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7 Essential Facts About Job Hunting Today

iStockphoto.com |  monkeybusinessimages

iStockphoto.com | monkeybusinessimages

 

Looking for a job, or considering making a career change? The process is complicated and frustrating, and has only grown more-so over the years. If you're looking to rise above the pack, you'll want to understand these seven essential facts about job hunting today.

  1. Job Hunting is a Learned Skill. Have you been contacted by a recruiter for a job opportunity? If so, consider yourself lucky since there are many hurdles you need to overcome in order to get noticed by a recruiter or a hiring manager. It's important to learn about the nuances of job boards (i.e., Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, Glassdoor, and many others), applicant tracking systems, the social networking platform LinkedIn, and other online job resources so that you can rise above the massive stacks of resumes companies received. There's a lot more to it than submitting your resume and hoping for the best ("posting and praying"). The composition of your resume, your application strategy, and your followup are all factors.
     
  2. So is Interviewing. A job interview is like a dance; you need to have all the right moves if you want to avoid stepping on your own foot. Your answers need to be practiced, tight, and natural. You'll need good, meaningful responses to behavioral questions, chock full of examples of how you overcame adversity to drive results. And then there's the social niceties and protocols. Hiring managers need convincing that you're a good person to spend time with, and that you'll make a positive impact. Going in cold can be dangerous. Practicing pays dividends – master the strategies that improve your chances.
     
  3. Being Professional on LinkedIn Matters. A lot. Companies pay big bucks for recruiter licenses to see everyone in LinkedIn. Recruiters comb the system looking for passive candidates to fill their open jobs. Even if you're not actively looking you might still get a call. A polished, complete profile full of detail substantially increases your chances of getting noticed. An incomplete or sloppy LinkedIn profile, with a lousy profile picture can be toxic. Although it can be pricey, a LinkedIn Premium subscription can pay dividends during the search.
     
  4. The Bigger the Job, the Longer the Search. If you're a CFO, for example, you should expect your job search to be considerably longer than a staff accountant by a factor of 4. Of course considerations of market demand and personal skill sets factor into the equation, but as a rule there are fewer executive than line jobs. And companies usually take longer to make decisions on higher level positions due to the organizational impact and cost. If you're an executive-level job seeker hunker down, strategize your approach (hint: it's mostly networking), and use the time wisely.
     
  5. Getting Passed Over Because Your Resume is Missing an Essential Skill? You Can Fix it Fast. Let's say you're a sales professional with ten years of rock-solid sales experience;  you're hitting a roadblock because you've used lots of CRM systems but have never used the Salesforce CRM which seems to appear in every job description these days. Training has never been more accessible or affordable – why not take an online course on Salesforce and add the training to your resume under your "Education" section? This way, you'll improve your odds of making it through the ATS or recruiter. Mind you, you'll need to be transparent with the hiring manager about your depth of experience, and an online course is absolutely no substitute for a specialized degree or certification. But if you're most of the way there, it can help quite a bit.
     
  6. Age Discrimination is a Real Factor. It’s illegal, and it’s regrettable. And employers miss out on many highly qualified candidates if they consider age as a factor in the hiring decision. Many employers will unwittingly (or wittingly) value younger, impressionable, and energetic employees whom they can mold to their liking rather than proven experience. And age discrimination isn't reserved for senior citizens, either – if you're over 40 years of age it could already be a problem. Learn and master strategies to cope with and overcome age bias, and know your rights.
     
  7. Recruiters (i.e., Headhunters) Work for Employers. Not for You. One of the most frequent questions I get as a career coach is, "How can I hire a recruiter to find me a job?" While developing relationships with agency recruiters can be valuable to your job search, you usually can't hire one. Recruiters are hired by companies to find talent for their difficult-to-fill job openings. And these companies pay handsomely for these services, an amount in the neighborhood of 25% of the first year salary of the person they hire. Or more. That said, a strong relationship with a recruiter can pay dividends.

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, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn

iStockphoto.com ( Jirsak )

iStockphoto.com (Jirsak)

 

Did you know LinkedIn is a major recruiting tool?

There are more than 467 million user accounts in LinkedIn, all of which are professionally oriented; in other words, one in every 17 people on planet earth has a LinkedIn account, making the system fertile ground for recruiters to find potential candidates for open jobs.

If you'd like to get noticed on LinkedIn, it's important to know how these same recruiters use the system to search for talent.

Here are 3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn!

  1. THEY SEARCH THROUGH EVERY PROFILE TO FIND PEOPLE TO FILL THEIR OPEN JOBS. While nonpaying (i.e., free account) LinkedIn users have limited ability to see and contact individuals outside their first-level connections, companies pay dearly (around $9,000 annually, per user) to obtain universal access to almost the full population of members. Also, some companies use LinkedIn as their only recruitment platform; if you don't have a profile, you'll miss out on potential job opportunities.
     
  2. THEY BUILD PROFILE SEARCHES BASED UPON A VARIETY OF KEYWORDS. Have you ever wondered why LinkedIn encourages you to fill in all the fields on your profile? It's because recruiters fill out a combination of fields and Boolean searches with their criteria to identify qualified candidates. Keywords in your headline, summary, job description, education, skills, and other fields can all be searched and found. If you're serious about being considered for career opportunities, you should also be serious about building a profile sprinkled liberally with keywords and job skills.
     
