30 November 2016
In today’s job market, you’ll often be asked to provide a link to your LinkedIn profile on several job applications. Just as your resume and cover letter hold great importance in your application, your LinkedIn profile now fits into this category as well. When the contents of this page carry such weight, it is crucial to present yourself as best as you possibly can. While you can use the suggestions LinkedIn provides to create a decent profile, go the extra mile to put your profile over the top with these eight tips: Polish Your Profile Picture/Cover Photo While you may have a few quality selfies stored on your phone, getting a friend to take a some photos of you will prove to employers and recruiters that you know how to act professionally. Plus, if you are photographed in a professional outfit, it is even more likely that you will be taken seriously right from the start. Additionally, you can add a cover photo that can tell a viewer more about your personality or your career aspirations. Finesse Your Experience Section The ‘Experience’ section on your LinkedIn profile should closely mirror your resume. However, on LinkedIn, you’re no longer confined to one page. This means you can add more detail under positions where you’ve done a lot, and you may even want to potentially eliminate older positions entirely. According to Inc., research shows that having lower level jobs on your profile can be a turn off. As a result, it may be best to remove that summer job in high school, and stick to your recent accomplishments and more relevant experience. Publish Industry-Related Posts Every professional’s experience in their industry is valuable and worth discussing. If you have a take on a piece of industry news, or if you want to share a strategy or piece of advice, write about it on LinkedIn. Not only will this get you involved in the LinkedIn community, but you can also showcase your communication skills in your writing. Plus, it will show employers that you have a deep knowledge of the industry, and you have an opinion on the issues affecting your field. Write an Outstanding Summary Your summary is your chance to share your story and why you love what you do. As a result, take the opportunity to dig a bit deeper and show your personality while conveying your passion for your work. This is another way to showcase your communication skills and prove to employers that you’re not just after success or money—that you really care about what you do. Upload Work Samples Once again, the format of a LinkedIn profile allows you to go beyond the constraints of a one page resume. In addition to talking about your work experience, you can show it visually. If you have any presentations, photos, or other visuals that could assist in conveying your best work, be sure to upload the files that can show an employer what you’re really capable of accomplishing. Follow Industry Leaders One characteristic that puts a candidate over the top is whether they are keeping up to date with industry news. By following influencers on LinkedIn, you can very simply show that you know about the best of the best in your field, and you are up to date on industry trends. Ask for More Recommendations An easy way to prove that you are an excellent employee is to have others corroborate this fact. By providing a few solid recommendations from previous colleagues or supervisors, a hiring manager will feel even better about taking the time to meet with you. Plus, a recommendation could even prove that you possess the right skill set that the employer is looking for. Join Groups Similar to following industry leaders, there are plenty of industry-specific or skill-specific groups on LinkedIn where valuable information is shared. Not only can joining these groups show your interest in your field, but you can also prove that you are committed to continuing to educate yourself and learn from others through these groups. Additionally, you may even make a great connection by participating in these conversations.
