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12/16/18 - Networking is not a dirty word

Networking is an art and a science. Networking is smart for success. Networking is a ‘must do’ not a ‘nice to do’.
By Janine Garner
https://www.theceomagazine.com/business/management-leadership/networking-is-not-a-dirty-word/ 

Networking has always been considered a dirty word. It conjures up images of people standing around awkwardly, thrusting a business card at each other, giving a sales pitch and then almost scurrying off in their eagerness to make the next connection – to not miss an opportunity to spread the word according to Mike or Mary Smith.

Does networking have to be such hard – well, work? And is it just me who views ‘traditional’ professional interactions this way?

Networking, connecting, meeting, doing coffee, lunch dates and even speed connecting – all terms synonymous with meeting others to drive skill sets, contacts and ongoing business and personal growth.

But there is much more to networking than collecting likes, friends, connections or old-school business cards. Networking as we know it has to evolve. It is no longer a business card-swapping fest or, as I once heard it described, one hand to give your business card, the other to shake.

To really succeed, and break out beyond the online realm, you must become the master of your network both at work and in life generally. The right network is about having the right people and the right relationships in your professional and personal life.

Everyone needs a network, whether you are a recent graduate hunting for your first job, a manager who has just scored a promotion, a parent planning on running your first marathon, a philanthropist, leader, consultant, entrepreneur, speaker, freelancer or writer – it doesn’t matter what you do, what level you operate on, what industry you are in, and whether you work for an organisation or are self-employed.

Without networks, opportunities are missed, new possibilities aren’t spotted, your thinking stagnates, and the dreams and career aspirations you once had become unreachable. You change jobs, move location – and suddenly, you have to start out all over again. You find it hard to push through tough times, to get that job or promotion, to sell that idea, to get noticed.

There is an art and a science to building networks that work.

It is an art in that it requires basic human skills in communication, connection, authenticity and the ability to be ‘in the present’ and engaged with people and conversations.

It is a science in that building your network strategically requires continuing analysis and audit, and a sustained curiosity about whether you are leveraging your network in the best way you can.

Networking is ultimately about seeing the lines that connect people and ideas to create opportunity.

In ‘Building an Innovation Factory’ in the Harvard Business Review, Andrew Hargadon and Robert I. Sutton discuss how to broker and capture good ideas for true and long-lasting effect.

One of the companies they studied is IDEO, an international design and consulting firm founded in Palo Alto, California.

The most respected people at IDEO are part pack rat (they have great private collections of stuff), part librarian (they know who knows what) and part good Samaritan (they go out of their way to share what they know and help others).

Approach your network in a similar way.

You need a personal board of advisers who add to your thinking and bring out the best in you; an intelligence bank of the right people with the right strengths and skills that will sustain you across the long-term; and a marketing machine that champions you and your cause, that will drive your net worth and influence, creating opportunities for you to tap into.

A strong, connected and mutually beneficial network and the intentional support of another helps to boost confidence, achieve clear goals, create business leads and support decision-making.

Get in control of your network and focus on quality over quantity. Surround yourself with the right people, people who will guide and mentor you and cheer you on, and ensure your success. Choose your network wisely.

Networking is not a dirty word. Networking is smart.

As former US president Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: “I’m not the smartest fellow in the world. But I can sure pick smart colleagues.”

 

By Janine Garner - Founder and CEO of LBDGroup (the Little Black Dress Group), Janine Garner works with business leaders to foster community and build high-performing teams.

12/9/18 - 12 Interview Questions You Should Ask To Uncover Company Culture

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/questions-to-uncover-company-culture/ 

If you want to know what it’s like to work for a company, you can’t exactly waltz up to a recruiter and ask “What’s your company culture like?” Besides the fact that company culture covers a whole lot of ground and summing it up in one answer isn’t totally possible, it’s more likely than not to yield a polished, marketing-approved answer than a candid discussion.

“If you are asking… about the culture, [recruiters] will know that and attempt to tell you what you want to hear,” says Henry Goldbeck, President of Goldbeck Recruiting. “So, if you are going to ask about company culture, it’s better to ask specific questions.”

There are a number of questions you can ask during an interview that, while seeming fairly straightforward on the surface, can help uncover deeper intel about the inner workings of a company. We asked a handful of career, recruiting, and HR experts to share a few of their favorites — keep these in mind the next time you’re in an interview and want to know the scoop.

1. How long have you been with the company?
“This is a question to ask each of your interviewers. If everyone you meet has only been there a short time you need to probe further,” says Career Counselor and Executive Coach Roy Cohen. “Unless the company is a startup, expanding rapidly, or the department is newly established, this is a serious red flag. High turnover could be a sign of low pay, long hours, lack of opportunity for career advancement, or incompetent management.”

2. What was the last big achievement that was celebrated?
This question “gives [interviewers] the chance to reveal if employee efforts are acknowledged and appreciated and if people enjoy having company parties/gatherings,” says Valerie Streif, Senior Advisor at career services company Mentat. “If they don’t do anything to celebrate, it may be a thankless and cold environment.”

3. What’s the dress code like here?
“Companies that have no dress code or a very loose one are often less traditional than companies with full business-dress requirements. Certainly, there are exceptions, but I rarely find a company where everyone wears a full suit and tie or skirt suit every day that also has dogs in the office and nap rooms and free beer,” says Jill Santopietro Panall, HR consultant and owner of 21Oak HR Consulting, LLC. “Be careful, here, though, because an informal dress code doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s less pressure or stress. Many tech companies have no dress code but are also total pressure cookers. Appearance standards are only a small clue to the environment, not the whole picture.”

4. What activities do you offer for employees?
“If companies have softball leagues, trivia teams, company outings, retreats or other planned social events, it can often give you a clue to how important they think it is for co-workers to LIKE one another, not just work together,” Santopietro Panall says. This can be especially important if you “have recently moved, are entering the workforce after college or anyone else that needs a social aspect in the workplace,” adds Nikki Larchar, Co-Founder/Human Resource Business Partner at simplyHR LLC.

“On the flip side, that kind of togetherness may not be for everyone,” Santopietro Panall acknowledges. “If the thought of socializing with your co-workers leaves you cold, you may want to look for a company with a more 9-5 environment.”

5. What was the department’s biggest challenge last year and what did you learn from it?
It may come across as an obvious question, but it actually does a great job at revealing “whether or not the company blames processes or people when something goes wrong. The former indicates that they are a continuous learning organization and the latter may be a sign of a blame culture,” says Mary Grace Gardner, career strategist at The Young Professionista. “Listen to who or what gets blamed for the failure and if they have taken steps to learn from it.”

Keep an ear out for how their answer hints at the degree of politics present in the office, too. “Company politics play a huge role in overall job satisfaction, and it’s important to know ahead of time how decisions are made and conflicts are resolved,” shares Natasha Bowman, Chief Consultant at Performance ReNEW and author of the upcoming book You Can’t Do That At Work! 100 Common Mistakes That Managers Make.

6. How much time do the owners/leaders/founders spend in the office?
“This question tells you whether or not you have leaders in place who are in touch with the work and making knowledgeable decisions. The best and brightest ideas oftentimes come directly from the people actually doing the work, so if a leader rarely spends time with staff, it points to a lack of innovation and support in their culture,” says Gardner.

This question may not be quite as important to ask of a large business, but “in a small business, that interaction with the top level may be key to you getting ahead, being able to get things done and having that person’s vision be carried out by their team,” Santopietro Panall says. It “might also give you a key to the level of the workaholism that you can expect there. If the recruiter says ‘oh, our CEO Sally is here 90 hours a week, she never takes a day off!’ you’re going to know that the culture is going to be very focused on putting in a lot of hours with a lot of face time.”

7. What do people on the team that I’d be joining do for lunch every day?
“Finding out what people tend to do on their lunch hour will tell you whether they are slammed with work, don’t want to spend time with their colleagues, or tend to be social and enjoy each other’s company,” Bowman says. “This information can also tell you whether or not your potential colleagues might be more extroverted or introverted. Depending on your own preferences, this response can give you some valuable insight into the team that you’re joining.”

8. How do you measure success and over what time frame? How are these metrics determined?
If you want to avoid a boss with outrageous expectations, this is the question to ask. “Before you accept an offer you need to know that your new boss has realistic expectations with respect to what you will accomplish and by when,” Cohen says. “No matter how attractive an offer may be, if you do not, or cannot, deliver results you will fail. So, if you are told that the bar is outrageously high and you don’t have enough time to come up to speed, think twice before accepting the terms without discussion or negotiation.”

9. Would you be willing to show me around the office?
This question is probably best saved for a last-round interview so you don’t seem too intrusive, but “taking a walk around the workspace is a great way to get a real feel for the day-to-day culture,” Larchar says. “Are individuals interacting with one another? Do the workers look stressed? Are the individual workspaces decorated? What is the setup of the office? Does the work space seem inclusive? How are the departments organized? If you thrive on working with others, you’ll want a work environment where that feels natural.”

One thing Santopietro Panall recommends keeping an eye on in particular is how many senior-level employees have their own offices. “It’s a clue to how structured and hierarchical the company is,” she says. “Companies with few or no private offices tend to be less top-down than companies with a lot of private offices or a whole CEO floor. There’s a strong trend, in many businesses, of removing private spaces in offices and making all space communal — some companies are loving it and finding it effective and others are dreading it, but whether a company would even consider it is a sign of how much they are trying to embrace a certain kind of flexible, collaborative work style.”

10. Does the company give back to the community? In what ways?
“If it is important that you and the company are aligned in terms of shared priorities such as corporate responsibility or giving back, then understanding their level of involvement offers important insight,” Cohen says. “Some companies make a point of promoting their community activities. Others view philanthropy and volunteering as a distraction. At the very least, if there is a disconnect, then you will not be disappointed when the company opts for limited commitment.”

“This also ties back into the question regarding social activities,” Larchar adds. “Are there events outside of work that the company supports and do they align with what you believe in or value as an individual?”

11. How many of the current team members have flexible schedules?
“Rather than asking ‘Can I have a flexible schedule?’ in your initial conversation… ask if others already do,” recommends Santopietro Panall. “If nobody does now, you’ll know that the culture is more formal and any requests for flex-time or alternate work arrangements may be met with less enthusiasm. If lots of people have flexible schedules, you’ll get a read on the work-life balance.”

It’s important to keep in mind the level of seniority for flexible employees as well, however. “It’s not helpful to you if you’re applying to a mid-level position and a senior manager has a flexible work schedule. Ask specifically about what location and scheduling flexibility exists for others in positions similar to yours,” Bowman says.

12. What continuing learning opportunities do you have for your employees?
“Besides the benefits of getting a degree or a certificate program subsidized by the company, this question offers insight into several other important aspects of company culture,” Cohen says. “Does the company view continuing education and advanced degrees as adding value to your profile? Does the company make time for you to pursue outside training? And even more important, if there is time for training, does this mean working there will allow for balance and a life outside?”

Beyond that, it’s also a good indicator of whether or not a company cares about employee retention. “Pay attention to if a program exists and what it comprises of: conferences, mentorship or an internal leadership development program are all positive signs that the company is interested in retaining its employees for the long haul,” Gardner says.

12/2/18 - Four well-meaning pieces of career advice you want to ignore

Even the most well-intentioned person can lead you astray. Here’s how to spot the bad tips.
BY TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC
https://www.fastcompany.com/90244190/four-well-meaning-pieces-of-career-advice-you-want-to-ignore 

The science of career success is well-established. There are thousands of academic studies comparing the power of a variety of factors that predict performance and achievement across all possible jobs and careers. Unfortunately, it is usually ignored by those who provide actual career advice to the wider public.

This is largely due to the fact that academics tend to publish their findings using technical language and in subscription-only journals with limited access. This is unfortunate, not least because their research is funded by taxpayer dollars.

Another issue is that even though academic findings are more reliable than personal anecdotes from self-proclaimed gurus, they rarely make news, because intelligence, hard work, and social skills aren’t ever going to be viral hits. Likewise, some of the scientific evidence on why some people are more successful than others would make for depressing rather than uplifting reading, and cannot easily derive into practical life hacks.

This is why, despite the evidence that much of our career success is already determined at birth, no one is writing self-help articles advising us to “be born rich” or at least “in a rich country.” And why, despite the fact that 40% of happiness is driven by genetics, it is pointless to suggest “being born with the right personality” (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability, which are also partly predetermined at birth).

In contrast, popular advice on how to be more successful focuses on uplifting or feel-good tips, designed to boost people’s self-esteem and make them feel in control of their careers. Here are four popular examples that usually come from a well-meaning person but are actually not terribly helpful.

FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS
This is obviously much more appealing than doing what you hate. But is following our passions an effective approach to attain success? Extensive meta-analysis suggests that this may only work when your interests are correlated with your actual abilities. The better advice would be, “Follow your passions as long as they relate to your actual skills.” You should also consider whether your passion is in demand. I may have a great passion for the things I’m good at, but if nobody cares about those things, I will probably not be successful.

If we measure success in financial terms–which of course tells just part of the story–that is only marginally related to how much people like what they do. As a meta-analysis showed, there is only 9% overlap between people’s salaries and their level of career satisfaction. The best-paid jobs are not always the most fun to do, and some of the most enjoyable or meaningful jobs are generally not compensated well. But the general rule remains the same: When it comes to objective markers of career success, you are better off being relatively good at something you dislike, if there is demand for it, than being exceptional at something you love, if there is no demand for it.

JUST BE YOURSELF
This suggestion is also much more enticing than the alternative, which would be to censor yourself. However, it’s far more likely to make you successful. Just imagine going to a job interview and being truly yourself–the way you are with your close relatives or best friends–without any social inhibitions. For instance, when the interviewer asks you a dumb question, you can just tell them they’re stupid. And when they ask why you want to work for them, you can tell them that you don’t, but that none of your preferred options invited you to an interview. Or when you answer a psychometric test designed to evaluate your potential, imagine answering that you don’t enjoy meeting new people, that you stress out easily, and that you are not a team player. Finally, once you are at work, you should feel free to tell all your colleagues and your boss what you really think in any given situation–as opposed to exercising good citizenship.

“Just be yourself” in those terms is a recipe for disaster. If you really think you don’t need to worry about what other people think of you, you can be sure that they will never think highly of you. Successful people are rarely themselves. They are extremely good at controlling the undesirable aspects of their personality and putting on a likable and charming performance that requires a great deal of effort and self-control. Studies show that political skills are the strongest predictor of career success. There are probably just five people in the world who have learned to like–or at least tolerate–the unfiltered version of you, and I doubt your boss is one of them.

PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
We don’t even need to tell people to do this, they do it naturally. It is a bit like going to the gym and exercising the same muscles every time. You will see progress, but it’s limited to your existing abilities. The only way to develop new skills is to focus on your gaps, and your limitations pose a much bigger threat to your career success than your underdeveloped strengths.

Overused strengths are a liability. For example, you are better off being confident than overconfident, moderately ambitious than greedy, mildly extroverted than exhibitionistic, and modest than insecure or hypercritical. It may be comforting to ignore your weaknesses, but it’s what other people think of you–not what you think of yourself–that matters most. As great as your strengths may be, others are unlikely to ignore your flaws.

JUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
Most people do already, and for those who don’t, the real issue is whether others believe in them or not. Your career success depends on others’ perceptions of your talents and output, rather than what you make of them yourself. In fact, many studies show that in any area of competence, it is often the most inept who show the highest levels of self-belief, while true experts are relatively self-critical and modest. This should be obvious, but it’s good to be aware of your limitations, and an accurate estimate of your skills and flaws is more beneficial (for you and others) than a delusion of your prowess.

Our inability to detect actual competence in others often benefits those who are unaware of the limitations, because it is easier to fool others when you have already fooled yourself. However, you will still stand a better chance of developing competence and climbing the ladder of success if your belief in yourself is related to your actual talents.

Boosting your ego won’t build skills, and an overinflated ego without the talent to back it up equates to narcissism rather than career success. And while narcissists often succeed, that’s not a personality trait you need in order to be successful, particularly if you have the talents to back it up.

So take a bit of time to consider advice when it comes your way. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, particularly when it comes to your career.

Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is an international authority in leadership assessment, people analytics, and talent management. He is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup and a Professor of Business Psychology at both University College London and Columbia University. His latest book, The Talent Delusion, was published in February 2017, and you can find him on Twitter at @drtcp or online at www.drtomas.com.

11/25/18 - How to Ask for an Awesome Letter of Recommendation (and Actually Get One)

by Kat Boogaard
https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-a-letter-of-recommendation-template?ref=recently-published-1 

You’ve found your dream company. The even better news? They’re currently hiring for a position that’s perfect for you.

You’ve already tackled all of the application basics. You did your research, tailored your resume, wrote an impressive cover letter, and even sent the department head a friendly LinkedIn request.

But, with all of that under your belt, you’re looking for one more way that you can stand out and elevate yourself above the competition.

We have three words for you: letter of recommendation.

Is it Common for Employers to Ask for Letters of Recommendation?

Honestly? It’s rare that you’ll be explicitly asked to hand one of these over. (It’s much more likely that you’ll be asked for references.)

“Except for junior roles where someone lacks experience or senior roles where character is as important as skill set,” clarifies Tara Padua, a Muse Career Coach.

Should You Have These Letters in Your Back Pocket Anyway?

I know what you’re thinking: If these letters aren’t an expectation, why would I go through the trouble of getting them?

Well, just because an employer won’t demand them doesn’t mean you can’t use them to separate yourself from the job search competition.

“If you have a letter, hiring managers could get more of a sense of your skills if they aren’t able to connect live with your former supervisors for whatever reason and only get the basics from HR,” explains Muse Career Coach Kelly Poulson.

Beyond giving you the opportunity to emphasize what makes you a no-brainer for that role, these letters can also serve as an awesome confidence boost.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt on days when you’re doubting yourself (we all have them!) to have something to refer to that reminds you of how valued you truly are,” Poulson adds.

How Should You Go About Asking Someone to Write You One?

You might be convinced of the power of a solid letter of recommendation—but, that doesn’t necessarily mean asking is any easier. Fortunately, there are ways to make this request a little less nerve-wracking.

First things first, think carefully about who you’re asking. Poulson warns that you don’t want to request too much of any one person—meaning you might want to stay away from your references when thinking about who to ask for a letter. “Be mindful of your asks and pick folks to write letters who likely won’t be doing calls as well,” she adds.

While a letter of recommendation from someone who’s high up the ladder can be impressive, make sure that you’re asking people who actually know you and your work. “Having a senior person write a generic letter of recommendation without any real knowledge of you and your skills will produce the opposite effect,” explains Padua. And even if it doesn’t hurt, it won’t help.

In terms of actually making the ask, Poulson shares that a little bit of flattery can go a long way. “Start out with how much you’ve enjoyed working with them and how much you value their opinion,” Poulson adds.

Finally, make the process of writing the letter as painless as possible by empowering them with the information they need. “Make it easy for the person to recommend you,” Padua says, “Tell them specifically what you would like to highlight.”

That might mean looking back at your work ethic or impact on the team in a previous position, or emphasizing a specific skill set that matches the type of roles you’re targeting in your search. Whatever it is, make sure you’re clear about what you’re looking for.

And that includes being clear about your timeline as well. Remember, you’re asking this person for a favor, so you need to be realistic with your expectations. It’s smart to give contacts at least a week (but ideally more) to get the letter drafted and returned to you.

Make sense? Great—let’s pull all of those tips into an easy-to-use template.

EMAIL TEMPLATE
Asking for a Letter of Recommendation
Hi [Name],

I hope you’re having a great week!

I’m reaching out because I’m applying for [type of role] with [type of company] and am pulling together a few letters of recommendation to emphasize why I’m a qualified fit for this kind of position.

I really enjoyed our time working together at [Company]—particularly when we were able to collaborate on [project]. With that in mind, I thought you’d be a great person to vouch for my expertise in [key skill area] and my ability to [impressive result].

I know you’re busy. So, if it’d help, I’m happy to pass along some additional talking points and information to make writing this letter a little easier.

Would you be comfortable writing a letter of this nature for me? Please let me know if you have any questions about this, [Name]. Let’s catch up over coffee soon—my treat!

All the best,
[Your Name]

No, letters of recommendation aren’t a job search staple the way your resume or your cover letter is. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to your advantage.

If the only thing holding you back is the fact that asking for these letters can feel more than a little awkward (believe me, I get it), take a deep breath, use these tips and this template, and just send that email.

You’ll be armed with an impressive letter or two in your back pocket that you can use to prove to employers that you’re the candidate they’ve been searching for.

Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.

Happy Thanksgiving 2018 - Check out what we give thanks for

turkey05               pilglobe               cornucopia01

What do you give thanks for?

We give thanks for the career group leaders who give their time to help us.

We give thanks for the organizations that allow us to meet in and use their facilities.

We give thanks for the speakers who share their knowledge to help us with our job search for free.

We give thanks for the opportunity to network and meet new people.

We give thanks for the opportunity to help others in their job search.

We give thanks for the support our family and friends provide.

We give thanks for the opportunity to spend more time with our family during our job search.

We give thanks for the opportunities we have living in the USA.

We give thanks for the next great opportunity that awaits us in the future.

We give thanks.

What do you give thanks for?

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from CareerDFW and CareerUSA.org.

11/11/18 - Robots are reading your resume, so here are 5 tips to meet their approval

by Jill Cornfield | @jill_cornfield
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/01/how-to-make-sure-the-robots-pass-your-resume-on-to-the-hiring-manager.html 

Companies are increasingly using AI to take the guesswork out of job searches and find the candidates whose resumes match what they are looking for.

The first step to a successful job hunt is knowing how the algorithms work. Then, tailor your resume to use AI to your advantage.

Without even thinking about it, we interact with artificial intelligence every day.

Siri finds nearby pizza places or dry cleaners. Alexa turns on lights and gives the day's forecast.

So it may come as no surprise that AI is now a deep but unseen part of your job hunting.

Just as spellcheck alerts you to a typo, other algorithms pore over your electronically submitted resume for misspellings, grammar and information about your work history.

With thousands of previous versions of a job that can be scanned, the algorithm uses the available data on resumes to find the best candidates for a talent recruiter, according to Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter, an online job marketplace.

"Machine learning can cherry-pick and rapidly learn from the employer how to do a lookalike search," Siegel said. "That turns out to be by far the best method you can use to match."

On the other side of the job hunt, AI can match a person to a pool of applicants who have experience or skills in common with the job seeker, and show the jobs they've applied to.

"AI is the new version of keyword algorithms," which have been around since the 1990s, said Robert Meier, a job transition expert and CEO of JobMarketExperts, which deals with a range of employment issues. "Typically, the algorithm looks for continuity of work history, job title progression and education," he said. Specific companies may have different metrics they look for, such as software experience or credentials.

What has changed is the number of applicants. Digital applications are easy and free, Meier says, and any job opening now has so many more candidates for a company to screen.

But most are eliminated almost immediately, and only the top 2 percent of candidates make it to the interview, Meier said.

The algorithms are the table stakes to get you in the door, Siegel said. Give yourself every advantage of getting yourself into the best-match list.

Cover letters still matter
The algorithms are the table stakes to get you in the door, Siegel said. Give yourself every advantage of getting yourself on the best-match list.

More resumes submitted on apps and tablets mean fewer cover letters.

"But it's still an opportunity to stand out and give yourself an advantage," Siegel said.

He recommends every cover letter include what he calls an essential sentence.

"Put things in the simplest, most straightforward language possible."
-Ian Siegel, CEO of ZipRecruiter

Do some research on the company you're applying to and make sure your letter says, "I am so excited to apply for this job, because ..." Fill in that blank, Siegel advised, with a phrase such as "I love your product" or "My skills are a perfect match to take your product to the next level."

Convey your availability and enthusiasm to project the most attractive version of yourself, Siegel said, and use this as a best practice to approach an opportunity that really interests you.

Given all these behind-the-scenes algorithms, job hunters need to know how their resume looks to computer "eyes" rather than human ones. Here are five things to do on resumes you submit electronically.

1. Be straightforward
"Put things in the simplest, most straightforward language possible," Siegel said.

Clearly list your skills and the years of experience you have with each one.

Instead of "professional sound engineer with varied experience in wide variety of software," check the job description for specifics. Better to say you're a sound engineer with four years' experience using Avid Pro Tools. "The algorithms are really good at deducing these are the key skills for a job," Siegel said.

2. Spelling counts
It's critical to remember that algorithms on job sites scan for a range of signals.

"You might be cavalier about spelling and grammar," Siegel said. "That's an easy signal."

For most companies, that means your resume is automatically discarded.

3. Have an up-to-date format
Algorithms try to turn the information on your resume into usable data, said Siegel, so make sure you use a traditional, text-based format.

Don't use Photoshop on your resume: The algorithm can't derive data from a picture. "Use a modern text editor," Siegel said. "WordPerfect will make for a challenging document."

4. The magic of 'results'
A resume filled with results — not duties and responsibilities — attracts employers like moths to a flame, JobMarketExperts' Meier said.

Phrase your accomplishments as revenue, income or money saved. Perhaps you made some aspect of a company function more efficient or found a way to cut costs.

A resume that includes specific numbers, percentages and quantities will get a closer look.

5. Have a mobile-ready resume
Most job-seeking activity happens on a cellphone or tablet, but those are not particularly text-friendly.

"Create your resume and cover letter in the right format on a desktop," Siegel said. Use a cloud-based service such as Google Drive so you can apply on any site using a mobile device.

11/4/18 - Should You Always Negotiate Your Salary?

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/should-you-always-negotiate-your-salary/ 

It’s no myth that failing to negotiate your salary can seriously impact your earning potential. In fact, last year, Glassdoor released a study that found that the average American could be earning about $7,500 more per year than their current annual base salary. Not only does that hurt your bank account in the short term — since raises and subsequent salary offers tend to be based on your previous salary, a lower initial salary has a compounding effect. Some studies estimate that failing to negotiate can cost you up to $600,000 over the course of your career.

So it’s clear that salary negotiation is important. But does that mean you should always ask for a higher salary when starting a new job? What if you get an offer that’s already fair, or fear that the opportunity might be rescinded if you try to ask for more?

To get to the bottom of this question, we asked a handful of career and salary negotiation experts to weigh in. The verdict? With very few exceptions, yes — you should always try to negotiate your salary. Here’s why.

Most Offers Have Built-in Wiggle Room
You might feel guilty asking for a higher salary than what your prospective employer offered, but odds are, they’ve anticipated that reaction — and their salary offer reflects that.

“In today’s job market, most recruiters expect that the candidate will make a counteroffer and typically leave room for negotiation on base pay or various incentives,” says Tammy Perkins, Chief People Officer of Fjuri.

Typically, employers have a set salary “band” for a given position (for example, a company may budget between $75,000 to $110,000 for a marketing manager position). They want to offer a salary that’s competitive enough to attract talented candidates to the role, but they still have a vested interest in saving money where they can. So in this case, the company might choose to offer $90,000, knowing that if the candidate pushed back and requested a higher salary, they could offer an additional $20,000 while still staying within their band. But if the candidate fails to negotiate, that’s an additional $20k saved.

You never truly know what you can get unless you ask, so it’s well worth pushing back on a job offer — especially because the potential rewards far outweigh the risks.

The Worst-Case Response Is Usually a ‘No’
When I first began interviewing for jobs post-college, I was terrified to negotiate my salary, fearing that a recruiter would view my request as greedy and rescind their offer as a result. But in reality, that hardly ever happens.

Why is that? For one reason, if you receive a job offer, the employer has probably already invested a significant amount of time and energy into recruiting you. Rescinding your offer just because you asked for a bit more cash would mean they’d have to begin the recruiting process all over again — and that’s not a cheap or easy thing to do.

“They’ve chosen you, made [an] offer and are invested in the idea that they’ve filled the position,” says Eli Howayeck, the founder/CEO of Crafted Career Concepts in Milwaukee. “Candidates get nervous or afraid that asking for more money or non-financial benefits could put their offer in jeopardy. Employers like this because it keeps salaries from rising too quickly. The reality: the worst thing likely to happen if you ask for more is that your request is denied, in which case, you can still accept the offer and move ahead!”

That’s not to say that no one has ever had an offer rescinded after they tried to negotiate. But on the rare occasion that it happens, it’s probably more about how they asked than simply the fact that they asked.

“Offers are rarely rescinded — and if they are, it’s most likely because the candidate handled the negotiation poorly and displayed behavior that wasn’t aligned with the company’s core values,” says Marielle Smith, VP of People at GoodHire.

Even if the unthinkable happens and a company does reject you for trying to negotiate, there’s a good chance that it’s not the kind of company you would want to work for anyway, points out ICF-credentialed HR Specialist and Career Coach Kristyn Lang.

“If the company does react very negatively and holds it against you, then you have seen their true colors and have dodged a company that probably does not have a great culture,” Lang says.

It Might Be a While Before You Can Revisit a Raise
Some job seekers rationalize taking a lower-paying job by telling themselves they can just push for a higher salary when performance review season rolls around. But unless you’ve been explicitly told otherwise, you shouldn’t just assume that a raise is guaranteed.

“I think you should almost always try to negotiate your salary because you’re not likely going to have another opportunity to address compensation for another year,” Smith says. “As a job candidate, you’re going into a new position with good faith based on a job description and a few interviews — you don’t really know what to expect.”

Even if you knock it out of the park on day one, there are multiple reasons you might not get a raise. Some companies aren’t able to offer raises or bonuses if they’re struggling financially, and others have policies about how long an employee has to stick around before they’re eligible for a promotion or raise — so you need to make the most of each negotiation opportunity that’s presented to you, because you don’t know when the next one will come up.

Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that you’ll be guaranteed a higher salary if you just ask for it. You still need to understand your market value, lay out a compelling argument and make your request respectfully (and even then, a more competitive offer isn’t a sure thing).

But if you don’t ask, you won’t receive — it’s as simple as that. You don’t want to be kicking yourself ten years from now for earning far less than you deserve, all because you couldn’t work up the nerve to negotiate your salary when you had the chance. Who knows? With a little preparation, you might just be able to secure the salary you always dreamed of.

 

10/28/18 - A psychologist’s trick to being more likable on dates and job interviews

By Leah Fessler
https://qz.com/work/1389200/how-to-be-more-likable-on-dates-and-job-interviews/ 

Few situations are as anxiety-provoking as job interviews or first dates. Without appearing desperate, you’re trying to convince a stranger that you’re more worthy of their time, money, attention, and affection than a slew of strangers who you’ve probably never met. It’s awkward, and you’re probably wearing uncomfortable clothes.

Many of us respond to this pressure, which psychologists call “impression management,” by highlighting our successes and talents. This self-selling can be exceedingly obnoxious: “I’m a natural-born leader,” a date once proclaimed, before reminding me for the third time that he worked at Goldman Sachs.

But more often than not, sharing our talents is a well-intentioned instinct. From childhood on, we’re praised for earning high marks, winning games, and earning promotions. It’s no surprise our self-confidence (or lack thereof) is intimately tied with quantifiable success, and the romantic delusion of “innate” talent.

However, a new study from the City University of London’s Cass Business School, published in the journal Basic and Applied Psychology, suggests we’re approaching impression management all wrong, especially on interviews and dates. Instead of emphasizing success, we’d be better off focusing on effort, the seemingly less-flattering flip side of talent.

“A success story is hardly complete or convincing without an explanation for the success,” writes Cass professor Janina Steinmetz, author of the study. “Did the success come easy, thanks to one’s talents, or was it effortfully attained through hard work? Both of these attributions can be part of successful self-promotion, but which attribution is more likely to garner favorable impressions?”

To answer this question, Steinmetz conducted three experiments, two of which emulated job interviews, and one of which emulated a date. Participants were asked to imagine either the role of the impression manager (the interviewee, or the “sharer,” on a date), or the receiver (the interviewer, or the “listener” on a date). The impression manager tries to figure out what will make them appear in a positive light, Steinmetz explains, and the receiver reports what the impression manager would have to say so to make a positive impression.

All three experiments rendered the same conclusion: Impression managers overemphasized their talents and successes, while sharing their efforts far less than the receivers would’ve liked.

“In impression management situations, people usually try to come across as competent because that’s what usual gives them social capital and esteem,” Steinmetz tells Quartz. “Talking about success makes people feel competent, that’s why people do it. But it’s misguided if people only talk about competence and not also about effort.”

Effort, as Steinmetz defines it, means talking about struggles and hard work—the less-glamorous stuff that makes us human.

“When I asked you how you have accomplished so much in your career, you can say, ‘I’m talented,’ or you can say, ‘I struggled and worked really hard.’ The latter is a sign of effort, which is liked by others,” she says. “Effort conveys warmth, likability, and is relatable. Talent conveys competence and ability.”

The key, says Steinmetz, is to do both: People are overly concerned about appearing smart, so they talk about whatever makes them seem smart. However, they forget how much others care about warmth and likability. One is not more, or less, important than the other, but while over-communicating talent sounds arrogant, too much humility is rarely, if ever, a bad thing.

10/21/18 - Changing careers all get the same piece of advice

An executive coach who's helped countless people change careers gave them all the same piece of advice
Shana Lebowitz 
https://www.businessinsider.com/job-search-advice-dont-change-industry-function-at-same-time-2018-9 

During a job search, it's best to focus on changing either industry or function. Don't look to switch both at the same time.
That's according to Erica Keswin, a workplace strategist and former executive coach at New York University.
Keswin also recommends mapping out the skills you can transfer from your current gig to your new one.

As an executive coach at New York University's Stern School of Business, much of Erica Keswin's day-to-day involved dealing with clients who wanted to make a career change.

Maybe they'd grown bored; maybe they thought they'd stagnated; maybe they felt their true calling was elsewhere.

To all of those clients, Keswin, who is a workplace strategist and the author of the forthcoming book "Bring Your Human to Work," gave the same piece of advice, which she shared on a call with Business Insider: "It's very difficult to change industry and function at the same time."

Yet too many people get overeager and want to do a total 180-degree turn when making a career transition.

For example, say you currently hold a finance role in the fashion industry. Keswin recommends that you consider either staying in fashion and moving to the role you'd prefer or staying in a finance role and moving to the industry you'd prefer. Once you have some experience with either a new role or new industry, you can think about making a bigger switch.

Keswin also led many coaching clients through an exercise in which they mapped their transferable skills.

"These are some jobs that I'd be interested in; this is what I used to do," Keswin said. "On paper, [the new job] looks nothing like [my old job]. But when I really peel back the layers, it's clear that I have many of the skills that would enable me to do [the new job]."

It all comes down to being patient, cautious, and thoughtful — traits that, admittedly, aren't so easy to display when you're fed up with your current job.

Indeed, career coach and former Googler Jenny Blake guides clients through a four-step process when they're making a career change, whether that's moving into a new role at their company or launching a startup. The first step involves figuring out what's working well in their current career stage and how they can leverage that.

Narrow down your options to three new opportunities

Once Keswin's clients completed the mapping exercise and pinpointed some potential new gigs that wouldn't look too dissimilar from their old role, Keswin would advise them to narrow down their options to three opportunities.

That's because, she added, "most people that I work with end up getting that first interview or that next opportunity through some type of relationship that they have built," and not through submitting their resume online.

So you'll want to invest the appropriate amount of time and energy in forging those relationships — think reaching out to former colleagues or classmates. "You can't really go deep enough to make traction if you're looking at any more than three opportunities," Keswin said.

10/14/18 - 30 Brilliant Networking Conversation Starters

https://www.themuse.com/advice/30-brilliant-networking-conversation-starters?ref=long-reads-1 

When it comes to conversation, you’re a natural. You can chat up a storm with just about anyone, you’re a pro at listening, and you love meeting and connecting with new people.

But when it comes to starting that networking conversation? That’s a different story.

This is one of the most common concerns we hear about networking: How do you just walk up to someone you don’t know at an event—and start talking?

Well, it’s a tad easier than it sounds. Fact is, no one’s going to turn you away if you walk up, smile, and say, “I’m so-and-so. Nice to meet you.” In fact, others will probably be relieved that someone else started the conversation!

But, the process is definitely a lot easier when you have a few go-to icebreakers in your back pocket. So, we’ve put together a handy list to refer to before your next event—some of our own lines, a few favorites from our career expert friends, and icebreakers our Twitter and Facebook followers have used, too!

 

1-5 - The Classics

When in doubt, just try the basics: asking what someone does, inquiring why he or she is at the event, or even just reaching out your hand and saying hi.

1. “What’s your favorite conversation starter at a networking event?” - Connie B.

2. “So, what do you do?” It gets them talking first and you can think about how to approach the conversation or how you could possibly work together. - @GrowSouthwest

3. “So, what brought you here today?” - @twofacedhrlady

4. “Hi there! I’m Michelle. What are you passionate about?” - Michelle E.

5. “What’s your story?” It always sparks a fascinating and non-generic conversation. - @leslieforman

 

6-10 - Location, Location, Location

No matter what, you’ve got at least a couple things in common with every person in the room: the event you’re attending, the place it’s being held at, and the food and drink you’re consuming. Use that to your advantage by striking up conversation about what’s going on around you.

6. If I’m at an event with food, I’ll often use that as a conversation starter, à la “I can’t stop eating these meatballs. Have you tried them?” - @erinaceously

7. “How did you hear about this event?” - @myuliyam

8. “It’s so hot (or cold) in here.” Hey, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but the person will either agree or disagree, and pretty soon you’re talking about weather patterns, your best umbrella, and then your career goals. - Jessica Gordon for The Muse

9. “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of info that’s being firehosed at us today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?” - Alexandra Franzen

10. “What a beautiful venue. Have you been here before?”

 

11-15 - The Newsworthy

Another thing you have in common with, well, everyone? What happened in your city or the world today. While you don’t want to start up any hot political debates, some light-hearted headline sharing is a great way to break the ice.

11. “What do you think about [insert topic germane to the event or person here]?” I’m biased: News is a great engagement tool. - @thatsportsgirl

12. “Wow, I just can’t believe all the crazy news headlines today. What a week!”

13. “Any chance you read the news today? I missed it, and I’m dying to know what’s happening with [insert news topic here].”

14. “So, was it a pain for you to get here?” The mode of transportation and location in the city are always on peoples’ minds. There’s bound to be a story about it. - Jessica Gordon for The Muse

15. “Did you catch the game last night?” It’s a classic, but it’s a classic for a reason.

 

16-20 - Great for Introverts

If you’re an introvert, walking into a room full of unknown people can feel extra intimidating. One of our favorite approaches is to look toward the outskirts of the room and find someone who looks a little lonely. Maybe that woman sitting by herself at the table doesn’t know anyone and is just hoping that someone will come talk to her. Be that person, and try one of these lines.

16. “Man, these networking events can be so crazy. Mind if I join you over here where it’s a little quieter?” - Careerealism

17. “As we’re both here at the (buffet, bar, waiting room), I feel I should introduce myself. I’m [name] from [company].” - @ainegreaney

18. I like to compliment people on their clothes and accessories. I find this approach to be more friendly and less about professionally connecting, especially if you’re at a networking event. I believe both men and women can compliment each other on their choice of attire and use it as a conversation starter! - @MsMeganGrace

19. “Excuse me. Do you know how much a polar bear weighs? Enough to break the ice! Hi, I’m Andi. Nice to meet you.” - Andrea M.

20. “Man, I hate networking.” If you sense a fellow party-goer has similar misanthropic tendencies, walk up and start a conversation about your mutual distaste. - Jessica Gordon for The Muse

 

21-25 The Funny

We don’t recommend using anything like the joke, “How much does a polar bear weigh?” (Answer: Enough to break the ice.) But when you’re meeting new people, a little humor is a great way to ease the awkwardness and kick-start a fun conversation.

21. I always start by saying, “I can’t believe how under-dressed I am for this event.” A little self-deprecating humor is always good, and I’m always poorly dressed. - @EllBell9

22. Something jokey—like “I just came for these carrot sticks.” Then, ask a question, like “How’d you hear about this event?” - @beetorr

23. “So, on a scale of 1 to undrinkable, how terrible is the Chardonnay?”

24. “Did you see the Japanese ‘Attack of the Raptor’ office prank video?” Timely mixes of humor and intrigue can be great. - @kylehsf

25. “I’ll be honest, the only person I know here is the bartender, and I just met him two minutes ago. Mind if I introduce myself?”

 

26-30 - The Totally Random (But Hey, They just might work!)

If all else fails, try one of these.

26. “Any chance you know a great sushi place around here? I’m not familiar with the area, and I’m headed to dinner after this.”

27. “Hey, aren’t you friends with [fill in random name]?” It doesn’t matter if you really think the person is someone you know, just walk up and ask if he or she is friends with someone you know. He or she will tell you “no,” and conversation will commence. - Jessica Gordon for The Muse

28. If you see a group of people that seem engaged in quality conversation, just approach them and say, “Well, you guys are certainly having more fun than the last group I was talking to.” - CareerBliss

29. “If there is one question you do not want me to ask you, because you are sick and tired of answering it, what question would that be?” - Conversation Arts

30. “I’m working on an article about the best and worst conversation starters ever. Any particularly good or terrible ones you’ve heard tonight?”

10/7/18 - 10 Resume Tips You Haven’t Heard Before

by Julia Malacoff
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/10-resume-tips-you-havent-heard-before/ 

 Having a well-crafted resume can be the key to getting your foot in the door at the company of your dreams. But figuring out how to make your resume fully representative of your experience and also stand out is easier said than done. After all, hiring managers and recruiters generally only spend about 7 seconds reading your resume before deciding whether to move forward or not. Most people know the basics of how to put together a decent work history, but here are some tips you probably haven’t heard before that can help your resume stand up to the 7-second test.

1. Only include your address if it works in your favor.
If you’re applying to positions in the city or town you already live in, then go ahead and include your address. In this case, it lets the hiring manager know you’re already in the area and could theoretically start working right away.

But if you’re targeting jobs in another area and you’d need to move in order to start working, it’s probably a good idea to leave your current address off of your resume. Why? Recruiters are sometimes less excited to interview candidates from another city or state, since they often require relocation fees.

2. Be a name dropper.
It may be poor form to drop names in everyday life, but you absolutely should do it on your resume. If you’ve worked with well-known clients or companies, go ahead and include them by name. Something like: “Closed deals with Google, Toyota and Bank of America” will get recruiters’ attention in no time flat.

3. Utilize your performance reviews.
You might not think to look to your annual review for resume material, but checking out the positive feedback you’ve received in years past can help you identify your most noteworthy accomplishments and best work attributes—two things that should definitely be highlighted on your resume. Including specific feedback you’ve received and goals you’ve met can help you avoid needing to use “fluff” to fill out your work experience.

4. Don’t go overboard with keywords.
Many companies and recruiters use keyword-scanning software as a tool to narrow the job applicant pool. For this reason, it’s important to include keywords from the job description in your resume—but don’t go overboard. Recruiters can spot “keyword stuffing” a mile away.

5. Use common sense email etiquette.
There are two types of email addresses you shouldn’t use on your resume or when applying to a job via email: your current work email address, or an overly personal or inappropriate email address, like loverguy22@gmail.com. Stick with something professional based on your name in order to make the best possible impression.

6. When it comes to skills, quality over quantity.
There’s no need to list skills that most people in the job market have (Think: Microsoft Office, email, Mac and PC proficient), which can make it look like you’re just trying to fill up space on the page. Keep your skills section short, and only include impactful skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying to.

7. Choose to share social accounts strategically.
Including links to social media accounts on a resume is becoming more and more common. But it’s important to distinguish between professional accounts—like a LinkedIn profile or Instagram account you manage for work—and non-professional ones, like your personal Twitter or Facebook account. While it might be tempting to include a personal account in order to show recruiters who you are, you’re better off only listing accounts that are professionally-focused. Save your winning personality for an in-person interview.

8. Use hobbies to your advantage.
Not all hobbies deserve a place on your resume, but some do. Hobbies that highlight positive personality qualities or skills that could benefit you on the job are worth including. For example, running marathons (shows discipline and determination) and blogging about something related to your field (shows creativity and genuine interest in your work) are hobbies that will cast you in the best possible light and might pique a recruiter’s interest.

9. Skip generic descriptors.
Hardworking, self-motivated, self-sufficient, proactive, and detail-oriented are all words you’ll find on most people’s resumes. But most job seekers are motivated and hardworking, so these traits don’t really set you apart from the rest of the applicant pool. Instead, focus on the specific skills and accomplishments that make you different from everyone else applying to the position.

10. Keep an accomplishment journal.
Keeping a log of your work accomplishments and positive feedback as they come up can make putting together or updating your resume significantly easier. Include as many details as possible so you don’t have to spend time tracking them down later.

9/30/18 - Ask a Real Recruiter: How Do I Prove That I'm the Best Candidate in an Interview?

by Jessica Vann
https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-do-i-prove-that-im-the-best-candidate-in-an-interview-question?ref=recently-published-1 

Dear Real Recruiter,

What’s the best way to answer when the interviewer asks why they should choose you over another candidate who has the same qualifications?

Signed,
Not Just Another Number

Dear Not Just Another Number,

Standing out in your job search is crucial, but it’s also hard. The truth is, a lot of people are just as qualified as you when it comes to comparing resumes.

So, don’t think of it that way! Instead, dig into the intangibles of who you are. No, not the straightforward qualifications or keywords that got you the interview, but the actual you.

That’s the good stuff. The secret sauce. The reason they’re going to select you over the other “equally qualified” candidate. Here’s what you can emphasize.

 1. Your Grit and Determination

Your rival may have everything you do on paper, but do they have staying power?

No job, no matter how glossy it appears from the outside, is without its challenges. Unexpected dynamics, resource and training shortages, internal political bottlenecks, irate customers, failed product launches—these are all potential realities looming in your future.

Disappointments are a given. The real question is how will you handle them?

In a rapidly-changing business environment that is complex, unpredictable, and intense, no one wants a flake. Demonstrate to your interviewer that you have the fortitude, conviction, loyalty, and staying power to see yourself (and them) through whatever comes your way.

 2. Your Enthusiasm

Do you love what you do? Are you passionate about your career, or is it just a means to a paycheck?

You and your rival can both do the job, but if this work lights you up, then let your interviewer know that.

People are attracted to people who are excited about and genuinely love what they do. A client of mine just told me, “I’ll take less experience. I need someone who loves the game. The details. The sport.”

 3. Your Cultural Fit

Skill sets are one thing, but employers are increasingly concerned with the cultural dynamics of the workplace and an employee’s fit within it.

Not only are they assessing your skills, but they’re also trying to imagine how you will integrate within their existing team and cultural framework.

As an interviewee, it’s your job to pick up on those cues and speak to them. What are the values and qualities they’ve said are important? Are they looking for someone devoted to their colleagues and interested in mentoring? If so, speak to that. Are they looking for someone coachable? If so, display that you’re receptive to feedback and learning.

Interpersonal dynamics often trump skill set when it comes to making a hiring decision (particularly when candidates are evenly matched) and could easily elevate you above the competition.

Remember that if you’re asked by an employer why they should pick you over another candidate, this is not a curveball question but rather an opportunity to reiterate all the wonderful qualities and intangibles you possess.

It’s not just something your mom told you—you are talented and capable and deserving, so let the real you shine.

Jessica Vann is the Founder and Principal of Maven Recruiting Group, a boutique firm in San Francisco specializing in administrative and human resources staffing throughout the Bay Area. Vann earned her bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley with a double major in economics “to be practical” and rhetoric “to feed [her] soul.” Born and raised in San Francisco, Vann lives in the Bay Area with her family.

9/23/18 - Uncovering the Secrets of the Cover Letter

As a job seeker looking for positions beyond faculty roles, you have to achieve a lot in one page, and Joseph Barber provides tips on how to make the most of it.

By Joseph Barber
https://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2018/08/20/how-write-effective-cover-letter-jobs-beyond-those-faculty-opinion 

While specific styles of résumés can reflect different career fields and industries, the cover letter offers a much less structured document, and so often leads to much more confusion among job seekers. You will no doubt get different advice from everyone you ask about cover letters for jobs beyond faculty roles, and what I discuss here will certainly add to that cacophony of recommendations.

But having read a frighteningly enormous number of cover letters in my role as a career adviser, my advice comes from a certain amount of experience. That experience can be divided into positive situations, where the letters were interesting to read, and neutral-to-negative ones, where the letters were readable but not very engaging. When you are thinking of your cover letters, the description of “readable” should be the absolute minimum outcome that you aim to achieve. Ideally, your letter will be interesting, engaging, unique, positive, energetic, relevant and optimistic. That’s a lot to achieve in one page!

The first question to ask yourself is what is the purpose of a cover letter? If you have already created a customized résumé for the job you are applying to (and this is essential), then you have already highlighted your relevant skills. You don’t just want to provide exactly the same information again in your cover letter. Reading such information twice doesn’t make it any more impactful but can definitely make it less interesting. Used strategically, the cover letter gives you an opportunity to highlight some of the best parts of your résumé in a slightly different way, and with the goal of explaining why you’re the right person for the job, why your experiences are relevant, and why you want to use your skills and knowledge in this new role at this new organization.

The answers to these questions are not punchy bullet points. Instead, they need to be slightly more narrative in their form. When you use more narrative formats, you can start taking some storytelling approaches to engage the reader. The benefit of telling stories is that you don’t just have to state empirically what happened -- which is what the bullet point in the résumé does -- but you can also talk about the broader impacts of the experience. That includes what you learned from it, how it made you feel, why you sought it out, what was so surprising about it, why is was challenging and so on. Those perspectives are distinctly yours, which makes them interesting to the reader, who won’t have read them in 100 other cover letters. And they can help make your letter more energetic by bringing in action-based emotional states. People remember stories more than they remember generic statements that you have important skills.

Let’s cover the basic structure of a one-page cover letter that I tend to recommend. To make it easier to consider, we can break it down into three separate sections.

First paragraph/opening.
Make a clear statement of intent at the start to help the reader put the letter into context. That means avoiding statements such as: “I am writing to possibly explore the opportunity to be so honored to be interested in applying for the position of …” Instead, a more direct approach might be: “I am applying for the position of X that was advertised on your website.”

You can add to that, of course, but be direct. The rest of the first paragraph should be present a takeaway conclusion about yourself. Yes, you can start your letter with a conclusion. That means that the reader immediately knows you have something that they want and makes them more likely to read the rest of the letter to find out more. If you are going to start off with a conclusion, though, make sure that it is relevant to your reader by summarizing what they are likely to care about the most. Take a look at this introduction sentence and see if you can identify what some of the key takeaways are -- and thus what some of the job requirements might have been:

"With eight years of experience managing multistep data collection projects in academic and industry settings, and an ability to establish and maintain relationships with clients, stakeholders and international collaborators, I am excited to bring my creativity and structured approach to this data analyst role."

Middle paragraphs.
Once you have made a conclusion statement in the introduction (I know, it sounds a little weird!), the main part of the letter should expand on those themes. You don’t have to go through all of your experiences from the résumé; rather, you will want to highlight the best parts. Everything in your cover letter should be echoed by something in your résumé, but not everything in your résumé needs to be mentioned in your cover letter. And if you are wondering why you can’t just customize your cover letter and send a standard résumé as part of your application, just remember that not everyone will read a cover letter. You want them to, but you cannot make them!

The main body of your letter will contain good illustrations of your relevant skills in action, all wrapped up in a narrative form that includes just a sprinkling of drama. Here is an example of a story without much drama:

"As a project leader in the student health-care consulting group, I oversaw a team of three students and completed an extensive market analysis of the medical device field to determine a suitable pricing model for a wearable device developed by the client."

None of this is bad information; it is just not that engaging. It would be much better as a bullet point in a résumé. And if it were already a bullet in the résumé, it should not just be repeated in the cover letter. Here is an alternative version with a little more drama.

"When I was serving as a project leader in the student consulting group, my team had engaged with a client seeking market access information for a new wearable device. We faced two immediate challenges with this work: the device was unique with few comparable products, and this was the first consulting experience for half of our four-member team. In thinking about the project, I saw their lack of experience as a possible advantage and took the opportunity to encourage the two new team members to think creatively about comparable products in the medical space and beyond. In two brainstorming sessions, we successfully generated sufficient data for our market analysis. I found it really satisfying to see how well the new members complemented and then learned from our more practiced approach."

This is not just a statement of what was done; it illustrates how you approached the assignment. Every project you have been involved with has presented its own distinct challenges. If you can state what those were, and talk about how you have used skills and abilities relevant to the job to which you’re applying to overcome them, then you have the basis for good examples. Concepts that you can touch on in a cover letter that are hard to highlight in a résumé include:

> learning from an experience that went well or badly;
> combining experiences from two separate roles you have had (that might be separated by years on a résumé) to show how you solved a problem;
> explaining why you did something, not just that you did it; and
> demonstrating passion, or enjoying or being excited about something.

Final paragraph.
Once you have given some examples to illustrate the themes highlighted in the first paragraph, you can move to the final one. Here you might want to answer the questions “Why do you want this job?” and “Why do you want to work here?” The answers to those questions should flow nicely from the examples you have been giving.

"In all these projects, I have found myself most engaged when I have been able to bridge disciplines and draw upon my relationship-building skills to establish productive collaborations. I would enjoy the opportunity to liaise between the marketing and science teams in this project coordinator role, and that would make exceptional use of my lab research skills and creative mind-set. I have spoken with three alumni from my university who work at your institution, and each has highlighted the mentoring program for junior staff as wonderfully helpful for their own professional development. I have been fortunate to have strong mentors in my current lab, which has certainly helped me progress in my research, and I am very excited about learning from the experience of senior staff through this program."

The more you know about an organization, and the role itself, the easier it will be to come up with an authentic answer to the “why this job?” and “why this company?” questions.

There is no perfect cover letter, and different approaches can be just as effective. After all, different people will read each letter, and they have their own ideas about good and bad ones. But I hope you can apply some of these suggestions when composing your next cover letter -- and uncover just a hint of drama as you successfully describe your exceptional skills, knowledge and experiences.

Joseph Barber is associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate Career Consortium logoand a member of the Graduate Career Consortium -- an organization providing a national voice for graduate-level career and professional development leaders.

9/16/18 - 7 ways to show emotional intelligence in a job interview

BY HARVEY DEUTSCHENDORF
https://www.fastcompany.com/90214170/7-ways-to-show-emotional-intelligence-in-a-job-interview 

Yes, having solid technical skills is important in landing a job, but maybe not as important as you might think. In fact, in a recent survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. What’s more, 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is going to be even more relevant for job hunting in the future too, the Future of Jobs Report from The World Economic Forum ranked emotional intelligence in the top 10 job skills required for 2020. Since more companies are paying attention to hiring people with high emotional intelligence, if you’re looking for a job it’s an important skill to demonstrate in your interview.

Here are 7 ways that to demonstrate emotional intelligence in a job interview

1. ACTIVELY LISTEN
Instead of focusing on a response to the question being asked, give all your attention on the question itself. Don’t give in to the urge that you have to answer the question immediately. Interviewers are looking for a thoughtful response, instead of an immediate one that indicates that you are giving them an answer that you have rehearsed. Repeat the question back in your own words to make sure that you understand it the way that it was intended. If you are not sure if you are answering the question ask the person asking it.

2. SHOW EMOTIONS
Many interviewees, due to nervousness, can came come across as wooden and tightly controlled. It’s not only okay to show some emotion, but the right emotions will form a connection between the interviewer and you. Smiling, as long as it doesn’t appear forced or inauthentic, is always good. Showing enthusiasm and some excitement is also good if it is real. The caveat is not to force any emotions. If the interviewers get a whiff that you are coming across as someone other than yourself, it will cause them to mistrust you and decrease your chances of getting the job.

3. SHARE THE CREDIT FOR YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS?
Take a cue from professional athletes when they are interviewed after a win or achievement. They always credit their team mates, their team, rather than taking personal accolades. When asked about a project that you are proud of, or that was successful, be sure to share credit with the team, unit, and others who were involved in the project. Make it clear that you are proud to be a member of the group that was involved in the success. This gives more credibility to you being a team player, than if you simply claim that you are, which everyone does.

4. SHARE HOW YOU ARE TRYING TO IMPROVE YOURSELF
The typical advice for answering a question about your weakness is to frame it as something that is actually a strength. For example, claiming to be a perfectionist, or becoming too involved in your job, which can be seem as strengths by an employer. These answers do not cut it any more, as interviewers are looking for something more substantial. When disclosing a weakness be sure to indicate what you are actively doing to work on it and give examples of making progress. Interviewers know that we all have weaknesses and suspect that we may try to hide those in the interview. As long as your weaknesses do not raise any red flags, being honest, open and genuine will help gain their trust and respect.

5. DON’T SHY AWAY FROM TALKING ABOUT CONFLICT
For the question about your strengths, rather than only focusing on your qualifications or technical ability, talk about your ability to work well with others in a teamwork setting. Your ability to adapt to change or setbacks and work well with coworkers and customers is important to bring up. Instead of simply mentioning these things, be prepared to come up with examples of when you had to use those skills. Perhaps there was conflict within your unit or you had to deal with an irate customer. Talk about how you used your soft skills to effectively deal with these situations

6. SHOW THAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES
When the interviewer asks about a situation where things went off the rails, the worst thing you can do is to blame others for the situation. State what happened but avoid casting blame. Before answering this question, it is okay to acknowledge some emotions through your expressions and body language. It will send the message that the situation was real and not something that you made up that was of no real consequence because you had to answer the question. Let it be known that it was a difficult time and you struggled if that was the case. What the interviewer wants to know is how you reacted and if you did anything to improve the situation. If asked what your part in it was, be prepared to accept your share of the responsibility but speak in terms of what you would’ve done differently looking back on the situation. Interviewers expect people to make mistakes, but want to know if you are someone who learns from mistakes and took away the lesson.

7. ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT CULTURE AND VALUES
At the end of an interview we are typically asked if we have any questions. This is a great opportunity to demonstrate your emotional intelligence. Ask questions around the culture, values of an organization and what it takes for people to be successful in it. Bring up any positive experiences with people in their organization or their customer you have had in the past and your observations. It will show that you are not only interested in a job but are looking to see how you will fit into the company. This indicates to them that you are aware of yourself and the importance of matching their needs with those of your own. They are also trying to assess this, and your awareness will help them in deciding. If you are a fit, it will work in your favor. If not, you are better off knowing at this point and spending your time and energy looking elsewhere.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to theotherkindofsmart.com.

9/9/18 - Why experts say you should remove this common word from your resume immediately

by Ruth Umoh
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/07/24/experts-say-you-should-remove-this-common-word-from-your-resume.html 

When crafting a resume, it’s important to include powerful, action-focused words that highlight your skills and expertise.

But too many job applicants make the mistake of using weak words that dull their contributions. One of the most common offenders? "Helped."

“‘Helped’ is not a good word,” says Elaine Varelas, managing partner at career consulting firm Keystone Partners. “It’s kind of a vague thing.”

The word “helped” lacks any true meaning, she says. Plus it lacks substance, fails to grab the recruiter's attention and doesn't paint candidates' prior experience in the best possible light. A resume with the word "helped" communicates to an employer that "there’s no level of ownership,” explains Varelas.

Even if you worked in an administrative or junior position, says Varelas, there are much more powerful words to show that you assisted on a project, such as “supported,” “managed” or “collaborated.”

But regardless of the word choice, you must still provide concrete examples of your achievements.

Varelas gives the following example, "I helped our marketing team launch an annual PR event.” This description is extremely vague, she says. For all the hiring manager knows, your role could have consisted solely of carrying boxes into the event space.

“Instead of saying, you 'helped,’ tell me how and what you did,” says Varelas, because recruiters want concrete details showing how you implemented change and owned a position or task. In the previous example, you could briefly describe how you reached out to and secured vendors, got notable people to attend or garnered media coverage for the event.

Varelas notes that the main reason people use weak words like “helped” is because they fail to ask themselves three key questions: What was the problem before you arrived? What action did you take to resolve the issue? And finally, what was the end result in comparison?

Using powerful words sets you apart from the competition says Barry Drexler, an interview coach with more than 30 years of HR experience at companies like Lehman Brothers and Lloyds Banking Group.

A recruiter is much more likely to interview a candidate whose resume says, “I called 200 corporations and managed to get 75 to advertise with our company, which boosted our revenue by $100,000 within a one-year period,” over a resume that says, “I helped the ad sales team increase their revenue by $100,000.”

Drexler adds that even if you’re not applying for a leadership or managerial position, companies still want to see that you can take ownership of a project, or a subset of it, and deliver results. And if you really didn’t do much more than help, then that information probably shouldn’t be on your resume to begin with, notes Varelas.

“Your resume needs to be specific, and it needs to show me a skill,” she says. “Being helpful is a nice skill, but it's not meaningful. “

9/2/18 - How to Deal With Being an Older Employee at a Modern Company

by Aimée Lutkin
https://lifehacker.com/how-to-deal-with-being-an-older-employee-at-a-modern-co-1827392488?utm_source=lifehacker_facebook&utm_campaign=socialflow_lifehacker_facebook&utm_medium=socialflow 

There’s a lot of discussion about diversity and inclusion at companies, in particular those focused on tech, but one marginalized group that often gets overlooked is older people. What constitutes “older” varies wildly depending on your industry and personal outlook, of course, but anyone closer to retirement than their college graduation is approaching work differently. Here’s how you can help yourself in a workforce that seems to get younger every year.

Don’t Try To Hide Your Age
There are a number of invisible barriers to getting the job you want if you’re older and searching for work or entering a new company. People start leaving dates off resumes and strongly editing their work history. It’s possible doing so might get you through the gatekeepers to that interview, but if so, you’re still showing up as yourself.

Remember that you probably don’t want to work at an ageist company, and a hiring manager who doesn’t recognize the value of employees with different perspectives and life experiences is probably not someone you want controlling your day.

Recognize Your Value, Too
You have a lot to offer: if you’re approaching or over 50, you’ve experienced recessions, bounced back, worked in a ton of positions, and you can manage yourself. A study from TalentSmart indicated this ability gets better as you age, according to a survey they did of 10,614 people between the ages of 18 and 80:

Self management skills appear to increase steadily with age—60-year-olds scored higher than 50-year-olds, who scored higher than 40-year-olds, and so on.

There are probably some other benefits to being older that you haven’t even considered; U.S. News reports that older people take better care of themselves in general, eating well and exercising, so they’re actually healthier than most millennials. Sounds great for a manager who needs someone reliable, and potentially also flexible: people heading towards retirement or with big families may want to work only part-time. You’re the right fit for the right job.

Stay Engaged Socially
There are challenges to staying involved in company cultures that don’t make an effort to consider the needs of older people on the payroll. Social events may focus on alcohol or rock-climbing, and you may not want to try and outdistance the college intern doing fireball shots up a 40-foot wall. The camaraderie built among team members during social events is important, and you don’t want to be excluded.

Plan ahead for how you will participate, if you can. If you can’t, this is something worth bringing up with HR. It’s okay to advocate for events that are not only more inclusive to different age groups, but to families with children. There may be people outside your age-range at your company with similar needs, and you could reach out to them for support.

Stay Engaged With Your Work Performance
In the office, there are a few ways to remind your co-workers that age does not equate to disinterest. Monster.com has a number of recommendations for older workers in IT, specifically, to show they’re “in the know.” Is that phrase dated? Oh well.

One of their main pointers if to stay up to date on everything—take classes, ask about trainings, and even work on Open Source projects to appear engaged with the world of tech outside your day job. Constantly learning is good for your resume, but also for your brain. Monster also suggests keeping a tech blog, suggesting it gives people the impression that you’re staying connected to your industry.

Become A Mentor
Hey, you know a whole lot and your workforce is constantly being flooded by people who are just getting started. That’s kind of the whole issue. Ask about opportunities to teach a workshop or mentoring programs. Give some thought to what you want to do or how you think you can contribute. This showcases your valuable experience as an employee, and that you can connect with your team to help them grow.

And remember that mentorship can go both ways. You can probably learn something from younger people, too. Plus, letting someone show you how to do something is a great way to make friends. You need somebody to hang out with at the rock-climbing wall.

8/26/18 - How to Display the Ideal Body Language When Networking

Learn when it's appropriate to use hand gestures and head nods when building new relationships.

by Ivan Misner, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of BNI
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/315358 

Body language can be a powerful attractant or deterrent when it comes to building relationships with others. People assess you visually within the first few minutes of meeting you. I’ve been asked a lot about body language by the media over the years. Here are some of their questions along with my answers relating to the use of body language in networking environments.

1. What can you do to increase your confidence and to come off as warm, friendly or knowledgeable to others?
People over-think this issue. The answer is pretty straight forward -- be more “interested” than “interesting.” When you are meeting people, practice being an interested interviewer and an active listener. Learn about them and during the process make sure that your facial expressions match that interest. Don’t look bored -- look engaged. You can do that with a smile, appropriate reaction to a comment or a few nods (but not like a bobble head doll). Also, use your eyebrows to show your reaction to comments. Do this in an authentic way. If you really show interest in other people, you will be amazed at some of the stories you hear and people you meet. You will also make a great impression on these individuals. All of these things will help to make you look warm, friendly and confident.

2. What is the latest reputable science saying about hand gestures and how they effect the way we're perceived by other people?
In a study done by Holler and Beatie, they found that gestures increase the value of someone’s message by 60 percent! They analyzed thousands of hours of TED talks and found one striking pattern. The most watched TED Talks were done by people who used effective hand gestures.

Specifically, they analyzed the top and bottom TED Talks and found that the least popular TED Talks used an average of 272 hand gestures during the 18-minute talk, and the most popular TED Talks used an average of 465 hand gestures during their talk -- or almost double!

Remember that hand gestures are good when talking to someone, but don’t turn it into “jazz hands,” where your hands never stop waving! Be purposeful with your gestures.

Also, when doing certain hand gestures, make sure to do them from the listener’s perspective, not yours. For example, if you are talking about the growth of a business, you might naturally do a hand gesture going from your lower left to your upper right. That looks like growth from your perspective, but it would be the opposite from the listener’s perspective. The same goes regarding a timeline. For you, the start of a project would be on your left and the end of the project would be to your right. However, for the listener, your hand gesture should be flipped so that the gesture you are making supports the point you are sharing according to the other person’s perspective. This is a very subtle technique that can really help in your discussions with people.

3. We've been hearing about how the so-called "Power Pose" or "Superman Pose" (hands on hips) may not be as effective as research initially showed -- is this true? Are there other poses that increase confidence?
The “Power Pose” is great if you are Wonder Woman or Superman. For mere mortals -- not so much. It just looks theatrical. Power Posing is a discredited theory of psychology that was based on a 2010 study that has even been refuted by one of the original authors of the paper.

Instead of “striking a pose,” be your best self. Don’t hunch over or look like a wallflower, don’t cross your arms and, above all -- maintain good eye contact. Don’t be looking around the room as you are talking to people. It makes them feel like you don’t care about them. Remember, be interested and look interested when you are talking to someone.

4. Personal space is sometimes an issue. How close should you stand to people when you are talking to them?
The study of proxemics has an application to personal space in a conversation. Personal space varies by culture; however, generally speaking, in North American cultures, personal space is roughly arm's-length away. Don’t get in someone’s space unless you have a relationship with them that would justify that. Don’t make people feel uncomfortable by standing too close. In this day and age -- that is particularly important with the opposite gender.

Body language in networking environments can be very important. Keep the above points in mind. Be comfortable and authentic while not trying to overthink the issue. The key is to practice, practice, practice and observe reactions over time.

8/19/18 - 7 warning signs that you shouldn’t accept a job offer

It’s hard to get a real sense of a company’s culture in a 20-minute interview, so here’s what to look for.
https://www.fastcompany.com/40585779/7-warning-signs-that-you-shouldnt-accept-a-job-offer 

BY STEPHANIE VOZZA
If you have a skill that’s in demand, chances are you’ve received more than one job offer. Money or a title may be tempting, but don’t jump at your first opportunity—you could be walking into a toxic work environment, says Piyush Patel, author of Lead Your Tribe, Love Your Work.

“It’s difficult to know a company’s culture in a 20-minute interview,” he says. “Everybody’s on their best behavior, and the skeletons are hidden. If you’re a great candidate, people are trying to sell you and recruit you. They’re not going to tell you anything bad.”

You might assume you can assess a company by looking at review sites like Glassdoor, but they aren’t always accurate, says Tom Gimbel, CEO of the staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle Network. “Like anything, more people go online to complain than praise,” he says. “The majority of reviews are going to be negative. Don’t discount them, but don’t be blinded because somebody you don’t know had a bad experience. You may have different views on work, life, and business.”

Instead, get a feel for the culture by playing detective. Here are seven subtle clues that can provide insight:

1. OBSERVE THE START OR END OF THE WORKDAY
You can tell a lot about the environment by watching employees. If your interview is in the morning, go at the start of the workday and observe employees.

“Are they running late, walking in like they don’t want to be there?” asks Patel. “Or do they come in early, talking and mingling with coworkers?”

On the flip side, pay attention to the end of the workday. Do employees perform a mass exodus right at 5 p.m.? Do they look relieved to be done with work? These are signs that the culture is bad.

 2. ASK ABOUT CORE VALUES

Companies often have a list of core values, such as “quality first,” “teamwork,” and “collaboration.” It’s one thing to list values, but you want to learn if they live them, says Patel.

“During your interview, ask what they are, and then say, ‘Can you share some stories about how people live your core values on a regular basis?'” he says. “If they can’t readily tell you stories, they’re not living them.”

3. TALK TO PEER GROUPS
A company with a good culture will often have candidates talk to the employee who previously had the role they’re being interviewed for, says Gimbel. “If they can’t show you somebody who’s grown out of the role and is still with the company in a different capacity or vertical, then they’re hiding something,” he says. “Meeting with a peer provides a perspective about upward mobility.”

You can also contact peer employees on LinkedIn before an interview, adds Patel. “Say, ‘I’m thinking about applying for a job there. What do you love about your job?'” he suggests. “You’d be surprised how much they’ll share.”

4. FIND OUT IF THE EXECUTIVE TEAM IS PRESENT
While you may not meet with the CEO or C-suite members, knowing that they are involved in the business on a day-to-day basis is a sign of opportunities for growth and promotion, says Gimbel. “If you have a C-suite that’s present and involved, it makes for a lot more continuity,” he says.

5. TAKE A TOUR
If you aren’t given a tour of the office, ask for one, says Patel. “Pay attention to employees’ desks,” he says. “Do they have a picture of family members on their desk, or does it look like they keep the bare minimum? When you’re living in a temporary space, you don’t move a lot of stuff in. Desks are the same way, and they can be an indicator of how long people plan to stay.”

6. NOTICE SMELLS
If you’re interview is around lunchtime, see how many employees are working while eating their lunch. “If you work in an organization that respects you and your time, they’re going to let you have time to eat,” says Patel. “If not, how much work do you have that you can’t pause to eat?”

Companies should encourage people to take a break, or sit with coworkers and people from different department to eat and talk. “It’s building a tribe versus hurry up and get your work done,” says Patel.

7. CHECK OUT THE RESTROOM
Before you leave, ask to use the restroom and look for two things: a mess and how much toilet paper there is.

“When people don’t respect a space, they’ll leave it a mess,” says Patel. “It’s easy to happen in a bathroom because it’s private and seems like nobody’s looking, but it reveals character.”

What’s worse, though, is finding an empty toilet paper roll. “That demonstrates an attitude of ‘That’s not my job,'” says Patel. “You don’t want to work with somebody like that. They’re not a team player. When you take the last piece of toilet paper and don’t make an attempt to refill it, you know you’re about to be a jerk. Employees have the choice to act like a team or not.”

8/12/18 - 3 Job Search Mistakes To Quit Making Today

by Amy Elisa Jackson
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/job-search-mistakes-062018/ 

We’re halfway through 2018. If you made a few resolutions in January, now’s the time to check in to see how much progress you’ve made. And if one of those resolutions was to find a new job, how’s that going? Don’t get down on yourself if you haven’t secured your dream job quite yet. You may have been making a few mistakes along the way.

The good news is that you still have time to rectify those job search mistakes and get back on track. We’re in a hot job market right now where companies are clamoring for top talent with sharp skills and a variety of life experiences. Here are 3 job search mistakes you may have made in the past, plus how to correct them in order to land your next great gig before the end of the year.

Mistake #1: Waiting days or weeks to apply to a newly posted opening.
In the job hunt, as with most things in life, timing is everything. A study by TalentWorks revealed that there is a “golden hour” of applying to a job. They found that if you submit a job application in the first 96 hours, you’re up to 8x more likely to get an interview. Therefore, applications submitted between 2-4 days after a job is posted have the highest chance of getting an interview. After that, every day you wait reduces your chances by 28%.

By having the Glassdoor Job Search app on your phone loaded with your best resumes, you’ll be ready to pull the trigger on any open job you see. Save jobs or apply directly from your phone so you’ll never miss out on a good opportunity. Look for the “Apply on Phone” label. If you prefer to use your laptop to apply, simply swipe on a job listing to email it to yourself, view the company profile or follow the company and more.

Don’t miss out on your next great job because you waited too long to apply.

Mistake #2: Failing to evaluate how much you could earn before you apply.
We’re in the age of transparency. Gone are the days when you had to hope to be paid well. With salary information in job listings plus salary reviews from current and former employees on Glassdoor, you can uncover exactly what a company will pay you. Take it one step further by learning what you could earn in your industry, city and role by using Know Your Worth, a free, personalized salary estimate based on today’s job market. Glassdoor calculates your worth using millions of salaries and current job openings relevant to you.

According to our research, the number one piece of information job seekers want employers to provide is detail on salary or compensation packages. Employers know this and they feel the pressure to be transparent about pay. It’s a job seeker’s market; remember, you’re in control.

Mistake #3: Only looking for one specific job title.
Job titles are as diverse as the companies that create them. One company’s PR Assistant might be another company’s Corporate Communications Strategist, but their roles might be the same. By searching one specific job title, you may be missing out on exciting roles at cool companies that simply describe the role differently.

When you’re setting up job alerts or looking through job postings online, try searching for job responsibility keywords instead of titles, then narrow down the results on your own. For example, if you’re looking for a writing job, consider setting up job alerts for terms like “Content,” “Writer,” “Editor,” “Content Creator,” and “Content Marketing.” While you may have to spend more time wading through postings that may not apply, you’ll be glad you aren’t missing out on what could be your dream gig.

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8/5/18 - 7 steps to rebrand yourself for a career change

Just because you don’t have experience in a new field doesn’t mean your skills aren’t valuable in that field. Here’s what to do before you make a move.
https://www.fastcompany.com/40585926/7-steps-to-rebrand-yourself-for-a-career-change 

BY LISA EVANS

Ready for a career change, but worried you don’t have the experience or skills to land a job in your desired field? Filling your resume with your previous work experience that has no similarity to the job you’re applying for is likely to land your resume in the trash can. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a career you hate forever.

Dawn Graham, PhD, career coach, psychologist, and author of the book Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Career–and Seize Success, says rebranding your professional experience is key to a successful career switch. “When you’re making a switch, you need to be a good fit for the role, and while some of your skills and experiences may be transferrable, many may not be,” she says. Here’s how you can prove that you’re worthy of the title, even when your resume shows no previous experience in the field.

1. CHANGE YOUR SOCIAL PRESENCE
Use social media to your advantage to rebrand yourself in your new career area. Follow thought leaders in your target industry and comment on their posts. Connect with relevant industry groups and associations, share relevant and interesting articles within your online network, comment on posts, attend the biggest industry conferences, and develop a network of contacts in the industry. “Technology makes it easier than ever to market yourself in a way that appeals to the audience you choose,” says Graham. The more you can demonstrate that you’re serious and invested in your new target industry, the more credible you will seem.

2. FIND YOUR TRANSFERRABLE SKILLS
Rebranding yourself takes time and introspection. Everyone has transferrable skills, even if you think you don’t. Graham gives the example of a recruiter who wants to move into social media marketing. “You can show off your customer research, analytics, and technical savvy skills,” she says. Demonstrating how you can reach new customers using the same skill set you used to uncover qualified candidates is a way to prove that your experience is relevant.

To determine your skills, Graham recommends breaking down achievements. “If you contributed to saving a large client, consider the steps that got you to that result–perhaps problem solving, diplomacy, creativity, and influencing.” Do the same with other accomplishments and you’ll soon notice a pattern of core strengths. Try going through this exercise with a colleague or manager who may be able to see strengths that you are overlooking.

3. DO YOUR RESEARCH
In order to find out what skills and experiences are most relevant to your new career choice, spend time learning as much as you can about your target position. Speak with professionals in your target industry, look for volunteer positions in the industry, take courses, and attend professional events to learn what experiences and skill sets are most valuable in the new industry.

4. DON’T LEAD WITH YOUR TITLE
While most of us use our job title when introducing ourselves, this can be an error when you’re switching careers. Many companies use language that doesn’t translate outside the industry. A title can cause confusion for someone in another industry, and biases their opinion toward your application. They may think right away that you’re not a good fit without reading further into your experiences. Instead of focusing on your title, place the emphasis on your value–the skills you developed in that position.

5. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
In order to highlight your value and position yourself as a good fit for the job, you need to know the challenges the hiring manager is trying to solve. “Many job seekers have incredible accomplishments, but without knowing what is important to your audience, you risk leading off with accomplishments that, while impressive, lead the hirer to think you’re not a fit for the role,” says Graham.

When in a job interview, make one of your first questions about the challenges the company or department is facing at this time. Once you find out the hiring company’s pain points, you can select the achievements from your background that best align with what the hiring manager is looking for in the role.

6. CHERRY-PICK EXPERIENCES
Some of your best accomplishments and achievements may not be impressive to the hiring manager if they have no relation to the job you’re applying for. To be most effective in rebranding yourself professionally, select the parts of your experience that align most closely with your target role. To make your application in this new field stronger, highlight these experiences in your LinkedIn profile. If hiring managers are reviewing your resume and then jump over to LinkedIn and see a whole different type of experience highlighted, they may be confused and cause them to put aside your resume. Rebranding your professional experience may mean dropping what you think are some of your best accomplishments, but by focusing on “fit” first, you will have a better chance of a recruiter recognizing you as a potential candidate for the position.

7. JUSTIFY THE SWITCH
“Every hiring manager wants to know why this job at this company at this time,” says Graham. Your answer to this question will be especially important if you’re a career switcher. Graham argues that switchers can have the upper hand in answering this question because they have most likely spent a great deal of time studying the industry, thinking about what they want in a job when making their career switch decision.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Evans is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers topics related to mental and physical health. She strives to help readers make small changes to their daily habits that have a profound and lasting impact on their productivity and overall job satisfaction.

7/29/18 - How to Write a Resume Summary That Grabs Recruiters’ Attention

by Lillian Childress
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/resume-summary/ 

To include a resume summary, or not to include a resume summary? The nagging question that has plagued many a job seeker.

Well, here’s some advice to clear the matter up: yes, you should include a summary. Unless you are really pressed for space, have a significant amount of description writing in the body of your resume, or you’re specifically directed not to include a summary, it’s an essential addition to a professional resume. “Most people should have a summary,” says Lynn Carroll — a career coach who writes about authenticity in the job search, gender equity in the workplace, and inclusion — who we reached out to to learn how to create an eye-catching resume summary.

Carroll distinguishes between a resume objective, which she says is what the jobseeker is looking to find in a company or position, and a resume summary, which tells a recruiter what the jobseeker can uniquely offer to a company or position. “The objective is now considered by most recruiters as an out-of-date function because it focuses on the jobseeker… The summary is considered more current and a better way to describe the relationship between the jobseeker and the company because it talks about what they can offer,” says Carroll.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for your summary:

Keep it Short
There are plenty of opportunities to expound on your qualifications and experience in the job search process, like in your cover letter or the interview. The resume summary is a place to make the resume a bit more personalized, and to frame your resume in terms of the type of candidate you believe the company is looking for. For this reason, it’s important to keep the summary short. Carroll recommends writing a full paragraph at first, and then gradually whittling it down to two or three sentences full of powerful, important words. “By condensing — rather than on the very first pass have a short summary — sometimes you give a lot more thought to what the most important pieces really are,” she advises.

Tell a Story
A resume summary isn’t a place to re-hash your professional experience, or to list out your soft skills. It’s about giving the reader a brief, vivid taste of what kind of person you are in the workplace, what drives you and makes you tick, and what kind of environments you thrive in. Keep this in mind as you write your summary: tell, don’t list.

Use Relevant Keywords
Keywords are important for several reasons. First of all, they can help you stand out in applicant tracking systems, a type of software that companies use to digitally sift through job applications. Second of all, you can show that you know how to speak the same language as the company. “If you were using the word ‘customer’ for example, and they were using the word ‘client’ in their job description, the idea is the same but they don’t see that you are using their same lingo,” Carroll says. “They might feel like you’re not in touch with where they’re at.”

Use Vivid Language
Carroll says she always encourages her clients to use vivid, descriptive language, that brings their experience and skills to life. “If I describe a meeting I ‘organized’, that seems like I set the conference call up. If I describe a meeting that I ‘envisioned,’ or I describe a gathering that I ‘developed’, that sounds like I had more input into the content,” she says. Using verbs that have active connotations rather than passive connotations can help this, Carroll adds.

Match the Tone to the Occasion
There’s no one tone to strike in a resume summary. It all depends on the type of job you’re applying for and the kind of company you’re sending your resume off to. Carroll gives the example of someone applying to a job at a more traditional, hierarchical Fortune 500 company versus someone applying to a job at a Silicon Valley startup. At the Fortune 500 company, she says, the applicant might want to use phrases like “solid foundation” and “excellent skills” to imply stability and reliability. At a startup, however, one might want to use phrases like “creative,” “innovative,” or “dynamic.” It all depends on the job you’re applying for, and also – don’t forget! – what describes you as a candidate the most accurately.

7/22/18 - 3 Job Offer Traps and How to Avoid Them

You probably have some room to get a little more.
by Daniel B. Kline 
https://www.fool.com/careers/2018/06/16/3-job-offer-traps-and-how-to-avoid-them.aspx 

When you get the call and hear that you're being offered a job, you deserve to take a moment and mentally congratulate yourself. You made it through the hiring process and landed the job -- that's a very big win.

Once that happens it's tempting to exhale and celebrate feeling that your work has been completed. In reality, landing a job offer is not the last step in the process. You still have to make the best deal possible for yourself, and there are multiple traps you can easily fall into.

That means you need to get a formal job offer and examine every bit of it. Is it fair? Is the money what you expected? Are there any odious clauses you don't want to accept? Just because you want the job does not mean you have to accept a first offer. There is usually some room to make yourself a better deal.

1. What to do if the salary is too low
Salary is an important part of a job offer to many people. If the number offered is too low, it's important to address that. Your first step is to simply ask for more money. Sometimes a low-ball offer is simply an attempt by the employer to make the best deal possible and a counteroffer is expected.

It's important to state what you consider a fair number. If the employer won't meet that figure, see if the company will consider a path to get you there over time. If you don't set the expectation of where you want to be and you accept a low number, you may fall into a trap where percentage-based raises mean you never get to the salary you deserve.

2. The vacation policy is sub-par
If you're not new to the workforce you should not be treated as an entry-level employee. Many companies have a policy where vacation is awarded by seniority. You can ask to be treated based on your seniority in the industry. If you were at your last job for 10 years, it's reasonable to ask to be considered as a longer-term employee when it comes to vacation.

3. There are benefits issues
In addition to salary and vacation, the benefits package is an important piece of the job offer. Some parts -- like 401(k) matches -- probably aren't negotiable. Other benefits, however, might have more wiggle room.

One area that can sometimes be negotiated is the waiting period for when health insurance kicks in. If a company starts health insurance for all new employees on the first of the month, there might not be any wiggle room there. If, however, there's a 90-day waiting period, you may be able to shorten that.

No matter what the benefit is, it never hurts to ask. If you want to work from home one day a week or have flexibility during bad weather, ask and make a case for yourself.

Be willing to walk away
Turning down a job over money or poor benefits isn't fun, but it's something you have to be willing to do. Obviously, your willingness to negotiate or even walk away depends on how much you need the job.

If you have options, however, it's best to not accept a bad offer. You might be passing on a job you wanted, but you're also passing on a company that perhaps does not fully value you.

Consider not just your short-term happiness, but also whether you can accept the situation six months or a year down the line. If the answer is no and the company won't budge on its offer, you may have to move on.

7/15/18 - Perfecting Your Resume [Checklist]

by Jillian Kramer
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/resume-checklist/ 

Your Christmas wish list isn’t the only list you need to read and check twice. A resume checklist—a list of must-dos for your resume—can be essential for job search success.

“Most of the time, people just dive head-first into the resume, with a purpose of including everything and the kitchen sink,” according to Dawn Rasmussen, certified resume writer and founder of Pathfinder Writing and Career Services. But, “without a checklist, people often end up including non-essential information and forget critical things,” she points out.

With a resume checklist, you can avoid mistakes and “provide a potential employer with the exact information that they are seeking,” Rasmussen says. But what should go on it?

Glassdoor has created an easy-peasy guide to help you craft the perfect resume, along with a checklist you can read and tick off as you write. But below, you’ll find the TL;DR version, in which we and Rasmussen walk you through the essentials of any good resume checklist.

Design matters.
According to Glassdoor’s guide, you shouldn’t go overboard with intricate or decorative resume templates. Instead, stick to styles with sufficient white space and an 11-point font.

What’s more, Rasmussen recommends placing your target job title at the top of a resume. “Every resume should have a target job title headline at the top of the document,” she says. “This acts as an introduction so the reader’s expectations are shaped as to what they can anticipate reading about. This job title headline acts as a clarifying driver and a lynchpin.”

List your experience.
In your experience section, you must include—at a minimum—the following information:

But perhaps more importantly, you must find a way to quantify the experience you list out. Our guide encourages you to use concrete data points whenever possible, and Rasmussen agrees. “It is very tempting to do the old copy and paste of your current job description into your employment experience, but a critical element of success here is to demonstrate the ‘so what?’ by creating concise bulleted sentences that take tasks and put them into practical application with measurable results,” she says. “For example, you don’t want to say you met with clients. It’s much better to say, ‘generated $50,000 surge in new revenue after meeting with clients to better understand how company products could fit their needs.’” In other words, “complete the thought of what you want to say and provide the impact not the task.”

Include other positions.
Our guide advises you to include all your positions—even those that may not directly relate to the job for which you are applying. Why? Because those jobs can still be used to show off the skills you have and will presumably use in your new job and at your new place of work.

Plus, “career movement is critical for job seekers,” Rasmussen says. “Employers like to hire movers and shakers, so how are you demonstrating traction? Make sure that professional development is on your resume checklist so you can show employers that you have current job knowledge, minimal skill gaps, and are well-poised to contribute thought leadership that will propel companies into meeting future clients’ needs as well as industry changes.”

Use keywords.
When you’re writing or editing your resume, make sure to check the job listing for relevant keywords you can add to your document. It’s important for those keywords to make their way onto resume because many companies use tech that scans applications for keywords. And if the tech can’t find the words it’s looking for, your resume could end up in the trash.

Make it human-friendly, too.
While you need to optimize your resume for technology, as described above, you also need to make it human-friendly by “putting the things most relevant and interesting to this job up top,” the Glassdoor guide recommends. “Remember, hiring managers spend an average of six seconds looking at your resume, so you want to [very, very] quickly catch their eye.”

Revise—and revise again.
The last thing on your checklist should be to reread your work, checking for errors in both grammar and spelling, and any missed opportunities to show off your skills. Even resume writers edit their work. “Resume writers must embrace perfection yet they are also human and therefore prone to making mistakes,” Rasmussen says. “The best words of advice I received about writing a resume then editing was to read the document from the bottom up. We are trained to skim from top down, and that’s where our eyes can completely skip over or block out glaring issues. Reading the resume from the top up is challenging though.”

You may also want to have another person—a trusted friend, colleague, career coach, or mentor—read over your work before submitting it. “When you have read something a thousand times, a fresh pair of eyes can help zero in on mistakes,” Rasmussen points out.

Click here for a job seekers toolkit for resumes from Glassdoor: https://glassdoor2.lookbookhq.com/get-job-toolkit/get-job-toolkit-resume 

7/8/18 - The Top Reasons You’re Not Hearing Back After Sending Dozens of Job Applications

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/reasons-not-hearing-back-applications/ 

Unfortunately, rejection is an unavoidable aspect of the job search. With so many different companies looking for different qualities, you cannot be everything to everyone — and as such, you’re going to get rejected (or even more likely, hear radio silence), every now and then.

But if you’ve sent out 10 or 20 applications and haven’t heard a word in response, it’s time to stop thinking of it as a series of flukes and start thinking of it as a pattern. More likely than not, there’s a reason you’re not hearing back. The good news? It’s often entirely in your power to fix what’s wrong.

In the spirit of radical candor, here are a few of the most common reasons you’re not hearing back from recruiters and hiring managers, and what you can do to pivot to a winning strategy.

1. You’re Not Being Thoughtful About Where You Apply
In their first-ever job search, most people take a “spray-and-pray” approach, which involves applying to just about every position that catches their eye. While many quickly learn that this isn’t the best strategy, others never grow out of it — perhaps they lucked out with this tactic early on and mistakenly credited their success to it. But this game plan will burn you sooner rather than later, cautions Roy Cohen, career coach and author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

“Individuals in the job search often send out resumes indiscriminately. They have been programmed to believe that more is better,” Cohen says. “But if the fit is imperfect, no matter how many are sent, the resume will be ignored — and, despite the fact that it was wrong from the start, it still feels like a rejection.”

Sure, you may be excited about a job, but that isn’t reason enough to believe it’s a good fit — especially if you don’t have the relevant skills and experience needed to succeed.

“If you don’t meet at least the minimum qualifications of the role, your resume may be screened out of the pool… You don’t necessarily have to meet every single listed qualification on the job description, but you do have to demonstrate that you are a good match for the role,” says Mary Grace Gardner, career strategist at The Young Professionista. The fix for this is easy: review job descriptions carefully and don’t apply if you don’t think you’re quite there yet.

On the flipside, you may not be the right fit for the role because you’re overqualified. “If your experience far exceeds what the job requires, your resume may be pushed to the side because hiring managers may assume they can’t afford to hire you,” Gardner shares.

If that’s the case, you have two options: either “look for positions that require experience and skills either equal to or slightly above what you have,” or, if you’re willing to accept a more junior role, “make sure to highlight only the relevant parts of your skills and experience for the specific job you are applying to,” Gardner suggests.

2. Your Resume Needs an Overhaul
To paraphrase Occam’s razor, the simplest explanation is usually the best one. Sure, it’s possible that your application slipped through the cracks or that the recruiter just can’t recognize a good resume when they see it, but the odds of that happening over and over again are slim. When you constantly hear rejections, it’s time to take a good look at the most important document in your job search: your resume.

There are many reasons your resume may not be up to par. One of the most common reasons could be that you aren’t using the right keywords.

“Resumes are scanned nowadays for keywords and phrases to demonstrate fit. If a resume is generic in its content and tries to cover as many bases as possible, it will lack the precision that is essential to demonstrate both qualifications and passion,” Cohen says.

In order to prove that you’re a strong contender, “highlight key experiences you’ve had that match the description of the role you’re applying for and make sure to strategically use industry-specific keywords on your resume and cover letter,” Gardner adds. Make sure to tailor this section for each position you apply to.

Other resume mistakes you could be making: typos, failing to demonstrate the impact of your actions, burying the lede, exaggerating, unexplained resume gaps, etc. If you want to avoid errors like this, share your resume with others — especially any recruiters, HR professionals, resume writers or career coaches you feel comfortable reaching out to — and incorporate their feedback.

3. You’re Not Networking
You might have heard the phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” before. While that may be a bit of an exaggeration — skills and experience matter plenty — it is true that a referral can help you get your foot in the door.

“It’s no secret that the resumes that float to the top of the pile are oftentimes the ones that have a warm connection in the form of a referral from a trusted colleague. For highly competitive roles, there may be thousands of applicants and dozens or even hundreds of people who sound just like you on an application,” Gardner says. “To stand out from the crowd, ask your network of family, friends and colleagues if they know anyone at the company you are applying to. If so, ask if they would be willing to refer you.”

Don’t worry, though — you’re not totally out of luck if you don’t already know somebody at the company.

“Applying online is great, but you also need to follow this up with outreach to the hiring manager or other contacts within the company,” says career coach Angela Copeland. “Taking the time to do something extra will ensure you get noticed.”

A more subtle, but nonetheless powerful, way to network your way into a job is to ask for an informational interview with someone at the company.

“If the informational interview goes well, you can tactfully mention you’ve submitted an application to the company and ask if they have any recommendations as you pursue the role… Having someone with clout vouch for you can dramatically increase your chances of hearing back from a recruiter,” Gardner shares.

Outside of these activities, “focus on building your LinkedIn network, or your social networking tool of choice. The goal is to establish key contacts at desirable companies,” Cohen explains. “Embrace the company by reaching out to multiple points of contact and entry. That is how you will hear about openings and potential opportunities; some that may never reach the posting stage. Plus, these are the folks who will serve as your advocates; lots of companies actually offer incentives for introducing terrific candidates who eventually get hired.”

4. The Company Dropped the Ball
As mentioned before, receiving rejections over and over again is probably an indication that you’re doing something wrong — but if it’s just a select few companies you’re not hearing back from, it’s possible that there are things occurring behind the scenes that you’re not privy to.

“Companies may not fill every role in the way that we picture as job seekers. For example, they may have an internal candidate that’s preselected” but post the position anyway, Copeland says. In cases like these, it might be “standard company policy to keep a position open for some specified period of time” even if they already know they have a strong internal contender, Cohen adds.

Other times, “they may put a position on hold due to budgetary constraints or because the reporting structure has changed. Companies rarely communicate these details to the job seeker,” Copeland says. Still other times, they could just “be slow to process applications. They are filling many positions at one time, with many moving parts.”

The most important part when you encounter roadblocks like these? “Don’t give up hope,” Copeland says. If you’ve verified that you’re doing everything right, “keep applying and eventually, you will begin to receive responses.”

 

7/1/18 - 7 Common Cover Letter Mistakes to Avoid

by Julia Malacoff
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/cover-letter-mistakes/ 

 

There’s definitely an art to writing the perfect cover letter, and it’s one that many job seekers don’t take the time to learn. While it does require some effort to get right, once you learn how to write an effective cover letter, it gets easier and easier each time you do it. Here are the biggest cover letter mistakes career coaches and job search pros see, and what they tell their clients to do instead to seal the deal.

1. Regurgitating Your Resume
When candidates don’t know what to write in their cover letter, they often resort to restating their job history. But this isn’t a great tactic. “Remember, the employer already has your resume, so there’s no need to repeat your entire work history,” points out Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume. “Focus on making your career narrative and relevant qualifications crystal clear.” In other words, tell the reader a story about not just your past jobs, but how you got where you are today and why you think this position you’re applying for is the right next step.

It’s also okay to make things a little personal, as opposed to your resume, which should be totally professional. “Your cover letter should not only whet the reader’s appetite, but also add value to your entire job application,” Augustine says. “Use this opportunity to give the reader a sense of your personality. While the resume can be a dry document, your cover letter is your opportunity to imbue your personality so the reader can begin to assess your cultural fit for the organization.”

2. Using a Generic Template Letter
“I often see cover letters that were obviously copied-and-pasted,” says Christopher K. Lee, founder and career consultant at Purpose Redeemed. Basically, you don’t want to use the same cover letter for every job with just the contact name, company name and position title swapped out. “Even when the hiring manager and company name are correct, you can tell that it’s a generic template letter.”

“Instead, take time to review the job listing again and identify the top three things the hiring manager appears to be seeking in an ideal candidate,” Augustine suggests. “Use this information to customize your message. Explain how you are a good fit for the role by summarizing your qualifications based on their requirements. Better yet, open your cover letter with a story that provides proof of your skills the employer cares about most.”

“For an added personal touch, look up the hiring manager on LinkedIn or Twitter,” Lee recommends. If you can find something you have in common, like a school, volunteer organization or hometown, find a way to slip it naturally into your cover letter. “Don’t force this, however — it must be a genuine connection,” he says.

3. Only Talking Up Your Soft Skills
“The worst mistake I see in cover letters is candidates adding too many soft skills rather than focusing on job-related skills,” says Nancy Spivey, a career coach. “Many fill the cover letter with content about how they are reliable, motivated and dependable. Well, let’s hope that you’re reliable, motivated and dependable. Those characteristics are bare minimums that a hiring manager expects from any applicant.” Instead, do your best to set yourself apart by explaining how your hard skills and experience could add value to their organization. “Tell them about your accomplishments with those skills as it relates to the job,” Spivey says.

4. Writing Too Much
“An overly wordy cover letter is a waste of time and a big mistake,” states Jessica Hernandez, an executive resume writer and president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast. Keep the body of your cover letter to 150 words or less, she suggests.

“Employers are pressed for time and simply do not see the value in investing their time reading a lengthy cover letter,” Hernandez says. “Additionally, many employers and recruiters are reading on their mobile devices, so keeping your cover letter brief will ensure it is easier to read… which increases the chances that it actually will be read.”

5. Including Non-Essential Information
The main thing you want to get across in your cover letter is why you’re the right fit for the job. That means everything you include should be specific to the company and the position you’re applying for. “The manager doesn’t need to read about extracurricular activities that are not work-related or about every book you’ve ever read,” Spivey says. “In fact, an applicant that I know had a hiring manager respond to his cover letter once to give him some advice. The manager stated that he had initially thought that the candidate was a close match for the position based on his resume. However, the cover letter had changed his mind because of the way it rambled and included so much unnecessary and irrelevant information.”

6. Not Easing Fears About Relocation
“Out-of-town applicants are typically at the bottom of the list of candidates since the odds of this candidate coming to work for them is less than slim and expensive,” notes Russell Cranford, the owner of Resume Pundits. If you’re applying for a job somewhere far from your current city, be sure to use the cover letter as an opportunity to quash and concerns they might have. “Find a way to connect yourself to the area. Examples could be: You are originally from the area, you have family in the area or your partner/spouse accepted a position in the area,” he says.

7. Not Referencing Next Steps
Don’t miss the opportunity to plant the seed of an interview in the recruiter or hiring manager’s head. “This is one of the oldest sales strategies known to man, but it works,” Cranford says. “Close your cover letter by giving the employer your interview availability. By doing this, the reader automatically thinks in their head, ‘Hmm, what am I doing that day?’ By getting into their mental schedule, you are already penciling yourself in.”

Cranford’s suggested closer: “Based on your requirements and my passion for this position, I feel like I would be an ideal candidate. I am available to speak via phone or in person on Wednesdays and Fridays after 1 p.m. and welcome the opportunity to discuss my candidacy.” According to Cranford, it works like a charm.

6/24/18 - 6 Steps to Figuring Out If You’ve Got The Right Job Offer

by Julia Malacoff
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/right-job-offer/ 

You’ve landed a job offer. Congratulations! Now, you have to decide if you’ll accept it. Occasionally, an offer is so good that the choice is obvious, but most of the time, that’s just not the case. Every position has its benefits and drawbacks, and no two companies are exactly alike, but there are some common questions you should ask yourself and factors you should contemplate before saying yes or no to an offer. Here are six key things to consider.

Step 1: Do a gut check.

Before you think about negotiating or even get into the details, take a moment to consider your initial reaction to the offer and the job itself. “While data is important, you also want to trust your gut,” says Mikaela Kiner, an executive career coach and CEO of uniquelyHR.

“During your interviews, were you hopeful things would work out? Or, would you have been relieved if they chose someone else? Don’t dismiss concerns, even if they were just fleeting thoughts,” she says. Your instinct and intuition about whether or not a job is a good fit are usually right.

Ask yourself how you felt when you first got the offer. Was it excited? Disappointed? Something else? You answer can be incredibly revealing about whether this is the right opportunity for you or not.

Step 2: Ask yourself the big questions.

Before diving into the numbers and other specifics in the offer, you should ask yourself the following important questions, according to Dana Manciagli, a career coach and speaker: Are the tasks and responsibilities of the job something you want to do full time? Did the team and environment you will be working in seem pleasant and safe? What are the sacrifices you’re making by taking this particular job, and are any of those sacrifices things you don’t want to give up?

Basically, you want to be sure that you’re going to be happy with your day-to-day life in this new gig before getting any further along in the process. “If you feel good about your answers, then move along,” Manciagli says. “If not, ask for another meeting to get some questions answered OR communicate it is not the right position and you’ll pass. The key is not to accept or negotiate an offer if you are not willing to work there.”

Step 3: Decide if taking this position will help you advance your career goals.

If you’re job hunting, you’ve probably taken the time to think about what your career goals are. “I recommend my clients make a list of what they are looking for even before they begin searching for a job,” says Amy M. Gardner, Certified Professional Coach with Apochromatik. “If you’ve done that, go back to the list you created and evaluate the offer against the factors you initially listed.” How does this current job offer measure up in terms of opportunity to accomplish these goals?

It’s also key to look beyond financial objectives, Gardner emphasizes. Money is important, but for long-term job happiness, it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. The list of questions to contemplate, Gardner says, should include: “Are there enough other areas within the organization that you can have room for advancement, even if your immediate supervisor is there for eternity? Does the company support and encourage employees to continue to learn and grow? Will you be able to get home in time for the non-work things that are important to you? Will your stress level be what you’d like it to be?” If you feel good about the answers to these questions, move on to the next step.

Step 4: Carefully evaluate the salary and benefits package.

Obviously, compensation matters. “It’s important that your needs are met by your job,” says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of tilr, an automated recruiting platform. “When evaluating an offer, you need to look at the entire offer, not just the salary.”

Often, the base salary alone does not provide the whole compensation picture. “It may be that the salary is $5,000 lower than you had hoped for, but the full package being offered counterbalances it,” Miklusak explains. “What does the total package contribute to your personal and financial needs? Sometimes, a job that at first glance looks like it’s paying less can actually provide more financial security than a job with a higher salary.” Take into account benefits like subsidized child care, bonus opportunities, and health care options.

Step 5: Understand who you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis.

This is easier said than done, but it’s important, because you’ll be spending a lot of time with your new team. While it’s tricky to execute, if you can find out more about your future team, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision. “It’s important to ask yourself whether you will be working with the kind of people who will engage, excite, and challenge you—without driving you crazy,” Gardner says.

“Whether and how you can get to know people in advance varies depending on whether you are in the same city as the employer, what your role will be, and how big the group is. But do what you can to get a sense of your future team, because they will have a huge impact on both your job satisfaction and your success,” she adds.

Step 6: Decide whether the company is really somewhere you want to work.

If you’ve made it this far, the main thing left to determine is how well the company fits into your life, not just in terms of location and size, but also in terms of company culture. “Ask everyone you can about company culture—not just their brand, but what it’s really like to work there day to day,” Kiner recommends. “No one is going to say ‘Our culture is toxic,’ but you can figure it out through a combination of questions and observations.”

“Ask about what you’d look for in a healthy work environment. That might be access to training, how often people get promoted from within, flexibility, recognition, or teams that celebrate together,” she says. “If too many of these are missing, it’s a red flag.”

Another thing to consider is why the job is open in the first place. “I’m always cautious when a position is open because someone left the company,” says Laura Handrick, HR Analyst at FitSmallBusiness.com. “If HR tells you the company is growing, that’s great! If the former person whose job you’re replacing moved up in the organization, that’s also a positive sign. But if you see job openings at this company all the time, it may be a telltale sign that it’s not a great place to work.” In other words, turnover can be an important clue as to what it’s really like to work somewhere—one you shouldn’t ignore.

6/17/18 - How to Sell Yourself in a Video Interview, According to a Remote Worker

by Kanika Tolver
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/40195-2/ 

As an Information Technology professional for the last 14 years, I have discovered a passion for applying to 100% remote jobs. Most of these remote-friendly companies are not in my local Washington D.C. area. Therefore, the entire interview process is done via video using Skype, Google hangout or Zoom. Even companies in my local area have decided to utilize video technologies to pre-screen employees before they request a face-to-face interview. The gift and curse of conducting interviews via video conferencing are that you don’t have to get all dressed up, but you have to sell your personality, experience, and knowledge on camera.

Throughout my career, I have conducted over 20 video job interviews with federal government agencies and private sector companies. I’ve learned a lot about how to sell myself by simply being authentic and adapting to the energy of the interview panel. Because I have been successful, I know that you can sell yourself into the job of your dreams and never step foot in a corporate office.

Here’s how:

1. Get on Camera in a Bright and Quiet Place

When I perform my video job interviews I always make sure I am in a quiet place in my house on in a private office at a coworking space. I make sure to turn off my cell phone and music so there are no distractions. Also, since you are going on camera via your laptop or desktop, make sure you are in a room with good lighting, so the interview panel can clearly see your face.

2. Be Presentable, But Don’t Over Dress

For all of my video job interviews, I dress casually. I usually iron a long sleeve blue denim button down top. I make sure my hair looks perfect, apply light makeup with a neutral lip gloss, and wear my red eyeglasses, which is my signature cool geek look. It is not necessary to dress up in business attire for a video interview because they will only see your you face and chest. Not to mention, you want them to see your authentic self and fancy clothes may be a distraction.

3. Bring Authentic Energy on Camera

Now that I am dressed comfortably in my casual cool geek attire, it’s time to sell the real me. I always do my best to provide a warm welcome at the beginning of the interview. Also, since I have a big personality, I try to convey my excitement, passion and drive throughout the entire interview. Most companies are looking for a culture fit so it’s important to let the interview panel know who you are on camera without being fake. Please be the real you, so you can easily describe your expertise and past work experience.

4. Clearly Answer the Interview Questions

I love answering job interview questions in the form of storytelling and technical explanations. When I am asked about my past career roles, I briefly describe each role and give them a small snapshot of what I did and what I accomplished. I am always prepared to answer scenario-based questions, clearly describing how I would develop and execute a technical solution. You have to sell your knowledge on camera by making good eye contact, smiling as you respond and projecting your voice so they can hear you. It’s important for you to ask non-typical questions at the end of the interview. You want to ask questions that will amaze them about their company, technical processes and the role. Always make sure you stand out from the other candidates.

5. Follow-Up with a Thank You Email

Once the video interview is over, you want to send them a thank you email to display your interest in the role. Most of my video interviews involved more than 1 round with a new interviewer. So, I always send a thank you email within 24 hours of the interview. Always display your excitement for the role you interviewed for when you compose your thank you email. Lastly, make sure you sell why you would be a good fit role in the thank you email.

In the future, video job interviews will continue to become more popular. Please be ready to sell your personal and career brand on camera. Most good companies are looking for authentic personalities, strong career experiences and solid technical knowledge.

Kanika Tolver is a former highly-decorated government employee turned rebel entrepreneur and Certified Professional Coach. She is a serial innovator who’s fueled by an extraordinary commitment to social change and to helping others create their own “epic lives.” Tolver helps individuals establish themselves at the “architect of their own life” to realize career, business, life and spiritual success — all in a way that promotes restoration, balance and nurturing one’s authentic self. Her services include career coaching and technology coaching.

6/10/18 - This Is How You Prepare to Nail the Interview for Your Dream Job

They know you're nervous. They want to see how you deal with it.

John Boitnott, Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/312686 

I’ve talked with a lot of hiring managers over the years and most of them say they hope every interview goes well. The faster they find the right person for the job, the sooner they can move on to tackling other pressing goals.

But the reality is, only a handful of candidates crush the interview process. Few applicants prepare for it properly, leaving their professional fate to hiring managers who must often choose among a group of equally qualified candidates.

What you want to do is put the hiring manager in a position where making you an offer is a no-brainer. Follow the four strategies I outline here to do just that.

Embody the organization’s culture.
As a candidate your job is to display two sets of traits, the first is related to professional excellence. Hiring managers want to find people who will make their lives easier, which is why they try to hire the most talented people they can find. A good candidate will get in tune with roles that a company is trying to fill, learn more about those, and be ready to speak about how they can fill the need.

The second set of traits is related to culture fit. If you think you can nail the first side of the equation, it’s time to focus your energy on embodying the organization’s culture. To do this, you’ll need to invest time in researching the ins and outs of the company. Read the articles and books authored by members of the company’s leadership team. Watch videos of that feature senior leaders.

Look for a company culture deck published on the company’s website, on Medium, or Slideshare. Read positive employee reviews on Glassdoor to better understand the mindset of happy employees.

During the interview, you can demonstrate that you’re a culture fit by carefully thinking about the examples you provide when prompted by interviewers. Ask incisive questions that show your thinking aligns with the company’s zeitgeist.

Since culture is hard to pinpoint, review your notes and prepared questions right before your interview. Your research should help you to mirror the kind of attitude hiring managers are looking for when speaking with candidates.

Calm your nerves.
I’ve seen it before. A candidate is great on paper and performs well during the phone interview. But during the in-person interview their hands shake and their voice quivers. As a result, they’re unable to deliver the goods during a critical question.

Anxiety isn’t a dealbreaker, it’s actually kind of endearing, especially if the candidate’s knowledge shines through. But if he or she can’t work through their anxiety and deliver cogent answers to questions, then you have to question whether they can handle on-the-job pressure. That means you, the candidate, need to take active measures to ensure you’re as calm as possible during the interview.

On the day of the interview, go about a routine that gives you a sense of normality. Arrive to the interview 10 to 15 minutes early. In the few minutes you have before the interview, do some yoga poses or deep breathing exercises. Once you’re in the interview, maintain eye contact and speak with conviction.

Demonstrate your value during the interview.
Most hiring managers are busy people. If they’ve been given the greenlight by HR to open a new position, it probably means their team is at or over capacity. As a result, hiring managers are looking for candidates who can immediately offer value.

Offer value during the interview process to demonstrate that you’re a smart and motivated professional. Think about organizational challenges that you’ve uncovered in the job description or in the interview process and solve for them. If all else fails, outline a 90-day plan that reviews what you’ll do if you’re hired. Share it with the hiring manager after an interview to show your willingness to immediately contribute to the team.

If you don’t get the job, apply again.
A dirty little secret of hiring teams I’ve been a part of is that if your resume is archived, it will never be resurfaced again. Even when we sent an automated rejection email saying the company would reach out if a position was a fit, chances are we were too busy and we forgot about you.

It may feel strange to apply to a company that already rejected you, but if you notice a new position that interests you, by all means apply again. Second time could be the charm. When you do, reach out to a member of the HR team and explain why you’re worth a second look. In most organization, this kind of tenacity can work in your favor.

Hiring managers are looking for candidates who are great at what they do and who can fit into an existing team. When preparing for an interview, put in the research time so you can show them that.

Try to think about it in terms of not leaving the decision up to the hiring manager. Take the bull by the horns. Prove you can add value early and show you’re a culture fit. You’ll significantly increase the odds of getting an offer at your dream job.

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

6/3/18 - How to Compete in the Job Market as an Older Worker

Hiring managers aren't allowed to mention age – and you shouldn't, either.

By Rebecca Koenig
https://money.usnews.com/money/careers/applying-for-a-job/articles/2018-04-30/how-to-compete-in-the-job-market-as-an-older-worker 

Age discrimination in hiring is illegal. Nevertheless, it happens, and it's one of the reasons why workers over age 50 experience longer bouts of unemployment than younger people.

A study on laid-off workers from 2008 to 2012 shows 65 percent of those older than 62 were still unemployed after 12 months, compared to 47 percent of those ages 50 to 61; 39 percent for those ages 35 to 49; and 35 percent of those ages 25 to 34, according to economist Richard Johnson, senior fellow at the Urban Institute.

Biases are one barrier blocking older workers from good opportunities, says Dan Ryan, principal of Ryan Search & Consulting: "There's a perception among some people making hiring decisions that [older workers] may be less adaptable to change."

Salary expectations are another salient factor that sometimes work against older people who are hunting for jobs.

"Many people making hiring decisions think that they can hire someone with less experience, if the job warrants that, for a lower rate of pay," Ryan says.

So what can older workers do to improve their chances on the job market? Experts recommend the following approaches:

Improve Your Digital Footprint

Most modern jobs require at least some use of digital technology, and in many industries the hiring process itself has migrated online. That means it's important for older workers to demonstrate that they're savvy with digital tools and to use best practices with social media.

Older workers should take the time to create strong profiles on the business social network LinkedIn, experts say. Highlight specific skills and completed projects, suggests Josh Howarth, district president of Robert Half human resources consulting firm. Take advantage of the option to use a vanity URL – one that clearly identifies your name – for your profile, says Ashley Inman, who works in human resources for the multinational company Ferrovial.

And only use photos that look professional, says Unique Morris-Hughes, interim director of the Washington DC Department of Employment Services, which offers a program that helps people ages 50 to 64 find work.

"You might love your grandkids, but it's not the best idea in your photo to include you and all your grandkids," she explains. "Avoid the playful photos that make folks question your seriousness or your intent." Instead, for LinkedIn photos, she recommends that job seekers wear clean, white shirts and ask friends or relatives to take simple headshots with the camera lens focused on the face.

Just like all job seekers, older workers should learn about privacy settings on the social media accounts they use and "avoid posting things that are controversial or could be considered inappropriate," Morris-Hughes says.

The email address you use may accidentally reveal your age, Ryan warns. Email services offered by AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail date back to the 1990s, while Gmail launched in 2004, making it more likely that someone who uses AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail is "a more mature worker," Ryan says. He advises job seekers to ditch AOL accounts in favor of a more modern option. It's also important that your email address has a professional username.

Keep It Current

Your resume should reflect your experience, not your age.

If you've worked for three or four decades, you're probably proud of all that labor. But hiring managers are only interested in your experience that's most relevant to their needs.

So "limit work history to the last 10 to 15 years" on your resume, Morris-Hughes says. "At the end of the resume, you can summarize the remaining years at a very high level."

Consider removing dates related to your education background from your resume, Ryan suggests. The year you earned your college degree may serve as an immediate – and unhelpful – signal of your age and prove to be a "limiting factor" to your job search, he says. Using a functional resume organized by skills rather than chronological jobs is another way to avoid using dates.

Shore Up Your Skills

If your line of work requires certifications, make sure yours are still valid, Howarth says. That might require taking a few classes to meet new standards or simply contacting the organizations that manage those credentials and asking that they be reactivated or renewed. Acquiring new certifications can also make older workers more competitive in the job market. Ryan recommends a project management professional certification, since it's relevant to many fields.

Joining and staying active in relevant professional associations is another good way to keep your skills current. Plus, Ryan says, these kinds of memberships "show linkage, activeness and value" to potential employers.

Don't Discuss Age

In the hiring process, age should remain a taboo topic. The person interviewing you shouldn't bring it up and neither should you.

If someone much younger than you is doing the hiring, it may be tempting to point out the age difference, but that's a big mistake that comes across as condescending, Inman says. Avoid phrases, no matter how playful, such as, "I've been working longer than you've been alive."

"People think they're assuming a parental frame to break the ice, but it's not helpful," Inman says.

