5 Reasons Social Media is a Must When Job Hunting

By Matthew Cohen, Energy Management Practice Leader, DRI

Everyone knows the traditional ways of looking for career opportunities including career websites, job boards, job fairs, and cold calling hiring authorities. These have been the accepted practices in job hunting for years.  However, in recent times, social media has become an increasingly valuable tool for candidates looking for new opportunities as well as hiring authorities and companies looking for top talent.

With that in mind, here are 5 big reasons why social media is a must when making a career move:

  1. Creating a Digital Footprint- Just like paying your credit card on time helps you build financial credit, having a track record on social media can be valuable when prospective employers perform due diligence on prospective hires.  Your Facebook and Twitter are not just for vacation pictures, but are areas where you can post content that you are passionate about and can also relate to your chosen profession.  Use LinkedIn to find out information about people before you meet them as well as grow your network.
  1. Companies Respond on Social Media- Organizations that market themselves to the masses are more than ever relying on social media as a marketing and hiring tool. Hiring authorities and corporate recruiters are more likely to respond to direct messages on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn than traditional ways of reaching out to prospective hires.
  1. Job Posts on Social Media- Companies not only use social media to brand themselves, but increasingly use many social media platforms to post in-demand jobs. If you follow organizations that you may be interested in working for, you are more likely to discover open positions and they’re more likely to discover you. Companies have found that social media recruitment allows them to cast a wider net.
  1. Demonstrates Tech Savviness- Employers are putting a greater emphasis on the use of technology. Having experience on social media shows prospective employers a candidate is aware of the latest trends in technology and is tech-savvy. Therefore, you need to stay on top of relevant technology and social media platforms or you will be considered a dinosaur.
  1. Networking Opportunities- Even when not actively looking for a job, networking with professionals on social media can be a valuable investment in your future. Following executives on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can pay dividends when the time comes to discuss your next opportunity. In addition, utilizing social media provides you with the opportunity to stay in touch with colleagues who can lead you to their connections and possible career openings.

I would like to hear from you on how social media played a role in your recent job search. Please post your comments below.

Critical Tactics for Job Hopping

By Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI & DCA

Job hopping is becoming more readily accepted in today’s workforce. The stigma of not staying in one position or at one company for very long, is fading away.  According to Mashable, 18 months is now the socially accepted minimum for staying at a job. In the past, staying for only 18 months would trigger a negative reaction and employers would ask for a reasonable explanation such as a company layoff or plant closing.

In May 2014, Career Builder surveyed 2,138 hiring managers and HR professionals and 55% have hired job hoppers and nearly one-third have come to expect workers to job hop. In fact, the stats show that by the age of 35, 25% of workers have held five jobs or more. For workers ages 55 and older, 20% have held ten jobs or more.

As you map out your career strategy that includes stops at several employers, there are a few critical tactics you should think about:

Have a large, resourceful network. Social and professional networks are more active, wide-reaching, and influential than ever before. Networking is vital in today’s competitive market.

Keep your range of skills honed. With each new position comes a new set of challenges. Take full advantage of development opportunities and be willing to learn from other respected professionals in your industry.

Know what you want to get out of every job change. Before making a move, have an explicit understanding of what the new position will add to your experience base, mastery, and personal maturity and satisfaction.

Your next move must be rational. Have a plausible explanation for each move you make. Employers will want to know why you are making a job change. Stay away from saying things like “it sounded like a good idea at the time” or you’ll raise eyebrows.

Be prepared to stay in each job long enough to learn something. This is where 18 months comes into play again. Staying 18 months is considered acceptable and usually the point at which you develop new skills, receive your first formal employee review, and possibly a salary increase.

You are what you were last.  Your most recent job and resume reflects your career path and what you want to do with your life.  When meeting a potential new employer, don’t veer from your story. Your resume and how you answer interview questions, should be in sync.

If you would like to mention another critical tactic when job hopping, please comment below.

