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?

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.

 

 

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.

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.

Page 3 of 16 12345...»