Archive | April, 2016

The Hidden Meanings in Job Postings

April 28, 2016


16821460836_7af5bd5cae_zAlthough the way we search for a job has changed by leaps and bounds, it seems job postings have remained the same. Don’t read every word on a job description verbatim. “If a candidate has many, but not all the required skills, and a solid track record, many times the intangibles they possess may be enough to give them a good chance to get an interview,” says Timothy J. Tolan, CEO and Managing Partner at Next Level Interim Search.

Here are some translations of your typical job posting and what they really mean:

Minimum Years Required: Don’t be intimidated by this if the years required are more than you possess. For instance, if it says two to three and you have only one…. apply anyway! If it reads five to 10 and you have three to four… apply anyway! You may have other valuable skills that may trump your years of experience. 

Anything That Says “Preferred:” Don’t let the word “preferred” turn you off! See it for what it is, a “good to have” skill. Again, if you don’t have the preferred skills they request, be sure to let them know about other skills you do have that might improve your chances to get the job. Remember, negotiation is key in a job search and you can have an influence on the hiring manager/recruiter.

Responsibilities: These can seem a bit lengthy, like a grocery list. But don’t be put off. Responsibilities can vary in time and priority, which is hard to define in any job description. Also, these may change slightly by the time the job is filled. Be ready to ask lots of questions about the direction of the role during the interview.

Proven Performance: Work experience can be proven through a portfolio, references, or behavioral questions. During any interview, there’s a good chance you’ll get a string of behavioral interview questions that dig into about your past experiences and provide you a chance to show off your skills. Be able to provide them showing how you accomplished a task or project.

Required/Familiarity with/Working Knowledge of: These words mean exactly what they say. Don’t lie about a required skill you don’t have. However, once again, if you feel like some skills or experiences you do have trumps the language used in the job description, and you can prove it, by all means apply and write a cover letter that will get you the interview.

Photo credit: Got Credit

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7 Online Social Media Classes for Job Searchers

April 25, 2016


8540717756_396867dbab_zThe game has changed, but how do we play it now? LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter… so many new digital ways to present yourself. Saying it’s overwhelming is an understatement! Where do you start and how do you get a foothold in this new world of job searching? Here are some online classes that can take you from social media no-mind to social media guru.

Social Media Online Classes: This site offers a variety of options with various payment plans. The best option gives you a 3-month plan that includes any of their classes, webinars, infographics and 1:1 coaching. The classes include Facebook, Instagram, SEO, WordPress, YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, Social Media Strategy and more. Most are all 101 level, except Facebook, where they offer a 102 and 103 option.

Hootsuite’s Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing: HootSuite has a different spin by offering 6 free classes and then an exam to get certified (cost is $199). Their classes focus on social media marketing on the whole. With the $199 you receive a year of membership to new classes and you’re listed in their Certified Professionals Directory, giving you new networking opportunities.

DIY Genius: Kyle Pearce started this site in 2011. He wanted to show others how to be self-directed in their digital media skills and this site shares it all. He lists 10 free online courses including Social Media Quickstarter, Alison, GFC, Social Creators Academy, and DS106- Digital Storytelling and Social Media. These classes run the gamut and offer everything from the basics to the specifics. Take a minute to check them out and discover what is best for you in your job search journey right now.

Whether you want to learn how to update your LinkedIn profile, increase your Twitter following, or market yourself to the recruiters out there, these classes will help you hone your skills.

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The One Thing That’s Killing Your Job Search

April 21, 2016


15506752529_d9002fe249_zAs you’ve learned in the past couple of blog posts, a typical job search has migrated from mere words on a page to a whole host of social media tools required to get noticed. This alone, adds a new hurdle to get over in addition to the uneasy feelings that accompany any job search.

Your confidence may be shaken, but know that this is exactly the character trait you must exude to secure a job; employers are looking for you to show them confidence in your interview and your online presence. Here are some ways you can keep your confidence at a high while conquering all things job search-related:

Maintain Routine: As much as you’d like to crawl back into bed and under the covers during a long job search, DON’T! Keep a routine as much as possible. Wake at the same time as you would have when you were employed, eat meals at traditional times, schedule your job search during what was your typical work day, exercise at the same time you used to, and meet with friends and family on a regular basis.

Ask for Support: Keep in touch with your biggest supporters during this time–family, friends, and mentors. It will be important to have some people to lean on given your newfound situation. You may feel a variety of new feelings at first, so be sure to give yourself some time to experience them, just don’t wallow. Keep your contacts in the loop on how your search is going and schedule regular meetings with them out of your home. Don’t be surprised if you are the one reaching out more frequently than they are–that’s OK.

Exercise: Exercise during a job search is not only a great part of a routine during a job search, but it serves a very important function. During a long job search, your brain has the potential to produce feelings of depression but the exercise can help stave off those feelings. However, if exercise isn’t something you do regularly, learn to take breaks and walk in your neighborhood, or even take the pooch outside for a break. Consider yoga as an option as well. Relaxing and rejuvenating–a double whammy.

