The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins: Sloth

Chances are, you probably have heard of the Seven Deadly Sins: indulging in too much Sloth, Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, or Gluttony is supposedly a sure-fire, one-way ticket to the Abyss. However, now we have a whole new horde of cardinal sins that can send your social media networking efforts straight to Hell: The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins. Worse, there are far more than just seven that people are perpetrating every day, from minor offenses of laziness to major mistakes that can actually get you banned.

Over the next few articles, I will dive into some of these pitfalls that are tripping up LinkedIn users every day. Let’s start with one of my favorites: Sloth.

Sloth does not refer to the slow-moving cute animal with a permanent grin. Instead, sloth is just basic laziness or dialing it in when we need to be stepping up our game. Look out for:

  1. Clicking on buttons without thinking about itsloth-likes-instead-of-message

From Endorsing people’s Skills to hitting the “Like” button on someone’s status update, LinkedIn tries to make it simple and easy to operate their website. It constantly suggests clicks for articles, Group discussions, Skills, or birthdays and work anniversaries. However, if you aren’t thinking about what you are doing, it’s not a strategic use of the site. Basically, mouse clicks are never as valuable as actual words. If you want people to remember you, you need to have written responses, whether in a message to a person or in a reply to a Group discussion.

2. Not writing custom invitations to potential connections

sloth-connect-lazyProbably the worst example of clicking on the mouse without thought is when you invite someone to connect with you, or the dreaded big blue “Connect” button. 95-99% of the invitations I receive on LinkedIn are the standard, boring generic greeting: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” If you want people to connect with you, you need to tell them why.
It does take a little extra effort, but here’s the secret: don’t click the “Connect” button unless you are looking at the person’s profile. This takes you to a separate screen where you can change that greeting. If you aren’t sure about what to say, mention a Group or connection that you share in common. sloth-connect-goodCommenting on a recent article or post they did also helps break the ice.

 

3. Not completing your profile

This is easily the worst example of sloth for LinkedIn. Your profile is your window to the world, where you build your reputation, try to attract recruiters, and give employers insight that goes beyond the simple resume. If the profile is incomplete, you are missing out on the opportunity to sell yourself to future recruiters and hiring managers.

Up to 90% of recruiters and HR departments use LinkedIn, either to source candidates directly or to compare their profile with the resume before contacting the applicant for an interview (source: LinkedIn, 2016). Ever had a recruiter or target company look at you and then NOT contact you further? Something didn’t align between the resume and profile, so they moved on to someone else.

Go complete your profile. Today. Before more opportunity passes you by.

4. Not customizing your headline

If you didn’t create a custom headline for your profile, the default is the title and company for your current employer. However, that is leaving valuable key word real estate wasted.

When people find you in a search, they are limited to the name, headline, location, and quick overview of the work history. A plain or “facts only” approach to the headline is not going to entice more views. Instead, use descriptive, key word rich branding statements. For example, an original headline may read:

Director of Sales for ABC Medical

A branded headline would be:

Director of Sales | VP of Sales | Helping physicians improve patient outcomes with innovative medical devices

Keep in mind your target audience to guide what message you want to convey.

5. Not putting relevant key words in your Skills section

People ask me all the time if the Skills and Endorsements are valuable. This is a mixed bag.  They do provide a neat visual representation on the profile, but most people know that they are easily obtained – it takes no thought than one of your 1st Degree Connections clicking a box to endorse you.  On the other hand, the Skills are valuable key words that LinkedIn will use in searches and recruiters utilize when candidates apply to jobs posted on LinkedIn.

Sometimes when you look at your Profile, new skills are shown at the very top of the screen, above your picture.  These are Endorsements from your connections for Skills that are not on your Profile yet.  You can choose to add these or not; they don’t automatically get added.  One thing you will see is that sometimes these Skills don’t make sense or don’t reflect what you actually did in the past.  This is the problem with these quick-add Skills.  Your connections mean well, but LinkedIn showed them these options by random, which can in some cases include skills typical for your profession.  For example, I have never done Conflict Resolution.  But this is a common skill for HR professionals, which is a match for one of my past jobs. LinkedIn is trying to do me a “favor” by suggesting that skill to my connections, even though it doesn’t relate to my current work history.

Don’t blindly accept new Skills – only choose key words that are relevant for your target job, not just the jobs you did in the past.

6. Not joining Groups

To make an impact on LinkedIn, you must get involved in the Groups.  Groups are formed by individual LinkedIn members and can be based on almost any premise.  There are professional groups, associations, location-based, special interest, college alumni, and even fans of major sports teams. The whole point is for people to get together around a common theme and share their experience, thoughts, articles and blogs as online discussions. Plus, when you are connected through a Group, you usually can send a direct message to fellow group members, even if you just have a free account.

