Friday, July 30, 2010

Informational Interviews Using LinkedIn

Article Contributed by Peggy McKee,
One of the many, many fantastic applications of LinkedIn is that you can use it to land informational interviews. Informational interviews are just what they sound like: they are interviews that you conduct to gather information, usually about a job or a career field you’re interested in. They last 20-30 minutes, and give you an opportunity to get answers about what a typical day is like, what the person likes or dislikes about the field, and what it takes to be successful. You can also use it as a mentoring session and ask for their advice on your situation and your best career/job search moves. Research tips for informational interviews to help you compile your list of questions. Informational interviews are strictly for you to get the “inside scoop” from someone who knows, and they help you to expand your network. (FYI: If you’re lucky, you might get a job lead, but it’s bad form to go into the interview expecting this person to help you get a job.)
But how do you go about setting up an informational interview if you can’t do it through your current contacts?
Use LinkedIn. Once you create a profile, you can make connections and introduce yourself to people on LinkedIn, and then ask them directly for an informational interview. Most people are flattered to be asked, and won’t mind talking to you for 20 minutes. If they’re really pressed for time, they might offer to answer questions by email–which you should definitely follow through on. Also, you can join groups and participate in discussions, and post your questions there. This can be an especially effective tactic for entry-level job seekers. I’ve seen some really great LinkedIn discussions packed with valuable information for job seekers.
LinkedIn pages are tremendous sources of information on people you’d like to interview and companies you’re interested in. Once you’ve set up your interview, use LinkedIn to prepare for it just as thoroughly as you would for a job interview. Get all your ducks in a row so that you don’t waste that person’s time by asking questions you can look up the answers to. Coming to the interview prepared with background knowledge and intelligent questions leaves them with a great impression of you as a confident, competent go-getter they will remember (in case they run across a job opportunity for you later).
After the interview, remember to send a thank you letter. If you can, include a relevant article or a solution to a company problem–something helpful to them. Then, include them in your network by routinely contacting them every few months. A successful informational interview gains you valuable information and an expanded professional network–and who knows where that might lead?
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

JOB TALK: Why wasn’t I hired?

Contributing columnist

During today’s tough economy, we are forced to consider some difficult questions with our job search.
• Why wasn’t I hired?
• What can I do to improve myself?

• Can I learn from my experience or mistakes? 
Everyone applying for work cannot possibly be invited to interview, and even less people are actually offered the job. There simply are not enough jobs and when jobs are so scarce, we should consider a personal assessment to explore any area worth improving. Feedback can be a catalyst to personal growth. 
So why weren’t you hired? You may have done everything right, presented yourself professionally and appropriately and still not have been offered the job. There are a number of reasons — one reason to consider is your competition.
Many applicants will be more qualified, have more education, skills, talent and present themselves in a dynamic way that captivates the attention of the hiring professional.
Remain hopeful as most employers love soft skills above all else, and here is where you can outshine your competition.  Ask yourself some questions — and give yourself some real honest answers.
• Did you do your absolute best?
• Did you invest your all into the preparation and your presentation?
• Did you thoroughly consider interview questions, practice ahead of time and communicate effectively?
• Did you convince the prospective employer that being a team-player is important?
• Did you convince the employer you are dependable?
• Did you look your absolute best?
• Did you arrive on time, without friends or family? 
• Was your personal hygiene, appearance and grooming in good order?
• Did you project energy and charisma?
• Did you really dress for success? 
These areas could be great opportunities for making improvements. Consider goals for personal fitness, a new and updated hair style, ironing your clothing and practice interview questions.  Check with a friend about keeping your child. Preparation, practice and persistence are your keys to success.
Is your application clear, concise and complete in communicating your objectives, goals and your employment history? Your application is the only item between you and the actual interview.  Make certain your answers reflect what you are searching for and who you are as an applicant.  Your application will make a difference over the competition.
If you think you are qualified and an excellent candidate — maybe you need to consider what, if anything was on your application that could have been used to eliminate you.
• Did you limit yourself by your shift preference?
• Did you eliminate yourself by your salary requirement? 
• Do you have misspelled words or illegible handwriting? 
• Did you list business references or did you list your friends?
These are tough questions — but, you need to ask yourself — the answer could make a difference. 
If you didn’t get the job — some personal evaluation should be considered.
Focus on areas that you know may need some improvement for the next application or for the next interview. If you did your absolute best and feel that you were beat by the competition,  accept the decision graciously. Consider asking the employer to give you feedback so that you can improve for the next invitation to interview. All employers will not comply.
When the decision is communicated and you are told you did not get the job, you should respond with the same professionalism, maturity and respect in which you responded to the actual invitation to interview. Consider the lasting impression if you send a note, an e-mail or make a telephone call and let the employer know that you appreciate the opportunity to interview, and you were impressed by the company and would certainly like to be considered for a position in the future.  You may be the runner up — and the offer may fall through in any stage of the background investigation. 
There is probably nothing more devastating to an individual than rejection. None of us like rejection or hurt feelings. When it comes to job-seeking, we need to be able to ask the tough questions and be courageous enough to consider the truth. We must consider how we can improve if we hope to make positive changes, attain personal growth and present ourselves for a successful future.
• Harris is a human resources manager with Unique Industries, Inc. with more than 20 years of human resources experience. She has volunteered as a career counselor for 10 years at various local nonprofit organizations. Contact her at or become a Facebook fan of Job Talk.

