Author Archives: Things Career Related

About Things Career Related

Bob McIntosh, CPRW, is a career trainer who leads more than 17 job search workshops at an urban career center, as well as critiques LinkedIn profiles and conducts mock interviews. Job seekers and staff look to him for advice on the job search. In addition, Bob has gained a reputation as a LinkedIn authority in the community. He started the first LinkedIn program at the Career Center of Lowell and created workshops to support the program. People from across the state attend his LinkedIn workshops. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. For enjoyment, he blogs at Things Career Related and Recruiter.com. Connect with Bob on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 2

If every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services, it figures that your job search requires the same. In part one of this two-part series, we looked at the written communications of a job-search marketing campaign. Four career-development pundits weighed in on research, the résumé and LinkedIn profile, and the approach letter.

 

woman on phone

Part two features five pundits, who address the verbal side of your job-search marketing campaign. To kick off this article, we’re going to address a very important part of you campaign, personal branding.

Personal branding

Erin Kennedy specializes in personal branding for executive-level job seekers. She talks about the importance of creating a clear, strong brand for your verbal communications.

People sometimes get confused about what their personal brand is. What is it? How do I figure it out? But the fact is, we all have a personal brand already. It is entwined in everything we do i.e. what we are good at, what we are known for, what others come to us for, what we specialize in.

“Once job seekers look at it that way, it’s much easier to break it down and define what our “personal brand” is. One way to strengthen your brand is through your verbal communications. It is easy to confuse people about who you are if you are not crystal clear about your brand.

Job seekers need to realize that not properly communicating their brand in their job search can be a huge obstacle in finding the job they are qualified for…and are hoping for. Take the time to ensure you have a strong brand statement that shows your expertise and the value you can offer a prospective employer.

Every successful business requires a strong brand which is unique to its products or services. Taglines like, “Just Do It,” “Think Different,” and “I’m Lovin’ It” stand on their own because of the strength of Nike, Apple, and McDonald’s.


Networking

Nothing can be more effective to land an interview than networking. Many will agree that your résumé and LinkedIn profile are all important, but they would also agree that how you distribute them largely depends on networking.

Austin Belcak’s LinkedIn profile tagline is: I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk. Austin is definitely a proponent of networking.

“When it comes to expanding your network, there are two rules I like to follow: first quality always beats quantity. People get scared of networking because they think they need to blast out a million connection requests or go to these meetups. That stuff doesn’t work.

“Real relationships are usually built in a small setting and they require a lot of work. Instead of spraying and praying, pick a handful of people you really want to connect with and focus in on them.

“Second, be relentless about adding value Don’t start the relationship with your palm out. Instead, research the person and work to find ways to add value. Send them a resource, offer some feedback, introduce them to someone, tell them how you took their advice and benefited from it.

“If you approach each relationship with a value-add mindset and consistently show up in a positive light, the reciprocation will be there. It takes time and it takes practice but it’s the best way to build strong relationships that pay dividends down the road.”

Whether you decide to go to large or small events or simply networking in your community, make sure you are equipped with personal business cards. Learn 7 reasons why personal business cards are important and what information to include on them.

Without networking, many companies would fail. Smaller companies often survive on word of mouth. Similarly, large companies need to create trust to close a deal. Your marketing campaign is similar. As Austin says, be selective in who you approach in your marketing campaign.


LinkedIn engagement

Although your LinkedIn engagement is accomplished through writing, I feel it’s important to note in this part of the article as a form of networking.

I tell my clients that their profile is important, but it’s also important to develop a focused, like-minded network and engage with those connections. Engaging with your network can be difficult if you don’t have the confidence and you don’t know how to communicate with them.

First of all, you have expertise in your field and, therefore, shouldn’t question your right to engage with your connections. Second, don’t start the relationship with “the ask.” I’ve been approached by LinkedIn users who want to connect, but instead of taking the time to communicate with me and build a relationship; they ask if I’ll review their profile. This is in the initial invite.

My clients often ask me how they can engage with their connections. The first and most obvious way to engage is through personal messages. You won’t reach as many people this way, but you can develop and nurture relationships.

Other ways to engage with your connections include: sharing and commenting on articles that will add value to them (just be sure to tag the writer of said articles); writing long posts in which you express your thoughts and expertise; contribute to other’s long posts; share photos and thoughtful captions; and ask questions. These are a few ways to engage with your connections.

Many successful businesses are using B2B networking, as they can reach more potential partners. The idea of using LinkedIn is similar; you, as a business are reaching out to potential employers and quality networkers.


The interview

Maureen McCann is a job search strategist and executive résumé writer. Who believes that first impressions are the first part of the puzzle. She relates her story to demonstrate the importance of first impressions.

One of my first jobs was as executive assistant to a general manager of a pharmaceutical company. Anytime he interviewed new members of our growing sales team, he’d immediately close the door after the candidate left and ask me what I thought of the candidate.

