Archive for the Social Media Category

January 8th Job Search Resolutions

Posted in Confidence, Interviewing, LinkedIn, New Year's Resolution, Recruiter, Salesmanship, Social Media on January 8, 2010 by jcsicareerassist

Happy January 8th

It cannot be avoided.  It is the new year and talk of resolutions will abound.  However, rather than blog about new year’s resolutions in December when people are speaking of future commitments or January 1st when we are still buzzing with excitement that we survived another calendar year.  I waited a week out when the cloud has been lifted and the high has worn off.  Since it usually only takes about a week for most people to start breaking their resolutions, I felt that those who make it to January 8th are going to take their resolutions seriously enough to get something out of this post.

The following resolutions that I am going to suggest to job seekers are based on what I have heard from candidates on the market, from other recruiters, and from what I’ve witnessed of the way finding a job has changed.

  1. Get active on LinkedIn.  I have asked so many candidates if they are using LinkedIn and so many of them answer, “I’ve been meaning to do that” or  “I don’t see the point.”  I then ask if they know that there are jobs posted on Linkedin.  Very often they don’t.  Here you have a recruiter asking you if you use LinkedIn and you don’t see the point.  Besides finding candidates on LinkedIn, I have been further educated by the benefit of engaging with others with broad perspectives on topics of interest.  If you are on the job market, I suggest taking 2 hours a week to get familiar with this platform.  Even if you don’t see the point, recruiters do and that’s who you are trying to connect with.
  2. Know your value.  Even if you are not a dollars and “sense” kind of person, you need to know that you have something to offer an organization.  Many candidates that I speak to allow their worth to be determined by their W-2.  If you are such a person, without the confidence of having a job already, you are going to give a terrible sales pitch when you interview.  If you need to gauge your worth in money, use your last salary or desired salary to determine how much your time is worth.  Then when you go in for an interview, go in there like you expect to be paid for your time and service because ultimately you do.
  3. Dare to be different.  There’s a quote that says something to the effect of, “If you want results you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”  I talk to people all the time that won’t even try to extend themselves beyond their comfort zones.  I once had a candidate who would call me every week and just say, “Got anything?” One day I asked him had he tried doing anything different in his job search.  He said he hadn’t.  I gave him the homework assignment of doing just one thing different that weekend, even if it was trying a food that he’d never had.  I wanted him to tell me about it the next week.  He agreed.  A week later the phone rang.  “Got anything”, he asked. I asked him what he had to eat that was different in the last week.  He said he wasn’t able to do it.  I haven’t heard from him since.  In order to manage in this world you are going to have to embrace change.  If you can’t, resolutions aren’t for you anyway.

Rather than beat anyone over the head with other resolution ideas, I will leave you with this.  When we think of resolutions, we commonly think of this far reaching goal that can make us feel inadequte regarding our current position.  This is completely contradictory to the true spirit of what it means to make a resolution.  If you look up the etymology of the word you find that the word originally meant the “process of reducing things into simpler forms”.  In other words, resolutions are meant to make life easier, not harder.  It is a matter of perspective.  The reward is not at the end of the journey.  It is the journey itself.  Decide where you want to be and have fun learning how to get there.

Happy January 8th, 2010!

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Ending The Confusion About Inclusion – Diversity 2071

Posted in Communication, Diversity, Empowerment, Hiring Trends, Inclusion, Job Search, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 with tags , , , , on November 20, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

On this blog, we try to offer a thought-provoking take on all subjects related to job seekers and their experience on the job market.  As I’ve mentioned, we believe that empowered job seekers will have a significant impact on the overall turnaround of the market itself.  So when we decided to write about Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), we wanted to offer an outlook that you might not find anywhere else.  Having a clear unfiltered picture of what a totally inclusive culture would mean to the business world will explain why so much effort is being put into creating it.  As job seekers, it’s important to know that D&I isn’t going anywhere and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to understand why it is essential to their success to have an idea of where it is headed.