Original Article

Monday, July 26, 2010

To Find My Dream Job, I Didn't Just Dream

If you can dream it, you can live it.
How often do we hear that? How often are we told that we can't live our dream unless we first visualize it in our head?
It's no doubt true. But I also can tell you that visualizing your dream isn't enough. You have to work at making dreams real. You have to sweat.
And that brings me to the subject of this column.

In my last column two weeks ago, I told the story of leaving The Wall Street Journal, my home for 17 years, in order to find a new job that better meshed with my family's needs and my wants.
Lots of people, of course, dream of chucking their current job for something else. But dreaming is all they do. They then wait for the fates to hand them the perfect job.
It won't work, though, because they aren't out shaking the trees. In fact, they're not even in the orchard. They're effectively waiting for the fruit to fall on its own -- and for a brisk wind to blow the fruit across the fields and over the fence and to place it gently in their lap.
Good luck.
As my grandmother told me when I was growing up: You've got to work for what you want, because nobody's outside your door waiting to give it to you.
So this is the story of how I took my grandmother's advice. It is the story of how I finally, after many years, decided to work for what I really wanted. It is the story of how I sweated.

* * *

Here's my passion: international investing. Yes, it's geeky, but I love the idea of investing directly in markets overseas. I've been doing it since 1995, and I've written a book about it. I've always thought working in that world would be the perfect way for me to make a living.
I would occasionally ask people in the field of international investing about opportunities...but nothing ever popped up.
Then again, I wasn't trying. My heart was never really into a job search, because I was content with what I was doing. I always felt fortunate to be making good money at a job I loved, for a paper I respected, in the city -- Baton Rouge, La. -- where I wanted to live.
That changed earlier this year for reasons I noted in my last column: mainly that I saw no opportunities to advance my career without moving back to the East Coast -- a move that I felt would hurt my family, both emotionally and financially.
So my mind-set changed. I began to seriously think about combining my talent for reporting and writing with my passion for international investing. I never laid out a precise job description, because I didn't want to restrict my search. Since I had no idea what kinds of jobs might exist, I wanted to hear about anything that could interest me in any way.
And then I started shaking the trees.

* * *

The way I figure it, the best jobs are the word-of-mouth jobs, the ones that often exist only in a manager's head, the "wouldn't-it-be-nice-if-we-had-someone-to-do-X-if-only-we-could-find-the-right-person" job.
The trick is making sure those managers know you, to get your name into their heads alongside their imaginary jobs.
That's where the sweat comes in. I began by contacting anybody I could think of, emailing and calling friends and acquaintances all over the globe. I talked to public-relations executives and headhunters, portfolio managers and ex-journalists. I talked to sources I hadn't spoken to in more than a decade.
It often seemed like an enormous waste of time. Nobody knew of any current openings -- not surprising, given the vagueness of my job description. And there were many moments when I felt like I didn't have the time or energy to make yet another call, write yet another email.
But I knew that I needed to make sure that as many people as possible knew I was looking.
And then one morning an email popped up from a source I had talked to several months earlier about my wishes. He told me to expect a phone call.
At an investment conference he had just attended, an executive of a newsletter company mentioned to him that his firm was looking to add a writer who understood overseas markets. My source gave him my name.
And with that began a very quick courtship. I flew to Miami to meet the executive, who brought his boss -- the publisher -- into the interview. The boss felt I had more to offer the firm than just writing about international markets. She sketched out my job duties.
I would become a senior editor, working on a newsletter about international investing. I would help mentor younger writers. I would travel whenever and wherever I wanted, and take on some of her duties meeting with banking executives around the globe. I would be eligible for bonuses, a perk I never had in newspaper journalism.
It sounded ideal. It wasn't a job I ever knew existed. And it probably never had, except in the boss's head.
The next morning the offer arrived -- and I couldn't say no. It offered me everything I could want in a job, and I could do it from Baton Rouge. The funny thing is, two days later an investment firm called to offer me a communications job, a new position they thought I would be perfect for.
And that's my point: When looking for a new job, if you define your career interests broadly and then shake every tree you can find, the fruit will start falling.
You just have to be there with a big net to catch the ones that look interesting.
Write to Jeff D. Opdyke at

Original WSJ Article

Friday, July 23, 2010

How to Get the Job You Find

Brian Ray

Hooray! You find a great-for-you job online. Now, how do you hook and reel it in?
Here’s what you don’t do. Immediately click ‘Apply.’ Fill out form. Attach or paste your resume. Then you wait, and wait, and wait, and… well, you get the idea. Instead, try these 3 job-landing tips:

Job-Landing Tip #1: Do your homework.