You see, all of the candidates would be selling products to medical professionals (think: plastic surgeons, dermatologists). To get the attention of the doctors, the salesperson would have to first connect with the person at the front desk (the gatekeeper) before scheduling an appointment with a busy doctor.

The GM of my company knew this and so he paid close attention to my first impressions of candidates. Those that did not strike up a conversation and simply waited to talk to the GM missed an opportunity to sell me on their candidacy and have me advocate for them following their interview with the GM.

It’s time for the interview. Are you ready? Sarah Johnston feels not only strongly about the importance of doing your labor market research (as she explains in part one of this article), she also feels strongly about assessing the big opportunity.

“When you are interviewing, make sure that you evaluate the company, your future boss, and the actual opportunity carefully to make sure that it’s a good fit for you. In researching a company, some of my favorite tools include:

  • “LinkedIn to review the credentials of the people that you are interviewing with. By looking at their profile, you can often gather where they’ve worked, how long they’ve been in a role, groups that they are apart of and where they went to school or received training.

  • “If you are interviewing with a publicly traded company, it’s a good idea to review their annual report to learn more about their profitability, biggest challenges, and their corporate responsibility. To access free reports, visit: http://www.prars.com/about.php.”

Along with assessing the company and people who will be interviewing you, it’s important to be prepared to answer tough interview questions. There are interview questions you know you will be asked. And you should have answers in mind.

Madeline Mann is the founder of the YouTube channel, Self Made Millennial, which delivers outstanding job-search tips. When asked what her number one tip for interviews is, she says, “Know your stories.”

“My top interview tip–the one that clients have most tightly correlated to getting a job offer–is what I call a “Story Toolbox.” It allows you to answer any behavioral question, and many of the other questions typically asked in an interview.

“What most people do when asked questions like, ‘What’s your greatest strength?’ or ‘What’s your leadership style?’ is they describe themselves. They say, ‘I am hard worker, team player, highly skilled…blah, blah, blah.’ But none of this gets down to: So what did you do?

“According to American psychologist Jerome Bruner: ‘stories are up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone.‘ Therefore, telling stories will help you to be memorable and are a great way to show your character through describing situations you’ve been in, rather than simply stating characteristics.

“So what I recommend is to make your own story tool box. You go into every interview with a set of planned stories and you frame it in a way that answers whatever question they are asking. Trust me, your stories will be effective for a wide variety of questions.”

Closing the sale is how I look at the interview. Here’s where your ability to speak of your value comes into play. For established companies it’s similar to attending conferences, trade shows, meetings, and other opportunities where they can deliver their value face-to-face.


Follow up

The final element of your job-search marketing campaign is one that people feel to complete. One of my valued LinkedIn connections said it best, “When you don’t follow up, you were never there.”

Some job seekers believe the interview is over once they’ve shaken the interviewer’s hand and left the room. “That went well,” they think. “Now, it’s time to wait for the decision.”

Perhaps it went well, but perhaps one or two other candidates also had stellar interviews. Perhaps those other candidates followed up on their interviews with thoughtful thank-you notes.

So when is the interview really over? Not until you’ve sent a follow-up note.

If you don’t believe sending a follow-up note is important, one source claimed:

  • 86 percent of employers will take your lack of a note to mean you don’t follow through on things;
  • 56 percent of employers will assume you aren’t that serious about the job; and
  • 22 percent of employers are less likely to hire you if you don’t send a follow-up note.

What Goes in Your Note?

  1. Show Your Gratitude
  2. Reiterate You’re the Right Person for the Job
  3. Cite Some Interesting Points Made During the Interview
  4. Do Some Damage Control
  5. Suggest a Solution to a Problem
  6. Assert You Want the Job

Lastly, follow up a week after the interview for no more than three consecutive weeks.

A company that fails to follow up will lose the sale or fail in attaining the bid. This reminds me of a plumber who doesn’t return my call. I’m on to the next person.


If you haven’t read part one of this series, I encourage you to.

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9 essential components of your job-search marketing campaign: Part 1

Every successful business requires a marketing campaign to promote its products or services. Businesses utilize a variety of delivery methods—social media, websites, television, radio, and other methods—to deliver their message to their consumers. Their campaign must be convincing, impactful, and informational, or it will fail.

social media phone

Like any company, a successful job search requires a marketing campaign to deliver a strong message. Obvious methods to deliver your message are the résumé and interview. But your job-search marketing campaign must consist of more than these two elements.

Part 1 of this article focuses on your written communications, as well as what comes before. Part 2 addresses engaging with your LinkedIn network and your oral communications. I’ve asked nine career-development pundits to contribute to this article. Read both parts of this series to learn about your job-search marketing campaign.

Labor market research

Before you write your résumé, it might make sense to know which skills, qualifications, and experience employers seek, wouldn’t it? This general information can be ascertained by researching the labor market. This should be your first task in you job-search marketing campaign.

