Archive for Recruiting
When you’re looking for a job, there are the obvious components you know you need, like a strong resume and cover letter. But there are other secret weapons that can increase your odds of being considered for a position, as well as help you stay organized through the job search process.
In the United States most career experts will say your resume is no place for your headshot. Your social media profiles though will look empty without it. A nice, professional headshot can help you better connect with hiring managers and should be used on social media sites, especially LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
And remember: even if you don’t plan on showing a hiring manager your Facebook profile, there’s still a good chance she’ll find it when Googling you. Hiring managers are turning to social media profiles to learn more about job candidates, so many sure what you are showing the world is okay for a hiring manager to see.
If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer for your headshot, find a friend to help, choose a neutral background, and take a few so you have some to choose from.
2. Mobile Applications
Many of the job boards these days offer mobile apps so you can track your applications and see where you’ve applied while you’re on the go. CareerBuilder’s mobile app lets you apply for jobs with two taps of a finger, or save jobs to view later. Monster’s app notifies you when new jobs are posted, and also provides interview tips.
3. Professional Email
You may want to consider setting up a different email for your job search activity. While it’s certainly convenient to get correspondence at your personal email address, you may not want to be inundated with those PR job alerts and other automatic emails that most people don’t get around to turning off after your job search. And if you’ve been using a quirky personal email address for years and you don’t want to part with it, hiring managers might not understand the humor in your email address.
4. Job Search Organization Tool
Applying for positions on multiple job boards is enough to make your eyes cross. And since sometimes employers post the same job on several boards, you want to make sure you’re not wasting time reapplying for the same job. Additionally, you’ll be sending your resume to your contacts and directly to companies website or the hiring managers directly.
Find a tool like Jibber Jobber that lets you manage and track jobs you’ve applied for, as well as update your contacts and details on companies you’re interested in working for.
It’s important to track where you’ve applied so you don’t reapply for the same job over and over and if you are approached or working with a recruiter, you’ll need to be able to let them know if you have ever applied to a position at their client and when.
If you don’t have the money to pay for a solution like this, a simple spreadsheet will suffice.
Having a prewritten biography comes in handy when you’re setting up your social media profiles or job board accounts. It doesn’t need to be too detailed: a few paragraphs should suffice. Make sure to highlight your areas of expertise, positions you’ve held, and education.
While these are all small details, they’re ones that stand out. Take the time to focus on these components, and you’ll see more positive results in your job search.
Think only your friends are hanging out on Twitter or Facebook? Think again — especially if you’re hunting for your next job.
Employment recruiters are spending more time looking for qualified job candidates on social media, it seems. Because so many professionals are branding themselves as experts on social sites, recruiters are finding it easier to locate people with the skill set they’re looking for.
Here’s the portion of recruiters that are looking for you on social media (Inc. Magazine):
- LinkedIn: 98%
- Twitter: 42%
- Facebook: 33%
Position Yourself to Be Found Through Social Media
For those of you who haven’t put any attention into making your social media profiles a beacon for recruiters to find, Vinda Rao, Marketing Manager for recruiting software company Bullhorn, offers these tips:
Keep your social media profile clean. It does matter: 98% of recruiters used social media for recruiting in 2012, so make sure what they’re finding out about you online is professional and appealing.
Can’t juggle several social media accounts? Focus on LinkedIn. You’ll find more recruiters on LinkedIn than any other social media network. Nearly 100% of recruiters use it, compared to their less frequent activity on Twitter and Facebook.
Are you aiming big or small? Tailor your social networking use to your goal. U.S. recruiters at small companies are less likely to recruit on LinkedIn than big companies, but are more likely to use Facebook or Twitter.
Have some downtime while lounging by the pool or on a long bus ride? Check job opportunities on the go: 53% of recruiters found mobile recruiting technology extremely important.
Your Alma Mater may not matter as much as you think. Fewer than 4% of recruiters say that the name of the school the applicant attended would truly help differentiate her as a candidate.
Depending on what field you studied, research what social network your industry focuses on. Interested in the restaurant or fashion industries, for example? Twitter is your best bet. Security and legal candidates are best suited to search for opportunities on LinkedIn, and those looking for a job in nursing should be perusing Facebook.
