Tuesday, July 01, 2014
No offense, email@example.com, but if nobody has told you yet, we’re telling you now: That e-mail address is not making you look particularly professional.
Unprofessional e-mail addresses are just one way of sending hiring managers the wrong message. If you want to be taken seriously when you apply for jobs, you need to put some polish on your resume, your cover letter and everything contained therein. Hiring professionals repeatedly run across these red flags that scream “unprofessional.” A number of recruiters and HR managers shared with TheLadders common errors from their own professional experiences.
1. Random/cute/shared e-mail accounts
E-mail accounts are free. There’s no reason not to sign up for your own. Yet many mid-career professionals share an e-mail account with a significant other or the entire family, generating addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com..Also stay away from cutesy addresses. After all, firstname.lastname@example.org, you can always share your admiration of Lepidoptera with colleagues after you’ve been hired. Ditto for offensive, flirtatious or sexual e-mail addresses.
Think we’re exaggerating? These are actual e-mail accounts cited by Jillian Zavitz, who’s responsible for hiring as the programs manager for TalktoCanada.com, an online English language-training course based in Canada. (We’ve changed the domain names to protect the innocent.)
Instead, adopt an address that incorporates the name you use professionally on your resume and cover letter.
2. Failure to proofread
Deidre Pannazzo, executive director at Inspired Resumes, said it’s “amazing” how many people submit resumes that contain “numerous typos and misspellings.” Even better than spell check, she said, is to have a friend review the document for you.
“Make sure your dates are consistent, and that you don’t confuse your story with overlapping time lines,” she said. (For an in-depth look at how to tackle proofreading your resume, click here.)
3. Bikini pictures
Resume experts advise against attaching pictures or any image files to a resume. They can “choke” an applicant tracking system (ATS), the software that automatically scans and parses resumes. (Click here for an in-depth look at how your resume is handled by technology after you press submit.) In addition, hiring professionals warn against giving anyone a reason to prejudge and form a negative opinion based on your appearance. Indeed, some HR departments will immediately discard resumes with photos to avoid any possible accusations of discrimination on this basis.
But still applicants send photos. Most troublesome of all, said Zavitz, are the beach shots. “(No) pictures where you are in a bikini at the beach (real story, and it wasn’t a flattering picture either) or at a New Year’s party with your friends (obviously drunk). Not cool.”
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
You know it’s coming.
It’s the most feared question during any job interview: Do you think I would look good in a cowboy hat?
Just kidding. The real question is: Can you tell me about yourself?
Blecch. What a boring, vague, open-ended question. Who likes answering that?
I know. I’m with you. But unfortunately, hiring managers and executive recruiters ask the question. Even if you’re not interviewing and you’re out networking in the community — you need to be ready to hear it and answer it. At all times.
Now, before I share a list of 10 memorable answers, consider the two essential elements behind the answers:
The medium is the message. The interviewer cares less about your answer to this question and more about the confidence, enthusiasm and passion with which you answer it.
The speed of the response is the response. The biggest mistake you could make is pausing, stalling or fumbling at the onset of your answer, thus demonstrating a lack of self-awareness and self-esteem.
Next time you’re faced with the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself…” question, try these:
“I can summarize who I am in three words.” Grabs their attention immediately. Demonstrates your ability to be concise, creative and compelling.
“The quotation I live my life by is…” Proves that personal development is an essential part of your growth plan. Also shows your ability to motivate yourself.
“My personal philosophy is…” Companies hire athletes – not shortstops. This line indicates your position as a thinker, not just an employee.
“People who know me best say that I’m…” This response offers insight into your own level of self-awareness.
“Well, I googled myself this morning, and here’s what I found…” Tech-savvy, fun, cool people would say this. Unexpected and memorable.
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Summer is upon us! The price of gasoline has gone through the roof; millions of children are unleashed from school; and, guaranteed, job seekers are frustrated enough to put their job search on hold.
As we find ways to survive the gas prices and summer schedule, so too must job seekers find ways to accelerate their search.
While there is a general slowdown in hiring during the summer, the search process for exceptional talent is ongoing. In fact, decision makers continually evaluate talent in order to fill executive positions as soon as the Labor Day holiday is over. Smart job seekers should do everything possible to position themselves for the demand for talent in September and October.
Let’s explore traditional and out-of-the-box search strategies to give you a competitive edge.
