career management

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Looking for a proactive and rewarding approach to job search?

You’re now in the market for a new job…a good job, the best job right? Not just a job for the sake of a job but one that’s a good ‘fit’ for you. You’re picking over the papers, seeking on search engines and sending applications with fingers firmly crossed. Go for that advertised job certainly but remember, you’re just one of many vying for the role, your competitors likely boasting the same qualifications and experience as you.

We call this a ‘reactive’ approach to job search, a romp in the ‘visible’ market, yet statistics tell us that 60-70% of jobs are actually obtained in the ‘hidden’ market. So how does the ‘proactive’ job seeker tap into this market? Well they are out there talking to people.

No, they are not asking for jobs, rather, they’re researching their targeted companies…asking questions about the culture, industry specific challenges, skills the company looks for when recruiting. They’re looking to see if the company might align with their strengths, values and preferred work environment…and they’re seeking further referrals and introductions, all of which has great potential to uncover the perfect opportunity, one that never makes it to the job boards.

Sure, but doesn’t that smack of ‘networking’? I’m not good at networking I hear you say. Let’s take a step back…

Networking is a vital resource for promoting your ‘brand’ in the marketplace yet the very word ‘network’ strikes fear in many a heart. So why don’t we change the language? What if we were to replace the word ‘networking’ with ‘let’s catch up for a coffee’?

Still feeling out of your comfort zone? Why not start with the people you already know…friends, colleagues, ex colleagues, neighbours? You know who I mean. People who know you, know what you do and can speak well of both. Your questions could simply start with ‘who’s a good recruiter you think I should be talking to?’

Coffee conversations present great opportunity to tap into a contacts’ knowledge and insights on what is happening around town, industry trends and challenges, market movement, who’s who in the market and of course, the names of additional people who may also be worth contacting based on their introduction.

This path will help you to identify the companies you want to target in the first place and lead you to the people you need to influence there. Think about it…five coffees a week, that’s 250 a year…imagine the progress you could make with 250 short, relationship focused ‘information gathering’ meetings?

Now what’s the worst that can possibly happen? You make a good impression with a decision maker? You have the opportunity to broaden your network; you get out of the house and your doing something productive on your job search that will stand you in good stead for managing your career in the future. Now isn’t that alone worth the effort?

Oh! And don’t forget our good friend LinkedIn…find the people you need to coffee with, connect with them then shut the computer and go for it!

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Six savvy LinkedIn profile suggestions…

As a career management consultant, an integral part of my work involves coaching candidates to develop and manage their ‘brand’ in the market place. This includes having a sharp, tailored, current Resume. Once completed, I then encourage them to use extracts to create or update their LinkedIn profile to keep the message consistent.

Do you have a profile but not an up to date Resume? Well there might just be an exciting career opportunity waiting around the corner so why wait? Found this excellent article penned by Gerrit Hall (CEO – RezScore) with excellent tips to consider before you go the ‘cut and paste’ route. Verbatim as follows:

Many people think their LinkedIn profiles and their resumes are interchangeable, but you should not send your entire LinkedIn profile into a potential employer and expect to land an interview. While there is the LinkedIn Resume Builder, all that does is reformat your existing profile into a resume — it’s not tailored enough to show the value you could bring to the specific job you’re applying for.

Sure, LinkedIn and your resume have a lot in common. They both include your professional summary, experience, skills, contact information, education and important links. But beyond that, there are plenty of things your LinkedIn profile has that need to stay clear of your resume.

1. All of Your Experience

That job you held in high school is likely not applicable to your career path five years post-graduation, so don’t include it on your resume. The jobs you display on your resume should be relevant to the position you’re applying for, so show potential employers your pertinent accomplishments and results at each position in the bullet points. A resume should be much more focused towards a particular role than your profile. Think of your LinkedIn profile as your “master resume,” and then pull the most relevant information from it to build a resume for each position you apply for.

For example, if you were applying for a job in social media, you’d want to include your internship at a local news station where you helped create a Facebook Page for the company. However, you don’t want to list your high school position where you worked at an after-school care facility.

2. Publications

It’s true that a potential employer might want to see your work portfolio or samples, but including links to everything you’ve ever written on your resume is unnecessary. Keeping track of these on your LinkedIn profile can be helpful, though, particularly when the employer asks for links to your previous work or writing samples on the application. Instead of including links to everything you’ve done, simply provide a link to your LinkedIn profile or online portfolio on your resume (or in your email signature) to allow employers to check it out on their own time.

3. Recommendations

Yes, you need to have references handy for moving forward in the hiring process, but it’s not necessary to take up space on your resume with phrases such as “References available upon request.” Employers expect this, so there is no need to say it — much less include any recommendations. It’s common for employers to ask for these further along in the hiring process anyway, though some may require it on the job application.

4. Interests

While it’s great to let your networking connections see your interests on LinkedIn, a potential employer does not need to know that you enjoy playing basketball if you’re applying for a job in IT. The same goes for your love for cooking if your career path isn’t related to anything culinary. Leave out the talk about your interests in social media -– if the recruiter checks out your profiles, he’ll likely learn about your hobbies and favorite sports teams through the content you’ve shared.

5. Birthday

Age discrimination is a worry among job seekers, whether they’re more experienced or fresh out of college. While it can be helpful for LinkedIn contacts to know when to send you a birthday wish, you do not need to include any personal information, such as your age or birthday, on your resume. Instead, you want to highlight your experience and skills to show the employer why you’re a good fit for the opening, regardless of how old you are — which means providing a compelling (yet concise) resume.

6. Marital Status

Your personal life is your personal life. Whether you’re married or single should not affect your ability to do the job, so don’t give employers more insight into your personal business than necessary. Although job seekers who are used to creating a curriculum vitae (CV) might typically include personal information, such as marital status, place of birth or their spouse’s name, it is not appropriate to include this detailed information on your resume.

Thanks Gerrit!

Gerrit Hall is the CEO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes and grades resumes instantly. Connect with Gerrit and RezScore on Facebook and Twitter.

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My little scrapbook of life enhancements

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 “Career management specialist, obsessed blogger, aspiring foodie, traveller and retail therapist; lover of gadgets, mango daiquiris and sourcing the perfect downtown nosh”

Hi! I’m Jane and welcome to Indulge Divulge. Whether looking to love your job just that little bit more, nurture your mind, improve your abode, feed your need for exploration or simply taste new sensations, I hope my little ‘scrapbook’ of inspirational finds and lifestyle enhancements might contribute in some small way to enhancing yours too.

Currently sharing amusing and frightening travel tales from France. Enjoy! Feedback always welcomed!

Jane

 

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