En Route: A Career Blog

ResumeEdge http://www.resumeedge.com Wed, 29 Apr 2015 14:07:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 GETTING A JOB IS NOT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT http://www.resumeedge.com/getting-job-accomplishment/ http://www.resumeedge.com/getting-job-accomplishment/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 14:07:54 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4989 “Getting a job is not an accomplishment.” The first time I heard this, I thought it was a harsh statement. Maybe you do, too. Years later, it stayed with me. Maybe it will stay with you, too. I lived in New York City and worked in Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration. I was the assistant to the...

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“Getting a job is not an accomplishment.”

The first time I heard this, I thought it was a harsh statement. Maybe you do, too. Years later, it stayed with me. Maybe it will stay with you, too.

I lived in New York City and worked in Mayor Bloomberg’s Administration. I was the assistant to the Commissioner at the Department of Consumer Affairs. It was a good job. But I didn’t like it much. I’d say I was average at it. I had a great boss. I liked him. He was a great leader. He was always the smartest person in the room. I learned from him. Every day, I learned from him. I probably should have paid him for hiring me.

One night, we left an event together. The topic of employment came up on our walk back to the office. He commented,

“Getting a job is not an accomplishment. So many people think getting the job is the accomplishment, but it was you do once you get the job that is a true measure of your success.”

I wondered if he was talking to me. Maybe he was. I wanted to be better at my job, but my heart was not in it. I promised myself that night that once I found something I loved to do, I would use this success metric.

Years later, I found something I love doing. Coaching, speaking, and writing on topics just like these. How do you set yourself apart in the new economy. Here are a few ways that have helped me do more with my job. I wish I would have figured them out way sooner. But I didn’t.

Realize getting the job is not the accomplishment. This is where your work begins. Don’t waste much time getting settled. Don’t wait until everyone at your job knows. Don’t worry if they like you. Just begin.

  1. Care a little more than everyone else. I am shocked at how many people just don’t care- about excellence, about follow-through, about customer service, about growth. When I have demonstrated that I can care a little more than people are used to (and that is a low bar), I get repeat business. Then those clients and organizations refer business to me. Then I show them I care a little more than everyone else. Then they are happy. Then they refer me business. Then the cycle continues.
  2. Blow people’s minds. This is sort of connected to caring a little more, but is even more important. If few people care more, than close to no one is blowing people’s minds. Especially employees.  I once offered to cover a Saturday shift for a co-worker of mine who had a family birthday party to attend. He did even ask me (or anyone) to do this favor for him. “You blew my mind” with your offer, he told me. I had nothing else to do that do, so didn’t mind. I just went through a breakup, and was depressed. He was doing me a favor by letting me cover the event.  But to him, it was a big deal. He became my “go-to” if I needed anything from our external affairs department. Translation: He saved my butt many times when I forgot about a last minute tasks. Many times.
  3. Know what other people in your organization are working on. Connect people within your organization and company. Spend some time thinking about who in your network can help those you work with. Become a bridge builder. Bring opportunities, new deals, more business, or increased media exposure. Assistants are easy to replace. Cubicle employees are being commoditized. A bridge builder is hard to find. A bridge builder who knows how to connect others is impossible to replace. Your boss knows this. You should too.
  4. Think and Leverage. Even if it is your first day on the job, think about what your ideal next move would be. I wish I would have done this. I knew I wanted to leave the Mayor’s Administration and start my own public speaking career. My boss got asked to speak at many events. He often had to pass because of other commitments. If I was smarter, I would have offered to go and speak in his place. I could have become an expert in an array of topics. I could have used the credibility of the agency since I had none. I would have gained speaking experience and exposure. On someone else’s dime. Think about ways you can use your current job to propel you into your next move. Then get to it.

If your future is in the hands of one person, you are a slave. You are owned. You are a piece of property. If you make yourself invaluable, you are free. In this economy, if you are not free, you are dead. You don’t want to die.

You want to live.

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How to Stand Out During Your Coding Bootcamp Application http://www.resumeedge.com/stand-coding-bootcamp-application/ http://www.resumeedge.com/stand-coding-bootcamp-application/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 14:40:18 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4985 How to Stand Out During Your Coding Bootcamp Application By Joseph Rauch, writer at SkilledUp If you enroll in a coding bootcamp — an intensive eight- to 12-week program designed to take you from coding newbie to hirable programmer — you’ll be on a fast track to a rewarding and high-paying programming career, where you...

