tell your friends about them and they will build their brand and business.

Kimberly Palmer is author of the new book Generation Earn: The Young Professional’s Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back (Ten Speed Press).

Original Article

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Résumé writing 101: Keywords can make you stand out

Employers need quick ways to sort through the thousands of résumés they receive. One favorite method is the keyword search. If you use the keywords companies are looking for, your résumé has a better chance of standing out, job-search advisers say. Here are five résumé-writing tips to take advantage of keywords:
- Sara Afzal, Contributor
Vic Ziverts shows off his 'Hire Me' chocolate bar, which includes his résumé on the wrapper, at a 2009 job fair in Columbus, Ohio. You don't need to go that far to get noticed. Incorporate keywords into your résumé writing, job-search advisers say. (Kiichiro Sato/AP/File)

5. Focus on job titles

Companies are looking to fill specific positions, so they search for job titles that match the vacancy. Popular keyword terms these days are “manager,” “management,” “supervisor,” and “product manager,” according to a study released this week by, which surveyed the search patterns of 1,500 employers.
The trick in résumé writing is to highlight the job titles of your previous positions that most closely resemble the job you’re applying for – and to list relevant jobs higher up in your résumé, since there is a hierarchy of search results.
“Get into the mind-set of the recruiter and really find out what they are looking for,” says CEO Ted Hekman.

4. Hone your job descriptions

Here’s a keyword-hitting formula: Use synonyms. Look carefully at the words used in an employer’s job description, then come up with related words that describe your duties and skills in a previous position, suggests employment website This will heighten search-engine hits.
Putting the same words in a job posting on your résumé doesn’t hurt either, says Mary Ellen Liseno, assistant director for career planning at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. “Using identical words that are in the job description tied in with your own experience is one of the best ways” to attract an employer’s attention.

3. Highlight performance

Employers glancing over résumés are looking for language that emphasizes performance, says Mr. Hekman. “Recruiters want to know what kind of results an individual can generate that impact the bottom-line.” The survey found that just over half of employers chose résumés based on the “results stated in the candidate’s experience,” which Hekman says refers to measurable results.
“Accomplishments are incredibly important on résumés,” says Katharine Hansen of, an employment resource site. “Too many job-seekers mistakenly focus on duties and responsibilities. A résumé should be 100 percent accomplishments-driven.”

2. Showcase your skills

The more relevant skills you have, the less training a company has to do. So highlight your skills on a résumé. recommends a résumé section labeled “strengths” or “expertise” listing brief phrases that would be easily searchable. For a computer programmer, examples would be “software engineering” and “application development.”
An increasing number of job-seekers are creating functional résumés that list valuable skills at the top, says Allison Nawoj, career adviser at, a large online job site. Especially in today’s sluggish economy, “companies want to know what you can bring to the table.”

1. Use action verbs

Coloring résumés with action verbs can make a résumé stand out. Use verbs that draw positive attention to your performance – words like “administered,” “examined,” “innovated,” and “strengthened,” recommends the career center of the University of California at Los Angeles. (For suggested verbs from its career guide, see pages 6-7 of this pdf.
“Career counselors have always talked about keywords and power verbs as an important part of résumé building,” says Kathy Sims, director of the UCLA career center.
Don’t use keywords artificially, but as an honest representation of your abilities, she advises

Original CSM article

Monday, October 18, 2010

HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags to Boost Your Job Search

via Mashable! by Sharlyn Lauby on 10/16/10

About 300 to 500 jobs are posted on Twitter per minute, according to Carmen Hudson, CEO and co-founder of Tweetajob. With that many shared opportunities, the task of filtering information becomes daunting — that’s why we have hashtags. They can help you focus on the tweets you want to see along with the ones you didn’t even know existed.Hudson, whose company sends job tweets that match a job seeker’s location and career interests, says the numbers are true but come with a caveat. “Many of these jobs are duplicates, or from aggregators. It’s likely the number of real opportunities could be much lower. There is quite a bit of ‘job pollution’ on Twitter, because the job boards and many employers don’t target their job tweets.”
Nonetheless, the jobs are still there. The key is finding them. As a way to filter through the noise, Hudson recommends job seekers use hashtags to take full advantage of Twitter’s search functionality.
Here are six hashtag categories that might be useful in a job search, along with some examples of what you could look for. For those who are new to Twitter or just need a refresher, check out this overview of hashtags.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Long-Term Unemployment and Your Job Search: 10 Ways to Compete

While job seekers face increasing challenges as the length of their unemployment grows, landing a new job is not impossible. An executive coach and a staffing expert offer 10 tips for staying competitive in a long-term job search.

