Wednesday, July 31, 2013

8 Mistakes That Make Hiring Managers Cringe


They meet more people in an afternoon than most of us do in a year. But what faux pas do human resources pros see again and again during the interview process?

We picked the brains of two high-profile executives to find out what you definitely shouldn’t say—and what they secretly think of your resume. (One was so brutally honest about her just-don’t-do-this advice that she preferred to remain anonymous.)

1. Not Knowing When to Stop Talking

“Talking over your interviewer is the biggest mistake that interview candidates don’t realize they’re making,” says Stacey Hawley, a career and leadership development coach and compensation specialist. “This is usually from nervousness, but as a result, the candidates outtalk the interviewer and don’t engage in active listening.”

Amy Michaels (name has been changed), a human resources director at a high-tech firm in New York City, agrees: “The inability to listen is huge. That person who’s always trying to have the exact right answer, but can’t stop talking? He or she ultimately won’t be a success.”

Instead, listen up and watch more subtle clues—like your interviewer’s body language. If she’s shifting back and forth or clearing her throat, it’s time to let her get to the next question.

2. Bad-Mouthing Your Ex (Job)

While it may seem like a no-brainer, putting down your current employer happens all too often, says Michaels, perhaps because the bad feelings are still fresh. If you’re tempted to trash your present company, stop right there.

“When I ask why you’re leaving a place, I don’t want to hear you gripe about your current manager or badmouth your situation,” she says. “Be creative enough to come up with a tactful reason as to why you’re leaving. Otherwise, to me, that’s a huge red flag that you’re not mature enough to know not to do it. Not to mention that it makes me nervous about how tactful you’re going to be externally if I hire you.”

3. Not Acknowledging Your Mistakes

A couple of interview rules of thumb: “Be well-groomed and be on time,” says Michaels. “Or email if your train is running late. That happens in New York.”

While one minor transgression may not deep-six your prospects of landing the job, you should still acknowledge it and move on, says Michaels. Hawley will also pardon small errors: “Mistakes are OK and acceptable. No one is perfect—or needs to be.”

The bigger red flag, both say, is someone who can’t admit their missteps. “The people who make me nuts just act like being late never happened,” says Michaels. “If you make a mistake, own up to it.”

4. Neglecting Your Cover Letter

Our experts were adamant about this. “To be honest, I don’t read objectives, and I don’t care if you fence,” says Michaels. “But I do read cover letters.” Hawley agrees: “Absolutely write a cover letter. It’s an opportunity to highlight your understanding of the business, and what you can do for the bottom line.”

And, even in the digital age, there’s no excuse for a quickly dashed-off email—take the time to compose it with care. “Demonstrate your knowledge of the company,” says Hawley. “And link your past achievements to the position, showing how you can contribute to their future success.” That, she says, will always make a candidate stand out.

Mistakes 5-8 and the complete article

Why Every Top Recruiter Should Double as a Master Marketer on LinkedIn

Ross Carvalho

In order to attract and engage top talent, recruiters nowadays need to move away from the classically reactive and transactional ‘get me a hire’ routine and start thinking more strategically and proactively about how to build up their company’s brand. Or in short – recruiters need to become part-time marketers.

The questions that every marketer tackles daily and every recruiter must learn to pay attention to are:
- do your target audience know your brand?
- can your target audience find you easily?
- are you appearing in the places where your target audience go to regularly?
- once they find you, are you providing the right/helpful messaging?
- are you following up and staying top of mind?

Think about it the next time you go into a supermarket: how many times have you seen ads for that new favourite chocolate bar of yours? Probably the first time was on TV, then on the train or bus during your commute, then in the paper. Finally, as you entered the supermarket that final point of sale ad tipped the scales and you bought the chocolate bar.

1. Have a consistent brand presence

Pretty much like the chocolate bar, every recruitment team must have a consistent brand message – one of quality and ability to add value. This will help you build up a strong employer brand and attract good hires more easily.

Here are the steps you need to take to formulate your brand presence:
a. Establish what is the message you want to convey to potential candidates? Do you have any standout points that make working for your company unique? For this you can work with your HR team (employee survey results) and your marketing team (brand positioning).

b. Then you can start to think about where to put that message. This begins with telling the story through traditional channels such as your company’s careers website and following up by sharing your brand message on social media. A great place to start is your company’s Career Page on LinkedIn and your employee’s profiles.  Your employees can help by spreading your brand message in their profiles’ summary and work experience sections.

2. Advertise your jobs

It’s crucial to advertise your brand in the right places – where your target audience will be able to find you easily and where they are going regularly.

So where are these places?

About 20% of all candidates are active and you can target this audience through LinkedIn job postings or niche job boards. These candidates tend to be more proactive so are likely to seek as much information as they can get. As such, having a greater inventory of opportunities in these channels is important.

The other 80% of candidates are passive and you have a few tools at your disposal on LinkedIn to reach them:  - Read the rest of the LinkedIn Talent Blog post for more...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Five Steps To Move Forward From Job Search Rejection

 Author, 'Finding Work When There Are No Jobs'

Maybe it's not you.

