Posts Tagged ‘Passive Job Searching’

Do You Need a Resume in the LinkedIn Era?

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Now that LinkedIn (alongside numerous other online portals) has become the standard place to present your professional history and credentials — not to mention the fastest way to check somebody else’s — the humble resume has lost its once-hallowed position as the canonical version of your professional identity. Your LinkedIn profile should be the most-viewed and most current version of your professional life. But that has many people asking: Do I even need an old-fashioned resume anymore?

The answer is a highly qualified, but definite, “yes”.

The Value of LinkedIn

In the past, resumes have served several functions:

  1. Applying for a job: When you’re applying for an advertised position, you almost certainly need to submit a resume as part of the application process.
  2. Job hunting: Even if you’re not applying for a specific job, you may still use a resume as part of your search process, as a way of introducing yourself to people who may be interested in your skills.
  3. Professional credentialing: Resumes act as a way of establishing your professional credentials in many circumstances, like grant applications, requests for proposals, and conference or speaker submissions.
  4. Professional memory: Your resume is your own professional memory. Keeping it up-to-date is a way of ensuring you don’t forget the professional accomplishments or qualifications you may want to highlight during your next job hunt.

In the world of LinkedIn, blogs, and professional landing pages (a.k.a. “nameplate” sites), however, most of these functions can be better accomplished through your online presence. If you are job hunting, send people to your LinkedIn page instead of sending a PDF of your resume. (Unlike a resume, a solid LinkedIn profile includes not only your self-proclaimed qualifications, but testimonials from colleagues, clients, and employers.) If you need to establish your professional credentials, sending someone a link to your LinkedIn page will often be the most efficient way to convey your relevant experience. And for maintaining a professional memory, LinkedIn is unbeatable, precisely because it’s easy to update, and because you’re likely visiting the site on a regular basis.

To serve any of these purposes, however, your LinkedIn presence must be well-crafted and up-to-date. Even if you aren’t sending people to your LinkedIn page, it is likely to be one of the first results for anyone who Googles you to find out about your professional qualifications and experience. That’s why you need to ensure it’s accurate, compelling, and current; unless you’re updating your LinkedIn profile monthly or at least quarterly, you’re not putting your best foot forward. Setting up a memorable short URL for your LinkedIn profile, and including that URL in your email signature line, is a good way to remind yourself that this is something people are going to look at regularly.

Blogs, Websites, and Landing Pages

For all its merit, LinkedIn has limitations: you have to fit your career story into its structure, and you have only minimal control over formatting. That’s why many professionals use their own blog, personal website, or professional landing page to craft a more strategic online presence. For many professionals, the best bet is to maintain several presences, customized to different purposes, so that you can point people to the presence that is relevant to each specific scenario. For example, you might maintain:

  • A speaking profile: Professionals who do a lot of speaking or conference submissions would do well to create a specialized presence on a speaker directory like ExpertFile (formerly Speakerfile), a nameplate site like, or even on Slideshare.
  • A services profile: If you offer services as a independent contractor, whether that’s as a web developer, a designer, a coach or an accountant, setting up a landing page for your contract work can be an efficient place to point potential clients.
  • An author profile: If you have a book, blog, or publication file, you will want to profile yourself for readers or future writing assignments with an author page on Amazon, a writing marketplace like MediaBistro, or a web presence for your book.

Why You Still Need a Resume

When you are actually applying for a job, however, neither LinkedIn nor a professional landing page can replace the resume. A strong resume is still the gateway to an interview, and with more and more employers relying on Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) — software that screens resumes to determine which applications warrant human review — you need a resume that you can upload to those systems. Nor can it be the same resume for every application; since an ATS typically screens for specific qualifications and keywords, you need to customize your resume for each job (or type of job) that you apply for, and optimize it for ATS screenings.

If anything, though, LinkedIn will be helpful at least as a reminder for keeping your resume as updated as possible. The standard wisdom — treat your resume as a living document that you update anytime you have a new accomplishment to record — applies to LinkedIn as well, and the two should be kept updated in parallel.

Technology and social media have transformed our daily lives in innumerable ways, with networking and job searching being just two areas where we regularly experience this constant change. But there are still ways in which the old-fashioned, the tried-and-true, remain relevant, and such it is with the humble resume. Don’t count it out yet.

Good luck!

Do You Need a Résumé in the LinkedIn Era? | Alexandra Samuel via Harvard Business Review.

Avoid Giving Away Your Job Search

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

If you’re looking for a job outside your current employer, it’s often helpful to avoid giving away your job search. That’s because if you’re discovered, it can sour your relationship with your boss, which can be detrimental if you change your mind about obtaining another job. And, there are some managers (hopefully rare) who may even take the drastic step of ending your employment.

Hiding your job search can be difficult in this era of social media use, so always think before you act when it comes to posting anything online or discussing your activity with others (especially co-workers).

Here are tips to avoid giving away your job search:

Keep profiles updated. Always keep online profiles up-to-date so you won’t trigger suspicions when you’re actively looking. That way, people think you’re diligent in keeping your information accurate, as opposed to thinking you’re job hunting because you rarely make any updates and then suddenly make changes.

Lie low electronically. Unless you currently don’t have a job or are working for yourself, avoid social media posts telling others that you’re looking for a new job. This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people actively discuss their job hunt in social media forums – and then can’t figure out how their employer found out.

Be careful what you display online. If you join groups for job hunting online, make sure they’re hidden from view in your profile. For example, on LinkedIn you can change your Group settings so certain groups aren’t visible on your public profile.

Don’t wallpaper the world with your resume. Contrary to what many people think, uploading your resume to every possible job board or job site usually won’t get you the job you desire. Even worse, it could get you unwanted publicity with the wrong people seeing it, such as you current company’s HR recruiters or your boss. Instead, take the time to conduct research and target your resume to only those few key jobs you really want.

Conduct your job search from home, not work. Never use company equipment, such as a company computer or mobile phone, in in your job search because these leave electronic footprints that can be traced if the company chooses to do so. Further, co-workers can easily overhear your telephone conversations in a cubicle environment and sometimes even see your computer screen.

Conduct job hunting on your own time. Never conduct your job search on company time, because that’s the same as stealing from the company (you’re stealing work time). Take a personal day or vacation day for job search work (or use your lunch time and home computer), telephone interviews, and in-person interviews.

Choose appropriate times for telephone interviews. Preferably, schedule telephone interviews before work, during lunch, or after work. Even better, schedule them for your day off. Most hiring managers understand that if they’re interviewing someone already employed, then they’ll need to work around the person’s schedule. Further, most savvy hiring managers look for potential employees who specifically state that their telephone interview needs to be scheduled at a time that won’t conflict with their existing job, so they won’t break any company policies.

Schedule in-person interviews during time off of work. Take advantage of your days off, paid time off, or vacation days when you need to attend in-person interviews. Avoid using sick days for interviewing – Murphy’s Law will usually will kick in and you’ll inevitably see someone from work who knows you’re supposed to be at home sick.

Shhh. Not everyone at work is your friend and can keep information confidential – so be careful whom you tell. “Lindsey” (name changed) once confidentially shared with a co-worker that she was looking for another job. She thought this person was her friend. The next day Lindsey’s boss confronted her about her job search. It turns out the co-worker was the person who shared the confidential information with others within the company and had purposely spread rumors so she could get Lindsey in trouble with their manager.

If, however, you’re looking for a new job within your current employer, it will be difficult to keep your job search quiet. That’s because most companies require that your manager be notified when you apply for a position in a different department. This is to ensure managers work together and that no workload or productivity issues are created when an employee moves into a different job. It also helps prevent problem employees from hopping from one department to another. Even if your job search is internal, it’s still best to go about your job search quietly, with professionalism, and by following the tips above.

Original from Forbes

How Your Profile Picture is Sabotaging Your Job Search

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Something a bit on the odd side this time around, as we investigate some fine-tuning you might need for your online profile (LinkedIn or otherwise) to enhance your passive job search:

Your head shot should add value to your profile. Fix these common mistakes to get it on the right track.

In today’s marketplace, it’s not enough to have a well-written resume and a list of great referrals; it’s essential for every job seeker to develop and actively monitor their online professional brand.

While a photo on your resume is still considered taboo, recruiters have come to expect a picture to accompany your online professional profiles. In fact, your LinkedIn profile is 40 percent more likely to get clicked on if it contains an image.

However, not just any image will do. Choose your picture strategically so that it enhances, rather than damages, your professional brand.

Below are nine profile picture pitfalls to avoid:

1. Blurry or Too Small

Ideally your photo should be 200 x 200 pixels or larger. Anything smaller and you’re guaranteed to end up with a fuzzy or teeny tiny image that just screams unprofessional. I recommend choosing a square head shot, as it’s sure to work with all your professional social media accounts.

2. Too Close or Too Far Away

Stick with a standard head shot for your profile pic. Prospective employers and those in your professional network have no desire to examine your dental work, and a shot from far away won’t help them identify you at an event or interview.

3. The Group Shot

Remember, this picture is supposed to represent your professional brand – no one else’s. Don’t make recruiters guess which person you are in the photo. Use an image that shows you and only you.

4. The Crop

Cropping yourself out of the group shot doesn’t work either. While it may be your favorite picture, no one wants to see half of your loved one’s face or your best friend’s hair on your shoulder. Stick to a solo shot that doesn’t require Photoshop.

5. Bad Lighting

Not only do these pictures look creepy, but they are certainly not providing employers with a positive, professional first impression.

6. Too Serious

Opt for photos where you’re looking at the camera and smiling. You don’t necessarily need a cheesy grin on your face, but you want to appear friendly and approachable. The “glamor shots” aren’t doing you any favors.

7. Goofy Expressions

Remember, this image is supposed to represent your professional brand. When you look at your profile photo, does it send the same message as your resume?

8. Pet or Baby Pic

Yes, your puppy is adorable and your family is beautiful. However, that’s not what your professional network or a prospective employer needs to know about you. Save these cute pics for your personal social-media channels such as Facebook or Instagram. Stick to a photo of yourself for your professional profiles.

9. No Photo

As mentioned earlier, recruiters today expect to find a head shot with your professional profile. The first thing recruiters and hiring managers notice is your photo… or lack of one. If you have no photo, their initial thought might be, “What is this person trying to hide?”

If you’re concerned that including your photo could cause people to discriminate against you, I urge you to carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the profile photo before making a final decision. The right image can reinforce your brand and help viewers connect more easily with your profile.

Overall Best Practices

Use a recent head shot that meets the file type and size and pixel size recommended by each site. Consider your outfit, the background of the shot, and the lighting to ensure it reflects your current professional brand and career goals.

Having no photo is better than uploading one that doesn’t project the right image, so put some thought into the picture you choose to represent your professional brand.

Original from the Ladders.

Improving Networking Success

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Networking is an art and a skill. It’s an easy skill to learn but a difficult art to master. The simplicity of networking is that there are ample opportunities available, whether in your community, your company, or your industry. In fact, every time you meet with anyone, you’re basically networking whether or not your realize it or take advantage of it. What is needed is to learn to employ the right strategies to get the most out of each engagement.

Experts say that professional networking should be treated differently from social functions like partying with your friends after work. Social functions can also be wonderful networking opportunities but the protocol to be followed is different in each case. Here are a few simple Do’s and Don’ts for achieving success in your networking endeavors:

  • Do carry a lot of business cards to pass out at social, business, and networking forums. This will allow for future follow-up opportunities and by exchanging cards with others, you won’t have to be surreptitiously taking notes the whole time in order to remember contact information.
  • Do dress appropriately for the situation. A business dinner requires formal business attire, whereas a public event or a social setting might only necessitate smart and casual.
  • Don’t forget to wear your most important accessory – a calm and smiling face!
  • Make an effort to look and appear approachable. If you are always on the phone at the event, not much networking is going to happen so keep your phone on silent for awhile and direct your important calls to someone who can attend to them while you are busy.
  • Strike up conversations with people you do not know by seeking out common interests and gradually steering the topic to your business or your personal brand pitch.
  • It is important to have a one minute personal brand statement ready for these types of events. The statement should be simple, honest, concise, and well-rehearsed, without sounding scripted or memorized, of course. If you are presented with an opportunity to speak with a hiring manager of a company you want to work for, or with a prospective new client, it pays to be prepared and able to express yourself and your brand quickly and succinctly.
  • Send a polite “nice to meet you” note within 48 hours of having met a person (this being another important reason to exchange business cards). Make a note of who the person was and what opportunities may exist with that person. If your email is not acknowledged or answered within a few days, try following up, but as you don’t want to appear desperate or aggressive, if they do not respond after 2-3 attempts, it’s best to slip the contact into your “do not contact” category and move on (perhaps looking to meet up again at future events).
  • Do not spend more than ten minutes with one person; that should be sufficient time to know if your contact has the potential of being a long-term connection or not. If the conversation is dragging and has long pauses, politely move on and seek out others. However, if the conversation is going well and you are enjoying the direction it is going, agree to meet up at a later date, in a venue more conducive to serious and in-depth topics.
  • Don’t do all the talking, especially if you find yourself talking mostly about yourself. On the other hand, don’t continue a conversation that appears to be dragging on, with long uncomfortable pauses.
  • Remember that networking is not a job or something to check off your to-do list. When you interact with people at these events, it should not appear that you are just going through the motions and you should never give the impression that you’re just in it to take from everyone else for your own benefit. Network to help out others as much as you want them to help you.

Making a Career Change – What to do and what to avoid

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Change, it is said, is the only constant in the universe, and the same goes for your personal life and for your career.

Sometimes, we are forced to adapt to change abruptly and at other times we have the luxury to plan for it in advance. Though a career change, especially a major one, can be a challenging process, it can also be extremely rewarding, if it is conducted properly and with the right attitude. It can be as complex as moving from accounting to lion taming or perhaps just to banking. Here are a few important things to keep in mind as you plan:

  • The first step towards your goal is to steel your resolve to pursue an alternative career option. You may be giving up a lot (money, job security, a wonderful work environment, etc.). But having made the decision, it is important to start winding down and disengaging from your current role as soon as possible in order to start the process of transitioning to your new field. You should begin researching and reading about relevant topics, joining industry forums, shadowing people who work in the field, participating in networking events, and so forth. Engage with your new career as deeply as you did your old.

  • Timing of a career change is also important. Sometimes the trigger to change does not happen at the most opportune time. Sometimes it may coincide with financial difficulties, the birth of a first child, or caring for sick family members. All of these could demand your time, energy, and money. Think carefully about what you can do to make the best of your circumstances and you might have to delay, if you have that option, until your situation improves.

  • You need to know what you want to do, have a grasp of what skills you have that are applicable to your new field, and determine what gaps need to be filled in before you move ahead. You’ll often need to acquire additional tools, resources, qualifications, and certifications in order to compete with other candidates, which can be time-consuming and expensive. Do your best to obtain these necessary items before leaving your current job, if possible. Be patient with yourself, as in many ways you are starting from scratch.

  • Finally, a career change can take longer than planned and it will likely take even longer to achieve the kind of success that you had in mind when you started (or that you had in your old job). Don’t get discouraged! You made this decision because you felt strongly that it was in your best interests and best served your long-term career and personal goals. Stay focused, keep making progress, and plan ahead as much as possible, and no matter your age or your goal, your career change is obtainable.