Archive | November, 2013

3 Ways to Boost Your Skills At Work

November 27, 2013

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You should always be thinking about the future — even if you’re brand new to the career world, and even if you’re a seasoned vet. What position is next on your list? How do you envision your career advancing? What are you working toward? Whether you love or hate your job, it’s important to take steps now that will improve your career in the long run. There’s never time to stand still. You should always be walking forward. Here’s where you can start:

1. Take on a new project.
It may sound overwhelming or scary, but big projects and initiatives are great resume material. Keep track of all the results, numbers, and achievements that have been made thanks to your participation. That’s the stuff great resumes are made of.

2. Sign up for a class.
Many companies’ HR departments offer personal development classes from computer program tutorials to leadership improvement to communication skills. Don’t pass up these free opportunities. You’re essentially getting paid to improve your career and you can’t complain about that!

3. Go on a faux job search.
Think about what job title you want next and research some current openings around the country. What skills are listed in those positions that you’re missing? How can you get those skills at your current job? This exercise gives you some clarity on which aspects of your career you need to improve most.

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How Readable Is Your Resume?

November 25, 2013

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You’ve likely spent a lot of time drafting up an impressive resume filled with intriguing bullet points, action words, and outstanding achievements. There’s no way a recruiter will turn their head once their eyes fall on this piece of perfection. But what if a recruiter isn’t the first to see your resume?

There is one way in which resumes and LinkedIn profiles are becoming more and more similar: keywords. Many companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems to find the best candidates possible in the shortest amount of time. These robots find your application by scanning for certain words and experiences. If you don’t personalize your resume for each job you apply for it might not even make it in front of a hiring manager — even if you are qualified.

The moral of the story is this: When it comes to your resume, there’s no room for interpretation. You must explicitly explain detailed experiences that make you qualified for a position. Read the job description and look at each of the qualities listed — now be sure to include all of these ideas in your application. HireRight.com created this infographic detailing the process.

Meet the Robots Reading Your Resume - An infographic by HireRight

Is your resume robot friendly? Share your tips below!

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What If Resumes Were Fun?

November 22, 2013

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What if resumes were fun?These days, the marketing landscape is anything but boring. When Kmart can release this Joe Boxer Jingle Bell video and Footlocker can release this star-studded commercial all within one week, you know the tides have changed. It’s clear that we capture people’s attentions in different ways now — usually by being funny, witty, and entertaining.

We talk of personal branding and online identities but when it comes to marketing ourselves, the “marketing” remains stagnant on the career front: paper resumes and simple LinkedIn profiles.The most exciting thing to hit the job seeker scene as of late is Vizify. The site turns your experiences into a colorful, visual, interactive format with so much more personality than a black-and-white resume.

For some people, this wasn’t good enough. Video producer Marina Shifrin comes to mind. Her viral video resignation basically functioned as a creative resume at the same time. She ended up with a job offer from Queen Latifah within the week. Graphic design student Miruna Marci also took matters into her own hands. She dreamed up impeccably designed faux passports that doubled as a resume for her work. She strategically “lost” them in hopes of being found by employees of her dream company. But these ladies are not the only creative job seekers out there. Get inspired by ten more creative resumes that went viral.

Would you ever consider piecing together a multimedia resume to help you land a job? Do you think these job seekers were creative geniuses or where there efforts over the top?

Image via buyalex/Flickr.

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We Asked, You Answered: The Best Career Advice You’ve Ever Been Given

November 21, 2013

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The Best Career Advice You've Ever Been givenWe asked our Facebook fans to share the best career advice they’d ever heard. The advice they shared was insightful and inspiring whether you’re a career newbie or a seasoned workforce veteran.

Regardless of your position or industry, oftentimes career happiness and success depends on a few things that are in your control: treating others with respect, staying positive, and following your passions. Here’s what our Facebook fans offered up:

“Be yourself.” – Martin Bengtsson

“Don’t step on people to get ahead — always remember what goes around comes around. Treat everyone well because you may work with them or even for them in the future.” – Debbie Lovell

“What you say or do, act like your parents are standing next to you.” – Mike Simms

“Treat everyone you deal with as if they sign your paycheck.” – Susan Marie 

“Find something you love and make that your job. Trust your instincts.” – Debbie Lovell

“Never give up! Adapt and overcome!” – Jon Pederson

What would you add? Comment below!

Image via Laughlin Elkid/Flickr.

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Instant Ways to Stand Out In Your Job Search

November 15, 2013

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smiley face pinsDoes it feel like the job hunting process is out of your hands? Sure, you can apply for a dream position, but from there it seems like your future lies is in the invisible hands of recruiters. How can you take control? Stand out. Be bold. Be so enticing that a recruiter can’t turn her head. Here are few steps you can take to ensure that you get the call — and get the job.

  • Get a referral or recommendation for the position.
  • Get endorsements on LinkedIn.
  • Fill your LinkedIn profile with key words.
  • Quantify your achievements on LinkedIn and on your resume.
  • In an interview, give specific examples of how you can help them.
  • Ask smart questions.
  • Address cover letters to specific people, not to “To Whom It May Concern.”
  • Make eye contact during an interview.
  • Send personal thank you notes throughout the interview process.

Read more 30+ surefire ways to stand out in your job search over at Mashable.

Image via Jamie Campbell/Flickr.

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The Ultimate LinkedIn Etiquette Guide

November 13, 2013

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The Ultimate LinkedIn Etiquette GuideEvery social media network has unspoken rules. If you’re new to the club, you don’t want to mess up right off the bat. And if you’ve been using a certain network for a while, you don’t want to get too lazy. Here are a few mantras we follow for LinkedIn. What would you add?

