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18

Jul

Job searching is serious business, who has time to Tweet?

5 Myths about Twitter, and why you should reconsider using Twitter as a Job Search Tool

17

Jul

Will you pass the job search savvy test?

16

Jul

Is it You or the Job Market?

Take the JOB SEARCH SAVVY TEST:

Lets see how you score? This is not very scientific, just a simple count, Yes=1 No=0

Instructions: Answer with your gut & Answer truthfully, you aren’t kidding anyone but yourself.

Do you have a plan?

1. Do you know what your goals are and have a road map to get there? Y N

2. Do you have a list of companies that you would like to work for. Y N

3. Are you using Linkedin to reach out to key people in your industry? Y N

4. Are your skills, accomplishments, experience, and goals, clearly and well articulated? Y N

How does your resume fare?

5. Your resume is designed in such a way that it pops? Y/ N

6. Does it shout out your value proposition? Y / N

7. Is it clear, easy and compelling to read? – If someone scans your resume in 15 seconds, what will it tell them? Y/ N

8. Does your resume demonstrate what you can do and how you can make a difference? Y/ N

9. Your resume is jam-packed with carefully selected keywords that highlight your skills and expertise? Y / N

10. Has your resume got recruiters or hiring manager calling? Y/ N

What does Google Say about you?

11. When you google your name, professional information about you is the first item that pops to the top, and your profile tells a broader,
more interesting story. Y/ N

12. No negative or distracting information pops up when your name is goggled. Y /N

13. You have a 100% complete, compelling and comprehensive profile on Linkedin Y/ N

14. You use Linkedin daily in a proactive way to reach out to strategic connections to expand your network and target specific companies Y/ N

15. You understand all the hidden tools and applications that Linkedin
has to offer to help you expand your job search and network Y / N

16. You participate in Linkedin Discussions as well as comment on other peoples blogs on a regular basis. Y/N

17. You know that Twitter can be a good place to be for your job search and networking Y/ N

18. You are using multiple social networking sites to connect with people that can help you in your job search. Y/ N

19. You have a growing network and are working on expanding it with the right peope. Y/ N

Is your “Net working”?

20. You are comfortable networking, and feel that you are already networking in all the right places. Y/ N

21. You are a member of at least one professional association, and at least one general networking group. Y/ N

22. You have let everyone in your entire circle of friends and family know that you are looking for work, and they all know what you
would like to be doing Y/ N

23. You have a list of companies you would like to work at, and you are working to make connections with those companies. Y /N

Your Recruiter & You

24. Your relationship with recruiters is as good as with your stylist/barber/doctor? Y/ N

25. You know how to find a recruiter that would be a good match for you. Y / N

26. You understand the role of the recruiter and how you can best help them. Y/ N

Are you are Interview Ready

27. You have a strong and compelling reason why company x should hire you at the tip of your tongue. Y / N

28. You can whip out your strengths in a nano-second with some truly interesting stories that will knock socks off. Y/ N

29. You understand how to go into an interview in consultant mode and turn it into a conversation. Y/N

30. You feel quite confident in how you interview? Y/ N

Okay! Now Count them up, Yes=1 No=0. What did you score out of 30? What do the results tell you?

25-30 Not bad, You’re pretty confident about your job search skills and have a good sense of what you have to do. Bump it up a notch
and you should be on your way.

20-25 Slight room for improvement. Identify what area you need the most help with, and get some feedback from a professional.
You want to figure out how to improve what is not working and give more
attention to learning these new job search skills.

15-20 You could be doing better. With a little guidance, research, support, you could be galloping on your way to your next gig.
What are you waiting for? Get some help on how to figure out what you
don’t know. It just takes a little more effort, and before you know it
you might be busy with finding a job.

0-15 You’re stuck, confused and no doubt quite frustrated! What are you going to do about it? Stew? Not worth it. Maybe you Need a
kick in the pants.. a wake up call, a refresh! read below.. or Email me
now @ Donna@careerfolk.com, send me a copy of your resume to take a
look at, and a link to your Linkedin profile while you are at it,
assuming you have started one. Lets see how we can help you get your
Job Search groove on.

In this flooded job market, you can’t afford to jeopardize your job search by failing in any of the areas discussed above. You need to get
it right every step of the way.

