Archive for the ‘Job-Search Strategy’ Category
Getting a recommendation on LinkedIn can help your career. LinkedIn recommendations are valued by hiring managers. Why? 1. The first-degree connection giving the recommendation is visible, hence “researchable” on LinkedIn, 2. significant effort is involved in writing a recommendation, adding to the authenticity, and 3. the content’s often descriptive nature helps the hiring manager to understand your value. I would suggest getting at least three LinkedIn recommendations. LinkedIn considers three-plus recommendations to be a factor in “profile completeness,” which figures in it’s search rankings. You’ll place higher in someone’s LinkedIn search for a person with your skills if you have three or more recommendations, and thus improve your odds of being contacted about an opportunity.
When you request the recommendation (it needs to be from a 1st degree connection), include the areas of your experience that you want emphasized to make it easier for them to write a high-quality recommendation (don’t accept weak recommendations, as they can potentially hurt you!). If the “recommender” is very busy, you may want to offer to write a draft that they can then tweak. Be careful with this approach, as the one you write for yourself, on their behalf, may not be as strong as the one they would have written for you on their own!
What about LinkedIn “Endorsements?” This newish feature has generated mixed reviews. Many people (including myself) feel clicking on the endorsement button is too easy, resulting in too many endorsements for things the endorser doesn’t know about. This overuse of endorsements reduces the effectiveness of the whole feature. Internal and external recruiters who I speak with consistently say that they discount endorsements in their decision-making process, for this reason.
So, should you bother to get endorsements? Don’t go out of your way for the reasons just described, BUT, if you have many endorsements, it does look like you have at least something going for you. A high volume of endorsements says, at least, that you are good at getting endorsements! It also suggests that the people who have endorsed you like you. In that sense, a large volume of endorsements can add something positive to your profile.
I’ll be discussing how to rank highly in LinkedIn search results, and much more, in my June 4th, 7-8:30pm webinar on “Advanced LinkedIn.” You can also learn more about how to best use LinkedIn in service of your career in the newly updated (March 2013) version of my book “Your Social Media Job Search.”
Even if your resume, pitch, skill set, and emails are all stellar, at the end of the day your job search is still a numbers game. To improve your odds of landing a position quickly, you’ve got to actively go for a large number of potential positions. That is, don’t just passively wait for the search firm to call or the ad to show up (and then compete with potentially thousands of other applicants). Instead, take the active approach: 1) create a plan that casts a wide enough net to include enough suitable positions (open or currently filled), and 2) implement the plan via networking and contacting people you don’t know directly in these organizations.
Maybe you’ve heard of the “hidden job market.” Well, this “active” approach gives you access; A key to its success is to focus on #1 above: create a plan that contains enough “positions that exist” (even if filled now) so you know there’s enough potential to land a job quickly.
Here’s an example. A client came to me for help after a year of job-search frustration. His theories about what was wrong included 1) “I’m too old” and 2) “there are no jobs.” A quick conversation, however, revealed a different issue. In his job search he was targeting a niche industry, in a narrow geographic area— in which there were only 13 companies. Each company had only one position that would be suitable for his skill set; all 13 positions were currently filled.
When we did this analysis, it suddenly became clear to him why things were taking so long. First he would have to wait for one of those 13 positions to become vacant, and then he would have to compete with hundreds (or thousands) of other applicants!
To move beyond targeting just 13 positions, he created a plan that 1) expanded his search geographically to include more companies, and 2) added additional industries and job descriptions to his search. In the end, his new plan identified roughly 200 positions (a rule of thumb that Five O’Clock Club coaches use), up from the original 13. He quickly started reaching out (directly and through networking) to his new target organizations, landing meetings, interviews, and ultimately job offers.
By the way, don’t worry about precisely identifying the exact number of positions available at a given company—this is just a back-of-the-envelop calculation. “roughly 10” , “roughly 50” etc. will do fine. The idea here is to create awareness of the potential in your job search. This way you won’t accidentally kid yourself about how small the potential really is, and how long your search will take you.
Having an effective contact management system can save you a lot of time and missed opportunities, whether you are in business for yourself, in a job search, or on the job. It’s just too easy to let your inbox grow to unmanageable proportions, miss an important follow-up, waste time with things like “filing” or looking for that one email, or lose touch with potential clients. The key to solving all these problems and more, for me and for my clients, is to have a desktop-based or cloud-based system where all communication elements for a contact are associated with the contact, together in one place. These elements include Read more…
I’ve been sharing LinkedIn’s new Skills section with clients; they’ve found it very helpful for a range of activities including composing a resume or LinkedIn profile, evaluating a career change, deciding on companies to target, identifying contacts for meetings, and staying current in their present job. Once you input a skill you possess or want to learn more about, you get a “skills analysis” that shows you:
a list of people in your network with the same skill in their profile. This list is great for suggesting people you may want to try and meet with.
companies that hire for the skill you’ve selected. Use this list of companies for your job-search marketing plan.
a list of additional related skills (i.e. other skills that people have on their profiles along with the skill you entered). Use this list as source material for “skill” keywords to add to your LinkedIn profile or resume.
