Perfect resume recipe

Hungry for a new job this holiday season? Follow this simple recipe for a tasty new resume and enjoy a main course of great interviews that lead to your next sweet job.

Ingredients

1 Microsoft Word document

3 – 4 relevant job postings

800 – 2000 words

3 cups experience

1 cup relevant skills

1 cup previous achievements

1 bottle Key Word marinade

3 tbls contact information

2 tbls education

Season to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat brain to 350 degrees. Lay out ingredients on Word Document in the following order: 3 tbls contact information, 50-70 words introductory paragraph, 1 cup relevant skills, 3 cups experience, 1 cup previous achievements, 1 tbls education. Combine ingredients in document.
  2. Place resume in warm brain for 20 minutes.
  3. Lay out relevant job postings on cutting board. Find key elements by cutting away fat, keeping only desired skills and experience. Combine to create the key word marinade.
  4. Remove resume from brain and add key word marinade. Return resume to brain and bake for 20 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with personal flavor to capture your unique personality.
  6. Garnish with cover letter and serve to potential employer.

All metaphor aside, a good resume starts with a basic understanding of what goes into making one. When writing a resume, most people ignore some essential elements.  Just like a failed soufflé, missing the essential ingredients will make the resume fall flat.  Without the right key words, it can’t pass the screening process.  Not enough spice and it will bore the hiring managers.

Don’t forget to do a taste test before sending your resume out to potential employers.  Show it to colleagues, friends, and family to get their opinion.  Remember to put more credence on the opinions of people within your industry, but multiple reviews can also spot the simple grammar or spelling error that can ruin a resume.  If you are working with a recruiter you trust, they can provide some guidance as well.

Remember, your resume should be a representation of you on paper.  You want the employers to savor it, not just screen it.  While key words can get you through the door, you still have to impress the hiring manager with your relevant knowledge, skills, and experience to land the interview.

The horrors of interviewing

© Omino di Carta - Fotolia.com

© Omino di Carta – Fotolia.com

You are sitting in a waiting room, surrounded by others wearing the exact same clothes as you, their faces blurred and featureless. The receptionist sits behind her desk, typing away at her computer, her lips curved in an unsettling smile.

Every few minutes, the door behind her opens and you hear a muffled call. One of the featureless-faced individuals stands and goes back into the doorway. None of them ever come out.

Finally, you hear a muffled call, but know it’s your name. You stand and walk through the doorway. Before you is a well-furnished office and a man with a cruel grimace, his hands folded neatly on the desk. He welcomes you and offers you a seat.

“Tell me about yourself.” He commands, “Impress me, and you just might have a future.”

Okay, so maybe going to an interview like the one above is something more out of a horror movie or a scary story. However, the same kinds of feelings of anxiety and stress going into an interview exist in real life and often has qualified applicants wracked with terror. I have personally had dreams like the story above just before going into an interview the next day.

That said, here are some tips for your next interview:

1.      What they really want to know

When we get right down to it, the big scary HR manager wants to know a few things when it comes to the interview:

  • Can you do the job?
  • Will you fit in with the company?
  • Do you have any issues?
  • Can I get you at the right price?

All of these are important factors with the job you are going for. Granted, some of those questions can be answered in the cover letter and the resume, but this is where they go into the gritty details. They will ask detailed questions about your work history on your resume, so be prepared with some examples. Meeting you in person is a great way for them to assess whether or not they feel you are going to be a good fit for the company. They also want to know why you left your last jobs. Do you blame the boss? Do you get easily frustrated? There are other things they look for in terms of issues, but those are probably the biggest ones.

2.      Be yourself

This is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to the interview. Honesty is the best policy here. If you are pretending to be outgoing when you really aren’t, it will come across as fake and dishonest in the interview.

They want to know the real you when you get into the interview. Pretending to be someone you are not will almost always end badly.

