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  • job search support“Here is the basic rule for winning success. Let’s mark it in the mind and remember it. The rule is: Success depends on the support of other people. The only hurdle between you and what you want to be is the support of other people.” (David Joseph Schwartz)

    There is usually a lot of stress in the air when going through a job search. You have to find a certified resume writer you can trust, call creditors to warn them of potential missed payments due to unemployment, and perhaps even have some difficult conversations with family members until the things are back on track. If not careful, going through this process can prove to be taxing mentally and even cause you to spiral into depression. As with any difficult period or task, one usually finds it easier to manage if there is some sort of support system that exists. Something to prop you up through the bad times and provide a bridge to success. Here are some tips to structuring a support system that can not only aid with the search, but relieve some of the stress associated with it.

    Get Family and Friends on the Same Page

    As I mentioned in my previous blog entry, having family members and friends that are not in alignment with your job search needs can be problematic. Sometimes they do not take your job search as seriously as you do. Not necessarily intentional, but it happens. Sometimes they just do not know any better. Well, it is up to you to turn those individuals into allies in the cause. Have conversations with all of your friends and family members. Let them know you not only need the space to conduct an effective job search, but that you can also use assistance from time to time. This can be in the form of transportation, housekeeping, babysitting, or just supportive conversation and positive reinforcement. Make sure they know about (and respect) your job search spaces and designated job search times.

    Meet with Other Job Seekers for Support

    Nothing makes a rough time easier quite like knowing there are others dealing with the same situation. Make arrangements to meet up with other individuals who are also conducting job searches. This is not only good for your morale, but you may also find out some excellent job search management tips from others that you have not considered before. Who knows, they may know about a position available that did not interested them, but may be of interest to you. These like-minded individuals can also help you remain accountable for using your time wisely, and vice versa. Did you know that meetup.com has 138 groups specifically for unemployed support? Find our if there is one in your city and join.

    Find a Mentor

    The best way to get from point A to point B is to find someone who is already at point B and ask them how they got there. Mentors are great for this. Connecting with a mentor not only keeps your eye on the final goal, you get access to excellent advice to little known strategies for achieving your objective. Mentors also have connections. A conversation could lead to a phone call to one of their colleagues that results in an interview. One never knows. But it is always good to have a relationship with someone who is successful in your field. Think about it as a road map on a car trip. If someone has already mapped the terrain and tell you where all of the potholes, traffic delays and dead ends are, why wouldn’t you adjust your trip accordingly?

    Good LinkedIn Groups to Join

    As of the first quarter of 2015, the LinkedIn platform had 364 million users across the globe. It is fast becoming the primary business networking platform on earth. You can find additional support for your job search by becoming a member of any number of LinkedIn groups. Ask questions and let others help you to build a strategy. Weather it is groups targeting the job search process, interviewing skills, or industry specific information and current events, LinkedIn professionals will be able to give you feedback that can only strengthen your search process. And don’t just lurk, participate and contribute! By the way, if you are not on LinkedIn yet, you need to rectify that immediately.

    A Session or Two with a Psychiatrist Can Never Hurt

    Stress from mounting bills, family pressures, and other factors can weigh on you mentally. Hopefully chatting with friends and family can help to relieve that tension. But if you cannot find psychological relief there, consider one or two sessions with a mental health professional. These individuals can help you sort out feelings and perceptions that may be affecting your health, or even affecting your search effectiveness. Depending upon your health insurance plan, this may be a covered visit. But even if it is not, talking to someone who can help you to sort things out is always money well spent.

  • Hidden Job SearchI know the title “The Hidden Job Market” may cause one to envision some rogue website on the dark web, or perhaps some trench coat-clad guy in a hat in an alleyway holding a new employee pack. But in truth, most facets of the hidden job market are in fact hidden in plain sight. Many of us know every aspect of it, we just underestimate its importance in our overall plan. So in effect, we very often hide these strategies from ourselves.