LinkedIn Groups to join that are related to the skill you’ve selected.
A listing of job openings that use this skill.
A definition of the skill (e.g. from Wikipedia, etc.) that can be useful in exploring new career options.
To start using this feature, go to “More” on the top menu of LinkedIn, and in the dropdown, select “Skills.” Then type in the skill you want to analyze or add to your profile. As you type, LinkedIn will suggest the word you’re looking for. For example, if I start to type “financial advisor” LinkedIn prompts me to select “financial advisory” from among a list of related skills. Try to select one of the skills it suggests for you that matches most closely. To add to the “Skills” section of your profile (increasing its appeal to recruiters sourcing candidates on LinkedIn), click on the “Add” button on the analysis page.
UPCOMING CAREER WEBINARS
I’ll be covering this new feature, and far more, in the webinars I’m running in December that are open for registration, including Finding YOUR Right Career (Dec 6), Resume and “Pitch” Intensive (Dec 13), and Getting Interviews (Dec 20). Feel free to check out my seminars page for more information on these and other webinars.
This blog entry was originally posted in the Glasshammer’s website.
Some clients who first come to me for help after a long and frustrating search attribute their difficulties to something they can’t control, such as age, experience (i.e. over- or under-qualified), weight, ethnic background, gender or, less often, some other physical feature. Yes, these biases do surface at times in the job search. But, once these clients start describing their search in more detail, nine times out of ten, I see that the problem is actually in their job-search strategy or execution!
So, if you have that “out of control” feeling, here’s a checklist of 10 things to make sure you are doing, to help you get back into the driver’s seat and on the road to the job you want.
1. Are you “positioning” yourself correctly? That is, are you focusing on how you can help your target audience? This means dropping the jargon that is only relevant to your current or last job, and using the language of your next.
2. Are you too general, or trying to be all things to all people? This strategy can be tempting because this way you don’t rule anything out. The problem with the too general approach, however, is that people are not going to take the time to figure out how you can help them. Or, they will put you in a place you don’t want to be! Having a specific resume and pitch for each job target is the way to go.
3. Are you too scattered, trying to go for many different job targets at once? It really helps to focus on one thing at a time, with some overlap. You want to be perceived as an “insider” in the industry or profession you are targeting, and to do that you need to focus and build your network within your target. Become known, have conversations with lots of people!
4. Are you going out and getting what you want, or just waiting for the ad to show up or the headhunter to call? The way people find most jobs these days is via leveraging their network and contacting people directly who they don’t know. LinkedIn can be a great help with these latter two approaches.
5. Are you being proactive at all stages of your job search? That means, you need to be following up, and keeping in touch, with people in your network or people you have met with. Don’t let these contacts disappear into a black hole! A client once followed up with 23 phone calls (not messages– just leave 1 or 2!) before he got to speak to the person he was trying to reach– and then they thanked him for being so persistent and gave him an interview!
6. How are you communicating? Is your “message” getting lost because of poor delivery? Get feedback from someone on how you come across in all your communications channels – resumes, emails, phone-calls, cover letters, and interviews.
7. Are you meeting with both the right people, and enough of the right people? At the Five O’Clock Club, we say that you must have six to 10 “things” (i.e. conversations) in the works with people who are in a position to hire you at any one time, because five of those six things will fall away through no fault of your own. Don’t just hang all your hopes on that one position you are interviewing for! Building up enough volume is key– if you are doing everything else right, it’s still a numbers game.
8. Are you targeting enough positions? If you have only 10 companies that you are going for, each with two positions that would be suitable for you (whether the position is open or not), that means only 20 positions you are targeting. It will thus take you forever to get a job because you have to wait for one of the 20 people to leave (or for a new job to be created)! The Five O’Clock Club recommends as a rule of thumb that you target 200 positions. Again, it’s a numbers game.
9. Are you spending at least 35 hours a week on your search if you are unemployed, and 15-plus if you are employed? I tell clients to treat their job search like a full time job. Get to your desk at 9am and leave at 5pm! Don’t kid yourself that you are in a serious job search if you spend only one or two hours a day on it!
