Friday, August 31, 2012

12 IT Certifications That Deliver Career Advancement

By Richard Hein                   

Certifications play an important part of any IT professional's career, although there will always be some debate on how important. Certifications are, like most things in life: The more you put into them, the more you will get out. While the actual knowledge you gain on the journey is the true reward, certifications also indicate to employers that you take your job seriously and that you are knowledgeable on the respective technology.

With more than 1,700 professional IT certifications running the gamut of IT technologies, knowing which certifications are the most important for your specialty can seem an insurmountable task. To help you meet the challenge, we've sifted through data from Robert Half Technology to narrow your search and bring you a manageable list of the most relevant IT certifications for the remainder of 2012., citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, reports that Q2 2012 jobless rate for IT techs is at 3.6 percent, much lower than our national average. In a competitive market, you've got to do everything you can to distinguish yourself from your peers. Certification is an important part of that process. A recent poll asked users why they chose certification. The number one answer--at 51 percent--was that certification was a way to position themselves for a promotion or potential job.

Knowing Which IT Certification Is Right

Before you jump into a specific certification, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself about your career goals and objectives:

  • What demographic of IT do you fall into? (Security, Web Development, Programmer and so on)
  • What are your career objectives?
  • What IT career are you most interested in?
  • What type of resources are needed (i.e. money and time)?
  • Will this certification have a significant impact on my career?
Taking the time to think about and document your response to these questions can help solidify your future goals and narrow your list of potential certifications further.

Tip: Once you've identified a role you'd like to advance to, look through Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder and other sites for those positions and see what IT certifications employers are looking for. You may find that on-the-job experience is what employers are searching for in one area of your expertise, so it would be logical to invest your time and money into certification in a different area to further your career goals.

Bonus Tip: You'll find a must-have utility for your IT certification toolbox at GoCertify. The Certification Advisor allows you to plug in your area of expertise, skill level, career goals and more to generate a list of recommended certifications.

If your area of expertise is related to a listed certification's focus and you don't have that certification, you will definitely want to delve into it further. Now without further ado, here are our Top 12 IT Certifications.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Completing the Project Management Professional certification shows employers that you have the necessary skills and resources to get the project done from start to finish, on time and on budget. It's never been more relevant than in today's IT industry where we all have multiple responsibilities. Average salary: $101,000.

2. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)

CISSP is a vendor neutral security certification. People who hold this certification have the skills and knowledge to complete high-level tasks involving architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments.
If you keep up with the news, you've seen all the latest security breaches at Sony, LinkedIn and many others; security is at the top of everyone's list today. To punctuate that the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide reported that 24 percent of the 1,600 polled CIO's stated security as their top concern. The amount of data companies now store can be mind boggling. Breaches cost money, man power and many times credibility. As threats continue to escalate, so will the demand for professionals who can find security holes and ward off the attacking hordes. Average salary: $97,000.

3. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

RHCE is a Linux Red Hat Entperprise Linux certification and demonstrates that the holder has the skills and knowledge to perform the duties of senior system administrator, responsible for Red Hat systems. Deployments and migrations are second nature to an RHCE.
Linux continues to be adopted by more and more companies in an effort to decrease operating costs. Demand is outpacing supply making this one of the hottest Linux certifications. Note: In order to be eligible for this certification you must receive your RHCSA certification. Average salary: $90,000.

4. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VCP VMware's first level of certification that focuses squarely on the vSphere virtualization platform. Recipients should have the skills to install, deploy, scale and manage vSphere environments, as well as general virtualization skills.
Virtualization is more popular than ever in today's IT world and with cloud computing-based virtualization becoming more and more common this is sure to be a skillset that will be in demand for the next few years. Average salary: $95,000.

Certifications 5-12 and complete CIO article

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Little Bird Told Me — How to Use Twitter in Your Job Search

By Ritika Trikha

We took a Bliss Poll recently asking our CareerBliss community “Do you use Twitter as part of your job search?”

Of the more than 500 people who have taken the poll, nearly half said “I have no idea how to use Twitter for job searching,” and 41 percent said “No, Twitter is totally useless in my job search.”
OK, OK — we understand why skeptics might raise an eyebrow and roll their eyes at using the same forum as hey-look-at-me celebrities – like Kim Kardashian — who share an obscene number of self-portraits.

But Twitter is so much more than that. (And you don’t have to follow Kim Kardashian.)
“Twitter is one of the most powerful conversational networking platforms out there that make it easy for individuals to keep track of others within the industry, employers, and industry news publications,” says Jonathan Nafarrete, director of social outreach at BLITZ Agency.
Here’s how you can use Twitter as a job searching tool:

1. Find Relevant, Helpful Tweeps
Professionals at the top of your field are Tweeting cool, valuable information right now—and you’re missing it! The easiest way to scope out credible people that are most relevant to you is by searching similar job titles and industries. So, if you’re looking for a finance job, search “finance.” Then, on the left hand side, click “people” to find everyone who has listed “finance” in their bio.
After you add your favorite folks, take a look at who they’re following to get leads on more interesting people. Also, check out 10 Career Experts You Need to Follow on Twitter & 10 Internship Experts to Follow on Twitter to fill your feed with valuable career advice. Oh and @CareerBliss, of course!

2. Use Hashtags to Find What You Need
It’s not about simply adding a #hashtag #to #everything #you #type. It’s about using hashtags that are actually searched a lot. Here are some job searching hashtags that can pull up valuable information for any job seeker:

3. Jump into a Twitter Chat
Since everything happens in real-time, Twitter is a great way to conduct live conversations with people you might never be able to otherwise. Twitter Chats are a live, Q&A session that typically discuss specific niche, industry issues.
There are Twitter Chats for just about everything under the sun: From career advice to project management.
Try to Google and look for Twitter chats that are relevant to your area of expertise. Usually, one moderator asks questions (Q1, Q2, Q3) and any Tweeps can answer (A1, A2, A3). It’s usually an hour-long discussion once a week. Check out 4 Twitter Chats Every Job Seeker Should Know.

