Thursday, February 28, 2013

How To Make Them Respond When You Apply For A Job Online

Susan Adams

Last week I got a note from a reader, asking me for advice about how to elicit a response to her online job applications. “With the technology age upon us, I have been actively applying to employment opportunities on numerous websites,” she wrote. “My problem is that I am not getting any type of feedback.” She estimated she had pursued 100 openings in the last year, and received only two responses. Neither had led to a new job. This job seeker wanted my advice about sprucing up her online applications and in particular, how she could get employers to reply to her queries.

I talked to three of my regular career coach sources, Robert Hellmann and Anita Attridge in New York, and David Couper in Los Angeles, and all of them say that two responses to 100 online applications is in fact a strong showing, given the competition.

Couper is the most blunt. “I tell my clients that they’re wasting their time applying online,” he says. “To me you’ve left it too late,” he says. “Once it’s online, millions of other people have seen it.” Often, he says, online job postings are just a way for hiring managers to claim they’ve looked at lots of applicants when, in fact, they have already decided in advance on an internal hire. Other times, a job is posted and then a budget cut ensues and the position is eliminated before it’s been filled.

Hellmann and Attridge are slightly less pessimistic than Couper, and both say they have had clients who landed jobs by applying online. Attridge says the more specific your skill set is and the more closely it’s matched to the online ad, the greater chance you have of success. Within the last six months, a client of Attridge’s, a technical director in information technology, answered an ad that listed the precise skills that he had under his belt. After an initial phone screening, he went for an interview and wound up getting hired. If you’re not a strong match for the listing, Attrdige says, it may not be worth your time to apply.

Hellmann agrees with Couper and Attridge that most online applications are more trouble than they’re worth, but he has come up with some tips for filling them out efficiently. “Think about the application as a bureaucratic formality,” he advises. “It’s a one-size-fits-all form that has every possible thing on it,” he says. You don’t need to write detailed answers to every question.

In fact, there are a number of queries you should not answer. One is about salary. Many forms won’t let you complete them if you leave spaces blank. Hellmann advises putting in $1, $10 or $100, “anything to show you’re not listing your real salary.” Hellmann insists it’s not fair to discuss compensation before you’ve had a real job interview. Likewise, if there is a question about the name of your current boss, do not fill it in. Write, “to be discussed.” Or if you’re out of work, you can also say, “to be discussed.” In addition, Hellmann says it’s inappropriate for an application to request that you list references. In that slot, he says you should write, “available upon strong mutual interest.” Says Hellmann, “only give your references when you’re close to an offer.”

Most applications ask for your current position and then request a description of your job. Hellmann recommends simply writing, “please see résumé.” Though Hellmann cautions that writing out a description of your work could introduce spelling and grammar mistakes, you could also consider cutting and pasting from your résumé or LinkedIn profile, directly onto the form.

Then there is the issue of keywords. Hellmann says you should make sure your résumé “is filled with keywords that come from the job you’re targeting.” If the online job listing asks for an applicant who is “experienced in portfolio analysis,” make sure you have the words “portfolio analysis” on your résumé. Likewise, if the listing says, “social media marketing expertise,” do have “social media marketing” somewhere on your résumé.

An excellent Wall Street Journal story today underlines how important keywords can be, especially if you’re applying to a large company like Starbucks or Procter & Gamble, both of which use automated tracking systems that screen résumés for keywords, former employers, and schools attended. An example from the Journal story: PNC Financial Services Group filters out bank-teller applicants whose résumés don’t show they have had at least two years of cash-handling experience.

Hellmann says it’s always a good idea to include a concise, specific cover letter with your application. Write a letter, he recommends, “that makes it really hard to screen you out.” Address the job requirements directly and list accomplishments that speak to them, preferably as bullets.

All that said, the most effective thing you can do is to find a personal connection to the hiring manager at the company that’s made the posting. That means networking, which can be made easier by tools like Facebook and LinkedIn. But don’t forget your face-to-face network. If you’re interested in a job posting, do ask everyone you know, including family, friends and colleagues, if they know anyone who works at the company posting the job.

Hellmann tells a story that illustrates the importance of having a direct contact. A client of his recently responded to an online job listing for a lawyer with international tax expertise. The client followed Hellmann’s guidance about including a keyword-filled résumé and bulleted cover letter. He did get a response, a form letter rejection. But then he did some research, figured out who the hiring manager was and contacted him directly with another cover letter and résumé. He followed up with a phone call three days later, and now he’s one of the top two candidates for the job.

