How to Really Make the Most of Connections in a Job Search

By Miriam Salpeter

With summer upon us, some of you job-seekers may think about taking a break from your search. Instead, you might want to ramp up your efforts and consider the new season an opportunity to relaunch any unfinished career plans.

One inevitable aspect of the search? Interacting and engaging with connections—extending your network to tap into the hidden job market. Sudy Bharadwaj is the co-founder and chief executive officer of JackalopeJobs.com, which allows you to log in with your favorite social network and learn which of your connections work in companies that interest you. He has seen many job-seekers benefit from carefully accessing their extended network.

Here are Bharadwaj’s nine suggestions for successfully networking your way to a job:

1. Connect with your network before you apply for positions. Even if you identify jobs via boards or postings, touch base with connections before applying directly. Many organizations prioritize applicants referred by employees. Some companies even give bonuses to employees who suggest candidates who are hired, so some networking contacts may have a financial incentive to pass along your information. Don’t be shy about reaching out and asking for a hand.

2. Rotate your thinking. Bharadwaj suggests: “Instead of finding jobs and focusing on connections in those companies, consider targeting your connections first and investigating who among them may be able to provide a link to a potential opportunity.”

To be successful, it’s important to know what you want and to be able to articulate how you can help an organization solve its problems. Once you know what you offer and how it relates to companies where you want to work, it will be much easier to leverage your network of contacts who can help you land jobs successfully.

3. Encourage your network by making it easy for them to help you. Bharadwaj reminds job-seekers: “Your connections are busy—aren’t we all? It’s up to the job-seeker to be specific when asking for a connection. Forward the job description and information about your background and skills. Tell the contact exactly how he or she can help you.”

4. Be concise and offer easy access to your information. It’s likely your contacts will access your information or email inquiry via their smart phones. Include all key points in the body of your email, such as links to online social resumes or your LinkedIn profile, instead of asking them to download and view your resume.

5. Go wide. Spread out your inquiries; try not to ask one person for too many things. Most people will want to help, but if it seems you are knocking on their door every week, the welcome will wear out quickly.

Tips 6 – 9 and complete US News article

How to Make Recruiters Work for You

By Jak Phillips

A call from a recruiter is more likely to be for their gain than yours. Still, that call could be the springboard for your next jump up the career ladder.

With the economy still sputtering and the unemployed outnumbering job vacancies by six to one, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recruiters and headhunters are becoming an increasingly vital contact. Last year they helped nearly 13 million U.S. workers find temporary, contract or permanent jobs, and more than 90% of U.S. companies now use staffing firms to fill vacancies, according to the American Staffing Association.

As you might expect, technology, health care and engineering are some of the major industries that are looking to hire at the moment, while ironically enough, the recruitment industry itself is one of the biggest boomers. (The U.S. Department of Labor expecting it to grow more than 50% by 2014.) While you might not expect it, you could soon get a call from one these smooth-talkers, so here are TIME Moneyland’s top tips for how to make recruiters work for you.

1. Set The Tone
It’s important to establish a dynamic from the outset and ensure your relationship starts on a comfortable footing. For Alison Doyle, job search expert for About.com, the first call is all about laying down cards on the table at the earliest point. “It’s important to set the tone at the very beginning of your relationship,” she says. “Find out what information the recruiter needs from you and if they have specific openings they are interested in talking to you about.” She also recommends determining how you will stay in contact with the recruiter, and how often.

Meanwhile, Michael T. Robinson, president and founder CareerPlanner.com, says he thinks you should already have a sales pitch in your head, pinpointing what it is you do and how you’d like to progress. “You need to give them your 7-second elevator pitch,” he says. “Make it quick, memorable and practice it until it rolls off your tongue.”

2. Establish Their Credentials
Having hopefully established an understanding, it’s important to make sure this is actually someone worth talking to. Oodles of charm is one thing, but if the recruiter doesn’t have a good rapport with the hiring manager, they’re unlikely to get you an interview. “When I used headhunters to find talent for me, we would talk several times per week – thus they knew a lot about me and what I was looking for,” says Robinson. “If the person calling you does not know much about the hiring manager, they are probably not that good.”

It can also be worth checking up on a recruiter’s history. As well as asking the recruiter about their specialties and previous dealings with their client, Doyle recommends looking at their LinkedIn profile to read the feedback from people they’ve placed.

