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One of the questions I receive most often from job seekers is whether or not to include a cover letter when they apply to a job. In general I think people feel very anxious about this topic. Not only whether or not to include one, but what to say if they do include one.
I’ve held a hard and fast rule about this throughout my career. Only include a cover letter if you’re being asked to include a cover letter.
When I was a recruiter if someone sent me an unrequested cover letter – I never read it. Ever. And if I did indeed want a cover letter, or knew my Hiring Manager wanted one, I gave very clear instructions to candidates on how to do that, what to include, etc. And now that I train recruiters, I know a majority of them feel exactly the same way.
Ultimately over the years I have felt like cover letters are a waste of time. Primarily due to the fact that candidates spend LOTS of time trying to perfect a cover letter that may never be read. Recruiters spend their timing looking at resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Those are you two best chances at capturing their attention.
That being said… you still need some sort of introductory language (similar to a cover letter) at your disposal when reaching out to people and introducing yourself. Networking and marketing & selling your skills is truly your best chance at landing the job you want.
And I think when candidates toil over cover letters, what they are really struggling with is… how do I best market and sell my skills so that someone gets back to me?!
And what is even harder is that there is so much conflicting information out there. If you google career experts and the topic ‘cover letters’… you’ll have several people say ‘don’t send them’ and several others say ‘always send them’… many will say ‘cater them for every job’ and others will say ‘have a generic one you can use for any job’… there is SO MUCH advice out there.
Which is why I have always said… do exactly what is asked of you. If you’re being introduced in by a referral and they ask you to fill out an application and send your resume…. Do that. If you’re being asked to email a contact or “friend of a friend” with some ‘info about yourself’ and your resume… Do that. If you’re being asked to apply online and send a cover letter… Do that. The people in charge of getting your information to the right people internally will ask of you exactly what they need.
And when it comes to how to best market and sell your skills… well that is a long answer that probably deserves it’s own post (or masterclass, really)! But in your introductory emails or other correspondences with people, keep it to one paragraph and focus on a few brief things:
- Have one sentence that summarizes your experience while positioning your strengths. Don’t simply give your title, explain your expertise and value. (ex: I currently work in the tech industry as an IT Project Manager specializing in database implementations).
- Have an introductory sentence (or two) that says who you are, what you do and why you are reaching out. (“So and so asked me to email you regarding the abc role”, or “I am reaching out because I saw your name on a xyz job post or career site”).
- Focus on a specific call to action and ask for next steps. (“Do you have time to connect with me this week?” or “I’d love to chat this week, or I’m very interested in discussing this role further, please let me know a good time to connect.”)
I wish there were hard and fast rules about all this job search stuff… there truly isn’t. My biggest piece of advice would be- don’t overthink it!! Many job seekers paralyze themselves by trying to do everything ‘right’… which ultimately prevents them from doing anything at all. The truth is every recruiter and hiring manager has different preferences. Focus on what is being asked of you – you’d be amazed at how few people do that 😉
Always Be Learning,
We all have a great networking story (if not many great networking stories). Even if we have never thought about it in the context of ‘networking’.
Networking is one of those buzz words that has been defined in many different ways over the years. But at its core- it’s community. And at our core, we all know why community matters.
Somewhere along the way in life, whether in high school, college, or during the many steps of our career, the community of who we know (our friends, family, neighbors, teachers, etc) influenced, informed and shaped who we became. This happened in small and large ways, day after day, year after year, and will continue to happen for generations to come.
Sometimes when we think about ‘needing to network’ we get wrapped up in wanting or needing to ‘put ourselves out there’ to ‘meet new people’ and go to networking events and meet with people we don’t know. And do not get me wrong, there is much value in going to industry events and building new relationships with people you do not know.
But I’ve always thought of networking as the spiral effect that happens when you surround yourself with genuinely great people, who know other great people, who all want to help one another, because they’re all so great (haha). While I am being a little ‘tongue-in-cheek’ I think you get my point. Building true relationships and surrounding yourself with people who have shared values and passions will ultimately lead you down a path of success.
I’ve formulated this opinion over years of experience as a recruiter and working in career services (and now at LinkedIn)… but I had this point of view about networking and community long before I had my career.
