Getting a Job Offer – Social Media Job Seeking Tips!

Getting a Job Offer – Social Media Job Seeking Tips!

If you have one or more social media pages/profiles (LinkedInFacebook

The picture you DON'T want to be part of your job-seeking process!

The picture you DON’T want to be part of your job-seeking process!

Twitter – etc.) two very important pieces of advice from an expert….when it comes to getting a job offer.

1.    Review very carefully what you have posted and who else impacts what appears on your profile.

2.    Be sure they are all in sync AND match your resume – no inconsistencies.

Let’s review both.

First – take a close look with a critical eye as to what is there for a prospective employer to see. Many an employment opportunity has ended abruptly when a prospective employer’s recruiter/interviewer saw things on a social media site that concerned them sufficiently to conclude that the candidate would not be a good fit for the organization and hence no longer a viable candidate for the job.

After all, the person that screens and interviews for open positions is the “gate-keeper” and empowered to screen out those that are not a good fit in terms of organizational culture.

And don’t “friend” with those whose social media content is inappropriate in any way – it can adversely impact you!

Secondly – be sure your resume and LinkedIn profile “mirror” each other; you don’t want a prospective employer trying to reconcile inconsistencies between the two.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account/profile – you need to create one posthaste… just be sure it mirrors your resume!

You can be sure that the process of reviewing your application will include a Google search of your name – you and only you can control what is found! Getting a job offer requires a little work on your end…

Here are some more great tips about how your social media can hurt your job search: http://socialmeep.com/5-social-media-mistakes-job-seekers-need-to-avoid/

These guidelines – and others – about how to get the job you want can be found in “The Ultimate Job-Seeker’s Guide”.

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For jobs in Washington, DC – visit the NRI website.

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The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The following is a question about the best way to find a new job – by utilizing your contacts – that arose out of a recent webinar I did entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work”.

Thank you very much for yocontacts graphicur webinar on the world of work this afternoon. I’m a mid-career professional just beginning a new job search, and I found your direct and honest guidance refreshing and helpful.

If I may, I would like to ask for your thoughts on a follow up question about job hunting through one’s professional network. I planned to contact specific people in my network expressing my interest in available positions at their respective companies. I anticipate my contacts will ask for a resume, though they may not know of a specific opening. Do you have any suggestions beyond today’s talk for building a resume that isn’t position-specific? Alternately, should I demur and offer to send a resume specific to a position, if my contact learns of one, instead?

I appreciate your guidance, and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice during my job search.

Best regards,

My response was:

Glad you found the webinar to be of value!

As to your question, unless there is a specific opening I would send them a resume that broadly summarizes what you have done/accomplished in the past and your areas of expertise. The real customization of a resume occurs:

1. When you are including in your resume key words from a specific job listing or posting… to “mirror” it and have it jump off the paper as the “perfect fit” as seen by a screener or recruiter! Also very important in the event your resume is processed via a scanner.

2. When you are skewing a resume to fit a position; e.g. – applying for controller position (stress financial statement capability) vs accounting manager (stressing management experience).

When you contact people, best to ask for their overall career guidance (“I am in the process of making a change and would like to get your read on my resume and where you think I might send it”. I do not advise asking them (as a person) if they have a possible job for you – it can create a very awkward situation! You can ask if they know of any opportunities within their organization, however.

Hope this helps… let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!

Robb

P.S. Suggestion – buy my book and read Chapter 9: Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market. – $14.95 at www.jobseekersguide.net

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Is a Cover Letter Really Necessary?

Yes it is… and I have seen good ones and bad ones. Let’s talk about why a great cover letter is necessary.

1. It anchors the resume; it provides the starting point to consider your resume.

cover letter2. There is a reason why college applications almost always ask for an essay; it provides a way to further evaluate a student. Same for the cover letter – it tells the recruiter “can this person write a brief, articulate and specific business letter”. With very rare exceptions, the ability to communicate in words – to present “word pictures” is important – and your cover letter needs to do just that.