10. Are you having fun? Take breaks from this search and go do what you enjoy doing! If you’re not taking care of yourself, it will come through in your interactions with potential employers! Spend at least a couple of hours a day doing something you enjoy.
The latest BLS report showed the unemployment rate stuck at a dismal 9.1%. BUT, more positive news for many jobseekers can be found within the data. In particular, the unemployment rate for those with a bachelors degree or higher remained much lower than the overall rate, at 4.3%, while the unemployment rate for all those 25 and over was a lower 7.8% (teenagers aged 16-19 continue to see very high unemployment rates, at over 25%). The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report can be read here.
In addition, the website Simply Hired, a Google-like aggregator and search engine for job-postings across the web, just released a report that shows job-postings up by 16.5% year-over-year. The entire report contains posting statistics by industry, occupation, region, and company that can be very useful if you are thinking about new job targets or a career change.
For example, results by industry show sharp year-over-year increases in job postings for the retail (150.6%), transportation (81.3%), and automotive (34.1%) sectors, while declines were seen in military (-34.6%), technology (-25.3%) and legal (-12.5%). Another measure, “job competition” (the ratio of unemployed to job-openings) reveals the least competition in Washington DC (ratio of 1:1) and the most in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale (9:1), with a national average of 4:1.
On a personal note, I (and other Five O’Clock Club coaches) are continuing to see clients at all levels land jobs they are interested in. The bottom line– while the job market remains difficult for many of you, the details within the data reveal substantial opportunity, and a more upbeat outlook.
Post originally appeared in the blog for the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG)
Most of my job-search clients are getting interviews these days by tapping into the hidden job market; they are both reaching out to their network and contacting people directly who they don’t know. You, too, want to prioritize efforts that will allow you to bypass the glut of applicants going through ads or recruiting firms. Spend only 20% of your valuable job search time on ads and recruiting firms, and the remainder on the hidden job market. Here are four ideas to get you started.
1. Send an email (or LinkedIn/Facebook message, etc.) to your entire network asking for referrals.
Think broadly about your network –- aim for 200 people initially (family, friends, colleagues from 10 years ago, your dentist, old professors, etc.). Include the following elements in your email:
- Subject Line: ‘Your Help Requested.’
- Your “pitch” that states what you want to do and your value to an organization.
- List the names of up to 25 organizations where you want to work at the bottom of the email.
- Ask your network for contacts in any part of any of the organizations listed.
- Let them know you will not be asking their contact for a job but rather a 10 minute conversation about how the company is organized and where you would fit down the road.
- Make sure to “bcc” all the recipients — don’t expose their e-mail addresses!
My clients do this all the time with great results. For example, Jerome sent an email telling his entire network about his job search and his interest in Pharmaceutical Marketing in New Jersey. Interestingly, the people he least expected to help him responded with the best leads. In one case, his neighbor’s wife’s brother put him in touch with the CFO in a pharma company, which led to an interview for a CMO role. And all because he included his neighbor in this email.
2. Make every meeting count!
Elena went through a long interview process at a large financial services firm. In the end they chose someone else. Undaunted, Elena called the hiring manager (before 9am , the only time the hiring manager would be at her desk) and asked if other areas of the company would be interested in her experience. This effort landed Elena with another interview in a different division. Again they turned her down, and again she asked for a referral. This process was repeated two more times! The fourth time, she received a great job offer that she accepted.
3. Re-contact your network at least once a month to remind them of your search, so that you are top of mind should an opportunity arise.
For example, you could update your LinkedIn status, post on Facebook, or send individual emails. The text for an individual email could be as simple as “Hope you’re doing well. I really enjoyed our meeting last month! Thought I would update you on my status. While I am meeting with many technology companies in the NYC vicinity, your company continues to remain a top choice. If there is any additional information that I can provide about my background, please feel free to ask. Have a great day.” Or, even better, send a link to a useful article.
4. Use LinkedIn to get informational meetings that could lead to interviews.
If you are not using LinkedIn for your job search, you are missing out! My book “Your Social Media Job Search” contains step by step approach to getting set up and using on LinkedIn. Here are some quick ideas culled from the book.
Step 1: Get set up for free on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) by:
1) building an accomplishment-oriented profile,
2) building your “1st degree” network of people you know in some way,
3) and joining relevant LinkedIn groups.
Step 2: Conduct “advanced people searches” (click “Advanced” on the upper right, next to the People search-box) to find people you want to contact. Then, reach out to them via LinkedIn or by email.