The bottom line, as I’ve written before: Spend a minimum of your time applying to online listings. Despite the explosion of online job boards and websites promising a quicker path to employment, most people still find jobs through people they know.

Speaking of precise bullets, here’s a recap of how to get a response to an online job application.  Read The Bullets And The Complete Forbes Article

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Perfect Job Interview in 8 Simple Steps

Jeff Haden

You landed the interview. Awesome! Now don't screw it up.

I've interviewed thousands of people for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive. Easily three-fourths of the candidates made basic interviewing mistakes.

Did I still hire some of them? Absolutely... but never count on your qualifications and experience to outweigh a bad interview.

Here are eight practical ways to shine:
  1. Be likable. Obvious? And critical. Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer's name.... Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can. We all want to work with people we like and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Few candidates do.
  2. Never start the interview by saying you want the job. Why? Because you don't know yet. False commitment is, well, false. Instead...
  3. Ask questions about what really matters to you. (Here are five questions great job candidates ask.) Focus on making sure the job is a good fit: Who you will work with, who you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people as eager as they are to find the right fit. Plus there's really no other way to know you want the job. And don't be afraid to ask several questions. As long as you don't take completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember a nice change of pace.
  4. Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don't remember a tremendous amount about you -- especially if we've interviewed a number of candidates for the same position. Later we might refer to you as, "The guy with the alligator briefcase," or, "The lady who did a Tough Mudder," or, "The guy who grew up in Panama." Sometimes you may be identified by hooks, so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by -- and being memorable is everything.
  5. Know what you can offer immediately. Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don't say, for example, "I would love to be in charge of revamping your social media marketing." One, that's fairly presumptuous, and two, someone may already be in charge. Instead, share details regarding your skills and say you would love to work with that team. If there is no team, great -- you may be put in charge. If there is a team you haven't stepped on any toes or come across as pushy. Just think about what makes you special and show the benefits to the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the project you bring can be used.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

4 Job Search Mistakes That Can Cost You the Interview

You take a deep breath and hit that momentous “send” button. Out goes the email that will deliver your cover letter and resume to your (cross your fingers!) future employer, and you breathe a sigh of relief. But that moment of ease doesn’t last long—for the next few days, you check your email obsessively, watch your spam folder like a hawk, and keep hoping for a call from an unknown number.

And after such optimistic anticipation, nothing can fully prepare you for the heart-dropping feeling you experience when you receive an automatically generated, dream-crushing rejection email, letting you know that you haven’t been selected for an interview.

What happened? Your application may have been perfect in your eyes—but if you didn’t land an interview, it’s time to take a good look at your application—from your potential employer’s point of view. While recruiting preferences definitely vary by company, here are four common reasons why you didn’t get that call back.

1. You Didn’t Follow Instructions

Sure, the job application process can be tedious and time consuming (“They want a cover letter, resume, three writing samples, and a YouTube video?”). But the first thing that will knock you out of the running for a new position is failing to follow instructions.

Whether you omit a required element of the application, send the email with something other than the requested subject line, or call the office when the company specifically requests no phone calls, you’ll likely be dismissed right off the bat.

These offenses seem innocent enough, but to a hiring manager, they come across as warning signs that you’re either blindly applying to as many jobs as possible (without actually looking at the application requirements), or that you lack attention to detail—something your future employer is probably not willing to risk.

2. You Lack Experience

When you come across a listing for your absolute dream position, it’s hard to evaluate the job description with an objective eye. No matter what the position requires—and how your experience measures up—you’re going to be 100% certain that you’re the perfect fit.

Unfortunately, if the job requires 10-15 years of experience, the hiring manager isn’t going to view the four years listed on your resume with such a lenient eye. Aiming high is one thing: If you don’t meet the required experience by a small margin, but make up for it with other stellar professional accomplishments and skills, you may still have a chance. But if a glance at your resume clearly indicates that you’re under-qualified for the job, you aren’t going to be getting that interview—so don’t waste your time, it’s better spent elsewhere.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Want the Job? Change How You Job Search

by Hannah Morgan

Do you spend the majority of your job search connecting with people – networking both online and in-person?

If you’re like most job seekers, the answer is likely, “no”. In fact, the average job seeker spends most of their time applying to online applications, tweaking their resume… and applying to more job postings.
If this sounds like you, stop… right now!

Just as the old way of searching through the newspaper job classifieds gave way to job postings online… your job search must transform again. The majority of hiring now happens through referrals!

I remember when I was working with one job seeker in particular, he asked what advice I had to help him improve his job search. Simple, I said, “I forbid you from applying for any more jobs. Go talk to people instead!”

