Not the same: LinkedIn vs. Resume Summary

Every job seeker needs a strong resume, and more job seekers are getting onto LinkedIn. You can use your resume to begin building your LinkedIn profile, but the two are very different. I am going to break down the differences between these two sections and show you ways to promote yourself on both.

 

WHAT IS A RESUME?

Marketing document used to highlight your background and match you for a target job.

 

WHAT IS A LINKEDIN PROFILE?

Online profile used to market your experience and goals to connect with like-minded professionals and expand your network.

 

GOAL

They both share a similar goal, with a few minor differences. The goal is to provide a “big picture” view of your experience, achievements, skills, and expertise.

WRITING STYLE

RESUME

  • Business/professional writing that uses an understood “I” and starts with adjectives or verbs. (Sometimes even written in third-person… the horror!)

LINKEDIN

  • Professional, but natural writing. Write your profile similar to how you would introduce yourself to someone.

  

AUDIENCE

RESUME

  • Provides the “big picture” of your skills and experience, typically customized and sent to one targeted employer.

LINKEDIN

  • Explain the “big picture” of who you are, who you would seek to connect with – a general overview that is available to fellow professionals, recruiters, and employers to view.

FORMAT

RESUME

  • Can lead into Core Skills or Career Highlights sections.
  • Option to add images or graphics limited by venue (online job applications, email, printing).

LINKEDIN

  • Can use functional headers within Summary to highlight achievements or skills, but avoid duplication in sections on LinkedIn such as Skills or Experience.
  • Ability to add rich media (links to work, news, slideshare, PDFs, images, etc.) open to user.

OVERALL

The resume and LinkedIn profile will be readjusted throughout your career. Both are living documents that change as you gain experience and knowledge. Although the resume is still widely viewed as a traditional document, use the writing style and language you feel best represents you. LinkedIn offers the flexibility to show a little more into your personality: make the best of it. As long as you are getting results (interviews, connection requests, page views, call backs, etc.) then you edit these sections as you see fit.

Now since these sections may be hard to visualize- below I have captured some samples created by myself and my team here within the American Job Center network. Contrast the traditional, formal style of the resume summary with the more conversational tone of the LinkedIn sections.  I hope you find the samples helpful!

RESUME Samples:

1 2 3

LINKEDIN Samples:

4 5 6

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Our Current #LaborMarket: Where do we stand?

By George Bernocco

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I figured I would not only do an update, but rather update us all on our current labor market. Questions still remain as we have transitioned out of the recession. Are there jobs and where are they? Let’s take a quick glance as 2014 begins to close out.

Unemployment Rate is down

The numbers show that, as of September 2014, unemployment rate is at 5.9% for the national rate (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm). Just so you can see the decline of the rate:

September 2011 = 9.0%

September 2012 = 7.8%

September 2013 = 7.2%

September 2014 = 5.9%

(http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/unemprateCTUS.asp)

The number suggests that the labor market is getting better nationally. Now for Connecticut, the numbers are as follows:

August 2011 = 8.9%

August 2012 = 8.5%

August 2013 = 7.8%

August 2014 = 6.6%

Although the numbers show a decline, the unemployment rate in Connecticut is still above the national number.

images

Want vs Need

As the layoffs hit during the recession, no one envisioned it might take a long time for them to return to work. As a result, employment gaps among the unemployed population became the biggest concern of an “employer” market. As employers were much more selective in determining their candidates during the recession, more and more people became “discouraged” unemployed. This process occurred over about six years, where unemployment extensions came and went.

And then, everything started to get better. Numbers started to fall back below pre-recession rated. Jobs started to come around. The result was people taking jobs they needed rather than wanted, as support benefits at state and federal levels were not enough for not long enough. Jobseekers, unable to get into the field they wanted for so long during the recession, began picking up employment opportunities as they were offered to them.

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“College Graduate working as wait staff”

The labor market has changed since before recession levels. Jobs are not quite up to where they were before the recession hit, especially when we talk industry specific. If we looked at hospitality and restaurant workers, there is practically a job out there for every single job seeker. These are jobs that some, not all, would be willing to take, or have obtained in the wake of the great recession. However, these employees may have never left “job seeker” status.

