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What LinkedIn Can’t Do Effectively

LinkedIn is an amazing tool for a job search. I’ve often claimed that LinkedIn has been a game changer for a job search these last few years. There has never been a resource as powerful and helpful before.

However, there is one scenario when LinkedIn can’t be effective…

Trying to pursue multiple career path possibilities at the same time.

For someone that has had multiple functional responsibilities in their career history, and very open to new opportunities in any one of those areas, it’s difficult to gain credible interest from their LinkedIn profile.

When they are pursuing a specific role, they can customize a resume to emphasize the most relevant skills and experience.

On LinkedIn, however, they don’t know what the recruiter or employer is looking for, so all their experience is listed to “catch” any interest they can. To that recruiter or employer, however, the background doesn’t compare well to other profiles they are reviewing that show more specialized experience. They are not likely to be contacted.

While it may seem to be a good strategy to keep your “options open”, the reality is it becomes much more difficult to land a position than to narrow your search to a specific type of role. Someone “open” to a number of types of opportunities seems less serious to an employer than someone that seems to know what they want to do.

Someone can focus their LinkedIn profile on one type of position. However, if they are pursuing something else, and that employer looks up their LinkedIn profile, it’s likely to raise red flags.

There is no easy solution to the problem. Being aware, however, of the limitations and likely impressions a “keeping options open” profile is likely create is important to recognize.

Deciding a career direction, and focusing all your effort in that direction is the most likely strategy to produce results.

LinkedIn is awesome, however, it can’t accomplish every objective!


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Find me? Contact me!

If you’re a job seeker, and you have a profile on LinkedIn so that recruiters, HR people, hiring managers can find you… how will they reach you?

If they are very impressed by your background and know they want to talk to you… they MIGHT use one of their InMail messages, or introductions, or find some other way to reach out. However, if you’re someone that looks interesting, but they’re not sure, it’s unlikely they will use their limited LinkedIn resources or put in the added effort to find a way to reach out.

It’s often that those “interesting” candidates get the job even if it’s not initially clear they are a great fit. If you’re too hard to reach though, the opportunity is likely to be lost.

Unless you’re a first level connection, LinkedIn doesn’t show your contact information to someone that finds you in a search.

So what’s the solution?

Put your phone number and/or email address in your profile! Near the top… where it’s easy to see!

Active job seekers miss opportunities all the time because there is no easy or obvious way to reach them. Getting found on LinkedIn requires a good profile, however, if you’re found, gain interest, and then make it difficult for them to connect, the profile doesn’t do you much good!

Be sure to include your contact information, easily visible, on your LinkedIn profile and see if it doesn’t improve your results!


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Networking for what you want, or settling with job boards

Job boards seem great. They have dozens, hundreds, or thousands of jobs in your area and seem like the perfect place to find that new career venture.

They are, however, one of the least productive resources for finding the job you want!

Depending on which surveys you read, only somewhere between 10% and 16% of job seekers find their new position through a job board.

Of those, a large percentage settle for a job they were able to get rather than a job they would really want.

The issue lies in the fact that once a job is posted online, it’s available for the whole world to see… and apply to. Dozens, or hundreds apply. The only applicants that are contacted are the ones that are an obvious fit. Those, whose resumes show they most recently worked in a role most similar to the one at hand.

For a job seeker that has transferrable skills, but not an exact match in experience, however, wants to expand their horizons with new responsibilities, will most certainly be out of luck.

Even for the job seeker whose resume does show they have recent experience that matches the job closely, they are typically one of many with similar qualifications. The odds are generally not in their favor.

If, with enough online applications, the job seeker does land a job, it’s often one that they were finally able to secure rather than one they would have really preferred.

Reaching out and networking within the companies you would prefer, whether an appropriate position is posted or not, produces much greater odds of landing a more prized role.

Ultimately, uncovering a role that is early in the planning process, and not yet posted for the world to see, is the best way to arrive at the desired goal.

Most job seekers spend the majority of their time surfing job boards and applying to an endless array of posted opportunities. Generally with negligible results.

Spending a majority of job search time pursuing contacts at targeted companies is the way to land the job of your dreams!

Don’t become overly attracted to job boards!  They generally only get you what’s left rather than what you want!


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Reconnect for results!

Often, job seekers aren’t as effective as they could be because they are only hit and run networkers!

