Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Watch Out for These LinkedIn Myths

Updating your LinkedIn Profile, but worried that you’ll somehow slip and expose your job search, or otherwise “out” yourself to your boss?

Before you log in, panic-stricken, to change the controls on your Profile, read this first!

LinkedIn settings—and the visibility associated with them—not only change often, but are regularly misunderstood, as shown by these 3 common myths:

1 – The Contact Settings Giveaway.

Some months back, before LinkedIn’s massive 2012 changes, it was possible for other users to see what types of contacts you were willing to receive.

These options, called Opportunity Preferences, are still available from the Contact Settings (select Settings and go to “Email Preferences,” then “Select the types of messages you’re willing to receive”).

Here, you’ll see Opportunities (“Career opportunities,” “Expertise requests,” “Consulting offers,” and so on).

While it used to be advised to carefully select options other than “Career opportunities,” this no longer applies. LinkedIn now hides your Opportunity Preferences on your Profile, and they are only used to filter you in group searches.

Even if other users go to the trouble of an Advanced Search and look at the sidebar filter category called “Interested In,” they’ll see an entirely different naming convention, making it difficult (if not impossible) to detect what you specified.

In other words, no one will realize what you’ve checked here, so there’s no need to worry about revealing your intentions.

2 – The Wide-Open Connections List.

LinkedIn has (surprise) slipped in various iterations of your Profile Settings over time, without announcing changes or making it obvious how they affect you.

One of the more significant modifications from the past several years is that your Connections list will never be visible to others outside your network—even though showing them to “Everyone” was an option in the past.

To explain more fully, within your Profile Settings and Privacy Controls subgroup, the “Select who can see your connections” option now allows just “Your Connections” or “Only You” to view your contacts.

So, if you fear being found out by your colleagues or boss, relax!

You can either adjust this part of your Privacy options to “Only You,” which will ensure complete confidentiality for your networking efforts, or simply maintain a LinkedIn network free of insiders at your current employer.

More Tips and the complete article

3 Stupid Questions To Ask In An Interview

I’m sure at this point you saw the news from this weekend – Reese Witherspoon’s husband got arrested for DUI and she did what any drunk celebrity wife should do – threatened a police officer with the best question ever asked by celebrities – “Do you know who I am!?”   Yep – Mrs. Legally Blonde herself asked the one question celebrities are trained to never ask, under any circumstances.  She broke Rule #1 of being celebrity – and it was glorious!

This got me to thinking, from a candidate perspective, what are the questions who could ask that would ensure your interview went from Fab to Drab in about 3 seconds!?  My Catfish Friend, Kathy Rapp, over at Fistful of Talent had a great post this past week – 3 Questions Freakin’ Awesome Candidates Ask - which gave candidates three absolute home-run questions to ask at the end of the interview to show you’re a Rock Star candidate.  My list does the opposite!

The cool part of my list – is that each of these questions are from actual candidates asked during interviews that I’ve been apart of:

1.  Do you drug test?   Nope!  But we do now!  I’m pretty sure the person who asks this question has already made up their mind they don’t want to work for your company and they use this to ensure you won’t hire them.  Believe me there are plenty of people who interview, to get their parents, spouse, etc. off their back, but they don’t really want to work – so they sabotage themselves.  Asking dumb questions at the end is one of the best ways to sabotage an interview! Other question on this path – Do you do background checks? Do you do credit checks? Do you hire felons?

2. How long before I get to use sick time?  Never!  Because you wont’ be working here!  Again, the person who asks this question asks it for a reason – that reason is they ‘plan’ on being sick.  Quick HR Pro Rule of Thumb – if someone plans on being sick – you aren’t going to be happy with that hire.  Other questions on this same path:  When would I get a raise? How soon can I use my health insurance?  What happens if I’m late to work?

Question #3 and the rest of the article

Monday, April 29, 2013

3 Questions Freakin’ Awesome Candidates Ask


I read and essentially disagreed with a post over at Recruiter.com about “7 Questions Great Candidates Ask“, so figured I better pony up with some of my favorite questions.  It wasn’t that ALL 7 sucked, but they were predictable,  like “Why did the previous job holder leave?”  And, “job holder”?  Really??!  Who says “job holder”?

I did like #7 – “How do your employees wind down?”, but the suggested response blew. Candidates don’t want to hear about your commitment to work-life balance, because guess what – they won’t (and shouldn’t) believe you.  I’ve said before there’s no such thing as work-life “balance” as balance implies equality.  There can be work-life trade-offs.  Some weeks you kill yourself on a project.  The trade-off being when you need to get to your kid’s basketball game at 4pm you’re court-side by 3:45pm and not checking email.

Here are my 3 and why only freakin’ AWESOME candidates ask these questions:

#1.  Why should I leave a job I love to come over here?  This question says, I’m an extremely passive candidate and you’re going to have to really convince me to even continue in the interview process.  It is also asking for transparency.  What’s the real story about your org and this role?

#2.  What would my priorities be for the first 6-12 months?  Your candidate is intrigued.  He/She is now looking for detail about what their 1st year would look like.  It’s also a question to test if you (hiring manager) have really thought through your priorities and expectations of the role.  You better be able to answer this one – and with more than “I want you to build relationships”.  Duh.

7 Ways to Make LinkedIn Help You Find A Job

Susan Adams

Now that LinkedIn LNKD +0.11% is a decade old and has more than 200 million members, most professionals have figured out how to set up a profile and build connections. But with ever-increasing numbers of hiring managers and recruiters using the site to hunt for job candidates and potential employers routinely checking LinkedIn before they make hiring decisions, it’s worth reviewing your profile to make sure it does you the most good. Here are seven basic steps you can take to make your LinkedIn profile more powerful.

