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Via Forbes : Why Your Job Search Isn’t Working — And How To Fix It

Dear Liz,

I’m job hunting, but it’s not going well. I’ve been sending out resumes for months. I’ve filled out 42 online job applications and I’ve only had two interviews. What am I doing wrong?



Dear Jerry,

Blasting out resumes and filling out job applications are the two worst ways to get a job. The best ways to get a new job are to use your network, to consult during your job hunt (and even after you get a job) and to reach out to hiring managers directly.

I took a quick peek at your LinkedIn profile.

Your brand is not as strong right now as it could be — or as strong as it needs to be. We can’t tell exactly what you do. Maybe you are trying to keep your options open, but if a hiring manager or recruiter can’t tell from your LinkedIn profile what you’re especially good at, then you won’t look like someone who can relieve whatever pain an organization is feeling.

To brand yourself, you have to commit to a certain family of jobs you are especially well-suited for. Right now, your brand is mushy. “Multi-talented Business Professional” is one of the worst possible branding choices, because nobody has the kind of pain that a “Multi-talented Business Professional” specializes in solving.

Think about what you do especially well and what you love to do. Then, compare those strengths to the job market by reading job ads to see what employers are looking for. When you’re ready, rewrite your LinkedIn profile to focus on a specific career path. That’s where you will begin your job search.

You can read job ads, but don’t reply to job ads you see by filling out an online job application. It is incredibly hard to get noticed in one of those Applicant Tracking Systems. They are made to screen job candidates out — not to screen them in! You’ll have better luck touching base with everyone you know, and letting them know exactly what kinds of jobs you’re looking for.

You can get a consulting business card at Vistaprint or at any office supply store. Once you become a consultant (which only requires you to decide that you are a consultant now) your networking will be easier and more fun. You can talk about the consulting jobs you’re open to performing, rather than having to ask everyone you meet, “Know any companies that are hiring?”

Begin constructing a Target Employer List for your job search. Use a spreadsheet to note each company’s name, location and website URL. Then, use LinkedIn, Google and each organization’s own website to locate your hiring manager in each firm. Your hiring manager is the person who will be your boss if you end up working there.

You’re going to send a very specific letter to each hiring manager on your list.

Mother Nature teaches us the lessons we need to learn. You’ve been spinning your wheels in your job search, but those days are over! You are going to step out of the traditional job search box and take matters into your own hands. Watch how the energy changes when you do!



Via LiveCareer : 14 Quick Tips for Finding a New Job

Unless you are one of the lucky few who works in a high-demand career, finding a new job can be a challenging and frustrating experience. You can make the job search a bit easier on yourself if you use proactive strategies for finding a new job – and the tips for finding a new job included in this article are applicable to all jobseekers, from those just starting out to experienced candidates who need a quick refresher.

Here are some of my best tips for finding a new job at any career level.

1. Get clear on what you want

Before starting your job search, take the time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses and the type of work you enjoy doing. The better you know yourself, the more likely you’ll find a new job that provides you with greater satisfaction. What do you want in a job? What’s most important, title, money, promotion, the work itself, location, or company culture?

2. Research your target companies

Once you know what you want, it’s time to find out what the companies you’re applying for want. A great tip for finding a new job is to investigate a company’s Glassdoor page. It will help you get a feel for their company culture, figure out what questions they commonly ask in interviews, and even discover what salary you’re likely to be paid.

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

3. Tailor your resume to each job

Your resume is still one of the most critical tools of a job search. A lot of resumes I see are full of responsibilities (instead of tangible achievements) and jobseekers send the same resume to various openings. One of my best tips for finding a new job is to have an achievement-oriented resume that includes quantifiable achievements that are relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Make yourself an obvious fit. Study the words and phrases that are used in the job description? Make sure you include them in your resume (provided you have that experience, of course). Tailor your resume to each job – the recruiter should know within a few seconds of looking at your resume that you have the skills they are looking for.

4. Create your online career brand

Building your brand simply means showcasing your expertise and passion online where employers searching the Web can find it. Most recruiters, including myself, use LinkedIn as their primary search tool and if you’re a professional, you need to be using LinkedIn to your full advantage. It’s a great resource for finding people working at companies that interest you and also for positioning yourself to be found by recruiters and hiring managers with relevant openings.