No matter what your networking goals or comfort level, you should always join at least two types of Groups:

  1. Large, local Groups
  2. Groups specific to your industry

You may choose others, based on your interests:

  1. Job hunting Groups
  2. Association Groups
  3. Technical user Groups for Drupal, WordPress, Oracle, etc.
  4. Special interest, such as a non-profit, cause, or political Group
  5. Just-for-fun: sports teams’ fans, Dr. Who (there are 40 Star Wars fan groups, by the way…)

In large, local Groups, you may not even be involved in the Discussions or daily activity.  However, you want to join these Groups to have an instant connection with the thousands of current Group members.  You specifically want local Groups to build a network that could translate into face-to-face meetings, which are more valuable than just a social networking presence.

For the Groups within your industry, these are valuable for a number of reasons.  This is where you want to connect with others to expand your own knowledge or expertise.  I like to read the incoming articles and posts to make sure that I am staying on top of the latest techniques, trends and technology for my niche.

Ending Sloth

Once the work of perfecting the profile and getting involved in Groups is completed, it is possible to streamline your activity on LinkedIn. It’s not necessary to spend 10-20 hours on LinkedIn to achieve great results. Many of the tasks are automated through email or app messages – just make it a habit to read those messages, pop into the site and take care of business.

 

 

Interview with the 2016 DEMA Educator the Year – Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions

Tonya Sakowicz is the founder of Newborn Care Solutions, a company dedicated to the education of families and training of Newborn Care Specialists and Nannies. As an INA Credentialed Nanny, Newborn Care Specialist, and Parent Educator, Tonya provides consulting and in-home sleep conditioning for her clients, in addition to teaching seminars. Her training focuses on proven strategies, methods, and tips found to be the most beneficial for the newborns and their families.

LATRICIA FRIEND: Congratulations. How does it feel to be selected as the 2016 DEMA Educator of the Year?
TONYA SAKOWICZ: Thank you! It feels amazing, to be honest. I was shocked when I found out I had won, as I had no idea I had even been nominated. Moreover, to know that all the hard work that we have been putting into our training programs is recognized and awarded is amazing. It pushes me, even more, to work harder for our students—now I have not just my expectations to live up to, but the honor DEMA has given my company.

LF: When matching newborn care specialists to client families, what is your key to success?
TS: We do not participate in the matching process other than working with agencies to spread the word to our students about potential openings. Agencies are so happy with the quality of training that our students have that many companies come to us first whenever a position arises because they are proud to send our students to their principals. I believe that is because we work so hard to make sure our students have in-depth, evidence-based and current information. This benefits our students because they are more in demand. It makes me so incredibly happy to see and hear about our student’s success. When one of my students nails a six-month, $175,000 contract, I am THRILLED for them!

LF: How will winning this award affect Newborn Care Solutions?
TS: I think it will drive us to be even better. You do not go around announcing you won “Educator of the Year” and then sit on your laurels. You have to strive to do more with more excellence. So in the end, the biggest effect will be the benefit to our students because it makes me work even harder for them
________________________________________
Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Bonnie Low-Kramen
2014: Donna Shannon
2013: Association of Premier Nanny Agencies
2012: Charles MacPherson Associates

Photo Credit: DEMA 2016 Convention

Domestic Match logo

Interview with the 2016 DEMA Agency of the Year – Domestic | Match

As a staffing agency, Domestic | Match assists families to find applicants for all household positions – particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area, although they place management-level candidates to families throughout the United States. Founder and Director Daniel Wood’s experience extends to all sides of the hiring triangle as a candidate, a hiring manager, and a third-party recruiter. It is this unique understanding of all facets of the private service market that allows Daniel to make effective matches.

Daniel Wood Domestic MatchLATRICIA FRIEND: Congratulations. How does it feel to be selected as the 2016 DEMA Agency of the Year? What was the reaction of your family/friends/colleagues?
DANIEL WOOD: We are absolutely thrilled to have been chosen as the Agency of the Year by DEMA. We truly have a passion for helping others to succeed in their professional careers, and for bringing a degree of relief to our very busy clients. It is an honor to be acknowledged for what we love to do.

LF: You were missed at the convention and Chef Peter Downs accepted the award on your behalf. He mentioned his friendship and professional association with you. How would you recommend candidates to develop a relationship with a staffing agency?
DW: I am grateful to Peter for accepting the award on my behalf. I have known Peter for many years now and have a great respect for his dedication to his employers and the Private Service profession.

It is so important that candidates understand the importance of developing relationships with the agencies that they choose to have represent them. I believe that the foundation of a healthy agency/candidate relationship is based on honesty and clear communication. When we meet new candidates we really want to know what is important to them, and we need them to communicate with us professionally and quickly. The little things are important to us. Does someone take the time to address us by our names when they email us? Do they send a follow-up note after our initial meeting with them? The details matter. That being said, the responsibility of building a strong relationship should not fall solely on the shoulders of the candidate. We enjoy getting to know our candidates and strive to treat everyone with respect.