1. Customize your URL. Your URL (uniform resource locator) is the address of your LinkedIn page on the Web. Customizing it will drive it toward the top of a Google search on your name. On your profile page next to the rectangular grey “Edit” button to the right of your name, click on the drop-down menu, and then click on “Public profile settings.” Halfway down the page on the right side you’ll see a grey bar that says “Your public profile URL.” Underneath the bar, click on the blue phrase that says “Customize your public profile URL.” If you have an uncommon name, you can probably just plug in your first and last name. If that’s already taken, try your last name first, followed by your first name. If that’s taken, try adding a middle initial or a city abbreviation like “NYC.” Though I did this some time ago, I have a common name so I wound up writing a URL that’s my first name, middle initial (C) and last name, no punctuation and no spaces. This appears after the following: “linkedin.com/in/.”

2. Write a crisp, detailed summary of your career. Shoot for between 100 and 300 words, and try to tell a compelling story about yourself that includes specifics and quantifiable achievements. Use keywords and phrases that you would find in a job description that would interest you. For me, this means listing the topics I cover and emphasizing the kinds of stories I most like writing and editing. Also, because a headhunter might consider me for a job in media training, since I have broadcast experience, at the end of my summary I’ve added the phrase, “I’m interested in media training.”

3. Flesh out the experience section. This is your chance to write an online résumé. Many people only include their current job. Take the time to list the significant jobs that built your career. You don’t need to be exhaustive. In my experience section, I left off two jobs I had long ago, one as a support staffer at a PR firm in San Francisco and another as an administrative assistant at a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. I was a glorified secretary in each of those jobs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but the jobs are only tangentially related to what I’m doing now, and they are ancient history (They aren’t on my résumé either.).

4. List your skills. Below Experience and Education you’ll find “Skills & Expertise.” LinkedIn introduced this feature in Feb. 2011, so if you created your profile before then, as I did, you may have never fleshed this out. Take a minimum of 10 minutes and do it. This section offers a shorthand way to tell potential employers what you can do. It also gives your connections the chance to “endorse” you for those skills, an option since Sept. 2012. I wrote a separate piece about LinkedIn endorsements. The bottom line is that, while some of us find that this feature can be annoying and meaningless (I was mystified when someone endorsed me for “celebrity,” whatever that means), endorsements are here to stay, so you might as well take the trouble to make sure they reflect your true strengths.

Add to your skills by clicking the grey “Edit” button next to your picture and typing a skill into the box under the Skills & Expertise heading. You can also put your cursor on the word “More” on the dark line at the top of your profile page and scroll down to “Skills & Expertise.” This takes you to a page where you can type in a word and a helpful list of related skills will appear on the left-hand side of the page. The page will also show you a list of people who have that skill in their profile and LinkedIn groups centered on that skill.

Tips 5-7 and the complete Forbes article

Friday, April 26, 2013

Your LinkedIn “To Do” List Should Include These 5 “Don’ts”

by OnlineCollege.org

One of the primary benefits of joining LinkedIn as a social network is its almost exclusive focus on career and professional endeavors.
In sometimes stark contrast to Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn members have developed preferred ways to communicate with each other via the system’s features and functions. As the platform has evolved, some connection and communication techniques have become more effective than others.
How can you make the best of your LinkedIn account? Here are a few tips to add to your LinkedIn “to do” list, in the form of some valuable “don’ts”:

Don’t Just Send the Default Invitation to Connect

“I’d like to add you to my professional network” is the standard text you’ll find when you decide to send an invitation to another LinkedIn user. Leaving this as is, frankly, doesn’t say much about who you are and why you want to connect.
It’s easy to add a sentence or two to personalize a message for each recipient. Public relations expert Sakita Holley provides six scenarios (e.g., former boss, prospective employer) and invitation examples.

Don’t Connect as a “Friend” if You’re not a Friend

Unless… this is the only way you have to make the connection and you can explain why you want to connect per item #1 above, don’t do it.
Can you find an email address for the person online? Are you members of the same LinkedIn Groups? Social media consultant Jeff Bullas notes that connecting as a friend “is a major pet peeve for many professionals on LinkedIn.” Exhaust every other available options before selecting “friend” when you send out an invitation.

Don’t Describe Yourself with Overused or Effusive Terms

“Creative” and “motivated” are just two professional buzzwords recently identified by LinkedIn. Used on their own, they don’t really convey anything unique about your qualifications and potential.
Jeff Haden recommends an alternative approach: consider how you introduce yourself to someone you meet in person. Would you say: “I’m a passionate, innovative, dynamic provider of services”? Probably not. In a way, your LinkedIn profile is speaking for you – how are you being introduced?

Tips 4,5, and the complete article

5 Standout Things To Bring To Your Next Interview


It may seem obvious. You were invited to an interview with the hiring manager or recruiter. They beckoned you because they like your resume and believe you are qualified for the job. At this point, it’s all about the dialogue, and you are a fantastic interviewer, so what else do you need but yourself and your confidence – right?

Wrong. Sometimes less is not more. And, interviews offer an opportunity to strategically slide in a value-add here and there, depending upon the course the conversation takes.
Following are five ideas of value-add items to bring to the interview to help enhance your personal marketing message, compelling your interview forward:

1. Tweaked Resume: Even if you recently updated your resume, assess if a tweaked headline or modified achievement would more perfectly align your message with this specific interview.

Then, print off five to 10 copies of your resume from a quality printer using good, 24 lb. paper. Use a neutral, earthy tone: off-white, tan, light brown, gray or something similar. Show attention to detail, ensuring the watermark prints in an upright position. With a stack of freshly printed resumes in hand, you are equipped to distribute them to additional hiring decision makers who may unexpectedly arrive, empty-handed, at your meeting.

