Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop Applying For Jobs And Get Tactical And Creative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get More Advice and Read the Complete Original Forbes Article

Friday, October 22, 2010

How to Get Better Online Job Search Results

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

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

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

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

1. Search by keyword

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

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

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

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

2. Combine keywords with Boolean search terms

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

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

The basics:

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

3. Try an advanced search

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

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

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

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

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

Original CB Article

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

20 Ways to Stay Motivated During Your Job Search

By Karen Burns

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

Tips 11 - 20

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Résumé writing 101: Keywords can make you stand out

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

5. Focus on job titles

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

4. Hone your job descriptions

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

3. Highlight performance

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

2. Showcase your skills

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

1. Use action verbs

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

Original CSM article

Monday, October 18, 2010

HOW TO: Use Twitter Hashtags to Boost Your Job Search

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

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

Thursday, October 14, 2010

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Benchmark Yourself

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

Tips 2 - 10

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

4 Questions YOU Need To Ask in an Interview

We all know that it's tough to break into Wall Street these days. It's hard enough to even land an interview. So when you get to the interview stage, you want to do everything you can to come away from it with an offer. To that end, prospective monkeys study their little monkey asses off (hopefully using WSO's excellent library of guides) to prepare for all the tricky questions interviewers might throw at them.

What you might be missing the boat on are the questions you should be asking the interviewer. Let's face it: the majority of us have been in interviews where we knew we weren't going to get the job because something didn't feel quite right or the interviewer made it clear through body language or something they said. The last thing any of us wants to hear an interviewer say at the end of the interview is, "Good luck with your job search." But you might be surprised to learn that a simple question from you has the potential to turn the interview around and get it back on track.

You really have nothing to lose by putting the interviewer on the spot if you think the interview is going sideways. It's always better to have the interviewer admit that you're not getting the job on the spot than to have him say, "We'll be in touch." Plus, a lot of banking interviewers are nerds, and it's fun to make them uncomfortable and watch them squirm when you know you're not going to get the job anyway.
The first question is the best in my opinion:

"Based upon this interview, what doubts, if any, do you have about my ability to do this job?"
That is going to require a fairly specific answer. If you're a moron and you've blown a bunch of easy questions, here is where you can expect to be told as much. Asking this question benefits you in a couple of ways. First, it gives you the opportunity to address perceived weaknesses right then and there. If you can prove that you know your shit and that you just might not have communicated that as well as you could have, you might be able to turn a no into a yes, or at least a maybe. Even if that doesn't work, though, you've still learned about a weakness you need to address in future interviews.

The other question I really love is:  Questions 2 - 4 and Original Article

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why I’m using Twitter to find a job

One thing I’ve consistently believed during my search for a new job is that it’s important to stand out from the crowd writes job-seeking blogger James Alexander.

For instance, it was recently reported on this blog about someone who actually made a nice little exhibition stand and used themselves as an exhibit to attract an employer into taking him on.
I think it’s also important to vary the ways in which one looks for a job now.

Whilst the job centre remains the biggest advertiser of new positions, there is a trend now for jobs to not only to be advertised online, but also via social media services such as Twitter.

Many people view Twitter as a banal exercise where people spend their lives telling the world what they had for breakfast and what they are watching on television, but companies are increasingly using it to advertise new roles.

For instance, one recruitment company I recently visited, Hart Recruitment have a twitter feed on which they advertise new roles that come in as they come in.

It would be nice if we lived in a pure meritocracy, but the fact is that we don’t.

I’ve noticed over time that there is truth to the maxim ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know.’
Social media has allowed me to network with people I might not necessarily have met in normal everyday life and I’m hoping via this network of contacts I might get recommended for a position that I may not have found out about otherwise.

Linkedin also looks to be a very useful site to advertise your skills to employers and other interested people and I’m hoping that by listing my details on there I may be contacted with regards to a new role.
Social media can of course be dangerous to a potential career and it makes sense to note that when using it in a professional capacity one has to be professional in their usage of it.

