Hired! Going to church to get a job

Confronted with a tough job market, Michael Butler reached out to his community and received multiple job offers.

By Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney.com staff writer
Last Updated: February 26, 2009: 3:45 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — In today’s tough economy, many people are praying for a job offer. When Michel Butler headed to church, he ended up with multiple offers.

One year ago, Butler, 42, was a consultant in the home-building industry in Texas with aspirations of building his own spec homes in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. But six months later, he was an unemployed husband and father of three with no job prospects to speak of.

“The market here really hit the skids in late June, early July, and I knew it was time to consider something outside the industry,” Butler said.

First, Butler joined a free career workshop at a local church, which was open to the public. They met every Saturday evening and covered everything from networking to resume writing and interview skills.
“I think that church organization was really a feather in my cap,” he said. “It helped me focus on my next steps and also gave me refreshers in interviewing and resume writing,” he said.

Then, Butler plugged back into some old networks, including college friends and former employers.
One friend introduced Butler to a local business coach who put him in touch with a few hiring managers and by October he had two interviews in two different industries.

Prudential offered him a job as a financial service agent. They would pay for the training but Butler’s income would be largely based on commission. Although that wasn’t ideal, he accepted right away.
Then came another offer, this time for a marketing position with a six figure salary. “I couldn’t pass it up,” Butler said, so he quit Prudential shortly after starting and went to work as relationship manager at Spear One in Dallas.

Aside from the bigger salary and better job security, “the best part about my new position is that it is fun,” Butler said, which is the last thing he imagined he’d be having after his last career crumbled.

Getting off the couch

Our panel of career coaches agree that Butler was wise to tap into local organizations that could help him brush up on his job search skills and expose him to other job seekers sharing their experiences.

“Church groups are a good way to use existing community connections to expand your network of people,” according to Career and Business Consultant Kathy Robinson. But the danger is that “you could be getting 20-year-old resume advice,” she warned. “As long as the members are keeping themselves current on job search techniques it’s actually a fabulous resource.”

He was also smart to dig into his networks, said Ford Myers author of the upcoming book, “Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.”

“The wrong thing to do is sit at home in your pajamas and apply to jobs online,” he said, “it’s isolating and depressing.”

Read The Rest Of The Article For More Advice

The Savvy Networker Eight Little-Known Tricks for the Job Hunt

You’re up to date on the latest job-search ideas, right? You’re responding to posted job ads. You’re crafting smart and incisive cover letters to accompany your resume on its travels. You’re networking like crazy. What else can you do?

You may be leaving a few essential job-search stones unturned. Here are eight less-well-known ways to get the word out and jump on job-search opportunities:

Add a signature line to your outgoing e-mail messages. This reminds your friends and contacts that you’re on a job search. Much as they love you, it’s easy for our friends to forget our day-to-day priorities, including a job search that feels like a life-or-death proposition to you. Add a signature line to your e-mail messages that reminds your friends what you’re after.

Include your LinkedIn profile URL in that signature. You can customize your LinkedIn profile’s URL (as soon as you set up a free LinkedIn profile) to something that sounds logical, like www.linkedin.com/in/yourname. Add this to the signature line I recommended a moment ago. Might as well make it easy for people to check out your credentials.

Use Twitter to keep your fans in the loop. A daily (or even more frequent) “tweet” from you keeps your cronies and well-wishers abreast of your latest job-search happenings. If you tweet to say “Got an interview at Apple tomorrow morning,” then your friends with friends at Apple can jump into the scene and help you out with a side-door connection or referral.

Make your Facebook page work for you — not against you. Smart job-seekers fill their Facebook pages with useful and relevant information about what they’ve accomplished and where their strengths lie. Using Facebook effectively in a job search requires more than just taking down the party-animal photos. Prospective employers are bound to see your online persona, so you may as well make it one that moves the ball forward for you.

Add a quote to your resume. Got a favorite quote (in writing) from a boss who praised your work? Add it to your resume in place of the tedious “References available on request.” Everyone knows your references are available. Tell us (in twenty words or fewer) what one of those people actually said about you — the more specific the kudos, the better.