The 3ft. Rule
Summer is an extraordinary time to network, as the season is filled with festivals, barbecues, garage sales, sports, and endless other activities. Guess what? Decision makers from every industry and functional area are participating in those activities. Now’s the time to implement what I call “The 3ft. Rule.” Don’t hesitate to talk to anyone who comes within three feet of you. If you’re camping, it’s the people who’ve pitched tents around you. If you’re at the beach, it’s the family swimming next to you. The list goes on. You can easily break the ice by talking about the activity you have in common. Then ask, “By the way, what is your business?“ or, “What do you do for a living?“ This kicks off networking that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
Here’s a great summertime success story. One of my clients was having a garage sale and there was an individual checking out the used refrigerator for sale. My client thought: “Okay, I’m going to use The 3ft. Rule.” After a brief discussion about the refrigerator, my client inquired as to what the man did for a living. He happened to be looking for a mechanical engineer at his company, Mare Island. As you’ve probably guessed, my client was a mechanical engineer and landed the position in just three weeks.
It never would have happened if he hadn’t turned the conversation toward work. When you attend summer activities, don’t just hang out with your friends. Seek out other participants and network away.
If you’re not already actively listed on social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, what are you waiting for? Recruiters and executive decision makers use those sites on a regular basis to find talent. During the summer, recruiters and decision makers spend a great deal of time surfing online networking sites. They take their laptops with them on vacation, and browse for talent while lounging on the beach. Actively build your Internet presence so key decision makers can find you.
Monday, June 23, 2014
If you are out of work this presents a problem because there is often a large quantity of qualified applicants seeking a given job.
In these times, it is more important than ever to think outside of the box when applying for jobs.
Here are 10 creative job hunting tips:
1) Know what positions are available at a company
Before you can try to work for a company, you need to figure out what job openings the company has. Once you know this you can focus your energy on trying to get that specific job. You can look on a company website to see what job openings a company has. However, the best strategy would be to speak to someone who works at the company as often times companies don’t update their websites with every potential and available job opening.
2) Use LinkedIn and use it well
LinkedIn is widely recognized as the best social network for career professionals. LinkedIn can be utilized as a great resource to connect with people at a company that you are interested in working for. The key on LinkedIn is to compile as many direct connections to other professionals that you can. More direct connections will convert into more secondary connections.
So, if you want to work for Facebook, and you have 200 LinkedIn connections, there is a chance that one of your connections has a connection with someone working at Facebook. This secondary connection can then be leveraged by you to get introduced to the respective person that works at Facebook. And, as we all know - knowing someone who works at the company which you are applying to - can greatly increase your odds of securing the job.
3) Take a look at resume samples
Before finalizing your resume, it is wise to take a look at resume samples. By reviewing other resumes, you can get ideas for ways to improve the content and look and feel of your resume. Looking at resume samples often helps you to identify specific areas where you can improve your expertise or enhance the way you present yourself to potential employers.
4) Be creative about how you use Twitter
You can utilize Twitter to look for jobs in several ways, one of the most creative ways is to use Twitter to locate and contact someone at a given company. You can use Twellow to search Twitter profiles. Search for the company that you want to work for - and you may find someone who has a profile
that says, Director of Biz Dev for company X.
Now that you found that person, you can follow them on Twitter hoping that they follow you back so that you can DM them.Or you can mention them in the hopes they will then get in touch with you. Also, sometimes people include their email address in their profile so you can contact them that way. Either way, Twitter offers a creative way to develop a contact, as the person may appreciate your hard work and creativity in getting in touch with them.
5) Consider different types of jobs
You don’t want to have tunnel vision and only look for one type of job. Especially with the unemployment rate being what it is - you have to think about a few different types of job titles to consider. When you have a few different areas you are considering - it will open up a wide range of options for yourself and you’ll end up getting more interviews and call-backs. And remember, each interview is an opportunity to not only get a job but also to develop key contacts within an organization.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Have you ever left a job interview knowing you completely flopped? Chances are you have—and you probably dealt with it by beating yourself up and putting that opportunity behind you. But walking away from the job or employer with a negative attitude won’t benefit anyone.
“Bad interviews can be very discouraging and cause feelings of inadequacy, shame, frustration, and even depression,” says Dr. Katharine Brooks, executive director of the office of personal and career development at Wake Forest University and author of You Majored in What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Career. “We all like to think of ourselves as successful and when we have an experience that contradicts that image, it can be difficult to recover. Particularly when the interview involves a lot of pressure—the person desperately needs the job—this just makes the bad job interview worse.”
