The 10 Scariest Job Seeker Mistakes [Infographic]

by careerleaf

Halloween is right around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you should let your job search turn you into a clumsy zombie. Though these tips below may not help you survive a zombie invasion, they are good survival skills you can use to get through your job search without losing your brains.

Plenty of job seekers don’t realize that even seemingly small mistakes can have a huge impact on their success. In horror movies, the first person to realize there are killers on the loose is usually the one who lives, and staying ahead of other job seekers can help you, too. Lack of research, neglecting to follow-up, grammatical errors in emails, or having an unenthusiastic attitude – will all leave you struggling to keep up in the scary world of unemployment.

Your job search doesn’t have to be scary – proper preparation can help you to avoid making common mistakes. This infographic from Careerleaf, an all-in-one job search platform that cuts the time to apply in half, outlines the 10 scariest job seeker mistakes – and how to avoid them.

Mistakes 5-10 and Complete youtern article

Stand Out in Your Interview

by Amy Gallo

You’ve just landed a job interview for a position you really want. Congratulations. Now, you know you only get one chance to impress, but how exactly do you do that? Given all of the conflicting advice out there and the changing rules of getting a job, it’s no wonder that job seekers are confused about how to best prepare for and perform in an interview.

What the Experts Say
One common piece of advice is to “take charge” of the interview. John Lees, a career strategist and author of The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want and Job Interviews: Top Answers to Tough Questions, says this advice is misleading: “The reality is that the interviewer is in control. Your job is to be as helpful as you can.” Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder International and the author of Great People Decisions, agrees: “You need to help interviewers do the right thing since most of them don’t follow best practices.” According to Fernández-Aráoz, who has interviewed more than 20,000 candidates in his 26 years as a search consultant, most interviewers fall prey to unconscious biases and focus too heavily on experience rather than competence. It’s your responsibility to make sure this doesn’t happen. Here’s how.

Prepare, prepare, prepare
Most people know they need to show up to the interview having done their homework, but both Fernández-Aráoz and Lees agree that people rarely prepare enough. “You can never invest enough in terms of preparation. You should find out as much as possible about the company, how it’s organized, its culture, the relevant industry trends, and some information about the interviewer,” says Fernández-Aráoz. He also advises researching the specific job challenges. This will allow you to demonstrate you have what it takes to fill the role.

Formulate a strategy
Before you enter the room, decide what three or four messages you want to convey to the interviewer. These should “show the connection between what you have achieved and what is really needed to succeed in the specific job and context,” says Fernández-Aráoz. Lees says the best way to do this is to draft narratives ahead of time. “People buy into stories far more than they do evidence or data,” he says. Your stories should be concise and interesting. Make sure they have a good opening line, such as, “I’m going to tell you about a time that I rescued the organization.” Then, learn them like the back of your hand. Know how they begin and end so you can relay them without stumbling or sounding like a robot. Whenever possible, use one of your stories to answer an interview question.

Emphasize your potential
“No candidate will ever be perfect, and you will be no exception,” says Fernández-Aráoz. Instead of harping on where your resume might fall short — or letting the interviewer do the same — focus on your potential. This is often a far better indicator of future job performance. “If your past achievements are not directly related to the job, but you’ve demonstrated a great ability to learn and adapt to new situations, you should very clearly articulate that,” says Fernández-Aráoz. For example, if you’re interviewing for an international role but have no global experience, you might explain how your ability to influence others in a cross-functional role, such as between production and sales, proves your ability to collaborate with different types of people from different cultures.

Ace the first 30 seconds – More Tips and Complete Harvard Business Review Article

The Best Ways to Contact Recruiters on Social Media

After having written a recent post for The Undercover Recruiter (How NOT to Contact Recruiters on LinkedIn), I received a lot of requests for advice on how jobseekers SHOULD reach out to recruiters. It reminded me of a recent InMail message in my LinkedIn inbox and I thought I would share my response since it details some of the many ways that jobseekers can (and should!) approach recruiters on LinkedIn as well as other forms of social media.

In my opinion, the following advice is the MOST important step that a jobseeker can make because it turns a reactive process (applying online and waiting / hoping to hear back) into a proactive one (reaching out to recruiters / hiring managers online and starting a two-way dialogue that gets your resume reviewed / considered for the role). Anything a jobseeker can do to stand out from the pack (in a good way, of course) and beat others to the punch will help them land that coveted offer. Remember, there is no 2nd place when applying for that dream position. That 1st place candidate gets the job and the dozens (or hundreds!) of others do not. What are YOU doing to differentiate yourself in this tough job market?

Here’s the original email (identifying details changed for privacy):
Stacy,
I recently found your blog as I have been trying to find the best tactics to land my next position. I have my heart set on a marketing job at XYZ Company in Washington D.C. but I am from Massachusetts and have no connections there. Do you have any advice?
Jane

My response:
Hi Jane,

Thanks for reaching out. Great question! Here’s my advice…

1. First things first. Go to XYZ’s company website and apply online for any position(s) of interest that match well with your skill set and experience.

2. Next, it’s time to leverage LinkedIn and the power of networking. I just searched my network and I have 956 total connections currently working at XYZ Company in the DC area. 109 of them are 1st or 2nd level connections, so once we’re linked, they’ll be in your network too (as 2nd or 3rd level connections).

Once we’re connected, do a LinkedIn search and identify two or three of those contacts that you would like to contact. I’d recommend Recruiters, hiring managers – Manager/Director/VP of Marketing in your case, peers who hold the same title that you desire, etc. We can identify additional contacts later, if need be.