Get a Moo card. Job-search business cards are great tools, because they’re easy to pass to a conversational partner at a networking event (no one wants to take your resume in a setting like that). Moo mini-cards are cooler than regular business cards, because they’re small and attention-grabbing. If your field is creative, techie, or you just want to stand out a little, order your mini-Moo cards online at www.moo.com.

Put a voice on your job-search profile. Too shy to appear on camera? Add an audio file to your LinkedIn, Facebook or other social-networking profile to help job-search targets and influencers get a feel for who you are and how you think. Buy a headset for a few bucks and download Audacity for free to make high-quality audio files. You can even send your podcasts to iTunes and build a following.

Rewrite your resume so it sounds human. As a career expert, the biggest job-search stumbling block I see is a boilerplate-laden resume that sounds like every other resume I see. Yank the boilerplate out of your resume and give it a human voice, replacing “results-oriented professional” with “I’m happiest solving thorny technical problems that slow down product development” or whatever (human) statement describes you.

A job search doesn’t leave room for error these days. Details can make all the difference — better put every tool to work for you now and put your job search behind you sooner.

Liz Ryan is a 25-year HR veteran, former Fortune 500 VP and an internationally recognized expert on careers and the new millennium workplace. Contact Liz at asklizryan.com or join the Ask Liz Ryan online community at www.asklizryan/group.


Make Sure Your Facebook Profile Doesn’t Lose You A Job

Do you use Facebook? I do too — and so do a heck of a lot of other people. Including my mom, and my former boss.

Employers are increasingly using Facebook (and other social networking sites) to check up on potential and current employees. People have been disciplined at work, have missed out on job positions, or have even been dismissed due to comments they’ve left on Facebook and similar sites.

In the credit crunch times, you can’t afford to have anything working against you. Here’s how to make sure your Facebook profile isn’t visible to your boss – and how to clean it up if necessary…

Step 1: Check Your Privacy Settings
Do you know who might be reading your Facebook profile? Are you really certain that it’s only limited to those people who you’ve accepted a Friend request from? Log into your account, click the “Settings” button on the top left: then look at the “Networks” tab:
Like me, you might well be in two or more networks – probably a school one(mine’s Cambridge University) and a regional one (mine’s London – so pretty huge). Have a quick glance at the numbers of people in those networks: 44 thousand at Cambridge and three MILLION in London.

Hang on a minute … “My Networks and Friends”? Well, I’ve got three hundred or so friends on Facebook — but my networks cover three and a half million people: all of whom are either graduates of the same university (so high on my list of potential networking contacts), or people who live in London (where, if I was looking for another full-time job, I’d be seeking employment).

As you can imagine, giving potential bosses (and your past professors – people who might write you a reference) access to your entire profile could be a no-no. I don’t actually use Facebook a lot and the few obligatory drunken photos of me aren’t particularly risque, so I’m not too bothered who can see my information. But if you pack your profile with rude quotes, if your status update regularly includes how drunk/stoned/lazy you are, and if the photos of you are ones you’d never want to be posted on the office noticeboard … you might want to limit all of the information in your profile to friends only.

Why Should I Bother?
When an employer decides to check you out on Facebook prior to interviewing you, they won’t be able to see your profile, photos of you, and so on. The first impression they get of you will be a professional one from the interview. Leaving your Facebook profile open to them is a bit like inviting them to come and nose around your home (when it’s at its most untidy, with your stack of dodgy magazines left lying around…)

And if you doubt that employers do make these checks, here’s food for thought from an article on “Facebook Can Ruin Your Life” from the Independent (a UK newspaper) – emphasis mine:

At Cambridge, at least one don has admitted “discreetly” scanning applicants’ pages – a practice now widespread in job recruitment. A survey released by Viadeo said that 62 per cent of British employers now check the Facebook, MySpace or Bebo pages of some applicants, and that a quarter had rejected candidates as a result. Reasons given by employers included concerns about “excess alcohol abuse”, ethics and job “disrespect”. 

Do you want to risk missing out on your dream job because of your Facebook profile?