    If you are in the midst of a job search right now (or in the near future), here are some things to consider to increase the speed of your search, as well as expand your options:

    Professional Relationships

    It doesn’t matter how many apps or websites they develop. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will replace good ol’ networking as the #1 avenue for finding employment. The problem is that in an age where everyone’s face is buried in their cell phones, people don’t nurture these relationships the way they should. People prefer to hire those that they either know, or are referred to them by people that they know. Feed and water your most valuable professional relationships often. You never know when you will need them.

    LinkedIn

    Ladies and gentlemen, did you know that LinkedIn is effectively the job board is the biggest on the planet? We are talking about the largest professional network on the planet, and you would be surprised at the number of professionals who do not even have a LinkedIn account, much less take an active participating stance as they should. As of February 2015, LinkedIn had 347 million users and 40% of them check in on the platform daily. Also, 1 in 20 profiles belong to recruiters. But here is a number to knock your socks off:

    94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet their candidates.

    So, if you aren’t on LinkedIn, or your profile is naked, what does that say to them? Fully develop your profile and ensure that it is optimized for those searching four your skill set. And don’t forget to participate in LinkedIn group discussions.

    Opportunities Never Posted

    It is well known that more than half of available positions are filled before the positions even become public. If this is the case, then you’re only accessing less than half of them by only applying to posted openings, right? There is no need to wait for a posting to contact an employer to put your resume in their system BEFORE the opening comes available. If you are an accountant and think Proctor and Gamble would be a great place to work. Submit your resume now! Don’t wait for a posting that may never come. Also, try hunting down a hiring authority in a department in which you can contribute and reach out. Need a name but the front desk won’t give it? The folks in the mail room might help you. (Yes, I used this one in the past). Also, remember that LinkedIn thing? That is a good way to touch base with someone in that company as well.

    Niche Job Boards

    Everyone knows about the popular job boards such as Monster.com, Careerbuilders.com, Indeed.com and glassdoor.com. So if everyone knows about it, then the competition is going to be greater. Look for those boards that specialize in your niche. If you are in sales, have you ever heard of SalesCareerForum, SalesClassifieds or SalesGravy? How about you accountants? Have you accessed websites such as AccountingJobsToday, Bankjobs or FinancialJobBank?

    Professional Associations

    We all know that associations are a great way to keep your ear to the ground with regard to changes in your profession or industry. But communicating with your fellow association members is also a good way to find out the latest on employment opportunity developments. Association websites will sometimes communicate employment opportunities you won’t see on the job boards simply because the likelihood of receiving resumes from those who meet the qualifications are greater. Additionally, your fellow professionals with other companies are likely to know when the department is expanding or looking to hire. And don’t forget to attend the annual conventions to see find out the buzz regarding opportunities available for those in your field.

  • sodical media footprintWhen you are about to start a job search, you want to ensure that all of your ducks are in order. After getting your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile into shape (hopefully by a certified resume writer), you may want to focus on preparing your wardrobe for planned and spontaneous interview opportunities. But most people don’t think about checking their online footprint. In the digital age, employers are not just leaning on your traditional job search documents. Hiring managers now check out your online presence and activities, often before they even read completely through your resume. If you are truly on your game, you will want to assess your online footprint to determine what out in cyberspace can hurt you, and what you can do to repair the damage.

     

    Google Your Name

    This is the obvious starting point, as this is exactly what a hiring manager will do when starting their research on you. The idea here is to see what comes up on the first two or three pages that recruiters and hiring managers can end up clicking through to see who they are dealing with. Now, I am using the term “Googling” here as a catch-all. When examining your online footprint, don’t just use the Google search engine, look yourself up on all the major search engines (Bing, Yahoo! Search, Ask.com, AOL.com). Don’t forget to use different variations of your name. You may even want to add your location to the search parameters. Remember that search engines use what is called Boolean logic, meaning words such as “not”, “and” and “or” can be combined with other characters such as minus signs and quotation marks to make your search more specific and targeted.

     

    Find The Imposters!

    If you have a highly unique name, then you don’t necessarily have to worry about your name bringing up the results of others in a Google search. But most of us have someone out there with a name similar to ours that can potentially cause us trouble. A recruiter or hiring authority that receives your resume and decides to perform a search for you may end up finding negative entries that are not truly about you. But of course, that recruiter or hiring manager does not know that, do they? Perhaps a recruiter looks up your name and ends up finding a convicted felon. Or perhaps someone with your name is embroiled in a particularly nasty sexual harassment lawsuit. Either way, you will want to know going into your job search whether this situation is out there.