A friend sent me this article, Job-Hunt Tips from the Depression-Era Playbook, from the Wall Street Journal (quite a fascinating read!) During the Great Depression, unemployment was above 24%. (And we’re complaining about 8% now, jeez!) Many were able to find work or created work. This article tells the tales of some of the survivors of the depression. Read and learn!

The article also sites a paper presented at the Brookings Institution by Princeton economist Alan Krueger and Columbia Business School’s Andreas Mueller. In their survey of over 6,000 job seekers, this is what they found:
Alan Krueger Andreas Mueller paper
Why, when we know a referral is the best chance we have of getting a job, are we stuck in a job search strategy that hasn’t worked since 2007? The body of proof is out there across so many studies… recruiters prefer to interview and hire people they know or whom are referred by people they know.

For the next 30 days, I challenge you to drastically change how you spend your job search time. I challenge you to do something dramatically different.
If you are unemployed, you should be spending at least 35 hours a week in job search related activities… and 70% of that time should be spent networking!
job search hours
It will take time and great effort on your part to make this transition. Be patient. You won’t feel immediate gratification. Here are some thoughts on how you can begin to make this happen as quickly as possible:  Find out how and read the complete article

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Job Search Tips For The Over 40 Crowd


Looking for a job as an experienced 40+ candidate is hard! That news is bad (and obvious enough) but the worse news is that many of the job search tips you as an experienced, older candidate are receiving isn’t designed for you. They are designed for new grads or the 25-35 year old crowd.

Constantly running up against the “age discrimination” wall could be contributing to being a discouraged job seeker or job search depression.

Let me explain why these job search tips are bad for you with a few simple examples:
  • “Selling” your experience on your cover letter, resume and as often as you can in an interview is not advice designed for someone with 15+ years of experience. It is advice for people with the little or enough experience. Not for people with “too much” experience.
  • Listing your experience, all of your experience in chronological order on your resume is for people with little or enough experience. Not for people with lots of experience like you.
The even worse news is, if you have been using these job search tips, you have either been dramatically increasing your risk of being eliminated or more realistically getting yourself eliminated. Let’s not forget the small chance that you could end up with a bad job!

If you are not sure whether or not to believe, check for yourself. Go onto whatever job board and search jobs in your industry that are asking for 10+ years of experience. 80 – 90% of postings are asking for anywhere from 3 – 8 years of experience.

The message you are sending when you use common job search tips by “bragging” that you have more experience that the person you will report to is… My goal is to “push you out” of your job to make room for myself.

The message you want to send is… I want to “push you UP” in your job and because I understand what you do and have helped you, you will bring me along with you. Look At that, a job search tip for people over 40!

It is a small shift, but an essential shift and I know you asking, “ but Corey, how do I make this shift?” Good question!

Here are 3 small job search tips I can offer you – a job seeker who is 40+. I would say they are simple, but they are not. To make the shift requires you to abandon much of what you have been doing in the past, stop thinking of yourself as just a “job seeker” and acknowledge that you have unique challenges and therefore need to take a unique approach.

1) Stop talking about “all” of your experience and start talking about your “relevant” experience and your knowledge of this particular job.

2) Stop talking about “how you can do whatever is needed” because you have “done it all” and start talking about how you understand the requirements of THIS job, how it affects the business and how you can “assist.”

TIP #3 and Complete Business2Community Article

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

6 Ways to Organize your Job Search

Shala Marks 

I don’t know many people who actually enjoy looking for a job (me included), but at some point in our lives, we all have to. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average unemployed person spends more than eight months looking for work. The economy and job market can affect this time-frame, increasing or decreasing it, but so can another important factorbeing unorganized.

The say looking for a job is a full-time job. Well, like any type of work, being unorganized can prolong your workday and make it that much more difficult to complete tasks. If your desk is messy it may be hard to locate the files you need. If you don’t use a calendar or scheduling tool, you may be cramped for time as your tasks and meetings run together.

So, to avoid making your job search any longer (or stressful) than necessary, I have outlined six ways to get organized:

Think about your short and long term goals in relation to this job search. What date would you like to have a job by (e.g. in x amount of months)? How many jobs do you want to apply for per day/week? What is the best time for you to apply for jobs during the day? As you answer these questions you will begin to formulate your job-search plan because 1) you’ll have your end goals setup 2) you will have your target ‘applying goal’ in place and 3) a routine for when and how much time you spend applying for job will be established. Planning is the first step to becoming organized.

