Tag Archives: Career Search

6 Areas on your LinkedIn profile you should optimize in 2018

If you’re wondering how an optimized LinkedIn profile will help you in your job search, the answer is simple: Your profile needs to be found by hiring authorities (recruiters, hiring managers, and human resources reps). These people can’t find your profile unless you utilize search engine optimization.

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Hiring authorities approach LinkedIn similarly to the way they approach their applicant tracking systems (ATSs). They search the site for certain keywords denoting titles and areas of expertise. To be found, you must show up in the first 4-6 pages of search results, lest you be overlooked.

Let’s consider the following scenario: A hiring authority is searching for a finance manager with expertise in data analysis; advising senior managers on how to maximize profits; business analysis; forecasting; supervising employees responsible for financial reporting; and legal compliance. A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is preferred, although not required.

If a given finance manager wants to be found by the hiring authority in this scenario, their LinkedIn profile must contain their title and area of expertise. Furthermore, this information must be listed in all areas of the finance manager’s profile in order to maximize their chance of being found. This information can be worked into the finance manager’s profile through the use of keywords.

Areas on Your Profile Where Keywords Count

1. Your Name

This area is valuable real estate, as it is weighed heavily in searches. Any certifications or degrees you hold should be included alongside your name, as they will indicate your experience and expertise. So, our finance manager would list their education, “MBA,” after their name.

2. The Headline

This area should be rich with keywords, and it should brand you for your occupation and industry.

Using our financial manager as an example, their headline would read as:

Finance Manager ~ Data Analysis | Business Analysis | Forecasting | Legal Compliance | Maximizing Profits | MBA

Note that you only have 120 characters – including spaces – to work with in your headline. The above example uses 113 characters.

3. The Summary

Your summary should not be brief. Writing a brief summary prevents you from including all the important keywords we’ve identified. In the case of our finance manager, they would want to repeat “finance manager” and the areas of expertise mentioned in the headline above as often as possible.

Note that you have 2,000 characters with which to work in your summary. Something to keep in mind is that visitors only see the first two lines of your summary, unless they select “See more. Read: The 39 most important in your LinkedIn profile summary

4. Experience

The experience section is often overlooked, which is a huge mistake. Each entry in the experience section contains two factors that need to be considered: the job title and the position description.

Our finance manager’s official title is “finance manager” at ABC Company. While this is an accurate title, it doesn’t show their full value. The finance manager should instead list a title similar to their headline. However, you only have 100 characters here, so you have to be more selective. Our finance manager’s title might read:

Finance Manager ~ Data Analysis | Business Analysis | Forecasting | Legal Compliance | MBA

Here, the phrase, “maximizing profits” was removed. “MBA” could be removed instead, but the designation is more important for our finance manager’s purposes.

While the position description must above all else show the candidate’s value by listing accomplishment statements with quantified results, it is also an area on your LinkedIn profile where you can utilize a great deal of space. You have 2,000 characters here to repeat your title and areas of expertise. Don’t squander them.

5. Education / other sections

The education and other sections are also in play. What many people fail to realize is that they can add narratives to their education section. Yes, you’ll list your institution of learning and location (no dates of graduation), but you can also provide some background information.

Our finance manager might tell a story like this: “I fell in love with accounting and other areas of finance on my way to earning my MBA. Of particular interest to me were data and business analysis. I was given the opportunity to learn these skills during an internship at ABC company, which is where I am now employed.” Notice how this narrative employs the right keywords!

You can also benefit from keywords in the featured skills and endorsements sections. Your skills are counted, and some say the number of times you’re endorsed for them increases your ability to be found.

Other considerations when optimizing your LinkedIn profile

Loading your profile with keywords isn’t going to be enough on its own. Being found by hiring authorities also depends on how many people you’re connected with, as well as who your connections are. In addition, engaging with your connections will increase your chances of being found.

Outside your LinkedIn profile

Highlighting your LinkedIn profile on business cards, resumes, links from other social media can further optimize your profile.


Next week, we’ll explore LinkedIn profile optimization further by looking at how to properly connect with other LinkedIn members.

This post originally appeared on recruiter.com.

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4 reasons why the applicant tracking system is ineffective

My wife has an ongoing argument with Amazon’s Alexa. “Alexa, play WBUR.”

“I don’t understand your question.”