I’ve seen disaster stories online where people have lost jobs by slagging off their employer on Facebook only for said employer to read what they have said and I also know someone personally who has had to apologise on their Twitter feed for criticising the company they worked for.
Social media is a projection of yourself onto the virtual world and it’s important to potential candidates that they are seen in the best light possible.

I’m still in the early days of using social networking sites properly in order to enhance my job search, but the early signs are good – I have received more phone calls from recruiters in the past week than I have had in the month previously.

Already one or two have turned into fairly hot leads for a new role and I’m hoping my days of blogging about being unemployed may yet be numbered.

Read more:

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Power of Personality and Getting a Job

My economics seminar started on a surprising note this week when my professor said that “the most important things that college teaches you are outside your classes.”
This statement was followed by a brief discussion on the uncalculated value of a college education that comprises of our work in the classroom and personal growth outside of it. He reminded us of the importance of having personality, communication skills and most importantly, the ability to sell yourself.
Soon the conversation drifted back into economic theories, but I did take something out of this class that wasn’t scribbled in my notebook.

As I sat there smiling to myself, I recalled a pre-interview talk last year that focused on what employers look for in candidates. The lesson was that I wouldn’t be hired unless the employer was confident that he or she could stand to spend time with me if we were stranded in an airport together. And certainly we don’t have a Personality 101 class that could teach us that at Bates.
So, the reason my professor’s words struck a chord with me is that for the past few days, I’ve been struggling with identifying the strengths of my resume through endless considerations of the courses I have taken and the papers I have written. As I continue to scan job postings, I have been boxing myself in a mold—trying to fit into job details and restricting myself by my major. Now, I am trying to get out of that mold and look for opportunities that would require the academic training that I have and benefit from my personality as a whole.

The key to a comprehensive job search is to know that the skills we learn extend far beyond the credit hours we receive as college students and may qualify us for a wide range of opportunities. And by the time I graduate, these will be the strengths that separate me from the rest, right?
Of course we need to stay away from making generalizations about the entire job market. Certain academic qualifications will always take precedence, no matter how entertaining our personalities may be. But for now, I am feeling positive and a little more confident about how I should approach this job search and tackle upcoming interviews.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Junk Career Advice: 8 Red Flags That You're Reading Nonsense

By Jessica Stillman

Nearly everyone has seen a less than riveting news story and wondered exactly how slow a news day it was. When it comes to traditional media, we all know that if there isn’t anything earth-shattering to report, enterprising reporters will drum up stories about fall foliage, area honor students and the like. The internet is the same way, only with an even more insatiable appetite for content, and on some sites, even lower demands for quality.
The results are not always good for job seekers in search of sensible career advice. So how can you distinguish posts that genuinely aim to help from those that are just there to to fill space, spark controversy or generate clicks at any cost? Blog Work Coach Cafe offers eight red flags that the career advice you’re reading is nonsense:
  • Beware of ‘always’ and ‘never’ or any such absolutes that don’t take into account exceptions. If someone says always or never or gives you exact words to use, take that as a clue to put your own critical thinking into full gear.
  • Articles that say cover letters are dead. Sometimes online articles are more about disagreements between career “experts” (and of course generating site traffic) than anything you necessarily need to put into action.
  • Articles that say resumes are dead. Yup. They’re out there too –- under the guise of newfangled, state-of-the-art thinking. Don’t be fooled. This is pure hype aimed at getting you to read the article. Sure there are other ways –- most notably networking –- that can get you into an interview without a resume, but down the line there will most likely be someone -– even a protective HR department –- who will want to see a resume.
  • Articles that make creating a highly marketable brand THE answer to all your job search problems. It’s certainly good to know who you are and make sure your resume and cover letter market you well…and branding can help you do that. But let’s not get carried away.
  • Handy-dandy templates for cover letters or resumes or thank you letters. Guaranteed can’t-fail templates are great for increasing traffic to a website, but NOT a great way for you to stand out from the masses.
  • Sites that say you absolutely need a job objective – while other sites tell you job objectives are absolutely passé. Remember what I said about words like absolutely?
  • Telling you to hyper-load your resume with lots of key words and key phrases to maximize SEO possibilities rather than making sure your keywords are targeted to your specific needs and make sense for you. Hard to make your resume tell a story when it keeps popping out obviously placed keywords.
  • Giving you precise instructions for how you should interview and what you should say. There are career sites out there that give exact answers that sound so wooden, so scripted, they make me cringe. When it comes to the actual interview, speak as if you are in a conversation (which you are) and not a fourth grade recital.
Of course, Work Coach Cafe is a content producer (as is BNET) and like the content producers it criticizes has an incentive to stir up controversy. So take this particular site’s red flags with a grain of salt. Still, the post raises a good point. There is a lot of junk career advice out there. How do you sort the good stuff from the duds? And what are the dumbest career tips you’ve encountered online?
(Photo courtesy of Flickr user rvw, CC 2.0)