Look up the industry or industries you want to enter and the types of jobs you’d like to apply for. Create a list of possible occupations and their degree and/or skills requirements. This will help when you start searching for jobs because you will have some background knowledge on various roles and can eliminate the time you spend reading job ads you’re unsure about. For example, perhaps you want to enter the PR field and come across a marketing associate position. If you have prior background knowledge of what a marketing associate does, you would know that this role is not the press-release writing/written communication role you’re looking for. Then you won’t waste time reading the job description.

Conducting research prior to your job search will also help you discover new career choices you may not have known about.

Update your cover letters and resumes to the present day (or your last occupation). Be sure to keep both documents general until you’re ready to apply for jobs. As you apply for various positions, you can personalize your cover letter and resume. Also, be sure to have these documents ready in an electronic form, and update your LinkedIn profile as it is its own type of resume.

Tips 4-6 and Complete Article

Monday, February 18, 2013

8 Sure Signs You Aced The Job Interview!

by Ritika Trikha

Whew. The job interview is over!

You’re out of the woods. You’ve done your best and now it’s all up to the employers — or the universe, stars, lucks, fate… whatever it is you believe in. Aside from proper follow-up, there’s really not much you can do at this point.

Except worry, or speculate… maybe even self-judge.

Vickie Austin, founder of CHOICES Worldwide, advises her clients never to judge how an interview goes because “we jump to conclusions when we really have no way of knowing how it went until we’re asked back or offered the job.”

But if you’re anything like me, you just can’t help but replay the whole production in your head. Maybe indulge in a few face-palms after wondering if you stuttered too much or littered your responses with “like,” “um” and other annoying filler words.

It’s natural to analyze — but there’s a more constructive way to gauge the success of your interview. Rather than playing the “what if” game in your head, consider what experts say are some positive clues that an interviewer is really into you.

Austin along with Judi Perkins, the How-To Career Coach and President and Founder of Find the Perfect Job, shared with us some insightful signs that likely mean you didn’t screw up your interview and are, in fact, on the right path!

1. They Discuss Your References

If your employer is asking about people who can vouch for your work, it’s two thumbs up! In fact, Austin goes as far as to say that: “The most positive indicator that a job offer is pending is a request for references.”

2. Hypothetical Questions

If your interviewer seems to be beating around the bush a little bit, it could mean he’s invested in you. Consider Perkins’ example: “The unconscious phrasing of the question “Can you travel?” is pretty neutral.
“On the other hand, ‘Would you be willing to travel’ is less blunt, and a more invested way of asking the same question,” Perkins says. “It has to do with the degree to which the asker wants a positive answer.”
Still, an even better (a super invested) variation would be: “If we were to ask you to travel one week of every month, could you do that?”
The more suppositional, the more they want you to say yes!

3. Talking about the Ex-Employee

Perkins notes that mention of their old hire could be a strong indication that you’re a potential shoe-filler – especially if that info reveals “that person’s disappointing performance.”  If the recruiter opens up this much: good sign for you.

4. Shooting the Breeze

If you walked away feeling like you simply chatted for about an hour—chances are they like you. Of course, a formal conversation doesn’t automatically mean they’re not into you. Their interview style heavily depends on the company culture, and some employers just prefer a more Jerry McGuire-professional style.
Either way, if “a conversation is taking place rather than a Q&A session, and there’s laughter or a sense of camaraderie” – it’s a good sign, says Perkins.

Signs 5-8 and Complete Article

Thursday, February 14, 2013

5 Reasons Why a Personal Website Should be Part of Your Job Search

By: Erin Palmer

These days, a job seeker has to stand out. And in a difficult job market, a strong resume just isn’t enough.

One option for getting an edge on the competition is to build a personal website.
According to The Multi-Generational Job Search Study by Millennial Branding, less than 15 percent of job-seekers have their own professional website. The study shows only 14 percent of Baby Boomers and 13 percent of Gen Y and Gen X have a website or online portfolio, which means job seekers of any age can use this tactic to distinguish themselves from their peers.
Here’s how having your own website can help your job search:

1. Helps employers come to you
Recruiters can’t reach out to you if they can’t find you. Building a website makes it easier to be found by a wider array of potential employers.
By creating a website, you can also influence your personal search results. Companies often search for an applicant before an interview, so a personal website can help lead employers to a positive, work-driven search result rather than an old Myspace profile.

2. A personal website allows you to show instead of tell
Resumes and job applications tell potential employers about your experience and skill-sets. A personal website allows you to show your talents instead of simply listing them. An online portfolio can let your work speak for itself.
Certain skills are better exemplified through showing actual work. A graphic designer, for example, could list “created logos for several businesses” on a resume. However, showing those logos is a better indicator of the designer’s ability.