Tips 4,5, and complete CareerBliss artcle

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

5 Essential Tips To Make Your Social Profiles Resume-Ready

No matter your state of employment, even when you’re not actively in search of a job, your resume needs to stay in tip-top shape. That resume isn’t just on paper, it’s online too — because companies are increasingly more likely to peruse your profiles, your social media accounts are the true first impression.

Whether you’re content in your current position or the owner of your own business, having an accurate and professional social presence will allow you to develop your brand, get the attention of prospective employers and clients, and maintain your reputation within your industry. Here’s how to do so:

  • Nail your bio. Do you know how to describe who you are and what you do in 140 characters or less? That’s what Twitter asks of you. Utilize keywords, get to the root of what you do, demonstrate your passion and area of expertise, and express how you provide value. From the witty to the informative, make sure you’re standing out and showcasing your personality. On LinkedIn, your professional headline is just as important to your personal branding. Make sure that it says more than just your current job title; express your full competency.
  • Regularly update vital information. If your Twitter bio hasn’t changed since you created your account two years ago, or you haven’t looked at your LinkedIn profile since college, it may be time to refresh. You don’t have to constantly update the answer to Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?” — nor should you — but you should make sure you’re staying on top of life changes, keeping job descriptions current and sharing relevant content. Check in on your social networking accounts periodically to take a pulse on how they’re reflecting you as a professional and as a personal brand. You might want to use a tool like Reppler to help evaluate your social presence under a professional lens.
  • Shamelessly post and pin. It does you no good to shy away from sharing your work online. Pin your resume. Post your portfolio on your Tumblr. Don’t miss an opportunity to flaunt your skills, interests, or point of view. Potential clients, employers, and industry experts are on the lookout for new talent and thought leaders.

  • Tips 4-5 and Complete Forbes Article

    Tuesday, August 28, 2012

    4 Questions Great Candidates Ask

    Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, "Do you have any questions for me?" is almost always a waste of time.

    Thought so.

    The problem is most candidates don't actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking "smart" questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.

    Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they're evaluating you, your company--and whether they really want to work for you.

    Here are five questions great candidates ask:

    What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
    Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don't want to spend weeks or months "getting to know the organization."
    They want to make a difference--right away.

    What are the common attributes of your top performers?
    Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.
    Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it's a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.
    Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

    What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
    Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)

    In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings... but what you really want is for HR to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.

    You need your service techs to perform effective repairs... but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits--in short, to generate additional sales.

    Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

    Questions 4,5, and complete Inc. article

    Monday, August 27, 2012

    Your Attitude is Key to Your Job Search


    It’s the one thing out of the entire process you can control. That’s what makes your attitude vitally important in the job search. You can’t control when someone is going to call you back, or if the person liked you, or what the economy is going to do, but you can control your attitude and how you conduct yourself throughout the process.

    Battling Depression

    The job search process inherently comes with ups and downs — moments of excitement and anticipation blended with feeling defeated and beaten down. It’s crucial that job seekers keep the negativity of the process from affecting their attitudes. If negativity starts seeping in and you feel defeated and hopeless, the hiring manager will see and sense the baggage, and will likely pass. They want someone who is positive and upbeat; someone who says, “Give me the ball and let me run through the line.”

    While you’re in job search mode, think about the way you ask for help, whether it’s from friends, work acquaintances or potential employers. Stay away from, “I know you don’t have time for me …” and instead say, “I have a lot to offer and would love to be able to share what I know and what I can do.” If you are sitting in the room anticipating the end of the play before the first act, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even when you’re frustrated, you can ensure it doesn’t come off as a liability — that’s when you pump yourself up, keeping yourself from going down the negative road.

    Your Attitude Can Persuade Your Potential Employer

    Conversely, a great attitude can make you stand out from all the candidates for a job opening. If you want to impress your potential employer, think carefully about the possible things going on in his or her work life that cause stress and anxiety. Talk about how you can go into that job and make things easier and better for the manager. Think, “I’m here to lighten your burden and load.”
    Accentuate your value at all times. Talk about demonstrated skill sets, not just, “I’m a good guy.” Instead, “I’m a good manager of people, I’m a good problem solver, I’ve been ahead of quota every year.” And in talking about past jobs, never criticize anything or anyone. Maybe you were let go, and that is emotional. But that shouldn’t bleed into your presentation — it’s negativity that the hiring manager doesn’t want to deal with. Your attitude and story need to always come across with positivity and confidence.
    How do you impress a hiring manger with your attitude? Here’s a few phrases that can be used as mantras as you navigate the job search. You might try repeating these to yourself if you become frustrated, or perhaps write some of your own that are personal to you.

    Read the phrases and the complete Mashable article

    Dave Sanford is the Executive Vice President, Client Relations at Winter, Wyman. Dave has been helping clients as they set their recruiting and hiring strategy for over twenty years. To learn more about Dave and how to leverage Winter, Wyman for your business visit

    Friday, August 24, 2012

    20 Tips To Be A Job Hunt Ace

    Finding for a new job takes time, patience, energy, focus, and more. Devote yourself to your success, and you will be unstoppable.

    Follow these tips to become a Job Hunt Ace.

    1: Know what you're looking for.

    2: Focus your efforts on what you want.

    3: Set goals, and create a plan.

    4: Make weekly and daily to-do lists.

    5: Get feedback on your resume, cover letter, portfolio, work samples, etc.

    6: Update your LinkedIn profile, join groups, and follow relevant people and companies on Twitter.

    7: Hunt -- actively search -- for job opportunities.

    8: Apply to relevant, posted positions.

    9: Reach out to organizations without vacant job posts.