Use a Positive Frame

Older workers should, however, discuss in positive terms what they have to offer potential employers thanks to their many years on the job.

"Speaking about the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring to the workforce is a way to highlight their maturity and age," Morris-Hughes says.

For example, in fields like sales and business development, older workers likely have many connections and wide networks, which can help companies boost revenue, Ryan says.

People who have been working for decades are often experts in workplace communication and team management, Inman says, and they often possess those hard-to-define qualities that younger colleagues haven't yet honed, such as "managerial courage" and "executive presence."

She recommends job candidates highlight these qualities during interviews with statements such as: "I'm a very experienced leader of people. I can identify talent successfully."

Get to the Point

Brevity is an important communication strategy during the job search process. Many of the older job seekers with whom Inman interacts tend to "oversell" and "overtalk."

"Quite frankly, the attention spans of millennials are not as long" as those of baby boomers, Inman says. "When you're giving an answer, make sure you've rehearsed it."

Develop a 30-second pitch that summarizes your experience, strengths and what you have to offer a potential employer, Morris-Hughes recommends.

"In the first 30 seconds or minute, I have formed a thought on a person," she explains. "Use those first 30 seconds carefully and wisely in a job interview."

Rebecca Koenig is the Careers reporter at U.S. News, where she covers employment, workplace culture and editorial content supporting Best Jobs. She previously worked as a reporter for The Chronicle of Philanthropy and The Chronicle of Higher Education, where she won the David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists, and as managing editor for Town & Style St. Louis Magazine. She studied English and history at the College of William & Mary. You can follow Rebecca on Twitter or email her at rkoenig@usnews.com.

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5/27/18 - 6 reasons you’re not getting hired and how to fix them

By Kyle Elliott
https://www.theladders.com/career-advice/6-reasons-youre-not-getting-hired-and-how-to-fix-them 

Finding a job is not an easy task. It’s especially frustrating when you’ve sent out resume after resume and haven’t landed the dream job you’ve been working so hard for. It may be time to reflect on the real reasons you’re not getting hired and how you can fix them so you can finally land a job you love.

1. You’re overqualified or underqualified
Recruiters and hiring managers expect your experience, strengths, and skills to align with at least 1/2 — preferably 3/4 — of those listed in the job posting. So honestly ask yourself, are you applying for jobs that are above your area of expertise? Or are you beginning to feel desperate and just about ready to accept any offer, even one well below your pay grade?

Solution: It is your job as the candidate to show how your previous experiences line up with those outlined in the job posting. Use language found directly from each individual job posting, then relate it back to your own experiences and skills before applying. If your resume doesn’t clearly show how you’re a good fit, you’re not going to get calls.

2. Your resume needs some TLC
With recruiters only spending a handful of seconds on the first pass of a resume, your resume game needs to be on point and immediately catch their attention.

Solution: Start your resume with a brief summary that quickly highlights how you’re the perfect fit for the company and position. Use the remainder of the page to focus on the value and results you have delivered over the course of your career. A majority of this should be done using accomplishments.

3. You’re submitting your resume and not doing anything else
Submitting your cover letter and resume is not enough. Every application you submit should be coupled with extensive company research and networking, as networking accounts for upwards of 85% of new jobs.

Solution: Each time you apply for a job, seek out five people at the company who hold similar positions to the one you’re applying to. Send a friendly message and don’t be afraid to reach out to them by setting up a networking call or coffee meeting to learn more about the company and the work they do. You have nothing to lose and might just get yourself a reference — or job.

4. You’re networking passively or overly aggressive
Sending your resume to a recruiter or hiring manager with the message, ‘Attached is my resume. Please let me know if you have any positions available’ is passive networking.

Proceeding to then connect with them on multiple forms of social media outside of LinkedIn is overly aggressive networking — and honestly just a bit creepy.

Solution: You need to play an active role in your job search. Networking takes time, energy and effort as you work to develop two-way relations. As a job seeker, you need to put in just as much work as the recruiter or hiring manager.

Follow the companies you are interested in working at and reach out to employees to get a real glimpse into the company’s morale. And don’t be creepy!

5. You’re in need of some honest feedback
If you’ve followed all of the above steps and still aren’t landing interviews, you’re likely in need of some honest feedback.

Solution: Seek out a mentor or coach who can give you the advice you need to hear, not the advice you want to hear. While family and friends can serve as great support systems, they are not the objective lens you need. A mentor or coach can work with you to identify obstacles and remove roadblocks during your job search.

6. You’re blaming it on bad luck
While luck is involved in any job search, the role it plays is small. A vast majority of job search success comes down to hard work and effective job searching methods.

Solution: Focus on the aspects of the job search you do have control over — updating your resume and cover letter, leveraging LinkedIn and networking, seeking out mentorship and coaching, and preparing for your interviews.

Kyle Elliott, MPA, CHES is the Career Coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com where he helps people find jobs they LOVE (or at least tolerate). He loves coffee (if you couldn’t tell), writing, and eating the same thing at different restaurants.

5/20/18 - A top recruiter explains why you're hearing crickets after a job interview

By Paul McDonald, SENIOR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ROBERT HALF
https://work.qz.com/1237856/after-a-job-interview-you-may-not-hear-back-for-these-reasons/ 

You nailed the interviews, submitted great references, and were told the hiring committee would make a decision soon. As days—and maybe weeks—drag on without any word, it’s common to ask yourself questions such as:

As someone who’s counseled thousands of job seekers over the years, I’ve had many conversations with people who have faced a long and mysterious wait after the interview. And in a Robert Half survey of more than 1,000 workers, 57% of respondents said the long wait after the interview is the most frustrating situation in the job search.

My advice to them is to remember that when you face a long silence after an interview, it’s not always about you. Hiring managers should keep you posted on delays, but they don’t always follow through. Here are some reasons you may not be hearing back.

The budget has changed: The hiring manager may have had approval to hire when you applied and interviewed, but something may have changed since then: The firm didn’t meet sales targets. A major client departed. Another department has a more critical need and is now taking the headcount.

Decision makers are out of pocket: Most candidates meet several people at the firm in a series of interviews. One of the interviewers may have been called away for urgent business out of town. There may be an unexpected absence because of illness or family emergency. If a crisis is brewing that impacts the firm, the interview process may be on hold until the situation is resolved. (Some examples: a cybersecurity breach, lawsuit, or natural disaster that hits one of the firm’s locations.)

Something—or someone—was left out of the loop: Before opening a search, I advise firms to bring all the decision makers together to agree on the job description, commit to the hiring timeline, and set the salary range. When that doesn’t happen, surprises can crop up that stall the process. Suddenly, there’s one more person who needs to interview candidates, a skills test that the candidate must complete, or a couple of requirements that are added to the job description.

They’re having trouble making a decision: Companies sometimes get nervous before making the final decision, as they don’t want to make a costly hiring mistake. They may be struggling to decide between two great candidates. Or, late in the game, they may decide to open the search to consider more people.

What to do while you wait

The good news is that silence does not mean a “no” on your candidacy. It also doesn’t mean you should stand still. Focus on what you can control to keep your momentum and spirits high while you wait. Here are some ideas.

Check in with the hiring manager: In our survey of more than 300 hiring managers, 100% advised candidates to check in after the interview. Sixty-four percent recommend contact by e-mail; 36% said the ideal time to reach out is between one and two weeks after the interview. If you’ve received other offers or are nearing final interviews with other firms, let the hiring manager know.

Continue with your job search: You may be very close to the finish line with this opportunity, but don’t let it hold you back from other roles. Continue talking with your network and engaging with recruiters to uncover new opportunities. You may find a company that’s a better fit.

Talk to your mentor and referral source: If you’re feeling anxious, talk with your mentor to get an objective view on the situation. If a networking contact referred you for the role, reach out and ask if he’s aware of any developments. Don’t vent your frustration in writing via email or on any social media site—it’s not productive and will come back to haunt you.

Step away and recharge: Spending all your free time on a job search can be draining. Make sure you spend time with people you enjoy doing things you love.

Believe in your talents and don’t let long waits chip away at your confidence. In this market, talented people are in the driver’s seat. Companies that give prospective candidates the silent treatment are sending a clear message about their corporate culture and ability to make decisions. If this is how they communicate with prospective hires, what will it be like on the job? It’s something to think about.

Paul McDonald is senior executive director at Robert Half.

5/13/18 - Get ready, this year your next job interview may be with an A.I. robot

A 2017 Deloitte report found 33 percent of survey respondents already use some form of A.I. in the hiring process to save time and reduce human bias.
This year about 38 percent of Americans will be looking for a new job, according to a report by Glassdoor.
A number of start-ups and companies now offer A.I. recruitment tools.

by Tonya Riley, special to CNBC.com
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/ai-job-recruiting-tools-offered-by-hirevue-mya-other-start-ups.html 

"It felt weird. I was kind of talking into the void," said Sarah, a 27-year-old marketing manager in Ohio of her first time using HireVue, an on-demand video interview platform for job seekers.

The recruiter she was working with told her it was "just like an interview on Skype," so she followed the interview tips on the company's website, making sure she was dressed appropriately and had a well-lit background. But to her surprise, there was no human involved. Her recruiter never mentioned that the interview would be analyzed by advanced machine learning, her facial expressions and word choice evaluated by a series of algorithms.

"You usually have a little time to do some small talk, but in the HireVue interview, I only had a practice question and then just went into it. There's not a lot of time to feel ready," she said of the interview that took place early last fall. "For me first impressions are everything, and it was hard to set that tone."

It must have worked, however, because she got the job offer.

About 38 percent of working Americans are actively looking for a new job or plan to sometime this year, according to a recent report by Glassdoor. But, like Sarah, they might be surprised to find that those "first impressions" so carefully emphasized by career coaches are now being outsourced to artificial intelligence.

A 2017 Deloitte report found 33 percent of survey respondents already used some form of A.I. in their hiring process. With jobless rates at a 17-year low of 4.1 percent according to a February report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, recruiters are increasingly looking for ways to bring in the best candidates faster and more efficiently than before. An emerging crop of new, "smart" hiring tools can do just that by cutting down interview processes from what traditionally took weeks to a matter of a few days.

Some of the new tools involve as little as answering a text message. In 2012, while building his company FirstJob, an online job board for millennials, Eyal Grayevsky discovered that many candidates never heard back from employers and that their materials seemed to go into a "black hole."

Four years later Grayevsky launched an A.I. recruiting tool named Mya (short for "my assistant") and rebranded his company as Mya Systems. Mya helps in the recruiting process by directly engaging with candidates via text, asking basic questions such as start date and salary requirements. Candidates can also ask Mya questions; when she doesn't know the answer, she will query the recruiter.

Within minutes Mya rules out candidates based on a preprogrammed assessment model or moves them along to the next part of the interview process. The experience is so seamless that 73 percent of surveyed candidates who had interacted with Mya reported they had interacted with a recruiter when they in fact had spoken only with the bot.

"Now 100 percent of candidates are getting a response; everyone is getting a chance," said Grayevsky. "Candidates feel like they really get a chance to express themselves to the company with more than just a résumé."

The 'race' for talent
Video hiring-tool companies, like HireVue and Montage, also boast speed as a key for why more and more recruiters are relying on their services. On-demand video allows candidates to interview any time of day, and in turn recruiters can review and compare dozens of interviews, all in the time it takes to commute to work.

"The most overused metaphor is that there's a war for talent right now, but it's actually not a war, it's a race," said HireVue CEO Kevin Parker. "And the people that are the fastest-selecting and reaching out to candidates are the people that win and enjoy a competitive advantage."

As for candidates who feel more trepidation than empowerment from video interviews, HireVue offers tips on its website and frequently engages with users on Twitter about how to best handle the hiring process. Many of the suggested steps are ones that interviewers will be familiar with, such as researching the company, practicing and preparing for common interview questions and dressing appropriately for the job.

Where on-demand interviewing differs is that you should also practice your facial expressions and exaggerate them — a huge smile that might seem ridiculous in person will be picked up more easily by the A.I. You'll also need to make sure you have a good internet connection and bright lighting.

One question they get frequently, said Lindsey Zuloaga, director of data science at HireVue, is if an applicant is able to trick the A.I. Her answer: "If you can game being excited about and interested in the job, yes, you could game that with a person as well," she said. "You're not going to game it without being a very good actor."

Eliminating human bias
Another big advantage for HireVue is that it offers a customizable A.I. to help assess candidates' video interviews. The A.I. gives each video a score based on more than 250,000 data points, including audio, tonality and speech patterns, the importance of which can be customized for the client's need. Because of machine learning, the A.I. can refine its accuracy over time based on new data.

Jim Cochran, head of global recruiting at J.P. Morgan Chase, tells CNBC that the process of working with HireVue to build an A.I. that matched their recruiters' needs took about a year, with a substantial part of the process geared toward evaluating the factors that best target a successful employee within the general population.

But after some tweaking, he said their recruiters have been happy with the results so far and are planning on working with A.I. modules for more positions. Though J.P. Morgan has been a HireVue customer for four years, the company believes that adding A.I. has helped speed up the process of filtering through videos.

"It's unstructured video and audio coming in, and this is a way of structuring," said Zuloaga of HireVue. "It's just kind of hard to get the information that you really want to know about a person from a résumé or a multiple-choice assessment."

Zuloaga works with the company's industrial psychologist to make sure the product's assessment tools are up to industry standards, but adding A.I. to the mix gives the tool an important advantage: rooting out bias.

"We can measure it, unlike the human mind, where we can't see what they're thinking or if they're systematically biased," said Zuloaga. If the team does notice a skew in results, it can evaluate the algorithm to see what went wrong and remove the bad data.

And while there's no guarantee that A.I. will completely eliminate bias in hiring, especially once the candidate reaches a human recruiter, companies using HireVue have reported a much more diverse candidate pool. Parker pointed to Unilever, which has improved the diversity of its talent pool by 16 percent since partnering with HireVue.

Grayevsky said Mya's customers have seen similar results.

"It's really easy [for recruiters] to go to the applicants that feel safe or the ones they recognize, whether it's the school or the types of companies they've worked at in the past, but Mya really is only interested in who's active, who's interested," said Grayevsky.

HireVue and Mya are just a few of a growing number of companies looking to make their mark on a recruitment industry that is valued at up to $200 billion and growing. TalentSonar, a California-based start-up, seeks to eliminate bias from job descriptions by using A.I. to tweak the language so that it's more appealing to women and minority applicants.

In addition, to help automate the recruitment process, Entelo analyzes a candidate's social media presence to determine their fit for a position.

Technology to find Grade A players
Though A.I. can speed up the process of getting the right candidate in the door, in professional industries with limited job seekers, making candidates aware of positions in the first place presents a larger hurdle. In fields such as nursing, IT, and middle management, Mya serves customers by actively reaching out to candidates already in their application system, alerting them to new opportunities. Grayevsky says the company is also in the process of launching a partnership with several job board sites in order to further widen the pool. Ultimately, his goal is to "create a scenario where candidates know to reach out to Mya for support" before starting their jobs search.

HireVue is also interested in working with companies improve their internal matching for open positions. The company already offers analysis of predictive job performance, something that the machine learning can only refine through updated data.

Parker says that they also want to help companies directly match applicants, especially recent graduates, with positions based on assessments rather than relying on traditional job listings that might miss the right candidate.

Games or simulations to help candidates get a better sense of a job position are also gaining popularity, with 29 percent of global business leaders using some version of the technology according to Deloitte. Kurt Heikkinen, president and CEO of Montage, which works with a number of Fortune 500 companies, stressed the important of these kinds of highly branded, personalized experiences in an age of competitive hiring.

"Through technology candidates behave much more like consumers, they want and deserve convenience at their fingertips," he said.

But convenience isn't always enough. Cochran expressed concerned that, without proper follow-up, on-demand videos could turn into another "black hole" for candidates.

"I'm very focused on making sure this additional step we're asking them to take is met with a very responsive recruiter or recruitment system," he said.

And while Sarah felt a little thrown off by her first HireVue interview, she said she plans to go back to the same recruiter for her next job.

"Facial recognition is just everywhere. If I can just put on some makeup and that adds a couple points to my score, I'm not going to be mad about that," she said. "I think it's just making sure candidates are informed."

5/6/18 - Stop Confusing Your Job Skills With Your Credentials

The big-name employer you worked for or the elite university you went to may matter less than you think. It’s what you did there that counts.
BY ALEXANDRA LEVIT
https://www.fastcompany.com/40533276/stop-confusing-your-job-skills-with-your-credentials-and-do-this-instead 

Credentials ruled in the traditional job market. Candidates were coached to dial up the prestige on their resumes, on social media, and on job interviews. Saying you went to Harvard was better than saying you went to the University of Illinois. Describing a stint at Deloitte at age 22 was better than talking up the rare and desirable skills you picked up in a second-act career.

That’s finally staring to change, but not every job seeker has quite gotten the memo. Many still tout their credentials as stand-ins for the job skills recruiters and hiring managers are really looking for. Here’s how (and why) to switch up your approach.

THE TROUBLE WITH PEDIGREES
Employers in all industries are finally wising up to the limits of fancy credentials as predictors of on-the-job success. Too often, high test scores and degrees from elite universities signal wealthy parents and other forms of privilege at least as much as they signal competence and expertise. Relying on signs of prestige doesn’t provide either the diverse perspectives or the grit that employers need their workforces to possess in order to thrive in the modern business world.

For the 2018 Job Preparedness Indicator, my nonprofit organization, the Career Advisory Board, asked 500 U.S.-based hiring managers to share their thoughts on nontraditional job candidates. We defined nontraditional college students and graduates as meeting any of the following criteria:

Since the Career Advisory Board is supported by DeVry University, a for-profit institution that attracts many students from nontraditional backgrounds, DeVry certainly has a stake in the trends my team set out to analyze. Still, half of our respondents said their organizations are hiring more nontraditional students and graduates than they used to: 50% said they “recognize valid, alternative education paths besides the typical college journey”; 34% “desire more diversity in our workforce”; and 32% feel “nontraditional students and graduates have a stronger work ethic.”

And refreshingly, fully 70% of hiring professionals agreed with the following statement: “If a candidate has the right skills for an open position, it doesn’t matter what type or format of education was used to get them.”

These attitudes are reverberating throughout the talent space. A recent LinkedIn survey of some 9,000 recruiters and hiring managers likewise picked up on intensifying efforts to shake up the traditional recruitment process to find more diverse, qualified candidates without elite credentials. And artificial intelligence is playing an ever-wider role in efforts like those. At the same time, tech leaders like Airbnb and Pinterest are expanding apprenticeship programs to hire smart, non-traditional engineers first, then train them on the job. One tech company Fast Company spoke to last year has even started intentionally hiring people with no relevant experience, as long as they possess the right skills and qualities instead.

GETTING BACK TO THE ACTION, NOT THE SETTING
But these evolving attitudes won’t matter if you don’t change your approach as a job seeker in order to capitalize on them. Desperately talking up every impressive-sounding credential on your resume is going to pay diminishing returns in the years ahead. So whether or not you’re a nontraditional student or grad, it’s time to start pushing your skills to the forefront. These are a few ways to do that:

Focus on on-the-job wins. Let’s say you’re applying to a job as a marketing data analyst. In the past, perhaps you led with the fact that you earned high honors studying computer science at a top university. Today you may have better luck mentioning how you mastered analytics skills by selecting and implementing new software at a previous employer, then used the mined data to tell a story about the best path forward.

Speak directly to the job description. You have to know the target position inside and out in order to show how experience directly relates to the job in question. Be prepared to tell your interviewers exactly how you have solved similar challenges–with excellent results. Then, instead of trying to prove why you’re like every “prestigious” cookie-cutter graduate who walks through the door, explain how the organization will benefit by having an employee with your special combination of determination, resilience, and resourcefulness.

Get specific. Rather than trusting that a kid who got a few lucky breaks can hack it in an often chaotic business climate, employers told our researchers that they’re after candidates who “have developed niche skill sets or unique experiences that differentiate them from the market,” “have internal drive and good time management,” “have demonstrated a track record of stable work history, including promotions and cross-functional experiences,” and who are “willing to learn the business and work in whatever capacity the company needs them.”

Arguably, these are all things that hiring managers have sought out since time immemorial–they just used fancy pedigrees as a shorthand for these attributes. As that begins to change, more opportunity is opening up to more job seekers, no matter where they went to school or last worked. All that’s left to do is seize it.

Alexandra Levit is a business futurist and best-selling author who has consulted for the Obama administration as well as Fortune 500 companies including American Express, Deloitte, Microsoft, PepsiCo, and Whirlpool.

4/29/18 - What Hiring Managers Want to Hear from Candidates in a Phone Interview

Ask An Interview Coach: What Hiring Managers Want to Hear from Candidates in a Phone Interview
by Amy Elisa Jackson
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/ask-an-interview-coach-phoner/ 

Companies are increasingly using phone interviews at the early stages of screening candidates, before inviting them on-site for in-person interviews. This is a way to efficiently screen through large candidate pools, as the average job has over 250 applicants. Moreover, the phone screen is typically conducted by recruiters, many of whom may be remote so the phone-screen is a good medium to tap into remote talent and reduce the recruiting overhead for the hiring manager.

What is the interviewer looking for?
The recruiter has three main goals for a phone screen:

1. Confirm level of interest

Hiring managers have a limited amount of time, and a recruiter’s first filter is to make sure they are passing along candidates that are truly interested in the role. We are in the era where recruiters reach out to candidates more often than the other way around, and often prospective candidates will take a phone screen just to get interview practice and see what the market is willing to pay. As such, recruiters use the phone interview to ensure you have a genuine interest in the company and the role.

2. Match core skills

A recruiter will not typically conduct a deep-dive on each of your core skills, but rather, they want to make sure you have general experience in the core requirements of the job. For example, if you are interviewing to be a digital marketing manager they are less likely to get into the specifics of how you measure the success of a marketing campaign, but they will want to ensure you have indeed run marketing campaigns of similar size and scope as theirs. This is more of a checklist approach rather than grading your skills in each category.

3. Assess culture fit

Behavioral interviewing is how most companies comprehensively assess “culture fit” in later rounds. However, the phone screen is also meant to do a preliminary check on how well suited you are to the company’s culture. Key areas of interest for the recruiter is whether you have worked in similar environments (e.g., pace of work, level of collaboration), your overall demeanor (e.g., level of humility), and your mindset (e.g., growth orientation).

How to ace this stage of the interview process
1. Demonstrate synthesis

During a phone interview it is easy for the interviewer to get distracted (e.g., check email). This makes it even more important to be succinct and compelling to ensure you capture their attention. This can be applied to the first question the recruiter will ask – “Tell Me About Yourself.” Many candidates ramble and spend too much time on unimportant details, and miss out on highlighting the core aspects of their candidacy. A practical way to solve this and demonstrate synthesis is to focus on the themes of your career progression. For example, you might describe your career in three stages – your first role, your ascension into leadership roles, and your current job, instead of reciting everything on your resume.

You can also describe your career by functional themes especially when your career has breadth and a non-linear path. For example, you might frame your career as being a mix of bringing new products to market, developing and coaching teams, and partnering with cross-functional stakeholders.

2. Be precise about why you want the job

As mentioned earlier, often the recruiter has reached out to you, and it is important to show you are not passively taking a call, but rather have clear interest in the role. This is why it is important to do your research on the company to understand them more deeply, and then weave that into why it fits with the career path you are charting. Specifically, you should have clarity on their mission, their ecosystem (e.g., customer segments, key competitors), and their products/services. Ideally, in your research, you will find something that truly connects with your experience and/or professional interests and speaking to that will show a deep interest in the opportunity.

3. Simulate a real interview environment

A common mistake candidates make is not recreating the environment that brings out their best, professional self. Often candidates will take a call from home, while reclining on their couch, and this casual attitude shows up in their communication style, dimming their professional energy.

Given this, it is important to find an environment that can simulate a professional aura (e.g., a home office, in front of a desk), and dress accordingly as your communication style will be more polished as your brain picks up on the subtle cues. The right posture will also ensure your voice projects well, as opposed to reclining on your couch and sounding muffled.

4. Ask thoughtful questions

The questions you ask towards the end of the phone screen serve as an indicator of what is important to you in the opportunity so avoid administrative questions such as vacation policy. Instead, focus on high-value questions that show you are thinking about things that really matter such as “What does success in the role look like?” These questions will also better prepare you to engage on a deeper level in the following rounds, especially when speaking with the hiring manager.

5. Avoid reciting from paper

Some candidates use phone interviews as an opportunity to script their answers and read them word for word. This takes away from having an authentic conversation, and most interviewers can sense when you are reciting from a script. Instead, you can have a few bullet points written out that you want to make sure you cover in the conversation and also have your resume handy so you can speak to specifics when asked.

 

Jeevan is the Founder and CEO of Rocket Interview ( www.rocketinterview.com ) where his team helps job seekers ace the most competitive interviews. He was an Associate Partner at McKinsey and Company and a VP of a Tech Startup where he regularly interviewed job candidates. Since then he has helped clients land jobs in roles ranging from product management to marketing. His clients have landed jobs at Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, Coca-Cola, and other competitive companies. Email: jeevan@rocketinterview.com

4/22/18 - 3 Polite Ways to End That Networking Conversation

(That Don't Involve Obvious Excuses)
by Kat Boogaard
https://www.themuse.com/advice/politely-end-networking-conversation-tips?ref=recently-published-0 

Here’s the thing: I don’t really struggle to start conversations with people. But, I’ll be the first to admit that I find it challenging to end them.

This is especially true in networking situations when my nerves are already a little high and I’m concerned with leaving on a positive note.

So, my typical wrap-up? Well, it usually involves me repeating that it was nice to meet that person about four separate times before I make a break for the bar to refill my plastic cup of liquid confidence (uh… cheap wine). I know—smooth, right?

There’s so much focus placed on how we begin networking conversations. But, hardly anyone ever talks about how to end them in a way that’s polite, professional, and doesn’t involve a bunch of excuses or cringe-worthy pauses.

I know just what you’re thinking: Ugh, that’s so true! You’re in luck. I’ve pulled together three different ways to end that exchange—and avoid any dreaded awkwardness.

 1. Ask for a Business Card

This is tried and true advice for any networking event. But in the age of LinkedIn, admittedly, it’s something I often find myself skipping.

However, here’s the great thing about capping off a conversation by asking for that card: You not only get that person’s contact details, but you also make it clear that the discussion is coming to a close.

After you both have exchanged information? It’s as simple as saying, “It was great talking to you—I’m really looking forward to keeping in touch!” and moving on to your next conversation.

 2. Form a Plan to Get Together Again

Remember, successful networking isn’t about singular meetings—it’s about laying the groundwork for continued professional relationships.

It’s easy to say you’ll connect soon as you’re walking away from that discussion. But, actually pulling out your calendar and finding a time when you both could grab lunch or coffee is a great way to prove that you’re serious about staying in touch.

Plus, part of what makes saying goodbye at networking events so uncomfortable is that you don’t want to be perceived as if you’re blowing that person off for something better. This tactic gives you the freedom to go your separate ways and mingle, without making that other person feel used and discarded.

 3. Offer to Make an Introduction

Ending a conversation doesn’t mean you both have to head to opposite sides of the room—it can also mean seguing your existing conversation into a new one (with new people involved).

Let’s say that you spotted someone you know across the room. Why not offer to make an introduction between that person and the new acquaintance you’re currently talking to?

You can then excuse yourself from that conversation (or even stick around if you’d like), while still fostering a reputation as a beneficial business contact who’s all about making connections.

When you’re so concerned with making a positive impression, capping off networking conversations can be awkward at best.

Fortunately, these three different strategies will allow you to gracefully move on from that discussion—without seeming rude (or, often in my case, socially inept).

If you’re ever in doubt? Remember that a simple, “It was really great talking with you!” always does the trick.

 

Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.

4/15/18 - 7 Ways to Make Your Resume Easier for Recruiters to Process

by Peter Yang
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/resume-easier-for-recruiters/ 

It’s easy to think that after all the work you’ve put into perfecting your resume, recruiters will at least spend the time to thoroughly reading it through from start to finish. Unfortunately, this is usually not the case. Recruiters are generally very busy. Resume writing blogger and long-time recruiter Steve Wang says, “During my more busy weeks, sometimes I have to fill as many as 15 positions at once, and when each position gets over a hundred applicants, I can only afford to spend a minute or two on each resume.”

So, like anyone faced with a whole lot to do, recruiters take shortcuts. Instead of looking through every single application carefully, they’ll simply skim through each resume to see which ones might be worth taking a closer look at. Because of this, it’s crucial that even a quick glance at your resume will leave readers awestruck. With this in mind, here are some techniques you can dish out to make your resume super easy for recruiters to skim through and understand.

Use Standard Headings

I get it, you want to get fancy with your headings to stand out from the pack, but doing so can have the unintended consequence of making your resume way harder to skim. Recruiters are used to reading the same old headers over and over again. If you change “Work Experience” to “Work Background”, that can throw off a recruiter’s rhythm – even if it’s just a little. So when it comes to resume headings, stick with what is tried and true.

Digitize Your Numbers

When it’s time to decide whether to spell out numbers on your resume, you might find yourself in a dilemma where you’re unsure whether to use APA or MLA style rules to approach this common concern. While it’s great that you’re paying attention to this type of detail, it’s a lot simpler than you think. Just write your numbers as digits to make information like numerical achievements nice and easy to spot. Whether you follow APA or MLA protocol is the least of anyone’s concerns here.

List All Your Skills Separately

Some job applicants like to intertwine their skills with their job experience. If they used skills A, B, and C while working for Job X, they’ll mention those skills in the same section of the resume that describes the job. While this is certainly a fine way to format your resume, it’s still important to have a separate section that lists out all your skills in their entirety.

Use Short Bullet Points

One to two lines is an okay length for bullet points. If they get any longer though, not only will your resume become more difficult to understand, but it can also hint that you’re trying to get at too many different things at once. Instead, keep your bullet points short, sweet, and to the point.

Choose the Right Template

Some resume templates do a far better job than others at making your content aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand. Make sure that the template you use is taking full advantage of techniques like bolding, USING ALL CAPS, italics, underlining, and even colors to make information like job titles, company names, and dates more distinguishable from one another. Here’s what I mean:

Job title, Company Name, New York, NY May 2016 – Present

This would be considered hard to read. While everything is bolded and italicized to differentiate the entire line from the rest of the resume, individually the job title, company name, location, and date are hard to distinguish.

Job title, Company Name, NEW YORK, NY May 2016 – Present

Here the formatting is far superior. The job title, company name, location, and date all have their own unique style, which makes everything much easier to discern.

If you’re ever unsure about whether a particular resume template might be easier to skim than another, simply test them out by skimming them yourself.

Align Dates to the Right

Keeping all your dates to the right allows you to create a clear timeline of your resume. If a recruiter wants to check to see if you have any work gaps, all the recruiter needs to do is look over to the right and all the dates will be lined up as clear as day.

Begin Each Job Description with a Summary

In some cases, even though each individual bullet point on a resume may be easy to comprehend, sometimes they don’t paint a clear picture of the job applicant collectively when put together. This difficulty is exacerbated when bullet points describe assorted one-off achievements at a particular job. To alleviate this issue, it’s often a good idea to use your first bullet point to give a short summary describing what the core of your job is all about. This way, recruiters can better contextualize how your later bullet points fit into the bigger picture of what you do.

Getting recruiters to thoroughly read your resume is a luxury you have to earn. By making your resume more skimmable for recruiters, you’ll position yourself as a strong candidate worthy of being taken seriously.

4/8/18 - Changing Careers? Here’s Exactly What To Put On Your Resume

And what to leave off…
BY RICH BELLIS
https://www.fastcompany.com/40540377/changing-careers-heres-exactly-what-to-put-on-your-resume 

It’s not that hard to update your resume when you’re applying for the next role up the ladder in your field. You’re an associate operations manager trying to become a senior operations manager? Just show how what you’ve already done qualifies you to do similar things at a higher level.

Things get trickier when you’re trying to change industries. You’ve got to rebrand experiences here as transferable qualifications there. You need to explain why you’re a better hire than the candidate who’s spent their whole career in the field you’re trying to get into. And you’ve got to decide which parts of your experience just aren’t relevant anymore.

Figuring this out is a highly situational challenge–what works for one career changer’s resume might not work for another’s. But Erica Breuer, founder of Cake Resumes, says there are some straightforward dos and don’ts that can point you in the right direction.

DO: INCLUDE GROUP WORK
“I often work with career changers who don’t feel they have the right to include projects on their resume that were a team effort, especially when these projects fell outside of their normal job duties,” Breuer tells Fast Company. But it’s precisely those experiences you’ll want to rely on the most. “Including them, while nodding to the team-based or ‘special projects’ nature of the work is the way to go,” she says. “If it happened, it’s a fact, and it can go on your resume.”

Think of it this way: The tasks that are small, routine, or specialized enough for you to complete on your own may not be that relevant outside your industry. But bigger, collaborative projects tend to involve processes and challenges of a higher order, which draw on skills that just about every employer needs–no matter their field.

DON’T: FUDGE JOB TITLES
“Many career changers get the advice to tweak job titles on their resume to look like the perfect fit. This almost always backfires,” Breuer explains. “It risks looking dishonest or, worse, the self-assigned titles they create add confusion more than they align them with a new path.”

While you can’t control your past job titles, you can control how you describe what you accomplish while you held them. Breuer’s suggestion? “Add a tagline of sorts to the true job title, one that states experience related to the new career direction, for example; ‘Director of Operations—Global Recruitment & Talent Acquisition.'” This way a hiring manager in the HR field, which you’re trying to get into, can spot right away that your operations role had to do with recruiting and talent.

(SOMETIMES) DO: DITCH STRICT CHRONOLOGY IF YOU NEED TO
For job seekers with a lot of experience, it’s common to truncate anything that came before the past 15–20-year period. But Breuer says this rule doesn’t always suit, especially “when you have an early-career experience that applies to an upcoming career change. Drawing this line is important, but so is sharing the details relevant at this very moment. If you’re not doing that, the resume is pointless,” she points out.

So feel free to shake up the chronological approach if you need to. “There are a number of ways to loop early experiences back into a resume without the kitchen sink-style timeline,” says Breuer. For example, you might try breaking your work history into subcategories like “Technical Experience” and “Managerial Experience.”

DON’T: GO TOO BROAD
A final common mistake Breuer sees pretty often among job seekers hoping to change careers is “expecting their resume to do too many things at once,” she says. “They want to capture their career wins, life story, hobbies, and persona as a whole, when a resume actually functions best when it’s a compelling and concise record of your experiences as they pertain to the role at hand.”

When you’re worried about being under-qualified, you might be tempted to overstuff your resume to compensate. Don’t do that. The key is to give recruiters and hiring managers a clear narrative about why you’re the best fit from the role because you’d be coming at it from a nontraditional angle. No, that won’t be the full story of your career, but it will probably be the most effective one for this opportunity.

To take some of the pressure off, Breuer suggests remembering that your resume–while important–is only one piece of the self-portrait you’re presenting to employers. She adds, “It should stack with other branding platforms, such as a personal website, LinkedIn profile, or even a cover letter, in order to tell the whole story of who you are and the value you bring.”

ReferenceUSA presentation by Kipp Lifson & Mike Ray

Kipp Lifson & Mike Ray have put together a presentaiton on RefernceUSA http://resource.referenceusa.com/ .

 In Career Transition? Looking for companies that were in the same industry of your previous employer? Are you looking to transition into a new area and wanting to identify target companies? Not sure how to identify these companies? Do you desire to work in a specific city or state?

This ReferenceUSA presentation shows the step-by-step process on how to access this valuable tool, then identify and research potential target companies!

 

Click here for the pdf version of the presentation

Click here for the PowerPoint version of the presentation (with notes)

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4/1/18 - The #1 Thing That Disqualifies People In First-Round Interviews

by Jillian Kramer
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/disqualifies-interviews/ 

If you’re not a confident interviewer, you may feel as if navigating an interview is akin to walking through a minefield—eventually, you’re bound to make an explosive move. But after speaking with several recruiters and hiring managers, we found out that there aren’t many moves you can make that will automatically disqualify you from getting the job. But there is one thing you can do—the No. 1 thing, if you will—that will make any recruiter or hiring manager say sayonara to you. What is it? It’s trashing a previous employer, they say.

“The No. 1 mistake a candidate might make is to disparage his or her prior employer—either the company itself or people who worked there,” says Laura Handrick, who works as FitSmallBusiness’ HR analyst. “No one wants to hire someone who talks badly of others. Employers want team players, not people who carry negative baggage. Plus, negative talk about former coworkers, the company, or a prior supervisor simply serves to make an applicant look like a whiner. A recruiter will see this person as a future ‘problem.’ and in spite of any great qualifications, they’re not likely to get called back for a second interview.”

Jordan Rayboy, CEO of Rayboy Insider Search, agrees. “If a candidate is overly negative about a current or past employer, it plants seeds of doubt in a hiring manager’s mind,” he explains. “First, that the candidate has a negative attitude in general—and no one wants to hire a potential dark cloud onto their team. Next, that the candidate will likely bad-mouth their company in the future if they end up getting hired. And it also shows a lack of good decision-making skills—as in, what to share in certain situations and what not to. Lastly, and most importantly, it’s a sign the candidate tends to blame others when things don’t work out. They don’t take ownership of their share of responsibility for things. It’s always someone else’s fault—like their current or past employer’s fault—that they didn’t hit their numbers, or didn’t last more than a year there, or anything else that may have happened.”

Trashing a previous employer is something recruiters and hiring managers hate so much that they may ask leading questions in order to see if you’re willing to bad-mouth a boss.

“In an interview, I can identify a bad team player right away by asking questions that lead the candidate talk about his previous team experiences,” says Dave Lopes, director of recruiting for Badger Maps. “When the priorities of that individual supersede the priorities and growth of the team or group, you know you’ll have someone who will not fit well.”

What’s more, “interviewers are, typically, good at getting a candidate to open up,” points out Handrick. “And once a candidate feels comfortable, they might be tempted to say something too revealing or disparaging, such as ‘I left my last company because my boss was a jerk who made me work overtime,’ or ‘they didn’t realize how good I was, so I quit when they wouldn’t give me a raise.’” These types of sayings are red flags to recruiters.

You may very well have had a terrible former boss or are leaving a toxic work environment, but the fact is, recruiters and hiring manager don’t want to hear about it. So what should you say instead? “Instead of talking negatively about past or current employers, candidates should focus on what they learned in different scenarios, how they grew, and what they are looking to move towards as opposed to running away from,” Rayboy says. “Most managers prefer hiring candidates that are looking for a launch pad instead of a landing pad.”

Another thing you can try to do, advises Jordan Wan, CEO of CloserIQ, is to “stick to facts, not judgments. You may want to consider saying, ‘I struggled to find exciting career paths for my growth at the company,’ instead of, ‘the company doesn’t promote top performers.’”

3/25/18 - These Are 6 Red Flags That You Shouldn’t Take The Job

If you see one or more of these warning signs during your interview, maybe this isn’t the workplace for you.
https://www.fastcompany.com/40531646/these-are-6-red-flags-that-you-shouldnt-take-the-job 

BY GWEN MORAN

The average job hunt takes the better part of three months, according to job search platform TalentWorks. That’s a long time to have your mind focused on how to land the interview, prepare, and make the best impression to get hired. So, it’s no wonder that, once there, many job seekers overlook red flags that they may not be courting the greatest place to work.

“It is important for people to slow down and realize that it’s a two-way interview, because the job is only going to be a great experience for them if it’s a good fit,” says Carisa Miklusak, CEO of recruitment automation platform Tilr, based in Cincinnati. And there are often a number of clues about the job, company culture, and leadership if you just know what to look for, she says. Here are six red flags to watch out for.

ATTITUDE AND APPEARANCE
You may be nervous, but take a moment to look around and observe your surroundings. What you see may tell you a lot about the company and its people. “From the time that you walk in, it starts with the receptionist. As you’re walking through the office, do people seem friendly, do they try to engage with you, say welcome, say hello, make eye contact?” says Tonya Salerno, principal staffing manager at WinterWyman, based in New York City. People who are happy in their work are generally curious about and friendly to newcomers, she says.

Also, take a look around the office. It doesn’t have to be prime office space, but do you get a sense that people have pride in their workplace? Are common areas tidy or in disarray? Does the place look clean? Do people have personal effects in their work space? Does it look inviting?

“I believe an office is like a second home, and that I should take pride in the space and the people with whom I would be working,” says Salerno.

LACK OF PREPARATION
When you sit down with the interviewer, do you have a sense that they know who you are? Has the interviewer reviewed your resume and have some familiarity with your background? If not, they may not be taking the job search as seriously as you are, or it may be a sign that the company has a lot of turnover and doesn’t invest much time in replacing people, Miklusak says. The interviewer should be familiar with the job for which you’re interviewing and have at least a basic familiarity with your background.

HYPOTHETICAL AND SITUATIONAL QUESTIONS
Miklusak says one of her best “job interview hacks” is to listen for hypothetical or situational questions. If an employer asks, ‘How would you react in a situation like this?” listen to the question, she says. “The interviewer is asking because you are likely to be in a situation like that, or in some type of situation where one could make a parallel between the question and the situation.”

So, if an interviewer asks you how you would react if you were in a chaotic situation with little direction, it might be a test to see how you manage disorder. But, it could also be that the interviewer is trying to figure out if you can manage the organization’s way of operating.

A QUEST FOR ELUSIVE CHANGE
If your interviewer talks about how the company is ready for change or needs change, ask a few questions, says Sarah Connors, principal staffing manager and team leader at WinterWyman. Get more information on what needs to be changed, how long it’s been that way, and most importantly, how ready they are to change it.

“I’ve had candidates get excited to be the person to truly impact change at a company, just to find out later that the managing team isn’t ready to change things. So be sure it isn’t just an ideal they’re paying lip service to, but a reality they want you to help deliver,” she says. Or the company may put the responsibility for changing things on you without giving you the resources you need to be successful.

IMPROPER QUESTIONS
There are a number of questions that interviewers aren’t allowed to ask by law. Yet a 2017 Associated Press and CNBC poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that more than half (51%) of those who have been on at least one job interview have been asked at least one inappropriate or personal question. Questions about marital status, medical history, and disabilities topped the list. If interviewers aren’t aware of basic employment law, that could be an indicator that they’re lax in other areas, too.

“It can be a real cultural flag. For example, if a lot of people are asking you if you have kids. It’s either a super-friendly family place, or they want to put you on a plane 100% of the time and they’re real concerned if you do [have children],” Miklusak says.

COMFORT QUESTIONS
If an interviewer asks about your comfort level with certain factors, take note, Miklusak warns. “This question is a huge flag, ‘Do you think you will be comfortable here because . . . ‘ and then the because is something like, ‘Most of the people are younger than you’ or ‘This is a pretty male-orientated sales team,'” she says. Look for what the interviewer is trying to indicate about the culture. Such a question may reflect a flaw, lack of diversity, or issue that has been a problem in the past.

By keeping an eye out for red flags, you can keep focused on finding a job that will be a good fit for you—and more likely free of unpleasant surprises.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

3/18/18 - 11 common words and phrases to avoid using in a job interview

by Ruth Umoh
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/30/11-common-words-and-phrases-to-avoid-using-in-a-job-interview.html 

Employers use interviews to gauge whether you're the right person for a job. But you could tank your chances with a hiring manager by using certain words and phrases, says Barry Drexler, an expert interview coach who has conducted more than 10,000 interviews.

With over 30 years of HR experience at notable companies like Lehman Brothers and Lloyds Bank, Drexler says these are the 11 words and phrases that should be eliminated from your interview vocabulary:

'You guys'
Drexler hears this phrase most often used by recent college graduates. Typically, they've never interviewed for or worked in a corporate environment.

"They talk like they're talking to one of their buddies," he tells CNBC Make It. "They're just so used to talking that way."

However, saying "you guys" is much too informal and sounds like slang, says Drexler. "It drives me nuts."

Instead, he suggests referring to the company by its actual name or saying "your firm" or even just "your company."

'Perfectionist'
"I wanted to get ill after I heard this [word] so many times," says Drexler. "It's too cliche."

He adds to this list other descriptors like "hard-worker" and "people-pleaser."

Not only do these words hold little weight, says Drexler, but they also won't help you stand out because everyone else is using these words to describe themselves.

"Cliches are awful," says the interview expert. "I'd avoid those."

'Comfortable'
Don't use the word "comfortable" when answering questions about why you want a specific role, type of job or position.

"The word 'comfortable' is the kiss of death when it comes to careers," says Drexler.

Your potential employer doesn't want a comfortable employee, he says, because it insinuates that you aren't a hard worker and that you'll take whatever comes easy.

Drexler suggests saying that you want a challenging role or a stimulating role. "You want something that's rewarding, not comfortable," he adds.

'Work-life balance'
Companies really don't care about your work-life balance, says the interview coach. It's that simple.

"Companies talk the talk about having a great work-life balance," admits Drexler. "At the end of the day, they want work out of you. It's just talk."

Although it may sound cynical, all your employer truly wants to hear is that you're ready to work and that you'll work around the clock if need be, he says.

"If you say you're looking for work-life balance, that translates to, 'I want to socialize and I'm only going to stay from nine to five, and at five o'clock I'm out the door.'"

No hiring manager wants to employ a "nine-to-fiver" or a candidate who is already thinking about their personal life before joining the company, says Drexler.

"I'm not suggesting that [work-life balance] is not important or that a company should work you to death," he adds, "but don't bring it up in an interview."

'Like' and 'enjoy'
Like is a weak word that doesn't really say much. For example, if an interviewer asks, "Why do you want to work here?," you should never respond with a phrase that incorporates the word like, such as "I like doing analytical work," he says.

"It doesn't mean anything," Drexler explains. "I like golf but I suck. I like analytical work but I'm awful."

Enjoy is another word that should be avoided at all costs, says Drexler, because you're wasting an opportunity to use a more powerful word. Instead, use words like "excel" or phrases such as "I do this well" to convey your strengths.

'Can't' and 'don't'

Can't and don't are negative words and negativity has no place in an interview, says Drexler.

Refrain from using phrases such as "I don't like doing this, I can't do this," or "I don't want to do this," he explains. You want to show an interviewer that you are open to taking on any role or task and that no job is too small for you.

Even if you legitimately don't have a skill that the job requires, he recommends letting the interviewer know that you're willing to learn. This gives your interview answer a much more positive spin.

"You don't want to ever be negative," says Drexler.

'Fired'
Drexler explains that interviewees often feel the need to bring up the fact that they were fired just to have it out in the open. However, this dampens the whole interview and isn't necessary.

Plus, there's no way for an interviewer to find out that you've been terminated.

"Get it out of your head. Get over it," says the interview coach. Instead, tell the interviewer that you feel like it's the right time to pursue other opportunities or that it's the right time to find something new.

Also, speak positively about your former place of employment, even if you were fired. Drexler advises saying that you a great career with your previous employer and that you learned a lot, not that you hated the company and the direction it was heading.

"No one is going to hire someone that's going to bash their [former] company because then you're going to bash our company too," says the interview expert.

'You should' and 'you shouldn't'
Avoid giving unsolicited advice. "Never say 'you should' or 'your company should,'" says the interview coach. "You don't work there yet. You're just a candidate."

Conversely, refrain from sharing your thoughts on what they shouldn't be doing. Don't tell an employer that they should stop doing something or that the company is doing something the wrong way unless you're explicitly asked, he adds.

"Candidates do that, I swear," says Drexler. "They're telling the interviewer how to run their own company."

The best way to address a glaring problem, he says, is to start with "In my experience, this is what works."

The interview coach adds that it's perfectly reasonable to not agree with everything a potential employer is doing, but you must bring up your concerns in a diplomatic way.

"It's not what you say, it's how," says Drexler.

San Antonio Career Networking Groups

San Antonio Networking Group - We meet the 1st Thursday of every month at Quarry Golf Club House 444E. Basse Rd, San Antonio, TX. Please join us! For more info, contact barzielee.drewry@sbcglobal.net 

3/11/18 - The Right Cold Email Can Land You a New Job Faster Than Any Cover Letter

by Heather R Morgan
https://www.forbes.com/sites/heathermorgan/2018/02/05/the-right-cold-email-can-land-you-a-new-job-faster-than-any-cover-letter/#75f073788de5 

Cold email is much more than just a tool for salespeople.You can use it to meet people you admire, raise money for a charity, or even turn a message into a ticket for an exclusive party.

You can also get a new job and even change your career path. While you shouldn’t expect a response that immediately includes an interview slot, a well-written cold email sent to the right person can give you a huge advantage over those still sending resumes through job boards. Why? Because, having done your research and selected the most relevant contact, you’re not one faceless application among hundreds of others going to human resources.

Of course, your email has to be good enough to stand out in a crowded inbox. In fact, many of the rules that apply to sales emails are just as relevant when it comes to looking for work. With that in mind, here are three things to remember and do when using cold email to find a new job or career.

1. Find the right person to contact.

A thoughtful message that paints you in your best light is useless if it goes to the wrong person. For example, emailing the Operations Manager will not help if you're after a job in marketing. It sounds obvious, but there are tons of people out there who will blast an email to multiple contacts at one company, thinking the more emails they send, the greater their chances of success. Instead, pick the most relevant person at the company and concentrate on writing an email they'll find enticing.

To do that, conduct thorough research. Gather essential details (title, size of company, job description) on LinkedIn or the company's website. Check to see if past colleagues or classmates have ever done work with this company; they might be able to introduce you. Look for recent news, awards, or published works from your contact. Referencing such things is often an effective way to open the email.

Thorough research has another advantage, too: it teaches you more about the company's business. When it comes time for the interview and someone asks you to articulate what you think the company does, you won't have to think hard to find an answer. Same goes for those making a full-on career shift—you'll learn way more about your new industry researching companies and contacts than you will reading about them on some job board.

2. Keep it short, simple, and small.

Cold emails are not cover letters. You may be asked to eventually submit a cover-letter-like document, but for this initial introduction, follow the general rule of cold email and keep it short: three to five sentences, max. Unlike a human resources department, your contact will not necessarily be expecting an email about potential employment. So if your message is a wall of text outlining your many skills or how you grew that one website's traffic to over 2 million visitors per month, the recipient's eyes will glaze over, so to speak.

The easiest way to make sure that doesn't happen is to keep your ask small. Don't just say, "I'm interested in any job openings you have in marketing. When can we discuss this?" Don't even say you'd like to meet up to talk about potential employment. Instead, ask to meet up for coffee so you can learn more about the company and what it does.

Similarly, if you see a problem you're able to fix, explain how you can help. A friend of mine got his current job when one of his favorite news sites went down. He sent a cold email to the Information Technology Manager to say he knew how to retrieve the site and get it back up; the company offered him a job about a week later.

For those changing careers, the ask is simple: just say you're considering a change to that person's industry and would love to hear their take on it.

3. Don't hesitate to send a follow-up if you don't hear back.

There's nothing wrong with sending a follow-up email if your contact has not yet responded. While I don't recommend a full eight-touch campaign, some gentle persistence can work in your favor. Maybe the contact was on a deadline when you sent the first email, and meant to respond but never did. Perhaps they're testing you by not responding, to see if you have the ambition and commitment to keep asking. Along the same lines, someone may be waiting for a follow-up to make sure your first message wasn't just a mass mailing to as many companies as you could find.

Don't spend too much energy wondering why the person has yet to respond, though. If, after a follow-up or two, there's still no response, move on. Part of persistence in finding a new job is knowing when to shift your focus to another potential employer—one who may have an even more promising opportunity waiting for someone like you.

 

What email tricks do you have when it comes to searching for and finding new employment? I'd love to hear about them in the comments.

For more advice on cold email, sales and marketing, check out the Salesfolk Blog. You can also follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn to ask me questions.

Heather R. Morgan is an economist and the founder of Salesfolk, which has helped over 500 companies revitalize their sales prospecting strategies. Having written 10,000-plus cold emails in the past decade, Morgan has developed a new process for crafting mass email templates that still feel personal, combining copywriting best practices and game theory. Her cold emails see at least three times more responses than the industry average. The author is a Forbes contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

3/4/18 - The Best (And Worst) Ways to Find a Job

by Heather Huhman
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/worst-ways-find-job/

The job market is, and always will be, highly competitive. You can bet that any job you apply for will have a handful (or five) of equally qualified — and equally determined — job seekers vying for the same opportunity. And, to stand out from the crowd, some job seekers will do just about anything to find and land a job — even if it borders on unconventional (and unprofessional).

But there’s a fine line between appearing determined and appearing desperate.

Here are three extreme job search strategies job seekers have taken, why you should avoid using those tactics, and what to do instead:

Tactic #1: The “Will Work for Food” Sign
After being unemployed for more than four months, a St. Louis man decided to take his job search to the streets. Dressed in professional attire and accompanied by a sign that read, “Unemployed. My family’s dreams don’t work unless I do! Please take a resume,” he handed out copies of his resume to passersby on a busy sidewalk.

Advertising your job skills on a busy, city street does take guts, but it doesn’t give you an opportunity to tailor your resume to different jobs and organizations. And, according to a survey by The Creative Group, almost 40 percent of executives say the most common mistake job candidates make on a resume is including information that’s not job-specific.

What to Do Instead: The nature of the Internet makes hitting the streets with your resume in hand unnecessary. There are plenty of other ways to get your resume seen by the masses, while still enabling you to tailor it accordingly.

Social professional networks and resume hosting sites allow you to post a general resume that can be easily searched and viewed by a wide variety of hiring professionals. If you want to take it up a notch, consider creating a personal branding site for professional purposes and feature your resume, a portfolio, references, and more.

Tactic #2: The Resume T-shirt
You might have seen this extreme job search tactic firsthand — the resume tee. As you’ve probably gathered, this tactic involves printing your resume, job skills, and basic need for a job on a T-shirt and wearing it around town. While this literally advertises your skills and desire for a job, it can come across as slightly desperate — not to mention lazy.

Look at it this way. If equally qualified and determined job seekers are out there doing everything in their power to find the right job fit for them and you’re simply wearing a T-shirt and hoping to be found, what does that say to hiring professionals? What’s more, what are the chances that your “resume” is getting seen by the right people?

What to Do Instead: There’s nothing wrong with taking a creative approach to your resume. In fact, creative approaches, such as video resumes, can help you stand out among a sea of job seekers all using the same, lackluster templates. However, it should still come across as professional and relevant to the industry or company you’re looking to join.

Tactic #3: The Brutally Honest Cover Letter
Considering 51 percent of employers said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate if they caught a lie on their resume, according to a survey by CareerBuilder, honesty is the best policy. There is, however, such a thing as being too honest — especially when it comes to the job search.

When drafting a cover letter, for instance, some things are better left unsaid, such as the exact reason you want the job (i.e. when that reason has to do with a paycheck, above all). Instead of being brutally honest about why you want the job, your lack of experience, where you see yourself in the next five years, why you left your last position or the reason for the large employment gap on your resume, frame your answer in a positive light.

What to Do Instead: Your goal, as a job seeker, is to find the right job fit. And you can’t do that without being honest with yourself and your potential employer. While you want to be honest, you don’t want to teeter on the brink of offering too much information (#TMI). Be honest without being brutal.

As Jerry Seinfeld once said, “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason.” And, when it comes to the job search, that may just be true.

2/25/18 - Why Your Next Interview Could Take Place Via Text Message

by Makeda Waterman
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/text-message-interviews/ 

The next time you apply for a job posting on Glassdoor, don’t be surprised if you receive a text message from a recruiter. Sound far-fetched? Think again. A Gallup News article recently shared that “sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of communication for Americans younger than 50,” so it’s no surprise that companies like Aegis Worldwide and OpenTable have already leveraged the technology for initial interviews.

Enter: Canvas. Launched June 2017, Canvas is world’s first text-based interviewing platform. Used by recruiters, it allows HR pros to engage more candidates per day, inform possible phone interviews and engage with young talent in the way they communicate most.

“In recruiting, speed is of the essence. Recruiters and hiring managers are moving faster than ever while making smarter, more informed decisions,” said Aman Brar, CEO of Canvas. “With our latest round of platform updates and continued automation, Canvas is creating an incomparable space for recruiters to have valuable conversations with high-quality candidates while reducing the time to fill open job positions.”

The days of hiring managers sending candidates to landing pages to schedule interviews will be a thing of the past. Instead, they send messages where they know candidates will see them: their phones. But there’s a right and wrong way of responding to a text message to win the interest of a recruiter or hiring manager. Before you decide to press the send button, read these tips.

Respond, But Do So Selectively

Most people haven’t encountered a text message interview before, so they may not respond to a text right away because it is either unfamiliar or they would prefer a human connection with a live recruiter on the phone. But if you choose not to engage, you may be self-selecting out of the interview process already — so don’t just ignore it.

However, it is worth screening these messages before responding. Some job hunters have fallen victim to text message scams, in which illegitimate companies request personal information. If you ever receive a message from a person asking for your name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number or other personally identifiable information, do not respond. You can save the message and report it to your local authorities.

Keep It Professional

Text message interviews are one way to find out if an applicant has excellent writing skills and is professional, so treat your replies just as you would any other workplace communication. Avoid abbreviations like “Gr8! C U Soon” or “Thx for the invite!” as well as slang or other informal language. And don’t send any emojis — although you may just be trying to show personality, it can appear unprofessional to some recruiters and hiring managers.

A few other tips to consider when texting interview responses:

 If you ever receive a text about a job you applied for, hopefully this article will help you. If you want to receive an invite for an in-person interview, treat it as you would a live phone conversation, be as professional as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good luck!