2. Toot-Your-Own-Horn Book: If you are in sales, this is an especially valuable tool. However, brag books needn’t be limited to sales-oriented interviews. Consider what visual representations of your value you could provide. Buy about a dozen 3-hole-punched sheet protectors in which to display your horn-tooting items. Examples include a thank-you note, a printout of a sales graph, an email from a happy client and a project milestone chart showcasing results of a mammoth project. What this book may consist of is only limited by your imagination and creativity. Think colorful and glimpse-able.

3. Testimonials Page. While you may not be ready to hand off contact information of your valuable references during the initial interview, you could create a ‘testimonials’ page with a list of three to five key people (names only, without phone numbers and email addresses), who are wowed by the value you provide.

Diversify the references to include a client, a vendor, a senior executive, a colleague, a direct report and so forth. Then, organize the page to include three columns: 1. Name of person and their company affiliation; 2. Your relationship to that person; e.g., you and s/he collaborated on a specific project; you provided sales consultation to that person; or, you trained them in their new role, for example; and, 3. What they have said in the past about you or would say if approached today about your contribution to individual or team goals in relationship to saving time, trimming costs or adding to profits.

Things 4,5, and the complete article

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Five ways to use LinkedIn better


LinkedIn is everything from a virtual meeting space to a digital CV, but are you getting the most out of it? Here are five tips for using it better.
1. First impressions count
If you’re using LinkedIn as it was meant to be used — to extend your network — then there is a good chance you’ll be introducing yourself to people you have met briefly or not at all.
Even if they’ve left a lasting impression on you, people may not remember exactly who you are, so give them some clues, says social media lead generation expert Tom Skotidas.
“I would always seek context [for an introduction], for example finding people in common, or maybe find that I’ve worked with the same company in a different place. I’m not asking for a lead or a sale, I’m not asking you to buy anything, I’m actually asking you to network with me in the context of environmental clues that give you safety.”
Your first connection request may not get an equally enthusiastic response, but it will increase your chances of getting the connection. Breaking the ice is the hardest part.
2. It’s a popularity contest

The founder of internet company Orcon, Seeby Woodhouse, uses the CardMunch iPhone app. He snaps a smartphone photo of each business card he receives and LinkedIn transfers the contact to his address book and connects him with the contact on LinkedIn.

Woodhouse says he respectfully gives the card back, so it not only saves him time and Rolodex space, but also saves trees.

The big plus with using LinkedIn to keep in touch with colleagues and clients is people are actively updating their contact information as they change roles, so you’ll never get left behind.

Woodhouse puts his database to good use by sending mass InMails (LinkedIn’s internal messaging) to most of his contacts about once a year.

He doesn’t think it comes off as spam. “When I launched my new business, Voyager, I probably picked up between 50 and 100 customers, which is probably 3% of my LinkedIn database ... it was a good start to get a customer base up and running.”

3. Personal branding

Don’t be afraid to pimp your profile — LinkedIn is all about you, not your company or your boss. Think of it as an opportunity to detail the intricacies and highlights of your career that you’re a little shy to bang on about in person.

Providing that detail upfront will show your connections how you differ from their existing supplier, account manager or promotion prospect.

Starting from this personal basis means LinkedIn is much more suited to the growth of personal brands rather than any rigid, company-wide marketing policy, says Skotidas.

“The platform is not actually built for companies that much — companies can participate and build company pages and use advertising and there’s value there, but the majority of the platform is person-to-person based.

“It forces you as a company to push your salespeople and other executives onto this network and allows you to connect person to person and influence the market in your favour.”

Open and genuine content sharing is key to using any social network — if you’re incessantly regurgitating the company dogma or posting about things you have no passion for, it will become obvious.

The content you’re linking to should reflect your individual interests and expertise because then you’ll be able to contribute knowledgeably to discussions that spring from them.

Top Five Personality Traits Employers Hire Most

Meghan Casserly

I know you: You’ve made looking for your next job, well… your job. You’ve scoured your resume of clichéd buzzwords, brushed up on body language and even gotten a handle on the dreaded video interview.

But all that might be for naught if you just don’t have the personality your dream employer is looking for. New research shows that the vast majority of employers (88%) are looking for a “cultural fit” over skills in their next hire as more and more companies focus on attrition rates. Lucky for you, we’ve drilled down into data from 1,200 of the world’s leading employers (think General Electric, P&G and Accenture) to find precisely the personalities big business is looking for.

Universum, the Stockholm-based employer branding firm that annually surveys over 400,000 students and professionals worldwide on jobs-related issues, has culled their data to the top five personality traits employers are looking for in job candidates in 2012. How’s that for a leg up on the competition?

“We surveyed employers to get a handle on the challenges that face them in hiring,” says Joao Araujo of Universum. “What are they looking for in employees and what are they not finding?” By identifying both traits, he says, aspiring job applicants can both identify the most sought after traits—and brush up resumes and interview tactics to best position themselves.

Professionalism (86%), high-energy (78%) and confidence (61%) are the top three traits employers say they are looking for in new hires. Kathy Harris, managing director of Manhattan-based executive search firm Harris Allied says these first-impression traits are the most critical for employers to prepare for as they all can be evaluated by a recruiter or hiring manager within the first 30 seconds of meeting a candidate.

“A manager can read you the moment you walk in the door,” she says; from the clothes you wear to the way you stand to the grip of your first hand-shake, presenting yourself as a confident, energetic professional is about as basic as career advice gets. But don’t be off-put by this commonplace advice. Harris, who specialized in high-level executive placement says even the most seasoned of CEOs can get tripped up by the basics. Universum clients agree: confidence ranks highest on the list of skills companies think employees are missing most.

“We remind every candidate of the most granular advice,” she says. The most successful applicant is the one who walks into every interview with her hand outstretched for a handshake, has done her homework on the interviewer and company and is dressed to fit effortlessly into the culture of the workplace.

Traits 4,5 and the complete Forbes article

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

8 New Ways To Look For A Job

By Marty Nemko

Sometimes it feels that job searching hasn't changed in eons: Write a resume, network, answer ads, interview. And you've been using just those to land a job without success. So you're craving something new.

