Educator Spotlight: Newborn Care Solutions

newborn care solutions logoToday there is a major shift in hiring trends for high end personal childcare options. Parents are demanding educated and knowledgeable Newborn Care Specialists to care for their infants. To help meet this need, Tonya Sakowicz founded Newborn Care Solutions to train childcare professionals in this specialized field. Offering classes at their base in Scottsdale, AZ, online, and across the country, Tonya was selected as DEMA’s Educator of the Year in 2016.

Tonya shares more about her school and this unique niche industry in this month’s Private Service Educator Spotlight…

  1. How long have you been in business?

We have been in business formally for 2 years as of 2017, but I have been teaching for nearly 15 years for the International Nanny Association (INA), the National Association of Nannies (NAN), the Association of Premiere Nanny Agencies (APNA), and now the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA).

  1. In a nutshell, what do you teach?

We teach everything a nanny or other childcare provider would need to know if they want to be a Newborn Care Specialist or a nanny with a strong emphasis on Newborn Care.

  1. What makes your training unique?

Our training is geared specifically to the industry—we respect the knowledge that nannies already have and build on that to give them a more in-depth, evidence based education that allows them to provider a higher quality of care to their principal and child charges.

  1. How long are the courses?

Our courses typically run about 18 hours for the Foundational and Advanced classes, including sectional quizzes and final exam. Our individual courses for specific topics, such as Green Proofing and Sleep Solutions, last anywhere from 2-8 hours.

  1. How frequently are the programs run?

Most of our courses run online all the time and all of those are self-paced.  In addition, we teach our Foundational, Advanced and Sleep Solutions Workshops live around the US about twice a year each.  Our courses are also taught in Australia and we hope to go into the UK, Saudi Arabia and China this coming year (2018).

  1. Do you have an online or correspondence courses?

Yes, most of our course offerings are available online.

  1. What are the requirements to attend your school?

We require prior experience working with children in a professional capacity.  You must have been a nanny, governess, postpartum doula, infant room daycare provider or in-home daycare provider with verifiable references.

  1. Who is your ideal student?

Our ideal student is someone who is self-motivated and committed to professional excellence in newborn and infant care.  It is often someone who has worked with children from their early teen years and has continued in childcare as a profession and now wants to specialize even further.

  1. Do you offer placement assistance to your graduates? What is your placement rate?

We do offer assistance through the posting of jobs on our graduate board.  Many of the nation’s top placement agencies come to us to fill their positions with our students.  For example, a recent agency owner interviewed 5 candidates for a very high-level position.  4 of those 5 candidates were chosen to move on and interview with the family—all of the 4 chosen were graduates of our program. However, we do not have a formal in-house placement assistance process.

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

 

Yes. DEMA, where I serve as the Co-President of my local chapter in Scottsdale, AZ. In the INA, I am the 2016/17 1st Vice President. We are also a sponsoring member of APNA.

  1. Are you accredited? If so, with what entity…

Coming soon!

  1. How much does your program cost?

That depends on the course.  Our least expensive is our Green Proofing course at $97.  Most programs fall into the $329-$697 price range.  Currently, our most expensive program is our 1 year-long Elite and Master NCS programs at $2,495 each.

  1. Are financial aid, scholarships or payment plans available?

Payment Plans are available.

  1. How can people contact you?

Info@newborncaresolutions.com

nanny connections household staffing logo

Agency Spotlight: Nanny Connections Household Staffing

Founded in 1998, Nanny Connections has stood the test of time in helping private families hire talented nannies, baby nurses / Newborn Care Specialists (NCS), private chefs, and household managers. Active in several markets across the country, they exercise their philosophy of high standards of professional conduct, promotion of the social, emotional, intellectual, and physical development of children, and a support of life-long learning for their placements.

 

In today’s Agency Spotlight, founder and CEO Tiffanie Kinder tells us more about her well recognized agency, which has been featured in such publications as Parents Magazine, Chicago Parent, Yahoo! Celebrity, Parenting OC, and Nashville Parent…

 

  1. How long have you been in business?

Nanny Connections Household Staffing has been in business since August of 1998.

 

  1. What makes your agency unique?

Nanny Connections Household Staffing is unique because we have been in business since 1998 and are one of the few agencies with this type of longevity in the industry. All of our exceptional placement coordinators have been a nanny at some point in their career. Also, we all have children of our own and understand both sides of employing a nanny and being a nanny. Our passion for finding the perfect match with a trained eye through rigorous screening and vetting is a key part of our success. Our reputation for quick communication to both candidates and clients exceeds most. We have a very sophisticated database which allows us to serve requests throughout the country.