    I bolded #8 as I see a lot of people apply to jobs that are not relevant.  They were an inventory counter for The Juice Stand and they applied for a Manger position at a store that does $25 million+ a year in sales, or they applied to Director of Worldwide logistics.  Doing this will make it look like the candidate is not aware of the scope of the jobs that they have applied for and will make it harder for them to be considered for the openings that could be a match.

    Thursday, August 23, 2012

    13 Tips To Secure a Job Interview: A Baker's Dozen for Today's Job Seeker

    Begin with Character and Integrity.

    Unethical behavior is alive and well. In my own case, as a recruiter or hiring manager, I have witnessed deplorable behavior and practices by those senior to me, those who should have known better or didn't really care. We, as individuals, must look within ourselves and follow leaders with a proven track record and either pattern ourselves after them or build our own ethical blueprint -- one that becomes clearly evident by our own actions, by the reputation we build over time, and by the questions we ask and those we answer truthfully, as well as our own experiences and how we represent or share them.

    Ethics and proving character can be a difficult hurdle when it comes to securing job interviews, let alone a new job. I have been a recruiter for years and have been lucky enough to work for several organizations that put character first. I have never invited any jobseeker in for an onsite interview until I was able to determine some semblance of "character" during a phone interview or as the result of a personal referral. If a candidate, initially, doesn't fit in with the culture of the company during this early stage of the hiring process, chances are they never will. And if it can be ascertained that the applicant is even the slightest bit sycophantic, they will never pass an interview with the hiring manager or a direct supervisor. 

    Over the years, I have compiled a list of tips to aid jobseekers in showing their best face, letting the light of their character shine through loud and clear. It is my hope that with this modest list, a general understanding of how a recruiter or hiring manager thinks will result.

    1. Your IEI Quotient. Whenever possible, indicate on your resumé that you hold three vitally important characteristics: Intelligence, Energy and Integrity. Employers seek these in every applicant, Every. Single. One. These three qualities show hire-ability. Simply add an instance which demonstrates your IEI under your most recent job or project -- this could even be a school-based project for new jobseekers and recent grads

    2. An LOR. Include a Letter of Recommendation with your cover letter from a previous colleague or supervisor that simply attests to your possession of the above three qualities. Should a previous employer indicate they would hire you again, if given the opportunity? All the better.

    3. Establish Your Interest. If you are invited in for an on-site, face-to-face interview, prove your intelligence and interest with a strong understanding of the position and the company, itself. Do the online research necessary, make some calls to contacts or past employees who may have valuable insight or could directly refer you.

    4. Résumé Review. PLEASE have your resumé reviewed by a recruiter and several friends who will give you the critical feedback you need -- maybe there is something key missing or misrepresented that you are just too close to see.

    5. Make it Pop. This you should know: A good recruiter will be able to ascertain within the first 10-15 seconds of opening your resumé or application whether or not you will even get a call or second look. Make something stand out at the top of the resumé or within the first paragraph of your cover letter.

    6. Avoid Buzz Words. Be very careful when using cliché buzz words of the day -- thought leader, expert, guru, etc. -- these are an instant turn-off to most recruiters and most recruiters will stop reading and immediately dismiss your application/ resumé.

    Wednesday, August 22, 2012

    10 Tips for Job Seekers in the Digital Era


    What does it take to land your dream job? In this digital era, job candidates have a plethora of tools at their disposal to help them ace the interview, including advice websites, FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.
    But how exactly should someone use these to their advantage? Here are ten tips for landing the gig of your dreams.

    1. Research, Research, Research

    A likely first question any interviewer will ask is, “what does our company do?” This seems like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised at the number of people that have no clue. If you’re not prepared to discuss the company, they probably don’t want you.
    Take the time to know the company inside and out. Research what they do, follow their social-media pages, and understand the industry and the competitors. Basically, have the company’s elevator pitch down pat. To be safe, practice it on a friend.

    2. Connect Before the Interview

    As you’re researching the company on their social media pages make sure to like some of their posts, leave a comment or two, and re-tweet what you find interesting. The reality is that you never know who might be watching. Many recruiters prefer finding talent via Facebook and LinkedIn rather than through a job site like Monster.
    Does the company sponsor or organize any events? If so, show up at some of them and meet the representatives from the company. They can serve as a good “in” to the people who are hiring. If possible, connect with this person on LinkedIn afterwards.

    3. Build Your Social Presence

    Are you popular in the social sphere? Do you blog, Yelp, and have a ton of friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter? If so, great. You want to continue to build your social presence. If you haven’t flexed your social muscles yet, then you better get going! This is a critical way that recruiters assess how passionate you are about digital.

    4. Be Prepared

    Find out how the interview will be structured and plan accordingly. Determine who your interviewers will be, find out as much about them as possible, and then impress them with your knowledge.
    Also, make sure you ask questions. Questions that haven’t been thought through very well leave a bad impression. Write questions down ahead of time and be precise, but don’t overdo it.
    Another big item is the company’s dress code. Check out their Facebook page, look for photos in the news. People want to see how you assimilate into a culture. That said, always dress one step up from the code.

    5. Arrive Early

    Arrive at least fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled start time. The interviewers are scheduling their days around you so be ready to go. If you are going to be late, it better be for an excellent reason. Call and let the person who is waiting for you know.

    Tuesday, August 21, 2012

    Your Post-50 Job Search: An Argument for Optimism

    The statistics can be frightening for older job applicants: lengthy search times, limited opportunities, and the unspoken but ever-present reality of age discrimination. So give these unfortunate conditions, how could optimism possibly play a role in one's job search? Actually, it does, and this role is a major one. In fact, an optimistic, positive attitude is perhaps the greatest factor that will determine your chances for success.

    Anger, resentment and depression -- understandable as these feelings may be -- are a giant turn off to networking contacts and, more importantly, to potential employers. In fact, I can pretty much predict which job seekers will find work and which ones won't, solely based on the attitudes they express. For those who believe they can't and won't find a job simply because of their age -- they're right. This negativity will show and eliminate them from the candidate pool.