Ask yourself these questions: What kind of work do I want to perform? What is my ideal salary? Is my occupation growing or declining? Take it further and ask yourself which types of companies I want to work for? Do I have a list of 15 companies for which I’d like to work?

Sarah Johnston, is an Executive Coach and Résumé and LinkedIn Profile Writer who understands the importance of researching the labor market. She writes:

“There is a famous French quote that says, ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish.’ I’d like to go down in history for saying, ‘a job search without research and a strategy is like a trip with no destination.’ After getting crystal clear on your own personal strengths and career needs, one of the best places to start a job search is identifying a target list of companies that you’d be interested in working for or learning more information about.”

Any strong company will conduct consumer market research to determine if its products or services will be successful in a given geographic location. If they fail in this component of their market research, they will go under.


Résumé

One thing most job-search pundits and hiring authorities will tell you is that your résumé is a key component of your job-search marketing campaign. It is your ticket to interviews. However, few job seekers understand what employers are looking for in a résumé. Adrienne Tom, Executive Résumé Writer, knows what employers are looking for.

To make your résumé stand out, Adrienne recommends two important strategies: making your résumé relevant and including powerful accomplishment statements. In terms of relevance, she advises:

“Focus on creating good quality content. Align every point with the reader’s needs. For every point you write down in your résumé ask, ‘So what?’ and ‘Will this matter to this reader?'”

And when it comes to creating impactful accomplishment statements, she recommends listing the most important information at the beginning, which she calls “frontloading.”

“Lead bullet points with results. Make it easy for hiring personnel to spot important details, fast; don’t make them hunt for it. Walk the reader through your career story, start to finish, by sharing relevant, measurable details that matter.”

Ashley Watkins, Executive Résumé Writer, spent 15 years as a corporate recruiter, so she understands what employers are looking for in a résumé. She echos what Adrienne says about accomplishment statements:

“Hiring managers want to know what you can do to positively impact the company’s bottom line. Use every opportunity to include numbers, dollar amounts, and percentages to validate your results. It’s crucial that job seekers bring their achievements to life and convince employers that hiring them will solve their immediate problem.”

Ashley warns against writing generic, one-fits-all résumés.

“Although having a clearly defined career target is the most effective way to land a job, many job seekers use a very generic résumé strategy when applying for positions online and when networking with their referral contacts. When you do not have a keyword-rich, targeted résumé focus, you are leaving it up to the reader of your résumé to figure out what you do. Therefore, increasing your chances of winding up in the ‘no pile.'”

Both résumé writers stress the importance of crafting a résumé that will pass the applicant tracking system. You will only accomplish this if, like Ashley advises, your résumé is key-word rich.

Successful businesses deliver a strong message that encourages consumers to buy. Your goal is to encourage employers to invite you to interviews.


LinkedIn profile

Does your LinkedIn profile resemble your résumé? If it does, you’re hurting your chances of impressing people who read your profile.

Ana Lokotkova is a Personal Branding & Career Search Advisor, who specializing in writing résumés and LinkedIn profiles, as well as coaching interviewing. She sees the LinkedIn profile as a digital handshake.

“The days of using your LinkedIn profile as a copy-pasted version of your résumé are long gone. Today, you can drop the résumé lingo and humanize every section of your profile. Your headline is the first thing people see when they come across your profile. Forget your most recent job title, and turn your headline into a slogan-like value proposition.

“Include relevant keywords that will help others find you on LinkedIn more easily. Write your summary section in 1st person. Help others learn about your WHY and what sets you apart from other professionals in your industry.”

Another authority on LinkedIn is Virginia Franco, Executive Career Storyteller. According to her, the headline and new About section are critical to your LinkedIn profile’s success:

“Storytelling as a concept is prevalent across our media today from newspapers to magazines. This is important to recognize because, in reality, readers skim LinkedIn profiles in THE EXACT SAME WAY they digest the news.

“At first glance or when in a rush, readers skim the headline and the first section of the article tell them 1) what the story is going to be about and 2) help determine if the story is worth a deeper read when there is more time. Applying this methodology to LinkedIn, it is essential that a profile contain a headline and that About section tell the reader what your story is about, and intrigue them to want to read more when they have time!”

Successful businesses recognize that their audiences vary. Whereas a document as factual as a résumé is appropriate for one audience, a document like the LinkedIn profile might be more appealing to another audience.


Approach letter

A little known tool for your written communications is a networking document referred to as the approach letter. In the days of digital communications, this is usually sent as an email or even a LinkedIn message.

The idea is to send this to companies for which you’d like to work but haven’t yet advertised a position. You want to penetrate the Hidden Job Market by being known by companies before they advertise a position.

In your approach letter you can ask for a networking meeting where you will ask questions about the company, a position you’re interested in, and the individual who has granted you the informational meeting.

Your questions must be illuminating, not a waste of time for the individual. Ask about potential problems the company might be facing. What are the major requirements for the position. How the individual came to working in their role and at the company. What they see the role or industry evolving in the future.