3. If the cover letter properly “mirrors” the exact words and phrases called for in the ad or job requirement – those words and phrases will jump off the page and the recruiter will say to themselves “I may have hit the mother lode on this  one”!

So with it now established that Yes – you do need a cover letter, let’s see what an effective one looks like.

1. First of all – it is reader friendly. One page max – lots of white space. Black ink on white paper. Nice quality paper – 24 lb. ideal (NOT copy machine paper!).  On personal letterhead. If you don’t have personal letterhead – create it in MSWord – and save it as a template. When you need to write a cover letter, open the template – save it as “cover letter – XYZ corp – date” and then write the cover letter.

2.  Have an opening sentence that is to the point – mildly creative – but not overkill. Don’t start off with “I am the superstar you are looking for” or “I’m a one-of-a-kind take charge person”. Too “over the top”! Since you know the job title – the opening sentence might be “I am very interested  in your open position  of staff accountant; I am confident my background and experience will be of interest to you.”

3. The next portion of your cover letter will be literally lifted from your resume. The very first content of your resume should be a “Summary of Experience and Accomplishments”. Let’s assume the following is that section of your resume:

 Summary of Experience and Accomplishments – 12 years of accounting experience, including 5 years of Public Accounting. Account management responsibility for several SEC-reporting clients. Supervise audit teams. Specialize in trade association accounting  procedures and software, including unique tax and foundation issues. Featured speaker at trade association CFO seminars.

The content of your cover letter might look like:

As can be seen on my enclosed resume, I have significant accounting and audit experience with ever increasing responsibilities  including account management for several SEC-reporting  clients. I am particularly proud of leading my audit team to consistently completing our work ahead of target dates.

I have also been part of several successful client development efforts, and I found that to be both very rewarding and fun.

The cover letter goes on to include:

One of my career goals has been to work for a firm such as yours, and I am confident I can make a significant contribution from day one.

I am available for interview immediately.  I will call you in several days to see if it is possible to arrange for a time for a personal interview.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

<signature>

4. Address the cover letter to a specific person if at all possible. In many cases, the person’s name will probably be included in the ad. If it is not, do a Google search and get the name of the director of HR or of the department head for the position (VP of sales for a sales position, VP of finance for an accounting position, etc.).

5. Proofread you letter very, very carefully! Read it aloud to be sure it makes sense and you haven’t forgotten a word, have the wrong tense, etc.

After following these guidelines – you will have a powerful cover letter to pave the way for the recipient to review your resume!

Here is an example of a good cover letter:

(Please excuse the double spacing in the letterhead text as well as the address – this would not be the case in the letter itself – but WordPress won’t let me single space it!):

Susan T. Someone, CPA

1234 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

(703) 123-4567 (Home)     (703) 987-6543 (Cell)

susancpa888@gmail.com

Mr. William J Harris                                                              Date

Managing Partner

XYZ National Accounting Firm

1633 M Street, NW Suite 900

Washington, DC 20006

Dear Mr. Harris:

I am writing in regard to your published position for Senior Auditor on your website.

As can be seen on my enclosed resume, I have significant accounting and audit experience with ever increasing responsibilities, included account management for several SEC-reporting clients. I am particularly proud of leading my audit team to consistently completing our work ahead of target dates.

I have also been part of several successful client development efforts, and I found that to be both very rewarding and fun.

One of my career goals has been to work for a firm such as yours, and I am confident I can make a significant contribution from day one.

I am available for interview immediately.  I will call you in several days to see if it is possible to arrange for a time for a personal interview.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,

<signature>

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Managing Change

The ability to manage change successfully is a skill to be valued. If you have managed change in your job or a previous job, be sure that appears  in your resume’s lead in “Summary of Experience and Accomplishments” and also in your cover letter. If you don’t have that experience, try to obtain it in your current position by asking to be included in whatever change issues are in process or anticipated. Major change doesn’t happen often, but small changes are part of everyday organizational life.