 

  1. What types of positions do you place?

We place live in or live out nannies, infant care specialists, baby nurses, household managers, family assistants, housekeepers, chefs and butlers.

 

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

An ideal candidate to us is someone that is positive, forward thinking, flexible, trustworthy, experienced, honest, extremely reliable with above average references and letters of recommendation from previous employers.

 

  1. Do you place across the country or locally? If so where:

We primarily place in Beverly Hills, CA, Chicago, IL, Madison & Milwaukee, WI, and Nashville, TN, and the surroundings areas.

 

  1. Do you look for any special training or certifications, such as college degrees, private service schools, etc.?

We honor the request of our clients and listen to their criteria preferences. Our candidates all have different levels of educational background and experience.

 

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

We post them on our website and Facebook page.

Website: www.nannyconnection.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nannyconnections

 

  1. How should a candidate apply for a job? Do you want an online application, resume or both?

Candidates can begin with sending their cover letter and resume and any letters of recommendation to info@nannyconnections.com. Our placement coordinators will then contact them with next steps.

 

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

In the past, we were members of the International Nanny Association (INA) and also members of our local Chambers of Commerce.

 

  1. How can people contact you?

The best way to contact us is to go to our website and click on the location closest to you. Our website is www.nannyconnections.com or to speak with us directly call 866-484-5550

sarcastic job interview questions

Snarky Answers to 6 Common Interview Questions

Everyone knows some job interview questions just beg for a snarky answer. Wouldn’t you love to once, just once, really say what’s on your mind? Enjoy these forays into the dark side – followed by some suggestions for how to really answer the question if you actually want to get the job.

Q: “What’s your greatest weakness?”

Snarky Answer: “Bourbon!”

Oh, there are so many tempting answers for this asinine question: alcohol, sleeping in late, slacking off at work, chocolate… just take your pick. In reality, what employers want is either a prepared answer or one that would make it obvious that you aren’t the best candidate for the role.  I usually coach people to provide a real weakness and then discuss how you deal with it. Of course, don’t choose one of those fatal flaws that would immediately get you cut, such as an executive assistant who isn’t detail-oriented.

Real Answer: “While sometimes I can take on a lot, I do my best to be conscious of deadlines so I can set appropriate priorities.”

 

Q: “What motivates you?”

Snarky Answer: “Spite.”

Wouldn’t you just love to say that I’m here for the money and the benefits? But of course, that’s not how the interview game is played. The only exception would be a sales role where being competitive and in control of your own earning potential should be your top motivation. For other roles, the companies want to know that you care about the work itself and their mission in particular. To make the right impression, align your motivation with the heart of the job.

Real Answer: “As a project manager, I love bringing a project to completion while overcoming challenges and staying within the given budget and timeframe. It’s a real sense of accomplishment to know that I was an integral part to a project that takes over a year to complete.”

 

Q: “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

Snarky Answer: “Retired on a beach after winning the lottery so I don’t have to answer questions like this.”

This is an ancient, dusty, and often stupid question. In spite of the fact that we know people change jobs after 2-4 years and even change their entire career up to 3 times in their lifetime, employers are still asking this stupid question. Unfortunately, the only appropriate answer is to take the brown-nosing route and play up to staying with the company for a long time. Any other answer makes them question your desire to really work for this company.

Real Answer: “I see myself working for this company, working up the ladder and adding to my skills to continue making a positive contribution.”

 

Q: “Tell me about something you learned in the last six months.”

Snarky Answer: “How to look for a job.”

Ironically, even though this probably is the top thing you learned, employers don’t care. They want to see something that actually relates to your career. This is how you clearly demonstrate that you are in touch with the latest trends, technology, and practices. Consider taking online courses through Udemy.com or another learning platform to stay on top of things without having to break your bank.

Real Answer: “Recently, I took a course on Excel on Udemy.com, which is an online resource. I continue to do exercises every day, including using it as a way to track my own job search progress.”

 

Q: “Why did you leave your last job?”

Snarky Answer: “Because it frickin’ sucked.”

Maybe the boss was a screaming psycho who threw things. Maybe you were fired. Maybe your co-workers constantly threw you under the bus. Or maybe the pay was just plain terrible, with no chance for advancement at all. Whatever the case, DON’T say anything negative about a past employer if possible. If you jump on the negativity train, it only makes you look petty and bitter. If your last job really did suck, do some personal journaling to get your feelings out way before you ever step into an interview. THEN you can come up with an answer that is still honest without being negative.