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How to Stand Out During Your Coding Bootcamp Application

By Joseph Rauch, writer at SkilledUp

If you enroll in a coding bootcamp — an intensive eight- to 12-week program designed to take you from coding newbie to hirable programmer — you’ll be on a fast track to a rewarding and high-paying programming career, where you can help close the vast coding skills gap and develop apps and websites.

But that’s only if you can make it past the application, which ranges from a simple phone call and payment to requiring an essay submission, interview, and coding test. More selective bootcamps will require at least one of the latter, and will always take into account your online presence.

To help you dominate these application processes, SkilledUp reached out to dozens of bootcamp staff and asked them what helps applicants make the cut. Keep reading for actionable tips so you can get into the best bootcamps.

  1. Have a Stellar Online Presence

LinkedIn — All of the bootcamp administrators SkilledUp spoke to said they checked candidates’ LinkedIn profiles and general online presence before accepting them. In fact, the quality of your online presence can make or break that decision.

This means it’s not just enough to have a LinkedIn profile. It should be tight and easy to scan.

“I’ve seen a lot of beginners write paragraphs explaining their skills and experiences,” said Chris Beck, lead mentor at online coding bootcamp Bloc. “Do the recruiter a favor and create a list of skills in your profile’s summary section so the recruiter can quickly scan them.”

Even if you are applying to a coding bootcamp that doesn’t require basic coding skills from the start, you should still make your LinkedIn profile complete yet scannable by citing skills up front. Recruiters expect the same from your paper résumé.

GitHub — If you have previous coding projects, show them off on GitHub. Think of it as the programming version of your LinkedIn page.

“Make sure your projects are named appropriately and that they each have a README that is clear, articulate, error-free, and professional,” Beck said. “Just like a LinkedIn profile, make sure your contact info and photo are professional and up-to-date.”

Other Platforms — None of the administrators SkilledUp spoke to mentioned other portfolio platforms or social media platforms on their list of places to check. Nonetheless, having a significant following on Twitter or Instagram will certainly not hurt you, especially if you frequently post about programming.

Graphic and web design work is also worth showing off on sites such as Behance, Dribble or Cargo.

  1. Show Your Passion with an Essay or Short Answer

“Passion makes a huge difference,” Mimi Bouhelal, program manager of RocketU, told SkilledUp. “We can see the effort reflected in the essays.”

SkilledUp also collected essay and short answer samples from the Epicodus and Ironhack bootcamps. All of the accepted essays and short answers had three elements:

  • Demonstration of passion for coding and noncoding related work
  • Storytelling
  • Demonstration of soft skills relevant to bootcamps and programming work, such as leadership, teamwork, ability to adapt quickly, etc.

The content is most important, but your prose should at least demonstrate that you can communicate and care enough to edit your submissions.

“A strong applicant gives answers about why they are applying,” Bouhelal said. “They use good grammar and writing, and show they can express themselves and be team players.”

Click here to see the complete bootcamp essay and short answer samples and tips from SkilledUp

Try a Video as Well, or be Prepared for Video Interview

Some bootcamp applications will require a personal essay and video, or just the video. Or perhaps they’ll suggest a video submission without requiring it, in which case you should definitely do it. In fact, some coding bootcamps such as Coding Campus prefer videos over essays.

“We’ve found that video is a much better way of getting to know applicants, especially for getting an idea about their ‘soft skills,’” said Michael Zaro, CEO of Coding Campus.

But it’s not just any kind of video. Bootcamp administrators such as Zara prefer video interviews where candidates aren’t merely talking to a camera and reading from a script.

“To dig into any questions from their initial application, get some data on an applicant’s soft skills, and to see if they are a good personality fit, we hold separate video interviews with each applicant,” Zara said. “Presentation ability isn’t a bad thing, but we’re trying to get at their ‘real self,’ so a live interview is much more informative than a rote video where applicants try to put their ‘best self’ forward.”

