January 30th, 2013
In a recent article published in The New York Times about the importance of maintaining an online identity as a career management and job search strategy, I talked about the value of tools such as LinkedIn for building a digital footprint. Many of my clients are huge fans of LinkedIn and with good reason…the platform allows them to build a professional identity and engage with like-minded colleagues. But as we saw recently, LinkedIn “giveth and it taketh away”; the company has steadily eliminated the number of free features, discontinued the events feature, and plans to remove the answers feature by the end of the month. So while it’s important to be there it is equally important to recognize that LinkedIn makes the rules regarding usage and their terms of service can change at any time. I don’t mean to single out LinkedIn; Facebook has certainly been scrutinized for changing features and in turn derailed some users’ preferred methods of interacting on the site. Many” booed” the mandatory change to timeline and others are unhappy with the privacy implications of Facebook’s social graph search which lets users search across the Facebook database by users’ interests. And I’m sure that as Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. continue to evolve there will be changes in their terms of usage as well.
The moral of the story here is that we each need to take ownership of our own online identity and social media destiny and build platforms that we ultimately control. This might be a personal website where we share our professional persona or a blog where we engage with others and build a community…but on our own terms. Sites like About.me and Weebly are good places to start if you want to build a web page and WordPress and Typepad allow you to build a hybrid web and blog page. I’m certainly not suggesting that you abandon your social media profiles; I’m simply suggesting that you create alternatives should a platform’s terms of service change and no longer offer value to you.
October 29th, 2012
Last week I led a presentation at the World of Working Women Employment Conference & Job Fair in New York City and discussed methods for leveraging technology to improve the quality of your job search.
Job Board Tips
- Use aggregate boards to save time and build efficiencies into your search. Rather than spending time searching multiple job boards, use an aggregate board such as Indeed or Simply Hired. These aggregate boards pull information from multiple boards and allow you to search from one location in real time based on your specific search parameters.
- Use niche boards to source jobs specific to your skills and expertise. Rather than spending time on a big board like Monster or CareerBuilder, source some niche boards that specifically recruit for your industry or job function. There may be less competition on a specialized board. Examples of specialized boards are eFinancialCareers and Med Reps (for medical sales jobs).
- Set up job board alerts to automate job search and reduce time spent on certain tasks. You can customize the information on the types of postings you are interested in receiving by job function, industry, location, and skills.
- Add keywords to resumes to make it easier to be found by employers. Many employers use applicant tracking software to source candidates. By adding keywords to your resume that indicate your functional and technical skills, you can increase the chances of being found.
- Format your resume so an ATS system can read it. Be sure to place your dates of employment to the right of the company name and create clear category headings on the resume such as professional experience and education to ensure that if a software is scanning your resume it can find the information it needs.
- Create a text version of your resume to upload to job boards. Save the resume as a text only document and clean up the formatting to create a presentable text version. Learn how to create a text document here.
Online Job Search Tips
- Reach out to connections via LinkedIn and Facebook. Most people get their jobs through people they know. Tools like LinkedIn and Facebook help facilitate relationship building.
- Improve your online presence via Google+, BrandYourself and ZoomInfo. Most hiring managers and recruiters will do an online search of candidates before calling them in for an interview. By creating a professional profile on these sites you increase the likelihood of being found online, elevate your professional positioning, and potentially improve your chances of being called in for an interview.
- Use tools such as Jigsaw, Glassdoor, and Vault to research companies and people in companies. These tools offer great competitive intelligence about industries, companies, decision makers, corporate culture, and potential job opportunities.
- Take advantage of free company databases at your local library. Many libraries have subscriptions to proprietary databases that patrons can use to create targeted lists of employers and key decision makers. This can be a great way to source contacts, turn cold leads into warm ones, or improve your networking efforts.
July 9th, 2012
Jobvite recently polled over a thousand HR and recruitment professionals on their social media recruiting activity. The results of the survey suggest the trend towards using social media as a recruitment strategy continues to grow. More specifically:
- 92 percent use or plan to begin using social networks and social media for recruiting.
- Facebook and Twitter recruiting adoption is growing rapidly; 66 percent of those polled are using Facebook and 54 percent are using Twitter to source candidates.
- LinkedIn is becoming “nearly universal” for recruiting with 93 percent reporting using it for sourcing.
- 73 percent of recruiters have successfully hired a candidate who was identified or introduced through a social media network.
- 89 percent reported making hires through LinkedIn, 26 percent through Facebook, and 15 percent through Twitter.
- 89 percent of recruiters said they were likely to look at social profiles.
Interested in getting your social media profiles up to snuff? Check out these tips for building your online presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
July 3rd, 2012
The New York Times recently published an article exploring the value of creating an online career portfolio to showcase your work and offered several suggestions for leveraging online platforms to create and promote your professional brand. This strategy is a growing trend for people in job search as well as those proactively managing their careers.