Real Answer: “Unfortunately, I was part of a lay-off that affected many people in the company.”

Variation: “Unfortunately, there was not a lot of room for advancement at the company. I would like to find a job where I can continue to grow professionally.”

 

Q: “Why do you want to work for us?”

Snarky Answer: “Because I need the money – duh.”

While this sounds similar to the “five year” question, it is actually a test. You must show that you did your research about this company and say something very specific that draws you to the job. Even in sales, pure money motivation is not enough. Tie in with their mission, products, services, or reputation to really make a positive impression.

Real Answer: “I am impressed by XYZ’s commitment to excellence. I noticed that your customers consistently leave raving reviews for your services. Plus, I really support your mission to make a difference in the world.”

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linkedin cardinal sin lust

LinkedIn Cardinal Sin: Lust

On the surface, this may appear to be the most obvious “LinkedIn Cardinal Sin” to avoid. After all, this is NOT a dating site, so lust shouldn’t be part of it, right? However, there is more to the concept of lust than the sexual aspect. When we look at it from a different point-of-view, lust is the ultimate concept of using other people to get what we want. And using people is definitely a huge LinkedIn Cardinal Sin.

I WANT IT NOW

Just like Veruca Salt, the spoiled brat from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” someone consumed with lust wants what they want and they want it right now. I personally have seen this on LinkedIn when I accept a connection from someone, just to immediately be hit with a heavy-handed sales pitch. The person didn’t do anything to build a relationship with me, and I instantly feel duped or used as a result. Needless to say, those are the connections that I tend to “unfriend” almost immediately.

 

HUNTING MANAGERS

Another area that the instant gratification becomes a problem is with job seekers. Now I’m not suggesting that job seekers refrain from using LinkedIn to connect with managers and workers at their target companies. It’s the way the connections are made that needs to be addressed.

When reaching out to a possible future employer, be honest about your interest in the company as well as the target contact as a person. Ask about their backgrounds and how they managed to rise to a leadership position within the company. If all of your messages to a possible hiring manager only talk about how much you want the job, it’s not showing that you care about the other person at all.

THE OBVIOUS INTERPRETATION

No discussion about lust on LinkedIn would be complete without pointing out that for some people, lust is the literal interpretation. In this case, I’d like to warn you both about the phishing profiles and the poor choices that can lead to misinterpretation from other LinkedIn users.

  1. Phishing profiles

Typically speaking, if you see someone with a very beautiful or attractive profile picture, a low number of connections, and a job history that is either inconsistent or not complete, this could be a phishing profile. The scammers are hoping to connect with you to reach out to your own contacts or to even proposition you directly.

One of the more unique examples were phishing profiles that used the job title of “BDM.” In some circles, that means “Business Development Manager;” however, it can also mean “bondage, discipline, and masochism.” Yikes! And yes, I HAVE seen profiles that indicate the secondary meaning.

Fortunately, LinkedIn is proactive about identifying these types of abuses on the site. Of course, when you find one yourself, you can report it to LinkedIn as well.

  1. Profile misinterpretation

In some cases, just a poor choice on a profile can open a LinkedIn user to a misinterpretation of their intentions on the site. Most often, I this relates to the profile picture.

Some recent bad pictures I saw include:

  • Showing too much skin – both male and female
  • A low-cut prom dress – complete with roses
  • Cheesy selfies
  • Vacation pictures
  • Workout pictures (but still applying for professional jobs)
  • Duck lips
  • Extreme close-ups

Picture choice is vital on LinkedIn. Not only do profiles with pictures gain 11x more views than those without, they do send a huge message about the person. If you aren’t sure that your picture is sending the right message, I highly suggest that you check out the website www.PhotoFeeler.com. You can get direct feedback as well as source great articles on how to improve your pictures.

GO AWAY, CREEPY PEOPLE

One other way that lust slides onto LinkedIn are direct predators. Every now and then, I will get an invitation from someone I don’t know. Once I accept, they will follow up with a message along the lines of “you had such a beautiful smile, I just had to reach out to you!”

Yep, that’s creepy.

The solution is simple: “unfriend” and block that user. If the person really crossed a line, you can also report him or her to LinkedIn directly.

PROTECTING YOURSELF

LinkedIn offers several tools to make sure the site stays a safe environment for networking, professional development, career advancement, and research. When you run across something questionable, help the community and yourself by making LinkedIn aware.

resume key words

6 easy ways to customize your resume

In general, I am not a fan of customizing the resume for every single job. The chances of making mistakes are just too great, not to mention the stories of people who spend literally hours on a single customization just makes me shudder. However, there are times that some adjustments are necessary to get through HR’s screening processes. This is especially true if the job seeker’s positions only turn up rarely or are highly specialized.