This isn’t the case with most coding bootcamp applications, but you should be prepared if you want to enroll at a place like Coding Campus where recruiters value videos and video interviews.

  1. The Value of a Good In-Person Interview

SkilledUp spoke with Startup Institute, a selective bootcamp that partners with startups so their graduates have access to interesting tech opportunities. Their staff stressed the importance of the interview.

“We’d rather have conversations with the applicants themselves to get a sense of who they really are, and how Startup Institute might help them to accomplish their goals,” a Startup Institute staffer said.

In-person interviews are also the best opportunity to show your personality, which is something bootcamps such as Startup Institute will want to see.

“Startup Institute is not a bootcamp focused exclusively on skills: We screen for cultural fit as well as technical skills,” a Startup staffer said. “A candidate may be incredibly talented on the technical side, but if that candidate were to be hired by one of our partners only to exhibit a resistance to change, single-mindedness, a poor attitude, or egomania, it hurts our reputation and the employability of all of our alumni and students, in turn.”

Interviews are an opportunity to show how you think as well, something employers value. You can do this whether they ask you questions about yourself or past projects.

“By listening to the candidate describe how they built it and the challenges involved, we get a better sense of their thought process and how they might tackle future projects” said Michael Nutt, co-founder and chief technical officer of email marketer Movable Ink, which has hired bootcamp grads from Fullstack Academy.

All of the bootcamp staff SkilledUp spoke to agreed that demonstrating an impressive thought process was actually more important than getting 100 percent on a coding challenge.

Finally, don’t forget to bring your paper résumé to the interview.

Treat it Like a College Application

Coding bootcamps may be designed, in part, to give you the skills you won’t get from traditional colleges, but the application process is quite similar. Recruiters want to see that you worked as hard as you possibly could on the application. This means a passionate essay with no typos, ample preparation for interviews and tests, and a polished online presence.

Don’t worry. You won’t have to take a bootcamp SAT or send in your grades again. Just work hard, follow these steps, and ensure you’re applying to the program that suits you best.

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Tips to help you stayed focused, while working from home http://www.resumeedge.com/working-home-tips-help-stayed-focused/ http://www.resumeedge.com/working-home-tips-help-stayed-focused/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:28:03 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4981 Today, more people are working from home than ever – you might be a remote employee or maybe you’re a freelancer. Either way it’s always important to keep focused and keep your attention on your work, as opposed to doing other, non-work-related to-do’s around the house. Here are some tips to help you stayed focused....

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Today, more people are working from home than ever – you might be a remote employee or maybe you’re a freelancer. Either way it’s always important to keep focused and keep your attention on your work, as opposed to doing other, non-work-related to-do’s around the house. Here are some tips to help you stayed focused.

Home office- The first item on the list is to make sure you have an office or a designated place to do your work. Yes, the bed or couch might feel comfortable, however you will likely be less productive. If you don’t have an extra room to make your “official” office, often time’s people will use a kitchen table or set-up a space in another room in the house. When you have a specific designated space, you will get more done.

To-do list- Your list will serve as a reminder to help you stay on-track throughout the day. Keep a calendar and block off time to stay focused on specific tasks.

Schedule- Create your work schedule. If you will be available from 8-5, then let your friends and family know that just because you work from home, you’re not free to talk whenever they feel the need. They need to know that you have a schedule and, if they would like to chat, they can speak to you over your lunch. I encourage people to actually take their lunch break and have away time to call their friends or family. It can get lonely working from home and you can use your lunch time to talk to friends and have a laugh.

Keep the food at bay- It’s very easy for people to eat throughout the day. Heck, you’re in your home with unlimited access to food and it can be very tempting to snack all day. This can lead to “packing on the pounds.” Have some healthy alternatives around the house and take a stroll around the neighborhood over your breaks. This will not only keep you feeling healthy, but it’s refreshing for the mind. When you feel great, you will feel more productive!

This is just a few of what I find to be the most important tips to keep focused. Check out my blog on tips to stay organized when working from home http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-stay-organized-working-home/

 

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Tips to stay organized when working from home http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-stay-organized-working-home/ http://www.resumeedge.com/tips-stay-organized-working-home/#comments Tue, 10 Mar 2015 15:06:10 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4977 As someone who works from home, people ask me, “How do you do it?” They feel that they would be too easily distracted or tempted to shirk their professional duties. The answer isn’t a simple, “No, it’s easy.” It does take major discipline and, if you’re like me, you may find it hard to take...

