What you don’t know could hurt you! Perfect example: Many job seekers have no idea that resumes submitted online are typically filtered through a software system before a human being ever sees them. That means if your resume isn’t formatted correctly, it could be kicked out before any real person has a chance to review it. According to Forbes, as much as 75% of qualified applicants are getting lost in these systems!
In my most recent interview on Fox 31 Denver’s Good Day Colorado, I explain more about what this technology is doing and how you can structure your job search documents to ensure you don’t get stuck in the “black hole”.
If you’d like to know more, the Job Seeker Jump Start program provides a step-by-step guide for getting noticed and getting hired fast…even in this competitive economy. Learn more here >>
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, September 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
If you’ve heard the term “social resume” floating around recently and wondered what it’s all about, you’re in the right place.
A social resume is not so much an actual thing; rather it’s a variety of things. Essentially the term refers to the use of online tools to gain visibility, position yourself as a leader in your field or subject matter, and, ultimately, to get a leg up in the job market.
The wide array of easy-to-use online tools available at minimal or no cost can give any job seeker access to a much bigger audience than ever possible in the past. While these tools aren’t a replacement for the traditional resume, they can be a helpful addition to the job search process.
Here are a few things you should know for tapping into the power of the social resume.
1. Own Your Name
Over 90% of employers screen for prospective employees online to see what comes up. You want your information and information within your control to land at the top of the search results. Obviously this can be difficult if you have a very common name and you’re a little late to the Internet game.
Everyone should consider purchasing your own name domain (meaning FirstNameLastName.com). It’s a cheap investment—typically about $10—that pays off big time. If your name is already taken, add some words that help brand you and identify your profession or location (for example: JoeSmithWriter.com or JoeSmithDenver.com). Internet real estate is precious and it goes fast so don’t wait to do this.
Sites like Facebook and LinkedIn also show up in search results so make sure you use your real name on your profiles—and be sure everything you post is suitable for prospective employers to see. More about this is a minute…
2. Create an Online Portfolio
Once you have your domain name, don’t leave it empty. This is a prefect place to house your professional portfolio. Put up samples of your work, your resume, and even a video if you’d like to help you make a personal connection with your website visitors.
If you’re a newbie, there are several easy, low-cost platforms that walk you through the process of creating a website step-by-step. You don’t have to be a tech geek to figure it out. Wherever you buy your domain name will likely offer a simple tool for setting things up. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A few basic pages are all you need.
3. Start a Blog
Blogs got a bad reputation a while ago. People thought all bloggers lived in their parents’ basements and were writing about what they had for breakfast. These days, the status has changed quite a bit thanks to high-quality blogs that offer insight and education on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to home schooling to politics and more.
Blogging offers a number of benefits. Here are just a few:
Writing about your area of expertise helps establish you as an authority and thought leader in your field. You can show off your up-to-date knowledge of industry trends and share lessons gained from your experience in the field.
It demonstrates your writing skills, which employers love to see!
As far as hobbies go, this is one that shows a variety of appealing skills for prospective employers. Blogging successfully involves consistency and discipline, understanding the latest technology, and at least a certain level of creative capability. A robust, well-done blog can be very impressive.
Blogging attracts people to you. Every blog post you write creates a new “doorway” through which people may find you in a web search.
4. Use Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are typically thought of as websites for “personal” use. But you can certainly use them to help promote yourself as a professional too. You can post links to help drive people to your online professional portfolio or your blog. Share information and advice that, again, positions you as an authority in your field. Perhaps even solicit the friends in your network for leads on employment opportunities or valuable connections.
LinkedIn is really the gold standard for online professional networking though. Make sure your profile is up-to-date, accurate and complete. Connect with former colleagues, friends, mentors, leaders in your field, companies you’d like to work for, and more. Be sure to utilize all the special features and capabilities it offers, like groups, endorsements and recommendations.
Finally, remember that about 70% of employers say they’ve rejected job candidates because of what they saw on social media so be careful about what you post. Ignore privacy settings—they change so often and have so many loopholes, you should always assume anything you put online is available for public consumption. Filter every status update by asking yourself this question: “If I knew my future employer would see this, would I still post it?”
Everything prospective employers see or read about you online contributes to their perceptions of your personal brand. These social resume tools will help you connect with more people very quickly, but make certain you’re presenting yourself in the most productive manner for achieving your professional goals.
Whether you’re actively searching for a new job or just thinking about doing it in the near future, don’t miss this free webinar: Job Search Success Secrets.
A lot of people think cover letters are relics of the past. But truth be told, they’re still a crucial part of the job search process. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should just throw one together and check the box. You want to use the cover letter as an opportunity to differentiate yourself from the crowd. In my recent segment on Fox 31 Denver’s Good Day Colorado, I address the importance of cover letters and the various things you should include to make yours stand out. Watch and learn!
*Also watch as the new anchor gets me all worked up with his “gimmicky” ideas right around the 2 minute mark!!