3. Build a Good Relationship
At the end of the day, this is abusiness transaction. But as we all know, it never hurts to build a rapport with the person you’re dealing with. As Charlotte Weeks, the career guru behind weekscareerservices.com points out, being on friendly terms with the recruiter could give you the edge over equally qualified candidates. “Treat them like a networking contact and stay on their radar the way you would with anyone else,” she says. And at the same time, it’s a two way-street. “Call or email once in a while to see if anything is coming down the pipeline,” she adds. “They’ll especially appreciate you if you’re ever contacted about a position that doesn’t seem to be a fit and you refer them to someone who might be.”

12 Ways to Optimize Your Resume for Applicant Tracking Systems

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Mona Abdel-Halim is the co-founder of Resunate.com, a job application tool that tailors and optimizes your resume for a specific job. You can find Mona and Resunate on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


You filled out the job application, updated your resume and clicked “Submit.” But as the days or weeks pass, you never receive a phone call or email from the employer. What happened?

Unbeknownst to many job seekers, a whopping 72% of resumes are never seen by human eyes. Why? Well, employers large and small now use applicant tracking software to parse the information from your resume and map it into a database called an ATS (applicant tracking system). From this information, the system will assign you a score based on how well you match the job the employer is trying to fill, and then rank and sort all candidates. Naturally, the potential employees with the highest scores move on, while others are left in the dust.

Wondering how you can optimize your resume and rank highly in the employer’s ATS? Here are several tricks to improving your resume’s score.

1. Use Language from the Job Description: Look through the job listing to determine the skills required. Identify industry terms, buzzwords and jargon the hiring manager uses most frequently in the description and incorporate these words into your resume when possible and applicable — the ATS is looking for these keywords.

2. Get Rid of Images and Graphics: Remember, the ATS is breaking down the information you’re providing and sorting it into different “buckets.” It will not be able to read or understand an image.

3. Choose Fonts Carefully: Stick with standard web-safe fonts like Arial, Georgia, Impact, Courier, Lucinda, Tahoma or Trebuchet.

4. Don’t Hide Keywords: Think adding in a bunch of keywords in white text is the best way to rank highly? Think again.

5. Get Rid of Irrelevant Information: Only include past positions and skills that are relevant to the job at hand. Irrelevant positions just end up as filler — a waste of valuable real estate on your resume.

6. Don’t Use Any Special Characters: Standard bullets are fine, but other characters (such as arrows) can cause issues that could prevent the ATS from correctly parsing your information.

Tips 7 – 12 and complete article

10 Questions to Ask a Recruiter (And 1 to Avoid)

By Andrea Sobel

Are you so flattered when a recruiter rings you that you forget to ask them critical questions? Take this quiz to see if you’re covering your bases.

Every once in awhile, the phone rings, and it’s a recruiter on the other end. While you might not be interested in what he is offering, you have to admit that it’s flattering to get the call. (“Someone thinks I might be right for a job!”)
Once you get past the initial compliment, though, you have to get down to the serious business of determining if you are interested. The recruiter wants to know about you, but before you turn over your resume, there are things you should know about him.
Here are 10 questions to ask a recruiter and one question to avoid. See if you can figure out which is which. (Answer at bottom.)

1. “What are the three main qualifications the recruiter’s client (the employer) is looking for?
The recruiter probably has a one-page laundry list of what the perfect person looks like. The truth is, however, the client/employer most likely has only a few ( three to four) key requirements that are the deal-breakers. Get those on the table first to see if you’re even in the ball park. You probably don’t need all the requirements. If you don’t have the basics, you might as well say thanks and cut the conversation short. Especially in a tough economy, managers are not generally willing to massage the basic requirements because they believe they will find someone who has them. Here’s when you tell the recruiter to call you if she finds another job that matches your skills and desires.

2. “What’s the job description?”
Hearing what the client/employer expects you to do is important. While the job may entail more money or a higher title, you have to show up and do that job every day. Is it something you want to do? Will it stretch your skill set? Will it represent more of the same at a moment in your career when you’re ready to do more? (Don’t give up yet. This might be a company with rapid promotions, and a lateral job is just what you need to get you leverage to climb the ladder. See #6.)