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As someone who works from home, people ask me, “How do you do it?” They feel that they would be too easily distracted or tempted to shirk their professional duties. The answer isn’t a simple, “No, it’s easy.” It does take major discipline and, if you’re like me, you may find it hard to take a step away from the computer after a long day, creating a different set of quandaries. Here are some tips to keep your day organized and stay on task.

 Get ready: Wake up and get ready just as you would if you were going into the office. This just makes for a better day. You’re still working and still a professional. While sweats and a t-shirt might be ok once in a while, the old saying of “dress for success” still applies. Everyone feels better after they start the day fresh!

 Have systems in place: Label all folders and projects, so you’re able to identify quickly. You wouldn’t just let your files pile up on your desk if you were in the office, so there’s no reason that they should form a pile on your kitchen counter. Whether it be file cabinets or simple racks, find an organized system that works for you.

 Keep your desk clear of clutter: Keep your desk for work-related items and not a place to store other items. It may be tempting to double-purpose the space, but clearly defined boundaries are a good thing when working from home.

 Keep a trash can near: A trash can or recycling bin close by will help to keep your desk free from garbage. Sounds remedial, I know, but before I started working from home, I never placed a receptacle near my desk.

 Maintain a regular schedule: Have clear-cut guidelines and stick to your schedule; this breaks up free time from work time.

 Schedule breaks: It’s important to set break times on your calendar. Everyone needs time to recharge and just get away from the computer.

Lunch time: Try to leave the house during the day over your lunch break. You can always use the fresh air and exercise and being bound to the house all day can wear on a person. It’s tempting to just eat your lunch and continue to work, but it’s important to take time out. Maybe a quick walk around the block, or lunch on your balcony?

 Feeling sick: I’m guilty of this as well, but everyone should take a proper sick day. Sure, enough over-the-counter elixir will allow you to get through the day…but sometimes you really do need to take a day off, even if your days are spent at home.

 Distractions at bay: Avoid whatever might be a distraction – turn off your personal cell phone or personal emails might be helpful. If you wouldn’t do it in the office, you probably shouldn’t be doing it at your home office.

Set ground rules: This goes for both family and pets. It seems like my dogs always start barking or the kids get home from school and need something when I’m on a call, so set ground rules to keep your work time professional. Everyone in your household should be aware of your schedule and cues/clues as to when it’s appropriate to come into your workspace. Whether it be a door hanger or sign, a light on or off, or simply a shut door- everyone should be on the same page.

Some people will find that they aren’t cut out for this type of work arrangement, however for those who work-from-home arrangements do work or for those who are considering testing the waters, these simple tips will make your work-from-home experience more seamless and productive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Research the Company Before the Interview http://www.resumeedge.com/research-company-interview/ http://www.resumeedge.com/research-company-interview/#comments Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:29:51 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4974 You just found your dream job and submitted your resume, but what should you do next? If you haven’t already researched the company prior to hitting the submit button, you should start digging! Here are a few tips to make sure your research is thorough and complete, to help you stand out in the interview....

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You just found your dream job and submitted your resume, but what should you do next? If you haven’t already researched the company prior to hitting the submit button, you should start digging! Here are a few tips to make sure your research is thorough and complete, to help you stand out in the interview.

Company website- The easiest place to start searching is on the company’s website. You can learn a lot from their site, including key information about their culture. Here, you can research the leadership team and find out how long each member has been with the company. Don’t forget to check out press releases and other exciting, or not so exciting, business news. As a recruiter, one of the first questions I ask is regarding the research you have done. If you haven’t done your research or tell me you didn’t find any information, I will move on to the next candidate who has done the research. Researching shows a genuine interest in becoming part of an organization, not just finding a job.

Industry- Research the industry and their competitors. Not only will this give you an understanding of what’s trending in the industry and where it’s going, but it can also give you a few talking points of their company’s differentiators. You can also speak to why you’re excited to be a part of their growth.