Let Your Beacon Shine
The point here is: social media can expand your horizons when it comes to helping you find a job. The more places you look, the faster you’ll secure the position you really want. Make sure you shine on social media, and share a variety of updates and links to show that you know your stuff:
- Share links to your blog content and promote relevant content of others. Ask questions to get people to click
- Engage in conversations with other industry professionals
- Answer questions people have about your field on LinkedIn Groups and LinkedIn Answers, or hop on Quora and get involved in discussions
- Retweet relevant content and share your own two cents
- Share your own insight on a subject, and don’t be afraid to weigh in on topics that matter to a professional in your field.
Wondering if you’re a good fit for a flexible work situation? It’s not for everyone. Being able to work from home requires independence and focus. If those dirty dishes easily lure you away from a morning of slogging away on your laptop, you might not make the best flexible worker, at least in your boss’ eyes.
According to business and workplace expert Alexandra Levit, who has partnered with Flexjobs to talk about flexible work, there are several traits that make for a more successful flexible employee:
Self discipline: Going back to that dirty dishes example; it’s imperative that you be able to ignore all distractions while working from home. And without a micromanaging boss peering over your shoulder, you’ll have to motivate yourself to get the job done.
Confidence: You can’t get the buy-in of your supervisor for every decision you make if you’re working out of your home. You’ll need to be confident in your decisions and not second guess each one.
Resourcefulness: There’s a reason why recent grads don’t often find flexible work situations: it takes experience to be able to run with a task after receiving only minimal direction on it. The longer you’ve been in the workforce, the more able you will be to act resourcefully and find answers yourself.
Comfortable with Self-Imposed Deadlines: If you thrive under the pressure of your boss cracking the whip over your head just before a deadline, you might not succeed if you’re working alone at home. You’ll be responsible for meeting deadlines, and there won’t be anyone yelling in your ear to get it done.
Extroversion: Just because you’re out of sight in the office shouldn’t mean you become out of mind. It’s even more important, says Levit, to stay visible when you’re not in the office every day. This means you’ll have to spend time developing professional relationships and staying in contact with your team, even if it’s just for a little office news.
Can These Skills Be Learned?
If you didn’t identify with any of the traits listed above, don’t despair. You may be able to learn to create laser focus on your work, and to flourish without the watchful eye of your manager. Above all, you can develop solid communication skills that will help you succeed as a flexible worker.
“I think that the most critical trait to be a great flexible worker is to be a proactive communicator,” Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of Flexjobs, surmises, “Although I probably think it’s the most critical trait in almost any job, it’s even more so with telecommuting, freelance, or flexible schedule arrangements, because you can’t fall back on some of the traditional ways to check in with your colleagues.”
Strong communication will also be what sells your boss on the idea of you working remotely. If you want to pitch yourself as a good candidate for telecommuting, start by showing him what a fantastic communicator you can be. Every goal, process, and project you work on should be a part of a conversation. Once you show that you’re on top of it (and he can spend more time worrying about other employees), he may loosen up and let you test out a flexible work situation.
What if It’s Not Right for You?
You may prefer the structure and connection that come with working in an office, and that’s okay. Be honest about your ideal work environment, and if it doesn’t consist of working from your home or elsewhere, hang on to your cubicle!
If you’re new to the workforce or changing fields, you find it hard to get hired. It seems like there are always people out there more qualified and with more experience than you. And while you could take a job out of your area of interest, you’d rather find another way to get the experience you need so that you’re more hireable to employers.
By giving your time to a company or nonprofit that needs your skills, you reap multiple benefits.
1. You Ramp Up Your Skills
If your resume is still a little thin, volunteering is a great way to enhance your current skills to position yourself as an appealing job candidate. Let’s say you have a degree in public relations. Agencies feel you don’t yet have enough experience to interact with clients, but if you volunteer to do PR for a nonprofit, you get the opportunity to write more, interact with the media, plan events, and represent a brand on social media. That already makes your resume look better.
2. You Get to Meet (the Right) People
While your goal in volunteering shouldn’t be to directly get a job with the company you work for pro bono, it can happen. And even if that company doesn’t need you, the people you impress there might be able to refer you to contacts who are looking to hire.