    Therefore, how can you be realistic about the ups and downs of a job search today, yet maintain a positive outlook as you move forward? Here are four tips that will help you do just that:

    #1 Take care of your physical health. A job search takes vigor and stamina, plus you'll need to make a positive impression at every opportunity -- and that takes energy. Older applicants have to work even harder at this. So make certain to exercise regularly, get sufficient sleep, eat nourishing foods and keep to your general routine as much as possible.

    #2 Refresh your skill sets. In my latest post, I listed several low-fee and free sites where you can update your technical skills. Many libraries also offer sites such as Universal Class where you can take a number of classes for free by just entering your library card number. Also check out local community colleges, adult education and community centers for low-fee classes in areas that are of interest to you and which will support your career direction.

    Then create a list of the skills you bring in each of the three skill areas:

    • Your knowledge-based skills -- those that relate specifically to your line of work, including any training or formal education you've had.

    • Your personal traits and strengths -- the qualities that represent your added value as a unique individual.

    • Your transferable skills -- your broad-based skills (such as organizing and coordinating) that will transfer from one arena to another.

    Also write out several examples of how you've used these skills to make a difference: saved time or money, increased profits, turned around a disgruntled client, etc. And remember that mature applicants generally bring greater proficiency in such skill areas as people management, problem solving, leadership and decision-making skills.

    Such examples require thought and effort because you'll be drawing on these statements throughout your resume, while networking, and during your job interviews. Therefore you'll want to constantly refine and add to your list of accomplishments. And better yet, you'll find that focusing on the skills you've mastered and the contributions you've made will prove an ego-boosting activity that will help you maintain a positive outlook.

    Tips 3, 4, and job sites specific to 50+

    Monday, August 20, 2012

    Crazy Social Media Recruitment Techniques: Do They Work?

    At one time, social media recruiting was a new and daring phenomenon. Now, at least 90 percent of recruiters use social media in the hiring process to find great candidates.

    Some companies have even taken social recruiting out on a limb. Instead of using the social platform merely to engage with talent and promote openings, these companies are coming up with some truly out-of-the-box ways to attract talent.

    Using skills-based contests to evaluate candidates might be smart, even if it comes in an unconventional package. As noted in a recent Forbes piece, a study by the University of California, Berkeley found that knowledge doubles every two years, and sometimes even every six months. The qualifications on your candidate’s resume might not be as impressive as their current knowledge is today, and contests could help you find a great hidden gem.

    But the question remains: how effective are these creative social media recruitment techniques? Can you really find a great candidate from playing a video game, watching a video, or drawing a picture?
    Here are some new ways companies have utilized social media to hire and whether these ideas are genius or madness.

    Playing video games

    You might have heard about watching video resumes to scout talent, but how about using a very different form of video to test candidates?

    It might not seem like a video game could tell you all that much about a job applicant, but Israeli company Saatchi & Saatchi would disagree. The company uploaded a video on YouTube asking interested applicants to fire up popular PC game Diablo 3. Applicants would spend a half hour playing the game with the company’s CEO, showing off their creative skills and ability to cooperate.

    Takeaway: For a programming job, asking applicants to play against the CEO for an interview opportunity is an interesting idea. The company is clearly looking for a creative, plugged-in applicant. However, limiting the search only to those interested or knowledgeable in one particular gaming platform means the company is potentially losing out on a whole host of other talented candidates.

    Want an internship? Draw something

    If you’ve wasted hours playing the picture game Draw Something on your iPhone, you might be in luck.

    Muse, an advertising agency in Amsterdam, decided to use Draw Something to find what they called “drawesome” interns. Intern candidates would log on to the social gaming service and send their best creative drawing to the company. Then the candidates with the agencies favorite drawings would have a chance at nabbing an internship.

    Takeaway: The logic behind this interesting application technique is that clear messages are vital to successful advertising. Whether a candidate is drawing a picture of a pony or Justin Bieber, it’s important they can convey their message both creatively and clearly.
    It also helps determine whether or not a candidate would be a good fit for company culture. Despite the fun premise, however, drawing skills don’t tell you much about a candidate’s technical abilities or communication skills. It’s an interesting first step when hiring for a creative position, but a traditional resume or LinkedIn profile will still be necessary.

    Blogging for the job - Read more on Blogging for the job and the complete article

    Friday, August 17, 2012

    10 Ways To Brand Yourself As A Desperate Job Seeker

    by Phil Rosenberg

    Are you giving others the impression that you’re in job search desperation?
    Appearing as though you are desperate for a job (especially if you really are desperate) is a sure way to turn off most employers and recruiters.

    Hiring managers, recruiters, and HR reps can smell desperation a mile away and are repelled by the scent of desperate measures.
    Why do employers find desperation so distasteful?
    Remember that employers see an average 1,000 applicants for each job advertised today – so they have a wide universe of candidates to choose from. Human beings tend to want what we can’t have, much more than what is easily attainable – and this applies to hiring decisions. Employers are far more likely to want a candidate who is in high demand, over a candidate who is desperate for a job (exception: some employers “bottom feed”, looking for workers who will accept below-market wages due to desperation).

    Of course you don’t intend to appear desperate. But many commonly used job search tactics brand you as a desperate job seeker and you probably don’t realize it.

    Here are 10 ways you may unknowingly brand yourself as desperate:

    1. Email your resume to everyone on your contact list: While this is a common suggestion made by career advisers, emailing your resume to everyone you know makes you look desperate. Even worse, due to employee referral bonus programs, nearly all resumes you send to your contact list end up in the same place as if you applied online (see

    2. Create a resume that says you can do anything: Resumes that tell the reader you can do anything aren’t effective today. While these types of resumes had limited effectiveness during candidate shortages, they are no longer effective as Applicant Tracking Systems increase ability to micro-target skill sets and due to current job shortages. The “I can do anything resume” might work when employers are desperate for candidates, but when they aren’t in desperation mode … it’s you that looks desperate.