“No, Alexa….Play WBUR….Alexa, play WBUR.”

“Playing a station from Boise Idaho.”

“Argh.”

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As I watch this interaction, it demonstrates how technology and humans don’t always jive. This transaction between my wife reminds me of how the applicant tracking system (ATS)—of which there are hundreds—doesn’t work for the following reasons.

People are only human

No matter how hard I try, some job seekers don’t send résumés tailored to specific jobs. Instead they send generic résumés to every job, exclaiming in aspiration, “Why don’t I get interviews? I’ve sent hundreds of résumés and gotten no interviews; not even a phone interview.”

For years I’ve been preaching to job seekers that keywords are the trick with the ATS. I tell them that they can identify keywords from the job postings by using software as simple as http://www.tagxedo.com or http://www.wordle.net to create word clouds, and then do the same to compare their résumés to job postings. Or they can use a more scientific method using http://www.jobscan.com.

Take the time to dissect the job post to understand the required major requirements and skills. Modify your Branding Headline, Performance Profile, Experience section, essentially everything to fit the job post.

The ATS is not human

The ATS can’t do human; it doesn’t know you as a person who has so much more to offer than the requirements for the job at hand. It is designed to do one thing: parse résumés for keywords. Only if your résumé contains the keywords—and density of them—will it be delivered to the hiring authorities who will read it.

Learn more about the ATS by reading 8 things you need to know about applicant tracking systems.

The ATS is so exact in the keywords for which it searches; there is no room for error. It doesn’t  digest the following bold words in this sentence written by a job seeker: “Demonstrate organizational skills by coordinating events that garnered 98% participation from municipality constituents.

It recognizes the following words in bold from a job posting: “Must coordinate events for functions that attract an extremely high percent of participants. Candidates must be extremely organized

Here is where the job candidate fails in matching the three keywords.

  1. coordinating doesn’t equal coordinate.
  2. participation doesn’t equal participants.
  3. Organizational doesn’t equal organized.

The ATS promotes a failing system

The ATS is brilliant because it eliminates as many as 75% of hundreds of résumés submitted for one job. This makes hiring authorities’ lives more manageable and keeps them sane. Most large, and many midsize, companies use applicant tracking systems. One source rates the top 99 applicant tracking systems.

For years we’ve realized that the hiring process is deficient in various ways. When human meets machine, the process fails. You submit your application through an ATS, which does a great job of rating your résumé among others (remember keywords).

However, if your résumé doesn’t meet the ATS’s criteria, you’re out of luck for that job. what the ATS can’t determine is perhaps the most important aspect of a candidate’s potential, emotional intelligence (EQ). The ATS focuses strictly on the skills stated on your résumé, it does not sit across from you in an interview.

The ATS also delivers unqualified people to interviews. This might be attributed to career developers, such as myself, who advise job seekers on how to get by the ATS. (Surely not all people who can play the ATS game are unqualified.) The ones who are unaware of mechanics of the ATS, are being passed by for less qualified people.

The ATS perpetuates job boards

Job boards are chum line. If you’ve ever gone deep-sea fishing, you know what it means to use chum line. Scraps like squid, clams, fish parts, and basically anything that would attract large fish are thrown overboard. The bait attracts any fish who happen to be near the surface.

Hiring authorities reason that they might not get the perfect candidate, but there are job seekers out there who are qualified enough. In other words, what they don’t see, they won’t miss. This thinking is human nature, but it is also faulty.

The ATS allows employers to accept more résumés, convinced the most qualified candidates will be presented to them. Further, the résumés that don’t pass the ATS the first time will be stored for future perusal. Hiring authorities will have a trove a future candidates to look at. This is of no solace to job seekers who need a job now.

The job board’s success rate ranges from 2%-10%. The marriage between it and the ATS is a perfect union.


Friend or foe, the ATS is no better than Alexa. My wife eventually taught the machine to find the radio station she desired, but it took some teaching and frustration. Will the ATS be smarter? Will it be more human? More intuitive? If Alexa is any indication, there might be hope.

Photo: Flickr.com, Victor Gonzalez Couso

6 interesting ways you can find your alumni using LinkedIn’s “See Alumni”

I’ve been working with a gentleman who is interested in enhancing his LinkedIn strategy. One questions he had for me was with whom should he connect.  I suggested that he connect with those in his occupation and industry, as well as people in companies for which he’d like to work, and then I pointed him to See Alumni.

