Companies make quick judgments on an applicant’s fit

by Victoria Pelham

Job interviews are critical to snaring that coveted job. But you won’t have much time to make that winning first impression, career experts say.

That’s because companies know within a few minutes of an interview if the job candidate will fit into the company’s culture, says Jessica Pierce, founding partner and executive director of Career Connectors in Gilbert. Those looking to stand out during the interview process should really know what they will bring to the company before being interviewed, she says.

“The interview is almost a dress rehearsal. (What) interviewers look for is somebody that will make an immediate impact for them and will make a difference for them,” Pierce says.

Some tips to help you shine during the interview:

– Fully answer the question.
This means providing real-life examples from past work experience, rather than non-specific or obtuse responses, if you want to stand out from the pack.
“It’s having an answer to their major concerns, proving to them how you’ve already done it so you can solve their problems right away,” Pierce says.

– Be conversational.
Interviewers don’t want conversations to be one-sided. So be brief and succinct in your responses, but also ask questions and truly engage in the dialogue. A good rule of thumb is to ask three pertinent questions that show you’ve already researched the company.

– Bring an interview portfolio.
Create and leave an interview portfolio where you can tangibly demonstrate your past accomplishments, which will show the interviewer you were a valued and productive employee. And remember, the portfolio must be tailored toward the specific company, Pierce says.

– Fully research the company.
The most common pitfall for interviewees is not knowing enough about the company, Pierce says. For example, asking specific questions about a company’s past projects, rather than just asking general questions, shows initiative – that you are well-prepared and really want to work for that employer.

Eight Things College Graduates Can Do To Land A Dream Job

–Douglass McIyntre, Jonathan Berr

1. Don’t make salary the determining factor. 
A person who wants to be in the PR business and sets a minimum starting salary of $45,000 may never get a job. And, being unemployed doesn’t pay very well. A $35,000 job at a PR firm of in the PR department of a corporation could be available. Most young people believe that if they start at a low salary, they will never make much more money.  That’s not true.  Salary advancement has as much to do with talent as it does with preset pay scales. The best people, over time, will always be paid well.

2. Learn a Foreign Language.  
Knowing a second or even third language can help land a job as a translator, a field where good-paying jobs go begging.  For instance, Arabic translators with security clearances can command starting salaries of $125,000, Kevin Hendzel of the American Translators Association.  Translators with specialized technical knowledge in sciences or computers can earn big bucks too.  “No one knows these jobs are out there,” he says.   The picture is less certain for people wanting to work in the private sector.   Though Fortune 500 companies are expanding rapidly overseas, many prefer to hire local people for these jobs, according to Edwin Koc, NACE’s director of research.  Having these skills, however, certainly doesn’t hurt.

3. Work for the Peace Corps.This is only one example of dozens of government programs that send people into areas of the country or the world to provide local help. People who work for organization like the Peace Corps can often show a strong work ethic. Jobs in organizations like the Peace Corps can teach a range of skills from construction to office administration–graduate school without the costs.  Among the former volunteers who have parlayed their Peace Corps experience into career success are MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX).

4. Understand Social Media.
A graduate can start a blog for free on a blog platform like Google Blogger. It is hard to get a thesis published, at least in a journal that matters. It is not hard to put a thesis online and expand on what else the author knows about the subjects related to a career goal. A blog has to be well-written, and well–researched or it can hurt someone’s job prospects. Few things impress a potential employer as much as expertise demonstrated online, particularly if the blog has any following.  It helps to understand Twitter too. Companies are using the site to directly communicate with students.   One recent University of Kentucky graduate landed a job at a Fortune 100 companies because he followed it on  the Twitter, says Lenroy Jones,  Associate Director for Employer Relations at University of Kentucky.

What Recruiters Look for in a Resume

One of the main questions we receive is what exactly recruiters and hiring managers look for in a resume. The goal of reviewing a resume is to determine who should be called for a phone screen or interview, so recruiters evaluate candidates to find out who closely matches the requirements for a role based on the content of their resume.

Work experience – A recruiter is going to look to see if you have enough and the right kind of experience that is required for the role. If a job requires 3 years of product management, and you have only a year of product management or 3 years of project management, chances are your resume will be passed over.

Technology/software/special skills – If a job requires certain technology, software or any special skills, a recruiter is going to look for those requirements on your resume. So don’t forget to include that you “speak” PHP or Python (and we’re not talking about Parseltongue), were a Salesforce administrator in your previous job, or have specialized knowledge in pediatrics.

Education – A recruiter is also going to look to see if you have the required education or certification required for the role. All of your education and certifications can be listed in the Education section of your resume.

Dates of employment – Looking at your dates of employment shows a recruiter two things: 1. That you have the years of experience required for the role and 2. Whether you commit to a company for an extended time or if you’re a job hopper, as well as if you have any noticeable employment gaps. Though, multiple jobs in a short period of time or a long break can be explained in the cover letter or early in the interview process.