2/18/18 - The 7-Day Plan for Getting a New Job

by Heather Huhman
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/7-day-plan-job/ 

The job search can be draining, especially when none of your leads come to fruition. So draining, in fact, that you may feel like you lack the fuel to continue your search. But, instead of halting your job search entirely, consider taking smaller steps toward achieving your end-goal of landing a great job.

After all, small steps can lead to big changes. As Robert Collier once said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”

To help you regain your confidence and inch yourself closer toward landing your dream job, here are small wins that you can achieve every day this week to boost your hireability:

Monday: Do your homework.

Just as you expect hiring managers to study your resume before the interview takes place, hiring managers expect you to do your homework on the company and the job at hand.

Know what role the position plays in contributing to the company’s mission and vision (which you should also know). Find out what makes their brand different from the competition. Research the organization’s latest wins so that you can reference them during the interview.

In short, know your stuff.

Start your week off by researching the companies on your wishlist. Knowing where a company has been, where it’s going, and how you can help will not only impress hiring managers, but also give you a better idea if the job and organization are a good fit.

Tuesday: Revamp your resume.

Some things on your resume will stay the same no matter what job you’re applying for, like your education, past work experience, and contact information, for instance. But, with 61 percent of employers wanting a resume that is customized for their open position, according to recent research by CareerBuilder, it’s crucial that you tailor your resume to fit the job you’re applying for.

That can be as simple as highlighting certain skills or accomplishments that are in line with the company’s job description. So, make the most of your Tuesday by customizing your resume to fit each job you’re planning to apply for.

Wednesday: Reconnect with old connections.

There’s no telling which employers will ask for professional references, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and reconnect with anyone who can vouch for various skills and capabilities. Before beginning your job search, reach out to past co-workers, managers, professors — anyone you feel will have something valuable (and positive) to say about you to potential employers.

Set aside some time to reconnect with these people via email or a professional social network, like LinkedIn. Let them know that you’re planning to begin your search and ask if it’d be OK to list them as a reference — they’ll appreciate the heads up.

Thursday: Research networking opportunities.

Don’t rely solely on job boards and social media to discover the latest jobs within your industry, as some jobs don’t ever make it online. Sometimes the best way to discover new job opportunities — especially those that aren’t advertised — is through networking events.

Take some time out of your Thursday to research upcoming industry events and networking opportunities for the week or month and mark them on your calendar. These can easily be found on local industry-related websites, professional associations or organizations’ web pages, or social media.

This takes all of fifteen minutes and can help you form new professional relationships, learn about upcoming job opportunities, as well as give you a great opportunity to practice speaking about your background and skills.

Friday: Clean up your online presence.

Before pressing “pause” on your job search for the weekend, spend some time cleaning up your social media profiles. Considering nearly half (48 percent) of hiring managers who screen candidates via social networks said they’ve found information that caused them not to hire a candidate, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, you can’t afford to let your social media profiles get messy.

So, what social media content turned employers off the most according to the survey?

Saturday: Go shopping.

A Saturday spent shopping sounds a lot more appealing than a Saturday spent job searching. But this shopping trip is designed to help boost your hireability by preparing you for networking events and job interviews (let’s hope for a lot of the latter).

To help you look the part, stock your closet with outfits that are appropriate for the line of work you’re interested in. Keep in mind that interview outfits should always be slightly nicer than your everyday office wear. When it comes to the job interview, professional garb will work in your favor.

Sunday: Set your goals for the week.

Start your week off on the right foot by setting aside some time on Sunday evening to set your job search goals for the week. Stick to the “small steps” method outlined in this post and strive to get something small done each day to bring you closer to landing the job of your dreams.

Creating a list of job search “to-dos” will encourage you to stick to those goals, as well as help mentally prepare you for the week ahead.

2/11/18 - From Spreadsheets to Sticky Notes: 7 Strategies for Managing Your Job Search

by Sarah Greesonbach
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/managing-your-job-search/ 

When you’re actively looking for a new job, you can’t afford to wing it on the organizational front. Whether you apply for five jobs or 100, you’ll soon find yourself buried in an extraordinary number of resumes, cover letters, job descriptions and interview invitations. If you don’t keep them carefully organized, you may not identify the right opportunity — or worse, you’ll flounder when the right opportunity comes along.

If you want to stay on top of all of the applications, LinkedIn requests and other digital paraphernalia that go along with your job search, it’s time to break up with your bad organization habits. Here are seven techniques that will help you overcome the most common job hunt organization issues so that you know the where, what, who and how for your next interview:

1. If you aren’t good at organizing… figure out why

Organizational skills aren’t one-size-fits-all. There are just as many ways to be disorganized as there are to be organized. Instead of haphazardly applying “organization tactics” to your job search, try to identify specific ways that you tend to be disorganized and troubleshoot those issues directly.

For example, do you tend to lose hard copies? Digital apps will be where it’s at for you. But if you forget anything that isn’t written on pen and paper, a paper calendar or sticky note wall will be a better solution. And if you aren’t sure how you like to stay organized, try something new. If you’re usually an Apple Calendar kind of person, start using a paper planner, or vice versa.

2. If you have a hard time following up… use a spreadsheet

When your job search is in full swing, it’s way too easy to send an email and forget it. Not only can this cost you when you aren’t following up at appropriate intervals, but it can also make you feel like you’re constantly treading water without getting anywhere. Your job hunt becomes an overwhelming, never-ending headache instead of a systematic, purposeful journey.

Combat this by starting a detailed spreadsheet that tracks all the pertinent details of your job search, such as the company, job listing and contact details. As you move through the job hunt process (and the interview process), highlight the steps you’ve “completed” so you can show yourself just how much work you’ve done along the way.

3. If you need reminders… go high tech

There’s nothing wrong with manual spreadsheets that lists all of the job search details you need to know if it’s working for you. But if it’s not working for you — if you frequently forget to update the spreadsheet and you’re never quite sure about what your next step should be — you need to take your job search into the 21st century with a free online project management tool like Trello or Wrike.

Using a project management tool as a job seeker allows you to organize all of the job search details and automate when and to whom you should send a follow-up note. You can also adjust your settings to automatically receive reminders when it’s time to update the individual jobs or check in on the progress of the hiring manager.

4. If you’re a visual person… try sticky notes

The sticky note wall is a tried-and-true organizational method that works for writing a book, setting goals and yes, getting a new job. First, pick a large wall you can divide into 3-4 columns. At the top of each column, mark out a different stage of the job process or your job search to-do list (e.g. “Draft Resume,” “Apply,” “Interview”). Then, write each job on a sticky note and set it in its appropriate column. As you work through your job hunt and make progress, move the sticky note to the next step.

Not only can it be very motivating to see your progress in such a visual way, but it is easy to get a quick snapshot of where you are in the process by simply glancing at your sticky note wall. Pro tip: You can also use the “Sticky Notes App” on your phone or computer if a digital version of the sticky notes would save you the wall space.

 5. If you forget the details… keep thorough notes

If you’re speaking to one or two prospective employers each week, it can be tough to remember who’s who and what you talked about. If you don’t take careful notes, you may unwittingly repeat yourself or send a thank-you note to the wrong person and reference the wrong conversation. Talk about awkward!

If that sounds like something that could happen to you, use a free tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote to keep track of the meetings you have. For extra memory help, pull the LinkedIn photo of the person you’re speaking with into the note sheet and capture notes like the person’s company, job title and location. Not only can you look at a picture of a real person when you’re in the midst of a phone screen interview, but you can also easily go back and remember who you spoke with when you’re considering job offers or writing thank-you notes.

6. If you’re losing motivation… make a list of reasons you’re searching

If you find yourself putting off your job search or simply not looking forward to any part of the process, you’re letting the discomfort of a job hunt distract you from the reason you’re looking for a new job. Get back in the right headspace by bringing the focus back to what motivates you.

Make a list of the reasons you’re looking for a new job — toxic workplace, skipped over for a promotion, low salary, etc. — and keep it in a prominent place. Not only will this motivate you to stick to your plan and find a new job, but it will also prepare you for the interviews ahead by keeping your deeper purpose of your job search front and center.

7. If you’re feeling burned out… schedule some downtime

Little tasks can pile up, especially if you’re managing a full-time job during your job search. Instead of spending a whole day on your job hunt once a month and getting frustrated with your lack of progress, set short but regular periods of time to check in and make consistent progress. A half hour two or three times a week will ensure that you’re responding to hiring managers at appropriate intervals and staying on top of new opportunities as they come out.

 A job search is a job of its own: you’re practicing time management, patience and even customer service as you balance your search with your current job. But you don’t have to let the complexity of all the resumes, cover letters, applications and interviews throw you off. Just find an organizational method that works for you so that the energy you put into the job search pays off with a new job — not a new headache!

2/4/18 - What Every Employee Needs to Know About the Future of Background Screening

by Michael Klazema
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/background-screening/ 

Whether you are interviewing for full-time jobs or workers from the gig economy, there is a good chance background checks are going to figure into your professional future. Background screening—both as a pre-employment due diligence measure and a post-employment monitoring technique—is evolving fast.

Being cognizant of the trends and changes in background screening will help you prepare for your next job interview and understand what your current employees are thinking. Here are four background check trends that every employee and prospective employee needs to know.

1. Background checks for on-demand workers are becoming more common

For a long time, businesses used nontraditional methods to screen and vet nontraditional workers. Detailed background checks were essential for full-time workers, a little less common for part-timers, and virtually unheard of for contract employees. As the gig economy grows, this habit is dying out. Businesses are increasingly coming to terms with the importance of having freelancers on their teams. They are also starting to recognize that freelancers are still representatives and ambassadors for their brand—even if they are a little more removed from the business than full-time workers.

According to Intuit, gig workers are expected to make up 43 percent of the workforce by 2020. As the freelancing trend continues to spike, more and more employers are running full-fledged background checks on contract workers.

Bottom line, if you are part of the gig economy, you should expect to submit to background screenings to land freelance jobs. These screenings could include anything from criminal history checks to educational verifications. They will likely get more detailed as the gig economy continues to grow.

2. Questions about criminal history on job applications are going to disappear

Depending on where you live, you may have already noticed this trend: more and more employers are removing questions about criminal history from job applications. Some companies are doing it voluntarily, but most have been spurred by a legislative movement called “ban the box.” Ban the box policies are intended to reduce employment discrimination against ex-criminal offenders. By removing the criminal history question from job applications and delaying the background check until after a conditional offer has been made, these policies seek to help ex-offenders get a fair chance at employment.

According to the National Employment Law Project, 29 states and more than 150 cities and counties have adopted ban the box policies. Some of these laws and ordinances only apply to public (i.e., government) jobs. Others, like a policy on the books in Los Angeles, apply to public and private employers alike.

You can click here to find out whether your city, state, or county has a ban the box policy. Even if it doesn’t, it will only be a matter of time before ban the box is the rule rather than the exception.

 3. Continuous background checks and ongoing criminal monitoring will become the norm

Virtually all employers have adopted pre-employment background check policies. Companies are split when it comes to screening current personnel. Some require existing employees to update their background checks every five years or so. Others use continuous screening to get real-time alerts when a current employee is convicted of a crime.

Over the next few years, it’s likely that employers are going to come to a consensus on how to screen existing employees. What that consensus will be remains to be seen: it could be an every-five-years policy, an annual background check policy, a semi-annual policy, or a continuous real-time monitoring policy. In any case, job seekers and employees should know that what they do after they get hired is going to matter just as much as what they do before they get hired.

 4. Employers are going to continue using social media for pre-employment screening

“Social media background checks” are sketchy from an administrative standpoint. Employers like to look at Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks to learn more about what their candidates are like in real life. However, findings on these fronts are often misleading, out of context, and based on assumptions. Worse, social accounts can reveal personal, potentially bias-creating information—such as sexual orientation, gender identification, race, religion, nationality, and political affiliation—that employers cannot use in employment decisions.

CareerBuilder statistics show that social media background checks are 500% more common than they were a decade ago. As there is still no law or EEOC/FCRA guideline that prohibits or restricts social media screenings, they are likely to remain common for the foreseeable future.

Some employers are changing how they use social media screenings. Some use third-party businesses to do the social media search, requesting reports that exclude information that might create unintentional bias or discrimination. In other cases, a hiring manager might ask an employee or HR rep not involved with the hiring decision to do the social media check.

Employees and job searchers should be aware that companies are looking at what they do online. Ramping up your privacy settings and thinking more critically about the things you post will help you avoid trouble. You may also want to go back through older posts and photographs and delete anything potential employers or current bosses might find objectionable.

Preparing for Your Background Check
As you get ready to start your job search, know that employers aren’t changing their practices because of you. While three of the four trends listed above emphasize employers’ desire to learn more about their workers and candidates, those policy shifts aren’t personal. Instead, businesses are ramping up their employee screening strategies to safeguard their brands, their reputations, their existing employees, and their customer base.

As a job seeker or employee, the best strategy is to be honest, forthright, and amenable to all employer requests. Many employers are willing to overlook past mistakes, but almost none will overlook dishonesty.

 

Michael Klazema has been developing products for criminal background check and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.

1/28/18 - The 3 Kinds of LinkedIn Messages That Are Unlikely to Get a Response

by EMILY LIOU, PHR

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-3-kinds-of-linkedin-messages-that-are-unlikely-to-get-a-response

 

As a career coach, my inbox is often flooded with messages from people I’m connected with on LinkedIn who are reaching out about something or another. Now, I don’t mean to be judgmental, but I often find myself sighing with annoyance when I open them up—so much so that I was motivated to write this article.

You see, the thing is, I’m open to making new connections and willing to talk to anyone, so the fact that I often put off responding to messages means people are missing the mark. And that stinks because it takes effort to both find people to connect with in the first place and then cultivate a networking relationship from there.

I want to be excited when I read your message and I know you want that, too (or at least I hope you do!). Often times, it only takes a few tweaks to your words or tone to make that possible.

Below are messages inspired by real ones I’ve received along with my thoughts on why they’re not the best approach.

Quick note though: Unless you have LinkedIn Premium, you’ll need to connect before you send a message. But that doesn’t mean you can just send the generic invite. Instead, send a customized one with with these short templates so they’ll accept your request and you’ll be able to actually send over a note.

 

1. The Empty Query

Initial Reaction

It’s nice that you want to find a way to help one another out, but this message doesn’t give me anything to work with. Perhaps there’s something in my my background that led you to reach out in this manner?

Revised

Why This Is Better
Anyone can spot a generic, non-customized message from three Wi-Fi zones away, and if you care about standing out, you’ll be careful not to be labeled as generic, right? The updated version attempts to start building a rapport. By including a customized, targeted line, I can tell George has looked into my background and is excited about finding a way to potentially work together. And that makes me much more inclined to respond to this.

 

2. The Vague Ask

Initial Reaction
How’s everything? Hm, that’s a rather large question for someone I don’t know in real life. In fact, I’m not sure I’d even know where to begin in responding to this person.

 The Revised Message

Why This Is Better
Being clear up front is just good business. It sets clear intentions and demonstrates professionalism. Many people have experienced accepting a meeting only to find it turn into a sales pitch. If you’re clear about the reason why you’re reaching out, you’re going to build a higher level of trust out the gate and find people who are attracted to your proposal. This is what building a network is all about.

 

3. The Forceful Demand

Initial Reaction
Hi Matt. My current profile has been updated to indicate that I’m no longer a recruiter (not to mention I definitely don’t specialize in the Florida market as I’m in Los Angeles). If you’re going to spend the time, energy, and effort in sending messages and attempting to foster relationships, it’s far more more effective if you target the correct audience.

 The Revised Message

Why This Is Better
If you’re actively seeking a new position and are wanting to connect, it makes a huge difference if you can share in a couple of sentences what you’re looking for and a glimpse of what you bring to the table. Even though I’m no longer entrenched in the recruiting world, I’m still well-connected.

If Matt had demonstrated clear professionalism in a straightforward introduction, and made note of target roles he’s seeking, I’d for sure be inclined to point him to resources or ask him for his resume to pass along.

 

The thing to remember is that if you’re asking one of your LinkedIn contacts for something, you need to make it as easy as possible for that person to follow up.

It may be difficult to see it, but every piece of correspondance counts—from the way you first connect to how you stay connected. Don’t randomly reach out to 20 of your LI connections for the sake of hoping something falls into place in your job search. By building off of the revised templates above, you’ll be able to initiate conversations that result in meaningful networking relationships.

 

Emily Liou is the founder of CultiVitae, where she teaches, coaches, and advises thousands of ambitious corporate professionals seeking career transitions. As a former recruiter and human resources professional, Emily has the inside scoop on what companies are looking for. Her passion is in the area of personal and professional development, and she believes everyone has the ability to cultivate their lives. When not reading books and blogging, Emily is often found exploring $ or $$ restaurants in Los Angeles, or rock climbing.

1/21/18 - Should I Use a Salary Calculator to Negotiate a Job Offer?

Ask a Real Recruiter: Should I Use a Salary Calculator to Negotiate a Job Offer?
by JESSICA VANN
https://www.themuse.com/advice/ask-a-real-recruiter-should-i-use-a-salary-calculator-to-negotiate-a-job-offer 

Dear Recruiter,

I think I blew my last interview by asking for too much from a nonprofit using a salary figure that I found through Google. My question is, when asked about salary requirements, is it okay to say a number and then mention that's the number you found on Salary.com or Payscale.com?
Signed,
Still Figuring Out My Worth

 

Dear Still Figuring Out My Worth,

For many people, the dreaded salary question is the most nerve-wracking stage of the interview process.

Did you aim too high and shoot yourself in the foot? Or, did you aim too low, undervalue your worth, and leave money on the table?

You’re right to want to be prepared for the question, because if things are going well, you’re going to need to face it. So, let’s start with the question you asked:

Data aggregators, such as the two you mentioned, may be useful as one data point, but they shouldn’t be the only thing you consider. Even further, I wouldn’t recommend volunteering that your source is a salary calculator, as it could signal a lack of insight about your profession and the marketplace you’d be working in, as well as an inability to see the big picture.

Which brings me to understanding the big picture. And I’d actually like break this up into two parts because I think it often goes overlooked in most tactical advice on this topic:

 

The Big Picture Within Your Own Life

Market data is one approach. But, at the end of the day, it’s what matters for you that should govern what you negotiate—provided you’re being realistic. Consider things like your cost of living, as well as the totality of how this job does or doesn’t makes sense for your life.

For instance, if the pay’s slightly lower, but it provides the work-life balance or flexibility you desire, that’s worth considering. What are the benefits or perks like? How about things like the culture or growth opportunities? In addition to salary, you’re allowed to negotiate for these things, too. (It could be easier for a company to give you an extra week of vacation than 10K more than they budgeted for the role.)

Only you know what would make you feel fulfilled and happy in your role, so take the time to really think about it.

 

The Big Picture Within the Company, Industry, and City

The hard question: Are you being realistic?

Understand that most positions have a salary range and your experience will likely dictate where in that range you fall.

For instance, are you on the more junior or senior end for a role of this type? Do you have relevant experience or are you more of a transitional candidate?

Moreover, what is the industry you’re applying to, is the company currently profitable, and what do the standard salaries look like based on your answer to those two questions? A Series A start-up is likely to have a very different compensation plan than a publicly traded and more established tech company.

Now, those calculators you mentioned can be a part of how you evaluate what standard is. But, in addition to that, I recommend speaking to your network (and even asking in informational interviews) so you can get a real understanding of what’s normal.

Understanding the above should help you go into the conversation with more confidence. And combining that with reading up on articles like this list of negotiation tips and this piece about knowing your worth should make this part of the process way less painful.

 

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns. Our experts are excited to answer all of your burning questions, and you can submit one by emailing us at editor(at)themuse(dot)com and using Ask a Real Recruiter in the subject line.

Your letter may be published in an article on The Muse. All letters to Ask an Expert become the property of Daily Muse, Inc and will be edited for length, clarity, and grammatical correctness.

1/14/18 - This is the best trick to remember someone’s name

By Monica Torres
https://www.theladders.com/p/30606/best-memory-trick-to-remember-someones-name 

Before a networking event filled with people whose names I need to remember, sometimes I will mouth out the names to myself right before I enter the room. It makes me feel silly and self-conscious, but it has always served me well.

And now, a new study published in Memory backs me up on why reading out loud is one of the best learning and memory tricks you can do to remember words.

Study: You’re more likely to remember words when you read them out loud

Researchers Noah Farrin and Colin MacLeod from the University of Waterloo in Ontario Canada recruited 75 students to take a memory test of vocabulary words. Two weeks before the test, the students recorded themselves saying the 160 words. Then on the day of the test, students prepared in four different ways: They read 20 of the vocabulary words silently to themselves, they heard someone else read 20 of the words in a recording, they heard themselves read the selected words out loud in a previous recording, or they just read the selected words out loud to themselves.

Then the researchers tested the students’ memory recognition by asking them to recall whether the words chosen for the test were words they had just studied or were words from two weeks prior.

Out of all the study methods, having the students read the words out loud to themselves was the most effective recognition tool, with students guessing the correct word order with 77% accuracy. Listening to the recording of themselves came in second place, while hearing someone else’s recording and reading silently came in last.

The most effective memory tool

The researchers suggested that reading aloud in the moment is the most effective memory tool because it’s giving your brain the most tools to remember information. The act of speaking aloud activates motor processing cues because your mouth is physically mouthing the words. Second, it also activates your auditory processing because you’re hearing the words, and in addition to hearing words, you’re hearing them in your own voice, which has been found to make information more memorable.

“This may well underlie why rehearsal is so valuable in learning and remembering: We do it ourselves, and we do it in our own voice,” the researchers concluded. “When it comes time to recover the information, we can use this distinctive component to help us to remember.”

Next time you need to remember some Very Important Contact’s name before an event, try speaking the name out loud.

Monica Torres is a reporter for Ladders. She is based in New York City and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com.
@MoniFierce

1/7/18 - 7 Questions You Can't Leave an Informational Interview Without Asking

by Kat Boogaard
https://www.themuse.com/advice/informational-interview-best-questions-to-ask 

You’re considering a certain career path. So, in an effort to learn more about it, you gather your courage, heed that age-old career advice, and connect with somebody who already works in the sort of position that you’re interested in.

Yes, you put yourself out there. The hard part’s over right?

Not exactly. Making the most of that conversation involves more than just sitting down at that coffee shop corner table, staring nervously over your latte, and eventually spouting out an awkward, “So… tell me about what you do.”

In order to get the insights you’re so eager to get your hands on, you’ll need to ask targeted and smart questions. Like what? Here are seven you should absolutely have in your back pocket.

 

 1. “What Attracted You to This Career Path?”

Of course, it’s best to dip your toes in and start with the basics.

Kicking off your conversation with a question like this one will give you a greater understanding of what initially drew that person to this sort of position—which provides some necessary context as you move into the rest of your discussion.

 

 2. “What Previous Professional Experiences Have Helped You Most in This Role?”

In a similar vein, don’t be afraid to dig into that person’s professional history. It’s always helpful to understand how somebody arrived at this current point in his or her own career.

Perhaps a specific certification has really given that person a boost in this position—meaning it’s something that you’d also want to look into. Or, maybe he needs to rely on a skill set he didn’t anticipate.

That’s all handy information to have as you consider making a move yourself.

 

3. “What’s Something That Would Surprise People About Your Day-to-Day?
You might think that you know everything there is to know about that particular field. But, you’d be surprised—getting a peek behind-the-scenes is always incredibly enlightening.

Maybe everybody assumes she spends her days out in the field—but, her role actually requires a ton of desk work, for example.

Using a prompt like this one will empower you to find out more about those lesser-known parts of a specific position.

 

4. “What’s One Thing You Wish Somebody Would’ve Told You Before Going Into This Field?”
Sticking with that “surprise” angle, it’s worth digging more into that person’s head to find out what personally shocked him or her about that role.

Whether it’s the fact that he had no idea how much he’d need to rely on his math skills or he didn’t anticipate needing to collaborate with so many different departments, there’s bound to be some element of that job that was unexpected.

 

5. “What Are Some of the Biggest Rewards of Your Position?”
Of course, the goal of your conversation isn’t to just uncover any surprising or negative parts of that position. You want to find out what that person loves as well.

Perhaps the income can’t be beat or she loves that no two days are the same. Or, maybe the work is fulfilling and rewarding, and she knows that her work is contributing to the greater good.

Finding the right job for you involves finding one that lines up with your own values and priorities. So, it’s smart to touch on the most positive pieces of that role to see if they match up with your own ideals.

6. “How Would You Describe Somebody Who Would Excel in This Career?”
You’re eager to not only discover whether that type of position is what you’re looking for, but also if you’d be a reasonable fit for that sort of role.

The person that you’re meeting with will obviously have some valuable insights into what it takes to succeed in that job, and it’s worth asking how he or she would describe a qualified candidate.

If he or she touches on skills and competencies you already have? You’re well on your way. If not? At least you’ll know what you need to work on in order to present yourself as a seamless fit.

 

7. “What’s Most Important to Prepare for a Role Like Yours?”
Ideally, you’ll walk away from that conversation with a handle on your next steps. To get some actionable information that you can walk away with, end your conversation with a question like this one.

Is there a certain certification you need to get? A class you should take? Experience you have to have? Other people you should reach out to?

Find out what he or she recommends to help you adequately prepare for that job, and you’ll have leveraged that conversation to actually take steps forward.

 

When you’re considering a certain career path, informational interviews are an enlightening tool to lean on—provided you’re prepared to ask the right questions.

Make sure to use the seven included here, and you’ll maximize that coffee date—with as few awkward pauses as possible.

 

Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website.

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12/17/17 - These 4 mind tricks will help you kill it at job interviews

 

By Monica Torres
https://www.theladders.com/p/29711/mentally-prepare-job-interview 

Job interviews are a stressful situation where the stakes are high for you to deliver and impress. When you’re on edge in these make-or-break scenarios, it’s all too easy to put your brain on autopilot and blurt out unrelated nonsense that may have your interviewer scooting away.

To prevent that, we rounded up some of the best psychological mind tricks to get you in the confident and prepared headspace you need to ace an interview:

1) Act like you’ve already gotten the job

To act confident, you need to visualize the finish line and embody the heart and soul of a winner. That’s the technique Capital One human resources executive Meghan Welch told Business Insider successful candidates have used.

It helps if you’ve done the legwork to back this confidence up. Acting like you’ve got the job means you have solutions to questions interviewers bring up. That means preparing beforehand on questions interviewers can ask you, asking your friends to do mock interviews with you, and reading up on the company itself. When you’re that prepared, it will come through in your body language.

When you’re acting as if you already have the role, your interviewers start to see you as a colleague more than one more candidate. For interviewers, Welch said this energy comes off as: “I am super excited about the problem you are talking about right now and I have a whole bunch of ways I would love to solve it.”

Of course, you want to channel the energy of a successful job applicant, but you don’t want to go overboard with it and cross the line into cocky delusion by telling your interviewer: “See you Monday!”

2) Hire-me body language means mirroring your interviewer

How you deliver information can be as revealing as the information itself. Fidgeting hands, drumming fingers, and flailing gestures do not convey hire-me vibes, they expose your nerves. One of the easiest social cues to increase your hiring chances is making regular eye contact with your interviewer. Body language experts have found that when someone looks you in the eye, it indicates confidence, authority, and presence.

Maintaining eye contact is basic body language knowledge. A more advanced class to take is consciously mirroring the tone, posture, mannerisms, and energy of your interviewer. Social psychologists call this the “chameleon effect” and have found that the mirroring increases your interviewer’s chances of liking you and smooths over interactions.

So when your interviewer leans back, you lean back, too — but subtly. (You don’t want to look like an actual mime.)

3) Match what you wear to what you want to project

The colors of what you wear to the interview signal what kind of person you are before you even open your mouth. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey of 2,000 hiring managers and human resources professionals found that colors act as mood rings — and blue was the best color you could wear to look professional.

Here are the qualities the managers in the survey associated with each color:

Although orange signals creativity, it was also the color least liked by managers, with one in four reporting that it looked unprofessional.

4) Be yourself

You want to use these psychological tips to enhance the qualities you already have — interviewers can tell when you’re being phony, and you’ll be penalized for it. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that candidates who have a strong drive to self-verify and present themselves authentically have a higher likelihood of success.

“In a job interview, we often try to present ourselves as perfect. Our study proves this instinct wrong,” the study’s lead author Dr. Celia Moore said. “Interviewers perceive an overly polished self-representation as inauthentic and potentially misrepresentative. But ultimately, if you are a high-quality candidate, you can be yourself on the job market. You can be honest and authentic. And if you are, you will be more likely to get a job.”

 

Monica Torres is a reporter for Ladders. She is based in New York City and can be reached at mtorres@theladders.com. @MoniFierce

 

12/10/17 - What to Never Say When Networking

 

by Maureen Harrington
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/never-say-when-networking/ 

Networking used to be organic. You went to a gathering of like-minded people in your community, or to lunch with individuals the host thought might like to get to know each other. Now it’s a job. Get to the right event. Meet the right people. Make that contact and follow up. And while there are plenty of stories of the ways people have wowed an executive with a memorable opening line or a particularly creative approach, there are far more networking fails than networking unicorns. There’s a fine line between innovative and inappropriate. Here’s what not to say when networking.

1. “I didn’t think there would be people here that I would actually want to talk to.”

The primary rule of thumb is “Be prepared. Be aware. Be wary.” Know why you’re going and the general purpose of the meet-up. Be alert to the people and the surroundings. Is everyone there in a suit and tie, talking about crunching numbers? Be wary of saying something that might be misconstrued, or is just idiotic. Listen first. Ask questions first. Don’t spout off, before you know who you’re talking to.

2. “Are there any job openings at your company because my boss is the absolute worst.”

Never, ever trash your boss — present or past. I don’t care if your employers have been Frank Underwood and Miranda Priestly. Just don’t go there, even if you’re asked. This is the time to play it safe. Lots of smiling and evading are called for. Often times you don’t know who’s asking you or why. And for goodness sake, don’t bring it up yourself.

3. “My friends Zuck and Sheryl are meeting me for dinner after this…”

Be careful about name dropping. Again, you may not know the other person’s opinions or experiences with the name you’re dropping. And this goes for name dropping well-known figures or just acquaintances. If unbeknownst to you, it’s her ex-brother-in-law who got her into Exxon stock, she may not be too happy to hear about your close relationship.

4. “That reminds me of this one time when I was at Oxford…”

Some over-eager job seekers wedge their college or grad school into all conversations, especially if it’s a big logo institution. Be careful. People may be impressed. Or, they may be irritated, laugh at your expense or assume you’re the pretentious person you appear to be. Modesty is a good policy when you are networking, at least until you get a sense of your room.

5. “When I think about immigration, taxes, and healthcare, I just think…”

Politics and religions. EEEEH. You may want to steer clear of both of these until you get the lay of the land. Dumping on Obama at a Dem heavy event is obviously not too smart, but then neither is trashing Trump when you have no idea of someone’s background or POV.

 6. “Can you believe that new show on Scientology? That is so…”

Religion is the same situation. Don’t start conversations by making fun of an individual or a group’s belief system. Humor at networking events can be filled with landmines. You just never know.

7. “If you ask any of my managers, they’ll tell you I’m a truly disruptive innovator and…”

Don’t use outdated, over-used and badly applied clichés. These are sure to get eye rolls: Think out of the box. Disruptor. Game-changer. Break down silos. I have the bandwidth. Push the envelope.

8. “Can you get me a job at…”

While speaking directly is important in business, being this direct is downright presumptuous and rude. When networking, it’s risky to ask for a job from a new acquaintance. It’s just as risky to request a reference, especially if you’ve just met the person. Networking should yield a mutually beneficial relationship, not an Aladdin and the genie arrangement. Your wish is not their command.

 

12/3/17 - Camera Ready: How Candidates Can Prepare For A Video Interview

 

9 best practices that can ensure video interviewing success.
by: Andrew Trechsel, Senior Associate, Healthcare Practice, Witt/Kieffer 
https://trainingmag.com/camera-ready-how-candidates-can-prepare-video-interview 

Employers and recruiters increasingly are using video technologies to facilitate early stage interviews with executives and other professionals. While many job candidates are comfortable being on camera, they can benefit from more preparation prior to remote interviews. Here are some best practices that can ensure video interviewing success.

Test your technology. At least an hour before your scheduled interview, make sure everything is running smoothly. This includes a strong Internet connection, sufficient battery, up-to-date software, and clear audio and video. The last thing you want during your video interview is to have connectivity problems. Also, clean the camera lens to ensure a clear picture.

Dress professionally. Remember that this is still an executive-level interview and that a suit (and tie for men) is expected. Avoid patterns and colors that are distracting or can be manipulated by the technology.

Consider camera placement. Choose a solid surface and position your computer or tablet so the camera is at eye level. This will ensure your interviewer is not looking directly at the top of your head or up your nose. Also, make sure the camera is an appropriate distance from you. You want the interviewer to be able to see from the top of your head to about mid-torso.

Think about the backdrop. In an interview you are the focal point, so make sure there is nothing distracting or unprofessional behind you. If you are doing the interview from home, make sure there is no dirty laundry or scattered toys or unusual artwork—anything that will take interviewers’ eyes off of you and give a negative impression. Ideally, a plain wall is best.

Establish proper lighting. With the background in mind, choose a location that has good lighting. To illuminate your face, you may want to put a lamp directly behind your computer/tablet. Adjust for dimness or brightness and make sure not to wear jewelry or other shiny objects that could catch the light and be distracting.

Find a quiet spot. Choose your setting wisely. Candidates have done video interviews from the airport or a coffee shop, with people walking around and talking in the background, which can obviously distract. If you are doing the interview at home, find a room with a closed door and ask any other members of the household not to interrupt you. Get pets as far away as possible so that barking poodles or cute kittens are not part of the interview. If you are interviewing from the office, make sure your employer is aware of your intentions and it is a place you can speak freely. It goes without saying that it is not acceptable to use your employer’s time and technology to look for another job without consent.

Look directly at the camera when speaking. It is natural for us to want to look an interviewer in the eye, but if you stare at your screen and your camera is above, it will appear as if you are looking down. When speaking, stare directly at the camera (which should be at eye level).

Monitor your body language. Remember that a lot of communication is nonverbal. When listening, nod your head to show understanding, and don’t forget to smile. Leaning forward slightly can show you are interested and engaged. Avoid crossing your arms and leaning back.

Pause when necessary and consider pace. Video interviewing can be difficult because it limits some of the natural cues we get when meeting in person. Account for transmission delays. Before you begin speaking, wait until your interviewer has finished asking a question or commenting. Also, remember it is important to pace yourself with your response—not too fast or slow, and make sure those listening to you are following along.

Interviewing for executive roles always requires a great deal of preparation. Video interviewing requires additional time and forethought. However, the preparation in the short term can pay career dividends in the long run.

Andrew R. Trechsel is a senior associate in Witt/Kieffer’s Healthcare practice, based in the firm’s Emeryville, CA, office. Trechsel identifies leaders on behalf of hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, and related organizations across the country.

 

11/26/17 - The Best Question to Ask When You're New at Work

 

by Richard Moy
https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-question-to-ask-when-youre-new-at-work

Your first few weeks at a new job can be exhilarating. It’s often fast-paced and full of brand new things that can reignite a spark that you lost. After all, that might’ve been your reason for looking for this new gig in the first place.

But, it can also be overwhelming. And when you look at all the meetings on your calendar, you might think that your goal is to survive it. You can always go back and re-learn anything you missed this week, right?

And in a lot of ways, that’s true. Nobody expects you to master everything you learn during your first month, especially when it comes to understanding the finer details about your company. But there is an important question you should ask in every meeting you have (when it makes sense, of course):

How can my work make your life easier?

You might be thinking, “I barely know where the coffee machine is! How can I think about helping anyone else right now?” And that’s totally fair. But on my first day at my current job, my boss suggested that I set up meetings with everyone on my team and ask each of them this question. It was terrifying, and if I’m being honest, I really didn’t want to do it. But I didn’t want to disappoint my new boss more, so I got over my fear and piped up.

And when I did, I was pleasantly surprised by how it went.

Some people had really strong opinions. Others told me that they hadn’t even thought about it, but appreciated that I opened the conversation with that question. But what I ultimately learned was that your intro meetings don’t have to be a one-way street.

As much as you have to learn, it’s important to remember that you were hired to bring something different to the table—and you can do that as early as your first week on the job.

Again, I’m not going to pretend that this won’t be uncomfortable. I also understand that in some meetings, this will be seen as completely out-of-context. But when the opportunity presents itself and it feels like the next natural thing to say—challenge yourself to say it.

And then, before you worry you’re putting too much on your plate, know that you can respond with, “That’s really interesting to hear, once I’m completely onboarded, I’d love to find more time to discuss how can I start making this happen.”

I know. Asking this question might not make your first month any easier, but it’ll make the exact right impression on your new team. Not to mention, it’ll set you up to prioritize your tasks correctly. So take a deep breath and do it!

Richard Moy is a Content Marketing Writer at Stack Overflow. He has spent the majority of his career in talent management, including a stint as a full-cycle recruiter and hiring manager. In addition to the career advice he contributes to The Muse, he also writes test prep and higher education marketing content for The Economist. Say hi on Twitter @rich_moy.

 

11/12/17 - 7 questions to ask yourself when choosing between two job offers

 

By Jane Burnett
https://www.theladders.com/p/28934/choosing-between-two-job-offers 

With the insecurity surrounding the job application process, having to pick between two offers is certainly a good problem to have. But it can be a problem, nonetheless.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself when weighing offers from each employer.

What do I remember from the interview?

Monster career expert Vicki Salemi told the site about clues to think about when deciding between offers.

“Weigh any red flags that emerged during the interview. Was the boss checking emails while you were speaking? Or did the interview last until 7 p.m. and was the office was still full of people working?…Candidates often overlook one of the most important and intangible factors—their boss. How well did you get along with that prospective manager? Did you like him or her?” Salemi told Monster.

Also think about if you’ll want to be associated with this employer — and its culture — for the rest of your career, no matter where you go.

(This might be a little premature, but say you choose the offer from the place that ends up not having best company culture: Here’s how to distance yourself from it in future interviews.)

Will this job help me get what I want in work and life?

While pursuing bigger and better salaries with every new job — plus the need to scale the corporate ladder — you can get wildly off track when it comes to your career and your life.

Work shouldn’t be your everything, but as what you really want slips out of focus, you might find it hard to say no to things that will just benefit you financially. But it’s important to remember where you ultimately want to be, and find people along the way who can help you get there.

What will my paycheck and benefits look like?

While money isn’t everything, the need for the perfect side hustle is all too real at times, so you’ll want to get a job that helps you and your family work toward increased financial stability.

But don’t forget about benefits— what insurance does your employer provide? Will you be able to keep saving for retirement?

Consider where you want to be financially, and to what degree this job can help you move forward.

How long is the commute?

Spending a whole lot of time on a train, bus, or in a car to and from work translates into higher transportation costs for you, so figure out what you’re willing to spend — and how long you’re willing to sit.

Will I be able to move forward professionally here?

After all, you don’t want to be employed by a company where promotions aren’t even an afterthought.

Working somewhere that provides training, no matter what professional stage you’re in, and gives you chances to eventually take on increased responsibility is key.

Do I believe in what the company stands for?

With the need for meaning at work, you can use this as an opportunity to finally land a position where you feel (at least somewhat) fulfilled.

Think about it: Do you care about the company’s ultimate goal? What about the work you’d be doing?

Whether you’ll be working remotely or in an office, you’ll be spending a significant portion of your workweek on assignments, so you want to care about how that ties into the company’s overall vision.

What is there to do outside of work?

Chance are, you already know if you currently work near this potential employer.

But this question becomes especially important to think about when moving to a new city. That being said, make it feel like home by joining clubs, groups, and being open to spontaneous social opportunities.

Jane Burnett is a reporter for Ladders. She is based in New York City and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.
@JaneBurnett16

 

11/5/17 - What To Do If A Company Ghosts You After An Interview

 

By Jillian Kramer
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/what-to-do-if-a-company-ghosts-you-after-an-interview/  

We all know what ghosting is when it comes to dating—men and women have long pulled a disappearing act—but did you know that you can get ghosted during a job search too?

“Ghosting is the absolute worst for job candidates,” says millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. “The not knowing is frustrating: similar to dating, you’re left asking yourself, are they into you?”

“I have spoken to numerous people who said they would much rather get told the job was filled then wait eternally for an answer,” Jacinto says. ”Employers are often overwhelmed with job applicants and many time do not have the resources to reply to everyone that applied,” Jacinto says. “Other times they might want to wait and see if their top choice accept. They also might want to make sure that they have you in the background of their pick was less than stellar.”

Glassdoor: What does ghosting look like to a job candidate?

Jill Jacinto: Ghosting in the job search process would mean that the hiring manager has not gotten in touch after a job interview.

Glassdoor: Why might an employer ghost a job candidate?

Jill Jacinto: They may be overwhelmed looking for a popular job posting and can’t get back with everyone or they may feel that the job candidate just isn’t the right fit for the position.

Glassdoor: If a candidate has been ghosted after an interview, what are three things he/she can do to still try to get the job?

Jill Jacinto:
1. Send a thank you card. You should send a handwritten thank you card after an interview. This opens the door to further communication with the hiring manager.

2. Take the initiative and follow up. If the company seems to have vanished into thin air, don’t give up quite yet. Get in contact with them. If they don’t email you back don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them directly. The manager may just be so busy they haven’t had time to respond to an email but would be willing to speak with you on the phone.

Glassdoor: What are three ways a job candidate might prevent being ghosted?

Jill Jacinto:
1. Ask this question: Do you have any hesitations about moving me to the next level of the interview process that I can address? Maybe a story wasn’t clear, they don’t think you qualify in a certain aspect, or they don’t think you have the necessary experience. This will give you the opportunity to clear up any doubts and prevent them from ghosting you.

2. Find out what the next steps are and who you should follow up with. This will ensure you know their process and what to expect. This will also allow you to have the name and the number of the person you should talk to after the interview.

3. Set boundaries and get clear information on when decisions are set to be made and the position filled. This will help you manage your own timeline if you never end up hearing back.

In the end, “be persistent without being a pest,” says Jacinto. “Check in with your interview coordinator once a week and check offering new information the hiring manager might want to learn about you. For example, samples of a portfolio, updated writing samples, designs etc. Try to keep up the flow of conversation.”

 

10/29/17 - We Asked 750 Hiring Managers What Makes a Candidate Irresistible, Here’s What They Said

 

by Amy Elisa Jackson
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/informed-candidate-survey/ 

Between sizing up the job description and ensuring your resume is up to snuff, job seekers have got a lot on their plates. Wouldn’t you appreciate some insight into what a forward-thinking employer expects in its candidates?

Well, now we might just be able to help with that. Glassdoor recently surveyed 750 hiring decision makers (think: recruiters, hiring managers & more) across the U.S. and UK to find out what they thought were the most important skills for a candidate to have. And don’t worry, these are traits that anyone in any profession or industry can have.

Do we have your attention? Okay, here’s the scoop.

Results from the survey told us that nine in ten (88%) hiring decision makers agree that an informed candidate is a quality candidate. Because they know more and self-select for the positions that are right for them, informed candidates make the hiring process a lot easier. The 750 hiring decision makers at companies of all sizes across the U.S. and UK that we surveyed helped illuminate who a quality candidate – an informed candidate – really is.

Hiring decision makers that were surveyed report that an informed candidate is:

Sure, skills and experience matter, but according to HR insiders, a candidate who is knowledgeable about the company and is highly engaged is a must-hire. Your goal as a job seeker should be to stand out from the crowd for all of the right reasons, and at all of the pivotal moments, from application to negotiation and, ultimately, on the job.

Why do these traits matter to recruiters and hiring managers?

Because they want you to succeed at their company. The top benefits of hiring informed candidates, according to our survey results, are:

We’ve all heard the saying “time is money,” but perhaps there is no more applicable instance for this saying than in recruiting. According to research, it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position, up from 48 days in 2011. And, $4,000 is the average amount U.S. companies spend to fill an open position.

All this means that recruiters and hiring managers are focused on making the best hire. The informed candidate is the best hire.

Glassdoor is a place where job seekers gather the information they need to find a job that fits their life – it’s the place you come to get more informed.

If you’ve got a job interview coming up or if you are eying your next career move, here are the steps you must take before talking to a hiring manager:

  1. Do your research
  2. Make your resume stand out
  3. Prepare for the interview before you get it
  4. Continue to learn throughout the recruiting process
  5. Negotiate like a pro
  6. Ask as many questions as necessary
  7. Say “Yes” if the job & company are right for you

“Someone once gave me great advice early in my career – salary and benefits are important, but you also want to work for a company that matches your personal values,” says David Orr, Head of Talent Acquisition, North America at Sanofi US.” Before applying to Sanofi US you should learn about our company by researching our corporate and US websites. You’ll see how we keep the patient at the center of all we do, how we work to meet medical needs and what we offer to our employees when it comes to work/life [balance] and professional development. Knowing this will help you to understand if Sanofi is the right fit for you. You also need to have a good sense of self and understanding of where you want to go in your career. At Sanofi we offer great resources and programs to develop our employees, but ultimately the employee owns their future career path.”

 

10/22/17 - 7 Skills to Leave Off Your Resume

 

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/skills-to-leave-off-resume/ 

When writing a resume, some folks subscribe to a “spaghetti on the wall” philosophy — throw everything that you’ve got on it and see what sticks. But to recruiters and hiring managers, it’s all about quality, not quantity. After all, with only about seven seconds to capture their attention, you want to make sure you get to the good stuff right away. Because of this, it’s probably a good idea to pare down your skills section from time to time.

Consider an artist’s portfolio, for example.

“Any serious practitioner will tell you that your portfolio is only has strong as its weakest piece. The same can be said of the skills you list on your resume — less is more,” says Aurora Meneghello, career coach and founder of Repurpose Your Purpose.

Wondering what exactly you should strike from your resume? Start with these seven items.

1. A Language You Only Studied in High School

Sure, you took French in high school for a few years, but are you really at a level where you feel comfortable holding everyday conversations with native speakers, or reading in that language? If the answer is “no,” it doesn’t belong on your resume.

“It doesn’t matter that you have basic or intermediate understanding of a language. Unless you have mastery of it, and can actually use it for work, leave it out,” suggests Meneghello.

In a worst-case scenario, your recruiter or hiring manager could be fluent and try to engage you in conversation — if they call your bluff, you can bet that you won’t be invited to move forward in the hiring process.

2. Basic Computer Skills Like Email and Microsoft Word

At this point, listing “email” or “Microsoft Word” as skills is almost equivalent to listing “reading” or “basic math”. They’re not differentiators — they’re expected.

“By adding [these] as a skill, candidates may appear to be trying to add ‘fluff’ to their resume, i.e., that they are grasping for anything to include because they don’t have enough relevant skills to list out,” says Peter Riccio, Founding Partner of recruiting firm Atlas Search.

One exception to this would be if you’ve honed a very specific practice using these programs, such as “[creating] an access database from scratch and [importing] data from Excel and other databases,” says career coach Mary Warriner. “Now that is worth mentioning in your skills section.”

3. Social Media (If You Haven’t Used It as Part of Your Job)

You might have thousands of Twitter followers, tons of Facebook friends and countless Instagram likes, but managing your personal brand and managing a company’s professional brand are two completely different things. Working in social media in a professional setting often requires much more than just posting engaging content — it often involves data analysis, experience with paid media and more.

“You may be awesome at posting pics of your friends and even sharing news about your current company; however, if you are not applying for a Social Media Strategist position, you shouldn’t mention your Facebook skills,” Warriner says. “Instead, review the job posting for the required skills and be sure to list the significant skills that you do possess.”

4. Soft Skills

This one’s a little tricky, because recruiters do love to see soft skills on your resume. However, they need to be demonstrated through examples rather than stated flat-out — saying that you’re a good communicator, for example, is useless without concrete examples to support it.

“The single most common mistake job seekers make is to list out soft skills on their resume — for example communication, multitasking, leadership, problem solving, etc. The message that sends to anyone reading the resume is ‘I may not have made clear what my soft skills are, so I’m listing them out just to make sure you see them,’” Riccio says.

Instead, demonstrate those soft skills by showing rather than telling.

“It’s so important to make sure that your soft skills are very clearly communicated in the body of the resume. For example, instead of listing ‘multitasking’ or ‘leadership’ as a skill, candidates should write ‘led multiple concurrent projects through to completion leading to x% ROI’ under the relevant position,” Riccio advises.

5. Exaggerations or Flat-Out Lies

Job seekers are often told to pepper in keywords from the job description to their resume. But if you don’t have one of the skills listed in the description, you shouldn’t include it in your resume just for the sake of mirroring the language. While you might think you can get away with it now, it will eventually come to light.

“If you are not an excellent oral communicator, don’t put that on your resume… If the job requires you to stand up in front of a group of people and deliver a message on a daily basis, you will probably fail miserably in that job,” Warriner says.

But that doesn’t mean you need to have every single skill listed in the job description to apply for a job — a good rule of thumb is that you should be an 80 to 90 percent match.

6. Outdated Tech

The preferred software and technology used in the workplace can change rapidly, but it’s important to stay on top of it nonetheless. Otherwise, you risk looking like you’re unable to keep up in a dynamic workplace.

“Companies are looking for sophisticated, flexible professionals who understand technology. By including technology that’s outdated in the skills section of your resume, it gives employers the impression that you’re skill set is stale and that you will have a much steeper learning curve,” Riccio says. “In a competitive market, employers want to invest people who have demonstrated an ability to learn quickly.”

So leave off things like coding languages that are no longer widely in use, outdated versions of modern software programs and other irrelevant technology.

7. Irrelevant or Joke Skills

This may sound obvious, but there truly are people who still list things like “expert-level guacamole maker” or “certified ping-pong champ” on their resume.

“Do not include skills that are irrelevant to the job you are applying for. I know I am amazingly proud that I make the best ‘award-winning’ cookies, but I’m in HR — I do not put that on my resume!” Warriner says.

Sure, there probably are a few recruiters and hiring managers out there who will find it funny or charming. But when you’re applying to a job, you don’t know who will appreciate that and who won’t — so it’s better to err on the side of professionalism.

 

10/15/17 - Recruiters Explain What The Worst Resumes Have In Common

 

Are you making one of these top five mistakes? Hint: You should worry more about being specific, than sounding impressive.

BY RICH BELLIS
https://www.fastcompany.com/40459307/recruiters-explain-what-the-worst-resumes-have-in-common 

Recruiters know all too well that not all resumes are created equal. But while the weaker ones land in the rejection pile for lots of different reasons, there are some common themes. Here are a few resume mistakes recruiters say they keep running into.

MISTAKE #1: NOT ENOUGH NUMBERS
“Anyone can say they are results-driven or a great leader, but we want to see metrics,” says Nicole Hubmann, a recruiter at Webdam, the asset management platform owned by Shutterstock. “It’s the lack of metrics that stands out as a red flag, whether it’s on a resume or in a phone discussion.”

Job seekers may feel pressed for space or worry that there’s no single data point they could share about their work history that’s jaw-droppingly impressive. Don’t worry about being impressive, though–focus first on just being specific. “For example,” says Joe Shao, cofounder of talent-acquisition platform PerfectLoop, “I might read a line such as, ‘consistently exceeded sales quota.’ That’s forgettable. Then I jump on the phone and learn what they meant was, exceeded sales quota 220% in 2017, becoming the top salesperson in the company.’ That is much more compelling to me and hiring managers.”

If you don’t provide enough metrics, you may never even get to that phone screener where you can explain to a recruiter why they matter.

MISTAKE #2: BAD FORMATTING OR TOO LONG
Resumes need to look pretty–not because recruiters are interested in your aesthetic sense but because they care how you organize information. David Lewis, CEO of HR consultancy OperationsInc, runs through some of the most common offenders: “Font is too small. Font is too large. Oldest job listed first. Resume is too long.”

Hubmann explains why these misfires matter: “We are looking for candidates who want to be part of a winning culture that is results-oriented and performance-driven. A candidate who is self-aware enough to understand their impact is more likely to give concise, clear examples on their resume.”

MISTAKE #3: RELEVANT SKILLS ARE TOO HARD TO FIND
Kari Guan, a recruiter at the apartment rental finder Zumper, says that in weak resumes candidates typically fail to “list any experience that is translatable to the role they’re applying for. This might sound fairly obvious but it happens more than you’d think, and makes me think they didn’t read the job description.” In other words, explaining your top overall job skills is one thing, but highlighting the ones that make you competitive for a specific role is another thing entirely.

Guan says this is true even for entry-level roles, where candidates may not think they have much work experience that counts as “relevant.” Even then, she says, “If they’re a recent grad, I always appreciate including a note about a personal experience they’ve had that’s applicable to the role and I might not otherwise know about.”

Lewis adds that candidates sometimes do include relevant skills but don’t give them a place of pride, especially when it comes to technical abilities. Many forget to put all the technology they know that’s crucial to the role in its own dedicated section.

MISTAKE #4: THERE’S NO CLEAR NARRATIVE
Says Shao, “The thing that I see all the time is that candidates miss their chance to tell their most compelling narrative. It’s especially common for a certain type person who isn’t great at self-promotion. But it is a resume,” he says–“This isn’t an Instagram selfie at some party, it’s actually an appropriate time to brag factually. If you don’t, you might lose the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager.”

Many think the time to do that is in their cover letter, but the fact is that many recruiters don’t even read those. So you need to show how your experiences have built upon one another and that you’ve grown as a result.

“For tech, we are not seeking consultants,” says Hubmann. “Instead, we look for someone who has experience working with a team on an evolving product. Often, consultants produce an app or a website and then move on to the next project, never having to deal with the impact of their product on the customer or the company. We want someone who has been through the long haul with customers and understands the importance of integrity in the product.”

So make sure your resume is a clear story about your progression, and not, as Lewis puts it, “a summary of [your] career greatest hits, with mention of what occurred at the end in a smaller section.” And whatever you do, he adds, never list your oldest job first.

MISTAKE #5: IT’S SUSPICIOUSLY VAGUE OR JUST BORING
Sometimes resumes stand out for what they don’t say. Lewis says one hallmark of a crappy resume is that the dates of employment are either year-ranges only, like “2012–2014,” without any months, or leave off those dates altogether. That may be a sign that a candidate is trying to mask a history of job-hopping or a long stretch of unemployment.

But for Guan, vague, generic qualifications often mean passing up a candidate for another reason: “When the responsibilities they list are too general, there’s nothing that grabs me and makes me interested in learning more about the person.” Recruiters are people, too, and reviewing resumes can be dull work. If you can’t get them excited to find out more about you, they’ll find someone who can.

Rich Bellis is Associate Editor of Fast Company's Leadership section

 

10/8/17 - 5 Tips On Building An Online Presence That Employers Love

 

by Susan P. Joyce
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/5-tips-on-building-an-online-presence-that-employers-love/ 

You found the perfect job opportunity. Not only are you qualified for it, but also you love the company and are excited to join the team.

After you apply, don’t just hope to hear back. The best way to land your ideal job opportunity is to be proactive.

In fact, here at Job-Hunt.org we conducted a survey and found that 51 percent of employers and HR professionals say they do not consider candidates who don’t follow up after they submit an application. In other words, you’re more likely to be passed over if you don’t at least send an email to your potential employer.

Following up is just one aspect of your strategy. You need to build a strong online presence, as well. Our survey also found that 61 percent of employers and HR professionals agree managing your online reputation is important.

The best time to start is now. It’s important to develop an authentic representation of who you are as you search for jobs. By being proactive, you are ready to impress potential employers.

Here’s what you need to do to manage your online presence to stay competitive and earn your dream job opportunity:

Learn How to Optimize

Chances are when employers get your application they’re going to look you up. In fact, our survey found that 17 percent of employers and HR professionals say the first thing they do is search for the candidate on Google.

The good news is, you can influence what they find online. First, determine what keywords you want to rank for. These might be skills, certifications, and job titles. To rank for these in the results, start creating content online through a personal website, a blog, or another outlet like Medium.

When you create content, make sure you know the basics of search engine optimization (SEO). Essentially, search engines look for content that comes from a credible authority and delivers value to the user.

Keep in mind, our survey found 40 percent of employers only check the first page of results. Ensure you include relevant keywords so Google ranks your content high.

It also helps to build a website with your name in the domain. This way, when they search your name, they will find your optimized website where you can include your current resume and a portfolio of your work.

Define Your Expertise

Being an expert can define your employee brand and make you stand out from the competition. In fact, our research found that 28 percent of employers say a candidate’s industry specific knowledge is the most important aspect of their online presence.

Think about what you want potential employers to know about your industry knowledge.

For example, if you work in marketing, define what specific domain you are an expert in. This could be paid advertising, social media marketing, or another field within your career.

When you look at your past experiences, highlight the skills and accomplishments that are associated with and demonstrate your expertise. This way, you can use your knowledge to inform others.

Continue to Educate

Once you know what strengths you want to promote, develop a content strategy that allows you to continually educate your audience. When you deliver value on a consistent basis, you can become an industry thought leader.

Employers like to see various kinds of content. Our survey found that the forms they consider to be the best quality are online courses, instructional articles, and ebooks.

As you continue to optimize your content and build a body of relevant work, you can earn more followers. Creating various forms of content to educate others shows employers you’re creative, passionate and an effective communicator.

Join Groups Online

As you prove your expertise and educate people in your industry, your professional network becomes invaluable. In fact, our survey found that 38 percent of employers said they consider professional organization memberships to be a requirement in candidates.