  3. THEY DECIDE WHETHER TO LOOK AT YOUR PROFILE BASED UPON YOUR HEADLINE AND PICTURE. After running a profile search in LinkedIn, recruiters will be presented with a list of candidates; featured most prominently for each individual are their headline and picture. A snappy, descriptive headline and a professional, three-quarters profile photo will make a great impression and invite a deeper look. Fail to impress, and you may get passed over.

Rodney Apple, Managing Partner at SCM Talent Group, and Katie Kurz, Marketing & Recruiting Ambassador at SCM Talent Group, contributed to this article. If you're interested in learning more about how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for your career search, you can view our webinar on this topic here: https://youtu.be/zpfTYpupqUE

NOTE: In case you were wondering, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn other than as a paying user, and for my subscription I pay rack rate. But I've been using the system since its early days and while there are things about it I don't love, I firmly believe in its power as both a job search and recruitment tool.


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, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

Considering LinkedIn Premium? 5 Fantastic Reasons For Job Seekers To Join

iStockPhoto.com/ Hocus Focus Studio

iStockPhoto.com/Hocus Focus Studio

Technology has changed the job search dramatically over the past several years. Resumes can get lost in employers' applicant tracking systems (also known as ATS's – the databases recruiters use to post jobs and accept resumes), where you're competing with as many as 10,000 other applicants who have applied for the same job.

You need every advantage you can get to find and secure a job.

The bad news: Most of the really powerful tools in LinkedIn are reserved for paying customers, in the form of a Premium subscription.

The good news: If you're looking for a job, the tools and features offered under a LinkedIn Premium subscription is worth it – really worth it – if you know how to use them effectively.

Here are 5 fantastic reasons why it makes sense to pony up for a LinkedIn Premium subscription if you're looking to accelerate your job search.

REASON #1: ENHANCED SEARCH CAPABILITY
What This Is, and Why This Matters: There are more than 467 million user accounts in LinkedIn. That means one in every 17 people on planet earth has an account. And there's 128 million user accounts in the United States – one account for every 2.5 people in this country. Think of LinkedIn as a giant employer directory, and as a paying subscriber, you are given the ability to conduct detailed searches by keyword, geographic location, company, and other criteria. You can probably find the person making the hiring decision for that job you applied to on Indeed, Glassdoor, or any other job board.
Real-World Application: There's no getting around having to fill out online applications, and it's difficult to stand out. But if you can identify a potential hiring manager, and reach out to them after you've applied, you may be able to pique their interest in your skills and experience.

REASON #2: INMAILS
What This Is, and Why This Matters: With the free LinkedIn membership, you have the ability to send messages directly to first-level contacts (people to whom you are already directly connected through an accepted invitation). Without a first-level connection in place, in order to contact a decision maker at a company you will need to either A) Send an invitation, get it accepted, then send them a note; B) Find or figure out some form of contact information for the decision maker; or C) Post your online job application and pray it gets noticed. Each scenario is risky and uncertain. Paid subscribers get a set number of InMails each month, notes that can be send to almost anybody in the system.
Real-World Application: After applying online, search LinkedIn for a decision maker at the company (see reason #1). Then send them a brief note indicating that you have applied online (this helps, because it shows that you followed their process), that you have the skills and experience needed for the job, and how they can reach you. If you've reached the right person, it's not unheard of for them to walk over to their recruiter to ask for your resume.

REASON #3: FREE MESSAGES TO OTHER PREMIUM MEMBERS
What This Is, and Why This Matters: Have you ever seen a little gold "in" badge in somebody's profile or near their name? It looks like this:

LinkedIn Premium Badget

This symbol means that this person is a premium member. One perks LinkedIn provides its Premium members is the ability to send unlimited InMails to other Premium members – including people you're not connected to. It's a "Free Message." In other words, even if your subscription plan only gives you a few InMails each month, a premium member-to-premium member message won't count against your allocation.
Real-World Application: Most recruiters have paid subscriptions (they use LinkedIn to mine candidates), as do a variety of sales, business development, and other professionals, as well as job seekers like yourself. These free messages help you can aggressively reach out to multiple potential employers.

REASON #4: IMPROVED POSITIONING TO RECRUITER SEARCHES
What This Is, and Why This Matters: As I mentioned in #3, recruiters pay to get a beefed up version of LinkedIn. This enables them to search for what are known as "passive" candidates (in other words, individuals not actively looking for a job) through enhanced search capability, which enables them to see just about every profile in LinkedIn. LinkedIn advertises that as a benefit of being a paid subscriber, you will be a "Featured Applicant," where "Your job application will appear above job applications from non-Premium members, increasing your chances of having it viewed."
Real-World Application: I'm not privy to the specifics of how LinkedIn's search and reporting algorithm works, so I'm not sure exactly how high you'll appear on any given search, but if this benefit pushes you toward page 1 or 2 of search results, there's a much better chance the recruiter will take a look at your profile. (Side note: Make sure your LinkedIn profile is chock-full-of-keywords).

REASON #5: SEE WHO'S LOOKED AT YOUR PROFILE
What This Is, and Why This Matters: You can see who has viewed your profile over the past 3 months.
Real-World Application: What if you found out that a recruiter at an employer you were interested in had looked at your profile? In sales parlance, this is what's known as a "warm lead." In other words, they have a demonstrated interest in you. Why not send them a note which goes something like:

"Thank you for viewing my LinkedIn profile! I have always been very interested in working at Company X, would you be available for a brief chat?"

FINAL NOTE: In case you were wondering, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn other than as a paying user, and for my subscription I pay rack rate. But I've been using the system since its early days and while there are things about it I don't love, I firmly believe in its power as both a job search and recruitment tool.


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, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.