You are here: Home - Career Search Strategies

Career Search Strategies

  • linkedin profileHopefully, you have already read through the first two installments LinkedIn profile improvement and optimization recommendations. Now, let’s wrap it up in a nice bow so that you can put it over the top.

    LinkedIn Profile: Unique Presentation for Optimal Effect

    If there is one overall weakness to the LinkedIn platform, it is the lack of built-in formatting options to help with the visual presentation of your profile to your connections and page visitors. But that should not stop you from creating uniquely designed profile with accents that help to differentiate you from your competition. While the LinkedIn platform does not offer symbol and bullet options native to its system, there are some that you can manually include within your content that will help to make your profile easier on the eyes and easier to navigate.

    Make New Connections

    Okay, so now you have a well-developed profile that is content-rich and attractive. But what difference does it make if there is no one to see it? Building an impressive LinkedIn profile and not making connections is like getting dressed up in your best power suit to sit on the couch instead of going to a meet-and-greet. Look for and make strategic connections that can be of benefit to you in the future. Did you know that your connection makeup can affect the search strength of your LinkedIn profile?

    LinkedIn Profile: Join Groups to Stay Connected

    LinkedIn is not only good for building strategic connections with those who can help you to advance your career. It is also a great way to keep your ear to the ground on information that can help with the same. The best way to get access to like-minded professionals in live conversations about specific points of interest that can add to your knowledge base is to join groups aligned with those interest.

    I know, I know, who has time to check in on every group to get the latest on subjects being discussed? Well, you can adjust your settings within the group so that you receive updates on the latest chatter. Have an email notification arrive once per day, or make it once per week (my preference).

    Additionally, you can use groups to share information of value to the community. After all, if you’re receiving quality input from the community, you should contribute where possible, right? Not to mention you begin begin to establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your field. And that has real value, people.

  • professional resumeAs professional resume writers, we can always tell which of our clients is most serious about their career trajectory. The answer usually lies in the first question that they ask when calling. Usually, if the first question that come out in an initial inquiry involves the price, this is a sign that they may not be fully versed on just how important the document is. This is not to say that one should pay any price for the product. This is still America, and everyone loves a great deal. But if you are making a decision on whether or not to seek professional resume services based upon the cost, then you may not truly understand its impact on not only your frequency of securing interviews, but also the opening offer from the employer.

    Now, when a caller is first question is about finding out if you have what it takes to get them into the interview door, this is usually someone who understands the purpose of the exercise. These individuals see professional resume writing as an investment in their career, advance, and net worth building. When one is only concerned with the cost, your decision is made from a position of short-term viewpoint. Have you ever considered what the actual cost is to you up and ineffective resume? I once had a client who try for 18 months to get on with an employer who was in the door within 3 weeks after the completion of her resume. Now, how much money did she lose over the course of those 18 months?

    First, let’s make no mistake. When it comes to a resume, you are always better off with professional help than without it. Just think of the numbers. The average corporation receives 250 resumes per opening and you likely need to be in that top 3 to 5 % just to get into that interview door. So do your due diligence and find someone who understands how to market someone on paper. Next, when looking for someone to prepare your resume, the most important factor is that they have the skills to properly frame your experience, training, education, and skill set for hiring managers. Regardless of how expensive cheap the resume, if you are not convinced that the professional resume writer possesses the skills, then any feedback they are asking is too much. I don’t know about you, but even if you find someone willing to take a crack at it for $65, if it does not achieve the objective, didn’t you just throw away $65?

    It is time to change how you view and categorize your resume in your mind. You should not see it as some expense to get a hold of a piece of paper. If your head is on straight, and you are taking your career seriously, you will see it as valuable investment that optimizes your interview frequency, resulting in finding employment sooner and getting the best offer that you can get.

    And isn’t that what it is all about, ladies and gentlemen?