3.      Different interview styles

Different interviewers have different ways of interviewing candidates. Some are super nice, others might even seem skeptical about everything you are saying. Each one has their reasons for doing this, whether consciously or subconsciously.  Your survival tactic? Remember to be on your guard. Don’t be suckered in by a pleasant smile or feel defeated because the interviewer is seeming to not pay attention. Check out this post for ways to keep yourself on the right track when it comes to the most common styles of interviewing: https://personaltouchcareerservices.com/handling-different-interviewer-styles

4.      Prepare

This is perhaps the best thing you can do for yourself. Prepare some questions for the interviewer about the company, the challenges of the job or even how long the position has been open. Having these kinds of questions at the ready when they ask “Do you have any questions for me?” sets you apart from other candidates because it shows you know about the company itself.

Also preparing answers to the more common interview questions out there is extremely helpful. For more advice on that, check out this article: https://personaltouchcareerservices.com/how-to-prepare-for-a-job-interview

 

Is your resume getting moldy?

Has your resume seen brighter days?

Has your resume seen brighter days?

In the modern job search, an up-to-date resume is an absolute given. However, plenty of job seekers still cling to some of the techniques that became obsolete 10 to 15 years ago.  Is your resume making any of these old fashioned errors?

The one page resume myth

Unless you are an entry level candidate, the one page resume is not going to support your job search.  This really changed back in the 2000, when online job searching sites like Monster and CareerBuilder became the standard.  Due to the online application process, even the tightest formatting would be converted to text, forcing the resume into a multi-page format.  While online applications and Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are more sophisticated now, recruiters and HR have come to accept the two page resume as standard.

Modern key words

HR relies heavily on key words to help them screen applicants for just about any job.  Even smaller companies can now afford the next generation of ATS, making the screening process more common than ever.  For these reasons, job seekers must make sure that they are using key words – and be certain that they are the modern version of those key words.

I know of one Controller who was having difficulty landing a new job, in spite of the fact that she had several years of relevant experience.  When we evaluated the key words in her resumes, she repeatedly used the term “periodic close.”  However, when we compared recent job postings, the term had changed to “financial close.”  While these terms technically mean the same thing – closing the books at the end of the month – one of them was the old fashioned phrase.  When she changed the key words to match the modern “financial close,” she suddenly began landing interviews.

Looking for modern key words is easy: always conduct an analysis of multiple job descriptions to make sure you use the current language trends for your industry.

Using Word templates

One of the biggest problems with the pre-built templates from Microsoft Word is that they are constructed with tables.  While this looks good on your computer or when you print it out, they are a curse to online applications.

Why?  It’s simple.  Computers don’t read like humans.

Whenever the computers view the tables, they read all of the first column DOWN, and then over.  As humans, we read the rows ACROSS and then down.  So the final result is that your data gets mangled in the computer.  If you’ve ever uploaded and resume and the preview shows all of your dates separated from your actual work experience, the ATS just choked on your table-based resume format.

PDF vs Word: what’s the best format?

Technically, this is a trick question: both are required for an effective job search.

A new trend in recruitment is to allow applicants to apply to jobs from their phone or other mobile device.  In this case, using the PDF version makes sure that the format will hold true no matter how the receiver views it.  Plus, many ATS now are intelligent enough to accept a PDF and be able to analyze the key words, experience, and education.

However, the Word resume is not dead yet.  While many current ATS can handle the PDF, companies still use the older versions that require the Word document to parse the information correctly into their database.

So which should you use?  Read the job posting carefully and make sure that you submit your resume in whatever format they tell you.

Keeping it fresh

Every couple of months, make sure to read through your resume with a critical eye. Are the key words still effective? Are the descriptions of your experience engaging and written in active voice? Are you addressing any of the current trends in your industry?

The modern job search is evolving. Let your resume evolve to stay relevant, fight off mold, and keep your inner fire lit.

Job hunting: is it a wasteland?

I just saw “Mad Max: Fury Road” (George Miller / Village Roadshow Pictures, 2015) for the first time yesterday. (I know, it hit theaters forever ago, but I never took the chance to go see it in the theater.) It reminded me of some people’s job search when they call our office.

