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Job Boards – What a Joke!

//Job Search

For the past few weeks, I’ve been applying to jobs online. As a Career Coach, I want to be informed of what’s going on in the cyberspace job hunt. Ick..the job boards are such a joke. I wonder if the HR Personnel and CEO’s ever apply to their own company. I read a while back that one employee did apply, and he was rejected! Ha ha.

I am not sure how companies make decsions based on these online apps, unless they are basing it on:

1. Age – I can not believe how many ATS’s required I disclose my age!! Asking a candidate age during an interview is illegal. So, how are they getting away with the online app?

2. My Salary – What? Premature salary discussion much? Can’t you wait?? I don’t even know if I want to go to coffee with you, much less marry you. Don’t ask me about money upfront.

3. My High School – Seriously? That’s a huge WTF for me. Even if I graduated 6 years ago, it’s NONE of their business. Unless I’m applying for a job that requires a HS Diploma. And – if that is the case – a simple yes or no question will suffice!

I read all the time about the “skills gap” we’re suffering from here in the US. Great jobs at great companies are going unfilled because the recruiters can’t find qualified candidate. I can tell you, any qualified candidate is not going to waste an hour or more applying to a job online, no matter how great!

I like solutions, as you know. It did have a few experiences that were pretty cool. The best online apps let you upload your resume, type a short cover note, and hit send! Yes, your resume is still going down the black hole, but you didn’t have to spend forever with some slow, glitchy ATS where you always miss one little thing and it won’t let you “submit.”

Applicant. Submit. Reminds me of a Philip K. Dick novel.

Keep using LinkedIn, especially the “apply with LinkedIn” button. It’s easy. I hope it works, but in the end, it’s a job board. Be sure to read the article below from Ask the Headhunter. It’s an eye-opener.

As always, if you need career help, contact me for a comp chat.

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Take Charge of Your Job Search!

//Proactive

Everyday I hear from job seekers asking what they’re doing wrong and why they’re not getting interviews and job offers. There are any number of reasons why, of course, but I can tell you that in many cases the job seeker is off track. Finding a job – a good job with benefits – is damn hard work these days. Unemployment remains high even though the official numbers are getting better. Companies are slow to hire, and the hiring they are doing can stretch the interviewing/hiring process over months! I know of candidates having to endure 3 months of interviews.

What can you do to take a proactive approach to career management? The first, and most important thing to do is think differently about your job search. For many years, job seekers have turned to job postings (back in the day they were found in newspapers; today, it’s job boards on the Internet). A much more effective way of finding a good job is targeting companies first. Consider the way companies hire. These are 4 basic criteria:

1. The candidate can do the job

job hunting

job hunting (Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan)

2. The candidate is perceived as a “good fit”

3. A job salary can be agreed upon

4. Will the candidate will stay on the job

There are other factors involved in hiring, but these are the primary focal points for the hiring manager. The way you can fulfill these 4 items to spend time researching companies and organizations that you believe there will be synchronicity.

Start by identify 20-40 firms that you think you’ll fit well. Look for them on LinkedIn, Glassdoor.com, or Google Search. Need ideas to find companies? Run a search for “top firms in (your career field)” to get started. Then do the research.

Next, look for connections to those firms. Use LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Branchout on Facebook. Once you find them, use INMAIL on LinkedIn to reach out them. Keep your message short and professional, and let them know that you’re interested in learning more about the culture of their firm. That’s a better approach than asking for a job or if you can email them your resume.

And, finally, don’t be afraid to use your smart phone for…phone calls! Try to make “warm” calls, to people you’ve been referred to, but, do not fear the “cold” call. They are not that scary, especially after the first 10!

The key to a successful job search these days is to be proactive! Do not upload, post, apply and then wait. It won’t work!

Have a job search question? Email it to me at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.

Career Advice Q and A

High School #2 My Desk

High School #2 My Desk (Photo credit: osanpo)

// Vacation Edition

I’m back..sort of. I am taking time off this week, but, it is also the first time in a while I have the time to write a new blog post. And…I have had so many questions in the past month….so I’ll jump right in. Here is the number one question I receive:

Q. I have sent out hundreds of resumes to online jobs that I feel are really good fit for me. It’s been months, and I’ve had no replies (other than confirmation emails) and no interviews. What am I doing wrong?