  • personal brandingWe all look to stay as employable as we possibly can. Not necessarily “employed”, but “employable. Being employed is always good. But being employable comes in handy when you happen to find yourself unemployed. As part of your career management strategy, ensuring an optimal skill set should not be the only item on your “To Do” list. What is the use of a killer skill set if no one knows you have it. Yeah, yeah, your Resume Clinic resume and cover letter will definitely give you an advantage, especially at the beginning of the process where 85% of applicants will be weeded out. But you have to think bigger than that. When you’re managing your career the right way, you should be looking for ways to raise your profile within your chosen profession. Here are a few easy things you can do to get started in establishing yourself as a leader in your chosen field.

    Personal Branding Strategy #1: Start a Blog or Vlog

    Hey, if you do something for 2080+ hours every year (the official number of work hours for the standard 40-hour per week employee), you are bound to know a lot about it. Well, there’s no easier way to let the world know than to begin your own blog or Vlog on the subject. There are any number of platforms you can use for free, including WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr, which is hot right now. A well maintained blog / vlog with thoughtful and insightful posts tells other professionals you take your career seriously. You can also offer to guest post on related blogs to increase your profile even more. Let others do the same. Also, if you maintain a website, a regularly updated blog give your website a consistent boost of fresh content that helps your SEO.

    Personal Branding Strategy #2: Be Visible

    Getting out into the community to represent your profession establishes you as a champion for the trade. Offer to deliver presentations at the local community college on subjects related to your chosen profession. Join the local Chamber of Commerce, as well as local and national branches of associations serving your industry, as well as related ones. Serve on their committees and take an active role.

    Personal Branding Strategy #2: Social Media

    Man, I can’t tell you how many people are wrecking their brand daily on social media. Well, if you have a social media account, you already see it. Many of us make the mistake of thinking our social media accounts are separate from or professional lives, but it simply is not true. Employers are not only hiring talent, they are hiring personalities and people who will in one way or another represent THEIR brand. If you’re smart, you’ll delete all of the skimpy selfies and pics from the keggers and use the platform to reshape the view of your persona to the rest of the world. When employers are making the decision between you and your competition, they’ll see you expounding on the nuts-n-bolts of your industry, while your competition is posting fight videos and vines.

    In the future, think of your personal brand in terms of dollars and cents. Every public interaction (either real or digital) has the ability to add to your pocketbook, or subtract from it. Manage these interactions accordingly.

  •  online career managementI can remember back in the late 90s when I ran across the first person I knew who had no home landline phone. He was a cell phone only guy. It thought the guy weird. But dude was just ahead of his time. At some point, the weird looks began to be reserved for those who didn’t have a cell phone. Today, you would think that a cell phone comes with a social security number. Our presence on social media is currently cycling through such a transition. When they first appeared, social media accounts were seen as novel entertainment vehicles (well, they can STILL be quite entertaining, and time draining if not careful). But we are moving into a time where people begin to wonder about you if you are NOT on some type of social media.

    How does this relate to one’s online career management, you ask? Well, let’s remember that hiring managers are always looking to eliminate candidates to manage the process. They may get 185 applicants for 1 position and need trim that resume stack to 20 interview-worthy candidates in 48 hours. Trust me when I tell you they manufacture reasons to get rid of applicants. With social media being such an integral aspect of our society, one begins to wonder “Why AREN’T they on social media?” The hiring manager’s mind is suspicious by nature, so the imagination begins to go into overdrive:

    • “Is this candidate avoiding social media because they have high-drama people they are trying to avoid?”
    • “Were they once on social media and left because they became addicted to it?”
    • “Are they in trouble with the law and staying off social media to avoid being caught?”
    • “Are they not up with the times and not comfortable with the changes in technology?”

    Social media has almost become synonymous with your driver’s license and other forms of ID. Not necessarily passing opinion on whether it is a good or bad thing, but it is a TRUE thing and should be considered an important aspect of online career management. Did you know that as of the 2nd quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.71 billion monthly active users? Many want to avoid the noise that social media brings. But one doesn’t have to fully take in the noise to get the benefits that social media can provide in establishing ones brand and confirming they are in fact of the 21st century.

