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Cons of Working with a Recruiter

Cons of Working with a Recruiter

We have previously discussed the good that can come from a positive relationship with a recruiter; however, there are bound to be both positives and negatives in any recruiting situation.

Recruiters may be trying to fill positions that do not exist.

If you are familiar at all with companies that assist employers in hiring, you have probably come across this situation. You apply for a job that sounds like a great fit, jump through all the hoops only to deduce that there was in fact no actual position. Most likely, the company was beefing up their prospective employee pool but not actually hiring yet. This can be a frustrating waste of time, especially if you are currently working and taking time off to meet with recruiters. Keep your head in the game and ask important, informational questions early in the process. If there isn’t enough information available about a position and the timeline involved, chances are the position doesn’t exist today (although it theoretically could be coming available in the future).

You may be applying for positions that aren’t a good fit because you don’t have all of the information.

When dealing with zealous recruiters, you may come across one or two that are so driven to get someone hired that your needs and desires get pushed to a back burner. In these cases, you may be put into some uncomfortable situations and be found interviewing for positions that would never work for you. Should you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, be honest and tell the hiring personnel that you may not be well suited for the position they are interviewing for. If it feels appropriate you can ask if there might be a position open in a different department that you would be qualified to apply for.

You may be undersold.

At times it can benefit the recruiter to get you into a position at the lowest rate possible, maybe without much of a raise from your current position. While recruiters are working with both you and the prospective employer and hope to please you both, they are ultimately best serving the interests of the employer. They might try to undersell you in an effort to fill a position quickly.

To protect yourself, you will want to talk to many different recruiters and do your own compensation research to identify what you are truly worth. You may want to keep your past salary information private to gain as much information from them as possible. Remember, there are no rules where this is concerned; it is your right to keep your personal information private. You need to keep your own needs front and center. If you don’t feel like you are being valued appropriately, walk away.

Remember recruiters find people for jobs, not the other way around.

While most recruiters will try to do right by their candidates, it is important to remember who they are really working for. Be aware of the possibility that they might make promises they can’t keep—perhaps because they do not have as much insider information as the hiring executive does. Also, never sign a document stating that they are the only recruiter that you will work with. Above all, don’t pay them anything. A good recruiter, working in your best interest while simultaneously serving the needs of their direct customers (companies seeking rare talent), won’t be taking additional payments from you for current or future obligations. Be alert, and keep ultimate control of your future in your own hands.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Pros of Working with a Recruiter

You were sure that finding that desired position or making a career change wouldn’t be that difficult. You had a solid plan and many different leads and ideas. So what happens when all those have run their course and you haven’t found or been offered what you were searching for. Is it time to call in reinforcements? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working with a corporate or executive recruiter.

Pros of Working with a Recruiter  

Working with a career or job recruiter to find that position you have been searching for can provide significant advantages over simply submitting your resume or application on job search boards. Recruiters have unique expertise and can help you:

Find job leads that may not be released to the public

Often positions that pay more and have sought-after benefits are not simply posted on the internet. Companies that are hiring for these types of positions don’t want a deluge of resumes. Often, if you have a reputable recruiter, they are in the know, as they can be part of the company’s inner circle.

Introductions and relationships

There is something to be said about being introduced by a recruiter. Being presented makes you stand out from the crowd. This encourages the employers looking to hire, to take notice. It also puts a comfortable buffer between you and the employer. They keep an open line of communication about the position and can even help with negotiations on your behalf concerning salary, benefits and so on. It is also part of the job of the recruiter to match you to the position. Recruiters have a reputation to protect and will want to be sure that they are making contacts in positions that could be a win for both you and the employer. This saves you time, frustration, and extra leg work.

Discretion

When a recruiter works with you, that relationship relies on confidentiality and discretion. This enables you to maximize your job search and protect your current position while you still are working at your current position.

Preparation

The recruiter’s commission depends on the success of the candidates they are proposing to their corporate clients. They want to know all the details of your skills and experience in addition to having a complete understanding of what you are searching for, so they can present only their best talent to client companies. They also should be able guide you through the entire process from first contact to final interview. Although recruiters are paid by their company clients, when you are successful so are they. So consider them to be your advocate and let them help you land the position you are searching for.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of adamr at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn’s New Open Candidate Feature: Etiquette for Updating Your Profile

LinkedIn recently released a new function that allows job seekers to indicate that they are looking for work to recruiters. This function is private – meaning you won’t be advertising to your current employer or any followers that you are looking for a new position. Enabling the feature is fairly simple and this tutorial spells out each step. The ‘Open Candidate’ option is available in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia for now, but will surely be global very soon.