Were you rejected? Take a closer look at what happened.

Did you have a face to face conversation with someone? Was it someone who needs what you have to offer? Someone who has the power to get you the job?

Did you talk about why you'd be the perfect fit? Not just what you have done, but what the hiring person needs. Did you leave that discussion feeling like both of you were seeing that your talent spoke to exactly what was needed? Did all that happen and then someone told you "No?"

Or did you send a resume and cover letter, have an interview with a gatekeeper, and then check "networking" off your to-do list by sending a Linked In invite to a stranger?
Was it you that was rejected? Or was it your resume?

Glossing over any kind of rejection never helps. Any rejection is bad. And positive thinking can get old.

But a factual answer to the question, "Did someone reject me OR did someone reject my resume?" can be useful to the job seeker going forward.

The brutality of constant rejection can easily drive the applicant into a tailspin of self doubt. A self doubt that is kind of a first cousin to the idea of "blaming the victim." The job seeker endlessly combing over what she could have done to make a better resume or check more boxes on the networking to-do list. Or try some expert's tip on getting past gate keepers. Or somehow work harder.

But as all of us know, the best resume doesn't get the job. In these troubling times, "getting a job" and "doing a job" have become two very different activities. Getting a job is like a trip down Alice in Wonderland's rabbit hole. Only the rabbit hole is stuffed with all the old resumes that no one really reads.

Standardized, mass production hiring is tremendously efficient, easy to measure and cheap. It's the kudzu of the corporate cubicle farms.

In contrast, the talent drain of the laid off lawyer, director of marketing, and bank vice president standing in the job search line and all being told "no" is a very difficult picture to paint on the canvas of a balance sheet.

Hard to measure what it costs when the perfect fit for a job isn't hired because she did not include the right key words on a resume never seen by human eyes.

So handling and learning from rejection in today's irrational system of job search is no longer about expert advice -- its about posing the questions that will lead each individual to come up with their own plan to handle and learn from rejection.

In Finding Work When there Are No Jobs, there are dozens and dozens of questions clustered around each of THE FIVE, our five guiding principles for finding work. THE FIVE also prompt questions for each job seeker to use as they take a breath and pause from the barrage of rejections and come up with their own answer to the question, "What's Next?"

Remember -- there are NO right or wrong answers here.

These are questions you ask yourself. Some will be useful and prompt your own personal way forward. Some will make you scratch your head and go "Huh?"

Use the ones that work for you!

Using THE FIVE To Move Forward From Rejection

I. Tell Your Story
Did my resume and cover letter tell my story? Or was it just data?
Have I shared ways that I've made a difference?
Did I express how others see me?
Where do I want honesty to figure in my story?
Was my story balanced?

Two - Five and the complete Huffington Post article

Counterintuitive Advice for Maximizing LinkedIn - Part 1

William Arruda

Don’t read this if you’re looking for step-by-step instructions on completing your LinkedIn profile or ways to use LinkedIn to find a job. There are thousands of great articles and videos on the web with that kind of advice (here are a few).
This article, and the two that will follow, give you advice that no one talks about – the shortcuts and workarounds that can help you make LinkedIn a powerful personal branding tool. The tips I share in this series are among dozens of tricks I developed through my work with executives over the past several years. At first glance, this advice may seem counterintuitive, but these tips take advantage of the way LinkedIn works so you can build your brand and expand your success.
  • Part 1 – Brand Yourself: We’ll start the series by focusing on branding your profile, making sure it’s relevant and compelling to the people who are making decisions about you.
  • Part 2 – Find and Be Found: How much attention have you paid to making sure the right people can find you? We’ll focus on not only how to be found but also how to keep your own research top secret.
  • Part 3 – Stand Out and Promote: In this final piece in the series we’ll look at differentiating your profile from the masses and the tools that enable you to maximize the value of your profile by promoting it and syndicating it.
Before getting into any of the tips in this series, there is one seemingly misguided piece of advice that you need to implement before you start mucking around with your profile: Keep Secrets.
When you’re updating your LinkedIn profile you don’t want your contacts to be made aware of every little change. Of course, when you make a big change – like announcing your promotion or appointment to a board, you want your contacts to know. Alerting your contacts to every bit of wordsmithing you do while attempting to make your profile more compelling and more searchable, is not something I would recommend. When you’re in edit mode, turn off activity broadcasts and adjust the setting option for ‘select who can see your activity feed’ to be ‘only you’.
Remember to change the settings back when you have completed your edits. This way, when you do make a change that you want all your contacts to see, your scream won’t be ignored as just another rewording or spelling correction. 
Part 1- Brand Yourself
Be Redundant
Arrogance is an unsavory trait…except on LinkedIn. Know the top five strengths for which you want to be recognized and use them in your profile – repeatedly.
If your top skill is project management, describe your project management proficiency in your summary as well as in multiple experience descriptions. Personal branding requires steadfast focus and redundancy will bolster your brand around your critical skill.
In addition to influencing others, repeating keywords throughout your profile will help boost your ranking in searches of those keywords. Be sure to use all the different variations for how that skill is described to make sure people who are looking for what you have to offer will be able to find you, regardless of what terms they use in the search box.