In order to help new (and tired) job seekers hit refresh this year, I have joined forces with 4 top career management professionals, to create a 5 Step Seminar that is designed to give you the most up-to-date information on the Job Search Trends. Each member of this great team is an expert in their own area and we are all determined to help you learn what it takes to succeed in this challenging job market. I hope you will join us.

15

Jul

Making Networking The Best Gift You Can Give, Continued

(Source: addtoany.com)

14

Jul

How Networking can be the Best Gift you can Give!

Tis the season and you deserve a break, so I would like to suggest we take the work out of “network” this December. If you’re getting out there anyway and going to have some fun with friends, family, peers and colleagues here are 6 ways to turn your networking into the most valuable gift you can give this season. Since networking is about building relationships, meaningful conversation, asking questions and listening, use this December to practice the Gift of Networking.

A Mindset of Giving Gift

Seems obvious, right, since this is the season, but one of the biggest mistakes people make when networking is going into it with the mindset of “what can I get out of this?” No doubt, having a clear set of goals and what you want to gain from your networking efforts is very important, but that is not what its all about. A common assumption is the thinking that you don’t have anything to give back, particularly if you are not working. This is not true at all and in fact if you go into any environment where you are going to have the opportunity to connect with people, focusing on how you might be able to help someone else is what can really propel your networking efforts forward.

A mindset of giving is the foundation of truly successful networking. Developing  your reputation as someone who is interested, helpful, and trustworthy will lead the way for others to willingly and generously want to help you in times of need. If this was not your understanding of networking before, what better time to start.

The Gift of Listening

In order to really engage with someone, the best thing you can do is listen. In fact, listening is the greatest gift you can give anybody because you are giving someone the chance to tell their story. I learned this weekend after a powerful experience with an organization called Narativ, that there is no story without a listener. However, we humans are easily distracted, and considering these stressful times, we tend to get caught up in our own thoughts, concerns and anxieties that prevent us from listening fully. It has also been found that, despite conventional wisdom, introverts do a better job at “networking” in the long term, because they tend not to talk as much and are therefore, better listeners.  So if you can work on putting those anxieties aside, stop talking for a while, and practice the art and skill of listening, you might be amazed at what you will hear.

So, pay-it-forward (where you can) and put some good will out there this  December, everyone will be very grateful and you won’t be forgotten.  Ultimately, that’s what really counts.

More  Gifts of Networking coming this week!

13

Jul

Updating Your Resume: It’s Not Just About Words & Phrases!

12

Jul

The Job Search. It’s Like Learning to Ride a Bike.

September is a month of transitions. Whether it’s starting something new, or returning to an established routine, starting afresh is generally the theme. For those in career transition, it might be the month where you commit to buckling down to your search or career change (again?).  Granted, there are always lots of distractions during the summer and it can be hard to stay 100% focused on the goal at hand!   Of course,  that’s often a good thing and a welcome break.  But Labor Day has come & gone—and now it’s time to get re-focused.  For those of you who’ve been on the hunt for a while, the challenges to “getting back on the bike” so to speak, abound. In my work with clients, the three most common obstacles that jump out at me are lack of momentum, confidence and having a strategic plan.   While thinking about this the other day, it brought to mind my experience of watching my five-year-old daughter learn to ride a bike this summer. And then there is my story too.

My enthusiastic five-year-old is excited about learning to ride when there are no obstacles in the way, but when the path gets a little bumpy, she’s easily discouraged.  We encourage her to stay focused and keep on peddling, the bumps in the road will soon “disappear”, or at least she won’t feel them as much.

On the flip side, I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was 29 years old. (Yes, believe it or not, but there are a few of us on this planet who, as kids, did not have this privilege!  And luckily, there are actually teachers who specialize in helping adults ride bikes.)  Living in New York City at the time, my inability to ride a bike got the better of me, and my determination overtook whatever fear I had developed.

You probably get where I’m going with this—job seeking is a lot like learning to ride a bike.  When the job hunt gets tough, it’s easy to get discouraged and frustrated by the daunting challenge. So where do you find the motivation and support to “pick yourself up, brush off, and move forward?” — You heard it as a child, maybe, but how about now?  What’s helping you move your job search forward despite the numerous obstacles that might stand in your way?