 

Often times, these job seekers have been looking for a job for months with little success, leaving many to wonder if, in fact, there are any jobs at all.  The job market for them feels like the apocalyptic wasteland, where they race with the competition for the best prospects.  It seems like only the strongest, smartest, or most ruthless survive the furious chase.

 

Granted, they aren’t wearing distressed leather jackets, driving supped up V8 engines, and spearing each other’s vehicles with bombs, but the mentality has some striking similarities:

 

1.      The market crash and the Great Recession is still fresh in people’s minds, giving them a survivor’s mentality

Many job seekers are still scared from the brutal unemployment rates and overall hiring landscape after the market crashed. Many people were forced to learn new professions just to keep their heads above water, all while dreading the possibility of getting laid off. A survivor’s mentality permeated the population. Some, such as myself, worked for temp agencies or had to take odd jobs in order to pay for simple things like food or a roof over their head.

 

Like huddled groups of War Boys, many Millennials took up residence with multiple roommates just because they couldn’t afford their own place, or worse, had to move back in with their parents. Meanwhile, older generations of the American workforce were under constant threat of a layoff just because of changing market conditions.

By my words and deeds, I totally qualify for this job 

(© Village Roadshow Pictures, 2015)

 

As the lone job hunter, I felt like the job boards such as CareerBuilder.com and Indeed.com transformed into a vast wasteland where no jobs existed, with an occasional oasis of opportunity springing up just to be closed within a matter of days.   Even though the market has greatly recovered these days, people still remember being in that position. These are the hardened survivors of the wasteland. Plus, we still see the proverbial roving gangs of revheads swooping in to take the best jobs, hoarding and distributing them to their network like a coveted resource.

 

2.      Self-Sufficiency is paramount

If you can’t take care of yourself out in the wasteland, you will quickly be trampled over by someone that can. The same is true in job hunting. Granted, you are not ever truly alone in real life and can use services such as ours to help you, but you can’t take those resources for granted.

 

Ultimately, you are responsible for getting the job you want, no one else. If you are not motivated and self-starting when it comes to looking for a job, you will find yourself in a very similar situation that faces a wasteland wanderer every day. If they are not doing everything in their power to survive, they quickly fall by the wayside and are consumed by the harsh sands.

(© Village Roadshow Pictures, 2015)

If you don’t keep yourself moving with a proactive job search strategy, you will likely miss out on the best opportunities.  This goes beyond just looking at the employment websites.  Even today, it is necessary to research companies, reach out to key managers, network within your industry, and contact recruiters to find the best jobs.

 

3.      Have the right tools and keep them maintained

 

In any apocalyptic film, the protagonist always has some kind of tool, car, weapon or some other advantage in the wasteland. For Mad Max, it was his Interceptor. Furiosa had the War Rig. For countless others, it was simply their intelligence, skills, or even the simple will to live that gave them a distinct advantage.

I mean, just imagine having to repair this monster war rig while on the run from gangs of psychopaths

(© Village Roadshow Pictures, 2015)

For you, your tools include your resume, LinkedIn Profile, cover letters, and references. You want to be sure to maintain these resources and make sure they are always up to date with your current work history and relevant key words for your field. Without them, your resume is often never seen by a real person and is screened out by computer programs.

 

Most people will invest the time to create a strong resume at the beginning of their job search. However, it must be maintained as well.  If you aren’t getting many interviews or if the interviews don’t reflect your true target jobs, you need to revise your tools.  Generally speaking, give it about 30 – 45 days to evaluate the effectiveness of your resume and LinkedIn profile.  This allows for enough time for the HR hiring cycle to complete.

  1. In Conclusion: Your Redemption

The real message behind “Mad Max: Fury Road” is not the chase, the explosions, or even reaching Valhalla: it is redemption.  By the end of the movie, our heroes turn away from the wasteland to risk going against the odds to open up opportunities not only for themselves, but for the entire population under Immortan Joe’s control.  When you approach your own job search with courage, solid tools, determination, and a strong, supportive network, you too can reap the shiny and chrome rewards of your own job search.