They might chat with someone at a networking group, reach out with a phone call, meet someone for an informational interview, or connect in some other way, and perhaps get an additional contact or lead, or not.

Unfortunately, for most job seekers, that one meeting is all there is.

It’s not unusual for that contact to think of something a few days, weeks, or a couple of months later. At that  point, however, they either can’t remember how to connect, or assumes that the job seeker probably landed by then. Opportunity lost!

The solution?

Reconnect with every contact on a regular basis. Every 4 to 6 weeks, send out an email to everyone you’ve been in contact with regarding your job search so far.

People who have done this consistently, report that email to be the greatest source of new leads, referrals, encouragement for their job search each month. Previous contacts are reminded of your search, ideas that came to them earlier will likely now be shared. Their thought process for referrals is renewed. Or, at the very least, many are likely offer encouragement and hope. When a job search drags on, every bit of encouragement helps!

If you’ve been networking effectively, the number of contacts can become large. Personalizing a note to each one can become burdensome. Sending a group email is most practical, however, put all the email addresses into the BCC field so that each contact doesn’t see who else it’s going to.

Key points in the email are to show you’ve been active (not just waiting by the phone for a call), that you are pursuing all you can, and that you are still interested in connecting with others in the process.

An example might be something like…

 

 

I’m reaching out to reconnect regarding my job search. I’m grateful for all the ideas, insight, referrals and leads I’ve been receiving and have been very active at pursuing appropriate leads wherever I can. In the last month, I’ve had multiple interviews, a great number of networking meetings, and many new connections. It’s been a great process.

While I’m still in process on certain opportunities, I continue to be grateful for any additional referrals, contacts or leads. I appreciate any ideas or insight you may have.

Also, please do reach out any time I might be able to be of help to you in some way!

 

 

Including some specific examples of companies where you are being considered, or listing specific companies you’d like to target can add credibility, and generate additional ideas.

Reconnecting with previous contacts can be one of the greatest ways to become a more effective networker. Try it and see!


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Questions required!

One of the bigger mistakes job seekers sometimes make in an interview is to not ask questions when given the opportunity.

It’s very common near the end of most job interviews for the interviewer to ask something like…

Do you have any questions for me?”

Unfortunately, sometimes the response is along the lines of…

No, I think we covered everything!”

or…

No, I’m all set!”

Those kinds of answers can often bring the hiring process to an end.

Having no questions when prompted is likely to be interpreted as:

  • Not enough interest in the position or company to want to learn more

  • General lack of curiosity or desire to gain more knowledge

  • Over-confidence that an offer is inevitable

  • or… Not having a clue about what may be important!

 

As a recruiter, I have the opportunity to debrief with my client, the employer, after my candidates interview. Over the years, there have been occasions when the feedback I received has been along the lines of…

I thought the interview was going well, however, when I asked if they had any questions, they had none for me. If they don’t have enough interest to ask any questions, they aren’t the right fit for us.”

Always ask questions… even if you think you already know the answers! However, be wise about them…

  • Ask questions appropriate to the positions level and responsibilities. Asking about the company’s marketing strategy when interviewing for a Staff Engineer role and meeting with an Engineering Manager, comes across as irrelevant and contrived.

  • Don’t ask questions that were already answered previously in the interview. Coming to the interview prepared with questions to ask is a good idea. Asking one of those prepared questions even though it was already discussed earlier seems like a lack of listening.

  • Come prepared with a list of questions to be asked when given the chance. It shows the employer that thought went into the process before the interview. It shows you prepare. When the opportunity arises, it’s impressive to proceed with something like… 

    As a matter of fact, I do have some questions. I prepared a number of things I’d like to ask. We already discussed this one, and this one, however, one thing we didn’t touch on was…”

You will not likely have time to ask more than 3 to 4 questions. However, it’s a very good idea to prepare 15 to 20 so that regardless how much is covered in the interview, you will still have other topics to ask about.

Never take the opportunity to ask questions too lightly. It’s not just for your benefit that they ask, it’s a continuing part of their evaluation process of you. The curiosity, interest, passion and appropriateness of your questions tells them a lot about you as a candidate.

When given the opportunity… remember that there’s Questions Required!


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Great interviews are a dialog!
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20 Most Common Job Search Mistakes

While it’s true that different people make different mistakes, and some mistakes aren’t a big deal to some potential employers…

there are some mistakes that are too common and can be fixed with some thought and effort. 

