How to protect your info on LinkedIn
Normally, when you are setting up your LinkedIn privacy settings, you’re selecting the audience you want to be able to see your LinkedIn profile. But there is one new LinkedIn setting that you will want to select to ensure that LinkedIn doesn’t share your content.
When Microsoft purchased LinkedIn in 2016, the integration of the social media platform with Microsoft’s products was alluded to in the announcement. In an internal memo published on TechCrunch.com, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner identified some specific areas where the two companies would work together. These included:
With the announcement of a new Microsoft Word feature called “Resume Assistant,” that integration is becoming even more apparent. When this feature is enabled, it shows what other people in similar roles say about themselves in their LinkedIn profiles, allowing users of the word processing software to incorporate that content directly into the résumé they are creating for themselves.
While it has always been possible to view profiles of individuals in similar roles for inspiration when constructing your résumé, LinkedIn Headline, and profile content, this new feature allows users to directly copy content from other peoples’ LinkedIn profiles. And, in fact, it is encouraged by Microsoft/LinkedIn.
Fortunately, with the introduction of this new feature, LinkedIn has also recently added a new privacy setting to allow you to omit your LinkedIn profile from showing up in Microsoft Word’s Resume Assistant. Disabling the sharing function makes it harder for others to “plagiarize” your LinkedIn content — whether you wrote it yourself, or had assistance from a professional résumé writer.
One of the best things you can do to keep your content from being plagiarized is to make it uniquely about you and branding yourself so distinctively that your content couldn’t possibly be used to describe anyone else but you!
Step 01: Click “Me” on Your LinkedIn Profile
Step 02: Find “Settings & Privacy”
Click “Settings & Privacy.”
Step 03: Click “Privacy”
Step 04: Scroll Down to “Data Privacy and Advertising” Section
Step 05: Click on Microsoft Word
The default setting is “Yes” — “Allow Microsoft Word to display work experience descriptions from your profile to users of Resume Assistant.”
Step 06: Slide From the Default “Yes” to “No”
Changing the setting to “No” keeps LinkedIn from sharing your descriptions with Microsoft Word users.
Step 07: Resume Assistant Integration
Here is LinkedIn’s explanation of the Resume Assistant integration.
One of the best things you can do to keep your content from being plagiarized is to make it uniquely about you — branding yourself so distinctively that your content couldn’t possibly be used to describe anyone else but you!
Step 08: Changing This Setting in the LinkedIn Mobile App
You can also change this setting in the LinkedIn mobile app.
In the app, go to the “Settings” gear in the upper right-hand corner and click “Privacy.” Scroll down to “Microsoft Word” and display the setting. Change the slider to “No.” Resume Assistant is a new feature that is only available to Office 365 subscribers who are part of the “Office Insider” program. Resume Assistant pulls suggested skills and work experience descriptions from LinkedIn profiles when the Resume Assistant setting is set to “Yes.”
Job search strategies to find your second job ever
It’s rare these days, but there are some individuals who have spent their entire career working for one employer. While you think that would be sign of reliability and dedication, many hiring executives have mixed opinions about such candidates.
Dispel their doubts by tweaking your resume and approach.
Modifying your resume
Diversifying Your Experience
How to network effectively at social events
When you meet a potential contact at a business event, you know what to do. You deliver your elevator pitch and set up a time to talk more. However, when you run into someone interesting at a social gathering, things can become more complicated.
While funerals and 12-step meetings are awkward places to do business, there are plenty of occasions that fall somewhere in between. How can you take advantage of opportunities at parties or your child’s baseball game without coming across as being too pushy?
Discover the secret to networking at social events. Use these tips to make connections that will help you to advance your career.
Networking means helping others
Networking means following-up
Other Tips for Networking at Social Events:
Strengthen your network by learning how to use social events to build relationships. You’ll be helping yourself and others as long as you take a genuine and generous approach.
Five ways to assess a new job offer
Is it really "Time for a change"?
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to a 50-year low in September 2018, making candidates more desirable than ever. Maybe you’ve been thinking it’s time for a change. You wouldn’t be alone.
According to Ceridian’s 2018-19 Pulse of Talent report, 37 percent of respondents are looking for a new job — either actively pursuing new opportunities (20 percent) or casually seeking a new position (17 percent).
Maybe you were passed over for a promotion, or are having trouble getting along with a new boss. The easy answer would be to just quit, but it’s probably not the right answer.
When you see someone quit their job in dramatic fashion, that may look like fun (especially after a bad day at work), but there are many reasons why that’s not a good idea.
An Addison Group 2019 Workplace Satisfaction Survey of 1,000 jobseekers found 79 percent of respondents say they are likely — or very likely — to look for a new job after a single bad day at work.
One of the top reasons why that may not be the right choice is that “unemployment discrimination” is a real thing. Both research and anecdotal evidence have found it’s harder to find a job when you’re unemployed than if you’re job searching while you’ve got a job.