The following is a mini-book review of a new book by Barbara A. Trautlein, PH.D. entitled “Change Intelligence; Use the Power of CQ to Lead Change That Sticks”

The ability to handle constant change can mean the difference between organizational success and failure. Even though there are many tactics for managing change, the author cites research indicating a high failure rate for major organizational changes.

Change Intelligence book cover“We know a lot about organizational transformation…We’ve developed multiple models for leading change…We’ve conducted studies and found that positive change requires, among other things, a commitment from senior management, a ‘guiding coalition,’ and a ‘compelling vision.’ With all of this knowledge and all of these methodologies, why do 70% or more of major change initiatives fail? It’s not that any of these models or tools are wrong or useless – they are just incomplete. Successful transformation requires more than book knowledge and theory. To lead change, change leaders must know themselves.”

The author refers to CQ as “Change Intelligence” which she defines as the skill set required to lead a team or company through major change. ”You  can’t just tolerate change… you have to take charge of your career and your company and lead change.”

Adapted from a book review in Staffing Success, published by the American Staffing Association.

My Spin On Managing and Effecting Change

I think Trautlein got it right when she refers to the need for real leadership to effect major change.

From my personal experience the process of effecting change is two-fold:

The first part is a semi-democratic determination and planning process… the second part is autocratic implementation!

Part 1 – Determine why change is called for; what will the impact be of the change?;  what will be different as a result of the change?; what are the component steps for of this change?, etc.

An example is in order. An organization wants to centralize several administrative functions; the branch offices will no longer perform these administrative functions – rather they will be concentrated in a single central corporate office.

The steps to do this should be determined collaboratively… carefully and slowly. Lots of input from all – be sure everyone with a dog in the fight gets to weigh in on how this will impact them and their department. The individual decisions that come out of this process are determined almost democratically – a consensus is necessary on each to proceed. If it cannot be gained, then either there is not a need to be fulfilled or the need has not been thoroughly explored.

The point is that the different implementation steps to effect the change should be determined very collaboratively – virtually democratically. When this has been done… and each step to be taken has been documented and all parties have reviewed it… the person in charge… the leader…says “OK…anything else we need to decide? Have we covered all the bases? Speak now or forever hold your peace. Once we pull the trigger on this I need to approve any and all deviations from the plan.”

And then part 2 kicks in – the implementation of the change. And it needs to be done autocratically; no deviation from the plan without authorization. Why? Otherwise, people will pick and choose what parts of the plan they will ignore. In our example, a branch manager may want to continue to purchase office supplies from a favorite vendor rather than follow the plan that included centralized purchase of such things by the central corporate office.

If there is a flaw in the plan, it will surface pretty early in the process in which case a review of that aspect of the plan is called for.

In summary, organizational changes need to planned and determined democratically by all impacted and then implemented autocratically by the leader. Without a strong hand at the helm implementing, success will be hard to achieve.

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Don’t Let Your Quest for Success Lead You Into “Resume and/or Interview Fraud”

Don’t let your quest for success lead you Into “Resume and/or Interview Fraud”!!

The fall from grace not too long ago of former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson points out something recruiters have known since the resume was invented – a significant percentage of resumes are fraudulent – as was Thompson’s.

Scott Thompson

Scott Thompson

A person’s resume is one thing over which they have TOTAL control. Therefore, there are NO excuses for Scott Thompson’s resume claiming a degree in computer science – which he didn’t have. He lost his job after 130 days at Yahoo.

The very same is true of YOUR resume… it is your work product …you are 100% responsible for its content!

Resume fraud comes in two flavors:

  • Errors of omission – hiding gaps in your work history or otherwise not revealing information that is part of the big picture regarding your background and qualifications.
  • Errors of commission – claiming a non-existent degree, a job title you didn’t have or accomplishments that weren’t yours.

