Monthly Archives: February 2014

How to Ask Your Friend for Job Help

How_to_ask_a_friend_Feb2014Have you ever heard, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” That statement is true more times than not when it comes to looking for a job. “Research tells us that between 60 – 80% of jobs are found through personal relationships,” says John Bennett, director and assistant professor at McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte. These days, having a personal relationship is a key in getting hired.

What’s Appropriate While Still Employed?
If you’re searching for a job while currently employed you may keep your search private at work. And if you’re currently employed but recently got asked to come in for an interview, keep it quiet until you get the job. It’s in your best interest to keep this kind of information to yourself, because if that news got to your boss you may need a new job quicker than you thought.

You Never Know Until You Ask
Asking a friend for help finding a job can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, but don’t be afraid to contact your friends and ask for advice on finding a job. How do you ask a friend for help finding a job? It’s simple, make a list of friends, then start off by asking if they know of any openings at their workplace. Be prepared to have questions ready to ask if they say yes or no. Since your friends know you well and probably have nice things to say about you they may tell their hiring manager or recruiter about you the next day. So have a resume ready for your friend to give to their hiring manager and ask if they can let the manager know you’ll be calling. There may be a hiring manager at your friend’s company that is looking for someone just like you. You never know unless you ask.

Remember, networking is key in finding a job and your network is much bigger than you think. With social networking sites like LinkedIn, you’re sure to make connections and have the opportunity to ask someone for a job. If you’re serious about wanting a new job, do what it takes to get it.

Keep in mind that just because you have a friend that works for a great company or you have a connection on LinkedIn that you’d love to work with doesn’t mean getting a referral from them will help you land a job with their company. While personal connections are a good way to get your foot in the door, you may have to wait awhile for a job to open up. Timing is very important in finding the right job. During the waiting period, use the time to build relationships with your friends and LinkedIn connections that are in the workforce.

Follow Up
Looking for a job can be a daunting task, but don’t let that be the case for the following up process. Call to check up with your friends to see if they’ve let their hiring manager know about you yet. Don’t give up and don’t stop following up until you get that new job!

Have you ever asked a friend for job help and got it?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Cut the Fat In Your Resume

ManHandingOverResumeChances are if you wrote out your 2014 resolutions, “cut down,” “trim,” or “shape up” appeared somewhere, in some form or another on your list. Most people apply those words and phrases to bodily health, but they are also great concepts you should be applying to your resume this year! With the high number of resumes hiring managers receive every day, it’s vital to your job search that you shape up your resume so you’ll get more than just a first glance.

Less is usually more, and in the realm of resumes you want less fluff and more differentiating information. As stated in a Forbes article, “Every word—yes, every word—on that page should be working hard to highlight your talents and skills. If it’s not, it shouldn’t be on there.” So, trim the sugar-coating off your resume and consider these tips.

Slim Down
If the average hiring manager looks at a resume for a minute before deciding whether to keep it or discard it, then you want yours to be as pleasing to the eye as possible. While this involves using the proper layout, font, and text size, it also means you need to keep it focused and cut out unnecessary parts. Yahoo Small Business recommends deleting such areas as the career objective, previous salaries, and that famous final line “References available upon request.” The article also pointed out that “a general rule of thumb is to include employment history dating back 10 years. If you have anything relevant to include beyond this, you can list it under “additional experience,” but only include the company, years, and job title.

Tone Up
Your resume should convey the maximum amount of relevant information in the most compact way possible. That means you need to tighten up your language and avoid certain words. “The average resume is chock-full of sorely outdated, essentially meaningless phrases that take up valuable space on the page,” as detailed in the Forbes article. “Eliminate them, and you’ll come off as a better, more substantial candidate.” Some of the top phrases to cut include experienced, team-player, people-person, energetic, seasoned, well-versed, and dynamic.

Be Flexible
Even once you’ve done all this cutting out and trimming up of your resume, your work still isn’t finished. Every time you apply for a different job, you need to tweak and sculpt your resume to fit the position and company. Highlighting your skills and experiences that align with what the employer is looking for is how you will stand out from the crowd. You’re not changing your work history or misrepresenting yourself – you’re simply showing how things you’ve done in the past relate to this particular job opportunity.

Go For the Gold: Career Coaching

Gold_Feb_2014_webWhen an athlete crosses the finish line and wins a place to compete in the Olympics, their training is far from over. Even after an athlete wins a medal at the Olympics they will likely continue training for their next competition. Their goal is to keep getting better, because if they’re not careful, the next time around, they may not qualify. Though we may not be competing for a gold medal in Sochi, we all have room to improve our careers.

Refine Your Skills
Just like athletes train and stay in shape, we need to keep ourselves in check. If you’ve lost your edge in your industry, you can get help by going to training classes. If you aren’t well versed in the computer software or technology you’re using, dive deeper and learn more about it. Wherever you are in your career, it’s important to keep your skills sharp and grow as an employee or job seeker.

Keep Up with Changes
On a trip to Colorado, I got the chance to watch an Olympic qualifying event. I witnessed some of the best snowboarders from across America contend for a chance to compete at the winter Olympics in Sochi. Just like those incredible athletes performed at a higher level, to qualify for the Olympics, it’s important for people to stay on top of their game in their industry. These athletes use every resource and advancement they can to excel in their trade. In your career, know what tools can help you do your job faster and better, and know how to use them.  Another factor is to keep yourself aware of legislative and technology changes that may impact your industry. Staying up-to-date is vitally important in the workforce and will help you improve in your career and job search.