In order to envision the future of D&I, I began considering what kinds of careers the next generation would reflect upon having grown up in a digital age driven by technologies that allow us to connect and share information with increasing rapidity.  I even chose the year 2071, to illustrate the year that children born today would be eligible for retirement based on the current government recognized age of 62. Living in a time when anyone can contribute their thoughts any time they want via social media platforms, I wondered if they will laugh at our generation for ever needing Diversity training in the first place? 

Considering the way the internet is being used today really put D&I in perspective and the more I thought about it the simpler it became.  When you really break down D&I, it’s driven by the fact that–on an individual level–everyone just wants to fit in somewhere and express their creativity freely.  With virtual worlds, online gaming, social technologies, and search engines, being able to experience this is increasingly becoming a cultural norm.  As more and more people engage across digital platforms, it will become more difficult not to engage in other social arenas as well.  So when you eliminate all of the distractions it becomes clear to see that D&I efforts are suited to facilitate the highest level of engagement. Now for many, this may sound too simple and it definitely doesn’t present a clear business case for why time and money should be invested in programs and training to try to get entire organizations on board. So there must be more to it.

Well while companies know that what’s driving the need for D&I is fundamentally simple, it isn’t easy at all.  Transformation never is.  It is uncomfortable and challenges everything we know.  It demands vulnerability in exchange for growth.  And the rewards that come from our efforts will only meet us halfway.  That means we must extend ourselves.  In essence we must put ourselves out there and learn by doing.  For many of us that is too scary.  We’d rather just close our eyes and wait for change to pass us by.  But, that’s not going to happen.  We’ll be pulled in eventually.  Just ask anyone who reluctantly created a Facebook page or people on the job market who are finally accepting the value of a LinkedIn account.  It’s the same process.  And if you still think social media has nothing to do with Diversity, just wait. 

I deleted an earlier version of this post because in the end it was just one more post telling us what we’ve already heard before.  If Affirmative ActionEqual Employment Opportunity, and the idea that diversity breeds innovation were convincing enough, the discussion would have ended long ago and people would be volunteering to learn how they could help the process move forward.  But because in large part, mankind’s fear of loss still generally exceeds their desire for gain, the D&I dialogue will continue until we reach the tipping point where resistance is obviously costing us more than voluntary compliance.  Understanding this is leverage for those willing to take a front seat on this transformational roller coaster. By the year 2071 when the confusion about inclusion is no longer an issue, the retirees will be able to look back on what it took to get to an inclusive culture and simplify it into a definition like the one below.

Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) – A systematic process designed to facilitate information transfer through converting a culture from a driving mindset of “What’s In It For Me” (WIIFM)  to one of  “What’s In It For Everyone” (WIIFE) .

Now, you might still be asking what this has to do with your job search.  The answer has everything to do with market relevance.  The market is headed this way and if you are not, your POTENTIAL to contribute will be irrelevant since your resistance will represent an information bottleneck. When it is all said and done I believe the retirees of 2071 will demonstrate that the business case for Diversity and Inclusion never had anything to do with the categories that we break ourselves into and everything to do with increasing the flow of ideas and information. 

Google is growing by leaps and bounds because it feeds our need to know and gives us access to information on demand.  Every time we go to a search engine and look up anything, we increase our expectation to find answers quickly. We are in an age where information is currency and anything that gets in the way of our access to information will be minimized and eventually eliminated.  It is inevitable.  We are fast approaching a point where the only hang ups in communication will be individuals withholding information because they are operating on an obsolete paradigm.  So I submit that in the future of business this will not be tolerated from anyone regardless of a person’s race, color, national origin, sexual identification, age, religion, or disability.  The business case for D&I can’t get any clearer than that.

