eBook: The 21st Century Job Search

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In the digital age, finding employment means using the latest technological tools available for job seekers. Given this change in the professional world, job seekers need to be aware of and stay on top of the current trends and, then, adapt accordingly to optimize their chances of success. This eBook takes a look at the modern job search and provides tips on locking down that nine to five in the digital age.

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eBook: The 21st Century Job Search

  1. 1. The 21st Century Job Search TIP S FOR LA N D IN G A J O B I N T HE DI G I TAL AG E . Chapter Overview Chapter 1 - The Search Chapter 2 - The Modern Resume Chapter 3 - The Cover Letter Chapter 4 - Social Media Chapter 5 - Networking Chapter 6 - The Interview If you’ve ever had a conversation with your parents about their early days of job searching, then you know some of the stark contrasts between the job search of 10-20 years ago and today’s job search. Finding a job has changed radically in the 21st Century. It requires more than simply picking up a newspaper and browsing through the classified ads. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com In the digital age, finding employment means using the latest technological tools available for job seekers. Given this change in the professional world, job seekers need to be aware of and stay on top of the current trends and, then, adapt accordingly to optimize their chances of success. This eBook takes a look at the modern job search and provides tips on locking down that nine to five in the digital age.
  2. 2. CHAPTER 1 - The Search First Things First: Setting Goals for the Job Search Whether you’re fresh out of college, deciding to start down a new career path, or making any sort of big life change, you absolutely MUST set goals. Goals are an important part of making any change in your life, they give you something to strive for, they give you purpose. Without clearly defined goals it is easy to flounder when making decisions. Goals structure your path to succeeding by giving you something to achieve. You may have goals that are not clearly defined, such as “I want to work in Public Relations” or “I want to lose weight,” and that’s all well and good. You go, girl. Now, let’s come up with something specific enough that won’t allow you to rationalize less-than-ideal outcomes. By specifying your target, you know exactly what it is you’re aiming for and what it takes to get there. If you aren’t exactly sure if your goals are specific enough, try using the “SMART” mnemonic. This can be extremely helpful when determining if your goals are sufficiently laid out, and worth charting out an action plan. So, instead of “I want to work in Public Relations,” your goal should look more like, “I want to work as a Manger of Emerging Media for a major PR firm by 2016.” Now, you may need to form smaller goals which would lead you to this result, but if you don’t have a clear objective, you’ll never get where you truly want to be. Next step? Take action! If you’re looking for a new career, or advice on job searching, resumes, or interviewing, check out www.jobma.com. SMART stands for: S- Specific (Significant) M- Measurable (Meaningful) A- Attainable (Action-Oriented) R- Relevant (Realistic) T- Time-Bound (Trackable) Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  3. 3. It’s Not Me. It’s You. Considering Company Culture in Your Job Search By pairing your paper resume with your video resume, you’re giving employers the opportunity to see who you are as a person, what your personality is like, and how you could potentially fit into the company as an employee. Don’t forget that it’s extremely important for you to give the company a similar sort of evaluation! The first thoughts that come to your mind when you’re considering a job position most likely include the facts: location, hours, salary, etc…I get it. These things are important. You do have bills to pay and don’t want to commute two hours roundtrip to work. But what about the atmosphere and culture of the company? This information is equally important. If the culture of your company makes going to work as exciting as watching paint dry, then this is a major issue! So how do you get the inside scoop on your prospective company’s culture? Here are three good starting points: 1. The Internet is your friend. Employers scour the Web to find any inappropriate or unprofessional Facebook posts, tweets, or high school articles related to you. Do the same to them! Look over everything from their social media pages to any articles and press releases you can get your hands on. What does this public image say about the company as a whole? Are they in the press for sexual harassment in the workplace or for their community volunteer efforts? If it’s possible, don’t be afraid to get in touch with current employees through Facebook or LinkedIn to ask them how their working experience has been. If the company has a Jobma profile, look carefully at the video the company chose to upload. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com 2. Be observant. Once you arrive at your interview, be observant of any details that could give you information about the company culture. What do the employees’ desks look like? Are they completely bare or decorated with family pictures? Pay attention to how everyone within the office is dressed. Is the dress code business casual or formal business attire? Notice the way the office desks or cubicles are arranged. Do they promote social interaction? Also, keep an eye out for the break room. Does it seem like a well-used spot for employees to talk about their weekends? You could even consider asking to do a walkthrough of the office after your interview. 3. Just ask. Company culture is a very appropriate topic to bring up at the end of the interview when the employer asks if you have any questions. Here are three questions to get you started: If you could change one thing about your company’s culture, what would it be? How would you describe your company’s culture? What sorts of workplace issues does HR most commonly face? Finding a job with a great salary, location, and hours is great, but remember that you actually have to go to work everyday and live in that environment for 40+ hours a week to get that salary. So while company culture may not be the first thing you consider in your job search, definitely don’t forget about it! For a related blog post on how to consider location in your job search efforts and find out which cities are best for your career, click here!
  4. 4. The Importance of the Right Job I understand as well as anyone the importance of landing a job to pay the bills. Any job will do, right? Well, if you’re looking to turn this position into the start of your career, the answer to that is a big fat no. Maybe you’re not exactly sure what you should be doing, or even what you want to do. I’m here to tell you why “just any” job is not the answer, and how to find what’s right for you. In times like these where jobs are harder to come by, picking up any position might seem like the best course of action – but if you can be picky, do it. Taking a position in which you are not well suited not only means you have to work harder to excel, but it also means that the employer is not getting all that they should from the position. It’s like trying to jam two puzzle pieces together when they don’t fit. It leads to a problem, no matter how you look at it. And if you’re trying to grow within a field that doesn’t align with what you are naturally good at, you’ll find roadblock after roadblock after roadblock, and nobody wants to be frustrated with their work for their entire career. If you’re not sure what you want to do, you need to first do a little research on yourself. Though you might think you’re good at everything (and hell, maybe you are), you are probably better suited for some positions rather than others. If you’re like most people, you ultimately want to end up doing something you’re good at. If you’re not exactly sure what you’d be best doing, or you have a perception of your skill set that might be different from reality, take a personality test like the Jung Typology Test or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment (and for the sake of all that is good, be honest). Tests like these help to determine who you are, your strengths and weaknesses. By dissecting the results of these tests you can decide what type of work is best for you. When looking for your next position it’s important that you stick to your guns, not only will you be a better fit as an employee, but you will also be much happier with your career choice. Any job will do, right? No, stick to your guns! Not only will you be a better fit as an employee, but you will also be much happier with your career choice. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  5. 5. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Getting Stuck Feeling stuck in your job search? We’ve all been there. Maybe there are too many tantalizing options out there, or maybe nothing you’re finding sounds right for you. Well, let’s get you unstuck, shall we? First: Take a Breather, and Reflect. Everything is going to be fine, so if you’re really frustrated, just take a moment to relax. Take a step back and review your process. What’s working? What is not? If you’ve been visiting job boards with no results, maybe it’s time for a different approach. If you have too many options on your plate, it’s time to focus on exactly what it is that you want rather than continuing to search. Realize that this particular job search is not going to define the rest of your life. If you end up finding something that isn’t a perfect fit, that’s okay. It’s all right to try something new that you hadn’t previously considered, and it’s also all right to say no if you’ve overwhelmed yourself with options. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Next: Take Action. If you’re having a hard time finding something you like, switch things up. Talk to people in your network, or try a different method of job searching. Check out niche job-search websites, or sites like Jobma.com that give you new and different ways of promoting yourself. Conduct informational interviews with companies, rather than looking for specific job descriptions. Make an action plan, set goals, and go for them! By taking action you’ll open up doors you never knew existed. If you’ve loaded up on potential positions and are having a difficult time choosing a direction, take a test run or two (or three…etc). Shadow people, volunteer, do whatever you can to get a taste of each of your options. Once you know more about what it takes to do each of those things, you’ll have a better idea of what it is you want to dedicate your time to. Job searching is seldom stress-free. So if you get stuck, gather your thoughts, figure out the issues in your process, and take action. By taking control you’ll not only relieve the excess stress, but you’ll also be one step closer to finding a job!