Original Article 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

WorkWise: What job seekers don't know about branding

The job-hunting process depletes a person's imagination. If you don't have a brand or your campaign is getting stale, look for a fresh approach to differentiate yourself. The knowledge that employers and recruiters match needs with applicant brands will help inspire you to sharpen what you have to offer in the marketplace.
Lethia Owens of Lethia Owens International Inc., in St. Peters, Mo., stresses that "a brand isn't what you say it is but what you show people. Don't (announce), 'I'm cutting-edge.' Demonstrate the abilities and share information that shows you're credible."


How do you identify your brand if it isn't already clear to you? Janice Ellig, co-CEO of New York City's retained search firm Chadick Ellig Inc., shares her secret. "Think about what people have said about you," she says. "Listening to those who've given us feedback and advised us in our current careers tells us a story about our strengths. The strengths become your brand, certainly your selling point, what differentiates you. Look to companies that might be really interested in what you bring which might be different from where they've been."
Owens recommends being strategic. This means, in part, selling benefits. It also means, as Ellig suggests, "Don't try to sell yourself from a position of weakness. Sell yourself from a position of strength." Appealing to every employer can sabotage a job search.


Owens continues with the need to "craft the message with language that paints that picture. Imagine you're painting a picture using words, those that help build the image of the type of brand identity you want, that you read periodicals, do community-based networking and attend professional organizations related to your industry or field. Mention recent updates of news you've discovered. Demonstrate by talking about what interests you and what you're doing. Brush strokes paint the picture."
How do employers use branding? Owens conducted behavioral interviews for an IT company hiring people full-time and on contract. "I was responsible for matching the gifts and talents of employees with opportunities within the organization," she explains, "which required evaluating the personal brand and capabilities to assure proper fit." She was looking for similarities between what a company needed and a candidate offered and now specializes in brand development as an advancement method for job seekers and people on the job.
Not everyone uses brands in the recruitment process. Not everyone thinks that brands apply. Mike Purcell, vice president of HR at Ambius, a global business interiors company headquartered in Buffalo Grove, Ill., speaks from the perspective of hiring senior managers. "I don't think people walk in thinking about what their brand is but the kind of organizational culture they've come from," he says. "In my experience, 'brand' is not a highly-used word in the interview process. In the general work world, 'culture' has universal application. It's like vanilla. When you throw out 'culture,' everyone immediately knows what you're talking about. Brand and culture right now are not synonymous in my view."
You have to decide whether you want to think in terms of branding. You can certainly apply the concept of your compelling story as you market yourself, but never mention the word.
Dr. Mildred Culp welcomes your questions at © 2010 Passage Media.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Will I get a job through LinkedIn? Five tips on finding a job through social networking.

by Suzy Griffin Community Manager on October 4, 2010
If you are currently unemployed, a freelancer, self-employed or just interested in ways to boost your income, the chances are you are always on the look out for new job opportunities.  So are you wasting your time on social networking sites or can you really increase your chances of landing a great job on sites like LinkedIn?
Michael Hickerson quotes findings from the Nielson report in his article, ‘Time Spent On Social Networking Sites Is Rising’, Americans spend nearly a quarter of the time they’re on the Internet from their PC on social-networking sites and blogs.  That’s a significant gain over the average time spent on sites from the study last year…  If you’re keen to make some money out of all this time spent on social networking sites here’s a few things you should keep in mind.

