Using LinkedIn For Your Job Search

Using social media tools has become a very common and effective way to assist in your search for a new job.  The most common of these tools are LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  In this article, we will focus on the use of LinkedIn for connecting you with potential recruiters and hiring decision makers. Recent statistics show that those who use LinkedIn in their job search are 40 times more likely to be hired that those who do not.  The simple fact in this changing job market is that recruiters love to use LinkedIn to source their potential candidates.  You can use this reality to build relationships with them and showcase your skills.

The 3 focus areas to focus on in LinkedIn are as follows:

As you begin to build your LinkedIn profile, remember to use your resume as the foundation.  Include a current and professional personal photo and your profile will be 7 times more likely to be viewed than those without a picture. Your contact information can include your job search email and a cell phone number, but it is inadvisable to include your home phone number or address.

The “Summary” section of your profile should use action verbs.  Conduct research on your target companies and choose wording that closely aligns with what they are seeking in a candidate in their job postings.   Focus on showing results or solutions that you have achieved in each of your past work experiences.

The “Education” section can include such things as GPA, group memberships or any additional training you have received.

“Recommendations” are very helpful and serve as validation for the experience you highlight.  These can come from former bosses or clients and it is a good idea to have a couple for each past employer.  You can also add additional sections such as Certifications, Languages, Publications or Volunteer activities.

There are 6 basic components of a good LinkedIn profile.  They are:

Privacy Settings is an area that should be given consideration as you develop your LinkedIn profile. Under “Connections” and then “Contacts”, if you choose “Add Connections”, this will pull all your contacts from your email address book.  If you do not wish to be connected in this way, you can go to the bottom left of the page, and choose the contact by individual email option.

Once you have your basic profile developed, you can begin connecting with others and be well on your way to finding a job.  Keep in mind that you can’t find a job if employers and hiring managers cannot find you so having a LinkedIn profile will ensure that you are visible and have an edge in this increasingly and ever more competitive job market.

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Strategies for Job Search and Networking

Although the job market is improving from its bottom in 2009, there are still many challenges faced by those seeking a new opportunity.  In this article, we will attempt to outline the various options available to the job seeker.  By using a combination of these options, the odds of landing a new and better job will increase substantially.

Only about 25% of all jobs out there are being advertised.  The rest of them are being filled through internal promotion or employee referrals via networking.  The 3 doors you can open in your job search are as follows:

The job search process is composed of 2 different components.  They are firstly the “Vision” and secondly the “Action.”  It is important to address each of these by making a list of the parts contained within each of them.  Begin by creating your “Vision” by using this outline and making a list of the following:

From the above list, you can prepare your branding statement or what is sometimes known as the 30 second commercial.  By using the above criteria, you need to create a compelling story of your accomplishments.  Practice this so that you know it well but try to make sure that it does not sound rehearsed.  Use your own words and keep it in mind because it will be an important reference point when you are face to face with potential networking contacts or in the actual job interview.

The next step will be your “Action Plan” which will establish the direction of your job search.  It is very important to have a plan because remember without one, all roads can lead to nowhere.  The downfall of most people in their job search is to have a haphazard approach akin to throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping some of it sticks.  Moving forward without a plan rarely works.  Each plan should contain the following 3 components:

Now you are ready to make your next move.  You can begin to utilize Job Boards, Recruiters and your Networking contacts.  Several good Job Boards to target are CareerBuilder, HotJobs, and Monster. Many Recruiters will list positions on these sites.  Recruiters fall into 2 categories which are the Headhunter and the Retained Firm.  A Headhunter will be paid when the position is filled and the Retained Firm is under contract with an organization to fill all their open positions.  They will usually present between 3-7 candidates to the prospective employer.

Your networking contacts will fall into 2 categories which are Informal and Targeted.  It is possible for a contact to be both.  Essentially, the Informal contact is a person that you may just know as an acquaintance from which you are asking for feedback.  They may work in the industry or company you are targeting.  Ask them for their feedback on where you might potentially fit into the organization.  Do not ask them point blank if the company is hiring.  Keep it as a soft sell and casual conversation.  What you are looking for is for them to suggest another contact for you to reach out to that falls into the category of the Targeted networking contact.  This will be the person that is more closely connected to those in the hiring circle.  It may be an HR contact or a hiring manager at the firm.  Continue to pursue this strategy in all your personal interactions and you will find it will start to yield positive results.    Other areas open to fostering networking opportunities are groups such as the Chamber of Commerce for your community, industry clubs, alumni organizations or other formerly advertised networking events.  Most of your energy should be spent in this type of tactical networking since this is the door where 75% of all candidates who are hired are entering.