I am a first generation high school graduate. As in, neither of my parents graduated high school. For my father it was circumstance, and needing to work at a young age to help support his mom and sister. For my mom, it was a failed school system that did not recognize she had dyslexia and allowed her to flunk and feel like a failure. And so, they worked in labor related fields and raised three kids, not unlike many hard working families.
And as the oldest child, by the time I got to 10th grade and had to figure out PSATs and ACTs and SATs and applying to colleges and deciding which classes to take in HS that would help me get to college… I did not have anyone in my immediate family who could help me figure those things out.
So, as is true for many kids in my same situation, I leaned on my community. The teachers and counselors at school, the parents of my close friends, the adults I went to church with… all of these people became my network. And with their help, me and my family were able to get the first McCain to college.
There are honestly many layers to my complex story, like all humans. I too have dyslexia. For me, this was identified early in life, by a teacher and school system that knew how to identify early childhood learning disabilities. Instead of feeling like a failure, as my mom was made to feel… my ‘network’ of teachers and tutors gave me the tools to overcome the challenges I faced when my numbers and letters wanted to invert themselves. I learned how to realize when it was happening and thankfully I grew up with spell check! I still struggled though- I was (and am) a slow reader and reading comprehension was (and is) hard for me. I spent hours on homework! And I had to find other ways to learn and absorb information that worked for me. Again, my community and network taught me that not all kids learn the same way, and that there were other options.
Even with all those struggles… I was a straight A student. I graduated with one the highest GPAs in my state. From 9th-12th grade I was part of a NASA engineering internship program (yes that NASA) called NURTURE for students who excelled in math and science (imagine a dyslexic daughter of a dyslexic mom who failed math and dropped out of high school having the honor to work with NASA engineers… amazing!) I went on to college at the University of Central Florida and was an Honors Student and LEAD Scholar. I had an amazingeducational experience. I was very lucky.
And after achieving many great things in my life at the ripe age of 22, I left the state of Florida and came to New York knowing all of 1 person. And I thought, Itruly truly believed, that all my ‘awesomeness’ on paper would land me a great job right away. But it didn’t.
I didn’t know anyone. And without going on and on with this post… It took me over a year to land my first real full time job here in New York. I waited tables, bartended and temped, like every 22 & 23 year old does in this city 🙂 And it’s not because there weren’t jobs (this was pre-economic downturn, back in the early 2000s), and it’s not because I wasn’t ‘putting myself out there’ and applying (I’m VERY outgoing) :)… it’s because I didn’t know anyone yet and I didn’t have a community. (And to my roommate Jodi- you are not ‘no one’… I did know 1 person) 🙂
It was very literally not until I started to get involved with volunteering in the city, and met people at the various restaurants I was working at, and joined a church, that I finally started to get some doors opened. My resume hadn’t changed, my qualifications weren’t any different… my ‘overcoming the odds’ background wasn’t any less a part of who I was or how hard I was willing to work… the only thing that had changed was who I knew.
And in this life… it is all about who you know. Period. And ‘knowing the right person’ isn’t about having the most connections on social media… it’s about truly taking the time to build relationships. And that…. well that takes time. And, it’s hard. Let’s be honest.
But it is time well spent. It’s honestly time BEST spent… because it’s the one thing that everything else in life will eventually come down to… who do you know? And who is there for you when you really need them?
Always Be Learning!
According to website traffic for job boards and career sites- December and January are the BUSIEST months for job seekers. As people end one year and plan for another, many find themselves wondering “what’s next?” If you find yourself interviewing in the weeks and months to come, there are some key things you can do to calm your nerves and set yourself apart.
do your homework
During my days as a Recruiter I can not tell you the number of people who walked in to interviews knowing almost nothing about the role for which they were interviewing. It was my biggest pet peeve.
It’s 2015 (almost 2016)… there is no END to the amount of research people can conduct. Company websites, review sites, Glassdoor, ALL social media, LinkedIn. Companies are everywhere. They post everywhere. PR Releases, product & services advertising, job posts… opportunity exists at every corner for YOU to learn about a company before you walk in the door.
You don’t have to know everything. But learn enough to be dangerous 🙂 And enough to sound impressive!
