Brainstorming; does it work for introverts?

BrainstormingOn a visit to my brother’s school (he’s a principal), I noticed a whiteboard in his office with various notes on the school’s vision written on it. “Brainstorming session?” I asked. He nodded.

I thought to myself that I wouldn’t want to have been in that room when a group of people were throwing ideas against the wall like spaghetti to see which ones stick. Furthermore, there were probably others who felt the same.

Brainstorming is good, right? Brainstorming is where great ideas come from, right?

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking, explains that introverts excel in closed environments as opposed to open ones. A self-professed introvert, she supports the belief that a closed environment brings out creativity in introverts, not open environments like those depicted in the movie about Facebook, Social Network. I agree with this assertion to a point.

The work environment Cain describes precludes open brainstorming sessions where employees hold impromptu brainstorming sessions in an open setting, or arrange spontaneous meetings at a minutes notice. Totally unacceptable for the introverts in the group.

open work environmentAs an introvert I consider brainstorming sessions a waste of time, if there is no semblance of order and structure. I grow weary of meetings that resemble a social gathering, where the majority of the talking is done by the extrarverts. However, a well-run meeting that covers all the topics in a quick manner can be extremely effective.

What has proved to be effective with introverts is paring them up with someone to solve problems, rather than chaotic brainstorming sessions. Even if one works with someone who is not in total agreement. “Working alone is good for creativity – but being paired with someone who thinks differently from you can lead to more creativity yet,” states the article.

Why introverts appreciate closed work environments with offices and cubicle supports a number of beliefs about them, such as they learn and gather more through independent research. They don’t want the distractions of colleagues walking into their work-space uninvited. A closed environment also gives them time to recharge their batteries if they’ve been interacting with groups or speaking in front of an audience.

thinking2Does this mean introverts are anti-social? No, but they’re not like their counterparts who seek out the company of others. Although it’s true some introverts, such as the stereotypical programmers, need almost complete privacy; many introverts can join the fracas and engage in office conversation. But, again, their preference is to be alone when it’s time to get down to work.

Read what Cain says in the article about the importance of solitude for introverts: “Solitude, as Cain says, is a key to creativity….Steve Wozniak claimed he never would have become such an expert if he left the house. Of course, collaboration is good (witness Woz and Steve Jobs), but there is a transcendent power of solitude.”

What does this mean for the job search? Jobseekers can gain a lot from understanding their introversion or extraversion preference. At interviews they should make careful note of the work environment and ask questions pertaining to collaboration (brainstorming). If introverts get the sense that brainstorming plays a significant role in the decision process, it may not be the organization for them. Extraverts, on the other hand, would be happy to know that they’ll be among the social, freewheeling types.

To share is golden: 8 reasons to share others’ posts

Share buttonRaise your hand if you share your blog posts and other bloggers’ post on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms.

Now raise you hand if you only share your posts.

Those of you who share others’ post understand the value of sharing.

  1. It creates reciprocity. I, for one, am more likely to share what others write if they share my posts. It’s just plain right. Blogging pundits say that your posts will be shared more often if you reciprocate.
  2. It demonstrates great personality skills. Sharing posts of other bloggers shows you as someone who thinks of others, not only of yourself, thus portraying you as a team player. You read others’ articles, see value in them, and share them with your audience; demonstrating your awareness and desire to educate your audience (your team).
  3. You are secure in your established expertise. I understand the desire to establish oneself as a thought leader in the industry. But this can also be accomplished by sharing posts of others. Some of my valued connections, who are experts in their field, aren’t afraid that sharing the writing of others will affect their reputation.
  4. You know sharing won’t hurt your brand. “If I promote others’ material, readers will get confused by my message,” you think. Hog wash. If you are so insecure that you feel your message isn’t strong, your voice isn’t poignant, your style isn’t unique; maybe you shouldn’t be sharing your posts on LinkedIn and other platforms.
  5. You don’t come across as narcissistic. Ouch. I know this one hurts. At times I believe I’m guilty of this, so I try to be the best curator of information as possible. But if you only share your posts, you come across as “all that.” The true blogger will acknowledge the efforts of others, not act as though he’s standing in front of the mirror primping himself.
  6. You become known as a curator of great information. LinkedIn is known as the most professional networking platform online. One reasons why LinkedIn has this reputation is because its members provide information capital. I know, for example, that I can find a plethora of articles on the job search, LinkedIn, and introversion—my preferred topics—on LinkedIn.
  7. Sharing is a great way to educate yourself. The posts you share are the ones that teach you something. So impressed with them that you want to comment on the lessons you learned. I learn more about the job search or LinkedIn when I read others’ posts; and, as such, I want to educate my connections.
  8. You add value to LinkedIn. Related to number 6, LinkedIn offers its members more value when they can read a well-written, thoughtful post and learn somethings from them. It makes visiting LinkedIn worthwhile. Conversely, if one were to only post his/her articles, the content would be limited and LinkedIn wouldn’t be the valuable platform it is.