However, just joining these groups is not enough. Stay engaged with other members, attend events, and meet people.

Bottom line: employers want to see you engaging in your industry, sharing ideas, seeking out learning opportunities, and staying informed.

Stay Connected

Our survey found nearly one out of 10 employers said candidates who comment in LinkedIn groups increase their chances of getting contacted for an interview. Furthermore, 13 percent of employers consider commentary in industry chats, through outlets like LinkedIn groups or Quora answers, to be high-quality content.

Publicly commenting helps show that you’re interested and passionate about your industry and excited to offer your insights to others. Dedicate some time throughout the week to connect with others and stay engaged.

Your online presence is an ever-evolving project. As your career progresses, share your new skills and what you learn. This will not only help you earn your ideal job opportunity, it will also keep you learning and growing as a professional.

How are you managing your online presence and pursuing your ideal job opportunity?

Susan P. Joyce, is an online job search expert and owner and publisher of Job-Hunt.org, the guide for a smarter, safer job search. Connect with Susan on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

10/1/17 - Never Say These 11 Things During A Job Interview (Unless You Don’t Want The Job)

 

Don’t ever say, “My last boss was terrible.”
BY LILLIAN CHILDRESS 
https://www.fastcompany.com/40451728/these-are-the-phrases-you-should-never-utter-in-a-job-interview 

The hiring manager has already sifted through resumes and decided that they want to meet you. Now it’s your turn to make an impression. And, unfortunately for you, every sentence you utter during the job interview is going to be a part of that impression. The best way to prepare for potential embarrassment? Know what’s off limits.

Avoid these 11 statements next time you’re up for a job, and you’ll be well on your way to wowing your interviewer.

“THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION!”
While this phrase may be a great addition to social conversations, it’s not something an interviewer needs to hear. Instead of sounding surprised that the recruiter asked a question, remember that you’ve prepared for this interview. Plus, the questions they ask are almost always from a preset list. Playing the game of flattering your interviewer is tricky, and should be used sparingly. Get straight down to answering their questions.

“WHAT IS THE TITLE OF THE ROLE, AGAIN?
Any questions showing your lack of research into the company, the job description, or the industry itself show that you haven’t adequately prepared. Preparing for a job interview is like preparing for a final exam–you need to know your stuff. There’s no doubt it’s important to ask your interviewer questions, but the questions you ask should be targeted toward information you can’t find online: what the company culture is like, how the values of the company play out in day-to-day business, etc.

“I’VE ACTUALLY NEVER DONE THIS TYPE OF JOB BEFORE, BUT . . . “
If you have a lack of experience, your resume will show it. There’s no need to further underscore your lack of qualifications. In fact, the interview is your chance to creatively connect the dots between your resume and your decision to apply for the job. It’s where you’re able to tell the interviewer why you’ll be a perfect fit for the job, even if that’s not what it looks like on paper.

“I REALLY CAN’T IMAGINE ANYONE MORE QUALIFIED THAN ME”
Self-aggrandizing during an interview only serves to hurt you in the end. Since you haven’t seen the resumes of the other applicants, there’s no use in overtly comparing yourself to them. What’s important to learn is the art of the subtle comparison. “We all have room for improvement, so be honest with yourself: How would an interviewer see you as compared to other candidates?” writes personal brand expert Brenda Bence. The key is being able to talk about the things that make you special–not just saying that you’re special.

“MY LAST BOSS WAS TERRIBLE”
Absolutely no griping about your last company allowed, unless there’s some really special circumstance. Complaining about how you didn’t get along in your last work environment is detrimental on two levels. First, it shows your lack of ability to cope with a challenging situation and move past it. Second, the last thing your interviewer wants is for you to be talking trash about their company or employees in the future. Obviously, it’s important to talk about past challenges you’ve faced on the job–but critically evaluate, don’t complain.

“THIS WILL BE A GREAT STEPPING STONE TO MY NEXT CAREER MOVE”
While this may be the exact reason you want this job, it’s not a savvy move to share with the interviewer. Hiring managers are generally looking for someone who will display a long-term commitment to the company. Instead, career expert Lynn Williams recommends asking questions about your opportunities for advancement in the company. This shows, according to her, “that you mean to stay with the company and let them benefit from your developing skills, knowledge, and maturity. You’re not just showing commitment, but long-term commitment.”

“I DON’T KNOW”
There’s always a better way to respond to a question you’re unsure of than saying, “I don’t know.” Of course, it’s always important to be humble and not make up what you’re not sure of, but this is where your communication skills come into play.

“I DON’T HAVE ANY QUESTIONS FOR YOU”
Having questions prepared for your interviewer is almost as important as being able to answer the questions they throw at you. The questions you ask are an opportunity to display the deep knowledge you have of the company.

“THAT’S A REALLY NICE WATCH YOU HAVE ON!”
Attempts to flatter your interviewer will most likely fall short–especially in relation to appearance or material possessions. If you really must compliment the interviewer, make it related to something you know they’ve done in the business, or even talk about a move the company made that you admired.

“UM, SO, LIKE, I REALLY, UM . . . “
As in any situation where you want to sound confident, intelligent, and collected: Cut the filler words. This is also another reason to practice what you’re going to say out loud, beforehand, so you’re not searching for your words when you’re in the real interview.

“DO PEOPLE GENERALLY LIKE WORKING HERE?”
Don’t try to beat around the bush. Ask specific questions about company culture and team morale, and be direct. The best way to get the down low on what’s happening in an office is to talk to current or former employees there.

 

9/24/17 - Why Every Job Seeker Needs More Than One Resume

 

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/tailor-resume/ 

Hunting for a job is hard work. In between researching companies you want to apply to, drafting your application materials, and networking, it can be a huge time suck. So it’s not a surprise that many people try to shave off time and effort where they can — it’s all about working smarter, not harder. But unfortunately, some of the corners people cut don’t just reduce the amount of time they spend searching for a job — they also reduce their chances of actually getting a call back from a recruiter.

Case in point: drafting a one-size-fits-all resume. Once you’ve created a resume that you’re really proud of, it’s tempting to blast it out to all of the jobs you apply to. But doing so is a missed opportunity, says Michele Moore, certified career coach at Ama La Vida.

“Employers are not interested in ‘vanilla’ candidates and genuinely appreciate when applicants take the time to highlight the reasons they are a perfect fit for the position so they can more easily spot these individuals and move them to the next stage of screening,” Moore says. Because of that, “you should absolutely tailor your resume to suit the company, industry, location, and other parameters of the role.”

The good news? You don’t need to completely start from scratch. The most recent final version of your resume can serve as a template — things like your contact info won’t change, but there are a few specific fields you want to customize. Here’s what Moore recommends.

Skills

When customizing your resume to a particular opportunity, “this is probably the best place to spend your time, reflecting on the vacancy description and pulling out of it key words and phrases that align with your talents. Then make sure your resume includes these words and phrases,” Moore says.

Not only is this critical in making sure that recruiters and hiring managers know you’re the right person for the role — it’s critical for the computer scanning your resume as well.

“This is particularly important when today’s Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) use these items to auto-screen applications in the early rounds,” Moore says. “Without including some of these crucial skills, your resume may never even make it to a recruiter or hiring manager.”

Work History / Experience

Experience comes in at a close second for the most important area to update with each company you apply to.

“Similar to [skills], the precious real estate on your resume should be used to hit on only those things that are pertinent to the job description,” Moore says.

Depending on how many different positions you’ve had over the years, you may be able to omit certain jobs entirely if they’re not applicable to the role you’ve got your eyes on. But if you do have to pull from just a handful of prior work experiences, make sure that you highlight how those past positions have prepared you for the one at hand.

“You may be very proud of your banking background, but if you are applying for a position in the hospitality industry, this may not be as relevant as some other areas of your resume. Speak to your strengths and try to link transferable skills when attempting to move from one field or industry to another,” Moore recommends. “For example, in the above instance, speak about how you served clients at the bank in a way that ties into the priorities of a hospitality-based employer.”

Additional Experience

When it comes down to it, skills and work experience are what matter most — but it’s nice if you can give recruiters and hiring managers a glimpse of who you are outside of those areas as well. For that reason, adding an Additional Experience section that highlights volunteer work, hobbies, and interests is often a good idea.

“Personal sections of one’s resume (like outside hobbies or interests) have fallen out of vogue in the last few years, but this is one area where you can really differentiate yourself, particularly if you have done things outside of work that speak to the company’s core values,” Moore says. “For instance, if a company has an active corporate responsibility program, your work with that local literacy program or homeless shelter may show them that giving back is also important to you and you will endorse and espouse these values on the job.”

Cover Letter

Okay, you’ve got me — this isn’t a part of your resume, but it’s worth bringing up that cover letters, just like resumes, should be tailored as well.

“Outside of your resume, use your cover letter to demonstrate your understanding of the company, its mission, and its vision. Do your homework and explain why you are interested in working for the firm and why you believe you would be a great fit in specific terms,” Moore shares. “Overused or trite phrases that may be found in any cover letter will simply be overlooked and not give you those extra points you may need to get a call.”

Will tailoring your materials to each position you apply to be a little bit more work? Yes. But will it pay off in the end? Absolutely.

“Personalizing your resume… is not only a good idea, but also becoming more necessary in today’s job market where there is keen competition for great entry-level roles,” Moore shares. “Even if you don’t see the opportunity to tailor your skills or experience (or don’t have much experience yet), there is always something that can help you stand out from the rest. Even things like your location, availability, interests, educational aspirations, or personal attributes can help you land a great job!”

 

9/17/17 - 6 Anecdotes You Need to Rehearse Before Your Next Interview

 

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/behavioral-interview-questions/ 

You’ve aced “Tell me about yourself.” You’re cool as a cucumber when asked, “Why do you want to work here?” And you laugh in the face of “What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?” You’re way past Interviewing 101, but there’s a tricky subset of questions that you may not have mastered yet: behavioral questions.

Behavioral interview questions require you to pull a specific moment from your work history to explain and expand on, and they can be one of the hardest ones to tackle — interview questions are tough enough, but coming up with an example on the spot makes it all the more difficult.

To give you a head start, we pulled out a handful of behavioral interview questions from our list of the top 50 most common interview questions. Get ahead of the game by learning how to answer them and preparing anecdotes in advance!

1. Tell me about an accomplishment you are most proud of.

Resist the urge to talk about that time you won your office softball league playoffs or how you got a 4.0 in your hardest class in college. To really nail this question, you should “share a story that is as close as possible to the job you are interviewing for, and that best showcases your strengths and approach to work,” says Aurora Meneghello, career coach and founder of Repurpose Your Purpose.

“Describe an instance where there was a problem, state the impact of that problem, and how you were able to solve it. Share the results beyond your immediate solution. For example, if you created a new onboarding system for new hires, share why the company needed one, what was the impact of not having an onboarding system, how you went about creating one, and how, one year later, there is less churn, employees are more efficient, etc.,” Meneghello says.

2. Tell me about a time you made a mistake.

One of the oldest tricks in the book is for candidates to respond to this answer by sharing a ‘mistake’ that’s actually a positive attribute, such as “I work too hard’ or “I care too much.” But be warned: recruiters can usually see right through that.

At the same time, though, “you should avoid talking about a colossal failure. The mistake most people make is that they either try to dodge the question, or they give an example that is detrimental to them; you are still there to sell yourself and prove yourself as a valuable asset, after all,” says Steve Pritchard, HR Consultant for giffgaff.

Instead, “try to think of something that happened a long time ago. More importantly, focus on the lessons you learned and how you carried these lessons forward to ensure you didn’t repeat the mistake,” Pritchard recommends.

3. Tell me how you handled a difficult situation.

When answering this question, make sure not to cast blame on others for whatever predicament you ended up in. Even if they had a hand in it, you don’t want to sound like you’re not a team player or don’t take responsibility for yourself.

“Keep your focus on what you did, and describe the circumstances in a neutral manner. Stay away from examples of difficult bosses or coworkers: although all of us have experienced something like that, an interviewer has no idea whether you are correct in your assessment, or merely projecting your own faults onto others,” Meneghello cautions.

“For example, you could talk about having to build a project with a fraction of the budget your competitors have, and how you were able to use grassroots techniques to overcome that obstacle. For your story to make the biggest impact, make sure to describe vividly why it was so difficult: the bigger the problem you solved, the bigger your impact!” she says.

4. Give a time when you went above and beyond the requirements for a project.

Before you get caught up in sharing your accomplishments, take a step back. Because in order to convey to an interviewer how you went above and beyond, you need to first define above and beyond.

“Candidates often botch this question by failing to give a brief backstory. Before you can showcase how you went beyond the role, you have to first set the parameters of the job,” says Executive Coach Tim Toterhi. Try to describe what the context of the task was, the goals, and what was specifically expected of you.

“It is best to pick a project which paid off for the company; perhaps you stayed for two extra hours on several occasions to make sure everything was completed well ahead of schedule and to a high quality, or maybe you volunteered to pick up the work left over by a colleague who resigned,” Pritchard says. “Whatever the example, it should demonstrate a can-do attitude and a willingness to get involved and go the extra mile for your company.

5. Tell me about a time when you disagreed with your boss.

Again, in this situation, blaming or bad-mouthing someone isn’t the right route to take. It will only make you look deflective or petty. Who knows? You may even be unknowingly disparaging your boss to someone who knows him or her.

“Especially if you’re interviewing within your current industry: the world is very small. The person you complain to, might attend church services with, or be married to a relation of your boss,” says success strategist Carlota Zimmerman. Rather, “the emphasis here is how disagreeing with your boss forced you to take initiative and to put the company first, ahead of your frustration and disappointment.”

“Ideally, you want to make it clear that you and your boss maintain a civil, respectful, maybe even close relationship. You want to demonstrate your empathy for your boss… and your belief in achieving the company’s mission statement,” Zimmerman adds.

6. What are some of your leadership experiences?

Don’t get caught up in just listing every leadership role you’ve ever had — think about the ones where you truly made a difference. “Anyone can rattle off the manager positions they’ve held or the volunteer work they performed, but the leadership is measured on impact,” Toterhi says. “People should be changed (for the better) for having interacted with you. And, if you’re lucky, you should be changed as well.” And if those experiences are related to the work you’ll be doing, all the better.

In addition, you’ll want to make sure that your experiences as a leader demonstrate proactivity.

“Never give examples of a time leadership was thrust upon you; this sounds like you are reluctant to take on responsibility and have to be made to do so,” Pritchard says. “You should demonstrate your ability to build a harmonious team and create a positive working relationship with the people you lead.”

And, of course, that teamwork should ideally lead to results.

“Someone who is a leader is able to demonstrate the ability to get others to want to get on board with the direction the team is going. Think of an example when you were able to get coworkers or direct reports on board with an idea that had a successful outcome,” advises April Klimkiewicz, career coach and owner of bliss evolution.

 

9/10/17 - Treat Your Age as the Advantage It Is When Job Searching

 

Older job seekers should sell their comparative value.

By Peter A. Gudmundsson
https://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-07-31/treat-your-age-as-the-advantage-it-is-when-job-searching 

Many candidates carry outdated assumptions into their job search. One of these is the fear that age discrimination is so ubiquitous as to be paralyzing. "No one will want to hire someone old like me," is a common excuse for inaction and defeatist procrastination. In fact, organizations throughout the economy are increasingly turning to older workers to address talent gaps and skills deficiencies. Far from being a debilitating limitation, extensive life and work experience can be competitive advantages in a job search when the seeker knows how to leverage and position them.

Every generation complains that the one that follows "doesn't get it." What most of these employers mean is that the younger workers have yet to attain the characteristics that more seasoned talent can offer. Recruiters and managers can take a chance that a young employee will grow on the job or they can shortcut the process by hiring for maturity in the first place. The older job seeker, therefore, needs to remind the recruiter or manager of these virtues during the contact and interview stages.

Maturity

Maturity has many connotations, but at its core refers to the ability of people to act correctly, effectively and ethically in a myriad of situations. Mature people understand the "big picture" and leverage their life and work experiences to intuit what is important and what is less so. Older workers have often quite literally "seen it all before" when it comes to scenarios with employees, customers and other constituents. While some younger people are wise beyond their years, most have not seen enough diverse circumstances to truly qualify as mature.

The older job seeker will model a centeredness and seriousness of purpose that a skilled interviewer will recognize immediately. During interviews, it is wise to offer illustrations of situations where your maturity was instrumental to achieving organizational goals. Experience, even in a seemingly unrelated field, breeds confidence and maturity in the older candidate.

Reliability

An experienced job seeker can communicate in no uncertain terms that he or she will be at work early and among the last to leave; and that they understand that personal toughness is a virtue worthy of emulation. The older candidate will have prepared anecdotes from his or her career and life to emphasize their reliability under any circumstance.

Realism

Older workers rarely expect to be promoted within the first few weeks of a new job. They understand the importance of building credibility and paying dues. Mature individuals contribute first and seek reward after having proven themselves. This sense of realism extends to job tenure and compensation as well. When reminded, employers love the idea of workers who know the value of their work and are less likely to change jobs for a small raise or title change. Experienced workers have had truly bad bosses in the past and they know that a manager who is perceived as unreasonable by the young team members might be no big deal relative to other "true nightmare bosses" of the past. In addition, older workers know that having an exacting supervisor can be a prime opportunity to grow and improve on the job.

Mature job candidates should find ways to communicate that they understand and live by a code of "old-school values" like loyalty, appreciation and dedication. By being ready with anecdotes and supporting evidence for their value, these job seekers will shine in comparison to their younger colleagues.

Efficiency and Focus

Older workers tend to have less drama in their lives. They come to work to, well, work. Where there is sometimes a biased perception that older people lack energy and focus, these concerns are easily dispensed by the effective use of body language, eye contact, firm handshakes and insightful and observant conversation.

The job market can be intimidating for employees who are on the back half of their working lives. Our popular culture and major media can at times worship youthfulness to the apparent exclusion of the more mature. When one considers what organizations need to succeed, however, it is clear that employers and candidates alike need to retune their thinking.

With national unemployment at historical lows and yet workforce participation also low, it is time for older workers to rethink their assumptions and come back to work. American companies and other organizations will only be able to reach their goals if they think logically and with an open mind about their talent needs. It is left to seasoned talent to know their worth, sell their benefits and reap the rewards of their tenure.

Peter A. Gudmundsson is the president & CEO of Hire-Maturity LLC, a company that helps employers engage with high quality talent that is mature, experienced and capable. Until recently, Gudmundsson was CEO of RecruitMilitary, a company that conducts over 100 career fairs in more than 50 cities, manages the largest veteran online job board and published Search & Employ magazine in digital and print formats. Most of Gudmundsson’s career has been dedicated to leadership in media, education and intellectual property-intensive businesses including the Dropout & Truancy Prevention Network, Design Guide Publishing and Primedia Inc. (KKR’s media company). Gudmundsson is a regular media contributor and has appeared on CSPAN, multiple television and radio programs and has published opinion pieces in Forbes, The Washington Post, The Hill, The Christian Science Monitor and many other periodicals. Gudmundsson is also the author of The Veteran Hiring Leader’s Handbook and Not Done Yet: A College to Career Transition Guide for Parents. A former U.S. Marine field artillery officer, Gudmundsson is a graduate of Harvard Business School (MBA) and Brown University (BA in History with Honors). Follow him on Twitter @pagudmundsson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

9/3/17 - 4 Signs Your Interview Skills Are Better Than The Competition

 

by Amy Elisa Jackson
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/4-signs-your-interview-skills-are-better-than-the-competition/ 

Experience and work history aren’t the only things that can set you apart from the competition on your job hunt. Impeccable interview skills can be the winning attribute that you have that others don’t. And like the saying goes, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.” That means you have many opportunities to show a recruiter or hiring manager that you’re the perfect candidate for the job.

Here are four signs that your interview skills are better than the rest:

1. You are proactive during each portion of the interview process.

Much like dating, the job search is now a mutual selection process, with both employers and candidates opting in when it comes time to sign an offer. You’ve got to be proactive every step of the way to ascertain whether this company and job is the right fit for your life. To do that, every interaction has to be useful and beneficial for you to make that ultimate decision.

Informed candidates are curious, so you’re asking any and all questions to get the best picture of the company, the team and the role. From inquiring about next steps, to team work styles, to transportation options, to asking for email addresses for thank you notes, these interactions show how engaged you are as a candidate and leave a lasting impression on employers.

Here are some unique ways to be proactive during each portion of the interview process:

2. You are equipped with anecdotes that “show instead of simply tell.”

One of the first things I learned in journalism school was “show don’t tell.” That means that it’s better to provide an anecdote or scenario to describe what I’m writing rather than just simply write about the action. Show your skills and experience through concise, clear and compelling anecdotes.

Instead of telling a hiring manager that you led a team of 4 in your last job, lend an anecdote or story about what you learned from leading that team or how you empowered them to contribute to the business’ bottom-line. Rehearse 3 or 4 good anecdotes about your past work or educational experience that “show not just tell” why you’re a uniquely informed candidate.

Anecdotes are the perfect way to answer prompts like:

3. Little, if anything, catches you off guard.

There’s a big difference between being a know-it-all and being prepared. Your goal in an interview is to appear confident in your skills and interest in the company, not to be cocky. Therefore, you should rarely be caught off guard by an interviewer and, thus, stand out from the crowd.

One employer said, “An informed candidate is someone that knows about the company — that’s done research and that has read the job description, [who] understands the opening so that when you’re contacting them, they’re essentially meeting you half way. It also shows me that that person is motivated because they are doing the work they need to do.”

Because you’ve browsed dozens of interview questions that are asked of candidates applying to the specific role that you are, you have prepared in advance and over time will prevent last-minute cramming. The result? A confident candidate.

4. The interviewer comments on how well-informed you are.

A recruiter or hiring manager paying you a compliment by noticing how well-researched and responsive you are is the ultimate sign that your interview skills are better than the rest. They’re impressed by your questions, amazed you caught that corporate announcement last month, wowed by what they’ve heard about you from your references and mentions that they want to introduce you to others that are not on the interview loop. All great signs.

Remember, it’s not only about what’s on the resume or cover letter that will land you a new gig. It’s about being proactive and engaged at every step of the job search process. Sure it’s time-consuming and it feels like a full-time job, but anything worth having is worth the energy.

 

8/27/17 - Employers less likely to hire applicants with no social media presence

Online searches are being used more often to weed out potential candidates.

By Kara Driscoll
http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/business/employers-less-likely-hire-applicants-with-social-media-presence/MALOhAY4en0kok5WJfpVoK/

While job applicants are used to being told to ditch the beer pictures on Facebook, more than half of U.S. companies now are less likely to interview a candidate who has no online presence.A national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that more than 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online. The majority of companies will dig through social profiles, but find it even more suspect if they see nothing at all.

“Most workers have some sort of online presence today — and more than half of employers won’t hire those without one,” said Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder. “This shows the importance of cultivating a positive online persona. Job seekers should make their professional profiles visible online and ensure any information that could negatively impact their job search is made private or removed.”

The survey included a representative sample of more than 2,300 hiring managers and human resource professionals across industries and company sizes in the private sector. Cyber-vetting, the practice of researching potential candidates online, is becoming one of the primary ways companies find the right match for an open position.

Jason Eckert, director of career services at the University of Dayton, has seen his share of social media faux pas committed by students looking to land a job after graduation. He’s also seen students land positions because of their social media skills.

More than 70 percent of employers will use social media to screen candidates before hiring, a significant increase from the 11 percent of companies who practiced cyber-vetting in 2006. It’s become so important to employers that 30 percent of human resource departments have an employee dedicated to check social media profiles.

Eckert recalled one student in particular who had a job offer revoked after the employer saw his profile picture on Facebook. “He made his Facebook profile picture a very unflattering picture of himself dressed very scantily and drinking alcohol,” he said.

Approximately 54 percent of employers acknowledged finding content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate for an open role. Because of that, UD’s career services department talks to students about social media do’s and don’ts — and they encourage students to create a LinkedIn profile for employers to look at.

“It’s having a professional presence,” he said. “It’s illustrating you’re part of the professional culture of 2017. I still see instances where young people are making mistakes online, but that number has decreased compared to four or five years ago.”

Doug Barry, president and CEO of Dayton-based BarryStaff staffing company, said job seekers should be aware of what their goals are online. Applicants should make sure they’re digital brand doesn’t contradict the values or messages of the companies they’re trying to work for.

““Be smart about it,” Barry said of a person’s online profile. “Employers are looking for reasons not to hire you.”

“On the flip-side,” he said, “employers are making a mistake if they’re not hiring people for not having a digital profile. A lot of people don’t want to live in the digital world. It’s not a bad thing to be a private person. I would caution employers looking negatively upon that.”

Katie Sturgis, director of talent acquisition for Dayton-headquartered CareSource, said the company does have a social media policy to remind employees that they represent the company online and in person. CareSource still hires people who don’t have an online presence, but Sturgis said social media can be a “first impression” for companies to get to know candidates.

“A tool we utilize on a daily basis is LinkedIn,” she said. “I think the key is providing accurate and up-to-date information. Candidates need to realize this is their opportunity to represent themselves out on social media.”

Employers are also using social media to monitor their own employees. More than half of employers use social networking sites to research current employees. Thirty-four percent of employers have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee, according to the survey.

Melissa Spirek, full professor of media studies at Wright State University, said companies use digital information to determine the ability of the candidate to fit the culture — and they also use personal data posted online to learn information that would be illegal to ask in an interview.

Such information can include a candidate’s martial status, age, even sexual orientation.
Spirek’s advice to job applicants: “They should ask themselves, ‘What is the potential cost of posting this message?’”

By the numbers

70: Percentage of employers who use social media to screen candidates, up from 11 percent in 2006.

57: Percentage of employers who are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online.

54: Percentage of employers who acknowledge not hiring a candidate based on their social media profile.

8/20/17 - Dear Jobseeker: Navigating the ATS

Maren Hogan
Read more at http://www.business2community.com/human-resources/dear-jobseeker-navigating-ats-01878447#J25kVUoUTyyCKJ4S.99

Although the job market is way better than it was just a few years ago, it’s still no picnic trying to find a job that is a match for both your skills and the culture you want in a career. After all, it’s about more than just filling a ROLE for you, you want to find a place where you can grow, plant your flag and build the base for your future endeavors.

That’s a lot of pressure on every resume you send out, every cover letter you write and every interview you go on. We’re compiling some of the best advice for candidates out there on the internet in the hopes it will help you during your job search and beyond. After all, many times we find ourselves on both sides of the interview desk as our careers progress.

Navigating the ATS.

There are a lot of articles aimed at recruiters and HR professionals around how to maximize investment in the Applicant Tracking System but someone seems to have forgotten to tell APPLICANTS the ins and outs of navigating an ATS successfully. Consider this rectified!

An Applicant Tracking System is the little sorting robot who matches your resume to the job openings to which you applied. If your resume is formatted incorrectly or it cannot see the parallels between your resume and the job posting, it could send you a rejection letter before your resume is ever seen by human eyes. This is one of the reasons that so many jobseeker focused posts will encourage you to call after submitting a resume, include a cover letter and ensure you receive a receipt of your submission. Because like nearly all robots, ATS are prone to making mistakes a human might not make.

For jobseekers, consider the following to ease the pain of applying via this as-yet-undisrupted method:
Use phrases and terminology from the actual job posting.

While not a foolproof method to ensure you’re getting seen by a pair of human eyes, it gives you a better chance than most. Even the most basic SEO knowledge can help you here, since many systems rely on semantic or phrase search, meaning it may not realize that InDesign proficiency means you understand and can work with the Adobe Suite. Being a marketing manager in your past role may not match up with business development coordinator unless you use phrases and titles the computer can match together easily.

Have your stuff together.

Many ATS are older, which means if you accidentally hit the back button or take too long when building your online application, you might get kicked off and all your progress is lost. While companies SHOULD pay attention to their candidate experience (that’s YOU) and try to make it as painless as possible, on the backend, many of these systems are duct-taped together to try and form a complete system, which means changing one can bring the whole house of cards down. So until that issue is fixed, remember to have all your documents ready and waiting when you sit down to apply for that dream job.

Research!

In days past, we told candidates to look up the teams and hiring managers on LinkedIn and check Facebook reviews, but today’s candidates have even more inside information to gain! From Glassdoor and FairyGodBoss to Comparably and Kununu, there are reviews on companies, teams, hiring managers and even interview experience. It’s that last bit that can come in handy when you are interviewing for a company. Get the inside scoop from people who have aced the interview (and those who haven’t). Another great place to research is Quora!

Of course, all these come along with the same advice you’re used to hearing, like ensure you have a receipt from your submission. No matter what your recruiting friend tells you, a cover letter is still appreciated by the majority of recruiters and thank you emails (not handwritten notes) are noted by hiring managers. If you can get past the ATS, and you spend the time to truly look at both the posting and the career site or FAQs page, you have a much better chance of making your way into the job of your dreams!

Maren Hogan is a seasoned marketer and community builder in the HR and Recruiting industry. She leads Red Branch Media, a full service marketing and advertising agency serving the HR and Recruiting sectors. A consistent advocate of next generation marketing techniques, Hogan has built successful online communities, deployed brand strategies in both the B2B and B2C sectors, and been a prolific contributor of thought leadership in the recruitment and talent space.

8/13/17 - How to Build a Career, Not Just Find a Job

LISA HAUGH
 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296679

Headlines abound whenever Facebook or Google introduce a new feature or product. Recently, both rolled out similar services for job seekers, but don’t expect these tools to take all the work out of landing your dream job.

Here’s what the two Silicon Valley giants are offering. Google will aggregate listings from five major job sites to display in search results. On Facebook, companies can post jobs and contact and track applicants. The social media site will also push relevant jobs into users’ news feeds.

Both companies want to keep people on their websites longer and serve paying customers (i.e., advertisers and businesses). For the individual job seeker, these launches tout added convenience -- but to what purpose? Being able to blast out resumes to more companies from a single site may feel better quantitatively, but it’s potentially worse from a qualitative standpoint.

If you want to build your career and not just find a job, developing your professional network will be far more valuable than uploading your resume to every listing site on the internet.

Where to start

Just do it: Put yourself out there, don’t dismiss anyone as unhelpful and be gracious to everyone you meet. You never know who may connect you to a great opportunity. Rather than view your network as a bunch of people you may eventually be able to “use,” approach it as a chance to meet interesting, diverse people who will expand your world and introduce you to new experiences, whether they be jobs or not. Don’t limit yourself to the short-term goal of finding a job; invest in relationships that you can carry with you for years to come.

Certainly, networking can be daunting when you’re early in your career and don’t have a lot to show for yourself. And especially if you’re shy, it may be even harder to initiate conversations with people you barely know who are older and more experienced. The truth, however, is that many of us genuinely enjoy using our successes to help someone else who shows promise and ambition. I encourage my peers to become mentors all the time, so they can see how rewarding it is to get a youthful perspective and use their experience to further someone else’s career.

How to grow it

LinkedIn is a great place to connect with potential mentors as well as people who might be looking to hire. You can also visit the pages of companies that interest you and find names of people in the department where you’d like to work. But just like blindly sharing your resume won’t guarantee results, you need to do more than send strangers invitations to connect online. Craft a personalized message to each person explaining your goals, why you consider this person a role model, and why you deserve a half-hour of their time.

You’re also going to have to approach people in the real world. Step outside your comfort zone, attend industry functions and meetups, and request informational interviews with people in roles to which you aspire. The worst that can happen is they say “no, thanks” or don’t respond. I’m in my college’s alumni database and have indicated I’m open to hearing from recent grads seeking advice. Your school very likely has a similar network for finding established professionals in your target field.

Continuing education is another avenue for meetings others involved in your industry -- both teachers and fellow students. Ask where others have worked, how they found their jobs and whether they’d be willing to make introductions for you. Connect online to see who else they know.

And, while you don’t want to turn every fun activity into a professional networking session, keep your eyes and ears open when you’re socializing too. There might be someone in your book club, church or spin class who knows someone at your dream company. As long as you’re respectful and not overbearing, it can’t hurt to let people know you’re looking for career help.

How to use it

Above all, remember you are asking people to give you something: their time, their advice, their support. You’re asking for a favor, so be gracious, patient and receptive, whether they’re in a position to offer you work or not.

Listen more than you talk. Be curious, open-minded and flexible, rather than having a fixed agenda and set of expectations. If you’ve had a good first meeting but aren’t sure where to go from there, ask if you can continue to check in with them occasionally and seek their guidance when you’re prepping for important interviews. See if they’ll keep you in mind for an internship or even a freelance project.

Walking away from a networking meeting or informational interview without a promise is not a failure. You’re building relationships and your career, not job hunting. This is the beginning of a conversation that could last for years if it holds value for both of you.

Lisa Haugh has more than 15 years of experience leading legal and HR functions for a range of startups and mature companies. At Udemy, she heads up all legal and human resource functions, including all hiring, training and diversity efforts. She received her BA from UCLA and her law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law.

8/6/17 - Why Personal Branding Must Be Your First Focus

 

Mike Wood

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295658

In today’s competitive business environment, it may seem nearly impossible to stand out. But many people have managed to step out of the shadows by opting for a strategy primarily used by businesses themselves -- branding.

Personal branding is the key to giving yourself an advantage both in your current job and when you search for a new one.

Your personal brand is something that follows you around whether you want it to or not. It’s something that exists even if you don’t bother to cultivate it. From job to job, the way you present yourself professionally matters, and it is instrumental in establishing yourself as a valuable leader.

What exactly is personal branding?

Understanding the ins and outs of personal branding is obviously the first step in the right direction. The concept can be simply defined as the method of marketing yourself and your career to improve relationships with managers, colleagues and clients. Turning yourself into a brand helps you manage how you’re viewed and how much trust you can establish in your career. It involves creating a distinct voice, image and ethical standard.

But, it’s also something that takes consistent work over the course of your career. That is to say, you can’t write a particularly excellent blog post one time and expect that to carry you through the rest of your life. On top of that, just generally having a social media presence is no longer enough to qualify as a personal brand.

Building trust with those around you.

Trust isn’t something that flourishes naturally on a wide scale. It’s something you have to cultivate, and the best way to do that is with a unique personal brand. When it comes to who consumers trust the most, it’s almost always individuals. Corporate branding may technically be more visible, but it’s almost universally seen as less trustworthy. In fact, brand messages are shared 24 times more often if the originator of the message is an individual.

Clearly, you can use your personal brand to build trust as long as that brand reads as authentic and sincere.

Finding a niche.

One of the most valuable facets of a personal brand is discovering your niche. It can be difficult to stand out if your area of expertise is simply “marketing.” If you try something more specific, you can magnify yourself and your skills. Although your target demographic may be more narrow, you are more likely to connect with that audience. I have spent most of my career focusing on Wikipedia. May not sound exciting, but it has helped me stand out as a go-to person for those in need of a Wikipedia page.

Becoming a thought leader.

While becoming a thought leader might not be at the top of everyone’s to-do list, it can happen if you establish yourself in a niche. Whether you are writing articles or participating in interviews, a portfolio of helpful information and advice will propel you to thought leader status. Again, this is all about building trust with valuable and actionable guidance. 

Conclusion.

In order to become a respected intellectual in your field, you have to know what you’re talking about, offer genuine counsel and really mean what you say. Done well, personal branding can walk side-by-side with personal development and career success.

Mike Wood is an online marketer, author and Wikipedia expert. He is the founder of legalmorning.com, an online marketing agency that specializes in content writing, brand management and professional Wikipedia editing. He is a regular contributor to many online publications where he writes about business and marketing. Wood is the host of the Marketing Impact podcast and author of the book, Wikipedia As A Marketing Tool.

 

7/30/17 - Want To Master Your Networking Skills? Start By Researching And Listening

 

WRITTEN BY: Forbes Coaches Council
Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2017/06/21/want-to-master-your-networking-skills-start-by-researching-and-listening/#70c2ed2a446c 

Networking is crucial for career building. There's a lot that rides on the good recommendations of others, from a simple reference on a resume to having your name passed on to an interested party who's looking for someone with exactly your skills. But networking is also challenging. Taking the wrong approach when meeting people can leave a negative impression, or worse — none at all.

Below, 11 experts from Forbes Coaches Council talk about what they see is key to a good networking pitch, including being concise, connecting emotions, doing research and demonstrating empathy. Here's what they advise:

1. Develop Your Elevator Pitch

Before networking events occur, take time to memorize and develop your elevator pitch. Be clear about the types of people you help and what you do for them. Understand your personal brand and what makes you unique and different, then share this in a positive way. Let the other person go first, and show genuine interest in what they have to say. Show genuine care and concern for others. - Rebecca Bosl, Dream Life Team

2. Do Your Homework

Before attending an event where you will meet new people, study the host organization, mission, board and members. This will help you build conversational rapport and avoid a situation where you seem to be "selling yourself" in an unsolicited pitch. Remember to be yourself and appeal to new acquaintances as "people first." - LaKisha Greenwade, Lucki Fit LLC

3. Listen More Than You Talk

Start by building and fostering relationships where you do more listening than talking. Learn about the needs of others, and identify ways to align yourself with their requirements. By demonstrating clear value, you won't need to conduct hard sales or pressuring networking tactics to get people to hear you out. Listening to learn puts others first, helping build trust to secure investments. - Adrienne Tom, Career Impressions

4. Find Commonalities Between You

Look for information about their work, or something you both care about. Bridge that to how meeting with you will benefit them. Commenting that you liked their article doesn't incentivize them to meet with you. Instead, say that you have published a similar article. A great pitch lies in finding the commonalities between you and creating a feeling of connection, even before you've met. - Jessica Sweet, Wishingwell Coaching

5. Be Relatable: It Makes You Interesting

Your pitch should strike interest in someone you meet to make them want to know more. Don't just tell them everything you do, ask them about what they do and weave what you do into the conversation. Don't talk about money. Focus on impact. Whatever you say should place you in the position to be remembered by the person you are connecting with. - Maleeka T. Hollaway, The Official Maleeka Group, LLC.

6. Share A Story That Triggers Emotions

While everyone else is busy sharing forgettable facts and figures in the same old snooze-worthy style, captivate your audience by sharing a relatable story that pulls at their emotions. Stories make people feel things. And given that 90% of purchases are based on emotions, the story-centered networking pitch always wins. - Stephanie Nivinskus, SizzleForce Marketing

7. Be Authentic

Be you, and be authentic. People can see fakeness from a mile away, and we all get turned off by it. In order to be authentic, notice all the things you say to yourself about who you should be and what a "successful professional" should say, do and want. Then, practice communicating an introduction versus a "pitch," without all those "shoulds." If you feel more alive and free, you are on the right track! - Susanne Biro, Susanne Biro & Associates Coaching Inc.

8. Have A Consistent Message

There have been so many times when I've met someone in person and been impressed, but then when I looked them up on LinkedIn, their brand did not align in both places. The key to a great pitch is to be consistent across all mediums, both in-person and digital. Start by identifying who you are and what your goals are, then build a consistent message that aligns with your identity and goals. - Brendan P. Keegan, velocityHUB

9. Be Specific

Be painfully specific about what you do, for whom you do it and why they like having it done for them. If you're not specific, people don't know how to connect with you or how to help you, let alone hire you! Most importantly, remember, as Mike Wien of the Specific Edge Institute says, "Specific does not mean exclusive." - David Taylor-Klaus, DTK Coaching

10. Offer A Call To Action

The key is in getting others to take action. Give something away for free that they value, so you can stay in touch and build value. It could be a free sample, a white paper, an ebook, a webinar, or an open house invitation. It's low risk for them and something that will add value to their lives. Once you've said your benefits-focused elevator speech, always end with a call to action. - Sandi Leyva, Sandra L Leyva Inc.

11. Have An Answer To The 'So What' Question

Reflect on your elevator pitch, and ask yourself what you would say if a person said "Sounds great, but so what?" Your ability to explain the bottom-line benefit or impact of your value proposition is key to crafting a pitch that connects all the dots so the reader will never ask "So what!" - Virginia Franco, Virginia Franco Resumes

 

7/23/17 - This Is the Email Smart People Send When They're Rejected for a Job

 

by Kat Boogaard
https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-is-the-email-smart-people-send-when-theyre-rejected-for-a-job 

You went through the numerous rounds of in-person interviews. You established great rapport (and—dare you say—even a friendly bond) with your potential new boss. You had reached the final stages of the hiring process and you knew it.

All that was left to do was wait for the decision. So, when an email finally appeared in your inbox, you eagerly clicked it open.

Unfortunately, that’s where the good news ends. You skimmed the first couple lines until your eyes tripped over that one sentence you dreaded seeing: “Unfortunately, we decided to move ahead with another candidate.”

Your heart sinks into your shoes and you’re caught between either crying or throwing something (or maybe a little bit of both?). And, in the midst of the flurry of emotions, you’re also reminded of this: You need to find a way to politely respond to that brutal rejection email.

Wait… Why Reply at All?

I know, it’s tempting to slink off into a dark corner and pretend the whole thing never happened. Getting the old “thanks, but no thanks” is humbling enough, without having to swallow your pride, paste on a smile, and write something friendly and professional in return.

But, rest assured, it’s important that you indeed do draft a response after being rejected.

Why? Well, for starters, it’s a great way to demonstrate your professionalism, establish the grounds for a continued relationship, and—in some circumstances—even open the door for future opportunities.

Think that sounds impossible? Just read Muse writer Sara McCord’s story about how a rejection transformed into another offer, and you’re sure to be humming a different tune.

Even further, responding to the rejection gives you the opportunity to ask for feedback, which is valuable information you can use to continue improving and making progress in your job search.

Alright, you get it. But, now comes the hard part: actually drafting that cringe-worthy, ego-deflating email.

Now sure how to pull it off? This template can help.

The Template

Hello [Name],

Thanks for letting me know about your decision.

While I’ll admit that I’m disappointed I won’t be able to work as part of the [Company] team, it truly was great to meet you and learn more about the great work that you’re doing.

I’m excited to keep following [Company] as the team [name a current company goal], and I’ll keep an especially close eye on [project/development you discussed in your interview].

Thanks once again for the opportunity, [Name], and I hope our paths cross again in the future. I’m wishing you and [Company] all the best moving forward.

Best wishes,
[Your Name]

Now, the Final Step

Another wise thing you can do after hitting “reply” on that rejection email? If you haven’t already, request to connect with the hiring manager or department leader on LinkedIn—making sure to include a brief and personalized message along with your invitation about how much you enjoyed meeting him or her and mentioning that you’d love to stay in touch.

That message could be short and simple like this:

Hey [Name],

I really enjoyed meeting you during my interview for [role] with [Company]. I thought I’d connect here so we could keep in touch.

Wishing you the best,
[Your Name]

Whether it leads to something down the road or not, you’ll at least know that you handled the bad news well and did your best to keep the lines of communication open.

Nobody wants to receive a rejection email, much less respond to one. However, hitting “reply” on that dreaded message is actually a wise move.

I know—easier said than done. Fortunately, using this template will make it that much simpler to craft a professional and constructive message in return. It might still sting, but at least you can rest assured that you’re polite and respectful until the bitter end.


Kat is a Midwest-based freelance writer, covering topics related to careers, self-development, and the freelance life. In addition to writing for The Muse, she's also the Career Editor for The Everygirl, a columnist for Inc., and a contributor all over the web. When she manages to escape from behind her computer screen, she's usually babying her rescued terrier mutt or continuing her search for the perfect taco. Say hi on Twitter @kat_boogaard or check out her website. http://www.katboogaard.com/ 

 

7/16/17 - How Far Back Should Your Resume Go?

 

Isabel Thottam 
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/how-far-back-should-your-resume-go/ 

Whether you are well into your career, or have a gap in your employment, it can be tough to decide what to include on a resume. This is especially true when you reach a point where you question whether your work experience happened too long ago to include on your resume.

Most people are looking for a straightforward answer or rule that tells them exactly how many years is too far back to include on their resume. However, career experts and coaches say there’s no hard-and-fast, right answer.

We spoke with Michelle Aikman, NCRW, co-founder and Director of Adventure Learning of Cerno, to discuss just how far back your resume should go.

The rule of thumb

The standard rule people will often hear is that any experience past ten years is not relevant and should be kept off a resume. But, Aikman points out that there is no hard and fast rule that applies to everyone because some people don’t have work experiences that lead them to what they want to do next.

“My rule of thumb is to consider how important the experience is to convey your ability to do the job and whether it is absolutely critical that you communicate your qualifications or past experiences with a timeline attached to it,” says Aikman.

If the experience still applies, regardless of when it occurred, Aikman says you should still put it on your resume.

“As long as it gives the employer enough information to understand it, it opens the door for you to talk about that experience,” she explains. “It might not be recent, but is still relevant.

It’s all about relevancy

When it comes to placing old work experience on your resume, Aikman says to focus on relevancy. If you did something in high school or college that is more relevant to what you are trying to do than other recent experiences, then Aikman says you absolutely should include it because it adds to your qualifications.

For those with a large gap in their employment, filling out a job application or going to an interview might be nerve-wrecking if you’re worried an employer will notice how far back your resume goes. But if you accomplished things in your personal life that you are proud of, you can find ways to showcase those accomplishments on your resume as relevant experience.

For example, if there is a gap in your employment because you had to care for a family member or loved one, you can explain what you learned or accomplished through that experience in a way that showcases the relevant work to the job you are now applying to. Maybe that experience taught you how to manage another person’s life–so you can showcase why you’d be a great assistant or general manager.

“It just comes down to pulling out the relevant words to describe what you did,” says Aikman. “It may mean you need to be skilled in how you present the information, because you may not be able to use the language you used before. Think about how you can communicate this experience using language that will resonate with the employer.”

Translating old experiences

Moreover, not only is providing relevant experience important, but it’s also important to translate the experience for your future employer. Aikman says you must come to terms with the challenges you are facing while unemployed, but showing the employer why you are motivated and want to work for them.

“The cover letter is a really good place to explain this,” advises Aikman. “It’s important that you provide details on why you are trying to transition right now because employers tend to get nervous about why you are unemployed or haven’t been hired yet.”

Aikman explains this is a significant issue for many people with a large employment gap and that many career services centers or professionals are not able to help because they don’t know how to.

Go beyond the resume

Unfortunately, a stigma still exists around being unemployed. When you are looking for a new job, the standard process of filling out an online application or dropping off a resume isn’t always enough. Aikman advises that those in this situation should be more pro-active in reaching out to employers by attending networking events and building relationships with other professionals.

When it comes down to it, Aikman says you just have to communicate to the employer that the experience you have, regardless of when it occurred, does make you qualified for the position

“You have to believe in the resume for it to work. I think anything can go on a resume, it’s just how you communicate it using the right language,” she says.

 

7/9/17 - 7 Effective Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door When Applying Online Isn’t Cutting It

 

by YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR COUNCIL
https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-effective-ways-to-get-your-foot-in-the-door-when-applying-online-isnt-cutting-it 

You’re doing everything right in your job search—following instructions down to every last detail, crafting the perfect cover letter, tailoring your resume. But you’re not hearing back.

Why? You’re not the only one following the instructions and your materials are probably getting lost in the sea of other qualified candidates. Hiring managers receive loads of applications, and if you want to stand out, you sometimes need to take the road less traveled.

To help you out, we asked seven successful entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best unconventional job search tactics to land the role of your dreams.

1. Don’t Discount the Informational Interview

When I was 21, I started a podcast that involved reaching out to people with the jobs that I wanted and interviewed them about how they got to where they were. It turned out that setting up those informational interviews was a huge key to building relationships that would lead to landing my first job. Insider tip: Don’t ask for the job or bring your resume. Instead, make it about them and their experiences.

—Allie Siarto, Allie Siarto & Co. Photography

2. Send a (Personalized) Cold Email

I recently hired someone who wrote me a passionate email about their desire to join my team. The email came out of left field and was unrelated to any particular job openings at that time. The reason I gave the person a shot is because, by sending me a well-written message packed with enthusiasm, they showed their tenacity, creativity, and optimism—all qualities I value when looking for new talent.

—Mark Krassner, Expectful

3. Notify Your Network

Let your friends and network know that you’re open to new opportunities. Curate a list of people you trust and reach out to them about your openness to exploring new roles. Ask them to recommend opportunities and companies to consider.

—Adelyn Zhou, TOPBOTS

4. Solve a Problem

I once hired someone for a position I didn’t know we needed. He contacted me and (politely) pointed out a weakness in our operations, then showed me how we could solve it at a practical cost, thus improving our services. I was so impressed he took such care to study our business that I knew we needed him onboard. So, if you’re fond of a company, demonstrate how they’d be better off with you.

—Nicolas Gremion, Free-eBooks.net

5. Get Your Face Out There

A very unconventional approach nowadays is getting a job the old-fashioned way (seriously, it works). If the company’s local, find out where they’re going to be and approach them first. Maybe it’s at a job fair, networking event, or industry conference. Put yourself out there, introduce yourself, and you’ve already taken the steps to standing out among the countless online job applicants.

—Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

6. Stay on Top of Social Media

Many companies will share open positions on their social channels to find potential employees within their followers. Candidates who come from their followers are already familiar with their business and more likely to share the same aesthetic as the brand.

—Bryanne Lawless, BLND Public Relations

7. Leverage LinkedIn for a Coffee Date (or Two)

One strategy I recommend is reaching out to the hiring manager or an employee on the team over LinkedIn. Ask for mentorship or career advice, but never ask for a job. Build a relationship over several meetings. Impress him or her with a great attitude and enthusiasm for the industry, and maybe the perfect opportunity will present itself.

—Terry Kim, NexGenT

 

7/2/17 - “A Friend of a Friend” Is No Longer the Best Way to Find a Job

 

Ilana Gershon - Harvard Business Review
https://hbr.org/2017/06/a-friend-of-a-friend-is-no-longer-the-best-way-to-find-a-job 

How do you get a job these days? The answer often involves networking — it isn’t what you know, it’s whom, we’re told. But what does that mean? After all, we’re connected to many people, in countless ways. So who can actually help? What kinds of relationships should we try to use when we are looking for a job?

If you go to job-searching workshops — and I went to more than 50 in the course of studying the contemporary hiring landscape in 2013 and 2014 — you will be told weak ties are the key. Weak ties are the people you know, but not terribly well: your child’s teacher, or the friend of a friend you happened to meet at a party. This advice originated in a groundbreaking study by sociologist Mark Granovetter in the early 1970s. He interviewed 100 white-collar workers who had switched jobs in the previous five years and discovered that weak ties helped many of them find out about their next job.

Weak ties were important for one simple reason: Your strong ties (colleagues, family, and friends) probably knew about all the same jobs that you did. Granovetter discovered that you were more likely to hear about unknown job possibilities from the second cousin you ran into at a wedding, or from the former neighbor you saw in the supermarket parking lot. Of the people in Granovetter’s study who found out about a job opening through word of mouth, 83.4% said they found out through a weak tie. In the early 1970s it became clear that the most effective way to find a job through networking was to be in touch with as many weak ties as possible.

I set out to learn whether that was still the case. After all, Granovetter’s study was done decades ago, long before we all started using the internet. If the technologies that help us look for a job have changed in significant ways, I reasoned, it’s likely that the ways we get information about jobs have also changed. I had to find a way to replicate Granovetter’s study in some form to see which networking ties matter in today’s media ecology.

I located a great source: A weekly meeting held by an organization for white-collar job seekers in the Bay Area, a portion of which was dedicated to successful job seekers telling their stories — on film. While it’s not a duplication of Granovetter’s study, watching 380 success stories collected from 2012 to 2014 allowed me to conduct a fairly comparable study.

So, are weak ties still the key? No. Of the 141 people who said they thought networking had helped them, only 17% reported that a weak tie did the trick. Workplace ties, however, proved to be more useful. More than 60% of the storytellers reported that someone they had worked with in the past helped them find their next job. These weren’t always coworkers — former bosses and former clients helped, too. But what job seekers found most useful were people who could talk knowledgeably and convincingly about what the applicant was like as a worker and colleague.

That’s a dramatic change from the 1970s, and the most obvious driver is our wildly altered media ecology. When Granovetter conducted his study, the major challenge in finding a new job was learning that the job existed in the first place. In the 1970s people found out about jobs through newspaper ads, “help wanted” signs, or word of mouth. Nowadays, that’s the easy part: People learn about jobs because they find job ads online, search listings on corporate sites, or are contacted by recruiters. That has led to a new problem: Too many people are applying for the same jobs. The hard part now, as most people know, is standing out from the pack — having your résumé noticed in a large pile, or finding some way around a clunky applicant tracking system. Hiring managers face the same problem, having to sort through hundreds of applicants with the limited tools of application software, résumés, and cover letters. In these moments, what those hiring value most is a strong recommendation from someone who actually knows the applicant as a worker and can assure them that the person will be a good hire.

While these connections are important, it’s important to note that they may not change one of the most problematic results of networking: relatively homogenous workplaces. Granovetter himself noticed that even if people were getting jobs through weak ties, networking wasn’t changing the makeup of companies. After all, if no one of color or from a working-class background was hired into an office, there were fewer people to spread the word that the job existed in the first place. Nowadays, the problem is more of an implicit bias in how recommendations function — people tend to recommend their former coworkers whom they liked working with. Relying on workplace ties doesn’t solve the problem of how networking creates barriers to creating a more diverse workplace; it just shifts the locus of the problem.

Practically, since recommending someone for a job is such an important part of hiring — and a way people with different backgrounds and perspectives can be excluded from workplaces — it has become a significant ethical decision. Everyone involved in hiring decisions should think carefully about who is being recommended and why. And for the job seeker who is networking, don’t give up on weak ties entirely — 17% of them still have good odds. Ultimately, however, workplace ties may hold more weight. The kinds of networks that your workplace allows you to nurture matter not only to your present working conditions but also to what jobs you can get in the future. The best way to increase the likelihood of getting the job you want later may be to treat your colleagues well at the one you have now.

Ilana Gershon is an associate professor of anthropology at Indiana University who studies how people use new media to accomplish complicated social tasks such as finding a job and breaking up. Her new book is Down and Out in the New Economy: How People Find (or Don’t Find) Work Today.

 

6/25/17 - How To Respond To: “Tell Me About A Time When You’ve Failed”

 

Isabel Thottam
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/answer-time-failed/ 

We all have weaknesses and have experienced times of failure–but how we overcome those shortcomings often says a lot about our personalities and work ethics. Despite the lessons learned, our flaws are not always something we want to talk about, especially in a job interview.

Regardless, it’s wise to be prepared for those dreaded questions in any interview, such as, “What are your weaknesses?” and “Tell me about a time you failed.”

Job interview coming up? Consider the following to help you answer such questions about your failures with growth areas.

Research common interview questions

Though it’s not always on their list of questions, many interviewers want to assess how a candidate deals with setbacks. If an interviewer asks you to tell them about a time you failed, don’t let shock or panic set in. If you’re not able to come up with an example of your failures or weaknesses, it can signal an interviewer that you lack self-awareness or do not handle criticism well.

Moreover, one of the reasons interviewers ask this type of question is to see how well you think on your feet. If you prepare ahead of time with some examples of times you failed or a mistake you made in a previous job, you’ll be ready to answer the question immediately, which tells the hiring manager that you came to the interview well prepared.

Get honest input from a colleague

If you’ve stayed in touch with a co-worker that would know one of your weaknesses, or was there when you failed at work, reach out to get their advice. Talking through a previous failure with a co-worker who was impacted by your failure or witnessed it can give you some helpful perspective that might come in handy when you have to talk about it in an interview.

Ask the co-worker how they felt you handled the situation or why they think you made the mistake in the first place. This might give you some closure on what happened too. If you always just viewed the mistake as a time you failed, maybe now you understand the lessons you truly learned from it.

Reflect on your mistakes and failures

Nobody is perfect, so there are times where you failed or made a mistake in your last role. You know what they are too; you just might have buried them because you don’t like to think about those mishaps.

Taking the time to reflect on your mistakes helps you identify your areas of improvement, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, if you’re able to talk about your failures during an interview, it shows that you are a mature person who has grown since making that mistake. This also shows the interviewer that you are someone who values learning and finds benefits in challenging yourself.

Be honest

When you take the time to actually reflect on your mistakes, you find an honest answer about your failures. Having a keen sense of self-awareness is important for any job, so if you’re able to give a good, mature answer to a question about your failures an interviewer will notice that you are a person of integrity.

Talk about what why you failed

When you give your example of your failure don’t just say, “I lost a huge client for my company and my team failed as a result.” All this does is tell the interviewer that you made a big mistake. Instead, go into the details to show that you actually understand why you failed.

For example, if you lost the client because of your communication skills or because you couldn’t beat a competitor’s price, explain that. The more you can show that you learned from the mistake, the better you can communicate to the interviewer that, despite this previous failure, you won’t make that same mistake in this job because you understand what went wrong.

Rehearse your answer

No matter how much you prepare, you could still draw a blank during the interview when this question comes up. Limit the chances of this happening by practicing.

Give a friend a set of random interview questions to ask you; knowing that one of them is “Tell me about a time you failed.” Even though you know it’s coming, when it finally comes up, see how well you handle being asked this question on the spot.

Preparation is key for acing an interview and by rehearsing your responses, you’ll be more likely to walk into your interview confident and ready for any curveballs that might come your way.

 

6/18/17 - Three Job Interview Mistakes You Think You Avoided But Actually Didn’t

 

The hiring manager might’ve hinted you’ve got it in the bag. Don’t take them at their word.
BY DON RASKIN
https://www.fastcompany.com/40420295/three-job-interview-mistakes-you-think-you-avoided-but-actually-didnt 

You’re walking out of your job interview and playing everything back in your head. Maybe it’s for your dream job, maybe it isn’t–but you feel great. You think you really nailed it. Now you all there’s left to do is sit back and wait for an offer.