Monday, July 29, 2013

How and Why to Make LinkedIn References Count


In the prehistoric days before social media, job hunters would typically try to withhold the names and contact information of their references until as late in the hiring process as possible. And, even if they requested them earlier, employers would typically not contact them until just before making a job offer.

Then, along came LinkedIn and its Reference feature. Here, you can write something positive about any of your connections. It is forwarded to the person being recommended for approval, before being posted to his or her profile. If he or she would like you to modify what you've written, he or she can suggest alternative language. Anyone can block a reference about him or herself that might be considered unflattering. LinkedIn references count in a job hunt for two key reasons:

1. References are searchable. Recruiters, human resources staffing pros and hiring managers all scour them to find great candidates. Rather than assuring the hiring authority at the end of the process that they are making a good choice, a reference can now bring you to the attention of decision makers at the very beginning. The unspoken message becomes: "You ought to look at this person, because when you do this is what you will find..."

2. References say more than endorsements. In the last several months, the Reference feature has undergone twists and turns, especially since the introduction of the Endorsement feature. You now have the ability to add Skills to your profile, and your first-degree connections can endorse you for any of them with a simple click. Unlike references, there is no need to say anything about a person, or to obtain permission for an endorsement to show up on his or her profile.

LinkedIn actively encourages users to endorse connections, and people often abuse the feature by making unfounded endorsements. Given this behavior, it is no surprise that the value of endorsements is diminished, and many rue the day when they came into being.

Recommendations remain valuable for both giver and receiver. They demonstrate that the person who is making the recommendation cares enough to take the time to actually write one instead of just clicking "Endorse." A well-written reference can convey so much more about the person being recommended than an endorsement. By giving recommendations you show yourself to be a person interested in others and helping them as a part of their team, a key characteristic of any good hire. When you take the time to recommend someone, they are much more likely to be open to recommending you in return, as well as helping you in other ways in your job hunt. You thereby improve the quality of your own personal brand.

How to create a new reference.  - Find out HOW and read the complete USNews article

10 Ways That You Are Screwing Up Your Job Search

Susan Adams

1. Giving out references that don't sing your praises

You don’t want a reference to damn you with faint praise. Ask if the person is willing to say you walked on water. If not, find another reference.

2. Laying out your résumé in a microscopic font

Too many candidates think they need to fit all of their qualifications onto a single, illegible page. Either cut down the word count or let the copy flow onto a second page.

3. Failing to say glowing things about your former employer

Even if you were laid off from your last job, find a way to say positive things about your last employer. Hiring managers identify with your former boss, not with you.

5. Talking too much at the start of an interview

It’s fine to give a 30-second summary of your accomplishments, but then you should go into questioning and listening mode, and respond to the interviewer’s cues.

See all 10 ways plus the complete Forbes article

Friday, July 26, 2013

5 Tips for Tweaking Your LinkedIn Profile


Grammarly, the online proofreading and grammar checking tool, often uses LinkedIn for recruiting. The company's hiring managers noticed that making a few tweaks to your LinkedIn profile may help boost your name in the search results and help you find a job.

One caveat before you start tweaking, if you're employed and updating your activity level be careful whom you share what you're doing with. You may not want your boss to notice a flurry of LinkedIn activity. Here's how to turn off LinkedIn activity broadcasts if you need to.

Here are tips for tweaking your LinkedIn profile:

Be passive. Don't mention that you are actively seeking a job on your Linkedin profile. Many potential employers are looking for passive job seekers who are committed to their current job, but may be a better fit for the hiring company.

Get active. A flurry of profile activity - such as making new connections, commenting in groups, adding keywords to your profile, etc. - helps candidates to show up in more search results. Activity also helps recruiters to judge if someone is thinking about looking for a new position and starting to tweak and improve their resume.

Include specific job titles. Maybe you're a marketing ninja at your current company - but what does a marketing ninja do, exactly? If you're looking for a job, include a job title that is transferable to the position you're looking for.

Tips 4,5, and the complete article

Is Your Resume 6-Second Worthy?

In a time when recruiters and hiring managers are getting inundated with applicants for job postings, one technique they quickly learn to master is the art of "skimming" resumes. They just don't have time to read each resume word-for-word. Instead, they glance at it quickly and look for key info. If they don't see what they need, you're tossed.

You've Got Six Seconds
I was recently told the average recruiter spends about six seconds on a resume and then decides whether to keep reading, or toss it in the 'no' pile. Additionally, their eye works in a Z pattern, meaning left-to-right across the top of the resume, and then back down the left-hand side.

Top-Fold = Prime Real Estate
This means the top part of your resume is where all the action is. If you don't, "Get them at Hello," you won't be moving on. So, here are a few tips:

1) Don't waste the top-fold with a long-winded, self-serving promotional paragraph. It won't get read. Objective statements and overly salesy intros don't work either.

2) Create an "Experience Summary" that lists quantifiable skills and the key information required to even get a shot at the job.