Discovering Your Transferable Skills

Posted in Hiring Trends, Interviewing, Job Search, Personal Brand, Recruiter, Resume, Social Media, Transferable Skills, Uncategorized, Web 2.0 on September 30, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Miyagi taught Daniel the Secret of Transferable Skills One of the most difficult, yet most valuable discoveries one can make on a job search is figuring out how to apply their transferable skills to a new opportunity.  This particular ability is especially helpful for people wanting to make a career change or those looking to enter the job market for the first time.

A transferable skill is any ability–whether it is a natural talent or acquired skill nurtured through employment, schooling, etc.–that can be used in multiple situations.  A perfect example would be the wax on, wax off  technique taught to Daniel-San in the 1980’s movie The Karate Kid. 

Throughout his training, Mr. Miyagi had Daniel performing all sorts of tasks, that to the untrained eye appeared to be focused more on the janitorial arts as opposed to martial arts.  Yet when Daniel left the Karate Championship with trophy in hand, it was very clear that  waxing a car, sanding a floor, and painting a fence had other uses beyond what can be seen on the surface.  That’s the power of understanding transferable skills.

As an empowered job seeker, it is up to you to look at the talents and skills you have developed over the years and determine where they can be used most effectively.  Undoubtedly, you are going to come across positions where you can employ your transferable skills.  However, unless you figure out how to draw attention to those skills, you will likely be passed over by an employer for other candidates whose acronyms match the job description.

Therefore, if you are serious about leveraging your transferable skills in your job search, you are going to have make an investment in marketing them–whether it is with time or money.  Here are a few tips on how you can do that:

  1. Hire a professional resume writer.  When your career path matches the logical progression of a job description connecting the dots is easy.  But if you are trying to get from point A to point B via point D with a short layover in Z then you are going to have to paint a picture that a hiring manager can see. 
  2. Build relationships with recruiters. Every star has an agent.  That should tell you something.  But not every person with an agent is working.  That should tell you something else.  With the obvious exception of having talent for them to market, the relationship you have with good recruiters can make the difference between getting your foot in the door and having it slammed in your face. Plus, their wide array of knowledge about the job market will help them to better see how your skills can be transferred.
  3. Spend time on your online profiles.By building a complete online profile, you are giving employers the opportunity to see you multi-dimensionally.  Sites like Linkedin allow you to attach blog posting, slide presentations, and book lists so that visitors can get a clearer sense of who you are and what you have to offer an organization.
  4. Volunteer to work on projects. You know you can do the work.  You just need your chance to prove it. Well, you can always do it for free.  This way everybody wins.  You get the experience and the person or organization that you  volunteer for gets a product or service that they are in need of for a price that they can afford.  Everyone wins.

These are just a few ways that you can discover, apply, and market your transferable skills.  Just remember that any action that you have mastered can be repurposed or reapplied to meet other needs.  Your task is to figure out how.  Good luck.

Listen Attentively Respond Accordingly (LARA)

Posted in Communication, Interviewing, Job Search, Networking, Personal Brand, Social Media, Uncategorized on September 8, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Do you hear what I am saying?

Are you hearing what I am saying?

We are trying to start a new job search acronym that we hope goes viral and transforms interview rooms across America and maybe the world.  That acronym is LARA.  It stands for Listen Attentively Respond Accordingly and you can say you heard it hear first–unless you’ve heard it elsewhere.  If you did, please let me know because I googled it and was shocked not to find it somewhere in the first five pages.

I’m shocked because with all of the job tips out there, I believe that this one should be at the forefront of every candidate’s mind when they sit down for an interview.  After all, we are supposed to be in the age of communication.  We have all of the tools necessary to deliver a message, but they’re  all pointless if they are not received and no feedback is given.  Keeping LARA in mind can help prevent that.  Try it and see.

The next time you’re in a conversation make sure you’re doing your best to really listen to what the other person is saying.  If you’re not clear, ask for clarification and then respond to them in a way that conveys that you understood them and have given your answer some thought.  If this isn’t a common practice, you will notice immediate differences in people’s responses toward you.  You may also notice that there are a lot more barriers to communication than you may have been aware of previously.