Here are five ways that I liken my own “learning to ride a bike” experience to the job search:

I. Announcing that I was finally going to learn to ride a bike: Accountability

I let a group of friends know that I was going to learn how to ride a bike, that summer, no matter what. After that, the secret was out, and I couldn’t let myself down.  Do you have a group that you are accountable to in your job search? I see how easy it is for job seekers and career changers to lose momentum when going it alone, and that means not even reaching out to your community for support.  I have run many job search support groups over the years because I see the value, not only in the emotional support, but also for helping people stay accountable to someone other than themselves. – More about that further on.

2. I found a professional teacher: Seek help from an expert

Having never learned how to ride a bike, I knew I would need an expert to help me. I didn’t want to put my friends through the grueling process.  I found a professional who specifically taught adults how to ride bikes.  Yes, you truly can find anything you need in NYC.  He was also a great teacher, had a group of about 10 of us riding in one weekend. Of course, you say, it’s easy, but not for a group of adults who have never ridden a bike in their lives. Having an expert share current advice and techniques is invaluable. These days making the financial investment can be daunting, but having a prolonged unemployment could be worse.

3. Found the motivation to learn to ride a bike before I was 30 years old.  Set a specific goal(s)

Having a birthday milestone and a specific task to accomplish before that date is as specific as it gets. With the job search, watching ones bank balance diminish might be motivation enough, but not for everyone.  The type of goals job seekers should be considering include – Making X number of networking phone calls a week, Attending X number of networking events per week, Making X number of new connections on linkedin.com.

4. Put aside my fear and trepidation with a greater goal in mind.  Focus on building confidence.

While I had never ridden a bike before, I knew I could do it, and just had to get over the chatter in my head.  The same goes for the job search. Unfortunately, the problem with so many job seekers I meet is that the greatest obstacles often lie in their head. It’s easy to build up in ones mind all the reason’s why someone will not hire you. In fact, to put your fears and doubts in perspective, read Bonnie Lowes list of  50 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job . I hope this will inspire a laugh at your imperfect self, and move on.

5. Joined a bicycle riding group lesson: Don’t go it alone

When I signed up to learn to ride a bike, I wasn’t alone. As I mentioned before, there were about 10 of us, and it really helped to know I wasn’t the only adult out there that had never learned to ride. It was also great to have the camaraderie and support as we made our maiden voyage around Central Park.

Research has shown that job seekers or anyone going through a big transition fare better with the encouragement and insight of a small group designed to help members move forward toward the end goal.  Job Search support groups abound. You can find them most easily on one of my favorite websites: www.meetup.com

If you don’t find one near you, start it yourself and find the support you need. I look forward to starting a new telephone job search group at the end of this month. Let me know if you are interested.

6. Learn the right way. Understand the techniques that work (especially if they have changed).

Now you must be thinking, “but it’s easy to learn to ride?”.  Well, not really, particularly for a group of ol’ folks like myself with all types of bad habits and inhibitions… And, anyway, would you say the same for the job search?   Learning the exact technique, and what do in various scenarios from our teacher was essential and by the end of the weekend we ALL rode the entire Central Park loop!   This is one of the most important tips to take into consideration today, because if you are following old-fashioned job search techniques, waiting for opportunities to appear online, you are out of touch with how to find work in this new economy. Make sure you learn how to actively use social networking tools to expand your job search, and build your online reputation.

Taken step-by-step, neither learning to ride a bike nor finding the right job seems as daunting, does it?  And eventually, both are accomplished!

Need some support getting “back on the bike” or maybe some or guidance on how to do it right so you can start to see some results, drop me a line at Donna@careerfolk.com.  Maybe you know someone that could use a shot of inspiration. Please share this story.  Maybe you have a story of how you achieved your own personal goal, I would love to hear it too. Thanks for reading.

11

Jul

5½ TIPS TO BRAND YOURSELF & STAND OUT

Here they are, finally, the next 5 tips and some! No one can afford to sit back and be complacent about what it takes to stay on top  of Career Management 2.0.