Be an A+ candidate! Just 15+ minutes could pay you big bucks in a new job. Start by going to employer’s website and clicking key tabs:
  • About Us – Check out their services, products and markets. Learn how big they are: annual sales or budget and number of employees. Find out whether they are local, regional, national, or global. Review their vision, mission and values. If you are still interested, make a list of what you like, as well as questions you have.
  • Press or Newsroom – Look for recent news about financial reports and special announcements. Is their growth up, down or sideways? What are their plans for the future? Are there new executives that recently joined (who want want to make changes in their departments)? Are there special opportunities you see for you?
  • Career or Jobs – look for the job you found online. Look for other jobs that interest you. Checkout their benefits and training.
  • Go to Google. Type in the employer’s name to search ‘Web and News’ for more information.
  • Print most relevant information and put in file folder marked with employer name. Very handy for resume writing and interviews. Make notes on key people related to job you want.
  • Beware: If the job posting you find does not identify the employer, type key words from posting in Google, and see if employer name pops up. If not, then drop it. May be a scam!

Job-Landing Tip #2: Rewrite Your Resumes

Based on your homework, you can hook employers by customizing each resume for each job and employer. It might be another 15+ minutes extra work per resume… but worth it when you get the call for interviews.
  • Copy keywords from the job posting that are true of you. Paste them in your resume.
  • Connect what you do and like best with what the employer seems to need most for the Objective or Summary section of your resume.
  • Resumes that get results show results. Highlight accomplishments on page 1 of your resume that are most relevant to the employer and job.
  • If you saw news or special announcements related to your experience, abilities or interests, mention them in your cover letter.

Job-Landing Tip #3: Network for Personal Referrals

Ask everyone you know and new people you meet. Keep an active list of employers with jobs and names of key employees. A private corporate study revealed that if jobseekers had a personal referral into the company, the odds of them getting hired was 42 times greater than those with no referral. Try networking everyday for at least 15+ minutes at least a couple of weeks. It’s like mining for gold. You shovel a lot of dirt to find the golden nugget. But it is worth it.
  • Ask appropriately and politely “do you know who is or was at (name of employer)?”
  • Search Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter for employers and names of key employees.
  • Follow up with referrals with phone calls using names of referring people. Remember, it is the personal referral that reels them in.
  • Your ultimate goal is to find the hiring manager for the job in which you are interested. When you all-of-a-sudden find them, you will be ready with your customized resume.
By the time you make the right connections in the employer’s organization, you might be asked to submit your resume through their website job posting. That’s the perfect time to click ‘Apply’, because now someone is looking for you.

Original Article

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

IRS announces new job search tools

The Internal Revenue Service has announced a new job search tool available on YouTube to help job seekers learn about work opportunities at the IRS.

As many recent high school and college graduates seek employment, the IRS's new YouTube playlist, Working at the IRS ( ), provides information about various career paths available throughout the nation's tax administration agency.
The playlist features "Day in the Life" videos in which IRS employees discuss their jobs, the diversity of the IRS workforce and the culture of the agency.
The IRS has more than 100,000 full-time and seasonal employees and hires new employees throughout the year for positions including revenue agents, revenue officers, criminal investigation special agents, financial analysts and economists.

Original Article

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Top 100 career advice blogs

1. Career Realism – “We are the only career advice blog that ‘approves’ their experts, writes Career Realism’s founder, J.T. O’Donnell, who has been cited in The New York Times,,, and various other popular publications. “We make each expert apply to our program and we personally review their credentials and writing style to ensure they match with our goal of providing cutting-edge career advice. We have over 30 experts who provide advice on a daily basis and are currently ranked as one of the top 5 career advice blogs on the Internet.” Her tips for the unemployed? “Unemployed job seekers need to focus on connecting with people they don’t know,” she explains. “It’s easy to network with friends and family, but to find a job you have to expand your network. Start by asking people you do know to introduce you to the one person they think you should meet.” Recommended posts: “Resume Tips for a Career Change,” and “20 Powerful Action Verbs to Kick Your Resume Up a Notch!
2. WebWorkerDaily – Although most of the articles touch on unemployment and career advice, blogger Imran Ali also writes about the latest technology tools for UK-based business owners and professionals. This easy-to-use and interactive blog allows readers to click on articles related to a specific topic such as Apps, how-to guides, social media, and browsers, as well as Apple, Google, and Windows products. Recommended posts: “Sincerely, Me: What Our Email Sign-offs Say About Us,” and “DevCheatSheet: More Useful Free Reference Cards.”
3.  Position Ignition –  ”Position Ignition’s career blog offers a host of free information, advice, and guidance for people of all ages and who are serious about their careers,” writes Nisa Chitakasem, one of the co-founders of the site. “We have a number of Guides who all contribute to the blog and who have had real life and career experiences of their own to draw from. Not only are they great career guides and are highly qualified coaches –they have all had very successful careers –being HR Directors, Headhunters, CEOs, COOs, senior managers in top firms and more. The co-founder Simon North has been working in transition and change for over 25 years and has helped many individuals with their careers.” She advises the unemployed to “stay positive and also get focused…Being unfocused and untargeted in the market is the worst thing you could do. Too many people we come across have a scattergun approach – firing out CVs everywhere and applying for anything they can get hold of. What’s more effective is getting clear about what you want, why you want it, why you’re the one to do it and how to get that across effectively in the market. This is what we help people do and they all end up in the right places for them!”  Recommended posts: “5 Popular Career Personality Tests” and “Job searching: Find the Needle.”
4. Career Copilot – Career Strategist and Pro Resume Writer Dan Keller helps job seekers “navigate through the changes and challenges of the job hunt.” Keller’s background includes experience in executive search and corporate recruiting, and offers readers his advice from his own experiences and insight “from the trenches.” He is also the owner of Recommended posts: “How to find a job on Linkedin,” 5 tips to help you through a career change,” and “Why Job Boards are evil.
5. Punk Rock HR – Forget Sheena, Laurie Ruettimann is the true punk rocker…of the career-advice blogging world. After reading its tagline (“Team building is for suckers”), it becomes apparent that Laurie has a lot to say about the HR world, and isn’t afraid to say it. For the past ten years, she has worked as a “seasoned and cynical HR professional,” and currently serves as a member of The Society for Human Resources Management. Her blog has been listed as one of the “Top 50 Blogs” by Evan Carmichael in 2010, as well as”Top 25 HR Digital” blog awards by HR Examiner, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, US News & World Report, CFO Magazine, and Men’s Health. Recommended posts: “Mentors: Who Needs ‘Em?” and “You Are Not Allowed to Criticize HR.”