If your timing is right, the company might be trying to fill a position it hasn’t yet advertised. You could impress the person granting the meeting so much that they might suggest you to the hiring manager. At the very least ask if you can speak to two other sources.


In this article I’ve covered the written communications of your job-search marketing campaign. In part 2 we’ll look at the verbal side, which will include personal branding, networking, the interview, and following up.

3 reasons why a résumé alone will not land you a job

One of my close LinkedIn connections told me that a client of hers would only pay her for writing his résumé if she would guarantee he’d land a job. Needless to say, she didn’t take him on as a client. I think most rational individuals would agree that she made the correct decision. I do.

Job Seekers sitting

 

I found this client’s request ridiculous on at least three fronts.

  1. Writing a résumé takes commitment and expertise on the writer’s part.
  2. A job search is out of the résumé writer’s hand after it is written and delivered.
  3. It makes for bad business.

If you are going to employ a résumé writer, consider the role this document plays in your job search. It is an extremely important part of your success, but will not land you a job on its own merit.

What’s involved in writing an impactful résumé?

Good résumé writers go beyond taking your original document and simply editing it. They’ll add value to it, resulting in a better chance of getting interviews. At the very least, they’ll deliver the following services.

The interview

It all begins with asking questions. Some résumé writers will have you fill out a questionnaire, others will interview you over the phone, and others will do both. My preference is to have a client fill out a form and then talk over the phone for as many times it takes.

The résumé writer first needs to know your story. Are you pursuing similar work? What do you enjoy about you work? Adversely, what do you dislike about your work? Importantly, what value do you feel you brings to a company?

Questions like these are necessary to get to know you. But the résumé writer will ask specific questions that flush out your past accomplishments and potential for future greatness. A sound interview is essential in writing the document.

Writing the document

Good résumé writers won’t rely on a résumé template, as each client is different. But generally there are five major sections they’ll address in order: Headline, Summary, Core Competencies, Experience, and Education. In some cases, Volunteer Experience, Hobbies and Military History are included.

1. The Headline is a section that can tell résumé reviewers your value by your title and areas of expertise. This might be enough for the reviewer to put your résumé in the “must-read pile.”

2. The Summary should be concise, yet deliver an immediate impact. The résumé writer will suss out, in three or four lines, the value you’ll deliver to an employer. Take the following example:

Information Systems Department Director specializing in new project planning and achieving business objectives. Budget hundreds of thousands of dollars in project resources. Lead efforts that consistently generate sales exceeding $15K in a competitive pharmaceutical market.

3. In the Experience area, the résumé writer will take painstaking efforts to turn your duties into accomplishments. Here’s one example:

Used Lean methodology to increase productivity in a supply chain operation.

The résumé writer will push you to provide an accurate quantified result to make the accomplishment statement more impressive. Executive Résumé Writer, Adrienne Tom, and other executive résumé writers suggest front loading the statement with the quantified result. For example:

Increased productivity 80%—over a 3-month period—by employing Lean methodology in supply-chain operations. Acknowledged by CEO for this achievement.

4. Education section. You earned Magna Cum Laude in university. As a résumé writer, I would strongly suggest you include it in this section.

Follow up

Some résumé writers ensure their clients’ résumés contain the proper keywords to pass the applicant tracking system (ATS). The résumé writer might invest in a program like Jobscan.co, which offers a premium account for Career Coaches and résumé writers.

For a nominal fee, the résumé writer would scan your résumé against job descriptions, ensuring the tailored document would have a chance of being seen by human eyes.

The résumé writer might include a certain number of emails as follow up, either free or for a small fee. I encourage my clients to reach out to me with any questions they have after their résumé is complete. The same applies to their LinkedIn profile.

The résumé is one piece of the job search

Any résumé writer will not guarantee that their clients land a job based on the résumé alone. There are many facets of the job search to consider. Here are a few.

Let’s talk about networking

To some job seekers, “networking” is a dirty word. Either they’ll begrudgingly do it or won’t do it at all. This is a shame, because networking has proven to be the number one way find a job. Some sources put the success of networking, if done alone, between 60-80%.

Networking is a great way to get your résumé in the hands of the decision maker. After applying for a position online, you should have someone within the company hand-deliver your résumé to the hiring manager, VP, or anyone of influence.

This was the case with one of my clients who gave his résumé to a neighbor that worked at his desired company. The neighbor delivered his document to the hiring manager of the department in which my client wanted to work. He was asked in for a number of conversations, until he was hired.

We hear of too many people who shotgun hundreds of their résumés online and then wait for the call for an interview. They wait and wait and wait some more.

Those who network are the ones who take their job search into their own hands. They approach companies of interest, get known by said companies, and find themselves in legitimate interviews.

Interviews get people jobs

A great résumé will get the attention of HR, recruiters, and hiring managers. But it will not secure a job offer on its own merit. Performing well in multiple interviews and what follows lands the offer.