CIO — Nearly 42 percent of the 14.8 million Americans who are out of work fall into the category of "long-term unemployed," according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, meaning they have been jobless for 27 weeks or more.

The longer you've been unemployed and engaged in a job search, the harder it gets to land a new job, according to career and staffing experts. Job seekers who've been out of work for, say, a year or more, face multiple challenges. Not only are they competing with employed professionals, they're also battling with job seekers who've been out of work for less time.

For example, when two candidates have the same skills and experience, the candidate who's been out of work for three months is more appealing to an employer than the candidate who's been out of work for a year, says Stu Coleman, a general manager with staffing firm Winter, Wyman & Co. That's because employers, many of which have had to run lean over the past two years, lack the training resources to bring new employees up to speed. They want "plug and play" candidates whose skills aren't rusty and who can quickly acclimate to a new environment, he adds.

For executives, a year is not an usually long time to be out of work. In fact, the average length of unemployment for executives is nine months to a year, even in a good economy, according to Howard Seidel, a partner with Essex Partners, which provides career coaching services to executives.

Finding a new job can easily take an executive 12 months for a variety of reasons. For one, executives often have non-compete clauses in their severance agreements that prevent them from going to work for a competitor for a year, says Seidel. As well, there are fewer executive jobs than line jobs, and employers take their time vetting candidates for executive positions because they are so costly to fill (there are often legal fees and recruiting fees associated with hiring an exec).

Despite the mounting pressures job seekers at all career levels face as their unemployment wears on, hope for finding a new job is not lost. "A year itself is not a mark that should designate panic," says Seidel. "Being out [of work] for a year in this economy doesn't mean you're never going to get a job again."

Indeed,'s job search blogger Mark Cummuta landed his dream job after nearly three years of unemployment. Arun Manasingh found a new CIO job after a 17-month job search, and Henry Hirschel's unemployment ended at 11 months when he started a new IT management job.
The trick to overcoming the challenges associated with finding a job when you've been out of work for a long time is to stay focused, upbeat and engaged. Seidel and Coleman offer 10 specific ways unemployed job seekers can stay competitive in a long-term job search.

1. Benchmark Yourself

Seidel advises unemployed professionals to evaluate their job searches at regular intervals, such as the six-month, nine-month and 12-month marks. He suggests they ask themselves the following questions, intended to help them diagnose specific problems with their job search (if they exist) or specific barriers that are preventing them from getting interviews or job offers:
1. What's going well in my job search?
2. What needs changing?
3. Am I getting responses to my résumé?
4. Am I getting first interviews but not second interviews?
5. Am I making it to the final rounds of interviews but not getting job offers?

Tips 2 - 10

Career Planning: What Can You Learn from Coca-Cola and Melinda Gates?

At the heart of your responsible career planning is your desire to bring your values to work.  How can you use your skills to advance a cause you believe in?  While watching Melinda Gates' TED Talk on what can international development learn from Coca-Cola, I realized that her insights are not only applicable to international development organizations, but also to anyone's responsible career planning strategy.  Indeed, on the job market, you are the product.  As a job seeker, you need to learn how you can best leverage your values and skills so that you can be as visible and desirable as possible to employers whose missions align with your values.  In short, how can you become as desirable as a Coke product on your job market of interest?

