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.

7 Ways to Find Job-Search Content Using LinkedIn

Have you ever had questions about writing a resume and LinkedIn profile, networking, interviewing, or any aspect of the job search? Of course you have. Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article on how to find job-search content using LinkedIn.

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

LinkedIn is noted foremost for a networking platform, but we often forget that it is also a platform where we can find job-search and other types of content. Is said content always excellent or even solid? No, it’s not. But there is great content to be found; you just have to know where to find it.

There are a number of ways that you can find posts, articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. Let’s look at seven ways from least to most effective.

Scroll down your feed

The least effective way to find content on a certain topic is to scroll haphazardly down your feed. This will take a great deal of time and will often lead to frustration. It’s akin to finding a needle in a haystack.

I’m guilty of using this method to find job-search advice. It takes me down a rabbit hole because there’s no strategy. For example, today I decided to look for content on interviewing. It took me a few minutes to find one, but this is because I have a fairly large, like-minded network and was lucky.

Join Groups to find content

It’s no mistake that I list Groups as the second least effective way to find content. Groups took a hit years ago and hasn’t recovered entirely, so I rarely visit the groups of which I’m a member. However, there are LinkedIn members who swear by groups, but the large majority of members don’t feel the same.

This said, you can find solid content shared in Groups if you are active in them. I’m not as active as I should be. This includes a group I set up for the organization for which I work. I know, this is a heinous crime.

In Groups you can have content delivered to your Notifications, including “All New Posts,” “Highlights,” or “No New Posts.” I guess my disenchantment with Groups is due to the fact that I don’t receive a great deal of content in my Notification stream.

Use hashtags (#)

A more effective way to find content on interviewing, or any topic, is by typing hashtags in the Search field. In Search I typed #interviewing and found this interesting article from HuffPost.com, 6 Signs Of A Toxic Job You Can Spot During Your Interview. This took me seconds to find.

Hashtags can also be useful for populating content to your feed, so if you’re feeling lazy and hoping for something to jump out at you, you might get lucky.

Use the Posts feature to find content from providers

Following LinkedIn members who you think will provide excellent job-search content is better than the aforementioned methods. Start with one of your favorites members by typing in Search the topic of interest. Again, I’m choosing “interviewing.” Select Post, then From member, and then type the member’s name.

You’ll hit pay dirt when you find a true curator who shares content from other reputable sources.

Follow LinkedIn members who produce great content

Another way to follow LinkedIn members is by “ringing” the bell next to their name. Whenever they produce content, it will show in your feed. The problem with using this method to find content is poor timing. In other words, if you’re not looking at your feed that hour or that day, you’ll miss the person’s content.

Check out your Notifications feature

Notifications is a LinkedIn feature that, you guessed it, notifies you of actions taken by your connections that can include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Attending an event
  • Writing a post
  • Sharing a post
  • Reacting to a post
  • Commenting on a post
  • An article published by a company or magazine you’re following
  • Publishing an article

Many people don’t realize that they can improve their notifications by selecting View Settings to the left of their Notifications‘ view. You’ll be brought to the page you see below. Click the arrow to the right of Conversations for messages, posts, comments, etc.

Comment on what other members post

Commenting on what your connections write is the best way to find job-search content. This might sound counterintuitive, but LinkedIn rewards you for doing well by others. LinkedIn also frowns upon those who flood its platform with their own posts multiple times a week.

To comment on what your favorite content providers post will encourage LinkedIn’s algorithm to provide you with their content, as well as the content their favorite content providers share. In other words, you’ll be seen in Comments more often and attract job-search content.


One more way to find job-search content

You’re probably been scratching your head wondering how I came to finding job-search content in this order. Maybe you’ve had great success finding content by scrolling through your feed, though I doubt it, or in Groups, not my favorite method.

The best overall way to find content is by employing all of the methods mentioned above: scrolling through your feed, using hashtags, searching in Groups, following your favorite providers, checking out Notifications, and commenting on what others write.

Had you read this paragraph first, you probably wouldn’t be scratching your head.

The Thoughts of 7 Recruiters on How to Get To an Interview

The life of a recruiter is not an easy one. It requires a lot of digging and scrapping for talent to fill positions for their clients, the employers. It’s not unheard of for a recruiter to have as many as 30 plus requisitions at a time to fill. For the mammoth companies, hundreds of requisitions (as one recruiter says) are possible.

Perhaps the most difficult aspect of the job for recruiters is trying to satisfy the ultimate hiring authority who is looking for the ideal candidates. As hard as they try, some recruiters fall short of meeting the expectations of the hiring authority, while others succeed. Those who succeed more often are the ones who stay in the game.

From my observation of the life of a recruiter–talking with them, seeing their posts on LinkedIn, and reading their brutally honest banter on Facebook–their most pressing struggle is bridging the gap of communication between job seekers and their employers.

The communication gap can’t be understated; it’s real. Who gets more frustrated, recruiters or job seekers? I would wager the frustration is weighed differently. Recruiters are trying to maintain their employment, and job seekers are trying to…get employed.

If you’re a job seeker who is having trouble finding the right way to communicate with recruiters, this article is for you. You see, there’s an art to communicating with recruiters. It’s not a subtle art; it’s a common-sense type of art.

Are you wondering what an application tracking system is? You’re not alone. In this article a recruiter will break it down for you. What about ghosting? You might have experienced a time when a recruiter didn’t get back to you upon sending them your resume or after an interview.

These are just a couple of topics this article will address from the point of view of recruiters. There are seven topics in all, so take some time to absorb what the recruiters in this article have to say. Here they are in order:

  1. How to connect with a recruiter
  2. What to write when connecting with a recruiter
  3. Ghosting and whether you’re being ghosted
  4. Writing resumes that appeal to recruiters
  5. That dang ATS and why not to fear it
  6. The steps to writing a compelling LinkedIn profile
  7. Preparing for an interview with a recruiter

Before I go any further with this article, I have to make one thing clear; the recruiters/former recruiters who contributed to this article are people who want you, as job seekers, to succeed.

How to connect with a recruiter

Ed Han Talent Acquisition Geek | Job-Hunt.org Contributor | JobSeeker Ally | I’m not active on LinkedIn: I’m hyperactive! | Wordsmith | Recruiter at Cenlar FSB | Ask me about IT opportunities in the 19067 and 08618 ZIP codes!

Everywhere you go, people are talking about the importance of networking in a job search. And people talk about the importance of talking with recruiters because we’re the ones with the jobs.

But how?

As a recruiter and avid networker, here is what I would recommend you do to network with us.

Before we get into that, it would be a good idea to understand the two major kinds of recruiters, in order to help you tailor your approach and strategy.

  • Agency/external recruiters. Employees of a recruiting firm, agency recruiters work on job requirements assigned by their clients. When they are able to place one of their candidates with the client, an external recruiter earns a commission.
  • Internal/corporate recruiters. Often part of HR, internal recruiters are employees of the hiring organization and work on job requirements from within that entity. When they are able to get one of their candidates hired with the hiring manager, a corporate recruiter still gets paid a flat salary.

Whether agency or internal, recruiters tend to have areas of specialization. It could be industry-driven for external recruiters (obviously not relevant for internal recruiters), but quite often is oriented by skillset: creatives, IT, finance, etc. In some large organizations, they might specialize even further, such as within IT, software engineers vs infrastructure.

And you know what? We tell you on our LinkedIn profiles! There just aren’t a whole lot of recruiters who do not have a LinkedIn profile–which is great, because the odds are that is where you will find us most readily.

Sending someone a LinkedIn invitation to connect is good–but recruiters get tons of invitations to connect, and you want to stand out from the others.

Do that with a note sent along with the invitation. And here is where a lot of people take a sub-optimal path.

Do you possess a skill set that the recruiter specializes in? 

Hint: look at the profile and scope out their employer. A quick look at the company page will tell you.

Strike up a conversation with the note you send to connect. “Hey, I’m a [profession] professional. Your profile suggests that you work with my skill set. Can we have a conversation?”

See? That’s all it takes: starting a conversation. 

Networking isn’t a transactional exchange. It’s a relationship in which the parties both get something out of it.

What to write when connecting with a recruiter

Kelli Hrivnak Recruiter partnering with companies to hire Digital Marketing & Technology Talent | Dream Team Builder Career Growth Catalyst

Contrary to what you may have heard, recruiters can be a valuable resource in your job search. But do remember this: A recruiter’s objective is to find people for their jobs. Not to find jobs for people.  

Ed Han explained the two types of recruiters and their roles in the recruiting process. Now that you have narrowed in on recruiters aligned with your area of expertise, it’s time to craft your message.

Here’s what you should not do:

Hi ________, I am starting to explore job opportunities. Do you have any jobs that would be appropriate?

Why this isn’t efficient:

Unless we have communicated recently, I don’t know what your strengths or career objectives are.

You are putting a lot of trust in the recruiter to guide your career path.  

Recruiters are slammed right now. Succinct details will help a recruiter customize what clients and searches would be the best match for your career growth.

Some call it your elevator pitch or value prop. I need the hook–What information do we need from you instead? 

What are your skills/strengths? 

Positions/titles

Target salary range/benefits/comp

Remote/in-office presence

Industries/target companies

Here’s how to fine-tune your messaging :

Hi ___________, 

I am starting to explore job opportunities. I’d prefer to work for a mature, structured company with over 500+ employees (non-consulting), with a company that respects work/life balance. I am open to hybrid/remote, within a 30-mile radius of Baltimore City. Compensation 120k+. 

I’ve been doing UI design but also managing design operations, and I’d like to leverage that experience to shape the operations of a future UX department. My base resume is attached.

****************************************

Do your research. Do you have any shared connections? If you were referred, name-drop.

Keep it short. Don’t ask for a coffee chat as your call-to-action. Trust me–the recruiter will reciprocate communication if they are interested.  