The effort is likely to produce dramatically better results!

 


Here are 20 (with potential help) in no particular order…

 

Negative, cynical, defeated or passive attitude 
          (See: The One Best Thing You Can Do For Your Job Search!)

 

Spelling mistakes and typos in a resume, email or letter 
          (See: Does Writing Matter?)

 

Spending the vast majority of time applying for jobs online
          (See: Want to improve your job search? Step away from your computer!)

 

Lack of networking
          (See: Do You Really HAVE To Network For Your Job Search???)

 

Using unprofessional or profane language when networking or interviewing
          (See: Watch Your Words!)

 

Looking sloppy or unprofessional when networking or interviewing
          (See: Are You Referable?)

 

Taking too long to follow up on leads, new contacts and referrals
          (See: Ya’ Gotta’ Be On The Ball!)

 

Neglecting to follow up with Thank You’s after networking or interviews
          (See: Do Thank You Notes Really Matter???)

 

Not being well prepared to state what you do or what you’re looking for
          (See: Your Elevator Speech: Keep It Simple Silly)

 

Talking too much / rambling
          (See: Are You a Talker???)

 

Not listening well 
          (See: Employers want "Emotional Intelligence")

 

Not practicing / preparing for interviews
          (See: One big lesson from the Olympics for your job search!)

 

Little or no knowledge of the company when interviewing
          (See: Preparing to Succeed)

 

No questions when prompted at the end of an interview
          (See: Interviewing the Interviewer!)

 

No specificity when asked what you’re looking for
          (See: The paradox of "keeping your options open" in your job search)

 

Poor time management
          (See: Time Blocks Prevent Mental Blocks!)

 

Asking tough questions
          (See: Ya' Gotta Ask!)

 

Not being organized in the job search
          (See: Are You Ready???)

 

Lack of online presence
          (See: Building A Professional Online Presence)

 

A damaging online presence
          (See: How Employers View Your Online Presence)


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In your job search… Don’t Ask For Jobs!

One of the biggest mistakes people consistently make in the networking process when seeking new jobs... is they ask for jobs!

"What!  Isn't that the point of networking??? To find a job???"

Yes ...and no!

I consistently have people approach me asking if I know of job in their field, and I hear them ask the same question of most others they meet as well. I'm a recruiter, and I do know of open jobs. However, not usually the kind of jobs they are looking for, and most people don't know of open jobs... even at their own companies. They are busy with their own jobs, and families, and other interests and have no reason to ask or pay attention to what jobs are open at any given time.

So, while they sincerely would like to help... when they're asked if they know of an open job, nothing comes to mind and they feel badly they aren't a better resource for you. The conversation becomes quiet, and awkward, and they walk away feeling useless, and you walk away feeling like this networking thing is a waste of time.

When you don't ask for anything in your networking conversations, the conversations seem to end in the same way. The contact may even say something like...

"I'll certainly let you know if I hear of anything!"

Which may sound encouraging, however, almost never produces any results. Typically, it's because they are thinking the same question you decided not to ask: "Do you know of any jobs in my field?"

The key in job search networking is to help them change their thinking, and look for worthwhile contacts for you that get you one step closer to an opportunity rather than the job itself.

If you're an Accountant, networking with the stay-at-home mom next door, having her think of her cousin that is also an Accountant gets you a valuable contact that is more likely to know of Accountants, or Accounting Managers at companies you may like to pursue. If you're brother-in-law is a sales person that might sell to companies that you have an interest in, the Purchasing Manager he calls on is likely to know who an Accounting Manager in his organization might be.

Realizing that the goal in effective job search networking is to get names of other people that may help you get closer to the right opening will help change the conversations and become far more productive. While someone is highly unlikely to know of an appropriate position for you... it's highly likely that they know someone that gets you closer to someone that does know of an appropriate role.

People overwhelmingly want to help in some way... they just often don't know how. As soon as they realize that you are looking for a job, they will certainly tell you if they know of one. They want to help, and that's the obvious question that comes to mind. It doesn't usually occur to them, however, that a name can be a tremendous resource for you.

Make it a point, in your job search networking, never to ask if they know of an open job, and see your results improve.


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Sincerity Overcomes Skepticism

After my last post titled "Give Before You Get", I had a great email from someone asking...

"How do I make sure I am not the slimy guy who's just helping people to get favours? How do I make sure that I stay genuine?"

