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Job Search

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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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English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a...

English: George R.R. Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenščina: George R.R. Martin med podpisovanjem knjig v ljubljanski knjigarni. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Internet is Endless and Full of Errors

//”Career Advice” Advice

Okay, I admit: I’m missing Game of Thrones and October is still a ways off. I am HUGE fan of the HBO show based on the books of George R.R. Martin, and I need a marathon soon. The title of this post is a riff on “The night is long and full of terrors” spoken by Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten), close adviser to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). And, boy, is she right. Bad things are on the way for so many characters, and if you watched it last season (spoiler alert), you’ll know that some major characters were, um, relieved of their lives. At least Melisande’s advice is accurate!

Beware of career advice on the Internet, as it’s not as reliable. I spend A LOT of time reviewing career blogs and hanging out on G+ Career Communities, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and many more sites, scouring columns, articles and websites for the latest info on all things career and job searching. Rest assured, there are some career advisors out there that are truly subject matter experts. But, there are way too many sites that are dispensing absolute crap advice. Here’s few sites to avoid:

Resume Advice from Non-Native English Speakers
If you’re seeking advice on crafting a new, professional English language resume, please avoid advice sites where it’s obvious that the writer/advice giver is not an English speaker. Since you want your resume to be flawless and grammatically correct, do not take advice from career experts who can’t conjugate or construct correct sentences. I speak a little German, but there is no way I would ever write a resume advice blog IN German, for a German speaking audience. (Some of you may be picking apart my English language blogging abilities right now!)

Advice from Non-Experts
Copy writers, technical writers, coders, and logistics experts are not typically career experts. Yet, I find blogs from them offering career advice all the time! Seek out advice from: Recruiters, HR Managers, and career experts with backgrounds in interviewing and hiring people.

Shady Websites
Stay away from any career website that wants something from you before they give you any advice. Don’t subscribe, or input a credit card number or your Social Security Number. If it’s a site that offers you 1,000’s of job postings, but you have to endlessly click through a bunch of pages, it’s a Pay Per Click site, devoid of actual job postings. I find these all the time in LinkedIn’s Groups, unfortunately. Also avoid the “squeeze” page career advice site, which is a website with a really, really long intro/sales letter with little to no info whatsoever, usually ending with a “purchase this first and you’ll get the advice later” offer.

I remember following a “career marketing” expert on Twitter, and her offer of a free ebook took me to a site that was a tedious, never ending sales page that wanted you to “upgrade” to the pro package level for a couple of hundred dollars, without offering one tiny piece of free advice. Another site offered a bunch of freebies, and as soon as I signed up, I received an email with the subject line: FINAL NOTICE. Geeze, really? They were offering me a final chance to purchase their guide for, you guessed it, a couple of hundred dollars. Unsubscribed 2 seconds later.

Let me just write what I think: there’s an endless supply of bullshi$ sites out there that give truly awful career advice. I read a blog post on interviewing the other day that said “recruiters don’t like over ambitious persons.” What?

Like I said, the Internet is Endless and Full of Errors!” Proceed with caution. Hopefully, you’ll find the light. At least you’re not going to lose your head!

A few sites I recommend wholeheartedly are: Career Rocketeer, The Career Sherpa, and The Undercover Recruiter, and The Savvy Intern.

If you want helpful, practical and easy to implement career advice from someone that’s hired over 400 people in her career, you can drop me an email at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com or send me your career question below:

Career Change? Why not!

Winter in Vienna

Winter in Vienna (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

// Options

Here we are in February! Happy New Year to my friends in China, or wherever they might be. If you haven’t stuck to your New Year’s resolutions so far, may I suggest you start over now. It is never too late to start over. I have started over several times now, and I consider myself somewhat of an expert at this point! Two years ago, my husband and I picked up and moved from LA to Vienna, Austria. Granted, this is his hometown, but it was still starting over after living at the beach for 11 years!

And so far, we’ve survived! Has it been tough? Yes. Did the finances run out? Yes. Has learning a new, unbelievably hard language been easy? NO. And did my husband have to go through a few jobs to find the right one? Yes.

I had to reinvent my career as well, becoming a “global career coach” and learned how to market my services worldwide, and use a virtual office. And, I am not so young these days! But, with a sense of adventure, resilience and a positive attitude, we changed our lives.

You can too. In the past few weeks, several of my clients have had interviews, but no offers, in the Architecture and Design field. In most cases, it was not the right fit. However, the design and construction industry is at a standstill for hiring. I read a statistic the other day that reported unemployment for recent Architecture graduates is at 13.9%!! That is shocking! Do you know how expensive and LONG Architecture school is?

