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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.

Why ‘The Big Bang Theory’ is Good for America

English: Logo from the television program The ...

English: Logo from the television program The Big Bang Theory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Television//

 

I am a huge fan of the CBS sitcom ‘The Big Bang Theory’ (TBBT) produced and written by Bill Prady and Chuck Lorre. It is now in its 6th year, and enjoying humongous ratings, beating the venerable ‘American Idol’ (AI). In my opinion, that is such a GREAT turn of events. When you think about the premises of both TBBT and AI, they break down to how success and achievement is awarded in the US.

 

For example, the AI method is that you can achieve great success by getting a lucky break (through auditioning of course, and perceived talent). AI celebrates talent based on the contestants ability to sing and entertain, and TBBT posits that career success comes from studying, learning and academic achievement.

 

The “big prize” the characters are after on TBBT is a Nobel Prize and the prize the contestants are chasing on AI are record deals, money and fame. It is no doubt much harder to achieve a Nobel Prize; celebrity and fame are fairly easy to obtain, (Snooki, for example) and talent is not necessarily a requirement. Since both of these shows are watched by millions of young Americans, (demographically desirable 18-34 year olds) I believe that the better message to impart on youth is one of academic achievement and education.  (I do believe that music and the arts are also an essential part of education and life; I just am not sure a TV show/singing contest is the best way to achieve a career in the arts).

 

Note that TBBT character (Penny) is an actress, or trying to be one, and is always low on cash and struggling with her career choice. Singing, acting and writing are REALLY tough careers. The competition (as shown in AI auditions) is huge! It is far better to make career decisions based on reality: mechanical engineers will always be in demand, but another singer or actor? Not so much.

 

Why TBBT is good for young Americans is because the writers have made being smart accessible, desirable and really funny. They have made science, astronomy, mechanical engineering, neuro and micro biology normal, everyday occupations. And, trust me on this, America needs its young people to get excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs (and space exploration). American students regularly score poorly in worldwide measures of science and math. As a society, the US needs far more scientists and mathematicians than celebrities or singers.

 

That’s all I’m saying. Making science cool is so very hard to accomplish, and the talented writers and actors (see, I do like actors!) have really done an amazing job. Johhny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, Mayim Bialik, Kevin Sussman, and Kaley Cuoco are talented and deserving of all the accolades and awards they receive. And they’ll also be the first ones to tell you how “lucky” they are!

 

Need a career assessment to find your way to a fulfilling career in the sciences? Or music? Email your story to Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com for a complimentary career session!

 

 

Live in the Moment

Ancient Alien Angel

Ancient Alien Angel (Photo credit: mikenitro94)

Perspective//

Over the holidays, someone I liked very much passed away. He was a prolific and knowledgeable writer, investigative researcher, and a very spiritual human being. He had a very successful career, and was a frequent commentator on a popular US television show, and a radio host and guest. He was into social media and generous with his time for his Facebook fans and Twitter followers, and he even answered his emails! He had recently married the love of his life, Kathleen McGowan, and had a bright future ahead. But, the universe had other plans for him. Over the span of Thanksgiving to New Years, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer, and he passed on Dec 30th. His name was Filip (or Philip) Coppens. You may know him from his contributions to the show “Ancient Aliens” on the History Channel. (Yes, I watch it! Filip was always the voice of reason and brought a journalistic approach to the topic)

Why am I blogging about him? Well, I am sure that many, if not most, of us have experienced the loss of a loved one, friend or colleague. Filip’s passing reminded me, especially over the holidays, of what is really important. And since I was Facebook friends with him, it felt really personal. I’ve lost a few friends (RIP Maria O’Malley and Jonathan Edwards) over the past two years, and it’s seems odd that one day I’m chatting on Facebook with them, and then they are gone.

His passing put things in perspective for me. As a career coach, part of my job is counseling people who are not happy, or are in transition, or stuck in jobs they loath. So, this year, my motto is “life is short, so do what you want.” Filip certainly followed his passion.

Now, of course, temper that sentiment with financial reality, logistics and other factors, and be sensible! But my general meaning is that if you really want something, like a new job, or to go back to college, you can make it happen.

Life is short and there are reminders everyday of that fact. Filip Coppens is an inspiration to me, may he Rest in Peace, and he reminds us all that you can do what you want. Live passionately in 2013, and make your career a part of that.

Contact me if you want to move ahead this year doing what you love.