    3. Ask “Do you know anyone that’s hiring for ____”: This is another common tactic that may have been more effective in times of candidate shortages, but ineffective today. Worse, you make yourself look like you are so desperate that you’ll work for any employer. Not only do you risk alienating your contacts, but you brand yourself as desperate.

    4. Brand yourself as a commodity: Your resume, your Linkedin profile, your online/social media presence, Google, and what you say all create your personal brand. When you manage your personal brand well, you create a first impression that helps your job search. Unfortunately, most of you either don’t manage your personal brand or are ineffective in managing your brand. Most resumes I see brand you as a commodity – someone who is merely qualified to do the job (along with hundreds of other applicants who are qualified).

    5. When you have thousands of competitors on average for each job, being qualified isn’t enough. Worse, when employers decide between many candidates who all look the same (like commodities) they tend to focus on the less important things that create differences (things like age, employment status, gaps, “bounciness”, geography) as reasons to disqualify qualified candidates. If you’re experiencing problems with any of these areas, one part of the solution is to stop branding yourself as a commodity.
    6. Adopt the attitude “I’ll do anything, just give me a chance”: Few things scream desperation than when you adopt this attitude. It shows desperation because it’s a desperate belief at its core. Exception: If you’re still in school and are looking for your first part time job, this can be ok – because you really don’t know how you can help solve employer problems yet.

    Thursday, August 16, 2012

    Three Things I Learned From My First Online Job Application

    Kerry Hannon

    I applied for a job this week–online.
    In full-disclosure, it wasn’t for myself. If you’ve been reading Second Verseregularly, you’ll have discovered in my column 10 Things to Do When You Lose Your Job that my husband’s documentary unit was whacked at CNN, and he’s snooping around for a potential  full-time gig to replace it.
    Last week, he did start at a temporary contract job. Pay is good. Work is challenging. Hurray for freelance.
    As I wrote a while back in this column, Why Temporary Work is Worth It, I’m a huge fan of contract work when you’re in between full-time positions. You might even discover, as I did, that it’s exactly what’s best for your temperament and desire for flexibility in your work schedule.
    But I digress. A broadcast job popped up on myLinkedIn page as a job I might be interested in. Well, not me, but I thought it might be a cool one for my husband. It was a slightly new direction, but certainly one he had the chops for. Plus, it involved traveling to shoots to direct and supervise, something he loves to do.
    He shrugged when I mentioned it to him, but the employer is a big player in the media industry, so I told him I was going to apply for the job for him. I had a copy of his current resume on my computer’s desktop, and I knew a little bit after 20 years ofmarriage, about his background.
    I had never completed an online job application. Please excuse my naivete, but here’s what I found out.
    1. Job description and skills required: Everything… and the kitchen sink. Seriously, Superman would be at loose ends here. I was confident my husband could rise to the occasion should he be summoned forth to interview.
    Second, experience needed…well, it should be a dead giveaway when they say five to seven years.
    He has more than 30. But I plowed on. There aren’t many jobs posted that require decades of experience. That’s one that comes in through a personal network, am I right? But, whatever, as my nephews and nieces say, let’s keep rolling.
    The key responsibilities-writing, producing, communicating ideas, managing “high priority” budget projects, good verbal and written communication skills, and presentation skills, and plays nicely with others. OK, I made the last one up.
    But the list went on and on. I loved this one: “The ability to multitask and work effectively under changing priorities and daily time constraints is required.”
    And the  icing: The candidate must be “highly creative.” Well, who in the world doesn’t think they’re amazingly creative?
    I felt emboldened when I read at the end of the posting that the employer was an equal opportunity one. Phew. Age should not be an issue here.
    I clicked to the company’s web site to apply online. A respectable 73 other people had already done so, I read on my screen. I wasn’t the only one who found this job intriguing.
    2. They don’t say what the job pays, but you must reveal your salary history. I had to fill-in where he went to college and when he graduated, list some jobs, and his starting pay and ending pay.
    What the heck? What business is it of theirs what his last annual salary was? He probably never even told his mother. Do you tell  your best friends? And if you didn’t fill this valuable salary information in the blank, then you could not pass go. No, it wasn’t as extreme as go directly to jail, as you might in Monopoly.
    Does everyone have to do this when they apply online? Is this how the game is played? As I wrote last week in my column Nonprofits are Hiring, jobseekers complained to that employers didn’t disclose what the pay was, so they were in the dark when applying.

    Wednesday, August 15, 2012

    How To Job-Hunt In The Dog Days Of Summer

    Deborah L. Jacobs

    Summer job-hunting can really put you in a funk. Sometimes it looks as if everyone–except you–is on vacation. Your e-mails and phone calls go unanswered. Managers can’t get around to hiring decisions.
    But before you feel sorry for yourself or hang up the “gone fishin’” sign until Labor Day, consider the opportunities you may be missing. Freelance work filling in for vacationing staffers can lead to permanent positions. (When I was self-employed, summer was always my busiest time.) As other job hunters kick back, you have less competition, and a greater chance to stand out.

    True, it may be more difficult to land interviews, but summer is a great time to update your résumé and your LinkedIn profile, and take the other preliminary steps that can advance your job search. Here are some ways to beat the summertime blues:

    Renew or expand contacts. Most job leads come through personal contacts, and what better time to nurture them than when the pace of business is a little slower? If you approached a company six months or a year ago, try them again now.

    With managers generally more relaxed, they also might be receptive to a call or e-mail from you asking, “Could I come in and chat with you about what you do and career opportunities in your field?” These are not interviews in the formal sense–there may not even be an opening right now. The idea is to use such meetings to establish relationships in companies and industries where you ultimately want a job.

