job search

6 Simple Insider Job Hunting Tips

iStockphoto.com |  francescoch

iStockphoto.com | francescoch

Have you ever noticed that one of the most difficult jobs you will ever encounter is finding a job? Even a quick and successful job search requires diligence, patience, and perseverance. You need to tend to so many matters – such as your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, interview skills – and so on.

That said, the little things matter, too. These may be the difference between an employer selecting you for the job and going with another candidate. Here are a few insider tips to keep you rolling. 

  1. There is no single “best day” to apply, but Friday is far from the worst. It’s true that on Friday afternoons people look ahead to the weekend, but they are also unwinding from the work week, and the right resume that crosses the right desk at the right moment may get a glance. A relaxed recruiter will be happy to have an actionable resume to send the manager before the weekend. Conversely, on Mondays, recruiters are often busy tackling the avalanche of new work that accrued over the weekend.

  2. Have a LinkedIn profile picture. If possible, a professional headshot taken by a skilled photographer. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent, and your profile picture is one of first things that show up on a search. A LinkedIn profile page that does not have a photo looks like a house where nobody lives – i.e., the lights are off, the driveway is empty, and the yard is unkempt. Don’t make the recruiter wonder if you are home! While at it, make sure to use a profile picture that conveys a professional image. Yes, you look great hanging upside down holding a beer funnel on a Hawaiian beach, but you may want to keep that one in your private Instagram account. Dress for your photo like you would for a job interview. And smile like you will be the best co-worker in the history of co-workers. In a pinch, businesses that offer passport photo services may be able to provide you with a digital copy of your headshot that is appropriate for a LinkedIn profile.

  3.  Never stop training. Job skills change over the years and it is in your best interests to change with them. Companies once spent a great deal of time and effort developing their employees. These days, workers are expected to seek out and continue their education on their own time, and their own dime. Keep in mind that stagnant skills may turn a company off to your candidacy. If you’re in technology, learn Python or other emerging computer languages. Nothing against COBOL, but if that’s the only programming language you know, you may lose out to candidates with expertise in the latest, in-demand technologies. Continue to invest in your skills and future, and once you do, advertise your new mojo everywhere you can – LinkedIn, resume, cover letter, and so forth.

  4.  Understand how Automatic Tracking Systems work. The systemic use of Automatic Tracking Systems (ATSs) by recruiters and others who hire people for a living has impacted the people looking for jobs just as much as the those who administer them. These computers automatically rank resumes based upon on the particular requirements and wording of the open position, and recruiters usually start by reviewing the top-ranked resumes and stopping when they’ve accumulated enough candidates to share with a hiring manager. To maximize the chances your resume will get a high ranking, it must be revised on a job-by-job basis to better align with the specific requirements of the position. Yes, it is an essential and difficult extra layer of work. But when paired with old-school efforts to reach a hiring manager, it can help ensure you get a look. A lot.

  5.  Treat yourself well. It sounds so simple, but one of the very best things you can do to land that dream job is to treat yourself well. Do what you can to minimize your stress levels. Eat well. Walk outside. Put your phone on Airport mode for an hour a day. Allow yourself small indulgences. A happy candidate participating in a job interview has a greater chance of success than a sour candidate.

  6.  If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember the job seeker’s Golden Rule. If you don’t apply for the job, you will not get it!


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

6 Simple Ways To Take The Pain Out of Career Networking

iStockphoto.com |  Rawpixel

iStockphoto.com | Rawpixel

Searching for a job is hard, and one of the more ominous obstacles between you and your dream job is networking. Many of us believe networking is tricky, time-consuming, and painful. Where do you start?

Start small. Tell your best friends you’re looking for a new job. Now, other people know and will either keep you in mind for job opportunities or hold you accountable (wasn’t that was easy?). Networking is like a garden, tend it a little at a time and everything will bloom.

Here are six simple ways to take the pain out of career networking.

1.     Be active on LinkedIn.  Showing up is half the battle. Participating in LinkedIn, by having a good profile and contributing to the online conversation, can accelerate the job search, and help build and maintain professional relationships over the long term. If you post content that builds your brand, you are more visible and more likely to make more – and potentially helpful – connections; great content will drive people to your profile. Not to mention, if you are searching for an “in” at a particular company, you can leverage your network, and your network’s network, to connect with someone at that company.

2.     Maintain contact with people you know. You don’t have to manage a hundred email chains on a daily basis. Little things like a birthday message, or a heartfelt congratulations on a promotion or work anniversary, can keep a professional relationship open. If you are active on LinkedIn, like or comment on business-oriented posts. Share. Once a month, go to lunch with an important contact you wouldn’t otherwise see. If you’re in a position to so, be generous with professional referrals. Nobody has ever complained that someone sent business his or her way.