LF: When matching domestic staff candidates to client families, what are your keys to success?
DW: The keys to our success are simple really, honesty, excellent service, and paying attention to the small details. Honesty is so vital. We feel strongly that our candidates should have a very clear understanding of a potential new work environment before they make a life-changing commitment to our clients. There are challenges with every position; candidates should know about those challenges and decide for themselves if they wish to proceed with an opportunity. Our clients and candidates are busy. We strive to make the hiring process as seamless and simple as possible. Providing excellent service is a must.

Serving a family in a professional capacity is so vastly different than any other employee/employer relationship. Everyone on my team has worked for families in the past. Our clients and candidates seem to value that greatly. We have a deep understanding of the very intimate employment relationships that develop within a private residence.

LF: How will winning this award affect Domestic | Match?
DW: The most immediate affect has been on my team. We all feel so proud to have been selected to receive the award. In addition, I hope that the award will play a role in helping us to connect with even more amazing people from around the country who are in search of new private service opportunities.

________________________________________
Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Aunt Ann’s In-House Staffing
2014: Robert Hanselman Domestic Agency
2013: Precise Home Management
2012: Distinguished Domestics Services

Photo Credit: Daniel Wood, Domestic | Match

7 Brand new mistakes that job seekers are making

With the latest revolutions of modern recruitment, many job seekers are making a brand new set of mistakes. Most savvy job hunters are familiar with the age-old traps, such as making sure to use the right key words for their resume or avoiding grammar or spelling errors on the resume. However, many of the new mistakes are so insidious, you may never realize that you did them.

Are you making these fatal errors?

  1. Not sending a resume

Okay, this probably sounds crazy. How can you apply to a job without sending a resume? This is, in fact, more common than you may believe. In particular, the biggest offender is the “Apply with LinkedIn” button that appears not only on LinkedIn, but other sites like Indeed.com as well.

The LinkedIn Challenge:

If you are applying through LinkedIn on their website, you must take the initiative to attached your resume. However, it only allows you to attach one document. If you want to include a cover letter, you need to paste it as another page in the Word document resume, save it as a new file on your computer, and then attach it.

 

Applying directly through LinkedIn

The Indeed Challenge:

If you upload your resume to Indeed.com, it will automatically convert that pretty Word or PDF document into their own version, referred to as your “Indeed Resume.” It will only use your actual resume to populate its own fields, rather than saving the original document with its own formatting. When you apply to a job on the Indeed site, be aware that this is happening when it says “your full Indeed Resume will be submitted.”

Applying through Indeed

  1. “Optional” does not mean optional

Similar to not sending a resume, anytime that the application process lets you do an “optional” feature, you should do it. Most often, this is attaching a cover letter, however, on LinkedIn, this is actually attaching the resume itself.

If all you do is the bare minimum, you are selling yourself short. HR tends to look more favorably on people who submit a full application, which includes the optional information. When they are considering hundreds of candidates, it’s very easy to cut those who don’t put forth more effort.

  1. Not completing the application

This is sneakier than it sounds. Of course, HR used to consider an incomplete application as a one-way trip to the circular file (that’s the trash for you younger readers.)  Sites like Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Monster often give you the impression that you completed all of the requirements, however, be sure to visit the company’s actual page to #1) verify the job is real and #2) make sure they didn’t have an additional requirement for applying.

  1. Traps of app-based job searching

Apps are great, right? It allows us to get so much more done on our mobile devices. Unfortunately, it also opens a brand new world of mistakes. Most commonly, these are:

  1. Spelling errors on the “quick fields” during the application process
  2. Incorrect punctuation, especially on capitalization
  3. Forgetting to attach files, such as the resume and cover letter
  4. Not customizing the cover letter to the company

It reminds me of a discussion in one of my LinkedIn Groups from a few years ago. A lady posted a new discussion, asking for some feedback on possible reasons why she couldn’t break into an Executive Assistant job after being and Administrative Assistant for years. Within her posting, there were several spelling errors, grammar mistakes, and incorrect capitalizations. This continued through her public responses as well as the original question. I contacted her privately and let her know that she should pay closer attention to these details, especially in a public forum. To which she replied, “well, it’s because I’m typing fast.” Moral of the story: Executive Assistants need to be fast and accurate!

Which brings us to…

  1. Irresponsible social media activity

Everything can be found. Everything. I’m not talking about the drunken Facebook pictures or even political rants on Snapchat. The new traps relate to how you treat your past company. Complaining about your boss, ripping on a negative culture, leaving a bad review- all of this can be traced back to you, if someone really wanted it.

And of course, make sure your writing is of high quality, using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation, especially on professional sites like LinkedIn.