The good news is that it is possible to customize your resume quickly without going crazy. It’s just a matter of a few simple tricks:

  1. Have a solid resume FIRST

Before you go insane tweaking your resume for a single job, make sure you have a solid resume in the first place. This should be written with the targeted job in mind already. For example, if you are considering either a job in accounting or HR, you need two different resumes, as the base skills, experience, and traits are vastly different for those two roles.

When we create a resume for a client, we do a comparative analysis of 3-6 job descriptions for the same type of job but with different companies. This way, we discover what are the universal key words, desired experience, top traits, and education levels that are inherent for that type of job. Once the foundation of a solid resume is built, you can adjust it for specific positions.

  1. Include the title of the target job

This is one of the best ways to get through HR’s screening computers on the application systems. The actual title of the position ranks really high in the valuable key words. Whenever possible, be sure to use the exact phrasing of the job title in your resume. This can be added as a variation to your current title: for example, if your title is “Outside Sales Manager” but their title is “Manager of Key Accounts Division,” change your title on the resume to “Manager of Key Accounts (Outside Sales Manager).” Notice that the actual, real job title must be in parentheses. That way, when HR calls to confirm your work history, there won’t be a discrepancy.

But what if you don’t have a similar title or if you are switching industries? This is where a title for the resume itself comes into play. While objective statements are very old fashioned and self-serving, starting the resume with a heading that uses the exact title indicates to HR that this is your target job:

  1. Match the skills

HR screens people based on skills, specifically the key words within the skills. This is one reason why we must include phrases like “excellent communication skills” on the resume. While everyone knows that isn’t the most exciting writing ever, if HR is using that phrase in the job description, you must use it in your resume or risk being cut by the screening computers. But how do we include these asinine phrases without destroying the overall quality of our resume?

Take a close look at the job description, especially the area called “qualifications” or “requirements.” Ignore the garbage words like “demonstrated ability to” or “responsible for;” only focus on the actual skill or personality trait itself. Now take those phrases and load up the SKILLS section of your resume:

By the way, the core competencies area is a great place to do some key word packing. By using different columns, you can load up a lot of skills without taking too much space.

  1. Use variations of top skills

This matters more for software than some of the other types of skills. One of the biggest offenders is actually Microsoft Office – the words, not the program. Some employers use “MS Office” in their job description. Others may state “Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.” However, the computer will only recognize the way it’s written in that exact job description. In other words, many computers are dumb and don’t know that Office and Word are the same thing. To combat this, consider using a variation for the software, such as “Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).”

  1. Describe relevant experience

Within the job description, pay attention to the duties or responsibilities. When you describe your own experience, find ways to match your own experience or achievements to those specific areas:

  1. Use both the acronym and the name for your degree

Sometimes screening computers are very literal. It may recognize the MBA, but not Masters of Business Administration and vice versa. By using both, you cover all of your bases. And of course, if the job is looking for a specific major, be sure to mention that you have it.  Same thing with your certifications. If the company wants them, make sure to list them.

  1. BONUS! Customize your cover letter

Okay, so that’s not your resume, I know. However, take the effort to read up on the company before drafting your cover letter. Keep in mind that the cover letter is actually written for PEOPLE, as opposed to all of these other tricks that are designed to get past a COMPUTER. In the end, both your resume and cover letter needs to be written well so that once a human being gets to see your materials, you will make the right impression.

Final Thought

HR must cut 95% or more of the candidate pool before sending potential new hires to the manager’s interviews. To do this, they all rely on screening tools, with getting past the computer being just the first step. To make sure you survive, try to match 70-80% of the key words, requirements, and experience to get past those killer bots. And of course, get in touch with the managers directly to greatly increase your chances for an interview, especially if you are changing industries or job levels.

 

Wondering how well your resume stands up? Contact Donna Shannon for a free resume review: https://personaltouchcareerservices.com/contact

2017 goals and tips for job search

New Year’s Checklist for Job Seekers

I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, especially since I am so good at breaking them. However, I do recognize that now is a great time to set up my strategies and plans, which usually involves creating a robust and proactive checklist to kick things off. Job seekers can use this same strategy to make the most of the upcoming busy hiring season.

