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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.

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:

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 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.

// 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.

December Grads: Don’t Despair!

// Job Search Advantage

Most people are moving into “Holiday Mode”, you know the season where you go to a bunch of parties, drink too much, shop for friends and family that you haven’t seen in ages, and if you’re broke, try not to spend too much. Some of you though, are actually GRADUATING from college in December. I did (and then in June I went to the ceremony). Companies and firms gear up for June graduates to flood them with resumes, but in December, there’s not too much attention paid to new grads looking for their first “real job”, so there is a real chance someone in HR might actually read your resume. You will have an advantage if you ALREADY have some work experience, and have been networking.

But there is a big advanage to graduation in December, so don’t despair.

A little known secret is that December is a big hiring month for many companies. I once hired 12 employees in a two week span at the end of December! It goes like this: department directors request and get new hire budgets in January, then they get busy, and make some attempts to hire around June (recent grads!), and, somehow, the end of the year sneaks up on them, and they still haven’t hired! Unless they hire employees by Dec 31, they will lose that budget, and have to start the funding process all over in January. SO..what this means, is that successful companies have human capital budget, and are in a big hurry to get new employees on board. Here are some tips to be one of those new hires:

1.  Start at the Career Center

Many college career centers have established relationships with firms, companies and almuni, so go there first. They can help you put together a résumé, and help you connect with the companies. Be sure to follow-up on your own with any leads they give you.

2. Use Social Media

Start with Facebook, since you’re already there. Find companies you want to work for, search for their page, and go from there: Like them, post to their wall, and engage. Many companies have a “Jobs” section making it even easier. Then, be sure to utilize Linked In to its fullest: take advantage of the “recent grads” sections, groups, discussions, and jobs. You can conduct company research, and follow companies and recruiters. Be sure to complete your profile, use a professional photo, get solid recommendations, and upload a stellar résumé. In general, maintain a professional online image, as most hiring managers check Social Media prior to candidate selection.

3. Check the Job Boards

I am not a huge proponent of job boards, but this is the time of year that companies take advantage of posting open jobs on Monster, Career Builder, etc. So, take a look, and if you see something you like, check it out on Linked In, maybe you’re connected to someone on the inside. If so, reach out.

4. Network EVERYWHERE!

It’s the holidays – so take advantage of every opportunity to network: at parties, events, church, temple, mosque, shopping, protests, email newsletters, year-end charity events, etc. Be sure you have business cards – yes, business cards – with your current phone, email, a branding statement, and a link to your Linked In profile. Networking is an essential part of your career search, so the sooner you get busy, the better. Remember, networking is about building trusted relationships, and not just collecting business cards.

Even though the December graduate doesn’t get all the attention, you may get all the jobs!!

Need help with your job search? Claim your complimentary career assessment by emailing me at Kristi.Enigl@gmail.com.

Hiring is Complicated!

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Image via Wikipedia

// HIRE

A few things job seekers need more info about is how companies recruit and hire.  I used to recruit and hire employees for a variety of firms nationwide and internationally. There are several factors that regulate the way companies hire – and I am considering companies of over 50 professional employees for the sake of this blog post. Most companies have a Human Resource office or Personnel Department. While many employees are familiar with the some of the functions of the HR office — recruiting, payroll, benefits and terminations — HR also plays a critical role in the overall business strategy of the company. There are two major functions that the HR office does that job seekers would benefit from knowing.

1. Talent Acquisition

HR is responsible for budgeting, recruiting and filling all the positions in the company. They create budgets based on labor and burden costs, recruiting, training, taxes, etc. They analyze work flow, anticipate work, and contribute to strategic planning to meet company growth goals (or plan targeted reductions). Talent Acquisition goals are to fill high-level positions with top candidates; often they are “poached” from other companies, and have associated costs of signing bonuses and premium benefit packages. Poaching is labor intensive. Cheap? No. Necessary? Mostly. Typically, companies do not hire their top talent from job boards.

So, what does this mean to the job seeker? Unless you are in the fortunate “poached” category, you are trying to get a job by traditional methods, including applying online. Companies save substantial amounts of money in the recruiting process by using an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to filter out 95% of the resumes they receive. Otherwise, they would have to pay an employee to MANUALLY sort through 1,000’s of resumes per year. Once the software filter identifies 20 good matches, the search is almost over. So, you can see the odds are against you for obtaining employment via the ATS. Spending an hour filling out your life-story on an automated applicant system is a BIG WASTE OF TIME!

2. Legal Compliance

One of the major functions of HR is to provide legal advice and enforcement in employment law for the company. There are many, many Federal and State employment laws, and International employment laws protecting “foreign skilled workers”. Lawmakers write the laws, and HR monitors and enforces the law! In hiring, companies are not allowed to discriminate based on race, religion, age, gender, ability, etc. Read more on the Title VII,  in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It is an amazing piece of legislation, and trust me, most countries have no such thing. In the US, there are also sexual and hostile workplace harassment laws, and laws for hiring minorities, vets and women if the company receives Federal or State funding.

LAWS dictate hiring. Companies need to comply, so they implement screening methods as a way to eliminate any possible discrimination in hiring lawsuits. If you have a picture of yourself on your résumé (for the US), most likely, it goes straight into the “no” pile because could be a possible source of discrimination by the company.

If you’re spending your job search time endlessly uploading your photo résumé into Applicant Tracking Systems, the longer it will take to find a job. Try Linked In, or the phone instead.

Jumping Through Hoops!

// Busy

I was thinking the other day just HOW MANY things todays’ job seekers have to do to conduct a 21st century job search. The to-do list is extensive. There are the resumes of course, and every employer expects you to customize your résumé for them. Then the cover letter. Don’t forget business cards and thank-you notes, you will need them later.

But first, you need a career brand. You know, what you do better than the other millions of job seekers. People, just do it already. The clock is ticking.

Then there’s the online aspect: job boards, online applications, and Social Media. You must have a super profile on Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter. And be active, like updating at regular intervals, joining groups, etc. Just searching/following recruiters on Twellow.com or Listorious can take hours! Oh, maybe you need a website too. Or an online portfolio. Or online resume. Or YouTube resume. Maybe start a blog.

While you’re at it, why not become an expert in your career field as well?

Then there’s networking..online and in person. We all know that networking is the new/old way to get a job. You need to hit at least 4 networking events per month to get anything going. And then follow-up with your contacts online. And don’t forget coffee networking a few times per month. Or informational interviews.

Oh, research. Yes, you must research and target companies that you are a good fit for, or you can solve their problems, even if they are not hiring. Don’t forget to look for the hidden job market. It’s there, somewhere. Really.

If you’re on unemployment, you have to fill out forms and let them know exactly where you’ve sent your customized resumes. Only problem, companies mostly recruit anonymously. Great. So, it takes some time and creativity to make shit up.

Gawd, I’m exhausted just writing about it. Take a break. My favorite job hunting activity is hanging out with the drunks down the street at the Wagon Wheel at 2pm throwing back Jacks and coke, anyway. Maybe they need a new bartender. One that’s breathing!

Get busy people. You have hoops to jump through! Oh, and Technorati, here’s your code: 26TC5Q274YHU.

ps. I forgot to mention spending time getting recruiters to call you back. What a time suck that is!!

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