Blogs 6 - 100

Monday, July 19, 2010

Landing a New Job - Don't Leave Your Old Job

If you've been marking time at work and hoping to get a new job, you're not alone. But employment experts caution restless job seekers from jumping ship too soon. If you move too quickly you might end up in a new job that you dislike even more. Still, you can improve your odds of finding something worthwhile by planning ahead and doing some research.
The first thing to do is re-evaluate why you're dissatisfied at your current job. If you aren't challenged enough, there might be a way to make a change without leaving. "There may be ways that your job can be changed for the better or your role in the company expanded to offer more challenges," says Tony Mulkern, a management consultant based in Los Angeles.
Look Inside and Out
Scout job openings in other departments or at higher levels that you may qualify for with some additional extended education or skills and ask your manager to support your effort to get the training you need.
If the opportunities just aren't there or you're simply dissatisfied and aching to move, tap your personal and professional network for information on who's hiring; many job postings go up with a candidate in mind already, so it's best to do your homework before a position is listed publicly.
If you know someone at the companies you are targeting—or someone in your network does—work to get personal referrals. But be discreet with your inquiries. Keep requests off social-networking websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
When you land an interview, use the opportunity to learn about the company. You should get as much from them as they will try to get from you, says Sharon Armstrong, a human-resources consultant in Washington. Salary and benefits are important, but you also want to make sure you're compatible. It's difficult to tell what the workplace culture is like from casual visits. Don't be shy about calling for more information and contact current and former employees, if possible, to get a feel for the company and opportunities.
If you get an offer, before you accept, consider doing more in-depth financial research on the company; try the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR Public Dissemination Service (
For private firms and startups, Gail Rosen, an accountant based in Martinsville, N.J., says to look for a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, references, a business plan and a list of where the company is getting funding. "You may not get that all, but it doesn't hurt to ask, and they might at least give you something else you can use," she says. Some information also can be found on fee services like Hoovers or on business blogs.
Don't Leave Your Old Job
Whatever you do, don't quit your job until you're certain that you're hired, says Ms. Armstrong. "Even if a job offer seems imminent, there are a lot of things that can happen at the last minute."
If your current company wants to keep you and replies with a counteroffer, keep in mind why you're leaving. "People seldom move just for money, so don't be swayed by a bigger paycheck if everything else stays the same," says Ms. Armstrong. "Job satisfaction comes from a lot of different places. If the boss offers to help change the other things that are making you unhappy, that might be worth at least discussing."
Write to Dennis Nishi at

Original WSJ Article

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

10 Things To Avoid In Your Cover Letter

Like it or not, your cover letter is the first document that creates an impression about you (good or bad). Because first impressions really count, you need to take a careful approach to writing cover letters in order to avoid rejection. Here are the 10 major don’ts you need to avoid:
1. Don’t use cover letter templates, however good they may be. There are three things you must know that go against these templates: 1) they are stale & boring 2) most templates are likely to have been downloaded from internet 3) therefore, yours will be exposed as being identical to many. Use samples to get ideas on how to write your own unique letter.
2. Don’t write a lengthy first paragraph that will only bore the reader. A lengthy first paragraph also dilutes your impressive qualities and eventually weakens the entire letter – this is the last thing you want to happen.
3. Don’t exclude your Unique Selling Proposition, or USP. Remember that the cover letter is your sales letter; you should highlight your main strengths and prepare the reader psychologically to want to read further.
4. Don’t write a vague letter without mentioning specifics, such as the job title and job code/number if you are responding to an advertisement.
5. Don’t address your cover letter ‘To Whom It May Concern’. It shows that you don’t care enough to do your research to find out who is receiving the resume packages.
6. Don’t use fanciful fonts. Don’t unnecessarily use capitalized or bolded words, or grandiose phrases. Don’t send the letter without nixing silly spelling or grammatical mistakes.
7. Don’t use cliché language such as “As afore mentioned, I am enclosing…” This will only irritate the recruiter. Instead use simple phrases such as, “enclosed please find my resume.”
8. Don’t include personal information like your race, sex or marital status in the cover letter. These things are against the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, and as such will not impact the decision whether or not you are called for the interview.
9. Don’t use copies of the same cover letters with just the address and date lines changed to send for similar jobs. If you don’t customize the entire body, the letter may either be irrelevant or a mistake may silently make it into the final draft.
10. Don’t brag or make statements that can’t be quantified. You should be humble, yet accurate – employers these days often verify your statements for accuracy (and uncover exaggerations).
The trick with the cover letter is to capture the reader’s imagination as soon as they begin reading. This entails keeping your cover letter neat and tidy with a simple format, and avoiding common errors, such as the 10 listed above.
Heather Eagar is a former professional resume writer who is now dedicated to providing job seekers with resources and products that promote job search success from beginning to end. If you need cover letter samples and tools, go to