The job seeker today, which may be you reading this article, might be employed. Might be at a job they don’t see a future at. The job may have been something to pay the bills, and had little or nothing to do with the career you have in mind. The job may be part time. The job might be in your career field but pays significantly less than what you made before or what you were expecting. You might be a recent Computer Engineer college graduate working as a waiter. As a result, the job seeker is looking to get back on that path towards their career as they receive a pay check from their job.

employer_sponsorship

Employer Market vs Job Seeker Market

What has been predominantly an employer market is in the process of changing towards job seeker market. As the jobs begin opening up across career fields, job seekers (whether employed or not) will be more in control. Employers will still be selective of who they want, but may have to go out and find their candidate. Employers will have to create more incentives (Pay amount, vacation, bonuses, perks, etc) to hire people, and job seekers will have more of a choice of where and who they want to work for.

The process of transition from employer market to job seeker market has already begun. Which is why as a job seeker it is important to let the employers know that, even if you are employed, you are interested in a career with them. Making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are out on the internet is crucial right now. Employers might be contacting you without you even having applied to them. This is a stark contrast from the recession era, where one would apply for a job over the internet and may never hear from the employer.

In conclusion, the job market is improving. The average job seeker varies from the job seeker of four years ago. Make yourself marketable now so that employers can find you and reach out to you for a career. When we talk about this recession, not only can we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can begin to feel some of the warmth the light provides.

How to use the #Top10 #SocialMedia sites to help you find a job.

By George Bernocco, CPRW

 

woman-on-computer-small

When looking for work on the internet, a lot of the same sites come up. LinkedIn, for example, is one site people tie social networking with job search. Facebook, however, is more tied to losing jobs. My argument in this post is that you can use any and all social media sites to help you find a job. In this article, I will break down the pros and cons for all the major social media sites to help you get a job (or even keep a job). Lastly, I also will discuss showing personality on your social media profiles.

exclamation

DISCLAIMER BEFORE WE GET STARTED: I contemplated adding this section to every single cons section below, but I figure I’d rather not repeat it over and over again:

 

spider-man-with-great-power

 

All these sites are powerful ways to connect, but you always have to be aware of what you post. Images, videos, tweets, status updates or personal information can be shared with everyone. With that, job offers can be retracted, you can be terminated from a job and some people have even faced legal consequences for what they’ve said on these sites.

 

Yes, these sites all have privacy settings that sometimes are difficult to navigate and correctly manage. Your best bet is to just be aware of what you say and do on the internet, and remember that the delete button doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone for good. Internet sites keep records (caches) of themselves which may have something you thought you deleted. Also with online websites there is always the potential of scams. Always be aware of anyone asking for your personal information over the internet.

 

  1. LinkedIn ( www.LinkedIn.com )

LinkedIn

Pros: LinkedIn a website that comes up on our blog a lot. More and more employers, job seekers, network contacts are joining this social networking website. Whether you want to connect with former employees, follow your favorite company, apply for jobs, build your interactive resume (profile) or join groups related to what you do, this website is for you. By creating a profile, you’ve notified employers that you have computer skills beyond e-mail and that you have social networking skills, something that has been building and building since the internet began. A lot of jobs allow you to fill out their online application using your LinkedIn profile to show you how advanced and almost required it has become. This website is also great to network! (surprise surprise for a social networking site). Get in contact with people to help you find a job, including career advice people such as myself.

 

Cons: LinkedIn doesn’t have many cons, and it has changed vastly throughout the years. LinkedIn does expect you to know what career you want (what industry you’re in) and does not allow you to select multiple categories. It is strongly advised that you know where you want to go career-wise and build your profile based upon that.

 

  1. Twitter ( www.Twitter.com )

Twitter

Pros: Hello Tweeters! Twitter has to be one of the most explosively popular sites out there because of the relatively short period of time it’s been around (since 2006). And with that popularity comes people to network and companies to follow. A lot of companies have accounts on Twitter and sometimes they may even have a separate account just to tweet jobs to followers. Twitter is a public forum, which even allows you to directly talk to company’s (or at least the person/people managing their social networking account). You can also question or comment to career experts for advice to help you with your job search. Bottom line is that Twitter can help promote your product and brand to make you stand out and be found by employers.