5. Get organized

Before you start applying for jobs or interviewing with employers, take a moment to develop a system that works for you in organizing your job search. A simple spreadsheet works best for many to keep a track of the jobs you’ve applied for, where you have been invited to interview, etc.

6. Build, cultivate, and utilize your network of contacts

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

It also helps you to get a good idea of what is out there and available, so you can be more strategic in your job search. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people on LinkedIn, and if you know someone working at a company that interests you, ask for a referral. Hiring managers would prefer to interview people who came recommended before sorting through the resumes arriving via a career website.

7. Don’t limit yourself to online applications

If you rely only on submitting online applications, you could be looking for a job for a very long time. By the time you apply, the company might be in the final interview stage, or the job might have even been filled. Contact companies that interest you directly – you might get in contact with an internal recruiter or schedule informational interviews with people who work in those companies. Ideally, you want to be known to the people who might influence you getting your foot in the door.

8. Aim to complete a few job-related goals daily

It takes a great deal of time and effort to find a new job. In a long job search, it’s easy to get discouraged and distracted, but by focusing on achieving daily goals you can motivate yourself while also building a foundation for success.

9. Be kind to yourself

Looking for a job can be stressful. So, take some time to meditate, exercise, watch a movie or whatever it is that helps you unwind. Create a good support network – having people to brainstorm with or vent your frustrations to will help the process be less painful.

10. Develop examples and stories that showcase your skills

This is one of the main tips for finding a new job. People remember stories, so your goal should be developing a set of interview stories you can use in networking meetings or job interviews that clearly demonstrate your skills, achievements, and passion for your work. Be memorable! Using stories (use the STAR format) may also help you feel more comfortable talking about yourself.

11. Prepare for all job interviews

Before you get called for your first interview, develop responses for common interview questions, and then practice them — ideally using the mock-interviewing technique with a friend, network contact, or interview coach. The more prepared you are for the interview, the more comfortable you’ll be – and the more likely you’ll succeed.

For the vast majority of jobseekers, a large and strong network of contacts — people who know you and want to help you uncover job leads — results in more job opportunities. Networking – in person and online – is essential to your success in your job search.

12. Write thank-you notes after interviews to all interviewers

A quick note (by email is fine) of thanks that emphasizes your interest and fit with the job and employer will not get you the job offer, but it will help make you stand out from the majority of jobseekers who do not bother with this simple act of courtesy.

13. Continue following up with hiring managers

Your work is not done once the interview is complete or the thank-you note sent. Following up with the hiring manager regularly shows your interest and enthusiasm for the job. The key is doing so in a way that is professional while not making you sound pesky or needy.

14. Expect the job search to take longer than you think

You can hope to have a new job within a short period, but the likely reality is that it might take months to find the right opportunity and get offered the position. You should mentally prepare yourself for a long battle — and then you can be happily surprised if you are one of the lucky few whose job search is short.

5 Final Thoughts on Finding a New Job

Here a few other tips for finding a new job if your job search situation does not fit the typical model – if conditions are such that finding employment will be unusually hard.

First, having both a positive attitude and outlook is extremely important. Employers can sense desperation and despair; organizations want to hire positive and competent people. If you’ve been unemployed for a long period and depressed or recently downsized and angry, find a way to shrug it off when job hunting or you will only be hurting yourself.

Second, if you’re an older worker trying to find a job, you may face age discrimination. Among the ways to proactively counter any issues about your age are to limit the number of years of experience you list on your resume (by keeping to the last 10-15 years), eliminate dates in the education section of your resume, and focus on adaptability and flexibility in the interview.

Third, remember that you may need additional training or experience, especially if you are entering a new career field.

Fourth, you may need to consider temping or volunteering for a short period to gain experience and build network contacts that can lead to a full-time position.

Fifth, in the most extreme cases, you may need to consider relocation to a place that has a higher concentration of jobs in your field.

Hope you’ve found these tips for finding a new job useful. I’d love to hear what you’re going to change in your job search after reading this article.

Via Forbes : Career Challenge: Get Job-Search Ready In 15 Days

If you’re searching for a new job, you’re in luck: This is a job hunter’s market. With 51% of American employees looking, there’s a lot of churn out there and so you have a definite advantage. But since the keys to a successful job hunt seem to change more quickly than you can update your résumé, it can be puzzling to figure out how best to proceed.

