Job Search Networking – Two Essentials and Neither is Your Resume

The hidden job market really isn’t all that hidden.
It’s actually right in front of you, and all you need to do is network your way in. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are to assist. You can accelerate getting into the hidden job market when you are prepared for networking.

So if you’re going to a networking meeting-coffee with someone, an association meeting or conference where you will meet people who can hire you, an informational interview phone call-please have these things in place first.

First create your search strategy.
I’m amazed at how many people ask to talk to me about their job search without having defined who they want to meet, companies they would like to work in, etc.

I was talking to one job seeker and told her that I was really unfamiliar with her job function. But I might know people in her target companies so could perhaps help by introducing her. I asked if she had a list of companies where she wanted to work. What was her strategy?

Her response was that she was hoping she could just network and not have to create a strategy. When you have a strategy defined, you know exactly what to ask for. One way to guarantee they won’t be able to help you is to say, “Well if you hear of anything I might be interested in, let me know.”

Creating a strategy takes some time and perhaps some introspection and honesty. It’s time well spent.

The second essential is your career brand.
This is how you become memorable. By having your brand statement, you help people talk about you! You stand out and capture their attention.

Sadly and surprisingly, most job seekers today cannot tell a recruiter, hiring manager or networking connection what is compelling about them-what makes them the candidate to hire. In today’s economic climate, it may feel as though experience and skills are just commodities. What can put you in the lead, make you memorable to your networking contacts and irresistible to the hiring manager is all built around your brand.

With these two essentials in place, you’re ready to make a big impact with your networking. Enjoy!

Admitting to being the original reluctant networker, Katherine Moody would do almost anything, including hiding out in the ladies room, to avoid a networking event. So she interviewed some networking masters to learn their simple and rarely discussed secrets. Then she went on to get her last 4 jobs by networking her way into the hidden job market with those simple secrets. Katherine shares those insider techniques on her job secrets blog. While there, get her free report: How to create a memorable brand for your networking. You’ll love what it does for your networking!

Own Your Brand: Be The CEO Of Your Job Search

As a job seeker, your brand distinguishes you in whatever way you choose. How you cultivate your profile will directly speak to your next employer.

By Kate Madonna Hindes, Star Tribune Sales and Marketing

It’s often said that to be successful in the career world, those who are job searching need to be able to showcase their experience on multiple plains and platforms to capture the attention of those hiring. To de-mystify the process, think of your skills and accomplishments as a product; a valuable service to a company that is looking to solve a problem. Essentially, online profiles on social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter are a way to personalize your brand and secure your future career. A few rules apply for all:

Your picture speaks volumes. In fact, it probably gives the recruiter or H.R. manager a much deeper glimpse into who you are than one might originally think. Your picture should be professional. If ageism is a concern, consider taking a picture of your networking or business card.

Profanity is out. Remember, you are speaking to your future boss and company. By using cursing, or otherwise questionable phrases, or even linking to questionable pictures or articles, it will make those looking question your integrity.

What happens on social media, stays on social media. There’s one question to ask yourself once your profile is complete: “Are you being authentic?” What you post on Facebook, tweet on Twitter and proclaim on LinkedIn will remain in search engines for months to come. Personal integrity is vital to your brand.

Jason Douglas, online marketing manager for Spyder Trap Online Marketing, has often spoke the phrase, “Be who you are, with a filter.” When questioning what to say and where, consider this easy guide:

LinkedIn is the office: Be professional and courteous in every way, never using slang or adopting lax speech.

Twitter is the water cooler: It’s the perfect place to discuss your next opportunity, last night’s game, challenges and display what you bring to a potential employer.

Facebook is the bar: It’s a much needed rest from the suit and tie, however, profiles should be privatized except for your name and network.

Douglas sums it all up perfectly, “People care about what you achieved, but want to know how you did it. The ability to answer the what, how and why is essential.” With authenticity and the correct marketing, you can shorten the job search period and heighten the passion behind a career transition.