This is one of the most overlooked things I see candidates miss. Every interviewer will end their interview of you with exactly these words: “Do you have any questions for me [us]?” If the answer is no, the interview is over.
If the interview ends and you haven’t had a chance to discuss all the things you wanted, you’ve missed a huge opportunity!
Prepare approximately 7-10 questions. Ask about 3, but have upwards to 10 so you have options, in case things are already covered before you get a chance to ask. What should you ask? Ask about the team you’ll work with. Ask about the management/leadership style is of who you’ll be working under. Ask “what does success look like for this role?” Ask about career trajectory within the company. Ask about culture… know everything you want and need to know in order to make an educated decision.
And don’t leave without knowing next steps!! Otherwise, what was the point??
market, sell, pitch
It is not the interviewers’ job to sell YOU. It’s your job to sell them. At best it’s a little bit of both. And yet, many people who walk in to interviews don’t think through the best way to market or sell themselves or their skills.
Mostly because it’s not easy to do. Self-promotion is tough and it’s hard to know what to focus on that BEST highlights your skills. I recommend you think of 2 or 3 key projects you’ve worked on in your career and think about the actions YOU took to make that project successful. Think about challenges you had, tactical steps you took, think about the key performance metrics or indicators, outline the results of the projects and write out each scenario.
From there you’ll form a story, a narrative, around who you are as an employee, leader, team player, and all around awesome person. You’ll see repeating themes and you’ll remember some of the great things you’ve worked on that you’ll want to highlight in your conversation(s) with the interviewer(s). Write out a bullet pointed list and have it in your folder.
You’ve heard this 1000000 times… but it’s true! Practice, practice, practice and then practice again. When I interviewed at LinkedIn I was almost 10 years in to my career, I had interviewed hundreds of people, I had prepped hundreds of people for interviews, I knew everything there was to know about interviewing… and yet I still practiced!! (and practiced and practiced… because I was REALLY nervous and I REALLY wanted the job).
You don’t want the first time you’re saying certain things about yourself or pitching yourself to be in a key, important moment… in front of someone you are truly trying to impress. Say the words out loud, record yourself, stand in front of a mirror, repeat… do what you need to do to build your confidence. I promise it will help!
By preparing in these ways you will release your nervous energy. You’ll feel prepared, confident and ready-to-go. Interviewers want to get to know YOU… putting in this effort will help you put your BEST self forward.
I’ve recently released my 4th class on Udemy- Nail Your Interview! Learn more about all my classes here!
Always Be Learning…
Long before I came to work for LinkedIn, I used to teach people about LinkedIn. And after years of ‘research’ I can report that the questions I get MOST often are about Profile Pictures!! And I’ve had many an interesting debate on whether or not someone should smile in their picture. I’ve heard every reason under the sun why someone believes they should NOT smile (although I do encourage additional debate in the comment section below- go for it, try something I haven’t heard). But, I can honestly say I’ve never heard a compelling enough reason for me to change my belief system.
The answer is… YES… you should DEFINITELY smile in your profile picture. If you want a simple yes or no, you’ve got it… and you don’t have to read any further. Yes, yes, for the love of all things good in this world, PLEASE SMILE!
If you want to know why, please continue reading 🙂
You should think of your profile picture as your first impression to a business professional contact. In today’s social media world, many times we are using LinkedIn to look people up before going in to meetings.
So, envision yourself in any professional scenario- interview, meeting for a promotion or raise, meeting a new customer or client… imagine meeting that person, shaking their hand… and NOT smiling. Would you do that? Really?!!REALLY?!
NO! You would NEVER do that! You’d always smile. Even if you didn’t want to, even if you were faking it until you were making it… you’d smile!
And why? Because smiling is the socially acceptable way of greeting other people and making them feel comfortable with us. It’s our way of saying, “Hi, I’m nice, I’m normal, I’m warm & friendly and you want to talk to me.”
I’ve been a recruiter for many many years… I’ve met many many strangers in my life… and if someone DIDN’T smile when they were meeting me for the first time… that would be a HUGE red flag. It would be just… totally… weird. And it’d make me feel really uncomfortable, really fast!