What Today’s Employers Expect From Employees

By Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI

These days, employers look for skills beyond the ‘academic qualifications’ of candidates. Many of them believe that academic qualifications and experience are something that can easily be found but the right combination of characteristics that help a company make money or save money, are hard to find.

With that in mind, here are 6 of the most desirable characteristics that employers expect from employees:

Taking Initiative. Initiative is all about taking charge. It’s having the motivation to accomplish tasks on your own. If you want to be great at what you do and be considered for a leadership position, you need to show that you are ready, able, and willing to get things done without being asked.

Positive Attitude. Many employers believe that having a positive attitude is more important than the knowledge an employee brings to the table. A positive attitude is infectious. It spreads to all others in the workplace. Also, if you’re a positive person, you tend to be more curious about things. As a result, your job performance is usually better than a negative person because you are always looking for new ideas that yield higher productivity levels.

Entrepreneurial Spirit. Entrepreneurs are innovators. They are always trying to figure out new ways to accomplish tasks. Entrepreneurs like change because change often brings a plethora of opportunities. The essence of the entrepreneurial attitude is that you are able to anticipate change and formulate innovative responses to change that will result in success.

Results-Oriented. Results-oriented individuals are focused on making things happen no matter the challenges or road blocks. This means you dig through projects and figure out how to obtain the desired result(s). In addition, you stay resolute and focused on each project, meet deadlines, and deliver value to the organization.

Team Player. Employers know that their employees are more productive and tend to be more loyal and committed to the organization when they see themselves as an integral part of a team.  Team players show a willingness to collaborate with others in order to execute work assignments and accomplish goals.

Dependable and Responsible. Being dependable means that you do what you say you will do. Employers value employees who come to work on time and take responsibility for their actions and behaviors. In addition, employers know that dependable and responsible employees value their job, job expectations, and their performance level.

Desire for Continued Learning. Continual learning enables employees to increase the contribution they make to the company. If you show a willingness to take advantage of training programs offered at work, attend seminars, read relevant books etc. you become more valuable to every assignment and ultimately the organization. Also, don’t forget to ask for advice from your team and manager on things you need to learn in order to progress.

If you are a hiring manager, are there any other characteristics that you consider to be “must haves” in your workplace?  Please share your comments below.

6 Mobile Job Search Apps Every Job Seeker Should Know About by Sydney Arnett, Marketing Specialist, DCA & DRI

Looking for a new job? In today’s competitive job market job seekers have to be connected, organized and prepared. To stay ahead of the curve, tech-savvy job seekers are taking advantage of mobile job search apps.

According to glassdoor.com, 9 in 10 job seekers search for jobs via their mobile phones, which is consistent with Direct Consulting Associates’ analytics that say the number one way people come to our website is via the iPhone. In addition, 77% of job seekers use mobile job search apps. Job search apps are becoming increasingly popular as they give job seekers constant access, both at home and on the go, with up-to-date job postings.

Given 59% believe they have a better chance of being considered for a job if they apply as soon as the job is posted online, speed and having access to the latest job listings is a top priority for job seekers. Apps are also popular because many company’s career sites are not mobile-optimized, making it difficult to apply to jobs using a mobile device.

Looking for a job is undeniably one of the most stressful hurdles in one’s life. Whether you’re out of a job or not satisfied in your current position, mobile job searching app can definitely make your hunt a little easier.

Here are 6 mobile job search apps every job seeker should know about:

Job AwareJob Aware
JobAware is an app that allows you to search jobs in cities near you and helps you organize and track your progress throughout the job application process. The app also offers salary comparisons for hundreds of occupations, LinkedIn account integration to help you take advantage of your network, and job search advice from top career experts. And that’s not all. There’s also an autofill feature that allows JobAware to automatically fill out job applications, rapidly speeding up the application process. The app also allows you to find the top cities for any job search term or company.This app can be used to search for full-time, part-time, contract, freelance jobs and internships.