In her TED Talk, Ms. Gates reflects upon what nonprofits and government can learn from Coca-Cola in terms of accelerating the pace of international development.  Coca-Cola has been incredibly effective at penetrating very remote markets.  Coca-Cola has been very creative in leveraging channels that enabled their products to reach consumers in areas with very little infrastructure.  People in these areas are living in dire poverty and yet they are buying Coke products.  How did Coca-Cola achieve this, especially given that Coca-Cola produces soda, one of the most unhealthy products available on the market?  Of course, as many major companies, Coca-Cola is not a model company when it comes to Human Rights or Clean Water Access.  As a responsible professional, spending a little bit of time understanding how Coca-Cola achieved such success might help you refine your career planning strategy and build your responsible career path.  To build a responsible career that successfully blends financial return with social impact and environmental responsibility, compare and contrast your approach to the following three ingredients that have contributed to Coca-Cola's distribution success:

A solid analysis with new data immediately used to refine the product offering - Coca-Cola has developed an extensive system that enables them to track consumer behaviors dynamically.  If there is a decrease in sales in an area, they are able to quickly identify the factors playing a role in that decrease and build strategies and tactics to address that decrease.  Similarly, your career planning strategy starts by being able to reflect upon and clearly articulate who you are, what is important to you, and what skills do you want to bring to market.  Every new project at work, volunteer activity, book or course will enable you to further refine your understanding of which skills and values you want to bring to work.  By continuously reflecting and refining your elevator pitch and LinkedIn profile, you will be able to not only develop a more targeted career planning strategy to compete for opportunities, you will also attract contacts and opportunities that best align with your values and skills.

A strategy that taps into local entrepreneurial talent - Coca-Cola has developed an extensive array of micro-distribution centers.  These centers are generally formed of individuals on the ground that find creative ways to distribute the product in remote areas using local transportation channels that best adapt with the local geography and infrastructure.  Coca-Cola provides them with funding to make this happen and in return, Coca-Cola gets increased visibility in a largely untapped market.  As a responsible professional, what have you done to identify untapped opportunities to create social, environmental and economic value in your current job?  Have you been connecting with like-minded professionals in and beyond your current organization to share ideas and resources?  These small steps to creatively develop your network and your entrepreneurial brand will help you become more visible and desirable as a responsible professional.

A marketing campaign that is inspirational and uplifting - Coca-Cola has a brilliant slogan: 'Open Happiness', which is appealing and uplifting to everyone, no matter where they are or how poor they are.  What is your brand and your marketing campaign as a responsible professional?  Simply put, your brand can be defined as 'what people say about you after you leave the room'.  You might consider creating a short anonymous survey with questions that previous and present colleagues, as well as current and past supervisors can complete online to gain more insights into your current brand.  What can you do so that you are sure that your brand revolves around terms such as 'problem solver', 'open to new challenges', 'positive energy', 'constructive approach', or 'can do attitude'?  The more you can emerge as a positive individual that does his/her best to help others find solutions to their current projects or challenges, the more you will attract your next opportunity.

In sum, Coca-Cola has succeeded based on a strong culture of continuous data-driven self-improvement process, combined with innovative distribution channels and an inspirational brand.  What can you do today so that your career planning strategy will combine a strong self-knowledge and awareness of your preferences, a wide and supportive network, as well as a positive attitude to establish yourself as a valuable contributor to get business done better?

Original Article

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4 Questions YOU Need To Ask in an Interview

We all know that it's tough to break into Wall Street these days. It's hard enough to even land an interview. So when you get to the interview stage, you want to do everything you can to come away from it with an offer. To that end, prospective monkeys study their little monkey asses off (hopefully using WSO's excellent library of guides) to prepare for all the tricky questions interviewers might throw at them.

What you might be missing the boat on are the questions you should be asking the interviewer. Let's face it: the majority of us have been in interviews where we knew we weren't going to get the job because something didn't feel quite right or the interviewer made it clear through body language or something they said. The last thing any of us wants to hear an interviewer say at the end of the interview is, "Good luck with your job search." But you might be surprised to learn that a simple question from you has the potential to turn the interview around and get it back on track.