4. Builds your personal brand
Branding is just as important for individuals as it is for businesses. You want to showcase who you are and what you do in a clear and consistent manner. Building your personal brand can help you control how you are seen by others, which is especially important when job searching.
Your website can help build your brand and your network. Providing links to all of your social profiles on your website will allow people to connect with you on every available platform. Having a consistent message on your social networks and your website can make it easier to gain authority while gaining followers.

Reasons 3,5, and The Complete Article

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

How to Prepare for an Interview

by Hannah Morgan

The interview is scheduled!  You are ecstatic, as well you should be!  But now what?  How will you prepare?  Here’s a quick checklist with links to more information to help you succeed!

1. Get a copy of the most current and/or in-depth job description (Hint:  the internal job posting may have more detail)

2. Prepare a STAR story for each of the job requirements. (What is a STAR story, read more here)

3. Prepare and practice out loud answers to these questions.

4. Craft your opening statement “Tell me about yourself” and “Why should we hire you”

5. Research the company using their website, LinkedIn and on sites such as  Hoovers Online, Forbes lists, and Dun & Bradstreet
If you can’t find them there, then visit your local library and speak to a reference librarian!
Be able to answer:  What do you know about us, What do we do, Who are our competitors

6. Know something about the people who will be interviewing you!  Research them via LinkedIn and Google!

Tips 6-12 and Complete CareerSherpa Article

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The 5 Most Confusing Things About Job Searching


Searching for a job can be fraught with stress and anxiety—and also confusion. Job seekers don't always know what rules employers expect them to play by, and employers frequently engage in behaviors that job candidates find baffling.

Here are five of the most confusing elements of looking for a new job.

1. Why do some employers set up phone interviews and then never call? It's surprisingly common for an employer to schedule a phone interview with a candidate, but then not call at the scheduled time and not bother to get back in touch to reschedule. Even worse, the candidate's attempts to get back in touch are often met with silence.

Usually this happens because the phone interviewer is disorganized—forgot the call or scheduled something else for that time without bothering to notify the candidate. And sometimes they don't get back in touch because they've moved forward with other candidates instead. It's incredibly rude behavior, and is the sign of an employer you might not want to work with anyway.

2. Should you apply for jobs when you meet most but not all of the qualifications? Job seekers often wonder if it's OK to apply for jobs when they have slightly less experience than required, or have some exposure to a required software program but lack proficiency. And they definitely don't know how to handle ads that require five years of experience with technology that has only existed for three.
While ads might not make this clear, it's OK to apply if you meet the majority of the requirements, even if you're not an exact match. Job ads are often wish lists for employers, and employers often end up interviewing—and hiring—candidates who are reasonably, though not perfectly, matched. If you match at least 80 percent of the job's requirements, it's worth a shot.

3. Why do some interviews seem to go well, but then you never hear anything back from the employer? Many companies never bother to notify candidates that they're no longer under consideration, even after candidates have taken time off work to interview or traveled at their own expense. Candidates are often anxiously waiting to hear an answer and end up waiting and waiting, long after a decision has been made.

Employers who operate this way claim that they don't have time to notify everyone, but the reality is that it doesn't take that long to email a form letter, and most electronic application systems allow it to be done with the click of a button. Employers who respect candidates and their time will make sure that everyone who applies gets an answer.

Items 4,5 and Complete USNews Article

Monday, February 11, 2013

How to Effectively Use Twitter as a Job Search Resource

In the age of social media, we have countless outlets for job searching. Platforms such as LinkedIn are the first to come to mind, but can candidates use Twitter to find jobs as well? This past Thursday the HR teams at Twitter and NPR collaborated in the first live #NPRTwitterChat aimed at helping job seekers use social media as a job search tool.

The chat was centered on six questions that received over 800 tweets from industry professionals all over the U.S., and even some from New Zealand and the UK. Below is a recap of the topics covered in the chat as well as tips you can use in your own job search.

To see a cool Storify roundup of the live chat, check out Amplify Talent, the blog run by NPR's Senior Director of Talent Acquisition and Innovation, Lars Schmidt.