3. You Learn New Skills
In addition to boosting what you already know, volunteering can introduce you to new tools and skills you didn’t already have. Consider it on-the-job training, without the pay. Maybe you’ve been curious about an email marketing platform, but didn’t want to invest in paying for it just to gain the skill. If you volunteer for a company that uses it, you get the opportunity to learn how to use it and add that skill to your resume.
4. You Can Fill in the Resume Gaps
Hiring managers often raise an eyebrow when there’s a noticeable time gap between jobs. If you’re simply trying to find a job during that gap, volunteering can make it look better. It shows that you’ve been proactive in trying to find a job and better yourself professionally.
5. You Can Feel Good
The altruistic purpose of volunteering shouldn’t be overlooked here. By giving your time, you can help organizations or groups that you feel an affinity for. Volunteering about a cause you are passionate about can help you feel like you’re making a difference.
How to Start Volunteering
Convinced that volunteering will help you find a job? Start by being realistic about the amount of time you can commit. It’s better to under commit to, say, once a week, than to promise you’ll help every day and not be able to do so. And keep room in your schedule to continue the job search, and to go on interviews, as that is still your number one focus.
Some places to get started to find volunteer opportunities in your local region.
All for Good
When it comes to creating your resume, there are some obvious no-nos you should avoid, like naming your resume, well, “resume.” Here are more things that will turn off an employer, and that you should avoid doing at all costs.
1. Your 1-Month Stint at an Ice Cream Shop
When you’re a new grad, it’s hard to know what to put on your resume, simply because you don’t have a long work history. But as you gain experience, start moving those unrelated summer jobs off of your resume, especially if they were extremely short. Also: if you worked in a professional job for a month or two, it’s probably better to leave it off, or hiring managers will question why you couldn’t stay at the job longer.
2. Annoying Buzzwords
Let me guess: you’re highly organized, a people person, and a multi-tasker. These are filler words on a resume, and employers are sick of seeing them. Really consider the best words to describe what you do. Use a thesaurus if you get stuck.
3. All Your Extra-Curricular Activities
When you’re first taught to create a resume in high school or college, you’re encouraged to put all your extracurricular activities down, like cheerleading or rock climbing. While I don’t think hobbies necessarily kill a resume and can paint a better overall picture of the candidate, I do think they can take up valuable real estate if it doesn’t tie in somehow to your career or demonstrate characteristics important for the position.
4. Over-Personal Information
Proud as you may be to be a card-carrying member of the NRA, or of your church or political party, your resume isn’t the place for it.
5. Your Date of Birth
In the United States, employers are skittish about topics they can’t broach with you (age, race, marital status, etc.), so keep your date to yourself. Let your experience speak for itself, not the age.
6. Why You Were Fired
If you were let go in a previous role, your resume isn’t the place to discuss it. Actually, you should probably not bring it up at all in an introduction if you were fired. Let the employer guide that discussion if you’re invited in for an interview.
7. A Headshot
You don’t really want to be judged based on how you look if you’re trying to get a job based on merit, so nix on the photo. Even though these days it is pretty easy to see a photo on any professional or personal social network, it’s not a widely accepted practice to include a headshot on your traditional resume in the United States.
8. Every Responsibility You Had at Every Job
Your resume is supposed to show a few of the key responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Choose three to five that you think are the most noteworthy and relevant to the job, tying them into your major achievements.
9. The Cute Font
As cute as Comic Sans is as a font, it doesn’t belong on your resume. If you want to be taken seriously, stick to a font type that’s easy to read. It doesn’t need to be Times New Roman or Arial. Play with Calibri, Book Antiqua, Century, Garamond, or Georgia.
10. Unprofessional Email Address
Email addresses are free. Get an email with your name. Luvbunny_22@hotmail.com isn’t going to cut it. Obvious, right? I still get emails like this from applicants. The same goes for shared couple/family email addresses. Get your own email address for the job search. It’s a small investment of your time and you can always auto-forward responses to your most frequently used email if necessary.
The art of writing a thoughtful thank you note is nearly extinct, but that’s not how it should be. Call me old school. And for the record, I feel the same about the “resumes are dead” argument, because guess what? Every single company I have recruited for always asks for one. The only exception has been when the candidate and the hiring manager already know each other. It’s a fun discussion, but in reality, most companies expect you to have one.
Okay, back to thank you notes.
