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The latest news, trends and information to help you with your recruiting efforts.

Posted April 09, 2009 by

Writing a keyword rich resume

Imagine you’re on Google, Yahoo, or any Internet search engine looking for a custom clothing store in your hometown. To search, you might use a series of words (keywords) to initiate your search, such as custom clothes, boutique, petite, and the name of your town. This search combination would result in a returned list of stores that meet one or all of your search word criteria. The same goes for using relevant words (to your profession, industry and personal characteristics) in your keyword rich resume, when an employer is looking for you.
If a recruiter or HR professional is doing a search on passive candidates (those candidates who have not directly submitted an application or resume to the company’s database), they’ll use a combination of keywords related to the position, as well as words that emphasize the characteristics they’re seeking in an employee. They may do this on Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, or any job board, as well. They’re all search engine optimized. If your résumé contains these words or combinations of words, it will show up in the returned search results. When you submit your résumé online to a company’s application system, the same concept applies. When the company is ready to pull down resumes for a particular position, it may do so by title, keywords, education, or any other combination of words.

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Posted September 15, 2008 by

Preparing for a job fair

You recently heard somewhere that a job fair is an excellent way to meet lots of potential employers and maximize your job search time. The problem is, how do you find job fairs and what do you do once you’ve found them?
To locate upcoming job fairs:
– Review media, including free job publications. Don’t forget to check radio and TV stations.
– Check your target companies’ Career section Web sites. They’ll often promote job fairs they’re attending.
– Contact college career service offices in your area. They regularly conduct or know of job fairs. Non-students or alumni may be welcome.
– Search the Internet using the key words “job fair” or “career fair” and your city and state.
– Bookmark your favorite job search resources for upcoming job fairs and locations, as well as preparation tips.
To prepare for a job fair, follow these suggestions:
– Register for the job fair in advance. Be sure to get a copy of the hiring company exhibitors.
– Select the companies you’re most interested in and research their Web sites, annual reports and recent media coverage. Talk to your networking contacts. Your goal is to thoroughly understand what the companies do and how you can bring value to them
– Develop your “elevator pitch” that explains what you do, what you bring to the table, and how this aligns with the company’s business. Remember, you’re there to demonstrate what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
– Develop a list of questions to ask. The worst question you can ask at a job fair is, “What do you do?” A more appropriate question might be, “I saw in your most recent annual report that you are expanding your marketing operations. Will graphic designers be part of that expansion? I have a graphic design degree and have been recognized for….”
While at the job fair, make sure you:
– Seek out your targeted companies and introduce yourself with a firm handshake and confident demeanor.
– Pitch your candidacy for a position.
– Ask questions and make a connection.
– Get business cards of people you meet at the booths.
Note: Even if the company is not hiring for your particular skills at the time, if it’s a company of interest to you, make an effort to meet the company representatives and establish a connection you can follow up on after the job fair.
Once the job fair is over, what’s next? If you collected business cards, you should immediately send a thank you note and reinforce your skills. Note something from the job fair you said or did that will help the recipient recall you. About one or two weeks after the job fair, follow up by telephone, as well.
Sharon DeLay is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Certified Professional Career Coach. You can visit her at Permanent Ink Professional Development Services or e-mail her for more information.
© 2008 Permanent Ink Professional Development Services

Posted September 15, 2008 by

Express Yourself Verbally, Not Visually

According to a CNN.com story, more than 25% of Americans between ages 18 and 50 have at least one tattoo. The percentage jumps another 10 points when you narrow the age range to 18 to 29. Roughly simplified, at least one in three or four people in the workplace will likely have a tattoo. Look around…do you see any of your co-workers sporting a little body art? Are you?
Tattoos are not covered under your civil or constitutional rights. While you absolutely have a right to get one, don’t expect an employer to hire you if there’s a concern about how clients might perceive you. For some employers, a dress code is critical to the branding and image of the organization. A tattoo may well be outside of the employer’s guidelines. For most customers, their perceptions are their realities.
However, tattoos are a reality and an employer may hire a qualified candidate and have a requirement that all tattoos remain covered by appropriate business attire while the employee is on the clock.
Think about the following before you get a tattoo (or your next tattoo):
Consider the message you’re conveying. Part of this is about the perceived reality of others and part of it is about the “message” of the tattoo. The same rules apply to the tattoo that applies to interviewing: avoid controversy. It’s like dating — you don’t want to turn off your “date” before he or she gets to know you.
Location, location, location. The real estate market has it right; it’s all about location. Choose locations on your body that will likely be covered by your work attire and focus your art there. No harm, no foul.
Limit the number of tattoos you have. Most people, even the most conservative, can handle a tasteful tattoo and can rationalize it as youthful indiscretion. However, when the tattoos start creeping up your neck and down your arms Miami Ink-style, people provide their own reality and credibility tests to you.
Your dress for success strategy should include a critical evaluation of how others will perceive and respond to you. Businesses ultimately want to make money and exceptional relationships between employees and customers translate into more money. If customers can’t connect with you because of the distraction of your body art, you may want to reconsider how you’re expressing yourself.
Sharon DeLay is a Certified Professional Resume Writer and Certified Professional Career Coach. You can visit her at Permanent Ink Professional Development Services or e-mail her for more information.

Posted September 15, 2008 by

Calling all candidates: Are you ready for the telephone interview?

It’s not uncommon for the first interview to be by telephone. It’s an effective way to pre-screen an applicant and ensure both parties are interested in moving forward with a more formal interview process. Other reasons companies use telephone interviews:
– They’re an excellent way to pre-screen the candidate to confirm basic skills.
– They’re a time saver for all parties involved in the interview process.
– They give the company an opportunity to make some basic assessments about the candidate based on verbal skills and the candidate’s ability to convey enthusiasm and interest.
– They provide a much easier avenue for both parties to end the process if something just isn’t right.
Continue reading …

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Posted September 15, 2008 by

5 easy steps to start career networking

Studies indicate that the most effective way to find a job is through networking. Trying to shift to a completely new industry? Network. Trying to move across the country to a completely new job market? Network. Trying to get into the hottest company in town or work for the hottest boss? Network. Trying to overcome a perceived deficit in your professional or educational background? Network.
It’s difficult to deny the benefits of career networking, yet career seekers continually ignore this proven method of finding a new job. Resistance to career networking usually is due to an incorrect perception of how to get started, or to a self-imposed barrier of some sort. Try these five easy steps to start your career networking strategy.

Avoid assumptions. Often, the first words out of the new networker’s mouth are, “I don’t know anyone who can help me get to where I want. Everyone I know is just like me.” You might be surprised who people know. Even your closest friends and family members know someone you should meet or someone who knows someone. Don’t assume your current network is full of dead ends.

Begin in your comfort zone. One misconception about networking is that you have to talk with people you don’t know. This is uncomfortable for a lot of people because they simply don’t like talking to strangers or don’t know what to say. Select a few people (friends, family members, co-workers, etc.) you know, like and trust to begin with them.

Identify your goals. What is it you want this year? A new position within your company? A new job altogether? New projects to expand your resume? Knowing what you want to accomplish will help you determine your approach and what to say.

Just ask. Because your first time is always a bit awkward, just make a determination that you’re going to just ask…to meet, talk on the telephone, get advice, or whatever it is you need to do. Once you get over the initial fear and discomfort of asking, it gets easier.

Resolve not to ask for a job. That’s right; don’t ask someone for a job. If you ask someone for something not within his or her power to give you, he or she will be less inclined to want to help you. It’s a common human response: we tend avoid what causes us pain, and many of us equate failure with pain. Rather than asking for a job, ask for information, other people to talk to, or feedback on how people perceive your skills, abilities and marketability. Nearly everyone can successfully give you what you need in these areas.
Following these five easy steps will help you quickly start networking and more quickly find your next job.
Sharon Thomas DeLay is a certified resume writer and career confidence specialist, focusing on interview and networking skills development. Her blog “Inside the Hiring Manager’s Mind” presents practical career advice from the hiring manager’s perspective. Visit Sharon’s website or e-mail her for more information.

Posted September 15, 2008 by

3 Things You MUST Do to Ace the Job Interview

Congratulations! You landed the job interview. What now?
Many job candidates assume that their resumes will speak for them and that all they need to do is show up for the interview, looking professional and confirming a few questions about their skills. As a matter of fact, the interview is where the candidate needs to really start working! To improve your interview experience and increase your chances of becoming the preferred candidate:
Research. One of the top three deal breakers recruiters and hiring managers have identified is whether the candidate has taken the time to learn about the hiring company. Using the excuse that you’re “just” out of college and new to the job search doesn’t work. To learn more about a company, do an Internet search and review the news coverage, as well as the company’s public Web site (including annual reports and the About Us section, as applicable). You can also ask your friends and colleagues what they know about the company.
Adjust your attitude. Another deal breaker is not having a good attitude. Some employers have even said this is more important to them than the skill level of the individual. They are willing to invest in training if the candidate’s attitude is stellar and a good fit for the company. Always smile, no matter how you feel. Practice answering your interview questions in front of a mirror and check to see if you have a relaxed, approachable (and smiling) visage. Also, avoid using the interview as a platform for voicing your displeasure over your last job, boss, unsatisfactory school project, and so forth. No matter what the truth is, always formulate your answers to be positive and forward-looking. The past is just that. Learn from it and move on.
Create value. Employers prefer that you have the basic required skill set to do the job. To differentiate yourself from all the others who have the required skill set, demonstrate how you can help the company differentiate itself. When you talk about your skills and experience, do it in the manner that demonstrates how what you have done has added value to your past employer or how your unique problem-solving approach has been beneficial in adding value to an internship. Use quantifiable information, discuss efficiencies you’ve introduced and revenue or savings you’ve generated, if at all possible. Simply reiterating your skills in job-description fashion only proves you met the basic job requirements.
Sharon DeLay is a certified career coach with the goal of helping people find jobs they love and love the jobs they have. Visit our website or e-mail us for more information or to subscribe to her twice weekly blog or twice monthly ezine. (c) 2008 Permanent Ink Professional Development Services