Even in our highly-digitized era, I don't believe the cloud can replace coffee -- that is, sitting down over a cup of coffee with a potential job lead. That said, the internet continues to yield new tools, job search strategies, and factors to consider. Here's the latest crop:

Employers will Google you. If there's something you've posted that you don't want prospective employers to see, take it down. If someone else has written something unfairly negative about you, see if you can get them to take it down. Be sure your LinkedIn profile is complete, including an engaging headshot.

Try CareerSonar. It ranks all jobs available online by the strength of your connections on Facebook and LinkedIn. That makes it easy for you to know when to try to get a connection to try to help you.

Check out Glassdoor.com. The site makes it easy to dig up the straight scoop on what it's like to interview with and work for a specific employer.

You might try posting a Twesume: a 140-character resume on Twitter. Employers like to screen fast and many are looking for social-media-friendly applicants. Sample: Tech PR pro. 16+ years experience both in-house & agency. Looking in LA.

Tips 5-8 and the complete article

7 Steps To Creating the Best LinkedIn Profile


You reach out to people with your résumé. But you attract people to you by projecting your personal brand and value with your LinkedIn profile. Creating effective messaging in both your résumé and profile is critical to a successful job search.

In recent months, LinkedIn has significantly changed its user interface, and with it how your profile looks to viewers. All LinkedIn content is searchable, and therefore a well-done profile optimizes your opportunities of being found by people and organizations in need of your skills and abilities. Moreover, your LinkedIn profile can make you professionally interesting both to those people you already know and strangers alike.

Each profile has a whole series of elements. Through them you introduce yourself and convey "what you are about" with your unique personal brand. Imagine yourself standing in front of someone you're about to meet for the first time. Through your profile, you extend your hand in friendship and keep a smile on your face.

Unlike on a résumé, on LinkedIn you don't have to worry about the constraint of trying to fit everything into one or two pages. And because the website is social, you should be personable in the way you relate your unique story.

Here are key steps in creating an informative and powerful profile:

1. Let them see your face. Social media is just that: social. Images are at its heart, and you therefore want to include a great, tight close-up of your smiling face filling most of the frame. Your background should show a tasteful contrasting color, and there should be no other object, person or pet who would compete with your face for attention. You don't necessarily need a formal shot, but you should appear as a professional.

2. Tell who you are. Somewhere along the line, you will come up as a third-degree connection in someone else's search results. LinkedIn stopped letting non-paying members see the name of third degrees, but you can easily remedy this. Begin your Background / Summary section with your name, on a line all of its own. Depending on your comfort level, you may want to also provide a personal address that you use exclusively for job-hunting, so that those who have a legitimate reason may contact you directly.

3. Own your experience. Include all your professional and educational roles, along with dates, in your experience section. You thereby can find and be easily found by anyone who overlapped with you at any of your previous employers or schools.

4. Convey your successes, not your responsibilities. Lots of people likely have or have had similar responsibilities to yours in one company or another. Listing your responsibilities just lumps you in with everyone else. You distinguish yourself by conveying what is unique to you.

With each position, explain how you confronted your responsibilities, what you did, how you did it, what obstacles you overcame and the results you achieved. You can share a series of short vignettes, at least one per job on LinkedIn, that no résumé will accommodate.

Tips 5-7 and the complete USNews article

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

7 Tips for New (and Inactive) LinkedIn Users

Wondering whether you should be investing time and energy in LinkedIn? Consider this statement made in a February article in the Financial Post: “LinkedIn Corp., the business-oriented service for recruiters, job seekers and corporate networking, is showing investors the sort of promise from a social networking stock that many had hoped to find in rival Facebook Inc.”
And success on the profit side means that LinkedIn is doing something right and, according to this article and others, the growth is far from over.
As mentioned last week in LinkedIn: 5 Important and Often Neglected Profile Areas, “LinkedIn is one of the most important social networks for new business owners looking to build their reputation, brand awareness, influence and network of contacts, particularly for business-to-business companies and those whose clientele tend to be white-collar.”
Last week’s article provided five important and often neglected tips to setting up your LinkedIn profile:
  1. Create ‘Your public profile URL’
  2. Use a Professional Photo
  3. Customize the Professional Headline that shows below your name
  4. Add three ‘websites’ and Twitter to your profile
  5. Write a Background overview/summary role that is interesting, informative, concise and typo-free
Now that you’ve got the bare bones of your profile set up, here a few other areas to pay attention to as you develop your LinkedIn profile and online reputation.
(Asking for) Recommendations
When people don’t know us they rely on what others say about us. Recommendations are an important part of building our reputation online.
We can say anything we like about ourselves but when other people speak highly of us and are willing to put their recommendations in their own words this, obviously, has much more impact.
LinkedIn recommendations added to your profile must come from the person making the recommendation. They can’t be added by you in any other way and this adds even more weight to them.
While some suggest ‘waiting’ for others to send you their recommendation, a more proactive approach is often needed. Under ‘Profile’ in the LinkedIn navigation bar, click on ‘Recommendations’. This will take you to the area where you can request a recommendation. You will also manage and approve your recommendations through this area.
You then choose the role you’d like to be recommended for, the name of the connection you would like a recommendation from along with a place to create your request. LinkedIn provides a template that is best customized, both the subject and the content. (see below)
The Personal Touch
While LinkedIn provides a pre-completed template for you to use to request recommendations, it is better to personalize these. It will (my guess) increase the likelihood of a positive response to your recommendation request and may even increase the quality of the recommendation.
The personal touch is best in almost all cases when you ask someone to connect with you, endorse you or recommend you.
List your Experience & Accomplishments
The more information you provide, the more people will find reasons to connect with you. Think broadly about all your experience and training and think of your audience and what they might want to know as you’re completing these areas.
Add Your Skills & Expertise
Click on the ‘More’ button in the top navigation bar to find the ‘Skills & Expertise’ link where you can add these to your profile. Or, click on ‘Profile’, then ‘Edit Profile’, scroll down to the ‘Skills & Expertise’ area and click on the pencil icon.
Enter your skill or expertise in the box provided and click enter each time one so that each will show up as an individual item. LinkedIn will prompt you with standard terms and these are best used, unless they don’t fit. In some cases, you may need to create your own.
This article by Nicky Kriel goes into more detail on how to Sharpen your Skill Sets on LinkedIn.
As your connections are now able to add their endorsement to your skills and expertise, essentially agreeing you possess the skills you say you do, this area is important. That said, there is concern that the new endorsements feature may be undermining the value of the Skills & Expertise area. That’s a whole other topic! For now this area is still important as it helps people get an overall sense of your abilities.