While it’s certainly easier to send a quick email to thank an employer for inviting you for an interview, there are a myriad of reasons why it’s better to send a handwritten note.
1. Not Everyone Sends One
Many other job candidates won’t go to the trouble to send a handwritten thank you card, and that’s reason enough to send one. You want to stand out as the best candidate, and doing something unique like this goes in your favor.
2. It Puts You on the Hiring Manager’s Desk
More than likely, the person who interviewed you won’t throw away your card, at least not right away. Instead, it will sit on her desk, serving as a reminder of the thoughtful sender and potential hire. She’ll forget about the other candidates she was considering!
3. It Shows You’re Serious
Not everyone who comes in for an interview gives off the vibe that they’re completely dedicated to working for the company that interviews them. By taking the time to write a thoughtful note, you’re showing your interest in the position and proving that you’re serious about getting the job.
4. It Gives You the Chance to Connect on a Personal Level
If you can tie your note to something you learned in an interview, it’s even better. Here is a quick story: My candidate goes to the interview and notices in the HR managers office a few references to Paris. Come to find out, she loves Paris. Candidate goes out and finds a postcard of something in Paris to add to her mini-collection. What do you think the first thing I heard when I got the feedback on the interview? Yep, the postcard.
5. Everyone Likes Mail
Because we do so much of our communicating via email, getting a nice card in the mail is an unexpected delight. The recipient will be happy to get it, and it will stand out against the pile of junk mail she’s used to receiving.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Email
While there’s nothing specifically wrong with sending an email thank you and certainly a vast majority of people send an email, it lacks the thoughtfulness and the personal aspect of a handwritten note. Add to that the fact that HR managers and hiring managers are often swamped with email, and your email might not even get read or make it to her inbox.
While 62% of hiring managers get email thank you notes the most, that’s no reason to rely on what’s expected. Email feels too easy to some, and people like to feel like you put forth some effort. Above all, stay classy. In an Accountemps survey, text messaging has started to show up on the list of methods that hiring managers are getting thank yous, as has social media. But only 10% of hiring managers and 27% respectively think these are acceptable channels to use.
Sending a Thank You Note
Always use quality stationery or notecards when sending your thank you note. You can buy “thank you” cards or ones with an appealing image on them. Invest in a nice pen, and use your best handwriting.
The note doesn’t have to be long. Just thank the hiring manager for the opportunity to speak with her, and reiterate your interest in the role and look for any opportunity to inject a bit of personality or personal connection. You may say something similar for each note you write, but make sure you’re not overly generic, as you want the recipient to feel that you thought out what you wrote to her.
Send your card the same day as the interview if you can. You want to be fresh on the hiring manager’s mind when she makes her final decision. Most importantly, you don’t want to miss out in case she makes her decision quickly.
What is Good.Co? from Good Co on Vimeo.
Workplace culture is an important factor when considering a job change. Recruiters hear it constantly when sending in a candidate who looks great on paper and the interview feedback is simply “great experience, but gut instinct says he’s not the one”. That’s the classic case of the poor culture fit feedback. Studies have shown that bad culture fit is one of the main reasons new hires fail within the first 18 months on the job, it will cost a company an average of $50k each. Moreover, two out of three Americans are disengaged at work, costing billions in lost productivity.
Now, thanks to a new social network and self-discovery platform, Good.co, you can find out in just 15 questions your professional and personal personality traits and see if they match up with a potential employer’s profile.
Not Another Boring Personality Test!
The questions aren’t your run of the mill boring aptitude questions. You’ll be asked if you’re more like Justin Timberlake or Eminem or if you would rather be a character on Friends or Survivor.
Not what you expected, right? And yet these 15 little questions help the intelligent software determine your traits in your professional life, which can provide you with valuable insight into how you work with others.
And speaking of the software, it’s pretty sophisticated. The website says it uses 20 years of psychometrics research, as well as “high-velocity statistical models and the ultimate crowd-sourced culture graph.”
Once you get your Archetype (and you may be a combination of more than one), you can connect to your LinkedIn profile to see how good a fit you are for your current (or past) position.