I appreciated the note, and it's a great question!

I think each person has to ask this of themselves each day.

Zig Ziglar, an exceptional motivational speaker, often used to say:

"You can get everything out of life that you want! ...if you help enough other people get what they want."

I believe that's true. However, I also believe that motives and the heart with which you do those things matters greatly as well. If it's clear that you are "the slimy guy who's just helping people to get favours", it's unlikely that most of those favours will ever materialize... AND you'll have a reputation as a "slimy guy"!  Don't be that guy!

The answer is... Sincerity.

If you sincerely want to build relationships, and be a blessing, a pleasant surprise, a welcome connection, a valued resource and a friend to those you meet, it will become evident. It will be evident in your words, in your body language, in your face, and in your generosity.

In the 1970's TV show M*A*S*H, Hawkeye, in one episode was trying to get a date with a particular nurse, and was having no luck at all in charming her. BJ, his best friend and tent-mate suggested that instead of trying to find a way to play her... he try sincerity. Hawkeye's response was... "Oh, sincerity, I can fake that!"

It was a funny line, but everyone understood that it was a bad idea. Real sincerity can't be faked. Faked "sincerity" becomes evident quickly, and the "slimy guy" reputation is born.

Checking your motives and determining you want to be of value to others will make the difference in all of your phone calls, meetings, casual conversations, and interviews as well. Before every contact, remind yourself that you truly want to be of help to the person you're about to engage. It's an opportunity for a new professional relationship, or perhaps even a friendship. Take the time in advance and during the conversation to think about who you know, what you know, or what you could offer that would be of help or of value in some way. Not just a token contact name or uninformed piece of advice that you throw out to them, but something that truly hits the mark.

It's possible, and highly likely many times that you can't come up with anything... and that's OK. However, SINCERELY expressing your desire to be of help somehow goes a long way toward planting a seed for future further contacts.
Don't fake it, and don't be the "slimy guy".

True sincerity will quickly erase whatever skepticism your contact may have... and then they will be much more interested in helping you as well!


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Give Before You Get

Job Seekers often express discomfort about networking because they feel like they’re beggars for leads, referrals, and ideas. That sense comes from a misconception and mis-application of how great networking should work.

Finding ways to be of value to your contact makes the connection much more equitable and a professional give and take.

Job seekers doing a lot of effective networking in their search are inevitably building a very valuable collection of contacts. People in a wide variety of professions, in a variety of industries, at a number of companies, etc.

Some of those contacts may be a great resource to some of your new contacts!

Offering to help them reach out to people that would be helpful to them is a great value and a great way to reciprocate in the networking process.

Asking your networking contact what challenges they are facing in their position, in their company, or in their career may trigger a recollection of someone else that may have some insight, ideas, experience, or advice for their situation.

Asking what kinds of positions they are hiring for, even if it’s not for your background, may enable you to recommend others that may fit those other roles and help in their hiring process.

Asking about hobbies, sports and other favorite pastimes may bring to mind people with like interests that may be happy to meet others that participate in the same activities.

Asking a variety of questions about your contact will invariably lead to some ideas of how you can be a valued contact to them. Asking them about themselves gets them talking and makes you more interesting to them… people like to talk about themselves, and like people that give them the opportunity!

While networking may not be the most attractive part of a job search for most people, it can be a terrific way to build relationships, a valuable list of contacts, and a way to be of value to everyone you meet!

If your networking conversations are premised on a ‘give before you get’ philosophy, you’ll find them to be far more productive, and more enjoyable as well!


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Humbled and Honored…

8. Harry Urschel @eExecutives

51,130 followers

recruiters on twitter

Privileged to be included on a list with some great people on Twitter…

 

Top 10 Most Followed Recruiters on Twitter

 

Follow the link to find other great resources for your job search.

 

 

 




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Job Hunting Is Your Job!

There are many aspects of a job search that many people dislike… and so don’t do. Unfortunately, that often results in a very prolonged job search, creating a lot of stress and frustration.

Most people have heard the cliche that a job search is a full-time job in itself, however, very few people treat it that way.

Once the mental commitment is made to view, and treat the search as a job, the process becomes more productive.