(© Village Roadshow Pictures, 2015)

What a lovely day!

Picking the best picture for your social media

Photofeeler.com offers peer reviews of your social media pictures

Photofeeler.com offers peer reviews of your social media pictures

Your picture: on social media sites like LinkedIn, profiles with a picture gain a significantly higher amount of views.  However, that picture can be either the kiss of death or the start of a professional relationship.  With so much riding on this first impression, how can you be sure that your picture is conveying the right image?

www.PhotoFeeler.com is a website that allows users to upload a photo and gain insight from other users on key components on their first impression, specifically on competency, likability and influential factors.  You can do a quick, free test by earning credits by voting on other people’s photos as well.  Each picture you review earns you credits, which you can then use towards your own evaluations.

Common picture mistakes

I know that as a career coach, I cringe when I see people with a LinkedIn profile with a bad picture.  Some of the most common offenders are:

  • Poor picture quality, either in resolution or lighting
  • Bad framing – a full body shot of someone standing on a mountain trail doesn’t allow me to see the face
  • Wrong clothing choice – it’s not a good idea to use something too casual or a stuffy wedding reception photo
  • Group pictures – in this case, no one can really tell who is the right person for the profile
  • Extreme close-ups – these can make the viewer uncomfortable as a good portion of the face is hidden
  • Selfies – rarely are these the best choice, especially if it’s the mirror version or “duck face”
  • Disembodied limbs – if the other person is cropped out but there arm is still around the subject’s shoulder, that comes across as very unprofessional

Invest in your pictures

In most cases, spending a little money to get a professional headshot done is well worth the investments.  Many photographers can do this for $75 – $100.  Just make sure you get the digital rights so that you can use them online without paying royalties later on.

Tapping the Hidden Jobs on Linkedin

It’s no secret: LinkedIn has become a powerful tool for job seekers.  It is easier than ever to find decision-makers and other valuable contacts through active networking.  There are even jobs posted on the site.

The Jobs Tab

At the top of the webpage, there is a tab marked “Jobs.”  These are jobs that recruiters have paid to post on LinkedIn, just like CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com.  They are more powerful, however, as when you apply the recruiter receives your full LinkedIn profile – including all of your recommendations and endorsements.  In fact, many recruiters won’t consider candidates with less than 3 recommendations.

 

Job Postings in LinkedIn Groups

Recruiters are able to post jobs directly into groups.  However, only the paid advertisements get posted in the “Jobs” section of each group. For example, this screen shot of the 5280 Linked Group indicates where to find this…

 

LI jobs tab

 

Recruiters are able to re-post their paid advertisements in the Groups with a few simple clicks.  These are listed in the Group’s Job section as “Jobs:”

LI Jobs in groups

So where do you find the jobs that people are posting for free?

 The “Hidden” Jobs on LinkedIn

If you look in the Jobs section of most groups, there is a subcategory called “Job Discussions.”  This is where other group members post the jobs for free.  However, the posting only lasts for 14 days and then it will be automatically removed.

LI Job Discussions

 

 

Often times, a recruiter will post a job in the Job Discussions category to see if he will get a response.  That way, he can test the waters and try to snag a quality candidate without having to pay for the job posting.

Group members often post jobs in this area, passing on job leads that they may find on employment websites or even individual company websites.

The group Job Discussions can display many more job leads than the paid job postings.  For example, the 5280 Linked group, a Denver-based networking group of more than 30,000 members, currently shows seven job postings in the “Jobs” part of the group.  However, the “Job Discussions” reveals three more job postings.  And remember, they are all current postings – any job posted in this section is under 14 days old.  Depending on the group, you may see well over 20 of these hidden jobs on any given day.

 

Getting involved in groups is one of the best ways to make connections on LinkedIn.  Thanks to the Job Discussions, groups are also a great way to find jobs in your area of interest.