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Alumni? you may wonder. Yes, alumni. It makes perfect sense. Think about the bond you have with the people you went to school with, even if you never met them. There are things you probably experienced during the four years of your education, such as frequenting the same sports bar, getting chased by the white swans from the campus pond, cheering for your school’s basketball team, surviving the blizzard of ’87.

If you haven’t taken a look at See Alumni, which you accesse by typing your school’s name in the Search field, you should see what kind of information you can gather and the potential of connecting with your alumni. I’ve gathered some telling information about my alumni. I’m focusing on my 2nd degree connections.

LinkedIn allows me to filter my alumni by six categories. Below is the first of two pages of See Alumni:

See Alumni 1

1. Where they live

In the United States the majority of my alumni live in the Greater Boston area (4,821), which makes sense. I also live in the Greater Boston area and choose to connect with people who are local. Only 671 of my alumni live in the Springfield, Massachusetts area. This also tells me there’s more industry in eastern Massachusetts.

2. Where they work

If I’m wondering where my alumni work, I see that 201 of them haven’t strayed far from home. Most of them work at my alma mater, while the 46 work at Fidelity. I pointed out to my client that if he clicks “See More,” he’ll see many more companies, along with other filters.

I also tell him that this filter is a great source of information, especially if he has some companies in mind. His alumni can be allies in his job search.   

3. What they do

Of my alumni connections 1,649 are in business development. And at the bottom of the truncated view are 886 people in Entrepreneurship. I recall looking through my See Alumni feature and noticing that I’m connected to many engineers, even if they’re 2nd degrees. This filter can be a good indication of the relevance of your network.

The second page of See Alumni provides the following information.

See Alumni 2

4. What they studied

Economics, Psychology, and Business Administration seem to be the choices of majors of my 2nd degree connections at my alma mater. My discipline, English Languages, is seventh on the list. Mechanical Engineering is seventh. Dad always told me not to be an engineer. Not because it’s a lousy occupation; but because I’d make a lousy engineer.

5. What they’re skilled at

My alumni are more skilled at leadership (2,831) than business development, which is hidden, (1,342). If I fashion myself skilled at public speaking, I’m in the company of 2,194 others who share this skill.  Social Media stands at 1,902. Four years ago it was at the bottom at the list at 556. This is an indicator that social media is exploding.

6. How you’re connected

Four years ago my 1st degree connections stood at a mere 32. Now I have 159. My second degrees have grown from 4,521 to 7,311 in that time frame.

What does this all mean?

This has been a fun exercise for me in terms of discovering where my alma mater live and work, what they do, etc; but the power of this feature lies in identifying specific people with whom you’d like to connect. No matter what your age is, this is a feature you should be using.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it.

Photo: UMass.edu Almuni

3 ways to show employers what you CAN do in the future

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Employers don’t care about what you’ve done; they care about what you will do.” If you haven’t heard this, rest assured it’s the truth.

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By conducting multiple interviews—including phone, one-on-one, group, Skype, you name it—employers are trying to determine how you can save them money, improve quality, increase revenue, improve productivity, and help the company in other ways.

Employers believe that if you’ve achieved multiple accomplishments relative to the position, you will repeat similar accomplishments. On the other hand, if your accomplishments are not relevant, you’re applying for the wrong position.

But it’s not only about the relevant accomplishments you’ve achieved. There are other factors that come into play when convincing employers that you’ll be valuable in the future. So what will you have to do in order to convince employers of your value?

1. Have the proper mindset

The first step in convincing employers that you’ll perform for them in the future is having the proper mindset. People who lack this mindset are like former jocks who talk about his glory days in high school. They are stuck in the past.

More importantly, people who lack this mindset can’t envision what they can do for companies in the future. They can’t see the big picture.

I recently gave a group of job seekers the challenge to tell me what their legacy will be from now until 2027; in other words, what will they have accomplished after 10 years. I asked them to think big picture.

A member in the group said one thing he will do is increase revenue by developing relationships with value added resellers (VARs).

I naturally asked him how he knows this. He told the group that he did it twice in the recent past and there’s no question that he’ll do it in the future. He spoke with confidence, knowing what he accomplished in the past can be repeated in the future.

Another member said she will improve communications for nonprofit organizations. She’ll coordinate events, manage social media, create content for the website. How, some of the group members asked. She’s done it in the past and is confident she’ll do it in the future.

2. Write about your future greatness on your résumé and LinkedIn profile

The language you use in your Performance Profile of your résumé is written in present tense because this is the section that initially states what you will bring to the employer.

Writing, “Consistently increase productivity more than 70% by implementing Agile methodology,” tells employers you’ll do this at their company. Whereas, “Increased productivity more than 70% by implementing Agile methodology,” doesn’t allude to the future.

You must also prioritize your statements by listing your outstanding accomplishments closest to the top of the résumé. The more relevant accomplishments you have on the first page is an indication of the value you’ll bring to the employer.

Notice the word “relevant?” Accomplishments that are relevant and include quantified results are an indication of future greatness.

Your LinkedIn profile Summary should tell a story of the passion you have for your occupation, as well as your value add. Because the profile is more generic and broader in scope than your résumé, you will include more recent accomplishments in the Summary. This is the first section employers will read, so make it pack a punch.

Heres a hint: the first line or two of your LinkedIn profile Summary should be a value statement, as the Summary of the new profile is truncated. You need to make the reader of your Summary want to read the rest of it.

3. Talk about your future greatness in interviews

Many interviewers are focused on the past; therefore, they don’t ask questions that ask about future success. It is up to you to provide answers that illustrate what you will do in the future. You must demonstrate that you are capable of future greatness.

You’re given the popular question, “Why should we hire you?” You must set the tone by delivering an opening statement that talks to the future.

Right: “I am a sales manager who consistently exceeds sales projections. I know you’re looking for the same performance, and I will deliver the performance you require.

Wrong: “I’ve been in sales for 20 years. My most recent job was as a manager.” The beginning of your answer doesn’t convey the fact that you are a sales manager and that you will exceed sales projections.

Many interviewers believe the best type of question is the behavioral-based, which gives you the opportunity to explain your past experience and how it will be repeated in the future. This is the premise behind this type of question.

What’s important in answering this type of question is assuring that your past behavior will be repeated in the future. Begin with a statement similar to, “Most recently, I performed (the following skill)…..” Then ending your answer with, “I will achieve the same accomplishments for you.”

Answer questions using behavioral-based ones whenever possible. Proof is what interviewers want to hear. Take the following traditional question.

“How do you define leadership?” Your reply is to say, “This is an excellent question. Can I give you an example or two how I’ve recently demonstrated leadership?” End your answer with, “Leadership comes easy to me, and I look forward to leading your finance team going forward.”


Using the what-I’ll-do-for-you-in-the-future approach in the job search can be particularly helpful for older job seekers who may falsely be judged as being past their prime.

From the conversation our job club had it is obvious that older workers can and will repeat what they’ve accomplished in the past, and perhaps more. Another member who said she’ll create transparency in the sales reporting process using CRM was convincing because she’s done it successfully in the past. As well, she spoke with confidence.

Photo: Flickr, cthoma27

3 reasons why job seekers should blog

My two daughters used to love writing. My oldest preferred expository writing, while my youngest loved dabbling in creative writing, primarily poetry that had taken on an inner angst slant. I loved reading their essays and stories. Proofreading and editing them was a pleasure.

 

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My youngest daughter once asked me if I write. I told her that I do, and she asked if I write for work. This was a tough question to answer because I don’t get paid for blogging, but I see the doors it opens. Blogging is an investment in the future. How do you explain this to a 13-year-old kid?

Now, I tell my clients that blogging can be beneficial to their job search. I’m often met with reactions like, “Be real, Bob.” Here’s what I tell them about blogging for their job search.

Demonstrates your ability to write

If you enjoy writing and are particularly good at it, blogging gives you the perfect platform. Keep in mind that what you write will be read by people who hope to gain some advice from your writing, not your memoir or short stories based on your college years.

Enjoying the act of writing makes it easier to maintain a consistent schedule of posts. Start with one every other week and then increase them to a point where you are blogging once a week.

If you need trusted people to proofread your posts before sending them out, don’t be afraid to ask. Some of my clients have run their posts by me. My comments were usually: “You’re instincts are correct. Run with it.”

It enhances your brand

Blogging is one of many ways you can enhance your online presence. It demonstrates your expertise in your field, especially if what you write is educational and of use to your readers. This means you need to understand the needs of your audience.

I encourage my clients to blog to demonstrate their expertise. “Everyone in this room is an expert at what you do,” I tell them. This is true. From the purchasing agent to the nurse to the software engineer, they all have knowledge to share.

When recruiters, hiring managers, and HR read your posts, they’ll learn more about your expertise and personality than any résumé you write. Use your professional voice. Begin with a story, if you like. Just remember that the purpose of your posts are to educate your audience.

Also, keep your content positive; refrain from bashing former employers. This is one way to severely damage your brand. I’ve seen people submit negative posts on LinkedIn, which remain in the minds of LinkedIn users.

On the plus side, one of my clients went to an interview where the VP of marketing commented that he saw one of my client’s posts shared on LinkedIn. The VP was very impressed with my client’s expertise and offered him the job shortly after the interview.

It’s a great way to network

The third and final reason to blog is to network on social media like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Provide links in your posts to other bloggers’ posts. They will receive a ping telling them you’ve done this.

Other ways to acknowledge bloggers is by sharing their posts with your LinkedIn connections, tweeting and re-tweeting them, commenting on them, sharing them in your groups, etc. These are all effective ways to develop and strengthen your network.

You’ll find that by supporting other bloggers you will receive some love in return. I wrote a post on the qualities of being a curator called To share is golden. This post illustrates how important it is to not only blog, but to share the work of others. I also listed who I consider to be great curators, and I add to the list from time to time.


So, how do you begin? A connection of mine listened to me bemoan about how I wanted to blog, until she told me to simply do it. After a year of putting it off I finally wrote my first blog with my free WordPress account. And now I consistently blog at least one post a week.

Don’t wait like I did to blog. And think of something that really interests you about your occupation. Don’t expect your first post to be a hit—although it may be. Be patient and stick with it.

You don’t have a WordPress account. LinkedIn makes it easy for first-time bloggers. You can “write an article on the platform,” precluding the need to open a free WordPress account (as I did). The mechanics are straightforward. On your LinkedIn homepage you select “Write an article” and take it from there.


I hope my daughters continue writing in their later years because it is rewarding to the soul. They are excellent writers who will someday make significant contributions to this valuable art. Who knows, maybe one of them will be famous for their writing. One can only hope.

Photo, Flickr, domainermike

4 steps necessary to prepare for behavioral-based questions

During our career center orientation, I ask the participants if they’ve been asked behavioral-based questions. Then I say, “If you find this type of question difficult to answer, keep your hands up.” Almost all hands are still raised.

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I’m not surprised when job seekers in my orientation admit that behavioral-based questions are difficult to answer, given the fact that this type of question is meant to get to the core of the applicant.

Surprisingly, not enough interviewers ask behavioral-based questions. Instead they fall back on traditional questions that lack creativity and can be answered with rehearsed replies. “What are your two greatest weaknesses?” or “Why should I hire you?” are two examples of predictable traditional questions that are easy to prepare for.

In addition, traditional questions  can be answered theoretically—in other words, the candidate hasn’t performed, or failed to perform, the desired competencies successfully. The candidate can essentially tell the interviewer whatever he/she wants to hear.

What is difficult about answering behavioral-based questions is that they demand the candidates to address specific times when they’ve performed certain skills and then tell stories about those times. To be successful, candidates need to do the following:

1. Understand the requirements of the job

In order to prepare for a behavioral interview, it requires acute knowledge of the position’s requirements. If you are able to identify eight or more competencies required for the position, you can predict, within reason, the types of questions that will be asked.

For example, if the job ad calls for someone who is organized, demonstrates excellent verbal and written communications, is a leader, etc., you can expect questions such as:

“Tell us about a time when your organization skills resulted in a smooth delivery of services.”

“Give me an example of when your verbal communications skills made it possible for you to solve a conflict between colleagues.”

“Tell me about a time when your leadership faltered and resulted in a conflict between a subordinate and you. What did you learn from your error?”

2. Write the stories for each question

Questions like these will require you to tell a compelling story for each of these skills. How you tell your stories is important. They will consist of a beginning, middle, and end. You should write your stories because you will remember what we’ve written better than by simply trying to remember them.

When you write the stories, use the S.T.A.R. formula. The beginning is the Situation and (your) Task, the middle consist the Actions taken to meet the situation, and the end is the positive, or negative, Result.

Following is an example of an answer for a behavioral-based question. The question is, “Tell me about a time when you collaborated on a successful project.”


Situation: As part of a three-member team, we were charged with writing a report necessary to continue operating an outside program funded by the Department of Labor.

Task: I was given the task writing a detailed report of our participants’ training experience and the jobs they secured with the assistance of a dedicated job placement specialist.

Actions: I started with noting how I recruited 80 participants for the training program, a number I’m happy to say exceeded previous expectations of 50 participants. This required outreach to junior colleges, vocational schools, and career centers.

Step two involved writing detailed descriptions of their training, which included Lean Six Sigma, Project Management, and Agile. Then explaining how this training would help the participants secure employment in their targeted careers.

Next, I interviewed each participant to determine their learning level and satisfaction with the program. All but one was extremely satisfied. The person who was not satisfied felt the training was too difficult but wanted to repeat the training.

As well, I tracked each participant over a period of four months to determine their job placement. Jobs were hard to come by, so at times I took it upon myself to approach various manufacturing companies in the area in order to place 40 of our participants.

Finally I took the lead on writing a five-page report on what the members of the team and I had accomplished in the course of  three months. Other members of the team were of great help in editing the report and making sure it was delivered on time to Boston.

The result: The result was that we delivered the report with time to spare and were able to keep funding for the project for three more years. In addition, the DoL told our director that our report was the best one they’ve received.


3. Rehearse your stories

The story above, as written, takes approximately two minutes to read. This is stretching it in terms of time, so you’ll want to rehearse your stories to the point where they’re more concise, yet maintain their value.

You can talk about them in front of a mirror or deliver them to a live audience, like your friend, neighbor, or family member. The latter is probably the best method to use, as you will not only speak them aloud; you’ll speak them aloud to someone who may make you a tad bit nervous.

Do not try to memorize every little detail of each story. You may fumble with your stories during an interview. Also, you will forget some of the smaller details, but don’t get down on yourself when this happens. Just make sure you hit the major points.

4. Be prepared for zingers

In the interview, you may face questions that take you off guard. Perhaps the stories for which you prepared and rehearsed only end with positive results.

Keep in mind that not all questions will call for a positive results; some interviewers will ask about a time when you failed. Obviously you don’t want to elaborate on these situations.

And don’t answer negative questions with stories that describe the downfall of your company. Therefore, it’s important to write brief stories that end with negative results. A popular question is: “Tell us about a mistake you made and how you rebounded from the mistake.

Interviewers who ask negative questions are smart. Would it make sense to you to learn only about the positive side of the candidates? No. Smart interviewers need to know the good, bad, and  ugly.


How many stories are necessary?

One wonderful thing about stories is that they often reveal more skills than the interviewer originally asked for. For example, the story I provided above reveals the following skills: coordination, outreach, interviewing, interpersonal, initiative, writing, and more.

Photo: Flickr, cthoma27

6 reasons why you must be persistent in your job search

I recently received an email from a former job seeker who said she landed a job after three years. I’ve also heard from other job seekers who landed jobs after more than a year after beginning their search. What was the secret to their success? In one word, persistence.

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One definition of persistence is a, “firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.” A simple definition would be, “not giving up.”

What we know about the job search is that there are new obstacles that make it difficult. I say this based on my experience in the job search when certain requirements were not expected of job seekers.

Having witnessed many job seekers struggle with their job search, I can say the job search is harder now than when I was unemployed. Here are six reasons why:

1. The applicant tracking system (ATS) is more prevalent. One source says 127 people apply for entry-level positions and 89 apply for professional level positions. What this means is employers would have to read many résumés without the aid of an ATS. Instead, they rely on a “robot” that reads resumes and chooses the ones that are, theoretically, the best ones.

The ATS relieves employers from reading more than 75% of résumés for a position. That’s the good news. The bad news is that job candidates must write keyword-rich résumés that get them past the ATS. And many qualified job seekers are unaware of this requirement.

Writing tailored résumés for each job requires persistence. It’s easy to put together a generic résumé and send it to every position for which you apply. To modify your Summary, or re-write it entirely, and prioritize relevant accomplishments is entirely different. Only by doing this will you get past the ATS.

Read 10 tips for writing a professional resume.

2. Employers rely heavily on social media. Two years after I had to look for work LinkedIn came on the scene, and a year later Facebook arrived. I didn’t have to contend with either. LinkedIn, originally developed for business but largely used by job seekers for their search, takes diligence, knowledge of the platform, and realizing its significance.

Jobvite.com recently revealed that 87 percent of hiring authorities use LinkedIn to cull talent, so it makes common sense to be on LinkedIn. Job seekers are using LI to find people at companies they’re targeting, networking with people who might provide opportunities, and using the Jobs feature. To be effective, job seekers must use LinkedIn daily. This takes persistence.

Read If you join LinkedIn be prepared to work hard.

Although not used as much as LinkedIn, Facebook has a job-search purpose. Recruiters are on Facebook, and they’re reaching out to job seekers. Jobvite.com also revealed that more job seekers are using Facebook (67 percent) in their search than they’re using LinkedIn.

A serious consideration is keeping your Facebook account professional, because hiring authorities are looking on Facebook to see if you’re behaving. I was asked by one of my managers to look at job candidates on Facebook. One particular candidate didn’t come across as a girl scout. Enough said.

3. Employers are pickier. The average time to find employment is approximately 26 weeks, based on a position paying $60,000. In addition, many employers have extended the number of interviews from two to four, or even five. And given that they’re busy, the time between interviews can be as long as two weeks.

Why are employers pickier than they were when I was looking for work? The simple answer is to reduce mistakes. Besides getting egg on their face, hiring the wrong person can be extremely expensive. (A Forbes.com article states a “bad” hire can cost more than 30 percent of a person’s first year salary.)

You must be persistent when the job search is taking so long. Don’t give up on employers who are taking their time. Understand that they want to avoid mistakes. Stay in contact with your recruiters to see how the process is going (believe me, they’re just as anxious).

Read 7 thoughts on the mind of a recruiter.

4. Ageism is a reality. Unfortunately, employers discriminate against age. I tell my workshop attendees that a few employers, not all, will practice ageism. Nonetheless, it’s wrong and can’t be defeated easily.

Older workers must be especially persistent and think about ways to get to the interview, one of which is writing résumés that don’t reveal their age. Then during the interview sell themselves as a benefit to the employer, not a disadvantage.

Smart employers will see that older workers want to work as much, or more, than people younger than them. Employers will realize that older workers are more mature and dependable, have extensive job experience, as well as life experience.

Your job is to dispell the stereotypes that exist for older workers, such as they expect too much money, are not as quick to learn, are set in their ways, will be sick more often, and will leave sooner than younger workers. These are all untrue.

Read 5 strength of the older worker.

5. Networking is necessary more than ever. Regardless of age, networking will be the key to your success. The old saying, “It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows you”; is truer than ever.

One of my favorite job seekers wrote to me about another job seeker’s Happy Landing. She wrote: “[Landing her job] was completely through networking; she has not even met her hiring manager yet. One person’s word and recommendation was enough!

Of course networking involves more than relying on your reputation to land a job. You need to be more persistent than I was during my unemployment. To say networking is the name of the game is an understatement.

It’s believed that your chances of landing a job are 60%-80% by employing networking. Of course other methods of job seeking must be used to supplement your networking. And networking doesn’t have to be confined to networking events; you must persistently network on a daily basis, throughout the community.

Read 5 steps to uncovering career opportunities.

6. Don’t forget to following up. Perhaps the biggest failure in the job search is not following up with potential valuable contacts. I hear it all the time; someone meets a potential contact at a networking event, or in the community, and doesn’t follow-up; thereby loosing out on a huge opportunity.

You must be persistent in following up. I say to my workshop attendees, “Why put all the hard work you do while networking, submitting your written communications, and networking by not following up?” It doesn’t make sense.

Remember that your job isn’t done after the first or even second contact. It’s done when you get a yes. Yes, the person you met at a networking event will meet you for coffee. Yes, after coffee they will agree to deliver your résumé to the hiring manager. Yes, it leads to an interview. And yes, you’ve been accepted for the position after five interviews.

If this isn’t persistence, what is?


The saying that anything worth having takes hard work is about being persistent. It’s about not giving up. It’s about getting to yes. I can think of other words which begin with “P” that are important to the job search, but persistence always comes to mind.