  1. Not researching the company

Previously, researching a company was as simple as reading their website and tailoring your resume to fit their needs, or at the very least, addressing their services or products. Today, there is WAAAAAAY more information available to the job seeker. Even if this intel is not used during the application process, it is very helpful to search them on Google, Glassdoor.com, and other review sites. Many businesses even appear on Yelp – just a search of “Company Name + Reputation” or “+ Reviews” will give real insight.

In a world where company culture is more important than ever, there is no excuse in at least trying to find out the good, the bad, and the ugly on any potential employer.

  1. Not reaching out to current or past employees and managers

Just like we can find out a lot about companies themselves, show some initiative to reach out to not only the managers, but employees as well. Remember, HR has been known to cut qualified applicants based on faulty applications, poor key word selection, and just plain old poor formatting. By networking into the company, you increase your chances of actually landing an interview.

The Inside Scoop: The 2016 DEMA Private Service Professional of the Year – Roger Cushwa

Working with Roger Cushwa in his role as President of the NY Tri-State Chapter is inspiring. He spends over 20-hours each month meeting with members, luxury service suppliers, and potential members – not including our board meetings, ad hoc committee meetings, phone calls with agencies, or emails with the national office.

Roger’s 25 years of service related experience ranges from distinguished military service and former law enforcement officer to being the general manager of a member-focused private club. In 2011, he completed the Starkey International Institute for Household Management’s four-week certification program, followed by his Associates Degree in Business Management with an emphasis in Hospitality/Tourism Management from Horry-Georgetown Technical College.

He is driven to have a positive impact on his Principals’ lives; allowing them the time to enjoy their interests. As an Estate Manager, he has overseen multiple locations, supervising the housekeeping, culinary, maintenance and landscaping staff. He excels at vendor management, gaining favorable contracts with his negotiating skills. Moreover, as with most Estate Managers, he coordinated residential, project construction, and renovation with experience substantial budgets of more than $1.5M.

As the Membership Co-Chair of the NY Tri-State Chapter, I spoke to him about being this year’s recipient.

Latricia Friend: Congratulations. How does it feel to be nominated by your peers as the 2016 DEMA Private Service Professional of the Year?
Roger Cushwa: It is a great honor and extremely humbling when I look at the past winners, and others I know in this profession.

LF: In your role as chapter president, what has made the biggest impact in your life? Professional Life?
RC: The chapter board members that I work with are the best. We have come together as a team, and we work extremely well together. We do not always agree, but I feel that we have had a very positive impact on not only the Tri-State Chapter but the association as a whole. Professionally, it has allowed me access to suppliers that I would have never known about were it not for my fellow DEMA members, and I now have a network of friends that spans the globe. I have made some wonderful friends and this list just continues to grow the longer I am in DEMA.

LF: During your acceptance speech, you mentioned several people in the room and members of the NY Tri-State Chapter board.
RC: I recognized the other chapter board members and encouraged everybody to support their local chapters. As a volunteer board, it is difficult to find folks that want to commit the time and energy to another leadership role. These folks need the support and encouragement of their chapter members to make the association reach the level of recognition and impact in our profession. By doing this, we strengthen not only the organization but every member in private service and making everyone better.

LF: You inspire me. Who or what inspired you to start a career in private service? Your work on the NY Tri-State Chapter board?
RC: Thank you, I was working as a mechanic in Myrtle Beach SC, and a customer left a section of the paper in the lobby. There was an article about a lady who had moved from California to Myrtle Beach, and she attended Starkey International Institute. I remember thinking that this sounded like something I would love to do. I went home, watched the video, and I remember getting chills and goosebumps. I started yelling for my wife to come here, that I had found what I was meant to do. It took me almost five years before I made it to Starkey, which was an incredible experience. I discovered that I have always loved to serve and make people feel special, and our industry is a perfect place for that to happen.

From my first position in Florida, I learned about DEMA and joined the West Palm Beach Chapter. I am passionate about the purpose and benefit of DEMA. This industry is so isolating for the Private Service Professional. So, to have an international association and network of professionals who understand these special needs is priceless. I had known then current Tri-State Chapter President, Steve Feldman, of Renovation Angel for almost three years before I moved to the northeast. I remember, moving to Connecticut and starting my new position on Monday, February 24, 2014, and Tuesday the 25 I was at my first meeting. I supported the chapter and in June Steve asked me to be Co-President with him. I worked with Steve until the 2014 convention and when he stepped down – I became the Chapter President.

I am passionate about DEMA, and I believe very strongly that with all of us working together, we can have a better and more positive impact on the lives of our Principals. The impact that we can have on society can boggle the mind. Imagine if my Principal was able to devote and extra three to five hours a day on curing cancer, creating jobs, reducing the debt, or improving the quality of life for not only all of their direct employees but society as a whole. This is the role that I play. I can give that person the time and space to figure out these problems without having to worry about the houses, cars, cleaning, yard work, and all of the other daily tasks that won’t lead to the cure for cancer, create jobs, or help restore balance to our planet.