If there is a specific job posting you are interested in, include the URL. Some recruiters are working with companies that have 200+ job openings. 

Are you making a career transition or believe you can choose a variety of career paths? It’s okay if you don’t have 100% clarity of your next steps, but do spend time identifying your options and transferable skills. Career coaches can help with this process and planning if you are having a difficult time determining focus.

Recruiters want to find the right talent for their open jobs, but they don’t have time to uncover your interests and wants. Help us help you and make this a win-win situation by communicating what you bring to the table. 

Ghosting and whether you’re being ghosted

Dan Roth Technical Recruiter at Amazon

Before getting into whether or not you are being ghosted, I want to highlight two things. The first is that while I am a recruiter, I spent the first 17 months of the pandemic as an unemployed job seeker navigating the market like so many of you. I have seen what you have seen and felt what you have felt…I get it.

The second thing I want to highlight is: Is Ghosting a real thing? The obvious answer is yes. However, in my experience, there are a few different kinds of ghosts. Below I will break them into what I have found to be the 3 most common types of ghosts to help you understand.

The mass reach-out ghost: This type of ghost is the one that sends you a template e-mail saying something along the lines of, ‘based on your experience we feel you could be a good fit for X (company). You get this e-mail; your hopes are high…but then nothing.

This type of ghost has probably sent out thousands of emails prior to looking at any one resume. Once you respond, it either gets put in a massive pile of other responses only to be forgotten in time or after looking at your resume, they realize you are not the right fit…and don’t let you know because ‘it’s awkward.’

The Recruitment Influencer Ghosts: Let’s be real, because of the pandemic and the reliance on social media and specifically social audio, many recruiters, myself included, have become somewhat of micro-influencers.

This group gets hundreds of inbound messages per day and while it is a nice theory to say this type of influencer can get back to everyone, it gets incredibly overwhelming and even the most diligent recruiter may miss their fair share.

The Ignorant Ghost: These are the worst kinds of ghosts. These are the people you have had multiple communications with…you may have had multiple interviews and then nothing. I could give you potential reasoning for why this may happen, but there is no excuse for this. It is just absolutely horrible and these kinds of ghosts should not be recruiting.

Regardless of the type of ghost, it makes for a horrible experience. As a job seeker the natural instinct is to wonder what it was that you did wrong. It is in those moments that I will ask you to pause, take a breath and realize that getting ghosted by a recruiter is not a reflection on you, it is a reflection on them. You are better off at a company that values you and your time.

Keep your head up, your spirit high…your time is coming.

Writing resumes that appeal to recruiters

Matt Warzel, CPRW, CIR Helping Job Seekers Find Their Next Career Move 20% Faster With A Pay Increase of $15K on Average Award Winner Jobstickers.com Blog WriterSpread Joy, Be Empathetic, Make a Change, Then Make Your Impact

The resume needs to be logical first and foremost. If the reader is wrinkling their forehead, you’ve lost the initial battle.

With this said, have a target in mind and build your messaging around this target. Have a vision of your dream job. Think of your job drivers. What’s important to you? Time, money, benefits, 401(k)s, location, product offerings, company image, culture, values, progressive versus traditional setting, remote versus on-location, passionate project opportunities, etc.

Each is different for each person. What motivates you? What’s your passion? What can you do that will make you happy in 2 weeks, 3 months, a year? The candidate should research his or her new career field/job target! You need to do your research. You need to get a feel for the way the industry and respective companies function in the world, the services they provide to others, and the types of jobs out there in that industry that could pose as a potential new career.

I love using Google News, Google alerts, Salary.com, Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn to uncover industry and job research. Using this research can be a good way to spot industry and job keywords (for the core competencies and summary sections), role responsibilities (for the experience section), and important transferable contributions (for the accomplishments section) for inclusion on your resume. Read trade journals of major industry players to stay on top of insights in your space.

Be realistic in what you can achieve. While taking chances and risks are a good thing, do not over-stretch yourself into a role you simply are not a fit for (yet). What industry do you want to live in, and in what role? Be specific in what you want, clarify it, write it down, consume knowledge of it, live it.

Recruiters cannot help you if you nor they know what you want to do. Most people have skills and experience that can transfer nicely to another industry or job. The key is knowing how those skills reasonably transfer, and what sort of value they bring to the prospective employer. The challenge is that most are unsure of how their skills are exchangeable to other duties.

If you’re an accomplished professional, it’s best to use actual methodologies, processes, skills, or technologies relating directly to the open job description and your experience. These are good ideas for those greener candidates. Also, opt for free experiential learning like internships. Work freelance projects for friends, neighbors, etc., and continuously build your portfolio, skills, and competencies.

Back to the resume – next, make sure it has optimized keywords, quantifiable content (even if there are no metrics, but metrics are preferred), and a format/layout that adheres to applicant tracking system mandates. Think quantifiable content and write it pragmatically. Also, stick to brevity while making those bottom-line accomplishments shine. Again, as long as you aren’t wrinkling the readers’ foreheads (I love this visual, LOL) when they’re reviewing your resume, you’ve done your job…now if you match the qualifications, it’s interview time!

That dang ATS and why to not fear it

Amy Miller Sr. Recruiter – I build the teams that build the satellites. Recruiting Truth Teller & Mythbuster. Somehow, LinkedIn Top Voice 2022

A quick Google search of “How To Beat The ATS” yields over 6 million results. SIX. MILLION. RESULTS.

All about how to “beat” something that usually amounts to a digital filing cabinet.

Job seekers are frustrated. Recruiters are confused. How did we get to this point, where alleged best practices around job search have created a mythical bot standing between you and your dream job?

First of all, let’s understand how most companies utilize their ATS – our first clue is in the name. ATS stands for

Applicant

Tracking

System

Essentially, most ATSs are simply large (albeit complex) databases that track a candidate’s journey from application to onboarding. It is literally a System that Tracks Applicants – and considering many recruiters are juggling hundreds of applicants at a time, you WANT us to have some mechanism to keep it all straight!

Many job seekers fear the ATS as something to be “beat” or even want to find a way to get AROUND an ATS – which is unfortunate, considering the ATS is a critical tool that helps recruiters keep all this activity straight.

Let’s start by walking through the candidate journey in the typical ATS.

APPLICATION

This is where it begins, and often the only part a job seeker will see. Candidate information is stored in a profile – searchable by name, email, or candidate ID (random personalized number generated for each new profile).

Candidates can apply directly to roles they choose, current employees can refer candidates, and recruiters can sometimes “tag” a candidate to an open role. (Open roles are ALSO created in the ATS, generating their own “profile” and job ID).

ACTIVITY

Once a qualified candidate has been identified, there is typically a process flow. Resumes/profiles are sent to hiring managers. In some cases, assessments are requested or calendar invites sent. These invitations can be for initial recruiter calls, technical screens, even interviews.

MOST ATSs aren’t even that complex, and scheduling can be done the old-fashioned way (typically via email). However, NOTES about all that activity should be recorded in the ATS note fields, so other recruiters or hiring managers with access can see at a glance the status of roles and applicants.

There is a LOT that happens in the “activity” portion of the ATS – we could write a novella about all that! Documentation is CRITICAL. Required documents, interview notes, feedback and next steps – ALL TRACKED IN THE ATS.

OFFER

Congrats! An application was successfully reviewed, interviews scheduled and documented, and a hire decision has been captured in the ATS. Now we can make an offer!

Many ATSs can create offer letters that allows for the requisition to be closed, and the candidate record updated/sent to the appropriate HRIS database once it’s accepted. In the event of a decline, we can still see that candidate history, in case we want to try recruiting you again!

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE BOTS?

Unfortunately, there is no shortage of misinformation out there about “bots,” auto screeners, or rejection emails. I have yet to work with ANY system that does any kind of filtering without human intervention.

What further complicates this, is the sheer number of ATSs on the market. There are literally hundreds of ATSs and a near-infinite number of configurations. I’ve used Taleo at 3 different companies – the experience was COMPLETELY DIFFERENT each time.

WHAT IS A JOB SEEKER TO DO?

The best way to “beat” the ATS? Pay it no mind. Seriously. Forget about the tool being used, and worry more about where you are spending your time. Write a targeted resume written for a human audience (recruiter AND hiring manager).

Network with people who hire (or do) the kind of work you want to do. Understand how companies hire. If you’re a new college grad trying to break into FAANG – applying to senior roles and hitting up SWE Managers is hardly going to get you the results you want – those companies generally hire new grads through very specific University Recruiting programs (and they use the same ATS!).

Other recruiters might choose to use Boolean strings, or trust a ranking system to identify the top applicants (I don’t, but others may). Talking to recruiters at your target companies can help demystify how THEY use their ATS – so you can focus on more important things.

I WAS REJECTED. NOW WHAT?

The good news? Your information stays in the ATS. Smart recruiters will actually START their search when recruiting for a new role – IN THE ATS. We can conduct searches, review “silver medalists” on previous roles, even read other recruiters’ notes and feedback. Not to mention we have your contact info and can quickly get in touch!

There are certainly land mines to avoid when job searching – the ATS just isn’t one of them.

The steps to writing a compelling LinkedIn profile

LIAM DARMODY Growth Operations | Talent Attraction | Employer Branding // Husband+Dad | Hot Sauce Aficionado | Blockchain Bull | LinkedIn Branding & Content Strategist

Your resume gives recruiters a glimpse into what you’ve done and when you’ve done it,

but recruiters want to know “WHAT(ever) ELSE” they can about you when considering

whether to reach out or move on to the next profile. Be sure you’re making it easy for us

to get an authentic glimpse into:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Why you do it
  • How you do it
  • How you think & communicate
  • What it might be like to have you on the team

Be authentically, genuinely, unabashedly yourself, because there’s no reason not to be. Those recruiters who like what they see will reach out with opportunities they think are a good match. Those who don’t like what they see, won’t, but as far as you’re concerned, you don’t want to be considered for jobs that your personality doesn’t fit into anyways.