10 Creative Social Media Resumes To Learn From

by Brian Anthony Hernandez

Like flowers in early spring, new social media job openings are sprouting across industries as companies of all sizes look to create or expand their social squads.

The undeniable success and innovation of high-profile social media campaigns — from such brands as Old Spice, Google Chrome and Starbucks — have inspired this ongoing push for companies to hire people with social media skills.

If you’re seeking a gig as a community manager, public relations representative, marketing person or any other social media position, check out these resumes for inspiration on how to stand out from the crowd. Also, let us know in the comments about any creative tactics you use to promote yourself and your skills.

See all 10 of the Creative Resumes

Top 25 LinkedIn Groups ALL Job Seekers MUST Join

One feature you job seekers may not know about or have fully explored is LinkedIn Groups. LinkedIn Groups are free to join, and you can choose to join up to 50 groups from a list of thousands of user-created groups for literally just about anything. Not only do these groups provide you access to connect with and contact fellow group members who could become future partners, employees, investors, customers etc., but the groups’ newly updated discussion board feature can provide more networking opportunities, answers to your questions and insightful advice, tips and support. You can also join the groups’ subgroups and contribute answers, comments and your own expertise to the groups’ discussion boards to establish your own online personal brand on LinkedIn.

Last year, I published a list of the top 20 LinkedIn groups for job seekers which became a very popular resource on Career Rocketeer. It’s been over a year since the list originally went out and some of the groups have changed and new groups have emerged. Therefore, I have updated the list and am pleased to present the Top 25 LinkedIn Groups ALL Job Seekers MUST Join to help you build your brands and launch your careers:

  • JobAngels – Non-profit job search network of professionals helping other professionals find job advice and opportunities.
  • Executive Suite – Community of over 100,000 US-based executive-level and recruiter members.
  • Star:Jobs Professional Career Center – Group working in tandem with Linked:HR, the largest Recruiters’ Group on LinkedIn, to help top candidates find jobs quickly and efficiently.
  • Career Rocketeer – Career Launch Network – Fastest-growing professional network for personal branding, career search and career management, bringing job seekers and employers, recruiters and career experts together for mutual success.
  • The Talent Buzz – Group for job seekers, recruiters and HR professionals interested in expanding their professional networks.
  • Helping Friends Career Network (LI2HF) – Business and career network where entrepreneurs, hiring managers, recruiters, and talented professionals worldwide can make meaningful win-win connections.
  • JobsDirectUSA – Official job search group on LinkedIn for
  • Career Change Central – Group linking job changers and professionals in career transition with recruiters, hiring managers and career coaches.
  • CareerLink Network – Community providing job seekers spiritual, physical, social, mental, economic and personal growth to meet their ever-evolving needs
  • Jobs Alert – Job search group for middle and senior-level managers worldwide. 
  • Groups 15 – 25 and Complete Original Article
  • Why College Students Should Join LinkedIn

    By Miriam Salpeter

    LinkedIn is the best designated professional network and the first social network job seekers should consider using to find opportunities. Yet job seekers without much workforce experience may wonder whether LinkedIn is useful for them. If you don’t already know a lot of people who are using LinkedIn, it is easy to underestimate its potential value.

    Less experienced job seekers don’t flock to LinkedIn in the same numbers as other networks, such as Facebook, but joining early, learning how LinkedIn works, and connecting with professional contacts throughout your college career will help you later. You may have a work-study or part-time job, enjoy a good relationship with your supervisor, but not want to be friends on Facebook. What better way to connect and stay in touch than LinkedIn?

    Making a concerted effort to grow your online network will help support your job hunting efforts today and in the future. In a transient environment, when people do not always stay in one job very long, connecting via LinkedIn helps you keep track of contacts who might serve as references or refer you to opportunities later.

    LinkedIn says approximately 200,000 college students join every month, encouraging companies to use the site to recruit internship and entry-level positions. You don’t want to miss those opportunities by not having a profile.

    LinkedIn even has a student portal. The LinkedIn blog explains the benefits of the portal:
    • Recommends jobs based on your education and interests. You’ll be able to get email alerts and notifications on your LinkedIn home page.
    • Helps LinkedIn’s network help you. Adding connections via LinkedIn is probably a lot easier than you thought. You can even import your email lists and see who is available on LinkedIn. The company suggests looking first at alumni (who may be hiring), friends, and family members. If you don’t know a lot of people using LinkedIn, tell your friends to join and then connect with them. You may be surprised by how quickly your network can grow.
    • Helps you research companies via LinkedIn’s company pages. Find out what they do, types of people they hire, and what people say about them.

    More advice and complete USNews article