Ask around- Chances are that you know someone who works there, or maybe you have a friend that knows someone working there. Ask around and find out the good and bad. You can always check LinkedIn see if you’re connected to an employee and ask them questions about the culture, growth, and what it’s like to work there or you can take a peek on GlassDoor and read company reviews from previous employees.

Smaller companies- A lot of small companies don’t have a strong web presence, or if they do, their website may be very lean or bare-boned. That said, when information if lacking, what should you do to prepare for the interview? You can tell the interviewer that you are very excited to learn more about the company. Mention some of the research you attempted. They will understand that there’s a lack of information out there and will likely be glad to talk you through the selling points.

The bottom line is, you should know important facts about the company and why you’re so intrigued. In addition to demonstrating your proactivity and enthusiasm for the organization, you’ll also be setting yourself up for that classic question most recruiters ask, “Why do you want to work here?” Having a solid answer will make you stand out from the rest.

 

 

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Asking Friends for Job Search Help http://www.resumeedge.com/asking-friends-job-search-help/ http://www.resumeedge.com/asking-friends-job-search-help/#comments Thu, 19 Feb 2015 22:58:00 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4969 Asking friends and former colleagues for assistance with your job search is without a doubt an awkward thing for many job seekers, but it’s worth the time and effort.. What’s important to know For generations, Americans found available career opportunities in the local newspaper’s help wanted section. However, classifieds and other traditional sources of job...

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Asking friends and former colleagues for assistance with your job search is without a doubt an awkward thing for many job seekers, but it’s worth the time and effort..

What’s important to know For generations, Americans found available career opportunities in the local newspaper’s help wanted section. However, classifieds and other traditional sources of job information have largely vanished, leaving no tool more important than networking.

When it comes to networking, your person’s friends must be included as part of your network.

The approach to use with friends can vary from situation to situation, and it should. Some friends can be asked for direct referrals to hiring managers whereas others may know staffing professionals and executive recruiters. There will also be friends that will opt to introduce you themselves while others will prefer to work behind the scenes with information about opportunities.

One way to start this process is to list the companies you have an interest in and then used LinkedIn or a similar online source to see who you may know that either works there now or did previously. You may also have contacts that know individuals who already work or do business with the firms on your list.

Another approach is to brainstorm a list of people who you know that have lots of connections. Lawyers, accountants, professors, sales people, business owners, and clergy all have an extensive network of contacts. Very often these professionals are asked by their contacts to refer solid candidates to them.

In a “Pay It Forward” world many friends you have will want to refer you to potential employers.

Here’s a sample of an email you can adapt to your situation and send to your friends:

Hello John,

I hope this quick note finds you well. I’m seeking your assistance in my career search. Please keep me in mind if you hear of any opportunities that may fit my experience. For the last four years I have been the manager of the marketing department at American Widgets, Inc, the premier distributor widgets and widget related products in Cleveland. You may also remember that I was previously with Widget Development International in Toledo where I ran the sales department and organized trade show participation. Also, can you recommend any recruiters that it would make sense for me to reach out to? Thank you in advance for your help. My cell phone number is XXX-555-0000.

You can also use this note and message your connections on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Don’t have a LinkedIn profile? ResumeEdge’s experts can help you craft a LinkedIn profile that will be a solid networking tool and will be optimized so recruiters can find you quickly.

 

 

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Work-life Balance http://www.resumeedge.com/work-life-balance/ http://www.resumeedge.com/work-life-balance/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:23:58 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4964 One of the great accolades that business technology receives is the increased flexibility it gives today’s workers. It is with near certainty that you or someone you know works from their mobile device or telecommutes. Technology has created a world where savvy businesses allow workers to effectively decide when and how they will complete their...

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One of the great accolades that business technology receives is the increased flexibility it gives today’s workers. It is with near certainty that you or someone you know works from their mobile device or telecommutes. Technology has created a world where savvy businesses allow workers to effectively decide when and how they will complete their work.

The freedom of not being shackled to the 9-5 schedule sounds great, however if we’re not careful, this benefit can quickly become a burden. By blurring traditional ‘work’ and ‘life’ hours, we’ve set up the potential for a perfect storm in today’s competitive world. We see examples of this every day: in line at the store and the patron in front of you appears to be closing a multi-million dollar deal, oblivious to the cashier’s request for payment or their child begging for a pack of gum; the person who jumps up from their table to take an apparent business call in a quieter location; or even the manic driver wildly responding to email at every stoplight (or worse, going 80 down the freeway).