It never comes. Weeks later, you realize something must’ve gone wrong. Either the competition was a lot steeper than you’d imagined or (gulp) you choked and just didn’t realize it. More than likely, something went wrong at the last step of the process.

This is more common than you might think. Lots of candidates get really far along in a drawn-out hiring process, only to lose out on the offer at the very end. Here are three of the more common mistakes job applicants tend to make despite thinking they’ve nailed an interview, only to wind up surprised when that offer never arrives.

1. YOU MISSED THE REAL REASON FOR THE FINAL INTERVIEW
After several rounds of interviews, you’re brought in one last time to meet the most senior member of the team. At this stage, many candidates think that all they really need to do is stick to their script–it’s gotten them this far, so why switch it up now?

But it’s a mistake to continue presenting yourself exactly the same way you did in the earlier rounds of interviews. What you might not realize is that the criteria by which you’re being judged changes the farther into the interview process you go. In earlier rounds, hiring managers might be checking up on specific hard skills you’ll bring to a job. They’ll probe your past experience to make sure it’s a fit.

But once a prospective employer decides that your technical requirements match the needs of the open position, they’ll start judging you on a different set of skills. So if you’re called back in for a second or third time, be careful how you interpret the questions you’re asked. The same one you heard in the first round–for instance, “What’s the biggest asset you think you can you bring to the position?”–may call for a much different answer.

If you answered that question with your technical know-how earlier on, you might want to use it later on to sell your soft skills (here are a few tips for doing that in the midst of an interview). Leadership, communication, and interpersonal abilities tend to be bigger decision factors late in the interview process. How well you present them might determine whether you get an offer.

2. YOU WAITED TOO LONG TO FOLLOW UP, OR SOUNDED TEPID ONCE YOU DID
Your job interview went so well that the hiring manager wrapped up by strongly suggesting that you’d hear back soon with an offer. So you leave and wait. But the company goes silent–you hear nothing back and can’t figure out why.

Chances are you took those surefire signs of their interest to mean your work was basically done. You were smart enough to remember to follow up with a thank-you email–but what kind of thank-you was it, and when did you hit “send”? Companies will assume you’re considering more than one opportunity, so if you’re lukewarm or late with your follow-up, they might guess that your interest is flimsy and make an offer to a candidate who seems more eager. (Some might even infer from that how passionately you’ll pursue your job once you’re hired.)

No matter what the company tells you in that final interview, you can’t stop acting like a candidate and start acting like an employee until an offer letter is in hand. Your post-interview follow-up can be as important as the impression you make in the interview room. No matter how far along you get, send an email to the team you interviewed with expressing your continued enthusiasm for the job–and do it that day. It’s your last chance to sell your candidacy and reiterate why you’re the person they can’t live without.

3. YOU WERE SLOW HANDING OVER YOUR REFERENCES
References are an insurance policy for many employers. They just don’t feel comfortable making a job offer without talking to people you’ve worked with in the past. When you leave the interview and the interviewer asks you to forward your references, it may sound like a late-in-the-game formality. But even if the request didn’t sound urgent, you’ve got nothing to lose by treating it that way. Once you walk out of a successful interview and the company asks you for references, you need to supply that information within 24-48 hours.

The main reason candidates are often slow to pass along references isn’t because they shrug off their importance, though. It’s because they wait too long to line them up. If you start calling around at the end of the interview process, a solid week may pass before you secure three great contacts who are willing to vouch for you, bring them up to speed on the position, and send their contact information.

While you do that, many things might happen. Someone within the company asks for the job, or a new candidate comes in and wows the hiring manager who’s waiting for your references. Maybe a higher-up raises a budget concern and the company decides to split the job responsibilities among current employees, then stops looking to fill the opening (trust me, it happens all the time). The point is, you need to strike while the company is high on you and hot on filling the role. Slowing down the process by making them wait on references is a simple way to kill your chances in the homestretch.

These mistakes are easy to fall into because things have gone so well through the rest of the interview process. Never let your guard down or assume you’ve got it in the bag. Keep trying to impress until the offer is yours.

 

6/11/17 - The No. 1 interview mistake job candidates make is surprisingly simple

 

Jenna Goudreau
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/30/the-no-1-interview-mistake-job-candidates-make-is-surprisingly-simple.html 

In previous jobs, and now in my role as a managing editor at CNBC, I've conducted dozens of job interviews.

I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and I'm constantly amazed at the basic things that candidates screw up.

The No. 1 thing that can ruin your job interview is surprisingly simple: Displaying low energy.

I've seen it plenty of times myself and have heard it from many different hiring managers. While it can be hard to define what exactly "low energy" means, here's what it typically looks like:

It comes down to a simple truth: If you don't clearly want the job, it's near impossible to persuade someone to give it to you.

Kate White, the former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, underscores this point in her career advice book "I Shouldn't Be Telling You This." After years of analyzing why some candidates dazzled and others disappointed, she realized the ones she liked seemed excited to be there.

"There's even a little bounce to their step when they walk into the room, and you may sense that bounce even when they're sitting in the chair talking to you," she writes. "They want the job, and they're not afraid to show their passion."

White says too many people tamp down their enthusiasm because they're nervous or worried about seeming unprofessional, and it's the worst mistake you can make. "Here's what you must remember: It's the hot tamale who wins the day, not the [candidate] who's as cool as a cucumber," she says.

What can you do to make sure the interviewer sees how much you care? Start by smiling wide and sitting on the edge of your seat with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Come prepared to talk about why you're a great fit and what you've achieved in the past. Ask lots of follow-up questions.

Energy is contagious. If you show that you're excited about the job, the hiring manager is much more likely to be excited about you.


Other articles that this article refers to:
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/05/8-body-language-tricks-to-be-more-successful-at-work.html 
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/17/the-interview-question-the-ceo-of-opentable-asks-every-job-candidate.html 
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/20/suzy-welch-best-interview-question-to-ask.html 
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/24/my-worst-interview-mistake-was-sending-a-card.html 
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/25/to-land-a-job-at-facebook-one-employee-had-17-rounds-of-interviews.html 
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/10/10/marcus-lemonis-reveals-the-one-question-job-candidates-should-never-ask-in-an-interview.html 
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/03/the-most-common-interview-mistakes-job-candidates-make.html 

 

6/4/17 - Is Facebook's New Jobs Feature for You?

 By Alison Green
http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-03-06/is-facebooks-new-jobs-feature-for-you 

 

FROM THE WEBMASTER - This article has been removed from CareerUSA.org by request of the author, Alison Green. Please use the link above to read this article.

 

5/28/17 - How to Evaluate, Accept, Reject, or Negotiate a Job Offer

by Rebecca Knight
https://hbr.org/2017/04/how-to-evaluate-accept-reject-or-negotiate-a-job-offer 

Congratulations! You got the job. Now for the hard part: deciding whether to accept it or not. How should you assess the salary as well as the other perks? Which publicly available information should you rely on? How should you try to get a better deal? And what’s the best way to decline an offer if it’s not the right job for you?

What the Experts Say
When an employer extends a job offer to you, he has, in essence, “fallen in love with you,” says John Lees, the UK-based career strategist and author of The Success Code. “He has psychologically committed to you, and it is a critical moment.” According to Lees, “you have more leverage” to shape your job description and improve your salary and benefits package “right after you are made an offer than you do in your first two years of employment.” Still, evaluating a job offer is not always straightforward — especially since you may not have the luxury of comparing it to others. “Step back and think expansively about your objectives,” advises Jeff Weiss, president of Lesley University and author of the HBR Guide to Negotiating. “Think about the offer in terms of your development, your quality of life, and the variety of the work you want to do.” No job offer will be perfect, so a big part of the evaluation requires you to “think about the trade-offs you are willing to make.” Here are some ideas to help you figure out if the job is right for you.

Shift your mindset
First, you must recognize that receiving an offer represents a “new and different phase” of the job search process, says Lees. “The purpose of the interview is to get the offer,” he says. The next stage is about weighing that offer and then negotiating with your new employer. “Pause, you are starting a new chapter.” Bear in mind that even though the job is yours if you want it, you must “continue to be enthusiastic” in your dealings with your prospective manager, says Lees. “By sounding critical or suspicious or by questioning something about the offer, you are sending a negative signal,” he says. “It sounds as if you’re uncertain that you want job.” That may indeed be the case, but it’s not the message you want to send to your would-be manager. “Employers need to feel that you are committed.”

Be methodical
Next, you need to think about what matters to you in both your professional and private life and then “assess the offer” against these metrics, says Weiss. “People tend to focus on the dollars, but it is useful to ask, “What is of value to me?” After all, money is only one component of career satisfaction. “Very often it comes down to, ‘I would rather make X amount of money and be excited to go to work in the morning, than make X plus 10% and hate my job,’” he says. Below are the most important components to take into account as you assess the offer.

Salary.
Even when the money on offer is enough to live on, you need to figure out if it’s an amount worthy of your knowledge and skills and whether it’s in line with the local market. Look at the financial package on the whole. The key question, says Weiss, is “What is someone with my competencies and experience in this role and in this city paid?” Databases and job search websites, such as Glassdoor, Indeed, Ladders, and Salary.com are a good starting point, but Lees recommends talking to recruiters and headhunters and others in the industry. “Find anyone who knows the sector and the range,” he says. As part of your detective work, you must also devise “a good argument for why you are in the top 10-15% of that range.” But usually there is only so much wiggle room. “You must have a backup plan if there is no flexibility on money in terms of what other areas you want to push back on.”

Job content.
It’s also important to think about whether you will “derive job satisfaction,” from the offer that’s on the table, says Lees. To answer this question, you need to know the “kinds of activities you want to be involved in and the skills you want to use” as a professional. Ask yourself questions like “Do I want to lead a big team, supervise only a few others, or have zero management duties? Do I want to be in front of clients? Do I crave autonomy? Do I want lots of international travel — or no travel at all? What kinds of projects do I want to be engaged in? And what kinds of professional tasks do I want no part of?” Then see how well the offer matches up against the responsibilities you’re being asked to take on. “Also, look at what you will be doing, what success looks like, and what benchmarks you’ll be judged against,” he says. Having a deep understanding of what’s expected of you is critical for deciding whether you do indeed want the job, he adds. Think hard about whether the “the job is achievable and whether you feel you are going to be able to hit the targets set out.” If the answers are no, it may be that the role is ill-conceived or not for you.

Cultural fit.
You must also “do your due diligence,” on the organization and its people to make a sound judgment on whether you will enjoy working there, notes Weiss. Ask yourself, “Is this a place where I will be happy? Where I will be challenged? And where I will thrive?” To answer that, Lees recommends “working the phones, reaching out to your contacts and LinkedIn network,” and asking questions. “What is the organization like? How long do people stay? Find out what happened to the last person who did the job.” You will not be able to negotiate or change the organization’s culture, of course, but it is helpful to know beforehand what you’re getting into. It might make sense to do a trial run at the company during the evaluation stage. “Say, ‘I really want to learn more about this organization. Can I spend a few hours with the team?’ That’ll give you a sense of what your colleagues are like, what it would be like to work there, and where the bodies are buried.”

Flexibility, vacation, and other perks.
For many employees, vacation time and the ability to work flexible hours are an increasingly valuable perk. While health benefits are typically standard issue, additional paid time off may be negotiable. If flexibility is not an explicit component of the job offer, you can broach the topic in the negotiation stage, says Weiss. But bear in mind that “things like that are much easier to raise when you’ve made yourself invaluable,” and have been working in the job for a certain period of time. That said, it’s important during the evaluation stage to find out whether current employees are afforded such benefits. Get a feel for how a request for flexibility might be received by senior management. “If you are a perfect match for the job and it’s a tight market, you have a lot of leverage,” says Lees. But if the market is more fluid, you may have little leeway.

Other options.
“You must also assess your walk-away alternatives,” says Weiss. Even if you don’t necessarily have other job offers in hand, you need to consider other possibilities. “Think about the offer in terms of the cost and benefit of starting the job search process all over again, of staying in your current job, or of waiting to see what other offers materialize later down the road,” he says. If nothing more, this exercise is useful in helping you realize that you have options.

Devise your plan
Once you have “determined the most important elements of the offer that you would like to change,” you need to “decide which cards you are going to play and the sequence of how you will play them,” says Lees. Formulating your negotiation strategy requires creativity, says Weiss. If you are dealing with an intermediary — an HR administrator or a recruiter, for instance — remember to “not only make requests, but also arm that person with questions, information, and ideas.” Come at it from the “perspective of joint problem-solving.” He suggests saying something like, “The salary you’re offering is great, but I want to keep developing in this role. I can imagine some possibilities that might make the job more palatable such as having access to a mentoring program, a rotation program, or an educational allowance. Which of these might be possible?’”

Be tough but cheerful
The rest is “classic negotiation,” says Lees. “You want to maximize the cost of the things you are prepared to accept and minimize the things you’re asking for.” Demonstrate that you’ve undertaken a thoughtful evaluation. For instance, you might say, “I am quite happy with the role and responsibilities, but I would like to work from home one day per week.” Seek to come across as a “tough but cheerful negotiator,” he says. “Go into the deal-making with your eyes open,” he adds. “You can’t negotiate everything, and once you’ve agreed on something you can’t go back on it,” he says. Adds Weiss: “It’s not what you ask for; it’s how you ask for it. Be well-prepared, respectful, and constructive. You want to be seen as someone they want to work with.”

Say no (politely) if it’s not right
Ideally there will be some give and take in these negotiations, but if “you keep coming up against a ‘no’ for everything you ask for, that demonstrates inflexibility” on the part of your prospective employer, and that “could well be a management style you don’t want to live with,” says Lees. Heed red flags. “Pay attention to your internal monitoring system,” he says. “If due diligence tells you that you should not take the job, listen.” Besides, there is no shame in declining a job offer if it’s not the right fit. “As long as you turn it down politely with one or two good reasons — it will not stretch you enough or you want to work in a different sector — you shouldn’t feel bad about it,” he says. And yet, you should “always leave the door open,” says Weiss. “The people you are dealing with are your potential customers, potential advisors, and perhaps even your future employers. Be respectful.”

Principles to Remember

Do
Think about what you want out of your job and use that as a framework to determine the elements of the offer you would like to alter

Be selective about what you push back on
Employ classic negotiation techniques by maximizing the cost of the things you are prepared to accept and minimizing the things you seek.

Don’t
Be critical or suspicious when questioning something about the offer.

Neglect to consider your walkaway alternatives.

Ignore red flags.
If your instincts and due diligence tells you that you should not take the job, listen.

Case Study #1: Do due diligence on salary considerations and be open to making trade-offs
Two years ago, Jane Chung was contacted about a job as a project manager at Los Angeles-based AltaMed Health Services Corporation. At the time, Jane was a consultant and counted AltaMed among her clients.

When Jane got the offer, she was instantly pleased. “The initial base salary was around 20% higher than my salary at the time,” she says. “Normally, I would’ve been tempted to accept immediately, but I knew that I needed to do a more thorough calculation of the complete offer package.”

Jane’s first order of business was to do a careful, comprehensive evaluation of the money. She used publicly available information from Glassdoor and Indeed to get a sense of the specific title’s market average. She also talked to recruiters and other people in her LinkedIn network to determine her worth. “I make it a habit, whether I’m actively job searching or not, to use my personal network to inquire about other companies’ paid time off allowances/policies and flexibility in work schedule,” she says.

From her due diligence, she learned that going from the private sector to a non-profit health system would mean a significant reduction in bonuses. “I recalculated my total current pay to be inclusive of benefits and bonuses, and factored in the increased scope and responsibility of this new position,” she says.

Next, Jane reflected on whether she would be happy working at AltaMed. “My primary motivation for pursuing a position was because of the mission of the organization to provide healthcare to disadvantaged and under-served communities,” she says. She was already familiar with and impressed by the organziation’s’s culture, dynamics and senior leaders.

And there were other perks. “I also knew the company observed a corporate shutdown during the holiday season, which was a plus for me,” she says.

She then formulated her negotiation plan. A recruiter was acting as a go-between, and Jane made sure to “ask a lot of questions” while continually “expressing genuine enthusiasm for the offer.”

Her first request was for a higher base salary, and while AltaMed did comply, the second offer still didn’t meet her goal. So she next asked the recruiter if other elements, such as paid time off, were open for negotiation. Unfortunately, “she said that wouldn’t be possible because of the company’s strict adherence to the PTO formula based on years served,” Jane recalls.

Still, the move “did help the recruiter know I was committed to this position and that I was also open to negotiating other elements,” Jane said. She asked once more if the company could sweeten the offer and it responded with another small base salary increase plus a signing bonus. So she took the job.

Today Jane is in the middle of a new job search as her project is tied to federal funding that is due to end in September of this year.

Case Study # 2: Prioritize what’s important to you and formulate an approach
A few years ago, a recruiter approached Andrea Molette Bradford, a marketing executive who has worked for Coca-Cola and Sprint, about a vice president position at a large retail company based in a different city.

Andrea was eager to make a career change and excited about the job. “The recruiter provided invaluable information about the company and coached me during the interview and the offer process,” she says. “However, I kept in mind that the recruiter was hired and compensated by the company; therefore, I did not expect him to prioritize my best interests.”

The offer arrived, and it was pretty good. She was pleased with role and responsibilities, starting salary, health benefits, bonus payment, and stock options.

But there were still some things that Andrea wanted to change. “Whenever I consider an offer, I always write down what I want, in priority order. I never share this list, but it is my north star in negotiations.”

Her first priority was more vacation time; the second was a later start date. “I wanted to push it back so that I could close out my home and have time to move and get settled in my new city,” she says.

She then formulated a plan for how she’d approach these requests. The thrust of her message was that she was satisfied with the bulk of the offer but wanted to maintain the number of weeks of holiday that she had in her current job. “I also told my boss that traveling makes me a well-rounded professional, and I need that vacation time in order to see people and things outside of my backyard.” She also explained that she had relocated before and knew how important it was to allow “adequate time” for the transition.

Andrea strived to come across as reasonable and positive during the negotiation. She secured the additional vacation and, although her prospective boss wanted her to begin work earlier, Andrea ultimately prevailed. “The hiring manager pushed hard on [the start date], but I think he understood that it was important to me, and I only came to the table with two requests.” She says she made the right decision to take the job.

Today Andrea is an independent consultant. “I am always open to great opportunities,” she says.

Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist in Boston and a lecturer at Wesleyan University. Her work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Financial Times.

5/21/17 - The Honest Truth on Lying About Your Salary in Interviews

by STACEY LASTOE
https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-honest-truth-on-lying-about-your-salary-in-interviews 

This question’s frequently a field on job applications, and it’s asked by recruiters and hiring managers alike. If you’ve ever applied for a position, you’ve come across it. And unlike other inquiries that allow room for interpretation, this is one that can only be answered factually, right?

Technically, yes. This isn’t something you want to be dishonest about—even if you fear that the number you give will be the one you’re offered (and not a dollar more). Because this is a common concern for many, I reached out to a few career coaches and touched base with The Muse’s own talent acquisition manager, Lauren Roberts, for advice on how to navigate this classic interview question.

Muse Career Coach, Theresa Merrill, advises people to be honest about their current or past salary. Misrepresenting anything about your work history in an interview or on an application is “unethical,” and therefore unadvisable. She explains: “There’s a high probability that the truth will come out, and then you’re done. You’ve lost all credibility, trust, and, most likely, the job offer.”

That said, Merrill tells clients to avoid sharing these details at all costs. As does career coach Antonio Neves. Both Merrill and Neves recommend doing your research and knowing what the range is for similar roles (and if you’re stuck on how to get started on that, this guide to figuring what you’re worth is indispensable). Remember that the company has budgeted for this role, so it’s OK to turn the question back around and ask, “What’s the salary for this job?”

Neves says to let them know that you’re knowledgeable on the salary range of the position. And Merrill counsels, “If you get to the point where you feel you must give them something, provide a range—not a hard number.”

Although Merrill notes that many companies are “seeking to pay you what you’ve previously been paid,” Roberts says that most organizations are aware that what you’re making now isn’t where you want to stay if you make a move.

She adds, “I think it’s fair to say that even if the recruiter only asks you what you are currently making, you can follow up by providing both where you’re at now and where you’d like to be to give them a sense of your expectations.”

Like Merrill and Neves, Roberts recommends researching the fair market value of the role. The bottom line is that lying about your current salary isn’t a good idea, but not directly answering the question with one hard figure and instead demonstrating your market research is acceptable.

If your fear of revealing your salary stems from worry that your offer will reflect that amount and no more, it’s totally reasonable to set your expectations higher and make it known from the start what you’re looking for. You just don’t want to go nuts and quote a number that’s not at all within the range of that role.

As Merrill explains, “If you give a number too high, that’s not in line with the job role, you may remove yourself from consideration.”

And you’re way too skilled, and you’ve worked way too hard to knock yourself out of the running by shooting too high. Instead, do your research and go after what you’re truly worth.

Stacey Lastoe is the Senior Editor/Writer of The Muse. She started writing short stories in the second grade and is immensely grateful to have the opportunity to write and edit professionally. Her work has appeared in YouBeauty, Refinery29, A Practical Wedding, Runner's World online, and The Billfold among other publications. She enjoys running and eating in equal measure and lives with her husband and dog in Brooklyn. All three of them are avid New York Mets fans. Say hello on @stacespeaks.

5/14/17 - 7 Interview Answers That Make Recruiters Roll Their Eyes

by Emily Moore
https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/bad-interview-answers/ 

When you finally score an interview, it can feel like a huge deal. And to you, it is! It’s the first big step towards finally getting the job of your dreams. To recruiters, however, it’s all just a part of the daily grind. After all, professional recruiters often conduct hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews per year.

Now, that’s not to discourage you or suggest that recruiters don’t care about you. The point is, though, that they go through the interview process a lot more often than you do — so when you give what you think seems like a well thought-out, unique, and interesting response, they may have already heard it a few times that week alone. If you truly want to stand out in their eyes, you need to avoid these cliché answers and dig deeper into what kind of information they’re *really* looking for.

But which interview responses are the worst offenders, and what should you say instead? We reached out to a number of recruiters, HR professionals, career coaches, and other experts to hear their thoughts. These are the seven answers they advised job seekers to avoid at all costs.

Q: Tell me about yourself.
A: Details of your family life, medical history, or professional flaws.
Why It’s Bad: “Avoid ANYTHING personal that will be held against you in the interview or if you are hired. There are topics such as health and family that the employer should not bring up (because it’s illegal.) You should avoid these things too. Also, don’t bring up your shortcomings. If you are invited to interview, the interviewers believe you can do the job. Be confident and believe in yourself,” says Devay Campbell, Career Coach at Career 2 Cents.

What to Say Instead: A narrative that outlines your work experience thus far, why it’s relevant to the current position, where you want it to take you and, if you have time left, a couple short details that shed light on who you are as a person, such as interests and hobbies.

Q: Tell me what you know about the company.
A: Very obvious details, like their industry, or avoiding a straight answer completely.
Why It’s Bad: Failing to research the company that you’re applying to suggests to the interviewer that you either don’t truly take it seriously, are lazy, or just don’t have common sense. “If [candidates] are unprepared to answer this question, the likelihood of them securing a position with a company shrinks dramatically,” says Dave Lopes, Director of Recruiting at Badger Maps. “Even fifteen minutes of browsing their website will prepare the candidate to answer this question adequately.”

What to Say Instead: Describe things like the product/service the company provides, their target market, and their business model, among other publicly available, business-critical information.

Q: What’s your greatest strength?
A: “I’m a team player.”
Why It’s Bad: “[The] answer is too broad- no specifics about your unique qualities,” says Laura MacLeod, HR expert and consultant at From The Inside Out Project®. “EVERYONE should be a ‘team player’- so what makes you special? Feels forced and inauthentic- [like you’re just] spouting a phrase you think HR wants to hear.”

What to Say Instead: “Be specific about HOW you collaborate with co-workers and connect with other departments to produce the best product [and] WHY you think it’s crucial to develop these connections and develop relationships. Give examples from previous work experience,” MacLeod advises.

Q: What’s your greatest weakness?
A: “I work too hard/I’m a perfectionist.”
Why It’s Bad: “This answer comes from candidates who are trying to share something they perceive as a strength, cloaked as a weakness. Who wouldn’t want an employee whose biggest flaw is being too driven or striving for perfection?” says Mikaela Kiner of UniquelyHR. “The problem is that the candidates who provide this answer are unwilling to admit to their real areas of development. We all have them — I want to talk to people who know what theirs are, and are actively working to improve.”

What to Say Instead: “Candidates should be honest. By the time we’ve had a few jobs, I think each of us knows what we need to work on,” Kiner says. “Be ready to honestly share something you need to develop, how you know / who’s given you feedback, and what you’re doing to get better. The ideal answer demonstrates a willingness to be self-aware, and also that you’re a continuous learner.”

Q: Where do yourself in five years?

A: “I see myself doing this job still.”
Why It’s Bad: “A lot of interviewees say this because they believe it shows a great deal of loyalty and commitment to the company, making them the perfect hire. However, what this actually does is suggest a lack of ambition. Employers don’t want to know that you will want to be in the same position five years later, they want to know what you will do to develop yourself and the company,” says Steve Pritchard, HR Consultant for Ben Sherman. “[This] is your opportunity to showcase your ambition and drive. Five years is a long time, and to suggest to a potential boss that you don’t see yourself progressing at all in that time shows a distinct absence of zeal.”

What to Say Instead: “Candidates who truly want the job will know a natural progression… can occur in that role, but a bit of extra research couldn’t hurt,” Pritchard says. “Research the various departments within the company and see where there may be opportunity to branch out. Explain to the interviewer your goals; how would you like to grow within the department? More to the point, ultimately, how would you like to help grow the department and indeed the business? What skills do you possess that help you to achieve this? Naturally, you want your employer to believe you will be a loyal worker who won’t jump ship in the next couple of years. At the same time, though, you should be giving them an explanation as to why you are worth keeping for five years in the first place.”

Q: Why do you want to work here?
A: “Because I need a job.”
Why It’s Bad: You might think this candid answer could come off as funny or refreshingly honest, but make no mistake: If you don’t give a real reason why a company should hire you, they won’t. There are almost always plenty of other candidates for them to choose from.

What to Say Instead: “To answer this correctly, you must [do] research on the company and have [an] answer about the things they believe in, new products or [initiatives] or where they are going,” Campbell says. A few better answers? “You are a leader in the _____ industry and I want to be aligned with an organization [that’s] on the cutting edge and leading the pack,” “[your] mission of ______ is aligned with my personal values,” or “I am excited that you… just introduced (or will be introducing) ______ to [the] market. You are doing great things and I am certain I can learn and grow here,” advises Campbell.

Q: “Why should I hire you this for this position?”
A: “Because I’m passionate about it.”
Why It’s Bad: “Being passionate does not help you stand out from other candidates,” says Natasha Bowman, Chief Consultant at Performance ReNEW and author of the upcoming book You Can’t Do That At Work! 100 Common Mistakes That Managers Make. “A more unique, appropriate response would be to specifically align your background with that of the organization.”

What to Say Instead: “Demonstrate your ‘passion’ by discussing quantifiable results you’ve obtained for other organizations,” Bowman says. “How active [are you] in industry trade organizations? What measures do you take to develop yourself outside of the workplace?”

5/7/17 - How to Write a Knockout Career Summary

Utilize the resume real estate between your contact information and work experience wisely.

By Marcelle Yeager
http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-03-23/how-to-write-a-knockout-career-summary 

If you're not familiar with the term "career summary," it's those few lines or bullets at the top of your resume directly under your name and contact information that tell an employer who you are. Some call it a career profile or executive summary, among other things.

Before we go on and talk about what it is, let's talk about what it's not. It is not an objective statement. There is a very important distinction between the two. If you've been in the workforce for a long time, you're probably more familiar with an objective. That's old news. An objective would tell an employer what you were looking for. Employers now receive so many job applications that they expect you to do a bit more work to tell the employer that you are what they are looking for.

Here are some examples of strong career summaries for three different backgrounds. They do not have to be in sentence format; some people prefer to use bullets and that's OK. Keep it short and simple either way, as a long career summary will likely not be read.

"Award-winning executive assistant with over 10 years of experience directly supporting senior federal government executives. Employs exceptional analytical and problem-solving abilities to deliver strategic plans and improve processes. Adept at change management and strategic communications."

"Expert project manager with 12 years of experience in health care nonprofits leading program development, community outreach and the design and delivery of educational content. Acknowledged for event management skills and ability to inspire teammates."

"Versatile statistician with 20-plus years of experience in health care, pharmaceutical and market research firms, developing creative solutions to complex research questions using SAS and other tools. Recognized for communication ability, concise writing skills and for proactively tackling challenging problems."

What are the key elements of each of these?

Description. The opening line is a summary of each person's background. It indicates their profession or role, how many years of experience they have and the industry or industries in which they've worked. If you've won awards, don't be afraid to say so right off the bat! This is not something everyone has under his or her belt, so it will help you stand out. Just make sure you also list your awards in a separate section of your resume under work experience. Even if you don't have awards to speak of, use words like "expert," "versatile" or "accomplished" to describe who you are. Depending on the job you are applying to, you can also change the title (e.g., "executive assistant" to "administrative assistant").

Demonstrate Value. Your first or second sentence should tell the employer the value you bring to them. In the second example, we understand the person has experience leading program development, community outreach and the design and delivery of educational content. The employer will immediately understand this person can use those same capabilities on the job with them.

Here's how to figure out what to include. Look at the job requirements – often called "minimum qualifications" or "basic requirements" across several job postings that you plan to apply to. What are they looking for? Hopefully there is a common thread, but if not, create several career summaries to fit each one and give you some practice. The first sentence is likely to stay the same for each, but the value you offer may change. Also, maybe instead of the term "community outreach," they use the term "external relations." Make those changes, because an applicant tracking system (ATS) will look out for specific terms. In other words, be sure to tweak your career summary to align your background with the job requirements.

Separate Yourself. In the second and third examples, you see the words "acknowledged for" and "recognized for." Another term you may wish to use is "known for." The goal of this part is to state why you are unique. In other words, what makes you different from your colleagues? Think about what you've noticed over time as well as feedback you've been given by managers or peers. This gives you a key opportunity to address some of the job requirements from a posting, as well. If the requirements state "strong writing skills," "proactive" and "problem-solver," and that describes you perfectly, you might use a sentence like the final one in example three above.

The bottom line: You need a career summary, and it should be specific rather than filled with cliched words and phrases. It should cover what you personally can bring to the employer and be aligned with a posting's job requirements. Taking these steps to build your summary will enable you to be leaps and bounds ahead of the crowd.

Marcelle Yeager has been a blogger for On Careers since March 2014. She is the president of Career Valet, a premier provider of career services that helps launch people to the next level of their career. Marcelle also co-founded ServingTalent, a recruiting agency that places military and Foreign Service spouses in jobs. Prior to starting these ventures, Marcelle worked for over 10 years as a strategic communications consultant in Washington, D.C., and overseas for over six years. She holds an MBA from the University of Maryland. You can follow her companies on Twitter @careervalet, @servingtalent, Facebook (Career Valet, ServingTalent), or connect with her on LinkedIn.

4/30/17 - The One Tiny Change That Could Open Up All the Doors in Your Job Search

By Jenni Maier
https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-one-tiny-change-that-could-open-up-all-the-doors-in-your-job-search 

Ever since I’ve started working at The Muse, I’ve gotten cornered by people at social gatherings who whisper in my ear, “Hey, I’m looking for a job, I heard you can help.”

I typically respond by pulling the person into a back alley, opening up my trench coat, and asking if the person’s looking for fully-tailored resumes, or cover letters with witty openers—or, for an extra cost, offer letters that only need their signature.

Just kidding. The lighting in back alleyways tends to be horribly unflattering.

Instead, I typically respond with something about letting their network know they’re looking, since that’s the best way to get their foot in the door. To which they almost always say, “Oh, that’s nice, but I’m trying to keep this pretty low-key right now.”

I get it. When I started my last job search I did the same. I had this fantasy of waltzing into dinner and announcing the news to my friends and family that I landed this amazing new position.

They’d say, “I didn’t even know you were looking.” And I’d casually reply, “Oh, it just fell into my lap.” Then they’d all simultaneously think, “Wow, Jenni must be really good at what she does to leave one great company for another.” Then I’d say something fancy like, “Next round is on me, old chaps.”

How did that fantasy play out in real life?

I got a few interviews, zero offers, and eventually laid off. The good news is that being unemployed left me with no choice but to confront two truths:

I was unhappy in my current situation.
I needed help.

These facts are easy for me to type out now, but they felt so hard to admit when everyone else around me appeared to be thriving in their careers. No one else I knew needed help from their network, so why did I?

However, as soon as I started being honest about my situation, the opportunities started rolling in. Turns out people want to help you! But they can’t if you don’t clue them into what you need.

Think about it: Have you ever turned to a friend in the middle of a conversation about The Bachelor and said, “Hey, would you like me to proofread your resume?” or “My cousin’s company is hiring if you’d like me to connect you two.”

Probably not.

That means that rather than trying to pull this off all by yourself, tell your friends, tell your former colleagues, and tell your family. While you don’t want to shout it from the rooftops (mostly because that’s a wildly ineffective way to communicate), you should clue your network into the fact you’re looking. It’s honestly as easy as sending this “Help me find a job” email.

The majority of the interviews I went on after being laid off came from friends-of-friend leads. Leads I never got before I lost my job because no one knew I wanted them. And the position I ended up getting at The Muse? That “in” came from a former manager’s friend.

So, if you’re serious about looking for a new role, stop treating it like a stealth mission. You’re not in the CIA (unless you are, and in that case, you do you). You’re just someone who’s looking for a new opportunity—and who’s smart enough to know it’s a lot easier to find it when other people are keeping an eye out, too.

4/23/17 - How to follow up after an interview

By Pattie Hunt Sinacole 
https://www.boston.com/jobs/job-doc/2017/02/13/how-to-follow-up-after-an-interview 

Q: I have been told repeatedly to “follow up” after an interview. But how? Should I mail a thank-you note? Snail mail seems old-fashioned. Do I send an email? Or place a phone call? What do you recommend? I have had more than one recruiter ask me to “follow up” with them? But honestly I am not sure what that means. Thank you Job Doc.

A: Following up after an interview is essential. Candidates who follow up after an interview demonstrate interest and show a commitment to the process. Alternatively, candidates who do not follow up are perceived as less interested or less serious about the job opportunity.

I recommend candidates ask about how to follow-up before the interview ends. For example, Marie is interviewing with ABC Company on Tuesday, February 14th. Before she leaves the interview with Tamara, the hiring manager at ABC Company, one of her final questions should be: “Tamara, can you explain to me the next steps in the selection process?” Marie will hopefully learn more about the process. Marie might learn when they hope to fill the role, how many interviews are part of the process and how many other candidates are being considered at this point. This is helpful too because it can set expectations as to how long each step might take. If a company explains that they intend to ask candidates to interview two or three times at ABC Company, then that may take several weeks. If a company explains that they expect to have a decision by Friday February 17th, that is a very different timeframe. Marie can also ask “how do you prefer that I follow up with you?” Tamara may offer several options – by phone, with an email or she may offer a specific date. When we handle recruitment for our clients, I will often ask a candidate to email me by a certain date.

Additionally, always send a thank-you note. Email is typically the best way to send a thank-you note. Make sure you email it within 24 hours of an interview. In the email, you again want to reiterate your interest. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism and can serve as a sample for your writing skills.

4/16/17 - The most powerful action verbs for professional resumes

Your career history will pack an even bigger punch with these dynamic words.

Caroline Zaayer Kaufman
https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/powerful-resume-action-verbs-0317 

Your resume isn’t a place for modesty; it’s a chance to show companies all the awesome things you’ve done—and what you can do for them if given a chance. Take the opportunity to liven things up a bit. Weak, vague or overused verbs can actually diminish the excellent work you did at your last job, so choose words that more accurately reflect what you do.

“It’s critical to choose active, industry-appropriate action verbs,” says Linda Hollenback, a brand and career strategist who owns Philadelphia-based Hollenback Consulting. “Well-chosen lead action words make the difference between highlighting your skills and undermining your contribution.”

To help your credentials pack the maximum punch, Monster created a list of strong action verbs to make your resume more powerful.

Action verbs for communication skills
Instead of: talked, led, presented, organized
Use: addressed, corresponded, persuaded, publicized, reconciled

You can present data and lead meetings all day long, but does that mean you actually got your point across to an audience? Simply saying that you talked to other people doesn’t prove that you achieved your goals.

Stir the interest of a hiring manager by using words that have a bit more personality than the usual suspects. That might encourage him or her to want to meet you in person.

For example, instead of saying you “organized” an off-site meeting, say you “orchestrated” an off-site meeting. And instead of “leading” the meeting, perhaps you “chaired” the meeting.

“‘Persuaded’ is another great verb to use,” says Christina Austin, founder of New York City–based ExecBrands, a career-branding firm, “as it highlights a candidate’s ability to influence others.”

More precise words can also add a touch of formality to your actions, she says. Words like “addressed” or “corresponded” can carry more weight than a generic “wrote” or “spoke.”

Action verbs for organizational skills
Instead of: organized, ordered, filed
Use: catalogued, executed, monitored, operated

Did you organize a project, then walk away? Probably not, so choose words that express how you organized and followed through with a project to completion. For example, “executed” says that you saw it through to the end.

“By focusing on the task rather than the purpose or significance of the task to the organization, a job seeker may limit the perceived value of his or her experience,” Hollenback says. Instead of “filed account paperwork,” she suggests something more descriptive of your purpose, such as “monitored client accounts.”

Action verbs for management skills
Instead of: led, handled, oversaw
Use: consolidated, appointed, delegated, established

Leadership experience is excellent for a resume. However, just saying you “led” a team is not nearly as powerful as saying you “established” a team, which indicates you took the lead to create something new.

“A word like ‘oversaw’ hints that someone is supervising work on a high level, but not necessarily participating in a project actively,” says Andy Chan, co-founder of Prime Opt, a Seattle-based career-coaching center. Pick words that reflect the true nature of your contribution. For example, “Established a nine-member productivity team and delegated operational tasks to three junior managers.”

Each of these verb choices combines to give the hiring manager or recruiter an impression of your work style—just be sure to avoid repeats. “Multiple repetitions of an action word reduces the word’s impact and makes for a boring read,” Hollenback says.

Grab your dictionary or thesaurus if you’re feeling stuck, and when you’re done, be sure to have a trusted friend or colleague read over your resume to make sure it reads properly. And if you need more help, get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's partner TopResume.

4/9/17 - 10 Ways To Stand Out In Your Next Job Interview

Caroline Ceniza-Levine
http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecenizalevine/2017/02/11/10-ways-to-stand-out-in-your-next-job-interview/#7715349127df 

Too many job seekers make the interview process more complicated than need be, thinking they need to do something special to stand out. Actually, you want to focus on the simple over the extraordinary -- nailing basic interview etiquette and typical interview questions. You want to treat the interview like a conversation, not an interrogation. You want to relate to the other person, develop a connection and have a back-and-forth dialogue.

Here are 10 easy-to-follow tips to stand out in your next job interview:

Start Your Interview In The Lobby

The interview starts before many job seekers realize the interview starts. When you check in at reception, your demeanor with the person at the desk is often reported back to the interviewer. If you’re ready with the name of your interviewer and time of your meeting, you appear organized. If you sit with good posture in the lounge area, you exude poise. Start your interview behavior as soon as you enter the building.

Be Excited From The Start

An important part of your interview demeanor is your level of enthusiasm. As a recruiter, I empathized if a candidate was nervous and I tried to put them at ease, but I was always impressed by the candidate that I didn’t have to care of, that was comfortable in a meeting and especially that seemed excited to be there. Many candidates will be qualified – you want to be qualified and excited for the job.

Be Poised From The Start

As you walk from Reception to the interview room, are you grasping for your coat, your bag, your phone, your portfolio, your water, and all with one hand so you keep the other free for a hand shake? You don’t want to look overwhelmed or clumsy at the outset. You know your interviewer is going to come out and call for you. Yet, many candidates are surprised when the time comes and then flail around for all their things. Don’t make me call a U-Haul to help you move your stuff! Hang your coat, and put as much as you can in your bag so you only have one item to carry.

Minimize Nervous Habits

When you sit down with your interviewer, ground yourself with your feet planted on the floor and your hands on your lap or on the desk. If you tend to shake your knee up and down, cross your legs. If you like to twirl or tap a pen, don’t keep a pen in your hand. You know what your nervous habits are, so seat yourself in a way that minimizes these behaviors.

Prepare Your Introduction

You know the interviewer will ask you about yourself – Tell me about yourself or Walk me through your resume or What are you working on currently? Set your introduction in advance so you focus on the most relevant skills and experiences related to this job. If you have multiple jobs, you don’t want to bury your interviewer in unrelated details – pick out what s/he specifically should know to realize your fit to the job at hand.

Prepare Your Stories

Similarly, you know the interviewer will want to check your qualifications for the job. S/he might pull out items from the job description and ask you to give examples of when you did these things. S/he might describe attributes or skills the company wants in this role and ask you to prove you have these. S/he might share a current project or responsibility the new hire will be tasked with and ask how you’d handle it. Prepare the stories from your career that you know are relevant to the job. Use the job description as a guide for what skills, experience, and attributes you need to highlight. Sure, the interviewer might add something that wasn’t revealed in the job description, but this doesn’t happen often. If you prepare against the job description, you’ll be ready for a vast majority of the questions.

Have Questions To Ask

The interview is a two-way exchange. Many interviewers leave time for questions, and use the questions you ask as an indication of your interest in and knowledge of the role. If you have no questions, you’re not interested or you didn’t bother to research the company or role. Next!

End Strong

At the end of your interview, thank the interviewer for his or her time. Reiterate your interest in the role. Ask about next steps so you’re clear on when and how to follow up. Don’t be so relieved that it’s over that you just run away without ending strong.

Place Cues For Yourself Where You Can Easily See Them

Given all the responses that you need to prepare (your introduction, various examples of your skills, experience and attributes, questions to ask, your strong close) and behaviors you want to model (sit up straight, don’t tap your pen), you might want to give cues to remind yourself so you don’t blank out on anything. Bringing a sturdy notebook or leather pad to take notes is always a good idea so you remember any helpful information you learn in the interview. This is also a good place for cues to remind yourself. If you think you may forget an example, say a financial analysis you did in your last role, write “Financial Analysis” in big letters so you remember to mention it. If you tend to rush out of an interview, write “End Strong” in big letters to prompt you to say, “Thank you, I want to reiterate my interest in the role. What are the next steps?” Placing cues is also something you can do during Skype interviews (position post-its strategically around your webcam so you can see your cues but still make eye contact).

Smile

Finally, don’t forget to smile throughout your interview. Smiling relaxes you and the interviewer. It also helps you appear friendlier and develop that connection. If you can even just remember to smile at the opening hand shake, smile at the first question and smile at the close, then you have built in at least three smiles for your interview.

Remember that the interviewer wants you to do well –when an opening is filled it means less work (no more interviews) and help is on the way (you’ll be taking on the work). In this way, you can relax knowing the interviewer is on your side. You can also relax knowing that a good interview is a few simple steps and well within the reach of any job seeker willing to do a bit of preparation.


I am the cofounder of SixFigureStart career coaching. I have worked with executives from American Express, Goldman Sachs, Condé Nast, Gilt, eBay, Google, McKinsey, and other leading firms. I'm also a stand-up comic, so not your typical coach.

4/2/17 - The best way to end an email if you want a response

An analysis of 350,000 messages found the best way to end an email if you want a response

Shana Lebowitz
http://www.businessinsider.com/best-way-to-end-an-email-2017-2 

I've always thought of obsessing over your email openings and closings as a bit like obsessing over your outfit — not worth it.

As long as you don't do something outrageous — say, sign an email to your CEO with "xoxo" or show up to a job interview wearing a clown costume — you'll be fine with whatever you choose.

I was wrong.

According to a new analysis from Boomerang, an email productivity app, different email sign-offs yield different response rates. And woe to the unappreciative emailers among us: The analysis found that the best way to end an email is with gratitude.

Specifically, results showed that the most effective email sign-off is "thanks in advance."

For the study, Boomerang looked at closings in over 350,000 email threads from mailing list archives in which, they wrote in a blog post, many emails involved "people asking for help or advice, hoping for a reply."

Then they picked out the eight email sign-offs that appeared over 1,000 times each and figured out the response rate linked to each sign-off. Here's what they found:

"Thanks in advance" had a response rate of 65.7%
"Thanks" had a response rate of 63%
"Thank you" had a response rate of 57.9%
"Cheers" had a response rate of 54.4%
"Kind regards" had a response rate of 53.9%
"Regards" had a response rate of 53.5%
"Best regards" had a response rate of 52.9%
"Best" had a response rate of 51.2%
The average response rate for all the emails in their sample was 47.5%.

The Boomerang blog post also cites 2010 research from Adam Grant and Francesca Gino, which found that participants who received an email from a student asking for feedback on a cover letter were twice as likely to help when the email included the phrase, "Thanks so much! I am really grateful."

Interestingly, three separate etiquette experts previously told Business Insider that "best" is the most appropriate way to end an email. And one such expert said that "thanks" is "obnoxious if it's a command disguised as premature gratitude."

The Boomerang analysis didn't measure how recipients felt about the sender — just whether they responded. It also didn't measure the power dynamics at play. Maybe your boss signs their emails "best," and they always get an answer.

Bottom line: If you want a response to your email, it can't hurt to end it with an expression of gratitude. Thanks for reading!

3/26/17 - 9 Tips for Negotiating All Aspects of a New Job

Getting the best possible salary is important, but consider other forms of reimbursement.

By Hannah Morgan 
http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-01-25/9-tips-for-negotiating-all-aspects-of-a-new-job 

If you don't ask for what you want, the answer will always be no! This is especially true when it comes to salary negotiations. However, you can also negotiate other elements of a job offer, such as a signing bonus, training reimbursement and sometimes the amount of vacation time. If you are uncomfortable with the idea of negotiating, follow the tips below and build your confidence.

Research salary ranges. You should conduct company research before you walk in the door for your first interview. Technically, you should have researched salaries before you applied for the job to ensure your range was appropriate. Most job postings will not include salary information. In order to get an idea of what the job is worth and what other people in similar roles make, do you due diligence. This means using multiple sources. Use salary calculators such as Payscale.com, Salary.com, Glassdoor.com or LinkedIn's salary tool. But don't stop there. Talk to recruiters in your field and geography. Network with people who are in your field of work to understand what the going rate is. Use as many of these options as possible to develop your desired range. Remember, your value in the marketplace is based on how much the employer is willing to pay, the value of your skills and what your previous employer paid you.

When to negotiate. You technically can't negotiate a job offer until you have one. You should avoid getting into a detailed discussion around salary or attempt to negotiate any condition until you have a job offer. Mentioning your desire to work from home during the interview could sour the deal. And don't try and negotiate on the spot. Ask how long you have to consider the offer and schedule a time to provide your answer. Remember, accepting a job is a major decision and you shouldn't feel pressured to accept an offer.

Negotiate with enthusiasm. If an employer doesn't think you want the job, it could hurt your chances of negotiating, or worse, could lead to the offer being taken off the table. Tell the employer you are interested in the job and why. And be sure to smile.

Negotiate with the right person. The person who extends the offer may not be the person with the power or authority to negotiate. Every company has a different set of procedures. It is important that you know who has final budget approval for the job. While human resources may be the ones who extend the offer, they may not have the ability to negotiate.

Use company research and inside information. During the interview and through networking conversations with company insiders, you may uncover some valuable information. Perhaps you learn that the company has negotiated vacation time for certain employees or lets some of the team work from home once a week. You might be more likely to negotiate those things if there is already a precedent in the company or department. Use the information you uncover to your advantage.

What things can you negotiate? There are many elements to a job offer. Here are some things you may want to consider:

Negotiate salary first. It's important to prioritize what you want to negotiate, and don't be greedy. Negotiate salary first and if you secure your desired salary, be willing to compromise on other items you want to negotiate.

Convey confidence. Your body language, tone of voice and words you use should convey you believe you are worth what you are asking for. And remember, the company has invested significant time and manpower interviewing you. They don't want to start over.

Get your offer in writing. Once you have reached a final agreement on the terms of the offer, be sure you ask for it in writing. You will want this before you begin your first day of work. Managers can change and policies can shift. You want to protect yourself in case anything changes.

Hannah Morgan provides actionable job search and career guidance. She is passionate about keeping up with the latest job search trends and social networking strategies. Hannah has been featured in numerous national media outlets such at Money Magazine, Huffington Post and USA Today and is listed as a top resource by some of the biggest names in the careers industry. Hannah is the author of “The Infographic Resume” and co-author of “Social Media for Business Success.” Besides contributing to U.S. News On Careers, she also writes articles for her own site Career Sherpa.

3/19/17 - 7 Simple Tips For Beating Job-Search Burnout

Stop obsessively fine-tuning your resume and do this instead.
DANIEL BORTZ, MONSTER
https://www.fastcompany.com/3067706/career-evolution/7-simple-tips-for-beating-job-search-burnout 

Job searching may be at the bottom of your "fun-things-to-do" list—but that might just be because you’ve hit the "job search wall." It happens to the best of us, and it’s pretty common. But it can be reversed!

"Looking for a job is a universal source of anxiety," says Steve Dalton, author of The 2-Hour Job Search: Using Technology to Get the Right Job Faster. It’s also intimidating, he says, given that there’s a seemingly endless number of job postings at your fingertips.

That’s the irony: While you have great access to job openings, having too many options can make the job-search process seem overwhelming. Monster asked career experts for their advice to avoid job-search burnout. Here’s what they said can turn those feelings of fatigue back into excitement.

1. ADJUST YOUR MIND-SET
"It’s all about how you look at the job search," says Danny Rubin, millennial career coach and author of 25 Things Every Young Professional Should Know by Age 25.

Instead of thinking of applications as a total time-suck, he says, consider them the next (and necessary) step to scoring a job at one of your dream companies. With every application you submit, you’re that much closer to landing "the one," because it’s a numbers game.

So if you feel like you’re drowning in a sea of job applications, focus on the end result instead—getting that killer job offer.

2. STEP AWAY FROM YOUR COMPUTER
When you’re job searching, you spend a lot of time at the computer—like, some serious screen time. While looking for and applying to jobs online is important—and most likely the way you'll find your new gig, too much of it could drive anyone crazy.

Drag yourself away from your laptop to meet people who work in the field face-to-face. That way, you'll start meeting people who work in your industry, and you can start doing your homework to find the right fit for you. When you get home, research the companies where your new connections work to read employee reviews and get a deeper sense of what the company is about.

"You don’t always need to go to conferences or formal industry events to meet people," says Chip Espinoza, author of Millennials@Work: The 7 Skills Every Twenty-Something (and Their Manager) Needs to Overcome Roadblocks and Achieve Greatness.

He suggests starting with alumni networking events, which can be a fun way to reconnect with people you went to school with while talking about your job search—like mixing business with pleasure.

3. DITCH THE ELEVATOR PITCH
A well-honed elevator pitch can be a great way to explain who you are and what you do, but sometimes you’ve got to go off-script to shake things up. The key to building relationships is establishing trust and likeability; so don’t always feel pressured to sell yourself when you meet new people.

"Hearing an elevator pitch can make people’s defenses go up," says Dalton.

So instead of immediately answering the question, "What do you do?" try to see if you have shared interests outside of work, or any common links so that you can get to know the person you’re talking with on a less formal level.

4. DON’T SPEND DAYS FINE-TUNING YOUR RESUME
Hiring managers have short attention spans. In fact, some only spend a few seconds looking at an applicant’s resume.

"They’re trying to get back to their real work as quickly as they can," Dalton explains.

Rather than devoting a ton of time to perfecting your resume (psst—there’s no such thing as a "perfect" resume), "put three to four hours into updating it, but make sure it’s error-free," Dalton says.

5. WRITE A SKELETON COVER LETTER
It’s okay to use a template for cover letters to help speed up job applications. However, you’ll still want to tailor each letter to the specific company and position. To do so, Espinoza recommends customizing the first paragraph, incorporating language from the job posting.

Keep cover letters brief. (In many industries, a half-page letter is sufficient.) "Tell hiring managers the information that they need to know upfront," says Dalton, adding that if you have an internal referral you should mention it in the first sentence.

Also, "the shorter the cover letter, the less chance there is for grammatical errors," says Dalton.

6. CREATE AN ONLINE PORTFOLIO
If you’re applying for jobs where you need to submit samples of your work (think writing, graphic design, or advertising), don’t waste time attaching multiple documents to each job application. It’s cumbersome, and hiring managers don’t like having to download multiple attachments, says Rubin.

One solution: Create a free or low-cost professional website on Wordpress, Carbonmade, or Contently, where you can house your portfolio, and include the URL on your resume.

7. PREPARE THREE GO-TO INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
During most job interviews, you have an opportunity to ask the recruiter or hiring manager questions. The good news: You don’t need to exhaust yourself by trying to come up with unique questions for each interview. Dalton recommends these three:

What’s your favorite part about working here? "It doesn’t require the person to have to sum up the company culture," says Dalton. Simply asking "What’s the culture like?" often leads to a generic answer.
How do you think the market will be different three years from now? "You’re asking for the person’s expert opinion and that shows respect," says Dalton.
If you had to attribute your success to one skill or trait, what would it be? "You’re essentially asking the person why they’re good at their job, which is flattering," Dalton says.

3/12/17 - 5 Minutes Early Is On Time

5 Minutes Early Is On Time; On Time Is Late; Late Is Unacceptable
Brent Beshore 
http://www.forbes.com/sites/brentbeshore/2015/08/02/5-minutes-early-is-on-time-on-time-is-late-late-is-unacceptable/#5b3071c7d422 

I have a magic pill to sell you. It will help you make more money, be happier, look thinner, and have better relationships. It’s a revolutionary new pharmaceutical product called Late-No-More. Just one dose every day will allow you to show up on time, greatly enhancing your life and the lives of those around you.

All joking aside, being late is unacceptable. While that sounds harsh, it’s the truth and something that should be said more often. I don’t care if you’re attending a dinner party, a conference call, or a coffee meeting - your punctuality says a lot about you.

Being late bothers me so much that just thinking about it makes me queasy. My being late, which does occasionally happen, usually causes me to break out into a nervous sweat. The later I am, the more it looks like I’ve sprung a leak. Catch me more than 15 minutes late and it looks like I went swimming.

On this issue, I find myself a member of a tiny minority. It seems like most people consider a meeting time or deadline to be merely a mild advisory of something that might happen. I’ve been called uptight and unreasonable, or variations prefaced with expletives. In a world that feels perpetually late, raising the issue of punctuality isn’t a way to win popularity contests and I’m ok with that.

There’s a reason we set meeting times and deadlines. It allows for a coordination of efforts, minimizes time/effort waste, and helps set expectations. Think of how much would get done if everyone just “chilled out” and “went with the flow?” It would be the definition of inefficiency. It’s probably not that hard to imagine, considering just last week I had 13 (yes, I counted) different people blow meeting times, or miss deadlines. It feels like a raging epidemic, seemingly smoothed over by a barrage of “my bads,” “sorry, mans,” and “you know how it goes.” The desired response is “it’s all good,” but the reality is that it’s not okay. Here’s what it is.

As I said earlier, I’m occasionally late. Sometimes a true emergency happens, or an outlier event transpires. When it happens, I try to give a very detailed account of why I was late, apologize profusely, make sure the other person knows that I take it very seriously, and assure them it won’t happen again.

Paying attention to punctuality is not about being “judgy,” or stressed. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It makes room for the caring, considerate, thoughtful people I want in my life, whether that’s friends or colleagues. Think of how relaxing your life would be if everyone just did what they said they’d do, when they said they’d do it? A good place to start is with yourself and a great motto is something I was taught as a child:

“5 minutes early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable.”

Brent Beshore is the founder and CEO of adventur.es. Connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3/5/17 - 5 Steps to Rock Any Networking Event

5 Steps to Rock Any Networking Event
A great face-to-face connection can help you jump start the career you've always wanted.
Andrew Medal
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/287791 

Not everyone loves bobbing in and out of a strange crowd with a bundle of business cards in one hand and a plate of cheese in the other. Approaching people you don’t know while trying to build connections can be awkward. Nevertheless, the fact remains: a face-to-face connection can help you to build professional relationships and, in minutes, jumpstart the career you’ve always wanted.

Whether you’re looking for a partner, a client or an employer, networking events can make a real difference. Not only can it help you grow professionally, it can also do good for your personal life.

However, as the saying goes, it only takes a second to make a bad first impression. Before you go out to one of the many networking opportunities available to you throughout the year, it’s important that you hone your approach. Here’s how:

1. Get there early.
You know that saying about being fashionably late? That may apply to house parties and bar excursions, but little else. If your biggest fear is getting stuck in a corner with your plastic cup and a business card while everyone else chats away, be an early bird.

Ditch any notions you have about being a cool kid and get there before the party starts. Networking events can be a bit daunting, especially if you’re going alone. You’re more likely to avoid getting lost in the crowd if you jump in while the group is small, and meet new people as they arrive, one at a time or in pairs.

2. Wear your conversation starter.
First impressions are everything. In just a quick glance a person can make an opinion about who you are based on your appearance and how you carry yourself. While a well put together look is key, consider heading into your networking event with a piece that will help you stand out.