 

Cons: Twitter is a great site but there are some setbacks that can hinder your job search. The only thing someone needs to create an account is an e-mail address. Because of this, false accounts (sometimes called troll accounts) are created. Some accounts are verified (usually happens with celebrities or major corporations) and you’ll see a blue check mark that shows someone verified that this account is tied to who or what they represent. Other than that it may be difficult to determine if a person and/or a job posting are real (same problem with craigslist jobs).

 

  1. Facebook ( www.Facebook.com )

Facebook

Pros: The most popular networking site has a bad reputation when it comes to jobs. Facebook has tons of potential connections on one site to network with. This can help you easily find a job if you use it correctly. After all, networking has been the best way to find a job even before computers existed. Websites like Facebook let you connect with people, maybe former coworkers or friends of friends, to see if they know of any job postings, help with cover letters/resumes, or creating/joining career-related groups. Posting information related to your career can help you stand out amongst your friends and they can assist you with finding a job. Also a lot of companies have Facebook pages which you can follow and interact with them to assist you in job search.

 

Cons: Its worthwhile mentioning the disclaimer from above again because of the bad reputation Facebook has received regarding people LOSING a job offer or a job because of Facebook. Be careful of what you post and what other people post about you. Be careful who you’re friends with and who can see your profile. Even simple things like your birthday can possibly alter you opportunities for a job. It’s worthwhile digging into your privacy settings on a regular basis. Remember that no employer wants to see that embarrassing Christmas photo from last year.

 

  1. Pinterest ( www.Pinterest.com )

Pinterest

Pros: A visually stimulating site, Pinterest comes to mind for a lot of artists and visually creative fields. With this site, it can be geared towards job search and developing your brand. By managing images (and videos) related to your field, you can network with other people and use your Board to demonstrate knowledge of your field or create a portfolio for employers to review your work. An example for me, as a resume writer, would be to save images of resumes I’ve assisted with (minus the contact information, etc) to demonstrate my work as a living Portfolio.

 

Cons: Pinterest may not apply to everyone’s field because it relies heavily on visual media, and this problem can come up with a few other social media sites (i.e. Instagram, Vine). Employers do like someone who is creative so if you can manage to use this site to your advantage you would really stand out.

 

  1. Google+ ( www.GooglePlus.com )

Google+

Pros: Google+ can be mentioned in the same context as Facebook when we are talking about job search. Although only having less than a quarter as many users as Facebook, you can connect with people you’ve worked with, as well as others, to assist you finding a job. Google+ has your “circles” which you can create an organized group of network contacts. Circles allow you to share content to only specific groups of people, which helps maintain your privacy. Also you can follow companies and join communities related to your field allowing you to network with other people. Google+ lets you connect by adding someone to a circle of choice, without the person necessarily having to reciprocate the offer (this is more like Twitter than Facebook). Google+ also allows for free video conferencing in their “Hangouts” section which can be useful to practice teleconference interviews and share documents with people and employers.

 

Cons: Google+ has a following of people who use it and it is listed as the second largest social networking site after Facebook. However there are reports that people who are subscribed to it do not use it as often which may be difficult to use for networking. There are some career pages for companies on Google+, but not as many as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. However, Google+ is becoming a strong contender amongst social networks, and a job seeker should keep an eye out at how it can help you find a career.

 

  1. YouTube ( www.YouTube.com )

YouTube

Pros: A video sharing site, YouTube lets you upload videos to their site for others to view. Besides being in the artistic fields such as being a Director, YouTube can help you obtain a job by means of informational videos from job services professionals, or recording a “video resume” for employers to see. Employers also have accounts on YouTube which allows you to connect with them. You can also use videos on YouTube to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and abilities about a subject related to your field to build your portfolio. You can conduct seminars and informational videos to share with employers and your network. You can also do research about company’s and job hiring.

 

Cons: YouTube has a wealth of information and comes from a variety of different sources. You may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of videos there are. People use YouTube for fun as well as seriously. You may have to sort out the videos you don’t need to find the ones you do.

 

  1. Tumblr ( www.Tumblr.com )

  2. Blogger ( www.Blogger.com )

  3. WordPress.com ( www.WordPress.com )

    Tumblr  Blogger  WordPress

    Pros: I incorporated some of the top blogging sites together to express how great blogging can be. Most people know of blogging as a diary or a journal of sorts. As you are reading this on a blog, you can see how it can be used to help you find a career. Not only can you find career advice, but you can develop and create your brand with your own blog. By demonstrating knowledge of your career through a blog, you can show employers that you are active. It also showcases your writing ability which is very important for any career that requires you to write regularly. By following blogs related to your field you can also network, comment and communicate with others in your field to help land you a job.