How to Use Good.co
Good.co has about 400 company profiles and growing. You can use it to see how compatible you are with certain companies. It’s also very interesting to check how compatible you are with your colleagues. Looking through my personality assessment, I found myself nodding in agreement with most of what it said. My results revealed I am ⅓ straight shooter, ⅓ mastermind, and ⅓ strategist. Then I compared myself to my business partner, which interestingly showed we pretty much get along, but have some areas of conflict. And we do… as I’m sure she would agree. Knowing how compatible/incompatible we are can help of smooth out those rough patches and be more understanding of each other.
Good.co is currently in Beta. If you are interested in signing up and taking a look at your profile, you can use this code: goodcolindsay
If you’ve applied for every job in town with no luck and are now ready to find other ways to get the job you want, try networking. It’s the best way to tap into the “other” job market. Some experts say 70-80% of available open positions aren’t posted online. I’d agree that a majority of positions aren’t posted or easily found. You’re doing a disservice to yourself if you are ONLY looking at the job boards.
By attending events in your area, you can meet key decision makers and contacts that may be able to help you find your next job.
Here are 10 tips to help you get more out of your in-person networking.
1. Find Groups That Target Your Industry
If you want to work in PR for entertainment, as an example, visit Meetup.com and see if there are any groups or organizations that cater to this niche. If not, aim for a public relations organization like PRSA, which might have local chapters in your city. By connecting with people in the industry you work in or plan to work in, you can find out what’s happening in the field and what companies are actively looking to hire people with your skillset.
2. Have Your Elevator Speech Ready
When you meet someone new, you don’t want to stumble over what you say when they ask about you. You want to talk about your current role, and maybe briefly mention that you’re interested in finding a career in X area/Y industry. Keep it short and leave room for people you meet to ask questions.
3. Speaking of Questions… Ask lots of them yourself. People like talking about themselves, and this is a great way to get them to open up about hiring. While it shouldn’t be your agenda to aggressively approach a new contact about hiring you, asking casual questions like “what does your company have planned for next year?” can open the door to you getting a little insight into what might turn into a job opportunity down the road.
4. Take Notes
Ask for business cards of anyone you find to be a valuable contact (just don’t be that collector who goes around the room with nothing to offer!). If you can step away from the event, make quick notes on each card so that you remember who you met and maybe something you should follow up on. This will help you keep from letting good opportunities slip through the cracks.
5. Don’t Be a Wallflower
So many people feel awkward their first time at a networking event. That should help you realize you’re not alone in wanting to nurse your ice water along the wall and blend in with the plants. But fake it until it’s easier. After all, you came to the event to make new contacts, so make yourself walk up to someone who maybe looks as nervous as you do. It gets easier.
6. Don’t Self Promote
Yes, you want a job. But chances are, no one is going to interview you on the spot for one. That’s not your purpose. Instead, aim to meet a variety of people, and follow up later to grow the relationships. You should aim to make new contacts that could, down the road, develop into an opportunity for a career move.
7. Pay Attention
Once you attend a few industry events, you’ll begin to see the same people. Remember who you meet, and make an effort to recall something you spoke about at the previous meeting. This will impress your new contacts and help them remember you.
8. Bring Business Cards
Seems straightforward enough, but many people end up forgetting their cards and waste a great opportunity to connect. But don’t machine gun spray the room with your cards; focus on making quality connections.
9. Pick a Few Events
It can be tempting to attend a different networking event each night, once you get the hang of it. But you’re better off focusing on a couple groups that you can really commit to and start building relationships in. 10. Master the Followup After the event, make sure you reach out quickly. And please, don’t just automatically subscribe your new contacts to your automated email newsletter! Send a personal follow-up reminding each person where you met and why you want to stay in contact – and then keep in touch.
For whatever reason, come spring, we’re ready to get to cleaning: our closets, our desks, even our refrigerators. But have you given thought to your resume? Even if you’re not actively job hunting, giving it a good airing out and making sure it’s updated to your latest job experience is always beneficial.
How Long Has it Been?
Most of us only update our resumes when we’re looking for a job. And while generally, that’s fine, there are other reasons to consider keeping your resume updated year ‘round. For one, many employers are looking at LinkedIn as the version of your resume, and people are constantly searching the site to find professionals that fill a niche. Even if you don’t think you want a new job, if the right offer came in, you might consider it. And if you haven’t added the last three promotions you’ve received, or consequent skills you’ve gained, you can’t be considered for opportunities those would make you eligible for.