  6. 6. 3 Tips for Landing Your Ideal Career Hearing in an interview that this prospective position would give you a fat check every pay period is great news! But it can be somewhat blinding if it prevents you from considering other aspects of the position. No matter how much fun you will have with your flashy salary, if it’s a job that you absolutely despise, then it’s going to be not-so-fun earning that stack of cash. Given that you’ll be spending 40+ hours a week at your job, it is important to make sure that it is something you will enjoy— money aside. With that, how do you go about finding a career that’s right for you? Here are three ways you can get started: StrengthsFinder 2.0 Available both online and in book format, this tool allows you to take a short assessment to determine what your top strengths are. The test evaluates you for 34 different talent themes, including, for example, Achiever, Developer, Positivity, Empathy, Includer, and Focus. Once you know your strengths, reflect on how you could incorporate these qualities into a career. It just so happens that we generally like doing things that we are good at. If you get stuck, StrengthsFinder 2.0 also provides an entire chapter dedicated to incorporating your unique strengths into a career. Hop around If you’ve recently graduated from college and are in your twenties, this is the ideal time to explore different career options. Once you land a job out of school, if you’re unsure that is what you want to spend the rest of your life doing (which you probably are), then consider hopping around. Many professionals in their twenties change careers every two or so years until they find that perfect fit. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Connect with other professionals If you think you’d like to go back to school to become a pharmacist, but aren’t absolutely certain, what better way to find out than by shadowing a pharmacist! People enjoy talking about themselves and their lives, so most people will probably be glad to help you. If it is not a position that you can shadow, ask if they would be willing to talk over coffee, respond to an email, or even Skype. While this only provides you with one person’s perspective on the position, it can still offer you some great insight. These tips provide you with some great ways to get started on your journey to a fulfilling career! However, it’s important to note that not every one of your passions would make for a good career. There are some passions that might even be “ruined” if you were to try to turn them into a career. Knowing and understanding which passions these are is important to finding your ideal job. For more information, click here.
  7. 7. CHAPTER 2 - The Modern Resume Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid Your resume or video resume is a key component to finding a job. Whether you are looking for your first job out of college or are a 20-year veteran in the workforce, silly resume mistakes can cost you big when being compared to your peers. Think about these 5 tips when creating and editing your resume: 5. Misspellings and Improper Grammar This key point seems obvious, yet any time a job is posted there are sure to be multiple resumes submitted with spelling mistakes. What does it say about you when the piece of paper or video pitch meant to define your career has a spelling error or poor grammar? Would they be making a mistake by hiring you? 4. One Size Fits All We all know that you are a multitalented salesperson/marketer/communications/HR professional in the making. That is what your application says. A perspective employer on the other hand would like to know that you specialize in the position that you are applying to. If you are applying for a job in marketing, you should have a marketing centric resume or video resume. Show employers why you fit that job and the experience and education that back it up. Use verbiage that sharpens an employer’s focus on how you can contribute in their environment. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com 3. Focus on Job Duties While employers do want to know what you did for your company, they will be more interested in what you accomplished. When writing or talking about previous jobs you should ask yourself: How did I perform better than my coworkers? What challenges did I face and overcome? How did I make that company better? 2. Overloading As much as you want to tell a perspective employer everything about you, it’s good to keep readability in mind. After you have completed your written or video resume step back and look at it. Does it look like something you would want to watch or read, or is it confusing? Is it formatted properly and easy to consume? When you answer these questions for yourself you will know whether you are one step closer to submitting your written or video resume confidently. 1. Lacks Job Specific Keywords Certain industries have certain keywords that mean a lot when looking for the next candidate. Keep your skills and your written and/or video resume up to date by knowing and including keywords associated with your field and specifically positions you are applying for. Many fortune 1000 companies and even smaller companies use software to sift through resumes and find appropriate candidates to screen. Put yourself in the best position to be contacted!