Plus… we just LOOK BETTER when we smile. Now.. there are some people in this world that are PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED to look good regardless of whether they are smiling or not. These people are generally called actors, models, spokespersons, public speakers perhaps? They work with professional photographers who have taught them how to be engaging and how to tell a story with their face and their eyes without having to smile.
98% of us DO NOT fall in this category. And that is OK 🙂 And even if we do… we still wouldn’t walk in to (very many) professional situations ‘acting’ or ‘modeling’ our faces to complete strangers. RIGHT? (I mean, I hope not… #awkward). Even those who audition regularly still walk in to a room smiling, looking their best, and hoping to allude an approachable, friendly, ‘you want to work with me’ energy!
To prove my point, I’ve treated myself as a case study and I believe the pictures below speak for themselves. Not smiling makes me (and so many others… you’ve all seen those photos before!) look angry and/or (I’ll go there) murderous. Then there’s the ‘I’m trying to smile with my face, but not my teeth’… this is just weird… and not true to real life. We smile with our teeth, our lips, our entire faces… that is what makes a smile so inviting.
SMILE… Be Happy! You only get one First Impression! And many times that first impression now comes on Social Media. And… you only get ONE LIFE… SO BE HAPPY :o) (Or… at least try… OR… fake it until you make it… at least for ONE PICTURE)!
(and yes, yes… my hair is lighter right now than in my profile pic… it’s my summer ‘do… I’m not convinced it’s my permanent ‘do… so I have not committed to changing my entire LI Profile yet… but maybe I should?) 🙂 😉
One of the number one things I hear from recruiters and candidates alike is that LinkedIn can feel… well… overwhelming! It’s hard to know where to start. There are a ton of resources available for those wanting to know how to best use LinkedIn (for whatever reason they may want to be using it)… the trick is… finding those resources!
Here are a few good ones:
This landing page is designed for students, recent grads and Career Services professionals. But even if you fall into none of these categories- you can find a TON of valuable tips & tricks in these video tutorials and tip sheets. Profile best practices, networking tips, job searching techniques… the whole gamut.
Job Seeker Landing Page
This page is designed to inform members of the benefits of the Job Seeker account. Whether or not a premium account makes sense for you, what I like about this resource is the advice it gives potential job seekers on how to use LinkedIn to stand out from the crowd.
Under the ‘Interests’ tab on your navigation bar, the last option of the drop-down is ‘Education’, which now takes you to the University Page of the college or university that you graduated from (most recently). On the home page there is an interactive Alumni Tool that shows you all the Alumni of that school- you can click in to Locations, Companies, Majors… and find people to connect with, even if they are not in your Network! It is literally mind-blowing!! (I do not use this word lightly) 😉 Go.there.now! (I mean after you finish reading this, of course)!
Customized Industry News! When you log in to your Homepage of LinkedIn, the first thing on your feed is Pulse. This feed is customized based on your profile (titles, keywords, etc). You can also click in to it and choose which Influencers, Publications & Channels you would like to follow. There is no better way to stay on top of what is happening in your field (or the fields your interested in) than keeping up on the news of the day.
Here from Talent Acquisition professionals on the hot trends of the moment. We enlist customers and internal employees to talk about the ‘buzz’ around town when it comes to hiring best practices. Some of my favorite topics include- Top 10 Job Titles That Didn’t Exist 5 Years Ago, 8 Millennials’ Traits You Should Know About Before You Hire Them, 25 Hottest LinkedIn Member Skill Sets and Job Descriptions That Win: 3 Outstanding Examples. The Talent Blog is valuable for Recruiters, Job Seekers and anyone looking to improve their professional brand!
Another fabulous part of LinkedIn is our content sharing platform, slideshare.net. People from every industry share their knowledge through PPT & PDF… and I love it! Easily search through ‘how-to’s’ on anything you need… including many many many things about ‘how-to’ conquer LinkedIn! You can find Profile Best Practices, How to Grow Your Network, How to Apply for Jobs… all kinds of great stuff!
Under your photo on the navigation bar (top right corner) there is this helpfullittle button called the ‘Help Center’. And I tell you what… it’s all there! Search on ANYTHING! Endorsements, Profiles, Member Blocking… you name it. My favorite? Webinars… type in the word “webinars”, select “LinkedIn Learning Webinars” and you’ll gain access to LinkedIn’s FREE weekly live webinars, hosted by employees, offered to all our members (for free… in case you missed that part). LinkedIn 101 & Job Seekers are two sessions I took before I worked here and that I had my graduates take when I was in Career Services… very helpful stuff!!