Avoid drowning in a sea of black and navy blue outfits by adding a pair of fun shoes or unique earnings. Make sure you appropriately express your individuality within the context of your situation. If there’s a dress code or dress expectation, make sure you follow the rules accordingly. You definitely don’t want to leave an impression that you’re gaudy or unprofessional, but remember, this is supposed to be fun!

3. Don’t get sucked in by negativity.
Negative Nancies always have time to show up at a networking event. They’ll rag on anything from the economy and job market to your business and career prospects. While you should do your best to dodge these people as much as possible, know that running into them will happen.

Never feel pressured to engage with a negative person, especially at a networking event. Instead, do your best to turn the conversation around with constructive comments. If the person shows no sign of changing their attitude, politely move on. This may sound weird, but kids are the best networkers out there. Not only are they extremely upbeat when making new friends, but they also are unafraid and excited when they approach their peers. If our kids can do it, so can we.

Similarly, don’t go and be the one whose name tag reads, “I’m Nancy Too.” Be sure to hold positive conversations only. If you’re feeling down about work, consider this a prime opportunity to find new positions. Shift your lament onto hopes for a new position and the amazing skills that you have to offer.

4. Research, research, research.
Tactical networking practices work best when you’ve come prepared. Remember, networking events won’t go on all day. You’ll have a small window to make an impression on a large group, so help yourself out by doing research ahead of time.

Start by knowing who is hosting the event. They’ll likely have a limited amount of time to talk but remember they’re the ones who brought in all of the people you’re networking with. At the very least you’ll want to introduce yourself.

Your biggest priority should be having an understanding of the guest list. Typically, events will post the guest list online ahead of the function. Use the list as a way to make note of the people you will definitely want to make connections with. If your host has a team, reach out to co-hosts or assistants to help make introductions with guests beforehand.

Lastly, don’t forget to utilize social media. Learn to recognize the faces of those who you’re most interested in talking to, and make sure to target them first before you get lost investigating where everyone is getting the chocolate samples.

5. Pretend your business card is money.
You might have an unlimited amount of business cards, but there’s no way you have as much brain storage. Before you go and make your business cards rain on your networking event, consider that successful networking requires genuine connections. You wouldn’t go to Target and throw your money at every item you could buy. Don’t do that at an event. Don’t be Blackjack Betty.

Instead, take some time to evaluate where your card is going. Use the event to make real exchanges with others -- listen as much as you speak (ideally more) and really listen. Understanding a person’s passions will help you to build the relationships you came for. Aim to offer your card to people you’ve spent time talking with, whose passions you understand and whose goals align with your own, and vice versa. You’re more likely to have a successful follow-up with them later.

Andrew Medal is a street geek and entrepreneur. He is the founder of web and mobile development shop, Agent Beta, amongst a handful of other startups. Recently, he's been helping the California Education Department solve the student and job problem through technology.

2/26/17 - How To Ask "How Much Does This Job Pay?"

Liz Ryan
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2017/01/12/how-to-ask-how-much-does-this-job-pay/#571fc2187df9 

It can feel awkward to ask a recruiter or an HR person "How much does this job pay?" There is no reason it should be sticky to talk about compensation.

The most responsible and talent-aware employers lay out the pay rate for their open positions. Either they mention the pay range in the job ad or they tell you as soon as they contact you about the job, "Here's what the job pays."

There is no reason to withhold salary information apart from a desire to be cagey with applicants.

If a recruiter, HR person or hiring manager can find out what you earned at your last job before they tell you how much they've budgeted for the position, maybe they can bring you on board at the bottom end of the pay range -- or even below it.

That is unethical, and it's bad business, but there is a lot of unethical behavior and a lot of bad business in the hiring process almost everywhere you look.

When a company recruiter or a third-party recruiter contacts you about a job opening that might be a good fit, it is always appropriate to ask them "What is the pay range for the position?"

If they say "I don't know" or "That is still being decided," get off the phone or end the email correspondence with them, because they are lying. Nobody recruits for a position without knowing the pay range -- it would be absurd to do so.

If you reach out to an employer and they invite you to a job interview, you can go to the interview without establishing the pay range because you contacted them. You can meet them and decide whether you want to continue the conversation. They will also decide whether or not to keep you in their interview process.

Don't go back for a second interview, however, until you know that your salary target and their salary range overlap. When someone from the company sends you an email message or calls you to set up the second interview, broach the salary topic this way:

Rrrring!

You: Sally Jones!

Martin: Hi Sally, this is Martin Van Buren from Angry Chocolates. Our team really enjoyed meeting you last week and we'd like to invite you to come back and meet Margaret Hamilton, our Director of Quality, next week. Will Thursday afternoon work for you?

You: Thanks, Martin! I will have to check my calendar to see whether Thursday could work. In the meantime, is now a good time and are you the right person to sync up on compensation? I want to make sure we are in the same ballpark salary-wise.

Martin: I can talk about compensation with you. What are you earning now?

You: In this job search I'm focusing on roles in the $50,000 range. Is this job in that range?

Martin: Yes, it is. This position is budgeted in the high forties or low fifties so we should be in good shape.

You: Excellent! Let me check my calendar really quickly.

The talent market is shifting fast. Employers need smart and capable people like you. Candidates who know their value and who will stand up for themselves are more valuable to employers -- but only to employers who care about talent.

Some employers talk about talent but it's all talk and no action!

You get to decide which manager to work for and which organization to invest your time, energy and brainpower into. Choose wisely. Not every company deserves your talents.

Only the people who get you, deserve you!

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.

What do you want to do for a living?

https://blog.dol.gov/2017/02/23/what%E2%80%99s-next-my-career

Time for a change?

Are you looking to find the 21st century opportunities that will allow your career to soar?

Navigating job changes can be tricky business, and it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with the pace of change. The Department of Labor has a number of tools to support you through the process.

My Next Move is a web-based interactive tool from the Labor Department for new job seekers, students and other career-explorers to learn more about their career options. Users can:

Though My Next Move is intended to assist all jobseekers, it may be especially useful for students, young adults and other first-time workers as they explore potential careers based on their interests. The new tool complements the department's "mySkills myFuture" site, which is designed to help those with previous work experience match existing skills to new occupations.

This website allows users to search for jobs by occupation, by industry and using the "O*NET Interest Profiler," which matches an individual's interests with suitable occupations by asking 60 questions. Since 2001, the department's Occupational Information Network, or O*NET, has used a 180-question version of the profiler that can be printed out or downloaded to a personal computer.

Each occupation that a user selects has an easy-to-read, one-page profile, including information about what knowledge, skills and abilities are needed; the occupation's outlook; the level of education required; technologies used within the occupation; and similar jobs. In addition, each occupation page includes direct links to local salary information, training opportunities and relevant job openings.

2/19/17 - Why the first second of a job interview can make or break you

Marguerite Ward
http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/09/why-the-first-second-of-a-job-interview-can-make-or-break-you.html 

Making a great first impression in a job interview can be the difference between getting an offer and getting passed by. And according to research, you may only have a few moments.

People make snap judgments about each other within one tenth of a second, a Princeton University study shows. In a blink of an eye, hirers draw conclusions about your likability, trustworthiness, competence and aggressiveness.

And, the study suggests, those first impressions stick: Hirers quickly begin to expect you to conform to the ideas they've just begun to form about you. If you seem familiar and friendly, you could get an offer. If you seem sloppy or overly aggressive, you could be overlooked.

To make those first few moments of your job interview count, follow these rules career experts say are crucial:

1. Dress the part

"Your wardrobe should be clean, pressed and well-fitting," says Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume. "The goal is to look like you belong at the company."

The career expert suggests job candidates do some investigating into the job's dress code by asking around within your professional network.
"Do some reconnaissance online and with your professional network to determine the company's dress code," she says. "If the organization is laid-back, dress as you believe they would for an important meeting with a client."

2. Arrive on time

Nobody wants to look or feel rushed at an interview. Being punctual will help you relax.

"I recommend arriving 15 minutes before your scheduled interview so you have time to register with reception, complete any paperwork, use the restroom to freshen up," Augustine says. "Get your bearings before the interview begins."

3. Pay attention to body language

The goal in a job interview is to appear "confident, professional, and friendly," Augustine says. A firm handshake, a smile and eye contact are crucial to that.

Not making eye contact makes you appear nervous, says career coach Becky Berry. "Keep your head up."

4. Sound professional

When people are nervous, they have a tendency to raise their voices a bit, studies have shown. Resist the urge, experts say.

"We tend to tighten the vocal chords when we are tense, and the high, sometimes screechy sound does not sound powerful," says Patti Wood, a body language expert and author. "Bring down your voice."

For more tips on how to appear confident, check out body language tricks to exude confidence. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/14/7-body-language-tricks-to-exude-confidence.html?slide=1

2/12/17 - 3 Ways to Get Yourself a Job Referral

By Sammi Caramela, Business News Daily Contributor 
http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/9686-get-job-referral.html 

As they say in the business world, it's all about who you know.

Sure, hard work and an impressive resume help, but having connections and possible referrals are often crucial to landing the job of your dreams. In fact, according to a study by recruiting software Lever, referred applicants are almost 10 times more likely to be hired than candidates who aren't referred. Of candidates who aren't referred, only 1 in 100 is hired for every position on average, compared with 1 in 16 for those who are referred to the company and 1 in 22 for those who are recommended by an agency. "For some time now, talent acquisition teams have been increasing their focus on proactively sourcing candidates and encouraging employee referrals," Sarah Nahm, CEO and co-founder of Lever, said in a statement. "[Our] findings prove that those efforts are worthwhile, and paying off." 

Other key findings Lever highlighted in the study include:

> The size of a company correlates with its hiring ratio. The smaller the company, the greater the hiring efficiency. For example, Lever found that companies with fewer than 100 employees have an average of 94 candidates for every open position, while companies with more than 1,000 employees have an average of 129 candidates for every open position.

> The average candidate goes through 4 hours of interviews. Although it depends on the position, candidates spend an average of nearly 4 hours interviewing for a job. Candidates for technical jobs spend the most time interviewing, at 5.5 hours on average, while sales candidates spend an average of only about 3 hours interviewing.

> It takes an average of 34 days for a candidate to be hired. However, larger companies tend to take longer. The average hiring time for companies with more than 1,000 employees was 41 days.

> Recruiters consider nearly half of candidates "underqualified." Cold applicants who apply without a connection are the most likely to be seen as underqualified (52 percent). On the other hand, just 22 percent of proactively sourced (referred or headhunted) candidates are considered underqualified.

Building your referral path

So what can you do to ensure you stand out as a capable applicant?

1. Create a soft referral for yourself.

You can take matters into your own hands by reaching out to others for help. Leela Srinivasan, chief marketing officer at Lever, advised candidates to "think as broadly as you can about potential connections you have into the organization." Ask yourself if you know anyone, even just briefly, who can potentially offer a referral.

2. Search for first- or second-degree connections on LinkedIn.

If you find yourself empty-handed after considering possible connections, turn to the company's LinkedIn page, click "see all employees" and check if you have any first- or second-degree connections.

"If you have a first-degree connection, reach directly out to them, explaining why you're interested in working for the org[anization] and asking if they can refer you," Srinivasan told Business News Daily. "If you see a second-degree connection at the company, click on their profile to figure out how you're connected, and see if there's a mutual connection who might be able to give you a warm intro."

According to Srinivasan, many companies have referral programs and offer incentives to employees who refer candidates. You may be surprised by how eager your potential connections will be to refer you.

3. Establish a legitimate connection.

If all else fails, think about possible ties you can make with the company — for example, any positive experiences you've had.

"Try to establish a legitimate connection, even if it's experience-based," Srinivasan said. "As a candidate, your object[ive] is not to game the system. On the other hand, if you come to the table with authentic examples of times when you've exhibited a particular value that the company champions, those could come in handy during the process."

Additionally, it helps to show your curiosity about the company's culture and values. Don't be afraid to ask questions and show that you've done your research.

The Lever report collected data from more than 4 million candidates, across 999 companies that use Lever, from August 2015 to July 2016.

Sammi Caramela is a senior at Rowan University with a major in writing arts and a double minor in journalism and psychology. She is President of Her Campus magazine and I Am That Girl at Rowan, and contributes to other writing platforms on and off campus. She expects to graduate in 2017 and continue her freelance work with Business News Daily. Reach her by email, or check out her blog at sammisays.org

2/5/17 - The 2 Traits All Hiring Managers Look for During Interviews (Without Even Realizing It)

By Jeremy Schifeling
https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-2-traits-all-hiring-managers-look-for-during-interviews-without-even-realizing-it 

How cool would it be to have an X-ray into the head of the person who controls your career fate? To understand exactly what a hiring manager at your dream company is thinking when she’s picking which lucky candidate she’ll bring on full-time?

Well, until CAT scans start to pick up hiring decisions, that day may still be far away. But in the meantime, let me at least give you a glimpse into the typical interviewing process so you can get a sense of the main criteria hiring managers use to make those decisions.

How Humans Evaluate Each Other

Even though your potential boss has the fancy title of “Hiring Manager,” at the end of the day, she’s just a human being. Which means that contrary to all that time you’ve spent obsessing about brainteasers, she doesn’t actually care how many tennis balls could fit in a 747.

Instead, she’s going to size you up the same way that all humans size each other up: By getting to know you for a few minutes and then making a snap judgment. It’s really not that different from meeting someone at a party, making some chit-chat, and then getting a gut feeling that either says: “Mm…I like talking to you. Tell me more!” or “Umm…I think I need to go to the bathroom. Will you excuse me for a second (a.k.a., the rest of your life)?”

But where does that gut feeling come from?

One Psychology theory suggests that these flash judgments are really based on two data points:

1. Warmth: Do I like you?
2. Competence: Are you good at what you do?

In other words, we ultimately reduce everyone we meet into four buckets:

1. Warm + Competent
2. Warm + Incompetent
3. Cold + Competent
4. Cold + Incompetent

Any guesses which of these buckets your hiring manager is more likely to pick?

Let’s look at her inner monologue for each:

Warmth Competence

How to Get Picked

So clearly, your goal is to get into that top-left quadrant: warm and competent. But how do you do that?

The trick is to not only focus on coming up with specific answers to questions that may be asked. But to also focus hard on how you answer those questions. Because, as you’ll see, warmth and competence judgments aren’t definitive evaluations but mere perceptions. And while you can’t change who you are, you absolutely can change people’s perceptions of you.

As an example, let’s take that old interview chestnut: “Tell me about a time you influenced a team.”

A standard answer might go like this:

“OK, so there was this time that I had to work with a bunch of people on a project. Some of them weren’t that easy to work with, so I really had to influence them to do a better job. Which was super tough because they weren’t that motivated. But after I talked with them, they started doing way better. So that’s how I influenced my team.”

The person listening would most likely think the following: This person is both cold (it feels like she’s throwing her teammates under the bus) and incompetent (wait a second, what did she actually do here—does she even know how to work with other people?).

While there’s a lot more to this person’s story, this snap judgment from a hiring managers
makes it clear just how quickly interviewers can rush to evaluate a candidate.

But it also illuminates the importance of how we tell our stories. Because now consider this same story told a second way:

“OK, so there was this time that I got to work with a bunch of people on a big project—the launch of a new website. I was nervous about it because we all came from different departments—sales, marketing, and engineering. So the first thing I did is I got to know my engineering colleagues better by setting up coffees with each person and learning about their backgrounds and goals. And then, when we ran into a situation where the engineers weren’t making as much progress as we had planned, I was able to reframe the new website around their own goals. Seeing the connection between their personal ambitions and our team mission really seemed to light a fire under them. And the result was that we not only hit our deadline, but we actually launched two weeks early.”

Again, same exact high-level story. But notice how the telling of it changes the candidate from cold to warm (“Nice—I’d want to grab coffee with her too!”) and incompetent to competent (“Wow—she knew exactly what to do and got the results to prove it”). All through subtle techniques like:

> Using specifics: Instead of focusing on the boring abstract, the candidate brings her story to life through details: a new website, falling behind, coffee chats, a clear result
> Being self-aware: Instead of needing to stroke her own ego, the candidate shows she’s human and likable by admitting to her nerves
> Going step-by-step: Instead of glossing over the meat of the story, the candidate draws a clear connection from the challenge to her response to a specific outcome

1/29/17 - The Recruiter Wants Me To Rewrite My Resume -- Should I Do It?

Liz Ryan
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/12/30/my-recruiter-wants-me-to-rewrite-my-resume-should-i-do-it/#67413e586184 

Dear Liz,

I updated my LinkedIn profile and it's made a huge difference in my job search. I am employed but I'm looking for a better opportunity.

Two recruiters contacted me because of my new and improved LinkedIn profile. One of them was kind of a jerk. He demanded my salary information right away. I told him my salary target, but he said that wasn't good enough.

He said he needs to know what I'm earning now. I told him it wasn't a good fit and I got off the phone.

The other recruiter is awesome. His name is Mike. He has two job opportunities that may be a good fit for me.

We've talked on the phone twice and we're supposed to meet in person next week. Mike asked me to send him my resume and I did.

It's ironic because Mike told me he was very impressed with my LinkedIn profile, which I re-wrote in a human voice following your instructions a month ago. He liked the human voice in my LinkedIn profile well enough to contact me, but when he got my resume he said "It's too conversational."

When I sent Mike my Human-Voiced Resume he said his clients don't want to see resumes that use full sentences.

He wants me to re-write my resume in that zombie style that I just evolved out of a month ago. Should I do it? I firmly agree with you that only the people who get me, deserve me!

Thanks Liz,

Nora

Dear Nora,

Congratulations on your re-branding and your new partnership with Mike!

A recruiter is a partner in your job search. You get to decide which recruiters to partner with, if you partner with any of them.

If Mike has strong relationships with his clients, then I recommend that you revise your resume and send Mike what he's looking for.

He knows his clients. Some employers are on the ball and excited to meet a candidate with a human voice in their resume, and others are not.

If Mike knows that his clients would love to meet the real Nora but would be freaked out to meet you via your Human-Voiced Resume, then follow Mike's instructions. If you trust his judgment, then it makes sense to go along with his instructions.

You are smart to think about how far you are willing to bend to get a new job. It's one thing -- a relatively minor thing -- to revise your resume in accordance with a recruiter's wishes.

However, what if the next instruction you get from Mike is to lower your target salary expectations?

What if Mike tells you that you have to take online tests and supply his client with free work in order to be considered for employment?

I hope at that point you will say "I like you, Mike, but I don't like you enough to lower my standards!"

Every job-seeker has to have a floor beneath which you will not sink. If you do not establish standards for your job search (and for any recruiter who represents you), you will waste countless hours and brain cells.

You don't need to contort yourself into pretzel shapes to get a job. The right employer -- and the right recruiter -- won't expect or require you to crawl over piles of broken glass to get a job.

You can make your expectations and requirements clear to Mike right now, at the beginning of your relationship.

You can tell him "Mike, I'll be happy to revise my resume and send you a version that uses sentence fragments, even though I don't like that communication style.

"I will be as flexible as I can in meeting with employers when it works for them, but I can't be all that flexible because I am working full-time. I know that you are dealing with me on one side of the desk and your client on the other side, but I need to let you know right now that I am not desperate. I have a job already. My brand is important to me, and the way I am treated during the recruitment process is extremely important to me, too."

Way too many job seekers submit to horrendous treatment from recruiters and employers because they think that's just the way things work. That is not the way things work!

No one can mistreat you during your job search without your permission.

Listen carefully to Mike's response when you tell him that you will disappear from his life and his candidate roster the minute you feel the chill wind of candidate abuse blowing in your direction.

Not all employers deserve you -- and not all recruiters do, either!

All the best to you --

Liz

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.

1/22/17 - How To Evaluate A Recruiter In 30 Seconds

Liz Ryan, CONTRIBUTOR
http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/11/27/how-to-evaluate-a-recruiter-in-thirty-seconds/#21290e6b4ce7 

For years we’ve heard that hiring managers and recruiters will spend five to ten seconds reading your resume — and no more.

Of course, you cannot really read a resume in five or 10 seconds. I’ve read tens of thousands of resumes over the years and I still read resumes every day.

It takes time, and if you advertised a need for candidates, then you should have the time. If you don’t have time to read the resumes you receive, you shouldn’t be recruiting!

However, managers and recruiters are famous for “reading” resumes in a single glance. They may not even scroll down the screen to see the second page of your resume. That’s shameful, but it’s reality.

On the other hand, recruiters will reach out to you if they find your LinkedIn profile and think you might be qualified for a job opening they’re trying to fill.

Now the shoe is on the other foot. The recruiter needs you, or they wouldn’t take the time to contact you. When you talk to a recruiter on the phone, it’s your turn to screen them the same way they screen job-seekers like you.

Some recruiters will get you on the phone and immediately start asking questions about your background. You can stop them cold and say “Let me ask you this: have you seen my LinkedIn profile?”

If your LinkedIn profile is up to date, they are wasting your time by asking you questions your LinkedIn profile has already answered.

If the recruiter is pushy with you and says “Yes, I’ve read your profile but I have to ask you the questions on my list” politely hang up the phone.

Recruiters cannot earn a dime without candidates like you. If a recruiter reaches out to you — intruding on your busy day — and can’t take the time to prove his or her value to you by answering your questions before launching into a mini-interview, they cannot help you!

You must vet the recruiters who call you. You get to decide who will represent you to employers. Don’t choose someone who is rude or pushy! Choose a recruiter who respects you and your background, as well as your time.

When a recruiter contacts you, don’t start answering their questions about your background right away. They haven’t yet earned the right to ask you any questions.

You have questions of your own that need to be answered first!

Ask the recruiter whether they have a specific job opportunity they are working on — one that you might be qualified for. If they are simply trying to add people like you to their database, that’s a good reason to get off the phone quickly.

If they have a specific job they’re working on, ask them the basics: where is the job located? What is the general outline of the role? What is the rough salary range for the job? Every good recruiter can answer these three questions. If a recruiter won’t play ball, say goodbye.

Employers are having trouble finding great people to fill their job openings. On top of that, most medium-sized and large employers have broken recruiting systems.

Their recruiting processes are so slow and cumbersome that good candidates drop out of the pipeline. That’s one reason so many employers work with recruiters. The recruiters keep the process moving!

A good recruiter in your corner is a fantastic asset, but as in any profession, there are more unsuitable recruiters than top-notch ones around.

Invest the time and energy to screen every recruiter you talk to before agreeing to share your resume with them or to allow them to represent you.

You are not just a bundle of skills and certifications. You are a talented professional that employers would be lucky to recruit. Remember that only the people who get you, deserve you!

Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns.

1/15/17 - 8 Free Training Tools That Will Help You Excel at Your Job

Not every employer will pay for training to get you ahead but they all notice when you're falling behind.
by John Boitnott
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/286028 

To maintain a strong career trajectory, professionals need continuing education. Whether it means learning about the latest technology or mastering a new skill, with the right training, employees can boost their resumes and remain competitive. Thanks to the Internet, consumers now have access to an endless array of free courses, on almost any topic they need to learn. Here are eight free tools that can help entrepreneurs connect with the online learning opportunities they need.

1. YouTube videos
Consumers use YouTube to watch old TV commercials and cat videos, but they may not realize the site is filled with tutorials on a wide variety of topics. Prospective students can search for classes by topic or subscribe to specific channels like those hosted by Bloomberg Business, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Entrepreneur. YouTube is also a valuable resource for learning how to use software, from popular solutions like Microsoft Office to more obscure software specific to an industry.

2. ALISON
ALISON brings free courses in everything from entrepreneurship to psychology, making it the perfect resource for pursuing various interests. Courses are self-paced, with assessments helping students gauge what they’ve learned. At completion, students can download a learner record that shows all of the courses they’ve passed. Courses are offered at both diploma and certificate levels to help students build a resume.

3. Coursera
With courses from the world’s top universities and colleges, Coursera can help entrepreneurs get certificates from respected institutions. Lectures and non-graded materials are free, with financial aid available for courses that come with graded assignments and certificates. Entrepreneurs can learn more about popular topics like data science and machine learning or study basic business skills.

4. Udemy
Udemy bills itself as an online learning marketplace, with more than 40,000 courses. Not all of the courses are free, but a search of free courses on the site reveals pages of free courses on topics such as web design, iOS programming, and SEO. For personal development, Udemy has free courses on painting, photography, goal setting, and more.

5. edX
With courses from Harvard University, MIT, The University of California Berkeley, and other universities, edX is the only leading Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) provider that is both nonprofit and open source. Students take free courses in subjects like supply chain management, data analysis, healthy living, and Linux. In addition to study materials and instructors, edX provides unique learning tools like game-like labs and 3D virtual molecule builders for hands-on learning.

6. MIT OpenCourseWare
Known for its research and education in science and engineering, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a top-notch reputation. MIT OpenCourseWare brings some of the school’s courses online, with free lecture notes, videos, and exams from the school’s instructors. Students can choose from thousands of courses in the fields of business, engineering, science, and more.

7. FutureLearn
In addition to providing courses, FutureLearn offers a community of learners, with students communicating with each other to enhance the experience. There are numerous free upcoming courses, including many covering business-related topics. The site’s workplace learning program gives businesses the tools they need to managing training for all of their employees in one place.

8. iTunes
For Apple device users, iTunes has a wide variety of courses available for download. Professionals can search iTunes for the subject they need or browse through this list of free courses offered through the platform. Through iTunesU, instructors put together their own classes and offer them to consumers, including participants like Harvard and Stanford universities. While some of these classes can be found elsewhere, Apple device owners may find it easier to search for the classes they need where they can download them directly.

Professional development courses can be a great way to improve efficiency and boost a resume. With so many courses available online, professionals can take these classes in their free time, often on their favorite mobile devices. Interested students should first determine the courses they’re interested in taking and search one of the above platforms for an affordable option that fits their unique learning needs.


John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

1/8/17 - Are cover letters still worth writing?

Matt Lindner, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-cover-letters-family-1011-20161006-story.html 

Is the cover letter a lost art when it comes to applying for jobs?

"Electronic application processes make it easier for many candidates to apply, which sometimes means many more applications need to be sorted through before decisions are made," says Andrea Alaimo, director of human resources at Chicago based logistics firm Redwood Logistics. "That may be a reason that cover letters don't hold the same value they used to. Today, we see a small fraction of total applicants also include cover letters"

"Cover letters are becoming less of a requirement and more of an option," says Parker McKenna, a human resources disciplines panelist for the Society for Human Resource Management. "Many recruiters or hiring managers aren't reviewing cover letters if they feel they have gotten a full understanding of the applicant's background by reviewing the resume alone."

Not only are hiring managers glossing over the cover letter, job seekers in many cases are omitting it altogether.

"Only a small percentage of applications we receive include cover letters, perhaps 10 percent," says Tracy McShane-Wilson, executive director of talent acquisition at accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP.

Nationwide, just over half — 55 percent — of all job applicants include a cover letter when applying for a position, according to a recent survey from job board CareerBuilder.

But those who omit a cover letter, or submit one with an obviously halfhearted effort, could be missing out on an opportunity to set themselves apart from the crowd.

"You can generally tell when a candidate is very interested in a particular position and/or the organization, as they will take more time to delve into why the role and/or organization fits well within their own professional goals and passions (in a cover letter)," says Valerie Keels, head of D.C. Office Services for Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance.

The cover letters that hiring managers are getting, by and large, aren't exactly blowing them away.

"Many that we see are generic and thus not that valuable," Alaimo says.

"Letters that only state the obvious, such as the position applied for and advising that a resume has been submitted doesn't generate much interest from the hiring manager," Keels adds.

But a well-written cover letter could be the difference between getting your foot in the door and getting one of those dreaded generic response letters from a company telling you that those in charge of hiring are impressed with your qualifications but have decided to pursue other candidates at this time.

A Grant Thornton spokesman says the company is on pace to hire an estimated 2,500 people this year, a figure that includes interns as well as entry-level and more experienced hires.

McShane-Wilson says she'll receive anywhere from 50 to 100 applications per job posting, on average.

"The number of applicants has increased significantly over time, due to the greater availability of information about open roles through job sites and social media, as well as the much greater ease with which candidates can submit applications," she says. These technology developments have allowed us to vastly expand the potential pool of talent and have greatly increased our candidate traffic."

Given the amount of competition, McShane-Wilson and other hiring managers say putting a little effort into composing a thoughtful cover letter could go a long way.

For one, it tells a hiring manager a lot about how passionate you are about the position you're applying for.

"If you are the type of person that is thorough, fully engaged and takes the time to write a cover letter, then you're probably also the type of person that cares about making sure it is well-written, informative and persuasive," McShane-Wilson says.

Alaimo says she's not the only person involved in the hiring process, and thus not the only one candidates have to impress if they want to make it to the next round of the hiring process.

Including a cover letter tells her and her team a lot about a candidate's most basic communication skills.

"In the end, each hiring manager determines how important mastery of the written word is for the role they are seeking to fill, but confirming good written communication skills can only help our review of a person's total communication skills, from traditional writing skills to our current-day, often-instantaneous technology-based communications methods," she says.

Matt Lindner is a freelancer.

1/1/17 - Three Job Hunt Misconceptions Debunked

Virginia Franco
Executive Resume Writer and Career Strategist at www.virginiafrancoresumes.com.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/12/16/three-job-hunt-misconceptions-debunked/#56b5abd6c2bf 

These clients come through my doors all the time: smart, achievement-laden professionals, rusty where job searching is concerned. Many have not been in the job market since before the recession and others have never needed to job hunt — until now. Most have heard through the grapevine what it takes to successfully land a job.

As an executive resume writer who has helped thousands to navigate the job search landscape, I can attest that while some of these job search truths are true to some extent, others are simply unfounded. Perplexed? You are not alone.

#1: I Must Apply Online To Get An Interview

The Reality: In my experience, the online application process may work for some, but usually does not work for most. This is because many things can occur between the time a posting appears and when you apply.

From budget freezes to managers going in another direction to someone having the inside track before the posting even gets published — it will be tough to get a response no matter how perfect you are for the role.
The Workaround: Regardless of whether a job posting is viable or not, online advertisements do serve a positive purpose. They can reveal which corporations appear to have budgets for hiring, and they provide a bit of insight into the corporate culture. They are an ideal starting point for networking — which in my experience yields a far greater return on your job search efforts than responding to roles via a portal ever would.

Use these postings to identify which companies to target and to locate decision makers or connections you may have within these organizations. Get started with outreach and see it where it leads you.

#2: My Resume Must Have Keywords To Get Noticed

The Reality: If you pepper your resume with a bunch of industry keywords your resume may make it past applicant tracking software but will probably end its journey as soon as it gets before a human. Why? A resume must tell the story of how you are a perfect fit for the role. No amount of keywords will accomplish this without context or an explanation of how you performed your role and how you succeeded.

The Workaround: Include a "Skills" section in your resume that allows a reader (and the machine!) to quickly scan core skills in which you are highly proficient or even an expert. Use the rest of the resume to tell the reader about your achievements and proud moments — which in turn will allow them to figure out what you can do should they hire you.

#3: Recruiters Will Find Me As Long As I Have A Completed LinkedIn Profile

The Reality: A LinkedIn profile that is at "all-star" status (check where yours is by going to "Edit Profile" and looking in the top right corner of the screen) will absolutely rank more highly in searches than one where key sections have been left blank. However, in a highly saturated or competitive industry, a complete profile alone will not likely give you the advantage you need.

The Workaround: In my experience of writing LinkedIn profiles and guiding clients on this platform during their job search, the more active and engaged a client is on LinkedIn, the more likely they are to be contacted and the shorter their job search will be.

This can be accomplished by reaching out to first-degree connections, connecting with second- and third-degree connections, and sending a note to those who have viewed your profile. Additionally, spend a few minutes each day liking and sharing content of interest within your targeted industry.

While Technology Will Continue — People Don't

There’s no doubt the job search landscape has changed — thanks in large part to technology. What hasn’t changed, however, is people.

At the end of the day, people still respond to people — whether through a strong case articulated on paper or in person. In other words, the powers of outreach and networking will continue to trump other forms of job hunting for years to come.

Happy Holidays 2016 - Check out our holiday wish for You!

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2017 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy Holidays and a very safe and Happy New Years to you and yours!

Offer Evaluation Template

You have received a job offer, now what.

How do you evaluate the offer? Did the offer letter or email include everything you need to know to consider the offer...have you thought of all the items that you need to consider about the offer to make a good decision. 

The link below will open an excel spreadsheet that was put together by David S. (around 2008) when he was trying to make a decision to join a small company (about 35 employees). David had always worked for much larger companies. David did take and offer and was glad he did. The smaller company did not offer all the perks some of the larger companies that he had worked for in the past, but he was able to be more involved and do different things at the smaller company.

 Click here for the Offer Evaluation Template This will download the Excel file to your computer.

 Be sure to read the comments in the any of the excel cells that have a red triangle in the upper right corner.

Also the Excel file will have two tabs, both have the same information, just in case you mess one of the sheets up, the other will still be available, or just download the file again.

12/11/16 - Resume 101: Ditch the Objective Statement and Consider a Summary

Crystal Marsh
Career Coach | Speaker | Lawyer. If you’re ready to find your purpose and uplevel your career visit www.CrystalMarshCoaching.com .
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/crystal-marsh/resume-101-ditch-the-obje_b_12094440.html 

If you’re navigating the job hunt, surely you’re taking some time to revamp your resume. If that’s the case, one of the questions that you might have is whether or not you need an objective statement on your resume. The objective statement is basically a few bullet points saying what you’re looking for — a short, targeted statement regarding your ideal job.

The long and the short of it is that no, you don’t need an objective statement. Most hiring managers find them too generic to add value. Your resume should be limited to one page for most people with less than 10-12 years of experience, and two pages for those with more. That means that means that every centimeter of that page is valuable real estate that you don’t want to waste with information that is not going to make you more valuable to a potential employer. Skip the objective statement!

What you may consider instead would be an resume summary. A resume summary is a good idea if you (a) have an extensive work history and want to put highlights front and center, or (b) you’re making a big career transition and need to create a clear narrative for the potential employer that they may not be able to discern as readily on their own. A summary allows you to present your personal brand in a clear way to potential employers. If you think that a summary may be a good fit for your resume, you’re going to have to do some introspection to make sure that you create a summary that is meaningful.

Here are a few steps to help you do that:

Step 1: Have a Clear Direction
You want your summary to be clearly directed towards the type of role that you want — you need to emphasize the skills and experience the most directly relevant for your ideal job. Ask yourself:

- Which skills do you most enjoy using?
- What results and/or accomplishments best highlight your strengths?
- What do you want to be known for?

Step 2: Research your target industry
You want to have a strong understanding of the industry that you want to be in so that you can better anticipate the top needs.
Ask yourself:

- What are the top trends in your industry?
- What problems are you best able to resolve?
- What would make you a unique asset?

Step 3: Paint the picture
Now that you know what your skills are and what is most vlued in your industry, connect the dots for the potential employer. Write 4-6 bullets with clear, specific, pithy statements with a focus on how you could add value based on results and accomplishments.
Ask yourself:

- What are your biggest selling points?
- What is needed in your target industry that you have?

Here’s an example:

Retail sales manager with 5+ years experience with strengths including customer services, sales, and negotiation. Successful in developing strategies resulting in over 30% increase in new customers over 12 month period.

The example above is great because its both clear and concise. As soon as the hiring manager picks up the resume with this at the top, they know the type of person they’re looking at. This can be persuasive and provide just the punch needed to put you at the top of the list of potential candidates.

Visit www.crystalmarshcoaching.com for more advice on how to best navigate your job hunt — because you deserve to earn money, doing work you love!

12/4/16 - Job Interview Tips: 5 Things Most Job Seekers Don’t Know

Sam Becker
http://www.cheatsheet.com/money-career/job-interview-tips-most-people-dont-know.html/ 

The internet is brimming with interview tips — those for the seasoned job market vet, and those for the young men and women entering the workforce for the first time. By now, everyone knows the basics. You need to show up on time, for example, and run a comb through your hair. Practice keeping your body language in check, and have your resume and cover letter in tip-top shape.

Everybody knows that stuff. Interviewers expect it. Show up late or look like a slob? You might not even get through the door for your scheduled meeting.

But what about some of the lesser-known tips and tricks? Are there some still scant talked-about job interview tips that you can use to gain an advantage over the toughest interviewer? There are, and you can see them on the following pages. Whether you’re in a powerful position with many employers swooning after you, or trying to gain the mental edge by figuring out when you should schedule an interview, these tips should help you get that job.

1. Everything is negotiable (sometimes)

If you’re a top-caliber candidate, employers are going to want you — and that means that they may be willing to bend and twist to get you on the payroll. Remember that everything is negotiable, given you’re in a position of power. Typically, you will go back and forth over salary, and leave it at that. But you can start making all kinds of demands — additional vacation days, ability to work remotely, free bus pass, etc. — and see what you can get. Of course, if your skill set is a dime a dozen, you could be laughed out of the office.

But it never hurts to ask!

2. Opposition research goes both ways

You can bet that your interviewer is digging up the dirt on you, so you better be damn sure you’re researching them, as well. With so many resources available to you these days (Glassdoor, PayScale, etc.), there’s no reason you shouldn’t have some valuable intel going into an interview. You can look up the person you’re meeting with on LinkedIn, for starters. And check out the company’s background and common gripes from past employees. Take the time, and go in with a mental dossier prepared.

3. Craft and use a narrative

“Tell me about yourself” is an invitation to take your interviewer on a journey. A journey they won’t forget, and that they’ll remember when it comes time to trim the list of candidates. Don’t just list off the things on your resume when an interviewer asks about your past. Use the chance to weave a narrative, or build yourself a story — a story about a guy or gal who is hungry, can pick up new skills, and who has many accomplishments under their belt. You don’t need to be Tolkien, but this is a method that will help you appear more confident and accomplished.

4. Take your nonverbal weaknesses seriously

You know that you need to dress to impress when you go in for an interview, but your nonverbal communication goes much deeper than what you’re wearing. Hiring managers are turned off by anxious, nervous candidates. Though you’re not going to be able to rid yourself completely of those feelings, the ability to manage and control yourself will get you a long way. Watch your body language, of course, and you can even take measures to help keep excess sweat at bay with certain articles of clothing.

5. Timing is everything

There actually is a perfect time to schedule an interview, and though you’re going to be subject to the whims and schedule of your interviewer, try and aim for a specific day and time: Tuesday, around 10:30. Seriously, there’s scientific evidence to back this up. If you can’t make that work, then try for a time that you know you’ll be the most alert and ready to go. If you’re a morning person, try for an earlier appointment, for example.

There are numerous ways to turn the table on a hiring manager, and using some of these tactics to the best of your ability can and will help you land the job.

11/27/16 - Start Networking with People Outside Your Industry

Dorie Clark
https://hbr.org/2016/10/start-networking-with-people-outside-your-industry 

Most professionals build their network over time through proximity — people from your business school study group, or colleagues from your current company or past jobs. You may have a few outliers in the mix, but unless you’ve been deliberate about your networking, the vast majority of people you know probably work in the same field or industry as you. It may seem innocuous, but that inadvertent myopia can put you at serious professional risk.

First, if your network has become too narrow, you limit your options in case of a career change, or a downturn in your company or industry. If coworkers are the only ones you know well, and you find yourself in the midst of layoffs, there’s no one to turn to for outside assistance.

Additionally, you’re more prone to groupthink if you’re not exposed to diverse perspectives and points of view. As Harvard sociologist Robert Putnam has written, you need to have a balance of both “bonding capital” and “bridging capital” — i.e., relationships based respectively on your commonalities (bonding) and relationships built across differences (bridging). Relationships with those like you may feel more natural, but it pays to push beyond your comfort zone. Indeed, research shows that companies with more diverse boards enjoy better financial performance.

Dan, a senior professional I interviewed for my first book, Reinventing You, realized that he hadn’t invested enough in his own “bridging capital.” He had spent a decade at a large technology company, rising to become an engineering director. But it occurred to him that his entire professional network consisted of people from that company. Given the vagaries of industry disruption, he became concerned.

He embarked on a networking campaign that forced him to meet each week with people outside the company, including executive recruiters, venture capitalists, startup entrepreneurs, and more. His connections allowed him to move to an exciting new job, and immediately prove his value thanks to the industry insights he’d gained from meeting with so many people.

To diversify your own network, here are four strategies you can follow.

Inventory your existing connections. First, take an inventory of your current network. Who are the 5-10 people you spend the most time with? Next, make a list of your “outer circle” – the 50 or so people who matter the most in your professional life. Do a quick scan to evaluate the professional diversity of your network, noting whether they’re inside or outside your company, and whether they share your profession. If your network is weighted more than 70% in any direction (e.g., 85% of your closest contacts are fellow marketers), it’s time to think consciously about how to diversify. Identify past colleagues or friends that you enjoy who are in different fields or work at different companies, but whom you haven’t spent much time with. Take this as your cue to reach out and propose getting together; they’ll often welcome the invitation.

Put networking on your schedule. Part of Dan’s success in broadening his network outside his company was his decision to make networking a deliberate part of his weekly routine. As an introvert, he’d previously eschewed most networking events. But when he realized his circle had become dangerously small, he committed to regular breakfast meetings with new colleagues. Networking is never “urgent” and will often be the first activity jettisoned when things get busy at work, but it’s essential to prioritize it by putting it on your schedule.

Ask for recommendations. Almost everyone’s network is overweight with people like themselves – so take advantage of this fact, and if you’re looking to diversify your professional relationships, ask the people who are outliers in your network to recommend people they think you should meet. You could say to them, “I’d like to know more angel investors, and you’re really plugged into those circles – who else do you think I should connect with? Would you be willing to make an introduction?”

Don’t look for immediate returns. Some people end up with a narrow network because of inertia, but others don’t extend themselves because they just don’t see the potential for return. If you work in finance, it’s true that making friends with a filmmaker is less likely to add to your bottom line than spending time with someone in your own industry. But you have to play the long game. People — including you — may change careers, and that connection may prove helpful down the line. Additionally, you can’t predict who will be in someone else’s network; that filmmaker may have gone to high school with a CEO you’d now like to do business with.

The best reason to build a professionally diverse network, however, isn’t about what you’ll get out of those relationships. It’s to fulfill personal curiosity and develop yourself as a person; professional or monetary ROI is a happy coincidence. For several years, I’ve been hosting 8-10 person dinner gatherings of interesting people from a mix of professions. It didn’t seem relevant that one of my friends was a comedian, and another a comedy promoter, until I started doing standup performances and was able to access helpful advice that saved me time and frustration.

It’s easy to coast through life only connecting with people like ourselves — but by expending the extra effort to increase our “bridging capital,” we’re gaining access to new insights and creating more “career insurance” for ourselves by broadening the ranks of people who know, like, and respect our work.

Dorie Clark is a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. She is the author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. 

Happy Thanksgiving 2016 - Check out what we give thanks for

turkey05               pilglobe               cornucopia01

What do you give thanks for?

We give thanks for the career group leaders who give their time to help us.

We give thanks for the organizations that allow us to meet in and use their facilities.

We give thanks for the speakers who share their knowledge to help us with our job search for free.

We give thanks for the opportunity to network and meet new people.

We give thanks for the opportunity to help others in their job search.

We give thanks for the support our family and friends provide.

We give thanks for the opportunity to spend more time with our family during our job search.

We give thanks for the opportunities we have living in the USA.

We give thanks for the next great opportunity that awaits us in the future.

We give thanks.

What do you give thanks for?

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from CareerDFW and CareerUSA.org.

11/13/16 - 8 Warning Signs You Need to Update Your Resume

Peter Jones, The Job Network
http://www.richmond.com/business/employment/article_7c4c631c-8c8e-11e6-97b5-c7fe90339742.html 

While job searching, you want to make sure you’re coming across as the best and freshest person for the job. Here are 8 warning signs you need to update your resume.

1. Too much history

Get out of the past. You don’t need to list every single position you’ve ever had, just the most recent and relevant ones. This is the first thing hiring managers look at on a resume. Make yours sing. If you’re going back 10 or 15 years? Consider de-emphasizing that content and focusing instead on the good and grabbing most current stuff.

2. Too much text

Format your resume to be reader friendly and to give the hiring manager the information they need most as quickly and as pleasingly as possible. Avoid long paragraphs and big sentences. Keep it short and snappy and keyword heavy.

3. Too long

Keep it to a page, unless your field demands something different. Make sure that a potential hirer can see what you need them to see in six seconds—which is sometimes all the time you get. Tailor your resume specifically to the job you’re applying for, and leave the rest of the content on your standard or generic document for other positions where it might be more relevant.

4. Wasted address space

You don’t need to give out your personal snail mail address, unless otherwise specified. Current resume etiquette maintains that all you need in the way of contact information is your name, phone, and email. Anything more just wastes valuable space and could make you appear hopelessly retro.

5. Your home number

Business line or cell, please. Who even has a home number anymore? This isn’t 1990. Plus, you want to set up boundaries. Do you really want recruiters calling while you’re sitting down to dinner with your kids?

6. No links to social media

This is necessary nowadays. Add a link to your Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook profile. LinkedIn at the very least. But do make sure you’ve double-checked your profiles before linking them, and scoured for any inappropriate or inflammatory content!

7. Career objective

This is way out of fashion, takes up valuable space, and bores the recruiter to tears before they even get to the part where you list your qualifications. Write a brief professional summary instead—two or three sentences that synthesize your strengths and experience and show why you’d be a unique and ideal fit for the position and the company.

8. “References upon request”

This is a way outdated and redundant thing to include. Obviously you’ll provide references if requested. Take that sentence out and put something more valuable in its place.

11/6/16 - How to make people like you in 4 seconds or less

Shana Lebowitz
http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-make-people-like-you-in-4-seconds-2016-10 

Within seconds of meeting you, people are already making judgments about your personality.

Are you hireable? Or dateable? How about friendable?

And while it's technically possible to reverse a bad first impression, it's not easy. So you'll want to put your best face forward.

To help you out on that front, we checked out "How to Make People Like You in 90 Seconds or Less" by speaker and author Nicholas Boothman. The book highlights a key strategy for making a trusting connection with your conversation partner while greeting them.

The best part? The whole process takes just four seconds. Read on to find out how to become instantly likeable.

Step 1: Be open

Boothman says you'll want to open both your body and your attitude.

In terms of your body language, Boothman says you should aim your heart directly at the person you're meeting. Don't cover your heart with your hands or your arms. And if you're wearing a jacket, unbutton it beforehand.

It's equally important to cultivate a positive attitude. While you're greeting the person, Boothman says you should feel and be aware of that positivity.

Step 2: Make eye contact

Boothman says you should be the one to initiate eye contact, and let your eyes reflect your positive attitude.

If you feel uncomfortable making eye contact, he suggests a strategy for getting used to it: When you're watching TV, note the eye color of the people on camera and say the name of the color in your head. The next day, do the same thing with every person you meet.

Just make sure to look away at some point — one recent study found that most people preferred eye contact that lasted about three seconds. And no one in the study preferred eye contact that lasted longer than nine seconds.

Step 3: Beam

Boothman advises being the first one to smile. You'll send the message that you're sincere.

Research also suggests that smiling when you meet someone in a happy context is a useful way to get them to remember you.

But keep in mind: If you're employing this strategy in a job interview, consider letting your smile fade after the initial meet-and-greet.

In one study, researchers asked college students to role-play job interviews. They found that students who played candidates for the position of newspaper reporter, manager, and research assistant were less likely to get the hypothetical job when they smiled — especially during the middle of the interviews.

Step 4: Say 'hello'

Whether you say "hi," "hey," or "hello," or use another salutation, you should sound delighted to be making this person's acquaintance.

Next, you'll want to extend your hand. Make sure to give a firm handshake, which generally creates a more positive impression.

When the person you're meeting gives his or her name, try to repeat it a few times. For example, you might say, "Sara. Nice to meet you, Sara!"

If you're meeting multiple people and can't shake everyone's hand at once, Boothman says it's possible to conduct a "hands-free" handshake. Do everything you'd normally do while shaking someone's hand — point your heart in their direction, say hello, and smile — but don't extend your hand.

Step 5: Lean in

There's no need to fall over into the person you're meeting.

Boothman suggests an "almost imperceptible forward tilt" to show that you're open to and interested in what the person has to say.

10/30/16 - 4 tips to get around resume filtering

Are applicant tracking systems and resume-filtering technologies hindering your job search? Here's how to beat them.
By Sharon Florentine
http://www.computerworld.com/article/3123698/it-skills-training/4-tips-to-get-around-resume-filtering.html 

You've got all the right skills. Your resume shows a clear progression of advancement through your career, with a long list of accolades and accomplishments. You work well with others, but can excel independently. You've solved problems and increased revenue for your last few employers. You interview well -- or at least you would if you could get an interview.

So what's the problem? You might be at the mercy of an applicant tracking system (ATS) and resume-filtering module -- technology that scans incoming resumes for job-specific keywords and "grades" them on a scale of 0 to 100. If your resume isn't scoring high enough, you could be excluded before your application ever makes it before human eyes.

Tech tricks

There are a few ways to get around these solutions, the first one is aimed at circumventing the resume-filtering module that might be unwittingly screening you out, according to Rick Gillis, job search strategist, consultant, speaker and author of Job! and Promote! Your work doesn't speak for itself. You do. Gillis encourages his clients to use these "guerilla" tactics to give them a better shot at landing an in-person interview and a job by making just a few quick formatting tweaks.

"Yes, we're gaming the system. Really, we're leveling the playing the field. I know that my clients can land jobs if they can get past the machines and can prove themselves in person. That part of the job search and interview process is up to them. But as a consultant, it's my job to help them make the difference between getting that phone call, creating that touch point, and moving forward," Gillis says.

First, and most importantly, there are some hard-and-fast rules, even in these guerilla tactics, Gillis says. Do not lie, do not misrepresent yourself or your skills, and do not claim experience, traits or knowledge that don't represent you, he says.

"One thing clients ask me is, 'If I see a job and I meet most of the criteria, but not all, should I even bother applying?', and I tell them that a job description posted by a hiring company is a wish list. These companies would love to have 100 percent of these qualities and skills, but if you have 70 percent to 80 percent, go ahead and apply. But don't you dare put anything in your resume or your application that you can't speak to in an interview. Sure, you'll get past the machines, but you'll be branded a dishonest, deceitful and untrustworthy person, and you'll never land a job, there or anywhere," he says.

That said, most legacy ATS use a resume-filtering module that scans and grades resumes, with points given for each match in keywords and terms between a resume and a job posting, Gillis says. Because many recruiters and hiring managers are strapped for time, they'll often set the software to scan only the first page of your resume, so it's critical that all relevant keywords appear on that first page, Gillis says. The best way to do this is to keep a running list of keywords relevant to the jobs you're seeking, and that include jargon, lingo and industry-specific language and add to those the keywords from the job to which you're applying, and place them in 8-point font at the bottom of your resume. That's all there is to it.

"Keep a running list of your generic keywords that you use with your peers. Whether you're a journalist, an attorney, an IT professional or a plumber, there are terms and language that are specific to your industry; that shows you're an "insider." If the terms are not already on your resume, you must artificially insert them, and the best way to do this is putting them all in a separate section at the bottom of the resume. Remember, you're not doing this for the humans, you're doing this for the machines that will 'see' your resume first," Gillis says.

That includes keywords that aren't job-specific, Gillis says. Don't forget to include terms that might give you an edge, including your geographic location, your education and other more personal identifiers that are included in the job description; "college degree preferred" and "southwest Houston" are just as much keywords as "senior Java engineer" or "database administrator," he says.

Resume rules

Another trick: have a short-form and a long-form resume, Gillis says. The short-form resume should be accomplishments-based, and should avoid fancy charts, graphs or graphics, that can often be kicked back by legacy resume-filtering modules, Gillis says. It should include a header, a "seeking statement," and, if possible, you should use the name of the company in this statement. Why? Because within Taleo, one of the most popular ATS packages, the solution automatically gives applicants points for using the company name in the application, Gillis says.

"If you use the company name once, the Taleo system will give you a point. If you use it twice, you get two points in their system. If you want to see how it works, they're very open about the process; Taleo even has videos on YouTube that show how they eliminate candidates who don't know how to play this game," he says.

In addition, include your most current skill sets and four -- only four -- accomplishments, each with a net result: revenue generated, deadlines met or exceeded, money saved, for example. Each should include the name of the company for whom you worked, your title, dates and your role. And that's all, he says.

"All the extras, all the other details, should be saved for your long-form resume. That's where you can include charts, graphs, pictures and other elements. The short-form's the job-seeker's equivalent of when Oprah says, 'We're going to take a break, but when we come back, I'll teach you how to get $1 million!' You're not going to change the channel now, are you? This is what you're doing -- this is how you're playing the game. You want the hiring manager to call you and say, 'I am looking at your resume, but I would love to see more information,' and that's why you have a rich, robust long-form resume. Then you can say, 'Great! I will send you my long-form resume and some additional information, and we can set up an in-person conversation,'" says Gillis.

Culture clash

Of course, this assumes that you're missing out on interview and job opportunities based on resume-filtering technology's shortcomings, says Todd Dean, chief marketing officer and co-founder of mobile employment platform Wirkn. There's always the chance you're just not a fit for that role or within that company for cultural reasons.

"Sometimes, ATS and resume-filtering technology seems like it doesn't work in your favor because if you need to game the system, you might not be a good fit anyway. Sure, perhaps you can land an interview or even a job, but most companies' culture works like an immune system in that, if you're going against the cultural grain, the entire system can turn against you and you'll quickly burn out or be let go -- that's a waste of your time and the company's time," Dean says.

If you want to make sure you're landing in a job and at a company where you can thrive, you can work on beefing up your networking skills and generating referrals from friends, family and former colleagues at organizations that are appealing to you, Gillis says.

"The majority of jobs nowadays are found as a result of networking, so there's a great chance your professional network will be the source of that next touchpoint. Don't neglect networking and social media," he says.

Reverse recruiting

Recruiters and hiring managers do research on candidates before they reach out to gauge interest. Leela Srinivasan, CMO, recruiting and ATS software solution company Lever recommends that candidates do the same for hiring managers and recruiters. They should work to find out which ones work with companies and roles they would be interested in. You want to make yourself as enticing as possible to them and up the chances they'll see you as a fit and reach out for an introduction before you even have to deal with an ATS solution, she says.

"The best recruiters do a lot of research up front, before they even reach out to a candidate, to understand what skills, experience, passion and interests a person has as a human being -- not just a resume that matches. The object of the game is to make yourself a person of interest, a known entity. Once a recruiter has those data points, they are the most determined people on the planet, and they will politely and persistently reach out until they get a response, to start a two-way conversation," Srinivasan says.

Knowing how recruiters and hiring managers work can help you apply this strategy to your own job search, she says. Identify what companies you'd want to work for, what particular roles you'd be ideal for, and then what experience, skills, passion and interests match up with those available at the company, she says.

"You're looking for an in with an angle of relevancy. Then, within that broader scope, try and determine if there is a particular manager, recruiter or other person currently at the company you could get in touch with. If you have a specific company and/or role in mind, you should look at this as a long game, not a specific one-off shot at a job," Srinivasan says.

You also can try and engineer a referral, as most companies today find their highest quality hires come on the recommendations of their current workforce. LinkedIn is a great resource in these cases, Srinivasan says, because it shows you wider connections than just your first-degree friends, family and colleagues.

"So much of hiring today is about companies trying to bring in the best and brightest, rockstar talent, and in many cases, employees are incentivized for referring new hires. So, look around and apply the broadest possible lens to the connections you have at the company. Do you know someone who knows someone? Did you see a manager or an executive speak at a conference, or read a particularly eye-catching blog post? Anything that gives you a reason to connect is great," she says

This story, "4 tips to get around resume filtering" was originally published by CIO.
Sharon Florentine — Senior Writer, CIO.com, Sharon Florentine covers IT careers, women in technology and diversity, as well as software, Agile, cloud tech, data center and security topics. She has written for CRN, eWEEK, Channel Insider and CIOInsight, among others. You can reach her at sflorentine@cio.com or on Twitter @MyShar0na.

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10/23/16 - The Huge Mistake People Make On LinkedIn's Mobile App

This little-known feature could help you connect with more people on LinkedIn through your phone.

BY J.T. O'DONNELL Founder and CEO, CareerHMO.com
http://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/huge-mistake-people-make-on-linkedin-mobile-app.html 

I was recently speaking to a group of 700 project managers at a conference. The title of the presentation was, "Your Network is Your Net Worth: The Power of Super-Connecting." My goal was to teach attendees how important it is today to make networking a daily habit. In a time when every job is temporary, we're all businesses-of-one that must pay attention to the direction and momentum of our careers at all times. Otherwise, we could get blind-sided with an unexpected life event (layoff/firing, dying industry, relocation, etc.), and find it hard to bounce back.

Customize those connections for a 60 percent lift in acceptance.
Since LinkedIn is currently the number one professional networking platform online, it shouldn't surprise you that a large part of my presentation focuses on how to leverage LinkedIn on a daily basis to build a powerful network. You don't have to spend hours on the platform. If you know how to use it properly, you can get a lot done in just a few minutes each day. I've personally grown my network and have over 1.3 million followers on LinkedIn as a result of maximizing my efforts. Now, I enjoy showing other professionals how to become "power users" of LinkedIn by teaching them some hacks for success. Specifically, one of the techniques I outline is the importance of customizing your connection requests. When inviting someone to connect with you on LinkedIn (especially, someone you don't know), it's vital that you delete the default text and replace it with something that will help the person understand and appreciate the reason for your invite. Nothing screams, "I'm a lazy networker," more than the auto-text. At my company WorkItDaily.com, we've studied the impact and found that only 20 percent of the people you ask to connect with will respond to the default text. But that number jumps to 80 percent when you master this connection customization technique. Which means, taking that extra minute out of your day to tailor your invite can have a big impact on your ability to build your network. However, there is a glitch to this if you use LinkedIn's mobile app...