3.     Be active in professional associations. If you’re a project manager, PMI is the go-to-group. For human resources professionals, it’s SHRM. Depending upon your industry, there is likely a professional organization in your local area you can join whose whole mission is to provide a space for people working in the same field to network. You can take on leadership roles, make new connections, and foster new opportunities.

4.     Attend professional conferences. I know, I know. It’s a great way to meet professionals in your field, but you’re scared of the cost. It’s true that attending a conference often equals a substantial financial outlay. However, think of it as an investment in your future. A professional conference can have a stellar return. Since it’s like speed dating for job seekers. You meet a lot of people at once, hear about a lot of job opportunities at once, and may learn about career paths you had never considered. It’s not unheard of for job seekers to leave conferences with new jobs, or to establish connections that lead to new opportunities down the road.

5.     Call on old friends. You may be surprised how a reunion with old friends can pay off in the present. Next to family, old friends may rise up to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and don’t hesitate to offer it.

6.     Manage your social networks with care. The best way to mitigate any unforeseen fallout from your social networks (not just LinkedIn, but also Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) is to always maintain a professional image, which is a tall order when it’s a social network. Short of that nuclear option, exercise caution when making posts and consider adding people with care.

These are some simple tips to get you going. The rest is up to your magnetic personality!


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Ten Great Ways to Blow a Job Interview

iStockphoto.com |  IPGGutenbergUKLtd

iStockphoto.com | IPGGutenbergUKLtd

Everyone blows a job interview at some point. Here’s ten proven ways to do it in style. 

  1. Show up late. This proves to the employer that you do not have time management skill, AND that you lack respect for both the process and your potential co-workers. There is nothing recruiters, hiring managers, and participants in the interview process love more than waiting for a candidate to show up.

  2. Don’t bother to bring copies of your resume. Assume that Human Resources, or whoever is in charge of the hiring process, will take care of this for you. They really aren’t that busy, and they’re thrilled when they can do free administrative work for complete strangers using company resources.

  3. Treat your interviewers with respect in correlation to their position in the company. Nothing demonstrates your business acumen to an employer better than letting your attitude tell everybody where in the corporate hierarchy you believe they fall. Really want to nail this one? Don’t be cordial to the receptionists and assistants.

  4. Be non-specific in your answers to questions. Really make the interviewers dig to get information about you, or assume they already know everything about you. Make them earn their paycheck. You already spent an entire evening entering all this stuff into their endless online application, and didn’t they do a background check? They should know all this stuff already. Your value should be obvious and should not require explanation in an interview.

  5. Start the interview by asking how much the job pays. There is no reason to talk to these people if the money is no good, so best to lead with it. This sends the message that you are primarily interested in collecting a paycheck, which is a sure-fire way to impress both the recruiter and CEO alike.

  6. Don’t bother being friendly. We all know kindness and friendliness reek of weakness – you don’t want to leave the impression that you are weak! Interviewers may mistake your friendliness for skills necessary to be a productive team player, or for a personality that aligns with their corporate culture. Rudeness wins.

  7. Don’t bother to dress for the occasion. Way too much emphasis is put on the way you look in our culture, especially at work. Show your potential employer that you are an independent, non-conformist, maverick by shunning the traditional “interview dress code” for whatever may still be clean. This has the side benefit that when you receive an offer, you’ve set expectations so low that you won’t have to spend a penny on work attire for years to come.

  8. Forget about researching about the company or the job. Wing it. Preparation and knowledge are for candidates who are serious about their careers, and companies are all the same. You will “win it in the room” because of your natural born charisma and magnetic personality. Besides, you have a sweet connection who already works there.

  9. Don’t make eye contact with your interviewers. It is said that you can see the soul through the eyes, so make as little eye contact as possible, especially if it’s a panel interview with multiple participants. There is no telling what is lurking down there in your soul that may pop out and ruin your credibility. If you must, focus intently only on the ranking interviewer (not creepy at all) and pretend the other participants aren’t there. If asked a direct question, answer, but stare at your shoes.

  10. Don’t bother sending thank you notes to everyone. Not only is sending anything a note outdated, so is saying, “thank you.” You’re entitled to every job for which you interview, so why thank the interviewers for doing their job. And why use written language when your email and smart phone have a library of emojis to make your point? You don’t want to show weakness in the form of gratitude – you could unfairly earn a reputation for being professional.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: In case you couldn’t tell, this was tongue-in-cheek. This is a compilation some of the more self-defeating behavioral traits I’ve seen applicants display in an interview setting. Just sayin’.


Philip Roufail contributed to this article.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.