You really have nothing to lose by putting the interviewer on the spot if you think the interview is going sideways. It's always better to have the interviewer admit that you're not getting the job on the spot than to have him say, "We'll be in touch." Plus, a lot of banking interviewers are nerds, and it's fun to make them uncomfortable and watch them squirm when you know you're not going to get the job anyway.
The first question is the best in my opinion:

"Based upon this interview, what doubts, if any, do you have about my ability to do this job?"
That is going to require a fairly specific answer. If you're a moron and you've blown a bunch of easy questions, here is where you can expect to be told as much. Asking this question benefits you in a couple of ways. First, it gives you the opportunity to address perceived weaknesses right then and there. If you can prove that you know your shit and that you just might not have communicated that as well as you could have, you might be able to turn a no into a yes, or at least a maybe. Even if that doesn't work, though, you've still learned about a weakness you need to address in future interviews.

The other question I really love is:  Questions 2 - 4 and Original Article

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I’m using Twitter to find a job

One thing I’ve consistently believed during my search for a new job is that it’s important to stand out from the crowd writes job-seeking blogger James Alexander.

For instance, it was recently reported on this blog about someone who actually made a nice little exhibition stand and used themselves as an exhibit to attract an employer into taking him on.
I think it’s also important to vary the ways in which one looks for a job now.

Whilst the job centre remains the biggest advertiser of new positions, there is a trend now for jobs to not only to be advertised online, but also via social media services such as Twitter.

Many people view Twitter as a banal exercise where people spend their lives telling the world what they had for breakfast and what they are watching on television, but companies are increasingly using it to advertise new roles.

For instance, one recruitment company I recently visited, Hart Recruitment have a twitter feed on which they advertise new roles that come in as they come in.

It would be nice if we lived in a pure meritocracy, but the fact is that we don’t.

I’ve noticed over time that there is truth to the maxim ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know.’
Social media has allowed me to network with people I might not necessarily have met in normal everyday life and I’m hoping via this network of contacts I might get recommended for a position that I may not have found out about otherwise.

Linkedin also looks to be a very useful site to advertise your skills to employers and other interested people and I’m hoping that by listing my details on there I may be contacted with regards to a new role.
Social media can of course be dangerous to a potential career and it makes sense to note that when using it in a professional capacity one has to be professional in their usage of it.

I’ve seen disaster stories online where people have lost jobs by slagging off their employer on Facebook only for said employer to read what they have said and I also know someone personally who has had to apologise on their Twitter feed for criticising the company they worked for.
Social media is a projection of yourself onto the virtual world and it’s important to potential candidates that they are seen in the best light possible.

I’m still in the early days of using social networking sites properly in order to enhance my job search, but the early signs are good – I have received more phone calls from recruiters in the past week than I have had in the month previously.

Already one or two have turned into fairly hot leads for a new role and I’m hoping my days of blogging about being unemployed may yet be numbered.

Read more:

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of Personality and Getting a Job

My economics seminar started on a surprising note this week when my professor said that “the most important things that college teaches you are outside your classes.”
This statement was followed by a brief discussion on the uncalculated value of a college education that comprises of our work in the classroom and personal growth outside of it. He reminded us of the importance of having personality, communication skills and most importantly, the ability to sell yourself.
Soon the conversation drifted back into economic theories, but I did take something out of this class that wasn’t scribbled in my notebook.

As I sat there smiling to myself, I recalled a pre-interview talk last year that focused on what employers look for in candidates. The lesson was that I wouldn’t be hired unless the employer was confident that he or she could stand to spend time with me if we were stranded in an airport together. And certainly we don’t have a Personality 101 class that could teach us that at Bates.
So, the reason my professor’s words struck a chord with me is that for the past few days, I’ve been struggling with identifying the strengths of my resume through endless considerations of the courses I have taken and the papers I have written. As I continue to scan job postings, I have been boxing myself in a mold—trying to fit into job details and restricting myself by my major. Now, I am trying to get out of that mold and look for opportunities that would require the academic training that I have and benefit from my personality as a whole.