  1. Update your resume

While this seems to go without saying, you need to review your resume. But when you give it the once-over, look at more than if your experience is current. To pass the rigorous and ever-present screening procedures that HR uses, make sure to use relevant key words, achievements, educational highlights, and work responsibilities for the job you want, not just the job you already have.

Things to consider:

  • Are the right key words in place and are they easy to find?
  • Does my resume format look old, dated, or bland?
  • Am I including achievements or quantifiable metrics in my work history?
  • Am I describing aspects of my career that the hiring manager would find valuable?

 

  1. Review your LinkedIn profile

Every year, LinkedIn rolls out changes for the website in January. In 2017, the push has been in tools for recruiters. Because the site is pushing their value for recruiters, this means that your profile better be 100% complete to even be taken seriously.

Things to consider:

  • Is my profile written in first person? Is it personable and attractive?
  • Am I using high value key words throughout the entire profile?
  • Are all of the relevant sections complete?
  • Have I filled my Skills with more valuable key words?
  • Does my profile read well in all platforms, including online, on mobile devices, and as a PDF download?
  • Does my profile picture convey that I am a trustworthy professional?

 

  1. Review your LinkedIn strategies

Now that the profile looks great, do you really know how to maximize the site? For example, getting involved in Groups adds to your network while giving you an avenue to build your reputation among your peers and look for hidden jobs. In particular, LinkedIn has a new setting within the “Jobs” tab. You can now let recruiters know that you are looking without blatantly announcing it within your profile – a great trick if you are in a confidential job search. Just check out the “Preferences” tab within the “Jobs” section.

Other strategies to consider:

  • Am I involved in the right kinds of Groups, such as industry-specific, locally-based, or alumni Groups?
  • Have I updated your Jobs Preferences?
  • Have I reviewed your Privacy settings – and do I know what they mean?
  • Am I actively reaching out to other LinkedIn members AND customizing your greeting message?
  • Am I Following your top choice Company’s pages?
  • Have I created any Job Alerts and am I checking them regularly?

 

  1. Set up or review settings on job boards and employment websites

Yes, plenty of employers are still posting their jobs on public websites like Indeed.com, Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com, Idealist.com and many other specialty sites. It can be very helpful and really streamline your job search process to have accounts on several different sites. However, there are steps to can take to make this more effective and not be subjected to massive amounts of spam jobs or even scams.

Steps to make the most of job boards:

  • Do NOT post your resume publicly. Only post it privately – this way, only jobs you actually apply to will receive your resume and it will greatly reduce the amount of spam jobs.
  • Set up job search agents to deliver on different days. For example, Indeed on Monday, CareerBuilder Tuesday, Monster on Wednesday and so on. This make the most of your time.
  • Review your profile settings. This goes out with every application, so make sure that old profile is in line with your current goals.
  • Be sure to upload your resume as Word or PDF. Indeed in particular is notorious for parsing your resume into their application format, even if you use Word. Employers prefer to see the Word or PDF document over Indeed’s format.
  • Always send a custom cover letter with your application and resume.
  • Track down the hiring managers and get your resume in hands – don’t leave your fate in HR’s hands!

 

  1. Get ready for the flood of jobs

January, February, and March are the biggest hiring months of the year. However, things usually start ramping up until the second week of January. After all, the employers just got back from vacation and it takes a few days to get jobs posted. Use this time wisely and get all of your tools in order to make the most of this upcoming hiring season.

Did you enjoy this article? Hungry for more? Check out my online course, “Using LinkedIn to Get a Job Without Going Crazy.” Click here to save 75%: https://www.udemy.com/using-linkedin-to-get-a-job/?couponCode=LIDIRECTARTICLE

 

LinkedIn Cardinal Sin: Gluttony

Is your LinkedIn profile feeling fat? Not sure exactly what is necessary and what is just extra sugary fluff? Are you just connecting with anyone and everyone to create a large number of first degree connections? Maybe your LinkedIn strategy is suffering from gluttony…

While I’m not a religious person, the traditional Seven Deadly Sins can be an interesting exercise in evaluating our networking efforts on platforms like LinkedIn. Simple deadly sins – like sending off an invitation without customizing the greeting – can inhibit our ability to connect with others. However, the major Deadly Sins – Sloth, Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, or Gluttony – can have a more dire impact than just one missed connection. In today’s article, we’ll explore how gluttony can take over your profile and turn off potential employers, recruiters, and prospects.

As defined by Vocabulary.com, gluttony is “characterized by a limitless appetite for food and drink and overindulgence to the point where one is no longer eating just to live, but rather living to eat.” [https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/gluttony] In terms of LinkedIn, this can be seen in two ways: creating a fat book of contacts and creating a fat profile.