LF: How will winning this award affect your work?
RC: I hope that it makes me even more committed to bringing the message and benefits of DEMA to not only Private Service Professionals but also to the Principals that we support. I want every Principal to have the best care possible, and every Private Service Professional to have the best working environment possible.
________________________________________
Many thanks to Christofle for their on-going support of the Domestic Estate Management Association. Christofle is a platinum-level sponsor of the DEMA convention and provided the sterling silver awards given each year.

Previous Award Recipients:
2015: Gary Cockerham
2014: Sara Recer
2013: David Barrie, Jr
2012: Richmond Schmidt

 

Photo: Matthew Haack, DEMA Co-Founder and President; Roger Cushwa, 2016 PSP of the Year; and Michael Wright, DEMA Co-Founder and Vice President

Photo Credit: DEMA 2016 Convention

2016 DEMA Convention

 

If you attended the 2016 Domestic Estate Managers Association Convention this past weekend, you are probably still processing all the people met, the conversations had, and the knowledge, technology, and products presented. If you were unable to attend, then you missed the best gathering of private service professionals to-date. Participants represented multiple states from across the country, including Hawaii. However, the member that traveled the farthest came all the way from the Principality of Monaco.

As in past years, Career and Job Fair began on Friday, August 26 at 9:00 am. More than 20 firms (placement agencies, a consulting firm, and a resume writing/career coach) spoke in-depth with candidates, gaining the rare opportunity to meet face-to-face. After lunch, Donna Shannon/Personal Touch Career Services spoke about personal branding, Bonnie Low-Kramen/Be the Ultimate Assistant led a much-needed discussion on salary negotiations, and David Gonzalez/EstateJobs.com gave insight into the recruitment process.

The convention officially kicked off with a western-themed cocktail reception on the grounds of the Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. Estate managers, private chefs, nannies, executive protection specialists, luxury service suppliers, personal assistants, household managers, staffing agencies, and several presenters networked among the cacti. Personally, I conversed with friends, colleagues, and first-time attendees, discussing such diverse topics as annual reviews and salary negotiation, evolving roles and responsibilities, and best practices of fractional household/estate management. I overheard several discussions on searching for a laundress and suggested firms to use for background checks (most recommended was Via Integrity). People openly shared requests for and advice on every type of service provider. Of course, many chapter members engaged in good-natured boasting for the coveted Chapter of the Year Award.

This year, the Saturday sessions included two tracks of workshops – one for private service professionals and the other for service suppliers. General session veterans Charles MacPherson, Bonnie Low-Kramen, Kris Coleman, and Dr. Chris Sidford held informative discussions on the future of hospitality, emergency preparedness, international security measures, and medical safety. During the day, workshop presenters included Ray Nugent, Olivia Nugent, Michael Wright, Catherine Brown, Tonya Sakowicz, Steve Feldman, Jay Bakaler, and Matthew Haack.

Rather than holding the standard Awards Dinner on Saturday night, DEMA broke out the casino chips for roulette, blackjack, and poker offering valuable prizes for the participants. Everyone enjoyed the high-spirited fun and excellent food, along with the opportunity to continue networking with each other.

Please extend your congratulations to the recipients:
Agency of the Year – Domestic Match. Chef Peter Downs accepted on behalf of Daniel Woods.

Educator of the Year – Tonya Sakowicz of Newborn Care Solutions

Supplier of the Year – Christofle Paris, a convention sponsor and international luxury brand known for its silver craftsmanship.

Chapter of the Year – Palm Beach, The Flamingo Chapter

Private Service Professional of the Year Award – Roger Cushwa, NY Tri-State Chapter President

DEMA Lifetime Achievement Award – Claudia Allensworth. Andrew Lowery accepted on her behalf.

On Sunday, a panel comprised of Mrs. Green, Steve Feldman, Roger Cushwa, and Brian Bishop discussed recycling and earth stewardship as a function of estate management. Workshops presenters Karen Brooks, Dr. Joel Cohen, Colleen Forgus, Jit Jayakumar Gary Cockerham, Richard Schmidt, Charles MacPherson, Andrew Lowery, Guy Sporbert, and Renate Mousseux spoke on a variety of personal service and managerial topics, from how to hold a proper Afternoon Tea to Managing PSP Expectations.

Throughout the weekend, an exhibition hall was populated with 23 local and national service providers. Many thanks to every company that was represented. Click here, for a full list of exhibitors.

While I am re-energized by the buzz and excitement of networking, fellowship with colleagues and friends, and meeting new members and first-time convention attendees – personally, I need a few more days to process all the conversations, presentations, technology, and energy.