Two other examples of well-known professionals that should have known better:

George O'Leary

George O’Leary

George O’Leary and Ronnie Few. Who?? George O’Leary’s dream job was to be Notre Dame’s head football coach. And he was. For five days in 2001. He claimed to have a master’s degree and to have played college football for three years… but neither were true. Bye – bye George.

few_ronnie_official_photo

Ronnie Few

Ronnie Few was Washington, D.C. Fire Chief beginning in 2000 for 22 months….until it was discovered that he lied about his professional and educational achievements in his resume. Bye-bye Ronnie. The list goes on and on of professionals well up the ladder of success who lost their jobs and creditability over fraudulent resumes.

So – how do employers guard against hiring someone with a ponied up resume?

They verify, verify and verify. A strong reference check will verify every degree and every professional affiliation. Modern search engines and internet search capability can lead prospective employers to the truth in a number of ways.

They look for red flags. Employers look for things that don’t make sense. They look for inconsistencies in stories, experiences and anecdotes. For hires of any significance, multiple interviews by several interviewers is the norm. Interviewers will compare notes to see if things mesh or not. If it doesn’t smell right – they will keep digging. If it doesn’t add up… they just pass on your candidacy.

They will do a Google search on your name. They will search on your full name (e.g. – Robert Harris) and your nickname (e.g. – Bob Harris). They will also search social networking sites as well such as LinkedIn and Google+. The questions is – what will they find there that will not hurt you, but rather help you?

The title above includes “interview fraud”. What is that you ask? Simply put, it is you making incorrect and misleading statements in an interview. If it is on your resume, you will probably be asked about it… in which case you will make statements that at the least “puff” your credentials and at the worst are incorrect .These incorrect and misleading statements will hurt you just as much as a fraudulent resume will once they come to light… and come to light they will with diligent interviewers!

In summary, resume fraud is more common than you would think.. so make sure your resume and interview is 100% truthful!! Don’t follow in the footsteps of Scott, George and Ronnie!!

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Does your Resume “Mirror”?

Don’t Let your Resume Do You In!

The process of screening resumes more and more is being done by scanners looking for specific descriptive words and phrases detailing specific areas of expertise and/or experience. The odds are that this is certainly true for many large organizations and sample resumemany of those that ask you to submit your resume via a web portal.

What does this mean for you?

It means that you need to write your resume to include the EXACT words and descriptive phrases that are found in the job listing or ad. As noted in Chapter 7 (Your Resume: The Key to Your Next Job – Better Get it Right!), every resume submitted needs to be custom written to present your credentials truthfully yet be in sync with what the organization is seeking. It needs to be as perfect a match as can be… word – wise. You may be 100% qualified for the job in question but never make the cut to get that telephone call if the resume screening process includes looking for key words or phrases that are not in your resume!

Website designers know that for a website to be included in the results of a particular internet search, the website in question must contain key words appropriate to the search.

For example, the NRI Staffing Resources’ website includes all of the possible job titles and skill sets appropriate to NRI’s four areas of specialization (accounting/finance, legal, healthcare, office admin/clerical). This tactic increases the chances of an internet search for a job in any of these four areas will bring up the NRI website.

The same principle applies to your resume; rather than trying to get a hit on a search engine, you want a hit on a scanner looking for certain key words and phrases! So it is absolutely necessary that the EXACT words and phrases that detail the desired credentials of the candidate to be hired… be in your resume! Your resume needs to “mirror” the job listing or ad!

What if you are conducting a campaign rather than replying to a specific ad or job posting? Do a search to find an previous ad or job posting for the position you are seeking and include those key words and phrases. If you can’t find an appropriate ad, look to the organization’s mission statement for any descriptive words or phrases that detail the organization’s values, etc. The point is if your resume is to be screened via a scanner, you really need to have the right words and phrases within it. So – think creatively!

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