Conclusion: I could be better about sharing; I know this. I search for job posts that are relevant to my connections, posts they will appreciate. I fear that my posts outnumber the ones I share from others, but I’m trying to be better. For those of you who don’t share other bloggers post, perhaps you haven’t learned the lessons of sharing.

7 ways to prevent burnout in the job search

burnout2Here’s a story about a man I knew years back. His name was Ted and he was in his sixties, failing in health, and had a frail wife at home. I saw him often when I visited an urban career center in central Massachusetts.

One day I was conducting intakes of participants with disabilities for a computer training program I was coordinating. After my sixth intake I was exhausted, so I walked over to where Ted always sat.

I asked him how things were going in his search. He told me not so good. Curious, I asked him how much time he was spending on the job search. He told me he spent 60-70 hours a week on it. “The job search is a full-time job,” he told me without skipping a beat.

I asked him how things were going in his life. I meant his home life, not his job search. With all seriousness he told me that his wife and he were on the verge of a divorce. “She’s mad at me being out of the house so much,” he said, as his eyes teared up. “But I have to find a job,” he finished.

While it was unclear whether a divorce was eminent because  of the long hours Ted was spending looking for work, it was crystal clear that the outrageous amount of time he was spending was doing more harm than good.

When I tell this story to my workshop attendees, I end by saying, “Don’t be like Ted.” I tell this story when bringing up the topic of commitment to the job search. How many hours should one commit to the search? If the job search is a full-time job, as Ted said, should jobseekers dedicate that much time?

My answer to them is no; spending as much time on the job search as Ted did can lead to burnout. Some ways to prevent burnout are:

  1. Developing a plan. The plan I’m speaking of should ideally be day-to-day, even hour-to-hour, which can be kept on an Excel spreadsheet. If this seems a bit daunting, try to reach at least 60% of your goals. Don’t exceed six hours a day during the week and don’t let up on the weekends, which can be a great opportunity to put a bug in people’s ears about your situation. Without a plan you’ll end up spinning your wheels, going nowhere quick.
  2. Using different methods to look for work. Networking has always proved to be the best way to look for work. Supplement that with LinkedIn. Make follow-up calls. Even knock on companies’ doors if it’s a possibility. Spending six hours a day on the Internet is not a good use of your time. You’ll feel more productive if you employ a variety of methods; just don’t spread yourself thin. Four methods should be fine.
  3. Taking a break. You are most likely going through a roller coaster ride of emotions. You need time to take occasional breaks to regroup. Not too long, mind you; but long enough to regain your energy. Go on walks or to the gym, or if the weather’s nice sit on a bench and take time to reflect about your plan. Decide on a day during the week when you’ll put the job search on hold; maybe go to the beach with your family, or putter around the house.
  4. Volunteering in your area of work. Volunteering is a good idea for a number of reasons. One, you put yourself in a position to network with people who are currently working and may have ideas or contacts who can be of use. Two, it keeps you active; you’re not spending time sitting at home behind your computer. Finally, you can enhance the skills you have or develop new ones. Perhaps you’re an expert at HTML but need to know Java. Find an organization that needs a website developed and has the time for you to get up to speed.
  5. Getting job-search assistance. Your local One-Stop career center, an outplacement agency (if you were granted one by your employer), and alumni association are sources of job-search advice. And they will also keep you preoccupied from your current situation. Many people who come to our career center speak not only of the advice we provide, but also the emotional support we give them.
  6. Joining a networking group. The benefits of joining a networking group, large or small, are obvious; but consider how they can offer support and a reason to get out of your home. I tell my workshop attendees that getting out of the house is essential to emotional health. A meet-up group consisting of four to five people may be more your style. Whichever you prefer, keep in mind that you must offer career advice and support as well.
  7. Seeking professional help if needed. Sometimes the stress of being out of work is too much to handle on your own. You may feel anxious and even depressed. It’s important to realize this, or take advice from family and friends, and seek help from a therapist. You may find talking with a third-party person refreshing, non-judgmental.