Sylvie Stewart, assistant director of career services at the University of Dayton, adds, “People tend to spend time wishing they could rewind and do it over. It is very normal to feel negative after a bad interview. As an unemployed job seeker, you are naturally very emotionally raw and vulnerable.”
A ‘bad interview’ can mean a lot of things: The candidate believes retrospectively that he or she flopped on a majority of the questions; he or she didn’t adequately prepare for the interview; the candidate is dressed inappropriately; says something offensive or arrives late; or a personal issue—like a family death or a break-up—distracts the candidate during the interview, among other things.
Brooks says if your talents are extremely valuable to the organization and they really want you, the employer might overlook small mistakes. However, if they’re on the fence about you, or you aren’t in the strongest position vis-à-vis the other candidates, the mistakes might not be fixable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
“If the candidate believes the interview went poorly, absent any direct feedback from the employer, he or she could look for redemption,” say Jay Canchola, an HR business partner for Raytheon. It’s always better to make an effort to redeem yourself than to leave the interviewer with a bad taste in their mouth.
“The expression ‘never burn your bridges’ can apply to interviews as well,” Canchola adds. “Because people and circumstances are constantly changing, and if the prospective employer is one that aligns with your individual goals, you should continue to make the best impression possible.” You never know if another great opportunity at that company will present itself in the future.
You can’t rewind and redo the interview—nor can you change the employer’s decision to offer you a job. But there are a few things you can do after a bad job interview to help you avoid such mistakes in the future, to mend the employers impression of you, and, if you’re really lucky, to help them understand and overlook your mistakes.
1. Reflect on the experience.
“I talk to many students who believe they have bombed the interview,” Brooks says. “The first thing I do is ask them what went well. It’s important to discover what went well first so that you’re able to look at the negative aspects with a less defeated attitude. I then ask what one thing they would change.” If you have a bad feeling about the way things panned out, identify exactly what went wrong.
2. Learn from it.
Make a list of the mistakes you made during the interview, learn from them, and do better next time, Stewart says.
“The best thing to do with a bad interview is learn from it,” Brooks adds. Don’t wallow in self-pity or allow the bad interview to be an excuse for not following-up or not interviewing for a while. Instead, ask yourself what you would do differently to prepare next time; figure out what information you should have had that you didn’t; and think about how you would handle a difficult question next time.
3. Learn to forgive yourself.
“This will help you to play better in the game in the future,” Stewart says.
Nothing good ever comes from beating yourself up. It’s natural to feel uneasy for a little while—but don’t let the feeling linger and don’t let it discourage you from reaching out to the employer to make things better. Accept your mistakes and move forward.
Monday, June 23, 2014
While money concerns top work stress, time spent in the cubicle and on the clock has a way of grinding away at even the most well-balanced person’s gears. If your workplace anxiety and anger require more than a bubble wrap session, try these healthy stress-relieving tactics.
Decode Your Stressors
How can you combat the most significant workplace tension triggers? Start by decoding the elements of your day and the tasks and projects you perform that set off your stress meter and how you can change them. If you’re generally content with your position, focus on the positive during moments of dread, and actively try to fall back in love with your job.
Relieve Workplace Stress Now
When in doubt, take a walk around the block and consider talking to your manager about changing things up to keep you motivated and growing. If you experience anxiety all day, spend some time thinking about the bigger picture, your career options, and the steps you will need to take to make a larger change.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Here are some secrets that interviewers are holding back from you
Job hunters get the short end of the stick during interviews—the hiring managers hold all the cards, and if you don’t get the job, you’re left wondering why. Sometimes going over the interviews countless times can be frustrating and will harm rather than help. Instead of beating yourself up over a job you didn’t get, use it as a chance to hone your interviewing skills for the other available job positions. A friend of mine, who helps with the hiring process at her company, recently shared some of her interviewing experiences with me. Here are some secrets that interviewers are holding back from you:
It takes 10 minutes.
It’s sad but true. Most employers have already decided in their minds within the first ten minutes if you’re a no-go or if you have potential. The first few minutes are very crucial so be sure you follow good interview protocol, such as arriving early for the interview, but not too early, dressing for the part and showing enthusiasm.
Monday, June 23, 2014
An increasingly large pool of unemployed workers, many of who are highly qualified and have killer resumes, means that getting an interview and landing a new job is a longer and more challenging process. After sorting through piles of resumes, hiring managers are now holding more rounds of interviews than before. Get through the first round of interviews with these tips.