3) Don't use a font smaller than 11 point or in a fancy style. Too hard on the eyes.

For a total breakdown of how to create a resume that will pass the six-second test, you can watch a video I did as part of our CAREEREALISM TV weekly Q&A show. It's the very first episode on this page, just scroll to the bottom and you can watch it here:

Remember, Resumes Don't Get You Hired!
Even if you create an effective resume, please don't assume it will greatly improve your chances of getting a call from an online application. These days, 8 out 10 resumes aren't even seen by human eyes. Most online applicants never get a shot at the job they apply to. Why? 80%+ of all jobs filled today can be attributed to referrals. Someone inside the organization refers the candidate that gets hired. Hiring a referral is a lot easier than going blurry-eyed reviewing hundreds of online applicants. Plus, the referral makes them more credible, as compared to an online applicant nobody has worked with.

More tips and the complete post

Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to craft the perfect LinkedIn introduction request

By , ITworld

Whether you're looking for a new job or trying to expand your network, career experts and job hunters agree: You need LinkedIn.
The currency - and power - of the site are connections, especially those second-degree associations, i.e., the friend of a friend, colleague of an acquaintance, etc., that will expand your reach, knowledge and opportunity.
You can forge connections with these second-degree folk via an introduction by someone already in your LinkedIn Network.
LinkedIn offers a canned, generic request, but career coach Carol Ross says there are four steps to writing your own that will greatly improve your chances of it being accepted.
1. Write an eye-catching subject line
"In addition to stirring someone's curiosity, subject lines should be relevant," Ross notes. "Make yours personal. Add humor if that fits with your personality."
Whatever you do, Ross advises avoiding the generic, "Need an introduction." No one's going to open that, let alone read it and respond with a "Yes."
2. Don't make the recipient guess who you are
If you're asking someone you don't know well, clearly state how you crossed paths.

5 Innovative Ways for Job Seekers to Stand Out

As soon as people learn that we help Fortune 500 companies and leading brands recruit their teams, I’m usually asked one of two questions.

Those looking for shortcuts ask whether systems can be manipulated to get them selected. The answer is: Don’t be a fool.
The more honest and resourceful job seekers (or their parents) ask if there are things they can be doing to stand out. The answer is yes.

Here are the five things I recommend:

1. Find Ways to Let Your Creativity Shine

As every HR manager will tell you: resumes say very little. How much information can people really fit in onto a single piece of paper? Once you achieve satisfactory grades, undertake relevant internships and participate in impressive extra-curricular activities, your resume blends into others just like it. Resumes in their traditional form made sense before technology allowed people to express themselves in other ways. Today you can do better.

This means: utilize technology. Do something that makes you stand out. Do something that lets your qualities shine. Videos are a great way to do this. In a video you can show enthusiasm and passion for a position or product in a way no resume can. It also lets you highlight other qualities employers prize. U.K. jobseeker Graeme Anthony put together a compelling video that successfully attracted many viewers -– in order to get the attention of PR companies. “It shows off my personality in a way a paper CV can’t,” he said. And it worked.

Don’t send an hour-long monologue, though. Remember that recruiters only have a limited time. Ideally, employers will already have a video or audio option built into their hiring process. If they don’t, keep it short and compelling.

Find a way to highlight your talents. Otherwise your application will sit alongside hundreds like it. The bottom line is: stand out by letting those qualities that can’t be seen on your resume, but that you want the employer to know, shine.

And, of course, as David Roth, CEO of the Store WPP, points out, companies will question: If you can’t market yourself, then how are you going to market your products?

2. Think Outside the Box

Go against the grain. Alec Brownstein created an online ad that would appear every time employers he was targeting (New York creative directors) searched their own names. It cost him $6. He got hired.
Ads won’t necessarily get you a job, but doing something people aren’t expecting, or that hasn’t been done before, will get you noticed.

Demonstrate that you are willing to learn new things, undertake challenges, and have different experiences. In the weeks leading up to an application, do something you’ve never done before and mention that.

3. Social Media Espionage

Facebook is for friends, Twitter is for catching news, and LinkedIn is for job seeking — right?
Wrong. Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools allow you to study, connect and interact with prospective future employers and colleagues.

Learn their likes, dislikes and priorities. Interact. Seize the opportunity to get noticed and even build a relationship, before you’re officially interviewed. Remember, likeability has always been a key factor in people getting hired. Positive social interactions can only help.

Of course, your social media interactions can work against you, too. Most college guidance counselors remind you to delete those embarrassing Facebook photos before applying, but also remember that foolish post-college tweets are just as damaging. A good HR department will know. 