29 November 2016
End of year reviews are around the corner so you know what that means: you may be in line for getting a pay raise! With 2016 being a solid year for the US economy, now is a promising time to go about asking for a salary increase. While some companies budget for an increase in salaries for their employees in the new year, many others choose to do so only when certain requirements, such as those based on merit and promotion, are met. Regardless of your current employer’s policies, you might be anticipating this conversation about your salary in 2017; a meeting that can stress even the most experienced professional out! That being said, how should you go about asking your supervisor for a pay raise? Consider the following best practices: Back yourself up with facts Before asking for a raise during a performance review, do your own personal performance evaluation from the past year. Are there major projects you worked on? Did you present at a conference? Have you taken on more responsibilities altogether? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes,’ make sure you’re prepared to discuss them. When you sit down with your supervisor about the potential for a raise, be sure to bring up any new responsibility and accomplishment you had this past year. While you may have already been in line for a raise, further demonstrating just how much you offered the company over the past year can put you in an even better spot than you were already in. Do your research Along with the time you spend going over your work history from the past year, don’t forget to put in time researching what salaries are like in your role across the industry. Not only should you look into what other people in similar roles in your geographic area are making through online job sites, but you should also put out feelers to members of your network and ask for their input. Be positive, no matter the outcome Before going into your annual review, accept that you may leave without meeting your original goal. This could be due to a variety of reasons, ranging from your employer’s established plans to give you a raise that is less than you expected, or their unwillingness to give you one based on your performance over the past year. While this can be frustrating, the last thing you want to do is lose your cool and say something that puts you in a negative light. It’s also important that you refrain from feeling dejected or bitter if your request is turned down. If you do find yourself in this situation, ask your supervisor what you can do over the course of the next several months and/or year to get a pay raise. Instead of viewing this as a complete
28 November 2016
As an IT professional in today’s job market, it can be difficult to find new ways to make your resume stand out in such a highly-competitive field. While some IT professionals may go with a more simplistic design for their resume, others exaggerate and misrepresent their technical skills and experience with the hopes of getting noticed—a mistake that can cost you the job according to Bryant Vargas, a Director of The Execu|Search Group’s Technology division. “The resumes that tend to get overlooked by hiring managers are the ones that aren’t strategically tailored to the role at hand,” says Bryant. “Instead, candidates list too much disconnected information about their professional background. Including every single project or technology they’ve been exposed to can make it very difficult for us to see how well you could perform in the role.” Therefore, if you are looking for ways to make your resume stand out, be sure to avoid the following mistakes: Don’t include information that you can’t discuss in detail As a job seeker, it can be tempting to beef up your resume with certain skills hoping to stand out to prospective employers. However, it’s important to note that if you put it on your resume you should be prepared to speak to all of the information listed. “Once a recruiter or hiring manager sees the types of technical skills you possess on your resume, everything is up for discussion in an interview,” says Bryant. “In other words, listing everything you’ve done technically can be less effective than being more strategic and direct about the technologies and projects you include as they relate to the current role.” Moreover, if you do make it to an interview and can’t speak to everything on your resume, this will immediately raise red flags to a prospective employer as it puts your integrity and credibility into question. To avoid running into these situations, focus on highlighting the right technologies for the most appropriate roles, which will help hiring managers and recruiters to quickly break down your resume to decide if you are a qualified candidate. Don’t stretch the truth on employment dates As contract or temporary projects are very common throughout the tech industry, you sometimes might find yourself out of work for a few weeks or months trying to land another project. Unfortunately, an increasing number of tech professionals will fabricate certain dates on their resume to show minimal gaps in employment. “Although we trust that candidates list information on their resume honestly, LinkedIn is typically a hiring manager’s first stop to verify that a candidate’s resume/professional background match up,” says Bryant. Therefore, if you’re stretching dates on your resume (or even on your LinkedIn profile), this will definitely raise red flags to a prospective employer and may impact your professional reputation. Instead of stretching the truth, find better ways to highlight things you’ve accomplished during a particular gap. For example, you could review some code on codeacademy, start learning a programming language, attend networking events, or volunteer. While you may have gaps in employment, highlighting personal accomplishments like these will show prospective employers that you are a proactive learner. Don’t overuse keywords just to get your resume noticed It’s no secret that recruiters and hiring managers use various search filters to identify candidates that meet the basic requirements of a particular position. As a result, in an attempt to get noticed first, many IT professionals have resolved to oversaturate their resume with keywords that relate to a specific type of role. For example, if a candidate was in search of a job where they’d be using Adobe, job seekers will typically include the word ‘Adobe’ on a number of points throughout their resume. “Job seekers that overuse certain keywords may still face difficulty when landing a job if these keywords aren’t directly tied to their professional strengths and accomplishments,” says Bryant. “Candidates need to show rather than tell. It’s preferable to use keywords sparingly, and instead, provide details that paint a clearer picture of how they’ve used the technology and in what capacity.” In the end, hiring managers and recruiters tend to be more interested in candidates that show the potential value they can bring to a specific position as opposed to how well they’re able to weave certain buzzwords throughout their resume.