Search Resume Optimization

Job hunting nowadays is done primarily on the internet. The basic foundation of the internet is to be able to search and find information. With this came the term “search engine optimization” otherwise known as (SEO). Similarly, employers are looking to optimize their searches for new employees. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is used by most companies today to review resumes and identify the best candidates. In the same way that search engines use keywords and phrases on a particular site to describe what the site is about and rank them in accordance to the most relevant, these systems use the content in a resume to determine who the best fit for their search is. Disregarding how the system works would be unwise and probably leave you at the bottom of the list, frustrated and still searching for a job. Efficiency is a term used often today for a reason. By optimizing your resume, you’ll not only help make the process easier for employers, you’ll be dramatically increasing your chances of being hired at the same time. Thus I have coined the phrase search resume optimization (SRO) and provided some tips below:

1. Create a section for your keywords at the top of your resume
This will increase your keyword count and your chances of making it by the first cut Can be titled “Professional Overview” “Career Summary” or “Keyword Competencies” The goal is to optimize your resume by providing all the keywords that relate to your potential job. Give all the keywords you can think of that a recruiter would search for pertaining to your job title, skills, experience, abilities and expertise.
For example if you are in sales a section for your keywords could look like this:
“Sales, business development, qualifying, value, negotiation, deal closing, solution, goals, ethics, generate, recommend, accommodate, growth”

2. Condense your statements
Leave out articles “a”, “an” and “the”. For example, instead of “accommodated the needs of clients,” condense it to say “accommodated client needs” Your job summaries should focus on accomplishments and not tasks. Thus you should leave out “responsibilities” and “duties”. No need to clarify who you are talking about in your resume. Omit personal pronouns like “I”, “me” or “my”

3. Choose your format wisely
Bulleted lists are always easier to read than long paragraphs Separate information by underlining, italicizing, or putting the headlines in bold. Use a widely accepted typeface like Times New Roman and Arial or select a fresh, sophisticated font like Strayhorn or Ellington. (Note: if using a non-standard font either convert your Word file into PDF, or select the “embed fonts” option in Word).

Original Article

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

5 Tips for Job Seekers on Corporate Social Networks

Anne Berkowitch is co-founder and CEO of SelectMinds, the leading provider of networking and referral technologies and of the recently launched TalentVine referral recruiting solution. You can follow SelectMinds on Twitter at @SelectMinds.
There’s a lot of talk these days about using social networks as job search tools as well as sources for recruiters and HR executives to scout talent. Many organizations opt to build secure, private networks for their current and former employees that provide a place for people to connect and refer opportunities, contacts and information to one another. Here are some tips to get the most out of these increasingly common company networks.

1. Remember Your Resources

While it may be natural to dive into the wider web in your job search, you might be better served to take advantage of resources and people you are already connected to. Many businesses of all sizes offer networks to connect current and former employees. Check in with HR heads of former employers and find out what networking tools they offer. In the battle for great talent, it’s in their interest to keep up with you and where your career is headed.

2. Present Your Best Self

When building your identity and reputation on a company network, it’s important to remember that these networks are professional environments that are rarely anonymous. While you may have shared some drinks at the holiday party in 2007, you still want to engage with current and former colleagues on a strictly professional basis. Remember to update your information (title, company, leadership experience, etc.) regularly, perhaps every quarter, and point it out to relevant people as appropriate.
Also note that while you’re maintaining a professional presence on internal company networks, your public social profiles on Facebook (Facebook), Twitter (Twitter) and other sites will often be checked by recruiters before they make contact with you. We’ve all heard the horror stories — for example, applicants updating their status or tweeting before and after an interview with disparaging or confidential remarks about the company. We’ve heard about recent college grads who have thousands of photos on Facebook, many of which are not work appropriate. These are lessons applicants need only learn once. Showing some personality is important, but it’s a fine line.

3. Reconnect

People are used to getting “Friended,” “Followed,” “Connected With” and more on a regular basis, so reaching out to past colleagues with whom you’ve worked should be well received. It’s a great way to share opportunities, personal and professional news, and stay up to date on happenings at your company. When you join a company network, spend some time identifying colleagues and friends within the organizations and acknowledge them on the network.
The foundation of many workplace relationships is gained in the first few days working together. A vendor my company works with recently had an influx of new hires due to business growth. The new team they assembled is full of characters and they promote camaraderie as an essential piece of their corporate culture. These employees are not just all Facebook friends but they’re neighbors, they Follow each other on Twitter, retweet each other, etc. They are connected personally and online in a way we know will continue even if one of them should make a career move.