Original Article

5 Ways to Optimize Your Resume For Database Search

1.) The first thing you should not overlook when submitting your resume is to include a keyword summary. This lets you add keywords that may be used by the searcher even if those same words are not found specifically in your resume. Be sure to separate each keyword with a comma.

2.) Just providing a keyword summary is not enough. Having a keyword loaded “Qualification Summary” at the beginning of your resume creates a visually stunning document in addition to making your resume database search friendly.

3.) Use your industry’s most preferable search terms. Get keyword hints from the job itself. You will find that each employer may use certain keywords to explain the position that they are hiring for in the job description. Use those words to your advantage when compiling keywords for your resume.

4.) Fill your resume with top keyword titles. These titles should also expose valuable keywords to search engines.

5.) Lastly, spell out exactly what you are looking for from your future employer. If you plan on working in Colorado, type the entire word: Colorado. Don’t use abbreviations in your resume.

If you aren’t getting a call to interview with a recruiter or hiring manager, use these basic tips to optimize your resume for database searches.

By Cass Fisher. Remember to specifically gear your resume towards the features of your next position. See Unemployment Effect 2010 for more ways to find out what hiring managers are really looking for.

Original Article

Tuning Your Resume to the Right Keywords

At large companies, recruiters rely on a computer program called an applicant tracking system that stores and filters resumes to find the best candidates for a job. To make the match, ATS software relies on keywords – words and phrases that tell the program a candidate is a good match for a specific job description. Just as search engines like Google use keywords to find the right Web pages, ATS software uses keywords to find the right resumes.

How Employers Use Keywords

While they can’t guess the exact keywords recruiters are using, resume writers try to find the likeliest possibilities for your industry and function.

Where do you find the right keywords to include in your resume? Professional resume writers recommend you start with the job posting, which will contain a description of duties and qualifications. The ATS will try to match as many of the words in the job posting to the words on your resume. The more matches, the better the fit and the better the chances you will get an interview.

Repeated words, section headings and specific terms comprise good candidates for keyword selection. Also look at similar job postings as a cross-reference to find the most likely candidates for keywords. Recruiters and headhunters can often guide you. Online and print publications also include guides for keyword research.

Other sources of keyword research:

1. Go to Web sites that represent companies and associations related to the candidate’s target industry in search of other buzzwords.

2. Search LinkedIn profiles of users who have similar jobs to see what keywords they’re using.

3. Go to association Web sites to see what keywords other industry professionals have used.

While you’re researching keywords, keep a master list to make sure the important words are represented in your resume when you apply for specific jobs.

The specific words employers seek relate to the skills and experiences that demonstrate your experience with the skills necessary to do the job. Both hard and soft skills will fall in this category. Industry- and job-specific skills are almost always included in keyword lists. Highly technical fields can also include specific jargon or terms that demonstrate subject expertise. Job titles, certifications, types of degrees, college names and company names also demonstrate an applicant’s qualifications. Awards and professional organizations can also be considered strong keywords.

Ultimately, job hunters should ask themselves, “What keywords would I use if I were writing this job description?”

Matthew Rothenberg is editor-in-chief of, the premier Web site for online job listings for $100K+ jobs, resume writing tips and resume advice.

Getting Your First Teaching Job: The Job Search

So, you’re about to graduate from college. Where do you start looking for a job? Newly-elected MENC Collegiate National Chair-Elect, Diana Hollinger, has some tips for you.

