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  • thinking-womanYou’ve got the document, so refine your job search strategy!

    So, you’ve received a brand new and highly effective resume from The Resume Clinic. It is well balanced, easy to read, search friendly and efficiently written. Now that you have this wonderful tool in hand, what are your next steps in landing a great job? This is the first part of a series on what to do (resume and otherwise) to make your job search strategy work to position you for long-term success.

    Stash Electronic Copies of your Resume

    It’s 2015, people. You really don’t need to be walking around with hard copies of your resume as part of your job search strategy. More likely than not you will need an electronic version before you ever need that hard copy. Be sure you have copies of that resume stashed in several places for easy access. First, ensure that you have the primary version set to “read only” so that you do not mistakenly make any changes to the document. Next, tuck a copy of the resume in your cloud storage. It would help if this was accessible through an app on your phone. but the smartphone’s browser will do in a pinch. Also, get yourself a thumb drive. The smaller the better. Physically, that is, not from his storage standpoint. Something nice and stylish that will fit on your key ring would be nice, wouldn’t it? And don’t forget to leave a copy in your web-based email account.

    Clean Up Your Social Media Space

    Man, if you only knew the number of people who lost great opportunities because of idiotic Facebook or Twitter posts, you and go to your account immediately and clean them up. Employers have admitted to checking applicants Facebook pages before even reading their resumes. And by the way, those privacy settings can be gotten around. Don’t let an idiotic pic of you and a bong (or worse) keep you from launching your career. Go through all of your social media accounts as part of your job search strategy and get those types of things out of there. Are you a huge political commenter? Just remember that the person reading that resume may not have the same views as you do. In fact, they may be the only one in the office with a view that is not like yours. But just because your resume ran across this person, you can miss out on a great job. Keep the social media profiles professional. In fact, you should be using these to brand yourself as an industry professional. Comment on things having to do with your chosen profession or forward relevant articles of interest with your comments on what you read. Use this vital space to cement your qualifications in the minds of your readers and potential employers.

    Coming later, part 2 of this job search strategy series.

  • quitting rantSo you have an annoying and jerk of a boss, and you just reached the point where you’ve taken all that you can from them. You sit in your office and plan the most elaborate quitting rant that you can. You really want to show this jerk, and your fellow jerk coworkers where they can stick this job. It is going to be epic, right! RIGHT?

    Not so fast. Enjoy this scenario in your head while you eat lunch, but be sure that you keep this performance to yourself. The truth is, going with an elaborate “quitting show” is a very short-term pleasure ride to take for potentially throwing away your career.

    First of all, you never know who your jerk boss, his boss, or those annoying co-workers know. When your resume comes across someone else’s desk, they may see your former company’s name and realize that her friend from college works there. And what do you think that friend will say to them after seeing your quitting rant performance? And it doesn’t have to be a co-worker with whom you don’t get along. Even those who you may have called friend will have a hard time putting their own reputations on the line by recommending you.

    Second, in the age of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, you can just bet that if your tirade lasts any longer than 10 seconds, it will be recorded and uploaded before you can get to your car. You will have to worry during every interview as to whether the will recognize you. And even if the first interviewer does not, the second one might, or one of your new coworkers.

    Lastly, depending upon the size of your industry or profession, word may just get around to all places that were potential new landing spots before you even update your resume. Yes you may find yourself blackballed the industry because of your need to tell your former employer and fellow employees about themselves.

    Look, we all know that we have those moments where did will feel really, really good to lay into your boss and walk out the door with the old song “Take This Job and Shove It” blasting from your smartphone. But you must to consider the long game before going on an elaborate quitting rant. You may need these people for future references and networking opportunities. Hey, you may even need to return to that company once the present agitators have cycled out due to attrition, which sometimes happens. Things are just too tough out there right now to burn any bridges. Keep all options  open and bridges  intact, as you never know when you have to backtrack over it.

  • operations managerMany professionals prefer the benefits of working for larger corporations. There are the benefits packages, ample training, and perceived job security that make this option all too attractive. But with many people overlook is the benefits of working for smaller, growing companies. According to the National Small Business Association, small businesses make up 99.9% of the 26.8 million businesses in the United States. So if you are only looking for a large company opportunities, you can be leaving a lot on the table.

    From a professional standpoint, the small company opportunities allow you to gain a broad range of skill sets because of the need for its employees to wear many hats. In larger organizations, everyone tends to be more specialized and compartmentalized. With numerous cards in their machinery, large enterprises love to take the plug and play approach with employees. The more focused your job, the more easier you are to replace. You’re smaller businesses tend to expose you to more, making you more valuable in the marketplace. It also better prepares you for running your own enterprise someday.

    With smaller businesses, you are also able to ride the crest of success to larger financial gains. If you are fortunate enough to get in on the ground floor of a great business, you can find yourself wealthy very quickly. Just ask any Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon employee who had stock options from the start. When you come into a large business that is already established. Your salary and benefits pretty much represent the range of where you will be for some time. Promotion opportunities tend to be less available, and of course, the political environment will play a role.