Ways 4,5, and the complete Mashable article

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Top 6 Reasons Your Job Search Isn't Working

 By Matthew O'Donnell for

Mistake #1: Failure to network

When it comes to job searching, it often comes down to who you know. Professional networking is a great way to get your foot in the door with a potential employer. Making these connections is the key to getting your resume directly into the hands of the person making hiring decisions. Don't be shy! Visit career fairs and sign up with professional organizations to get to know other people in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Mistake #2: Skipping the cover letter for online applications

The more information you provide during the application process, the better chance you have of landing an interview. Today, many applications and resumes are sent via online web forms that ask for specific information from job candidates. Even if it's not strictly required, send a cover letter with every online application you submit. Doing so will not only make an impression, but it will give the hiring manager more insight into your background and put you one step ahead of other applicants. Two instances where sending a cover letter is not advised is when the job description specifically states not to send one, or there is no section in the online application to submit a cover letter. You might think this is a test of the hiring manager and brownie points will go to the applicant that goes above and beyond the requirements, but it isn’t. In fact, sending a cover letter when the job description explicitly says not to could be used to help weed out the candidates that don’t take the time to read the entire job description or lack attention to detail.

Mistake #3: Sending a generic cover letter

First impressions count. Viewed from the perspective of a hiring manager, sending a generic cover letter is lazy. With this shotgun approach, you may as well send your cover letter out to every company in the biopharmaceutical industry. Instead of sending a canned and generic letter, tailor the letter to your reader by focusing on the needs of the specific company and the details of the specific position for which you are applying. Do your homework and use your cover letter to demonstrate how your skills and experience could benefit the company. In today's competitive biopharma job industry, your cover letter must be so compelling that the hiring manager immediately sees you as their future employee. 

Tips 4-6 and the complete article

Why Your LinkedIn Headline Is So Important


If you’re looking for a new job, you probably already know the importance of having an updated LinkedIn profile, but you may not realize how important the LinkedIn headline section can be to your job search.

Why You Should Update Your LinkedIn Headline

By default, LinkedIn populates your headline with your current job title and employer, but this field is fully customizable. Most career experts agree that this is one of the most powerful fields in your profile and you should take full advantage of the ability to show your awesomeness in 120 characters or less.

When recruiters use LinkedIn to identify candidates for their open positions, the first piece of data that comes up is your name and your headline. There needs to be some call to action for the recruiter to click through to your full profile.

Think Like A Salesperson

Rather than just listing your job title, think like a salesperson. What is your greatest asset for a prospective employer? What’s in it for the employer if they hire you? Why should this employer hire you or even make an initial contact with you? Since you’ll need to edit this down to a quick sound bite, make a list of all of your assets and then rank them in order of importance. Take the top two or three and work them into a headline of appropriate length.

If you’re struggling with this, ask people who know you to help. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to be our own agent, but other people see us favorably. Ask former co-workers, friends and family to tell you what they admire most about you and take those items and work them into a headline.

More tips and the complete Careerealism article

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Engage Employers Through Social Media: 7 Great Tips

by CareerBliss

Social media is a great tool for your job search and career. After all, relationships are key to new job opportunities.

With all of the advice about making these connections, however, you may wonder, ‘How exactly do I approach potential employers on sites like Twitter and LinkedIn and get their attention?’
Read on for what  several experts have to say about forging professional relationships online:

Pick The Right Target On Social Media

For any organization, there may be several active voices on social media. Focus your energy on building a single relationship with a single person. Look for a voice who is active and engaged with their audience. These are blog authors or tweeters who reply to comments. With this person, share regular feedback and relevant resources (without stalking them). Be patient. Real relationships take time. — Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula

Be a Good Follower

Before approaching a potential employer on social media, follow them for a while to understand their approach and what they like to write about. Retweet their posts or mention them over a sustained period of time, weeks or months. Then, when you want to reach out, they’ll be more receptive to hearing from someone who has already expended capital promoting them.  — Dorie Clark, Author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future

Find Commonalities

It’s all about the connections, finding the one thing you have in common with someone. Using LinkedIn as an example, find someone that works at the company you’re interested in that you have a connection with, could be someone you worked with, fellow alumni, or member of professional association.
Use this connection to reach out and ask for help reaching the right person to talk with about opportunities.  – Paul Kostek, Air Direct Solutions

Don’t Be Shy

Engaging potential employers using social media is very popular. The easiest way is to message them asking what the best way to submit a resume with the company is. It always helps to state a few brief reasons on why you would like to be employed with said company. It will show that you have done the homework that hiring managers like to see. — Ben Yeargin, Corporate Recruiter for Craig Technologies

Tips 5-7 and the complete article

25 Things that Make You Look Dumb on LinkedIn


LinkedIn is one of those social networks you may feel a bit unsure about.

You might even be asking yourself, “How can this site help me grow my small business?”

LinkedIn is recognized as the professional social network. It’s a place where people in all industries can go to build relationships with their colleagues and demonstrate their experience and expertise. It’s also a place where businesses and organizations can show off their work to prospective clients, customers, and even future employees.

The last thing you want to do is look like you don’t know what you’re doing!

To help you get started, we compiled a list of 25 things you’ll want to avoid:

1. Not understanding the difference between a LinkedIn Company Page and a LinkedIn Profile. There are two ways for you to demonstrate your expertise on LinkedIn. With a Company Page, you’ll be communicating as your business. This is similar to a Facebook Business Page, where prospective clients can learn more about your business. However, it is much more focused on informing your audience rather than building a community like you would on Facebook.