Use all the LinkedIn profile real estate you need to tell your story the way you want to. As a recruiter, there is nothing quite as satisfying as reading a well-written profile, which means:

  • Create a banner that reflects you & your personal brand (Canva is great for this)
  • Turn on Creator Mode and record a 30-second cover story in your headshot that shows your personality & value add. Bonus points if you can make me laugh.
  • Use your headline summary as more than just your title & company. Tell us more about what you are and what you care about. I like to think of mine as a representation of the things that fascinate me.
  • Use the featured section to populate examples of your work or things you’re proudest of. Could be anything – a LinkedIn post, a PowerPoint, a video clip, a PDF certification of a course you took. Just don’t NOT use that prominent real estate – it would be like choosing not to run free billboard ads.
  • Create a compelling About section that elaborates on the whole “fascination” theme and makes it easy for recruiters to get a sense of how you communicate, think, and dare I say… live! Yes, that’s okay to share too!
  • Be sure to provide any additional context in your experience section that you don’t feel was fully captured in your resume bullet points.
  • Solicit skills endorsements & recommendations from others in your network. This is especially helpful in technical fields where keywords play such a critical role in the success of your visibility and consideration on LinkedIn. Bonus points if you complete skills assessments and feature those there as well.

Last but not least, don’t ignore the obvious fact that LinkedIn is fast becoming a social network as much as it is a professional network. Posting your thoughts on business, life, family, and whatever else you’d ever care to talk about with colleagues in a professional setting is not only okay, it’s encouraged.

Preparing for an interview with a recruiter

Teegan Bartos, CCMC, CCM Mid-to-Senior Level Leaders Accelerate Your Career Land Your Perfect FIT Job Quickly Making More Money Than Ever Before Career Coach, Job Search Strategist, Resume Writer

Congratulations! Your referred resume, LinkedIn profile, or application just captured the attention of a recruiter and you’ve been extended an interview. Now, you may be thinking the recruiter is only a box-checking gatekeeper, but wowing the recruiter is imperative if you want the hiring manager to select you for the next round.

So, how do you prepare for this interview? By understanding what the recruiter’s role is and what the recruiter is looking for so you can strategize accordingly.

The Recruiter’s Role: Recruiters are compensated and evaluated on their ability to place people in open positions, often being judged on retention, quality placement, and speed to fill. That said, they are looking to create win-win situations for not only the hiring manager but also the candidate.

Box Checking: More often than not, a recruiter is not going to be asking the “tough” technical questions, so for this round, know yourself, research the company, and study the job description to prepare tailored interview answers to prove you understand and can meet the companies needs.

Know Yourself: Truly know why you’d be open to new opportunities and what it would take for you to leave your current organization. Here are some examples because this can be challenging:

“My company’s direction recently shifted and when I saw {Company Name} was embarking on {fact from your research}, I had to explore it further.”

“I currently make $225K with 20% bonus being paid out in March and was awarded $50K in equity two years ago that vests over 5 years. With a company as good as yours, I trust that the offer would be competitive.”

Tailored Interview Answers: Nail your opening “tell me about yourself” answer by incorporating details you learned are important to this role. Be prepared to give examples of times you’ve done what is in the job description with SOAR (explain the situation, reference obstacles to success, state what action you took, and most importantly finish it off ideally with quantifiable results.) And lastly, be prepared to ask questions that you couldn’t find via a google search. 

_____________________________________

Here you have the thoughts of seven recruiters on how to get to an interview. It begins with How to connect with a recruiter, what to write when connecting with a recruiter, understanding that ghosting is something to expect, writing resumes that appeal to recruiters, that dang ATS and why not to fear it, writing a compelling LinkedIn profile, and preparing for an interview.

4 Ways to Write a Memorable LinkedIn Profile Headline

I put a friend to the test by having him tell me what I had just changed in my LinkedIn profile Headline. He couldn’t tell me. Which means he didn’t know what I had for a previous Headline. Which also means it wasn’t memorable.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

A poll I conducted on LinkedIn, in which 1,883 people voted, concluded that the Headline is the most important section, followed by Experience and About. This begs the question if the Headline is so important, shouldn’t my friend have remembered it? The short answer is he should have.

Much has been written about the Headline. Some have opined on what makes a Headline strong. Today I’m going to suggest four ways to approach writing your Headline, none of which are wrong.

1. Keywords only

This is probably the most common way to write a Headline, and it was how I wrote mine back in the day. The purpose for doing this is to attract hiring authorities or business people to your profile when they do a search. It’s widely believed that the Headline is valuable real estate, carrying more weight than all the sections, save for your titles.

You can begin with your title followed by areas of expertise. Or perhaps you want to include multiple titles (guilty). Choosing the latter could spread you a bit thin. I went with titles that describe who I am:

LinkedIn Trainer | Career Coach | Blogger ~ LinkedIn and the Job Search.

Later I added a tagline and some awards when LinkedIn increased the character count from 120 to 220.

Note: I’m a strong believer that indicating you’re looking for work is a waste of space and, more importantly, doesn’t add value to your Headline. LinkedIn has made mentioning this fact unnecessary by giving you the option to wear the banner, “#OPENTOWORK.”

2. Tagline only

Those who feel comfortable being gainfully employed are more likely to write in their Headline a tagline similar to what would be listed on a personal business card. My valued connection, Austin Belcak, goes with a tagline:

I Help People Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? Let’s Talk (Info Below)

Austin recently changed it to: I Teach People How To Land Amazing Jobs Without Applying Online // Need Help With Your Job Search? DM or Email Me For Coaching (Info Below)

This works well for him because his thing is emphasizing that searching online is not the way to go. Rather, one should tap into the Hidden Job Market by researching companies and then networking their way into said companies.

Another way to write your tagline is to begin with a question such as, “Ask me how I can consistently increase your revenue by 150%.” This serves as a viable hook.

3. Tagline and keywords

This is my preferred way of writing a Headline but as I said, it’s subjective; and you have to be comfortable with how you present yourself.

Tagline first, keywords following

One element of a strong Headline is a tagline–a sentence that stands out because it says what you offer employers or business partners. It effectively brands you by accurately depicting who you are and the value you’ll deliver.

A tagline with the previous 120 characters was hard to pull off, but now you have the space to comfortably include a tagline, albeit not too much space.

Where do you list your tagline, at the beginning or end of your headline? I suggest listing it first for the WOW factor. The keywords are important for searches. They are what helps hiring authorities or potential business partners find you. But the tagline is your value statement.

One thing to consider is that your photo and headline appear in people’s feed. We’ll call them your first impression. However, your whole headline doesn’t show; LinkedIn users seeing your first impression see approximately 70 characters or 10 words.

To illustrate what they’ll see, here is a segment of my colleague, Ana Lokotkova‘s headline: Helping hustlers tell their career stories & get hired | Career Advi…

Ana recently changed it to: I help a good candidate become the right candidate for the right opportunity | Career Advisor | LinkedIn Personal Branding | Resume Writer | Interview Coach | Speaker | YouTube Video Creator

This is now what visitors see when they initially search for her “a good candidate become the right…” get hired is made very clear. I can relate to this. Here’s the complete headline:

I help a good candidate become the right candidate for the right opportunity | Career Advisor | LinkedIn Personal Branding | Resume Writer | Interview Coach | Speaker | YouTube Video Creator

Keywords first, tagline after

Austin Balcak, suggest listing your keywords at the beginning of your profile. He calls them your hook. He writes:

“[A killer Headline is a] keyword filled overview of your role/abilities followed by an illustration of value (preferably with measurable metrics). For example, let’s say we’re a sales person in the market for an account executive or sales manager role. Our headline might look like this:

Account Executive, Business Development, Sales Manager | Helping SaaS Companies Accelerate Revenue To $10M+ In ARR

The beginning of the headline is packed with relevant keywords and the second half of this headline creates a clear illustration of the value we bring to the table.”

This approach is also good in theory, and many headlines I’ve seen lead with keywords. This method clearly says what the person does and their areas of expertise. They are an Account Executive, Business Development, Sales Manager.

The hybrid model (keywords, tagline, keywords)

Another option is starting your Headline with keywords, dropping in a branding statement, and then concluding with keywords. This is the Oreo method with the cookie (keywords) sandwiching the branding statement (cream). I go with this method because keywords do matter.

Career Coach ◆ LinkedIn Trainer ◆ Online Instructor ◆ Blogging Fanatic 👊 I’m on the frontline fighting 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗚𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗙𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 against unemployment 🏆LinkedIn Top Voices 2019 | Avid Walker #LinkedInUnleashed

Opposed to the Headline I sported when we where only allowed 120 characters, I feel my current Headline (220 characters) delivers a stronger message.

4. How about a little color

You’ll notice that I include some emojis in my Headline. Other LinkedIn members do this as well. The emojis can be black or colorful. Mine includes both. Whether you use color or not, emojis draw the reader’s attention to your Headline. My advice is to use colorful emojis judiciously.

Here are some examples from people who employ color in their Headlines.

Kelli Hrivnak Recruiter partnering with companies to hire Digital Marketing & Technology Talent | Dream Team Builder 🏆 Career Growth Catalyst

Gillian Kelly Bland and boring are lousy career strategies. ✩Talent Brand-builder ✩ LinkedIn Top Voice ✩ Award-winning Resume Writer ✩ LinkedIn Profile Writer ✩ Future of Work Nerd 🎤 Speaker 💙 More kindness.