7 Ways Your Resume Is Just As Boring As Everyone Else’s


The economy seems to be picking up a little, and more and more job seekers are coming to us and letting us know about internal opportunities within their organization they would like to apply to. But even as more opportunities open up, the competition is as strong—or stronger than ever before. That’s why your resume has to be perfect.

7 Ways Your Resume Is Boring

Here are seven ways your resume isn’t quite cutting it. So, take it out, brush it off, and let’s kick it up a notch.

1. It’s Still Sporting That Outdated Objective

If your resume is utilizing an objective, you really should trash it and start all over with a fresh, powerful introduction that incorporates a personal branding statement. A tailored career summary and polished personal branding statement will catch the employer’s attention and give him or her the best information up front—the information he or she needs to make a decision to call you to schedule an interview.

2. The Design/Format Is Generic

There is a strategy behind resume formatting and design. If you are an executive, yet you are using an entry-level resume format, you will look unprofessional and under-qualified.

3. It’s Missing Important Keywords

Omit keywords and the software system scanning your resume can’t find you. The recruiter giving your resume a quick once-over is looking for specific keywords as well. Leave them out and you’ll be left out of the interview process.

4. It Has Generic And/Or Vague Statements

Avoid using the same old terminology that everyone else uses in their resumes. Yes, we know you can problem solve. But instead of telling me you’re a problem solver, show me the result of a problem you solved.

Ways 5-7 and the complete Careerealism article

Monday, April 22, 2013

7 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Your Job Search

Jacquelyn Smith

As a job seeker, you’re most likely spending all your time scouring the Web for employment opportunities. But did you know a majority of openings are never advertised online? Probably not.

I’d also bet you’ve no clue how long most interviews last; how many other candidates are vying for your dream job; or how much money you lose over the course of your career if you never negotiate pay.

The job search process is tricky and trying, and there’s a lot you probably don’t know. However, if you do your research and have the proper information on your side, the outcome should be favorable.

Interview Success Formula, a program that helps job seekers to deliver powerful interview answers, compiled information from various sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor.com, CNN, TheUnderCoverRecruiter.com, and The Wall Street Journal, among others, to uncover facts and figures that may be useful to job seekers.

“Many job seekers want to know, Is what I am experiencing normal?” says Alan Carniol, founder of InterviewSuccessFormula.com. “I think this information can help them to answer that question and feel better about their job search experience. These statistics can also help them to create a job search plan, formulate their interview story, and navigate through the post-interview process more efficiently.”

Here are 7 things InterviewSuccessFomula.com found out about the job search process that you probably didn’t know:

1. There were 3.6 million job openings at the end of 2012. About 80% of available jobs are never advertised.

2. The average number of people who apply for any given job: 118. Twenty-percent of those applicants get an interview.

3. Many companies use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50% of applications before anyone ever looks at a resume or cover letter.

4. On average, interviews last 40 minutes. After that, it usually takes 24 hours to two weeks to hear from the company with their decision.

5. What do employees look for before making an offer? About 36% look for multitasking skills; 31% look for initiative; 21% look for creative thinking; and 12% look for something else in the candidate.

6. In the U.S., 42% of professionals are uncomfortable negotiating salary. By not negotiating, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by the time they reach 60.
7. More than half (56%) of all employers reported that a candidate rejected their job offer in 2012.

Why are these statistics and facts so useful and important? - Find out the answers and the complete Forbes article

The 5 Most Overlooked Job Search Features on LinkedIn

by Lea McLeod

If you’re a student, recent grad or entry-level professional using LinkedIn as a strategic job search tool… terrific! You’re already far ahead of many of your peers.

Now that you’re comfortable with LinkedIn, you might want to check out some often overlooked features, even by more experienced professionals and job search veterans.

These features might give your job search the boost you are looking for!

1. The Vanity URL

This is a small task… that makes a big difference!

In a recent session I was doing for students, the coordinator did not have her vanity URL. For discussion’s sake, let’s say the coordinator’s name was Georgia Brown. If her resume had just landed on my desk, and I wanted to check her out on LinkedIn (as recruiters are wont to do), there were pages and pages of Georgia Browns. Pages!

There is no way a recruiter is going to hunt for your particular profile. So, make it easy for recruiters and hiring managers to find you on LinkedIn. Create your vanity URL and include it in all your marketing correspondence.

LinkedIn Vanity URL

2. The Projects Section

This section allows you to detail projects you’ve worked including academics, internships or research, allowing you to showcase relevant skills and the results you’ve accomplished. You can also include links to websites and connect with other collaborators who worked on the project, showing the recruiter the team aspect of the project.

What specifically goes into this section? Anything from research projects, business case studies, simulations, technical presentations, creative outputs (like videos, music), events you’ve worked on, internship projects, volunteer work… anything relevant to your job search!

Go to the “Edit Profile” view in LinkedIn to get started… and get started!

3. The LinkedIn Alumni Tool

This handy tool tells you all about the demographics of your fellow alums: where they live, where they work, and what they do.