     

    Cons: Having a website that allows you to speak your mind can be dangerous. While reminding you of the disclaimer above, by having a blog you may get users commenting on your blog with unwanted remarks. Also, scammers and “troll accounts” can advertise their products on your page. You may have to restrict privacy settings and require approval before someone posts something on your page.

     

  4. Instagram ( www.Instagram.com )

Instagram

Pros: A visual social networking tool, Instagram can be used just like Pinterest as a visual portfolio to show off your creativity and work. I would say that Instagram would truly benefit those who work is really based upon visual art because it also adds the means of filters and image alteration. Instagram really demonstrates your ability for photography. Companies do have accounts on Instagram (i.e. Starbucks, IBM, Disney) so you can follow them and communicate with them. Having an Instagram account geared towards employment would have images related to your work to help build your online brand.

 

Cons: I debated about adding Instagram to this list because it really is based entirely upon photos and videos….but it has sharply increased in popularity. Major companies do have accounts on there just to keep up with social media trends and to market their products to users. Instagram really was designed to have fun with photos (and videos), so you’d have to be creative to think of ways it may help you land a job.

 

As you can see you can use your profile accounts for these sites to help land you a job. It is ok to demonstrate in your profiles for these websites your personality. For example, if on your Pinterest board you have ideas for decorations for your house don’t feel the need to delete it just because you want your board to be more professionally oriented. Same goes if you are a sports fan and you use Twitter to talk about games. If you’d rather not use your Facebook account (or any of the other accounts listed above) towards obtaining employment, just make sure you adjust your privacy settings.

Old School vs New School #GenerationCompany: 5 Tips to get #Hired

By George Bernocco, CPRW

old fashionednew

One of the most important steps to getting your ideal career with your ideal company is research. Understanding the company will give you an advantage during the hiring process. But we must also look at a company’s hiring process on the whole. Is the company up to date with technology? Are they still trying to catch up? Do they rely on “standard” methods of communication? Does the position you are applying for require you to assist with the transition into newer technology?

Although some of these questions I’ve posed require “insider” knowledge, others can be deduced by you noticing the company’s and it’s employee’s behavior. Also being very aware of what the job posting is requiring from you, especially computer skills may help you get a better idea about where the company is in today’s technological age. Gaining insider knowledge involves listening to any current or former employee’s perspective about their work can also give you clues into the company’s culture.

We are at a stage where more and more careers require some method of computer interaction. However, some companies are still trying to advance themselves into the technological age. Recognizing where a company you wish to work for stands on the spectrum of technologically advancement will give you insight into the job laid before you.

Here are some basic tips to give you an advantage with your job search:

  1. You’ve Got Mail

mail

More and more companies are cutting down on the length of time for the application process. If a company is asking you to submit your application over regular mail, it should immediately notify you that they are not up to date with technology. Also, I would even go as far as to say that because everything is done over mail, the pace of the company is much slower. Asking for your application information over e-mail tells you they are more advanced. In this case, I would recommend sending a “thank you” e-mail after the interview. If you sent a “thank you” e-mail to a company who required everything over fax or postal mail, they might view it negatively.

  1. What’s Up, Doc?

Doc

Understand your file types! When applying for a job on the internet, the website or e-mail instructions may require you to upload a file for your resume or application package. Depending on what they ask for can give you a hint to how advanced they are. For example, asking for a .DOCX file format can tell you they expect you to know Microsoft Word 2007 or later. Asking for a .PDF may require you to have understanding of Adobe Reader and conversion of your resume into that format. Asking for a .DOC or .RTF would signify to me they are not as advanced when it comes to Microsoft Office.

  1. Socialite

social

Any mere mention of social networking sites during the application process should give you a big clue that the company is more advanced. Most likely you might see a way to use LinkedIn to apply for the job on their website (a feature becoming more and more popular). Also, if the company has social networking profiles gives you an idea about where they are on the technology spectrum. Some companies, particularly large companies, will have multiple profiles on a website like Twitter (some geared specifically towards their career openings). Knowing that a company consistently utilizes social networking should get you bonus points when you are asked during the interview: “What do you know about our company?” Getting yourself involved in social networking sites can also assist you with standing out. On the other hand, knowing about this information for a company who is behind can produce a selling point on your behalf. Let the company know you are more than willing to assist in the transition to the technology age.