Make Every Day Count
Falling behind and getting off track in your job can have negative results; that’s why making every day count is so important. What do you think would happen if an athlete took a break and decided to stop training? They would fall behind and fail to reach their medal goal. To rise above mediocrity and get on the right track, have a willingness to take initiative. This will show your employer that you’re a hard worker and have promotion potential. Remember: make every day count.

Have a Support Network
Many Olympic hopefuls have trainers because they too need support, motivation, and continual encouragement. So surround yourself with people who are professional, positive, motivating, and encouraging. Being around positive people can lift your spirits and help you be more productive. To help you develop your career, look for a mentor who has expertise in your industry. Just like a trainer, a mentor can provide help, encouragement, and advice.

What do you do build a gold medal career? Share with us in the comments section below!

Inside an Employer’s Mind: What They Look for in a Resume

Insidean_Employers_Mind_ResumeResumes can make or break a job search. It’s a critical element in getting an interview, which is a necessary step in landing the job. We asked a few current and former recruiters what stands out most to them in reviewing resumes and we want to share that insight with you. We’ve also linked to a few great articles on crafting the perfect resume to make this your one-stop shop for job search success.

Read on for the three most common things employers look for in a resume.

Is this resume a match?
The single most important factor in reviewing resumes for David Lewis, an expert in the recruiting industry with more than 10 years’ experience is, “Does the resume ‘resonate’ with the actual job description?”  He advises job seekers to submit a customized resume to each job that is tailored to mirror the job description.

Keep in mind, hiring managers are reading your resume along with a stack of others at the same time. This environment lends to them scanning and looking for similar keywords and skill statements that are resonate with the job requirements. It’s important that you are using standard terms to describe your abilities so your resume stands out as a match. Creatively describing your abilities can hurt you in this instance, not to mention if the company is using an applicant tracking system to screen your resume the keywords will need to be identical.

Casie VanRuymbeke, a contract and search specialist, said “Make it clear that your experience is a match – don’t assume the person reading your resume will infer that you have the right skills based on your previous job titles.”

What is the work history on this resume?
Having the skills required for the job is essential, but your experience can be the most important part of your resume. Blake Whisenant, a former recruiter, said “I checked resumes to see who they worked for in the past, this can make the candidate more or less desirable considering the reputation of that company.”

Another thing employers look at it is your longevity in past positions. If you’ve experienced several short-term jobs, you may want to consider a functional resume format to draw less attention to your timeline while still showcasing your abilities.

Jonathan Thom, a professional with more than 20 years in staffing and recruiting, says he looks at the work history on a resume to demonstrate a “consistent direction in title growth” as well as “stability and tenure.” One thing he advises job seekers leave off their resume is personal information, like irrelevant hobbies.

Besides just the length of time worked in a position, highlight specific accomplishments within that job. Demonstrate your capabilities by sharing examples or milestones to paint a picture of how you can impact a potential new workplace.

Is this resume formatted clearly?

If you have the skills and the experience that make you the perfect person for the job, make sure your resume presents all this information in an easy to read manner. Keeping your formatting clean and simple is important. Check out this information on trimming up your resume.

If you are customizing resumes to shine a light on your relevant qualities for each job opening, make sure you are reviewing each resume and making necessary edits before submission. Keeping your resume free of typos and grammatical errors is an ongoing process and it should be reviewed each time you alter it.

In closing, check out our article 3 Resume Elements to Land an Interview for more tips on perfecting your resume.

What advice have you received to help make your resume stand out? Share with us in the comments section below.

What to Learn About Quitting from a Super Bowl Commercial

If this Super Bowl commercial was shocking to you, you’re not the only one who felt that way.

While funny, it does bring up an important point about how to quit a job – the wrong way. Not only did she quit her job, she quit in front of millions of people on national television! There are many ways to quit your job with class. Here are some tips on how to quit your job without burning any bridges, embarrassing yourself, or demeaning your employer.

Don’t Burn Bridges

“You may work for that person again,” says Lynne Allen, a career coach who formerly worked in recruiting and staffing at Colgate-Palmolive and Time Inc. Your behavior as you leave a job shapes your colleague’s lasting impression of you. Before you make that final walk out the door, remember whatever you say and do is how you will be remembered. That’s a great reason to think about how you’re going to give your boss the news that you’re quitting. Just remember to not burn any bridges along the way because you never know where they can lead. It’s always important to stay classy.

Always Give a Two Weeks’ Notice

Giving at least a two weeks’ notice is a polite thing to do. It allows your boss to be on the lookout for someone to fill your shoes, and if your replacement is hired within your final two weeks, your boss may ask you to help train them. When the time comes to quit a job, make it one of your professional goals to quit with class.

Take Time to Talk

Quitting can be tough not only for you but for the person receiving the news. So, be sure to schedule a meeting with your boss to give your two weeks’ notice. This will give you time to talk face-to-face about the reasons you’re quitting. Don’t ever just tell your boss to shove it!

Be Prepared to Leave

If you’ve been contemplating leaving your job, but haven’t given your two weeks’ notice yet, you need to be preparing to leave. Clean up your work space and make sure your work is organized. Depending on your boss’ reaction after you give them your two weeks’ notice, they may ask you to leave immediately, so you need to be ready for that response also.

Changing jobs can be exciting, rewarding, and a great step for your career, but breaking up with your employer isn’t something to be taken lightly. What factors do you consider before making a job hop? Share them in the comments section below.