In a recent report on global hiring trends released by Career Directors International, recruiters and hiring managers were asked about their practices for reviewing a candidate’s online presence and their responses appear to corroborate the advice promoted in The New York Times article. According to the survey:
58 percent responded” always” or “sometimes” to the question “Before deciding on interviewing qualified candidates, do you Google the candidate’s name or search on social media?” and 49 percent responded that uncovering negative information about a candidate online would make them look further.
Many of the people I meet still have a bare bones online presence. The research suggests that those with a more robust digital footprint will have a competitive edge over those who don’t. Building an online presence doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive and it is well worth the investment. What’s holding you back? Feel free to post your social media questions and concerns here.
January 17th, 2012
At age 88 Betty White had a leading role in the TV show Hot in Cleveland, a memorable Snickers commercial that first aired during the Superbowl, and a guest host spot on Saturday Night Live. And in the two years that have followed, Betty White continues to be everywhere and the job offers don’t seem to be slowing down. Today is Betty White’s 90th birthday and she’s still working. And I think this is a testament to her relevance. Her age hasn’t held her back because she continues to be able to play roles that people young and old can relate to and appreciate.
In job search, people sometimes assume that they will be discriminated against because of their age. But I think that some candidates get passed up for others because they lack relevance. Maybe they don’t mesh well with the culture of a company with a demographic that skews younger, or their management style isn’t in sync with the needs of their younger subordinates. Perhaps their skills aren’t up to date or they are resistant to incorporate relevant social media and collaborative web-based project management tools into the way they do their job.
Perhaps we can all take a lesson from Betty White. Because whether you are 25, 35, 45, 55, or older you won’t be the right person for the job if you can’t prove you are relevant to a prospective employer’s needs.
Check out my earlier tribute to Betty White and 5 tips for remaining relevant in your career on AOL Jobs.
January 11th, 2012
I recently came across this SHRM article Former Employees Claim Ownership of Twitter Handles, LinkedIn Connections describing the tug-of-war between employers and employees over ownership of Twitter handles and followers and LinkedIn accounts and connections once an employee leaves the company. While more and more companies seem to be creating more formalized social media policies, it’s obvious that there is still a lot of gray when it comes to deciding what rightfully belongs to the individual and what the employer can claim as theirs.
According to a Forbes article, Who Owns Your LinkedIn Contacts, a court in England ordered that an employee who resigned to start his own consulting business turn over his LinkedIn contacts to his former employer, along with receipts and contracts proving that none of them became clients of his new firm.
Yet in another case in New York, a head hunter who left her firm to start her own practice was sued by her former employer for approaching candidates and clients who were her LinkedIn contacts and also part of the former employer’s database. Here the court ruled that LinkedIn connections do not qualify as trade secrets because LinkedIn connections are easily derived from public information.
It remains to be seen how these issues will play out in the years to come, but in the meantime, here are a few suggestions for increasing your chances of retaining ownership of your social media information following a departure from a company.
- Attach your LinkedIn account to your personal email rather than your company email.
- Create a PDF copy of your LinkedIn profile so if you ever get “locked out” of your account you can retrieve your information.
- Export your contacts regularly and store them in another database not connected to your social media accounts.
- Create a Twitter handle that uses your name rather than a company name.
- Prior to accepting a new position, read the employee manual and learn what the social media policy (if any) is.
- If you are required to sign a non-compete, review it carefully and try to negotiate for a non-compete with terms that are the most specific and the least limiting. This may include specific language about your ability to retain ownership of your social media contacts.
January 10th, 2012
The holidays are behind us. And maybe you’ve made a few New Year’s resolutions…Lose weight, save more money…or maybe look for a new job. There are many simple, painless changes you can make in 2012 to increase your chances of finding your next job. Here are my top ten.
- Update your resume. The last week of December was one of my busiest weeks ever. People who had no expectations of being sourced for a position and interviewed called me in a frenzy because they had to put a resume together pronto. You never know when someone will want to speak to you about a great opportunity. Update your resume before you need it and keep a list of running accomplishments throughout the year so if someone wants to see your resume quickly you will be ready.
- Stop ignoring Facebook as a job search tool. I speak to job seekers every day and ask them if they use Facebook as part of their networking and job search strategy. Usually they snicker or say, “I just use Facebook for personal relationships.” Job search is about all relationships…personal and professional. You never know where your next job lead will come from. Embrace the gray area and blur the lines. A friend is just as likely to introduce you to a great connection as a business colleague. Use tools like BranchOut and BeKnown to optimize your chances of finding key people via the Facebook platform.
- Invest in a professional photo. With the explosion of social media sites, the expectation is that your photo will accompany your profile. If no photo is there people wonder why. By investing in a professional photo, you can ensure the best angle and lighting and be able to select from multiple shots. And some photography studios can help with hair, makeup, and wardrobe choices. Some can even Photoshop out certain imperfections from the shot.