Another reason you should update your resume: nothing is certain. Life changes, business change. In either scenario, you don’t want to have to add updating your resume to the list of tasks you’ll have in finding your next job.
Read It With a Fresh Eye
If it’s been awhile since you looked at your resume, read it out loud and consider whether each section accurately portrays your current experience. Probably your past work experience can stay as-is, though you might find better verbiage for some of it. But make sure your current role is properly depicted on your resume. Have you added other skills, or taken on new responsibilities since you last updated it? What have you accomplished in this past year you are particularly proud of?
Also consider whether the resume as a whole still portrays the professional you want to be. If you’ve suddenly shown interest in a new field or role, your resume should highlight all experiences that would make you a better fit for transitioning in that direction.
Revamp Your LinkedIn Profile Too
It’s easiest to start by editing your resume, then move on to LinkedIn, as much can be copied and pasted. But also look at adding keywords that relate to the work you do, or the industry you’re in. You can change your “headline” on LinkedIn, so zero in on what type of work you want in the future.
Ask for endorsements for the skills you think are your strength, and more importantly, testimonials from people you’ve worked with. If you’ve joined any professional organizations, given any presentations, or otherwise gone over and above in your job, make sure you find a place for these accolades and events on your profile. Also consider joining professional groups on LinkedIn to network with others in your current field or profession, or one you aspire to join.
Create an annual — or even quarterly — task on your calendar to remind yourself to refresh your resume and LinkedIn, to ensure you’re always up-to-date.
If you want to dip your toes in the marketing world, but aren’t ready (or aren’t hireable enough) full-time job, give freelancing a try. Apparently it’s a good time to do so.
Every quarter and year, Elance looks at which industries are hiring freelancers. Looking at last year’s data, marketing grew in leaps and bounds in specific niches:
- Digital marketing
- Social media
- Content writing
- Blog writing
- Web design
- Graphic design
Local Economies No Longer an Issue
One hypothesis on why earnings have increased so drastically (just digital marketing saw a 190% increase year-on-year) is that geography is no longer a barrier to finding good talent. So if an employer runs an office out of Church Point, Louisiana (population 4,575), he can find talent anywhere in the world. That opens up the possibility to finding better talent. What that means for you as that talent is that you aren’t limited to finding a job within commuting distance.
The report showed that Rhode Island, whose unemployment rate is 10.2% showed an 89% increase in earnings for marketing freelancers. So in addition to removing geographic barriers, the freelancing industry is helping alleviate a bit of that unemployment rate to boot!
More Marketing, More Jobs
While a few years ago, companies of every size held back on social media and blogging as part of their marketing strategy, they’re embracing them like crazy now. And that means that they need more bloggers, social media strategists and overall Internet marketing experts. But that doesn’t always mean they want to hire full-time roles. Often this work can be done part-time externally, which saves the company on benefits, salaries and overhead.
If you’re smart about it, you can piece together a decent living through freelancing. Find a few clients who need content marketing, design work or social media execution — all of which tend to be ongoing work — and you’ve got yourself a paycheck!
How to Start Freelancing in Marketing
Step 1: Search for Gigs. If you’ve got some experience in marketing, you can start looking for projects on sites like Elance, as well as Guru.com and others. Beef up your profile as much as possible: add samples of your work to your portfolio so potential clients can see what you’ve done.
These sites let you search categories for projects. Some will be one-time projects, while others may need someone long-term. Make sure you have the skills the project requires, and send a well-crafted application letter, targeting the key points you feel make you qualified. If you’ve worked on similar projects, make sure to say so, as many employers would be more comfortable with someone who has worked in their industry before.
Step 2: Get a Website and Blog. Build a simple website that also highlights your work, outlines your services, and provides contact information. It’s wise to start a blog and write about the areas you want work in. The more you demonstrate your expertise, the easier it is for potential employers to trust in your skills and hire you.
Step 3: Network. Reach out to companies in your area — especially smaller ones that might not have in-house marketing and let them know the services you offer. Also connect with marketing agencies, as often they have more work than they can handle and need extra help.
It may take a while, but you’ll find that once you get a few projects under your belt, you’ll have some experience to back you up and it will because easier to close a new project.