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.

2015 Job Seekers Have the Upper Hand

According to Forbes Magazine, 86% of workers in North America say they plan to actively look for a new job this year and for good reason…the job market has opened up. That means those who stayed in their current job roles for years due to a lack of choices and the security of a paycheck, now have the upper hand.

In fact, The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced that 2014 was the best year for hiring since 1999 and that the unemployment rate fell from 5.8% to 5.6% (employers added 252,000 jobs in December). Better still, 36% of employers plan to increase their full-time staff in 2015, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

What does this mean for you? For the first time in 6 years, the job market is strong.  Job seekers now will find a greater number of opportunities available that will most likely offer better pay.  The hottest industries for hiring are information technology, financial services, manufacturing, and healthcare.

What hasn’t changed are the strategies you need to get noticed and considered for these opportunities. In DRI’s recent blog “Your 2015 Job Search”, I mentioned 8 ways to get noticed. Here’s 6 more strategies for you:

1) Update your resume in ways to capture attention.  You will be especially attractive if you expertise in those hard to fill positions.  Include all your specialty areas on your resume.  Remember to include any quantifiable results you have achieved. For example, if you increased customer retention by 20% over the years, make sure to highlight this accomplishment.  Also, add your social media links especially to LinkedIn so employers can find out more about you.

2) Get insider information.  The best job opportunities never get advertised especially if they’re high level.  You need to network and reach out to people who you know who work at the companies that are of interest to you. If you don’t know an insider, tap into your LinkedIn contacts or try to connect with someone in the know who can help you get considered for open positions.

3) Set up “Google Alerts” for companies of interest to you.  Be in the hiring loop by setting up Google Alerts for 3 to 5 companies at which you would like to work. This way, you’ll be on top of breaking news, job postings and business opportunities long before your competition without having to devote hours to research.

4) Download mobile job apps.  Mobile apps allow job seekers to search discreetly for positions anytime and anywhere and respond to postings quickly. There are apps that help with career planning, organize the job search process, alert job seekers to compatible positions, and can even upload and send resumes to recruiters.

5) Raise your profile and presence.  In and above being active in professional organizations, nominate yourself for speaking opportunities. This will raise your profile and capture the attention of employers.  Also, think about blogging on a regular basis to display your passion and knowledge.  You just may land a new job by being discovered digitally.

6) Be open to recruiters.  If a recruiter contacts you, be open to a discussion. They may be working on an active search that’s right in your wheelhouse and meets most of your “must haves”. But even if it’s not the perfect fit, recruiters also know about other available career opportunities. It doesn’t hurt to entertain a conversation. Also, help out a colleague if you can.  If you pay it forward, one of your colleagues might pay it back at a later date.

Are you among the 86% that are looking to make a job change this year?

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.

I Found the Perfect Job Online. What do I do Now? By Chris Hesson, Guest Blogger, DRI Plastics Division

BLN469_CHRIS HESSON_C WEBYou’ve found it.

After months of browsing online job boards, you finally see that one role that combines your past roles, industry experience and passion.  And…it’s local!

What do you do now?

This is a scenario many job seekers face.  Unfortunately, most take the worst possible next step: they apply online with the same generic resume they have sent out to so many other companies.

This will most certainly ensure that your resume enters the black hole of corporate HR, never to be seen again!

So, what do you do now?

HINT: Do NOT apply!

Step 1: Customize your resume.

Go through the job description bullet-point by bullet-point.  If they are looking for a software developer with ABC experience, your resume should highlight your experience with ABC.

Your resume should mirror the job description.

Similarly, if you have experiences or skill-sets that are not relevant.  Leave them off or at the least keep them few and simple.

Step 2: Network.

Before you submit a resume online or to HR look through your network.  Do you know anyone that works for the company?  Do you know anyone who knows anyone who works for the company?

Do not be afraid to tap your connections for introductions, no matter where they may be within the organization.

For example: If you are interested in an engineering role, but have a 1st or 2nd connection to someone in finance or sales, reach out to them!  They may go golfing with or park next to the engineering manager

If you have no connections into the company, you can always coldly reach out to someone on the sales team.  Sales professionals are great to network with.

REMEMBER:  Networking is a 2-way street.  Yes you have the goal of being able to make inroads within an organization, but try to find out where you may be able to provide value to them as well.  Networking is all about deposits and withdrawals.  You may even be able to return the favor by providing them with a lead!

Step 3: Repeat Step 2!

Connect with multiple people: develop rapport with them, learn about the company’s philosophy and culture, use them to connect you to other people within the organization.

Step 4: Leverage your network.

Use your old or new-found connections to introduce you to the hiring manager (or worst case – HR), or at the very least pass along your resume, and strongly recommend that they reach out to you.

Step 5: Repeat Step 4!

Having multiple people within an organization championing you increases your chances of having that first conversation with your potential new boss!  A job search is like sales: it is all about pipeline.  (Some people choose to focus on pipeline by sending their resumes out to every company hiring.  But I would recommend honing in on those perfect roles and increasing your pipeline towards them).

Step 6: Talk to a recruiter.

Try to find recruiters who have done business with that company before.  Some recruiters highlight who they work with on their website, or you may see that the hiring authority (or multiple people within the company) is/are connected to several recruiters.  Reach out to them.  Tell them that you are interested in connecting with a company they already know about and a position where they may already know the manager!

At the end of the day, nothing will guarantee you an interview, offer, or even a conversation; but increasing your exposure will decrease the odds that you end up in the resume black hole!

When It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Do you feel like you’re shuffling off to work every day and that it should mean something more than a paycheck?  Is the spark gone? Then, maybe it’s time for you to change direction and look for a new job.

Every day at Direct Recruiters, we speak with active and passive candidates who are unhappy in their current positions and ready to make a move.   When we probe further and ask them to be more specific about why they’re unhappy and to pinpoint what they don’t like about their current job or company, we often hear the same reasons over and over again.

Can you relate to any of our top 6?

1)      Stagnation:  Feeling underutilized to the point of atrophy.  It’s a bad sign if you’re not being challenged and lose the stuff that makes you stand out professionally. To keep your skills honed, you need to use them often. If not, you’ll lose them and fall behind.

2)      Overwhelming Workload:  It’s normal to feel frazzled every so often but if you’re job has become too overpowering on a daily basis, it’s unhealthy.   Over the past several years, many of you have had to take on the work of 2 or more people.   Increased workloads mean heightened stress and high stress can lead to burnout.

3)      Bad Reputation of Company: According to a poll taken by CR Magazine in 2013, 69% of Americans would rather be unemployed than work for a company with a bad reputation.  Moreover, 84% would leave their current employer in a minute for a company with a favorable reputation.

4)      Sick of Broken Promises & Merit System:  If your boss routinely promises a raise and/or promotion but you get passed over each time, chances are you’re feeling disappointed and misled.  You realize there’s no growth in your current job. It won’t be long before you become totally disgruntled and on the chopping block.

5)      Inept Manager(s): It is often said that good employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers.  Bad manager practices deflate employee morale and in turn, mishandled employees stop caring about how well they perform their job and even become indifferent to company goals and objectives.

6)      Change in Family Circumstances:  A change in your personal life (marriage, having children, etc.) may make it necessary to find a new job because of location, finances or a need to spend more time at home.

Please share your story regarding how and when you knew it was time to look for a new job.

Thank You Notes…Still Protocol When Interviewing by Robert Cohn, Managing Partner & Director of Automation Practice

BLN467_ROBERT COHN_A WEBSo you thought writing a thank you note after an interview wasn’t necessary? Think again.

One of my best clients asked me to take on a challenging search for a sales professional who could meet their qualifications and requirements. My team and I worked diligently on this search and in a short time presented a candidate that piqued their interest.

This candidate went through 2 phone interviews, 1 face-to-face interview and was invited to HQ for a final face-to-face interview. When completed, I was able to debrief both the client and candidate. Both parties shared with me that it was a perfect match and were ready to move to the next level…the job offer.

Several days went by without a word from my client, so I reached out to them and asked if they were ready to close the deal and make an offer to our candidate. What I heard was an emphatic “NO”. The reason was simple…the candidate failed to send a thank you note or email when interviews were concluded. To our client, this showed a lack of gratitude, follow-up and the ability to close the deal…all necessary to be successful in a sales role. In addition, a thank you note would have allowed them to judge his response time and written communication skills.

I called our candidate to ask why he had forgotten this very important step especially since we discussed it as vital part of the interview and post interview process. He didn’t give me a reason as to why he failed to communicate with them but said he would send a note right away. However, it was too late. My client had already decided to start fresh and look at other candidates.

Bottom line, a thank you note or email is still protocol. It’s not old school but respect for a hiring manager’s time and consideration.  In addition, it gives you the opportunity to reiterate your strong interest in the position and answer any questions they may have. It can also set you apart from your competition.

With that, here are some tips to consider when sending your thank you note:

  1. Send your thank you note to every person involved in the interview. Each one should be personalized. Make sure to get a business card or necessary contact information before you leave.
  2.  Nothing beats a hand-written letter, but in this day in age this can be too slow of a response. If you chose to send a thank you note in the mail, send an email as well. Email is perfectly acceptable and is commonly used for thank you notes.
  3. Be sure to send your thank you note or email no later than 24 hours after your interview.
  4. How you write your thank you note makes a difference. Try to make each one original and provide 3-5 sentences thanking them for their time and expressing your enthusiasm. Also, include your contact information should they have questions or want to follow up.

Now I’d like to hear from you. Did writing a thank you note ever separate you from other candidates? Did failing to do so ever prevent you from getting the job?