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Posts Tagged ‘job leads’

You Applied for the Job… Now What?

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

By Andrea Santiago

Some of the most common job search questions often involve the method job seekers should utilize to follow up with a potential employer or hiring manager after submitting a resume to a potential employer for consideration.
Many career experts, including Lindsay Olson from US News & World Report’s Money/Careers blog, agree that how you follow up depends upon a number of variables, and you need to approach each situation accordingly.
However, there are several common denominators that apply to most circumstances, and these guidelines will help you when you’re trying to navigate the job search process after you have submitted your resume.
The best resume follow-up strategy is to submit such a fantastic resume that you don’t have to follow up. If your resume is spot-on for the position, the hiring authority may contact you first, before you even have to follow up on anything.
So how do you “wow” hiring managers with your resume?
Customize your resume – Pay close attention to the verbiage used in the job ad and job description. Incorporate the potential employer’s words and key phrases into your own resume, (where applicable of course—true to your qualifications of course!)

Research Resume Samples – There are numerous websites that now provide resume samples and resume builders for a variety of industries.

There are many ways to create an attention-grabbing resume. But even the best resumes will still require you to proactively reach out to the hiring authority to get feedback regarding your application and status. If your resume does not stop the hiring manager in his or her tracks, and you don’t receive a call from anyone inviting you to an interview, it doesn’t mean that you are not qualified. The hiring manager may simply be overwhelmed with many good applicants. Sometimes, you can draw additional attention to your resume and help yourself stand out over the other applicants if you are able to follow up effectively and professionally.

How you proceed depends upon the circumstances of your application. Did you apply online, through a friend, via a job fair, or some other method? If you know someone in the organization, it may be acceptable to contact that person directly. Otherwise, you should be careful not to contact the wrong person, or follow up too frequently. Below are a few basic resume follow-up tips that apply to most situations:

  • Be courteous and respectful of the person’s time.
  • Don’t stalk the hiring manager or over-communicate. You could come across as desperate, or you may just annoy the hiring manager so much that they could rule you out based on that. A good rule of thumb is no more than 1-2 times per week, for 2-3 weeks.
  • Don’t go above or around the hiring manager or contact listed on the job ad. Some career experts recommend it, but in my experience as a recruiter, and as a hiring manager, that tactic usually does more harm than good.
  • Your follow up should be brief, well-written, (or well-spoken if you’re leaving a voicemail), and free of errors, typos, or grammar mistakes.
  • Email is less intrusive and generally more accepted than phone calls.

If you follow those basic guidelines when following up on your resume or job application, you will convey a high level of interest, tenacity, and professionalism that employers want from their prospective employees.

Using Personal Networks to Your Advantage

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

By Miriam Salpeter

Even though job seekers are inundated with advice to use their personal networks to propel job search success, it is not always easy to follow through. Social networking complicates the focus on personal networks, as traditional media constantly shares ways people lose jobs via Facebook and networks like it, without showcasing stories from people who found jobs! With thousands of people joining online networks each day, it’s impossible to ignore these tools when leveraging personal networks for job opportunities. The key for job seekers is knowing how to use in-person and online communities without seeming like a desperate job seeker. Read on for suggestions!
Real, In-Person Networks
Just because social media is so pervasive doesn’t mean job seekers should ignore their in-person networks. Advise job seekers to consider any party as a networking opportunity. This includes backyard barbeques, birthday parties, and professional socials. Job seekers never know where they may meet the perfect contact to provide a professional introduction.