Get HiredGetHired
Just enter what you are looking for and getHired will provide job listings from 8 different job search engines (Indeed, CareerJet, JuJu, LinkUp, SimplyHired, CareerBuilder, JobServe and USAJobs.gov) across more than 60 countries.  getHired is like job classifieds on your phone and is extremely easy and simple to use. However, it’s best used to simply search positions while on the go as it is unable to directly submit your resume. getHired is also only available on Windows phones and tablets.

Job CompassJob Compass
JobCompass is the first application on the iPhone or iPad that searches millions of jobs, locating and plotting them on a map showing you exactly where the jobs are in relation to a specific address or zip code. This app in addition to providing job description information, also allows you to apply directly from your phone.

SnagSnagAJob
SnagAJob is a top-ranked search engine for full-time and part-time hourly positions throughout the US. This app allows you to search and apply to over 350,000 jobs across a variety of industries, including restaurant, retail and customer service.

Switch
SwitchSwitch is a new job hunting app that lets you search for a job the same way you’d swipe for a date on Tinder. Switch allows you to quickly browse through available job listings. You swipe right on jobs you’re interested in and left on jobs you want to pass on. Hiring managers do the same on anonymized candidate profiles and when there’s a match both users are notified. However, Switch is currently exclusive to tech, media, and startup companies in NYC.

LinkLink-Up
LinkUp’s unique search engine, updated daily, lists only jobs that are found on company and employer websites. This helps you uncover the hidden job market of opportunities not publicly advertised on the major job search engines. An additional upside is that as positions are filled and company websites are updated so are LinkUp’s job search listings – so no more applying to outdated job postings.

Candidate Background Checks More Important Than Ever by Dan Charney, President, DRI

A significant number of job candidates falsify information on their resumes. Surprisingly, many applicants who fabricate their information still land the job. How is that possible?

According to Neil Adelman, President of Safeguard, a comprehensive background screening company in Beachwood, Ohio, “About 50% of resumes contain incorrect information and many businesses either lack the proper in-house resources or initiative to carry out full employment verification procedures or criminal record checks. As a result, companies can easily make poor and costly hiring mistakes.”

There are a variety of reasons why candidates falsify information. From my experience, the reasons run the gambit of trying to hide periods of unemployment, conceal substance abuse, and/or hide a criminal record. For some, it’s simply to get the competitive edge in today’s economy and fierce job market.

According to the Wall Street Journal and the Society for Human Resource Management, here are the top reasons why employers should screen their applicants:

  • Reduce Legal Liability
  • Ensure a Safe Work Environment
  • Prevent Theft & Other Criminal Activity
  • Comply with State Law
  • Assess Overall Trustworthiness

I’d like to add two more…it saves time and money. For example, I recently advised a client of mine to conduct a thorough vetting process before hiring my candidate or any candidate for that matter. The hiring manager said it was their policy to hire first and then check. Unfortunately, they initiated their criminal background check well into his first month of employment, after on-boarding and training were completed. To their dismay, they found criminal activity in his past that if repeated, would put their company at risk. They terminated his employment immediately. Neglecting to do a background check before hiring was a costly mistake for them. Thousands of dollars in company resources including financial, human capital, and time were wasted.

I recommend that the best time to do a background check is when you narrow the playing field to one or two candidates and before a job offer is even discussed. Employment and background verification is too important for your company to hesitate on, delegate to an untrained employee, or disregard your state’s guidelines and requirements.

Frankly, you have a duty to take care of your workforce as well as mitigate risk for your company. That’s why DRI uses screening services before hiring our own employees and recommend the same to our clients.

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Trade Show Experience by Sydney Arnett, Marketing Specialist DRI & DCA

tradeshowsThe 2015 trade show season is quickly approaching. After the holiday season, The DRI team will go into trade show mode. Whether you are attending these shows as an exhibitor or a visitor, it is important to maximize your time and get the most that you can out of the show.

For those of you asking yourselves why you should attend a trade show—there are lots of reasons! As an exhibitor, benefits include increased sales, face-to-face meetings, promotion of your brand, competition evaluation, and building credibility, to name a few. As a visitor, one of the main benefits is that you can meet large numbers of useful people in your industry in once place. If you are attending a show on behalf of your company, trade shows are a great way to forge good business relationships and make face-to-face contact. Trade shows are also the most time efficient forum to keep up to date with new to market technology, state of the art products, and innovations and developments in your specific industry.

So, as you start planning, here are 5 tips to keep in mind for getting the most out of your trade show experiences in 2015:

  1. Prepare
    Visitors: Make a list of the goals you want to achieve by visiting the show. Spend time researching the vendors so that you’ll have a clear idea of who you need to see. Make contact before the show with key people you want to see and either set up a time to meet or at least get their telephone number so you can contact them once you arrive at the show. Bring a bag to carry everything you pick up, like promotional items.
    Exhibitors: Ask yourself: who are you targeting at the show? Getting the right kind of traffic to your booth starts before the trade show, with pre-show activity such as e-mail blasts or marketing campaigns. Also, plan to bring any employees who would greatly benefit from attending the trade show, or who would be beneficial to have there. Lastly, don’t forget to communicate via social media that you will be attending a trade show and to ask if others will be attending. (Also—don’t forget to Tweet and use other social media platforms during and after the show!)
  2. Have your materials ready
    Visitors: Take plenty of business cards and any other materials you want to hand out. If you are representing your company, be sure to bring any literature that you want to give other visitors or exhibitors.
    Exhibitors: Be sure to bring all of your marketing materials, including pamphlets, brochures, and other literature on your company and its services. Giveaways are also good and provide a valid reminder of your brand and tend to draw people to your booth.
  3. Be mindful of your presentation
    Visitors: Your personal appearance is important and is a representation of you and your company. Wear business attire and wear comfortable shoes.
    Exhibitors: Make sure that your booth, and staff, are a good representation of your company. It is important to have an eye catching and functional display system to show off your merchandise or services as well as to attract and educate more potential clients about your business. Even if you get tired, don’t pack up and leave early and don’t sit there and look like you’re waiting for the minute the show ends. This will make someone ask themselves, “Is this someone I want to do business with?” Staying energized and engaged until the trade show is officially over (or longer) proves to customers that you are a company committed to the trade show—and to their business.
  4. Network, network, network
    Visitors: Take advantage of the opportunity to meet industry peers. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to others. By taking the initiative, you can promote yourself and your business and make valuable contacts.
    Exhibitors: For many businesses, attending trade shows is one of the best ways to network and spread the word about your company. Engage with visitors and establish new relationships.
  5. Follow up
    Visitors: Ask permission to follow up with new contacts and make sure you understand the prospect’s preferred method for doing so. Also, follow up with companies you requested additional information from. If you missed any companies while you were at the trade show, feel free to reach out to them after.
    Exhibitors: Contact everyone you met at the show within two weeks. Separate contacts/business cards out by hot lead, warm lead and cold. This way you can easily establish the priority of who to contact right away. The goal is to move your relationship forward while the trade show is still fresh in their minds. Following up promptly is key to successfully maximizing your new contacts. A good idea is to organize a follow-up date for a qualified lead while at the trade show. Whether it’s setting a date for a follow-up call or related to sending some follow-up materials, you must plant the seeds for a continuing discussion. People will be much more likely to keep you in the forefront of their thinking once they know that a follow-up is pre-arranged.

For Millennials, Job Hopping is Normal by Barb Miller, Marketing Manager, DRI

Millennials, also known as GEN Y, were born between the years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s and are notorious job hoppers. Reports suggest they have a short attention span and the majority of this generation does not expect to stay with one employer for more than five years.