The device will default to a specific timeline, but you can change the filter by looking at different start and end dates for attendees. You can then look by company, location and role, and drill down for each category.

This features also enables you to you find alumni in the industries, cities or roles  you want to learn more about. Then you can connect or reach out to them via the Alumni Groups page. Go to the LinkedIn Alumni tool to get started. Don’t forget to join your alumni group as well. Go to the Groups Directory and find yours.

Tips 4,5 and the complete article

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pimp Your Profile: How to Effectively Market Yourself on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is more than your online résumé. Sure, it has your work experience, but it can be so much more. Treat the website like an online portfolio. It is where someone can go to see what you've accomplished. Better yet, put on your marketing hat and convert your LinkedIn profile into a multimedia advertising campaign.

Think about the big name brands: Coke, Ford, The New York Times. Their websites and commercials contain customer testimonials, product demonstrations and visual proof of their products. Companies are doing much more than stagnant print advertising, and with the power of the Internet so can you. It just takes a little creativity. 

What media can I add? LinkedIn says it officially supports images, video, audio, presentations and documents by certain providers, but others may work too. The one thing you should know is that the media you include in your profile has to have been published to the Web (it needs a URL). Where can you put these nifty media clips in your profile? They can be part of your summary, incorporated into each position listed in your experience section, and in your education section. Just look for the little blue box when you edit your profile.

What to showcase. Think beyond boring job duties. Instead, think about the problems you've solved at work. What differentiates you from the hundreds and thousands of other people who have the same job title as you? Is there a picture of you receiving an award? Have you given a presentation or spoken at a conference? Have you written articles? What would you want someone to find if they were searching for you on the Web? These are the images, articles and content you can create and publish yourself online. Please think of your LinkedIn profile as a brag book and begin collecting screen shots and links.

I've got nothing. If you don't have anything, create it! You can create a PowerPoint highlighting your accomplishments and publish it to SlideShare, which is fairly simple to do. The most difficult part is figuring out what you will put into the presentation. Search around SlideShare and get ideas from other people who have created online resumes or personal profiles. If you're interested in creating something a bit jazzier than PowerPoint, you may want to test Prezi.com.

More Tips and the Complete USNews Article

The 9 Best Job-Seeking Tips from Staffing Leaders


What is the most effective way to get a job?

Talent acquisition leaders from greater Boston health care organizations and recruiting agencies recently came together with career counselors, résumé writers and job hunter coaches at a forum hosted by the Association of Career Professionals-New England. They provided a potpourri of valuable insights and tips for you to consider:

1. Respect yourself. "I don't want to hire you unless you are proud of who you are," advises Bobby Tugbiyele, the talent management specialist at the Lowell Community Health Center.

If you appear to be hiding key facts about your background, including your age, you show yourself to be evasive. For example, if you have a gap in employment, are older than age 50 or have other special circumstances, don't try to cover it up. Rather than make a staffing person guess what is going on, convey your own story in the best possible terms. Otherwise, you can easily disqualify yourself.

2. Embrace LinkedIn. LinkedIn is crucial to the staffing efforts of independent recruiters like Robert McInturff, president of McInturff & Associates and Kathy Provost, managing director of Biomedical Search Consultants, as well as for Tugbiyele and Michael Cawley, senior manager of talent acquisition and organizational development at Tufts Health Plan. While each use social media in different ways and to varying degrees, all agreed that so far as the eye can see, LinkedIn is "the wave of the future" for sourcing strong candidates. They all use it to review candidate profiles at one point or another in the hiring process.

3. In-person networking never gets old. Employee referrals remain a primary source for good hires, and employees are compensated when they refer others who are then hired.

This has obvious implications for job seekers. Panelists all encouraged job seekers to find people whom they know in their target company through LinkedIn or other means, and network themselves into consideration.

4. Recruiters work for employers, not candidates. "No one needs [to pay a fee to] me to find just 'a person,'" says McInturff. "They look to me to find people in the top 15 percent of whatever, who they don't already have in their database."

While recruiters can make an impact on a person's career trajectory, they place only a small portion of people who are hired. Unless there is something stellar in your background, chances are you are not great recruiter bait.

5. Always maintain contact with key recruiters. "Whenever you are approached by a recruiter, take the call," Provost advises. Even when you aren't looking, it is wise to keep your network active.
Provost also says it's a big mistake to say "I'm always looking" or "I'm always open to new opportunities," even if you are open to being recruited. Rather than conveying that you're receptive to hearing about a new possibility, it gives the sense that you're open to being a job hopper, and are only looking at this present opportunity as a stepping-stone to the next one.

Tips 6-9 and the complete US News Article

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Branding Your Linkedin Profile For Job Search

Your Linkedin profile and your resume are each used differently by employers and used for different purposes.
However, I get asked all the time if making your Linkedin profile identical to your resume is a wise idea. Linkedin must think it is … since they have an app that automatically loads your profile data into a resume format.
Making your Linkedin profile identical to your resume can lose opportunities for you.
Since your resume is customizable for each individual recipient, but your Linkedin profile can’t be targeted for a single reader, you should use your Linkedin profile for two main job search goals:
  • Being found in recruiter searches
  • Pre-screening/Background checks of social media profiles
Your biggest problem is that these are two conflicting goals. Why would these goals conflict? Because employers use social media profiles in different ways, depending on why they’re looking at your profile.
It might shed some light on the problem, by looking at two different ways employers use social media profiles:

  1. Finding candidates: When recruiters search for candidates, they look for specific skills and subject matter expertise. That’s how they search their own databases, job boards, as well as social media. As a candidate, you’ll want to make your resume very specific and focused to be found more often.