Sure, this may be the norm, however in order to maintain our sanity and lessen the likelihood of burnout, each of us must try to create some separation and create a healthily work-life balance. Whether you’re just discovering the freedom that technology in the workplace can bring, or you’re the spitting image of the above examples, there are things you can do to keep sane.

  • Email Vacation. When you’re on vacation, you should really be on vacation – put that email away. If it’s on your phone, disable service until you’re done. We all need times to unwind and disconnect from the stresses around us.
  • Set Boundaries. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule, however if you vow to stop checking your email after 7 p.m., you should rarely break that vow. This will look different for everyone, however no one should be ‘on-call’ 24/7 every day of the year.
  • Communicate Your Plan. Let your coworkers and clients know your schedule. All too often I’ve listened to people complain about late night calls or disrupted dinner, only to discover that while there was indeed a plan, nobody else knew of it. Again, every organization and position will have varied requirements and by no means should you shirk your understood responsibilities; however you should be able to create some ‘you’ time.So embrace the new age and all the benefits that technology has bestowed upon us…just remember that flexible schedules should not mean we are now chained or ‘wired’, if you will, to our virtual desks.

So embrace the new age and all the benefits that technology has bestowed upon us…just remember that flexible schedules should not mean we are now chained or ‘wired’, if you will, to our virtual desks.

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Mistakes to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile: Part 2 http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile-part-2/ http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile-part-2/#comments Tue, 27 Jan 2015 14:57:42 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4961 In the previous blog http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/ we discussed some of the common mistakes that should be avoided on your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few more: Typos: I know this seems obvious, but you may be surprised how often this happens. Check your spelling and grammar and, as always, have another set of eyes review it. If...

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In the previous blog http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/ we discussed some of the common mistakes that should be avoided on your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few more:

Typos: I know this seems obvious, but you may be surprised how often this happens. Check your spelling and grammar and, as always, have another set of eyes review it. If you’re not the best at writing, try using a professional writer to create your profile. It’s very embarrassing to say that you’re a perfectionist or have great attention to detail…only to showcase that you’ve just misspelled one of the words.

Recommendations: It’s important to have recommendations. They should be from someone that knows you well and is a credible source. They should talk through what capacity you have worked with one another, such as a project you where you were paired. Make sure it’s not a generic recommendation and that they do their best to sell you!

Buddy connections: LinkedIn should be used to connect professionally and not with your friends – that’s what Facebook is for. To get the most from LinkedIn, you should connect with people you have met at a career fair or a trade show, or at other networking events. An unfinished profile: Make sure to finish your profile – having an unfinished profile speaks volumes to your personality, and may give the impression that you are lazy or that you don’t see things through. I understand that LinkedIn has a lot of content options, but make sure that you have filled out the main content and showcase your accomplishments.

Omitting information: When you don’t list dates of employment or are missing details of what you were doing while in a specific position it seems as if you are trying to brush information under the rug. It’s best to have accurate information and tell the story of what your responsibilities were so the reader can visualize what you were doing.

LinkedIn is a huge part in the recruitment process and avoiding unnecessary mistakes will help leverage your career and put you at the top of the stack.

 

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Mistakes to Avoid on Your LinkedIn Profile http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/ http://www.resumeedge.com/mistakes-avoid-linkedin-profile/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 14:44:17 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4957 I’ve heard that in 2015 most hires will be found on LinkedIn or via employee referrals. Since LinkedIn is such an important piece in the hiring puzzle, don’t let silly mistakes be the reason you weren’t sought out and hired for your dream job. Profile Photo: I’ll be honest—if someone doesn’t have a profile picture, I...

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I’ve heard that in 2015 most hires will be found on LinkedIn or via employee referrals. Since LinkedIn is such an important piece in the hiring puzzle, don’t let silly mistakes be the reason you weren’t sought out and hired for your dream job.