1. Connect – In’s article ‘How to Use LinkedIn to Get a Job’  by Gregory Go, we’re told,  You can use LinkedIn as a resume, a virtual rolodex of networking contacts or as a way to meet others in your industry.  Storing contacts and introducing yourself to others by inviting them to connect is a good way of bulking up your online rolodex, but if you’re keen to grow your earnings immediately this is quite a passive approach.

2.  The inside track – Guy Kawasaki advises a more aggressive approach to using LinkedIn in his post ‘Ten Ways To Use LinkedIn To Find A Job’, Job listings rarely spell out entirely or exactly what a hiring manager is seeking.  Find a connection at the company who can get the inside scoop on what really matters for the job. This approach could work really well if you can find a genuine connection to someone in the company, but contacting somebody in a company that you are not really connected to for this kind of information may be ineffective.

3. Recommendations – LinkedIn offers this service.  Alison Doyle advises it in her post ‘LinkedIn And Your Job Search’, Recommendations from people you have worked with carry a lot of weight. Quotes endorsing your ability can give you a degree of credibility, but such endorsements may be met with a level of scepticism.

4. Detail – It’s really important that you include plenty of detail about exactly what your area of expertise is.  This includes all your qualifications, experience, etc.  Why not show off how much you can do as opposed to how little?

5. Friends – Thanks to the world of online social networking we’ve got ready-made circles of friends online just waiting to be used to our advantage!  As we all know, people prefer to do business with people they know - you can use Weedle to connect with people who need your skill through your trusted network of contacts which is already established through sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Original Article

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Three Guerrilla Job Search Q & A

If you're like most people looking for work, times are tough. So why be like most people? If the things most people do to find a job do not work, why do those things?

Over the past few weeks, I've received dozens of questions from job seekers around America.
Yes, if you're like most people looking for work, times are tough.
So … why be like most people?
Think about it. If the things most people do to find a job don't work, why do those things?
The best advice I can give any job seeker anywhere is simply this: Look at what most people are doing to find a job. Then consider doing the opposite.
That's Guerrilla Job Hunting in a nutshell.
Now, having said that, here are my answers to three job-search questions with broad appeal.
How many apply to you and your job search?

Question #1: "I had to close my business and look for a job. What can I do with my skills?"
Answer: Here's a tip: Use one of the major employment web sites to generate ideas for you.  Example: I went to a monstrously big job board and searched for these three skills: writing + training + German. This brought back 11 job openings nationwide, including German Help Desk Analyst, Customer Service Associate, and Web Editor/Writer.
This brainstorming exercise can help you select potential jobs to go after next, no matter what job you had before. You can then approach people in your network with a focused list of job titles, making it more likely they can help you find something.

Question #2: "How can I improve my networking? I've been networking for months, but it hasn't produced a job."
Answer: First of all, I dislike the term networking because it's freighted with unpleasant connotations for so many people who have had slow results -- or no results -- doing it.
Here's a thought experiment: Forget everything you know about networking. In fact, stop networking altogether for a week.
Instead, start helping other people get what they want. Give freely of your information, personal contacts, expertise, knowledge, time, etc.
Example: Pick 10 people you know who are connected to people you'd like to meet. Spend an afternoon researching the needs of these "top 10" contacts. You can even call them and ask, "What would help you do your job better?" Then make a plan to help them get what they want.
When you focus on helping others, your ego is removed from the equation, which makes you less self-conscious and more relaxed. That's because, while not everyone is a natural networker, everyone can help another person. Done right, that's what networking actually is -- helping other people so much that they're happy to take your calls and send you job leads.