Companies are feeling the real costs of these job hoppers. Reported in the Chicago Tribune  30% of companies surveyed lost 15% or more of their Millennial employees in 2013; and 87% said it cost $15,000 to $25,000 to replace a former Millennial employee.

Is there any way to keep Millennials from walking out the door? Yes. But it may mean changing your company culture and/or implementing new and creative ways for employee retention.  Here are 5 suggestions:

1) Offer Job Hopping Opportunities Inside Your Company. Give Millennials an opportunity to have a wide range of experiences within your company. The ability to move between departments can lead to greater exposure and job fulfillment.

2) Leadership Development. Millennials pay close attention to whether their workplace offers leadership opportunities for them. Your company should develop and implement a variety of leadership programs that demonstrate a commitment to these young employees.

3) Mentorship Programs. Mentoring is very important to Millennials. Establishing an effective mentoring program is both a cost-effective means of facilitating connections, accelerate learning and send a positive message about their future with the company.

4) Current Technology. Millennials grew up with technology in their hands. They’re very comfortable with smart phones, IPads, Laptops, etc. and are keenly aware of the latest applications and improved mechanics. Make sure your company offers the state-of-the-art technology to help them work more efficiently and increase productivity levels.

5) Work/Life Balance. Millennials will work hard but want flexibility. Offer them remote connectivity and alternative work arrangements for community or family events. Also, offer a relaxed environment. It’s no coincidence that this generation admires the work environments of Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Gone are the days of wearing suits and ties as a more relaxed workplace is in.

If you’re a Millennial and change jobs often, please comment on how job hopping has been a positive for you.

Networking with Purpose by Guest Blogger, John Yurkschatt, Director of IT Practice, DCA

In today’s challenging job market, it’s not just about who you know but how you get to know them.  If NOT done correctly, networking is a waste of your time. If your approach is to seek out people to tell them about ME, ME, ME, you’ll walk away from every networking event/opportunity disappointed.

The right way to network is to do it with “purpose”.  That means think beyond “What’s in it for me?”  Instead, think “How can I help you?”

True networking is all about connecting, communicating and building a relationship.  It’s about enjoying your conversation with others and actively listening in order to figure out what they need as well as how you can connect them with the right people without designs for personal gain.

For many of you, this revelation is eye opening.  It’s probably contrary to what you’ve been doing.  If so, the following 5 tips on how to network successfully are especially meant for you:

1) Start networking before you’re in a pinch. Desperation can be smelled from across the room. Don’t be that person with panic in your eyes and only out for yourself. Handing out resumes at an event will make people run away from you instead of towards you. Start networking when you don’t have an ulterior motive.  Get to know people and about what’s important to them and start building a relationship.

2) Never dismiss anyone as being unimportant. Everyone has value and you’ll discover that fact if you keep your mind open and don’t judge people based on titles. Remember everyone has connections therefore, everyone is important.

3) Ask for an attendee list. Prior to attending each event, ask the organizer for a list of attendees.You can do some research on the people you want to meet. Check out their LinkedIn profiles and Google their names to gather more information.

4) Fish in the right pond. Unfortunately many of you are attending every event you can. You want to meet anybody and everybody. Slow-down. You need to be more focused. For example, if you’re looking for a big fish, i.e. a key contact with a large company because you want to work for a large company, then you must attend the right event. You have to fish where the big fish are.

5) Figure out how you can be useful. Networking is not just one sided. It’s not asking for favors. It’s about building relationships. It’s about a two way street and that means asking others how you can be of service to them. Be sincere and generous. Give them your business card and let them know they can call you anytime.

Please share how you network with purpose by posting a comment in the box below.

Top 5 Lies on Resumes by Guest Blogger John Yurkschatt, Recruitment Manager, DCA

Have you ever lied on your resume or embellished the truth when speaking with a recruiter or hiring manager? It happens fairly often and it puzzles me because background checks and references are quite easy to conduct. In addition, a simple Google search can quickly uncover false information.