Whether you’re a recent college graduate trying to secure your first full-time position or a seasoned professional looking to take your career to the next level, we want to help you land your next job. So we’re launching this series of articles, “Career Challenge: Get Job-Search Ready In 15 Days.”

Every weekday for the next three weeks, we’ll challenge you to tackle another aspect of your job search, from leveraging your networking connections and refreshing your digital footprint to mastering the art of interview storytelling and positioning yourself to get poached. Since everyone’s career path is different, we can’t guarantee that completing this challenge will earn you a new job right away—but we know that if you join us on this journey, you’ll be better equipped for your search.

If you’re ready to get started, tune in here, Monday through Friday, for each day’s topic, and follow along with your fellow job seekers on Forbes’ LinkedIn. Today’s challenge is below.

Happy hunting!

Day 1: Establish your “why”

Day 2: Define your dream job

Day 3: Get to know the job market

Day 4: Leverage your network

Day 5: Update your résumé

Day 6: Refresh your digital footprint

Day 7: Secure your references

Day 8: Round up the extras

Day 9: Master the art of reaching out

Day 10: Consider recruiters

Day 11: Start telling stories

Day 12: Learn how to say what you want

Day 13: Prepare responses to difficult questions

Day 14: Position yourself to get poached

Day 15: Don’t let adversity get you down

Via Forbes : 5 Career-Related New Year’s Resolutions (And 5 Tips For Keeping Them)

Welcome to January, dear readers! We at Harvard Business School Working Knowledge want nothing but the best for you in the new year. And for those of you who have made New Year’s resolutions for a better work life, we wish you nothing but success. To that end, we’re sharing some well-researched tips from Harvard Business School faculty to help you keep your career-related resolutions this year.

1. Resolution: Gain more respect at the office.

Tip: Wear weird sneakers to work.

Research by Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan shows that people who wear funky outfits to the office are often seen as more confident and as having higher status than those who dress to fit in.

As writer Dina Gerdeman explains, “The researchers found that observers viewed a nonconforming person to have a heightened status and more competence, particularly when they believed the person was aware of the established norm but deliberately chose to make a fashion statement by wearing a standout style. This person was often viewed as autonomous; confident enough to act independently and create his or her own rules.”

To learn more, read Gerdeman’s story The Manager in Red Sneakers.

2. Resolution: Work harder to meet the demands of a job where you’ve been failing to shine.

Tip: Ask yourself whether the problem is actually the job, not you.

Today’s jobs are expanding in terms of what is expected of people, but the resources people get to do those jobs is not expanding,” says Robert Simons, the Charles M. Williams Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. “People feel more pressure to own their roles and they’re stressed because they’re being pulled in a lot of different directions, but they’re not getting the help they need.”

To that end, Simons created a free online job design optimization tool. Try it out to see if your job is offering a healthy mix of responsibility and support. If the answer is no, then talk to your supervisor about creating a more-balanced job. If that’s not feasible, maybe it’s time to look for a new job.

To learn more about evaluating your current position, read Dina Gerdeman’s story, Bad at Your Job? Maybe It’s the Job’s Fault.

3. Resolution: Score a job interview at your dream company.

Tip: Stop posting embarrassing photos online—even on Snapchat.

Are you someone who feels compelled to share every sordid moment of your life online, yet are also aware that most job recruiters check candidates’ social media channels during the hiring process? Then maybe you rely on apps like Snapchat and Instagram Stories, which allow you to share photos that disappear from the web shortly after you post them or share them with friends. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Problem solved, right? Might as well Snapchat that lampshade on your head, right?

Wrong. It turns out that if a potential employer ever saw an embarrassing selfie of you, it may come back to haunt you.

The impression that a temporarily shared selfie makes does not disappear when the [photos] disappear,” says social science researcher Leslie K. John, the Marvin Bower Associate Professor at Harvard Business School and co-author of the paper “Temporary Sharing Prompts Unrestrained Disclosures That Leave Lasting Negative Impressions.”

To learn more, read Rachel Layne’s story Beware the Lasting Impression of a ‘Temporary’ Selfie.

4. Resolution: Ace that job interview at your dream company.

Tip: Ask a lot of questions, especially follow-up questions.