CONSUMING CONNECTIONS

It is true that once you have over 500 connections, your profile will show up in more LinkedIn search results. However, this doesn’t mean that you should accept every request without looking at the person’s profile first. In truth, a strategic approach to building your contact database is more important than just the numbers.

Consideration #1: Your Comfort Level

I often encourage people to evaluate their own social media comfort level: if you aren’t comfortable with accepting invitations from people you don’t know, don’t do it. You can limit your 1st degree connections to people that you have actually met. There are ways to grow your network without making over 500 first degree connections with strangers.

For example, search parameters take into account not only 1st degree connections, but 2nd degree AND Group connections. So, joining a large and local group will increase your exposure without taking on a personal relationship with every group member. In Denver, the “Linked to Denver” Group has over 40,000 members in it. While I don’t monitor every discussion, I still enjoy the boost of my secondary network by creating that instant group connection with every single one of those 40k+ members.

On the other hand, if you are an open networker, you may prefer a wide network as opposed to a deep one. In that case, you may have many personal connections (for example, I have over 2,600 1st degree connections), but you probably won’t be able to develop a genuine, personal relationship with most of them.

Consideration #2: Quality of the Connection

When receiving an invitation, or sending one out to someone else, look at the motives. If all you are doing is hoping to get something from the other person, you are probably consuming them. On the other hand, if this is a legitimate basis for a relationship as possible employer/employee, recruiter connection, potential colleague, fellow association member, fellow group member, or someone who posts quality content, then building the relationship makes sense.

As an open networker, I tend to accept most connections. However, I always follow up with a message, asking if I can do anything for the other person. This opens the dialogue and has led to great connections and even clients. Similarly, it reveals a creepy or weird person – such as those trying to get a date – pretty quickly. I just delete that connection and move on.

Consideration #3: Know Your Standards

One symptom of gluttony is not just eating too much, but also eating what’s bad for us. The same is true with connections. If we invite or accept every single person on LinkedIn, we are probably getting a big dose of “junk food” along with the quality contacts.

In my case, I had to set some standards. I rarely accept connections from out of the US, unless the person is in one of my niche markets. If someone’s profile is a big sales pitch for their services, I probably won’t accept that one either. I also make sure that my invitations to another person offers them some quality as well – I don’t want to be junk food either!

THE FAT PROFILE

There is a significant difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile. In some ways, the information should be scaled down to the most important essence of what you want to say, and in other areas, the profile expands on parts that may not even be in the resume. How do we find the balance?

Easy-To-Read and Key Word Rich Summaries:

Your Summary is the first impression on your profile and needs to be strong. I prefer to use first person, as if I were introducing myself at a networking event. That being said, I need to balance the use of key words and their variations with use of white space to direct the eye. To do that, I often use a bulleted list within the body of the Summary:

my-summary
Lean, Muscular Experience Sections:

Typically speaking, the Experience in a resume is more formal than the LinkedIn profile. Why? Because a trimmed-down Experience that only addresses the most important responsibilities and results is easier to read online or on a mobile device.

For example, here is my own resume section for my current position:

my-resume-section

By comparison, here is my LinkedIn profile experience for the same job:

my-linkedin-experienceOn-Point Education:

Unless you are a relatively new graduate, listing a lot of extracurricular in the profile can add unnecessary fluff. The main exception would be if the activities or clubs are in-line with your professional goals.

IT’S NOT FAT, IT’S BIG BONED

While we’ve got some of the profile streamlined, additional sections can be added to give value to the candidate that the resume alone may not have conveyed. Consider adding these “big bones” to give even more strength to your online presence:

  • Descriptive headline
  • Personalized background picture
  • Key word optimized Skills section
  • Written Recommendations
  • Volunteer work or causes you support
  • Personal hobbies and interests
  • Uploaded content, including presentations, videos, and documents
  • Published articles on LinkedIn
  • Projects, Publications, and Awards

GOING ON THE LINKEDIN DIET

Gluttony is the act of consuming more than we are due or require. In the social media sense, we can be more effective when we concentrate on what we can do for others, as opposed to filling our own agenda exclusively.