Your “stamp of approval” is precious. When you recommend someone for a job—whether a friend, family member, colleague or anyone else—your professional reputation is on the line.
Your contacts trust you and you’re essentially asking them to transfer that trust to another person. If that person loses their trust for any reason, it transfers right back to you. So your recommendation creates a bond between all of you. Don’t take the decision lightly.
Before you stick your neck out for someone, consider these five questions:
1. Does this person really want the job? Are you pushing your friend/colleague/family member to do something he or she isn’t really interested in doing? Would this person still want the job if not for your (potential) recommendation?
You don’t want this person to feel like they’re doing you a favor by taking the job. YOU are the one doing the favor. If they don’t really want it, they won’t put in the effort needed to represent you well. Make sure you aren’t putting yourself out on a limb for someone who doesn’t really care one way or another.
2. Do you know this person professionally, not just personally?
Unfortunately, people are different at work than they are at home. We have different standards for what we expect from people at work than we do in our personal lives. If this person is just a friend or even a family member, you may be sadly disappointed by their work ethic.
That doesn’t mean you can’t still recommend someone you haven’t worked with directly, but do your due diligence. What do you know about this person’s career history? Do you consider this person reliable and trustworthy? Is he or she polite and respectful? If you don’t see these traits in your personal interactions, you probably won’t see them in the workplace either.
3. Is this person really the right fit for the role and the organization?
It’s not enough to just LIKE the person you’re recommending. He or she should have the skills and character traits needed to succeed in the role and the organization. Your job is to pre-screen the person.
If he or she is missing an essential qualification, you might still make the recommendation. But you’d be smart to share that information early. The faith you have in this person could be more valuable, but you don’t want to misrepresent the facts. If this person truly isn’t the right match, you’re just wasting everyone’s time.
4. Is your relationship with this person strong enough to endure the potential challenges?
If this person gets the job, you’re now heavily invested in seeing him or her thrive in the role. Alternatively, if he or she doesn’t get the job, they may see you as a part of the problem. If either of these scenarios causes concern, think twice about your recommendation.
5. Are you willing to put your name and reputation on the line for this person?
This person is a direct reflection of you. Make sure you have absolute faith that he or she will represent you as well as you’d represent yourself—if not even better. You will be inextricably tied to this person’s professional successes and failures…at least at the very beginning. Eventually, hopefully, the person you recommend will make a name for himself and your connection will become a thing of the past. But right up front, it’s on your shoulders. Immediate problems will come back to haunt you.
Some people try to stipulate as they recommend someone that they only know them casually, hoping that the “connection” between them isn’t too strong. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. The message doesn’t typically travel. If you’re making the recommendation, it’s assumed that you’ve done your due diligence and you’ve decided it’s a safe risk to take.
It might not be “fair”, but that’s the reality.
How to Decline Giving a Recommendation Request
So, you’ve asked yourself these questions and you’re just not ready to recommend this person. But how do you do that without hurting feelings and damaging the relationship? You have a few options:
“I don’t think I’d be the best person for this.”
I like this response because it’s non-confrontational. It puts the blame on YOU, not them. You’re basically saying that you don’t have the right pull, or authority, or reputation, or influence, or whatever to get the job done effectively. You don’t need to elaborate.
“I don’t feel I know you well enough (or have enough experience working with you, etc.) to provide a strong recommendation.”
This one requires a little more courage because you’re definitely telling the person something they don’t want to hear. Clearly they think you DO have the experience it takes to give them the recommendation they need. If you can, be honest with the person. Let him or her know the hesitations you’re feeling and why it’s important for you to practice integrity here. Perhaps you can provide this person with some helpful insight and coaching. Obviously they respect you enough to have asked for this favor. You might be able to offer some valuable professional advice, if they’re willing to hear it.
“I’m sorry but I don’t typically make recommendations like that.”
This one is straightforward and simply tells the person that you have a standard rule against doing what they’ve asked for. It subtly implies that you’ve (perhaps) been burned in this kind of situation in the past. The word “typically” provides you with flexibility should this person find out in the future that you recommended someone else.
You just got the phone call. They liked you a lot. The interview went well. But they’ve decided to go in another direction.
You’re disappointed and confused. You were perfect for this job. You have everything they’re looking for and more. How could any candidate be a better fit?
Instead of getting all worked up about it, take this as an opportunity for growth. Here are a few tips that may help:
1. Remember it’s for the best. The people making this decision know what they’re looking for much more than you do. Whether you see it or not, they don’t believe you’re a match. Trust that they know the role and their organization well enough to gauge the fit. It’s better that you know now. Wouldn’t it be awful to start a new job only to quickly learn that it’s not for you? The decision-makers are trying their hardest to make sure it’s the right thing for everyone involved, and they’ve likely saved you a lot of trouble. Now you can move on and find something that better suits your skills and personality.