A. Many people are in the same boat. There was a time that the online job boards worked, and a recent survey of top US companies confirmed that many of them do use the job boards to hire employees. It is not the number one way, however. That remains “referrals” as it always has, and always will.

Here’s the problem: the sheer numbers of competitors makes it unlikely that you’ll get a job that way. There are millions of unemployed, and employed, people – worldwide – that can, and do, apply to any and every job online, whether they are qualified or not.

Companies have responded with software called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that severely limited the number of resumes that are approved for further review. (Less than 3% in some cases!)

If your resume is not perfect – according to an ATS software – it will live forever in the black hole of cyberspace. You need a flawless, customized for each position, keyword loaded, accomplishment based resume that can survive approximately four different gatekeepers!

This is the hardest way to get a job. If this makes up the majority of your job searching strategy…perpare for a long stretch of unemployment.

Remedy: The number one way companies hire is through referrals. You need to be on the right side of a referral, so spend time on that instead! (read: networking)

Q. I don’t have a lot of money or time, and I really need a job (income) ASAP. Is a career coach or a professional resume worth it?

A. Yes! Okay, I may be a little biased..but let’s look at this logically. In the big scheme of things, a job is a critical part of your life. You may have gone to college – a substantial investment for sure – but it doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a job or career. Here is a great article from USA Today, from 2011.

Today’s labor market has an excess of qualified talent, and the competition for limited jobs is fierce. The one thing you need to know is that you are in competition – The Job Games – and you need to be in fighting shape. You need sharp career tools – including your resume and online social media brand; and your networking and interviewing skills must be top-notch. If any of these career tools are not well-done, you chance being screened out – fast!

Ask yourself: is it worth the money and time to invest in career coaching services to get into great career shape? Look at the reality of your situation: if you have been job hunting for more than 3 months, and the results are not where you need them to be, can you afford not to seek professional career help? It is definitely worth your time and money to increase your chances of getting hired – sooner than later!

Q & A Time!

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey th...

English: Data from April 2011 Editor Survey that lists Social Media activities (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

// Too Hot to Blog

I don’t know about you, but where I am it is hotter than hades! I can’t begin to think of a topic for this week’s blog, so, instead, I’m answering questions. Here we go:

Q: I have applied for lots of jobs online, but no responses yet, except a couple of immediate rejections, with little or no explanation.  What’s up with that?

A: A recent study just came out saying that job boards are a still significant source of hires, but the top hiring source remains referrals, and most companies are moving to Social Media for hiring. Job boards have a less than 2% success rate. If you apply online, use Simplyhired.com, Indeed.com, glassdoor.com, or even Craig’s List. Better yet, apply directly on the company’s website, which is much more effective. I recommend that you CALL before applying online, to make sure that the job is still open (ignore the “No Calls” plea), that they are not deep into interviews, and that the job is real in the first place. While you have HR on the phone, ask if you may send your resume to a person. If not, then you must use the ATS – Applicant Tracking System, which you need to hit a 90% or higher match rate to get to the yes pile. Most firms use ATS to screen out 97% of submissions.
Q: How do I update my status on Linked In?
A: Update your status in the “Share an update” section. You can post a link to an interesting article, blog or news item that are of interest to your connections. This way, you are providing info AND driving traffic to your profile, which is the goal. Increasing your visibility, that is. You can use the Share an Update section to mention “you are looking for Sr. Project Manager position in Southern California” about once a week. Update every 3-4 days.
Q: Should I include my college graduation dates if they were 20+ years ago?
A: You can include it, or not. A résumé should only go back 10 to 15 years, max. It really is what you’re ok with, since there is so much age discrimination out there. But, it’s not like you can hide it! I can go both ways on this, so do whatever you are comfortable with. Just don’t lie about it!
Q: I am also wondering if I should do anything more with my Facebook page?
A: Yes. You should limit access to your personal FB pages, and have a “Fan” or business page, and it should highlight your professional career, with photos, links to projects, etc. Need help? I can do it, or you can type “tutorial for Facebook Fan Pages” into Google. That works for everything!!
At the very least, update your current FB page, use the same (professional) photo on all of your social media sites, put a link to your Linked In, include your email and phone. You can search for jobs on FB, and follow companies on their pages…a great way to reach hiring managers and more effective than applying to jobs online. They have a job search site called BeKnown – which is awesome and better than job boards. You can join, just Google it. You can also follow recruiters that you find elsewhere (like Linked In). FB is HUGE so spend more time there than on the job boards.
That’s it. Don’t stop your job search because it’s summer, or your power is out, or you’re hot. I’m working, you can too!! Happy 4th of July, USA! Have a frosty one for me.
As always, contact me if you need help or a gratis resume review.