4. Show Your Self-Motivation

As everyone knows, finding a job is work in itself. If you want to get advice from a former colleague or talk about business connections or job opportunities, you have to reach out. (Re)connect online and then consider setting up a get-together with former colleagues. Being outgoing and organized is a quick way to get recognized — a factor that’s sure to pay off in the future.
In-person meetings always go farther than a phone call ever could. For HR managers who work at large, global businesses, it’s nearly impossible to meet candidates face to face. But if you’re an executive and someone local is asking to meet up, it’s a great activity to make time for. I recently heard about a young job seeker who wanted to relocate and found out the local director at her dream firm had gone to a competing high school. That connection alone (pointed out in an e-mail she sent him when she happened to be in town) got her in the door and ultimately, the job itself.

5. It Can’t Hurt to Ask

Given the professional nature of company networks, it’s more common and expected for the topic of job openings and hiring to come up. Don’t be afraid to ask your connections how they got their newest job, why they left a company, or if they would be willing to make an introduction for you. Understand that these networks create mutual relationships, so be sure to offer connections, guidance and thoughts to others — engendering good will when it comes to a professional network goes a long way.
A woman my company works with has had previous high profile jobs in her field. As a result, many people know her and ask her for favors. The one she tells us she always obliges is giving honest answers to people who are considering going to work for her previous companies. Often these connections come through people she may need a favor from someday too, so it’s a valuable practice to help past companies find great talent, even though she’s already left.

Original Mashable Article

Monday, July 12, 2010

Just like the beach, a job hunt beckons in summer

By Vickie Elmer
While some job seekers took a break in the summer months, Sheila Paige used the time to land interviews and contract work. This year, the manager of nonprofit organizations found June to be crazy-busy with interviews, and she had to choose between two job offers.
Despite summer's slower feel, which is exacerbated in Washington by the congressional recess, recruiting continues during that period. "There is no slow time" for searching, said Paige, who lives in the District.
Many people drop out of the search for part or all of the summer, thinking decision-makers aren't around or jobs aren't being filled, said Kate Wendleton, president of the Five O'Clock Club, which offers job-search groups, coaching and other services to job seekers. "We want our job hunters to put their foot to the pedal at those times because the competition is relaxing."
When job seekers in the Five O'Clock Club stay committed and target organizations they've identified as good fits, they land "more than an average number" of jobs in August, Wendleton said. (The same is true in December, she noted.) The New York-based organization has members, employed and unemployed, in the Washington region and nationwide.
Job seekers on the hunt during summer face less competition than those who begin -- or restart -- their searches in September, she said. They may be perceived as hardworking and more diligent than those who spend the summer at the beach or tending gardens.
Yet with a tough economy, more job seekers are at least checking online listings all summer. More than 23 million people visited job Web sites last July, and 24 million visited them in August, about the same as during spring and fall months. November and December are the only months to record fewer visits to employment sites in recent years, according to comScore Media Metrics data.
Employers are hiring this summer, Wendleton said, noting that her organization was "deluged" with openings after e-mailing 5,000 employers in late June. Many companies, trying to avoid being overwhelmed by job seekers, are not posting their openings. Instead, individuals must make themselves known to their targeted employers. "Give your pitch and do a follow-up phone call," she said. "Stay in touch with them. Stay in touch with them. Stay in touch with them."

"The more relaxed atmosphere of the summer might welcome more chances to meet up with people," said Dezell, a career coach and author of "Networking for the Novice, Nervous or Naive Job Seeker." He also works as a career adviser for the Maryland Professional Outplacement Assistance Center.Tom Dezell noted that more voluntary resignations and retirements occur either in summer or at year's end, especially in many government agencies and departments.
Associations and churches stage summer picnics; nonprofit organizations schedule golf outings; and families go to swim meets, softball games and backyard barbecues. Any of those settings could connect a job seeker with someone who can open the door to a new job.
Many professional associations hold one summer event -- a picnic or some other outdoor event. Others are dark during July and August. Yet their executive committees and planning committees are organizing events for fall, Wendleton said. "Get on that committee" and pick up a membership directory to use in your search, she said.
Paige has been considering a change from her events-management jobs for years, in part to travel less. She has worked as a consultant and as a full-time staffer, and became serious about her search two years ago. She agrees with Wendleton that job seekers must do their homework on the organization and the hiring manager.
"You don't arbitrarily paper the street with your résumé" in summer or any season, she said. She used her connections as well as a targeted online search to secure interviews and two offers. She accepted one of those offers and started last week. "Business doesn't stop in the summer," Paige said, noting that people on the job hunt must keep searching, too. "You never know when that opportunity will surface."
Vickie Elmer is a freelance writer.
Original Article

Friday, July 9, 2010

Facebook Becomes Job Search Engine

SimplyHired, a job search aggregation site, announced that it's just released new features allowing integration with user Facebook friends. How does this help job seekers?

This integration marks the first time Facebook has entered mainstream job search. Facebook has long been a way that a candidate can be found by recruiters and hiring managers who are searching for an employee. Now SimplyHired makes it easier to find companies where they have Facebook friends to contact about the hidden job market.

SimplyHired has featured integration with Linkedin for awhile, allowing Linkedin users to overlay network contacts on top of job ads. Facebook integration is a little different, allowing candidates some different ways to search for jobs.