Steve Levy 👋 Engineer turned Recruiting mentor (but not a “former engineer”) 👐 Humanity rules 🌊 ex-Jones Beach Ocean Lifeguard (way better than ex-MAANG) 💻 68 69 72 69 6e 67 20 74 65 63 68 20 2d 20 72 65 6d 6f 74 65


Here we have the four ways you can write your LinkedIn profile Headline. Again, none of them are wrong. Depending on your goal, you might choose a particular style. Job seekers, for instance, might go with keywords only; whereas those who are gainfully employed could opt for tagline or tagline/keywords.

Checkout the list of the top 100+ LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow, where you will find the Headlines for each person.

Which of Four Resume Formats is the Best?

One fact is clear about the functional resume; most hiring authorities and resume writers don’t favor it. According to a poll on LinkedIn, it’s one of the least preferred out of four resume formats. The preferred resume format is…you guessed it…the chronological resume.

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This article is not only about the functional and chronological resumes. It’s also about two other resume formats: the combination and hybrid-chronological. If you’re not familiar with any of these formats, I’ll explain all of them. Let’s start with the functional resume.

Functional resume

The Areas of Expertise section is the meat of a functional resume. It follows the contact information, Summary and, perhaps, Skills area. This section highlights expertise that is transferable, making a transition to another career doable.

Each of these areas of expertise should be supported with three or four bulleted statements, ideally accomplishment statements. The reader should see, by reading your statements, how they relate to the job for which you’re applying.

For example, if someone is changing from marketing to career development, the following areas of expertise are plausible: Written and Oral Communications, Customer Service, Outreach, and Counseling. Here’s an example of one of the four areas of expertise.

Written and Oral Communications

  • Wrote more than 30 articles—within two years—that were placed in industry-related magazines, often earning the praise of CEO during company meetings.
  • Spoke via phone and in person with customers, VARS, OEMs, and distributors in writing the first “Customer Success Stories” in the company’s history.
  • Wrote the content for the company’s first newsletter and coordinated with webmaster to disseminate it electronically. Received favorable reception for newsletter.
  • Reached out to CEOs and presidents of partner companies to coordinate onsite visits between company’s president.

Following the Areas of Expertise section is a de-emphasized Employment section that consists of company names, their locations, and years of tenure at the companies. Or if you prefer to place the Education section above this Employment History, that’s acceptable, particularly if you’re a college grad.

The fault in the stars

As one of the people who participated in the poll stated, the functional resume comes across as suspicious. Hiring authorities often wonder what the candidate is trying to hide.

In the example above, when and where did the candidate write more than 30 articles? When and where did the candidate reach out to executive-level employees to arrange onsite visits?

Do you think I would gloss over the need for well-developed accomplishment statements? I would be remiss in doing that. Ideally every line on your resume would show value. By providing quantified results with #s, $s, and %s, you’ll impress the reader and be invited in for an interview.

The hybrid-chronological resume

This resume format is slightly behind in the poll of the functional resume. Perhaps it’s because it’s misunderstood; one person who responded to the poll asked what this format is. I understand the confusion but feel that it helps readers to understand the nature of one’s position.

The hybrid-chronological format integrates the functional and chronological for each position. Not everyone can pull it off, but when they do, it works well. I like the diversity of highlighting the areas of expertise while also sticking to a reverse-chronological work history.

If we take the example of the Written and Oral Communications area of expertise, the reader can clearly connect the dots rather than having to find examples of this area of expertise. Written and Oral Communications can be written in bold print as a sub header.

The fault in the stars

One drawback of the hybrid-chronological resume is, again, the reader wondering when, not where, the job candidate achieved a particular accomplishment. For example, most of the accomplishments for written communication might have occurred earlier on in the candidate’s 10-year tenure with the company.

The combination resume

The wonder of writing a combination resume is that you highlight the Areas of Expertise section, as explained above (Written and Oral Communications, Customer Service, Outreach, and Career Development) and follow it with the chronological piece.

If you want to tell a compelling story, this is a resume format that will achieve that. It’s important that the areas of expertise in the functional area are placed in order of priority.

Let’s say you feel that Customer Service is the number one priority, followed by Outreach and then Career Development and finally Written and Oral communications. This is how you will arrange your areas of expertise. Further, you’ll arrange the bulleted statements in order of priority.

The fault in the stars

This can be a longer resume than the other resume formats, so it’s important that the chronological area be presented on the first page. If you’re going to include a Summary, as well as Outstanding Achievements and Skills sections; you’ll be hard pressed to fit the functional and chronological pieces on the first page.

The chronological resume

The almighty chronological resume is one that lacks creativity, in my opinion; but it’s the preferred format by a country mile. Many hiring authorities espouse this format because it’s easier to read. However, as I’ve written above, finding the key points you’re trying to make can be difficult unless you prioritize statements.

Do you think I would gloss over the need for well-developed accomplishment statements? I would be remiss in doing that. Ideally every line on your resume would show value. By providing quantified results with #s, $s, and %s, you’ll impress the reader and be invited in for an interview.

See the differences between the following duty and it’s accomplishment statement:

  • Brought the social media campaign in house.

Now the accomplishment statement that provides the quantified result followed by the action statement.

  • Saved the company $125,000 by bringing the social media campaign in house, while managing a team of 5 on a limited budget.

The Summary of Achievements before it attracts the reader’s attention, enticing them to read further:

  • Generates new client business by at least 25% annually
  • Saves companies $100,000s of dollars
  • Meets Key Performance Indicators (KPI) on a consistent basis
  • Leads teams to earn top recognition

The fault in the stars

The chronological resume can make it difficult to find the key points the candidate is trying to convey if they’re buried in a sea of duties. It’s important to separate the duties from the accomplishments.

This can be a simple fix by starting with the outstanding duties and inserting a sub header titled Accomplishments. Where will the readers’ eyes go? You guessed it; to the accomplishments.

Is all lost for the functional resume?

The functional resume isn’t currently in dead last. This means some hiring authorities and resume writers appreciate this format for its diversity. I have a soft heart for the functional resume, as I landed two jobs using it. Does the fact that I landed the jobs 20 years ago factor into it? Maybe, probably, who knows?

I fancy the hybrid-chronological resume, personally. But the fact that it sits dead last in the poll should tell me something. All I know is that the chronological resume (46%) isn’t for everyone.

Enough with the Excuses, Promote Your Greatness with Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile

Four areas on your resume and six on your profile.

Talking with a client the other day, we had a conversation about the difference between bragging and promoting one’s greatness. Now, I’m the last person who would outright brag. Promote my greatness in a factual way? Sure. But brag, that isn’t me.

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And by no means was I suggesting that my client brag. I pointed out that her resume and LinkedIn profile lacked the oomph that would impress employers and separate her from every other job candidate.

Here’s the thing about your resume and LinkedIn profile: you are given permission to promote your greatness…in a factual way. You are not encouraged to brag; there’s a difference. So, let’s break this down in simple terms.

Your resume

There are four areas where you are encouraged to write about your greatness. They are your Summary, Skills and Experience sections, and even Education.

Summary

In the Summary it’s imperative that you convey the greatness you will deliver to the employer. Make it brief. No hiring authority wants to read a 10-line paragraph. You might decide to go with bullet points to separate the major areas of value. Here’s an example:

  • Workers Compensation Director with expertise ranging from examining claims to developing and marketing managed-care products and services
  • Establish relationships with partners in the Northeast region, exceeding managements’ expectations
  • Design products and provide services that Saves millions of dollars for client companies

Avoid using cliches like “results oriented,” “ingenious,” “outstanding,” to name a few. You get the picture. They do nothing to promote your value.

Skills

The Skills section is where you list the skills that are pertinent to the position at hand. Don’t be shy. Highlight at least nine skills mentioned in the job ad in order of priority. Reading the job ad you notice the following skills required for a marketing manager:

Strategic Sales

Branding

Media Relations

Promotions

Client Relations

Strategic Partnership

Market Planning

Event Coordination

Project Management

Your greatness is proven by knowing which skills to include in this section. If you list skills that aren’t relevant, you’re missing the mark. You will further backup your skills in the Experience section.

Experience

The Experience section is king when it comes to your resume. It’s where you must demonstrate your greatness. Again, avoid lofty platitudes that carry no weight. If you want to come across as a great sales person, prove it.

  • Increased company revenue 65%—in a turbulent economyby following up on sales made 2 years prior. Earned “Employee of the Year” for 2020

Prove you’re an outstanding IT specialist who can increase productivity and were acknowledged for your efforts.

  • Increased productivity of Sales Team 50% by initiating and implementing Infusionsoft software 2 weeks before 3-month deadline. Received accolades from CEO

Wondering if you should use metrics in your accomplishment statements, read Should You Have Metrics on Your Resume and LinkedIn Profile?.

Education

Even your Education section can demonstrate your greatness. Don’t be hesitant to let employers know what you accomplished 20 years ago; if you earned it, tout it.

Bachelor of Science, Software Engineering
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Summa Cum Laude, in the top 5% of graduating class

You’re a smart cookie, so show it.

Hint: one strong suggestion is to make your resume easy to read. Here’s an article that explains how. 7 Ways to Make Your Resume Easier for Hiring Authorities to Read.

LinkedIn profile

There are six areas where you should express your greatness. They are your background image/banner; Headline; and About, Experience, Education, and Recommendation sections.

Background image

Promoting your greatness with your LinkedIn profile is a bit different; there are more ways in which to do it. It’s not bragging, for instance, to post a background image/banner. Make it relevant to the work you do or industry you’re in. Even make it about what you enjoy doing.

To learn more about the importance of a background image, read 4 Reasons Why Your LinkedIn Background Image Shouldn’t Be Ignored.

Headline

Tons of articles have been written about the Headline. Instead of getting into all of that, check out the list of LinkedIn voices job seekers should follow. There are about 100 plus people on it. Ergo the title, The Ultimate List of 100+ LinkedIn Voices Job Seekers Should Follow.