    And look at all the informal summer get-togethers that have the potential to expand your circle of contacts. You could go along with friends to their company picnics or sports events. Another option:  plan a barbecue and ask each friend to bring someone you’ve never meet. (See “How To Work A Room Like You Own The Place.”)

    Take stock of your goals. People can be most helpful if you tell them precisely what you want in a job (rather than, for example, saying what turned you off about your last–or current–position). So use the next few weeks to set priorities: What’s more important to you at this stage–a flexible work schedule, challenging assignments, or a higher salary?

    Go on a self-improvement campaign. Use the time to catch up on reading trade publications or upgrade your skills or image. Maybe you’ve wanted to learn more about social media or spruce up your writing. Even if it’s too late for summer school, you can ask a friend to coach you or sign up for fall courses.

    Hard as it may be, take a good look in the mirror, and ask yourself, “Would you hire you?” Fight the battle of the bulge with outdoor exercise, or find someone to coach you with interviewing skills. (See “How To Make A Lasting Impression.”)

    Volunteer for a non-profit. - more tips and complete Forbes article 

    Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    Top 5 Reasons You Never Hear Back After Applying For A Job


    People often wonder why they never hear anything back after they hit ‘send’ on the email with a resume attached or on the on-line job application.

    If you’re very lucky, you might have a preliminary email exchange with a recruiter and then never hear from them again. It’s a depressing experience, and one which also casts a shadow on the hiring company’s reputation. So why does it happen? Is it you, is it them, or is it just something every candidate must prepare for in the hiring process?

    There’s no question job seekers face an uphill climb. High unemployment nationally means more competition for every position; according to a January 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks “… attracted 7.6 million job applicants over the past 12 months for about 65,000 corporate and retail job openings…”

    An oft-cited recruiter’s complaint is that as much as 50 percent of people applying for a given job simply aren’t qualified. Adding to the challenge, most large companies – and many smaller ones – use talent-management software to screen resumes, weeding out up to 50 percent of applicants before a human even looks at a resume or cover letter. The deck is definitely stacked against the job seeker. So how do you break through?

    Here are my top 5 reasons you’re not hearing back after applying for a job, with five suggestions for ways to avoid the Resume Black Hole.

    Why You Never Hear Back:

    1. You really aren’t qualified. If a job description specifies a software developer with 3-5 years of experience and you’re a recent graduate with one internship, it’s unlikely you’ll get a call. Avoid disappointment – don’t apply for jobs for which you lack qualifications. Most job descriptions are written with very specific requirements. Yes, the company is trying to find the most qualified candidate; yes, they are trying to weed people out. It’s not personal, it’s business.
    2. You haven’t keyword-optimized your resume or application. Job descriptions are salted with keywords specific to the skills or attributes the company seeks in applicants. A close read of the job description is a necessity, as is keyword-optimizing your resume and cover letter, if you’re using one, or email. If the job description lists words in a certain order, e.g. a list of programming languages required, use the same order in your resume.
    3. Your resume isn’t formatted properly. You might think distinctive formatting will set your resume apart, but automated programs don’t care if a document is pretty. Help a machine out. Be consistent in formatting – consider using separate lines for former employer, job title, and years worked.
    4. Your resume is substantially different from your online profile. LinkedIn, Dice and other online profile sites can be useful tools, so it‘s important to make sure they match what’s on your resume. This may seem to be a contradiction – in #1 I advised keyword optimization – but it’s really common sense. Jobs worked, employers, years on the job and other details should match. The subtext here is always tell the truth.
    5. The company received 500 resumes for one job posting, and yours was 499th in. Looking for a job is a job. Do your research – know which companies you want to work for, organizations where you sense culture fit. Every morning scour the job postings and jump on anything for which you’re qualified (and in which you’re interested.) Being early with your resume or application does matter. Check back often in the first few days to make sure the listing hasn’t changed. Often a company will post a job and halfway through the process change the description.
    It’s hard to game the system. Your best bet is still a personal referral, and even that may not be enough to get a call. A guy I know gave his resume to a woman who worked at a company where a good job had been posted. He received an automated email noting his resume had been received but never heard another word. After a month he asked his friend to check with the recruiter. It turned out the job description had changed, but the recruiter never bothered to let the referring employee – or the applicant – know. This isn’t unusual, unfortunately. So what can you do?

    How You Can Get Noticed: - Read the rest of the youtern article for the 5 ways to get noticed

    Monday, August 13, 2012

    How To Tweet Your Way To A New Job

    Friday, August 10, 2012

    8 Signs That You Suck At Job Search

    by Phil Rosenberg

    It’s frustrating to realize you suck at something … but most of you suck at job search. It’s especially frustrating when you’re really good at your job, but because you suck at job search, you’re having trouble finding a new job.
    Then again, how can you be very good at something you do only a few times in your career, the rules have changed, the way you’re evaluated has changed, and the very purpose of what you’ve been taught has changed?
    At least you’re not alone … most readers of this article suck at searching for a job, whether they realize it or not.
    And it’s not your fault that you suck at job search. You were taught job search techniques that had a very different purpose than today. In addition, it’s the most competitive job market of our lifetimes, the first time in our careers where there have an extended period of job shortages.
    So you don’t believe that you suck at searching for a job?

    Here are 8 Signs That You Suck At Job Search:

    1. Your resume response rate is less than 10%: Your resume response rate (Total resumes sent divided by actual face to face job interviews … excluding phone interviews, HR interviews, recruiter interviews and informational interviews) is the best indicator of how well your job search is going. The average resume response rate is a horrible 1.5% – 2%, about the same rate as junk mail – if you’re anywhere near these numbers, you suck at job search.