Behavioral science research suggests that people who ask follow-up questions tend to land better jobs than people who don’t. (That goes for landing second dates, too.)

”Compared to those who do not ask many questions, people who do are better liked and learn more information from their conversation partners,” says Alison Wood Brooks, assistant professor and Hellman Faculty Fellow at Harvard Business School, and co-author of the paper “It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: Question-Asking Increases Liking.”

“It’s an easy-to-deploy strategy anyone can use to not only be perceived as more emotionally intelligent, but to actually be more emotionally intelligent as well,” she says.

To learn more, read Rachel Layne’s story Asking Questions Can Get You a Better Job or a Second Date.

5. Resolution: Increase productivity among your employees.

Tip: Spend less time watching them work.

While open office spaces have become commonplace in many industries, research by Ethan Bernstein shows that decreasing the observation of your employees will likely increase their productivity.

What’s more, the less you watch your employees, the more you’ll know what they’re doing. Bernstein calls this the Transparency Paradox. In short: Broad visibility of employees at work may induce secretive behavior, thus reducing real transparency, whereas boundaries may actually increase it.

To learn more, read Carmen Nobel’s story Hiding From Managers Can Increase Productivity.

Via The Balance : How to Set Short and Long Term Goals for Your Career

You may feel setting long-term and short-term goals is a waste of time, especially if you live by the old proverb, “Man plans, God laughs.” Don’t make that mistake. Not planning for the future can make for a chaotic one.

How Setting Goals Affects Your Career Success

Setting goals is a significant component of the career planning process. To have a successful and satisfying career, define your goals and devise a strategy to achieve them. A roadmap that will take you from choosing an occupation to working and succeeding at it is called a career action plan.

Your career action plan must have both long and short-term goals. It is imperative to include the steps to take to reach each one, along with ways to get around barriers that might get in your way.

Note: Since plans, even very well-thought-out ones, don’t always work out, it is also essential to include alternatives to implement when the need arises.

The Difference Between Short and Long Term Goals

Goals are broadly classified into two categories: short-term goals and long-term goals. You will be able to accomplish a short-term goal in approximately six months to three years, while it will usually take three to five years to reach a long-term one. Sometimes you can achieve a short-term goal in fewer than three months and a long-term one may take more than five years to complete.

To achieve each long-term goal, you must first accomplish a series of both short-term goals and additional long-term goals. For example, let’s say you aspire to become a doctor. That may be your ultimate long-term goal, but before you can tackle it, you must achieve a few others, for example, complete college (four years), medical school (another four years), and a medical residency (three to eight years).

Along the road to reaching those long-term goals, there are several short-term goals to clear first. They include excelling on entrance exams and applying to college, medical school, and eventually residencies. Since grades matter when it comes to achieving those goals, it is necessary to break your short-term goals down even further, like earning a high grade point average.

7 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Reaching Your Goals

Your hard work will play the most prominent role in your success, but if you don’t formulate your goals correctly, it will be much more challenging to accomplish them. Your short-term and long-term goals must meet the following criteria:

  1. Have specific goals. You might say, “I want to be successful.” Well, who doesn’t? But can you define what success means? Success to one person may mean becoming CEO of a company while to another person it may mean getting home from work by 6 pm every day.
  2. Your goals must be measurable. Have a timeframe for achieving your goals and a way to determine when you have reached them.
  3. Don’t be negative. Your goal should be something you want rather than something you want to avoid. It is much better to say, for instance, “I want to improve my skills over the next four years so that I qualify for a better job” than “I don’t want to be stuck in this job for another four years.”
  4. Be realistic. Your long-term goals must be compatible with your abilities and skills. Stating “I want to win a Grammy Award” if you can’t sing or play an instrument will set you up for failure.
  5. Your goal must be reachable within your time frame. Break a long-term goal down into smaller goals. It is better to take baby steps than one big giant leap.
  6. Pair each goal with an action. For instance, if your goal is to become a writer, sign up for a writing class.
  7. Be flexible. Don’t give up if you encounter barriers that threaten to impede your progress. Instead, modify your goals accordingly. Let’s say your need to continue working will keep you from going to college full-time. Although it won’t be possible to finish your bachelor’s degree in four years, you can enroll in school part-time and take a bit longer. Flexibility also means being willing to let go of goals that are no longer meaningful and instead put your energy into pursuing other ones.