With your LinkedIn Profile, you’ll be communicating as an individual rather than a business. Here you’ll connect with clients, colleagues, and other members of your professional network.

Mixing this up is a guaranteed way to look foolish when starting out.

9. Not proofreading your posts. An extra comma here and a misspelled word there may not seem like a big deal, but it does make you look less professional. Keep posts as grammatically sound as possible.

20. Not connecting to your other social media outlets. Think of your social networks as part of a larger ecosystem. They should all be connected and working together to help boost your social connections.

24. Not thinking about search optimization (SEO). For starters, completing your profile helps your ranking, but there is more you can do to make your Business Page SEO friendly. Being visible and highly ranked will help people find you.

See all 25 things and the complete ConstantContact blog

Monday, July 22, 2013

Creative Ways to Use LinkedIn in Your Job Search

Part one:  Look into Career Paths, Research People and Follow Companies

Are you guilty of logging in to LinkedIn to just look at people's profile pictures, check out the latest updates and browse? Not to worry, you are not alone. In my experience in career consulting many people tell me they have LinkedIn accounts but have no idea what to do on the site.  People tend to grossly underestimate the value of actively engaging on LinkedIn. Most use LinkedIn to search for jobs and network with others. I advise all my clients, if they are in the job market, to log on to LinkedIn several times a week, if not daily. With millions of users LinkedIn is an awesome place to gain information about career paths, skill sets and industry news!

How to discover career paths:
To learn about career paths on LinkedIn
  • Search your connections for people who are doing what you aspire to do and review their profiles.
  • Read their profile in reverse to determine what they did prior to their current job. This will help you see how they attained their current position.
  • Make note of what qualifications they have, the keywords used in their profile and what types of activities they've been involved with.  
While everyone's career path will be different, use this approach to gather ideas for new ways to find the job you seek.

If you do not have any connections with people who hold positions which you aspire to, search for new connections in relevant industry specific groups. LinkedIn has a fantastic “groups feature” which provides a place for industry professionals or people with similar interests to discuss business, share content, ask/ answer each other's questions and sometimes post jobs. If you join the right groups, you could learn about industry trends, and have current information about the industry for which you are interviewing. This will aid you in arriving to your interview prepared to discuss the work and ask good questions.

Research People and Follow Companies:
Another best practice for using LinkedIn while job searching is to follow companies which you plan to (or desire to) interview with to research the company. This is a strategy I have personally employed, here’s why:
  • Companies will often share different information on their LinkedIn Company page than what is presented on their website.  
  • You can also see their current and former employees and read company status updates.
  • Prior to the interview, find out whom you're interviewing with
    • review their profile on LinkedIn
Most people go to interviews with no information about who they will be meeting; while the prospective employer has read your resume and likely Googled you. With the access that LinkedIn provides, this should no longer be the case. Go into the interview armed with a little knowledge about what led your interviewer to their current position.  You may even have a few shared connections!  Use the information you find about your interviewer to “break the ice”.  Should you make it to the second or third round of interviews this will prove to be helpful as you will be introduced to more people at-varied levels within the company. If possible, make a habit of finding out who you will be speaking with and get to know each person that will interview you.

LinkedIn is an invaluable tool that could be used to give you leverage as you job search, network or consider learning a new skill or career.  When using the site, think of it as a free career counselor with endless information, right at your fingertips!

Part Two: Learn Skills and Read the News - Read Part 2 and the rest of the Simply Hired Blog post

How to Get a Top Job Through Blogging

To get a really juicy job offer on merit today you need to have a unique strategy that puts you in front of the decision makers and makes them desire to bring you on board. For some types of positions such as corporation communications, PR and marketing, customer relations management, Human resources, operations and strategy etc blogging when done right can be part of a winning strategy to land a well paid mid to top level job.

While it is well documented all over the web that there are various uses and aims of blogging (of which the chief ones are money making, self expression etc) it is often overlooked as a veritable tool for securing a job. Depending on how ambitious your job search is becoming an avid blogger in the specialisation or job niche of your interest can lead to getting really good job offers.
However landing a job with the help of blogging is never an easy task and definitely not for the faint hearted. It is a strategy for anyone who’s ambitious enough and wants to get the kind of job offers that are not seen or advertised everyday.

Before we look at how to use blogging as a stepping stone to securing a juicy job we will look at how blogging makes you a better and more prepared career individual.

Blogging Requires Discipline
Anyone who has tried blogging on a regular basis knows that blogging is not something you do whe you feel like. To grow a blog audience you need to regulalry put up quality, useful information. Most blogs take 6 months to 1 year to gain some sort of traction and often requires that the blogger keep at it. This is a trait most employers will be looking for and which you can project to your advantage.

You Acquire Research Skills
Depending on the niche you blog on you may always be required to dig around for relevant information to compose your posts. As a blogger you learn the value of research and acquire the skill of scoruing the web for information you need as well gaining the ability to seperate useful information and useless garbage. The research skills come in handy in the job you may be offered.

Blogging Teaches You to Outline Your Thoughts Clearly
Your ability to communicate effectivley will be greatly enhanced if you are a committed blogger. The drafting of posts and constant attempts to write in a way your audience will understand will equip you with increased communication skills that are required for most positions.