The only thing you have to do is make sure your profile is up-to-date and makes a positive statement about you.

Updating Your LinkedIn Profile

All of your skills are on display through this social media profile, right? Are each of those skills marketable – what employers want to see in a prospective employee? Before making your account open, do a little research into what companies you’d be interested in are looking for, especially if you are trying to change career paths. Take the time to review your profile for any typos, old or irrelevant information, or incorrect dates. The accuracy of your profile actually does make a difference and you also will want it to be as complete as possible – utilizing the percentage indicator on your homepage.
Many of LinkedIn’s features are free but there are membership only options. The new ‘Open Candidate’ feature is free and it was developed to keep your job search confidential – away from the eyes of your current employer. Your profile, for the most part, is public and you should want it to be open. Employers can search for candidates based on the skills or experience they have and having your profile open will put you in those search results. With the new feature, you will actually be able to signal to recruiters that you are looking for a new position. Knowing that, there are some other pieces about LinkedIn that you should keep in mind.

LinkedIn Dos and Don’ts

While LinkedIn can be an incredibly useful resource, it is not like other social media sites. Understand the etiquette surrounding the media – it is a business connectivity website. Including anything you would post on any other social media site would be against your best interest. When thinking about what you should include on your profile, and how to communicate with others, consider the following tips.

DO:

  • Keep your profile up-to-date with new skills and positions, discarding out of date information.
  • Endorse your followers’ skills – they will endorse you back.
  • Build your network by following people that work at a company or industry you are interested in. Cultural etiquette encourages a message to reach out to this person before adding them to your network. The additions will give you an idea of what skills you should strive to gain and add to your repertoire.
  • Comment in the forums and make connections.
  • Use LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions.

DON’T:

  • Post inappropriate pictures for your profile picture or otherwise – if you wouldn’t wear that outfit to an interview or at work, don’t post that picture.
  • Update or blog about your everyday life.
  • Follow people that are outside your network that look like fake profiles. There are fake profiles on LinkedIn – scammers trying to lure you to job opportunities that seem too good to be true or connect you with important people.
  • Send spam-looking messages to contacts.
  • Self promote in the forums or respond negatively to anyone.
  • Use only LinkedIn to find and apply for new positions. Not every employer will post a job through this social media website.

Social media can be tricky. Facebook and Twitter allow for nearly constant updates and pictures about your life, how you’re feeling, and advertisements. Pinterest is an eclectic collective of DIY, art, and life tips. LinkedIn is it’s own kind of social media and the best rule of thumb for this site: If you wouldn’t say it in an interview, it doesn’t belong on LinkedIn. Business, business, and only business should be on display for your profile – nothing personal.

When in doubt, leave it out. You should feel like your LinkedIn profile represents you on a different level than your resume. With everything you are able to do through LinkedIn – forum conversations, messages, and blogging – it is a new experience that can bring elements to your job search you haven’t used before. There is no guarantee that your profile will be any more unique than Sally’s or Joe’s, but the professional presentation of your knowledge and skills is much more important here than photos of your lunch.

Photo attributed to ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Corporate culture can determine whether the company is the right fit for your next career move.

Corporate Culture Fit vs. Personal Values

Corporate Culture Fit vs. Personal Values

Workplace culture is not just about one aspect of the job but also encompasses the environment, the dress, the attitude, goals, and communication of the business. This culture extends beyond the physical building of the business and reaches out to the customers as well as the employees. What if the job is great, but the culture is damaging? The dynamic cultural aspects that can form in the workplace can either be uplifting or damaging. Culture can make or break a job on a personal level. While the job might be perfect for you, you have to consider the culture of the place when making decisions.

Importance of Corporate Culture

Culture strength determines the performance of the organization. As an employee, culture can either drive you to work harder and with more confidence or not. The surrounding environment should be engaging and make you want to come to work every day. From an employer standpoint, a strong, positive culture attracts applicants that are the right fit for the environment. Clearly defined goals, policies, and strong communication all create a workplace that employees want to be involved with.

Corporate culture can determine whether the company is the right fit for your next career move.

Corporate culture can determine whether the company is the right fit for your next career move.