22 November 2016
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, many of us have begun to reflect on the things that we are thankful for this year, and are planning to share this gratitude with family and friends during the holiday. While this is a common Thanksgiving tradition, expressing your thanks is a practice that shouldn’t be limited to one day a year, but rather be applied to different aspects of your everyday life. This is something that is especially relevant if you are gearing up for a job search in the new year. Whether you have gone through a first round phone screen, or have made it to the final interview stage, writing a thank you note to the hiring manager is more than a best practice; it’s a move that conveys your respect for your interviewer’s time, demonstrates your interest in the role, and keeps you top of mind during the decision making process. In fact, your thank you note (or lack thereof) can ultimately mean the difference between you and another candidate. That being said, here are some quick do’s and don’ts to keep in mind the next time you’re thanking an employer: Do be timely: While we don’t advise that you fire off a generic email from your phone immediately after the interview, you do need to be cognizant of time. Employers are making faster hiring decisions to secure top talent in today’s job market, so taking longer than 24 hours to send a thank you note could mean a missed opportunity. Don’t be long-winded: A thank you note is not meant to be an essay or a cover letter, so keep it to one or two short paragraphs max. As a guideline, be sure to concisely cover these basic points: your appreciation for the opportunity to interview; your interest in the position and in the organization; and the value you can bring to the role. Do proofread for grammar/spelling errors: This should go without saying, yet even the most talented candidates make this mistake when corresponding with hiring managers. Since these careless typos can raise some red flags about your attention to detail, make sure you proofread your note before sending it off. Don’t forget to personalize each email: If you’ve interviewed with multiple parties, send each person a personalized email rather than copying everyone on the same note. Tailoring your message for each individual is a more courteous approach that exhibits a few in-demand personality traits, including strong interpersonal skills and active listening. Do say more than thank you: These notes give you the opportunity to expand on what you spoke about in the interview and further explore the position, so why not take advantage of that? Despite the name, a thank you note can do more than help you express your gratitude. Take a few sentences to expand on something from the interview to spark further conversation. This can help set you apart from other candidates! Don’t be too casual: Regardless of how well you and the interviewer got along, remember that you still need to act professionally. You don’t want to raise any questions about your ability to be professional in the workplace, so it’s best to avoid starting your email with “hey” and including any language that is similarly casual.
21 November 2016
If you’ve ever worked in an administrative role, you know just how important the image you put out to the world is. For years this was restricted to your in-person presentation in the workplace. However, the rise of digital and social media has created new and unique challenges for office support and administrative professionals. “Administrative professionals are often the first person employees, clients, and visitors interact with, so employers have always placed a strong emphasis on first impressions when hiring,” says Lauren Pearce, an Associate within The Execu|Search Group’s Office Support and Human Resources division. “The internet and the rapid growth on online profiles makes the stakes higher than ever before! Employers are utilizing email technology and social media platforms to not only find and communicate with prospective hires, but also weed out unprofessional candidates altogether. It’s now more important than ever to ensure your online presence doesn’t raise any red flags about your professional credibility.” To ensure that your digital footprint does not hinder your job search, continue reading for Lauren’s advice: Clean your social media profiles Commit to taking time to comb through each and every one of your social media profiles (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and ensure any and all content that calls your professional credibility into question is deleted. While it’s okay to have pictures from social outings, make sure they don’t show anything that could damage your professional credibility. Also, take some time to go through your past posts and eliminate anything unsavory you may have said. We understand it can be hard to get rid of posts that earned you plenty of “likes,” but it’s better to be safe than sorry! Check your privacy settings on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram After you scour your pictures or tweets that could potentially portray you in a negative light, you’ll want to check and make sure your privacy settings are intact. “Now that sites like Facebook are part of the picture, you have to keep in mind that you’re representing yourself at all times,” Lauren says. “Your main concern should still be that all of your content is professional. However, strengthening your security settings is also an important part of keeping a polished online image.” As a starting point, limit your Facebook to being accessible only to your friends and protect your tweets. From there, you can control who can view and tag you in photos, as well as just how much content people you aren’t already connected to can view. Ensure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume If your LinkedIn profile may be public and you may be using it as more than just a personal marketing tool, you want to ensure that it matches your resume. “If you’re looking for a new career opportunity, you should take a side-by-side look at your LinkedIn page and resume to make sure they match up,” explains Lauren. “One doesn’t have to be a carbon copy of the other, but employers tend to eliminate candidates who don’t have a consistent timeline of jobs and responsibilities across the two.” Create a professional email address While you may already have an email address that you regularly use, you’ll want to create a strictly professional one if you haven’t already. For this email address, limit it to your name, your initials and a non-discreet, short combination of numbers if your name and initials alone are unavailable. On that note, you also want to make sure that the content of your emails is professional as well. So before you communicate with any hiring managers or recruiters, make sure you are using a professional font style and color, your grammar and sentence structure is clean, and that your email signature is limited to your name and contact information.
18 November 2016
When you’re hiring a new employee, it can be easy to miss some marks during an interview and focus simply on whether the candidate has the technical skills to do the job on day one. While technical skills are important, it isn’t enough to find someone who can do the job without also assessing a cultural fit for your team; you can often train someone to do a job, but you can’t fix a poor attitude. When you don’t examine the character—or soft skills—of a candidate, you may end up with an employee who can do the job, but is still a drain on the company. While identifying these skills is important to your hiring choice, they aren’t always readily identifiable in an interview. In order to determine these qualities, you’ll need to ask strategic questions rather than ones that only require a simple yes or no answer. A careful analysis of the stories and experiences that are shared with you can reveal how the candidate may work and grow within your company. Learn how in the infographic.
18 November 2016
The assumption of job seekers around this time of year is that because of holidays and end-of-the-year deadlines, employers are devoting very little time to hiring. However, for IT professionals especially, this tends to be a fallacy. “The myth that no one hires after Thanksgiving causes a lot of job seekers to give up until January,” says Jed Pillion, a Managing Director within The Execu|Search Group’s Information Technology division. “However, we often see employers hiring aggressively in December as they try to accomplish their goals by the end of the year.” Jed notes that the field does not have the same ebb and flow in hiring as an industry with more predictable needs. “Regardless of the position within the technology field, the need for these professionals does not go away in the fourth quarter,” he says. “Technology is always in need of updates and maintenance, and the holidays are no exception to that.” This hiring that occurs toward the end of the year, however, is notably different from the hiring that may take place throughout the rest of the year. “During the fourth quarter, employers may be filling a position for a different reason, and they most likely want their new hire in place by January 1st,” explains Jed. “This could be because of a year-end budget, or it could be because of a project that is starting in the new year.” However, once the holiday season has passed, employers will typically take more time as there is often a new flood of candidates and a new budget to work with. Because hiring at the end of the year is so fast-paced, Jed recommends being more active in your job search with these tips: Keep your availability open While employers may be ready to hire, there are a limited number of available days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. As a result, the interviewer may not be as flexible as they normally are. “This means that you should do your best to keep your schedule open,” says Jed. “Be sure that you are ready to change your plans at a moment’s notice, because there is less time to find an agreeable date. If you are not flexible with your plans, the employer may move onto another candidate.” Be more responsive Along the same lines, you also need to respond quickly to any opportunity or question regarding an application. “When employers are hiring with a firm deadline, they will be looking for the candidate who best understands this and can respond with that in mind,” notes Jed. “If you take too long to respond to an email or phone call, they will simply move onto the next available person, as they don’t always have the time to wait.” Stay prepared When preparing any supplementary materials, Jed advises job seekers to be prepared to send them as soon as they are requested. “For copies of your resume or your portfolio, you may be asked to provide them at any time,” says Jed. “As a result, you should always have these on hand so that there is no delay in getting them to an employer.” Additionally, Jed suggests that you have all of your references and identification materials ready to go as well. Utilize a recruiter When an employer has a limited time to fill a position, a recruiter who has talented candidates readily available is a resource they like to utilize. “Subsequently, partnering with a recruiter may allow you more opportunities to get hired before the new year,” says Jed. “A recruiter will be able to submit you for more positions during this tight window of time. In this sense, they can help expedite the whole hiring process to help you achieve your goal of starting a new job by the end of the year.”