One recent survey measured the difference. According to “The Science of the Job Search (2018)” survey by TalentWorks, “People who showed they were currently employed (even if creatively) saw a 149% hireability boost compared to their previously-fired or laid-off competitors.”
“Creatively” demonstrating current employment can be anything from continuing to show the work experience as “To Present” on a résumé or LinkedIn profile even after leaving a job to listing a “consulting business” as interim employment.
But when a hiring manager looks at your résumé — in particular, at your most recent positions — he or she likely won’t know if you’re not there because you were fired, laid off, or you quit.
Quitting can negatively impact your chances of getting hired. And it’s not just about quitting your job — it can be about quitting your job too soon (or looking for another job too soon).
The need to demonstrate current employment is particularly important if you haven’t been at your most recent job for very long.
According to the TalentWorks research, “People whose shortest job was 9+ months were 85 percent more hireable than people whose shortest job was 8 months or less.”
Furthermore, TalentWorks found that you are more hireable for your next job if you are at your current job for 18 months or longer.
If you did quit your job, you had better be ready to answer the question in an interview about why you left your most recent position.
That’s if you get the chance to interview at all. Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for reasons to narrow down the pool of candidates they will interview. It may be worth your while to address the reason for your departure in a cover letter accompanying the résumé, because leaving that question unanswered may result in your application being discarded in the initial screening process.
Why People Quit Their Job
There are many reasons to think about making a change. The Pulse of Talent survey found the top five reasons for quitting include:
Nearly a third of employees in the same survey said they would need to leave their current position to move forward in their career.
All of these are “valid” reasons to pursue a job change, but they are not a reason to necessarily quit a job before lining up another one.
Reasons to Look for a New Job While You’re Still Employed
When you’re employed and looking for a new position, not only will recruiters and hiring managers be more inclined to interview you, but you’ll also have more money to invest in your job search. Being unemployed can be expensive!
The average job search is 13 weeks, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Could you afford to go without a paycheck for that long?
Networking takes time, as does applying for positions. You may have to wait a month for the application window to close, and candidates to interview to be selected. It can take 1-2 weeks after that to even get an interview scheduled, and the hiring decision may not be made for a couple days or weeks after that. Even if you’re available to start immediately, the company may require drug testing or have other pre-employment tasks that can lengthen the time before you actually start the job.
On the other hand, conducting a confidential job search while you’re still employed gives you time to prepare the tools required to support your job search. Having a résumé or professional LinkedIn profile professionally prepared can take 2-3 weeks.
Instead of simply quitting, you can also prepare yourself for a career move. Rather than quit right now, you might stick it out for six months, using that time to get yourself ready for the next opportunity. For example, taking classes or pursuing a certification that will better prepare you for your next job, or starting a side hustle (that might grow into a full-time opportunity in time).
Also, you want to make sure that you’re not running away from something as much as you are running towards something better. Spend some time thinking about what you do want to do next and why this particular job wasn’t a good fit.
If you’re looking to change careers, lining up your next job before quitting is even more important. Switching careers itself is more difficult than finding a job in the same industry, and adding unemployment to that equation can make the job search process take even longer.
The Costs of Unemployment
In addition to the time you’ll spend unemployed, there’s the potential costs of being unemployed. When you quit your job, you may lose benefits that will affect you financially. For example, if you need COBRA to continue to have health insurance coverage, that can be expensive. (COBRA is the temporary medical insurance named for the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the federal law that gives people who have lost employer-sponsored health coverage the right to continue their coverage, at their own expense, for at least 18 months. However, the insured is responsible for 100 percent of the insurance premium — plus up to 2 percent for administrative costs — not just the amount you were paying as an employee.)
If you quit your job, you likely will not be able to collect unemployment benefits. So even if you think you are going to get fired, it may be better to let that happen. If you are laid off or fired, you may also get severance pay or access to outplacement services.
In general, you can only collect unemployment benefits after quitting if you have “good cause” — for example, due to an unsafe work environment, or if you weren’t being paid as promised, or if you were subject to harassment or discrimination. You can check with your state’s unemployment office before quitting to determine if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. It may also be wise to talk with an employment attorney to be sure.
Why You May Need To Quit
Now, there may be some valid reasons why you may need — or want to — quit your job immediately.
These can include:
Can I Just Quit?
The answer is probably yes, depending on where you work. In the United States, all states are formally recognized as “at-will” employment states, meaning the employee can be dismissed by an employer for any reason without “just cause” and without warning, as long as the reason is not illegal. Some states also place limitations on at-will employment, which is more for the employee’s protection in the event of being fired or laid off.
Employees not covered by an employment contract are employed “at will,” meaning neither you nor the employer need to provide notice prior to ending the employment.
