Sunday, November 25, 2012

Personal Reflection Exercise: Keep Your Career Separate

My career is separate from my identity.

Like most other working professionals, I spend a great deal of my time in my workplace. This is because I work in a demanding field and I want to ensure that my position is secure in the present, competitive job market.

My career is certainly an important part of my life. However, my career and my life are two completely separate entities.

Today, I can confidently say that I am the same person that I was several years before I accepted my position with my current employer.

I wholeheartedly believe that many professionals become too involved in upholding their corporate images while off of the clock.

I am only paid for a predetermined amount of time each week. My employer gets exactly what he pays for. When I am on the clock, I give my employer 100% effort. Once that time is up, I indulge in the activities that make me happy.

Status is important in this society. However, both my accomplishments and my personality determine my status. My career choice is simply an interesting part of my life.

I am a spouse, a parent, someone's child, a friend, and the life of the party. I am an individual that is defined by far more than a paycheck or a sign-in ID.

Today, I focus on non-work related aspects of my life. My family makes me the person I am. My hobbies and interests are components of my personality. However, my chosen career field is simply the way I maintain my quality of life.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. Do I flaunt my career in order to make others respect me?
  2. Have I allowed my career to consume too much of my personal time?
  3. When I introduce myself, is my work the first thing I talk about?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Build Your Own List of Recruiters For Your Job Search

Now that you understand how recruiters can be important in your job search, you can build your own list of recruiters using two tools from Kennedy Information, LLC:

The first is the “Directory of Executive and Professional Recruiters.”

Available in paperback from, or online at, the “Directory of Executive and Professional Recruiters” provides detailed listings about contingency and retained recruiters across 120+ industries and 84 job functions. An online edition is available for $59.95 for a one-year subscription. If you purchase a print edition of the Directory, you can also receive six months of free access to the online edition.

The listing will give you contact information for the recruiting firm, including email address and website (when available). It will also let you know which type of recruiting firm it is (contingency or retained) — and whether there is a salary minimum for candidates they work with. Many search firms will also provide a description or summary of their services or specialties, including job functions and industries they serve. Some search firms will also describe the type of services they offer in addition to recruiting — including career management, management consulting, outplacement, and/or temporary and contract staffing.

Kennedy Information also offers its “Select Recruiters” service, which allows jobseekers to customize a search to target recruiters. It is available in one-month, three-month, and one-year subscriptions. 

You can use the “Select Recruiters” service to create reports and spreadsheets to create email and snail mail (print) merges.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Use Your Resume to Update Your LinkedIn Profile

Click Here to Learn More About Leveraging LinkedIn For Your Job Search

Your LinkedIn profile should align with your resume, although the two should not be exactly the same. The work history listed in your profile should definitely match up with your resume — this is an easy check for prospective employers to make. However, your profile should complement — not duplicate — your resume.

The most important pieces of your LinkedIn profile are your profile Headline and your LinkedIn Summary. These two things are the first items a prospective employer will review. While the resume uses third-person language, your LinkedIn Summary should be a first-person narrative that appeals to a prospective employer’s needs by identifying what makes you a good candidate.

You should also use the same accomplishments that are on your resume in your LinkedIn profile, although you can elaborate on them a bit more in the Experience section. If you’ve prepared Challenge-Action-Result (CAR) statements for interviews, you may want to integrate these your LinkedIn profile in the Experience section.

Finally, make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete. Post your photo, fill out all of the sections (including current and former positions and your education), populate the Skills & Expertise section, and request (and offer) Recommendations. LinkedIn profiles that are “complete” receive 40% more opportunities than incomplete profiles.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Personal Reflection Exercise: Face-to-Face Networking

I enjoy networking face-to-face.

Networking face-to-face is an activity I enjoy. I look forward to personal meetings where I can look into the eyes of those with whom I communicate. Making eye contact with the person with whom I am speaking is exciting for me.

There is an intangible human element of connection that can only be felt when in the presence of others. I enjoy meeting new people and listening to their stories. When I meet people in person, I find that I we have more in common than I imagined.

I am better able to understand what someone is saying when we are face-to-face. Body language and gestures speak volumes to me. Likewise, I can communicate more easily to them when we are in person.

I release myself from anxiety of being in front of people because I am fully worthy of enjoying personal interactions. I am just as intelligent and capable as those with whom I interact. The people with whom I network respect my ideas.

Speaking to others over the phone or through Internet messages is superficial and prevents me from getting to know the real person behind the voice. Live meetings allow me to get to know a person better and truly feel their passion.

I enjoy networking because it eliminates questions or doubts about tone of voice, humor, and attitudes that are often misinterpreted when communicating through print. I feel that I am better understood when I communicate face-to-face with others.

Today, I choose to set up an in-person meeting with members of my network. I rise above the comfort of technology to add a human element to our communication.

Self-Reflection Questions:

  1. What keeps me from networking face-to-face?
  2. Whom could I set up a meeting with today?
  3. Why should I feel more comfortable in face-to-face meetings?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Who Should You Give Your Resume To?

Who Should You Give Your Resume To?
  • Personal Contacts: friends, relatives/cousins, neighbors, parents of your children’s friends, parents of your friends, relatives of your friends, everyone on your Christmas card list 
  • Community Contacts: civic and political leaders, clergy, chamber of commerce members, librarians 
  • Club Members: social club, country club, swim club, health club, town club, other fans of your favorite sports team, collecting club, sports club, professional associations, trade association members, job search club members, sorority/fraternity contacts 
  • Professional Contacts: your accountant, physician, real estate agent, financial advisor, attorney, banker, dentist, insurance agent, travel agent, mortgage broker 
  • Work Contacts: current and previous co-workers and managers, employees of competitor companies, customers, vendors, suppliers, salespeople, former co-workers or other contacts in your industry who are retired, venture capitalists 
  • Educational contacts: people you meet at conferences, conventions, seminars, and workshops, current and former classmates (elementary, middle, high school, college, graduate school), PTA members, former professors, college career center staff, alumni association contacts, coaches, school advisors, adult education course teachers
Need a professionally written resume? Visit

Friday, November 9, 2012

Finding a Job Is A Lot Like Dating

© Christos Georghiou -
Finding a job is a lot like dating — it’s about finding a match between two parties (you and the company). It’s not just about money — although that is important. It’s also about helping the company meet a need that it has.

Companies hire because of their needs. This is true for all jobs — from an entry-level administrative position to the CEO’s job.

Understand the emotional motivation behind the job opening. What problem is the company trying to solve? Solving the problem can be about saving time, or building customer relationships. Positioning yourself to solve a problem.

You must find a way to stand out in a crowded job search. If you’re not known for something, you won’t be known for anything. One size does not fit all. 

The question you want to answer for the employer is, “Why should you hire me?” When employers are hiring, they really want to know: “Why should I choose you instead of someone else?” Positioning is an important part of answering this question. You can’t be all things to all employers, so you need to figure out what sets you apart.

Personal positioning is unique to you. Figure out what makes you different. Consistency in this messaging will help you throughout the job search and interview process.
You may have heard that you need to “brand yourself” in order to be successful in your career. While “branding” (which is defined as “to make an indelible mark or impression on somebody or something”) is a valuable strategy, you may be more comfortable with the idea of simply positioning yourself to be successful in your job search and career.

Many jobseekers don’t realize they have already positioned themselves — they just haven’t articulated it yet. Maybe you’re known as “the sales manager that makes quota, no matter what’s going on in the economy,” or “the engineer that can speak in language the customer understands.” That’s your positioning.

To cultivate the positioning that will help you reach your career goals, you must understand and be able to communicate what makes you exceptional and compelling.

You need to express: “I am this.” Someone who is reading your résumé or LinkedIn profile should be able to recognize you in it.

The most difficult part about positioning is sounding original. Be specific about what distinguishes you. Your positioning is not your job title. Also, if your position could be said about almost anyone with your same job title, it needs work.