     

    How Are We Presenting On Social Media?

    Properly branded social media is an underutilized tool in most people’s job search. I am not necessarily talking about how people use it to search for employment. I am talking about properly using it to establish your brand. Does your LinkedIn page come up on the first page? (If not, you should be working on that) What about your Facebook and Twitter pages? Of course, what is more important than their placement within search engines is what they will find when they click through. I know, most of you think “privacy settings” keep you buffered from outsiders, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A recent JobVite survey revealed that 73% of recruiters plan to ramp up their investment in social media recruiting. So you have to know that with their incomes on the line, recruiters likely have a way to find the “real you” if they want to. The same goes for your blog posts. If you love creating mayhem under articles covering controversial topics, just remember that most of them are searchable. If you haven’t already, review those accounts, posts and photos to ensure that they are something you would want a potential employer to see. Because whether you want to believe it or not, they will.

    How Do I Fix This?

    The social media accounts fix is easy. Delete the damning material. But what about the other items? Well, sorry to say there is no fast way to handle this on the search side. However, you can begin to take back control of your online identity slowly but surely. The key is to begin creating online content that begins to push the other information down in the search rankings:

    • First, decide how you want your name to live online and stick to that. For example, if your name is John Public and there is another John Public out there giving you a bad name, you may want to begin branding yourself with the middle initial (John D. Public), or perhaps go by the first initial and middle name (J. David Public).
    • Build a well optimized LinkedIn Profile if you do not already have one. A good LinkedIn profile is a necessary tool for an effective job search anyway, since 80% of available jobs appear on the platform.
    • Purchase a personalized URL and launch a website.
    • Start your own properly properly optimized blog where you can begin establishing yourself as an industry expert.
    • Write guest blogs or articles for other websites, ensuring they use a bio that you develop with your online name and qualifications.
  • 7 additional linkedin factsA few weeks ago, we wrote about 7 little known LinkedIn facts that can bolster your LinkedIn profile performance (Hopefully you all have gone over these and applied these strategies to your LinkedIn profiles already). But you know what, you just can’t make too many improvements to a profile. So here are 7 more little known LinkedIn profile tips that can make you more marketable and searchable on the popular business networking platform.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #1: Limit LinkedIn Skill Entries to No More Than 25

    Your LinkedIn profile allows you to bolster your profile targeting by entering per-determined skill categories that can be endorsed by your connections. While the LinkedIn platform allows you to enter up to 50 of these categories, what most don’t realize is that too many of the secondary categories can water down the search strength of the others. As such, we recommend no more than 25 entries. You should also re-order them by importance to your goals and target interests of those who will be looking for you. What you may have noticed is that your connections may end up endorsing you for skills in addition to those you have select. As such, I recommend reviewing your skills list weekly to delete any additional skills for which you may have been endorsed.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #2: You Can Review the Profiles of Others Using the Anonymous Setting

    The LinkedIn profile has a specific purpose: to build networking relationships for career management purposes. If your industry or profession is a close-knit one, you may not want to make it known that you are reviewing the profiles of other professionals in the circle. This situation may require discretion on some level to protect against the wrong individuals discovering your activities. You know, like your boss! Simply go under “Edit My Profile” to “Settings”. From there, you will see the option to “Customize Visibility”. I have heard some voices out there that really do not like that members can review their profiles anonymously, but if one is that paranoid about the information on their LinkedIn profile, perhaps the medium is not for them.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #3: Re-order Your Sections by Importance

    When constructing a powerful resume, you always start off with strengths so that your reader absorbs them early on. Your LinkedIn profile allows you to use the same strategy. If you hold a valuable certification that that is critical to your goal but your formal education was in a different area, perhaps you should move the certification up. Perhaps your work experience is of little relevance to the reader. Why not relegate it below the skills section.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #4: Use the Project Section to Boost Your Profile