17 November 2016
When submitting an application, many professionals feel like they don’t need to put much effort into their cover letter. However, it isn’t necessarily true that hiring managers don’t read cover letters. As a result, a generic cover letter or an oversimplified one may get your application rejected. While it may seem daunting to re-write your cover letter or tailor it for each position, there are a few simple steps you can take to improve the quality in a few short minutes. Avoid repeating your resume Keep in mind that your cover letter should be a supplement to your resume rather than a repetition of it. Instead of rehashing your education and some bullet points on your experience, expand on some key items where you feel more context might show that you fulfill a need for this employer. By referring to the job description and company website, you’re bound to find something to elaborate on. By doing so, you can provide the most information possible to let the hiring manager make an informed decision on whether or not to proceed with your candidacy. Eliminate filler words Hiring managers have a limited amount of time when reviewing applications, so do your best to avoid rambling sentences or unnecessary filler words. When you get straight to the point, the reader can more quickly assess your skills instead of spending more time trying to figure out what your point is. Some of the words you should look to eliminate include: That Just Even Very Really These filler words add little to the content or understanding of your cover letter, and sacrificing them for the sake of brevity will only improve the readability of your cover letter. Enhance your vocabulary Your cover letter is your chance to prove that your communication skills are up to par, and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. While it’s easy to fill your cover letter with more simpleminded phrases, this is a good time to utilize the English language in a more powerful way. By referencing a thesaurus, you can improve your word choice and subsequently improve the impression you leave the hiring manager. For example, the phrase “very excited” can be changed to “delighted” or “thrilled”—much more descriptive words to convey the same feeling. Limit your use of ‘I’ While you should boast your accomplishments and skill set throughout your cover letter, be sure that you aren’t repetitive in your sentence structure. A common mistake seen among cover letters is that an applicant will start most—or all—of the sentences with “I.” Not only is this a poor way to structure your letter, but it also could signify that you care more about talking about yourself than talking about how you can be an asset to the organization. As a solution, you can start by interchanging this with “me” or “myself,” and you can also speak more about the company as well. Tell a story Not only should your cover letter hit all the right points, but it should be conversational and show your personality. As a result, telling a short story about your accomplishments can assist in helping your letter stand out. When considering a story to share, refer to the job requirements and how a past experience of yours shows that you have the skills necessary to solve an existing issue for this employer. By doing this, you’re presenting yourself as a solution to the employer’s problem while also showing off your personality—or your cultural fit.
15 November 2016
In today’s economy where job seekers have more opportunities than ever, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for employers to attract top talent. Additionally, more than half of respondents to our 2016 Hiring Outlook survey reported interviewing for two or more other roles while interviewing for their current position. As a result, it’s clear that employers need to start closing the deal much earlier than they might expect— during the interview process. With this level of competition for talent, candidates have more power to choose the opportunity that’s right for them. As a result, a simple job offer is no longer enough to attract the best employees to your organization. So, how can you secure the talent your organization needs for success? By creating a positive candidate experience through the following interview tactics outlined in this video: