Stop Applying For Jobs And Get Tactical And Creative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get More Advice and Read the Complete Original Forbes Article

How to Get Better Online Job Search Results

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

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

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

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

1. Search by keyword

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

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

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

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

2. Combine keywords with Boolean search terms

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

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

The basics:

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

3. Try an advanced search

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

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

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

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

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

Original CB Article

20 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

By Karen Burns

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

Tips 11 – 20

Résumé writing 101: Keywords can make you stand out

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

5. Focus on job titles

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

4. Hone your job descriptions

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

3. Highlight performance

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

2. Showcase your skills

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

1. Use action verbs

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

Original CSM article

HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags to Boost Your Job Search

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Benchmark Yourself

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

Tips 2 – 10