Further, a strong résumé increases your negotiating power. Full of relevant accomplishments, your résumé tells employers a portion of your worth.

Of course a résumé alone won’t aptly express your worth. You must be able to sell herself to employers by reiterating your 1) ability to do the job, 2) wanting to do the job, and 3) being a fit in the company.

After the interview you must follow up with a thank you note for every person who interviewed you. Each note must be unique and delivered on time. A simple expression of gratitude isn’t enough; you must show you listened actively during the interview by mentioning an interesting discussion that occurred during the interview.

Going the extra yard

Astute job candidates will make the extra effort of bringing a portfolio of their work to the interview. Or they might bring a business plan of what they would accomplish within 30, 60, 90 days. Madeline Mann, creator of Self-Made Millennial, adds:

Instead of describing how you work, show it. Bring in a portfolio, build a project for the company, ask to share a presentation. In my career, I’ve only seen one or two people EVER go above and beyond like this in an interview.

This makes great sense. Wouldn’t you agree?

Convinced yet?

With all that the résumé writer must do to send the job seeker out into the wild, there still is much work for the job seeker ahead. The document the writer produces is of great value, but the rest of the job search can be of equal or more value. It all depends on how you look at it.

Executive Career Coaches, Austin Belcak and Sarah Johnston help people land jobs through the art of networking and power interviewing. Both of them would say the résumé is merely a piece of the puzzle.

So, given all the résumé writer does and what the job seeker must do upon receiving the polished document, why would a résumé writer only receive payment after a client lands a job. It just doesn’t make good business sense.

Is Your Text-Heavy Executive Resume Sinking Your Job Search?

This guest post is from Adrienne Tom, Executive Resume Writer. As the title implies, resumes that are text heavy are difficult to read and to determine your value.

Adrienne's Title

Text heavy documents are sinking the job search of many frustrated executive job seekers, who are left wondering why they are not getting called for interviews.

The reason is simple: employers don’t want to drown within long narratives. They desire short and well-tailored overviews that speak to their needs succinctly while showcasing the skills they covet.

In short– the easier a resume is to read, the smoother the sailing will be for job seekers.

The biggest barrier executives face with resumes is summarizing what is often a very robust career.

To start, approach the resume writing process with the goal of quality over quantity. 

A resume is not a biography, it’s a marketing tool.  Avoid listing copious amounts of dry and dusty job details that weigh down the file and water down worth.  Instead, zero in on value and align offerings with needs. Provide a solid sampling of relevant facts related to the targeted role.

Below is a short ‘test’ to help you identify if your executive resume is taking on water.

If you answer yes to any of the points below, grab a life vest and start bailing!

The resume is longer than three pages

Typical resume length for executives is 2 to 3 pages. Definitely no need to cram everything onto 1 page at this career level, but keep in mind that today’s resumes must be leaner and more succinct to capture and keep the attention of busy readers.

Although length alone does not determine resume effectiveness, extremely long or verbose files are rarely appreciated, nor read in full. Save extra facts and supporting details for the interview.

The employment history section reads like a job description

Lengthy overviews of each past role, with heavy emphasis on tasks and duties are a waste of prime resume real estate. Employers are not interested in what you did, but how well you did it. Minimize focus on responsibilities and focus on personal performance instead.

Spoon fed the reader value-enhanced, metric-driven snippets of success to build confidence and excitement.

There are no bulleted points

If you are presenting all details in paragraph form, watch out! Dense text is not only harder to scan and absorb, but it causes key points to become buried. Bullet key points for easier readability and to better separate and highlight key accomplishments, big business wins, and personal achievements.

Bulleted points are long-winded or copious 

Even bulleted statements in a resume can get wordy. Aim to keep points succinct by averaging 2 lines per point as much as possible. If you can’t say it in two lines or less, information is likely getting murky. In addition, don’t ‘bullet barf’ all over the pages.

Bulleted points are great in small groups, but long lists of bulleted points diminish impact. Aim for 3 to 5 bulleted points per position.

Excessive filler words are used: “a, to, the, of…”

Although these words are warranted at times, in a resume they should be eliminated as much as  possible. It’s ok to use more succinct speech and grammar in this critical career file. Distill down details to focus primarily on results and personal actions. For example, instead of saying:

Created and implemented new marketing campaign in close collaboration with five people on the team which generated a 10% year over year increase to sales.”

You can say:

 “Generated 10% YOY sales increase, working with a team of 5 to create and deliver new marketing campaign”.

Career history dates back more than 15 years

No need to list every job you have ever had on your resume. This is a strategic file that requires a careful sampling of related and most relevant career material. For executives, providing the most recent 15 years of work experience, give or take, is all that is required.

The further back in time you get on your resume, the less robust information needs to be. Only provide very early career details if the experience is absolutely required or very beneficial for the targeted role.