I don’t know what happened to Ted, how his job search went and if his marriage lasted. Before I left him that day—the last day I saw him—I told him to “give it a break.” I’m not sure he took my advice; he probably didn’t due to his stubborn nature. He was unrelenting in his desire to find a job. I see hints of Ted in some of the jobseekers who come to our career center. And I worry they’ll turn out like Ted.

14 traits of a winning LinkedIn group

Your GroupsI’ve talked to my workshop attendees about the importance of participating in groups until my advice sounds like a mantra. “You’ll only benefit from a group if you participate,” I tell them. “Start discussions, contribute to discussions, network within your groups…blah, blah, blah.”

But here’s the thing: why should we participate in our groups if they don’t add value? If we’re the Top Contributor for weeks running, doesn’t it mean no one else is pulling their weight? Further, does this say no one cares enough to be part of the community?

As the owner of the group, you are responsible for its growth and productivity. And if it gets to the point where you run short of time and can’t monitor or contribute to every discussion, assign people who are dedicated and will keep your group vibrant.

Recently I inherited a group, and I reflect on the responsibilities that go with owning a group (I already own a group). Can I handle taking on another group? Will I make the members happy to be part of the group? Can I find people who will manage it when I run out of time? To run a winning group:

  1. Big doesn’t necessarily mean better. I’m talking about the number of members, of course. Many people think joining a group with hundreds of thousands of members is the way to go. It’s quality of members that matters, not quantity. A winning group has the best minds in the industry.
  2. Great discussions. This is a mark of a winning group. Discussion should be relevant but it doesn’t mean members can’t go off track and raise new issues. Thirty-nine comments are always a good thing; it indicates involvement. Let people feel comfortable introducing new thoughts, ideas, and advice.
  3. Conducive to networking. Winning groups promote virtual networking among its members, as well as direct communication. Groups are where members can communicate, even if they’re not first degree connections.
  4. Appropriate shared information. The group’s mission should be upheld, and group members should post discussions that are relevant. I left a group because even its members wondered if the information was appropriate.
  5. Attracting thought leaders and keeping them in your group. They’re the ones who keep it going with interesting discussions. Thought leaders add value to the group when they contribute to discussions—everyone listens. As a group owner or manager, add your two cents when a great curator provides newsworthy articles.
  6. Members feel welcome. A winning group makes its members feel welcome. The owner or managers should welcome new members by introducing them and encouraging introductions from them. It’s about creating a community.
  7. Hold members accountable for contribution. I write this with a huge grin on my face. Years ago I was removed from a group because I wasn’t participating at the rate at which I was expected. I had great respect for the owner for doing this and removed myself from eight groups.
  8. No SPAM. Spam is considered anything hinting of sales or self-promotion. This may be the breaking point where members start dropping like flies. The owner or managers can delete or move content to Promotions if the entry is spam.
  9. Group rules, but not stifling. Every winning group should have rules, but not rules that make members walk on eggshells. Rules, for example, on how to pose questions or start discussions are a bit Machiavellian. One group I’m in poses such rules. Maybe it’s time I exit this group.
  10. No pending submissions. I’m sorry, but if I submit a question, contribute to a conversation, mention a job, or post an article; I don’t want my submission to be reviewed. Trust those who contribute to the group…unless they break rule #2. In addition, some owners aren’t diligent about checking submissions, leaving people waiting for their discussion to show.
  11. Act quickly on people who want to join groups. Some owners and managers don’t clean house as quickly as possible. (Guilty as charged.) Winning groups act quickly on people who want to join the groups, not making them wait in limbo.
  12. Variety of contributors. In my group I love to see other contributors. I don’t want to be the only person whose face is covering the page—the top contributor. Winning groups have many people participating, contributing to its community.
  13. Jobs tab. Not common to all groups, but having a jobs section is nice for those who are looking for employment. It’s great when members contribute jobs that aren’t advertised, so group members are the first to hear about them.
  14. The articles shared must add value. Whether an article is one you read and enjoyed or one of your own, it must be well written and provide information of value. Include a question or statement with the article you’re sharing with a group.
  15. Get rid of the Promotions tab. Let’s face it, no one goes to the Promotions tab. It’ a wasteland where some legitimate contributions are banished to. If contributions are too promotional, they can always be banned. In some cases I want people to promote their upcoming job-search events.