Aspects of Corporate Culture

In short, everything about a place creates the culture. From leadership to communication, every detail matters. If the establishment lacks leadership, has a poor management system, or workplace practices don’t match workplace policies then you might be in a damaging workplace culture situation. Consider the following:

  • Leadership reflects employee performance. The way leaders communicate and interact, what they emphasize, vision, recognition, expectations, decisions, trust, and perception amount to their ability to lead. Making the mission, values, and vision clear shows the signs of an inspiring leader.
  • Management – how the organization is managed – shows how the leadership empowers employees in their decision making and interactions. Great management is consistent. Whether the workplace is tightly managed or allows for flexibility, understanding the management team and fitting in with that structure is essential to blending with the culture.
  • Recruiting, compensation, benefits, recognition, training, etc. that contribute to workplace practices also form the culture. Employees react to proper training and recognition when appropriate to the situation and, hopefully, it is a positive reaction.
  • Established policies such as a dress code, conduct, and internal processes create boundaries and expectations for both employer and employee.
  • A diverse population of both managers and employees allows for many opportunities of communication and collaboration. The culture of the establishment should be instilled in employees as soon as they walk in the door for the first time. They should be able to recognize a well-established management system, strong leadership, and opportunities for improvement from the culture they are welcomed into.
  • The physical environment of the office sets the first impression for employees and clients. Furniture, wall decorations, allocation of space, color, and common area use all display what kind of culture has been established and how it feels.

Reflection of Corporate Culture

What culture exists in your place of work? Not every workplace will have a perfect culture – it is a fluid and evolving entity of every establishment. You need to understand that whether you have the perfect job, you may be in an environment that isn’t perfect for you. Every company tries to have a great, positive, and welcoming culture, but it isn’t always possible. There are methods of “getting things done” that don’t create a healthy culture – threats, insults, and leveraging are all unhealthy ways managers or other employees influence others to complete projects. As an individual employee, you have to determine what kind of culture is acceptable for you to complete work. Do your personal values fall in line with the culture and morals of the company?

Culture can affect you in ways you would never think about until you experience it. The perfect job doesn’t make the perfect environment and everyone reacts to every situation differently. Consider every aspect of the environment before making a commitment to a company and what it would mean to your career to stay if the environment is damaging. A positive environment could give you the opportunity to advance your career and find the position you are passionate about.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

5 Software Tools to Jump Start Your Job Search

5 Software Tools for Job Search

“Jumping in” can be the hardest part of your Job Search. Motivation can be difficult to harness when you don’t know where to begin. This article will spotlight some great software products that you can use either free of charge or close to it. Having the proper tools available can make all the difference in your job search from the beginning to the successful ending.

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM), if this is something new to you, refers to systems that companies use to manage and/or analyze customer data with the goal of improving relationships, studying customer retention and initiating sales growth.

CRM systems are built to organize information about customers including websites, telephone, live chat, direct mail, marketing materials and social media. They can also provide detailed information on customers’ personal information, purchase history, buying preferences and their concerns.

There are several open source options, such as SugarCRM. Open source CRM systems allow you to add data links to social media. This aids companies looking to improve social CRM practices.

Using any of the above mentioned CRM methods varies depending on a company’s business needs, goals and resources. This software can prove to be very beneficial in organizing your networking, sales and contacts. An organized job search is bound to be a successful one.

  1. Office Software

We are all familiar with Microsoft Office, and have probably used it in the past or maybe are even using it currently. It is a great program with applications for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, email and so on. However, it can be an expensive program. We all need to be aware that these types of office applications are also available in free and open source formats.

Open source office software has come a long way in the past several years making it a great choice for your work productivity software. You won’t even lose most features or support. These free software options have countless tools and also provide all the features you need and expect.

Most of these alternatives to Microsoft Office have the basic applications to help you be productive in the office, such as: word processing, spreadsheets and presentations. Several of the alternatives provide even more options, including drawing, database tools and storage.

Below are some great options you may want to consider: Apache OpenOffice, LibreOffice, NeoOffice, Google Docs, and KOffice.

  1. WordPress

WordPress is free web software that you can use to create an awesome website, blog, or even an app. The software has been created by hundreds of volunteers. When you are familiar with the countless ways the software works and want to move onto more than the basics, there are innumerable plugins, customizations and themes available to transform your site into anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people use WordPress; numbers don’t lie!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Slideshare

If you haven’t heard of SlideShare, you are one of the few! SlideShare is one of the top 100 most-visited websites in the world. SlideShare provides you with the ability to learn not only faster, but smarter as well.