    2. You aren’t getting many interviews: If your resume response rate is poor, then you aren’t getting many interviews. CareerBuilder projects it will take an average 17 interviews to get your next job. Remember that nurses, social media experts, renewable energy experts, and Silicon Valley software developers bring that average down. On the other hand, those in career transition, having sizable career gaps, over 40, executives/managers, those in industries that are downtrodden, geographic movers, and career changers all should expect a much higher number of interviews until their next job.

    3. You aren’t getting past the prescreening process: You’re getting calls from HR reps and/or recruiters, but few end up in interviews. This means you’re getting screened out, during the first weeding out process, before you get the chance to impress a decision maker. If this happens often, you suck at searching for a job.

    4. Informational interviews go nowhere: You’ve been able to get some informational interviews, but how many of these have resulted in a real, face-to-face, honest-to-goodness job interview with a hiring manager who actually has an approved job to hire? If you aren’t converting informational interviews into job interviews, then you suck at job search.

    Thursday, August 9, 2012

    Old School Job Search and Career Management


    In a land long ago when typewriters were still manufactured by IBM, when three-piece suits were standard attire in offices large and small, and when the stock of your resume actually made a difference to many recruiters and hiring managers, job search was very different than today. No LinkedIn to “easily” identify hiring managers, no Twitter to share pithy-140’s, no YouTube to post “authentic branding” videos, and certainly no Facebook on which to place photos of you dancing in your birthday suit while simultaneously playing beer pong. And then there were “the rules”…and the scary Human Resources gatekeepers….and Career Services “experts”…

    Can you imagine what job search was like back when dinosaurs were roaming the Earth? You know…before the Internet? OMG and #ShutUp!

    I’m guessing it’s time to talk about some of the “old school” methods that candidates can use to find great opportunities.  So this week’s #HFchat is going to focus on what things you can do to manage your career – even when the Internet goes down. So don’t get mad at the #Whale…get creative and get ready for the #NoFluffZone.

    Old School Job Search and Career Management
    Q1. Internet is down for 2 weeks – what’s the first thing you do to start a job search?
    Q2. Internet is still down – how do you identify your target companies?
    Q3. Yep, the Internet is still broken – how do you identify hiring managers and their needs?
    Q4. OMG, no Internet again? How can you expect to effectively brand yourself as a great hire?

    More Questions, Answers, and Complete article

    Wednesday, August 8, 2012

    Make Your Age An Asset: 7 Job-Search Tips If You're Over 50

    Deborah L. Jacobs

    Friday’s jobs report caused the markets to surge. The August unemployment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that job growth continued in July with 163,000 jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. Still, with the unemployment rate essentially unchanged at 8.3%, many mature workers worry that their age will work against them in a job search.

    In fact, their years of experience can be a huge asset to future employers. Some new jobs data suggests that older workers are actually in demand. A recent Challenger, Gray & Christmas study shows that of the 4.3 million jobs created in the past three years, nearly 3 million have gone to people over the age of 55.

    Older workers can improve their success rate by focusing on the value of their experience. Here are steps you can take to make age an asset.

    1. Network across all platforms. Harness the power of your personal, community, and business network. Mature workers have the advantage of a developed network, both online–for example, through LinkedIn–and offline. Think about your connections and who can potentially refer you for an open position. If your application is marked as a referral, it triples your chances of securing an interview.

    Don’t procrastinate when you find out about job openings. StartWire research shows that 50% of successful new hires applied within the first week of a job being posted; 75% applied in the first three weeks. If you find out about a job opening from a contact, send in your application immediately and have the contact mark it as a referral. (See “How to Grow Your Network Without Really Trying.”)

    2. Focus on relevant, recent experience. There is no need to list on your resume every position you have held since you entered the workforce. That will put the spotlight on your age, rather than your talent. Instead, focus on work experience that shows you have the skills needed for the job you are targeting.  If you can’t make that connection, in your description of a past position, consider downplaying or removing it from your resume.

    3. Find employers who will value your know-how. Many employers seek out older workers. Far from being a blemish, your age will put your resume on top of the pile. Financial services firms, for example, have a primarily older client base. To best reflect their clientele, they often prefer older employees.

    Other companies, constrained by the current economy, do not have the time or resources to extensively train new hires. They want to bring someone in who can sit down and produce work on day one. This is a growing trend across multiple industries. And don’t overlook startups and non-profits. (See FORBES contributor Kerry Hannon’s post, “Nonprofits Are Hiring–But What Does This Job Pay?”)

    4. Don’t ignore glaring resume gaps. While you shouldn’t list every experience held, try to fill in recent resume gaps when possible. Employers will wonder what you were doing, and in the absence of information could assume the worst. If you were forced to take time off to care for a loved one, it is okay to put “caregiver” in place of a gap. If you’ve filled time with volunteer work, include that detail. It’s a bonus if you’ve honed skills while volunteering, so feel free to mention it very briefly. (See too, “What To Say On LinkedIn When You’ve Been Laid Off.”)

    Tips 5 - 7 and complete Forbes article

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    7 Things Every Resume Needs In 2012

    By Miriam Salpeter

    Age discrimination, unfortunately, is a fact of life for experienced job seekers. However, there is more you can do to make yourself seem modern, relevant, and qualified for the jobs you want than simply dying your hair or updating your wardrobe.

    One key to job search success: an up-to-date, contemporary resume that doesn't make the reader assume you last applied for a job in 1995. Here are some tips to help you create a resume an employer will appreciate:
    Include links in your contact information.
    Include links to social media profiles (such as your LinkedIn URL) in your resume's contact information. If you use other social media tools professionally (such as Twitter or Facebook), include that information as well. Simply listing these will help someone reading your resume picture you as a candidate who is keeping up with modern communication tools. Use a professional email that doesn't reference your age or family status. (For example, avoid "" or "

    Your resume doesn't need to be in Arial or Times New Roman. To create a more modern look, consider expanding your font choices to include: Georgia, Calibri, Tahoma, or Geneva.