6. Brand your LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn is one of the largest “social networking” sites, where one of the primary purposes is professional networking. With over 40 million professionals utilizing it, polishing your brand on LinkedIn is essential in order to stand out.  You can do so by keeping your text short but lively descriptions (like “Business Jump Starter” rather than “consultant,” for example), and conveying your passion & humor when describing your skills & experience.  Another great tool is LinkedIn’s “Answers” feature, through which you can answer other users’ questions in ways that showcase your expertise, build your credibility and raise your “go-to” stock on the network.  It’s all about what you put into it.

7. Brand your Facebook profile
. With your friends and family, that is—a valuable group that we often tend to overlook. Do they know what you do? Are you engaged with helping them whenever available?  Building a strong network is about supplying it with quality resources, information and content—your friends & family included!   If you’ve written them off as “just” that, revamp your thinking and see them in a new light—a group of allies who know you and your great qualities more than anyone else—thus, the perfect ones to refer you to new contacts!

8. Brand your blog. When people visit your blog, do they get a real sense of who you are, what your passion is and how you can help them?  Or do they just get generic words on the same old topics?  Interestingly, one of the main ways to connect with your blog readers & subscribers is quite simple, doesn’t require a bunch of bells and whistles—and it’s as close as your digital camera.  That’s right—simply adding personal pictures to your blog can foster a better connection with your audience.  That, along with your useful content, goes a long way in establishing yourself as a trusted expert.

9. Brand your public speaking. This is one of the most effective ways to brand yourself, as your audience connection is face-to-face–something I can’t stress the importance of enough!  People love information, but when it’s delivered by a “real” person, in person—it makes the message that much stronger and more memorable.  If you’re just getting started, approach associations & organizations and volunteer to make presentations.  It might not be a paying gig at first, but the contacts you can make are invaluable—the experience will hone your public speaking skills and possibly lead to paying engagements down the line.   If you need to, consider taking a public speaking seminar, hiring a coach or joining Toastmasters to polish your skills and jump-start your brand.

10. Brand your clothing. Okay, be honest with yourself:  What message does your wardrobe send out to people you come in contact with?  If your overly-casual jeans, track pants, sneakers or t-shirts scream, “I’m a little too laid-back & don’t take my business or clients seriously”(which it probably does), then you need to revamp!  I’m not saying you need to wear a suit every day, but even a little goes a long way in conveying a neat, organized image.  Whether your personal style is conservative or a little funky, you can brand yourself and give it a professional edge without being “stiff.”  Groomed hair & nails, tasteful makeup & jewelry, and properly fitted/tailored clothes can boost your self-confidence & let those around you see you in a great light!  If you need ideas, consult an image consultant or stylist for tips.

To sum it all up, and this is probably the most important one on the list—yet, it’s the simplest!  Branding yourself is all about what you believe in—your talent, your ability and your skills—and if you truly believe in something, it’s that much easier to get others on board with whatever your passion is.  For jobseekers, that means convincing hiring managers that you’re the perfect person for that position.  And for entrepreneurs, that means customers and clients believing in you enough to give you their business.   Once you’ve established your personal brand, use that to define what it is that you stand for in your particular field—and who can benefit from that.  Once you get your message out to your target audience through various media methods, people will see you as a go-to expert based on your experience and expertise.

Here’s to making your brand work for you!

10

Jul

Is it time for a BRAND new You? The first 5 steps!

One of the areas I see current job seekers struggling with is the notion of Personal Branding. Yes, it’s probably becoming a little cliched at this point, but at the same time, it is also essential in today’s job market- How else can you stand out in the most overcrowded job market in decades?  So, in an attempt to help break this concept down into very concrete steps, I have come up with 10 steps to branding yourself? I start out with five today,  and will followup up with the next five. I want you to give these all a little (if not a lot) of thought! and let me know what you think, and where you realize there is room for improvement.

1. Assess yourself. Take the time to identify what’s unique to you—for example, your strengths, skills, values, passion and style.  It’s not as hard as you think, either—to know yourself is to brand yourself!  Assess what these things are.  What events have shaped or changed your life?  What’s your true passion?  What makes you special and interesting?  How have you overcome challenges?  What kind of effect have you had on others and your surroundings?   But most of all, how can you use your passion to make a difference, in whatever it is that you set out to do.