Step 2: Cleaning Up Your Profile
You might not want to limit access to your profile to only your friends, if you use Facebook for a lot of networking. Or, you might have a lot of “friends” who’ve added you because they read your blog, or because they knew you in kindergarten: you never know when one of these friends might be a useful ally, a potential employer or mentor.

And although your profile might not contain anything too dreadful (such as admissions of just how you ended up leaving your previous job), things which seem perfectly innocuous could still cause employers to decide to pass on you. The recruitment site www.onrec.com offers ten top turn-offs for employers who are performing discreet background checks using Facebook and similar sites:

  Top ten turn-offs for employers on social networking websites

  1. References to drug abuse
  2. Extremist / intolerant views, including racism, sexism
  3. Criminal activity
  4. Evidence of excessive alcohol consumption
  5. Inappropriate pictures, including nudity
  6. Foul language
  7. Links to unsuitable websites
  8. Lewd jokes
  9. Silly email addresses
  10. Membership of pointless / silly groups

And from the New Zealand Herald:

  Interestingly, employers were not just concerned about alcohol or drug use, or inappropriate photos. They also used the information posted to identify those with poor communication skills, and inaccurately stated qualifications. Bad mouthing of former employers and colleagues was also identified as a concern in a large number of cases.

  So it’s worth cleaning up your profile to get rid of anything that’s not contributing to the impression you want to give to employers, business colleagues and other contacts – anything which undermines or contradicts your personal brand.

I’m going to focus on two key areas that could be letting you down: “Your Info” and “Your Photos”.

Your Info

Click on “Profile” in the top bar, then on “Info”:

Have a good read through what’s listed there. You might want to update old information (I’m awful at doing this…) You may need to self-censor some of your “favorite music” or “favorite movies”, if you have somewhat extreme tastes in either. Think about who might read your profile here: if you’re going for a job with a right-wing political or charity body, a long list of slasher/horror movies and death metal music might not go down too well, but it could be just the thing if you’re trying to land a job with a design agency that prides itself on “alternative” styles and creating shocking, engaging concepts.

Some quick tips that might help you are:

  * Get rid of any silly, profane or potentially bigoted (racist/sexist/etc) group memberships

  * Try to list some favorite books, not just films and music. Employers will be impressed if you look well-read.

  * Make your Quotations ones which are funny/profound, not all lewd jokes that your friends made after a few drinks..

  * Check for typos and spelling mistakes: these might seem unimportant to you, but they could be sending a negative impression to potential employers

Your Photos

Click onto the “Photos” tab. This will show everything which someone’s tagged with your name. It’s worth going through every single one, and untagging it if it’s not something you want to be associated with! Again, use your own judgement here: an unflattering shot might be a disaster if you’re trying to become a supermodel, but could be an actual asset if you’re aiming for a career in stand-up comedy…

Click on the thumbnail to view a photo full-size, and click the “Remove tag” link next to your name (at the bottom, under the photo) to remove the tag – meaning snoopers can’t find that photo of you:

For most of us, photos to look out for are:

  * Photos where you look drunk/stoned/comatose (even if you were “just caught at a bad angle, honest”)

  * Photos containing a number of “unsuitable” looking friends

  * Photos where someone’s put a really dodgy caption about you (sadly, employers may decide against you based not only on your profile, but on what your friends seem to be like).

  * Any photos containing evidence of illegal or semi-illegal activity – especially if your employer or school could penalise you for it

Why Should I Bother?

Current employers (or your university/school) may check up on your Facebook profile. The Independent article mentioned the unfortunate case of:

  Kevin Colvin, an intern at Anglo Irish Bank, who told his employers he had a family emergency, but whose Facebook page revealed he had, in reality, been cavorting in drag at a Hallowe’en party.

Photographic evidence can also be used to catch student culprits:

  Oxford University proctors disciplined students after pictures of them dousing each other in shaving foam, flour and silly string in post-exam revelry were found on their Facebook pages. 