Interested in more helpful job search tips? Check out my book, How to Get a Job without Going Crazy on Amazon or on my website: https://personaltouchcareerservices.com/books

Handling Different Interviewer Styles

skeptical interviewer

Do you know how to deal with the crazy interviewer?

There is plenty of advice online on how to deal with the professional interviewer.  However, job seekers often face an interviewer who may not actually be trained in the art of interviewing.  In that case, they may need to adjust to wildly different interviewer styles.

You could be subjected to a veritable stress test, just to see how you react.  Or the interviewer just might be as nervous as you are.  In any case, anticipating these various styles and knowing how to deal with them can help you ace even the worst interview situation.

  1. Friendly and Personable

Don’t be fooled!  By being open and nice, the interviewer is putting you at ease and getting your guard down.  In truth, she is evaluating everything you say.  Candidates will reveal more than they ever intended in a relaxed atmosphere.  Ever come out of an interview convinced you’re hired because you “really connected” – only to be shocked when you didn’t get the job?  You got taken in by the Friendly Style.

  • Survival Tactic: Don’t get too comfortable. Stay on your toes and keep your goals in mind.
  1. Nervous and Uncomfortable

This is not an act!  Not all hiring managers are smooth and polished. They can be intimidated by the interview process as well.  If he tends to ramble on about the job and forget to ask questions, he’s stumbling through it.  Likewise, his questions may be very terse and limited.

  • Survival Tactic: Take the lead. Offer to tell him about your experience and skills.  Be proactive with your questions.  Ask him what he did or didn’t like about the last person in the job, or what his expectations are going forward.
  1. The Skeptic

Here’s the grumpy interviewer.  Everything about her manner is reserved and distant.  Arms crossed, she doesn’t seem to believe anything you’re saying.  Why?  She’s expecting you to sell her on your abilities.

  • Survival Tactic: Drop the touchy-feely answers and use solid examples of your past accomplishments. Maintain your good humor and self-confidence – remember, she’s doing it on purpose to rattle you.
  1. The Bored and the Boring

This guy is so withdrawn his mind is in the other room.  You could be his fourth interview of the day, or coming in just after lunch when productivity lags.  Everything says he’s just not into you (yawn.)  But be careful; don’t mistake an introvert for boredom.

  • Survival Tactic: Be concise and get to the point. Show your own enthusiasm for the job.  Ask him about himself.  People like to talk about themselves, and this could draw him into your conversation.
  1. By The Book

She has her list of questions and she’s sticking to them no matter what.  She might be using her prepared questions to hide her own introverted nature.  Her position in the company can give a clue as to her motive.  For example, if she’s from the HR department or someone’s assistant, she’s running you through the screening process.  A manager who uses this tactic is a process-driven person, methodical in everything she does.

  • Survival Tactic: Answer questions fully. Expand your answers to include good examples, but don’t ramble on.  This is an efficient person and expects people to get to the point.  Stay on her agenda and let her follow her methodology.
  1. Surreal

Not too long ago, an interviewing fad hit the internet: throw bizarre questions at candidates to see how they think.  “How many quarters does it take to reach the top of the Empire State Building?”  “If you lined up hamsters nose to tail, how many would it take to reach the moon?”  “How would you sort a bucket of golf balls?”  All this goofiness was supposed to give insight into your problem-solving skills.  In practice, it’s just weird.

  • Survival Tactic: Think before you answer. The actual answer doesn’t matter – it’s how you get there that does.
  1. Highly Technical

If you are going after a very technical job, be prepared for this.  You may encounter very specific and detailed questions to test your knowledge.  It could even be done in conjunction with timed and graded skills tests. However, no matter how grueling the test, people do get hired; just because a test is tough doesn’t mean you lost the opportunity.

One engineer I know interviewed all the new PhD candidates for a Research & Design company.  He grilled them on specific formulas and principles for over an hour.  If an applicant didn’t know the exact definition and application of entropy, he would get marked down – and saw the marks being made on his resume. (In physics, entropy is an exact mathematical equation, not the dictionary definition.)  Candidates left the office feeling like they just took the worst college exam of their lives, and certainly the most grueling interview they would ever encounter.