  1. Have You Heard?

newspaper

How you heard the job and where you found it will provide basic clues to the company. An extreme example would be finding a job in the newspaper versus finding a job on LinkedIn. If the job was in the paper, I might stick to more traditional ways of applying. For example, mailing in my resume (or dropping it off in person) and calling for an interview.

  1. Show Off

webcam

Communicating with the company through the computer may mean interviewing through the computer as well. Teleconferencing gives you a big indication of the company’s stance on technology. Some companies may require you to travel long distances (flight and all) for an interview, as opposed to conferencing over the internet. Having the capability to teleconference and understanding how to use Skype and other teleconference services would be an advantage for you. Fumbling around with your computer during a teleconference interview because you can’t get the audio to work would work against you.

A company is an intricate and complex organization which relies on procedures to function. Companies that fall behind in technology will see themselves struggle to stay afloat. Knowing where a company is technologically will be a great advantage to you in the hiring process. Make sure you are up to date with current technology. Some companies will be hiring to help transition themselves into the technological age. Make sure that is a topic you cover during the interview to really make you stand out.

Re-Boot Your #OnlinePresence

Every new graduate should see the value in maintaining a solid, professional online presence.  Hiring managers and recruiters could be searching for you online at any point in the job search process. Are they seeing digital gold or digital dirt? Your online presence can validate your candidacy and effectively market you to stand out against the competition.

 

  1. Google Yourself

 

Take control of your online reputation. Try Googling yourself to see if you have any digital dirt in cyberspace. Growing up with the internet means you’ve been going online long before you thought about your career. Information about you (good or bad) may still exist in the form of online journals, games, forums or personal websites.

 

  1. Create Profiles on Social and Professional Networks

 

It’s time to re-boot your online presence. Develop new content on social networking sites, blogs, or personal pages to market yourself and your value as a candidate. To show up on the first page of search results, join sites that have a high Google ranking like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Use social media to your advantage: remove any content under your control that is no longer relevant.

 

  1. Complete Your Profiles

 

So you’re on LinkedIn and Twitter. The only way they will help you stand out is if you complete your profiles. Many sites have step-by-step instructions for completing profiles on these networks. These sites are an opportunity to market yourself and complement your resume. They will only be worthwhile if they contain information that isn’t simply a copy and paste of your resume. LinkedIn can showcase your recommendations, endorsements, previous work history, awards, or skills that you didn’t have the opportunity to discuss in the interview.

 

Not completing your profile or leaving sections blank may not hurt your job search, but it is a missed opportunity that most cannot afford in this competitive market.

 

  1. 3 P’s: Public, Professional, and Presentable

 

Employers want to learn more about you and see if the person they interviewed is the same out of the office. If you prefer to keep your profile private, just remember that everything online has the potential to go public. A friend can retweet you from your private Twitter, you can be tagged in posts on Facebook, and friends can take screenshots on any app or platform.

 

Nothing online is ever truly private, so be proactive. Try finding a way to refine your regular use of social media.  Improve your chances of securing a second interview or job offer by showing hiring managers you present yourself professionally.

 

Some employers look up candidates to determine cultural fit.  Sharing your love of hiking may work in your favor, but your political views may be another story. Make sure any questionable content is removed. Leave any groups or unlike any pages that stir controversy or could be seen as a red flag to an employer.

 

And Remember…

 

Taking extra steps to ensure you market yourself effectively will make you stand out from the competition. Don’t overlook these details – start managing your online reputation today!

When your #Resolution is to get back into the #Workforce: FAQ

By George Bernocco, CPRW

A new year brings about new promises, hopes, dreams and goals. Will this year be better than the last? In terms of the job market, we hope so. Over 1.3 million people are losing their unemployment extensions at the end of 2013 and now must look to the New Year with uncertainty about employment and employability. Let us look at some of the factors that will come into play for the 2014 job market:

Is the job market getting any better?