However, it’s important not to parade around these events with a virtual “J” for job hunter on the forehead. No one wants to get stuck talking to someone who seems desperate or needy and who only wants to discuss possible job connections. Important points for job hunters to consider when meeting new people in person:

  • Be a listener first. Make every person feel as if he or she is important and valued. Ask a lot of questions. The goal should be to continue the conversation at a later date. People enjoy and appreciate spending time with people who are good listeners and seem interested in them.
  • Learn some personal details about contacts to make it easy to follow-up and keep in touch. (It’s a good idea to advise job seekers to excuse themselves to jot down some notes after conversations.) For example, take note of the contact’s favorite sports team or hobby. In a month or two, send a note commenting on the team’s progress (if it’s positive!) or forward an article or blog post relevant to the person’s hobby. Doing so helps keep the job seeker top-of-mind and reminds the contact to think about possible networking opportunities for the person.
  • It is important for the job seeker to work something into the conversation relevant to his or her search, but he or she should refrain from actually asking for help during an informal gathering or first meeting. For example, “I’m an enterprise technology HR professional focused on finance. I’m actually seeking a new opportunity, possibly in an Oracle environment.” This statement offers information, but does not ask for anything in return. Most people won’t have a great lead or suggestion off the tops of their heads, anyway. It’s better to ask the new contact to meet for coffee at a later time. Resist asking for anything specific until the follow-up meeting.
  • Always ask new acquaintances if they are willing to connect via LinkedIn. (And then follow up right after the event.)
  • It’s easy to recognize if a contact is amenable to getting together. Follow up immediately with an invitation for coffee or lunch. During the informational meeting, job seekers should be sure to continue to demonstrate expertise, but also make it clear what organizations or individuals they would like to meet and request introductions if possible.
  • If the contact offers to “keep his ears open” for the job seeker after an in-person meeting, it means he doesn’t have enough information to know how to help. In that case, re-state job search objectives and suggest companies of interest. It’s up to the job seeker to be sure contacts know what they can do to help. Don’t leave the results up to chance.

Connecting with online personal networks
In many ways, the “rules” for social networking are the same as in-person networking: listen more than you contribute, don’t ask for something before you build a relationship, and give before you expect to get. Job seekers shouldn’t ignore opportunities to use Facebook, where most of their contacts actually know them! Some advice to help job seekers motivate Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter contacts to help them:

  • Maintain complete profiles on all of the “big three:” LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Incorporate keywords to help readers know what the job seeker knows and how he or she can contribute.
  • Use Facebook and LinkedIn status updates and tweets to illustrate expertise. Job seekers should post updates making it clear they understand their targeted fields. It’s easy to find links and data to post online by searching Google or by setting a Google alert. Another way to keep up-to-date about company information is to follow companies via LinkedIn to source details to share on social networks. For example, if someone wants a job in insurance, he or she should follow news sources for regulatory updates and other useful information to share on Facebook. This helps everyone following the job seeker understand his or her interests and field and may make contacts more likely to think of the person if they learn of appropriate opportunities.
  • Occasionally mention a company of interest via status updates, but constantly referring to a job hunt is counterproductive.
  • Present a totally professional persona, eliminating anything the job seeker wouldn’t want an employer to see. This helps friends and contacts see the job seeker as a potential employee or referral.

5 Ways for Recent College Graduates to Find Available Jobs

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

Graduation has come and gone, and another batch of college students now find themselves in the “real world” of job searching. It can be scary, confusing and downright frustrating—especially because many of today’s colleges and universities don’t properly prepare students for their entry-level job search.

You might have a good idea of what you want in your ideal job—but where do you find it? Below are several ways I’d suggest getting started in your job search:

Participate in professional and job seeking communities. Communities are a valuable form of support and advice during a job search. The other participants can also be a great addition to your network. These groups of people exist both online and offline – think social media groups and chats, professional associations, and support groups – and can be a great source of inspiration and information in a job search. Being active and engaging in these groups can make you more visible to those who can help in your job search and allow you to give back with advice of your own.

Follow companies of interest on social media sites. Social media has changed the way organizations hire and source potential candidates, making it easier than ever for a job seeker to connect directly to the company they’d like to work for. Following their official Twitter account, Facebook page or blog feed can help ensure that you’ll be the first to know about potential openings and helps you learn more about the company at hand.

Volunteer or intern at a prospective employer. Although internships are often unpaid, it’s a valuable look inside of a company you desire to work for. During an internship or volunteer position, you’ll get to know employees at the organization all while gaining skills and experience in your field. It’s a great way to prove yourself as a professional and gain an “in” at the company. In fact, many employers look to their intern pool or employee referral list when looking to hire for entry-level positions.