1. Don’t connect with people you don’t know UNLESS you write them a personal message in your request. Be thoughtful. Explain why you want to connect and how you found them. Remember that you can’t include an email address or website link in this form.

2. Speaking of messages… ALWAYS write a personal message even when you’re connecting with someone you know. Don’t ever send along the generic auto message.

3. Interact with your LinkedIn connections OFF LinkedIn as well. Follow them on Twitter, check out their websites, shoot them a follow-up email and ask to set up a phone chat or an in-person meeting. Really try to form a connection especially if you blindly reached out to this person.

4. Don’t think that LinkedIn is only for job searching. It’s important to network and update your profile while you’re gainfully employed as well. There used to be a stigma that if you updated your LinkedIn profile, your current employer would think you were looking for a job. That’s not true anymore. LinkedIn has become a part of our every day lives more and more as a destination for interesting articles, conversations, and more.

5. Keep your profile updated and informative. No one wants to see a job title with no description. Fill out your summary and always — ALWAYS — include a profile photo.

P.S. Don’t miss our posts on 3 things you must know about LinkedIn and how to build up your network with LinkedIn.

Image via Mark Bult/Flickr.

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Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Job Search

November 8, 2013

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Question mark made of puzzle piecesIf you’re in pursuit of a new position, a lot of thoughts are buzzing through your brain. Where am I getting my next paycheck? Who will hire me? How long will I be without a job? These are all valid concerns, of course. But instead of focusing on the negative, job seekers must take the time to tally their likes, wants, and needs. In a perfect world, what would your dream job be? You can’t land the perfect position until you know yourself. Ask yourself these questions before you start applying:

  • What makes you feel energized? Working with great people? Working for a great cause? Working on a great product?
  • What’s your idea work environment? Loud, busy, and open air? A quiet office? A dark space? A bright and airy place?
  • What’s your communication style? How will this affect your work, your boss, and your coworkers? What do you need from them?
  • What kind of salary do you need for your desired lifestyle? Be realistic here and research similar positions in your area on sites like salary.com.
  • How far are you willing to commute? This will become just as much a part of your day as the work itself.
  • Are amenities (like a gym or cafeteria) important to you? What about vacation time? Or are you more concerned with the work itself?

Image by Horia Varlan/Flickr

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How to Get a Leg Up on the Competition

November 6, 2013

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Screen Shot 2013-11-08 at 9.48.05 AMLanding that first job is no easy feat but once you size up your competition, it’s easy to stay a step ahead of the rest. InternMatch connects students with employers and they’ve gathered some interesting data along the way. Are you ready for the truth about hiring? It’s all here in a handy infographic.

First, here’s the bad news:

  • 47% of interviewers said little to no company knowledge is the most common interview mistake. Takeaway: Don’t be that person! Research intensely before your big interview.
  • The average number of resumes received for every open position is 250. Takeaway: Here’s where your network comes in handy. Referred candidates are 2x more likely to get an interview.
  • Recruiters spend an average of 5 to 7 seconds looking at a resume. Takeaway: Be sure to build up your network and your online presence to form a three-prong approach to any desired position.

And now the good news:

  • About 81% of managers felt that volunteer work makes graduates more attractive job candidates. Takeaway: Duh, right? So what are you waiting for? Get an internship already! 
  • 98% of recruiters used social media to find quality hires last year. Takeaway: Get to it! Start interacting with your dream company’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn presences.
  • In 2012, companies hired 36% more freelancers than in the past. Takeaway: You can land some project-based work before you graduate or you can collect an income after you graduate while you’re still looking for a full-time gig.

Image via InternMatch

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How to Rock Your Next Phone Interview

November 1, 2013

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how to rock the phone interview

The phone interview might seem like the easiest step in the job interview process. No need to dress up or arrive early or find your way around a building you’ve never stepped foot in before. But the truth is that the phone interview is just the first bridge you have to cross — and you don’t want to burn that bridge or your job prospects will start looking bleak. Start taking this early interview step seriously. Here’s how:

1. Stake out a spot.
A good hour or two before your interview, make sure you’ve secured a room with good cell phone reception and no distractions (aka dogs or kids). It’s impossible to avoid an unexpected ambulance siren, but find the quietest place you can.

2. Dress the part.
Don’t take a call from your bed with your pajamas on. Mentally and physically put yourself in the right mind set. You’ll feel more put together if you look put together, and if you’re sitting with good posture in a chair.

3. Be prepared.
Have a glass of water nearby, and make sure you hydrate completely before the interview. You don’t want to be that person who gets an embarrassing coughing attack halfway through the call. Don’t get thrown off your game by something silly. In fact, be over-prepared.

4. Stay animated.
Just because you’re not face-to-face doesn’t mean you don’t have to put on your game face. The tone of your voice and the words coming out of your mouth are your only tools for success right now. Speak clearly and eloquently. Sound happy and friendly. Wear headphones or turn on the speakerphone function so you can gesture with your hands as you talk. Even though the interviewer can’t see your hand motions, you’ll sound more natural.

5. Follow the same interview rules.
Ask for a few seconds to think a question through if you need it. Reiterate your interest in the position at the end. Follow up after the interview. These are all basic rules that also apply to any kind of interview — phone or not. Brush up on our ultimate interview recap if you’re feeling rusty.

Image via Josh Bancroft/Flickr.

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