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Resume Writing Tips

One of the most important aspects of conducting a productive and fruitful job search is to create a resume that will make a great first impression and land you the job interview.  Most employers spend no more than 20 seconds looking at a resume so it needs to be concise and easily readable.  Too much information will get it tossed since recruiters have so many potential candidates to sift through in this competitive job market.

Branding is a key issue on your resume which can be accomplished by using a title at the top which describes what you do and can bring to the table.  Some examples are “Accomplished Business Analyst” or “Customer Service Professional.” Next comes experience which is always the most recent first going back no more than 15 years.  Keep the dates in years form such as 2006-2009 and leave out the months.  Under the company name, a brief description of the organization will be helpful, especially if the company is not a household name.  Acme Solutions for instance would not mean anything to a potential recruiter so by describing their business in one sentence, you are able to establish a connection in the mind of the resume reviewer.

When listing your accomplishments at each place of work, use the model of  “action” and “result” to describe each.  If you just list the tasks you performed, it sounds more like a job description than an actual discussion of your performance.  For instance, you could say that you implemented a new phone system that cut customer hold time by 50% versus stating that you oversaw the installation of a new phone system.  At the bottom of this article are some great Action / Result power words that you can incorporate into your resume.

After you are finished with your work history, you can move on to a Technical Skills section.  This is where you can list the various computer systems you have used throughout your career.  Begin with “Operating Systems”.  This would include things such as Windows 7, NT, AS400 to mention a few.  Then list the “Software” you have used such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook, CRM, Lotus Notes….You get the idea.

The last section can be your “Education” section.  Only mention highschool if you are not a college graduate.  Also include any work sponsored training workshops you have attended.  It is not necessary to include dates unless it is within 5 years.  Otherwise it can tend to make you look dated.

Finally, do not conclude your resume with the statement that “References are available upon request”. That is a no-brainer that they would be and it just makes you look silly.

Action and Result word reference:

ACTIONS
Administered Organized Administered Performed Arranged Installed
Analyzed Planned Advised Persuaded Assembled Introduced
Arranged Presented Assisted Presented Balanced Invented
Assembled Processed Coached Produced Bargained Made
Assessed Promoted Communicated Protected Built Modernized
Authored Programmed Conducted Provided Centralized Opened
Balanced Proved Consulted Reconciled Conceived Operated
Budgeted Provided Counseled Recruited Conserved Organized
Calculated Publicized Decided Reduced Consolidated Originated
Co-authored Published Delegated Represented Constructed Pioneered
Compiled Read Demonstrated Resolved Converted Presented
Completed Recorded Determined Restructured Created Produced
Composed Reconciled Directed Scheduled Cut costs Purchase
Computed Refined Eliminated Served Demonstrated Reconstructed
Condensed Reorganized Enforced Shared Designed Redesigned
Converted Reported Established Showed Determined Reduced
Coordinated Researched Expedited Staffed Developed Repaired
Corrected Revised Facilitated Supervised Devised Restructured
Defined Setup Guided Taught Eliminated Shaped
Designed Simplified Headed Tended Established Strengthened
Determined Sorted Hired Tested Expanded Tended
Developed Standardized Initiated Trained Fabricated Tested
Edited Streamlined Instructed Traveled Formed Upgraded
Evaluated Systematized Learned Unified Founded
Formulated Synthesized Led Generated
Identified Tracked Managed Guided
Integrated Updated Motivated Handled
Interpreted Verified Negotiated Improved
Marketed Wrote Operated Innovated
Modified Organized Inspected

RESULTS
Enhanced Profitability Reduced Turnover
Expanded Product Line Improved Customer Relations
Improved Accuracy Increase Customer Satisfaction
Improved Corporate Image Improved Methods
Improved Morale Improved Training
Increased Awareness Automated Systems
Increased Earnings Increased Return on Investment
Increased Inventory Turns Designed Equipment
Increased Productivity Conceived New Products
Increased Sales Reduced Capital Investment
Minimized Liability Reduced Errors
Raised Efficiencies Eliminated Unnecessary Procedures
Reduced A/R Days Out Enhanced Operations
Reduced Costs Improved Quality
Reduced Energy Requirement Upgraded Plans
Reduced Rejects Developed New Products
Saved Time Reduced Downtime
Shortened Lead Time Ensured Safety

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