How to Find a Job Using Twitter

The live chat started with a general inquiry into how to use the Twitter platform for job searching. Most responses touched on being an engaging member of the industry in which you want to work, and contributing content to build a social following. NPR's Schmidt talked about Twitter as a job search resource during an interview with Mashable: "Through Twitter you can learn from your peers in whatever discipline you're in, or use it as a platform to share content so you can build awareness of you as a professional, and ultimately position yourself as a thought leader in a particular expertise. Because it is an open network, it affords the opportunity to do that in a very public way."
The following are some of the other themes that came up during the live chat.
  • Follow the industry you are interested in, and participate in communities you care about.
  • Don’t just retweet what others are saying; create meaningful content that people care about. Be a thought leader.
  • Use Twitter as a jumping-off point to your more detailed online profiles — a personal blog or LinkedIn profile, for example.
  • Many companies have job-related Twitter handles. Following those is a great way to keep tabs on job openings, rather than searching the company's website.
  • Build your network before you need it; engage with people who do what you want to do.
  • Don’t be overly professional. Twitter is a great way to showcase your personality and talk to people about your interests.

Benefits of Twitter Over Other Social Networks

Twitter isn’t the first social network someone typically thinks about when applying for a job, but it does have some unique advantages over other social platforms. The lack of barriers to connect with thought leaders was one of the most-mentioned advantages during the live chat.
  • Twitter’s openness makes it a useful platform for showcasing your talents, personality, style, and interests. Recruiters can get an idea of who you are, and if you would be a good fit at their company. It’s not just transparency of candidates, but companies as well.
  • It is great for connecting meaningfully with people and companies you don’t already know, which is much more difficult to do on platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn. You can develop a rapport with people you may not have access to in real life.
  • It’s easier and more convenient for a recruiter to reply to your tweet than to pick up the phone. Twitter facilitates quicker responses.

How to Be an Engaging Candidate on Twitter

Just having a Twitter handle isn't enough to attract the attention of recruiters. They’re going to be looking at what kind of content you share on your account. You want to share a good mix of interesting and thought-provoking content, as well as tweets that give a taste of your personality.
  • Show what you are passionate about, give recruiters an idea of your personality and interests outside of your career.
  • Recruiters know that if they hire you, they also inherit your network. So make sure to build a solid network of people both inside and outside your industry.
  • Interact and respond to the people in your networks. Add value to your community.

How to Network Effectively on Twitter - More Tips and Complete Mashable Article

Friday, February 8, 2013

5 Ways Job Applicants Disqualify Themselves

by Phil Rosenberg

It’s hard enough to qualify for jobs today, when you’re competing against 1,000 average applicants.
Why make it even tougher on yourself?

You’d be surprised that many candidates disqualify themselves. Of course this isn’t on purpose, but candidates disqualify themselves because of obsolete job search habits or simple mistakes.
Just about every candidate says “I’d never do that”, but you’d be surprised what a high percentage of candidates are making these errors.

Take a close look at your resume and the jobs you’re applying for, to see how many of these deal-killing job search mistakes you’re making:
  1. Don’t meet all the listed requirements: When you’re competing with 1,000 average competitors, the hiring manager will find plenty of applicants that meet all of the listed requirements. What happens to the applicants who don’t meet all of the listed requirements? They’re disqualified by the Applicant Tracking System, and don’t get in front of human eyes. Of course you can learn, but why would an employer consider you when they have other applicants who already possess that knowledge? Invest your time in research and customizing your resume for jobs where you have the highest chance of an interview, and ignore jobs where you only meet some of the requirements.

  2. Typos and errors: How can you show employers any kind of attention to detail, when your resume has typos or formatting errors? Typos and errors are the easiest way to disqualify candidates and it’s one of the first things that catches a reader’s eye – Typos and grammar errors are easy to catch, thanks to spell/grammar checking. Formatting can be even more glaring as margins and page breaks can occur in strange places, because your resume format might look different on your reader’s screen. You can eliminate this risk by sending your resume in a .doc format.

  3. Only minor resume customization: When you don’t customize your resume (even if you send a customized cover letter) you’re just asking to be disqualified. If you send the same (or merely tweaked) resume, you can’t effectively show your reader that you meet their specific needs, even if you are always applying for the same job title. Each individual company has its own unique language, terminology, jargon, acronyms, metrics, and priorities. Different companies often refer to the exact same thing (function, skill, report, metric) using completely different words. Even though those different words may have the same meaning, ATSs aren’t set up to be a corporate thesaurus.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

How to Be More Hireable Post Recession


Would it be optimistic to say we're heading out of the recession that has buried the U.S. employment outlook for the past few years? In November 2012 the unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, at its lowest since February 2009, so it seems there is hope after all.

If you're a job seeker deciding to brave the job market in 2013, realize that the market has certainly changed over the past few years. Because employers still have a pretty good selection of job candidates—not to mention a large number of applicants—they're being a little picky about who they hire right now. Position yourself correctly and you'll be the lucky winner of a new job.

