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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.

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.