Value isn’t easy to spot

This last point is the most important one. In short, every employer has a pain point typically centered around common requirements to make money, save money, or increase efficiencies. Your resume must demonstrate, clearly and concisely, how you are their solution!  Demonstrate value with clear examples of well-aligned achievements and success. Proof of your claims!

Finally, don’t make the reader hunt for the WHY.  Why you are the best candidate? Spell it out! Spoon feed your value to every reader in bite-sized details and use similar language and keywords to increase interest and understanding!


To summarize, employers don’t care about all the details. Only those that matter to them.

They want to read results, but most importantly they want to know if you can make results happen for THEM.

Make it easy for employers to locate key facts and the ROI you offer as a candidate in your executive resume by keeping resume material ‘lean and clean’.

A sharper content focus and format will ensure you enjoy smoother sailing throughout your job search!

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The original article can be found here.

Looking to take your executive resume to the next level to land your next job faster and increase your earning power? Visit me online at: www.CareerImpressions.ca to learn more about my award-winning resume writing, LinkedIn writing, and job search strategies for top professionals and executives located across Canada and the USA.

8 common excuses for neglecting LinkedIn in your job search

“Are you using LinkedIn in your job search?” That’s one of the first questions I ask my clients when I sit with them. Most of them say they are using it frequently.

no-excuses

Others say they rarely are, and a few admit they aren’t using it at all and give excuses for not being on the greatest online networking application there is.

Here are 8 of the most common excuses I’ve heard from people who neglect LinkedIn.

1. I was told to join LinkedIn when I was working but haven’t used it

This is basically saying you don’t use LinkedIn. I have a Pinterest account but don’t know my user name or password. I didn’t see any reason for using it. How ignorant on my part.

I get this. Your boss or colleague suggested you join but you weren’t encouraged to use it for your benefit or the benefit of the the organization.

Smart organizations, especially those who believe in the power of B2B, will strongly suggest that LinkedIn be part of your routine.

2. My LinkedIn profile is great as is

One day I received a phone call from a gentleman who wanted to skip my LinkedIn Profile workshop so he could attend the more challenging workshop, Using LinkedIn to Find a job.

While he was talking, unbeknownst to him I was looking at his profile which was sparse and only showed 94 connections. His inflated opinion of his profile was definitely faulty. Perhaps he’d been given poor advice.

3. I posted my résumé on LinkedIn, so I’m done

Similar to excuse number 3. Whoever believes this has their head in the sand. Start your profile by copying and pasting the contents of your résumé to your profile. But that’s just a start. From there, you’ll turn it into a networking document.

Your résumé is a document you send out when applying for a job, while your profile is a place people come to learn about you as a person and professional.

Read this popular article on How to optimize your LinkedIn profile.

4. I don’t want to connect with people I don’t know

Here’s the thing, networking—whether it’s in person or online—is about meeting people and developing relationships.

Not everyone will turn out to be a valued connection, but if you don’t extend yourself, you’ll never know the potential networking offers.

Read The ultimate LinkedIn guide how to connect on LinkedIn.

5. I don’t have the time to use LinkedIn

I hear this often in my LinkedIn workshops. This is a huge excuse. I only ask them to spend 20 minutes, four days a week on LinkedIn. I see some of them shift in their seats, their eyes roll, some groans.

Using LinkedIn to find a job is an important tool in your tool chest. It’s worth it to put in the effort to help supplement your overall networking campaign.

Just because I am on LinkedIn approximately 30 minutes a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year doesn’t mean my workshop attendees have to do the same. That would be crazy.

6. I don’t want to brag

Related to the previous excuse, what you’re really saying is you don’t want to promote your value to employers and potential business partners.

You’re not bragging if you state facts and provide proof of your accomplishments. And avoid using superlatives, like “excellent,” “expert,” “outstanding.” They’re empty promises.

Too many people have given me this excuse for not promoting themselves both on their résumé and LinkedIn profile. These are people who have a more difficult time getting to the interview.

7. I don’t know how to post a status update

I get this. You’re not sure how you can provide your connections with relevant information.

You’ve just been laid off and lack the confidence to write words of wisdom. Don’t sweat it. At first share blog posts from your connections or from publications you enjoy reading.

This article provides ways to engage with your connection as opposed to just being active.

8. LinkedIn is too complicated

This must be what my daughter is feeling, as I haven’t seen her on LinkedIn…at all. I’ve also heard this from older job seekers who feel they can’t master the technology.

Granted I use LinkedIn on a regular basis, read articles from my colleagues, and have taught it to thousands of job seekers; you don’t have to be an authority on LinkedIn to use it.

LinkedIn might not be as sex as Instagram, but it’s purposes are to help you land a job and, once you’ve landed that job, use it for business purposes. What’s complicated about this?


Ending thought

One young, smug man told me he’d never have to use LinkedIn; he would always have a job as the assistant to the Mayor. He was attending the workshop I was delivering out of curiosity.

