employment, job hunting, job interviews, job search, resumes, Uncategorized

Your Future Is In The (Business) Cards

[As published on Recruiter.com]

 

According to a Microsoft study, a goldfish now has a longer attention span than you do.

Hey, over here — there’s more!

Microsoft found that the average human’s attention span is now eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. The goldfish clocks in at nine seconds.

Why does Microsoft care, and why should you? Because shorter attention spans affect concentration, comprehension, reading, advertising, and interpersonal interactions.

Given how short the average person’s attention span is — and that includes hiring managers and recruiters — how can you become a memorable candidate?

It’s actually quite easy: Leave behind a business card.

The practice of exchanging business cards seems to have originated in China in the 15th century, according to some sources. The practice has evolved since then, but there’s a reason it’s still with us all these centuries later. Having a card to present while networking accomplishes several things:

  1. It shows that you’re prepared. You’re not fumbling around for a pen and scrap of paper on which to scrawl your contact info.
  2. It presents the important information you want a person to know, such as how to contact you and how to find out more about you.
  3. It demonstrates respect for the tradition of reciprocating the exchange of cards. Avoid that uncomfortable moment when someone gives you a gift and you don’t have one for them!

It’s not enough to simply have a business card; you want something that presents the best of you. A few guidelines on what makes a great card:

  1. Provide only necessary information so the card is not cluttered and doesn’t confuse the reader. Name, one phone number, one email address, maybe a mailing address, maybe a LinkedIn URL (not Facebook!), and a personal website, if you have one.
  2. Select a simple theme/colors/font combination that reflects your personality but looks professional. Your business card should be easy to read, and card scanners should be able to parse it. A fancy script and/or tiny typeface are red flags about your judgment.
  3. Give yourself a title, like “Sales Consultant,” “Customer Service Specialist,” “Digital Marketer” — something memorable and realistic. Unless you’re in a really creative field, don’t get cutesy. No one likes a “Chief Thinking Officer,” “Creative Guru,” or “Rainmaker Extraordinaire.”
  4. Utilize the back of the card for a few lines about your accomplishments or qualifications, such as “Master’s degree in education,” “Certified in C++,” or “Proficient in Google Analytics.” Leave at least the top half of the card’s back empty so the person has space to write notes.

Remember: Receiving another person’s card is an invitation to follow up with them. Duck into another room and make notes of everything you can remember about your conversation on the back of the card. This may include information like a spouse’s name, a reminder to send an article of interest, inside information about their company, projects they’re working on, or next steps for following up.

You are an outsider trying to get inside. That’s what networking is all about. The goal is for the recipient to remember you weeks and months later. You want them to think of you when they have a vacancy or hear about one before it’s posted.

You are continuing a 400-year tradition of introductions and etiquette, so carry the cards in a decent case. Resist the temptation to use a binder clip or rubber band.

You may make a good first impression, but a business card leaves a lasting impression. That’s how you become memorable.

Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.

Cards

 

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employment, job hunting, job search

Live Long and Prosper…as a Job Hunter in your 50s, 60s & 70s

People are living longer, which means that they have to work longer to support themselves…which means being a job candidate instead of a retiree.

We often think of job hunters as being young, maybe right out of college. But, let’s not forget that job hunters are also in their 50s, 60s & 70s. You may know of one, be one, or will be one.

There’s an interesting article by Kerry Hannon in AARP Magazine, Feb/Mar 2015 about 8 common mistakes that older job seekers make, and how to fix them.

Here are Hannon’s “Mistakes” and my comments about them:

Mistake #1

“I’ll job hunt but otherwise just kick back and enjoy the break.”

Don’t waste any time. Offer your services to local companies since they may not be able to hire an employee, but they might afford a consultant. If can’t find a paid position, volunteer your skills to an organization that you support. The goal is to keep working, so you can make contacts and network for your next gig.

Mistake #2

“I’ve had my AOL account since 1993!”

I disagree somewhat with Hannon on this one. Having an AOL email address doesn’t mean you’re old, it shows that you’ve had a digital presence for a long time, and that you’re loyal (by sticking with a good-service company). If you want a Gmail account, get one. Use it just for your job search, and keep AOL for personal stuff.