Check out their Headlines to see which ones draw your attention. These are LinkedIn members who are definitely worth following for the content they deliver on LinkedIn..

About

Again, much has been written about this section of the profile. In an article called 16 LinkedIn Pros Talk about Creating a Powerful About Section, the common theme is telling your story and starting with a hook.

The secret behind the success of these pros is their lack of reluctance to promote their greatness. I tell my clients to let loose some accomplishments to whet the appetite of hiring authorities who visit their profile. They don’t need to be saved for the Experience section.

Experience

This is a section where you should show your greatness with quantified results. Similar to your resume, the accomplishment statements should include actions and positive results, but not necessarily in this order. I’m a fan of leading with quantified results followed by actions.

Their are two points I make with your About and Experience sections. First, write it in first-person point of view. Second, only include the outstanding accomplishments. Let hiring authorities look at your resume to learn about the other stuff.

How would writing about your greatness in first-person point of view look? Take the aforementioned accomplishment statement above.

  • I Increased productivity of Sales Team 50% by initiating and implementing Infusionsoft software 2 weeks before 3-month deadline. As a result, I received accolades from CEO

This makes the Experience section of your profile more conversational, gives it a personal tone.

Read why the LinkedIn Experience section shouldn’t be ignored. The Majority of Hiring Authorities Read the LinkedIn Profile Experience Section First, so Make It Shine.

Education

Similar to the outline of your resume, the next profile section is Education. You guessed it; this section must also tell a story. Also similar to your resume, it includes the same information, degree you earned, academic institution, and year of graduation if you choose to list.

You can take it further than you would on your resume. In addition to the above information, LinkedIn encourages you to tell a story that includes any designation you earned, as well as what you did while at university. Here’s an example.

University of Massachusetts Amherst
Master’s Degree, English/Technical Writing
Grade: Magna Cum Laude

(You can provide a description of your time at university) This was one of the most exciting times of my life, as my wife and I were beginning our family. During this time, I interned at Mount. Holyoke College as a career advisor. This is where I learned I wanted to be in career development.

Recommendations

Let’s skip to the next section where you can demonstrate your greatness. This is Recommendations which is, unfortunately, anchored in the basement of your profile. This said, you can direct visitors of your profile from the About section to your recommendations.

A statement at the bottom of About like, “If you want to see my recommendations, scroll to the bottom of my profile.”

Your recommendations will do the speaking for you. You aren’t required to display every recommendation written for you, so only display the ones that speak highly of your greatness.


There you have it. Your resume and LinkedIn profile provide you with plenty of opportunities to promote your greatness. Don’t give up these opportunities. Grab hold of them like a python, because if you don’t you’ll be like the other job seekers, normal.

9 Major Reasons Why You’re Not Landing a Job and What to Do about It

You’re unemployed and wondering why you’re not landing a job as fast as you’d like. You’re hearing there are plenty of jobs out there and wondering why you haven’t been contacted by employers. After all, you’re a great fit for all the jobs you’ve applied for.

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We’re in the midst of the Great Resignation and employers are working with a skeleton crew. Yet, they aren’t hiring candidates fast enough. What gives? Here’s the issue: they’re scared. More accurately, they’re afraid of hiring the wrong candidate and then having to do it all over again.

It costs employers a significant amount of money to replace an employee. SHRM estimates it can cost 50%-60% of an employee’s annual salary to bring someone onboard which can include recruiting, interview, training, and other administrative costs.

So employers are taking their sweet time to find the perfect, it seems, candidates. Glassdoor.com puts the hiring process at 10-53 days, but this doesn’t factor the time to fill (putting employees in their seats) which can take weeks.

Knowing this probably doesn’t make you feel better about being unemployed. However, you can take solace in knowing you’re not alone. “But the unemployment rate is low. They say there are jobs out there.” you protest.

True, the unemployment rate is hovering around 4% and there are jobs out there, but it’s obvious that employers need your help with speeding up the process. To help employers make their decision to hire you easier, you need to understand what you might be doing wrong and make adjustments to correct your mistakes.

Here are nine mistakes you might be making and solutions to correct them:

1. Your job search lacks focus

If you’re saying to yourself and others that you’ll take any job, this is the root cause of your problem. Without direction, you are spinning your wheels, spreading yourself too wide.

What’s more, employers can detect job seekers who lack focus if they’re applying for multiple jobs in their company.

What to do about it: Stop applying for jobs for one day to determine exactly what you want to do. Create a spreadsheet of two or three jobs you’d consider taking. Also make a list of your strongest job-related and transferable skills. Lastly, make a list of your values that employers must meet.

Now type in the search field of the job board/s you use five of your most pertinent skills. Make note of the job titles that pop up and determine which ones are appropriate for you. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that you were a compliance officer and one of the job titles that comes up is business operator.

When you engage with people during informational meetings or other networking events, mention your five greatest areas of expertise. This will help people to better understand what you can do going forward, instead of pigeonholing you into one particular job.

You might benefit from creating a Professional Networking Document for networking.

2. Your job search is one-sided

You’re using job boards 100% of the time. This is a recipe for a very long job search. Some estimates put this method of looking for work as low as 3% success if used alone. I’ve heard and read accounts of job seekers who’ve submitted 600 applications with a few or no interviews as a result.

On the flip side is using networking alone as a job-search method. Career coaches will swear by networking—I’m one of them—but they don’t expect you to abandon applying online. That would be ludicrous.

What to do about it: It’s no secret that one should employ various methods to search for work. Some people even put a percentage on each method. I’m guilty of having done this.

However, I’ve learned that everyone’s job search is different based on their occupation and industry. A salesperson might find more success putting more emphasis on networking, whereas a software designer might benefit from putting more emphasis on connecting with recruiters.

This said, determine which plan of attack is best for you. Some methods to consider are:

  • Networking with other job seekers, professional associations, in the community, at your religious affiliations, friends, relatives, neighbors, basically everyone.
  • Connecting with recruiters in your industry.
  • Networking on social media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
  • Joining a buddy group.
  • Cruising the job boards including industry specific ones.

I’m also of the opinion that you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. Like deciding what you want to do, you should decide what methods work best for you. For example, someone in my industry (nonprofit) would benefit in order: networking in person and online, and utilizing industry specific job boards.

3. Your resume is not written for human consumption

As of late, there has been a great deal of discussion surrounding applicant tracking systems (ATS’) and what they’re capable of doing. The misconception is that all ATS’ will automatically eliminate resumes based on lack of keywords. Thus, job seekers are writing resumes to “beat” the ATS’.

What to do about it: Hannah Morgan asked for my opinion on this matter in her 22 Job Search Trends and Predictions for 2022. Here’s how I answered:

Hiring Authorities are making it clear that applicant tracking systems (ATS’) is mostly a vessel where resumes are stored. Yes, some ATS’ can parse resumes for keywords and reject them. Yes, some ATS’ have “knockout” questions. And yes, some ATS’ can rank resumes.

In 2022 Job candidates will heed the words of hiring authorities and write resumes that speak to the needs of the employer if they want to succeed in getting their resumes into the hands of hiring authorities, not to “beat” the ATS‘.

For candidates to earn a chance to be interviewed, their resumes must accomplish the following:

  1. Be tailored to each job. This is huge if candidates want their resumes to demonstrate they have the qualifications for the job at hand.
  2. Demonstrate value. Instead of writing: “Led a team of software engineers to complete 4 projects.” Write: “Saved the company $493,020 in projected salary by championing a team of 6 software engineers to complete 4 projects in 2020. The projected number of projects was 3.”
  3. Only show 10-15 years of work history. The main reason for doing this is for showing relevant experience. The second reason is to avoid any possibility of age discrimination.
  4. Be easy to read. No paragraphs longer than 3 lines. No bullet point statements longer than 2 lines.

The labor market offers job candidates great potential but only if their resumes are written with the employer in mind. Worry less about the ATS and more about speaking to the employer’s needs.

4. You’re not on LinkedIn or not using it

Not being on LinkedIn hurts your job search three ways: recruiters and other hiring authorities can’t find you, it hinders your networking abilities, and it tells employers that you lack the interest or technical skills to use the most popular online networking tool out there.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “I have a profile, but I haven’t touched it in years.” Or, “I’m on LinkedIn but just started using it.”

What to do about it: Take the plunge and join LinkedIn. I know it seems scary, but it’s not that hard. First you need to join Linked and create a profile. I tell people to simply copy their resume and paste it to their profile at first. Then they need to take it a step further and make it more personal.

Read this article to better understand how to write a strong profile: The Ultimate LinkedIn Profile Guide Revisited: a Look at 16 Major Sections

Next you’ll need to build a like-minded network. The obvious people to invite to your network are former colleagues, but you’ll need to reach out to people you don’t know. These folks would include people at your target company list (mentioned below), as well as people in your industry and recruiters.

Read this article to learn more about networking on LinkedIn: Tips from 6 Pros on How to Use LinkedIn to Network

Finally, you’ll need to engage with your connections. “Out of sight, out of mind,” the saying goes. I suggest commenting, not just reacting, to what others write to start out with. Then get bolder and posting your own content or sharing articles and commenting on the articles.

5. You’re not networking

I mentioned above how networking should be part of your job-search process. In fact, I listed it at the top of of ways to search for your next job. You’re most likely stalled in your job search if networking is not part of your menu. It doesn’t have to be 100% of your job search, but it should be a good chunk of it.

What to do about it: Remember that there are different ways to network. If attending large networking groups via Zoom is not your thing, try joining smaller groups. However, the principles are the same. You must a willing participant and offer help to others in the group.

One example that immediately comes to mind is one participant of my job club (another networking venue) who was contacted by a recruiter about a position for which she wasn’t qualified. She turned around and shared it with the group. This is the essence of networking.