Increase Your Skills: If you’re feeling under qualified for certain positions, taking a class or workshop could be exactly what you need to feel worthy. You’ll meet other people, you’ll learn something new that will advance your job search, and you can’t forget about the potential networking opportunities. Budget a certain amount of time and money for career advancement and look into the tax write-off possibilities.

Image via sandwich/Flickr.

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How to Handle a Bad Interview/er

April 19, 2016

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22981117562_7fa0553a56_zYou’ve prepped until the cows come home, you’re relaxed, confident, and ready to pull off the best interview you’ve ever had. “This job is in the bag,” you say to yourself. The receptionist walks you to the conference room and you take a seat, waiting for the interviewer to enter the room. You sit there, drumming your fingers on the table, waiting impatiently for the next 15 minutes. Unfortunately, your confidence turns to suspicion about this company and what it could be like to work for them. Your thoughts are confirmed when the interviewer eventually “finds” the conference room and says he didn’t get a chance to look at your resume yet.

The Late Interview is just one example of how an interview can start off less than positive. In this particular example, managing your emotions in the moment is the secret. Don’t let your thoughts get the best of you… it’s possible that this is as bad as it’s going to get and the rest of the interview could be fabulous. Suspend any judgment, get your thoughts back on track, and perform as well as you would have if the interviewer would have been on time and organized.

Here are some other scenarios you might run into in the interview and how to handle them:

The Interrupted Interview: The interviewer starts checking his cell phone, is clearly not listening to you, and then he tells you he has to leave for a moment. You may begin to feel anxious and uncertain. Your thoughts are being continuously disrupted. Do your best to calm yourself. Remember the important points you wanted to make and skip right to those. It may be that this interview is going to get cut short, so you want to highlight all of your qualifications and quickly. Also, your interviewer may be respectful enough to offer you another time to meet given the interruptions–that’s not off the table yet. If the interviewer doesn’t offer this, consider asking for it yourself! 

Job Description Uncertain: If you get to the interview with one perception of a job and find out it’s something completely different, the situation could get dicey fast. But don’t let it throw you just yet! Whether you’re overwhelmed by what would be expected of you or underwhelmed by what it ended up being, do your best to apply your skills to this unexpected opportunity. If the job turns out to be completely off base for you, consider asking the interviewer if there are other open positions that are a better fit for you. After all, you’re sitting in front of a recruiter, your foot is in the door, and you have the chance to sell yourself. Be sure to ask for the contact information for any potential other positions and set up a meeting right away.

It’s all about turning lemons into lemonade. Every interview is a chance to network with an HR person or a potential coworker. Don’t let it go to waste!

Image via Asher Isbrucker/Flickr.

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The 3 Most Important Aspects of Your Personal Brand

April 14, 2016

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14642077826_031b1e62fe_zKyle Pearce created to help other people learn how to use social media tools and become their own personal marketing managers.  Speaking about job searching today, he says, “Over 80% of jobs are now found in the informal job market (meaning they are not advertised) so having a social media presence and regularly networking (online and offline) is more important than ever.” 

You need to be in the digital world making the connections with the influencers in order to get your foot in the door. Long are the days of strictly the written word. It’s now about the brand you create, the pictures you promote, and the places you share your story.

Messaging: This involves presenting succinct and focused messaging about who you are. Identifying your skills and knowing how you’d like to use them in the world is critical. Start here in order to develop the parameters around your “brand.” Working backward can also be helpful. Start with where you want to end up and target your brand based on the direction you are heading. This article from Forbes shares tips on personal branding.

Images:  The images you use in social media should tell a story about you that gives recruiters a look into your world. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and even LinkedIn give you a chance to share visuals that can give your brand impact and momentum. It’s important to pay attention to the details here–your hair, clothing, and facial expressions. Everything you portray makes an impression on recruiters and managers, so make sure you are editing wisely. Get inspired by others in your field and how they’ve promoted themselves. Think of your pictures as visual headlines. Use one profile photo to represent your overall brand and consider using other images to represent each piece of content in your profile. Neal Schaffer shares how to best capitalize on the visuals.

Location:  Where you post your branded content should be based on your target audience. In the same way, your content will need to be customized for each social media outlet you use. For instance, what you write on Facebook will be different than what you’d write or share on Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to research the social media tools and find out which outlet is best for you in reaching your desired audience. Sharing anywhere and everywhere is not a great strategy, but don’t be afraid to test out the markets by posting at different times and gauging your feedback. Alex Barca shares all things media in this Ultimate List.

Image via Oliver Clarke/Flickr.


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How to “Play Big” in Your Job Search

April 12, 2016



Have you ever heard the phrase, “You’re playing too small?”

You’re falling into this mindset when desperation for a job starts taking over your body and your mind. You don’t want to shoot too low and just try to land any old position. You need to take the time to strategize and decide what type of move is the best fit for your career, and how you should go about making that happen.