Christmas job search tips

Infographic: Job searching during the holidays

Ah, the holidays.  Lots of food, shopping and hanging out with family and friends.  However, too many people make a grave mistake: they put their job search on hold until January.  In fact, December is a great time to stay vigilant with your job search.  Use this list – and check it twice – to make sure that you stay on the “nice” list for your career…

Job searching during the holidays

8 Websites to help you tap into the hidden job market

The elusive hidden job market: chances are, you have heard their statistic that 80% of new hires occur outside of the HR procedures. While that seems intimidating, do keep in mind that employee referrals rank pretty high as the actual source. But what about the other mass of new hires? How did they even get considered if the job wasn’t formally posted anywhere?

This is the essence of the hidden job market: finding jobs that are not immediately apparent to the public eye. Opportunities are usually identified by a combination of research and trigger events.  When you pay attention to what is happening at your target companies and within your target market, you can begin to anticipate their future needs.

What are trigger events?

A trigger event is any change or development within a business that opens the door to opportunity.  They are usually news-worthy, so it is possible to find trigger events just by reading the business pages or setting up Google Alerts on your target employers. Some examples include:

  • Landing a new, large contract
  • Expanding or moving to a new location
  • Merging with another company
  • Receiving an award
  • Releasing a new, innovative product
  • Hiring a new CEO, VP or other top manager
  • Being featured on a Top 100 Companies list
  • Being interviewed by the media
  • Making a large charity donation

 

Research – The Keys to Success

Just because a trigger event hits the news, that doesn’t mean you are ready to pitch your job yet.  First, you need to hit specific research to understand how you can help their organization.  While researching, continually ask yourself “how can I make their job easier?  How can I help reduce cost or increase revenue? Is there some particular mix of personality that I bring which can enhance their team?”

While researching a company, be sure to track down:

  • Company history, products and services
  • Key managers/ players and support staff
  • Competitors
  • Their growth plans and challenges
  • Their strengths and weaknesses

 

Websites and resources for trigger events and research:

  1. LinkedIn Company Pages

You should follow the company page for any of your main target employers. However, you want to do more than just look for current announcements or job postings. Pay attention to the Employees listed on LinkedIn, as this creates a pre-sorted Advanced Search for you that makes it easier to research key individuals in the organization.

  1. Local business magazines like the Denver Business Journal or the Colorado Business Magazine

While major newspapers still do have business sections, more and more of them are relying on national news feeds to generate their content. It is a sound investment to pay for a dedicated, local business publication that will focus on the actual community where you want to live and work.

  1. Labor Market Indicator Gateways

Like most states, Colorado publishes monthly reports concerning the state of the employment scene for the past month and year. I find the “top hiring companies” and “top industries” extremely helpful: https://www.colmigateway.com

One philosophy with hunting hidden jobs is to not just consider your passion, but also what the market is doing in your area. For example, the Oil & Gas industry in Colorado has suffered greatly in 2015 and 2016. If you are a geologist that specializes in this field, just realize that there are less positions available than there were two years ago. That means your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and networking efforts must be spot-on to gain an interview.

  1. Chambers of Commerce

If you are targeting a medium to small sized business, your local Chamber can be a great resource. All of them list their business members, which you can use as a list of local companies without having to wade through a morass of statistical data from other sources.

  1. Manta.com

Manta.com is another site that provides a lot of contact information on companies.  In Colorado alone, over 450,000 companies are listed; however, not all of them have filled out the profile yet.  In addition to address and industry, Manta.com also lists annual revenues, top executives and staff size.  The original listings probably come from government listings, as the industry is identified by SIC and NAICS codes.  It has a lot of Google ads too, so be careful what you click on – some of the ads look like links to the company’s application, but it is not.

  1. Angellist

Originally started as a way for start-ups to find investors, Angellist (https://angel.co/) now features jobs for companies across the US, with new locations and employers being added every day.

  1. Idealist

If you believe in following your heart, a job at a non-profit just might fit the bill. Idealist ( http://www.idealist.org/) is used by over 100,000 organizations across the US. The site features volunteer positions as well, so if you are looking for something to help you gain more experience while you conduct your job search, volunteering can add valuable information on your resume.

  1. Google Alerts

Once you determine your target companies, you can set up some news alerts through Google to send you a notification when this person or company gains some news or press online. This free service allows you the flexibility of when and where you want to receive your notices: https://www.google.com/alerts

Ideal Companies and Industries

Whether a company is open to the idea of pitched jobs or not has a lot to do with the company culture.  Typically speaking, large, slow-moving corporations are less likely to adopt a proposed job from the outside – unless you have a very good networking connection within the organization.  Smaller businesses have more flexibility to jump on new ideas, however, you may need to get creative with the pay to fit into their budget.  Entrepreneurial ventures have some of the best opportunities, as they can move quickly and tend to be more open to trying new ideas.