Step 3: Keeping Your Profile Clean
Once you’ve limited access to your profile and cleaned it up, you need to keep it safe for work. In my last full time job, my boss was “friends” with a number of my co-workers: this calls for considerable caution! If you have parents who are paying your tuition fees, you might want to make sure your Facebook account gives the impression that you’re making the most of their money (rather than partying constantly…)

Some good points to pause for thought are:

  * When setting your status. Do you really want to declare that “John thinks work SUCKS” or that “Jane is thinking of throwing a sickie?” Even something a bit less obvious, like moaning about a difficult client, could rebound badly on you.

  * When uploading photos. Is it really something you want your office colleagues to see? Or your mum?

  * When commenting on other people’s photos, wall, etc. Think about what your words might convey to someone who wasn’t in on the joke or the conversation. Would you look bigoted, illiterate or plain nasty?

It’s also unwise to use Facebook while at work – your actions are time-stamped, so if your boss sees that you’ve been updating your account at 11am when you should’ve been hard at work, s/he’s unlikely to be impressed.

Why Should I Bother?

Thoughtless use of Facebook has led to people losing their jobs in the past (though this is usually due to admission of some serious wrong-doing, such as theft from the company). Even if you don’t get sacked, you might have to face up to consequences.

I’ll leave you with the cautionary tale of Kyle Doyle, a call center worker who pulled a sickie … and bragged about it on Facebook:

  Kyle Doyle, a 21-year-old resolutions expert for telecommunications firm AAPT, bragged about his day off on the social networking site while telling his employer he was away for “medical reasons”.

But he was found out when his boss spotted this Facebook profile update on the day in question, August 21: “Kyle Doyle is not going to work, f*** it I’m still trashed. SICKIE WOO!”

So … head on over to Facebook, and check out the employer-friendliness of your profile. Let us know what you decide to change (or whether you look squeaky-clean already) — but don’t say anything too incriminating in the comments. Remember, bosses read Dumb Little Man too…

[Ali Hale] Written on 2/24/2009 by Ali Hale. Ali runs Alpha Student, a blog packed with academic, financial and practical tips to help students get the most out of their time at university. Photo Credit: facebook

Original Article – http://www.dumblittleman.com/2009/02/make-sure-your-facebook-profile-doesnt.html 

Darn Good Reasons Why You Should Or Should Not Hire A Professional Resume Service

Well, if you live in Michigan, or anywhere else in our country, let’s face it. The economy stinks. People are getting laid off and companies are closing down or outsourcing to other countries practically on a daily basis. So, what good would hiring a professional resume service do for you? EVERYTHING.

It’s understandable to be cautious about hiring a resume writer, especially online where you can’t visually shake a hand or see an office full of certificates, awards, books, or anything else that might prove credibility. Here are a few reasons you SHOULD hire a professional resume writer:

1- PROFESSIONALISM – A professional resume writer knows what he/she is doing. I’ve had clients tell me over and over that having it professionally written got them the job. They had sent in the old one previously and at my urging, resent the new one and got the job!

Make sure whomever you hire is CERTIFIED. If you are unsure whether or not your writer is certified, go to parw.com and type in their name. If they are certified, it will come up as such. A certified writer has gone through extensive training and was tested on it, ensuring their work meets the standards of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. If you are going to spend the money, you want the best.

2- BRANDING/PR – A professional resume writer acts as your personal cheerleader, your brander, your public relations firm. You want someone who knows how to present your qualifications in your best light. They will gather the relevant information (career goals, experience, training, etc.) to create a professional image for you. Something you will be proud to hand out to a hiring manager.

3-GHOSTWRITERS- A professional resume writer knows how to craft content that gets people interested. They create a resume that sounds and feels like YOU. A professional resume writer constantly updates their skills and abilities by keeping up with the latest in career news, and attending webinars, teleseminars and conferences.

4- FORMAT – How bored are you when you see a resume that is bullet after bullet of a position description? Would you call that person back? Neither will the hiring person. Professional resume writers are TRAINED in creating unique documents with appealing fonts, borders and styling that is all YOU.

5- RESOURCE CENTER – Your professional resume writer is a career one-stop-shop! Chances are they have a wide range of resources to offer during your job search. Many are also Certified Career Coaches and remain well informed of career events and other services helpful to their clients. Many times employers will contact resume writers for suitable candidates.