  • Survival Tactic: Think before you answer. If you’re struggling with an answer, don’t let it rattle you too badly.  Prepare for this interview: study up on key points, skills or processes necessary for your job.
  1. Deliberately Confrontational

Everything about this guy’s attitude just screams “I’m gonna get ya!”  He is dismissive, he cuts you off, he drills into your answers with an air of scorn.  Why?  He wants to see how you act under pressure.  Don’t worry; he may not be like this as a boss, and often times he will be a completely different person on the second interview.  His philosophy is to see you sweat in the interview; that way, he knows you can handle the job.

  • Survival tactic: Don’t give in to the stress or get upset. Concentrate on your breathing, get grounded and get focused.  It will be over soon!

Final Thoughts

In any interview situation, don’t be too hard on yourself.  One manager I knew preferred to hire people who got nervous during the job interview.  In his mind, this showed that the candidate cared about the job.  Just because you may be hyper-critical about your own performance, doesn’t mean that you can’t get the job.  Prepare yourself, take a deep breath, mind your manners and you will do just fine.

3 ways to make your summer job search suck less

Resume TipsMotivation can be hard to come by, especially when trying to hunt down the job you love in the middle of summer when all you really want to do is go out camping, swimming or to your favorite theme park. There are always more fun things to do than sitting in-front of your computer tap-tap-tapping away while your friends are out enjoying their lives.

I’ve done the math; there are exactly one million things I would rather be doing than following up on emails, making phone calls and generally being an adult. Adulting is hard, man! Alas, the days of youth and a three month break from responsibilities are gone. You are a grown person, with important grown-up things to do. Yes, life is hard. Get a helmet.

However, there are plenty of ways to make things better for yourself in such a trying time, such as:

#1: Accept the fact that some employers are on vacation

You are not the only one that has been looking forward to the summer months. HR has put in their time off requests, CEO’s are in the Bahamas and even the janitor has more thrilling things to do than scrub toilets with a zeal normally reserved for a riveting game of watch-the-paint-dry. People want to be out in the world and enjoying it before the leaves turn and the winter once again befalls the land.

In terms of employers, you usually won’t see as many job postings out there. The market becomes over-saturated with other people just like you looking to snag the job you’ve been looking for.

The key here is to be patient. It may take people longer to get back to you than you are used to, and that is ok. Keep sending out those resumes and emails, but be prepared to wait longer for a response. In the meantime you should:

#2: Go out and enjoy yourself

Just because you are looking for a job does not mean you have to become a shut in or a recluse. Go out and have some fun with the summer everyone else is enjoying. Even if you are a bit strapped for cash when it comes to extravagant vacations, there are plenty of free things to do out in the sun while the weather is nice.

Hang out with friends or go on a hike. Heck, even just finding a nice park to hang out at is a good way to refocus. If you are constantly wrapped up in your job search, it can become really discouraging especially when you feel like everyone else is just out having fun.

James Velociraptor

Personally I have taken up the hobby of wrangling dinosaurs and riding them into battle like a majestic steed.

 

#3: Set aside time to work on sending resumes and other aspects of your job search

Simply setting aside a two hour block of time a day to work on sending out resumes or respond to emails is good, however there are other things you can do to make yourself stand out. Instead of just wasting that time looking at various postings on Indeed.com or Monster.com you can work on things like your resume, LinkedIn Profile, networking and researching of your target companies.

If you are not getting any responses at all, it might be time to reevaluate your career documents. Make sure you have those key-words in your resume to get your potential employer’s attention and that your profile is engaging.

Researching the companies you are applying for is another good way to spend this time. Who are they? What is their reputation? Are there any people working there in your network that can recommend you? Is there anyone you can connect with? What is their mission statement? Would this be a company you are going to tolerate, or do they stand for something you believe in?

These kinds of questions are important to answer. If a company meshes well with what you believe already, it will show through when you get called in for interviews.