3. “Are you working with this employer exclusively?”
Here’s where you find out what has gone into the search so far and maybe what your chances are. If the recruiter has the job exclusively or is sharing it with only one other recruiter, you have a better chance to get your resume reviewed by the hiring manager. If it’s out to a zillion agents, your chances just dropped, but it doesn’t make it impossible. It just requires you to stay in closer touch with the recruiter to find out where things stand. The process will probably go more slowly because the employer will be wading through more resumes. Make sure your recruiter believes in you for the position and is doing everything she can to get you noticed. Also, make sure the resume you present really highlights the experience the employer is looking for. Here’s where you need to really stand out from the pack.

4. “How long has the job been open?”
This is bit like Goldilocks: The right answer is not too long and not too short. If you are the first candidate interviewed and you are really great, the employer may conclude the search will be easy and want to see more for comparison. That’s not to say everyone else won’t pale by comparison, but it is a waiting game for you.

5. “Why has the job been open a long time?”
If the recruiter says the job has been open a long time (and especially if he then sighs ), you need to get him to get more info. It would make lots of sense if the recruiter would go back to the client/employer and find out what has been wrong with the people they’ve interviewed. When you hear the answer, you can begin to determine if you’ll be another in a series of misses or a better fit than the candidates who have come before.

Tips 6 – 10 and Complete Ladders article

Top 4 Tips on How to Prepare for a Job Interview

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It is perfectly normal to be a little anxious when you’re preparing for a job interview.
In fact, many people rank interviewing for a new job with other nerve-racking activities like public speaking and going to the dentist. There’s a lot riding on your interview performance, so it’s understandable to feel this way.
However, there are some simple steps you can take to better prepare for a job interview.

1. Do Your Homework

Most companies have an online presence, so it should be relatively easy for you to learn about the company. You should also familiarize yourself with the position for which you are interviewing. If possible, print out a copy of the position description and take it with you to the interview. Be sure to bring a few extra copies of your resume in case an interviewer needs a hard copy during the interview.

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Interviewing is a learned skill and the best candidates practice, practice and practice some more to prepare for a job interview.

For college candidates, there may be opportunities through career services to participate in mock interviews. A mock interview is usually conducted by an employer, a career services professional or a professor. Essentially, you will be interviewing for a pretend job. Mock interviews are helpful because they can relieve you of nervousness and the interviewers usually are able to provide some feedback on your interview skills.

For more seasoned candidates, opportunities to prepare for a job interview may also exist with local workforce services offices and career coaches. Another option is to ask a friend or family member to “role play” an interview with you. If you have access to a webcam or video camera, try recording your “performance” and reviewing the areas where you need improvement.

Tips 3 – 4 and complete Careerealism article 

7 Grown-Up Lessons From Your Favorite Disney Movies

By Adam Britten

We all know Walt Disney Animation Studios has produced some treasured stories about self-discovery, love and growing up. Ariel becoming human and Cinderella going from rags to riches are relatable stories, even if they’re whimsical.
But as someone in the midst of a job hunt, I’ve discovered that many of my favorite Disney classics have lessons that can be applied in the professional world, too.
Here are a few of my favorite career lessons inspired by Disney movies:

1. Speak up — from A Bug’s Life

Flik was often ignored by the rest of the ants in his community. They thought he was unfocused and disruptive, when in reality he was the most innovative.
If you have an idea that you know is gold, don’t shy away during meetings. Raise your hand, get noticed, and put your idea out there. Every community of ants needs a Flik, and every company needs a problem solver.

2. Be curious — from Alice in Wonderland

Alice might have dozed off while her sister was trying to help her study, but Wonderland was too intriguing to ignore. Don’t feel the need to stay trapped where you are, doing what you’re doing. If you’ve always wondered what it might be like to quit your job and become a freelance photographer, there’s only one way you’ll get to experience what that feels like!

3. Be true to your heart — from Mulan

Always go with your gut. While I don’t recommend cross-dressing for work like Mulan had to, if there’s a warrior inside of you, don’t be afraid to let him or her out.
All along the journey, make sure you are doing what you think is right. This has an equal meaning for workplace ethics, too. Bring honor to your family (and company) and stand up for what you believe in.

4. Train hard — from Hercules

Sure, now Hercules is a hero with more muscles than the juice-head at your local gym. But remember the beginning of the movie when he was a scrawny little boy? He had to put in a lot of time and work to get from A to B.
You might not have a satyr voiced by Danny DeVito giving you motivational quips the whole way, but practice makes perfect. (Even athletic practice can make you a more valuable employee.)

Lessons 5 – 7 and complete BrazenCareerist article