Groups is perhaps the best feature LinkedIn offers. Some members encourage you to join the maximum number of groups allowed, 50, while others suggest joining only groups in which you can participate on a regular basis—I’m in this camp. Regardless of the number of groups you join, make sure the winning characteristics outweigh the losing traits.

If you think of any other attributes that make a winning group, let us know.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it on LinkedIn and Twitter.

8 major job-search changes for older workers

Doctor Explaining Report To Patient In HospitalOne question I ask during my introductory workshops is, “When did you last have to look for work?” Invariably I’ll get answers like “25 years,” “35,” 40,” and so on. On the other hand, others haven’t had to look for work in the past five or ten years, some in the past two years or less. The disparity is great between my customers who have been long-tenured workers and those who are veterans to the job search.

The folks new to the job search didn’t have to write a résumé that fits today’s standards, if write one at all. Nor did they have to go through five to 10 rounds of interviews. They might also be new to networking, never used LinkedIn, haven’t engaged in informational meetings, and used other job-search methods. Some tell me, “Companies came to me. I didn’t have to do anything.”

These people have a lost look on their face. It’s as if they have to learn to walk all over again.

Needless to say, there have been changes in the job search in the past decade or two, changes that represent challenges to people who aren’t used to a different job search. Here are eight components of the job search that are new to older workers.

Older worker21. The most obvious change, being out of work. This comes as a complete shock, especially for those who worked at their last company for 20 or more years. Gone is their routine, the camaraderie they shared with their colleagues, the income they came to rely on. Also gone, for some, is their self-esteem and confidence.

They know they are experienced and valuable workers, but there’s self-doubt and fear that the job search will be long. In the back of their mind they know the longer they’re out of work, the harder it will be to regain it. There’s also the fear of age discrimination, which they never faced before.

2. Longer hiring process. The good news is that employers are hiring. The bad news is that it’s taking them longer to pull the trigger. I’m witness to many jobseekers who are getting jobs but usually after a longer process than before. It’s not unusual for job candidates to be interviewed multiple times over the telephone and endure additional face-to-face interviews.

One of my customers endured five telephone interviews before being hired. Another was hired after 12 personal interviews–No lie. This goes to show that employers are more cautious than in the past; they don’t want to make hiring mistakes, as it can cost tens of thousand dollars to hire a replacement employee.

3. Résumés have changed in the past decades. Nay, the past five years. Employers want to see accomplishments on résumés, not just duties. I remember applying for positions years ago where I would send résumés that were one-fits-all, didn’t include a Performance Profile, and were written in Currier font.

There are enough articles written on how it’s important to list quantified accomplishment statements. (Read this article that explains 10 important elements of a professional résumé.) But talk has increasingly turned to the importance of appeasing the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Simply put, this software eliminates approximately 75% of résumés, based on the lack of keywords. Approximately 95% of my customers haven’t heard of the ATS.

4. Networking is imperative. During the days when securing a job took less time and all the jobs were listed in the newspapers, networking wasn’t as important as it is now. This is a tough change for many people who haven’t had to look for work for a couple of decades. Networking was necessary as part of their job. But to find a job? Not so important back then.

Now your business is called Me Inc.; meaning you are your own business and therefore networking is absolutely necessary. And it can be uncomfortable, even scary. (Read this article on getting outside your comfort zone to network.) Anywhere from 60% to 80% of your success can be attributed to personal networking.

older worker5. LinkedIn arrived on the scene. At least 98% of hiring authorities (recruiters/hiring managers/HR) are using LinkedIn to cull talent. Twelve years ago LinkedIn didn’t exist. My customers who haven’t had to look for work since 1988 feel like a confused child when they hear of LinkedIn’s ability to help them find work. Talking about having to learn to walk again.

Some are even afraid of “being on the Internet.” This is an immediate stopgap to LinkedIn. When I hear some of the long-tenure employees say they’re reluctant to disclose too much information, I’m inclined to tell them not to join LinkedIn. (Read this article on how LinkedIn isn’t for everyone.) One cannot be afraid of the Internet if he wants to benefit from LinkedIn.

6. Most jobs are posted online. Older workers are now faced with the prospect of searching for jobs on job boards like Monster.com, Dice.com, Simplyhired.com, and a plethora of others. Because most jobs—75%-80%—are unadvertised, this is time often wasted. In addition, the applications are difficult to fill out for some older workers who aren’t familiar with the computer.