If you have an employment agreement, read it carefully to find out how you need to turn in your resignation. Do you need to provide two weeks’ notice? Do you need to provide notice in writing? Make sure you are following the process outlined in the contract.
It’s always a good idea to offer two weeks’ notice to your employer — if you can — even if they turn you down and have you leave immediately. Keep in mind if you quit without giving notice, you are likely burning a bridge with that employer that will lead to negative reference checks in the future.
Prepare To Quit
If you are going to quit your job, do everything you can to prepare yourself ahead of time:
One advantage of quitting your job is that you will have more time to spend on the job search, especially time to interview and network. Looking for a new job has often been compared to taking on a part-time job because of the time and energy required.
A job change may be in your (immediate) future. But don’t act without thinking or planning your next move — especially if you want to make a change in reaction to a bad day, being overlooked for a promotion, or because of a disagreement with a co-worker or manager.
I can't find a job... What should I do?
Where are you lost or stuck in your job search? This guide is a self-assessment exercise combined with practical tips to help you get unstuck and move forward towards landing your dream job.
There are plenty of smart, successful people who struggle with finding jobs and/or a satisfying career. Why is this? Many times, they don’t know how to look for work. Most people have never been taught how to find a new job. So they do the things that they “think” they should do — applying for positions online, posting their résumé on job boards, and even creating a LinkedIn profile (even if they’re not sure what to do with it). But when they don’t get the results they want, they get stuck. With no immediate results, it’s easy to get frustrated. Many times, they won’t hear anything back at all from their applications, so they’re not sure how to move forward.
Before we look at the reasons why you might be lost or stuck, ask yourself some “bigger picture” questions:
People who are most successful in finding — and landing — the job they want have several things in common:
If your job search isn’t working, it’s time to do something different. Treat your job search as a project, with defined objectives, an action plan, and a timeline. Ask someone you trust (a spouse, friend, another jobseeker, or a career coach or counselor) to be your accountability partner — someone who will support, encourage, and motivate you in your job search.
The first step is to figure out where you’re stuck.
There are several areas where you might be having difficulty. If you are having trouble in more than one area, start with first reason and “fix” that before you move on to the next area.
Don’t Know What You Want?
Stop and Engage in Self-Examination. A successful job search requires that you identify and articulate your “career vision” — the type of work environment, location and lifestyle, and job you want — so that when you look for potential job opportunities, you can see if it will be a good fit, based on your identified values.
Author Lewis Carroll wrote, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The same is true in your job search. People who say, “I just want a job, any job” will actually have a harder time finding a job than someone who knows what they want!
With that in mind:
2. What am I not so good at?
3. What do I like doing?
4. What skills do I need to update in order to stay current?
2. Save money.
3. Save time.
4. Make work easier.
5. Solve a specific problem.
6. Be more competitive.
7. Build relationship / an image.
8. Expand business.
9. Attract new customers.
10. Retain existing customers.
Think about how you’re able to help an employer meet these “employer buying motivators.” Once you’re able to define who you are and who you want to work for, then move on to the next step.
Not Getting Interviews? Re-Examine Your Résumé
A professionally written résumé is ideally suited for one particular job target. This may be a specific job title (“administrative assistant”) or several jobs that are similarly suited — for example, senior accountant/finance manager/chief financial officer. If you’re not getting calls for interviews, your résumé may be the issue.
Take a look at your résumé:
If you wrote the résumé yourself — or had a friend or relative write it — consider having it reviewed by a professional résumé writer who can give you objective advice about whether it meets today’s standards for an interview-ready résumé. The process of having your résumé written by a professional résumé writer can be eye-opening. Most résumé writers will work with you to identify your “personal brand” (what makes you unique as a jobseeker) and collect strong accomplishments that will help define how you can be an asset to your next employer as part of the résumé development process.
If it’s not the résumé or job target, it may be your job search tactics. One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
That leads to the next area where you may be stuck.
Assess How You’re Conducting Your Job Search
Once you have your résumé and cover letter, the next step is to get them in the hands of a decision-maker who has the authority to interview you — and, hopefully, offer you the job (or at least advance your job search).
There are five major ways to search for a job.
1. Applying for Job Postings Online
This is where most jobseekers spend their time, but most people won’t find their dream job by applying for posted positions. Research suggests that only 2-4% of jobseekers land a job using Internet job boards. Most large companies receive between 200 and 10,000 résumés a month — the majority of these come from online applications for jobs they’ve posted.
There are many places where jobs are posted online. These can include the hiring company’s website or LinkedIn Company Page, niche websites (like www.Dice.com for information technology jobs, or www.JobsInLogistics.com), aggregator sites (such as www.Monster.com, www.CareerBuilder.com, or www.Indeed.com), social media (some companies will post job openings on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram), or even www.Craigslist.com.