I look forward to next year and hope to see you at the 2017 DEMA Convention!

P.S. I made all of my photos available to the national office and ask that you do the same. Be on the lookout for all the professional and candid shots on DEMA’s website and Facebook page.

job search strategies

6 Job searching tips to prepare for back to school – uh, work!

The summer is starting to wind down, and stores everywhere are filling up with school supplies. Interestingly enough, August also heralds the return of the year’s second hiring season. Take these 6 simple steps to make the most of the pending autumn hiring surge.

1. Review your resume

Now is a great time to make sure that your resume is in line with your target job. Do you have key words that relate to the actual job postings? Is the format clean and easy to read? Is it free of spelling or grammar errors? Have you captured important metrics or achievements? And, most importantly, does it accurately convey your story?

2. Review your LinkedIn profile

Now more than ever, employers are looking at your LinkedIn profile. According to a recent survey by LinkedIn, up to 89% of recruiters are using the social media site to source and / or screen candidates. So what are they looking for?

 

In particular, LinkedIn should be consistent with the resume, while adding additional information, such as the personalized summary, volunteer interests, or an extensive list of relevant skills.

3. Get involved in LinkedIn Groups

It’s not enough to have a pretty profile on LinkedIn. You need to be involved in your top Groups, especially the ones that relate to your industry. Share content, comment on discussions, and reach out to fellow Group members to build your reputation. Plus, LinkedIn favors people who are more active on the site. The more you contribute, the more often you will appear in searches.

4. Review your profiles on Indeed, CareerBuilder, and other job searching sites

Did you know that when you apply through these sites, employers usually receive your profile or summary in addition to your resume? Check your account and make sure you aren’t sending out old information, such as previous salary requirements.

5. Plan some strategic networking

Many professional associations, alumni groups, and other networking groups don’t plan regular meetings during the summer months. Check their schedules to make sure you are getting face-to-face with people who can help your job search.

6. Get in touch with your references

Speaking of getting in touch with people, when was the last time you spoke to your references? Give them a quick call not only to make sure they are still willing to speak on your behalf, but also to point out that you are currently looking for a job. This can actually turn into viable job leads.

businessman scared of networking

7 Networking tips for introverts

You have probably heard the statistics – many sources such as LinkedIn, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review claim that 60 – 80% of jobs are found or secured through some form of networking (sources: Career Playbook, http://www.careerplaybook.com/guide/networking.asp). For people who are shy or naturally more introverted, this sounds like the kiss of death. However, it doesn’t need to be.

 

1.       Realize what networking is and is not

 

First of all, most job search experts and formal studies indicate that “some form of networking” is beneficial for the job search. This is encouraging because it includes one-on-one contacts, social media, tapping existing connections, and reaching out to past employers and co-workers. Networking is more than just reaching out to strangers and pressuring them to do favors for you, such as walking your resume down to the hiring manager. In fact, that rarely works.

 

Networking is far more expansive than most people realize. Even Aunt Martha telling you about a job opening she heard about from a friend at church is technically finding a job through networking. So don’t be intimidated by the 80% or more figure. It’s a lot easier to reach that many contacts then you think.

2.       Find the networking channels that work for you

 

Not all networking channels or strategies are going to be effective, especially if the entire idea of one technique strikes fear in your heart. A classic example of this are large networking groups.

 

While I’m not an introvert, I personally hate large networking groups. When I started my business, I dreaded going to large business after-hours events, but felt obligated to do it as I heard it was a “good idea.” What I found was a room filled with 300 people, all just shuffling business cards at each other. Of course, I never gained any valuable connections through this method, primarily because I never felt comfortable in the environment. I found myself constantly checking my watch to determine how soon I could leave.

 

For your own networking strategies, think about what you are most likely to do on a regular basis. Is it messaging your existing contacts? Is it attending classes? How about researching key managers at target companies and approaching them through email? Don’t forget about getting involved in Groups on LinkedIn. Write down at least 3-4 different tactics that you are most likely to actually do and then incorporate them into your weekly job search activities.

3.       Check out small groups for different interests

 

If the cattle call environment doesn’t work for you, focus on small networking groups. www.Meetup.com  is a great source for finding places where people are meeting face-to-face. Even better, these don’t have to be specifically related to job searching. Common interests, hobbies, and fun activities can be a great way to get used to meeting new people in a low-pressure environment.

 

By the way, there are small, supportive groups for job seekers, such as my own in the Denver metro area: http://www.meetup.com/Brown-Bag-Job-Search-Group/  By staying under 20 people, this creates a genuine atmosphere that isn’t overwhelming to the introverted job seeker.

4.       Reach out to individuals before attending a large event

 

At times, attending a large event is extremely helpful for your job search. To ease into it, reach out to individuals that you know will be there and make a plan to meet them.