 

2012 Wrap Up!

resolute//

Every year around this time I make a few resolutions, They’re almost always the same: stick to my workouts, be more patient, blog weekly. And, every year, I can’t seem to keep them up. So this year, NO resolutions. Life is short and unpredictable, as so many events have shown us this year. I for one, am looking forward to 2013. I am not making too many plans–yes, you read that right–me the “planner” is going with a different philosophy this year. Here are a few things I am going to do.  Maybe they can help you too!

1. Celebrate the Small Victories

Nothing new about this, but this year, life’s small accomplishments will be celebrated. I’m not waiting around for the “big” stuff to happen. The champagne will be flowing more freely!

2. Carve out More Time for Me!
I tend to get concerned with other people’s problems, and in part, that is the nature of being a career coach. But in 2013, there will be more time for coffee with friends and games with my husband.

3. Support Creative Endeavours

I know SO many talented people, friends, and family. I will spend more time promoting them next year. They deserve it.

4. Watch Less News.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t take the news anymore. I like being informed, so I’ll spend a little time on a few news sites, but I am done with the 24-hour news cycle.

That’s it. Living in the moment is really all we have. Thank YOU for reading.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

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!

Career Q and A Part II

POST-WAR JOBS^ AMERICA WILL NEED YOUR SKILL - ...

POST-WAR JOBS^ AMERICA WILL NEED YOUR SKILL – NARA – 515195 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week I answered some of your questions (emailed to me Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com). I got a great response, thank you! I am happy that my answers helped. I did receive a few more questions, via Facebook, and thought I would answer them this week. Here we go:

Q: I work in a professional industry, and in one of my last jobs, my direct supervisor sabotaged my work and used “poor work quality” to terminate me 6 months later. What should I have done and can I prevent this from happening again?

A: This is a tricky situation. In certain instances, you can confront him her/him in non-threatening way by simply having a conversation with her/him about the quality of your work, or ask for a mini-review. If s/he is hostile to this, make a note of it, and write a “memo” to the HR director explaining the situation and how it is making you feel. Be prepare to have a meeting with Human Resources afterwards.

If your boss is directly abusive or threatening you, put the problem in writing and then report it directly to your HR manager. It may be that this supervisor has a history of this type of behaviour. The one thing to keep in mind is that you do have rights, and you need to keep a careful record of any and all instances that you feel are treated with hostility.

Finally, if it is so egregious, you may have a case for wrongful termination. If you think you do, contact an employment lawyer.

To prevent this from happening again, do research about the company and managers before you accept the offer. Two ways to get inside info is through Linked In; try to connect with current or former employees and ask about the culture and managers/management styles. The other great site to get insider info is glassdoor.com. They have candid reviews and ratings from current and ex-employees for hundreds of companies worldwide.

Q. I was fired from my last two jobs, one was 6 months and the other was 3 months of employment. Neither jobs were a good fit, so should I leave them off my résumé? If I do, I’ll have a 9 month gap. Please help!

A. It is so easy for potential employers to investigate you, you should not lie via omission. However, it the jobs are not relevant to the job you are applying to, you can leave it off and use a line such as: “Mar-Dec 2010 – Employed in a different indstry”. If you are seeking work in the same industry, include the jobs on the résumé, and even list one or two accomplishments. Even though your tenure was brief at both places, you did learn and contribute. Be prepared to address the short stints in a cover letter or interview. As a former HR Manager, I was fine with an explaination like “those jobs were not good fits for either party, and it was better to separate sooner than later. However short the time was, I did contribute to the firm (give an example), and continue honing my expertise. I am excited to interview with you, as I feel I am a good fit for this firm.”

Q. Since the Great Recession really affected my profession, I went back to school and got a Master’s in another field. How do I present this on my résumé?

A. You must highlight your “transferable skill sets”. Those are the skills and experiences that can be an asset in your new career field. Often, those skills are management, communication, leadership, mentoring, supervising, training, etc. Those are “soft” or “people” skills and competencies, and they are transferable because they involve core or intrinsic skills related to working with people. Use a “Key Areas of Expertise” section to list those skills that transfer to your new career.

Also, you might include a brief description in your cover letter to explain your career change. Try something like: “during the past few years, I have taken the time to return to school to gain a new career in XYZ. I felt this was a natural extension of my existing experiences and background, and a far more productive use of my time than waiting for my old career to bounce back”.

I hope that helps. Do you have a career question? Email me at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.

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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