The key to a comprehensive job search is to know that the skills we learn extend far beyond the credit hours we receive as college students and may qualify us for a wide range of opportunities. And by the time I graduate, these will be the strengths that separate me from the rest, right?
Of course we need to stay away from making generalizations about the entire job market. Certain academic qualifications will always take precedence, no matter how entertaining our personalities may be. But for now, I am feeling positive and a little more confident about how I should approach this job search and tackle upcoming interviews.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Junk Career Advice: 8 Red Flags That You're Reading Nonsense

By Jessica Stillman

Nearly everyone has seen a less than riveting news story and wondered exactly how slow a news day it was. When it comes to traditional media, we all know that if there isn’t anything earth-shattering to report, enterprising reporters will drum up stories about fall foliage, area honor students and the like. The internet is the same way, only with an even more insatiable appetite for content, and on some sites, even lower demands for quality.
The results are not always good for job seekers in search of sensible career advice. So how can you distinguish posts that genuinely aim to help from those that are just there to to fill space, spark controversy or generate clicks at any cost? Blog Work Coach Cafe offers eight red flags that the career advice you’re reading is nonsense:
  • Beware of ‘always’ and ‘never’ or any such absolutes that don’t take into account exceptions. If someone says always or never or gives you exact words to use, take that as a clue to put your own critical thinking into full gear.
  • Articles that say cover letters are dead. Sometimes online articles are more about disagreements between career “experts” (and of course generating site traffic) than anything you necessarily need to put into action.
  • Articles that say resumes are dead. Yup. They’re out there too –- under the guise of newfangled, state-of-the-art thinking. Don’t be fooled. This is pure hype aimed at getting you to read the article. Sure there are other ways –- most notably networking –- that can get you into an interview without a resume, but down the line there will most likely be someone -– even a protective HR department –- who will want to see a resume.
  • Articles that make creating a highly marketable brand THE answer to all your job search problems. It’s certainly good to know who you are and make sure your resume and cover letter market you well…and branding can help you do that. But let’s not get carried away.
  • Handy-dandy templates for cover letters or resumes or thank you letters. Guaranteed can’t-fail templates are great for increasing traffic to a website, but NOT a great way for you to stand out from the masses.
  • Sites that say you absolutely need a job objective – while other sites tell you job objectives are absolutely passé. Remember what I said about words like absolutely?
  • Telling you to hyper-load your resume with lots of key words and key phrases to maximize SEO possibilities rather than making sure your keywords are targeted to your specific needs and make sense for you. Hard to make your resume tell a story when it keeps popping out obviously placed keywords.
  • Giving you precise instructions for how you should interview and what you should say. There are career sites out there that give exact answers that sound so wooden, so scripted, they make me cringe. When it comes to the actual interview, speak as if you are in a conversation (which you are) and not a fourth grade recital.
Of course, Work Coach Cafe is a content producer (as is BNET) and like the content producers it criticizes has an incentive to stir up controversy. So take this particular site’s red flags with a grain of salt. Still, the post raises a good point. There is a lot of junk career advice out there. How do you sort the good stuff from the duds? And what are the dumbest career tips you’ve encountered online?
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user rvw, CC 2.0)

Original Article 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

WorkWise: What job seekers don't know about branding

The job-hunting process depletes a person's imagination. If you don't have a brand or your campaign is getting stale, look for a fresh approach to differentiate yourself. The knowledge that employers and recruiters match needs with applicant brands will help inspire you to sharpen what you have to offer in the marketplace.
Lethia Owens of Lethia Owens International Inc., in St. Peters, Mo., stresses that "a brand isn't what you say it is but what you show people. Don't (announce), 'I'm cutting-edge.' Demonstrate the abilities and share information that shows you're credible."


How do you identify your brand if it isn't already clear to you? Janice Ellig, co-CEO of New York City's retained search firm Chadick Ellig Inc., shares her secret. "Think about what people have said about you," she says. "Listening to those who've given us feedback and advised us in our current careers tells us a story about our strengths. The strengths become your brand, certainly your selling point, what differentiates you. Look to companies that might be really interested in what you bring which might be different from where they've been."
Owens recommends being strategic. This means, in part, selling benefits. It also means, as Ellig suggests, "Don't try to sell yourself from a position of weakness. Sell yourself from a position of strength." Appealing to every employer can sabotage a job search.