 

For example, one of my professional associations, the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA), will be having their annual conference in Arizona in August 2016. (http://demaconvention.com/  ) Drawing over 200 private service professionals from all over the country, it can be intimidating for a newcomer. However, several have already reached out to me personally, planning to grab lunch or coffee at the event. This way, they know for a fact they will have some one-on-one time with someone, not just walking into an event filled with strangers.

 

5.       Practice your personal introduction

 

By now, you’ve probably heard of the “elevator speech” – a prepared and practiced personal introduction to break the ice with someone you just met. Most people consider this a commercial or pitch to convey who you are, what you can do for someone, and what you have to offer.

 

Be sure to write out and practice your introduction before you meet with anyone. Listen for the way it sounds: is it genuine, sincere, and honest? An elevator speech that is a true reflection of who you are and not just a gimmick will be easier to remember and will make a better first impression.

 

6.       Listen more than you speak

 

This is where the introvert’s strength really works in their favor. Introverts are masters of observation, quietly taking in the details and paying attention to what’s going on.  In networking situations, this comes across as someone who listens well. In general, people like to talk about themselves, especially to someone who is paying attention. With just a few prompting questions, you can get the other person to lead the conversation and leave a great impression at the same time.

 

7.       Follow up

 

The real value in any networking tactic is following up. Whether it’s writing a personal message to a new social media contact or emailing a person after an event, following up is the key to solidify the relationship and build positive results. After all, you don’t want to go through all of the uncomfortableness of unfamiliar networking just to let your efforts fall flat.

how to negotiate a better salary

5 Ways to negotiate a better salary

For most people, one of the most intimidating aspect of landing a new job is negotiating for the salary that they really want and deserve. Many are concerned that the opportunity will disappear if they ask for more money. Others aren’t comfortable with discussing money in a forthright manner. Still others are intimidated about asking for fair market rates, especially if they were underpaid in their last position. Whatever the case, try utilizing some of these strategies to gain more of those elusive dollars in your next role…

  1. Know your worth

Even before you apply for a job, you need to do your research into what are the current market rates for your target job. Thanks to websites like Glassdoor.com and Salary.com, it is easier than ever to figure out comparable salaries, both within a specific employer and a targeted geographic area. Additional resources are the Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) and state-specific employment data, such as the Colorado Labor Market Indicator Gateway (https://www.colmigateway.com). Armed with solid figures about the current state of the market is critical in gaining a fair salary.

2.  Find out their salary range before you state any numbers

The old interviewing rules stated that you never wanted to talk about salary during the interview process. However, that’s not how the game works anymore. This changed because HR now uses salary requirements as a screening factor. For example, it is now a common practice for HR to gain a candidate’s salary requirements during the phone interview. Look out – it’s a trap! Don’t ever give out your salary requirement without discovering their salary range first.

So how does find out the company’s salary range? During the phone interview or early interviews with the HR department, ask them. This can play out two different ways….

If HR asks for your requirements, state “well, I’d like to know a bit more about the job first. Can you tell me what your salary range is?” This gives you the option to either confirm that your requirements fall within that range or to walk away before wasting too much time on an undesirable position.

If HR doesn’t ask for your salary requirements, you can still ask them what their range is. As long as you are speaking in terms of range early in the process, it’s not a damning maneuver.

One unfortunate exception to these tactics is the dreaded salary requirement on the application itself, especially if it doesn’t allow you to enter a range. In that case, select a number in the middle of your acceptable salary range.

3. Avoid sending your salary history if possible

Sometimes HR wants you to send your salary history. This is another trap! If you give your salary history, you just gave away your negotiation strength.  Companies look at salary history to determine a salary offer.  HR knows that many people change jobs to increase their salary by as little as 5-7%.  If the employer knows the details of your past earnings, they may offer less based on your salary history. The only exception to the salary history rule is a professional salesperson, especially in commissioned positions.  In that case, salary history is a reflection of success.

If you are in a situation or application that won’t let you move forward without entering this information, be sure to state your salary range within your cover letter to let an employer know what your expectations are.

4.  Understand the company’s negotiation tactics

The truth is that HR and hiring managers almost always has a second offer in their back pocket. They know that a certain amount of leeway is reasonable, and even expected.  But they also know that most job seekers won’t make a counter-offer, which translates to a win for their overall budgets.

When getting a job offer, ask for that extra 5 – 15% on the salary.  Pressing for more than this can be seen as unreasonable, and those are the offers that will be pulled.  I know than nothing annoyed me more as an HR person than the salesman who suddenly counter-offered a 30% – or more – jump on the base salary.  That just wasted everyone’s time.