Kevin Marasco, chief marketing officer of HireVue, has a few tips for finding a new career this year:

1. Make social media work for you. It's no secret that recruiters and employers are hopping online to find out more about potential job candidates. But they're also looking on social media sites to find future employees before they've posted positions.

By having a basic presence on social sites, you're still neck-and-neck with your competitors, but if you use your social tools smartly, you can stand out. Join LinkedIn groups in your industry or specialty and share relevant content. Don't just be there: make your voice heard.

2. Open yourself to the idea of working remotely. Surprisingly, many people don't want to work from home. Some crave the socialization that comes with working in an office with others. But don't discount it just yet. As employers realize the fiscal benefits that come with supporting a virtual staff rather than one in-house, there are more remote positions opening up. Ignore them to your detriment.

3. Remember, compensation is more than just what is on your paycheck. Top performers may not be able to command the high level salaries they might have pre-recession. But don't turn away a job just because you think you're worth more money. Consider the other benefits of working for a given company; for instance, does it offer tuition reimbursement? If your future employer would pay for you to get a graduate degree, that alone is worth tens of thousands of dollars in education costs plus the increase in salary you may command with an advanced degree.

Does the employer allow working from home? You'll save on commute and lunch costs. Does it pay top dollar for health benefits? Again, big savings potential. Will you have the opportunity to put a well-known employer on your resume that you may leverage for the rest of your professional career? Priceless.

More Tips and Complete USNews article

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Job Search Telephone Etiquette: 6 Basic Tips it Seems Have Been Forgotten

As a career professional, I am always on the phone with clients for consultations, information gathering sessions, and follow-ups. To this day, it amazes me how few people actually know how to behave themselves on the phone. While things are slowly but surely picking up in terms of available jobs, employers are still pickier than ever and they will discount a candidate for the little things including your demeanor over the telephone.

The following six tips serve to remind you of how important it is to be courteous and warm on the phone, but also give you some other considerations that you may have lost along the way.

6. No Desperation…if you’ve been out of work for a while and your phone finally rings, don’t get so excited that the prospective employer is taken aback just by your sheer enthusiasm. Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong to be excited, but too much excitement can scare anyone away.

5. No Uncontrollable Environments…I know I’ve said it before, but if you are out in public and you cannot control the noise level around you, it may be good practice to let unknown numbers go to your voicemail. You can always call them back, but don’t ruin your first impression by asking them to repeat everything they’ve said because you can’t hear them over the blaring PA announcement or screaming kids at Wal-Mart.

4. Voicemail / Ring Tones…speaking of voicemails, consider leaving a personal greeting so that employment calls can verify that they’ve reached the right person and so they can know you are articulate and can communicate clearly (A MUST for most job opportunities). Also, if you have a custom ring tone, make sure it’s not offensive or contain vulgar language. If so, you can change it temporarily until you’ve found the position you were looking for. Lastly, it’s so irritating when the voicemail has not been set up or the mailbox is full. Check your messages often so you don’t run into these issue and stunt your job search progress.

Tips 3-1 and Complete Article

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

10 Phrases That Don't Belong in Your Cover Letter


Think your cover letter is perfectly crafted? Check to make sure you're not including any of these no-nos in it.

1. "I meet the requirements for the position." Hundreds of candidates will meet the requirements for the position. That's not enough to get you a second look. You want to explain why you're an excellent candidate, not just an adequate one.

2. "I'm hard-working and a great communicator." And probably a team player and an independent self-starter, too. These are cliches that cause hiring managers' eyes to glaze over. Worse, they don't convey anything of substance—the fact that you've assessed yourself as these things will hold no weight whatsoever with employers, who prefer to assess these things for themselves.

3. "I'm a visionary leader." But not very humble, apparently. If you're truly a visionary leader—or a master communicator, or whatever other brag you're tempted to make—it should be evident from the accomplishments you've listed on your resume. Proclaiming this about yourself comes across as, well, weird.

4. "You won't find a candidate better qualified than me." Unless you've seen the rest of the candidate pool, you have no way of knowing that. This comes off as needlessly cocky hyperbole—and it's generally inaccurate, to boot. If you're really stunningly qualified, the hiring manager should be able to spot that on her own. Simply proclaiming it, especially when you have no basis to know if it's true, doesn't reflect well on you.

5. "Dear sir or madam." In most industries, this will come across as an antiquated, stuffy salutation. If you know the hiring manager's name, use that instead, but if not, simply writing "dear hiring manager" is fine, and won't make you appear as if you come from an earlier century.