    Don’t do it for the celebrity gossip. Think of online career management activities instead. Join professional pages, participate in career related conversations, and build your professional network. Let your social media footprint communicate your relevance and professional knowledge.

    And stop making people think you’re on the run! (geez!)

  • career managementToday you made headway. You applied to several posted job vacancies, made sent in cold resume submissions to target companies your research showed might be hiring soon. You’ve reached out to your members of your LinkedIn network for information on potential employment in their spheres and you’ve done the same when it comes to your social network. But if you are not taking the time to document your progress, you are being as efficient as you can be with your career management.

    You of course have the option to keep it simple. Some opt for the everyday garden-variety spreadsheet. While Microsoft Excel is of course an excellent tool, the advent of free cloud based services such as Google Docs give you real-time updating ability through the use of Google Sheets. But regardless of the spreadsheet program or platform used, it should contain the same track categories to help you stay on top of your job search. You will want to keep track of everything related to the search. Some column titles may include:

    Job Applied For
    Company Name
    Contact Name/Title
    Phone
    E-mail Address
    Mailing Address
    Date of Last Communication
    Website
    Date Resume Submitted
    How Resume Submitted
    References Sent
    How I Heard About This Job
    Job Description/Keywords
    Status of Application
    Comments and Notes

    It may not be just the vacancies and potential positions to which you have applied. You will want to track communications with those in your network that can either assist you with finding a position this job search cycle, or could be of value in the future. Remember, good career management is not just about the job that you need today. It is about building those relationships that can open doors tomorrow. In fact, if you manage your network properly today, your next job search is likely to be much shorter.

    If you are looking for existing job search tools to help with career management, there are several out there that are proven to be effective. Most job seekers already know about JibberJobber.com, which has been around since 2006. This platforms free version gives you the ability to track 250 companies and 250 contacts. Not bad. The premium version is only $9.95 per month. Others such as Careershft.com are a little more expensive, but is a more comprehensive tool with an interface that allows for more efficient management of your time and process. They also have patented technology for performing address and telephone searches for contacts. Others include ApplyMate and StartWire.

    Whether you use a career management tool that already exists, or decide to go to the spreadsheet route, it is always good to know when those targeted resumes were sent, to whom you’ve spoken, and the status of those applications, among other things. But what that list can also provide is new members of your network, as well as an excellent starting point for the next job search.

  • your resumeYour resume is a marketing and branding document first and foremost. Never let anyone tell you different. As such, it’s effectiveness and truthfulness is more important than its author. Many job seekers ponder whether or not it is frowned upon to have a professional to prepare their resume. Some feel the organization and phrasing of the document somehow misrepresent them because they did not construct it. The fact is, this could not be farther from the truth. One should think of it as knowing what one wants to say, but having a resume writer simply figure out the best way to say it. And this is exactly what the recruiter needs from your resume.

    As we know, the point of the exercise is to secure the interview. When a recruiter receives your resume, your first thought is “Can this resume convince an employer that this is a competitive prospect for the position?” Recruiters are compensated by the company that hires you. As such, the quality of your resume directly affects their income, and they are not going to waste valuable time attempting to market a poorly organized and poorly written resume. When recruiters don’t call you back, it is usually because they feel they have a better chance of getting other job seekers to the interview table. Time is money for a recruiter, and an ineffective resume wastes that valuable time.

    According to a study done by BeHiring, recruiters spend 5 to 7 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding whether or not it is worth their time. In such a scenario, it is important to ensure the most critical information is accessible immediately. While you may feel that your homespun resume may be more “real” and “authentic”, if it doesn’t communicate the high priority items immediately, that authenticity is worthless. So when that recruiter is combing through resumes on Monster to find that perfect candidate, just remember that 427,000 resumes are posted on Monster.com each week. This is your competition. Your resume doesn’t have much time to deliver its payload, so you will want help from someone who understands how to get that payload to its target.

    Recruiters represent about 5% of the profiles that appear on LinkedIn, so they are an important cog in the hiring machine. But just remember, that cog is overworked and its time is valuable. Respect it and your relationship with recruiters has a better chance of paying off for you.

Back to top