Owens continues with the need to "craft the message with language that paints that picture. Imagine you're painting a picture using words, those that help build the image of the type of brand identity you want, that you read periodicals, do community-based networking and attend professional organizations related to your industry or field. Mention recent updates of news you've discovered. Demonstrate by talking about what interests you and what you're doing. Brush strokes paint the picture."
How do employers use branding? Owens conducted behavioral interviews for an IT company hiring people full-time and on contract. "I was responsible for matching the gifts and talents of employees with opportunities within the organization," she explains, "which required evaluating the personal brand and capabilities to assure proper fit." She was looking for similarities between what a company needed and a candidate offered and now specializes in brand development as an advancement method for job seekers and people on the job.
Not everyone uses brands in the recruitment process. Not everyone thinks that brands apply. Mike Purcell, vice president of HR at Ambius, a global business interiors company headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Ill., speaks from the perspective of hiring senior managers. "I don't think people walk in thinking about what their brand is but the kind of organizational culture they've come from," he says. "In my experience, 'brand' is not a highly-used word in the interview process. In the general work world, 'culture' has universal application. It's like vanilla. When you throw out 'culture,' everyone immediately knows what you're talking about. Brand and culture right now are not synonymous in my view."
You have to decide whether you want to think in terms of branding. You can certainly apply the concept of your compelling story as you market yourself, but never mention the word.
Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at © 2010 Passage Media.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The tricks to recruiting top talent


When Jonathan Lister left his position as country manager at Google Canada to establish LinkedIn's first Canadian office, it wasn't because LinkedIn came up with some sort of killer offer.

What excited Mr. Lister was the chance to play a transformative role in LinkedIn's growth as it attempts to dramatically change the recruitment industry.

“We are going through this period of great revolution that's been driven by the Internet and by digital media. The chance to be a part of that, that's what it's all about,” Mr. Lister said from his uptown Toronto office, which will house 10 employees by the end of this year, double that next year.

The chance to make these kind of game-changing difference is what matters most to rising stars when they consider new opportunities, executive recruiters say. It matters more than money – although money is important – and more than big titles.

So when it comes to the art of the pitch, it has to be customized – and subtle.

Mr. Lister was at Google – a place cited by “best employer” lists as the to-die-for workplace – and not at all looking for another opportunity when he got an inquiry from LinkedIn, the world's predominant online professional networking site: Did he know anyone who might be interested in expanding LinkedIn's presence in Canada?

Mr. Lister provided a few names, but Arvind Rajan, vice-president of international operations for LinkedIn, gently persisted. “The more I learned about what LinkedIn was trying to do in Canada, the more excited I got,” said Mr. Lister, who assumed his new role in June.

Small- to mid-sized businesses with dynamic and intelligent ownership hold enormous appeal to some senior executives in large companies, said Tom Long, a Toronto-based executive recruiter with Russell Reynolds Associates. These candidates feel stifled by the bureaucracy or by the realization that they will never be chief executive officer no matter how talented they are, how smart they are, or how much time they put in at the expense of family.

“Typically, these [small and mid-sized enterprises] are higher-growth environments where you are going to see not just incremental change at the top and bottom lines, but you are going to see very significant change,” Mr. Long said.

And typically, part of the pitch is an equity stake, on the assumption that the star recruit will play a pivotal role in building the business, Mr. Long said. “They want the opportunity to really ride up on the increase in the value.”

However, one offer doesn't fit all, and with high performers in particular, the sizing-up process is very much a two-way street, added Katie Dolgin, founder of Toronto-based digital recruitment agency Dolgin Search Group Inc. The initial approach should be discreet and exploratory, because the sought-after “A-player” candidates are employed elsewhere, doing well and not cruising the job boards, she said.

Both Mr. Long and Ms. Dolgin said it is crucial to ascertain what motivates these candidates before making any pitches.

Ms. Dolgin specializes in recruiting rising stars. For them, she said, key drivers are challenging work, the opportunity to make a difference, professional development, flexibility and autonomy. Commissioned last year by online classified site Kijiji to recruit an Internet marketing manager, she found 27-year-old Bruno Roldan, a highly regarded up-and-comer at a marketing agency.