Mistake #3

“I’m proud no one can find me online.”

Be realistic…nothing online is private. You can and will be found IF someone wants to find you. Don’t make them jump through hoops when it’s YOU who wants a job. Show your digital presence. Show you’re tech-savvy by being on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram; create a website; write a blog.

Mistake #4

“I refuse to take a job for less pay than I was making before.”

You can have a bottom line of what you’ll accept, but make sure that it’s based on financial needs and not ego. Better to take less than have nothing. Better to have a job when/if seeking another job. Get the experience, put it on your resume, and try to negotiate additional benefits in lieu of more money.

Mistake #5

“I don’t like bothering people.”

You must market yourself. Let everyone know of your search. They may know someone who knows someone who can help you. You can’t do all the leg work yourself so let your support network assist you.

Mistake #6

“The longer my resume, the more impressed employers will be.”

Size matters. One or two pages is all you need but either should be packed with quantified accomplishments and not job descriptions. Job history only needs to go back 10-15 years. Consider leaving years of graduation off of resume.

Mistake #7

“I’m not going to apply since I don’t meet all the job requirements.”

A want ad is a wish list. There may not be a candidate with all the qualifications but you may come the closest, so apply. Don’t rule yourself out…let them decide if you meet their requirements.

Mistake #8

“If I’m patient, a job perfectly suited to my experiences will come along.”

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re too good or too experienced for a job. There is no “perfect” job, so be willing to take a new challenge that may be different from what you’ve had previously. Use your achievements to demonstrate your potential.

Learn how to be more marketable at BestOfYouResumes.com.

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Uncategorized

Job Search With A Laser, Not a Flashlight

[As Published on Recruiter.com]

Many students, friends, and clients, have told me they intend to look for a new job this year. When I ask the obvious question – “What are you looking for?” – their responses are almost always ambiguous. Few people can identify the industry, company, or even city of the job they want.

For a more focused job search – one guided by a laser-like precision – I’d suggest following the advice of Debra Wheatman at Marketing News. Wheatman suggests taking the following steps to conduct a more targeted job search:

1. Conduct a Personal aAssessment

Know what, whom, and where you want to be. Know why you’ve made these choices. Granted, things can change and life happens, but you need to start your search with a road map to guide your journey.

2. Do Your Research

The internet gives you access to all the information you need to investigate industries, companies, locations, executives, mission statements, salaries, annual reports, reviews from employees, and a lot more. There’s no excuse for not doing your homework!

3. Define Your Goal

Keep narrowing your search. A job search is like a funnel: All the possibilities go in the top, and the answers are filtered out of the bottom. Just like you can have more than one resume, you can have more than one funnel/search. Keep the separate funnels on separate tracks.

4. Identify Avenues for Professional Development

Never stop learning about your field and how you can succeed in it. Take classes, watch webcasts, listen to podcasts, view TED Talks, read trade periodicals, volunteer to teach others, and join industry organizations.

5. Improve Your Personal Brand

On a job search, you are the product you’re marketing. Fnd ways to stand out from the competition. Hone your resume, complete your LinkedIn profile, perfect your elevator pitch, and print up business cards to pass out.

6. Network With Industry Leaders

I can already hear the groaning about dressing up and schmoozing with strangers. It’s not easy, but networking is necessary. Those who are bad at it become forgettable wallflowers. Those who good at it become memorable, and people want to work with them.

Take those business cards to association meetings. Go to conferences and listen to speeches. Meet people and follow up with “nice to have met you” emails. You’re not asking for a job; you’re introducing yourself and seeing how things play out.

7. Branch Out

Use professional associations, LinkedIn, Twitter, or your own website/blog to get the message out about your job search. Let family and friends know of your targeted campaign. They may not be able to help, but they may know someone who knows someone who can.

A flashlight approach is broad, scattered, and a waste of your time. By knowing what you want – and what you don’t – you take a more precise, laser-like approach to the job search. You’ll be more likely to hit your target that way.

Ferris Kaplan is founder of Best of You Resumes.

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