    As I mentioned earlier, the illusion of job security with a larger company it’s just that. An illusion. Larger companies will not think twice before jettisoning entire departments and divisions, dumping hundreds or thousands into the available work pool in an effort to streamline personnel costs and increase the bottom line for shareholders and senior management. The best part about  small company opportunities is that it is much easier to keep your ear to the ground as to what is happening with the company. You will usually see trouble coming.

    Of course, your financial and family situation dictates which option is better for you in the long term. For example, and older professional may value the benefits package more so than the potential for explosive income growth or promotion. Younger professionals can afford the luxury of taking a position with a startup entity that may not offer benefits, but an excellent opportunity to get into something on the ground floor to experience the huge upside. One’s personality and tolerance for risk should also should dictate the type of position pursued. But either way, keep your head on a swivel and ear to the ground for rumblings of what is going on with your employer and your industry.

  • 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.

  • Man with laptopWhen you are in between jobs and conducting a job search, the last group you think you will have trouble with is family and friends. But that is not always the case. When you are preparing your resume and cover letter in search of that elusive interview, not everyone understands the level of engagement and effort needed. Be on the lookout for these subtle (and not so subtle) ways that family and friends, while unintentional, can hamper your job search progress.

    Everyone Assumes You Are Available to Run Errands

    “Hey, you are not working right now, so why you go and pick up your little cousin and bring them to camp?” At least that is what a family member is thinking. What they do not realize is that when you are out of work and engaged in a job search, looking for a job becomes your job. Of course, when you are not punching a clock, there is flexibility there that allows you to do more for others than you normally would. But make no mistake, if you do not take care to protect your time, you can end up losing hours every day going to the grocery store, give someone a ride, or even waiting for the cable man at a neighbor’s house.

    Make certain that those in your life know that the job search itself has become your job until something breaks. Do your best to manage favors and errands to ensure they do not dominate your day. And again, there is time to assist those you love, but you must maintain some semblance of control to ensure your job search is fruitful sooner rather than later.

    They Want You to Hang Out During the Day

    Being out of work may bother you (at least it should). But it may not bother your cousin, or your sibling you may also be under employed at the moment. Occasionally, people will see a stint of unemployment as an opportunity to have a good time during the middle of the day. So while they should be tightening up their resumes or doing mock interview, they are hanging out at a bar or playing video games. Trust me, they want company, and they are coming to you for it.

    Resist the urge to step away from your computer to “have a snort” with them. One hour can turn into four very quickly. And one day can turn into one week the same way. The next thing you know, a job search that could have lasted weeks is now into its sixth month. There will always be somewhere to go and something to do, and always a fun crew to do it with.

    But if you are serious about continuing your search, will find that next position as soon as possible. Remember, the longer one is unemployed, the more the seem unemployable to hiring managers. Six months down the road, you will find the phone is not ringing because, well, you have been unemployed for six months. Of course, the situation may have been alleviated had you spent 8 hours per day in your job search as you should have.

    Let your friends, cousins, brothers or sisters know that you will gladly hang out with them after 5 p.m. when your “work day” has officially ended. After all the resumes have gone out, all the follow up calls have been made, and all the job boards had been scrubbed, you will be glad to have a good time. After that, you may need it. But you will enjoy it more because you would have earned it.

    No Respect for your Space

    Now this may be a tricky one depending upon the logistics of your home. But if you remember from a previous blog post, you need a job search home base. This is a place where nothing occurs but the search. If you have a separate room for this activity, that is great. But even if it is a desk in the corner of the room with headphones to shut out the noise, you need a separate space for this process.

    If the setup of your domicile is not such where you can have a door between you and the madness, it can be very easy for those you live with to infringe upon your space. Things will find its way onto your desk. And even worse, some of your things may find its way someplace else. Drinks can get spilled on your documents. It’s madness!!!

    Take the time to sit everyone in the home down and let them know that your workspace is off limits until you find employment. Your resumes, cover letters, job vacancy printouts, and other documents need to be as you left them at all times. Your family is very likely to understand. But this needs to be stated clearly, as if you do not do so, they may not fully understand its importance.

    Negativity

    This issue may not be as cut and dry to deal with. Not everyone lives in a positive situation or in an understanding household. If you find that those you reside with are not necessarily positive people, then you need to take action to change circumstances. Outside of moving out, you need to minimize exposure to any negativity. A job search is difficult enough without someone constantly “harshing your mellow”, right?

    If you currently live with someone who is negative, yet reasonable, having a chat with them to let them know that you need positive reinforcement or nothing at all just might be what the doctor ordered. Their being negative does not necessarily mean they did you not wish the best for you. Some people are just negative and don’t necessarily know when they are being so.

    Your biggest issue comes with those negative people who may simply not want success for anyone. A conversation is not likely to help in this case. In fact, it may make things worse. You need to have mechanisms in place to minimize exposure to these individuals. You may want to conduct your search during the day at someone else’s home, the library, or your local coffee house. When you are at home, keep headphones on and pour positive messages into your head regularly. Minimize your exposure whenever and wherever you can.

    Yes, we love our friends and our family members. They can be a great support structure for you when the correct guidelines are laid down. Take charge of your search and the surroundings in which is conducted. Let those in your life know the parameters in which you are to be dealt with during this time and you should be fine.

    Now go get that job!

  • 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.

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