Tips When Job Searching

  • Start early, even before you finish school
  • Observe deadlines
  • Define what you want and what you offer
  • Be flexible, expect a less than perfect job, and set realistic salary expectations
  • Update resume/portfolio, manage your letters of recommendation and contact information, and maintain your files
  • Use letters of inquiry, and follow up on those inquiries
  • Network constantly, create a website, and think outside the box
  • Make a good impression early and with everyone
  • Be willing to take on extra duties
  • Focus your search—create a list of possibilities
  • Target your letter/resume to the job listing
  • Get experience, substitute teach in your desired districts, and look in urban and rural areas where there are shortages

Where to Start


  • College ensemble conductors
  • Music education professors
  • Music store staff
  • Other music teachers, former teachers, master teachers
  • Other students, recent graduates, friends
  • Administrators from student teaching
  • Relatives, friends, and colleagues in other cities
  • Studio teachers
  • Substitute teach
  • Conferences – MENC National and State, local workshops, etc.
  • LinkedIn/Social networks

Out of State Job Considerations

  • Must have state certification
  • Each state has different standards
  • Some states have “reciprocal licensure”
  • You may need to take exams or coursework to be re-certified in a different state

These ideas and tips were used in the “Job Search and Interview Strategies” session given by Diana Hollinger and Jill Sullivan during the 2010 Biennial Music Educators National Conference, March 26, 2010, in Anaheim, CA.

Watch out for job-search time traps

Dear Liz,

I’ve been job-hunting since November, and I keep getting sidetracked. At first, it was wonderful to have so much free time, but now I feel like I have no free time at all. I can barely make time to throw a couple of resumes into the job sites every week. Any advice?

Thanks, Shel

Dear Shel,

It is a gift to get some time for yourself after years without any. Who can blame you for smelling the roses, enjoying nature and sampling some coffee shops? No doubt you needed recovery time, especially if you underwent a painful departure from your last job. It’s great that you got to take a breather.

Now, it’s time to spring into action.

You’ll need a job-search schedule, and a commitment to stick to it. Five hours a day of active job-hunting is a great target. And please, no more tossing resumes into the void. Every resume you send must be targeted to the job, and accompanied by a pithy Pain Letter that speaks to the need behind the job ad. Avoid the Black Hole where resumes go to languish, Shel. When you lob a resume into the abyss, you’ve wasted your time. Put in the extra 20 minutes it’ll take to make every job-related outreach count.

Here are the most dangerous job-search time traps I’ve encountered. If any of these are gumming up your job-search engine, take action.


It is wonderful to volunteer for organizations we believe in; moderation is the key. If you’ve overbooked yourself and are stressing out about cupcakes, silent auction donations, or some other volunteering obligation, you’re taking the focus off your job search. Cut back.

Home Organization

There is nothing like a garage so clean you could eat off the floor. (So they tell me.) That’s a much lower priority than getting a new job. Don’t let your house, your spice cabinet, or your garden rule your schedule. Your job search is Job One. You can clean the garage once you’ve signed the offer letter.

Job Search Groups

Job search support groups are wonderful. But when you’re spending so much time in support groups that you’re no longer job-hunting, the tail is wagging the dog. The best job-search support groups are the ones where you hold one another accountable for taking job-hunt steps — not commiserating about the state of the job market.

Having Fun

I’ve seen you on your bicycle whizzing down Baseline Road at 40 mph, and you look cool, believe me. But riding another 50 miles today won’t help you get a job. Researching employers, making overtures, meeting friends one-on-one to network and applying for posted jobs (not through the Black Hole, but directly) will get you a job. After your five hours of assiduous job-search activity, go ride your bike, or go hiking, or have fun another way. You deserve it.


You’ve probably heard that unemployed folks sleep more than other people. If you’re sleeping the day away, your job search is not moving forward. Set your alarm like you used to do when you were working — because you’re still working. Your job right now is to find a great job to fund all those bike rides.

Liz Ryan is the CEO of Ask Liz Ryan, a Boulder human-resources and career-development consulting firm. She can be reached at Her “Job Search Over Fifty” workshops begin May 6. For more info, visit

How to pay for vocational training

How to pay for vocational training

By Christina Couch •

  • Learn about Job Corps and apprenticeship programs in technical fields.
  • Find specialized awards for vocational and technical school students.
  • Pay your tuition through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program.