  8. 8. Top 5 Resume Do’s in 2013 Your resume is the most important part of your job search. It will either land you an interview or get you thrown in the “not interested” pile in a matter of minutes. It is vital that you take the time to craft a resume that shows your potential employers why they can’t live without you. These are five things you must do when composing your resume. Include a Cover Letter For some reason, many applicants skip the cover letter. This is a big mistake. The cover letter is your chance to speak to the hiring manager. Why should they choose you over everyone else? A well-written cover letter will land you an interview much faster than any perfected resume can. Keep It Short Recruiters and hiring managers are busier than ever. If your resume is longer than a page, you can be pretty sure it is not going to get read. Keep your resume brief and highlight only the relevant aspects of your career and education. Additionally, you no longer need to include references on your resume; simply state they are available if needed. Include a Video Resume Although not usually requested, a video resume could make the difference between getting an interview and being thrown in the not interested pile. A resume is a decent representation of your skills and experience, but it hardly speaks to your soft skills and your personality. Including a video resume with your written resume gives employers a chance to see who you are and how you present yourself “in-person” before an interview even takes place! Use Your Words Wisely Since you are working with limited space, you better make it count. Focus on action words and actual statistics to demonstrate what you bring to the table. Vagueness will not do you any good. Make It Easy to Read - As previously mentioned, your resume is likely to only get a few minutes of attention before it is tossed to the wayside. Make sure you emphasize the important parts with bullet points and use a simple font so that your resume is easily scannable. Put the Most Important Information at the Top Use the first few sentences to really capture the reader’s attention. Put your most mind-blowing achievements and standout qualities here. If you do this correctly, your resume might get more than a few minutes of attention. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  9. 9. The Power of Keywords, Video Resumes, and Breaking through the Masses With the advances in technology, keywords are now the most widely used tool for finding prospective employees. Admittedly, I wouldn’t want to read through thousands of resumes either, but this method can knock some great jobseekers out of the running for positions they would be a perfect in. Employers search job-sites for resumes which include certain keywords, and if your resume is missing the words these employers are searching for you are automatically sunk. Now, what are these words? How can you ensure that your resume is chalk full of them and you will never be missed by an employer’s keyword search again? Well, they’re different for every position in every industry. Yes, there is some overlap, but I cannot give you a list of words that will instantly make you visible to every employer you’d like to work for. But, all is not lost. You can figure out some of these words on your own using several different methods: Think about the “hard” skills necessary in the industry in which you are applying (ex: project management, recruitment, etc) Industry buzzwords and software (ex: Specific CRM, or industry software, etc) Consult with recruiters, company websites, human resources, or web search engines Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Keywords are the top-dog when it comes to sorting through resumes now, but as technologies continue to change and emerge, the job-search process will continue to adapt to the changes. Jobma makes standing out from endless resumes easier by giving employers the opportunity to see the person behind the resume before calling them in for an interview. This technology gives jobseekers the tools necessary to be more than just keywords on a page; it allows them to talk about their skills and assets so that employers can get a better sense of who you are as an employee. Bolstering your resume with keywords will ensure that you become more visible to employers and increase your chances of being considered for an interview. Jobma allows you to go a step further, introduce yourself, and share a little bit about yourself and what you can bring to the table. And, as a word to the wise, throwing keywords into your video pitch certainly couldn’t hurt either.
  10. 10. How to Flesh Out Your Resume It is commonly known that your resume should be a standard one page. Since your resume only gets maybe 10 seconds of attention, any longer than one page provides more information than can be attended to in that amount of time. To remedy a length problem, review the information on your resume, and make sure it’s all current and relevant, and cut everything that no longer falls into those categories. But what do you do if you have the opposite problem? You’ve filled out your objective, educational information, work experience, and you’re still looking at half a page of blank space. Don’t you worry; it won’t be blank for long. It’s all in the Details What did you do at your last position? I don’t mean two or three bullet point’s worth, but what did you do? Did you manage a group of people? Did you create content that led to any sort of results? Give it to me in more detail, quantify your accomplishments. You have what many professionals wish they had: space to delineate the things that they did in previous positions that exemplify relevant skills! Use it! Highlight Relevant Skill Sets Now, I know you have a list of skills, all prim and proper under a general “Skills” heading. Don’t be afraid to break them up! Having a long list can lead to having some of your skills skimmed over. Does the job you’re applying for require a certain set of skills that you have? Say, computer skills? What about language or social media skills? If you’ve got it, flaunt it! Create a separate heading for those skills. This will not only add more length to your resume, but it highlights the skills that are more relevant to the position. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Giving is a Good Thing Do you have any volunteer experience? List it! Volunteer experience shows potential employers more about who you are as a person, not just a prospective employee. Volunteering cannot only be rewarding, but it can be valuable experience as well! Did you help coordinate an event? Did you fundraise? Enter data? These activities all require skills that professionals use every day. If you don’t have any volunteer experience, sign up to give some of your time. Not only is it intrinsically rewarding, it helps develop certain job skills and helps to maintain an employable image, not to mention lengthens your resume! Never fill your resume with fluff, look deeper into the experience you have and use this opportunity to express details, highlight skills, and show off who you are. You may have had trouble filling space before, but using these tips you’re likely to have an abundance of information. You’ll be filling that page in no time!
  11. 11. Did I Manage Employees or Was I Responsible for Managing Employees? Writing Winning Bullet Points An incredibly important part of the resume that applicants often overlook (guilty!) in the writing process is the bullet points listed under each of the professional positions. These phrases are more than just an expansion of your job title. They allow you to elaborate on the skills you mastered through your experiences at each job. They tell prospective employers what kinds of responsibilities you can handle and what achievements are within your reach. There are several guidelines you can follow to make sure that your bullet point phrases meet these ends: Length. Include 3-5 bullet points for each professional position on your resume. Tense. Write in the past tense for previous jobs and present tense for current jobs. Content. Include phrases about your job responsibilities and significant achievements. Both of these phrases, if well written, should emphasize the skills you acquired through the job position. If you earned awards through your job, be sure to include those too. Start each phrase with an action verb.   The passive voice sounds terrible on a resume and should be avoided at all costs. Consider the following phrase: “Was responsible for increasing sales.” This does not provide prospective employers with any helpful information. You were supposed to increase sales, but did you? Always use action verbs and the active voice when constructing your phrases. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com For example, change the previous phrase to “Increased sales.” Action verbs are more powerful in emphasizing the skills you learned and accomplishments you made through the job position. Click here for a list of action verbs organized by career type. Include specific numbers. Doing so allows you to quantify the magnitude of your accomplishments. For example, change “Increased sales” to “Increased sales by 20% in 5 months.” Include specific skills. Give your prospective employers concrete evidence that you have the necessary skills for the job you are applying. For example, change “Designed the company’s website graphics” to “Designed the company’s website graphics using Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator, which led to a 22% increase in unique website visitors.” These bullet points also provide great content to pull from when building your video resume. Not only do they capture a description of your current or previous job positions, but they also emphasize the set of skills you acquired and achievements you made though these experiences. Shorten and combine three or four of your phrases to create a concise yet informative professional skills summary.
  12. 12. When You Don’t Have Enough to Put on Your Resume Adding a video resume to your collection of application materials obviously gives you a huge boost over job candidates that only apply for positions using a text resume. But what more can you do if your resume is looking a little sparse and needs some more content? How can you show an employer that you have impressive professional qualities without going to great lengths such as going back to school for another degree or taking on a part-time job that you just don’t have time for? Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do that will give your resume the edge you’re looking for. Here are some ideas to get you thinking: Get involved in your industry. Volunteering is a great way to get involved and flaunt your leadership and/or self-starter qualities. Consider a college student pursuing a teaching license. Volunteering as an assistant to a lower school teacher, as a Sunday school teacher, or even as a daycare helper are all good ways to show employers that you are great at interacting with kids and helping them learn. Even if you volunteered in a school’s administrative office, you’re still showing employers that you’re passionate about the education system— enough so to volunteer your limited time. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Get certified.  When I first heard this advice, I was stuck wondering what in the world I would be able to get a certification in. But much to my surprise, the Internet has several certifications you can pursue online for almost every industry. If you’re a graphic designer, for example, Adobe offers certifications for its design software that you can pursue right from your computer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Labor offers a website where you can search for available certifications in your industry. These certifications offer a convenient (and impressive!) way to solidify your skills and “prove” to an employer that you are capable of performing. Take advantage of free online classes.  Although you cannot, to my knowledge, get an actual degree without forking over some dough, there are certainly several sources online that offer free classes and/or lectures. Coursera, for example, hosts free classes from top schools and organizations, including University of Minnesota, Princeton University, and Stanford University. If you’re applying for jobs in an industry outside of your major, this will be an especially useful tool for you. Consider adding a “Relevant Courses” section to your resume to highlight your enhanced education. According to the stats, only two in every 100 resumes sent to an employer is viewed. That leaves quite a bit of room for an unsuccessful application. So follow these tips to make sure that your resume is one of those two. Additionally, compliment your new-and-improved text resume with a video resume to catch the eyes of your potential new employers.