Step Up Your Job Search
Fortune suggests the following tips for job searching in a weak market: request more face-to-face meetings; step up your job-search activity; try to be as flexible as you can; consider relocating; scour the hidden job market; spend very little of your time on Internet job boards and help-wanted ads; take advantage of social networking sites.
Put Yourself in the Interviewer’s Shoes
Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. When she’s looking at your resume, what questions will likely develop? Come up with specific experiences that go with each question and work out the best answer when you practice aloud. Then, ask a friend to play interviewer and think of her own questions.
Get Dressed Thoughtfully
Your attire should be interview-appropriate, which generally means at least one step up from the company’s dress code.
Impressions Start While You’re Waiting
Sitting and waiting gives an interviewee plenty of opportunity to showcase nerves—leg shaking, nail biting, hair twirling, foot tapping, etc. You want to present yourself as a confident candidate, not an anxious mess, so be mindful of your mannerisms in the waiting room for a strong start.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
A job seeker recently shared that he had applied for nearly 1,500 jobs in the past 12 months and was very disappointed in the results.
Not only no job offers, but no interview invitations either. Like many job seekers, he viewed the abundant supply of job postings on the Internet as a short cut to new employment.
Most likely, the problem was the way he applied—too many applications, done quickly and carelessly.
In this very competitive job market, job seekers need to stay focused and bring their “A game” to every opportunity they pursue. If you are in spray-and-pray job application mode, applying for every job you see, you are bringing your “C game” to each opportunity.
Disconnect from that apply-apply-apply instinct because a job search is not a numbers game.
Before You Apply for a Job
Conserve your “A game” energy and efforts for jobs that are a good fit for you. Carefully read the job description, and then, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Do I want this job?
Yes, a paycheck is VERY important! But, earning that paycheck will mean doing that job. So before you chase and, perhaps, land the wrong job, read the “duties” or “responsibilities” section of the job description very carefully.
Maybe you’ve done this work before, earlier in your career, and, sure, you could do it, but you don’t really want to. Perhaps, the job sounds okay, but the location is a long, expensive commute.
Or, maybe as described, this is the perfect job for you, and you are excited by this opportunity.
The benefit -
When you apply for a job you really want, your enthusiasm will show in the quality of your application and interview.
2. Do I qualify for this job?
Examine the “requirements” or “qualifications” section in the job description. Even if you “know” that you could do the job described, applying may be a waste of your time if you don’t meet most of the requirements—like meeting three out of four or five of the requirements, or seven out of nine or 10.
In this competitive job market, employers have their choice of applicants. So, applying for a job without meeting most—or all—of the requirements/qualifications makes it doubtful that you will be considered for the job.
The benefit -
When you apply carefully for a job that is a good fit for you, you have a better chance of making it through the human or automated screening (or both) to be invited in for an interview.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
Anyone conducting a job search today knows that you’ll need to be as visible as possible—both through your personal network and your online presence. Close to 100 percent of employers and recruiters are now turning to sites liked LinkedIn and Facebook to source candidates, check out their skills, and vet them as to their suitability for the job.
Moreover, due to the issues involved in dealing with the volume of potential applicants and their resumes, many firms are forgoing advertising altogether. Depending on their size and their current supply of job openings, companies may either turn to employees for referrals or go directly to the Internet. Consequently, although a position may not be posted, recruiters and hiring managers might well be looking to find someone with your skill set. And they’ll likely be looking online.
As with other aspects of the job search process, branding yourself effectively on the Internet is critical to your success. But how will you land at the top of the list of attractive applicants?
The following is a checklist of items that will help you ensure you’re making your presence known:
Make certain you’re presenting yourself as the candidate of choice. Identify the current needs of the marketplace and position yourself in ways that will attract attention. Pay special consideration to job requirements that appear frequently in the postings for your line of work. Also note the order in which they’re listed. This will reflect the current demand for these types of abilities and experience and how greatly they’re valued in today’s market.
Become highly searchable. Know the keywords for your line of work and make sure that each of your online profiles is well populated with these sought-after skills. Also be aware that you’re presenting your skill sets in contemporary terms. Mature jobseekers might well possess the skills required for the position, but may be using outdated terminology that doesn’t “read” well to recruiters.
Highlight your unique qualities. You’ll need to set yourself apart from other candidates, so stress the ways you’ll add value and outperform the competition. Use phrases like, “possess a unique combination of X and Y” to make yourself stand out.
Be sure that each of your profiles is 100 percent complete and that you’re presenting a unified brand. You’ll want your LinkedIn profile to support what you’re highlighting on your resume, etc.