With low tuition price tags, nonexistent room and board costs and significantly reduced student fees, vocational training schools and technical colleges are cheaper than four-year institutions, but may be harder to pay for. Because vocational students have lower costs, they also have reduced fiscal need and therefore qualify for fewer and lower federal grants than four-year students, say the experts.

Some vocational students won’t qualify for need-based federal aid like the Pell Grant, but merit-based awards, dislocated worker assistance and other programs are available. Here are some waysto pay for vocational, technical and trade schools.

The government is bigger than FAFSA

Students should start the search for vocational aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid at, says Anne Falk, financial aid assistant for the South Hills School of Business & Technology in State College, Pa. Then they should check out other federally funded options.

“Vocational students are still eligible for the same federal grants and loans as four-year students, but they’re also eligible for funds through the Trade Adjustment Assistance program,” she says. “A lot of students have a large portion of their tuition at vocational schools paid for through those programs.”

Currently, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program provides dislocated workers who have lost their jobs to overseas competition up to 104 weeks of paid occupational training they can use to attend technical colleges as well as four-year institutions. As of this past January, the Department of Labor created two additional job training grants totaling $250 million to help dislocated and young workers transition into such “green” occupations as hybrid auto technicians, weatherization specialists, wind and energy auditors and solar panel installers. Workers who aren’t transitioning into a green field will be eligible for financial aid and low-cost retraining, too, says Veronica Meury, executive director and vice-president of Universal Technical Institute Foundation, the Phoenix-based funding arm of Universal Technical Institute vocational school.

“Through the Workforce Investment Act, there are vocational programs for disadvantaged youth, vets through the Veteran’s Administration and programs for the military and National Guard,” she says. “Representatives from the Native American community could qualify for extra money and free courses as well.”

To maximize their federal funding, future technical school students should first fill out the FAFSA form, then head to their local One-Stop Career Center for information on retraining opportunities. Making contact with your state department of labor can be beneficial as well. Certain states like Michigan have separate funds to train workers to fill high-demand occupations in the area.

Job Corps and apprenticeship programs

Younger workers who need more than just coursework may be able to find a helping hand through Job Corps or apprenticeship gigs, says Michael Thurmond, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Labor in Atlanta.

“The benefit there is that (apprenticeship) programs combine vocational training with on-the-job experience,” says Thurmond. “With an apprenticeship, the employer usually pays the student’s tuition and gives them a paid job so the student isn’t going into debt.”

The federal Office of Apprenticeships currently lists registered apprenticeships in more than 1,000 career fields, but Thurmond adds that students can also find additional opportunities through local labor unions.

Job Corps offers another alternative to paying your own vocational tuition. Available for low-income youth ages 16 through 24, Job Corps offers free on-the-job training in more than 100 technical areas ranging from heath care to manufacturing, as well as free courses at local community and vocational schools in select fields. Job Corps programs are free, last anywhere from eight months to two years and provide students with no-cost housing, health care, a living allowance, career counseling and, at some centers, child care. Information on programs and eligibility requirements is available at

Specialized scholarships and loans

“Most students don’t realize that there are scholarships for vocational schools that four-year students aren’t eligible for,” says Meury. “Organizations like the Automotive Hall of Fame and The Home Depot offer strictly vocational scholarships.”

Meury advises students to start the hunt for free tuition by checking out scholarship search sites like, contacting their vocational school to find out about institutional funds and investigating aid opportunities through large and small companies in their field. Students can also win scholarships based on how well they perform on certain career assessment tests including the VICA SkillsUSA test and through vocational competitions in their field offered through companies such as Ford and AAA.

If students can’t land scholarships, take out federal loans or afford school themselves, their options may be limited, says Falk.

“In the past few years, we’ve seen more private lenders back out of lending for students attending technical and two-year institutions,” she says.

While several major private lenders have stopped creating small loans for shorter degree and certificate programs, other organizations such as Sallie Mae still offer loans specifically for accredited technical, trade and vocational schools. Check out student loan rates at

“The money is out there for trade students, they just have to do their research and apply,” says Meury.