  2. Background checks: HR departments use social media during the pre-screening and background check processes. While HR departments may look at what you’ve posted on Facebook and Twitter (make sure you’ve removed the drinking pics), they’re primarily looking at your profile when checking Linkedin. They’re making sure that your profile is consistent with your resume, because about 40% of resumes contain lies, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). A SHRM study found that 66% of employers search social media during the pre-screening process and over 90% before making a job offer.

As a candidate, you’ll want to recognize that you’ve changed your resume to fit your readers’ individual needs (if you’ve been a smart job seeker), but now you’ll have many different versions of your resume, each saying different things. You’ll want to make your Linkedin profile less focused than your resume, so that it works as an umbrella over all the resume versions you’ve sent.Your goal is to have a profile that provides social proof to many different resume versions.

More Tips and the Complete Yahoo Article

Elevate Your Thinking: 10 Strategies for Job Search Success

by Kadena Tate

Have you ever wondered why some college graduates seem to effortlessly capture a “good job with great pay” while others struggle to find a minimum wage job?

The answer is so simple it may shock you…

Those who succeed are willing to grow so they can render a higher level of service.

Allow me to share with you ten strategies that will help you elevate your thinking… and land the job of your dreams:

Seek to Serve

You deserve to be rich because you add value to other people’s lives. People will gladly compensate you when you help them live life fully on their terms. Seek to serve, instead of just seeking a paycheck.

Be a Value Add

Add value to your potential employer by expanding your paradigm of possibility. How? By reading a book a week. Experience teaches that not every reader is a leader, however, every leader is a reader.

Desire Development

Embrace personal and professional development. Then share your knowledge. Ensure your input in the life of another brings them more joy, money, self-confidence, fulfillment and satisfaction.

Lead from the Heart

Develop heart-centered leadership acumen. Improve your communication skills and style of relating to people so that they WANT to be around you. People can energize you or become a drain. Don’t be a drain. Be a walking example of joy, passion, productivity, and profitability.

Take Pride in Your Appearance

The late Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying “You cannot climb the ladder of success dressed in the costume of failure.” You do not have to dress for others; however, please know that how you dress leaves an impression that words cannot.

Tips 6- 10 and the complete article

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How To Make Your Cover Letter Stand Out

The goals of a cover letter are to 1) affirm the connection you have (hopefully) already made with the addressee and 2) to get you noticed. If that is the case, why do all the cover letters I see look the same? All short one paragraph, maybe with a few bullets about why this candidate is applying for the job.

What do you think the reaction is from recruiters and hiring managers when they see this type of cover letter? I say “SNOOZE – BORING.” Ignore! Is it effective to just talk about yourself the same way everyone else does?

No. You need to do it differently if you are going to get a different result.

Here’s how to make your cover letter stand out of the crowd:

Build A Connection

Your cover letter must show 1) that you resonate with this company and 2) there’s a story behind your interest. We all have our reasons for interest in the company we are approaching. Ask yourself, why do I want to work here? (Answering “because I need a job” is not allowed here.) Be real to yourself and to the company. You don’t want to waste your time or the company’s time if there isn’t a sincere interest in working at this firm.

Let’s assume there’s a a sincere interest in what this company is doing, producing, achieving. Why does it resonate with you? Now, tell your reader just that.

“The first time I served in our local soup kitchen, my heart broke and cheered at the same time. I fell in love with the people I was serving. The glimpse of hope they shared with me, though I had a nice warm apartment to go to, a job, clean food and clothes. They seemed to have no hope, homeless, on the street, begging for food. I vowed to continue to serve and be generous to those in need. That is why Mr. Non-Profit, your work at XYZ resonates with me. Your…..”

Do you see the difference of a good story that connects with them verses a boring list of one’s skills?

Realize It’s Not About You

How counter-intuitive right? Not really. Yes, YOU are applying for a job at company XYZ, but it’s not about YOU. It’s about THEM. The hiring team wants to know what’s in it for them. How can you help them, make money, save money, add clients, keep clients, build brand awareness, streamline processes, and so on?

Jobs are created because there’s a need to help the bottom-line – yup, money. I apologize to my fellow personal development friends, but a job is really about running a business – no matter where you are. Even in non-profit, how can you help the clients, raise funds, and bring more exposure to the organization?

Think of it this way: If you were a business owner and needed to hire help. How would you make the determination to do so? Behind it all is a financial piece to it. For instance in hiring a virtual assistant I need to know that the money I am paying her to take over certain aspects of my business is worth it to me. That her help will help me focus on the areas that I can generate the most money to grow my business. Agreed? The same holds true for any organization. Think like a business owner and you’ll get this part.

More Tips and the Complete Careerealism Article

5 New LinkedIn Tips for Power Users


Have you kept up with LinkedIn's latest updates, redesigns and new features? The social network for professionals, which now has more than 200 million users worldwide, has been busy this year, releasing changes to its search capabilities, job hunt features and more.
With the new features coming fast and often without any fanfare, it s likely that you may have missed what's new and wondered how to best use the enhancements to find a new position or build your network of contacts.
Here's a look at five of LinkedIn's newest features, plus how you can make the most of them.

1. How to Mention Your Colleagues in Status Updates

Much like you can on Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn now lets you tag your connections in your status updates.
"We know that LinkedIn members are some of the most engaged professionals online," says Angela Yang, associate product manager at LinkedIn. "After all, are involved in millions of conversations across LinkedIn day after day. That s why we want to make it even easier for you to start those conversations, share knowledge with one another and ultimately become even better at what you do."
To mention a connection—or a company—begin by typing the name in your status update box or comment field on the homepage. A drop-down menu will appear with the names of the people or companies you're connected to; select the appropriate one.
The people or company you mention will receive a notification alerting them that they have been mentioned.
2. How to Use Advanced Search to Job Hunt
LinkedIn's newly redesigned Jobs page includes a handful of new features for both Premium subscribers and traditional account holders.
To find the Advanced Search feature, navigate to Jobs in the top menu, then click Advanced next to the search bar.
LinkedIn's new job search
This new feature lets you find open positions by country, industry, zip code and function. Click "More options" for additional fields, including experience level and, if you have a premium LinkedIn account, by salary.