Reasons NOT TO HIRE a professional resume writer:

1- They offer you a resume package for $19.95. Most likely this company is a printing or secretarial service that will rewrite everything you gave them, or dump your info into a pre-written template.

2- They tell you they are certified, but you check on the PARW site and they are not. WRONG. Turn around and go back. They are misrepresenting the truth and God knows what they will do with your money.

3- They offer a 30-day guarantee if you don’t get an interview. I know this is a touchy one, because many of my colleagues do it, but here is my beef with that: with each client, I put my heart and soul into the resume. I am already writing a resume that I think will knock the socks off any reader. So how can I possibly offer a rewrite on that? I already wrote a killer resume and I stand behind it. I would rather sit down with the client and go over what they have been doing for job search because I guarantee that is where the problems lie.

So, to sum it up, it’s important to find a solid and reputable resume service. Check for memberships to professional career organizations with writers that are certified.

A professionally written resume is a good investment and is worth it’s weight in gold, not to mention it will get you noticed immediately.

Erin Kennedy is a Certified Professional & Executive Resume Writer & Career Consultant, and President of Professional Resume Services. She is a Nationally Published Writer & Contributor in 8 best selling career books. Erin has achieved the prestigious T.O.R.I. (Toast of the Resume Industry) Award nomination in 2007 and 2008.

To get more career-related information and resume writing tips, visit Professional Resume Services at http://www.proreswriters.com or check out her blog at: proreswriters.blogspot.

Creative. Powerful. Proven.

Erin is a member of: Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW), Career Directors International (CDI), Association of Online Resume and Career Professionals (AORCP), Career Professionals Group, and Women for Hire. Want to know more about Erin Kennedy, CPRW? Read her LinkedIn profile at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/erinkennedycprw

Original Article – http://www.employmentdigest.net/2009/02/darn-good-reasons-why-you-should-or-should-not-hire-a-professional-resume-service/

How to Get Your Resume Noticed

Tory Johnson Women for Hire photoTory Johnson of Women for Hire is one of the country’s foremost career experts. She recently wrote an article for Yahoo! in which she listed 12 great ways to get your resume noticed by prospective employers:

  1. Find job postings on job boards such as CollegeRecruiter.com and corporate employment web sites and print out the postings of interest to you.
  2. Highlight the keywords and industry language used to describe the requirements and responsibilities.
  3. Compare those words and phrases to the language that appears in your current resume.
  4. Add the most relevant keywords to your resume. Remember that applicant tracking systems — the software employers use to house and search for resumes which have been submitted to them — will search for keyword matches so the more matches, the more likely a recruiter will actually look at your resume.
  5. Once your resume reflects a strong match, submit it online.
  6. If the system requests a cover letter, write a short one that expresses why you’re a strong match and why you’d like to join the organization. Make sure it is customized to the organization and the opportunity to which you’re applying.
  7. Never submit a generic, one-size-fits-all resume or cover letter.
  8. Find an internal referral to make a personal introduction using sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Note that when you apply to jobs on CollegeRecruiter.com we automatically show you the people that you may know within the organization through our partnership with LinkedIn. Also get active in industry associations to establish those connections and re-connect with your friends from school and people you know through your family and “regular” friends.
  9. Follow-up with a call or email to the recruiter responsible for filling the position. Make sure they received your resume but, more importantly, give them your pre-rehearsed 30 second elevator pitch.
  10. Get your resume into the hands of a decisionmaker. If you don’t know who that is, find out by calling the company and asking the operator to put you through. If that doesn’t work, do a Web search on the term “recruiter” or “HR director” along with the name of your employer of choice. The results may reveal the name you’re trying to find. LinkedIn is another resource to find the correct name.
  11. Stay top of mind. Every recruiter is different so be prepared to work with each differently.
  12. If the employer doesn’t tell you when to follow-up then ask, “what’s the best way to keep in touch?”

Original Article – http://www.collegerecruiter.com/weblog/2009/02/how_to_get_your_1.php