  13. 13. A Look at the Future of Hiring Throwing away the traditional resume might not be the right move for everyone. You can still find a very good job with a resume, but it’s getting harder and harder to find a great one. The future of hiring depends on so much more than your resume. Here are a few things that will help you more than any resume: A Body of Work We don’t really have portfolios anymore, in the traditional sense. Rather, we have a series of links to our work throughout the web. If you don’t have work that you can link to, then a resume isn’t going to help you to overcome that. A resume is just a list of qualifications that you don’t have, by way of omission. A resume can be a reason not to hire you. A body of work is a reason to hire you. A Specialty If a recruiter is looking for someone to design a lo-fi website to look like a 1995 AOL member’s page, they’re going to look for someone who specializes in lo-fi websites. If a company is hiring someone to design a new blender, they’re going to pursue someone with new ideas on blenders, not a generalist. The Internet allows us to search millions of qualified people, so have a qualification that people are specifically looking for. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Initiative Initiative is important in today’s job market. Employers want people who will bring new ideas to the table, not mere cogs to plug into the machine. If you can take the initiative, you have an edge over other candidates. Including a video resume along with your written resume is a great way to demonstrate this sort of soft skill (along with the others)! Because of the competition that we have to contend with in today’s job market, it’s simply not enough to be competent anymore. You have to stand out as a champion!
  14. 14. Try Something New Your resume is a living document. It goes wherever you go professionally and changes to reflect your career path and professional interests and goals. Coming into 2013 it’s time to embrace some new formats and compliments to your trusty paper resume. 2. LinkedIn Profile It’s no secret that social media is an important component of job seeking if you have been following our blog. What we have seen is more and more job portals accepting an application via a LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile can be a fairly complete professional portfolio if you treat it as such. It can act as a full resume, is keyword searchable, and combines endorsements of skills and recommendations of people in your network. 3. Personal Website 1. The Video Resume The video resume is coming into its own in 2013. Technology has gotten to a point where video recording and sharing is simple and accessible. Interviews are being conducted online, and YouTube receives billions of views every day. Take your job search to the next level and embrace your story telling ability on a level previously unavailable to job applicants before an interview. Use your words and your personality to feature why you are the right candidate for the company you are applying to. Sites such as www.Jobma.com offer candidates the ability to create a profile and video resume and share it out anywhere. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Now, certain job categories lend themselves to having personal websites more than others, but if you could have your own website it certainly opens up potential opportunities. A personal website can be an eye catching way to showcase your skills and projects in a format that is easily found and shared online. It could help you get job inquiries as well as a chance to dabble in consulting if that idea appeals to you. The resume of 2013 can be a much broader and more effective tool than in previous decades. The availability of technology allows just about anyone to really beef up their presence online. You know when you are in the running for any job that your name will be searched. It is up to you what they find!
  15. 15. Why Soft Skills Matter Whether you’re looking to land that first job out of college or apply for that position you’ve been eyeing for years, there are the obvious things you need, as well as some intangibles, to set yourself apart from the rest of the pack. The obvious? Things like a well-polished resume, the qualifications, a cover letter and the appropriate business dress attire. And the intangibles? Soft skills, or the personal qualities that you exhibit, can be the difference between employers landing someone who can do the job well and someone who can do it exceptionally. For this reason, soft skills such as leadership, positivity, creativity, motivation, verbal and written communication and ambition, can be a major differentiating factor between job candidates. They matter to the extent that some employers would rather hire candidates with weak hard skills and strong soft skills rather than the opposite. Communication Poor communication is often one of the biggest shortcomings of an otherwise successful work environment. So why are employers putting more focus on soft skills? According to an article in Forbes, some 92 percent of employers put a great deal of value in employee attitude, as those with a positive attitude are more likely to want to learn new skills, work with others and be a part of a team. Those with good attitudes also prove to be more like-able, both inside and outside of the office, which is another reason behind this added emphasis on soft skills. Leadership Are you the type of person that can take charge or assume responsibility of certain things when need be? Employers like that. Soft skills that employers are placing value in and why they’re important: Flexibility Employers like Jack of all Trades-type workers who can adapt to change and learn new things quickly. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Positivity Nobody says that work can’t be fun. Positive people make the 9-5 grind more enjoyable. And positivity can also often times be contagious. So while you might have the qualifications for a certain position, ask yourself if you have the intangibles. If so, do they show through in your resume and cover letter? If not, you may consider including a video pitch to highlight your personality and other soft skills. Think about it – if there are two people with the same qualifications and equally impressive resumes, is the employer going to hire the stick in the mud or the person who is beaming positivity? It’s a no-brainer.
  16. 16. DO’s and DON’Ts of Video Resumes While a resume may be a good way of listing your hard skills, it does not give the employer any impression of your soft skills. These skills are hard to measure by looking at a paper resume. As a result, a paper resume is just not sufficient for most employers to properly assess your skills and experience. A video resume (sometimes called a visual resume or a virtual resume) can be an excellent way to make that personal connection with a company. They are far more personal than a paper resume and allow employers to see how you present yourself. A good resume could result in landing the job. However, done badly, it could be a detriment. Here are 5 “Do’s” and 5 “Don’t’s” for video resumes that work: DO: DON’T: Dress professionally.  Treat your video resume as you would a job interview. “Wing it.”  While natural speech and flow is encouraged, do not “wing” the whole resume. Make sure you’ve at least prepared on outline of what you’d like to include. Prepare!  Write down what you plan to say and, if possible, memorize it. Consider the background.  Record your video in front of an uncluttered office, library or living room setting, or by a plain wall or backdrop. Engage the viewer.  Maintain eye contact, be enthused, and show your true personality. Let the employer know you’re excited about working for them! Be professional, warm, and a touch of humor never hurts. Be Creative.  Sitting in front of a camera and listing your accomplishments may be an adequate way to describe your skill set, but why not stand out by putting together a video reel? Demonstrate your problem-solving skills, your flexibility, and your work ethic by piecing together video resumes that will leave your employer speechless. Speak clearly.  Be sure to enunciate each word. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Use “Ums” or “Ahs.”  Omitting “filler” words or sounds will double or triple how professional you sound. Speak too fast.  This is a common mistake of public speakers; strike a relaxed, natural, conversational tone. Fidget.  Maintain good posture and eye contact during the video resume. Pause too much.  Avoid dead air; keep things flowing smoothly and naturally. So there you have it -- 10 video resume tips on how to get an interview. A student resume or video resume for a job should be planned carefully. These tips can be a format for resume success. Resumes that work will help with getting an interview, and a good resume on video could very well be your key to success. Create your video pitch today!