Rather than scrolling through endless pages of text, you can look through a SlideShare deck and obtain the same information in half the time. You have the ability to learn about any topic you can imagine. You can also share information and insight through many different types of media. SlideShare has endless possibilities that will be sure to send you into any job search well prepared.

  1. LinkedIn

I am confident that you are familiar with LinkedIn, especially if you are in the process of job searching, but just to be sure you are up to speed, LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking service. LinkedIn offers many different services including: Groups, Job listings, Online recruiting, Skills, a Publishing Platform, Influencers, Advertising and for-pay Research.

LinkedIn is also free of charge. This service can be instrumental in job networking as it works like a gigantic web with many connections that you wouldn’t likely find otherwise. Job recruiters, and personnel HR often use LinkedIn as a source for finding potential candidates, more so than ever before. LinkedIn also allows users to research companies that they may be interested in working for. As a potential employee you are able to apply for various jobs right through your LinkedIn profile, using it as a resume. In addition, all of your job applications will be saved for you to use in the future.

Closing Remarks about Software Tools for Job Search

Each of these services could prove to be a valuable asset in preparing for and carrying out your job search. The best part is with most of the options being free of charge they will not add any overhead in a time that may already be proving to be stressful. There are so many tools at our fingertips. We need to be sure to get out there, do our research and put all the best options to good use.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Creative Compensation Suggestions: Five Things to Negotiate for Compensation

Five Things to Negotiate for Creative Compensation

Salary can be a tricky thing to negotiate. When walking into a new job, or even re-evaluating your current contract with a company, an increase in salary may not be an option. However, there are several things you could request in place of a raise. It never hurts to ask and the worst thing your employer can say is ‘no.’

Reimbursements

Daycare

Paying someone to take care of your child while you work is not inexpensive. Ask about what childcare options your company offers. Some of the time there will be an on-site facility or an allotted amount that employees with young children have access to. If those aren’t already in place, make the request for company reimbursement for at least a partial amount of your daycare costs.

Five Things to Negotiate for Creative Compensation Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Five Things to Negotiate for Creative Compensation
Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Transportation

Commuting can be expensive. Some companies already pay for business travel so this may not be something you can add to your compensation. However, day-to-day travel is probably not part of that agreement. To inquire about this, you should calculate your monthly travel expenses and propose a stipend that will ease the expense.

Tuition

Not everyone starts a job with multiple degrees already under their belt. You should feel comfortable asking about reimbursement for bettering your education. Not only will you gain the knowledge, but your company will be making an investment in you. The education could be things as small as workshops and seminars, but as large as an associate, bachelor, or master degrees. Education equals career enhancement. Many companies already have these programs in place and if your company does not already offer this, sell it to them.

 A New Title

‘Secretary’ is just a general title for someone who does all the administrative work in the office. In this example, ‘administrative/corporate executive assistant’ says more about what you do as a ‘secretary.’ Asking for a title that accurately reflects your work will help you feel more content in your current position, but will also display your talents when you are looking for another position in the future.

Flexible Schedule

This is a great thing to ask for as far as a non-salary related perk is concerned. If you’re a morning person, you could negotiate to work from 7:00AM – 3:00PM instead of the typical 9:00AM – 5:00PM. You can also look into telecommuting as an option. It probably won’t work out so that you work full-time from home, but part-time telecommuting can cut down on your drive time and your travel spending. Hopefully, that balance – having a more relaxed schedule and not commuting every single day – will make up for the lack in increased salary.

Guaranteed Severance Package

There is no guarantee that the job you currently have or are being hired for will still exist a year or several years from now. Establishing a severance package in your contract will add extra security should the company go out of business. With this severance package, you company will think twice about the possibility of laying you off or removing your position.

More Vacation Time

Whatever vacation time the company offers, you can ask for things that will sweeten the deal. One thing to address, if you don’t have it already, is paid vacation time. You could also see if the vacation time can be doubled. Having more vacation days, whether you take days to rest at home or travel to relax on a beach, could be worth not having a higher salary.