    Not many people I know bother to use the Project section. But this is a great place to add quality content for reviewers of your profile. For one of our clients in the construction industry, we decided to enter photos of projects he managed. We have also used this section Slideshare presentations.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #5: Profile Photo Makes a Difference

    Did you know that having your photo in your LinkedIn profile makes it seven times more likely to be clicked by others? I have had clients concerned about their perceived “lack of photogenic prowess”, but no photo means fewer visitors. Of course, you should not use the photo of you partying in Bermuda. Find a photographer that specializes in head shots. This will cause others see you a professional and help to establish your brand. If you are a business professional, the corporate head shot is for you. For those in less formal occupations, you can go with something that is in line with how you want to be perceived. So if you are in the travel agency or party business, then maybe that Bermuda pic works after all.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #6: Add Connections to Increase Search Strength

    The way the LinkedIn algorithm works, the more relevant connections you have, the more likely you are to come up in searches. When you do reach out to those connections, try to avoid using the standardized introduction verbiage. It is best to personalize your message so the recipient feels engaged. Also, when the connection has been accepted, it it is good to reach out and thank the new connection.

    LinkedIn Profile Tip #7: Create A Vanity URL

    Okay, I am not sure this is a “little known” fact, but it bears mentioning because many still don’t take advantage of it. A vanity URL that includes your name is going to be more memorable and should also contain fewer characters. This comes in handy when including the URL in other documentation such as your resume, a bio, business cards or other promotional literature.

    These tips and the tips in the earlier blog post should provide you with the tools needed to greatly improve your LinkedIn profiles effectiveness. However, if you decide you need a professional touch to help you get to get to the next level, we offer LinkedIn profile development services that pair well with a targeted resume.

  • How to Use Linkedin 01With more than 300 million registered users in more than 200 countries, it never hurts to learn how to use LinkedIn more effectively. LinkedIn has fast become the hub of online business networking. However, too many of us do not truly understand how to effectively use the website to get the most from it. Research has shown that 47.6% of us spend 2 hours or less on LinkedIn (we need to do better, people!). Most of us know enough to join a few groups and make a few connections, but there are a few other nuance aspects of LinkedIn and who is using it that can help to optimize your use of the tool, and even shape your overall job search strategy.

    Turn Off Notifications Before Updating Your Profile

    There is no need for everyone in your network to get a notification that you “added a job” on LinkedIn when in fact all you did was to correct an error you may have noticed within that position entry when you originally posted it. Within your account settings, you have the ability to turn off notifications so that your entire network isn’t alerted every time you make a change. Another reason you will want to do this is so that your boss or co-workers are not alerted if you begin to make major changes to your profile in preparation for a job change. Many employers see a large uptick in LinkedIn activity as a sign you may be planning to move on. And we don’t want to anyone knowing before you are ready to, right? To turn off your notifications, simply go under your privacy settings (put cursor over your pic in the upper right-hand corner of the page) and you’ll see it there. Need help finding it? Go to LinkedIn Help for guidance.

    There are Tons of Job Vacancies Listed on LinkedIn

    We all know about finding job vacancies on job boards, company websites and a host of local sites. But I’ll bet many of you didn’t know that a great many vacancies find their way into the LinkedIn Jobs section . In fact, according to socialmediatoday.com, 77% of all available jobs are posted on LinkedIn. Their job search interface is similar to that of most of the comparable job boards out there. You can search by location, company name and job title/function. I recently did a test search on the job title “accountant” and more than 8700 came up for New York alone. So once your resume and cover letter are properly updated and targeted and it is time to actively begin identifying those positions of interest, be sure LinkedIn’s job search platform is in the mix.

    Recruiters Use LinkedIn … A LOT!

    In case you haven’t figured it out yet, recruiters really, REALLY loved LinkedIn. In fact,

    How about this: a survey by Bullhorn Reach found that 67% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their ONLY recruiting method. With one recruiter for every 1,800 LinkedIn users, a dynamic profile coupled with your excellent qualifications means it is only a matter of time before a recruiter finds you. Recruiters are paid by employers to find and bring to them top talent. So working with a recruiter is an excellent way to leverage your efforts at no additional cost.