Yes. Slowly but surely the job market numbers have gotten better, especially towards the end of 2013. Every state is different, but Connecticut has improved recently in the fourth quarter. Unemployment rates across the board are shrinking, jobless claims are also going down and jobs are being created. The year to come looks promising when we observe what happened to the job market in 2013.

What will employers be hiring for?

Many different sources can point to many different directions, but I feel confident saying that technology and healthcare jobs will be at the forefront of hiring. Especially if any of the jobs cross over due to the new healthcare laws. Technology is an extremely important skill to have, whether is using a computer to creating an “app” for a tablet, the world has become more reliant on technology.

How will employers hire?

Marketing your skills successfully has always been the best way to get employment. I feel that the 2014 year will still be an “employer market” where companies can be pickier about whom they hire because of the amount of job seekers. Continuing to build a digital presence to get noticed by employers will follow through into 2014. Some of the items to obtain employment that will continue are:

  • Professional resumes and LinkedIn profiles
  • In-person interviews and videoconference/teleconference interviews
  • Cover letters and thank you letters; cover letter e-mails and thank you e-mails
  • Networking and social media
  • Online applications

Will I be paid enough?

Across the United States, at least 14 states (including Connecticut), will raise their minimum wages. Some of them are even adjusting their laws regarding how they go about raising the wage every year. The federal government is also looking at raising the federal minimum wage. Average rates of pay across the United States have increased by 3% for 2013, and are expected to continue for 2014.

Moving on towards 2014, our country is recovering from a long and difficult recession. The important part is that we are recovering and it may take a long time for the entire nation to feel parts of that recovery. Continuing to pursue your ideal opportunity, working on your digital presence and networking to break into the job market will all assist you in 2014.

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and never brought to mind ?

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

and old lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,

for auld lang syne,

we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,

for auld lang syne.

new years

Sources:

http://www.shrm.org/hrdisciplines/compensation/articles/pages/2014-salary-increases-flat.aspx

http://www.npr.org/2013/12/24/256879640/living-wage-effort-eclipsed-by-minimum-pay-battles

http://www.careerinfonet.org

http://www1.ctdol.state.ct.us/lmi/index.asp

LinkedIn Group for CT Job Seekers

Hi all,

We haven’t been as actively lately but that will hopefully change soon.  We’ve put in place a job seeker group on LinkedIn called “CT Jobs Chat.”  Feel free to request a connection with any of our authors or the group itself to learn more.  It was developed to be a place where job seekers that are new to LinkedIn can contribute and share topics of interest related to job seeking, with the goal of making everyone comfortable with the many features and benefits of Groups.  We share Connecticut specific job postings, recruitment events, and career fairs as well.  Even if you are not local to Connecticut, we’d love to have you join us.

I’ll get back to blogging hopefully next week!  Thanks to  everyone that has been following us on here all along!

 

#Reference Check

By George Bernocco, CPRW

FE_DA_References2_ResumeMisconceptionsSlideshow

The more people you recruit in your job search, the better chances of you finding a job. So now you have an opportunity in your sight. You are applying for it when it asks you to submit a list of references. References are the employer’s way of ensuring what they see is what they’ll get from you. Nothing predicts future behavior like the past, and that is what the employer is trying to ascertain. Here are some pieces of advice when it comes to references:

Ask First

One sure way to catch the employer and the reference off guard is not tell the reference to expect the call. A reference who is unprepared, and who might not even recognize your name at first, will only hurt you. Asking for help is difficult, but it is crucial to get those references to vouch for your skills. Most employers expect you to have at least three references ready for them at a moment’s notice. Asking first will let you know if the reference is available, and willing, to attest to your skills. Be prepared if they are not willing to provide you with a quality reference and have other candidates in mind. Also ask the references what they might say about you, just so you have an idea.

Professional before Personal

Always try to obtain professional references, and list them first. Professional references do not have to be just supervisors or managers. Professional can be coworkers, clients or employees who worked for you. Also remember that there are professional references if you’ve volunteered, or worked at an internship/externship. Personal references can provide quality information about you to the employer, and usually can attest to your soft skills, such as being friendly, personable, reliable, etc. They can be your friends, college advisers, members of your church, group members or neighbors. Family members are frowned upon when you provide references. If you truly believe you do not have any quality references, then you start building a network. Start volunteering, or joining networking groups, to build a reference list.