How Blogging Can Become a Powerful Job Search Tool

To use a blog effectively in your job search here are some steps to follow;

1. Have an Idea of the Sort of Job You Want
Your blogging should be shaped by the kind of career you are in or want to pursue. When you determine the kind of job you are seeking the tone and niche of your blog will then be focused on presenting you as a smart and intuitive individual in that field. You can then narrow your conversations to the particular niche and put up well researched and thought out insights targeting the players in that niche. For instance if your aim is to seek a good career position in human resources in a reputable company your blog should then focus on projecting you as someone knowledgeable and informed on Human Resources.

2. Set Up Your Blog and a Blogging Schedule
There are many tutorials and articles out there on how to set up a simple wordpress blog and even get a domain name for yourself to project professionalism so this article obviously cannot dwell on them. You can approach someone who knows how to setup a nice, neat blog for you (it should be nothing too fancy). When you have your blog niche figured and the blog set up you will need a blogging schedule to keep yourself on track and make sure you are able to put up useful content regularly.

Depending on how much free time you have (you could be on a job already but looking for something higher) you can determine how much time you can or will give to blogging on a daily or weekly basis.

Your blogging time will be divided into developing blog topics, researching on topics and doing the actual writing and publishing. If you set a daily or weekly number of posts you should try and maintain it though you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for quantity. If you use wordpress you can actually save drafts of half written posts to work on them later and schedule your finished posts so they can go live even when your are not able to publish by yourself.

More tips and the complete article

Friday, July 19, 2013

3 Secrets to Getting Recruiters to Find You on LinkedIn

Have you ever wondered why you aren’t getting random calls from recruiters looking for someone with your experience and skills? I mean, the economy is coming back. Companies are hiring. And hiring managers are STILL struggling to fill positions. There should be a huge number of recruiters out there teaming to find people just like you!
Well, all of that is true. But chances are you are impossible to find!
Recently, I wrote a social media job search training curriculum for an unemployment organization. I had seven days to find trainers to subcontract and deliver it.
So I wrote up a job description and sent it out on my social media channels, emailed it to my network, and called a few friends. Five days later, I had no one, except a few pathetic emails from people who didn’t even send me their resume or LinkedIn profile link. The one resume that was sent in was so generic that I wondered if the person even read my job description.
With just two days left to deliver my candidates, I decided to do what most recruiters do in my exact situation. No, not start drinking! Do people searches on LinkedIn.
Several great candidates showed up as first or second degree connections. Of those, just one seemed to be available for contract work. So I InMailed her an inquiry, and she responded with a resume and video of her training. She was a perfect fit.
Life lesson: recruiting is hard work!
If you’re looking for a job, and you are reasonably smart, then there are recruiters out there who would benefit from talking to you. I’m guessing from my own experience, that they simply can’t find you. Or if they do find you, something about your LinkedIn profile turns them away.
In either case, you have more control over this situation than you think. Getting found by recruiters doesn’t have to be a passive strategy.
Here is a two part active strategy for getting found.

First, Get on Search Results

The first step to getting found by recruiters is to simply show up. Like me, recruiters are using keywords to search their LinkedIn profiles. Results will show up based on degree of separation and presence of the search term.
Tip 1: become 1st degree connected to as many recruiters as possible. They are the ones making the most searches. Having recruiters in your network increases your chances of popping up based on your degree of separation.
Tip 2: describe yourself as specifically and as accurately as possible. The well known social media strategist Christopher Penn uses his own profile as a great example of this:
My job is simple: get qualified leads in the door using Inbound Marketing methods such as social media, search, and email.
Not terrible, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s the much improved version:
My job is simple: get qualified leads in the door using Inbound Marketing methods such as social media, search, and email. In the first 8 months, I’ve helped to create a 10x increase in the number of inbound leads through organic SEO, social media marketing, email marketing, and other marketing methods.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

6 Steps to Creating an Effective LinkedIn Profile

Jason Seiden

Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax, an agency helping turn employees into better brand advocates

In my experience, the place where most people struggle in optimizing their LinkedIn profiles isn’t with their content, it’s with their approach.

Here’s the source of the problem:

The text fields we fill out on LinkedIn are like little essay questions, each begging us to draw from a lifetime’s worth of growth and change and developmental experiences to fill in the blanks.

Unfortunately, our brains don’t like this kind of exercise. Most of us show a strong preference for concrete, multiple choice type questions over open-ended, essay-type questions. When we sit down to write our LinkedIn profiles, our brains respond as if we’ve just given ourselves an essay test.

Not fun.

So what happens next is that our minds start turning all those open-ended questions into something more concrete and manageable… typically, a résumé. This feels appealing because résumés are nowhere near as open-ended as LinkedIn profiles: they are drafted for a specific audience, are written according to a specific format, and are used for a specific goal. Very clear, very concrete.

Unfortunately, also very misaligned. The people looking at our LinkedIn profiles are more likely to be coworkers, bosses, and customers looking to work with us, than recruiters looking to hire us.