- Update your wardrobe. You don’t need to make a huge investment. A new jacket, tie, sharp scarf, pin or something similar might be all you need. If your look screams 1985, you could give hiring managers the impression that your skills are stuck in that era as well. Find a style savvy friend to help you update your wardrobe or hire an image consultant to get you on the right track.
- Join a professional association. Many job opportunities are shared through professional associations. Why post a job to thousands of strangers when you can go to your internal colleagues and advisors and quickly source the best candidates? Being involved in a professional association helps you become part of the inner circle in your professional community.
- Let someone pick your brain. Perhaps you read the recent Forbes article, No You Can’t Pick My Brain, It Costs Too Much recommending you be cautious about giving free advice because doing so means you are devaluing your knowledge. I disagree. Giving free advice could mean more opportunities in the future. Spend 20 minutes with someone to help them resolve an issue and they will remember it. And you will be on the top of their list of people to help in the future. It’s possible for someone to pick your brain without them siphoning your entire knowledge base. Don’t be stingy with information.
- Give kudos. Offer endorsements via LinkedIn and other social media sites to people whose work you know and trust. This will keep you top of mind with your network and increase the likelihood that people will in turn help you when you are seeking advice and information.
- Make time for lunch. We get so wrapped up in work and other priorities that we forget to take time to socialize during the work day. The lunch hour is a time to reconnect with people, share advice, and gather information. This is a critical aspect of career management. The more people that know you and the more people know about you, the greater the likelihood that someone will be able to assist you with some aspect of your career in the future. And if you’ve been spending your lunch hour with the same 2 people for the past 5 years, now’s the time to change that and branch out your inner circle.
- Buy a piggy bank. For many job seekers money is tight. They forgo a promising networking event or dues for a professional association membership due to the cost. They may fail to realize that for every week that they make poor job search decisions they stay unemployed longer and lose valuable income. Inquire about “in-transition” rates for professional organizations. Some don’t advertise these cost reductions aggressively but do offer a reduced rate for in-transition professionals.
- Learn something new. What’s trending in your industry? Which of your skills are rusty? What gaps are there between your skills and the needs of your industry? Gaining education doesn’t have to be expensive and doesn’t necessarily require a formal education. Read industry publications, follow the blogs of industry thought leaders, or make an investment in a class or degree program if you think it is warranted.
Here’s to your career in 2012 and beyond!
November 2nd, 2011
Career Solvers is pleased to announce the 2011 updated version of our Online Identity & Networking Tools e-Book with more than 70 links and explanations of the hottest tools for business networking, social networking, online identity, blogging, microblogging, personal branding, social bookmarking and more.
Everyone needs a social media strategy to complement their career management and job search plan and there’s so much more than just LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Follow the link below to download your copy from our homepage.
Online Identity and Networking Tools
June 6th, 2011
Representative Anthony Weiner has fessed up and admitted that he was the one sending lewd photos of himself on Twitter and that his account was never hacked. I write a lot about managing your online presence and digital dirt during a job search but the same rules apply for people who are trying to hold on to the jobs they have. Here are 5 tips for Weiner and anyone else out there dabbling in social media or even just corresponding via email.
- On Twitter, when you only want a message to go to one person (a DM or direct message) double check your messaging options (best to do this with both hands on the keyboard).
- Don’t assume a private DM on Twitter is really that private. After all, it is the Internet.
- Don’t put anything online that could be sliced and diced, misinterpreted or taken out of context.
- Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandmother (or your wife!) to see.
- Don’t jeopardize a career that took years to build with one stupid picture or 140 character message.
Feel free to post additional tips for Weiner here.
March 8th, 2011
Office team recently surveyed 500 HR managers at companies with 20 or more employees and asked the following question.
“In your opinion, how likely is it that profiles on networking sites, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, will replace traditional resumes in the future?” Their responses are below.
I think the survey is interesting, but I wonder if we are asking the wrong question. Is it that online profiles will replace the traditional resume or simply allow them to evolve naturally? I tend to think the later. Social media offers another platform for sharing information and marketing yourself…two things that are critical during a job search. Social media and online platforms facilitate the process of matching candidates with employers. It doesn’t need to be one versus the other. Whether your resume is on paper, online, or somewhere else is not the point. What’s important is that the information that describes you is clear and compelling with quantifiable results and that people know who you are. Having a profile on LinkedIn will be no better than having a resume posted on a job board if the job seeker is doing nothing to facilitate the relationship. Relationship trumps resume and LinkedIn profile. Use LinkedIn but go past building a profile. Build real relationships…with real people. And once you start the relationship, take it offline. People hire people, not resumes or profiles.
|Not very likely
|Not at all likely
|Don’t know/no answer