Archive for April, 2008

Clean Up Your Digital Dirt


Photo by Bucklava

The blog, Satisfying Career – Happier Life offers some resources for those who have unsavory information in their digital footprint. According to the blog, a report in careerbuilder.com, says that hiring managers checked out job candidates online and discovered these discrepancies:

  • 31% lied about qualifications
  • 24% were linked to criminal behavior
  • 19% bad-mouthed their former company
  • 19% boasted about drinking and doing drugs
  • 15% shared confidential information from former employers
  • 11% posted provocative photographs
  • 8% used an unprofessional screen name

I’ve written before about the dangers of mixing too much personal information in your online profile that potential employers will find if they “Google” you. I’ve also suggested that you check your online profile frequently and set a “Google Alert” so you can keep up with what is posted online that is tied to your name.

Satisfying Career, Happier Life suggests these services to help control your digital dirt:

These resources may be useful, but you don’t want to be in the position of worrying about whether or not unsavory pictures or trash talking could have cost you an interview or a job. Be careful what you put online and you’ll never have to find out how well or quickly these services work!

Need a new job? Keppie Careers will write your resume and help you every step of the way.

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Seal the Deal With A Postage Stamp – Interview Thank Yous


Photo by Brian Mitchell

Forbes.com recently wrote
about how important it is
to follow up an interview
with a thank you note.

“Thank-you letters are a marketing tool just like your résumé,” says Wendy Enelow, author of The $100,000+ Job Interview: How to Nail the Interview and Get the Offer. “You’re writing the thank-you to further your candidacy.

What NOT to Say

Forbes.com cautions, “Never say something like, ‘I don’t know if I made that point clear. Here’s what I meant…’ Instead, state your points without hesitation…Also, instead of saying, ‘I think I’d be perfect for the job,’ write, “I really appreciated meeting you and the time you spent with me. I’m really excited about the position.”

Snail or Email?  Hand Written or Typed?

The article discusses the all important topic: email or snail mail?  If it’s a snail, should it be hand written or typed?

I like to tell my clients that a snail mail note, sent immediately after the interview, is key.  It’s okay to send a well thought out email, but following up with a hand delivered or snail mailed (as in, with an actual stamp) note helps make it more likely that your note (or notes, if there were multiple interviewers) will actually be seen and possibly added to your file.

I’m also a big fan of a typed note.  I think that it is possible in a typed note to ensure that what you write is actually reviewed.  The note is a great opportunity for you to indicate your strong interest in the job and to review issues from the interview.

The article quotes Cynthia Shapiro, a former recruiter and author of What Does Somebody Have to Do to Get a Job Around Here?, as advocating for a hand-written note:  “People get 500 emails a day. Writing an old-fashioned note is so rare today and will stand out.”  So, if you are a big fan of hand-written correspondence, be sure to write the same type of in-depth letter that you might write if you typed it.  Writing a quick, “Thank you for interviewing me” on a note card probably isn’t going to win you many points.

Summary

So, thank the interviewer (with a separate and personalized note to each), re-emphasize where your skills intersect with their needs and how you can solve their problems.  Remind them why you are best for the job and re-express your strong interest.  Proof and double-proof your note for typos or errors and recognize that by sending a note, you are helping yourself stand above the rest of the candidates who are too busy to follow through!

Need help with your job search correspondence?  Keppie Careers will write cover letters and thank you notes.  Contact us:  results@keppiecareers.com

Dilbert Goes “2.0” the People

Photo by Fcobos

I thought I’d start out the week
with a fun post:

Jobacle shared the news that Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, is taking Dilbert to the people!

Individuals and groups will be able to “mash up” Adams’ popular cartoon.

Jobacle describes the three choices readers will have:

Punch line: fans can rewrite the final frame of a daily strip.

My Dilbert (coming in May): fans will be able to rewrite the entire strip.

Group Mash (coming in May): fans will be able to rewrite one panel, with the ability to share with other users and have them write the rest. Scott Adams will participate by authoring random frames with his audience and looking to see whether strips can be developed successfully by groups.

Details at http://www.dilbert.com

Sounds like a lot of fun, but be careful where you post your masterpieces!

Your boss belongs in a Dilbert cartoon? TIme for a new job. Keppie Careers will get you ready with a new resume and a new approach: www.keppiecareers.com.

Face-to-Face Networking for the Introvert: Tips for Success


Photo by Donna Cymek

Since I’ve been writing about online networking this week, it seems fitting to end the week with a jump back to the personal: in-person networking! Be sure to read my earlier blog: Networking Obstacles and Shy Networkers as background information for these tips. These points are courtesy of Angela Marino, whose blog is Girl Meets Business (commentary is my own):

Suggestions to Help You Work a Room

Use the buddy system
It’s not a bad idea to bring a friend to a networking event, as long as you don’t rely on the friend too much. Personally, I like to go to these kind of events on my own. That way, I can come and go as I please and talk to people without anyone I know watching me!

Attend a sit down event
While this type of set up eliminates the problem of having to randomly approach people who are standing up, the downside is that you may be stuck at an undesirable table. Maybe the people aren’t interested in you, or you in them. It is a good exercise in small talk to sit next to someone for a meal. Think of it as good practice, and you may get lucky and meet a great contact.

Give People Something to Talk About: Wear Something Memorable (Hat tip: Kate @ Defending Pandora.)
It can’t hurt to wear a great pin or scarf or special tie. Be careful not to be the one everyone remembers for what you wear, though! Especially if it is a conservative group, be sure your choices are interesting enough to be noticed, but not outlandish.

Get a drink
If everyone else is eating and drinking, holding a glass may make you feel more a part of the evening and give you something to do in-between talking to people. Stopping at the bar also gives you an opportunity to talk to people.

Find someone alone
You know there are a lot of other people who hate to “work a room.” They are probably standing alone, with a drink in their hand, wishing the whole thing was over! Go up to them and say hello! You may find a kindred spirit and maybe a new networking friend.

Hang out by the food line
Everyone has something to say about food! “How’s the dip?…Don’t those cookies look delicious?” You get the idea!

Don’t dominate one person
Angela notes that “Introverts enjoy deep conversations, not small talk.” If you do have the opportunity to get involved in a conversation with someone, make sure that you are mindful of their body language to know when it is time to move on. Most people attend networking events to circulate and touch base with a lot of people, so be sure you don’t keep someone hostage talking to you!

Take breaks
Retire to the restroom or step outside of the room to recharge. Remember that the event will be over soon, and that, even if you consider yourself an introvert, you can still act extroverted. The more practice you have, the easier it will get.

Congratulate yourself on your accomplishments, and think about how you can work the room even better next time!

Keppie Careers will help you learn how to network, online and in-person and prepare you for your job hunt! Need a great resume? Help with a cover letter? www.keppiecareers.com

Conquer Online Networking


Photo by Kmevans

I had the opportunity to attend a presentation by Ellen Sautter and Diane Crompton, co-authors of the book, Seven Days to Online Networking being released by JIST publishers next month.

Ellen and Diane spoke about the importance of using the internet to help promote and define your personal brand – they referred to your “electronic footprint.” This seems to be my week to write about the importance of keeping up appearances online and using your social networks for job searching.

Regular readers know how much I love referencing other authorities who agree with me! This presentation was a great reminder of the importance of creating and maintaining your online identity. I thought I’d share some insights from the presentation for job seekers and everyone else hoping to take advantage of cyber-connecting.

Ellen and Diane note (and I agree) that online networking does not replace face-to-face contact. Combine the two for the most impact.

Have a strong profile or bio to use online. Keppie Careers will be happy to help you write, revise or proof your profile to make sure that you are presenting the most professional image possible. Nothing screams careless more than a typo or grammatical error on a standard bio. Email: results@keppiecareers.com for more information.

Ellen and Diane point out that it’s important to have networking goals. They suggest keeping a “networking tool kit” that includes:

  • Frequently used links
  • URLs of all of your profiles and sites where you are a member
  • Links to your articles and press
  • Email signatures
  • Photos/headshots
  • Various versions of your bio
  • Profile information (what you offer and what you seek)
  • Accomplishment statements, elevator pitch, etc.