You will never know the answer if you don’t ask and again, the worst thing your employer can say is ‘no.’ Increasing your salary may be out of the question, but there are other things that can fulfill your compensation needs. When working on your contract, initial or renewal, with your employer or human resource manager keep non-salary related compensation options in the back of your mind.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Really Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

Really Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

Will you really ever be asked them?

You have received the phone call. Your prospective employer would like to meet with you for an interview. Nice work! But then, before you are even done with the happy dance you were doing around your living room, the fear sets in… an INTERVIEW! Your mind starts swirling through all of the variables. What should you wear? Are they friendly? And most importantly, what kinds of different questions will they ask you? How can you nail this interview, even the really tough questions? Read on, and I assure you, you will be well prepared!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Preparation is the Key for Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

I know, you have heard this phrase so many times. But, I would like to remind you that any situation that we face becomes easier if we are prepared. It is those moments (or questions) that catch us completely unaware that cause us to falter. We are valuable, we are assets to the company and are worthy of the time they are taking out of their busy schedules to meet with us. Now, all we have to do is convince them of that. Review possible questions. You should focus on appearing prepared but not seeming to be rehearsed. Study the company. Talk to other employees where possible. If you are given the name of the Interviewer, see what you can find out about them. Don’t assume that just because they are doing the interview they are good at interviewing. Be prepared to own the conversation and keep it focused in your direction, shining on your accomplishments. Be confident and do the work necessary to gain the reward you seek.

Below are some of the tough questions you are likely to be asked along with some advice on how to answer them.

Tell me about yourself.

Here is the often heard, sometimes dreaded, opening question…It’s tricky, open ended and an easy question to handle incorrectly. They are looking for a quick, two or three-minute summary about you, your history and why you would be a good match for the position. Don’t go any further than that! Save it for the remainder of the interview. The famous “Tell me about yourself” question isn’t an invitation to tell your life story… just tell them what makes you the best candidate.

What do you know about our company and why do you want to be a part of it?

This is where they are checking you out to ensure that you have done your homework. Make sure you have! Have as much information as possible about the company and position that you are applying for. Demonstrate your knowledge and use what you have learned to show the amount of respect for and interest in their company you truly have. This is a great place to show how well your experience will add to and blend in with their needs.

What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?

These are such unfair questions! Who likes to revel or even discuss their weaknesses—or brag about their strengths? It may play well to come up with a somewhat clever answer for these questions, such as,” I can’t think of any reasons not to hire me, but I have many reasons why you should!”
Give them those reasons! As far as addressing the weakness aspect, be honest. Maybe let them know about an area that you have been working on and improving in, perhaps something that you turned into a strength.

Don’t present the often advised trick of turning a strength into a weakness, such as working too much. This is a tired response; they have heard it countless times before. It also misses the point of the question.

Talk about a time you failed. What happened? What would you do differently?

We tend to make this question harder than it really is. You know where you have been and what you have experienced. As long as you have an event in your mind that you have reviewed, thought through, and are prepared to discuss in your interview, you will be fine. Think of a situation that went differently than planned, that is all it really is. It needn’t be a catastrophe. People make mistakes, everyone knows that so don’t pretend that you never have. Own it, discuss the solutions and lessons learned and move on. It shows experience and demonstrates that you would not make the same mistake in the future.

 Why we should choose you over the other applicants that we have interviewed?

Don’t let this be your undoing. This is a very common question. Re-visit your strengths with added enthusiasm. Show them that you are professional yet personable and friendly. They want to know that you are dependable and competent.

They will undoubtedly ask, “Do you have any questions for me?”

Of course you do! They are not the only one trying to determine if this position is a good fit for you. You need to be doing the same. These questions should be important to you. There are things that you really need to know, such as:

  • What type of candidate are you looking for?
  • Why did this position become available?
  • How would you define success for this person who receives this position?
  • What are the most important skills needed to be successful in this position?
  • What would my first several months be like if I were offered this position?
  • Is there opportunity for growth and advancement in this company?
  • Are you aware of any major changes coming that I may need to be informed of?
  • How do you see this company growing, changing, etc. in the next five years?

    Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

    Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Negotiating Compensation

Before the interview be sure to do your research into possible, realistic compensation for the position. You won’t know ahead of time if you will reach this level of discussion, but in case you do, be ready. Be aware of your “walk-away number.” You may not realize it, but the income of top executive’s is often public information. Try checking Salary.com or Glassdoor.com.

What NOT to do…

There are, of course, some guaranteed ways to make a negative impression on these important decision makers. Let’s be sure to avoid the following mistakes:

  • Don’t be arrogant. Acting as if you are better than any lower level candidates, assistants, receptionists, etc. will be certain to leave a negative impression. Instead, impress them as well, with your kindness and genuine interest in them.
  • Don’t “dress down;” be dressed and groomed appropriately for the position.
  • Don’t be negative in general but especially about the economy, the company, or even the competition. A positive attitude will always leave a better impression.
  • Don’t exaggerate or over-sell your skills, work history or abilities. Be honest.
  • Be direct and decisive. Don’t give long, rambling answers to questions. Every minute counts.
  • Let them know that you are genuinely interested in the job. Playing hard to get doesn’t usually pay off in the end.

Final Thoughts about Hard C-Suite Interview Questions

The only guaranteed way to make an interview harder is to not be prepared. Interview questions are not hard if you have anticipated what they may be asking and prepared sincere answers. Know detailed information about the company, the position and most of all yourself! Be relaxed and articulate. Even though there are really no wrong or right answers, there are definitely memorable answers that leave a positive impression.  Demonstrate you vision, your drive and your complete confidence in your abilities. They are sure to be impressed!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Smart Services to Pay for in your Job Search

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it is time to find a new job, no matter the circumstances, it can feel like a daunting task.  Even when you are tied into career networking and know the direction in which you would like to go, you can often feel very overwhelmed. Let’s talk about some often overlooked tools that you may not be utilizing.  These tools can prove to be instrumental in directing your job search and making it nearly painless.

  1. Job Boards

There are almost too many online job boards to count. So how do you know which job boards will not prove to be a waste of time? The truth is, this will take some work on your part.  You will want to stick with the familiar, large, more established sites that have been around and successful for a significant amount of time. Also you may want to start with those that are local if you are hoping to stay in the same geographical location. You may find that there is a minimal cost for access to some of these boards; however, many of them are free to use.

Hint:  Always use the advanced search options when searching for jobs on these sites.  By doing so you will significantly narrow down extra information and jobs that do not relate to your needs. This will help your search to be much more efficient.

  1. LinkedIn

If you aren’t already a member of LinkedIn it may be time to become one.  This network can be a valuable asset in your job search.  Rather than spending countless hours doing research or pounding the pavement looking for the perfect career opportunity, let others help you! By using career networking sites such as LinkedIn, you are sending out information about your job needs to a variety of people in many different types of work environments.  It is just like having a team of job recruiters on your payroll.  Don’t forget to give as much as, or even more, than you get—the more you help others, the more likely you are to receive the help you need as well.

  1. Background Checking Services

Have you ever wondered what a former employer would say about you?  You may not even be aware of this, but there are companies that will provide discreet calls to your last boss or supervisor to determine if they will give you a good reference.  One such company is Allison and Taylor, but there are also others.  These companies will help you to feel secure in knowing what potential employers will be told about you. They can also help you with background check reports and other personal areas that may come up as you search for that perfect job.  These services are not free, of course.  However, if you are serious about landing that position that you are qualified to have and just need to be given the chance, this route may be a helpful option for you.

  1. Resume Distribution Services

Resume distribution services are another excellent option that you may be failing to take advantage of.   These distribution companies can help make the most challenging job searches easy and efficient. They help you to reduce the time you would spend on a traditional job search.  These companies are able to maximize your exposure to extraordinary opportunities across the globe by distributing your resume to recruiters and companies that are actively filling positions in your area of expertise. Do a little homework (or ask Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths), find a reputable company and get your information out there!

  1. Resume Writing Services

The final service that is definitely worth mentioning is a resume writing service.  If you aren’t familiar with exactly how these work, let me give you the details.  You submit your relevant information such as: education, previous employers and work experience, additional skills, locations and fields that you are interested in, etc. You will probably also want to submit some form of a resume that you have used in the past.  Once they have all of the information that they need, they compile it into a simply amazing resume! Obviously this saves you both time and frustration!  Let’s face it, writing an attention getting, professional looking resume that will stand out above the rest is not an easy thing to do.  We are not all equipped with the skills or the time necessary to create an exceptional resume. Call Amy L. Adler at Five Strengths Career Transition Experts to talk about your current career goals and resume writing requirements.

And Remember….