There is more than one way to network. What comes to mind for most job seekers is initiating contact with other job seekers and nurturing a relationship until a game-winning interview occurs.

This is great, but what about contacting recruiters on LinkedIn, handing your resume to a neighbor who delivers it to the hiring manager of a company for which you’d like to work, or following up with employees in the company after applying online to initiate further contact with the hiring manager?

Lastly, take your job search into your own hands. Develop a company target list of 15-30 companies. Research said companies and then send an approach letter to each company asking for an informational meeting. If your ROI is six meetings, you are closer to your next job.

Bonus: Sarah Johnston talks about making lists, including a list of companies, in her LinkedIn Learning course called Find a Job in the Hidden Job Market.

6. You’re not prepared for interviews

I’m of the opinion that most job applicants fail in interviews because they don’t conduct research. If you’re not researching the position, company, and even the interviewers; you will most likely fail in the interview.

Another important component of interview success is practice answering question which, again, I see job seekers failing to do. They go into the interview thinking they can “wing” it. Don’t be that person.

What to do about it: I won’t harp on researching the aforementioned topics other than to say that this should be your first act for each position. Not only will it help you prepare for interviews, it will help you write a focused resume. Don’t neglect this important part of your job search.

You’ve dutifully researched the position for a project manager. Now it’s time to practice answering questions you predict will be asked in an interview. Follow these steps:

  1. Write at least 10 anticipated questions based on your research. For example, you read in the job ad that written and oral communication is a strong requirement.
  2. For this question, write, “Tell us about a time when your written communication was integral to the success of a major project.”
  3. Write the answer to this question. This might seem like hard work, but if you want to blow the interviewers away you’ll do this hard work.
  4. Practice answering questions like this in front of a mirror or with a willing networking partner. If you really want to take practicing questions to the next level, have your partner record the practice session on Zoom.

In addition to conducting research and practice answering the questions you predict will be asked, leverage your network to gather valuable information in terms of the position and company. Try to discover the pain points of the employer. Use the information you gain through networking in the interviews.

7. You’re not adapting to interviewing technology

According to Monster.com 40% of interviewing is conducted via smart phones. Gen Zs prefer this mode of interviewing because it’s easier for them; they can interview candidates anywhere and at anytime. This is one example of how interviewing has changed over time.

Even before the pandemic, interviews were conducted via video platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Teams, Facetime, and others. Personality and analytical assessments were the norm for large employers who want to hurry the process.

What to do about it: Embrace technology if you haven’t already. We won’t be returning to the “old fashion” method of in-person interviewing primarily, especially during the ongoing pandemic. You must accept this fact and take measures to correct your old ways.

Your first assignment is to create an area for interaction via video platforms. I’ll attest that proper lighting is huge in your presentation. A dark area hurts your first impression, as does sunlight washing out your face.

Poor Internet connectivity is frustrating for interviewers when they have to wait for you to connect. To make eye contact, don’t look into the interviewers’ eyes, look at the camera. These are just a few must dos for proper presentation.

Part of adapting to change in the interview process is accepting that employers are receiving hundreds of applicants for each job. Therefore, they need a way to cut out the chaff. Their solution is employing personality and analytical assessments that, to you, is a huge waste of time.

It might well be a waste of time. It certainly doesn’t wave in the best candidates. Understanding this is part of the process will help you in your job search, just as accepting the idea that ATS’ are here to stay.

Read about 7 Tools Employers are Using to Hire Job Candidates.

8. You’re not showing up for interviews

Not literally. You’ve prepared for interviews by researching understanding the technology, but you’re just not there. You’re not answering the tough interview questions. This is the big ball game, so bring your A game.

What to do about it: I’m brought back to a great piece Dan Roth from Amazon wrote for one of my articles. In it he advises to be prepared for the types of questions, most importantly the behavioral based ones, instead of focusing on certain ones.

Yes, you need to be prepared for the traditional ones, such as, “Why should we hire you?” There are also the situational ones, such as, “What would you do if you had to persuade your manager to agree with how you wanted to conduct a certain procedure?”

Most difficult of all are the behavioral-based questions because they require you to provide proof of what you’ve performed. These questions require a S.T.A.R. answer. Confused? Here’s what Dan writes:

As recruiters a recruiter, I get asked all the time, “What is the hardest interview question you have ever heard?” I always pause, knowing I am not going to give them the answer they are expecting to hear.

Instead of a specific question, my response is always, “It’s not the question that is hard. The hard part is making sure you are answering the question how the interviewer wants you to.” Roughly 90% of the time I get a quizzical look so I explain….

Now read the rest of his contribution, Sage Interviewing Advice from 5 Recruiters.

9. You’re not following up

Following up with the interviewers completes the interview process and demonstrates excellent customer awareness. If you think this part of the journey doesn’t matter, you’re mistaken. As many as 75% of employers take note of candidates who don’t follow up, and as many as 20% base their hiring decision based on follow up messages.

What to do about it: There are two ways you can follow up, with email or via snail mail. The former is preferred more by employers and job candidates. It’s immediate and allows you to include more in your note. One might argue that thank-you notes show your age.

When you follow up is key. Generally speaking, you don’t want to wait longer than 24 hours. If an interview takes place on a Friday, following up on Monday is acceptable.

The third consideration is with whom to follow up. The answer is simple; everyone who interviewed you receives a thank-you note. And each note is personalized. Don’t send the same email to each interviewer and don’t send one note to the lead interviewer, asking her to thank the other interviewers.

Lastly are the elements of your thank-you note:

1. Show your gratitude. Obviously you’re going to thank the interviewers for the time they took to interview you; after all, they’re busy folks and probably don’t enjoy interviewing people.

2. Reiterate you’re the right person for the job. This is the second most obvious statement you’ll make in your follow-up notes. Mention how you have the required skills and experience and, very importantly, you have the relevant accomplishments.

3. Interesting points made at the interview. Show you were paying attention at the interview. Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest, or asked a pertinent question. Impress them with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.

4. Do some damage control: How many candidates wish they could have elaborated on a question, or totally blew it with a weak answer? Now’s your chance to correct your answer.

5. Suggest a solution to a problem: Prior to the interview you were unaware of a problem the company is facing. Now you know about the problem. If you have a solution to this problem, mention it in your follow-up or a more extensive proposal.


To succeed in 2022 you must shuck off the bad habits you’ve developed because of lack of job search or simply because you haven’t considered better ways to look for work. Do better in gaining focus, researching, writing resumes for human consumption, networking, preparing for interviews, adapting to technology, and following up.

4 Areas Where Customer Awareness in the Job Search is Key: Part 2 of 2 Articles

The other day I was searching in our local grocery store for Sriracha Chili Sauce which my wife needed to make Thai Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce. She had told me it was in the third aisle with the other sauces, but I couldn’t find it.

So, I asked the nearest associate where this elusive ingredient was. To my surprise, the associate told me it was in the third isle with the other sauces. I swear I looked everywhere. When I looked at him puzzled, he said, “Come on, I’ll take you to it.”

And sure enough it was in the third aisle where the other sauces were. Did I leave the store thinking, “Bob was being Bob,” that the Sriracha Chili Sauce was hiding from me? No. I left the grocery store thinking how the store associate had demonstrated great customer awareness.

Like the store associate, job seekers must demonstrate great customer awareness in their search. In the previous article, I pointed out how employers should show customer awareness. Now I’m going to address four areas where job seekers must show customer awareness:

  1. Research the position and company
  2. Write a resume that speaks to the employer, not the ATS
  3. Perform well in the interview
  4. Follow up respectfully

Research the position and company, at least

How does this demonstrate great customer awareness? First of all, the employer is a customer. And not doing your research is akin to the store associate not knowing where the Sriracha Chili Sauce was. You will not only hurt your chances of landing the job, you will also offend the employer.

Have you ever interviewed someone, and has that someone shown up without being prepared? I bet it was embarrassing for the job candidate. And I bet you were squirming in your seat. So don’t be that person who arrives unprepared and makes interviewers squirm in their seat.

Start researching the position by carefully dissecting the job ad. List all the important requirements in a column and next to them write how you can meet the requirements. Hint: the important requirements are listed in the job ad under Basic Qualifications or Major Qualifications. Also take note of the Preferred Qualifications.

Sarah Johnston, a career coach and former recruiter, suggests:

“Read between the lines to better understand the culture, reporting structure, and the actual job requirements. Consider that every bullet point in the job requirement section could be turned into an interview question.”

When you research the company, don’t rely solely on its website. The content you’ll find there is marketing material and won’t tell the whole story. Dig deeper if the company is public by reading press releases and annual reports. This will give you a better ideal of the company’s pain points.

Go one step further and try to ask people who work for the company if they can give you more info. Knowing someone in the company will be of great help in gathering information about the position—some of the hidden requirements—and the company culture and some issues it might be facing.

Write a resume that speaks to the employer, not the ATS

There’s been a lot of scuttlebutt as to what the applicant tracking system (ATS) is. Some claim it’s a system that selects resumes for hiring authorities to read based on keywords and, therefore, you must write resumes to “beat” the ATS.

Others claim it’s merely a system that stores resumes like a file cabinet where hiring authorities can pluck them based on keywords they enter for particular jobs. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that both scenarios are possible. Let’s also say for the sake of argument that your resume must be read by human eyes.

Teegan Bartos, a career coach and former recruiter, sums it up nicely:

“At the end of the day a human codes an ATS, a human enables various features of an ATS, a human sets up the knock-out questions the ATS asks, a human being chooses to read or not read each application, a human is conducting the keyword boolean search in their ATS database, and it’s the human being that clicks the button to send the rejection notices out.”

Will it serve as excellent customer awareness if job seekers write their resumes to satisfy the ATS the company’s using, while disregarding the integrity of their candidacy? Of course not. The resume must be created to speak to the needs of the employer. It must shout, “I know your needs, and I can solve them.”

