Sunday, April 29, 2007

Facebook - Not Just for College Kids

According to a recent article in Fast Company, Facebook members are not just college students anymore. Three million of their users are between the ages of 25 and 34. 380,000 are between 35 and 44, 310,000 are between 45 and 63, and 100,000 are 64 and older. In addition, Facebook features a number of employee networks including CNN, Ernst & Young, IBM, and Time Inc.

Consider diversifying your on-line networking presence to create visibility for your candidacy in a variety of on-line communities. Sites liked LinkedIn and Ecademy are fantastic for business networking, but they are not the only game in town. While many social networking sites have a certain "niche"-ability, employers are finding ways to break into a variety of social and business networking spaces to source the best of the baby boomer, gen X and gen Y talent.

Break out of your on-line comfort zone and experiment with the multitude of networking sites on-line. You will quickly expand your network, strengthen your personal brand, and accelerate your connections into new communities.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

25 Top Career Portals

In the recent CareerXroads' Candidate Experience White Paper, Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler look at the career portals of the Fortune Top 500 companies and rate them based on their ability to attract talent and showcase their employer brand. Out of the 500 company career portals reviewed, the white paper states that less than 20% create an outstanding experience for someone seeking information on career opportunities with the company.

The best sites answer these critical questions for job seekers...
  1. Are you looking for me?
  2. Why should I come here?
  3. Why should I stay?
  4. Is this information believable?
  5. Will you keep me informed of my candidate status or other appropriate opportunities?
Here are the CareerXroads top 25:
  1. Agilent
  2. Bank of America
  3. Bell South
  4. CH Robinson
  5. Capital One
  6. Federated
  7. Ford
  8. GE
  9. General Mills
  10. Goldman Sachs
  11. HCA
  12. Intel
  13. Kodak
  14. Lily
  15. Merck
  16. Microsoft
  17. Morgan Stanley
  18. Proctor & Gamble
  19. Sherwin Williams
  20. Southwest Airlines
  21. Starbucks
  22. Target
  23. Texas Instruments
  24. Whirlpool
  25. Xerox

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Down and Dirty

Recently a colleague of mine was recruiting for a fairly entry level supervisor role managing a team of telemarketers. After reviewing the resumes, only one stood out and my colleague was seriously considering bringing the candidate in for an interview even though he currently lives hundreds of miles away in another city.

Since she could tell from the experience level on the resume that the candidate was fairly young, she decided to conduct a Google search on the candidate, assuming he probably had some sort of on-line presence. Despite the fact that the candidate had a very common name, she was able to quickly locate his MySpace page. What she found there was less than flattering. The page was filled with several derogatory comments towards women and accounts of recent drinking escapades. My colleague never called the candidate in for an interview.

I recognize that living your life out in front of people is part of the Millennium culture. Maybe the culprit is You Tube or reality TV. But how will young job seekers cope with an interview where the goal is to maximize accomplishments and minimize blemishes? How will their MySpace page reflect on them if a hiring authority chooses to conduct an on-line search?

If you find that your job search is compromised by a questionable on-line persona, there are tools available to help. Ziggs, ClaimID, Ziki, Naymz, and Zoom Info help people manage their on-line presence by creating new, cleaner listings that can overcome the positioning of the less flattering ones . But since it's probably easier to remove a tattoo than to clean up a damaged on-line identity, make every effort now to proactively manage your on-line identity and keep it dirt-free.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Free Interview Guide

I recently partnered with some of the most well-regarded career coaches in the industry on our third Career Hub eBook, "Insider's Guide to Interviewing". This book and our two previous titles, "Insider's Guide to Resume Writing" and "Insider's Guide to Job Search" are available for free download

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Show Me the Money!

Penelope Trunk of the Brazen Careerist has a very informative post on ways to get a raise. Here are a few of my own ideas for getting noticed and getting more money from an employer.

Document your accomplishments regularly throughout the year
Keep track of all the projects you manage. Upon completion of each assignment, write a note to yourself detailing your contribution and how your efforts helped the company make money, save money, save time, grow the business, or retain customers. Quantify your accomplishments with dollars, percentages, and other appropriate metrics. Actively seek out opportunities to improve efficiencies and profits regardless of the task at hand. By showing and quantifying your specific value add, you build a better business case to support the requested salary increase.

Become hard to replace
Create opportunities to diversify your experience by offering to learn how to perform tasks that support your main role and make you more efficient at what you do. An alternative strategy is to become a subject matter expert in one specific aspect of the job so you are seen as the "go-to-guy" for a particular type of information. No want wants to lose the "go-to-guy" because then they have to do it themselves.

Take on tasks that no one else wants to do
This does not mean taking on grunt work. It might just mean mastering a new technology that no one else feels comfortable with or taking on an assignment that is outside of the traditional scope of the job. Employees who demonstrate this level of flexibility tend to get more flexibility from their bosses on other issues, including compensation.

Accept high profile assignments close to review time
Since it is easier for people to remember what has happened most recently, why not take on an important assignment to coincide with an upcoming review? The project is bound to become a focal point of the performance review discussion and the boss can quickly remember and document the acheivements relevant to the project.

Your success negotiating a salary increase or promotion hinges on your ability to discuss the increase in terms of what is fair and reasonable. By including some of these ideas into your career management strategy, you can keep the conversation focused on measureable achievements and build a compelling business case for the requested pay raise.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Five Reasons to Send Thank You Letters After an Interview

Thank you letters are an excellent self-marketing tool and a critical component of your job search strategy. The time spent crafting a targeted thank you letter after an interview will be well spent and can contribute to a more credible and efficient search. Here's why.

A thank you letter creates an opportunity to reconnect with employers.

Chances are you are one of many candidates being interviewed for an open position. Writing a follow up letter allows you to build a relationship with the interviewer and develop rapport. By expressing your gratitude for the interview and recapping the highlights of the meeting, you revisit the reasons you believe there is an appropriate fit between you and the organization.

Following up keeps your candidacy “top of mind”.

Often candidates make the mistake of putting too much control in the interviewer’s hands. They believe that if they are the best candidate, the interviewer will remember them and keep them in the loop regarding the selection process. But this is often not the case. It’s critical that candidates remind prospective employers of their interest in a position and the thank you letter is the perfect vehicle for communicating this.

Written correspondence allows you to sell your strengths again.

While part of the reason for the thank you letter is to express gratitude for the meeting, the document serves a much more strategic purpose. It provides an opportunity for the candidate to repackage their skills and accomplishments into another format and market their value added to the employer.

The document enables you to address points you neglected to discuss during the interview.

Many candidates report that after they leave the interview they think of all the other things they could have said during the meeting. Rather than labeling this a liability, turn it into an asset by discussing these points in the thank you letter and remind the reader of your ability to produce similar results for their organization.

A letter helps develop rapport and increases employer’s comfort level with your candidacy.

A good strategy is to recap a part of the conversation where you and the interviewer shared similar views on a job-related topic. The thank you letter can also be a forum for demonstrating your consultative problem solving skills. By addressing current issues the employer is facing and proposing solutions, you are contributing to the company’s success even before you are on board.

Thank you letters continue to be an important component of a successful job search campaign. But the focus has shifted from a simple courtesy and show of appreciation to a targeted self-marketing tool. By creating letters that validate your candidacy, build rapport, and remind the reader of your value added, you can significantly influence potential employers and increase your chances for subsequent interviews.

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