Tips 3, 4, and complete article

For Older Workers, Here Is Where the Jobs Will Be

By ANDREA COOMBES

Growing numbers of older adults are finding a nice surprise in the workplace: a “Welcome” sign.

The number of workers age 55 and up grew by 3.5 million from September 2009 to September 2012. That represents the lion’s share of the gain of 4.2 million for all workers 16 and older, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Two factors help explain the trend.

First: demographics. In the three years ended in July, 86% of population growth among people ages 25 to 69 came in the 55 to 69 age range, says Richard Johnson, director of the program on retirement policy at the Urban Institute, a nonprofit research group. That increase comes mostly from the baby boomers, who began turning 55 in 2001.


“There are many more Americans turning 55 in recent years than turning 25,” Mr. Johnson says.
Second: changing attitudes. More employers are recognizing that older adults bring skills and experiences to the table that can help the bottom line.

It’s not all good news. While older workers’ unemployment rate is lower, when they lose a job they’re unemployed longer—a median of 35 weeks versus 26 weeks for younger folks.

“The problem of age bias hasn’t been solved yet, but attitudes do seem to be improving,” says Sara Rix, senior strategic policy adviser with the Public Policy Institute at AARP, the Washington advocacy group.

Here are several industries where experts say the outlook is bright for older workers:

Education


School reform at the K-12 level, in particular, may provide opportunities for older workers, says Jackie Greaner, North America practice leader for talent management at consulting firm Towers Watson 

“Expectations of teachers are much higher,” she says, “but in a way that provides opportunities for other talent to enter the school system—[individuals with] other types of skills and knowledge.”

Financial Services
“Banks and insurance companies have been forward-thinking about…the aging workforce and what that means for their organizations,” says Jacquelyn B. James, director of research at Boston College’s Sloan Center on Aging and Work.

“They’ve been trying to offer more possibilities to older workers to work more flexibly, to reduce their hours when they decide that’s what they want to do,” she says.

One example: Principal Financial offers a “Happy Returns” program to enable retirees to return to work without interrupting their benefits.

More job areas and complete WSJ article









Cover Letters in the Age of Email

The job search has changed so much in the last decade.  In the past, a job advertised in a local newspaper or trade publication prompted you to write and send off by mail a cover letter accompanying your resume.  The fax machine brought about a change in that resumes could now be sent to employers and received within a few moments.  But certainly the growing reach of email and expansion of job related web resources has dramatically influenced how job seekers connect with employers. Email messages, resumes attachments in various formats; on-line applications have all changed the format and speed of those interactions. Is the formal cover letter still necessary or are candidates better off writing an email? The answer is simple – do whatever positions you most effectively with the employer.

No matter what the format, you must practice articulate brevity – write enough to make your case and convince whoever is reviewing your materials that you are worthy of serious consideration for the job  – and no more. Looking for a job involves many steps, but when you apply for a position or communicate with a potential employer it is important to remember that it is a professional interaction and what you write and how you communicate will be viewed through this lens.

Here are some useful tips for a great cover letter in today’s fast paced and connected world:

  1. Write to a specific person.  If you are building and leveraging your professional network in applying for positions this is easy. In those instances be sure to indicate in your message who helped you to make the connection.  If you are writing “cold”, do your research first so you obtain a name rather then writing to an anonymous individual, title or department. There are many on-line resources to help you find out the names of managers and you can always make a phone call to the organization as well, where a polite inquiry will usually produce helpful results.
  2. Tell the employer in the first sentence why you are writing.  This should include the position title or job function area you are interested in.
  3. Let the employer know how you found out about the opening citing in particular a personal, mutual contact if appropriate or at the very least showing you’ve done some research about the company and its talent needs.
  4. If you are writing on an exploratory basis and there is no specific posted position you’re aware of, discuss how you have been following the company and feel that you would be an excellent addition to a specific area in the organization.

8 Commandments for Every Job Hunter

By

Successful job hunters have, over the years, shared with me their “secrets for success.” Here are eight of my favorite rules to organize your search while maintaining your sanity:

1. Remember: Your job hunt is a job. Treat it with the same professionalism that you would a job that gives you a paycheck. It’s easy to continually procrastinate and say, “I’ve got all this personal stuff to do, I’ll get around to job hunting next week.” At the other extreme you can become compulsive and spend every waking hour obsessing about the job hunt. Instead, set up work hours, an agenda, and goals for yourself every day. When your workday is over, leave the job hunt behind. Spend your off hours with those you love, pursuing your hobbies and interests, exercising, and living a balanced life.

2. Keep your knowledge and skills up to date. Maintain all your professional credentials, licenses, and certificates. Enroll in continuing education classes. Keep up to date with the “latest” in your field of expertise, and thereby you will demonstrate your commitment to excellence. Even if you are used to having your employer pay for these things and now have to pay for them yourself, it will be money well spent.

3. Stand out from your competition. Title your resume “{FIRSTNAME LASTNAME} Resume.” Then, whenever you send it out to a company, do a “save as” and rename it: “{FIRSTNAME LASTNAME} Resume for XXX Company.” It will show the employer that you aren’t just blasting it everywhere. Also, it will become easier to retrieve if you keep all your resume files in a single folder in your computer, and that way you will be certain to be able to find whichever version is relevant to the company with which you are speaking.

4. Find a way to make yourself findable. Make certain that you have a complete and compelling LinkedIn profile, and include in it a PDF version of your resume (without your phone or physical address). Contribute in a meaningful way to relevant LinkedIn Group Discussions. Attend local Meetups and professional association gatherings. Present yourself as a peer who just happens not to have a paying job at the moment, rather than as a desperate person seeking to become a peer.

Tips 5-8 and Complete USNews Article