Profile Photo: I’ll be honest—if someone doesn’t have a profile picture, I wonder why. Too lazy? Too shy? Many recruiters won’t even contact you without a photo, so make sure it’s updated photo professional!

Privacy Settings: If you’re on the hunt for a new position, you probably don’t want the entire world, or your current company, to be aware. Make sure that you have updated your settings, so others won’t see notifications and keep your search quiet.

Quality or Quantity: With LinkedIn, it’s important to have quality connections over quantity. LinkedIn is the place for people to connect so they can further their careers. Before connecting or accepting a connection, you should ask yourself if this person can help you in your search or, in some cases, would it possibly hurt your cause instead. If you’re not sure, do the research and decide if they will benefit your career plans.

Stellar Summary: Don’t skip the summary! Your summary is a brief synopsis of you, and should help you sell yourself and give you the edge over other candidates with similar backgrounds. Be creative and find ways to make others want to hire you!

Keep it up-to-date and add new skills: I hate when I reach out to a candidate to only find out that they haven’t worked at their most recent company listed for years. What that says to me is that you’re lazy and you really don’t care about your career or finding ways to leverage yourself.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: It’s never a good idea to lie on LinkedIn or your resume. The truth will be uncovered and it’s best to be honest from the get-go and not lie your way to an offer. This will only hurt you in the end, so don’t inflate the truth and be proud of what you have “actually” achieved.

Status Updates: Stay consistent on your LinkedIn activities, but don’t go overboard. Staying active will help in your relationship building and growing strong connections.

These are a few of the important mistakes you should avoid; by no means is this list all-encompassing. Stayed tuned for my next blog, where I discuss additional best practices. In the meantime, make sure that you’re not guilty of any of the above.

 

 

 

 

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How to Write Ridiculously Persuasive Cover Letters http://www.resumeedge.com/write-ridiculously-persuasive-cover-letters/ http://www.resumeedge.com/write-ridiculously-persuasive-cover-letters/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 23:57:30 +0000 http://www.resumeedge.com/?p=4952 A cover letter should tell a story in which the candidate is presented as an impact player—that is, someone a hiring manager wants to have on their team. Effective resumes and cover letters are most persuasive when they paint a clear picture of the candidate’s accomplishments and successes. Berkley Law tells its students and alumni...

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A cover letter should tell a story in which the candidate is presented as an impact player—that is, someone a hiring manager wants to have on their team.

Effective resumes and cover letters are most persuasive when they paint a clear picture of the candidate’s accomplishments and successes.

Berkley Law tells its students and alumni that a “cover letter is as important as your resume because it is often read first and plays a vital role in your quest for an interview.”

A cover letter that only focuses on the duties and responsibilities that an individual has had rarely wins interviews. Princeton University counsels its students that “a well-written cover letter introduces your resume and directs your reader’s attention to specific areas of your background.”

A cover letter with two or three carefully worded examples of when the candidate has excelled, backed up with qualitative or quantitative information, is often all that is needed for a corporate recruiter or headhunter to take a closer look at a candidate’s resume.

Many candidates struggle to figure out what examples of earlier career accomplishments to include.

A 2009 article on Examiner.com reported on a Microsoft corporate careers blog post that provided advice that remains highly relevant and helps point the way. The way to write a great cover letter is to communicate MSA “Made, Saved and Achieved” history, which is defined as “Made the company money, sales, etc.; Saved the company money, time, etc.” and “Achieved (awards, recognition, etc.) personally”

One strategic way to include MSAs in a cover letter is to have one bullet point for a Made statement, one for a Saved statement and one for an Achieved statement. Meaning one example in each area and to keep each statement to no longer than two lines. The MSA section should come in between the introductory paragraph and the closing paragraph and should be the bulk of the cover letter. Long introductions and long conclusions are not a good idea.

Some final tips:

Berkley Law suggests that proofing is vital and explains that cover letters “should be clear, brief, and written in a business letter style, without any typographical errors.”

Examiner.com further recommends that job seekers “review your resume…Are you just listing “stuff” you did? Or, are you incorporating specifics that entice an employer to want to know more about you?”

Harvard Law encourages candidates to“go into detail about your background and skills instead of reiterating what is already on your resume (and), do not begin every sentence with “I (verb).”

 

 

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