No two job searches are the same.  You must personalize your journey.  Make choices that you have completely thought through and feel good about.  Be patient, it may take time.  There are countless “tools” available to help you, let that be a comfort.  Having many options and strategies to choose from is a great thing. Move forward with confidence!

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor

Recruiters — Friend or Foe?

Recruiters — Friend or Foe?

Recruiters are great to have in your corner when looking for a new position. Employers don’t always advertise job openings instead, they hire a professional recruiter. The people who make up this resourceful position keep an extensive network of contacts, know where open positions are, and are trained to place applicants into the best fit position.

Professional Recruiters will typically specialize in one career field. They will know which companies are hiring for those specific positions. If you are looking for multiple positions in multiple fields, you will want to work with more than one recruiter. That isn’t to say you should go to a recruiter for every position you think you would be qualified for, you do need to be selective. Not every recruiter operates the same way and you may tarnish your reputation by utilizing the service too much or with careless application.

Recruiter--friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Recruiter–friend or foe? Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

PROFESSIONAL RECRUITER PROS

FREE

Professional recruiters are paid by their clients, employers, not by you. They should not ask for any compensation from you.

INTERVIEW PREPARATION

Most professional recruiters, once they set you up with an interview, will help you prepare for that interview. They can give you the details about what to expect, information about the company, and what they are looking for from you. Interviews, no matter how many times you go through them, can still be a nerve-wracking process. Any interview preparation that can be done will help you feel more confident and composed during that process.

CONSTRUCTIVE CONNECTION

You want a recruiter who communicates well and works with you to build a mutually beneficial relationship. This means they respect your contact hours, keep you up-to-date, and reach out to you with new opportunities. Having that connection will further your prospects and open new doors for you. While your recruiter may not have that perfect job for you today, they will keep you in mind when it does come along. It is all about matching the best possible fit for each position and a favorable exchange with a recruiter will help them determine where you fit into a new position with your career field.

FAMILIARITY WITH THE CAREER

Hopefully, the recruiter you select will have previous knowledge about the career field you are pursuing. If not, they should attempt to research the individual position and provide you with details about that open job. Some recruiters will have a relationship with companies you are applying at as the companies choose which recruiting agency they want to fill their position. With that relationship, they should be able to give you information beyond the simple job posting. This information could include actual job title, responsibilities, and insight into the company’s culture.

PROPER POSITION SELECTION

You should be confident trusting your recruiter. Knowing they are working around positions that require your skills, have your desired pay scale, and keeps your priorities part of their priorities. Make sure you do your part by submitting all of that information to them – it will make it easier in the long run and alleviate any confusion

POSITIVE INTENTIONS

When it comes to your job hunt, you want the truth. Your recruiter should work with you to set realistic expectations and let you know what is going on. They should make it clear if your line of work isn’t their specialty — maybe even going as far as suggesting another recruiter that does specialize in your field. Recruiters know what their clients want to see on a resume and should let you know if yours is selling you short. If your resume isn’t up to snuff, they should be able to point you in the right direction to get it up to the client’s standards. While the truth might be hard to hear sometimes, recruiters need to have that tough love approach in order to keep everyone’s best interests to heart.

PROFESSIONAL RECRUITER CONS

FRUITLESS CONNECTION

Some recruiters will only contact you if they have a position you would fit into. They focus on results — filling positions for clients. That doesn’t necessarily mean finding you a position or building any kind of rapport with you. It could take these recruiters weeks to get back to you, even if it is bad news for your job search. You really want your recruiter to respect your career path and your personal priorities. You don’t want that call to be in the middle of your work day with the expectation that you will drop what you’re doing and talk to them. And you don’t want an unreliable recruiter. If you are getting this kind of treatment from any recruiter, they are not invested in you and view you as their commission. Filling positions is their job, but if you’re just another number to them, recruiters will push you toward jobs that aren’t fit for you. The recruiter’s client is the company employer, not you. Their priority is finding a body to fill the position and helping you to gain employment is always going to be second priority.

NO INSIGHT TO THE POSITION

If your recruiter doesn’t take the time to get the details of the position, you can’t count on them to keep your priorities in mind. When they don’t know anything beyond what the job’s posting dictates, they can’t help you prepare for the interview or the position. You want a recruiter who is willing to invest the time and effort, to the company and to you, in order to guarantee the best person for the job gets the job.