It’s important for a jobseeker to stand out from the pool of applicants in order to receive serious consideration as a candidate. Personal positioning allows you to establish a clear message of who you are, the experience you have, and how you can be an asset to the employer.

Make sure your personal positioning aligns with your target company’s wants, needs, and/or values. Remember: Employers hire for their reasons, not yours!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Get Your Resume In the Hands of a Recruiter

© S.John -

Working with a recruiter may be one strategy you consider in your job search. You may be approached by a recruiter (sometimes called a “headhunter”), or you may wish to make contact yourself. While you may find your next job through a recruiter, it’s important to understand that recruiters aren’t in the business of finding jobs for jobseekers — instead, they are in the business of making a match between what their client (the employer) needs, and the candidate (jobseeker) they want to place in a job opening.

Jobseekers do not pay fees to search firms. Recruiters are paid by the companies who hire them to fill a position. Because search firms don’t work for you (the jobseeker), don’t expect them to be overly responsive when you contact them. If you are a fit for a current or future opening, they may add you to their database of candidates. You will hear back from them if they have a position that fits your qualifications, or to ask you to recommend other people who might be interested in the job. Otherwise, you probably won’t hear from them at all.

There are different types of recruiters, and it’s important to understand the differences.
  • Internal Recruiters / In-House Recruiters / Corporate Recruiters. These individuals work for the employer and are usually a part of the human resources staff. They only facilitate placements of candidates within their organization. (They don’t place candidates for positions outside of their employer.) 
  • Contingency Recruiter. This recruiter is only paid if the candidate they want to place is hired by the client organization (thus the use of the word “contingent” in the title). They are paid on commission for job placements. If their candidate isn’t hired, they don’t get paid. Contingency recruiters most often work for employment agencies and staffing firms. 
  • Retained Recruiter. These individuals are paid by the client company regardless of whether or not their candidate is hired. These recruiters are most likely to help place candidates in six-figure jobs, and may handle extremely sensitive (confidential) placements, like for large public companies as well as high-profile university or sporting organization positions. 

Approximately two-thirds of all recruiters are contingency recruiters, while the remaining one-third are retained recruiters. Retained firms are hired by a client company for a specific assignment for a specific amount of time — typically, 90 to 120 days. Usually, only one search firm is hired by the client company for a job opening. Retained recruiters are more often used to fill high-level positions (salaries of $100,000 and above). The search firm will assemble a short list of candidates that will be presented to the client company.

Contingency firms are typically used for positions in the $40,000 to $100,000 range. Because contingency recruiters are paid only when their candidate is selected (and hired!), they are competing with other recruiters to provide candidates for each assignment. Keep in mind that you might be one of several candidates being presented by your recruiter to the client company. Remember that if you are trying to keep your job search quiet, you may not want your résumé widely distributed by the recruiting firm — something that may happen if you work with contingency recruiters. Be sure to talk with your recruiter about this. You can work with more than one recruiter at a time — however, be sure to let the recruiters know you are working with other recruiters so they don’t present you for the same position. This can result in a situation where you are not considered at all for the opening, because the client company doesn’t want to get in the middle of a fight between recruiters about who deserves the commission.

Remember: the recruiter is paid by the employer, not the jobseeker. This means that the recruiter is looking for the best fit between the client’s needs and the jobseeker’s qualifications. Recruiters will not place candidates looking to make a career change. Instead, the recruiter is usually working from a list of requirements: years of experience in the position/field, certifications, special skills, competency in specific areas (i.e., computer applications), fluency in a specific language, degrees or specific training, etc. If you’re not a match, you won’t be recommended to the prospective employer.

When making contact with a recruiter about an advertised opportunity, make sure you meet at least 90% of the requirements listed for the position. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time — and the recruiter’s time — because “the match” is critical. If you don’t meet the criteria, you won’t make the cut. Recruiters — especially contingency recruiters — only present candidates who are “hire-able,” because they won’t get paid if they don’t make the placement.