The aggregator sites — also known as the “big boards” — aren’t as effective as they used to be. Listing fees have increased while success rates have declined. However, you shouldn’t discount them entirely. If you see a job posting on a big board, go directly to the employer’s web site and see if the position is listed there as well. By applying through the company’s web site, you’ll not only get the chance to research the company, you might be able to identify a hiring decision-maker directly. And if you are able to find the hiring manager’s name, follow up your online application with a résumé and cover letter by mail. But remember, once a position is advertised, the competition for it can be overwhelming.
2. Responding to Newspaper Ads
Most jobs posted in newspapers are for lower salary positions (under $30,000/year) but that is not always the case, so it can be worth your while to spend some of your time finding and applying for jobs you see advertised in print publications. You may find jobs advertised in your local newspaper or in a trade journal for your industry.
Newspaper advertising is expensive for employers, though, so you’ll find a lot of companies with openings aren’t advertising them in the newspaper.
However, the newspaper can be a useful tool in identifying job “leads” — companies that hire people to do the kind of job you want. You may find you get more mileage by reading the newspaper or trade journal to find companies that are expanding and growing. You’ll also find these kinds of companies profiled in the Business section of the newspaper, in magazines like Inc., Forbes, and Fortune, and in local business journals. (Locate local business journals here: http://www.bizjournals.com/).
3. Employment Agencies/Recruiters
For certain kinds of jobs, companies pay third parties (recruiters or employment agencies) to screen and recommend potential employees.
These jobs usually fall into three areas:
In exchange for finding candidates, screening them, and recommending the “best fits,” an employer will pay a fee that is usually equal to one-third of the employee’s base salary for the first year to the recruiter or employer, upon a successful hire.
The most important thing to recognize about working with recruiters is that they work for the hiring company, not for you. They only get paid if they make a successful placement. Because you’re not paying for the service, sending a résumé to one of these companies is a good idea, but it won’t always result in success — or even a return phone call.
You can find recruiters in the phone book (under “Employment Agencies”) or online. Use Google to search: Recruiter and [city name] and [job title].
Or look in the newspaper classifieds or your industry trade journal for recruiting firms advertising for candidates in your skill area. You can also connect with recruiters or employment agencies at job boards or through LinkedIn.
Remember, the employer pays the recruiter fee, so you should never be asked to pay a fee to work with a real recruiter. Don’t be fooled by people claiming to be recruiters who ask you to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to work with them.
It’s fine to work with multiple recruiters. The more recruiter contacts you have, the larger your network, and the greater the number of opportunities that will present themselves. Recruiter relationships are generally not exclusive. Start with 2-3 and expand your contacts if you’re not getting results. But be honest if you’re asked who else you are working with.
There are also variations of the employment agency you may come across. For example, if you are employed in a union trade, your union hall may function as an employment agency, offering connections to union jobs. And if you are between jobs and want to be hired as a day laborer, there are certain employment agencies that specialize in extremely short-term positions (usually one day, or a few days at a time).
And, don’t discount the resources offered by CareerOneStop (http://www.careeronestop.org/) or American Job Center (http://jobcenter.usa.gov/). Local or state employment agencies can also help connect you to employers in your area.
Networking remains one of the best job search strategies you can use to find your next job — or your dream job — but it’s probably the least understood method. Many jobseekers think networking means alerting the people you know that you want a new job. But it’s more than that. Your network is most valuable when you can ask for help in identifying job leads, obtaining information, getting advice, and/or making referrals. For example, if you want to work at a specific company, ask people in your network if they know anyone who currently works for — or used to work for — “Company X.” Then, ask for an introduction to that person, and ask them about the company, culture, and hiring practices.
It’s important to actively develop and cultivate your network. This can include: friends, relatives, parents of children’s friends, parents of your friends, relatives of your friends, club members, cousins, neighbors, your doctor, financial advisor, attorney, current and previous co-workers and managers, suppliers, professional association contacts, clients, and community contacts (civic leaders, clergy, etc.).
Here are some more opportunities to develop your network:
The single biggest mistake most jobseekers make is not asking for help from their network. People want to help you — so let them!
5. Direct Contact
Tap into the so-called “hidden job market” by using the direct contact job search method. Remember: Companies hire people to solve their problems. Use the “employer buying motivators” list from earlier in this guide to identify the specific ways you can help a prospective employer — and then don’t wait for a help wanted ad to be posted to offer your services. How do you do this? Use the other four methods for ideas:
It’s estimated that anywhere from 30 to 75 percent of jobs are not advertised. How are these positions being filled? Through networking and direct contact. How do you make direct contact? Call, use your network for an introduction, send an email, or write a targeted cover letter and send it with your résumé. You can also use résumé distribution services — like ResumeSpider or ResumeRabbit — to send unsolicited résumés to targeted contacts.
But the real key to success is following up. When using direct contact, persistence is the key!