    Nix the objective.
    While there are no absolute rules for resumes, adding an "objective," which usually focuses on the job seeker's needs, will make you seem out-of-step with today's market. Instead, use headlines to highlight what you offer that is in line with what the employer wants in a candidate. For example, take a look at the "before" and "after" highlights for a candidate looking for a medical administrative assistant job:

    Before Objective:
    Innovative, highly motivated, dynamic team player with extensive experience, stellar writing skills and the ability to effectively manage concurrent projects seeks opportunity to contribute in hospital setting.

    After headline:
    Medical Administrative Assistant / Unit Secretary / clerical expert Maintain Confidentiality – Coordinate Effectively With All Stake Holders Strong Oral and Written Communication Skills – Organized – Reliable – Quick Thinking

    Notice how the "after" example includes job titles and specifics directly from the job description to describe relevant skills.

    Avoid "empty" words.
    Notice the "before" objective includes "highly motivated," "dynamic," and "team player." None of these words help the reader learn something specific about the candidate. Do not waste space with generalities. The more targeted you can be, the more vibrant and interesting your resume appears.

    Tips 5 - 7 and complete AOL Jobs article

    Monday, August 6, 2012

    8 Unwritten Rules of Job Searching

    You’re ambitious, hardworking and smart. Your resume is polished, your cover letter is relevant and you’re networking.
    Yet, you’re still getting rejected from every job you apply for.
    Sound familiar? If so, you may be ignoring one of these unwritten rules of job searching.

    1. Be organized

    Use a label for all job-search-related emails. Use a program like SpringPad or Excel to track all the positions and organizations you’re interested in, all the resources you use and all the people you meet with. You can also get extra fancy and track other data such as date of application, date of interview and related contacts.
    If you aren’t speaking with two or three people about your search daily, you aren’t networking enough. Talk with friends, friends of friends, contacts you find on LinkedIn or at an event, recommendations from your school’s career center (even if you graduated long ago) and recommendations of recommendations. Think strategically about each networking request, and keep an organization doc for that, too, if it helps you stay on track.

    2. Don’t be afraid to ask—and make it easy to say yes

    Make it easy for your contact to qualify your request and help you. Be specific and strategic about the people and/or organizations you want them to connect you with or the advice you’re asking for.
    Write introductory emails or talking points they can easily forward along, and make sure you aren’t asking for too many things at once. And if someone is unable to help, don’t hold it against them. People have to preserve their network and reputation. They can’t introduce their powerful contacts to every person they speak with.

    3. Don’t apply for jobs you don’t want

    We all do it. It’s easy to get excited for any seemingly good, somewhat tangentially related to what you want to do, open position you can find.
    But do you really want this job? Will it be a good fit for you? Be honest with yourself about your strengths, work environment preferences and goals, and do your research on what the company and position offer.
    Here’s a test: if you’re not willing to put in the effort for a customized resume and cover letter, you probably don’t want the position enough. (And yes, every application needs to be customized. Even inexperienced hiring managers can tell as soon as they open an application when it’s not customized.)
    We sometimes think if we apply to as many jobs as possible, we’ll get a job faster. In fact, that’s just a waste of your time and the organizations’ time. Instead, apply smart.

    4. Start somewhere

    If a good opportunity comes your way and you’re early in your career or moving to a new field, you need to start somewhere.
    Say the position isn’t ideal—do you care about the organization’s mission? Is there opportunity for growth? Then treat the position as if it were your dream job, prove you are an asset to the team, gain new skills and be honest about your career goals at the company. Doing so could also introduce you to new interests and goals you didn’t know you had.

    Tips 5 - 8 and Complete Business Insider Article

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    10 Reasons Why a Job Search Might Feel Like Dating

    Finding the right match for a career opportunity is like finding the right match for a romantic relationship. Here are 10 reasons why a job search might feel like dating, along with tips to help you find Mr. or Ms. Right Company:
    1) GOING YOUR SEPARATE WAYS. You or your past employer might have lost that loving feeling. Now it's gone, gone, gone and you have to go on. After being in a personal relationship there is always the possibility of parting ways and, while you may be lonely, you will survive. But a professional relationship may be another matter, especially if you "separate" without your next move in mind. Now is the time to pull out your ' little black' professional book and ask yourself: WHAT AM I REALLY LOOKING FOR?
    2) I NEED SOMEONE TO HOLD MY HAND. I really did! Just as there are dating coaches out there, there are career coaches too. I hired an amazing career coach Syndee Feuer for six weeks who helped me shape my resume, made great suggestions for my cover letter, and talked me off a ledge many times. As I was making a career re-invention move, I didn't want to just JUMP at the first opportunity. I wanted a soulful, reflective process to align my career and my values.
    3) GIVE IT TIME. Understand that a job search is not a one-night stand, nor even a summer romance. This is a process that could take several months. The Washington, D.C. job market is holding strong, especially if you have a college degree and track record, but other markets might take more time. To use time wisely I embarked on a 'listening and learning tour,' and connected with dozens of fascinating people and many opportunities.
    4) FACEBOOK IS FOR LOVERS, LINKEDIN IS FOR JOB SEEKERS to build their networks. Invest your time in social media to build connections and let key people know you are looking via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter. Face-to-face and phone calls are always best, but a lot of my leads came from Linkedin (I would write messages to people that I was making a move). The best interviews came from seeing people out professionally who said 'call; let's meet.' When push comes to shove, who is hiring is the play of the day.
    5) EXPERIENCE MATTERS. Of course your friends want to help -- but it really is again like dating -- they don't know a single guy (or gal) good enough for you. I suggest you have a really thoughtful three- to four-paragraph letter explaining where you are and what you are looking to do next. Specifics help your friends know with whom to set you up. Be sure to keep a 'cheat sheet' that includes your track record of key outcomes and skills that will add great value to your next company.