LinkedIn's mobile app trap.
At the end of my session, I invited all the conference attendees to connect with me on LinkedIn using the technique I taught them. Shortly after the session, I got stage-rushed by a bunch of attendees who said, "I went to connect with you on the mobile app and it didn't give me the chance to customize the request! It just sent the default one -- what did I do wrong?" They'd done nothing wrong. I'd failed to explain in my session that LinkedIn's mobile app works differently than the desktop version.

On a desktop, it's easy to customize the connection request. You can go to the person's profile page and use the "connect" feature. However, when you visit a person's profile on the mobile app and hit the same "connect" button, it automatically sends the default text invite. What most mobile app users don't know is before you hit "connect" in a person's profile in the app, you need to hit the three tiny dots in the upper right corner of your phone screen which produces a set of options that includes customizing the connection request. This little-known feature could help you dramatically increase your connections requests when using the app.

What to do if you sent the default text by accident.
If you're reading this thinking, "Dang, that's why that really important person didn't accept my request," don't worry. You can always message the person in the app and explain you sent the default invite by accident. Just be sure this time to use the opportunity to explain why you are seeking to connect. This will (hopefully) prompt the reader to check out your profile, which will invite them to accept your request to connect.

LinkedIn is a powerful networking tool and its app makes it even easier for us to form good daily networking habits. But you must learn how to use it properly, or the ROI on your efforts may suffer. For me, it's all about teaching people to work smarter, not harder on LinkedIn.

Houston Texas Area Job Clubs or Career Groups

Is a group you attend missing? Send an email with all the details to webmaster@CareerDFW.org

Between Jobs Ministry (BJM) is a free, Christ-centered support ministry of NorthWest Bible Church, open to all job seekers. We provide encouragement, information, networking assistance, spiritual guidance, and training sessions in a Christian setting. Meetings are on Wednesday mornings, 8:30am-12:30pm [Exceptions: We do not meet on/near major holidays, during our Vacation Bible School (June 22), or during “Camp In The City” (August 10)]. Check-In for first-time participants begins at 8:30am. Northwest Bible Church, 5503 Fellowship Lane, Spring TX 77379. For more info go to http://www.nwbc.org/betweenjobsministry or check out the Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/betweenjobsministry/info

FENG - Houston - Welcome to the Houston Chapter of FENG. The FENG is a very senior level "circle of friends". Members have typically been Chief Financial Officers, Controllers, and Vice Presidents of Finance, Treasury, Tax, or Mergers & Acquisition, as well as other financial disciplines. The basic purpose of our organization is to create the opportunity for you as a senior financial professional to network, share job leads and friendship with your peers in the financial community. Membership in this group is open only to members of FENG. Membership in FENG is approved by Matt Bud, Chairman of the FENG. Please be aware that the membership information on The FENG-Houston Chapter website is provided solely to facilitate networking. The dissemination of any business related information or the solicitation of members of The FENG by telephone, e-mail or regular mail for any purpose other than networking requires the prior written approval of Matt Bud, Chairman of The FENG. Matt may be reached at: MattBud@TheFENG.org or (203) 227-8965 if you have any questions about this policy. https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/FENG-Houston/info?referrer=FirstColony_SugarLandNetworkingGroup

First Colony_Sugar Land Networking Group - Working together with God's help to create a positive place for job search, and networking to attain gainful employment in the respective carreer fields, in an ever changing world. Together with the Love of God in our hearts and doing his will. Light your path with him and he will show you the way. Seek and ye shall find. For more info go to https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/FirstColony_SugarLandNetworkingGroup/info 

Houston Career Initiative - The Houston Career Initiative is a non-profit career support group meeting weekly on Monday mornings (with the exception of holidays) from 9 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. at the Power Center, 12401 South Post Oak Rd., Houston, TX 77045. For directions or more information about the Houston Career Initiative please call 713-723-6837 ext. 8638. Membership in this Yahoo group is restricted to persons that have attended at least one free workshop. For more info https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/houstoncareerinitiative/info 

JFS Employment ServicesFinding a job in these hard economic times can be stressful. Jewish Family Service offers free assistance and employment workshops to help displaced professionals seeking jobs. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact Laura Alter at 713 667 9336 or lalter@jfshouston.org. Or go to http://www.jfshouston.org/employment_services/

Meetup.com - for more info go to http://www.meetup.com/cities/us/tx/houston/career-business/

10/16/16 - 9 Ways To Prepare For Your Second-Round Job Interview

POST WRITTEN BY Forbes Coaches Council
http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/09/21/9-ways-to-best-prepare-for-a-second-round-job-interview/#7aac15324a40 

Getting a second interview means you’re perceived as having the right skills, but the company wants to get to know you better. They want to dig a little deeper into your background and also assess if you’d be a good fit culturally.

But this is also a perfect time for you to get to know them better as a potential employer and determine if they are the right fit for you.

How can you best prepare? Below, nine members of Forbes Coaches Council offer their professional advice:

1. Just because this is your second interview doesn’t mean it will be with the same people as round No. 1. This means you must keep the key points that have gotten you this far front and center — but add additional detail in the form of specifics and stories that bring these talents to life for your audience. - Virginia Franco, Virginia Franco Resumes

2. The first round is about technical ability: Can you do the job? Round 2 is about fit: Do you want to do the job and do they want to work with you? Find out in advance who you will be interviewing with. Connect on LinkedIn LNKD +0.05%; see who and what you have in common. Seek to build rapport and have a conversation beyond the job. Ask about their experiences at the company. Show them you will fit right in. - Michelle Tillis Lederman, Executive Essentials

3. The first interview is typically the “sniff” test and a further review of your resume. Now, be ready for behavioral-based questions from more than one person. Panel interviews are becoming increasingly popular, as it saves a great deal of time when all of the decision-makers are in one room. Write out specific scenarios, print multiple copies of your resume, and research “panel interview etiquette.” - Jada Willis, Willis Professional Services

4. Let’s assume you’ve done your research and prepared answers to possible questions. Now get ready to perform! Rehearse by yourself and with others. Have short, clear, compelling stories that illustrate what you’re talking about and link directly to what your employer needs. Be interested in your audience. And before you go on, relax, breathe and prepare to have fun. - Sally Fox, Engaging Presence

5. Prepare to determine if you want to “hire” them. Consider what you want out of the job, your work style, needs, etc. Ask questions to assess if their needs complement your needs and talents, which will also demonstrate you are a mature, reliable employee. It’s best to not accept a job for a boss that likes to be “very involved” (micromanage) if you like to work independently. - Julie Kantor, PhD, JP Kantor Consulting

6. Create A Strong Foundation - A successful second interview builds on the foundation of a strong first one. Remember to ask meaningful questions about the role and abilities necessary as well as the culture and personalities of the team. Learn what has worked and what has not worked in the first interview. This will give you the opportunity to build on this foundation and share how you will enrich the team with your skills and adaptability. - Michelle Braden, MSBCoach, LLC

7. Build A Greater Understanding Of What They Are Looking For - It’s not an audition. You’ve convinced them you can do the job; now show them you can create connections. Be curious. Deconstruct the questions that were asked in the first interview to find hidden messages about who they are looking for. With greater understanding of the role, do more in-depth research on current trends that will inform how you can take the role to the next level. - Tanya Ezekiel, CareerCoach.com

8. Help The Interviewers Visualize You In The Role - Research the company, team and role by requesting information from the recruiter, hiring manager and LinkedIn connections. Ask about the strengths and challenges of the team, the team culture, and three big areas that should be a focus for this position. Then, in your interview, communicate your 90-day plan to leverage strengths, tackle opportunities for growth, and how you will achieve the team’s goals. - Anu Mandapati, IMPACT Leadership for Women

9. Plan With Knowledge And Interest - A second-round job interview usually entails meeting with multiple people and possibly executive partners. Prepare by adequately learning who the interviewers are, garnering knowledge about the work they do, the projects they have led, and having a list of at least two questions to ask each interviewer. You want to be engaging and knowledgeable about the company to impart your keen interest. - Wendi Weiner, JD, NCRW, CPRW, CCTC, CCM, The Writing Guru

10/9/16 - Five Reasons Why Your Resume Is Being Overlooked

by SPANDAS LUI
http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2016/09/five-reasons-why-your-resume-is-being-overlooked/ 

For job seekers, a resume is a vital tool to get them noticed by potential employers. This document is used to convince them that you’re perfect for the job on offer. But most resumes get a quick skim before they are tossed to one side, even if the job candidate may be the right fit. Hiring managers are often swamped with resumes so it’s impossible for them to carefully assess every single one and most of them are swiftly discarded. Here are five reasons why your resume may fail to garner a closer look.

#1 Your job titles are vague
You may have loved your job title of “code ninja” at your previous company but understand that the person who reads your resume first may not know what the heck that is; if you’re applying for a job as a developer, your resume might be placed in the reject pile.

Quirky job titles are fun but they have no place on a resume. Not only do they fail to adequately convey what you actually did in that role, but they may also have negative connotations that you’d want to avoid. It’s okay to change your official title at your old gig to something that is easier to recognise.

This isn’t just a problem isolated to whacky job titles. Even something like ‘Content Manager’ can be confusing to people who are unfamiliar with this type of role.

There is only one way to make your job titles sound less wishy-washy: add context. How do your previous roles relate to the one that you’re applying for now? Include a snappy sentence next to your title to explain this.

#2 You use a one-size-fits-all resume
Putting together a resume is hard work so it’s understandable why you’d want just create a generic document that you can re-use for every job application. Unfortunately, that simply doesn’t cut it anymore.

Every company has different requirements and they can often be very specific. What you need to do is study the job listing carefully and tailor your resume to match the requirements. According to recruitment agency Staff Masters:

“This means writing an objective statement exclusively for the job, revamping your bullet points to highlight your applicable qualifications, and maybe even restructuring the format to ensure the most relevant information is at the top of the page.”

#3 Your resume is ugly
You can have the best experience and skills for an advertised job but if your resume isn’t visually appealing, you’re never going to get a chance to prove yourself.

Fonts and layouts matter. Word vomiting on a resume isn’t going to get you your dream job.

Here’s some advice from career expert Dena Bilbrew on how to make your resume look better:

“You have to make your resume visually appealing to get the employer’s attention. Print out your resume and hold it up at arm’s length. Are you drawn to your own resume? Would you read it? Would you call yourself for an interview? If you’re not drawn to your own resume an employer won’t be either.

“To make it visually appealing spread things out and take up the entire page so that there’s not a lot of white space. Enlarge your headings so employers can navigate through your resume quickly and find the information they need. Try putting lines in between each section also to make them “pop.” Also bold your job titles and degrees — not the company name or school attended.”
Recruitment agency Windsor Resources suggests using one font for your entire resume to keep the look of the document consistent. Please avoid using Comic Sans. Please.

#4 You didn’t include keywords
Hiring managers are usually inundated with resumes so they will often use specialised software to scan documents for keywords that are relevant for the role that is on offer. The software will automatically toss resumes that don’t contain enough keywords.

It’s in your best interest to include these keywords whenever you can in your resume, but how do you find out what they are? According to Staff Masters:

“Find these keywords by carefully reviewing the job description, highlighting terms and phrases used multiple times throughout the copy. Work them into your resume a few times in a manner that sounds natural and flows smoothly.”

#5 You don’t ask for help
It’s hard to spot mistakes or shortcomings in your own resume. You’ve probably spent hours slaving away on it and you’re completely over looking at it again.

It’s time to recruit help from a friend or somebody you trust to assess your resume. According to job advice blog The Muse:

“Send your resume to a friend, and ask what roles he or she thinks you’re applying to, based on what she sees. If she says something completely different, you know you have some work to do. And before you say ‘But wait — my friend knows nothing about my work!’ remember that the first person reviewing your application might be a recruiter, an assistant, or someone else who doesn’t know the ins and outs of your field. So a set of unbiased eyes might be even better than an industry insider.”

The World’s Longest List Of Sales Candidate Interview Questions

by Will Brooks
http://www.inddist.com/blog/2016/09/worlds-longest-list-sales-candidate-interview-questions?et_cid=5586964&et_rid=898997884&location=top&et_cid=5586964&et_rid=898997884&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fwww.inddist.com%2fblog%2f2016%2f09%2fworlds-longest-list-sales-cand 

The single biggest challenge in hiring salespeople is one that is both logical and emotional in nature. The logical part of the challenge is that having someone in place is better than having no one at all. This is a false position to take, however, when you take a look at what a bad sales hire can cost you:

The emotional side of the challenge lies in the danger of hiring someone you like regardless of their proven level of competency. Couple this with the often-used mirror test (the old method of being able to fog a mirror and you have the job!) and you can imagine the problems this causes.

Using thoughtful and thought-provoking sales interview questions is a way around this, though. That’s why I’ve come up with 30 sales interview questions you can use to determine if you’re next sales candidate is a fit for your organization, your product, your team and your culture.

Not all of these might be applicable to your specific open sales position, but I urge you to use them as inspiration to develop those that are. Enjoy!

Sales Interview Questions

  1. Give me an example of a time when a manager provided you feedback you didn't agree with. How did you handle it?
  2. How would you start developing a territory from scratch?
  3. Walk me through your process for developing a prospecting plan.
  4. What's more important: planning or action?
  5. Walk me through your sales process of choice.
  6. What was the last sales book you read?
  7. How do you evaluate the best way to invest your time in a typical day?
  8. What expectations do you have of your manager?
  9. Describe the ideal sales team you'd like to be a part of.
  10. Where specifically do you need to grow your sales skill set?
  11. Where do you see the world of sales prospecting going? What's the best place to find buyers in today's marketplace?
  12. How do you differentiate yourself personally?
  13. What separates a top sales performer from everyone else?
  14. Knowing what you know now about professional selling, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your career?
  15. What's more important to sales success: selling skills or interpersonal skills?
  16. Walk me through your process for preparing for a face-to-face call.
  17. Give me an example of a time that you completely mismanaged your first face-to-face meeting with a prospect. What did you learn from it?
  18. How do you go about crafting a recommendation for a prospect or customer?
  19. What role does sales team alignment with the rest of the organization play in the overall success of the team?
  20. What makes a world-class sales manager?
  21. What's more important: profitability or volume?
  22. What tools do you use to learn about a prospect before making contact?
  23. Describe your biggest success as a salesperson.
  24. Describe your biggest setback as a salesperson.
  25. What are your longer-term career aspirations?
  26. What have you found to be the most effective way to open a face-to-face sales meeting?
  27. What’s more important, being decisive or slowing down to pay attention to detail?
  28. Describe a time you lost a longer-term customer? What happened? How did you handle it?
  29. Describe a time you had to over-service an account that didn’t mean much commission to you personally. How did you handle it?
  30. How do you handle situations when a prospective buyer insists you cut your price?

Use these questions to determine if your sales candidate is a future superstar…or simply someone who will fill a seat. Finding a candidate that is a perfect fit for the position will benefit all parties involved, and will result in an employee who is highly interested, engaged, and motivated to do their job well.

Will Brooks is COO of The Brooks Group, a sales training, sales management training and sales assessment company based in North Carolina. Contact Will at 336-615-8835 or by email at will@thebrooksgroup.com.

Resources for Veterans

Here are organizations / websites that help Veterans:

Allies In Service - https://alliesinservice.org/ - Allies in Service's vision is that our community of service members, veterans, and their families has access to quality health care, education, safe and affordable housing choices, and meaningful employment. Allies in Service's mission is to identify and support veterans who need assistance in the areas of employment, housing, education, and health care. We partner with veterans, employers, community and other veteran support organizations to educate and enhance the quality of life of our veterans. Our services are free to veterans, their spouses, and our community partners.

American Job Center (Career One Stop)https://www.careeronestop.org/site/american-job-center.aspx - American Job Centers can help you look for work and offer job search workshops, free computer access, and more.

Cohen Veterans Network - https://www.cohenveteransnetwork.org/ - At the Cohen Veterans Network, we seek to improve the quality of life for veterans, including those from the National Guard and Reserves, and their families. CVN works to strengthen mental health outcomes and complement existing support, with a particular focus on post-traumatic stress. Our vision is to ensure that every veteran and family member is able to obtain access to high-quality, effective care that enables them to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Department of Labor - Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS) - https://www.dol.gov/vets/ - VETS serve America's veterans and separating service members by preparing them for meaningful careers, providing employment resources and expertise, and protecting their employment rights.

Fiscal Tigerhttps://www.fiscaltiger.com/military-support-resource-center/ - Support for Military Families, Veterans, and Dependents: Financial Education and Helpful Resources

Hiring our Heroeshttps://www.uschamberfoundation.org/hiring-our-heroes - Hiring Our Heroes is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members, and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities. Check the website for job fairs across the country.

Institute for Veterans and Military Familieshttps://ivmf.syracuse.edu/ - The IVMF is committed to advancing the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families. Supported by a world class advisory board and public and private partners, our professional staff delivers unique and innovative programs in career, vocations, and entrepreneurship education and training to post 9/11 veterans and active duty military spouses, as well as tailored programs to veterans of all eras. The IVMF also provides actionable and national impacting research, policy analysis and program evaluation; and works with communities and non-profits across the nation to enhance service delivery for the 22.5 million veterans throughout the United States and their families.

Maryville Universityhttps://online.maryville.edu/online-bachelors-degrees/psychology/understanding-a-veteran-with-ptsd/ - Understanding a Veteran with PTSD

Military Housing Guide - Rent to own is a new concept in real estate that's helpful for veterans who want to buy a home but don't have the traditional financial ability

NPowerhttp://www.npower.org/ - NPower creates pathways to economic prosperity by launching digital careers for military veterans and young adults from underserved communities. NPower students develop the tech skills they need to realize a career in technology. All classes offered are free to the student.

Texas Veterans Commision - http://www.tvc.texas.gov/ - Our purpose has always been to act as the state appointed advocate of Texas veterans as they attempt to secure the benefits rightfully earned in exchange for their service in our nation's armed forces. Most states have a Veterans Commision...check with your local workforce office.

Texas Veteranshttp://www.texvet.org/ - TexVet is an Initiative of the Texas A&M University Health Science Center and The Texas Department of Health and Human Services

Veteran's Guide to Starting a Small Business - https://www.fundera.com/resources/veterans-guide-starting-financing-small-business?nocache#business%20idea - An in-depth guide for veterans who are interested in starting their own business.

Veterans Tax Credithttps://www.veterantaxcredits.com/ - Bridging the Gap Between Veterans and Employers - We proudly offer a system to connect Veterans seeking jobs to employers looking to hire quality candidates. Plus, by using our turnkey program to take advantage of the Veteran tax credits for hiring qualified candidates, businesses can reinvest those dollar for dollar tax credits back into their business.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs - https://www.usa.gov/federal-agencies/u-s-department-of-veterans-affairs - The Department of Veterans Affairs runs programs benefiting veterans and members of their families. It offers education opportunities and rehabilitation services and provides compensation payments for disabilities or death related to military service, home loan guaranties, pensions, burials, and health care that includes the services of nursing homes, clinics, and medical centers.

U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Employment Services - https://explore.va.gov/employment-services - A diverse employment resources page for veterans who are looking to enhance their education, skills, and careers.

10/2/16 - 5 Questions to Ask Your Potential Employer During Every Interview

By Vicki Salemi
http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2016-08-16/5-questions-to-ask-your-potential-employer-during-every-interview 

You know it's coming. The interview is close to wrapping up and you sense it's on the tip of their tongue and then – just like that – the interviewer politely asks you, "What questions do you have for me?"

Cue the crickets.

Well, with the proper preparation and cheat sheet (yes, it's totally OK to refer to your notes as you speak), you can demonstrate you've done your homework while making the most out of this valuable question and answer session. After all, you're evaluating the company just as much as they're evaluating you as a potential fit. You absolutely must ask a few questions, but instead of asking throwaways like, "When are you looking to fill the position?" (Here's a hint: as soon as possible, as in yesterday), dig deeper and you'll get a stronger, clearer picture of the job and employer. Here are five questions to ask your interviewer that will give you valuable insights into the company and your prospective new role.

Why do you like working here – besides the people? This is a great go-to question to ask every single interviewer. Let's begin with the end in mind: They're all going to tell you they enjoy working there because of the people, so remove that from the table. Answers can be across the board – one person says great benefits, another loves the challenges and learning opportunities – you name it.

You may start sensing a pattern of similar answers or they could each be completely different; all you need to do right now is listen and enjoy hearing their answers. Feel free to dig deeper – for instance, if someone says they've enjoyed the opportunity to grow and get promoted, ask about their previous roles and how their boss noticed they were ready for that next level.

Is this a loud or quiet office? Granted, you should observe this facet of office culture as you're walking the halls, but go ahead and ask the question – chances are the interviewer will provide specific anecdotes about the office environment that will tip you off about whether or not it's a fit for you.

It's also a unique way to ask about how social the office is. Hopefully you identified the best type of environment for your working style prior to the interview, so their answer will have value to you. Perhaps you like a hybrid – a quiet office can bolster your diligent, focused side, but perhaps a midday dance party is just what you need – occasionally.

Why is this position available? While you don't need to necessarily ask this question of every single interviewer, you can ask the recruiter or hiring manager. They probably won't reveal if someone was terminated due to poor performance, but if they say the position is available because the department is expanding, that's an excellent indicator of growth. Or if someone was promoted internally, that's also a great sign of movement. If the position was created because two people were overworked, that too will give you insight into the inner workings of the operation and more importantly, what your future will potentially hold. Again, feel free to ask a follow-up question. If someone was promoted internally, for instance, you can ask, "How long were they in this position before they were promoted?"

This will provide you with insight to see if the person stayed in the role for eight years or only eight months. While it may be indicative of the individual performer, sometimes the interviewer will give additional information – say the person before them also got promoted internally – showing that yes, there's turnover in the group but there's also upward mobility.

How long has this position been open? Be selective about who you ask this to – again, the recruiter or hiring manager is fine. Your goal is to find out if it's been open for only a few weeks or a long period of time like six months – or more. If it's the latter, they may not necessarily be swift in making a hiring decision. This could also mean they just haven't found a suitable candidate yet (and if so, why not – are they being too picky?), meaning colleagues in the group are picking up the slack for quite a while until a new employee is hired.

I want to be rated excellent at year-end. Does your office have performance reviews? If so, how will my performance be evaluated and what do I need to do to exceed expectations? And if not, how will my performance be evaluated and is that directly tied to annual raises? It's critical to ask this set of questions for a variety of reasons. First, it shows you're ambitious and goal-oriented. Second, it shows you value performance as it relates to compensation and hope that they do, too. It also provides you with knowledge you need to truly succeed if you do start working there. Remember, a job interview is a conversation, and right now it's like you're a pre-employee. If you get hired, your role involves continuing the conversation – get on your boss's calendar and say something like, "During my last interview you mentioned interesting information about the three specific goals and action items I should aim to accomplish within my first six months. I'd like to schedule 30 minutes with you to flesh them out further so I can keep them top of mind."

Asking these questions will demonstrate your interest in the company, and will help you understand if it's a good fit for you moving forwards.

Vicki Salemi is an author, public speaker, columnist and career expert for Monster, a global leader in successfully connecting people and job opportunities. Utilizing empowering insights from her more than 15 years of experience as a former corporate recruiter, Vicki advises job seekers through regularly contributed articles to publications like Forbes.com, and in interviews with many top media outlets, such as NBC News and USA Today. More information can be found on Twitter @vickisalemi and @monster.

9/25/16 - Why You Should Always Go Off-Script in a Job Interview

by Tanya Menon and Leigh Thompson
https://hbr.org/2016/07/why-you-should-always-go-off-script-in-a-job-interview 

You’ve just landed an interview for your dream job. If you’re like most people, you’ll spend hours, perhaps days, preparing for that interview. You’ll research the company and industry, anticipate the questions you’ll be asked, and rehearse the perfect answers. You’ve probably followed all the interviewing best practices: be yourself, dress appropriately, focus on your strengths, don’t interrupt, and prepare questions in advance.

But, in spite of your careful preparation, your interviewer might not evaluate your skills, ability, and potential using an equally thorough process. Rather than carefully analyzing your resume and engaging in deep conversation, a busy interviewer might rely on split-second impressions. Indeed, psychologist Ellen Langer shows that just as people shift to “autopilot” during routine tasks such as driving to work, they may go through interviews and other spontaneous social interactions in a similarly automated fashion.

The problem occurs when people process information through what psychologists refer to as the peripheral route. When they follow this route, they go on instinct and use tidbits of information rather than the full arsenal of data they have in front of them. In fact, the vast body of research suggests that all of us are vulnerable, at times, to taking the peripheral route when our attention is somewhat compromised — perhaps because we’re rushed, tired, hungry, overwhelmed, stressed, or simply engaging in a well-rehearsed routine, like an interview.

How can you ensure that an interviewer sees you for who you are and your unique characteristics are noted? Through our research on how people form impressions about experts and how people manage envy, we identify four strategies to help you turn around an interview.

Disrupt the script. Although an interview may appear to be a spontaneous conversation, both the interviewer and the interviewee are often following preprogrammed scripts. The interviewer may have a standard protocol that they’re following — in fact, this is a best practice that ensures that each candidate is screened through the same process. They might ask standard questions such as, “Tell me about your previous experience” and “What you are looking for in a job,” or they might use a walk-through of your resume as the basis of their script.

As the interviewee responds with carefully prepped answers, they can quickly go from charming to robotic. When we’ve observed MBA students, their responses are almost too smooth. Sometimes, they answer too quickly, without even a pause to think about what was asked — revealing that they’re delivering a rehearsed answer rather than engaging in a conversation that feels genuine and interactive. Instead, pause after the interviewer asks a question — even if you’ve practiced a response. Listen for and reuse a few key words from the interviewer’s question in your own answer to signal that you’re building on the interviewer’s statement. By interrupting your own scripts and building on the discussion, you can make the conversation flow more organically, allowing the interviewer to process information more deeply. One of our managers shared another technique he used to disrupt the script by stating, “Let me tell you what’s not on my resume.” That got the interviewer’s attention, since the interviewer stopped mindlessly looking at the resume.

Make a personal connection. Whether it’s discovering that you attended neighboring small town high schools or both visit the same vacation spot, these off-script moments are more likely to lead to an interpersonal connection. This is due to the mere connection effect: If you can find even one point of commonality in few moments of interacting, you can shift from outsider to insider in the interviewer’s mind. As an insider, you’ll receive the benefit of the doubt, as compared to an outsider who’s quickly judged and dismissed. One manager described how she scans an interviewer’s office for any photos or pictures and asks about them: “So, you’re a Blackhawks fan?”

Then, try to get beyond surface similarities. Demonstrate that you share their higher-order goals. Leigh once hired someone because her question was, “What does it feel like to have written a book?” That question showed that she was passionate about research and writing — the very same goals that motivated Leigh. If you’re in tech, you might ask how the interviewer felt leading a cutting edge project; if you’re in sales, ask how they managed to win over a particularly tough customer.

Become a partner. If you’re dealing with an antagonistic interviewer who has automatic negative assumptions about you, a “connection” may be nearly impossible. In our research, we’ve observed how psychological threat, like people’s insecurities and envy, affects their judgment. Perhaps they just don’t like the people who’ve typically held your position. Or maybe they’ve read your vita and view you as competition. The threatened interviewer focuses only on your weaknesses and perceived slights, leaving you to meet impossible standards.

In response, try this strategy that we’ve drawn from the research of Dr. Abraham Tesser. Rather than focusing on common goals that could elicit a threatened response, highlight your distinctive talents — skills in unique areas that don’t undermine the interviewer’s expertise. Then, show how your expertise benefits them, opening up the potential for partnership. For example, when one junior consultant works with potential clients who are industry experts, he’d frame his expertise in a nonthreatening way: “I clearly do not have the decades of experience in the industry that you do, but I am a supply chain expert, and this has allowed me to achieve cost savings for each of the companies I’ve worked with as a consultant.” Rather than suggesting that he knew more than the client, he framed it as knowing something different — which could help the clients showcase their existing expertise rather than replacing it.

Call out the elephant in the room. A benevolent but busy decision maker might have formed negative beliefs about your potential for reasons that they are uncomfortable talking about or, perhaps, are not even aware of. We suggest surfacing these unconscious perceptions and making it comfortable for people to address the taboo issue. Communicating about the potential objection reveals self-awareness and courage, and it also creates an opening so you can provide the clear evidence to dismiss it.

For example, one of our colleagues was from Korea and had a strong accent. “Will they notice?” she worried. Our response: “They’d have to be deaf not to notice.” We told her to be forthcoming and say, “I have an accent. I’m aware of that. Still, I’ve received top teaching evaluations. Here is what I’ve used to be successful in the classroom…” She got hired for the job.

Good jobs are few and far between, and you’re paying both a financial and emotional price if you have the credentials but aren’t getting opportunities because of quick judgments. The toughest interviewer to crack is not the one with the tough questions but the one who’s operating on automatic assumptions. The recommendations we’ve suggested will help you get past the quick impressions, and steer the interview in your favor.

 

Tanya Menon (menon.53@osu.edu) is an associate professor of Management and Human Resources at the Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. Her book with Leigh Thompson, Stop Spending, Start Managing: Strategies to Transform Wasteful Habits (Harvard Business Review Press), is forthcoming this year.

Leigh Thompson is the J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management. She is the author of Creative Conspiracy: The New Rules of Breakthrough Collaboration (HBR Press, 2013) and coauthor of Stop Spending, Start Managing: Strategies to Transform Wasteful Habits (forthcoming, HBR Press, 2016).

9/18/16 - How To Prepare For A Phone Interview

Peggy McKee
http://www.careerealism.com/prepare-phone-interview/ 

If you’re like most people, you either (a) hate phone interviews or (b) don’t take it as seriously as a face-to-face interview. The truth is that phone interviews are incredibly important, because without doing well there, you’ll never get the chance to interview in person. With the right preparation, you can learn to hate them a little less and practically guarantee yourself the invitation to interview on-site.

Follow these 7 phone interview prep tips to ace any phone interview:

1. Set up your call at a good time for you.

You often have choices about when to schedule your call. It only makes sense to schedule it when you’re most alert—if you’re a morning person, schedule it early. If it takes you a good few hours to become your best, schedule it for the afternoon. If they call you and it isn’t a good time for you, let them know that it isn’t the best time (no need to tell them why) and ask to reschedule. Just don’t wait too long to make that happen.

Hint: Make sure that when you do set it up, you leave yourself a cushion of time after the call, in case it goes especially well and runs long. Some phone interviews stick with a time limit of 10-15 minutes, but others go 30-45 minutes or longer.

2. Pick a quiet spot to talk.

There’s nothing like being on the phone in a noisy public place to signal that you aren’t taking this call seriously. Instead, do the interview at home, in a room by yourself. You want no distractions.

3. If you can, use a landline.

Bad reception can ruin your call. I say play it safe and use a landline.

4. Research the company.

Some job seekers think phone interviews are basic information sessions, but you’ll make a much stronger impression if you already know everything you can about the company before your call. You’ll ask better questions and give more impressive answers to their questions.

5. Dress for the interview.

It’s easy to be tempted to stay in your pajamas for this call, but it’s better to wear work clothes. Our clothes do affect how we behave, and you need to be all business.

6. Make sure you’re physically comfortable and relaxed.

Eat, drink, take a bathroom break, and take a few moments to breathe and relax before your call.

7. Prepare ‘cheat sheets.’

Since they can’t see you, this is the perfect opportunity to have out in front of you a printed out resume, notes on the company, questions you want to ask, and words and phrases you want to use in your phone interview answers. This is one of the few advantages of a phone interview, so make the most of it. Just spread them out in front of you so they can’t hear you shuffling papers. Make sure you also have blank paper with a pen to take notes.

It’s important to do as much pre-interview prep as you can. You will never get another chance to make a first impression with this company. How you do now will affect whether or not you get the face-to-face interview, and it can bias them to like you even more before you set one foot on site.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.

9/11/16 - How to Determine What Your Potential Boss is Like in an Interview

Three questions worth asking to get a sense if the job, and manager, is right for you.

By Marcelle Yeager
http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2016-08-11/how-to-determine-what-your-potential-boss-is-like-in-an-interview 

Most people assume that a job interview serves the sole purpose of being an opportunity for the employer to evaluate a potential employee. They see it as a one-way street, but it's really not. The interview is not only a chance for an organization to get to know a candidate better; it's an opportunity for a prospective employee to become more familiar with a company.

You may think that simply means you should be listening closely and looking around to see what the office environment looks and feels like. But you can and should take a much more active role in the process. Even as a prospective employee, you are allowed to ask difficult questions that will give you a better idea of the place you may end up working in. It's not just a test of you; you are permitted to test them. What kinds of questions should you be asking?

How did the position come to be open? This is extremely important. You may learn something that you were not expecting. On the other hand, the interviewer may dodge the question by saying something generic like, "Steve got a unique opportunity he couldn't pass up." If you're having separate interviews with more than one person, ask each person the same question. When you get different answers from people, you'll know that something may be up, and this is a pretty clear red flag. Even if everyone gives you the same generic response like the one above, try to obtain more information. Ask, "Where did this role end up taking him?" You can either infer something from the answer you get, or it may just become clear that there's more to the story than they're letting on.

You don't want to find out after you start working that your manager is extremely difficult to work for. Asking this question of the people who work for your prospective boss may yield different answers than what human resources or a recruiter tells you.

What is the best part of working here, and what would you change if you could? This open-ended question could go in many directions. You'll get an even better sense of the company if you ask several interviewers this question. Whatever their answers are, you should come away with a fairly good idea of how you align with their organization. You may hear about a benefit the company offers that you weren't yet aware of, or something positive about your potential manager. By digging in for a negative aspect of working there, you'll get a sense of what you may be up against, and from there you can decide whether that's okay with you or not. It could be a deal breaker for you, or what they say may not bother you at all.

There are certain aspects of a job that would annoy some people but not others. Everyone is different. This gives you a snapshot of what is going on there and whether you are okay with it or not.

What does success look like for someone in their first year in this role? This should give you an idea of your manager's or colleagues' expectations. Bonus: It shows you are confident and results driven. It's an important question because you may learn quite a lot from the answer. Perhaps you'll be able to figure out if you are expected to work ungodly hours. It also may give you a sense of what your boss is like and how they manage their people. If their answer is vague and disengaged, it may be a sign that it's not of the utmost importance to them, and you may have trouble down the road achieving the milestones and promotions that you expect.

While you may get a hot air answer, you will likely be able to tell if success and development is important to your potential boss. If the answer is specific to the job, you're probably in good hands. If it's generic, that could be a negative sign.

Unfortunately, many people will put a spin on answers to these questions. However, interviewers do not always expect these types of questions, so you may get some good, honest or inferable insights into the job and your boss's character. Beyond the answers, look for other positive and negative signs during the interview.

Did your potential boss answer the phone or respond to an "urgent" email during your interview? Unless it was a family emergency or they are a doctor who needs to save someone's life, it could wait. Did they politely listen to your questions and actually respond to the questions asked? If so, that's a sign that they're in tune with the people who work with and for them. If not, you may want to work for someone else.

Marcelle Yeager is a blogger for On Careers. You can follow her companies Career Valet and Serving Talent on Twitter (@careervalet, @servingtalent) and Facebook (Career Valet, ServingTalent). You can also connect with her on LinkedIn.

How To Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile To Get More Jobs

by Natalie Severt - Resume Expert at Uptowork

https://uptowork.com/blog/optimize-your-linkedin-profile

 

As a job seeker, having a LinkedIn profile is no longer a matter of choice. It’s a necessity.

Why?

Well, for starters, everyone is on LinkedIn - job seekers, recruiters, CEOs, that weird guy next door, your mom - everyone.

Okay, but what if you're not looking for a job right now.

Well, you don’t have to be actively looking for a job to use LinkedIn. In fact, if you optimize your profile and engage with the platform a job could come looking for you.

And that job could be THE job.

People are getting great job opportunities on Linkedin every day. Some of the opportunities are not available anywhere else.

So, if you want in on all of the job goodies, you need to get on LinkedIn, max out your profile, and engage with other users.

This guide will help you optimize your profile so that it becomes an easy and exciting find for recruiters in your field.

 

NOTE from CareerDFW: To go to any section of the guilde go to https://uptowork.com/blog/optimize-your-linkedin-profile

 

Table of Contents:

  1. Why Do I Need to Worry About LinkedIn?
  2. Here’s How to Max Out Your Profile 100%
  3. Create a Persona That Sticks With Recruiters 
  4. Make a List of Strategic Keywords for Your Profile
  5. Here’s How to Make the Most of Your Headline and Summary
  6. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words, So Make It Professional 
  7. Here’s How to Further Personalize Your Profile
  8. Here’s How to Add Your Experience Section on LinkedIn
  9. Boost Your Profile with Skills and Endorsements
  10. How to Ask for High-powered Recommendations
  11. Intro Videos Are the New Novelty on LinkedIn
  12. No One Likes Using LinkedIn, But That’s Not an Excuse
  13. Key Takeaway  
9/4/16 - Transferable skills from non-paid positions can enhance your resume

On the Job with Dana Plowmnan
http://www.newspressnow.com/jobs/article_ed8e7c67-4a46-5604-b980-104a4258d87a.html 

There are lots of reasons a person could have trouble putting together a descent resume. You may have a gap in employment; you are trying to switch careers or professions; or you have been a stay-at-home mom the past few years.

The good news is that resumes are changing to reflect skills more than job history. Your skills that apply to the job can be just as valuable as experience. Resumes are now reflecting non-paid positions such as volunteerism, continuing education classes, parenting, hobbies and sports. These newly non-paid positions help fill the gap between employers. By adding skills that transfer from daily life to a new job position give employers a better understanding of who they may be hiring, as well as your interests, values and experiences.

Here are examples of five transferable skills you may want to include in your resume:

Communication: writes clearly and concisely, speaks effectively, listens attentively, openly expresses ideas, negotiates/resolves differences, leads group discussions, provides feedback, persuades others, provides well-thought out solutions, gathers appropriate information, confidently speaks in public

Interpersonal Skills: works well with others, sensitive, supportive, motivates others, shares credit, counsels, cooperates, delegates effectively, represents others, understands feelings, self-confident, accepts responsibility

Research and Planning: forecasts/predicts, creates ideas, identifies problems, meets goals, identifies resources, gathers information, solves problems, defines needs, analyzes issues, develops strategies, assesses situations

Organizational Skills: handles details, coordinates tasks, punctual, manages projects effectively, meets deadlines, sets goals, keeps control over budget, plans and arranges activities, multi-tasks

Management Skills: leads groups, teaches/trains/instructs, counsels/coaches, manages conflict, delegates responsibility, makes decisions, directs others, implements decisions, enforces policies, takes charge.

Dana Plowman can be reached at dana.plowman@newspressnow.com

8/28/16 - 10 Phone Interview Tips to Get to the Face-to-Face

10 Phone Interview Tips to Get to the Face-to-Face
Best telephone interview tips
Peggy McKeeLeave
http://careerconfidential.com/phone-interview-tips/ 

Before you get to go to the face-to-face interview, you’ll probably have to go through a cheaper, easier (for them) phone interview to prove you are worth the time, trouble and expense of a longer conversation. Here are the top phone interview tips to make sure you get your chance to prove your worth in person.

1. Concentrate on your voice. Sound confident, express yourself clearly and think about sounding like someone who looks and acts professional. Without body language, professional attire and your physical demeanor, the interviewer only has your voice to judge you by and how you handle yourself verbally.

2. Have all of your notes in front of you. You should always have your resume, cover letters, names of references, and key points you want to add right there at your disposal.

3. Prepare for interview questions. Know what kind of questions you will be asked in this short format interview before they call. Remember, this is not the same as a face-to-face interview and the questions are likely going to be more general. They are probably looking at your resume as they speak to you and verifying the information through questions like, “Tell me a little about your experience.” (However, you still have to prepare for this interview to avoid making interview mistakes.)

4. Watch your language. Avoid using sarcasm or making jokes in which your body language and facial expressions are required. They cannot see you and what may seem funny to you with your quizzical expression may not go over well at all with the person who cannot see you on the other end of the line.

5. Stand up while you talk. Your posture and movement will affect your enthusiasm and your voice will project better.

6. Focus on the interview. Don’t busy yourself with other things in your environment. Just because they can’t see you doesn’t mean they won’t be able to tell you’re distracted.

7. Use a landline to avoid having any issues with poor reception. If you have to use a cell phone, be sure the phone interview is set up for a time when you know you will have access to a quiet place that is guaranteed to have a good signal. There should be minimal distractions and outside noise such as barking dogs, nearby construction or the beeping of car horns.

8. Never use your speakerphone. We often talk on speakerphone to keep our hands free to drive or do other things. This level of distraction is not what you need during an interview that is your gateway to a face-to-face meeting with a hiring manager.

9. Don’t get too chatty or talk yourself in circles. The interviewer is likely taking notes as you speak and may not be focusing on responding to all your points. These silent moments are not your cue to continue babbling on. Be comfortable with the silent moments and allow the interviewer to make the next move after you have finished answering the question completely but concisely.

10. Ask for the next step, just like you would in a face-to-face. When the interview is wrapping up, let them know what times and dates you are available for a face-to-face interview. You will be able to get an immediate impression about how you stand at the end of the phone interview if you ask this. It commits them to deciding if they want to proceed with the process or not and will give you idea about how they felt about the conversation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.

8/21/16 - 4 Warning Signs About A Company (That You Can Spot During The Interview Process)

Jennifer Malach
http://www.careerealism.com/company-warning-signs-spot-during-interview/ 

Congratulations! You got the interview for your dream job. You’ve researched and prepared and feel ready to meet the hiring manager, discuss your resume, and learn more about the position. Remember, you need to ask just as many questions to the interviewer about the role, team, company, and organizational structure in order to have the best understanding of the opportunity. And more importantly, you can determine if the organization, office environment, and company culture are the right fit for you just by walking through the door and looking out for these four warning signs during the interview process:

1. The hiring manager or interviewer is not prepared to interview you.

It is evident that he or she has not even reviewed your resume yet or prepared any relevant questions to learn more about you and your background. If he or she is just printing your resume as you both sit down for the interview, you should be extra ready for the question, “Tell me about yourself.” Also, meetings and conference calls do run late, but if the hiring manager or interviewer is serious about speaking with you, he or she should not keep you waiting for more than five to ten minutes to start your conversation.

2. Employees, including management and leadership, are not interacting with each other in the office.

Are the majority of people behind closed office doors? For those individuals you can view in open spaces, are they all solely focused on their laptops and tasks or are some having friendly conversations with each other? Check out how the hiring manager or interviewer engages (or not) with others while walking with you to and from the interview room. Is he or she friendly to everyone (from the CEO to the receptionist)? Does he or she know people by name? Or is he or she barking orders and acting rude or unprofessional?

3. Take a look around the entire office space.

Can you see yourself sitting there every day for over eight hours a day? Does it feel warm and inviting? Or does it seem cold and unwelcoming? Is the décor modern and hi-tech or is it unclean and have stained furniture and carpeting? Are there visible advertisements for company social events or volunteer opportunities to promote community and networking? Is there a noticeable place for people to informally gather for lunch or coffee? Or is everyone eating at his or her own desk?

4. You cannot begin to imagine yourself commuting to and from this particular office.

If you can’t imagine spending 40+ hours a week working there, for that hiring manager, in that job, with this company, then that is the biggest warning sign of all. This may be your dream job, but you also need to be totally comfortable with all aspects of your “life at work” while you are in the office and not just the work you are doing.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jennifer Malach is a Certified Executive & Career Coach with over 20 years experience in the professional services and software development industries including 17 years with Accenture, a global management consulting, technology, and outsourcing company. She has extensive experience in recruiting, interviewing, hiring, coaching, training and developing talent to promote their learning, retention and advancement. Jennifer has also led, managed, and mentored teams across North America.

8/14/16 - The Secret to Resume Success

Romy Newman
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-secret-to-resume-success_us_577c0c95e4b00a3ae4ce6a6a 

Did you ever apply for a job that you were certain you were perfect for...and then hear back nothing? The lack of response may have nothing to do with your experience, and everything to do with how you’re presenting it on your resume.

These days, recruiters receive thousands of resumes for desirable positions. Because of these enormous numbers, 98% of job-seekers don’t make it past the original resume screening, according to Robert Meier, President of Job Market Experts.

So what is the secret to getting your resume to be the needle in the haystack that gets discovered? It’s all about keywords.

Here’s how keywords work: To manage the vast troves of responses they receive, recruiting departments build databases of resumes using their Application Tracking Software. They navigate through their database by searching for specific terms that relate the job they’re hiring for. These terms are known as keywords.

Since Fairygodboss is committed to helping our community get ahead and land the jobs they’re seeking, we reached out to two experts to get the inside scoop on keywords and help you understand how you should use them on resume.

“Keywords are an essential part of how we sift through the thousands of resumes we receive,” said Jenna Mucha, Talent Community Manager for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“Keywords bring up your ‘relevancy score’ in most HR/recruiting software programs,” says Christy Childers, Global Employer Brand Manager for Dropbox.

So how can you use resume keywords to your advantage to land the interview and the job? Here’s some advice from Jenna and Christy:

1. Adapt your resume for each company you’re applying to

“You should absolutely adapt your resume for each job you’re applying to,” said Jenna. “Review the job description and incorporate keywords directly from it.”

What kinds of keywords should you include? Well, of course you want to use ones that are essential to the role - such as “quantitative” or “customer service.” Choose keywords directly from the job description, especially those mentioned more than once. “But also check out similar job postings from other companies,” suggests Jenna. “That way you can anticipate or include terms that go beyond the posting. You should even check out the LinkedIn profiles of other people who are in similar roles.”

Here’s a great tip from Christy: Don’t overlook things that you think are obvious or implied in your background. “Some people think Microsoft Excel is a given in today’s environment. However if the job description lists Excel one or more times (and you indeed have substantial experience with it), you need to include ‘Microsoft Excel’ on your resume. Also keep in mind that a computer doesn’t know that ‘Microsoft Office Suite’ includes Word, Excel, Access, etc., so you must use these keywords exactly as you see them in the job description.”

That said, you should definitely not incorporate keywords if they don’t accurately describe you. Honesty and fair representation must come first.

2. Use keywords throughout your resume

The box for keyword relevance is not checked when you simply add the keyword to a “skills” section on your resume. Your keywords should be thoughtfully woven into your background bullets, ideally in several places throughout your resume.

“This provides credibility, but also increases the relevancy based on the way the software performs searches,” according to Christy. Also, she told us, “remove company jargon….While staying true to your past experience, it’s okay to change the specific job title to ensure you’re using one that is used more widely.”

3. Ditch the objectives statement

While a “summary statement” is key for your LinkedIn profile, both our experts agree there is no need for a summary on your resume. Jenna told us that the summary statement really isn’t useful to recruiters. If you’ve built your resume coherently, it should be crystal clear to recruiters what skills and traits define you.

4. Substantiate

“Keywords are important,” says Christy, “but quantifying your experience alongside those keywords to add credible context and to differentiate yourself is equally as important.” This is not just an exercise in copy/paste. You’ll need to substantiate why your background represents the skills that the keywords call for.

Some great advice from Christy on how to quantify your experience:

Instead of listing ‘excellent negotiation skills,’ try adding some context to prove it such as ‘demonstrated excellent negotiation skills which resulted in an 80% close rate and #1 Account Executive in the Western US Region.’ Or for those who aren’t in obvious data driven environments, use the results of a project to demonstrate your skills: in lieu of ‘attention to detail,’ you could instead include an example such as ‘demonstrated attention to detail in launching the first-ever global leadership development program from start to finish improving internal promotions by 35% across 3 continents.’
5. Apply “beyond” the job

Once your resume ends up in a company’s database, Jenna tells us that it can often surface for other open positions. That means you should incorporate keywords that come up in verbiage about the company itself. For example, some companies pride themselves on “innovation.” For others, “team-player” or “collaborative,” is important.

And there are some keywords that work well for almost any job or position.. “Results-oriented,” “motivated,” “launched,” “team-player,” etc. There are some great online resources for these types of keywords. Note: there are also some keywords you should stay away from, such as “synergy” or “go-getter.”

Of course, great resume keywords are not a substitute for a great work background. Ultimately, though, if we can all have a better understanding of how our resume is being evaluated, we have a much better chance of getting to present that background in an interview. Huge thanks to Christy and Jenna for helping give us the inside scoop.

Career Assessment Tools & Tests: Assessments for Students, Job-Seekers, Career-Changers

Career Assessment Tools & Tests: Assessments for Students, Job-Seekers, Career-Changers

https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/career-assessment

 

Help envision and plan your career, job, work future with these self-assessment and career discovery tests.

What if you’re not sure of what kind of job or career you want? Not sure what to do with your life? Need some career direction? Spend some time here and take one or more of the following self-assessment tests to give you a better idea of your attitudes and interests as they relate to possible career choices.

 

Click on the link for the article https://www.livecareer.com/quintessential/career-assessment

The Ultimate Guide to Building a CV

The Ultimate Guide to Building a CV

https://www.how2become.com/resources/ultimate-guide-to-building-a-cv/

 

When applying for a job, it is vital that you have prepared a professional Curriculum Vitae (CV) that conveys your academic qualifications, employment background and key skills to your potential employer. Many candidates underestimate the value of a strong CV and, as a result, they significantly hinder their chances of acquiring their preferred job. Irrespective of whether you have just finished your academic studies or whether you have worked in your preferred field of industry for several years, your CV needs to present a bold and clear message to your potential employers. This is where the following guide can help. From explaining the key elements of your CV and learning how to explain a gap on your CV, to demonstrating a step-by-step guide on how to write a competent CV, this valuable resource will equip you with all you need to know in order to successfully represent yourself via your CV thereby substantially improving your employability prospects.

 

Clck on the link for the full article  https://www.how2become.com/resources/ultimate-guide-to-building-a-cv/

The Ultimate Guide to Building a CV

5 Salary Negotiation Tips for Women

https://www.goodcall.com/career/salary-negotiation-tips-women/

 

When it comes to compensation, salary negotiation is the one area women often neglect. Though if you have ever effectively negotiated a salary in your favor, you know how exhilarating it feels to receive what you are worth. If you have ever found out that a colleague is receiving a higher salary than you, as a result of negotiating, then you know how terrible it feels to know that you possibly undermined receiving a higher salary.

Salary negotiation is difficult for women because it is often seen as an uncomfortable conversation. For many women, the process of negotiating is as unenjoyable as “going to dentist”, whereas men tend to describe it as “winning a ballgame” or a “wrestling match”.

 

Read the entire article at https://www.goodcall.com/career/salary-negotiation-tips-women/

8/7/16 - 8 of the Worst Things to Say When Networking

8 of the Worst Things to Say When Networking
Most networkers try to be on their best behavior and be compelling. Many fall short or worse offend with phrases like these.

BY KEVIN DAUM
http://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/8-of-the-worst-things-to-say-when-networking.html 

In some ways, networking has recently changed. It used to be reserved for gatherings and parties, but today networking can happen online as well. With all the increased communication and casual aspects of the Internet, knowing the safe and effective things to say is challenging at best.

At worst, people can miss the mark with a comment and even offend the very people they are trying to impress. Ignorance, confusion, and nerves often lead people to make major verbal mistakes that cannot be undone. If people slow down and think about their comments, they probably can avoid committing an unnecessary faux pas.

In case you don't have the time to think carefully before opening your mouth or typing that next message, you might want to memorize eight of the worst things to say during networking that you should avoid at all costs.

1. Profanity.

Swearing used to be for bars and sports arenas, but these days it is tolerated more in business. That said, don't be so quick to throw off your favorite four-letter word at every chance you get. You have no way of knowing how the other person will react. Some people might find the use of such words as aggressive, especially if the delivery is not well-handled. Moreover, it might make you look unprofessional and lacking in discretion. Keep the swearing limited, unless you really know the audience or live in New York City like me.

2. "I'm struggling..."

The moment you start talking about how things are not going your way, you project a sense of insecurity. Networking is about opportunities for growth and value, not desperation. People don't want to engage with more needy people. Rather than discussing your failures, engage people with your aspirations and desires. That will transmit a sense of drive that is very attractive to others.

3. "Can you get me a job?"

Unless someone offers right away, requesting employment puts others in an uncomfortable, awkward position. They may not know you well enough and you are asking them to put their reputation at stake. Use networking to begin conversations and relationships that will show off your value. If you are truly worthy, the time will come to discuss how to get you aboard.

4. "What's in it for me?"

It's good to have self-interest, but leading with it shows you to be selfish and uncaring. Look for mutually beneficial opportunities and show that you can put others first in a way that brings value to all. People want to work with partners, not hoarders.

5. "Here's my card."

By pushing your card, you are imposing yourself on others with the expectations of continuing the conversation. Most of the time they will simply be polite and forget you. Instead, ask for their card and if you can contact them. Then send them something relevant and of value so they have reason to re-engage.

6. "That idea doesn't make any sense."

The last thing most people want to hear is that their idea sucks. If you don't agree with it and think they are down the wrong path, ask them questions that will help lead them to the same conclusion. This will allow them to reflect on the conversation and feel that they have obtained value from talking with you.

7. "I'm drunk" or "I'm a little tipsy."

People may like to party, but they trust those who can show self-control. If people are privy to your state of inebriation, they will take you less seriously and you will wind up making a mockery of yourself in an environment that you were hoping to conquer.

8. Nothing.

A little silence can make you look smart. Total silence will make you go unnoticed and unmemorable. Try to engage people in pleasant conversation at the very least. Failing to inspire people will at least give you the opportunity to analyze what works and doesn't work in a social setting so that you can inspire the next person that you meet.

The Go-To Guide to Understanding Your Job Offer and Benefits Package

Here is a link to a a very good article about "The Go-To Guide to Understanding Your Job Offer and Benefits Package"

https://www.goodcall.com/career/job-offer/

7/31/16 - Creating An Elevator Pitch: The Do’s And Don’ts

Margaret Buj
http://www.careerealism.com/elevator-pitch-dos-donts/ 

If you’re looking for a job, you might want to create an ‘elevator pitch.’ It is a brief explanation that summarizes who you are, what you do and why you’d be the perfect candidate – you’ll want to be able to reel off your pitch at any time, especially with people who might be able to help you get your dream job.

However, it can be really hard to condense all your experiences into a 30-60 seconds speech!

Let Me Give You Some Do’s And Don’ts Of Writing A Great Elevator Pitch:

1. Decide what kind of work you’re looking for

Unless you can clearly explain to someone the type of a job you’re interested in, nobody will be able to help you find it. You need to know what your goals are. And if you’re looking for a job that is different to what you’re doing right now – you need to tailor your pitch accordingly. E.g. if you want to be a web designer, emphasize the web design work you’ve done, rather than talking about your current job which might have nothing to do with what you’re looking for.

Also, write down your skills and accomplishments relevant to your target position. Then delete everything that’s not relevant to what you’re looking for – be specific.

2. Structure your pitch and tailor it to the audience

A good pitch (and this relates to your resume and cover letter, too!) should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? What are you looking for?

Here is an example of what your pitch might start with:

“Hi, I am Karen Smith. I am a Brand Marketing Manager with 10 years of experience in the travel industry – I’ve worked for companies including Expedia and Thomas Cook – and I am looking for opportunities in London.”

You’d then use the next several seconds to briefly mention some details about what makes you stand out – and what your specific skills are that could help a potential employer.

Also, focus on the needs of your audience, not yours (just like in a job interview:-) You’ll only be successful if the person you’re talking to understands it. So don’t use a lot of jargon when talking to someone from outside of your industry but also don’t explain simple terms to a professional in your industry.

3. Practice

It is important your read your pitch out loud and practice. You want to sound conversational, not like if you’ve memorized it by heart. Release your pitch and ask someone for feedback. If your friends don’t understand what your key points were, your speech still needs work.

4. Prepare a few variations

It is a good idea to prepare a few variations of the speech – if you only have 20 seconds, your speech would be different to when you have a couple of minutes. Make sure you master a few key talking points and you can then tailor your speech for particular occasions.

What About The Don’ts Then?

1. Don’t sound boring or make people wonder about what is it that you do

Ask yourself what problem you solve rather than what you DO. For example, instead of saying I am an interview coach, I could say I help professionals get hired, promoted and paid more faster than they would on their own. You might want to include some number and concrete details – this will make you more memorable.

2. Don’t undersell or oversell your skills or experience.

If you undersell yourself, people won’t know how you can help them so they won’t be able to recommend you to people who might be able to offer you the job. On the other hand, if you oversell yourself, people then won’t take you seriously.

3. Don’t sound too salesy

Yes, you want to sell yourself – but you don’t want to sound like a typical used car salesman.

Hope these help!

If you need help in creating your elevator pitch and getting clarity on what your unique selling points are, apply for a complimentary consultation to see if working together is right for you: www.TalkwithMargaret.com

About the author - Margaret Buj is an interview coach who has been helping professionals get hired, promoted and paid more for over eight years. She is also a qualified Personal Performance & Corporate and Executive Coach and can help you with developing confidence and the attitude that will make it easier for you to get any job you want.