Twenty years ago I remember picking up the Sunday edition of the Boston Globe which was thick with job ads, and the challenges of the Hidden Job Market weren’t as glaring as they are today. More jobs were obtained by using newspapers to locate them, and then we simply sent a generic résumé to land an interview. This speaks to changes in technology, which some older workers struggle with.

7. Telephone interviews are more challenging. This includes telephone interviews which are making the traditional screening process an oxymoron. Yes, employers want to know your salary requirement, but the questions go way beyond that. Telephone interviews are conducted by most employers. They are similar to face-to-face interviews, save for the fact you’re not at the company.

Now, as one former customer told me, the phone interview can consist of behavioral-based questions only. “They’re tough,” I hear. “I wasn’t prepared.” More than one customer told me they were only asked behavioral-based questions, approximately 12 of them. (Read this article on Preparing for behavioral interviews.)

8. The personal interview is tougher. Many of my customers are taken aback by group interviews. Thirty, or so, years ago, group interviews were not common. Rather, companies would conduct one-on-one interviews to size up the job candidates. Group interviews are commonplace these days; they should be expected.

The group interviews aren’t the only challenge candidates are facing. Tough questions, such as behavioral-based and situational, as well as tests to gauge one’s knowledge. Interviewers are asking questions that get to the core of the applicants. One of my customers told me that after a five-person group interview, he felt like he’d gone three rounds with Mike Tyson. He told me this prior to his next interview with the company, and maybe additional interviews henceforth. When do they end?


These are a few of the changes that have occurred since older workers have had to look for work. Very talented people, who were at the top of their company, are experiencing changes that are hard for them to grapple. But eventually they get into the groove and learn the proper tenets of the job search. Some of the long-tenured workers even see this as a welcomed challenge.

Please add to this list of job-search changes older workers are facing today.

Job Interview Success for Introverts: So, you’re an introvert

So, you’re an introvert

Book Cover

I was in my mid 40’s when I discovered my preference for introversion. Until then, I thought I was an extravert (extrovert), mainly because I could, and still can, talk with ease to complete strangers. Truth be told, I hoped that my preference was for extraversion, not introversion; simply because society favors extraverts in most aspects of life: school, work, social interaction, and the job search, to name a few. I doubted my acceptance and didn’t speak proudly of my preference until I learned more about the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.

Do you remember when you learned your preference for introversion? Were you in doubt like me? Did you have a sense of dread thinking of the stereotypes of introverts, such as shy, loner, standoffish, aloof, recluse, or rude? Furthermore, you may have believed that introverts couldn’t make small talk or associate with important, outgoing people.

But if all of this were true, how were you capable of talking with complete strangers, even approaching them, or want to be with your peers and attend social gatherings? How was it that some of your friends accused you of talking too much? And how have you been able to rub elbows with authorities in your town or city, to make small talk with the best of them? You were behaving more like an extravert, weren’t you? No, you were behaving like an introvert, able to adapt to your setting, and doing all the things mentioned here was a result of your introversion.

Now being an introvert doesn’t seem so bad, does it? In fact, being an introvert has its benefits. You are an intelligent conversationalist. You think before talking and, therefore, don’t make as many faux pas as some of your extraverted friends and colleagues. You are an engaged listener who doesn’t think about what you’ll say next before totally hearing the other person out. Being alone doesn’t upset you; rather, you enjoy going to the movies alone and eating alone. Your friends and family can’t understand this. You love writing and do it well. There are many things about being an introvert that you appreciate, feel comfortable with, and wouldn’t want to change.

There are truths, though, that set introverts apart from extraverts; truths that put introverts at a disadvantage in life and the job search, especially at the all-important interview. Some of the strengths introverts possess can be faults, particularly when it comes to verbal communications. Talking, small talk to be precise, is a challenge for introverts because they feel the need to think before speaking, whereas extraverts will speak before thinking. Because of their inclination to think before talking, introverts are often left out of conversations.


Job Interview Success for Introverts is available at Packt Publishing

7 ways to set yourself apart in the job search

Set apartIn my personal life I drive a van. I’m a van dad; a chauffeur for my kids and their friends. Every night I eat cereal, Great Grains with cranberries, to be exact. Not good for my waistline. Another fact about me is The Big Bang Theory and The Middle are two of my favorite television shows.