“Simply Hired is showing what’s possible when you make it easy to find jobs through friends,” said Ethan Beard, director of the Facebook Developer Network. “Personal relationships and professional networking have always been the best ways to find a new job. By integrating with Facebook, Simply Hired is bringing this to life online and helping users tap into their social connections to personalize the job search process.”

There are some broad similarities in how SimplyHired integrates with Linkedin vs how SimplyHired achieves integration with Facebook. There are many differences, making each integration a unique tool for job search, used in different ways.

Similarities to Linkedin/SimplyHired Integration:
* Connections ...
* Sign-in ...
* Privacy ...

“Personalization is the next generation of job search,” said Simply Hired CEO Gautam Godhwani. “Today, Simply Hired takes another significant step toward making job search simple by combining the largest social graph with the largest job database. Finally, your friends can help you find a job online.”

Differences Between Linkedin/SH integration and Facebook/SH integration:
* Linkedin contacts are displayed to the side ...
* Facebook friends are displayed in sections ...
* Different assumptions ...
* Degrees of separation ...
* Types of searches ...

( Continued ... How To Set Up & Use SimplyHired/Facebook Integration )

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

15 Twitter Job Search Apps

From the standpoint of a job seeker, if used correctly, Twitter can turn your job search from feeling like the dreaded fail whale to landing you the job of your dreams. With the right tools Twitter can become a never-ending source of information to assist you along your way.

Other than Tweeting about your job search and putting your job pitch in your bio, here are 15 Twitter Applications and Tricks to help you along the path (keep in mind there are hundreds of applications for Twitter and most of them can be used in someway or another for a job search, these are just the ones I found most interesting):

1. ConnectTweet – See what is going on inside the doors of a potential company, through the Tweets of their employees. ConnectTweet allows individuals at the front lines of the company to add a #tag to their company relevant tweets, those tagged tweets are then filtered and posted to the companies @org’s Twitter account, allowing the company’s followers to clearly see the human voices on the inside.

2. TwitterJobCast – A local job search that allows you to see who is hiring on Twitter by browsing for jobs by city, state or zip code. It works by making requests to the Twitter API. Additionally, the Yahoo! Maps API is used to translate locations into geocodes for use with the Twitter API.

3. TwitterJobSearch – An open source search engine for jobs posted on Twitter, TwitterJobSearch has posted 44,165 new jobs in the last 7 days. Many of the jobs listed are tech related jobs, but through their search you can look for the position you want in the city you want.

4. Twellow – Also know as the Yellow Pages for Twitter it allows you to cut through the clutter Twitter sometimes creates. It enables you to find real people who really matter. The Twellow service grabs publically available messages from Twitter, analyzes and then categorizes the tweets into categories. By using this service you can narrow your searching to specific niches and find who you are looking for, that way you can follow specific Tweeters and network your heart away.

5. TweetBeep – “TweetBeep is like Google Alerts for Twitter” TweetBeep is very simple, you signup for an account, confirm your email and set up alerts to be delivered to your email. Want to know whenever someone posts a job for a Java Dev? Set up and alert for that and you will be notified through email on a daily or hourly basis.

Tips 6 - 15

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Speaking of Gaming Job-Search Technology...

Speaking of gaming technology to make your resume look more impressive, here's a no-no for jobseekers: white-fonting.
Apparently this is a "thing" in the same way that SEO "experts" leaving nonsense keywords scattered at the bottom of a page is a "thing" and spammers quoting Proust is a "thing": it's a sneaky trick to get you past a robotic gatekeeper, but likely won't work on any human with half a brain.
Heather Huhman explains exactly what white fonting is: "when an applicant submits a resume via an applicant tracking system (ATS) that appears to be nicely formatted with a traditional black font; however, scattered in the margins of the document are keywords pertaining to the job and employer. In theory, white font applicants hope that those keywords will be enough to get their resume through to a second round of consideration."
The computer can read the "invisible" text, but humans can't, so it's a way to squeeze in more keywords.
This won't work for a number of reasons: first, if a recruiter scans your resume and doesn't see the keywords that her ATS swears are there, she'll probably conclude it's a bug and throw out your resume. If she doesn't conclude it's a bug and figures out that you've snuck invisible text in there...well, now you've just proven you're sneaky. Which may be a positive trait in some jobs, but most hiring managers want to see straight-shooters, not wily foxes.
"If a job seeker does not possess the necessary experience required to be able to honestly and visibly insert those key terms into the body of their resume," Carolyn Yencharis Corcoran, assistant director of the Insalaco Center for Career Development at Misericordia University, told Huhman, "then white fonting would probably not be an effective method of getting their resume noticed. Even worse, it could be perceived by a potential employer as unethical, aggressive and manipulative."
No kidding.
We're gonna say, don't try this at home.