Phrases 6-10 and Complete USNews article

Monday, February 4, 2013

Top 10 Reasons to Start a Referral Job Search

“Clicking and Applying” for jobs is not a very effective job search strategy. There are a lot of reasons this doesn’t work. I’ll dive into those reasons at another time.
The most important thing to know is this…
Employee Referrals are the #1 Source of Hires, and the #1 Most Effective way to get hired.
This fact has been proven time and time again.
We’ve heard for years, “It’s easier to get your foot in the door if you know someone!”
Well, it’s true. What’s also true, and what most job seekers don’t know is the following:

1. Referrals are the #1 Source of Hires

That being said, very few candidates ever apply as referrals (6.9% of applicants**), making them not only the #1 Source of Hires, but also the most effective path to apply and get hired. In recent studies from Dr. John Sullivan, companies with Top Performing employment Referral Programs (ERP) filled 46% of all positions from referrals. In other studies, from CareerXRoads and Jobvite, employers reported hiring between 28% to 39.9% of hires from referrals, respectively.
In an article in the Wiley Job Network, Dr. Sullivan writes, “On average, a full 28% of hires come from referrals and at top firms, it is nearly 50%. In direct contrast, the corporate career site produces only 9.8%, newspaper ads produce only 2.2% and career fairs 1.9%. Do the math. You have a 300% higher chance of getting hired as a referral versus applying on the “black hole” corporate career site”.

2. Referrals have the highest Applicant to Hire Ratio

Employers hire, on average of 1 in 10 referral applicants (CareerXRoads), compared to 1 in 300 for job board applicants. Another way of saying this is that candidates that apply through a referral have a 1 in 10 chance (or 10% ) of being hired. This might not sound very high, but consider the following, the chances of getting hired from applying for a job from a job board is approximately less than 1 in 300. (An ad on a job board can generate well over 100 applications. If the job is placed on 3 job boards, that’s over 300 applicants for a single job. If you get the job, your chances were 1 in 300.)In many cases, CareerXRoads and Dr. Sullivan noted several companies that hired 1 in 2 (50%), 1 in 3(33%), and 1 in 4 (25%) of the candidates who applied through a referral!

3. Referrals almost always get their resume read.

You can imagine the conversation that comes up at the water cooler or the next management meeting, when the employee who referred a candidates ask the hiring manager if they called their friend back. You can bet they are going to look at the resume, and provide a courteous first round interview, if minimally qualified.
“Becoming an employee referral is a “fast ticket” to getting your resume reviewed simply because referrals are the highest volume source with the highest quality of hire.” states Sullivan.

4. Referrals almost always get a response to their application.

This is for several reasons, but mostly I think it’s out of respect for fellow employees. Similar to the above, if you know someone on the inside, there’s a good chance the company will go out of their way to respond to your application and let you know the status. Good luck getting a call back if you applied through the corporate career site or job board.

5. Referrals almost always get the benefit of the doubt.

Effective teams can always over come individual weaknesses. As a result, employers are more willing to hire someone who fits in with the team, even if they have less proven skills. Another way of saying this is “The Devil we know is better than the Devil we don’t.”

Reasons 6-10 and Complete Article

Friday, February 1, 2013

Why Job Hunters Need To Start Using Google Plus

By David Schepp

  Though Facebook still dominates the social-media landscape, Google Plus is quickly gaining a following among savvy job seekers who view the service a useful tool for job search. In fact, with some 343 million members, Google Plus has surpassed micro-blogging site Twitter and is second only to Facebook in its number of "active" users, according to a report by Global Web Index.

As with any social-media network, mastering Google Plus takes a bit of time and experimentation to yield the results you're looking for. The Undercover Recruiter website recently offered these tips (along with several others) to give job hunters a jump start on how to use Google Plus when looking for employment.
  • Create a profile on Google Plus: And if you already have one, be sure to optimize it by adding a photo and filling out your profile to give recruiters a better idea of who you are and what you've accomplished.

  • Use the 'Circles' feature to connect with influential people: When you connect with someone on Google Plus, you add them to "circles," which include categories such as "friends" and "acquaintances" -- or you can create your own. The feature can be helpful should you wish to, say, share some posts with friends and other items with only professional contacts. (And be sure to add AOL Jobs to your circle.)

  • Engage: Google Plus can be a great way to ask questions of recruiters and HR professionals about the hiring process at specific employers. You might also land an online interview, which can better prepare you for an in-person interview. (You also can join AOL Jobs experts for our weekly Lunchtime Live hangouts on Google Plus. Each Friday at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, we discuss career issues with experts, and readers are welcome to join in.)