Keep your chin up, take some time for yourself, and stay motivated. I know it sounds like a lot to take in, but really, it’s only two hours a day to be at the computer; don’t waste it by hanging out on Facebook.

The 2015 Guide to Private Service Agencies and Educators is here!

guide to private service agencies and educators

CLICK HERE to join our newsletter and get you free copy of the guidebook

After several months of careful editing and revisions, we are finally ready to release the 2015 edition of “The Guide to Private Service Agencies and Educators.”  Featuring over 20 agencies, major schools, and notable educators in the luxury lifestyle management, this guide is a valuable resource to anyone looking for a job in the domestic services industry, from nannies to estate managers and everything in-between.

Best of all, you can get your copy for free!

Just sign up for our free eNewsletter to download this helpful PDF: http://eepurl.com/bgVrJr

Already receiving our eNewsletter? Give us a “like” on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/personaltouchcareerservices

After you sign up for the newsletter, you will receive an email telling you how to download your own copy – plus an extra-special free gift to help you prepare for the tough interview questions.

 

How to instantly increase your LinkedIn network

network connections treeFrustrated with the limited views on LinkedIn profiles?  Want to increase your exposure to second and third degree connections?  How about send emails or invitations to people you don’t know?

The answer is simple: join and get involved in the Groups.

 Join Groups

In particular, look for the large Groups in your area.  By joining these Groups, you have access to most of the other Group members.

When it comes to job searching, be sure to look for one in your geographic area, not just your field of interest.  For example, the Linked to Denver Group owned by Mike O’Neil (author, “Rock the World with Your Online Presence”) has over 30,000 members.  Once you join, you instantly create a Group connection with each and every one of those members.

Extremely large Groups can create connections across the country and even the world.  One of the largest Groups on LinkedIn is the Linked: HR Group, with over 240,000 members.

 Get Involved

Many people allow other Group members to contact them.  While you can send a message or invitation to any Group member that allowed it, make sure you create a meaningful dialogue and customize your message.

Instead of just sending random emails to someone, read what they say in the discussions.  Look at the articles they post and make comments about them.  Start your own discussions and be a part of the Group. It should be an organic relationship, which is encouraged by your positive Group contributions.

It can be difficult to make an impression in large Groups, as the discussions flow quickly.  You don’t need to read everything that is posted.  The main thing is to look for key persons within your target company and then follow the discussions that they post.

 Don’t Get Frustrated

Sometimes your target person may not allow other Group members to contact them.  Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to control another person’s privacy settings. However, even if your early contact attempts are thwarted, you can still follow their discussions.  Just like the Twitter mentality of following people to gain insight into their interests and expertise, LinkedIn Groups are another great source of information.

The key is not getting frustrated if things are not going well at first. Stay persistent and relax. If you try to rush things, you are unlikely to get the responses you want.

 Gah!  Too Much Email!

When you join any Group, you can control how often you receive updates from the Group.  If it is a Group that specifically addresses your industry, you might choose to receive daily updates.  However, if it is a large Group that you joined just to boost your connections, consider a weekly digest instead.

Settings can be changed at any time.  Simply go to the Group’s page and click on the gear icon next to the “Member” button on the right corner of the Group’s page to access your Group settings.

 Increased Search Effectiveness

Another advantage of joining larger Groups is that they instantly increase your network base.  This means that it also increases your exposure during searches, as well as increases the effectiveness of your own searches.

Even with using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search features, the website likes to show you members that are closest to you, especially in terms of connection.  So the 1st Degree Connections are shown highest in the list, then 2nd Degree, then Group Connections, followed by 3rd Degrees and, last, people with no connection to you– if you are allowed to see them at all.  When you join some big Groups, LinkedIn will reveal more members in your searches.  Plus, you will show up in other people’s searches as well, including recruiters and other key players in your industry.

 Open Door

If the Group is not serving your needs, leave it.  Go find another one that is in alignment with your goals and interests.  The great thing about the LinkedIn Groups is that you can be a member of up to 50 different Groups.  And best of all, they are free.

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