Current Information

Make sure you have your reference’s current information. Giving an employer a number that is no longer in service will only reflect poorly on your part. Ask your reference what their current title is, agree on a number for how long you’ve known each other and even ask for an e-mail address to give to the employer. When you provide the employer with up to date current information, the reference check will go smoothly on your part.

Give them Information

Let your references know what job you’re applying for. They can better vouch for you when they know what it is you want to do. Even offer to send them a copy of your resume and the job posting. If they use the same keywords as your resume and the job posting have, you have successfully proven to the employer that your skills can be verified.

Reference Letters

If you have a reference that will be unavailable, ask for them to write a reference letter. Let the employer know that your reference is unavailable and you have a letter, but still provide the employer with contact information of the reference. If you have reference letters as well as live person references, ask the employer if they would like the letters. Do not assume that the reference letters can replace the employer calling or e-mailing your reference unless that person is unavailable and has written a letter on their behalf. It would not be uncommon for your reference to ask you to write a recommendation letter about yourself and send it to them to review and sign. Just make sure you provide the reference with a reasonable date to give you the letter. Do not expect a reference letter at the exact time the job posting expires or a minute before you leave for your interview. Remember that your references have their own lives and may not make the letter their top priority. By providing a reasonable date, it gives your reference a timetable to work on it and also gives you time to ask someone else if they cannot succeed.

LinkedIn

The business oriented social networking site allows your connections to vouch for your skills. By providing the employer a link to your LinkedIn profile, they can have access to people who have written recommendations for you on that site. The key to getting recommendations is writing recommendations for others. If they can see that people not only highly recommend you, but endorse your skills as well, it will assist you with getting the job.

Thank You

Always thank your references for any service they provided. You do not want to burn your bridges by coming off as ungrateful. Send a letter, an e-mail or give them a call to show them that you appreciate the time they took to help you. In case the job does not pan out, you may be able to utilize them for other opportunities in the future.

Saving Face, Booking Your Future: Using #Facebook for #JobSearch

By George Bernocco, CPRW

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There has been a lot of talk about LinkedIn to get people back to work. In fact, when I was asked to conduct a general social media workshop, the content I was given revolved almost entirely around LinkedIn. I consider myself to be a realist, and to not mention Facebook when talking about social media is incomprehensible. Facebook is wildly popular and trends suggest the social media giant will be around for quite some time.

When I do mention Facebook and employment in my workshop, people suddenly know someone who knows someone that was let go because of Facebook. A general search on Google provided me with multiple cases of Facebook causing people to leave a job unwillingly. Opening up your feelings in such an open forum can come back to you. The news outlets have plenty of examples of those who now regret what they said in a status update or a tweet. The news does not report how many people obtain jobs through Facebook. So how does one gear their profile to get them a job? Here are some pieces of advice:

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Control your privacy

Make sure you get into your privacy settings and know who can see which parts of your profile. This is crucial, because if you haven’t been getting those calls for interviews and you’re wondering why, your Facebook profile may be accessible. Employers who can will access your profile and you want it to help you. The privacy settings can be confusing, but they are there to protect you. Remember that you can control who can see your photos, and other individual aspects of your profile.

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Keep it professional

You may find it amusing to have a profile picture from your last Christmas party. You may like to curse out politicians amongst your friends. Just remember that you can be found by people outside your group of friends unless you adjust your privacy. If a prospective employer sees you binge drinking in your profile picture, they will not like it. They will also not be too thrilled with status updates (if they have access to them) in which you decided to swear at someone. These are judgments that will be made against you and will impact your ability to be hired. Also remember that if you are asking someone for a reference, or having someone you know try to get you a job at a company, they may not want to vouch for you because of what they see on your Facebook.

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Create or join groups

As with LinkedIn, Facebook has groups you can join. These groups may be relevant to your profession. I would recommend joining them and connecting with them. If you cannot find any for your profession, create one. I don’t see a problem with joining groups that are directly related to your hobbies. Just be aware that the employer may have access to the groups you do join. If they do, avoid controversial groups, or ones that may disclose too much information about you. Otherwise, groups are excellent networking tools find out about job openings. When networking through the internet, reciprocity is crucial Help others and they will be more inclined to help you.