Question #3: "How can I stand out in today's hyper-crowded job market?"
Answer: Try unconventional, "guerrilla" job search methods to get the attention of employers.  Here are three examples of tactics used by creative job seekers to land job interviews ...
"One Michigan man mailed cover letters with two aspirins taped atop each. His opening sentence: "Your customer service headaches are over!" This message resonated with employers, who called to interview him.
"A Las Vegas man mailed a paperweight and cover letter to an employer in California. The paperweight was a miniature of the "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign. His cover letter began: "Not everyone who lives in Vegas wants to stay in Vegas," playing off the famous slogan, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." As a result, he was flown to a job interview.
"One aspiring assistant basketball coach mailed the right hand from a store mannequin to the coach he wanted to work for. Rolled up and gripped in the hand was his cover letter, which began: "I can be your right hand man." He was hired.
Do any of these methods strike you as gimmicky or too offbeat to work in your industry? Fine. Don't believe me.
Try mailing something unusual along with your resume and cover letter to three companies you have no intention of working for, to test these ideas for yourself.
Despite being carpet-bombed by bad news on a daily basis, you can find a job in this economy, if you're willing to try new things that take you out of your comfort zone.
You may feel comfortable zapping out resumes by email or applying for jobs online in your sweats. But how's that working for you?
Kevin Donlin is contributing co-author of "Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0." Since 1996, he has provided job-search help to more than 20,000 people. For a free Guerrilla Job Search audio CD, visit

Original Star Tribune Article

Monday, October 4, 2010

10 Most Asked Job Interview Questions and Great Answers

After each interview question there is a concern or an additional question. Your responsibility is to process the inquiry thinking about what the interviewer’s concern might be. In other words, why is the interviewer asking you this question?
Q1 – How long have you been looking for a job? (Concern – is there something wrong with you that other employers have picked up?)
A1 – “After I was let go from my previous job, I took the break to take a little time to assess my career goals and where I was going with my life. I have just begun my search in the previous few weeks. I have a definite objective in mind and have been selective concerning the positions I contemplate. Your business and this situation are of significant interest to me.”
Q2 – How did you get ready for this career job interview? (Concern – are you interested enough to do a little research, or are you planning to “wing it”?)
A2 – “When I found this position posted on the net ( I was instantaneously attracted. I checked out the company site as well as the mission statement, looked at the bios of company founders and executives, and was impressed. After I had the job interview appointment, I talked with associates and acquaintances in the industry. Also, I’m sure I’ll find a lot more during today’s meetings.”
Q3 – What is your salary expectation for this job? (Concern – Can we manage to pay for you? Can we get you for less than budgeted?)
A3 – “I’ll want more information with reference to the job as well as the responsibilities involved before discussing salary. Can you provide me an idea of the range budgeted intended for this position?”
Q4 – How do you keep current and knowledgeable about your job and the industries that you have worked in? (Concern – Once you get the job do you continue to learn and develop – stay challenged and motivated?)
A4 – “I pride myself on my ability to stay on top of what is happening in my trade. I do a lot of reading – the business section of the newspapers and magazines. I belong to a couple of professional organizations and network with colleagues at the conferences. I take classes and seminars whenever they are of importance, or offer fresh information or technology.”
Q5 – Tell me about a time when you had to set up and coordinate a project from start to end. (Concern – behavioral questions – looking for an instance of certain past behavior)
A5 – ” I headed up a project which involved client service personnel and technicians. I organized a meeting to get everybody together to brainstorm and get his or her input. From this business meeting I drew up a design, taking the best of the ideas. I prepared groups, balancing the mixture of specialized and non-technical people. We had a deadline to meet, so I did periodic checks with the groups. After three weeks, we ended up exceeding expectations, and were able to begin implementation of the strategy. It was a enormous team effort, and a huge achievement. I was commended by management on behalf of my leadership, but I was most proud of the team determination and cooperation which it took to pull it off.”

Questions 6 - 10 and Original Article
Carole Martin is a celebrated author, trainer, and counselor. Carole can offer you interviewing ideas like no one else can. Pick up a copy of her FREE trial of Interview Questions and Answers by visiting Carole on the web