  17. 17. Video Resumes and Equal Employment Opportunity(EEO) Standards Some recruiters will tell you that video resumes are a no-go because they delineate age, gender, race, and other information that could be discriminated against. And hey, nobody likes to get sued, I understand that. But let’s take a step back and compare the information divulged in a video resume versus the information on your LinkedIn account, or Facebook, or Twitter. We all know that recruiters and HR professionals creep social networks. They’re huge creepers. The fact that 73% of recruiters can say that they’ve successfully hired someone they found through social media says that loud and clear (Jobvite – Social Recruiting Survey Results 2012). They know what you look like, your relative age, gender, ethnicity. Hell, your name alone gives them at least some idea as to who you are. Let me tell you a little story. A friend of mine was accepted to a University and offered scholarships all on the basis of her name and financial information. She showed up, met with the counselor, who then proceeded to look at her as if she had three heads. The counselor then explained that the scholarships they had awarded her were no longer applicable because of her ethnicity. Her name is Tabitha M.(last name excluded for her privacy), and they assumed she was African American, which she is not. In this case, they got it wrong, but that just goes to show you that people already have an idea of who you are in their heads just by hearing your name. And that’s just your name. Now throw that name into a search engine and see what you find. Boom, there it is: a picture, a profile, plenty more information that can be used to discriminate against you in the hiring process. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com In general, recruiters say incomplete LinkedIn profiles hurt potential candidate’s chances of being approached for interviews… interesting how that works. Facebook and Twitter are the same way. There’s your profile picture, and that right there says a lot about you from a demographic standpoint. Some companies ask for your Facebook profile, and with that they could potentially find out more about you than you could possibly give away in a video resume. If social media is fair game for employers to use to check out prospective employees, then video resumes certainly are too!
  18. 18. Video Resumes: Projecting Confidence through Body Language The old saying “actions speak louder than words” speaks volumes as to how humans receive and process information. Nonverbal cues make up a majority of the messages that we receive when communicating. That being said, it’s extremely important to manage your tone and body language, especially when making a first impression. When creating a video resume, you want to put your best foot forward so that recruiters and hiring managers want to call you in for an interview. What you say is obviously important, but it is just as important to carry yourself in such a way that you exude confidence and openness. Here are a few tips on how to carry yourself while recording your video resume as well as during interviews: Smile! Not the most shocking piece of advice ever, I know. Make eye contact. Making and maintaining eye contact shows not only that you’re confident, but also that you’re engaged and interested in what the other person is saying. Rest your hands and arms calmly in your lap. Do not cross them in front of your chest. Crossing your arms makes you appear closed off, defensive, and potentially closed-minded. Sit up straight. Good posture is another indicator of confidence. If you’re sitting with your shoulders slouched you look small, uncomfortable, and nervous. Sit with your shoulders back and your back straight. Lay off the gestures. Gesticulating is not necessarily a bad thing, but waving your arms around every eight-seconds or pointing can be seen as distracting and sometimes offensive. Keep the gestures to a minimum. Don’t fidget. Though you may be nervous, try your best to stay calm. Avoid touching your hair, face, ears, neck, etc. These are signs that you are uncomfortable and not confident in what you are saying. These actions can also make others feel uncomfortable as well. Video resumes allow hiring professionals to see what type of communicator you are before you ever set foot into their office. Make sure you follow these tips so that you project yourself and your skills in the best way possible. If you’re thinking of creating your own video resume, or looking for other job search tips check out the Jobma blog. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  19. 19. Are You Sending Your Job Application Pieces at the Wrong Time of Day? Although it may seem like a trivial detail, considering the time of day and the day of the week that you submit a job application or e-mail an employer your resume, video resume, and cover letter may affect how successful you are as a job seeker. Crazy, right? Having and applying this knowledge, however, is an incredibly easy way to help maximize your job search success. Between Ten and Two According to data on e-mail trends (source: Job Search Hacker), e-mails sent between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM have the highest chance of being opened. Additionally, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are the days that e-mail opening peaks. Monday is also a good day to send an e-mail if these three days aren’t an option. As a job seeker, you can use these patterns and share or e-mail your application pieces to an employer at the optimal time. By sending this message in the morning during the work week— when employers are at their desk and checking their e-mail—you can give yourself an edge over other job seekers. In addition, avoid sending e-mails late at night. There are several reasons that career experts advise against this. First, how annoying would it be to hear your phone’s new e-mail notification when you’re in bed trying to sleep? If the employer is awake, he/she may scan the e-mail but most likely forget to respond to it in the morning. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Second, the employer may be suspicious about you being up so late. Is the job seeker sending it now because he/she is a procrastinator? What was the job seeker doing up at 2:00 AM before the e-mail was sent? Avoid these kinds of suspicions by following the guidelines and sending your e-mail in the morning. If you’re putting a lot of quality time into your application pieces (which I hope you are!), then don’t let something as small as sending these things to an employer at the wrong time of day hinder your success. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be one stop closer to landing that job!
  20. 20. CHAPTER 3: The Cover Letter Have Employers at Hello: The Keys to Better Cover Letters When you go to make your resume stand out, you most likely are very meticulous about making yourself look good. You show your strengths, triple proofread for spelling errors, and make sure the most relevant information jumps off the page– or a hiring manager’s computer monitor. But getting the job you want takes more than a good looking resume. Just as important, and possibly more important, is the effectiveness of your cover letter. To make your cover letter stand out, it is important to remember that it is not your resume. Most resume tips will explain the importance of outlining your work experience and education in a way that will make you an attractive candidate. Cover letter tips will note the importance of showing a hiring manager that you do, in fact, belong at their company. Too often, job seekers make the point of getting too formal and simply summarizing their resume. If it is possible to summarize your resume in a cover letter, maybe your resume should be shorter. Focus instead on letting the hiring manager know that you have taken an interest in what the company stands for, and that you have a sense of what is going on in the field. Let them know that you carry an interest in what they do, and leave the impression that this will continue to be the case whether or not they choose to hire you. Cover letters also need to be short and to the point. Formal introductions, and all the “Dear Sir or Madam” stuff just isn’t necessary. Don’t waste time on thinking of a greeting or formally introducing yourself. That information is on your resume, which is sitting there right under your cover letter where it is easy to find. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com You may also consider a video cover letter as a way to stand out from the crowd. The power of video allows you to show off your soft skills and give employers an idea of how you might fit in at the company. Use a video cover letter as a chance to show off your personality! Lastly, it is important that the hiring manager can read both your cover letter and your resume or video resume. To assure this, make sure all documents are sent in a format that can be opened by anyone. If you are using a new version of Word, and the company is using an older one – or not using Word at all – they might not be able to open either attachment, and all your creative razzle dazzle will be for naught.