Among the many attributes of a winning resume are strong relevant accomplishment statements. The keyword here is “relevant.” When you can show accomplishments that mean something to the employer, you’re speaking their language and indicating that you can repeat them in the future.

Perform well in the interview

The ultimate sign of strong customer awareness is pulling it all together in the interview. You’ve conducted research and submitted a resume that speaks to the employer’s needs. Now you must speak to the traits that make you the best candidate.

These are traits that not only show them you can do the job—those listed on your resume—but also speak to your outstanding character. Remember to speak to some pain points you noticed in the job ad. One of them might allude to being resilient.

Lisa Rangel, an executive resume writer and former recruiter sums it up nicely:

“One trait is to be prepared to demonstrate is resiliency. Have stories prepared on how you pivoted to succeed in an unexpected situation or business change. Use mishaps that could naturally occur in the interview as an opportunity to show how resilient and inventive on your feet you are. I firmly believe how someone handles a mishap on an interview tells me more about their resiliency than anything they could prepare for.”

This is a great example of how to handle the tough questions thrown at you during an interview. Demonstrating great customer awareness doesn’t only mean being able to answer questions that call for positive results. One question my clients get is, “Tell me about a time you made a mistake, and what did you learn from it?”

Let’s get back to research. Sarah Johnston states above that being able to read between the lines is a key component of predicting which types of questions might be asked. She gives this example:

“Let’s say that the job description reads: ‘Identify, initiate, and drive process improvement solutions that will ultimately provide operating efficiencies and synergies within the supply chain, resulting in cost reduction and increasing service level to customers.’

“This could be turned into a behavioral question in the interview: ‘Tell me about a time that you identified and drove a large process improvement solution in a previous role that led to increased operating efficiency. Tell me about the solution and the results of the implementation.'”

Lastly, keep in mind that first impressions do matter. I mention this because all too often I hear from my clients that they felt they did poorly because they talked too much, or they failed to make eye contact, or they weren’t dressed appropriately. Details like these matter; they demonstrate poor customer awareness.

Because interviews are often conducted via Zoom and other video platforms, you need to take into account the following details: proper lighting, what’s in your background, reducing noise and distractions, and how you’re dressed. All of these details are part of demonstrating excellent customer awareness.

Follow up respectfully

Following up with the interviewers completes the interview process and demonstrates excellent customer awareness. If you think this part of the journey doesn’t matter, you’re mistaken. As many as 75% of employers take note of candidates who don’t follow up, and as many as 20% base their hiring decision based on follow up messages.

There are four considerations when following up: how you follow up, when you follow up, with whom you follow up, and what do you include in your follow-up notes.

There are two ways you can follow up, with email or via snail mail. The former is preferred more by employers and job candidates. It’s immediate and allows you to include more in your note. One might argue that thank-you notes show your age.

When you follow up is key. Generally speaking, you don’t want to wait longer than 24 hours. If an interview takes place on a Friday, following up on Monday is acceptable.

The third consideration is with whom to follow up. The answer is simple; everyone who interviewed you receives a thank-you note. And each note is personalized. Don’t send the same email to each interviewer and don’t send one note to the lead interviewer, asking her to thank the other interviewers.

Lastly are the elements of your thank-you note:

1. Show your gratitude. Obviously you’re going to thank the interviewers for the time they took to interview you; after all, they’re busy folks and probably don’t enjoy interviewing people.

2. Reiterate you’re the right person for the job. This is the second most obvious statement you’ll make in your follow-up notes. Mention how you have the required skills and experience and, very importantly, you have the relevant accomplishments.

3. Interesting points made at the interview. Show you were paying attention at the interview. Each person with whom you spoke mentioned something of interest, or asked a pertinent question. Impress them with your listening skills by revisiting those interesting points.

4. Do some damage control: How many candidates wish they could have elaborated on a question, or totally blew it with a weak answer? Now’s your chance to correct your answer.

5. Suggest a solution to a problem: Prior to the interview you were unaware of a problem the company is facing. Now you know about the problem. If you have a solution to this problem, mention it in your follow-up or a more extensive proposal.

6. You want the job: You told the interview committee at the end of the interview that you want the job. Reiterate this sentiment by stating it in you follow-up note, which can be as simple as asking what the next steps will entail. This shows your enthusiasm and sincere interest in the position.


Demonstrating excellent customer awareness in the job-search process is key to your success in getting that desired job. Remember to conduct thorough research, write a resume that is written based on your research, perform stellar in the interview, and complete the process by following up.

4 Areas Where Customer Awareness in the Hiring Process is Key: Part 1 of 2 Articles

Where I buy my coffee there are certain employees who know how I like it made and, just as important, the lid I prefer. I hate straws because of the mess they make in my car and how they’re destructive to the environment. So, I ask for the lid from which you sip.

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

One employee, in particular, will rush over to correct my coffee order, made by another employee, and change it from a lid which requires a straw to a sippy one. She is aware of my preference. She possesses strong customer awareness.

Customer awareness isn’t only present in food retail; it’s present in every aspect of our lives. The workplace is another example. We interact with our internal customers, our colleagues and supervisors. If our team is inharmonious, there is a chance that the project will fail.

In the community we are aware of the people around us; they are also our customers. I had a neighbor who would trim our hedges, and I would cut his lawn. He was better at trimming than I was; I was able to push a lawn mower while he wasn’t. We practiced customer awareness.

The hiring process is an obvious example of where customer awareness is required. The stakes are high. Employers need to fill positions to make their organizations run smoothly and profitably; job seekers must be the ones to fill the positions.

Of the two entities, the employer and the job seeker, none is more important than the other. In this article of two, we’ll look at how the employer can demonstrate customer awareness in the hiring process.

The employer

The hiring process will operate seamlessly if customer awareness is practiced effectively by the employer:

  1. Writing an accurate job ad
  2. Practice fair and effective recruitment
  3. Conducting interviews that garner the most qualified candidate
  4. Following up with the candidates no matter what the decision

The job ad

Do you think employers sit around the table and say, “Let’s write a job ad that is vague so we’ll attract the worst candidates”? You probably don’t. But in some cases, employers subconsciously produce an ad that is exactly that, vague. Job candidates read the ad and wonder, “What do they want here?”

They go into the interview where they’re confronted with questions that don’t address the requirements of the position they need to fill. If you’re a job seeker, you’ve probably experienced this scenario at one point during the hiring process. A total lack of customer awareness.

Employers must get buy-in from the immediate group of employees who will interact with job candidates and create a job ad based on the needs of these employees. This said, the needs should be doable for qualified candidates. In other words, the job ad shouldn’t be a mountainous list of duties.

The end result of a job ad that shows customer awareness is one that results in interviewers and candidates entering a business agreement with their eyes wide open, not one that confuses both parties. Employers who know what they need will better serve themselves and job candidates.

Recruitment

Not all job seekers will encounter a recruiter. Some will meet with HR and hiring managers. For sake of argument, let’s use the word “recruiter” as one of the hiring authorities. Let’s also agree that recruiters are the front-line of the hiring process. Therefore, they must also be a brand ambassador.

Too often we hear about recruiters who mistreat job candidates. They schedule, reschedule, and cancel interviews. Stressful would be a kind word to describe what the candidates experience. In addition to mistreating the candidates, this behavior hurts the company’s brand.

Recruiters must refrain from this behavior in order to demonstrate strong customer awareness. They should empathize with the candidates who are struggling with the letdown and, in many cases, despondency that is commonplace with the hiring process.

Customer awareness is better demonstrated when recruiters treat their clients and candidates fairly. Yes recruiters are paid by the employer, but their behavior is well noted by candidates who can be a source of referrals down the road. Many of my clients speak fondly of recruiters they’ve worked with, and some don’t.

Interviews

This is where the hiring process often fails. There are a number of reasons, the first of which is mentioned above, but a poorly written job ad is only the beginning. The number of interviews is another example of poor customer relations. The final example of poor customer awareness is the way they’re conducted.

The record of interviews one of my customers endured was nine or ten; I don’t remember. I think we can all agree that any number of interviews beyond four is too many. It makes one wonder…why? Why can’t employers make a determination by the third or fourth interview?

I think we can also agree that making a determination after the first interview is also ludicrous. It’s like bringing a girl or boy home after a week of knowing them and telling your parents that you’re getting married.

I’ve heard my share of piss poor interviews my clients have endured. One that comes to mind is a phone interview that consisted of a list of inane questions such as, “What is your greatest weakness,” “Where do you want to be in five years,” and, believe it or not, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you want to be?”

Do you get the idea? Employers who ask questions like these lack creativity and don’t have a strategy in plan. Back to the job ad and knowing what employers want in their next hire: the questions asked should pull the best out of candidates. They should be directly related to the requirements of the job.

Behavioral-based questions are the best questions. They are the ones that show customer awareness. Sure, hard technical questions are also necessary to determine who is the most qualified, but they alone aren’t enough. Do the candidates a solid and make them dig deep into their story bag to prove their worth.

Follow through

I say that the interview is a deal breaker when it comes to customer awareness. A close second is follow through, or there lack of. This phase of the process is not the sole responsibility of the recruiter; much of it relies on hiring managers who must communicate to the go-between. They must play a larger part in the process.

All too often hiring managers feel that filling a role that will make their lives easier, don’t invest enough in the process. Recruiters pull their hair out trying to get a pulse from the hiring manager. Candidates sit by the phone waiting to hear from the recruiter. No, the real problem is the hiring manager.

For the sake of the hiring manager and the company’s brand, they must, must, must treat their next valuable resource with respect. When they say they’ll make a decision in a week, make that decision, or at the very least keep the recruiter and the candidates in the loop. Candidates can take the truth.