Recently I caught a candidate in the midst of a lie just by asking the same question twice. The first time I spoke with him, he said he made $80,000 in 2013 and wanted to better himself by changing jobs. When I called back a week later and asked that same question again to make sure that the position I was about to present was in his “must have” range, he bumped his 2013 earnings up to six figures.  All of the sudden, he earned over $100,000 in 2013. I asked to see his W2 for verification purposes but he declined.  He also hung up on me which was for the best since any confidence and trust I placed in him was now gone.

What other things do candidates often embellish or just plain lie about? Here are 5 that my team and I encounter quite often:

Enhancing skill sets & accomplishments. If you didn’t do it, or didn’t achieve it, don’t list it.  However, there’s nothing wrong with enhancing your resume with quantifiable accomplishments and improving how you display them.

Unexplained gaps of employment. Rather than make up a fictional job to cover an employment gap, try acknowledging the gap in your cover letter. If you were taking time off to raise children or to take care of a sick parent, no employer will fault you especially if you can show that you’ve kept up with the industry.

Fabricated education, degrees and certifications.  This is very risky. This lie is one that could not only get you fired, but might also incite legal action on the part of your employer. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Omitting past employment.  Depending on the circumstances or why you left a previous job, you might be tempted to leave it off your application or resume. Carefully weigh your decision, because a background check or employment verification could reveal your omission, making it look as if you are hiding part of your work history.

Falsifying reasons for leaving prior employment. There’s a tactful way of explaining being fired or quitting abruptly, and it doesn’t have to involve lying. Just figure out the best way to explain it in as positive a light as possible. Not explaining the reason(s) can and will ruin your chances of getting hired.

Here’s where I need to reiterate that honesty is still the best policy. Lying on your resume or directly to a recruiter or hiring manager will come back to haunt you. Once you’ve told lies, they snowball.  If you land the job, you’ve got to keep up the charade of each lie for the rest of your career. Who can keep up with all of them?

Have you ever embellished your resume or know somebody who did and got caught? Share your resume stories with us below.

6 Ways Personal PR Can Help When Job Hunting by Matt Weisman, Intern at Direct Recruiters

Public Relations is important for companies to promote and maintain a positive image, but it’s also important for an individual who is searching for a job. If you do not know how to make yourself stand out in the right way, you may lose an opportunity to someone who does. If you aren’t knowledgeable about the company you are interviewing for, you are at a disadvantage to a candidate who is. Not knowing the proper way to use social media and how to network can hurt you as well.

How can you use public relations to help with your search? Here are 6 good ways:

Promote Yourself– Find your strengths and talk about them. Think hard and separate your strengths from your weaknesses, then use your strengths as your sales pitch. This requires you to be honest with yourself. Use anecdotes to elaborate on why you chose what you did as your strengths. It can also be helpful to have personal business cards and a short website about yourself.

Find the Right Angle– Figure out what sets you apart from the other applicants; what makes you better. Go above and beyond the everyday status quo and show your potential new employer what you can bring to the table.

Do Your Research– Be sure to know about the person or company that is interviewing you. Know your personal values and how they align with the corporate values of the company. If they don’t match up exactly, either be flexible and willing to adjust your values to work with those of the company or accept that that particular position may not be for you and move on.

Social Media– It’s important to be informed, so be sure to stay up to date with news and trends. Don’t be afraid to interact with brands and companies on your social media platforms. Remember to follow the 1/3 rule: make 1/3 of your content interaction with your followers, 1/3 industry related, and 1/3 building your brand or business—and don’t forget to keep your personal pages clean.

Network– Talk to everybody you can. Keeping in touch with people in your industry and similar fields can help you in a future job search or in collaborations. Always be nice to the people around you and don’t burn bridges—you never know whose help you will need in the future or who you will run into again

With today’s competitive job market, it is important to maintain every advantage that you can. Overall, PR is a very handy tool to help you stand out.

Have you used any of these methods in a job search or do you have any other ways to use PR?