So, what to do now? If you’re in an industry that basically no longer exists, or the job opportunities are severely limited, it’s time to change. Yes, change careers. Most people go into their chosen careers for either the love of it, or because they drifted into it somehow, but you don’t have to stay. The average number of careers people have these days is 6. That is 6 different careers! Not jobs.

Start by exploring related career fields, or “career adjacent.” Make a plan, do research. If you can type, you can find out ANYTHING you need to on the Internet. You can even upgrade your knowledge, skills and education via the Internet.

The key is to just do it. Don’t think about too much, or over, over analyze it. The best things in life are usually the things we do based on our gut feelings. Like moving half-way around the world to start a new life! We just did it.

Need to make a career change but don’t know how to start? Contact me for a complimentary career consultation at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com. Also check out the blogs I’ve linked to below, they are very helpful.

The Long Job Search

job hunting

job hunting (Photo credit: Robert S. Donovan)

// Focus

One question I often get is “how do I stay positive during an extended job search?” The average job search in the US is about 35 weeks these days (even with unemployment going down a bit). Here are a few tips:

1. Create a Weekly Schedule
One thing that keeps you anchored is having a weekly schedule. When you’re on the job, most likely you keep up a weekly or monthly schedule. This provides a structure, and helps you focus on moving forward. Make sure your job hunting schedule has a blend of job searching activities and does not rely on one particular thing, such as applying to online job postings, which is a big time waster.

2. Get out of the House
Job hunting is a solitary endeavour where you spend hours tethered to a computer. I recommend that you schedule in a few activity breaks during the day, such as yoga or exercise, going for a walk, reading a book, or listening to some music. Just because you’re on the job hunt doesn’t mean that you have to stop your life.

3. Mix and Mingle
Go to functions and mixers; they don’t have to be job related! Maintaining a social life is important, even on a limited budget. Search for low-cost or free events. Every major city in the world hosts any number of events, lectures, seminars, etc. Or, hit the local watering hole for a Happy Hour once in a while. Get out and talk to people!

4. Seek Professional Help

Job hunting is a lonely, frustrating experience, and even more so the longer you’re at it. If you haven’t been getting interviews, be sure to have a professional career coach review your career brand and materials. It may be that your résumé is not as captivating as it can be. The working world is far too competitive to job hunt with less than perfect career tools.

The long job search seems to be the new norm. Managing your emotions and staying upbeat is challenging, but if you plan and focus, you can be back to work 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.

The Parallel Universe Job Search

English: Level II Multiverse: every disk is a ...

English: Level II Multiverse: every disk is a bubble universe. Universe 1 to Universe 6 are different bubbles, with distinct physical constants that are different from our universe. Our universe is just one of the bubbles. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Other Options//

Ever get the feeling that you might as well look for a job in another universe? Well, if string theory is ever proven, then most likely many other yous have different jobs in any number of infinite universes. I was thinking about this the other day, probably after some crack by Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D. (Jim Parson’s character on the smash hit The Big Bang Theory), where he posits that he is clown in another universe. While I hope to God that I am not a clown in any universe (deep-seated fear of clowns), I hope that maybe I am a marine biologist working with dolphins, or an archeologist digging in Africa. I had so many things I wanted to do and be when I was young. Too bad our society makes us select a career path by age 18.

So, what if you had different jobs in different universes? What would they be? Maybe, just maybe, you can do one of them right here in this universe! Here’s a few tips to get you started.

1. What did you want to be when you grew up?

Sometimes, going back to what you originally wanted to do is the right move. Why? Because you were most likely passionate about your first career choice. If you are considering a career change, think back, way back. Now if you wanted to be an astronaut, well, maybe the window of opportunity has passed you by. But, maybe you wanted to be a teacher, or CPA. Those are doable, even as late career changes.

2. Can you picture yourself doing something else?

We only get one time around in this universe, so far as we know, so why not do something that you really want to do? Covering the bills and eating are real concerns, but why not try to get paid to do something you love? It takes planning, and that’s where most people stop the process of moving forward to their dream career. Planning involves research, and if you’re reading this, you have access to the greatest tool in any universe, the Internet. Use if for more than updating your FB status!

3. Motivation is a necessity in any universe

Getting up and getting busy are the keys to career success. No matter what you want to do, sitting around watching the Bachelor or playing Halo is fun, but it moves you no closer to your career goals. Try to set a schedule for 2 weeks to research and plan your career a bit more. You can still play, just have more of a schedule.

If traveling through dimensions ever does become a reality, I know that I am a huge singing sensation in one universe!!

Need career help nativating this universe? Contact me for a complimentary career session!

Inside the Interview!