There are tens of thousands of groups on LinkedIn with members just like you! As a member of these groups you can post discussion questions, connect with people and learn valuable insights & answers from those who have come before you. There are groups based on industries and skills, sure! But there are also groups for hobbies, like golfing & knitting, there are Alumni groups, Sorority & Fraternity groups, Recent & College Grad groups and Job Seeking groups. Just type a keyword in the search bar at the top center of your screen and select ‘groups’ on the left… any groups specializing in your keyword will appear. You’d be amazed at the groups available to join, with members just willing and able to help people out. It’s amazing.
LinkedIn Recruiter License Holders
Let’s be honest- you guys have NO excuse at all!! (sorry, but it’s true). With a LinkedIn Recruiter license you have access to The Learning Center… and at your fingertips is access to all the information we’ve honestly ever created… like ever. When you are in Recruiter, hover over your photo and click in to the ‘training’ link. Up will launch a beautiful lovely world of unprecedented opportunities for learning. Three hundred live courses are offered every month by RPCs just like me, in 9 languages, in every time zone. But hey, you don’t have time for that? We got your back! 10 minute interactive tutorials and printable tip sheets are available. You can save the tip sheets as PDFs and share them with team members. Life is good for LinkedIn Recruiter license holders… and frankly, everyone reading this who is not one, should be very jealous of you!
Hope this helps 🙂 LinkedIn is great for growing your professional brand and network… and while I know it can be overwhelming… investing even a small portion of time, a few times a week, in to yourself and in to learning more about your industry and how to improve your skills… will be invaluable… I promise!
And if you want an even deeper dive on everything a job seeker would ever need to know… I also teach classes on Udemy… check them out here!
Happy Learning Everyone!!
When I first moved to NY 11 years ago I embarked (unknowingly) on a career in Recruiting. I was a temp with a staffing agency who eventually brought me in-house. And it turned out that even though I started out having no idea what it was, I loved Recruiting. I enjoyed the interaction with people, the conversations, the ability to truly help them to progress in their career or land their next gig.
That career led to a path in Career Services. I used my 6-to-7 years of Recruiting experience to help recent grads find work in the healthcare space. And I felt like I was really impacting and helping a cohort of people who needed it. I can only imagine where my life might have ended up had I found a coach or career guide right out of school- right?
And what I found was… a lot of people, regardless of where they were in their career, wanted and needed career advice. I’d have friends and colleagues ask me to help their family and friends with resumes, interviewing skills, etc.
So as I entered my 3rd year in Career Services, I decided to start leading a series of workshops in NY. I led seminars, classes and workshops on Career Readiness- any topic from resumes, to interviewing skills, to LinkedIn, to career transitions. Turned out a lot of people wanted to know about this stuff!
And in this journey I realized I really loved Public Speaking and leading training and educational workshops. Taking a topic that I was truly an expert in and helping others succeed was very rewarding. And I found that I was very good at motivating and inspiring people to approach their careers in a different way.
After a summer of leading these courses, I decided to start promoting myself on social media to better expand my network, so that more people could attend the seminars. And as I started that process I thought… I should really update my LinkedIn profile!
Now… I had been using LinkedIn for years (and loved it)! I used it as a Recruiter all of the time! And whether it was as a Director of Career Services or when I led the workshops, I explained to anyone who would listen why LinkedIn mattered, and how they should use it. (To learn more about why I care so much about networking, read my previous blog here).
But even as an avid LinkedIn user… I had a very myopic view of what should and should NOT be included in a LinkedIn profile. I admit… I looked at my profile as an online version of my resume. And my profile was honestly exactly the same as my resume. And I only included jobs I had in the Recruiting or Career Services space.
But throughout my years in NY (and my years before NY) I had done so much more than just those jobs. I consider myself a career student. I love taking classes, launching projects, trying new things… and in that spirit I found over the years that I was very entrepreneurial. I started a theatre production company when I was 25 and a few years later launched a media production company with my (now) husband, creating video content for businesses. In addition to those businesses, I was an actor, producer, writer & director. I loved trying my hand at all things creative!