 

Most people believe that sales positions are the natural fit for a pitched job.  After all, you will be generating the revenue to cover the cost of hiring you. However, when it is structured and researched correctly, practically any role – from administrative assistant to CFO – can be successful.

The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins: Pride

In the first article of this series, we explored how Sloth and its children of laziness and procrastination can damn your LinkedIn efforts. However, while the effects of half measures are obvious, Pride can be a confusing “sin” on LinkedIn. After all, aren’t we here to promote ourselves?

Unfortunately, that underlying attitude is the exact PROBLEM with LinkedIn. Regardless of your agenda on LinkedIn – to generate business or find a job – being overly self-absorbed will be a detriment to your efforts. And that is the essence of Pride as a LinkedIn cardinal sin.

Sin of Pride – Preoccupation with Self and Excessive Belief in One’s Abilities

The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. But how can we tell if we are preoccupied with self? It comes down to motives. It doesn’t take very long to see when someone is trying to use you on LinkedIn. Chances are, you’ve seen it yourself: you accept an invitation to connect from someone you don’t really know, only to be hit up with a request to take his resume to your boss. Obviously, the person didn’t care about you at all, only his own motives of getting a job.

The other half of this sin is the excessive belief in one’s abilities. Obviously, some people like to pack their profile. But if the skills, achievements, or even jobs aren’t in line with reality (or your resume), this leads to a quick and nasty fall.

Let’s look at the ways that Pride can poison our genuine networking efforts:

1.       Is your Profile self-absorbed?

This is the hardest test on LinkedIn. After all, we DO want to promote our best qualities, skills, achievements, and experience. However, the problem lies in WHO are you writing FOR. In other words, all of your great qualities need to relate to your purpose on LinkedIn.

I tell my clients all the time that their resumes are not actually about them; they are all about the EMPLOYERS and their needs. LinkedIn Profiles are the same. Think of what kind of problems you solve for your intended audience (clients or employers) and then write your Profile from their perspective. Do these awards or achievements help them understand how you can assist them? Does your experience reflect facts that are relevant?

2.       Are your achievements, skills, and experience honest?

More and more companies are accepting LinkedIn as the avenue to apply for a job. As such, ALL of your Profile must be an accurate portrayal of your abilities. After all, more companies are also doing skills and personality testing prior to hire, and if you don’t meet the expectations of that boastful Profile, it will not go well for you.

3.       Are you willing to listen to other people’s point of view?

One of the reasons why I join Groups on LinkedIn is to not only share my knowledge but to gain input from others. In fact, some of the Groups I enjoy the most are ones related to my own profession, where I read articles and discussions to continue my own professional development. I may have interesting ideas, but they aren’t the only ones out there.

When I get involved in any conversation online, I like to read the points being made before passing judgment. Sometimes I don’t agree with the stance that other resume writers take, and I will point out my reasons in the discussion. However, I don’t just beat people into submission with all my grand “over 10 years of experience in leading job seekers to fabulous jobs!” That’s a very prideful statement and doesn’t lead to intelligent discourse.

4.       Are you only doing self-promotion?

In social media, most people are turned off by the intense sales pitch of yesteryear. One of my personal pet peeves are the “articles” that are thinly veiled heavy-handed advertisements. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with telling people what you sell. It’s the tone and messaging that needs to be adjusted for social selling over advertising.

Personally, I prefer a program of attraction over blatant promotion. My own strategy is to share quality content instead of pushing my agenda. I’d rather build a relationship with a new contact and then see how I can help her. Even when posting articles, I keep to the strategy of quality content that offers real insight. This ensures that my content won’t get shuffled off to spam because of archaic marketing techniques.

Overcoming Pride:

First and foremost, keeping your intended purpose and audience on LinkedIn will help break the self-absorption cycle. Two other key factors can help as well-

a.       What do others say about you?

While tooting your own horn is great, gathering Recommendations is a solid way to prove those achievements and traits. These aren’t the simple “clicks” on your skills, but actual written recommendations from your Connections. Let them state the glowing praise for a more genuine display of how great you are.

use LinkedIn recommendations to prove your worth

b.       Do you have something to offer others?

One possible way to overcome pride is through service. When I approach people with the attitude of “what can I do to help you?” I get better results. As a job seeker, this is solving problems for the potential employer. For a businessperson seeking sales, this is the solutions their service or product offers. Even if neither of these fit your situation, sharing quality content within your Groups that is within the Group’s area of interest will naturally build your reputation.

What do you have to give?

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