Two client stories illustrate the power of this approach:
– Ellen wanted to work at Apple Computer as a Marketing executive. She conducted an “Advanced People Search”. She entered Apple as the company name and selected “current” for currently employed at Apple. To her surprise and delight, she found an old classmate she was connected to via a LinkedIn Group and worked at Apple in a related area. She emailed him directly— and he referred her for an interview.
– Armando was searching for a senior level position directing a marketing analytics group. He conducted an “Advanced People Search” using the word “Marketing” in the job title. He saw he was indirectly connected to a CMO through both a LinkedIn Group and two mutual connections. He decided to email the CMO directly, referring to their mutual LinkedIn connections in the email. His efforts resulted in their meeting, which led to a series of interviews and a job offer.
LinkedIn, accessed for free at www.linkedin.com, enables users to keep in touch with and expand their professional network, get introductions to others outside their network, and join groups of professionals organized around industries, professions, and associations. Recruiters routinely use LinkedIn to scan profiles for viable candidates.
LinkedIn has become essential to conducting an effective, productive job search! I hear from clients almost every day about how they got an interview or informational meeting via LinkedIn. Below I’ve included a few success stories culled from my clients’ experiences, to help generate ideas on how you can use LinkedIn. Read More
Indeed.com, an online job-search engine that aggregates job postings from across the web, released an analysis of employment trends by industry and geography. Their findings could be helpful to those of you who are looking to develop job targets– I recommend checking it out. My observations from their data:
- The health care sector shows the largest opportunity by far, with a total of 813,000 job-postings, followed by Retail (437k) and Information Technology (392k).
- Predictably, “Media and Newspaper” and Real Estate are at the bottom of the pack, at 53k and 34k, respectively.
- “Financial Services and Banking” is bouncing back (I’ve seen this in the experiences of my own clients)– with 50% growth year over year, to register the fourth highest number of postings (289k).
- Miami, Los Angeles, Riverside CA, Las Vegas, and Detroit were at the bottom in terms of the number of unemployed per job-posting.
- New York took the # 4 spot of the top 50 regions listed, and DC was #1.
When forming your job targets, don’t just look at the external job-creation data. The “internal” data counts for as much or more! That is, consider what you enjoy doing that you are good at, how your next job should fit in with your long term vision for your life, and what work related-values you just can’t compromise on.
Many (or most) of you are probably on LinkedIn to some extent (if you’re not you should be– www.linkedin.com). LinkedIn is an awesome tool for getting results in your job search. But are you really getting the value out of it that you could be? Use LinkedIn to advance your search in three ways: 1) Research career options, organizations, people you should contact, or to prepare for meetings/interviews, 2) Get interviews via building and leveraging your LinkedIn network, and 3) Get interviews by contacting people directly who you don’t know. All of these are of course covered in my book. In this post, I’m going to share some LinkedIn features that are useful for job-related research.
A note on the importance of research: it’s your best friend in the job-search. Use research to a) explore career/industry changes- research possibilities to narrow down the list, b) learn how to market and “sell” yourself effectively for different positions, c) find companies you want to work in, to focus your efforts, d) find people to contact in those companies, e) prepare for meetings or interviews. Here’s an overview of the LinkedIn features (all accessed from the top menu) to use for each of these areas. For more information, check out LinkedIn’s help feature (in the main menu under “More”, “Learning Center”), or read my book!
LinkedIn “Answers”: Use this feature to ask people in different fields or industries about their professions, the skills you need to excel, how to position yourself effectively for career change, which career is right for you, etc.
LinkedIn “Groups”: Find groups that represent targets you may be interested in. For example, if you are interested in Human Resources Management, do a search using those keywords, and join one of the groups you find. Then monitor or contribute to the discussions, or ask questions of group members. For this approach to really be effective, you need to find high-quality groups, meaning– a) a good number of active, interesting discussions (many groups have this feature, but other unmoderated groups are dominated by member sales-pitches), b) a large number of members who are employed doing what you want to do (or who can hire you).
LinkedIn “Companies”: When you go to the company page, you will see a list of the organizations people recently left the company for, or came from. This feature can be useful in coming up with ideas for other organizations to target in your search.
“Advanced” People Search: Use keyword searches, job title searches, etc. to find people in your network or in shared groups who do what you might be interested in doing, or who are in a position to hire you. Then contact them for informational meetings (initiating this contact is both a science and an art– the subject of a future blog post).
LinkedIn Profiles: Do a search under the names of your job-target role-models. Their public profiles (if they are complete enough) could give you a clue as to how to attain similar success, or make a similar transition. Similarly, look at the profiles of people who you are meeting/interviewing with, to help you prepare– e.g. asking the right questions, proposing the appropriate solutions or sharing the right examples from your experience.