I’ve always had this personality… in school I played every sport… only for 1 year, because I was never good at them… but I just HAD to try them. How do you know that you don’t like something or aren’t good at it unless you TRY IT? And I’m the type of person that likes to learn by doing. So if I don’t know how something works, I’ll take a class, or learn by trial and error.
But I would NEVER include those extracurricular activities on my resume. Early in my career I learned it was a bad idea to show you had outside hobbies and passions, and I kept a lot of those interests and hobbies to myself. (Yes… at my 2nd ever job I had one of THOSE managers pull me aside and give me a hard time about taking classes at night… ugh)!
As I started down a path of Public Speaking though… I felt that my experience in Recruiting and Career Services wasn’t the full picture of who I was or what I had to offer. I knew my experiences in other areas added to my ability to coach and help people in their career.
So… I did something that felt VERY BOLD. I decided to update my profile to tell my entire story. Who I really was, my hobbies, my passions, the companies that I started, my volunteering… all of it. I knew it would help build a brand and grow my network. So… I did it! (and YES, it was scary)!
Three weeks later I got a call from a Recruiter at LinkedIn.
LinkedIn?! Like… THAT LINKEDIN??
For me…. this was like getting a call from a ROCK STAR!!
So many thoughts went through my head as the Recruiter began speaking:
- LinkedIn is calling me?!
- Why? What? Huh?
- Did she say there is a LinkedIn office in New York?
- What does LinkedIn do?
- I mean I know what LinkedIn is… but what do they do?
- I’m not an engineer
- I’m not even a Recruiter anymore
- This is amazing
Turns out… the New York office was looking for people for their Recruitment Product Consulting team (huh? what?)… and the way she explained it was that they wanted people who had been Recruiters (that’s me!) to help train other Recruiters on how to best use LinkedIn (I can do that!). It involves a lot of Public Speaking, leading webinars, and consulting with teams on Recruitment and Hiring Strategy (you hire people to do that?! omg! hire me!)
Now you have to understand… I would never have thought to look for, or even apply for, a role like this. I did not even know LinkedIn had an office in NY… I had never heard of Recruitment Consulting… I never would have searched for a job title like that… I would have never have found this role or applied for it.
Most importantly… here are some things the Recruiter said to me that day that I’ll never forget….
- You have been on our radar in the past, because you’re a Recruiter in the area… but the recent updates on your profile captured my attention
- I’m interested to hear more about your Public Speaking experience, because that is a key part of this role
- But I am most interested in the entrepreneurial experience you’ve listed. We really look for people who have an entrepreneurial mindset, energy and spirit because they make a great culture fit!
The Recruiter described a dream job that I had no idea existed. And they found me on LinkedIn because I was true to who I was. Something I had always been afraid to do in the past.
And now (almost) two years later… I can (still) say I LOVE my job. I work with brilliant people, I support products, ideas and services that I really believe in, and I have opportunities to do things that I never knew I wanted to do. I’m constantly learning, growing and meeting new people. It’s amazing.
So the moral of this story??
Someone out there wants to hire you because you are uniquely yourself and you bring something to the table that no one else does. By promoting YOUR brand, you never know who might find you (on LinkedIn) 😉
Check out resources on how to learn how to better use LinkedIn here.
Before I started at LinkedIn I began my career in Recruiting and spent a few years in Career Services. At that time I worked day in and day out with candidates. Now in my role at LinkedIn I work every day with Recruiting teams helping them find candidates (like you)!
With over 12 years of experience in this field, I have learned a lot about what it is employers really want from candidates. There will never be a ‘sure fire’ way to land a job (or hire a candidate)… But some simple truths hold true that all Job Seekers should keep in mind during their search:
- Your first impression now comes online. Before meetings, interviews and first handshakes, the majority of people go to LinkedIn or Google to search for each others online profiles. What does yours say about you? (Here is an article I wrote with tips for overall LinkedIn goodness).