    Recruiters Can Search Entire Profiles (As Opposed to the Rest of Us)

    When regular folks such as you and I conduct a search on LinkedIn, the algorithm searches the name and headline only. But did you know that recruiters have the ability to search ENTIRE PROFILES for qualified candidates. Recruiters use what is called a Boolean search to identify relevant profiles that fit their clients’ needs. To help make yourself attractive to recruiters, you’ll want to ensure that your profile is complete, with a targeted headline and spectacular summary. Also, seek out and secure those recommendations from colleagues and/or account contacts. Recruiters will feel working with you is less risky if they can see that others have vouched for you. Just as it would be with your resume, show results and use quantifiable highlights when you can.

    Post Updates and Participate in Groups to Establish Your Brand

    Creating a powerful profile is fine. But you can do more establish your personal brand by being an active participant in the LinkedIn community. LinkedIn allows you to post updates, which can be used to communicate industry and profession tidbits that would be of interest to others. You should also participate in the LinkedIn groups of which you are member. Hey, why not moderate your own group? This additional activity not only helps recruiters to find you easier, it also looks good when a hiring manager that you have contacted decides to research you on LinkedIn to learn more about you.

    And make no mistake, they WILL check you out.

    Character Limits

    Did you know that each section of your LinkedIn profile has character limits? Keeping each entry below the limit ensures your message doesn’t get cut off. It could also come across to a recruiter or reader as lacking attention to detail if this happens. As of this writing, the character limits are as follows (remember that spaces count as characters):

    Company Name: 100 characters.

    Headline: 120 characters.

    Summary: 2,000 characters.

    Specialties: 500 characters.

    Website Anchor Text: 30 characters.

    Website URL: 256 characters.

    Position Title: 100 characters.

    Position Description: 200 minimum/2000 maximum characters.

    Interests: 1,000 characters

    Phone number: 25 characters

    IM (Instant message): 25 characters

    Address: 1000 characters

    Skills: You may add up to 25 skills using 61 characters per skill.

    LinkedIn Status Update: Up to 700 characters (if updating Twitter status at the same time, remember the 140 character limit applies. If you exceed 140 characters, only the first 140 characters will appear on Twitter).

  • resume service progressThe horse and buggy.
    Archers as a military weapon.
    Typewriters.
    Kerosene lamps.
    Pony Express.
    Vinyl records.
    35 years with the same employer.

    What do each of these have in common? They were all considered the primary way doing something, and at some point immediately became a relic and a thing of the past. If there is one thing that remains constant, it is change. To assume something will never morph or evolve makes no sense if one simply looks back on history. Just because one cannot conceive of what that change will be doesn’t mean one is not eventually coming. For example, if you were not involved in tech, did you REALLY see the ability to make free Skype phone calls and pay your bills over something called the Internet back in 1985?

    As resume writers, we also have to look at our industry and anticipate where the changes will come that will affect our core value to our clients. When most people think of a “traditional” resume writing service, they think of either an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper that is mailed in to an employer, or an electronic version of the same document uploaded to job boards, company websites, or emailed to a recipient. But is this where the evolution stops?

    We are already seeing LinkedIn become a major player in the job search game. LinkedIn not only provides job seekers with job postings and a medium for posting information similar to one’s resume, it offers excellent networking opportunities (STILL the #1 way to find a job). But even with LinkedIn, one still needs their content to be well-organized, concise, written in the appropriate voice, and proofed for grammatical correctness and phrasing consistency. Considering these development needs, us resume writers still provide immense value to our client base. But can we conceive a scenario where our unique skill set would be obsolete? It is worth consideration.

    In one scenario, I imagined a nationwide and centralized database used by the majority of employers consisting of job seekers’ “vitals” regarding their employment history, education, training, affiliations and other qualifications. But in such a scenario, a change in career would be difficult. With a system used for employment purposes that is strictly data driven by past hard facts, it would be difficult to change your career path, as such a database would not likely be able to account for lesser-used skills and experiences that would translate to the new target. Because of this, even a tool like this would require a vehicle for creative input to ensure that the applicant can show the reader where they match up with the position requirements for the new career goal. Without it, one would be stuck in a particular career path with no way out.

    I think my job is still safe. At least for now. No telling what the future holds.

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