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Ask for help

Not everyone you are connected to may know you are looking for work. I have seen my fair share of status updates asking for a cover letter, a resume critique or where to find a job. The more people on your side for job search, the easier it will be to find a job. Maybe your network doesn’t know of any opportunities at the exact moment you posted your question. Hopefully from then on, you will be in the back of their mind so when they do hear about a position, they will let you know.

Facebook has really opened up the doors for social networking. Just ensure you can gear it towards obtaining employment. We all have our personalities, our personal lives which employers understand. However, it is an employer market in which the companies are looking for ways to cut down on such a large pool of candidates. Facebook can hurt; there is no doubt about it. The trick is to use any types of social media as a positive and by staying professional, managing your privacy and networking, you will have utilized Facebook to help you find a job.

Professionalism on LinkedIn Job Seeking Groups

By Erica Tew, CPRW

 The Dos and Don’ts of  Participating in  Job Seeker Groups on LinkedIn

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From previous posts and other blogs, you may already be well-aware of the many benefits of LinkedIn, including the fabulous recommendations  –  but there are also hundreds of great Job Seeking Groups on LinkedIn. You can search “Job Search” or any related keywords in LinkedIn’s search bar to find these groups.  Job seekers, career coaches and resume writers all network together and discuss strategies.  Members can share related articles they find particularly insightful or intriguing, opening up a discussion for members to weigh in on the topics with their own opinions.  At times, members can even share their job seeking troubles and ask the group for advice.  On this, I would caution everyone to not confuse LinkedIn Groups with anything else but a professional networking resource, so all members must try to maintain a professional image.

For an example, I have participated in groups where job seekers would give us a recap how their interviews or searches went.  These discussions were very effective; members helped the job seeker develop interview answers and avoid sending off any red flags to an employer, and focusing everything on the job opening in question.   The problem was this job seeker was providing details such as his general impression of certain interviewers’ personalities, company names to where he was applying and interviewing, and even making jokes when he shared that an employer asked a question that could be considered “illegal.”  (For the record, no question is ever “illegal.” That is a huge pet peeve of mine.  However, if an employer bases their hiring decision off of something not job-related and possibly discriminatory such as age, race, gender, etc – that is illegal.)

All of this sharing was received by the group of 400-500 members, but only around 45 were very active contributors.  From participating in a group, and getting to know people better online, it is natural that bonds can be formed.  I am virtual best friends with a few awesome women on Pinterest, in fact.  But differentiating your professional and personal networking profiles is crucial.  Posting very detailed and specific information on a LinkedIn group may become a huge regret if it gets you cancelled interviews or pulled from job offers.  Not all websites are as easy to delete posts as LinkedIn, but it is better to always think about your posts before submitting, instead of regretting later on.

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STRATEGIES

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In Connecticut, we have many no-cost networking groups available at our local job centers, and I will gladly provide more information on them if requested.  If you aren’t local and feel that online groups are your only resource, I recommend the following:

DON’T

  1. Share the company name or specifics where people could figure out the location.  This is a courteous gesture and will also help safeguard your place as a potential candidate.
  2. Give details about your negative impression of the interviewer (ie, if someone seemed unprepared, unprofessional, etc.) The details could be subjective and may relate to the company culture of being more “relaxed” instead of “unprofessional.”
  3. Speak to the group like you would a close friend or career counselor.  As tough as job searching is, LinkedIn is not an appropriate forum for venting, but we all need to do it every once in a while.  There are many resources and strategies to deal with job search and interview  rejection.  Take some time to clear your head until you can speak with someone you trust, but keep the discussion offline and in an appropriate setting.

DO

  1. Seek feedback.  Share the questions you were asked, how you responded, and see if you can find ways to strengthen your answer for the next interview.  This is a very proactive way to benefit from the knowledge of your fellow members.
  2. Share success.  This motivates other job seekers, and no success is too small.  Share if you landed an interview, or especially when you receive a job offer.  (Just keep in mind no specific details.)
  3. Reciprocate.  If people have given you helpful advice, they have done this out of kindness and the desire to network with you.  Help others by sharing what has worked for you.  This is the key to success in networking.  Which leads me to…
  4. Network.  Groups are a fantastic way to meet more professionals that you may not have had the opportunity of meeting offline.  Write personalized messages to the members you interact with and request to connect with them.

Explore the various job seeker groups.  Start joining a few and contributing with your comments or posts.  I hope you enjoy them, and let us know here if you have any questions!