ILL-SUITED JOB PLACEMENT

Some recruiters don’t bother finding the right fit. They have a canned style of recruiting employees meaning they put your resume out for any position that resembles your field. These recruiters don’t take the time to look closely at the job’s pay, location, or company culture to determine how you would fit into it. If you use a recruiter performing this way, you will probably end up with interviews or even a job that is ill-suited to your abilities.

MISLEADING MOTIVES

The truth isn’t always pleasant and some recruiters use that as the rationale for only telling you what you want to hear. A good rule of thumb: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Recognizing a recruiter’s language — candy-coated promises and overly enthusiastic expectations — is key to determining how they will communicate with you.

More honest recruiters than dishonest are out there. It is in their best interest to do their job well for both their clients and job seekers. They will do everything that they can to find the best person for the job, even if it isn’t you. If you aren’t right for the job, you want a recruiter that will recognize that. You don’t really want any job that isn’t a good fit for you. For example, if you are working for a great company in a low level position and apply for a higher position, but your passion is not with that job, you aren’t the right person for the job. Go after your professional passion. The right fit will make both you and the employer happy. When using a recruiter, part of their importance is their network and expertise at placing individuals into their ideal opportunities. Make sure you’re looking for a job on your own, recruiters aren’t the only way to find employment. Relying solely on the recruiter may cause you to miss out on an opportunity they aren’t aware of. Keep in mind: you are the best candidate for a job, it will just take time to find it.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason…

Networking is the best way to learn about new positions.

Even though job search networking may sound intimidating, it is one of the most successful ways to find a new job. It is more common than you realize to be offered a job or to find a contact simply due to a friend or acquaintance knowing your background and skills. If you are serious about finding the best position for your next career, move as quickly as possible, you must reach out and network.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 1

What are the Benefits of Networking?

To be successful as you network, you must find the hidden, unadvertised job market and use every resource available to you.

Networking, when done correctly, will lead to plentiful contacts and friendships that can help you in every aspect of your career, including job hunting and your future career endeavors. It can prove to be more important than any other facet of your search.

Before Networking – Review Your Goals

What do you want others to know about you? What do you need to learn from them?

  • What kind of job are you looking for?
  • Do you want to look for jobs in one city/state?
  • Are you focused on a certain industry?
  • Do you want to find a job at a particular company?
  • Have you attained the skills and experience required for this type of position?

Effective Networking Strategies

When starting out, remember, it’s never about blatantly asking for a job. It’s about talking things over one-on-one with someone you know (or someone who has been referred to you) about common interests and how you might be able to help them and their company.Job Seekers Succeed for One Simple Reason image 2

Before diving into a lengthy narrative about yourself, be sure to ask common questions to get warmed up. Ask about family, friends, interests—topics that you wouldn’t mind discussing yourself. Once the conversation is flowing, you can shift gears the real reason for the call.

 “I’m calling because I’m planning to make a job change soon. I am looking for a new opportunity that will both challenge and expand my skillset. Do you happen to know anyone who works within my target field who may be able to lead me in the right direction?”

Using this simple script as a guide may give you the confidence you need to open up and freely discuss options and career paths that may be available to you in the future.

Career Networking Tips

  1. Create an inventory of your educational background, accomplishments and work history. You never know when a casual interaction may lead to a contact.
  2. Your career network should include, but not be limited to family, friends, members of neighborhood associations, past or present co-workers, supervisors, and colleagues from other business connections. If you are part of an alumni club from your college or university, you may also find leads there.
  3. Use sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and other online communities can help you get in touch with other networkers. Maybe those with college affiliations or that are in a certain geographic area. Also, keep in touch with your network often. This can be as simple as sending a quick note or email to say hello and to ask how they are doing. You want to make an impression and be remembered.
  4. Attend networking events. If you belong to any professional associations, attend a meeting or social function. Many of the attendees will have the same goals you do and will be glad to exchange information.
  5. Add notes to business cards or organize electronically, so you’ll remember the details of who you have just met. Also, follow through with referrals, and always thank contacts in writing or email.

Career Networking Works!

As you can see, career networking isn’t as hard as it seems and it really does work! Knowing how to ask for, and receive, the valuable information you need is the key to finding the right job or career position. It is important to have a solid network in place throughout your career and to use your network whenever possible, when job searching or exploring career options.

Don’t forget to look for opportunities to help others along the way. Through searching for your own needs to be met you may come across a position that would be a great fit for someone else in your network. Share the love and pass it on! Others will remember your thoughtfulness.