Archive for Recruiting
If graduation looms in the relatively near future, you’re probably already thinking about that amazing job you plan to score when you’re done with college.
In case you haven’t heard, the job market is pretty competitive right now. You’ll be at a disadvantage almost immediately simply because you’re a recent grad with little work experience. Fortunately, there are things you can do right now to make yourself more hireable later.
Internships are one of the best ways to gain industry experience, meet the right people, and make a favorable impression at a company that could end up hiring you full time. Check with both your career center and degree program department to see if there are any local businesses who need someone to help out.
Don’t limit yourself to just interning. Volunteering or getting involved in community service can also help you bone up on skills you can then add to your resume. If you plan to work in PR, offer your services to a nonprofit that can use your press release writing and pitching skills. Be eager to help out, as the more you do, the more you learn.
3. Work at the Right Company
We’ve all heard the tales of the guy who rises up from being the mailroom delivery boy to an executive position at a company. It’s an extreme example, but there’s truth in it. I started my career in recruiting by accident. I had no idea what a recruiter did before I landed a job as a receptionist at a staffing agency. A year later I was working my own recruiting specialty in the firm and became a top producer in the company. I worked my way through college while recruiting and 15 years (ugh, 16) later I’m still at it. Even if you take on a part-time job in administration or in the warehouse at a company you’d like to work at after graduation, you can show your enthusiasm for the company, your willingness to learn, and network with people who can help the company.
4. Participate in College Organizations
In addition to providing you with the opportunity to make new friends, you can dive into an industry by joining industry organizations through your school like PRSSA. If the group regularly invites industry experts to speak, this is your chance to network with people who are out working in the field you want to work in.
5. Meet Alumni
At many universities, the alumni network is strong. Past graduates may attend events at the college, post job listings, or serve as mentors for students like you. Find these alumni and take advantage of them. Having a mentor who’s followed the path you want to take can provide you with shortcuts to success.
You don’t have to be a professional to attend local networking meetings. Find a group or two that caters to professionals in your field, and start attending. Introduce yourself as a college student and let people know you’re looking for advice on breaking into the field once you graduate. You can build relationships that will carry you into your first job.
7. Build a LinkedIn Profile
Even if you’re not ready to start working full time, you should still have a LinkedIn profile. Include your volunteer and internship experience, as well as any other relevant work history you have. Update it as you add new skills.
8. Take on Research Projects
If the head of your department is looking for assistance in a research project, sign up. The more you actively participate in academic pursuits, the more ingrained in your industry you’ll be, even before graduating. Getting a glowing recommendation from the department chair can’t hurt, either!
Sometimes it’s difficult for you to view your resume with an unbiased eye. You can’t see what should stand out, and you might not know what hiring managers are looking for. If that’s the case, consider working with a resume writer.
Professional resume writers know what skills to feature on your resume to get the attention of a hiring manager. They may be able to pick up on points you didn’t even notice, simply because it’s your own resume.
But before you shell out a pretty penny for a professional resume, make sure to ask these questions to ensure you’ve got the right writer for the job.
1. Can you show me examples of your work?
Any resume writer with experience should be able to provide several examples of past work. Better yet to ask for examples not found on her website.
2. Do you have experience writing resumes in my industry?
This isn’t always a necessity for all industries, but PR and Marketing professionals have their own industry lingo and certain skill sets that are important to highlight on a resume. It might be worth paying more for a resume by working with someone who has the relevant industry experience and knows what employers in your industry will want to see and can use the industry keywords appropriately.
3. What are the three biggest issues you see with my resume?
A good resume writer should be able to immediately see areas that could stand to be improved and have a few good suggestions. This question also implies you are speaking with the resume writer. Do yourself a favor and actually speak with the person who will write your resume.
4. Can you also rewrite my LinkedIn profile?
This may or may not be part of her overall service, but since she’s already knee-deep in your work experience, it would make sense to have a look at your LinkedIn profile. Having a LinkedIn profile that accurately portrays who you are professionally may help you more than your resume, since many recruiters are looking for solid job candidates there.
5. How much do you charge?
It’s likely a flat fee depending on your level. Always clear this upfront. Be sure to be clear about how many revisions are included and extra fees whether it be future edits or formatting changes.
Is Hiring a Resume Writer Right for You?
Before you hire a writer, consider whether it’s necessary. Some people feel like you should create your own resume, because it’s such a personal document.
On the other hand, if you haven’t gotten the positive response you think you should be getting from recruiters and hiring managers, based on your job experience, it might be time to bring in a professional who can clear the clutter from your resume and shine the spotlight on the skills that position you as the ideal candidate.
Just make sure to avoid resume mills that churn out nearly identical resumes for multiple clients (you’ll know them because they charge a shockingly low fee, and you won’t be very impressed with the results). Find a writer who can make you stand out against the competition.
P.S. I do not write resumes. While I will happily give some advice to candidates I’m actively working with on a search, recruiters are not resume writers. Resume writing is a career – and it is a time intensive process that a recruiter just doesn’t have the bandwidth to take on in addition to filling client searches.
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.