The number one barrier you should be mindful of is assumptions.  As noted in the Breaking Down Barriers… article by  Aysha Schurman, “Effective communication can never take place if someone is busy making assumptions.”  However, there is a catch 22 when it comes to job interviews.  After all, a job interview is generally nothing less than a conversation based entirely on assumptions with the job description serving as an assumption checklist.  As a result, by not employing LARA, there can be an increased likelihood of miscommunications.  As a job seeker trying to get noticed and get hired, it usually falls on you to reposition the conversation so that your interviewer sees beyond the job description. Here are a few ways to do that:

  1. Address the major assumptions up front.  This creates a space for LARA to be effective.  Until they are addressed, assumptions will prevent meaningful value-added conversation from taking place.
  2. Introduce new information into the dialogue.  This gives everyone involved something to move on to after the “assumption checklist” is completed.
  3. Create your own assumptions with a well managed social media presence. If your profiles are reviewed, you can almost guarantee that your interview will be personalized rather than a standard plug and play format. (To learn more attend our free upcoming webinar.)
  4. Develop well thought out, open-ended questions that address the organization’s future in their industry. This is your chance to be the interviewer and demonstrate your ability to think strategically. This is LARA’s place in the sun. If you ask questions they never considered, they just may have to hire you to come up with an answer.

When it’s all said and done, full communication does not occur until what has been transmitted is received and confirmed through feedback.  Consider LARA to be the operator in this scenario.  As all of us have undoubtedly experienced–in job interviews and in life–there are times when what you believe you are saying is not what the recipient hears.   By employing LARA you can take command of the conversations you participate in and keep them on track.

What Goes Around

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Networking, Small Acts of Recovery, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 31, 2009 by therooflesschurch

Recruitment Cycle

In a market where 5 people are going after one job and consumer confidence continues to seesaw, achieving stability is going to take a little assistance from a lot of people.  As a result organizations like jobangels have emerged in response to this need.  Their organization has grown tremendously in a very short amount of time because they realize that–like the recruitment cycle shows–what goes around comes around.

Working in the recruitment field we get to see a lot  that people on the job market don’t get to see. And because JCSI’s operational structure is set up differently than most companies in our industry, we very often get to see more of the innerworkings of our client’s recruitment process than some of our contemporaries might.  When we partner with companies on a particular project, there are two things a candidate will know for certain.

  1. The company that hired us is commited to finding someone to join their team within a certain window.
  2. When you speak to someone from JCSI, we are contacting you on the direct authority of the client. (i.e. connecting with us is connecting with the client when we approach you about an opportunity)

This is important information if you are visiting this blog for job search insights because much of the information we provide here, in our webinars,  and other media is not simply an observation of the job market at hand.  Much of what we offer here is based on the continual feedback we receive from the clients we serve.  They tell us what they are looking for and we share that knowledge with the people we speak with and the visitors to our different sites and networks.

When times get tough, we know that small acts can go along way.  You never know when just one sentence, post, or tweet can make the difference in how someone approaches their job search or an interview.  They may not even remember where they picked it up, but it’s great to think that something we offer to the people we connect with may make the difference in whether they land that next position or not.

We consider these Small Acts of Recovery and it’s something everyone can contribute to.  It’s what makes social media the information powerhouse that it is.  People sharing what they know for the benefit of their friends, followers, and connections.  So if you have a Small Act of Recovery you’d like to share, we’d like to hear from you.  Just tweet us at @careerassist and include the tag #smallacts or visit the JCSI facebook page to share your thoughts.

Get Noticed, Get Hired

Posted in Hiring Trends, Job Search, Personal Brand, Social Media, Uncategorized on August 26, 2009 by jcsicareerassist
Has anyone seen a Granny Smith aple around?

Has anyone seen a Granny Smith apple around?