  21. 21. CHAPTER 4: Social Media The Importance of Building and Maintaining a Personal Online Brand The idea of branding is not a new one. Some of the most successful companies in the world are known for their brand. Businesses spend significant time and resources in building and maintaining their brands, and for good reason. Successful branding can yield a loyal, consistent following, and the profits that come along with it. A failure to maintain a brand can do just the opposite. Businesses are not the only ones with a brand to maintain, especially with the arrival of the digital age. Everything you post online, every social media page your create and every Website you launch goes into creating your brand. If you don’t believe me, Google your own name sometime and see what appears. That’s what potential employers are seeing when they go online to learn more about you. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, or if you’re not seeing much, perhaps it’s time to spruce up your online brand. What is your online brand? Just like with corporate brands, your online brand tells potential employers a little about you. Are you flashy or shy, a book enthusiast (because you post Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com on Good Reads) or a fishing fan (because you frequent a fishing forum)? Do you post thoughtful comments about things relevant to your field or are all of your social media posts about your dog or last night’s dinner (or worse). Your brand is the accumulation of everything you’ve ever written online. Managing your brand Begin by determining what your brand is. What work do you do? What work would you like to do? What qualities do you want to be known for, such as hard work, kindness, etc? Understanding what image you want to put forward is the first step in creating that image. It is difficult for many people to accept this, but everything you put online will affect your brand. Your Facebook and Twitter updates, your blog if you have one, all of these are fair game for potential employers, and sometimes even current ones. You may not want to keep a tight rein on your web presence always, but it is important to understand the potential consequences of your actions.
  22. 22. Ways to improve your online brand If your online brand isn’t what you’d like it to be, don’t despair. Start today refreshing your online image. First, resolve to never again post anything on a public forum that you’d be embarrassed to have a potential employer see. Next, create a profile on LinkedIn (the social media site for professional networking) or update your profile if you haven’t used the site in a while. While you’re there, invite a few people you know and respect in your industry to link with you. (Most people, even acquaintances, will say yes.) Unclear future The explosion of social networking is creating new situations for which there are currently no guidelines. Today’s job search isn’t just about having a stellar resume and job history. Job applicants today need to pay attention to their online brand. It could make the difference between hearing “hired” or “no thank you.” Is it fair, or even legal, for current or future employers to peruse your tweets? Should it be? These questions have yet to be fully answered, and may not be for a while. Third, seek out interesting, thought-provoking articles about issues in your industry and leave a well-written comment using your full name. Such comments will come up in a Google search. Remember that Google loves new content, so make sure to do this regularly throughout your job search. (This also means that your older, less flattering posts will be less visible as time goes on.) Until the rules are better defined, it may be wise to consider what your online brand is, and how your future actions will affect it. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  23. 23. Leveraging Social Media Profiles to Further Your Career Part 1 – LinkedIn Social media is an extremely powerful medium. Leveraging it properly can be the key to landing a new job or making the right connections to have an impact on your current job. Your internet presence is most likely in full view of the curious public. If you are job hunting or actively networking, your profiles online are extremely easy to find. What does your profile say about you? Many people are now racing for the privacy settings and locking down their profiles to interested outsiders. Instead you should learn to leverage your profile to help you stand out from a crowd. Today we are taking a look at LinkedIn. 1. Always keep your profile up to date. At least once every 3–4 months you should update your LinkedIn Profile, and certainly every time you receive an award or community recognition for a volunteer project, start a new position, or earn an educational achievement. Use your space wisely. When talking about job experience don’t take the lazy way out and just copy your resume or CV. Use the Experience section to really showcase your previous employers, roles, and most importantly the key achievements and impact you had in that company. 2. Participate in group discussions. Do you have a something in your field you are passionate about? Participate in group conversations. The more you participate, the more you’ll build credibility and trust within your industry and specialty. This is your opportunity to become a thought leader. Engage your peers and there is the possibility of gaining a following. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com 3. Fill out your skills section. Now that your skills can be endorsed by people in your network there is no reason why you shouldn’t be beefing up that part of your profile. Those keywords are important for recruiters and hiring managers searching for candidates for positions and will also help your rankings in Google searches, as well (or Bing if you are into that). Anything you can do to more completely fill out your profile or show up more frequently in searches will help position you for your future. LinkedIn is probably the most important social media profile and tool to leverage when it comes to your career.
  24. 24. Leveraging Social Media Profiles to Further Your Career Part 2 - Twitter What can twitter do for you? Twitter gives you access to other professionals in your field. You get the opportunity to connect with industry leaders and see what conversations they are having. Twitter also provides you another platform to build credibility as a thought leader (we talked about this briefly in Part 1 of this conversation about LinkedIn). You have the opportunity to share information and engage in conversations in 140 character bursts. Here is how to set yourself up to be successful on twitter: 1. If you are going to use twitter professionally, brand your twitter professionally. Set up a designed professional profile, choose a professional handle, and link to your personal website or LinkedIn profile. If you already have a twitter profile you are comfortable using, go ahead and keep it, but you will have to think twice next time you share that picture from last weekend or tweet out the latest cat picture you found online. Sometimes it’s better to manage two accounts for private and business use. Mobile apps make it quick and easy to seamlessly manage two accounts and switch back and forth. 2. Tweet like no one is watching. Before you start off and follow every big name twitter user you can find, create some content of your own!  It’s ok that no one is following you right now and that you will not be starting any new discussions. You need to give people a reason to follow you back. Tweet about an article or an idea, share a new website that people could benefit from. Just stay away from being spammy! It’s ok to self-promote but at first that will turn away the majority of your potential followers. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com 3. Slowly build your Network. Now is the time to go ahead and start following those twitter stars, colleagues, and industry professionals. Use twitter’s search function and “find people” tool to get started. There are plenty of other methods to finding interesting people to follow including TwitDir, Twellow, and Twubble. Don’t be overambitious and start following 500 people right off the bat when you might only have a couple dozen followers. That reflects poorly on you. It takes time and good content to grow your network! 4. Do unto others! Think about what you can do for others. That is the first way to gain people’s attention. Start by helping promote others who are creating or sharing content you also believe in. You may gain some new followers and friends this way. Working with people is a good method to potentially get some help in return, later down the line. You just never know who might join your network! Twitter offers a way to create an extended network in a way that LinkedIn sometimes is unable to. People are more open with their twitter profile, and it is a great bonus to you to connect with people beyond your immediate circle whose networks and contacts are much different from your own.
  25. 25. Leveraging Social Media Profiles to Further Your Career Part 3 – Pinterest Although it may not be as well-established with the workforce world as LinkedIn, people are starting to recognize that Pinterest can be added to the collection of social media platforms used in the job search. As an added bonus, it’s really easy (and fun!) to use. For those graphic designers, photographers, interior designers, web designers, and other artsy folk out there, you can probably already imagine the extent of personal branding you could do by uploading images of your portfolio into a “My Portfolio” board. But for those of us who aren’t pursuing careers in the fine arts, Pinterest can still be an incredibly powerful platform. Create a “My Resume” board and upload your resume, logos of companies you’ve worked for, logos of schools you’ve attended, and logos of organizations you have volunteered for or partnered with. This is a great way to aggregate yourself into a visual resume and create another social media profile to compliment your resume, video resume, social media profiles, and website. Create a second board dedicated to pins relevant to your industry or anything that relates to your professional life or dream career. Once you start following the companies you’re interested in working for as well as some of the experts in your field, you’ll get a feel for the types of visual information that would be most relevant and catching to pin. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Consider using your three secret boards to collect information about the companies that you’re interested in applying to or have upcoming interviews with. If you’re at this stage in the hiring process, you should be doing your research on these companies and, if you’re like me, visual information can be a lot easier to remember than text alone. Similar to your video resume, Pinterest also allows employers to get a glimpse of who you are as a person. But be careful with this! Know that just because a board isn’t labeled your “My Resume” board, it doesn’t mean that an employer won’t look at it. Now here’s where you can really go for the gold with Pinterest. First, make sure that your settings allow your profile to show up in search engine results. Then, if you pack your Pinterest profile with keywords related to your career, you’ll increase the chances that it shows up in search engine results. Once employers arrive at your Pinterest profile, be sure that they will easily see a pin telling them how to best contact you as well as how to access your Jobma profile, website, LinkedIn profile, and other social media profiles. So not only can your Pinterest profile be a great self-branding tool, but, if you use it properly, it can also be used for SEO purposes and as a way to link employers to your other professional platforms.
  26. 26. CHAPTER 5: Networking It’s Not What You Know… One word that will come up repeatedly on job search blogs and, well, everywhere in the business world is ‘networking.’ Personally, networking has always been an absolutely terrifying idea (being that I am extremely awkward when first meeting people) and I used to dread the thought of such a thing. The fact that I hate networking aside, it’s something you just have to do as the pros heavily outweigh the cons. Networking helps to increase your exposure, your knowledge base, and can sometimes even lead directly to jobs. Needless to say, a large network can come in handy. A common misconception by those new to the networking scene is that the whole point of networking is to get someone else to do something for you. Well, get that idea out of your head now, or else you’ll be in for a rude awakening. If you’re talking to a complete stranger why on earth would they hand you a job? Or a contact? Or anything? The initial goal of networking is to see what you can do for others. Because networking is a two-way street, Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com those who you help will likely want to help you in return. I understand this may seem counterintuitive, but don’t expect anything in return. You need to genuinely want to help people, make their lives easier in whatever way you can and let it be. Yes, networking is a way to gain favors, but that isn’t all it’s about. Be curious and reach out to interesting people in your field. Doing this will start to build some relationships – the favors may follow afterward, but they may not. By looking at networking as an opportunity to learn more about your industry and help those in it you will not only gain valuable knowledge, but contacts as well. Be proactive, find connections between yourself and others in your field and use them! The old saying, “It’s not about what you know, but who you know” is absolutely true. A majority of positions are secured because the job seeker knows someone within the company, so never let a networking opportunity pass you by.
  27. 27. CHAPTER 6: The Interview Why Knowing the Company Before the Interview Is Important Finding a job is challenging at any time, but in today’s market you need all the advantages you can get. One way to get a leg up on the competition is to research the company that you’ll be talking with. Spend an hour or two online and reap all kinds of rewards. Investing a little time learning about the company you’re about to ask for a job is important for several reasons. It shows you care.  Taking the time to research the company you’re interviewing with sends the message that you care enough about getting this job to get some background on the company. Prospective employers can also interpret this as having initiative, a trait that might just snag you the job. You can tell if the job is right for you.  Not every job is going to be a good fit for you. Learning a little bit about the company before the interview can help you know the right questions to ask to help you make that decision. Maybe the company’s main office is located too far away from your home? Maybe the company requires its accountants/salespeople/graphic designers to travel overnight? Things that are acceptable to one person may be a “deal-breaker” to another. It sets you apart from the competition.  Doing a little research about the company you’re interviewing can also give you an advantage over your competition. Taking the extra time shows that you care about the company and about getting a job. So, don’t just rush from one interview to the next without taking the time to learn what makes each company you’ll be talking with special. That extra hour or two of research could very well land you the job of your dreams. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  28. 28. Being Qualified Just Isn’t Enough Are you receiving phone calls, interviewing with employers, and still not landing a job? Job search mistakes can essentially be boiled down into two categories: a bad resume or a bad interview. If you’re getting to the interviews, your resume probably isn’t the problem! So what exactly happens in these interviews that you thought went reasonably well? If you’re coming in for an interview, the employer has already read your resume (perhaps even brought it with to the interview) and has deemed you to have the qualifications for the job. News flash: you are only one amongst many candidates that meets the requirements for being qualified. Your interview must show the employer more. There are several ways that you can go about doing this: Frame your skills and strengths within the context of the company. If you’ve done your pre-interview research, then you should be aware of the company’s missions, goals, current projects, and areas that need improvement. Bring these topics up! First, it’s impressive that you went to the extent that you did to learn about the company. Not every job seeker does that. Second, go a step further and explain how your skills and strengths would be beneficial in reaching the company’s goals and furthering its mission. If you have specific ideas to offer—perhaps an addition to the current marketing plan, an audience that the company can start to target, or an additional project that would help accomplish the company’s goals—then absolutely mention these. Now, you’ve really got the employer imagining you as a part of the company! Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Go beyond the text on your resume. Given that you can generally only fit three to five bullet points under each professional position, it is impossible to cover everything that you gained from these experiences. When asked to discuss your previous positions, impress the employer by offering new descriptions, stories, or accomplishments that you didn’t have room for on your resume. Show the employer that you really want this position! If you’re not enthused about this position from the get-go, then why would an employer want to hire you? Halfhearted employees are not sought after. It’s important to show that this position would mean a lot to you and that you would take it seriously. Knowing background information about the company and being prepared to ask company-specific questions at the end of the interview is a great start. Also, make sure that your body language shows your excitement. Are you slouching back into your chair and talking with a monotone voice, or sitting upright and smiling? Lastly, be prepared for one of the most common interview questions: Why do you want this position? If you’re still stuck in a slump of not even getting interview offers, consider pairing your resume with a video resume. This will give you an edge that will catch employers’ eyes and make them want to bring you in for more.