When job searching, you need to create a stellar public relations campaign for yourself–the way you present yourself to the world, how you walk, hold yourself, speak, command attention, and respond. If you exude anything other than confidence, poise, and intelligence, your campaign could backfire in your face.

Here are some ways to avoid the desperation and stay strong:

  1. Pre-think about what it is you want to search for. Where do you want to be in a year or sooner? What do you love to do?  What type of work environment do you thrive in?
  2. Research the companies/organizations that fit the bill. Read industry news about them, learn their latest products and services, discover who is in charge, and see if anyone has left or been replaced recently.
  3. Find recruiters in your industry who can promote you and your resume. Making your search a team effort will not only increase your chances, it will make you feel like you’re still working during those times when you just need a break.
  4. Create a business card (or a magnet, pen or other promotional piece!) with  your information. Think of including a list of your skills as well as all the relevant contact information such as LinkedIn profile, blog, e-mail address, cell phone, and website.  You can give this to anyone and everyone you meet that could be a potential contact. The more eye-catching and unique it is, the more likely they are to remember you.
  5. Rock your elevator pitch. Create one or two elevator pitches that describe your skills and what you are looking for. One pitch could be more formal and the other could be for more casual outings when you are meeting friends of friends. The business card is what you’ll leave them with if you find they may be helpful in your search.

A job search can be a tough time, but remember your worth! This campaign is all about YOU so keeping your spirits up is critical. Follow the steps above and you’ll be “playing BIG” before you know it!

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From the Field to the Conference Room: How Playing Sports Can Help Your Job Search

April 7, 2016


3981028821_59e8cafd9a_zA Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health poll found that almost three in four adults played sports when they were younger (73%). Those same adults definitely have what it take to dominate a job search. After all, it’s not unlike your weeknight tennis match, weekend softball game, or even your Sunday golf game.

Coach may have prepped us the day before the big game, gave us tips the day of, and motivated us throughout. You may not always realize it, but there are so many things you naturally do in sports that can be applied to your job search. Just think about it…prepare your uniform before the big game, get plenty of rest, eat two or three hours before the game… These are all things you should do before you interview too.

Now it’s our turn to remember all of our coach’s tips and apply them to our job search and the interview process!

Coach says… Keep practicing. You’ll get it!
We say… Keep your skills up to date and work on continuos improvement. Take classes, attend workshops, promote your skills via social media, etc.

Coach says… Support your teammates before and during the big competition.
We say… Get empowerment from your friends and mentors during your job search. Ask them for support.

Coach says… Show up 1/2 hour early to the game.
We say… Show up 15 minutes early to an interview.

Coach says… Do something that relaxes you (i.e. music) before the game starts.
We say… Do that same thing before you get called into the interview!

Coach says… Self-talk throughout your game.
We say… Motivate yourself with self-talk on your way to the interview or when you’re feeling down during a long job search.

Coach says… Maintain a positive attitude and confident demeanor during the game.
We say… Exude positivity and confidence while answering the interview questions and making small talk.

Coach says… Review the day’s game and take notes on your play.
We say… Evaluate your interviews, track your applications, and take note of your response rates.

If you’re an athlete (current or former!), it’s easy to see the comparisons between your game and your job search. Prepare for your interview like you prepare for your biggest competition! Push yourself to be the best your can be.

Image via: Matt Stratton/Flickr.

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4 Ways to Improve Body Wellness at Work

April 5, 2016



“Sit up straight!”
“Don’t hunch over!”
“You’re going to get that hump in your back when you’re old!”

These are all things you may have heard from your parents while you worked on your homework as a kid. Now, as an adult, your work has migrated to an office with a desk, computer, possibly a decent chair, and maybe full walls if you’re lucky.

Keeping good posture can become difficult if your job keeps you at this desk and working on that computer for eight hours per day. Taking work breaks that involve resting your mind and exercising your body are critical to your efficiency and productivity.

Here are some tips that share insight into what you should do to keep your mind and body in good shape to produce your best work.

Evaluate your work set-up, and if possible have it evaluated by someone who is an expert on assessing whether or not you are using your chair, computer, and keyboard in a way that is best for your body. Here is what the National Institute of Health recommends.

After sitting for a couple hours, your body tends to rebel. We’re not meant to be sitting all day long. We all understand the reasons for stretching during our sports activities, so why not take that same perspective on your work? Viewing your work day as an athletic activity has many benefits. Check out this video from Real Simple and lead your muscles to relief at work.

We all know walking is good for us, but the pressure to finish that big project at work can be greater–and it often wins out while walking goes to the wayside. A simple lunchtime walk can do wonders for your mood in addition to many other things. Check out why and how you can work this critical exercise into your day here.

Averting Your Eyes
Have you heard of Computer Vision Syndromeand did you know that you can cure it through the 20-20-20 rule? Your eyes will thank you if you check out these tips for eliminating eye strain. When we look at a computer all day, we blink less, which dries out our eyes. It can make your eyes more irritated, especially if you wear contacts. Yikes!

Image via Elie Zananiri/Flickr.

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