// Career Management Now

//Staying Current

Things change. And, in the world of Career Management, they have changed A LOT. In the past three years, everything that you thought you knew about managing your career and job searching is out the window, and the new changes are vague and complicated. You used to have a résumé. Now, you need a “Brand”. You used to apply for jobs. Now, you have to use Social Media and engage to be considered. You used to answer job ads. Now, you must navigate the online process and Applicant Tracking System. For many people, especially folks that have worked at a job for years and years, the new rules are, uh, confusing. OK…they may be confusing for everyone. Here then, are a few tips to help you figure this out!

1. Résumés are Marketing Documents

In the old days, a résumé typically listed your entire work history and responsibilities. Not so today. Now, your résumé must be a document that markets your accomplishments to a specific job and company, and you need to update it each time you send it out. Keep the formatting simple, no matter what résumé samples you see on the Internet. HR likes them concise and plain.

2. Use a Career Brand

Back in the day, your qualifications were enough. Not anymore. You must have a “brand” to stand out in a crowded field. And, boy, is it crowded! Your brand is essentially your key strength or unique ability. Use branding statements and headlines such as: “Global Career Coach” or “AutoCAD Expert” on your résumé and social media profiles. Make sure to support your claim with quantified statements.

3. Social Media Rules

Yes, I hear you, you hate it. But, you need it! At the very least, spend some time over at Linked In and put up a professional profile, including a pro headshot. Most Hiring Managers and HR personnel find you and/or check you out on the Internet. That means, specifically, they type your name into Google and have a look-see. What pops up is your Online Brand. Make sure it’s consistent, and it represents you accurately.  Also, be careful about commenting on blogs, and

English: Graph of social media activities

Image via Wikipedia

check the Facebook vacation photos. Things never die on the Internet. Ever.

There is a lot more to career management these days, so I’ll do some more blogs on this topic down the road. If you need more info on wrangling your career, send me an email.

Time Savers for the Lazy Career

My LinkedIn network, visualized

Image by For Inspiration Only via Flickr

//Career Shortcuts

It’s 2012 and I am not going to hit you over the head with a bunch of “career goals” and resolutions. I never really stick to my mine anyway, or else this here blog would be more regular! So, I thought I offer you a few shortcuts to boost your career brand this year. I know how busy you are, resumes to re-write, networking events to attend, a Super Bowl party to plan!

Spend 15 minutes per day on your Social Media Sites

Yes, that’s all you really need. Update your status once per day on a SM linking site such as Social Oomph. Say something relevant, or link to an interesting, on-topic article or blog. Then, comment on one or two discussions in two of your groups.

Network with 4 People Per Month

Online: put your “follows” to use and reach out to someone who follows you, or that you follow. Send an introductory email, start a dialogue, and move forward from there. It can be as simple as “Hi Joe. I noticed that you’ve been following my Tweets for a while, and I wanted to say thanks!”

Offline: Attend 2 networking events per month. Search Meetup.com, or Linked In, or find a local industry group, sign up, then go. Have a plan to meet 2-3 contacts, and then follow-up with a coffee meeting at a later date.

Comment on Blogs

No time to write a blog? No problem..comment on blogs! Be sure they are related to your job/career etc., and aim for those with a big readership where you can post your Linked In url, or website address, and photo.

The Result?

Spending as little as 20 minutes per day, and attending 2 networking events per month, will help you expand your professional network by at least 60 contacts by years’ end. Not bad for the lazy approach to career management!

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