// Tips

I have prepared clients for the past two weeks for interviews! It feels good to see interviewing pick up, even a little. Interviewing is not job searching and it requires a different set of skills and mindset. You need to be sensational during the interview! I Tweet and post on my Facebook page a lot of tips for interviewing, but I don’t have them collected in one spot. Uh, well, now I have a blog post! Here are a my top 10 interview tips from the inside (the Hiring Manager’s thoughts):

1. Do your research

When I interview a candidate, if they don’t really know much about the company or firm I am representing, they are OUT. It irritates me so much that they would take up my time. So, go beyond the company website, do some Google searching, and really get to know the company. Surprise me!!

2. Tell me about yourself

When I ask you to tell me about yourself, what I am really asking is to briefly summarize your professional career thus far, and include one or two reasons why you would be a good fit here. DO NOT go into your life story and please, keep it short..like no more than 3 minutes. Otherwise, my thoughts drift…to like what’s for lunch!

3. What can you do for us?

This is purpose of the interview! Please have three strong “bullet points” prepared on what specifically you bring to the table. Leverage your assets, and show me how you are a better choice than the other 3 candidates I interviewed earlier today.

4. Dress to impress

Often overlooked is the fact that many hiring decisions are made within the first few minutes of the interview. Your appearance is important and dressing professionally gives an impression of success. I want to hire successful people, so I do judge you on your outfit. Even if you never wear a suit again in this role, be sure to respect the company enough to WOW them at the first interview.

5. Be honest

If I ask you about something on your résumé, like “How many people did you manage on this project?” give me a straight answer. If was one intern, so be it. I appreciate honesty and it is not necessarily a deal breaker if you haven’t managed 100’s. Management can always be learned; honesty cannot.

6. Practice

Please, do not show up without preparing. Get some role-playing in; have a friend, or hire a coach (shameless plug!) to ask you typical interview questions. I don’t have time for awkward pauses and rambling answers.

7. Goals

Know your career goals and how working for my company fits in, and how you can contribute to my company by working toward your goals. Just don’t tell me your goal is to become my competitor in five years!

8. Basics

A few reminders: Be on time which means not too early as well. And do not bring your cell phone into the interview. I can hear it even on buzz. I find it annoying that you couldn’t do without it for an hour or so. And, don’t wear too much cologne, or smell like cigarettes. Breath mints are good. Please.

9. Strengths and weaknesses

When I ask this, and you know I will, please have something other than “well, I am very detail oriented”…it’s not a weakness!! A weakness is “I am not very proficient at Excel”. And give me a real strength such as “My team leadership has been recognized with over five achievement awards in the past three years” by my peers.

10. Money

I don’t bring up salary in the first interview, but that’s me. Other interviewers will. Salary is super important in recessionary times, and many companies want to sort it out first. You need to know how much you’re worth, and be prepared to discuss it during the first interview. If you would like to defer it, say something like “I would prefer to discuss salary upon expressed mutual interest, but here’s my required salary range without considering the overall package”.

I hope this helps! I have noticed that interviewing has really picked up since June, and that is a very good sign. Unemployment is still WAY too high, and the competition is fierce for the few positions available. Be sure you are ready for interviewing. You can always contact me if you need help.

Want a job? Call your Elected Representatives!

// RANT

I have read about a half a million blogs, articles, and websites about how to get a job. Many, including my own, focus on the job seeker, and what they need to do better, or what they are doing wrong. And many times there are things that job hunters could be doing better, like improving their résumé. But, let’s be honest, this recession is in its third year, and the US government declared it over in 2009. Bullshit.
(I’m a bit more explicit in my new blog). I am REALLY sick and tired of hearing that we are having a “jobless recovery“. What does that mean exactly? That corporations and stock holders will make money because they have fewer employees? Yes, I think that’s what it means.

I know, some of you are rolling your eyes about now, thinking “we make our own destiny” or some other baloney. But I have witnessed how many truly awesome people are out of work, and trust me, it’s not because they can’t control their own destiny. I am talking about top-notch, experienced professionals at the height of their careers. People who were “poached” in the past are looking for work — for a few years now. They have great resumes, and online brands, and they network, etc. Many of them are experts in their fields, they blog, they give speeches, they mentor, they are doing everything right. Finding jobs for the millions of unemployed who fit this category will be tough, if not impossible.

It seems to me that our elected officials have done little to nothing about this; I don’t hear them giving speeches about their plans, certainly Obama’s ideas have been too little too late. The simple fact is that there AREN’T many or any jobs for professionals, because the companies that could hire them are doing better without them. Maybe the era of JOBS is over. Maybe there is nothing that our elected leaders can do. Maybe we are all entrepreneurs now.

Call and email your greedy, lazy Senators or Reps, state and federal. No doubt they can’t do much to fix this economy, but they should feel some heat. It just seems like business as usual for them, what with the debt ceiling drama, they are busy cutting social services and giving themselves tax breaks.

// END OF RANT (for now!)

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