Remember to Google yourself. (In fact, set a google alert to alert you when your name or business is indexed. This is a great way to know if other people are mentioning you on their websites or blogs.) Ellen and Diane suggest checking up on your online identity on a regular basis, even weekly.

Enhance and maintain your profiles. A tip from Ellen and Diane: Review other linkedin profiles from people in your industry to get ideas of keywords and buzz words. Incorporate language that makes sense for your profile.

Keep an eye on this blog for ongoing tips and tricks for improving your online and in-person networking efforts!

Keppie Careers will teach you how to network! www.keppiecareers.com

Keppie Careers – A Head Above the Rest: Encouraging, Enlightening and Empowering Job Seekers for Success!

Do You Need More Reasons to Enhance Your Online Profile?


Photo by Turbo

Because every “bunny’s” doing it?  I couldn’t resist the pun when I found this image on flikr…In all seriousness, I read yet another reason to update your linkedin profile and focus on your social network…

Yesterday, my cyber-friend, Chris Russel at Secrets of the Job Hunt, blogged about a recent survey developed by Robert Half International. An independent research firm interviewed 150 senior executives from the nation’s 1,000 largest companies.  They asked executives:
“Which of the following technology tools do you believe will be most useful in your firm’s recruiting efforts in the next three years?”
The responses:
Professional networking sites (such as Linkedin)………….62%
Social networking sites (such as Facebook or MySpace )……………….35%
Video resumes………………………..20%
Second Life…………………………..7%
None of these………………………..15%
Other/don’t know……………………. 10%
* Multiple responses were allowed.
(For the record, both Chris and I were surprised at the 20% figure for video resumes, as our experience is that they are not widely used.)

Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International and author of Job Hunting For Dummies, noted,

“Tried-and-true methods such as networking at industry events, submitting well-written resumes and cover letters and diligently following up with hiring managers are still essential to landing the ideal job…Combining personal and online networking offers the best of both worlds.”

I love to quote experts who agree with advice I’ve been giving for years!

Follow this link for tips to get your social network going.
For suggestions to improve your linkedin profile, click here.
Follow this link to read our advice regarding networking in general.

Keppie Careers will help you enhance your linkedin.com profile.  Email us at results@keppiecareers.com for more information about our high quality, affordable services. 

10 Reasons Your Job Hunt May Last Too Long


Photo by Aaron Edwards

I came across information about a book by Tony Beshara, The Job Search Solution: The Ultimate System for Finding a Great Job Now! While the book came out in 2006, I thought several of the main points suggesting why you may be having trouble with your job search are relevant for job seekers today. (Points are from Beshara’s book, commentary is my own.)

1. You’re not making finding a job a job itself. Focus, schedule your time and make a committment to finding a job. It isn’t going to just happen on its own.

2. You haven’t developed a system of finding a job. Set goals. Make plans. Follow through. Network.

3. You have an unrealistic idea about the market for your skills. Recognize that there is no perfect job.

4. You aren’t acknowledging the psychological and emotional stress that changing jobs entails. Looking for work can be stressful. Seek support from friends, family or a group. Consider hiring a career coach to guide you 🙂

5. You ignore small businesses. Most people work for small companies. Don’t overlook these potential employers.

6. You don’t recognize the importance of the face-to-face interview. A great resume will get you an interview, but the interview is what will get you the job.

7. You don’t prepare well for interviews. This is a big problem for job seekers and employers. Be prepared and don’t waste an opportunity in front of a decision maker.

8. You’re not selling yourself. It is up to you to let the employer know why you are the one for the job.

9. You have the attitude, “What can you do for me?” Develop your “hire me” strategy around the employer’s needs. They don’t really care what you want them to do for you – explain what you offer the employer for results.

10. You give poor reasons for leaving your job. Be positive and honest, but don’t dwell on the past. Emphasize your future plans as they relate to the potential employer.

If your job hunt is going on too long, consider seeking help. A professionally written resume will save you time and money. Keppie Careers is here to help! www.keppiecareers.com


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