3. How to Receive Alerts on Saved Searches

In March, LinkedIn rolled out a number of updates to search, including auto-complete, suggested searches, an updated algorithm, enhanced advanced search and automated alerts.
Automated alerts let you set whether you want updates to a search query or job search emailed to you daily, weekly or monthly. To find this setting, enter a keyword into the search box or navigate to Jobs and perform a search there.
LinkedIn's new job search
Then, click "Save search" in the top right of your screen. From the drop-down menu, select how often you would like to be alerted when new results are available. You can save up to 10 people searches and 10 job searches.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The 5 Most Worthless Phrases in Your LinkedIn Headline

Your LinkedIn Headline is arguably the most important piece of real estate within your Profile.

Yet, most users remain confused about its true function, and what to use (in place of the default, which is your current job title).
Within LinkedIn’s search algorithm, your Headline ranks #1,meaning that out of all the other information you’ll add to your Profile, the words here are weighted more heavily as search terms.
In addition, your Headline is the first (and possibly the ONLY) piece of information other users will see. It’s displayed in a search list, under your name in an Invitation, and in numerous other prominent places on the site.

Here’s my list of the most meaningless words you can use in your Headline (all found in actual Profiles!) – plus some suggestions for stronger alternatives:

1 – “Top 1% (5%, etc.) Viewed Profile.”

Sure, this is an accomplishment… but not of any magnitude worth touting to employers.

Here’s why: if you’re an Operations Director, and put only these 2 words in  your Headline, plus the same title for your past 4 jobs and NO other information anywhere in your Profile, you’ll probably rank in the Top 1% for “Operations Director.”
In other words, reaching 1% this way would require hardly any effort.

However, if you’ve inserted 2,000 to 3,000 other words that describe your career level, achievements, and scope of authority, your Profile View ranking will take a dive due to reduced keyword density.

Still, you’ll be more findable on skills and other keywords (because recruiters often specify a mix of search terms when sourcing candidates)… and you’ll make a better impression on employers.

Therefore, an impressive Top Viewed ranking is just that – impressive, but not helpful in your search and not worth using precious, keyword-heavy real estate (even if you want a job writing LinkedIn Profiles!).

Disclaimer: I’m ranked among the Top 1% as well (but you won’t find it in my Headline).

2 – “Results-Driven.”

Just like on your resume, it’s important to use terms that distinguish you from the competition. This phrase and others like it (“dynamic” or “visionary,” anyone?) have become so embedded in boilerplate resume-speak, they’re essentially meaningless.
Plus, can you picture a recruiter using “Results-driven” as a search term? I didn’t think so.

Instead, consider adding a short phrase to your Headline that actually describes results, slipping in a keyword or two (“Marketing VP Improving Social Media Engagement”).
Even a short, powerful note on the ROI from your skills (“Sales Manager | #1 Revenue Record Across Americas”) can make a better impression.

3 – “Experienced.”

Unless you’re a student, this word doesn’t count for much in describing your career. Most professionals, by way of their job titles and career history, ARE “experienced” in their chosen fields, so you’re not laying claim to a unique skill.

Make your Headline more search-friendly by using a mixture of current and target job titles (“Senior Director, VP Sales”) to show your career goals, or a short description of your achievements (“12%+ Annual Sales Growth”).

Either way, showing your career aspirations or accomplishments will actually prove that you’re experienced and worthy of employer attention.

Worthless Phrases 4,5, and the complete article

Tips for a Twitter Job Search

Hunting for a job on Twitter can be tricky, particularly because the social network combines a person's personal and professional identities. Here are some tips, gathered from recruiters, job-seekers and career experts, on how to best leverage the social network.
  • Follow companies – and if possible, individual hiring managers and employees -- you'd like to work with.
  • Re-tweet and converse with hiring managers and employees at companies of interest. If you're currently employed, you can directly message employers once you have established a rapport.
  • Use your profile to indicate you're looking for a job. Nothing says social-media novice more than a Twitter account with the default picture, but make sure your photo shows you in a professional, positive light.
  • Don't shy away from personal tweets or humor, as hiring managers want to know what you'd be like among colleagues. But keep posts clean.

Monday, April 15, 2013

6 Ways to Spring Clean Your LinkedIn Profile

Sure, it may not feel like it just yet, but spring is here. As you tackle spring cleaning in your home, take a closer look at your LinkedIn profile as well.

“LinkedIn is highly ranked within search engines and trusted by many industry leaders and recruiters,” says Richard Fallah, an account executive with Vbout.com. “If a recruiter or a company is searching for you, your LinkedIn profile will most likely be one of the top results on search engines.”

Dust the cobwebs off your profile and freshen it up with these tips.

1. Be Picture Perfect: Make sure you have a professional headshot taken to post on your profile. If you can’t afford one, have a friend or family member take one at home in front of a white background or wall. Avoid putting up a dated photo — or worse, a photo that is not of you. You should look professional but personable in the photo.

2. Be Descriptive: You may be an accountant, but you can add a little pizzazz to your job description. Include catchy titles that allude to hobbies or peripheral skills, such as “Social Media Fanatic,” to gain greater visibility and boost buzz for your profile.

3. Be Linkable: Include a link back to your website or your company’s website in your information. If it’s your own site, click through it to ensure all the links work properly. That way, you’re presenting yourself and your skills in the best light possible.

Tips 3-6 and the complete article

Jennifer Parris is the Career Writer for FlexJobs, an award-winning service that helps job-seekers find professional opportunities that offer work flexibility, such as telecommuting, freelance, part-time or alternative schedules. To learn more about Jennifer, visit FlexJobs.com or tweet @flexjobs.