2. Brand your resume – Most resumes I see are generic laundry lists of duties that have been assigned. What does that say about you? Not much.  Throughout your resume, there should be words and phrases that tell the story of you doing what you love.  The best way to do this is to track your accomplishments, reached goals & challenges overcome —jot them down in a notepad or type them in a simple Word document.  When the time comes to update your resume, review your written accomplishments and add them to your resume in a concise, colorful way, and if you get stuck, reach out for help! (Seth Godin has an interesting, if not controversial view about resumes in an older blogpost called “Why Bother Having a Resume?” http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/03/why-bother-havi.html- Definitely good food for thought)

3. Brand your emails. Do you have a signature at the end of your email?  I’m constantly amazed at the number of people who waste valuable advertising real estate at the bottom of their emails!  Never mind the folly of having no contact information at the bottom of their email—but what about all that FREE advertising space to let people know what you do & what you can do for them?  If you have a LinkedIn profile (a rhetorical question at this stage, I hope), why isn’t your LinkedIn button–or at minimum, your URL–there so that someone can instantly access your profile and get to know everything about you?

4. Brand your volunteering.  A recent client of mine, Cheri, didn’t just go to her volunteering site and wait to be told what to do. She was a proactive diva— suggesting new projects, and regularly coming up with alternative ways to do things. Another client, Leslie, a docent at Carnegie Hall, had years of experience helping her company save money. In her volunteer capacity, she has kept her eyes open for various ways that Carnegie Hall’s decision makers could improve their bottom line.  Both of these women have made themselves known as insightful, proactive and creative professionals that have a lot more to offer than what meets the eye.

5. Brand your networking endeavors. What type of networker are you?  As intimidating as it may seem, you can’t afford to be a reluctant one any more, so here’s a way to embrace this daunting activity: Start out by asking questions and instead of focusing on yourself, focus on the other person. Become a giver first, not just a receiver.  Give some real thought to what you can do to help this person, or what resources you may be able to pass on.  That way, you forget about the oh-so-counterproductive (and ultimately disappointing) “what’s in for me” mentality.  Another reason focusing on others is so important: Not only will you start to develop a relationship with the person you’re helping, but you never know what might valuable piece of information that person may pass on to you.  So the next time you’re mustering up the motivation to attend a networking event, stride into the room with an updated attitude and goal: To help as many people that you meet as possible. Wouldn’t you like to be remembered as someone who is out there, giving?  Your turn to be on the receiving end won’t be far off!

Could you be making a few changes in the way that you present yourself to the world? Share your thoughts here. Also, if you tweet, Feel free to share this article on Twitter, and if you don’t tweet yet.. Then its time you gave it a second glance.. There is a lot going on there!..  follow me on twitter @careerfolk.

For the next 5 1/2 steps to Personal Branding click here

09

Jul

10 Essentials for Job Search Success:

10 Essentials for Job Search Success:

1.     Fire in your belly. An insatiable motivation to succeed and do whatever it takes.
2.     A sound understanding and coherent and articulate message conveying who you are and what you can do that is different from others, is critical in todays job search.
3.     An inherent confidence in yourself.
4.     Staying focused on your goal, and not letting the negative distractions, and past rejections keep you back from getting up and moving forward.
5.     Establishing a daily & weekly routine that incorporates online research and  networking, as well as “in-person” networking, volunteering, learning a new skill, or maintaining or expanding an old one.
6.     Maintaining a positive attitude: Allow yourself time out to do things that make you happy or keep you inspired and motivated and give you other things to think about and an opportunity to relax.  (More to come on this)
7.     Acknowledging that you might be in the search for a while, and making the most of your time while you are at it. (More to come on this too!)
8.     Joining a job search strategy group that you can network with, generate ideas with, be accountable to, and help you keep focused.
9.     Searching for companies, not for jobs:  Having a plan that will help you reach your goal is essential, and this involves identifying where you want to work, and establishing a plan to get to know those companies.
10.     Learning how to use one or  more forms of social media to get your message out and market yourself and your brand: Definitely linkedin, but also Twitter, Facebook and blogs have all become  integral to a successful job search strategy.

Are you managing to accomplish all of these? Do you have a clear and precise understanding of who you are and what you have to offer?

Our next post will look at the top 10 mistakes job seekers make! Look out for post #2.