On the surface I’m not a very exciting guy. When my friends ask me if I’m staying out of trouble, I tell them I wish I could get into trouble.

On a professional level, though, people I’ve never met approach me and tell me that they’ve heard about me. Oh no. Is there a warrant out for me? No there isn’t, they assure me. They’ve heard about my expertise in the job-search or LinkedIn. Or they’ve seen me on LinkedIn numerous times (but they haven’t hidden me). Some of my customer say my name pops up at the networking groups they attend. It’s all good they tell me.

Although my personal life wouldn’t excite a three year-old child, my professional life is worthy of recognition. While you’re in the job search, it’s important to set yourself apart. After work, you can drive a van. Here are seven tips on how to do it.

1. Create a great first impression: This is a topic of which I’ve written and preach to my customers until I’m blue in the face. How you appear in your job search makes a huge difference. Your appearance includes your facial expression, tone of voice, body language, even how you dress. Especially how you dress!

Despite how you feel internally, portray a person who’s enthusiastic about finding your next job. Set yourself apart by expressing the value you offer employers, not talking about your current situation like a customer of mine who mentions during his introduction that he’s been out of work for a year. Those who can help you want to see and hear confidence, not listen to you bemoan how long you’ve been out of work.

2. Listen to people: Do you set yourself apart from other networkers by being willing to listen without cutting them off? Are you that unique person who asks what you can do for others before asking for advice or leads? This will set you apart in the job search; make people want to listen to you by listening to them.

Also remember that networking is ongoing. You don’t need to attend networking events (although that’s great) to be successful. You must connect with people everyday, everywhere. While it’s important to attend networking events, it’s more important that you take advantage of connecting with people who may provide you with your next opportunity.

3. Carry personal business cards: Those who have  business cards are seen as serious about their job search. You’ll carry your business cards, most obviously, to  networking events, but also to social functions, conferences, family gatherings, basically everywhere. 

Your personal business cards should sufficiently tell people about what you do and how well you do it. Read this article on why business cards are important and what information to include on them. They’re not candy, so don’t hand them out to everyone. One of my close connections has a great tip on how NOT to be a card pusher.

4. Hone up on your telephone skills: Whether it’s a telephone interview or a conversation with a potential contact, are you prepared for the call? You may require talking points, or even a script—though this is not encouraged—to make the conversation go smoothly.

Set yourself apart by being articulate and expressing your views clearly. Always think of how you can show value to a potential employer or contact, and include your relevant accomplishments in your conversation. Be sure to mention a “call-to-action,” e.g., “When can I meet with the hiring manager at the company?” Or, “It would be great to meet for coffee.”

5. Request informational interviews: Are you prepared for the informational interview (I prefer calling them “networking meetings“), so you don’t waste the person’s time? Set yourself apart by bringing to the meeting intelligent questions that create a thought-provoking conversation. Don’t waste the person’s time. After all, she’s granting you time she probably can’t spare. Your goal is to impress her.

Keep in mind that most companies are trying to fill positions through referrals. If your conversation goes well and you come across as someone who can solve the company’s problems, you might be referred to the hiring manager. At the very least, you’ll be given other people with whom you can speak.

6. Write compelling résumés/cover letters: Recruiters and hiring managers are complaining about résumés and cover letters they’ve received that are…well, terrible. They are littered with spelling errors, typos, and grammatical mistakes. Take the time to proofread your marketing literature. Better yet, have other people proofread what you submit to employers.

Don’t simply set  yourself apart by submitting a error-free résumé and cover letter. Write one that is tailored for that job, includes quantified accomplishments, and consistent with your branding, etc. Employers want to know that you understand the requirements of the position and that you can meet those requirements.

Anton7. Make your presence on LinkedIn: Because 96% of recruiters/hiring managers use LinkedIn to cull talent, it’s imperative that you’re on LinkedIn. Your job is to get found (read this article on SEO), but once you’re found you want to impress your potential employer.

My default photo of someone who sets himself apart is on the right and one I share with my workshop attendees. They all agree that he is branding himself as a photographer, doing a great job of setting himself apart.

Bringing it all together: By night I’m a van driving dad, a cereal eater, and watcher of The Big Bang Theory and The Middle; but at work I’m setting myself apart with my expertise in the job search and LinkedIn. I’m happy with my personal and professional lives. Think about how you can set yourself apart from the competition. You may not use the aforementioned methods, but try to include the majority of them.

What are some other ways people can set themselves apart in the job search?