After our discussion, he went on a stint of serving coffee, a far cry from what he was doing. He contacted me and asked if I’d review his LinkedIn profile. At first I was inclined to say no, but I couldn’t hold his ignorance against him.

Wake up companies; 5 reasons to hire qualified UNemployed people

I was prompted to write this post when I came across the the post written by Robert Johnson of Business Insider on July 13, 2011. Even though this was eight years ago, I still see my clients, who are well qualified, struggling to find employment.

Rejection2

Do you remember when companies like Beacon Hill Staffing Group, Gecko Hospitality, Kids In Sports, and 69 others were all cited for practicing unemployment discrimination. Using terms like “must be currently working,” “currently working,” or “currently employed on a permanent basis,” these companies sent the message “your kind are not welcome here.”

I Googled the list of 72 companies that might not hire you unless you already have a job was posted by Robert Johnson of Business Insider on July 13, 2011, a day after a press release by National Employment Law Project (NELP) was issued about how this practice of excluding unemployed people from being hired violates the Fair Employment Bill of 2011. He urged job seekers to visit the list and stay clear of the companies on it.

Here are five reasons to hire unemployed candidates.

It’s outright discrimination not to

Word of this blatant discrimination circulated in 2010 and showed up a number of times as questions on LinkedIn. “Have you heard that companies are not hiring people who are unemployed?” bewildered LI users asked.

Disbelief was rampant among the LinkedIn community. Companies felt that during a recession the people who retained their job were the best workers. Essentially saying the unemployed were “damaged goods.”

There seems to be something inherently wrong with companies refusing to hire people who are out of work for one year, six months, and even three months. There are other reasons why employers should consider hiring qualified, unemployed candidates.

It is often beyond a person’s control when he/she is terminated

In 2011, Evergreen Solar closed its plant in Devens, Massachusetts, terminating hundreds of outstanding workers. All very capable and diligent employees, they were not terminated due to poor performance. They were terminated because the company failed.

As well, a company called Jabil Circuit closed its doors in 2009 and was forced to release hundreds of loyal employees. How did Jabil react after laying off its people? It put out a whole page spread in the Boston Globe extolling the quality of its employees.

The Boston Globe at that time wrote: “Jabil earlier this year gained national attention when it advertised its plant closing and urged other companies to hire its ‘exceptionally skilled and experienced workers.’

I had the honor to help one of Jabil’s employees land a job and negotiate a higher salary. I knew of his reputation for diligence and quality work. He was a stand up person, one I would hire on the spot. Granted when we first met, he was extremely upset and give me shit when I was leading workshops for the employees.

The unemployed cannot be accused of not wanting to work

In fact, getting back to work is their motivating factor in life. They’re hungry and often times willing to start at entry-level, or for less salary than they were earning.

The same Globe article reported: “And yesterday, dressed in a gray pinstripe suit usually reserved for weddings and funerals, Mitchell, 59, interviewed with Raytheon Corp., which sent 14 recruiters to the Jabil career center as it tries to fill up to 50 skilled manufacturing jobs.

“I’m hoping,’’ said Mitchell, who has worked as a solderer, inspector, and packer of circuit boards. “I’m no good at hanging around. I want to work.’”

Employers should see this as an opportunity, providing the unemployed are qualified for available positions. It simply makes sense to hire motivated unemployed workers, rather than some “passive job seeker” who may be biding their time at a company.

Hiring the unemployed improves the economic landscape

People have to work in order to pour money into suffering businesses. Doesn’t it make sense to hire a capable worker as opposed to someone who is already employed?

You may reason that the person who leaves a company for the next one will be replaced by a new employee. Not necessarily. Companies and organizations aren’t quick to replace vacant positions. (The average time to hire is now 30 plus days.)

Rather than bring someone in from another company, hiring companies must fill any job openings with internal employees first and then look for highly referred unemployed people. Employers’ number one preference of hiring someone is by referral. A highly referred unemployed job seeker should be the employer’s first choice, not a “passive job seeker” who is gainfully employed.

It’s just plain wrong

As a workshop facilitator and career counselor at an urban career center, I see the hopes of my customers crushed by being  interviewed a number of times only to find out that the companies deem them “not the right fit.”

Hiring companies must show compassion and try their best to hire those who need the work. They have a moral obligation to hire qualified job seekers, regardless of their age, disability, race, gender, or employment status.


I can’t lie or hide my disgust when my clients ask me if employers are more likely to hire employed people, rather then hungry job seekers. This fact turns my stomach and makes me even more determined to empower unemployed people land their next job.

5 phases of the extravert’s journey to an interview

We rarely see articles on how extraverts* can succeed at getting to interviews, but we often see articles directed toward introverts on this matter. In fact, I can’t recall self-help articles, let alone books, for extraverts (Es).

100 Strangers

100 Strangers

This said, Es need to focus on their strengths and challenges that get them to interviews.

It all begins with research

Es prefer to gather information through oral communications. Which is great if there are other job seekers or people currently employed to help them through this process, i.e., people with whom to network.