Do your homework about companies you are interested in. Always research the company. The basic information you need is: Who to direct your résumé to within the company and whether the company has jobs (or job possibilities) that match your area of interest, education, and/or expertise. You can’t just send a general letter to “HR” or one addressed to “President, ABC Company.” You have to send it to a person. The best people to contact are managers and executives.
Every unsolicited résumé you send should be accompanied by a personalized, targeted cover letter. You are simply “spamming” potential employers when you mass mail 10, 20, or 100 résumés without researching them individually and customizing a cover letter. Even if you have the most creative résumé, without supporting documentation, you’re probably wasting your time.
Instead, take the time to develop a customized cover letter listing how your specific skills and attributes can be an asset to the company.
Next, be prepared for your job search. Make sure you keep a record of the résumés you’ve sent, using a follow-up log. When you send out a résumé, mention what your next step is — for example, “I will be contacting you within the week.” Make a note in your calendar and then follow up as promised. When you’re “spamming” employers, you lose the ability to closely follow up on the résumés you’ve sent. Ten résumés and cover letters that you follow up on are better than 100 résumés with no follow-up.
Follow up on letters by making a phone call. If you call and don’t get a response, send an email. Leverage your network to get personal introductions. Your efforts will yield interviews. You can dramatically increase your chances of being interviewed and receiving a job offer by following up with both your network and the person with the power to hire you in an effort to positively influence the selection process.
In your job search, you shouldn’t rule out any job search tactic — just consider how effective it is, and spend more of your time on high-impact tactics like networking and direct contact.
Getting Interviews, But Not Job Offers?
If you’re getting interviews, your résumé is doing its job — assuming you’re getting interviews for the types of jobs you want. But what you do before, during, and after the interview can increase your chances of getting the offer.
Before the interview, do your homework! Review the company’s website and learn more about the key personnel, the work they do, their clients, and potential areas where you might be an asset. Google the company. Look for recent news articles about the company. Review the company’s social media profiles (if they exist). Check out the company on Glassdoor.com (www.glassdoor.com) and see what current and former employees have to say. Ask your network for help learning more about the targeted company. If you know your interviewer’s name, Google that too. Check out his or her LinkedIn profile and social media accounts. And prepare a list of targeted questions to ask in the interview — 3-5 questions that demonstrate you’ve done your homework and that, when answered, will give you additional insight into the company.
In the interview, listen carefully. Your interviewer is assessing your fit with the company, but you are doing the same. You want to make sure that this job is right for you, too! (Remember, we’re looking for the “right job” not just “any job.”) Practice your interview skills too!
Be prepared to give a “closing statement.” If you’re given the opportunity in the interview, be ready to summarize (in 90 seconds or less) why you think you’d be a good fit for the position. If possible, incorporate in the additional information you’ve learned in the interview itself! Prepare the key points of this closing statement in advance, but practice it until it sounds natural, not canned or rehearsed. And before the interview ends, ask if the interviewer needs anything else from you to help with the decision — a list of references, work samples, a 30-60-90 day plan for what you’d do in the first three months on the job, etc.
And don’t forget that it’s okay to specifically express your interest in working for the company! At the end of the interview, ask what the next step is. You want to know if there is another round of interviews, and when it will begin, or when the hiring decision will be made. Ask if it’s okay to follow-up — and if they’d prefer phone or email?
Immediately after the interview, send a follow-up/thank you note. Handwritten notes are always appreciated, especially if you can mail it the same day (and the hiring timeline allows sufficient time for it to be sent and received). Otherwise, an email follow-up is fine. Express your appreciation for the opportunity to meet, reiterate your specific interest in the job and the company, and confirm the “next step” — whether that’s information you’ve promised to provide, or what you’re expecting from the interviewer.
If you don’t hear back from the interviewer in the time you expected to hear from him or her, it’s okay to follow-up. Just remember that hiring often takes much longer than expected, so don’t be a pest. Be respectful in your follow-up efforts. (“You had mentioned that you thought the second round of interviews would start this week, and I just wanted to make sure that you had everything you needed from me to assist in your decision-making.”)
If you don’t end up getting another interview — or the job offer — try to follow-up with the interviewer to get feedback — specifically, why another candidate was a better fit. You may not be able to obtain this information (busy hiring managers may not take the time to respond), but if you can get this type of feedback, it can be helpful in your overall job search. If you can’t reach the hiring manager, watch who is ultimately hired, and assess that person’s professional profile and see if there was something that might indicate a key qualification (perhaps a certification, or a past employer) that might have set them apart. Sometimes you just won’t be able to tell, however, and you must simply move forward to the next opportunity.
Get in the habit of rewarding yourself for effort, regardless of your results. If you put in the effort, eventually the results will follow.
How to Develop Your Positioning
To identify how to position yourself, it helps to examine a couple of key issues:
Be aware of the kind of work you are willing to do, and the kind of work you don’t want to do. Make a list of the things you like to do, and what you don’t like to do.
Look to your work history for clues to your positioning. What in your work history did you do to make things better? Look for instances where you showed leadership and accomplishments.
Check out your existing online profile. What comes up when you Google yourself? What is your social media presence? What are you known for online?
Begin with the end in mind: What job do you want? Then figure out what qualities and attributes set you apart from your competition.
Additional resources to help you identify what makes you stand out:
Research Your Profession to Identify Your Positioning
Researching your desired job can also help you identify your unique positioning. Looking at job postings can help, but you should also consider going further in-depth. These sites can help:
O*NET Online (https://www.onetonline.org/)
This website was created for the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration by the National Center for O*NET Development. The O*NET program is “the nation’s primary source of occupational information,” according to the site. It contains information on hundreds of occupations and is available to jobseekers at no cost.
Every occupation requires unique knowledge, skills, and abilities. These occupational characteristics are outlined on the site. The occupational descriptions, which include descriptions of day-to-day work, along with qualifications and interests of the typical worker, allow jobseekers to identify unique positioning opportunities for themselves in their job search.
You can also access the O*NET Resource Center, a free tool (available for immediate download) to assess your occupational interests. The tool offers personalized career suggestions based on your interests and level of work experience.
Access the tool here: https://www.onetcenter.org/IP.html
My Next Move (https://www.mynextmove.org/)
You can start your research on an O*NET affiliated site, My Next Move. The site is an interactive tool for jobseekers to learn more about career options. It includes descriptions, skills, and salary information for more than 900 professions. You can identify careers through keyword search, by browsing industry classification, or through the O*NET Interest Profiler.
My Next Move is maintained by the National Center for O*NET Development under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.
When you identify a profession, you can assess the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for success in the role. These can often provide guidance for positioning yourself. The “Personality” and “Technology” sections also give insight into your personal positioning.
The “On the Job, You Would” information includes common job functions. Look to see if these are areas where you excel — this can be a point of differentiation.
Also check out the “Also Called” information under the occupation for related job titles you can use in your personal positioning tagline.
America’s Career InfoNet (https://www.careerinfonet.org/)
This website is affiliated with the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop program. The website includes occupation and industry information, salary data, career videos, education resources, self-assessment tools, and career exploration assistance.
Occupational Outlook Handbook (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/)
The Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) provides information on what workers do, working conditions, what qualifications are required for success in the position, pay, job outlook, similar occupations, and sources of additional information for research for more than 300 occupational profiles.
To find an occupation, browse the occupational group of interest on the left-hand side of the website, or use the “A-Z Index” (if you know the specific occupation). You can also enter a job title into the “Search Handbook” box at the top of the site. You can also search for occupations by pay range, education level, training, projected number of new jobs, and projected job growth rate — using the “Occupation Finder” or occupation selector drop-down menus on the home page. If you can’t find an occupation you are interested in, look in the alphabetical index, using similar occupational titles to search for an occupation.
You can also research your prospective employer to identify how to effectively position yourself to work at that specific company. Glassdoor is an excellent way to assess what is important to the employer and how you might fit in.
Dos and Don’ts For Positioning
Here are things you should do:
Here are some things you should not do:
Positioning Can Make It Easier to Find a Job
Recruiters and hiring managers need help knowing what kind of position you’re focused on. It’s harder to find a job when you don’t know what kind of job you want. Conversely, it is easier to find a job if you know what kind of job you want.
There are fewer opportunities for average performers to be found in the hiring process, but there are tremendous opportunities for stars. Positioning helps you identify where you can be a star performer and then make the case (through your work and your career communication documents) to support this claim.
The next step is to align your job search with your positioning. Make sure your résumé and interview preparation supports this and makes your case.
Build Your Personal Position Before You Start Looking for a Job
Many jobseekers develop their personal positioning when they are looking for a new job. But personal positioning can help you be more effective — and visible — in your current job.
In your current job, get attention for the work you’re already doing:
Develop your own communications plan in your current position. Increase your personal visibility by speaking, writing, and participating in social media. Once you’ve identified your personal positioning, see how you can incorporate it into your everyday work life. This will make you worth more to your current employer (remember, superstars stand out!) and make you more attractive as a job candidate when it is time for you to look for a new position.
A 21-day plan to a new job
A new year is a great time to assess where you’re at professionally. Is it time for you to make a job change? Or a career change? This 21-day challenge is designed to help!
During this challenge, you’ll take 30 days of consistent action in five different areas:
1. Where Are You Now?
2. Where Are You Going?
3. What Sets You Apart?
4. What’s Your Plan?
5. Let’s Do This!
Take action each day in one of these areas (see the list below for ideas). This challenge will reward effort, not results. But results will come when you take consistent action, day after day, in meeting your goal!
For best results, enlist an accountability partner to help you complete the challenge. Ideally, it will be someone who is looking to make a job or career change too, so you can keep each other accountable and on track. For best results, check in with each other daily.
You can choose to use either the Challenge Calendar or the Challenge Planner to plan and track each day’s activities. Write down the activity you will do and put a big red “X” on each day you complete a challenge activity. At the end of the month, you want as many spaces marked off as possible on your Calendar or Planner.
There are three ways to conduct the challenge:
It’s up to you!
At the end of each week during the challenge, reward yourself for good performance. Enjoy a special outing or anything else that will encourage you to keep going!
Here are suggested actions within each of the areas.
Where Are You Now?
Where Are You Going?
What Sets You Apart?
What’s Your Plan?
Let’s Do This!
Completing the 21-Day Challenge
The law and the job application forms
You’ve spent hours writing your résumé — or may have invested hundreds of dollars hiring a professional résumé writer — and maybe even drafted a cover letter to accompany it. You now have all you need to apply for a job opportunity that caught your attention — or do you? At some point in the process, you’ll be required to complete a job application, which may seem redundant. After all, doesn’t the résumé cover everything the employer needs to know?
Employment Application Basics
Despite all the changes in résumé content and style — as well as how one looks for work and applies for jobs — one constant remains: The employment application is an essential part of the hiring process. From the employer’s perspective, the application serves a number of purposes that are not addressed in a résumé (and optional cover letter). These may vary, depending on the nature of the job and the preferences of the company; however, the following always applies:
That last point is quite complex, sparking debates about what are — and are not — lawful questions, and leaving jobseekers confused and anxious.
In earlier decades, almost any question was acceptable. It was not unusual to ask the applicant’s date of birth, marital status, or citizenship. Things that were once okay are now prohibited by numerous federal laws that turned the tables in the applicant’s favor. Under these laws, employment applications/employers cannot inquire about the following:
As you can see, it’s been more than 25 years since any significant regulations were put in place to protect job applicants from discrimination. Other employment application practices that are still in place include inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history, credit standing, and salary history, all of which can negatively impact a jobseeker. Fortunately, there are grassroots initiatives taking hold, and new regulations being adopted at the federal, state, and municipal level all across the country.
Applicant Credit Checks
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA) is a federal law that governs how a credit reporting agency handles your credit information. It is designed to protect the integrity and privacy of your credit information. The FRCA permits employers to request credit reports on job applicants. A 2010 study from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) estimated that 60 percent of companies checked some (or all) job applicants’ credit reports.
Federal law permits employers to use credit history as a basis for denying employment and even rejecting any applicant who refuses a credit check. When applying for jobs, it is important to know your legal rights regarding credit checks.
Employers using credit reports to screen job applicants must do the following:
Potential employers see a modified version of your credit report. Information that might violate equal employment regulations — such as birth year and marital status — is omitted, as is your credit score and account numbers.
As of February 2013, eight states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) have passed legislation to restrict the use of credit checks in employment, and dozens of additional cities and states have introduced bills to do so.
At the same time, however, these laws include numerous exemptions that allow certain employers to continue conducting credit checks — even when there is no evidence that credit history is relevant to job performance. Check your state’s labor department or your city government to find if you are covered by any applicable laws.
The Equal Employment for All Act, introduced to Congress in 2013, would amend the FCRA to prohibit employers from considering credit reports in the hiring process, except for jobs that require a security clearance, are in the public sector, or are related to financial services. As of November 2018, that bill continues to languish in the House Financial Services Committee.
In the meantime, there are things you can do to protect yourself:
As of 2014, nearly 90 percent of U.S. employers asked job applicants to reveal information on an employment application about their criminal histories — have they ever been arrested and/or been convicted of a crime — but the tides are turning.
As the national movement to improve fairness in hiring grows, currently 36 states, the District of Columbia, and 150+ cities and counties have adopted “ban the box” laws, which mandate the removal of criminal history questions from employment applications. These laws help the estimated 33 percent of adults with a criminal past get a fair shot at finding work by delaying inquiries about arrests and convictions until after the employer considers the applicant’s qualifications and determines whether he or she is suited for the job.
Currently, there is no federal “ban the box” law, with a bill to pass the Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act of 2017 stalled in Congress. Because of this, there is a lot of disparity and confusion about what laws/policies exist and where they apply. In some locations, these laws apply only to public government positions; elsewhere, they apply to both private and public employers.
To further compound the issues, there is little consistency in stipulations for when background checks can be used in the applicant screening process, even in places where fair-chance laws are in place. For employers with a presence in multiple states, each location is responsible for complying with local laws, even if these conflict with the company’s existing hiring practices.
Capitalizing on the “ban the box” movement, some state and local governments are adopting laws and regulations that prohibit employers from requesting salary history information from job applicants, as well as preventing asking the minimum salary an applicant is willing to accept. This growing trend is part of a push to fight wage discrimination and eliminate or reduce the gender pay gap.
Four states (Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Oregon) as well as Puerto Rico led the way by enacting statewide bans for public employers in 2017, with California, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Vermont, and Washington passing laws in 2018. Laws are set to go into effect in Connecticut and Hawaii in 2019. More than 20 states have proposed legislation prohibiting salary-related questions.
In February 2017, Philadelphia became the first city in the country to ban private-sector employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. Under this law, employers can be penalized if they ask salary questions on applications and during interviews. In October 2017, New York City joined Philadelphia in banning public and private employers from asking an applicant’s pay history. Similar laws went into effect in San Francisco in July 2018.
As privacy concerns grow and anti-discrimination issues continue to rise, employers and jobseekers are challenged to keep pace with changes in what information is lawful and unlawful to request during the application and screening process.
Currently, employers are permitted to ask applicants in all states for their social security numbers; however, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts require employers to put safeguards — like encryption — into place for online applications to protect the privacy of jobseekers.
Employers are encouraged to ask themselves what information is essential to screening and qualifying the best candidates. And jobseekers are challenged to ask themselves how much personal information they are willing to share to get the job. The answers are continually changing.
What do recruiters look for?
Recruiters are looking for candidates that are a close match to what an employer has outlined as the hiring requirements for the position. In essence, they are looking for square pegs for square holes. If your work history and accomplishments meets their current or future needs, they may add you to their database. Recruiters may contact you if they have a position that fits your profile — or they may make contact to ask you to recommend other people who might be interested in an opening they are recruiting for.
Finding a recruiter
There are many ways to connect with a recruiter. Sometimes, a recruiter will find you. This is particularly true if you have specialized, in-demand skills. If you post your résumé to an online job board, you are likely to receive contact from recruiters. Others may identify you through a professional association you’re a member of, or through mentions of your work that appear online (for example, blogs, articles, and publications).
LinkedIn is also one of the most common ways to be “found” by a recruiter. Recent surveys indicate that 95% of recruiters use LinkedIn to identify candidates. You are more likely to be found on LinkedIn if you have a complete profile that is optimized with specific keywords and accomplishments. Recruiters are always looking for good candidates to add to their database.
But you don’t need to wait to be found to work with a recruiter. Proactively making a connection with one or more recruiters can be a good strategy, even if you are not currently looking for a new position.
LinkedIn can be an effective way for you to make a connection with a recruiter. Use the “People Search” function on LinkedIn to find recruiters in your field or specialty.
Search the “Keywords” or “Title” field for recruiter and keywords and industries relevant for your field, like “engineering,” “manufacturing,” or “technology.” You can then narrow down the search by other criteria, like location. You can continue refining the results until you come up with a few names to contact.
Google can also help you find recruiters. Search Google (http://www.google.com) using a search such as “IT Recruiter Las Vegas” or “Engineering Recruiter San Antonio.” You can also search Google and job boards for jobs posted by recruiters. If you find postings for positions similar to the one you’re interested in, you can contact the recruiter and present yourself for other opportunities.
You can also use a résumé distribution research firm to identify targeted recruiters to contact. For example, Profile Research (http://www.profileresearch.com) can research and develop lists of recruiters that are looking for candidates with your qualifications and expertise. For a fee, they will identify the recruiters and distribute your résumé and cover letter to these individuals (either via e-mail or offline).
You can use free and paid online directories to access recruiters as well.
Custom Data Banks (https://www.customdatabanks.com/) maintains an online directory of recruiters.
Online Recruiters Directory is another resource that you may want to explore here:
One free directory option is SearchFirm (http://www.searchfirm.com). Designed to help executive search firms connect with corporate clients, jobseekers can search the database by specialty, geography, and recruiter name.
NPA (The Worldwide Recruiting Network) - Jobseekers can also search the online directory of The Worldwide Recruiting Network (http://www.npaworldwide.com/DIRECTORY/) to find member firms.
The NPA website also has a job search to tool for jobseekers to view listings posted by recruiters within their network. Search the NPA Job Board by job title, keywords, and/or specialties (https://npaworldwide.com/for-job-seekers/ ).
Often the best way to find a recruiter, however, is through a referral from someone you know. Talking with co-workers in your field to see who they have worked with is a great way to find a recruiter. If there’s a specific company you want to work for, you can also make a connection with someone in their human resources department and ask if there is a specific recruiter or recruiting firm they work with often. Learning proven networking strategies will always help you be more effective.
Research your recruiter. See if he or she has been involved in any high-profile searches in your industry (these are sometimes profiled in industry publications). Google your recruiter’s name and see what job postings he or she has listed online. You are trusting your personal information and reputation to your recruiter, so trusting him or her is essential.
I am a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Recruiter with three decades of experience in assisting jobseekers, working with employers, and writing effective resumes. I am well-versed with Applicant Tracking Systems. I use the right keywords so my resumes go through ATS successfully and without complications