Much mudslinging and some strong suggestions have been made. To do the employer a service, the next article will focus on what job candidates must do to demonstrate excellent customer awareness. Namely, they must:

  1. Research the position and company
  2. Write a resume that speaks to the employer, not the ATS
  3. Perform well in the interview
  4. Follow up respectfully.

4 Areas in Your Job Search Where You’re Broadcasting Your Age

One concern I hear from job seekers in their 50’s and above is the prevalence of ageism they encounter in their job search. While I don’t disagree with these job seekers that ageism exists, I also tell them that they could do a better job of not broadcasting their age.

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

There are four major areas where older job seekers need to be cognizant of how they present themselves:

  • Resume
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Networking
  • The interview

If you’re an older job seeker and feel that you are experiencing ageism, take a close look at these major areas and ask yourself if you are broadcasting your age.

Your Resume

You’re definitely broadcasting your age if you begin your Summary with, “More than 30 years of progressive project management in manufacturing.” Just do the math. That puts you at least around 55, or quite possibly higher.

Another way you’re broadcasting your age is by listing every job you’ve had since the 80’s. Many job seekers feel that going back 25 or more years demonstrates relevant experience, but this is erroneous thinking; technology and procedures have changed. I advise job seekers to go back no further than 10 or 15 years.

The most obvious way to broadcast your age is by listing your graduation date from university or high school. Someone who graduates from university in 1985 makes them around 58.

I’m often asked, “Why should we lie? They’re  going to know our age when we get to the interview.” True, they can guess  your age when you get to the interview, but the idea is to get to the interview and sell yourself based on the benefits of a mature worker.

Besides, you’re not lying. You’re just not disclosing the whole truth. If it makes you feel more truthful, include an Previous Experience section that includes your previous employers and titles, but no years of tenure.

A valued LinkedIn connection and resume writer, Erin Kennedy, suggests changing your email address if it’s ancient: “Staying up with technology—and getting rid of that AOL and Hotmail email—shows you are current and/or willing to learn.

Your LinkedIn Profile

Here’s the most obvious way to broadcast your age…you don’t have a LinkedIn profile. One poll suggests that nearly 40% of employers won’t consider a candidate if they’re not on LinkedIn.

Here’s another red flag: you don’t have a photo. What is a recruiter to think when they don’t see a photo? The answer is that you’re trying to hide something.

Here you’re probably thinking that I’m contradicting myself. I shouldn’t reveal my age on my resume, but it’s alright to show my age with a photo? Here’s the thing; your profile is a networking document and without one, you’re killing your networking opportunities.

When people tell me they don’t have a photo because they look too old, I have two responses. First, it’s not your age that matters, it’s the quality of the photo. A little brushing up doesn’t hurt, and if you want to color your hair (guys), that’s an option.

My second point is perhaps the most salient; you’ll never know if you’re a victim of ageism because the few employers daft enough not to give you a second look won’t contact you. Whereas the ones who don’t care about age or appreciate an older worker will reach out.

But really, LinkedIn is a networking application, and to network you need to come across as personable. This means having a photo which makes you memorable and shows your personality.

Finally, like your resume, you list too many years of employment. I suggest being consistent with the number of years you list on your resume.

While Networking

I’ve heard people broadcast their age by saying to me, “I’ve been out of work for six months, probably because of my age.” Or “Getting a job will be tough because I’m over 55.” Or “Would you hire someone my age?”

To the last remark, I think, “No. Not because of your age; because you’re already giving up the fight.” If you want someone in your corner—going to bat for you—you need to come across as confident; not demonstrating a defeatist attitude.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d have the same concern if I were to lose my job. But I also believe that to dwell on your age and talk about it while networking is a complete turn off. It doesn’t express your value; it detracts from it.

Your goal is to show value with whomever you speak; this includes people who can be your greatest allies. It’s not only people you network with at organized events; it’s also people in your community and your former colleagues.

To show vitality, dress in more fashionable clothes. I’m not suggesting that you dress like my teenage boy, but perhaps drop the expensive all-weather wool slacks and opt for Khakis. Nice polo shirts during the summer hours are great.

And please smile. A smile goes a long way in terms of showing friendliness and enthusiasm, two traits all networkers appreciate. Someone who constantly appears negative or angry is not going to attract the networking bees.

During the Interview

Older job seekers tell me it’s in the interview where they experience blatant ageism, whether it’s because of the interviewers’ body language or the questions interviewers ask. But how the job seeker feels may not be reality; it may be a preconceived notion.

The first mistake an older  job seeker can make is going into the interview thinking they’ll suffer discrimination. It’s written on their body language and evident by their attitude. Their EQ rapidly plummets, and the game is already lost.

Instead of assuming the worse, you should dispel the myth that older workers are not physically up to the challenge by entering the room with a skip in your step. Not literally, of course, but you know what I mean. Show vitality immediately.

Your firm handshake and steady eye contact are very important in demonstrating your confidence and strong presence. Don’t disregard these first impressions, as they speak volumes about your personality.

Have I mentioned smile? As well, speak with confidence, addressing the interviewer/s with clarity and the proper tone. Timidity is not how you want to project yourself. Separate yourself from younger job seekers who are not self-assured.

When you answer questions be sure you answer them with confidence and always include statements about how you are willing to learn new technologies or procedures. Talk about your ability to work with a diverse group of people.

If you are directly asked how old you are (it’s happened), don’t get indignant and say, “That’s an illegal question, and I refuse to answer it.” (Unless you want to end the interview.) Instead answer truthfully and follow up with the benefits someone your age offers an employer.

Most importantly always provide answers that express the value you’ll bring to the company. The interviewer/s cannot discount this, especially if you include quantified results in your answers.

Huge bonus if you talk about your recent accomplishments, e.g., ones you’ve achieved in the past five years. For example: Last year I saved the company $493,020 in projected salary by completing four projects, when the projected number was only three. Here’s I did it….

Remember that you have more job and life experience than your counterparts and can hit the ground running. Employers want people like you. Believe this.

For more tips on how to do well in an interview, read this article.


Succeeding in these four areas of the job search are essential to your success. Maintain the mentality that you are young in spirit, yet more experienced than younger workers. Remember that you have much more to offer in terms of your maturity and EQ.

Sure there will be challenges, but you’ve faced many challenges and have successfully overcome them. This is yet another strength of older workers. Continue to focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.

Don’t Let One Unsuccessful Networking Experience Be a Negative Teaching Moment

Experiences can be positive or negative teaching moments based how you look at them. A vivid experience in my life that stays with me to this day was when my father told me on one occasion not to brag. From then on I stopped bragging; this experience taught me humility.

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Another experience in my life was when I didn’t make it to the “Big Ball” as a high school teacher. Back then if you successfully survived your third year, you earned tenure. I gave up on teaching and often wish I hadn’t. This was a negative teaching moment.

There are times when job seekers give up, throw in the towel, after one unsuccessful networking experience. These times epitomize negative teaching moments.

Case in point was a job seeker who I met at one networking event I led. He looked discouraged as he was putting on his jacket on the way out.

I asked him how the event had gone. He told me that it hadn’t gone well; didn’t get anything out of it he told me. I should have done him a solid by telling him that one unsuccessful networking event shouldn’t deter him.

Come back again and again and again. You shouldn’t expect immediate gratification. Alas, I let him walk away to never return for another networking event. He saw this as an unsatisfying experience, a negative teaching moment.

It’s where you network that forms your experiences

Where job seekers network can form their positive and negative experiences. Many are under the impression that networking only consists of attending formal events where large groups of other job seekers gather to share advice and seek opportunities.

The atmosphere of large networking events caters more toward extravated types who thrive on the excitement of entering a church hall or library and seeing 50 or more people. This represents more opportunities for them.

Another benefit of larger networking groups is that guest speakers motivate the attendees by talking about various aspects of the job search. Once a month at the job club I conduct I’ll have guest speakers share their knowledgeable of topics like interviewing, networking, resume writing, LinkedIn, etc.

Read this article on proper and improper networking techniques.

However, large networking groups don’t garner the best ROI for everyone. This is particularly true for those who prefer introversion. To Introverts, a positive experience is a smaller, more intimate setting, where they can have in-depth conversations.

Small networking groups like Meet-Ups, dinner parties, buddy groups, etc. are more intimate and slower in pace. This allows members to talk at greater length and develop deeper relationships.

Buddy groups, in particular, can be positive experiences because members keep each other accountable for their search. Leaders of the groups will issue assignments such as updating their resumes, creating networking documents, practicing answering tough interview questions, etc.

Read this article on buddy groups.

Regardless of the size or purpose of the networking group, job seekers shouldn’t unsuccessful event prevent you from attending other events. Their preference might be large, formal events, or it might be smaller ones.

Networking is ongoing

What many job seekers fail to realize is that the networking process continues after they’ve applied for a position via the traditional process. They send their resume to a company and wait by the phone (not literally) for employers to call.

Employers don’t call. Yet, job seekers continue on the same path and suffer the same negative experiences. These are teaching moments that discourages them.

Here’s a scenario of a positive teaching moment. After applying online for a position, a job seeker contacts people with whom she’s worked in some capacity and tells them that she’s applied for a position. Do any of her networking contacts know someone in the department to which she’s applied?

One person does and provides valuable contact information, which is not privy to other candidates. Wisely she asks if she can mention her networking contact as a reference in the email she sends to the contact.

This is a form of networking that too many job seekers overlook. Their contacts can be a valuable resource after applying for a position. In many cases job seekers secure their positions by following through.

Job seekers might be successful, or not, at a networking event. If they’re not successful, they shouldn’t let one experience be a negative teaching moment. Rather, they should continue to network or find a networking style that works for them.


This article was inspired by Brian Ahearn, who recently wrote Is Experience Really the Best Teacher?