  29. 29. 5 Questions You Should Consider Asking in Your Next Interview Okay, so you have earned an interview and really want to put your best foot forward. Note, there will come a time in this interview where you will be asked if you have any questions of the interviewer(s). The last thing you want to answer back is that you do not have any questions. Asking questions shows you are more interested in that specific job and company than just the act of getting a job. It also shows that you were paying attention and engaged in the interview enough to come up with some follow up. Here are some questions you should consider asking during your next interview. How would you describe a typical day or week in this position and in this company?  This question will allow you to get some insight into how the company works and what to expect. It also gives the impression that you are trying to place yourself in their company with the idea on how you would fit into their day to day life. What is the best part about working here?  This question will challenge the interviewer to reflect on what they enjoy about their job and/or the company. It can show you a lot about how much pride employees have in their job and their company. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com What is the organizational structure like?  The organizational structure will allow you to learn about who you would report to and give you a better idea of your growth potential within the company. Follow up this question by asking about the individual you would report to specifically and the type of manager that they are. What are your expectations of this position over the first 30 or 60 days?  The answer to this question should point to what their most crucial need is. Whether this is a new position or they are filling a gap from an old position, they have work in mind that needs to be accomplished. If they mention a specific project that you can speak to from experience or expertise it could greatly improve your chances of landing the job. What’s the next step?  This is an interview question must! Show some assertiveness by asking what the next steps are. You may find out they are in a hurry to hire or that the process will take place over many weeks. Understanding the timeline and being able to follow up will put you in a good position with the perspective employer.
  30. 30. 3 Interview Questions You Don’t Want To Hem and Haw Your Way Through Sure, there will probably be two or three unique questions in your interview that you couldn’t have anticipated beforehand, but there’s also that handful of standard questions that employers use in nearly every interview, despite the job position. You know which ones I’m talking about: “Why should we hire you?”, “Why do you want this job?”, “What are your strengths?”, and many more. The last thing you want to do is stare at your potential employer with that deer-in-the-headlights look after being handed one of these freebie questions. Preparing for these questions before the interview is necessary. Doing so will impress your potential employer and show that you really want the job. Here are some tips on answering three of the most common interview questions: What is your greatest weakness? Use this question as an opportunity to show the interviewer that you are able to identify and work on your weaknesses. As an example you could say, “I sometimes struggle with organization, but I am combating it by spending time at the end of each day cleaning up my desk and preparing myself for the next day. This has greatly helped.” This example shows that you have great self-awareness and are proactive about your professional improvement. Lastly, if possible, avoid naming a weakness that is a skill required to be successful in the job position. Tell me about yourself. The employer is not interested in hearing about your social or personal life, so keep your response strictly limited to a summary of your professional life. Include previous professional employment, skills, and other professional experiences. Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com Take advantage of the broadness of this question by highlighting how these skills and experiences would relate to the position you are applying for and make you an ideal candidate for the job. If applicable, also talk about any learning initiatives you are taking on to learn new skills. Why do you want to work here? To successfully answer this question, you must do your research on the company beforehand. Carefully read its website to gain a fuller understanding of its mission, philosophy, and employees. Use this information as a starting point to incorporate your personal career goals into that of the company’s. Finish your response by noting that the position would create a beneficial relationship between yourself and the company. To do so, describe to the employer the relevant skills and strengths that you have to offer.
  31. 31. So Call Me, Maybe? Tips to Master a Phone Interview You can relax. It’s only a phone interview, right? Wrong! Just because it is not an in-person interview does not mean that your prospective employer will be going easy on you. This is not a “warm-up” interview, in fact, it is often the opposite. Employers will typically use phone interviews for job positions with large applicant pools to decide which candidates to select for in-person interviews. This means that nailing the phone interview is essential to continuing in the selection process. With that, here are some tips for doing so: Dress professionally.  Thinking that you’ll use your business tone but wear your party clothes is not the ideal phone interview setup. Dressing professionally will put you in the right frame of mind to be thinking and talking about yourself as a prospective employee and a professional. Smile. Although you might feel goofy, smiling will help you compensate for the voice energy that gets lost in the call transmission. Employers want to hear that you are enthusiastic and excited about this opportunity. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you are! Do a test run before the actual phone interview. Make sure that you adjust the volume, locate the mute button, or do anything else to be sure that you are completely comfortable with the phone you will be using for the interview. Also, consider disabling any extra phone features that could be a distraction. Secure a quiet and comfortable interview space. If you live with other people and will take the interview call in your home or apartment, let them know the date and time of your interview. Be assertive and tell them that it is important that the living space be quiet. If you have pets, keep them in an area where they won’t be a distraction. When picking your interview space, think ahead to potential dilemmas so that you can take care of them before they become issues. Confirm ahead of time who will be calling who when the interview time arrives. How awkward would it be if the time of your interview rolls around and you realize you don’t know if you’re supposed to call the prospective employer or if they’re supposed to call you? Trust me, it’s awkward. Take advantage of notes and Web access. Have everything you could possibly need to reference in front of you. Print out your resume, pull up the company’s website, and make a list of bullet points that you want to emphasize during the interview. You have free reign to have as many notes and materials prepared ahead of time as you want, so use this! Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com
  32. 32. CLOSING At Jobma, we’ve combined over ten years of experience in the job sourcing industry into a multimedia platform that has revolutionized the way people find jobs, truly bringing the job search and hiring processes to the 21st century. With Jobma, no longer are job candidates just a piece of paper amongst many. Jobma gives job seekers a voice in the hiring process, putting them in the driver’s seat to their new career. Combining traditional resumes with video pitches and social media integration into one professional profile, Jobma helps candidates stand out amongst competitors and gives businesses an opportunity to “meet” candidates and see if they’re a good company fit before deciding whether to bring them in for an interview. Employers get a total picture of their candidates. They see their hard and soft skills, who they are, what they can do, and what their personality is. The result is a better company fit for every position. Sign up today and start down the path toward landing your dream job! Be Seen. Be Heard. JobMa.com

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