“I was doing well, but I didn't feel I was really making a difference to the bottom line of the business I was working with,” Mr. Roldan said in an interview. “This, to me, was the No. 1 thing.”

Mr. Roldan said he has far more scope in his new job, as well as more professional development opportunities – since joining Kijiji in January, he has been to Amsterdam for a course and to London for an Internet marketing conference. And then there's the fun factor – free lunches and foosball matches every Friday.

“We have a fully stocked kitchen. I always joke that had they told me that, I would have taken this offer without hesitation,” he said. “I didn't need to know about anything else.”

For younger employees especially, workplace culture matters, said Ms. Dolgin. “It's their home away from home.”

Stock options are an attractive part of the package as well, Mr. Roldan said.

Employment lawyer Stewart Saxe, a Toronto-based partner with Baker & McKenzie, said small and mid-sized business owners in particular should consider offering a piece of the action to prospective recruits – especially if they cannot compete with the salaries paid by large corporations.

“It may well appeal to exactly the person you want – a young, dynamic go-getter who is prepared to put some of their skin in the game in order to get a good return.” Mr. Saxe said.

Top desires of a job seeker

Money: “Most of us who deal with this have a rule of thumb that you have to give at least a 10-per-cent increase to move anybody,” says Toronto employment lawyer Stewart Saxe of Baker & McKenzie.

An equity stake: “The real upside is in the equity participation if you are at a senior enough level,” said executive recruiter Tom Long of Russell Reynolds Associates. “What they are looking for is the opportunity to participate … and have a home run.”

Work-life balance: “Three weeks of vacation is now pretty standard. In addition, some shops close between Christmas and New Years, and a lot of firms are also giving five personal days as floaters,” said Katie Dolgin of Toronto-based Dolgin Search Group. “Flexibility, being able to work from home occasionally if they have a sick child, is important.”

A safety net: This is particularly important for executives who leave big jobs for smaller, younger enterprises, recruiters say. Many candidates will insist on severance clauses to protect themselves if things go south.

Original Article

Will I get a job through LinkedIn? Five tips on finding a job through social networking.

by Suzy Griffin Community Manager on October 4, 2010
If you are currently unemployed, a freelancer, self-employed or just interested in ways to boost your income, the chances are you are always on the look out for new job opportunities.  So are you wasting your time on social networking sites or can you really increase your chances of landing a great job on sites like LinkedIn?
Michael Hickerson quotes findings from the Nielson report in his article, ‘Time Spent On Social Networking Sites Is Rising’, Americans spend nearly a quarter of the time they’re on the Internet from their PC on social-networking sites and blogs.  That’s a significant gain over the average time spent on sites from the study last year…  If you’re keen to make some money out of all this time spent on social networking sites here’s a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Connect – In’s article ‘How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job’  by Gregory Go, we’re told,  You can use LinkedIn as a resume, a virtual rolodex of networking contacts or as a way to meet others in your industry.  Storing contacts and introducing yourself to others by inviting them to connect is a good way of bulking up your online rolodex, but if you’re keen to grow your earnings immediately this is quite a passive approach.

2.  The inside track – Guy Kawasaki advises a more aggressive approach to using LinkedIn in his post ‘Ten Ways To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job’, Job listings rarely spell out entirely or exactly what a hiring manager is seeking.  Find a connection at the company who can get the inside scoop on what really matters for the job. This approach could work really well if you can find a genuine connection to someone in the company, but contacting somebody in a company that you are not really connected to for this kind of information may be ineffective.

3. Recommendations – LinkedIn offers this service.  Alison Doyle advises it in her post ‘LinkedIn And Your Job Search’, Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight. Quotes endorsing your ability can give you a degree of credibility, but such endorsements may be met with a level of scepticism.

4. Detail – It’s really important that you include plenty of detail about exactly what your area of expertise is.  This includes all your qualifications, experience, etc.  Why not show off how much you can do as opposed to how little?

5. Friends – Thanks to the world of online social networking we’ve got ready-made circles of friends online just waiting to be used to our advantage!  As we all know, people prefer to do business with people they know - you can use Weedle to connect with people who need your skill through your trusted network of contacts which is already established through sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Original Article