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Invest in Some Spring Cleaning to Help with Your Job Search

It’s a great time to “spring forward,” not only with your clocks, but with your job search. Now is a great time to dust off some cobwebs and tidy up in preparation for a new career adventure. Here are a few tips to think about this spring:

Look for new ways to re-vitalize your search! Reach out to friends and share with them that you are still looking for the “ultimate” opportunity. Research companies on line and identify new individuals with whom you can conduct informational interviews. Go for it!

Brush Up on Your Interview Skills. Explore job sites and identify questions that may be asked in the interview. Write out your answers and deliver the responses out loud. Ask a friend to conduct a mock interview with you. How did you do? Did you stumble over your answers or were you spot on? Do you have examples of what you have done for the behavioral interview questions? (Need help with that, get in touch with me).

Fine Tune Your Resume and Cover Letter. Review the job description and tailor your correspondence. Remember, this isn’t all about you, it’s about what value you can provide to the company. Your cover letter should make the company want to interview you. Make them not want to miss out on that opportunity!

Network, network, network. Attend professional association meetings. Be sure to have plenty of business contact cards that you can give to someone to help them remember you.

Take a break and enjoy the sun by walking and re-energizing yourself. Be sure to drink plenty of water and embrace the new day. Soon you will be SOARing, I guarantee it!

How’s that Working for You?

fish jumping out of bowlIt’s one of my favorite phrases used by Dr. Phil: “How’s that Working for You?” and it is a good question to ask if you are finding that your job search isn’t going exactly as planned. If you are beginning to feel a tad frustrated or discouraged, it may be time to change your approach. Do something differently! Let me explain:

Are you spending countless hours filling out applications on line, only to discover that companies aren’t replying? STOP IT! Back away from your daily routine and take inventory. Are you applying to the same type of job? Maybe you need to look at other options. For example, you keep looking at the job title and applying. Perhaps it would help if you drilled a little deeper and looked at the competencies of various roles and see if you may be a match in another position.

Do you skip attaching a cover letter thinking that your resume stands out and nothing more is needed. Stop that madness, will you? A good cover letter can give the employer additional perspective into your personal goals and help them see your VALUE PROPOSITION and how having you as an employee will benefit their company. It’s also an opportunity to let the company know that you are open to negotiating a salary (the Applicant Tracking System tends to “box” you in to your last salary and companies think that is what you are looking for now). Things change. Help the potential employer see that.

Finally, don’t give up on networking. Reach out to people you may have contacted early on in your job search and let them know you are still looking. Ask them if they have any other people that would talk with you to give you ideas. Keep apprised of news in your community and your industry and ask for a meeting with someone who may be starting up a business or hiring. You NEVER, ever know where it will lead.

I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Change can be your friend. Embrace it and ask yourself, again, “How’s that working for you?”

Here’s to S.O.A.Ring!

I Was Waiting for YOUR Phone Call

Man looks at the phone. WaitingIt happens when you are looking for a new job. You spend hours filling out applications on line, revising the resume to match the qualifications required, only to find no one calls you back. You wonder if your resume went into a black hole. Why doesn’t someone call just to learn more about you and your talent? You know you would be an excellent fit and can help their business in some way. What’s the deal? Are companies really getting inundated with resumes and have no time for just a courtesy call?

To some extent that IS what is happening in the world of Human Resources. While we hear in the media that the unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in years (4.2% in September 2017), there are many jobs that are being advertised and, still, you aren’t getting a call. Well, that little something that is impacting the “human element” of recruiting is called ATS. An ATS is a software application that handles the recruitment process, namely by sorting through thousands of resumes, to determine which ones are the best fit for the positions for which they were submitted. It helps employers save time and helps them stay organized. Essentially, it scans your resume and matches it to the key words in the job description. So, if you haven’t mastered ATS, you aren’t a “match.” (The rejection can feel like dating again).

There are many articles highlighting how to “embrace applicant tracking systems” (I’ll share some ideas in my next blog), but, they don’t necessarily give you ideas on how to manage your frustrations as you pursue the ultimate job, awaiting that elusive phone call or any type of human contact! Here’s an article that provides some food for thought: How To Maintain a Positive Attitude During a Frustrating Job Search.

Keep thinking positive! Keep Networking and know I’m here to help! Here’s to SOARING!

Bizarre Interview Questions: Don’t Let Them Throw You!

Cars on the BeltwayHave you ever been in an interview, thinking that everything is going along “swimmingly,” when someone asks you a question and you think, “where did that come from?”  One of the favorite oddball questions thrown to me was “how many cars are on the beltway?”  That question made an impact, because it’s been nearly 15 years since it was asked of me. I’ve read that others have been asked: “How would you sell hot cocoa in Florida?”  or “If you delivered pizza’s, how would you benefit from scissors?”

One asked of me recently was: “Are you a nice person? Why?” This one actually made me tear up as I thought about all of the wonderful people in my life. I’m glad it was on a “video interview” with the computer asking me questions (no human interaction. That’s a blog, btw, that’s going to be a hoot to write). I do wish that I had been able to pause or re-wind the interview, but, I forged ahead, talking about all of the people in my life and that they wouldn’t be there if I wasn’t a nice person (at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). It also gave me an opportunity to highlight my compassion and love for others.

As terrifying or strange as these questions may seem, they are being asked for a reason, not necessarily for the right answer or to make you squirm. Actually, the interviewer is trying to determine how quickly you think on your feet or problem solve, how you’ll approach a difficult situation, and most importantly, your attitude or approach to the challenge. Do you remain positive and proactive and try to resolve the problem or do you throw up your hands and say “who cares?” (Not a good answer, btw).

So, when asked the crazy question, the one that may make your brain feel as if it’s about to burst, take a deep breath, perhaps say “what an interesting question” to give you time to think and then try to answer it to the best of your ability, all with a smile. I’m waiting for someone to ask me the question: “What’s your favorite song? Perform it for us now!”  It may be that my dream comes true!

Here’s to S.O.A.R.ing!

The World of Finding a Job

Here’s an interesting, entertaining video that discusses how recruiters should look at the marketplace in 2017. It’s worth watching and also discusses the “hidden job” market or finding those jobs that may not be created or advertised yet. Enjoy!

Also, would love to know what you think? Follow me on Facebook and/or drop me a note if you have ideas about the current job market.   https://www.facebook.com/usoarwithnancy/

Freshen Up Your Resume

Cherry BlossomsA recent article on Monster.com resonated with me today, particularly as we welcome spring and all the freshness it has to offer. It gives 5 easy steps for updating your resume and I highly recommend you give it a try. Here are the five steps in a nutshell:

1. Start with a new look and lingo. The author recommends getting rid of the “job objective” field and tossing out some of the “old lingo.”

2. Forget about snail mail and boost your social profile. Did you know that 84% of employers are now recruiting via social media?

3. Look Alive! Use words that describe your outstanding work. Forget about “responsible for” and use action verbs!

4. Discard the funky FONTS. You know what that means!

5. References are a given that they are available on request. Don’t waste resume space that you could be using to describe your wonderful attributes by listing who they should call.

Here’s the article if you want to read more and, remember, I’m here if you would like some help and perspective.

Happy Spring!

https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/five-steps-for-updating-your-resume-hot-jobs

 

 

Make IT Happen!

the-most-effective-way-to-do-it-is-do-it_amelia-earhartForget about resolutions, I say. Just do it! What is it you want to achieve in 2017? A new position within your company? A new job in another company? Whatever it is, here are a few tips that may help you in making things happen found in an article on Monster.

“Each week, commit to apply for at least 5 jobs, send 10 networking emails and research two new companies,” says Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at the talent acquisition company iCIMS in Hoboken, New Jersey. “These mini resolutions will help maintain job-search momentum long after the initial New Year’s enthusiasm wanes.” Note from Nancy: That’s do-able, don’t you think?

Make it easy to track your results

Applying to multiple positions at multiple companies? It’s easy to get mixed up and waste time wondering what your last move was before throwing your hands in the air in exasperation. Don’t let yourself get to that point.

“I like the method of organizing your search with an Excel spreadsheet, either in Google Drive or on a desktop,” says Christy Hopkins, a human resources consultant and writer at Fit Small Business in New York City. Any tracking doc can work—just make sure it’s easy enough to use that you don’t dread the task every week.

“In this spreadsheet, track the companies you’ve applied to, the title of the position and the date you applied, as well as if you have heard back and that date,” says Hopkins. “Also include any contact information so you can easily follow up on your application status.”

To help stave off stagnation, Hopkins suggests creating another page on your spreadsheet and making a list of 50 to 100 companies you’d love to work for. Bit by bit, search for any open positions that are suited to you.

“If there isn’t anything open, check back in 15- to 30-day intervals, and track that as well,” says Hopkins. If you apply to any jobs, add the tracking information to your primary list.

Not only will this strategy keep you organized, it can also help you fine-tune your job search. You’ll get a clear picture of which job titles earn you the most callbacks, and which companies are more responsive than others. Note from Nancy: Another GREAT idea. I do this all of the time with contacts and, of course, don’t forget about Linked In. A fabulous tool!

For more great ideas on what to do in making things happen, check out this article called “How to keep your New Year’s job search mojo going” written by Joe Simmons, a Monster contributor.

Here’s to a fabulous 2017 and making things happen! Cheers!

It’s MORE than a resume

networking graphicFinding the ultimate job requires more than posting or submitting a resume.  Some talent recruiters are now recommending that you limit your time in online postings to only an hour or two per week. Take the rest of your time to pick up the phone, send emails, or have lunch with those who can help you make your next connection. Making that connection or networking is the BEST way to find a job because:

  • People do business with people they know and like. While you may have the right buzz words to get your resume notices, resumes alone are often too impersonal to convince someone to hire you
  • Job listings lend themselves to drawing huge amounts of applicants,w which puts in you in competition with many others. Networking contributes to making you a member of a smaller pool and helps to get you noticed.
  • The job you want may not be advertised at all. Networking may lead to information and job opportunities BEFORE a formal job description has been thought of or announced.

So, back away from the computer and posting your resume. Go forth and have those conversations with your current and potential network!

An Interesting Way to Reflect on Your Career

Mad Libs for CareersOn any given day, I never know what knew idea or concept I will run across. That’s what I LOVE about “life-long learning.”  You are never, ever too old to learn.  I first learned about “life-long learning” as a 4-Her, oh, so many years ago. (As usual, I digress, but, I now am inspired to write a blog about learning in the 4-H program. Stay tuned. That’s my February musing).

As I was exploring new ideas to incorporate into a class for employees who want to explore a leadership path, I discovered this creative article and exercise by Aaron Hurst, who has a company called Imperative. It’s a Mad Lib game that gives one pause for thought. Enjoy!

 

YIKES! Where did time go?

It happens, doesn’t it. You have the best of intentions to do something, yet can’t seem to get around to time slips awaydoing it. I’ve been meaning/wanting to write a post for several months now, but, I let time get the best of me (of course, the warm sun and beach were also calling. Guess that’s one of the hazards of living so close to the ocean).

That being said, I do have some ideas for you if you are thinking about a career change or upgrade. Sometimes, around the holidays, with vacations, companies aren’t hiring as frequently. If you take any time off or if you have some “extra” time on your hands, this is an excellent time to dust off your resume and update it and make plans for how you are going to land your dream job.  Over the summer, I did read an excellent book called PAID TO BE YOU: A Guide to Getting Unstuck, Finding Your Passion, and Launching a New Career by Adam Rico. Adam is an career and executive coach and states that “it’s not as much a matter of “finding” a job – it’s more a matter of becoming the person you were born to be.”  I LOVED this concept.  This could be your first step in re-defining your career search. Buy the book (I don’t get royalties) and explore things such as:

  • Four Areas You Must Have to Enjoy Your Work
  • Balancing Dreams and Practicality
  • Change Your Thinking

It’s a quick read and guaranteed to get you thinking about your career approach differently.

I’ll be back in 2016 with other ideas of what you may want to consider.

Merry Christmas!!