This misalignment creates conflict, and sends people looking for advice about whether or not to connect with their boss, or how to manage their networks, or how to deal with all the other problems that arise when they use the wrong model for their LinkedIn profile.

It’s like they’ve dressed for a beach party and, finding themselves at a professional dinner, start trying to figure out how to survive in their swimsuits, when the easiest course of action would be to duck into the restroom and change.

What people need is a different way of thinking about their LinkedIn profiles; one that still eliminates ambiguity but better fits the way people actually interact with them on LinkedIn.
Here’s what we recommend:

Step 1: Pick an audience.

We can’t control who visits our profiles, but we also can’t be all things to all people. So who’s most important? What group do you really want to impress? Write down who this group is. Then, picture one representative from the group. Give the person a name. Write that name down. You’re going to write for him (or her).

Step 2: Decide on a goal.

What do you want that person to know about you? Write down exactly what impression you want that person to have of you after he or she visits your profile.

These two steps have just established the context for your LinkedIn profile. With these answers, those open ended text fields will start to feel more concrete—in a good way.

Step 3: In a few words, write down what you do, from the perspective of the person you’re writing for. 

That person may use different language than you would use, and that’s OK. You’re not writing this for yourself, you’re writing for them. And by the way, you just created your headline.

41 Reasons Why You Didn’t Get the Job

by Hannah Morgan

You want to understand where or why you are being eliminated, so take a gander below.

 Application Turn Offs

These are the top 5 reasons recruiters rejected candidates according to a Bullhorn Reach survey

  1. applying for jobs for which they are obviously not qualified
  2. exaggerating qualifications

Social Media Turn Offs

Here were the top reasons listed for dismissing candidates based on what they posted on social media according to CareerBuilder’s survey:
  1. Candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos/info
  2. There was info about candidate drinking or using drugs
  3. Candidate bad mouthed previous employer

Interview Turn Offs

Here are  many of the top turn offs during interviews from various sources:
  1. Lack of knowledge about the company
  2. Tardiness, not showing up for interview on-time
  3. Arrogant, “know-it-all” attitude
  4. Personality problems, irrational behavior

Unspoken Truths

The reality is, you may never hear what the true reason for your rejection.

Top 10 Things a Recruiter Won’t Tell You (CAREEREALISM)

  1. Your interview attire is outdated/messy/too tight/too revealing/too flashy.
  2. Your physical appearance is disheveled/outdated/sloppy/smelly/overpowering (i.e. too much perfume).
  3. Your eye contact is weak/shifty/intense.
  4. Your handshake is limp/too forceful/clammy.
  5. You say ah/um/like too much.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Top Solutions to 8 Common Resume Problems


When you’re writing your resume, you may find yourself facing a number of tricky situations that you’re unsure how best to handle. Maybe some of these sound familiar to you?
  1. There are a number of gaps in my employment history.
  2. I’ve had a large number of jobs in a relatively short amount of time.
  3. I’m looking to change my career.
  4. Am I too old for this job?
  5. Am I overqualified for this job?
  6. I don’t have the right qualifications for this job.
  7. My entire career has been spent working for one organization.
  8. I was fired from my last job.
If you share any of these concerns, don’t worry! These are all quite common and are also pretty easy to overcome if you follow these helpful tips:

1. There Are a Number of Gaps in My Employment History.

Recruiters may well be suspicious of any noticeable gaps in your employment history and can even automatically reject your application as a result. If the gap is just a temporary one, this could be made less obvious by just listing years, not months, for each job role. If, however, the gaps are longer and not so easily concealed, you need to consider the reasons for the gap and if they can be handled in a constructive way.

If a gap in your employment history is due to further training or education, this will invariably be considered a positive thing by recruiters, so you should cover this period in the employment section and the education section of your resume.

Raising a child or caring for another family member is a reason that is actually pretty personal, so you don’t need to go into any great detail about this in your employment history. Just a few brief words will be fine.

Many people have gaps in their employment due to travelling, and recruiters may view this positively or negatively. If you did any temporary or part-time work during your travels, this should be mentioned in your resume to show recruiters that it wasn’t just one long holiday! Just keep any explanations of time spent travelling brief as it shouldn’t be the main focus of your resume.

Gaps resulting from simple lack of employment or ill health are, unfortunately, not generally well-received by recruiters, so you should avoid drawing attention to them if you can. Hopefully, recruiters won’t even notice in their initial glance at your resume and it won’t become an issue.

2. I’ve Had a Large Number of Jobs in a Relatively Short Amount of Time.

There can be many reasons why someone takes on a large number of jobs in a short space of time. Even though this may cause concern for recruiters, your resume is not really the place to explain your reasons for this. In this case, it’s about turning a potential negative into a positive by emphasizing the skills and knowledge you acquired as a result of each job, and using this to highlight the true extent of your experience.

You may find that a functional resume is more appropriate here—one that includes a “key skills” section with just a brief summary of your employment rather than full details for each role. This can be an effective way of highlighting what is relevant to the position you’re applying for and discreetly leaving out what isn’t.