Extensively researching the job description and networking with people in the company can aid Es in writing their résumés, as they should be tailored to each job. Understanding the required skills and responsibilities is essential.

Research will continue in the job-search phase, as Es need to be prepared to talk about their knowledge of the company and quite possibly the industry and the interviewers themselves.

A strength of Es is the willingness to reach out to people in the companies for which they’d like to work. They are more apt to pick up the phone than their counterpart. They are also more inclined to ask for networking meeting, which are very valuable in terms of networking.

A challenge for Es is taking the time to research. It’s said that the Es tend to act before thinking; perhaps by not putting the effort into their written communications and thinking they can just wing it in an interview. They could take a lesson of their counterpart who do extensive research throughout their journey to the interview.

Writing compelling job-search marketing literature

This is a phase of getting to the interview where Es need to focus. While they are quick to act, they need to write résumés and LinkedIn profiles that show greater detail and effort. More to the point, their job-search marketing literature must demonstrate accomplishments that are quantified.

Many people have told me all they need to do is get to the interview and then they’ll be able to sell themselves. My response to this is, first you need to get to the interview, so your résumés needs to be the bait to get you there.

Es are professionals when it comes to disseminating their job-search marketing literature, though. They are not shy when it comes to handing their literature to hiring managers or having a neighbor or friend do it.

This brings us back to research. Es will have to dedicate extensive time to reviewing the job description and write accomplishment-laden résumés that speaks to employers’ needs and pain points. The same applies to their LinkedIn profiles and cover letters.

Read: 10 reasons why recruiters and hiring managers dread reading your resume.

Now it’s time to network

Networking can be intimidating for anyone. The word connotes gathering in a large group of people you don’t know and being forced to converse with them. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Networking should be looked at as “connecting with others.”

Keep in mind that one’s preference for introversion or extraversion is about energy level. It’s not about one’s ability to speak. Es generally have more energy than Is.

Is are considered to be great listeners, while Es feel comfortable making small talk; a strength Is envy. Here are things Es have to consider when talking with people:

  • Networking is a two-way street. Don’t go to an event expecting only to receive. Go to give as well.
  • Approach people with the appearance of confidence but don’t come across as arrogant.
  • Ask questions. People like to be asked questions about themselves.
  • Always bring personal business cards. This very popular article explains why they’re needed and what to include on them:
  • Finally, don’t assume networking can only occur in a formal setting. Other great ways of connecting with others is reaching out to the community and inner circle.

Es have a tendency to take control of conversations, which can be annoying to Is who are prone to go into listening mode. There gets to a point where the Is withdraw from the conversation and need to escape.

The ever-important interview

This is where researching goes beyond the job description. It now includes the company; industry/competition; and interviewers themselves, if Es are good. Real-time labor market research, e.g., networking, is sometimes the best way to gather important information.

Building rapport with the interviewers

This comes natural for Es. They come across as confident and outgoing. Interviewers gravitate to this. However, some interviewers might be put off by Es who come across as schmoozing. Their small talk and lengthy answers can be a detriment.

Be ready to answer tough interview questions

This is where the rubber meets the road, as they say.

Having researched the position, company, and the competition, Es should be prepared to answer tough interview question, such as behavioral-based ones. They should have their stories ready structured in the STAR format. For those unfamiliar:

S is the situation

T is the task in the situation

A is the action taken to solve the situation

R is the result of their actions.

Read this article to get a better idea of behavioral-based questions.

Thinking quickly on their feet

This is a strength of Es. They can process information and deliver answers quicker than Is. Marti Olsen Laney, The Introvert Advantage, explains: Is “have a longer neural pathway for processing stimuli. Information runs through a pathway that is associated with long term memory and planning,”

This doesn’t mean Es answers are more accurate; but their quick answers might give a sense of more confidence.

As with networking, Es need to be cognizant of over-talking. Many recruiters and hiring managers have told me that they’ve ended interviews early because candidates were not delivering concise answers.

Finally, follow-up

Here’s where Es could take a lesson from their counterpart, who feel more comfortable communicating through writing. There are well-stated rules for writing follow-up notes:

  • The thank you note/s must arrive 12-24 hours after the interview.
  • Every thank you note needs to be tailored to each interviewer. No formatted notes allowed.
  • Do more than thank everyone for their time; put more effort into it, such as bringing up a point of interest that was mentioned during the interview.
  • Also send a thank you note to the recruiter. They greatly appreciate them, and it keeps the recruiters in your network.

Failing to send a thank you note is failing to conclude the interview. I’ve been told by recruiters, HR, and hiring managers that they appreciate thank you notes. They really do. A few of them have said that not sending one can disqualify job candidates.


*Over the years I have received many rants about how I spell extravert. People tell me it should be extrovert. Both are acceptable spellings. I spell this dichotomy this way because Jung did. It’s just a matter of preference.

Photo: Flickr, Arnab Ghosal