Original Article

Career Coach: The power of 'thank you'

 One thing that has been bugging me lately is: What ever happened to common courtesy? Manners seem to have disappeared. And I'm not just talking about holding the door open for people, but just a simple thank-you when someone does something nice for you. The lack of manners got me wondering: How much of an impact does this have on how successful people are? I have always known and seen it documented that niceness wins in many difficult negotiations more than bullying does. Does being polite also help people in the job market and in their career success?
Think about this: When was the last time you wrote or received a handwritten note of thanks or even a thank-you e-mail? Just the other day, I was talking to a recruiter who told me that she received more than 3,000 applications for 200 teaching jobs and only one person took the time to send her a thank-you note for her assistance in the job search process. In addition, she said that many of the applicants actually called her back the same day they applied or within the next day to harass her about what she was doing about getting them a job. She was flabbergasted by their overly aggressive tone and style. You can imagine how that one person who sent a thank-you note stood out in that crowd. And that is not a unique story. I hear many more just like it.
Today, sending a thank-you has become a competitive advantage for job applicants or employees. It is so rare that it actually differentiates a person from the rest of the group. Some studies have found that more than 50 percent of people don't say thanks and few express any appreciation at all. Managers say that manners practiced inside a firm, especially thank-yous, reveal a lot about how a person might be treating customers outside of the firm, so to managers, manners are especially important.
The benefits of saying thank you (for those of you who need to know "what's in it for me") are that you stand out, you can strengthen your relationship with the other side, it motivates and reinforces the other party to continue to engage in the nice or helpful behavior and it sends a message about you (i.e., the quality of your upbringing) and/or your company (i.e., the professionalism of your firm).

Why don't people say thanks or express their appreciation? Maybe they received poor training or role modeling from their parents, teachers or families. Maybe with today's busy times, they are so busy (or self-absorbed) that they don't even think about anyone but themselves. Neglecting to thank others can reflect on your selfishness and might tell others that you think people should be doing those things for you. Maybe some people intend to thank others, but they are procrastinators. If enough time has gone by, they are embarrassed to send a late thank-you note. Or maybe they don't need to hear any appreciation themselves, so they figure no one else needs to hear it either.
One of the Hogan assessments that measure a person's underlying motives and values ( measures "recognition" as one of the values that might be important to people. I have coached many executives whose recognition score was low and since this value or motive was not important to them, they figured it was not important to anyone else. Generally, with these executives, their own staff rate them low in providing recognition or thanks to employees. In fact, some of the employees stated that they hadn't heard a thank-you from the boss in quite some time.
What are some suggestions for thanking others? The best thing you can do is to use a handwritten note of thanks and send it in the mail. This is so rare today that it really does stand out. If for some reason you cannot send a handwritten note, then at least send a thank-you via e-mail. In your note, be warm, personal and sincere. It is important not to use a sarcastic tone when thanking someone since a thank-you is supposed to build someone up. The timing of your thank-you is also important. You should respond to someone within 48 hours of receiving the assistance, gift, help, etc. Of course, in some situations you can thank the person immediately if you are together. If you are late, you should still send the note. It is better to send a note and apologize for being late in thanking the person than to never send any note at all.
So don't underestimate the power of saying thank you. Even though moving ahead in a firm is typically based on performance and results, how a person interacts with others is hard to overlook. Even the management guru Peter Drucker noted that "manners -- simple things like saying 'please' and 'thank you' enable two people to work together" while "bad manners rub people raw; they leave permanent scars." Likewise, Marshall Goldsmith writes in his book, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There," that one of the challenges for people is "failing to express gratitude -- the most basic form of bad manners." Thus, having manners and saying thank-you actually does make a difference to your success and to the lives of others around you. And with that, thank you for reading this column and sending me your thoughts.
Joyce E.A. Russell is the director of the Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Program at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business. She is a licensed industrial and organizational psychologist. She can be reached at

Original Article

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to Identify Industries That Are Hiring

If the economy has affected your employment prospects, consider applying your skills in a new industry. The health-care, high-tech, energy and life-sciences sectors of the economy continue to drive demand for professional and management talent, according to some recruitment-industry consultants.
But before leaping to another field, you’ll need to first identify the right industry and reposition yourself as a legitimate candidate.
Find an area that interests you. A hobby or personal interest may lead to your next career. For example, if you are in financial services and are a technology buff, consider looking at in-house finance positions at tech companies.
Learn the landscape. To assess opportunities, research the market for your functional areas of expertise and the relative health of any sector you might go into. Look beyond research on compensation and industry trends by educating yourself on how a company or industry runs and any pending legislation that may affect the employment outlook in a field. Review analyst reports, scour RSS feeds, and set up Google News Alerts by keyword once you’ve narrowed a field of interest.
Examine your experience. Identify transferable skills and value. It’s not uncommon for professionals to cross industries. In those cases, you’re hired not as an industry expert but as an innovative leader with potential. Try working with a career adviser to identify your strengths and figure out what differentiates you and what might put you above others with experience in your targeted field.
Develop a communications strategy. Create a core message that shows your value and identifies your point of differentiation. Use your resume, cover letter and networking sites such as LinkedIn to build visibility and credibility. To refine your message, consider, an interactive site that will help you create a summary statement.
Consider a recruitment agency. Some agencies will present clients with candidates who aren’t industry insiders. Many clients are willing to consider cross-over talent in industries where the demand for talent exceeds the supply. To find firms that work with “cross-over” talent, check out recruiter directories such as,, and
Be prepared for compensation adjustments. A change of industry may affect your bottom line; prepare your financial strategy in private and show that you can adjust. “Demonstrate that you are willing to put your own skin in the game,” says one recruiter.

Original WSJ Article