Consider these points…

 

Any job requires some unpleasant tasks

While it’s a nice fantasy to think about the job you land as a blissful experience of going from one fun and exciting task to the next… the reality is that ANY job includes some things that are less than “’fulfilling”. Yet, you do them because it’s part of the expectation from your employer, and a required part to accomplish the ultimate objectives. The same is true in a job search. While getting an offer letter may be the exciting part… there are several necessary steps to take to get to that stage.

 

Most jobs require a schedule

There are expectations and requirements in most jobs to be at the place of work, or to be engaged in certain activities during certain hours and for a required number of hours per week. Most job seekers, however, have no schedule for their day or week and drift from one task, to down time, to extra-curricular activities, to another task throughout their day. Setting, and adhering to a schedule makes the job search far more productive and shortens it’s duration.

 

Jobs have required “output”

Typically, jobs have set expectations of completed tasks or achieved results. Setting daily and weekly goals for new connections, leads, meetings, and phone calls for yourself just as an employer may have goals for your work each day will produce greater results.

 

Doing your “job” well, improves your attitude!

The best thing anyone can do for their attitude is to do the things they know they ought to do. Working hard at doing the tasks required for an effective job search can be a great way to maintain a positive mental attitude during your search. Regardless of results… getting to the end of the day or end of the week and honestly being able to say you did the things you should have been doing will help reduce stress and put things in proper perspective.

Conversely, getting to the end of the day or end of the week and realizing you didn’t execute on a great number of tasks you should have done leaves you defeated, self-critical, discouraged, and frustrated. Do what you know you ought to do!

 

The more you treat your job search in a disciplined way, as you would a full-time job, the better your attitude, and your results will be!


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Dealing With "Interview Fatigue"

I received a question that is a relevant issue for many job seekers...

How do I ward off interview fatigue?

I just completed my fourth interview for a job and there is the possibility of yet another interview. Since the first interview, this process has taken four weeks. I'm losing focus and this is affecting my ability to remain enthusiastic about this opportunity and keep re-loading my pipeline.      Help!

Sometimes a hiring process can seem to go on forever, and it creates a number of challenges for the candidate. Why do some companies take so long? What are the pitfalls? How do you keep the enthusiasm level up? And how do you manage the rest of the job search in the meantime?

Here are several points to consider...

If you lose interest, so will the employer


This is likely not news. Employers will sometimes put candidates through long interview processes because they are having a difficult time making a decision and they don't want to make a mistake by hiring the wrong candidate. When they aren't able to make a decision on their own, sometimes the process makes the decision for them. As candidates are forced to grind through the lengthy process, some will lose interest, some will drop out and some will show a lack of enthusiasm. The ones that keep shining throughout the grind, are the ones that will rise to the top, and ultimately get an offer. Showing the same level of interest in the fourth interview as in the first is critical!

A job search is a full-time job

Most people have heard this cliche before. It does have a great deal of truth to it, and the more that a job seeker treats it like their job, the better likelihood of earlier success. Any job, no matter how much you may love it, has tasks that have to be done that feel tedious, long and draining. Yet, if you are to become successful, those tasks have to be done well and with energy. The same is true in a hiring process. No matter how attractive the position seems, there will be parts of the selection process that may be less than ideal. Think of working the hiring process the same as a job in order to accomplish all the requirements regardless of how you feel about them.

It's a sales position

Not only is the job search a full-time job, it's a sales position! You are selling the value you bring to an organization to fulfill their needs and wants for the role you are pursuing. In sales, as in a job search, the client / employer may require a number of steps or "demonstrations" to determine if this "product" is right for them. Sometimes they make a decision quickly, and sometimes they do not. If you quit, or lose interest too soon, you will not make the sale. You can't predict which ones will "close" and which ones won't, so you have to be disciplined in keeping a full pipeline of new opportunities in case this one doesn't work out, and yet you have to keep the clients interest throughout the process. View yourself as a sales person that is professional, pleasantly persistent and enthusiastic throughout the process.

It's a two-way street

All that said... it's just as important for the candidate to be evaluating the potential employer as it is for the employer to be evaluating the candidate. If the employer seems to be going through extraordinary lengths to make a decision, and doesn't seem to be able to make a decision, it may be an indication of how they manage employees as well. There may be very good reasons for a lengthy process, however, it's incumbent on the candidate to be asking questions along the way.

A long selection process can certainly take a toll on the attitude and enthusiasm for a new role. Viewing the process as your "job", treat it like a professional sales person, and using the process as an opportunity to evaluate the employer as well can make the process easier.



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