5.  Back up your reasoning for a higher salary with solid evidence

When you are moving into a new position, sometimes you may need to justify why you are worth all of that extra money. This could be a number of reasons, such as the current market rate. If you have added to your skills, this is another reason. Gaining a new degree, certification, or professional development courses also add to your worth. Don’t forget your progressive experience and specific projects or results that you achieved for your past employer as well.

However, one of the best reasons for asking for a higher salary is based on what you can do for the company. If you can prove during the course of the interview process that you can help them save money, make money, or solve problems, this allows them to find more dollars in their budget.

But what if they say “No?”

Even if the company doesn’t accept your counter-offer, the world didn’t end. Most reasonable employers will be forthright about not being able to increase the offer. Then you can still accept the original terms.

On the other hand, if the company completely rescinds the offer, you probably just avoided a bullet. After all, any company that will yank an offer off of the table just because you tried to negotiate tends to be a pretty negative culture that tries to take advantage of their employees.

old fashioned job search strategies

5 Old fashioned job search techniques that are still relevant today

Once upon a time, job seekers were taught a certain code of conduct. Although most modern job seekers today have abandoned these practices, the strategies are more important than ever. However, the REASONS behind the importance have changed.

  1. Submitting a cover letter

Depending on who you ask, a cover letter is either essential or a waste of time. If it’s done correctly, a cover letter can actually help win the interview.

The Old Reason: not only was this traditional, it was also considered a writing sample from the candidate. If a job seeker couldn’t draft a properly formatted and written business letter, they often did not progress in the screening process.

The New Reason: cover letters are still a writing sample, but the focus has changed into what you can actually do for the company. Since fewer candidates are bothering to send in cover letters, taking the extra effort can elevate your position in the screening stack. Plus, going to extra mile to research the company and concentrate on their specific market, challenges, or successes can do a lot to persuade a jaded audience.

  1. Bringing a copy of your resume to the interview

This used to seem like a redundant activity, because the company should have your resume from your application.

The Old Reason: providing additional resume copies printed on formal resume paper to demonstrate that you are serious about the job. Plus, it gave you a chance to review your own resume while waiting in the lobby.

The New Reason: because of app-based recruiting like Indeed.com and LinkedIn.com, companies may not be receiving your resume automatically. In fact, both of those sites want to send their default formats (Indeed sends their own online application and LinkedIn sends your profile). It actually takes an extra step to send your Word or PDF resume through either one of those websites. Those different applications won’t look anything like your resume, so bringing a physical copy to hand to the interviewer may actually be new information for them – or at least a prettier format.

Similarly, applying through the company’s website is no guarantee that they will receive your resume exactly the way it looks to you. Many employers’ applicant tracking systems (ATS) or online applications will deconstruct your resume to fit the information into their forms. When it spits out a candidate, the format may be destroyed. While this problem has improved over the past 10 years, it is still a possibility.

  1. Bringing samples of your work

With the rise of online profiles and personal websites, many job seekers have abandoned bringing samples of their work or even letters of recommendation to the interview.

The Old Reason: job seekers used to bring a “brag book” filled with their samples, awards, and recommendations to prove their effectiveness.

The New Reason: believe it or not, a hiring manager may not have had the time to fully review your online portfolio before meeting with you. It’s best to bring a few extra materials to show the manager to act as proof of your expertise. It’s not necessary to bring every single thing you’ve ever done. Even if you do have an online portfolio or additional recommendations on LinkedIn, bring physical copies of 2-3 of your best examples to highlight your expertise.

  1. Leaving a list of references

While some job seekers think that references are only necessary if requested on the application, this document can actually be a powerful branding statement.

The Old Reason: offering the hiring manager a list of your references at the end of the interview let him or her know that you were a serious candidate with a verifiable work history.

The New Reason: reference pages can offer a lot more insight than just names, phone numbers, and email addresses. First, consider the quality of your references. People are judged by their associates, so if your list includes top leaders from your past employers or within your industry, it reflects positively on you. Including a link to their LinkedIn profile can help establish the quality of your next work as well.  When formatting the actual references page, use the same style as your resume to reinforce your personal brand. Next, add extra information for each reference, such as how they know you and how long your professional relationship has lasted. Finally, leaving a professional references page shows that you are fully prepared for every step of the job search process.

  1. Send a thank you note

Only 10% of job seekers bother to send a thank you note after an interview, so this simple courtesy will automatically help you stand out from the crowd.

The Old Reason: to show interest in the position and indicate your gratitude while practicing traditional business etiquette.

The New Reason: pitch yourself for the job. A solid thank you note should include one to two reminders of high points from your interview to reiterate why you are a great candidate. Another bonus is that the notes can be staggered. Send a thank you via email immediately after the interview to express gratitude, then follow-up with a physical card as well. That way, when the hiring manager is making decisions, he or she will receive the card 2 – 3 days after your interview. It will remind them not only of your strengths but about your entire presentation as a candidate.

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