Saying that the job market has changed is an understatement.  Everyday we talk to people who have come up short using the tried and true methods of ten years ago.  Meanwhile success stories continue to emerge about people tweeting their way to their dream job or being discovered on their blog.  Now of course this won’t be everyone’s experience, but there is a reason why this is becoming a growing phenomenon.  These people have figured out that the people who get noticed are the ones who get hired.

Of course, there are lots of ways to get noticed and not all of them will land you a job.  Some of them may land you somewhere else.  But that is not what we are working toward.  So we are going to talk about how to get noticed in the ways that provide positive results and why it’s your job to make yourself known.

Let’s look at the picture of the apples above for example.  You see very clearly that in that whole pile there is only one Granny Smith apple.  Why?  Because it is at the top.  Now imagine if that same Granny Smith was at the bottom of the pile where it could not be seen.  If you were that apple, is that where you would want to be?  Our point exactly.  There are so many people on the job market that have exactly what employers are looking for, but they are hidden.  They are buried beneath so many other applicants, that the recruiters and hiring managers are looking right past them.

Did you know that a poll was taken on the biggest frustration of job seekers and it wasn’t that their weren’t enough jobs?  It was the lack of response they get from employers.  They aren’t getting noticed and it is disappointing.  However, you have to imagine that if there are hundreds of people applying for the same job, it can be very easy to get lost in the crowd if your application looks just like everyone else’s.

So if you want to stand out in this job market you are going to have to learn to:

  • See yourself through the eyes of a hiring manager
  • Overcome limiting beliefs that keep you invisible
  • Integrate your online and real world presence for maximum exposure
  • Add value to those following, friending, or visiting your profile
  • Build a whole person image of what you have to offer

Of course we can’t go over all of these points in one blog posting, so we are offering a free webinar entitled, Get Noticed Get Hired: Presenting Yourself In a Transparent Job Market. In it, we are going to offer information on all of the topics above and explain the philosophy of why making yourself visible helps you begin working with your potential employers before a job is even posted.

As recruiters, we see both sides of the fence very clearly.  Our job is to make it easier for good people and good companies to find each other.  So keep visiting our blog to learn more about how that is done and join us on this and other webinars.  We look forward to your participation.

Catching Up In a Dynamic Job Market

Posted in Job Search, Social Media, Web 2.0 with tags , , on June 8, 2009 by jcsicareerassist

Ask anyone who was on the job market ten years ago or more and they will tell you that it’s not what it use to be.  But then again, nothing is the way it was 10 years ago.  Ten years ago there was no LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google and the only “Green” most people were thinking about was money.  But as the world became more connected and inevitably more social, changes became more transparent and we gained the ability to watch evolution occur in real time.

Instant feedback is now the norm and the “try before you buy” mentality that has entered our lives through consumer ratings sites has entered the job market.  As Dan Voelpel pointed out in his News Tribune article, “The Rules For Job Hunting Have Changed“, these days one of the first things employers do is check your LinkedIn profile to see if you have any recommendations. 

Fifteen years ago if you neglected to keep your resume up to date prior to a job search all you needed to do was spend a few days cleaning it up and start handing it out.  These days you have to think about your various profiles and web presence as well.  So the question is what do you do if you anticipate being on the job market or are already looking and have all of this “catching up” to do?

Well the obvious thing is to start today.  In spite of the initial trepidation of walking in new territory, you will quickly find that you are going to know many people participating in the social media Big 3–LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.  Lay your foundation there.  Secondly, build a framework by finding and engaging with groups that are either in your industry or share your interests.  From there, make it a part of your closing in conversations to ask if the person uses any of these networks.  Over time, you will find that connecting this way becomes as natural as using email and cell phones.

The key here is to make yourself accessible if you want to found.  We are living in a world where we’ve become very used to having information at our fingertips.  If you can’t google it, then people will assume that it probably doesn’t really exist.   As you begin your new job campaign, keep in mind that people are out here looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their challenges.  So if you have what they’re looking for, make it known.