- Your picture speaks a thousand words. Profiles with photos are 7x more likely to be viewed and/or reached out to. Profiles without pictures make people feel uncomfortable. Think about how you look and present yourself when you go on interviews or in to important meetings. That is how your picture should look- you (as you truly look today) at your best professional self. (I like this article’s tips a lot. And here is an article I wrote on the importance of smiling in your picture). Smart Tip: google your name and make sure any photos visible online of you are the types of pictures you’d be okay with employers seeing 😉
- Market yourself in the role you WANT. Are you a career changer? Do you want a role the next level up? Think about all the traits and skills you have that make you qualified for that role and market THOSE skills. Think of projects with the most impressive results and show those (maybe with PDFs or videos). Employers want to hire the right person for the job- if you are that person, market your skills in a way that lets them know.
- Technology matters. Most everyone uses some sort of technology in their role- CRM systems, database softwares, Outlook, PPT, social media sites, payroll/HR systems, checkout/payment programs, electronic records systems… etc, etc, etc… Make sure to include any and ALL technologies on your resume and profile. Employers want to know if you have the know-how to help them get stuff done.
- Stand out from the crowd. No one really reads anymore, so keep information short, sweet and to the point. Be personal and approachable and use keywords or lists to highlight skill sets and technologies. Where possible, include samples of your work- portfolios, samples, pdfs, videos, etc. Employers want to know if you’ll be a better fit than another candidate with a similar background- make their job easy!
- Not every job opening is listed online. When actively looking for work don’t rely only on job boards or online searches. Most candidates don’t realize that online posts cost money. Recruiting teams tend to use those slots to highlight their hard-to-fill roles. Visit the company’s website and career sections to see all their openings.
- Over 80% of jobs are filled by internal connections. Once you find a company or role you are truly interested in, use LinkedIn and other social sites to see who you know who may know someone who works there. Get introduced in and increase your chances of getting called for an interview. Most companies have referral bonuses- so friends are usually willing to try and help!
Being a job seeker often feels overwhelming and stressful. And there is no end of information and suggestions available on what to do (and what NOT to do). BUT today is a CANDIDATE DRIVEN MARKET… so you are now in the drivers seat! Make sure you know what you need to know in order to get where you want to go.
To learn more, check out my class (with a great discount) here: http://goo.gl/PVnpkH.
Have other ideas or tips for Job Seekers? Leave your best job seeking tip below!!
In the past couple of years there has been a lot of hype and ‘buzz’ around the idea of individuals creating their own professional brand. It seems in this day of media and marketing, where content is king, and we are inundated with messages all day every day, that we all have to become professional marketers. If you’re in sales- you need to know marketing. If you are in recruiting- you need to know marketing. Own your own business? Run a nonprofit? Marketing, marketing, marketing.
And now, even we as individuals have to market ourselves. Well… what does that mean? What is it that we should be marketing and/or selling about our background? Why? When? It seems really overwhelming, to be honest. Especially if you have no education, training or understanding around marketing.
One thing seems to be clear…. social media, content, and marketing is not going anywhere!! Consumers want and need info info info in order to make a decision, and it’s our job to provide it to them- on every platform, in every form possible.
The reason I feel it is important to have a personal professional brand is because the global economy is changing. There are opportunities, companies, clients, products, etc. all over the world. And our ability to gain these opportunities or leverage these products depends highly on our ability to be ‘tapped in’ to the global economy.
Regardless of the amount of research, work or networking we do on our own… if we don’t promote who we are, what we offer, why you want to work with us or hire us online… chances are we are missing out on opportunities we don’t even know about, or could never know about on our own.
I once wrote a blog about how changing my professional brand landed me my dream job (at LinkedIn). Since that time I’ve worked with companies and individuals alike to help them learn how to develop and promote their brands. It’s not easy, it takes work… but in this market place, I’m sure many would agree, the time, energy and effort it takes to build your brand… pays dividends!(At least it did for me and for many I’ve worked with).
I care so much about this topic that I recently launched a class on Udemy teaching people how to build their brand. (My class Build Your Professional Brand can be found here, with a great discount code)! One thing I’ve found in my work is that the majority of people feel very overwhelmed with knowing how to build and grow their own brand. All we can try to do is help each other learn!!
Have advice on building a brand (personal or commercial)? Have your own ideas or questions around brand? Please leave comments below!!
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