Check major job boards, company career sites and Craigslist. While job listings shouldn’t be the only job search tactic you have in your arsenal, they’re certainly a valuable way to gauge who’s hiring and where. Job and Career Accelerator can help you find up-to-date job listings in hundreds of fields.

Just make sure you don’t spend all your time combing through job listings that might not even land an interview—you should also be networking, preparing your job search documents and polishing your online presence.

Reach out to your personal and professional network. Networking is often the best tactic to finding your next job. Whether it’s because you know someone at a company you’ve applied at and they put in a good word for you, or because a friend refers you to an unadvertised job opening they heard about, don’t forget to network early and often. Hopefully you’ve built a strong network before leaving school (always network before you need something!). Continue meeting new people and reaching out to others you’d like to build a professional relationship with. Remember, networking is a two-way street—you must provide value to your connections, too. Believe me, you have valuable advice and insight to share. Don’t be shy!

Five Essential Online Social Networking Tips: How to Use LinkedIn to Your Advantage

Monday, January 10th, 2011

By Miriam Salpeter

LinkedIn is more than a place to publish and store your resume online. It is a network that offers an opportunity to connect with thousands (even millions) of people who provide the potential for job leads and hiring opportunities.

For those who view LinkedIn as a “set it and forget it” network, it is time to revisit a site that is constantly updating and reinventing itself, and providing new tools for job seekers. Here are five of LinkedIn’s best features that jobseekers may be overlooking:

1. Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter of Career Trend collected several ideas to help use LinkedIn well, including advice from Hannah Morgan, career consultant and strategist at Career Sherpa, to “selectively join and participate in LinkedIn groups where you can give and receive value.” It is easy to join groups on LinkedIn. Just click on “groups” in the top navigation bar. LinkedIn even suggests “groups you may like” and provides a searchable directory. There are bound to be multiple potential groups to join, but it is a good idea to be selective. Encourage jobseekers to review groups and assess:

  • How many members belong?
  • How active the group is. How many posts and news items are listed? Do people seem actively engaged?
  • Is the group carefully monitored? While a group that requires permission to join may seem like an unwelcome barrier, it is a sign that someone cares a lot about the group, and is willing to invest time in making sure it is useful and its membership is monitored.

Have job seekers choose several groups to join that seem to promise ongoing interaction, and then participate actively. Review contributions, make comments, add news and discussion items, and answer questions. Doing so helps raise a job seeker’s profile in a community of his or her peers, and may make it more likely to learn about useful job leads.

2. Did you know that you can follow companies on LinkedIn? Have job seekers navigate to the “More” tab on LinkedIn’s toolbar and select companies from the dropdown. This feature makes it easy to learn when people either join or leave an organization. Following a company also allows a job seeker to review activity from the organization’s employees. A user may be able to learn when and where a company’s employees are speaking at events, what conferences they attend, and what books they read (depending on how many share and update this information on their profiles).

3. LinkedIn recently introduced several new sections as part of their profiles. A user may now include the following information in its own section, which helps make it easier for people to find and search. Be sure to have job seekers add these sections to their profiles if they are relevant:

  • Certifications
  • Languages
  • Patents
  • Publications
  • Skills

4. Job seekers should use all of their LinkedIn real estate to their advantage. By only including basic information or a few sentences in the summary and specialties sections, prime real estate is wasted.  It is important to include details that will make it easier for people to find the job seeker. I strongly suggest completing a profile with in-depth information that anyone who might want to hire a job seeker will find useful.

5. Remember, recruiters and employers will only find a job seeker if they use keywords in their profile. Craig Fisher, a former recruiter and current Vice President of Business Development at People Report explains, “As a job seeker, you need keywords in your Linkedin profile that will be specific to your niche, in order to help separate yours from the hundreds of less targeted profiles….Having these listed multiple times in your profile will help it come up at the top of the search results.”

Following these suggestions will help ensure that a job seeker is using LinkedIn’s tools to his or her best advantage!  It will also help to insure that one’s main areas of interests and skills are appropriately matched with the correct job leads and contacts, and ultimately the best job.